Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Dear Doug

April 1, 2011 by Contributor filed under Columns No Comments
real_estate

Dear Doug: What is the “hottest” month for sales? What improvements enhance a property, and which are a waste of time and money?-Kathleen, Hamilton

Dear Kathleen: Springtime is the hottest time to sell your house–when flowers are blooming, trees have greened up, and colorful potted plants greet potential home buyers Contrast that to a bleak, icy day when snow has been pushed aside a narrow path to the front door. See the difference? A home can have a welcoming aura, if presented in the best light. When you plan to meet someone for the first time, do you get dressed up and pay attention to detail, or just go as you are? You get the idea.

And, for the second part of your question:

Paint, Carpet, and Cleaning are the top three improvements that enhance property. If you do nothing else; clean, paint, replace old carpet, then clean again.

Following close behind, is De-cluttering. Get rid of Stuff to give your home a clutter-free appearance which will make your home seem lighter, brighter, and more pleasant.

Another cheap fix is Landscaping. Add colorful flowers to the front walkway or porch. Put a hanging basket of flowers to greet new home buyers. Add new mulch and edge the driveway, but don’t spend thousands on that exotic bush that no one will notice.

When it comes to major improvements, I’ll start with what I wouldn’t do if you’re goal is to sell your home right away:

–I would not redo the entire kitchen. It’s too subjective, and too expensive just to sell a house.You may want to replace appliances if they are too old, but it’s more cost effective to just clean well, then price the house accordingly.

–I wouldn’t add a garage if you lack one.

–No digging a swimming pool.

In short: I wouldn’t add any major projects just to sell a house-. My rule of thumb is to spruce up what you have, spending the least amount for the biggest impact. Occasionally, homeowners facing stiff competition may need to amend this advice a bit, to stay competitive. If you are considering adding granite countertops, for example, look at your neighbors. Do they all have it? Would you really stand out? If your answer is yes, you may want to take the plunge. Likewise, if you have a basement with the plumbing roughed-in for a bath, and the walls and sink are in, I would add the toilet. I would not add a complete bath!

So, good luck with the improvements, Kathleen, and send me any questions you run into as you get your house ready to go!


Dear Doug: Why is it so hard to get “free” information on foreclosed properties?-Glen, Fairfax

Dear Glen: You can call a Realtor like myself to provide free info on any foreclosure that you want to know about. Why? So I can educate you on that particular foreclosure, then sell you on why they can be a great deal to buy. Is that “free?” Yes! As a Realtor, if I know you’re working with another Realtor, I would keep it very brief. But, if you’re trying to learn about foreclosures, and I think I can begin a successful business relationship with you, I’ll give you all the “free” info that you desire–and I’ll invite you to bring any friends who want to learn, too. We would review the whole foreclosure process, depending on what you wanted to learn. If you’re just gathering info on foreclosures for a school paper, I would still give it out for free–but with the hopes of educating you and closing future deals with you and your friends. Why? Because people all need a place to live. I find that even if the free advice seeker is not ready to buy something now, he/she will will take notice of a Realtor who takes the time to answer questions. So, get in touch with a Realtor, and I’ll bet you’ll get all the “free” info that you’re looking for. Go ahead, make that call!


Dear Doug: Are you seeing a trend toward people renting rather than buying?-Leslie, Purcellville

Dear Leslie: I am seeing a strong demand for rentals. Why? Well, you have to ask: Where are the people going who are facing foreclosure and short-selling their houses ? They can’t buy, since they’ve either nicked their credit or completely destroyed it. No lender will touch them, so they have to rent. In addition, we see recent college grads looking for housing, and relocating buyers attracted to this area by a fairly strong employment base.

Also, it’s more difficult these days to get mortgages. Banks are being more stringent about qualifying people. Those who would prefer to buy are being forced into the rental market.

With this increased rental demand, landlords like myself are seeing a dramatic increase in rental prices, which I really can’t complain about!

So, who is buying, you may ask? Relocating buyers with relocation packages provided by their companies. Also, long-time renters with steady job who are seeing severe price drops over the past 3 years. Some of them can now buy for less than they can rent in some places. For example, a recent client of mine–a relocating government employee–chose an $1800 townhouse to rent. When I showed her that she could buy the townhouse and save a few hundred dollars per month, she was quite surprised! ( Incidentally, she rented anyway because she wasn’t sure she wanted to live there for the next 5 years.)

Douglas Frank holds a BA degree in English from Rutgers University and is a licensed realtor with over twenty years experience. Doug works with Prudential Carruthers Realtors in Fairfax, Virginia. He also has his Home Improvement License and owns a number of investment properties including houses, townhomes, and condos. Doug and his wife and two sons live in Fairfax, Virginia. Opinions expressed here are … only opinion!

Comment on this article


By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

2016 in the Books

noerpel_new

(Presented to the Board of Supervisors February, 2017) “The last three years have demonstrated abundantly clearly that there is no change in the long-term trends since 1998. A prediction from 1997 merely continuing the linear trends would significantly under-predict the …

A Rainy Romance

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all” – a simple phrase uttered in an acclaimed musical that helped birth a star. The movie’s Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) catches his attention so completely that Don Lockwood (Gene …

Concerned Parents

drmikenewpic

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, Our 15-year-old son is out of control and we don’t know what to do anymore. He smokes pot and drinks, disobeys us left and right, is truant from school often, comes home whenever he …

It’s Time To Review Your Estate Planning Basics

Smith0035

Beginners and billionaires alike should refresh their knowledge of these basic estate planning terms and concepts. The word “estate” tends to conjure up images of billionaires and aristocrats, but estate planning is not just for the wealthy. It’s widely believed …

