Category Archives: News

Study: Smart Home Tech Adoption Motivated by Comfort, Safety


Comfort and safety are the primary reasons more homeowners are adopting smart home technology, according to a recent study by Scripps Networks Interactive in conjunction with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). “Keeping up” with the latest technology, the study shows, is less of a factor, with three-quarters of those surveyed saying they implement smart home technology “to keep their family safe and comfortable.” Energy-efficiency, as well, is another motivator, with the intention to boost resale value and reduce energy costs.

Millennials are the most likely to adopt smart home technology, according to the study, “to make their home convenient for daily tasks;” those in Generation X, conversely, prefer smart home technology as a means “to make their home a healthy environment.” Baby boomers, in addition, favor smart home technology “to add value to their home.” Eighty-five percent of millennials are likely to add smart home technology to their home, compared to 73 percent of those in Generation X and 67 percent of baby boomers.

The kitchen is the top spot for smart home technology, with those studied purchasing app-enabled, connected appliances, such as a smart refrigerator, motion-activated lighting and voice-activated speakers. Generation X respondents reported the kitchen as the top spot for smart home technology more than any other generation.

Fifteen percent of study respondents cite the front door as the most desired place for adding technology, while 13 percent cite the living room. Forty-four percent cite “energy monitoring” and “light automation” as their most desired tools; computer-controlled or mobile device-operated systems, a doorbell camera and surveillance equipment are also popular.

Smart home technology, according to a recent report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), is becoming more concerning to homebuyers and sellers, who are most interested in privacy and security measures.

Source: Scripps Networks Interactive
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

Peering into the Future of Housing: Predictions for 2017


WalletHub recently announced its 10 financial predictions for 2017, forecasting several economic to-bes in the coming year. Many have implications for housing, including:

Two Rate Hikes

WalletHub is seeing double in 2017, pegging the Federal Reserve to raise the key rate twice—a quarter point each—to bring the target rate to 1.00-1.25 percent. Interest rates, including for mortgages, will follow suit. (Case in point: credit card interest rates went up 24 basis points in the beginning of 2016, after the Fed raised the key rate 25 basis points in December 2015.)

…but Higher Home Sales

WalletHub forecasts existing-home sales to hit 6 million next year, fueled by—wait for it—rising rates.

“If interest rates rise slowly, we may see a nice bump in home sales and mortgage availability as buyers see low interest rates slowly fading and banks have higher rates to buffer against risk,” Dr. Robert Eyler, director of the Center for Regional Economic Analysis at Sonoma State University, told WalletHub.

WalletHub’s estimate is more optimistic than the 5.52 million offered by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

More Time for the CFPB

WalletHub senses the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court this fall, won’t get the boot, even with the “You’re fired” administration taking office.

“[The CFPB’s] good work will be undercut by some politicians, even further than it already has been,” Jeffrey Frankel, professor at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, told WalletHub. “I hope and guess that it will not be abolished outright.”

…and for Credit Scores to Improve

WalletHub has a sunny outlook for credit scores, anticipating the average score to rise to 675 from 668 next year. The reason? Millions of homeowners will see foreclosures and short sales—black marks from the crash—drop off their credit reports, helping their case for a new mortgage.

Source: WalletHub
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2017. All rights reserved.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Outperforms AGAIN!

From the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Blog…

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Demonstrates Sustainable Growth Trajectory


Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Mid-Atlantic continues to outperform the industry in sales volume according to MRIS data. As illustrated above, we had record-breaking double digit growth for the month of October 2016 versus October 2015. And year to date growth (January ’16 through October ‘16) of 42.3% versus MRIS industry average of 9.48%.

“We are constantly at work creating opportunities to provide value to our agents and their clients,” said Kevin Wiles, president and CEO of Mid-Atlantic.

“Managing sustainable growth requires ambition, commitment and dedication,” Kevin said. “Our branch leaders, agents and support staff are the best in the industry – results bear this out.”

