4 Point Friday – Pocket Neighborhoods, Smart Switches, Yard Coaster, House From The Sky
“Pocket Neighborhoods” Moving From Concept to Trend?
In a mashup of topics I’ve covered here on numerous occasions this piece from Fast Company looks at a tiny house project as an answer for low inventory of affordable housing. Rather than tear down one home, and build one larger home, a group outside of Atlanta opted to create a micro community of 8 small, 250-500 square foot homes in an effort to offer high demand affordable options.
I point this out in part because we already have a somewhat similar community in Falls Church in the Railroad Cottages, which were completed last year. The Railroad Cottages were at a very different price point and are an age restricted community, but the general concept holds up. I can see opportunities for additional similar projects in our area as well. Just like they had in the Atlanta project, there are zoning issues, but as with the Railroad Cottages here, when there is a plan, and openness from community leaders, those changes are quite possible.
New “Smart” Switches From GE More Broadly Useable
Yes, yes, I know I just posted recently about how your Alexa device is probably listening to you, as is your Smart TV. However, if that doesn’t bother you these smart switches from GE may be right for you, and with one small but major adaptation, they may be right for many more of you than other smart switches on the market.
Until now, available smart switches required a ground wire. This meant anyone living in a home built prior to 1980 & without an updated electrical system could not benefit from the technology. With these new switches from GE that ground wire is no longer required, nor is a central hub to control them. Combined, those features make these switches available to a much more broad population.
This Man Built A Roller Coaster In His Backyard
A pool sound like too much maintenance? Swing set too basic? Perhaps you can take a page out of Will Pemble’s book and go another route entirely.
Because his son suggested it might be cool, Mr. Pemble went to work building a roller coaster in the family’s Northern California back yard. See for yourself, this little coaster looks like a legit thrill.
By the way, the one you’ll see you’ll see here is not the first, and you don’t have to get very far into the video to realize it won’t be their last either.
Your Own Personal Home Flyby?
The day may have come where you no longer have to be pilot in order to do a flyover of your own home. Already a fan favorite since the early 1980’s, Microsoft’s Flight Simulator program is having it’s first relaunch since 2012 later this year. Within the game will be 3D map renderings provided by Bing maps which, by all accounts so far, create a stunningly lifelike experience.
The author of this writeup did, in fact, fly over his own house during his personal “test flight”. I’ve never been much of a gamer, but this sounds amazing, and it’s possible it could be approved by the FAA for actually flight simulation.
Here’s a link to a couple of in-game video captures if you’re interested in seeing more!
4 Point Friday (10/11) – Nats Win!, Beige is Back, Mayans From Space, Farm Day
See. You. Later! Nats Win! Nats Win!
Okay it wasn’t a ‘walk-off’ grand slam, but what an amazing game 5 for the Nationals as they earned their first NLCS birth since a major league team was brought back to Washington!
Whether or not you watched only game 5, or the entire series against the Dodgers, one of the biggest things that stood out for me was manager Dave Martinez standing behind his lineup, particularly his veterans. On Wednesday that meant sticking with a reeling Stephen Strasburg despite giving up 3 runs early. Most managers would have pulled him after that to “stop the bleeding”, but Strasburg went on the throw 4 scoreless innings before being taken out at his normal pitch count.
And who replaced Strasburg? Patrick Corbin, who had just been shelled for a 7 run 6th inning 2 games earlier.
Then, after committing his 3rd error of the series, it would have been understandable to “stop the bleeding” defensively and replace Howie Kendrick, but he was left in and now famously delivered the decisive Grand Slam in the 10th inning.
Game one against the St. Louis Cardinals is tonight at 8:08pm in St. Louis. There are limited tickets still available if you would like to catch one of the NLCS games in person.
Beige Is Back: But This Is Not Your 90’s Beige
My apologies to any of you who have agonized over paint color choices in recent years. According to designers surveyed by Sherwin-Williams, gray is out, and beige is back.
If the lead sample is any indicator though, we’re not talking about the beiges of the 90’s and early 2000’s, this beige still looks pretty gray in nature. So, what we are talking about is not dissimilar to the previous trend, which is away from colors with more yellow hues and those with a more grey base.
Mayans From Space: Archeology Moves To Satellite Imagery, And you Can Help.
A researcher from the University of Arizona discovered 27 previously unknown ancient Mayan sites… while sitting at his computer in Arizona.
Using what’s known as LiDAR (Light detection and ranging) maps, Takeshi Inomata was able to use imagery capture from the air to see features researchers are unable to see from the ground.
