Date Archives: January 2018

House Talk with Toria Home

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Top 5 Reasons Why FSBOs Fail

Why FSBOs Fail

When you are selling your Harrisonburg home, it only makes sense you want the sale to close successfully. But, how do you define success? It's simple—maximizing your profits and minimizing disruption to your daily life. For nearly 90 percent of homeowners that means enlisting the services of experienced real estate agents like our REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty.

Yet, there is a small percentage of homeowners who choose to list their homes for sale by owner (FSBO), perhaps hoping to save money by avoiding commissions. Unfortunately, FSBOs have a reputation for failure.  We have created this list of five reasons why homes for sale by owners fail.

  1. Seller and Home Not Prepared
    One common misstep of homeowners trying the FSBO route is not fully understanding the work involved in successfully preparing their home for sale. Often, just the planning and budgeting process of getting your home in tip-top shape is a major achievement.  Sellers need to understand:

    - Curb appeal: Is your roof missing any shingles? Is your landscaping looking shabby? Does your front door need a coat of paint?
    - Interior: Have you shampooed your carpeting, painted any rooms or checked the condition of attic insulation?
    - ROI: Most importantly, do you know which of these and other minor home improvement projects, remodels, and upgrades offer the best return on investment in your market segment and community?

  2. Time-Consuming Inquiries and Showings
    One of the biggest pitfalls of a FSBO is that it's time consuming.  This includes keeping the home in "show-ready" condition, answering questions, and juggling showings and open houses. Do you have the time to field and screen phone calls from potential buyers, real estate agents, real estate investors, and window shoppers?

    After all, real estate agents and home buyers want quick responses to their inquiries. Otherwise, you can be sure they have other properties to view. You are better off hiring a real estate agent to handle all inquiries and to schedule and staff the showings.

  3. Pricing Pitfalls
    Accurately pricing homes for sale in Harrisonburg takes knowledge of the local market and experience. Our REALTORS® utilize comprehensive market analyses to arrive at an accurate home value which to help you gauge an asking price. Avoid the pricing pitfalls of FSBO homes, and talk to your agent.

  4. Lacking Market Reach
    You spruced up your curb appeal, organized home improvement receipts, and baked two pans of heavenly-smelling cookies before an open house event. Time for an honest reality check: lack of market reach is the final nail in the coffin for many FSBO homes.

    - FSBO: How many qualified home buyers do you suppose are aware of your open house?
    - Agent-assisted seller: Could a professional agent with their finger on the seller/buyer pulse likely bring more market exposure and buyers to the table?
    - Negotiations: Could an experienced and savvy agent likely bring you a higher closing price?

  5. Paperwork and Liabilities
    Anything can happen when closing a home. A last-minute credit check could disqualify the buyer. The results of the home inspection and appraisal reveal it is substantially overpriced, needs a new roof and furnace, and the lender goes cold. Just understanding and completing paperwork correctly is a handful for most inexperienced sellers.

    Moreover, selling your home without an agent (and their Errors &Omissions Insurance) may leave you vulnerable to liabilities during and after closing. At the end of the day, agent-assisted home sellers boast the best results.

Contact Old Dominion Realty to sell your home in the eastern West Virginia and central Virginia real estate markets.

Contact Old Dominion Realty


Buyers Beware: Last-Minute Credit Checks are a Real Thing

Last-Minute Credit Checks
Sometimes, buying a home can be a long process. You search to find the perfect place. You bid, make a deal, and finalize the details. When your closing is on the calendar, the reality of actually owning a home finally begins to sink in. Before you sign on the dotted line, your mortgage company could decide to check your credit one more time. If they find an unanticipated problem, that last-minute credit check could derail your dreams of owning a home. 

Our REALTORS® feel it's important to warn you. Last-minute credit checks are a real thing. If the mortgage company uncovers an issue, your final approval might not be final at all. To help you avoid surprises before your closing day, we offer our home buying help.

