Rob and Feli were ready to sell their home, but there was one thing they wished to avoid-the 6 percent realtor commission. “We wanted to sell our house on our own to avoid that,” says Rob. “We felt that the real estate system is very broken. In our case, the fee would have been $31,500.”
But how does one sell a house when you’ve got no experience? “We were reluctant because we were not familiar enough with the process and the laws,” says Rob. “Then we stumbled across homezen. We were amazed at how low their flat fee was for the services that they were providing.”
Next, homezen dispatched a professional real estate photographer to take photos, which they used to list the couple’s home on the MLS. Their listing went live on Good Friday and by Saturday morning the couple started getting requests for viewing; the first offer came in later that day. By Easter Sunday, they had an all-cash offer–at $5,000 higher than their list price.
“With homezen’s help, we sounded like we knew exactly what we were talking about in negotiations,” says Rob. “We were elated with the results, because it was $20,000 more than we thought we could sell the home for.”
“We learned a lot in the process,” says Rob, who adds that homezen continued to help them navigate through the contract paperwork and home inspection. “And we’ve been bragging to all of our friends about how we saved $21,000!”
How can homezen save you $20,000? Instead of charging the standard 6 percent commission, homezen charges a low flat fee. They’re already saving money for sellers in Logan Circle, Shaw, Brookland, the Palisades, Glover Park, Arlington, Alexandria and beyond.
You can check out the homezen website website or give them a call at 202.509.0553.
Next Friday, thousands of area commuters will celebrate Bike to Work Day, including at sites across Arlington.
The free event is open to all area commuters, who are encouraged to meet up with neighbors and co-workers at one of 85 pit stops across the region and ride bicycles to work in a commuter convoy.
In Arlington, seven sites will provide food and drink, as well as nearby Capital Bikeshare stations for the easy docking of bikes. In the mornings, the pit stops will be open from 6:30-9 a.m., while those open in the afternoons will last from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Rosslyn’s morning pit stop will be hosted at Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway), while in the afternoon it will be at the Heavy Seas Alehouse (1501 Wilson Blvd). Shirlington will also hold pit stops in the morning at the Shirlington Library (4200 Campbell Ave) and in the afternoon at New District Brewing (2709 S. Oakland Street).
Pit stops can also be found in the mornings at FreshBikes Bike Shop (3924 Wilson Blvd) in Ballston, Penrose Square at 2503 Columbia Pike, the East Falls Church Metro station (2001 N. Sycamore Street) and the Crystal City Water Park (1750 Crystal Drive).
Registration is required for the pit stops, which enters attendees into local and regional raffles and guarantees a free Bike To Work Day T-shirt.
The regional event is organized by Commuter Connections, a program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that promotes bicycling to work, ridesharing and other alternatives to driving. More than 17,500 bicyclists are expected to register across the D.C. area.
“Each year, Bike to Work Day attracts commuters who choose to bike to work for the very first time, and after the event, 10 percent of them continue to bike to work an average of 1.4 days per week,” said Nicholas Ramfos, director of Commuter Connections, in a statement. “That’s an impressive conversion rate and it’s why we are committed to making every Bike to Work Day bigger and better than the one before it.”
This biweekly column is sponsored by the Arlington Office of Emergency Management.
If your answer to the headline was heat and drought emergencies — you’re right! And we’ll address that a little later this summer. But let’s drill down to the second and third deadliest weather hazards for a moment: tornadoes and lightning.
We’re entering the season when it seems like we have almost daily thunderstorms, and it can feel like Arlington Alert is notifying you of so many severe weather watches and warnings, you almost stop paying attention. Here’s why you shouldn’t:
What is a Severe Thunderstorm?
A severe thunderstorm is any storm that produces hail at least 1 inch or larger, or wind that is 58mph or higher. Don’t be fooled by the definition — softball-size hail and winds over 100mph have been reported with severe thunderstorms.
Severe thunderstorms also have another potential byproduct: tornadoes, dangerous lightning and flash flooding.
Steps from Safety
Seventy percent of strikes occur during the summer months, and a majority of deaths occur in males, and in people who are outdoors enjoying leisure or sporting activities, like fishing, camping, boating, yard work and beach-going. Many victims of lightning strike were either headed to safety, or just steps away when they were struck.
Tornadoes can, and do, accompany severe thunderstorms
We tend to think of tornadoes as a weather hazard the southern part of the state has to deal with. But as we saw earlier this year, tornadoes are a very real threat of severe thunderstorms. Three tornadoes sprouted from a severe thunderstorm on April 6, injuring one person here in Arlington, and causing damage in Herndon and Arlington as well as in Washington, D.C.
