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by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 21, 2017 at 6:30 pm 0

Flying Colors column banner

Flying Colors is a sponsored column on the hobby of backyard bird feeding written by Michael Zuiker, owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited store at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center. Visit the store at 2437 N. Harrison Street or call 703-241-3988.

Most birds undergo a seasonal transformation in summer, losing and replacing their feathers in a process known as molting. Bird and nature enthusiasts can help birds with the molting process by providing foods rich in protein.

Molting describes when a bird replaces some (partial molt) or all (full molt) of its feathers. Birds will also molt if they have lost feathers that need to be replaced immediately. You should not be surprised if you look into your backyard and see a bald cardinal, a chickadee with a Mohawk or a robin with a Bieber haircut!

Different species of birds molt at different times of the year and for different reasons. Some birds molt twice a year. During spring/summer, birds (especially males) molt to a much brighter, more colorful breeding plumage to be more attractive to potential mates. The male American Goldfinch is one of the more spectacular molting changes of your common backyard bird. In the fall/winter, birds return to a less attention-grabbing, non-breeding plumage.

Molting is a critical part of birds’ lives. It’s a complicated process that takes time and energy, and it takes place as birds carry on with their other daily routines.

Feathers are more than 90% protein, primarily keratins. Because of the nutritional demands on their bodies to produce feathers and feather pigment, birds must increase the amount of protein and fats in their diets.

Molting can be so physically demanding that many species of birds cannot fly during this time. Some birds such as geese, ducks and swans will molt in seclusion to avoid predators.

Offering bird foods high in protein and fats in backyard bird feeders is helpful during molting seasons. Foods such as Nyjer (thistle), peanuts, mealworms and Jim’s Birdacious Bark Butter aid birds in replacing their feathers and help ensure that their pigmentation is bright. Having the right food in your feeders isn’t just a wonderful way to see a variety of birds, but it’s also a way to provide birds with an easy-to-find food source during a very crucial time of their lives.

That is also why it is important for you to have your feeders filled when you leave town for a vacation. In order to meet your birds’ needs, it is important to have at least one foundational feeder that dependably provides food every day. Studies have demonstrated that a constant, and reliable source of supplemental food helps to improve health and body conditions. Good food: Good Molting: Good healthy bird. 

JOIN OUR TEAM! Some of our team members have migrated to new horizons. We are now accepting applications for 4 new members. We are hiring for a Full time Manager, Part time Manager, and two Sales Associates. We are energized to bring joy to our customers hobby of backyard bird feeding, and we strive to do that with excellence. If you want to explore being part of our flock, stop in and pick up an application! Ask for Michael or call 703-241-3988

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 21, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

5716 5th Street N.
Neighborhood: Bluemont
Listed: $999,000
Open: Sunday, July 23, from 1-4 p.m.

Located on a quiet cul-de-sac near the bike path to Ballston, this sun filled 2009 colonial has been refreshed and is in pristine move in condition.

Enter through the front porch to an inviting foyer with powder room, coat closet and wood floors that extend through the main and upper levels. The kitchen features generous wood cabinets, granite countertops, KitchenAid stainless appliances and is open to the dining and family rooms.

A gas fireplace is the focal point of the spacious family room, which accommodates media, play and gathering spaces. This room overlooks the fenced back yard and the spacious two car detached garage.

Upstairs, the master bedroom features a tray ceiling, built-ins, two closets, and a private bathroom. The second bedroom offers vaulted ceilings and double closet, and the third bedroom also has a large closet. Also on this level is the laundry area and linen storage.

In the daylight lower level, the rec room has high ceilings, tall windows and a door to the rear yard. What an ideal space for gatherings of family and friends. The fourth bedroom and third bathroom are on the lower level along with utility and storage areas.

The home is conveniently located between Ballston and Westover Village, parks, library and the bikepath. Ashlawn Elementary, Kenmore Middle School and Washington-Lee High School.

Walkable, commutable, and livable Arlington at its best!

