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July
6

Creative Uses for a Detached Garage

Detached Garage

If you recently bought a home with a detached garage, you basically have a whole extra building on your property. While you could use the detached garage to house your vehicle, there are plenty of more creative ways to take advantage of the space. Our real estate agents have seen homeowners using their detached garages in all sorts of unique ways over the years. Today, we have a few suggestions to share with you.

Space for Toys

  • Create a Place for Your Kids' Toys
    Are you tired of your living room floor always being covered with Legos? Perhaps your kids' rooms are messy because they have more toys than they have spots for those toys. Creating a playroom in the garage is the perfect way to solve these problems.

    To give the garage playroom a soft floor, purchase some removable carpet squares. They'll add enough padding for little knees, and if someone spills a drink on one of the squares, you can easily pull it up and replace it. Totes on a rack along one wall provide a quick and easy toy storage solution. You can also set up a plastic table where the kids can play with smaller toys or do some arts and crafts.

Home Gym

  • Home Gym
    The cost of a gym membership has increased pretty dramatically in recent years. Instead of paying for a membership month after month, consider spending that money on gym equipment for your detached garage. We've seen lots of Waynesboro homes for sale with gyms in the garage, and the setup works really well.

    You don't need a lot of equipment to get started. A treadmill and a basic set of free weights with a bench will allow you to get a decent workout. In the coming years, you can add some additional equipment such as an exercise bike, a rowing machine, or some resistance machines. A few yoga mats and a television are good additions, too — especially if you enjoy yoga or Pilates.

  • TV Room
    Turning your detached garage into a TV room serves a few different purposes. If you find that you and your family members are spending too much time watching TV, moving the TV to the garage can help curb that habit. You'll physically need to walk to a different building to watch TV, so it will become something you don't do quite as often.

    Creating a TV room in the garage also works well if your family can't always agree on what to watch. Some family members can watch sports in the living room, and others can go out to the garage to watch a favorite sitcom.

    You can make your garage TV room as fancy or as minimal as you desire. All you really need is a TV and a few couches. Add a small refrigerator, a microwave, and some movie posters on the walls for good measure.

In-Law Suite

  • In-Law Suite
    If you often have family members come to stay with you, having a separate place for them to stay can be nice. Convert your detached garage to an in-law suite, and you'll all have more privacy. We've seen Harrisonburg homes for sale with in-law suites in detached garages, and many look like comfy, cozy cottages.

    Since there are a lot of building codes that need to be adhered to if you turn a garage into a living space, it's best to work with professional contractors on this project. Still, it can be done quite affordably if you stick with an open floor plan. You can convert most of the garage to an open living space with a kitchenette and living room-style seating. Build a little loft bedroom, a bathroom in one corner, and you're set to go.

Hobby Space

  • Hobby Space
    If you have a specific hobby, you could always convert your detached garage into a space dedicated to that hobby. For instance, some model train collectors use their detached garage as a place to paint and set up their trains. We've also seen cyclists who use their garage as a place to store and work on their many bikes. Florists have even made garages into greenhouses.

    Using your detached garage as a hobby space helps reduce the hobby-related clutter that builds up in your main home. It also helps you get into the right mindset when engaging in the hobbies you love. You can retreat to the garage, leave the worries of the day at home, and focus solely on your hobbies whenever you're in the garage.

If you're not using your detached garage to park a car, don't let that space go to waste. Your garage could elevate your life if you turn it into a TV room, home gym, or hobby space. If you're still on the hunt for the perfect home with a detached garage, contact us. We'll help you navigate the buying process.

July
12

Recipes for Your Garden Fresh Veggies

Summer Vegetables

It's easy to eat healthy during summer, whether you shop for fruits and vegetables at the great farmers markets around Shenandoah County homes for sale or grow your own. Our real estate agents share some of their favorite recipes that put vegetables front and center.

