McEnearney Associates’ Goodhart Group Announces Record-Breaking Sale

Posted On September 12th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

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By Catherine Probst


The Goodhart Group of McEnearney Associates is proud to announce the sale of 208 Virginia Avenue, a beautiful estate home in Alexandria, VA. The estate was the first home built in Alexandria’s Jefferson Park neighborhood in 1920. Sold for $2,662,500, this property commanded the highest sales price outside of Old Town since the summer of 2011.

Known as Journey’s End, the two acre estate was once home to horses and carriage rides. From poets of the past to politicians of the present, many have passed through the gates of this historic property. It is sited atop a ridge with breathtaking views of Alexandria and the distant shoreline of the Potomac River, where peaceful serenity can be found in this rare and wonderful home on the outskirts of Downtown Washington.

Upon entering the home, a leaded glass door opens up into a dramatic entrance foyer. Beyond the foyer, the main level features an open floor plan, historic charm, and all the features one could wish for in a modern home. Better known as the terrace level, the ground floor provides access to two patios with city views and lush gardens. Inside, the formal living room has hosted gatherings of the famous as well as family. The room is splendidly finished with views of the gardens through picture windows on both ends. Beyond the living room is the enclosed sun room; a cozy niche for TV viewing, letter writing, and bird watching.

The stately dining room offers oversized windows, custom drapes, and a resplendent chandelier bringing brilliant light to the space. Just off the dining room, the kitchen sparkles with white cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, granite counters and a walk-in pantry. The wet bar, accented with cherry cabinetry, makes an artful transition to the added wing that contains the magnificent family room often referred to as the Great Room.

The wide spiral staircase to the first upper level leads to a master suite and two large bedrooms. With stunning views of the back gardens, the master suite is truly a sight to behold. The spacious bedroom area leads either left into the master bathroom or right into the master dressing room. Exuding luxury and refinement, the master bath has been crafted in marble and overlooks the garden. The features of this incredible bathroom were created by Sherle Wagner, well-known for her design work at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. On the opposite side of the floor are two large bedrooms joined by an impeccable Jack and Jill bath for family or guests. Ascending to the second upper level of the home are two additional bedrooms.

One of the greatest surprises of the home is found in the updated lower level. With space and the convenience of modern living, the lower level is a haven for recreation, housekeeping, relaxation, and more. The rec room is perfect for games, parties, and entertainment. Moving through to the tucked away den, one can truly get away and find private sanctuary.

The exterior of the home is just as impressive as the interior. With winding pathways, tall overarching trees, and blooming shrubbery, one can truly feel as though they are in a secret garden distances away from the bustle of downtown Washington, D.C. For days when entertainment is desired, spark up the built-in grill and host a party where star gazing over the Potomac River is made easy with the home’s remarkable water views.

 

Your First Home: What Every New Homeowner Needs in Their Brand New Kitchen

Posted On September 12th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments
Kitchen-Basics

Are you a first-time homeowner with a sleek, contemporary kitchen like this one at Lookout North Residences by Hudson Harbor in Tarrytown, N.Y.? Then you’ll need a few essentials to stock up on.


By Patricia L. Garcia,  NewHomeSource


If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you likely have a few items that you’re carrying over from your rental or parent’s house. But, as time goes on, you’ll realize that you might be missing a few practical items.

So, to help those who are experiencing their first home, we’ve come up with a series of articles to help you stock up on handy items you may not have even considered before moving in. Since you’ve purchased a newly built home, you’ll save time by not having to do any repair work or deal with old plumbing. In the first of our “Your First Home” posts, we’ll cover the basics of kitchen necessities — can opener, anyone?

1. Be Practical

As Wendy Santantonio, a Realtor with McEnearney Associates in Alexandria, Va., says, “Forget the customized gadgets and small appliances.” If you go for trendy items that aren’t practical – like, say, that fondue set that you’ll probably use once or twice a year – they’ll likely go unused and take up valuable storage space.