This is just more evidence that we really are #GoodToKnow!


Dallas/Fort Worth-Area’s Leading Real Estate Team Joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty

Real Estate News

Did you hear the news?  One of the Top 5 teams in the entire Keller Williams network is now part of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty family!  Russell Rhodes and his team, based in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, just joined our company down in Texas!

Dallas/Fort Worth-Area’s Leading Real Estate Team Joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas #GoodToKnow

Russell Rhodes and The Rhodes Team arrive with a strong service ethic, powerful production history

RESTON, VA  (Nov. 1, 2016) – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty today announced that The Rhodes Team, a production and service leader in Dallas/Fort Worth real estate, has joined PenFed Realty Texas.

The Rhodes Team, led by Broker Associate Russell Rhodes, has been among the top-producing real estate teams in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex since 2012, according to data compiled by REAL Trends and The Wall Street Journal. It is the only group to place among Keller Williams Realty’s Top 5 teams worldwide for sales volume during each of past 10 years. Additionally, The Rhodes Team ranked 47th for transactions and 50th for sales volume across the entire U.S. real estate industry as measured in REAL Trends’ 2016 study of top teams and agents.

“We are delighted that Russell and his exceptional team now represent Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex,” said Rick Wylie, brokerage president. “The Rhodes Team is a production powerhouse with a stellar reputation for client service earned over many years.”

Rhodes said the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand, combined with the strong, local presence of PenFed Realty Texas, will help his team grow and serve more of the area’s real estate consumers. “We’ve been watching the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand and are impressed by its business principles and core values, which are closely aligned with our own,” he explained. “At the same time, PenFed Realty’s growth has been phenomenal and we want to be a part of it.”

PenFed Realty’s ownership – Tysons, VA-based PenFed Credit Union – also attracted Rhodes with its focus on the U.S. military and military veterans. “The military is huge for me; I feel indebted to the men and women serving in our military branches,” he said. “I am proud to join an organization with such a meaningful mission.”

Rhodes entered real estate in 2001 and formed his team shortly thereafter. The Rhodes Team quickly ascended industry ranks with an unwavering focus on customer satisfaction. That satisfaction starts with Rhodes, who operates by the Golden Rule of treating others as you would want to be treated. “I treat my agents with the utmost respect and care, and my agents do the same for their home-buying and selling clients,” he said. “We don’t rest until we’ve met our clients’ expectations.”

Client satisfaction is reflected in the team’s production totals. The Rhodes Team generated nearly $196 million in sales volume in 2015, 61% of which was attributed to repeat customers and client referrals. “We’re in business to represent the needs and best interests of each and every client,” Rhodes said. “This is how we create long-term client relationships – we want our customers for life.”

The Rhodes Team operates with 15 agents and 12 administrators at 3624 Long Prairie Road, Suite 100, in Flower Mound, Texas. Visit

“We congratulate PenFed Realty Texas and The Rhodes Team on their exciting union,” said Gino Blefari, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “We look forward to supporting them and their continued success in the years ahead.”

About Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty is a full-service real estate company with annual sales volume of $3.8 billion with 1,700 sales agents and 50+ offices providing complete real estate services nationwide. PenFed Realty is a wholly owned subsidiary of PenFed Credit Union (PenFed). PenFed is a financial institution with $20 billion in assets and more than 1.5 million members. PenFed Realty is also a member of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brokerage network, operated by HSF Affiliates LLC. Visit PenFed Realty at; see PenFed Realty Texas at

About Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, based in Irvine, CA, is a real estate brokerage franchise network built for a new era in residential real estate. The network, among the few organizations entrusted to use the world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway name, brings to the real estate market a definitive mark of trust, integrity, stability and longevity. Visit

Irvine, CA-based HSF Affiliates LLC operates the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate franchise networks. The company is a joint venture of which HomeServices of America, Inc., the nation’s second-largest, full-service residential brokerage firm, is a majority owner. HomeServices of America is an affiliate of world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Want to learn more about Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty and what makes us such a great company? Call Maxine McLeod Miller at 703-836-1464 to learn more!

