Reston, VA

April was another busy month in real estate around Reston. According to Homesnap, 148 homes were reported sold.

Below are a few of the most expensive homes sold last month:

In the market? Check out the latest in Reston real estate.

Photo via Google Maps

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Not everyone has the time or resources to commit to a full master’s degree program. Some may already have a master’s and are just looking for a narrow update on a current skillset. For these reasons, Virginia Tech’s 100% online Master of Information Technology (VT-MIT) program now offers professionals the option to earn a graduate certificate in 10 specialized IT subject areas:

“Leaders can find a certificate that speaks exactly to their professional needs without having to commit several years to pursuing a master’s degree,” says Barbara Hoopes, Associate Professor of Business Information Technology at Virginia Tech.

In fact, nine of the ten certificates require just three courses, so professionals can earn a certificate in as little as 12 months as a part-time student.

Because the certificate courses are the same as those offered through the full degree program, students can apply their certificate courses toward their master’s if they decide to pursue the degree in the future.

Learn more about the fully online graduate certificates and master’s degree at an upcoming online information session:

  • Session 1: Wednesday, May 12 at 3 p.m. (online)
  • Session 2: Monday, May 17 at 1 p.m. (online)

Can’t make it on these dates? Email [email protected] to receive a copy of a recently recorded session or visit vtmit.vt.edu to learn more.

Here is a really important question: What do sellers want in today’s housing market?

Low inventory and low interest rates mean there aren’t a lot of homes for sale, but there are lots of buyers looking to make a move. Sellers are receiving multiple offers above list price, but what do sellers want beyond escalated sales dollars?

1. High earnest money deposits and large down payments

The earnest money deposit shows the seller you’re serious about purchasing. This money is sent to the title company as part of the offer and held in an escrow account before closing. It’s also known as a “good faith deposit” and protects the seller if you back out of the contract. Typically, it’s about 1-3% of the sales price, but if you want to win a contract these days, consider offering more, even as much as 10-15%.

A large down payment also shows the seller you’re serious and have the funds to back up your offer. Sellers worry about buyers’ financing falling through, and these two strategies can help ease their minds.

2. A “clean contract”

This means no contingencies — home inspection, appraisal and finance contingencies all waived. Sellers don’t want to have to negotiate for repairs from a home inspection report and deal with the hassle of having minor problems repaired. Consider waiving the home inspection and purchasing a home warranty to cover the cost of repairs that may arise once you own the home.

Additionally, waiving the appraisal means you’re willing to bring additional funds to the closing table if an appraiser deems the home is worth less than your offer amount. You can shift dollars from your down payment to cover this gap.

Lastly, waiving the financing contingency means you’re confident in your ability to obtain a loan. If you feel secure in your job/financial situation, this may be a good option, but please talk to your lender first.

And don’t forget: Listing agents and sellers do not want to see any mistakes on the sales contract. Be sure your agent is detail-oriented and, of course, read the contract yourself before signing!

3. A quick close

Sellers want their money and to move on! Most transactions can close in as little as 30 to 45 days depending on title work and lender procedures. Check with your lender about pre-underwriting your loan to close quicker — this can be a huge plus!

Lynn Cooper is a licensed REALTOR in Virginia with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Whether buying or selling, Lynn is 100% committed to her clients before, during, and after the transaction. Connect with Lynn at 202-489-7894, [email protected] or @lynncooperrealestate.

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Meet Mr. Ginger, Reston’s latest Pet of the Week. Mr. Ginger is a sweet, gentle 14-year-old fella looking for a quiet home.

Here’s what his friends at Fancy Cats Rescue Team had to say about him:

Mr. Ginger is a tall 14-year-old kitty with a sweet, gentle personality. He willingly adjusts to petting, combing, trimming (his claws) and even vet check-ups. He likes to lean in to have his muzzle stroked and combed and requests more attention with a gentle tap, tap, tap of his paw.

Mr. Ginger enjoys a quiet environment with a regular feeding and petting routine or curled up in a warm, cozy place in the company of his people. As an older cat, Mr. Ginger has a sensitive stomach, which has been managed well with a wet cat food specifically designed for sensitive kitty tums. Catching outdoor critters makes him sick, so indoors is best for Mr. Ginger. He also has a little arthritis in his right hip but is still quite spry and can jump up into a lap or chair.

