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by RestonNow.com Sponsor January 12, 2018 at 4:15 pm 0

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

I have just returned from #KBIS18 which is the National Kitchen and Building Show of 2018 in Orlando, Florida. My expertise in creating functional and fabulous small kitchens was what brought me down there, but after being there, my head is buzzing with so many ideas to share with all of you.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my experiences and what I learned from other national and international designers. 

In the meantime, in this week’s post, I am sharing some of my Facebook Live posts so you can see some of the beautiful products out there to help your home not only feel more luxurious, and functional.

Global Designs — It’s a big world out there, and someone has to design it. As a panelist In this workshop, we discuss some of out throughs on how designers can work anywhere thanks to the internet. We also discuss global design has changed the way we think of design in 2018.  Find out my thoughts and ideas on Global Designs here: Here we go guys, going global.

The Galley Kitchen  — The Galley Kitchen can have a big impact on a small kitchen space. Galley Kitchens were created to solve the age old problem of fitting the most functionality into a small kitchen. The brand is known for taking a sink and creating a multi-functional kitchen prep and serving area. You can learn more about The Galley Kitchens here: Tips for small spaces from #Kbis2018

Kitchen Hoods — The trend of kitchen hoods are changing. They are no longer big boxes that are unattractive. They are circular and created to match your kitchen’s style. You can learn more about the different kitchen hoods now offered here: Fabulous Hoods

Showers — What would you do if you had a personal waterfall in your home or brought outside moss indoors? These were the themes of the showers we saw. If waterfalls and nature doesn’t appeal to you, then we also saw some fully functional and beautiful show heads that were all about getting the water pressure for your perfect hot shower. You can see all the shower heads here: Showers! The bold look of KOHLER #kbis2018

Fire Pits — The show had some beautiful fire pits that were a combo of fire pits and waterfalls. Some of the fire pits for your backyard can also have additional seating for guests at your next outdoor event. You can learn more about Fire Pits here: Live from #kbis2018

by RestonNow.com Sponsor January 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm 6 Comments

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.

It was an interesting year in Reston real estate. Overall more than 1200 properties traded hands accounting for more than $572M in volume. These numbers sound great but they represent a third straight year of declines in average home prices. While home prices were somewhat flat, demand was strong and housing inventory was low, an equation which would typically trend towards a Seller’s Market.

However, intense price sensitivity kept the market fairly balanced with well-informed buyers not being willing to pay more just because there were so few. The attitude seemed to be, “if not this one, I’ll get the next one.” Given that prices haven’t been moving much it’s up to sellers to create motivation in the buyers by presenting the very best option possible in the price category in which they’re competing.

We currently have just 120 properties on the market; 70 homes sold in the past 30 days and 81 homes are pending.

All of this indicates that if you’re ready to sell in 2018 you shouldn’t have too much trouble, provided you work with your agent to get your house ready and dig into the numbers to really understand what the market is doing in your neighborhood.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor January 2, 2018 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

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.

Ah, summer! Imagine wandering out your back door and down to your private dock, where you launch your canoe for a lazy paddle around the lake. Sound perfect? It is. And that dream can become your reality.

Cabot’s Point Cluster in South Reston is a beautiful community of cedar patio homes sitting on Lake Audubon, Reston’s largest lake.

Built in the early-to-mid 1980s, these townhomes have a distinctive contemporary design with sharp right angles and sun-drenched cedar siding. Rather than the adjoining walls typical of most townhouse developments, two-car garages attach these units. The yards are beautifully landscaped, and common areas provide a wooded setting. The homes have one or two decks and are staggered along winding, narrow cul-de-sacs that give the impression of a small village. Many units have lake views; all have lake access.

Did I mention it’s also private? The neighborhood is so secluded that many people don’t realize there are houses back there. And the resident’s like it that way. I’ll tell you how to find it though–you enter from South Lakes Drive, across the street from South Lakes High School.

Cabot’s Point may be close to every activity Reston has to offer (including the Reston Metro station), but for many residents, lazy evenings on the lake are the leisure activity of choice.

