As I mentioned last month, we are still busy helping buyers and sellers with their real estate needs. The market is still outperforming other recent, non-pandemic years with regards to sales and prices by wide margins. Call me if you want to know the exact numbers. The overall pace of sales is very close to last year’s pace for this same time frame. However, the number of sales year-to-date is Northern Virginia is up over 24% versus 2020. In addition, sales prices are up over 11%. It is not nearly as frenetic as it was earlier this year, but the numbers prove we still have a robust real estate market here locally. I recently read that the average Virginian has gained $50,000 in equity since last September. Certainly that number is higher here in Northern Virginia, as our prices far exceed the rest of the state. Real estate is truly a great way to build wealth, so spread the word if you know of anyone looking to become a homeowner—I can help. More good news—we are not seeing evictions, foreclosures, or prices tumbling as had been predicted by many in the media. If you are a regular reader of my newsletter and blog posts you will note that I have been maintaining rather vigorously that these predicted calamities would not occur. A little reasoned analysis shows why. People are taking advantage of rental programs to stay in their homes. The number of individuals in forbearance has dropped again—only 1.5 million people remain in the program. Loan modifications reached a 15-month high in September, which means people will staying in their homes after forbearance timelines end, and as I previously mentioned, prices are up. People have equity. The worst case scenario for most is that they would have to sell and walk away with a check! Now in the coming months, prices won’t skyrocket like they did earlier this year, but home prices will experience a moderate escalation, as well home values. The reason is, although we have more inventory than last year, we still have historically very low levels. Couple this with strong demand, and we will see values increase; all good news and a more healthy market. If you have any questions relating to buying or selling, please feel free to call me. Have a great season and enjoy these comfortable Fall temperatures!
It’s a good life.
Homes With More Daylight May Improve Moods
source: International Journal of Environmental research and Public Health
Let more light into your home and you can lower your anxiety and stress levels and even improve your sleep. Increasing daylight in a home can affect a person’s circadian rhythm, sleep, vitality, and mental health, according to a newly published, peer-reviewed paper in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
“The study demonstrates the impact of daylight on the physiological, behavioral, and subjective measures of circadian health in a real-world environment,” says Mariana G. Figueiro, senior author of the paper. “The findings highlight the importance of ensuring people are exposed to circadian-effective electric light or daylight indoors as well as outside for human health and well-being.”
Light-to-dark cycles are important for circadian rhythms, the internal process that controls sleep. As more people spent time at home during the pandemic, the importance of balancing this may have become even more important, researchers note.
The study, conducted by the Light and Health Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, shows “smart windows,” electrochromic glass windows that tint dynamically based on the location of the sun, may help filter the light better than blinds and window shades, offering a boosted psychological benefit. In the study, researchers tracked participants first in homes with smart windows and then in homes with standard windows and blinds. The study’s participants wore sleep-tracking devices and completed surveys on their health and well-being.
After one week, melatonin production in the body was delayed by 15 minutes when participants used traditional blinds, researchers found. That caused them to fall asleep 22 minutes later and sleep 16 minutes less each night.
On the other hand, when in homes with smart windows, participants showed an 11% reduction in anxiety levels and a 9% decrease in stress levels compared with the week when they used the traditional windows.
“When it comes to choosing a place to live, access to daylight and quality views are key features for prospective tenants,” Piers MacNaughton, vice president of health strategy at View Inc. “This study shows that daylight and views are not just desirable amenities but also have fundamental impacts on our health and even our hormones.”
Yields 6 servings I Prep/Total Time 30 min.
- 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- Dash garlic salt
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup water or beef broth
- 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
- 1 can (4-1/2 ounces) mushrooms, drained
- 1 cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cooked noodles or rice
- Chopped fresh parsley, optional
- In a skillet, cook beef over medium heat, breaking into crumbles, until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes; drain. Add onion and garlic salt to beef; continue to cook until onion is soft. Stir in the flour; cook and stir 2-3 minutes. Add water or beef broth, condensed soup and mushrooms; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat; cook, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes.
- Gently fold in sour cream; heat only until warm. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over noodles or rice and if desired, top with parsley.
Check Yourself: 6 Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Tackle This Fall
by Holly Amaya
For most of the country, September signals the end of summer’s dog days and a return to fuzzy sweaters, chilly evenings, and, of course, pumpkin
spice everything. But before those first autumn leaves begin to fall, it’s crucial to take a few steps to stave off any cold weather home breakdowns. Luckily, we’re here to make it as easy as possible for you with our handy checklist of home maintenance chores to tackle this month. These quick, relatively painless tasks can potentially save you major repair costs down the road.
1. Check walkways for cracks – “Before the grass is covered with snow, or it’s too cold to venture outside, check walkways for cracks and loose paver material,” says Ryan Williams, “Fix walkway and entryway areas before slippery weather can cause a tripping or falling accident.” DIY: Small cracks can be fixed with simple epoxy and shouldn’t take more than a few hours. Call in a pro: Serious cracking and concrete damage will require professional repair—expect to spend north of $1,000, although exact costs will depend on the severity of damage and cost of materials and labor in your area.
