Date Archives: February 2020

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Homebuyers: Don't Make these Earnest Money Mistakes

Homebuying Help Earnest Money

Our REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty are always looking for ways to make the home buying process easier. No matter whether you're looking for homes for sale in Virginia or homes for sale in West Virginia, our team is with you every step of the way.

Buyers have a lot of questions about how to optimize their finances and get the best deal. But you can't ask a question on a topic you haven't heard of yet! One of the most important topics slips through the cracks for many buyers: Earnest money.

Earnest money is a deposit a prospective buyer puts down during a transaction to show they are serious about going forward. Once the home reaches closing, the money is returned. It can also be applied to closing costs or mortgage loans.

It usually equals about 1%-2% of the home's purchase price.

In general, the earnest money isn't part of your financing package. The need to pay this money out of pocket catches many buyers by surprise at a crucial time. It's vital to understand the role of earnest money and how to use it in a way that serves your interests.

Look out for these critical earnest money mistakes:

  1. Offering Too Little
    While 2% of the selling price is a good baseline for earnest money, sellers can expect anywhere up to 10%. The best amount to offer depends on the market and how much interest has been shown in the home already. Enlist your real estate agent in choosing the right figure.
  2. Removing Contingencies
    Contingencies are contract clauses that allow you, the buyer, to walk away from a transaction under certain circumstances without losing the money you have invested. Sellers don't benefit from contingencies and may argue strongly against them, but think carefully before you let any go as part of your negotiation.
  3. Overrunning Deadlines
    Once you submit your earnest money, the clock is ticking. Most contracts will spell out a date by which you must reach closing. If you don't complete the transaction in time, you might end up forfeiting your earnest money – even if you go on to close on the home a few days later.
  4. Buying As-Is Without Due Diligence
    "As-is" doesn't always mean there's something wrong with a home, but you should take extra steps to protect yourself. In particular, it's worth getting a complete home inspection that will give you a detailed insight on any issues that might need repair in the near future.
  5. Voiding a Contract Too Quickly
    If a sale falls through, both the buyer and seller must act to void the contract. If you feel you've lost your earnest money through no fault of your own, you're entitled to withhold your signature. Then, selling the property becomes impossible until the dispute has been resolved.
  6. Charging Into Buying a Home
    When you're buying a home, it's essential to strike a balance – moving fast enough to get things done on schedule, but slowly enough to make thoughtful decisions. Each step counts. Set your priorities early on (in writing!) so you can easily recognize when a home really meets them.
  7. Crediting Earnest Money Incorrectly
    Earnest money should be treated with care as part of your real estate transaction. That means making sure that a trusted third party receives the money and maintains it in a separate account. This can be a bank, a title company, an attorney, or even some real estate firms.

Earnest money is a commitment. Take the right steps, though, and your bases will still be covered if new information makes the deal less desirable. Your real estate agent can help you as the voice of experience and an advocate who can negotiate on your behalf.

Buy a Home with Old Dominion Realty

Contact us with questions about earnest money or to get started searching for a home.


Why Classic Blue Accents Might Help Sell Your Home

Classic Blue to Sell your Home
Do you want prospective home buyers to fall in love with your home? Then maybe you should leave them feeling blue in the best of ways! The Pantone Color of the Year for 2020 is 19-4052 Classic Blue and it's safe to say that men and women of all tastes are diving into this refreshing hue. Whether you're considering a full remodel or a small renovation project before you list, you'll want to increase your chances for success by integrating Classic Blue into your space.

Pantone Color of the Year

Pantone, the dynamic company that provides a universal language through color, chooses a Color of the Year through research at their Pantone Color Institute. The shade is chosen based on forecasted color trends for the following year. This year's selection, 19-4052 Classic Blue, was hand-picked for its elegance and simplicity. In an age where uncertainty and disconnection are often prevalent, the reassuring qualities of Classic Blue bring a sense of tranquility, confidence, and stability to our lives. Step into the world of Classic Blue and immerse yourself in peaceful reflection.

Incorporating Classic Blue into Your Home

When it comes to choosing colors for your home, you need to think beyond wall paint. Although the color of your walls can dramatically change the perception of a room, it's important to understand that the entire room's color palette will consciously and subconsciously impact buyers as they browse homes for sale in West Virginia. Let's look at a few effective ways that you can easily integrate Classic Blue into any room of your home.

  • The Kitchen: The heart of every home, Classic Blue's calming and welcoming nature embraces those who step foot in the space. Consider painting your cabinetry, adding a strip of backsplash, or even upgrading to new appliances that are Classic Blue.

  • The Dining Room: Depending on your home's layout, you can integrate Classic Blue in a number of ways. For seamless connections to the kitchen, balance the hues by adding Classic Blue place settings, dishware, or décor. For an enclosed dining room, consider a Classic Blue furniture piece such as a hutch or china cabinet.

  • Bedrooms: You can effortlessly integrate Classic Blue into the master suite or guest bedrooms by creating an accent wall. If you're planning on selling the home fully furnished and will use white walls for the home house, we recommend adorning your master bedroom with an inviting Classic Blue comforter, sheets, and pillows.

