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Articles Tagged "home buyers"

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September
26

Simple Ways to Update Your Kitchen

Kitchen Updates

If your kitchen is due for a makeover, it's important to know that a kitchen update doesn't need to be costly or time-consuming to be effective. Our real estate agents suggest these simple tricks to update your kitchen. 

  • Remove Your Cabinet Doors
    Feel like your cabinets date your kitchen? A simple fix is to remove your cabinet doors. Removing your cabinet doors will open up your kitchen and allow you to embrace the open shelving trend that's popular with many potential buyers looking at Rockingham County homes for sale. Once your doors are off, fill in the holes left from the hinges with wood filler. Then, sand the cabinet frame until it's smooth and paint or stain the exterior and interior surfaces. 
  • Upgrade Your Faucet
    Replacing your kitchen faucet is a fast, simple way to upgrade the look and functionality of your kitchen sink. Since the kitchen faucet is so frequently used, it's an update that's easily noticed and will impact the entire aesthetic of your kitchen. A kitchen faucet with a removable head is an excellent choice for any kitchen. 

Floating Shelves

  • Hang Floating Shelves
    Floating shelves are another way to embrace the open shelving trend and add more functional storage to your kitchen. Use the shelves to display your favorite cookbooks, decorative kitchen pieces, or some of your treasured plates or glasses. 
  • Create a Coffee Bar
    A coffee bar is a cozy addition that works well in small spaces that are tricky to utilize. Position your coffee maker in your desired spot, add a basket or storage basket for filters, coffee pods, or other accessories, and store mugs on a nearby shelf or mug tree. This upgrade isn't limited to coffee; if you prefer a cup of tea or hot chocolate, it's fine to create an area for these beverages. 

Kitchen Rug

  • Add a Rug
    A rug is a fun, easy way to add color and texture to your kitchen. Incorporating a rug instantly makes any room feel warmer and more inviting. Utilizing rugs can also help you define the different spaces in your kitchen, especially if your home features an open floor plan. You can even repurpose a rug from another room in your home if you feel like it isn't the right fit for that space. 
  • Incorporate Contrasting Elements into Your Kitchen
    It's normal for homeowners to favor darker or lighter hues in the kitchen. Using contrasting pieces can help the kitchen feel larger and add visual interest. If your kitchen primarily uses dark hues, add white or light-colored towels, placemats, and draperies. Or, you can add light decorative pieces to your walls. Consider adding white photo mats to any art or photos in your kitchen to instantly create contrast. Apply these same guidelines if your kitchen currently utilizes light colors. Dark-colored shelves, photo frames, linens, and window coverings are easy additions that effectively update your kitchen. 

Cabinet Paint

  • Use Two Colors for Your Kitchen Cabinets
    Kitchen cabinets that use multiple stains or colors are a hot home trend; this look can help your kitchen look larger and add color to the room. One popular option uses a separate color for the upper and lower cabinets. Another alternative is to paint cabinets in distinct sections of your kitchen different colors to help define the room. For example, the cabinets in the portion of your kitchen where you cook might be white, and the cabinets near the area of your kitchen that you use for entertaining and dining could be gray or teal. 
  • Replace Your Window Shades
    The window shades in your kitchen lend privacy and a decorative touch to the room. Use your window shades to ensure that your kitchen is a reflection of your style and aesthetic preferences. When possible, look for window shades that permit natural light to enter your kitchen. Natural light brightens any room so that it looks its best. Avoid selecting oversized drapes that cover all of the window and window frame, as they can completely block out your kitchen's natural light. 

Light Fixtures

  • Upgrade Your Light Fixtures
    Incorporating proper lighting into your kitchen is an excellent way to brighten and refresh your kitchen. Ample lighting will also ensure that you have sufficient illumination for all the activities that take place in your kitchen, like cooking, packing lunches, and catching up with friends and family. Light fixtures that include geometric shapes or metallic finishes add a contemporary touch, while pieces with vintage shades create a more classic look.

With a few hours and a small budget, you can dramatically enhance the look of your kitchen. Interested in a home with more kitchen space? Contact us to put your home on the market. 

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.

June
20

What to Know Before Adding a Pool To Your Property

Pool Tips

Having a pool in your own backyard sounds idyllic; on a hot, muggy summer day, you can cool off with a refreshing swim within minutes. Or, instead of the traditional cookout, pool parties are on the itinerary for your friends and family members.

