- The Washington Times - Friday, November 7, 2008

In a neutral real estate market, move-up buyers go through a relatively smooth process. They can sell their existing homes with ease and find another one to buy. In a seller’s market, however, move-up buyers have to snag a home they like while competing against other buyers. Then they have to turn around and list their home for sale, hoping it will sell quickly.

The current real estate market has a different issue. While move-up buyers can take advantage of low interest rates, stable or dropping prices (depending on the neighborhood) and plenty of available homes, they must face the reality of selling their property in a slow market. Many people find deciding whether to sell their home before buying to be perplexing. In this market, most move-up buyers opt to sell their home first to be sure they can net enough profit from the sale to help finance their next home. Move-up buyers with plenty of income and good credit may be able to qualify for a loan without the sale of their current home, but they are taking the risk of paying two mortgages until their existing home sells.

In Arlington, Alexandria and the close-in areas of Fairfax County including Falls Church and McLean, builders are banking on the ability of move-up buyers to sell their town homes and condominiums to move into single-family homes. In these close-in neighborhoods, many Realtors report that homes are still selling fairly quickly, as long as they are priced correctly and are in good condition.

In Arlington County, sales of detached single-family homes priced from $400,000 to $500,000 rose 267 percent in September and sales of attached single-family homes (town homes) in that same price range rose by 150 percent, according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors.

Single-family homes, which appeal to move-up buyers in these close-in communities, are often small clusters of homes rather than sprawling subdivisions. Many times, they are built on smaller lots since land prices close to the city are particularly high.

At Arlington Heights in Arlington, Calvert Luxury Homes has two homes priced from $1,100,000. The two homes have fiber cement siding, brick-and-stone exteriors with brick stoops, professional landscaping and a two-car garage. Calvert Homes is an Energy Star partner, so the homes have energy-efficient windows, two-zone heating and air conditioning and extra insulation. Standard features include 10-foot ceilings on the first floor, a gas fireplace, a coffered ceiling in the dining room, hardwood floors on the main level, oak stairs, crown and chair-rail moldings, a luxury master bath with a soaking tub and separate shower; and 42-inch cabinets with granite counters and stainless steel appliances. Call 703/321-8299 or visit www. calvertluxuryhomes.com.

In Alexandria, Calvert Luxury Homes is building 13 single-family homes at Cooper’s Grove, 2 miles from the King Street Metro station and Old Town Alexandria. Each home is energy-efficient and built of brick, stone and fiber cement siding with a brick or flagstone stoop, four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths and a two-car garage. The homes have hardwood floors on the main level, oak stairs, 9- and 10-foot ceilings; crown and chair-rail moldings; a gas fireplace, 42-inch cabinets, stainless steel appliances and granite counters in the center-island kitchen; ceramic tile floors in the baths, a luxury master bath with a soaking tub and separate shower; a high-tech wiring system, dual-zone heating and air conditioning; and gas heat and hot water. The homes are base-priced from $999,000. Call 703/298-6664 or visit www. coopersgrove.com.

At Northampton at Kings-towne, Richmond American Homes Inc. is building single-family homes and “courtyard duet homes” within the planned community of Kingstowne. The community has recreational amenities and is close to shopping and Old Town Alexandria, as well as commuter routes. Priced from $689,990 to $799,990, these homes have four bedrooms, two to four full baths and a two-car garage. Standard features include a finished recreation room, a gourmet kitchen and 9- and 10-foot ceilings. Call 703/822-0281 or visit www. richmondamerican.com.

At Bell Manor III, Stanley Martin Homebuilding LLC has just two homes left for sale in a community of 10 homes. Priced from $819,990 to $859,990, these homes have from 3,157 to 5,684 finished square feet. Located near Mason District Park and Pinecrest Golf Course, this development offers quick access to Old Town Alexandria and downtown Washington. The homes have family rooms with fireplaces, a first-floor library, a luxury master bath, an optional home office and a finished attic-level loft. Call 703/845-7590 or visit www. stanleymartin.com.

At Oak Grove in Alexandria, Craftmark Homes Inc. is building seven homes on half-acre sites along cul de sacs. Oak Grove is located within the city of Alexandria, and it also offers easy access to downtown Washington. The homes have stone-and-brick exteriors and three-car garages and can include up to six bedrooms and 7 1/2 baths. Standard features include brick or stone stoops, gourmet kitchens, masonry fireplaces, hand-finished hardwood floors, ceramic tile baths and fourth-level bonus suites. Call 703/461-0105 or visit www.craftmark homes.com.

