LOGIN

Articles Tagged "buy a home"

House Talk with Toria Home

Subscribe and receive email notifications of new blog posts.




rss logo RSS Feed
Food Reviews | 3 Posts
Industry Talk | 1 Posts
LIFE | 1 Posts
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
lexington | lexington va | real estate | real estate market | Old Dominion Realty | Virginia Subdivisions | Old Dominion Realty Subdivisions | Harrisonburg Subdivisions | The Springs at Osceola | staunton virginia | West Virginia | West Virginia real estate | Bridgewater Virginia real estate | Waynesboro Virginia real estate | Rockingham County Virginia real estate | architecture | Shenandoah Valley | home maintenance | home safety | energy efficient homes | real estate career | real estate class | find a home | buy a home | homes for sale | sell a home | sell my home | selling a home | landscaping | kitchen | ktichen | home staging | staging a home | Springs Lakes | moving with pets | moving with kids | Grottoes VA | Harrisonburg | Harrisonburg VA | things to do | moving to Harrisonburg | living in Harrisonburg | become a real estate agent | buying a home | buy a house | build a house | Leading RE | Staunton | Staunton VA | Staunton Virginia | living in Staunton | moving to Staunton | Charlottesville | Charlottesville VA | Charlottesville Virginia | selling a house | home security | home security tips | Rockingham County | Rockingham County Public Schools | home buyers | home sellers | community events | area information | Augusta County | home improvement | schools | school districts | Harrisonburg restaurants | home buyer preferences | become a real estate agent | become a realtor | join old dominion realty | home saving tips | energy saving | Real Estate Agents | REALTORS | Charitable Organizations | real estate agents | REALTORS | house for sale | home for sale | home cleaning tips | James Madison University | Realtors in Harrisonburg | sell a house | first-time home buyers | farmland | farm property | agricultural land | farmland | farm | agricultural property | buying farmland | Sell a House | buying a house | home selling tips | curb appeal | home value | homeowner tips | moving tips | open house | Waynesboro | Down Payment | Financing | Mortgage | Home loan | Loan | Pre-approval process | Moorefield WV | Franklin WV | Hardy County | Grant County | Holidays | Area attractions | Local Businesses | FSBO | Charlie Ward | Neighborhoods | Subdivisions | Best Neighborhood | Professional photography | List a Home | Festivals | Family fun | Community information | Local information | Hardy County Public Library | Home renovation | Spring | Declutter | Pack | Move | Purge | Page County | Woodstock VA | Music and Entertainment | Bryce Resort | Edinburg | Grottoes | Mount Jackson | Timberville | Woodstock | Bridgewater | Elkton | New Market | Shenandoah County | Broadway | Dayton | Fort Valley | Luray | Weyers Cave | Franklin | Lost River | Petersburg | Garden | outdoors | summer | pets | decor | interior design
August
15

What to Know When Buying Farmland

Farmland Tips

If you've dreamed of growing your own food or raising livestock, purchasing farmland can help you turn your dream into a reality. Our real estate agents know that purchasing farmland is a little different than purchasing a more conventional piece of property. Here's what you need to keep in mind when buying farmland. 

Plant Types

  • You Should Determine What You're Hoping to Accomplish by Purchasing Farmland
    Before you can start searching for farmland, you should have some idea of what you want to do with the land. Having a plan for your farmland will help you find properties that are suited to your needs. If you just want the ability to own animals that aren't allowed within the city limits (like chickens and a few goats), your land needs are different than those of someone who wants to grow and raise most of their own foods. 
  • There May Be Regulations That Impact Your Ability to Use the Land
    Even though farmland is usually subject to fewer laws and regulations than other types of land, there may still be restrictions that dictate how you can use the land. For example, you may only be allowed to use a certain amount of water. This will affect the types and quantity of any crops that you grow. Zoning laws can also impact your ability to use the farmland. If the land parcel is on a conservation easement, any activities on the land will need to follow the easement's guidelines. 

Soil Type

  • The Soil May Not Fit Your Plans
    Before you decide to purchase one of the Augusta County homes for sale, make sure that you obtain information about the soil's history, including details about what crops have been successfully grown on the land in the past. This will help you decide if it's a good fit for the crops that you want to grow or if it's best to continue searching for a different property. While some soil problems can be fixed, this process is usually expensive and time-consuming. 

Building Types

  • Some Buildings May Not Be Usable
    It's common for a farm to have multiple buildings and structures, including barns, garages, tool sheds, and spaces for storing crops. However, there may be some buildings on the property that aren't usable. If a property has unusable buildings, you need to review the financial implications of restoring the space's functionality. Some buildings may need extensive repairs; you may be better off tearing these structures down. Even if you decide to tear down a building, this project will add multiple expenses to your budget. Should the property have buildings that require extensive repairs or demolition, make sure to factor in these costs when making an offer on the farmland.

 Location

  • The Farmland's Location Can Impact Your Plans for the Land
    Where the farmland is located should be considered when deciding if it's right for your needs. Maybe you envision setting up a booth at the local farmers market to sell your crops, eggs, or other goods. If the local farmers market is a lengthy distance from your farm, this will affect your ability to earn an income from your farmland. Or, if the farmland is so remote that you'll have trouble finding buyers or will spend a lot of time and gas driving to potential buyers, you may want to consider other options that are more centrally located. You should also think about how the land is situated from major roadways and bodies of water. For example, if your farmland is low-lying and near a river, it may be at risk of flooding and destroying your crops or livestock. Farmland that's close to busy roads may experience pollution from vehicle exhaust; it's also more likely to face theft or vandalism. 

Purchasing farmland has unique considerations that you should explore to help you confirm that a property is a good fit for your needs. Ready to start looking for your next property? Contact us today to get started!

August
1

ODR's Affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World

Old Dominion Realty

As an independent real estate firm, our goal is to provide the best possible service to you and provide comprehensive assistance in achieving your real estate goals. This is true whether you're moving to a Virginia/West Virginia community from across town or across the world. One of the ways that we provide that level of service is through our affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), a worldwide network of top independent real estate brokerages.

Both our real estate agents and our clients benefit from our affiliation with LeadingRE, whose mantra is "Making the Best Brokerages Better." No matter where you're moving from, our team is here to help you find the home that perfectly suits your needs.

Get to Know Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®

Founded in 1997 by 50 of the largest real estate brokerages in the United States, LeadingRE has grown into a worldwide network over the last 25 years. It's now comprised of 550 companies in more than 70 countries, with 4,700 offices located across the world and 136,000 sales associates. LeadingRE is a by-invitation-only network focused on raising the bar in real estate, with industry-leading metrics in sales and market coverage.

What this means for clients is that no matter where you're currently located and where you're planning to move, there's a global network of like-minded real estate firms ready to serve you. Long-distance moves are so much easier when you have a worldwide network to lean on, and we're proud to be part of a network that's built to serve you.

Global Network

A Global Network with Local Knowledge

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is made up of industry-leading local and regional real estate firms. As a client, one key benefit of working with a local or regional real estate brand is that you have access to unparalleled local knowledge. In our case, that means helping you find the right home, in the right neighborhood, in Virginia and West Virginia communities.

When you're relocating from far away, there are so many factors to consider, whether you're relocating for work, family, military service, or simply to experience something new. Starting a new life in a new location is so much smoother when you have access to a global network with unmatched local knowledge. Take the guesswork out of a long-distance move, and find a real estate brand you can trust to make your transition a smooth, streamlined experience so you can focus on settling into your new home.

Local Team

Our Affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®

You can find our Old Dominion Realty page on the LeadingRE website and our video on Old Dominion Realty and LeadingRE to learn more about our affiliation with the network. If you're moving from out of state or outside the country, we can help you manage the logistics, find the right neighborhood, and find the right home. If you're moving from Virginia/West Virginia to another location, our affiliation with LeadingRE means that we can help you find the right agent in communities across the world.

On the LeadingRE website, you can also access tools like the Global Cost of Living Report, Currency Converter, and Mortgage Calculator to help you make informed decisions. The goal is to provide you with the best possible service, no matter where you're moving from or where you're moving to, through a network with global reach.

Services from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® offers a variety of tools to help facilitate long-distance moves for individuals and organizations.

  • Luxury Portfolio International®
    Luxury Portfolio International® is geared toward luxury clientele, with more than 50,000 of the world's finest properties listed annually. If you're searching for a luxury home, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® can help you find it.

  • RELO Direct, Inc.®
    RELO Direct, Inc.® is a service for corporate clients, providing comprehensive administrative support to help employees move with high satisfaction rates. It also has extensive certifications to help government organizations manage employee moves.

  • Solutions Group
    The Solutions Group program helps us help you. LeadingRE partners with a wide range of service providers that allow members to leverage the best tools, technology, and services in the real estate industry to provide the best possible service to our clients.

Our Team

Let Us Help You Plan Your Next Move

Whether you're shopping for Augusta County homes for sale or homes in another Virginia or West Virginia community, our team is here to help you accomplish your real estate goals. Our affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® can help us accommodate your needs, no matter where you're moving from or what is motivating your move. Contact us to buy and sell homes in the Augusta County, VA area.

July
25

What to Know When Buying a Historic Home

Historic Home

If you envision yourself owning a home that stands out from other properties or boasts design details that are rare in modern properties, a historic home is a terrific option to consider.

There are a few things our real estate agents want buyers to know when considering historic homes to help them confirm that the property is right for their lifestyle and property needs. Here's what you need to know. 

  • A Property Must Meet Certain Criteria to Receive a Historic Classification
    The historic home designation isn't arbitrarily used. Instead, the home must meet certain criteria to receive the historical classification. A home isn't a historic home just because it's old. To be called a historic home, the property must be a minimum of 50 years old. The overall structure must look the same as when the property was first constructed. It must also meet a qualification that proves the property is historically significant, like playing a role in a historical event, housing an important person or group, or using an architectural style that's historically significant. 
  • Historic Homes Often Experience Higher Than Average Appreciation
    When compared to other homes in the area, historic homes usually appreciate in value at faster rates than other properties. This increase is driven in part by the limited stock of historic homes. Historic homes aren't as widely available as other home types, and this limited supply helps support higher home prices. People who purchase historic homes tend to hold onto them for years, a fact that further drives steady increases in the value of historic homes. If your home is located in a historic district, this may further boost your home's appreciation. Historic districts contain multiple historic properties that create a neighborhood with properties that are required to maintain a certain standard of appearance. 

remodeling plans

  • Remodeling Plans Should Maintain the Home's Structural Integrity
    Any remodeling that you complete must support the home's original design and structure. In many towns, renovations to historic homes must be approved by a local review board. It's usually fine to repair or even replace materials that are original to the home when necessary, but these repairs must support the property's historical appearance and, whenever possible, use materials that are original to the home. While massive renovations inside a historic home usually aren't permitted, enlarging the home by building an addition may be permitted as long as the addition adheres to the home's architectural style. Any existing details in the original portion of the home should be reflected in the addition.

Financing Options

  • The Process of Acquiring Financing and Insurance for the Home is a Little Different
    Before you start looking at Rockingham County homes for sale, you'll want to obtain mortgage preapproval so you know how much you can borrow. However, you need to know that the process for acquiring financing for a historic home is a little different than securing financing for a traditional property. Some mortgage programs can't be used for historic homes that require a lot of repairs; the lender is likely going to want to know how you're going to pay for these repairs. There are programs available, including the Limited 203(K) loan and Title 1 Property Improvement Loan, that provide homeowners with affordable loans to repair their historic homes. You'll also want to shop around for your home insurance, as some home insurance companies may be reluctant to insure properties that they feel will be expensive to repair or replace. 

Tax Incentives

  • You May Qualify for Tax Incentives
    There are tax incentives available for homeowners who need to rehabilitate a historic property. The Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program is one tax credit you may qualify for; there are also tax deductions available if your property is eligible for a historic preservation easement. 
  • Properly Maintaining a Historic Home Requires More Resources Than the Average Home
    While historic homes have long lifespans thanks to their quality construction and durable materials, they do occasionally need maintenance. Maintenance for a historic home is usually a little more expensive and time-consuming than maintenance for a conventional property. Historic homes may require specialized materials and labor to ensure that the repairs are in line with the home's original design. 

Architecture

  • Historic Homes are Valued for Their Distinctive Details
    Historic homes contain details that are often only found in this type of property. Your windows or other details might not be perfectly centered, or your floors may creak and appear a bit uneven. These aren't issues that need to be fixed; instead, they should be viewed as details that are unique to a historic home's distinctive style and architecture. 

A historic home is a terrific option for anyone who wants to own a property that's a part of history and features a one-of-a-kind design. Ready to start the search for your historic home? Contact us today to get started!

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.

October
18

How to Warm Up Your Home's Entryway

Entryway tips

So many of the beautiful Rockingham County homes for sale have impressive entryways. Often, this is one of the features that captivates potential buyers. However, if your entryway is cold and sterile, it can have the opposite effect - detracting from your home's overall appeal. 

Luckily, it's easy to make your entryway warm and welcoming. Whether it's drafty and freezing or just needs some TLC, the following tips will help turn your entryway into one of the best features of your home. 

Entryway Lighting

  1. Keep the Cold Air Out
    If your entryway is physically cold, you'll want to take care of that first. You may need to add some additional insulation and put weatherstripping around your windows and under the door. This will help stop cold drafts, keeping the heat indoors and the chilly weather out. In extreme cases, you may even consider adding a small space heater to your entryway. Just make sure you pay attention to safety concerns and only use it when someone is home to keep an eye on it.

Home Entryway

  1. Add a Rug
    Placing a rug in your entryway will add some softness and bring a splash of color and texture to the space. It can also help define the space, giving the area its own unique sense of style. While the look and feel of a rug is certainly important, you'll also need to make sure the carpet you choose is durable enough to stand up to this high-traffic area. If it's close to the door, also make sure the rug is low enough so it won't interfere with your ability to open and close it. When adding a rug to your entryway, it's also important to make sure you have a doormat on the outside. This will help keep guests from ruining your rug by tracking in dirt and moisture from the outdoors.  

Entryway

  1. Layer the Lighting
    The right lighting can go a long way towards making a space feel welcoming. Most entryways have an overhead light, but this usually isn't enough. If you want to warm up the space, you'll need to layer in some lighting. Try adding a table lamp, some wall sconces, or even some lanterns to help give your space a warm glow. You can also make a statement by choosing an attention-grabbing chandelier or pendant light. Just make sure the combination you choose sufficiently lights up the entire space. 

  2. Keep it Clutter-Free
    Your entryway is the first impression of your home, so make sure it's not a mess. The best way to do this is to add a chest of drawers, a storage bench, or a console table to the space. This will give you a place to stash mail, keys, and other essentials so they're handy when you need them but still neatly out of sight.

    Entryway Style
  3. Give it a Sense of Style
    Our real estate agents love showing homes that have entryways with a big, bold style. Whether you chose a piece of statement art, a large mirror, or some plush stools, adding interesting decor to your entryway is the perfect way to set the tone and give guests an idea of what they can expect from the rest of your home. Don't be afraid to add bright colors to the walls, paint the inside of your front door, or experiment with wallpaper. All of these things can add style and make the space more inviting. You can also use your entryway decor to ease the transition between the outdoors and the inside of your home. Adding elements like large plants, rich wood, and stone accents can help turn the space into a transitional area.  
  1. Pay Attention to Scale
    Whether you have a large, grand entryway or one that's small and quaint, it's important to choose pieces that match. A tiny table will look strange in a huge foyer, and pieces that are too large will make a small entryway feel claustrophobic. Make sure you get the scale right, then add some accent pieces to pull it all together. 

Entryway Tips

  1. Add a Personal Touch
    To give your entryway even more warmth, be sure to incorporate your unique personality. Consider adding a vase of your favorite flowers, a piece of art you truly love, or a framed photo of people who mean a lot to you. This will make the area feel homey and give you a warm, fuzzy feeling every time you walk in the front door. 

Are you looking for your dream home? There are many beautiful Rockingham and Shenandoah County homes for sale, and the experts at Old Dominion Realty are here to help! Contact us today to discuss your goals and learn how to get started. 

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.

January
11

Home Office Decorating Tips From Our Agents

Home Office Augusta

Have you spent 2020 working from home? If you're like many of us, remote working may be your new nine-to-five. Whether you're browsing our Harrisonburg homes for sale or planning on staying put in your current house, you may be considering ways to turn bedrooms or other areas into a functional working space. Here are a few home office decorating tips from our real estate agents.

Home Office Agents

Lightening the Workload with Krista Fields

When designing your home office, you'll need to prioritize functionality. Thankfully, that doesn't mean that you need to sacrifice aesthetic. In fact, there are many homes or areas of your home that are ready-made to act as practical offices. Bedrooms with windows are especially easy to convert into offices, as there's already enough space for a desk and the windows provide ample light. Take it from our agent, Krista Fields:

"I do like a lot of light as well as having a space on the top of my desk to put paperwork or files that need my attention. I also like to surround myself with décor that I like; I use "outside the box" accessories such as wooden crates for files and old glass jars or wooden boxes from antique stores to use as pen holders. For an added touch of comfort, I always love having pictures and a cozy blanket."

Along with the natural light, Krista's insistence on creating a comfortable "homey" space within her workspace is a great idea. Her use of antiques and furnishings as nontraditional office equipment bring a fantastic balance to the space. A potted plant would be another excellent addition to a light-filled office.

However, we do recommend that you invest in a few resources to help control the lighting and temperature of your space. Depending on the time of the year, the natural light may provide varying degrees of light and heat. Blinds or curtains are useful, as are anti-glare shields for your computer screen.

Home Office Tips

Polishing Up Your Workspace with Duane Turner

When you envision your perfect home office, what furnishings do you see? It's natural for many professionals to assume that they need to purchase brand-new office furniture to help them function optimally. Take it from our Duane Turner who had a little help from his wife Catina, you can still accomplish your goals by buying items that are new to you. For example, she's taken an older desk and refurbished it with chalk paint to create a statement piece.

There are dozens of gently used or antique items that you can give a second life to. Thrift stores and antique shops are perfect places to find unique pieces for your home office. Believe it or not, your home is the best place to "shop" first! You'd be surprised how quickly a fresh coat of paint could turn an under-used desk or side table into a useful addition to your office space.

Bea Miller Office

Keep Your Business in the Black (But Your Office in the Red) with Bea Miller

Let's talk about color! Professionals rarely have a say in the décor and design of their company workspaces — but when it comes to a home office aesthetic, all rules are out the window! Just look at what our agent Bea Miller did to her workspace. Her office is cozy and inviting thanks to rich wooden furniture and a warm red wall color. White trim and doors provide contrast while small décor pieces complement the aesthetic.

It's your house which means it's your rules, though we do caution all homeowners to put some consideration into their choice of wall paint. Each color has a psychological impact on us, for example, green sparks creativity, and blue produces calmness. Before you throw your favorite color up on the walls, discover how these hues can potentially influence your productivity. Keep in mind that the amount of natural and artificial light in the space will affect the appearance of the color, too. Remember that you can always choose to make the dominant colors neutral and use your favorite colors to complement the space without having too strong of an influence.

