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Date Archives: August 2019

House Talk with Toria Home

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Food Reviews | 3 Posts
Industry Talk | 1 Posts
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Augusta County | 10 Posts
Bridgewater, VA | 1 Posts
Burlington WV | 1 Posts
Buy a Farm | 2 Posts
Buy a Home | 20 Posts
Buying a House | 16 Posts
Franklin WV | 1 Posts
Hardy County | 3 Posts
Harrisonburg VA | 30 Posts
Home Improvement | 18 Posts
Homeownership | 6 Posts
LeadingRE | 2 Posts
Lost River, WV | 1 Posts
Luray, VA | 4 Posts
Monterey VA | 1 Posts
Moorefield WV | 7 Posts
Moving Tips | 2 Posts
Myers Corner | 1 Posts
Open Houses | 1 Posts
Petersburg, WV | 3 Posts
Sell a Home | 27 Posts
Staunton VA | 15 Posts
Waynesboro, VA | 1 Posts
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August
26

Buying a House? 6 Steps to Increase Your Credit Score

Increase Credit Score
Your credit score is a golden key that can unlock the best interest rates and loan options for your new home.

It's a simple equation: A higher credit score = A lower interest rate = Your home costs you less money. 

Before you apply for a loan you want to make sure that your number is as polished as possible. To help you attain the most advantageous loan, our real estate agents share the following steps to take before you begin your home search.

  1. What's in a Number? 
    Your FICO score is a reflection of your debts, loan repayment history, and monthly financial obligations. Ideally, you want to push your score up as high as possible. If you have a score in the "exceptional" range of 800-850, or "Very Good" range of 740-799, you'll generally qualify for the best interest rates.

    If you have a "Good" score of between 670-739, or "Fair" score of 580-669, you can qualify for most loans. However, you may need a larger down payment and could shoulder the burden of a higher interest rate.

  2. Examination and Disputes
    Credit scores take time to grow and you will want to start the process of improving your score long before you start submitting loan applications. One of the first things you should do is pull a copy of your credit reports from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. This is critical as not all creditors report information to all three bureaus.

    Once you have your reports, examine them for errors. Check current balances, make sure payments are credited, and look for stale information that should be removed. You should dispute any incorrect information and actively pursue the removal of bad data from your credit reports. It is a common problem and more than 40 million Americans have at least one error on their reports and you want to make sure that you are not one of them.

  3. Paying Down Balances
    It is always advisable to pay off as much debt as possible prior to requesting a new loan. This is especially important regarding credit cards with high-interest rates. Pay these balances down as much as possible, but don't pay them off and close the account as this can reduce your average credit length which can drop your score. 

  4. Raise Your Credit Limit
    It's not advisable to open new accounts prior to requesting a loan. However, if you have a good history with a creditor, you may be able to request a credit increase. Raising your available credit limits reduces your debt-to-credit utilization ratio which is approximately 30% of your FICO score.

  5. Diversify Your Credit
    If you have limited or poor credit, you may want to consider getting a short-term, secured loan from your current bank. Your credit mix accounts for 10% of your score and this can give you a slight boost once you pay the loan off. 

  6. Establish Good Habits
    Credit scores are ultimately a reflection of how well you manage your finances. Before you purchase a home, you want to establish good financial habits which your score will reflect. These include making payments on time and not "maxing" cards out. Towards your goal of homeownership, one of the best ways to make sure you keep your score rising is to establish a monthly budget and avoid spending any more than you plan in any given month. 

Our preferred mortgage, F&M Mortgage, can help you better understand your options when it comes to qualifying for and obtaining a home loan.

Contact us when you're ready to start your search for the right home for you.

August
19

Our Local Farmers Markets in Virginia and West Virginia

Local Farmers Markets VA and WV
If you love fresh, local food, fun times, and friends, then visiting community farmers markets is a great way to spend a day. Local farmers markets offer many benefits to communities, including healthy dining options, fresh produce for all of your meals, fun events, great deals, and the opportunity for small, local businesses to find a market for their wares. In addition to offering food, many farmers markets feature vendors selling crafts, art, handmade jewelry, and plenty more. Our real estate agents love shopping local, and we've got the inside scoop on eight local farmers markets you need to explore.