  • Living Areas: Help buyers envision a calming, comfortable space in your living areas by adding a touch of Classic Blue. You can use Classic Blue curtains, end tables, or wall art to subconsciously make them feel at ease.           

  • Bathrooms: The bathroom is the best place to let Classic Blue shine, especially in the master suite. Give buyers the tranquility they seek by painting the walls in this relaxing hue.

  • Laundry Room: A laundry area or mudroom is a perfect spot to have fun with color without overwhelming conservative buyers. Use this opportunity to invest in Classic Blue appliances, wall paint, or even flooring.

  • Furniture & Décor: Not all Classic Blue elements need to be large or luxurious. Simply adding a few dashes of Classic Blue via décor and furniture can go a long way. Consider children's playrooms with Classic Blue beanbags to sit on, libraries with Classic Blue artwork, or simply a half-bath Classic Blue floor rugs and hand towels.

  • Exterior: You don't need to limit Classic Blue to only the indoors. Let this color spread to the outdoors by painting your door, window shutters, or mailbox Classic Blue.

Position Your Home for Selling Success With Classic Blue

Sell Your Home

While you should showcase every room with the best color and décor possible, we recommend that all sellers try to incorporate Classic Blue into their homes prior to listing. Whether you paint the walls and cabinetry or simply add a few accents into your living spaces,  Classic Blue is a favorite of our REALTORS® and we know that buyers will love it too! For assistance with homes for sale in Virginia, contact us today.


Best Wineries and Vineyards Around the Valley for National Drink Wine Day

Shenandoah Valley Local Wineries

Some say that wine is the nectar of the gods, but we think that a glass of vino is simply the secret ingredient for a good time. Whether you consider yourself an amateur sommelier or if you're not picky when it comes to color, taste, or body, National Drink Wine Day is a great opportunity to pour yourself a glass of wine straight from the Valley. 

What's the best way to celebrate National Drink Wine Day on February 18th? By uncorking a delightful bottle in the vineyards of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Our REALTORS® invite you to grab life by the stem and enjoy National Drink Wine Day with a glass of red or white at one of these local wineries.

  • Yelping Dog Wine — 9 E. Beverly St., Staunton, VA 24401
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    If you're tight on time and can't make it to a vineyard, we suggest heading straight to Yelping Dog Wine. This wine, cheese, and gourmet shop have more than 1200 different bottles of wine from over 200 vineyards. A cozy space to hang out with your partner or your closest group of friends, their free wine, cheese, and Greek olive oil samples allow you to explore a world of flavor without ever leaving your seat. Come hungry on National Drink Wine Day and pair a glass with one of their gourmet grilled cheeses.

  • CrossKeys Vineyards — 6011 E. Timber Ridge Rd., Mt. Crawford, VA 22841
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    Located in the shadow of the Massanutten Mountain, CrossKeys Vineyards transformed 125-acres of unspoiled Virginia forest and created a truly tranquil vineyard. With hospitality and excellence, they open their tasting room doors for all to savor their twelve different grape varieties in favorites like the Cabernet Franc, Tavern, and Apple D'Vine. Luckily for you, National Drink Wine Day falls on a Sunday which means their bistro is also open for you to sample their delicious signature items.

  • Barren Ridge Vineyards — 984 Barren Ridge Rd., Fishersville, VA 22939
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    Barren Ridge Vineyards welcomes you to simply stop in and enjoy a glass of wine that reflects the serenity found in the Valley. Their cozy rustic tasting room and charming patio offer you, your friends, and even your dog an amazing space to sip their dry and sweet reds and whites. Swing by to tour the vineyard before sampling their rotating tasting list.

  • Veritas Vineyard & Winery — 151 Veritas Ln., Afton, VA 22920
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    With a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it's no wonder why so many weddings and special events take place at Veritas Vineyard & Winery. A perfect place to bring a picnic and enjoy the outdoors, bundle up and take a stroll through their vineyard with your four-legged friend. The Terrace restaurant, located next to the tasting room, will provide you with casual eats and farmhouse fine dining for those who desire an intimate wine pairing experience.

  • Ox-Eye Vineyards — 44 Middlebrook Ave., Staunton, VA 22401
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    With a tasting room located in the Historic Wharf District of Downtown Staunton, Ox-Eye Vineyards brings the farm to you. Delicious whites and reds retain their sugary and acidic taste thanks to diurnal farming high on the sloped vineyards of Augusta County. Visit on National Drink Wine Day and you may be lucky enough to catch one of their unique art shows featuring reduced prices on wine.

  • Bluestone Vineyard — 4828 Spring Creek Rd., Bridgewater, VA 22812
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    In case you haven't heard, the Shenandoah Valley is becoming an increasingly popular region for grape growing and the Bluestone Vineyard is taking full advantage of the climate by producing nationally recognized wines. This family-owned vineyard specializes in small-batch wines that evolve from year to year to capture the true taste of the Valley. Their tasting room wine list dwindles by the day as older red, white, sweet, and reserve wines are uncorked for visitors from around the country. We recommend heading in on National Drink Wine Day to taste the 2013 Houndstooth Bordeaux blend, the 2016 Chambourcin Steep Face, and the 2013 Petite Verdot before they're gone.

