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Presenting The Enclave at Aylors Overlook: a private community of 16 brand-new, single-family homes from Madison Homes, a leader in developing high-end boutique communities. These are not ordinary homes and this is not an ordinary location.

Central to everything, Aylors Overlook is adjacent to charming Downtown Falls Church and less than 10 minutes from the more cosmopolitan shopping and dining of both Tysons and the Mosaic District. The W&OD Trail is right across the street and access to Metro, Route 7, I-66, and I-495 easily connect you to everywhere in the D.C. Metro area and beyond.

With 4-7 bedrooms, 3.5-5.5 baths, and 2-car garages, the homes at Aylors Overlook rewrite the meaning of the word luxury. Each space is exceptional, light-filled and refined. And it all starts with the front entrance.

Front steps and porches crafted from bluestone lead to a majestic 42″ wide, 8′ tall front door, reminding you how different and special your Aylors Overlook home really is. Through the door, you’ll find a home expertly designed and finished for today’s modern family living.

The kitchens in Aylors Overlook have been expertly detailed with stainless steel appliances and a commercial style range; quartz countertops; an oversized island with seating for four; and painted maple cabinets await your culinary creations. The oversized walk-in pantry and separate butler’s pantry make sure you always have the right ingredients and equipment on hand (just not out in the open).

Every Aylors Overlook home has a dedicated home office on the main level, a loft space on the upper level and a finished lower level. Combine this space with Madison’s beautifully curated features and you really start to appreciate how special these homes are.

Dual-pane wood-clad windows, nine-foot ceilings on all levels, oak stairs with contemporary railings, custom mudroom built-ins, Kohler fixtures, quartz countertops and porcelain sinks in all bathrooms, a freestanding tub in the Owner’s suite, and smart home and energy efficient features including an electric car charger rough-in in the garage — these are just a few of the features you’ll find standard at Aylors Overlook. Of course, you will also have the option to customize your homes to make it truly unique. Select from our featured upgrades or develop your own.

The Enclave at Aylors Overlook by Madison Homes transcends what you think home could be and lets you live right in the middle of everything! Construction of the first homes are well underway so schedule your appointment today. Priced from the upper $1.7 millions.

Aylorsoverlook.com | 703-844-8484

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

If you’ve read my posts for a while, you’ll see there’s a theme among many that involve helping to combat child hunger. It’s a cause my husband and I are strong advocates and contributors to.

When my kids were in pre-school, their school held a power pack event where kids as young as three helped put together weekend food packs (2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, 2 snacks and 2 beverages) for kids in Northern Virginia who need it. It’s a great way to get young (or old) people involved in giving back and taking stock of their own position in life. I brought the idea to the Vienna Mom’s group and their philanthropy team as an event we could do as a community and offered to sponsor it to get the event started.

Man oh man, did the moms show up for this. We packed over 200 bags and have 10+ bags of unopened boxes of food we will be able to donate to Food for Others tomorrow. Here’s the part where this all comes full circle: Food for Others is also being impacted by supply chain issues and are having trouble making these packs. Guys, these are kids in elementary and middle school who don’t have access to enough food over the weekend. Being able to support them in this kind of way is astounding.

I’ve heard of girl scout troops organizing packing events, schools, etc. It’s really, really easy to do and a great way to get your kids involved.

Here are some tips I learned this weekend:

  • Make sure you’re very clear on HOW MANY items people need to bring. We had a very large surplus of granola bars, but ran short on lunch/dinner meals like Macaroni and Cheese cups, chili cups and tuna. You must also remember a box of mac and cheese is worthless to them if they don’t have butter and milk to make it. Likewise a metal can of food is worthless if they don’t have a can opener to open it. Make sure you’re very clear on the types of items.
  • Space out attendees. We had a lot of people show up in the first 30-45 minutes, so the bulk of the packing was done and the generous people who showed up last didn’t get to pack many bags because we ran out of items.
  • Be very specific on how many items go in a bag. There was some confusion on meals. So when you explain that they need lunch and dinner for Saturday AND Sunday, then people understood it was 4 meals, not just 2. We used signs and separated meals by tables.
  • They have a great website with how to plan an event, how to put it together, and what to include.

