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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | November 22, 2013 at 9:15 am | 1,845 views | No Comments

A VH-60 helicopter and passenger jet landing at DCA photographed in flight (Flickr pool photo by J. Sonder)

Lyon Park Bat Turns Out to Be Something Else — A Lyon Park resident called animal control officers late last month after a startling discovery: a bat inside his or her home. There was only one problem — the responding animal control officer found that the “bat” was actually a sweatband. It’s not the first time something like this has happened. Previously, a balloon had been mistaken for a bat, a ski hat lying on the road was mistaken for a dead cat, and a “mangy, emaciated cat” turned out to be stuffed animal. [DCist]

GOP Trying to Find Candidate for Special Election — The upcoming County Board special election to replace the retiring Chris Zimmerman could give Arlington Republicans their best chance of winning a seat on the Board since the late 1990s, the last time any non-Democrat served as a Board member. “We could really pull a surprise,” said Arlington County Republican Committee chairman Charles Hokanson. [Sun Gazette]

County Seeking Food Donations for AFAC — As part of County Board Chair Walter Tejada’s “Moving Forward Together” initiative, Arlington County is collecting food items to help stock the shelves at the Arlington Food Assistance Center for the winter. Drop-off points have been set up at Arlington community centers and libraries. [Arlington County]

Mary Bono Selling Arlington Condo — Former California congresswoman Mary Bono is selling her two-bedroom, two-bath condo in the Eclipse building, near Potomac Yard, for $569,000. [Washington Post]

Lustron Home for Sale — A “rare and historic” Lustron home in south Arlington is for sale. The prefabricated two-bedroom, one bathroom home is all steel and was considered a “[marvel] of modern efficiency and style” when it was built at the end of World War II. It’s listed at $499,000. [Preservation Arlington]

Flickr pool photo by J. Sonder

Ask Adam: Buyer Tips for a Seller’s Market

by ARLnow.com | November 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm | 1,223 views | No Comments

Ask Adam header

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

Question: We are planning to buy a home in 2014 and are a little anxious about how much of a seller’s market it will be. Can you share some strategies that have worked well for you in a seller’s market? 

Every situation includes a unique combination of needs, wants and personalities. That said, I’ll share three tips you may want to employ during your home search and negotiations.

1) It’s not just about the money. Unlike what they show on TV, each offer includes a multitude of criteria in addition to price. I try to find out as much as possible about the sellers’ situation before making recommendations to my clients.  For example, I want to know why they are selling and when they prefer to move out. I ask about any specific concerns they have about the sale.

Let’s say the sellers are still trying to find a new home for themselves. In this case, we may offer to close in 30 days so they have access to their proceeds, but allow the sellers to rent back the home for specific period of time so they have breathing room to complete their purchase and move out of their current home. If the competition is steep enough, we may offer to let them rent back for free.

Maybe they are weary about the home appraising. In this case, we can consider waiving the appraisal contingency if this is an option or working with the lender to cut the appraisal contingency period down from a few weeks to a few days. I can tell you from experience that working with the right lender is priceless in these situations.

There are literally hundreds of examples I can provide, but the point is that you want to consider more than just price when making your offer, especially when competing with other buyers. You’re welcome to read an article I wrote about the various ways you can make your offer more competitive.

2) Act quickly. I tell my clients from day one that we will take as long as they need in order to find the right home, but I want them to be in a position to move quickly once they find that home. Regardless of the market, another interested buyer can completely change the dynamics of your negotiations.  You can save you thousands of dollars by wrapping up a contract before another buyer comes along.

Not every seller is going to be willing to accept an offer before they go on the market or within the first couple days of being on the market, but others are happy to do so if the terms you present are agreeable to them.

Make sure you have a solid pre-approval letter from local lender (or proof of funds if you plan to pay cash), funds available for your earnest money deposit and an agent that can work quickly on your behalf. I stress *local* lender because a savvy listing agent is going to educate their client about the issues that often arise from working with online lenders, out of state lenders and even some of the bigger banks.

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Looking for a Home? Try This Site First (Sponsored)

by ARLnow.com | October 11, 2013 at 5:00 am | 396 views | No Comments

This post is sponsored by Point2 Homes.