Virginia Farmers Markets

  1. Harrisonburg Farmers Market – 228 South Liberty St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    Harrisonburg homes for sale
    make it easy to visit the Harrisonburg Farmers Market, where you can find fresh food and so much more. Stop by every Tuesday and Saturday morning for fresh produce, baked goods, craft, local wine, and plenty of surprises.

  2. The Dayton Market – 3105 John Wayland Highway, Dayton, VA 22821
    You won't have to travel far from Dayton homes for sale to visit the long-running Dayton Market, which has been serving the area for more than 30 years. This market is open 6 days per week from Tuesday through Saturday, so there's never a bad time to visit.

  3. Broadway Farmers Market – 161 South Main St., Broadway, VA 22815
    Fresh food is never far from Timberville homes for sale, thanks to the Broadway Farmers Market which serves the Broadway-Timberville communities. In addition to tons of great products, this market has frequent special events through the spring, summer, and fall.

  4. Staunton Farmers Market – Wharf Parking Lot, Johnson St. & Central Ave., Staunton, VA 24402
    Staunton homes for sale
    are located close to the popular Staunton Farmers Market, which offers some of the best selection in the area. The Staunton Farmers Market is a producer-only market, which means every vendor is directly involved in the growing or production of the items they sell.

  5. Luray/Page County Farmers Market – Mechanic Street Parking Lot, Luray, VA 22853
    Located close to Luray homes for sale you'll find the excellent Luray/Page County Farmers Market, with great deals and even better food. This is a perfect spot to pick up fresh meat, baked goods, and plants, along with produce from local farms.

West Virginia Farmers Markets

  1. White Barn Farm Market – 1433 US Highway 220 N, Moorefield, WV 26836
    Shopping for Moorefield homes for sale? Be sure to visit the White Barn Farm Market for all of your culinary needs. White Barn is open every day but Sunday, so you'll always have access to the freshest ingredients possible for your next meal.

  2. Pendleton County Farmers Market – 201 Confederate Rd., Franklin, WV 26807
    Franklin homes for sale
    provide easy access to the Pendleton County Farmers Market, located in the community. Find fantastic deals on a huge selection of local produce throughout the spring and summer at the Pendleton County Farmers Market.

  3. Grant County Farmers Market – Petersburg City Parking Lot, Petersburg, WV 26847
    If you're shopping for Petersburg homes for sale, then the Grant County Farmers Market will be your one-stop-shop for fresh food. Visit every Tuesday and Saturday morning to grab fresh food and handmade crafts from a variety of local vendors.

An amazing selection of farmers markets is just one of many charms of living in local communities, and there's never been a better time to shop for homes in the area. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Shenandoah Valley and eastern West Virginia.

August
12

Where to Find Gluten-Free Eats in Harrisonburg

Gluten-Free Restaurants Harrisonburg
There was a time when eating a gluten-free diet meant you had limited choices for dining out. However, as more health-conscious people have adopted this way of eating, restaurants are taking note. 

Potential homebuyers often ask our real estate agents for local restaurant recommendations, and we're happy to report that there are many gluten-free dining options nearby. Next time you're in the area looking at Harrisonburg homes for sale, check out one of these excellent gluten-free hot spots. 

  1. Vito's Italian Kitchen - 1047 Port Republic Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    Local favorite Vito's Italian Kitchen caters to the gluten-free crowd with a separate gluten-free menu that includes a variety of salads, pasta dishes, and pizza. 

  2. Jimmy Maddison's - 121 South Main St. Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    The home of Southern cuisine, premium whiskeys, and soulful music, Jimmy Mattison's features a wide array of gluten-free menu options that you're sure to love. Try the She Crab Soup, Shrimp and Grits, Blackened Catfish, and Collard Greens with Ham. 

  3. Grilled Cheese Mania - 1476 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    You might not expect to see delicious grilled cheese on this list, but Grilled Cheese Mania seems to have thought of everything. Try their Classic Johnny or the Mama Mania made with mozzarella, pesto, tomato, and sriracha hot sauce. Both of these awesome sandwiches are made with Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free bread so you can enjoy them to your heart's content. 

