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Old 05-22-2011, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Alexandria, VA - Kingstowne Subdivision
390 posts, read 453,829 times
Reputation: 348

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Our main reason for relocating is safety. Right now we are on the edge of our seats trying to prepare for a flood that may or may not happen. After this flood warning ends we have to prepare for a hurricane that may or may not hit us again. On top of that, we have some very poor schools in the New Orleans area. My family is my main concern. My wife always wanted to relocate from the New Orleans areas but I was very hesitiant. I always said that I would die in New Orleans. My 2 boys and wife do not feel that way. Now that I am making decisions for the family (and not just myself) I have to be mindful of what's best for everyone. It is a known fact that Northern Virginia public schools are some of the best in country. It is also a known fact that the cost of living is high in Northern Virginia. Moving to NOVA would serve to purposes, 1. Great schools for my children. 2. Instant pay raise because the cost of homes in the area compared to New Orleans.

"You're going to have to jump quite a lfew hurdles to make that work (coursework and licensing, finding a broker to take you on, establishing your "farm", etc.)."

I don't doubt that it will be a challenge to enter into an unknown real estate market but so is preparing to evacuate every single year. With enough hard work and elbow grease I'm positive I will be able to provide for my family with my real estate business. I am also positive that coursework and licensing requirements won't be a problem for me or my wife (she will also be selling real estate).

"Wouldn't you want to figure out first where you're going to be selling and then move somewhere around there?"

NO. Good schools (in my market) are surrounded by higher end homes. If we find a place with a great school and easy access to the metro, my instinct tells me that the homes in the area should be expensive. Please keep in mind that we are in the early stages of the relocation process. Our observations may be wrong but most of the post that were before you confirmed my suspicions. Metro + Great School = High Home Value.

Have you actually sold real estate there in LA or did you just get a license hoping to break into the profession and not having much luck so moving on somewhere else?

This seems like a cheap shot from an individual who isn't familiar with my circumstance but I will entertain you for the sake of conversation. I have and continue to sell real estate in my market area. I am a full time agent with no other job. I have been selling real estate for 3 years. I have averaged 12.5 transactions over my 3 year period. My business will allow my wife the opportunity to quit her job and partner with me in the real sales business. Luck has nothing to do with success. Hard work and persistence will get me through any challenge.

"How can you sell real estate in an area you don't seem to know much about?"

The definition of knowledge is "Information and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject."

I would learn the area. The same way I learned my current market area. I hope you don't think that people are born with knowledge. I also hope you don't think that you couldn't acquire the same knowledge.

CAVA1990 - I hope the statements above answered your questions. I appreciate concerns you may have about us relocating to the NOVA area. Please feel free to post any other comments that could help us make our decision easier.

Thanks,

Abraham Walker
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Old 05-22-2011, 10:59 AM
 
2,688 posts, read 5,954,501 times
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To be honest, I had the same questions as CAVA. Be forewarned, the area here was saturated with new agents who started getting credentialed when the market was at its peak and then entered the field just as the market crashed. Few of those are making a full-time living in real estate. Many (even long-established, well-known-in-their-area agents) are selling a house here and there while working another full-time job or while their spouse works full-time in another field. Things are picking up, mostly in the lower-end starter house (townhouse) market. A lot of the people with more expensive houses are under water or have so little equity that they're staying put in the hope that eventually their values will go up. The pending BRAC relocations may help in some areas but that remains to be seen. So I'm not saying you can't succeed but it will be a challenge. On a more positive note, I think it's great that you're willing to make the sacrifice of moving your family to a safer area. My husband and I were just talking yesterday about how he loved the area of California he lived in decades ago but wouldn't consider living there with a family because of the earthquake threat. It's admirable of you to make the sacrifice, whether you end up here or somewhere else.
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:03 AM
 
2,688 posts, read 5,954,501 times
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And Abraham, I just looked at your New Orleans site, looks like you have expertise with short sales and foreclosures, there are a lot of those on the market here so you may indeed find a niche working with people on those.
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Sterling, VA
1,059 posts, read 2,625,038 times
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Do you know if Louisiana has reciprocity with VA? If so, you can start right away. I would contact large brokerages in this area that don't charge desk fees, i.e., Long and Foster or Weichert, as they will have a training program if you need preparation for a licensing exam. The commission split will be smaller for you with a large brokerage but you will get more support starting out in a new area. You can always switch over to a brokerage that offers a better split once you know the area. You can find info about licensing requirements at DPOR Redirect Page. Springfield would be a central area to live in if you want to focus primarily on Fairfax County. If you are an experienced Realtor you will need about 3 months income to live on while you are getting started.

Don't rule out Loudoun County, there is plenty of growth here and it is a high income area in most parts. It is not close to Metro, but you won't be using Metro for your real estate business and you will pay more for a rental close to Metro. I am not taking on new agents, only those I have personally worked with or have known for years, but I can recommend good brokers to associate with in the area. You can search for rentals on HomesDatabase - Home for Sale and Rent in DC, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, there is a great map feature that will help you get a good feel for the real estate activity in specific areas that will help you in choosing a location. Feel free to DM me with any specific questions you may have.
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,039,871 times
Reputation: 6824
If this helps, the biggest real estate brokerages in my area (Mount Vernon) are Weichert and Remax. McInearney is another one that seems to specialized in higher end properties. I'm sure all three are pretty strong througout the county. They enjoy a very good reputation around here. You might want to get in touch with them to see if one of them can help get you going.

