Kathy O'Neal
Fairfax, VA 22033
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7 Simple Steps To Finish Your Chantilly Basement This Fall

7 Simple Steps To Finish Your Basement This Holiday WeekendNot only does the Labor Day weekend signal a little time off work, but it also indicates a close to the summer season, which means it’s time to get ready for colder weather Chantilly residents.

So get in the spirit of the end of summer and start planning for the Fall and Winter seasons by creating a cozy hideaway that your family can retreat to once the outdoors become too chilly.

One of the best places to create this snug space is to mimic hibernating animals and go under ground — to the basement.

Whether your lowest level needs a facelift or is completely unfinished, September is the perfect time to make a game plan and get started on remodeling your basement.

Step 1 – Obtain A Permit

Before you can just slap up insulation and drywall, you need to make sure your basement is even fit to dwell in.

Check with your area to ensure there aren’t any permits you need to obtain and that the space is up to code.  If you don’t do it right, then this update could haunt you when it comes time to sell.

Step 2 – Get The Air Flowing

You’ll want this space to be warm in winter and cool in the summer.  Contact a contractor to see if getting air to this lower level will be as easy as tapping into your current HVAC system and whether or not your existing appliance can handle the extra space.

Step 3 – Design And Frame

Now comes the fun part.  Decide what you want down there!  A bedroom or two, a man cave, or TV room; a blank slate provides all sorts of exciting options.  Once you’ve got a plan, start framing it out.

Step 4 – Add Emergency Exits

This underground level needs exit points that go directly outside.  So, install a back door or windows that someone could fit through in case of emergency.  If there are bedrooms in the design, they also each need their own exit point.

Step 5 – Insulate And Drywall

While the ground surrounding your home provides some insulation, you’ll want to properly insulate around the perimeter and in between rooms to provide a noise barrier.  Then put up the drywall.

Step 6 – Install Flooring

Pick out your flooring, such as wood, tile, carpet or vinyl. It mostly depends on what type of rooms you’re planning to create.  Make sure your floors are level before you lay anything down.  It’s especially common to find slanted floors in older homes.

Step 7 – Paint And Decorate

You’re almost finished!  Pick out your paint colors, move in your furniture and enjoy your new cozy hideaway.  Colder weather will be here before you know it, so use this month to get this project started.

And if you are preparing your home to sell, please know that The Kathy O’Neal Team is here for you!

Please feel free to contact us anytime!  We have a section devoted to seller strategies on our website that may prove helpful!

Written by Kathy ONeal | Discussion: No Comments »

Preventing And Clearing Clogs In Your Chantilly Home

Preventing And Clearing Clogs In Your HomeYou’re brushing your teeth and you turn on the faucet.  It’s not draining and starts to back up.  Here’s the dilemma; do you spit and let it sit or run to the kitchen?  One thing is for sure; having a clogged drain can be a major annoyance for a Chantilly homeowner.

Clogs not only frustrate a homeowner but they can be hard on your plumbing.  The added pressure they create puts stress on your pipes and can shorten their lifespan.

So end the issue by following the guidelines below.  You’ll learn how to prevent clogging and clear the ones you already have.

No Food Down The Drain

Even if you have a disposal, it’s not good for your pipes to have sticky, mushy food shoved through them.  Peel vegetables and scrape plates into the trashcan.

Also, avoid pouring grease down the drain.  Animal fat can congeal into a solid and form a blockage.  Instead, store it in a sealable container in the freezer.  Once it’s full, trash it!

Only TP In The Toilets

All feminine hygiene products should be thrown away, because most don’t dissolve quickly enough and can cause a backup.  And be sure to secure toilet lids from curious children, because you have to admit that it is pretty fun to watch almost anything go “bye-bye.”

Hair Today, Problem Tomorrow

Don’t wash loose hair down the drain.  Collect it and throw it away after your shower.  If you shed a lot, it might be beneficial to install drain screens to catch loose hair and make it easy to dispose.  Be sure to clean these out every few weeks.

Chemicals Should Be Used With Caution

Be wary about using chemical drain cleaners.  They can erode cast-iron pipes and usually don’t remove an entire clog, so it can easily recur.  You should consider hiring a professional plumber to snake your drains; or better yet, buy your own augur at the hardware store for about $15.

Homeowners can be hard on their drains.  From hair to food, clogs are a time-consuming frustration that might cost you big.  Treat your plumbing with a little love and it’ll reward you by quickly removing water and waste from your sight!

For more information about buying or selling your Chantilly  home, please contact The Kathy O’Neal Team today!

