Hello and Welcome to our blog. Here you will find up to date information on Northern Virginia whether it be real estate or local news. Whether you are looking to sell your current home, move up to a new home, or purchase New Construction, The Swede Team can help with all your Northern VA Real Estate needs.  Search for your dream home, save your specific search criteria, and then receive up to date emails on properties that come available that meet your specific criteria. Sign up for an account today.  Then you will have your personal log in, and can search the MLS just like Realtors® do.

If you are looking to Sell your home in Northern VA, visit our Selling page and fill out the form to receive a Free no obligation report on what your home is worth in today's market.  If you are interested in New Construction, visit our New Construction page to find out why you should contact The Swede Team before going to visit the new homes sales center. The Swede Team is an intimate group of Real Estate agents helping home buyers and sellers in the Northern Virginia area. We provide an exceptional level of service, that you won't find anywhere else when buying or selling your home in Northern Virginia.  We hope you enjoy our website, and will check back often for our latest Real Estate blog posts.

Thank you for visiting our site.

~The Swede Team at Keller Williams Realty

May 1, 2019

5 Tips for Navigating the Real Estate Transaction

Thinking of buying or selling a home this year? Here are a few tips to help you get through the real estate process.

  • DON'T OBSESS ABOUT TIMING.

Many buyers and sellers attempt to anticipate the movement of the market so they can time their purchase or listing right. In realist, the right time to buy or sell is when you're ready to buy or sell. Instead of obsessing about the perfect time, focus on making sure you're ready.

  • CHECK YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Television and the experiences of your friends and family may color your expectations of the buying or selling process. Everyone's experience will be different. Learning more about the process and the state of the market will help you set realistic expectations. 

  • KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK

Most people go through the real estate process a few times in their lives. Buying a home is a huge investment, and buyers may put extra pressure on themselves to find the perfect home that meets all their buying criteria. Similarly, selling a home is an emotional journey -- you've put a lot of time and energy into fixing up a home and made a lot of good memories there. When emotions are involved, it's easy to make a rash decision. You'll feel more in control of the process if you try to stay focused and calm.

  • DO YOUR RESEARCH

If you're thinking of buying, check out the neighborhoods you want to live in, think of how long you'd like to live in the home and write down your must-haves and deal breakers. If you're thinking of selling, The Swede Team can help you position your home to sell in our market.

  • RELY ON A PRO

You're not alone on your journey. The Swede Team is here to answer your questions, ease your concerns, and guide you through the process. 

If you have your eye on a home, try before you buy! It's smart to visit at different times of day before you make an offer

  1. Rush Hour -- How long is your commute? The house may be 7 miles from work, but if you have to drive through 17 traffic lights or merge onto several busy highways, your commute may be much longer. Testing the commute is another way to help you decide if the home is right for you.
  2. Mid-Morning -- Visiting during the day allows you to see if any neighbors are home. You will also be able to determine if there is any additional traffic noise from autos or trains nearby.
  3. Mid-Afternoon -- If you have children, visit when school is dismissed. Not only will you see if the street is heavily trafficked at this time, you can also see if children use your yard as a shortcut.
  4. Evening -- Visiting at night provides insight into the personality of the neighborhood. Are there children playing outside? Are the neighbors entertaining guests? Are people outside running or walking their dogs? Is the neighborhood deserted? Once you get a feel for the neighborhood, you can assess whether you want to be a part of it.

The process of buying or selling a home can be overwhelming for many people. If you’re thinking of entering the market this year, remember to give us a call. We would love to chat with you about our local market.

April 24, 2019

Landscape Your Property to Sell

Many potential buyers drive by a property they're interested in before they arrange to view it with their real estate agent. If the outside of your home is unkempt or neglected, your potential buyers may overlook it, even if it's updated and clean on the inside. Make sure that potential buyers get a great impression of your home by improving and maintaining its curb appeal.

ADD COLOR: Low-maintenance seasonal plants in brightly colored planters add a pop of color to your landscape and create visual points of interest

5 GO-TO PLANTS FOR CURB APPEAL: Rhododendrons, Hosta, Boxwood, Lavender, and Hydrangea's are the most popular plants to add to front of a home to add instant curb appeal for buyers.

