Tysons, VA

Three Stones Residential agents pride ourselves on our consultative service approach, local expertise and real estate market knowledge. With over 26 years of business experience in the DMV, we have consistently performed in the top 2% of local Realtors and are currently the #1 group at Keller Williams Metro Center. 

The following properties were recently listed in the Tysons, McLean, Vienna and Falls Church areas.

Our role is to offer sound advice and guidance to our clients in order for them to achieve their goals in either buying, selling, leasing or managing real estate. We are truly “Your Home… for Everything Real Estate.” To schedule a private showing of these or any other properties of interest please do not hesitate to contact us here or email us at [email protected].

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This is a sponsored column by 3Summit Investment Management, LLC based in Vienna, VA. 3Summit designs custom, modern investment portfolios and has unique expertise in managing investment risk.

By Dan Irvine | Principal, 3Summit Investment Management

This is not a fashion column; we are here to talk about investing.

But have you ever thought about what influences your fashion decisions? How many times have you looked back at old pictures and laughed at the clothes they were wearing? No one wants to be thought of as a follower, but that is probably the reason for your questionable fashion choices of the past… everyone else was wearing the same thing.

Humans are pack animals; we are tribal beings. Mob psychology, our innate drive to follow the crowd, influences not only our fashion decisions but also our investment decisions. Our tendency to follow the pack has been key to our evolutionary success, but also makes us terrible investors by default.

Unfortunately for investors, instinct usually wins out over smarts. Despite our self-awareness, we cannot prevent ourselves from being influenced by mob psychology when faced with the powerful emotions of fear and greed that we experience when making investment decisions.

While the impact of mob psychology is the source of most investors’ losses and biggest investment failures, for the well-informed, disciplined investor, mob psychology is a fantastic and robust source of superior, long-term investment returns.

An Investment Strategy Designed to Profit From the Crowd

While impossible to prove, human psychology and our tendency to follow the herd is almost certainly the primary driver of stock market price movements. Humans are highly irrational when fear or greed lead us to follow the crowd, our irrational behavior make financial markets impossible to predict.

However, what we can predict is the certainty that market participants will continuously succumb to mob psychology, this behavior with ultimately drive a new boom and bust cycle that we see repeat over-and-over again in financial markets.

Trend following is a time-tested quantitative investment strategy that seeks to systematically profit from mob psychology by identifying trends in price movement, up and down, and then investing with the trend when investors are greedy and exiting the market when investors are fearful.

Trend following is a form of momentum investing in that when the price of a security is in motion in one direction the price tends to remain in motion in that same direction. Price momentum is driven by the human tendency to follow the crowd.

For example, when one stock is outperforming most other stocks, investor greed lures investors to buy the outperforming stock with the hope of making outsized profits. When investors pile into the same trade on a large scale, the result is significant upward price momentum that is completely detached from the fundamentals of the individual company that the investor is investing in.

Trend following is not a method of predicting stock market movements. The objective of trend following strategies is to identify when a strong upward price trend has been established, then to follow the crowd into the trade. As soon as signs appear that price momentum is slowing or reversing direction, the strategy then quickly exits the trade and cuts losses to protect from the potentially very large losses stocks are prone to delivering.

3Summit considers trend following to be an essential component of a well-designed, diversified portfolio. Trend following strategies usually have low correlations to other stock strategies, but also, they add a unique source of returns that contribute to helping a diversified portfolio produce more consistent returns over time.

High quality trend following strategies add many other benefits to a portfolio including being capable of producing enhanced returns, protecting portfolios from large losses, insulating portfolios from behavioral bias by removing human discretionary decision-making and strategically shifting a portfolio’s exposure between domestic and international stock markets.

Trend following concepts have been used for more than a century by some of history’s most famous traders, however, advanced technology and the ability to process large volumes of data quickly have aided in the speed and effectiveness of modern trend following strategies. Trend following strategies provide a systematic approach to cutting your losses short and letting your winners run.

Learn More

If you would like professional assistance in evaluating your investment portfolio and strategy, we happily provide free consultations and analysis. Also, consider gaining more unique investing insights by listening to our popular podcast or viewing our investing video series.