Are you interested in visiting the latest listings of Augusta County homes for sale? Contact us today and let our agents help you find the perfect home office in a new house.

August
31

Homebuyers: Give Your Credit Score a Boost

HOW HOMEBUYERS GIVE THEIR CREDIT SCORES A BOOST
Ready to buy a house? Now is a great time to get started!

It's an exciting time to get involved in West Virginia real estate, and our team is here to help you do it. Our real estate agents have been getting calls from an increasing number of eager homebuyers throughout the states we serve.

Many buyers are ready and raring to go when it comes to looking at the best Virginia homes for sale, but they may have other concerns about how they will chart a course to closing day. One of the biggest worries we hear about from buyers has to do with credit.

Your credit score is a numerical measurement of how safe or risky you are to lenders who might give you a mortgage loan package. Your score is mostly determined by your history of paying your debts on time: However, there are other factors that are also important.

When you're preparing to buy a house, you'll want your credit score to be as high as possible. The better your score, the more favorable your loan terms are likely to be.

Some benefits of a higher credit score can include:

  • Lower interest rates on your mortgage, which may help you save thousands of dollars
  • Reduced need for a down payment and more options for dealing with your closing costs
  • Lower (or no) obligation to purchase mortgage insurance, which can cost hundreds

All in all, a better credit score will mean a better mortgage loan. However, you don't have to put off your plans to buy a house if you are concerned about your credit. Even if you will be sitting down with a lender in just a few weeks, there are still meaningful steps you can take.

Even a few more points on your credit score can make a difference!

Here's what to do before you move forward to buy a house:

  1. Check Out Your Credit Report
    Your free credit report is available online once each calendar year. This report contains all of the information that affects your credit score, including your outstanding debts and payment history. You can dispute any mistakes you find on your credit report, which can rapidly raise your score.
  2. Pay Down High APR Credit Cards
    The higher a credit card's APR, the more interest you will pay every month and throughout the year. While your total income does not affect your credit score, paying down high APR cards first can free up more money you can use to continue paying off debt.
  3. Avoid Any New Obligations
    When you are preparing to buy a house, avoid anything else that requires debt: Especially medium-term loans like an auto loan. Your debt-to-income ratio is an important calculation used by almost all lenders, and new debt can change the equation in ways that harm your loan package.
  4. Pay Things Off, But Don't Close Accounts
    Whenever possible, you should pay off credit cards 100%. If you can't quite reach a full payoff, aiming for 50% is a good goal that is noticeable to lenders. That said, you should never close accounts you've paid off. Your total credit availability actually works in your favor.
  5. Communicate Openly With Lenders
    If you are ever in a situation where you can't make a regular monthly payment, reach out to the company to work out a payment plan. Communication is the key. Likewise, if you've had financial issues in the past, clarify them with your mortgage lender and show how you've moved forward since.

Is 2020 the year you'll buy a house? Contact us for expert advice on your home search.

February
24

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.

January
27

5 Reasons You Were Denied a Mortgage Loan--And How to Fix Them

Buy a House Home Loan Approval
Getting denied for a mortgage loan may put a temporary halt to your dream of buying a house, but it doesn't have to be permanent. When you find out why your loan application was denied, you can correct any issues and reapply. Here are five common reasons your loan application can be denied as well as suggestions from our REALTORS® on how to fix them:

  1. Check your credit score.
    Your credit score is based on your credit history and is supposed to represent your creditworthiness. If you've failed to make payments or have made them late, you may have a credit score that's too low to qualify for a mortgage loan.

    What to do: Check your credit reports to make sure they don't contain any errors, and if they do, work with the credit reporting agency to correct them. If you've been denied a mortgage loan because of accurate information, start making all your bill and loan payments on time, every time. Also, you can check with a different lender.

  2. You don't have enough money for a down payment and closing costs.
    You'll need to make a down payment as a condition of most mortgage loans. In addition, you'll need to be able to pay closing costs, which are fees that are due at the closing of a real estate transaction. The down payment and closing costs can't be included in the mortgage loan, so if you don't have the money to pay them, you may be turned down.

    What to do: A relative may be willing to give you money for a down payment as a gift. You can also ask the seller to pay some of the closing costs.

  3. You have too much debt compared to your income.
    Your mortgage lender will look at your debt-to-income ratio, which calculates how much of your monthly income goes to debt payments. If your lender thinks you won't be able to cover the monthly mortgage payment in addition to your debts, you may not be able to get a mortgage loan.

    What to do: Pay down more of your debt and also avoid taking on any more debt. You can also try to reduce the interest rate on some of your debt by, for example, transferring your credit card balance to one with a lower interest rate.

  4. You recently changed jobs.
    Lenders prefer it if borrowers have held their current jobs for at least two years. This represents stable employment and gives the lender confidence that your income will allow you to make your mortgage payments. If you've recently changed jobs, a lender may deny your mortgage application.

    What to do: Ask your employer to provide documentation such as your job offer letter or contract and several pay stubs.

  5. Your home appraisal is too low.
    A condition of your mortgage approval will be an appraisal of the property. If the appraisal is higher or in line with the purchase price, you won't have any trouble. But if it's lower, your mortgage loan application may be denied.

    What to do: Try to get the seller to accept a lower price, or pay the difference between the appraisal and the purchase price in cash.

Buy a House with Old Dominion Realty
Contact us today to find out more about how to qualify for a mortgage loan, even if you've been previously denied. We're very familiar with the mortgage loan process and can suggest lenders that have helped others buy Harrisonburg homes for sale.

December
2

How Early Is Too Early for Home Loan Pre-Approval?

Home Loan Pre-Approval
When it comes to buying a home, the process can seem quite overwhelming — especially if you're a first-time home buyer investigating finance options. If you're like many prospective home buyers, you'll be working with a mortgage lender to secure a rate that works well with your budget and lifestyle. Our REALTORS® recommend that most prospective homeowners get pre-approved for a loan before they put an offer in on a home.

Everything You Need to Know About Mortgage Pre-Approvals

When searching for Harrisonburg homes for sale, you should already have an approximate budget in mind. This range can be frugal, sliding only by $10,000 to $20,000, or it can be a little more flexible by stretching between $25,000 to $50,000. Once you've determined this amount, you'll be ready to enlist the help of a mortgage lender through your preferred financial institution.

When you make an offer on a home, you'll need to either show that you're pre-approved for a mortgage or you'll need to secure financing from a lender in order to move forward with the sale. Although you can wait until after you've made an offer on a home, we recommend that you get a mortgage pre-approval first. A pre-approval involves a bank or broker examining your loan application to determine if you'll qualify for your desired mortgage. This is based on factors like:

  • Employment History
  • Income
  • Debt-to-Credit Ratio
  • Credit Score

One reason we recommend a pre-approval is because some lenders may offer you less than what you need depending on those factors. If you're pre-approved without issue, this gives the home seller reassurance that you're serious about your offer.

However, your pre-approval won't exist indefinitely. In fact, there is a shelf life for all mortgage pre-approvals, albeit one that takes into account that real estate transactions aren't finalized overnight. How long do pre-approvals last? Unfortunately, there is no single set duration that your pre-approval will be valid for, but a 90-180 day time period is common in the real estate industry.

Three months can fly by in the blink of an eye, especially if you're searching for a home in a hot market — which means you don't want to secure a pre-approval too early. Of course, you could find the home of your dreams next month and need an immediate loan approval so you also can't wait too long into your search. When is the best time to get pre-approved? We recommend that you first get prequalified with your lender when you're ready to begin your home search. Pre-qualification isn't as set in stone as a pre-approval, but it allows a lender to assess your finances and tell you how much you will likely be approved for based on your current finances. This will provide you with an idea of where your financial position sits in the eyes of a lender.

If your pre-qualification is sufficient and doesn't require you to raise your credit score or decrease your debt, we then suggest that you identify the neighborhood and specific home features you desire. Knowing the price range, location and must-haves will help you narrow your focus to specific homes. Now that you know exactly what you're looking for, you're in a great position to seek pre-approval for a loan and continue your search.

Would you like assistance with your pre-approval and homebuying process? Contact us today to get started!

Get Started Buying a Home

November
4

6 Tips for Veteran & Military Home Buyers

Military and Veterans Buying a Home
Buying a home as a veteran or military member comes with its share of unique challenges, but you also have advantages that aren't available to the average buyer. Whether you're shopping for your first home or looking to upgrade from your current one, there is plenty that you can do to make sure you're getting a deal on a home that you'll truly love. Our REALTORS® are here to help you find a great deal on your next home, with six tips for military and veteran home buyers.

  1. Learn the Advantages of VA Loans
    As a military homebuyer, you have the benefit of being able to access VA loans when you purchase a home. VA loans offer a number of unique advantages, including no down payment requirement, and no monthly mortgage insurance payment. However, as with any loan, you need to meet the requirements to qualify for a VA loan. That means you'll want a clean credit report and a steady source of income.
  2. Get Pre-approved for a Mortgage
    Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is key because it tells you home much home you can afford and shows sellers that you're a serious buyer. Shop around to see what different lenders have to offer, and start working on pre-approval as soon as you find the right match. With pre-approval out of the way, you can get serious about shopping for your next home.
  3. Know Your Credit Score and Pay Down Debts
    If you want the best terms for your loan, you'll need a strong credit score. Start by getting a free credit report from the three major bureaus, and search for anything that may be hurting your credit score. Improve your score by paying down old debts, making all payments on time, and avoiding opening new lines of credit until after you have purchased your home.
  4. Do Your Homework on Homes and Neighborhoods
    With the financial side of the equation in order, you can get busy shopping for a home that you'll love. Finding the right home requires research on the neighborhoods where you'd potentially like to live, and the homes available in your target destination. Take the time to thoroughly research neighborhoods online, and plan to make at least one in-person visit if possible. The more you learn, the easier it will be to find the right home.
  5. Think of Your Home as an Investment
    As a military member, there's always a chance that you'll eventually need to relocate after buying a home, but that definitely shouldn't stop you from becoming a homeowner. If you shop for an appealing home in a desirable neighborhood, you'll have a much easier time selling or renting the home if you have to move to a new location.
  6. Find a Real Estate Agent That Understands Military Homebuyers
    The right real estate agent makes all the difference when you're shopping for a home, and that's especially true if you're a military member or veteran. Make sure you're working with an agent who understands the unique needs of military members, as well as all of the benefits available to you. An agent who knows VA loans will make it easier to secure a mortgage, and find a home that fits your needs. Don't be afraid to interview multiple agents until you find the right match.

Ready to start shopping for homes with a real estate team that understands the unique needs of military and veteran homebuyers? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and Eastern West Virginia.

October
21

No Deal: When to Walk Away from a House Negotiation

Walk Away from Home Negotiation
When is it time to walk away from a house negotiation? Buying a house is a complicated process, and it's easy to get emotional about a home that seems like a perfect fit. Sometimes, however, the fit simply doesn't work out, and knowing when to walk away can save a lot of stress in the long run. Everyone's "walk away" point is a little different, but there are also common signs that can tell you when to walk away from a negotiation. Our REALTORS® understand what it takes to negotiate a home sale, including the signs that it's time to move on to the next option on your list.

  • Appraisal Shows Lower Home Value, Buyer Won't Budge
    If you fall in love with a home, then you may be prepared to make an offer close to the seller's asking price. But what happens if the appraisal comes in lower than the asking price? Normally, the seller should negotiate a lower price based on that new information. If the seller isn't willing to budge, then it's time to walk away.
  • Seller Doesn't Disclose Important Issues
    Disclosure laws vary by state, but in many locations, sellers are required to disclose any serious issues – like foundation damage, water damage, or roof damage – to the buyer. If you're negotiating based on the information the seller provides and you find out that the seller has been withholding or hiding key information, it's best to move on to your next option.

  • Inspection Reveals Serious Underlying Problems
    Even if the seller doesn't intentionally withhold information about the property, a home inspection can reveal serious issues that the seller wasn't aware of previously. If the seller is willing to factor the cost of repairs into the price, then you may be able to salvage the deal. If they're not willing to lower the price or you simply don't want to deal with the issue, walk away.

  • Falling Out of Love with the Home
    It's almost impossible to remove emotion from the equation of buying a house, and it's normal to fall in love with a home that seems to match all of your needs. Sometimes, a closer look will reveal that the home wasn't all you thought it was, and for some buyers, that's reason enough to walk away. This one's more subjective, but buyers definitely do get cold feet from time to time.

  • Termite Damage or Pest Issues
    Pest issues – especially termites – aren't always easy to spot at first glance, and can be difficult to notice at all if you're not trained to see them. A dream home isn't so dreamy when it has termite damage, and pest problems can certainly be reason enough to walk away.

  • Seller Doesn't Negotiate in Good Faith
    While most of the items on our list deal with the condition of the home, an adversarial negotiation can also cause you to walk away from a deal. Everyone's level of patience with negotiations is a little different. If the seller is hiding information, unwilling to negotiate on key terms, is overly rude during negotiations, doesn't listen to your concerns, or seems unwilling to make a deal that works for both parties, moving on to your next choice will often be your best option.

Sometimes, walking away from a negotiation is simply a necessary step toward eventually finding the home that you will love to call your own. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Virginia's Central Shenandoah Valley and Eastern West Virginia.

October
14

10 Ways to Build Community In Your Neighborhood

Build Community in Your Neighborhood
Home is much more than what you get when buying a house — it's your neighbors and neighborhood as well. When those that live in a neighborhood look out for one another, socialize as more than neighbors and sincerely care about their surroundings, everyone wins. If you're eager to cultivate a sense of community in your neighborhood, our REALTORS® want to help. Here are ten effective ways to build strong bonds with your neighbors.

  1. Take Pride in Your Home
    Building your community starts right after buying a house. Take pride in your home by keeping your exterior looking presentable. Repair or renovate eyesores and keep up on your lawn maintenance. This includes keeping your sidewalk, driveway and curb free of debris and garbage.
  2. Lend a Helping Hand
    Now that your home is taken care of, you want to help others care for their properties. Offer your neighbors help with any issues on their property. This can be as simple as mowing an aging neighbor's yard to helping a family of five install a new swimming pool.
  3. Help Improve Your Surroundings
    You can also help the neighborhood as a whole by caring for community amenities. If a park or shared pool area is dirty, help clean it up. If you have an HOA or dedicated neighborhood group, volunteer to help with whatever they need.
  4. Be Sociable
    How well do you know your neighbors? If your knowledge of their lives doesn't extend passed their first name and profession, then you might not know those you live near too well. Be sociable and take the time to get to know them on a personal level. Don't be afraid to share personal information and take an interest in their lives.
  5. Attend or Host Events
    If your community hosts holiday events, weekly get-togethers or seasonal activities, attend them and take this opportunity to meet as many people as you can. You also don't need to wait for an invitation to get to know your neighbors. Invite them over for a gathering at your home like a barbeque or dinner party. Tell them to bring their children so the younger residents of the community can get to know each other as well.
  6. Develop Trust
    Trust is an important element of building a strong community. Ask your neighbors to pet sit or babysit your children when you need a little help. Once you feel like you know your adjacent neighbors well, you may also ask them to collect your mail or water your plants while you're on vacation.
  7. Get Involved
    You can do a lot for your community by getting involved in the larger organizations that make decisions for your town. Join community action organizations or consider running for a position within the town's government. You can effectively represent your neighborhood and the interests of your neighbors while bettering the entire town.
  8. Report Problems
    If you see something, say something — the motto of many neighborhood watches applies to all members of the community. Always report any health or safety hazards you may discover. This includes all public property like broken sidewalks and private property such as dead tree limbs extending from a neighbor's yard into the main street.
  9. Treat the Entire Neighborhood Like It's Your Property
    Be considerate as you live within your neighborhood. Drive slowly and cautiously as if your children may be playing around any corner. Help find lost animals as if you lost a pet yourself. Never litter and remove hazards from the road to keep your area safe and clean for all to enjoy.
  10. Be Sincere
    Just be your caring self, acting with compassion and respect to those around you, and you'll be surprised how much any gestures of kindness can unite the community.

For more tips on how to build community in your neighborhood or help to buy a house in a tight-knit community, contact us today!

October
7

Pros and Cons of Buying a Historic Home

Pro tips for Buying a Historic Home
Buying a historic home can be an exciting, rewarding decision, and it's a dream for many shoppers of all ages. There are certainly many charms to owning a historic home, from unique, timeless designs to the stories that await around every corner of the home. Yet owning a historic home is not for everyone, so it's important to be aware of both the benefits and potential drawbacks. Our REALTORS® are here to help you make an informed decision, with our guide to the pros and cons of owning a historic home.

The Pros of a Historic Home

  • History and Charm
    Trends in home designs, layout, materials, and fixtures evolve over time, which means that a historic home can present a totally different look and feel from new construction in the area. Historic homes are filled with stories from floor to ceiling, and experiencing that history first-hand is a major attraction for many buyers.
  • Established Homes and Neighborhoods
    Since historic homes have been around for a long time, they're often located in established neighborhoods, with mature landscaping on the property. In addition to making for a nice place to call home, a location in a well-known, established neighborhood can lead to a higher resale value if you ever choose to sell.
  • Keeping History Alive
    When you purchase a historic home, you're also helping ensure that the home's history is maintained long-term. The work that you do to care for the home helps to keep the home's history alive and carry it forward for future generations to enjoy.
  • Possible Financial Incentives
    While it's not guaranteed, in some locations state or local governments will offer financial incentives for purchasing a historic home, including tax breaks or lower loan rates. This can help offset the maintenance costs of owning a historic home, and make it easier to purchase the historic home of your dreams.

Potential Cons of a Historic Home

  • Restrictions on Renovations
    Historic homes, especially if they're located in designated historic districts, often come with significant rules about what you can do with the property. This means that you may have to clear some red tape before you can build an addition, or alter the home in any significant way.
  • More Maintenance Than Newer Homes
    Since historic homes have been standing for a long time, key systems like electrical and plumbing may present more maintenance issues than would be present in a newer home. Maintenance can also be more complicated because you want to do everything you can to preserve the look of the home.
  • Possible Hidden Issues
    Any home can have hidden issues regardless of age, but there are a few key issues that are more common in historic homes. There may be an oil or septic tank in the yard that needs to be removed or mismatched renovations from previous owners. If you plan to purchase a historic home, be sure to set aside some extra cash for maintenance and restoration.
  • Higher Insurance Costs
    Regular home insurance companies don't always offer the insurance products you need to insure a historic home, which means you may have to purchase historic property insurance for the home. Historic property insurance often comes with a higher cost than insuring a newer home.

No matter what type of home you decide is right for you, our team is here to help you find the right match for your needs. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Central Virginia Shenandoah Valley and Eastern West Virginia.

September
30

5 Steps to Buy a Home in a Different State

Buy Home Different State

Moving to a new state is a great way to begin a new chapter of your life while experiencing the diversity our country has to offer. Our REALTORS® understand that many homeowners dream of one day moving to another state but aren't sure what steps to take first. With years of experience helping homeowners relocate across state lines, we've put together this helpful guide with steps to buy a home in a different state without hassle.