Before you decide to install a pool, our real estate agents recommend considering the following factors that could potentially affect your decision. 

zoning

  • The Zoning Laws in Your Area
    Zoning laws aren't typically your first concern when you envision having your own pool, but they can impact your ability to install a pool on your property. Many towns have strict laws concerning fencing and safety precautions for residential pools. These laws can affect your budget and plans for your pool. Or, you may need to apply for a permit to add certain types of pools. If you install a pool without the right permits, you'll have trouble selling your home if you decide to add it to the inventory of Rockingham homes for sale

Pool Parties

  • How You Plan to Use Your Pool
    Spend a few minutes envisioning how you will use your pool. Do you want to add a daily swim to your exercise regime? Or, are you more interested in having a fun spot for summer parties and gatherings? Your purpose for the pool will impact the best design and materials for your pool, as well as the surrounding area. For example, if you want to use your pool for entertaining, you'll likely want to add a large patio to accommodate chairs and pool toys for your guests. Or, if your pool plans involve lots of lap swimming, an endless pool gives you the aquatic area you need without taking up as much of your yard. 
  • Whether You Plan to Remain in Your Home Long Term
    While you might not know your exact plans for your future, consider if your current home is a place that you want to stay for years or indefinitely. Adding a pool is a significant expense, and it usually doesn't provide a stellar return for your investment when you add your home to the list of Bridgewater homes for sale. Some potential homebuyers may even view a pool as a negative when shopping for potential homes. If you only plan to remain in your home for another couple of years, installing a pool may not be the best use of your funds. However, if you plan to remain in your home for a decade or more, the expense seems a bit more reasonable to ensure your home is suited to your needs and preferences. 

Budget

  • Your Budget
    There are a lot of costs associated with installing a pool, and you want to make sure that your budget can handle the expense. In addition to the cost of the pool itself, you have to factor in expenses for preparing your yard or, if you're installing an in-ground pool, the costs associated with excavating your property. There are also a seemingly endless number of features you can add to your pool, like ambient lighting, jets, and waterfalls. These extras will quickly cause the price of your pool to balloon. Another detail to think about is whether you prefer a chlorine or saltwater pool. Chlorine pools are usually initially cheaper, but they're difficult and more expensive to maintain. Saltwater pools have a higher upfront cost, but the maintenance is less cumbersome, and they're cheaper to operate. A pool also has ongoing costs that you'll need to account for. You'll likely pay a higher homeowner's insurance premium due to the liability of owning a pool, and you'll spend more on utilities to keep your pool running. Pools also need maintenance and periodic repairs to keep them running smoothly. 
  • How Quickly You Want to Start Using Your Pool
    Unfortunately, a pool is a home improvement project that can potentially take months to complete. If you want access to a pool immediately to improve your personal fitness, this isn't realistic. Plan on joining a local gym with an aquatic center to get your training done while your pool is being installed. Or, perhaps you're hosting an event and want to make sure your pool won't disrupt the aesthetic. If you're in a situation where a yard undergoing construction isn't acceptable, it may be best to delay your pool's installation. It's best to install a pool with minimal expectations about how long the installation process will take. Materials may be delayed, or the project just might take longer than expected. 

A pool sounds like a fantastic outside addition, but there are a lot of factors to think about that will influence your final decision. Want a home with more outside space? Contact us today!

April
25

Kitchen Island Inspiration

Kitchen Island

Whether your goal is to increase your amount of counter space, add more seating, or expand your storage options, a kitchen island is an excellent addition to your home. Our real estate agents know that a kitchen island is an adaptable feature that many potential homebuyers find highly appealing. Check out these design and style ideas for making the most of your home's kitchen island. 

Kitchen Island Colors

  • Opt for an Island in a Different Color
    If you want to explore a two-toned look for your kitchen cabinets, but aren't sure how to embrace this trend in your kitchen, consider installing a kitchen island that's a different color than the rest of your kitchen cabinets. Since your kitchen island is typically a feature that you want to highlight and draw attention to, choosing a color that's different than the rest of your kitchen will help it stand out. A kitchen island is also a perfect option to add bright pops of color to your kitchen without overwhelming the space. When it's time to add your home to the list of Augusta County homes for sale, your kitchen will boast an updated look that will appeal to prospective buyers. 

