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Reston Real Estate: Remember “Cost of Ownership” When Buying a Home

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

Originally published November 30, 2013

Question: “I’m a first time buyer. I’ve been looking (online) at townhouses and condos in the Reston area.

It seems like I can buy more if I get a townhouse because there won’t be any condo fees. My father says that the condo fees pay for things that I’ll have to pay for eventually.

What do you think?”

Answer: I think your Father is a pretty smart guy. Let’s look at the question from a different perspective. For most things we own there is something called the “cost of ownership” which means simply it costs money to maintain things.

Cars need maintenance. Pets need to go to the vet. Some clothes can only be dry cleaned.

It is the same with property. It requires maintenance and repair and to maintain its value.

Hopefully part of your plan to purchase a property includes understanding what it will cost to keep it in good repair.

When you purchase a condo some parts of the property maintenance are the responsibility of the condominium association. Your condo fees include a contribution to both the day-to-day operations and something called the reserve and replacement fund.

The reserve and replacement fund is where the money for things like a new roof, replacement flooring in commonly shared hallways, maintenance of parking lots, garages and all the other things that the condo owners share in common.

What that includes will vary from condo to condo but it typically includes the entire exterior except for windows and doors.

When considering the purchase of a condo it is important to look at the condo’s financials and audit report to confirm that the reserve fund is large enough to cover anticipated repairs; an under funded reserve account is a future special assessment.

A special assessment occurs when something breaks and there’s not enough money for the repair — the condo association then has to collect extra money from the members to make the repair.

So, the short answer to your question is that your dad is right. If you buy a townhouse you’ll have to take charge of saving to replace your roof, your water heater, your furnace, etc. In a condo some of that will be saved for you through the payment of your condo fee, but you’ll want to make sure that the condo association is well run and in good financial shape.

Follow this link to a more detailed blog post about understanding condo fees.

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Overnight Closure of Eastbound Dulles Access Highway Planned This Weekend

The eastbound Dulles Access Highway (DIAAH) will be closed between Centreville Road and Fairfax County Parkway from Friday (August 3) at 10 p.m. through Monday (August 6) at 5 a.m.

Traffic from the eastbound lanes will be diverted to the left lane of the eastbound Dulles Toll Road and will then be returned to the DIAAH once past the construction area. The closure is necessary to allow Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project crews to complete storm drain work in the area.

DIAAH drivers will not have to pass through any toll both on the toll road during the detours. Eastbound toll road traffic will be restricted to two lanes. All drivers are strongly encouraged to exercise caution and pay attention to all signs and barricades.

Map via Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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Crime Roundup: Reston Man Arrested Twice in One Day

On July 28, a Reston resident was arrested in connection with a burglary on the 1400 block of Beaumeadow Court in Centreville. Chase Koon, 21, was arrested after police saw him attempt to enter the home through the front door.

Police responded to the scene when a resident called saying that someone was outside the home and was going to hurt their son. The suspect tried to get into the house by breaking windows and forcing the door open, according to Fairfax County Police Department. The homeowner was hit by the door when the man pushed it open, but was not injured.

Koon was arrested and charged with assault and battery, burglary with intent to assault, destruction of property, possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct.

Immediately after being released, police said Koon called police from a business on the 14000 block of Penrose Plaza and said he was going to harm employees there. Koon was arrested again and charged with disorderly conduct. He was then held without bond.

In other news, cash and items were taken during two separate incidents this week. A masked man came into the Sunoco on the 13000 block of Coppermine and demanded cash while holding a knife on July 24 at around 1:30 a.m. An undisclosed amount of money was taken.

Police described the suspect as a white man, between 25 and 30 years old and roughly six feet tall.

In a separate incident that happened sometime between July 20 and 23, someone entered a home on the 2500 block of Logan Wood Drive when the residents were out of town and took multiple electronic devices.

FCPD also reported the following incidents in recent days:

LARCENIES:

1800 block of Bowman Towne Court, property from residence

10700 block of Leesburg Pike, cigarettes from business

11200 block of Leesburg Pike, merchandise from business

2100 block of Mager Drive, checks from residence

11600 block of Plaza America Drive, cash from business

11100 block of South Lakes Drive, cigarettes from business

11100 block of South Lakes Drive, property from residence

11600 block of Stoneview Square, documents from residence

1900 block of Reston Metro Plaza, bicycle from location

STOLEN VEHICLES:

None reported

Photo via FCPD

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Longterm Planning in Reston Comes Under Focus in Last PRC Workgroup Meeting

At the last workgroup meeting on a controversial zoning amendment, county officials stressed that population density increases proposed in Reston’s comprehensive plan are broad targets that will be gradually implemented over the next 30 years.

