Arlington, VA

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

We meet with federal employees and government contractors who are facing issues in the security clearance process.

They often ask our attorneys at what point they should consult with a security clearance attorney to assist, advise or represent them. The usual response is that an individual with a potential security concern should do so as soon as possible. Generally, the earlier that a person with possible security concerns consults with a security clearance lawyer, the better the odds become in avoiding a potential adverse outcome.

What Does a Security Clearance Lawyer Do?

There are a number of ways that an experienced lawyer in security clearance law can help someone with security concerns. It is often the case that they can advise an individual regarding potential strategies before a security clearance problem develops.

We have found that most individuals have a good sense as to whether or not they may have a security concern (e.g. recent drug use, bankruptcy, foreign contacts) as they prepare to complete their security clearance forms like the e-QIP, SF-86 and/or different various of the SF-85. The earlier advice is sought when there is an issue, the more that can be possibly done to mitigate the concern.

Clearance lawyers also advise individuals during the investigative process and during any security clearance responses or appeals.

Delays Can Hurt the Ability to Mitigate Security Concerns

One of the major issues that we see in the clearance process is where an individual has waited too long to consider or in starting to address a potential security clearance concern until it may be too late.

Sometimes, individuals who have had financial issues which could have been explained or refuted initially, wait too long thinking that if they lose during the clearance hearing or personal appearance that they will just retain an attorney further on in the appeals process. This is usually the worst strategy.

When people with serious security concerns have waited too long to address them, or gone through an in person response without representation, it is usually too late to do much on further appeal. One example I remember is a case where a government contractor had an alleged debt that was overdue, didn’t respond with evidence that it was not his debt thinking that he could appeal it after the administrative judge had ruled.

The debt was clearly not his, but because the clearance appeal could only be based on the evidence already presented, the clearance could not be saved.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.

Home renovations are almost a rite of passage in Arlington.

There’s no better way to get started on your home project than visiting Arlington’s Home Show and Garden Expo. Arlington’s largest Home Show & Garden Expo will return this month on April 27.

The Home Show will feature dozens of home builders, contractors, vendors, architects, inspectors, real estate agents, gardeners, lenders and nonprofits, as well as housing, zoning and inspection representatives from Arlington County.

Classes and seminars at the Home Show cover many topics including:

  • Green kitchen and bath remodeling
  • Move or remodel? Which is right for me?
  • Green remodeling, solar co-op, green home certification
  • How to choose and work with contractors
  • How to finance your remodeling project
  • Downsizing and aging in place
  • Edible landscaping and home gardening
  • Energy smart landscaping lighting solutions

Arlington’s Rethink Energy team will be there all day. We’ll have info on our green home renovation or new constructionsolar co-op and more.

Stop by with your energy questions. We’re here to help you save energy and money.

The Expo is being held from 10-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, at the Kenmore Middle School, 200 S. Carling Springs Road.

For more info, visit: http://arlingtonhomeshow.org/

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Looking for a home? There are plenty of houses and condos open for viewing this weekend.

Check out the Arlington Realty website for a full list of homes for sale and open houses in Arlington. Here are a few highlights:

6818 Williamsburge Boulevard
6 BR/6 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Ttr Sothebys International Realty
Listed: $1,697,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

1111 19th Street N. #2803
2 BR/2 BA, 1 half bath condo
Agent: Keller Williams Realty Falls Church
Listed: $1,200,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

2604 N. Pocomoke Street
3 BR/1 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc
Listed: $859,500
Open: Saturday 12-3 p.m.

 

3112 13th Street S.
3 BR/2 BA single-family home
Agent: Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Listed: $699,900
Open: Saturday 2-4 p.m.

 

2001 15th Street N. #319
1 BR/1 BA condo
Agent: Optime Realty
Listed: $489,900
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

1001 N. Vermont Street #907
1 BR/1 BA condo
Agent: Keller Williams Capital Properties
Listed: $387,000
Open: Saturday 1-4 p.m.

