Show your home: The ultimate checklist

Is it time to show your home? We have the ultimate checklist that will allow you to open up your home with confidence and style. But first things first. Remember that your home is now a property. Yes, you have lots of sweet memories and those memories are important and worth taking with you. But those will now live on in your photos and stories. It is now time to remove yourself from your house and truly look at it as a product. Something that you are selling. You want to remove yourself from the home so that potential buyers can imagine themselves living in your home. Here is a quick list of things to keep in mind before that open house!

  1. Turn on all the lights-light creates warmth and makes everything look warm and inviting. Turn on all the ceiling lights as well as the table lamps. This brightens everything up and gives off a subtle glow from the street. Think curb appeal!
  2. Spray a room deodorizer-Choose a neutral scent like cotton or fresh linen. This just helps neutralize odor and gives your home a fresh and new scent.
  3. Turn off noise-turn off anything that might make noise. A radio, a tv, anything that creates a hum. This can be distracting. You want your potential buyers to have an amazing experience and not associate your home with any annoying sounds.
  4. Keep it comfortable-if it is hot outside, crank up that air conditioner. If it is snowing and in the dead of winter, crank up that heat. Make those buyers want to get into your house just as fast as they can.
  5. Give everything a swipe-make sure to wipe down all countertops, windows, window seals, and doors. Little hands and fingers can leave smudges and make things look dirtier than they really are.  A good swipe over all of your surfaces is a great way to make the house look, and smell, clean.
  6. Remove personal items-Remember we are emotionally detaching ourselves from this home. You are moving on and it is time to remove those personal items. Make sure you take your laptop, book, or anything else you might be working on and put it in the car with you. Let them imagine their own laptop on the kitchen counter. Show Your Home Checklist

How to find a great real estate agent

How to find a great real estate agent

Is selling your home on your to-do list in the upcoming year? Do you feel like you missed the “Spring Market” ??

Have you waffled between putting your home on the market as For Sale By Owner? Does the paperwork involved in selling your home give you a headache? Do the words “due diligence” confuse you?

It can be completely overwhelming to look at all of the moving pieces involved with the real estate puzzle. Yet, when you consider hiring a professional real estate agent, a Realtor, the stress can almost immediately start to fade away!

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THREE things to know before applying for a mortgage

applying for a mortgage "Why does it seem SO hard when applying for a mortgage?"

I am asked this on a regular basis! Let's break down the process into three important things to know. Applying for a mortgage can be a lot of work but it doesn't have to be stressful or difficult.

Applying for a Mortgage, Step 1:

First, you must obtain a pre-qualification status from your lender. There isn't a formal verification process but this will allow you to understand any credit score issues as well as any goals or needs you may have, with your lender. The pre-qualification process generally occurs over the phone, and the lender relies on the information you divulge as the basis of their assessment of what mortgage numbers you can look at. It's important when communicating with a lender to be 100% honest and up front. Not only will hidden history slow down the process in the future, it also shows good character to be open about all aspects of your financial history

Applying for a Mortgage, Step 2:

The next step is pre-approval. This involves FAR more information to be given, including but not limited to: a full mortgage application, credit report, pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, etc.  Being pre-approved means you will now have a pre-approval letter that most agents will require before they work with you.  This shows prospective sellers that you are ready, willing and able to buy. This process also allows you to understand the price range that you have been approved for and will guide you in your home search.

Applying for a Mortgage, Step 3:

After the pre-approval, and when you have found your dream home, you will work with your Realtor to submit your offer and once ratified (signed and terms agreed to by both parties), you will need to once again be in touch with your lender to have them begin the underwriting process, which will set the ball in motion. This stage of the process may require additional documents to be produced, so be prepared for that request.

It is wise to be prepared when beginning your home search by gathering the paperwork ahead of time that your lender will want to see.  This allows you to be in control of the situation and not feel pressured or stressed to find your supporting documentation.

To receive a free checklist of the paperwork your lender will require for a pre-qualification and subsequent pre-approval, fill out the contact form below.

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VA Benefits ID Card

VA Benefits ID card  

Introducing the VA ID card! Are you a Veteran of the United States military, and weary of carrying around your DD 214 for proof of your service? Often times, discounts are available to you if you show proof, or you are eligible for programs and opportunities because of your service.

The Veterans Administration has recently introduced an ID Card that can be carried in place of your DD 214. Simply visit the website to complete your application and learn more!

If you are currently serving, or have retired or separated from the military and have real estate needs, we can help! Through our Heroes Home Advantage program, we say thank you for your service by crediting you 25% of OUR commission back to YOU when you buy or sell a home with our team, or with someone in our Heroes Home Advantage network. For more information or to learn about how this works (benefits are offered to those in service to our country and communities such as police, fire, health care, teachers, military and first responders), simply get in touch below!

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8 items to leave for the buyer of your home

items to leave for the buyerWe love gifting our clients with really practical but amazingly creative closing gifts, as a way to say thank you for trusting our team with the sale or purchase of their new home. We typically take a nod from It's A Wonderful Life and create a beautiful basket, but we've also been known to gift a personalized throw pillow as well. Did you know you too can be a part of gifting something during the real estate transaction?

No matter the friendliness of your transaction, or how stressful it may have been during the negotiation and closing, there are some simple ways that you can give back to the buyer of your home, and perhaps earn some karma credits along the way! Here are 8 items to leave for the buyer of your home.


Items To Leave:

  • any and all neighborhood / location-centric handbooks or guidebooks
  • all manuals for the house, anything that conveys / transfers with the house
  • a simple printout of nearby attractions, shopping, touristy stuff, bonus points for including your dentist/doctor and vet contacts
  • any extra lightbulbs for the house
  • the garage door openers
  • a note on what paint colors you've used for rooms (if you remember) & leave the paint cans behind as well!
  • a simple drawing of what has been planted where
  • a note --- this doesn't need to be awkward, but a simple note saying something like "best of luck to you and wishing you many happy memories in this space" is appreciated

If you want to go full tilt and leave good karma in the universe, leave a welcome basket with a neighbor ... and ask them to deliver it after the new family has moved in ... perhaps a gift card to the movie theater, bottle of wine and a candle.

2017 Year In Review

What a year 2017 was for more reasons than one! Ready for our 2017 Year In Review?

Real Estate Recaps:

We had a stellar and wonderful 2015, and then a really amazing 2016 where we handed over $31,000 back to our hero clients, but then 2017 left us a bit confused as to how it would all play out. Naomi had moved away from the Northern Virginia area which looked to leave a big hole in our efforts in the area, but Stephanie Mack stepped IN, ready to rock and roll!

For 2017, we closed out the year with 11 transactions closed (2015: 18 and 2016: 25), over $12,000 handed back to our clients who are heroes (teachers, police, fire, first responders and military) [2015: $16,000 and 2016: $31,000] and countless hours logged.

We assisted 6 sellers, our total number of buyers were 2 and we helped 3 rental families find new communities as well [2015: 4 sellers, 6 buyers, 8 rentals and 2016: 7 sellers, 13 buyers, 5 rentals]. In addition to those families served, we also introduced 12 families from all over the world to real estate professionals who helped them "find home" in locations across the United States. Production numbers don't matter much to us (community and clients come first!) but in an effort to publicly track our growth, we claimed $3.87 million in sales for the 2017  year in review [2015: $2.5 million and 2016: $8.4 million]!

