Blog Archives

Morning Buzz – 04/17/12

April 17th, 2012 by

Good morning everyone! Just a quick reminder of the upcoming 22nd Annual Flower and Garden show in Leesburg, VA this weekend (April 21-22). The Historical district of downtown Leesburg will be closed off for this fun event. This year will boast 150 vendors and feature landscaping designs, gardening supplies, outdoor living items, plants, flowers, herbs and a whole lot more! Spring is in the air and this is a great way to start getting ideas and supplies for your summer gardening.

At this years event there will be a newly expanded Wine Garden that will be on the Town Green. This will be a new tasting area and feature some of Loudoun County’s best wineries and breweries. Another addition is the expansion of Cornwall Street. Cornwall Street has beautiful gardens as well as an historical church and mature landscaping making it the new “start street” of the festival.

Food, music, children’s entertainment, and crafts will be on hand for this fun 2 day event. For more information on the 22nd Annual Flower and Garden show in Leesburg, VA. head to:

Until next time….

The Open House Myth – Who Benefits?

April 10th, 2012 by

Has the Open House Myth changed? Who really benefits from this procedure? Have the efectiveness of an Open House been outlived? Recent survey’s state that public open houses may be more beneficial fors realtors than home sellers. Studies taken by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University show that thirty-two percent of the total 97% who responded believe that public open houses attract potential buyers. A whopping 41% of the agents that responded to the survey felt that showcasing the home in an open house was beneficial. In reality, buyers that are attending public open houses are more likely to buy a home other than the one being held open.

Are those attending open houses simply “kicking tires” and in the beginning stages of their search? Possibly. Sixty-two percent say most people attending open houses are not serious at all.

There are benefits to holding an Open House but feel they marginaly benefit the seller. While Open Houses are meant to bring in buyers, they create opportunities for agents to meet the neighbors, establish relationships within the community and obtain new business/listings.

Opening the home to potential buyers is part of the process and can be productive – 45% of buyers used Open Houses as an informational source in their new home search. Of the 45% only 11% learned about the home for sale through an Open House. Today, buyers are looking online and have realtors who are searching the Multiple Listing Service on their behalf. Eighy-nine percent of buyers are searching for their next home online.

As a realtor setting the expectations of the Open House Myth is key. Effectively marketing the home in ways that we can control (price and condition) will produce ready, willing and able buyers.

Morning Buzz 03-26-12

March 26th, 2012 by


My wife and I headed to DC yesterday afternoon for the Washington Capitals game. What a game! The first period was a bit of a snoozer but things ramped up in the second. Ten minutes into the second period #25, Jason Chimera scored the Capitals first goal by an assist from #28, Alex Semin. With 5 minutes to play in the second Washington Capitalized on a power play – #85, Mathew Perrault had a tip of assist from #20, Troy Brower to increase the CAPS lead to 2-0. As goes #8, Alex Ovechkin goes the CAPITALS! Within the first eight minutes of play in the third period #8, Alex Ovechkin fired a slap shot after an assist from #90, Marcus Johansson capping their lead to 3-0. The Capitals slid back into the number eight spot for the playoffs and take on the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night in hopes to solidify a playoff spot.

Prior to the game my wife and I had dinner at MatchBox – a restaurant just a block behind the Verizon center. Great little spot for fans and all. Their signature appetizers are the mini burgers. These little baby’s were deliscious! They have plates of 3, 6 and 9 that sit between a large portion of curly fried onions. A few of those, a cold refreshement and that’s all you’ll need. Their pizza selection was amazing! After placing our order we noticed a few others had chosen to do a “half and half” which we plan on doing next time.

Great vibe, great location and great food! What else can you ask for in Chinatown and near the Verizon Center? Until next time….

Our Funny and Crazy Dog Jodie

March 23rd, 2012 by

Is it true that dog’s and bees smell fear? We’ve had Jodie for almost 7 years and by now you would think she would slow down, sleep a lot and always eat. Oh no, not our Jodie Girl! Jodie is a rescue dog from The Lost Dog and Cat Foundation. Nela and I started looking at dogs online and considered contacting local breaders but felt better going through a rescue foundation was the better choice.

While enjoying our glass of wine Jodie gave us the entertainment we needed after a long day. Af first we were hesitant on letting her jump around and chase the bee but after a few minutes it was clear she would be unable to jump the heights needed to catch the bee. Through her hard efforts it’s clear that Jodie has successfully entered the “Catch the Bumble Bee Club!’ It doesn’t help that we have 2 large holly bushes at the edge of our fence and deck that attract all kinds of bees.

Yes, I know, Jodie could be allergic and will always keep that in mind but until her bee catching skills improve we’ll allow her to have fun and bee a dog.



