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].

0 Comments

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.

0 Comments

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 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

0 Comments

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 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: Do you foresee the real estate market going back to normal in the summer?

Answer: We made it to June! Can you believe it?! Spring has been full of uncertainty and we’ve all been adjusting to a whole “new normal”. Honestly, it’s impossible to predict the future but I’m very optimistic that we’re going in a positive direction now that coronavirus-related restrictions are easing and the economy is reopening.

Here’s why:

  • While the number of transactions in the Tysons area is lower compared with last spring, they did not drop as much as many industry experts predicted. May has been more favorable, with increasing numbers of properties under contract and new listings, according to MLS data.
  • Normally we see sales really ramp up in March and April, but amid the pandemic and widespread job losses, many buyers wanted to wait not only until they felt more secure in their jobs but also until they could physically step into the homes they were considering. As COVID-19 cases (hopefully) drop significantly and states are loosening restrictions, buyers are becoming more comfortable with the home buying process as they’ve gotten used to taking precautions such as wearing masks and keeping social distance.
  • During these past months at home, homeowners had lots of time to figure what type of space is more valuable to them. Many people have found that they need a home with more space, while others have decided to downsize. What I’m seeing more often on my buyer clients must-have list, is a true home office and not just a desk area in the kitchen. The demand to work from home will remain strong motivating buyers to look for a separate space for that home office.
  • Although home sales have declined due to social distancing and economic unpredictability, home prices are still strong in the Northern Virginia market. In the past couple of months, most of the buyers I represented were competing for properties with multiple offers and they either offered full asking price or above.
  • Active sellers are key to a healthy market. We are seeing sellers getting their properties on the market as they are more confident with pricing than the last couple of months and they’re more comfortable as buyers and agents are taking health precautions when showing a property for sale.
  • Another driver for a stronger third quarter is Millennials with families want to settle in new homes before the school year begins. Don’t expect an increase in sales to last into the fourth quarter though.
  • The low mortgage rates, without a doubt, is helping to entice buyers back into the market.

While all these are signs of a market kicking into more of a recovery mode, there are still some challenges we’re still to overcome:

  • Sellers haven’t come back as quickly to the market as buyers.
  • Even if buyers can find a home, they may not be able to secure a loan. Mortgage rates are historic lows. But today’s reality is lenders are increasingly getting tougher on qualifying criteria.

Tysons Market Update

Here are some numbers for April and May’s real estate transactions within 5 miles from Tysons:

April

  • 235 Properties sold
  • 192 Properties went under contract
  • 26 Average days on the market

May

  • 219 Properties sold
  • 272 Properties went under contract (considering they close within 30 days, we should expect higher numbers in June)
  • 21 Average days on the market

Fairfax County in May

In the chart below you can see our current inventory is about half of what it was in June 2019. However, the number of properties under contract is pretty close which means buyers are very active in this market.

Final Thoughts

We’ve seen a quick bounce back due to record-low mortgage rates and virtual home shopping options and I’m positive that our market will remain strong throughout this year. I will keep you posted!

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.

0 Comments

Sen. Tim Kaine Receives Positive Antibody Test — “Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said Thursday he and his wife, Anne, tested positive for coronavirus antibodies earlier this month after experiencing symptoms of the respiratory disease in March and April.” [Patch]

How’s the Local Real Estate Market Faring? — Patch compiled local numbers for homes that came on the market, ones that went under contract and closed sales. [Tysons Corner Patch, McLean Patch, Vienna Patch]

Expanded Contact Tracing — “The Fairfax County Health Department is pleased to partner with the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) to hire and train staff for COVID-19 contact tracing efforts… To meet the need for large-scale contact tracing efforts, IPHI will hire and train contact tracing staff, community health workers, and other staff as needed.” [Fairfax County]

No Fourth of July Festivities — “The Fairfax County Park Authority’s Summer Entertainment Series will be canceled through July due to public safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Fourth of July events have been canceled, too.” [Fairfax County]

Photo courtesy Jae

0 Comments

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 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: Can you explain mortgage forbearance? Is it a good idea to get it and will it negatively affect my credit in the future?

