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.

Seven Tips to Ensure a Smooth Real Estate Closing

From the Long & Foster News Room – We offer excellent content!

By Michelle D. Formica, Manager, Marketing Services, The Long & Foster Companies.

 Article Direct Link: http://newsroom.longandfoster.com/2018/03/seven-tips-ensure-smooth-real-estate-closing/

Mar 201829

Seven Tips to Ensure a Smooth Real Estate Closing

By Michelle D. Formica, Manager, Marketing Services, The Long & Foster Companies.

Did you find the perfect home and now you’re ready to make an offer? Plan and prepare for the home buying process, so you can walk into your closing with confidence. Avoid a closing delay, or even worse an issue that causes your transaction to fall through. Here are some dos and don’ts from a few experts to ensure a smooth real estate closing.

Take care of the financial process upfront. If you are a serious buyer, it is important to get preapproved for a mortgage loan before shopping around. A preapproval will help determine your qualification and price point. The Prosperity Buyer Advantage is even better than a standard preapproval and will help expedite the financial process at closing, suggests Ron Wivagg, national sales support manager of Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC. This complimentary pre-approval provides you with a commitment letter in hand.

Lock in your interest rate. When you get preapproved for a mortgage loan, ask your lender if they can lock in the interest rate. Otherwise, there is a possibility your interest rate will rise, while you’re shopping for a home, and you will no longer qualify for the mortgage loan. The Prosperity Buyer Advantage Lock, Shop & Home program will lock in your interest rate for up to 90 days, explains Wivagg.

Schedule a home inspection. According to US Inspect, a partner of Long & Foster’s Home Service Connections, a home inspection empowers the buyer to know the home’s condition and gives them exactly what they need to address potential issues with the seller. “Don’t wait until last minute to schedule your home inspection because otherwise it could delay the closing,” recommends Mark Munsch, marketing manager of US Inspect.

Be prepared to wire your funds. Most settlement companies now require their clients to wire funds for the security of everyone involved in the transaction, explains Julie McConnell, vice president of marketing for Long & Foster Settlement Services. When working with a title company, be sure to confirm the wire instructions over the phone before wiring any funds. This is an important precaution to take to avoid wire fraud.

Ask questions and discuss details ahead of time. Don’t wait until closing day to ask questions, recommends McConnell. Be sure to provide the settlement company with important details, including how you want to hold title (for example: tenants by the entirety, joint tenants, tenants in common) , so they can prepare the deed. Be certain to talk to your settlement company about protecting your property rights by purchasing owner’s title insurance. You can learn more about protecting yourself and your home here.

Don’t make big purchases before closing. Even if you’re preapproved, your lender will check to make sure no recent hits have been made to your credit. You want to avoid purchasing and financing a car, jewelry or any other big item, suggests Wivagg. This could disqualify you for the mortgage loan, causing your transaction to fall through.

Review the Closing Disclosure timely and carefully. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, your lender is required to give you the Closing Disclosure at least three business days before your scheduled closing date. Be on the lookout, so you can review the Closing Disclosure prior to settlement – this will allow time to resolve any issues before closing, suggests McConnell.

Buying a home is such an exciting life event. Follow these important dos and don’ts to avoid delaying your closing. If you’re considering buying a home and don’t know where to start, contact your local real estate agent – they can walk you through the entire home buying process from contract to close.

 

Which Remodeling Projects produce the greatest return on investment?

This posted on the LNF website today; for the complete article click this link:

http://newsroom.longandfoster.com/2018/03/remodeling-projects-recoup-money-sell/

Highlights include:

The annual study looks at average costs popular remodeling projects across the country. Here are the top five midrange and upscale improvements you could get money back on if you sell within a year:

Midrange

  • Manufactured Stone Veneer. Cost: $8,221; recouped: 98.3 percent
  • Wood Deck Addition. Cost: $10,950; recouped: 82.8 percent
  • Minor Kitchen Remodel. Cost: $21,198; recouped: 81.1 percent
  • Siding Replacement. Cost: $15,072; recouped: 76.7 percent
  • Universal Design Bathroom. Cost: $16,393; recouped: 70.6 percent

Upscale

  • Garage Door Replacement. Cost: $3,370; recouped: 98.3 percent
  • Window Replacement (Vinyl). Cost: $15,955; recouped: 74.3 percent
  • Window Replacement (Wood). Cost: $19,391; recouped: 69.5 percent
  • Grand Entrance (Fiberglass). Cost: $8,591; recouped: 67.6 percent
  • Bathroom Remodel. Cost: $61,662; recouped: 56.2 percent

Advice from Long & Foster to Help you Sell

Decluttering and Storage Help Sell Your Home

Jan 201830

Decluttering and Storage Help Sell Your Home

All the experts agree – clear the clutter out of your home before listing it for sale. The reason is simple – there’s a greater chance that a decluttered house will sell faster and possibly for a higher price than one that is cluttered. Decluttering makes the house look bigger and by packing away at least some of your personal belongings, it’s easier for buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. To maximize the benefit of decluttering, it’s a good idea to clear your home of at least 30 percent of its contents, allowing your home to look its best and help it to stand out from the competition.

