at the Little City and Its 11 Neighborhoods
Falls Church City, also known as the “Little City,” is home to 11 neighborhoods,
and small. These neighborhoods are spread out from South Washington Street to East Broad, and provide locals with walkable areas in a smaller environment.
Tori McKinney, owner of the Rockstar Realty Group at Keller Williams and a 25 year resident of the city, said each of Falls Church’s neighborhoods is “unique,” as all of the neigh -
borhoods are “predominantly” walkable to city centers, shops, dining, parks and entertainment.
“Falls Church City as a whole has been proven to be such a desirable neighborhood,”
McKinney said. “Each neighborhood is an offshoot of all that Falls Church City has to offer.”
#3 $1,967,092 #5 $1,855,000 #4 $1,870,287
Todays Smart Home Technology Makes Living More ConvenientBY BRIAN REACH FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS
“Alexa, turn on the lights.”
“Ok Google, brew my coffee.”
“Hey Siri, wake me up at 7.”
Gone are the days of VCRs, DVD players, landlines, dialup internet and the 60 MHz Pentium processor. Today Advanced “Smart Home” technology is embedded in devices from coffee makers to thermostats and has made commanding virtual assistants to perform tasks an inherent part of everyday modern life.
Implementing smart technology starts with a fast internet connection and reliable signal throughout your home. Smart devices must connect to others, either through bluetooth to a nearby device (like a portable speaker), or, for the most advanced smart technology, via Wifi, communicating with other network devices with ease and often allowing user control from anywhere in the world. Homes
with thick walls or low signal in areas may benefit from mesh technology, which expands the signal through small, strategically placed plug-in repeaters. Next, decide on your speaker “assistant” — will you be an “Alexa” home? The assistant devices tend to be the central hub for smart home components and automations in most cases.
Smart home technology makes living more convenient, efficient, and secure. Increasingly, smart devices learn from and adapt to user behavior, adjusting settings according to perceived needs and preferences.
A smart thermostat may realize you always turn down the temperature before bed and start scheduling the change automatically — or switch to efficient climate settings when you are away to save energy and money.
Smart home devices include thermostats, speakers, locks, light bulbs, plugs and outlets, security cameras, vacuums, and even lawnmowers. Devices are controlled through mobile apps and/or via home assistants embedded into phones or voice-
activated devices, like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby, or Google Assistant.
The News-Press went to social media to find some popular answers and see what exactly people had on their minds when we asked our readers “what’s your ‘go- to’ on home technology?”
Responses fell largely into three categories, with security being by far the most essential to participants. Many mentioned using Ring doorbells, which allow homeowners the ability to monitor, record, and track activity on their porch — and famously warn potential burglars of their misfortune. Wyze Cam was also mentioned, and many other brands and devices are available, though these two were popular among our readers.
The next most common category of smart technology implementation is convenience — devices that take care of chores or tasks we don’t want to do.
This includes devices like Roomba, one of many robotic vacuum cleaners on the mar-
ket, and among the most popular commercially-available consumer robots in existence. Roomba and other robot vacuums use a combination of sensors a nd algorithms to navigate and clean floors, with some even emptying into a larger receptacle when full, then returning to where they left off to finish the job. The ability to automatically vacuum floors has been made more popular as increased competition drives prices down.
Other convenience-focused smart devices include thermostats (a survey favorite was the Nest brand), many of which learn your heating and cooling preferences, automatically adjust to your schedule, and save energy by optimizing your home’s temperature.
Increasingly affordable and, as a result, increasingly common are smart light bulbs, with Philips Hue well-established as the most connected, highest quality, and by far most expensive — though expanding options have finally started moving even Hue bulb prices down, and integrated control-
ling “hubs” in assistant devices like the Amazon Echo allowing users to mix-and-match without losing features.
The third category for smart technology centered around entertainment. Many smart speaker assistants have made their way into third-party devices, such as TVs with built-in Alexa that allow users to control music, set alarms, and even shop online. They can be connected to other smart devices such as lights, thermostats, and security systems allowing for hands-free control of various functions. Popular smart speakers include Amazon Echo and Google Home.
