Is Your Northern Virginia Home Radon Free? What Every Home Buyer and Seller Needs to Know About Radon Testing & Remediation

Radon Testing & Remediation Information for Home Buyers and Sellers

When buyers fall in love with a home and are ready to sign a sales contract, one of the questions that comes up during contract review is whether or not the buyers would like to include Radon Testing Contingency. From my experience, the majority of home buyers and owners are unfamiliar with what Radon is, and they don’t know that it might be present in a home. After all, this invisible, odorless gas doesn’t really give itself away.

Testing for Radon and installing remediation system may sound like just an expensive unnecessary task that adds to your laundry list of home improvement projects and expenses. But it’s worth your while to have the home tested because levels of this gas can vary a significant amount, even from one home to the next. Understanding what Radon is and how it enters the home is an important part of the resolution process.

What is Radon?

First, let’s talk about what all the buzz is about. According to the EPA, Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the soil, and it’s produced by the natural breakdown of the uranium found in most rocks and soils. Radon breaks down into solid radioactive elements called radon progeny, which attach to dust and other particles that can enter the house through the cracks or openings in the  foundation. Exposure to high levels of Radon for extensive periods of time, might cause lung cancer.

How Does it Sneak In, Anyway?

Radon, like water vapor, is actually capable of seeping through the pores of solid concrete. That’s right, the radon creeps in through the very foundation of the home. While some new homes are constructed with gas permeable layers and other radon-resistant building materials, radon can sneak in anyway.

Radon Levels in Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia is a particular problem area, with 56% of the tested homes containing Radon levels higher than recommended by EPA standards. Map below breaks down levels of Radon by area.

Northern Virginia Radon Levels Map
Northern Virginia Radon Levels



Is Radon Gas Present in New Construction Homes?

It doesn’t matter if old or new, radon can find its way into any home.  In fact, realizing the potential problem, majority of new home builders in Northern Virginia rough in PVC Radon ventilation pipes during construction. So later, if you discover high levels of Radon in your new home, you can easily add a fan to convert the Radon vent from passive to active.

Radon Testing

Radon gas is tasteless, odorless and colorless, so the only way to determine if the air in a home has elevated levels of this invisible gas is through Radon testing.

Since Radon sneaks into the house through the foundation, the testing is done in the basement. Many home inspectors are certified to test for Radon, so Radon testing machine can be installed on the day of a home inspection.

The test requires all vents, exhaust fans, windows, and doors remained closed, for 48 hours. That’s all. The EPA recommends if the test result are 4pCi/L or higher, you take the steps to lower levels to minimize the risks of exposure. Some choose to opt for longer tests for 30, 60, or 90 days which you may find yield more precise results.

If you are Northern Virginia homeowner thinking about selling your home, you should consider conducting Radon testing and correcting a problem if discovered before putting your home on the market, so that a timely and cost-effective solution can be found.

Is Radon Testing Expensive?

A test is easy and inexpensive but requires the technical skills and knowledge of a trained professional. As an example, a home in Vienna, Virginia was recently tested for only $140.

Lowering Radon Levels

Radon is in the air, both inside and out, so it’s impossible to avoid it completely. But there are things you can do to lower your exposure.

A simple approach to radon reduction is sealing cracks in the floor and walls. This limits the flow of radon into your home, as well as stops the clean, conditioned air from escaping.

For homes that need a drastic reduction, a Radon gas remediation system may also need to be put into place in addition to the sealing of the home. If it turns out there are dangerous levels of radon gas in your Northern Virginia home, you will need a remediation system installed.

The average cost of remediation system in Northern Virginia totals $800-$1,500 and requires special skills and technical knowledge so it is highly recommended to consult an expert.

When searching for homes, don’t be afraid to ask your agent to point out and explain the type of remediation system installed in the home.

Radon Testing Contract Contingency

Because, for most people, the largest potential source of radon exposure is in their own home, with particularly high levels found here in Northern Virginia, it would be wise to include Radon Testing in the sales contract as a contingency. A Radon testing contingency is usually 7-10 days.

If you are a home seller, it is essential to know that Radon testing could be added to a sales contract as a contingency. This means that if high levels of Radon are detected, a buyer can ask the seller to remediate the problem, choose to pay for the remediation themselves, or simply walk away from the contract.

Bottom Line:

While radon is a real issue, it should not be a real estate deal breaker.


Vienna VA New Construction Homes: View Listings & Schedule Showings

Find your ideal new construction home in Vienna, VA with my comprehensive MLS property search page. Whether you’re envisioning a modern condo, a stylish townhouse, or a luxurious single-family home, my professional MLS database offers an extensive collection of newly constructed properties with the most up-to-date information. Take advantage of advanced search filters, detailed property information, and stunning visuals to make informed decisions on your path to homeownership.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a private tours, feel free to contact me.

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Embracing Modern Living: A Closer Look at Vienna, VA’s New Construction Real Estate Market

Out With The Old, In With The Vienna VA New Construction


Vienna, VA is undergoing a transformation, shedding its older homes from the 1950s and 1960s to make way for the sleek and contemporary. The demand for Vienna, VA new construction homes is driven by the evolving tastes of modern families who seek open floor plans, gourmet kitchens, luxurious master bathrooms, walk-in closets, and spacious garages. Craftsmen, Contemporary, and traditional brick homes dominate the scene, catering to the desires of today’s homeowners.

While this shift is evident, it’s not without its challenges. The town’s proximity to Washington D.C. and Metro Stations has made it a sought-after location, leading to limited space. Residents are striving to maintain Vienna’s close-to-nature ambiance by preserving trees, even as they embrace new construction.

