Date Archives: June 2017

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7 Super Smart Ways to Save for a Down Payment

A Larger Down Payment Can Save You Money in the Long Run

Save for a Down Payment
Is buying a house on your bucket list? Saving for a down payment is an important first step. When you make a substantial down payment, it lets you save on your mortgage financing. The larger your down payment, the sooner you'll be able to pay off your home loan.

Most financing arrangements require at least a small down payment when buying a house. It is not unusual for down payments to range anywhere from two to ten percent of the home's appraised value. That can be a lot of money, so planning is essential.

Our real estate agents have created this list to increase your odds for success:

  1. Start With Your Goal in Mind
    If you don't have a clear goal to start with, odds are good you'll never reach it! There are two big factors you need to figure out first: How much you need to save and when you need it. These are the big factors that will help you determine how aggressive your saving needs to be. Of course, it never hurts to have savings, so don't be afraid to challenge yourself.
  2. Set a Budget
    Many people have a general budget, but don't pay very close attention to it. When you are saving for a major purchase such as a home, it's essential to start with a sound budget you can consult every week. The simple act of writing down how much you spend in each expense category will help you find ways to save more money. Even putting aside $100 a month will help.
  3. Use Automated Savings
    A payroll savings plan is the best way to consistently save for a big purchase. It will help you make sure you are constantly banking a certain amount. Allocate a percentage of your pay to go directly toward your savings goal. You'll be less tempted to use the money for other things, and you'll know approximately when you will reach certain savings milestones.
  4. Small Savings Count, Too
    You can save money and thus move more into your savings – by finding ways to save a little bit more each day. For example, many banks offer a savings plan where they "round up" each small transaction and put the remainder in savings. You should also look at financial instruments such as credit cards and checking accounts. Are you losing money to fees?
  5. Bank Any Unexpected Cash
    Every now and then, the average person runs into a little extra money. Tax returns are the biggest and most predictable example, but there may be others. Be sure to bank these rather than using them right away. Be proactive in looking for ways to create your own windfalls: For example, selling unwanted things in a yard sale or on eBay can net several hundred dollars in a day.
  6. Add Income if You Can
    The internet offers thousands of ways to add a little additional income to your bottom line each month. Of course, you shouldn't be working 80-hour days to make your down payment – you'll just end up burnt out. After all, your "savings" budget is your future "household" budget, too! Still, you may be able to add a few hundred in just a couple of hours each weekend. It's worth it.
  7. Celebrate Your Milestones
    Saving up for a long period of time can seem abstract and tiring. Look over your local real estate listings from time to time to remember what it's all for: Buying a house!

Thinking about buying a home in Harrisonburg, Staunton, or Moorefield? Contact Old Dominion Realty for personalized help and advice from our team of local real estate experts.


Summer Fun at Shenandoah Valley National Park

Shenandoah Valley National Park
Family Fun at Shenandoah National Park

Both historical and glorious, Shenandoah National Park explodes with wildflower colors during the summer months. Get your camera ready because white-tailed deer are everywhere and you might even catch a glimpse of a black bear or wild turkey. Can you imagine relocating to Harrisonburg, Staunton or Waynesboro and having this wildlife wonderland right in your own backyard? Our REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty can work with you to find a home in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley.

  • Skyline Drive
    Experience mountain scenery that is beyond description as you drive the 105-mile Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The drive has many pull-off spots along the way. The route travels through Virginia wine and hill country and features hiking trails if you want to stretch your legs. One of the best trails is a 3.6-mile hike to Lewis Spring Falls. It's about 52 miles into the drive.

  • Ranger Programs
    Take a guided tour of the park with a ranger. The ranger programs run throughout the spring, summer, and fall. The ranger explains historical facts about the valley, as well as pointing out the plants and animals that live there. While you're exploring this wild wonderland, you will also be learning about the history and culture of the area.

  • Bird watching
    Even if you're not a bird watcher, the 190 species of birds in the park are sure to spark your interest. Bring your binoculars to see the rainbow of colors from Carolina chickadees, blue-winged teal, great blue heron and 18 different types of warblers. You can see rare birds in Big Meadows that you can't find anywhere else. Look skyward for Northern goshawks, red-tailed hawks, and sharp-shinned hawks circling overhead.

  • EarthCaching – If you're ready to learn about the geology and history of the park, try EarthCaching. This educational exploration activity involves finding virtual caches, using your GPS in the North, South, and Central parts of the park. When you find these treasures, they provide scientific and historical insights into the spot where you find it. It's free to participate in EarthCache activities.

  • Dining – You can really work up an appetite when you're exploring the park and there are several eateries where you can appease your rumbling belly. Try the Mountain Taproom, Big Meadows Lodge, or the Pollock Dining Room for delicious food and a gorgeous view.

History and Adventure in the Shenandoah Valley

  • Harrisonburg – Once known as Rocktown and nicknamed, 'The Friendly City', Harrisburg sits in the Shenandoah Valley. In 2016, the city won the title, '#3 Happiest Mountain Town' by the Blue Ridge Country Magazine. Check out Harrisonburg homes, if you're planning a move to Shenandoah Valley.
  • Staunton – If you enjoy culture, as well as adventure, looking at Staunton homes might be ideal for you. Not only is Staunton in the valley, it also has the American Shakespeare Center, which is a replica of Blackfriars Theatre in London that dates back to the Renaissance.
  • Waynesboro – This Shenandoah Valley city features 11 historic sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, such as the Fishburn Military School, founded in 1879. It is one of the oldest, all boy military schools in America. If you're a history buff, check out Waynesboro homes for current listings.

Contact Old Dominion Realty when you're interested in buying a home in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Our team of real estate professionals offers a full range of services for buyers and sellers, priding ourselves on connecting you with the perfect home in Virginia and West Virginia.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

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