Arlington, VA

With the advent of fall and winter, Maids in Brown wants you to start thinking about the major holidays that are barreling toward us.

Out-of-town family members and in-home large and small social occasions will undoubtedly create general disorganization of your house (be honest), and it may take the cleaning professionals of Maids in Brown to get and keep things perfect.

The time is now to get started!

Arlington-based Maids in Brown specialize in eco-friendly cleaning, using only natural cleaning products and methods that promote positive environmental impacts. Maids in Brown’s professional and experienced cleaning specialists undergo rigorous background and identity checks.

Starting a relationship with Maids in Brown is as easy as filling out an online survey of your needs and your location. The process is swift and seamless, and payment systems are cash-less.

As conscientious members of the Arlington community, the woman-owned company donates some monthly free cleanings to clients battling cancer. It’s a small but meaningful way of giving back.

“We care about our clients, the Earth, and our community,” said owner Winta Zemichiel. “Our goal is to create moments of joy for our clients.”

Maids in Brown can be reached at the booking page, by email [email protected] and by phone at 571-466-6900. The website is here.

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Title insurance is boring, but Allied Title & Escrow is here to decode the jargon and make it (somewhat) more interesting. This biweekly feature will explore the mundane (but very necessary!) world of title insurance while sharing interesting stories of two friends’ entrepreneurial careers.

Exciting news for Allied Title & Escrow!

Allied Title & Escrow, the fastest-growing title company in DMV (Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland), has partnered with Earnnest, the future of real estate payments, to be the first title company in the region offering digital transfers of earnest money deposits (EMDs) through Earnnest’s innovative technology platform.

Earnnest enables buyers to securely send EMDs directly to Allied Title & Escrow from the buyers’ financial institution through a proprietary way of using ACH payments, mitigating the risk of wire fraud and eliminating the inconvenient use of paper checks. Allied Title & Escrow is a team of industry experts and attorneys with more than 30 years of experience. The company provides residential and commercial services throughout Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland.

“Allied is committed to investing in best-in-class technology to make real estate transactions easier for buyers, sellers, agents and developers,” said Allied Title & Escrow CEO Latane Meade. “We’re excited to partner with Earnnest to give our clients a cutting-edge solution to an obvious industry issue.”

To address current EMD complexities, Earnnest connects to 12,000 banks nationwide, and has banking-level security and encryption. Earnnest sends updates on money movement to agents, buyers and escrow holders throughout the transaction. Additionally, buyers no longer have to pay a $30 wire fee; Allied Title & Escrow is covering the cost of the transaction.

“We’re thrilled to announce this partnership with Allied Title & Escrow,” said Rick Altizer, Earnnest CEO. “They are known for excellent customer service, and through Earnnest, clients will receive an added level of convenience and value.”

Added Meade: “Using Earnnest, our buyers can easily transfer EMDs through their bank using ACH payments, without a $30 wire fee or 30-minute drive to drop off a check; this partnership provides a win-win for everyone.”

ABOUT ALLIED TITLE & ESCROW

Allied Title & Escrow is a team of industry experts and attorneys with 30+ years of experience providing residential and commercial services throughout Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Visit www.alliedtitleandescrow.com.

ABOUT EARNNEST

Greenville, S.C. based Earnnest is changing how money moves in real estate, allowing buyers to securely and electronically deposit funds directly to an escrow holder. Earnnest keeps agents, buyers and escrow holders in the loop with automated emails and tracking information. Visit Earnnest.com.

Have questions related to title insurance? Email Latane and Matt at [email protected]. Want to use Allied Title & Escrow when you buy a home? Tell your agent when you buy a house to write in Allied Title & Escrow as your settlement company!

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The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City will offer festive holiday activities to celebrate the coziest time of the year with friends, family and loved ones.

The hotel greets the upcoming season with spirited brunches, a special Sleigh Belles event with gingerbread decorating & cocktails for the ladies, delightful holiday teas and an engaging gingerbread workshop to create lasting memories.

Festivities include:

  • Thanksgiving Day Brunch — Thursday, November 28
  • Holiday Tea — Starting Friday, November 29
  • Gingerbread House Workshop — Sunday, December 8
  • Sleigh Belles — Wednesday, December 11
  • Christmas Day Brunch — Wednesday, December 25

Enjoy these one-of-a-kind offerings, and more, this holiday season!

For more information or to make reservations at The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City, call 703-412-2721 or email [email protected] and follow along on Instagram @ritzcarltonpentagoncity.

