Date Archives: December 2017

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First-Time Buyers Guide: Buying a House With A New Job

Buying a Home with a New Job
Relocating for a new job is one of the most common reasons for moving to a different area. Unfortunately, starting a new job also presents a few challenges for anyone planning on becoming a homeowner. One of the biggest things that mortgage lenders look for is income stability, and having recently started a new job might throw up a red flag. But don't panic—our REALTORS® have a few tips to help you buy a home with a new job.

Getting a Mortgage with a New Job

One of the biggest things a lender wants to know before offering you a mortgage is whether or not you have reliable income that will allow you to make your mortgage payments every month. That means that, while it's not impossible to get a mortgage with a new job, it does create some potential complications. How your new job affects your home ownership prospects depends on several factors, so keep a few things in mind:

  • If you suddenly find yourself changing jobs during the mortgage application process, it's important to let your lender know as soon as possible, so as not to throw a wrench in the process any more than necessary.

  • How your new job will affect your mortgage depends on whether your new job represents a promotion, demotion, or lateral move. If you're starting a new job with similarly structured pay, or are being promoted to a position with a higher salary, your mortgage prospects may not be negatively affected at all.

  • If you're starting a new job with a different company, it should ideally be with a stronger company, offering better benefits, or a higher salary. To show stability, provide your lender with a resume showing your last two years' employment history. This will show that you are making a positive career move, and not just bouncing from company to company without a plan.

  • Starting a new job in a new city can actually be a positive thing if the new job includes a relocation package. If so, it gives your lender concrete evidence that you'll be able to pay the closing costs.

  • If a significant amount of the income at your new job comes from sales or commissions, be careful. Income from commissions, bonuses and overtime is generally averaged out over the last 24 months, and changing to this type of pay structure during the application process can seriously hinder qualifying for a mortgage.

  • If you're going from a job as a salaried employee to being self-employed, an independent contractor, or starting your own business, know that you may have a very difficult time getting a mortgage. Most lenders prefer to be able to see a two-year history of being self-employed, so you might be well-advised to wait.

  • Keep in mind that, even if you're starting a new job, you still have to pass essentially the same home loan requirements as everybody else, including credit scores, ability to make a down payment, and debt-to-income ratio.

Whether you're relocating for a new job, or are interested in becoming a first-time homeowner, our team is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us at Old Dominion Reality today to learn more about how you can make your dream home a reality.

Contact Old Dominion Realty


6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Buying Your First Home

First-time buyer questions
Buying your first home is a big step—think you're ready for it? We certainly hope so, but we also want to make sure that you buy your dream home at the right moment.

At a certain point, every renter gets to a place in their life where they just don't feel like they can do it anymore. Whether it's the noisy neighbors, the overbearing landlord, or the feeling of powerlessness that comes from continuously paying for a living space you'll never own, you just have to get out. Homeownership is the next logical step.  Here are six questions our REALTORS® want you to ask yourself before you decide to go for it.

  1. Do you plan on living here for the long haul? Some folks look for a new home out of restlessness, but restlessness and homeownership are not a good combination. If you really want to buy a house, make sure it's in an area where you can see yourself living for many years to come. If you think you'd like to move again within five years or less, it might be better to put off owning your home until then.

  2. Are your finances in order? At a risk of stating the obvious, before buying a home it's essential that you now you can afford it. And you don't just have to convince yourself, you also have to convince a home mortgage lender, which means proving that you have a good credit score, income stability, and minimal debts. But don't bankrupt yourself by putting all your savings into buying a home. It's smarter to wait until you have enough of a nest egg to live comfortably even after you've made the down payment, or else you could find yourself in a very precarious financial situation.

  3. Are you ready for the responsibility? The costs of homeownership don't end with your down payment or even your monthly mortgage payments. What if the furnace breaks down? Or the roof has to be repaired? It's important to make sure you're personally and financially able to take on that responsibility.

  4. What if you get a new job? For better or worse, the model used by previous generations—get a job, keep it forever, buy a house and retire—doesn't really apply anymore, which makes job stability a crucial consideration before you buy a home. You should be fairly confident that your job is secure, and that if you do end up taking a new job, it will be in the same area for an equal or greater salary.

  5. Are you okay with making the monthly payments? Nobody enjoys being in debt, and your home mortgage is almost certainly the biggest loan you will ever have to repay. Make sure you're comfortable with the prospect of paying off your mortgage one month at a time for many years to come.

  6. Why are you buying a home? It's an honest question that you need to ask yourself. It's tempting to see buying a home as hitting the reset button on your life, but if you're thinking about buying a home when you've recently gone through a break-up, divorce, job shake-up, or a death in the family, it's smart to take a step back and re-evaluate the decision at a later time.

Still think you're ready to buy your first home? If so, we're here to help. Contact us today at Old Dominion Realty to learn more about how to get started on the path to homeownership.

Contact Old Dominion Realty


Something to Wine About in Staunton

Staunton area wineries
The historic streets of Staunton, VA are filled with fantastic dining spots, historic sites, and unique small businesses that add so much to the community. Staunton homes for sale put you in the center of this dynamic community.  Staunton and its surrounding communities of Fishersville, Bridgewater, Mount Crawford, and Afton serve up an excellent offering of wineries and vineyards. Each location has its own unique atmosphere, flavors, and history to explore. Ready to learn more? Our REALTORS® have you covered with a guide to some of the best wineries and vineyards in the Staunton area.

