Should Braemar Home Owners Have Earthquake Insurance?

Should Braemar Home Owners Have Earthquake Insurance?

Seems everyone is still talking about yesterday’s 5.9 earthquake.  That was certainly an unusual occurence for Braemar residents and the rest of Northern Virginia, but does that mean you should discount the idea of buying earthquake insurance?  I don’t think so.

As a home owner in Braemar, I know the first thought on my mind was wondering if my home would sustain damage as I stood in a door frame, white knuckled and waiting for the shaking to stop.  We were really fortunate to not see damage in our area. 

Scientists will tell you that our earthquake was a once in a 100 year occurrence.  Well, that may be, but after calling my home owners insurance company today, I am not taking any chances.  Turns out that my standard insurance policy does not cover earthquake damage.  So if yesterday’s quake had been a bit stronger and done damage, well, it’s out of pocket expenses to fix whatever needs repair.

Turns out the replacement cost of my home is about $620,000.  For the cost of $186 per year I can have earthquake insurance.  What that means is if my home ever gets damaged by an earthquake, I will have to come out of pocket 2% of the replacement value of my home in a deductible before the insurance kicks in.  That’s $12,400. 

While the odds are against having another major quake in my lifetime, the odds of my having the money to replace my home are slim to none as well.  I’ll go with the low cost of the insurance and pray it never is used.  There will definitely be piece of mind if the earth ever starts moving and my house starts rattling again.

And as an FYI, insurance carriers are not issuing earthquake insurance in our area until we get two weeks past yesterday’s event.  If you think you want the same piece of mind, put a note on the calendar to call after the kids go back to school. 

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in VA, Long & Foster REALTORS®


Was That an Earthquake We Just Felt in Braemar?

Was That an Earthquake We Just Felt in Braemar?

Yes it was.  I was on the upper level of my Braemar home when it happened at 1:51pm.  At first I thought it was a rock quarry shake, then it didn’t stop and got worse.  Definitely a surreal experience.

WTOP was reporting that quake was a magnitude 5.8 centered in Mineral, VA right after it happened.  I think news reports are now reporting a 5.9 or 6.0.  The worst anyone in our neighborhood would have to deal with is rearranged wall hangings and possibly items that jumped off table tops or bookshelves.

Looks like life in Braemar and the surrounding Northern Virginia area just got a bit more interesting.  Hope this isn’t a normal occurence, though we did have a smaller earthquake last year out of Germantown, MD.

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in VA, Long & Foster REALTORS®



Braemar Residents’ Facebook Group

Braemar has a very active Facebook group.  Are you a member yet?  If you live in Braemar, you should be. 

In the last couple weeks, there have been neighborhood watch alerts, lost dog alerts and folks giving away and selling items.   It’s great to see the sense of community in this group.

If you live in the community, you should join the Braemar Residents group on Facebook.

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in Virginia, Long & Foster REALTORS®



Are You an Investor-Owner in Braemar? Avoid HOA Liens with This Simple Tip.

Are You an Investor-Owner in Braemar?  Avoid HOA Liens with This Simple Tip.

Paying your HOA dues to Braemar and whatever sub-association to which  your property belongs is important.  If you don’t make those payments, a lien can be put against the home and when it comes time to sell the home, a title search will show the HOA liens.  At the time of that sale, the money to pay off those liens will come out of your proceeds.

How can you avoid this from happening? 


It’s that simple.

Right now, I have Buyers purchasing a home in Manassas Park where the HOA went unpaid for over two years by two separate sets of tenants.  In each case, the investor-owner personally knew the tenants and considered them friends.  Well, friends or not, they didn’t pay the HOA dues, and now when he sells his property to my Buyers, he’ll lose what could have been over $5,000 in his pocket to clearing those liens up. 

Never put a tenant in charge of making the HOA payments. 

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in Virginia, Long & Foster REALTORS®



What Will the Downgrade in the United State’s Credit Rating Mean to Braemar Home Owners?

What Will the Downgrade in the United State’s Credit Rating Mean to Braemar Home Owners?

Friday’s announcement that Standard & Poor’s had downgraded the United State’s credit rating from AAA to AA, was shocking to some, expected by othersWhat will it mean to Braemar home owners?  After all, most of the homes sold in Braemar were sold during the boom and property values have recently been slowly shifting upward and stabilizing.

As a full-time real estate agent, I am concerned over the potential for rising mortgage interest rates.  We all know that rates can’t stay this low forever.  But if rates were to rise too quickly, Braemar home values will likely get knocked back down.  Only time will tell.  However, for a full day’s work after the announcement, I can tell you that Buyers are out in full force and looking to get under contract. 

If you’ve been contemplating putting your Braemar home on the market, wait no more.  Your Spring competition is pulling off the market, but demand is still there.

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in Virginia, Long & Foster REALTORS®


Another Braemar Home—SOLD!

Another Braemar Home—SOLD!

At the beginning of 2011, I was contacted by the owners of 10033 Pentland Hills Way in Braemar to sell their Braemar Courtyard home.  It was a Ballston model.

We got this Braemar Courtyard home on the market on January 31st, priced at $340,000.  At the time, there were tenants in the home.  And it appeared they would be cooperative.  Well, that was not the case.  The tenants took what had been a hot market and what should have been a fast and easy sale and drug it out.  When Braemar Courtyard homes were demanding prices higher than $340,000, the Sellers’ tenants were uncooperative with showings.  It go so bad that Buyer’s Agents were being turned away at the door.

The Sellers had to re-evaluate their position in the market as being the most expensive home now listed.  So on March 31st, the price was reduced to $327,500.  Meanwhile prices in the Braemar Courtyard homes continued to see decline as more and more owners put their homes on the market.  And the tenants continued their uncooperative act until the Sellers were legally able to give them notice to vacate.

By the time the tenants had left, the Braemar Courtyard home values were lower and these owners had a choice to make.  Work with one of the offers on the home, or continue to lease and possibly sell next year. They decided to make a deal, not knowing what 2012 would bring, or what type of tenants they would then be working with.  So the Sellers accepted a cash offer on July 12th that could settle quickly.  While it was a long way off from their $340,000 asking price in January, the property did sell on August 5th for $305,000. 

If you want to know the value of your Braemar home in TODAY’s market, let me know.  I’ve been a full-time Bristow real estate agent and Braemar resident since 2005.  No one knows Braemar better!

Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in Virginia, Long & Foster REALTORS®


The Views You Get Living in Braemar

This week, one of my Braemar listings will make it to settlement.  No matter how many homes I sell, it never gets old to take a listing to settlement. 

I hope the new home owner enjoys the same views I do as a resident of Braemar.  I got these shots yesterday.  There were a doe and her fawns headed right toward my front lawn…and most likely, my hostas.

I could be angry that the deer are having a buffet in my front mulch bed, but how you can be angry at such beautiful creatures.  Maybe I’ll just relocate my hostas to the common area woodline and plant something more deer resistent in the garden.



Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker-Licensed in Virginia, Long & Foster REALTORS®