70% of our business came from direct referrals (past clients, personal networks), 10% from Facebook (closed group networks) and 20% from our Heroes Home Advantage network. For 2017, 0% of our business came from traditional real estate marketing [2015: 78% from direct referrals, 2016: 40% direct referrals, 40% Facebook and 20% traditional]. 

Naomi's Personal Recaps:

For the team, 2105 taught us lessons on finding our stride and 2016 brought us learning around growth and scaling. 2017 brought us a LOT of teaching around team work, integrity, the power of community and the beauty of "doing real estate right."

I spoke as the opening keynote for the 2017 Families in Global Transition conference in The Hague, Netherlands and the residual impact of that opportunity rippled and resonated through 2017. 2018 is going to bring many more opportunities for me to explore what "community" literally means - both online and offline, expand our real estate reach to Nebraska, as well as continue to do our work globally matching up relocating families with real estate professionals who go the extra mile.

Give Back Recaps:

We appreciate the honor and opportunity to serve with many different volunteer opportunities: Sea Change Mentoring for one, and also volunteer our time and resources with local organizations in our community.


At the end of the day, we exist to serve you, your friends and family, and your referrals. We strive to better ourselves through consistent training and growth. Thank you for trusting us in 2017 with your referrals, with your own personal real estate journeys, and allowing us to help you find home!

Here's to a beautifully connected and community-driven 2018!

Naomi Hattaway signature

8 Reasons to Fall in Love with Loudoun County

8 Reasons to Fall In Love with Loudoun County Contemplating a move to Loudoun? Loudoun County is far more than just a pretty suburb of Washington, DC. It’s family-friendly, safe and offers “country living” right outside the nation’s capital. Loudoun has a small town feel with its local small businesses, farmers markets, close-knit neighborhoods, and friendly residents. However, when you are ready for a night out in the big city, DC is just a quick trip away. Many residents love this small town/big city balance because it makes living life in Loudoun anything but boring!

Here are eight reasons to fall in love with Loudoun County, one of the most desired counties in Virginia.

1. Schools

Loudoun County is the third largest school district in Virginia and is known for having some of the top academic programs in the state. Loudoun boasts a high graduation rate and superior teachers. Not only will your children be challenged by the curriculum, but they will be taught by some of the best teachers Virginia has to offer. Whether you are looking at public or private schools, you can be confident your children will receive a quality education. The county is even home to a few colleges and universities. Learn more by visiting the Loudoun County Public Schools website.

2. Abundance of Job Opportunities

Loudoun County is close to Washington, DC, but you don’t have to drive into the city to find great jobs. The county itself is a hub for data and technology centers. Some of the largest technology firms in the world have made Loudoun their home including AOL, Verizon, and Raytheon. Jobs in Loudoun are plentiful, which in turn creates a low unemployment rate in the county.

3. Highest median income in the United States

Loudoun offers numerous well paying opportunities in countless fields which in turn results in higher median incomes. Year after year, Loudoun County tops the list of the Richest Counties in America, with the highest median income per household in the nation according to the US Census Bureau.

4. Plethora of Things To Do

Wineries, breweries, parks, shopping- you name it, Loudoun’s got it!

Wine. If you love wine, Loudoun’s wine country is a must visit. There are dozens of wineries, some big and fancy, others small and cozy- but all offering delectable wine and many have light fare or food trucks onsite. People come from near and far to have a glass of award-winning wine while enjoying breathtaking views. Many wineries not only have tasting rooms but offer wine education events, private tours and live music. Stone Tower and Tarara are popular large wineries that hold many events. If you are looking for a more intimate and cozy winery, Fabbioli is a local favorite.

Beer. Breweries have become increasingly popular in Loudoun due to the impressive fact that many of the local breweries grow and source their own hops. A local favorite is Vanish in Leesburg. Vanish has too many events to count, like a monthly paint night, live music, and trivia nights.

Parks. Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling and Morven Park in Leesburg are two of the more popular parks in Loudoun. Algonkian features a golf course, a water park and camping sites. Morven Park features 3 museums, athletic fields, the ever popular Polo in the Park series and numerous other affairs.

Shopping. If you are a shopper, a visit to the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets is a must to score some great deals. If you are more interested in shopping local, Loudoun provides a variety of small businesses and has many popular antique stores, including the Lucketts Store.

Volunteering. With organizations like Mobile Hope, Loudoun First Responders Foundation, the Loudoun County Animal Services organization and others, there is no shortage of opportunities to be able to give back to your community!

5. The History

Loudoun County has a rich history dating back to the 1700s and has many museums, sites and landmarks to honor it. Loudoun also makes an effort to preserve its history by limiting development to help with traffic and preserving historical areas. Many re-enactments and educational events are held throughout the year and are open to the public. If you are a Civil War buff, make sure to visit the Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park which offers guided walking tours through the historic site. Check out for an itinerary for “Loudoun’s Civil War in A Day”- a wonderful guide!

6. Farmer’s Markets

In Loudoun, we are all about eating local. There’s an abundance of farmer’s markets and roadside stands throughout the area. If you are looking for organic, locally grown produce, homemade pies, and fresh meat look no further than Loudoun County! Some of our favorites include Loudounberry, Faith Like A Mustard Seed, Brossman’s and Farmer John’s Market. There are also numerous farm to table restaurants in the area, and Loudoun has a great CSA program. The CSA program allows residents to buy straight from the farm. This way you support local agriculture and in return receive a weekly box filled with fresh, locally grown food. It’s a win, win!

7. The Natural Beauty

This reason is an obvious one, but needed to be mentioned! One of the major reasons people move to Loudoun County is because of its natural beauty. There’s the mountains, the green rolling hills, the Potomac River, wildlife, and farmlands. The views are breathtaking, and the county has many parks, trails and farms for the public to utilize to enjoy the stunning outdoors.

8. Home Options are Endless

No matter what type of home you are looking for, Loudoun County has got it! New construction? Check. Historic home? Check. Looking for a condominium or townhome? We’ve got those too! Loudoun offers homes in communities with Homeowners Associations but there are also many homes not tied to a HOA. There are homes on acres of land, but if you prefer to have as little land as possible (who has time for the maintenance?!) that can be found in Loudoun too! There’s a place for you in Loudoun, no matter your home/ community type, budget or land preference.

Have you experienced what it's like to fall in love with Loudoun County? What are your favorite things to love about Loudoun?

