If you are hoping to enter the Real Estate market this Spring or Summer, this is what you ought to be doing Right! Now!


I paused from painting the trim on a client’s baseboard, to answer an incoming phone call from a buyer-client, when I noticed two texts had come in from another buyer, and an investor. This is the Season, and it’s going to be a BUSY Spring and Summer!! A bit of backstory—

A selling client wanted to replace their floors and do some other updates and major spring cleaning before we listed their house online. The floor salesman strongly suggested they abandon the old, dark stain wood trim in favor of clean, crisp white painted trim. This would give the house an updated look and would match far more flooring options.

The client is already juggling chainsaws, what with kids, full-time jobs, and a shrinking home improvement war chest. Debbie and I decided to pitch in and get some skin in the game. So, we painted. And advised. And juggled our Own chainsaws while doing so. Hence the incoming phone call, and other texts that demanded attention.

It’s All in the Preparation!

The calling Buyer was asking about arranging a land survey and a home inspection on the property they were looking at. The text from the other Buyer was requesting the contact information for our Banker, and times for the VHDA classes. The text from the investor was about projected interest rates, and where best to obtain demographic reports for doctors and lawyers in Warrenton.

If you are hoping to Buy Real Estate this year, Now is the time to get BUSY. Now is when Buyers ought to be speaking with the Mortgage Banker either of their choice, or of our recommendation. The Mortgage Banker can tell you your Credit Score and give you an idea of what you qualify for Now, and what simple plan of action to take to easily and quickly qualify for a Larger mortgage. Your banker can provide you with a Certificate of Funds Letter. Now is also a great time to take the VHDA Classes, available most every weekend, and even online. Few things are as frustrating and disheartening than a doe-eyed buyer falling in love with their dream home, only to find out they don’t Qualify for it!

February is when Sellers begin prepping their homes for market. Begin all the “Honey-Do” tasks and home improvements You feel comfortable tackling. Paint walls, trim, clear out clutter and garbage, and scrub-a-dub-dub All surfaces. Contractors are Very rapidly being booked up for the early spring season. Now is the time to interview contractors and put down deposits for flooring, kitchen and bath upgrades, major painting, or landscaping projects that will make your home more appealing to buyers. Remember, first impressions are crucial!

” Honey, Do?”

Investors, while Commercial Real Estate is more year-round than Residential, Summer is when Many businesses and professionals chose to shift locations, grow into new space, or launch their Dream Businesses. Winter and Spring are great times to be on the prowl for attractive commercial spaces. Study traffic flow reports from VDOT, Demographic reports from Economic Development, and meet with the Enterprise Centers and Incubators for prospective business entrepreneurs.

What made this even more humerus was, to answer the phone I had to turn down the radio. WTOP was mid-interview of a major area Realtor that was espousing the Exact same sentiments–how to ready for the Coming Real Estate Season! If Debbie and I can be of any assistance, from advising to listing to Closing, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Even if it is to direct you to another agent more suited to your needs, out goal is to help you realize your Real Estate Goals!

KEEP THE FAITH! ALL HOPE IS NOT LOST!

Chris & Debbie Cloud


Have you dreamed of owning a home? Have you thought about it So long, been thwarted so often, that you have given up on the idea? Do you believe you are relegated to the world of forever being a tenant? Renting is perfectly fine, if that is sincerely what you WANT.

But if you have Any desire to enter the Wonderful World of Homeownership, Debbie and I have several innovative and intriguing opportunities for you to consider. We are Very pleased to announce we have teamed up with a National Group that makes Homeownership a possibility for many.

It’s Far more possible than you may think!!

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:

They have a pre-selected batch of homes across Virginia, including many in Fauquier County.

Actual Fauquier County home already in their program!

As a prospective buyer, you sign up with this group. If you pass their simple qualifications, They will purchase the home with the specific intent of placing you in the home as the designated Tenant. In fact, they anticipate you’ll step up and purchase, within five years. They also gladly consider other homes brought to their attention. Let’s say you find a home you Really want, but you just aren’t quite there with the down payment, or your credit score needs work. Our group is a great option. If the home you are interested in meets their reasonable requirements (the major conditions are, the home is not a condo, has no pool, has a paved driveway, and is not bank owned, among a few other factors), they will buy it, with you as the intended tenant and, ultimately, the home owner.

We are excited to announce that we already have two clients in this pipeline, with two more giving serious consideration. This plan may make your dreams of home ownership possible.

Next, the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) has a great day-long seminar that educates prospective home owners in the areas of Personal Finances and Credit Scoring, What a Realtor Does, Getting a Loan, Home Maintenance, Mortgages, and What Happens at Settlement and Closing. Think of it as a “Homebuying 101” class. Upon completion (the course can also be taken online), a certificate is issued that is good for two years. Graduates are eligible for better options for loans, and possible grants and financial aid for closing costs. We cannot recommend this program highly enough.

Free classes always available, or Online!

Lastly, we also have affiliations with two outstanding mortgage brokers. After a brief interview, they can advise of the best plan of action to improve one’s chances of being approved for a mortgage. Once approved, they can provide a letter of approval

These three “secret weapons”, used simultaneously, can make your dreams of Homeownership a Reality!

If interested, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Debbie or me. We’d love to see your dreams realized, and we would be honored to have been of assistance!

Balancing Self Promotion with Discretion

Success in Real Estate comes when we can meet our client’s needs.  Clients come in all types and styles and, more importantly, with myriad baggage.  Some clients are celebrating attaining their own goals at long last, career advancements, or triumphs of wise investments.  But just as often, they come to BE clients in the first place due to strife, divorce, escaping bad relationships, hard times, or even as a consequence of death. 

