In a work-from-home world, some people are looking for a change of scenery. Without the constraints of an office to commute to, why not live someplace off the beaten path? Working remotely has inspired some people to make their home office more remote.
Over the past year, real estate professionals in rural markets have been selling homes to urban and suburban dwellers alike, and the market has rarely been so hot.
That’s why it’s so important to work with a real estate professional, someone who knows the local market and how to control what might otherwise be an unusually rushed and intricate process for buyers & sellers.
This market “is difficult to navigate,” cautions Chris McNelis, owner and broker of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The McNelis Group Properties, with offices in Dunkirk and Solomons Island in southern Maryland. “The quality of life in our area has become better known over the past few years. Low interest rates are of foundational importance, but our location just outside of the Washington, D.C. market is key.”
Southern Maryland offers space, she says, “and people are looking for space where they can retreat and still telecommute, where they can buy that second home they’ve always wanted, one that’s just two hours from their primary home, and where they know that they can stay connected enough to work but feel confident that they’re safe” from the effects of the pandemic. And a lot of that space is on the Chesapeake Bay, the Patuxent or Potomac rivers or on countless creeks and coves. “Sometimes we show the property by boat,” McNelis notes.
Lisa Shultz, with Long & Foster/The Shultz Team based in Whitestone, Va., is also seeing a hot market on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck. “It’s wild right now,” she says. “We are seeing property going fast down here … We’ve had people waive home inspections—we’ve even had lots of sight-unseen purchases. Even homes that would normally be considered hard to market are going under contract, in a quick time, far above the assessed value. It’s hard on the buyer to act super-fast, especially if you have a contingency.”
Bo Bragg of Bragg & Company, with offices in Irvington and Kilmarnock, Va., advises that “if you’re a buyer you should quickly align yourself with a broker who has a team that’s savvy about finding listings, because they’re pretty scarce. There’s so little inventory, as soon as any team members here gets a listing, they’re going to work with the other team members to find a buyer. Working with a local agent who has ties in the area, who’s tied to the community, those are the people who are able to get those listings.”
The Northern Neck of Virginia, Bragg says, is “one of those ‘escape routes.’ It used to be that people were buying second or third homes here, but now they’re living here year-round. It’s been a tremendous boon to the local economy.”
As broker/owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices McNelis Group Properties, Chris McNelis leads a group of award-winning real estate agents from offices in Solomons and Dunkirk, Md. Her extensive background in residential and commercial real estate has allowed her to form strong connections within the Southern Maryland business community and far-reaching relationships with clients, colleagues, and support professionals. She also guides non-local businesses through property acquisitions, development, and relocations. McNelis and her group of dedicated agents provide exceptional real estate knowledge, marketing, sales, and services in Calvert, St. Mary’s, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, and Charles counties.
A Southern Maryland native, Jeffrey graduated from Frostburg State University with a B.A. in Business Administration and a concentration in Entrepreneurship. He accepted the role as Branch Manager of the Dunkirk Real Estate Advisory Center in 2018. Since that time, he continues to set his sights on growth; not only for McNelis Group but for the Real Estate Trusted Advisors he manages. As a REALTOR®, he loves working with families to help them find the home of their dreams. He has built his reputation by remaining on the forefront of social media marketing strategies and by having exceptional knowledge of the Southern Maryland community and housing market.
Judy Szynborski, REALTOR® is a licensed real estate professional with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices McNelis Group Properties, serving Southern Maryland and beyond. Her dedication, experience, and problem-solving abilities in an ever-changing real estate environment have afforded Judy many accolades throughout her career. She is a Leading Edge Society Award winner and among the top 10% of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Network for 2020. Judy always provides a high level of service and has the experience to guide transactions to a successful close for her clients. Judy is a Chesapeake Bay area native who enjoys boating and international travel.
Helen has enjoyed a true love of real estate and this passion became her calling when she joined the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand under McNelis Group Properties. She provides a refreshing, powerful blend of professionalism, customer service, market analysis, attention to detail, and strong negotiating and closing skills. She is a tirelessly committed advocate for her clients and properties and is extremely creative in identifying buyers. Helen’s focus is on waterfront properties along with farms/agricultural properties. Helen is known for her strong attention to detail, personal follow-through and outstanding analytical and negotiating skills.
Lisa is a native of Virginia and started in real estate in 2012, joining her husband and mother-in-law in a real estate team. She has been awarded the Long & Foster Service Award for The Bay/River Office two years in a row. The Shultz Team represents the top agents with Long & Foster for the Northern Neck & Middle Peninsula. Lisa grew up in Fairfax Co., Virginia and graduated from James Madison University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and two minors in Mathematics and Spanish. Whether it’s hiking in the mountains, boating, or stand-up paddleboarding on the rivers, snorkeling in the Caribbean or biking through Kilmarnock, she feels at home in nature.
