Tysons Corner, VA

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 is an Escalation Addendum and when should I use it?

Answer:  With so much competition for hard-to-find homes that have just come to market, it’s critical for buyers to understand the purpose and risk/reward of using Escalation Addendums (EA) in their offer.

An EA allows you to make an offer at a starting price while agreeing to increase your offer to a higher price if another offer is higher than yours. It includes a maximum escalation value and an escalation factor, the amount your offer will increase by, over the next highest offer.

The contract allows for the seller to execute a purchase contract (ratify) at an escalated value, without the buyer having to agree to the new price. However, to protect buyers, the seller is required to deliver the next highest contract that was used to escalate your offer.

That other offer must also be materially similar, meaning the other offer cannot include seller credits or a material difference in contingencies (e.g. the other buyer has to sell a home before buying this one).

EAs carry a lot of risk and reward, so be sure to understand them before including one in your offer.

Understand The Risks

The obvious risk in using an Escalation is that buyers are exposing their maximum purchase price and some sellers may ask for that max, regardless of whether or not another offer allows them to get there contractually. There are strategies buyers can use to prevent a seller from doing this and, in my experience, most sellers use Escalations as they’re meant to be used.

The other not-so-obvious problem is with non-financial differences between two contracts. The Escalation Addendum says nothing about differences in settlement date, contingencies and other non-financial terms that make a material difference between contracts (e.g. no Home Inspection Contingency vs full Inspection Contingency is treated equally in the Escalation Addendum).

When To Use An Escalation Addendum

Escalations are best used when there are multiple confirmed offers and the seller has set a deadline for “best-and-final” offers. It’s important for buyers to establish expectations with the seller before they include an Escalation Addendum to maximize the benefit and reduce the risks.

This is where having an experienced agent working for you can be the difference between making a smart decision and irresponsible one or securing a home and helping somebody else secure it.

Proper Communication Is A Win-Win

I strongly believe that with proper communication between sellers and buyers, Escalation Addendums benefit both parties by allowing the seller to draw out the highest available price for their home and allowing buyers to confidently maximize their chance of securing a home. Improper communication leads to a lack of trust and a lack of trust will almost always earn sellers less and may keep the most motivated buyer out of the home of their dreams.

It’s Not Always About Price

Being the winning offer amongst multiple offers isn’t always about price. Buyers need to focus on non-financial terms as well to set themselves apart and it’s important to understand how you can increase the strength of your offer without taking on excessive risk, but that’s a topic for another day.

If you’d like more information, or would like a question answered in my weekly 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, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, 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.

On May 4 and 5, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. each day, you have the opportunity to join the Northern Virginia Parade of Homes tour of the areas most popular builders and remodeling contractors.

Admission is free and they have a great interactive map of the homes on the route. They’re listed alphabetically or you can focus on a city. Below I’ve highlighted some questions to ask them if you’re thinking of building.

Make sure you click the “add to my tour” button when looking at builders. Some of the addresses listed are their offices and not the model home they’re using for the tour.

Some of the homes listed are actually for sale, some are not.

Questions to ask:

  • If you like some of the features of the home and hate others — ask if the house was a custom build for someone (i.e. it’s someone else’s taste and not necessarily representative of what the builder normally does).
  • Ask about lot acquisition. If you’re looking for a specific lot size, location/school zone, type of home (i.e. 3-car garage), talk to the builders about how they find lots, what they do if they get a call with one that might match your needs.
  • Look for personality — building a home is a highly personal transaction, way more than buying/selling normally. You want to make sure you actually like the person you’ll be dealing with almost daily for a year.
  • Ask all the questions you’ve heard rumors about (does a pool count a lot coverage? How about a deck?) These guys will know the answer.
  • Do they have floor plans they’re able to reuse if you like a specific one (check their websites, most have full photos and floor plans for the home they’ve built previously)? Find out if they have architects they’d recommend if you want to do something truly custom.

Ask about financing options. They’ll happily give you the names of local banks they like working with and give you options.

  • When you’re walking through these houses, really get a feel for the space. How does 5,000 sq. ft. feel? Compare that to 4,000 or 6,000. You’ll see so many models on the parade of homes, you should be able to get a good feel of what you need, don’t really care about, size/space, etc.

The homes are beautiful! Enjoy the tour!

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Open Houses April: 19

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 local properties have upcoming open houses this weekend.

