During the overture to the film version of The Sound of Music, before the hills come alive with Julie Andrews, the camera first flies us high above the Alpine peaks. Ever since its premiere in 1965, Herndon audiences have been thrilling to the feeling of being suspended over those mountaintops before ultimately swooping down as Fraulein Maria whirls around for her opening song. It’s a warm-up that works every time—one of the most crowd-pleasing exercises in applied movie magic ever.
Right now, a dissimilar overture is tuning up in Washington. The cameras aren’t allowed to swoop down into the congressional conference rooms, and Rodgers and Hammerstein are nowhere in sight. Whatever your political views, it’s a possibility that when the first words are sung out, the sound won’t be the sound of music so much as the sound of Herndon homeowners howling in dismay. At least that’s what the National Association of REALTORS® is trying to prevent.
The current state of affairs are, as is inevitable, shrouded in mystery. That isn’t because of Congressional skullduggery so much as necessity: while you’re putting together tax changes, if you publicize every separate provision before the whole package is formulated, the whole thing won’t ever get to be formulated. But the original starting provisions are on the record.
What the NAR is not objecting to is one provision that Herndon homeowners will be happy to hear: nobody is suggesting that the tax deduction for mortgage interest payments be eliminated, or even scaled back. It’s going to be retained in its entirety. As one of the financial plusses that encourages homeownership by making buying and selling more affordable, it’s certain to be part of any tax reform package.
The main proposal that has raised the real estate industry’s ire is one that would eliminate state and local tax deductions. That could include Herndon real estate taxes, resulting in what amounts to double taxation. Since U.S. homeowners already pay between 80%-90% of federal income taxes, the NAR is crying “foul.”
They aren’t alone. The New York Times cites a “raft of organizations”—including the National Governors Association, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National Conference of State Legislatures—which have united to denounced the measure.
At any rate, it’s going to take a while before the Hill is Alive with the sound of anything that’s nailed down for certain. I’ll keep an ear out, and let you know. In the meantime, as the busy Herndon spring selling season heads into what looks to be an equally lively summer, I’ll be by the phone, ready to answer your real estate queries!
The reason “Top 7” lists draw such universal attention is their value as time-savers: you can skim down the bold-faced items to spot topics of interest, needing to read further only for those that can use further explanation. When it comes to home selling in Herndon, common flubs would be of interest if you’ve just been through a sale or are beginning to entertain the idea. Knowing the most common missteps certainly can’t hurt.
It has to be noted that home selling blunders to avoid are compiled for the benefit of For Sale by Owner do-it-yourselfers. The target readership are those who for some reason have fallen prey to the undisputed flub #1: failing to hire a licensed Virginia real estate agent such as (to pick a name at random)...me!
Given that understanding, here are what appear to be the most often repeated home selling flubs—presented as overs and unders. Their listing in no particular order:
These seven unders and overs appear on almost all the “home selling mistake” lists—but they aren’t comprehensive. Most (almost nine out of 10) buyers avoid discovering these or less common pitfalls by teaming with an agent. When you hire me to represent your sale, you’ve teamed with someone who is experienced in avoiding all of them!
I think you’ll agree that the relationship between avocados and dream homes has been elusive for a long time. In fact, any connection between the delicious green fruit (it’s not a veggie) and the Herndon home of our dreams has been more than elusive. Until last week, it’s fair to say it was completely undiscovered.
Last Tuesday, thanks to ace reporting by CNBC’s David Reid, the connection was finally unearthed. The breakthrough came with his published report, headlined “MILLIONAIRE SAYS MILLENNIALS SHOULD STOP BUYING AVOCADO IN ORDER TO BUY DREAM HOME.”
Reid’s discovery brought to light the negative impact the fruit is currently wreaking on young people. Although the report originated in Australia, Virginia millennials might want to pay heed to the warning, as well.
The headline derives from the wisdom of the young Aussie real estate tycoon Tim Gurner. He’s only 35, yet has already stashed away more than half a billion dollars. Even though last week’s Australian dollar was only worth 75 cents, that’s still an impressive accomplishment. Let’s face it: here or Down Under, that’s a lot of avocados!
Australia’s version of 60 Minutes provided the link between buying a dream home and what New Orleanians call “alligator pears.” It came in the course of a televised interview during which the youthful mogul related his dismay at young people’s spendthrift restaurant choices. Gurner described scrimping and saving for his first real estate purchase—activity which definitely didn’t include ordering gourmet sandwiches at trendy cafes. “When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop,” he recalled. “How can young people afford to eat like this?”