I want to personally thank everyone who donated, showed up, and helped with this event! This photo below is only PART of the finished product.

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You’re in the market for new furniture. But you need it, like, now, or tomorrow at the latest.

And — this is kind of a big thing for you — you would like it made with American craftsmanship and materials. Those conditions eliminate just about every store at the mall (not that you would go there in the first place), and the discount stores, and that icon of Dutch do-it-yourself balsawood puzzles.

Meet Furniture Max.

The Herndon furniture showroom goes beyond the usual in its service, in-stock selection, and fast delivery options — as in, same day and tomorrow at the latest.

Furniture Max has the latest design and decorating styles for every room of the house: The obvious ones (living room, bedroom, dining room) — but also the home office (so important these days) and the entertainment center (ditto).

Furniture Max eliminates bouncing from one store to the other to compare deals. You’ll do it anyway, but you’ll see for yourself. And if you need it, there is online financing to continue the speed-of-light furnishing of your house or apartment.

Oh, and one more thing: Most of the products are made in the USA by American companies. It’s important to you, we know.

And one more one more thing: There’s a store-wide sale going on.

Furniture Max is at 2441 Centreville Road in Herndon. Call 571-459-7178 or email [email protected].

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

The town of Vienna has a rich history of family friendly activities and youth sports is central to all things Vienna!

You might not know where to start if you’re new to the area, or if your kids just recently proclaimed an interest in a new sport, so let me break down some options for you. I’m a former college athlete and my belief is that youth sports should be FUN first and getting better second. Hard stop. So you’ll see I’m going to add some nuances to each league so you can self-select into what feels right for your family.

Baseball

Baseball is a big deal in Vienna. There’s kind of no way to sugarcoat this. If your child is 4 or over, you can check out Vienna Little League (check age requirements to see eligibility). The league starts with T-Ball and goes through the age of 12 to the “majors.” There is a spring season (the usual baseball season) which starts with 1 practice and 1 game and progresses up to 2 games per week plus practice, and a Fall Ball season which is slightly more relaxed and less of a commitment (usually 1 practice + 1 game).

If you’re looking for just an introduction to baseball, the town of Vienna summer camps usually offer multiple weeks of instruction for school aged kids. It’s usually put on by some of the Madison High School baseball players through the MVP program and generally my kids have really enjoyed them (the t-shirt at the end is always a highlight!)

If you’re looking for a lighter version, there’s always fan favorite i9. This is a once week program for ages 3 and over on Sundays. Focus is purely on fun and the kids have so much fun because the staff is always awesome.

Softball

Softball is centered around the Vienna Girls Softball League, with a fall and spring season. They do offer basics for girls ages 3 and 4 and the league goes up to 18 and under. The season usually starts with 1 practice and 1 game and as the girls get older can move into 2 practices and games per week.

Football

Another anchor of the Vienna youth sports community and a staple on Waters Field on Saturdays is the football program through Vienna Youth Inc (VYI). The tackle football program starts at the age of 5 and goes up to the age of 12. They also offer a flag football program for kids aged 5-12.

If you want a once a week program for flag football, i9 also offers a Sunday option for kids age 5-8.

Basketball

VYI offers a house league for basketball for both girls and boys, which starts in Kindergarten. In grade 4, they hold tryouts if the kids want to try a “county” league (which acts like a travel league). The practices are once a week for an hour and then a Saturday game follows.

I’m sure I’ll surprise you here where I mention i9 offers a once a week Sunday option for kids ages 5 and up.

Soccer

Vienna Youth Soccer is a great organization for your young soccer player. They offer fall, winter (called Frosty Fields), and spring soccer season for kids ages 5 and up. The younger kids have a practice during the week and a game on the weekend. VYS holds camps throughout the summer too if you’re looking to expose your child to the sport. One thing I loved about VYS is they do try to keep kids together from the same school.

Cheerleading, Lacrosse, Rugby, Track, Volleyball, Wrestling

I don’t have any personal experience with these leagues, but they are offered through VYI as well. You’ll see the cheerleaders at the VYI Football games showing off their skills too. Again, try i9 if you’re looking for a Sunday option for volleyball, lacrosse, and cheerleading.

Whatever you decide to do, remember that youth sports is about building friendships outside of the classroom and exposing kids to new things. They’re always looking for parent volunteers to help coach so also a great way to make more mom/dad friends!

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

Tucked away at 112 Pleasant Street NW, Suite A in Vienna is a local spa you need to know about. Locally owned by a Cunningham Park Elementary School mom, Lisa Tep created a haven for all things skin care and self care — Sesen Spa.

The luxurious and serene spa offers facials, waxing, nails, massage and cosmetic tattoos. They also offer a long line of clean products for skincare, makeup, hand and foot care. The spa offers 2 training programs for nail techs.

Lisa is an active member in the community and contributes to the CPES PTA and donates spa treatments to the auction the school holds.

The spa was born out of her need to find a toxin-free option for nail care and has evolved into a full service spa perfect for those new years goals of better self-care.

One thing I might add: they keep the spa meticulously clean and disinfected. You can also sign up for her newsletter which offers great skin care tips.

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As you pause at the start of a new year to consider your goals and resolutions, there’s no better time to consider whether to invest in your future career through an MBA.

Whether you’re looking for fully online delivery or in-person classes, Virginia Tech offers three different part-time MBA formats designed for working professionals in the Washington, D.C. area and beyond.

“Our strategic focus since 2013 has been to provide working professionals with flexible options that fit into their personal and professional lives,” said Dana Hansson, director of MBA programs at Virginia Tech.

That commitment to providing different types of flexibility informed the launch of Virginia Tech’s Online MBA in January 2021, but the program recognizes there is still a significant population of students that prefer the in-person learning environment, particularly after online meetings have become the new normal in other parts of their lives.

Virginia Tech’s portfolio of programs seeks to balance these preferences so everyone can find an MBA that meets their individual needs.

  • Evening MBA — Virginia Tech’s Evening MBA program has been consistently ranked the best part-time MBA program in Virginia, and one of the best in the nation, by U.S. News & World Report. The program provides maximum flexibility for those who prefer to learn in-person. Classes are offered on weekday evenings at Virginia Tech’s center in West Falls Church and students choose their own course load each semester, as well as their personal degree timeline. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Executive MBA This 18-month, cohort-based program is based at Virginia Tech’s state-of-the-art facility in Ballston. With easy transport links, an accelerated timeline, and the cost of books, meals, parking and more included in tuition, the Executive MBA provides maximum convenience for experienced professionals. Students meet bi-monthly on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings for intensive class weekends that emphasize strategic leadership and experiential learning. The next application deadline is January 15.
  • Online MBA — This 22-month, cohort-based program is 100% online, and includes a mix of synchronous and asynchronous delivery to maximize engagement. The cohort format allows students to build meaningful connections with talented classmates and Virginia Tech’s top-notch faculty. The next application deadline is January 31.

Learn more about each of Virginia Tech’s MBA programs and how to apply at mba.vt.edu.

Happy 2022! If buying or selling a home is on your New Year’s Resolution list this year, this is the article for you. Let’s dive into the REAL real estate predictions for 2022:

The Spring Market Starts NOW

Pandemic year or not, the winter months bring slowed real estate activity. Typically, the spring market begins the weekend after the Super Bowl as potential buyers are looking for something to do with their free Sundays now that they aren’t watching football.

This year will be different. November 2021 inventory was the lowest month of any month in the last 10 years! This isn’t just a slow winter; this is THE slowest. Let’s couple that with a HIGH demand from buyers ready to get back out there after the holidays. First quarter of 2022 will bring multiple offer situations, quick sales, and continued low inventory. January is the new March.