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: George Marshall Center

George Marshall Center

I used to wonder why – after an assignment to visit the interior of this place, I’d return feeling exhausted – both mentally and physically worn out – as if I’d been carrying an extra couple hundred pounds or so …

Meeting the “Other America”

blueridge2

By Nicholas Reid Ever since the presidential election last November, there has been a lot of talk about the “two Americas”: coastal and continental America. The many differences between these two sections of the United States are numerous and oftentimes …

The Trump Effect

noerpel_new

“Corals are marine magicians. As colonies of the tiny ocean organisms grow, they transform the calcium that circulates in seawater into enormous limestone reefs. These reefs—which can extend for more than 1,000 miles and provide homes for crabs, eels, sea …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

(Be the first to comment)

Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

buckland

Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

(Be the first to comment)

Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

adamspromoted

Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

February 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
January 30, 2017 January 31, 2017 February 1, 2017 February 2, 2017

Chair Yoga

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

Yoga for Men
February 3, 2017 February 4, 2017

CHINESE NEW YEAR EVENT

CHINESE NEW YEAR EVENT

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
February 5, 2017
February 6, 2017 February 7, 2017 February 8, 2017 February 9, 2017

Chair Yoga

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

Yoga for Men
February 10, 2017 February 11, 2017

Valentine's Pizza & Champagne

Valentine's Pizza & Champagne

Sweetheart’s Soirée- A Night of Dinner & Dancing

Sweetheart’s Soirée- A Night of Dinner & Dancing
February 12, 2017

Candlelight Concert Fundraiser

Candlelight Concert Fundraiser

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Writers’ Night Out

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Writers’ Night Out
February 13, 2017 February 14, 2017 February 15, 2017

Bob Brown Puppets: Dragon Feathers

Bob Brown Puppets: Dragon Feathers
February 16, 2017 February 17, 2017

ARTSPOWER: RAINBOW FISH

ARTSPOWER: RAINBOW FISH
February 18, 2017

Wine & Chili Weekend

Wine & Chili Weekend

BALLET THEATRE OF ASHBURN AND EDGE PERFORMANCE COMPANY: MALONE BENEFIT CONCERT

BALLET THEATRE OF ASHBURN AND EDGE PERFORMANCE COMPANY: MALONE BENEFIT CONCERT

Comedy Night feat. Tyrone Davis

Comedy Night feat. Tyrone Davis
February 19, 2017
February 20, 2017 February 21, 2017 February 22, 2017 February 23, 2017 February 24, 2017

February Fourth Friday

February Fourth Friday
February 25, 2017

Samedi Gras Celebration

Samedi Gras Celebration
February 26, 2017
February 27, 2017 February 28, 2017 March 1, 2017 March 2, 2017 March 3, 2017

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV
March 4, 2017

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
March 5, 2017
Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Steady and NoBull

Lifestyle

LCSO Announces Project Emergency Response

22 Feb 2017

sheriff

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with Loudoun County Public Schools, has developed a pilot program to assist emergency responders and individuals with Autism and their families to successfully manage emergency situations. The program, called Project Emergency Response, will allow family members and other caregivers to provide crucial information about their loved ones to first responders. The information will …

(Be the first to comment)

Hillsboro Plans Mardi Gras Celebration on February 25

20 Feb 2017

nothing else main in hillsboro grey

Mardi Gras celebration will be held in Hillsboro on Saturday, February 25 as a benefit for the Old Stone Schoolhouse. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. Hurricanes and New Orleans drinks, as well as Old 690 beer and local wines will be served in the Garden District Bar. The Cajun Cafe will feature New Orleans cuisine, including King Cakes. …

(Be the first to comment)

Four Young Historians Discuss Civil War Turning Points

2 Feb 2017

younghistorians

The Mosby Heritage Area Association will hold a talk featuring a panel of four young historians who will discuss turning points in the Civil War. The talk will be held at Unison Methodist Church, 21148 Unison Road, Middleburg, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 12. Tickets will be sold at the door or online at www.mosbyheritagearea.org/events for $15 …

(Be the first to comment)

Around Virginia

Walbridge To Run for State Delegate in the 33rd District

Tia walbridge

Tia Walbridge announces her run for the District 33 seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Walbridge is a wife and mother of two daughters and an active member of the Round Hill community. “Like many people in our district, my family has found its prosperity in a Virginia-based small …

(Be the first to comment)

Office Building on Capitol Square To Be Named After Civil Rights Pioneer Barbara Johns

image002

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the newly renovated state building located at 202 N. 9th Street on Capitol Square in Richmond (currently known as the 9th Street Office Building) will bear the name of civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns. The building, which reopened last year, houses the Virginia Attorney General’s …

(Be the first to comment)

Rep. Comstock’s Key Top Priority Legislation Initiatives

barbaracomstock

Signed into Law in Her First Term Rep. Barbara Comstock, who serves the 10th congressional district in Virginia, recently reviewed the achievements of her first term in office, identifying 17 legislative initiatives that she supported that were adopted. She said: “My staff and I have met with stakeholders, local elected …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

WLVBC U14 Boys Finish 3rd at VA Beach Event

23 Feb 2017

WLVBC300

The Western Loudoun Volleyball Club’s U14 Boys Team garnered 3rd place in their first travel tournament of 2017, the Virginia Beach Invitational. This event was held Feb. 18-19 and featured more than 24 teams from the U14 to U18 age group. The team was second on their net on day …

(Be the first to comment)

Woodgrove Gymnasts Advance To States

15 Feb 2017

gymnastics Snare

Two Woodgrove High School gymnasts have qualified to advance to the Virginia State Championships Saturday, February 18, at Patriot High School in Nokesville. Sophomore River Stone placed fourth in the all-around competition at the 1A-5A North Regional Gymnastics Championships at Park View High School on Wednesday, February 8, which earns …

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

  • +2017
  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009