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This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Alex Held, Small Business Manager, BizLaunch

While in its 10th year, Small Business Saturday, held on November 30, continues to be incorporated into many families’ holiday shopping traditions. In fact, in 2018 U.S. consumers reported spending an estimated $17.8 billion at independent retailers and restaurants on Small Business Saturday.

Additionally, 59% of small business owners report that Small Business Saturday contributes significantly to their holiday sales each year. With those numbers Small Business Saturday is BIG business for many of our small and independent retailers across the country and here in Arlington.

In Arlington, small business patrons can #shopsmall while entering for a chance to win prizes, find deals and discover unique local shops by participating in the shopping passport program coordinated by One More Page Books & More.

Shoppers can participate in the program by picking up a passport at any participating retailer; many of the retailers are also running deals and promotions on Small Business Saturday. In Arlington, the following retailers are participating in the passport program:

In addition to the passport program, shoppers looking to support small businesses in Arlington this holiday season and year round can leverage American Express’s Small Business finder. There shoppers can find any small business that accepts American Express right within their neighborhood.

Locally, BizLaunch offers numerous resources to support small businesses, but one that helps shoppers find small businesses while serving as an opportunity for businesses to receive FREE promotion is the BizLaunch Small Business Directory. Every small business in Arlington is welcome to upload their business listing with links to their website and logo to the directory, easily and most importantly for FREE. Additional resources for Small Business Saturday, including quick branding kits can be found online at American Express.

Programs like Small Business Saturday among others help keep local dollars within Arlington, representing the community’s character, while contributing to a vibrant business community making Arlington an ideal place to live, work and play.

Celebrando y apoyando negocios locales para más información visite BizLaunch en Español.

For more information about how BizLaunch supports small businesses visit www.bizlaunch.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 Arlington Realty, Inc. Maximize your real estate investment with the team by visiting www.arlingtonrealtyinc.com or calling 703-836-6000 today!

Please note: While Arlington Realty, Inc. provides this information for the community, it may not be the listing company of these homes.

We love a quirky holiday or two around here and today, November 20, is G.O.H.A.R.D. Day. So, what does that stand for exactly?

Globally Organized Hug A Runner Day. That’s a new one for us, but for all those folks inspiring us locally with their running endeavors (many of which have a charitable benefit!) we salute you and give you a big air-hug.

Speaking of running (and outdoor activities in general), Arlington County is an outdoor lovers’ paradise. Here are a few stats to throw your way: 98 percent of residents are within a 10-minute walk of a park; there are more than 150 parks and 49 miles of trails throughout the county; and many of our park facilities boast programs galore, spanning 55-plus activities and camps throughout the summer.

So, if any active lifestyle is up your alley, we can help you find the home of your dreams nearby. When you’re ready to get running (pun intended, obviously) on your real estate search, the team at Arlington Realty, Inc. is ready to roll.

As of November 18, there are 136 detached homes, 17 townhouses and 88 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 19 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 Arlington Realty, Inc.

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The Perfect Pita, and the family behind it, are celebrating the eatery’s 25th anniversary with specials all month.

Starting today, get a free t-shirt if you spend at least $8.94. The price is a tribute to the month (August) and year (1994) the first shop opened.

Founded by Arlington residents, Atilla and Carol Kan, what started as a single lunchtime takeout restaurant became a local favorite with 14 locations, catering and products in grocery outlets, wineries and independent markets.

Erica Kan Olds, daughter of Atilla and Carol and now President of The Perfect Pita, oversaw the opening of the first Perfect Pita in Alexandria. There was not even a sign on the door that first day. 25 years later, the family-owned eatery has a loyal following.

“We have come a long way,” said Erica. “We have our customers to thank for that.”

With the success of their first location, the Kans opened additional locations throughout the Washington D.C. area.

Erica founded The Perfect Daughter in 2009, a SWaM certified catering business. The Perfect Pita is a member of Virginia’s Finest and proudly places that logo on their grocery items. Perfect Pita products sold at grocery stores are also available at The Perfect Pita locations. The restaurant serves breakfast all day and lunch, including pizza, soup and salads.

Online ordering and delivery are available from many locations. Ingredients are fresh and local, with pita bread and hummus made daily. There is something for everyone — vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and Halal options included.

Can’t get to a restaurant? The Perfect Pita hummus is available at Safeway, Wegman’s and Whole Foods Market locally. Recently, Whole Foods added exclusive flavors under The Perfect Daughter label.

If you’ve never tried The Perfect Pita, November is the Perfect month to stop in for the first time!

