Word of the Week: Appraisal

Why having an appraisal done on a home is a valuable tool

JSRealty4U Phone AppraisalBuying a home is a busy, often confusing time. Especially when the Realtors and Lenders start throwing terms around. And while some of the words sound like fancy names for the same thing, that’s not always true. Often, the Home Inspection can get confused with an Appraisal. Yes, someone is coming to your home to look, poke around, and take notes about the what they find. But the Inspector and the Appraiser are two very different individuals, performing two very different tasks.


A formalized procedure that involves collecting and analyzing facts necessary to estimate the value of real property.

Property Value Tablet JS RealtyProperty value is based on a number of factors, such as location, amenities, structural condition, and recent sales of similar local properties. The appraisal process is done by an Appraiser. They will perform a walk-through of the property, and note anything that can potentially alter the home’s value. For example, if the home has a swimming pool in the backyard, but swimming pools aren’t popular in the area, it might not add much value to the property. In some cases, it may even detract from it.

The appraiser’s report will contains the appraiser’s opinion of value and the factual basis for that opinion. Appraisal reports range from fairly simple boilerplate reports to lengthy complicated narratives, depending on the type of property being appraised and the client’s needs. The appraiser will give final report to the lender, who is required to show it to the buyer. Make sure to obtain a copy for your own records.appraisal jsrealty4u real estate

The JS Realty Team @ Samson Properties is well versed in all facets of the buying and selling process. If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, please contact us today! We proudly offer a no obligation, free home analysis and consultation.


The JS Realty Team is pleased to announce its newest listing in Centreville, VA! This beautiful 6 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom home is situated on 5 acres in the Sully Estates.

Located at 14905 Cub Run Park Drive, this immaculate home is conveniently located near Routes 28 & 29, and I-66.

JS Realty Cub Run Park Drive - KitchenStone pathways lead to the front door, where once inside you’ll find beautiful hardwood flooring throughout most of the main level. A new gourmet kitchen awaits with marble flooring, a custom backsplash and gorgeous granite counters.

JS Realty Centreville ListingThree spacious bedrooms with carpeting and large closets can be found upstairs, along with an impressive Master Suite. Marble flooring and wainscoting can be found in the master bath, and includes an over-sized double vanity, 2-person Jacuzzi tub, and seamless glass shower. Two additional bedrooms and a full bath can be found in the finished basement.

TJS Realty Centreville Listinghe professionally landscaped yard includes designer lighting and the two car, attached, side loading garage is off the circular driveway. The 5 acre back yard features a large deck and is surrounded by mature trees.

Learn more about our listing in the video, or visit us online at JSRealty4U.com.

If you would like a private tour of this new listing, call Katie Hofer at 703-508-6654.

JS Realty Free Analysis Contact UsThe JS Realty Team – not only serving Brambleton, serving all of Northern Virginia.


You’ve decided to buy a home… a smart decision, considering rental rates are constantly on the rise and interest rates are continuing to hold at near-record lows. The JS Realty Team @ Samson Properties has the knowledge and experience to guide you through the entire process. From your initial consultation through settlement day, we will tailor the buying process to meet your specific needs through the following steps.

At your initial consultation, we need to gather lots of information from you to aid us in the progression of finding the RIGHT home for YOU. So be prepared for a barrage of questions! You can expect this conversation to include:JS Realty Check List Blank

-Style of home you prefer
-Features of a home that are most attractive to you
-Lot size
-Desired location(s)
Contacting a Lender to get you pre-qualified for a loan
-School districts
-Neighborhood feel

Once we’ve compiled your wish-list, the next step is to set up a personalized search specific to your requests.

2. FIELD TRIP!JS Realty Showing Home
Here’s where the real fun begins. Tours can be set up based on the properties you’ve chosen. While touring, we will ask additional questions in order to continue refining your search. You may choose to add to your current list as well as rule out many already on the list.

3. CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONJS Realty House contract
After you’ve successfully chosen the home that’s right for you, your Realtor’s value and importance will really shine through at this stage of the game. We will negotiate the terms of the contract in order to achieve the best results attainable. Once the terms of the contract are in place, the next most important step is the inspection.

4. HOME INSPECTIONJS Realty Home Inspection
We will now hire a licensed home Inspector who will thoroughly examine the property and provide a detailed report with potential items which need to be addressed. The Inspector will also provide tips for preventative maintenance that can potentially save you money in the future.