Point2 provides real estate marketing and lead management software to brokers and agents. Point2’s solutions also include the real estate listings portal, Point2 Homes.

Created By BlankSlate

According to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors, 90% of homebuyers search online and shoppers perform an average of 11 searches before taking action on a real estate site. In addition to sites like PoPville and Redfin, Point2 Homes is a site you should consider when doing your metro D.C. searching. It’s got some features that can have you staring at the computer late into the evening.

Point2-Homes-DC-parcel-mapFirst of all, like other sites, Point2 Homes has a range of search tools for sales and rentals, but the one that really caught our eye was the parcel maps with overlays that provide lots of local information. In the D.C. metro region there are many overlays like FEMA flood hazard areas, tax per square foot, school filters, and year built.

With new residential developments springing up all over Washington D.C., plus all the homes for sale in towns like Arlington and Alexandria, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype.

The parcel maps on Point2 Homes show you what’s underneath the surface, allowing you to visualize your new neighborhood and even pinpoint the best blocks.

Another reason why you should use Point2 Homes is for the detailed Property Data Reports from their sister website Property Shark. With information like the floor area ratio, available air rights, current and projected tax value, you’ll have a deeper understanding of what you’re getting yourself into before you decide to buy.

Point2-Homes-DC-condoIn addition, historical sales information lets you track the property’s value over time, giving you more insight into a property’s value.

Savvy homebuyers are increasingly doing their own comparisons and detailed property research. By creating a login on Point2 Homes, you can access Property Data Reports on up to four properties for free.

Also, if you are a real estate agent or brokerage, the Point2 Agent offering has many resources available to help you grow and manage your business, including agent websites, lead management, social media tools, and listing syndication.

Follow Point2 on Twitter and Facebook and get the free iPhone app

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | October 3, 2013 at 9:00 am | 2,070 views | No Comments

Watering a yard in north Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Lawrence Cheng Photography)

Z-Burger to End Free Burger Promotion — Z-Burger is ending its free burger promotion for furloughed federal workers. The local burger chain says they’ve given away more than $60,000 worth of burgers to more than 15,000 federal workers. The company says it’s losing too much money to continue, so the giveaway will end tonight (Thursday). “In order for us to stay in business, we had to make the hard choice,” said owner Peter Tabibian.

New Townhouses Coming to Westover — A new townhouse development is coming to the Westover neighborhood. The Westover Place townhomes are replacing a series of aging but mixed-income low-rise apartment buildings on N. Kensington Street. Prices for new homes in the development start in the $800′s. [Arlington Housing Report]

CivFed Calls for County Audit Staff — Delegates to the Arlington County Civic Federation voted 40-2 this week on a resolution that calls for Arlington to hire an independent, internal auditing and financial control staff. [Sun Gazette]

WRIT Buys Crystal City Building — Washington Real Estate Investment Trust has purchased The Paramount, a 17-story apartment building at 1425 S. Eads Street, for $48 million. [Globe St.]

Flickr pool photo by Lawrence Cheng Photography

Fish and Wildlife Service Moving Out of Ballston

by ARLnow.com | September 5, 2013 at 11:55 am | 2,915 views | No Comments

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service logo

(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) The headquarters of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be moving out of Ballston, employees are being told today.

The move is another blow to Arlington’s commercial real estate market, which is dealing with rising office vacancy rates (16.5 percent as of January) and the impending loss of the National Science Foundation.

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is based in three buildings in Ballston, at 4301, 4401 and 4501 N. Fairfax Drive. In a memo to employees, FWS Director Dan Ashe said the offices will be relocated to the Skyline Technology Center at 5275 Leesburg Pike in Falls Church.

“I am excited to be able to officially announce the location of the new headquarters building,” he wrote. “This ‘Class A’ facility offers an abundance of priority amenities and features and is located only 3.5 miles from our current location.”

FWS spokesman Chris Tollefson told ARLnow.com that July 1, 2014 is when FWS expects to move into the new facility. FWS’ leases on Fairfax Drive were originally set to expire at the end of 2013, but they negotiated an extension into the spring and are in negotiations for another extension, Tollefson said, after the process of signing the lease at the new building took longer than anticipated.

“I don’t think anyone anticipates [the negotiations] will be an issue,” Tollefson said.