  • Muse Vineyards — 16 Serendipity Lane, Woodstock, VA 22664
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    Science, passion, and deep respect for traditional winemaking have helped the family-owned Muse Vineyards produce award-winning bottles. Their care, patience, and expertise dictate that they always use low-impact materials and work by hand to allow the grapes to tell the story of their growth through taste. Explore their food and wine tasting menus, or let National Drink Wine Day turn into a three-day weekend by booking an overnight stay at their 225-year-old farmhouse.


Buy a House Old Dominion Realty

Are you searching for homes for sale in Virginia close to a vineyard — or better yet, with your own personal wine cooler? Contact us today and we'll help you begin your search.


In Search of the Perfect Slice on National Pizza Day

Shenandoah Valley Restaurants for Pizza
Put burgers on the backburner and leave your leftovers in the fridge — February 9th is National Pizza Day and you deserve a slice topped with gooey cheese, crisp vegetables, and crunchy crust. Believe it or not, more than 3 billion pizzas are sold annually and every America consumes around 23 pounds of pie throughout the year.

How can you observe National Pizza Day? You can grab a few slices with friends, order delivery for a movie night at home, or grab a pie and have a pizza party in the park with your family. Nearly 20 percent of all restaurants in the country are pizzerias and if you're searching for the best pizza spots in the Shenandoah Valley, these five parlors are some of our REALTORS® favorites!

  1. Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza — 80 W. Water St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    If you love pizza in any form, then imagine how delicious a slice made with farm-fresh ingredients tastes. Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza makes all of its menu items from scratch daily using produce, meats, and cheeses sourced from local Shenandoah Valley farms. Following the traditional pizza-making process created in Naples, Italy, Bella Luna's 900-degree wood-fired oven is ready to warm up your taste buds. All 10-inch pizzas are 100 percent organic and can even be made with a gluten-free crust. While you can't go wrong with the Chef's Choice featuring the freshest local and seasonal ingredients available, we always suggest either the Bella Bianca with a roasted garlic puree or the Chicken Al Forno with locally-roasted chicken and hot sauce.
  2. Benny Sorrentino's — 64 S. Mason St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    For National Pizza Day, there's no better place to go than the Home of the Virginia Slice. Taking "pizza is life" to a new level, Benny Sorrentino's believes that living an easy, breezy lifestyle with a slice in hand and a smile on your face is the best way to live. Opened in 2014 as part of Harrisonburg's downtown restoration project, every pizza at Benny Sorrentino's gives you a diverse taste of our country — cheese from Minnesota, tomatoes from California, fresh flour and custom Virginia-branded meat from the Midwest. If you're up for The Benny's Challenge, amateur eaters can try to take down a 28-inch pie in under an hour — professional eaters need to do it in under seven minutes!
  3. Romano's Italian Bistro — 40 New Hope Rd., McGaheysville, VA 22840
    Southern Italian cuisine is always on the menu at Romano's Italian Bistro. Unlike other pizzerias that may offer dozens upon dozens of combinations, Romano's understands that nothing beats a classic pie. Gourmet pizza options include a Bistro with grilled chicken, a Margherita with fresh tomato, and a White with ricotta cheese. They also have a classic Cheese, Veggie, and Meat Lover, as well as their Romano's Special with pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers. Finish it off with a cannoli or a slice of fried cheesecake and call National Pizza Day a success.
  4. Mamma Mia Italian Restaurant — 701 S. 3rd St., Shenandoah, VA 22849
    A Shenandoah staple for nearly one-quarter of a century, Mamma Mia Italian Restaurant knows how to please the pizza lovers in town. This family-owned-and-operated pizzeria blends Italian Classics with the hallmarks of the best New York-style pies to create an unforgettable pizza. You can't go wrong with the classic, hand-tossed New York-style" pizza, but we suggest that you make National Pizza Day special with a thick, hand-pressed Sicilian pan pizza. Top it with their premium ingredients like lightly battered eggplant, sautéed shrimp, and Philly steak. After one bite, you'll feel like you're eating in the heart of Mamma Mia's home kitchen.
  5. Vito's Italian Kitchen — 1047 Port Republic Rd., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    When you come to Vito's Italian Kitchen for authentic pizza, you're guaranteed to get a true taste of Italy. Born in Sicily, Vito brought his talent for cooking to Harrisonburg in 2002 and forever changed the pizza game in town. The Soprano and The Godfather will give you an appetite you can't refuse while the Wicked Hot Carolina and The Pellerito delight even the toughest pizza critic. Be sure to ask about their Gourmet Pizza of the Week, made exclusively with a thinner crust, loaded with seasonings, and featuring specialty ingredients.

Hungry for a home around the Shenandoah Valley? Contact us today to shop homes for sale in Virginia

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