Homes don’t often come on the market here, that’s how much the residents love their neighborhood. So if you see one, jump on the opportunity immediately. And then go shopping for a new canoe.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor January 2, 2018 at 12:30 pm 0

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

Termination from employment can be very devastating, especially when it is completely unexpected. Most often, employees allow their emotions to get the best of them and become angry upon receiving notice of termination from their employer. However, it is very important for employees to try to handle a termination the right way. Here are five tips to consider if you are being terminated:

  1. Handle Termination Day Without Getting Visibly Angry: This is by far the most important tip and usually one of the most difficult to do. Individuals who cannot keep their emotions in check often end up in a much worse situation than those who gather their belongings and leave quietly. For example, if an individual makes a scene when they are terminated, the employer may exaggerate the situation and call the police. Furthermore, leaving in a pleasant manner makes it much easier to settle a wrongful termination case with the employer later. By doing so, it also reduces the possibility that the employer will challenge the former employee’s attempt to obtain unemployment compensation or cause a problem if the former employee later applies for a security clearance or another employment position.
  2. Dont Take Employer Materials: Employees should be very careful not to take proprietary employer materials, physical items or other types of employer documents or digital materials without permission when leaving employment. If an employee brings forth a legal claim about termination it is often an employer defense to allege that the former employee stole materials (even information) or proprietary data.
  3. Dont Sign Agreements Presented at Termination: Employers will often try to limit their liability by presenting agreements to employees they are terminating. Such agreements might offer a week’s pay in exchange for extinguishing all of the employee’s rights or may even offer nothing. Given the emotional trauma of being terminated, individuals should never sign a binding agreement as they are being terminated. Before signing such an agreement, it is very important to have an attorney review it. Once such an agreement has been signed, it is very difficult to take any type of legal action later.
  4. Consult with an Attorney if Wrongful Termination Issues Arise: Not all terminations are wrongful under Virginia law. However, if an individual believes that he or she was wrongfully or illegally terminated and is concerned with his or rights, he or she should seek legal advice from an employment attorney in a timely manner since many employment rights are time sensitive.
  5. Obtain a Reference: If a former supervisor will not serve as a reference, try to seek others, such as former supervisors or coworkers, who no longer work for the former employer. Having employment references will vastly improve one’s chances of quickly obtaining new employment. Even if an individual has been terminated, having someone available who can speak to his or her work ability can help mitigate the damage of the termination.

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by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 29, 2017 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

Choosing the right bathroom design for you and your family can seem overwhelming as the number of choices to pick from can seem endless. To help narrow down your options below is an insider’s guide to bathroom lighting, paint colors, storage and flooring.

Lighting — Although, you may dream of beautiful light fixtures in your bathroom the reality is if you pick the wrong one, you could look an unattractive yellowish-green color while putting on your makeup. Instead, we suggest trying to use as much natural light in the bathroom as possible. Alternatively, if you love the appeal of a romantic sconce lighting, don’t use this as your primary light source, add some recessed lighting overhead.

Paint Colors — Similar to lighting, paint color can affect the look of your skin color, so be careful with paint selection that would make you look sickly or you have a bit too much makeup on. When choosing the right color for your bathroom, white never goes out of style. If you love the idea of white but need some color in your life, you can always do white cabinets, sinks or toilets, and paint your bathroom something brighter like Sherwin-Williams Organic Green, which is part of the 2018 Sherwin Williams Color Swatch.

Flooring — With the frigid temperatures, the country has been feeling, this is the perfect time to talk about heated flooring. Heated flooring is relatively inexpensive and easy to install under the tile. Heat flooring is usually a mat with coils in them. They are installed under tiles and often come as a kit. Many kits have temperature controls, so you can set the heat to be on from during the time you and your family take your showers to when you are ready to get in and out of the shower. When your floor is warm, you stay warm, allowing you to save on your heating bill, because you will not be required to use as much forced heat.

Storage — When designing a small bathroom, it is important to remember to use all the space wisely. The first step to design is matching the storage space to your lifestyle. So, first ask yourself if you need everything your bathroom is currently storing? If you do not, lighten the load and design for a space where you can comfortably get to everything you need and want in your bathroom.

Utilize the wall space above the toilet by adding floating shelves. If you do like to hold a lot of your makeup and toiletries, along with towels for yourself and guests in your bathroom, we suggest a vanity with drawers where you can add various sized baskets organize your things.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

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.

What could be more perfect for singles or young families than adorable two or three levels townhomes? Not too big, not too small — just right. That’s Woodcrest Cluster.

