Daventry – Springfield’s Showcase Community

April 28, 2009

daventryheaderYesterday I took a mini-vacation – I went about a mile from my home to take photos in Daventry. Late April, when the azaleas and dogwoods are blooming, is a great time to visit any Northern Virginia community, but Daventry is special, even on trash day. Everywhere I turned there were photo opps.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Daventry boasts variety of home styles. There are over 500 two-, three-, and four-bedroom colonial style town homes backing to woods, and most have garages. Over 200 elegant three-, four-, and five-bedroom detached homes are situated on gently rolling hills, surrounded by mature trees. Ramblewood at Daventry’s 160 one- and two-bedroom condominium units are convenient and affordable. Here is a selection of floor plans for Daventry’s homes:

Floor Plans


Townhomes

Auburn
Bedford
Dover
Eton
Fairmont
Justin

Single Family

Amesbury
Hampton
Promontory
Chesapeake
Potomac
York

Daventry’s common property includes walking paths that join an extensive network of paths owned by Fairfax County. On the east there is the Fairfax Cross-County Trail, which connects to Accotink Creek via a paved path running under Keene Mill Road. Other paths on the west side meander through Daventry’s homes. The community features a large outdoor swimming pool complex (with an award-winning Swim Team), lighted tennis courts and a multipurpose court, and four tot lots equipped with swing sets, slides, and climbing equipment for children. An elegantly decorated clubhouse is available for community and private events. The Daventry Homeowners Association actively and consistently pursues recreational, landscaping, safety and property appearance initiatives that both enhance residents’ quality of life and preserve community property values.

The Daventry area is served by West Springfield Elementary School, which is adjacent to the community, nearby Washington Irving Middle School and Robert E. Lee High School. Daventry parental support for all three schools is strong – every school function is well-attended by Daventry parents, many of whom are highly active in the schools’ PTAs.

Daventry offers easy access to the Springfield Metro Station, Virginia Railway Express, Interstates 95/395/495, and the Fairfax County Parkway. An official carpool staging area (slug line) servicing the Daventry-Pentagon route is located at the Keene Mill Road entrance to the community.

Kim Hannemann, Real Estate Consultant/Realtor®, Samson Realty
Cell: 703-861-9234 • Fax: 703-896-5055 • Email: KimTheAgent@gmail.com

It’s Good To Have A Friend In The Business®
samson-realty-and-bird

If you would like to discuss real estate questions, sell or buy a home in Northern Virginia – including Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Fairfax, Fairfax Station, Falls Church, Kingstowne, Lorton, McLean, Reston, Springfield, or Vienna – contact Kim today.

4 – 4.5% Listings with First-Class Service — Cash Back to My Buyers!


Will Foreclosures Flood The Northern Virginia Market This Spring?

April 22, 2009

forsalebybankJust in time for the annual Spring Home Buying Season, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to begin filling the store shelves with a brand-new stock of foreclosed homes. Without fanfare, on March 31 they both ended the four-month moratorium on foreclosure sales and evictions they had imposed on servicers of the mortgages they own.

Fannie Mae said in a brief statement from spokesman Brian Faith that “Fannie Mae’s suspension of foreclosure-related evictions concludes as of March 31, 2009. The company has in place special foreclosure sale requirements that take into account the Making Home Affordable program. A foreclosure sale may not occur on any Fannie Mae loan until the loan servicer verifies that the borrower is ineligible for a Home Affordable Modification and all other foreclosure prevention alternatives have been exhausted.”

Brad German, a spokesman for Freddie Mac, said he was “mystified” as to how anyone could be surprised by the ban’s expiration. The idea behind it was to give the government time to create homeowner rescue plans, and that’s been done, he said. Neither agency also expects a flood of homeowners out on the street because the ban is being lifted, he added. “For all practical purposes, people will be in their homes for a while,” despite the ban’s expiration, German said. Fannie and Freddie will need time to approach tenants and homeowners and figure out whether they are qualified for help, he said.

Still, this raises the possibility of a sizable influx of such homes coming to the market beginning as early as the end of this month. I’ve been noting in my recent posts (here and here) that the local inventory is shrinking when one normally expect it to be rising – perhaps this is one reason why, and we may see increases in inventory soon.

Here are some other comments about the situation:

From a post by Ben Martin today on VARBuzz.com (Virginia Association of Realtors):

Anecdotally, we’re hearing that because of the dearth of foreclosure activity, there’s actually very little inventory in the DC metro area. We hear there are buyers galore, many of them incentivized by the dramatic reduction in prices, low interest rates, and the first time homebuyer stimulus package. But the foreclosure activity is so low (and many sellers are unwilling to list their properties for sale, knowing that they can’t sell for what they need to make from the sale) that there’s very little out there for buyers to choose from.

