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Financing Can be an Issue

As balance is always tough to find in the real estate market.  It is similar with financing.  Either financing is too easy, and everyone can get a loan.  Or, like now and the recent past, politicians and others have created much more regulation in regards to the home loan process.  Home buyers are having to painstakingly validate every dollar in their bank accounts.  Lenders want all “i”s dotted and all “t”s crossed.  There is nothing wrong with this.  It is good to have some level of oversight, but the lack of balance from year to year is amusing.

Buyers have to have a trusted lender in their corner along with their trusted Realtor.  As many home buyers are finding, a pre-approval may not be worth the paper it’s written on.  And this time not because of un-reputable lenders.  It’s because of things they may not have anticipated, like: investor ratios, reserve funds, delinquency rates, and more.

Most first time home buyers in our area: Arlington, Tysons Corner, or even areas like Reston, who are looking to buy real estate, end up focusing on buying a condo. Condos in Northern Virginia are priced lower than town homes or single family homes.  They also are often located in attractive or appealing areas that have good amenities and features such as easy access to shopping, roads, other avenues of transportation, and other public amenities.  A buyer may be pre-approved by a lender, but just because they are pre-approved, doesn’t mean that the condo building or community will get the green light to keep the process rolling.

Many buildings or condo communities in Northern Virginia were built, or selling, at a time when developers didn’t care about they type of financing.  These condo sellers and developers were likely more focused on their profit and exit strategy vs. the trouble that could befall these condo communities if extra steps weren’t taken to maintain the financing options for potential buyers and owners.  This combined with the lack of concern for existing communities, has added up to equal many communities in hot areas like Tysons Corner (example = Gates of McLean), and Arlington (example = The Phoenix) who are no longer FHA approved.  This can create a big challenge for some of these northern virginia first time buyers, as many don’t have extensive savings for a big down payment to work with a different type of financing.

Fortunately, I’m seeing some evidence that lenders are starting to get creative again.  This weekend I visited a condo project in DC that a client is interested in, and there I was told that their preferred lenders were offering some great financing deals with Potomac Mortgage Group and BB&T Mortgage, at 95% LTV and even 100% LTV respectively.  So even though I’m sure buyers will have to be just as diligent with their bank statements and pay stubs, and rationalizing every dollar in their accounts – it’s nice to see that the lenders are working hard to give buyers options.

Home buying Creativity

Lenders get creative for Northern Virginia Home Buyers

So if you’re considering buying a home in Northern Virginia, and in particular in any of the areas mentioned above: Tysons Corner, Arlington, or Reston – and surrounding areas, I’d love to be your trusted advisor in real estate.  We make sure to have great relationships with our clients, and also the great vendors we work with, such as loan officers, home inspectors, and more.  Jeff Wu

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Tebow Bill

Tebow Bill and Sports

Tebow Bill + Tysons Corner

Tebow Bill

Since I love sports, anything involving sports in the Tysons Corner area gets my attention. The Tebow Bill has caused a lot of controversy, and was passed the House of Delegates and was then narrowly denied by the Senate Health and Education Committee.

 

Sponsored by Del. Robert Bell (R-Dist.58) House Bill 1442 would have allowed Virginia students who are home-schooled to be eligible to participate in public school sports and various other extracurricular activities. It was given the name “Tebow Bill” in honor of NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who was a home-schooled student who played for his local high school in Florida.

Currently, students who are home-schooled are generally not eligible to participate in most local public school activities like sports, band, clubs and academic classes. In Virginia alone, there are over 32,000 home-schooled children, of which approximately 8,000 are at the high school level.

Parents on both sides of the debate have good points and votes were split as well. Tysons Corner area supporters feel they should have a choice; they pay taxes just as the parents of students who attend public school. Those opposed fear there would always be a certain level of bias and consider it unfair and think it might encourage legal problems.

 

Legally, access to public school activities is a state-granted privilege, not a right. There are ten states that currently allow equal access under the individual school districts and athletic agencies with requirements differing from state to state. Usually, the home-schooled student must meet the same criteria as the non-home-schooled student with verification of scores, grades and regular academic reports. Virginia schools that provide services to home-schooled students are often given partial funding.

