As We Begin to Reopen…

As we transition into Phase III with some areas beginning to open up while  others remain on restricted status, I encourage you to stay safe and make wise  decisions when you go out in public, so you and your family continue to remain healthy.  I will continue to implement and practice robust protocols to do our part to keep you safe while buying, selling or leasing.

The results of the pandemic have limited the number of houses coming on to the market here in Northern Virginia and continue to do so.  This should not be news to you loyal readers of my newsletters and blog.  Potential sellers are still concerned about people coming into their homes, which is understandable during this time. The crazy thing is – the pandemic and various Phases we have been in have not slowed down home sales! The inventory level of houses for sale is down 43% from this same week last year, yet sales are up 16.5%.  It is critical that we find people looking to sell their home and are comfortable doing so because we are continuing to see multiple contracts on houses throughout Northern Virginia (in most price points). It is not uncommon to receive double digit contracts on a house in less than 48 hours when it is priced right, and is in the right condition and location.   In fact in many price points and locations it’s the norm.

The onslaught of offers has prices escalating, and as a result, we are experiencing some appraisal issues. I make sure to set the proper expectations for both sellers and buyers if I feel the house will not appraise.  In addition to this, I meet the appraiser at the property to keep them informed on the situation – the number of contracts, prices, the quantity of showings, etc. to try to avoid low appraisals. However, they still are happening in some cases, as some prices just cannot be supported by the appraisers. We have had several people waive the appraisal contingency to secure a home, which has been great for my sellers. We have also had many appraisal waivers from lenders when the borrower has excellent credit, is putting down 20% or more, and the neighborhood can support the pricing. To learn more about this, please call me as it is not uniform or guaranteed.

One thing that is happening, and we saw this in the mid 2000’s as well, is that as mentioned we are seeing a lot of contracts that are going high but waiving the appraisal contingency, and when these new previously unsupportable prices based on the comps close there will be new data for higher appraisals.

Buyers – get in the game!  We can help, and rates are still amazing. Today’s rates are below 3% on 30-year fixed loans. Additionally, if you aren’t planning to move and you haven’t refinanced, now is a great time. Call me to learn more about this and our strategies to win in multiple contract situations or for a connection to one of my preferred lending partners. I am always here to help!

It’s a good life.



10 Household Cleaning Tricks Using Vinegar

Source: Mizkan Americas

Commercial-grade cleaners may make your home sparkle, but many have chemicals that can be hazardous. If you want to clean your home using natural products, try using vinegar, a non-toxic agent, in these 10 ways:

In the kitchen, vinegar can be used in place of appliance cleaners.

  • Clean your refrigerator’s ice and water dispenser by running vinegar through the system. Flush the vinegar out by running water through the system for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Deodorize the garbage disposal by pouring in half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar. Let sit for five minutes, and then run hot water down the disposal.
  • Rid your dishwasher of mineral buildup by pouring half a cup of vinegar into the reservoir and running an empty cycle.
  • To clean a grease-splattered oven door window, saturate it with vinegar. Keep the door open for 10 to 15 minutes before wiping with a sponge.

In the bathroom, vinegar can help maintain plumbing fixtures.

  • Rid faucets of lime deposits by tying a plastic bag containing one-third to one-half cup of vinegar around it and leaving it there for two to three hours. Wipe down with a sponge, and scrub any remaining deposits with an old toothbrush. The same approach can be used to remove buildup on a shower head.
  • To clean the toilet bowl, pour in a cup or more of vinegar and let it sit for several hours or overnight. Scrub well with a toilet brush and flush.
  • Vinegar and baking soda can unclog and remove odor from a tub drain. Pour half a cup of baking soda in the drain, followed with two cups of hot vinegar. Immediately plug the drain with a rag to keep the bubbles contained for 10 minutes. Rinse by pouring a kettle of boiling hot water down the drain.

In the laundry room, vinegar can help preserve your garments.

  • Forgot you left wet laundry in the machine? Pour a few cups of vinegar in the machine, and wash the clothes in hot water. Run a normal cycle with detergent to rinse the clothes.
  • Remove coffee and tea stains on clothing by flushing the area with vinegar, rinsing and repeating. For wine stains, saturate the spot with vinegar and allow it to stand for several minutes. Wash as normal.
  • Restore yellowed clothing by soaking garments overnight in a solution of 12 parts warm water and one part vinegar. Wash them the following morning.

These are just some of the (endless!) uses for vinegar (who knew?). How will you use it in your home? I’d love to hear your ideas!


Recipe Corner

Red Velvet-Blueberry Ice Cream Pie


Yields 8-10 servings | Total time 45min


· 4 store-bought red velvet cupcakes
· 1 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream
· 1 1/2 pints blueberry sorbet
· 2 cups cold heavy cream
· 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar


  1. Scrape off and discard the frosting from the cupcakes; crumble the cupcakes into crumbs. Press all but 1/4 cup crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Freeze 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, let the ice cream and sorbet soften at room temperature, about 15 minutes. Spread the ice cream evenly over the crust using an offset spatula or rubber spatula; spread the sorbet on top. (Return the pie to the freezer between layers if the ice cream gets too soft.) Freeze while you make the whipped cream.
  3. Beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Top the pie with the whipped cream and sprinkle the reserved cupcake crumbs around the edge. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.


The Home-Buying Process in 8 Steps

How to avoid obstacles, eliminate uncertainty, and experience the excitement of finding a home.

The path toward home ownership can be a long and winding road. By thoroughly understanding each step of the process, home buyers can avoid obstacles, eliminate uncertainty, and experience the excitement of finding a house to call home. You can break the home-buying process into eight essential steps:

Find the Real Estate Agent
To start your home-buying journey, it’s important to hire a top notch real estate agent like me.  I can deliver an outstanding reputation and over 30 years of relationships with my fellow real estate agents which gives you the buyer an upper hand in the competitive process we find ourselves in.  I will serve as a trusted source of information so you can make informed decisions during the entire process.

Get Pre-Qualified
The next step is to get pre-qualified for a mortgage. Pre-qualification for a loan provides insight into how much house you can afford, and these days, in some cases, it has become a requirement for being able to view a home in person. I have several preferred vendors that I can refer you to work with.  Lender selection matters to the sellers too.

Search for Homes
After determining your budget, it’s time to begin searching for homes. Be realistic by identifying your wants versus your needs before beginning your search. Listing information is ubiquitous but I’ll get you set up on regular automated searches that provide an excellent platform for back and forth on your interests.

Make an Offer
Once you find a home you love, I will prepare to make an offer based on the price and terms you choose. Including an offer letter can help to distinguish yourself from other candidates.  I also include a detailed letter with contract submissions laying out your case to the sellers and the advantages we bring.

Negotiating a price is one of the most crucial aspects of your real estate journey. It’s also the point at which my experience and expertise can make the most dramatic difference. The current market conditions are seeing multiple  offers on numerous listings in our area.

Inspections and Appraisal
A professional home inspector will examine the home to identify any damages or fixes that need to be made. Using the inspection report, I can negotiate with the seller to get the damages fixed or price compensated in the final sale.

During the closing, you and the seller will sign all necessary documents to finalize the sale and transfer the ownership of the property. Time to celebrate!

Move In!
The long-awaited home is officially yours. It’s time to start boxing up all your belongings. To relieve the stress of moving, preparation is key. I have several preferred moving companies that can assist you with packing, storage and moving.

Ready to start the process? Give me a call so we can start searching for the home of your dreams.