Kathy O'Neal
Fairfax, VA 22033
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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!

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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.

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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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Can That Killer Home Theater Add Value To Your Chantilly Home?

Can A Killer Home Theater Add Value To Your HomeMany Chantilly home owners dream of having a home theater – an entire room of the home dedicated to enjoying television and film.  These rooms are usually equipped with a large flat screen television or projector, comfortable seats, mood lighting and perhaps even a bar or a snack fridge.

They are very comfortable and the perfect place to relax after a hard day.  They are also lots of fun for entertaining, as you will be able to watch the big game or the hottest new release with your friends in style.

However, will spending the money on renovating your home to create a theater room be a smart investment?  Does this type of home improvement add a lot of value to the property, or will it turn off potential buyers?

Buyers Interested In Tech-Equipped Homes

These days luxury home buyers are becoming much more tech-savvy and they are demanding more networked or ‘smart’ homes than ever before.  They are looking for a house which is outfitted with the latest in technology, so a modern home theater will be a desirable selling point.  If you are targeting your home to this luxury market, the home theater could give you an edge over the competition.

It is difficult to determine the amount that the home value is affected when you add a high tech home theater, but most real estate professionals will agree that when there are many houses for sale at any given time, the one with an impressive home theater room will be more likely to sell first.

Don’t Take Over Valuable Home Space

The only situation in which the home theater could detract from the value of the home is if it overpowers a medium sized or smaller home that just barely had enough space in the first place.  If your home cannot spare the extra room, taking up a lot of space with a home theater will mean fewer bedrooms or living spaces and a potential decrease in value.

However, you might be able to get around this problem with clever solutions that allow you to conceal the home theater unless it is being used.  You could hide the large screen behind specially designed cabinets and set up the furniture so that the room can be a living space when not in use as a theater.

Remember that a home theater system is something that will generally only increase the value of your home for certain buyers, as opposed to something like a bathroom renovation or a garage which will be valuable to almost every buyer.

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 »

Chantilly Homeowners – The Best And Worst Times Of The Year To Sell Your Home

The Best And Worst Times Of Year To Sell Your HomeDoes the time of year when you put your home on the market affect how well it will sell?   What about the final sales price?

According to many studies in housing trends, the answer is yes.  The time of year when you sell your home can have an effect on how many people are interested and how much the home will sell for.

Of course, if you need to move and sell your home at any point of the year, you will still be able to find buyers and negotiate a price that works for you.  In some areas of the country, the currently swift moving housing market can help overcome poor timing.

However, if you have the ability to plan for a more advantageous time, it makes sense to make the most of your flexibility.

The Best Times Of The Year To Sell A Home

One of the best times of the year to sell your house is in the late spring and early summer — like right now.

The school year is over for most families, and many people will be looking to purchase a home that they can move into over the summer and get settled before school begins again in the fall.

Housing sales peak during this time, as studies show that 60% of people tend to move during the summer.

If you can sell your home during the spring or early summer period, it will typically be on the market for a shorter amount of time and you may have many more offers to choose from.

The Worst Times Of The Year To Sell A Home

One of the worst months of the year to sell a home is December.  There are a number of reasons why trying to sell a home during the holidays can be difficult.

Most people aren’t thinking of moving this time of year.  Their energies are focused on decorating their houses, preparing for the holidays, visiting friends and family and enjoying their time off work.

Another difficult time is the beginning of the school year, typically in September.

Children will have just started school and most families will not be considering moving at this point.  If you attempt to sell your home during this time of year, you will be much less likely to get the the same pool of buyers that you might see in a more “move friendly” time of year.

Of course, these are just guidelines to help you plan your next home sale.  No matter what time of year it is, if you need advice on selling your Chantilly home, please contact  The Kathy O’Neal Team today.  We have many tips regarding Seller Strategies on our website.

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Go Green Chantilly By Faking It With Artificial Grass

Go Green By Faking It With Artificial TurfThe summer heat is starting to take its toll on you and your thirsty lawn.  Homeowners spend hundreds of dollars every summer striving to grow healthy grass and keep it green.

If you’re sick of trying to maintain a manicured lawn, then you can go green another way.  Install artificial turf.

