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Luxury real estate for sale in the Alexandria, 22308 area

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Goodness Gracious, What's the Difference?!

Posted on January 7, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (1421)

Contemporary this, Modern that...These are style terms that are used interchangeably every day, especially in real estate. But the difference between the two can be a real pickler, a head scratcher, down-right baffling, I say. So, what IS the difference and which one is more common in the current real estate market and design field? Let's explore!!


 

"Modern" or more accurately, "Mid-Century Modern" refers to a style that was developed roughly between 1933-1965. It is not a style that is constantly evolving with the times to stay aligned with its name, but instead Modern refers to the design characteristics during this timeframe. Its name is a little misleading and it's no wonder there is confusion between Contemporary and Modern! The style is not ever-changing and actually elements of it are beginning to be described as 'retro' by some.



 

(image: http://www.home-designing.com/2008/12/ultra-modern-living-rooms)


In Modern style, hard straight lines dominate, and interiors are generally very minimal, clean, stark and sometimes sterile feeling. Walls are often white and floors are mostly left bare - if area rugs are used, they are usually wool and neutral. Tiny pops of color can be introduced, but in general, color remains understated. Futuristic materials like, metals, plastics, glass and ceramics are prominent in this design style.


 

Contemporary on the other hand is exactly as the name suggests by definition, "belonging to or occurring in the present” and represents what is popular in current design. While Contemporary design includes many of the same attributes as Modern, it focuses on comfort and functionality, in addition to aesthetics. It has a bit more "livability" to it and is very popular today - In the real estate market, homes are generally staged in-line with Contemporary furnishings and upgrades/ updates are mostly implemented within this style as well.



(Image: http://livinghomedesigns.com/contemporary-interior-design/)


Contemporary lines should always be simple but they are not restricted to the sharp precise straightness typical of the Modern style. Contemporary places importance on open and spacious layouts. Architectural and structural features are highlighted, like pipes, pillars, beams and radiators - Something I enjoy seeing in this style is exposed duct work (my parents own a steel manufacturing company in South Africa (Avco Steel Designs), so I see ducting as a labor of love and industrial design works of art, rather than a purely functional element.)


There is nothing frilly, dainty or overly-ornamented! Open space is as important as the furnishings that exist within and colors are usually a neutral base, such as beige or grey walls and furniture with bold splashes of color introduced through accessories and art, which is also kept somewhat minimal, like in the Modern style. Contemporary also uses many of the same materials as Modern but incorporates natural materials like wood, in addition to industrial materials and makes use of artistic light fixtures.


I have a massive appreciation for all design styles, but Contemporary is the style I find myself implementing in my own home - It's aesthetic is classic and classy yet functional enough to live comfortably in. 


OK, so that, in a nutshell is the long-time question of Contemporary vs. Modern design! Happy decorating and let me know which design style you prefer!!!




Check out my new brand video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwJCKD1cMsA




 

My Little White Lie

Posted on January 2, 2015 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (60)

I have a dark secret..or maybe it's a light secret...more accurately a white secret...shhh


Have you ever tried to decorate a white painted room? You think throwing boldly colored art at it and adding some shiny things will make it come alive, but the more you add, the worse it gets!!...even adding patterned pillows and blankets and the trendiest textiles don't help and it just looks cheap and unplanned - it's a total design disaster and what do you have to show for it? Several holes in the wall and many lost hours of returning said boldly colored art and shiny things and trendy patterned textiles, topped off with complete and utter self-doubt/loathing!! Ok, so this may or may not have happened to ...um...someone I know, once or twice, maybe thrice(?)



But why??? I'll tell you why... White can be a very sterile, stark and cold color. Sometimes the contrast of adding items that are bolder in color, like red for example, against white is too sharp. So what do you do? Give up, pad the walls for your own protection and rock back and forth in the fetal position because all hope for a well-designed space is dashed?


NO! I'll share my secret - Ideally a warm neutral, such as a light beige or grey paint is a fantastic backdrop for many designs and most stagings. (I love Sherwin Williams "Realist Beige" and "Diverse Beige" - It's great quality paint and the color is subtle, yet warm and works with almost every style.) However, sometimes and especially with home stagings and decorating homes for the real estate market, I don't get to recommend paint colors - I roll up to the property with my go-to decorative rental items and furniture and perform "design-in-a-day" miracles and as Tim Gunn would say, I have to "make it work".