Yellow Zucchini

  • Summer Vegetables Ratatouille
    What better way to get kids to eat veggies than to prepare a dish named for a Disney movie? Well, that's the story you can tell them. Summer Vegetables Ratatouille takes almost no time and effort to make. It's a great side dish or even a light meal if you want to skip the meat. Simply slice up an eggplant, green zucchini, and yellow zucchini along with three tomatoes and a cup of mozzarella cheese. Arrange over a layer of tomato sauce, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes.

  • Grilled Vegetable Pizza
    If your experience with pizza doesn't go beyond the traditional pepperoni and sausage, expand your horizons with Grilled Vegetable Pizza. It combines two classic elements of summer eating: fresh veggies and outdoor cooking. Start by slicing up Chinese eggplant, zucchini, cremini mushrooms, red bell pepper, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Toss with herbs and seasoning, then cook in a grill basket. Crust for the dough can also be grilled. Top with pesto sauce, smoked gouda, and the veggies. Go vegan with plant-based gouda and vegan pesto sauce.

  • Summer Peach Salad
    Fresh fruit adds a welcome touch of sweetness and texture to a green salad. This Summer Peach Salad is perfect for lunch on the patio with family or friends. Toss peeled, pitted, and diced peaches and avocados, blueberries, sliced red onions, chopped pecans, mini mozzarella balls, chopped mint leaves, and romaine lettuce in a large bowl. Serve with a vinaigrette dressing made from balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, onion powder, and sugar. If you want something a little heartier, add a protein such as diced chicken. 

Summer Veggies

  • Zucchini Tomato Bake
    Fresh tomatoes are delicious as is, but cooking them brings out their innate sweetness, adding another dimension of flavor. Zucchini Tomato Bake takes less than one hour from start to finish. Combine chopped zucchini, halved cherry tomatoes, minced garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper before placing in a baking dish. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan, bake for 30 minutes, and garnish with basil leaves.

  • Caprese Pasta Salad
    You'll feel like you're dining in the Italian countryside when you eat this Caprese Pasta Salad. As a bonus, the only cooking required is boiling the water for the rotini pasta. When it's done, add the pasta to a large bowl with halved grape tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls, and basil. Toss with a dressing of pesto, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. For some extra pizazz, drizzle a balsamic reduction over the top. When tomatoes are out of season, adapt the recipe by substituting sun-dried tomatoes. 

  • Tomato-Lemon Tart
    Wow family and friends with a Tomato-Lemon Tart that makes it look like you've been in the kitchen baking for hours. The secret is frozen ready-made puff pastry that you roll out onto a sheet of parchment paper. After sliding the dough onto a baking sheet, brush with garlic and oil. Place a layer of lemon slices on top, scatter basil leaves, and top with a layer of tomato slices. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil and bake until the pastry is browned and crispy. Cut into rectangles and finish each piece with a dollop of crème fraîche.

  • Warm Corn Chowder Salad
    Pick up some farm-fresh corn from a roadside stand near Staunton homes for sale to make Warm Corn Chowder Salad, a summery take on a cold-weather favorite. Cook some bacon until crisp, then set aside and add peeled and diced Yukon Gold potatoes to the pan. Once the potatoes are almost tender, add diced red peppers and corn kernels. After all ingredients are heated through, transfer to a bowl and mix with the cooked bacon along with sliced red onion, cider vinegar, and crushed red pepper.

  • Watermelon, Feta, and Arugula Salad
    Contrasting ingredients turn Watermelon, Feta, and Arugula Salad into an explosion of flavor. Just cube some watermelon and toss it in a bowl with arugula, olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add crumbled feta cheese and mint leaves, then lightly toss again. Serve as is or use as a bed for grilled chicken strips.

Summer in the Shenandoah Valley is a great time to buy or sell a home. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to get started.

August
17

Does Your WIFI Blanket Every Corner of Your Home?