The world of smart home technology is just beginning. As the adoption of this technology in your home continues to grow, one thing homeowners must consider from the beginning are security risks and privacy concerns associated with internetconnected devices in their home. Homeowners should take steps to secure their smart devices, access to home internet, and personal information.
A Crash Course On Roof ReplacementBY BRIAN REACH FALLS CHURCH NEWS-PRESS
Replacing a roof is a generally unwelcome task, but with solar photovoltaic (PV) shingles, synthetic slate, and even green roofs becoming more affordable, many are considering whether it’s time to replace an aging roof —or upgrade to solar.
Most homeowners are pursuing a roof replacement for the first time, which can be overwhelming — and an abundance of scams are poised to exploit that inexperience. To assist, I’m providing readers with a crashcourse on roofing — what’s available, costs and longevity, and how to avoid scams.
Roofing typically consists of overlapping layers of tiles or shingles made of asphalt composite, wood, metal, clay, concrete, slate, or synthetic (rubber). The cost per square foot ranges from $1.50 for low-end asphalt to $30 or more for slate shingles. Labor is usually charged by the square foot as well, ranging from $2 for a basic install to $8 or more for a metal roof. Our best cost estimate for a typical, 2,000 sqft, total roof replacement is roughly $25,000 for asphalt, $35,000 for wood, $50,000 for syn-
thetic slate, $60,000 for clay/concrete, $70,000 for metal, and $80,000 for slate (based on an average of high and low estimates for each material and corresponding labor costs across multiple sources).
The life expectancy of roofing options varies dramatically, from 12 years for low-end asphalt to the immortal clay tile (which needs only spot replacements when cracked).
Slate and concrete boast 50+ year life spans as well, however these as well as clay will result in a heavy roof, which may not be possible without reinforcement. If this is the case, consider synthetic (rubber) slate tiles, which are lightweight, typically guaranteed for 50 years or more, and much less expensive.
Over the past decade, the cost of producing a megawatt hour (MWh) of solar energy has dropped over 80 percent, from $378 to $74 (the average home uses about one MWh per month). With the cost per MWh of coal just north of $120, solar is now officially cheaper than coal (in fact, cheaper than any source other than on-shore wind).
Many homeowners are especially interested in a solar roof install due to the Inflation Reduction Act, which
expanded and extended tax credits for clean energy upgrades through 2032, including a 30 percent credit against solar installation costs and battery costs. While installing a home battery system, you can also enjoy 30 percent tax credits on vehicle chargers, electrical work, and any other related upgrades you want to knock out while the discount applies.
A solar roof, unlike the roofmounted panels of the past, generates electricity directly from the shingles. Active glass solar tiles are combined with steel roofing tiles based on the amount of energy production desired, and a home battery system is required in many cases, so pricing varies greatly. There are several options out there, however two stand out, with Tesla and Luma producing more than double the energy of other competitors. Tesla sports the top (class A) fire rating, 120+ mph (category 3 hurricane) wind rating, a class 3 hail rating, and a 25-year warranty. Luma sports a whopping 200+ mph (category 5+ hurricane) wind rating, and a 25-year warranty, but falls short with a class 3 fire rating. The estimated cost for a typical home installation typically starts around $55,000 — though costs could exceed $75,000 based on con-
figuration and roof size. Tesla only replaces entire roofs, however Luma can accommodate a partial install — and claims to be upgradeable.
Scammers abound in contractorland, but a few basic things will protect readers from most attempts. First and foremost, avoid unsolicited offers from door-knockers and stormchasers — and don’t let them inspect your home, even if they claim to see urgent damage. Unless you can see an imminent change in your roof, any urgency being expressed is likely a pressure tactic. Similarly, don’t trust claims of leftover materials from other jobs being available, or any noncontractual arrangement.
If concerned about possible damage, call your insurance company and have them do the inspecting. Before allowing someone into your home to inspect, take pictures of your attic and roof beforehand, so you can identify any damage done during inspection.
When seeking any contractor work, always reach out to at least three companies with verifiable reviews and references and receive detailed quotes. This will help identify any unusual items. Ensure that the contract includes a full scope of work, including the lead time, duration, and detailed explanation of the installation and steps for the job.
