Life. Love. Labs.

Life. Love. Labs.

LOVE. LIFE. LABS

I am constantly taking in the sights particularly along the Mount Vernon Trail where I love to run. I love that Trail. I’ve even been known to pick up my camera after a long run and head back out to capture birds, flowers, the Potomac, trees, front doors, windows, flower boxes, brick, stone, sticks and other things that caught my attention along the way. When I’m not at the beach, this is my happy place. My home. Nothing makes my home happier than Molly and Sam. Happiness lives here. No matter what the season–including Winter my least favorite–you will find the best of all things joyful when you watch labs swim, run, and yes even play in the snow. When you find a place, people, and pets that bring a smile to your face everyday or best yet create a smile on days you just can’t find one then you need to keep them close and have fun! Enjoy the life, the love, and in my case the labs that make it happen. Sometimes, the best things in nature and in life are right where you are I didn’t need to travel to Alaska or Taos, NM to hike and see bears in nature. All I needed was Winter, Snow, and a couple of Labs. Sam and Duke starring in this video and what appears to be a Grizzly Sighting in the snow.

FOR THE LOVE OF SUPER FOODS

a mysterious disappearance of the great grizzly, three sleepy dogs came in and quietly took their favorite spots for rest and relaxation; a chair, the couch, and a giant luv sac in front of the big screen. Let sleeping dogs lie, they say. They are exhausted, they say. They obviously don’t understand the love of a lab. This love story shows snow, friends, and frolick. And for a brief moment in time, sleep. Literally, just for a moment they slept until…wait for it…the refrigerator door opened and we opened the bag. No, not dog food. Kale. Yes, that’s right. In fairness, Molly and Duke stayed put. Sam on the other hand shot up from the luv sac and ran over to my sister and I as we sat on the couch. A test taste ensued with a variety of garden vegetables. First test…well, watch and see if Sam eats Kale. Does this loving, silly labrador named Sam really eat Super foods? Sam Loves SuperFoods

LOVE MATTERS MOST

In the end, this cliche’ still holds true so in my opinion when a cliche’ stands the test of time it proves to be truth. Such truth we hold to be self evident, that’s for certain. (My little nod to Lincoln the week before President’s Day ;-)) Even in the Winter–my not-s0-favorite season–I watch love happen in the snow. Even on mile 6 when it’s cold, cloudy, and I’m midway up the hill, I focus on the run, the scenery, the nature, the place that I love. And then, I can put it together in my mind and capture all of this in words and images. But in the end, it’s love for who, what, and why I run, write, and love people, places, and moments that matter most. Thank you for being here.

The Story Behind Your Home Remodel

The Story Behind Your Home Remodel

I admit to being a bit nostalgic. I love people, places that bring back great memories. Most of those memories include a time, place, people, and things I’ve learned that I still rely on and build upon personally and professionally. In fact, my best memories and experiences bring back some of the most educational and useful data and resources that I have been using and sharing to keep growing, improving, and educating clients, their friends, family, and colleagues. A special resource that harkens back to my Hanley-Wood special projects days is the annual Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine.

It happens often. In fact as recently as a few weeks ago, a past client sent a description and photos of his fantastic kitchen and bath renovations. I was initially impressed with the photos that looked great. We didn’t get into specifics until I see it in person after an additional family room upgrade happens soon. So, when he asked–and I get this a lot– if these projects would help with resale value prior to a sale, I responded as I typically do with this: “… according to the Remodeling 2016 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com) …” and then this:  2016 Cost vs. Value Report for Virginia and MD clients. Remodeling magazine is a trade journal published by Hanley-Wood, Inc., utilized as a key resource among licensed, professional remodeling contractors across the U.S. You’ll find a systematic, descriptive, and data-filled report broken down by region right down to the city in which you live.

For my relocating clients, military families and Foreign Service folks who live outside of the South Atlantic states identified, you’ll find a drop-down menu for each region in the U.S. It covers 30 markets and 100 projects from mid-range to upscale. You’ll find project descriptions along with estimated costs and projections of your potential return on your investment.