8 Ways To Obtain More Offers On Your Home

Whether you are listing your home during the Spring Market, the height of summer or need to put your home on the market over the winter, there are certain ways to obtain more offers on your home and in turn, allowing you to reach your end goals and desires. More Offers on your home

More Offers:

  1. Potential buyers will make a mental list of all of the items that need to be repaired, cleaned or replaced. By taking stock in that list on your own, before the home is listed, you’ll remove objections, and in turn present a property that is more likely to receive offers! Invite a neighbor or friend over to your home to take a walk through and ask them to be especially mindful of items they might see as barriers to a potential buyer. Take note and consider implementing their suggestions.
  2. Staging - on your own - is one way to save money during the listing of your home. Many Realtors have relationships with professional stagers and consultations can be arranged for anywhere from $200-500 to provide a one time visit, and follow up report. This consultation provides a to-do list you can then tackle on your own.
  3. While it may seem as though rooms will appear bigger if you push your furniture up snug against a wall, the opposite is actually true. Pull your couches and loveseats away from the wall, at least 4-6 inches. Consider forming an area with your seating arrangement - imagining that you are providing an opportunity to have a conversation. This type of arrangement invokes a feeling of welcome and warmth.
  4. While you are in the process of packing and purging your home, the last thing you wish to do is pull all of your family memories and artwork from the walls. Not only does it leave unsightly nail holes, but you’ll also then need to store those frames somewhere. Instead, consider adding a piece of simple decorative paper to those same frames - simply laying the paper over your family photo. This provides instant art that is appealing to more buyers, and removes the personal impact, allowing prospective buyers to envision their own artwork on those same walls.
  5. If you have pets in your home, it is an absolute must that you not only hide away litter boxes and traces of your four leggeds during the photo shoot for listing photos, but also for showings. If you cannot take your animals with you during showings, consider providing a designated room for them to huddle in while prospective buyers take a look around, and be sure to leave a note on the door letting visitors be aware.
  6. Plan ahead for the maintenance of the exterior of your home. If you’ll be listing the property during the winter, consider engaging a snow removal company to ensure your walks and driveway will always be ice and snow free. If you are listing your property this coming spring, make the effort to plant some bulbs now for a bright pop of color come springtime.
  7. You know those squeaky doors that have bothered you for so long? Now is the time to take some WD-40 to the hinges. Entering your home with an accompanying c-r-e-a-k may be offputting to a prospective buyer, and making sure that all doors open easily and without sticking is also a great idea.
  8. Buyers are purchasing more than just the home and what is inside of those “four walls.” Consider providing your Realtor with relevant information about your neighborhood, including nearby parks or walking trails. Have some favorite local businesses you enjoy frequenting? Gather their menus or coupons to leave at the home for prospective buyers. If there is a neighborhood association or a community organization they can join, provide that information as well. A little effort goes a long way in helping buyers understand the bigger picture of the community they are considering making their home.
  9. Bonus! Even the most conscientious of housekeepers can stand to have a professional come in to deep clean prior to listing a home for purchase. Having the carpets shampooed and every nook and cranny touched by someone who doesn’t see the home day in and day out is well worth the expense and the day away from your home. Book yourself some time with friends or schedule some much needed errands and let your home put its best foot forward - sparkling and clean!

By implementing some of these suggestions, you are bound to receive more offers on your home, and can be proud of your home when you place it on the market! For more tips and tricks when selling your home, visit our Sellers Portal, with content written just for you!

How to Tour A Home Like A Pro

Tour A Home 8th & Home Real EstateYou pull into the driveway of a home you have been eyeing online for days and you're ready to tour a home, finally! The exterior looks just as it did on the internet - nice yard and you love the landscaping. So far, so good! Your Realtor opens the front door for you and smiles encouragingly. You step inside and take your first look around. Now what?

TOUR A HOME ... like a pro!

It’s important for buyers to have a good idea of what to look for when touring a home. Sure, the home may look nice and clean at first glance. The rooms may even have paint colors similar to what you would choose for your home. But don’t get lost in these minor details! Pretty decorations and nicely arranged furniture are nice, but they don’t usually stay with the house at the time of purchase. Let’s review what you should REALLY be paying attention to during a showing.

The Neighborhood.

When you first pulled into the neighborhood, did you pay attention to the other homes? How do their yards look? Are they well kept? What about their exteriors? While a potential future neighbor’s home wouldn’t be your own, it is important to feel comfortable with the overall look of the community.  It might also be a good idea to come back to the neighborhood at a different time. How does it look on a Saturday afternoon? Are children out playing on common grounds? Are your potential neighbors cutting the grass, giving you a friendly wave as you drive by? If you are seriously considering submitting an offer, all of these things are important to explore. If you see a neighbor while you are out and about in the neighborhood, feel free to take full advantage of the chance to get insider information! Introduce yourself, ask how long they’ve been in the neighborhood and how they like it. Just be careful - you may want to pick and choose what you take to heart. Just because they are happy/ unhappy with something does not mean you will be too!


At first glance the exterior looked to be clean and the shutters matched the door very nicely. But did you think to check the gutters? If it’s raining, check the drain rate and make sure the water is flowing away from the home. Also, take a close look at the siding and paint. Does it appear to be in good condition?


What is the natural light like throughout the home? Which way is the home facing? If it’s facing west you will get the morning sun in the back of the house and the afternoon sun in the front. So, if you love summer afternoon cookouts this means you likely will have shade on your back patio while you grill which may be preferable to you. Or, you may prefer an east facing home if your bedroom windows are in the front of the home and you love waking up to sunlight streaming into your room.

Windows/ Ceilings. 

Do the windows look old? Are they cracked? Replacing windows can be a large expense you may want to factor in before purchasing a home. Do you see any wet spots on the ceilings? Wet spots could indicate a leak.


Will your king bed fit comfortably in the master bedroom? Will your large L-shaped couch work in the family room? Where will you hang your 60 inch TV? You can always purchase new furniture here and there, but if the home doesn’t work for most of your belongings you may want to keep looking. Also, don’t just look around. SMELL around. While many homes (thankfully) smell like a Yankee candle, others may smell like mold, cigarettes, or stinky pets. Make sure to pay attention to smells while touring the home. While the “stinky pet” smell may go away when the current owners move out, things like mold and smoking won’t disappear as easily, and getting rid of it may cost you.


Is there ample parking for your vehicles? What about for your guests? Is the garage large enough? Be sure to check any neighborhood requirements as they relate to recreational vehicles if you’re an RV family, and make note of how comfortably your family’s vehicles will fit in the driveway.

Water Pressure. 

Feel free to flush a toilet or turn on a faucet to gauge water pressure! While a low water pressure doesn’t need to be a game-changer for a home, it’s always good to know as much as possible ahead of placing an offer to purchase.

Your Commute. 

When viewing a potential home, be mindful of your possible commute. Check out what the community is like at 5pm on a Monday. Does the community get congested and do the roads near the home fill with traffic? You may also want to take a drive to the closest grocery store and if you have children in the home, navigate to the neighborhood school. Getting a feel of what daily life would be like if you lived in the home is critical.


Your Realtor can help you assess a potential home for many of these items, so don’t hesitate to ask them questions! Make sure to take your time looking at a home and try not to rush. Really ask yourself, can you see yourself living in the home? Can you visualize yourself in the kitchen preparing dinner, while your children or your guests play and enjoy the backyard? Can you envision hosting Thanksgiving in the dining room, sipping coffee on the porch? If yes, then you may have just found the home that is right for you. If not, keep looking, the right home may be just around the corner!

Following these simple steps on how to tour a home will help you feel more confident about your decision to place an offer on a home.

Take a look at our other articles on home buying, or say hello on Facebook.

Looking for a real estate team who has you as their first and primary focus? We'd love to help. Call Naomi at 571-482-7356 or Stephanie at 703-963-1317!!