Before signing any contract, be sure that you have personally verified the credentials and insurance of the contractor. They should, at minimum, have a current Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation License (contractor’s license), a VA-61A Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance, proof of General Liability insurance, and a manufacturer certification.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, trust your gut. If you feel pressured, or if anything feels off or uncomfortable, walk away.
Open House Sunday: 1-3 • $949,900
236 IRVING STREET, FALLS CHURCH, VA 22046
Pristine 4 bedroom, 3 full bath home on a quiet street just minutes to Metro and all that Falls Church has to offer. Sited on a 11,626sf lot with a spacious interior, numerous updates and incredible views of nature from the rear screened porch, this lovely home has been beautifully maintained through the years. Come fall in love!
Presented by Colin Middleton 703-522-0500 Office, 703-201-8712 cell
920 Park Avenue RENTED In 48 Hours!
We worked hard to ready this home for rent in Falls Church City. The house went on the market on Friday and we had an approved application on Monday morning! Building trusted relationships with owners and putting the work in upfront is so important. That’s why we are obsessed with helping local home owners and professionals get the most from property management services.
Responsive. Dependable. Local. Put
City Offers a Variety of Neighborhoods for Every Demographic
Located on the streets of Park
Pennsylvania, Lee and Fulton, the Great Forest neighborhood is of walkable distance to city favorites, such as Mary Riley Styles Library, Cherry Hill Park, State Theatre and Northside Social. With Memorial Day in
is also a great place to view the city’s annual Memorial Day festival and parade, as it is a key
ums and 55+ apartments, Winter Hill has been a neighborhood staple in the city since being rooms and one and a half baths, while the apartments consist of 80 units in the neighborhood.
Winter Hill is also walkable to Falls Church City Town Center and Cherry Hill Park, and is right across the street from the Broadale Shopping Center. For the upcoming summer months, a pool is provided for all ages.
Cherry Hill Townhomes
Built between 1978 — 1979, the Cherry Hill Townhomes are located near Winter Hill, meaning that residents in these townhomes can enjoy Winter Hill’s pool. Most of the townhouses consist of three bedrooms and two and a half baths. Similar to Winter Hill, these townhouses are right across the street from the Broaddale Shopping Center, as well as Big Chimney Park.
A “newer” community to the little city, Founders Row has already got locals talking about the many amenities the
Continued on Page 17
apartment building offers. Verso
Founder’s Row offers one bedroom and two bedroom apartments for those 55 and older, while Modera has studio, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments. Both Verso and Modera offer fitness facilities, an outdoor pool and clubrooms, while also being located above various shops and restaurants to enjoy. Look out for a movie theater
Tinner Hill is a historic AfricanAmerican neighborhood that hosts various important houses, parks and monuments in the neighborhood. Tinner Hill Park, the Arch monument and the historic Henderson home on South Maple Street are just some of the many meaningful landmarks in the area. Apartments in the neighborhood include the Pearson Square Apartments and the “newer” 455 Tinner Hill that offers one to two
The neighborhood is also a walk away from restaurants such as Borek G, Pizzeria Orso and Happy Tart, as well as local theater Creative Cauldron. Other close landmarks include the history panels, historic brick walk on South Washington Street and historic sidewalk on South Maple Avenue in front of the Henderson House.
The Greenway Downs neighborhood “straddles” both Falls Church City and Fairfax County, as it is located on South Washington Street and Lee Highway outside of the city. Built in 1941, the neighborhood mostly consists of single family homes and offers various amenities on both the city and Fairfax county sides.
On the Falls Church City side, the neighborhood is near Oak Street Elementary School and a well-known path called “The Greenway that connects five blocks of houses. On the Fairfax County side, “The Greenway” is also present and is near the John Mastenbrook Greenway Downs Park.
Hosting houses built from 1941 through 2020, the Virginia Forest neighborhood offers living spaces with 5 bedrooms and four to 6 bathrooms. The neighborhood is also near Oak Street Elementary School, a good area for growing families with younger children.