Using such imagery to make monumental discoveries has now become common place, with several major discoveries made in the years after Sarah Parkack, the “Indiana Jones of low Earth orbit”, won the TED Prize in 2016 for her plan to crowd source Space Archeology. The product of her Ted Price, GlobalXplorer has been up and running for a couple years, so now you can participate in the discovery making! Check it out, and get your inner Indiana Jones on!
Falls Church Farm Day: Petting Zoo, Pony Rides, Pumpkin Painting & More
Looking for an activity over what should be a beautiful weekend in town? The annual Falls Church Farm Day will take place on Saturday from 10am-3pm.
The beginning of the event will be in conjunction with the weekly Farmers Market, so if you are not interested in hayrides, and petting adorable bunnies, you can opt to come out and shop from some fresh veggies, and delicious hot crepes.
Activities typically included pony rides, a petting zoo, hayrides, pumpkin painting and more.
4 Point Friday (10/4) – Netflix Bed, Bird Ride, Surface Duo, Public Goods
Netflix Bed: A Smart Bed Built For Your Laziest of Sundays
Forget that TV on the dresser, or mounted in the corner of the bedroom, this smart bed with full retractable HD screen will redefine breakfast in bed, or staying up to watch the game.
That said, the makers of the HiBed have a “bigger picture” in mind (shameless bad-dad-joke). The bed also monitors sleep patterns and movements, adjusting temperature according to comfort preferences. The bed also tracks body weight, noise levels, and air quality. The maker of HiBed, Hi-Interiors, says they “dream of a world in which our living space will listen to us more and more and will be the key to our well-being, becoming our next and ultimate walk-in smart device.”
- Bird Ride: Avatar Step Aside… It’s Scooter Time
Just a few weeks ago I was posting about Disney World and the Flight of Passage Ride in Animal Kingdom. Well now I’m really upping my level of adventure, and throwing all caution to the wind. Alas, I have taken my first ride on a Bird… scooter.
With one of the cars due for service and the Starbucks several blocks away I was confronted with some Bird Scooters just outside of the shop. I figured, why not? The first ride turned out to be a dud as the battery lasted about 10 seconds, leaving me ride-less for the rest of my trek to Starbucks. The Starbucks parking lot was well stocked, and the return voyage was much more successful… and enough to confirm my suspicion that these things are indeed a death trap, though a fun one.
I’ve noted previously that the business model for these scooters was under heavy scrutiny. As it happens Bird seems to have come along way in improving their cost models and just landed another round of funding, so it appears they scooters are here to stay for now, and continuing to propagate, spreading well into the suburbs.
Apple Killer: Did Microsoft Just Squash Apple in One Move?
No, we can assume they did not. However, Microsoft is making some waves with their latest product announcement. In an unusual move Microsoft announced two new devices, unusual because they are so new they won’t be available for another year.
On Wednesday the Surface Duo, and the Surface Neo were revealed. Both devices are foldable, split screen units. The move is notable largely because Microsoft has long been almost strictly a software company, but with these two new Surface devices launching as a complement to the beautifully designed and increasingly popular Surface laptops, some believe Microsoft will be giving Apple a run for their money.
In fact, in my over 25 years of using Graphic Design software, such as the Adobe Suite, Apple has always been the top maker of hardware to run these systems on. Now, it is commonly thought that the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is the best laptop for these purposes. Though the MacBook Pro remains a close second.
- Public Goods: The Products & Food You Need Without The Middle Man
After a successful Kickstarter a year or two ago, Public Goods is rapidly maturing into a provider of everything from Shampoo to Olive Oil. So, what is Public Goods? Public Goods set out to provide the sustainable high quality products and foods we use on a regular basis, but without the high costs of the normal marketing and distribution channels.
A bottle of shampoo is $4.50. A pound of organic ground coffee is $6.50, and so on. If you’re interested in saving some money on some of the items you use on a regular basis give them a look. Note: we’ve not tried Public Goods yet, but we’ve talked about it, so if you give it a shot I’d love to hear about your experience!
Thanks everyone! If you found any of these items interesting please feel free to pass it along to someone!
9/20/19: Welcome to 4 Point Friday! I’m more excited about this weeks email than I have been in a while. If you like what you see I would love to know so I can look for more of the same! More importantly, if you see something you like over the next week, please pass it along! I’m always keeping an eye out for interesting things happening out there!
