June Newsletter and Market Update

Lately, we’ve been having conversations with each other, our clients, and other elite professionals in the industry, both locally and around the country, to better understand what is happening today in the real world and the Northern Virginia real estate market.  Think Wall Street Journal, not CNBC.  There is a lot of economic uncertainty out there, and swiftly changing conditions, and such circumstances elicit a lot of questions.  “Do we have a housing bubble in Northern Virginia?”  “Are prices going to crash?”  Or the more measured “When are prices coming down?”  “Should I wait for prices to drop before I buy?”  “Why is it taking longer to sell a house?”  “How high will rates go?” “Should I sell (or buy) now or wait?”  My assessment is that going forward through the end of the year, prices will not be escalating at the rate they were previously.  Those dramatic price increases were not sustainable.  There may be some rare pockets where you see modest price declines, but we still have high demand at most price points and modest price growth.  You might be seeing more price reductions out there, but that is because those sellers and agents got out over their skis with overly ambitious pricing.  Additionally, our preceding price increases were not as drastic as in other parts of the country.  According to the FHFA Top 100 Metropolitan Markets Ranking list of Year over Year price appreciation rates, we rank 99 out of 100!  Other parts of the country will likely see price drops because they had more aggressive run ups, or don’t have the local income and employment support that we enjoy, but our area should remain stable and strong.  We will not have a “housing crash” in Northern Virginia.  Don’t wait to buy real estate….buy real estate and wait.  Buy because of your lifestyle, needs, and wants–and not strictly because of prices.  Buy for the long term, not the short-term gains.  Yes, the market has slowed down.  Buyers are not “rushing” into buying decisions like they were previously, but remember-that type of market cannot be sustained.  It is still a seller’s market.  It’s a good thing when a house is on the market 7-10 days.  If you are thinking of selling soon, give me a call.  Rates are going up on 30-year fixed mortgages, but you do have alternatives–most notably, adjustable-rate mortgages and buydowns. The adjustable-rate mortgages are a great option and not what they were when the real estate market crashed in the past. Buydowns give you another option, with lower than 30-year fixed rates.  Let’s discuss why these are often viable options for buyers. If you are looking to sell or buy–now is a great time, so call me to learn more.

Enjoy the last few days of Spring before the Summer heat kicks in!

It’s a good life.



Fast Growing Gardens: How To Grow A Garden Quickly In Summer

 Becca Badgett | gardeningknowhow.com

Planting Fast Growing Gardens

Consider growing all or at least part of your flowers, fruits, or veggies in containers so you can move them along with you. If this is not    feasible for your situation, get a ground bed ready for planting. Find an area with rich soil in full to part sun. Weed it, remove rocks, then till several inches (8 cm.) deep. Add compost and further break up the ground as you work it in for your short-term gardening project. Make rows, hills, or both with shallow furrows between them. As plant roots grow, you’ll use the furrows for watering. Fertile soil is important for veggies to properly reach stages of development within the fastest time span.

Quick to Grow Summer Crops

Growing a garden quickly will be more productive when you buy small plants or start them yourself from seeds indoors. What you plant depends on the season. In late winter or early spring, when temperatures are still cool, you can grow carrots (50 days to harvest), radishes (25 days), spinach (30 days), a range of salad greens (21 to 35 days), and root veggies. Some greens prefer partially shaded areas. Check how long until harvest for each specimen before planting so you don’t overshoot your timeframe.

Harvest spinach and leaf lettuces when they reach an appropriate size. Harvest baby leaves from the outside, allowing inner leaves to continue growing, if desired. You can also grow these plants as microgreens, harvesting at between 10 and 25 days. While microgreens are expensive to buy, they’re simple to grow from seed and a short-term producer.

For flowers in the quick result garden, add cool season annuals in early spring, adding in warm-season varieties as temperatures warm. Most perennials take longer to bloom but return every year in those moveable pots.