Broadmont/East Falls Church
Houses in the Broadmont/ East Falls Church neighborhood range from four to six bedrooms and two to five bathrooms. Built between 1918 through 2021, the neighborhood is close to various parks and a playground, such as Fort Taylor Park, Donal South Frady Park and Benjamin Banneker Playground. It is also a walkable distance to the East Falls Church Metro and Eden Center.
Located on the streets of
Hillwood Avenue and South Cherry Street, Whittier Park are mostly townhomes that have three to four bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.
Located between the city and Seven Corners, Hillwood Avenue offers a variety of houses built from 1936 through 2013. The location of this neighborhood allows homeowners to enjoy various restaurants, shops and entertainment venues in both Falls Church and Arlington at a small distance.
Considered a “smaller” neighborhood in the city, Falls Park enters on Parker Avenue off of West Street, and is near Oak Street Elementary School. Various parks, such as Berman and Roberts Park, are also close by to enjoy the great outdoors.
Meet Your Home Experts
My family and I live in Falls Church, where we take pride in building leading-edge custom homes that increase energy efficiency, require minimal service, and are very durable. All Zimmermann Homes come standard with upgraded products and building techniques designed to add value and make the home more comfortable to live in. We are passionate about working together with our clients to build these innovative homes that combine a level of performance and beauty that is tough to find elsewhere.
SALES@ZIMMERMANNHOMES.COM • ZIMMERMANNHOMES.COM
Kelly Milspaugh Thompson, Stylish Patina
Kelly Millspaugh Thompson is a Falls Church City native and small business owner. Kelly opened Stylish Patina, Home + Gift Boutique in Falls Church in 2013. A few years ago she expanded her service offering to include Real Estate. She now melds her love of Real Estate and Interior Design into a one of a kind full service offering for her clients. This has proven to be a unique and highly sought after combination of skills. Her extensive experience in home decor, interior design and home renovation provides a broad area of expertise that she can bring to her clients both on the buying and selling side of the equation. If you are looking for a Realtor with a designer’s eye contact Kelly for your no obligation consult!
703.835.5385 • longandfoster.com/EllenHeather
Kathy Pippin, Samson Properties
As a local realtor who lives and works in the neighborhood, Kathy is a huge contributor to the community through organizing charity events and volunteering. She believes in giving back and that is one of many reasons her clients like to work with her. She recently was nominated for the SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR award. To learn more about her, scan the QR code in her ad in this issue!
“Kathy is a wonderful realtor and I highly recommend her. Recently, I needed to sell my house in Falls Church and Kathy guided me throughout the process. She is kind, honest, and a good negotiator. Whenever I had a problem or question, she would promptly help me. She did an amazing job with staging my house, photos, brochures, advertising, and even made a video. Kathy is very professional and always goes above and beyond.” -David
703.386.7896 • KathyPippinProperties.com
Peake Management & Realty
A passion for real estate, this Northern Virginia native leads a team of exceptional colleagues in helping clients navigate through buying and selling property. While specializing in identifying good investment property, Lindsey works with all types of properties and is proud to have the company named the top property management company in Falls Church four years in a row. It speaks to the level of competence of the entire staff. An avid investor herself, Lindsey can share first-hand experience and guidance to make the transaction experience as easy as possible.
703.408.2153 • peakeinc.com
MODERA FOUNDERS ROW & VERSO
Welcome to Founders Row - Falls Church’s newest retail destination, managed by Mill Creek
Residential. Founders Row is home to two residential communities - Modera Founders Row, a luxury apartment community, and VERSO Founders Row, an exclusive collection of designer 55+ apartment homes. There are many restaurants and retailers on board (Chasin’ Tails, Nue, Roll Play, Ellie Bird and Club Pilates to name a few!), creating a one-stop shop for its residents.
“Founders Row was always envisioned to elevate the dining and entertainment experience in the City of Falls Church,” said Joe Muffler, managing director of development. Enjoy shopping, dining and luxury amenities right outside your door!
