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Date Archives: August 2021

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August
23

About the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail

Shenandoah Valley Wine TrailLooking for an all-new way to experience the Shenandoah Valley? Our real estate agents have it!

Shenandoah Valley homes for sale run the gamut of styles, but beautiful surroundings are the norm no matter your architectural tastes. From across Virginia and all throughout the country, people visit year-round to drink in the sights and unique culture of the Shenandoah Valley area.

The Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail helps show it all off in an experience you'll never forget!

Shenandoah Valley's Unique Wine Trail Helps You See All That Makes the Area Great

The Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail is full of surprises on its 200-mile stretch of wineries, breweries, and cideries. As you venture from one end to the other of this north-south trail, you'll see so much of what makes Virginia unique. 

Nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and Allegheny Mountains to the west, the Valley runs from the state line of West Virginia down to the James River. The Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail provides a family-friendly (and largely pet-friendly!) opportunity to explore it all.

Not surprisingly, the wine trail is an epicenter of family-owned businesses. In addition to the different beverage-makers, you'll also find plenty of antique stores, art shops, and housewares vendors. 

You'll pass through many communities if you're determined to see all the trail has to offer. Small, historic villages are plentiful, as are college towns. 

While winery visits reach their height in the fall, most businesses along the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail are open year-round.

Unique growing conditions and soil of the Shenandoah Valley have given rise to a profusion of grape varietals. Rocky, fertile soil, and a mild, relatively dry growing season have attracted wineries of all sizes and styles. Virtually all of them have gotten in on the fun and now offer tours and tasting rooms open to the public.

Let's take a closer look at some of the wineries you can stop at on the trail!

The Winery at Kindred Pointe 3575 Conicville Road, Mt. Jackson, VA 22842
Owners Amy and Bruce Helsey bought the property for The Winery at Kindred Pointe in 2005 and named the spot after one of Amy's favorite books, Anne of Green Gables. What started out as a horse boarding business has grown into a beloved winery near Mount Jackson homes for sale. Pick up a bottle of wine from their historical series, which features artwork of local historical significance by artist John Paul Strain.

Barren Ridge Vineyards  – 984 Barren Ridge Road, Fishersville, VA 22939
In the late 1800s, a small apple orchard was planted, which became the modern-day Barren Ridge Winery we know and love. Located near Fisherville homes for sale, this winery offers stunning views of West Virginia and the Alleghany Mountains. Take in the views and sip on local wine from their tasting room.

12 Ridges Vineyard – 24981 Blue Ridge Parkway, Vesuvius, VA 24483
12 Ridges Vineyard is a cool climate vineyard and tasting room where your palate will dance with flavors from the Shenandoah Valley and around the world. The brand focuses on a traditional sparkling wine with the goal of becoming the foremost in Virginia. Tastings can be done on the terrace or outside on the scenic hilltop, all within driving distance from Vesuvius homes for sale.

Honey & Hops Brew Works – 212 East Main Street A, Front Royal, VA 22630
Honey & Hops Brew Works will introduce you to mead, a trend that's sweeping the nation. Using familiar principles of fermentation with honey rather than grapes, Honey & Hops offers rich, award-winning flavors: The favorite may be Black Trails blueberry mead. "Mead and Chocolate" events are popular for couples. Check them out after looking at Front Royal homes for sale

Sage Bird Ciderworks – 325 North Liberty Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
Sage Bird Ciderworks is a local producer of small-batch, handcrafted cider using local ingredients. The apples are the key to this iconic "Apple-Achian" cider, including a curated selection of a dozen distinctive Shenandoah Valley varieties. Most Sage Bird ciders are dry, but there's something to suit every taste. All this within minutes of Harrisonburg homes for sale.

Contact us to find out more about Shenandoah Valley real estate.

August
16

7 Ways a Real Estate Agent Can Help You in a Hot Market

Real Estate Agent Tips

A combination of low-interest rates, limited nationwide inventory, and pent-up demand has made this year's real estate market one of the hottest in history. In a competitive seller's market, buyers often lose some negotiating leverage and are forced to enter into bidding wars.  