I’ve worked with brokers in the past who always, enthusiastically rallied the seller or buyer or renter into a group, for the celebratory Photo at Closing.  Yay!  Aren’t we all Happy!  Our goals have been Met!  I’ve seen far too many forced smiles and downcast sideways glances in those group photos gracing the walls of Brokerages and worse, websites and social media. 

I’ve only seen two clients respectfully (and sheepishly) decline/refuse the group photo.  Who knows if they are selling to get away from a stalker?  Or if the LAST thing they want their good-for-nothing cousin to find out is they Sold the “Family Farm”?  They may be dreading his arrival, expecting or demanding HIS “share”, or hat in hand seeking assistance from his newly well-off relatives.  Or, perhaps they HAD to sell, due to job loss or bankruptcy or even nasty neighbors.  Then, there are the rental clients, former homeowners, ashamed that they are relegated to the world of second-class Tenants.

Debbie and I are always proud of our successes.  Finding the right investment property or home, or apartment, or selling any of the above, is our goal.  But that can only be achieved by acquiring the Trust of our Clients.  Trust we hold paramount, and in equal value with Confidence.  We may announce, “Yay! We found another client the Perfect Horse Farm (or car lot, or young couple’s first apartment rental, or office complex, or 14,000 square foot second home)!!”  But you’ll never see our client’s images, or identifiable photos of their homes or businesses, either bought, leased, or sold.  

Because the main commodity we market is US, and your ability to have faith and confidence in our discretion. Trust is paramount in a Real Estate transaction.

Where Do We Stand

A crime is a crime. Government out of control hurting the people is a CRIME, specifically IN AMERICA (as a world leader). The power was given to the people to ensure Government does not take its absolute power and corrupt absolutely (Sir Acton).

The other day someone posted that Antifa, the radicalized group, was going to steal the yellow jacket as their newest protest.

Upon looking into the what the yellow jacket protesters are saying (video), the message is people are sick and tired of so many years of corruption by the government serving only the few and ignoring the people. In other countries this would be seen in one way or another as this protest has spread to other countries.

The answer is not violence. Be smarter than that. The goal is proactive implementation.

Here in America this is seen in the escalation to epidemic proportions of health, loss of jobs, drugs and trafficked children used as sex slaves. Millions have been spent and still our numbers are soaring, until the last couple years. Major safeguards are being initiated, laws/initiative/task forces implemented, and criminals being taken down.

The use of government agency for political and financial gain is criminal. The suppression of REAL HELP for the people for personal or financial gain is criminal.

There was a shift in news reporting in the last 24 hours. Issues must stop being spun, marginalized and caught in the politics and personalities. We must deal with principals and not just personalities. The principals as defined by the laws of the lands. If the laws are wrong, then address changing the laws. Ignoring them is not an option in a just society. The focus much change to unjust laws. The upset is that crimes are being exposed, and people do not want to be caught in the middle of the spot light on the criminal mess.

The parts of the government for years pretend, with their sleight of hand, to say they help, while the kids, parents, people are sickened, weakened, kidnapped legally, trafficked, abused, harmed, erased and killed.

This is shown through the numbers of across the board in every industry the systemic government has their hands in. They want to prove their intervention is effective by skewing the numbers in their favor and burying the harm being done. 

One example is the number of foster kids trafficked is alarming and most of them are affiliated with foster care, yet most Americans turn a blind eye until it happens to them or someone they love.

The current criminal cases of state workers, court professionals and foster parents have been found to be abusing kids. These kids have feed the sex slave trade for decades. And many of those involved in child protection have sworn an oath of office to protect and serve. They are now, since the election Trump, been exposed and taken down. More and more crimes of missing kids, abusing kids, trafficking kids and killing kids is coming out in the news. There is more to the story and being able to connect the dots is becoming closer and closer.

The news is now filled with missing kids, trafficked kids, opioids killing kids, and so much devastation on the family. This is not new information. It’s just now being reported, and yes, the numbers have escalated. This has been a silenced. The escalation of public awareness started 2 years ago with the arrests consistently of trafficking and drug related crimes.

This last week there has been an increase of awareness of the common actions of courts locking up the trafficked kids now adults for crimes of stopping their abusers. The investigators have labeled these kids and adult survivors as harming or killing another individual, instead of defensive action to escape trafficking. When the trafficked fight back against their abusers, they have been jailed for long sentences by the courts. What messages does that send to kids and now adults trapped by their abusers: The criminals in this situation remain free. WHY? The traffickers and their Johns who are paying for sex abuse remain free, must have some warped protections hidden from the law. This is being exposed: lawyers, judges, state workers and other politicians that have benefited from this continuing industry. 
Released by DOJ December 2018. NY Welfare System Sting.

Here in Northern Virginia this is changing. All the agencies around Northern Virginia started to see a spike in local concerns and started talking to each other and started collaborating. Then they started task forces, off the books by stretching the current budgets. This ended up a two year pilot program put on by CNA and their panel reported the local results (CNA Panel Discussion: Trafficked Children in the U.S.) Across the country real criminals are being taken down right and left, exposed, and new ways to identify and deal with these situations are being taught.

This is changing. The trafficked kids are getting help (JustAskPrevention.org & HTINOVA.com). The Northern Virginia pilot program is having very positive effects. Fauquier’s commitment to education and education is excellent as evidenced by the 3 recent public community town hall meetings, the new programs coming into the schools, the training of first responders and the new town hall meeting in the new year.