Written by Kathy ONeal | Discussion: No Comments »

Gainesville VA Open House – Sunday August 18, 1 to 4 PM: 4565 Lawnvale Drive

DSC_0711 copyThis Gainesville, Virginia newly listed Home for Sale will be Open this Sunday, August 18, from 1 to 4 PM.

The property is located at 4565 Lawnvale Drive in Gainesville, Virginia 20155.  (MLS #PW8159846)

If you are looking at Gainesville area homes for sale, this absolutely charming Rambler has so much to love.  This property is listed at $440,000, and is located on nearly two acres.  Lots of really nice features, one of which is the warm and comfortable ambiance of the home.

The lot is expansive and has a beautiful in-ground swimming pool.  The home has 3 bedrooms, 2 and 1/2 baths, and a mostly finished lower level.  Visual Tour is forthcoming, but in the meantime do contact us with any questions or to schedule a look at this exceptional home.  It is definitely worth seeing if you are looking at homes in this area.

What a view!

What a view!

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Tips For Helping Your Kids Adjust To A New School in Chantilly

Tips For Adjusting To A New SchoolAugust means it’s time to get your children ready for school in Chantilly once more.  Picking out backpacks, going clothes shopping and finding all the right school supplies can be hectic enough.

However, when you’ve moved and your children have to start all over in a new district, there’s even more to worry about!

Summer fun can make the sunny months fly by. It’s easy to forget that with the beginning of school comes excitement and anxiety for your little ones — especially if they’re starting out somewhere new.

So help them get adjusted with the back-to-a-new-school strategies below.

Explain Why You’ll Be Moving

Whether you’re moving states or just school districts, it’s best to give your children as much notice as possible and explain to them the reason for the change.  They’ll need time to get used to the idea and say goodbye to friends.

Be Positive

As the first day draws near, be positive about what they’ll experience.  School will be a place where they’ll learn new things and make great friends.

Become Involved

Think about joining the PTA, so you can learn about what’s happening in the school, meet teachers and be able to discuss policies and issues with your children.

Stick To A Routine

A new school is going to hold a lot of unknowns for your little ones.  So it’s best to keep a consistent routine at home.  This will help children know what to expect and feel they at least have some control in their own space.

Tap Into Their Feelings

Your children might be excited or sad about the new change and they’ll need someone to release all of this positive or negative energy upon.  Just listen and be sure not to minimize their feelings.  They’ll need an understanding ear throughout this adjustment.

Encourage Participation

While it’s always important for your children to focus on their schoolwork, they would also benefit by joining some sort of club, group or team.  The sooner they make friends, the more settled they’ll feel.

Moving to a new Chantilly school can be tough on your children, which in turn makes it tough on you.

If you can set aside the time to prepare for the first weeks, talk positively about their upcoming experiences and take the time to really listen to your children, then adjusting to the new environment can be a smooth transition for all.

If you are in the market for buying a home, The Kathy O’Neal Team is here for you!  We have a section devoted to “buyer strategies” on our website which may prove helpful!

 

Written by Kathy ONeal | Discussion: No Comments »

How To Choose The Right Neighborhood When Buying A Home

How To Choose The Right Neighborhood To Buy A Home

The old real estate cliche’ about “location, location, location” is true, as the area of the city where your home is located will have an impact on its future value as well as your lifestyle.

So what factors should you consider when you are choosing which Chantilly/Centreville neighborhoods to house hunt within?

Proximity to Your Daily Needs

If you work downtown, living out in the suburbs means that you will be adding time for a commute onto your day.

While this might be worth the cheaper prices for properties out of the town center, it is something to consider when making your decision.

You will also need to consider whether the house is near shopping centers, schools, doctors, dentists and other services that you will need regularly.

Planned Developments

When you are choosing a neighborhood to buy in, do some research into what developments are planned in the future for that part of town.

For example, you might be able to get a cheap price on a home that is out of the way, but a new proposed highway leading straight into the town center that will be built in the next five years could increase property values considerably.

Overall Atmosphere

Take a walk around the neighborhood where you are considering buying and get a sense of the overall atmosphere.  Are there a lot of families living there?  Are there green places to relax?  Are people friendly and saying hello to you?

You want to live in a place where you feel welcome and comfortable.

Property Values

Different neighborhoods will have a range of house prices and you will want to look for something with the right balance of value.

Some areas of town will be very expensive but very nice; other areas will have cheap house prices but might not be as pleasant to live in.  Take the time to find the neighborhood that is in the middle, where you will find the right house, and neighborhood, at a good price.

These are just a few of the factors to consider so that you can choose the right neighborhood to buy in.