According to a recent article in The Washington Post, demolishing older homes that no longer meet the needs of contemporary living is seen as a solution. Francisco V. Alonso explained, “Typically, land on its own is hard to develop or overpriced. When no house has ever been there before, there’s no utilities. There’s several fees you have to pay: tap fees, connection fees. When there’s already a house there, those fees have been prepaid by somebody else.”

Although not every new construction home is a replacement for an older one, popular zip codes like 22180, 22181, and 22182 are witnessing a mix of old and new. The eclectic neighborhoods don’t deter those eager to join the Vienna community, and they are willing to pay a premium for the experience.

Investing in one of these new homes comes at a modern price point, ranging from $1,850,000 to $3,500,000, depending on factors like square footage, lot size, and amenities. These homes are more than just structures; they are crafted by renowned local builders who infuse their passion into every detail.

Vienna VA, with its highly-rated public school systems, extensive biking and walking trails, proximity to the airport, D.C., and Tysons shopping center, is attracting home buyers at a rapid pace. If you aspire to call one of these new construction homes your own, act swiftly. The market is dynamic, and the demand is high. Find the right builder in the area to bring your dream home – and your family’s dream – to life. It’s a race, so run, don’t walk, toward the future of Vienna VA living.

vienna va new construction homes.


Buy New Home in McLean VA & Vienna VA: Insider Secrets to Buying New Construction Homes

Pro Tips on How to Buy New Home in McLean VA, Vienna VA & Around Northern Virginia

If you’ve already started shopping for your next home, you may have noticed that McLean VA, Vienna VA and other Northern Virginia communities are bubbling over with options for new homes. With the introduction of developments and builders offering endless options, you can buy new home of your dreams. buy new home in mclean va, new homes in vienna va

While the idea of picking out every element of new homes and being the very first owner is appealing, the thought of buying a new home that only exists on the builder’s blueprints might be a more daunting endeavor than buying an existing home. It takes a certain leap of faith to plunk down a sizeable sum of cash on a square of bare land based on the promise of a beautiful new home ready for move-in.

When searching to buy new home in McLean VA and Vienna VA, it’s important to keep in mind that there are significant differences in the process of buying new homes versus previously owned homes. Buy new home in Vienna VA with the best realtor in Vienna VA – Natasha Lingle

Who’s a Builder’s Agent? It’s a Realtor Who Represents a Builder not the Buyer

A home builder who is also a seller, often hires real estate agents or sales representatives who “sit the model.”  These sales representatives spend most of their time in a sales office or model home.

The sales representatives must work according to the builder’s business policies and rules. They tend to mirror the builder’s right or wrong attitudes, expectations, and preconceptions.

The builders’ realtors have one product to sell—the model home and community—which often exists only on floor plans and subdivision plats. They must animate the builder’s product by selling the visible (or invisible) bricks and mortar house as a home and the future community amenities as a lifestyle.

The builder’s realtor, who you will meet at the model home office, will only have builder’s best interest in mind. The job of the builder’s agent is to get the highest price for the home the builder is selling.


Do I need to Hire My Own Realtor to a Buy New Home?

The answer is “yes”. Because the sales representative (aka builder’s realtor) at the builder’s model home represents the seller/builder, and agent’s fiduciary responsibilities belong to the builder and not you, it would be a good idea to hire your own agent who will protect your finances, your privacy, and your interests.

When you make the financial and emotional leap involved in buying new home, the advice and experience of a loyal real estate professional often makes the difference between a successful satisfying outcome or a clouded result that compromises future enjoyment of living in a home.

Your realtor will not only monitor all transaction details, negotiate on your behalf with expertise in new construction homes, oversee home inspection and offer the pros and cons, but will be your biggest advocate and an expert who will be looking out for your best financial interests.


Do Your Research on the Potential Builder

With the large number of builders in Vienna and McLean, it’s important to make builder research a priority. What do you need to know about a builder, and how can you go about gathering the information? Start by searching online for reviews, testimonials and any public information regarding legal troubles or poor construction quality.

You may even go as far as walking through one of the neighborhoods completed by the builder and talking to the home owners.

But often your agent will be your primary source of information. An agent has an “inside scoop” and knows builder’s reputation and quality of work.


Take Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) into Consideration

When purchasing a home that is a resale, the earnest money deposit (EMD) is typically 1% of the sale price, while new homes’ EMD requirements hover around 5%.

It’s very important to learn about the builder’s EMD refund policy and the consequences of backing out of the deal. For example, the builder isn’t responsible if the buyer realizes later that the home will be un-affordable.


Be Creative with Price Negotiations

When buying a resale home, the asking price is usually just a starting point for negotiations, and, often, an offer acceptance may turn on the seller’s emotional connection to the buyers—“we’ll love your home as much as you do.”

However, builders typically don’t budge much on their prices – they are not like regular sellers, and incremental, back-and-forth negotiations and emotional appeals are not part of new home sales. Builders don’t like to reduce their sale prices, because it sets a precedence for future home sales.

Builders want the buyers to have good experiences and love their new home, but it’s builders’ business, and unlike the existing-home sellers, the builders have no emotional investment and decisions to negotiate the price or offer extras are based on the bottom line.

Pro Tip: Do not expect to save money through price negotiations or changes in sales terms. A creative way to negotiate the sales price is to focus on obtaining value-adding features and amenities at cost. Builders would rather offer concessions like upgraded appliances or finishes as opposed to reducing the sales price.


What You See Isn’t Always What You Get

In most cases, the listed prices of new construction homes posted online represents the pricing of a base or standard homes and not a Model Homes available for your tour. Often, the Model Home reflects a mix of standard materials and fixtures, as well as a handful of significant upgrades.

Pro Tip: It’s critical to ask for the list of options and upgrades installed in a Model Home along with the costs for each property shown. If a list is not available, make sure that builder’s representative points out options and upgrades and provides pricing information for each.