Here are this week’s 4 Points…
Google Wing: ‘Launching’ In Virginia. Shipping via… FedEx?
Wing, a sister company of Google under parent company Alphabet, announced yesterday that they will be launching a pilot program in Christiansburg Virginia [neighbor to Blacksburg, VA aka Virginia Tech… and where I went to “The Mall” in college] that will deliver online orders by drone to an approved selection of homes. The program will be in partnership with FedEx and Walgreens.
While Amazon has grabbed most of the headlines in drone delivery since 2013, Google X (Google’s ‘Moonshot Factory’) has been working toward the same goal since 2012. I know, just 1 year more, but these days in technology a year is an eternity. I’m presuming here, but unfortunately for us here in the DC Area, drone delivery may be a long way off with our 3 major airports, and the seat of government in our backyard, but it’s still cool, and awesome that the pilot is in Virginia!
- Red Rider B-B Gun Inspires… Energy Storage?
We’ve heard about carbon sequestering, but there is a new technology being tested in Canada that would take excess energy generated by wind, solar, and other renewable resources and store it as compressed air to be released through a turbine later as needed. So on a cloudy or calm day rather than tap into fossil fuel power or battery back ups, the energy provider would release pre-capture energy in the form of this compressed air.
I’m particularly excited to see where this goes because, to me, a system built on battery back ups is just kicking a new problem down the road. Outside of the materials needed to make battery back ups being expensive and scarce, what do you do with all those batteries (and the concentrated chemicals in them) when they have exceed their useful life? There is room for improvement in efficiency compared to batteries, but for me there should be room for that given the dramatic reduction in long term waste.
Okay, it’s a reach in terms of a parallel, but when I saw this piece talking about using compressed air to store excess energy I went straight to A Christmas Story and the Red Rider B-B Gun.
REI – Used Gear: Changing Seasons Doesn’t Have to Break The Bank
Launched in Beta 2 years ago, and given a full release in August of last year the REI – Used Gear section is a game changer for the changing seasons, especially if you have kids who refuse to stop growing! With a system that allows you to pick by condition, you can get the updated gear you need without paying anything close to top dollar, and without the hassle of scouring Ebay.
Kids need new rain boots, or snow boots, or fleece jackets, or anything else that seems to drain the bank account once or twice a year? You’re covered. Not only that, if you have thought about taking up something new like day hiking, or backpacking, but have been deterred by the up front cost the Used Gear section can be a great way to kickstart your new activity with the right gear!
Oh! Prefer Patagonia? They have you covered as well with their Worn Wear section!
- Kelle & Command: Expansive New Keller Williams Systems Give Our AI More Backbone
To be honest, I didn’t join Keller Williams back in 2013 because of anything the company itself was doing. The broker I started my business working under was helping found an office a mile from the house, and I thought that sounded nice and convenient. It just so happened to be the largest brokerage in the world, with the resources that come with that distinction.
However, company leadership has just released an expansive and comprehensive technology system, “Command”, built not only to make our work flows and processes more simple, streamlined and connected, the system also paves the way for me to provide a lot more value to you all! One of those ways is through the company AI, called Kelle. Through Kelle I can now easily send anyone who wants it a quick market snapshot of their neighborhood. I can also set anyone up with a personalized website that tracks market activity updates catered to your specific neighborhood.
If you’d like to see your market snap, or would like your own personal website to watch the market around you shoot me a text! 703.638.9144
Thanks everyone! I hope you enjoyed this weeks edition, have a great weekend!
4 Point Friday (4/26) – Eye Candy, Spring Back, The Shop, TED Founder
A Different Kind of Eye Candy
I often say, you can only sell what you have. Granted, when I say that I’m generally referring to things that aren’t changeable or easily changeable, such as location, bedroom count, etc… This bit of eye candy takes the “sell what you have” mantra to the next level, and slightly out of context. They are trending on Twitter though, so the listing won’t sit for lack of marketing exposure.
There is a stager somewhere who could get some pretty amazing before and after shots.
- Spring Market Update
Coming out of the Easter Weekend the pace of sales took a notable turn downward. Perhaps it is a short term chocolate hangover? I certainly expect things to pick back up as we move into May.
