Arlington, VA

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!

This past week, Bright MLS announced major changes to prevent agents and brokerages from marketing properties for sale that are not entered into the MLS.

Previously, there were no restrictions on where and how long a property could be marketed to the public and/or other agents if it was not in the MLS. Effective immediately, a property must be entered into the MLS within one business day of any marketing (some exceptions apply). Violators will be fined up to $5,000 per violation.

Initially it might seem like this rule is unnecessarily restrictive and hurts consumers, but I strongly believe it is a net benefit for the marketplace.

What is MLS?

MLSs (Multiple Listing Services) are the organizations that allow agents and consumers to see all properties for sale in one place; the database of record that powers your favorite property search apps/websites. They are private entities born from the cooperation of regional brokerages, funded through brokerage and agent fees. There are around 600 regional MLSs across the country.

What is Bright MLS?

Bright is the name of our local MLS and is the largest in the country. It is responsible for property listings in all of D.C., MD,and DE, most of VA and PA and some of NJ and WV.

How it Benefits You

This type of regional cooperation between brokerages means that buyers have access to every home for sale in one centralized location, thus increasing the odds of finding the right home, and sellers can ensure their home is visible to every buyer, thus increasing the odds of their home selling for full market value.

A market without an MLS is fragmented, inefficient and not in the best interest of consumers.

New Pre/Off-Market Policy Change is Necessary

Over the last few years, in an effort to distinguish themselves from competition, brokerages and agents were engaged in a fierce competition to establish an inventory of pre/off-market properties marketed through independent websites, portals and social media channels. The idea was that if an agent or brokerage has a large inventory of off-MLS properties, in addition to access to all on-MLS properties, they’d be able to attract more clients.

These efforts led to fragmented “shadow markets” across the region, making it impossible for buyers to access all properties for sale and potentially limiting a seller’s market exposure. The Bright MLS Board, made up of brokers from across the region, recognized this problem and unanimously determined that changes were needed to secure the enormous benefits of cooperation.

The new rules still allow intra-brokerage marketing of off-market properties and agents to have one-off conversations with other agents and/or buyers about off-market properties, but agents/brokers cannot engage in public or inter-brokerage marketing.

What to Expect

Going forward, you should no longer find a property being marketed for sale or coming up for sale that is not entered in the MLS and widely available across all/most consumer-facing property search websites/apps. This includes social media, even Instagram and Facebook Stories.

One caveat is that not every consumer-facing property search website/app picks up properties entered into the MLS with a Coming Soon status. Bright MLS allows properties to be entered as Coming Soon for up to 21 days.

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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.

An amendment approved by the Governor of Virginia in Virginia Code.

Requirements of the New Virginia Employment Law

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam approved an amendment and re-enactment of Virginia Code § 8.01-413.1. The new amendment requires Virginia employers to produce certain employment documents when they receive a written request from a current/former employee or employee’s attorney.

If the employer doesn’t comply, the Virginia statute awards potential damages to the employee if the employer fails to do so within the allotted timeframe. Since the amendment became effective on July 1, 2019, a number of Virginia employers are seeing an increase in requests for the applicable documents.

The Virginia amendment requires a Virginia employer to furnish employment records reflecting (1) dates of employment, (2) wages or salary, (2) job description and job title, and (4) any injuries sustained during the course of employment within 30 days of the receipt of a written request. An employer is not required to be a party to a suit for the statute to apply. That statute provides that:

Every employer shall, upon receipt of a written request from a current or former employee or employee’s attorney, furnish a copy of all records or papers retained by the employer in any format, reflecting (i) the employee’s dates of employment with the employer; (ii) the employee’s wages or salary during the employment; (iii) the employee’s job description and job title during the employment; and (iv) any injuries sustained by the employee during the course of the employment with the employer. Such records or papers shall be provided within 30 days of receipt of such a written request.

Before the new Virginia statute, employers were not required to produce such documents without a subpoena. If the Virginia employer cannot process the employee’s request within 30 days, the employer must notify them in writing. The Virginia employer will then have an additional 30 days to produce the records.

Pursuant to the Virginia statute, the employer can charge a reasonable fee for the copying of paper records and/or the retrieval of electronic records. Failure to comply with a written request can result in a subpoena and the award of damages against the employer, including the employee’s expenses for obtaining the copies, court costs and attorneys’ fees.