The shift is happening where the kids that are victimized are identified, protected and getting help. Law enforcement and first responders are being trained to identify and work with victims and go after the real criminals. The laws are shifting to take down those hurting children. The long-standing networks that have systemically removed kids to feed this industry here in America with our own American kids while at home before being taken is finally being addressed seriously.

This continues in other areas, until we identify the damage and start implementing new ways to turn this around.

The schools have been so focused on testing scores to prove they are effective by reaching bench marks, are failing to teach kids to want to learn, to be educated and to be empowered. Thus, the rise of victims dependent on the state.

The medical system focused on protocols of test results and documented interventions of medication, surgery or behavioral modification, has fallen short since there are increasing numbers of chronic disease and other epidemics making us a very sick nation.

The legal system has its hands tied and is working outside the constitution and rule of law. All lines have been blurred. Guilt with no way to protect from false allegations, sanctuary cities protecting criminals, open borders with attacks on ICE doing their job taking down illegal crossings and criminals coming into our country to do harm.

The government has grown, and cannot be blamed. The government is a system filled with people. Some very good working very hard to make this world a better place, and then others abusing the loopholes and dark places to push their own agendas to benefit from the system. 

Between 1837 and 1869 he was known as Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 8th Baronet, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The government is not here to resolve all the worlds problems or just give benefits to everyone. The government is a system there to serve, protect and allow the people to live in this representative republic function to its best ability. The dark blurred lines harm people, thus our forefathers established checks and balances to ensure the effort to prevent corruption. This is a process, and everyone must be diligent in their dedication to ensure our governmental system functions well and keep corruption at bay.

The good old fashion ideals of transparency, integrity, responsibility and plain old hard work are needed. Rolling up our own sleeves and dedicating ourselves to the projects we believe in. The idea that government must provide and pay for everything is the dangerous big government that will ultimately corrupt causing more harm than good. Victimization is the industry of this bloated government seeking to keep everyone sucking on the corrupt teat of the system.

STEP UP – night now locally with any of the issues that speak to you. Focus on positive action to fix the concerns we are facing. Work with your neighbors. Stop fighting the political spin. If you don’t agree with the current politics, then vote to change it at the next election. Right now, do what you can to improve your immediate community. The focus on Integrity, transparency, responsibility and hard work. Rights and freedom must be for all people, not just your group. 

Let’s stop fighting each other, and work together to find solutions to protect ALL PEOPLE, not just one group or another.

The yellow jackets are demanding that the people are heard and that the government is there for the best interests of the people, not the agendas of the few. The government is made up of people. Therefore, it should not protect and serve a handful of people with personal agendas and interests while they harm another group. Many try to stay out of the way and ignore the greater concerns to prevent involvement or harm heading their way. 

A crime is a crime. I support the President and all the agencies in the government that are not committing crimes against the people, the children and families. I support the CLEAN UP by the FIXER to put the brakes on this mucked up system.

The 60-year-old “ISM” video shows how people jump on the bad bandwagon for all the right reasons. Their shortsightedness or massive need to fix things, only makes it worse by drinking the ISM juice.

The hate feeds the corrupt government out of fear.

The positive actions to make things better by deflating the corruption and empowering the people. 

Each and every one of us want the freedom to live a good life, and each of us need not steal that from another to get it. That means integrity and responsibility to ensure our freedom and the freedoms of others. That means taking down the criminals that cross the line hurting and using others for their own gains.

See beyond all the spin.

This boldness in statement is dedicated to community, collaboration and action! Our point is to engage and provoke commitment to positive action in our country for a better and more empowered future.

Loophole of Ripping Children Out of Parents Arms (Crisis in American Families Part 1)

THE SOUND BITE THAT HURTS

The recent news this summer of 2018 set off alarms all around the country regarding 2000 “children being ripped from the arms of parents”, and the 200 children still trying to be returned.  In the news you have heard much about the “loopholes” that have let this happen.  You have heard the hate filled comments on both sides of the fense.  There is spin in every direction about this one, and this blog is not going there.

THE PROBLEM BEHIND THE SOUND BITE

THE SHOCKING TRUTH about Children being ripped from Parents arms

Where I am going is the concern regarding the numbers quoted numbers of today – 750 children per day beging taken from American Families in Family Courts.  To include the statements that over the last 30 years there have been 22 million children taken from American Homes.  Everyone wants to protect children and want to ensure they are not in harms way (unless they are a mad with some serious mental health issues).

Even the Supreme Court has ruled that it has to be assumed that Parents will act in the best interests of their children, unless proven incapable.  This is why we have a constitution and the protections under that constitution to ensure that everyone is protected in court from all involved.

The problem that has surfaced in the last decade is that 1 out of 17 children that are taken are at seriuos risk of harm and abuse.  The rest are victims of a system that has failed our American Families.  Research has shown that children are the healthiest and the most successful when they are raised by both parents.  Yet the courts do not believe in 50/50.  Right there the situation is set up to who is the best parent and who is not.

PARENTS’RIGHTS.ORG is dedicated to protecting children by empowering parents.  In there article on The Corrupt Business of CPS – Working with over 300 CPS cases Nancy Schaefer, Georgia State Senate, 50th District (revised September 25, 2008)  conclusion is that “there is no responsibility and no accountability in Child Protective Services.”  The system has loopholes that have increased the problem and increased the numbers across the board since Walter Mondell (1974) and later Bill (& Hillary) Clinton (1997) Family Act strips parents of any rights of protection (like a terrorist) allowing the state to proceed with intervention plans of standard of care.  This means anyone, that does not follow their predefined plan of what should be done, is at risk of losing their children.

