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What if you could save all the time it takes to coordinate trips to the mechanic over the life of your vehicle? All those rides to and from, wasting precious hours in stuffy waiting rooms drinking bad coffee?

If we added up all those hours, it amounts to (statistically, on average) 33 days throughout the average American’s life.

So, we’re curious: what would YOU do with 33 more days in your life?

With CarCare To Go, you never have to waste a day at the mechanic again. We’ll do the work and share transparent, digital, real-time updates with you so you can spend less time in waiting rooms and more time doing, well, whatever you want.

Still not convinced? Our first time client offer makes it a no-brainer to try out the future of car repair — just use code FIRST20 when booking to get your first synthetic oil change with free pick-up and return for just $20.22.

Scott M. has already taken a step to getting back precious time and had this to say about his experience with CarCare To Go:

“CarCare To Go makes taking care of your vehicle a super easy process. Was able to book an appointment one day in advance and the next day I received a link to track the location of the driver picking up my vehicle. I then received a link to approve or deny any additional suggested maintenance. Daniel also gave me a call and explained in detail the issues my vehicle had. No waiting room, no hard sales, and no taking time off from work. Will be using this service again when I am due for another oil change.” — Scott M.

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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. 

As of October 17, there are 160 detached homes, 63 townhouses and 213 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 55 homes experienced a price reduction in the past week, including:

4890 Old Dominion Drive

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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Local pediatric dentist, Dr. Peter Markov and the team at VK Pediatric Dentistry have once again been named one of the top pediatric dental practices in the area.

VK Pediatric Dentistry was voted to multiple best dentist lists including Arlington Magazine, Washingtonian, Virginia Living, as well as being voted a family favorite winner for Washington Parent!

“It’s an honor to be recognized with some of the best in the profession. Our daily goal is to provide a great experience for our families so everyone leaves their visits with a smile and it’s nice to know we’re accomplishing that,” says Dr. Peter Markov, pediatric dentist and owner at VK Pediatric Dentistry.

Knowing how important oral health is starting at early childhood, the goal of the practice is to make dental visits easy and fun for everyone. A child’s dental experiences can last their entire lifetime so the team at VK strives to make every visit positive: one in which a child is given the skills and confidence to empower them to have a lifetime of healthy and happy smiles.

With a convenient location, online scheduling and appointment reminders, and a modern, unique office, it’s a dental visit that kids actually enjoy going to.

VK Pediatric Dentistry provides dental care and pediatric dentistry for infants, toddlers, children, and teens at their office located in Arlington.

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. Video summaries of some articles can be found on YouTube on the Ask Eli, Live With Jean playlist. Enjoy!

Question: We are planning to put our home on the market this spring and seeking advice on home improvement projects to maximize our sale. What guidance do you have on home improvement projects with the best resale value?

Answer: The decisions you make about money you do or do not spend improving your home prior to a sale can influence your bottom line more than most other decisions you make during the sale process. They’re also the decisions you’re most in control of, so take your time and plan carefully.

Most Remodeling Projects Lose $$$ on Resale

Remodeling.com publishes an annual report showing the resale return of specific remodeling jobs, based on region of the country, and the 2022 report was published earlier this month. Unfortunately, I can’t share the D.C.-area report because of copyright issues, but it’s worth visiting the link yourself (they require some basic info).

The findings of their report show that the majority of projects (e.g. bathrooms/kitchen remodel, new roof/windows/siding), done individually, return just 50-80% of the cost. I have seen another study by Zillow that shows similar projections.

There are, of course, always exceptions to this guidance. For example, if most of your home has been updated except for one room/bathroom, you will probably get a much better return making modest improvements to the lagging space to bring it up to par with the rest of the home.

Another example is improving something that is in exceptionally bad condition such as replacing old, rotting single-pane windows that don’t function and have air leaks; you’ll probably earn yourself close to or above 100% return on this work rather than the ~65% determined by the Remodeling.com study.

So when considering larger scale home improvement projects — kitchen renovation, new roof, porch addition — it’s rarely a good idea to do this work strictly for resale purposes, but only if you’re going to realize personal value from it.

Should You Ever Spend on Listing Prep?

