Archives for the ‘Blog Entries.Local’ Category

I Don’t Like The Way Realtors Do Business Either

Author: jedmisten From • Mar 28th, 2015
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, RealEstate.Local


JeffCartoonedRecently I attended a party and had the opportunity to engage in conversation with a gentlemen I had just met. During the conversation, he asked what I do for a living. As I answered that I am a Realtor and am part of a real estate team, I saw an interesting look fleetingly cross his face. I thought to myself, this guy is not fond of my profession.

A little while later, his girlfriend engaged me in conversation about real estate, and mentioned that she would soon be looking to buy a home. As we discussed her situation, the gentlemen made the comment, “Yeah, that is what all Realtors say.”

I am not one to leave a comment like that alone, so I began to probe deeper into why he felt that way. His answer was pretty passionate, and spot on. He told the story of how he had in the past been looking into buying a home. During that process he says, “I made the mistake of giving my information to an online real estate agent.” The way the agent “hounded me” was harassment.  As he tells the story, the agent acted was like a telemarketer on steroids. He says, “The agent unmercifully called and emailed me.

He then poses these questions to me, “What is professional about that?” “Do you want someone calling and interrupting your dinner or family time?” “Do you want your inbox filled with useless information that is nothing really but spam?”

My answer I think shocked him. I said, “I don’t like how Realtors do business either.” And admittedly, in the beginning I acted just like everybody else. I did what I was trained to do, which is pretty much what this agent had done to him. Then one day I stopped and realized, I hate this. This is not who I am. I love real estate, but hate how I’ve been taught to go about getting new business.

He looked at me with skepticism when I told him that my team does not do those things. For instance, if someone connects with us in some form, for instance off a new listing ad, we offer to answer questions and show them the property… once. We understand that if they don’t respond to that, they have their reasons. We would love for them to connect with us on Facebook, or subscribe to our Local Heroes Newsletter, and that is offered in that ONE communication.

I told him, that we are real people who also don’t like being harassed, and we simply don’t do it. The great thing is that we don’t have to. People who know us, trust us, and they refer people to us. Those who don’t really know us, if they stick around our blog or Facebook, the will learn that we are different.

If you believe that this is a better approach to the real estate profession, then  LIKE us on Facebook.

Happy house hunting.

67 Albertson Ct, Ruther Glen, VA – Home Story

Author: jedmisten From • Mar 28th, 2015
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, RealEstate.Local

Every home has a story. Check out the publication below to learn more at the home at 67 Albertson Ct in Ruther Glen.

Range Time – A Sunny Respite

Author: David From • Mar 27th, 2015
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
A cool, rainy morning turned into a warm sunny afternoon, perfect for a trip to the range. Checkered Flag was in town so he, Colleen, and I spent an afternoon honing our skills in the 70° spring air. The warm air was accompanied by strong wind gusts, which played havoc with our targets stands. Appropriating a few logs from the fire pit (mostly) solved the problem. (No, I still haven't picked up those spikes.)

We spent most of our time at a close 7 yard distance. We often try to make a "game" of our range practice, within the restrictive rules of the club. The theme of the day became accuracy and trigger control. We warmed up on IDPA targets but soon switched to the more challenging Pincus "Balance of Speed and Precision" targets. Colleen was the "caller" and we reacted to her cues. "Three, Blue" she might yell out, and we'd draw and engage all of the target spots that matched any of the descriptors. Or "Round, Yellow" and we'd shoot all points that were either round or yellow. Not only were varying degrees of accuracy required, you had to analyze the targets to find the matches, geometric, numerical or color. It was quite a bit of fun and we went through many rounds playing that game.

Later we added some of CF's target cards he keeps on hand, with 1 inch squares and the even smaller "little man" targets and went for extreme accuracy trying to remove the pattern from the cards. When the target is smaller than the front sight, even at 7 yards, a smooth trigger press is critical.

A couple hundred rounds later we a good practice session, and a whole lot of fun, under our belts. It was good to get to the range on a beautiful afternoon, especially since the forecast is calling for more cold and rain over the next couple days.

Devils Backbone The Devil Went Down to Oregon

Author: David From • Mar 26th, 2015
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
This is another of the beers in the March Collaboration Adventure Pack from Devils Backbone Brewing. I posted thoughts on another beer in the mix, Double Gooch IPA, previously. The Devil Went Down to Oregon Imperial Rye Ale is the result of a collaboration with Ninkasi Brewing Company of Eugene, Oregon.

The Devil Went Down to Oregon pours an attractive dark amber color with a persistent beige head. The aroma is mild and a mix of caramel and dark fruit with a hint of grassiness. In the flavor you get a bit of sweetness at the start, followed by toasted malt and nuttiness. The rye adds notes of pepper and grass. There's a earthy undertone to the flavor profile. A very mild hop bitterness lingers in the finish. The mouthfeel is creamy and moderately "thick."