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

Question: I recently saw a home listed in Arlington for almost $30M. Are there neighborhoods in Arlington with ultra-expensive homes like this?

Answer: We hear a lot about the “missing middle” in Arlington housing, but there’s another market that Arlington struggles to support that nobody is talking about… the super-rich. Sure we have plenty of homes that sell for $1M-$2.5M (457 sold in 2019) but in 2019 there were only seven sales over $2.5M and just one over $3M (and that was a sub-dividable lot). So what gives with everybody calling Arlington “expensive” if we can’t support the super-rich? Where do they live? (I hope my sarcasm is coming across…)

Arlington’s Most Expensive Homes

The recently listed $28.5M home, by Mark Lowham of TTR Sotheby’s, on the Potomac River side of Chain Bridge Road is an anomaly in Arlington. Outside of the prestigious Country Club Hills neighborhood and Turnberry Tower penthouse-level condos, sale prices in Arlington rarely eclipse the $3M mark and even in those communities the handful of $3M+ sales historically top out at $4M. And then you have a very small pocket of ultra-luxury homes at $5M+ along the Potomac, off Chain Bridge Road, which fall within Arlington County, but actually have a McLean mailing address and zip code (22101).

Note: There are dozens more homes in Arlington worth $3M-$5M that just haven’t been sold. Many are custom built in the last 10-15 years with the original owners still occupying them. There are also a handful of private sales that aren’t entered into the MLS because they were sold off-market.

Why Doesn’t Arlington Have Ultra-Expensive Homes?

So with so much wealth and close proximity to D.C., why doesn’t Arlington have more ultra-expensive homes? The answer is lot size.

For anybody that has looked for a home with a little elbow room/privacy in Arlington, you’ve reached the unfortunate conclusion that it’s very difficult to find anything with more than ¾ acres (even ½ acre is highly coveted) and there are just a small handful of properties with more than 1.5 acres. Smaller lots make it difficult to build enough house to justify a $5M+ price tag.

Where To Spend $5M+?

So where do people with $5M+ to spend on a home live? In Northern Virginia, most of those homes are in McLean or Great Falls, as well as further west in Loudoun County’s horse/wine country. D.C.’s most popular ultra-expensive neighborhoods are Georgetown and Kalorama, with a spattering of other neighborhoods west of Rock Creek Park. In Maryland you’ll find the most expensive homes in Potomac along River Road, as well as Chevy Chase and Bethesda.

Enjoy Some Photos

For those of you who are here just for the pictures, here you go! I’ve linked to $5M homes either for sale or sold in the last few years in the area:

Whether or not you’re looking for a $5M home or $50k parking spot, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] to schedule a meeting to discuss your real estate plans!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

Photo via Mark Lowham, TTR Sotheby’s

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New year, who dis? Pop the champagne and start off the new year with DC Fray’s 5th Annual NYE celebration.

They’re hosting two open bar parties to ring in 2020!

With live DJs, party favors and champagne toasts, the only thing you have to worry about is deciding where you want to be when the clock strikes midnight.

Get your groove on at Grand Central or dance the night away at Kelly’s Irish Times with a VIP bar sponsored by Jameson.

This is the best value in D.C. with open bars and appetizers included for as low as $69!

Get your tickets.

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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.

The President recently proposed a new federal rule which will affect the wages of employees who earn tips.

The new rule was proposed on October 8, 2019 by the Department of Labor (DOL) and would permit employers to require widespread sharing of tips with other types of co-workers. One of the major industries affected would be the foodservice industry. The newly proposed rule would permit employers to share wait staff tips with food preparation staff and others (e.g. dishwashers, food delivery personnel).

Difficulties With the New Tip-Pooling Rule

A problematic part of the newly proposed rule would give employers newfound flexibility in assigning non-tipped assignments to workers who rely on gratuities for the major portion of their income. The restaurant lobbying industry has sought these types of changes for some time. Former President Obama’s Administration had previously mandated that tips belonged to the workers that received them.

One of the major problems with the new rule, for employees that earn tips is that it takes funds earned by them and transfers them to employees that don’t earn tips. By doing this, restaurant owners are potentially able to compensate food staff (non-tip earners) with lower salaries.

Tipped Employees Wages will be Affected

The DOL, in their proposal, even acknowledges that the new rule will result in tipped employees spending more time on lower-paying duties:

“The removal of the twenty percent time limit may result in tipped workers such as wait staff and bartenders performing more of these non-tipped duties such as ‘cleaning and setting tables, toasting bread, making coffee, and occasionally washing dishes or glasses.’ …Tipped workers might lose tipped income by spending more of their time performing duties where they are not earning tips, while still receiving cash wages of less than minimum wage.”

