Keeping Your Home Safe During The Holidays

If you’re headed “over the river & through the woods to Grandmother’s house” for the holidays, here are 10 tips to keep your home safe while you’re gone!

(1) Be careful with your status updates on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Don’t be too specific. For example: “Can’t wait to see Grandma & Grandpa” might be better than “Leaving for Ohio in 2 hours. Back on Sunday.

(2) Take advantage of the “nosy neighbors” you have (assuming you trust them!). Ask them to keep an eye out while you are away. Make sure they know how to reach you in case of an emergency.

(3) If you still have a newspaper delivered instead of reading online, make sure you suspend delivery. (And ask a neighbor to keep your driveway clear of the various “throwaway publications” that appear.)

(4) Think twice about setting up an auto-responder or voice mail message that says you are out of town – especially if you work from a home office. A better idea might be to just say you are not checking messages until a certain date (as if you’re taking a “Stay-Cation”.)

(5) Set up timers on certain lights in your house. Install motion detector lights outdoors. One of my neighbors (who happens to know a bit about this topic since he is a Sheriff!) gave me some extra advice about this particular item. He said,  “My two cents on timers. If you use them, stagger the times they go on and off, create the illusion of movement in the house. Most people have them go on and off at the same time. Instead, have downstairs timers go on during normal dinner & TV time, and then go off. Then have upstairs timers go on like you’re going to bed. Works great and gives the bad guys doubts if you’re home or not.” GREAT ADVICE!

(6) Don’t forget to lock the interior garage door. Exterior doors are relatively easy to compromise. And lock ALL of your windows.

(7) Stop your mail. Or have a neighbor collect it daily.

(8) Don’t publish your physical address or personal information on your social media profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. It’s amazing how many people advertise their birthdate, home address and more – just because the site asked you to fill it in when you set up your account. It’s not just children who do this, but many adults who are new to the world of social media are guilty of this as well. Even if your site is “friend-protected”, you’d be surprised at what web-savvy folks can find out. Be discreet!

(9) If your home is in an area of the country where it’s cold (as in freezing), don’t turn your heat off. You don’t want your pipes to freeze!

(10) You can always employ the tactics of Kevin McAllister in “Home Alone”!

SELLERS: Make sure you read our blog post about whether or not it’s a good idea to sell during the holidays. In general, low inventory & low housing supply mean good things for you. But there are lots of things to consider.

BUYERS: Inventory is low and even as we approach the holidays, the best homes are selling quickly. If you would like to buy now & celebrate the New Year in your new home, make you use our state-of-the-art home search site. Listings are updated on our system faster than other sites so you won’t miss out on your Dream Home!

If you’’re thinking of buying or selling a home, Contact The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for a more in-depth discussion & analysis – because it’s only the neighborhood YOU live in (or you WANT to live in) that matters. We’ll be happy to schedule a consultation and get very detailed about “YOUR Market” so that you can make the decision that is best for YOU!

Homebuying Can Be Easy!

Homebuying Can Be Easy - With The Belt Team

Just ask Ian & Lauren Forbes! They bought their first home and went to settlement last week. They were kind enough to share their thoughts about the process on independent review site Zillow notified us today about their review. And it made our day!

Here’s what they said:

“My wife and I recently worked with The Belt Team, and in particular with Tom Reilly and Beth Dadisman. As this was our first home purchase, we had no idea what to expect going in, but we really couldn’t have had a better experience. Tom and Beth helped us every step of the way, from narrowing down our search to finding the right home to guiding us through the closing process. Tom is a Northern Virginia native and is extremely knowledgeable about the neighborhoods in the area, which helped us greatly to focus our search. We always felt like Tom and Beth were on our side–they never pushed us toward a specific house or neighborhood, but always provided honest answers to any of our questions and added value by pointing out things that we, as first time home buyers, wouldn’t think about when looking at homes. We looked at a decent number of houses, and Tom and Beth were readily available whenever we asked to tour a home–we would always get a response within a few hours and they were always willing to work around our schedules to show us a house. After we found our home, Tom and the team helped us navigate the closing process–daunting for any home buyer–and prepared a checklist of all the things that needed to happen between signing the contract and closing, which was fantastic. Even after signing the contract, Tom worked with the sellers on a few issues that popped up before closing, resolving all of them in our favor and within a day. Finally, Tom attended our closing and even brought us a bottle of champagne to celebrate, which was truly a nice touch. If you’re thinking of purchasing a home in the Northern Virginia area, there’s really no other choice than The Belt Team.”

Thanks for taking the time to write Ian. It was our pleasure to help you make dreams come true. WELCOME HOME!