KEEP YOUR GARDEN BEDS IN TOP SHAPE: Weeds and dead plants may give buyers the impression that the rest of the home has been neglected. Pull the weeds, and clear away any dead leaves and plants.

PLANT COLORFUL FLOWERS: Inexpensive annuals such as pansies and daisies are an easy way to add splashed of color to your garden beds. Plant flowers in complementary shades or the same color for a high-impact monochrome effect.

MULCH: This makes the garden look more polished. It also helps the soil conserve moisture and prevents weeds. If you have mulch in your gardens or around your trees, freshen it up with a new layer

FRAME YOUR ENTRYWAY: Well-maintained shrubs tie together the look of a yard. When placed on either side of your entryway, they can create a pleasing symmetry that enhances the exterior of the home. Just be sure to keep them trimmed and well-shaped.

MOW YOUR LAWN: A well-manicured lawn makes an immediate positive first impression on potential buyers. Plan to mow your lawn once a week; more often if it grows rapidly.

Did you know that a few well-placed shrubs, trees and flowers, along with a well-manicured lawn can boost your home's curb appeal enough to reduce its time on the market by as much as 6 weeks? Think your home and landscaping is great to sell? Contact The Swede Team today at 571-377-8696 or Team@TheSwedeTeam.com

April 17, 2019

Do You Have Different Home Buying Habits than Your Parents or Children?

Buyers purchase homes for many reasons. However, studies show that each generation has their own buying tendencies that may differ from those generations older or younger than them. Find out what the differences are, and if you agree with your generational peers. Feel free to forward this information on to your family and friends

What do Buyers Choose in a Home? Younger buyers cite convenience to work, affordability, and the quality of the school district as reasons for choosing the home they bought. Older buyers say that living near friends and family as well as convenience to health facilities played a large role in their decision to buy their homes.

1,900 is the median square footage of home purchases by all generations. Millennials, Generation X, and Younger Baby Boomers tend to buy higher square footage homes, with Generation X buying homes over 2,000 sqft. The GI generation bought the lowest square footage home, just shy of 1,500 sqft. of space in their homes.

For Generations X & Millennials, bigger is better. Gen X and Millennials are moving towards larger, higher priced home, whereas Baby Boomers, the Silent Generation, and the GI Generation (aka, The Greatest Generation) are downsizing. It's thought that younger buyers seek to upgrade to a larger home and older buyers tend to want a smaller home in retirement or wish to sell the home due to the cost of upkeep.

We help buyers of all ages with their real estate needs. Call The Swede Team today to learn more about our local market or if you have questions about the buying and selling processes.

April 10, 2019

5 Tips to Improve Your Family's Time Management

If your family is like most, your mornings may be a chaotic flurry of everyone getting ready, while your evenings are filled with extracurricular activities, meetings, workouts, and whatever else comes up. Although many families wish they had more time together, busy schedules often don't allow this to happen. Here are five helpful time management tips designed to streamline your schedule and make the most of out of family time during the week.

  • ELIMINATE THE CHAOS

How much of your morning involves looking for your keys, your child's homework, or bills you need to send? Streamline your morning process with better organizational tools. Buy a pretty bowl to put your keys in and a letter sorter to place outgoing or important mail. Ease the stress of the morning rush with baskets placed near the entryway for your family to drop shoes and backpacks and use hooks to hang jackets.

  • TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF DINNERTIME

On Sundays, plan your dinner menu for the week or make the meals ahead of time and freeze them. Download quick, easy, and yummy recipes on websites such as delish.com and epicurious.com. The Cozi app also includes a wide variety of recipes sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.

  • GET THE KIDS DRESSED WITH EASE

Do you spend time in the morning wondering what to wear (or wondering if it's clean)? For many families, dressing children and themselves within a short period of time is a challenge. Save time and stress by planning your outfits and your children's outfits for the week, or narrow each day down to two options.

  • BREAK UP HOUSEHOLD CHORES

Instead of spending the weekend cleaning the whole house, plan to clean one room or area of the house each day. It'll make cleaning less of a drag and free up your weekends to do fun activities.

