Northern Virginia Real Estate and Community News

Dec. 6, 2018

Local Northern Virginia Holiday Events


Well, everyone, December is upon us and that means it’s time for the holidays! Hanukkah began on December 2nd, and Christmas will be here before we know it. One of the best parts of the holiday season is that there are so many fun events happening around town. I’ve put together a list of some here, but of course, there are many other events not listed here.


Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights

 See the Winter Walk of Lights 5:30 to 10 p.m. every evening from now until January 6 - yes, even Christmas and New Year’s Eve! The Botanical Garden is transformed into a half-mile walk of lights featuring sites like the Fountain of Lights and Lakeside Lights. For more information or to get tickets, visit


Bull Run Festival of Lights

Drive through the beautiful 2.5-mile festival route and see the beautiful lights. Then visit the holiday village for refreshments, rides and a chance to meet Santa! The Bull Run Festival of Lights is going on now until January 6. For more information, operating times and to get tickets, visit


Ice Skating at Reston Town Center

The ice skating rink is open from now until the middle of March! Stop by, rent one of their 500+ pairs of skates and enjoy the seasonal fun! For kids who might be new to skating, the skate shop has double bladed, flat edge skates to help young skaters get a feel for the ice. All skaters can choose between figure- and hockey-style skates. For more information and to learn about special themed nights, visit


Prince William Ice Center Holiday Ice Show

Visit the Prince William Ice Center on Sunday, December 16 at 1 p.m. for their annual Holiday Ice Show! The show features solo skaters and synchronized teams. The event also offers cookie sales, raffle baskets, and silent auctions, so it’s sure to be a fun event for the whole family. Bundle up! Admission is $5 or a non-perishable food donation for the food pantry. For more information visit


Spectacular Musical Tree Show

Check out the Spectacular Musical Tree Show at the Village at Leesburg any day until January 1. The 5-story tree performs music and light shows every day on the hour from noon until 9 p.m. For more information, visit


Holiday Through the Ages

For a different holiday experience, consider visiting Rippon Lodge’s Holidays Through the Ages. Learn about seasonal festivities from different time periods as well as different religions. Light refreshments and shopping close out this holiday experience. Visit for more information.


Did I miss your favorite local holiday event? Tell me in the comments below. And let me know if you make it to any of these! I would love to hear about your experience. Happy holidays!


Robin Butler, your friend in the real estate business.




Posted in Community News
Nov. 29, 2018

10 Reasons To List Your Home During The Holidays


Are you ready to list your Northern Virginia home but feeling a bit leery of listing right now? Everyone is busy and the house is decorated for the holidays and you just don’t think people will buy. That thinking is actually incorrect. Believe it or not, during the holidays is a GREAT time to list (and maybe even sell) your home. Here’s why:


  1. Serious buyers have few houses to choose from during the holidays, and less competition means more money for you!
  2. People who look for a home during the holidays are more serious buyers.
  3. Houses show better when decorated for the holidays.
  4. Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there will be less demand for your specific home. Less demand means less money for you...
  5. You can sell now for more money. We can certainly provide an option for a delayed closing or extended occupancy until early next year.
  6. Buyers are more emotional during the holidays, so they are more likely to pay your offering price.
  7. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons.
  8. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the holidays than they do during the work week.
  9. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since transfers can't wait until spring to buy, your house must be on the market now!
  10. Your house can still be on the market, but you'll have the flexibility to limit showings during the six or seven days during the holidays.


If you’re ready to take the plunge and start preparing for your NEW dream home, text me or give me a call and let’s talk about it.


Robin Butler, your friend in the real estate business.





Nov. 2, 2018

What do you do about pet odor?

getting rid of pet odors

We all know you love your pets. I love my Daisy and Baxter with all my heart. But, your buyer doesn't have a clue how wonderful your pet is. A problem that always arises in selling a home is the potential for what your pet is leaving behind. 

It's imperative to conquer pet odors before they kill your sale. Here are some ways to get rid of pet odors and a video on an experience I recently had with a buyer. 





8 Ways to Get Rid Of Awful Pet Smells That Turn Off Buyers


Have you had a "pet odor" experience? Feel free to share in the comments below. If you need help with one, feel free to reach out.

And, as always, if you need help buying or selling a Northern Virginia home, give me a call.


Robin Butler, Your friend in the real estate business





Sept. 27, 2018

NOVA Fall Festivals


I really don’t think it can get much more beautiful than Fall in Northern Virginia. With that little bit of a crisp edge to the air and all the amazing colors that Mother Nature provides, it’s hard to find a more gorgeous setting for bonfires and Trick or Treat. Fall is also a time for some really fun festivals and events around the area. We’re going to share some of those here.


Here are 3 blogs that list some of the best festivals around.


