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A Home That Fits Your Family Like a Glove

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By Hannah Hager
You’re meant to truly feel like yourself when at home. That is to say, all vestiges of professional responsibilities and even expectations of an active social life should fade away once you cross into the foyer. … Continue Reading

The Bee’s Knees of Market Listings

May 4, 2016 Lifestyle, Real Estate Comments Off on The Bee’s Knees of Market Listings
The Bee’s Knees Of Market Listings-1

By Hannah Hager

Congratulations—we have found the perfect home for you in the knick of time for summer. This colonial on the edge of Purcellville is the bee’s knees of market listings — you’ll know what we mean at first sight of its yellow facade.
Warm weather is upon us and this sunny home is made for you to enjoy it. It’s not just the multitude of windows, including five dormers, or the deep-seated, wrap-around porch at which you’ll salivate over the wood and stone finishings. No, you’ll barely be able to keep the kids and guests indoors once you follow the winding porch to overlook the patio and the grandly-appointed swimming pool and spa hot tub below. Bring along your friends of the four-legged variety, too, as dogs, cats and horses alike will find a place to enjoy grazing amongst the barn, stables and pastures beyond. … Continue Reading

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


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Hundreds Will Join 20th Annual Butterfly Count August 6

spring garden butterfly

By Andrea Gaines How Is a Butterfly Like a Rainbow? Scientists recently discovered that some butterfly wings contain tiny structures called gyroids that diffract or break up light into the colors of the spectrum. You may also have seen this …

Your Retirement Plan B

Smith0035

Take the time to design an alternative retirement plan should retirement come earlier than expected. Imagine this. You’ve spend decades working, saving, and planning for your version of the ideal retirement. Your company was just acquired, and your boss is …

Learning Patience As a Camp Counselor

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde They say that one of the biggest blessings is being a teacher. It is also one of the hardest. Explaining to nine-year-old kids how to build a fire is one of the most challenging things I’ve …

Remembering the Man Who Never Forgot

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel “God is God because He remembers.” The implication being that the defining element separating humans from God is the Divine’s inability to forget. Elie Wiesel was defined in part by his willingness to remember, along with his …

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Balch Library

Thomas Balch Library

By Tim Jon Solitude, peace, and quiet: Not exactly the first three adjectives I’d choose to describe the greater portion of downtown Leesburg, although its charms do shine through even on the busiest of weekday afternoons. The last morning I …

Superforecasting a Book Review

noerpel_new

The book “Superforecasting” by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner contains a nearly complete list of the attributes of superforecasting, as well as critical thinking. Tetlock’s research empirically confirms the aspects of critical thinking I’ve been discussing in this column. Their …

Pokémon GO: A Fun New Gaming App or an Accidental Treatment?

Michael_Pic

Penicillin was accidently discovered in 1928 when scientist Alexander Fleming returned to his lab from vacation to notice that a strange fungus growing on a culture had killed off the neighboring bacteria. After WWII, psychiatrist and researcher, Dr. John Cade, …

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, …

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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. …

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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 …

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Calendar

August 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
August 1, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 2, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 3, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 4, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 5, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 6, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

OysterFest & Roussanne Release!

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Doug Parks

August 7, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 8, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 9, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 10, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 11, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 12, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 13, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 14, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 15, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 16, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 17, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 18, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 19, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 20, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Lucketts Fair

Live Music: Stealing Dawn

August 21, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Lucketts Fair

August 22, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

AUDITIONS

August 23, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 24, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 25, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 26, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 27, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

The Fabulous Hubcaps

August 28, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 29, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 30, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 31, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

September 1, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 2, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 3, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

Dear Creek Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Snaggy Mountain Boys

September 4, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

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Lifestyle

Winchester Plans Patsy Cline Music Festival Labor Day Weekend

11 Aug 2016

Patsy Cline

The Patsy Cline Music Festival will be held Labor Day weekend in her hometown of Winchester, Va. in honor of the legendary singer’s birthday anniversary on September. 8. Celebrating Patsy Cline sponsors the celebration that begins with a block party from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in front of the Patsy Cline Historic House, 608 S. Kent St. Music will …

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Vigil for Lost Promise to Remember Loved Ones Lost to Drugs

11 Aug 2016

sheriff

Residents and local leaders are encouraged to join the many families, friends and community groups to share the light of their loved ones lost to drugs. The Vigil for Lost Promise will be held Tuesday, August 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. The event will be held at the Drugs: Cost and Consequences Exhibit (DEA Museum), located at 750 Miller Dr. …

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August Is National Peach Month: Eat a Peach in Salad

3 Aug 2016

peach

Are You Kidding? No. A nectarine and a peach are basically the same species. Nectarines are bald peaches, in effect. In early cultivation, nectarines occasionally appeared on peach trees, the result of a recessive allele, the fruit from which were then cultivated as nectarines. Peaches are also part of the rose family. No wonder why we like all three, so …

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Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

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

Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!

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– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West

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– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Lessons from Short Hill

shorthillmeeting

It’s been a little over two weeks since the Commission Permit for the proposed AT&T facility on Short Hill was overruled by the Board of Supervisors. This is just about …

Thank You

speak

Dear Citizens of Purcellville: As your town council member it is my vision and priority that you feel welcome at your Town Hall and take part in shaping Purcellville’s future …

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 …

Around Virginia

Land Trust Receives Large Donation

land trust

On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

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Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana

marijuana

Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this …

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State Senators Investigate University of Virginia’s $2.3 Billion Operating Surplus

Uva-logo

Senators Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) and Bill DeSteph (R-Virginia Beach), are calling for an investigation into disclosures that the University of Virginia has accumulated a $2.3 billion operating surplus, now titled a “Strategic Investment Fund,” that is significantly larger than the Commonwealth’s own cash reserves. Both senators agree that the …

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Sports

Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016

baseball

American Legion Baseball At Fireman’s Field, August 3 – 7 By Andrea Gaines American Legion Baseball is here at Fireman’s Field in a big way, featuring five consecutive blockbuster Mid-Atlantic Tournament games – August 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Our local Leesburg Post 34 Rangers had some nice wins …

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Registration Open For Ida Lee’s Fall NFL Flag Football

7 Jul 2016

NFL_Flag_Football_at_IdaLee

Ida Lee’s Fall 2016 NFL Flag Football League will begin with player evaluations on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31.  Players must be registered by Tuesday, July 26, to participate. This fall, Ida Lee’s Leesburg NFL Flag Football House League will have the following age groups:  6-7; 8-9; 10-11; …

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