To build, or not to build?

Mandy and Sid have been looking for the right home. They know the specific school boundary that they want to live in, but homes in their price range aren’t exactly what they have in mind.

Sketch of the elevation of a home

To build, or not to build onto an existing home?

So they are thinking about buying a smaller home that they can improve to meet their needs.

Mandy and Sid want a four bedroom home

They want their home to have at least 2,500 sf of living area, plus a 2-car garage, and a large family room. But homes of that size and characteristics are over their budget.

Instead, they are wondering if it makes sense to buy a small, 1950’s rambler on a good-size lot that is for sale and turn it onto their “dream home”.

They’d like to either build a new home from scratch or use the existing foundation and add on to the footprint, plus add a second story.

What goes into improving an existing home or building a new home?

To keep it simple, a purchaser would buy a small home in a large-enough lot, hire a builder to design and build the new home, and after a few months, move into their dream home.

How much would a dream home cost?

Continue Reading…

How to find restaurants, shops, and fun stuff (near homes for sale)

Gina was planning a move to Fairfax County for her new job.  She was excited about the job, plus she was happy to see that there were plenty of options for choosing a great school for her kids.

Gina also wanted to keep her current lifestyle

She was hoping to find a home where she could walk to the park, and have easy access to a bike trail.  She also wanted to have shops, restaurants, and the dry-cleaners nearby.

Map of amenities near homes for sale

Where is the fun stuff near a home?

Most people when they look for a home, they focus on what’s within its 4 walls:

Continue Reading…

Best Fairfax County Schools: The VIP Awards

Jason and his family are moving to Fairfax County this coming school year, and Jason’s parents want to make sure that he attends the best schools in Fairfax County and is as challenged as possible throughout his school experience.

Kids earn Academic Performance Awards

Virginia Schools also earn Academic Performance Awards

Jason is currently in elementary school, so his parents want to make sure that he has the opportunity to go to a top elementary school, in a couple of years attend a top middle school, and further down the road a top high school.

For this, they would like to know which are the best schools in Fairfax County, VA.  And they figured that the Virginia Department of Education would have a list of its best schools, and specifically for their needs, the best ones in Fairfax County.

Which are the best schools in Virginia?

Continue Reading…

How to find public services for a property in Fairfax County

I have lived in Fairfax County for over 18 years.  And as I have moved from home to home, I have slowly learned about where the nearest parks are, or where the nearest library is. By driving around, I may have noticed a police station, or a hospital.  And by necessity, I may have had to look up or ask about where the nearest post office was.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station

We don’t usually focus on public services when we look for a home

We are used to buying a home based on its particular characteristics, such as number of bedrooms, the size of the yard, and an updated kitchen.  Some of us might further place our focus on a few external characteristics such as the assigned schools.

What we don’t usually do is think about required public services until later, once we’ve moved in.

That’s when we start wondering how to get stuff done…

Continue Reading…

Why check into the registered offenders database

Imagine buying your dream home, at the perfect price, in the perfect location.  And once you move in and meet the neighbors, they politely mention to keep your kids away from your next door neighbor. But why?

Do your homework before you buy a home

Do your homework before you buy a home

Well, he’s a registered offender.


How come nobody told you about this when you were first looking at the home?

Why do you find out about this issue now when you can’t do much about it? (Other than putting up your new home for sale?)

And shouldn’t the seller of the home have disclosed this fact?

Surely there must have been some wrong-doing here! Well, maybe. But most likely, no. Continue Reading…

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