Northern Virginia Real Estate and Community News

March 17, 2021

Top 10 Spring Maintenance Items to Perform

 

We’ve had an unusual winter in Northern Virginia this year with more storms than usual. This might have left your home with a few things that need to be updated or repaired. Now is the time to start making plans for those “honey-do” lists. 

 

And, if you are planning on buying or selling your house this season, it’s especially important to make sure you check these 10 maintenance items off of your list. If you need a little help, I’ve included some suggestions on who to contact.

  • Gutters - Pull leaves and debris out of the gutters, run a hose on the roof and check if there are any leaks that need to be fixed. 
  • Siding - Power wash vinyl siding to prevent mold from forming. If you have wood siding, there may be areas that need a paint touch-up! Power Wash Plus at  www.powerwashplus.net
  • Windows & Door Screens - Check screens for holes and replace them if necessary. Clean windows inside and out. Let buyers focus on the view! Larry Miller Inc. at www.windowcleaningservice.net
  • Water Heater - Lubricate the circulating pump and motor. If you are not familiar with these parts, you may want to call in a professional for maintenance. John C. Flood at www.johncflood.com
  • Roof - Inspect the roof for any missing, loose or damaged shingles that need to be replaced. Dryhome Roofing at www.dryhome.com
  • Deck or Porch - Check the deck or porch to see if they need to be weather treated or re-stained. Check railings for sturdiness and adjust if needed. 
  • Landscaping - First impressions are important. Whether you do it yourself or call in a pro, make sure to trim any overgrown plants and remove weeds. Don’t forget to add a pop of color with seasonal flowers! Landco at www.mylandco.net
  • Foundation - Check floors, concrete and walls for any cracking or deterioration. If needed, call a foundation professional who can help.  JES Foundation Repair at  www.jeswork.com
  • Bathrooms - Inspect the caulking around the base of the shower and sinks. If it is deteriorating, scrape it out and replace it. Buyers want to see a fully-functioning bathroom, not worry about water getting through the shower or sink.
  • Sign up for my new FREE Service full of useful information about your home value. Homebot

 

If you need suggestions on the above or would like to find out how much your home is currently worth in the new season, let me know. I’m happy to be of assistance.

 

Robin Butler,

“Your Friend In The Real Estate Business.”

Remax Gateway

703-932-9299

Posted in Community News
March 11, 2021

Robin Visits Our Mom Eugenia

Looking for a new restaurant to try out? Looking for some authentic Greek food? Why not put those two goals together in one great place. Check out my latest video as I sit down and enjoy a delicious meal at Our Mom Eugenia.

By the end, you'll be reaching for your car keys!

 

 

About Our Mom Eugenia

Our Mom Eugenia isn't just your typical casual neighborhood. We aim to give our community a taste of Greek culture through the variety of dishes that we serve, such as soups, spreads, meat entrees, seafood, desserts, and many more. We guarantee our customers that we only serve them dishes of the best quality.

 

Stop in and enjoy a great meal.

Robin Butler

"Your Friend in the Real Estate Business"

Remax Gateway

903-932-9299

 

 

 

Posted in Community News
Feb. 25, 2021

Robin Visits Burke Lake Park

Do the winter blues have you dreaming about getting out of the house and back into nature?

Before winter set in, I went out to explore the parks that Fairfax County has to offer.  Watch the video from my visit to Burke Lake Park

And this year make sure to visit all Fairfax County Parks

 

 

Robin Butler

"Your Friend in the Real Estate Business"

Remax Gateway

703-932-9299

 

Feb. 18, 2021

Robin Pops into Chloez Cafe in Fairfax Station

 

I recently stopped in to Chloez Cafe for breakfast and a quick look to see what they have to offer.  What I found was an adorable restaurant that serves home-cooked items like omelets, soups, sandwiches, burgers, salad, smoothies, and more.