This is a small cluster with only 63 homes. The quaint colonial style townhomes have an average of 1,000 sq. ft. of living space, two bedrooms and 1 ½ or 2 baths.

Several of the homes also have fireplaces, and many have fenced-in back yards — perfect for letting the dog out! Surrounded by wooded areas, they afford privacy and are light and bright.

Located in North Reston, North Point Shopping Center (grocery store, restaurants and more) and Lake Newport pool are both easy walking distance. The surrounding Reston Association walking paths provide easy access to outdoor activity.

The proximity to Reston Parkway, Fairfax County Parkway and Route 7 — and Dulles Airport for those who travel — make commuting a breeze from this location. Armstrong Elementary School is walking distance, and Herndon Middle School & Herndon High School are a short ride away.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

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

By John V. Berry

The Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) is a law that governs the complaint procedure against Members of Congress and congressional employers in cases involving sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and other related labor and employment matters.

The CAA has played a part in protecting Members of Congress and other congressional employers from having to pay or disclose settlements involving discrimination or sexual harassment. The CAA is flawed and changes to the law have been proposed. The CAA covers 13 employment-related laws, but the major problems in the law relate to the handling of sexual harassment and discrimination cases.

The problems with the CAA are many. First, the CAA itself was passed immediately after the Republicans took over Congress in 1995. It was essentially an attempt to place Congress under similar rules as other federal employers but with built-in protections for Members of Congress in order to protect them. The CAA was not debated extensively and many loopholes were left when enacted. Second, the CAA left out the ability of congressional employees to challenge improper employment terminations or adverse actions — rights given to most other federal employees through the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

Main Issues With the Current CAA

  1. Claims take too long.

The CAA takes too long to address claims, often stifling congressional staffers from filing complaints. Under the CAA, one cannot start the process of initiating a complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination for at least 30 days while waiting in a holding period known as the counseling process. A regular federal employee can initiate a complaint immediately, and regular federal agencies may take immediate remedial action against illegal practices. This is not the case for Congress.

Once a congressional staffer waits 30 days in the holding period, he or she must proceed to mandatory mediation with the congressional employer. This is not required for regular federal employees. This process can take at least 30 days or more. If mediation succeeds, it is confidential. If mediation fails, which it often does, then the next step is for the congressional staffer to wait another 30 days to file an administrative complaint or go to federal district court. Then after filing a complaint, the process in the courts can take years, or the congressional staffer can agree to expedite his or her case through the in-house confidential process, which only becomes known if the case decision is appealed.

Congress should change the CAA to enable congressional employees and staffers to have the same rights as regular federal employees. Doing so might put an end to serious cases of sexual harassment, retaliation or discrimination rather than allow it to linger while the process unfolds.

  1. Members of Congress have extensive legal representation that they do not pay for.

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by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm 2 Comments

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

Whether you are super organized and finished your holiday shopping this past June or felt great you finished up on Cyber Monday; you may be realizing you may need a last minute gift or two for your favorite home chef in your life. Don’t worry the gifts below are sure to get a smile on their face while they immediately start thinking what they will be making when they use them. The great thing about all of them is they all under $50, inexpensive enough so you can buy one for yourself too.

Vintage Blacksmith Flatware Caddy — This is an excellent gift for those who love to throw a buffet-style dinner party. They are made out of mango wood and have either an F, K or S engraved in each one, so your forks, knives and spoons are neatly organized awaiting hungry guests to get them as they go down the buffet line. Retailing at $59 it can be bought with the Vintage Blacksmith Lazy Susan to add a bit more charm to your sauces for an additional $49.

Silpat Silicone Cookie Sheet Liners — We all have our favorite bakers whom we end up eating one too many of their cookies. Let’s encourage them to keep baking by buying them a Silpat silicone cookie sheet liner. These help cooks save money and help the environment by giving them a baking mat they can bake with, without having to use cooking grease or parchment paper. Wilson Sonoma has them at four different sizes with prices ranging from $17.56-$21.56.