Like us on Facebook at Betsy Twigg, Anne Cronin & Linda Murphy

Listed by:
Betsy Twigg
Washington Fine Properties
703-967-4391
[email protected]

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 21, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Just Listed banner

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.”

Incredibly, the summer real estate market got hotter this week as temperatures also soared. Some 84 brave sellers put their homes on the market this week while 75 buyers ratified contracts. Of those, 34 sold within a week. There’s essentially been no slowdown of Arlington’s market this summer.

Good news for buyers, mortgage rates slid back about seven basis points following about the same drop in the yield on the 10-yr US Treasury bond. The 30-yr fixed rate is now at about 4%-4.1% with no points.

A new Pew Research Center report shows that the nation has the highest renter rate since 1965. Nearly 37% of households are renters, based on Census data. The largest demographic increase is millennials, those 35 yrs and younger. Major factors are high student loan debt, lack of savings for down payment, and desire to maintain mobility and not commit to a single location for the long term. When asked, renters said their biggest regret was wishing they had bought a home. The report said that in the long run, buying is still a better financial deal than renting.

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

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 20, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

This biweekly column is sponsored by the Arlington Office of Emergency Management.

You’ve heard us say it once, you’ll hear us say it again, and you’re probably tired of hearing it: if you see something, say something.

So why do we have to keep telling you?

And why are we telling you now?

It boils down to the scientific phenomena known as bystander effect. The bystander effect occurs when the presence of other people discourages someone from acting or intervening during an emergency situation. The more bystanders there are, the less likely it is that any of them will help — they assume someone else will.

This is commonly known as “diffusion of responsibility” and its why many accidents, crimes, and suspicious packages go unreported. Another factor at play is “social conformity,” or the instinct to read social cues and mirror the behavior of the people around us. If other people aren’t helping, neither will we.

It’s no secret that summer time weather and travel will bring crowds to Arlington. Our community is rich with farmer’s markets, 5K runs, civic association parties and food festivals. These events bring our neighbors closer together and build relationships between the people that live, work and play here. It brings strength to our social fabric.

But with any gathering of people, know that the bystander effect will probably kick in. People may see a suspicious bag and think “I’m sure someone will handle this.” They might see a person asleep in the sidewalk and think “He’s probably fine.” They may see a motorist seated by their car on the side of the road and think “She doesn’t really need my help.”

So how do we beat the bystander effect?

First, it’s important to understand that people that ignore emergency situations or victims in distress aren’t bad people. It’s just part of their human psychology. This is where you can step in — expect that others won’t help. Make a conscious effort to be the person who will act. When you do this, you can actually leverage social conformity to your advantage — others will see you helping and start to help as well.

We also know that some people have a fear of calling for emergency services. That’s reasonable: it’s estimated that on average, a person in the U.S. will only call 9-1-1 twice in their entire lives, so it’s not like they get a lot of practice. It’s not the only reason people avoid calling, but it is one we can address right here, right now.

So make a commitment this summer to be the hero. Be the person who will act and report suspicious activity, crimes, and accidents — thereby helping others in our community. (Need a reminder about what suspicious activity is? Check out this helpful guide. It’s also has info on protecting civil rights and liberties.)

Overall, Jack Brown, the Director of Arlington’s Department of Public Safety Communications and Emergency Management, says it best: “We have a great community and excellent public safety services. Everyone, including the public, is on our team to keep Arlington safe.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 20, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

6229 Washington Blvd
Neighborhood: Westover
Price: $1,495,000
Open House*: Sunday, July 23 from 2-4 p.m.

Arlington’s finest new home! This stunning new single-family home, built by Madison Homes, offers an extensive list of upgraded features and top quality craftsmanship.

The wonderful open floor plan is perfect for living and entertaining and includes 9-foot ceilings on all 3 levels. The stunning, gourmet kitchen opens to the family room and breakfast area with quartz counters and stainless appliances. Oversized windows and a four-panel sliding door open out to a spacious, flat and fully fenced rear yard.

Located in North Arlington this new home is just blocks from both the East Falls Church Metro and the shops, restaurants, and farmers market at Westover. Minutes to I-66 and Ballston these homes are a commuter’s dream! Side entry garage offers a private turnaround.