    Mobile Kitchen Island

    • Consider a Mobile Kitchen Island
      Not entirely sure that you want a permanent kitchen island or unsure about the placement and size of your island? A mobile kitchen island is an excellent, affordable way to add a kitchen island without the expense and commitment of a built-in island. You can experiment with different placements and positions for the island, and if the size doesn't work for your needs, you can always upgrade it to a larger version. 
    • Allow for Ample Walkaround Space
      It's inconvenient to have to squeeze through your kitchen or wait for someone to move before you can access a specific area. Check that your kitchen island is the appropriate size for your kitchen space and offers clearance of at least 48 inches between the island and your cabinets or other structures. 

    Kitchen Storage

    • Add Storage Features
      Take a few moments to think about what features you wish your kitchen had. Do you wish you had pull-out shelves for your heavy appliances? Or, perhaps you would love to have a slide-out prep station so you can slide food scraps directly into the trash? Maybe you would love open shelving to display your favorite dishes and cookbooks? Your kitchen island gives you the opportunity to add these things to your kitchen. While you may not be able to add every single feature with one kitchen island, you can definitely add a few features that will make your kitchen more functional. If you decide to add your home to the inventory of Staunton homes for sale, a kitchen with convenient features for food preparation, cooking, and cleanup will stand out to potential buyers. 
    • Explore Different Shapes 
      Even though many kitchen islands are rectangular, this isn't your only option for the shape of your island. For example, you can have a curved or circular kitchen island built. Or, you can even combine two shapes for a truly unique look. 
    • Use Multiple Materials
      If you know that you'll be using your kitchen island for multiple functions, consider using multiple materials to add sections to the island. Assume that you plan to use your island for food preparation, light work, and dining. You can have a stone counter for the portion of the island that you plan to use for food prep and a wood counter for the area of the island where you plan to eat and work. 

    Outdoor Kitchen

    • Don't Forget Your Outdoor Kitchen
      For some reason, kitchen islands are usually only associated with indoor kitchens. However, a kitchen island can be just as beneficial for an outdoor kitchen. Since an outdoor kitchen is usually a secondary cooking space, it often lacks the storage and functionality of a primary kitchen. You can create your own outdoor kitchen island with a sturdy stainless steel cart. If you prefer a little bit more pizzazz or want a concealed storage area, deconstruct a shower curtain to hang around the perimeter of the cart. 

    Want a kitchen with more space for a kitchen island? Contact us today to upgrade your home!

    March
    14

    Features People are Willing to Move for in 2022

    Home Features

    As life changes, people naturally seek new homes that are better suited for that next stage of life. Whether it's starting a new family or starting to downsize, our needs are constantly changing.

    Understanding what buyers are looking for can really pay off when it comes time to sell. Our real estate agents always recommend you put yourself in the shoes of your target buyer, so you can market features of your home that are most desirable. Here are some of the top home features we believe consumers are willing to move for in 2022:

    Home Office

    • A Comfortable Home Office
      Remote work is here to stay, and so is the need for a comfortable home office. For most people, taking conference calls from the dining room table will no longer cut it. So many consumers are seeking out new homes with an extra bedroom or a finished basement area that can be easily converted into a spacious home office. Even if your home doesn't have an office, it can help to stage one during the selling process. If you're looking for some examples of beautiful home offices, check out some of these awesome Augusta County homes for sale.

    • More Space
      Size requirements vary over the course of a lifetime, and so some families move primarily for the sake of more square footage. As a seller, we recommend doing everything possible to highlight the storage features of your home. During the staging process, make sure your closets are freshly painted and not overflowing. Closets that are a little less than half full actually appear larger in size. 

    Outdoor Features

    • Beautiful Outdoor Space
      A big backyard may not always be important in a first home, but as consumers begin to start a family, having a nice green space for the kids to play becomes even more important. A bigger backyard has always been a common reason for moving. As a seller, you can really bring out the best in your outdoor space through good landscaping, patio decor, and gardening.

    • A Large Garage
      Covered parking is a big deal, especially in the winter. Many homeowners are willing to move in order to avoid off-street parking or a one-car garage. If you have a nice multi-vehicle garage, make sure to clean it out and declutter to try to maximize the space. Also, consider adding new bright lighting to make it shine.  