Enjoy the Best Wineries and Vineyards In and Around Staunton

Ox-Eye Vineyards Staunton

  • Ox-Eye Vineyards - 44 Middlebrook Avenue, Staunton, Virginia
    Located on a 100-acre farm with scenic views of the Shenandoah Valley, Ox-Eye Vineyards has been growing some of the best grapes in Virginia for more than 20 years. In the beginning, Ox-Eye supplied grapes for other wineries in the area, before going on to create unique wines of their own. Today, Ox-Eye Vineyards offers 12 unique wines, each with its own story. The team at Ox-Eye prides itself on offering wine that pairs well with a wide variety of delicious meals and creating a comfortable, welcoming environment in the tasting room.

  • Barren Ridge Vineyards - 984 Barren Ridge Road, Fishersville, Virginia
    Shopping for homes in Fisherville, and hoping to enjoy a fine glass of wine close to home? You're in luck! Barren Ridge Vineyards is open year-round for holiday events, weddings, and special gatherings of all types. Or you can simply head to the tasting room on your own to enjoy a glass of wine, some delightful snacks, and plenty of great company. Barren Ridge Vineyards is located on an old, scenic farm, which has been updated with all of the equipment required to produce some of the best wine in Virginia.

Bridgewater VA Bluestone Vineyard

  • Bluestone Vineyard - 4828 Spring Creek Road, Bridgewater, Virginia
    Looking for a community that loves wine as much as you do? Shop Bridgewater homes, and you'll never be far from all of the fun at Bluestone Vineyard. Family owned and operated, Bluestone Vineyard is known for creating fantastic small-batch wine, with grapes grown, nurtured, and aged on-site. The rich, rocky limestone soil around Bluestone Vineyard provides the ideal conditions for producing great grapes, and the views around the farm provide a perfect backdrop for a tasting.

CrossKeys Vineyards

  • CrossKeys Vineyards - 6011 E Timber Ridge Road, Mount Crawford, Virginia
    Owned and operated by that Bakhtiar family, CrossKeys Vineyards has been delighting guests since it first opened in 2001. The wine here is excellent, and this is also one of the best vineyards in the area for grabbing a great meal with your glass. Stop by the bistro to enjoy a menu full of unique flavors, or start the final day of your weekend in style with a Sunday brunch. CrossKeys is also a dog-friendly winery, so you're welcome to bring your four-legged pal for a tasting on the patio

  • Veritas Vineyard and Winery - 151 Veritas Lane, Afton, Virginia
    If you value elegance and atmosphere when enjoying your favorite glass of wine, it's hard to top the experience at Veritas Vineyard and Winery. This family-owned winery began as a passion project and five acres of grapes quickly grew to 50 acres. Today, Veritas produces some of the most prized vintages in the local area and provides the perfect retreat from the daily grind. The social schedule at Veritas is always filled with fun, unique gatherings, while the grounds are ideal for weddings, holiday gatherings, and special events.

Thirsty for more info about the community of Staunton, or ready to shop for a beautiful home of your own? Contact Old Dominion Realty to buy and sell homes throughout the Staunton, VA area.

Contact Old Dominion Realty



Come To Downtown Harrisonburg for the Holidays

Harrisonburg Winterfest 2017
If you're considering a relocation, December is a great time to discover the beautiful homes in Harrisonburg. The year-end real estate market is a little slower, so you won't have to deal with house hunting crowds. The holiday season is the perfect time to get to know this wonderful city. Winter Wonderfest is a great place to start. You'll get a preview of local lifestyles and traditions with a holiday twist.

Our REALTORS® recommend Winter Wonderfest because it's a local family favorite with something for everyone. You'll enjoy a day of music, holiday treats, and fun that will put you in a holiday mood. You can combine your festivities with a leisurely trek through downtown shops to wrap up your shopping in plenty of time for Christmas.

Winter Wonderfest - Downtown Harrisonburg

This family-friendly event takes place on December 9, from 12 until 6 pm. You'll enjoy a day of fun and entertaining holiday adventures. Your Wonderfest experience begins when you visit the event host, Ten Thousand Villages at Main and Bruce Streets. Throughout the day the shop will twinkle and hum with crafts, refreshments, games, and holiday cheer. It's also the Cookie Tour check-in spot. Here is a list of additional must-do activities.

Art Market

If you appreciate handcrafted gifts, you must visit the 6th Annual Holiday Art Market at Larkin Arts. You'll find beautiful presentations of crafts by local artists and artisans. You can purchase handcrafted jewelry, paintings, woodwork, fiber arts and more. The market also gives you the unique opportunity to meet the creative personality behind the gifts you choose.

Holiday Selfies

When you visit the Agora Downtown Market from 1 to 3 pm, you can create your own holiday fun by snapping a Santa selfie. Look out for the Grinch and Santa's elves throughout the day. When you spot them, snap a selfie and share the fun on Facebook and Instagram. Use the hashtags #WinterWonderfestHburg and #DowntownHarrisonburg!

Holiday Movie "Elf"

By 4:30, you should be ready for a break. If you are, stop by the Court Square Theater for a showing of the holiday movie, "Elf." Admission is free when you present any December 9th receipt from a Downtown business.


When you hear carols in the air, you know Christmas is on the way. The Shenandoah Valley Children's Choir will fill your heart and bring the spirit of Christmas a little bit closer as they sing carols throughout downtown.

Cookie Tour

This special event brings young and old in search of cookies. When you take the self-guided tour, you'll make stops at 12 downtown shops, claiming a gourmet cookie at each stop along the way. Visit Ten Thousand Villages between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm to check in. You'll receive a Cookie Tour wristband and a box to hold your cookies.

Get to Know Harrisonburg

Harrisonburg is a wonderful place to live, work, and play all year long. Contact Old Dominion Realty, if you need information about buying or selling a Harrisonburg home, or if you want to know more about local businesses and events.

Contact Old Dominion Realty


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