 

2902 13th Road S. #2204
2 BR/1 BA condo
Agent: Keller Williams Realty
Listed: $299,900
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

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Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

The market remains hot, hot, hot.

Despite this being spring break week for area schools when families typically travel, and despite this weekend being Easter weekend, buyers and sellers were busy. Home owners listed 84 properties this week while buyers ratified 64 contracts with over half (37) of those homes sold within seven days.

Bidding wars have become common for fresh new inventory, especially for homes in pristine condition and priced under $750,000.

For buyers to have a chance, they first need to find a good agent and then follow their advice. Remember, you just need to get ahead of the market once to win. For every home you miss, that home becomes the next comp against your next attempt.

And by the way, all those other unfortunate losers will continue to be your competition on your next offer. So go big once early, and you’ll be further ahead.

Also, both buyers and sellers should not give much credibility to automated estimates of value on some popular websites especially for single family homes in Arlington. Unlike many other communities, Arlington’s homes vary greatly in style, size, degrees of upgrades, etc.

And auto stats on price per square foot are wholly unreliable as well mostly because there is no consistency in our public records on how finished square footage is measured. So you’re comparing apples to watermelons. Condos and townhomes are different. Those auto estimates are a little more reliable, but I wouldn’t take that info to the bank.

Mortgage rates creeped upward this week. The 30-yr fixed rate is now at 4.25%. This week saw the highest number of purchase mortgage applications in nine years.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

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Quarterfest presented by Dittmar is coming to Ballston on May 18 and 19.

From 12-6 p.m. each day, this festival continues Ballston’s tradition of giving back, as a charitable event of BallstonGives, and invites visitors to sip, sample, shop and savor the best that Ballston has to offer!

Located on Wilson Boulevard near the Ballston/MU metro station, and directly in front of the newly redeveloped Ballston Quarter — an entertainment and dining destination, the festival will feature a Quarterfest Crawl on Saturday, Curbside Kitchen‘s Food Truck Alley on Sunday, street pub all weekend serving up craft brews, wine and specialty cocktails, and a free concert.

New to the neighborhood, the Quarterfest Crawl will allow festival-goers to explore the neighborhood, sampling “tastes” at each participating venue with purchase of a Quarterfest Crawl wristband.

Food crawl venues include established Ballston favorites such as SER and Mussel Bar, and neighborhood newcomers DIRT, True Food Kitchen, Punch Bowl Social and more. Additionally, the Crawl wristband entitles visitors to exclusive retail discounts and giveaways of experiential activities at Cookology and 5 Wits, plus two free drink tickets to use at the street pub.

The festival and concert are free and open to the public, but festival-goers will need a wristband and drink tickets to savor the food and drink experience at Quarterfest. Tickets and wristbands are now on sale at “early bird” pricing until May 1.

You can find out more about Quarterfest Crawl locations and what will be coming to Ballston May 18 and 19 at https://www.quarterfestballston.org/.

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Every week the Eli Residential Group scours our network for pre-market or off-market homes to give home buyers and investors access to properties they can’t find anywhere else online.

If you are interested in a property you see here, have specific needs you cannot find on the market or would like your pre-market or off-market property featured for a half million local readers on PoPville or ARLnow, please click here to contact us.

Updated 1 BR + Den Two Blocks from Ballston Metro
Description: Open 1 BR condo with extra den/sunroom in Eastview Condominium. Recently updated, one garage parking space, on an upper floor. Modest condo fee + pool. Blocks to the Ballston Metro and newly developed Ballston Quarter. Perfect for owners or investors looking for long-term growth potential.
Price: Upper $300s

4 BR Home Adjacent to McKinley Elementary
Description: 4 BR/3 BA two-level single-family home with nearly 1/3 acre private lot surrounded by mature trees. Good condition, needs some renovations, but full gut not required.

Off-street parking and quiet residential neighborhood. One mile to EFC Metro & Westover.
Price: $888,000

***Contact us for property photos and additional details***

To view all of our pre-market and off-market properties, visit the pre-market section of our website. We add new properties every week.