    Pet-Friendly Features

    • Pet-Friendly Amenities
      A great home for pets is often a non-negotiable for millennials, so it's no surprise to see consumers moving for more pet-friendly amenities. Whether it's a walkable neighborhood or a location with quick access to parks, vets, or pet-boarding, many people are considering their dog or cat's well-being when choosing a place to live.

    Kitchen Features

    • A Big Bright Kitchen
      Kitchens in many starter homes are small and not conducive to cooking large meals. Many people are willing to move in order to obtain that big bright kitchen they've always dreamed of. Big kitchens make it easy to host dinner parties and holidays. It's worth considering a nice kitchen makeover with new lighting, flooring, and even upgraded appliances, as these renovations could earn you a nice ROI when it comes time to sell.

    • A Spacious Extra Bathroom
      The total number of bathrooms is an important selling feature, and often families are in search of homes with two, three, or even four full bathrooms. Adding an extra bathroom can really boost your market value. We often see homeowners add an extra full or half bath to a finished basement. 

    Laundry Features

    • A Nice Laundry Room 
      A dedicated laundry room is often among the most desired features of homebuyers. Washers and dryers are often stored in the basement, due to easy access to utility lines; however, many prefer a comfortable laundry room with space to wash, dry, fold, and iron clothes.

    By learning what buyers are looking for in a home, you can be better prepared to market the best features of your listing. For more tips on how to maximize your property, contact us.

    March
    9

    Returning Trends: Wallpaper is Back

    Wallpaper Trends

    What goes around comes around, and our real estate agents have been noticing several old trends from decades ago reemerge this year. Bold colors, '70s patterns, and, believe it or not, wallpaper are all making big comebacks. We're not talking about your basic neutrals and boring patterns. Wallpaper printing has come a long way over the last few years, and we're seeing some of the most fun, unique, and nature-inspired wallpaper trends across some of these Augusta County homes for sale.

    Wallpaper has gone in and out of style for hundreds of years, and every time the pendulum swings back, we see new art and interesting designs. Here are some of our favorite concepts in 2022:

    • Bringing Back The Past
      If you love traditional, old-timey wallpaper patterns used in late 19th century or early 20th century homes, you might be able to find some of these lovely designs reprinted at commercial stores. Wallpaper with beautiful bold floral concepts and carefully crafted patterns are back in a big way. 

    Nature Design

    • Nature Is In-Style
      As a society, we've been spending more time outdoors than ever these last couple of years, and so we're seeing many people bring the outdoors back inside. This has been playing out in the form of new green shades and earthy tones across interior decor, and wallpaper is no exception. In addition to nature-inspired colors, we're seeing an increase in trees, flowers, and greenery patterns. If you want something calming, try some abstract botanicals. If you want something more fun, try a jungle theme. 

    • Modern, Yet Rustic
      Rustic interiors have been in-style for the better part of the last decade, and we're even starting to see this trend come through in wallpaper designs. Adding in a light faux, faded wood wallpaper design can combine the best of both modern and rustic elements. 

    Wallpaper Bathroom

    • Floor To Ceiling Wallpapered Bathrooms
      Many are quick to dismiss the idea of wallpaper in the bathroom, but when matched with the right decor, floor-to-ceiling wallpaper around the tub can look quite nice. Choose a nice blue or green coupled with a visually stunning pattern, and you can go a long way towards creating a peaceful paradise.

    • Quirkiness 
      If you're looking to introduce an element of fun into your bedroom or bathroom, quirky wallpaper elements are definitely in this year. Imagine patterns comprised of random collections of plants, animals, rocks, insects, or really anything you can think of. Try it with a bright green or yellow backdrop. 

    Blue Wallpaper

    • This Year's Theme Is Blue
      We're all longing for peace and calmness, so it's no wonder bright, bold, and navy blue wallpaper shades are all simultaneously emerging. Matched with bright blue furniture or rugs, blue wallpaper patterns are visually appealing on a level that can't be achieved with paint alone. If you want something less vibrant, choose a peaceful blue coastal wave pattern or a deep-blue nautical theme.


    • Think Maximalist
      After spending the last couple of years in the home, many people are beginning to grow bored with minimalism. It's no surprise the tides have turned towards maximalist design. When it comes to this trend, the bigger and bolder, the better. Big patterns, bright colors, with detailed and textured elements. 

    Abstract Pattern

    • Abstract Patterns
      The mind enjoys gazing at complex patterns, which is why this interior design trend will never truly fade away. Wallpaper with abstract geometric patterns is very visually appealing. Think of the '90s or early 2000s computer screensaver shapes except with better color patterns. Abstract wallpaper was big in the '70s, and now it's finally making a big return.

    • Grandmillenial Design
      One of the most surprising design trends of 2022 is grand millennial. This term refers to design elements reminiscent of your grandmother's house yet with some upscale elements. The grand millennial movement is all about creating a very cozy atmosphere without sacrificing class.

    Interior trends always return eventually, and we think of it as a great opportunity to combine the past with the future. With wallpaper, it really gives you the opportunity to add your own artistic element and personal touch to any room. For more tips on the latest interior design trends, contact us today.

    November
    29

    National Mason Jar Day: 7 Ways to Use Them in Your Home

    Mason Jar Tips

    What was originally designed for canning and pickling vegetables has since become one of the most versatile household items. The mason jar and its unique screw-top was created by John Landis Mason in 1858 in order to improve the safety of food storage. However, they are now the quintessential multi-purpose container. If you're thinking about ways to make good use of extra mason jars around your house, the opportunities are endless.

    With National Mason Jar Day coming up on November 30, our real estate agents thought it'd be appropriate to pull together a list of our favorite and most creative ways to use mason jars around the house. Here are some of their best ideas:

    Smoothie Storage

    1. Store Your Smoothies
      If smoothies are part of your daily diet, you can actually use a mason jar as a container for both blending and storage. This works if you have an upright blender, in which case you won't have to worry about dirtying a pitcher every time you make a smoothie.

      If you don't have an upright blender, mason jars can still serve as convenient storage containers. Prep your smoothies for the week, store them in mason jars and grab them on the go. Mason jars make prepping smoothies and cleanup easy.

    2. Mix Some Cocktails For Your Party
      If you're planning a house party, pre-portioning cocktail ingredients into individual mason jars will make it easy for guests to grab a drink of their choice. Choose your favorite cocktails (mojitos, margaritas, or vodka lemonade work great) and mix the ingredients into jars. Then, when a guest is ready for a beverage, all they need to do is grab one, add ice, secure the lid, and shake! This way, your guests won't have to worry about mixing their own drinks.

    Toothbrush Holder

    1. Make A Toothbrush Holder
      If you're going for a rustic vibe in your home or bathroom, top it off by using a mason jar as a toothbrush holder. Simply cut one or more circles in the lid, and you're done. Or you can even use chicken wire to create a grid across the top of the jar. If you're short on storage space around your sink, secure the mason jar to a wood plank and hang it on the wall.

    2. Gift Some Yummy Treats
      Looking for the perfect gift idea? Packing your favorite treats, mixes, or sauces into mason jars, decorate them, and now you have gifts for all the special people in your life. Cookies, candy, baking mixes are all great ideas for the holidays. Or you can do salsas, jams, or BBQ sauce. Whatever goodies you decide to give away this season, your mason jars will keep them fresh.

    Lunch Storage

    1. Take Your Lunch To Work
      Mason jars make for a convenient lunch storage container. Soups, salads, or leftover pasta can be easily transported to work and kept fresh all day long. With mason jars, it's also easy to prep your lunches ahead of time. Being able to simply grab a jar from the refrigerator and head out the door will make your morning routine a breeze. The best part is -- mason jars are microwave safe.

    2. Store Your Herbs
      If you grow your own herbs and want to keep them nearby for easy access while cooking, you can actually store them indoors in mason jars. Just add an inch of water, cover your herbs with plastic wrap, and place them in the jar. This works especially well for parsley or cilantro. Keep them by the window sill for direct sun exposure
      Spice Storage 
    3. Create A Seasoning Shaker
      If you like to create or mix your own seasonings, mason jars can really come in handy. You can easily transform them into a shaker or dispenser by repurposing a spout from a salt container and creating your own circle lid. Secure the lid, and then use the mason jar to store and dispense salt, herbs, or garlic, or your favorite mixed seasonings. Since mason jars always look great, you can line them up on your counter for easy access.

    From food storage to crafts and decor, the versatility of mason jars has made them popular for over a century. Contact us today for more information on home decorating tips or to check out some of these beautiful Luray homes for sale.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    April
    15

    What Determines Your Interest Rate

    Home Interest Rate

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

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

    Economic Trends (Supply and Demand)

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

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

    Your Credit History and Amount of Debt  

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

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

    Price, Age, and Location of the Property

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

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

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

    December
    17

    Does a New Home Top Your Christmas Wish List?

    Buy House at Christmas
    When you think about tinsel, mistletoe, and candles all aglow, do you envision yourself decking the halls in a different home? If you're daydreaming about Harrisonburg homes for sale as you plan your holiday shopping, it's time to add "New Home" to the top of your Christmas wish list.

    Our real estate agents enjoy sharing their biggest house-hunting secret: The year-end holiday season is one of the best times to buy a home. Here are a few reasons why.

    1. You'll Be the Center of Attention
      Many buyers begin abandoning their home searches as their children return to school. Before the holidays arrive, they get caught up in annual activities and seasonal celebrations. The local real estate market slows down even more as potential buyers begin shopping, cooking, and preparing for the upcoming holidays. All those missing house hunters clear the way for you and other serious holiday homebuyers. You can relax, take your time, and view homes without having to navigate a crowd. Real estate agents have more available time to spend with you as well. They'll do their best to meet your demands and help you negotiate your home deal. 

    2. Serious Home Sellers
      Sellers who leave For Sale signs in their yards this time of year have probably been marketing their homes since spring. They need a holiday break from open houses and home tours. Still, they keep their homes on the market anyway. These die-hard sellers may have pending job transfers or need a bigger place. Some homeowners may have added "Sell Home" to the top of their holiday lists. Whatever their reason for staying the course, you may be one of only a few serious prospects. They'll be ready to listen to your concerns, negotiate your offer, and agree to flexible terms. They might even greet you with a cup of hot cocoa and a candy cane.

    3. Year-End Tax Advantages
      Tax laws are always in transition, but if you buy a home this year, you may reap the benefits when you file next year's taxes. Itemized home sale fees and expenses, mortgage interest, and other home-buying costs may reduce your tax burden. Veterans in Virginia benefit from a homeowners tax exemption. It's a good idea to check with your tax professional to determine your potential tax benefits as a new homeowner.
       
    4. Holiday Prices
      Year-end home sellers are like department stores during the holidays. They want to sell the merchandise. When a seller has to keep their home on the market longer than they originally anticipated, they often adjust their asking price even if they'd prefer not to. Just like all those holiday sales, a reduced home price is a great motivator. Lower prices encourage home buyers to make an offer and complete a deal. Even if a seller hasn't cut their listing price, they may be receptive to your lower-than-listing-price offer. 

    5. Faster, Easier Closings
      As homesellers make their year-end exit from the real estate market, they leave mortgage underwriters, home inspectors, appraisers, and other home closing professionals with a light workload. When your finance and closing documents cross their desks, they can complete your credit evaluation, title research, home appraisal, and related tasks faster than at other times of the year. 

    Contact Old Dominion Realty if you're ready to make your dream of a new home a reality. Our real estate professionals will be here to help with your holiday home shopping.

    August
    29

    Avoid These Home Buying Errors to Prevent Striking Out

    Home Buying Errors to Avoid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Contact Old Dominion Realty

    May
    7

    Use Your Tax Refund to Buy Your First Home

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

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

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

    Put it toward your deposit

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

    Pay off your debts

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

    Apply it to closing costs

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

    Put it toward taxes and insurance

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

    Build your emergency fund

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

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

    Contact Old Dominion Realty

    January
    11

    10 Fitness Classes In Staunton to Make Your New Year's Resolution Stick

    Staunton VA Fitness Businesses
    Will 2018 be the year you get fit? If you're one of the many Americans who made a fitness resolution on New Year's Day, congratulations! You're heading toward a healthier, happier life, and fitness goals don't have to be ridiculous to make a big impact. Instead of holding yourself to a grueling gym schedule, you can start with small, manageable goals – like attending a weekly class. Staunton is full of coaches and classes that make working out fun.

