"There's no place like home. . . there's no place like home. . . there's no place like home." Home for The Belt Team is Vienna, Virginia. Please stop by frequently and share with us all the things about life in Vienna that make Vienna truly the best place to live.

Welcome to Vienna, Virginia

Monday, February 23, 2015

Athens Meets Athens. In Vienna.

Just like there's a "Vienna, Virginia" and a "Vienna, Austria" - there is also an "Athens, Georgia" and an "Athens, Greece". And this month, Athens (GA) met Athens (Greece) right here in Vienna (VA)!

Yes, this month Vienna welcomed another new restaurant to Maple Avenue. It's called "Zoe's Kitchen" and the restaurant's style is a mix of southern hospitality and Mediterranean-inspired flavors. Sounds like an offbeat combination, doesn't it?

 Well, Zoe's Kitchen is a chain named after Zoe Cassimus. Zoe was born in the Mediterranean and raised in the South. It wasn't exactly Athens, GA and Athens, Greece - but it was "the South" and "the Mediterranean". Now it all makes sense, right?

 We stopped in to Zoe's last week and we give it a thumbs-up as a nice addition to the dining options in Vienna. A few things need to still be worked out though:

Parking: We arrived fairly early for lunch - right when they opened at 11AM. We did that purposely because this was our 3rd attempt to try out Zoe's. The other two attempts failed because we couldn't find parking. By the time we left at noon, the same issue existed and traffic was backed up onto Maple Avenue once again.

Cooking Time: The ordering process is similar to that found at Noodles & Company. You order & pay at the counter, serve your own drinks and then they give you a stand with a number on it. When your food is ready, it's brought to your table. We didn't wait too long. But we noticed quite a few people waiting for to-go orders, many of whom ordered right after us and were still waiting after we finished eating.

 Hopefully, these are just issues that come with opening week jitters. The food itself was tasty. Very flavorful. And not your "same old same old". It was fresh. And the menu is both healthy and imaginative - with lots of options for both meat lovers and vegetarians. Take a look at the menu.

Every person we encountered was super friendly. And the atmosphere was clean, bright & cheerful. It's a great place to grab lunch during the work day, meet friends for a snack and it's also a good family spot for dinner. They even have wine & beer available for the adults.

Welcome to Vienna Zoe's!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Vienna Real Estate: Year In Review Plus Current Trends

If you’re thinking of buying a home in Vienna in 2015, then you’re probably wondering things like:
  • “How long are homes on the market?”
  • “Will I have to pay over list price or can I get a deal? Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market?”
If you’re thinking of selling a home in Vienna in 2015, you’re probably wondering:
  • “How long will it take to sell my house?”
  • “Will I have to negotiate my list price? Seller’s Market or Buyer’s Market?”
Even if you're not buying or selling right now, you may just be curious about what your home is worth.
Well, let’s look at 2014 statistics as they are often an indicator of what you can expect:
  • Average Days on Market in Vienna: 44 days
  • Sold Price as % of Original List Price: 97.5%
Terry Belt, CEO of The Belt Team commented, “Last Spring we saw lots of competition for the best listings in the market. As spring became summer, and summer turned into fall – the market slowed a bit and became very price sensitive. Time will tell as to what 2015 has in store, but The Belt Team is already working with a number of Buyers and Sellers in Vienna and the market has started out briskly. In 2014, this was also the case – and homes that sold in January/February sold for an average of $16,000 more than those that sold in March/April.”
(Note: Belt Team Buyers are eligible for our FREE Priority Notification List for new listings not yet in the MLS. Call 703-242-3975 for details.)
If you’re selling a home, your next question may be – “Is there a way to sell faster and for more than average?” And the good news is YES!
The best way to do that is to hire the real estate team with the best proven track record of success in Vienna. And THAT is The Belt Team. Check out Belt Team statistics for Vienna home sales:
Over the past 10 years, The Belt Team has consistently sold more homes in Vienna than ANY other agent or team. With $371 Million in sales (416 homes) – that’s $76 Million more! And 45% more homes! There are more than 10,000 agents in Northern VA. No others have sold more than $100 million in the past 10 yrs!
Vienna Real Estate Stats 2015     Vienna Real Estate Stats 2015
In 2014, Belt Team listings in Vienna SOLD ALMOST A MONTH FASTER than the average agent’s.
Translation? Our Sellers saved almost a full mortgage payment and had a lot less stress from keeping their homes in “showing condition”.
  • Average Days on Market – The Belt Team: 20 days
  • Average Days on Market – “Average Agent”: 44 days
In 2014, Belt Team’s listings SOLD FOR 2.2% MORE of list price than the average agent’s. And for a higher percentage than ANY other top team/agent.
(As an example, a Seller of a $900K home would have pocketed almost $20,000 more!)
  • Sold Price as % of Original List Price – The Belt Team 99.7%
  • Sold Price as % of Original List Price – “Average Agent”: 97.5%
Cal The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975 if you would like to buy or sell a home in Vienna. Not only do we sell more home in Vienna, but many of our team members have lived here for years. Terry Belt & Christy Belt Grossman grew up in Vienna, have lived here since 1972 and are now raising their families in Vienna. Kevin Klefiges has also lived in Vienna since he was a child. Jerry & Gail Belt live in Reston now, but lived in Vienna for more than 30 years. We know the schools, the parks, the commuter short cuts, the history and all the things that make Vienna a most special place to live. Not only do we sell homes in Vienna, but with genuine enthusiasm & experience, we sell the entire community.
 Don’y you deserve the BEST Realtor in Vienna?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Celebrate Christmas Around the World

