8 items to leave for the buyer of your home

8 items to leave for the buyer of your home

We 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?

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Best Realtors in Loudoun County, Virginia

We get it! We really do! There are literally thousands of licensed real estate agents in Loudoun County, Virginia, so how on earth can YOU decide who truly are the best Realtors in Loudoun for you and your individual situation??

Listed alphabetically by team name / brokerage, then by first names, here is our take on the BEST Realtors in Loudoun County, Virginia! Click their photo to visit each Realtor's website! *

------> Please note, there are obviously more Realtors in Loudoun County that are amazing, this short list simply curates those we have either worked with during this past year, individuals whose online presence we admire, or Realtors whose values and ethics match those of our team!


Naomi Hattaway

Our favorite clients? Every single one of them! We love the challenge of multi-generational families ... enjoy educating first time homebuyers, and appreciate those ready to make the move from "city living" to being country mice!

Western Loudoun is our sweet spot and boy do we know it inside and out, as well as all that comes with that -- often times, no HOA, space to spread out and room to run! What better location to encompass farm stores, wineries, small businesses owned by locals, country schools and true community!

We also LOVE our heroes! We give back and say thank you with our commission by crediting teachers, military, fire, police, first responders and health care professionals with 25% of our commission -- which comes in handy on closing day!

Naomi Hattaway, 8th & Home / eVenture |  Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Kelly Stock Bacon

I was born and raised in Sterling, VA.  I’m so blessed with Loudoun County roots!   The County thrives because of its diversity, award winning schools, incredible park systems, steady economic growth, and more!  I’m starting my 18th year in Real Estate.  It is an exciting career path filled with passion and purpose!  I have the great pleasure of serving the needs of first time homebuyers, move up homebuyers, down sizers, and relocation clients.   I enjoy navigating the process with all!

Kelly Stock Bacon, ERA Teachers | Facebook

Cathy Stanton

I have resided in Loudoun County for over 30 years.  Our family loves our small town community, neighborhoods, schools and local businesses.  I enjoy working with all clients, but have a special place for the first time homebuyer.  Providing them with the education needed, allows them to buy with confidence. This brings such a sense of gratitude and enthusiasm!

Cathy Stanton, eVenture | Facebook | LinkedIn 


Kineo Simeon

I love real estate because it allows me to provide expertise while easing my clients' stress during what is often the most important investment of a lifetime. I love the stability and wealth building home ownership creates!

Kieno Simeon, Keller Williams

Suzi Serene

With 22 years in the business, what I love about working in real estate is the realization that I have the honor to have a positive impact on the lives of others. First time homebuyers are my absolute favorite as I love to have the opportunity to teach and guide them in buying their future wealth with real estate. I consider myself a relational Realtor, nurturing the relationship through the years to meet my clients' ongoing needs.

Suzi Serene, Keller Williams | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Martha Holland Mason

I've lived in Loudoun County for almost 17 years and love the diversity of people, landscapes, and towns. Working in Real Estate I've met people from all walks of life and people who have lived or are from all over the world. Can't imagine a better job.

Martha Mason, Long & Foster | Facebook

Platinum Group

Part of what makes the Platinum Group Real Estate team so unique is that our team is comprised of all moms! We understand first hand what it means to work hard to fulfill the needs of your family, and we do that not only for our families, but for yours too! Longtime lovers of Loudoun County, not only is one of the team owners is a lifelong resident, but all of our team averages more than 10 years as a Loudoun resident. We live here too, and we love it!

Platinum Group, Pearson Smith | Facebook


Mai Tang

I absolutely love working with first time home buyers. There is something so special about seeing their dreams come true! And Loudoun County, it's our very own wine country!  What's not to love about living and selling here?

Mai Tang, Platinum Group, Pearson Smith | Facebook | LinkedIn


Kamber Petty

As a realtor in Northern Virginia, I love the fact that I can work with many diverse individuals. When interacting with clients I get to travel from the city to the suburbs to rural farms and everywhere in between. All of this allows me to provide a vast amount of options for all my clients.

Kamber Petty, True North Realty | Instagram | Twitter


Barry Taylor

Being a Realtor in Loudoun County exposes you to wide diversity of cultural experiences. My military background, where travel was a key aspect of that career, allows me to interact with confidence and understanding of many of the sensitivities we need to respect when working with clients from different parts of the world.


Barry Taylor, Weichert  | Facebook | TwitterLinkedIn


Meredith Hannan

I have had the great pleasure of working all over Northern VA but I am proud to be a homeowner in Loudoun County.  I was personally drawn to the neighborhoods with a variety of home styles, the amazing schools for my kids, and the ability to be close to numerous amenities or head west and enjoy the open spaces and great wineries!