Our mission is “Changing Lives For The Better”. If it’s time to change YOURS, click here to schedule your Buyer Consultation online or call (703) 242-3975. No cost. No obligation!

Search our state-of-the-art home search site

FREE, Instant Home Valuation

Top Realtors Northern VA

Slaying Homebuying Myths

The Belt Team had a very successful first-time homebuyer seminar recently. And what we have found over time is that there are a lot of “mythunderstandings” out there about what it takes to buy a home – whether it’s your first home or your fourth. Here’s a great article from Keeping Current Matters that “slays” those myths!


  1. Interest Rates are still below historic numbers.
  2. 88% of property managers raised their rent in the last 12 months!
  3. Credit score requirements to be approved for a mortgage continue to fall. The 723 average score is the lowest since Ellie Mae began reporting on scores in August 2011.
  4. The average first-time home buyer down payment was 6% in 2015 according to NAR.

FREE, Instant Home Valuation

Search our STATE-OF-THE-ART web site for Homes For Sale

Schedule a FREE Buyer Consultation with Our Lead Buyer Specialist

What You Need to Know About Buying A Home


FREE, Instant Home Valuation

Search our STATE-OF-THE-ART web site for Homes

Schedule a FREE Buyer Consultation with Our Lead Buyer Specialist or call (703) 242-3975 for more info.

Selling Your Home During The Holidays – Good Idea or Bad?

Northern VA Home sales As Thanksgiving approaches, we often get the question, “Should I wait to go on the market until after the holidays?” or “My home is on the market now, should I take it off during the holidays?”. Well, the answer is “It depends“! Here are some things you might want to consider if you’re thinking of selling your home during the holidays (and you can start here with a FREE online estimate of what your home is worth.)

  • If your home is already on the market, it may be a good idea to stay on the market. Buyers who are looking at homes during the holidays are usually “Real Buyers” and not just “lookie-loos”. Tom Reilly, Lead Buyer Specialist for The Belt Team, says “I have multiple buyers who are VERY motivated to buy during this timeframe, especially since interest rates are forecast to rise next year.” And Gail Belt, Founding Partner of The Belt Team says, “My experience is that Buyers who are out looking at property during the holidays tend to be serious buyers. There may not be as many people looking at your house, but the ones who come NEED to buy or they wouldn’’t be out looking at this time of year.” Beth Dadisman, The Belt Team’s Showing Partner added, “My husband and I have moved 3 times in January. So we were some of those serious buyers looking in December!”
  • During the holidays, many Sellers take their homes off the market. This means we often see inventory drop and therefore if you’re on the market, you may have less competition. Kevin Kleifges, Belt Team Listing Partner, says: “It depends on your situation. I’m advising most of my sellers to stay on the market. We can work with you to restrict showings on special days like Thanksgiving. But selling now before Spring competition picks up might be in your best interests.” Terry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team adds, “If you do go off the market now, consider coming back on immediately in the new year. In many areas, homes sell for more money in January-February than they do in the typical “Spring Market”  of March-April.
  • What is your true motivation? Do you truly want/need to sell? If you’re just “testing the market” (IE – if you are not realistically pricing your home to what TODAY’S Buyers are willing to pay), then now is NOT the time to go on the market. Your home will likely not sell, and then when Spring arrives – your home will be “stale on the market”. Tom Hanton, Realtor Partner with The Belt Team says “Prospective Buyers will wonder what’s wrong with your home and why it’s been on the market so long.” (This is true at any time of year. Overpricing stigmatizes your home and hurts your eventual bottom line significantly.)
  • Set your expectations properly.” says Martin Bristow, Belt Team Realtor.Plan accordingly and prepare yourself & your family to be ready to juggle preparation & showings with other seasonal activities. (And if you have little ones, maybe Santa’s upcoming visit will encourage them to keep their rooms clean!)”
  • Some Sellers really should wait until Spring. While most homes look better in the Spring when the trees fill out & flowers are in bloom, this is not usually a reason to wait for Spring. (That’s what everyone does and that just means more competition.) However, some homes are an exception to this rule. For example, Terry Belt shares, “We had a listing that backed to a cemetery. And while some people like that idea (quiet neighbors!), most people don’t like the reminder when they look out the window of their home. This is an item that can severely impact salability and price. In this case, we advised our Sellers to wait a few extra months and put their home on the market when trees were fully blossomed and the cemetery was not visible. You cannot get rid of extraneous factors like a cemetery, but you can mitigate their impact.”
  • If you do go on the market, don’t forget that Buyers looking at your home are trying to picture themselves & their families in your home. This is hard to do if your home is over-decorated with holiday knick knacks. “You may want to be a little more restrained than you normally would be when putting up your decorations” says Terry, “Too many decorations can also make your rooms look smaller than they really are. In addition, Winter is a dark time of year, so make sure you keep your home as light-filled as possible. Open the drapes, raise the blinds and turn on all your lights. The few extra pennies will be worth it!