  1. Organize & Prepare
    At very least you're buying a home which is a milestone purchase. At very most, you're conducting two substantial real estate transactions — buying a new home and selling your current home. The first step is to get organized and prepare to invest your time and energy into successfully closing on both transactions.

  2. Enlist Help from a Relocation Specialist
    Thankfully, you don't have to juggle this process alone. A knowledgeable and experienced REALTOR® that specializes in nationwide relocation is your best resource. They will be your advocate in your new town while you're away and ensure your current home's sale is finalized without a hitch.

  3. Decide Whether to Sell or Buy First
    Some believe you should finalize the sale of your current home before you begin the process of purchasing a new home. This is a wise decision because it allows you to free yourself from your physical and financial commitments to the previous home while helping you fund the new home. However, every situation is different, and it may be in your best interest to buy before you sell. Speak with your REALTOR® to identify the benefits and disadvantages of beginning the process in either way.

  4. Be Present for the Inspection
    While the number of times you travel to your new city prior to moving may be limited, there are a few situations when you must be there in person. By committing to the inspection date, you're able to understand and visually see any issues that might be present. You can also ask the inspector about anything you may be unsure of and learn information or tips that wouldn't be on the inspection report.

  5. Close Electronically if Possible
    Closing on the home is an act worth celebrating; however, it's not an element of the sale you need to be involved in in-person. Electronic closing is common now and a title company can easily help facilitate these signatures remotely.

Old Dominion Realty is a proud member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE). No matter if your dream home is across the street or the globe, the LeadingRE team of over 560 firms encompassing 4,300 offices is ready to help you relocate to anywhere on the planet. These sales associates within the LeadingRE group deliver unparalleled performance and exceptional client experiences in every transaction they conduct.

Are you ready to find your dream home in another state? Our REALTORS® are ready to help. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty today to get started on your search.

September
9

Building Community One Home at a Time

Old Dominion Realty Takes a Look at What Home Means to You

What does home mean to you? Is it the place where you grew up, or the place where you lay your head today? Is it a specific location, or a combination of people, places, memories, and your five senses? Home means something a little different to all of us, yet it's also something that we can recognize the moment we see it. Strong communities are built one home at a time and are defined by the memories built inside the walls of each home. Our REALTORS® know what it means to find a true home, so let's take a closer look at what home might mean to you.

  • Home Is a Place and a Feeling
    While every home is a place, it's not just any place. Your home means more to you because it's your own. It's a place where you can be safe, comfortable, and surrounded by the people you care about, yet it's so much more than simply a dwelling. Home is also a feeling, which is part of the reason that people talk about "making a house into a home" after they move, and why everyone has their own way of accomplishing that goal.

    It's more than just walls, floors, and ceilings. It's about what happens inside the home, how you spend your time, and who you spend it with. It might mean baking cookies with the kids, inviting the whole neighborhood for a holiday party, or simply lounging around with your special someone. Ultimately, home is what you make it, and everyone has their own definition of what home means to them.

Family Home Kitchen

  • The Sights, Sounds, and Smells of Home
    For many of us, familiarity is a big part of feeling at home. That's why the home where you grew up will always still feel like home when you visit, even if it's been many years since you lived there full-time. You know the familiar decorations, the sound of every creaky floorboard, and the aroma of your favorite childhood meals drifting through the air. The same is true of the place that you currently call home and the memories that you build there.

Family Home Love

  • How Good Company Makes a House Feel Like Home
    Home is different for everyone, even if there are many common threads. If you move frequently for work or other reasons, then the feeling of home may be tied less to a place than it is to the people around you. The memories that we make with friends, spouses, kids, and neighbors can make any location feel like home. Over time, the moments you create and the people you spend them with have so much influence on how you define home.

  • The Psychology of Finding a True Home
    The desire to feel at home is not just a fleeting thing – it's something that's hard-wired into our psychology. While home means something different to everyone, there's no doubt that everyone wants to feel at home. Finding a home is so much bigger than simply having a shelter or a physical address. Home is safe, comfortable, and welcoming. It's a place we know we can count on to relax us after a rough day, and inspire us after a great one. Each home is a center of the community, where people gather, carry on old traditions, and create new ones.

No matter how you define home, our experienced, local real estate team is here to help you find the dwelling of your dreams. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Central Shenandoah Valley and Eastern West Virginia.

April
15

What Determines Your Interest Rate

Home Interest Rate

Before you start shopping for the right house, you have to shop for something else: the right mortgage. Pre-approval is practically mandatory if you want sellers to consider your offers, and comparing different rates and terms is just as important as comparing different properties. Because your rate will determine the size of your monthly payments for decades to come, you want to choose a loan with as little interest as possible. But do you know how lenders come up with this important number in the first place?

Many different factors and figures affect your interest rate, and you can't predict or control all of them. Our real estate agents want you to understand your fluctuating options when you know more about the math behind them. Here are some of the things banks and other lenders consider as they calculate interest rates for home loans:

Economic Trends (Supply and Demand)

Interest rates get higher when lenders take on additional risks, and some risks have nothing to do you with you. For example, are you buying a home in an unstable financial climate? Housing markets suffer, and layoffs are more likely during economic slumps, so lenders must take local and national trends into account as they consider their risks. That's why lenders usually follow the Federal Reserve's lead, lowering or raising interest rates as the federal rate changes.

Lenders also depend on a secondary market of bundled mortgage bonds, so their rates are influenced by the investors who will purchase your loan from them. These investors want high yields on the investments they make, and the laws of supply and demand apply to mortgage bonds too. Your lender wants a loan that will be profitable enough to attract investors, so they must take investors' risks into account.

Your Credit History and Amount of Debt  

How likely are you to make every mortgage payment on time, in full? Lenders only charge their prime rates (their lowest current rates) to borrowers with fantastic track records. That means your credit score and credit history will play a huge role in the rate you receive. Late or missed payments will make your rate soar, while a history of on-time payments will make lenders feel better about their risks. If you have an established relationship with your lender, that may boost your reliability too.

Of course, you also need the funds to make those payments. Debt-to-income ratio is just as important as your salary because it determines your available income every month. If you have a lot of outstanding debt, you're a bigger risk to lenders, even if your credit score is stellar.   

Price, Age, and Location of the Property

Already have an interest rate from a bank? Until you make an offer on a specific home, that number may not matter much. Lenders calculate a new rate for every loan, and yours will be affected by the value of the home you want to buy. For example, lenders look up historical data of similar houses in the area, considering the market value and recent selling trends. They may even offer different products for different types of structures or neighborhoods.  

Of course, the price of your house plays a big role too. While your down payment and closing costs will also affect the size of the loan, you should usually expect higher interest rates for homes with higher prices.

Are you ready to buy a house? At Old Dominion Realty, our real estate agents are happy to make this process as easy (and easy to understand) as possible, from mortgage pre-approval to closing day walkthroughs. Contact us to find an experienced agent near you.   

March
25

Lighten The Load Before You Move

Moving Tips New Home
"Moving is easy," said no one ever. While moving to a new home will never qualify as fun, you can take steps beforehand to make it less tedious and time-consuming. Our real estate agents offer valuable moving tips they've learned from years of experience helping home buyers and sellers throughout Virginia and West Virginia.

  1. Create a Game Plan
    As with any other major project, successfully streamlining your move relies on a workable action plan. Here are some questions to answer before proceeding:

    • Will you be using a professional moving service?
    • What will you need in your new home? (Drawing a floor plan helps you decide.)
    • In which order will you clear rooms? How will you dispose of unwanted items?

  2. Start Early
    If you cut it too close to the actual moving day, you're likely to make bad decisions under pressure. Estimate how much time you think it will take and double the amount to allow for a cushion.

  3. Sort as You Go
    Items you decide to toss should go in one of three piles:

    • Reuse or repurpose for items to donate or sell
    • Recycle for paper, glass and other recyclable materials
    • Trash for anything that doesn't fit in the other two categories

  4. Use the 12-Month Rule
    Do you find yourself with boxes that have survived one or more moves without ever being unpacked? Purge items that haven't been used for 12 months or more with a clear conscience. This will apply primarily to clothes and accessories, but it's also helpful for items such as kitchen utensils.

    Other guidelines include:

    • Does an item give you joy or sorrow?
    • Would you buy it again?
    • Are you keeping it out of a sense of obligation?

  5. Consider Temporary Storage
    Are you still on the fence about several items? Pack them separately and keep them out of your new house for a while. If the number of items doesn't justify the cost of a storage unit, ask a friend or family member to hold them. This will help you decide once and for all if you can live without these items.

  6. Dispose of Hazardous Products
    Professional movers won't accept paint, propane tanks, lawn chemicals, and other hazardous items, and it's too risky to attempt moving them yourself. Check for the closest hazardous waste disposal center in your local area. Under no circumstances should hazardous products be put in trash or recycling bins.

  7. Use up What You Have
    Non-perishable food items and personal care products add weight and take up valuable space in moving boxes. Inventory what you have on hand and use up as much as you can. Donate remaining items to a food bank or shelter.

  8. Enlist Help
    The pre-move process can be intimidating if you take on all the responsibility yourself. Spouses, significant others, and children all have a stake in what stays and what gets tossed, so get them involved. Set up a schedule assigning times and tasks so everyone knows what is expected of them. 

  9. Reward Yourself
    No one can remain focused without breaks. Stay motivated by setting daily goals and rewarding yourself for each accomplishment. Watch a movie, read a book, or meet a friend for coffee.

Buying or selling a home involves seemingly endless decisions that can be difficult to navigate on your own. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty and let our experienced and professional real estate agents show you the way.

March
18

Rocktown Beer & Music Festival Coming to Harrisonburg

Harrisonburg Festival
It's almost time to once again welcome the sights, sounds, flavors of spring in Harrisonburg. The Rocktown Beer and Music Festival is returning to Harrisonburg for another run in 2019, with the stage set for this year's event to be even bigger and better than ever. Award-winning local breweries Pale Fire Brewing Co. and Brothers Craft Brewing will be headlining this year's festival, along with a lineup of music that's sure to have the crowd dancing. Our REALTORS® have the details on what to expect from this year's Rocktown Beer and Music Festival in Harrisonburg.

The Event: The Rocktown Beer and Music Festival
Date/Time: April 20 / 3:00 pm
Admission: $34 Advance Tickets, $40 Day of Show

A Stacked Lineup of Local Beer and Music Awaits at the Rocktown Beer and Music Festival

If you're shopping for Harrisonburg homes for sale, you may already know that the area is home to a dynamic craft brewing and dining scene. And if you're new to the area, the Rocktown Beer and Music Festival is the perfect place to acquaint yourself with that scene. The fun starts at 3:00 pm, and doesn't stop until long after the sun has gone down.

  • Sample a Wide Selection of Craft Beers – Headlining breweries including Brothers Craft Brewing and Pale Fire Brewing Co. will have a major presence at the 2019 festival, and you'll also have the opportunity to sample beers from a wide range of other craft breweries. Adults 21+ can receive a wristband, which proves legal age at the festival, and grants access to a number of 4 oz. samples from the breweries on-site. In addition to serving great brews, many breweries act as major sponsors for the event.

  • Enjoy a Stacked Lineup of Music All Day – The music is, naturally, a huge part of the experience at Rocktown, and this year's lineup is sure to feature something for every member of the audience. The major performers for the 2019 festival include Kat Wright, The Accidentals, and Bryan Elijah Smith, with performances going on throughout the day. Expect enthusiastic crowds and excellent music all day long.

  • Fantastic Food at the Festival – A day of delicious beer and excellent music wouldn't be complete without a great meal, and you'll find no shortage of options at the Rocktown Beer and Music Festival. This year's festival will feature food from Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint, Jess' Quick Lunch, Chanello's Pizza, and Hanks Grille & Bar. No matter what you crave, you're sure to find something just right from one of these local vendors.

  • Volunteer at Rocktown 2019 – Looking to get involved with the festival on a deeper level, and give back to the community in the process? The Rocktown Beer and Music Festival is looking for volunteers to help with a wide variety of tasks, from checking tickets at the gates to pouring beer for attendees.

Ready to find your own home close to fun festivals and events like the Rocktown Beer and Music Festival? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Harrisonburg, VA area.

March
11

Budget Your Way into Buying Your First Home

Budget to Buy Your First Home
Our REALTORS®
at Old Dominion Realty WORK to help you find a home where you will be truly happy. A lot of factors go into that: The community, the amenities, and your finances.

The financial decisions you make when you're first looking for a home will stick with you for years to come. With that in mind, you have to go into the process with accurate information.

Your real estate agent will help you make the right choices in the market. Only you, however, can figure out the facts about your own household finances that you're sure to need.

Every major investment or purchase starts with one thing: A budget.

And buying a home is no exception.

A budget is a very useful tool for maintaining your financial health. However, most people get by with a simple budget. To get ready for buying a home, you should dive deep into the details.

That's the best way to prevent surprises later!

Let's look at how to build a budget that will support your home buying goals.

  • Start With Your Income
    The first thing you need to understand in any budget is how much income you have. For most buyers, this is simple: Add up the total take-home pay each person receives each month. If you have a variable income, such as from freelance work, an average figure derived from your last twelve months of income can give you a good fix on what to expect.
  • Capture Your Expenses
    A budget can only be accurate if you capture your expenses in detail. Rent and utilities are two basic expenses that rarely change. Food, too, is relatively fixed. Others may be harder to pin down: such as transportation, medical costs, recreation, and monthly savings. Try recording some of these transient costs for 2-3 months to see where you really stand.
  • Calculate Homeownership Costs
    Ideally, your monthly home costs should be no more than 25% of your total take-home pay. For a budget of $6,000 per month, that's $1,500. In addition to your mortgage, including the costs of maintenance and repair, HOA fees, landscaping, and housewares. Remember that higher square footage can translate to more expensive utilities. Also, recalculate your daily commute.
  • Look Ahead to Your Next Milestone
    If you've been saving vigorously for a down payment, then the day you move into your home will transform your budget. Before you pop the champagne, however, consider what future milestones you may be saving for next. For example, is it time to expand your retirement investments, save for a new car, or even plan for a new member of the family?
  • Adjust Your Budget Where Necessary
    If income and expenses are balanced at the 25% mark, then the way is clear for you to move forward with your home buying plans. If things are still tight, the first thing to look at is whether a plan of 20% makes more sense. From there, you may be able to save a few dollars if you look at the cost of recreation (nights out) or food (more cost-effective groceries and meals.)
  • Keep an Eye on Future Opportunities
    When you choose to buy a home, you'll have to work with the conditions that exist at the time. Sometimes, however, future improvements in the market can help you. If the housing market gets better after you buy, contact your lender. They may be able to help you reduce your monthly payments by refinancing your mortgage loan at a better interest rate.

To learn about local real estate opportunities, contact us at Old Dominion Realty today.

February
11

7 Tips for Moving with a Pet

Celebrate National Love Your Pet Day

Moving with Your Pet

Our real estate agents adore their pets and are excited to show them some extra affection this February 20 on National Love Your Pet Day. On this day, we celebrate the joy our pets bring into our lives and recognize the responsibility we have for keeping them comfortable, safe, and secure. 

When you're planning a move, it's more important than ever to pay special attention to your furry (or feathered) friends. Pets are experts at reading our body language, so if we're feeling stressed and anxious, they'll feel it too. Since they won't understand what's going on, the sense of upheaval they feel can be even more dramatic.

Luckily, pets are also very adaptable. For them, "home" is wherever they are with you, not necessarily the four walls where you currently live. Planning and taking a few simple precautions will help keep the move easier on everyone.

  1. Safety First
    Before your move, make sure your pet has a good collar with an ID tag attached. The tag should list your name and current cell phone number. Microchipping your pet will serve as another level of protection in case the collar slips off.  Hopefully, your pet will never get out of your sight, but if the unthinkable happens, you want to know you've done everything you can to ensure you'll be quickly reunited.
  1. Stick to Your Routine
    Although you'll be busy packing and preparing for your move, do your best not to change your pet's routine. Try to make sure you feed and walk him at the same time that every day.  If you usually play for 15 minutes when you get home from work, don't skip it just because you have packing to do. Maintaining structure helps your pet know what to expect, even when everything else feels like chaos. 
  1. Visit Your Vet
    A couple of weeks before your move, pay a visit to your vet. Ensure your pet is up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations and doesn't have any significant health issues. Staying ahead of potential problems is far better than scrambling to find a new vet as soon as you move. If you're worried about your pet suffering from car sickness or extreme anxiety, ask your vet for prescription medications while you're there.
  1. Secure Your Pet on Moving Day
    Moving day activities can be scary for your pet, and the chaos involved creates far too many opportunities for your pet to get lost or injured. Keep him safe by using a crate or arrange for him to stay somewhere else until the move is done.
  1. Make Arrangements for Long-Distance Moves
    If you're traveling a long distance, find pet-friendly hotels along your route and make your reservations ahead of time. Plan plenty of stops for water and potty breaks and try to keep a consistent feeding schedule.  Keep small animals secured in a crate the entire time you're traveling, and always keep larger dogs on a leash. Remember that the stress of a move can cause even the most well-behaved pets to run away or behave uncharacteristically.
  1. Create a Familiar Environment
    Although you might feel compelled to clean everything when you move into your new home, resist the urge to wash your pet's things. Having some familiar smells can help ease the transition.  Arrange your pet's bed, dishes, and toys as close as possible to the way they were in your old home, and keep your routine as consistent.
  1. Practice Patience and Compassion
    Above all, remember that there's a good chance the move will cause your pet to act out of character. It's not unusual to notice excessive whining, barking, or pacing. 

Are You Ready to Make Your Move?

Whether you're thinking about moving across town or across the globe, our real estate agents at Old Dominion Realty are here to help. Contact us to get started with the search for your dream home.

January
21

Buying a Home in Augusta? Here's How to Apply for a Mortgage

Mortgage Application Tips
Do the words "mortgage application" send a chill up and down your spine? It's an understandable reaction, considering the financial and emotional investment that goes into the purchase of a home in Augusta County.

Fortunately, applying for a mortgage doesn't have to be so stress-inducing. Preparation is the key, as our real estate agents share their top tips that pave the way to a streamlined mortgage application process.

  1. Polish Your Credit Score
    Mortgage lenders have a lot to lose on bad decisions, and your credit score is the best indicator they have regarding your financial responsibility. Request free copies of your credit reports from all three major agencies and clean up any inaccuracies.  Credit utilization ratio accounts for one-third of your total score, so devise a plan to pay down open balances as soon as possible.

  2. Know Your Limit
    If you fall in love with a house that's beyond your means, emotion may fool you into believing you can come up with the extra money. But reality hits hard and fast, and you might find yourself sinking under the weight of monthly payments. The industry standard is the 28/36 rule, which dictates that housing costs should be no more than 28 percent of gross monthly income while total debt payment should not exceed 36 percent.