Meredith Hannan, Weichert | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn

Real estate is exciting because it is constantly changing, no two days are alike!  Most people do not trust the sale or purchase of their largest asset to just anyone. To be a trusted advisor, constant training, experience, great communication skills, problem solving skills, creativity and hard work are necessary. I have been a Northern VA resident for 30+ years, the last 19+ years in Loudoun and am in my 15th year of real estate. Whether first-time buyers, sellers, moving up, changing family status, relocating, downsizing or thriving in place, I enjoy them all!

Tanya Gonda, Weichert | Facebook

You might wonder why we are showcasing other Realtors in the same space where we ourselves work? We believe there is enough business for everyone. We do not believe in the spirit of scarcity or competition, and also firmly believe that each client deserves the very best fit for their real estate journey. We always suggest that you interview several Realtors before settling on the one you'll ultimately go with. You can learn more about our suggested steps by reading How to Find a Great Real Estate Agent or by following these 8 Steps for Choosing a Great Realtor.

If you'd like to speak with us about your real estate needs, feel free to get in touch using the contact form below or give us a call at 571-482-7356!

* Realtors are licensed by State, not segmented by county, however, the Realtors on this round up practice primarily in Loudoun County.

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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!

SO ... how do you find an GREAT real estate agent? How To Find a Great Real Estate Agent

First, let's talk about what to look for when searching for a great real estate agent:

A great Realtor helps you be realistic about pricing.

First and foremost, your Realtor absolutely needs to be truthful about the current market when discussing the pricing of your home.

There are quite a few real estate agents who will accept a listing ... no matter how far off the mark the seller wants to be with the price. This is NOT good practice. Not only does it affect that real estate agent's "production numbers" when they end up with listings that sit on the market for too long, it also greatly impacts your end goal - selling your home.

When a home is not priced correctly at the beginning, it will most likely absorb extra days "on the market" and you will run the risk of potential buyers wondering what's wrong with the house after too many days on. Be smart and savvy and choose a Realtor who is being forthright with the realistic and true market price and list at the very beginning with an appropriate sales price.

A great Realtor will truly understand and LISTEN to the timing of your family's situation.

Regardless of where you are moving your family, it's going to be stressful. New jobs, schools, friends, perhaps even new climates will need to be adjusted to. When you choose a great real estate agent who has experience (even better if it's their OWN personal experience) of relocating, the sharp edges of this process start to fade away.

It is very important that your Realtor not only have compassion, but also empathy. Look for a Realtor who has a great understanding of the timelines your family will need to meet and the stressors you are likely to encounter.

A great Realtor assists in every way possible to eliminate challenges.

This is also a BIG one! Listen when your Realtor speaks. Are they not only knowledgeable about the market, about the process of selling/buying real estate, but also "on point" when it comes to your local area? Do they have a good rapport with other Realtors in the area? How tough of a negotiator are they? Do relationships matter to them and do they operate with ethics and values that match yours? Do they look ahead of the transaction and help minimize challenges based on their innate knowledge of the situation?

A great Realtor has resources and assets in place to help with the literal moving parts of your relocation.

The timing of your real estate experience is extremely important. More often than not, the sale of your home or the purchase of your next home is not the only transaction happening simultaneously. If you are selling your home, it's possible the buyer for your home has to sell their current home. If you are buying your next home, chances are, the seller has to now find another home ... the domino effect of this situation can be difficult unless your Realtor is right there by your side to make sure all of the moving parts work together in tandem.

A great Realtor can guide you along the process, including top tips for preparing your home and showing to potential buyers so you can SELL your house!!!

Even if the current housing market isn't leaning in your favor at the moment, you should absolutely *lean* on your Realtor to drive the sale of your home. Ask yourself what your Realtor is doing to get the job done. What is your Realtor doing to inject calm and anxiety-free moments during the process for your family? Is your Realtor savvy with all aspects of the transaction, including how to correctly stage your home? Do they know how to offer suggestions about purging and packing away personal items?

Finding a great real estate agent is easier than you might think!

This article on finding a great Realtor talks about eight main things to keep in mind when interviewing for a real estate agent.  It is important to choose several real estate agents and then interview them. This is a big financial decision you are making and finding someone with the right expertise who also is the right fit for your situation is very important.

The 8th & Home Team has established an amazing network of fabulous real estate agents, almost literally the world over. No matter where you are moving to or moving from, we have a recommendation for you! The Realtors in our network have been personally vetted by us, and interviewed to learn about not only their expertise, but their values and ethics, as well as their marketing prowess and their ability to find the right homes for buyers.