Offering close to 5,000 square feet on 3 levels this home is just right for everyday living with 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. The upper level includes a gorgeous master suite with “his” and “her” closets, an expansive master bathroom with a grand walk-in shower and separate soaking tub.

The walk-up fully finished lower level offers a recreation room, bonus room and the fifth bedroom with a full bath. Other great features include a spacious 2 car garage with mudroom and cubbies, detailed panel molding and buffet counter in the dining room and upper level laundry room with built in cabinets and granite countertops. Tuckahoe Elementary School, Swanson Middle School and Yorktown High School.

*Open House is at 6231 Washington Blvd on Sunday, July 23 from 2-4 p.m. Two homes are for sale, 6229 and 6231 Washington Blvd.

Listed By:
Anne DiBenedetto
Washington Fine Properties
703-615-1897
[email protected]

by ARLnow.com July 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Cooper, a Mali Uromastyx lizard.

Here is what his owner Ted had to say about his scaly friend:

Many families in Arlington enjoy the company of dogs or cats, but our family cuddles up with Cooper, our Mali Uromastyx lizard. Cooper joined our family in the summer of 2010 as our fourth lizard of two bearded dragons and two uromastyx.

Initially, my father had reservations about adopting another lizard but was persuaded when we let him name him. Cooper was named for Cooper Union, my father’s alma mater, and has been a member of the family ever since.

Cooper didn’t start out on the best of terms with the family as within days of adopting him, we almost lost him; literally. We took him in the car for a ride one day only to have him squirm out of our hands and quickly scoot underneath the car seat.

We tried baiting him out with blueberries (one of his favorite foods) but he wouldn’t budge! He was too far under the seat for us to grab him so my brother eventually rescued him by taking the entire seat out of the car! We scooped him up before he could run under another and thus Cooper was saved.

These days Cooper leads a mostly sedentary life (as many uromastyx do) hidden in his rock cave. He doesn’t venture out often but when he does he is either basking under his heat lamp or eating meals (consisting of kibble, greens, and occasional treats such as dandelions). When he’s out we take the opportunity to bathe him, play with him and give him our adoring love.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Please don’t send vertical photos, they don’t fit in our photo galleries!

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care is the winner of six consecutive Angie’s List Super Service Awards, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year and a proud supporter of the Arlington County Pawsitively Prepared Campaign.

Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 19, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Just Reduced banner

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 is not the listing agent of these homes.

Mark your calendars, fellow parents! The first day of school for Arlington Public Schools is September 5, meaning that back-to-school time is right around the corner.

In addition to purchasing school supplies galore and getting the kids’ wardrobes ready to go, now is not a bad time to get your home prepped for back-to-school season, too. When it comes to having your house optimized, organization is key.

If you have an extra (or under-utilized) closet, a dedicated closet for your kids’ go-to items can be a game changer. It can be a great place to store their favorite jackets and lunch boxes on hooks, books on shelves and school supplies in easily accessible bins. Outside of this idea, there are plenty of additional ways to optimize your space contingent on your floor plan.

If you’re still looking for a home to settle into ahead of the new school year, it’s not too late. Let me know how I can help you GET MORE out of your transaction before settling in and kicking off a new, exciting school year for your family! 

As of July 18 there are 250 detached homes, 50 townhouses and 266 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 48 homes experienced a price reduction in the past week.

Here is this week’s selection of Just Reduced properties:

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.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

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: How did Arlington real estate do in the first half of 2017?

Answer: Market indicators at the beginning of the year were very strong. Spring purchase activity picked up earlier than usual in 2017 and all services providers I spoke to (contractors, landscapers, lender, title companies, etc) all said business was thriving.

Now that we’ve made it through the first half of the year, let’s take a look at some key market indicators I like to use to determine how we’re doing relative to years past.