  3. Determine a Down Payment Amount
    While it can be difficult to come up with ready cash for a sizable down payment, the advantages are worth it. Monthly payments will be lower, especially if you put enough down to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI).  In addition, the smaller the down payment, the more vulnerable home equity is to sudden changes in real estate values.

  4. Research Options
    The good news AND the bad news is that there's no shortage of lenders, types of mortgages and rates. Fixed or adjustable rate? 15-year or 30-year? Government-backed or conventional? First-time home buyer program? It means putting in some serious study time, but there's enough variety to offer solutions for nearly every home buyer's individual situation.

  5. Collect Documents 
    There may be slight variations, but here's a list of the principal documents required by most lenders:

    - Recent paycheck stubs and bank statements
    - Last year's tax returns, including your most recent W2
    - Rent history, if applicable
    - A complete list of assets and debts
    - Divorce decree and bankruptcy discharge papers, if applicable

    If you're self-employed, documents such as tax returns, 1099 forms, and profit-and-loss statement can serve as proof of income.

  6. Get Pre-Approved
    While pre-approval doesn't guarantee a mortgage, it indicates that a lender has reviewed your qualifications and found that you meet their standards for a loan. A pre-approval letter can also mean the difference in having an offer accepted over a buyer without pre-approval.

  7. Read the Fine Print
    Imagine the shock and discouragement you would feel when you learn extra payments actually cost you more due to prepayment penalties. No one enjoys wading through legal documents, but when it comes to mortgages you literally can't afford any surprises. 

When you're ready to view Augusta County homes for sale, our friendly and experienced real estate agents can help you every step of the way. Contact Old Dominion Realty and get ready to make your dream home a reality.

August
29

Avoid These Home Buying Errors to Prevent Striking Out

Home Buying Errors to Avoid

Real estate and baseball have a lot in common.  Scouting a new right fielder for your team is like house hunting.  Playing each game is like attending open houses.  And winning your league's championship is like having a seller accept your offer.  

What many home buyers don't understand is that the 30 to 45 days before closing day is like the home stretch of a baseball game.  Errors that happen during this time could get your closing day delayed for rain or even thrown out at third.  

Okay, enough with baseball.  In the real estate world, there are mistakes home buyers can make during the time prior to closing day that can jeopardize closing on their new home.

Our real estate agents are ready to be by your side during the home buying process.  Here are the five mistakes to avoid so your home buying experience is a "home run!"

  1. Switching Jobs
    One of the biggest mistakes you can make during the final closing process is to quit or switch jobs. Lenders always re-check your employment status and income before they finalize the closing. Changing jobs will require lenders to repeat the underwriting process, which results in a delay that can last anywhere between several days to weeks. Even staying with the same company but switching between a salary position to an hourly rate will have an impact on the closing process. Instead of making any drastic changes, it is best to wait until you sign the mortgage papers before you make any changes in employment.

  2. Low Home Appraisal
    A mortgage is always contingent on the home appraisal, and a lower than expected evaluation can pose problems. For example, you and the seller must renegotiate the price if the home appraisal is lower than the original selling price. Depending on the seller, this may be an easy process or a somewhat difficult one. If the seller is unwilling to negotiate, you will need to decide between making a larger down payment or walking away from the deal.

  3. Title Issues
    Various title issues can also delay the purchase of your home or even completely ruin the deal. These title issues are wide-ranging, whether it is errors in the public record, missing heirs, boundary disagreements, or liens. Purchasing title insurance can protect you from most of these scenarios, but it will still potentially cause delays in the purchase of a home.

  4. Expensive Purchases
    Spending too much money at once can also cause significant issues during the final closing stage and make it more difficult to buy a house. Mortgage lenders will always check the bank statements of a borrower during the approval process, and it is never a good idea to spend a large sum of money on home furnishings before you sign the final papers. While banks will provide you with an estimate of the closing costs, it is typically always higher than expected and not having enough extra cash in the bank can jeopardize you purchasing a home.

  5. Contract Disagreements
    Contract disagreements can arrive at the worst times and derail the final closing. These disagreements can be the result of many scenarios, whether the seller doesn't want to include the entire contents of the home in the transaction or if the seller refuses to pay for any additional repairs in the house. Discussing these issues with your real estate agent can help you work through these issues and try to find a resolution that satisfies both parties.

Before you buy a house, it is essential to understand how to avoid these common mistakes to save you time and stress. Old Dominion Realty has been helping clients buy and sell homes since 1962.  One of our local REALTORS® is always close by to guide you through the buying and selling process.  Contact an Old Dominion Realty office near you to start your search for the perfect home. 

Contact Old Dominion Realty

June
12

Finding a Great Harrisonburg Neighborhood to Make Your Home

Harrisonburg VA Neighborhoods
As the summer season kicks into full swing, our REALTORS® typically notice an upswing in inquiries about Harrisonburg homes for sale. We always look forward to introducing newcomers to the charms of this iconic Virginia community.

Whether you're interested in buying a home in Blue Stone Hills, Heritage Estates, Preston Heights, or any of Harrisonburg's other welcoming neighborhoods, we're eager to help you find the perfect home in one of these great neighborhoods. 

There are some things that are common to most great neighborhoods. They are part of the local culture--while difficult to pin down--but can be felt everywhere you go. That's what we'd like to talk about today!

Five Things That Make Harrisonburg's Neighborhoods Great

When you are looking for a home, choosing the right neighborhood is essential. Your neighborhood will influence everything about your experience, including how far you have to travel to access all the things that are important to you. It is worth taking time to research and make an informed decision.

Throughout Harrisonburg, you'll find vibrant neighborhoods with all the following great traits:

  1. Education
    Harrisonburg boasts a full spectrum of private and public schooling options for students of all ages. It's also the home of James Madison University, a private coeducational university that focuses on cutting-edge research and community service.

  2. Amenities
    Harrisonburg is home to some of the best shopping and dining in the area. Restaurants run the gamut from classic Virginia fare like crab cakes, oysters, and flounder to some of the region's top tastes of Italian, French, Japanese, and other world cuisines.

  3. Safety
    Safety is a high priority when you're choosing a new home, and Harrisonburg won't disappoint in this regard. By virtually all measures, Harrisonburg is notably safer from crime than the national average. A healthy police relationship with the community helps to protect residents, too.

  4. A Vibrant Downtown
    Harrisonburg has a very active Chamber of Commerce where businesses of all sizes join together to boost the local economy. Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, a community organization that cultivates the downtown area, has helped to facilitate millions in local investment.

  5. A Strong Economy
    Harrisonburg's top employers include big names like James Madison University, Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Cargill Meat Solutions as well as many others. With a growing number of small businesses and startups, terrific employment options and quick commutes are the norm.

Old Dominion Realty is Ready to Help You Find Your Harrisonburg Dream Home

From Crossroads Farms to The Springs at Osceola, our team knows Harrisonburg real estate inside and out. When you work with us, you can rest assured that you're getting personalized advice from experts who care about your success.

Contact Old Dominion Realty today to get your home search started.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

May
7

Use Your Tax Refund to Buy Your First Home

Tax Refund for Down Payment
Use Your Tax Refund for Your Down Payment

If your tax return is burning a hole in your pocket, there are endless ways you could spend it. Sure, you could go on vacation, or splurge on that latest gadget you've had your eye on, but there's a better option.

If you've been dreaming of finally becoming a homeowner, your tax refund could offer a real opportunity. Our REALTORS® have a few ideas on how you could use your refund to make home ownership a reality once and for all.

Put it toward your deposit

The more you are able to put down as a down payment for your new home, the less you'll end up paying in interest in the long run. You'll also be less likely to have to pay for private mortgage insurance if you're able to put down the recommended 20 percent down payment. When you get your tax refund, create a separate savings account for it so that you won't be as tempted to spend it. You may even gather a little interest if you let it sit for a while.

Pay off your debts

Debt makes it hard to qualify for a mortgage, especially credit card debt. Using your tax refund to work on paying off your credit cards and other debts will help boost your credit rating, which will make it easier to qualify for a mortgage with a rate and terms that you can live with.

Apply it to closing costs

Some new homeowners are shocked to learn that closing costs, including attorney fees, appraisal and inspection fees, title insurance and escrow costs, often add up to a substantial chunk of change. In a lot of cases, these costs must be paid upfront rather than being rolled into your monthly mortgage payments. Your tax refund can be a great way to take care of closing costs.

Put it toward taxes and insurance

Once you own your home, there's still property taxes and homeowners insurance to think about. Putting your tax refund toward these future costs is a great way to ease the financial burden of homeownership.

Build your emergency fund

The costs of owning a home don't end when you're handed the keys and open the door. There are ongoing expenses, many of them unforeseen, that often catch first-time homeowners by surprise. It's important to have a nest egg saved up to deal with the continuing costs of homeownership, and your tax refund can really help out. From monthly mortgage payments and utility bills to unexpected hardships, such as the loss of your job or a sudden and expensive home repair, you'll be glad you had some money tucked away.

Contact Old Dominion Realty today to learn more about how you can put your tax refund to good use. Whether you're planning on buying or selling a home, we're here to help!

Contact Old Dominion Realty

April
30

5 Signs It's Time to Stop Renting and Buy Your First Home

Step Renting Buy Home
You probably never made a conscious decision to stay a renter forever. Sometimes it just happens. You lease a nice apartment and settle into a renter's lifestyle. You pay your bills and build your savings along the way. But then what? Do you stay a renter forever or take the homeownership plunge? 

Our REALTORS® work with many first-time home buyers. We believe there are lifestyle, financial, and personal signs that tell you when the time is right to buy a home. Here are five situations to consider. 

  1. Your Rent Is Enough to Make a Mortgage Payment
    If you're renting an apartment in a nice neighborhood, you are more than likely paying at least $1,000 per month. While $1,000 a month won't pay for a big beautiful dream home, it's enough to pay the mortgage on a cozy little place of your own.

  2. You Have a Cash Cushion
    Of course, the mortgage payment is just a part of it. But you're in great shape if you have cash enough for a down payment, closing costs, packing, and moving. Once you're settled into your home, you must also pay property taxes, higher utility bills, furnishing costs, maintenance expenses and more.

    If you qualify for a loan backed by FHA, VA, USDA, or other special home-buying programs, their lower down payments and interest rates may allow you to hang onto some of your money.

  3. Your Neighbors Push Your Buttons
    When you live in close quarters with so many other families, you get used to conditions you don't like. You learn to tolerate heavy feet upstairs, babies screaming downstairs, loud music next door, and smokers in the hallway. When all that neighborly activity begins to irritate you, at some point you'll want peace and quiet and a space of your own.

  4. You're Tired of White Walls
    When you rent, you make a phone call and a maintenance crew fixes the plumbing or shovels the snow. Your landlord does these things because the space you rent doesn't belong to you.

    That means you can't necessarily remodel the kitchen or install designer bathroom fixtures. And if you dare to paint the living room walls, you might lose your security deposit. When you get tired of these restrictions it could be a sign that homeownership is a better idea.

  5. You Want to Build Equity
    As you work hard to earn a living, you're not thinking about enriching your landlord. But that's exactly what you do each time you pay rent. When you own instead of rent, you build your own net worth.

    A recent Federal Reserve Bulletin, Changes in Family Finances, cites a rise in home equity as a factor for families that saw an increase in net worth. While homeowner's wealth increased 15 percent over the past several years, renter's net worth fell by 5 percent.

If you're a renter, we can help you decide if homeownership is the right option for you. Contact Old Dominion Realty if you plan to buy or sell a home or if you want more information about the communities we serve.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

February
6

Moving to Harrisonburg: Finding the Best Schools for Your Children

How to Find the Best Harrisonburg Schools
For growing families, school quality is an important factor when buying a home.  Harrisonburg, VA is known for many features that appeal to families--one of the most vital being excellent schools.

Families moving to Harrisonburg will find plenty of public and private school options from pre-K to college prep. Harrisonburg provides an atmosphere where every child has the opportunity to do his or her best academically. 

How to Find the Best Schools in Harrisonburg

Some communities have just a sprinkling of schools, but Harrisonburg is truly rich in this area. With that in mind, it can even be difficult to decide which school is right for your young learners. With a systematic process, you can compare your options more easily.

Here's how:

  1. Review School Statistics
    Many factors go into a good school, and not all are easy to measure. Most parents find, however, recent test scores are a good place to start. When scores are high – especially in notoriously difficult subjects like math – it means the "average student" has more chances to excel. Student to teacher ratio is another big one since it indicates personalized attention for students.

  2. Check Out Extracurriculars
    Each school has its own approach to subjects outside the core curriculum, such as art and music. In some areas around the United States, these are being cut – but they can help children grow into well-rounded adults. You can often learn about a school's extracurricular programs by visiting a school's website, as those who offer them tend to emphasize it prominently.

  3. Attend a PTA Meeting
    Although PTA meetings are generally open only to teachers, parents, and administrators, they are usually organized by the parents themselves. Exceptions can certainly be made for someone who wants to join the community, so don't be afraid to reach out. Not only will you get a sense for the issues a school is facing, but also how well parents and teachers collaborate to solve problems.

  4. Speak to Administrators
    School administrators tend to be cautious of anything that sounds like a promise to a particular parent or student. Still, they are often willing to discuss the school in general terms and how it could meet the needs of a particular learner. When the school staff is open, honest, and willing to engage with your questions, it is a good sign of how they will operate in the future.

  5. Plan for Tomorrow
    Depending on your child's age, it is usually a good idea to look ahead to the next "level" of schools. This is especially crucial as middle school students prepare to enter high school. What are the graduation rates? What percentage of students go on to enter college? Are there special college preparatory or accountability programs that can help students overcome challenges?

Choosing the right school takes some effort, but it is well worth it. After all, each student spends a tremendous amount of time within a school's four walls. Children are shaped by whether that environment is a fulfilling one where they can plant the seeds for a successful adulthood!

When it comes to moving to Harrisonburg , many factors come together. In addition to schools, you need to find the right neighborhood and home for you. It could be a daunting task, but Old Dominion Realty makes it much easier.

Our REALTORS® are Harrisonburg real estate experts who deliver sound advice and one-on-one care to each client. We'll be glad to introduce you to a selection of the best Harrisonburg homes – and help you close on your dream home.  Contact us to learn more about relocating to Harrisonburg.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

December
19

6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Buying Your First Home

First-time buyer questions
Buying your first home is a big step—think you're ready for it? We certainly hope so, but we also want to make sure that you buy your dream home at the right moment.

At a certain point, every renter gets to a place in their life where they just don't feel like they can do it anymore. Whether it's the noisy neighbors, the overbearing landlord, or the feeling of powerlessness that comes from continuously paying for a living space you'll never own, you just have to get out. Homeownership is the next logical step.  Here are six questions our REALTORS® want you to ask yourself before you decide to go for it.

  1. Do you plan on living here for the long haul? Some folks look for a new home out of restlessness, but restlessness and homeownership are not a good combination. If you really want to buy a house, make sure it's in an area where you can see yourself living for many years to come. If you think you'd like to move again within five years or less, it might be better to put off owning your home until then.

  2. Are your finances in order? At a risk of stating the obvious, before buying a home it's essential that you now you can afford it. And you don't just have to convince yourself, you also have to convince a home mortgage lender, which means proving that you have a good credit score, income stability, and minimal debts. But don't bankrupt yourself by putting all your savings into buying a home. It's smarter to wait until you have enough of a nest egg to live comfortably even after you've made the down payment, or else you could find yourself in a very precarious financial situation.

  3. Are you ready for the responsibility? The costs of homeownership don't end with your down payment or even your monthly mortgage payments. What if the furnace breaks down? Or the roof has to be repaired? It's important to make sure you're personally and financially able to take on that responsibility.

  4. What if you get a new job? For better or worse, the model used by previous generations—get a job, keep it forever, buy a house and retire—doesn't really apply anymore, which makes job stability a crucial consideration before you buy a home. You should be fairly confident that your job is secure, and that if you do end up taking a new job, it will be in the same area for an equal or greater salary.

  5. Are you okay with making the monthly payments? Nobody enjoys being in debt, and your home mortgage is almost certainly the biggest loan you will ever have to repay. Make sure you're comfortable with the prospect of paying off your mortgage one month at a time for many years to come.

  6. Why are you buying a home? It's an honest question that you need to ask yourself. It's tempting to see buying a home as hitting the reset button on your life, but if you're thinking about buying a home when you've recently gone through a break-up, divorce, job shake-up, or a death in the family, it's smart to take a step back and re-evaluate the decision at a later time.

Still think you're ready to buy your first home? If so, we're here to help. Contact us today at Old Dominion Realty to learn more about how to get started on the path to homeownership.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

November
3

Old Dominion Realty Open Houses | November 5

Let's Open House in Staunton

Staunton Open House

Staunton is considered a hidden gem here in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.  Situated between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains, Staunton's charming downtown is home to inspired architecture, a vibrant arts and music scene, unbeatable restaurants and eateries, and a variety of small shops and businesses along our historic Main Street.  Staunton is a city where artists, entrepreneurs, and families live side-by-side along tree-lined streets. If you're looking for a truly unique place to call home in Virginia, you've found it in Staunton, VA.  

Featured Open Houses

16 Singing Pines Ln, Staunton, VA 24401

Subdivision:  Fairmont

$239,900

Sq Ft: 2,610 | Beds: 3 | Baths: 3 (full) 

Open House: Sunday, November 5, 2017 from 1PM - 3PM

16 Singing Pines Lane Staunton

 
September
25

Should Your Next Move Be to a Smart Home?

Buying a House That's Smarter

Should You Buy a Smart Home
A growing number of homes for sale seem to include smart home technology.  CNBC.com reported in 2016 80 million smart home devices were delivered worldwide...a 64 percent increase from 2015.  Analysts predict despite the industry's growth last year, 2017 will be the year of the smart home because the companies behind the technology will be smarter about educating their consumers.

In a smart home, wireless technology allows you to control various systems and appliances easily using your smartphone, computer, or even voice commands.  There is no standard definition of what makes a smart home complete. Exciting new features are hitting the market regularly.

Our REALTORS® have compiled this list of some of the most common smart home features:

  • Lighting
    A smart home can automatically adjust lighting throughout the day. Your lights may brighten as evening comes on or turn on completely during the night while you're away. In some systems, lights automatically adjust based on occupancy of the room.
  • Thermostat
    If your thermostat is tied into your smart home system, you never need to worry about being too hot or cold. The system learns from your preferences and adjusts automatically. In advanced smart homes, each room has individualized temperature control.
  • Security
    Many smart homes are tied into your security system. They automatically lock your doors when you exit the house. You may benefit from advanced access control, such as finger or retina scan. And, of course, they can sound alarms and summon help against intruders.
  • Appliances
    Dozens of kitchen appliances are empowered with advanced smart features. There are refrigerators that can alert you when your favorite staples are low or tell you when something starts to go bad. You can control everything with a single interface.
  • Home Media System
    Those who love the home media experience will enjoy the benefits of a smart home. There are smart home systems that can automatically adjust picture settings and sound based on what you are watching--not to mention completely control your DVR.