5. PLANNING YOUR MOVEJS Realty Calendar Red Moving Day
While waiting for your loan to be finalized and settlement day to arrive, you’ll want to begin planning your move. Once the transaction is settled, you will receive keys to your new home!

Although the buying process is now complete, remember that the JS Realty Team is always available to you for additional questions and any further Real Estate needs. Feel free to contact us at any time!

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The JS Realty Team – not only serving Brambleton, serving all of Northern Virginia.


JS Realty Flag LoCoEarlier this month the JS Realty Team at Samson Properties provided a market analysis of Brambleton in Ashburn, Virginia. Today we are going to expand the market update to include all of Loudoun County, and compare the trends of the whole county to what we saw in the Brambleton subdivision.

Q1 2015 Loudoun County Market Update – Full Report

The Loudoun County housing market has also had a strong first quarter. The sold dollar volume is up + 19.56% from JS Realty Where Market Going Newspaperthe previous year and units sold are also up +16.88%. The percentages are obviously not as large when compared to Brambleton, but keep in mind we are looking at Loudoun County as a whole, not just one of its most popular subdivisions. When you compare average days on the market in Loudoun County to the previous year you will see a modest increase from 58 in 2014 to 81 in 2015. This can be mostly attributed to the increase in inventory from the year before – classic “supply and demand”. Overall, similar to Brambleton, the whole county is experiencing a market that is on the move in a positive way.

The JS Realty Team also mentioned previously that the “buzz” in the lending world was that interest rates were going to rise slightly over the summer. We have seen that come to fruition over the last couple weeks. They have crept up a little, but are still close to historical lows.

JS Realty Buyer Seller Road SignWe expect this positive market to continue for the foreseeable future. The JS Realty Team has stayed busy helping our clients achieve their goals through the buying and selling of homes. It has been a great year so far and we look forward to helping even more of our clients in the remainder of 2015.

Have a great summer! Don’t hesitate to contact a JS Realty Team member with any questions or to get a FREE no obligation home/market analysis on your home.

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The JS Realty Team – not only serving Brambleton, serving all of Northern Virginia.


You searched for the right home – and found it! You got the home under contract and worked through the entire Home Buying Process to bring you to the day you have been looking forward to: Settlement Day! You worked hard and you want the KEYS to what is yours. So when do you get the keys to your dream home?

JS Realty Calendar Red Moving DaySeems like this would be a pretty easy question to answer, but it really depends on the state that you are closing in, and how that state handles defining the term “settled”, or when escrow has occurred. Most often this has to do with the way the money is funded and disbursed, and how the Deed (the paper work that deems you are the owner of the property) is recorded and recognized in your state. Since we are located in Virginia, we can tell you exactly how it is dealt with here. Then you can prepare for the other BIG day – MOVING DAY.

Typically, keys are given after verification that the funds have been delivered to the title company and all of the required documents are signed by both Seller and Buyer. At that point, the Seller will pass over ownership of the property and provide the Buyer with the keys to the property. Hooray! The moment has arrived and you are now the lucky owner – and key holder – of your dream home!

JS Realty Champagne Glasses Celebration

There are occasions, however, when getting the keys and moving right in is not possible:

The Seller needs to stay in the home. Logistically, it can make sense for JS Realty rental agreementthe Seller to sell their home and then buy their next home. Physically, though, this can be a real challenge. Offering the Seller to stay a couple of extra days after settlement could be just what they need to make selling their home to you easier. In this case, you (the Buyer) will be offering a “rent back”. This is done through a signed agreement (a Post-Settlement Occupancy Agreement) that states they will stay in the home for a specified period of time, for a certain amount of money, and will be exiting the property on a specified date.

JS Realty Moving Boxes TapeSo does this mean you get keys or not? In most cases the Seller will agree to give you one set of keys with the understanding you will not need to access the property until the specified date that they will be exiting the property. Once they have exited the property you will be able to re-inspect the home and take possession based on the terms in which you both agreed to. This is pretty common and often occurs with little to no issues.

The home is vacant and you want to move in early. Is this even possible? JS Realty Kids Thumbs Up DownTechnically it is, however we often do not recommend it due to many various risk factors that could make this a bad idea for both the Buyer and the Seller. There is a possibility that something unforeseen happens and the deal does not go through at the last minute. Or worse, if something tragic happens to the home while the Buyer is occupying it and the Seller is still the owner. This would create a potential insurance nightmare. The reasons this could be a bad idea are numerous, however if you and the Seller are prepared to face these risk and are able to come to mutual agreeable terms, this is an option and does occur from time to time. It would be similar to the “rent back” method and it is called a Pre-Settlement Agreement.