IMPACT NEWS‘ Article 2018 – 40% of American Families are at Risk reports “A stunning number of American children are subjected to at least one Child Protective Services investigation by the time they reach 18 years old. According to a study published by the American Journal of Public Health, almost 4 out of every 10 American children will experience some kind of social worker investigation into allegations of child abuse or maltreatment at some point in their childhood. (Source.)”  There is a large gap between the beginning of the crisis (health issues, proverty, conflict, and other crises) and when these families end up in front of the State in court.

ERASING FAMILY is “a movie that investigates family bond obstruction from multiple perspectives: Children whose moms or dads have been erased from their lives and siblings who can’t see each other. Part emotional roller coaster, part investigative expose, we follow the money to expose why loving moms and dads are erased from their kid’s lives by divorce courts. …The film will show how programs that encourage mediation and shared parenting which will prevent future childhood trauma, making divorce and separation less costly both financially and emotionally.” The complicated stories just looking for safe answers.

MEDICAL KIDNAP reports in their blog… – “Seventy-five percent of children being removed from their homes is due to “neglect.” But are children really being neglected, or is it the “opinions” of social workers that these children were being deprived intentionally of necessities of “adequate” food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision, when in fact, the family was just poor?”  The numbers are just shocking in this detaled report.

In the last 25 years we have learned how damaging Traumatic Abuse in childhood can be into Adulthood (and burden that falls on the state to carefore these damage children through their lives).  Thus, the state devised a system to effect children at risk into a standard of care that should result in declining numbers.  The problem continued when the statistics from the foster care system, so they put in place a speedy process to ensure removal of children into new adopted homes to bypass the trauma by securing the children.  Medication is used in over 50% of these cases.  Incentatives to the agencies, the professionals, the foster parents, the services and the adoptive parents to make options more successful in early intervention of children at risk.  The escalation of state services for more workers, more options and more money is a failing system that cost a tremendous amount of money and the results across the board continue to rise.

This is epidemic, and something has to be done.

ENCOMPASS INTEGRATED HEALTH DEDICATION

Life is going to happen.  When families can not find a solution to any problem that comes up, they get trapped in a spiral until we end up in crisis.  The current options when a crisis is to push through it hoping things inprove.  The truth is many times everything escalates.  The issue can be in any area of life to any class of American family: health concerns, special needs, loss of income, divorce or death, things tend to just get worse.  How long can we really go before we are in utter crisis? The old saying how many months until we would be homeless – 3, 6 or 2 years?  Some of these issues go on for 6 plus with no options or resolution before they end up in court.  A government social program will not resolve these issues.

Our goal is to develop resources, tools and referrals where families, as problems start to come up, find better solutions.

A healthy community is made up of healthy families.  Thus when a family has a problem, they need resources to find the best solutions as soon as possible.    Now if there is not a stepping stone in help, the situation escalates where the only option in the current system is to divide the family to produce what they call positive outcomes.  The real damage from this process is still unknown, and will come out in the next decade.

The old system does not work, and has failed families.  The new solution will be families working together with new innovative ways to provide the resources to navigate the different concerns facing families. 

We see the best option is to empower families during crisis to provide a path back to Integrated Health.

CALL TO ACTION

Parents have to avoid the HELL of having children ripped from their arms.  The LOOPHOLES have to be closed.  New bridges for families are required to resolve these concerns.  Hope it does not happen to you as a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or a friend.  Truly it is hell.  Thus, all the pilot programs and parents working on new solutions will find the answer they wish they had found when it happened to them. 

Solutions for Life Fallout – Anxiety & Panic in the Brain

10 YEARS TO DIAGNOSE!

Today mental health concerns take about 10 years to diagnose due short comings in our culture.  Public awareness has a fear of being labeled and many misconceptions around Mental Health.  There is a lack of education for the general population to understand and support Mental Health concerns.  The “Red Flags” for specific concerns are not part of the cultural knowledge, and patients fail to report early warning signs to their regular doctors.  Further the push to medicate for every symptom has left stacked medication side effects complicating what caused what, and how the best way to proceed forward.

With most things early intervention and prevention are your best options.  Without a place to dialogue about private concerns people keep many things to themselves or do not know what to share.   During this time there is confusion, denial, upset, guilt, blame and so any other concerns and fall out from delayed interventions.

The truth is we do have the power to educate ourselves, to support educating others and to build teams of resources that understand red flags for early intervention and prevention.

There are new ways to identify concerns early, and address issues before they become crisis.  Mental Health is changing.  Dr Amen is part of that change.  We are determined to be part of the process to coach options and build teams to make this transition to a more empowered approach to Integrated Health.

THE PLAN:  Build a team that works with you and find solutions for your life.

STRATEGIC ADVOCATES FOR HEALTH

The future of Integrated Health care is a patient centered team approach addressing all areas of life.  We are focused to this end.  This is why it is so very important to have a team that knows:

  • who you are,
  • your history,
  • your lifestyle,
  • your genetics,
  • your family,
  • your life trials,
  • your priorities,
  • what make you, who you are!

STRATEGIC REFERRED PARTNERS 

Dr Amen’s AMEN CLINICS has taken the hundred of thousands images of the brain to understand how the brain was physically working in regards to different diagnoses.  He began to establish patterns of brain activities and could put these patterns into different groups to help identify core issues and how to treat the issues more effectively.  Dr. Amen can not diagnose from his images, yet this process allows this to be part of the diagnostic testing to determine a patients diagnosis and ultimately the treatment plan for the patient.

