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.

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

It’s Good To Have A Friend In The Business®

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!

February 2009 Northern Virginia Sales Info

March 15, 2009

graphFebruary 2009 home sales activity for Fairfax and Arlington counties, the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church and the towns of Vienna, Herndon and Clifton:

A total of 1,067 homes sold in February 2009, a 10 % increase above February 2008 home sales of 969.

Active listings decreased by 18 % from last year, with 7,811 active listings in February, compared with 9,497 homes available in February 2008. The average days on market (DOM) for homes in February 2009  to 109 days, compared with 116 days in February 2008.

The average sales price in February fell by 21 % from February 2008, to $380,077, compared with last February’s average of $479,320. The median sales price of homes sold in Northern Virginia in February was $318,000, which is a decline of 23 % compared with February 2008’s median price of $410,500.

The February pending home sales data, based on signed contracts, is bucking the national trend – 1,817 contracts are pending compared to February 2008 when 1,526 were pending, an increase of 19 %.


Organizing Can Be An Emotional Thing

February 16, 2009

messydeskStuff. Most of us have waaaaay too much of it. If you know my wife, you will understand who keeps stuff organized in our house. She spent a good part of this weekend moving cookbooks, camera and various electronic gizmos from one cabinet to another, tossing things we haven’t been using, and getting some new things put away. It’s certainly not me – you should see my desk right now. I am not the best person to talk about decluttering, though it’s definitely a mantra of mine when talking to sellers! So that’s why I asked for professional help in writing this piece, and Aimee Saldivar obliged:

tmntDo you feel bad throwing out every greeting card you receive? Or do you feel the need to save every toy your children owned to hand down to their children someday? Keeping these toys and remembrances can add up, especially if you don’t have the space to store them. If you save the toys’ original boxes or perhaps the toys that are slightly tattered, they’ll be of no value if your children decide to buy their kids new toys altogether. Get rid of them! One way to keep that precious toy close to your heart is to take a picture of it and create a digital album for you and your children to cherish tomorrow. Those pictures would make a great hardback album for a holiday gift, or can be used to create a scrapbook. It will not only take up less room, be cost effective and environmentally friendly, but it will allow more room for you to use today.

walshI recently finished a book by Peter Walsh, professional organizer and motivational speaker, called “It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan For Living a Richer Life With Less Stuff.” He makes some great points about happiness: more material things don’t really measure success, having more possessions may be more suffocating than liberating, and the stuff we own ends up owning us. When we feel like we have too much stuff, we buy more containers; but in reality we aren’t cleaning out clutter, we’re just storing it away. Eventually this will build up and take over our space.

We have more winter ahead of us, but it’s a great time to start planning our organization. Here are few ideas to get you started without being overwhelmed by the task:

  1. One room at a time. Focus on a room rather than your entire home. A smaller goal cuts down your anxiety and helps you stay focused. Prioritize each room according to either your budget or the time you have to spend. This will help you plan your project more effectively and will keep you on track to organizational success.
  2. Think about what you want to achieve out of that room. If you’re planning to put your home on the market, you may want to consult a professional stager or organizer to create a “punch list.” An extra set of eyes can’t hurt, and they know creative ways to minimize clutter and maximize your sale price without going overboard. If you’re looking simply to organize, store away those keepsakes into one box you can bring out when you want to reflect, and keep the room livable without feeling cramped and cluttered.
  3. consignTIP:  In today’s economy, second-hand and consignment stores are becoming the hot place to shop. If have you some great items that you feel guilty about giving away, consignment shops are a great way to get rid of them without having to host a yard sale or post them in the classifieds online. Remember, one man’s junk can be another man’s treasure – at less than half the price! [Followup tip from Kim:  Drop off your stuff and drive away quickly, or you will come home with more than you took in!]
  4. If you haven’t used in the last year – GET RID OF IT! Some things we own may be seasonal items, which is okay; however, if you’re still thinking that the one item you’re saving may go back in style, dump it. If it comes back someday, there will plenty of options to choose from. Many times we get so wrapped up in how much we paid or how much we saved on a particular item when, in reality, it was probably an impulse buy at the time. We may also keep something “in case we need it.” Unless you are talking about fire extinguishers and the like, if we haven’t used it in a year, then we don’t need it, and we’ve probably forgotten about it.
  5. books1TIP:  Getting rid of dust collectors such as books, lampshades and dried flowers can help alleviate dust for people with allergies. You may continue to dust the shelves, but not the books on the shelves or the dried flowers you are saving from a special occasion. It rarely occurs to people that dust build-up on these items is overlooked and can make matters worse for people with allergies. Once you finish reading a book, trade it for a new one or donate it. Donating books to your local public library is a very simple process and is a tax write-off for you next year.
  6. The more you can eliminate, the better. Linen closets become an emotional trap for us since they house blankets and linens we don’t want to part with. This is usually where Grandma’s hankies and table linens end up. Instead, think about storing them in a dedicated keepsake box from Grandma, or framing and hanging them in a guest bedroom (if they go with the theme). Once you make room for the linens you actually use, you won’t have to shuffle through mismatched sheet sets and torn towels. If you have different sizes of sheet sets for different rooms and/or family members, a great way to keep them organized  is to color-code them. Buy a different color of two-inch grosgrain ribbon rolls for each size or family member to keep the sheet sets together for “grab and go.” It adds a nice touch to your linen closet, too. NOTE:  When you have your home on the market, prospective buyers look through everything, especially closets – they’ll be impressed.
  7. medalsA great way to pay tribute to a loved one after they have passed would be to dedicate a space or a room for their items. If they were in the military, one way to pay tribute would be to frame their military medals along with their uniform jacket. Or if you are having a hard time parting with their collected items, perhaps you could sell them and donate the money in their memory to an organization or educational institution they would have appreciated.