571.370.3201 • Versofoundersrow.com
Alison Miller, Keller Williams
Alison Miller have been in the DC and Virginia residential real estate market as a full-time professional since 2008 as a buyer, rehabber, seller, commercial property owner, and Keller Williams Falls Church agent helping others buy and sell. Prior to going into real estate full-time I earned an MBA degree with dual concentration in information technology and real estate finance. I worked for 25 years in the information technology industry as a Senior Manager and Director for organizations including Marriott International and Fannie Mae. Put my 360-degree real estate experience and technology skills to work for you!
703.298.9495 • email@example.com
Colin Middleton Long and Foster Realtors
Colin sold her first home after only 2 weeks in the real estate business and hasn’t stopped since. She has seen the buyers’ market of the 90s to the multiple offers of the 2000s and everything in between. A former client says it best, “Thank you, Colin, for your wisdom, patience, understanding and guidance in the buying and selling process. We could not have done this without you” KM, Arlington. Consider putting Colin’s 35 years of experience to work for you.
703.201.8712 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Pam Micciche Realtor® at HBC Group - KW
Pam Micciche is a top agent at the HBC Group of Keller Williams. The HBC Group has been in business in Northern Virginia for more than 40 years and has sold over 1,500 homes valued in excess of $1.5 billion. The team consistently sells 100+ properties annually ranging from multi-million dollar luxury estates to $300,000 condominiums and townhomes.
A native Washingtonian, Pam has lived in Falls Church City for almost 20 years. She is a pro in establishing trusted relationships, negotiating toward a meeting of the minds, and keeping her clients’ best interests front and center. Put the team and her expertise to work for you!
703.371.9343 • Pam@HBCGroupKW.com
Tori McKinney - ROCK STAR Realty Group, KW Metro Center
Wow! A lot has changed in the real estate industry over the last few months.
My ROCK STAR Realty Group and I are here to help guide you with your home sale and get you into your new home. We have helped over 30 sellers & buyers in 2023 already … despite extremely low inventory. How can we help you with your next move? Give ROCK STAR Realty Group a ring at (703) 867-8674, and we’ll get started on your real estate journey. We are here for you every step of the way.
703.867.8674 • RockStarRealtyGroup.com
Meet Your Home Experts
Ellen G. Heather, REALTOR ®
Ellen G. Heather, REALTOR ® specializes in helping Buyers and Sellers throughout Northern Virginia. No matter what stage of the home buying cycle you find yourself – Ellen can open doors for you! And if you find yourself ready to move on down the road, Ellen will partner with you to market your home professionally and expeditiously. Having spent years as an international retail buyer, Ellen is an effective negotiator proficient in handling deadline-oriented transactions across multicultural boundaries. Ellen, a resident of the City of Falls Church, is a full-time, top-producing REALTOR in the Long & Foster Arlington / Falls Church office that provides concierge-level service to her Buyers and Sellers throughout northern Virginia. Put her energy and experience to work for you, she is your real estate solutionist. If you know Ellen, you know this to be true, for your family and hers ... it’s all about home …longandfoster.com/EllenHeather and 703-835-5385.
703.835.5385 • longandfoster.com/EllenHeather
The Gaskins Team
The Gaskins Team is here to help you successfully navigate today’s real estate market, whether you are buying, selling, investing, developing or simply relocating. Our team members live and work in Falls Church and DC, and consistently offer superior local expertise. Our modern marketing technologies will ensure you get exactly what you need to sell your home for maximum value. Lasting client relationships are a hallmark of our exceptional service. We are a regional favorite and have been recognized by local publications as one of the best real estate teams in the industry.
703.722.0725 • Team@thegaskinsteam.com
FOXCRAFT Design Group
FOXCRAFT Design Group is in their 34th year as an award-winning design build firm and general contractor. What is the secret to longevity in such a competitive marketplace? “We understand adapting homes for growing families and the importance that a neighborhood plays in family life,” explains FOXCRAFT president and owner Chandler Fox. FOXCRAFT is among the most creative, experienced design/build firms in the region, specializing in meeting clients’ budget expectations and overcoming ever changing national and county codes, regulations and guidelines. “We’ve done it all,” Fox says. “Clients come back to us many times for additional projects. We are problem solvers and trusted advisors.”