In the April tornadoes, the National Weather Service did not classify the event as a tornado until the next day, so only a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was sent out. This makes it even more important to take every severe thunderstorm warning seriously.
Be Thunderstorm-Safe Every Time
- Know the Terms:
- Watch = Severe storm/tornado is possible; monitor weather & local radio for information
- Warning = TAKE COVER; a severe storm/tornado has been sighted or is about to happen
- If the Thunder Roars, Go Indoors: If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. Stay inside for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.
- Lose the Conductors: Avoid sinks, faucets, tubs, corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity.
- Seek Safety Immediately
- Go to a lower level, and stay away from windows and doors
- Do not lie on concrete floors or lean on concrete walls
- Get out of, and away from, bodies of water
- Leave elevated areas, like hills, mountain ridges or peaks
- Get the Message! Register with Arlington Alert to receive automated National Weather Service alerts. You can also choose to receive emergency notifications and traffic notifications from Arlington at the same time!
Earlier: Arlington police are searching for a man who went missing from the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City earlier this afternoon.
Paul Lowe, 41, was last seen at the mall at around 2 p.m. According to police, he is described as a light skinned black male, approximately 6-foot-2 with a slim build, bald with a small goatee. He was last seen wearing a blue plaid shirt with blue jeans. Lowe is described as having the mental capacity of a 10-year-old.
According to scanner traffic, Lowe was ejected from the mall by security guards, but they did not realize he has mental health issues. A friend who was with him reportedly said that while he likely does not have the ability to navigate Metro by himself, he is capable of operating crosswalks.
Police are currently scouring the mall and the surrounding area, including the Pentagon City Metro station, Pentagon Centre and Pentagon Row. K-9 units are on scene to assist with the search.
Anyone with information on Lowe’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department immediately at 703-558-2222.
Someone tried to light a door on fire at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses church in the East Falls Church neighborhood of Arlington this morning.
The fire was set using a flammable substance just before 10 a.m., according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Jason Hart. The fire damaged the door — an entrance to the church sanctuary — and some surrounding bushes but did not spread beyond that.
Investigators from the Fire Marshal’s Office are still on scene this afternoon, gathering evidence.
This is the second such arson case currently being investigated in Northern Virginia, Hart said; a similar fire was recently set at a Jehovah’s Witnesses church in the Falls Church section of Fairfax County.
Arlington authorities are coordinating the investigation with their Fairfax County counterparts, according to Hart.
It’s an ongoing problem: thieves using “skimmer” devices to steal credit and debit card information from unsuspecting customers of local businesses.
Arlington’s Cherrydale neighborhood appears to be the latest target of the skimmer scammers.
Reports a resident:
Maywood listserv lighting up with reports of multiple people getting their credit cards skimmed recently. Most people point to common thread of Liberty Gas station on Lee Highway (and a few other likely places in the area) as common thread. But that is not 100% clear.
In most cases, someone buys gas here. Later someone tries to purchase gas in California. Per Cherrydale listserv earlier, it looks like Arlington Police already found a “skimmer” machine earlier at Exxon across the street, but these are new reports from another potential location.
Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage confirmed at least a portion of the neighborhood scuttlebutt.
Here’s what she said via email to ARLnow.com:
Our Financial Crimes Unit received reports of possible credit card skimming at the Liberty Gas station. They responded to the area and during their investigation did not identify a point of compromise at this location. On March 9 at approximately 1:57 p.m., police responded to the Exxon gas station in the 4000 block of Old Dominion Drive for the report of a recovered credit card skimmer. That investigation is ongoing.
These type of cases are typically reported to police as credit card fraud and since we use credit cards for almost all purchases (online, in person, groceries, gas, etc.) the challenge is identifying the point of compromise. Turnaround time from point of compromise to first fraudulent use varies depending on how the suspects intend to use the stolen data. Police work closely with banking institutes who notify us when there is a trend with customers cards being compromised and they identify the location all the cards have in common.
There are some things citizens can do to protect themselves:
- You will not know if a gas pump has a skimmers. In most cases, the skimmers are being placed inside the machine.
- Pay inside at the gas station rather than at the pump.
- Always pay using credit rather than debit – it’s easier to dispute the charges and isn’t linked directly to your bank account.
- If you haven’t switched to a chip reader on your credit card, do so.
- Regularly check your bank statements and if you notice fraudulent activity, notify the bank so they can begin an investigation.