As usual, you’ll see some familiar customized stats from my previous posts:

  • Avg Net Close: This is sale price less any seller credits for the “true” sold price
  • Avg Discount from Org and Last List: One of my favorites — this is how much of a discount buyers negotiated from the original and last asking prices. A good indicator of who holds the most leverage in the market. 100% = buyer paid full price
  • Avg Days on Mrkt: How long it took for the seller to ratify a contract to sell, from the date they listed it for sale. A good indicator of the speed of the market and demand
  • Months of Supply (chart): Economists will say that a balanced market has six months of supply. Anything below favors sellers and anything above favors buyers

Highlights

  • Arlington real estate prices are noticeably higher in most market segments, except apartments/condos (and in zip codes dominated by condo sales) where prices continue to stagnate
  • Nearly all markets show signs of upward pressure on prices with lower days on market and smaller discounts from original and last asking price
  • Average net sold price of detached (single-family) homes is way up, which is influenced by more sales of expensive new construction and off-market sales of cheaper tear-downs not showing up in the stats. However, it’s primarily due the overall market for detached homes picking up, as seen by strong numbers in zip codes with few new construction sales

With that, I’ll let you smart folks dig into the two tables and one chart yourselves and draw your own conclusions. Feel free to reach out to discuss anything you’re seeing, ask for more granular data for your home/neighborhood, or for help interpreting the data.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Berry & Berry column banner

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 Kimberly H. Berry

The Thrift Savings Plan is a retirement savings and investment plan for federal employees and members of the uniformed services. It was established by Congress in 1986 as part of the Federal Employees’ Retirement Systems Act. The TSP offers the same types of savings and tax benefits that a 401(k) plan offers to private sector employees.

In April 2017, on the TSP’s 30-year anniversary, a bill was offered by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Thomas R. Carper (D-Del) to bring the TSP’s terms more up-to-date with similar programs. Specifically, the legislation seeks to expand investment and withdrawal options.

Last week, the Washington Post published a helpful Q&A that provided more details regarding the TSP’s new investment options. For instance, one of the TSP’s five funds, tracking international stocks, will be broadened in 2019 to include emerging markets and Canada. The TSP is also working towards allowing account holders to invest in funds outside of what’s currently offered.

Additional bills pending before Congress also allow for more withdrawal options post-retirement, including for federal workers and servicemen and women still employed and at least 59 1/2 years of age. Since current withdrawal options are limited, it is hopeful that these changes will allow participants more flexibility and freedom regarding their retirement savings.

Most TSP issues that we handle in our federal retirement practice involve withdrawal guidelines and requirements, including issues involving federal retirees who are divorced and ordered to divide their retirement benefits, including TSP benefits, with a former spouse.

In addition, federal employees and uniformed servicemen and women leaving employment for retirement or other reasons may keep TSP accounts open. However, they cannot add to their TSP accounts post-retirement or separation, but TSP monies can be transferred to an IRA or other tax-favored plans.

The transfer rules, including deadlines, can often be complicated and difficult to understand, but we hope that the legislation allowing for additional investment and withdrawal options will help bring more financial stability as well as a better understanding of the rules involving federal retirement plans.

If you need assistance with a federal employment, federal retirement or TSP issue, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also like and visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

by Kalina Newman July 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

It’s no secret that the video game industry is rapidly growing and changing. Stephen Gheysens, 25, realized this when he sat down to play a new video game a few years after graduating college.

As he started to play, Gheysens realized that even a little time off from video games had left him much worse at gaming then he used to be.

“I turned to my friend and said, ‘I would literally pay for a lesson so that I could enjoy this,'” said Gheysens.

Thus, GamerTrainer — which is based in Arlington — was born. Even though eSports, the professional competitive gaming industry, is constantly expanding (it even has its own page on ESPN), there was no formal platform for one-on-one video game lessons, according to Gheysens.

“There are pro gamers out there that already give lessons but they’re very informal,” said Gheysens. “Why would you watch a YouTube video of someone playing the piano when you could take a lesson?”

GamerTrainer differentiates itself from just watching an online tutorial in that every lesson is personalized to the gamer.

“When you learn from somebody and have that direct feedback from someone that’s spent years perfecting the craft of the game, they’ll be able to see ‘Okay, you’re making this mistake, here’s how to correct it,” said Gheysens.