Read The Fine Print

In the State of Virginia, there is no standard builders’ sales contract that was developed and approved by the Virginia Association of Realtors with buyer’s interest and protection in mind. A builder is in full control of developing a home sales contract.

A contract serves to define the relationship and expectations for both the builder and the buyer. It states what the builder will do, when, how it will be accomplished, and the cost.

Not surprisingly, builders’ boilerplate contracts tend to be weighted in their favor – contract’s clauses tend to offer more protections for the builder and spell out consequences for the buyer if there is a contract default. But that doesn’t always mean that the builder is out to take unfair advantage of the buyer. The builder’s sale contract contains numerous schedule and budget hedges as protection against unforeseen contingencies.

Pro Tip: Make sure that your agent requests builder’s sample sales contract for preliminary review. Take your time to go over the contract and ask questions.  Your primary concern is whether you get what you paid for. If the contract seems excessively one-sided or inflexible, you must decide to accept or reject the builder’s position.


Consider an Independent Home Inspection

Just because your home is brand new, it doesn’t mean a home inspection is unnecessary. While it is good to show confidence in the builder, you should consider the importance of arranging independent inspections to be sure the job was done right.

Qualified and reputable builders welcome an independent inspections, because it affirms their work and protects them from potential liability.

In many cases, the builders of new construction homes will allow buyers to conduct an independent inspection and agree to repair code compliance issues, but do not include a provision that would allow the buyer to walk away and retain their deposit if they are not satisfied with the result of the inspection.

Questions to askDoes the buyer have the right to enter the premises during construction for the purpose of inspections? Can the buyer arrange inspections by independent inspectors?


Understand Builder’s Warranty

Avoiding repairs and maintenance is a major advantage of buying a new home. Buyers often expect perfection, but very few new construction homes escape all problems. It can take a year of living in a new home and experiencing all of the seasonal changes to put the home and all its new systems to the full test.

Question to ask: What type of a Builder’s Warranty a builder will offer and what company will perform needed repairs?


Understand the Cost of Options and Upgrades

It is a common practice, even with spec builders, to give buyers an opportunity to make personal choices on almost everything that goes into the home, such as flooring, wall finishes, countertops, appliances, patios and decks. The home purchase often includes a free consultation in the builder’s design center to help the buyer make their personal design choices.

But even a “free” upgrade package may require a substantial deposit or prepayment. Everything has a cost and, since options and upgrades involve individual tastes and special orders, the builder doesn’t want to be left with materials and choices that can’t be undone if the transactions doesn’t close or the buyer has a change of mind. In addition to an earnest money deposit, the buyer may be required to pay up front even for included upgrades.

Pro Tip: Make sure to ask about builder’s procedures for dealing with a last-minute design change or a shortage of materials. In some instances, when builders are unable to obtain exact materials described in the contract, they reserve the right to choose materials of similar design, pattern and color without buyer’s approval.


You’ll Need to be Patient

If you are not buying finished spec home, be prepared for a waiting period. In most cases, the contract on the purchase of new home will not have definite settlement date, so you’ll need a few contingency plans if you’re selling your current home or wanting to move in quickly.

The builder reserves the right to complete construction in a year or longer. And while the builder will likely give you a rough date for expected completion, delays can be caused by weather, the availability of building materials, unavailable subcontractors, and other circumstances beyond the control of the builder.


Be Sure to Budget for the Extras

Often times, when you purchase a resale home, a previous owner will leave behind certain appliances, curtain rods, closet shelving and blinds. Since a Model Home you’ve seen during your tour was staged by a professional designers with every detail in mind, it’s important to remember that your new construction home might not have everything you expect.

At the settlement, you will get a bare home with basic builder’s paint and no curtain rods, blinds, ceiling fans or chandeliers. While waiting for your home to be finished, make sure to set some money aside for those extras.

Pro Tip: Ask builder’s representative if they offer special deals and coupons for furniture, paint and blinds’ companies.


Always Conduct a Final Walk-Through

During a walk-through, the buyers, sales representative, construction superintendent, and your real estate agent do a detailed tour of the property and develop the punch list of everything that needs to be done before the closing.

Depending on the length of your punch list, you may walk through again to verify progress or completion of the work. If work remains, you may consider delaying the closing or negotiating a portion of the purchase price to be held in escrow until all punch list items have been completed. Never sign on the dotted line until all items are either resolved or addressed in writing. Your real estate agent should offer guidance on the process. b

uy new home

Bottom Line:

Deciding between an existing and new construction homes is all about preferences. Do you want to move in immediately or are you happy to wait so you can pick out every inch of your new place? While purchasing a new construction home brings its own challenges, a qualified real estate agent that is experienced in working with builders can do all the heavy lifting for you. Enjoy the process of picking out every little detail and making your home exactly what you want it to be. Buy new home in Vienna, VA with Natasha Lingle


The Benefits of a Builder’s Warranty: What You Need to Know

New Doesn’t Always Mean Perfect

Avoiding repairs and maintenance is a major reason for buying new homes. The buyers expect perfection, but very few new construction homes escape all problems in the first year. It can take a year of living in a new home and experiencing all of the seasonal changes to put the home and its systems to the full test. With the help of your real estate agent, make sure to check sales contract to see if the builder’s warranty was included.


What is Builder’s Warranty ?

Some new home warranties are supported by the builder, while others provide a third-party warranty that continues coverage even if the builder goes out of business before the warranty period expires. The warranty should set forth responsibilities for repairs and exact procedures to follow in case the buyer finds a covered defect.

It’s imperative to review the warranty meticulously, as it outlines the repair responsibilities and the precise procedures to address any covered defects. Following the warranty guidelines meticulously is paramount. For instance, opting for outside contractors to rectify covered issues might inadvertently void the warranty benefits.