About Chloez Cafe

Coming to Chloez cafe is like a day at the beach.  We hope you find Chloez to be bright, sunny, crisp, clean, and a family fun atmosphere.  We can't always promise sunshine, but we will do our best to make you smile.  Gym clothes and yoga mats welcome!  But, sorry, no bathing suites--the county requires shirts and flip flops.

If you are looking for a neighborhood restaurant with real home cooking, Chloez Cafe is for you.

Check out my visit:

 

 

Robin Butler

"Your Friend in the Real Estate Business"

Remax Gateway

703-932-9299

Posted in Community News
Feb. 11, 2021

Purrfect Way to Spend Your Day!

I recently stopped by Patriot Pawsabilities, A Cat Lounge to see what they are all about.

Located in the University Mall shopping center at 10687 Braddock Rd, Fairfax, (**back of the mall*) Patriot Pawsabilites offers a home type of environment where guests can come, hang out, relax, or take a class while in the company of adoptable cats.  

Yes...ADOPTABLE CATS!   In just under two years they have placed over 300 hundred cats in their furever homes.

Check out my visit:

 

 

Robin Butler

"Your Friend in the Real Estate Business"

Remax Gateway

703-932-9299

Posted in Community News
Feb. 9, 2021

How Home Improvements, Repairs, and Taxes Go Together

 

 

It’s getting to be that time of year - tax time in Northern Virginia! 

 

Do you wonder about the difference between home improvements and home repairs. There is often confusion on whether home improvements and repairs are tax deductible. Is a new roof tax deductible? What about an addition?

 

Surprisingly, in most cases, it simply doesn’t matter unless your house increases dramatically in value during the time you own it.

 

Improvements vs. Repairs

 

Whenever money is spent on your home, it will generally be either an improvement or a repair. An improvement is anything that adds additional value to your home or increases its lifespan. There’s not a specific list of improvements.

 

Things like an addition to your home or a new furnace are certainly improvements. Adding an alarm system would count, too. Other common improvements would be re-plumbing your house, adding an in-ground pool, or making your home handicap accessible.

 

Home improvements can impact your tax situation, but only at the time you sell your home. Improvements are included in the tax basis of your home. A $20,000 swimming pool would decrease the profit you realize upon the sale of your home by $20,000.

 

Repairs don’t provide the same benefit. Repairs would include things like painting a room or fixing a leaky sink.

 

Does this tax advantage really matter?

 

For most people, it doesn’t. Under the current tax law, you don’t have to pay any taxes on the profit generated from the sale of your home, for up to $250,000 for singles and $500,000 for married couples filing jointly.

 

So, the tax benefit from home improvements is only relevant if you receive profit beyond these thresholds. It could even be argued that keeping records of your improvements is a waste of time. But maintaining good records is still a prudent idea.

 

Keeping records

 

Keep all of your home improvement and repair receipts. You don’t know what the housing market will do in the future. Keeping these records could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in some circumstances.

When you sell your house and determine the amount of profit, you can subtract the original sales price and the cost of your home improvements. Unless you’ve made a lot of improvements or the market has gone through the roof, you’re unlikely to see any tax benefits.

Exceptions

 

Some home improvements actually are tax deductible, such as energy-related home improvements or any losses you’ve suffered due to theft, act of nature, or accident. In the case of the latter, only the amount not covered by your insurance is tax-deductible.

 

If you rent out part of your home or qualify for a home office deduction, you have some additional tax advantages. Any repairs specific to the parts of your home used for these purposes are tax-deductible.

 

Any whole house repairs can be partially deducted. For example, if your home office accounts for 10% of your total square footage, you can deduct 10% of the cost of a new a/c unit from your taxes. Similar rules are followed if you rent out part of your home.

 

Conclusion

 

Improvements can be tax-deductible, but only when you sell your home. Repairs are only tax-deductible if you rent part of your home or have a home office that qualifies as a tax deduction.