WonderVeg — Veggie Spiralizer Vegetable Slicer — Veggie Spiralizer Vegetable Slicer — Who does not love a Zoodle? A zoodle are noodles made with zucchini. Many cooks are looking for healthy alternatives to heavy kinds of pasta meals, and the Wonder Veg machine creates zucchini spaghetti noodles quickly and efficiently, which is a great time saver for any cook. The WonderVeg can be bought on Amazon. It comes with six spare parts; it also includes a cleaning brush and mini recipe book. The WonderVeg retails at $23.97 and is part of Prime’s free two-day shipping products.

Jenaluca Herb Scissors Stainless Steel — For those home chefs who love to add fresh herbs and spices to their food. These are the perfect gift to make herb confetti. They are a five blade cutting wonder. The blades are stainless steel. They come with a unique cover and a special cleaning comb for after use. They are currently part of Prime’s free one-day shipping and retail at $14.97.

Come meet the AKG team. Join us this Sunday, December 17 for a breakfast and a private shopping event at Pottery Barn, Reston Town Center. Hope to see you there!

by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 12, 2017 at 4:00 pm 3 Comments

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.

Have you ever been to a holiday party where the host doesn’t serve red wine, or any dark liquids actually, to avoid staining the carpet? I have and I always want to take the host aside and say you don’t need to worry. After years in this business, and seeing a whole lot of different stains on carpets, I know you can get stains out.

I found the video below on YouTube, and I think it does a great job of describing one of the easiest methods to spot clean your carpets. It really works, so you don’t need to fear red wine anymore! This method works on all different types of stains — wine, urine, red Kool-aid, chocolate (assuming any of that ever makes it to the carpet). It also works on all different types of carpet. Just follow his instructions to make sure you don’t damage the carpet during the cleaning process.

Here are the supplies you need:

  • Hairdryer
  • Cup of hot water
  • Grease-fighting dishwashing liquid and a teaspoon for dispensing it
  • Steam iron
  • Bucket of clean water
  • Clean cotton rags
  • ShopVac (or any type of wet/dry vac that you can use to suck up moisture)

The ShopVac is likely the only thing on this list you don’t already have. I recommend getting one. They are not horribly expensive, ranging from $50 to $100. It’s the kind of item that, once you have one, you can’t imagine how you survived without it.

Now that you know how to clean up carpet stains, go enjoy that red wine.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 6, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Meet Sugarplum, a retriever and shepherd mix available for adoption.

Here is what her friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say about her:

Sugarplum along with her sister Nyce and brother Jolly are adorable little Retriever (maybe golden?) and shepherd mix babies of maybe 10 weeks old. She has a beautiful yellow coloring and is going to make a terrific companion. All three of these pups have happy, friendly dispositions and will be great family dogs.

Sugarplum is a sweet, affectionate girl who would like nothing better than a family of her own with whom she could share her bounty of love. These great pups are a nice blend of friendliness and normal puppy playfulness and will all be great company. Precious pups like these go fast, so please send your application on in pronto so you don’t miss out. Sugarplum is up to date on all shots and dewormings and carries an adoption fee of $355 which includes her micro chip. This extremely friendly little baby girl is going to bring lots of joy to some lucky adopters.

Are you and Sugarplum a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 5, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

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.

One of my favorite things about this time of year are all the lights everywhere. It is so cheerful and festive! Of course Lake Anne and Reston Town Center put out the lights and it’s lovely. But there is nothing like a lights show to really make you smile. We are lucky to have three great ones nearby, and each is worth the trip. I suggest going to all of them.

Winter Walk of Lights at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

This is my favorite, and it happens to be closest to Reston — just a 15 minute drive over to Vienna. Fodor’s named it the #1 Botanical Garden with “Wow-Factor Winter Transformations.” The garden is magical any time of year, but for this, it is transformed into a half-mile, animated walk of lights. There’s the Lakeside Lights, the Fountain of Lights and the Holiday Nature Walk, along with new displays each year. At the end of the walk, you can gather around the bonfire and roast marshmallows while sipping hot beverages.

It actually started in November, and it will run until Sunday, January 7, 2018. It’s open every day from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (last tickets sold at 9:30 p.m.) and it’s only $13 for adults if you buy your tickets online. Children under 3 are free and ages 3-12 are $8. Timed tickets are required, so that’s another reason to purchase your tickets online. Use promo code SOCIAL17 for $2.00 off admission January 1-7.