What’s Covered Under Typical Builder’s Warranty

A typical 1/2/10 builder’s warranty covers materials and workmanship for one (1) year, systems such as plumbing and HVAC for two (2) years, and major structural defects for up to ten (10) years.

A builder’s warranty will typically exclude:

  • Damage due to the abuse, misuse, neglect, or failure to maintain adequate ventilation and humidity levels in the home, or failure by the homeowners’ association to provide maintenance.
  • Natural wear and tear and deterioration of construction materials within expected range, including warpage or shrinkage within industry standards due to weather conditions or soil movement or settling.
  • Damage caused by outsiders, natural events, or “acts of God”.
  • Damage caused by people hired to work on the property.
  • Housing costs and expenses if the owner must move out during repairs.
  • Consumer products, such as a refrigerator and dishwasher, which have manufacturer warranties.


Important, the initial home purchase contract should contain the builders’ warranty. A request for the buyer to sign a separate warranty document at closing, unless agreed to during the initial contract phase, may signal an attempt by the builder to narrow the scope of the warranty.


Your Realtor’s Role

A good real estate agent will admonish buyer-clients not to go on autopilot after closing and assume that everything is problem-free. Sometimes even a small defect can be a symptom of a bigger problem. For example: a few cracked floor tiles could signal upheaval in the underlying slab.

An agent will provide a valuable service to you by sending a reminder to do a walk-through and schedule an independent home inspection about 4–6 weeks before the warranty period ends. If the inspection turns up problems, the inspector’s report provides expert substantiation of the defect.


Bottom Line

Make sure your New Construction Contract of Purchase is contingent on the review of the Builders’ Warranty. If you are ready to start looking for your new construction home, please give me a call or text at (571) 455-0178 or email me at:


AUTHOR: Natasha Lingle is a full time real estate agent serving Vienna VA and Northern Virginia communities. She is an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) and Certified New–Home Construction Buyer Representative. If you are planning to buy a finished new construction home or would like to build fully custom home, you can rely on her knowledge. As your new home buyer agent, she will guide you through the steps and processes of purchase, construction, and customization. In addition, she will:

• explain characteristics of new homes and highlight the differences between custom and spec constructions;

• evaluate pros and cons of purchasing a new home versus an existing home;

• help you understand new-home construction sales contract;

• and explain such nuances as “builder’s warranty”.


10 Steps to Buying a Home: First Time Home Buyer’s Guide

A real yard… Closets bigger than your average microwave… The freedom to decorate however you wish please!  Making the switch from renting to owning is exhilarating, but many rookie home buyers find the process trickier to navigate than they expected. steps to buying a home.

This is why I’ve created this 10 Steps to Buying a Home Buyer’s check list. This list will help you sidestep common mistakes, such as paying too much interest or getting stuck with the wrong house. (Yep, it happens!)

To solidify your decision to purchase a home, first, please go over these benefits of home ownership.

Introduction: 7 Reasons to Buy A Home

  • Tax benefits:
    The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
  • Appreciation:
    Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The recent housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but even in the most recent 10 years, which included quite a few very bad years for housing, values are still up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
  • Equity:
    Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
  • Savings:
    Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
  • Predictability:
    Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
  • Freedom:
    The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
  • Stability:
    Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.


10 Steps to Buying a Home:

STEP : Figure Out Your Budget

Before taking a first step to buying a home, determine how much house you can afford and want to afford. Lenders look for a total debt load of no more than 43% of your gross monthly income (called the debt-to-income ratio). This figure includes your future mortgage and any other debts, such as a car loan, student loan, or revolving credit cards.

There are plenty of calculators on the web to help you determine what you can afford. If you’re pushing the limits, start reducing your debt-to-income ratio now. To get a reality check on what you may actually be spending every month, use this worksheet.

Lenders are happy to lend you as much as your debt load allows. But will that amount make you house poor? Ask yourself, how much house do I really want to afford?

STEP : Make a Down Payment Plan

Most conventional mortgages require a 20% down payment. If you can swing it, do it. You will avoid Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI – making your loan costs much less, and you’ll get a better interest rate.

If, however, you’re not quite able to save the full amount, there are many programs that can help. FHA offers loans with only a 3.5% down payment. But these programs require PMI, which will drive up your monthly payments.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides a list of nonprofit home buying programs for each state – this one is for State of Virginia. Also check with credit unions; and your employer might even have an assistance program.

The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) offers loan programs tailored for first-time home buyers as well as homeowners who want to buy in Areas of Economic Opportunity.

As you’re planning your savings strategy, keep in mind that banks like you to “season” your money. That is, they like to see that you’ve had stable funds in your account for 60 to 90 days before applying for a loan. Don’t worry: You can still use a financial gift from a family member or bonus received near the time you buy.

Don’t forget about closing costs!

Closing costs are fees paid at closing and usually total 2% of the final sale price.

To learn more about closing costs and the fees that will be included in your final closing disclosure when purchasing in Northern Virginia, please click HERE.


STEP : Make A List of Priorities

What’s most important in your new home? Proximity to work? A big backyard? An open floor plan? Being on a quiet street? Highly rated schools? Being near the Metro? Or maybe you are deciding between resale and new construction home?

You’ll make a much better decision on what home to buy if you focus on your priorities. If it’s a joint decision, now is the time to work out any differences to avoid frustration and wasted time. Perhaps most important: Know what trade-offs you’re willing to make.


STEP : Get Pre-Approved for Your Loan

Majority of sellers is Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun Counties and Washington DC, will not accept offers from buyers who are not pre-approved for a loan. Pre-approval shows that the buyers have the financial resources available to make good on their offer.

Select a lender and apply for pre-approval. Your lender will check your credit and ask for all of your financial documents: tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, credit card statements, student and auto loans, etc.—to accurately assess your financial situation.

