Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
Please post your local house search updates, MLS finds, on-topic ideas, and links here.
Thousands of jobs coming to the Alexandria-Arlington border. Project proceeds. Parking and transportation an issue, unless you live within walking distance. Forget the metro, the bus, or VRE.
Owner of Tysons Corner Shopping center bankrupt! Tysons always seemed to be way out there. I last went there about 10 years ago but now use stores down-the-street. Especially since Potomac Yards opened. Then there's Internet shopping.
@J@wow. No metro access, just buses? and yet they think it's a good idea to build only 60% parking? "We're going to build 60 percent parking," or 3,904 spaces, Edwards said. About 30 percent of the workers who will commute to the complex take mass transit to their current jobs, he said, although many of them work near Metro stops. "Real men of genius. What's next? 395 becomes pure HOV only?
"Real men of genius."They're going to force people to carpool or live in the area.The reason that the bus doesn't work is that their plan is,You walk, drive, or are driven to Metro. You wait for the Metro.You ride the Metro.You wait for the shuttle bus at Braddock Road, which takes you to the site.That's NOT a plan. A plan might be: 20 Express buses spoked in from 40 miles out. Subsidized passes. The Express buses make, maybe two quick pick-up stops. They have comfortable seats, those who want, can nap. Wireless internet so that others can get some work done, catch up on email, or whatever. That would be a plan.
Today is my family's big day. The HUD document looks good. Please, dear Lord, no surprises!
crossing fingers for you Tabitha. Here's hoping that any surprises are minor and easily resolved.
I don't understand the logic of concentrating so much military stuff in one place. Maybe it's just me, but I think it makes more sense to put some of the stuff in Peoria, or at least Front Royal, or even Manassas if you want to keep it near by.
Yeah for Tabitha..a new home owner!
Tabitha -- I hope all goes well!
In case anyone's wondering how it is that Citi managed to eke out a profit finally after a full year of losses here's Calculated Risk's excerpts from Bloomberg's announcement of Citi's profit.It sounds sketchy to me. But that won't stop the markets from rallying on it. I'm guessing the DOW goes up another 50 points on this one.
I was really surprised when the decision was made to go with the Mark Center location. For a long time (once Belvoir was ruled out), the focus was on those big GSA warehouses behind the Franconia Springfield metro. I think it came as quite a shock to Springfield planners when the final decision was made. I can't help but wonder if this decision is going to effect all the proposed changes at the Springfield Mall/"Town Center." It seems to me the developers were probably banking on an influx of federal workers when they launched that plan.Oh, and happy closing today, Tabitha!
GiGiyeah. this is going to be a big blow to Springfield. Hopefully we'll still get the Wegmans since that seems to me to be more oriented towards the pricey SFHs in Kingstowne than towards federal workers lunch hours.
I used to work as a contractor for the USCG. To get to our work location (where there was essentially zero parking--maybe 30%) it was expected that we would take a shuttle bus from a metro stop about a mile away. Some days, if you were lucky and got a nice driver who disobeyed the rules you could get a pick-up/drop-off at a different metro stop about 1/2 a mile away, but on a less used line.So, my commute:Drive to commuter lot. Park.Walk to slug line.Slug to metro station.Stand and wait for shuttle.Shuttle to building.Pretty awful, not because of the distance, or even really the time 1:15 to 1:30 each way most days (higher than average, but in a range which I found acceptable). But the need to change transit modes so frequently. It was done, but there was constant grumbling from pretty much the entire staff, including USCG officers who used this system.The particularly amusing thing was watching how fast service deteriorated when gas prices exploded. 'Cause the shuttle was on contract to the USCG to provide service to the building. 5 full time shuttles turned to 3 real quick.
Cara -- I'm looking forward to that Wegman's, too (provided the govt doesn't transfer us out first!). And barring any (additional) major economic catastrophes, it's hard to imagine the place not being built. I know there's a recession underway, but it sure is hard to spot around here -- the line at my neighborhood Starbucks was right out the door this am!