- If you find you were the victim of fraud, file a police report.
Photo via Google Maps
At the end of April, County Manager Mark Schwartz presented the County Board with a plan to put the construction of the Long Bridge Aquatics Center back on track. The timing of the announcement came as a surprise to many, but was met with excitement from those who have long pushed for a facility.
The facility had been shelved three years ago because the County Manager could not find a bid to build out the original plans with the $79 million available. According to some familiar with the process, none of the bids on the 116,000 square foot facility were even close. And there was little political will at the time to go back to the voters for more funding.
The already approved bonds had been voted on under a generic “parks and recreation” banner instead of holding a straight up or down vote on funding the facility. The Board has provided more detail about projects in recent bond questions, but future projects of this size and scope should receive a straight up or down vote to stand or fall on their own merit.
The Good – At a price tag of $63 million to $67 million for a 73,000 square foot facility, the County Manager looks like he may have solved the problem of going back to voters for more bonding authority. There is currently $64 million earmarked for the project out of $79 million in bonds that voters originally approved.
The Remaining Questions –
(1) The more recent update of operating cost information projects a $2 million drop in annual costs while slightly increasing revenue from programming. The projection reflects a drop in the net taxpayer subsidy to the facility from $3.2 million to about $1 million annually. As the pool project moved through the process a few years ago, the ongoing operational costs continued to balloon.
(2) The County Manager provided few answers into any real work he had done to investigate corporate partnerships, agreements with local universities or naming rights to help offset the construction or ongoing costs. It would be nice to know if this facility could be operated at zero net cost to the county on an ongoing basis.
(3) The Long Bridge project is still nearly three times the cost of an aquatics center that Alexandria plans to build. Both facilities will include a 50m pool, but the Arlington facility will be a custom designed building, include an additional pool and provide additional fitness space.
There is still work to be done before the aquatics center project receives the final go ahead. Taxpayers will be best served if the pressure remains to keep both up-front and ongoing costs in check.
Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or ARLnow.com.
By Alfonso Lopez
On April 29, tens of thousands of people – including many Arlingtonians – made their way to the Nation’s Capital to march and demand action on climate change.
Supporters joined together for similar marches and rallies in hundreds of locations across the United States and around the globe.
With the impacts of climate change being felt worldwide, it was important to send a very clear message – we must not retreat from the actions that are necessary to address this crisis.
Marchers intended to resist the Trump Administration’s open hostility toward measures to address climate change. They also called on decision-makers to continue taking the necessary constructive and positive steps to combat the causes of climate change at the national, state, and local levels.
Over the last eight years under President Barack Obama’s leadership, the United States did more to combat climate change than ever before. We committed to the Paris Global Climate Change agreement, improved fuel efficiency standards, and put forward the Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants. We invested in renewable energy, which has led to a rapid expansion of our clean energy economy and significant increases in the generation of wind and solar power.
However, it has become abundantly clear that we can no longer rely on the federal government to lead the way on environmental protection or renewable energy investments. In just the first 100 days, the Trump Administration has worked to repeal the Clean Water Rule, delayed implementation of the Clean Power Plan, delayed implementation of the new chemical storage rule and attempted to diminish the EPA’s effectiveness through budget cuts, staff cuts and dismissing scientific experts from advisory commissions.
With the EPA and environmental protections under attack, it is incumbent on the commonwealth to act on behalf of Virginia residents – especially since strong majorities in Virginia have expressed their support for staying on the path toward clean energy and climate action.
One such action for which we can be thankful is Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) issuance of Executive Order 57, which created a working group to develop carbon reduction strategies for Virginia’s fossil fuel power plants.
Last week, I submitted a letter to that working group – signed by 18 members of the Virginia Environment and Renewable Energy Caucus in the General Assembly – that called for the working group to recommend: investments in energy sources with low or zero emissions footprints; utility-run efficiency programs; allowing utility customers to work together to install carbon-neutral renewable energy systems; and identifying revenue sources for transition assistance packages to help coal communities adapt to our changing energy economy. We hope McAuliffe and the working group will take bold action to promote these and other clean energy initiatives.
While these are important first steps by the Governor, the Virginia General Assembly also needs to do more to protect our environment for future generations and help transition Virginia away from a dependence on fossil fuels, stay on the path of climate action, and build on the progress we’ve made to move America toward a climate-friendly 21st century clean energy economy.
Through investments in the development of solar and wind energy sources, the Governor and General Assembly can not only put Virginia at the forefront of harnessing the potential of clean, renewable sources of energy, but also grow our economy and create jobs throughout the Commonwealth.