The study mentioned above is in reference to more expensive home improvement projects and does not include the most common (and profitable) work done for listing prep like painting, power washing, cleaning, landscaping, and flooring.

Prior to most sales, every homeowner should make a list of possible repairs and improvements and gather pricing for all worthy projects. If you plan to hire a real estate agent for your sale, I highly recommend doing this with your agent, who should have a good understanding of profitable vs unprofitable projects for your market/property type and have a team of contractors available to support the work.

They should have a deep enough knowledge of buyer preferences, your sub-market, and project cost to prepare a set of listing prep recommendations based on your home and budget, rather than a generalized one-size-fits-all plan.

After you prepare a full list of potential improvements, you can bucket them in tiers and analyze each tier for cost, project timeline, and impact on the expected resale value to determine which improvements make the most sense. These tiers generally fall into three categories:

  • Clean-out, Clean-up: This focuses on the low cost, high return items to make a home more presentable such as painting, deep cleaning, repairs, light landscaping, etc
  • Bring up to par: Investing in one/some more expensive projects to bring them up to par with the rest of the home. For example, improving a dated bathroom if the rest of the home is updated so that the one bathroom doesn’t drag down the value of the other improvements.
  • Remodel/Homeowner Flip: Similar to what an investor might do to a dated home in an expensive neighborhood, a homeowner might choose to make a major investment into updates and benefit from a significant profit

Consider All Costs

The cost of doing improvements goes beyond the cost of the labor and materials. Don’t forget to consider things like:

  • Your time managing the work (note, a real estate agent will generally handle project management)
  • If you’ll live in the home during work, the inconvenience of having work done while you’re there
  • If you’ll move out before starting work, the carrying cost while work is being done
  • Risk of something going wrong during the work (applies more to larger projects)
  • Contingency budget for unexpected work that may come up during the project(s)

Always Seek 100%+ ROI

There’s no doubt that remodeling your kitchen will generate a higher sale price, but it’s rarely advisable to invest money into improvements if you won’t return more than 100% on the investment. Herein lies the challenge and strategy in planning your improvements. Understanding the profile of your likely buyers and what they value, plus other factors like market conditions and property type, is crucial to making investments that generate profit, not just a higher price.

If you’d like to discuss buying, selling, investing, or renting, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected].

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to discuss buying, selling, renting, or investing, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Video summaries of some articles can be found on YouTube on the Ask Eli, Live With Jean playlist.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with RLAH Real Estate, 4040 N Fairfax Dr #10C Arlington VA 22203. (703) 390-9460

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Get ready, Arlington — Halloween is about to take over!

‘Tis the season for fall festivals and spooky spectacles. Throw on a sweatshirt (or costume) and dig out the trick-or-treat pail for these events. Here are some of the best Halloween-y things in the area that you need to add to your calendar!

Searching for those ghoulish delights that will even satisfy Dracula’s hunger? Then check out Green Pig Bistro’s Halloween-themed menu. Looking for something to suit your sweet tooth? Then take a few steps from The Green Pig and walk into Bakeshop, which will have Halloween-themed baked goods. From cupcakes, cookies, macaroons, and other treats, we’re certain that Bakeshop will have something for everyone!

When night falls on the farm, it’s time for Fields of Fear! Visit Cox Farms’ Fields of Fear in Centreville; happening every Friday and Saturday night until November 5 from 7:30-11 p.m., with the last entry at 10 p.m. Stop on by and see if you’re too cute to get spooked.

Feeling eerie-sistable and want to join in on the skele-ton of fun? Then add Cherrydale’s First Annual Halloween Swing Dance to your agenda! Located on the second floor of the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department, come dressed in your best (or worst) costume and dance the night away on Saturday, October 22. Beginner swing lessons start at 8 p.m., and from 9-11:45 p.m. swing your mummied bodies to the lindy tunes and Halloween-themed music.

Did somebody say treat? Don’t forget that your furry four-legged companions want to pawty too! Check out Dogma Bakery’s Doggie Trick-or-Treating event on Saturday, October 29 from 2-4 p.m. Registration is required in advance, and all proceeds go towards Lucky Dog Animal Rescue! Take a stroll through Shirlington Village, collect treats, and be sure to enter the costume contest. No tricks, just treats here!