Anyone can take a lesson through GamerTrainer, whether they are just a beginner trying to get better for fun or a serious player wanting to sharpen and perfect their skills so that they can compete professionally through eSports.

“The market is really out there,” said Gheysens, “There’s a lot of money being pumped into eSports, and just recently a game called Overwatch launched a league of players in eight different cities.”

The GamerTrainer platform hasn’t officially launched yet but is expected to within the next couple of weeks. Lessons will take place over the popular online game streaming platform Twitch.

The person taking a lesson will have an online video chat with a trainer, and the trainer will also be able to see their game on the screen. This allows anyone to take lessons from the comfort of their own home.

Gheysens is aware that there are hundreds of video games out there and that no one can have a versed knowledge of every single game.

“We’re focusing on the top fifteen or so competitive games across PC and consoles such as Xbox One and PS4,” said Gheysens. Popular games include Overwatch, Call of Duty and the Madden NFL series.

“Train with the Best to Become the Best,” is GamerTrainer’s motto on Twitter, as the new startup makes its way through a rapidly expanding industry.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

2546 N. Granada Street
Neighborhood: Yorktown
Listed: $1,785,000
Open: Sunday, July 16, 1-4 p.m.

Are you looking for a modern-style home but don’t want to wait to build it yourself?  This brand new custom home is ready for you!

This Prairie-style home with modern interior finishes has 6 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms with over 5,800 square feet of living space. The entrance features a unique floating stairway, 5″ Select White Oak hardwood floors, and a shiplap full accent wall.

The gourmet kitchen includes a full size 36″ Sub-Zero refrigerator and 36″ freezer, Wolf gas range, and quartz counters with a waterfall edge island.  The open layout provides easy access to the dining room, living room, and porch with an outdoor gas fireplace — perfect for alfresco dining and entertaining.

The upper level features a master bedroom suite with a gas fireplace and two walk-in closets.  The master bathroom has an unique open spa shower with two full shower systems, textured mosaic tile accent wall, and a LED lit full wall mirror.  Three additional en-suite bedrooms and upstairs laundry room provide ample space for every family member. The lower level has a walkout basement with a wet bar and an additional bedroom and full bathroom.

The exterior of the home features custom crafted HardieShingle Artisan Lap mitered corners, a Clopay Avante modern translucent glass garage doors, bluestone pavers on the front and rear porch, 6′ horizontal slat wood fence, and professionally landscaped yard.  The home has several “green” features, including: geothermal heating, planter boxes, and a pervious paver driveway.

This home is located on a cul-de-sac and zoned for Discovery Elementary, Williamsburg Middle, and Yorktown High School. Conveniently located near Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.

Listed By:
Peggy Yee
Frankly Realtors
703-349-0143
[email protected]

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

Weekend Wine and Beer Guide logo

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Arash Takafor.

Thanks to Reverie Distribution out of Richmond, Prairie Artisan Ales are now available in Virginia. Reverie, a small boutique distributor that also distributes popular Virginia breweries such as Veil, Ocelot (RVA only), and The Answer specializes in distributing fresh beer to high quality establishments.

Since most of the breweries Reverie distributes release such a limited quantity outside of their taproom, getting these brews are a privilege. Even though Prairie is distributed throughout the U.S, getting their brews has proven difficult for most avid craft beer drinkers, especially in Virginia.

Founded by brothers Chase and Colin Healy in Tulsa, Okla., Prairie set out to brew complex farmhouse and barrel aged beers. Believing that the craft beer industry was getting crowded with common types of brews, Chase worked on brewing expressive beers such as inventive sours, wild ales, and other funky barrel – aged projects.  With his brother Colin in charge of label art and marketing, the Healy brothers have created a niche product for beer geeks.

Due to a large geographic footprint and a limited amount of barrels abled to be brewed, Prairie’s beers are in high demand and low supply. Being able to be one of the first in Virginia to be able to sell these brews to the public is extremely exciting. One of Prairie’s cult like following beers is called Bomb! A 14 percent stout aged with espresso beans, chocolate, vanilla beans and ancho chilies.  Drinkers go nuts for it’s harmonious flavor.