  • TACKLE THE NOT-SO-FUN TASKS FIRST

Encourage your children to finish their homework when they get home from school. Similarly, tie up loose ends from your day and tackle any chores when you get home. That way, you have the rest of the evening to relax together.

Many of us want to spend more quality time with our families, but are bogged down by chores and other must-do tasks. We hope these few tips help you and your family to get organized. Share this info onto your family and friends to help them improve the efficiency of their homes as well.

Think you need a new home? Contact The Swede Team at 571-377-8696 or Team@TheSwedeTeam.com

April 8, 2019

New Construction Mondays: Blackburn

Welcome to the Blackburn, a community of townhomes and single-family homes; the community the area has been waiting for! Come home to a brand new townhome or single-family home in an amenity-filled community, close to commuter routes, shopping, dining, and more! For the townhomes, their newly designed floorplans are designed for the way you live. If you've been craving bright, open layouts and a gourmet kitchen with 3-4 bedrooms and 2.5+ bathrooms, these townhomes are for you! For the single-family homes, these designed floorplans and gorgeous craftsman-style exteriors have a modern design, space to host family and friends, and a gourmet kitchen perfect for any chef featuring 3-7 bedrooms and 2.5-5 bathrooms!

It includes future amenities such as a pool with clubhouse for hanging out, hosting parties, BBQ's and more, a fitness center, and tot lots for little ones to play.

There are lots of home designs in this large community with modern designs.

Mozart: The sculptural staircase sets the tone of elegant simplicity and functionality that continues through the rest of the home.  On the main living level, an enormous Kitchen with island opens onto a bright and airy living Room, perfect for entertaining and featuring either a handy coat closet or a conveniently placed powder room. Upstairs are two spacious bedrooms with ample closet space, a hall bath, and a generous Owner’s Bedroom that features a tray ceiling and a huge walk-in closet. For a truly spa-like experience, the separate Owner’s Bath features a dual vanity and 5’ shower with dual shower heads. Several lower level floor plans are available – all feature options for a finished Recreation Room, Study, and Powder Room. 

Strauss: On the main living level, you’re greeted by an enormous living room featuring a large coat closet or a convenient powder room. A window-lined morning room off the kitchen provides room for dining and is accented with an optional hutch. Up a flight of stairs designed to be elegant and functional, the upper level boasts three bedrooms, two baths, and a 2nd floor laundry.  No need to worry about storage space – generous closets abound in all bedrooms.  The Owner’s Bedroom is a private retreat accented with an optional tray ceiling and featuring an enormous walk-in closet. The Owner’s Bath boasts a soaking tub and separate shower with seat. Several lower level floor plans are available.

McPherson (Front or Rear Loading Garage): The McPherson is an innovative townhome floorplan that gives you everything you need, with all the luxuries you hoped for. Enter into the home on the lower level where a two car garage means you’ll never have to worry about parking again.  A generous recreation room is perfect for entertaining – or choose the 1st floor bedroom and you’ll have a full bath. The main level features a modern open floorplan, with a generous island as the focal point of the floor.  The huge great room gives plenty of room for entertaining, while the large dining area can be used for more formal gatherings or as a second seating area – whatever fits your lifestyle. Add the optional 4’ extension and you’ll have a convenient pocket office with a double-door pantry and a planning desk built in. Upstairs the luxury continues with a huge owner’s suite featuring a double bowl vanity and oversized shower with seat.  The second floor laundry room is functional and convenient.   The secondary bedrooms are well-sized and feature large closets. 

Hudson: You asked, we listened. You said you wanted a home that was open, but still functional; beautiful, but practical. You said you wanted the spaces to fit the way you live, even if the way you live changes. So we designed the Hudson. Make the first floor what you want it to be, with an open flex space that can become a library; a study that can become a first floor bedroom with a bath, a huge island and living space that can feature a covered porch. The second floor has an owner’s suite that’s like a personal spa with a flexible bath and two huge closets. Choose an extra bath, a loft, or a bonus room – whatever you need, the Hudson can do it. Many areas come with a lower level that can be finished to have another bedroom, bath and wet bar.  The Hudson comes in a variety of beautiful facades, all featuring a covered entry.