Are you and Mr. Ginger the perfect match?

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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.

The federal government remains the largest employer in the Washington, D.C. area.

We represent federal employees nationwide in the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeals process. Federal employees before the MSPB facing disciplinary action, retirement or other appeals often meet with us to discuss their options.

Since the MSPB process is essentially another form of civil litigation, we thought we would list the typical steps of an MSPB appeal for federal employees. The most common steps in this process are:

1. The Filing of the MSPB Appeal

The first step in the MSPB appeals process is for a federal employee to file an MSPB appeal. For most cases that the MSPB hears (usually, those involving serious discipline for federal employees), the deadline is typically 30 days from the effective date of the discipline to file the appeal. It is critical to file the appeal timely or it can be dismissed.

2. Judge’s Initial Order

Usually, within one to two weeks of filing the MSPB Appeal, a judge will be assigned and issue an Acknowledgement Order, which basically sets the ground rules and timelines in each case. This order is about 10 to 15 pages and provides a lot of information about the processing of the individual MSPB appeal and should be reviewed carefully.

3. The Agency Response

Usually, 20 days after the issuance of the Acknowledgement Order, the MSPB judge will require the federal agency involved in the appeal to provide their file on the case to the MSPB and to the federal employee. This file will include the documents relevant to the federal agency’s case and also their initial response to the federal employee’s appeal. It is not uncommon for a federal agency’s file to be 75 to 250 pages in length.

4. Status Conference

Most administrative judges will schedule a status conference following the receipt of the Agency Response. The general substance of these status conferences involves an initial discussion of the issues involved in the MSPB appeal and also potential settlement negotiations.

5. Asking for Discovery

Discovery is the process of obtaining documents (and other information) and taking depositions of witnesses involved in the action taken against the federal employee. Usually, 30 days after the issuance of the Acknowledgment Order, the parties are required to submit initial discovery requests. The discovery stage is very important as it is the federal employee’s chance to seek documents, correspondence, emails, video or audio, which a federal agency possesses. One of the most important parts of the discovery process includes the ability to question, under oath, relevant witnesses in an appeal through the deposition process.

6. Pre-Hearing Submissions

Prior to an MSPB hearing, the judge will order pre-hearing submissions from each party. Usually these include the parties’ versions of the issues to be heard, the documents to be used as exhibits in the case and proposed witnesses for the hearing.

7. The Pre-Hearing Conference

Next, prior to the actual MSPB hearing, the judge will review both parties’ pre-hearing submissions and rule on witnesses, exhibits and other issues likely to come up at the hearing. A party will want to be prepared to argue their positions during the pre-hearing conference. Typically, the majority of the pre-hearing conference will be used to discuss the importance of particular witnesses and whether they will be allowed to testify.

8. The Hearing

An MSPB Hearing typically takes about one to two days, depending on the number of witnesses involved. During the hearing process, there will usually be opening statements and the examination and cross-examination of witnesses for both the agency and the federal employee. A court reporter will transcribe the testimony given. There may be closing arguments and/or written closing submissions prior to the issuance of the judge’s decision in the case. The written decision is typically issued one to five weeks after the hearing is held.

Conclusion

If a federal employee needs assistance in an MSPB appeal, it is very important to retain legal counsel familiar with the MSPB to assist you. We represent federal employees nationwide in these matters and can be contacted at www.berrylegal.com or by telephone at 703-668-0070. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or connect with us on Twitter.

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If you’re in the market to buy a house, you’ve got options.

According to Homesnap, there are 170 homes currently for sale in Reston — 107 condos, 32 detached homes and 31 townhomes. Additionally, as of April 18, there have been 63 new listings in the past four weeks.

This weekend, you’ll find a number of open houses across Reston, including:

Photo via James Lee on Unsplash

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Address: 2209 Quartermaster Lane
Listed: $799,000
Open: Saturday, May 1, 12-2 p.m. and Sunday, May 2, 1-4 p.m.

Welcome home to your lakeside oasis, tucked away at the end of a quiet street in one of South Reston’s most desirable neighborhoods.