To declutter, first start with your in-house storage areas. The basement, garage, closets and even guest bedrooms are commonly used for excess storage. It’s important to empty these spaces as much as possible. Buyers love storage space and it’s more appealing to see empty closets than full ones.

Next, minimize the amount of furniture in each room. Again, it’s important to show as much space as possible so extra chairs, tables and other large items should be removed during the sales process.

The last stage of decluttering involves your personal effects—items such as pictures, books, collectibles and toys that you can live without until your home sells. Boxing up these items and storing them out of the house helps to present a version of your home free of your personal taste. Buyers and their agents can then focus on your house without any distraction from your personal possessions.

Realtors and home stagers often recommend that sellers rent storage units to place excess items while selling their home. We talked with a few of Long & Foster’s Home Service Connections storage partners about their advice on getting ready to sell your home.

 Portable Storage

Zippy Shell’s portable storage containers are a great way to declutter your home. Zippy Shell containers can be parked in your driveway or on the street in front of your house. You have the option of loading the container yourself or the company can load it for you. After it’s filled, the portable unit can then be stored in Zippy Shell’s climate-controlled facility where it’ll remain locked and accessible only to you while in storage. When you’re ready to have it returned, Zippy Shell can deliver the container to your new home, anywhere in the country. “Packing is the hardest part, so it’s best to start early and do a little bit every night,” said Bill Shannon, owner of Zippy Shell of Northern Virginia.

 Conquering the Clutter

It’s a good idea to be open to your Realtor’s decluttering suggestions, said Piet Gauchat, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Olympia Moving and Storage. Olympia works with many Realtors and the firm even has a “Declutter Program” designed for home sellers. Through that program, Olympia’s crew will move out the clutter and store it for free for up to three months, according to Gauchat.

 Storage in the Cloud

Storage Genie takes a digital inventory of your belongings at no charge before moving them to storage. Then, when you need specific things like your holiday decorations, just log into your account and order the items you want delivered to you. “It’s almost like your items go into the cloud,” said Chris Patton, CEO of Victory Van Corporation/Allied Van Lines. Patton points out that this type of storage is so much more convenient than placing your belongings in a self-storage facility. “Often your tax returns or vacuum cleaner are in the back of the unit when you need them,” said Patton. “Storage Genie takes the ‘self’ out of self-storage.”

Once you’ve chosen a storage solution that’s right for you, decluttering your home will not only help your home show well, but also will give you a head start on packing for your move.

February Home Maintenance Checklist from Long & Foster

By Suzanne Whitenight Pilcher, Marketing Coordinator, Long & Foster Companies.

Feb 201801

February Home Maintenance Checklist

By Suzanne Whitenight Pilcher, Marketing Coordinator, Long & Foster Companies.

It’s February – winter’s not over yet, but spring is right around the corner. If you have cabin fever from being inside, cleaning and freshening up your house can help you get through this last month of winter and be ready to get outside when spring arrives.

Once you check these items off your to-do list, you’ll be able to relax by the fire with a good book and enjoy the last few weeks of winter.

  • Mop entryway floors. Clean your floors regularly to prevent damage from road salt and melting snow. Place a basket of old towels near the door to wipe up water and salt as soon as it is tracked inside.
  • Rotate or flip your mattress. Extend the life and comfort of your mattress by flipping or rotating it. At the same time, vacuum box springs and the mattress to eliminate allergy causing dust- mites.
  • Organize your laundry room. Scrape dried-on laundry detergent from the ridges in your washer. Throw away laundry products you never use and replace damaged sorting bins.
  • Clean out your spice cabinet. Throw away expired spices and other seasonings, which may not only lose their taste, but could harbor mold and bacteria.
  • Sanitize hand-held devices. Prevent germs that cause the spread of colds and the flu by disinfecting your phone, remote controls, tablets, as well as your door and cabinet knobs.
  • Dust blinds, ceiling fans and fixtures. Wipe down or use a feather duster to remove the dirt that builds up on blinds, ceiling fans, light fixtures other small electronics.
  • Add color to your table. Treat yourself to some fresh flowers to add cheer to your kitchen table while waiting for spring blooms to make their first appearance.
  • Plan your summer vacation. Reserve your vacation home now to get the best selection of available properties. Start your planning today at Long & Foster’s Vacation Rentals website.