Right now at Dominion Wine and Beer we have stocked from Prairie:

  • BOMB! – Imperial Stout aged on espresso beans, chocolate, vanilla beans, and ancho chili peppers.
  • Birthday BOMB! – Stout with a complex mix of hops and malt with a healthy dose of the signature coffee and spices.
  • Paradise – Coconut vanilla stout
  • MERICA – Single malt, single hop farmhouse ale
  • Funky Gold Mosaic – Dry hopped sour ale with Mosaic hops.
  • Funky Gold Citra – Dry hopped sour ale with Citra hops
  • Prairie-Vous Francais – Refreshing Farmhouse ale with Brett. Slightly tart  and a touch hoppy.
  • 4th Anniversary – Sour beer aged on ginger.
  • Phantasmagoria – Prairie’s version of a West Coast Style Double IPA. Low in Malt, high in hops.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 14, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

Just Listed banner

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.”

It’s the middle of summer, and Arlington’s real estate market just keeps chugging along. Some 66 new listings came on the market this week, while 61 homes sold with 21 of those sold within seven days.

Those are good, stable numbers. The average days on market dropped to just 35 demonstrating it’s still a good time to sell, and to buy. But both homeowners and homebuyers need to recognize that mortgage interest rates are on the rise for the foreseeable future. Buyers need to move fast and ratify a contract so they can lock in a rate. And homeowners who have procrastinated too long to refinance need to light a fire and get it done NOW. Interest rates rose eight basis points this week to about 4.14% on a 30-yr fixed rate with no points.

Here’s the rule of thumb on deciding whether you should refinance. If your current mortgage has more than 12yrs remaining, and the interest rate is 3/4% (0.75%) or more above current market rate, you should strongly consider refinancing to lower your current payment and reduce total cost over the lifetime of the loan. When shopping for a loan, remember there are two elements: interest rate, and points. Be consistent, and ask for rates with no points to ensure you are comparing apples to apples.

You always have the option to pay “discount” points which will lower the rate. You should always ask your loan officer about your “break even” point. That is, how many payments will it take in monthly savings from lowered payment to recover the total out of pocket cost of refinancing. A good loan officer is your best ally in determining how best to structure a refinance based your unique priorities…. Just don’t hesitate. Get started.

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

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 13, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

Have you ever questioned what your mixed breed dog is mixed with, or if your pure-bred dog is in fact a pure breed? There are multiple DNA tests out on the market, and we decided to run a little experiment in the clinic to see how we felt the test measured up to our clinic pets.

We used the most popular test — the Wisdom Panel 4.0, which consists of a simple cheek swab. Several Clarendon Animal Care staff members swabbed their dogs and sent the swabs off the the Wisdom Panel laboratory.

Once the lab receives the swabs, they extract the DNA from the dog’s cheek cells, which is then matched up against 1,800 markers used in their tests. They then send those results to a computer, which uses an algorithm to analyze your dog’s DNA and determine what is the most likely pedigree for your dog, up to the last three generations.

In addition to looking at pedigree, the Wisdom Panel also tests for several genetic health abnormalities, such as the MDR1 genetic mutation (which leads to certain drug sensitivities in herding dogs), and can also tell you the estimated weight and color for your full grown dog.

We ultimately ended up testing seven different dogs in our office – four purebred dogs, and three mixed breeds. First we tested our LVT Sam’s Bloodhound, Gunner, who, despite us making fun of him for his tiny head, came back as 100 percent purebred Bloodhound. Our receptionist Charnita tested her Long-Haired Chihuahua, Teko, and his results were also 100% Chihuahua.

Next was Dewey, Dr. Ungerer’s purebred English Pointer. Dewey’s results showed that he was 75 percent Pointer, but one of his parents was likely mixed with a German Short-Haired Pointer — still in the Pointer family, just a slight variation. Dr. Ungerer’s reaction was, “surprised, but not after I thought about it for a bit, based on his lineage.”

