4 Things to Know Before Investing: Exploring Reston, VA Real Estate

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4 Things to Know Before Investing: Exploring Reston, VA Real Estate 7

Virginia is for lovers…of life, that is. And if you find yourself living and working in the V side of the DMV, there’s no better place to be than Fairfax County–especially Reston. 

It’s a thriving suburb for DC commuters who want access to a big city while still keeping that small town, open community feeling. It’s home to many major employers who are going strong and a popular location for those looking to raise families. 

In short, it has a little something for everyone. If you’re looking into Reston, VA real estate, here’s what you need to know to get started. 

1. Where is Reston? 

Reston is part of Fairfax County, Virginia in NOVA. Unlike Rosslyn, which is a hop, skip and jump away from DC, or Alexandria, which is further south and prides itself on its historic Old Town, Reston is for those who want to be a bit more removed from the hubbub. 

In fact, Reston is out past Tysons Corner, McLean, and Wolf Trap, almost all the way to Dulles Airport. Granted, Dulles is approximately a lifetime away from civilization (just ask Maryland commuters).

Reston is at the far-flung corner of Fairfax County for transit users, to be sure, but it’s actually quite accessible as long as you have a car. It’s only 20 miles out of DC, an easy commuting suburb for those with a car. 

2. The History of Reston

Once upon a time, Reston was the idea of a Harvard-educated Manhattanite named Robert Edward Simon Jr. (his initials, R.E.S., spell the first three letters of Reston), the scion of a wealthy real estate family. 

Simon spent much of his career in New York, but he remains indelibly linked to Reston, his planned community created in the Virginia countryside in the 1960s. 

Reston was a departure from Simon’s other projects, which were largely commercial (shopping centers and the like). After selling Carnegie Hall to New York City in 1960 for a crisp $5 million, Simon needed to invest his profits before they were hit with a capital gains tax.

A real estate broker told him about an area that had just become available outside Washington, DC. It had three major attractions in close proximity: a superhighway (the Capital Beltway), a world-class airport (Dulles Airport), and a high-speed access road (Dulles Access Road) linking the two. Simon was intrigued. 

Simon’s background in commercial shopping centers shows through in his vision for Reston, which includes a series of shopping plazas each serving a “village” of 10,000 to 12,000 residents. He also included 35 houses of worship, 21 schools, an industrial park that would employ half of Reston’s workforce, and a downtown area. 

Simon’s goal was to create a self-contained community where fathers did not have to be harried commuters, as he was early in married life. Instead, he built a community where parents could work, do their shopping, attend the ballet, have dinner with the kids, and more without leaving town borders. 

It’s a vision that’s still paying off in Reston in 2020. 

3. Is Reston a Good Investment? 

4 Things to Know Before Investing: Exploring Reston, VA Real Estate 8

These days, it seems that nothing can slow the breakneck pace of development in Reston, with a surge in housing developments and high-rises leading to more than 1,200 properties changing hands in 2018. 

For Reston homeowners, this was actually a point of concern. 

Despite the surge in available housing, average home prices have been going down for the last several years after a major surge following the housing crash in 2008. 

However, that’s actually fantastic news for investors. 

Now, with home prices going down, you can actually secure a property for cheaper than you might have otherwise, and that will help your profit margin as demand for housing in Reston continues to go up. 

4. What’s the Average List Price for a House in Reston?

Pricing in Reston is reflective of the larger DC market–which is to say expensive

The Reston housing market is highly competitive, with Redfin placing the average home price at around $446K with an average 35 days on the market and homes selling for just 1% under the list price. Plan on having at least $300K to break into the market at all. 

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It’s a high number compared to the rest of the country (after all, DC is one of the most expensive housing markets in the country) but relative to the rest of DC, it’s par for the course. 

Reston is also riding on the rising real estate value in the whole of Fairfax County thanks to the Amazon effect–Amazon’s HQ2 is arriving in National Landing, formerly Crystal City. 

What About Condos?

4 Things to Know Before Investing: Exploring Reston, VA Real Estate 9

Condos in Reston are priced just as high, going for a median price of $333K as of January 2020. 

Keep in mind that although housing developments and high-rises are popping up like weeds, Reston as a whole is decidedly suburban. This is also related to the fact that Reston is primarily comprised of homeowners rather than renters, with renters occupying just 37.3% of the Reston population

However, the rate of housing development means that apartment complexes outnumber single-family houses and townhomes, which means you have more options if you’re willing to invest in apartments. 

Looking Into Reston, VA Real Estate?

Ready to invest in amazing real estate along the silver line? If so, we’re here to help make your dream a reality. 

We know Reston, VA real estate like the backs of our hands because we have decades of experience in the DC housing market as property managers, renters and leasers. We apply that knowledge and philosophy to all of our services. 

If you’re ready to see what life in Reston can be like, we’re ready to make it happen. Click here to get in touch. 

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Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

Owner Portal Reports
  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

Enhanced Rent Roll Report
  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

Unit Comparison Report
  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

Income Statement by Month Report
  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

Owner Portal Documents
  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

Owner Portal Property Statement

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Month over Month Statement

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Owner Portal New Message Screenshot

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

Portal Conversation Response Screenshot
  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Owner Portal Comment

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Portal Conversation Snapshot

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

Owner Ledger Dates
  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

Ledger Property Column
  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

Owner Ledger Description Column
  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

Owner Ledger Amount Column
  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

PW Portal Filters

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

PW Owner Dashboard View

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Owner Portal Ledger View

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

Owner Portal Document Library

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

Portal Reports View

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Owner Portal Bills View

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

Portal Bill Details

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.