Private Streets in Braemar Are Not Always Maintained by the HOA

Private Streets in Braemar Are Not Always Maintained by the HOA

Being involved in the HOA for Tartan Hills Village, and also having a full-time career as a real estate agent, I know the ins and outs of Braemar real estate.  However, it wasn’t until the other day, when showing rural property in Nokesville that I realized what is usually thought to be a rural property issue could also be an issue for a handful of Braemar home owners. 

Road Maintenance Agreements.  FHA will not finance a loan for a property on a private street without them.  And private streets in Braemar are not always maintained by the HOA.

If you live in the townhouses or courtyard homes, you have live on private streets maintained by the HOA.  However, there are some home owners off of private alleys, pipe stems and non-VDOT streets that actually own a portion of their street, in conjunction with their neighbors.

In order for those Braemar home owners who own portions of their own streets with their neighbors, having a signed, notarized, and recorded Road Maintenance Agreement in place is in their best interest.  It protects each home owner from having to do more than their fair share of maintenance, and it will allow the home to be financed in the future by an FHA buyer.

If you want to find out if you are on a private street in Braemar that is NOT maintained by the HOA, give me a call.  No one knows Braemar better!

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



File Your Non-Emergency Issues Online with the Prince William County Police

File Your Non-Emergency Issues Online with the Prince William County Police

Prince William County, VA has an outstanding police force.  And they have just rolled out a new way to report non-emergency issues online at  I’ve always called the non-emergency dispatch number of 703-792-6500.  In fact, I have the number stored in my cell phone for those occasions when I see a stranded vehicle, a dog on the loose or other incident that doesn’t merit an 9-1-1 call.

The online reporting is meant for incidents that meet the following criteria:

  • It’s not an emergency
  • It occurred in Prince William County, VA NOT in City of Manassas or Manassas Park
  • You do not know who committed the crime or perpetrated the incident
  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You have an email address where you can receive information

Examples of crimes you can report online include:

  • Harassing calls, texts or emails
  • Hit & Run
  • Theft
  • Lost Property
  • Vandalism
  • Supplement to a Report Already Filed

The Prince William County Police encourage their residents to use this new tool responsibly.  They are reminding citizens that filing a false police report is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by jail time of not more than 12 months, or a fine of not more than $2,500.

Deer in Braemar

Deer in Braemar

I never get tired of seeing the deer in Braemar.  When my husband and I chose our lot, we really decided on a wooded lot because we wanted some privacy.  Coming from a townhouse community in Centreville, I don’t think we ever really expected to see much wildlife when we first moved to Braemar in January 2005.   

The very first animal we saw was a fox on our front yard.   We still have a fox that we see occasionally, but not nearly as often as we see the deer.  I’ve seen as many as nine or ten deer in my yard at a time.  Yesterday I was able to snap this picture of a beautiful doe. 

If you think living in the community of Braemar is something you’d like to investigate, give me a call.  I’m a full-time Bristow real estate agent.  I’d love to help you!  Just in 2011 alone I’ve sold six Bristow homes, three of them Braemar. 

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





A New Scam Braemar Home Sellers Need to Know About

A New Scam Braemar Home Sellers Need to Know About

I was reading through some real estate blogs this morning and came across a post from a friend of mine in Portland, OR.  What I read shocked me.  Apparently, the Portland, OR MLS sent out a warning about thieves looking for actively listed properties that they could easily gain access to by posing as appraisers.   Home owners would not give a second thought to letting an appraiser in the home.  Gives you cold chills, doesn’t it?

Appraisers don’t just knock on doors without warning.  As an Associate Broker with Long & Foster REALTORS® in Gainesville, VA, I can tell you with 100% certainty that when a home is listed for sale, unless it is a Short Sale, there will be no appraiser coming by your home until AFTER it goes under contract.  Furthermore, when an appraiser DOES need access your property, they will contact the Listing Agent for access.  Therefore, your agent will know when the appraiser is coming by, who they are and what company they represent. 

When your Braemar home is on the market, do not let anyone in the home without prior knowledge if they are claiming to be an appraiser.  For that matter, even if a buyer were to show up at your doorstep, without an agent, hand them your Listing Agent’s phone number to schedule an appointment.  No buyer should be touring your home without their own agent, or your Listing Agent present. 

