It’s March already!

It seems like just yesterday that we started the new decade. You know the saying; time goes by faster when you are busy and boy have we been busy!

The real estate market continues to be very brisk, to say the least.  You have to be on your toes for when new properties come on to the market, ready to go check them out and make a move on the ones that you like.  You have to be pro-active as well, as I am, talking to your contacts and the other agents to find out when inventory is coming up, amongst other strategies.

In conversations with sellers, I have been letting them know that even though there are bidding wars, multiple contract situations, etc. the price and condition of the house still rule. If prices are too high for the area/neighborhood or if the home needs some work, it will sit on the market with little to no activity and definitely without offers! When priced well and in “HGTV condition”, there is a feeding frenzy. Buyers in today’s market, realistic or not, are looking for the perfect house and they are willing to pay for it. So, as a seller, get your house in top condition and price it right to get it sold and not be just “for sale”.  You will lose out if you just “let the market” do the work.

Lately, the news and social media have been inundated with information on the Coronavirus. The stock market has dropped over 4,000 points, though it rebounded impressively this past Monday, and this question is now coming up in conversation more often; “should I be concerned as a buyer or seller?” At this time, it is prudent to be concerned,  but as I have previously mentioned many times, we are still in a great area with sales at a feverish pace. My concern would be more for buyers and sellers in the luxury market. As part of their wealth may be invested in the stock market and as a result, there could be a concern but as we know, the market continuously ebbs and flows and this one is no different. There will be a cure/containment for this virus, the stock market will rebound, and houses will continue to be bought and sold. Have no fear! If you would like to discuss this in more detail, feel free to call me.

As always, I am here to help you and your family and friends with their real estate needs. Happy Spring!

It’s a good life.

Chris

 

Local Events

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

Spring Sugarloaf Crafts Festival – Dulles Expo Center

FAIRFAX COUNTY

Spring Sugarloaf Crafts Festival — March 20 -22 | 10am-6PM
Dulles Expo & Conference Center | 4325 Chantilly Shopping Ctr, Chantilly
Shopping is special at the Spring Sugarloaf Crafts Festival! March 27 – 29, join 300+ talented artisans at the Dulles Expo in Chantilly. Discover high-quality handcrafted items & support independent artisans. Fashion & jewelry, pottery, home furnishings & decor, fine art & much more! Plus, FREE painting classes, watch art in progress with live demos, sample specialty foods, live music & kids’ theater. A weekend full of fun! Find extra special and meaningful gifts for upcoming weddings, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays and graduations!

Into the Woods at Frying Pan Farm Park—March 28 | 11am-10:30pm
Frying Pan Farm Park | 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon

(All ages) Celebrate the National Cherry Blossom festival with this free event at Frying Pan Farm Park. We invite you to trek on our nature trail to experience the changes of spring. Visit stations peppered throughout the trail to build a fairy house, help tally migratory and year-round resident birds, and search for critters in the soil and water. Enjoy Japanese teas at the historic Frying Pan Meeting House. Stop by the Indoor Arena first for a map and instructions. For more information, call 703-437-9101. Donations welcome.

LOUDOUN COUNTY

2020 Lunar New Year Festival – March 14 | 1pm -4pm
Leesburg Premium Outlets | 241 Fort Evans Road, Leesburg
Join us for a family friendly cultural celebration. Live dance presentations, fun kids activities, games, costumes and more. Make a lucky book mark with your name! Rain Date is Sunday, March 15th. Tickets on Eventbrite.com

Loudoun Symphony Gala – March 21 |  7pm  – 11pm
Lansdowne Resort & Spa | 44050 Woodridge Pkwy, Leesburg

This year’s event features music from Loudoun Symphony musicians and a chefs’ tastings menu presented by a number of Loudoun County’s top chefs. The live auction includes fabulous experiences, vacations, entertainment packages and more! Tickets are $125 per person and table sponsorships are $1,500 for ten guests. Each ticket includes dinner, open bar, music, dancing and live auction! Cocktail attire is recommended. Proceeds of the gala benefit the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra and Loudoun Symphony Youth Orchestra Program.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY

St. Patrick’s Day Parade—March 14 | 11AM
Center Street in Old Town Manassas

The annual Greater Manassas Saint Patrick’s Day Parade will be held in Old Town Manassas. The parade can be viewed along Center Street. We are pleased to honor Glendell Hill, Sheriff of the Prince William County Police Department as our Parade Marshal. In addition to a host of schools, nonprofits and businesses that support this annual event, the parade boasts unique Irish flair with several pipe bands including the Alexandria Pipe and Drums, Irish dance groups, and members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Bring your  family and friends (all dressed in green, of course) for this family oriented celebration of the Irish in Old Town Manassas!