Instead, you’ll find more value from items that are practical and that serve many purposes. “Focus your budget and your space on items that can serve multiple functions and lay a good foundation for your culinary and entertaining needs,” Santantonio says. “Consider investing in durable pots and pans and a good set of knives. Choose basic white dishes that can be dressed up or down, as well as lidded glass bowls that can meet your prep, serving and storage needs.”

2. Go For Quality

You may be tempted to purchase inexpensive cooking items, like those that come in sets, to hold you over until the pricier house gifts start rolling in. However, while these sets may be inexpensive, they might not be of the highest quality. Now that you have a new home, it’s time to stop skimping.

“Having been a chef for a long time, I’ve always believed that a few quality items beats a collection of cheap gizmos,” says Tannar Agar, founder and CEO of The Chef Shelf based out of Fort Worth, Texas. “Quality knives and pans make cooking safer, easier and more fun. If I could only spend $500 on my kitchen, those (items) would be the first purchase.”

3. Knives

As mentioned above, quality knives are critical for any kitchen.

“The knife is the most important – and also most dangerous – tool in the kitchen,” says Rachel Sherwood, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based food stylist, culinary expert and author of The Pretty Plate.

Dull or low-quality knives are dangerous because you have to work harder to cut food, making it easier to “slip” and cut yourself. You don’t have to have a set of professional knives, which can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars for just one, but you should have three basic knives for all of your cooking needs, suggests Sherwood:

- paring knife: for cutting small fruits or cutting a piece of cheese;

- serrated knife: for breads and cakes; and

- chefs’ knife: for all of your main chopping tasks.

While, you’re at it, don’t forget the cutting board!

4. Appliances

A food processor may not seem like a necessary kitchen item, but it will help keep your menu varied and recipes manageable. From dough to hummus, this kitchen workhorse will make cooking and baking a breeze. “It chops, kneads, slices and blends, so you’ll be making pizza dough, croquettes or veggies burgers, chapped salads and dips like hummus, in minutes,” says Rachel Asher, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based food writer.

Sherwood also suggests a crock pot, which can make easy dinners while you are away at work, and a mixer, which will make mixing easier than doing so by hand.

5. Pans

Also on Sherwood’s list? Pans of all types:

- Sheet pan: for cookies and bacon;

- Baking pan: for cakes, brownies, casseroles;

- Sauté pan: for cooking meats and vegetables; and

- Sauce pan: for soups and sauces.

6. Utensils

Don’t get lost in the sea of kitchen gadgets out there. There are a few basics that Sherwood suggests to perform basic tasks:

- Mixing bowls: for holding items and mixing salads, cookie or cake batter;

- Whisk: use to make fluffy eggs, creaming batters, blending sticky substances, blending sauces and whipped cream;

- Rubber spatula: to scrape up all the goodness from a pan or bowl;

- Spatula: for turning food that is being cooked in a pan, such as burgers;

- Tongs: to easily grab things or flip them;

- Grater: to shred cheese, vegetables, chocolate or cinnamon sticks;

- Strainer: to separate a solid from a liquid, draining pasta, vegetable and removing particles from sauces or soups;

- Peeler: for peeling veggies, but can also make “vegetable ribbons” and shave items like chocolate and cheeses;

- Slotted Spoon: for removing items from a liquid;

- Garlic press: to easily mince garlic; and

- Zester: to remove rinds from citrus, to grate fresh spices like nutmeg and to finely grate chocolate and hard cheeses.

Now that you have your list, go forth and prosper, er, cook well in your new kitchen!

 

Top 5 Recommendations for Preparing Your Home for Sale

Posted On September 9th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

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By Michelle Sagatov, McEnearney Associates Realtor


As one of my colleagues likes to say, “It’s time to get your Martha Stewart on!” The closer you can get your home looking like a model home, the greater your chance for creating emotional appeal and therefore maximizing the sales price. Below are the Top 5 Items I recommend for a seller to do before listing any home that is not being sold as a fixer upper or tear down.

1. Curb Appeal

Ever hear of the term, “Never Judge a Book by its cover”, well buyers judge and if your front yard is not welcoming, maintained and kept up, chances are the buyers may ask to “Keep on going” once they see your front yard and never make it inside. Schedule to have your lawn trimmed and edged, planting beds mulched & plants lightly trimmed if needed, and add a little “pop” of color with flowers. Make sure you have a fresh welcome mat, fresh coat of paint on your front door and polish and clean your door hardware.