Think you’re the ghostest with the mostest? Then stop on by Macy’s in Ballston for their Halloween Celebration! Happening on Sunday, October 30 from 1-5 p.m., this free event will have costume contests for all ages, snacks and drinks, red carpet photo opportunities, costume fashion show, prizes, and a chance to trick or treat! 

If you’re looking for something to really lift your spirits, then visit Whino on Wilson Boulevard for their Silent Headphone Costume Party on Sunday, October 30 from 5-11 .pm. Three of the Top DJs in the DMV will be playing for your attention. Wear your best costume for your chance to win $1000!

Finally, if you think you have the best Halloween display at your Del Ray home, it’s worth submitting a nomination for the Best Decorated House Contest. As part of the 26th annual Del Ray Halloween Parade, residents can submit their home or a neighbor’s home for the contest with the address, photo and contact information. Hurry, as nominations are due by 12 p.m. on Sunday, October 23. Make sure you check out the Del Ray Halloween Parade on Sunday, October 30 as crowds and floats march down Mount Vernon Ave from E. Bellefonte Ave to the Mount Vernon Rec Center Field. 

And please reach out to me if you want to learn more about neighborhoods in Arlington and around the region.

Dinora Chacon | 571-344-9178 | [email protected] | www.dinorasellshomes.com | www.McEnearney.com

McEnearney Associates — Arlington Office

Links & Recommendations

For 40 years, McEnearney Associates has been a premiere residential, commercial and property management firm with 11 offices located in the Washington metro region. With service excellence, hyper-local expertise, powerful data insights, innovative technology and cutting-edge marketing, McEnearney Associates have helped their clients make informed decisions on their most valuable real estate investments. There is an important difference at McEnearney: It’s not about us, it’s about you. To learn more, visit us at www.McEnearney.com.

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This column is written by the team at Arrowine & Cheese (4508 Cherry Hill Road). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup or in-store shopping. Have a question? Email [email protected]arrowine.com.

I’m trying not to bore you by getting too technical. But it is critical to your enjoyment of wine to understand how straightforward yet complicated wine-making is.

Something to keep in mind: remember, in grade school, the three reading groups? Accelerated, on-par, and the group needing extra encouragement and or attention? Let’s say you were born in the Village of Pommard. Of its 300 souls, the vast majority have something to do with the wine trade. If you are lucky enough to be landed and the offspring of a wine-producing family, guess what you will do as a career?

Now go back to my grade school reading group illustration and think about it. Wine-making is one of the world’s most complex occupations, and if “Jean-Claude” isn’t in the accelerated reading group, Mom and Dad may start to worry. They might decide to sell the Domaine. But there goes the “family legacy.” A legacy can be a burden.

Now back to decisions that must be made, often on the fly and under duress. The growing season determines everything. First, do you inoculate with a select strain of laboratory-cultivated yeast (a sure thing, but it imparts a “flavor profile”) or use the indigenous yeast from your vineyard?

If you work organically or biodynamically, you have been cultivating your native yeast population to the point that it should be healthy enough to carry the fermentation to complete dryness. But there are no guarantees. I think native yeast is more transparent and yields a more complex wine. If you bottle and have unresolved sugar, the wine could become “sparkling wine,” or the bottles might explode!

The all-important maceration time with juice on the grape skins isn’t something you can look up on Wikipedia. You have to make the call: too much extraction and the wine is coarse, too little, and it’s wimpy. So you want to pull the wine off and press at the sweet spot. Then off to your barrels.

Wine barrels (Photo by Vince Veras on Unsplash)

New wood is expensive, as much as $1,200 or more per barrel. Most of my folks are at a 20-33% rotation, meaning you replace that percentage of your barrels yearly. And not all barrels are the same. The forest dictates the kind of oak, the tightness of the grain, the porosity, and the actual “flavor” profile. You can even request a certain toasting level or degree of internal char. Decisions, decisions.

Most winemakers experiment with anywhere from two to five or more barrel makers until they are satisfied with the mix and the results. And you better be friendly with your barrel maker or broker, or you could end up with the barrels that were going to go to Outer Mongolia.

Once the wine is in the barrel, you monitor its progress through alcohol (we are talking about a fine wine here) and then malolactic fermentation. I will explain the difference at a latter-date.