If you need help working through what is the best time to put your home on the market, contact The Belt Team – or give Terry Belt or Kevin Kleifges a call at (703) 242-3975. Every situation is different and we would be happy to help you figure out what is best for YOU! Best Real Estate Agents in Northern VA

9513 Leemay St Vienna VA 22182 – Just Listed For Rent by The Belt Team

9513 Leemay St Vienna VA 22182 was just listed FOR RENT by The Belt Team! Here’s a sneak peek:

Homes For Rent Vienna VA


Beautiful 4BR/3 full BA home located on a private cul-de-sac in a fantastic location…close to many commuter routes, the Metro & Tysons Corner! Features gleaming hardwood floors throughout, large eat-in kitchen with stainless steel appliances & loads of cabinet space, separate dining room, spacious living room, family room with fireplace, great master suite with custom bath & walk-in closet, covered deck off the kitchen, & attached garage…all of this & more on a fabulous 1.53 acre lot!


Convenient Vienna location…shopping and dining are just minutes away in Tysons Corner, the Town Of Vienna & Reston Town Center! Take advantage of things like Oak Marr Rec Center, Nottaway Park, Meadow Lane Park, the Vienna Dog Park, lighted ball fields & tennis courts, hiking/biking trails and more. Also enjoy nearby Meadowlark Gardens Regional Park, Wolftrap Farm Park, the Barns of Wolftrap, and the W&OD bike trail!

More info, price & additional photos of 9513 Leemay St Vienna VA 22182

Search Single Family Homes For Sale in 22182

Call Kevin Kleifges & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 to schedule a showing!

Homes For Rent Vienna VA


What’s Happening in Northern Virginia

Viva Tysons Dec 2015If you’re thinking of moving to Northern Virginia (even if you already live here!) and you’re wondering what our area is like and what’s going on – a great way to gain insight is to pick up an issue of Viva Tysons Magazine.

It’s like a hyperlocal version of Washingtonian Magazine – focused on the Tysons, Vienna, McLean, Falls Church areas. It’s a fabulous glossy magazine where you can read about new restaurants, politics, store openings, cultural events, new construction, charities, school activities, VIPs – anything and everything that’s “happening” in the Tysons area and surrounds.

In many issues, you’ll also find an article from The Belt Team – one of Virginia’a Top 20 Best Real Estate Agents. This month’s issue includes our take on Northern Virginia as a “Retirement Paradise!”

Northern VA Retirement

Search Homes For Sale in McLean

Search Homes For Sale in Vienna

Search Homes For Sale in Falls Church

Search Homes For Sale in Great Falls

For more information about what it’s like to live in Northern Virginia, call The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975. Most of our team has lived in the area for 40+ years. We’re happy to share our knowledge with you so you can make the RIGHT move!

Best Real Estate Agents in Vienna VA

2737 Sutton Road Vienna VA 22181 – Listed by The Belt Team – Open House Sunday Nov 8th

2737 Sutton Road Vienna VA 22181 is listed by The Belt Team and will be OPEN ON SUNDAY, NOVEMEBER 8 from noon to 2pm. 

Here’s a sneak peek:

More info, price & additional photos of 2737 Sutton Rd Vienna VA 22181

Call Kevin Kleifges & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975

Welcome to this beautifully updated colonial in a sought after Vienna location… close to all the amenities of the Town of Vienna, Oakton, great schools and minutes to the Vienna Metro!  Along with 3 finished levels, 4 bedrooms & 4.5 baths, this property offers a very open & flowing floor plan, gorgeous new hardwood floors, a gourmet eat-in kitchen, a separate dining room, a 2-story family room with a large stone fireplace & floor to ceiling windows, a main level office/den, and living room.  Other exceptional features include a stunning master suite with sitting room and fireplace, an expansive lower level with rec room, media room & bar, a private back deck, and a 2-car attached car garage.  Loaded with updates and in an unbeatable location…don’t miss this one!

For more questions or for a specific update on YOUR neighborhood – call Kevin Kleifges & The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 for a FREE Buyer or Seller Consultation. The Belt Team is Vienna’s Top Real Estate Team and has sold more homes in Vienna than another other Realtor or team since 1973.

Home For Sale Sutton Road

Home For Sale Sutton Road

Best Real Estate Agents in Vienna VA