 

Otherwise, tax deductions only exist if you realize more than $250,000 of profit when selling your home. Remember that amount increases to $500,000 if you’re married filing jointly. If you have any additional questions, be sure to contact a tax professional. For most of us, there won’t be a tax deduction from any home improvements or home repairs.

 

Keep in mind, all the above information is not to offer any advice in any way but just general information. We suggest you have an accountant on your contacts list to be sure you are always getting the most you can for your tax dollars. 

 

Robin Butler,

“Your Friend In The Real Estate Business.”

Remax Gateway

703-932-9299

 

 

Jan. 27, 2021

Robin Visits the Sully Historic Site

Have you ever wanted to step back in time to see what things were like?  Well, one place to start is the Sully Historic Site  in Chantilly, VA.  There are hiking trails, tours, and classes, plenty for you to learn and do!

Check out my recent visit:

Robin Butler,

“Your Friend In The Real Estate Business.”

Remax Gateway

703-932-9299

 

Posted in Community Events
Jan. 19, 2021

14 Ways to Make Working Out at Home More Effective

 

With 2020 behind and KNOWING we will probably still be at home more for a while, it’s time to find new ways to stay active in Northern Virginia!

 

Working out at home has a lot of advantages compared to visiting a gym. You cut down on driving, you skip the long lines, and you control the playlist. Plus, regardless of the weather, you can remain warm and dry. And, let’s not even mention the fact that COVID has closed or limited many local gyms and exercise facilities anyway.

 

Maybe the only thing that would make staying home even more rewarding would be making your exercise sessions extra effective.

 

 

Try these suggestions for creating and using a home gym that will help you to become slimmer and fitter in less time.

 

How to Design an Effective Home Gym:

 

  1. Designate a space. Being able to set aside an entire room may be ideal, but you can make any layout work. If you’re short on space, arrange a gym in one corner of your basement or studio apartment. You can even put your equipment out of sight when you’re done.
  2. Clear away distractions. Make it easier to concentrate by storing work materials and children’s toys elsewhere. Turn your phone off if you’re tempted to text.
  3. Stock up on equipment. There’s plenty of gear that you can pick up even on a tight budget. Maybe you want a deluxe treadmill or just some resistance bands and a yoga mat.
  4. Go online. For endless variety, use your phone or set up a monitor so you can watch fitness videos. Sign up for a CrossFit program or visit your library for free titles. YouTube, Amazon Prime, and even Netflix have exercises online that you can indulge in.

How to Use Your Home Gym:

  1. Focus on whole-body movements. Compared to exercises that target single muscles, compound movements are more efficient. You may want to spend more time doing push-ups instead of bicep curls.
  2. Be comprehensive. Train for strength, heart health, flexibility, and balance. Vary your workouts instead of sticking to just the exercises that you like.
  3. Try interval training. You may have seen studies that show that interval training increases the benefits of exercising. To get started, alternate between high-intensity activities and less demanding movements. Gradually make your workouts more challenging by increasing the intensity, pace, or resistance.
  4. Find a buddy. When you workout with a friend, you can share feedback, encouragement, and laughs. Invite a neighbor or coworker to join you. You can even “Zoom” to workout together if need be.
  5. Set goals. It’s common to reach a plateau after you’ve been working out for a while. If you want to stay motivated or keep making gains, give yourself targets to strive for. You might decide to work out for at least 30 minutes at least 3 days a week or take an inch off your waist within 30 days.
  6. Track your progress. Once you establish goals, you can measure them. Keep a journal about your workouts and performance. Reward yourself when you reach each milestone.
  7. Have fun. Remember to have a good time. If you love training with kettlebells or watching nature shows while you’re running on the treadmill, you’ll be more likely to stick to your workout program.
  8. Use good form. Protect yourself from injuries by doing exercises properly. If you’re a beginner, you may want to take a class or work with a trainer to receive the instructions you need.
  9. Rest up. Giving your body adequate time to recover will also help you to stay safe and strong. If you have no signs of overtraining like fatigue or persistent muscle soreness, you may prefer active rest like going for a gentle walk on your days off.
  10. Talk with your doctor. Discuss any individual concerns with your physician. That’s especially important if you’ve been sedentary or you’re trying to manage a chronic condition.