Bull Run Festival of Lights and Holiday Village

This is another annual favorite and is great for people who want to stay in their car as they enjoy the lights, which on cold winter nights is very appealing. The Bull Run Festival of Lights is 2.5 miles of illuminated glory. You turn off your headlights and follow the magical glow and the variety of displays. When you’re done, stop by the holiday village to enjoy rides, refreshments and photos with Santa Claus.  Monday through Thursday you can get discounts and avoid the long weekend waits.

It’s open every night until January 7: Monday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. and Friday-Sunday & Holidays, 5:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m. The cost of driving through the light show varies from $20-$25, depending on the day you attend (note: vans w/ 15-34 people and motorcoaches cost extra — visit website for details).

Winter Lights Festival at Seneca State Park

This one is a little more of a drive (it’s in Gaithersburg, Md., which means you have to cross the bridge) but it’s worth it. It’s a 3.5-mile drive through the enchanted setting of Seneca Creek State Park. There are 380 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes. So many lights! Themes include Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, the North Pole and much more. This one runs until December 31, so get there soon.

The hours are Sunday-Thursday: 6 p.m.-9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday: 6 p.m.-10 p.m. It’s closed Christmas. Price is $12 per car Mon-Thurs; $15 per car Fri-Sun. Cash only. See the website for van, bus and limo rates.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 4, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

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

Can an employer in Virginia require an applicant or employee to submit to a polygraph examination in order to make a hiring or retention decision?

Although employers in the private sector are permitted to use polygraph examinations on their applicants or employees, employers must adhere to strict rules. These include providing “the right to a written notice before testing, the right to refuse or discontinue a test, and the right not to have test results disclosed to unauthorized persons.” In addition, there are federal and state restrictions on polygraph usage.

Employee Polygraph Protection Act

On the federal level, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (29 U.S.C.§ 2001- 2009) provides for strict limits on the use of polygraphs in the workplace for applicants and employees. The EPPA bars most types of employers in Virginia (and other states) from requiring or even suggesting that a current employee or job applicant submit to a polygraph examination. The EPPA also prohibits employers from utilizing the results of any polygraph examination.

However, the EPPA does not apply to Virginia employees who work for federal, state and local governments. Polygraph examinations can often be part of the legal processing of a federal security clearance. The EPPA also does not apply to private sector employees engaged in security-related employment (e.g., security guard, armored car services). The EPPA permits polygraph testing, subject to restriction, of certain types of employees who are reasonably suspected of involvement in workplace theft or embezzlement that resulted in an economic loss to the employer. The Department of Labor has provided a good summary of the law under the EPPA act.

If an employer is found liable by a court under the EPPA for not following the law regarding polygraph use, the employer can be held liable for penalties up to $10,000; lost wages and benefits; and attorney’s fees. There is also equitable relief where an employee can seek reinstatement or lost promotions as a result of the employer’s violation of the EPPA. Thus, employers need to be extremely careful when considering the use of polygraph examinations under the EPPA.

Virginia State Polygraph Protections

Virginia provides additional protections for employees who submit to polygraph examinations. One major restriction bars questions about an applicant’s prior sexual activities. The 1977 Virginia law, in Va. Code Ann.§ 40.1-51.4:3, prohibits the use of certain questions during polygraph tests for employment, as follows:

“No employer shall, as a condition of employment, require a prospective employee to answer questions in a polygraph test concerning the prospective employee’s sexual activities unless such sexual activity of the prospective employee has resulted in a conviction of a violation of the criminal laws of this Commonwealth.

Any written record of the results of a polygraph examination given to a prospective employee by an employer shall be destroyed or maintained on a confidential basis by the employer giving the examination and shall be open to inspection only upon agreement of the employee tested. Violation of this section shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor.”

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by RestonNow.com Sponsor December 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm 0

This is a sponsored post by Anna Gibson, owner of AKG Design Studio and an award-winning, certified kitchen and bathroom designer. AKG Design Studio is a boutique design firm specializing in kitchen, bathroom designs and cabinetry sales. Contact Anna at 571-989-2541 or [email protected], and follow her work on HouzzPinterestFacebook and Twitter.

When picking a contractor, it can be difficult to know where to begin, whom to interview and finally who to hire. Here is a list of my top tips and things to look for when you are selecting your contractor.