In the 2017 elections, Virginia voters have a tremendous opportunity to send a clear message about the importance of addressing climate change and protecting our environment.
Through the June 13 primaries and the November 8 general election, voters will choose Virginia’s Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General for the next four years. All 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates will also be on the ballot in districts across the commonwealth.
If you care about climate change and want Virginia to keep moving forward toward a sound environment and a thriving economy, it will be vitally important that you vote and choose candidates who will make climate action a priority.
Whether it is ensuring that our water supply is not contaminated like that of Flint, Mich., or ensuring that we do not suffer chemical spills of the magnitude of the Elk River spill, we need to combat inaction at the federal level by electing leaders in Virginia who will push the commonwealth toward national leadership in climate action, renewable energy, and environmental protection.
Let’s make sure our voices are heard.
Alfonso Lopez represents Virginia’s 49th District in the House of Delegates, which includes parts of South Arlington and Eastern Fairfax County. He is the founder and Chair of the Virginia Environment and Renewable Energy Caucus in the General Assembly.
The incident happened around 1 a.m. Saturday on the 3800 block of Columbia Pike, just down the street from the Burger King.
More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2017-05060025, 3800 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 12:58 a.m. on May 6, officers responded to the report of an assault in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that following a verbal argument between known individuals, a physical altercation ensued. During the altercation, the male suspect allegedly brandished a knife and began swinging it around at the victims. One male victim suffered non-life threatening injuries. Ismael Rodriguez Jr., 25, of Arlington VA, was arrested and charged with malicious wounding, and two counts of attempted malicious wounding. He is being held without bond.
The rest of the weekly crime report, including some that we’ve already covered, after the jump.
The developer behind the plan to spruce up Market Common in Clarendon moved to assure residents last night that the IOTA Club and Cafe will stay where it is.
In the latest round of renderings of the project, Regency Centers showed the fixture of the local music scene in its same spot at 2832 Wilson Blvd.
After hearing reports that the venue might be demolished, local residents and IOTA regulars began a “Save IOTA” campaign, and had over a dozen supporters at the open house.
And surrounded by those supporters in front of a copy of the rendering on the wall behind him, Regency’s vice president of investments Devin Corini said IOTA would not be torn down.
“None of this is getting razed,” he said, gesturing to IOTA’s current building.
For those behind the campaign to save IOTA, Corini’s assurances were welcome news, but they are still waiting to see how the plans evolve.
“I think it’s encouraging they’re already including community feedback and they’ve said today they don’t plan on changing IOTA’s building,” said Melissa Mannon, one of the campaign’s organizers.
But another aspect of Regency Centers’ plan raised some questions: the proposal to do away with a permanent playground in the revamped courtyard area on Clarendon Blvd, known as “The Loop.”
John Fitzpatrick, senior construction manager at Regency Centers, said the new courtyard could have temporary amenities like an ice skating rink in the winter, space for outdoor movies or a farmers’ market, or a splash pool in the summer for kids. He said new options would open the space up for different uses.
“We’re creating a different experience,” he said. “We could create multiple kid experiences.”
But on boards and posters set up around the room for people to give their opinions, the plan received some negative feedback.
“We need the tot lot, not free-form seating,” one wrote. “Tot lot remaining is critical! Don’t make it for older children,” wrote another.
“The tot lot as it is now is the single most vibrant part of the complex — it is active all the time and helps people come here to shop – a great marketing tool,” wrote a third.
Under the plan, just over 21,000 square feet of office space would be added at Market Common, along with another 21,000 square feet of new retail space, including a new upper level. The office building at 2801 Clarendon Blvd will receive a drastic makeover, including new retail tenants.
The plans were unveiled last night at a community meeting inside that building. As well as renderings for viewing, attendees watched a promotional video, sampled food from local restaurants, talked to Regency Centers staff and listened to a classical guitarist playing outside.
“What was once strictly office will be reformatted to provide additional shops, restaurants and increased activity,” said the video. Corini said there has already been “remarkable” interest from retailers in moving into the revamped space, and a number of attendees expressed support for the plans, but others were not so convinced.
“Looks like a Mickey Mouse town — devoid of culture — only looking to put khaki pant brands and day cares to get support,” wrote one attendee.
Regency Centers says it is still refining the designs and taking feedback from the public. The company has submitted initial plans to the county but has not yet submitted a final site plan for County Board approval.
Construction Accident in Rosslyn — An accident on the parking garage level of the construction site at the corner of Key Blvd and N. Nash Street in Rosslyn prompted a large fire department and police response this morning. A worker suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the accident, which occurred around 8 a.m., and needed to be carried via rescue basket to a waiting ambulance. The response closed lanes of Key Blvd and exacerbated traffic delays caused by construction nearby on Lee Highway.
Sex Assault Suspect May Have Tried Other Buildings — The suspect in a violent sexual assault in Rosslyn may have unsuccessfully tried to get into other Arlington apartment buildings before somehow entering The Atrium building, where the assault occurred, through the front entrance, NBC 4’s Jackie Bensen reports. The suspect then knocked on doors, claiming to be a maintenance worker, before the victim opened her door and a struggle and the sexual assault ensued. [NBC Washington]
Wakefield Senior Named Top Entrepreneur — “Wakefield High School senior Tasnim Alam was named one of the top six entrepreneurs in the country at the the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Saunders Scholarship Competition in Rochester, N.Y. Tasnim is the founder and CEO of Heatless Hotness, a business that sells heat-free hair curlers that are convenient to use and create salon-like results, which she launched while participating in the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s YEA! program.” [Arlington Chamber of Commerce]
When Do Pools Open in Arlington? — Patch has an answer to the question, “When Do Arlington Swimming Pools Open in 2017?” — and that answer is: Memorial Day weekend. More specifically: Saturday, May 27. Unless it’s an indoor pool, in which case it’s open year-round. [Patch]
4903 Washington Boulevard
List Price: $935,000
Open House: Saturday, May 13 from 1-4 p.m.
Imagine yourself living in this authentic Arlington Tudor style home full of character! This charming home sits on an 8,200+ sq ft lot and has nearly 3,000 sq ft of living space on 4 finished levels. There are 5 bedrooms on the upper levels – which is a rare find in homes of this price range. There are 2 full and 2 half baths, and an expansive finished lower level with natural light streaming through large windows. Beautiful oversized landings are an additional bonus.
This home is perfect for entertaining with a circular flow on the main level and to the outside. The kitchen is updated with all new appliances and granite counters and there is a charming breakfast nook with butler’s pantry. You’ll love relaxing in the main level sunroom which you’ll enjoy year-round as it has efficient radiant heat in the floor. The sunroom opens up to a lovely deck leading out to a fenced level yard.
Architectural elements are pleasing to the eye with original moldings, arched doorways, beautifully restored hardwood floors, and many built-ins. The circular driveway and additional driveway to the detached garage are perfect for this home. And with only a block to the bus stop and less than 3/4 mile to the Ballston Metro, and less than a mile to Westover shops/restaurants, this is a fabulous location!
For floorplans and more photos, visit www.ArlingtonTudor.com
What NOT to do before purchasing a new home:
- Don’t finance new big-ticket items. New financing will increase your debt-to-income ratio.
- Don’t open a new line of credit. Building good credit is a slow and steady process.
- Don’t switch jobs. Show potential lenders you are a low risk applicant by not making any major life changes.
- Don’t move your money. Lenders want to see consistent savings habits and for all deposits to be well documented.
- Don’t do it alone. While it certainly is possible to buy a home without a professional, a good real estate agent can save you time, money, and stress.
What SHOULD you do?
Attend the Home Buyer Class hosted by Orange Line Living!
You will get a comprehensive explanation of the home purchasing process – there’s more to know than you’d think. The Orange Line Living Team will be teaching all of the acronyms and definitions you will need, what happens at each stage of your transaction, real strategies on how to negotiate a lower purchase price, the different type of loans available, and much more. There will be local specialists from multiple industries in attendance, so come with questions.
Benefits of Attending
- $1,500 credit towards your new home
- 12-month home buy-back guarantee
- Food and drinks provided
- AND the first 3 to attend will receive a Roku Express!
The event is hosted by best-selling author and top nationally-ranked real estate agent Dan Lesniak, author of The HyperLocal HyperFast Real Estate Agent. Dan and his team have developed a special process that has allowed them to help over one thousand local families buy or sell their home.
- When: Monday, May 15 from 6-8 p.m.
- Where: Orange Line Living, 1600 Wilson Blvd, Suite 101, Arlington, VA 22209
- Cost: Free
- Parking: Validated Parking or Street Parking
- Food: Appetizers and Drinks
- Contact: [email protected] or call 571-969-7653
To register, head over to arlingtonhomebuyerclass.com. There are only 18 seats available per session so register today!