The measure of quality and value of any resource, report, or metric is how you utilize the data. I’ll break it down into 3’s so you can better understand which clients find it helpful, how, when, and why you may use it as you plan and prepare for your next remodeling project.

Hopefully, the Q & A format will keep it simple and you can easily decide how to work with the report for positive results. Here we go:

Q: I’VE HIRED A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL. HOW IS THE REPORT STILL USEFUL FOR ME?

A:Remodeling magazine is the leading industry resource among licensed contractors nationwide. The report AND the magazine provide industry trends in project scope, pricing, and product information. I also recommend that you review and consider previouse reports for a retrospective approach to the data. You can compare not only prices and estimated values over time. It’s interesting to note how the projects and products have changed and/or improved how you can live in the space. Then, you can better set your own expectations for your own project, contractor, and life in your home when its all said and done:

Q. HOW DOES THE INFORMATION APPLY TO ME IF I JUST BOUGHT MY HOUSE?

A. I provide this for buyers who have just moved so they can plan ahead in a few ways. First, you can get familiar with project scope and pricing. That way when you’re ready you’re more familiar with what the professionals will assess and how they may price your requests. Plus, you’ll find that the report includes advertisements of remodeling products as industry standards so you can educate yourself on products and materials.

Q. I OWN AN HISTORIC HOME. DOES THE COST VS. VALUE REPORT CONSIDER THE DELICATE NATURE AND MANY REQUIREMENTS FOR REMODELING AND/OR RENOVATING AN HISTORIC HOME?

A. Every remodeling project or home renovation has its own nuances and delicacies when dealing with design, architecture, city and homeowner standards, of course. Historically, the Cost vs. Value Report addresses estimates and average projects that can guide homeowners and their contractors to work toward a positive end result in price, project, and completion. In an effort to provide help for clients remodeling an historic home, I did ask the editor, Craig Webb, Editor-in-Chief, Remodeling and ProSales Magazines, Hanley-Wood, Inc. And while he’s not seen any data specific to historic homes and notes that this report may not be useful for such specific properties, He offers, “…We all like to say that every house has unique qualities and unique repair/remodel issues. For historical properties, I’d think that is doubly true…”

Q. I own a home on or near the water. How can this help understand the nuances of an addition or garage on the water?

A. Waterfront and historic properties are unique in location, restrictions and nuances in general. So, the best approach is to identify licensed, professional remodeling professionals with knowledge, experience, resources, and references for similar properties and projects.

Q. DOES THE REPORT IDENTIFY TRENDS?

A. Yes, in fact, I have used this element of the report for my own edification about what’s trending year over year in terms of types of projects, scope of projects, and the average return on these projects across the board. It’s been interesting to take a step back and look at all of this from a National level and how it lines up with resale pricing and sold prices across the U.S. compared to the regional and city data over the years.

Report content © 2016 Hanley Wood, LLC. Complete data from the Remodeling 2016 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at  http://www.costvsvalue.com.

The Story Behind Your Mortgage

The Story Behind Your Mortgage

It’s a New Year! Here’s the inaugural post from our local expert among lenders. Peter Accolla, George Mason Mortgage, offers insight into what the New Year means for the mortgage market. You’ve likely heard about the recent rate hike. But Peter offers perspective on what this could mean for you in the near term and throughout 2016. Peter is an experienced lender whom my clients have trusted for the last 10 years. Welcome, Peter to The Story Behind the Home. I appreciate his experience and perspective as a very important part of your real estate story unfolds.

It’s a New Year of opportunities and changes. If you’re considering a sale or purchase, you may be wondering what to expect from the mortgage market going forward. The short answer is that the Federal Reserve (FED) pretty much has full control. A reality that begs the question “How quickly will the FED raise short term interest rates this year?”  The overall expectation is that short term rates (the Federal Funds rate) will be 1.5% by the end of 2016.  Currently, it is .5%.  This means that there is an expectation of a .25% increase each quarter of this year.  My opinion (and the opinion of many local loan officers and lenders in our area) is that if we see the FED hike the Federal Funds rate more quickly than expected–insinuating a stronger economy and the need to control inflation–we’ll see mortgage rates increase faster as well.  If we see a steady increase of the Federal Funds rate each quarter over the year, we’ll see our average 30 year fixed rate go from roughly 4% (where it is now) to somewhere around 4.5% by year end.