Ballenger: The Ballenger is like the “Goldilocks” of home models – not too big, not too small, it’s just right. It gives you just the right amount of space, but over-delivers on flexibility. From a choice of attractive styles in front, to an optional covered porch out back, you can make it yours. Enter through the covered porch into the flex space – a room that’s whatever you want it to be. Whether it’s a living room, dining room or study is up to you. The kitchen comes with a huge modern island, and flows neatly into the dining area and large family room. It’s a great way to stay in the conversation while making dinner for family or friends. If you really want to cozy things up, you can add a fireplace, too. Upstairs, the owner’s bedroom has two separate closets, so there’s no tug-of-war over wardrobe space. You can have four bedrooms, or turn one into a loft, for a welcoming, second-floor living space. However many bedrooms you have, getting dirty clothes out of them is easy with an upstairs laundry room! In some areas, you can also finish the basement with another bedroom and a wet bar. 

Columbia: The Columbia is more than just great looking, it’s smart and versatile, with a spacious, inviting floorplan. It fits your life – functional, but never stuffy. A variety of gorgeous exteriors all come with a covered entry. Several areas in the home can be whatever you need them to be. For starters, the flex room can be your living room, dining room or a study with French doors. The family room flows into the kitchen and dining area, so you can grab a drink without missing the conversation. Add a covered porch for those warm summer evenings, or a fireplace for chilly winter ones. On the second floor, four large bedrooms await (or three and a comfy loft space, if you prefer). In the owner’s suite, there’s a huge, walk-in closet and your own luxurious bathroom. And as most of your clothes begin and end their day on the second floor, the laundry room is up here, too. Finally, many areas even have a lower level that can include a full bath, bedroom, and wet bar.

Lehigh: The Lehigh offers looks and smart design in equal measure. The foyer is open and airy, and can be whatever you imagine – playroom, living room, formal dining room. You could make it a glass-doored library for some old-world charm. Or use the secluded study, which can also be a first-floor bedroom. The kitchen has a huge island and walk-in pantry, and flows into the dining area and family room. A family entry keeps dirty shoes and wet clothes from flowing into your home. Upstairs, the loft makes for a great family hang-out or another bedroom. The owner’s bedroom is your comfortable getaway. Two large walk-in closets help avoid “space battles,” and the luxurious bathroom you can customize however you need. Many areas offer a lower level you can finish with a wet bar, full bath and basement bedroom. In the Lehigh, you don't have to sacrifice style for sensibility. 

Located in the Prince William County School District, your kids will enjoy learning at all ages. Commuting is easy with major routes such as Sudley Rd, I-66, and Prince William Pkwy are nearby. Shopping centers nearby include the Promenade at Manassas, Parkridge Center with the Regal Cinemas, Bull Run Plaza, and The Virginia Gateway Shopping center in Gainesville. Fun activities include the 2 Silos Brewing Company and the Winery at Bull Run. It is also 5 miles away from Historic Old Town Manassas

The Blackburn community is moving fast. If you're thinking about moving to this area, contact The Swede Team by calling 571-377-8696 or emailing Team@TheSwedeTeam.com! 

April 3, 2019

7 Great Benefits of a New Home

Low housing inventory in many areas of the country is causing many buyers to turn their attention to new homes in growing housing developments. Here are some of the benefits of buying a new home:

1. The home is tailored to your specifications -- Not only can you customize the paint color and flooring, you may also be able to work with the developer to choose a layout of the home that will maximize its flow to fir your needs.

2. You can focus on decorating the home to reflect your style instead of spending days repainting, updating appliances, and installing new flooring

3. Warranty. Most home builders include a warranty to take care of any repair work that might become necessary in teh first year.

4. New homes are smart; features include hard-wired smoke detectors, and can accommodate structured wiring, security systems, and your electronics as well as green appliances

5. Building codes require increased energy efficiency and a tighter-sealed building envelope to keep your home cool in the summer and toasty warm in the winter.

6. You're part of a growing community. Many subdivisions offer amenities that encourage neighbors to connect with one another from common areas to organized block parties.

7. You may be able to get a better deal. Home building companies may be more open to negotiating a deal and may offer other perks if the home is financed through their own mortgage company. 

Are you in the market for a new home? New home construction is on the rise in many parts of the United States including Northern Virginia. If you have family or friends who are looking for a new home, forward this information on to them and make sure they contact The Swede Team for more information!