Millennial Generation Home Buyer Guide

Millennial Home Buyer GuideReady to get your hands on THE best Home Buyer Guide out there?

The Millennial Generation is the largest generation in United States history!


According to the US Census Bureau:

[Millennials] born between 1982-2000, now number 83.1 million and represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population. Their size exceeds that of the 75.4 million baby boomers.

If you are one of the millions of Millennials who has seen their peers begin to buy homes recently and are wondering what it would take for you to do the same... you’ve come to the right place! Download our free home buyer guide, in either English or Spanish and learn all of what you need to know!

There are many stereotypes and myths about the Millennial Generation as a whole, AND about what it takes to buy a home in today’s market. These myths have prevented many Millennials from even considering homeownership as an option for them and their families. The goal of this Home Buyer Guide is to provide you with the information you will need to make the best decision for you and your family in regards to homeownership. We will break down the myths and stereotypes that have long been believed to be true, as well as shed light on the opportunity you have to build wealth using your monthly housing cost.

Click the links below to download your FREE copy of our Home Buyer Guide! No email addresses to give, no opt-in needed, just our gift to you!

Millennials Home Buyer Guide


ENGLISH                 SPANISH

How to find a real estate agent

Wondering how to find a real estate agent? The process can feel a bit daunting, we know! There are literally hundreds and hundreds of Realtors, how do you wade through the ocean of agents to choose the right real estate agent? Whether you are buying a home, selling or renting, here are 8 simple and practical tips to help you with your decision. (Yes, you should utilize a Realtor when renting, as well! Read our post on that topic here: Do you need a Realtor to Rent)

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

1. Interview each potential agent.

You are about to embark on a VERY important step in you and your family's lives. Too many buyers and sellers fail to spend the time on an interview, yet buying or selling a home is a very large financial event. Even if you feel you don't have a lot of excess time, you can accomplish this interview process online (G+ Hangout or Skype, we have even held interviews via Facebook Chat!), on the phone or in person.

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

2. Make sure to be very clear during your interview on the topic of communication.

Ask them pointedly what their turnaround time is on phone calls, texts and emails. Also, discover what their preferred form of communication is (hint: it needs to be what YOUR preferred communication style is!) If you can’t wait (or don't want to wait) all day for a response from your agent, listen carefully to what they say in response. If you don’t want to be bombarded with info and only want updates a couple of times a week, again, listen to their answers.

3. Who will be working with you on the process of buying, renting or selling?

Is there a team? Is it one client? How many people will you have to work with to get from start to finish? Is the lead agent hands on or do they introduce you to someone called a transaction coordinator or customer care specialist? Neither format is better than another, it simply depends on your preferences. When you are looking to find a real estate agent, determine whether you want to only work with the agent, then being handed off to a team will likely not make you feel like a priority.

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

4. Ask them to flip back to YOU their understanding of what you are looking for in a home.

So many times, agents are focused on their presentation or their system and forget to really listen to what you’re saying between the lines and it can end up being frustrating and a waste of time. If you are selling your home, make sure the agent understands and has listened to your timeline, who will be remaining in the home during the process of selling and whether you have any restrictions or limitations on the showing of the home.

5. What is important to your agent? What core values do they work from?

What morals and values do they hold high in their lives and business?

6. How long have they been in business?

While most will advise you to inquire heavily about the agent's years of experience, keep in mind that sometimes the best agents are the ones with a fresh take on the industry, with new and out-of-the-box marketing ideas that will sell your home the fastest, or unique negotiating skills that will get you the most bang for your buck. If you are choosing a newer agent, be sure to inquire into the support and backing they receive from other agents in their brokerage, or from their broker.

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

7. What services does this Realtor offer AFTER the transaction closes?

Do they stay in touch with you? Do they offer a home warranty or do they provide a service whereby you are sent reminders on various to do items with the new house (i.e. change filters, etc.) or do they invite you to client parties (fun!) — look for the agent that goes above and beyond.

8. Go with your gut.

When you are looking to find a real estate agent, perhaps you’ve met or been referred to an agent BUT it doesn’t feel like a great fit. If this happens, move on. There are literally HUNDREDS of agents and you need to find the right one for you and your situation!

Still feeling confused and don't know where to start? We are happy to help - using our extensive network of trusted and known real estate professionals from literally all over the globe! We'll have a short discussion on what is important to you and then we can offer some stellar recommendations and referrals!

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

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Lucketts Vendor Favorites

We find ourselves often sending the same information to our clients who buy homes in Western Loudoun and we realized we haven't shared that information with you as well! We hope you're having a really great day, and hope that this information is of help to you and makes your day even better!


Normally we have pretty graphics and logos to accompany our posts, but for this information, we don't want to delay it any longer!  These recommendations are ALL family owned and LOCALLY owned businesses!


Tyson Hagewood


American Cowboy Roofing


Country Termite and Pest Control (ask for Sandy, 540-338-7821)



Prouty's Chimney Sweep



Jackie Vera / 703-496-8364



Fred Farris, Jr / 703-999-8599



Joe Juarez / 703-357-8981



LV Electric / Vinny @ 703-344-1890



Pietro @ 703-509-3629



Fox Waste Disposal / @(571-209-0192)



Here are some of the businesses in Lucketts that we JUST adore:


Faith like a Mustard Seed (animals, brunch on weekends, etc.)


Roots 657 (amazing food, live music, etc.)


Loudounberry (pizza on weekend evenings, farm store, plants/flowers, produce, milk, eggs)


Brossmans (produce, local ice cream, jams/sauces and BBQ on weekends)


AND ... last but not least, here's an interview with the Lucketts Elementary Principal, Carolyn Clement.


What other recommendations do YOU have?

Best Walking Spots in Loudoun County

BEST WALKING SPOTS in Loudoun County Happy National Walking Day here in the United States! Today, we are bringing you the best walking spots in Loudoun County!  If we're honest with ourselves as a nation, I think we have a lot of catching up to do with the rest of the world in terms of the time we spend walking (or biking), so let's do our part, starting with Loudoun County!

Best Walking Spots in Loudoun County:

The W&OD Trail.

The W & OD Trail is a beautiful 45-mile route along the former route of the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad (hence the acronym: W & OD). This is an amazing opportunity to get your move on whether you are walking or biking!

Claude Moore Park.

This park, located in Sterling, Virginia, offers woods & meadows with amenities such as walking trails and picnic pavilions. Located at 21544 Old Vestal's Gap Road, Sterling, VA 20164 Claude Moore Park is dog friendly (please use a leash!) AND has many geocache sites for additional fun.

Best Walking Spots in Loudoun County Rust Sanctuary Trail MapRust Sanctuary.

The beautiful and serene Rust Sanctuary is home to 68 acres of wooded trails through gorgeous untouched meadows and forests. If you have children, consider signing them up for the Fresh Air Kids Nature Program / Nature Nuts Program! Located at 802 Children's Center Road, Leesburg, VA 20175.

The Bears Den.

Here is your opportunity to hike the famous Appalachian Trail! The Bears Den is a combined 66 acres of mountain wilderness. Bring a picnic for the gazebo, stay overnight at the lodge, or hike in time for the sunset at the Bears Den Rock Overlook. Use Bears Den as a starting point to take a hike north or south. Located at 18393 Blueridge Mountain Road, Bluemont, VA 20135.