1808 Old Meadow Road #1114, McLean 
2 BR/2 BA
Agent: Samson Properties
Listed: $389,900
Open: Saturday 12-3 p.m.

 

7974 Vigne Court, Vienna
4 BR/4 BA
Agent: Weichert Realtors
Listed: $859,995
Open: Saturday 1-3 p.m.

 

1450 Pathfinder Lane, McLean
6 BR/5.5 BA
Agent: Pearson Smith Realty, LLC
Listed: $1,550,000
Open: Sunday 12-4 p.m.

 

2777 Knollside Lane, Vienna
3 BR/3.5 BA
Agent: Samson Properties
Listed: $529,999
Open: Saturday 1-3 p.m.

 

1221 Kelley Street SW, Vienna
5 BR/4.5 BA
Agent: Compass
Listed: $1,424,999
Open: Saturday 2-4 p.m.

 

8296 Elm Shade Court, Vienna
5 BR/4.5 BA
Agent: RE/MAX Allegiance
Listed: $1,199,000
Open: Sunday 2-4 p.m.

 

301 Park Street NE, Vienna
3 BR/3 BA
Agent: McEnearney Associates, Inc
Listed: $849,000
Open: Saturday 2-4 p.m.

 

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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Luxury for Less: April 17

Welcome to Luxury For Less, a weekly column highlighting the best deals in luxury real estate. Written by Brandy Schantz of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury For Less offers tips and tricks navigating the competitive real estate market and securing the home of your dreams. To learn more, visit ttrsir.com.

The bad news this week is the mortgage rates bumped up a bit for the second week in a row.

The good news is that the luxury market has softened a bit and there are a lot of great properties at great prices. There are still plenty of new builds in the Tysons area and people are willing to pay a premium for brand new and customization.

Larger homes as young as just a few years are sitting as result. These homes have the same great location and large size, they just don’t have the latest and trendiest finishes.

If you preferred the darker kitchen cabinets to today’s all white or grey, it’s great news. If you like the newer finishes but don’t have the big budget, buying a 7 years young home gives you the opportunity to live in the neighborhood you want and you can always update later. Don’t forget, those white or grey cabinets are going to look very dated in another 10 years too.

This home was built in 2012 and is situated in a neighborhood that sees new build homes sell for over $2 million. It’s close to Tysons Corner, walking distance to Westwood Country Club and just 1 block from the W&OD Trail.

A great value in a great neighborhood:

Check out all this week’s Luxury for Less listings here:

The properties listed are a small selection of properties available in the Tyson’s Corner area. For a full list of properties listed on MLS and private exclusives, please contact Brandy Schantz.

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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].

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Open Houses: April 12

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 local properties have upcoming open houses this weekend.

502 Roberts Drive NW, Vienna
3 BR/2 BA
Agent:@home real estate
Listed: $610,000
Open: Sunday 1-3:30 p.m.

 

1111 Carper Street, McLean
5 BR/4.5 BA
Agent: Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc
Listed: $1,225,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

1920 Tysons Trace Drive, Vienna
4 BR/3.5 BA
Agent: Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Listed: $1,025,000
Open: Sunday 1-3 p.m.

 

1514 Hampton Hill Circle, McLean
3 BR/3.5 BA
Agent: Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Listed: $1,029,900
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

9810 Bridleridge Court, Vienna
5 BR/3 BA
Agent: Pearson Smith Realty, LLC
Listed: $899,999
Open: Saturday 1-3 p.m.

 

10403 Trumpeter Court, Vienna
4 BR/2.5 BA
Agent: RE/MAX Premier
Listed: $789,900
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

10005 Munane Street, Vienna
5 BR/4.5 BA
Agent: Compass
Listed: $1,399,000
Open: Sunday 12-3 p.m.

 

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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Luxury for Less: April 10

Welcome to Luxury For Less, a weekly column highlighting the best deals in luxury real estate. Written by Brandy Schantz of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury For Less offers tips and tricks navigating the competitive real estate market and securing the home of your dreams. To learn more, visit ttrsir.com.

There are quite a few homes with price improvement to choose this week!

Mortgage applications have been setting records this year and with low inventory, it’s still a seller’s market. Even in a seller’s market, there is room for a deal. Unique homes and homes that have been overpriced can still sit on the market and we have quite a few this week that moved to a more attractive price point.

This week’s Luxury for Less features everything from a home in McLean with an amazing location and address (1655 Strine Drive) to a new build opportunity in Vienna (1330 Vanetta Lane).

My favorite listing this week comes to us courtesy of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. This exquisite French Provincial manor features a dramatic entry way, imported fountains, elegant outdoor entertaining space and an Olympic-sized salt water swimming pool. This home truly captures luxury at its finest:

Check out all this week’s Luxury for Less listings here:

The properties listed are a small selection of properties available in the Tyson’s Corner area. For a full list of properties listed on MLS and private exclusives, please contact Brandy Schantz.

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Ask Val: Living In Mosaic

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 tell me more about Mosaic District? What housing options are available within walking distance?

Answer: The Mosaic District is a new urban neighborhood. It’s lively and vibrant, and no matter how often I am there, I always notice something new going on. It’s definitely one of my favorite neighborhoods and hangout spots. You really have everything there at the convenience of your fingertips.