Does anyone have any suggestions on basement flooding? Specifically, how do you find the problem areas and do you know of ways to fix them? I'm not talking about removal of the actual water (I've got that down).
Cara,I continue to be amazed by these earnings reports. As someone in the CR comments said it's like everyone is playing along even though it's obvious it's all BS. Eventually the facade will start to crack and we'll probably fall into even worse shape.CNBC this morning showed a chart in which credit card defaults have been roughly tracking the unemployment rate over the last 2 years or so. In the last quarter they've started diverging pretty heavily. The unemployment went way up, to 8.50%, but credit card losses were starting to accelerate at an even greater pace. There's more unexpectedly bad news to come I'm sure.
Some choice bits from that CR thread:The first was this one:"Under the rule, companies are allowed to record any declines in the market value of their own debt as an unrealized gain."lol! So a good chunk of the gains was because they're reporting their nearly worthless debt as an unrealized gain. Awesome.Someone posted this piece of an article about the Wells Fargo release in the comments:"Look at Wells’s Dec. 31 balance sheet, and you’ll see a $109.8 billion line item called “other assets.” What’s in that number? For that breakdown, you need to go to a footnote in Wells’s financial statements. And here’s where it gets comical.The footnote says the largest component was a $44.2 billion bucket that Wells labeled as “other.” Yes, that’s right: The biggest portion of “other assets” was “other.” And what did this include? The disclosure didn’t say. Neither would Bernard."Personally I don't think anyone can pick stocks. I've never seen any evidence that someone is actually good at it. Looking at a balance statement like that I think you'll see why - there's almost no way to tell what's really going on inside a company. The only way I think you can reliably beat the market is to be good at picking sectors or by seeing broad general trends.
Jeff B,it's all funny math to me. According to Bloomberg "Citigroup posted a $2.5 billion gain from accounting rules that allows companies to profit when their own creditworthiness declines. The rules reflect the possibility that a company could buy back its own liabilities at a discount, which under traditional accounting methods would result in a profit. That's larger than the quarter's net profit. And it's unrealized gains because they didn't actually pony up the funds to buy back that debt (now that it's priced low because of their uncertain ability to pay it back...) Heck one could imagine that the debt is now inherently valued at whatever price people think Citi could pay to buy it back. It's like France in that series of psuedo-historical novels by the guy who wrote Cyptonomicron... But Citi's debt for pennies on the dollar to sell it back to Citi...But I was wrong on the market rise, it appears that this profit was already priced in from the original rally on the whispers of possible Citi profit back in early March?
Jeff B,It's not terribly surprising that credit card defaults and unemployment are linked. But they've diverged in the past quarter, well that's good news. I mean unemployment last quarter was awful, so it's good to see all that frugality that people are espousing is coming through in lower credit card defaults too.What? You can diverge in both directions? Ah, hell.
Cara,Neal Stephenson. Quicksilver et al. were spectacular.I'm still working on Anathem.
I guess I could have been a little more clear xpovos :pCara,I used to try and guess at why the market is doing what it's doing but ultimately I think it's not worth the effort. If you watch CNBC for a few hours (which I don't really recommend) you'll see more excuses and half-baked explanations than you can keep track of. They're always trying to assign a reason to market moves and they become absurd pretty quickly. It's why I don't try to predict near-term market moves any more.
thanks xpovos I think that whole series has really interesting commentary on economy and finances. (In addition to being thoroughly enjoyable).(I'm so lazy, assuming someone here would fill that in rather than me needing to google for it)
Jeff B,I just try to do it when it's really really obvious. And then it's really a question not of which direction, but how far. Not that I'm putting any money where my mouth is.
WaPo coverage of regional unemployment Most relevant snippet:The District's unemployment rate, which soared in recent months and was on the verge of reaching 10 percent, made an unexpected turn in March by dropping to 9.8 percent from 9.9 percent in February. Bureau of Labor Statistics data also show that the unemployment rate rose to 6.9 percent from 6.7 percent in Maryland and to 6.8 percent from 6.6 percent in Virginia. Whether this proported drop in the rate of decline in unemployment is real or a seasonal thing, is obviously up for debate, if it's even worth debating a one month trend. But 6.6% unemployment, while not as bad as the US as a whole is not good at all compared to our region's expectations of always being able to find a new job if need be.
Or from the horses mouth:US Labor statisticsWe find that in DC, Maryland and Virginia any changes in unemployment rate were statistically insignificant. Which in and of itself could mean that unemployment stabilized for the month. (for maryland the employment decrease was significant, but not the unemployment rate increase)
Jeff..water in the basement and you don't know the source? Well, make sure you have plenty of dirt around your house for sloping away drainage, check eaves and gutters, check to see if you have a sump pump and its in good working order..window sills/basins around basement windows..any wet walls? if none of those its ground seepage..make sure exterior drains aren't clogged with dirt/leaves.
Jeff said... "Does anyone have any suggestions on basement flooding? Specifically, how do you find the problem areas and do you know of ways to fix them? I'm not talking about removal of the actual water (I've got that down)."Check your gutters. Are they discharging water to the house foundation? If so, adding non perforated drain tile to downspout bottoms and diverting water away from the house will help. Do you have a deck? We had a tremendous amount of rainwater runoff from ours directly to the house foundation on our last house. If you can't locate the water entry point(s) a plumber or land drainage contractor should be able to. Some fixes. French drain system http://www.easydigging.com/Drainage/installation_french_drain.html around house exterior.Sump pump. Shouldn't be used as the sole fix though. It pumps water out but doesn't keep it from entering. And sometimes you need to dig to the footers and waterproof the house exterior. That's costly. We had this problem in the crawl space of our last house. French drain system along the back of the house, where there was a downhill slope, and in deck area plus drain tile added to downspouts solved it. We dug the sod out, set it aside, dug the trench, installed the drain system and put the sod back. It seamed back together well and in a couple of weeks you couldn't even tell it had been done. You might also want to get a dehumidifier for the basement to help remove moisture once you've solved the problem. Lowe's has some fairly inexpensive ones. Good luck!
Tabitha, I've been following your story for months and am so happy for you and your family. Here's to a smooth closing!
Arkey,You just made me think about grading. Great point with regard to water in basement. Proper grading should be 3-4 feet out from house, 6 inch downward slope, IIRC. Jeff, here's a website that details some causes of water intrusion. http://tiny.cc/qL4a3
Jeff, Just noticed that the URL I posted to a French drain system didn't work. Here it is again. This is the type we used. Not just gravel, but also perforated pipe covered in landscaping cloth. Materials are fairly inexpensive--it's the labor that's costly. We did it in a week-end. Well worth the savings. http://tiny.cc/YoQUl
Since the subject of BRAC (base realignment) came up earlier in this thread, I thought some might find this interesting:www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/09/AR2007110901113.htmlIt's not exactly new news, but unless you are on Ft. Belvoir regularly you might not be aware of the new housing there. In the past, the housing there has been pretty dismal and many people chose to live off post (for good reason!). But this new housing is really nice and I would think has the potential to lure more people who are eligible back to on base housing. I don't know if there are really enough units to impact off-post rental or housing prices, but certainly as more people are assigned to Belvoir due to BRAC I think they'd find this housing a good option.
thanks GiGi that was news to me. With base housing like that, that will seriously hurt the prices on rental housing nearby, especially the cheap semi-run-down SFHs. That makes for a very different cash-flow analysis in the area if base housing goes from 40% occupancy to 90%.
Cara -- precisely. And the construction isn't even complete; it will be done in 2011. I was just over on Belvoir and that housing (at least from the exterior) is really nice. With a little more than 2000 newly built units, it's hard to imagine that not having an impact on off-base housing.
I keep checking back, hoping to see a post from Tabitha that the closing is complete...! Jeff, re: basement, excellent advice has been posted here so I will just add another vote to it. We had run off not only from the front yard's sloping into our house but also from a neighbor's front and side yard. No problems until the big rains came. Landscaping didn't work, but a French drain and sump pump did the trick. Be sure to get the battery backup system, in case a big storm knocks out power. The battery doesn't last too long but if it just worked long enough to pump out the worst of the rain until the power is restored, that's a big help. Be sure also to get several estimates from good companies that offer lifetime warranties (checkbook.org has ratings), and to have them install the drainage tile on entire walls where water gets in, because if you tile only where you think you see water, the water will simply move past the system to the next open space (depending on the slope of your lot, of course).
A little OT but interesting. Realtytrac changed their site and now ranks county foreclosure rates across the USA. They have about 1850 counties in their database.The #1 worst in the USA is Clark County (Las Vegas) Nev, where 1 in 27 homes is in foreclosure! The top 50 worst perfromers across the USA are dominated by counties in CA NV, AZ & FL. So how does our area locally compare to the worst areas in the USA?County - National RankingPWC #50Stafford #93Loudoun #132P.G. #136Culpeper #171Fairfax #234Mo. Co. #362D.C. #663Alex #644Arl #785Considering there are 1850 counties ranked, DC, Arl & Alex rankings seem a bit pedestrian. However, things do heat up thereafter, and exponentially (in terms of foreclosures per 1000) when you get in the top 100 rankings. Special consideration needs to be given to PWC being in the top 50 puts them in the same class as the worst of the CA, AZ, NV & FL counties - a truly remarkable performance!
CRT,but PWC had the competitive advantage of being in a non-judicial state. CA and FL are both slower processes than VA.
http://franklymls.com/FX6989603Chasing the market down, and finally catching up! Listed last March starting at $380k, closed yesterday just under $280k including the subsidy.
JeffCheck the gutters above the basement (a decent number of water problems originate there). After that make sure the grade slopes away from the house. If that doesn't alleviate the problem, it gets expensive common solutions begin at french drain systems (gravel trench with a hole punched pvc pipe along the wet side(s) of the basement) and work up to water management systems. Do you have any ideas where the source is?
" Ace said...I keep checking back, hoping to see a post from Tabitha that the closing is complete...!"Ditto.Tabitha,Do post when it's all over. And I think I offered before, but it's still good: when you're moving, I've got very large brothers-in-law. Say the word and you've got muscle.
"Cara said...but PWC had the competitive advantage of being in a non-judicial state. CA and FL are both slower processes than VA."Agreed Cara - but remember, Realtytrac just follows foreclosure activity. You can file a NOD or Lis Pendens anywhere regardless of state status. Actual Trustees sales or foreclosing right of redemption is clearly another matter...
CRT,good point, I was once again hoping that Realtytrac would switch over to just foreclosures rather than all related notices.
Thanks for all the tips guys. I bought this house at the end of last month and before we even moved in, the basement flooded. I got home last night and it was flooded again. The basement was finished. After it flooded the first time (a couple days before we moved in) I had friends over and we took out the carpet (set it on the patio out back to dry since it was still good), threw out all the soaked padding, and ripped out the baseboards. I bought several fans and a dehumidifier at LOWES.Following that flooding, I found a 40 year old window covered by dry wall and beneath a wood patio in the back that allowed water through the tracks at the bottom where it slides open (discovered by pouring water through the patio slats into the window via a waterhose from above). I ripped into the drywall of the basement and cut a hole slightly bigger than the window and caulked along the edges of it. Can you believe it, the home inspector DID NOT FIND THAT WINDOW! I was mad...to say the least. The house has a sump pump. Water appears to rise from the sump pit into the house. The pump had a float shutoff switch that moved kind of like the arms of a clock. The sump pit was not large enough to accommodate the full swing movement so the pump never turned on. I replaced the float with one that moves vertically.Okay, so after the rains this week it flooded again. I got home from work to find the basement with (again) three inches