Also, take a look at Alexandria, particulally Old Town. It doesn't have so many single family homes but a lot of high dollar townhomes and condos. The schools don't score as high as Fairfax County, but the town is loaded with well off folks who are childless or send their kids to private schools.

Just saw Margery's post. Forgot about Long and Foster but they're big in my neck of the woods too.
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:40 AM
 
19 posts, read 33,081 times
Reputation: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraham Walker View Post
NO. Good schools (in my market) are surrounded by higher end homes. If we find a place with a great school and easy access to the metro, my instinct tells me that the homes in the area should be expensive. Please keep in mind that we are in the early stages of the relocation process. Our observations may be wrong but most of the post that were before you confirmed my suspicions. Metro + Great School = High Home Value.
It doesn't quite work that way. All of the school districts in NOVA have strong academic offerings.

In and around the beltway, NOVA is consistently upper middle class high home prices. Once you move 5 miles outside of the beltway its a toally different real estate market. Reston-Leesburg are an exception as that is desirable because of the tech cooridor.

Its more about the county. Fairfax County has great schools, though parts of South Fairfax county are dangerous. Arlington and Alexandria are independent cities not located in a county. Arlington schools are considered good (south arlington not as much). Alexandria schools had a lot of issues in the past as its a collection of diverse neighborhoods. 20 years ago gangs were a big problem but now Alexandria has a new high school to attract more affluent families.

Further out in Prince Williams County that is more of a middle class area. Property taxes are higher which has retarded growth. Taxes are low in Faquier County but many feel that is too far out to get to any job center (even Reston). School districts are still solid out there.

Only a slim portion of real estate in NOVA is within walkable distance of the metro. There are only 3 lines which service NOVA (Orange, Yellow, Blue). I agree Orange line real estate is high demand. At the end of the Yellow line is Huntington, one of the slummiest areas around the beltway. The Franconia and Van Dorn stops are also adjacent to slums. Those metro stops are not very pedestrian friendly and are more geared toward commuters with large parking garages at the station.

Generally, prices get higher as you move from South to North in the NOVA area and from outer suburbs to inner suburbs. There are a few exceptions such as Alexandria City in the south being ultra expensive along the Potomac and parts of Herndon/Chantilly being a hole along route 7. This logic even holds in Prince Williams County as Haymarket/Manassas in the north is more expensive than Woodbridge/Dumfries in the South.
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:48 AM
 
2,688 posts, read 5,954,501 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southside906 View Post
Alexandria has a new high school to attract more affluent families.
But it's one of the most persistently failing schools:

Alexandria's T.C. Williams High called poor performer - washingtonpost.com
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:06 PM
 
19 posts, read 33,081 times
Reputation: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVA1990 View Post
Also, take a look at Alexandria, particulally Old Town. It doesn't have so many single family homes but a lot of high dollar townhomes and condos. The schools don't score as high as Fairfax County, but the town is loaded with well off folks who are childless or send their kids to private schools.
I live in Old Town Alexandria on the Southside. I never thought I'd leave Clarendon and hot spots like Witlows behind but quite honestly Old Town is much nicer. Even when I compare Old Town to other top end urban negiborhoods like Woodly Park or Friendship Heights, Old Town has less of that city grit. Of course the GW parkway going south into Bell Haven is lovely.

One of the big elements of Alexandria is that it prides itself on diversity. You can raise your kids in a bubble like South Riding but what does it do for them when they have to adjust to the real world like everybody else? This isn't 1950, 1970, or even 1990. You also have to look at the general direction Alexandria is going, with new developments like Potomac Yards its even going to become more affluent.
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:29 PM
 
19 posts, read 33,081 times
Reputation: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankeesfan View Post
But it's one of the most persistently failing schools:

[URL="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/11/AR2010031102389.html?sid=ST2010031103285"]Alexandria's T.C. Williams High called poor performer - washingtonpost.com[/URL]
I don't think there is anything wrong with the school its just that you have a lot of immigrant families from 3rd world countries. They have parents that are trying to figure out what to do raising a child in a western country. If you read the article, 80% of the students from TC go on to college and really only 25% are struggling.

If for example you are a lawyer in one of those 600k townhomes sending your kid to TC will he be receiving a free lunch and doing poorly on his standardized tests? Or would your child be taking advantage of the AP courses and excellent teachers?
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Brambleton, VA
2,136 posts, read 4,638,169 times
Reputation: 1292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Southside906 View Post
One of the big elements of Alexandria is that it prides itself on diversity. You can raise your kids in a bubble like South Riding but what does it do for them when they have to adjust to the real world like everybody else? This isn't 1950, 1970, or even 1990.
Just for comparison (numbers from 2010 Census, and only include respondents of one race)...

As of the 2010 Census, the South Riding CDP is:
57% White
29% Asian
7% Hispanic
6% Black

City of Alexandria is:
53% White
21% Black
16% Hispanic
6% Asian


It's a different diversity mix than Alexandria, but South Riding is not what you are implying.
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