The bottom line is that the new statute in Virginia will help employees obtain copies of their employment records. If the employer does not comply, they will likely be responsible for significant fees.

Conclusion

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

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Editor’s Note: 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.

If you’ve dined in D.C. at Jose Andres’ minibar, Johnny Spero’s Reverie, or Robert Wiedmaier’s Marcel’s, chances are you sampled produce grown in Arlington.

It’s no secret that interest in urban farming has skyrocketed in recent years, however Arlington-based Fresh Impact remains the county’s only commercial urban farm.

Tucked in an unassuming strip mall on Lee Highway, with no signage or disclosed address, Fresh Impact is under the radar of most Arlingtonians, but well-known among local chefs, particularly higher-end chefs.

Founded in 2017, the company has grown over 300 different rare herbs, varieties of greens, and edible flowers based on the needs of the local restaurant industry.

“One of the primary reasons we located in Arlington was to be as close to D.C., and our customer base, as possible,” said founder Ryan Pierce.

“Being able to grow indoors, not only is it sustainable but our produce is free from pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides,” Pierce said.

At any given time, employees at Fresh Impact are maintaining between 30 to 40 varieties of produce depending on the season. Despite this, the farm still has room to grow and add more products.

“We’re hoping to sell out completely by the end of 2020, we want to get to where we simply can’t grow anymore,” Pierce said. “When that happens, then we’ll look at opportunities to expand our operations to other facilities and look to provide more local products to other restaurants.”

The company has grown primarily via word of mouth, through recommendations from chefs to other chefs. Everything is harvested and delivered to the restaurants on the same day to maintain maximum freshness.

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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 insulation has a significantly greater impact on your home’s energy use and comfort than new windows or doors.

Believe it or not, 9 out of 10 homes in the U.S. are under-insulated. That means that you most likely live in one of them. Older Arlington homes were built when insulation was expensive and fuel was cheap. Many Arlington homes were built with no insulation and are uncomfortably hot in the summer, cold in the winter and have uneven temperatures room-to-room and floor-to-floor.

Do you have uneven temperatures throughout your home? What are you waiting for!? Join other Arlingtonians that already weatherized their homes and are enjoying the benefits of year-round comfort and lower utility bills.

In most cases, the fixes aren’t complex and the cost will likely be less than you expect. In just one day you can have your home insulated and be comfortable year after year.

Unsure where to start? Check out this list of contractors that participated in the our previously run Home Energy Rebate Program. Give an insulation contractor a call today to get an estimate. The sooner you act the more comfortable your home will be.

Tune in to our next post where we’ll post tips for renters and condo owners.

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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. 

Who Can You Trust When Building a New Home?

New construction is a fun process, but it can be a more complicated and stressful journey than buying a typical resale home. For this reason, we recommend following these three steps to make your experience a bit more smooth and enjoyable.

Find the Right Builder — When deciding on which builder you are going to work with, there are a variety of things to consider during the selection process. You’ll want to make sure the builder has a range of layout options to select from since the lot will determine what you can do with the space. It is also smart to see how many Non-Standard Options (NSO) the Builder offers. If these NSOs are limited, it may mean you aren’t able to do as much “customization” as you originally planned, and rather are required to make selections from pre-determined materials the builder has already selected for a broader scope of projects.

Have a Design Plan — Know what you want your home to look like and what features you want to have at the beginning. It is important to make these decisions up front when going through the design process as making these changes during construction can not only cause delays, but cost you big bucks.

Agent Advisor Partnership — Working with an experienced agent as your advisor is critical throughout the entire process. Your advisor can help find the lot for the best price, select the right builder for you and avoid pitfalls that can come with the building and designing process. Your advisor should have experience working with new construction homes and a strong understanding of builder contracts so they can help navigate you to get what you want.

At Three Stones Residential, our agents are well versed in the new construction process. We’ve worked with a number of builders and can help you decide who may be the best fit based on your needs and expectations. Being natives to the area, we are local marketplace experts and will guide you in finding the best location for your new home at the best price.

Additionally, we have a solid understanding and experience of builder contracts and will bring to light all the details you need to focus on to avoid delays and additional costs down the road. To learn more about new construction homes, contact us at [email protected] or (571) 429-7670.

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

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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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:

3323 N. Vermont Street
5 BD/4 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Ttr Sotheby’s International Realty
Listed: $1,649,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

4647 3rd Street S.
5 BD/4 BA, 1 half bath single-family home
Agent: Re/Max Allegiance
Listed: $1,099,00
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

2086 N. Oakland Street
3 BD/2 BA, 1 half bath villa/townhouse
Agent: Re/Max Allegiance
Listed: $919,900
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

3800 Fairfax Drive #302
3 BD/2 BA condo
Agent: Keler Williams Realty
Listed: $824,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

1943 N. Cleveland Street
3 BD/1 BA single-family home
Agent: Redfin Corporation
Listed: $709,900
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

4658 34th Street S.
2 BD/2 BA condo
Agent: Samson Properties
Listed: $599,900
Open: Sunday 12-3 p.m.

 

1800 Wilson Boulevard #426
1 BD/1 BA condo
Agent: Compass
Listed: $455,000
Open: Saturday 1-3 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.”

Even though we started the week with a travel holiday weekend, buyers really picked up the pace and were busy ratifying 60 contracts. That’s a big boost from last week’s sleepy results of just 45 homes sold.

And sellers did their part by listing 65 homes. Arlington still has a major shortage of inventory, as does most of the country. Arlington currently has only 1.1 months of inventory, not a good situation for buyers.

Mortgage rates started creeping upward last Friday and now are at 3.75% for a 30-yr fixed rate. Mortgage refinance applications increased 4% this week as owners are trying to lock in rates before they increase further. But mortgage purchase applications were down 4% due to short term economic uncertainty and lack of inventory.

A troubling retail sales report released Wednesday showed that consumer spending in September was down for the first time in seven months. The unexpected results indicated sales were down on automobiles, online purchases and building materials raising fears that the decline in the manufacturing sector could be spilling into the broader U.S. economy.

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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ARLnow is a free resource for the entire community thanks to the support of our advertisers.

We work hard to bring advertiser messages to you in a way that’s informational and not intrusive — no popups, no nonsense slowing down your computer, etc. — while making sure they’re actually seen. That way it’s a win for readers and a win for our advertisers.

While altruism isn’t necessarily the goal, our advertisers are providing a valuable service to the community by helping to support our local journalism, and we want to recognize them for that.

Today we’re toasting Elite Dental, a dental office at 1025 N. Fillmore Street, Suite C in Clarendon, which provides cosmetic dentistry including smile whitening, Invisalign, dental implants, orthodontics, veneers, crowns, bridges and general dentistry.

Here are some reasons we think they’re the bee’s knees.

  • They accept all major dental PPO insurance
  • SmileSIM capability (digital simulation of treatment results)
  • Whitening for Life program (provides professional-grade whitening services)
  • The ARLnow business team has visited Elite Dental and can say that Dr. Morrow was amazing! The entire staff makes visits quick and painless.
  • “The service was excellent and it’s the first time that I can remember that I didn’t have any pain during the entire crown procedure! And no pain after the procedure was over the next day — another first! Dr. Hartman did a superb job!” – testimonial from Kenneth N.
  • They help ARLnow hire professional, full-time local news reporters and bring you the local happenings week in and week out.

Please join us in thanking Elite Dental by touring their office or scheduling an appointment at [email protected]. You can also contact them at 703-988-6965.

— The ARLnow business team

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Arlington Pet of the Week: Mia

Arlington’s Pet of the Week is Mia, a 5 year old tuxedo cat who loves sunbathing in her cat tower.

Here is what Mia’s owner has to say about her life here in Arlington:

Mia is a 5 year old tuxedo kitty who only weighs 6 lbs! Mia has some neurological problems – she failed most of her reflex tests at the vet which was probably due to malnutrition before I rescued her as a kitten. She may bump into some furniture now and again but according to her, she’s absolutely normal and definitely runs the show at our house!