So let’s see, you have many barrels in the cellar, 200? Guess what you will be doing? Tasting, topping off every barrel regularly, and being vigilant. You watch every barrel like a hawk, tasting, smelling, and testing for and fixing any problems.

Wine of the week, you asked for an Autumnal suggestion, and boy, do I have a delicious one.

  • 2021 Domaine Serol Eclat de Granite Côte Roannaise — $24.99

I adore this wine, and it will surely be on my Thanksgiving Table! With 1/2 hour of air, Eclat exhibits a super-sexy silkiness. Its 100 Gamay is an absolute joy to drink. It pumps out ultra-pure flavors of raspberries, strawberries, and mineral spice with a long palate cleansing finish. It’s brilliant!

Cheers,
Doug

Photo (top) by Vince Veras on Unsplash

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With many homes on the market moving quickly for above the asking price, now is the perfect time to maximize your home’s value!

Learn how to get top dollar for your home while minimizing stress and saving time with the help of expert agents on the top-selling real estate team in the D.C. metro area.

Angela Decint, ranked as a top realtor by the Washingtonian, and listing specialist Lane Brenner, will be hosting this selling seminar at Keri Shull Team’s office in Rosslyn. Attend to get all your burning real estate questions answered.

You’ll discover:

  • How to know the perfect time to sell your home
  • The right strategy for pricing your home to sell
  • The power of off-market home sales
  • How to market your home to as many buyers as possible
  • And much more!

Join us on Wednesday, October 19th at 6 p.m. for this FREE in-person seminar. You won’t want to miss out on learning how to sell your home for the best possible price through cutting-edge techniques. We will validate parking for those commuting by car.

Reserve your seat today!

We could tell you how great CarCare To Go is. We could tell you about how they are transforming the way people care for their cars with free valet pick-up and return from home or work, how they combine the full service of a mechanic with a uniquely transparent and convenient process.

We could even tell you about their $20.22 introductory synthetic oil change offer (yes, they are THAT confident in their service and no, there is no catch)

But rather than take our word for it, we’re just going to let your neighbors reviews speak for themselves (Oh, and you can see more reviews here):

“Claire and Trever rock! They made my experience fabulous, and my car looks and feels perfect. This is my second time using CarCare, and I 100% recommend!” — Daniela C.

“Loved my experience with CarCare To Go! They made it very easy. The mechanics were very thorough and even made a video showing me the problem with my sway bars. Michael, my main point of contact, did an especially good job keeping me updated, explaining exactly what was going on mechanically, and guiding me through the payment process. I will use this company again!” — Zak S.

“I had a great experience with CarCare To Go. I recently moved to D.C. and didn’t have a mechanic yet. So I was very happy to have found CarCare To Go. The process was very convenient and efficient. Michael was my point of contact and was extremely friendly, communicative, and a great help. My car was picked up, fixed, and brought back within a few hours (both drivers were very friendly), with text tracking along the way. They even washed my car and put air in the tires for free. Really great service from everyone I interacted with and it could not have been easier. Highly recommend.” — Caitlin F.

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This sponsored column is by Law Office of James Montana PLLC. All questions about it should be directed to James Montana, Esq., Doran Shemin, Esq., and Laura Lorenzo, Esq., practicing attorneys at The Law Office of James Montana PLLC, an immigration-focused law firm located in Arlington, Virginia. The legal information given here is general in nature. If you want legal advice, contact us for an appointment.

The Biden Administration has announced a new humanitarian form of relief.

The program, as yet unnamed, closely tracks the “Uniting for Ukraine” program. This time, the program sets out to help Venezuelans leave Venezuela and come to the United States legally.

Similar to the Uniting for Ukraine, up to 24,000 Venezuelans with sponsors living in the United States will be permitted to apply for parole. Parole is a special travel document issued to noncitizens who are coming to the United States for humanitarian reasons. Venezuelans who qualify and who are approved will be able to travel the United States by air, temporarily live in the United States, and apply for work authorization.

To qualify, the Venezuelan national must have a sponsor in the United States who is willing to sign a contract called an Affidavit of Support. This contract shows the U.S. government that the individual coming to the United States will have adequate financial and other support.