Many industry experts are expecting a dramatic rise in foreclosures over the coming months as Freddie and Fannie have recently halted their foreclosure moratoriums. As this action trickles down to the field, six months worth of foreclosures could flood the market.

About a month ago, Cindy Jones on VaRealEstateTalk.com:

Last fall Freddie Mac along with other lenders put a moratorium on new foreclosure proceedings until the economic stimulus packages worked their way through Congress. Only those properties that had already been through the foreclosure process made their way to the MLS and not even all of those have been listed.

For example one agent in my office who handles Freddie Mac foreclosures has just now received the go ahead to list a few of the properties that had been through the foreclosure process last October and November. Even more interesting is that in one case the owner of the property is still living in the property five months after the foreclosure. A quick look through RealtyTrac.com shows a few hundred properties with the title transfers to a lender, yet none of them have made it to the market. A recent Friday Washington Post showed close to 300 Trustee Sales at the PW Courthouse alone and those properties haven’t hit the market yet either.

From a comment from “Brooks” on a post from Frank Llosa about the problem on FranklyRealty.com:

washpostToday’s [4/21] Washington Post is actually kind of fat for a Tuesday edition. Then you realize that it sports a rather hefty Classified ads section. The “G” section is a solid 20 pages. But, almost all of it is real estate property foreclosure public notices. They start on page G1 and staggeringly run to page G19. They take up almost as much space as the 24-page “A” news and business section. However, employment ads take up less than one column on G19.

I saw this also, and today’s was pretty thick with them as well. Is this the start of a Sick Newspaper Alleviation Program (SNAP)?

My neighbors and I are all pleased to see that a foreclosed home on our little street sold early this week. Better to get them on the market and sold quickly than to have them sit empty for month after month.

Kim Hannemann, Real Estate Consultant/Realtor®, Samson Realty
Cell: 703-861-9234 • Fax: 703-896-5055 • Email: KimTheAgent@gmail.com

It’s Good To Have A Friend In The Business®
samson-realty-and-bird

If you would like to discuss real estate questions, sell or buy a home in Northern Virginia – including Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Fairfax, Fairfax Station, Falls Church, Kingstowne, Lorton, McLean, Reston, Springfield, or Vienna – contact Kim today.

4 – 4.5% Listings with First-Class Service — Cash Back to My Buyers!


No Matchy-Matchy, Just Great Style

April 16, 2009

The last of three (3) posts coming up today, all related to some talented young friends of mine who are alumni of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ).

john-sherry1John Petersik (2000) and his lovely wife Sherry have developed a tremendous following for their remodeling/renovation work. The best place to catch up with what is happening for, by, and to them is at their primo website, This Young House.

diymagFor starters, they’re writing columns for regional and national publications such as R. Home Magazine and Do It Yourself Magazine; they’ve been featured on HGTV in Rate My Space; and they’ve done both a video tour in thenest.com and an 8-page cover spread for [thenest] Magazine.

Check out the terrific photos (1, 2, 3, 4) from the magazine spread and read their blog post on the process of the photo shoot – pretty funny.

thenestJohn’s degree is in Communications and Sherry’s is in Fine Arts – and it’s clear that they are putting both to good use.

My connection to John? I carried his mellophone and toted water for him at Marching Band Camp and on numerous Marching Band Trips. How’s that for A-List, huh?

The other two posts are on Sam Willmott (2005) and Thao Nguyen (2002) – both performing in DC on Friday evening, April 17!

Kim Hannemann, Real Estate Consultant/Realtor®, Samson Realty
Cell: 703-861-9234 • Fax: 703-896-5055 • Email: KimTheAgent@gmail.com

It’s Good To Have A Friend In The Business®
samson-realty-and-bird

If you would like to discuss real estate questions, sell or buy a home in Northern Virginia – including Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Fairfax, Fairfax Station, Falls Church, Kingstowne, Lorton, McLean, Reston, Springfield, or Vienna – contact Kim today.

4 – 4.5% Listings with First-Class Service — Cash Back to My Buyers!


Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

April 16, 2009

The second of three (3) posts coming up today, all related to some talented young friends of mine who are alumni of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ).

thaoThao Nguyen (2002) – most TJ alumni know her as Teresa – graduated with degrees in Sociology and Women’s Studies from William & Mary. In high school she worked mostly with vocalist Brenna Clerkin as the duo Brenna & Teresa. Here’s a selection from their EP Three Words:

Knocks Me Down – Brenna & Teresa

From this morning’s Washington Post:

Falls Church native-turned-Kill Rock Stars darling Thao Nguyen plays tomorrow at the Black Cat with her band the Get Down Stay Down, and offers more than enough smart heartbreak to go around (sorry, no faux-lebrity melodrama, though). Nguyen and her band broke out last year with the album “We Brave Bee Stings and All,” a jaunty collection of soulful pop tunes spiked with downer lyricism delivered in a staccato sing-speak.

beestings“I’m a huge Motown fan, and I enjoy the juxtaposition of a bright-sounding song with a melancholic lyric,” Nguyen told us when we chatted up the 25-year-old recently by phone in Portland, Ore. The sad thread isn’t a put-on; her childhood seems to have consisted of toiling in her mother’s laundromat (“I feel like I was an indentured servant,” she says jokingly of her days spent making change for customers) and time spent alone.

“I would say I spent the majority of my time in my room, being sad or watching television. Growing up there helped in that I had nothing else to do but focus on playing music,” Nguyen says. She has since moved to San Francisco, where urban living seems to suit her, uh . . . better. Tomorrow’s show is something of a homecoming.

“For all the lamenting I have done,” Nguyen confesses, “I am a product of the place I came from. And everyone [here] has always been so supportive and hospitable.”

The Black Cat is at 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $13. Show starts at 9 p.m, also featuring Sister Suvi and David Shultz and the Skyline.

Move quick, or you’re gonna miss Thao because she’s off to Durham, NC on Saturday.

Here’s a recent video for Bag of Hammers (you may have heard the tune on a Clorox commercial):

My connection to Thao:  she rehearsed in my basement. That’s right – some of her first collaborative work took place there in the summer of 1999 after summer school computer science sessions, playing songs like “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Cocaine,” and Cake’s “Let Me Go” with a band (that term is used loosely) calling itself Cool Whip. [Note – most TJ students go to summer school to fit in all the classes they want to take with the ones they have to take. It’s like camp for them.] Later, my son Chris backed her and Brenna on drums at a TJ talent show and at Jammin’ Java in Vienna. Yes, another A-List connection, folks.

thao2Here is a review of her most recent work written by Chris after he caught up with her when she played at Berkeley in 2008.

UPDATE:  See Washington Post Weekend feature from April 17 – may require free login, may not be available more than two weeks or so.

The other two TJ Alumni posts are on Sam Willmott (2005) – also performing in DC on Friday evening – and John Petersik (2000).

Kim Hannemann, Real Estate Consultant/Realtor®, Samson Realty
Cell: 703-861-9234 • Fax: 703-896-5055 • Email: KimTheAgent@gmail.com

It’s Good To Have A Friend In The Business®
samson-realty-and-bird

If you would like to discuss real estate questions, sell or buy a home in Northern Virginia – including Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Fairfax, Fairfax Station, Falls Church, Kingstowne, Lorton, McLean, Reston, Springfield, or Vienna – contact Kim today.

4 – 4.5% Listings with First-Class Service — Cash Back to My Buyers!


Standardized Testing and Northern Virginia Real Estate?

April 16, 2009

The first of three (3) posts coming up today, all related to some talented young friends of mine who are alumni of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ). Coming from the country’s preeminent nerd academy, you would think they’d be, oh, maybe scientists or engineers, but au contraire – they are artistes. They could also be scientists or engineers, but in the context of today they are budding if not fully flowered artistic talents.

willmottI realize this is supposed to be primarily a blog about Real Estate . . . but hey, if I can get the TJ Alumni business, I’m gonna be set!

stantest1Sam Willmott is a 2005 TJ grad now finishing up at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture. He is a composer and lyricist already gaining some terrific recognition – in fact, his Standardized Testing – The Musical!!!! earned the 2009 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Musical Theatre Award for music and lyrics. Here’s an excerpt:

And you can see it tomorrow night (Friday, April 17) at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater for a measly ten bucks, along with the national finalists of the John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play and the KCACTF Ten-Minute Play Award, performed by an ensemble of Washington, D.C.’s leading actors.

My connection with Sam is that he was Tony, the male lead, and my daughter Vicky was a Shark in West Side Story. I had the privilege of not only seeing him perform but actually feeding him and the rest of the cast at multiple rehearsals! That’s an A-List connection, folks!

The other two posts are on Thao Nguyen (2002) – also performing in DC on Friday evening – and John Petersik (2000).

Kim Hannemann, Real Estate Consultant/Realtor®, Samson Realty
Cell: 703-861-9234 • Fax: 703-896-5055 • Email: KimTheAgent@gmail.com

It’s Good To Have A Friend In The Business®
samson-realty-and-bird

If you would like to discuss real estate questions, sell or buy a home in Northern Virginia – including Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Fairfax, Fairfax Station, Falls Church, Kingstowne, Lorton, McLean, Reston, Springfield, or Vienna – contact Kim today.