The Grass is Always Greener

Today’s artificial grass is made out of polypropylene, nylon, or polyethylene threads that are sewn into a mesh backing that allows for water drainage.  This is then usually laid on top of compacted gravel and tied down at the perimeter.  Modern artificial lawns can mimic many varietals of grass and some even have a thatch layer to give it a more realistic look.

Sick Of Maintenance

Chantilly Homeowners have many reasons for wanting to be free of their demanding lawns, such as high summer water bills and the constant use of pesticides.  With a fake lawn, you won’t have to water, which is especially good for high-heat areas, you won’t have to mow and you can quit worrying about how the weather will affect it.

Considering The Costs

While installing artificial grass can cost a bit up front, it’ll be maintenance free for the next 15 to 20 years.  You won’t have to worry about water bills, purchasing grass seed, buying fertilizer or getting gas for the lawnmower, which can add up to a couple hundred dollars every year.

Potential Drawbacks

While a maintenance-free yard does have some appeal, there are a few drawbacks to take into consideration.  Fake lawns don’t absorb pet waste, so you have to hose them off regularly.

They can also heat up in direct sunlight.  Planting shade trees will help with this issue.  And, artificial lawns cannot be recycled, which is an issue that the industry is looking to remedy.

Saving water and reducing the use of pesticides is great for the environment.  However, you have to like the look of artificial grass and make sure you’re ready for the investment.

If you’ve been considering going green by switching to year-round green grass, talk with a local installer for grass options and cost comparisons.

Please remember we at The Kathy O’Neal Team are here to help with your home buying and selling needs!

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5 Important Tips To Help Smooth Your Move When You Have Teens In The Home

5 Important Tips To Help Smooth Your Move With TeensYou’ve got a new job offer across the country and you are planning to pack your things, buy a home and make the big move.

However, when you tell your 17 year old daughter your plans, she lets out a mournful wail and cries that it is not fair.  How can you possibly take her away from all of her friends, her favorite hangout spots and the cute boy she just started seeing?

Moving is a difficult transition and it is often even more traumatic for teenagers.  The teenage years are an important stage where young adults establish their individuality and independence and during this time their social circle is extremely important to them.

Being removed from that against their will can make any teen feel sad, confused, angry and resentful.  Also, fitting into a new social scene in a different location can be a challenge for a teen that might be singled out as the “new kid”.

How can you help your teen during this transition so that the experience will be easier on them?

5 Tips To Help Your Teen Move More Smoothly

Here are some tips that will make the experience of moving a little bit easier on your teenager:

Moving to a new city is always exciting but offers challenges like this one for families.  For more advice on moving to or from a Chantilly home please contact The Kathy O’Neal Team today.  We are here to help you with that transition!

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Why It’s Critically Important To Have A Home Inspection

Why It's Critically Important To Have A Home InspectionMany home buyers have found the perfect house, signed on the dotted line and may think they’ve watched enough home improvement shows to know if the home they’re getting is in good shape.  Unfortunately, some buyers make the mistake of skipping a home inspection in order to save a little cash.

Even if a home has already stolen your heart and you’re ready to pay for it as-is, you need to bite the bullet and hire a home inspector to let you know what repairs and financial repercussions await you.

Why You Should Hire A Home Inspector

You might know a thing or two about home remodeling and repairs.  However, most people are not experts on the inner workings of a home.  That is why it’s important to hire a professional to search for potential furnace issues, electrical wiring mishaps, plumbing weaknesses or roofing deterioration to name a few.

While a home might look like it’s in perfect condition on the surface, there could be major issues hiding beneath its facade.  That’s why it really is imperative for your safety that you hire an inspector to scrutinize the bones of your home.  Understanding any imperfections may also help you budget for immediate and future repairs.

When to Schedule the Home Inspection

Once you’ve signed a purchase contract, you’ll want to schedule a home inspection before the inspection period has ended.  Even though you’ve signed the offer, an inspector could just find something that you just cannot live with or afford to fix.

While you would normally schedule an inspection after you’ve signed a contract, it’s important to have an inspector or two picked out beforehand.  Ask your real estate professional or friends and family for referrals and then contact the inspectors for pricing and a list of what they will and will not cover at the inspection.