References: Ask friends, relatives and co-workers for references. You will get the best references from these people and you may be able to see the contractor’s work before speaking with them.

Verify Your Contractor: When hiring a contractor, you want to use your inquiry skills. Verify your contractor’s quality of his work and lines of communication. Keeping lines of communication open will help reduce the stress. You will know how your project is progressing and what are the next steps are.

Interview A Few Contractors: It might be seem a bit time consuming, but we recommend interviewing a few contractors. You want to make sure that while they are in your home, they will “fit” in.

Licensed, Insured, Bonded:  Check all of your contractor’s credentials and verify their insurance coverage. It is also a good idea to know what is covered by your homeowner’s insurance and what your contractor’s business insurance covers. Ask your contractor to submit a Certificate of Insurance when you hire them with your name and address on it.

Talk About Repairs: Check with your Contractor for what kind of warranty they offer on their labor. Make sure what they will and will not do is in your contract when it comes to repairs and if anything changes from the original contract, try to get that in writing too.

Assume Nothing: You will want to get all the details of your agreement in writing, down to the last wall plate. This is the best way to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Don’t Let The Price Be Your Decision Maker: The saying, “you get what you pay for” is true when it comes to contractors. The price of a service reflects quality. Sometimes, the better deal is more expansive in the long run, because the cheaper contractor could take longer, “forget” to finish, or will require avoidable repairs later. Someone who is well established and has quality work may seem like more money up front, but will be less costly in headaches and aggravation latter. We believe that’s priceless.

Be Upfront About Your Home Improvement Budget: You will save yourself and your contractors much time by being completely honest about your budget. It does not benefit you or your contractor to hire someone you can not afford.

The Deposit: Never pay more than 50% off the total price for a deposit.

The Bill: When paying the final bill, know that your job is not complete until all building inspections are satisfied by the proper authorities and yourself. Once inspections are passed and you are satisfied with the work, sign the certificate of completion. Once that is signed, pay your final bill.

Pet of the Week: Olaf

by RestonNow.com Sponsor November 29, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Meet Olaf, a chihuahua and terrier mix available for adoption.

Here is what his friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say about him:

Olaf is an AMAZINGLY… no, absolutely INSANELY adorable little guy that’s about 9 weeks old and about 6 lbs, who looks to be a mix of Chihuahua and a little Terrier. Between Olaf’s adorable little short legs, that precious face, and those incredibly cute ears, he almost instantly melts your heart. But then he reels you on in with his sweet and happy temperament, and the most lovable and engaging personality. He is definitely going to bring tons of love and laughter to some lucky adopter, and boy oh boy would he love nothing more than a family to love and a home to call his own. Can you give Olaf his forever home?
Olaf is microchipped, up to date on all age appropriate vaccines, and his adoption fee is $355.

Are you and Olaf a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor November 28, 2017 at 4:00 pm 6 Comments

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.

It’s almost that time of year when the county sends around tax assessments, which gets homeowners wondering what their house is worth today. This is when I start getting calls from clients and friends asking for my opinion–an opinion I am always happy to provide.

I was thinking about this when I came across an article on Realtor.com (How Much Is My House Worth? Tools to Help You Determine Your Sale Price).

The article outlines a few ways to assess your home value:

  1. Comps for the area. What similar homes have sold for is a good indication of what your home is worth. Realtor.com’s Just Sold feature is a great place to start. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code, and click “Search.” A list of recently sold homes in your area will pop up, along with their sale price. The thing to remember is this may or may not be an accurate reflection of your home’s value: home improvements, mortgage rates, the economy can all factor into your selling price. But comps will give you an idea.
  2. Home improvements. Things like an updated kitchen and bathrooms impact price. For example, if you are likely to get 66% return on investment from a bathroom remodel (spend $10,000 and add $6,600 to your list price). But will that be the tipping point to make a buyer choose your home over another? Who knows. And will you get the same return from a new deck or replacing the windows? Not necessarily. Those things will definitely improve marketability, but may not translate into dollars. Does that mean you shouldn’t bother? No. Make improvements that will make you happy while you live in the home. Just know you may not recoup the cost when you sell.

If you want to list your home, the best thing to do is call your realtor and set up a meeting to discuss your strategy–anything you need to do to improve marketability, timing and listing price.

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