Beverly is an Associate Broker and started in real estate in 1991 in the Northern Neck with Bowers, Nelms & Fonnville. She was named Rookie of The Year and launched her successful career in real estate. In 2012, Beverly joined her son and daughter-in-law in a real estate team. The Shultz Team represents the top agents with Long & Foster for the Northern Neck & Middle Peninsula. Beverly was raised in Mississippi and moved to Northern Virginia with her family in 1979, but once they crossed over the Rappahannock River, they knew they were home. With 30 years of real estate experience in the Northern Neck, Beverly has unsurpassed knowledge of the area’s waterways and lifestyle.
Neill started in Real Estate in 2012, joining his wife and mother in a real estate team. The Shultz Team represents the top agents with Long & Foster for the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula. Neill has worked in drafting management with architectural and maintenance systems companies and tree surveying. Neill’s family moved to the Northern Neck when he was eight years old and knows the waterways like his own backyard. He graduated from Lancaster High School and was a member of Boy Scouts of America, earning his Eagle Scout Award. Neill graduated from James Madison University where he earned degrees in Anthropology and Environmental Science. He is a member of the Kilmarnock Planning Commission.
Dawn began her real estate career in 1997. Starting on the property management side of the industry, she serviced the needs of 200+ residents at multiple properties. The sale of her first home sparked an interest in the buying and selling side of the industry and she became licensed in 2006. She’s found great passion and pride in walking the path of home ownership with many clients throughout the years. Dawn and her husband, Shane, have been married since 2002. They have three children, Jacob, Mya and Courtney with 2 fur babies Levi and Palace. After enjoying part-time river life, they decided to make the Northern Neck their full time home! Dawn loves time with her family and friends whether it be getting together for dinner and cards, riding ATVs, or boat rides on the beautiful waterways.
An established and respected Realtor, Byrl also holds her Associate Broker license and is a former Member of the Virginia Real Estate Board. She has been helping buyers and sellers since 1979 and specializes in waterfront properties, rural farms, land, and residential homes. She is a resident of Virginia’s famed Northern Neck and is an expert in the region. As the former owner/broker of Byrl Phillips Realty, Byrl has the knowledge and experience to guide you through a successful home sale or purchase.
Neena has been a top producer and consistent Platinum Award recipient since joining the Horsley firm in 2003. She is proud to have been named a Top Virginia Realtor 3 years in a row. A Cum Laude graduate of American University, Neena and her husband moved to “The River” in 2001 for the wide open spaces and uncluttered waterways, and her family relishes their time cruising and sailing. Neena’s clients love her tenacity and integrity, and she attributes her success to hard work, an extensive knowledge of the waterways and care and concern for every client. Neena manages the Horsley office in Deltaville. Visit Neena’s website, RodgersandBurton.com to read more about Neena and her team along with the Chesapeake Voice blog.
McKann Payne is a native of Urbanna, in the Middle Peninsula. She is uniquely suited for success in real estate with her in-depth understanding of the region, an astute eye for design, and her superb organizational skills with a can-do attitude. This has earned McKann loyalty and respect in the real estate industry. Prior to entering real estate, McKann was an accomplished master educator for nearly 20 years with superior communication skills, which she has carried into real estate. McKann is a graduate of James Madison University. She and her husband, Chad, and their son reside in White Stone on the beautiful Carters Creek. When not working you can find McKann in her garden, kayaking on the creek, or cruising the Rappahannock with family and friends.
With a career that spans 20+ states and thousands of transactions, Sandi has devoted her career to residential real estate. Whether a waterfront estate or cozy condominium, Sandi’s analytical perspective and negotiating skills are ideal in guiding her clients to fulfill their real estate goals. White glove service is her trademark, providing uncommon experience in every type of residential sale. When she and husband Tim chose the Piankatank River in Hartfield as their new home in 2001, Sandi put this knowledge to work. She appreciates and understands all the amazing benefits of life in Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay region. An avid gardener, she holds the coveted designations of MIRM, Master in Residential Marketing, from the National Association of Home Builders.
Andrea Holt moved to the Chesapeake Bay area from Fairfax, Va. in 1997 when she and her family purchased a marina in Deltaville on the Piankatank River. Since then Andrea has held positions for boating and tourism publications, as a modular home sales consultant and, in 2013, as a realtor with Isabell Horsley Real Estate. Andrea’s experience in marketing, general construction knowledge, and above all, her passion for the Bay and rivers of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, have contributed to her success and consecutive Platinum Sales Awards. Today Andrea lives on a 20-acre farm in Wake, one mile from the Rappahannock River.