Feb. 13, 2019

Why It Makes Sense to Hire a Professional

Many homeowners weigh their options before beginning a home project, often considering its size and scope, their budget and their own technical abilities. However, there’s one other thing to consider: your time. Hiring a professional will allow you to spend time doing other things on your to-do list. If you’d like to hire a pro for your next renovation project, big or small, give me a call and I’ll connect you with reputable professionals in my network.

3 REASONS TO HIRE A PRO

1. It may be less expensive in the long run. A professional has the experience to handle the issues that arise in a timely and more cost-effective manner. While you’re watching how-to videos on YouTube or scanning instruction manuals for the right procedure, the professional and his/her team may have already completed the task.

2. One entity is responsible for everything, including materials, labor and budget controls. You won’t have the stress of procuring the right materials and hiring help if necessary. If there are issues with the project, such as delays, etc., you’ll deal directly with the professional.

3. Better chances of high-quality work. When you hire a reputable professional, you can be sure the work will be done to code and high-quality standards. Since they do these types of projects all the time, you can be confident that the finished project will meet your expectations.

STILL ON THE FENCE ABOUT HIRING A PRO? 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER.

1. Do you have the skills and tools to do the work well? If you don’t have the tools or the technical and mechanical aptitude, it’s best to leave your project to the pros.

2. Do you have the time to work on it? If you work full-time, you may only have time to do the work at night and on weekends. Working on the project sporadically will increase the amount of time the entire project will take. While time may not be an issue for smaller projects, the longer it takes to finish large projects, the more of an inconvenience they may become.

3. How extensive is the project? Major projects, particularly those that alter the footprint of the room or entail working with electricity or plumbing, should be handled by a professional.

4. What is the risk involved? Extensive projects often carry bigger risks. For example, if your bathroom renovation involves major plumbing tasks, you may increase the risk of severe water damage if the pieces aren’t properly tightened and installed. Similarly, if your project requires installing electrical wiring, you may increase the risk of fire if it’s not installed correctly. An experienced professional is able to mitigate the risk and ensure everything conforms with the current building codes.

5. Does the project require a permit? Depending on where you live, if a project requires a permit, you may have to hire a professional to complete the work. Contact your local building inspector to learn more about the regulations and permits that may apply to your project.

Need a professional to handle your next renovation? Renovating in order to sell your home? Give me a call and I’ll set up an appointment to talk about your home and connect you with a reputable pro in my network.

Feb. 13, 2019

How to Protect Your Information Online

Many of us spend a lot of time online. Our tech gadgets have not only made us more connected than ever before. We shop, use social media to connect with family and friends, send personal and business emails, pay bills, manage our finances, and more. Although these little tasks are made easier, doing them online increases the chance that a thief may steal our information without our knowledge. This makes it incredibly important to ensure our personal information is safe from thieves. Once your information is compromised, it takes time and energy to get back what you've lost. Here's how to protect your information online.

Create strong passwords. It sounds simple, but a strong password can prevent a thief from getting into your accounts and stealing your information. A strong password includes a mix of numbers, symbols, capital and lower case letters, has a minimum of 12 characters and isn't an obvious word found in the dictionary

Activate the firewall on your computer. The firewall is the network security system that controls access to the computer. When used with an anti-virus/malware software and anti-spyware software, it can protect the information on your computer from becoming compromised.

Set your social media profiles to private. Make sure you review your security settings. This can help prevent strangers from viewing your photos. Also, be careful about what you post online -- don't post anything with your address or other personal information.

Secure your mobile devices. Only download apps and information from trusted sources. Many people use their phones to take photos, shop, bank, send email, and more. Lock your screen to prevent thieves from accessing your information and be mindful of what you download.

Keep your systems updated. Install the latest operating system updates, which may include patches and other solutions for potential security issues

Use encryptionThis will protect personal data from tax returns or financial records.

Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi networksOnly use private networks to conduct financial or corporate transactions.

Protect your e-identity. Be cautious when giving out personal information on the internet. Always use your privacy settings and only make purchases from secure sites.

Don't click on links or files from unknown origins. If you don't know who sent it, don't open it. Additionally, never reply to emails asking to verify your information or confirm your username or password.