Looking for a wonderful respite from the craziness of the malls & shops?

Or maybe you need some Christmas music to get you in the holiday mood?

Perhaps you're curious what carols are sung in other parts of the world?

If so - there's a wonderful concert happening in Vienna this Saturday (December 20th). Vienna Choral Society is presenting "Nowell e Navidad - Christmas Around The World".

Not only will you hear the Vienna Choral Society (who are top notch!), but you will be treated to guest performances from the children of the Bridges Choir and the Vienna Jammers! (Sounds like this show will be rockin!)

In addition to traditional Christmas carols, they will share songs sung in Latvia, Scandinavia, South America & the West Indies. What fun! You can travel the world, without leaving your seat, AND the show is family friendly. Children under 14 are free with a paying adult. (Seniors get a discount too!). You can buy tickets online or at the door. Shows starts at 4:30PM at Vienna Baptist.

Live music is just one of the many things we love about living in Vienna. And it sounds like this is a do not miss event!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hearts of Gold in Vienna

There's a quote from Maya Angelou that goes like this:

"Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold -- but so does a hard-boiled egg."

Well, I am happy to say there are no bad eggs here. The people of Vienna have true hearts of gold.

How do I know?

Well, here's just another example.

Last week an urgent message came across my email from CHO. CHO is an ALL volunteer organization in Vienna that helps the poor in Vienna, Dunn Loring & Merrifield. (And yes - they unfortunately do exist right here in our midst.) They provide emergency financial assistance, meals on wheels, transportation, food, clothing and more.

Well - last Saturday was supposed to be CHO's annual toy shopping day for approximately 400 needy children. Five days before the event, CHO found out that the company who normally makes the biggest donation to support them each year would not be able to donate. Christmas was in jeopardy.

Out went an emergency notice to their ListServ and I posted it on my Facebook page.

Less than 24 hours later a little birdie told me that the problem was solved because of two big Vienna hearts.

One of my Facebook friends happens to be Sandy Booze, Office Manager for Sekas Homes. She saw my post, did some research & brought CHO's plight to the attention of another person with a great big heart - the owner of Sekas Homes, John Sekas.

John & his wife Darcy immediately reached out to CHO with an offer to make them whole and that same day CHO received a check. They are people of action, not just people of good intentions. And this is not the first time the Sekas Family has been so generous. In fact they have quite a reputation in the community for doing things like this.

Christmas for 139 families happened last Saturday thanks to John & Darcy Sekas and many hearts of gold in the Vienna community. Kudos to them and to the many volunteers at CHO.

If you would like to donate to this wonderful local Vienna organization, you can find details on how to donate to CHO here.

(And if you want to live in the awesome Town of Vienna, VA - you can search Vienna homes for sale here!)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Road Trip!

"Road Trip!"