The “FAN” in Richmond, VA

Living in The Fan, Richmond, VA

The Fan District is located in Richmond’s West End, and is one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods. This large district gets its name from the way its streets branch out in a fan shape from Belvidere Street to the Boulevard. If you love historic architecture, you’ll love the elegant homes for sale in The Fan District of Richmond, VA. Most date back to the late 19th and early 20th century and are available in a variety of building styles, including Queen Anne, Italianate, Beaux Arts, Bungalow and Tudor.

VCU School of Business in The Fan, Richmond, VA

Things to Do

Foodies love The Fan, which is home to approximately 80 restaurants and bars, many of which are locally owned. While there are many new and trendy eateries in The Fan District, there are also some old standbys, including Kuba, which first opened in 1998. This restaurant serves authentic Cuban food and is a favorite of the locals.

This neighborhood is also located next to the Museum District, where you can find six blocks lined with museums, including but not limited to the Science Museum of Virginia and the Children’s Museum of Richmond. Both of these museums offer many events and programs for children. Do you love art? Then you’ll enjoy taking classes at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. This museum’s Studio School offers an excellent selection of art workshops and courses for adults. The museum also has art classes that are designed specifically for children.

VCU in The Fan, Richmond, VA

Housing in The Fan

Most of the homes in the Fan District, Virginia, are beautiful historic brick row houses and townhomes, although there are also some large, elegant single-family houses. During the Great Depression and then later in the 1940s and 1950s, some of these larger homes were split into duplexes. There are also some new homes available in The Fan, including Citizen 6, a new development of three-bedroom Modern-style row houses.

Student riding bike in The Fan, Richmond, VA

Transportation and Travel in The Fan

This largely residential neighborhood is very walkable. Living in The Fan, you’ll find pretty much everything you need, including coffee shops, small markets, eateries and bars just a quick stroll away. The Fan District’s real estate offerings are also within easy walking distance of Carytown and all of its great restaurants and shopping options. And downtown Richmond is just about two miles away, so it is still close enough to walk or bike to, if you didn’t feel like driving or taking one of the GRTC buses that service this neighborhood. The Fan is also an excellent neighborhood for commuters. The Downtown Expressway, which connects to I-95, is located on the southern edge of this district, and I-64 is just a short drive away.

Walk Score

Very Walkable

89/100: Transit is convenient for most trips.

Walkscore rates the walkability of any address. The score is calculated by factors like nearby restaurants and stores, number of transportation choices and how much you’ll need to rely on a car.

Public Transportation

No Nearby Transit

0/100: Almost all errands require a car.

0 nearby routes: 0 bus, 0 rail, 0 other
For the complete link visit Long & Foster – http://www.longandfoster.com/VA/Richmond/The-Fan

What Not to Do When Putting Your Home on the Market

 

Most seasoned real estate agents have seen it all when showing homes to potential buyers: sinks full of dishes, worn-out carpets and all manner of creative paint schemes.

If you’re getting your home ready to go on the market, your agent will probably give you a list of things to do before buyers start coming through the door. But what are some of the things you should NOT do? We asked three Long & Foster agents to share their tips.

FOR the complete story click or paste the following Long & Foster Link:
http://newsroom.longandfoster.com/2018/01/not-putting-home-market

Long & Foster Celebrating 50 Years in Real Estate

Jan 201809

Long & Foster Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Company Marks 50 Years of Helping People on Their Journeys Home

Fifty years ago, two 30-something veterans came together to build their dream. In May 1968 at an office building in Fairfax, Virginia, P. Wesley “Wes” Foster Jr. and Henry “Hank” Long opened Long & Foster Real Estate. A flip of a coin positioned Long’s moniker first in the company’s brand name and gave Foster the role of president.

Foster led the residential side of the real estate business, while Long managed the company’s commercial services. A single employee joined the two at the company’s outset, and that first year in business, they sold about $3 million in volume—a significant amount at that time, which is now surpassed in an individual luxury home sale. In the five decades since Long & Foster’s founding, the single real estate office outside the Nation’s Capital has become the country’s No. 1 independent real estate brand by sales volume, according to the REAL Trends 500.

“It’s one of my proudest achievements that, together, we have positively affected the lives of so many in the past 50 years and that we’ve done so with honesty and integrity,” said Foster, chairman emeritus of The Long & Foster Companies, parent company of Long & Foster Real Estate. “I’ve always believed that if you put your people first, then success will follow, and our agent-first approach has been the foundation of our business and the reason we’re celebrating 50 years of real estate excellence in 2018.”

Today, Long & Foster operates over 220 offices across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, from North Carolina to New Jersey. More than 11,000 agents are part of Long & Foster Real Estate and its various brands, including Fonville Morisey in North Carolina and Virginia Properties in Richmond, and over 1,800 real estate and financial services employees work with Long & Foster. The brokerage also has expanded beyond traditional real estate services in the past 50 years.