Sadie’s Smile Foundation – 03-21-2012

March 21st, 2012 by

Sadie’s Smile Foundation is a local non-profit that is raising funds for the Smile Train foundation on behalf of Sadie Grace Ablard. Sadie Grace Ablard past away a few months ago and her parent’s are raising donations for Smile Train in Sadie’s honor. Their first annual 5K run will be held on Sadie’s birthday, May 12, 2012. All proceeds from the race will go to Smile Train. For more information on the 5K and or to make a donation, ”like” their page on Facebook – Sadie’s Smile Foundation and at

Publice Visual for Marine Corps Pilot Captain Michael Quinn

March 12th, 2012 by

Public Visual to honor Marine Corps Pilot Captain Michael Quin. Purcellville, Va. Hall Funeral Home. 8:30pm-9:30pm.

There will be a public visitation at Hall Funeral home in Purcellville, Va. tonight from 8:30pm-9:30pm to remember Marine Corps Pilot Michael Quin.
People will be asked to line the sidewalk along North Maple Avenue, and East Main Street between Maple Ave. and Nursery Ave. Purcellville Vol. Fire Co. and Loudoun County Dept. of Fire & Rescue members will be at 200 North Maple Ave. to pay their respects.

Officials also say there will be a public visitation on March 20 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Purcellville Baptist Church at 601 Yaxley Dr. There will also be a Celebration of Life at the Purcellville Tabernacle at 250 South Nursery Ave. between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Take the time to stop by Marine Corps Pilot Captain Michael Quins’ public visual.

Capt. Quin will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on March 21.

8 Chains North Winery – Cabin Fever Party

March 9th, 2012 by

Last night, my fellow realtors and I spent a fun evening at 8 Chains North Winery for our annual Cabin Fever Party. Perfect amount of guests, food and music! Krista, the manager was very helpful. A month before the party we had a chance to taste their variety and selection to determine which white and red we would have. We chose their 2009 Sauvignon Blanc that is done in a Fume Blanc style that is a 100% and aged 7 months in neutral French oak, sur lies, producing a firm yet well rounded structure with classic notes of sweat pea and citrus zest.
For our red selection we chose their 2008 Furnace Mountain Red which is a blend of all five Bordeaux reds sourced from their Furnace Mountain Vineyard, Tranquility vineyard, and Hidden Croft Vineyard. This wine is complex and well-rounded offering a firm structure on the pallet and supple, lingering finish.
The tasting room at 8 Chains North is very inviting. Their open floor plan has tons of space with comfortable couches, table tops and large bars to accommodate individuals and small to large groups. Since it was so nice yesterday we were able to utilized their large patio that overlooks the first plantings at the Waterford sight. Bill, the owner is currently adding 4 acres for their upcoming Albarino harvest.
Guests started arriving at 6pm and the sounds of Gary Smallwood filled the air. Gary started performing at the young age of 16. Gary’s love for music started as a percussionist in the 5th grade. Last night’s Cabin Fever Party consisted of classic rock, soulful blues and some great hits. Throughout the evening we sold raffle tickets for our 50/50 raffle that would benefit our KW Cares funds. Oh what a night! We are so blessed to be able to spend time with each other and have the support from our top vendors. Thanks to Champion Title & Settlements, Inc., HMS Home Warranty, eState Pro, and Country Termite and Pest Control. Without their loyalty and continued support we are able to have fun events throughout the year.
If you have not had a chance to experience the variety of wineries in Loudoun County be sure too and especially be sure to visit 8 Chains North. You will not be disappointed.

Until Next Time…
Country Termite & Pest Control – 540/338-7821

Morning Buzz – 03-07-2012

March 7th, 2012 by

Check out the FIRST video in the new Morning Buzz Series!
Brought to you by Jay Thomas.



Double Your Money – Real Estate Investment – Uncle Sams Says So!

February 29th, 2012 by

What’s the rate of return on savings accounts these days? How about in the stock market? CDs? Bonds? This stuff changes every day, but one thing I know for sure: none of them are anywhere near 100%. Heck, they’re not even in the double digits.

How Tax Law Can Help You Make Even More Money in Real Estate

Just based on my cash flow formulas alone, real estate can consistently bring you a 20 to 30% return on your cash investment. In fact, I advise you to walk away from any deal that would net you less. Just try getting that kind of interest rate on a savings account.

A 30% return is pretty amazing on its own. But guess what – your net return on investment will probably be even higher. As I’ve said before, smart real estate investments can consistently bring you a 70, 80, even 100% return.

How is that possible? Believe it or not, it’s all thanks to Uncle Sam and the U.S. tax code. Just by filing your taxes, you can save thousands – and double or even triple your rate of return.