This is revolutionary and empowering for so many patients.  These are real options where before it was throwing darts in the dark “ruling out” one disorder over another until finally a diagnosis is achieved.

Dr Amen’s approach to Panic and Anxiety is spelled out in his blog PANIC DISORDER TREATMENT (July 6, 2018).

THE BEST HOLISTIC OPTIONS FOR CORE ISSUES

Further, the current model of medicine focuses on alleviating health behaviors, concerns and pains through chemical control prescribing the drug of choice to provide the patient relief.  The concern is side effects, stacking of drugs and long term effects on patients that cause complex health issues down the road.

Thus, looking at core issues and simple holistic approaches encompassing all the possible options to ensure the best and easiest to address the bottomline concerns and restoring wellness.

An Intimate Chat About Depression & Anxiety with Dr. Daniel Amen & Tana Amen

EFFECTIVE ASSESSMENT OF DR. AMEN:

“If you find ANTs are ruining your life and the panic attacks never seem to go away, Dr. Daniel Amen is considered a maverick in his field by reviewing brain scans to help treat psychological disorders. While most psychiatrists address symptoms, Amen Clinics seeks instead to find the root cause of your problem.

When enrolling with our clinic to treat your anxiety or depression, we first assess you by taking the following steps:

● We will begin by taking the time to explore your specific biological, psychological, social and spiritual influences.
● Next, we will perform neuropsychological tests to measure various aspects of your brain function.
● Then, we will perform two brain SPECT scans: one at rest and one during concentration
● Finally, we will order lab tests to rule out nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalances, toxicity, etc.—if deemed necessary”

EFFECTIVE TOOLS TO HELP WITH PANIC:

“What is the most effective treatment for panic disorder?

First of all, when you sense a panic attack is about to strike, follow these steps to take back control.

1. Stop and take three slow, deep breaths. Breathing quickly and from your upper chest triggers an adrenaline response when you instead need to breathe diaphragmatically.

2. Do not leave the area unless you are in real danger. To break your panic attack, you should stay and overcome your initial adrenaline reaction, showing yourself there is no reason to “fight or flight.”

3. Break your tunnel vision. When your fear sets in, you will quickly have tunnel vision and this will cause you to feel trapped. By looking slowly from side to side, you become aware of your surroundings and can begin reasoning that there is no danger.

4. Think of warming images and warm your hands. A visual cue can very strongly bring your focus off of any anxious thoughts you may have, so consider looking at pictures on your phone. Running your hands under warm water offers an immediate relaxation response.

5. Speak out loud in complete sentences. This will prevent you from hyperventilating and initially you will speak with short, blunt words, but as you gain control, you will also be able to express your emotions accurately.”

EVERYONE BUYS, EVEN IF THEY RENT!

Understandably, home ownership is daunting to many people.  For MOST people, writing a rent check is like hitting the Snooze button on homelessness.  Fear of equity stability, repairs, flooding or whatnot often keep people tithing to the Landlord.  However, what very few people realize is, even if they Rent, they are Actually Buying (just, not for themselves—for their LANDLORD!).  It is extremely rare to find a monthly rent that is Lower than the landlords mortgage.  Why else would one own rental property? 

Our current market is interestingly unique.  There is precious little inventory available, making competition for rentals fierce.  Often, it’s harder to Rent a home, than it is to Buy a home.  Think of it this way: When one sells a home, unless there are very unusual extenuating circumstances, the seller cares very little about who buys the home.  The deal is consummated, and the parties part company.  However, in a rental situation (especially when inventory is so tight), the landlord exercises greater and greater discretion as to who they will accept.  The rental contract is more like getting married, AND divorced, simultaneously!  The terms of occupancy must be spelled out, as do the terms of terminating the relationship. 

What many renters Don’t realize is, a LOT more of them qualify to Purchase.  There are new programs from VHDA (Virginia Housing Development Authority) and USDA (yes, That USDA!) that promote home ownership in rural parts of Virginia.  Also, there are VA and FHA loans that afford up to 103% of the purchase price, as well as buyers subsidies, that make no-money-down and moving-expense-free buying a reality. 

Debbie and I are offering VHDA-sponsored Homebuyer Classes beginning the end of April.  These classes feature six areas of home buying that often mystify and intimidate the first time buyer.  We will have professionals speak on the topics of

·         Personal Finance: how to most efficiently budget, spend, and save,

·         Credit and Credit Reporting: how to understand, contest, and improve your credit scores,

·         Working with a Lender: Fair Housing, and escrow and PITI (Principle, Interest, Tax, and Insurance)

·         The Role of the Real Estate Agent:  Buyer/Broker Agreements, Negotiating and Marketing

·         Home Inspections: “Life as a Homeowner”, How to find a qualified Inspector, Home Maintenance, and

·         Loan Closing: Preparing for the Closing Table, Closing Disclosures, and FORCLOSURE Prevention!

Because participants and graduates of this class realize a 33% reduction in over-ninety-day delinquencies, and FIFTY percent fewer foreclosures, as well as increased resale values due to greater knowledge on home care, some loans require participation in this class for loan approval.  Regardless, all banks look very favorably toward applicants that have taken this free class.  Watch this Space for information on scheduling! 

Lastly, if you have considered SELLING your home, or know anyone who IS considering selling, Debbie and I would be Most Beholden if you would reach out to us!  Allow us to put our brokerage’s 100+ cumulative years’ experience to work for you, utilizing the most modern and innovative marketing techniques in the industry!   

