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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.

October
26

Your Guide to Picking a New Kitchen Backsplash

When you enter a kitchen, one of the pieces that immediately draws your attention is the backsplash. The look and tone of your backsplash can instantly change the appearance of your whole kitchen.

Our real estate agents know that a kitchen with a backsplash complementing the rest of the decor appeals to a variety of potential buyers. Here are some tips to follow when choosing your kitchen backsplash. 

  1. Decide What Materials You Prefer
    You have a lot of options when it comes to the materials for your backsplash. One alternative is to use the same materials that you select for your countertops. This option will create a seamless, sleek look that's easy to care for. Or, if you want a little variety, tile is another popular solution. Tile is available in several popular materials, including glass, ceramic, natural stone, and metal. It's easy to find an option that suits your aesthetic and color preferences. 
  1. Consider Your Design Goals
    A kitchen backsplash can be as simple or as intricate as you want. You may want a beautiful, uncomplicated backsplash that doesn't detract from the charm of your cabinets or kitchen furniture. Or, you may prefer that your backsplash serves as the focal point of the room. In this situation, you'll likely want materials that boast a more intricate design. It's even possible to combine plain and bold tiles if you're concerned that too much of a particular pattern will overwhelm the room. 
  1. Know Where to Allocate Your Budget
    The walls behind your sink and range are two areas where you need to make sure you install a functional backsplash. Both of these areas are prone to splashes and spills; check that you install a large enough backsplash to properly protect these walls. Since the backsplash behind your sink and range will likely be larger than other areas of your kitchen, this makes it a fantastic area to add a pattern or eye-catching color. 
  1. Avoid Anything Too Trendy
    To ensure you love your backsplash for years to come, avoid selecting any design that's overly trendy. This will also prevent your home from looking dated in a few years if buyers compare it to other Waynesboro homes for sale. Instead, select a backsplash that utilizes a classic material and design. The backsplash will compliment your kitchen while providing a timeless look.
  1. Don't Forget Your Grout
    If you're installing a tile backsplash, you'll also want to devote some of your resources to your grout. Grout prevents dirt from penetrating your tile backsplash, and it strengthens the overall integrity of the backsplash. Depending on the color you select, it can also change the entire look of your backsplash. Choose a quality grout that buyers looking at Augusta County homes for sale are sure to love. While lighter colors provide a clean, crisp look, they can also be a little harder to keep clean. Darker tones are a little more forgiving and provide a pleasing contrast to light hues. 

Looking for a home with more kitchen space? Contact us today to get started!

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.

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.

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.

August
5

7 Insider Secrets for Buying a House

Secrets for Buying a House-Old Dominion Realty

Buying a house can be challenging. If you are looking for Harrisonburg homes for sale, the perfect home is not likely to just magically appear. In almost all home purchases, those buyers who find their dream home remain firmly in the driver's seat throughout the entire house-hunting process.

With that in mind, you can increase your chances of finding and buying the perfect home for you and your family by following some of the same steps other successful buyers have used.

  1. Lay the Groundwork.
    Ideally, six to 12 months before you begin your home search, you should run your credit report. Review the report carefully and check for any inconsistencies so that you can clear up the errors. If you find that you owe some debts, get these paid off immediately. You want to approach your mortgage lender with a credit score that is as high as possible.

  2. Crunch the Numbers.
    Proactive homebuyers get loan pre-approvals from their lenders before embarking on their house-hunting quests. This is important because it narrows your field and doesn't waste your or your real estate agent's or the sellers' time and efforts. Some sellers will not even allow their homes to be shown to potential buyers who don't have pre-approvals.

  3. Find the Best REALTOR®.
    When you're searching for a home, your REALTOR® literally holds the keys to your dreams. You want to choose someone with whom you have a good rapport and who understands your concerns and home-buying goals. Your real estate agent should be responsive to your needs and return telephone messages quickly.

  4. Know What You're Looking For.
    With budget constraints in place, consider what you really want to have in a home. Is moving into a certain school district a priority? If so, start your search there. Is your heart set on a two-story older home on an acre or more? Steer clear of subdivisions of ranch homes on small plots of land.

  5. Be Open to Possibilities.
    Even though you have a certain ideal in mind, keep an open mind for some outliers that just might fit the bill. Sometimes a thorough renovation or re-purposing of existing space can turn a so-so option into the house you've always longed to own.

  6. Be Bold or Go Home.
    In a tight housing market, there's always the chance that you will find the home of your dreams only to find it snatched out from under you and sold to another buyer. If you find a home you love, don't drag your feet on making an offer. While you don't want to rush such a big decision, sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and make an offer.

  7. Don't Look for a Unicorn.
    Your real estate agent can't wave a wand and produce the perfect white picket-fenced home in your price range and the right school district, with the exact number of bedrooms and bathrooms you seek. Unicorns don't exist and you can exhaust yourself in the process of trying to find one. Your home-buying search needs to remain centered in reality. While you shouldn't have to "settle" on such a major purchase, you must remain mindful of the parameters of your search and adjust your expectations accordingly.

If you'd like to learn more about some of the homes for sale Old Dominion Realty has listed, our REALTORS® can help. Contact us to to get your house hunt started today.

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.

November
6

West Virginia is the Perfect Home for Hunters

West Virginia Home
Hunting is a West Virginia tradition that stretches back centuries to the time before our state was settled, and continues proudly to this day. It's a bonding opportunity for families, a sporting opportunity for competitors, and a key driver of the state's economy, generating nearly $270 million in revenue for West Virginia. Finding the right hunting property is easier when you start your search in West Virginia, because this is one of the best places in the country for deer hunters to call home. Our REALTORS® have all the details on why West Virginia is the place to be for hunters.

An Honored Tradition: Why West Virginia Communities are Perfect for Hunters

No matter where you choose to shop in our West Virginia communities, you'll find a great selection of properties that have been laid out with hunters in mind. There are fantastic hunting communities throughout the area, and today we're going to take a closer look at three of our favorites.

Hunting and Homes in Grant County

One of the best things about owning a hunting property is that you get to decide how the land is managed, and homes for sale in Grant County feature more than enough space for all of your outdoor needs. The Cave Mountain Ranch is an awesome example of what makes Grant County so special, and will quickly become one of your favorite destinations if you choose to call the community home.

Cave Mountain Ranch offers a unique, authentic hunting experience, with free ranging deer spread across a beautiful, natural hunting area. Use one of the permanent stands or blinds established on the property, or bring your own. Either way, you're in for a memorable hunt, and stories to tell while you're relaxing around the fire. There's also plenty of hunting away from the ranch, along with great hunting homes in the community.

Hunting and Homes in Pendleton County

Founded in 1787, Pendleton County has long been a top destination for hunters, and anyone who enjoys the gorgeous natural scenery of West Virginia. So Pendleton County homes for sale put you in close proximity to all of the outdoor excitement that the community has to offer. Take the time to enjoy hunting Grand Mountain, or head to the Thorn Creek Wildlife Management Area to hunt deer and small game. When you call Pendleton County home, the great outdoors are never far from your front door.

Hunting and Homes in Hardy County

Huntining Home in West Virginia

Hardy County homes for sale put you close to some of the best hunting that West Virginia has to offer, thanks to the Hardy County Rod & Gun Club, and the beautiful, 430-acre South Branch Wildlife Management Area. There are so many hunters in the Hardy County area that this is also a great place to make new friends, trade tips with other locals, and enjoy a community that simply "gets" what you're all about.

West Virginia Home for Hunters
Whether you're looking for a hunting property on a large, open lot, or a site with superb natural views, Hardy County has what you're after. There is real estate available with easy access to Moorefield, and smaller lots that still provide plenty of awesome hunting opportunities. If you're searching for the ideal lot to build your own hunting home, Hardy County has you covered there, too. This is a community where hunting dreams come true.

WV Home for Hunters

When you're searching for the right hunting property of your own, our real estate teams are here to help. Contact our offices in Moorefield or Franklin to find the perfect place to hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

October
18

5 Traits of a Buyer-Friendly Neighborhood

5 Traits of a Buyer-Friendly Neighborhood
It's hard to size up a home at first glance, and even harder to judge an entire neighborhood, but both are important. If you're searching for a home, it's important to remember that your new home isn't just a house; it's a street, a neighborhood, and an entire city. So how do you know that your new neighborhood is the right one?

That's a question that our REALTORS® get asked a lot with many different answers. When you're planning on buying a house, these are the things to look for in the surrounding neighborhood:

  1. Lifestyle Match
    The best indicator that a neighborhood is right for you is that it's in sync with your lifestyle. This means something different to each person, but it's worth taking the time to size up a neighborhood and ask yourself if it suits your lifestyle. If you're an active person, your neighborhood should have plenty of trails and outdoor spaces. If you like to go out at night, it's nice to live somewhere with hopping nightlife. If you're kids are about to start school, it's essential that you evaluate local schools.

  2. Crime Rates
    The lower the crime rate in your neighborhood, the better. Crime rates are a good way to ascertain if a neighborhood is improving, getting worse, or staying the same. A number of online tools are available to find out more about a neighborhood's crime rate, but it's also a good idea to talk with the locals about it before buying a house.

  3. Pride in Ownership
    One way to evaluate an area is to find out if the people who live there take pride in their neighborhood. This is actually very easy to do—just look at the other houses. Are they neat, well-kept and maintained, or are they messy and falling into disrepair? If the homes are well taken care of, that's usually a sign that the people who live there care about their neighborhood.

  4. A Sense of History
    There's nothing wrong with moving into a new home in an up-and-coming neighborhood. But there's something undeniably appealing about a historic area, and it's not just the nostalgia factor. If you see well-kept historic homes on streets lined with old, mature trees, that shows that the neighborhood has been stable for a long time, and will probably continue to be in the future.

  5. Getting Around
    Consider the amenities in the neighborhood—stores, restaurants, schools, banks, hospitals—and think about how easy they are to get to. No one likes a long commute every day, and it's always better to have amenities close by. Ideally, a neighborhood should be easily walkable, have access to reliable public transportation, or both.

Before buying a house, contact Old Dominion Realty to learn more about homes for sale in Central Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and Eastern West Virginia. Our team will help you find a house and a neighborhood that you'll be happy to call home. 

 Contact Old Dominion Realty

September
6

5 Home-Buying Myths You Should Stop Believing Today

Setting the Record Straight About Buying a Home 

Setting the Record Straight about Home Buying Myths
Purchasing a home can be an overwhelming process--especially for first-time home buyers. There are a number of factors to consider when you're looking for the right home for you and your family. One of the first things to think about is finding the best financing to match your lifestyle and financial status.

While family and friends may offer well-meaning advice, it's always best to consult a real estate professional to set the record straight when you're buying a home.

When you're ready to start your home search, our real estate agents are here to help. In the meantime, here are five home-buying myths you should stop believing today.

  1. Perfect Credit Score is Necessary
    Good credit score is essential. The better your credit history, the higher your chances of getting better mortgage rates. However, this does not mean you need a credit of 800 to purchase a home. Otherwise, most people would not be able to own residential property. Ideally, you should ensure that your credit is at least 640; however, some lenders will work with credit scores between 580 and 620.

  2. Bad Credit Score Does Not Matter
    It is not wise to believe a bad credit score does not matter when purchasing a new home. If you have a poor credit score of 550 and below as well as numerous unpaid bills and loans, mortgage lenders may be unwilling to accommodate you.

  3. Renting is Inexpensive
    Most potential home buyers shy away from buying a new home because they believe that the cost of purchase is too high. Instead, they choose renting as the least expensive alternative. While buying a home will be one of your most significant investments, it does not mean that renting is cheaper. The payments you would use for your mortgage just end up being your rental fee. If you add up the total charges, you will realize that buying your own home may be cheaper in the long run.

  4. Older Homes are Cheaper
    The new and older homes for sale are available in our local real estate market. Both options have pros and cons for first-time home buyers. Unfortunately, inexperienced individuals believe that older homes are naturally the less expensive of the two. Initially, newly built homes can be more expensive than older homes; however, new homes most likely not need the remodeling and general repairs of an older home. While an older home appears fine at the start, you must be willing to budget finances and time for restoration and repairs.

  5. Down Payment Must Be 20 Percent
    Many potential buyers have shied away from buying a home because they assume a 20% down payment is required. For most homes, this is a significant chunk of your money and savings, so the prospect of paying can be daunting. The good news is that this is a misconception. The down payment will vary, depending on the type of loan and lender. Moreover, there are programs in place to help buyers attain a lower down payment percentage.

If you would like comprehensive advice about buying a home, contact Old Dominion Realty for help and advice.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

August
28

How to Qualify for a Home Loan

How to Qualify for Home Loan

Obtaining approval for a home loan is one of the most important things that you'll do in the process of buying a house – and for many people it's one of the most intimidating. Even if your financial picture is in great shape for obtaining a mortgage, it's not always easy to know where to start, what steps to take, and who you can turn to for advice. Here is a review of what it takes to qualify for a mortgage.

Follow These Steps to Simplify the Process of Obtaining a Home Loan

The most important thing to remember about qualifying for a mortgage is that it really pays to be prepared. Understanding the basics of how the process works ultimately saves time, makes life easier, and leads to better results.

  • Credit Score and Credit Report

    Your credit score plays a major role in your ability to qualify for a loan, as well as the terms that will be available to you. When it comes to credit score, higher is better, and the best way to build a high score is by paying back debts on time consistently. This can include credit card debt, auto loans, and most other types of loans.

    Your credit report is also a factor, and it's evaluated similar to your credit score. So if you have large, outstanding debts or judgments that have not been paid, there is a good chance you'll need to "clean up" those issues before qualifying for a mortgage.

  • Down Payment

    The down payment you're able to make is another big factor in qualifying for a loan, and the typical minimum down payment is 3.5 percent of the home's value for an FHA loan, and 5 to 10 percent of the home's value for a conventional mortgage. An FHA loan is an option for first-time home-buyers, and is also more forgiving when it comes to past credit issues. There is flexibility to make a larger down payment as well, if the finances work for you. Just remember to leave extra room in your budget for closing, moving, and other costs.

  • Debt-to-Income Ratio

    Put simply, the lender wants to know that you have a steady source of income, and that your income is enough to consistently make the necessary payments on your mortgage. This is one part of the process that often requires significant documentation, so it's a good idea to gather recent pay-stubs, your W-2 or 1099, federal tax returns, as well as comprehensive lists of your assets and debts. Combined, these documents help provide a clear, detailed picture of your finances for the lender.

  • Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions

    Obtaining a mortgage is a complex process, especially when you're doing it for the first time. So don't be afraid to ask for help from trusted sources! Your real estate agent can tell you a ton about what it takes to qualify, and maybe even recommend lenders who could be a good fit for your needs.

    Shopping around for a loan is also encouraged, both for getting the most favorable terms and understanding exactly what your options will be. It will also help you identify the lender you'd most like to work with, which can go a long way toward simplifying the process.

Searching for the right home, and the right real estate team to help accomplish your home-ownership goals? Contact Old Dominion Realty to buy and sell homes in Virginia and West Virginia real estate markets.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

August
23

Why Real Estate Agents Ask if You're Pre-approved

Pre-approval Process
If you've been house hunting for any amount of time, there's a good chance you're all too familiar with the process. You find a few homes, meet the agents, and shake some hands. The conversation moves on to the type of homes you like, the type of neighborhood you're looking for, and maybe even making preliminary plans to visit an open house.

But before things get too far, you get the question that every experienced real estate agent asks of new clients: Are you pre-approved for a mortgage?

For some home buyers, the question comes as a shock. Aren't you supposed to be the one evaluating which real estate agent you want to work with? As it turns out, there are some very good reasons that your real estate agent asks about pre-approval.

The biggest thing to remember about mortgage pre-approval is that it has the potential to make life much easier for both you and your agent when you're buying a house. It's also good to remember that there's a big difference between assuming that you can attain a mortgage, and actually doing it – even if your credit score and finances are in great shape. With that in mind, here's why your real estate agent asks whether you're pre-approved:

  • Identifying Serious Home-Buyers
    Buying a house is a time-intensive process for you and your real estate agent. Most experienced agents ask about pre-approval because getting pre-approved shows that you are serious buyer. This is also a question your agent will ask of any buyer who wants to work with them. It's nothing personal, but agents simply want to make sure they are investing their limited time wisely.