703.536.1888 • FOXCRAFT.com
Bethany Ellis, Long and Foster
Bethany Ellis owns and operates a highly successful real estate business in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. She is an experienced Realtor® whose goal is to exceed your expectations. Her knowledge of the local market, attention to every detail, excellent negotiating ability, and effective communication ensures that your real estate transaction will go smoothly from start to finish. Bethany has direct access to lenders, home inspectors, new home developers, settlement groups, and local service providers (painters, plumbers, carpet suppliers, handymen, electricians, plumbers, and more). If you’re looking to find a new home, build your dream home, get market statistics for your home or neighborhood, sell your existing home, make improvements to your current home, buy or sell an investment property or need answers to any real estate questions, make Bethany Ellis your real estate resource.
703.307.7003 • buyandsellwithBethany.com
Chris & Matt Earman – Weichert, Realtors
As a lifelong resident of Falls Church City, I’ve experienced first hand the growth and changes to the local and regional Real Estate Market. My Past experiences in mortgage & finance, running local small businesses, volunteering, being involved in the local school systems, and building relationships over the past decades, gives me a unique perspective and advantage in representing my clients in the local Northern Virginia Real Estate Market. I am fully committed to providing you with a higher level of service that will make your real estate experience as easy and stress-free as possible. The recent addition of my son Matthew Earman to our team of experienced Agents, has given us more flexibility and availability for our Clients. Please call us for a “No Obligation” consultation, for all of your Real Estate needs.
Chris (Cell) 703.628.4541 Chris@EarmanRealEstate.com
Matt (Cell) 703.328.4563 Matt@EarmanRealEstate.com
JD Callander and Ed Blanchard
JD Callander and Ed Blanchard with Weichert Realtors both call Falls Church City home and bring over 25 years of combined real estate experience and passion to their work. They are well-known and respected agents and demonstrate success through integrity in all that they do. They understand the market, are attentive to details and truly care about their client’s needs. They also love giving back to their beloved community through sponsoring the FCC Memorial Day Fun Run, HTG Games benefitting Falls Church City ES/PTA plus many smaller events. This year they’re adding a new annual trash event and hope to see you there!
703.821.1025 • newnovahome.com
Buchanan & Groom Real Estate and Investment
Bruce Buchanan and Bill Groom graduated from Yorktown High School in 1978 and have remained in the area focused on all things real estate ever since. Bill is a 2nd generation, award-winning agent. Bruce has been in real estate for more than 30 years and is a licensed agent and broker. He has managed repairs and renovations for two decades, honing in on a passion for property management. Together, they have close to 80 years of combined experience in Northern Virginia real estate and truly understand the profession from the ground up.
571.766.6108 • buchanangroomrealestate.com
Albert Bitici, The Bitici Group Keller Williams Metro Center
Welcome to the spring market of 2023… which looks a lot like the spring market of 2022! Interest rates have stabilized in the 6’s and buyer demand continues to outstrip supply. Busy open houses, multiple offers, waived contingencies are commonplace again as sellers rejoice. The opportunity for sellers to cash in on the favorable market conditions continues…at least for now. Who you are in business with matters… now more than ever.
Several years ago, I created THE BITICI GROUP with a focus of providing the right advice to clients, backed by the highest level of customer service, and the best marketing. To show your house in the best light, we hire top designers, writers and photographers... Which is why The Bitici Group attracts forward-thinking clients and exceptional real estate to prove that fantastic results are achieved with a tailored approach.
For a smarter, personalized approach to buying, selling and investing in real estate, contact THE BITICI GROUP at KW Metro Center.
571.775.0468 • 703.224.6000 • thebiticigroup.com
Julie Andre, Senior Mortgage Loan Officer
Julie Andre is an area native and highly experienced Senior Mortgage Officer with UNFCU, lending in all 50 States. She provides valuable solutions and education for all home loan types and sizes. Julie provides individualized attention to borrowers from pre-approval through closing. First-time buyers, move-up buyers, downsizers, self-employed, investors, second homes, cash buyers seeking delayed financing, foreign nationals and more. In addition to weekdays, Julie is available evenings and weekends.
703.237.0333 • JAndre@unfcu.com
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