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Dare To Be Different in Bluemont

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By Hannah Hager

It’s not easy to have it all. Most families have an idea in their mind of what the perfect home looks like and where it is located. Not all of them would choose a weathered-wood home surrounded by thick forest. But, you’re not them. You’re you – and you’re the kind of family who dares to be different. … Continue Reading

New Insights

June 4, 2013 Columns Comments Off on New Insights
Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer

I was recently invited to attend the National Association of Realtors mid-year conference held at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue as a panelist. It was an invitation-only “Masters of the Market” group consisting of some of the most forward thinking and highly productive real estate brokers in North America. Most were former Howard Brinton “StarPower” honorees, as I was, and for me, it was like “old home” week.

I’m telling you all of that to tell you this: The real estate market, as we all know, has changed dramatically over the past five years. We all knew it would, but it has been a challenge for even full-time top-producing professionals to keep up.

In the two-and-a-half hours we shared, the social exchanges lasted for just a few minutes and rolled into unending flood of new and useful information. One which stood out in my mind as particularly important I describe below. … Continue Reading

Real Estate Ticker – April

April 2, 2013 Columns Comments Off on Real Estate Ticker – April
Carl Fischer headshot

I’m writing this article from the new Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth, Texas…
while attending United Country’s Annual Convention being held this year in Forth Worth Texas. It’s an interesting contrast with the familiar universe of Northern Virginia market activity. While back home we are dealing with the still-too-early-to-predict consequences of the sequester, the Fort Worth area is experiencing an explosion in growth, price recovery, and new construction, of both single-family and multifamily houses. The median price here has increased from $155,000 a year ago, to $168,900 today. Their listing inventory declined from 3131 a year ago to 2223 today. Now THAT is a recovery!

Locally, residential resale prices are holding on, but not accelerating as I anticipated…
Month-over-month rate of sales fell off this past month in both sales volume as well as number of sales, but were still higher than the same month last year. According to the MRIS, the active number of listings is down from 1,287 to 1,040 compared to the same month last year. The number of new contracts was off 10.6 percent for the same period in 2012. … Continue Reading

Tiptoeing Towards the “Spring Market”

March 9, 2013 Columns Comments Off on Tiptoeing Towards the “Spring Market”
Carl Fischer headshot

If you are having difficulty understanding what our real estate market will actually look like as we move into warmer weather, don’t feel alone; so do I. It’s true that there continues to be a sense of “cautious optimism” when it comes to our economy in general, but speaking with folks dropping by my office or calling, there is still a very pronounced air of caution in everyone’s comments.

Residential resale prices are showing some improvement…

However, the month-over-month rate of sales fell off dramatically this past month, though they were still higher than the same month last year. According to the MRIS, the active number of listings is down from 1,282 to 1,005, compared to the same month last year. The number of new contracts was up 4.96 percent for the same period. … Continue Reading

Holiday Season Softening in the Residential Market….

January 9, 2013 Columns Comments Off on Holiday Season Softening in the Residential Market….
Carl Fischer headshot

As is often customary this time of year, most market metrics fell in the month of October. Total sales volume was down 8.5 percent compared to last month, but still, year over year we were up a whopping 38 percent. Days on Market (DOM) continues to decline, which is a great litmus test for pent-up demand.

The ratio of SOLD prices to list, or “asking” prices continues to improve. Inventory of homes available for sale is still shrinking, down nearly 16 percent compared to this month last year.

Here’s a look at Loudoun numbers for September from MRIS

FHA on the move

One area of interest that jumped at me this month was a series of articles I ran across focused on imminent changes in process that will have a real impact on buyers of affordable homes in this area. … Continue Reading

Holiday Season Softening in the Residential Market

December 5, 2012 Columns Comments Off on Holiday Season Softening in the Residential Market
Carl Fischer headshot

As is often customary this time of year, most market metrics fell in the month of October. Total sales volume was down 8.5 percent compared to last month, but still, year over year we were up a whopping 38 percent. Days on Market (DOM) continues to decline, which is a great litmus test for pent-up demand.

