Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Don't forget the Insurance

Remember to factor in the costs of homeowners insurance if you are planning to purchase real estate in the near future.

In addition, it is a good idea to check in with your insurance agent once a year if you already own real estate and have a homeowners policy.  You will want to make sure your agent knows of any material changes (such as a new kitchen or bathroom addition) in your property since the previous year.  You will want to inform your agent of any sheds, outbuildings, swimming pools etc. that have been added to the exterior of your home.

Here is an excellent article on the subject of insurance protection for your real estate.

If you are planning on buying or selling a home in the near future,  call me today.  I am here to help!

                                                          Thank you

                                                        Carla Brooks
                                                    brkslong@aol.com
                                                       703-577-4960

Friday, March 6, 2015

What to do with an asymmetrical wall

One of the decorating challenges many homeowners/renters face: what to do with an asymmetrical wall.  How awkward the room can feel with one side of a doorway or fireplace twice as wide as the other side.  And how many years will the room feel awkward unless one consults a design specialist and or is particularly savvy in the world of design?

Ann Drake of the blog On Sutton Place featured her own asymmetrical wall in the recreation room of her home.  The post can be found here.  Pictures from the transformation are as follows:




Selling a home is about the feeling a potential buyer has when they walk through your door.  If they feel the warmth and potential to make the house their home, they will most likely write a contract offer.  

Call me today if you are planning on selling your home, I can assist with the market preparation.

Thank you
Carla Brooks
703-577-4960 
brkslong@aol.com

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Need a Bathroom refresh that can be done in one afternoon?

Perhaps you have guests coming for the weekend, are entertaining or just want to change the look in your bathroom.  Accessories can go a long way in adding life and current design trends to your bathroom.  Curtains, rugs, paint, and hardware can all be purchased at your local hardware store.

Maria Killam in her blog, Color me Happy, has a post today on updating a bathroom with dated shower doors.  The post can be found here.

Just love the results!


If you are planning on selling your home, call me today for excellent staging suggestions.

Thank you

Carla Brooks
703-577-4960
brkslong@aol.com

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Relocating the First Time Buyer

Are you relocating to the Northern Virginia area and trying to find a place to live?  Whether renting or buying, the task can be overwhelming.




I have been working with relocation clients all through the winter months.  Coming into town and not knowing the "system" or a trusted agent to work with can result in wasted time on the road and making uninformed decisions.

Call me today for expert advice on buying or renting.  I can organize your itinerary and point you in the right direction! Here is an excellent article on relocation.  Asking the right questions of your employer is paramount.

                                                                Thank you

                                                              Carla Brooks
                                                              703-577-4960
                                                           brkslong@aol.com

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Final Inspections: What you should look for

Whether you are settling on a home purchase or moving into a rental property under a lease, there will be a final "walk through" so to speak.  You may be wondering what this will entail.

Here is a link to a very informative article on final walk throughs.  Once a deal has settled or a lease signed, you will be responsible for the property as it stands.  Why not get the best for your money?

Thank you for visiting and call me if you would like to buy or sell a home.  Experience Counts!


                                                    Carla Brooks
                                               brkslong@aol.com
                                                 703-577-4960

PS photo is a courtesy of Free digital photos

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fairfax County Tax Assessments have arrived!

If you live in Fairfax County then you have most likely received your 2015 Tax Assessment.  I was surprised to see that the assessment on my personal residence had gone up 7.11%.  While it is good news to see real estate values increase, no one welcomes a larger tax bill!  How bittersweet is that?




News on the 2015 Fairfax County Tax Assessments can be found here

I generally receive 5 calls a year from elderly residents in Fairfax County who are struggling to pay their real estate taxes.  Yes, they have homes of value yet they do not have CASH.


There are classes offered by the county to educate the residents on the path to real estate tax relief.  Even if one falls into the "low income" category (<$52,000), one must also have personal assets below a certain threshold ($340,000) to qualify for real estate tax exemption.  A synopsis of these rules can be found here.

Examining the history of real estate taxes in Fairfax County is a real eye opener in terms of budgeting for retirement years.  Even if your home is paid off, there will be a monthly payment to Fairfax County for real estate taxes and chances are it will increase over time.

Interestingly enough, once one leaves the Northern Virginia area of Virginia, things are a little different so to speak.  The residents of Southwest Virginia are very protective of budgets and make it clear to the lawmakers that increasing taxes is a definite "no no".  There is something to admire about these Virginians!  They are budget conscious and hold their elected officials accountable.  I have spoken to several retirees that have joined the battle to keep real estate taxes at bay in Franklin County.  They found areas where money was being frivolously spent and corrections were made in procedure.  It takes time and energy to preserve our freedoms yet so worth it.

Thank you for visiting my blog, I hope you have a nice day.  Remember, if you want to buy or sell a home, call me today.  I am here to help.

                                                                    Carla Brooks
                                                                   703-577-4960
                                                                 brkslong@aol.com


Monday, February 16, 2015

Eight Renovation projects that will pay you back!

Want to spruce up your home over the long run?  Pick the improvements that will pay you back when its time to sell.  Ris Media's Housecall blog has a great post on home renovations on February 5th, 2015.  Check it out today.

Enjoy the coming snowstorm.  Its always interesting to see how much precipitation we receive (versus the predictions)...

                                                          Thank you for visiting,

                                                                 Carla Brooks
                                                                703-577-4960
                                                              brkslong@aol.com