For more information about buying a Chantilly/Centreville home, please contact The Kathy O’Neal Team today!  We are always here to help you with your home buying needs.

Written by Kathy ONeal | Discussion: No Comments »

Quick Tips To Beat The Heat And Save On Your Chantilly Electric Bill

Beat The Heat With A Programmable ThermostatSummer always brings with it a hard choice: Do you turn down the thermostat to stay cool and resign yourself to high power bills?  Or, do you sweat it out to save some dough?

If you’ve been struggling with this dilemma, don’t fret Chantilly residents.

With a programmable thermostat, you can beat the heat and save money, too.  They are easy to install and can save you over $100 a year.

The key is that they have different temperature settings for certain times of the day.  The latest models can be self-installed, are easy to program and can be controlled over the Internet.

Save Energy

This is obviously the biggest perk.  Not only are you helping the environment, you’re also helping your monthly budget.

You can preset the thermostat to adjust the temperature when you’re away from the house, so you’re using less energy.  Then it can kick back on just before you arrive home.

Save Money

You’ll immediately see a difference in your utility bills when you set your programmable thermostat to turn off for eight-hour periods while you’re at work.  Every little bit counts!

Save Yourself The Frustration

If you’re going to be home early from work or are arriving back from a week long vacation, don’t worry about coming home to a sweltering sauna of a house.

Most modern thermostats allow you to access their controls online through a computer, or even your smart phone.  With the touch of a button, you’ll arrive to a perfectly comfortable home.

Save Even More

Below are a few tips to keep bills down and your thermostat running efficiently.

Don’t waste any more energy! Make the investment in a programmable thermostat and start saving this summer.  The convenience and lower utility bills will make you glad you did.

Please remember we at  The Kathy O’Neal Team are here to help if you are considering putting your home on the market.  Call us anytime!

 

Written by Kathy ONeal | Discussion: No Comments »

Questions To Ask Your Home Inspector Before Buying Your Chantilly Home

Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector Before Buying Your HomeImagine how frustrated you’d be to find out that the hot water heater wasn’t working – in the middle of your very first shower in your new home!

This, among other very good reasons, is why you should have a home inspection before you buy your Chantilly home.

When you buy a home, you need to know exactly what you’re buying.

A home inspection is an important part of buying your home.  Before you hire a home inspector, ask candidates a few questions to make sure you hire a trustworthy inspector.

What Does Your Inspection Cover?

Not all inspections are the same.  Ask for copies of previous home inspections so you can see exactly what they will check inside the home.

If you are concerned about something specific, like a leaky faucet in the bathroom, mention that to the inspector so they can check it out.

Are You Licensed Or Certified?

If you live in a state that licenses home inspectors, ask to see their license.  Most reputable home inspection professionals provide this information right at the start of your home inspection.

At the very least, choose a home inspector who belongs to American Society of Home Inspectors.  This shows a level of professionalism and education that you can trust.

What Kind Of Report Will You Give Me?

You should expect a written report detailing what the inspector found.  Most inspectors will give you a typed report within a week of the inspection.

Many even take digital color photos of any issues with the home in order to make their report as clear as possible.  Make sure the inspector will be available to explain anything on the report that doesn’t make sense to you.

Will I Be Able To Attend The Inspection?

If the inspector refuses to let you be present during the home inspection, find someone else.  This is your chance to know exactly what you are buying and what potential repairs you or the seller will have to make.

If you are in the market for buying a home, The Kathy O’Neal Team is here for you!  We have a section devoted to “buyer strategies” on our website which may prove helpful!

 

 

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What Should You To Do In Advance To Prepare For Your Mortgage Application

What Should You To Do In Advance To Prepare For Your Mortgage Application

According to mortgage experts, it is a good idea to gather up all of the needed documents in advance before launching your house hunt, as this will make the application process a lot easier.

The housing burst has resulted in much harder lending standards, which means that it could possible take weeks or sometimes even months to secure a loan.

Here are a few important steps that you should take in advance

Consider What You Can Really Afford

Before you start the entire Chantilly house hunting and mortgage application process, you should consider what you can really afford to buy.

It might be tempting to buy a house at the upper end of your price range, but consider the fact that it will be more of a struggle to make your mortgage payments and it will take much longer to pay down the mortgage.  Assess your finances and be honest with yourself.

Buying a home that is more comfortably within your price range will ensure that you can easily manage your monthly budget over the years.

Save Up A Down Payment

The bank will want to see that you are able to make a down payment of at least 20% of the value of the home.