We also tested Uma, a purebred Scottish Terrier who belongs to our receptionist, Ashley. Uma’s results showed that she was 75 percent Scottish Terrier, and 25 percent West Highland White Terrier, which came as a bit of a surprise to her owner.

The three mixed breeds we tested were our LVT Leslie’s dog Weebles, labeled an Affenpinscher mix, our LVT Alex’s dog Frankie, labeled a Pit Bull mix, and our Practice Manager Sara’s dog Peyton, labeled a Pointer mix.

Weebles had initially been labeled as an Affenpinscher mix, but his DNA test showed a mix of Miniature Poodle, Pug, Pekingese, Shih Tzu and Miniature Pinscher — a true mix! Frankie had generally been referred to as a Pit Bull mix, but his DNA results showed that he was 90 percent American Staffordshire Terrier, and the other 10 percent was likely an American Staffordshire mix, so not so much of a mutt after all.

The last staff pet we tested was Peyton, who was initially labeled as a Pointer mix. Her DNA results came back as being 50 percent German Short-Haired Pointer, and 50 percent American Staffordshire Terrier, which makes sense — she looks like a stocky Pointer.

We also recently had one of our clients run a Wisdom Panel test on her dog and send us the results. Her dog Parker has always been labeled as a Labrador mix. His results came back pretty well mixed, and showed that his pedigree included Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, as well as German Shepherd.

For the most part, we thought that this was a fun, fairly accurate tool to learn a little more about your dog. It does highlight that in general, visual breed prediction/guessing without genetic background is actually not that great, and this can become important with certain breed restrictions (and pit-bull type dogs are often the most discriminated breed – for reasons that are not based in any actual evidence) in various localities.

Studies have shown that the ability of visual identification of these breeds is quite poor, even among experts. It will be interesting if this kind of genetic testing would become admissible in legal disputes over breed restrictions.

Beyond breed testing, the really nice thing about some of these genetic tests such as the Wisdom 4.0 panel and the Embark Dog DNA Test is not just that there is breed information (because, let’s be honest – it doesn’t really matter what breed your dog is, just that you love them!) – but that in working with Washington State University (Wisdom) and Cornell University (Embark) they are able to look at certain disease risks based on genetic predisposition.

This is really cool because it may allow us to manipulate the environmental triggers (such as diet, exercise, certain medications, etc…) and screen for at-risk diseases earlier in life to prevent or mitigate illness later in life.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor July 13, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

3722 N. Vernon Street
Neighborhood: Country Club Hills
Listed:  $1,179,000
Open Sunday, July 16 from 1-4 p.m.

Located on a quiet street in the lush Country Club Hills neighborhood, this 1960s home has been renovated from top to bottom — inside and out.

It now offers a new roof with architectural shingles, energy efficient Andersen windows; gas furnace, electric air conditioning, gas water heater; new flooring, and interior doors. The renovated kitchen provides Shrock cabinetry with silent close drawers, a Bertazzoni professional gas range, and KitchenAid appliances.

Each of the three bathrooms has been renovated with designer tile, fixtures and appointments along with on trend interior and exterior paint. Both the kitchen and dining room open to the refurbished screened in porch, which leads to a new patio and freshly-landscaped and sodded front and rear yards.

Enter the home through a welcoming foyer with large closet and porcelain tile flooring.  To the right is a large rec room with woodburning fireplace and closet for storing games and toys.

Tucked away in a private spot is the fourth bedroom and third renovated bathroom along with a separate room for a home office or gym. Also on this level is the laundry and entry to the oversized two car garage with separate storage area for gardening, sports, and play equipment.

Upstairs, the focal point of the expansive living room is the wood-burning fireplace, offering space for several seating areas, a piano or desk. The dining room is separated from the kitchen by a breakfast bar and has sliding doors to the porch.

The home is convenient to Chain Bridge for easy commute to Washington and to Route 123 for reverse commute to Tysons. Jamestown Elementary, Williamsburg Middle and Yorktown High School.

Listed by:
Betsy Twigg
Washington Fine Properties
703-967-4391
[email protected]

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