Is a Smart Home Right for You?

The idea to buy a home with smart technology is an exciting one. Still, it's important to make sure you are getting what you want from your new system. Here are some of the most important considerations when picking out a smart home:

  • Cost
    If smart systems are already deployed in a home, they really shouldn't add much to the bottom line price. However, there can be some elements that operate as a subscription service. This is common with security system features. Keep your ongoing cost of ownership in mind.
  • Convenience
    Once you fully understand how everything works, there is nothing more convenient than a well-run smart home. However, there is a learning curve. If you don't enjoy dealing with technology, the first few weeks could be off-putting.
  • Information Security
    Since your smart devices are wireless and Internet-enabled, some of them may be vulnerable to hackers. The risk is very low, however, as long as you are willing to implement basic security habits into your day-to-day life--just like you do when you use your computer.

Whether you are looking for a modern smart home, a colonial classic, or a fixer-upper, our real estate agents are ready to help. Contact Old Dominion Realty today.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

June
1

Summer Fun at Shenandoah Valley National Park

Shenandoah Valley National Park
Family Fun at Shenandoah National Park

Both historical and glorious, Shenandoah National Park explodes with wildflower colors during the summer months. Get your camera ready because white-tailed deer are everywhere and you might even catch a glimpse of a black bear or wild turkey. Can you imagine relocating to Harrisonburg, Staunton or Waynesboro and having this wildlife wonderland right in your own backyard? Our REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty can work with you to find a home in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley.

  • Skyline Drive
    Experience mountain scenery that is beyond description as you drive the 105-mile Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The drive has many pull-off spots along the way. The route travels through Virginia wine and hill country and features hiking trails if you want to stretch your legs. One of the best trails is a 3.6-mile hike to Lewis Spring Falls. It's about 52 miles into the drive.

  • Ranger Programs
    Take a guided tour of the park with a ranger. The ranger programs run throughout the spring, summer, and fall. The ranger explains historical facts about the valley, as well as pointing out the plants and animals that live there. While you're exploring this wild wonderland, you will also be learning about the history and culture of the area.

  • Bird watching
    Even if you're not a bird watcher, the 190 species of birds in the park are sure to spark your interest. Bring your binoculars to see the rainbow of colors from Carolina chickadees, blue-winged teal, great blue heron and 18 different types of warblers. You can see rare birds in Big Meadows that you can't find anywhere else. Look skyward for Northern goshawks, red-tailed hawks, and sharp-shinned hawks circling overhead.

  • EarthCaching – If you're ready to learn about the geology and history of the park, try EarthCaching. This educational exploration activity involves finding virtual caches, using your GPS in the North, South, and Central parts of the park. When you find these treasures, they provide scientific and historical insights into the spot where you find it. It's free to participate in EarthCache activities.

  • Dining – You can really work up an appetite when you're exploring the park and there are several eateries where you can appease your rumbling belly. Try the Mountain Taproom, Big Meadows Lodge, or the Pollock Dining Room for delicious food and a gorgeous view.

History and Adventure in the Shenandoah Valley

  • Harrisonburg – Once known as Rocktown and nicknamed, 'The Friendly City', Harrisburg sits in the Shenandoah Valley. In 2016, the city won the title, '#3 Happiest Mountain Town' by the Blue Ridge Country Magazine. Check out Harrisonburg homes, if you're planning a move to Shenandoah Valley.
  • Staunton – If you enjoy culture, as well as adventure, looking at Staunton homes might be ideal for you. Not only is Staunton in the valley, it also has the American Shakespeare Center, which is a replica of Blackfriars Theatre in London that dates back to the Renaissance.
  • Waynesboro – This Shenandoah Valley city features 11 historic sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, such as the Fishburn Military School, founded in 1879. It is one of the oldest, all boy military schools in America. If you're a history buff, check out Waynesboro homes for current listings.

Contact Old Dominion Realty when you're interested in buying a home in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Our team of real estate professionals offers a full range of services for buyers and sellers, priding ourselves on connecting you with the perfect home in Virginia and West Virginia.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

April
5

Harrisonburg's Rocktown Beer & Music Festival

Downtown Harrisonburg is Gearing Up for a Mighty Good Time

Rocktown Beer & Music Festival

Harrisonburg residents and the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance are gearing up for what's expected to be another sell out event at this year's Rocktown Beer & Music Festival on Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 3:00 to 8:30 pm. 

Downtown Harrisonburg is home to an assortment of popular events throughout the year that shine a spotlight on our city.  The Rocktown Beer & Music Festival is one of our most popular events.  When you live in one of the downtown homes in Harrisonburg, good living, good fun and a tremendous community are right outside of your front door.

Here's what you can expect to find at the 2017 Rocktown Beer & Music Festival:

Local Food, Musicians & More

Spring flowers provide a beautiful backdrop for a festival that features food from the best local restaurants, music featuring local bands and musicians, and beers from breweries all over the nation. Harrisonburg locals look forward to this festival all winter, gathering at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market's Turner Pavilion and Park to welcome the arrival of spring and celebrate the best beer, food and music in the Shenandoah Valley. At this year's festival, you'll find:

  • Beers from local breweries like Pale Fire Brewing Co. and Brothers Craft Brewing (both sponsors of the event), as well as a wide variety of craft beers on draught. National craft breweries will also be well-represented.
  • Along with dozens of beers, there will also be offerings of some of Harrisonburg's best burgers, fare from local pubs, and many other delectable choices.
  • Local musical acts running the gamut from blues to soul, big band sounds to rock, and many other genres of toe-tapping tunes. You're sure to find the perfect musical accompaniment for your tasty craft beer and mouthwatering burger.

This year's pavilion space is larger than in past years, too, so you can enjoy kicking up your heels between trying new and interesting brews. Rain or shine, it's a festival that's fun, full of energy and an excellent opportunity for tasting unique beers, trying fantastic foods and listening to new music.

Getting Ready to Rock

The Rocktown Beer and Music Festival is taking place on Saturday, April 29th, beginning at 3:00 p.m. and running until 9:00 p.m. that evening. Tickets range from $22 (for designated drivers and underage attendees) to $75 (for full VIP access and a special VIP section).

  • A full-access Rocktown ticket runs just $34 and includes more than 70 available craft beers to sample, a souvenir mug for sampling, and entrance to the entire event including music and food.
  • The underage ticket allows kids and young adults to enjoy the festival's music and food offerings; kids under ten can even attend for free.
  • The VIP ticket allows you to enter through a dedicated VIP entrance, dedicated craft beer lines with 12 ounce pours in a Rocktown Cup, an area to relax and watch the bands, special VIP tents for sitting and relaxing during the festival, and food and drinks during the festival.

Regardless of the ticket you choose, you're guaranteed a full evening of fun and frivolity, food and music, and an excellent community event.

Come for the Festival, Stay for the Community

If you're considering relocating to Harrisonburg, it's important to work with a local real estate agent who knows the Shenandoah Valley and whose primarily focus is the needs of their customers.  Our team of REALTORS® from Old Dominion Realty are local to Harrisonburg and are ready to help you find a home in Harrisonburg.  Contact Old Dominion Realty to get started.

 

Contact Old Dominion Realty

March
28

Beginner's Guide for Buying a Home in Staunton

First-time Home Buyers

Beginner's Guide for Buying a Home

Staunton, Virginia is a vibrant community with many attractive attributes, and a great place to settle down in your first home. There are a wide variety of cultural and social opportunities in the area including outdoor exploration of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. Deciding to buy a home can be intimidating, though, no matter how much you like the community. Here's some helpful information for anyone considering buying a house for the first time.

Make the Most Important Decision

It's perfectly natural to feel some anxiety about buying a house for the first time. However, if you're feeling anxious because you're unsure whether you want to own a home at all, it's extremely important to make the decision of whether you really want to own a home, or if it's just what you're "supposed to do" when you're an adult. It's much better to explore your options before getting involved in securing a mortgage and becoming a homeowner than to go through the process and be unhappy with your choice.

Get Ready for a Mortgage

Once you've decided home ownership is right for you, start looking at your finances. They should be well organized before you start talking to lenders about a mortgage. Getting ready for a mortgage might include:

  • Paying down credit card debts and keeping the balances low.
  • Gathering two years' worth of bank statements, pay stubs, salary verification and income tax information.
  • Refraining from doing anything that requires a credit inquiry, such as buying a car or furniture, or opening a new line of credit.

Before shopping for a specific loan, ask various lenders about any available first-time homebuyer programs, government-backed loans that you might be able to use, and their fees for financing your mortgage. It's your right to ask questions about anything you don't understand. Remember, just because you talk to a lender doesn't mean you're obligated to go through them for your loan.

Look to Your Future

Buying a house means being fairly certain of your plans over the next several years. You should know whether kids will be coming into the picture, which amenities might be most important over the long term and if there's enough room for your future growth, both personally and professionally. A list of things you might want in your new home can help you narrow your choices to properties that fit your needs now and into the future.

Be Open to Different Situations

When you're looking into buying a house, it's best to consider a lot of different properties that are offered for sale due to foreclosure, short sales or as part of a real estate auction, especially if you're willing to make some investments in the home. Many of these situations will have different requirements than a traditional "fair market listing" sale, so it's best to work with a local real estate agent to understand different sale options and find the right property for your needs.

Work with an Experienced REALTOR®

At Old Dominion Realty, we have a lot of useful information about relocating to Staunton, VA. You can even view our listings for gorgeous homes in Staunton easily from your computer. Contact Old Dominion Realty when you're considering buying a house in Virginia. Our REALTORS® in Staunton have all the experience and information you'll need to find your perfect new home.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

April
14

5 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

Helpful Hints When Buying Your First Home

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Congratulations! You've bought your first home. Home ownership brings a lot of freedom, but also many new things to think about. If you're just learning to navigate owning versus renting, here are a 5 First-Time Home Buyer Tips to get you started.

1. Get Fully Insured

Maybe the contents of your home weren't all that important, and you didn't care about rental insurance. Homeowners insurance isn't to be taken lightly. You now own the home, its content, and the property. Losing it could be catastrophic. Do your research and make sure you are fully covering your entire property against any possible scenario. Don't forget to focus on what specific issues you may face in your region.

2. Don't Overspend on New Home Perks

It's your first home.  You'll be tempted to fill that beautiful new home with all your visions. That may include remodels, renovations, or new furniture. It's best to hold off for a while--unless it's a critical maintenance item. At this point in the game, establishing a solid savings is most important. Unexpected costs lurk around the corner when you own a home, and savings help you prepare for unforeseen events or expenses. Making home improvements and decorating is a good thing, just research, budget, and save before implementing your ideas.

3. Don't Avoid Maintenance

True, you may not want to take care of that clogged drain today, but tomorrow it may be an overflow that floods and damages the floor and creates the perfect moist conditions for mold. Small issues have a way of snowballing into much bigger ones, so it pays not to put off fixing things. If you're confident you can handle things yourself, go for it. However, never attempt something major or unfamiliar without the help of a professional. Again, it can turn a small problem into something much bigger.

4. Get Help with Taxes

Even if you have to reach deep into your pockets, investing in an accountant is a smart choice. Buying your first home has some tax intricacies that you don't want to mess up. An experienced tax professional will identify any deductions or nuances correctly, making sure you maximize your return.

5. Start a File Box and Spreadsheet for House Records

You'll want to have a place for receipts, maintenance records, home improvement projects, appliance instructions, and any and everything pertaining to your home. The file will serve multiple purposes, from having proof for your taxes to being able to look up the last time you had the furnace serviced. Those records can also assist in designing an annual maintenance plan, or with facilitating a house sale—people feel more confident making a purchase on a home that was well-cared for and has the records to prove it.

Contact Old Dominion Realty
Whether you're ready to buy your first home, or have a house to sell, contact our team of REALTORS® Old Dominion Realty.

Old Dominion Realty is a locally owned real estate broker with offices in the West Virginia and Virginia real estate areas (Harrisonburg, Crossroads Plaza, Augusta County, Moorefield and Franklin) and a proud Member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (www.LeadingRE.com).

April
8

Generation Y The Home Buyers of Today

How Millennials are Changing the Home Buying Process

Millennial Home Buyers


Visit your favorite marketing site, and you'll find no shortage of advice on how to sell your gadget, clothing line, or professional services to buyers from Generation Y (also known as millennials). But what about selling homes? Generation Y is growing up, and is now the largest demographic in the real estate market, with Generation X trailing close behind. So when you're working to sell a home, it pays to take a long look at what young buyers want.

The good news is that despite the differences between generations, there are some similarities that virtually all home shoppers share. Ahead, we'll take a closer look at how to market your home to the young, growing Generation Y demographic.

Modern Home Marketing: How to Catch the Eye of Generation Y

We'll cover the differences, too, but the most important thing to realize may just be that Generation Y wants most of the same things as any other generation when buying a house. In other words, a clean, well-maintained home will always have appeal, so getting the basics right is still as important as ever. Some of the biggest differences come in how Generation Y researches and evaluates potential homes, along with what they expect from the home-buying experience.

  • Members of Generation Y typically prefer to start their shopping online, so that's the perfect place to start our discussion. Your home's online listing must be detailed, thorough, and easy to find.
  • Include extensive photo and ideally video documentation of your home, so that Gen Y shoppers can form a solid, accurate impression of your home – and hopefully fall in love with it. A virtual video tour may be an added marketing expense, but the return is worth it if you are targeting Gen Y.
  • Be available. Just as importantly, be available on the communication channels preferred by Gen Y. Communicating through text messages, social media, email, and instant messaging is just as effective as "traditional" communication, and will make it easier to connect with Generation Y on their terms.
  • Generation Y, as a whole, is very well-educated. This means that when shopping, they want more facts, and fewer sales pitch. Be honest, open, and direct when presenting the details of your home.
  • While there are plenty of commonalities between Gen Y members when buying a house, it's also a diverse group. Some shoppers want a home that will require as little maintenance as possible; while others want a property they can improve and personalize over time. So you don't need one specific type of home to reach Generation Y.
  • The traditional must-have home elements largely hold true for Generation Y, so be sure to showcase the best features of your kitchen, bathrooms, and master bedroom. If you plan to upgrade your home to increase its value, these are still the perfect places to start.
  • Many Generation Y home shoppers reached adulthood during a tumultuous time in the real estate market, so secure, sensible financing is very attractive. The good news is that with interest rates still historically low, in-the-know Generation Y buyers will know that this is actually an excellent time to finance a home purchase.

As you can see, appealing to Generation Y may require some new tactics and a digital presence, but the basics of what makes a home appealing are still pretty consistent with prior generations. Of course, choosing the right real estate team will also play a major role in your success. Contact Old Dominion Realty, your local team of REALTORS® in Virginia and West Virginia to buy and sell homes – for every generation.

Contact Old Dominion Realty


Old Dominion Realty is a locally owned real estate broker with offices in the West Virginia and Virginia real estate areas (Harrisonburg, Crossroads Plaza, Augusta County, Moorefield and Franklin) and a proud Member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (www.LeadingRE.com).

March
25

Old Dominion Realty and the Augusta Home and Garden Show

Get a Taste of Virginia with Old Dominion Realty and Kline's Ice Cream

Join Old Dominion Realty at the 36th Annual Home and Garden Show on April 2 – 3, 2016 at the Augusta Expo in Fishersville, VA.

Old Dominion Realty 2016 Augusta Expo Home and Garden


Get a true taste of what living in Virginia is all about with Old Dominion Realty at Booths K10 and L10 for the unveiling of our new Myers Corner model home plans and subdivision plat as well as complimentary scoops of delicious ice cream from Virginia's own Kline's Ice Cream.   104.3 Country KCY will be onsite with a live remote from 11AM – 1PM with giveaways throughout the day.


Old Dominion Realty along with other "home and garden" businesses ranging in categories from real estate, home improvement, home repair, building and remodeling, HVAC, financial, and travel will showcase their services and products to the local Augusta County community.


Originating in 1980, the Augusta Home and Garden Show showcases great ideas for your home and garden to check a few of those "honey do" items off your list.  Show times are Saturday from 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM and Sunday from 10AM – 4PM.  Don't miss the Home and Garden Show's demonstrations and displays to get your spring season started right.


CVR, Home Depot, Dutch Way, Cox Construction, Outback Heating, Valley Building and Absolute Stone Design are among the sponsors for this year's event.

 

The Augusta Expo is located in Fishersville, VA just off I-64 and only 4 miles from I-81.

If you're interested in buying or selling homes in the Augusta County real estate area, contact our team of local REALTORS® in Fishersville, Virginia.  Old Dominion Realty is a locally owned real estate broker with offices in the West Virginia and Virginia real estate areas (Harrisonburg, Crossroads Plaza, Augusta County, Moorefield and Franklin) and a proud Member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (www.LeadingRE.com).

Contact Old Dominion Realty

December
7

6 Things We Love about Harrisonburg at Christmas

Harrisonburg Community Spirit this Holiday Season

6 Things We Love About Harrisonburg

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and Harrisonburg residents are finding more than enough ways to fill their calendars. With the holidays swiftly approaching, it's an excellent time to make memories and spend quality time with your loved ones. Our city makes it simple, and you'll find ample opportunities between now and the end of the year to celebrate. Here are six things to love about Harrisonburg at Christmas.

  1. Shop Local – Downtown Harrisonburg, VA is a treasure trove of shops. There's nothing like finding one-of-a-kind items or supporting locally-owned businesses while finding the perfect gifts for friends and family. Find ethical, fair-trade clothing at Green Hummingbird, outdoor accessories and gear at Walkabout Outfitter, or the perfect read at Downtown Books. Downtown Harrisonburg is home to over 45 unique shops. When you're done, take a break at one of the incredible eateries that Harrisonburg is known for—after all, the downtown was designated the first culinary district in Virginia.
  2. Make your Own Gifts – Another way to create lasting memories this holiday season is to make a gift. Harrisonburg has a few places that allow you to put your personal stamp on Christmas. Head to Larkin Arts to design your own wrapping paper (or to give the gift of art classes), or get the creative juices flowing at You Made It. If you prefer making holiday décor, visit the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum for their annual Festive Greens workshop on December 9th.
  3. Moonlight Carriage Rides – A beloved tradition in December in Harrisonburg is the Moonlight Holiday Carriage Rides. If you aren't able to get a reservation in time, individual walk-up rides may be available the day of. If you can't make it this December, there is always the full moon summer rides, or next year.
  4. Holiday Cultural Entertainment – It wouldn't be Christmas without carols and dance. Harrisonburg offers many opportunities to enjoy holiday entertainment. Two excellent options are the Rockingham Ballet Theatre's performance of the Nutcracker December 19th and 20th, and the Nothin' Fancy Holiday Show that will delight Bluegrass lovers at the Court Square Theater on the 12th.
  5. Christmas Tree Adventures – Start a family tradition that will last for years to come. There is nothing like the fresh scent of a recently cut Christmas tree to get you excited about the holidays. Harrisonburg has several tree farms nearby to choose from, and each has its own appeal. Try the Evergreen Tree Farm, The ELF Christmas Tree Farm, or Ostlund Christmas Tree Farm.
  6. First Night Harrisonburg – The holiday season isn't officially over until after New Year's Eve, and Harrisonburg, VA knows how to celebrate in style. First Night Harrisonburg is an all-inclusive event that brings together the community for live music, art, family-fun, and fireworks. It's one of Harrisonburg's most beloved annual events.