Kid Friendly DC has a fabulous line up of some of the best family-friendly activities you can find.


FXVA the Fairfax County, Virginia authority lists a whole host of seasonal fun for you to check out.


Trip Savvy’s Virginia Guide also lists some great fall events to check out.


Here are a few of my favorite things to do during Fall in NOVA.


  1. City of Fairfax Fall Festival Make sure you don’t miss the Lumberjack Show.

  2. Of course, picking apples (and enjoying a homemade apple pie) and drinking hard cider are complete requirements when living in Northern Virginia.

  3. The Glow: A Jack O’Lantern Experience- It’s a Halloween wonderland of over 5,000 hand carved, illuminated pumpkins.


What are your favorite fall happenings? Be sure to share in the comments below.


As fun as fall is for play around town, it’s also a great time to sell or buy a home. Many people want to get into a new place by the holidays and this time of year is fabulous for doing outdoor photos. If you are looking to buy or sell now (or maybe in the winter and want photos done now) feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to help you out.


Robin Butler, Your friend in the real estate business



Aug. 30, 2018

Trendy Home Materials for 2018


We are well into 2018 and seeing the trends in decorating our homes for the year. With fall just around the corner, are you considering making some changes around your Northern Virginia home? Perhaps you’re planning to purchase a new couch, add some accessories, or even remodel a room before the Halloween candy and pumpkin pies make their appearances in your home! Well, there are some interesting materials that many are incorporating into their interior designs this year, and you may enjoy checking into how you could work them into your plans.


If you are thinking about relaxing on some new furniture, consider the soft, plush feel of velvet. The rich colors and luxurious feel of this material are attracting a great deal of attention in 2018. A new sofa could be an elegant addition to your living room, or maybe you would even like to add an accent piece. This year, mustard yellow is popular for adding a little splash as an accent color.


Natural elements are also trending as consumers are bringing some of the outdoors inside. The natural fibers of rattan and raffia are choices for both indoor and outdoor seating as well as storage pieces or accessories. Also, dark woods are a current choice for furniture throughout the home, providing a luxurious atmosphere, replacing the bleached furniture that has been popular in the past.


Are some kitchen or bathroom updates in your plans? Natural stone is popular in kitchen sinks for an easy-to-clean and built-to-last structure. Marble has become an often-selected material for countertops, tabletops, tiles, and accent pieces. And if you are considering a new countertop, think about the popular and durable “terrazzo,” a composite material that is available in an endless array of colors!


Another way people are bringing the outdoors inside is through concrete. This industrial material is not just for your driveway anymore! While it is being poured for patios and firepits outside the home, it is coming inside to create fireplaces, tops of end tables and coffee tables, and accent pieces such as lamps. So, if you are looking for a strong material that is built to last, concrete could be the choice for you!


While you may already be thinking about your autumn decorations and the best spots to place your pumpkins, it’s not too late to consider making some changes around your home to catch on to some of this year’s popular trends. So, grab that pumpkin latte and research your next home accessory or improvement project!


Robin Butler, Your friend in the real estate business






Posted in Real Estate News
July 26, 2018

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

I often get asked by my Northern Virginia homeowners how long people typically live in their homes. For the majority of the last 25 years, most families stayed in their home an average of 6 years before moving.


There are several things that can cause a homeowner to move:

  • Change in family size due to children leaving home or due to having more children
  • Changes in employment or income
  • Changes in the local neighborhood
  • Desire to be closer to other family or friends
  • Changes in health needs


The reasons can go on and on. In general, as things change, people’s housing needs tend to change as well. But, according to the National Association of Realtors, over the last several years, we have seen that average jump to 10 years. That’s a pretty drastic increase of almost 50%.



Why the change?


During the fairly recent economic recession, not only did many people lose their jobs but their homes were in a negative equity position because of falling home prices. This forced many people into a position of not being able to sell their homes due to the fact that they would need to bring money to the closing table that they did not have. In an interesting twist, it was also discovered that while many people were NOT moving as often, the millennials were still moving every 6 years due to needing more space as their families grew.


The Pent Up Demand is There


People still want [and need] to move and the demand for great homes is there. But, the lack of inventory is a deterrent to those people being able to move. This all means that NOW IS THE TIME TO SELL. With the demand out there, that is only driving the prices of homes further up meaning that this is truly a seller’s market.


If you’ve been thinking of making a move, give me a call and let’s talk about it.


Robin Butler, Your friend in the real estate business



June 30, 2018

What's Up With Interest Rates?

What's Up With Interest Rates?

As we approach the halfway mark for the year, everyone wants to know how the real estate market is doing here in Northern Virginia. 

Find out in my latest video below. 

june 2018 interest rates from Robin Butler on Vimeo.