Diana Wolfson, a native of the Potomac area, grew up coming to the Northern Neck throughout the summers. She has always loved the beautiful waterfront area and knew she wanted to raise her children with the same admiration. Diana and her husband moved back to the the Northern Neck in 2013 and started Northern Neck Burger (NN Burger). Diana decided to step away from the restaurant business and pursue the career that has always fascinated her—real estate. Diana resides in White Stone with her husband and two sons.
Shelley Ritter has developed an eye for homes through a background in real estate staging, visual merchandising, interior design, and sales. This makes Shelley a great asset in finding you a home or a buyer for your property. Working with clients in the home furnishing field, Shelley came to appreciate the deep connection between people and their houses.
In today’s world, we are spending more time at home than ever before. Our house has become a home office, our favorite restaurant, and the center of family entertainment. Shelley is eager to share her love of houses in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula area and help you in all aspects of your real estate journey.
Virginia Stoughton has deep family roots in Lancaster County as her family, all the way back to her great-grandparents, have lived here. Virginia was born in White Stone but then moved to Manassas. Her parents moved back to White Stone to retire, and because Virginia loves the area, she moved back with her own family in 2006. Virginia is mother to three teenage boys and her interests include watching and cheering her kids on in their various sports and musical endeavors. She also has a love for spending time near the water and a passion for rock music.
Pat has been in the Real Estate business since 1979, serving clients in Fredericksburg, Va. for 25 years before relocating with her husband upon his retirement from United Airlines to the Northern Neck of Virginia . They live in White Stone on Tabbs Creek.
Selling waterfront properties has been a joy of a lifetime, helping people to experience the waterways of the Chesapeake Bay and adjacent rivers and creeks. In her 15 years selling homes in the area, Pat has served many satisfied homebuyers who have become friends and neighbors.
Bobby Wheeler was born and raised in Northern Virginia. He was employed for 26 years with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, retiring in 2011. Bobby has an affinity for the Chesapeake Bay and is well educated in the knowledge of the bay and its tributaries. He has always loved fishing and is a member of Ducks Unlimited in the Northern Neck. He also enjoys gardening and physical fitness. Bobby and his wife Colleen live in Lively, Va. where they enjoy the waterfront and country living. They have two children and two grandchildren.
Growing up in the family firm, Katie has been surrounded by real estate her entire life with her grandmother, founder of Horsley Real Estate and father, now Principal Broker, passing along the work ethics and marketing skills to continue to grow with her buyers and sellers, and set the family firm above the rest. A husband and wife team, David and Katie cover all the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula areas of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay and specialize in waterfront estates and homes. David and Katie live with their two children on Dymer Creek and feel completely grateful for a fulfilled life in work and home.
Managing Broker and Realtor for 20 years, David Dew knows the market in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula areas of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay. Native to Richmond, VA, David moved to White Stone in early 2000’s with his wife, Katie Horsley Dew. Before Real Estate, he was a loan officer and a branch manager at a local bank. David and his wife have successfully made a name for themselves as leading brokers for the family-owned company and have the knowledge and negotiation skills to provide buyers and sellers with the best service. David and Katie reside on Dymer Creek with their two children and thoroughly enjoy and are grateful for all life has to offer.
Shyann Lewis moved to the Middle Peninsula area in 2009 after spending most of her summers on the Rappahannock River and the Chesapeake Bay. Shyann started her journey with Horsley Real Estate when she became an agent’s assistant in 2017. Since then, she has assisted with over 100 closings and has earned her real estate license while also completing a degree in Business Management. Shyann enjoys showing off the unique lifestyles of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula and is ready to serve you at the Horsley office located in Urbanna.
Bernadette La Casse has lived on the Middle Peninsula of the Chesapeake Bay since 2005 and loves the unique charm and pace of the region. She has been involved in waterfront real estate since 2014, and looks forward to helping you navigate your real estate needs. Bernadette brings over 30 years’ experience in finance and operations with global manufacturing, financial services and pharmaceutical corporations. Her experience in finance and management help facilitate these sometimes complex real estate transactions. Bernadette is proud to be voted a Top Agent in Virginia, and is dedicated to providing the critical information necessary for her clients and her team as Broker for the Mathews/Gloucester Office.
A native of Massachusetts, Tim and his family moved to Mathews County and instantly fell in love with the simplicity and tight-knit nature of the community. He has a background in EMT services and spent five years working for Heritage Museums and Gardens on Cape Cod.
Tim uses his strong service orientation, plus maintenance and horticulture background, to help his clients find their perfect forever home.