In real estate, we talk a lot about appreciation. But when real estate investors (or our accountants) talk taxes, they talk depreciation – the amount that the asset loses in value each year.

Uncle Sam says that land doesn’t depreciate – but the structure on the land does. Luckily, the value of the land is typically only about 10% of the total value – check the tax bill for the property to be sure. But for our purposes, let’s say we’ve got a $100,000 property: the land is valued at $10,000 and the structure at $90,000.

Uncle Sam has also decided that structures last 27.5 years. (Don’t ask me where they get this number – I think they pick it out of a hat and they seem to change it every few years.) So to figure your structure’s rate of depreciation, you take the structure value listed on your tax assessment and divide it by 27.5. In our example, that comes out to $3,272 and change.

Now here’s the good part: the law says you can deduct that annual depreciation amount directly from your gross annual income. That means that if you make $50,000 a year before taxes in salary, you only have to pay taxes on $46,728. If you’re in the 28% tax bracket, that will save you a little more than $900.

When you figure that tax savings into your rate of return for the property, you can see how easily your rate of return can jump from 20 or 30% to 70, 80, even 100%. And remember that if you have multiple properties – and you should – you can deduct depreciation for each one.

If thinking about the IRS makes your stomach churn, don’t worry – you don’t have to be an expert in tax law to take advantage of these savings. When I got started, I didn’t even know the tax advantages existed – and I didn’t care.  I made my investing decisions based solely on the cash flow return, sticking to the 20 to 30% rule, and my accountant figured it all out for me at the end of the year.

That’s just what you should do too – focus on the cash on cash return and leave the rest to the experts. If you get that right, you get all the rest whether you know how to figure it out or not. Think of it as a bonus from Uncle Sam – and yet another way that real estate can put money in your pocket.

When Will Real Estate Values Start to Appreciate Again?

February 24th, 2012 by

When will the nation’s property values begin to appreciate again? This is the $64,000 question that real estate professionals, investors, and mortgage professionals would like to know. The truth is nobody can accurately predict the return of the real estate market.  Like everyone else, I can’t predict the end of this crisis either, but what I can do is tell you what will have to happen to facilitate that change. The answer is quite simple: America must reinvest in herself once again. Without an investment, real estate is as worthless as the Dollar is today.

Think back, or read a history book, about how families in the ’40s and ’50s used to buy homes. Young couples lived with Mom and Dad during the “courtship” prior to getting married, until they had saved 20% to put down on their “dream home”.  They made an investment in America, (i.e. the American dream). In the years that followed we have devalued that investment in lieu of credit and the easy access to it. Property values rose artificially and our nation became addicted to credit.

The value of the dollar has been demolished due to the same principle. When we place value in assets based on their ability to be easily bought and sold versus the value that has been invested in the asset, we devalue its worth. For example, two years ago I could have bought an $800,000 house (and I assure you that I cannot afford a house that expensive). The owner of that asset (the $800k house) placed value on his asset based on the availability of buyers like me who could buy the home. The problem is, this homeowner probably had less than 5% invested in the home. Where do you think that homeowner is today?

Had he put 20% down on his home, he would then own a valuable asset in which he has a real investment. This outlay of cash forces him to buy and sell his home in the same manner he would move an $800k investment around in the stock market – very carefully. Thus, the home has REAL value. However, having bought the home with little or no money down, the asset became disposable and so follows the real estate market.

So, as I said earlier, I cannot predict when the real estate market will bounce back, but I can tell you what needs to happen before it does. America needs to reinvest in herself by getting back to solid buying and selling principles. This strengthens home values, which encourages investors who employ builders who employ carpenters, painters, real estate agents, loan officers and so on. America was built on the “American Dream” which has turned into the “American Nightmare”; she can only be rebuilt by hard working Americans, not by Wall Street.

Jay Thomas, Realtor, NorthernVABuzz, Real Estate, Homes for Sale, Northern Virginia

Recent Entries

Spring Home Buying Tips

We all thought it would never come but Spring is finally here! Buyers are out and about looking at condos, townhomes and single family homes throughout the Northern Virginia Area. Nicer weather and motivations of moving between school years helps the Spring real estate market and home buying process jump in Northern Virginia. While inventory […]

More »

Hacked By Unknown

Hacked By Not Matter who am i ~ i am white Hat Hacker please update your wordpress

More »

Jay Thomas – The 6 Hours of Cranky Monkey Endurance Mountain Bike Race

6 Hours of Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike Race Recap Wow, what a day! Jim Harman and the crew at EX2 Adventures really know how to do it and do it well. After a few years of negotiating to get a race at Rosaryville Park in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, they were able to get the “thumbs […]

More »