Keep in mind that just because you’re pre-approved for a certain amount, it doesn’t mean you can actually afford that amount. Prepare your own monthly budget to figure out what you’ll be comfortable paying.

Once you’re pre-approved, don’t make any big purchases or life changes, such as quitting your job or buying a car, that could negatively affect your credit score.

STEP : Start Shopping for Your New Home

If you’re like most home buyers, you’re browsing homes for sale day and night on the Internet. Make sure to take advantage of my MLS Advanced Property Search available on my website – the properties listed, come directly from the local MRIS and have the most up to date information.

In addition, I will send you a hot list of attractive properties that haven’t hit the market yet. That way you’ll get a jump on other buyers before the new listings are advertised or held open. If you locate a “must see” property, please feel free to schedule a private showing with me.

As your agent, I will be targeting homes that meet your priorities in your price range. This way you won’t be wasting time looking at homes you can’t afford. Take as much time and tour as many homes as you need to find the right one.

Important note: the sellers pay all real estate commissions in a home sale, so working with me won’t cost you a thing!


STEP : Make an Offer on a Home

Before submitting an offer, I will make sure to inquire information on a current status of the property and request instructions on offer submission.

Anticipate three common scenarios:

1) sellers will have offer-review date deadline;

2) the sellers will be open to any offers that come in and will review them as they come; or

3) the sellers have an offer/offers in hand. In a competitive conditions, most sellers will have offer-review date. For example, if the house goes on the market on Thursday, the offer deadline date might fall on Monday night; this will allow as many interested buyers as possible to see a home in person and prepare an offer. Steps to buying a home.

When you’re ready, taking into consideration the property’s status, I will help you determine how much to offer and which contingencies to include. In addition, I will provide a comparative market analysis (CMA). A CMA Report will show the list and final sale prices for similar homes that recently sold in that area.

The traditional Offer Package in Northern Virginia, consists of:

  • Residential Sales Contract.
  • Conventional, FHA or VA Financing and Appraisal Contingency Addendum.
  • Home Inspection and Radon Testing Contingency.
  • Buyer’s Pre-Approval Letter.
  • Earnest Money Deposit (a personal check in the amount of 1% of the property’s sales price).

STEP : Go Into Escrow

Once you and the sellers agree on all the terms of the offer, the contract will become Ratified, and you’ll enter the escrow – it will take 30 to 45 days from day of ratification to settlement. During this time, you’ll be in very close communication with your agent, lender, and escrow agency – also known as title company.

Follow instructions of your lender and title company, apply for a mortgage right away, and submit requested paperwork promptly.


STEP : Get a Home Inspection

Once your offer is accepted, and a contract to purchase a home is ratified, it’s time to schedule a Home Inspection.

Do you need a Home Inspection? I always recommend to my buyers to inspect the property. The Home Inspection will not only allow you to make sure that the house you are buying has fewer defects as possible, but will also give you an opportunity to renegotiate the price offered for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or even, in some cases, walk away from the deal. As your agent, I will advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.


STEP : Do a Final Walk-Through

Do a final walk-through of your new home to make sure the home is in the shape you and the seller have agreed upon. New Pre-Settlement Access to the Property Law in Virginia, allows buyers to conduct multiple walk-through inspections for a period of seven days prior to Closing.


STEP Settlement

This is a final step of home purchasing process. You will arrive to the title company’s office to sign the documents.

Please make sure to bring to closing:

  • Your photo ID
  • Checkbook
  • Certified or cashier’s check for the balance of your down payment plus estimated closing costs.

You will get the keys at the settlement table.

And don’t forget to transfer utilities to your name on the day of closing to ensure uninterrupted services.

That’s it. Congratulations!  Steps to buying a home. Buy your home with Vienna VA realtor.

The Downside of Submitting Multiple Offers: A Cautionary Tale for Homebuyers


In recent years, prospective home buyers have faced daunting challenges in the real estate market characterized by low inventory levels and intense competition. The urgency to secure a home quickly can lead some buyers to consider a risky strategy – submitting multiple offers on different properties simultaneously. However, a real-life scenario serves as a stark reminder of the substantial risks involved in this approach.

The Scenario:

Consider a couple, under pressure from the demands of personal family matters, searching for their ideal home. They have already submitted several offers on various properties, only to face repeated disappointment as they lost out to competing buyers. Frustrated and eager to finally secure a home, they decide to get more aggressive with their approach.

During a weekend of house-hunting, they identify three potential homes that could meet their needs. With the pressure mounting, the couple’s realtor (not me!) drafted three offers, each devoid of contingencies, and accompanied by a substantial $10,000 Earnest Money Deposit (EMD).  All three offers were submitted on the same day in an attempt to improve their odds.

The Unraveling:

The roller coaster of events began when the first offer was astonishingly accepted on the same day.

The following day brought another shocking development as the second offer was also accepted. At this point, the buyers found themselves bound by contracts for two different properties, each requiring a substantial $10,000 EMD, and with seemingly no way out.  Now what?


