Curb Appeal: It Starts with Cutting Back Overgrowth

Last summer, I sold a really great single family home in Gainesville’s community of Virginia Oaks to some first time buyers.  It was a colonial with a great floor plan and a fantastic back yard.  Even had an inground pool.  Problem was, the beauty of this home was not readily apparent.  There were mature trees and shrubs covering the home from view as we approached. 


Driving by this Virginia Oaks home one year later you can actually SEE the house.  To begin, the shrubs on either side of the garage were taken out entirely.  Second, the lower limbs on the large tree on the right were removed.  Some smaller flowers were planted to accent the right side of the garage.  And I personally think having the American Flag hanging on the side of the garage gives just enough splash of color. 


If you want the most money for your Gainesville, VA home, give it a great face. Start getting your curb appeal in order by cutting the overgrowth that keeps buyers from SEEING your home.

Who Are You Hiring to List Your Home?

This picture is not a joke.  It is picture of a local Bristow home, listed with a well known Real Estate Brokerage.  Sadly, it is also a vacant property that this particular brokerage holds as property managers.

Aren’t Property Managers supposed to maintain your property when it’s vacant?  Doesn’t that include mowing the lawn?  This yard and curb look like a chia pet.

When you are looking for a Real Estate Firm to represent you in the sale  of your Bristow-Gainesville-Haymarket home, drive through neighborhoods and pay close attention to how the properties, and real estate signs are maintained.  Are there brochures if there is a brochure box?  Is the lawn mowed?  All of this means even more if you are out of state, or out of the country. 

Know who you are hiring and why.  If you aren’t there to care for your property, and the Brokerage you’ve hired isn’t, it ultimately hurts you.

It’s Saturday. That Means It’s Moving Day.

Up and down the Linton Hall Corridor, every Saturday since Summer began, you see moving trucks and rental trucks in neighborhoods like Braemar, Kingsbrooke, Morris Farm and Victory Lakes…just to name a few.

Be the kind of neighbor you are hoping to get. Introduce yourself to your new neighbor. Maybe buy them a case of soda or water. What a great impression that would make.  At the very least, make sure you have each other’s contact information in the even that you need it one day.

If you want you want good neighbors, you have to start by being one. So if you see a movng truck on your street today, or any other Saturday, take a step in the neighborly direction and at least introduce yourself.

Crazy from the Heat in Braemar

Maybe it’s because it’s been bumping up to triple digits this week in Braemar.  The heat is enough to make anyone crazy.  I’m sure I’m not the only one that would like the blame the recent fire set by wandering juveniles on a case of heat-induced wackiness.

Whatever the reason, there my husband and I were driving down Tartan Hills Parkway from Native Rocks, heading to Sudley Manor Drive, when we saw smoke billowing up from the grassy, wooded area to the right of the walking path.   Because there is quite a ditch there, and other cars stopped, we pulled over to see if there had been an accident.  Nope.  There was a fire in the large storm sewer that went between two wooded areas and under Tartan Hills Parkway.  The car that had stopped saw some teenage boys leaving the scene.

Obviously, these kids were up to no good, but seemed to not have the sense the good Lord gave them.  Setting up a campfire on a 90+ degree day in an enclosed area?  No wonder they set it and took off.  They couldn’t breathe and it was hot as hell.

The Nokesville Volunteer Fire Department was called to the scene and made short work of dousing the fire.  My husband, James and another passerby had done their best to stomp out what they could before the fire truck arrived.  James said that sticks and branches were gathered and placed in an area in the middle of the storm sewer.  The “campfire” was about six feet by six feet.  No small job. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize how bad this could have turned out if even one ember had blown into the wooded area that runs up next to homes.  Northern Virginia is experiencing a severe drought.  Normally light green grass for this time of year looks scorched and dead as you drive by any landscaping that is not consistently watered.  Trees are having browning and dead leaves.  Property could have been put at risk by this prank.  And the wildlife that lives in the woods and ocassionally travel through the storm sewer could have been injured as well.  (Yes, the images of the forest fire in Bambi will never leave my mind.)

Just another reminder to do two things:  Keep an eye on your kids and teach them the dangers of playing with fire.  This was a minor inconvenience to residents kind enough to stop, and the Nokesville Volunteer Fire Department certainly had better things to do with their time than put an end to a group of juvenilles ill-conceived plan. 

Crazy from the heat indeed.  Got me to thinking back to the days of MTV and missing this character.

Greenhill Crossing in Gainesville-Haymarket, VA Offers a Small Town Feel

As you approach the community Greenhill Crossing in Gainesville/Haymarket, VA  off of the main drag through Haymarket, you get a glimpse of a simpler time.  With homes built from 1996 to 2008, and a variety that includes single family homes and townhouses, there is something here for just about every buyer.  In any market, the home prices are a great value no matter what you are buying.

The community of Greenhill Crossing is located off of Route 55 (a.k.a. John Marshall Highway & Washington Street)and straddles both Gainesville and the Town of Haymarket.  It’s the latter that gives Greenhill Crossing a small town feel….when Main Street USA was really a two lane, 25 mile per hour road, lined with Mom & Pop shops in businesses that sat in more residential looking buildings than commercial ones.  You can walk your dog to the vet (Healthy PAWS) or to mail a package at the post office, meander half a block up to Cupcake Heaven, or take a two block stroll to get your favorite sandwich at the best Subway in the area.

