All posts by John VanderSyde

John VanderSyde: A native of Virginia’s Commonwealth, John graduated from Virginia Episcopal (High) School and attended Randolph-Macon College where he received a BA in English and Minored in Studio Art. John’s post-graduate studies took him to The Catholic University of America where he received his Masters of Architecture. A licensed Architect (RA) as well as a REALTOR® & Associate Broker, John began his career in 1986 managing residential construction and development. Specializing in high-end custom residential homes and renovation, John has an extensive knowledge of the housing industry. Years of construction management and contract negotiation provide additional skills necessary to work in his client’s best interest. John truly brings unique skills to the real estate industry, performing at the highest level of real estate sales. Ann VanderSyde: Ann was born in Japan the daughter of an Air Force family. She settled in Virginia’s Commonwealth as a child, living in the Northern-Virginia area. She graduated from Bishop O’Connell High School and attended Georgetown University where he received a BS in Psychology. Ann’s post-graduate studies took her to George Washington University where he earned her MA. A Licensed Therapist, Ann worked as a lead therapist for the DC Commission of Mental Health Services for five years. She relocated to Richmond, Virginia in 1993 where she immediately established a successful small business with an extensive focus in design and interior consultation that lasted for almost fourteen years. Ann’s experience provides additional skills needed to perform at the highest level of real estate sales. Ann & John live in Richmond, Virginia with their three children.

Do-it-Yourself is Overrated

I am a home project, died in the wool, do-it-yourself fanatic, so I believe anyone can take on whatever house improvement task they set their mind to – if they are committed.  What people need to realize is that when I take on a project it’s usually because I want to; when a home owner dec

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ides to make an improvement it’s usually because they have to fix something as they’re getting ready to sell their house. In this case it’s no longer an enjoyable hobby, and the task can quickly feel like a burden rather than an escape.

Many sellers are fine taking on a few things as they think about getting their house “match-fit” to sell. At least until they get half way into the work and realize that it’s more than they bargained for when they signed up for it. I love the idea of painting – only the idea of it – but many sellers feel that this is something they can save a few bucks on if they do it themselves. Nevertheless, once they get a couple of brush strokes into it they suddenly realize it’s a bit more of a pain than a pleasure. At best, it’s more work than they had imagined. At worst they will seek therapy after getting through all of it.  

Only this week we had a client email us as they are getting ready to put their house up for sale. There are a number of small painting projects that seemed manageable. They had committed to hire a professional painter to handle the big stuff, so a few little areas seemed reasonable. Half way into the five-foot square bathroom they were ready to jump out of the window. I believe they did finish, but needless to say the professional will be getting the rest of the house.

Home owners rarely have the experience, tools, time, and of course the patience to take on the apparently “do-it-yourself” project, especially when they are under the gun.  A contractor or handy man comes to the job prepared; they usually don’t have to run out to the store every five minutes because they didn’t plan properly. They also have the experience to do the job in about one third the time it takes for the average home owner to do it. They look at the work as a job, and while you’re at the office doing yours, they’re at your home doing theirs. When you get back in the evening the job is completed professionally, usually without the throwing of objects or the loosing of tempers. If it’s not done correctly it’s not your responsibility to fix it.

I love to take on projects, but I’m the first to admit that when you are getting your house ready to sell, leave it to the professionals. Take a step back and let someone that does this type of work ALL THE TIME do it for you. Save your energy for the new residence, because that’s where you want to be anyway. If you’re not sure who to get for the job then call your Realtor. They are a wealth of information with lists of contractor contacts and recommendations.

John VanderSyde is an Associate Broker with Virginia Properties, A Long & Foster Company, and is also a Licensed Architect. He and his wife Ann are business partners who believe that HOME is a lifestyle choice. You can learn more about Ann & John by visiting or by calling (804) 282-7300