“Key” things to remember for Settlement Day:

Utilities: Turn the utilities on in your name the day of settlement to prevent a them from possibly being shut off. Remember: utilities cannot be turned on over a weekend.

Deliveries: Do not schedule to have anything delivered or done to the home the JS Realty Watch Deadline Man Businessday of the settlement in the event something unforeseen causes a delay.

Be Prepared: From time to time, Settlement Day can run longer than expected. However if you plan for extra time in advance, it can make the day run a lot smoother and less stressful than if you are trying to get to an important work meeting directly after. We hope for the best, yet are prepared for the worst.

Accept the keys and take ownership of your dream home!

JS Realty Happy Couple New Home

The JS Realty Team get deals done and homes get purchased every day! If you’re ready to buy or sell a home, contact us today!

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The JS Realty Team – not only serving Brambleton, serving all of Northern Virginia.


Duck Donuts Herndon Entrance JS RealtyDUCK DONUTS. When they showed up in Herndon, Virginia at the beginning of May, our Facebook pages lit up like Christmas with images and #hashtags about donuts covered in bacon, of all things. If you’ve never been to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, then you are probably wondering what in the world a “Duck Donut” is and why people are going so crazy. It’s just a donut, right?


Duck Donuts JS Realty
Donut Maker

We set out to discover what was so “absolutely wonderful”, as one reviewer stated. The first thing we noticed when we walked in the door (besides there being quite a few people having a donut for lunch!) – there wasn’t a donut in sight. The shop was quite spacious, with some tables, chairs, and a few beach-type benches. It was clean, and it smelled pretty yummy. But where were the donuts?

Duck Donut JS Realty Bacon
Maple Glaze & Bacon

We walked up to a tiled wall about chest-high, that was topped with glass. After peering through the glass, we found the donuts! They weren’t sitting in racks, or in boxes, they were being freshly made to order! Yes, you read that correctly. They have a very cool donut making machine – 2 of them, actually – that cranks out fresh donuts pretty quickly! Those fresh, plain donuts are loaded into large trays and taken to the “topping” station, where the donut is then coated with your choice of glaze and additional toppings.

Duck Donuts JS Realty Assorted
Chocolate & coconut, Vanilla & sprinkles, Maple & bacon.

By our count, there are currently 51 ways to eat a Duck Donut, and each day there is an additional “Donut of the Day”. We happened to be there on “French Toast” day, and that donut did not disappoint! And those maple and bacon topped little wonders? Let’s just say it’s a miracle they made the 15-minute trip home!

Pictures and words do not do these donuts justice. Treat yourself to a few of these seriously yummy donuts, located in the BB&T Center in Herndon off of Elden Street.  Just be ready to wait in line as their popularity increases! As another Duck Donut first-timer mentioned to us in the shop while we were there, “The line has sometimes been out the door. And they are going to be busy this weekend with the Herndon Festival.”  Great idea – check out the festival, and grab a fresh donut! They are sold single, or by 1/2 Dozen, Dozen, and Bucket (18).

Wouldn’t it be great to live within walking distance of this yummy little donut shop? If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Northern Virginia, contact us today!

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The JS Realty Team – not only serving Brambleton, serving all of Northern Virginia.


What does my Realtor mean when they tell me we are “ratified”?JS Realty Confused Phone Conversation

When your Realtor says, “Congratulations, you’re ratified!”, do you scratch your head and wonder “What does that even mean?” while politely saying “Great, thanks so much!”? We are here to help you understand the word ratification and what it actually means. The short and simple of it: Ratification or Ratified = to confirm or agree.

In our Northern Virginia market, our Residential Sales Contract defines the date of ratification in the definitions section of the contract, and it states, “Date of Ratification” means the date of delivery of the final acceptance in writing by the Purchaser and Seller of all the terms of this Contract to Purchaser and Seller (not the date of the expiration or removal of any contingencies).

JS Realty Stamp AcceptedSo what does that mean in plain English? If you are purchasing a home, ratification of the contract begins the moment the contract has been delivered to all parties with ALL of the terms agreed to in writing. This is the moment when you all are committed to each other and the terms of which you have agreed to work under. This is the moment when the timelines that you set in the contract begin (unless otherwise stated that they begin based on other terms). So your Realtor is congratulating you on the fact that all parties have reached an agreement and will be moving forward.