Mia is endlessly comical and provides us with nonstop entertainment. She commands 24/7 cuddling and is happiest when burying into your neck and falling asleep on your chest. Mia doesn’t meow like regular cats, but instead has a high-pitched squeak and she’s very chatty.  I’ve never known a cat to have such a variety of things to say; it feels like real communication! She also usually sits or sleeps with her legs all over the place. She is the most unusual and silly cat I’ve ever had and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Besides cuddling and squeaking, Mia’s favorite activities include sleeping in the sun in her cat tower, sleeping on her heating pad, eating catnip, and chasing a bouncy ball around the house.

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 eight 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.

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This article was written by Sindy Yeh, Senior Business Ambassador for Arlington Economic Development.

Workshops to Support Startups

In our work with entrepreneurs at Arlington Economic Development (AED), we often hear that one of the most challenging aspects of growing a business is attracting capital investments.

Many entrepreneurs have spent years developing innovative products and services and have created solid business plans to successfully execute and market their products. However, for many early stage companies, attracting investors to help fund and grow the company is still the most daunting challenge.

According to a study by Pitchbook, from 2010-2017, San Francisco and Silicon Valley still attracted more venture capital than almost any other parts of the country, followed by New York, Los Angeles and Boston. The Washington Metropolitan area ranked 9th on the list.

Our early stage Series A startups in the area are required to be even more resourceful since many investors in the DMV region tend to look for more mature companies with proven customer traction and revenues. They are more risk averse than investors in San Francisco and New York. Hence, early stage startups must sometimes travel outside the region to meet and connect with investors.

There are many organizations in the Washington area that serve as a conduit for investors, innovators and startups. The Mid Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) and CONNECTPreneur both provide forums for technology startups to connect with investors.

For the past three years, Arlington Economic Development has also hosted technology startup competitions such as Startup Arlington and the Dongsheng-US Global Entrepreneurship Competition to provide recognition and opportunities for winning companies to access capital and resources. We have also invited Arlington companies to participate and exhibit with us at CES, SxSW and Collision to meet with outside investors and potential customers.

Funding Opportunities for Early Stage Technology Companies

The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT), a nonprofit corporation funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia, provides equity investments to help fill the gaps for innovators and tech entrepreneurs at the early commercialization and seed funding stages of a company’s development. Its mission is to support Virginia-based entrepreneurs who are launching and developing high-growth technology companies and creating high-paying jobs for the future.

During the months of September and October, CIT has been traveling throughout the Commonwealth for a series of briefings on funding programs that are available to Virginia-based researchers and entrepreneurs. The series align with CIT managed Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund‘s upcoming Request for Proposals with approximately $2.5 million available to support high-potential technology development and commercialization activities in clean energy, cybersecurity, data analytics, life sciences and unmanned systems.

Here is the calendar of events held throughout the Commonwealth in October.   

How to Open Doors to Funding with an Executive Summary

On Thursday, October 17, the Washington Network Group will be hosting a practical workshop to teach entrepreneurs how to write an effective executive summary when pitching to investors. The event will be held at Arlington Economic Development from 4-6 p.m.

An executive summary is often the first document investors and lenders want to see before a complete pitch deck and business plan. It can be the key to opening more doors if funders seek additional information. However, many entrepreneurs overlook the importance of having a tightly-written, effective, even compelling executive summary.

Ines LeBow, CEO of Enterprise Transformation Solutions, will be teaching this valuable seminar on how to write an effective executive summary.

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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.

Hot, hot, hot! Whether you live here or want to, you’re bound to hear about just how darn sizzlin’ Arlington County’s real estate market is right now.

Amid the factors, one of the key drivers in pushing prices and demand up is… INVENTORY! As of today, according to BrightMLS, there are 286 total homes for sale in Arlington County. Looking at our Just Reduced column from four years ago (yes, we go way back with this column!), there were 574 total homes for sale.

So, doing some math here, we’ve seen a 50 percent-plus reduction in inventory in a four-year span, let alone the other stats and facts you can pull out there. That’s pretty incredible.

On the seller’s front, now is an incredibly powerful time for you. The options in Arlington County are limited and you can certainly leverage the situation. On the buyer’s front, it’s never been more important to have a seasoned team by your side to navigate the competitive market.

Regardless of which side of the transaction you may fall, the team at Arlington Realty, Inc. is ready to advocate on your behalf and get the most bang for your buck.

As of October 14, there are 150 detached homes, 26 townhouses and 106 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 23 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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