Tom Curtin at Samson Properties

Tom Curtin at Samson Properties Assisting buyers and sellers in Northern Virginia

This came in the mail on the Army’s birthday. It is a replica of the “Paver” that will be installed at the Museum ...
06/16/2018

This came in the mail on the Army’s birthday. It is a replica of the “Paver” that will be installed at the Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia in the near future.
My father was an Air Traffic Controller in the Army Air Forces in World War II. I was a career Infantryman from 1965 to 1985.

05/09/2018

The Financial Benefits of Homeownership
By Peter Morici - - Tuesday, May 8, 2018
ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The spring home-buying season is underway, but the landscape has changed a lot from a year ago. Congress has curtailed tax incentives to purchase a home, and mortgage rates and home prices are up. Yet for most folks with a stable job buying a home is still better than renting.

The new tax law doubles the standard deduction to $24,000 for couples and caps their deductions for state and local taxes at $10,000. Those combine to greatly reduce the tax incentive to own a home — the share of homeowners who will itemize deductions and list mortgage interest and property taxes is estimated to fall from 44 percent to 14 percent.

Economists estimate this will reduce purchase offers enough to lower median housing prices by about 4 percent in more expensive cities but that has yet to become apparent in the data.

These changes in the tax laws were in focus by December and we now have resale pricing data available through February. In the top 20 metro areas — and in particular in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and New York City — year over year price increases were about the same or greater.

Most homebuyers have more disposable income to pay mortgages. In their take home pay, a higher standard deduction compensates them for not taking interest and property tax deductions, and lower rates overall actually boost most taxpayers’ buying power.

In hot markets like New York, foreign buyers, who for a variety of reasons pay cash and are simply parking wealth in the United States, have played a big role in elevating prices. U.S. personal income tax laws have few consequences for that behavior.


The Freddie Mac average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is currently about 4.6 percent — up from about 4 percent a year ago — and this significantly affects affordability. For a $300,000 mortgage, that adds about $150 to monthly payments but landlords are paying more to finance apartment buildings too and that gets factored into rents.

Whether it pays to own a home still comes down to how long you can reasonably expect to stay in the house, because closing costs, realtors’ fees, and the like significantly raise the initial cost of owning a home — even if you can roll these costs into the mortgage balance to stretch those out.

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Employing a calculator on Trulia website, I examined the buying vs. renting tradeoff for the Washington metro areas with a 30-year mortgage, a 4.6 percent interest rate and 20 percent down payment. The formula also factors in higher utility costs associated with homeownership, and expected inflation and rent increases. If the home is occupied for at least four or five years, owning beats renting even without the mortgage interest deductions.

Five years is not a terribly long planning horizon. With a strong job market, most folks can assess whether they will continue pursuing their career near the city where they are currently working, seek better career opportunities elsewhere or look to move closer to families and other amenities. Generally, people are relocating less than in past decades.

Families could instead invest their down payments in stocks, which at first glance appear to be the better bet. From 2000 to 2017, equities as measured by the S&P 500 were up an average of 5.3 percent annually, whereas homes appreciated 3.9 percent.

Those figures don’t consider that the cash flow savings homeowners realize over renters can be invested in an IRA or an ordinary stock account. And homeowners will have their full equity working for them, as opposed to just their down payments. Those are really the most compelling financial reasons — when you rent for 10 or 20 years, you mostly have a nice pile of rent receipts to show for your hard earned cash.

Also, homeowners enjoy more flexibility — they can modify and add to their homes to fit the circumstances of their families and personal preferences — and stability — they don’t have to fret about a landlord selling to a new owner who might want to repurpose the building.

Owning a home in a good neighborhood — not necessarily a rich area but one that is stable and has good employers within commuting distance — has proven one of the most reliable ways for ordinary folks to save and invest.

• Peter Morici is an economist and business professor at the University of Maryland, and a national columnist.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

If you wish to put this article into practice and own your own home, call me at 703-338-4804. Thanks!

Thinking of updating your home? Take inspiration from this midcentury modern's makeover!
05/13/2016
A Home's Past Mistakes are Finally Corrected

Thinking of updating your home? Take inspiration from this midcentury modern's makeover!

Sally Julien and Peter Loforte sit on the porch of the Aqua Lair, their restored 1960s house on Lake Sammamish, near Seattle.

These 3 things from a home inspection could cost you the sale!
05/05/2016
3 Home Inspection Deal-Breakers

These 3 things from a home inspection could cost you the sale!

These are some of the most common issues that cause buyers to back out of a sale contract.

Bring some color to your kitchen:
05/03/2016
Who Said Kitchen Palettes Have to Be Boring?

Bring some color to your kitchen:

Salinas system by Patricia Urquiola for Boffi, price upon requestTubular, matte-black steel frames sustainable surfaces like recycled glass and glazed lava in this modular kitchen inspired by Urquiola’s memories of seaside Spain.

Looking for some good volunteering opportunities?
05/02/2016
Fairfax County volunteer opportunities

Looking for some good volunteering opportunities?

Reston Association needs volunteers to participate in Habitat Heroes events on the fourth Saturday of each month through November.

Here are some great DIY ways you can make an old chair look brand new:
04/29/2016
9 DIY Ways to Make a Chair Look Totally Different

Here are some great DIY ways you can make an old chair look brand new:

Update the look of any chair in your home to make it look different and make the room the chair lives in look fresh and upgraded, too!

A new backsplash is exactly what your kitchen was wishing for.
04/14/2016
45 Splashy Kitchen Backsplashes

A new backsplash is exactly what your kitchen was wishing for.