The ratio of SOLD prices to list, or “asking” prices continues to improve. Inventory of homes available for sale is still shrinking, down nearly 16 percent compared to this month last year.

A look at Loudoun numbers for September from MRIS:

… Continue Reading

Residential Market Continues to Move Up

November 7, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off on Residential Market Continues to Move Up
Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer

Though lead traffic seemed to fall off a bit in August and September (a typical “summer doldrums” phenomena), there was sufficient sales activity to keep the buying spree moving forward. Month-over-month activity dropped 11.7 percent, but year-over-year, we are still up 22.6 percent.

One key indicator is the continued rise in average sold price as well as the ongoing drop in days-on-market. Inventory of homes available for sale is still shrinking.
A look at Loudoun numbers for September from MRIS appears above …

Buyer’s advantage is beginning to wane …

As prices begin to creep up, and they are, the unique advantage buyers have enjoyed for some time is slowing beginning to slide away. Homes that sold in April and May of this year for $350,000, are now going to contract at $365,000-$370,000. Same house; different market! … Continue Reading

Roth IRA Conversions: Opportunities and Deadlines

October 3, 2012 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Roth IRA Conversions: Opportunities and Deadlines
Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy Smith

Potential increase in federal income tax may make 2012 Roth conversions attractive.

When you convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, the conversion is generally taxed as ordinary income (except for any after-tax, non-deductible contributions you’ve made). With the “Bush tax cuts” set to expire at the end of 2012, federal income tax rates will jump up in 2013. Unless Congress acts, we’ll go from six federal tax brackets (15, 25, 28, 33, and 35 percent) to five (15, 28, 31, 36, and 39.6 percent).

While there continues to be discussion about extending the expiring tax cuts, many believe there’s little chance of resolution until after the November election.

While no one can predict what Congress will ultimately do (or not do), 2012 may present an opportunity to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA at a potentially lower tax cost than if you wait until 2013. … Continue Reading

Housing: The “Up” Side of this “Down” Market

September 5, 2012 Columns Comments Off on Housing: The “Up” Side of this “Down” Market
Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer

In the past two months, the housing market has seen a traditional reduction in residential sales activity through the heat of the summer. In the summer months, many families have more pressing demands on their time, be it for vacations, travel, or simply family get-togethers both near and far.
During this period, the national press continues to document the case for a very slow, erratic recovery in both house prices and consumer confidence. And these facts are hard to ignore. But there’s one aspect to what has happened in the past five years that seems to escape the focus of the press: How about the incredible opportunities this down market has presented to those who can take advantage of the ‘now’?

For those owners who are buried, or up-side down in their present ownership situation, and who agonize daily about their loss of equity as house prices have continued to erode, it feels like there’s very little to be done but just wait this recovery out. … Continue Reading

Agency law in Virginia has changed… Part II

July 31, 2012 Lifestyle, Real Estate Comments Off on Agency law in Virginia has changed… Part II
Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer

July 1, 2012 has now passed, and the new regulations put in place by the Virginia Real Estate Board (VREB) and through it’s licensing and oversight arm, the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) are now the law of the land.

So from this date forward, when you engage for the first time ANY licensed real estate agent or broker here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, be prepared to declare how you would like him to provide services for you. You have three choices:

  1. As a STANDARD AGENT, who has the normal and usual responsibilities to represent you as in the past. But he may also have additional duties which you and he must agree to, in writing, or
  2. As a LIMITED SERVICE AGENT, (formerly a limited service representative), who acts for or represents a client with respect to real property containing from one to four residential units, pursuant to a brokerage agreement that specifies that he will NOT PROVIDE one or more of the duties set forth in a specific list itemizing such services, or
  3. As an INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR, whose role in NOT that of an agent, but may be referred to as a “transaction broker”, among other terms. In this capacity, the service you barter for (and agree to) is best characterized as a third-party facilitator whose job it is to seek agreement between the parties so as to achieve the goal of the client (you). The standards and duties of the agent in this capacity is far more limited on your behalf than either of the other two.