The Eli Residential Group is a real estate team with RLAH Real Estate, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington VA 22201 (703) 390-9460. Office locations also include Dupont Circle, Georgetown, H Street and Chevy Chase. Contact the team directly at [email protected].

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Buying your first home is a huge step, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. These days, state and federal programs exist to help home buyers like you secure competitive-rate loans — and they can connect you with plenty of resources on financial incentives, tax credits and federal assistance that can reduce the cost of your home mortgage.

Here are 5 of the best loan options for buyers seeking to enter the housing market:

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) — First time home buyers can get approved for as little as 3.5% down.

HomeReady and HomePossible — 3% minimum down payment, reduced rates and private mortgage insurance for certain buyers.

DC Open Doors — on-amortizing down payment assistance loan at 0% interest, as well as below-market interest rates for first trust mortgages. 

Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) — provides eligible homeowners a 2% to 5% grant toward their down payment.

Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) — allows borrowers to pay off their outstanding student debt as part of the home purchase.

To learn more home financing options, attend the upcoming Home Buying Seminar on April 22 in Arlington.

Topics Covered:

  • Financing programs
  • How to avoid double paying a rent and mortgage
  • How to calculate your budget the right way
  • How to craft a winning offer in a highly competitive market
  • Finding off-market properties
  • Leveraging your equity
  • The 4 C’s of Real Estate

Space is limited — click to register

Benefits of Attending:

  • $1,500 credit towards your new home or towards early lease termination
  • 12-month home buy-back guarantee — purchase with confidence!
  • Wine and cheese provided
  • The first 3 to attend will receive a gift card to Barley Mac restaurant!

This event is hosted by The Keri Shull Team, the D.C. metro’s top producing real estate team. Details are as follows:

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Experience hands-on making and innovation…

Learn new skills, from papercutting, calligraphy and mask making, to weaving, pottery and more. Not an arts and crafts fair, the Make Your Mark! festival on Saturday, May 18 lets you immerse yourself in a multicultural coming together of artists and makers ready to ignite your creativity.

Working in fields ranging from food to crafts to technology, the emergence of these innovators marks a transformative time in history when creatives… make their mark!

The Maker Movement is a community of millions of people who are taking the entrepreneurial leap to start their own small businesses dedicated to creating and selling self-made products. The movement is a feverishly creative intersection of technology and the arts, bringing together the most advanced computer innovations, with artistic skill as ancient as mankind.

Just in time for #BusinessAppreciationMonth, Make Your Mark! is presented by Arlington Arts, in partnership with Arlington Public Library, The Washington DC Modern Quilt Guild and New District Brewery.

Event Sponsorship is provided by ServiceSource-Arlington Weaves, Etc., Palette 22, Food. Art. Fun. and their Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program.

Modern technology allows the individual to create and distribute unique items, skipping the middlemen like manufacturers. This entrepreneurial mother and daughter are just two examples of the entrepreneurial spirit that will inspire you at Make Your Mark!:

During her 20+ years in corporate America, Tracy Wilkerson raised an entrepreneurial daughter who learned early how to market her own artistic talents. But Tracy’s own creativity didn’t kick in until 2006, when she began making hand-made greeting cards that continue to be sold in retail stores, online and at vendor shows.

In 2008, she expanded to working in 2D and 3D mixed media artwork utilizing anything that might otherwise end up in a landfill, including VCR tape, CD’s, floppy discs and circuit boards.

Meanwhile, her youngster Tamara Wilkerson got a head-start on mom, started to make jewelry in 2003. In 2006, she realized the potential of her hobby, earning enough money to pay her own way on international travel. Through high school and college, she focused on designing and improving the quality of materials to launch a fun small business, also incorporating her love of graphic design, marketing and dance.

Today, her company WiRealm is the result of a natural creator and entrepreneur who creates wearable art while staying true to her style and passion.

Make Your Mark! is fun for your whole family (…including those with four legs).