2. Spic and span

Whether you are going to do it yourself or hire professionals, make sure you deep clean your house. This includes cleaning windows, dusting trim, bleaching grout & caulk, dusting blinds & ventilation grills, cleaning the oven & microwave, sweeping the garage… basically the ultimate spring cleaning. While you’re at it, replace old shower curtains and decorative towels. They will look crisp and smell new.

3. Declutter

The object is no longer about function so put away all the small kitchen appliances and miscellaneous items on your kitchen countertops. You want them to feel as spacious as possible. Do the same for bathroom counters. Box up any unnecessary knick knacks and personal photos. Organize your closets and box up anything not being used for this season. Walk through each room in your house and collect anything that may be considered clutter. If necessary, rent a storage pod for items you do not have room for.

4. Walls and Floors

In case you were wondering… it is almost always better to paint and address the floors than to offer a credit. If you are selling your home as move-in ready, potential buyers want to see the full potential. A credit sounds nice, but it is not as powerful as a well presented home. Paint the walls if necessary. You can get away with touch-up paint or use a magic eraser if there are just a few minor scuffs. If the carpet is just lightly soiled then try a good steam clean first.  If the carpet is worn down, then it needs to be replaced. If the hardwood floors are scratched or worn, then sand & refinish them.

This may be more work than you were hoping for, but I guarantee it will be worth the return on investment. If you are on a tight budget, most of these items can be done yourself.

5. Depersonalize

Let’s face it we all have our own unique style, whether it is art, bright colors or having 100’s of pictures of our beautiful family. However, when you are putting your house on the market, the goal is to sell the house and in order to do so a potential buyer needs to be able to see themselves living in your house. In order to maximize your price and sell your home quickly, appealing to a broad range of buyers is towards your advantage. The only way to do this is to tone down the wall colors, take down the personal photos, and remove any art work that maybe too extreme.

 

How Low Should Your Price Go?

Posted On September 8th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

Real Estate Market Prices


By Erik J. Martin


 

The goal of every home sale is to sell high, but when a house lingers on the market for longer than anticipated, the sellers may need to consider a price reduction.

Reducing your asking price, however, is a move that has to be handled carefully and timed appropriately, say real estate experts.

Ask different real estate agents when they advise making a price cut, and you’ll get a variety of recommendations – although the general consensus is within a few weeks of listing a home for sale.

“It depends on the local market, how many days on the market that are typical for the region, how the property compares to other similar homes that have received offers, and other factors,” says Cori McGrath, Realtor with Olde Port Properties in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “If a home has had several showings with no offers and has no other stigmas, then it’s time to drop the price.”

For Greg Williamson, senior vice president at Douglas Elliman Real Estate in New York, a solid month is the rule of thumb.

“If there is no offer in four weeks, then it’s most likely not priced right,” Williamson says.

If the seller needs to move quickly, a price reduction may be necessary much sooner – every 10 to 14 days, suggests Sue Goodhart, an agent with McEnearney Associates, Inc., in Alexandria, Virginia.

When it comes to deciding the amount to discount, agents equally differ in opinion.

“The reduction has to be meaningful but not necessarily a set number,” says Glenn S. Phillips, CEO of Lake Homes Realty in Birmingham, Alabama. “It’s often based on how off the market the home is prior to a reduction, so a set percentage can be dangerous. For example, a 10-percent reduction on a home that is priced 20 percent above the market is not as meaningful as 5 percent off a home that is already at expected market pricing.”

McGrath says most properties in her area sell within 5 percent of the listing price, “so I typically recommend a reduction of about half that (2.5 percent).”

However, many professionals caution that listing prices (including reduced prices) should fall within big, round number-search parameters so that house hunters shopping online – where most home shopping begins – can more easily find the property for sale.

“A home priced at $412,000 would not appear in searches for homes priced at $400,000 and less, so a reduction to $402,000, for example, still does not introduce the home to buyers that top out at $400,000,” says Phillips.”