The meeting, held Tuesday night, was the last in a series of discussions on the county’s proposal to increase Reston’s population density from 13 to 16 people per acre in the community’s Planned Residential Community district.

Representatives from the Coalition for a Planned Reston and Reston Association said that while they were not opposed to development, the cumulative impact of increased development without the infrastructure to manage it was a major concern.

Tammi Petrine, co-chair of Reston 2020, said increasing the density cap only invites more developers to push harder for development — a trend that she said is already clearly evident in the streak of major mixed-use projects approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Fred Selden, director of the Fairfax County’s Department of Planning and Zoning, said the community has multiple opportunities between when a development plan is proposed and passed to voice their concerns, suggest alternatives and raise critical issues.

“The community, quite frankly, has to give its judgment,” Selden said.

But others felt that concerns raised by community members have little sway in the overall planning process.

Selden said his office would be open to discussing possible changes to Reston’s comprehensive plan if pressing needs arose. In Tysons, the plan was updated seven years after its passage when the planned grid of streets did not align with what was actually being built.

But Selden also noted that major changes to planned land use intensities are rarely incorporated within five years of a plan’s passage. Late last year, CPR and RA suggested altering Reston’s master plan to make specific changes. He repeatedly stressed that Reston’s plan envisions possible future growth, which may or may not be realized given economic and market constraints.

Redevelopment of Reston’s village centers was also a hot topic during Tuesday’s discussion. Selden stressed that the plan already leaves the door open for high-density redevelopment potential — an element of the plan that was supported by some residents during earlier planning discussions.

“We could have said that there’s no redevelopment potential in the village centers,” Selden said. “But that’s not what we heard from the community.”

Others like John Mooney, a member on RA’s Board of Directors,  said planning processes focus on the impacts of development in Transit Station Areas without considering the impact on development in all of Reston.

He said traffic studies have not considered the impact of traffic in Transit Station Areas on the rest of Reston.

“I see no evidence, although I’m awaiting further information,” Mooney said.

Photo via YouTube

(This story was updated on Wednesday at 6:27 a.m. to clarify a quote by John Mooney.)

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Creative Response by Marine Biologist Response Set for Thursday

Heather Spence, a DC-based marine biologist, cellist and gamist will lead this month’s creative response at the Greater Reston Arts Center on Thursday (August 2) at 7 p.m.

Spence performs internationally as a soloist and with Arabic, Sephardic and world music ensembles. Locally, she has performed at George Washington University and has a Ph.D. in bio-acoustics from the City University of New York. She has also designed and taught courses on animal behavior, personality and motivation, and perception.

The Greater Reston Arts Center invites a creative professional to respond to work on view in the gallery one Thursday of each month. Spence will give a short presentation and lead an open conversation. The event, sponsored by Reston Community Center, is free and open to the public.

Video via YouTube

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Lighting the torch, blazing the way — Local police officers came out in full force on Saturday for the first law enforcement torch in Reston Town Center. Proceeds from the event will go toward Special Olympics Virginia. [The Connection]

Nearby: School resource policy approved — The county’s school board approved a new memorandum of understanding between county schools and local police for the School Resource Officer Program. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Family dive-in movie tonight — Enjoy a classic film from the 70s and 80s or a modern title with a movie night at the Gold Course Island Recreation Area (11301 Links Drive). But keep an eye out for updates. The event will be canceled in the event of rain. [Reston Association]

Photo by Adil Shamsher

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Reston Student Organizes Lemonade Stand to Support Separated Immigrant Families

It’s no surprise lemonade stands manned by elementary or middle school students pop in the area in the summer. But one lemonade stand in Reston this weekend, operated by Emaan Rawn, 7, was a little different.

The second-grade student at Al-Fatih Academy in Reston raised $505 to help separated immigrant families. The stand is part of a national effort dubbed “Kids Take a Stand,” run through the activist group Lawyer Moms of America. Funds will be used to help reunify families separated at the border following the Trump administration’s since-reversed family separation policy. Although roughly 1,400 children have been reunited with their families, others remain in government custody. 

Rawn was inspired to put up a stand when she saw her mother reading a news story about families separated at the border. Wondering how she would respond and if she would be able to take care of her brother in a similar situation, Rawn explored the idea of sending children toys or video games to the children.

When her mother Mahwish Hamlani heard of the lemonade stand initiative, Rawn was excited about the idea. She set up a stand at the intersection of Autumn Crest Drive and West Ox Road on Saturday from 9-11 a.m.

Hamlani said the experience was humbling for her daughter, who is a third-generation immigrant. 

Her grandparents left their home countries amid political turmoil in pursuit of safety and stability. Her parents availed educational and career opportunities to give Emaan and her brother the financial security that they enjoy. Everyone deserves a chance at the American Dream – regardless of their religion or place of birth.”