However, if you're looking for a home in today's real estate market, all hope isn't lost. The key to finding the right home for the right price is a combination of patience, dedication, and working with an experienced real estate agent. 

Our real estate agents are working with clients to help them navigate the complexities of today's hot market. Below are some ways we can help you:

closing tips

  1. Agents Can Help Minimize Issues During Closing
    After putting weeks of work into looking for the right house, securing financing, and negotiating terms, the last thing you want is for the deal to fall apart at closing. Title problems and financing issues are the things that most commonly delay closings. An experienced real estate agent can establish a realistic closing timeline and knows how to spot problems before they arise.

  2. Agents Are Expert Negotiators
    Buyers can lose some negotiating leverage in a hot seller's market, which is why is the expertise of your agent is more important than ever. As a consumer, negotiating with a home seller can be an emotional process. Agents are able to remove emotion from the equation entirely. They also don't have any issue with being persistent and aggressive when asking for contingencies. Buying a new home is an emotional process, which is why it's important to have a good agent negotiating on your behalf.

competitive offer

  1. Agents Can Help You Make A Competitive Offer
    In a hot market, the key to winning a bid is making your offer as competitive as possible. Luckily, there are many things you can do to help your offer stand out without drastically exceeding the asking price. For example, you may consider waiving the appraisal contingency, putting down a higher earnest money deposit, and making your offer as straightforward as possible in order to increase the chance of your offer being accepted. The bottom line, your agent can work with you to create a compelling offer.

Market Tips

  1. Agents Know The Market
    Not only can your agent help you find homes that meet all of your criteria, but they're also familiar with current market trends as well as specific neighborhoods in your area. If you're considering one of these beautiful Shenandoah County homes for sale, your agent can provide you with insights about homes and locations that you may not be able to find on your own. They can also help you gauge whether a particular property is over or underpriced.

  2. Agents Can Act Quickly
    Buyers need to act fast when looking for a home in a seller's market, especially if you're considering one of these great Augusta County homes for sale. If you find a property you absolutely love, a good agent will be willing to turn around an offer in a matter of hours. 
    real estate paperwork

  1. Agents Can Handle The Paperwork
    A real estate transaction requires an immense amount of paperwork, which an average consumer likely can't handle on their own. Between the offer, counteroffer, and contingencies, there is a lot riding on the accuracy and completeness of the paperwork. Your agent will not only ensure everything is documented correctly, but that all pages are signed and initialed.

real estate resources

  1. An Agent Can Connect You To Resources
    A standard real estate transaction often involves several third parties who perform various services throughout the process. If you need a mortgage broker, home inspector, or notary public, your real estate agent likely has a wide network of trusted resources. Real estate agents often manage multiple closings each week, so chances are, they've had ample opportunity to vet the efficiency of the service providers in their network. Since your agent can connect you with the services you need to ensure a smooth transaction, you can avoid a lot of stress and headaches along the way.

While a hot seller's market can present a number of challenges for buyers, working with a good agent is the best way to mitigate risks and secure the home of your dreams. For more tips on how to make a competitive offer, contact us today.

August
9

Summer Rain: What is a Rain Garden?

Summer Rain GardenA rain garden is one of the most attractive and effective ways to handle runoff on your property, protect groundwater, filter impurities, and improve landscaping aesthetics. Our real estate agents have seen beautifully designed rain gardens in Shenandoah County homes for sale and thought it'd be great to put together a beginner's guide to creating a rain garden.

What is a Rain Garden?

A rain garden is a shallow, bowl-shaped depression in the landscape designed to collect and soak up rainwater. Rain gardens typically slow the flow of water runoff from impervious surfaces such as roofs, downspouts, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, and lawns. Typically, heavy rain pours so quickly that the water doesn't get enough time to soak into the ground. This also means the soil does not absorb enough water for plants.

