1811 Cranberry Lane/ Reston, Va.

A Most Comfortable Way to Enjoy the Reston Life Style $639,000 1811 Cranberry Lane is located on a cul de sac, situated high on the hill, peering down at the neighborhood from above. The neighborhood is a tree lined model for what Reston stands for: clean; quiet; and carved out of nature. The subdivision is […]

via 1811 Cranberry Lane in Reston: High on the hill, on a cul de sac Convenient to everything. — Ray Wedell

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1811 Cranberry Lane in Reston: High on the hill, on a cul de sac Convenient to everything.

1811 CranverryExtFrontDirect

A Most Comfortable Way to Enjoy the Reston Life Style


1811 Cranberry Lane is located on a cul de sac, situated high on the hill, peering down at the neighborhood from above. The neighborhood is a tree lined model for what Reston stands for: clean; quiet; and carved out of nature.

The subdivision is beautiful, with only single family homes. Neighborhood has winding walking trails, pools, and only a mile from the Silver Line Metro.

Recent upgrades are almost too many to mention:

  • American Standard High Efficiency Heat Pump/AC Unit installed
  • Entire interior recently painted
  • New floring in lower level.
  • New Kohler toilets installed
  • Wood blinds and cellular shades.
  • Main Level Bath room vanity installed
  • 45 foot Pennsylvania variegated flagstone walkway.
  • Kitch plumbing replaced
  • Lower level bath room with new vanity
  • Work benches and storage benches added in garage
  • New Kitchen floor installed
  • Garage door rollers and springs replaced
  • 2 red maples, crape myrtle, and other plants added in back yard
  • New clothes washer/dryer
  • New refrigerator
  • Window/screen repair
  • New lighting in lower bath
  • Roof inspected in 2017 before listing.



Contact for showing or for information.

Ray Wedell, Realtor

Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA

Samson properties




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Want to Sell More Real Estate to Millenials?

Try this: Treat them with the same professionalism you treat everyone else

For the past few years, I have attended endless Realtor training sessions, and numerous seminars on the subject of “How to better sell to millennials.” It has reached the point at which I simply cannot stay silent on the wasted time real estate agents waste “studying” this, nor the absolute waste of time and money attending these seminars.

Background – The real estate industry has changed dramatically in the past few years, as we all know. Much of this change is not for the better. The one change that every real estate brokerage seems to accept is the need to categorize potential buyers and sellers according to their age bracket, and “teach” their agents better marketing skills geared at the likely behavior and thought patterns of people in each age bracket.

To conduct this same type of training by “teaching” agents how to best market to any other type of buyer/seller profile would be considered discriminatory, and rightfully so. Can you imagine any of the following: “If you are trying to list a house with a black couple, you should ______.” Or this: “When dealing with white women professionals, you should market this way:_____.” Or this: “Latinos take more time making a decision, so market them this way:______.”

As ludicrous and unlawful as any of the above may seem, it has been open season on blanket categorization of people who are in certain age brackets, with the expressed purpose of defining: who they are; what behaviors they likely exhibit that you can exploit; the types of entertainment they enjoy (so you can make the proper “small talk”); or maybe how often/how quickly you need to respond to the people in each bracket (you see, millennials have a shorter attention span and need to get a more immediate response….or so I am told).

The training of real estate professionals has deteriorated over the years to focus mainly on marketing and sales techniques and games, and moved further from efforts to develop a higher level of expertise and professionalism, which is what clients really want. Endless cottage industries attempt to get in our pockets with better “lead generators” or seminars with “marketing experts”, some of whom are embarrassingly similar to the Hollywood depiction of pushy 1950’s salesmen.

It is 2017. People are tired of attempts to “market them.” They see through such attempts, and want to know that there is significant steak behind the sizzle. But the overwhelming amount of training these days focuses on creating better sizzle. Nowhere is this more true than in the declarations of how to market yourself to “millennials.”