Funds from lemonade stand sales will go to Project Corazon. Thus far, the initiative has raised more than $20,000.

Photos by Mahwish Hamlani

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Talk on Reston’s Environmental Quality Set for September 5

Aerial of Reston (Photo via Reston Historic Trust & Museum)

The Reston Historic Trust & Museum is hosting a talk on the environmental quality of Reston on September 5 at the Reston Community Center Lake Anne’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery.

Doug Britt, a Virginia Master Naturalist and project director for the first Reston Annual State of the Environment Report (RASER), will summarize the findings of the RASER and discuss new topics planned for this year’s report, which is currently in progress.  Britt will also provide an update on progress made since the first report was published in July last year.

The RASER included 60 recommendations on how to improve and protect Reston’s environmental quality. It is intended to summarize existing environment data, establish a baseline against which future changes can be measured and provide information that can policy and program decisions. The report covers topics like wildlife, light pollution, environmental education, water resources and air quality.

The second report will likely be submitted to Reston Association’s Board of Directions in the fall. Its scope was expanded to include more environmental attributes in Reston.

The event, which begins at 7 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Photo via Reston Historic Trust & Museum

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Fairfax County Board to Consider Three Major Development Proposals

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will vote on three major mixed-use and office projects in Reston tomorrow (July 31).

The development proposals include data centers at Sunrise Technology Park, additions to RTC West, and Boston Properties’ Reston Gateway project.

CoreSite hopes to bring data centers to a 21-acre office park on the south side of Sunrise Valley Drive. The plan was unanimously approved by the Fairfax County Planning Commission in late June.

The second proposal is by Brookfield Property Partners for its major Reston Crescent Development. The project will also be the future home of Wegmans and an athletic field may be conveyed to the county as part of the proposal. 

Last but not least is Boston Properties’ Reston Gateway project, which aims to bring 2.2 million square feet of office space, a 570-room hotel and nearly 2,010 residential units to the door of Metro and to the border of Reston Town Center. The project is also the future home of Fannie Mae.

All projects were approved by the planning commission. A public hearing will be held prior to votes on any proposals.

Handouts via Fairfax County Government

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Legal Insider: Employment Investigations in the Workplace

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

We have represented both employees and employers in connection with employment investigations. This article talks about the issues involved when an employer conducts an investigation in the workplace. Employers conduct workplace investigations into employee complaints generally because they can face legal consequences if they do not do so.

As an example, if an individual alleges sex harassment or discrimination at work and the claims are not investigated, an employer can be more readily held liable by employees. The same type of investigation is necessary when dealing with claims of whistleblowing or other alleged inappropriate conduct at work.

What Happens During a Workplace Investigation

Usually, in most employment investigations, the employer will usually hire an outside law firm (or occasionally use internal counsel) to conduct an employment investigation and will act as the investigator.

Once the investigator is appointed, they will start their investigation. Keep in mind that the employer’s goal in these investigations is to minimize liability for the employer.

While an investigator may find an individual employee at fault, the investigator ultimately wants to find and document that no fault on the part of an employer occurred.

The following steps usually take place in an employer investigation:

  1. The investigator reviews the complaint and plans for a thorough investigation;
  2. The investigator interviews the complainant or complainants;
  3. The investigator interviews the employees with knowledge of the issues in the complaint;
  4. The investigator interviews the accused employee or employees;
  5. The investigator conducts follow-up interviews of any witnesses as needed;
  6. The investigator reviews any relevant documentation, emails or other evidence involving the complaint;
  7. The investigator issues a final report with recommendations to an employer.

Results of Workplace Investigation

Once the employer’s investigation is over, the results can vary. A report is usually prepared, along with recommendations on actions to be potentially taken.

The investigation can result in the termination or other discipline for an accused employee. The investigation can also vindicate the accused employee.

An employer must be careful in avoiding retaliation against a complaining employee, even when their complaint is found to not be justified.

Each investigation is different, and different employers vary in how they handle workplace investigations. The proper handling of an employment investigation can protect employees in the workplace and also reduce employer liability.

Conclusion

If an employee or employer needs assistance with an employment investigation or other issue, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or at our website to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or connect with us on Twitter.

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This Week’s Deals & Events in Reston

Each Monday, Tim’s Reston sets the table with deals and events for the work week ahead in Reston. On Friday, we’ll catch up with Tim again with the upcoming weekend’s deals and events.

Highlights for the upcoming work week include:

Deal of the Week: “Celebrate 31” this Tuesday July 31 with $1.50 Scoops All Day @ Baskin Robbins.