In the Tysons Corner area, we have such excellent sports activities for our kids that it is easy to see both sides. Over the years, similar bills have failed, and judging by the people who came out to be heard by the committee, I doubt the issue is dead.

To learn more about the benefits of living in the Tysons Corner area, visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/tysons/.

I am Jeff Wu and I can assist you with all of your real estate needs. Whether you are relocating to the futuristic city and growing business district of Tysons Corner, or if you already live here and are selling your house or purchasing your new dream home in Tysons Corner, McLean, or Vienna, please contact me at Agent Knows Homes.

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2013 Inauguration

2013-PresInaugEvery four years I am reminded of how amazing it is to live in Tysons Corner, so close to the D.C. area. Tysons Corner’s close proximity to Washington D.C. gives us access not only to some pretty amazing places, but also to all the great historical events.

The 2013 inauguration was another historic first, and we were close enough to participate in the preparations as well as to be part of the celebrations. Of course, the traffic increased, the Metro schedules changed, some places were closed, the security was tight, and there were plenty of inconveniences, but it is amazing to be able to take part in this kind of history every four years.

People living anywhere in the country who were not able to attend or opted to stay home had a way to participate using an app available for their tablet or smart phone, which was another first. The app made available the schedule of events with maps showing how the events would unfold and how to access various services. It also provided links to all the social networking feeds, videos, photos, and even a live feed of the events; there was just something very special about the electricity in the atmosphere around here that you can’t experience any other way.

Some Tysons Corner residents opted to volunteer on Saturday for the National Day of Service. The opportunity to participate in a volunteer capacity were available for all of the Northern Virginia area. You could simply locate the closest opportunity through the app and send an RSVP.

Our area law enforcement agencies joined forces to contribute to the security at the capitol, sending officers to help police the crowds. Extra officers were posted to monitor Metro stations and participate in monitoring or tactical maneuvers. Security checks in the capitol were extremely stringent, and many of the items that people normally bring to watch a parade, such as backpacks, thermoses, and lawn chairs were banned this year.

Some fortunate locals attended official or even unofficial area events on inauguration night. The Nordstrom store in Tysons Corner even helped people get ready for the big event! Customers were able to walk in and get their shirts pressed, their shoes shined, and could even obtain help with their bow ties if they didn’t know how to tie them! Of course, this past weekend was great for all the Tysons Corner area businesses too, with the influx of over one hundred thousand non-local people who made the trip. Now things have finally started to wind down and get back to normal, but even so, there is still a bit of excitement lingering in the air in anticipation of the next event.

To learn more about the benefits of living in Tysons Corner, visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/tysons/.

I am Jeff Wu and I can assist you with all of your real estate needs. Whether you are relocating to the futuristic city and growing business district of Tysons Corner, or if you already live here and are selling your house or purchasing your new dream home in Tysons Corner, McLean, or Vienna, please contact me at Agent Knows Homes.

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2015 World Police & Fire Games

2015-CPAFIn 1985, the non-profit organization Californian Police Athletics Federation World Police & Fire Games Federation established the World Police & Fire Games which has since become a monumental event. Held every two years, this international competition will be hosted by Fairfax County in 2015.

Police officers, firefighters, and customs and correction officers from around the world will come together in the Tysons Corner area to compete in over 65 sporting events and demonstrate their athletic excellence in everything from angling to wrist wrestling and basketball to weight lifting.

The games continue to grow in popularity, and to increase tourism, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors plans to petition the Virginia DMV to create special license plates in honor of this event. The plates will generate publicity for the games and increase tourism for the area before the event and long after the games are held. It is a way to show support for the games and pride in the Tysons Corner area as well as our officers and firefighters at a relatively low cost. The actual charge for the plate is supposed to be around $15, but according to estimates, they will create revenue in excess of $250,000 dollars each year. Visit Fairfax will be creating a design for the plates and then collect the pre-paid applications for production.

This exciting event is the largest multi-sport event in the world; more than fifteen thousand athletes will be coming to our area from over seventy countries. Hosting this event will be like hosting the Olympics. All the schedules are already posted to the website, and if you are a sports enthusiast, start planning now so you don’t miss a single event.

In addition to the regular sporting events, special Firefighter and Police competitions will be held including the stair race, muster, ultimate firefighter as well as the biathlon, SWAT, motorcycle street, police action pistol, pistol police combat, pistol center fire, and police service dogs events. This will be a rare opportunity to witness some incredible feats of skill and see how accomplished and disciplined our officers and firefighters really are.