Kitchen backsplashes no longer simply protect walls from spills and splatters, a wide array of eye-catching materials like glass, wood, metals and stone make the backsplash the focal point of today's kitchens.

Home buyers should be happy to hear that new homes are on the way:
04/12/2016
Good News for Buyers: More New Homes Are in the Pipeline

Home buyers should be happy to hear that new homes are on the way:

More homes are going up—which should be music to the ears of aspiring home buyers growing ever more frustrated by the dearth of houses on the market.

Your late night walk down the hallway to the bathroom just got easier.
04/11/2016
An Intuitive, Solar Powered, Motion Sensor Light

Your late night walk down the hallway to the bathroom just got easier.

A smart, wall-mounted light decked out with motion sensors that will illuminate your path when it detects movement.

The Frame allows you to swap out colorful cushions to personalize your seating arrangement:
04/08/2016
FRAME Chair Aims to Bring Awareness to Irish Design

The Frame allows you to swap out colorful cushions to personalize your seating arrangement:

The Frame Chair was designed by Dublin-based studio notion in collaboration with Mourne Textiles to bring more awareness to Irish design.

Wrap-around mirrors give the illusion that this tiny prefab is floating! What do you think of the design?
04/05/2016
This 'Floating' Tiny Prefab Home Was Inspired By Minimalist Artists

Wrap-around mirrors give the illusion that this tiny prefab is floating! What do you think of the design?

Not your average micro home New from Portuguese prefab master MIMA Lab: a super glossy, minimalist tiny dwelling that seems to levitate off the ground thanks to wraparound mirrors at the base of the home.

You can make the bedroom of your dreams on a budget:
04/01/2016
How To Create a Dream Bedroom on a Budget

You can make the bedroom of your dreams on a budget:

If you're looking to add a little style to your bedroom but you don't have a ton of cash, look no further than this list of 13 affordable ideas for injecting a little style into your sleeping space.

Getting ready to buy a home this spring? Here are some tips for getting the right movers:
03/24/2016
Signs of a Bad Moving Company

Getting ready to buy a home this spring? Here are some tips for getting the right movers:

In preparation for the spring buying season, give your clients these tips about red flags they may spot as they choose a moving company.

These Bluetooth-ready speakers combine retro-style with modern function. What do you think of the design?
03/21/2016
High-Tech Makeover Turns Vintage Credenzas into Bluetooth Speakers

These Bluetooth-ready speakers combine retro-style with modern function. What do you think of the design?

With a nostalgic design that recalls the nascent days of at-home music listening, updated for the technological needs of 21st-century audiophiles (and tastes of vintage loving city dwellers), this credenza with a built-in Bluetooth...

Take inspiration from these stunning window treatment ideas:
03/18/2016
10 Winning Kitchen Window Treatment Ideas

Take inspiration from these stunning window treatment ideas:

Whether you need more privacy, want light control or just want to enhance the look of your workspace, window treatments are a pretty and practical addition to your kitchen.

Great news for homeowners as a recent study shows that your home equity has rebounded, too!
03/17/2016
Owners Have More Equity Than They Realize

Great news for homeowners as a recent study shows that your home equity has rebounded, too!

Eighty percent of home owners are underestimating the value their home has gained in the housing recovery, a new study finds.

When Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) are closed for Spring Break (in addition to summer and winter breaks) RECQuest...
03/14/2016
Spring Break Program Offered in Fairfax

When Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) are closed for Spring Break (in addition to summer and winter breaks) RECQuest is offered at eight community locations:

RECQuest will offered for kids ages 6-12 at 8 locations, including two in Fairfax, from March 21-25 and on March 28, 2016.

These tiny homes are big on style! Would you ever live in one?
03/10/2016
Custom Tiny Houses Come With Deck, Skylight, Sleek Style

These tiny homes are big on style! Would you ever live in one?

About a year ago, Portland, OR-based company Heirloom Tiny Homes popped onto the scene aiming to be the first manufacturer of "luxury, custom tiny homes."

No need to throw away your old stuff just yet:
03/08/2016
30 New Ways to Use Your Old Stuff

No need to throw away your old stuff just yet:

Learn how to repurpose common everyday items -- like ladders, tin cans and rakes -- and turn them into clever household storage solutions.

Here are some great volunteer opportunities around Fairfax County:
03/07/2016
Fairfax County volunteer opportunities

Here are some great volunteer opportunities around Fairfax County:

The “Race for Hope to Cure Brain Tumors” needs volunteers for the 5K Walk/Run on May 1 at Freedom Plaza, Washington.

Do you love the idea of micro-living? This net-zero, 432-square-foot Pod House is innovative and interesting to look at!
03/04/2016
The Pod House is 432 square feet of high-tech, net zero living

Do you love the idea of micro-living? This net-zero, 432-square-foot Pod House is innovative and interesting to look at!

“We like to say, ‘All you need but nothing you don’t,’” James Gregory of Shelter Dynamics says of his net-zero Pod House.

This is an innovative concept that could change urban development! What do you think of the design?
03/03/2016
Small Designer Homes on Odd Lots Offers New Model For Urban Development

This is an innovative concept that could change urban development! What do you think of the design?

The first Starter Home project by the Office of Jonathan Tate and Charles Rutledge, a small home design scheme meant to increase availability in New Orleans by designing homes for odd lots.

Make your house a home with these 12 essentials:
02/29/2016
12 Things Every Home Should Have

Make your house a home with these 12 essentials:

Every home should be different, expressing the individuality and personality of the owner in its own way, but I believe there are a few things that every home should have.

Address

14526 Lee Road
Chantilly, VA
20151

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Tuesday 09:00 - 21:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 21:00
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Sunday 13:00 - 21:00

Telephone

(703) 338-4804

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