  • Negotiate from a Position of Strength
    Obtaining pre-approval for a mortgage allows you to negotiate from a strong position. It gives you a good idea of what you will be able to spend on your home, and shows the seller that you'll be ready to hold up your end of the bargain once your offer is accepted. It's one thing to say you have the money, and another to be able to prove it.

  • Satisfying Sellers
    It's not just your real estate agent who might be interested in whether you're pre-approved. There's a pretty good chance that the seller will be, too! Pre-approval also shows the seller that you're serious about making a purchase, have done your homework, and are ready to get into the details of the negotiation.

  • A Simple Safety Step
    In some cases, showing a house alone or meeting with a new client can be a safety risk for real estate agents. Some agents have been the victims of crimes when meeting with someone who claims to be an interested customer. The agent doesn't know who you are, where you came from, or what your goals are; pre-approval shows them that you are a serious shopper. That provides peace of mind for your real estate agent, and makes it easier for both sides to take the next step.

Obtaining pre-approval is just one step on the path to buying a house. Contact Old Dominion Realty to buy and sell homes throughout the Eastern West Virginia and Central Virginia's Shenandoah Valley real estate areas.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

June
6

5 Questions to Ask at an Open House

Buying a House? Get Answers to These Home Buying Questions

Buying a House Open House Questions

It's exciting to attend an open house. The possibility of finding the home you have been looking for is enough to get your heart pumping. In your enthusiasm, it's easy to forget to ask some important questions that will help you determine whether the home you are looking at will fit your family's needs and financial objectives. When it comes to buying a house, the following are five questions you should remember to ask the next time you attend an open house:

1.  Why are the Sellers Moving?

Maybe they got a job offer, or possibly decided it was time to move closer to family. These are great reasons to move. However, if they're moving because they can't handle the noise coming from the neighbor's parties, or the airplanes flying overhead, these are things you want to know about when you are buying a house.

2.  How are the Jones'?

Everyone wants to have good neighbors, and it is important to know who your neighbors are. Maybe they are doctors, or maybe they are teachers. You might have an entrepreneur to the left, or possibly an artist across the street. Whoever they might be, you will want to find out who they are, and what they do for a living as these factors can influence your comfort and enjoyment of the home.

3.  Does the Home have "Issues?"

We're not suggesting you ask whether the home or its occupants need counseling, either. Major issues such as leaky pipes, cracking masonry, or a shifting foundation can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair. The Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act does not require homeowners or their agents to disclose problems with a property unless they are asked. As such, make sure to ask very specific questions about the condition of the home.

4.  What are the Utility and Tax Bills?

These are considerable expenses that come with owning a home and it is imperative to know them upfront. These can have a significant impact on your monthly budget and you will want to know what they are so that you can factor them into your plans. You should also ask the homeowner if the home's insulation, HVAC, or plumbing systems have been upgraded to include energy saving features. If they have not, you may be able to ask for concessions during the negotiation process. These concessions can help you purchase energy saving appliances and plumbing fixtures that can help reduce your energy bills down the road.

5.  What is the Seller's Timeline?

The seller's motivations for moving can have a significant impact on their timeline. A seller moving for retirement may wait until they get the offer they want, whereas a seller moving for a job transfer might be ready to accept the best offer they think they can get. Ascertaining their timeline and motivations can give you help you strategize negotiations. It is also a good idea to determine whether there are any offers and what those offers might be.

Other questions you should search out for yourself include area schools, places to shop, and nearby restaurants to grab a bite to eat. You and your real estate agent will also want to check local crime reports, traffic patterns, and the history of real estate prices in the area.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

Our REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty can help you navigate the process of buying a houseContact us to learn more about the local real estate markets we serve and how we can help you during your real estate purchase.

January
14

What Home Buyers Really Want

10 Features Home Buyers Want In a Home

What Home Buyers Want

What are today's home buyers looking for in a home? If you're selling a house, you might be thinking ... That's a good questionHomes differ and features span a variety of tastes and needs.  However, there are some aspects the majority of home buyers appreciate.  We've listened to what our clients have told us.  Here is our list of ten features home buyers want in a home.

