Date Archives: June 2020

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Celebrate July 4 at Home in the Valley

Celebrate July 4 at home in the Shenandoah Valley
As we make our way into the heart of summer, we prepare to celebrate one of the most important American holidays: Independence Day. The 4th of July and its adjacent weekend is often a time when friends, families, and neighbors gather together in gratitude for our freedom, health, and safety. Unfortunately, this year our July 4th festivities will be quite different than normal, but that doesn't mean that we still can't have a fun-filled holiday with those we cherish most. Our real estate agents invite you to creatively celebrate the 4th of July virtually with these cool ideas.

  • Party in the Backyard with Food & Games
    Cookouts are synonymous with July 4th so break out the grill and get the family together for some outdoor fun. Bake a few red, white, and blue cookies or cupcakes and make a few star-spangled crafts before heading to the backyard for food and games. Take a dip in the pool and throw the pigskin around. Cornhole, horseshoes, and potato sack races are also great alternatives if you have limited space in your yard.

  • Host a Socially Distanced Hot Dog Eating Contest
    If you love hot dogs, consider challenging your neighbors to a hot dog eating contest. Competitors can gather on the sidewalks in front of their houses and see who can eat the most hot dogs. This fun event can be easily held in your neighborhood while adhering to safe social distance guidelines. Make the event even more fun by challenging them to a water balloon fight as well!

  • Take Virtual Tours of America's Best Sites
    Did you know that the coolest, most interesting and awe-inspiring landmark in the United States can be visited without leaving home? Many of our iconic historical sites and museums can be explored virtually. From the Statue of Liberty and Smithsonian National Museum of History to The White House and National Museum of African American History and Culture, spend a few hours showing your family some of the most important relics of our country's past.

  • Host a Virtual Patriotic Movie Night
    For a country as young as ours, we have a rich history that has been recreated on the silver screen time and time again. These films give us the opportunity to glimpse into the past and see how our ancestors have molded our country's future. Pop some popcorn and gather the family on the couch for historical films such as The Patriot that are both thrilling and educational.  

  • Put on a Firework Show for Neighbors
    Many cities and towns around the country have confirmed that they will put on firework shows for residents to view from their homes, but that doesn't mean that you can't pop a few firecrackers off on your own. Taking all safety precautions into consideration, consider lighting a few legal fireworks in your backyard for your neighbors to enjoy.

Just because you can't see your family and friends IRL doesn't mean you still can't have a blast with them! Celebrate the 4th of July virtually and contact us if you'd like to tour Virginia homes for sale or West Virginia real estate before the summer ends!


How to Buy and Sell a Home at the Same Time

Help! We Sold Our Home Before We Bought Another

Buy and Sell Homes Simultaneously

If the first three rules of real estate are, "Location, location, location," the fourth rule would be, "Timing is everything." Selling and buying a home simultaneously is a tightrope act that defies the skills of the most experienced circus acrobat.

Fortunately, our real estate agents have a superior sense of balance. Here are their top tips for buying and selling a home at the same time.