Fixed Mortgage Rates Don’t Budge


Average fixed mortgage rates remained unchanged from the previous week, while still remaining near their all-time record lows, according to Freddie Mac’s recently released Primary Mortgage Market Survey®.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.43 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending August 25, 2016, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.84 percent.

The 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.74 percent with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.06 percent.

The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.75 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.74 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.90 percent.

“Treasury yields were little changed from the prior week and the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage held steady at 3.43 percent this week,” says Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac. “This marks the ninth consecutive week that mortgage rates have been below 3.5 percent. Markets are erring on the side of caution ahead of the second estimate for second-quarter GDP and Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday.”
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Continues to Outperform the Industry

Hot off the press… Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty continues to break records!

Mid-Year Review

According to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Mid-Atlantic President Kevin Wiles, “The Mid-Atlantic team delivered a company sales record in June and a record-breaking first half of 2016. Thanks to all of our amazing agents and employees, the Mid-Atlantic region had the best 6-months in the history of the company.”


  • In June, closed a record 746 units for $283 million in sales volume, surpassing our previous high sales mark by $30 million.
  • YTD growth in average sales price (ASP) through June was more than 8% as opposed to  MRIS, which grew by less than 1% at .05%.
  • BHHS PFR sales volume grew YOY by 21.3% (YTD through June), which exceeds MRISgrowth for the same period by more than 11%.
  • YOY unit sales increased by 12.7% (YTD through June), which exceeds MRIS growth for the same period by more than 5%.

“This is a phenomenal success story,” Wiles said. “For two years in a row, we have outperformed the industry average. I want to sincerely thank the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Mid-Atlantic team for delivering on our commitment to perform with excellence. You continue to do this with the unparalleled customer service that is the hallmark of our strong brand,” Wiles said.

BHHS PenFed Realty Agents Featured in Washingtonian Magazine

Twenty-two Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty sales professionals/teams are featured in an article in the July issue of Washingtonian Magazine for “Top Performers” in residential real estate. The magazine focuses on the D.C. Metro market. Below is a two page ad congratulating our agents and teams. To view a larger size, please click on link.    Agents PFR Washingtonian Ad_July 2016

PFR Washingtonian Ad_July 2016 Spread Sample_Rev_highres

– See more at:

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty’s Maxine McLeod Miller Receives ‘Branch Manager of the Year’ Award

Maxine-McLeod-MillerALEXANDRIA, Va., July 6, 2016—Managing Broker Maxine McLeod Miller of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty’s Alexandria and Fairfax City Branch offices was recently recognized and honored with two major awards: ‘Branch Manager of the Year’ for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty’s Mid-Atlantic region and for the coveted Certified Real Estate Brokerage (CRB) Manager Designation conferred by the Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers.

“Maxine has demonstrated exceptional management skills and financial success for her branch offices,” said Mid-Atlantic President Kevin Wiles of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty. “With the CRB Designation, Maxine has added to her leadership capabilities by honing her real estate management skills, which underscores her strong commitment to the real estate industry and her dedication to train and help agents grow their business.”

The Mid-Atlantic region has 40 branches. According to Wiles, Maxine garnered the top award for both financial performance and dedication to guiding her sales agents on using all the latest technologies, marketing, collateral and training tools needed to be successful in this very competitive industry. “She possesses both strong business acumen and an engaging personality,” Wiles said.

The CRB, an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS®, is the professional organization for brokerage management. The Council is dedicated to providing quality professional development programs, products and services that continually enhance the management productivity and profitability of its more than 7,000 members.