To learn more about the benefits of living in the Tysons Corner area, visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/tysons/.

I am Jeff Wu and I can assist you with all of your real estate needs. Whether you are relocating to the futuristic city and growing business district of Tysons Corner, or if you already live here and are selling your house or purchasing your new dream home in Tysons Corner, McLean, or Vienna, please contact me at Agent Knows Homes.

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Safe Schools Survey

SafeSchoolsParents in the Tysons Corner area, as well as all over the country, have been struggling to find ways to make our schools a safe place, and on the heels of the Sandy Hook school shooting– these discussions have become emotionally charged debates.

The Fairfax Teacher’s Union has taken a reasonable approach by launching a survey on school safety, specifically for the teachers. The union wants members to provide their opinion on what a safe school looks like and if guns should play a part in preventing another tragedy. Personalities and politicians in Tysons Corner and beyond have broadcast their opinions across the news media, but the voices of the teachers need to be heard.

The teachers are the most qualified to answer many of the questions because they are actually in the schools with the children and the survey will cover several hot topics, including questions on guns in school, extra security, what about school safety is working, and what is not. One particularly intense debate in Tysons Corner, and all across the country, questions if teachers (or other designated personal) should be armed and trained in defense in order to stop potential aggressors.

Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-13th) of Prince William County has filed a bill that will require every school board in the state to do just that. The bill proposes designating at least one or more qualified persons for each district who, after approval of the school board, would be permitted to carry a concealed handgun while on school property. According to the bill, people to be considered for approval would include not only teachers, but also volunteers and retired law enforcement officers, all of whom would receive training and become certified by the Virginia Center for School Safety or the National Rifle Association.

Several educators at various levels have spoken out against the idea and hope for other solutions claiming that funding for (non-gun carrying) support staff has been inadequate or has disappeared.

Although all school security has been increased, more permanent prevention measures need to be in place to address every possible security issue and this survey should help. We’ll all be anxious to know if the results of the survey, which closes on the 16th, will offer any new ideas.

To learn more about the benefits of living in Tysons Corner, visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/tysons/.

I am Jeff Wu and I can assist you with all of your real estate needs. Whether you are relocating to the futuristic city and growing business district of Tysons Corner, or if you already live here and are selling your house or purchasing your new dream home in Tysons Corner, McLean, or Vienna, please contact me at Agent Knows Homes.

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Welcome to 2013!

2013Happy New Year Tysons Corner! At the start of every year, many people start out by making resolutions, usually to eat a healthier diet, save more money, get more exercise, maybe to shed some of the less desirable habits they have acquired, or to develop some new and better ones. Regardless of the things you are resolved to change in your life this year–make the glass half full by recognizing all the great things that have occurred in our area in 2012 and the numerous good things to come throughout the year.

During 2012, we all became aware of or involved in several projects such as the Salona Park development project–intended to preserve the historic significance of Salona, restore the meadow on Dolley Madison Boulevard, create spaces for a dog park and a combination playground and picnic area, as well as athletic fields with community support.

Tysons Tower is going to be an amazing addition to the community and, upon completion, will serve as regional headquarters for many of the world’s most prestigious firms. One such firm is Intelsat, which made the decision tomove their U.S. headquarters to Tysons Corner early in the year. This, along with the plans of several other companies, will eventually be a boom to the job market in our area.

More than 200,000 jobs will be coming to the area, and that, along with the completion of the Metro, will make Tysons Corner the place people want to be in 2013 and beyond. Of course there has been and will continue to be some inconvenience as the projects near completion and the newcomers settle in, but it will all be worth it. There will be new challenges and adjustments, but half the fun is in the preparation, so what an exciting new year we will have!

What was already a great area has been made into an energetic, sustainable family and singles-friendly urban oasis…just the kind of place to make your permanent home if you don’t already live here.

To learn more about the benefits of living in the Tysons Corner area, visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/tysons/.

I am Jeff Wu and I can assist you with all of your real estate needs. Whether you are relocating to the futuristic city and growing business district of Tysons Corner, or if you already live here and are selling your house or purchasing your new dream home in Tysons Corner, McLean, or Vienna, please contact me at Agent Knows Homes.