This member of the Collaboration Pack is unique from the others in that the big hop flavors are not the main feature. The ale is more reminiscent of a English Brown Ale, but with a twist. It's a smooth, easy beer, and at 7.5% ABV, it goes down way too quickly. 

Arlington National Cemetery on 3.25.2015, Medal of Honor Day

Author: Mike From • Mar 25th, 2015
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Photography.Local

Tomb Sentinel, Arlington National Cemetery on 3.25.2015, Medal of Honor Day

How Does Weekend Jail Time Work in Virginia?

Author: marketing From • Mar 23rd, 2015
   Category: Blog Entries.Local

Weekend jail time is a program that is administered by each jail depending upon its own rules and policies, so this is an issue that you definitely need to have a local defense lawyer on your side for.  I’m very familiar with the weekend jail reporting program at the Rappahannock Regional Jail where clients in the Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Fredericksburg area would go if they have to serve jail time.

The basic rules for the Rappahannock Regional Jail Weekend Program are that you have to report to jail before 5:00 p.m. on Friday, and you get released on Sunday at the same time that you reported. You serve 48 hours each weekend.

In order to be allowed into the program, the judge has to order that.  In the courts around Stafford, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania, typically if the Commonwealth does not object to weekend reporting, and if the defendant is employed, a lot of times the judge will allow weekend reporting depending upon the circumstances of the case.

Before you go in to report for your first weekend, however, you need to go to the jail and set up the paperwork and pay the fees.  The court will give you some paperwork that explains what the fees are for weekend jail time, and you’ll have to be sure that you take care of the proper requirements before you report for your first weekend.

There are a few fees that you will pay for weekend jail that are not paid for normal jail.  One is a $50.00 fee to get into the program. Then you also have to pay a $4.00 fee for urine screens.  If you have to be tested later on for drugs or alcohol through urine screens, you have to pay an additional $4.00 fee for each test.

It’s extremely critical to follow the rules for the weekend program, because if you don’t, you could be required to serve all of your jail time for basically failing to follow the court’s order.  This is a very critical reason why you need to understand the program and be sure that you follow the rules perfectly.

If you have a case near the Fredericksburg area or you are considering trying to get weekend time, definitely give me a call today so we can discuss whether or not you’d be eligible and how the program works.

photo credit: Touring Portsmouth City jail

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Celebratory Gunfire

Author: David From • Mar 22nd, 2015
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
No, not that kind. I celebrated my birthday by shooting an IDPA match at the Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club in Charlottesville on Saturday. I arrived early to attend the mandatory "new shooters" briefing that is required of first time shooters at the range. Even though I'm not exactly a new shooter, it never hurts to hear the reminders again.

One of the usual bays used by the club for matches was not available due to the rains last week, so the match directors set up three stages together at the end of one of the rifle ranges. Due to the space constraints, only one shooter could shoot at a time, and we alternated through the three shooters on three stages before scoring and pasting. It was as if we had a squad of 40 shooters, which meant it took quite a while to get through the match. But, despite the extra long day, any day on the range beats a day not on the range! And the people are friendly so the time passed easily.

The first stage had us seated in front of a spread of targets and a few non-threats. At the start, the four close targets all got two required head shots. (A hit on the "body" was a miss.) The remaining three targets were engaged near to far with two rounds each. Coincidently, the last stage I shot at the last match I attended was also a seated scenario — I guess it's not such a rare scenario in IDPA.

Next up was a challenging two-string stage that tested our one handed shooting ability. On the first string, after the draw you transferred the gun to the support hand and engaged the first two targets. After transferring the gun to the strong hand, the last two targets were taken care of. Moving back to a barricade at around the 20 yard line for the second string, you repeated the same pattern except this time you could use the "other" hand for support. I was actually pleased with my hits on this stage. However, I did earn a procedural penalty for failing to pie around the barricade and instead shooting the last two targets "inside to outside." Some USPSA habits are hard to break.

The last course of fire was a nine-target stage with the targets arranged among the walls. It was an interesting stage that offered numerous options for engaging the targets. There were quite a few different choices made by the shooters. You could engage the targets at 3 or 4 positions total, depending on the distance you were comfortable with, choose slide lock or tactical reloads, as well as where you did your reload, all the while keeping in mind to not expose yourself to any unengaged threats.

The weather was unexpectedly cool and damp for a good part of the day, the sun finally coming out late in the match. Nonetheless, I still came home with a sunburned neck. Despite the long time it took to complete the stages, I had a great time and it was a fun way to spend the first part of my birthday. My results were fair, 14th out 25 in my division and 23rd overall.

Of course, upon arriving home I quickly started my enjoyment of some tasty craft beers. And those are possible fodder for future musings. Later in the evening I put some thick steaks on the grill for dinner, after which we enjoyed a family movie night. And there was cake! A fitting celebration it was indeed.

Flying Dog Supertramp

Author: David From • Mar 21st, 2015
   Category: Blog Entries.Local
I admit it, I didn't want to like this beer. Last week when I opened the package from Flying Dog Brewery and saw the bottle of Supertramp Tart Cherry Ale, I thought, "Oh, a fruit beer." But, I was intrigued nonetheless, as I do enjoy the occasional sour ale. So despite my consternation, I was looking forward to trying it, for research purposes only of course.

As I poured the ale, others in the room exclaimed, "Oh, it's pink!" It wasn't really pink, but there was indeed a pink hue to the orange-amber color. The aroma has faint fruit notes and a hint of breadiness. The initial flavor that hits the tongue is the mild fruit sweetness that morphs quickly over to tart. The cherry tart and bitterness fade quickly to a clean finish. Moderate carbonation tingles the tongue and cleanses the palate, leaving very little behind in the aftertaste.

Despite my skepticism, in the end I had to admit I liked the Supertramp Tart Cherry Ale. Even though we tasted the beer on a cool, almost Spring evening, I actually think this would be a very refreshing summertime drink. The low 4.6% ABV, the tingling carbonation, the mildly tart flavor and clean finish seems a good combination with which to cool down after an afternoon of sweating in the garden, or after returning home from the range.

The beer reviewed here was a promotional sample from the brewery. My impressions are provided of my own free will.

$500 of a buyer’s money protected – a fight over prepaid items

Author: jedmisten From • Mar 20th, 2015
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, RealEstate.Local

Sometimes protecting a buyer client from the seller and the listing agent is more difficult that it should be.  It often involves fighting over an issue that leaves me shaking my head (or SMH for the texters among us.)  There is one particular fight that has happened more often than it should have, and usually leaves me fighting to protect my buyer’s money… on average between $300 and $700.  Let me share a story that will illustrate how the fight plays out.

Years ago I was representing a buyer who wanted to buy a home off of Gordon Road.  We found just the perfect home for her in a nice subdivision, with everything she wanted and within her budget.  The home was a ranch style home with a basement, a detached garage, cement driveway, and a beautiful lot of just over an acre.  It had everything she was looking for, and even some extras.

We made an offer on the home, and after some pretty intense negotiations, we finalized a contract for about $10,000 less than the list price, and the seller agreed to pay for my buyer’s closing costs, up to 3% of the sales price.  In other words, he had agreed to pay closing costs for my buyer up to around $9,000.

Most everything in this particular transaction was tough.  The seller was considerably less that agreeable on most issues with the contract.  The listing agent was difficult to get on the phone to talk about issues, and as I would learn wasn’t really all that knowledgeable about details of transactions.

This came to a head a few days before closing.  I received a call from the listing agent telling me that her client, the seller wasn’t going to pay part of the closing costs.  Nevermind that he was contractually obligated to do so, he wasn’t doing it.  As I pressed in to learn what the seller had issues with, the agent explained to me that he wasn’t paying “prepaid items” that were shown on the HUD1.  If you aren’t familiar, the HUD1 is currently the document used at real estate settlements that itemize where money is coming from, and going to, to settle the transaction.

I asked why the seller was having issue with the prepaid items in particular.  The agent advised that the seller wasn’t going to pay the buyer for something that the buyer had already paid.  I asked the agent if she had explained these items to her client.  Her response was priceless….and astonishing to me.  She said, “What is there to explain?  The seller isn’t going to pay for something the buyer has already paid.  Period.”  Folks, I couldn’t help myself, I laughed out loud.  You will understand why in a moment.

But first, let me tell you, the monetary issue at hand was around $500. This was $500 dollars that we had ALREADY  negotiated for my buyer.  It was money that my client was contractually entitled to, but here was a seller threatening to not close the transaction over this money.  But the real issue at hand, probably aside from the seller feeling like he didn’t have the best negotiator working for him, was the seller’s lack of understanding what constitutes a prepaid item in a real estate transaction.  The issue gained further explosiveness when the listing agent couldn’t advise him on the issue either.

Prepaid items are generally what are used to start up escrow accounts on a mortgage.  In most cases, when a lender lends money for a real estate transaction, they also set up accounts to pay things like home owners insurance and real estate taxes.  So, as part of the closing costs at closing, the lender will collect money to start those accounts.  That money is called “prepaids.”

So, I asked the agent to look at the HUD1.  When she had it, I asked her to go to the back and look at the appraisal fee, and see where it said POC.  I explained that POC means “paid outside of closing.”  This is something my client has already paid and is NOT part of the closing costs.  The prepaids to start the escrow accounts are NOT something my client has paid, and ARE something that is part of the closing costs the seller agreed to pay.

It took awhile, but ultimately I made the listing agent and seller understand this issue, and we were able to close on time.  And protected $500 of my client’s money!!

Monica Lewinsky’s Boyfriend’s Wife

Author: David From • Mar 20th, 2015
   Category: Blog Entries.Local, Politics
Too good not to share. 

There are members of the current administration who are probably thinking, "Cool, how do I order?"

If these offend, all I can say is "What difference does it make?"