The Pitfalls of Multiple Offers – Potential Legal and Financial Implications to the Buyers:

Submitting multiple offers on different properties without contingencies may lead to buyers entering into contracts for more than one property, potentially exposing them to a range of legal and financial complications. Here are some potential consequences they may face:

  1. Legal disputes: The buyer’s failure to perform under the sales contract could lead to a legal action by the sellers. The sellers may seek damages, which could include keeping the earnest money deposit, suing for specific performance (forcing the buyers to purchase the property), or pursuing other remedies available under the contract.
  2. Loss of earnest money deposit: In many real estate contracts, if the buyer breaches the contract without a valid reason, they may forfeit their earnest money deposit. This can be a substantial financial loss.
  3. Financial strain: Being under contract for two properties simultaneously without contingencies can put a severe financial strain on the buyers. They may need to secure financing for both properties and may struggle with the financial burden of carrying two mortgages or lease agreements.
  4. Potential for default: If the buyers cannot secure financing for both properties or fulfill their contractual obligations, they could be at risk of defaulting on the contracts, which could lead to further legal consequences and potential foreclosure.
  5. Difficulty securing future loans: A breach of contract can negatively impact a buyer’s credit and make it challenging to secure financing for future real estate purchases



In a challenging real estate landscape, the temptation to submit multiple offers on different properties can be strong. However, the real-life scenario we’ve examined underscores the substantial risks and potential legal and financial consequences associated with this strategy.

Submitting multiple offers on different homes simultaneously, while not illegal, also raises ethical concerns – this practice can create confusion for sellers and potentially cause them to lose out on other genuine buyers.

Additionally, it puts buyers in a dangerous situation where they could be locked under contract for more than one property, leading to legal and financial complications. Therefore, while the desire to secure a dream property swiftly is understandable, it is far wiser to proceed with caution, making well-informed, ethical choices that protect all parties involved and ensure a smoother and more secure real estate transaction.


This article serves as general information and does not constitute legal advice. Real estate transactions involve complex legal and financial aspects, which can vary based on individual circumstances. Always seek professional guidance for making informed decisions in real estate matters.



5 Worst Returns on Your Home Renovations Dollars

Maximizing Your Home Renovation Investment: Avoiding the Pitfalls

There are many articles on the Internet about the home renovations that offer the best return on your hard-earned, but few shed light on projects that drain your finances without offering substantial returns. Today, let’s discuss the less glamorous side of renovations.

First and Foremost: Personalization Has Limits

Undoubtedly, making your house feel like home is important. However, if you foresee selling in the near future due to relocation, upgrading, or downsizing, it’s wise to exercise restraint. While personal touches can add charm, overwhelming customization might deter potential buyers. Remember, there’s a sweet spot between bland conformity and an over-the-top design reminiscent of a 1970s disco inferno. Most buyers appreciate a degree of personalization, but it’s essential to strike a balance that maintains broad appeal.

Renovation Loss Leaders By the Numbers

Before diving into a major renovation, consider its potential return on investment (ROI).

Remodeling Magazine has been tracking the average costs of the 23 most popular projects since 2002 and the value they retained at sale.  While upscale renovations like lavish bathroom remodels or extravagant kitchen upgrades may seem appealing, they often fall short in terms of ROI. You might be surprised at these projects Remodeling Magazine turned up as the worst investments, based on national averages:

1. Upscale Primary Suite Addition. Cost: $325,504. Return: $73,875 (22.5%)

The Upscale Primary Suite Addition, boasting extravagant features such as spacious sleeping and lounging areas, a lavish bathroom with premium amenities, and luxurious finishes throughout, offers a paltry return on investment at just 22.5%. Despite its opulence, the financial gains may not justify the hefty price tag.


2. Upscale Major Kitchen Remodel. Cost: $154,483. Return: $48,913 (31.7%)

While the allure of gourmet appliances and luxurious finishes may be tempting, the reality is that such renovations often yield a modest return on investment. With high initial costs, limited market appeal, changing design trends, and the risk of overimprovement, the ROI of an upscale kitchen remodel averages just 31%. While it may enhance your lifestyle, it’s essential to weigh the costs against potential returns and consider the preferences of future buyers before diving into a lavish kitchen renovation.


3. Upscale Bathroom Remodel. Cost: $76,827. Return: $28,203 (36.7%)

Despite the fact that a mid-range minor kitchen remodel will return about 85.7 percent of its value, an upscale major remodel doesn’t even come close. It’s no secret that luxury comes at a cost. Upscale bathroom remodels involve top-of-the-line materials, exquisite finishes, and custom features that can significantly inflate your renovation budget. Here’s the kicker—while your new bathroom might feel like a slice of paradise, its appeal might not translate to prospective buyers when it’s time to sell. Not everyone is willing to shell out extra for those gold-plated fixtures or heated floors. Design trends come and go, but a timeless bathroom design withstands the test of time. Investing in features that are fashionable today but might feel outdated tomorrow could impact your ROI down the line. Ever heard of overimproving? It’s a real concern in the world of renovations. Pouring money into a bathroom that exceeds the expectations of your neighborhood could leave you with a hefty bill and a lukewarm reception from potential buyers.

4. Deck Addition | Composite. Cost: $23,430. Return: $9,325 (39.8%)

An average return on investment of only 39% for a composite deck addition may seem surprising, but several factors contribute to this lower ROI. The high initial cost of composite materials, coupled with variable market perceptions, contribute to this lower ROI. It’s crucial for homeowners to weigh the benefits against the costs and consider local market dynamics before diving into such a project.

5. Major Kitchen Remodel | Midrange. Cost: $77,939. Return: $32,574 (41.8%)

Ever wondered why the return on investment for a midrange major kitchen remodel hovers around 41.8%? Despite being a substantial renovation, several factors contribute to this seemingly modest ROI. The costs associated with upgrading appliances, cabinetry, countertops, and flooring can quickly add up, impacting the overall return. Additionally, the perceived value of the improvements may not align with buyers’ expectations, especially if similar homes in the neighborhood feature standard kitchens. Changing design trends and the risk of overimprovement further complicate matters, potentially diminishing the kitchen’s appeal and resale value. In essence, while a midrange kitchen remodel can enhance a home’s functionality and aesthetics, homeowners should carefully evaluate the costs and potential returns before embarking on such a project.