As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need some assistance. 


Robin Butler, your friend in the real estate business


May 24, 2018

How To Buy A Northern Virginia Home In A Tight Market

You found the perfect house, perfect neighborhood, perfect price. You text the realtor to set up a showing and- WHAM! Too late, it’s already pending. But, it just came on the market yesterday. How did you miss it?


Does that sound like you? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Right now, it is a seller’s market across the country, not just in Northern Virginia. This means that there’s really only less than 6 months worth of homes available on the market right now. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get your dream home. It just means that you have to “shop smarter” than the average person. Here’s what you can do:


Get pre-approved

Getting pre-approved is good for many reasons. But, in a market like this, it’s important to be able to be “the most attractive buyer” if you end up in a bidding war for a home. When you are pre-approved, your realtor will present that pre-approval letter with your offer so that the sellers know you are a serious buyer that has already been guaranteed for financing. This gives you a leg up on the buyer that has not applied for financing yet.


Be ready to pay listing price

When there are fewer homes to go around, you will see prices appreciate. But, more than that, you will hear about multiple offers on the same home. A lot of home shoppers go in with the mentality of “Noone pays the listing price so I know I can get 20% off.” This just isn’t accurate right now. If you’ve been pre-approved for a home up to $350,000; don’t even waste your time looking at homes over that. You need to accept the fact that if you find a home you like, it’s highly possible you will have to pay the listing price. And, if you love that home and are in a bidding war, you may even have to pay more than listing price to win it.


Have your down payment and a security deposit ready

So, you have your pre-approval letter and are ready to pay full price. What’s the status on your down payment? Make sure that you know how you are getting that money. You also will want to be sure you have a small amount of good faith money to put a check in with your contract offer. Your realtor can advise you on the proper amount for the home but even $500-$1,000 can go a long way. If a seller is entertaining multiple offers on their home and they have one that’s pre-approved, willing to pay the price and has already “shown them the money,” then they are much more likely to accept your offer over someone that doesn’t show themselves as well-prepared.




 Work with a realtor

When you are buying a home, there’s no reason not to use a realtor. The seller pays all the realtor commissions. And, no, you won’t get the home cheaper by not having a realtor. When you work with a realtor, not only can they advise you on tips like the above, but they are also more in the know on what’s going for sale. Many homes are being sold just through realtor/office connections before they even hit the MLS.


I know it can be a bit stressful and overwhelming buying a home. That’s why I’m here. I have many, many years of experience and am happy to help answer your questions and be your fearless leader. Feel free to contact me if I can be of help with your Northern Virginia home.


Robin Butler, Your friend in the real estate business





Posted in Buying a Home
April 27, 2018

Working From Home in Fairfax County



Working from home is becoming more popular every day. Not including those that are self-employed, the telecommuting workforce has grown 115% since 2005 when it came on the radar. When you add in the self-employed and those with side gigs, that’s a lot of people working from home.


Do you work from your Fairfax County, VA home? If so, have you checked to make sure you don’t need a permit? In many cities and counties, there are specific rules about working from home in a residential area.


I can’t offer you any legal advice, but here’s the gist of what the web says for Fairfax County. In Fairfax County, it seems you can do most any clerical/computer type of job from home. The main concern is that the home still “appears” residential so no signs, storage, etc.If there’s anything that takes special equipment, monster trucks, and/or clients visiting your home, you will need additional types of permits for those occupations.


They have a great list on the county website of what they consider “home occupations” and the form to get the official permission. It’s only $50 so it’s certainly not a burden for anyone running a business.


They do have two different classifications so you need to be sure you are applying for the correct one:


Home Occupations: are things like clerical and artistic businesses. (This is what is mentioned above.)

Home Professional Offices: are people like therapists, accountants, etc. that would have clients visiting the home. They ask that if you have a home professional office, you call them to get a special permit. For that, you can contact the Zoning Evaluation Division of the Department of Planning and Zoning at 703-324-1290, TTY 711 for further information.


Here’s an interesting statistic to leave you with regarding working from home:


The percent of female and male telecommuters is almost equal.52% of all telecommuting employees are female (compared to their 48% of the entire workforce in the United States).This statistic helps disprove the theory that more females work from home when they become mothers.(


If you’re looking to buy or sell in Fairfax County, contact me.

Robin Butler, Your friend in the real estate business



Posted in Real Estate News
April 19, 2018

First Quarter 2018 Market Update

What's going on right now in the market? 

Price increases, low inventory. . . find out more in my latest vlog. 


First Quarter 2018 Market Update from Robin Butler on Vimeo.


If you need more information on renovating for resale or are looking to buy or sell a home, keep me in mind. I'm happy to help!

Robin Butler, Your friend in the real estate business



Posted in Real Estate News