Will the Spring Market Arrive Sooner than Later?

What an interesting January we have experienced both weather-wise and in the real estate business. We have golfed and we have shoveled snow/ice this month. We have had multiple contracts on some houses, and we have had houses sitting on the market (with no showings) for days and even weeks. We have had mild temperatures and we have had epically cold days. We have had 30 plus people at open houses on weekends and we have had no visitors at others. We have windy days and days that had no breezes. We have seen mortgage interest rates go up and now they are at yearly lows. And, like the temperatures this past week, we have seen inventory levels drop to 14-year lows. As I said, it was a very interesting January.

The biggest question we have in the real estate industry is… When will more houses come on the market for sale? Historically we have seen houses start go up for sale the second week of February. So, will this year be the same or will we continue along the same path we are on now…inventory levels going down? The answer is, time will tell. In conversations with agents across our five offices, we are hearing about how some houses will be “coming soon” but not a significant number of them. If you are considering selling, this could be your perfect time to do so.

What is odd to me, and others, is prices are not escalating like you might expect. The tried and true economic theory of supply and demand in regard to pricing does not apply in this market. We have a lack of supply and LOTS of demand, but prices are staying relatively flat and, in some situations, we are even seeing price reductions fairly regularly.  Additionally, in several multiple contract situations, we have not seen escalation clauses or even full price offers. Going back to my original sentence, it was an interesting January.

All this being said, we can provide you with the right advice on how you should approach this “interesting” market. Whether you are selling or buying a home, each market and personal situation is different. So, give me a call to learn more. Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s a good life.



Local Events

There is always something fun to do in and around Northern Virginia!

President’s Day in Northern Virginia

Presidents’ Day weekend is a great time to visit Washington, DC or the surrounding Northern Virginia counties to pay tribute to America’s most famous leaders. In 1865, the year after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, America began celebrating Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th. Until 1971, both February 12 and February 22 were observed as federal public holidays. In 1971, President Richard Nixon combined the two holidays into one and ever since we have honored all past presidents on the third Monday of February.

Fairfax County

Mount Vernon—February 18, 2019 — 9:00am – 5:00pm
Admission is FREE.
If you can only visit one George Washington site in Northern Virginia, take a trip to Mount Vernon, here he spent his life before and after his time as a General in the Revolutionary War and his two terms as the first President of the United States. Washington’s home and grounds are beautifully preserved and there are additional special activities during each President’s Day weekend.

Chinese New Year—February 10, 2019—The 11th annual Chinese New Year Festival features a day of live music, dragon and lion dances, children’s games and crafts, delicious Asian cuisine, Chinese language workshops, and the popular dragon parade. This year, students 12 and under will be invited on stage, reciting two ancient Chinese poems. Admission is free; 10:00am – 6:00pm.

Loudoun County

The One Loudoun Marketplace is open every Saturday morning from 9:00am-1:00pm year-round. A treasure trove of fresh produce from regional farms, homemade baked goods, and various artisan goods including jerky, hot sauce, coffee and more! With live music, food trucks and can’t-miss vendors, EatLoCo One Loudoun Marketplace is the perfect way to start the weekend in Loudoun County.


Partner Spotlight

Mike Eastman 

Sandy Spring Bank-Fair Lakes Mortgage Office

My career began in 1978 when I obtained a real estate license, later obtaining my real estate brokers license. While selling real estate and managing real estate agents, I found my love of the transaction was really in the financial piece. As such, in 1995, I moved my career to the mortgage banking side of the business.

The passion I have for a smooth and successful transaction is unmatched. When you come to me, you will be guided through what can be a stressful and confusing transaction, you will leave with no question unanswered and you will have the desire to continue our relationship.

At Sandy Spring Bank, we have all programs to assist buyers of homes and those seeking to refinance their property. From loans to acquire a lot to build on, a onetime close construction/rehab loan, and all the way through every other means of financing residential properties, we have the programs. There is no reason to look any further.

We can help you, your family or your co-workers with a loan in 13 different states. Not every call I take will make money for my company, but every call will be answered both professionally and honestly

Contact me at:
571-327-2145 work | SandySpringBank.com
703-906 4716 cell   [email protected]

Recipe Corner

Slow Cooker Caribbean Beef Stew


Nutrition per 1.5 cup serving: 262  calories, 8.5 g fat (3.4 g saturated). 682 mg sodium, 37.4 g carbs, 5.8 g fiber,  6.6 g sugar, 10.8 g protein

YIELD: 4-6 Servings

PREP: 10 mins

COOK: 7 hrs 0 min


3 sprigs thyme

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, salt and pepper to taste

2 lbs. beef stew

1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, quartered

5 medium carrots, peeled cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces

1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and  finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 14.5 OZ can diced tomatoes**


Strip the leaves from 1 sprig; combine with flour and allspice, salt and pepper. Add beef and toss to coat. Place potatoes, carrots, the remaining two thyme sprigs, ginger, and garlic into a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Add the beef, reserving any flour in the bowl. Whisk1/2 cup of water and Worcestershire sauce into the reserved seasoned flour, then add it to the slow cooker. Pour the tomatoes on top. Cook on low for 7 hours or on high for 4 hours.

**Try using Mexican-styled diced tomatoes with green chilies for an added zip.


5 Reasons to Get Dirty Indoors

By Kristina Phelan

Baby, it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your green thumb ’til spring. Bring the outside beauty of nature indoors this winter with an indoor garden space – it adds natural beauty to a home or supplies edible herbs to spice up those winter meals. We found five positives to planting a winter garden:

Breathe Easy
Do you smell that? It’s clean air! Plants absorb carbon dioxide and in return provide clean oxygen to help purify the air in your home. Although the exchange of carbon dioxide to oxygen is small, every little bit helps when you’re trying to keep a healthy home during flu and cold season.

Fresh Food
Growing fresh herbs is one of the best reasons to start planting indoors. Pluck fresh herbs to add a little texture and taste to your dinners. Bonus-growing your own herbs, cuts one more item from the grocery list.

Stress Less
Studies show that indoor plants help to decrease stress levels within the home. Place plants in visible spots throughout your home to help reduce stress and create a sense of natural peace.

Let Them Learn
Starting an indoor garden is great for beginner gardeners who want to start small before graduating to bigger outdoor areas and cultivating indoor plants is a great way to educate others about life and how plants grow. Children love to get their hands dirty and you can lead them through the different stages of the plant growing from seed to maturity. Don’t be surprised when visitors ask about your plants as well!

Low Maintenance & Cost
It’s not only economical to grow indoors, but a little elbow grease goes a long way when it comes to cultivating inside. You won’t be spending hours digging in the dirt or pulling weeds and all you need for success is a container, potting soil and seeds. Add some water and sit in a sunny spot and you’ll be an indoor gardener in no time!

Are you looking for a home this winter season that has great sunlight for your indoor garden? Give me a call, I’d be honored to help you find a new home that matches your life and style!