“Why should I care?”
Basically, if you are the Purchaser, anyone else can negotiate and reach terms with the Seller up to the JS Realty calendar close uppoint of being ratified, so getting your contract ratified means they are committing to your terms and no one else’s. Also, as the Purchaser, you will want to know when the home inspection deadlines, appraisal deadlines, financing contingencies and other contingencies actually start. You will want to ensure that you meet the terms of your agreement and stay within the timelines to protect certain rights of yours within the contract.

JS Realty Champagne Glasses CelebrationSo, the next time your Realtor congratulates you on officially being “ratified”, you will know that this is in fact a great moment and worth a little celebration!


If you are looking to buy or sell a home and would love to hear us congratulate you on being ratified, contact us today – we would love to celebrate being ratified with you!

JS Realty Free home analysis

The JS Realty Team – not only serving Brambleton, serving all of Northern Virginia.


Great job! You presented your home in great fashion and priced it correctly, so now you have multiple offers on your home. But how do you decide which contract to ratify? Obviously, price is a major factor, but it’s not the only factor you should consider. Financing, contingencies, rent backs, settlement dates and conveyances are other items you need to consider before deciding on which offer to work with.JS Realty working on computer contract

Your Real Estate Agent will guide you through negotiating the best terms and conditions possible. At JS Realty we use a spreadsheet that lists all the important, negotiable components of the offers side-by-side to make it easier to compare offers. Start with your highest offer and work your way through the other elements of the contract. This is the time you have the most leverage in your negotiations, so use it wisely!

Following is a list of the other components of the contract that you should review closely with your Real Estate Agent:

Buyer’s Financing – is the offer a conventional loan or is it a government backed JS Realty Calculating Money Finance contractloan such as an FHA or VA? Conventional loans tend to have less stringent home inspection and appraisal requirements.

Home Inspection Contingency – if an offer has no home inspection or if the home inspection is for informational purposes only, that could save you (the Seller) money on repair costs.

Settlement Date – if you would benefit from a rent-back now is the time to put JS Realty calendar close upthat in place. Sometimes we are able to negotiate a free rent back in multiple offer scenarios, which gives you the freedom to make your move easier and less stressful.

Appraisal Contingency – this can be the hardest contingency to get waived, but in some multiple contract situations we have been successful in getting the appraisal contingency waived.

Contingency Timelines – you will want to shorten the timelines for home JS Realty Checkboxinspections and any other inspections to as short as possible. The job of your Real Estate Agent is to get all of the contingencies in the contract released as soon as possible. Appraisal & financing contingencies are difficult to shorten too much, because you are relying on 3rd parties to do their job, so therefore you have less control.

Down Payment – how much a buyer is putting down for down payment and JS Realty Close up on a pen writing a checkearnest money deposit also plays a part in your decision for which contract to choose. The more money a buyer has invested in the transaction, the more committed they are.

Remember: this is when you hold the most leverage of any time during your transaction, so make it work for you!

Feel free to reach out to the JS Realty Team with any questions about multiple contracts or any other Real Estate related questions!

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The JS Realty Team – not only serving Brambleton, serving all of Northern Virginia.


Congratulations – you are one step closer to owning a home! Once you have ratified a contract on the home of your dreams (meaning you have a contract to purchase a home at terms agreeable to all parties), the first & very important step is to perform your home inspection. At JS Realty we feel the home inspection is the most important step in the home buying process. Not only will the home inspection identify the good points and items that need attention, the home JS Realty Young married couple at desk in a business meeting JS Realtyinspection will give you valuable insight into maintaining your homes systems.

JS Realty has a team of qualified Inspectors for whatever is needed for a home. A general home inspector checks all the components and systems of the home interior and exterior. If specific issues are found, sometimes it is necessary to bring in a specialists from that field, such as a structural engineer, roofer, HVAC contractor, or others. We encourage our buyer’s to accompany the home Inspector as he inspects the home. Our home Inspectors provide a resource to learn as much as you want about the components of your home, gleam valuable tips on maintaining the home and what systems need regular preventative maintenance.

JS Realty Real estate comparisonAfter the home inspection has been completed, the Inspector will give the buyer a full report on all the positives and negatives of the home. Your JS Realty Agent will review the report with you and decide which deficiencies we want the seller to fix. At JS Realty, we feel the home should be turned over to the buyer with all components in working order (note that a home inspection is not for improvements or cosmetic issues).