Source: RealEstate Business Intelligence (RBI) Smart Charts

Great Resignation Prompts the Great Migration

2.8 percent of the US workforce is leaving their job each month, which translates into companies like Amazon losing more than 1/3 of their workers each year. While some workers are looking for new opportunities, nearly half of US workers are now remote. The search for the job is on, but the biggest question is where will people WANT to live as they pursue new work opportunities?

Even if you are looking outside of the DMV, I have fantastic recommendations for real estate agents working in other geographies. If you are destined for a change of scenery, you might want to take a look at the changes in home prices across different states and cities around the US.

Source: CoreLogic

Seller’s Market Remains

It should not come as a surprise that sellers will continue to enjoy the upper hand in this real estate market. With low inventory, high buyer demand, high prices and high equity — it is a historically amazing time for you to sell.

In November 2021, 83% of homes sold were on the market for less than a month. The average homeowner gained approximately $56,700 in equity during the past year. If you are looking to cash in on your home’s equity and sell your home quickly, this is the market for you to sell in.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

If you follow Jay’s Wintry Mix — my favorite place to keep an eye on our local weather — you know there’s a chance we get snow today (I’m writing this on Sunday, so if the snow is a bust, like usual, know that’s why). We’ve had such a mild winter so far, I know my kids are craving a snow storm so badly!

If you’re looking for somewhere to go sledding, here’s my annual edition of the best places to go sledding in Vienna and McLean!

Vienna

  • There’s a small hill at Meadow Lane Park on the baseball field. It’s small enough for little kids who might be scared, but enough to give them some speed.
  • Westbriar Elementary School (behind the school)
  • Cunningham Park Elementary — has a big hill that’s great for picking up speed
  • Wolftrap (the theatre) — there’s two places at Wolftrap, the “Bowl” and the “Big Hill”
  • Marshall Road Elementary — in the back there’s a small hill
  • Thoreau Middle School — big hill in the back of the school

McLean

  • Westgate Park — there’s a hill behind the 2nd baseball field
  • Lemon Road Elementary — has a large hill
  • Franklin Sherman Elementary School

My mom hack for another fun snow activity is “snow paint” which is just water and food coloring mixed in a squeeze bottle. My kids write their names in the snow, draw happy faces, etc. It’s always a big hit.

One more tip — we all know after snow comes hot chocolate. Caffe Amouri now sells MaddyBakes hot cocoa bombs and they’re delicious!

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

This week before the new year begins, always brings reflections for me. I’ve been thinking about personal stuff from the year — how hard the real estate market was this year, how thankful I am that I was able to sell 45 homes in 2021, how thankful I am that my kids (and my teacher husband) are back in person in school, and how important our health is. For all of those things I am grateful.

With reflection also comes thoughts on the future. This week is notoriously slow for real estate sales, but it is also the week where I start seeing phone calls and emails come in about 2022 plans to move. As I share with my clients, here are my predictions for the Northern Virginia real estate market in 2022:

Rates will increase by mid-year

I believe rates will continue to be in the low 3’s for the first half the year, but by the summer we’ll see it start to inch up. Want to see a practical application of this:

  • A $950,000 loan amount at 3.25% is $4,134 (just principal and interest) and at 3.75% it goes up to $4,399 — a $265/mo difference just based on the interest rate
  • A $1,250,000 loan at 3% is $5,270 (just principal and interest) and at 3.5% it jumps to $5,613 — a $340/mo difference
  • One other point, the Fannie Mae loan limit in the D.C. Metro area for 2022 was increased to $980,700, which means you could buy a $1,020,000 house with only 5% down and 1 loan. Gone are the days of requiring 20% down.