… Continue Reading

Local Housing “Trends” Are Still Very Fragile

June 6, 2012 Columns Comments Off on Local Housing “Trends” Are Still Very Fragile
Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer

For some time now, I have reported specific observations that have lead me to believe that our local residential housing market is “bottoming out”. And I have no reason at present to believe that trend in not continuing. But every erratic day on the S&P or DOW sends reverberations down my spine. And it drives buyers back into a fetal position bracing themselves for “what comes next”.

It’s not that a majority of our neighbors are necessarily heavily invested in the the stock market, but I think a very high percentage see these indicators as bellwethers for a larger trend in the regional and national economy. And we’ve all been so numbed by this seemingly endless “Great Recession”, that any observation whatever of present uncertainty feels like an aftershock to a bad earthquake, amplified by our worst fears. … Continue Reading

The Builder’s Wife

June 6, 2012 Lifestyle, Real Estate Comments Off on The Builder’s Wife
SONY DSC

By Cathy Little

Smart Homes
When we attend the builders’ shows, some of my favorite displays are the “smart” home vendors. The capabilities they promise evoke visions of a house that the Jetsons would be at home in – integrated control of lighting, heating, sound, security, etc., all at your fingertips.

Our clients have taken advantage of various aspects of this technology. However, you don’t have to build a new home to put this luxury to use. The best part about a smart home is that the various options can be integrated and managed through an LCD console user interface in your kitchen or better yet, remotely from your smartphone. … Continue Reading

Home Buyers Are Back

May 2, 2012 Columns Comments Off on Home Buyers Are Back
Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer

It’s been a long wait, but residential homebuyers in the under $500,000 price range in Loudoun County are back in sizable numbers.And they are carrying their checkbooks with them when they go house hunting!

After a very long five-year hiatus, homebuyers have finally emerged from wherever they were hiding, and on any given weekend, especially when the weather is good, they wander about the countryside and throughout the individual subdivisions, either with their agents in tow, or armed with reams of data on every conceivable property that might fit their needs. … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

A Look Into What Is Learned in High School English

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde English is the arguably the most important subject for a student in high school to learn. The most successful people in the world have one thing in common — being able to communicate effectively. This is …

Remembering Nancy Reagan

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel The passing of Nancy Reagan, a former First Lady who completely transformed the role and helped catapult her husband to greatness, marked the end of an era. Her death also happened to coincide with a turning point …

How To “File and Suspend” Before It Is Too Late

Smith0035

With the recent changes to Social Security rules, filing and suspending will soon be phased out, but there’s still time to take advantage of the strategy. Here’s a quick guide to maneuvering this rule while it still lasts, but as …

Concerned Parent

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By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, We are concerned about some habits our nine year old son demonstrates and would love some advice from you.  We are unsure whether it’s anxiety, nervousness, or just nervous/an excess of energy.  A few …

Temple Hall Farm

timjon

I only met the late AV (Val) Symington once; it was a Sunday evening in my first year or two at Wage Radio (this would be the late ‘90’s) and I was putting things in order for the next morning’s …

Am I an Enabler?

Michael_Pic

Dr. Mike, My husband thinks that I’m harming our son for life because of the way I parent. Our son is 12 years old and he was diagnosed with ADHD in the 1st grade. My husband calls me “the enabler” …

Editorial

Grief and Greed

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By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

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By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Campaign of Untruths

jimmerson

Elected officials have done some pretty despicable things while serving in office. They range from bribery, beating a spouse, cheating on a spouse, obstruction of justice, and various forms of …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

blueridge2

Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

eaglescout

Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

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8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

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Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

benkellog

Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

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Calendar

April 2016
M T W T F S S
28

Classical Avant Garde

29

Classical Avant Garde

30

Classical Avant Garde

31

Classical Avant Garde

1

Last Ham Comedy Improv: April FOOLS SHOW

2

West Loudoun County Methodist Stop Hunger Now

Writer's Project Runway

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

3

Praise Concert

4 5 6 7 8 9

My Child's Closet Consignment Sale

Cherry Blossom Celebration

A Springtime Serenade Concert

10
11 12 13 14 15

Woodgrove HS presents the musical "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"