Freedom Center.

A visit to the Freedom Center is like a breath of fresh air, literally. Over 100 acres of wooded glory, complete with expansive mountain bike and hiking trails offer opportunities for beautiful nature walks. Located at 13951 Freedom Center Dr, Leesburg, VA 20176.

Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park.

The beautiful and historic Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park will take you back in time as you stroll the over 100 acres of passive parkland with access to the Potomac Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. Located at 44105 Heron Way, Lansdowne, VA 20176.


What is YOUR vote for the best walking spots in Loudoun County?

GLOWstudios : Autism Awareness Month

Sensory Sundays GLOWstudios GLOWstudios Kristen Shehadi Liz Kurila


Meet Kristen Shehadi, the owner and co-creator of GLOWstudios! Along with Liz Kurila, her co-creator, they have imagined a space that promotes Basic Beauty, Balanced Body. Liz handles the "body aspects" as a massage therapist and health coach and Kristen represents the 'beauty side" with knowledge in products, hair, makeup and skin.  Together, they empower their guests to embrace unique traits, while cultivating beauty from the inside out.


GLOW Studios Kristen Shehadi

The beginning of April brings us National Austim Awareness Month and beginning on April 2nd, GLOWstudios is proud to begin offering haircuts to those with sensory needs in a S.A.F.E. (Supporting Autism Friendly Environments) space in their location.

From 10AM to Noon on the first Sunday of every month, GLOWstudios will open our doors and reserve the entire space for families to feel comfortable bringing their children with Autism in for a haircut. No fears of a melt down, no fears of staring, just you and your family surrounded by a whole lot of love and understanding. - Kristen Shedadi

Book your appointment

We wanted to also get an insider's scoop with Kristen and asked her some business questions! Read on for her insights:

GLOW Studios Kristen Shehadi What was the main reason behind opening GLOWstudios?

Our goal was to create a unique intimate space where guests are empowered and supported to feel their best using products with integrity and purpose.  We create a sense of community through events and education to promote individuality and foster a supportive network among like minds.

How has being a business owner impacted you, your daily life, and your future goals?

Owning a business is all encompassing.  It never leaves you.  You work 24/7 to maintain growth and ensure the culture of your business is in line with your values and your mission.  It starts from the top, you have to live it everyday and set the example for others to follow.  We have created a culture of encouraging and positive vibes for our guests to experience every time they walk in our door!  I have three children and they have had to go without mom sometimes, but I also love when they are in the studio, they are a part of what has been created there, and I hope they feel it.  I want them to be a part of it and experience the love and support we have created between our walls.  GLOWstudios is a part of their family now.

In what ways do you involve yourself or give back to your community?

Our first community project is Sensory Sundays.  I have a nine year old on the autism spectrum and know how difficult it is to complete "normal" everyday tasks. Haircuts being one of the hardest and most assaulting to those on the spectrum or with SPD (sensory processing disorder) as a way to give back to these families we are creating a safe environment with love and support for all who wish to participate.  We also will be organizing a meal prepping event in the spring with support from local farms.  It is our mission to support local and create community while helping the busy family.  

GLOWstudios Kristen Shehadi

What would you tell someone if they asked for your top piece of advice around opening your own business?

Opening a business is like having a baby....everyone tells you advice and you think you know what to expect and you think you are prepared...but once the baby is born you realize you had no clue and wonder "why didn't anyone tell me what it was really like" some things in life you have to experience to know...this is one of those things.  All our experiences shape our perceptions. 

What are your favorite go to places in Loudoun County?

Parallel Wine Bar and BLEND Coffee Bar. We have all our business meetings and interviews at these two local places!  Love them both!

ThaGLOWstudios Kristen Shehadi Liz Kurila nk you Kristen for this introduction to GLOWstudios! We are impressed with your community ties, how you give back and your business acumen (AND it looks like you know how to have FUN while running a business!)





Do you know of a local business or organization supporting Autism Awareness Month? Let us know in the comments!

Does your home smell?

Does your home smell? No, really. Does your home stink?

It's a valid question, especially if you're preparing to put your home on the market this Spring. It's a proven scientific fact that we familiarize ourselves with the odors and scent of our home, so much so that we "stop smelling it" and the topic of whether your home does indeed stink becomes a bit awkward.

Whether it's an odor emanating from the kitchen because your family adores stir-fried onions and asparagus, or your four-leggeds have staked an interest in how your home smells, the fact is, homes with pleasant smells sell faster and at a higher price.

Cigarette smoke is one of THE quickest turnoffs for buyers, as is the assumed presence of mold-like substances due to a damp basement. Bathrooms that could stand a deep clean can also be the source of unimpressed buyers. And old musty carpet or carpet that has been targeted by an animal can also give off a bad smell to people walking into your home for the first time.

What are some ways to beat the stink?

Air Fresheners.

Do not use plugin air fresheners. The first thing I think to myself when I see them when touring a home with a buyer, is that they are trying to hide something. Instead opt for an essential oil diffuser. My favorite scents are lavender, eucalyptus, or cinnamon.

Carpet Fresheners and Candles.

Do not use carpet fresheners or burn candles during showings. Not only are the candles possibly dangerous or risky if they are accidentally spilled, but they only mask the odors, not treat them.

Natural Air Fresheners.

Run a dehumidifier in your basement if it smells musty. You can also add a few drops of tea-tree oil and rubbing alcohol to help clear the air.

In the bathroom, consider again using essential oils. Drop a few drops in the INSIDE of the toiler paper roll. The oil will absorb into the cardboard and slowly release the scent into the air. Not that prospective buyers should be using your bathrooms, but when you or other residents in the home pull toilet paper squares from the roll, it will also release a very pleasant smell into the air!

Fruit Tips and Cooking Tricks.

Lemon peels in the garbage disposal, as well as in the trashcan (between the bottom of the trash can and the bag) do well to mask kitchen odors.

Go easy on the garlic and onions during the time your house is on the market. Oh, and avoid fish!

Purge your fridge of all leftovers, produce that may be past its due date and anything that would cause a buyer to wrinkle their noses. It's very likely your pantry, fridge and drawers will be opened during showings.

Bake! Yes, baking right before a showing sends warm visions of holiday meals and family time around the kitchen table to those prospective buyers. You can leave the baked goods out or take them with you when you have to leave your home for showings.

Animals and Kids.

ALWAYS keep fresh cat litter in those boxes and tuck them away before showings. If you have dogs, consider purchasing a Furminator to help keep the shedding at bay, which can lodge in your carpets, causing unneeded additional odors.

If you have teenagers, encourage them to do more regular laundry instead of leaving their wet towels and other clothing items in a heap on their bathroom floor.


It's never too early to begin working on the smell in your house, and soon you can confidently answer "No!" when someone asks "Does your home smell?"

Best Kept Secrets in Loudoun County

Loudoun County is filled with magical little secrets and special places that only locals may know about. Here are a few of what we believe are Loudoun's best kept secrets! Have you been to any of these? What else would you add to this list?