Join us on Saturday, May 18 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at 3700 South Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22206. Admission is FREE.

For info call 703-228-1850, or visit www.arlingtonarts.org.

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Each week, “Just Reduced” spotlights properties in Arlington County whose price have been cut over the previous week. The market summary is crafted by licensed broker Aaron Seekford of Arlington Realty, Inc. GET MORE out of your real estate investment with Aaron and his team by visiting www.arlingtonrealtyinc.com or calling 703-836-6116 today!

Please note: While Aaron Seekford provides this information for the community, he may not be the listing agent of these homes.

A few days ago, an article on MarketWatch dubbed our real estate as currently being “crazy.”

It’s generally a good crazy, if you own property… and the craziness is still being attributed to Amazon’s HQ2 announcement.

Let’s look at some numbers. The average selling price popped 4.3 percent between March and February… of this year. Yowsers. While there are certainly some price fluctuations throughout the year, prices are up nearly 5 percent year-over-year.

Additionally, the number of active listings and homes sold is down, equating to a 23 percent and 10.4 percent drop year-over-year, respectively.

So, if you’re looking to sell, you are absolutely in the driver seat at the moment. It’s time to make the most of your rosy scenario. And, if you’re buying, it has never been more important to navigate the landscape with caution. While the market may be hot, you need to ensure you’re still getting the most bang for your buck.

When you’re ready to chat through your options, our team is ready to help you GET MORE out of your transaction.

As of April 15, there are 150 detached homes, 21 townhouses and 105 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 21 homes experienced a price reduction in the past week:

Please note that this is solely a selection of Just Reduced properties available in Arlington County. For a complete list of properties within your target budget and specifications, contact Aaron Seekford.

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WHEN: Every Friday, May through October — 5-9 p.m.
WHERE: The Stand (at the Crystal City Water Park) — 1601 Crystal Drive, Arlington Virginia

Open every Friday starting in May, Fridays at the Fountain features a fantastic selection of beer and wine, live music from local bands and musicians, and a rotating lineup of local restaurants and food vendors brought to Crystal City by The Stand.

Attendees also have the option of joining the Fridays at the Fountain “Mug Club” featuring a 16-ounce, branded mug, while supplies last. The Mug Club is $10 and comes with a reusable glass mug and your first drink!

Mug Club members will get discounts on draft beers for the entire Fridays at the Fountain event series (May-October).

Buy your mug today for 1/2 price and enjoy 16 oz pours for the price of a 12 oz beer all summer long!

Purchase today’s deal now.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: My condo association carries an expensive Master Insurance policy, but my lender is requiring that I purchase my own individual policy. What coverage do I gain from the individual policy that the master policy doesn’t include?

Answer: Every condo association has its own (expensive) Master Insurance policy to cover the common elements, but there are substantial gaps between the association’s policy and what you’ll personally be liable for without an individual HO-6 policy.

Most people shop for the cheapest, fastest individual insurance policy and apply just enough coverage to meet the lender’s requirements, but that may put you at risk.

To explain common gaps between master policies and HO-6 (individual condo) policies, I’d like to re-introduce Andrew Schlaffer, Vice President at USI Insurance Service’s Community Association Practice. Andrew is an expert in Master Insurance policies and has helped multiple local condo association’s reduce their cost and improve their coverage since writing a column on the topic last year.

If you’d like to contact Andrew directly to review your association’s master policy, you can reach him at 703-205-8764 or [email protected].

Take it away Andrew…

Increasing Claims, Increasing Coverage Gaps

The condominium insurance marketplace is facing challenges that will impact homeowners in 2019. Water damage is leading this list of challenges — according to the Insurance Information Institute, about one-third of homeowner insurance losses are caused by water damage and freezing. The DMV is home to many aging condo buildings that struggle with mitigating water damage losses and their impact on insurance.

As water damage claims continue to rise and property damage costs increase, many insurance carriers are beginning to make changes to their coverage offerings that may increase your risk exposure.

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