Maintain your debt-to-income ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio--your total monthly debt compared to your monthly income--is critical to your mortgage loan approval. If your ratio strays above the recommended 43%, your mortgage company may consider your debts less manageable. You may no longer qualify for your loan. To avoid this:

  • Keep your job and income
  • Maintain your savings and assets
  • Don't open or apply for new credit accounts
  • Don't spend large sums of cash

Don't apply for anything

Of course, you'll need new furniture, accessories, and other household items to fill your new home. Your mortgage approval is evidence that you can get the credit to make these purchases, but that doesn't mean you should.

Credit applications create a trail of information. Even if you decide not to open a new account, your application will generate an inquiry that becomes a part of your credit record. If your mortgage company runs a second credit check just prior to your closing, the evidence of your activity may lead them to question your debt-to-income ratio and possibly revoke your mortgage approval.

Maintain your cash cushion

Even if you have enough cash on hand to buy the furniture you need, resist making major purchases before your closing. Your mortgage decision is based on an evaluation that takes into account every facet of your financial life. Many mortgage companies require you to have a financial cushion that's large enough to pay your mortgage and other incidental expenses. If you reduce your cushion, it changes your financial outlook.

Don't change a thing

Your mortgage company takes a careful look at your financial picture before they approve your loan. If you change jobs, deplete your savings, or take out even a small loan, you change that picture. If possible, leave everything exactly the way it was when you were first approved.

Talk to your mortgage company

It's easy to get comfortable once you've weathered the mortgage approval process. You might not realize that the same loan officer who reviewed and approved your credit might take a second look just to make sure. If a change in your financial status makes you less creditworthy, your mortgage company might reverse the decision or offer a mortgage with a higher interest rate.

It's best to discuss these concerns with your mortgage company. Ask about their final approval steps and whether or not a last-minute credit check is a part of the process. Find out what you should and should not do to maintain your approved status.

Old Dominion Realty Can Help

Our real estate professionals can guide you through the home-buying process. Contact us when you need help buying or selling your home or if you need more information about avoiding last-minute credit surprises.

Contact Old Dominion Realty



Harrisonburg VA Moving Guide

Moving to Harrisonburg Help
Making Your Move to Harrisonburg Easier

Located two miles south of Washington D.C. right between the beautiful Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, Harrisonburg attracts new residents every year. It's a great place to move: Up-and-coming professionals, growing families, and retirees all find their way here.

As one of the three top Virginia cities in the area, Harrisonburg is noticeably less expensive than its neighbors Richmond and Alexandria--while still offering truly amazing homes.

Of course, you'll want to start enjoying everything Harrisonburg has to offer as soon as you can. That means taking care of the preliminaries so you'll be comfortable in your new home.

Here's how to navigate some of the most common issues when moving to Harrisonburg:

Driver's License and Registration

You'll find the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) right on Rt. 11 at 3281 Peoples Drive, Harrisonburg, VA. To get your Virginia driver's license or ID, be sure you can bring multiple forms of identification (such as a passport or valid out-of-state ID.) You'll also need some mail and bills that include your local address, such as utility bills.

Vehicles must be inspected each year to be compliant with state rules. Any local auto servicing center approved to perform auto inspections can get this done for you. An inspection is necessary to accelerate the process of getting your local license plate and registration.

Electricity, Gas, and Fuel Oil

For electricity, you'll need an account with Harrisonburg Electric Company.

Residents moving from out of state may be surprised to see how common natural gas and fuel oil are in Virginia. It's good to be familiar with natural gas services at Columbia Gas of Virginia and propane gas services at AmeriGas. Some popular fuel oil providers include Columbia Gas of Virginia, Rockingham Petroleum Cooperative, and Quarles Energy Service.

Water and Sewer

If your home has existing water and sewer service, all you need to do is drop by the billing office and pay a deposit to switch the service to your name. When you make your deposit on the morning of a business day, you'll usually have service by the end of the day.

Trash Pickup

Trash pickup begins immediately for all Harrisonburg residents living on public streets. The city uses an "all-in-one" approach for its waste and recycling collection. Trash pickup schedule depends on your home's location. It's a good idea to review the local trash collection fees.

Public Transit

The local area provides a wide range of public transit options. In particular, Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation is known for its clean and efficient buses. Bus schedule and route information can help you plan your trip. Also, take a look at Harrisonburg bus fares.