Our economy is booming, which is a mixed blessing for home owners.  First off, it’s SPRING, and houses are going to sell Very quickly this time of year.  The second advantage is, due to the inventory scarcity, it is currently very much a Sellers’ market.  If you have considered Upsizing or Downsizing, now may be the best time, because home values are up, but Third, the Fed has not YET adjusted the interest rates.  Houses sell FAST in this market, and at this time of year.  Acting soon may both realize current highs in the resale prices, while also capitalizing on currently historically low interest rates.  Consider: A $400,000 mortgage, at current 4.27%, equals both a monthly payment of $1,972, and a total repayment of $710,080 over the life of the loan.  Were the fed to raise the interest rate one point, that same $400,000 mortgage would go up to $2,214 a month, with a total repayment of $796,958! 

Debbie and I would Love to work with clients to find the right Rental unit, offer they our VHDA-sponsored Home Buying Course, assist them with finding your Dream home to Purchase, or find a Buyer for their current home! We are local to the Virginia Piedmont, Very Motivated, and have the horsepower to back it up! 

Beware of Resisting for the Sake of Resistance!

What makes living in Fauquier County special?  Why here, rather than Prince William, Loudoun, Stafford, perhaps Warren, Clark or even Culpeper (all fine counties, in their own regard)?  It’s a special blend of rural Piedmont, combined with culture and proximity.  What our county offers, and what we desire or require as a society, is a fine balance of development vs. conservation.  

Way back in prehistory, around about the early 1980’s, a Local Hero by the name of Till Hazel owned a bit of land on which he wanted to exercise his rights to develop.  It’s what he did.  Some say it’s in his blood.  This land was in the bucolic backwater of Gainesville.  At the time, the only thing there was an old floundering iron foundry and a handful of gas stations.  His parcel was adjacent to property that backed up to the Manassas Battlefield.  The time was right, the stars aligned, awareness came along and BANG!  Protesting his audacity became Hip.  Chic!  One was in the “In” crowd if they hosted benefit balls and protest lines.  Editorials flew like moths on an August night.  Socialites rallied to the defense of the Proud Memory of the United States Civil War (ironic, now, innit?).  Enough bad press was created to motivate the United States Government to step in and perform the theretofore unprecedented (and, as exercised, completely unconstitutional) act of seizing his land through Imminent Domain.  I put it to YOU; How many of you have enjoyed the lovingly preserved piece of battlefield known as Stuart’s Hill?  How many of you even know where it is, or that it exists?  

Yeah!, Victory!  Today, the Eternal Protection of our Heritage is damn near palpable, as one drives through Atlas Walk, to the Target, the Best Buy, the Lowes Hardware, to any one of the thirty or more Fine Dining establishments, perhaps to the Multiplex.  Or, maybe one zooms past all the aforementioned Progress and Development, over the eight lanes of Flyover, en-rout to the OTHER Multiplex, and Duluth Trading, perhaps to dine at Pizzeria Uno and a Golden Corral (Yum!), at Parkland Center, a shopping center actually CARVED from the Real Battlefield.  Aren’t we all so glad we railed and fought and defended the Honor and Memory of our Heritage??  

Let’s revisit an incident a few years later.  Same area.  Same argument.  This time, Disney sniffs around the prospect of bringing grand, first-class commercial development.  Hundreds of construction jobs, hundreds of perpetual jobs.  Good, secure, retirement-fund sort of jobs.  And people went ballistic.  “How DARE Disney even Propose to build an amusement park (An AMUSEMENT Park!!??) near our Hallowed Grounds of the Battlefields!!  How DARE they even suggest such a thing?!  They must be STOPPED!!  We must protect our Battlefields!! Just last month, Fauquier County buried one of it’s Favorite Sons, a Philanthropist and Conservationist who’s crowning achievement was the promotion of the Piedmont Environmental Council.  He was instrumental in the protection and conservation of the precious Heritage lands Disney was coveting.  

Well, due to the relentless media black coverage and endless hyperbole, Disney concluded that shoving prosperity and security across the table at an unwelcoming community wasn’t worth the bad publicity worldwide.  So they pulled out.  Again, “Yay!!” Victory for the “Conservationists”!!  Let’s remember that victory, as we sit in yet more bumper to bumper traffic.  The entirety of Dominion Valley sits completely, perfectly in the exact same footprint that Disney WAS going to occupy.  Aren’t WE proud of our efforts of Battlefield Preservation?!  Aren’t WE grand, having kept the commercial specter of Disney at bay?  Aren’t we glad we’ve kept that “Sprawl” from the doorstep of our precious Battlefield?  I wonder what the Late, Great Mr. Prince thought, as he drove past Dominion Valley.  Did he golf there?  Was he a member of the Club?  Was Dominion Valley REALLY the goal of all that Preservation of our Precious Battlefield?

Our county has, contrary to occasional belief, remained comparatively unscathed from this relentless urban sprawl.  This county does not know true, real, unmitigated sprawl of quarter acre lots across the horizon, far as the eye can see.  We have no Dale Cities, no Bristows, no Leesburgs, no Purcellvilles, no Centrevilles or Manassas Parks. 

There are things that we want for our county.  We want Libraries.  We want County-wide High Speed Internet.  We want spotless cell coverage.  Top-notch fire, rescue and police protection.  But we are rabidly protective of our rural nature.  How to achieve both?  How to receive revenue, but avoid the trappings of sprawling development? 