In the early 1970s, founders Foster and Long opened Long & Foster Insurance, pioneering the concept of a one-stop shop where consumers could both purchase a new home and get it insured. The 1980s brought the debut of Long & Foster’s mortgage (now Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC) and settlement services companies (Long & Foster Settlement Services). Foster, who purchased Long’s half of the business in the late 1970s, also built booming property management, vacation rentals and corporate real estate services divisions.

Long & Foster’s innovative growth continued through the years and remains as strong as ever today. In 2015, Long & Foster became a part owner in Moxi Works, a real estate technology startup in Seattle, Washington. In 2016, Long & Foster acquired Urban Pace, a new home sales and marketing firm. It has also acquired dozens of brokerages of all sizes—from boutique real estate firms to former franchise companies. In 2017 alone, Long & Foster acquired Evers & Co., Monticello Properties, Jefferson Properties and McGrath Real Estate, and that was in addition to being acquired itself.

Berkshire Hathaway affiliate HomeServices of America acquired The Long & Foster Companies in September 2017. Foster recognized that becoming part of HomeServices was the best way to protect what Long & Foster had achieved over the past 50 years, while also ensuring the organization continued to grow for the next 50 years and beyond.

“What Wes Foster achieved at Long & Foster and in the real estate industry is truly remarkable and is largely credit to his people-first approach,” said Jeffrey S. Detwiler, president and CEO of The Long & Foster Companies, parent company of Long & Foster Real Estate. “Wes builds relationships by being there for his clients and agents—he listens, he cares, he’s responsive and he always has a positive attitude. His agent- and client-centric philosophy has played a huge role in Long & Foster reaching this milestone, and it will continue to guide our company as we look toward the next 50 years.”

Long & Foster will celebrate its 50th anniversary throughout 2018, highlighting its real estate expertise in everything from print advertisements to social media posts. In addition, the firm is changing its iconic red, yellow and blue for-sale signs in the first part of 2018—kicking off its anniversary celebration with a vibrant and modern splash that pays tribute to the company’s legacy while looking toward the future.

For more information about Long & Foster, visit www.LongAndFoster.com.

Great Suggestions for the Best Improvements to Your Home

Best Financial Investments for Your Home
By Craig Middleton
RISMEDIA, Wednesday, November 29, 2017— Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Over the last couple of years, rehabbing TV shows have become increasingly popular. In these shows, people fix or introduce new features to their homes while adding substantial market value to the house in the process. If you own a home, you can make many of these types of fixes or additions to increase the value of your home, too. You can also enjoy these changes for as long as you live there. Some of the best financial investments you can make to your home include:

Major Problem Fixes
The first high-return investment you should make in your home is to correct all major problems. If your home has serious issues, such as a broken air conditioner or a pipe leak, fixing those issues should be priority No. 1. Repairing or replacing the roof and siding can be a great investment, and potential buyers will generally factor in both the time and cost of having to fix it. Problems like these are always easier to fix when they’re small than later after having put them off.

Exterior Improvements
Investing in the facade of a home can also bring great returns. Replacing garage doors is one of these investments. If your garage door looks new, your house will look new, as well. Painting the outside of your home is another good investment in the exterior. If you don’t want to take the time and money to fully repaint your home, pressure-washing can be a quick way to make the outside of your home look much more presentable.

Entryway Improvements
Another good investment is to invest in a new entryway door. Like the garage door, the front door is important in making a good first impression on a potential buyer. Replacing your front door with a steel door can also make your home safer; increasing the safety of your home can be another great selling point for a potential buyer. Replacing windows is another way to make the outside of your home look better, as well as improve the home’s energy efficiency.

Fixes and additions to the inside of your home can be a great financial investment. A fresh coat of paint to the interior can add value by making the home look cleaner and brighter.

Update Bathroom, Kitchen and Appliances
Improving your home’s bathroom, particularly visible elements such as vanities, lighting, toilets and tubs, can create a high return. For bathroom improvements, you may obtain a better return on investment by spending your money on items in the bathroom that a potential buyer would see, instead of completely gutting the bathroom.

Kitchen remodels can be another way to significantly improve the value of your home. For kitchen remodels, you’ll want to spend money on functional items such as cabinets, drawers, pantry doors and appliances. Appliances such as refrigerators don’t have to be completely new, but they should keep up with current trends. Kitchen remodels should also suit the home. A kitchen that looks like it belongs in a $300,000 home will feel out of place in a $150,000 home.

Adding high-efficiency appliances to a home can modernize it and also save you money on electricity. Some states and cities have tax programs that could reduce your taxes if you buy and use high-efficiency appliances that require less electricity.

Overall, you should research the investment potential of your home before making any purchase. If you are trying to increase the value of your home, you need to make sure your fix or addition will increase the value of the home not only for you, but also to potential buyers.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of RISMedia.