If we can be of assistance to you as you look for a great real estate agent, fill out the form below and we'll be in touch!

[contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Where are you moving from / to ?' type='text'/][contact-field label='What things are most important to you when looking for a Realtor to serve your family?' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

Timeline for selling a house

No matter what time of year you are planning to put your home on the market, it is important to understand the timeline that should be applied to the process. Many times, you may not be in a position to utilize the entire timeline as we are going to share with you, but in a perfect world, the following is an ideal plan for your timeline for selling a house.

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Business Spotlight: Comfenergy

  Comfenergy Logo

This week's business spotlight is on Comfenergy, a business co-owned by Justin Dobson. Justin recently won "Entrepreneur of the Year" from the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce and we wanted to provide more information about Comfenergy to you!

What led you to create Comfenergy?

I started Comfenergy 4 years ago because there was a missing need in the HVAC/Comfort industry.  What people don't realize is there is more to home comfort than HVAC alone.  I owned a family HVAC business (still in operation today) and we kept having homeowners complain about comfort issues that could not be solved with HVAC.  The issues also involved duct work and/or insulation and air leakage issues.  Take a look at the "Comfort Triangle" image to show what I mean.

Comfort Triangle Comfenergy

What do you wish most homeowners knew about their home's efficiency (or lack thereof).

That HVAC makes hot air or cold air. That's it!!!  Nothing more, and nothing less.  So, if they have no AC or heat they need to call an HVAC company to make it work again.  BUT, if the AC or heating is working and they have any other comfort or energy complaint under the sun, they need to call a home performance contractor like Comfenergy to diagnose the problem and provide the solution.  I also wish homeowners wouldn't "self diagnose" the solution.  You wouldn't tell a doctor how to fix your painful elbow.  You would tell the doctor that your elbow hurts, and they would perform tests to determine how to fix that painful elbow.

Comfenergy Leaky Home Diagram

What is your 30 second elevator pitch to best explain Comfenergy's services to someone who has never heard about it previously?

Comfenergy is the leading home performance contractor in Northern VA. We concentrate on solving problems in your home like hot/cold spots, drafty areas, high/low humidity, cold floors, and hundreds of other issues. If your HVAC equipment is working and you have other complaints, call Comfenergy for a free in home diagnostic evaluation to determine why the issue exists, and what to do to fix it.

Why are you proud of being a Loudoun County business owner (and Chamber Member!)?

There are not many places in this country that have an economy like Loudoun County.  We shop local and support each other.  I have made a tremendous number of working relationships with other local business owners and we are all very willing to help each other out in any way.  It's a very unique place to live and work!

What are some of your favorite fellow Chamber Member's businesses in Loudoun County that you love to support?

I have tons of fellow Loudoun County businesses that we support.  From restaurants, home service businesses, non-profits, retail, farmers markets, and wineries to give a few examples.  There is really no need to leave Loudoun County to support a business....we have it all right here in our back yard!

Justin Dobson ComfenergyIf you had a Saturday morning with no obligations, how would you spend it in Loudoun County?

I would most likely sleep in a little.  Then, get up and work in the yard mowing, cutting wood, clearing fallen trees and branches.  Maybe in the afternoon go to a restaurant or winery and relax.


For more information on Comfenergy or to schedule your free no-obligation assessment of your home's energy audit, visit their website or call 1-844-478-4534.

Neighborhood Spotlight: Potomac Crossing

Neighborhood Spotlight Potomac Crossing Potomac Crossing is a combination of 914 single family homes and townhomes located on Battlefield Parkway in Leesburg Virginia. Amenities include 2.5 miles of paved foot paths, four tot lots, a pool, and a basketball court. A new playground at the intersection of Bluff Court and Garrison Court was completed during the Summer of 2015 and is accessible from the walking paths throughout the neighborhood.

Community Events are prevalent in Potomac Crossing including outdoor summer movie series, a community yard sale, an annual Turkey Trot and more!


Potomac Crossing is home to Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park and covers some of the land on which a Civil War battle was fought between the Union and Confederate armies.

Ball's Bluff Elementary School services students in grades K-5. Students in grades six through eight attend Smart's Mill Middle School, located two miles away in the Exeter subdivision. and High School students attend Tuscarora High School.

Interested in making Potomac Crossing your new neighborhood?



8 tips to declutter your space

Whether you are going to be selling your home soon or want to take some time to purge your belongings, take some tips and tricks from the professionals on the topic of how to declutter your space. declutter your space

1. Go the old school route and gather three black bags (black is important!). One will become a donation bag, one will become a trash bag and the third will be a keepsakes bag. Be ruthless as you choose one room to start in and separate every single item into either one of the three bags OR determine where that item's home will be. Promptly take the trash bag out to your curb/trashcan and place the donation bag into your vehicle to drop the next time you run errands. The keepsake bag can simply go into a closet for ease of access!