Answer:  Many homeowners who are dealing with a financial hardship during this pandemic are considering mortgage forbearance or asking for clarification about the process. We don’t have all of the answers yet, but enough information is available to help people make more educated decisions about forbearance.

I asked one of the top mortgage lenders in the D.C. area, Jake Ryon of First Home Mortgage, to join as a guest columnist and provide a rundown of how mortgage forbearance works, and what are some of the unintended consequences.

Take it away Jake!

What is Mortgage Forbearance?

Congress passed the CARES Act, allowing those facing financial hardship due to COVID-19 to request a mortgage forbearance (pause in mortgage payments) for 180 days, with the option to extend for an additional 180 days.

The bill does not require you to provide proof that you’re suffering a hardship, but the CFPB makes it clear that if you can pay your mortgage, you should. However, not everyone is following that guidance and some borrowers who are able to pay are choosing not to and may suffer unintended consequences.

Mortgage forbearance is a temporary pause in payment; it is NOT forgiveness. All missed payments by the borrower must be paid back.

Repayment

Unfortunately, the repayment terms for a forbearance are vague. Statements from Fannie and Freddie indicate that you do not have to repay the missed payments all at once, but that it is for the borrower to work out with the servicer. If the payments are not paid back in a lump sum or over a designated period, but instead added to the end of the loan, the borrower is agreeing to a loan modification.

During a forbearance the servicer (the company you pay) is still advancing the monthly mortgage payments to the end investor. This has led to major issues for lenders, and as a response, tightened credit standards and made it more difficult to obtain a mortgage.

Unintended Consequences

While taking a forbearance is not supposed to negatively affect your credit, there are some unintended consequences I’d like to explain.

*Please note this is based on the most up to date information I could find and is subject to change as this is a fluid situation. Please reach out to your loan servicer directly for your options.*

Refinancing: This may vary by lender, but as I understand it, to be eligible to refinance, borrowers must be out of forbearance and current on their mortgage. This is a big concern if rates continue to fall throughout the year.

Repayment Terms: As mentioned earlier, there are options to repay the missed payments via a lump sum, over a repayment period, or modifying the term of the loan. Keep in mind the servicer must agree to the repayment plan.

I’m hearing that modifications are only being offered if there is documentation to show you’ve been adversely affected by COVID-19. This is going to be problematic for borrowers who didn’t lose their job and assumed their skipped payments would be tacked onto the end of their mortgage or forgiven.

Buying Your Next Home: Since this is so new, we haven’t seen any credit reports reflecting modifications as a result of COVID-19. It’s unclear how lenders and investors will treat these modifications when evaluating new loans.

For example, most investors want to see borrowers pay their mortgage on time for a minimum of 12 months after their modification begins. If someone takes the full 12 months of forbearance, they could be looking at a minimum waiting period of 2 years before obtaining a new loan.

Residual Effects to Your Credit: While the CARES Act says mortgage lenders won’t report you as delinquent during a forbearance, they can’t control how other lenders will view it. For example, if you’re a credit card company and you see a borrower is in forbearance, are you inclined to increase their credit limit or issue a new card? If your credit card debt is increasing and your available line of credit is staying the same or decreasing, it will most likely lower your score.

Weekly Tysons Market Snapshot

Thank you very much for all this helpful information Jake!

If you’d like to talk with Jake about a loan, refinance, or any other mortgage related question you can contact him at [email protected].

Here’s a quick look at how the market performed over the past week within 5 miles from Tysons. I will provide a Market Report for the month of May in my next column. Through these tough times, our market has remained busy and hopefully things will only get better moving forward.

Past Seven Days in Tysons

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.

0 Comments

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
×

Subscribe to our mailing list