3Summit Investment Management is a fiduciary, fee only investment advisor providing clients with an alternative to outdated, conventional investment portfolios. We design custom, modern portfolios capable of delivering greater wealth accumulation with much lower levels of risk. To learn more about how we can help you improve your long-term investing results call (571) 565-2161, email ([email protected]) or visit 3Summit.com.

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Ask Val: Summer Ready Backyard

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Val Sotillo, Northern Virginia-based Realtor and Falls Church resident. Please submit your questions to her via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: What outdoor upgrades do you recommend now that vacation places are very limited and the whole family is home for the summer?

Answer: The summer of 2020 is shaping up to be a long one, especially since many outdoor venues and public pools remain closed due to the pandemic. Now that everyone is spending most of their time at home in the era of coronavirus, our backyards have become our havens, our places to soak up the sun, grill some food and sip some drinks, and where most of us will be celebrating the Fourth of July.

Other than giving some TLC to what you already have, such as power washing your deck, or painting the fence, here are some ideas to make your backyard more enjoyable for the whole summer. I’ve included some DIY links if you’d like to make the most of this time at home and save some money.

  • Consider a large outdoor rug. Not only is this a good way to include a pop of color in your backyard, but it’s also an inexpensive way to change up a space without having to go through the process of painting or staining a deck.
  • Try a gravel patio. You can save a ton of money by adding gravel instead of the more traditional patio materials, which makes this DIY project more appealing. Surrounding the gravel with lumber adds style and dimension to this space and makes it look much more expensive without the expense.
  • A pergola is a fantastic idea for your dream backyard. Clear out an area on a deck or in your yard and build your own. Add curtains for extra shade to create the ultimate outdoor living room.
  • Don’t forget about the outdoor lighting. Drape string lights down from a pergola or across your outdoor living space to give it a starry-night feel. You can also line any patio or garden path with torches and lanterns for soft lighting.
  • Fire pits are a lovely way to add charm, coziness and relaxation to your backyard. You also don’t need a lot of space to create this cozy scene. Whether you want to cook your food over an open fire or cozy up to it with blankets on a cool night, fire pits make a great addition to your backyard. Here are some great DIY ideas.
  • For a nice alfresco dinner, get a patio set that comes complete with table and chairs, or build your own outdoor table out of a few wine barrels and wooden boards for DIY yard decor.
  • Let your backyard be the best spot for entertaining the whole family with a kitchen! There are plenty of ways to build an outdoor kitchen that fit within your budget. Add a charcoal grill and table on a patio for a simple look. You can also build a Grillzebo (A gazebo for your grill).
  • Flowers are ideal for adding a natural pop of color to your landscape. Plant hydrangea bushes or tulip bulbs along the fence if you have a major green thumb. Or go to your local plant nursery and buy a few pots to fill with your favorite blossoms.
  • Now that most public pools are closed, here are some above ground pools you can get on a budget that will be easy to remove once summer is over.
  • You can bring family movie night outside, and try a DIY backyard movie theatre here.
  • If you’re not into outdoor movies, but you’re into music, a simple outdoor Bluetooth speaker will help you set up the summer mood. This speaker is my favorite and it’s the best bang for your buck.
  • If you have a front porch, make it look like an outdoor oasis by installing ceiling fans and hanging a set of sheer curtains.

I hope these backyard ideas inspire you to make your yard your favorite place this summer!

I also want to take a moment to wish a Happy Fourth of July to all! May this day be a symbol of hope, prosperity and happiness in your lives. Be safe, be kind, and take care of your family, friends and community.

If you’d like more information, or would like a question answered in my column, please reach out to [email protected]. I hope to hear from you soon.

Val Sotillo is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 4040 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite #10C Arlington, VA 22203, 703-390-9460.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

We’ve all been home for 4 months now and last week, we got a little burned out of the monotony of juggling work and kids and now the heat, and we all decided we need a day of fun!

We took a day off and packed up a beach bag, threw the kids in the car, and hit the road. If you’re like me, and need a change of scenery, here’s a list of potential places to visit if you’re looking for sand and water!

Some COVID-19 friendly tips:

  • Bring enough food and water for yourselves.
  • Try going on a week day if possible. Obviously all of these will be busier on a weekend.
  • The Virginia State Parks will require face masks inside any building (i.e. visitor centers).