  4. A Bowl of Good - 831 Mt Clinton Pike, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
    For unique, healthy menu choices, you can go wrong with A Bowl of Good. They serve up hot and cold bowls that can be made gluten-free by switching out the bread or pita and replacing it with corn tortillas or chips. Try the "Out of Africa Bowl" (Nigerian Stew), the "It's All Greek to Me" (Greek garbanzo salad), or the "Red, White, and Moo Bowl" (beef and bean chili). 

  5. Heritage Bakery and Cafe - 212 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    Going gluten-free doesn't mean you have to give up your sweet tooth! Heritage Bakery and Cafe offers gluten-free muffins, giant cookies, and hand-made granola bowls. Dine in, take your treats home with you, or consider booking a spot at one of their super-popular Sunday Tea events. 

  6. Boboko Indonesian Cafe: 217 South Liberty St. #102 Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    A cozy restaurant with delicious ethnic food, Boboko Indonesian Cafe offers a wide selection of gluten-free menu items. You'll definitely want to try the Teriyaki Summer Rolls, Spiced Sesame Salmon, or Potato and Tofu Curry. When you eat at Boboko, you can feel confident that you're getting the highest quality ingredients including antibiotic-free chicken and locally-sourced produce. 

  7. Greens & Grains Cafe - 865 Port Republic Road Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    A popular place for healthy eating alternatives, Greens & Grains Cafe clearly marks the vegetarian and gluten-free options on their menu. Try the Fall Harvest Salad, Crab Bisque, Wild Salmon Salad, or the Mushroom & Brie Soup. 

Want to learn more about all the things there are to love about living in Harrisonburg? We would love to show you around! Contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

August
5

7 Insider Secrets for Buying a House

Secrets for Buying a House-Old Dominion Realty

Buying a house can be challenging. If you are looking for Harrisonburg homes for sale, the perfect home is not likely to just magically appear. In almost all home purchases, those buyers who find their dream home remain firmly in the driver's seat throughout the entire house-hunting process.

With that in mind, you can increase your chances of finding and buying the perfect home for you and your family by following some of the same steps other successful buyers have used.

  1. Lay the Groundwork.
    Ideally, six to 12 months before you begin your home search, you should run your credit report. Review the report carefully and check for any inconsistencies so that you can clear up the errors. If you find that you owe some debts, get these paid off immediately. You want to approach your mortgage lender with a credit score that is as high as possible.

  2. Crunch the Numbers.
    Proactive homebuyers get loan pre-approvals from their lenders before embarking on their house-hunting quests. This is important because it narrows your field and doesn't waste your or your real estate agent's or the sellers' time and efforts. Some sellers will not even allow their homes to be shown to potential buyers who don't have pre-approvals.

  3. Find the Best REALTOR®.
    When you're searching for a home, your REALTOR® literally holds the keys to your dreams. You want to choose someone with whom you have a good rapport and who understands your concerns and home-buying goals. Your real estate agent should be responsive to your needs and return telephone messages quickly.

  4. Know What You're Looking For.
    With budget constraints in place, consider what you really want to have in a home. Is moving into a certain school district a priority? If so, start your search there. Is your heart set on a two-story older home on an acre or more? Steer clear of subdivisions of ranch homes on small plots of land.

  5. Be Open to Possibilities.
    Even though you have a certain ideal in mind, keep an open mind for some outliers that just might fit the bill. Sometimes a thorough renovation or re-purposing of existing space can turn a so-so option into the house you've always longed to own.

  6. Be Bold or Go Home.
    In a tight housing market, there's always the chance that you will find the home of your dreams only to find it snatched out from under you and sold to another buyer. If you find a home you love, don't drag your feet on making an offer. While you don't want to rush such a big decision, sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and make an offer.

  7. Don't Look for a Unicorn.
    Your real estate agent can't wave a wand and produce the perfect white picket-fenced home in your price range and the right school district, with the exact number of bedrooms and bathrooms you seek. Unicorns don't exist and you can exhaust yourself in the process of trying to find one. Your home-buying search needs to remain centered in reality. While you shouldn't have to "settle" on such a major purchase, you must remain mindful of the parameters of your search and adjust your expectations accordingly.

If you'd like to learn more about some of the homes for sale Old Dominion Realty has listed, our REALTORS® can help. Contact us to to get your house hunt started today.

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