I am a Baby Boomer generation guy, yet I have done quite a bit of real estate activity with “millennials.” I have found they want the same thing every other person wants: professionalism; market knowledge; honesty; less fluff; accessibility within reason; a professional who is easy to talk with and informative of the real estate contract process, from beginning to end. I do not try, and they do not want me to try, to impress them with my knowledge of what “cool concert” is coming to town, or force some faux knowledge of the entire local restaurant scene. They understand when I am at dinner and request to call back in a short while (unlike the training courses, most of which claim that millennials demand an instant response, lest their impetuosity cause them to leave you and go to another “more responsive” agent.

Despite all this “training,” here is what I have found: People of all agents expect the same things from their real estate agent. And within each category, I am likely to find as many differences among people as I will find when jumping across an age category.

  • Authenticity sells.
  • Knowledge sells.
  • Negotiating ability, and proven track record of working well with other agents, sells.
  • Cost/price matters, and cannot be explained away with phony boastfulness.

These are constants across the board.

So rather than knocking ourselves out trying to be more in tune with different age categories of buyers, I recommend the following.: Be a consistent professional. This will do more to help you gain references and sales than any gimmicks or false “research” on the habits and desires of different age groups.

I look forward to hearing your feedback from this post.

Thank you.


RayGoldStripedFull Samson Logo

Ray Wedell, Realtor

Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA









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In 2001, the Johnny Miller-designed Golf Club of Virginia was opened to much fanfare in a heating-up Northern Virginia market. The incredibly beautiful venue was expected to be the crowned jewel of Virginia, and the centerpiece for the estate homes being built high above the fairways at the Beacon Hill development.

By 2006, the golf course was closed due to financial difficulties, and the ensuing real estate market collapse ended any real hope of rejuvenating the course at that time. The prices for many of the gorgeous estate homes plummeted.

However, this is prime property, and the course layout is spectacular. It had to come to pass that eventually there would be a viable plan to redevelop the golf course, which would reinvigorate the incredible estate homes in the community. That time may be upon us.

The Beacon Hill Homeowner’s Association acquired the Golf Club of Virginia at Beacon Hill two years ago, and may be in the final stages of reaching an agreement with private investors to re-open and reinvigorate the dream of a world class golf facility at Beacon Hill. The rough sketches of the plan include leasing golf parcels, making required major renovations, and reopening the golf course as a private club.

The proposed new name for this facility is “Belle Terre Golf at Beacon Hill”. Not only is it planned to renovate the golf course, but the clubhouse facility plans to have a fitness center, tennis and swimming as well. This is a different concept from the Johnny Miller-designed facility in 2001, which consisted merely of a gorgeous but excruciatingly difficult golf course and a temporary pro shop.


The long, scenic Seventh hole, dogwood left, of the old Johnny Miller layout.

Details of the plan are still a bit sketchy, but this much we know. The HOA bought the 330-acre golf course for $1 and also paid off the back property taxes of $25,000. The new golf course is being charted, but my knowledge of the layout and property leads me to believe that any ultimate golf course design should be spectacular.

Beacon Hill has suffered from the reputation as a failed golf course community. I have made the point frequently that this is an overstated objection to people looking at these homes, given that the quality of housing, beauty of the land, and overall ambiance in this estate community justifies current pricing and then some, regardless of whether or not the golf course exists. However, returning a viable world class golf course would likely cause a surge in home values long overdue at Beacon Hill.

The new clubhouse is said to be a renovation of the 12,000 square foot home on Hidden Hills Road, constructed almost 30 years ago for its former owner, a Saudi prince. The current owner aid $750,000 for the property in 1996.

The plan is heavily dependent on current home owners “buying in” to membership in the new club at $15,000 per year. The theory here is that the community needs to support the club to provide the vitality needed. There will also be a need to re-zone much of the land from agricultural use to golf course use.

The ownership and purported ownership of the Beacon Hill golf course has had a checkered history, which may be the biggest obstacle of all in gaining community confidence going forward. The current plan is being headed by Jeffrey Milton, CEO of resort developer BTS Development Corporation, and local partner John Steele. If the plan is implemented and the golf facility resuscitated to anything close to the original dream, values in Beacon Hill should surge forward.