When embarking on home renovations, prioritize projects that strike a balance between personalization and broad appeal. Instead of chasing extravagant upgrades, opt for cost-effective improvements that maximize ROI. By avoiding renovation pitfalls, you can enhance your home’s value without emptying your pockets.


Also read: “What Home Renovations Will Get You the Most Bang for Your Buck?”

The Crucial Role of Feasibility Study Contingency When Buying Land in Northern Virginia


Buying land or a lot can be an exciting and potentially rewarding investment. Whether you plan to build your dream new construction home or hold it as an investment, the decision to purchase land is not one to be taken lightly. One critical step in the land-buying process that often goes overlooked is the feasibility study contingency. In this article, we’ll delve into why a feasibility study contingency is crucial when purchasing land and how it can protect your investment.


Understanding the Feasibility Study

A feasibility study is an in-depth analysis of the property’s potential uses and limitations. It provides prospective buyers with valuable information that can help them make an informed decision. The feasibility study typically covers various aspects of the property, including:

  1. Zoning and Regulations: Local zoning ordinances and regulations can significantly impact how the land can be used. A feasibility study will investigate the current zoning of the property and any potential changes that might affect your plans.
  2. Environmental Considerations: The study will assess environmental factors such as soil quality, potential contamination, flood zones, and any other environmental restrictions that may affect your development plans.
  3. Utility Availability: It’s essential to determine the availability of utilities like water, sewage, electricity, and gas on the property. The feasibility study will help identify any costly infrastructure requirements.
  4. Land Topography: The topography of the land can influence the cost and feasibility of construction. Steep slopes, for example, may require costly grading or engineering solutions.
  5. Cost Estimates: Feasibility studies often provide cost estimates for development, including construction costs, permits, and any required site improvements.


Why Feasibility Study Contingency is Needed

Now that we’ve covered what a feasibility study entails, let’s explore why it’s essential to include a feasibility study contingency in your land purchase agreement:

  1. Risk Mitigation: Investing in land carries inherent risks, and a feasibility study helps you identify and mitigate these risks. If the study reveals unforeseen issues that would make your project unfeasible or cost-prohibitive, the contingency allows you to back out of the deal without financial repercussions.
  2. Informed Decision-Making: A feasibility study equips you with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision. Without it, you might discover costly obstacles or limitations after the purchase, leading to financial losses and frustration.
  3. Negotiating Power: Having the results of a feasibility study gives you leverage in negotiations. If the study uncovers significant challenges, you can use this information to renegotiate the purchase price or terms.
  4. Financing Approval: Lenders often require a feasibility study before approving a loan for land acquisition and development. Including a contingency allows you to secure financing with confidence, knowing that potential obstacles have been identified and addressed.
  5. Protecting Your Investment: Buying land is a substantial investment. A feasibility study contingency ensures that you protect your investment by minimizing risks and unexpected costs.

In Conclusion:

In the world of real estate, knowledge is power. When buying land or a lot, a feasibility study contingency is your shield against unforeseen challenges and financial pitfalls. It empowers you to make informed decisions, negotiate effectively, secure financing, and ultimately protect your investment. Remember, the cost of a feasibility study is a small price to pay for the peace of mind and financial security it can provide in the long run. So, before you embark on your land-buying journey, make sure to include this critical contingency in your purchase agreement. Your future self will thank you for it.



8 Benefits of Buying a New Construction Home

The advantage of buying a new construction home, whether spec or custom, instead of an existing one is somewhat like deciding between a new and used car. The new car comes with the buyer’s choice of features, upgrades, and colors, plus that distinctive “new car” smell. The used car, on the other hand, reflects the previous owner’s tastes and probably has some worn upholstery and perhaps a dent in the side from a fender-bender accident. The new car may cost a bit more, but it is more fuel-efficient, comes with a warranty, and it looks good! If you have the money, which would you choose?

Of course, buying a new construction home involves more choices and a much bigger financial commitment, but, as the preceding discussion of market trends shows, new-home buyers are willing to pay for the advantages of a new home:

Everything is New:

From the foundation to the rooftop, every aspect of a new construction home gleams with freshness. There’s an unparalleled satisfaction in knowing that you’re the first to inhabit every corner of your dwelling. Every element of the homeis brand new, clean, and in working order.

Lower Maintenance & Repair Costs:

While the initial cost of purchasing a new construction home may seem higher than that of a resale property, the long-term financial benefits often outweigh the upfront investment. With lower maintenance costs in the initial years of ownership, new construction home owners can bypass the unforeseen expenses that often accompany older properties. This financial foresight translates into significant potential savings over time, allowing home owners to allocate resources towards other endeavors with peace of mind.

Home Warranty:

One of the most reassuring aspects of investing in a new construction home is the comprehensive builder’s warranty coverage that accompanies it. From the structural integrity of the home to the functionality of individual appliances and mechanical systems, buyers can rest assured knowing that their investment is protected by a robust warranty package. This layer of security not only instills confidence in the quality of craftsmanship but also provides homeowners with the peace of mind to fully immerse themselves in the joys of homeownership.

Energy Efficiency:

New construction homes prioritize energy efficiency to deliver tangible benefits to home owners. With state-of-the-art heating and cooling systems and innovative building materials, these homes are designed to minimize energy consumption and maximize savings on utility bills. By focusing on energy efficiency, home owners can enjoy increased comfort and lower operating costs without compromising on quality or convenience.

New Wiring:

No more settling for inconveniently placed outlets or insufficient wiring. New construction homes allow buyers to tailor wiring for phones, media, and electrical access according to their specific needs and preferences.

Individual Choices:

One of the most enticing aspects of purchasing a new construction home lies in the unparalleled level of customization it offers. From selecting finishes that reflect your personal style to choosing a floor plan that aligns with your lifestyle, the possibilities for personalization are endless.