The shallow depression is usually 6 to 8 inches deep, has loose soil, and can be placed at any point along the runoff pathway. The rain garden creates a "trap" for runoff water, which slowly filters into the ground instead of entering the storm sewer system and our waterways. When designed properly, a rain garden should soak up to 30% more water than a conventional lawn. Also, the water should not stand for more than 48 hours. Rain gardens can be large or small and can complement any style of landscape.

Why Are Rain Gardens Important?

What do you gain when you collect runoff water? Aside from being beautiful and creative, a rain garden serves a functional purpose in maintaining the natural water cycle and protecting the local environment. As cities and suburbs grow, they increase impervious surfaces, which create increased stormwater runoff problems. A rain garden allows water to be absorbed into the ground, reducing drainage problems and the potential for flooding.

Here are more benefits of a fully functional rain garden:

  • Reducing the amount of water that runs off to a storm drain
  • Keeping your home's foundation and basement safe by diverting water away from it
  • Helping protect the community from flooding, stream bank erosion, and drainage problems
  • Attracting beneficial and pollinating birds, insects, butterflies, and mosquito-consuming dragonflies
  • Enhancing the beauty of yards and surrounding neighborhoods

Choosing Plants for Your Rain Garden

The best plants for rain gardens need to be able to withstand temporary standing water and dry conditions, reduce erosion, increase water absorption, and look beautiful. Native plants are always recommended, and it's a good idea to mix up different species to help manage stormwater and create a beautiful garden.

Large shrubs and trees: These slow down rainfall before it reaches the ground, preventing it from running off immediately and allowing it to better soak into the soil.

Shorter, deeply rooted plants: Direct water into the ground and hold the soil.

Tall grasses: Trap pollutants, suck up water, and prevent silt from being carried by stormwater to rivers and ponds.

Some of the best plants for a rain garden include:

Black Eyed Susan

  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Switchgrass
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • River Birch
  • Bald Cypress
  • Black Willow

Scarlett Bee Balm

  • Scarlet Bee Balm
  • Southern Blue Flag
  • New England Aster
  • Summersweet
  • Astilbes
  • Purple Coneflower

Marsh Marigold

  • Marsh Marigold
  • Swamp Oak
  • Sweetgum
  • Red Maple
  • Buttonbush

Spike Rush

  • Spikerush
  • Smooth Alder
  • Swamp Rose
  • Cardinal Flower

Daylily

  • Daylilies
  • American Beautyberry
  • Red Osier Dogwood

The exact plant for each rain garden will vary based on the soil conditions, sun exposure, and how much water the garden will hold.

Build Your Own Rain Garden

How big your rain garden will be depends on the size of the impervious area draining into it. As a general rule of thumb, make the bed 20% to 30% the size of the area from which the water is funneled. For example, if you have a 1000 sq. ft. roof, create a 300 sq. ft. rain garden to accommodate runoff water. Here are tips for creating a successful rain garden:

  • Dig out dirt from a dry area that's downhill from the water source and at least 10 feet away from your home's foundation.
  • Don't plant your garden over septic systems, under trees, or in areas that already get standing water. You may want to do an infiltration test to determine how fast the soil allows the water to drain. Dig a hole about 10 inches deep and fill it with water. The water shouldn't take more than 48 hours to drain.
  • Amend the soil to improve drainage. Replace heavy soil with sand, compost, and good-quality topsoil.
  • Add a few small stones to the garden to protect the soil from being washed away and create a bowl where water can pool to about 6 inches deep.
  • If the water doesn't naturally flow to your garden, consider digging a trench to direct water from one or more gutter downspouts to the garden.
  • Planting your rain garden is the final step. In the center of your garden, plant perennials and native plants that tolerate flooding. These should be followed by plants that tolerate short periods of standing water. The outer edges should have plants that prefer a drier soil. Ensure you don't plant the roots too deep into the soil and leave enough space to avoid overcrowding when the plants mature.
  • Once all your plants are in, mulch the inside of the rain with compost or shredded hardwood to give the garden a tidy appearance and keep out weeds.