Given the current real estate climate, which favors sellers in many markets, a price cut may not be needed at all – especially if the home was priced correctly from the start based on comparable properties, low inventory/high demand conditions, and the patience of the seller. But sellers that are considering a discount should consult closely with their agents.

“The consideration should never be, ‘Let’s cut a little and hope it gains attention.’ It should always be, ‘What positions this house over the competition for buyers’ attention and money,’” Phillips says.

Before making a reduction, think about how it might impact the ultimate sales price, be aware of your bottom line, and allow for some wiggle room in negotiations. Lastly, realize that there’s no shame and little risk in having to lower your price.

“One or two price reductions are fine – it shows that you are a real seller,” Williamson says. “However, three or more price cuts suggest a desperate seller, lack of confidence and that the property was priced incorrectly from the onset. So, it’s better to do one substantial price cut rather than two or more.”

 

Exclusive listings are popular, but they may not be in the sellers’ best interest

Posted On August 28th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | Comment (1)

Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg


By David Howell, Vice President & CIO at McEnearney Associates


 

You may have seen a sign in front of a home that says “Coming Soon” or you may have heard the terms “pocket” or “whisper” listings.  Well, those are not the same things, but they all represent areas of possible concern when it comes to doing the right thing for sellers.

Let’s start with some basics.

First, we firmly believe that sellers will get the most for their property in the shortest amount of time when it is exposed to the broadest possible market.  And doesn’t that make sense?  After all, you never know where that buyer is coming from.  No real estate company and no real estate agent have all the buyers, so why hide a listing?

Second, a property gets the most traffic and the most exposure in the first few weeks of that broad exposure to the market.  We know that to be the case in good markets and bad — and everything in between.  So “testing” or teasing the market in a limited way may not be the best idea.

Third, a home shows best when it is fully ready for the market, when all improvements or repairs have been made.  You don’t see a new car showroom with a model on the sales floor that needs a paint job.

Fourth — and this is the most important one — the sellers of any home should give their informed consent to have their home marketed prematurely or to a limited audience.

So, with all that being said, and with inventory being tight in so many parts of the Washington metropolitan area, we see a fair number of homes with a Coming Soon sign in the yard.  There can be some very legitimate reasons for that — a home may be a couple of weeks away from being ready to go on the market and the sellers want to be sure that buyers looking in their area are aware that they will have another option in the near future, and they don’t want to run the risk they’ll lose that buyer to a home already on the market.

But remember that the people who are aware of that sign may be limited to the people who drive by.  One of them may approach the sellers to see the house before it’s fully ready to be shown — or even make an offer so they get the jump on other buyers. On the surface, that may seem like a good thing: The sellers get interest and maybe even an offer before the house is fully exposed to the market, and are spared the hassle of having to make the beds every day.  But sellers don’t know what they’re missing; they don’t know how many potential buyers there are who might have been interested in their home if they had known it was on the market.

But sometimes that Coming Soon sign is up so that the listing agent increases his chances of selling the house himself.  And that’s even more true of a “pocket” or whisper” listing — when the agent only tells a handful of people that a house is available.  And who is best served by that?  It’s hard to see how a seller benefits, and lots of would-be purchasers are deprived of the chance to buy.

The point is simply this: Sellers should know the pluses and minuses of marketing their home to a limited audience, and it should be their decision whether to cut off part of the pool of potential purchasers.

 

Share Your Morning Coffee with an Antelope

Posted On August 26th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

deb

 


By Michele Lerner


If your favorite TV shows run on Animal Planet and your favorite recent movie was “We Bought a Zoo,” the home at 1315 Dasher Lane in Reston may be your perfect retreat.

The house backs to the Reston Zoo where you can see antelope, buffalo and other animals as they graze in the grass fields. In addition, the National Wildlife Federation has certified the home’s back yard as a national wildlife habitat.

Just in case you want something besides animals near your residence, the home is within walking distance of Lake Fairfax, a 10-minute drive to the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and 2.5 miles to the new Wiehle-Reston East Silver Line Metro station.