 

Partner Spotlight

Mike Eastman

Sandy Spring Bank-Fair Lakes Mortgage Office

My career began in 1978 when I obtained a real estate license, later obtaining my real estate brokers license. While selling real estate and managing real estate agents, I found my love of the transaction was really in the financial piece. As such, in 1995, I moved my career to the mortgage banking side of the business.

The passion I have for a smooth and successful transaction is unmatched. When you come to me, you will be guided through what can be a stressful and confusing transaction, you will leave with no question unanswered and you will have the desire to continue our relationship.

At Sandy Spring Bank, we have all programs to assist buyers of homes and those seeking to refinance their property. From loans to acquire a lot to build on, a onetime close construction/rehab loan, and all the way through every other means of financing residential properties, we have the programs. There is no reason to look any further.

We can help you, your family or your co-workers with a loan in 13 different states. Not every call I take will make money for my company, but every call will be answered both professionally and honestly

Contact me at:
571-327-2145 work | SandySpringBank.com
703-906 4716 cell   meastman@washingtonfirstmortgage.com

 

Recipe Corner

Garlicky Lemon Baked Tilapia

www.delish.com

Prep time 5 min. |  Total time 20 min

INGREDIENTS:

· 4 tilapia filets
· Kosher salt
· Freshly ground black pepper
· 5 tbsp. butter, melted
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
· Juice and zest from 1/2 a lemon
· 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
· Chopped parsley, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Season tilapia with salt and pepper and place on a small baking sheet.
  2. Mix together butter, garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and zest then pour over tilapia. Place lemon rounds on top and around tilapia.
  3. Bake tilapia for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish is fork-tender.

 

First Impression, Lasting Impact: Entryway Essentials

Tips for staging a stellar entryway that will leave home buyers wanting to see more. They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression – and neither does your house. When potential buyers open the front door, they form an opinion within seconds. And it’s all based on what’s in plain sight. Whether the space is grand or petite, entryway staging can influence a client’s perspective on the entire house.

To avoid a negative first impression that sends potential buyers running out the door, consider these tips for staging a stellar entryway that hints at what’s to come during the showing.

  1. De-Clutter
    Touring a messy home won’t give potential buyers the opportunity to visualize their fresh start. After all, they’ll want to imagine their own shoes by the door without tripping over yours. Start by removing clutter from primary surface areas, including the floor, shoe rack, and table or hutch. Ensure that items like receipts, dog leashes and mail are out of sight. If you have an entryway closet, try to eliminate and relocate 50% of its contents (like coats) for showings. A half-empty closet will appear larger and more spacious. Leaving a few garments behind looks polished while still being realistic. For example, try hanging a simple brown tote bag on a hook by the door. Consider which of your practical pieces look best on display and keep things very minimal.
  1. Maximize Storage
    There are plenty of multi-functional pieces available that serve as stylish furniture while providing sneaky storage. If you have a little square footage to spare, consider a bench with built-in storage – it provides a place to sit without wasting the space below and allows more room to accessorize. Additionally, look for pieces like this hutch designed specifically for shoes that still has ample surface area to serve as your main entryway table. For truly tiny spaces, opt for creative storage alternatives like floating shelves and wall hooks. These highly popular, functional options still provide room for on-the-go essentials without usurping the limited floor space.
  1. Refine Décor
    A beautiful entryway will operate as a stand-alone space rather than an afterthought. Adding a cozy rug o r runner – separate from the functional doormat – can be the framework to define an entryway’s space. Make the transition from outside to inside more gradual with the addition of houseplants. Plants promote tranquility and fill space during showings after you have minimized personal décor, like family photos. While streamlining clutter is crucial, the space can’t end up looking neglected – a potted leafy plant, like a snake plant, atop your entryway table adds a pop of natural color, while preventing the surface from looking scarce. If you’re known to be an unsuccessful plant-parent, consider a realistic-looking artificial plant. Keep the space refined by having a small basket, jar or ceramic dish on the entryway table as the go-to spot for keys and other pocket-dwelling items.
  1. Keep It Clean
    Even the most masterful staging won’t distract from dusty surfaces and muddy floors. Regular cleaning of the floor, front door and tabletop will keep your entryway or mudroom from looking like a genuine “mud” room. If your house is on the market during rainy or snowy seasons, consider getting a doormat that will help prevent dirty shoes from stepping foot through the door.