second kitchen

The typical answer is “no.” Creating a second kitchen in the basement would change your “single family home” into a multi-unit home. These type of homes are often restricted through zoning and are typically found in densely populated areas. However, there are exceptions for special circumstances and some jurisdictions allow a second kitchen with restrictions or in special circumstances. In Arlington County you have two options. Accessory Dwelling (AD).  Per Arlington County “an accessory dwelling is a second dwelling with kitchen, bathroom, and separate entrance on a single family lot. In Arlington, ADs are only permitted inside single-family detached houses, e.g. in a basement, on the second floor, orRead More →

landlord washer dryer

A stacked front-load washer/dryer is a great space saver – particularly in a small home or condominium. While front load stacked units are prone to vibrations if the floor isn’t solid and the units are not aligned properly it can be remedied with a piece of plywood and/or some rubber blocks. The main issue with stacked units from a homeowner or landlord perspective starts when one of the units decide to break. If the model is still being made you may be able to replace one of the units. However, more often than not, the particular model is no longer in production. If a stacked washerRead More →

Smoke detectors in Virginia

Smoke detectors save lives. No home should be without at least one, and in most cases there will be multiple. In newer homes code requires there to be a smoke detector outside every living area, on every floor and inside each bedroom. The smoke detectors in newer homes are required to be hard wired, connected together (so if one goes off they all do) and to have a built-in battery backup. Those things are great ideas for older homes too but what is the minimum smoke detector requirement in our area? Per Current Virginia Maintenance Code VMC 704.2 you would need smoke detectors in ALLRead More →

Housing Choice Voucher tenants (or “Section 8 Program tenants”) are common in many jurisdictions in Northern Virginia. It is a federally funded and locally administered program to help low income families, the elderly and people with disabilities obtain safe and affordable housing from private landlords. A landlord usually first becomes aware of the program when a potential renter calls up asking “Do you accept housing vouchers or Section 8?”. The question is – should you? Well, I would say it depends on you. Some landlords actively seek out Housing Choice Voucher tenants while others are less open to the idea. Yet others are totally against it for theirRead More →


Making a quick buck flipping homes seem easy on TV – purchase a run-down home, paint and replace flooring, put in some new grass and then sell for a huge profit. In real life things get more complicated though. The Washington Post ran a story a while back about a beginner investor learning the hard way that easy money is far and between. I often get inquiries from buyers looking for a good fixer upper or an investment to flip. They’ll typically give me their info and tell me to call them when I find a “good deal.”  Good deals do exist. There are people making a good/decent living in todays market flipping homes. Locating properties at aRead More →

Homes for sale

Over the years we routinely receive calls from people looking to purchase investment properties in the Tysons Corner area. At Soldsense Realty we do a lot of purchases and sales in Tysons Corner and also own our own investment properties. We  also manage properties for others through our property management company called Red Umbrella Management. A common question is whether prices will go up in communities around the new metro stations in Tysons, whether prices and rents will go up or down in general and what type of investment financing is available.Read More →


If you followed our earlier articles in this series  ”The Craig’s List Ad“, “7 Questions You Are Allowed to Ask“, ”The Showing Appointment” and read our articles on Overcrowding, Renters Insurance and “My Tenants’ Dog Ate My Hardwood” you should have a good idea of what lies ahead as a landlord and be prepared for the final step – qualifying and selecting your tenants! So, lets say you met some nice tenants at your property and one you particularly liked fit one or more of the following: They were as polite can be – they came on-time (actually it looked like they had already been there for a while checking itRead More →


Being a landlord is stressful and challenging at times. The move-out inspection and subsequent security deposit disbursement even more so. You may have had wonderful experiences with a tenant that always paid on time. You may have baked them apple pie for the holidays and sent birthday cards to their children. However, when they move out and it comes time to assess the condition of the property (and return the deposit), all that is water under the bridge. Fights over security deposits is a “favorite” in small-claim courts throughout the country. Fights can and do get personal and in the end it usually ends up about “beingRead More →


We did an article on overcrowding a while back (Overcrowding in Fairfax County – When is One More Tenant One Too Many) that has received a lot of hits on our website. That goes to show that there is a lot of confusion out there as to what is allowed and what is not allowed in regards to limiting occupancy. The conflict is generally between HUD (that typically deems reasonable occupancy to be 2 persons per bedroom) and local jurisdictions and building codes (that calculates reasonable occupancy based on square footage of the bedroom.) As few agents and landlords want to get a Fair Housing violation, theyRead More →