Once again, remember that the cheapest price may not be the best deal on home inspections.  Have a good understanding of what, and who, you are investing in.

Even if you do know a lot about the structure, plumbing and wiring of houses, don’t let your ego get the better of you.  It’s important to shell out the additional money to hire an inspector and cover your assets.  You’d hate to end up with a home that needs major renovations and not have known about it.

For more information on hiring a professional for your Chantilly home inspection or for a referral, please call today!  We at The Kathy O’Neal Team are here to help you!  We have a section on our website devoted to seller strategies and buyer strategies that may prove helpful.  Please feel free to contact us anytime!

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Four Important Home Maintenance Tips Every Chantilly Homeowner Should Know

Four Important Home Maintenance TipsOne of the important aspects of owning a home is having the knowledge of how to keep it maintained to avoid costly repairs and serious damage.  Over the years weather and use will wear down both the interior and exterior of your property.

If you are able to practice preventative care on your Chantilly home, then you will prolong the life of all of its systems and components.  At least every six months or so, you should be performing an inspection of your property so that you can ensure that it is still functioning properly and safely.

What should you be looking for when it comes to preventative home maintenance?

Here are a few important pointers to keep in mind:

Pests and Insects

Check your home thoroughly for any insects and unwanted pests such as carpenter ants and termites.  Make sure that there is no point where the wood of your home is in contact with the soil and trim away and bushes and trees away from the foundation of the property.

If you can catch the infestation right away, it could save you thousands of dollars on repairing future structural damage.

Windows and Doors

Take a close look at the windows and doors of your home to see if you need to repair any leaks to save energy.  A draughty door or window can really add to your energy bill over time, so it will be worth it to ensure that everything is sealed properly.

Gutters and Downspouts

Another important home maintenance task is to go around the exterior of your home and clean out all of the debris from your downspouts and gutters.  This will ensure that they are draining properly and moving water away from the house.  Otherwise, the water can collect on the eaves of the roof or around the foundation and cause leaks and damage.

Check the Roof

Make sure that you also inspect the roof at least every six months.  Look for any loose shingles or damaged roof tiles.  If you spot any damage early, it will be a lot less expensive to fix than the water damage that would be caused in your attic by leaving a leaky roof for a long time.

These are just a few of the most important preventative home maintenance tasks that every Chantilly property owner should know.

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 »

Chantilly Homeowners: Avoid These Common Mistakes When Pricing Your Home To Sell

Don't Make These Common Mistakes When Pricing Your Home For SaleChantilly Homeowners, it can be very difficult to determine what your property is worth in the current marketplace, because you are biased by what the property is worth to you.  These emotions can get in the way of impartially evaluating a property and often cause sellers to overprice their home.

When pricing your property, you need to be objective and reasonable so you can come up with a selling price that will capture the interest of buyers.

Here are a few examples of common mistakes people make when pricing their house for sale.

Reading Too Much Into Online Comparable Properties

Avoid relying too much on online pricing information of sold houses.  They can be a perfect place to start for getting a general idea of how much real estate is worth, but they are not always accurate.

Overestimating The Market

Don’t assume that you can sell your house for the same price at which you purchased it.  Unless you bought your house a few weeks ago, the real estate market may have changed — sometimes significantly — and the purchase price will not reflect the appropriate pricing for today.

Overpricing To Pad For Future Negotiation

Don’t overprice your Chantilly home in order to be able to negotiate to the price you want to settle on.  Of course, you want to get an appropriate value from it, but many first-time buyers are on tight budgets and will rule out higher-priced houses.  Your over-priced property may sit on the market longer and then the price will have to be reduced anyway.

Factoring In The Cost Of Your New Home

Don’t factor in the cost of your next house.  Your listing price should not reflect how much money you’d need to purchase your next property.  The price of the house should be the same whether you are wealthy or broke. Your financial situation is irrelevant to the potential buyer of the property.

These are just a few common mistakes you should avoid when determining the price of your home.  Listed at the right price, you will get a fair amount from the sale of the house and the buyer will be getting a reasonable price too.

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!

 

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