The effect on your purchase power, interest rate, and loan approval will vary according to a set group of criteria. I’ve provided my contact information below. If you’ll give me 15 minutes of your time or visit my website to provide responses to a few questions, I can show you what the new year in the mortgage market means for you. 

Let’s get started.

Best regards, Peter

Peter S. Accolla II
Branch Manager/Mortgage Banker George Mason Mortgage, LLC
(703) 259-0731 (O)
(703) 888-6889 (C)
(703) 653-3052 (F)

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Holiday Homes

I saw a Facebook post and news video about a Texas family decorating for Christmas. There were lights and yard ornaments common during this time of year. I love driving through my neighborhood to see homes lit up. And, there’s nothing like a candlelight tour at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

KHOU-military
Photo courtesy of KHOU in Houston, TX
SchrieverFamilyDisplay
Photo courtesy of KHOU in Houston, TX

I love living close to Mount Vernon and so appreciate where we live so close to National and State Parks, Monuments, and Museums. There are so many places to go to celebrate living here in this country and Free! They add up each and every day if we pay attention. So, as I read this post and watched this video, I added another really wonderful reason to love the ways we decorate our homes for the Holidays with Christmas lights and yard ornaments.

Each stood tall, bright, and bold in the front yard. The United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines were all represented. The homeowners, a family of first-responders and neighbors to a number of military veterans wanted to let everyone know that people appreciate, honor, and pray for our country, our military, and our neighbors near and far. Notably absent in the yard, the video, the interviews was biased, hate, and fear. Santa bows down before each branch of military service to say thank you. Simply put, support and prayer for military families and our country is an integral part of this great nation. It CAN be about faith. It most definitely IS about the strength, support, and celebration of peace, hope, and love for those who protect us each and everyday.

There would be little to celebrate without military families and their commitment to serve. So, remember those who are away from their homes, families, and loved ones for the Holidays. I’m not sure words are enough. So, it makes a small display, actions, and expressions like these decorations in a small Texas town mean a lot. For military and foreign service families across the globe, this is so often their story. Brambleberry CottagePhoto courtesy of Brambleberry Cottage

The Story Behind the Home dedicates this post to you with a heart-felt, “THANK YOU”!

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Come home safely and soon.

A Buyer Story

A Buyer Story is about how to find the best properties available.

We focus on key elements of a home’s history, design, location, and community that define quality, luxury, and style in any market.

We consider these elements within the context of the most relevant market data and community information so you can best define what value means for you.

The story behind the home connects people with the best properties available so you can continue a home’s existing story. Or, create your own.

So, read through the Buying A Home .Then, when you’re ready, Contact me.

We’ll schedule a free buyer consultation.

Home Ownership Word Cloud
YOUR BEST GUIDE TO HOME OWNERSHIP
Webinar, tablet, blackboard.
Your Best Guide to Home Ownership
You can read more about key elements of my own real estate, running, and writing stories. You’ll also find that I never run out of stories about Molly and Sam, my two chocolate labs.

Continue reading “A Buyer Story”

A Seller Story

A Seller Story

A Seller’s story is about VALUE.

We focus on key elements of your home’s history, design, location, and community beyond the basics.

We combine the best parts of the story behind your home with the most relevant market sales and community information.

We create a compelling and unique place among the best properties available so buyers connect with your home for a more memorable and meaningful experience.

THE RESULTS?

Seller clients sold their home at or above list price in less time!

Here are my most recent results:

6 out of 11 ABOVE list price

9 out of 11 LESS than 30 days

4 out of those 9 SOLD IN LESS THAN 7 DAYS!

The story behind the home connects people with the best properties available. They can continue a home’s existing story. Or, they create their own.
So, read through the seller guide here.2016WinterSellersGuide
You can read more about key elements of my own real estate, running, and writing stories throughout this site. You’ll find that I never run out of stories about Molly and Sam, my two chocolate labs.

 

More results found here: SOLD BY KRISTIN

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SellingYourHouseWinter2016 

Checklist for Sellers