Getting a description of anyone claiming to be an appraiser needing access to your Braemar home, when there was no advance notice of their visit, would be helpful to local authorities.  Calling the police with a description of the vehicle they were driving and even the plate numbers would be ideal.  Certainly, I wouldn’t expect a thief posing as an appraiser to give you their name, company and phone number, but you can certainly ask for it to pass along to the authorities.  

I sincerely hope this is a scam that we never hear being perpetrated in Braemar.  Of course, when armed with the knowledge of the potential scam, Braemar home sellers are less likely to fall victim to it.

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



The 2011 Braemar Holiday Party

The 2011 Braemar Holiday Party will be held on Friday, December 16th from 6:30pm- 8:30pm at the clubhouse located at 12300 Iona Sound Drive.  If you haven’t attended a Braemar holiday party before, you don’t need to worry about dressing up.  Come comfy.  There will be horse-drawn hay rides, pictures with Santa and his Elf, a craft for the kids and light refreshments.

The winners of the Braemar Holiday Lights Contest will also be announced at the party.

It’s a great informal event and a wonderful way to meet and mingle with your Braemar neighbors. 

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




Proposed Marsteller Walking Path Could Have Negative Impacts for Residents in Tartan Hills Village

Proposed Marsteller Walking Path Could Have Negative Impacts for Residents in Tartan Hills Village

Currently, homes in Tartan Hills Village located on the following streets have middle school students that take the bus service offered by Prince William County Public Schools:

Bonnykelly, Broadsword (house numbers 10075-10229), Dunnegan Head, Guildtown, Inchberry, Invergordon, Kirkmichael. Native Rocks, Score Bay, Tombreck and Whinneyford

The proposed Marsteller walking path, originating between the homes of 9959 and 9963 Broadsword Drive, is proposed by Tartan Hills Village West and has been pitched to the Prince William County School Board.  A study showed that the savings to the school system could be significant, so the County will eventually be holding a public hearing on the matter.  The trade off is that the kids on the streets listed above, are currently using the bus service.  Of course, if they chose to walk to school, they still could.  Once the proposed Marstellar walking path is installed, the bus option would be off the table.  Walking would be the only option.

Having just followed bus 293 that serves these streets, and more in our community, I noticed no fewer than 46 kids using that bus service.  In fairness, 10 of those children were exiting at the Broadsword & Peel Ring intersection.

Forcing children that are clearly comfortable with the bus service to walk to school is not exactly a great service to the community.  After all, if any of these children actually decided themselves to walk to Marsteller, nothing would be stopping them.  So what were are really proposing is taking 46 bus riders and making them, without choice, walkers.  Walking to school in the rain, wind, cold, snow and whatever other conditions may be present on school days.

As a representative of the Tartan Hills Board of Directors, who serves the home owners who would be losing bus service, I find this proposition to offer a shorter path to those that already walk, questionable to be posed as a benefit to all home owners of our affected home owners in THV HOA.  Forty-six to forty-eight bus riders will be forced to walk, or have their parents drive them to school.  Is this truly beneficial to the overall community?  I can foresee increased traffic when parents drive their kids to school when the bus service is lost, scheduling issues in individuals families who have lost that bus service and home owners at 9959 Broadsword and 9963 Broadsword not having any say about the parade of children past their homes every day.

Furthermore, while one association is pushing for this, they are asking all Tartan Hills associations to chip in to maintain the path.  Maintenance is currently an ambiguous issue.  Snow and trash removal come to mind immediately.  Landscaping along the path is another.  Mowing beside the path yet another.  I want to make it clear that Tartan Hills Village HOA has no ownership stake in the land on which the path would be built.   Our financial contribution would be strictly voluntary, if our homeowners approve of the matter. 

Let us know what you think of this proposed walking path off of Broadsword Drive to Marsteller school

As a Braemar resident, I look out for my fellow residents in the community through my service on the Tartan Hills Village HOA Board.  As a Braemar Real Estate Agent, I look out for our property values.  No one knows Braemar better!

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


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®


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®