Colonial Beach, VA: 90 minutes away from Tyson’s, easy parking, on the Potomac River so very few waves, shallow water, fishing pier. Cute snow cone and ice cream spot (try the chocolate éclair ice cream!).

Aquia Landing Park, Stafford, VA: About an hour from Tyson’s, there’s a fee for access, popular fishing spot and beach for swimming.

Sandy Point, Annapolis, MD: An hour drive from Tyson’s, Sandy Point is a popular beach for a day just before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge with lots of space for distancing, sand and water.

Mason Neck State Park, Lorton, VA: This small hidden gem is located under an hour from Tyson’s and offers fishing, canoe and kayak rentals (call ahead for a reservation), swimming and walking trails.

Lake Anna State Park, Spotsylvania, VA: About 2 hours away, sand and water for swimming and playing, camping grounds for overnight stays, no tents allowed on the beach, lots of walking trails.

Calvert Cliffs, Lusby, MD: Located about 90 minutes from Tyson’s, Calvert Cliffs is a Maryland state park featuring fishing, swimming and walking trails. $7 per car day use for Virginia state plates.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

Summer is here, or at least the calendar says it is, which means it’s great weather for family photo shoots.

There are so many beautiful places around Tysons that lends itself well to family photos. I haven’t gone through the necessary steps to see which location may require extra paperwork and/or fees for on site photos, so make sure you check that!

Also, your photographer may know of secret spaces they like to use that are free. But here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Meadowlark Botanical Gardens — both inside and out!
  2. Colvin Run Mill
  3. The LOVE sign on the W&OD Trail at Northside Park
  4. Seneca Creek Park Peony Field
  5. Scott’s Run Nature Preserve
  6. Great Falls Park
  7. Cherry Hill Park (Falls Church)
  8. If you like water, you could also try one of the Creeks: Wolftrap Creek, Pimmit Run, Scott’s Run

Have you taken photos somewhere not mentioned? Please share with others in the comments below!

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This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

The pending decisions by the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and Arlington County Public Schools (APS) about in-person instruction in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been an important issue for many individuals in Northern Virginia.

A number of families recently filed a complaint against FCPS on May 8, 2020, alleging a systemic lack of instruction given to Fairfax students with disabilities or special education needs. The complaint appears to be one of the first complaints on behalf of special needs students affected by online instruction and the pandemic. A federal class action was recently filed in court alleging similar issues against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a recent lawsuit.

The Recent FCPS Issues and Complaint

Given recent news, Governor Ralph Northam is re-opening public schools in the fall, leaving significant discretion to counties. Individual counties will have significant flexibility in re-opening their schools.

Those families with special education needs and Individual Education Plans (commonly known as IEPs) are especially concerned. These students are substantially more affected than other students due to the lack of in-person instruction in schools. As a result, Fairfax County families filed a complaint against FCPS with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), alleging a failure to provide equal learning opportunities to students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the examples cited in the May 8, 2020 complaint included requiring special education students to follow online classes for only portions of the day. Many students, given their disabilities, were unable to do so. Other students with disabilities were allegedly told that their specialized instruction would only begin when in-person school re-opens.

Federal Law Requires Protection of Those with Disabilities

There are several laws that protect students with disabilities. Principal among these is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C.§ 1400. Pursuant to federal law, children with learning disabilities must receive specialized instruction in order to provide them with a level playing field with those that do not suffer from such disabilities.

IDEA is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children. IDEA governs how states and public government agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to the almost seven million eligible children with disabilities.

However, according to the complaint the problem has been that FCPS was allegedly “pausing” such education until schools physically re-opened. As of this writing, there were at least three federal court cases filed in different jurisdictions nationally against other school systems regarding the lack of specialized instruction for special education students under IDEA. Further delays or curtailing of in-person special education may lead to additional lawsuits.

Difficulties Faced by Those with Learning Disabilities and Online Education

Families in the complaint have alleged that FCPS left children behind that need special education instruction behind due to the lack of in-person education. Many of the students involved in the complaint against FCPS have autism and dyslexia. While it is undoubtedly difficult for FCPS to have maneuvered these issues in March or April, there is hope that FCPS will strive to provide in-person education for healthy students, with proper protections, for those with special educational needs.