The CRB Designation is recognized throughout the industry as the highest level of professional achievement—a symbol of excellence in brokerage management. The most successful brokerages are owned or managed by professionals having the CRB Designation.

The Council awards the CRB Designation to those individuals who successfully complete the requirements and demonstrate excellence in real estate brokerage management. Candidates must complete academic and professional courses covering such topics as finance, marketing, training, recruiting and strategic planning.

The PenFed Realty Alexandria Branch office is located at 300 N. Washington Street, Suite 100 in Alexandria, Virginia in the heart of Old Town.

McLeod Miller is a member of the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® (NVAR), serving on its Grievance Committee. She is also a member of the Virginia Association of REALTORS® (VAR), serving on its Information Management Committee.

– See more at:

Gala Proves the Power of Partnership in Helping Our Nation’s Defenders

PenFed Foundation Joins Forces with Key Partners To Present Awards and Dedicate Resources

ALEXANDRIA, VA, May 12, 2016—In a remarkable and inspirational display of unity and patriotism among government, business and community leaders, the PenFed Foundation honored veterans and their families last night at its annual Night of Heroes Gala.

Medal of Honor recipient retired Army Capt. Florent Groberg at the PenFed Foundation’s Night of Heroes Gala.

Medal of Honor recipient retired Army Capt. Florent Groberg at the PenFed Foundation’s Night of Heroes Gala.

Among the top honorees were Julie Keys, who accepted the Hero at Home award from her son, retired Army Staff Sgt. Adam Keys, and Medal of Honor recipient retired Army Capt. Florent Groberg, who was presented with the foundation’s Military Hero Award.

“I’m very pleased and proud that the PenFed Foundation could play a role in organizing the gala and honoring the award recipients,” said Foundation President and CEO James Schenck. “But it’s important to remember that this event is the result of a profoundly unified effort by many key partners and numerous volunteers. We could never have done this without the generosity and support of our corporate sponsors, local benefactors and dedicated Soldiers and veterans. It’s a dynamic and heartfelt example of what disparate groups can accomplish by joining forces and working together to reach a common and extremely important goal.”

That goal, Schenck said, is to actively and aggressively help military community members secure their financial future by providing active duty military, veterans and their families with the resources they need to improve their lives through programs covering a wide range of financially oriented issues.

The black-tie event—which was planned, organized and executed by a group consisting of 90 percent volunteers—drew 600 military, government and industry leaders nationwide. Nearly every dollar of the record breaking $1.25 million raised last night will go towards helping service members and their caregivers to find the financial security they so thoroughly deserve.

In his remarks, United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Honorable Robert McDonald, stressed the role the VA’s partnership with the PenFed Foundation will play in reaching his goal to enhance service at the VA. “Integrating best practices from private industry can help us reach our goal to make the VA number one for customer service. And we are working closer than ever with the PenFed Foundation.”

Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Deborah Lee James thanked the PenFed Foundation for leadership in serving wounded warriors, promoting financial literacy and filling in the gaps in government coverage. “Whether its providing interest-free emergency loans, or support for wounded veterans and their families, helping to purchase a home or free lodging for veterans undergoing treatment at the VA in Palo Alto, California, PenFed has been there,” she said. The evening’s honorees were recognized for their service and sacrifice at home, in the community, and for the nation.

Julie Keys spent more than five years living in a hotel in order to be near Staff Sgt. Keys as he endured multiple surgeries while recovering from wounds received in combat. “I just did what I had to do—what we all would do,” she said. Summing up her tenacity as an advocate for her son, she said, “He’s my child, and I will fight you to give him the very best that you can give him.”

Groberg, reflecting on his combat experience and the Medal of Honor, said, “I’m just honored that I was given the opportunity to serve my country as a Soldier. In a time when our enemies are trying to disrupt our way of life, I had the opportunity to face them and tell them that I’m not going to fold. This medal I wear around my neck could never represent one individual. I hope that for the rest of my life, I get to earn the right to call myself an American.”