    Our REALTORS® have plenty of experience helping people transform their lives, and our local businesses can help you transform your body too. Here are ten gyms and fitness centers in Staunton that are sure to help you stick to that New Year's resolution:

    1. Staunton-Augusta YMCA - 708 N Coalter Street, Staunton, VA. 24401
      There's no place like the Y if you want a variety of fun, affordable classes. The Staunton-Augusta YMCA has a serious lineup of group fitness opportunities from mind-body classes like tai chi and yoga to barre class, boot camp, and deep water conditioning in the pool.

    2. Sanctuary Yoga & Wellness Co-Op - 16 West Beverley Street, Staunton, Virgnia 24401
      At Sanctuary Yoga & Wellness, whole-body wellness is a group effort in more than one way. Teacher-owned and housed in a gorgeous building downtown, this co-op offers everything from introductory and "gentle yoga" classes to early-morning Ashtanga practice and restorative evening sessions.

    3. Staunton Health & Fitness - 90 Lee Jackson Highway, Suite 1250, Staunton, VA 24401
      A clean, modern workout space with a private space for women, Staunton Health & Fitness is a great place to challenge yourself. World-class fitness classes include Body Pump, Zumba, Body Combat, and Sh'Bam courses with Les Mills instructors.

    4. Anytime Fitness - 20 Bobby's Way, Suite 103, Staunton, VA 24401
      Join Anytime Fitness in Staunton to take advantage of group training sessions, which are designed to keep you accountable and keep your energy high. Choose a base conditioning class, a high-energy calorie-burning session, or a strength-building workout format.

    5. F45 Training Staunton - 856 Statler Blvd, Staunton, VA 24421
      One of Staunton's more unique workout centers, F45 Training Staunton will never keep you longer than 45 minutes. Of course, these high-intensity classes are packed with physical challenges: strength and cardio workouts are broken down into 45-second intervals with 15-second breaks in between.

    6. CrossFit Staunton - 90 Lee Jackson Highway, Suite 113, Staunton, VA 24401
      If you like pushing your limits and making progress every time you hit the gym, it's time to consider CrossFit. CrossFit Staunton is home base for a diverse but close-knit community, from beginners who want to shed a few pounds to athletes who want to be as strong and flexible as possible.

    7. Total Defense Martial Arts - 708 D Street, Staunton, VA 24401
      Gym exercises and dance moves can change your body, but martial arts will also give you skills you can use to protect yourself. If you want to learn self-defense while building and toning your muscles, try a Brazilian jiu-jitsu or boxing class at Total Defense Martial Arts.

    8. Head Over Heels Gymnastics - 1100 Greenville Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401
      If your little ones want to stay active in the new year, consider a class at Head Over Heels Gymnastics. Students can enroll all year long for classes at the new location. Gymnastics isn't just a fun way to work out; it helps improve flexibility and motor skills too.

    9. Aliquid Training and Performance - 611 Greenville Avenue, Staunton, VA 24401
      Promising the "next generation of fitness," Aliquid Training and Performance is a training center for athletes who want to meet specific fitness and health goals. Aliquid coaches offer hands-on, tailor-made programs that will help you make your New Year's dreams come true.

    10. American Freestyle Karate - 310 Betsy Bell Road, Staunton, VA 24401
      Last but not least, American Freestyle Karate offers family karate programs, which help you save time and learn a new skill while bonding with your kids and building your confidence together. Karate is a great choice for families who want to get fit together.

    Is your new year going to include a new home too? If you're looking at Staunton homes for sale, make sure you have an experienced agent on your side. Contact us for help buying or selling your home in the Staunton area.

    /contact/

    December
    19

    6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Buying Your First Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Contact Old Dominion Realty

    September
    25

    Should Your Next Move Be to a Smart Home?

    Buying a House That's Smarter

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

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

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

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

    Is a Smart Home Right for You?

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

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

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

    Contact Old Dominion Realty

    April
    14

    5 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

    Helpful Hints When Buying Your First Home

    First-Time Home Buyer Tips

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

    1. Get Fully Insured

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

    2. Don't Overspend on New Home Perks

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

    3. Don't Avoid Maintenance

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

    4. Get Help with Taxes

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

    5. Start a File Box and Spreadsheet for House Records

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

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

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

    April
    8

    Generation Y The Home Buyers of Today

    How Millennials are Changing the Home Buying Process

    Millennial Home Buyers


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Contact Old Dominion Realty


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

    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.

    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.

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