About Harrisonburg

Harrisonburg, VA is a dynamic community that offers residents an ideal location, four beautiful seasons, a wide variety of activities, and a rich lifestyle and culture. The eclectic city is full of year-round opportunities that make it an interesting place to live. You can enjoy the bustle of a thriving downtown, but still get the sense of a close-knit community. Overall, Harrisonburg is an idyllic place to call home for the holidays, and the rest of the year as well.

Make Harrisonburg Your Home


If you're interested in making Harrisonburg your home, contact us at Old Dominion Realty today. Our knowledgeable team of REALTORS® can help you find your dream home this Christmas.

November
25

Staunton VA Lights Up for the Holidays

Gypsy Hill Park Aglow Through December

Start your family's holiday season with a visit to the 10th Annual Celebration of Holiday Lights at Staunton's Gypsy Hill Park.  Gypsy Hill Park will be filled with twinkling Christmas lights and more than 50 brightly colored holiday scenes even Clark Griswold would be proud of.

ODR Staunton Celebration of Holiday Lights


Join the expected thousands of Staunton residents and visitors as they tour Gypsy Hill Park's 214 acres to view the holiday displays created by individuals, families, organizations, local businesses and churches in and around the Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County area. This year's celebration takes place from Monday, November 23, 2015 through Friday, January 1, 2016 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. each evening. This is a free event, open to the public.

Team ODR Staunton Celebration


Old Dominion Realty's participation in the 2015 event is a "command performance" having taken part in previous years.  The Old Dominion Realty Team designed and created our holiday scene entitled, "I'll Be Home for Christmas." Special thanks to Debbie Fauber, Maria Ralston, Natalie Campbell, Krista Fields, Cathy Ward and their families who acted as Santa's helpers in organizing our presentation.

Remembering Your Loved Ones at Gypsy Hill Park

In celebration of loved one, a Veteran or "just because" you can place a lighted deer in Gypsy Hill Park's Field of Deer. During the 2014 Celebration of Lights, 124 deer were displayed by the pool at Gypsy Hill Park. 

Honoring the Military

See rows of sparkling, spiral Christmas trees placed to honor those in our military. Thelma Newman, chairperson and founder of the Celebration of Holiday Lights, invited anyone interested to bring their trees to the park to be placed in honor of someone currently serving or a veteran. 

Caroling, Cookies and Cocoa

On Saturday, December 19 be ready to "FA-LA-LA" from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Caroling in the Park.  Enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies from Staunton's Subway on North Augusta Street, complimentary photos with Santa from Queen City Photography, an outside community fire at the Gypsy Hill Park bandstand and singing by the Staunton Choral Society and Harrisonburg Harmonizers.

Free Wagon Rides

New to 2015, Staunton Parks and Recreation Department will be providing free wagon rides around Gypsy Hill Park during the afternoon of the Caroling in the Park event on December 19 for guests and visitors.

ODR Christmas Lights Signage
Joining the Staunton Community

Organized by a group of Staunton's community citizens, the Celebration of Holiday Lights combines the local beauty of Gypsy Hill Park with a time of the year when friends and families typically come together.  Staunton has a growing reputation as a tourist destination and the event is another way to bring people to the city and show the true community spirit of its locals. 


If living in an active, close-knit community is what you're looking for, contact the team of experienced REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty to start your search for homes in Staunton, VA.

October
21

Augusta County School Receives Top Award

Strong Schools a Deciding Factor for Augusta County Home Buyers

Home Buyers Choose Riverheads High Schools


When you're ready to buy a home, there's a long laundry list of things to consider to help you make the right choice.  An excellent school district is one of those things. Even if you do not have children at home, you want to purchase a home in a neighborhood with quality schools, not only for any potential future children you have, but also to increase the potential resale value and the speed of sale of your home in the future.

For those shopping for a home in Augusta County, VA, the local school district is one of the area's biggest draws. Strong schools help families feel comfortable moving to the area, and also help improve the resale value of their homes. One of those schools, Riverheads High School, was recently awarded national recognition by being named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School.

Riverheads High School Recognized


Riverheads High School One of Seven Virginia Schools Recognized

Riverheads High School in Augusta County was one of only seven public schools across the state recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2015. This award is considered a prestigious recognition of excellent academics. Both public and private schools with superior academics or who demonstrate dramatic student achievement gains are eligible for the award. In total, 285 public schools in the country were given the award this year.

Specifically, Riverheads High School received the award because of high standardized test scores for its students. In the most recent school year 88 percent or more of the students passed the tests in every subject area, and that is a high number compared to national averages. Riverheads High School also boasts a 14 percent AP participation rate and received a Bronze medal from U.S. News and World Report's Best High Schools list.

Benefits of Strong Schools for Augusta County VA Homebuyers

If you are considering buying a home in Augusta County, this news is beneficial to you. If you have children, then you benefit automatically because the schools you will be sending your children to are gaining national recognition for excellence.


If you do not have children, you still benefit from strong schools. Strong schools are a sign of a strong, well-educated community base. They also make your home easier to sell in the future and drive up property values. Finally, strong schools can help protect a neighborhood from the natural up and down nature of the real estate market. Homes in neighborhoods with good schools tend to hold their value better even in difficult economic times.

Contact Old Dominion Realty


Remember, even if you don't have kids, someone in the future who is considering buying your home might. Strong schools make your home more appealing and easier to sell.  Contact the team of professional REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty to buy a home in Augusta County.

October
14

7 Steps for Mastering a Job Relocation

Planning for a Job Relocation.

Job Relocation


Congratulations!  You found your dream job.  What you didn't expect was to leave your home and to relocate to an entirely new city.  Whether your move is across the state, country or even the globe, it brings a number of challenges beyond simply changing your street address. Learning about a new community, tackling a new culture, and moving a long distance is stressful. Here are tips from the Relocation Services Team at Old Dominion Realty to make the transition easier.

Job Relocation Research

  1. Check Out Your New Hometown
    Careful planning and research will make your move easier.  When you find you are moving, surf the Web to research communities near your new employer.  Learn about the area's economy and housing market.  Your new job may come with a higher salary; however, if the local economy is more expensive than the one you're leaving, you may not find yourself as far ahead as you think.

  2. Make Preview Trips
    Although in today's digital society it is possible to make a cross-country move entirely online, it is wise to make a few visits to the area before you move. That's the best way to learn facts like where the best schools are located, when rush hour is the worst, and how far the nearest restaurants, shopping areas, and other local things to do are located from your potential new home.

  3. Find a REALTOR® in Your New Hometown
    When you begin to search for a home in your new community, find a REALTOR® with a reputation as a local expert in the community. Your real estate agent should be knowledge about local housing values as well as be able to provide helpful insights about nearby amenities such as schools and churches.

    Your REALTOR® can be a tremendous asset when relocating. Old Dominion Realty has helped many clients make the move to Harrisonburg and its surrounding areas.  Our Relocation Services extend beyond those moving to the Virginia real estate area. As a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, we can connect you with quality real estate companies across the globe to make the relocation process easier for you.

  4. Research Mortgage Lenders
    Your REALTOR® can provide you with a list of mortgage lenders with whom they have done previous business.  Comparison shop for the best interest rates and closing costs.  Remember that the cheapest rates do not equate to the best service. A reputation of great service coupled with a stress-free closing can save you time and money in the long run.  Old Dominion Realty has teamed up with VBS Mortgage  to offer you the best of real estate and home mortgage services.

    Job Relocation Moving Company

  5. Downsize Before You Move
    Moving companies charge by weight, so downsizing will make your move less costly. You can sell items before you move and purchase new items when you arrive that fit your new home perfectly. Since you already have to pack and sort, take the time to get rid of items you are no longer using or no longer need.

    Job Relocation Change Address

  6. Change Your Address
    Let all of your accounts know your new address as soon as you do, so you will not miss any bills. Consider setting up automatic payments for the months you will be focused on moving so you are not adding late fees to the already high costs of moving. Also, inform the post office of your new address so that your mail will get forwarded.

  7. Get Help from a Relocation Expert 
    Contact Linda Goodson, Old Dominion Realty's Relocation Services Director, to learn how Leading Real Estate Companies of the World and Old Dominion Realty will make your relocation easier.

 

September
9

Old Dominion Realty A Proud Sponsor of Good Times Festival

Let the Good Times Roll

"Let the Good Times Roll" will be the theme in Augusta County, VA at this year's Good Times Festival presented by Blue Ridge Beverage and Seven Arrows Brewing Company and hosted by the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce.  Perhaps the perfect place in the Blue Ridge Mountains to find the best burgers, beverages, and bands on September 19, the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce's annual signature event has been relocated to the Shenandoah Acres Family Campground.

Good Times Festival 2015


With the goal of telling residents and visitors about the local Augusta community and businesses, the Chamber of Commerce will feature:

  • A gourmet burger cook-off
  • A battle of the bands and
  • A beer competition featuring 30+ craft and domestic brews
  • Virginia wines vendors will be sold by the glass


About the Good Times Festival

 


The Good Times Festival benefits the Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce. However, it also embraces community spirit and brings people together for some serious fun.  This year's event takes place on Saturday, September 19 at Shenandoah Acres Family Campground. All ages are welcome, and the event features activities for the whole family. Some festival highlights include:

Hackensaw Boys Performance

  • Music – Listen to local artists and popular bands at two different stages. Gypsy Town, Jacob Paul Allen, Tara Mills, and Hound Dog Hill will perform on the smaller stage while the main stage has incredible acts like Jeremy Staubus, The Hacksensaw Boys, and Dylan Scott.


Good Times Gourmet Burgers

  • Food – The Good Times Festival will introduce you to some of the best food in Virginia. Save room for BBQ, kettle corn, farm fresh fixings, and of course, burgers. The burger cook off is a main event that has local businesses battling it out for the coveted title.

    Good Times Beverage
  • Drink – Augusta County is known for its craft beer and wine. Sip and taste your way around the festival to see what new offerings regional vendors have.

    Shopping at Good Times
  • Goods – Find jewelry, clothes, and more perusing the different vendors.

  • Kid's Area – The littlest attendees won't be left out with a designated area of their own at the festival. Activities and fun will be waiting.

The festival runs from 12 - 5 p.m. and the concert from 5 - 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 per car, and you can pre-purchase online. Preferred seating and VIP tickets are also available. Beer passes are $5, and the burger cook off sample tickets are $1 per slider.

Good Times Festival


With a little bit of planning, the Good Times Festival can be a weekend getaway. The Shenandoah Acres Family Campground has tent sites, RV sites, and cottages. With access to a beautiful lake and other wonderful amenities, your whole weekend can be a celebration of the wonderful area you live in, or would like to live in.


Contact the Great Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce if you are interested in volunteering during this event.


About Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce is focused on the growth and development of area businesses, industry, and agriculture. The Greater Augusta Regional Chamber serves Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County and welcomes small businesses to large industrial complexes and remains true to their motto is, "Your Success is our Business!"


Search for Homes Old Dominion Realty


A Proud Sponsor of the Augusta County Community

Old Dominion Realty is a proud sponsor of the Good Times Festival. For us, introducing people to Augusta County and its surrounding communities is a worthwhile endeavor.  The festival has a positive impact on the region, one we are thrilled to be a part of.  If the Good Times Festival is enough to convince you to become a member of Augusta's community, contact one of our real estate agents to find your new home in Augusta County.

August
27

Technology and the Real Estate Industry

Everything you wanted to know about the digital house hunt, but were afraid to ask.

Remember when all it took to sell a house was an ad in the Sunday classifieds?  That's okay--I don't either.  Back then, home buyers depended only on their real estate agents to lead the way to find a home.

Technology and Real Estate


Fast forward to 2015 and discover over 90 percent of house hunters search for their "dream homes" on the Internet.  In today's digitally driven marketplace, real estate and technology go hand in hand.  Technology has improved the way business is done for both customers and real estate agents. 

Real estate customers are web savvy.  They use specific online tools during different phases of the home buying process.  Information such as property listings, prices, neighborhoods, demographics, real estate agent reviews and mortgage rates are available with one click of a mouse.  The use of mobile devices—whether smartphones or tablets--is steadily increasing as we search for the American dream.  2014 trend research shows that mobile traffic will soon rise above 50 percent for some real estate brokers.

Old Dominion Realty Desktop Search



How does all of this impact the way Old Dominion Realty serves our customers? 

As real estate professionals, we understand selling real estate is as much about the people as the properties.  Because of our customers' growing demands for information, Old Dominion Realty has provided them with specialized and enhanced services. The use of innovative technologies has allowed us to help buyers find homes; sellers list houses; and real estate transactions to be closed quickly and easily.

  1. Online Property Search.  Our OldDominionRealty.com website puts property listings within easy reach of customers.  Our auto-complete feature gives customers faster results when inputting city and state, county, subdivision, MLS# or zip code.
  2. Real Estate Videos. Old Dominion Realty's real estate agents spotlight property listings through high-quality, professionally created, online videos.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then our property videos tell home buyers the entire story before they walk through the front door of a home.

    Real Estate ODR Tablet
  3. Real Estate on the Go. Mobile devices like smartphone and tablets put real estate in customers' hands 24/7.   Customers can access property listing information, driving directions to listings and contact our real estate agents from their mobile devices.  Our real estate agents gain increased accessibility to their customers.

  4. Rave Reviews. Old Dominion Realty's online customer reviews allow new customers to read comments about our real estate agents past transactions and interactions with other clients.
  5. New Listing EmailsWe've taken our "seek and find" functionality one step further by allowing customers to create accounts that will automatically send new listing emails from virtually the minute they are enter our system.
  6. Dotloop and E-signatures.  No more waiting for a signed contract.  Dotloop is a digital transaction system that links people, paperwork, and tasks so work can be completed quickly and easily.

Real Estate Agents and Clients


As the real estate industry continues to advance with the help of technology, Old Dominion Realty's goal is to give our clients the best possible online experience.  By providing customers with the information they want when they need it, we are bringing our agents closer to their clients. However, the digital house hunt is only part of the story.  Home buyers still rely on their real estate agents to marry their online and real worlds. 

Search for Homes Old Dominion Realty


Contact Old Dominion Realty to buy and sell houses in the Virginia real estate and West Virginia real estate markets.

August
6

How Do You Define Home

Home Sweet Home

How Do You Define Home


The concept of home is vast. For some, it's a city or town, while others it's a house or neighborhood. Buying a home is an intricate process—one that can help you evaluate what home means to you. It can also assist you in determining your needs and wants, the ideal setting or location and allow you to fine-tune your search. When you're ready to buy a house, take the essential step of listing the things you're looking for.

Defining Home

Defining Your Home


We all know that home is "where the heart is," or "where you hang your hat." However, home is more than that. Home is the house, and the community that surrounds it. It is features, amenities, schools, neighbors, city and state.

For many, there are necessities that stand out when looking for a home. Start by listing the first item on each person's list. Do they want a yard, a bedroom for everyone or that long-desired dishwasher? Is it making sure the house is within walking distance of a good school or the center of town? Maybe you're looking for a place with plenty of privacy. Everyone has a different definition of what makes a home—and it's important to honor everyone's vision if possible.

The Foundation

The foundation isn't always the exciting part. It's the nuts and bolts, the rules and guidelines. Begin with a few basics:

  • A Budget: Be honest about finances. Don't let what you want get in the way of what you can afford.
  • A General Area: What's most important—commute time, good schools, walkability or an area with ample land? Can you only look in a specific city, or are you open to other locales?
  • Space Considerations: How much room does your family actually need? Later, you can look at how much room your family wants. Are you bringing pets or livestock? What kind of land requirements do you have?
  • House Style: This may seem odd, but it's important to look at family make-up. Are stairs going to be an issue for anyone in the home? Is it easier to have the family on one floor, or can you spread out? Do you host overnight guests or visitors frequently? Take into account the optimal number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

Fine-tuning Your Vision

Fine-tune Your Home Vision


It's crucial to understand the difference between needs and wants. There will be minimum requirements you have, and then what you would like to have. For example, what if you thought you needed to be at the end of the cul-de-sac, but a house that was more central had all the features you required? In the end, what would be more important? That's how you will determine what you need versus what you want. If you buy a house, can you afford to put money into it to turn it into what you want, or does it need to be in the best condition possible to begin with? Consider all the criteria, and rank it most important to least:

  • Locale: City/state
  • Proximity: To schools, work, entertainment, shopping, services
  • Views: Do you want water, territorial, mountain, city
  • Neighborhood: Cul-de-sac, dead end street, gated community, city, suburban, rural
  • Type: Condo, townhome, single-family residence
  • Style: Construction, exterior, roof, look (for example; cottage, two-story, ranch)
  • Yard: Gardens, grass, amenities, deck, no yard, acreage, outbuildings
  • Features: Number of beds/baths, heating/cooling system, parking, storage, other rooms, flooring, specific room features, appliances

Trust Intuition

Search for Homes Old Dominion Realty


Don't discount your intuition. Many buyers "feel" whether a home will work or not. If you're ready to buy a house, contact Old Dominion Realty. Our experienced real estate professionals will help you find an ideal place to call home.

July
17

Rockingham County Schools Recognized by US News and World Report

Three Rockingham High Schools Recognized Nationally


Chosing the right school
Whether you are moving your family across the country or across town, one of the biggest decisions you may need to make is which school system is the best for your children.  If you are relocating to Virginia, here's a report from U.S. News & World Report that might make your choice easier.


U.S. News & World Report recently released its 2015 rankings for Best High Schools in the Nation and Virginia's Rockingham County Public Schools made the list.


Over 21,000 public high schools across all 50 states and in the District of Columbia were considered in the rankings.  High schools were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals based on state proficiency assessment tests in math and reading for all students and how the degree to which schools prepared college bound students.

High School Graduates

Three Rockingham County High Schools received recognition.

  1. Turner Ashby High School – was recognized nationally with a Silver Medal placing 47th overall in Virginia (out of 327 high schools) and 2253 overall in the country (out of 19,753 high schools).   Turner Ashby High School has achieved recognition in U.S. News and World Reportrankings in 2007, 2008, 2014, and 2015.
  2. Broadway High School – was recognized nationally with a Bronze Medal.
  3. East Rockingham High School - was recognized nationally a Bronze Medal.

Rockingham Schools Make the List

Key principles used in the review to "make the list" included:

  1. How well high schools served their students well (both those headed for college and those opting for a different path).
  2. The school produces measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a broad range of indicators.

U.S. News & World Report worked with RTI International to create a three-step process in ranking the schools. Schools were evaluated by determining:

  1. Whether each school's students performed better than expected for students in their state.
  2. After schools passed the first step, step two assessed whether disadvantaged students (i.e., black, Hispanic and low-income outperformed disadvantaged students in the state.)
  3. Schools advancing to the third step of the process became eligible for national judging based where how well their students were prepared for college using Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data.

 

US News Selection Process

Congratulations to Rockingham County Public Schools from the real estate team at Old Dominion Realty.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

Contact Old Dominion Realty to buy and sell homes across Virginia and West Virginia.

July
10

Home Security Checklist for Summer Travelers

Keep Your Home Safe While on Vacation

Home Security Checklist


July and August are hot summer months for swimming, barbeques, and vacations.  Did you know more break-ins occur during July and August too? Keep your home safe and secure while you are away this summer with these ten tips for home security from Old Dominion Realty.  Knowing your home is well-secured and under proper care allows you to simply relax and enjoy your time away.


#1 Secure Doors and Windows

While it may sound silly, but an unlocked door or window is a common entry source for potential burglars. Secure all your exterior doors with a deadbolt at least one-inch thick.  Install locks on all your windows.  Prevent your sliding glass door from being broken into by placing a metal bar in the bottom sliding track and secure the opposite end against the door jam on a diagonal.  Of course, remember to lock your doors and windows before leaving for vacation.

#2 Employ Your Neighbors

Your neighbors are often a great line of defense when it comes to home security.  Ask your neighbor to help while you are away.  Neighbors can hold a spare key and alarm codes for emergencies, keep an eye on your home, pick up your mail or newspapers, and water your plants.

 

Home Security Dog

#3 Hire a Pet Sitter

Keeping your pets at home under the care of a pet sitter or a house sitter may increase home security. A sitter helps make it look lived in and helps your pets stay secure in their own environment.  Also, dogs act as a natural burglar deterrent when they bark alerting neighbors to intruders.

 

#4 Maintain A Lived In Look

It is important to make your home appear lived in while you are on vacation. If you are not using a house sitter or employing the help of a neighbor, there are additional home security measures to follow. Install timers to turn on the lights, televisions, and radios.  Invite your neighbors to park in your driveway.  Allow your A/C to run on its lowest setting or use a programmable thermostat to switch it on and off throughout the day.

 

Home Security Mail Service

#5 Stop the Mail

Contact your local Post Office to stop mail delivery while you are away.

#6 Think Socially

In today's digital world, we often post our plans online without a second thought.  Avoid mentioning your vacation plans on social media.  After all, you do not want to advertise a vulnerability in your home security.

Home Security Alarm

#7 Use Your Alarm

Your alarm is a key tool in home security.  Make sure it is set before leaving and make your monitoring company aware you will be out of town.

 

#8 Windows and Blinds

Closing all your blinds and curtains could indicate you are away from home.  Keep things looking normal by positioning window treatments as you normally do during the day.

 

Home Security Lawn

#9 Don't Forget the Lawn

An unkempt lawn is a key sign that your home is unoccupied.  Keep your home safe by hiring someone to take care of the yard while you are on vacation.

 

#10 Unplug Your Garage Door

Don't forget to unplug your electronic garage door opener before leaving for vacation.  This makes it difficult for a burglar to use a universal remote to enter your home.  Unplug electronic devices--like the television--to protect them from power surges.

 Contact Old Dominion Realty

Old Dominion Realty for Homes in Virginia and West Virginia

Contact Old Dominion Realty to find homes for sale in eastern West Virginia and the central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

July
3

See the Shenandoah Valley from Skyline Drive

Shenandoah Valley Draws Local Attraction

Virginia Shenandoah Valley

The unparalleled beauty of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley attracts thousands each year.  From rolling hills and mountain vistas to stunning wildflower meadows, the landscape throughout the Shenandoah National Park System offers sights that simply should not be missed.  Include a drive along the area's picturesque Skyline Drive at the top of your list of things to do  Virginia list this summer.

Not Your Typical Sunday Drive

Skyline Drive stretches for 105-miles through the Shenandoah National Park.  A drive along the Skyline evokes a different time, when life moved at a slower pace, and people commonly took drives for sheer pleasure.  Families trying to decide what to do in Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, should consider a cruise down the park's only public road.  Running north and south through the park, Skyline Drive travels along a crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering unique views of the park and the surrounding region. 

Explore Nature's Beauty

Shenandoah Valley Black Bears

Animal lovers need to look no further for things to do in Virginia.  Skyline Drive is frequently visited by the park's wildlife, especially during dawn and dusk.  The Shenandoah National Park is home to one of the country's largest populations of black bears.  In addition to bears, use Skyline Drive's vantage points to spot white-tailed deer, raccoons, red and gray fox, river otters, woodchucks and over 200 species of birds.

Shenandoah Valley Views

Bring Your Camera 

For photographers and artists, the Shenandoah Valley's  natural beauty brings new inspiration. Scattered along the drive are 75 scenic overlooks  providing plenty of photo opportunities for residents and visitors alike.  Of course, you do not need to be a professional artist to find inspiration along this drive.  Skyline Drive varies greatly in width as it curves along the mountains, offering varied and stunning views.

Go For A Hike 

Shenandoah Hiking Trails

Along Skyline Drive, you will find plenty of opportunities to get out of the car and stretch your legs.  Hiking often tops the list of what to do in Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley National Park for many nature and outdoor adventure enthusiasts.  The Appalachian Trail, one of the East Coast's most famed and challenging hiking trails, runs parallel to Skyline Drive.  Overall, you have access to more than 500 miles of hiking trails from various points along the drive. Additionally, horseback riding and cycling are allowed along the Skyline. 

Drive Safely 

Keep in mind, animals frequently dart into the road, so please adhere to the posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour.  A cruise along Skyline Drive is a ride meant to be savored; slow down, take your time and do not forget to stop and smell the wildflowers.   You are welcome to tow campers and trailers along Skyline Drive.  Just be prepared to shift into low gear. Make sure your trailer will clear Mary's Rock Tunnel, which features a 12'8" height limit.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

Old Dominion Realty to Find Homes for sale in the Shenandoah Valley

Claim a piece of the Shenandoah Valley for yourself. Contact Old Dominion Realty to begin your home search today and discover the many, picturesque communities dotting the region. 

June
26

Harrisonburg VA Celebrates July 4

Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance Hosts Valley Fourth

Harrisonburg Valley Fourth Event

Harrisonburg, VA celebrates the 4th of July in a "booming" fashion with lots of great food, great music, a parade, fireworks, and family fun.   Enjoy July 4 with family and friends at this year's Valley Fourth celebration hosted by the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance organization.  From 8 a.m. until long after the fireworks end, you will find the city full of fun activities that celebrate its heritage and the history of the United States.

 

July 4 Schedule

Harrisonburg Valley Fourth Run

The day begins at 8:30 a.m. with the Valley Fourth RUN.  This is the Shenandoah Valley's only chipped timing race where runners can choose not only their distance, but also the charity their proceeds will support.  You can run one mile all the way to 10K.  The race includes categories for children and adults.  To receive a race t-shirt, register by June 28.  Pre-registration pricing starts at $10 and must be completed by Thursday, July 2.



Harrisonburg Community Event Valley Fourth

Enjoy great food throughout the day.  Various food vendors will offer their fare, but from 12 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., the Grillin' at the Pavilion BBQ cook-off will take place.  The smells wafting through the festival are sure to tantalize your taste buds and give you a taste of what Harrisonburg, VA cooking is all about.  For dinner, consider purchasing a People's Choice Sampling ticket, and sample the People's Choice team entries to vote for your favorite. Enjoy the Rocktown Bites! Food Tours if you're still hungry.


Adults can enjoy Beers N' Cheers from 4 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., with wine from Bluestone Vineyard, great food and an exclusively beer brand from Pale Fire Brewing Co. and Brothers Craft Brewing.

 
The evening ends at 9:30 p.m. with fireworks over downtown Harrisonburg, VA.  The best spot for viewing is the Farmer's Market Turner Pavilion.  Since the event draws thousands of Harrisonburg's family and friends, stake your claim to your spot early.

 

For the Kids

The Harrisonburg, VA Valley Fourth festival is a family-friendly celebration.  Throughout the day, several activities just for the kids will keep them entertained.  The fun starts with the kids enjoying the Valley Fourth RUN, followed by the "Dreamtime" puppet show at the Court Square Theatre. Then, take the time to enjoy the vendors and food booths before heading to the Explore More Discovery Museum with free admission from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Harrisonburg Valley Fourth KidsBeginning at 4 p.m. and running until the late evening, Court Square will have a number of children's activities, including face painting, patriotic pooch competition, Touch a Truck with the fire department, a watermelon seed spitting competition, bounce houses and more.  You will not run out of things to do to keep the kids occupied while waiting for the fireworks. 

 

Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance Parade

Harrisonburg Valley Fourth Parade

At 6 p.m., head to Main Street to watch the "Get Outdoors & Get Moving" parade.  Arrive early to get your spot.  The parade route is from the Rockingham County Administrative Building to the City Municipal Building.

 

Live Performances on July 4

Throughout the day as you wait for the evening to conclude with fireworks, you will have the opportunity to enjoy live performances from great local and international names. At Turner Pavilion from 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m., The Band Concord will perform.  Love Canon takes the stage at 7 p.m.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

Become a Harrisonburg VA Resident with Old Dominion Realty

Harrisonburg, VA comes together not only for the Valley Fourth celebration, but throughout the year.  Contact Old Dominion Realty to find Harrisonburg homes for sale.

June
19

7 Tips for Summertime Energy Savings

Simple ways to save energy and money this summer

Summertime Energy Savings Tips ODR

Summer officially arrives this weekend on Sunday, June 21.  Just because temperatures will be on the rise doesn't mean your electric bill needs to increase also.  If you are looking for ways to reduce the costs of using your air conditioning system this summer, consider these tips from us at Old Dominion Realty. With a few small changes, you can enjoy energy savings all summer long.

#1  Have a Cook Out

Dining out may not be cost effective, but cooking out can help prevent heat gain by using your oven or stove.  Grill outside as much as possible or use the microwave and crock pot to cook your food without heating up your home. Using the oven during hot days will cause your air conditioner to work overtime.

Energy Savings Tips Close the Blinds

#2  Close the Blinds

The summer sun beating through your window can cause quite a bit of heat gain.  Eliminate this by closing the blinds to block out the warm rays especially when you are not home to enjoy the light.  Your air conditioner won't have to work as hard and you will enjoy energy savings with one simple step.

#3 Clean the Filters

The air moving through your air conditioning system is dirty and grimy.  Unfortunately, much of that grit ends up in the air conditioning filter.  Over time, a dirty filter can lessen the efficiency of your system overall.  For simple energy savings, keep the filter clean . US News and World Report recommends cleaning the air conditioning or replacing the filter once a month.

ODR Programmable Thermostat

#4 Use a Programmable Thermostat

It's easy to forget to increase the temperature in your home at night or when you leave for the day.  Use a programmable thermostat.  You can save up to 30 percent on energy savings every year by increasing the temperature when you leave for the day during the summer so the air conditioner works less.  Raising the temperature by as little as five degrees for the eight hours you are at work can lower cooling costs by three to five percent.

#5 Unplug Electronics

If you leave your electronics, including your TV and radio, plugged in when not in use, you are using up electricity unnecessarily. Electricity still flows to these items, and then when they do not use it, back through the cord, and this causes some electricity to be lost. Either learn to unplug these items when they are turned off, or use a Smart Strip that will cut power to them.

#6 Have Your System Inspected

Unless you are an HVAC professional, you have no way of knowing if your system is working efficiently.  Have your air conditioning system inspected at the start to the summer to rule out any problems that may be increasing your energy costs.

#7 Use Fans

Fans cost less energy to run than the air conditioner and create a cooling effect in rooms.  To make the most out of your fans, only run them in rooms you are using. The wind effect does not actually lower the temperature of the room, but only how comfortable you feel, so turn the fans off when you leave a room.

Old Dominion Realty Contact US

Old Dominion Realty Serving Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta & Rockingham Counties

Everyone needs to pay attention to energy savings especially when the temperatures in Virigina and West Virginia start to soar.  If your summer plans include buying or selling a house in the area, contact Old Dominion Realty.

May
14

Do I Need a REALTOR to Buy a Home

Hire the right real estate agent to help.


If you are like most Americans, the decision to buy a house is the biggest financial transaction you'll ever make. Having proper representation is crucial so you don't get lost in a maze of listings, paperwork, regulations, and red tape. 

Hiring a Realtor

By hiring a real estate agent to represent you during the buying process, your agent is committed to working exclusively for you to negotiate the best terms and price for you in a financially responsible manner.  Working with a REALTOR® provides you with an extra layer of security as you buy your home.  And the best part is, the buyer agent's services are FREE. Many people think the buyer of a home has to pay a sales commission when actually only the seller pays the commission.


Guiding You Through the Home Buying Maze

Many home buyers begin their home search online. Although the Internet providers buyers with unprecedented access to available homes for sale, it is not a substitute for the experience and expertise of a local real estate agent. It only makes sense to enlist the help of a local real estate professional who knows the community in which you are interested.

Home buying maze

A professional real estate agent takes a buyer's must-have and wish lists into consider to uncover the MLS home listings that meet your needs.  In addition, REALTORS® have access to listings that you cannot find with an internet search.


Objective Negotiations 

The negotiation process is often the most challenging step of the home buying process.  After searching for and making an offer on a new home, you're understandably emotionally attached to the property.

Lean on your real estate agent during the negotiation process. Having no personal attachment to the property and being hired to represent your best interests as the buyer makes your real estate agent the best person to handle negotiations. Additionally, your REALTOR® can recommend independent home inspectors to help you identify and understand necessary repairs.

Realtor Paperwork Process

Paperwork Processor 

Home buyers understand a simple fact: to buy a house, you will go through a mound of paperwork. Often, the paperwork involved in a sale, including the contract and counteroffers have a time limit attached. Your REALTOR® guides you through the paperwork process keeping track of deadlines and helping you understand the legalese involved in the process.

Regulation Navigator

Similar to taxes, the real estate market involves a series of complex, ever-changing regulations. Your REALTOR's career obligations require them stay up to date on all new, state-specific regulations. Your REALTOR® helps you navigate tricky regulations, ensuring you do not fall victim to hidden pitfalls. 

Finding a Buyer's Agent 

Look for an exclusive buyer's agent to guide you through the home buying maze.  Interview several real estate agents before beginning your home search.  Inquire about past sales, accessibility for showings, and experience in the neighborhoods in which you are interested.  Ask for referrals from friends, family and neighbors.

Contact an ODR Real Estate Agent
Contact the Real Estate Team at Old Dominion Realty

Are you in the market for a  home in Virginia or West Virginia? Contact Old Dominion Realty before you begin to buy a house. Old Dominion Realty's sales team possesses in-depth knowledge about the market, making them the ideal partners in the search for your home.

May
7

Charlottesville VA Named Americas Happiest Place

Happily Ever After in Charlottesville VA

Charlottesville VA Happiest Place in US
Happy days are here again ... at least in Charlottesville, VA
.  A study by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research named Charlottesville, VA as the country's happiest place to live. Known as the home of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville elevates what Americans expect from a typical college town. 


Charlottesville VA Jeffersons Monticello

Happiness is in its History 

At the core of Charlottesville, VA's culture and history lies a simple promise: the right to pursue happiness. One of the country's most presidential towns, three presidents:  Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and James Madison, have called Charlottesville home. Thomas Jefferson's role as a Charlottesville resident is particularly important to the city's history.  Jefferson served as the third president of the United States, author of the Declaration of Independence, and architect for his Charlottesville's home, Monticello, as well as the University of Virginia.

Charlottesville VA University of Virginia

A Unique College Town 

The University of Virginia, designed by Jefferson, attracts many residents to Charlottesville, VA. Named by Time Magazine as one of America's Best College Towns, Charlottesville residents thrive here long after their college years. The town's vibrant downtown echoes the stately beauty of this southern college campus. From live music to top eateries, you'll find something to do no matter your interests. Chances are, you'll make a smart, new friend while exploring. Adding to its southern charm, Time Magazine ranks Charlottesville No. 1 in Intelligence and Number 24 in Friendliness. 

Get Lost in Charlottesville's Art 

Charlottesville, VA's Downtown Mall cements the area as a prime arts and entertainment destination. From its roots as the birthplace for the Dave Matthews Band to the big-name musical acts highlighting venue marquees, Charlottesville's live music scene will surely put a pep in your step. 

Music shares its spotlight with the town's artistic roots. Georgia O'Keefe rediscovered her love of painting at the University of Virginia. Discover your own love of the arts at the many art galleries and museums surrounding the town.
 

Your Favorite Eats 

If people come for the history, the University and the art, the food may just be the reason they stay. Wine Enthusiast names Charlottesville one of America's Top 5 Foodie Cities. Experience new restaurants and uncover your favorite eats. After all, what brings more happiness than sharing a plate of delicious food with family and friends? Throughout C-ville, you can dine on any number of dishes from traditional southern at the Pasture Q to inventive, farm-fresh, chef-created dishes at Brookville

Charlottesville VA Monitcello Wine Trail
Virginia is for Lovers ... and Wine

Grape roots run as deep as presidential history in Charlottesville, VA. A vision of Mr. Jefferson, the Monticello Wine Trail offers more than 30 wineries in a 30-mile radius, including labels by Dave Matthews and Donald Trump. Discover your bliss, and its perfect wine pairing. |

Experience Mountain Living in Charlottesville

In addition to the great food and wine, Charlottesville is surrounded by beautiful, breathtaking scenery. Need to clear your mind? Simply hop in the car for a Sunday drive. Surrounding Charlottesville lies quaint farmland, forests and the kind of countryside views that make you take a deep breath and relax. 

Old Dominion Realty Charlottesville Homes

Old Dominion Realty for Homes in Charlottesville VA

With so much to offer its residents, it's no wonder Charlottesville is America's Happiest Place. Find a home in Charlottesville, VA  with the help of an Old Dominion Realty real estate agent. Contact Old Dominion Realty today to begin the search for your dream home. 

March
27

Harrisonburg VA Shows Its LOVE

LOVE Letters from Harrisonburg

Virginia's state slogan, "Virginia is for Lovers" was adopted in 1969.  Its "love theme" continues today as seen in communities throughout the state embracing the Virginia Tourism Corporation's LOVEworks campaign.  The campaign was originally created to prove that "love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation" by having giant "LOVE" artworks appear up at various locations throughout the state.  During the summer of 2012, Virginia cities and tourist destinations joined the campaign creating LOVEworks exhibitions in their communities.

Harrisonburg VA LOVEworks Artists
Harrisonburg, VA located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley is one of those local communities.  Number 27 on the LOVEworks list, Harrisonburg exhibits a love for their community with its own LOVEworks sculpture. The artists behind LOVEworks Harrisonburg, Nicole Martorana, Jeff Guinn, and Mike Herr, spent four months designing and creating their own labor or love for Harrisonburg. 

 

About LOVEworks

The mission of LOVEworks is to showcase the strengths of the communities and tourist destinations in which they reside. Each letter in the word "love" provides an interactive, educational representation defining their individual city's characteristics.


Harrisonburg, VA is known for its diversity of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, agricultural heritage, large number of outdoor recreational opportunities, and vibrant arts scene.  Each letter represents one of Harrisonburg's four focus areas.

Harrisonburg VA LOVEworks


What LOVE Means in Harrisonburg VA

Harrisonburg's LOVEworks exhibit rests on a base of bluestone; the same material used in many signature buildings throughout Harrisonburg.  Plaques describing the exhibit, theme, materials used and their local significance as well as the names of local artists who designed the sculpture and contributing community partners are on display with the LOVEworks exhibit.

  • The "L" in Harrisonburg's LOVEworks sculpture represents the city's cultural diversity. Using collages that represent ethnic heritage and cultural backgrounds of people throughout the community, the letter is covered in textiles, flags, maps, jewelry and more.
  • Artists represented the city's agricultural heritage with the letter "O". The letter is covered in local wood featuring etchings by local artist Brady Schwendeman which highlights agricultural scenes.
  • Outdoor recreation is a vital part of life in Harrisonburg, VA, and this is highlighted by the "V" on the art piece. The "V" is constructed entirely from bicycle parts, and the orange color of the letter highlights the popularity of hunting and fishing in the area.
  • Finally, the "E" touches on community significance, and has whiteboard and magnetic board on which the local community can contribute to the art. People who live in Harrisonburg can post their own artwork, and on First Fridays in downtown Harrisonburg, featured local artists will use the "E" to showcase their own work.

  

LOVEworks - Part of a Vibrant, Reviving Downtown

Harrisonburg, VA is working hard to grow and revitalize its downtown. The Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance plans regular events and supports local businesses to breathe life back into the historic, charming downtown region, making it a place where people love to live, work, shop and play. Their efforts are working, and with events like First Fridays and regularly highlighting local artists and businesses, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance is seeing the city come to life.

This is a great time to live in Harrisonburg, and LOVEworks is just one of example of ways the local community comes together to grow their city. If you are looking for a home in Harrisonburg, VA, Old Dominion Realty is ready to help. With headquarters in Harrisonburg, VA, the real estate team at Old Dominion Realty are your area experts. Come and discover Harrisonburg for yourself, and let Old Dominion Realty help you find homes for sale in Harrisonburg, VA.

March
19

Would You Rather Buy or Build a Home

Buying vs. Building Your Home - Which is Right for You?


Old Dominion Realty has been working with home buyers and home sellers since 1962. Many home buyers have opted to buy an existing home while others have decided to build a new one.

Buying or building a home

Both of these options have their own benefits and drawbacks, and making the choice is not always easy. As you weigh your options, here are some things to consider.


Pros and Cons of Buying a Home

Buying a Home Pros and Cons

Buying a home carries several benefits, including:

  • Better Value - You can negotiate a price on the home, and you will almost always pay less for the same amount of square footage if you buy.
  • Established Neighborhood - Buying a home means you have the chance to see the character of the neighborhood and the neighbors before you buy.
  • Complete Landscaping - Established homes have mature landscaping.
  • More Convenient - When you buy a home, you don't have to make as many decisions about the features of the home, and you can usually move in within two months.

Buying a home has its drawbacks as well. Some of these include:

  • Fewer features in the home are brand new.
  • Some items will need to be cleaned or replaced.
  • The floor plan may be outdated and less open.
  • The home may need renovation or remodeling to make it modern or in line with your needs.

 

Pros and Cons of Building a Home

Pros and Cons of Building a Home

Building a home is a second option to consider when pursuing home ownership. The benefits of building include:

  • Everything is New - Everything in the home, from the carpeting to the light fixtures, is brand new.
  • Energy Efficient - New materials and improved standards mean newly built homes are more energy efficient.
  • Less Immediate Maintenance - You won't have to deal with immediate maintenance needs from an older structure.
  • Comfortable New Communities - While the neighborhood may not be established, it likely does have modern amenities, like sidewalks and playgrounds, common in new subdivision.
  • More Personalization - You can choose everything, from the color of the paint to the type of lighting fixtures, when you build.

Buying also has its drawbacks, which include:

  • Higher potential cost, with hidden costs and surprises and additional fees for upgrades.
  • Noise of construction of nearby houses after you move in.
  • Longer time commitment, as building can take up to seven months on average.

 

Which Makes the Most Sense?

Neither option is a bad choice, so the truth is that you will have to decide for yourself whether buying or building makes sense in light of your goals, budget, and desires. So how can you decide? First, make a list of what is most important to you in a home, then compare your options in your price range. This will help you determine which option in your area is the best fit for your needs.

Old Dominion Realty Office Locations


Whether you decide to buy an existing home or build a new home having a real estate agent on your side is important. Old Dominion Realty serves the people of Virginia and West Virginia, offering real estate services focused on the needs of buyers.


Old Dominion Realty has a history working with local many builders like Landmark Home Builders Inc., Milstead Construction, Valley Renovators, Inc., and W. Boutros and Co., Inc. Contact Old Dominion Realty for help determining if buying or building is the right for you.

March
12

Old Dominion Realty Makes Relocating Easy

Old Dominion Realty and Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Work Together

Last year 36 million people moved in the US giving reasons such as employment changes, family reasons, and retirement.  Some moved just across town; others across the country or even the globe.

Linda Goodson Old Dominion Realty Relocation Director
Linda Goodson, Old Dominion Realty's Relocation Director, explained in a recent ODR webinar that about ten years ago Old Dominion Realty found the need as a local real estate company to find companies outside of their local community to help their customers.  That is when Old Dominion Realty applied to join Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®.


Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is a collection of over 500 of the finest residential real estate firms around the world, producing more annual home sales than any other real estate network.   As a member of this network, Old Dominion Realty's customers can be connected with an expert REALTOR® anywhere in the world.


After a rather stringent interview process, Leading Real Estate Companies chose Old Dominion Realty to be a part of their affiliation.  Linda Goodson commented, "We are very proud to be a part of the Leading RE network.  Leading RE firms are located not only in the US, but across the world with affiliates selling more real estate than any of the larger brands. "


The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports that approximately 90 percent home buyers searched online during their home buying process.  Old Dominion Realty and LeadingRE.com's affiliation is a logical match.


When local real estate customers interested in relocating come to Old Dominion Realty, an interview is performed to determine the buyer's wants and needs.  Old Dominion Realty enters the customer's information into LeadingRE.com to be matched with a Leading RE REALTOR® where they will be moving.

Real estate buyers can expect exceptional customer service from Leading RE members because they are required to have additional training, more designations, and be considered a top sales person in their markets.


Old Dominion Realty home sellers benefit from ODR's Leading RE affiliation because their properties are listed on LeadingRE.com receiving visibility both nationally and worldwide.


At Old Dominion Realty you can feel confident having more than 50 years' real estate experience behind you.  In business since 1962, Old Dominion Realty's focus has been on delivering top-notch customer service to its Virginia and West Virginia Real Estate customers.


For more information about Old Dominion Realty's Relocation Services or how Leading Real Estate Companies of the World can help you, contact Linda Goodson today.

January
28

Ana Marie Estates for Shenandoah Valley Living

Ana Marie Estates, a Signature Community by W. Boutros & Co.

Peaceful settings, walking trails, spring-fed ponds, and seven generous acres of green space make Ana Marie Estates an ideal location for you and your family to call home.

Ana Marie Estates Community Sign


Located in Waynesboro, Virginia, Ana Marie Estates has gorgeous mountain views of the Blue Ridge Mountains with winding roads that run naturally along the contours of the area's rolling hills.  Ana Marie Estates is a signature community developed by W. Boutros & Co. 


Ana Marie Estates View


About Ana Marie Estates' Developer and Builder

W. Boutros &. Co. joined the Shenandoah Valley real estate community in 1984 founding their business on a commitment to providing new home buyers with high-quality, value-added homes. After building several hundred homes and developing three successful residential communities, Boutros' son and daughter joined him in the family business. With a strong work ethic and commitment for integrity, W. Boutros & Co. continues today as an innovator in the real estate development and new home construction industry.


The Idea behind Ana Marie Estates

Lillian Boutros, Old Dominion Realty REALTOR® and Ana Marie Estates Representative talked about how the community originated.  "It all started with the land. Almost 300 rolling acres with mountain views, peaceful settings, spring fed ponds, and generous acres of Green space suggested how the community should evolve, thus the plan for Ana Marie Estates emerged naturally. The vision was clear: to create a destination where natural features, manmade amenities and neighborhood activities would bring family and friends together like no other community in the Waynesboro area." commented Ms. Boutros.

Ana Marie Estates Street View


"In addition to developing the real estate subdivision itself, we also serve as the community's home builder.  Our homes' floorplans are designed with one purpose: 'real living for today's modern families.' Let me explain:  We've incorporated 'smart space' design into our plans using larger kitchen, open family rooms, nine foot ceilings, and more windows to give our new home buyers more natural light and a more useful space for their families."


W. Boutros & Co. has several different home collections from which new home buyers may choose or to use as a starting point for their custom-designed homes.  The few samples of their home collections include:

 

The Joss

Ana Marie Estates Joss Home Style



The Hinton


Ana Marie Estates Hinton Home Style


The Pierre

Ana Marie Estates Pierre Home Style


For more information about Ana Marie Estates, email Old Dominion Realty real estate agent, Lillian Boutros or call her at 540-910-0300.

January
15

Living in Harrisonburg VA

It's Better in the Burg

Which is better - living in the suburbs or living in the Burg? Ask anyone who actually lives in Harrisonburg, and you will see that living in this historic community provides a great lifestyle. From solid schools to the benefit of a historic community that is enjoying a downtown renaissance, there's much to love about Harrisonburg, VA, and it is well worth considering during your home search.

Downtown Harrisonburg VA


Economic Growth Makes Excellent Employment Opportunities

As with most historic urban communities, Harrisonburg has its share of small and locally-owned businesses, which are thriving. These can be excellent places to work, but what is great about Harrisonburg is the fact that it also contains several large corporations that provide employment options, including Coors Brewing Company, SRI and Merck.  Rockingham Memorial Hospital, James Madison University, and Eastern Mennonite University are some of the largest employers in the region.

Harrisonburg VA Community Things to Do

Harrisonburg Has Plenty of Things to Do and See

Life in Harrisonburg means you are never bored. The art shows, sporting events, regular festivals and live music all throughout the community keep residents active and engaged. If you are moving to Harrisonburg with kids, you will find that the city offers plenty to do. From seeing a free show at the JMU Planetarium on Saturdays to touring the Harrisonburg Children's Museum in downtown Harrisonburg, your kids will always have something interesting to do.

 

A City Undergoing a True Renaissance

One of the reasons that Harrisonburg is worth considering as you shop for a new home is the city's recent downtown revival. The Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance is a non-profit organization working to transform the city into a true cultural center, and they are achieving great success. Since their founding in 2003, the HDR has earned multiple awards for the city, including Virginia Main Street designation, as they have worked to revitalize the downtown.

Living in Harrisonburg VA Children


Educational Variety for Students in Harrisonburg Schools

Harrisonburg has a strong public school district with schools to serve children of all ages. In addition to the traditional elementary, middle and high school offerings, students in the Harrisonburg school district have the option to use services provided by the Massanutten Technical Center and the Massanutten Regional Governor's School. Charter schools also add to the educational diversity available in Harrisonburg.

 

Real Estate Variety in a Vibrant Downtown Setting

If the opportunities for recreation, employment and education were not enough to make Harrisonburg appealing to you, consider the real estate variety the community offers. Like many urban areas, Harrisonburg has its share of condominiums and town homes, yet it also has a variety of single-family options and historic homes for sale. Just about any housing type you would want you will be able to find as you search in Harrisonburg.

 

Finding a home requires the right real estate team on your side. Contact one of Old Dominium Realty's Harrisonburg real estate agents to start your local home search.  Our team will help you find homes for sale in Harrisonburg, VA.  We know when you see Harrisonburg for yourself you will fall in love with the city and all that it offers.

July
8

Spring Lakes at the Woodlands

Creating a Lifestyle for Virginia Home Owners

Spring Lakes at the Woodlands, located just one mile south from historic Staunton, Virginia is a residential, country club community with a beautiful 300-acre, pastoral setting.  Nestled among the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, Spring Lakes provides its residents with more than a house: They acquire a Lifestyle.

Spring Lakes CommunityDeveloped by The Lester Group, Martinsville, VA, Spring Lakes combines the best of country living with urban appeal making it the ideal, livable community.   Tim Armentrout, REALTOR® from Old Dominion Realty - Fishersville, and listing agent for Spring Lakes commented, "Spring Lakes' green fields and wide roads are hard to resist.  Sometimes living in the country does not provide the lifestyle many people want.  At Spring Lakes, we offer families a variety of housing selections including a Cottage Courtyard Home, Town Home Villa, or a single-family detached home with more amenities than typically found in this area."


Spring Lakes PoolSpring Lakes' homeowners enjoy 40 acres of green space, and neighborhood recreational facilities including a club house, a community swimming pool, tennis courts, and a pedestrian trail system.  Meet friends for tennis, take the children to the pool, or enjoy a workout in the clubhouse. Experience the serenity of the pedestrian trails. Bike, rollerblade or just take a leisurely stroll.  At Spring Lakes it's like having your own country club to enjoy as you like.


Mr. Armentrout continued, "Springs Lakes is a livable community where neighbors become friends and feel a part of their distinct community.  This is an area that satisfies the needs of people at all stages in their lives:  Singles, young families with small children and seniors will find a home at Spring Lakes."


Spring Lakes Home"The Lester Group and Mark Ingram from Landmark Home Builders Inc. have worked countless hours to create a sense of architectural timelessness and a consistent character with attractive streetscapes emphasizing quality, not quantity," said Mr. Armentrout.

Conveniently located on State Route 613 in Augusta County, Spring Lakes' home owners enjoy easy access to shopping, restaurants, employment, not to mention Staunton's historic downtown.  Contact Tim Armentrout at Old Dominion Realty for more information about Spring Lakes at the Woodlands.

 

July
1

Three Tips For Buying A Second Home

Buy a vacation homeBuying a second home (or vacation home) can be a very smart decision if you have the financial means to do so. However, owning multiple houses is also a huge financial commitment. You must make several important considerations if you want to successfully choose and purchase another home.

 

What Kind Of Vacation Home Will You Buy

People commonly buy a second home as a rental property, an investment to sell later, or a vacation home. When buying a second home it is important to know what you will use it for because the home's purpose will influence the place that your new home is located. For example, if you are buying property to be used as a vacation home, you will want to choose a property in an enjoyable location. On the other hand, if you want to choose an investment property, you should choose one that is in an up-and-coming neighborhood.

Understand The Tax Implications of Owning a Second Home

When you buy a second home you are subject to several different kinds of taxes. Nolo reports that people buying a second home will not only have to pay property taxes, they also have to pay income tax. Be sure to consider the local taxes in the place that you are buying a home so that you are prepared to deal with these costs.

Protect Your Home

Owning property that you do not live in full-time means that you have to invest in keeping your home safe from harm and damage. You should decide as soon as possible what kind of protection you want to get for your home. Getting a home alarm system, regular home inspections, and hazard insurance are all important parts of keeping your home safe from both burglary and damage from the forces of nature.

Thinking about these three concerns when buying a home is very important. There are plenty of other factors to consider depending on where you are buying a second home and how far along in the process you are. If you have any questions about buying a second home, contact the real estate specialists at Old Dominion Realty to get them answered.

June
11

Home Staging Ideas To Increase Buyer Interest

4 Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell


Selling a house in today's housing market can be a tricky undertaking. Sellers must ensure that their home appeals to the largest number of prospective buyers by presenting the home in a way that highlights its positive attributes. Home staging is an important concept to help generate buyer interest in a home. Here are four home staging ideas to help sellers make their homes more attractive.

 

1.  Remove Personal Belongings And Clutter

Those that are moving might have boxes of their possessions laying around or personal items in places where they are easily visible to potential buyers visiting the home. To help make a home more appealing, remove things like movie and music cases, pictures of friends and family members, and trophies or awards. The focus of a prospective buyer should be on the room, not the things in it.

 

Tips on Staging a Home

 

2.  Use Neutral Colors

It is true that homeowners get the unique advantage of being able to paint their walls any color that they wish, but when it is time to sell it is important to avoid unorthodox color choices that may put off certain people. Stick with whites, tans, grays, and other colors that are easy on the eye. Be sure that these colors accentuate the furniture that is being displayed in the home.

 

Tips on Staging a Home Neutral Colors

 

3.  Get Rid Of Odors

Smell is one of the most powerful human senses. Although homeowners may be used to unique odors in the home, some of them may not sit well with prospective buyers. Candles or plug-in air fresheners are a great option to remove odors. A more unique option is to bake cookies or other treats right before visitors come in, which will help them associate a home with pleasant smells.

 

4.  Maximize Space

Almost every homebuyer wants to get as big of a space as possible for the money that they are investing. Be sure to arrange furniture in a way that emphasizes the space in every room: use walls and corners cleverly to create open spaces. For adjacent rooms, HGTV recommends painting walls the same color to make them feel like one open area.

 

Tips on Staging a Home Maximize Space

 

These home staging ideas will give sellers an advantage on today's competitive market. For more home staging ideas, call on the experts at Old Dominion Realty. The professionals at Old Dominion pride themselves on offering their clients excellent advice on home staging and every other part of the home selling process.

February
26

OldDominionRealty.com Just Got Even Better

Old Dominion Realty recently underwent a "makeover."

With the goal of giving customers an easier-to-use, more up-to-date website experience, Old Dominion Realty redesigned its Property Search and Search Results features.

Jessica Phillips, Old Dominion Realty Marketing and Technology Director, commented, "We are constantly researching new technologies to help our customers find homes in the local Virginia and West Virginia real estate areas."

"We think the time we spent redesigning this portion of our website was well worth it.  Our changes make the search cleaner and easier to use.  Our results page features now include:  three ways to view property -- List View, List View with Map, and Gallery View; the ability to scroll through and browse home images from the search results page, and an enhanced photo viewing system to view larger, more detailed images of the home."

Old Dominion Realty Search Results Feature

 

Old Dominion Realty Property Listing Photo Viewer

 

"Our online marketing partner, Delta Media Group, has provided us with some of the most robust real estate technology in the industry today."

Old Dominion Realty's new real estate search is compatible on tablets, especially the iPad. This compatibility also includes this photo browser on the search results.

In addition to its new property search results feature and photo viewer, Old Dominion Realty has recently added property videos onto many of their website's property listing pages.  Old Dominion's videos allow home buyers to "tour" a home online before actually scheduling an appointment.

Ms. Phillips commented, "Our goal is to always serve our customers in the best way possible.  Our recent site enhancements along with the live webinars scheduled throughout this year were done to make the home buying and home selling process easier for our customers.  Old Dominion Realty is built on integrity with proven results."

Login to My Homefinder

Login to My Homefinder