Feb. 11, 2019

New Construction Mondays: McIntosh

Tucked away in the rolling hills of Loudoun County, you'll find McIntosh created by Stanley Martin. This intimate neighborhood of new luxury single family homes in Aldie gives you the serenity you want at home, yet close to your everyday needs for your convenience. Live the lifestyle you've been looking for in this ideal Aldie location. With home designs offering up to 7 bedrooms and 8½ baths, expand your living space to create the home you want. 10 foot ceilings on the main level, expansive walk-in closets, high-end kitchens with islands and walk-in pantries and large owner's suites are standard interior features. With the ability to add sunrooms and guest suites throughout your home, these homes are designed to meet the needs of your growing your family that feels like a sanctuary.

There are 6 home designs in this private neighborhood that deliver the utmost quality.

The Kasey: This gorgeous home delivers value and luxury in so many ways. Standard features on the main level include 10-foot ceilings, a library at the front of the house, and a flex space that can be used however you like -- formal dining room, media room, or parlor.

The entire width of the back of the house encompasses an open-architecture layout. The expansive great room flows effortlessly into the eating area and ends in the gourmet kitchen with an enormous island. Some optional upgrades include a rear sunroom, morning room, screened porch, coffered ceiling in the great room and a fireplace on the main level. Other exceptional upgrades include a loft that is accessible via stairs from the bedroom level, with options of a terrace, full bath, and home office. Imagine being able to sneak away from the hustle and bustle of the family and enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace, get some work done in the home office, or perhaps take a long, hot bath in the full bathroom. You can truly make this a spectacular home!

The Taylor: This single family home has standard features with a contemporary design such as a gourmet kitchen with sit-down island, a walk-in pantry, 10-foot ceilings, and a mudroom off the garage entry. The owner’s bedroom features a sitting room and two enormous walk-in closets in the owner's bedroom. Other standard spaces on the bedroom level include a full-size laundry room, 2 additional bedrooms with walk-in closets, and a flex space that can be used however you wish. 

A set of stairs off the hallway leads to the optional loft where you can upgrade to include an open-air terrace. Just imagine being able to enjoy the sun in privacy during the day and the stars at night while relaxing with a glass of wine. Additional options include a wet bar, full bath, and a home office.

The Camden: When you first step into this spacious home, you'll notice how one room flows effortlessly into the next and the spacious feel of the 10-foot ceilings. A formal living and dining room flow back into the family room, library and gourmet kitchen. An owner's suite with two huge walk-in closets, a sitting room, and a spa tub on the second floor will have you wondering if you've gone to heaven. Also included on this floor are three bedrooms with walk-in closets, a flex space, and a full laundry

If you want to customize the main level, you can upgrade to add a guest suite with full bath, a bedroom and bath, a covered porch, a screen porch, a rear sunroom, a side sunroom. In the laundry room, you can add optional cabinets and sink. And, if you add an optional loft, you'll head up the stairs to a spacious area that offers upgrades for a terrace, a home office, and a full bath.

The Russell: Comfort is the theme of the entire home. This multi generational style floorplan offers an in-law suite, additional living room, kitchenette, bedroom with full bathroom and garage on the main level. The main level also features a gourmet kitchen and a fireplace in the family room for everyone to enjoy. The owner's suite is an in-house getaway with a large walk-in closet and spacious master bath. With two more bedrooms and a customizable loft and basement, every room is meant for you to emerge from it relaxed. 

In the master bathroom, you can upgrade to include a double vanity, deep tub and water closet. Opt for a covered or screened porch off the dining area to enjoy the outdoors without too much exposure. It's the perfect place to spend some quiet reflective time in the early mornings or quiet evenings in this private neighborhood.

The Landon: This home features a versatile floorplan with a flex room and bedroom on the main level. Upstairs, lounge in a comfortable owner's suite and find a place for everything in the expansive closet. Three more private bedrooms, each appointed with walk-in closets and en suite baths finish out the upper level. This allows you and your family to have their own personal space as well as comfortable spaces to gather for some quality time. There's also plenty of storage on the lower level and various garage options to keep your vehicles safe and shiny.