The trick is to embrace the starkness - You achieve a monochromatic color scheme by adding variation upon variation of the same color. Basically, you add MORE white and very soft neutrals. The layers build upon each other and begin to achieve a rich, sophisticated designer look. You add different textures like fluffy rugs and blankets, satin and silk, perhaps the addition of a natural fiber - go nuts with the different textures. Also add items with patterns that vary in size and boldness (no more than 4 patterns in a single room, though). But whatever you do, don’t stray from the color scheme. Your room’s visual interest will come from the variations of textures and patterns you add, not your color! If you want, you could add one or two accessories that are boldly colored for an unexpected pop, but anything more and you may lose the effect.


I love decorating with color, so I don’t always use this technique, but when I do, I find the results are serene, subtle and very visually appealing. It’s very easy to do, so give it a shot and happy decorating!!!


 


7 Steps to Selling a Home

Posted on December 8, 2014 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (2425)

(Content via KW.com)

Step 1: Reason for Selling

It is often more emotional to sell a home than to buy a home, and the reason for selling your home may be a determining factor in the urgency of the sale. The urgency may also have an effect on the price of the property.

It is important to take the following factors that can influence the sale of your home into consideration:

> Reason for selling

> Price

> Location

> Condition of property

> Size

> Design / style

> Accessibility

 

Step 2: The Cost of Selling

It is very important to first calculate the expenses that may be incurred while selling your home. This knowledge is absolutely necessary because it helps you to determine a good price for the house, as well as the potential profit that you can realize.

The cost of selling your home may include things like commission to be paid to the agent, taxes, advertising costs or specific reports, such as a property inspection.


Step 3: Price

The most important factor when putting your home on the market to sell is setting the right price. The price at which your property is marketed can make or break the deal.

Over-pricing of the property may result in:

> A smaller buyers' pool

> A prolonged stay on the market that will result in lower offers being submitted

Under-pricing of the property may result in:

> You losing money on your investment

> A buyer offering an even lower amount due to a negative perception of the property or area

 

Step 4: Location

Although you cannot do anything about the location of your property, it plays a very important part in the marketability of your home. So, it is important to take the following into consideration:

> Is your property priced in relation to other offers in your area?

> What type of neighborhood is your property located in - well-established, up-and-coming, transitional?

> Is your property located in an urban or rural area?


 

Step 5: Condition of Your Property

The condition of your property is always a factor in how quickly your home sells. It's a fact: acquiring the highest market value and elevating your home above the others in the same price range often comes down to first impressions. Here are some inexpensive ways to maximize your home's curb appeal:

> Keep the grass cut and yard clutter to a minimum.

> Apply fresh paint to any wooden fences and your front door.

> Clean windows inside and out.

> Wash or paint your home's exterior.

> Ensure gutters and other exterior fashions are firmly attached.

 

Step 6: Staging

Did you know well-placed furniture can open up rooms and make them seem larger than they are? Or, that opening drapes and blinds and turning on lights make a room seem bright and cheery? It's true, which is why staging your home to look its absolute best is an important factor in the selling process.

Here are some inexpensive ways to highlight your home's best features:

> Clean or paint walls and ceilings.

> Clean all flooring and fixtures - lights, fans.

> Repair all plumbing leaks.

> Remove excessive wall hangings, furniture and extra personal goods.

> Turn on all lights and open the drapes during the daytime.

> Play quiet background music and infuse your home with a comforting scent.

> Vacate the property when and if it's being show to prospective buyers.



Step 7: Accessibility

Accessibility is a major issue in many parts of the world. Again you cannot do anything about your home's accessibility to specific things, but it does play a role in the price of your property. Your agent will work with you to highlight the places of interest that are most accessible to your home.

Here are a few important areas to think about:

> Public transportation

> Main roads

> Shopping centers

> Schools and other educational institutions

> Outdoor areas - public pools, parks, playgrounds

> Entertainment








8 Steps to Buying a Home

Posted on December 3, 2014 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (16992)

(content via kw.com)

Step 1: Decide to Buy

The decision to purchase your first home is one of the biggest and best choices you could ever make. After all, a home is the largest - and most emotional - investment most people will face in their lifetime. So, how do you know if it's the right time for you to buy?

There is never a wrong time to buy the right home. The key is finding the right buy and taking the time to carefully evaluate your finances.

A home purchase is an important step that can provide many advantages. Purchasing your own home is a great investment that can deliver several financial benefits - equity build up, value appreciation, automatic savings plan - not to mention a new sense of pride!

Step 2: Hire Your Agent

When you're looking for a real estate professional to help you, know that above all else, good agents put their clients first. This is your dream, and your agent is your advocate to help you make your dream come true.

A great real estate agent will:

Educate you about the current conditions of the market.

Analyze what you want and what you need in your next home.

Co-ordinate the work of other needed professionals throughout the process.

Guide you to homes that fit your criteria and budget.

Negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal possible.

Check and double-check paperwork and deadlines.

Inform and discuss with you, and suggest solutions to solve any problems that may arise.