Grow a garden quickly with warm season crops by growing tomato plants or start them from seed. Most tomatoes need the entire summer season to produce, but cherry tomatoes are ready for harvest in less than 60 days and grow well in containers too. Add summer squash and bush beans (60 days to harvest) for additional healthy and fast-growing crops. If you have more time, add corn to the beans and squash. Some types of corn mature in 60 days, while other types can take three months. Look for an early maturing type if time is limited. Plant  spinach again, in a lightly shaded area, for a summer harvest of the healthy greens.


Recipe of the Month

Watermelon Salad With Feta and Mint


Prep time: 20 min |Total time: 20 min | Serves 8



  • 5 small Persian cucumbers, sliced
  • 1/2 small seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 12 cups)
  • 1/2 c. fresh mint, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. rice vinegar or white balsamic  vinegar
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 c. chopped roasted pistachios


  • Combine the cucumbers, watermelon, 1/4 cup mint, the salt and a generous amount of pepper in a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil  and vinegar and toss well.
  • Spoon the salad onto a platter. Sprinkle with the feta, pistachios and remaining 1/4 cup mint. Grind a little more pepper over the top.


9 Fantastic Ways to Keep Cool in the Virginia Heat

 Anna Strock | onlyinyourstate.com

Summers in Virginia are beautiful –but they can be hot. Very hot. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep cool in the summer heat. We’ve put together a list of just a few of the activities and outdoor amenities you can take advantage of this summer during the hottest weather in Virginia. From sprinklers to sailboats, there’s no reason to let the summer be anything but amazing!

1. Go old school with sprinklers, fountains, and spray parks

Who doesn’t remember playing in the sprinkler as a kid? Now many malls, community centers, and even neighborhood parks offer a ramped-up version of old-school sprinkler fun with spray parks and fountains designated just for cooling kids down in the summer. There are many to choose from across Northern Virginia and it’s usually free!

2. Cool down at a water park

For when you want to get really serious about water fun – check out some of Virginia’s waterparks. Virginia has nearly 20 to choose from – ranging from full-size amusement parks like Water Country U.S.A. in Williamsburg to smaller pools with slides and fountains like Ida Lee Park in Leesburg.

3. Experience the thrill of Virginia’s theme parks

Virginia’s largest and most well-known theme parks are Busch Gardens in Williamsburg and King’s Dominion in Doswell – and if you love giant roller coasters and themed entertainment, then you won’t want to miss these. To keep you cool in the summer heat, both parks have water-themed attractions like log flumes and kiddie sprinklers. Plus, King Dominion offers a full in-house water park, Soak City.

4. Spend a day at the lake

Many of Virginia’s lakes offer the sand and sun you love at the beach – without the drive. With lakes throughout the state, it’s easy to plan a beach-day getaway in a beautiful natural setting. Lake Anna in Louisa or Lake Arrowhead in Luray all  offer beautiful sandy beaches perfect for sunning and swimming.

5. Need a quick cool down? Ice cream does the trick every time!

Virginia has some of the best ice creams shops around. From roadside stands like Carl’s in Fredericksburg to old-time parlors like Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Co. in Alexandria, there’s no shortage of places to find a cool cone.

6. Ride the rapids with whitewater rafting or kayaking

The James River runs right through the heart of Downtown Richmond – and offers the only Class III/IV rapids in the country within an urban setting. Many rafting companies offer guided trips down the rapids for groups of all ages and skill levels. And of course, the amazing Blue Ridge Mountains in the western part of the state also offer incredible rafting and kayaking opportunities. For some other specific ideas, check out Great Falls in McLean, Natural Bridge, Breaks Interstate Park, and the Shenandoah Valley.

7. Make your own lazy river in an innertube

If you’re looking for something a little less adventurous, try tubing. You don’t need a water park to have a lazy river.

8. Hit the slopes with year-round skiing at Liberty Mountain

The Snowflex Center at Liberty Mountain in Lynchburg lets you hit the slopes any time of the year. With options for every skill level, the center uses a synthetic material to recreate the feel and grip of real snow, even without Mother Nature’s cooperation. Camps are available throughout the summer, as well as tubing, skiing and snowboarding.

9. Hike a trail to a waterfall

Virginia has a so many of incredible options for hiking trails and waterfall vistas – and many of these places have swimming holes perfectly suited for cooling down after an energizing (and probably very sweaty) hike.


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