Aldie Mill

Aldie Mill can be found in Aldie, Virginia. Aldie Mill is a 200 year old Grist Mill that was once the largest factory of it's kind. The restored mill is an imposing four-story brick structure with tandem metal waterwheels. Aldie Mill offers tours, both guided and self-guided, as well as events and more. Admission is free. To check hours and directions visit this link.

The Marshall House

As you head into downtown Leesburg you may notice a beautiful yellow colonial home on the right hand side of the street, The Marshall House. You might also notice a statue of John Marshall himself just a few feet away from the street. General George Marshall was considered one of the greatest Modern-Day American Hero. The Marshall House, formerly known as Dodona Manor, was the Marshall's beloved home in Leesburg, Virginia for many years. George Marshall lived there during the period of his greatest achievements. The Marshall House is open for public tours on Saturdays from 10 to 4 and Sundays from 1 to 4. Check their website before deciding to schedule a tour to confirm they are open during the winter.

Secret Garden

It sounds a bit deceptive but it really is a secret place. You may know the famous coffee shop on King Street in Leesburg called Shoes. But did you know there was a secret garden behind the coffee shop? Just left of the entrance into Shoes is a black ironed gate that leads you down a narrow path between two buildings. Once you travel down this path a beautiful and welcoming patio and restaurant await. The Secret Garden offers the same menu as Shoes but in an outdoor wonderland of lights, lush foliage, and even bocce ball! You can hear live music on the patio during the weekend and fresh homemade ice cream is a must! Visit their website to learn more!

Featherbed Lane bridge

There is a historic truss bridge over Catoctin Creek in Loudoun County called the John G. Lewis Bridge. The one-lane bridge was built in 1889 and is a rare example of a wrought iron truss bridge. Many have been fighting and working to preserve this bridge for as long as they can. The bridge needs extensive renovations and is currently being reviewed by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Go see it while it is still a very historic landmark!

Trinity House Cafe

The Trinity House Cafe is a newer addition to Leesburg and Loudoun County but has gracefully become one of our most popular places to meet with friends, co-work, and have brunch or dinner. Trinity House Cafe is an outreach of the John Paul II Fellowship, a Christian non-profit dedicated to renewing community and culture. Trinity House offers a wide selection of sandwiches, salads, coffee, and more. Roam through the many rooms and find that special nook just for you! There is even a small space for kids to play while their parents enjoy a hot beverage. Check out their menu and hours here!

What other secrets and little known locations would you suggest for Loudoun County?

For Sale By Owner tips

For Sale By Owner Tips Are you ready to put your home on the market but want to do that work yourself? We are here to share with you a list of some of the tasks that a Realtor typically handles inside of a transaction. If you choose to go the For Sale by Owner route, I will list out some tips and hints at the end of this article to offer guidance so you can sell your house as quickly as possible. Not for the faint of heart, there are some things you can do as a FSBO / For Sale By Owner to limit your stress during the process, and find better success in your journey to sell your own home.

For Sale By Owner tips and tricks to help you maintain your sanity:

Most likely, you have decided to attempt a For Sale by Owner transaction so that you can save money, but without enlisting the services of a Realtor to represent your interests. By saving that commission, you are instead taking on the tasks needed to be accomplished from before the listing, through to the end of the transaction.

For clients who are heroes, often the savings provided by the Heroes Home Advantage program more than makes up for those hopeful savings, in addition to the expertise  and marketing that comes along with the use of a Realtor.

However, when you look through the list of all of the tasks and responsibilities that a Realtor has on their plate, it almost becomes a no-brainer to hire an expert for the job. Your Realtor not only will represent only your interests but also manages every aspect of the deal, including home inspectors, the lender, title company, the other Realtor on the other side of the deal and on and on.

When working with a Realtor, you have the opportunity to experience concierge service, where you feel you are the only client! However, should you choose to go the route of putting the market on your home by yourself, consider the list of tasks conducted by a Realtor during the transaction (tips and tricks to follow at the end of the article!):

BEFORE the home goes on the market:


  1. Comps [i.e. comparable by property type (townhome, detached, single family, condo, etc.], price range, and location).
  2. Solds -- including all sales activity for the last 3-6 months.
  3. DOM -- days on market, to help you understand how quickly other homes in your area sold.
  4. Public record information for ownership and deed type, as well as the lot size and dimensions. This also includes easily accessible information such as legal description, property’s land use, zoning and deed restrictions.
  5. Research into whether you need a lead-based paint disclosure.
  6. Insight as it relates to repair needs for the exterior of the home, as well as repair needs for the interior of the home.
  7. Sourcing an amazing photographer.
  8. For rural properties, researching all public records for sewer and septic systems, including the last time for pumping and inspection, as well as details on recent well inspections, output and depth reports.
  9. Collating at least 12 months of utility information
  10. Sourcing pest control services and managing the future coverage (i.e. wood destroying insect reports)
  11. Providing potential seller net proceeds with various sales prices, scenarios and terms.
  12. Researching all permit statuses, including whether additions have been made without the appropriate permits.
  13. Determining how to provide access to the home (purchase an electronic lockbox, combination lock, key to be given out, etc)
  14. Professional installation of a yard sign, directional signs for open house events, etc. throughout the neighborhood, as well as "riders" that indicate whether the home is "For Sale", ready for an "Open House" or ... "Under Contract".

RIGHT AFTER the home goes on the market:

  1. Qualify ALL phone calls to ensure each person requesting a showing is a qualified buyer
  2. Maintain records of every showing, to ensure you can follow up for feedback after each showing.
  3. Follow up with represented buyers to determined their status
  4. Repost on Craigslist, Zillow / Postlets and other marketing opportunities with updated information, including price drops, etc.

Listing Activities

  1. Order plat map for retention in property’s listing file.
  2. Maintain current mortgage loan(s) information: companies and loan account numbers; verify current loan information with lender(s) and verify homeowner association fees and pending or unpaid assessments with homeowner association manager.
  3. Prepare detailed list of property amenities
  4. Prepare detailed list of property’s "conveyances”
  5. Compile list of completed repairs and maintenance items.
  6. Explain benefits of homeowner warranty to potential buyers
  7. Assist sellers with completion and submission of homeowner-warranty application.
  8. Provide ample access to home through lockbox, showing instructions, etc.
  9. Organize staging consultation and be present for same
  10. Arrange for interior and exterior photos to be taken for MLS listing, including assisting with staging and preparing home for photographs.
  11. Arrange for creation of a virtual tour if one will be used in marketing the property.
  12. Complete a new-listing checklist.

MLS-related Activities

  1. Prepare "MLS profile sheet" and enter property data from profile sheet into MLS listing database.
  2. Proofread MLS database listing for accuracy, including proper placement in mapping function.
  3. Take additional photos of the property to upload into MLS and for use in flyers.
  4. Provide seller(s) with a copy of the MLS profile sheet data form.
  5. Add property to company’s active listings list.

