August Newsletter

As we enter the dog days of summer…

And prepare for a new version of back-to-school, I hope you and your family are safe, remaining healthy, and are making wise decisions when going out in public.

This month’s update may seem like a broken record, but it is what it is these days. Inventory levels of resales homes in Northern Virginia remain extremely low – 41% below last year’s levels.  Currently, there are only 2,714 houses for sale throughout our area, which includes Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, and Fauquier Counties, as well as all the cities in between. Even with low inventory levels, sales remain strong as they are up 18% week-over-week from last year and up 17% over the previous 30 days from last year. This result is a .7 month’s supply of houses – last year it was a 1.5-month supply. We are still receiving multiple offers on our listings, and the median days on market are a mere seven days making it an exceptionally strong seller’s market.

That being said there is a lot of uncertainty coming for a lot of reasons between now and the end of the year.  The bulwark against the vagaries of the future is actually this limited inventory situation (coupled with the best employment picture in the nation and historically low interest rates)  That is great news for homeowners and prospective buyers in this region.  To bring home this point, in November of 2006 when we had the previous recession, there were almost 23,000 homes on the market!  Supply and demand as the major market influencers cannot be ignored.

This has resulted in the increased prices we are seeing. Year to date, prices are up 6.25% over the same time frame from last year. As I’ve said before, it is an excellent time to be a seller. If you are considering selling, call me to discuss your situation in more detail.

Buyers do have challenges in today’s low inventory, multiple contract situation market we are in, but we are getting our clients into homes! Our firm has exclusive strategy sessions where we share ideas on how we are negotiating to get our clients the home of their dreams. These sessions and strategies have been working, which is great for our clients. In addition to this, interest rates are now below 3%! The expectation is they are going to stay in this range for some time, so there is good news for those looking to become owners or potentially moving up to their “forever” homes. If you are considering looking into the option of purchasing a home, call me to set up a private consultation. I am here to help!

Please remember, even if now is not the right time for you to buy or sell, it may be the perfect time for you to refinance! I can put you in touch with one of our lender partners, so feel free to reach out.

Stay cool in this heatwave we are experiencing.

It’s a good life.



8 Design Tips for Your Kid’s Study Space

Source: / by Jennifer Kelly Geddes

Set up the ideal place for your child to concentrate with these smart tips

Where your child studies can be just as important as what. Whether you carve out a nook in his or her bedroom or in the kitchen, an organized, comfortable space can help kids work more efficiently, notes Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, a psychologist, mom of four, and coauthor of Smart Parenting for Smart Kids. Read on for eight design tips to encourage good study habits.

1. Position the desk

Some grade-schoolers may argue that gazing at the sky will help with tackling times tables, but most will do better if the desk is facing away from a window or door. “Place this piece of furniture in a spot that gets good light but also isn’t in front of the door or overlooking the backyard, which can lead to distraction,” suggests Lori Woodring, PhD, a child psychologist and mom of four. Instead, put it against a wall. For kids in kindergarten through third grade, working in a public space is better than working alone in a bedroom. The dining table or kitchen counter can serve as a desk.

2. Provide lighting

Task lighting, whether it’s a table lamp or pendant lights, is a required accessory for the desk or workspace, no matter what the kid’s age. “This light, along with any natural light from the window, should be enough illumination for your child to stay alert and focused,” says Deborah Gilboa, MD, a parenting and youth development expert.

3. Remove phones

More distracting than that window? Smartphones. “There’s no need for a phone in a study space, so make sure it’s charging in another room,” suggests Davis. A “no phone” policy establishes good tech habits that will stay with your child as he grows. “When he’s in middle school and needs a computer for his work, he’ll be used to not having his phone nearby to check on social media,” Davis says.

4. Stock supplies

Store pencils, pens, markers, scissors, and a ruler in cups to keep the desktop neat and tidy, and provide a space and folders for papers. “For kids in middle school, a cabinet, drawer, or a system of files is
important for storing completed work and returned assignments,” explains Woodring. “Many kids also benefit from having a single ‘Turn It In’ folder where they can put anything that needs delivering to the teacher the next day,” says Kennedy-Moore. Color-coding files by subject often helps.

5. Make a reading nook

A cozy spot to curl up with a good story can encourage device-free time and, of course, independent reading. “A comfy spot, such as a bean bag, soft chair, or window seat, makes reading readily available to kids and allows them to relax and really delve into a juicy book,” says Woodring.

6. Establish an information center

Hang up an oversized calendar, as well as a bulletin, dry erase, or magnetic board to display important papers, your class schedule, and keep test and quiz dates in order. It’s an easy way to organize as well as remind your kid of upcoming deadlines. And to the best of your ability, try not to let your child fall into the habit of creating piles of papers and notices.

