Wow, did November fly by or what? It was just Thanksgiving and now I’m elbow deep in Christmas (and a lot of deals to boot!)

First off don’t forget about Breakfast with Santa event to benefit Toys for Tots on December 14th.  Remember Yours Truly will be the man behind the beard again!  So come by and make fun of me!  Full info is here in the newsletter.  Hope to see you all at the event!

Now to the market.  November brought a few substantial changes in our industry. First is the way we must now market our listings. The ability to pre-market homes as we used to know it has gone by the wayside.  Previously, we could use signs, online marketing on social media sites, real estate websites, networking events and/or email campaigns to get the word out about future listings either days, weeks or months in advance. Now, we must put the home in MLS within one business day as active or in “Coming Soon” status once the property is marketed to the public in the aforementioned ways. It is more consumer friendly as it opens up all houses to the buyers and it also gives sellers      maximum exposure to all buyers by sharing the properties with all agents. Before this new rule, there were agents who would privately market homes to the detriment of the seller and potential buyers. This change will also provide accurate data in MLS for sales information, so we all know what sales prices and concessions are and inform us if the sale was an arm’s length transactions or not.  This is helpful for pricing houses for both buyers and sellers as well as appraisers. To learn how this can affect you when deciding to sell your house, give me a call, I’m happy to share more details.

The second area is financing houses and loan amounts.  Here is a brief history of what FHFA has done since 2016 with conventional loans: back in 2016, the FHFA increased the conforming loan limits from $417,000 to $424,100. Then, the next year, the FHFA raised the loan limits from $424,100 to $453,100 for 2018.  And in 2018, the FHFA  increased the loan limit from $453,100 to $484,350 for 2019.  Lastly, just last week, the new loan limits will be $510,000 for 2020.  Jumbo loans will now go up to $765,600 in our area.  Jumbo loans typically have higher interest rates.  Please call to learn more about how this can help you when buying or selling a house.  Also, VA loans no longer have a limit, but they do have liability issues which can affect the amount of your loan going forward.  If you are a veteran, your eligibility will drive your maximum loan amount.  In addition, the funding fee for zero-down loans will be 2.3% of the loan amount in 2020, up from 2.15% for regular military in 2019.  The fee for subsequent use loans will be 3.6% of the loan amount, up from the current 3.3%.  You can pay the fee upfront or roll the cost into the loan.  These go into effect for any loan that closes after January 1, 2020.  Even though it is the holiday season there is a lot of real estate going on and I’m laboring assiduously so reach out to me with any questions.  I am here to help.

Wishing and praying you have a safe, fun and festive holiday season with all of your family and friends!  Merry Christmas!!

It’s a good life.



Local Events

Check out these great events happening in and around Northern Virginia in December!

Bull Run Festival of Lights

Fairfax County
Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights – November 8, 2019 – January 5, 2020  9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna, VA 22182
Enjoy a 0.6 miles walk filled with more than 500,000 LED lights! Light fountains, a garden of illumination, a tunnel of light, birds, bees, squirrels, the Gingerbread Village, Holly Berry Hill, snowfall lights, and so much more is waiting for you! End your walk with a hot beverage and s`mores from the concessions. Warm up and roast marshmallows at the fire pit!

Bull Run Festival of Lights – November 22, 2019 – January 5, 2020
7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, VA 20120
Bull Run Festival of Lights is open seven nights weekly, from November 22, 2019 to January 5, 2020. Monday – Thursday 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday – Sunday and Holidays 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  Enjoy 2.5 miles illuminated by holiday light displays. Drive the festival route from the comfort of your car; turn out your  headlights and just follow the magical glow. After viewing the lights, bring your family and friends to the holiday village to enjoy rides, refreshments, and of course, photos with Santa Claus (holiday village open select nights).

Loudoun County
Christmas Village at Leesburg Animal Park
19246 James Monroe Highway, Leesburg, VA
December 13-14 & 20-23 | $10.95 per person
Celebrate the holidays with your animal friends at Leesburg Animal Park in Loudoun County. Three weekends in December, the park features an evening Christmas Village. Enjoy a nativity scene with live animals, pony rides, animal encounters, pictures with your furry friends, holiday crafts, a bonfire, holiday lights, and more. The park is free for those under two and $10.95 for children and adults.

Prince William County
Christmas at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. 
18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, VA
December 14th from 12pm – 9pm
The National Museum of the Marine Corps has become a holiday destination for many families. The Museum’s Leatherneck Gallery is hung with yards of garland, bows and wreathes. Two small holiday trees grace the main gallery and a 21-foot Marine Corps-themed tree was added in 2015. On Christmas Family Day, a very magical Santa and Mrs. Claus (with a twinkle in his eye) will be on hand to visit with little ones. These two can honestly calm the fussiest baby and the most frightened child, and there are activities to keep the young ones busy while they wait in line. Visitors are welcome to take as many pictures as they like, so bring your camera along. You must be in line by 3:30. All museum activities are free and open to the public.


Partner Spotlight

A spotlight on one of my valued partners in real estate

MVB Mortgage

The Burruss Team

The Burruss Team at MVB Mortgage is not your average, local mortgage lender. Are you looking to buy a new home before you sell your current home? Call Josh. Have you been self employed just less than 2 years and no one can give you a loan? Call Josh. Here at MVB Mortgage, we are a true portfolio lender. That means we have control to make “common sense” underwriting decisions in a lending world that is turning into online algorithms.

We have the products for everyone from first time buyers to construction and renovation clients.  The highest level of customer service is our hallmark and closing each loan on-time is a standard by which we measure ourselves.  In a highly competitive real estate market, the Burruss Team is there to support your every need.  With a staff of 4 individuals, there is always coverage for you.  With over 15 years of mortgage experience, Josh has had his hands on over $4 billion dollars of closed transactions.  When you are in the market to purchase, refinance or construct, make your first call the Burruss Team at MVB Mortgage.

Contact us at:
[email protected] or 541-266-6502


Recipe Corner

Sugar Cookie Truffles

Prep time 25 minutes/total time 45 minutes


· 15 baked sugar cookies
· 1 (8-oz.) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
· 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
· Pinch kosher salt
· 2 tsp. coconut oil
· 1 1/4 c. white chocolate chips
· Christmas sprinkles, for garnish


1. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large food processor, process cookies until sandy. Alternatively, place cookies in a large resealable plastic bag and use a wooden spoon to crush cookies into crumbs.

2. In a large bowl, stir to combine crushed cookies, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt. Using a small cookie scoop, form cookie mixture into small balls and place on the cooking sheet. Repeat until all mixture is used and place baking sheet in freezer for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, mix coconut oil with white chocolate chips. Microwave on low in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until white chocolate is completely melted.

4. When the balls are chilled, dip them in the chocolate and place back on cooking sheet. Decorate immediately with Christmas sprinkles. When all truffles are dipped and decorated, return to freezer for 10 more minutes to set.  Enjoy!


Breakfast with Santa!

Join us Saturday, December 14th for Breakfast with Santa to support Toys for Tots! There will be lots of fun, food and goodies for both the kids and parents at this annual event with RE/MAX Gateway. And of course I’ll be doing my best Santa Claus! Hope to see you there and Merry Christmas!

December 14th, 2019 from 9 am – 12 pm 
Virginia Run Clubhouse in Centreville

Please be sure to RSVP via email to [email protected]!