There are so many options to customize your home. Add a morning room to the kitchen and breakfast area or a side sunroom and enjoy your coffee and pancakes in these sun-drenched spaces. Expand your living space with an optional loft and terrace to relax and watch the sunset on summer evenings or invite guests over to watch movies in your media room adjacent to the finished lower level recreation room.

The Travers: Fill the spaces of this home with personality that's undeniably you. Common spaces abound with memories to be made in the kitchen, family room and dining room. Those dwelling on the upper level enjoy advanced privacy in three bedrooms, each appointed with walk-in closets and en suite baths. Lounge in a comfortable owner's suite and find a place for everything in the expansive closet.

Determine the priorities of your space by opting for a bedroom in lieu of the flex room and by adding a guest suite to the home's main level. Add a morning room or sunroom to the back or the side of the home. Choose storage or entertainment by opting to add a media room, den and more to an unfinished lower level or have up to a 5-car garage added onto the home.

Send your children to sought-after, top-rated Loudoun County schools including Buffalo Trail Elementary, Mercer Middle, and John Champe High School. Commuting is easy with major routes nearby, including Route 15, Route 50, and Route 28. Everyday errands are easy to access with Harris Teeter, Walgreens, Walmart, and Home Goods only 3-7 miles away. Make coffee and dinner dates easy with a variety of restaurants and coffee shops nearby or spend weekends exploring the area with attractions including Quattro Goomba's Winery, South Riding Golf Club, Ocelot Brewing Company, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Jiffy Lube Live, and Fair Oaks Mall.

The McIntosh community is the newest neighborhood in the rapidly growing Aldie area. If you're thinking about moving to this area, contact The Swede Team by calling 571-377-8696 or emailing Team@TheSwedeTeam.com! 

Feb. 6, 2019

Boost Your Credit Score, Regardless of Your Age

Today, we're going to discuss credit scores.

It's never been easier to learn more, take time to review, and find ways to improve on your credit score. Even if you’re not planning to borrow money to make a large purchase, good credit may qualify you for better insurance rates, help you avoid paying security deposits when you sign up for new cell phone service or even help you negotiate a better rate on a vacation rental. We're going to delve into this topic and outline ways for consumers to increase their credit score.

VantageScore, which was created by the credit reporting agencies Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, details this trend. The VantageScore ranges from 300 to 850, with 850 signifying exceptional credit.

Average VantageScore by generation

  • 730 – Silent Generation (born between 1925 and 1946)
  • 700 – Baby Boomers (born between 1947 and 1966)
  • 655 – Generation X (born between 1967 and 1981)
  • 634 – Millennials (born between 1982 and 1995)
  • 631 – Generation Z (born 1996 and later)

As you can see, age is an advantage with older Americans having higher credit scores than younger ones. There are many reasons why older consumers have better credit score averages than younger consumers.

  • A long credit history contributes to a higher score. While amounts owed and diversity of credit contribute to your credit score, payment history and credit length together make up half of the total credit score. Since younger consumers, especially those under the age of 25, have relatively short credit histories, it can be challenging to achieve stellar credit.
  • Younger consumers may not have a well-rounded mix of credit types, including a mortgage, car loan, credit cards, etc. While they may have student loans and a credit card or two, they may not have had the need to purchase a home or new car as the older generations did at that age
  • Younger consumers tend to have lower incomes than older consumers. Since many are at the beginning of their careers, they’ll likely earn less than others who are well-advanced into their careers or retired. As a result, they may not qualify for high credit limits, which would lower their debt-utilization ratio. Additionally, it’s often challenging, though not impossible, to take control of debt with a low income.

The good news is, over time the score will increase, especially if you utilize these habits:

  • Keep making payments on time. You’ll build habits with each payment you make.
  • Use credit responsibly. If possible, avoid new inquiries and opening new accounts. If you’re rate shopping, do so within a small window so it doesn’t raise any flags on your credit.
  • Avoid carrying high balances on your credit cards. Pay down your debt and keep your balance less than 35 percent of your total available credit.

If your credit is already stellar, feel free to pass this information along to someone else who may benefit. This information is intended to help make financial goals more achievable. If you think your credit is great enough to buy a home, contact Howard at The Swede Team at 571-377-8969