Over the Fence
News for Neighbors
February 2001

Special Meeting, Tuesday, Feb.20, 7:30 pm
    On Tuesday, February 20, 7:30 pm, at Patrick Henry School, Arlington Heights Civic Association (AHCA) will take a long, hard look at the Columbia Pike Master Plan.
    This special AHCA membership meeting will allow all neighbors to discuss both positive and negative aspects of the plan. We will discuss our hopes and concerns and how we will provide input for development and changes along the Pike.

Who Tore Up Columbia Pike?
    On February 7, contractors for MCI Worldcom began excavating Columbia Pike and Glebe Road sidewalks to install fiber optics, under permit from Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). Neither VDOT nor the permittee notified businesses or homeowners of their plans. They left a two-mile-long, two-foot-wide patch of asphalt where decorative paving stones should be. On February 9, AHCA president Jay Wind talked with VDOT permit supervisor Robert Bell, met with VDOT inspector Steve Dye, and obtained assurance that the permittee will notify neighbors of all future plans and restore Columbia Pike sidewalks before proceeding any further.

2001 Community Calendar

Our Executive Committee proposes these 2001 events:

In Memoriam

We offer our sympathies to the friends and family of Emanuel Athanas of 401 S. Garfield, who died January 9. See http://geocities.com/ahcawebsite/athanas.html for an article on his fascinating life story.

Officers Elected at Annual Meeting
    On Tuesday, January 23, AHCA elected officers for 2001:

2001 Budget
    Our Executive Committee proposes this 2001 budget:
$1800 Newsletter 
$  100 Postage/Supplies 
$  250 Sign Decorations 
$  100 Float Decorations 
$  200 Parties 
$  125 County Fair Table 
$  135 T-Shirts/Sweatshirts 
$    80 Dues:CPRO/ACCF 
$    80 Blues Festival 
$2870 Total Expenses 
$1500 Advertising 
$ 900 90 Family Members 
$ 300 15 Business Members 
$ 350 T-Shirt Sales 

$3150 Total Revenues 

Welcome to Arlington Pediatric Center
    On January 16, Arlington Pediatric Center opened at 3045 Columbia Pike, the former Pier One storefront. HHS Secretary Donna Shalala and County Board and School Board members attended the grand opening. The next issue will describe APC.

Next issue of Over The Fence
    Send articles and ads to Shannon Rudisill at JMG_SLR@HOTMAIL.COM or JAY.WIND@ATT.NET by March 15 for the April 1 issue

We thank Casey O'Neal of the Judy Finney Team at RE/MAX Horizons for sponsoring this issue. See pages 2 and 3.
Neighborhood Market Trends as of February 1, 2001
by Casey O'Neal <casey@caseyoneal.com> Associate Broker, RE/MAX Horizons
    Sales in Arlington Heights and Penrose in 2000 were strong with a total of 47 units sold. The average sales price was $243,269 (about a 13% increase from the average in 1999). The average days on market in 2000 were 31 (although two homes that were on the market for over 100 days and one home on the market for over 200 days skewed the averages). Seller subsidy (closing costs credited from the seller to the buyer at settlement) averaged $1,467 in 2000. In 20 of the transactions in 2000, no subsidy was paid, and many homes sold for list price or higher. The average property sold for 99.29% of the listed price in 2000.

    The current market in Arlington and the local area is vigorous with many buyers looking and few homes to choose from. While interest rate fluctuations last year were not a factor with the strong economic conditions and consumer confidence that have existed, interest rates have dropped to an attractive position below 7%. The supply and demand remains out of balance as it has been through 2000, and the seller's market remains intact as it was last year. Initial realistic pricing has been the best strategy to attract buyers who ultimately will pay over and above list price in many situations to secure a home. Appraisals have not typically been a problem, and some appraisers are adjusting for appreciation in the market (something that has not been seen since the late 1980s.)

Mortgage Financing

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the nation's largest sources of financing for home mortgages, recently announced an increase in their single-family mortgage loan limit to $275,000. The companies noted that in 2001, the increase will permit approximately 300,000 more families to take advantage of savings provided by having a conforming mortgage (the former limit was $252,700). For example, at the current spread between rates for a conforming loan mortgage and a jumbo mortgage (over $275,000), a savings of up to $19,500 could be realized over the life of a 30-year mortgage. Current average rates as of this writing with no points: 30 year fixed (conforming) - 6.75%, jumbo 30 year fixed - 7.25%.

Details Still Can Make the Difference

    With homes selling quickly, buyers are not as picky as they once were. If you want to get the very best price when preparing to sell your home, the kitchen and bathrooms are a primary focal point. When prospective buyers view your home, they'll pay particular attention to your kitchen and bathrooms. Before you list your home, make sure you're one step ahead by giving the kitchen and baths a detailed grooming. You'll want to contact a professional to arrange for any necessary major repairs, but there's a lot you can do yourself to brighten up the most used places in the house.

    Chipped ceramic, stained porcelain, and/or corroded faucets are sure to catch the buyer's eye. Replace the faucets and fixtures if necessary. Repaint the walls and ceilings, and replace wallpaper for a bright, fresh look. Stay neutral, and avoid trendy or bright colors. Mini-blinds should be taken down and cleaned or replaced. Clean all the kitchen appliances. Make use of an old toothbrush and toothpicks for detail work. Make sure the oven and fridge are spotless inside as well. Replace the shower curtain and/or the liner. Soap scum and mildew is a turn-off for any home buyer. Re-grout and re-caulk the tub and shower to brighten the tile and freshen the look of the entire bathroom. Old toilet seats are easy to replace and make a world of difference. Add new trash cans.

    Clean out and organize kitchen cupboards, arrange like products together, and turn all labels to face out. In the bathroom, declutter the medicine chest. Organize the linen closet with neatly folded towels and sheets. If your towels are not all the same, consider rolling them into tubes instead of stacking them on the shelf. The less stuff in the cabinets and closets, the more spacious they'll appear.

    In both the kitchen and baths, clear off the counters. Toss out or pack up knick-knacks, vases, trinkets, collections, and anything else that detracts from the amount of counter space.

    Happy New Year!

    There are many strategies to be aware of when buying or selling. Please call, email, or visit our website for further details. We appreciate all of the continued support and referrals from friends and neighbors in the past, and look forward towards serving the local community in 2001!

The Judi Finney Team, RE/MAX Horizons
Office: 703-824-4986 Website: www.HomeSaleAdvisor.com