As you turn into Greenhill Crossing’s main entrance off of Route 55, you immediately notice the immaculate gazebo to your left.  It looks like a scene straight out of the Andy Griffith Show.  A beautiful white building on a rectangular lot, surrounded by perfectly trimmed hedges.  This is what sits outside the Greenhill Crossing Community Clubhouse where you enter the swimming pool.  And right next door are the tennis courts.

Greenhill Crossing in Gainesville-Haymarket may not be for everyone.  Any buyer looking at the community should be made aware (as if the word Crossing in the community’s name wasn’t enough of a clue)that train tracks do run through the back side of the neighborhood.  In my experience as a Realtor®, the mere mention of train tracks puts you in one camp or another.  The first is you love the soothing sound of the train passing by.  The second is you won’t be able to deal with it.  So now you’re aware, if you’re in the first camp, read on.

Greenhill Crossing has two easy entrance points for eastbound commuters that need access to Interstate 66 for the morning drive.  One is the Route 15 on ramp in Haymarket.  The second is the Route 29 on ramp in Gainesville.  Gainesville is the east-most exit on I-66, but it’s probably splitting hairs to determine which is closest to the neighborhood. 

Living in Greenhill Crossing you would have access to the quaint shops that line Route 55 in downtown Haymarket and into Gainesville.  The closest grocery store is Bloom in Haymarket.  If you’re looking for more a mega-grocery store, you’ll find Wegmans in Gainesville and two Giant Food in Gainesville, one in Dominion Valley in Haymarket.  The newest addition to the area is the Haymarket Heathcote Health Center, a satellite Emergency Room and Outpatient Building of Prince William Hospital, less than two miles from Greenhill Crossing.

If you’re looking for a place to call home in Gainesville or Haymarket, and like a small town feel, Greenhill Crossing may be just the ticket.

Morris Farm: A Surburban Gainesville, VA Surrounded by Rural Meadows

Gainesville, VA’s community of Morris Farm (a.k.a. Meadows at Morris Farm) began delivering homes in 2005.  As of the time of this post, builders are still delivering newly built home to Gainesville, VA buyers.  Buidlers in Morris Farm include Brookfield Homes, Craftmark Homes and Richmond American.

Morris Farm offers a variety of homes to fit just about any Gainesville home buyer.  There are large single family home, single family homes on the more modest size, and single family starter homes.  Townhouses are also something a Gainesville, VA buyer will find when they drive through Morris Farm.

One of the most pleasing concepts of the Morris Farm community is the forty-five acres of conservation area near Lake Manassas.  This is a conservation area for birds of all kinds.  You may even see deer or fox traipsing through the meadows as you sit in my favorite spot in Morris Farm: The Overlook.  Take in the dappled sunlight as you gaze out over a hundred year old oak tree.  Walk along the trail, provided to residents, that takes you alongside the conservation area.

And what better place to put a community pool!  The clubhouse and pool back to this large, peaceful tract of land.  The pool and its surroundings invite you to leave your troubles at the door and relax.  And if you can’t sit still, how about a game of shuffleboard?  For the kids, there’s a playground just in front of the clubhouse.

Morris Farm is in a convenient Gainesville, VA location, at the end of Rollins Ford Road, off of Linton Hall Road.  From here, it’s a quick drive up Linton Hall Road to many of the area’s shops and restaurants.  And the commute for eastbound workers is just as easy as you are about three miles from the intersection of Route 29 and Interstate 66 in Gainesville, VA.

If you’re looking for a suburban community, surrounded by the peace and quiet of rural meadows, it’s time to see Morris Farm.   You won’t be disappointed.

Where to Live in Western Prince William County, VA: North or South of Route 29?

If you are considering a move to Western Prince William County, VA, you are likely to include the areas of Bristow, Gainesville and Haymarket to your home search.  There is one major road that splits the area in two:  Route 29 going through Gainesville, VA.  Do you want to live north of it?  Or south of it?

This was a question I never considered when moving to Bristow, VA.  I found the home I loved in the community of Braemar.  So without a thought, I landed south of Route 29.  I’ve never had a point of comparision.  However, a client I recently represented sold a townhouse north or Route 29 in Gainesville’s community of Crossroads Village, only to move south of Route 29 to Bristow’s community of KingsbrookeWhen I caught up with after being in her Kingsbrooke home for two months, I asked how she liked life in Kingsbrooke.  Her response surprised me.

She told me that she LOVED living in KingsbrookeMore specifically, she loved living south of Route 29.  She explained that she didn’t have to worry about battling Route 29 traffic (which backs up regularly with rush hour traffic, or weekend concert traffic at Jiffy Lube Live) to go to the grocery store or most of the shops she frequented in Gainesville, which are south of the main road.  As a young, stay-at-home Mom, she is the local errand runner and has noticed her time spent in the car locally has noticeably decreased since moving to Kingsbrooke, thus making her a happier camper. 

This may be something for buyers looking to relocate to Western Prince William County, VA to consider.  If ease of access to local shops and grocery stores is something important to you, living south of Route 29 might be the place to look. Don’t worry.  This leaves many wonderful communities like Kingsbrooke, Braemar,  Morris Farm, Sheffield Manor, and Victory Lakes for you to search…just to name a few.