Inventory will continue to be a problem

Inventory has a problem for over a decade in Northern Virginia and it continues to prove it’s one of the greatest hurdles to buyers, and the greatest asset to sellers. If you remember your old supply and demand lesson — low inventory means higher prices for seller. I do think that will keep pricing levels high, probably not at the rate of appreciation we saw in 2020/2021 but they won’t go down. The National Association of Realtors estimates that Virginia home owners gained over $56,000 in value in 2021 due to increased pricing. For example, one of my clients bought a house in the fall of 2019 for $605,000. They sold that house in March 2021 for $755,000 and bought their forever house for roughly the same mortgage payment by capitalizing on that equity!

The market will still be robust and strong

I believe the demand is still strong for buyers to get into the market and sales will be strong.

Investors jumping into lower priced markets

I put my money where my mouth is and bought another rental property in October. I have several past clients who reached out to me about rental properties as well. With extra cash flowing from a strong stock market, savings from no travel and low interest rates, the market is perfect for investors to jump in. You may want to speak to your accountant for your personal situation, but real estate is the greatest hedge against inflation. If you’re looking to diversify your assets, please do yourself a favor and consider real estate investing.

New construction will continue to be slow

If you’re thinking of building next year, bring your patience. Bring your backup plan. Supply chain issues (I’m tired of that phrase too). There will be delays, whether it’s material, permits, or utility companies… there will be delays. If you’re selling your current property, make sure you have a solid plan to account for potential delays.

I’m entering my 14th year of selling real estate. About 350 sales later, I can help you develop a plan for success. I’ve also bought and sold 10 times personally in the past 20 years. I know the stress. With or without kids. With or without a long term plan. I can help if you have no idea where to start!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year! See you all in 2022!

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

Did you put “a new home” on your gift wish list? Maybe you’re making cookies and realizing how much you hate your current kitchen? Maybe you wish you had more rooms so more family could visit? Or maybe you want an excuse to downsize so you don’t have to host anymore?

Either way, everyone has different reasons and needs for moving. If you are thinking of moving next year in 2022, please keep these 3 things you should be doing right now in mind.

1. Talk to a Lender

Budget and financing is the driver of all things. Do you need to sell your current home to buy? Can you afford to buy and sell after? That information is crucial in determining how to position you for the most success. The Northern Virginia market is still going strong and I doubt we’ll see any contingent sale contracts pushed through. Here are my top people:

2. Interview Realtors

You might be surprised to learn that a lot of people interview agents 6 months ahead of their “go” time. Here’s why: you might not know yet what you don’t know. Did you know it took on average 8 weeks last year for someone to go under contract on a house? Plus 30 days to close, more if the sellers need a rentback option, which brings you close to 3-4 months to actually moving day. I always suggest starting early whether you’re planning on selling or buying, or both. From the sell side: maybe you need a lot of time to prep, maybe you don’t. Maybe you need to be agile in case the market shifts and list your home for sale sooner than you planned in order to take advantage of the best market.

For buying, I think it takes some time to learn where you really want to be, especially if you’re not familiar with all the options. I have a lot of clients who look in multiple area: Vienna, Oakton, Falls Church, McLean and Arlington. It’s important to learn what your money will buy you in each location. Do you want septic or well? Do you want to build? Do you want to renovate? All of that understanding takes time. Get your ducks in a row so you’re ready to jump on something when you see it.

3. Make Your Wish List

Write down what you hate. Write down what you love. Write down what you wish you had. I bring people back to basics all the time. Especially in a market where you get tired of looking, I want to bring you back to our initial meeting and say “hey, remember when you said you really wanted XYZ. This house doesn’t have that.” It’ll keep you from having buyers remorse later. It’ll also help me guide you when we see something with potential. I’ve personally gone through 2 renovations and built a home. I might not be a structural engineer, but I can help you see the vision of what a home could be. If you need some guidance, HUD actually has a pretty good checklist to get you started.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season. Hope you’re safe and healthy heading into 2022. I plan to do a 2022 real estate market predictions next week and then a 2021 year in review in January. If you have specific questions to your own situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out: [email protected] or 703-283-6120.

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