2. Clean and repair the siding – “After a long summer, siding can become dirty or mildewed,” says Chris Granger, VP and GM of Sears Home Services. September is a great time to use a pressure washer to clean it up—and inspect for more serious problems before winter comes. Check first for rotten or warped areas, and inspect your caulking, which can shrink and crack over time. DIY: You don’t necessarily have to shimmy up a ladder for a close-up of your siding; the pros we talked to recommend using a smartphone camera or drone to zoom in on problem areas. Inspect the butt joints where two pieces of siding meet and, if you spy cracks, consider tackling the job yourself. How? A day ahead, thoroughly wash your work surface with soapy water. Once the area is completely dry, squeeze a bit of caulk into the gap in the siding, then smooth it with your finger. Wipe it once more with a damp sponge to even out your work.
(Pro tip: Be sure to never caulk the underside of your siding, which could prevent the boards from expanding and contracting during changing weather.) Once you’ve fixed any problem areas, let everything set for a few days. Then follow up with a good pressure wash (Call in a pro: If your siding has seen better days (think missing, bent, or cracked pieces), consider replacing it. As a general rule, fiber cement siding is priciest, followed by wood, aluminum, and vinyl. Replacing vinyl siding on an average 2,200-square-foot home will set you back more than $6,500 (in addition to the cost of removing existing materials). If you choose wood or fiber cement siding, you’ll likely spend twice that. For an expert pressure washing, expect to spend $100 to $300.
3. Check and repair leaky faucets – “Before the temperatures start to dip, examine leaky faucets in the kitchen, bathrooms, and utility room locations,” Williams says. “Most likely, whatever time and money you spend now will be considerably less than a broken pipe in the dead of winter.” DIY: Turn on the faucet, turn it off, and watch for any telltale dripping. Your fix might be as easy as replacing the washers on the faucet’s knobs, or it might be a worn cam washer, valve seat, or spring. Call in a pro: Rather not deal with it yourself? You can hire a plumber. Estimates for fixing leaks vary, expect to spend at least $100.
4. Make sure windows are sealed tight – All double- or triple-pane windows should have a tight seal around their perimeter that separates the individual panes of glass and traps inert gas between them, providing a break between the temps inside and outside your home. If you notice that your windows are frequently foggy, that’s likely a sign of a failed seal. DIY: Try cashing in on your windows’ warranty first; many companies will cover failed seals for a decade or longer. Call in the pros: If your warranty won’t cover a total replacement, check out a professional window defogging company. These pros will reseal the window’s perimeter and replace the gas between the panes for an average of $300 (depending on location and the number of windows).
5. Sweep the chimney – When temperatures finally fall, you’ll want to be ready to light your fireplace. But before your first toasty blaze of the season, make sure your chimney has been cleaned. “Built-up soot in your chimney can increase your risk of a chimney fire, and a clogged chimney can also increase the presence of carbon monoxide in your home by not allowing it to escape when you have a fire burning in the fireplace,” says Lindsey Pasieka of ConsumerSafety.org. Call in the pros: No DIY here—leave this (dirty) job to a pro, who’ll charge an average of $225 for an inspection and sweep.
6. Change the air filters and tune up the furnace – This one really should be a maintenance task you do every month, Granger says. Dirty air filters can lead to higher energy bills and irreparably damage your HVAC system. DIY: Changing your air filter is a fairly straightforward task—just be sure to check the size of your existing filter before you hit the hardware store. Pros also recommend removing all vent covers and vacuuming pet dander, hair, and other debris that can accumulate and gunk up your HVAC system. Call in the pros: Take things a step further by hiring a professional to tune up your unit before winter arrives. A good contractor will ensure your thermostat is working properly, fix loose electrical connections and gas connections, and check your unit’s blower motor and heat exchanger. Expect to spend $80 to $150.
For Rent in Arlington!
Welcome home to the Representative! An amenity rich, luxury high rise condominium with incredible DC views! Live the easy life in this renovated 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath condo boasting over 1,600 sq feet of living space! Elegant foyer with half bath opens to spacious living room. Large balcony off living room is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a morning cup of coffee. Renovated kitchen features brand new stainless steel appliances, granite counters, under cabinet lighting and new tile flooring. Entertain guests in the dining room with new hardwood floors. Dual primary bedrooms both have new carpet, renovated en suite baths and walk in closets. The larger of the two rooms features a beautiful marble bath with tub and separate shower and private office/den/nursery space. Storage is not a problem as this unit comes with a 120 sq ft storage room down the hall and additional storage locker in the garage. 1 garage parking space and plenty of free guest parking in front of the building. Just a short walk to Metro, shopping, grocery, and parks. Minutes to Reagan airport and Amazon HQ2. Great building amenities such as a 24 hour concierge and security, on-site property management, outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, business center and beautiful marble lobby to welcome guests. Easy commute to DC, Georgetown, Arlington, Old Town Alexandria and more!
Call me for more info!