Here’s why I’m a big fan:

Great Location — It’s perfectly situated where Route 50, 66 and the Beltway meet. The Dunn Loring Metro station is only 1 mile away, and you can be in D.C. in 25 minutes. You can drive to Tysons in less than 10 minutes. There’s free garage parking and when they have big events, they offer a free shuttle to the metro.

Environmentally Friendly — Mosaic’s architecture is much more contemporary than is typically found in Northern Virginia, with more flat roofs, glass and steel. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide) for Neighborhood Development pilot project is LEED-Silver certified; and all of the townhomes were built to LEED for Homes standards. Several of the District’s buildings also have green roofs.

Activities and Shopping — So convenient! From unique boutiques to Target, fitness studios, spas and salons, Mom’s Organic Market, banks, furniture stores, coffee shops, bars, a brewery and lots of restaurants for either a quick bite or a nice date. Check out my favorite spots: Sisters Thai, True Food Kitchen for brunch, B Side for amazing drinks, Sea Pearl has the best happy hour deal and Caboose Commons with their awesome dog friendly patio. You can see the full directory here.

The Angelika Film Center is a multiscreen cinema with reserved seating, a coffee shop, full bar, gourmet snacks and great digital projection and sound technology. There’s also a giant screen on the front of the theater facing the park, where people can watch family films for free.

Strawberry Park is usually where most of the outdoor activities are held. The turf is made of recycled components and it requires no water or chemicals. Outdoor activities include yoga, Lululemon run club, seasonal festivals and Farmer’s Market. See what’s on their schedule here.

Read More

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Luxury for Less: April 3

Welcome to Luxury For Less, a weekly column highlighting the best deals in luxury real estate. Written by Brandy Schantz of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury For Less offers tips and tricks navigating the competitive real estate market and securing the home of your dreams. To learn more, visit ttrsir.com.

There are fewer and fewer reduced properties each week.

Homes are selling with multiple offers and many homes are selling for significantly more than list price. If you have been considering selling your home, now is a great time. This is an especially good time to sell your home if you are worried about your home’s location or any less than desirable features.

In certain neighborhoods, even the house that faces the highway is getting a full price offer. The bottom line is, if you’re on the fence about selling, get off that fence!

Great Falls has the abundance of reduced properties this week. This is a great community that is often overlooked for McLean or Vienna. You can find large lots in Great Falls and you truly feel like you’ve escaped the madness of D.C. or Tysons Corner.

Don’t count Great Falls out of your home search. You may find that you love the relaxing feel and beauty of this bedroom community. My favorite listing in Great Falls this week is this gorgeous home with a view:

Check out all this week’s Luxury for Less listings here:

The properties listed are a small selection of properties available in the Tyson’s Corner area. For a full list of properties listed on MLS and private exclusives, please contact Brandy Schantz.

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Luxury for Less: March 27

Welcome to Luxury For Less, a weekly column highlighting the best deals in luxury real estate. Written by Brandy Schantz of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury For Less offers tips and tricks navigating the competitive real estate market and securing the home of your dreams. To learn more, visit ttrsir.com.

One of the most common requests I get from clients is to help them build a custom home.

Building a custom home has many advantages. The first advantage is choosing your own location. Buying a lot for a tear down means you can choose the neighborhood, size of lot and lot configuration. The next advantage is building exactly what you want.

When you buy a spec home (a home built by a builder with no specific buyer in mind- speculation), you may get something you really like but might have chosen different finishes than the builder or added rooms that worked better for your family. When you build custom, you can get the home gym or even cigar room (I’ve seen that built!) that you’ve always wanted.

Building a custom home is very rewarding but it can be time consuming. Finding the right lot, tearing down the existing home and building new can take up a lot of time in your already busy schedule. There are many choices to be made and depending on your situation, you are carrying expenses for two households until the home is completed.

Unless you plan on paying cash, custom home building also requires a construction loan. A construction loan is a short-term loan used to build. The lender pays the money out in stages or draws. This loan has a higher interest rate than a typical conventional loan due to risk and is usually refinanced at the end of the build.

Living in the D.C. metro region means there are always plenty of spec homes being built. There are advantages to buying a spec home also. If you don’t want to worry about making any choices at all or waiting to move into your new home, you can find a home that has already been built.

If you want to make some choices for your new home but don’t want the hassle of finding a lot, interviewing builders and carrying the costs of building new construction, finding a spec home already under construction is a great option.

In this case, you can choose finishes and even change certain features of the home but can use your conventional loan to purchase upon completion. Both options are great and either way, you will live in a beautiful home.

Check out this spec home currently being built in Vienna Woods and a home customized by a client from this builder just 2 years ago. It’s amazing what you can do with a little customization!

For more information on building a custom home or finding a spec home to put your special touch on, contact me at 571.263.0206.

Check out all of this week’s Luxury for Less listings here:

The properties listed are a small selection of properties available in the Tyson’s Corner area. For a full list of properties listed on MLS and private exclusives, please contact Brandy Schantz.

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