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Thursday:

All Week:

See the entire list by category or scroll through the entire list here:

Follow Tim’s Reston on Facebook,  Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, & his newsletter for new deals and events, posted regularly throughout the week!

Interested in special promotion as the Deal or Event of the Week or Weekend? Have a deal or event tip? Comments? Suggestions? Email Tim at [email protected]!

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Monday Morning Notes

Last PRC meeting tonight — A series of workgroup sessions between Reston Association, the Coalition for a Planned Reston and county officials concludes tonight with a meeting on general planning and zoning. Growth in village centers will also be discussed. [Reston Today]

Don’t head North — “North Shore Pool will be closed until 1 p.m. due to water contamination. The deck and spa will remain open.” [Reston Association]

Missing child alert — Local police are still searching for a 12-year-old girl who went missing on Friday. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Nearby: Shooting reported — “An investigation is underway after authorities say there was a reported burglary and shooting in Fairfax County Monday morning.” [WJLA]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Weekend Discussion Topics

Before we head off into the somewhat rainy weekend, let’s take a look back at the biggest stories on Reston Now in recent days.

  1. Proposed Beltway On-Ramp Closure Concerns Some Reston Commuters
  2. Updated: Rain Causes Road Closures in Reston
  3. Major Expansion Proposed for RTC West
  4. This Week’s Deals & Events in Reston
  5. Photos: Mezeh Mediterranean Grill Now Open in RTC West

If you have ideas on stories we should cover, email us at [email protected] or submit an anonymous tip. We’re also looking for photos of Reston submitted by readers.

Feel free to discuss these topics, your weekend plans or anything else that’s happening locally in the comments below.

File photo

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Flash Flood Watch in Effect Through the Evening

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the area from 3 p.m. through this evening.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected to hit the area this afternoon. Due to saturated soil caused by this week’s rain, additional rain may result in flash flooding, according to the alert.

This story will be updated.

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Early Discussions on the Future of Hidden Creek Country Club Begin

Redevelopment options for Hidden Creek Country Club (Handout via Reston Association)

In early discussions about the future of Hidden Creek Country Club, members of the Reston Association’s Board of Directors and community advocates stood firm against the redevelopment of the golf course as its new owner, Wheelock Communities, contemplates future redevelopment options.

Since purchasing the golf course in October last year, Wheelock has held three work group sessions with community groups and nearby residents to discuss plans for the site. At its last meeting, the real estate developer of master planned communities pitched four options, including a no-build alternative. Discussions are preliminary.

Concerns about future redevelopment intensified when Wheelock Street Capital, an affiliated company, purchased Charter Oak Apartments in partnership with local investment firm Canandaigua & Pratt Holdings in February. The apartment is next to the golf course.

At an RA board meeting Thursday night, members reiterated that Reston is a two-golf course community. Reston’s Master Plan emphasizes the importance of preserving Reston’s golf courses for private recreational use and an RA resolution commits to ensuring Reston is a golf course community and opposes any attempts to create a roadway between American Dream Way and Isaac Newtown Square through the property.

Sherri Hebert, an RA board member, said Wheelock has pitched ways redevelopment could improve public accessibility through additional walking paths and make it more environmentally friendly. Hebert said the club is already “a community diamond” and that the future of golf is strong.

“They’ve even used Bob Simon and his vision to take about this is to be envisioned as something different, which I personally find insulting,” Hebert said.

The discussion harkens back to Rescue Reston’s defense of Reston National Golf Course, which was threatened by development plans several years. Connie Hartke, president of Rescue Reston, a grassroots group formed in 2012 in response to threats against the golf course, said the group is prepared to step up opposition against future development plans.

“This is not the time to concede an inch of open space,” Hartke said, noting that more planned development is on the horizon.

RA’s board plans to discuss the issue with representatives from Wheelock at a board operations committee meeting in September and a later board meeting that month as well. RA board president Andy Sigle described Thursday’s discussion as preliminary.

Sridhar Ganesan, an RA board member, said Wheelock has stated the cost of making improvements to the golf course raises questions about the future viability of the site. Ganesan said he hopes to see an analysis by Wheelock to determine how that conclusion was reached.

Wheelock issued the following statement late Friday afternoon:

When Wheelock Communities purchased Hidden Creek Country Club in October
2017, we immediately recognized the special character of Reston and the need to
include the community in exploring all the possibilities for the future of the golf
course. With that idea and Bob Simon’s Founding Principles of Reston in mind, Wheelock
engaged the community by establishing a Focus Group to gain the perspective
from a broad-based group of approximately 20 Reston residents. The Focus
Group, which has not yet concluded its work, began without preconceived
notions about the future of the property.

This story was updated on Monday (July 30) to include Wheelock’s response.

Handout via Reston Association

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