According to one of the parents of a child in the complaint, FCPS requested a delay in responding to parents’ complaint until June 11, 2020, which was granted. However, FCPS may have submitted their response past the business hours deadline on June 11, 2020. It is unknown whether VDOE will accept an after-hours response as of this writing.

Conclusion

Findings in the complaint by VDOE are due on July 7, 2020, unless further delays occur. Hopefully, FCPS, APS and other school systems will address the needs of affected special needs students. If interested in the complaint process or for more information, parents can contact VDOE here.

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Three Stones Residential agents pride ourselves on our consultative service approach, local expertise and real estate market knowledge. With over 26 years of business experience in the DMV, we have consistently performed in the top 2% of local Realtors and are currently the #1 group at Keller Williams Metro Center. 

The following properties were recently listed in the Tysons, McLean, Vienna and Falls Church areas.

Our role is to offer sound advice and guidance to our clients in order for them to achieve their goals in either buying, selling, leasing or managing real estate. We are truly “Your Home… for Everything Real Estate.” To schedule a private showing of these or any other properties of interest please do not hesitate to contact us here or email us at [email protected].

0 Comments

This is a sponsored column by 3Summit Investment Management, LLC based in Vienna, VA. 3Summit designs custom, modern investment portfolios and has unique expertise in managing investment risk.

By Dan Irvine | Principal, 3Summit Investment Management

U.S. stocks are generally the highest returning assets in a portfolio and therefore often make up the largest percentage of an investment portfolio.

The problem U.S. stocks present investors is that while historically they generate high returns, they are also very risky and are usually the primary contributor to portfolio losses. Many investors are not comfortable losing 30%, 50% or more of their total assets during market downturns, therefore some level of risk management is required to prevent such large losses.

Conventional diversification seeks to mitigate the risk of U.S. stock ownership by investing in other asset classes including foreign stocks, U.S. and international bonds, commodities, real estate and many others. The investment theory behind this risk management technique is that historically the value of different asset classes rarely move in perfect tandem with the value of U.S. stocks, in some cases, the value of other asset classes move in the opposite direction to the value of U.S. stocks.

The varying degrees of independence in the value of different asset classes helps to reduce the risk of loss because when U.S. stocks are suffering large losses, it becomes likely that other asset classes are losing less or possibly even generating positive returns.

In either case, the size of the total portfolio loss is reduced through conventional diversification because the portion of the portfolio not invested in U.S. stocks is likely to be generating either smaller losses or offsetting U.S. stock losses through positive returns. Conventional diversification is the investing equivalent to the old saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, which sounds good but does it always work for investors?

Why Conventional Diversification Fails When You Need It Most

Conventional diversification is not the risk management panacea that the investment management industry would have you believe.

Unfortunately, during periods the U.S. stock market is suffering its worst losses, conventional diversification does little to protect a portfolio from capturing larger than expected losses. It gets worse, when U.S. stocks are experiencing their largest gains, conventional diversification works against portfolios by limiting the gains captured.

To summarize, conventional diversification tends to fail when you need it most and drags down your gains when you need it least. Almost all investors use conventional diversification as the only risk management technique to help lower their risk of loss. The ubiquity of conventional diversification makes it very important that investors understand why it often fails to protect from large losses while at the same time lowering returns during large U.S. stock market rallies.

Below is a brief explanation of why conventional diversification often fails investors, but to get a full explanation, I recommend listening to our podcast episode that dives much deeper into this very important investing topic.

PODCAST: Conventional Diversification Fails Again

Conventional diversification fails during extreme market events because the normal relationship in how the values of each asset class move relative to U.S. stocks breaks.

Asset classes that usually do not move strongly in the same direction as U.S. stocks, suddenly begin to move in near lockstep and in the same direction as U.S. stocks. When this occurs, conventional diversification fails to reduce portfolio losses and instead increases losses beyond what an investor would expect.

To make matters worse, when the U.S. stock market is generating abnormally high returns, conventional diversification also fails by reducing the size of portfolio returns. During normal markets asset classes that usually move more strongly in the same direction as U.S. stocks begin to move in a less coordinated fashion and sometime in the opposite direction, therefore dragging down portfolio returns.