The six-bedroom, 4.5-bath home has nearly 5,000 square feet of living space, including a lower level bedroom with a full bath, kitchenette, media room and walk-out to a patio. The home is priced at $948,900.

For more information, visit http://1315dasher.mcenearney.com or contact real estate agent Debbie Miller of McEnearney Associates at 703-241-0223.

 

McEnearney Associates’ Delaine Campbell Receives GRI Designation

Posted On August 25th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

Delaine Campbell Logo


By Catherine Probst


McEnearney Associates, Inc., is proud to recognize Delaine Campbell, REALTOR® in the Alexandria, Virginia Old Town office for earning her GRI designation and in completing the additional education to become an Associate Broker in Virginia and Maryland.

The nationally recognized GRI® designation requires real estate practitioners to demonstrate an ever-increasing level of professionalism, experience, and knowledge in the industry; thus equipping him/her to further assist buyers and sellers with today’s more complex real estate transactions. GRI candidates are required to complete a minimum of 60 hours of coursework in a variety of areas including sales contracts, negotiations, legal and regulatory, technology and professional standards.

Campbell becomes one of only 12 percent of REALTORS® in Virginia and 21 percent of REALTORS® nationwide to hold the GRI designation. In addition to achieving the GRI designation, she also completed the requirements for a real estate broker license in Virginia and Maryland. This requires the completion of 180 classroom hours of approved real estate broker courses specific to each state.

“It is a true accomplishment to have completed the Graduate REALTOR Institute, which is a testament to the level of commitment I hold for the industry and for each and every one of my clients,” said Campbell. “I am happy to be able to offer my skills, experience and education to my clients to help them with their needs in this ever changing real estate market.”

Before joining McEnearney Associates in 2011, Campbell worked in the Northern Virginia offices of another local real estate company. In addition to her work as a real estate agent, Campbell uses her background and experience as a successful interior designer and renovator to help her clients not only buy or sell a home, but also to help with their sales preparation – staging, fixing and improving – or with post-settlement updates – new kitchens, bathroom, flooring, painting, decks, landscaping and more.

Throughout her career, Campbell has been a Top Producer in the NVAR Multi-Million Dollar Sales Club; she was named by The Realty Alliance in the Top 5% of real estate agents nationwide; was named to the Top Achievers Club; and continues to be a Top Producer at McEnearney.

“I continue to use out-of-the-box thinking to help my clients achieve their goals, so by helping them, I’ve been successful at my job,” said Campbell. “I love my clients and many of them become good friends. And I always appreciate their repeat business and referrals. It says to me that I’ve done a good job.”

More information about Delaine Campbell, visit her website: http://delainesells.com/

 

Home Entertaining: Are You Ready For Some Football?

Posted On August 19th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

Rain gutter full of autumn leaves with a football


by Thomas Hallex


The beginning of the official football season is here.  Whether you are a die-hard football fan or just enjoy the social aspects combined with great food, football gives you a great excuse to gather with friends and entertain at your home.

Here are some play-by-play tips for a hosting a great football party at your house this Fall:

Pre-Game Line Up – The football schedules are out, both college and professional, so begin by picking a game date and inviting family and friends.

The Kick-off – Start the party with backyard grilling.

Big Screen Play – Next, move everyone indoors for game time   Have you recently updated your family or recreation room?  If so, be sure to set up the party in your new space to show it off to family and friends.

End Zone Movie Party – Keep the non-sports fan at the party entertained by setting up an “End Zone” Movie Party in another room.  Renting a movie like “The Blind Side” (inspirational), “The Waterboy” (funny) or “The Game Plan” (for kids) is an easy thematic option that provides an enjoyable activity for everyone.

Touchdown – It doesn’t matter what the final score is – though having your team win is always great – it’s the memories you will create entertaining at home that will leave you and your guests cheering!

 

 

What Does Zillow’s Acquisition of Trulia Mean?

Posted On August 18th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments

Zulia graphic

 


by David Howell, McEnearney CIO & Vice President


When Wall Street darling Zillow announced their upcoming acquisition of Trulia, many considered it a seismic event in real estate.  After all, the national real estate website with the most consumer traffic is gobbling up the industry’s #2 site, so something’s got to give, right?