Additionally, the individual must go through a series of national security and public safety screenings to ensure that he or she does not pose a threat to the United States or the public. Finally, the individual must obtain all U.S.-required vaccinations.

However, not all Venezuelans will qualify. A Venezuelan national will be disqualified if he or she has (1) been ordered removed (deported) from the United States in the last five years; (2) crossed a U.S. border illegally after the date of announcement, October 12; (3) irregularly entered Mexico or Panama after October 12; (4) is a permanent resident or dual national of any other country other than Venezuela; (5) has refugee status in any other country; or (6) has not complied with vaccination or other public health requirements.

Further, this program also states that Venezuelans who attempt to cross a U.S. border illegally will be subject to Title 42 expulsion. As we previously explained, Title 42 of the U.S. Code continues to be used to expel noncitizens from the United States under the guise of protecting public health.

While we certainly approve of the new pathway to enter the United States legally, the continued use of Title 42 to expel noncitizens puts asylum seekers at risk. Some may be in so much danger that waiting to go through all of the screening and other procedures under the parole program will not be possible; escape and traveling by land may be the only option.

We hope this program will be a success, similar to Uniting for Ukraine, but we are also concerned about the Biden Administration’s continued (probably pretextual) use of Title 42 to expel asylum seekers.

As always, we welcome questions and comments.

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This article was written by Arlington Economic Development.

On September 6, Arlington’s Talent Pilot Program kicked off by welcoming its initial four program participants.

Over the next 12 to 20 weeks, these individuals will gain valuable experience by working on real-world technology projects under senior-level mentorship. Arlington Economic Development partnered with Arlington-based Exelaration, the #2 tech and engineering internship provider in the U.S., to provide these participants with a paid, full-time experiential-learning opportunity.

Meaningful Progress

October marks a significant milestone for the Program and its participants. Starting this month, the Program’s four participants will begin applying their skillsets to real-world client projects. The participants will supplement these projects by receiving relevant technical instruction, including earning a Certified Scrum Master certification. The Arlington Talent Pilot program strives to increase the local tech talent supply by leveraging Arlington’s highly educated workforce.

Forming Strategic Partnerships

The Arlington Talent Pilot Program partners with local organizations such as Bridges to Independence, the Alexandria-Arlington Regional Workforce Council, the Capital Youth Empowerment Program, and, most recently, Virginia Values Veterans (V3) as sources for program participants.

Companies and organizations can get involved through events, networking, projects, donations, lectures, and more. To learn more, visit Exelaration’s partnership page.

Make Your Application Stand Out!

Changing careers can be a time-consuming and costly effort, especially for those changing careers toward software development. With entry-level software development positions often requiring at least one year of experience, aspiring software developers are left with few options to overcome this experience barrier.

Purposefully, the Arlington Talent Pilot Program does not require a bachelor’s degree or tech industry experience. Individuals can demonstrate their interest in coding or software development by utilizing free online resources such as Udemy, Code Academy and Coursera.

Leveraging these free resources can serve a dual-purpose: (1) they help you form a basic understanding of coding and software development, and, (2) by listing them on your resume, they demonstrate your interest and passion for software development. To learn more about changing careers, check out Exelaration’s blog, Behavioral Best Practices for Launching a Tech Career.

If you need help with your resume or want resume feedback, the Arlington Employment Center offers free webinars, workshops and live Q&A sessions to assist you. Check out their resources page here.

Apply Now

The Program’s second cohort starts on January 24, 2023 and will consist of six program participants. The application deadline for the second cohort is October 23, 2022, and those interested in learning more about the program or applying can do so directly through Exelaration’s applicant portal. The program is limited to Arlington residents and does not require a secondary degree.

About Arlington Economic Development 

Arlington Economic Development (AED), part of Arlington County Government, is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of an economically competitive and sustainable community, and the creation of exciting, diverse and amenity-rich places. AED provides visionary leadership and superior services to Arlington’s business and arts community, its tourism industry and its real estate development. For more information, visit arlingtoneconomicdevelopment.com.

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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. 

As of October 10, there are 162 detached homes, 60 townhouses and 228 condos for sale throughout Arlington County. In total, 51 homes experienced a price reduction in the past week, including:

2800 S. Ives Street S

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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