Who doesn't love hearing those words?

So spontaneous sounding . . .  

Filled with excitement . . .

Potential adventure in the air . . . 

And you KNOW it's going to be fun!

Well - if you're looking for excitement, adventure, spontaneity & fun - but you don't have time to REALLY take a road trip - then you'll want to get a ticket for this season's first show from the Vienna Choral Society.

Vienna Choral Society has four shows planned this season (their 28th season!). And "Road Trip" is the inaugural event. December brings "Nowel e Navidad" (Christmas Around the World). In March they will present "Text & Sound" (When Music Paints A Thousand Words). And May's Concert for a Cause will be "Someone To Watch Over Me" (Everday Heroes). This last concert will be in partnership with the 2015 World Police And Fire Games, the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, and the Vienna Police Department.

This Saturday's show (October 18) will be an evening of music about people, places, unforgettable memories, and the open road. So grab your friends for a road trip and get your tickets online here. Shows starts at 7:30PM at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax (2709 Hunter Mill Road in Oakton).

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

4 Things To Know About Vienna For Your Next Cocktail Party

Next time you go to a cocktail party in Vienna, and you hit an awkward patch of conversation, here are four conversation starters:

1. Did you know that the entire student body at Madison High School was assigned the same book for summer reading? It's called "Peak". Have you read it?

2. Why do you think the Town of Vienna has so many mattress stores? You'll find Sleepy's, Mattress Discounters, Savvy Rest & Urban Mattress all within a few blocks of one another. (I'm wondering if Vienna really is a sleepier town that I think!).

3. Did you know the average home price in Vienna this year is up 8.7% over last year? When did you buy your house? (Side note: I built my house in 1986 and paid $139,700. It's now assessed at just under $700,000 and would likely sell over $800,000.)

4. I love trying all kinds of foods. Did you know there are more than 20 types of ethnic restaurants in Vienna - Greek, Mediterranean, American, Italian, Asian Fusion, Persian, Iranian, Irish, Afghan, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Latin American, Thai, Chinese, French, Vietnamese, Pakistani, Lebanese & Indian! What's your favorite?

Happy Gabbing!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vienna Virginia - Meet The Neighbors

One of the things I love about living in Vienna is the people.

In fact, let's re-phrase that.

Probably the MOST important thing I love about Vienna is the people.

Vienna-ites are kind hearted & generous. Some have lived here for decades. And some are new transplants. You'll find senior citizens, young families, teenagers, empty nesters, singles & more. But after living here a while, what you realize is that Vienna-ites are the kind of people you like having as neighbors. And in a world where many people don't know their neighbors - that's kind of a cool thing.

The neighbors on my street are typical of what you find all over Vienna - whether in the Town limits - or in the neighborhoods in the surrounding Vienna zip codes. We have a few neighbors who have lived here since the homes were built in the 50's. And some who have torn down the old homes and built new homes for their growing families. Recently, my neighbors gathered for a "Men's Dessert Cook Off". A few months before that, it was for Happy Hour. The neighbors on the next block over have an annual Block Party. Gatherings like these happen all over town.

What I find interesting about living in Vienna, is that your neighbors often have all kinds of "mysterious" lives & careers. At one point on my block, we had an FBI agent, a CIA agent and a Fairfax County policeman all living within about 10 homes of one another. None of them really talked about their "day jobs", but we all certainly felt safe!

Vienna has also had its share of notoriety over time. "Back in the day", the Vienna Inn was known as the place to go if you were CIA - a good hangout where no one would blow your cover. At least that's how the story goes. And Vienna is also where Robert Hanssen lived. (Hanssen was one of the most well known spies ever arrested. And Foxstone Park in Vienna was where his "drops" were made.)

Keeping with the spy theme, you might also recognize the name of another Vienna resident - David Baldacci. Baldacci has written a myriad of well known novels involving the White House, CIA, Secret Service & more.

Quiet a few other "names" live in Vienna - whether professional athletes, politicians, CEO's - too many to list here. The thing is - when you live in Vienna, most people just aren't impressed by "names" and "what" you do. They are impressed by "who" you are. I've found that most of my neighbors are authentic, genuine good peeps. And that's JUST the way I like it!

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