16

Woodgrove HS presents the musical "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"

Woodgrove HS presents the musical "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"

17
18 19 20 21 22

April Fourth Friday

Woodgrove HS presents the musical "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at Franklin Park Arts Center

23

Virginia Touch-A-Truck

Breaux Vineyards Wild Game Winemaker's Dinner

Woodgrove HS presents the musical "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at Franklin Park Arts Center

24

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at Franklin Park Arts Center

25 26 27

Hamilton Town Hall

28 29

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at Franklin Park Arts Center

30

Lobster Day with Chef Seb at North Gate Vineyard

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at Franklin Park Arts Center

1

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

Spring Wine Glass Painting with Penny

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Lifestyle

5K and 10K “Ringing in Hope” Race Slated for Memorial Day

27 Apr 2016

run

The third annual “Ringing in Hope” 5K and 10K race will be held on Memorial Day (Monday, May 30) at One Loudoun. A 1K fun run/walk will also be held. The 5K begins at 8:00 a.m., the 10K at 8:10 a.m. and the 1K at 9:30 a.m. Proceeds will benefit Boulder Crest Retreat, a retreat for America’s seriously wounded warriors …

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Bluegrass Performers Reno and Harrell To Appear at Lucketts on April 23

15 Apr 2016

music note

The Lucketts Bluegrass Concert Series continues its 42nd season of weekly concerts at the Lucketts Community Center on Saturday, April 23 at 7:00 p.m. with a show featuring Reno and Harrell. Tickets are $15 at the door, and the doors open at 6:00 p.m. Hot dogs, barbecue sandwiches, snacks and drinks will be available at the kitchen.

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April in the Garden: Be a Freestyle Beekeeper

6 Apr 2016

aprilinthegarden

As the sun’s lengthening days settle us into the spring, newborn bees and their caretakers are emerging from their hives and going to work, collecting pollen and nectar and replenishing the colony’s food stores. Along the way, any number of the 60,000 or so bees that make up a single hive may be stopping by your garden or yard to …

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Around Virginia

Update: Remains Located in Shenandoah National Park; Search Efforts Suspended

VSP Photo - 4-21-16 Whiteoak Canyon Trail Entrance VSP

Update: Body preliminarily identified as Nicole K. Mittendorff, 31, of Woodbridge. The physical and digital evidence collected during the course of this investigation includes a note recovered from the car leads investigators to believe there was no foul play involved in her death. ——————– Search efforts in the Shenandoah National …

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Virginia Trooper Shot and Killed at Richmond Bus Terminal

Tpr Dermyer Patrol Car in front of VSP SPHQ

A Virginia State Police trooper has died as a result of his injuries after being shot on March 31 at the Greyhound Bus station in the 2900 block of North Boulevard in Richmond. At approximately 2:40 p.m., Virginia State Police Trooper Chad P. Dermyer approached a male subject just inside …

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Governor McAuliffe Announces Designation of Four New Virginia Main Street Communities

McAuliffe

Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced the designation of four communities in the Virginia Main Street (VMS) program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). The newly-designated communities include the town of Wytheville, the cities of Danville and Lexington and Gloucester Courthouse in Gloucester County. The communities …

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Sports

Western Loudon Volleyball Club “Hitmen” Team Finishes Second

3 Feb 2016

westernloudounvolleyballclub

The Western Loudon Volleyball Club U14 boys team, called the “Hitmen,” finished second in a tournament held January 17. This is the first ever boys team for the WLVBC (and only the second boys club in the area). Coach Allan Kotmel led the seven-member team. WLVBC started eight years ago, …

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ODFC West Travel Soccer Program Shines

2 Dec 2015

ODFCsoccerpics

The Old Dominion Football Club West boys and girls middle school travel soccer program scored big the weekend of November 21 and 22.  The girls Quest Premier 22 team took home the championship in the U12 Girls Premier Division of the Hunt Country Classic located in Fauquier County. The boys …

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