In order to save up this amount of money, it will be easier if you start in advance and save a small amount every month.  The more you can pay for a down payment, the less your mortgage will be and the more money you will save over the length of the loan.

Do Your Research

Take your time to do lots of research in advance and seek out impartial advice on the mortgage market.  There are so many options to choose from and a lot to consider, so the more knowledge you have the more prepared you are to make an informed decision.

Consider Your Credit

Before applying for a mortgage loan, you should take a look at your credit report.

Your lender will look at it when you are making an application and they will use it to consider whether or not to offer you the loan and what type of interest rate to give you.  If you spot any errors or issues with the credit report, it is a good idea to get them fixed now before you apply.

If you are in the market for buying a home, The Kathy O’Neal Team is here for you!  We have a section devoted to “buyer strategies” on our website which may prove helpful!

Written by Kathy ONeal | Discussion: No Comments »

How To Bring More Natural Light Into Your Chantilly Home

How To Bring More Natural Light Into Your HomeOne of the biggest improvements that you can make to your home is to bring in more natural light.

Sunlight is a powerful mood enhancer and a home design that brings in a lot of natural light will automatically look and feel much more pleasant. Not only will it boost your mood, bringing in natural light will also increase the value of your home.

So how can you shed some light on your home’s interior?

Here are a few ways:

Add More Reflective Surfaces

Whenever you add a light and reflective surface to your home, you increase the number of times that daylight bounces around inside the room.

Try painting your ceilings and walls with light or off-white colours.  Matte finishes are actually better than glossy surfaces, as they reflect light in all directions at once.  Add some metal accents and some mirrors to the space, which will also reflect the light.

Move Your Furniture Around

Do you have furniture that is blocking natural light from coming in? Move your furniture away from the windows so that it will not get in the way of the sunlight streaming into your home.

Add A Glass Door

Is there anywhere in your home where you can exchange a solid door for one with glass in its design? This will allow the light to flow through the doorway and increase the feeling of brightness in your home.

There are plenty of glass doors with superb security features, so they will be just as safe as any other door.  Also, if you have a yard or a patio to look out on, adding sliding glass doors will be a great way to let the light in and enjoy the view.

Expand Your Windows

Is it possible to increase the size of any of your windows?  If yes, the windows on the south side of the house, will bring a significant amount of sunshine into the home.

Add A Skylight

Adding skylights to your home will bring a lot of natural light into the interior.  Also, they are much more private than windows because anyone passing by will not be able to see through them.  They also add overhead lighting, so that you will not need to use electricity during daylight hours.

These are just a few ways that you can let the sunshine in and bring more natural light into your Chantilly home.

And if you are preparing your home to sell, please know that The Kathy O’Neal Team is here for you!

Please feel free to contact us anytime!  We have a section devoted to seller strategies on our website that may prove helpful!

Written by Kathy ONeal | Discussion: No Comments »

First Things First, What To Do Upon Moving Into Your New Chantilly Home

First Things First What To Do Upon Moving Into Your New HomeIf you have purchased a new home and are going to move in soon, what are the first few things that you will need to do upon moving into your new home?

Moving can be very stressful, but having a checklist can make your move effortless.

Here are 6 easy steps that can eliminate any frustration and help you feel safe and secure:

Change Your Address

You will need to change your address for all magazine subscriptions, bills and other services.  You can update your mailing address online or visit your local post office to find out what needs to be done.

Set Up The Utilities

When you move into a new home, you may get all of the contact information from the previous home owner or real estate agent for the utility companies.  Be sure to change the services into your name before you move in, such as gas, cable, electricity, internet, telephone, sewer and water.

Change The Locks

You have no way of knowing who the old home owners gave a copy of the key to, so having the locks changed is something that you should do right away when you move into your new property.

Have The Carpets Cleaned

Get your life in the new house off to a fresh start by having the carpets steam cleaned before you move your furniture in.  You could either rent a steam cleaner or pay a carpet cleaning service, but either way this will make the house feel really clean and new.

Figure Out Your Breaker Box

Another important first step to owning your new home is to figure out which breakers control each part of your home.

Knowing how the breaker box works will ensure that you can flip the right switch when you need to.  You might need to ask someone to help you by standing in another part of the house and letting you know which lights come on or off when you flick the switches.

Check Your Smoke Alarms

The smoke alarms and CO monitors in your home might not have been checked recently, so make sure that they are functioning properly.  Depending on how old they are, you might need to change the batteries.  This is an important maintenance task for your own safety.

These are just a few of the important first steps that you should take when you first move into your brand new Chantilly home.

For more information about buying a new home, feel free to contact  The Kathy O’Neal Team today.

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