7. Corral clutter

“While eliminating visual clutter can be calming, many elementary-school-age kids love to display their collectibles to personalize their space, so there may need to be a compromise here,” says Kennedy-Moore. Gilboa adds that kids can learn an excellent life skill when they organize their own workspace. “Kids from kindergarten on up should spend a few minutes putting things away because it’s a good habit to get into—it teaches responsibility,” she says. To facilitate this effort, reserve a shelf, windowsill, or cubby for your child’s toys so the focus is on keeping clutter out of the immediate study area.

8. Consider headphones

“If your kid can pick up every word that’s being said in the next room or hears footsteps above or below, he’s more likely to think about what he’s missing, rather than focus on the task at hand,” says Gilboa. Kids with noise sensitivity issues may also benefit from wearing a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Some kids enjoy listening to music while they work and some, including those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may do better with a quiet tune in the background.


Recipe Corner

Shrimp Zucchini Boats



· 3 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
· 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
· 1 small onion, finely chopped
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· 1 lb. small shrimp, peel, devein, remove tails
· 1 (1-oz.) package McCormick taco seasoning
· 3/4 c. frozen corn, thawed
· 3/4 c. black beans
· 1/2 c. chopped cherry tomatoes
· 1/2 c. shredded cheddar
· 1/2 c. shredded Monterey jack
· 1 small jalapeño, finely diced-garnish
· Freshly chopped cilantro-garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Score cut side of zucchini like you’re dicing an avocado, scoop out insides into a bowl, reserving scooped zucchini.   2. Place zucchini halves in a 9”-x-13” baking dish, drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until tender. Remove from oven.   3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet (medium-high heat), heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add onion and scooped zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes.   4. Stir in garlic and cook, until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add shrimp and taco seasoning. Cook, tossing a few times, until shrimp is opaque, about 2 minutes.   5. Stir in corn, black beans, and tomatoes. Remove from heat. Spoon shrimp mixture into cooked zucchini, then top with cheeses.   6. Bake until cheese is melty, about 15 minutes.

Garnish with jalapeño and cilantro. Enjoy!


5 Areas in Your House Causing Stress – and How to Organize Them

By Leah Curtis

Combating chaos as you spend more time indoors.


Café coffee has been replaced by a counter top coffee pot, and commuting to work means going from bedroom to kitchen. Spending more time indoors right now may be shedding light on spots around the house prone to disorderly chaos. The average household is likely storing more supplies, paper goods, and groceries than usual to avoid frequent trips to the store – and possibly to accommodate more people living under one roof. If storage space seems maxed out, perhaps it’s time to reorganize for efficiency.

Here are 5 common areas in a household notorious for causing stress, and how to fix them once and for all…

1. Pantry and refrigerator

With more food staples on hand, now is a good time to clear everything off the shelves and put it all back in a stacked, organized and easy-to-reach manner. A pantry, or fridge, will have greater capacity – and be easier to navigate – once the contents have been rearranged to save space. Check dates for expired condiments, which hog room along the door shelves, and consolidate loose items like granola bars into boxes or jars so no snack gets left behind.

2. Underneath the bathroom sink

This location may not be causing stress, but its underutilized storage capabilities can help alleviate stress by clearing up space in other messy zones. The cabinet underneath the bathroom sink isn’t just for items like Band-Aids and plungers. Perhaps you have excess paper goods on hand – ahem, toilet paper – so optimize this area by stacking goods in the back you use less frequently and keeping common items toward the front. This hidden gem storage space is the perfect spot for concealing odds and ends.

3. Entryway

So many shoes by the door but nowhere to go! The entry way is likely cluttered with slippers, sneakers, as well as rain jackets and bags hanging on hooks. Store away items used infrequently and allow one pair of shoes per person to live by the door, moving the rest inside a closet – out of sight and out of mind.

4. Kitchen table

Is your kitchen table now functioning as a home office, place to eat, homework spot for kids, craft zone, etc.? By day, this multi-functional area is a hub of the house – so try to keep it as orderly as possible, not allowing clutter to linger when the workday or school day is done. Unless you’re in the midst of a great big puzzle, clear off the kitchen table at the end of each day so your house feels normal again when it’s time for rest and relaxation.

5. General dust and dirt

Even when order has been instilled upon shelves, counter tops and closets, you may still be feeling stress from general dirtiness – especially if you have light-colored floors or carpet. Get in the habit of running a vacuum through high-traffic areas, like the living room, every few days so visible dirt never piles up. Though life is out of routine at the moment, stick to regular maintenance such as wiping down kitchen counter surfaces daily and giving the bathroom a good scrub on weekends.


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