Dogs, cats, and other pets are welcome in Harrisonburg. All animals, regardless of species, must be on a leash while in public. Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up after pets while on walks. Animal bites should be reported to Animal Control at (540) 437-2670.

Virginia law requires current rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats aged 16 weeks and up. You can have this performed and get a certificate verifying vaccination status at any licensed veterinary office. Dog licenses are also required for any dog aged 16 and up – a dog license tag should be affixed to the pet's collar any time he or she is not on the owner's property.  Dog licenses are available from locations throughout the city.

We'll Help You Make Harrisonburg Your Home

Want help finding the best Harrisonburg homes? Our REALTORS® are the local experts. Contact Old Dominion Realty to get started.

Contact Old Dominion Realty



10 Fitness Classes In Staunton to Make Your New Year's Resolution Stick

Staunton VA Fitness Businesses
Will 2018 be the year you get fit? If you're one of the many Americans who made a fitness resolution on New Year's Day, congratulations! You're heading toward a healthier, happier life, and fitness goals don't have to be ridiculous to make a big impact. Instead of holding yourself to a grueling gym schedule, you can start with small, manageable goals – like attending a weekly class. Staunton is full of coaches and classes that make working out fun.

Our REALTORS® have plenty of experience helping people transform their lives, and our local businesses can help you transform your body too. Here are ten gyms and fitness centers in Staunton that are sure to help you stick to that New Year's resolution:

  1. Staunton-Augusta YMCA - 708 N Coalter Street, Staunton, VA. 24401
    There's no place like the Y if you want a variety of fun, affordable classes. The Staunton-Augusta YMCA has a serious lineup of group fitness opportunities from mind-body classes like tai chi and yoga to barre class, boot camp, and deep water conditioning in the pool.

  2. Sanctuary Yoga & Wellness Co-Op - 16 West Beverley Street, Staunton, Virgnia 24401
    At Sanctuary Yoga & Wellness, whole-body wellness is a group effort in more than one way. Teacher-owned and housed in a gorgeous building downtown, this co-op offers everything from introductory and "gentle yoga" classes to early-morning Ashtanga practice and restorative evening sessions.

  3. Staunton Health & Fitness - 90 Lee Jackson Highway, Suite 1250, Staunton, VA 24401
    A clean, modern workout space with a private space for women, Staunton Health & Fitness is a great place to challenge yourself. World-class fitness classes include Body Pump, Zumba, Body Combat, and Sh'Bam courses with Les Mills instructors.

  4. Anytime Fitness - 20 Bobby's Way, Suite 103, Staunton, VA 24401
    Join Anytime Fitness in Staunton to take advantage of group training sessions, which are designed to keep you accountable and keep your energy high. Choose a base conditioning class, a high-energy calorie-burning session, or a strength-building workout format.

  5. F45 Training Staunton - 856 Statler Blvd, Staunton, VA 24421
    One of Staunton's more unique workout centers, F45 Training Staunton will never keep you longer than 45 minutes. Of course, these high-intensity classes are packed with physical challenges: strength and cardio workouts are broken down into 45-second intervals with 15-second breaks in between.

  6. CrossFit Staunton - 90 Lee Jackson Highway, Suite 113, Staunton, VA 24401
    If you like pushing your limits and making progress every time you hit the gym, it's time to consider CrossFit. CrossFit Staunton is home base for a diverse but close-knit community, from beginners who want to shed a few pounds to athletes who want to be as strong and flexible as possible.

  7. Total Defense Martial Arts - 708 D Street, Staunton, VA 24401
    Gym exercises and dance moves can change your body, but martial arts will also give you skills you can use to protect yourself. If you want to learn self-defense while building and toning your muscles, try a Brazilian jiu-jitsu or boxing class at Total Defense Martial Arts.

  8. Head Over Heels Gymnastics - 1100 Greenville Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401
    If your little ones want to stay active in the new year, consider a class at Head Over Heels Gymnastics. Students can enroll all year long for classes at the new location. Gymnastics isn't just a fun way to work out; it helps improve flexibility and motor skills too.