Employers will Gain

Employers will gain from the situation and may be able to provide lower salaries to non-tip earners, offsetting the loss with tip income. The DOL also provides the real rationale for the change in the proposed regulation: “[E]mployers that had been paying the full minimum wage to tipped employees performing related, non-tipped duties could potentially pay the lower direct cash wage for this time and could pass these reduced labor cost savings on to consumers.”

The proposal should become final in about 6 weeks and could have some changes in the final version. However, if a new administration comes in, the tip-pooling policy could potentially change once again.

Conclusion

If you are in need of employment law representation or advice, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Nothing motivates like a deadline, right? If you’ve been thinking about solar, now is the time to act.

Act now to join the Arlington Solar and EV Co-op before the November 30 deadline.

Homeowners don’t need to purchase a solar system or electric vehicle charger by November 30. Rather, this deadline is to sign up for a no-cost and no-obligation solar assessment of your home. Meeting the deadline also guarantees that you can purchase solar at the discount offered only to the co-op members by the installer.

Get started by providing some basic information on the Solar United Neighbors website. Folks interested in solar will receive a no-obligation roof screening and project proposal.

The Federal tax credit is gradually phasing out between now and 2022. Next year, the solar tax credit will be reduced to 26 percent. In 2021, it will be 22 percent and in 2022 and beyond, per the existing legislation, it will no longer be available to homeowners.

More than 160 Arlington homeowners have previously installed solar in our Solar and Electric Vehicle Co-op. The cooperative helps Arlingtonians buy solar and EV chargers at a discounted price. The cooperative also provides support to participants to make the purchasing process easy.

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Welcome to New Homes, a biweekly column highlighting the new construction real estate market, written by Conor Sullivan and Dave Moya of Three Stones Residential at Keller Williams Realty. We are here to share our experience and expertise in lot acquisition, financing and construction of custom homes. 

If you’re looking to update your home but not quite ready to purchase New Construction, a kitchen remodel may be a great option for an upgrade. The kitchen tends to be the center gathering space in a home, and is one of the most common rooms buyers look to for updates. It is a big project to take on, so we’ve put together a list of guidelines to consider before getting started.

Set Your Budget: Kitchen renos take time and money. Think realistically about how much you can spend on this project. When budgeting out, you may want to aim more conservatively in case there are unplanned costs during the process. A great rule of thumb is to have around 10% to 20% for those extra costs as a buffer. You can visit kitchen and home stores to look at a variety of styles and designs, look at costs, and determine what you really need and can afford.

Plan The Layout: It may benefit you to work with a kitchen designer during this portion of the process to determine how the space you are working with can be best remodeled into your dream kitchen. Do you want to add an island? Is there realistically enough space to do that? These are the types of questions you can work with your designer around. While a space for entertaining, the room also should be practical and functional. Your designer can also work with you on layout and materials options, so you can see what will look best at different costs, fulfilling all your dream kitchen desires. To help save a bit of cash, try and keep the same footprint of your existing kitchen, unless it’s necessary to move. Moving plumbing and electrical could bring unforeseeable issues.

Find The Right Contractor: It has been said that a contractor is only as good as his last job. Choosing someone to work with for a large project like a kitchen renovation should be done thoughtfully. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and inquire about how their work habits on-site – were they timely, did they supervise subcontractors? Did anything go wrong and how did they handle it? Ask if they work with a variety of subcontractors or if they have a usual team they work with.

Prepare for the Reno Lifestyle: While you are preparing to get a brand new kitchen that will host all your future yummy family dinners, you also need to think about how your family will eat during the course of the renovation. These projects can take anywhere from 4 months to a year depending on the size. You may want to budget for take-out, and also prep meals that can be frozen & microwaved, or if you’re lucky – rely on friends and family to host you!

Renovations are exciting but can be daunting. At Three Stones Residential, we are here to help. We can not only help you buy or sell a home, but we are your real estate consultants for life. If you have any questions about a renovation or home upgrade project, we have the resources to help and can guide you in the best direction. Contact us at [email protected] or 571-429-7670.

Below is a list of new homes currently on the market in the Arlington area.

Want to learn more about financing a New Home build? McLean Mortgage (NMLS ID: 99665) can handle all of your construction financing needs. You can build your new home with as little as 5% down. Contact construction loan expert Troy Toureau (NMLS ID: 5618) at 301-440-4261 or AnyHomeLoans.com to learn more.

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