And what exactly does this mean for the consumer?

The combined resources of these two firms promise to introduce more innovative technology and even more data.  If that turns out to be true, that’s great. We may even be able to expect increased traffic on what are already the most-trafficked real estate websites in the nation. At McEnearney, our goal is to get our homes maximum exposure so they will sell.  That’s our obligation to our clients, pure and simple.  So if having listings on “Zulia” helps increase our odds of that happening, then that’s where we’ll be.  That is something we will continue to monitor, and we will honor the wishes of our clients who may or may not choose to have their homes listed on these sometimes inaccurate sites.

But we all know that websites don’t sell houses, people do. Our company will continue to serve our community with expert agents who are knowledgeable about the local landscape and what’s behind those four walls. People want to know what’s trending in the neighborhood, what are the real comparables, and what kind of a lifestyle a home and area offer – all must-have details that no super computer can ever decipher.

Just remember: While people may squabbble over whether bigger is better – all we care about, and so should you, is that selling a home is more than a transaction. Websites don’t sell houses, people do.

 

Building an Environment for Success

Posted On August 15th, 2014 by Thomas Hallex | No Comments
leesburg

Candice Bower, far right, managing broker for McEnearney Associates in Leesburg, leads some of her team members, clockwise from left, Mary Roberge, Cecilia Mahon, Jim Pumphrey and Rachael Remuzzi, during a weekly meeting to discuss market updates.


by April Grant, Leesburg Today


The team at McEnearney Associates in Leesburg is a small but dynamic group of highly trained real estate agents and one very dedicated broker.

Candice Bower is the managing broker for both the Leesburg and Middleburg offices. She said before the company that owns eight offices throughout the Washington, DC, area, expanded to Leesburg in 2009, “I did not see the same caliber of a family-owned business here.”

The company specializes in residential sales and leasing, commercial real estate, individual and corporate relocation services, rental property management and other real estate opportunities.

What sets McEnearney apart, Bower said, is the “commitment and philosophy” of founder John McEnearney, who opened the first office in Alexandria in 1980. McEnearney set a high standard of service for its clients by carefully selecting and nurturing agents.

According to Maureen McEnearney Dunn, McEnearney’s daughter who stepped in as company president in 2007—McEnearney is acting chairman—all agents undergo a rigorous training process before they work with clients.

“[McEnearney] was one of the first owners to set up a totally professional environment for agents to work in,” she said. “We take agents that want to build their business, give them a lot of attention with training and a lot of education.”

Dunn said Bowers is the perfect example of the company’s close-knit relationships. She started as an agent and, after moving up the ladder to manager, convinced Dunn to open an office in Leesburg. Bowers was soon tasked to head up the new team. “Candace was somebody I thought I could put our trust in and manage the office the way we wanted it managed,” Dunn said.

At McEnearney, full-time managing brokers do not sell. Their sole job is to focus on building their agents’ careers to ensure knowledgeable and quality service for clients. That’s rare in the market, Dunn said.

With the growth of the Internet and social media, the face of real estate that traditionally relied on personal relationships, has changed. The company has had to revamp and focus predominantly on building a new website that would give agents the tools to work closely with clients from a distance, Bower said.

Dunn said she was proud that even through the height of the recession when the bottom fell out of the real estate market, the company did not have to let go any of its employees. Instead it reduced spending on marketing, which is virtually unheard of in the real estate business. It wasn’t until 2013 that the market really began to stabilize, she said.

First-time homebuyers who own pets can take advantage of the company’s Pawsitive Experience program that offers information on pet care, dog parks and other pet services in the DC metro region.

A member of the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, the company has sponsored fundraisers for area charities and events such as the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter and the town’s annual holiday parade. It recently sponsored a fundraiser during First Friday to raise money for the long-awaited Town Hall mural project. McEnearney Associates is devoted to the community, Bower said.

In 2013, the company beat out 76 finalists in the area to be named “Best Place to Work” by the Washington Business Journal.

McEnearney also has offices in Alexandria, Arlington, McLean, Washington, DC, and Kensington, MD.