Learn More

If you would like professional assistance in evaluating your investment portfolio and strategy, we happily provide free consultations and analysis. Also, consider gaining more unique investing insights by listening to our popular podcast or viewing our investing video series.

3Summit Investment Management is a fiduciary, fee only investment advisor providing clients with an alternative to outdated, conventional investment portfolios. We design custom, modern portfolios capable of delivering greater wealth accumulation with much lower levels of risk. To learn more about how we can help you improve your long-term investing results call (571) 565-2161, email ([email protected]) or visit 3Summit.com.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Val Sotillo, Northern Virginia-based Realtor and Falls Church resident. Please submit your questions to her via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: We’re considering buying a house and we’ve been attending a few virtual open houses. There is one property we really liked, and the agent mentioned the seller needs to do a rent-back for 4 weeks after selling. How does a rent-back work?

Answer: A Seller’s Post-Settlement Occupancy, more commonly referred to as a rent-back, allows a home owner to sell their home, collect the proceeds and continue living in the home for a pre-determined period of time after closing.

The most common scenarios for a rent-back are:

  1. The seller has a need for the sale proceeds quickly; such as applying them towards the purchase of their next home. A word of caution on this strategy for sellers — they have to make sure that they’ll be able to find and close on their next home before the rent-back period ends.
  2. Moving out is burdensome and/or highly disruptive to the seller’s family and/or job that they don’t want to start the process until they’re under contract and all buyer contingencies have expired.
  3. Sellers need to remain in their home until the school year is finished.
  4. Sellers want to avoid a double move, first to interim housing and then to a new home. It can be costly to store belongings, and moving twice can be a huge inconvenience.
  5. Buyers are flexible with their move-in date, or their current lease doesn’t end until weeks after settlement.

How Rent-Backs Work

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors contracts (as well as other regional contracts) provide a standard form for a Seller’s Post-Settlement Occupancy Agreement so you don’t need to worry about hiring an attorney. It functions as a short-term lease including how much the seller will pay the buyer for the rent-back, how long the rent-back lasts, a security deposit and a penalty for staying past the rent-back period.

Buyers will conduct a pre-closing walk-through before they purchase the home where they have all the rights provided to them in a normal sale. At the end of the rent-back, the new owners will conduct another walk-through once the previous owners move out, which is similar to that of a walk-through at the end of a normal rental period.

If the buyers are financing the home as a primary residence, the rent-back has a limit of 60 days per the buyer’s loan regulations.

If the previous owners caused damage during the move-out, the new owners can make a claim against the security deposit, generally held by the Title Company who handled the sale.

Read More

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

It’s finally time for the return of the farmers market!

The Vienna one opened this Saturday, while Falls Church is still on Saturday, McLean is on Friday and the Mosaic District is the host for Sundays.

Each market will have their own vendors, some overlap, but all will generally follow the same rules:

  • Wear a mask
  • Go early to avoid a line — they’re limiting the number of people inside the market at a time
  • You can’t pick your own produce — we found fruit to be pre-packaged, and the veggies were taped off so the vendors will pick for you what you order
  • There are plenty of spaces to step aside and eat/drink whatever you buy in comfort
  • Bring a credit card instead of cash

I know for my family, we partly go for the ambiance — beautiful weather, sometimes live music and someone cooking break fast for you. We were still able to feel that way this past Saturday at the Vienna market, and again at the Sunday one in Mosaic.

Here are some of my favorite vendors:

Vienna

  • Green Heart Juice — Liquid Gold for adults, Summer Crush for kids
  • Call Your Mother Bagels — Amazing everything bagels
  • Mama’s Donut Bites — Apple Cider Donuts: they didn’t have the truck, but they did have a stand
  • Savagely Good — Cinnamon Rolls
  • Almond Croissant at the Falls Church City Market (there are several baked good vendors, but there’s one in particular that has the best croissants, also sold at Mom & Pop at Mosaic)
  • McCleaf’s Orchard — Fruits and veggies
  • Crepe Shop at the Vienna Market — My kids LOVE this place for breakfast. They have egg crepes, as well as savory or dessert crepes.
  • Swirly Girl Creamery — Cheese

Photo by Jakub Kapusnak/Unsplash

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