Home Improvement - WIFI
With more people working from home than ever before, having a strong WiFi connection throughout the house is critical. Our real estate agents are acutely aware of this, as we're doing much of our business online as well. 

Whether we're doing virtual showings of Virginia homes for salefollowing up with our clients, or working with other professionals to coordinate inspections and closings, it's important that we don't miss a beat.

Take a look at some of our best tips for making sure you have a great WiFi signal in every corner of your home.

Check Your Router Location
It's always best to start by moving your router around. There are many simple issues that can impact a router's performance, including being too close to things like microwaves, baby monitors, Christmas lights, and even large fish tanks! Concrete and brick walls can also block the signal.

While you might be limited in your location options, sometimes getting a longer cord and being creative with the router's positioning can solve the problem.  

Update your Firmware (Or Upgrade Your Router) 
If moving the router doesn't help, it might be time to update the firmware. You can often do this by entering your router's IP address into your web browser and then entering your username and password. Once you're logged in, follow the instructions to complete the update, then restart your router.

If your router is old and outdated, you're likely better off upgrading to a new one. Check with your internet service provider to make sure you get one that's compatible.  

Add Some Repeaters 
WiFi range extenders, also known as repeaters or WiFi boosters, are also quite effective for ensuring your signal reaches every corner of your home. It works by repeating the signal coming from your router, resending it to areas of the home where the signal was previously weak. 

Although these devices are relatively inexpensive and work well, they can be a bit tricky to set up. To ensure the best results, do some research before you set them up or contact a professional to do it for you. 

Consider Powerline Networking
Powerline networking is a more expensive option, but it will give you a strong, reliable signal with a higher speed than you'll get with repeaters. This setup uses the electrical wires in your home to transmit the signal from your router to any room. You'll then want to set up a wireless or wired connection at the other end. 

This is a convenient option as there's no need to rip up walls or floorboards. It's as easy to install as simply plugging in an adapter. While these adapters will usually work fine in most modern homes, it's not guaranteed. Make sure you do plenty of research before you make this investment as it's likely to cost you at least a few hundred dollars. At a minimum, you'll want to purchase adapters that you can return if you run into a problem. 

Combine Solutions to Meet Your Needs
Depending on the layout of your home, you may be able to combine a few of these options. This is often the best way to counteract a variety of potential issues and optimize your WiFi signal in each room. 

Enjoy Your New Connection! 
Whether you're working from home, binging on Netflix, or searching for the best West Virginia homes for sale, a strong WiFi connection will make your life so much easier! 

If you're ready to get serious about your home search, there's no substitute for working with a professional real estate agent. Not only can we help you find your dream home, but we'll also walk you through every step of the process from your initial offer to closing day. Contact us today to get started! 

July
13

Steal These DIY Ideas for Your Front Porch

DIY Ideas for Your Front Porch

Our real estate agents love showing homes with great curb appeal. When a potential buyer falls in love with a house at first sight, not only does it make our jobs easier, but it also improves the chances that the seller will get a great offer. 

In addition to taking care of your lawn and landscaping, one of the best ways to improve your curb appeal is to give your front porch some TLC. Need some inspiration? Here are a few of the best DIY ideas we've seen popping up on some of the best Virginia homes for sale.

  • Paint Your Front Porch 
    One way to make a great first impression is to add a splash of color to your front door. Choosing a shade of blue will give your home a decidedly coastal look while you can make a big, bold statement by opting for a bright red. Just make sure you take your time and do a great job. Otherwise, you could end up doing more harm than good.

  • Add a Porch Swing
    Few things make a porch look as comfortable and inviting as a front porch swing. In fact, this feature is extremely popular among buyers looking at West Virginia homes for sale. Paint the swing a bright, cheery color and add plenty of cushions. Finish off the look by tossing a soft throw blanket over the back and adding an ottoman or small table. 

  • Paint Stained Concrete
    Stained concrete can make your porch look old and dingy, which is definitely not a look you want when you're trying to make a good impression. However, there's no need to worry! Simply add a couple of coats of paint to create create a clean, finished look.