If you're looking for Shenandoah homes for sale or Augusta County homes for sale, we can help simplify the process for you and find your dream home. Contact us today to start the process.

August
2

Rockingham County Greenhouses Gardeners Will Love

Rockingham County

Gardening is a fun pastime that can be done in a large backyard or even in containers on a deck or porch. It adds beauty and value to your home along with color, visual interest, and - depending on what you plant - can produce delicious veggies.
  
Our real estate agents suggest visiting the following Rockingham County greenhouses that our local gardeners love:

  • Grass Roots Landscaping - 1084 Virginia Ave., Harrisonburg, VA 22802 
    With a visit to Grass Roots Landscaping, located just around the corner from Harrisonburg homes for sale, you're likely to find what you need to start and maintain a beautiful garden. They'll have what you need whether you're just starting your garden or would like to make some additions or improvements to an existing garden. The company sells plants, shrubs, and trees that are well established and, when possible, native to the area. This increases their chances of thriving in local conditions. And if you're looking for tropicals, the greenhouse carries one of the largest selections in the area. You'll also find what you need to spruce up your garden, including mulches, soils, and landscape stones. And if you need help deciding how to design your garden, Grass Roots Landscaping offers these services as well.

  • Mistimorne Plants - 723 Pike Church Rd., Rockingham, VA 22801  
    Mistimorne Plants, a family-owned plant supplier, grows most of the plants they sell on their own farm using little or no growth regulators, which are chemicals that control the growth of plants. Their selection is very large, with over 60 varieties of tomato plants alone available to help you find just the right type to thrive in your garden. You'll also find plenty of flowering plants and hanging baskets to help beautify your garden and porch. Reviewers have praised the nursery's prices and customer service, so you should expect to get the help you need and pay reasonable prices.

  • Evergrowin' Greenhouses - 6263 Thomas Spring Rd., Bridgewater, VA 22812  
    Family-owned Evergrowin' Greenhouses has been a go-to destination for plants and other gardening needs for decades. It's a local landmark that's even a popular location for school field trips. Situated just around the corner from Bridgewater homes for sale, the nursery has over 150 varieties of perennials you can choose from, as well as plenty of annuals, vegetable plants, and hanging baskets. As your garden grows each season and year, you'll be able to find some wonderful new plants or other improvements to add to it. And when it comes time to give your plants the best environment to thrive in, head to Evergrowin' Greenhouses for dyed or bark mulch as well as mushroom compost, topsoil, and potting soil.

  • Massanutten Produce - 5375 Spotswood Trail, Penn Laird, VA 22846  
    You can buy hanging baskets and flowers such as mums at Massanutten Produce, located close to Rockingham County homes for sale. And you'll find gardening inspiration in some of the family-owned business' other products for sale, including locally grown fresh fruits and veggies like peaches and beans. Start with the fruit and veggies and complete your shopping with some homemade bread and fresh local milk, cheese, and honey, and you'll have some deliciously healthy additions to your meals.

  • Overlook Produce and Farm Adventures - 609 Friedens Church Rd., Mount Crawford, VA 22841
    Overlook Produce and Farm Adventures has four greenhouses located minutes away from Mount Crawford homes for sale, which allows them to extend their growing season to offer even more plants and produce. You can buy mums and annuals for your garden at their open-air retail market or pick your own strawberries, blackberries, or other fruits when they're in season. If you'd rather not pick your own, you can buy them already picked to save yourself some effort. Many veggies and plants are grown and sold from the farm, where you can also buy meat from animals raised without antibiotics. Overlook is also an entertainment destination since it has a corn maze that you can navigate your way through as you work with your family to find your way out.

Contact us to see Rockingham County homes for sale. Our agents can help you find just the right home, whether you're looking for one with plenty of space for a large, thriving garden or would like a smaller home and yard with a patio for container gardens. 

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