 

Enjoy the comforts of home while you maximize your workouts. A well-planned space and a balanced exercise program will help you to shape up faster than you expected.

 

Do you have a favorite online video or local place to get some exercise? Let us know about it.

 

Robin Butler,

“Your Friend In The Real Estate Business.”

Remax Gateway

703-932-9299

 

Posted in Community Events
Jan. 12, 2021

Robin Explores HMart in Fairfax

 

We all love H Mart, located at 11200 Fairfax Blvd in Fairfax. 

Have you been to their food hall?  If you see me there, sit down and I'll buy you lunch.  

Watch as I explore everything they have to offer.

 

 

 

Robin Butler,

“Your Friend In The Real Estate Business.”

Remax Gateway

703-932-9299

 

 

Posted in Community News
Dec. 22, 2020

Roofing Maintenance (for the homeowner)

When you own a home, it's usually your most important and expensive investment. It's important to keep everything working well and one of the most important aspects of your home outside of the foundation is the roof. If the roof is not kept in good order you can suffer leaks which can escalate into bigger problems inside your home. (And that’s all water-related so bear with us.)

 

Pretty much any time you're outside your home you need to train yourself to take a look at your roof. You never know when something can happen that you just weren't aware of such as trees touching your roof, branches falling on your roof, or other debris. Even the existence of black streaks on your roof can be a sign that you need roof work done. 

 

Most people use the season of spring to check their roof, this is a good rule of thumb to use since most people do their spring cleaning at that time and the weather is not too hot or too cold. But, it’s never too late to start keeping an eye on your roof. The last thing you want is to have a hole or leak in your roof during the winter. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for.

 

Check for Overgrown Trees

Overgrown trees can cause a lot of problems with your roof. They can scratch it, gouge it, and even fall onto your roof. They can puncture your roof, scratch your roof, and make holes in your roof. The falling leaves can also clog up your gutter causing water to back up and run down the fascia causing mold build-up and other problems. Any low hanging tree branches should be removed and cut enough that they are not close enough to your home to drop their leaves in the guttering or touch and scratch your roof.

Check for Mold

If you have black discoloration on your roof it is more than likely algae, fungus, or worse, mold. If you live in a humid area or have humid times of the year like we do this is a danger. These bacterias can eat away at the roofing material and eventually lead to leaks. Plus, the discoloration is unsightly. If you trimmed your trees to provide more sunlight to directly shine on your roof this can be a natural way to repel the growth of algae, fungus, or mold. You can also have zinc strips installed after you've cleaned and scrubbed the roof, which will create zinc oxide during rain which will retard the growth of these deteriorating conditions. 

 

Survey Your Roof for Actual Damage

 

If you see shingles that are flapping in the breeze or actually missing, it's important to get this repaired immediately. It's only going to get worse and cost more if you don't fix it right away. Fixing a few shingles yourself is not difficult. Just pull the bad shingle off carefully and put a new one in place. If you have a tile roof it might be best to hire someone to do it for you. But a shingle roof you can easily do yourself if you are handy. Here’s a video from This Old  House with some good direction.

 

If you do at least an annual inspection each year, and you train yourself to always look up at your roof when you are outside doing something else you can avoid issues. Just because they say a roof lasts for 15 or 30 years does not mean you may not have damage from low lying trees, storms or rain damage. Keep diligent about your most important investment and it will be in good repair for a lifetime.

 

Check out my latest video for more information.

 

 

Robin Butler,

“Your Friend In The Real Estate Business.”

Remax Gateway

703-932-9299

 

Posted in Community News