This home will charm you from the moment you step onto the front porch. Inside you’ll find a large, open kitchen with stunning views from the wall-to-wall picture windows and abundant natural light throughout. The home also features new carpet and paint, upgraded bathrooms, new light fixtures, and a newer HVAC system.

Step onto the three-tiered deck and feel instantly relaxed as you take in the tranquil surroundings with views of Lake Audubon and beyond. Take a walk down to the waterfront dock where you can fish or canoe, and enjoy a stroll or bike ride along the miles of Reston paths. Explore nearby Walker Nature Center, or grab a bite to eat at South Lakes Village Center. It’s also in walking distance to schools and pools and is in close proximity to Reston Town Center and the Silver Line Metro.

With over 50 miles of paths, 15 community pools, four community lakes, and more, it’s no wonder Reston has been voted the Best Place to Live in Virginia. The dream home potential is endless here!

Listed by:
Palmer Harned
Pearson Smith Realty
703-868-9983
[email protected]
www.palmerharned.com

This week in Reston, there are 88 properties available to rent, according to Homesnap.

Below are six recently listed rentals:

In the market? Check out the latest in Reston real estate.

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Meet Hank, Reston’s latest Pet of the Week. Hank is a quiet and gentle 11-year-old who will love sitting on your lap.

Here’s what Hank’s friends at Fancy Cats Rescue Team had to say about him:

Hank is a quiet guy with the biggest heart. He would love to sit in your lap — if you help him up! Or he’s content with sitting in his comfy bed, near you, so he can be a part of the action. At 11 years old and super gentle, Hank loves being brushed and occasionally gets interested in shiny feather toys.

With a proper intro, Hank could live with another mellow cat, that minds their P’s and Q’s.

P.S. He’s a litter box champ! He’s just looking for a calm and quiet home with nice people who will dote on him in his golden years. He would benefit from a wet diet for his aging kidneys.

Are you and Hank the perfect match?

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The real estate market is hot right now, but that doesn’t mean everything is going for over asking price.

This past month, 59 Reston properties experienced a price change, according to Homesnap.

Here are five properties that had a price reduction in the past seven days:

Want more? Check out the latest in Reston real estate.

Photo via Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash

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We’re in a seller’s market. We’ve all heard it from our friends and have seen it on the news.

However, I’ve been on showings with buyer clients recently and noticed some sellers are getting too aggressive with their pricing. We’ve seen marked-up walls, dirty floors/carpet, lots of clutter, even holes in countertops! When buyers are touring these homes, they’re either completely turned off, or they’re mentally deducting money from the list price. 

Some sellers are also investing money in things buyers don’t care about, such as unique details that don’t appeal to most people, intricate flooring or flooring that differs from room to room, glass tile backsplashes in kitchens that make the home look dated, dark paint colors, or shoddy work done by contractors, such as painting over switch plates (that drives me crazy!).

The first days your home is on the market are crucial! If you’re not getting showing requests in the first 24 to 48 hours, your home is likely mispriced. Ideally, we want one showing per day on average the first week we’re on the market. 

In fact, the longer your home is on the market, the less it will eventually sell for. As the “days on market” accumulate, buyers AND agents think something is wrong with it and won’t want to tour.

Some sellers think, “I’ll be aggressive and just lower the price in a couple of weeks.” This is called ‘chasing the market.’ The buyers have already moved on and have no interest in your home. Why? They don’t want to negotiate with an unrealistic seller or someone they interpret as being difficult. 

The bottom line: Consult with an agent that truly understands this market and has a solid pricing strategy. 

Lynn Cooper is a licensed REALTOR in Virginia with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Whether buying or selling, Lynn is 100% committed to her clients before, during, and after the transaction. Connect with Lynn at 202-489-7894, [email protected] or @lynncooperrealestate.

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If you’re in the market to buy a house, you’ve got options.

According to Homesnap, there are 170 homes currently for sale in Reston — 107 condos, 32 detached homes and 31 townhomes. Additionally, as of April 18, there have been 63 new listings in the past four weeks.