ladybugsoMany thanks to Aimee Saldivar, professional organizer and home stager. She also offers special occasion set-up such as table setting and arranging. You can find before and after pictures on Facebook by looking up Ladybug Staging and Organization.

If you mention this article, Aimee will provide a free consultation when you sign up for a service. Plan ahead and call today for an estimate at 703-856-3404 or email

Kim Hannemann, Real Estate Consultant/Realtor®, Samson Realty
Cell: 703-861-9234 • Fax: 703-896-5055 • Email:
It’s Good To Have A Friend In The Business®


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

What’s My Home Worth?

January 27, 2009

The first question a potential home seller has is undoubtedly, “What’s my home worth?”homesaleprice

A real estate professional will establish the likely selling price by doing a comparative market analysis (CMA) – comparing your home to others like it that have sold recently. We would include market conditions, such as the inventory of homes for sale and the ease of purchase (interest rates, mortgage availability).

Ideally, your agent will be looking for homes

  • of similar size;
  • in similar condition;
  • in the same or a nearby neighborhood; and
  • sold in the past three months.

In a large subdivision or condo complex with many recent sales, this can be fairly easy. If your home is very similar to several recently closed sales, except for the level of improvements, adjustments can be made for the various differences.

It is more difficult to establish market value when there are few or no comparable sales (“comps”). Sometimes your home is unique compared with nearby homes sold recently. In this situation establishing a reasonable market value will also be a matter of adjustments, but the adjustments will be trickier.

The most important factor is location, so up to a point we would tend to favor closer homes over more recent sales from a distance. On the other hand, if we can locate several recent sales of similar model homes by the same builder in a distant neighborhood, we can adjust for location.

mcmansionAdjustments may be made for the home’s “fit” in the neighborhood. A home that “sticks out like a sore thumb” – either too fancy or too big compared to nearby homes, or relatively small or unimproved relative to the neighborhood – will require more up or down adjustment. If the comps are in a more highly sought after school district than your home – or vice versa – it will be necessary to adjust for the schools.

Occasionally we might try multiple approaches. For instance, in addition to pricing recent sales of similar homes from other neighborhoods,  we can also research sales in your neighborhood from previous years and then adjust for what has occurred in the local market since then. By establishing the value from several perspectives, a more accurate price range for your home will become clear.

Finally, when a property sells, it’s not just about the price. There are other factors that influence what a buyer will pay and how much a seller will accept:

For example, terms such as these might induce a seller to take less money:

  • an all-cash offer (no mortgage contingency to worry about);
  • an as-is offer (no concern about repairs);
  • a fast closing or a longer closing, depending on what the seller prefers; or
  • a free rent back, to allow the seller time to complete his move at a more leisurely pace.

And these terms might make the seller demand more money:

  • seller financing all or part of the purchase price;
  • seller paying for closing costs; or
  • offer contingent on sale of buyer’s home.

If you would like to know the likely market value of your home, please contact me. I’ll be happy to help you evaluate your property’s value.

Kim Hannemann, Real Estate Consultant/Realtor®, Samson Realty
Cell: 703-861-9234 • Fax: 703-896-5055 • Email:
It’s Good To Have A Friend In The Business®


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

Ten Mistakes Sellers Make

January 2, 2009

. . . or, ten ways to improve your chances to sell your home. A funny but oh-so-true description of steps all home sellers should take to ensure the fastest, most profitable sale.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Kim’s Big Johnson College Bowl Mania Is Here!

December 6, 2008

bigjohnsonGet In On Kim’s Big Johnson College Bowl Mania!!!

You know if it has three (!!!) exclamation points, and is written in red, it’s gotta be good.

This contest involves choosing the winning team for each of the 34 (yes, now it’s 34!) upcoming college football Bowl Games, to be played between December 20 and January 8. In addition to choosing the winning teams, you have to assign a Confidence Points factor of 1 to 34 to each game – your personal view of how certain you are of the outcome of each game. If you have high confidence in your choice, you give that game a high value; conversely, if you have no idea which team might win, you would assign a low value. If the team you pick wins, you get the points you assigned. For a tiebreaker, you have to guess the score of the BCS Championship game.

nanoThe contest will feature a small prize of some sort – probably involving chocolate – to everyone who beats me, and an engraved 8GB iPod Nano (your choice of color) to the top scorer. Second prize is a 1 pound tin of Mrs. Hanes Moravian Sugar Crisp Cookies. Mmmmmmm . . .