Although his premise is certainly unarguable—Herndon young people would do well to watch their lunch-hour budgets as they save for their first home purchase—it might be unfair to place the blame directly on avocados. Careful Herndon shoppers can usually find one at the market for at most $1.99 (or less if they are patient enough to wait for the little rock-hard ones to ripen).
The timing by CNBC is also subject to criticism. The avocado-dream home connection may have come too late, since it appeared a full two weeks after Cinco de Mayo, the traditional apex of local Herndon guacamole consumption. Chips and dips will be omnipresent for this weekend’s Memorial Day get-togethers, but the green stuff will have to share table space with onion dip —presumably making dream home acquisition proportionately safer.
Whether you use avocado avoidance or more traditional techniques to save for your next dream home down payment, I’ll be here, ready to help. Do call!
There is no denying that the words “FIRE SALE!” and “CHEAP!” and “PRICES SLASHED!” and “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS!” have long been used to spur sales. Bargain hunters of all stripes are being asked to take a second look wherever those attention-snagging phrases are promoted. When it comes to selling Herndon homes, a For Sale by Owner sign out front can seem to be a promise of an out-of-the-ordinary value being offered—a marketing tactic meant to rope in deal-hungry prospective buyers.
But there’s a downside that anyone contemplating selling their Herndon home would do well to consider. Those FSBO signs may carry some unwanted baggage.
The fact is, discounting is most effective when the item being pitched is a premium product. If a Tesla dealer decides to advertise a 24-Hour Everything Must Go Blowout Sale, it will get a lot more double-takes than would the same pitch at a Nissan Versa showroom. Discount Sales and markdowns can help marketing volume, but they don’t do much to bolster a product’s reputation. When it comes to selling Herndon homes, that unintended side effect can be counterproductive.
When a homeowner decides to plant one of those “FOR SALE BY OWNER” signs in the front yard, even though the quality of the Herndon home being offered might be the same as it would be if represented by a licensed Herndon real estate agent, there is a cut-rate subtext. Since something like 88% of homes are sold with the help of a professional, there can’t help but be an unspoken question about what the seller hopes to accomplish by going it alone.
What’s to be gained by doing all the extra work?
There is only one likely answer: saving money! It may not be spelled out, but most buyers expect that they will benefit: it’s the familiar “SALE!” incentive. But there can’t help being another message that comes along for the ride: “something about this property might need a little extra help...”
Fair or not—and accurate or not—when anything goes on sale, the best any shopper hopes for is that the product being offered is equal in quality to one that’s not on sale. It’s never believable that the quality could be superior; that wouldn’t make sense. Not surprisingly, in 2015 the national average price paid for a FSBO home was 23% lower than what a typical professionally assisted home sale brought. It’s hard to avoid concluding that the subtle cues and subtext messages that go with those FSBO signs must not be so subtle, after all.
When my professionally-designed “For Sale” sign goes up in front of a Herndon client’s home, its subtext is unmistakable: “here is a quality offering.” If you plan to be selling your Herndon home this year, I hope you’ll decide to have one of those out front!
If you’re a typical Herndon consumer, like most Virginia residents, it wasn’t too long ago that you were being constantly bombarded by offers to let you in on a secret: your credit score. The “free credit score” ads got a lot of responses, but lately, they’ve grown scarcer. I think I know why.
It used to be that thrift-minded people shied away from plastic because it made overspending too easy. Today, ubiquitous credit card bonus points and associated discounts and freebies make the opposite true. After all, taking a vacation without using at least some of your credit card airline “miles” or hotel “points” seems more careless than thrifty.
And the fact is, you don’t have to use the credit part of credit card purchases: if you’re careful, you can pay off the balances before interest starts to accrue. And there’s a major additional benefit to conscientious attention to of all your credit accounts— that is, the credit score dimension.
For many years, credit scores seemed a sort of hush-hush affair. That was before initiatives by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Fair Isaac Corp (FICO) changed the rules of the game, making it mandatory to allow free access to your credit scores. Even so, it was still a bit of a hassle to get to see them—and the “free” access was limited to once a year.
But that’s been changing. Today, many credit card accounts include free access to the FICO credit scores associated with them. If you use the card issuers’ online account systems, you’re usually just a mouse click away from your most recent score. Apparently, the banks behind the cards know it’s a good way to make online bill paying more attractive than snail mail—which is a profit saver for them. At last count, by April of last year more than 150 million accounts included the instant credit score feature.
What that means to Herndon real estate transactions is a solid positive. When Herndon consumers can keep a steady watch on their credit scores, they are much more likely to notice FICO mistakes or any of their own inadvertent slip-ups. The scores affect the interest rates associated with their credit card accounts—but they also heavily influence the offers they can expect from the mortgage underwriters.
I recommend prequalifying for a home loan: it’s one of the best ways to make your offer the winner in a multiple offer scenario. For other ideas that give you a head start when it comes to buying or selling Herndon real estate, just give me a call!
Many people long to live in Ashburn Village, and why wouldn't they? The Ashburn Village Sports Pavilion offers a Seasonal Outdoor Pool and Marina, Indoor Pool, Steam and Sauna rooms, Cycle and Group Fitness Studios, Free Weights and Selectorized Strength Training Equipment, TRX, Cardio Equipment, Racquetball Courts, Full Gymnasium, Multipurpose room as well as year round Tennis Courts. The Pavilion's programs and events are geared to meet the needs of members and non-members of all ages that include Swim and Tennis Lessons, a large selection of Group Fitness Classes, Specialty programming for Teens, Active Adults and Seniors, State licensed After-School Care, Summer Camp and much more.
The community also offers 8 tot lots, miles of jogging and bike trails, baseball and soccer fields, a fit trail, 2 elementary schools ,1 middle school, as well as over 500 acres of open outdoor space with 8 lakes and ponds for fishing and canoeing.
The Association hosts many exciting community events such as a brilliant display of fireworks on Lake Ashburn in the month of July, VillageFest, H.E.L.P. Wellness Expo, Comedy Night, Fiesta 5K/10K & Fun Run, Kids Triathlon, Halloween Spooktacular, Santa Parade, Shred events, Community Yard Sales, Summer Movie Nights by the Lake and more.*
Now you see why this area is so desirable, right?
If you're finding yourself thinking "Man, I'd really like to live in a community like this..", I may have the solution you're looking for. I have a great home that just recently hit the market, and you guessed it - it's in Ashburn Village!
20964 Glenburn Terrace, Ashburn, VA 20147
This home is a rare Oxford Expanded model with 4 bedrooms on the upper level, 2.5 baths and 2,160 finished sq. ft. It has a large unfinished basement just waiting for your design! This home also boasts a 1-car garage, stainless steel appliances, brand new stove and microwave, brand new carpet on main level, spacious master suite with sitting area, master bath with double vanity, and a large deck lined with trees. Newer roof, attic fan, water heater and windows.
Homes in this neighborhood only come on the market once in a blue moon (people tend to stay), so if you're interested in the slightest, you may want to come take a look at it. We don't anticipate that this one will be available for much longer!
For more info, photos and video walk-through, visit www.20964Glenburn.info
Listed by: LeAnne Anies | LeAnne & Company | Pearson Smith Realty | 202-409-7513 | LeAnne@LeAnneandCo.com
*Information on Ashburn Village found at www.ashburnvillage.org
It’s called SLAM: an abbreviated approach that helps Herndon house hunters to quickly sort through listed houses for sale. Herndon homes that compare well using the SLAM categories warrant further investigation.
The four parts of the SLAM list:
The SLAM checklist is a shorthand way to quickly assess many of the factors that wind up heading House Hunters Top 10 lists. There are no hard-and-fast scoring guidelines, but if more than one of the four elements come up with definite minuses—it’s probably a good idea to move on.
This May there are many appealing Herndon houses for sale—and helping you whittle the field down to those that will best fit your family is a service that will save you time and energy. Call me whenever it’s time to get started!
You might have had a science teacher who explained to the class why perpetual motion machines aren’t possible. He would have had some common sense to back up his point (everybody knows nothing lasts forever). But the actual scientific explanation had to do with physics and Newton’s Laws: in the end, perpetual motion just isn’t in the cards.
When it comes to real estate, however, for a lot of happy residents, their Herndon home equity comes awfully close to being a kind of perpetual income machine.
There may not be a Newton’s Law of Retirement Motion, but for anybody planning their long-term future security, there should be. It would be straightforward:
For every mortgage principal payment, there is an equal and opposite addition to your home equity.
This simple Law has a profound effect in the real world. The PEW Research Center tells us that the typical median family’s expenditure for housing = 23% of after-tax income. That figure is for households with two earners and two children. If retirement will mean a reduction in those two earners’ income (as is usually the case), unless they reduce the size or quality of their housing, the percentage of income it claims will have to rise further. Not a very desirable outcome.
But apparently the majority of Americans have already taken our fanciful Law of Retirement Motion into account. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, among American homeowners who are 65 and older, a whopping 65.3% have no mortgage payments to make. They own their residences free and clear. For them, the home equity effect is, as financial adviser Robert Christman describes, “...almost as if you had saved enough extra to provide a monthly income equal to your mortgage.” It’s like a Newton’s Law of Perpetual Income.
The practical effect of owning your Herndon home outright isn’t as fanciful as are the non-existent Newton’s Laws—it’s darned real! Which is one reason my job helping clients land the right home at the right price ends up being so satisfying.
Do give me a call!
As this season’s controversies swirl through Washington, one of them seems likely to wind up being at the top of the heap: federal income taxes. Whether or not they will be simplified (hopefully) or lowered (ummm--probably?) will be sorted out in due time, but one detail is a lead pipe cinch: when the dust clears, the real estate tax advantage will remain.
If any politician is thinking about eliminating the real estate tax advantage, he or she is wisely being very quiet about it. For good reason: that’s an idea that would probably lead to a quick retirement from public life courtesy of many displeased voters. Certainly, that’s likely to be the case as far as Herndon homeowners and home buyers are concerned.
I don’t provide financial or tax advice, but some of the long-standing real estate tax advantages are well-known and detailed on Uncle Sam’s public sites. The headline tax benefits of homeownership explains their widespread support—among them:
Finance blogger Bob Christman’s recent “Real Estate Markets on the Mend" article centered on the real estate tax advantage being key to why “more Americans may be in a position to buy or sell properties in 2017.” He listed more reasons, but for Herndon taxpayers, the tax ramifications can be persuasive—and another good reason to give me a call to explore today’s market!
I don’t know about you, but when I used to hear the term “affordable housing” I’d think of value-priced Herndon condominium listings, some of the nicer area mobile home parks, or maybe fixer-uppers likely to be snatched up by professional house flippers (ultimately to become slightly less affordable housing).
When I heard “affordable housing,” I did not think “packing crate.” Nor did I think “steamer trunk” or “storage unit.” That turns out to be entirely appropriate; nobody is volunteering to live in those.
Where I missed the boat was that I did not think, “shipping container.”
But that was then—this, as they say, is now. Those simpler days are behind us. Shipping containers, it turns out, are the latest in affordable housing. And I must say there are some real possibilities for tricked-out shipping container homes.
Before dismissing the idea out of hand, first, consider the real advantages. Shipping containers are those nearly boxcar-sized metal enclosures they pile 15 high on giant vessels that play the high seas, bringing products near and far in great quantities. They are flood and fire-proof. Containerhomes-info points out that they can “face wind, rain, salt, typhoons, extreme weight, dropping and bumping.” They are made of Corten steel, stronger than regular steel and, you’ll have to admit, probably stronger than whatever your current Herndon home is made of.
Recycling enthusiasts realize that shipping containers are only used for 10 or 15 years even though they can last much longer! Also, since they are from 20 to 40 feet in length, when combined as modules by forward-thinking architect types, they can actually form sizable spaces. As the digitaltrends website puts it, “one man’s retired shipping container is another man’s crazy, high-end modular home.”
And here’s the practical coup de grace: there are 24 million empty shipping containers sitting on docks all over the world! Empty! Waiting for an enterprising Herndon architect to create the next model modular masterpiece—with an almost certain resulting publicity blitz. The reason the publicity blitz is likely is because most of the current stars of the movement seem to be in far-
off places like Copenhagen and Equador (at least the prettiest ones are there).
If you have a few moments, go ahead and Google best ideas about shipping container homes (see the one with what looks like a putting green on top?) or shipping container prize winners. Honestly, some are beautiful—but I’d say it has a lot to do with the lighting.
I don’t happen to have any award-winning shipping container homes listed at the moment, but when it comes to more traditional and affordable Herndon housing, give me a call!
Mom. Mother-in-law. Chef's Wife. Navy Chief's Wife. Realtor. Christian. Connector. Empty Nester. Business Woman. Foodie.