This weekend, you’ll find a number of open houses across Reston, including:

11401 Purple Beech Drive
4 BD/2.5 BA single-family home
Listed: $840,000
Open: Saturday and Sunday, 1-3 p.m.

1818 Cranberry Lane
5 BD/3.5 BA single-family home
Listed: $800,000
Open: Sunday, 1-4 p.m,

2120 S. Bay Lane
3 BD/2.5 BA single-family home
Listed: $800,000
Open: Sunday, 1-3 p.m.

11760 Sunrise Valley Drive #116
2 BD/2 BA condo
Listed: $375,000
Open: Saturday, 12:30-3:30 p.m.

2219 Lofty Heights Place
2 BD/2 BA townhome
Listed: $365,000
Open: Saturday and Sunday, 1-3 p.m.

Photo via James Lee on Unsplash

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This week in Reston, there are 86 properties available to rent, according to Homesnap.

Below are six recently listed rentals:

In the market? Check out the latest in Reston real estate.

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Meet Bella, Reston’s newest Pet of the Week. This sweet, gentle Boxer is estimated to be around 6 to 8 years old.

Here’s what her friends at Boxer Rescue and Adoption, Inc. had to say about her:

Bella is a very sweet, quieter dog who is a little reticent but warms up. She loves her creature comforts and is not destructive. She loves her crate, which is piled high with blankets.

She is gentle taking treats and the food bowl. We switched food when she broke out in hives, so that hasn’t been much of an issue lately. Bella would prefer a quieter home where she could spend time snuggling with her owner. She is happy to go outside but happier to be right back inside with you.

We don’t know how old Bella is, but she is probably a senior. When asked for a guess, the vet thought she was between 6 and 8, but because we don’t have long-term history on her, it is a guess.

Are you and Bella the perfect match?

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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.

Virginia recently decriminalized many marijuana-related issues through legislation. As a result, the possession of limited amounts of marijuana will be legal in Virginia, effective July 1, 2021, with certain restrictions.

Many employers and employees have begun to question how this new state law will impact them. There are many questions to be answered. For instance, can employers perform drug tests on employees or fire them for using marijuana outside of work hours? This brief article will touch on the impact of the new Virginia marijuana law.

Federal Marijuana Law Remains the Same

It is critical to understand that the change in Virginia law does not affect the fact that marijuana usage remains illegal under federal law. For instance, if an employee holds a security clearance, they can quickly lose it (and their employment) for any marijuana usage (at work or at home) despite small amounts now being legal on the state level. Until Congress changes the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug (along with heroin and LSD) and a criminal offense.

Virginia Law Changes

The newly enacted law permits individuals in Virginia who are over the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to four cannabis plants at home. Previously, doing so was a criminal offense. Furthermore, adults who are caught with more than an ounce but less than a pound of marijuana will face a potential $25 fine. Lastly, any adults caught with more than a pound can be charged with a felony punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

While sales of marijuana are illegal, the legislation permits gifting up to an ounce of the drug to any adult.

Employment Law Issues Remain with Marijuana Use in Virginia

In terms of employment law, the new law should lessen, but not end, many employer’s restrictions on employee off-hours use of marijuana. I eventually see a gradual lessening of drug testing over time for minor usage in non-critical or non-government security positions. There will be numerous exceptions to this, however. Furthermore, nothing in the new law changes the fact that employers can still enforce drug policies even though Virginia has legalized marijuana.

Breaking an employer’s policy may still result in termination. Additionally, many security clearance and safety-based occupations are subject to drug policies, which require employees to pass drug tests and can include employees in the security, construction, medical and government sectors, and others. There are many other exceptions in the legislation, 283 pages in length, which is included in the link above.

The new law also does not eliminate the ability of an employer to require that employees not be impaired by marijuana at work. Furthermore, employers could potentially establish policies stating that it will deny employment to anyone using an illegal substance under the Controlled Substance Act. Employers will also be able to establish policies that employees are not allowed to possess marijuana on employer property. Furthermore, use of marijuana is still illegal for those under the age of 21. Lastly, there may be some potential assistance for the reasonable accommodation of employees that need medical marijuana usage for medical conditions and who work for certain employers.

This is a new law, and it will take some time for employers and employees to fully sort out the full ramifications. For now, while certain amounts of marijuana usage are legal in Virginia, it doesn’t mean an employee may not be fired for using it. However, the new Virginia law will give some employers leeway to be less strict in their marijuana policies should they choose to do so.

Conclusion

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

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