4 – 4.5% Listings with First-Class Service — Cash Back to My Buyers!


March 2009 Northern Virginia Sales Info

April 15, 2009

chartMarch 2009 home sales activity for Fairfax and Arlington counties and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church and the towns of Clifton, Herndon and Vienna (this sounds like a weather alert, doesn’t it?):

A total of 1,384 homes sold in March 2009, an increase of 11% over March 2008. That’s great, but look at this – pending home sales, based on signed contracts, are 2,306, up a fantastic 33% from last year!

Active listings – homes on the market – decreased by 20% from last year, with 8,069 active listings in March, compared with 10,123 homes available in March 2008. Fewer homes on the market usually means prices are poised to start rising. The supply of homes has again fallen into the under-six-months “seller’s market” range.

Another sign of strong activity – the average days on market (DOM) for homes in March 2009 decreased by 18% to 89 days, compared with 109 days in March 2008.

Sales prices continue to remain lower than those realized last year. The average sales price in March fell 17% percent from March 2008 to $395,512, while the median price was $335,000, also a decline of 17%. Interestingly, though, the average and median sale prices are both about 5% higher than last month.

Agents are reporting a considerable number of multiple-offer situations on foreclosures, and on attractive well-priced homes in good condition, particularly in price ranges under $425,000. If you are looking for such a home, be prepared to act decisively – and, if the home is right for you, don’t let yourself be outbid.
statsmar1

Kim Hannemann, Real Estate Consultant/Realtor®, Samson Realty
Cell: 703-861-9234 • Fax: 703-896-5055 • Email: KimTheAgent@gmail.com

It’s Good To Have A Friend In The Business®
samson-realty-and-bird

If you would like to discuss real estate questions, sell or buy a home in Northern Virginia – including Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton, Fairfax, Fairfax Station, Falls Church, Kingstowne, Lorton, McLean, Reston, Springfield, or Vienna – contact Kim today.

4 – 4.5% Listings with First-Class Service — Cash Back to My Buyers!


Why We Have A Cat

April 13, 2009

dilbertA post from The Dilbert Blog:

Last week, my in-laws were in town. While they were out visiting some other relatives, I took my turn watching their dog, Mollie. At this point, I should pause and mention that I haven’t had a dog since I was a kid. And in those days, in the country, when the dog felt nature’s call, we’d simply let the dog out, and it would use any part of our 2.5 acres as its toilet. Later, if you wanted to throw a ball around, you just kicked the (usually) frozen logettes to the side to clear a path. In those simple times, you weren’t playing a sport unless someone ended up covered in dog feces. It was just part of the game.

These days, things are quite different. Today, if you go to school covered in dog feces, there’s a stigma. And of course there’s the leash law. But nothing takes the joy out of a walk in the fresh air quite like being required to carry a plastic purse full of dog poop.

Back to my story, I took Mollie for a walk, thinking I understood how this process worked. The leash was no mystery. It had a cool spring action with a pistol grip. I liked that part. And I grabbed an official poop bag on the way out of the house. I was ready for anything.

Within a minute, Mollie laid down a steamer. I think she had been eating the cat food, because it wasn’t the firm little log I was expecting. But I soldiered on, turning the bag inside out like a glove, and grabbing the warm pile that melted in my hand. It wasn’t pleasant in the usual sense of the word, but I experienced some satisfaction in a job well done. I tied the bag into a tidy little package and intended to head home.

That’s when I noticed Mollie had just begun to poop. I don’t know if she was trying to spell “HELP” in case a rescue plane flew over, or what, but by now she was in full production. Step, squat, step, squat.

I looked at my tidy little bag, now sealed, and realized I was screwed. I knew the neighbors would be looking, or feared they might. I couldn’t leave this Katrina-sized disaster and get another bag lest someone think, incorrectly, that I had abandoned my doody. So I decided to see if I could untie the pooper bag and have another go at the new deposits. This plan did not work as smoothly as I had hoped.

Do you know what is NOT effective for picking up warm piles of poop? If you guessed “other warm piles of poop,” you might have been in this situation yourself. It was like trying to pick up mashed potatoes with a catcher’s mitt. And I was hurrying, so needless to say, back at the house I needed the Karen Silkwood treatment to feel clean again.

Later, when my in-laws returned, I told the story. Larry, a laid-back gentleman from Arkansas, turned to his wife Cheryl and drawled “Mollie double-bagged him.” Let me tell you, the only thing that could have made my experience worse was finding out my in-laws have a name for it.

catAnd that’s why we have a cat.