No haggling over conditions and repairs:

Skip the back-and-forth negotiations over repairs and conditions. With a new construction home, a thorough walk-through before closing ensures that any necessary touch-ups are swiftly addressed by the builder.


Unlike their existing counterparts, new construction homes offer a level of flexibility that transcends traditional boundaries. Whether it’s the size, layout, or location of the home, buyers have the freedom to tailor every aspect of their living space to suit their individual preferences and requirements. From spacious open-concept designs to cozy nooks tailored for relaxation, new construction homes redefine the notion of flexibility, allowing homeowners to create a living environment that truly embodies their vision of the ideal home.

In essence, the decision to invest in a new construction home transcends mere aesthetics; it represents a conscious choice to embrace a lifestyle defined by modernity, customization, and long-term value. From the promise of freshness to the security of warranties and the freedom of customization, new construction homes offer a myriad of advantages that resonate with today’s discerning homebuyers. As the epitome of contemporary living, these homes stand as a testament to the enduring appeal of innovation, craftsmanship, and the relentless pursuit of excellence in homeownership.

To learn more about the process of buying a new construction homes, please visit my blog page “New Construction Homes.

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Buyer’s Market vs Seller’s Market

Buyers vs. Seller’s Markets – Strategies for Buying & Selling a Home

Buy in the off-season, sell in the Spring or Summer is the mantra, but is it always accurate? When planning to buy and sell a home, it’s important to know about real estate market condition in your area. In this article, I’ll outline the differences between a buyer’s and a seller’s market, and the ways you can use this information to your advantage.


What is a Buyer’s Market vs Seller’s Market?

Here are a short definitions.

A buyer’s market occurs when the supply (available homes for sale) exceeds demand (the number of buyers seeking to purchase homes).
A seller’s market occurs when demand exceeds supply, or there are more buyers seeking to purchase homes than there are available homes on the market.


How to determine if my local area is in Buyer’s or Seller’s Market?

The way to determine a type of housing market is to calculate the absorption rate. To do this, we’ll use a few market stats: 1) a number of active homes listed in your local area, 2) a specific time frame (for most accurate stats we’ll use 180 days), and 3) a number of homes sold within that time frame.

Let’s walk you through an example.

Area:  Vienna, VA. Type of properties: Single Family Homes.

The Numbers:

Timeframe: 180 days

Number of homes sold: 300

Number of active homes listed: 101

The Math:

Calculating the rate at which homes are selling:

Timeframe/Number of Sold Homes= Rate of Home Sales

180/101= 0.6

The rate of home sales is the amount of time it takes one house to sell. So, in this case, one home is sold every 0.6 days.

Absorption Rate:

Number of active homes listed x Rate of Home Sales= Absorption Rate

101 x 0.6 = 60.6

This means that the absorption rate for Vienna, VA is every 60.6 days, or about 2 months.

In plain English, this means that the current single family homes inventory will be gone in 2 months. A healthy (or balanced) market takes about five to seven months to absorb the current active listings.

As you may have already guessed, the calculations that we did above indicate that Vienna, VA would be in a Seller’s Market.


Seller’s Market

A seller’s market happens when there is not enough housing supply to support the demand for houses. Low supply and high demand mean housing prices skyrocket and bidding wars occur.


Selling in a Seller’s Market

When people see home values on the rise, many start listing their homes for sale. It’s a fantastic time for you to sell your home during a Seller’s Market. Usually the buyers offer above asking price and remove all or most of the contingencies. You as a seller, could secure a sale price that’s higher than your listing price and receive a clean contract without contingencies, such as Home Inspection or Appraisal.


Buying in a Seller’s Market

Buying in a seller’s market is not easy.

You have to stay on top of the housing inventory in case a home you like comes on the market, and you’ve got to be ready to pounce. Here are a couple of strategies to use when buying in a seller’s market.


Get Pre-qualified

One of the best things you can do when you go to make an offer is have a pre-qualification letter from your lender. A pre-qualification letter adds credibility to your offer and makes it more attractive to a seller because it shows a lower probability of backing out of the sale due to lack of funding.

To get prequalified, talk to your lender. It’s often as simple as a phone call and answering a few questions. Don’t have a lender? Talk to your real estate agent. They’ll have one that they have used in the past with great success.


Stay on Top of the Market

Having your real estate agent on top of things is great, but you’ll want to be on top of the market as well. If you see a house that looks intriguing and is within your budget, have your real estate agent schedule a walk-through.

You’ll have to be quick on your feet with an offer if you really want the house you find, so scheduling a walkthrough of your favorite homes as they pop on the market is a good idea.


Buyer’s Market

A buyer’s market happens when the absorption rate is more than seven months. That means that the number of homes available for sale greater exceeds the number of buyers looking to buy.


Buying in a Buyer’s Market

This is great news for buyers – more homes to choose from, lower prices, flexible settlement, and you might be able to buy a great home for a lower cost than you would in a seller’s market.

You can take your time and really get to know a property before buying, and can usually get a great deal on real estate.


Real Estate is Local

Buyers and Seller’s markets can be seasonal, so you’ll want to pay attention to your local areas stats. For example, in Northern Virginia, the busiest time of the year is between March and August. This busy season does not always mean it’s a seller’s market, but it does mean if you want to sell your home, that’s the season to do it in.


Quick Recap

How well you buy or sell your home is dependent upon the market you are currently in. Just because the news says the nation is in one market doesn’t mean you are in the same predicament.

You can figure out which kind of market you are in by calculating the absorption rate or talking to your real estate agent.

The strategy you use to buy or sell your house is also dependent on the market you are in and your real estate agent. Choose your real estate agent wisely and stick to these strategies, and you’ll be able to buy or sell your house in any market. Vienna VA Real Estate market – are we in buyer’s or seller’s market right now?