Marketing and Showing Activities

  1. Create print, Internet, social media and physical ads with seller(s)’ input and approval.
  2. Provide "special feature” cards for marketing, if applicable.
  3. Submit ads to company’s participating Internet real estate sites
  4. Reprint/supply brochures promptly as needed.
  5. Create QR codes.
  6. Prepare mailing and contact list.
  7. Order "just listed” labels and reports.
  8. Prepare flyers.
  9. Prepare property marketing brochure for seller(s)’ review.
  10. Order an appropriate quantity of marketing brochures or flyers.
  11. E-mail marketing material to brokers and agents with marketing material.
  12. Upload listing to specific property website
  13. Mail out "just listed” notice to all neighborhood residents.
  14. Inform Network Referral Program of listing.
  15. Coordinate showings with owners, tenants, and other REALTORS®. Return all calls promptly (weekends included).
  16. Provide showing time comments and feedback to seller(s) and recommend changes according to potential buyer comments.
  17. Review comparable MLS listings and new trends regularly to verify property remains competitive in price, terms, conditions, and availability.
  18. Provide marketing data to buyers coming through international relocation networks.
  19. Provide marketing data to buyers coming from referral network.
  20. Convey price changes promptly to all Internet groups.
  21. Request feedback from buyers’ brokers after showings.
  22. Review weekly market study reports.
  23. Discuss feedback from showing sales associates with seller(s) to determine if changes will accelerate the sale.
  24. Call seller(s) weekly to discuss marketing and pricing.
  25. Promptly enter price changes in MLS listing database.

Offer and Contract Activities

  1. Verify proper licensure of buyer’s broker and salesperson.
  2. Obtain a signed and dated verification that escrow deposit was delivered to escrow agency.
  3. Receive and review all offer to purchase contracts submitted by buyers or buyers’ brokers.
  4. Evaluate offer(s) and prepare a "net sheet” on each offer, for the seller(s) to make comparisons.
  5. Review offers with seller(s) and review merits and weaknesses of each component of each offer.
  6. Contact buyers’ broker to review buyer(s)’ qualifications and discuss offer.
  7. Provide seller(s)’ disclosure to buyer(s)’ broker or buyer upon request (prior to offer if possible).
  8. Confirm buyer(s) is pre-approved by contacting lender.
  9. Obtain a copy of the buyer(s)’ pre-approval letter from lender.
  10. Negotiate all offers and counteroffers on seller(s)’ behalf.
  11. Prepare and convey any counteroffers, acceptance, or amendments to buyer(s)’ broker.
  12. When offer to purchase is accepted and signed by seller(s) ("contract”), deliver contract to selling/buyer(s)’ broker or if none, to buyer(s).
  13. Verify contract is signed by all parties.
  14. Provide copies of the contract and all addenda to closing attorney and the title company.
  15. Record and promptly deposit buyer(s)’ earnest money with escrow agent.
  16. Disseminate "under-contract showing restrictions” as seller(s) requests.
  17. Deliver copies of signed contract to seller(s).
  18. Provide copies of contract to lender.
  19. Inform seller(s) how to handle additional offers to purchase submitted between effective date of contract and closing.
  20. Change status in MLS

Loan-process Activities

  1. Contact buyer(s)’ lender weekly to verify processing is on track.
  2. Follow buyer(s)’ loan processing through to the underwriter.
  3. Relay final approval of buyer(s)’ loan application to seller(s).

Home-inspection Activities

  1. Coordinate buyer(s)’ professional home and termite (WDO) inspections with seller(s).
  2.  If property is vacant, arrange for power and water to be turned on.
  3. Review home inspector’s report and WDO report with seller(s) and discuss issues and options, if needed.
  4. Enter home inspection WDO inspection completion into listing file.
  5. Verify seller(s)’ compliance with home inspection report and WDO report repair requirements.
  6. Recommend or assist seller(s) with identifying trustworthy contractors to perform any required repairs.
  7. Obtain copies of repair bills showing seller(s) has made required repairs.
  8. Coordinate entry into the property and buyer’s review of completed repairs, if needed.

Appraisal Activities

  1. Make arrangements for appraiser to enter property.
  2. Prepare package for appraiser including comps, improvements and upgrades
  3. Follow-up on appraisal.
  4. Enter appraisal completion into listing file.
  5. Discuss appraisal report with seller(s) and suggest options, if necessary.

Closing-preparation Activities

  1. Distribute signed contracts to all involved parties (buyer, seller(s), title company, lender, seller(s)/buyer(s) broker, closing agent) and provide contact information as needed.
  2. Coordinate closing process with buyer(s)’ broker and lender.
  3. Update closing forms and files.
  4. Confirm location, date, and time where closing will be held and notify all parties.
  5. Confirm with closing agent that all title problems have been resolved.
  6. Confirm that the seller has the proper Power of Attorney or trust documents, as required.
  7. Work with buyer(s)’ broker in scheduling and conducting buyer(s)’ final walk-through prior to closing.
  8. Confirm with closing agent that all tax, HOA, utility, and other applicable pro-rations have been resolved.
  9. Request final closing figures from closing agent.
  10. Review closing figures on HUD statement with seller(s) to verify accuracy of preparation.
  11. Forward verified closing figures to buyer(s)’ broker and confirm buyer(s)’ broker has received and reviewed closing figures.
  12. Confirm buyer(s) and Buyer(s)’ broker has received title insurance commitment.
  13. Provide homeowners warranty for availability at closing.
  14. Recommend courtesy closing agent for absentee seller(s), as needed.
  15. Review closing documents with seller(s) and their counsel.
  16. Provide earnest money deposit check from escrow account to closing agent. If closing agent is holding escrow funds make sure it appears on the final HUD.
  17. Coordinate this closing with seller(s)’ next purchase and resolve any timing problems, if applicable.
  18. Confirm seller(s)’ net proceeds check at closing.

After-closing Activities

  1. Provide REALTOR® referral information for seller(s)’ relocation destination, if applicable.
  2. Change MLS status to "sold.” Enter sale date, price, selling broker, and listing broker’s ID numbers, etc.
  3. Close out listing in company files.
  4. Follow up with seller(s).

Note: This very comprehensive list does not include additional actions and services required to be provided by a Realtor during a transaction that involves a foreclosure, short sale, or a property owned by a bank.

NOW ... onto the tips and tricks that I promised!

While the real estate transaction is a LOT to manage and the use of a Realtor can ease stress and in most cases, provide a smooth process, not all agents are amazing! In some cases (dare I say this out loud?), the seller is in BETTER shape to achieve their goals, if they FSBO than if they were to work with an incompetent real estate agent.

Unfortunately, there are agents out there that will try to not show a home that isn't given a full commission. I would encourage anyone planning to do a FSBO to offer full standard compensation to a buyers' agent (in my market, that is between 2.5-3% of the sales price).

Some Realtors offer credits to specific clients (i.e. I participate with Heroes Home Advantage, which gives teachers, military, police, fire, first responders and health care providers 25% of MY commission directly back to them) which can offset the additional expense of hiring a Realtor to represent the Seller.

There are many "flat fee" agents who will provide comps and other information to help the FSBO, which can take away the stress of not having inside access to recently sold properties, etc.

Some of the most common situations to be aware of when selling as a FSBO is during the "due diligence" period. When dealing with inspections and other similar items, the FSBO individual needs to be ready to have many different scenarios brought to them by the buyers, including requested repairs, the remediation of certain problems, and perhaps even dealing with the request for monetary credits to offset things the buyers see as a problem.