Employees were invited to ask questions about the move at three information sessions held this morning. Tollefson said there will be a shuttle running between the new office and the Metro, stating that was “one of the parameters” of a new office space.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | August 21, 2013 at 9:00 am | 1,338 views | No Comments

Trolley Pub in Clarendon (photo by N ARLINGTON ST)

Real Estate Tax Delinquencies Rise — The number of real estate tax delinquencies in Arlington rose slightly this year, compared to one year prior. A total of 407 taxpayers missed the June 15 real estate tax deadline this year, compared to 387 last year. Those who miss the June 15 deadline are subject to a 10 percent penalty plus accumulating interest. [Sun Gazette]

Comic-Making Exhibit at Artisphere — Starting today through Nov. 3, comic book artists will be taking up residency in Artisphere for the creation of a new comic. On Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons, the public can watch the artists at work, and try their hand at their own comic creations. [DC Conspiracy, Ode Street Tribune]

Lt. Gov. Debate at GMU Arlington Campus — A debate between the Republican and Democratic candidate for Virginia lieutenant governor will be held at Founders Hall on George Mason University’s Arlington campus next month. E.W. Jackson (R) will be debate Ralph Northam (D) starting at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

Flickr pool photo by N ARLINGTON ST

Jim Morrison’s Childhood Home For Sale

by Ethan Rothstein | August 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm | 3,767 views | No Comments

Jim Morrison's childhood homeThe Arlington house in which The Doors frontman Jim Morrison briefly lived is for sale.

Located in the Yorktown neighborhood, at 2320 N. Evergreen Street, the house has been listed for more than five weeks and received several offers, but it’s still on the market, according to Weichert Realtors. The asking price for the four-bedroom, 2,364-square-foot Cape Cod house is $920,000. It was built in 1947 and has been recently renovated.

The Vancouver Sun profiled the home earlier this month. It housed the Morrisons when Jim’s father, Admiral George Morrison, was stationed with the Navy at the Pentagon:

The tidy Cape Cod on Evergreen Street is not officially designated as a National Historic Site of Rock and Roll. (Neither is the house on Vernon Place in Melbourne, Fla., where Jim Morrison was born; in fact, during the recent implosion of Sunshine State real estate, its listed value actually fell from $225,000 to $78,000.) This isn’t even the only house the Morrisons lived in during Jim’s elementary school and, later, his high school years in Arlington — half a mile away, on North 28th Street, is a brick ranch whose current owner, a woman named Rhonda Baron, claimed a couple of years ago that she had seen Morrison’s ghost stretched out on her bed.

“It was like a haze. It was like you could look through it,” Baron avowed.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | August 15, 2013 at 8:45 am | 1,236 views | No Comments

"Urban Zebra" in Rosslyn (photo courtesy Anthony Russo)

Single Family Home Prices Rise — The average sale price of a single family home in Arlington rose above $850,000 in July, to $853,572, a 5.1 percent increase from one year prior. Townhouse and condominium prices, meanwhile, dropped 0.6 and 3.3 percent respectively. [Sun Gazette]

‘Boot Camp’ for Dogs, Owners — An Arlington-based business, the Thank Dog Bootcamp, was featured on ABC7′s Good Morning Washington program. The bootcamps, which take place in Bluemont and Quincy parks, are for both dogs and their owners, offering “a grueling workout for you… and an obedience lesson for your dog.” [WJLA]

Feds, Va. Sue Over US Airways-American Merger — Virginia has joined a federal lawsuit to block the merger of US Airways and American Airlines. The merger would create the world’s largest airline, and would have implications for those flying out of Reagan National Airport. Together, US Airways and American hold 69 percent of terminal slots at DCA. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo courtesy Anthony Russo

Ask Adam: Avoid Homebuyer Pitfalls

by ARLnow.com | July 16, 2013 at 11:45 am | 2,529 views | No Comments

Ask Adam Header

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

Question: It has been a while since I purchased a home and I would like to get your advice on the various pitfalls a homebuyer should be careful to avoid. 

There are hundreds if not thousands of potential pitfalls to avoid when purchasing a home.  These are the five pitfalls that are top of mind:

1) Choose a local lender – Nothing spoils the home buying experience more often than a non-local lender and I’ve seen way too many people learn this the hard way. I beg you not to dial a toll free number or even one of your friends in the mortgage business if they are not based in the D.C. area.

The mortgage process can be daunting no matter who you work with, but exponentially so when you are using someone unfamiliar with the local contract, closing costs and closing process.

If the lender is on the other end of a toll free number, they have no vested interest in earning your long term business. They are definitely not going to pick up the phone after hours when you have an urgent question or need a custom pre-approval letter in a hurry. They may even hurt your chances if a seller is picking between competing buyers, because too many listing agents have been burned by the non-local lenders who fails to meet the closing date, let alone the financial contingency deadline.

If you find a better interest rate elsewhere, you are far better off using it to negotiate a lower rate with a local lender than going with the out-of-town guy.

2) Avoid wasting time on Trulia, Zillow, etc – I can’t tell you how many emails I receive from clients that think they found a gem on one of the aforementioned websites, only to find out that it sold months ago. The best source for 99.9% of the listings out there is the MLS.  Our local MLS is called MRIS and they have a public website that you can use MRISHomes.com. I should also mention that ArbourRealty.com pulls listing directly from MRIS so the information is always current.

We offer our clients custom MLS alerts that let you know the moment new listings hits the market that match your criteria. It saves you time from having to search the thousands of various real estate websites and provides you with access to the same information that Realtors have.

3) Buy for the long haul – If the downturn in the real estate market has taught us anything it is that we cannot always assume our home is going to be worth more than we paid for it. If you think that you will want/need to sell in less than five years, then renting is probably the better option. It is certainly the safer option.

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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 11, 2013 at 8:45 am | 811 views | No Comments

Flowers on the grounds of the Pentagon (Flickr pool photo by Eschweik)

West Nile Detected at Fort McNair — West Nile Virus have been detected in mosquitoes across the river from Arlington at Fort McNair. Fort McNair is part of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall; West Nile was not found in the Fort Myer portion of the base. [U.S. Army]

Free Slurpee Day at 7-Eleven — Today, 7/11/13, customers can get a free small Slurpee from 7-Eleven stores from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. This year, instead of 7.11 ounces, the free Slurpees have increased in size to 12 ounces. [USA Today]

ART Now on Google Maps – Google Maps now allows you to plan trips and get additional information on Arlington Transit (ART) bus routes. [Arlington Transit]

Favola Calls on McDonnell to Resign — Arlington state Senator Barbara Favola (D) is calling on Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to resign in the wake of accusations that he and his family received a series on undisclosed gifts while in the governor’s mansion. [WAMU]

Median Sale Prices Dropping in Arlington — According to numbers from Rockville-based data firm RealEstate Business Intelligence, the median home sales price in Arlington was $535,000 in June, down 2.7 percent from one year prior. The drop comes while prices in Fairfax and Alexandria were up significantly. Meanwhile, Arlington’s median sales price is also down 0.1 percent year-to-date. Possible explanations for the drop, other than potential weakness in the real estate market, include a preponderance of condo sales this year or a raft of high-end sales last year. [Washington Post, RBI]

Flickr pool photo by Eschweik

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 8, 2013 at 8:30 am | 1,658 views | No Comments

Walkway to Ballston Mall (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

Fairfax May Be ‘Big Winner’ From Streetcar — The Columbia Pike streetcar may be an economic boon to Fairfax County. Fairfax is planning to use its portion of the future streetcar system to lure office tenants to the Skyline and Baileys Crossroads areas. Already, promise of the streetcar might be helping to sway the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to move to Skyline from Ballston. [Sun Gazette]

Office Absorption Down as Sequester Takes Hold — The D.C. region, particularly Northern Virginia, is shedding office tenants. The region typically “absorbs” about 900,000 square feet of office space per quarter, but posted a negative 100,000 square foot absorption figure between April and June. Tenant downsizing and federal job losses and budget cuts are being blamed for the poor absorption figures. [Globe St]

Brink Unopposed in Upcoming Election — Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D) is running unopposed for reelection in November, after the Libertarian candidate he was set to face dropped out of the race. Del. Patrick Hope, Del. Alfonso Lopez and Del. Rob Krupicka, all Democrats, area facing a Libertarian, an Independent Green and and independent candidate, respectively. So far, no Republican challengers have been announced. [Sun Gazette]

Library Seeking LEGO Artists — Arlington Public Library is seeking LEGO builders ages 18 and under to help design and build LEGO structures for display at a library. [Arlington Public Library]

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

Ask Adam: As-Is Sales

by ARLnow.com | July 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm | 2,382 views | No Comments

Ask Adam Header

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

Question: We live in Cherrydale and are considering selling next spring. We’ve owned our house for 30+ years, and some parts have rough edges. (80’s kitchen & master bath, 50’s 2nd bath, unfinished basement laundry room). What is your opinion on “as is” sales in this area? I see this as allowing us to keep asking price lower so the new owner can then update to their own taste.

I applaud you for being realistic about the current condition of your house and how the market may react. There are three primary options available to you and you may want to consider them all before making deciding on a strategy.

Tear Down — This can be the easiest option and may be accomplished without even putting your home on the open market. An Arlington agent with a wide network should have a number of builder contacts they can reach out to. You can simply invite them to evaluate the property and tell you what they would be willing to pay for it. If you are not hearing numbers that meet your expectation, then you can also try marketing it as land in the MLS.

Keep in mind that though this is likely the easiest route, it may net you the least money.

Fixer Upper – It sounds like this is the scenario you are leaning towards. It can be a great options if you know your homes is dated and you would prefer to let the next owners make the updates of their choice. You will want to sell the home “as-is” because you don’t want to get stuck making a number of costly repairs as a result of the home inspection, termite inspection, county ordinances, etc..

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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | June 19, 2013 at 8:50 am | 1,219 views | No Comments

Lifeguard by Ddimick

County Invests in Supportive Housing — Arlington County has matched a $500,000 grant from the Arlington Community Foundation to convert 10 units at the Marbella Apartments in Rosslyn to Permanent Supportive Housing. The apartments will be offered to the county’s most vulnerable homeless residents at a rate affordable to those making about $22,500 per year. [Arlington County]

Spring Athletic Achievements — Sportswriter Dave Facinoli recounts some of the most notable achievements of Arlington teams and athletes this spring. [Sun Gazette]

Advertising Firm Moves to Rosslyn — Local ad agency LM&O Advertising is moving to Rosslyn. The 94-person company signed a 10-year lease for the top floor of the new office building at 1776 Wilson Blvd, which will also soon be home to Pier 1 Imports and 100 Montaditos. LM&O plans to move from its current office in Courthouse in December.

Ribbon Cutting for New Apartment Complex — A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 9:30 this morning for the new Sedona and Slate apartment complex at 1510 Clarendon Blvd in Rosslyn at 9:30. According to developer JBG: “Sedona is 271 units, and is about 70 percent leased. Slate is 203 units and will begin leasing soon; delivery is expected in July.”

Flickr pool photo by Ddimick

Plans for Arlington Law School Fall Through

by ARLnow.com | June 14, 2013 at 10:35 am | 4,781 views | No Comments

National Gateway buildingPlans to open a new law school in Arlington have fallen through, ARLnow.com has learned exclusively.

In April, the Arlington County Board quietly approved a site plan amendment for the vacant National Gateway building at 3500 and 3550 S. Clark Street, along Jefferson Davis Highway near Potomac Yard. The amendment was granted to allow the office building to be used for educational purposes.

Specifically, the building was to be occupied by a new 1,300-student law school, complete with 22 classrooms, a law library, a bookstore, a moot courtroom and a cafe.

Since April, however, no construction permits have been issued for the building. InfiLaw System, a Florida-based consortium of independent law schools that was planning to open the new school, now says that plans have fallen through, at least for now.

“The InfiLaw System was exploring opening a law school in Arlington, Virginia,” confirmed Kathy Heldman, the organization’s vice president of marketing, via email last night. “We have decided to put the initiative on hold.”

No word yet on whether InfiLaw might revive the law school plans at some point in the near future. The decision is another blow to Arlington’s commercial real estate market, which is reeling from the National Science Foundation’s decision to move to Alexandria and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s expected decision to move to the Skyline area of Fairfax County.

Photo via nationalgatewayarlington.com

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