  1. Study the Market
    At any given time, based largely on the overall economic climate, the real estate market will favor either buyers or sellers. Knowing where the current advantage lies will help direct your strategy.
  2. Crunch the Numbers
    Get a solid handle on your financial picture. Determine your current liquidity, a realistic resale value of your home, and how much equity you have. This will give you an idea of the budget you're working with, including the amount of down payment you can comfortably afford.
  3. Get Pre-Approval
    "Your reach should exceed your grasp" is fine advice, except when it comes to real estate. Many people mistakenly assume their purchasing power will go much further than it actually does. With a pre-approval in hand, you won't be tempted to waste time on a home you can't afford.
  4. Have a Backup Plan (or Two)
    If you sell your home first, you'll need to arrange temporary housing. On the other hand, if you buy first, two mortgages can be a significant drain on your cash reserves. Draw up a workable game plan for either of these possibilities. Options include rent-back agreements, contingency clauses (for buyers and sellers), bridge loans or renting out your home. Keep in mind that each method comes with its own set of pros and cons.
  5. Prepare Your Home for Sale
    Take a good look at your home. Would you buy it today as is? Take care of any upgrades or repairs immediately so the home is ready to roll once it hits the market. Consider getting a pre-inspection so you're not caught off-guard by any unseen conditions.
  6. Work With a Qualified Real Estate Agent
    While it doesn't absolve you of responsibility for making informed decisions, the assistance of a reliable real estate agent is invaluable. Along with providing market insight, a good agent successfully steers you through the curves and speed bumps of buying and selling a home simultaneously.
  7. Negotiate Terms
    Selling price is only one of the terms that may be negotiated in a real estate transaction. If you need some adjustments to accommodate your timeline, your agent can negotiate the closing date, contingency clauses, and other elements that factor into your backup plans.
  8. Don't Operate Out of Fear or Emotion
    Yes, we develop emotional attachments to Virginia homes for sale but save that for the business of living, not the business of real estate. Remain level-headed and clear-eyed, and you'll find it much easier to make good decisions.
  9. Be Flexible
    No matter how carefully you construct your plans, there's a wild card you can't account for: the behavior of others. Accept the fact that you can't control what other buyers and sellers, lenders, and inspectors will do, and be prepared to pivot when need be. 

Buying and selling West Virginia real estate can be a roller coaster ride, but we can reduce the scares and increase the thrills. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to get started.


Summertime Family Fun: Create a Family Time Capsule

Summertime Family Fun
Nothing brings history to life as vividly as the stories of those who lived through it. 2020 is almost halfway through, and it's already beyond the scope of any year our country has seen. Use these ideas from our real estate agents to memorialize 2020 with a family time capsule. 

  1. Choose a Container
    The ideal container should be large enough to accommodate all your items and durable enough to withstand wear and tear over time. If you're handy, a DIY wooden box can do the trick. Other options include plastic Tupperware-style or metal containers.

  2. Use Written Documentation
    We have become a digital society, and technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. While it might be easier to create electronic documents, the media may be outdated by the time the capsule is opened. (Does anyone remember floppy discs?) Using hard copies, whether hand-written or printed off a computer, ensures the materials can be read at any future time. 

  3. Start a Diary
    Have each member of your family keep a diary to record specific events and their reactions. You don't have to write an entry each day, but over time you'll have a compelling picture of everyone's journey. Need help getting started? Canadian artist Natalie Long has created time capsule workbooks for kids and adults.

  4. Every Picture Tells a Story
    Even during "normal" times, it's both fun and enlightening to look at pictures from the past and see how far you've come. But don't limit yourself to photos of your family. Print out online pictures depicting empty streets, healthcare workers, and other scenes that create a fuller perspective of this moment in time.

  5. Include Media Reports
    Newspaper and magazine articles help provide context for personal observations. Include entire publications or print specific articles from media websites. Be sure to include positive stories for balance.

  6. Conduct "Interviews"
    Another method to document experiences is to have members of the family "interview" each other. It's a great way to learn more about each other and develop deeper bonds. 

  7. Write Letters
    What insights would you like to share with your unborn children or grandchildren? Tell them in a letter. If you have kids, suggest that they write a letter to their older selves about what they've learned along with their hopes and dreams for the future.

  8. Incorporate "Relics"
    Think about everyday items that have taken on a special significance during this time. Appropriate options include hand sanitizer or antiseptic wipes, a roll of toilet paper, and a face mask. 

  9. Commemorate Special Events
    Are any family members celebrating birthdays, graduations, or even weddings? People have found amazingly creative ways to observe these traditional rites of passage while maintaining social distance. Be sure to document any special occasions that occur in your household carefully.

  10. Decide on a Storage Place
    While the traditional concept of a time capsule involves burial, most experts don't recommend it. The capsule is likely to succumb to the elements, or you may lose track of where it's buried. If you're using an attractive container, display it on a bookcase or shelf. Otherwise, store it safely in the attic where it can be easily retrieved at a later date.

At Old Dominion Realty, we respect the connection attached to your home. Contact us for considerate and dedicated assistance with your real estate needs.

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