of water. Luckily everything was ripped out and we already had the equipment necessary for the clean up. Evidently, the pump turned on so many times that it "walked" randomly until it got in just the right position to block the vertical float from moving upward then the basement flooded (the sump pit is very small).Now, I'm pretty sure that there are a couple additional leaks on the wall with the "extra" window because I saw water leak under two spots one day and the window remained dry (the caulking worked). So I'm thinking that I'm going to have to rip out that entire wall (say hello to Mr. Sledge Hammer). My friend told me that he can help me get the basement water-tight but I'm worried that I'll have to take out ALL the drywall to do it properly. The front of the house is slopped down. The back, where the problem are is, slopes INTO the house and the patio in the back is as long as the house and probably 12 or 15 feet wide (we have a large back yard). In order to re-grade that, I would have to rip out all that wood which would be 1) a difficult job for me to do and 2) an even more expensive than normal job to hire someone to do. I'm going to think about the french drains. Something clearly has to be done. I'm not sure what can be done about the sump pump. Unfortunately, it's next to the washer and dryer so there's no room to expand the pit. Maybe I can have a second one installed nearby?Basically, the house and yard in general are beautiful and my wife and I both enjoy them immensely. The basement specifically has been a nightmare. I've been moved in just under 2 weeks and the basement has flooded 3 inches TWICE already.
Cara, that's a strange TH. How does it have 3BRs without windows? Unless I'm reading the description incorrectly.Other Jeff,That's pretty harsh luck on the basement. At least it happened before you had stuff down there to damage. Keep us updated, I'm sure most of us will benefit from what you learn while fixing it.
Jeff B,Yeah, I don't know what's up with that description either. I'm thinking "with out windows" was meant to be "with windows to the outside" or something, because I doubt they walled over the upstairs windows, maybe they're referencing the fact that these are real bedrooms because they have two exits, 1 door and 1 "out window". Who knows?
Cara, maybe they have some closets they consider "bedrooms" but are not legally bedrooms? :)I'll keep everyone updated on what happens. I had some guys out that would have done the water clean up for me but they told me that it would cost over 1,000 dollars for them to do it. It took me and two buddies 2 or 3 hours and we got it done. All I had to pay for was the equipment and a bunch of food and drink. Now I own the equipment and since it happened a SECOND time, I'm very happy that I didn't pay them to do it.
CRT said... "Cara said...but PWC had the competitive advantage of being in a non-judicial state. CA and FL are both slower processes than VA."Agreed Cara - but remember, Realtytrac just follows foreclosure activity. You can file a NOD or Lis Pendens anywhere regardless of state status. Actual Trustees sales or foreclosing right of redemption is clearly another matter..."I would think this would give the advantage to CA & the extra roadblock states. Im sure there are plenty of motions to quash & the like that can be filed to make the bank start over again. Jeff - in refrain with the others, french drain should do the trick.
Cara, thanks for posting that house. Interesting that it closed for 15% under 09 assessment. The tax records show that the previous sale price was $457k in 2006. Foreclosure?
"I've been moved in just under 2 weeks and the basement has flooded 3 inches TWICE already."Was the drywall fresh? Did they cover up the defect? Did they know about it but did not disclose? If so, then you have a case for "them" to pay for the remediation.Unless the sale was clearly "As-Is", my opinion (not worth much) is that they should pay for it.I've fought water problems and it's not cheap or easy. It can be done. GLTY.
I just called the listing agent of a home that was listed today, under contract today. He told me that the bank had him list, but the current owners asked him to show under contract because they're trying to work something out. Great for the homeowner, a little weird for us buyers. Have any of you run into this?
Will post tomorrow, but closing did in fact happen today, and we are homeowners. More to come...just finished our trek up to the grandparents' house with the kids...
CONGRATULATIONS, TABITHA!!!!!(pardon my shouting)
@J@,Brace yourself, I just heard that Potomac Yard is going to CLOSE, and a new shopping center will be sprung up a little bit down the street.But this was from a Realtor, so it could be a lie, a rumor, an exaggeration, or a massive confusion...
Post a Comment
Subscribe in a reader