Revenue is a tricky thing.  It takes money to make money.  Consider this:  Let’s say we want to encourage industry.  We hear that Delphi Corporation wants to build and operate an automotive electronics plant in the Piedmont region.  Hypothetically, they are seeking a location for a one billion dollar factory.  They’ll employ 1700 people, and the county will realize a revenue stream of up to two hundred million dollars.  Sounds great!  Lots of employment, lots of revenue.  Alas, lots of families, lots of housing, lots of commuters, new schools, a new hospital, a fire house, shopping centers, and playgrounds and fast food and Starbucks and El Taco Bells.  Before you know it, the entire region becomes indistinguishable from Dulles Town Center (!).  Before you blink, that $200,000,000.00 is consumed and swallowed up in infrastructural support.  

A medium to large Data Center can easily represent a Billion Dollar investment.  The county Can realize construction jobs, real estate taxes, income taxes, and improvements to the surrounding infrastructure.  A Two Hundred Million dollar revenue steam is an easy realization from a billion dollar Data Center installation.  The Center will also improve local roads, power infrastructure, cooling water systems.  High Speed Internet naturally goes where Data Centers are.  Cellular communications infrastructure are automatically improved.  No, Data Centers do NOT employ many people in their continuing operation.  But that’s actually the point.  We receive the billion dollar installation, and two hundred million dollars in revenue, without having to provide the infrastructure that supports one thousand seven hundred families moving into an otherwise virgin area.  We may THEN take that revenue, improve our County Wide infrastructures, and we can THEN entertain Certain growth, Certain Select developments.  Imagine being able to exercise discretion and discrimination, being able to Elect and Chose which developments we Allow into our proximity! 

Yes, they are huge monolithic structures.  Some may object to them based entirely on their aesthetics.  Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but, if the LOOKS of a structure are Truly That much of a deal killer, the buildings could be mandated to look like Dairy Barns.  How the building is shaped, what color it is, is really irrelevant to the “ones and zeros” flowing into and out of the structure.    

But I beseech you all.  Please, PLEASE learn from Recent history.  For some reason, it seems our immediate reaction to any Development, Progress, Construction, or Innovation is Knee Jerk resistance.  Consider the public’s skepticism towards the innovative approaches to traffic control being proposed along Routs 15, 29, Broadview Avenue, and the Lord Fairfax interchange.  If it’s unfamiliar or new, we recoil in horror and doubt.  Believe me, if we summarily dismiss the prospect of “Clean” prosperity offered by Data Centers, we WILL suffer the eventual sprawl and congestion and housing and housing and housing and Burger Kings and Traffic and before you can BLINK, Fauquier County will become indistinguishable from Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford.  

And that’s not a Piedmont Horse Hunt Country I want to live in.  I’m a Realtor.  I could make a fortune peddling McMansions all across our county.  But at what cost, to what makes life here desirable in the first place?

When a Guilty Pleasure becomes a Public Nuisance

So, recently I drove down our bucolic and beautiful Crest Hill Road, for perhaps the five thousandth time.  Perhaps it was because it had been so long since I drove it in the middle of winter.  Perhaps it was because the VDOT had recently finished their aggressive mowing and trimming of the brush along the road.  Regardless, I was struck by the amazing, disgraceful, and disrespectful amount of litter along the road.  

Seeing all this litter brought back two very vivid memories of my youth.  The first, I was very young, perhaps five or six.  Mom and the five or six of us kids (often a revolving cast of characters) were driving home from Woodbridge to where we lived in Harbor View, near Occoquan.  My oldest brother nonchalantly tossed his soda can out the window.  My mother flipped her lid.  She stopped the car, and forced my then-twelve-year-old brother to not only pick up THAT soda can, but to walk in front of the car, with her flashers on, and pick up every piece of garbage he found for a quarter mile.  He was humiliated, and an impression was made on us all. 

Alas, the impression was deadened in me some years later by the effects of copious amounts of alcohol.  Fast forward to the spring of 1984.  Spring Break, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida!  I, along with a bevy of high school friends, drove down in two cars.  One fantastic sunny early spring day, I was passenger in one car as we crept and crawled along A1A.  I upended my beer (yes, underage, yes, in a vehicle, YES, this was an entirely OTHER time), and casually dropped the can out the door.  Not three seconds later, the can smacked me in my head, and Very Large, gruff hands grabbed my shirt collar and lifted me out of the car!!  A burly face yelled in my rapidly sobering face, “LISTEN, Yankee!!  We BARELY tolerate you maggots down here At ALL!!  You litter in MY street again, and I’ll kick your punk ass all the way back to Virginia, where you Belong!!  Bravo, to my unknown hero!   

So, back in present day, and with a respect for not littering that has lasted to date, I determined to follow up and pursue the group that had ostensibly “Adopted” this section of roadway.  It was “Friends of Lake Athlone” (the lake around which we, and perhaps thirty other homes, lived).  After further inspection, I discovered the Friends of Lake Athlone had consisted of one elderly couple, who had retired to Florida some two years earlier!  I proposed to Debbie that we take that stretch of road over, contacted Warrenton VDOT, and put this ball in motion.  

The receptionist/organizer of the local Adopt A Highway program was very encouraging, and promised we could have a new sign installed after our second cleaning and servicing of the road.  We loaded up with reflective vests and some twenty orange trash bags, and were promptly met with relentless cold front after frigid air after light snow.  