Your home inspection is for education and transparency, and we will provide guidance on the best strategy to address any potential issues.

We are here to help! If you have additional questions regarding home inspections, or any other part of the home buying process, contact us today!

JS Realty Free home analysisThe JS Realty Team – not only serving Brambleton, serving all of Northern Virginia.


You have made the heart felt decision to buy or sell a home. Life is busy and JS Realty Team Young Family Looking at a Beautiful New Home with a For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front.selling or buying is a hefty task for you to take on. On average, most people only buy or sell real estate a couple of times in their entire lives. Now that you are ready, hiring the right Realtor should be at the top of the list. Yes, most of us have a family member or a friend that “might” be able to help, but let’s be real – unless you know they are fully committed to the job as a full time agent and are the best at what they do, you may want to rethink who you are choosing and why.

Why should you care? You are about to embark on a transaction that involves more than 15 professionals (and their staff) to help get you to the settlement table. Coordinating and managing these professionals is a job in and of itself. A JS Realty Discussing business activity JS Realtygreat Realtor can not only bring professional insight on the home selling or buying process, but they will also coordinate and manage all the professionals during the process. You deserve a high level of service and below are some key questions you should consider asking a Realtor prior to engaging their services.

1. How long have you been in the business and how many transactions have you been involved with? You will know more about their experience by how many transactions they have been involved with. The number of transactions a Realtor has completed = knowledge of the market place and ability to create successful sales. For example: A 15 year agent has participated in 25 transactions during their career, but a 5 year agent has participated in 75 transaction during their career. It’s the transactions that create the experience, not necessarily the years of service.

2. Are you a full time Agent? The level of service and communication you receive is key. Hiring a Realtor that is committed to the job as a full time venture, should be at the top of your list. Most of the professionals involved in the transaction work M-F, 9am to 5pm. Your Realtor will need to be able to communicate and coordinate with these professionals to provide you the highest level of service and simplify what is needed from you. If an agent is only able to help you on their lunch break or after they are done with their other job, things can easily get out of control or fall through the cracks. You deserve the commitment and attention a full time Realtor can provide.

3. How will you communicate with me? Cell phones, email, video, text and social JS Realty Man Phone Call Computer Writingmedia have really changed how Real Estate is done.  While they all provide a level of efficiency to the process, the pace at which things get done has increased tremendously. Your Realtor should be able to accommodate your style of communication. If you are someone who likes to email, then a phone call or text may not be the best way to communicate with you. If you can’t answer the phone during the day due to work, then you really need someone that is willing to email or text you instead of calling. If you are out of the area and can’t see a house, a video tour of the home can help a lot too! Realtors have all sorts of services available to them, including electronic signature services. This not only saves you paper and ink, but time – there’s no need to print, sign, scan and email anymore. Understanding what tools and resources your Realtor has available to them can save you a lot time. Be sure to ask and make sure you are working with someone who can accommodate your preferred level of communication.

4. What will it cost me to sell or buy this property? Understanding your cost up JS Realty Check writingfront counts. Buyers usually don’t pay commission directly, but sellers often do and the costs can vary from agent to agent. If you are selling a home, it will be important to understand and know what you are getting for the fee. An agent may charge less than another, but that does not mean they all provide the same services and resources. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Also ask for a breakdown of estimated closing costs, as they are different from state to state, and can also differ depending on if you are buying or selling. Understanding this upfront, can save you from “unforeseen surprises” later in the transaction.

5. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and JS Realty House contractthe seller in the transaction? While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction (with proper disclosures), it’s important to understand where your Realtors obligations lie. Have your Realtor explain their agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party. At the end of the day, we all want the highest level of service and someone to represent our best interest. Make sure your expectations can be met.

Buying and selling a home is an exciting time. It can be fun, too, however JS Realty Couple Celebrating Moving Into New Home With Champagnesurrounding yourself with professionals that will meet your needs will be key. A Realtor providing a high level of service will have surrounded themselves with other professionals in the field alike, whom they will be referring along the way. You may only buy or sell a home 2-3 times in your life – why not ask for the best?

Choosing the Realtor that is the best fit for you can make all the difference! At JS Realty, we are committed to being leaders in our industry to ensure all of our real estate clients have a positive experience. If you want experience and integrity in your real estate partner, we are the experts you’re looking for. Contact us today – we would be happy to speak with you!

 The JS Realty Team – not only serving Brambleton, serving all of Northern Virginia.