2. Starting with what you KNOW you don't want, remove the 'easy stuff'...old paper wrappers, empty hangers, expired foods. Lisa Rigoni from The Organizing Mentors says to then move onto the items you know you don't want to take with you...if you are moving or even not. Donate the 'stuff' that is taking up space; mentally and physically. You and your environment will feel more open and free. Make sure to find a local charity you trust and believe in. Having a place to donate will help you make decisions quicker and easier. Donating items that are gently used and most likely in fine working condition to a non-profit can change someone's world...starting with you.

3. Offer your family incentives for the clean out of their belongings. Offer a favorite home cooked meal in exchange for a reduction in the stuffed animal collection or go on a fun little excursion once a box is fill with never-watched dvds!

4. Focusing on the kitchen, Dinna Eckstein of Audrey Kate Design and Staging says to be ruthless on your coffee mugs. Are they truly collector items or can you reduce the mugs down to simply the ones you use on a daily basis? Moving to that junk drawer, Dinna says "if you have keys, remotes, plugs, pieces of papers, pens and pencils, business cards, etc...and you have no idea what they are for...PURGE!"

5. Create an "on its way out box" like Amy Lynn Andrews. This is a simple, no hassle way to collect the items in your home that your family no longer needs or is using on a regular basis.

6. The garage can be the biggest source of junk collection! How many cans of paint currently take up residence in yours? How about bikes that no longer fit your children or sports equipment no one is playing any longer? Dinna says "rethink their current importance to you".

7. Speaking of garages ... utilize your vertical space! "Keep out of season and hazardous (to children) items up high to keep the floor clear for cars or playing", says Nicole Athas of Practically Organized.

Nicole Athas Practically Organized Garage

8. Janet from JLynn Maximizers has this to say about purging: "The word purge is thrown around a lot when it comes to organizing & decluttering – I think it often frightens people.  They have every card their children or spouse or sister ever gave them; asking them to toss that is asking them to toss a piece of their heart!  Maybe they have the stub from every concert they’ve been to since they were 13.  Or all the artwork their children ever made in school.  Instead of purging these items, let’s keep them……differently.  Make a collage – take those cards and cut out portions of sentiments or special handwritten notes or pictures and arrange them as artwork. Now it can be hung and enjoyed instead of stuffed in a box in the basement. Turning treasures into artwork can be done in a variety of fun & inventive ways."

Thank you to our organizing experts who weighed in on this topic today! Please check them out and if you are in the need for their services, tell them that 8th & Home sent you!

How about you? Which room in your home currently needs to be purged?

Should I stage my house for sale

"Staging" is the new buzzword in the real estate industry. Real estate agents can now obtain the ASP designation (Accredited Staging Professional) and you would be surprised how many professional stagers are out there, whether working for large companies or for themselves as entrepreneurs. Watch any HGTV show about homes and the buy/sell process, you'll hear the word staging. But what exactly is it? I can hear you now, asking the question "Should I stage my house for sale?"

Staging my house to sell

Selling your home quickly is a recipe that includes ingredients like location, the market and pricing. Another very important ingredient is staging and the condition of your home! If selling your home is a beauty contest, then staging it is like putting on the dress to help your home really shine and sparkle.

Staged homes spend 83% less time on the market than homes that are unstaged. ~National Association of Realtors

How many home listings have you personally clicked past simply because of the first impression you had when viewing the photos? How many times have you been turned off during the showing of a home because it was too cluttered or you couldn't imagine yourself living in the home?

When it is time for your home to be at the focus of the search, it is important that the rooms inside create a mood, a visualization of home for the buyers looking.


The average investment to stage a home is between 1-3% of the asking price, and staging generates an 8-10% return on investment. ~National Association of Realtors

Stagers will come to your home shortly after the initial listing appointment. After previewing your home, they will make suggestions such as rearranging furniture, removing personal photos, providing alternate lighting and more. Some staging companies will offer additional services and will come in to personally perform the staging transformation (imagine it, you could be out for a coffee or shopping while this takes places!), and other times the seller chooses to make the changes themselves.

Stage my home

By utilizing a professional and chosen stager (and taking advantage of their suggestions), a buyer will be truly impressed by your home when they enter, and your home can be one of the quick sell properties in the 83% range!!

When you sell your home with 8th & Home, we will provide a complimentary consultation with one of our amazing team of stagers and will guide you in all aspects of the process to ensure buyers have that same "WOW!" opinion of your home.