This plan is ambitious, and certainly without its risks. At some point, however, faith in the magnificence of this property will prevail. Let’s hope that time is now.


Ray Wedell, Realtor

Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA

Samson Properties








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Beware the games Realtors may play, and yes, commission charges are very important

Background – We live in a digital age, an age in which virtually every industry is undergoing massive change. Those who attempt to cling to decades-old orthodoxies cannot and will not remain competitive for long. That is a 21st century reality.

We accept this reality in almost every major industry in the world. But despite economic reality and technological changes which are gripping the world, enhancing our lives, and making us more productive in almost everything we do, there remains one industry which is often viewed as bound and determined to resist it all: the real estate brokerage industry.

There is no longer any reason for buyers and sellers to be locked into paying high fees to sell a home, nor for the buyers not to participate in the commission pay-out if they buy a home.

A Quick Review of the Status Quo – Let’s be honest with each other:  as a homeowner and future seller of your home, you cannot understand why virtually every real estate brokerage office, and almost every Realtor, presents the 6% commission level as the “base” payment you must make to have the privilege of allowing them to sell your home. You say that is outrageous? Of course it is. But it is still today’s reality.

Given the enormous improvements in technology and information flow, this mentality will eventually doom the traditional brokerage model. But the traditional industry hangs tough in 2016. Inman News, a distinguished real estate publication, posted an essay by James Hussaini last year, entitled “Why the traditional brokerage model is obsolete”. A link to this outstanding article is below:

Why the traditional brokerage model is obsolete

Rarely do I read an article with so much substance in which I do not question at least something; however, Mr. Hussaini’s analysis is so sharp and on-point that I want to thank him for sparing me the time and effort to write a similar piece myself.

Many are beginning to challenge the existing orthodoxy, with good success – A year ago, after reading Mr. Hussaini’s article and realizing that continuing to pay monthly fees (some refer to it as “alimony payments”) to a longstanding company for little more than a company brand and logo was illogical, I switched to Samson Properties. At the time, Samson had maybe 700 agents; a year later we have about 1,300. This is testimony that the desire for better agents to seek more freedom, flexibility, and business cost savings is very real.

The most obvious intrusion into the status quo has been the introduction of Redfin as a full service brokerage operation. The traditional brokerage offices are unified in using the term, “discount brokers” when the subject comes up that Redfin, and others, are willing to charge substantially less to sell your home. Statements such as, “you get what you pay for” creep into the discussion, but such condescension does not pass logical scrutiny: if this statement was a universal truth, why does every Realtor at a “traditional firm” cling to the same 6% number? Is the new agent as valuable to the seller as your 30 year veteran? Then why are they both charging the same amount?

There is no reason a good agent cannot charge substantially less than the traditional model and provide better service – The idea that there is a linkage between price paid and value given, as an absolute, was buried many decades ago. It needs to be buried in the real estate business. Initially, Apple was often accused of “undercutting the market,” because they produced quality products people wanted and charged less than the soon-to-be-obsolete competitors. And Apple clings to the “fair price for quality product—don’t ask for a discount” model.

In my personal business, I attempt to follow the Apple example. The listing fee is 4 1/2%. Why waste so much time in a listing appointment discussing Realtor commission, and doing a “value proposition” song and dance? Let’s discuss how to best market, promote, and sell your home instead.

Zillow is often seen as a major “threat” to the existing legacy firms, but they are a major reason the full service agent can reduce costs, expand market knowledge, and  reduce cost to the seller, while making more money- The “new age” technologies and entrepreneurs driving these business models amaze me. I heard Zillow’s founder, Rich Barton, say that the name Zillow is short for “zillions of bits of information.” Nobody accumulates and dissects real estate data in a more meaningful and user-friendly way than Zillow. I have had the honor and pleasure of meeting and discussing the business with Zillow’s President, Spencer Rascoff, who is clearly at the forefront of technological change and spearheading breakthrough changes enhancing all of our knowledge…if we choose to use it.