Another honoree was Joe Plumeri, vice chairman of the First Data board of directors, who received the Community Hero Award.

“Our country is such an exceptional place,” Plumeri said in accepting the award. “What greater value can we provide to our country than to honor the people who protect us and serve us every day? I will tell you that I have roamed the world. I have had the good fortune to have been at many events in many countries, and believe it or not, things like this [gala] don’t exist any place else. There are no organizations like PenFed that does the things that they do.”

About the PenFed Foundation

Founded in 2001, the PenFed Foundation is a national nonprofit organization committed to helping members of our military community secure their financial future. It provides service members, veterans, their families and support networks with the skills and resources they need to improve their lives through programs on financial education, credit-building, home ownership, and short-term assistance. Affiliated with PenFed Credit Union, the foundation has the resources to effectively reach military communities across the nation, build strong partnerships, and engage a dedicated corps of volunteers in its mission. The credit union funds the foundation’s personnel and most operational costs, demonstrating its strong commitment to the programs the foundation provides. To learn more, visit:


Save the Barcroft Community Shopping Center

Recently our esteemed friends at the DMV decided to move its Four Mile Run customer service center from Arlington County to Barcroft Plaza, a shopping center in Falls Church, Fairfax County.  While on the surface this might not seem like a big deal, after all, it is only 5-6 miles from the old location so not a big deal for Arlington Residents to drive and one shopping center is as good as another, right?


The Four Mile Run facility is one of the five busiest in the state, handling an average of more than 540 customers a day and more than 150,000 in a year. It is currently located in a standalone 12,000 sq. ft. building in a light-industrial district and is served by a dedicated parking area with 102 spaces.

The proposed space in Barcroft Plaza is in no way prepared to handle that kind of traffic.  Bank of America, Zips Dry Cleaners, Starbucks, and a large Harris Teeter food market. The shopping center is surrounded by residential neighborhoods and an elementary school. It is busy, evidence of its value to families living in the area.

To name only a few if the key problems with this idea:

  1. Safety of Drivers: Access is from Columbia Pike and Lincolnia Roads – neither side has a stop light. Forcing patrons into a situation where they must cross the extremely busy Columbia Pike without the benefit of a stop light is negligent at best. Someone will get killed here.
  2. Safety for community: Unlike the current DMV location, this one is surrounded by a school and residential neighborhoods that are simply not prepared to handle the impact of the additional traffic and student drivers. Children live and play in this community and this will have a negative impact on their quality of life and will put them at risk.
  3. Parking: There is just enough parking to support the businesses already there, adding another 550+ visitors will choke the existing businesses.
  4. Economic: By adding a mass service center to a community shopping center you will drive away the existing customer base and thereby put the existing businesses in jeopardy.
  5. Cultural/Community Impact: As mentioned before, this is a community shopping center serving the residents of Barcroft, Parklawn, Lincolnia, Sleepy Hollow, and other similar neighborhoods. To put a mass service center in the middle of the neighborhood is not only unwise, it would destroy the flavor of the community.

The DMV did not bother to consult the community or residents it purports to serve or many of our elected officials regarding its plan to relocate to Barcroft Plaza. The community only happened to learned of the plan from an October 30 post on the Annandale Blog.

On December 3rd, Delegate Kory and the Mason District Council of Community Associations convened a meeting of residents with state and county representatives to hear and discuss DMV’s plan for the relocation. More than 100 residents attended; more than 30 spoke out in opposition and no resident supported the plan. Surprisingly, it was apparent from the DMV representatives that no consideration whatsoever had been given to the compatibility of their proposed service center with the Barcroft Plaza community. The justification for their plan was simply that DMV would save money on rent, and they had no requirement to notify the public.

If you agree that this is not a good use of Virginia residents’ tax payer dollars and that moving a mass service center to a small community shopping center is a bad idea, please review this comment and sign the petition at to save our community shopping center.