FBSO individuals should also always ask for a pre-approval letter from a prospective buyer (BEFORE showing the home!) and double check by calling that lender to ensure the buyer has indeed gone through the pre-approval process!

If you are using a limited service company to place your home on the MLS / MRIS, be sure to inquire about the photos they plan to use to list your home. Often they provide less than stellar images, and most potential buyers will skim RIGHT by your home!

If you would like more FSBO tips and tricks on listing your home as a For Sale By Owner, please feel free to reach out to me! You can call or text at 571-482-7356 or email to

If you are soon to sell your own home as a FSBO, I wish you the best of luck and may the market be ... ever in your favor!

SOLD 8 Things the Relocation Companies Won’t Tell You

SOLD 8 Things the Relocation Companies Won’t Tell You

I have worked personally with relocation companies for the majority of our moves. Some were overseas relocations and some were domestic in the United States. After several less than acceptable experiences, I decided to obtain my real estate license and after learning all of the tricks of the trade, want to share with YOU, the eight top things your relocation company won’t tell you before you set out on one of the biggest journeys of your life.

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8 things the relocation companies won't tell you

If you are in the market for being relocated in the future due to a job change, you or your partner/spouse may be assigned a one of many relocation companies to handle your move. It all sounds good from the initial discussion, your company advises they will connect you with your relocation counselor and they will handle all aspects of your upcoming move. Great!

The thing is, those relocation companies may be missing the boat.

I have worked personally with relocation companies for the majority of our moves. Some were overseas relocations and some were domestic in the United States. After several less than acceptable experiences, I decided to obtain my real estate license and after learning all of the tricks of the trade, want to share with YOU, the eight top things your relocation company won't tell you before you set out on one of the biggest journeys of your life.

1. You CAN choose your own real estate agent.

When you make first contact with your relocation company or specifically, the counselor assigned to handle your move, they will most likely automatically assign a real estate agent to you - one based on your current location and one based on your new location - and one that is under contract with them to hand over a portion of their commission8th. Even if you are renting in either location, they will let you know that an agent will be in touch with you to begin discussing your upcoming move.

While this may seem like a benefit (in that you don't have to do that work yourself), it often means you are being handed an agent from their database or network, without any real regard having been paid to the needs of your family, the personality of the agent and whether they are the right fit for the job.

You can choose your own real estate agent and often times, while the company policies may state the agent cannot be a family member, if you offer 2-3 potential agent names to your relocation company, odds are they will allow you to choose your own agent. In the long run, wouldn't you want to know that the agent YOU choose is working for you and your family?

2. You may need (and may possibly be approved for) more than one look-see visit.

If your relocation package includes a look-see trip, you will have some benefits as it relates to transportation and accommodations while you search for your new home. Depending on your family situation, it may take more than one trip and you should not hesitate to discuss any such need with your relocation counselor / HR Department if this situation applies.

3. You will have multiple points of contact within the company, not JUST your assigned counselor.

It may sound fantastic to get the call from your relocation counselor as he or she explains that they will be your main point of contact. Just what you've dreamed about, ONE person to communicate with as you navigate your relocation. The reality - sometimes - is that you will have many more people to talk with. Consider your two real estate agents (one where you are currently and one where you're moving), you'll also have someone to handle the pets in your home, if that applies. If you are moving vehicles, you can add on another person. It's quite possible you will also need to communicate separately with the person in charge of your actual freight shipment and if you can believe it, someone to coordinate your own transportation - whether by car, train or plane. Even though you may feel uncomfortable, it is always a good idea to keep your HR rep in the loop, especially if things start to slip sideways.

4. You will need to ask if your counselor is in the same time zone as you.

This may sound odd to you, but when your relocation counselor is first assigned to you, make sure they are located in the same time zone as you -- more specifically -- in the same time zone as where you are GOING. There is nothing worse than having shipments arrive, or problems arise with your real estate agent, or any host of issues and then you discover your relocation counselor isn't at the office yet, or has already left for the day. This is most common when dealing with international moves, but can also wreak havoc during a domestic move as well. Find out when their normal office hours are and request an after hours number, right off the bat.

5. You will need to be clear about communication preferences.

This also sounds like a no brainer, but if you don't tend to check email often, let your relocation counselor know that you prefer texts. Or, if you don't like texting, let them know that you communicate best via phone and advise which number you can best be reached at. It also is beneficial when you can be crystal clear about your expectations as they relate to return phone calls and emails. If you operate best when you receive a "received and noted" type of response after you reach out to someone, let your relocation counselor be aware of that. It can be frustrating to send an email, with what feels like an urgent issue, only to hear crickets in the days following.

Finally, on this topic, ask if your relocation counselor is going to be on vacation or otherwise out of the office during your relocation process and if so, request ahead of time, the names and phone numbers of their supervisor, as well as of the person who will be handling their case load during their absence.

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6. You need to know about buy outs.

Relocation companies that buy houses call this a buy out, which means if your home does not sell in a specified period of time, your company will "buy out" your mortgage. ON the surface of things, this sounds like a policy that alleviates the pressure to sell. I have seen too many people rest on their laurels and not fight for top dollar when selling their home, because of this policy. In reality, the buy out policy is only meant to leave you NOT harmed (meaning, the buy out price is not necessarily representative of what your home will appraise at or otherwise sell for). However, if your home is being placed on the market during a time not conducive to a traditional sale, this policy does have its merits.

7. You need to remember that this relocation IS about the family, not just the employee.

If the non-employee adult is going to be taking the lead on the relocation, make sure that your HR Department AND the relocation counselor are very aware of this. If it applies to you, request that the employee only be contacted in cases where the non-employee is not able to be reached. Relocation companies do not work for you and your family, they work for the employer's company. At the end of the day, you need to take control of the situation and ensure that the relocation happens smoothly, while utilizing the resources that have been provided for you.

The relocation companies who have been around for awhile (I call them the monsters) have many years of experience working for companies who relocate their employees.

If you ask me, the old school relocation companies have forgotten what it means to truly service the global mobile family.

The newer up and coming companies who are just entering the space of relocation haven't been in existence long enough to fully know what it takes to relocate a family and are still very employee-centric.

8. You may not be insured on items that you pack yourself.

If you have a relocation package that includes a moving company packing your household goods, it is possible that your policy / package does NOT allow for insurance coverage on any items that you pack yourself. What this means practically is this: most often the listing agent hired to sell your house will have a professional stager come through your home to give advice and tips on how to purge, rearrange and otherwise set up your house to look its best during showings. She may even say something like "You're going to have to pack anyway, you might as well get a head start" or something along those lines.

The reality inside of a relocation is that often you AREN'T the one that is going to pack, and anything you place in tubs or boxes will have a "PBO" sticker placed across the top by the packing crew, which means if any contents are damaged in transit, those items will not fall under the reimbursable claim policy.

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Relocating can be extremely stressful, but it doesn't have to be. If you are in need of some guidance in this realm, fill out the contact form below and let us assist YOU in making your next relocation the best yet! We have amazing resources to share with you, including a helpful checklist to use during your first contact with your HR Department and/or relocation counselor, step-by-step tips and hacks to avoid the "PBO" sticker situation mentioned above, advice on how to get the most out of your look-see visit, and more.

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