Like other past products and service delivery techniques which resisted change and tried stop their own legacy dominance from slipping through their fingers, many (if not most) Realtors and real estate traditional firms have been training each others in ways to “combat” Zillow. What a shame. The Zillow model is designed to help Realtors better serve customers, and it should be embraced and used by both the customer and the Realtor. Rather than trying to poke fun at the “inaccuracy” of Zilllow “zestimates” or ignoring the many positive, user-friendly features of Zillow, too many continue to try to preach a mythical “value proposition” game of their own. The short of it is this: the Realtor community as a whole works to develop statistical games to make you believe they present extraordinary “value”, which a “discount broker” could never, ever provide. Often the “factual” numbers do not really support their conclusions, and I will discuss that in a minute.

A major difference in Zillow and Redfin, given that most people incorrectly lump them into the same bucket as on-line information providers: their business models are totally different and they are major competitors to each other. This is as much a philosophical difference as anything. Redfin is an actual brokerage firm, which divides the sales process into many buckets, and the payment to agents is mostly salary. Zillow has no interest in being in the brokerage business, but makes all its money through agent advertising/fees. Zillow has a vested interest in understanding the sales process and working with commission-based, highly motivated, people whose goal is to learn and use the always-improving tools at their disposal. So it is logical for agents to team with Zillow as partners, and have the Zillow information and knowledge as one of the many arrows in our quivers. The traditional agency objection to Zillow, and other technological improvements to our business, is mind-boggling to me. There is no reason why a full service agent with great skill cannot provide superior service while also charging “Redfin prices”.

However, all you need to know is this: in today’s world and that of the future, technology has educated the customer as never before. This is a very positive development, and makes the Realtor’s job much more efficient, while putting a premium where it should be placed: promotion and marketing skills (with much of this knowing/understanding promotion and marketing on the web); negotiating skills and knowledge, based on financial acumen; hiring an agent who is comfortable as the face of your home and an advocate for getting you the highest possible/logical price for your home; willingness to understand every seller’s unique position and skillfully adjusting strategies, as necessary (as opposed to a “one size fits all” presentation method taught in most brokerage meetings). And more.

Beware the following “facts” which many will use to claim some sort of sales superiority- There is an old saying that, “When you have been around as long as I have, you have seen it all.” I disagree. Everyday, I see something new.

And what is “new” in the competitive Realtor business is an attempt to promote some sort of “value proposition” by both firms and more often, by individual agents, based on numbers which seem logical, and may indeed be factual. However, the facts and numbers do not really support any sort of superiority conclusions at all, and in fact, may point out a defiency.

Let me provide two examples of statistical numbers many try to promote as being an indication of their “superiority”, and  a means of determining your list price which is fraught with deficiency. You have undoubtedly heard these before:

  • Days On Market – For an individual agent, there is nothing at all magical about having a history of “fewest days on the market” for their listings versus others. In fact, it may be a negative to the seller. Rather than assume that this is a measure of sales superiority, which it is not, it is more likely a measure that the agent is pricing their listings at a low level, and the low price is driving a quick sale. If faced with similar homes in similar neighborhoods, one priced at, say $475,000 and the other at, say, $500,000, are you believing the $475,000 sold quickly because of an agent’s superior sales skill? Of course not. In fact, if any individual agent is consistently selling homes very quickly across a broad range of neighborhoods, the first question you should ask is, as always, “Why?” And that answer is likely because there is a consistent pattern of listing homes at a low price.
  • Selling Homes At a Higher Percentage of List Price – This is related to the days on market, and is a function of the same mentality. The listing agent sets the listing price and their is nothing to support that this is a true “market value”. So to use that to compare to other agents’ “inability to get full list price” when they are listing at a much higher, and more market-driven, price level and then accepting lower-than-list contracts is, quite frankly, a fraud. Compare these two scenarios: 1) Agent One lists a home at $450,000 and it sells in two days at $450,000; 2) Agent Two lists the neighbor’s similar home at $495,00, and it sells in 75 days at $480,000. Who did the better job? We both know the answer, although Agent One is likely to parade his/her “superiority” because, “I got full list price and sold it in only two days!”
  • The misuse of MLS-driven “Market Analysis” Charts to Get you to “Price Realistically” – Let’s get this out of the way immediately: The oft-used “you must price your home ‘realistically’ ” approach is a by-product of much traditional brokerage sales training. This theory is that if you price slightly below market, your home will sell quickly, and the agent can not only get paid immediately, but then claim skill in “quick sales at list price.” The MLS-driven “CMA”(Competitive Market Analysis) is a nice tool for general information, but the inputs are in the hands of the Realtor, and the results in no way tell you true value. Nothing can replace the knowledge and experience of an authentic real estate professional who knows your market, the current trend in supply/demand, and the many other factors which make these pricing decisions more of an art than a science. Logical knowledge of recent sales is important, but knowledge of the factors leading to that sale are at least as important. Beware of a CMA which is constructed to generate a slightly below-market estimate as the “real” list price for your home. And understand that the inputs to any CMA can often be quite arbitrary.


