Some Thoughts from Realtor, David Houghtaling

The National Association of Realtors, published a study of those 22-35 years old and their challenges to home buying.  CLICK

The group is pointed out because generally during this period more people typically buy their first home, perhaps marry and start families, and due to some things beyond your control, you haven't been able to ... yet.  One major budget item is the burden of education debt measured against early salary levels, but both will improve.

According to Dr. Lawrence Yun (chief economist for the NAR), when I heard him speak on September 18th, student debt has TRIPLED in the past 10 years!

For most people their home gives roots, an ability to begin building wealth by putting income to work, and at the same time not the only home you will ever own.  But a start.  If I can be of help to you as you dream and plan, just reach out to me 703-220-0406 or

Posted in:General
Posted by David Houghtaling on September 19th, 2017 9:53 AM
Fairfax County, and many others around Northern Virginia have restrictions on the percentage of your back yard which can be covered with a patio, a deck or a pool and that number has been 30%.  The County government is considering doubling it to 60% and if you have an interest in this subject, pro or con, get in touch with the County.
Posted in:General
Posted by David Houghtaling on September 14th, 2017 11:41 AM

Are you aware that in Fairfax County you are NOT legally allowed to rent out rooms in your home on a short-term basis?  True.  Click  

This may not be something you have thought about, but if you are thinking about renting 1-5 rooms in your home for less than 30 days at a time, you need to apply for a "Bed and Breakfast" license and the Board of Supervisors makes that determination.

Many, if not most, HOAs and Condo Associations have restrictions as well.  Fairfax County is holding public hearings if you are interested in the subject, pro or con.

Posted in:General
Posted by David Houghtaling on September 14th, 2017 11:38 AM

I checked.  Labor Day was made a Federal holiday for all Federal Employees and residents of the District of Columbia on the first Monday in September, 1894.  The Nation's workforce has changed a lot in the years since WWII and without being a historian, I would say that that the type of jobs people hold changed tremendously in the past 30 years with fewer factory jobs, fewer farmers, and it seems (too few) skilled tradespeople.

In the past decade I've noticed in the Northern Virginia area that more and more people who worked 1/5 of their weekdays at home are now working at least 3/5 of their days away from "the office."  This is impacting the locations of homes people are buying.

15 years ago most people I worked with had offices to commute to and we drew lines from the homes they considered to the addresses of their offices.  It's less of an issue for more and more families.  Is this a trend that will continue to grow?  How does it all affect the traffic planners and the subway planners?

Interestingly, Labor Day used to signify the unofficial end of summer, but now the kids are back to school before the First Monday in September.  Parents are working much more from home offices.   Union membership is dwindling.  Is this a holiday that's lost its meaning or purpose?  

For those wanting work that allows them to feel fulfilled and take care of their families, this must be a hard holiday to celebrate.  For those in Texas looking forward to the chance to get back to work, and have a business to return to, this Labor Day is one of hope.  Happy Labor Day everyone.

Posted in:General
Posted by David Houghtaling on September 3rd, 2017 6:35 PM

According to the US Census Quarterly Report released July 27, 2017, the homeownership rate rose 0.8% over last year.  But what does it mean?

The high point for home ownership was around 2004-2007 and it was in 2006 that prices peaked and then home values fell and for many, did so until about 2009.  At that point they started their climb, slowly, until today.  For many owning detached and town homes that values by about 2015 had reached their "peak" 2005/6 numbers.

One can argue the correlation between the percentage of adults who are home owners vs home renters and the home valuation numbers.  Except that valuation numbers are related to home value confidence.  The more confident, the more values are maintained or climb.


Landlords and Renters

The same report includes information on the Median Asking Rent - 1995-2017 and even though these are the National numbers, they tell a story.


There is no good reason, looking at that chart, that rental rates will decrease in the near future.  With low interest rates the first-time buyers are moving from renting to buying, but not to the concern of investors and landlords across the country.

Asking Prices - Homes for Sale

The last point to make from this report relates to the prices of homes listed for sale across the US.  Since 2012 the prices have been rising and are potentially zeroing in on 2007 values.  Northern Virginia has reached those levels already, but the Country is catching up.  Condominiums have lagged behind -- but continue to slowly climb.


Posted in:General
Posted by David Houghtaling on September 3rd, 2017 5:49 PM

Saturday, September 30th from 10-3

1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20191


Home, Garden, Imrpovement and Remodeling
Landscaping, and More
Posted in:General
Posted by David Houghtaling on September 1st, 2017 9:54 AM

Single family homes and townhomes have appreciated in value to a point many are surprised.  While there is no across the board percentage rate, the shortage of homes available affects pricing.

If you are curious, here's a basic analysis tool available to you at any time day or night. 

However, if you have upgrades, renovations, etc. reach out to me and I'll prepare an even more detailed market analysis for you without obligation.

Posted in:General
Posted by David Houghtaling on August 22nd, 2017 2:30 PM

Armstrong Flooring Ad

Scott Levitt, owner of Oakley Signs and Graphics wrote an article linked here in his issue #418 of Tuesday Tactics in July, 2017.

He encourages using lighter colors to make the rooms seem large.

He encourages using wider planks to look larger and that parquet floors make rooms seem smaller.

He recommends using the same flooring across rooms and that you might consider laying the flooring on a diagonal.  Scott doesn't mention this, but by my observations, if you have a long narrow room you should run the planks the long way and not across.

Scott's article is only a 2 minute read and might give you reason to consider his points.

Posted in:General
Posted by David Houghtaling on August 1st, 2017 9:26 AM

For several Northern Virginia school systems, the 2017-18 year start before Labor Day.

Parents, are you ready?  Students, are you making the best of the summer vacation days left?

Click HERE to connect to your school district and the official school calendar.

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Posted by David Houghtaling on July 27th, 2017 4:16 PM

If you are going to be 62 or older by August 27th, you like our National Parks, and you would like to save $70 on your lifetime SENIOR pass, then you need to get in your convertible and go!

Click on the picture above and you'll be taken to the list of National Parks that sell the LIFETIME SENIOR PASS for the next month at only $10.  As of August 28th, pay $80. That's an 87% savings.

As a Realtor I don't want to show any age bias against younger people so I am making this information available to everyone, including those under 62 years of age. 

PS, you can go to the US National Park Service website and mail them $20 plus a copy of your driver's license and they will mail it to you.  Just make sure your envelope is postmarked by August 27th.

Posted in:General
Posted by David Houghtaling on July 26th, 2017 11:41 AM



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