Step 3: Secure Financing

To make the financing process as painless as possible, ask your agent to introduce you to the preferred financing consultant. This professional will work with you and your agent to make sure the financial aspect of your home purchase is stress free.

What will the consultant do for you?

Review your current financials.

Discuss the options available to you during the home purchasing process.

Guide you to an appropriate price point.

Negotiate on your behalf to get you the best deal - price, interest rates, loan approval.

Keep you informed and updated of the entire financial process throughout your purchase.

Step 4: Find Your Home

So you've met with your trusted advisors, and now you're ready to begin your search. But how or where do you start? There are a lot of homes out there, and diving in without a guide can become overwhelming and confusing. Your agent will help you more accurately pinpoint homes that fit your criteria. The right home will meet all your important needs, and as many of your additional wants as possible.

Some questions you might ask yourself include:

What amenities are crucial for you and your family?

How much space do you need and why?

Which is more critical: location or size?

Would you be interested in a fixer-upper?

How important is home value appreciation?

Is neighborhood stability a priority?

Is accessibility to main routes a priority?

What features are not negotiable in your new property?

You'll learn as you look at homes, your priorities will probably adjust along the way.

Step 5: Make an Offer

Once you've found a home you love, the next step is deciding on a price. It's important to remember that a home is an investment. Your agent can give you information on other properties in the neighborhood to help you ensure you make an informed decision when it comes to price. Look to your agent to explain and guide you through the offer process.

Some things to consider when deciding on the best price point are:

List price - Start with the price point that the home is listed at. This will give you a base when looking at the home's value.

Market Analysis - Your agent will give you an idea of comparable home values in the neighborhood to help you decide if the price point is on par.

Improvements - Your agent can give you a list of improvements made to the home and help you determine its market value.


Step 6: Perform Due Diligence

Your agent will provide you with improvements and challenges within your home. This way you'll know what you are getting into before you complete the purchase.

Knowing what work has and has not been done to your home is important information to have in the buying process. While updates can increase your home value, damages can take money out of your pocket. Your main concern is the possibility of structural damage, which can come from water, shifting ground or poor construction.

Very often a problem appears to be big, but can be fixed with very little effort and not a huge budget.

Step 7: Close

Once you've determined a price point you're comfortable with, you're in the "home" stretch! But, in order to ensure that you don't put the property purchase at risk, you have a couple responsibilities that you'll need to keep in mind:

Staying in control of your credit and finances - Do not make any large purchases during this time. It's important to keep your financials steady throughout the buying process. Talk to your financial consultant for guidance.

Keeping in touch with your agent and financial consultant - It's important to stay in constant communication with your agent and financial guide during this process. Be sure to return all phone calls and complete paperwork promptly. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions. Your team is there to help you!


Step 8: Protect Your Investment

Congratulations, and welcome home! The home-buying process is complete, which means it's time for your maintenance plan! It's now your responsibility, and in your best financial interest, to protect your investment for years to come. Performing routine maintenance on your home's systems is always more affordable than having to fix big problems later. Be sure to watch for signs of leaks, damage and wear.

And remember, just because the sale is complete, your relationship with your  agent doesn't need to end! After you buy, your agent can still help you - providing information on the real estate market, finding contractors and repair services, and even tracking your home's current value.

Happy home-owning!

My Favorite Listings in the 22308 Zip Code

Posted on December 1, 2014 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (27)

My fondness for the 22308 zip code may stem from my happy memories as a young au pair in the area - I suppose the picturesque drive along the water on the GW Parkway and being minutes from Old Town Alexandria or the lush woody pockets and country-living feel, doesn't hurt either. Aside from the area's rich historical factor, my biggest fascination with 22308 has been watching the explosion of remodels and new construction within the various neighborhoods over the past decade - the result is a stunningly eclectic and diverse area where the old and new coexist.

 

Check out some of my favorite listings in 22308:


7717 SOUTHDOWN RD, ALEXANDRIA, VA 22308 (TTR Sotheby's International Realty-Jeanne Russell Warner )

$2,849,000




8713 STANDISH RD, ALEXANDRIA, VA 22308 (Keller Williams Realty - Arlene Mains )

$1,795,000




9063 TOWER HOUSE PL, ALEXANDRIA, VA 22308 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage -Cindee Jackson)

$2,295,000


831 HERBERT SPRINGS RD, ALEXANDRIA, VA 22308 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Cindee Jackson)

$1,850,000



7731 SOUTHDOWN RD, ALEXANDRIA, VA 22308 (McEnearney Associates, Inc - Anne Martone)

$1,900,000



Explore all that Alexandria has to offer!!: 

http://www.visitalexandriava.com/things-to-do/






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