  • Update Your Outdoor Lights
    Adding some decorative lighting to your porch will upgrade the look both during the day and after the sun goes down. Not only will this beautify your space, but it will make it safer too!

    Don't be afraid to experiment. Depending on the style of your decor, you might want to add some wall-mounted, pendant, or string lights -- or combine a few different types of lights.

  • Hang Some Curtains
    Curtains might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about outdoor space, but adding some light and airy cloth curtains can give you extra privacy while also cutting down on the amount of glare that comes in.

    For a more subtle look, choose a simple cream color so the curtains blend into the background. Want to make a bold statement? Choose curtains with bright colors or patterns and coordinate the rest of your porch decor to match them.

  • Add An Attractive Rug
    Adding an area rug to your front porch will give it a cozy look and allow you to pull together the color palette of the rest of your decor. Coordinating bright-colored textiles will make your porch look warm and cheery. Add a floor lamp, and outdoor couch and some side tables to create the impression of indoor living.  

Don't Try to DIY Your Home Purchase or Sale! 

While it's easy to DIY projects around the house, when it comes to buying or selling a home, you'll want to turn to the pros! We're here to help guide you through every step of the process. Contact us today to get started. 

June
8

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.

December
16

Here's What to Do When You're Inheriting a House

Homeowner Help Inheriting a Home
Inheriting a home is a unique experience, often carrying a mix of sorrow for the loss of a loved one and excitement for the property that they cared enough to leave to you. Whether you're planning to live in the home yourself, rent it out, or get it prepared for sale, following a proven process is the best way to accomplish your goals. Inheriting a house is quite different from shopping for Harrisonburg homes for sale in the traditional way, and there will be big decisions to make regardless of what you choose to do with the home. Our REALTORS® are here to help, with our guide for what to do when inheriting a house.

  • Make a Plan for Utilities
    Regardless of what you ultimately decide to do with a home you inherit, you'll want to keep the property in good shape while you decide. Start by making sure that necessary utilities remain turned on while canceling any utilities you won't need while the home's status is in flux. It's often wise to keep the lights and water on since you'll be spending time getting the house prepared.

  • Decide What to Do with the Stuff in the Home
    When inheriting a house from a loved one, deciding what to do with all of the stuff that they left behind is often one of the most emotional steps in the process. While it may be tempting to delay, finding a solution for the stuff in the home – whether you buy, sell, store, or donate it – is a crucial step in moving forward regardless of what you ultimately do with the home.

  • Decide Whether to Sell, Rent, or Move In
    Once you handle the initial details of inheriting a home, it's time to decide whether you plan to sell it, rent it out, or move in yourself. What you choose to do with the home naturally plays a big role in how you prepare, so take your time, think it through, and make the decision that works best for your needs.

  • Key Steps for Selling an Inherited Home
    When selling an inherited home, you'll want to take the same steps for preparation as you would with any property. Make sure maintenance issues have been addressed, the home is sparkly clean, and that you have the right real estate agent for your needs. Ask your agent whether it's worth considering renovations to increase the home's value, or your best bet is selling the property as-is.

  • What to Do When Becoming a Landlord
    If you plan to rent the home out, start by making sure you get a home inspection to reveal any potential issues. Make necessary repairs to the property, and read up on local regulations for landlords. If you want to make life as a landlord easier, consider a property manager to keep an eye on your investment.

  • Considerations for Turning an Inherited Home into Your Own Dwelling
    Planning to move into the home yourself? You'll still want to start with a home inspection so that you get an idea of exactly what needs to be done for the home. Take care of any maintenance issues, and get the home move-in ready. Read up on property taxes in your location, and expect those taxes to rise when the home is reassessed.

Whether you're looking to sell an inherited home or purchase the home of your dreams, our experienced real estate team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Harrisonburg, VA area.

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