Don’t get trapped by the above misuse of statistics. The Listing Agent’s job is to get you the highest possible price for your home, and to do so at the lowest cost to you. Pricing low for a quick sale (especially if also charging 6% sales commission) is something the seller needs to protect against. Of course, every seller’s needs are different, and these individual needs should be a major factor in setting list prices.


The above is the opinion and analysis of the individual agent. It is not meant to be the opinion of Samson Properties, or any agent, working for Samson Properties.


Ray Wedell, CFA, Realtor

Samson Properties

Zillow Premier Agent





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With credit given to Zillow CEO, Spencer Raskoff and Zillow Chief Economist, Stan Humphries

Chapter 12 of the book, “Zillow Talk”, is entitled “March Madness: When to List Your Home”. After crunching endless data over many years, the authors conclude that conventional wisdom to list early in the year is generally correct; however, they focused on “how early”?

After analyzing 4 million homes in the Zillow data base, homes listed in the last week of March sold for the most money and sold the fastest. They conclude that the trick in this time frame is that sellers are listing early enough to not get lost is the blitz of “spring market” listings, yet late enough to not dawdle on the market in the cold winter days.

Many buyers these days sift through available listings many times before buying. If their peak interest level is in, say, early spring, it is perfectly logical that listings which pop up in late March or early April will look “fresh”. In 2011 and 2012, the national average for homes listed in March showed sale prices 2 percent higher and maybe half the days on the market.

To put this all in layman’s terms, Mssrs. Rascoff and Humphries recommend the following. The bold type is theirs, to emphasize their point:

“Put your home on the market after you fill out your NCAA March Madness basketball brackets, but before someone slips on an ivy-green jacket at the Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National.”

According to the data, and the empirical logic, that time is now.

My thanks again to Spencer and Stan.

Ray Wedell, Realtor

Samson Logo

Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA

Samson Properties






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9729 Lawyers Road in Vienna, Virginia:3/4 Acre in Prime Location

9729 Lawyers ExteriorFront


One mile from the heart of downtown Vienna lies a beautiful 3/4 acre parcel of land at 9729 Lawyers Road. The home is a split foyer, beautifully renovated and expanded. The property is not part of any home owner’s association (HOA), and property values throughout this close-in location have been extremely strong and in demand by those looking to build larger, modern homes.

9729 Lawyers Road has more than doubled its original size through renovations and quality build-outs. The fabulous property is fenced in, with a large storage unit built in the back. Hardwood floors grace the huge kitchen and first-floor master bed room.

Skylights warm the kitchen area, and a separate dining room and sun room on the first floor add to the overall character of this home. On the lower level, a wood-burning stove in the expansive family room provides the warmth of a comfortable home while throwing off enough heat to warm the entire level.

A seven car garage allows for endless possibilities, not the least of which is storage for a vintage corvette.

This is a quality property. Please feel free to contact me for a showing or more information.


Ray Wedell, Realtor

Zillow Premier Agent

Samson Properties

Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA





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