In Falls Church, Stanley Martin Homes is building 19 single-family homes at the Courtyards at Falls Gate, a community with a paved courtyard for entertaining, a walking trail and a picnic area. The homes have four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, a brick front, a paved courtyard and front walk, and a two-car garage. Standard features include hardwood floors in the foyer, hall, living room, dining room, powder room, kitchen and breakfast area; 9-foot ceilings throughout the home; crown and chair-rail moldings; a gas fireplace with a marble hearth, 42-inch oak cabinets, recessed lighting and granite counters in the center-island kitchen; ceramic tile floors in the baths; a luxury master bath with a soaking tub and separate shower; and two-zone gas heat. The homes have base prices from $649,990 to $659,990. Call 703/845-7590 or visit www.stanleymartin.com.

At Stockwell Manor, Camberley Homes, the upscale home division of Winchester Homes Inc., is building 29 single-family homes and 71 town homes. Located within walking distance of the Falls Church Metro station, the community features antique, tumbled-brick paving-stone sidewalks, a village green, a garden and a walking path to a nearby park. The single-family homes have four sides of brick with partial fiber-cement siding on the back, a two-car garage, four bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths. The single-family homes are base-priced from $1,524,000 to $1,669,000, and the town homes are base-priced from $939,000 to $1,154,000. The homes have 9- and 10-foot ceilings, oak stairs, hardwood floors, ceramic tile floors in the baths, a luxury master bath and a gourmet kitchen with 42-inch wood cabinets, granite counters and professional-grade stainless steel appliances. Call 703/237-1695 or visit www.camberley homes.com.

At Linden Tree Estates in Falls Church, Stanley Martin Homes has just one home available. The community is within easy access of the West Falls Church Metro station, the Beltway and downtown Washington. The homes have two-story foyers, a family room with a fireplace, a gourmet kitchen with an adjacent morning room and a luxury master bath. Priced from $849,990 to $879,990, these homes have 3,044 to 5,568 finished square feet. Call 703/845-7590 or visit www.stanleymartin.com.

At Cedar Grove in Falls Church, Basheer & Edgemoore Homes LLC is building 23 “city homes” in a community that features a walking trail, small parks and included lawn maintenance for residents. The development is convenient to the Dunn Loring Metro station and to I-66 and the Beltway. The two remaining homes are priced from $899,000 and $949,000 for a home with an elevator. The homes have open floor plans with formal and informal living areas, center-island kitchens and a fireplace in the family room. Each master suite includes a luxury bath and a separate sitting room. Call 703/698-1664 or visit www. basheerandedgemoore.com.

Two builders are selling upscale homes in McLean at Grace Manor at Minor Hill in the Franklin Park area. Marquis Custom Homes, the upscale custom home division of Van Metre Homes, has a move-in ready home for $2,362,000. They also have one lot where a home can be built for from $2,300,000 and up.

The homes at Grace Manor have an exterior combination of stone and fiber-cement siding with an oversized brick or stone water table on all four sides, plus a three-car side-entry garage. Standard features include 9- and 10-foot ceilings, a two-story foyer, hardwood flooring on the main level, two oak staircases, a masonry fireplace with a mantel and marble surround, crown and chair-rail moldings, a security system, a structured wiring package, recessed lighting and multizone gas heating and electric air conditioning. The master bath has granite vanity tops, a soaking tub and a separate glass-enclosed shower. All the baths have ceramic tile flooring. Each home has a designer kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counters, a butler’s pantry, a pantry and 42-inch raised-panel cabinets with crown moldings and glass doors. Call 703/573-8976 or visit www.marquiscustom homes.com.

Keswick Homes, the custom home division of Brookfield Homes Corp., is building a small collection of 16 single-family homes in a wooded enclave at Grace Manor at Minor Hill. Set on one-third-acre to half-acre sites, these Craftsman-style homes can be customized to meet the desires of buyers. Two models are available from Keswick Homes here, base-priced from $1,949,990 to $2,249,990.

Standard features include a stone water table, fiber-cement siding, raised-panel shutters, a mahogany front door, upgraded professional landscaping, brick on the sides and rear, slate walkways, asphalt driveways and a three-car garage with carriage-style doors. Inside, the homes have four to six bedrooms, three to 7 1/2 baths, hardwood floors on the first floor and upper hall; a gas fireplace with a marble surround, 9- and 10-foot ceilings on all levels, a full basement and multimedia wiring.

The kitchens have commercial-grade appliances and granite counters, while the baths have ceramic tile floors and Corian or granite counters. Call 703/288-3020 or visit www. keswickhomes.com.

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