Does Living Next to the Pool Negatively Affect Your Braemar Townhouse Property Value?

Does Living Next to the Pool Negatively Affect Your Braemar Townhouse Property Value?

This was a question I was recently asked by a townhouse owner in Bristow, VA’s community of Braemar.   If you are unfamiliar with Braemar, there is one section of townhouses that surrounds the Braemar pool on Rob Roy Drive and Clareybrook Park

In the summer, during pool hours, there is ambient noise from the pool with kids playing and splashing, and the sounds of the fountains running.  However, in my six years as a Braemar real estate agent, I have never encountered a buyer that thought being next to these amenities was a bad thing.  In contrast, this location is considered to be a good thing by many buyers. 

That may surprise some Braemar townhouse owners.  There’s a very simply explanation why it is a good thing, if not for being in walking distance to the pool and park itself is not reason enough.  With the amenities comes parking.  And one of the major complaints common among townhouse owners is lack of visitor parking.  Having a townhouse next to the pool and park actually gives a ton of parking that is largely untouched by pool and park visitors, with the exception of the summer months.

Living next to or near the Braemar pool does not negatively affect your Braemar townhouse’s value.  In fact, it can be a selling feature when you hire the right real estate agent to sell your home.  Give me a call.  No one knows Braemar better!

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


Waiting for the Spring Real Estate Market to Sell Your Braemar Home?

Waiting for the Spring Real Estate Market to Sell Your Braemar Home? 

Ask ten Braemar home owners when the best time of year is to sell their home would be and I predict that all of them would tell you spring.  It is the busiest time of year for real estate, but not necessarily the best time of year to sell your Braemar home.

In the spring real estate market, Braemar gets overloaded with homes for sale. As such, buyers look for the best deal.  With the spike in inventory, home prices tend to sag a bit in spring.  Home owners need to be the best deal among many homes to get buyers to choose them.  We see a lot of prices lowered, particularly the further we get into spring. 

While spring does bring lots of activity, not all buyers in the spring market are serious.  There’s nothing like warm weather and budding trees to bring a tire kicker out of hibernation and browsing through homes.

The fall and winter markets are another story entirely.  The tire kickers are not out browsing for homes.  Those braving the cold and sometimes snow are serious buyers.  And since there is less to choose from during the winter, the home prices seem to spike during the fall and winter.  Serious buyers with less to choose from means a Braemar home owner is more likely to get a higher price in the “off-season.”

If you are waiting for spring to put your Braemar home on the market, you may want to reconsider.  Give me a call.  No one knows Braemar better!

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




Braemar Toys for Tots Drop Off for the 2011 Christmas Season

Braemar Toys for Tots Drop Off for the 2011 Christmas Season

When you are out shopping after Thanksgiving this year, keep Toys for Tots in mind.  Long & Foster REALTORS® in Gainesville, VA is collecting new, unwrapped toys now through the end of the day December 13th.  If even half the residents of Braemar dropped off just one toy, that would be enough gifts for close to 1,500 children.

Long & Foster REALTORS® in Gainesville is located at 7526 Limestone Drive.  We are just off the Wellington Road and Limestone Drive intersection.  If you need directions, or drop off hours, please call our reception desk at 571-261-1400.

Braemar Holiday Lights Contest for the 2011

Braemar Holiday Lights Contest for the 2011

Is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation one of your favorite movies? Do you admire Clark Griswold for his dedication to Christmas lighting? We all know that not everyone has time to decorate like Clark Griswold, but that’s no excuse to sit out the Braemar Holiday Lights Contest for the 2011 holiday season.

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but the judging for the holiday lights contest will be conducted the evenings of December 9th-December 11th. So before you get slammed with Thanksgiving chores, or after you’ve had your fill of turkey, get out there and decorate your Braemar home for the holidays. You don’t have to be Clark Griswold to be appreciated by your Braemar community.

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



Just Sold in Braemar: Three Finished Level, Newly Renovated Yardley Model for $415,000

Just Sold in Braemar:  Three Finished Level, Newly Renovated Yardley Model for $415,000

Property values in  Braemar just ticked up a notch with this sale.  In the last Braemar Property Value Report for Heritage Series homes, like Yardley models, the high sales price was $400,000.  This renovated Yardley, with three finished levels caught my Buyers eyes as soon as the listing hit the MLS.  What wasn’t to love?  Granite surfaces in the kitchen, all bathrooms and miscellaneous surfaces.  New stainless steel appliances.  New faucets.  Brushed nickel hardware on even the inside door hinges.  A wooded yard.  Walk out basement.  Two gas fireplaces.  Four bedrooms on the upper level.  New carpet on the second and basement levels.  New hardwood floors on the main level.  Ceramic tile freshly installed in the the bathrooms.  Even the driveway was freshly sealed and the front door painted with a new handle.