1.  Laundry Room

Laundry rooms have become a coveted space. Filled with cabinets for organization and Energy Star-rated washers and dryers, these rooms are convenient and helpful. According to home experts, counter space, a utility sink, and ample storage are key components for the laundry room. When creating yours, make sure each step of the laundry process is represented in the space.

2.  Garage Storage

Reality home shows have shown the benefits of having excellent storage systems. An area that's often overlooked is the garage. Creating spaces to put tools, outdoor equipment, and other odds and ends helps leave room for cars. According to a few surveys floating around the internet, around 1 in 4 people have too much clutter to park in their garage.

3.  Natural Light

The more research that's done, the more people are seeing the perks of natural lighting. Many older homes were built compartmentalized with small, ill-placed windows. Buyers love the airy openness of rooms with large windows, well-done skylights, and expansive doors that let the light in.

4.  Heated Floors

They say once you've had heated floors you'll never go back. Gone are the winter mornings you have to swing out of bed and place your feet on ice-cold flooring. You don't have to invest in radiant heating throughout the whole house. Bathrooms are usually good enough for the average buyer.

Home Buyers Want Kitchen
5.  Kitchen Eating Areas

Most families would rather walk a short distance to get dinner on the table. While dining rooms are a pleasant space to have if you entertain a lot, most people prefer to eat in the kitchen. A nicely done breakfast nook appeals to most buyers.

6.  Landscaping and Hardscaping

The outdoor area doesn't have to be fancy, but a well-thought-out garden design with designated use areas are popular. If it's easy-care, it will be more attractive. Think of the outdoor area as an extension of the home. It's an additional living space people want to use.

Home Buyers Want Linen Closet

7.  Bathroom Linen Closet

It's helpful when towels, toiletries, and various paper goods are easily accessible. Bathroom linen closets are back on buyers' radars.

8.  Green Features

As an environmentally-friendly nation, efficiency is a hot topic for many buyers. They look for Energy Star appliances, double-pane windows, and anything else that maximizes the efficiency of their home.

9.  Exhaust Fans in the Bathroom

This may seem like a no-brainer, but what people are looking for are exhaust fans that do their job well. If there are dated fans (or worse, no fans) that increase the risk of excess moisture and mold-producing conditions in the bathroom, it's a definite turn-off for savvy consumers.

10.  Smart Home Features

As a tech-obsessed culture, Smart Homes are becoming as desirable as Smart Phones. Some unique smart features that appeal to the masses are the Learning Thermostat, wired homes, automated lighting systems, and security systems controlled by your phone.

Contact Old Dominion Realty


What features do you want in your next home?  If you're in the market to buy a house in 2016, contact Old Dominion Realty for real estate help and advice.

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
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.

 

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.

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
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.

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
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.

September
17

How To Explain Moving To Kids

Smooth Move: Making the Move Easy on Your Family

Moving with children is one of the hardest tasks that parents face. Kids are used to familiar people and places, and they may not be old enough to understand adult reasons for why a move needs to happen. Here are some helpful tips on talking to your children to make moving with your family a little easier.

How to explain movings to kids

 

Provide As Much Information As Possible

Kids can understand more than you might think. Explaining to them that you need to move for a job opportunity or so that you can pursue an educational opportunity will help make the move less difficult for them.

Explain That They Can Keep In Touch With Old Friends

Kids should know that moving away from their friends does not mean that they have to forget about them. Even if you are moving too far from your old location for regular visits, thanks to technology your kids can keep in touch with their friends very easily by calling or video chatting with them.

Answer Questions Calmly And In Detail

Most likely, your children will have some questions about the move. Even if they become upset or emotional while asking these questions, as a parent you should be a model of calm behavior. Answer their questions as thoroughly as you can to help put your kids at ease.

 

Allow Children To Be Involved In The Process

When talking to your kids about the move, tell them that they will have to play a part to help with the transition. When kids feel like they are involved and have responsibilities, they often have an easier time dealing with the change. Allow them to make some decisions whenever possible, such as what color their room is or how they pack their belongings.

At first moving with children may seem nearly impossible, but kids can adapt to a variety of situations. Keep these important points in mind while communicating with your kids so that moving with children is less of a challenge.

Contact Old Dominion Realty when it's time to buy a home or sell your home.

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