FAIRFAX COUNTY, FAIRFAX CITY, ARLINGTON, CITY OF FALLS CHURCH, CITY OF ALEXANDRIA:
CONTRACTS LAST 6 DAYS: 436 LAST WEEK 571
• Active 10 Days Or Less: 222 LAST WEEK 386
• Active 30 Days Or Less: 373 LAST WEEK 508
CONTRACTS LAST 6 DAYS: 257 LAST WEEK 334
• Active 10 Days Or Less: 97 LAST WEEK 165
• Active 30 Days Or Less: 186 LAST WEEK 257
CONTRACTS LAST 6 DAYS: 178 LAST WEEK 237
• Active 10 Days Or Less: 71 LAST WEEK 135
• Active 30 Days Or Less: 126 LAST WEEK 200
“Makerspace” Opens @ Arlington Central Library
We are pretty spoiled in the DC Area when it comes to entertaining kids on a rainy day. However, not all of those options come without a price tag, and when you are family of 6, like us, those rainy day activity costs can start to add up. As such, we are keen to keep track of the free options out there.
“The Shop” Arlington County Public Libraries new makerspace is now one such free option. The space gives ready access to wood working tools, 3D printers, soldering irons, circuit parts and Raspberry Pi for coding projects, Wacom tablets and pens, Cameo cutters, sewing machines, and more.
Our crew loves getting into the fray with projects and using tools, so we are looking forward to checking this one out!
- Quote I Came Across This Week – Geared Toward College Age or Early Career
“For a while, it’s just fine to follow and support someone else’s dream. In so doing, you will be building valuable relationships, and valuable knowledge. And at some point your passion will come and whisper in your ear, ‘I’m ready.'”
– CHRIS ANDERSON (TED Founder)
4 Point Friday (4/19) – 675 SqFt For 6, Spring Update, Goldilocks, G.W. Carver
675 Square Feet… For a Family of 6
No, that number isn’t missing a zero. This family has made their 675 sqft Pittsburgh apartment (that’s right! we’re not even talking about New York here!) work for them for the last 16 years, and they have no plans to change it.
- Spring Market Update
One note about this week’s update. It has been Spring Break for many, so the market activity has persisted despite that being the case. Easter weekend tends to bring a bit of calm to the market, but I expect the next couple weeks we’ll see the Spring market switch into top gear.
FAIRFAX COUNTY, FAIRFAX CITY, ARLINGTON, CITY OF FALLS CHURCH, CITY OF ALEXANDRIA:
CONTRACTS LAST 6 DAYS: 571 LAST WEEK 547
• Active 10 Days Or Less: 386 LAST WEEK 366
• Active 30 Days Or Less: 508 LAST WEEK 474
CONTRACTS LAST 6 DAYS: 334 LAST WEEK 301
• Active 10 Days Or Less: 165 LAST WEEK 167
• Active 30 Days Or Less: 264 LAST WEEK 237
CONTRACTS LAST 6 DAYS: 237 LAST WEEK 213
• Active 10 Days Or Less: 135 LAST WEEK 113
• Active 30 Days Or Less: 200 LAST WEEK 163
While National Inventory Climbs DC Area Continues to Tighten
A recent Washington Post article highlighted some national trends, included a general increase in inventory, and increases in average days on market. As is often the case the DC Area is operating to a bit of a different rhythm. This is not to say that every home is selling over night for thousands over asking price, but the charts below clearly show a continued trend downward in our inventory that goes beyond mere seasonal shifts.
NOTE: In March, Fairfax and Arlington Counties had “New Pending” sales exceed end of month “Active” listings for the first time in over 3 years. In both cases it was actually the first time since April 2013, a year that represents our current 10 year low for overall inventory.
- Quote I Came Across This Week
“No individual has any right to come into the world and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it.”
– GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER
4 Point Friday (4/12) – Homes of Augusta, Spring Update, SpaceX, Bakeshop
It’s Masters Weekend, A Great Time to List a Home In AugustaSometimes when you try to time the market with a home sale, special events nearby can be a great target. When that event is one of the biggest golf tournaments of the year AND that tournament happens during the peak Spring market you might have a golden combination on your hands. These folks outside of Augusta are certainly hoping the Masters being in town will finally help them sell their home after an unsuccessful attempt last year. I do have to say, they might have an easier time if they included some photos.On a more local level, major event weekends such as Memorial Day in Falls Church, or the 4th of July in Vienna can be great times to capitalize on bigger crowds coming through town. For instance, a home on the parade route with an amazing front porch may be hard to resist that day, while it may be overlooked as being on a busy street on any other day, so being on the market for parade day could actually be a crucial element to a successful sale. Add to the appeal by giving out free hot dogs and drinks, and hosting an ongoing open house for pre-approved buyers.