This week, we were blessed with two glorious days, between bouts of sub teen zero temps and rain squalls.  We attacked the project, thinking we would perhaps complete half the road (one “Adopts” a two mile stretch).  After two days, we completed the first quarter mile of road, and are exhausted and sore everywhere.  While the remainder of the road is sprinkled with trash here and there, the first three quarters of a mile are right out of a third world country.  We gathered up EIGHT TRASH BAGS of garbage.  I learned a few things about human nature, and what I believe are motives for the horrible quantity of garbage right at the headland of Crest Hill.  

First, that there is a surprising similarity in the garbage.  This would indicate that either the same perpetrator is responsible for the garbage (a hefty achievement, tossing some ten CASES of beer out their window!!), or that we are rather predictable animals.  

Second, that the motive is secrecy.  Folks are stopping off at either McDonalds, 7-11, or Fosters on their way home, snatching up the guilty pleasure of their choice (hot dog, pizza, beer, burger, canned or fountain sodas, candy), scarfing them down in rabid desperation, then realizing even the trash, if left in their car, would betray them to their significant others or their families (“you’r CHEATING on your Diet??  You’re Diabetic!!”, or “you Promised you would quit drinking, or drinking and driving!!”)

Third, that familiarity breeds contempt.  We ignore and become contemptible of what we are around all the time, regardless of how beautiful it is.  

Forth, perhaps, is that once litter starts, it simply continues unabated and often accelerated.  I’m reminded of the old joke, “They never put up a ‘No Dumping’ sign, until it’s Too Late!!”  I’m afraid people just don’t think their wee tiny little contribution to the mess really matters or would even be noticed.  Also, I think (and HOPE) that, once cleaned, people will be more reluctant to BEGIN the process.  Who wants to be the First to cast that stone?  

Hopefully, in due course, we’ll find out that people are reluctant to litter on a Now Clean roadway.  At least, discouraged….

Our work on the road continues.  It will take Many days to complete our entire two mile stretch.  If you see us out on 647, Crest Hill Rd., tap the horn, wave, and know, We are Volunteers—NOT on Work Release!  😀    

Everybody Knew This Was Nowhere…..

Way back in 1969, Neil Young released a song and album titled “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere”.  As the youngest member of a family growing up (at that time, in Woodbridge, then Haymarket, then ultimately Marshall in Northern Fauquier County), I heard that refrain sung, mumbled, grumbled, and shouted dozens of times.  There were Precious few attractions, restaurants, venues, and general overall “Things To DO” in Fauquier County then.  

Back in the early seventies and eighties, the Northern Virginia Piedmont was, frankly, Nowhere.  And that was a major appeal to my parents, and many other parents.   Much to the chagrin of so many adolescents, young adults, and teenagers.

Upon returning to Fauquier County as an adult, I realize the region has certainly Grown Up!  Contrast those languid, often boring summers and seemingly endless winters hibernating, with the amazing evolution of activities, attractions, events, venues, and entertainment the area offers today!  

These days, Virginia Gold Cup, is just ONE brief, passing event held at Great Meadows.  They offer events year long, including Polo, the best Fireworks in the tri-county area, and myriad other activities.  

Just last week, I had a completely unexpectedly appealing evening at the sprawling and hugely diverse Orlean Market.  They had excellent live music, a hopping bar, an excellent and extensive dinner menu, indoor and outdoor seating, a great, authentic old-time Country General Store and Market, and even a Gasoline Pump!  Rumor has it the venue is only going to grow and expand, offering rooms and event services!

One can spend DAYS travelling the now famed and world renowned Fauquier County Winery and Vineyard Trail.  I understand Pearmund Cellars has been voted the Best Winery in Virginia!  

When one pauses to consider the evolution and development of our smaller villages and hamlets, and the attractions they offer, one begins to realize that Northern Fauquier County has indeed “Come into it’s Own”. Warrenton, Deleplane, Orlean, The Plains, and Especially MARSHALL (I’ll dedicate an entire paragraph to Marshall–watch this space, there will be entire Blogs dedicated to Marshall!), are in the midst of a culinary and cultural Renaissance.  

The Plains has remained a “one-t-intersection-hamlet”, with only four stop signs, yet offers some amazing new dining and shopping.  With the advent of The Front Porch, and Happy Creek Coffee and Tea (and Bicycles!), Griasole, and the Benchmark Standby, The Rail Stop Cafe, The Plains is ever-refreshing and interesting.  It is a delightful place to shop, view beautiful architecture, and people-watch from any one of it’s cafes and restaurants.  

And as for Marshall!  To witness an historic village undergo a true awakening, a Renaissance without the pretense of Gentrification, is a truly remarkable thing.  Main Street in Marshall is rapidly becoming a mecca for new, innovative, world class dining.  With the imminent burial of all power and utility lines, as well as the renovation of over a dozen historic buildings, Marshall truly will be the one to watch!  There are too many fine dining spots, and exciting events and activities to list here in this blog.  Marshall is even getting a double decker BUS cafe!  I can (and likely will!) devote and entire blog to the next generation of Marshall.  

Horses, Racing, Touring, Dining, Dining, and Dining!, Shopping, Live Music!, Festivals, Hiking, Sightseeing, and more History, Heritage, and Culture than one can find in many States, makes Northern Fauquier truly a Bloom worth watching, and Very little like the culturally barren tundra our Fine Mr. Young sang about some fifty years ago.

Sure, it isn’t, and never will be, Metropolis.  And that’s why we love it here! 

The CLOUD Difference is that we not only are involved in real estate, more importantly its the people, their lives and the lifestyle within their community.

Working together ensures our communities and our lifestyles.  Please spend some time to be aware, be informed and take action with in your community.  Show up at hearings.  Read the paper everyday.  Be involved in your community events & groups.