 

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Tysons Corner SFHs YTD Sales = Focus: Tysons Green

Prime Tyson’s Corner community feeds to Westbriar Elementary school

Average List Price of $654,750

Average Sold Price of $651,800

Average Days on Market is 32 Days

2012 YTD Sales in Tysons Green (01/01/12-12/28/12)

YTD Sales Report in Tysons Green

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Music In McLean

MusicInMcLeanNovember and December are such busy months and not just in the Tysons Corner  area. Usually toward the end of December, there is a bit of a let-down. Now that the holiday festivities are over and the children are still home from school– it is the perfect time to take in a local concert.

The Tysons Corner  area boasts some of the best musical events in Virginia. On Saturday, December 29, a special performance will be held at the Lewinsville Presbyterian Church , which is one of McLean’s oldest, dating back to before the Civil War, when it was just a simple country church.

Talented musicians Anna Odell on the harp and LeeLee Hunter on guitar will perform. The concert and accompanying silent auction will benefit Mobile Music Now, Inc.-a non-profit organization whose altruistic goal is to bring the gift of music to communities through performances and programs for all ages.

Music is a great way to de-stress, especially at this time of the year, to offer exposure to great music and live musical performances. In addition to public concerts, the Mobile Music Now, Inc. ensemble offers classroom tutorials and after-school programs as well. Their programs are entertaining, vibrant and exciting in addition to being educational. They expose people to music and information about music which they might not normally have access to.

Children and adults can learn more about composers, the historical context of music, interesting facts about musical instruments, as well as the melodies themselves. Programs are available for several student groups, including grade-school children from kindergarten through third grade, to give them the opportunity to compose their own piece of music and perform it. Even if a child has not shown a particular interest in music, the activities encourage the development of their motor skills and creativity, as well as their team-building skills. The classes for grades three through five concentrate more on creativity and composition. These programs also prepare students for auditions, which is a good skill that can be applied to other stressful situations. Master classes are designed to fit the needs of each musician, so their truly is something for everyone. So take a break before your New Years Day preparations, and take in a great local concert.

To learn more about the benefits of living in Tysons Corner, visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/tysons/.

I am Jeff Wu  and I can assist you with all of your real estate needs. Whether you are relocating to the futuristic city and growing business district of Tysons Corner, or if you already live here and are selling your house or purchasing your new dream home in Tysons Corner, McLean, or Vienna, please contact me at Agent Knows Homes.

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Tysons Corner Area Shows Support

HugsAfter the unbelievably horrible tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut when a young man killed 20 small children and 6 adults at the Sandy Hook elementary school in addition to his own mother and himself, it is difficult not to think about what the families of the victims are going through.

There are so many expressions of love and compassion pouring in from people from all over the United States. As a father, I can’t imagine how the parents are able to function, but I’m so touched by things that people right here in the Tysons Corner area are doing to show their support. A father and daughter in McLean have come together to launch a website they call “Hugs for Sandy Hook.”

It happened after Kartnee Johnson, a seven year old girl in our area, heard about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She put pen to paper and poured out her heart. She wrote to the survivors to let them know she hoped they felt better and also drew them a picture. Her father, Jim Johnson, was so moved by her kindheartedness that he wanted to share it with the world and give other people a way to show their support. He wrote to our local Patch and created a website where people could see her letter and drawing and share their thoughts.

The McLean Patch is also building a giant virtual card for the community of Newtown, Connecticut to show support. They are inviting area residents and businesses to upload a photo and add a message for survivors, or post a video. There are numerous articles with details on how people can help with donations or a show of support.

As I’ve read about these stories and how our Tysons Corner area has responded, I’m reminded of how wonderful the people in our area really are and what a great place it is to live. In the midst of the holiday madness, people have taken the time to let these strangers know they care. It is easy for anyone to take a moment to do the same.

To learn more about the benefits of living in Tysons Corner, visit: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/tysons/.

I am Jeff Wu and I can assist you with all of your real estate needs. Whether you are relocating to the futuristic city and growing business district of Tysons Corner, or if you already live here and are selling your house or purchasing your new dream home in Tysons Corner, McLean, or Vienna, please contact me at Agent Knows Homes.

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