- Spring Market UpdateThis week most of the numbers below continued to grow. In case you’re wondering, key inventory gaps in the market are detached homes $575k-$750k in Fairfax County (22042 is particularly sparse), and $950k – $1.35m in Falls Church and Arlington. If that fits the description of someone you know who has had any thoughts of selling I would love to talk with them. I’m not one to rush folks, but the data showing why they shouldn’t wait is very clear.FAIRFAX COUNTY, FAIRFAX CITY, ARLINGTON, CITY OF FALLS CHURCH, CITY OF ALEXANDRIA:CONTRACTS LAST 6 DAYS: 547 LAST WEEK 516 • Active 10 Days Or Less: 366 LAST WEEK 334 • Active 30 Days Or Less: 474 LAST WEEK 451 MONTGOMERY COUNTY:CONTRACTS LAST 6 DAYS: 301 LAST WEEK 290 • Active 10 Days Or Less: 167 LAST WEEK 141 • Active 30 Days Or Less: 237 LAST WEEK 212THE DISTRICT:CONTRACTS LAST 6 DAYS: 213 LAST WEEK 225 • Active 10 Days Or Less: 113 LAST WEEK 101 • Active 30 Days Or Less: 163 LAST WEEK 167
SpaceX Did It! All those failed landings paid off last night as SpaceX, after their second launch of their Falcon Heavy rocket, successfully landed both side boosters AND, for the first time, the mission’s center core. I don’t know about you all, but I still get goose bumps when I see this! The video is cued up for just before the booster landing, but if you have time I would go back to the 19:00 minute mark and watch the full launch!
- Bakeshop Buzz in Falls ChurchEvidently, if I really wanted to generate a buzz for my business here in town I should switch to selling cookies and treats! Bakeshop opened the doors for their new Falls Church City location this week and pretty much everyone has been talking about it, and/or already gone. Well! Today I ventured in, and (eventually) made it back home with some amazing goodies for the kiddos to enjoy when they get off the bus! Bakeshop: 100 E. Fairfax St. Falls Church, VA 22046 ••••••••••••
4 Point Friday – Outfield House, Market Update, All The Babies, Useless Door
Designing A Home In The Outfield… of The San Francisco Giants?Yes, when you’re the closer for the San Francisco Giants, and you’re making millions to throw 15 pitches a night not only do you get to design your own villa in Mexico but you get to run through the floor plans in the outfield of San Francisco’s Oracle Park.
- Spring Market UpdateAs we continue to get deeper in to the spring market I thought I would continue to track these 10 and 30 day numbers for a few more weeks.FAIRFAX COUNTY, FAIRFAX CITY, ARLINGTON, CITY OF FALLS CHURCH, CITY OF ALEXANDRIA:CONTRACTS LAST 6 DAYS: 516 LAST WEEK 524 • Active 10 Days Or Less: 334 LAST WEEK 299 • Active 30 Days Or Less: 451 LAST WEEK 437MONTGOMERY COUNTY:CONTRACTS LAST 6 DAYS: 290 LAST WEEK 273 • Active 10 Days Or Less: 141 LAST WEEK 129 • Active 30 Days Or Less: 212 LAST WEEK 218THE DISTRICT:CONTRACTS LAST 6 DAYS: 225 LAST WEEK 228 • Active 10 Days Or Less: 101 LAST WEEK 100 • Active 30 Days Or Less: 167 LAST WEEK 170
It’s The Babies, Not AmazonThe buzz around the Amazon HQ2 move picked up steam this week as the company formally signed a real estate deal with JBG Smith to lease and develop space in Crystal City. The move has also come upon some false accusations, or false credit, depending on how you look at it.A tightening real estate market with prices increasing notably in some places has been credited to the Amazon move, but the view from the inside suggests a different trend is afoot. Meeting low inventory is an influx of purchases from millennials and young families (many also millennials) jumping out of the rental market and into home ownership. The trend happens to be occurring in tandem with the Amazon announcement, but outside of the immediate area around Crystal City, the market impacts are not likely correlated. As a tiny slice of anecdotal evidence, one open house I dropped into recently was absolutely swarmed with people. Not uncommon in and of itself. The notable difference was that easily 80% of the people coming and going were families in their early to mid 30’s, with one child. Thus my theory, it’s the babies, and not Amazon that is currently driving the market. And those babies are being met with a tight inventory, in part because the baby-boomers aren’t moving.
- This Door Is Totally Useless, But Cool