  9. Aliquid Training and Performance - 611 Greenville Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401
    Promising the "next generation of fitness," Aliquid Training and Performance is a training center for athletes who want to meet specific fitness and health goals. Aliquid coaches offer hands-on, tailor-made programs that will help you make your New Year's dreams come true.

  10. American Freestyle Karate - 310 Betsy Bell Road, Staunton, VA 24401
    Last but not least, American Freestyle Karate offers family karate programs, which help you save time and learn a new skill while bonding with your kids and building your confidence together. Karate is a great choice for families who want to get fit together.

Is your new year going to include a new home too? If you're looking at Staunton homes for sale, make sure you have an experienced agent on your side. Contact us for help buying or selling your home in the Staunton area.



5 Simple Home Improvement Projects to Tackle This Winter

Keep Your Home Cozy All Winter

Home Improvement Projects Winter

Whether you're searching for a home in Harrisonburg, Staunton or Franklin, West Virginia, there's something you should know--wintertime temperatures can get pretty chilly in our area.  When snow and cold temperatures keep you inside, turning up the thermostat is only one way to keep your home comfortable.  

Our REALTORS® have a few simple projects for you to do to stay warm until the spring weather arrives.  These projects can restore your home's functionality, cut energy costs, and protect your household's health.  

1. Spend a day with your windows and doors

It's nice to have lots of beautiful windows and doors. You can stay inside and watch snowflakes flutter to the ground. Unfortunately, windows and doors are the primary avenues for warm air to escape to the outside and cold air to enter. You can minimize the problem with these DIY fixes.

  • Replace weather stripping. Worn weather stripping isn't very effective at keeping cold air out and warm air in. Replacing it is an inexpensive way to stop this chilling dynamic.
  • Caulk the cracks: With an inexpensive tube of caulk or silicone sealer, you can seal window frame gaps that let cold and hot air enter and exit at will. Sealing foam is more costly, but it expands to fill gaps more efficiently.

2. Keep your fireplace safe and warm

National Fire Protection Association research shows that heating equipment mishaps are a leading cause of home fires. Dirty chimneys are responsible for 30 percent of those fires but don't stop using your fireplace, just maintain it.

  • Clean your chimney: Call a chimney sweep for optimum results in eliminating dangerous creosote.
  • Convert your fireplace to gas: You might need help installing a gas fireplace insert but it will save energy and provide more heat than a wood-burning fireplace.

3. Take care of your furnace

If you haven't had your furnace inspected this season, it probably needs a little TLC to perform efficiently all winter long.

  • Inspection: It's not too late to have a professional inspect, test, and perform maintenance on your furnace.
  • DIY maintenance: If you prefer to do it yourself, follow the guide at HomeAdvisor.com.
  • Basic furnace upkeep: Install a clean filter and move flammables to minimize fire hazards. Let a professional do the rest.

4. Insulate cold spaces

It's difficult to insulate an entire home without professional help. You can still perform a few insulation tasks to prevent heat from using its favorite escape routes.

  • Insulate your attic: Your unfinished attic is a major source of heat loss. When hot air rises, it keeps going up and out through your roof. You can help prevent this heat loss and save on energy bills by rolling insulation into the open spaces between the floor joists. 
  • Insulate your basement: Install rolls of insulation in your unfinished basement. If it's finished, you can insulate large areas with a cavity filler foam. If your entire finished basement needs insulation, bring in a professional to blow insulation into your wall interiors.

5. Cover your hot water heater

When you insulate your hot water heater with a specially made "jacket," you can save up to 16 percent on your annual hot water heating bill. See Energy.gov for hot water heater insulation tips.

Contact Old Dominion Realty to buy and sell homes in eastern West Virgnia and central Virginia.

Contact Old Dominion Realty


This past week my son was invited to a Birthday party at Lex Lynx mini-golf.  We were really excited to go, because

A. Celebrating a sweet friend

B. It got us out of the house after all this Chill has had us cooped up

C. I love mini golf and couldn't wait to watch my little give it a go


I was totally imagining this uncoordinated discombobulation of 500 swings from my little for him to get the ball in the hole.  And do you know what?  He did great, but I was right.  The coordination just isn't there yet, but he had a fantastic time.  I'm also not judging because my efforts are not much better.