The home was listed at $399,000 and was a regular sale.  My Buyers saw it and acted immediately.  When a home like this hits the market in Braemar in October, it isn’t going to be around long.  It’s not like there are a lot of home owners who list this time of year.  Unfortunately, there are Buyers still in need of Braemar single family homes.

Looking back at the comps for similarly appointed homes, we found a sale that happened within the past six months for $415,000.  The Buyers made that their high point in an escalation clause.  They didn’t ask for closing cost help and were able to settle in six weeks.  Despite competing with another set of Buyers who had similiar thoughts, my Buyers won the home.

The settlment took place on November 18, 2011, when the $415,000 became official.  A record high sale for a Yardley in Braemar in recent history, and not surprisingly, it happened during the fall.  This truly is not a bad time of year to sell and get a great price on your home, but as usual, the high sales prices in Braemar are really a reflection of condition and location. 

If you have a single family home in Braemar that you have been thinking of selling, give me a call.  I’ve lived in Braemar since 2005.  That’s the same year I became a full-time Bristow real estate agent.  I have also been a Braemar Short Sale Agent since 2007.  No matter your equity position, I can get your Braemar home sold for the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time.  And if you are a looking to buy a single family home in Braemar, I can help with that as well.  Just ask the very happy Buyers of this home on Fife Ness Court.

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


A Closer Look at Braemar’s Recycle Bank Program Through AAA

A Closer Look at Braemar’s Recycle Bank Program Through AAA

Earlier this year, board members from Braemar’s sub-associations met for a pitch from garbage collectors.    Braemar had been using AAA since the developer of the neighborhood put a contract with that collector in place.  As a resident and sub-association board member, I did not go into the meeting assuming a win for AAA.  The trash pickup was unpredictable around holidays, however we were told the only holidays they didn’t collect was Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

We were pitched by American Disposal Services and Patriot Disposal Services, both businesses that were based right here in Prince William County.  Hiring one of those companies would have meant more tax revenue for our county.  Sadly, more tax revenue for our county doesn’t sound sexy to board members and home owners, but has real benefits and effects to Braemar home owners.  The more money our county gets elsewhere, the less likely our property taxes are going to see steep increases.

There was one company that was based in Loudoun County, VA and for the life of me I can’t remember their names as I type this.  That’s how memorable their pitch was.  And, bringing up the rear was AAA with the lowest contract price, tied with Patriot.  AAA is part of a larger company, which I believe, is headquartered in another state.  Their closest business location is in neighboring Fairfax County.  They had just about everyone wrapped around their finger with two words:  Recycle Bank.   This is a program where residents would be able to cash in for coupons and gift cards by accumulating points for recycling. 

Recycle Bank does not reward individual home owners for how much the recycle.  Rather, the total recycle haul for the registered Recycle Bank users is divided evenly to each individual user.  So someone like me that recycles everything I can, down to the cardboard tubes left from used paper towel and toilet paper rolls, gets the same points as the person who only recycled the cans they used.

On average I am seeing about 50 points per week accumulating in my Recycle Bank account. I went online to cash in my 500 odd points last week and went immediately to the gift card tab.  What I saw amazed me.  It would take 2500 points to get a $10 gift card to iTunes, Wal-Mart or Home Depot.  That’s 50 weeks of recycling to earn $10.

I went back and looked at the other coupons I could get.  For about one to two weeks of recycling I can get free bread sticks with the order of a pizza from a restaurant in Fairfax!  Probably the best offer for the same amount of recycling is a free smoothie from McDonald’s.  No thank you.

I don’t know about other Braemar home owners, but seems to me that going with a Prince William County based company that offered the same contract terms minus the Recycle Bank would probably save me more than $10 a year in tax savings.  It would serve to further strengthen our county’s growth, contibute more to the infrastructure we all use every day.  It certainly pays to look at the BIG picture and not get lured by the promise of free things. 

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