If your entry is really hot, you might win something from ESPN, too, but who cares? The Big Johnson is special!

You enter the contest by going to the ESPN website and follow the instructions below. There is no cost. You are welcome to invite your friends – any friend of yours is a friend of mine.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

How To Play College Bowl Mania the Big Johnson Way



To enter, fill out the free game registration at the ESPN website. A valid ESPN member name and password will be used as an identifier to sign in to game play, and to keep track of your entry’s score and standing. If you are already a registered ESPN account holder, you do not need to go through the registration process. If you’ve had an ESPN account in the past but forgot your password, visit Member Services and have your account information sent to you.


After you have signed in, you will be prompted with a screen with a “Create Entry” button. After you click on the button you will be automatically redirected to the “Entry Settings” page where you will be asked to name your entry and decide whether you would like email reminders.

  • Name your entry: Use the text box to determine how your entry will be displayed in the game. Use your imagination. Please. 
  • Scoring system: Use the radio buttons to select Confidence Points (required for our game).
  • Email Reminders: Use the radio buttons to select whether or not you’d like to receive email reminders from ESPN pertaining to game locks and game rules. I will send emails through the ESPN system to the participants about the game, so be sure to read the email account you use to register!

Once you have completed your game settings, click on the “Submit Entry Settings” button.


To join the Big Johnson group after you submit your entry settings, click on the words Create Or Join A Group. Search for the group named Big Johnson, and join the group using the password, “kimsentme” (get it? Kim Sent Me?). You can join the group as soon as you create your entry – you don’t have to make any picks first. Let me know if you have any problems getting into the group.


You won’t be able to make your picks for the games until all the bowl game contestants are known – probably by Wednesday, December 10. Then you will be able to pick your winner for each game, and predict the final team scores of the National Championship Game as the game’s primary tiebreaker. To select the team you think will win, click on the table cell containing the team name or the checkbox next to the team name. Once you’ve made all of your picks, you can “click and drag” the game up or down in the list to change the assigned Confidence Value for that game. The higher the confidence you assign to a bowl game, the more points you will earn if you have selected the winning team. Each game must have a different confidence value assigned to it from 1 to 34. To predict the final team scores of the National Championship Game, enter your predictions in the fields designated as “Score Guess.” Once satisfied with your selected picks, the confidence values for those picks, and the championship game’s score guess, click the “Submit Your Picks” button to enter them.

Register and submit your entry no later than the first kickoff of the first game of the college football bowl season (Saturday, December 20, 2008 at 11:00 am ET) at which point the game will lock and no additional picks can be made. If you change your mind about a game, you can go back and change your picks until the first game starts.

Step 5 – SCORING

In the Confidence scoring system, the higher the confidence you assign to a game, the more points you will earn if you have selected the winning team. If your chosen team wins, you get the points you assigned to that game. You do not lose points for incorrect picks.


You can join up to three (3) different groups with the same entry, not that you will give a hoot. Once you have enjoyed the Big Johnson, all the others are, well, kinda puny. Each user may have up to three (3) different entries – but only ONE entry in the Big Johnson.

Midtown Springfield On Hold?

December 4, 2008

The Midtown Springfield proposal, 9+ acres now occupied by a motel, closed discount wine store, near-vacant office tower, abandoned veterinary clinic and two restaurants, appears to be off the table. Last July, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors received a letter from the developer (Kettler/KSI) saying that efforts to resurrect the sagging project had failed. The Fairfax County Planning Commission has indefinitely deferred its decision to approve the project.

Kettler/KSI lawyer Gregory Reigle wrote in the letter, “Our belief was [that] the combination of additional time and continued partnership with the community and county would provide the opportunity to resolve the remaining issues and deploy still evolving county revitalization policies and programs.” But, the letter continued, “These efforts were not successful. Rather than pursuing a diluted plan that does not respect community expectations, there is no practical alternative than to withdraw the rezoning.”

The proposal called for three towers of 21 to 28 stories with 800 apartments and condominiums, a 160-room hotel, 40,000 square feet of offices and up to 100,000 square feet of retail space, all surrounding a central public plaza and gallery or auditorium. Parking garages and landscaping were to buffer the buildings from I-95 and the huge flyover ramp that looms behind the site.

However, with ongoing developments in and around Springfield such as the Fort Belvoir base realignment, and revitalization of Springfield Mall, I can see this one springing back onto the drawing board pretty quick. Like other developers in the current economy, Kettler has had to pull back. They have ongoing major projects in Reston (Midtown Reston Town Center), Woodbridge (Port Potomac/Potomac Club/County Center), Manassas (Piedmont), Arlington (West Village, The Metropolitan), Alexandria (Midtown Alexandria), and that’s only scratching the surface. It made sense to back off on one that was not yet underway. But if Kettler doesn’t do it, someone will!

Check out the artist’s rendition: