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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
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!

May
16

How to Create a Hobby Space in Your Home

Hobby room

When you schedule a block of time to enjoy a hobby, it's frustrating to discover that your supplies and equipment are scattered throughout your home, or even worse, that you can't locate them at all. You wind up spending a portion of your craft time tracking down and organizing your stuff. Our real estate agents know that setting up a hobby space in your home is an efficient solution to this problem. Here are some tips to follow when setting up your hobby space. 

Work Surfaces

  • Decide What Furnishings You Need
    Each hobby requires different equipment and furniture. If you like to build or assemble models, you'll likely want a sturdy work table. However, if you enjoy knitting or crocheting, you'll want a comfortable, supportive chair. The storage that you need should also be personalized to your hobby. Make a list of your storage needs so you can keep them in mind as you create your space. A metal utility cart is a popular storage choice for multiple hobbies because it's perfect for holding smaller bins, and you can easily maneuver it around the room. Before purchasing any new furnishings, consider the room's dimensions and the size of your items to make sure that everything will comfortably fit. 

  • Pick the Right Location for Your Space
    The ideal area in your home for your hobby space will also depend on your preferred activity. For example, if you like to play an instrument, you'll want a room away from your home's sleeping spaces with additional insulation. Or, if you like to paint and prefer to do so with a lot of natural light, set your space up in a room with windows. Keep in mind any electrical needs that you have for your equipment. If you frequently operate electrical equipment, you'll want to choose a space with access to an electrical outlet. Or, if you have a hobby that requires a large amount of electrical capacity, you may need to upgrade the room's electrical outlets. 

  • Make Sure Your Work Surfaces are the Right Height
    When using a table, the surface should be the proper height. Otherwise, you risk having to hunch over and potentially straining your back. If you'll be standing while you work, a table that's 36 inches high is usually suitable. However, if you prefer to sit while you work, you'll want a table that's between 30 and 32 inches tall. Already own a table but find that it's a little short? Use blocks or PVC pipes to lift it to the appropriate height. 

  • Utilize Even Small Spaces
    If you feel like you already use all the rooms in your home and don't have the budget for an expansion, it's time to get creative with how you use your space. Are there any rooms that you infrequently use? Or, are there any spaces that sit empty most of the time? If you usually eat in the kitchen, you might convert your dining room area into a hobby space. Or, if you have a corner of your living room with a chair that no one ever sits in, swap the chair for a worktable. A closet with the doors removed also makes an excellent hobby area. Built-in shelves and cabinets are a terrific way to add extra storage to small rooms.

Wall Storage

  • Use the Walls for Storage
    The walls are a perfect place to hang organizational items that keep your supplies within reach, like a Peg-Board for holding your tools or a magnetic strip for securing scissors and other metal craft supplies. Floating shelves work well for holding craft books, small containers, and other gear that you want to keep close by. 

Task Lighting

  • Add Extra Lighting
    Even if the space has natural lighting and an overhead light, you'll likely want additional light for your hobby. Ample lighting can even make the room look more appealing to potential buyers when you add your home to the list of Augusta homes for sale. You'll likely want at least one task light that you can adjust to your project's needs. Swap your existing lightbulbs for bulbs designed to mimic the sun's natural light for better illumination. 

One of the main benefits of being a homeowner is getting to customize your space, so it's perfect for you and your needs. Looking for a home with more space for your projects? Contact us today to start your search!

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
    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.

    February
    28

    Spring Cleaning Tasks That Will Get Your Home Ready to List

    Spring Cleaning

    Spring naturally brings out the desire to clean, and if you're interested in selling your home, it couldn't come at a better time. Before your home is listed for sale with one of our real estate agents, make sure it will look its best. Spring cleaning can make your home shine and look fresh and clean! This is sure to make it more appealing to prospective buyers and help it stand out from other Rockingham County homes for sale.

    The following spring cleaning tasks will help you get your home ready to list:

    Declutter

    • Clear the Clutter
      Everyone has possessions that they no longer want or use, and holding onto them makes your home look messier and harder to keep clean. A crowded home also will make prospective buyers wonder if your home has enough storage and makes it harder for them to imagine your home as their own. Before you start spring cleaning, go through your home and remove clothes that are no longer worn, broken, or outgrown toys and household goods that have outlived their usefulness. Items that are still in good shape can be sold or donated.

    • Make a Checklist
      Make a room-by-room checklist of what you need to clean. This helps keep you on track, ensures that areas aren't forgotten, and gives you a sense of accomplishment as you cross items off your list. Break each room down into areas, such as drawers, and then individual tasks such as wiping them down and swapping out any outdated hardware. This checklist can also be used to divide spring cleaning tasks among several family members.

    Cleaning Supplies

    • Shop for Needed Cleaning Supplies
      Make sure you have what you need, including a good all-purpose cleaner and microfiber cloths, before you start cleaning. Supplies that can be used for a myriad of objects and surfaces are ideal to start with, and as you start cleaning, you can always buy a specialty product if there's a need for it. Look for cleansers that have a pleasingly light scent since this can also help your home seem fresh and clean.

    • Don't Forget the Outside
      It's not just your home's interior that needs freshening up in the spring - it's also the outside. The outside of your home will be seen by house hunters even before the inside is. And if it makes a poor impression, they may never make it through your front door. Walk around your home and yard to see what needs cleaning, repairing, and refreshing. You might need to pressure wash the exterior of your home as well as your driveway, patio, deck, and walkways. Paint touch-ups may also be needed. 

    • Wash Everything You Can
      Household items can collect dust that makes them look dirty and dingy, so wash everything you can. This includes curtains, some area rugs, bath mats, and shower curtains. Items that can't be washed should be thoroughly shaken outside and vacuumed using the right attachment. If they've seen better days, you may want to simply replace them, especially if they're relatively inexpensive items.

    Spring Clean Windows

    • Make Your Windows Sparkle
      If you've had your draperies or blinds closed for a good bit of the winter, you may not have noticed how grimy they've gotten. Scrub each pane clean inside and out on a cloudy day so you're not left with streaks. And don't forget to also scrub any sills or trim. Clean windows can make your entire home sparkle and will let sunlight in, giving your home a bright, fresh appearance. Just be aware that sunlight streaming into a home highlights any dust, so make sure to add dusting to your list of spring cleaning to-dos.

    • Clean Easily Overlooked Areas
      Prospective buyers will be looking over your home from top to bottom, so no area is too small to ignore. Clean your light switch plates and outlet covers, and pay attention to the inside of your appliances, drawers, and cabinets because potential buyers will definitely open them.

    Spring Clean Entryway

    • Spend Extra Time on Your Entryway
      Since your entryway will be the first part of your home's interior that prospective buyers will see, take extra time on the area so it makes a good impression. Invest in a new welcome mat, make sure your door is in great shape (including any glass inserts), and clean the floor thoroughly. And if you have any furniture to store shoes, coats, or other items near the door, make sure it's clean and uncluttered. Not only does this make a better impression, but it also gives prospective buyers a place to hang their jackets.

    Contact us to see Rockingham homes for sale or Harrisonburg homes for sale. Whether you're looking to buy a home, sell one, or do both, we have the knowledge and experience to make your transaction go smoothly.

    February
    21

    Create a Vertical Garden This Spring

    Vertical Garden

    If you're thinking of creative ways to revamp your landscaping this spring, a vertical garden can make a beautiful addition to any yard. A vertical garden is simply any collection of plants growing on a vertical structure. The structure can really be anything...try a wall, fence, or homemade frame. Vertical gardens not only look great, but there are so many plants that can grow vertically, so you'll have plenty of options.

    Our real estate agents have noticed vertical gardens are becoming quite the trend these days. We've even spotted a few at these beautiful Rockingham County homes for sale. Creating one might seem like a significant effort, but they're actually quite easy. Here are some tips to help you get started with your own:

    • Start By Choosing The Best Spot
      The success of your vertical garden is largely contingent on where you decide to put it. In many cases, choosing a location that receives adequate sunlight is most important. However, if you're primarily growing plants that enjoy the shade, this may factor into your location decision. In either case, you can easily turn a vertical garden into an aesthetically pleasing exterior element, so you'll most likely want to put it in a spot that is visible. Some people attempt to grow ivy up a trellis or fence to create an enclosed garden or even to increase the privacy of the backyard.

    • Create A Sturdy Frame
      One of the most common vertical gardening mistakes is using a flimsy frame. Your frame needs to be strong enough to support your plants but also to withstand rain, hail, and strong winds. Thick, sturdy wood is often the best bet -- steer clear of thin boards or loose wire.

    Garden Tips

    • Select Your Plants
      Some plants are easier to grow vertically than others. Remember, in many cases, you'll be working with a limited amount of soil, so selecting plants with shallow roots is the way to go. Succulents, leafy vegetables, vines, ivy, and flowers all make for great choices.

    • Support Your Plants
      Not all plants naturally grow vertically, so some might need a bit of extra support. Forgetting to support your vertical growing plants can cause them to hang and block the necessary sun exposure your other plants need to survive. Make good use of fasteners and clips to keep your plants growing up.

    • Protect Your Property
      If you're growing a vertical garden against your home or shed, it's important to take the right steps to protect your exterior wall. A vertical garden will need to be watered frequently, so you'll need to be sure to use a protective backing layer to prevent damage. If your garden is placed against the side of your home, make sure to place a pooling tray at the bottom to prevent water from collecting near your foundation. 

    Planters

    • Add Planters And Hanging Baskets
      While ivy or plants with shallow roots are great options for vertical gardens, you can also supplement your greenery with planters and hanging baskets. These items can be great for supporting your heavier plants. Just make sure they're well-secured.

    • You Can't Go Wrong With Ivy
      When many people think of vertical gardens, they think of a beautiful vine climbing the side of a brick wall. Using a clinging vine, such as a perennial vine, as the foundation for your vertical garden can add a beautiful and enchanted vibe to your home's exterior.

    • Ladders Make Good Shelves
      If your frame is running out of space, you can add a ladder to either side of your garden to give you some extra shelves. Ladders can make it easy to hang baskets or support heavier planters.  Choose a wooden, rustic ladder to enhance your garden's look.

      Vertical Garden Maintenance

      • Don't Forget To Prune
        Like a horizontal garden, a vertical garden requires lots of pruning and care. With a vertical garden, overgrowing plants are more likely to overshadow others, which is problematic if you're growing plants that need lots of sun. Make sure to regularly prune throughout the week.

      Vertical Garden Tips

      • Water Frequently
        When it comes to watering, vertical gardens have one problem: gravity. Gravity pulls water down instead of giving it the chance to soak into the soil. As a result, vertical gardens often need to be watered more frequently. 

      If you're looking to make your property stand out among these beautiful Rockingham homes for sale, a vertical garden makes for a great addition to your home's exterior. For more home improvement tips, contact us today.

      December
      27

      New Year's Resolution: Real Estate Tips for 2022

      Sell Home in 2022

      If your plans for 2022 involve selling your home and purchasing a different property, now is the perfect time to start your planning. Accomplish your New Year's resolution of selling your home! Here are some tips our real estate agents recommend in 2022 to help you streamline the selling process. 

      Declutter Tips

      • Remove Half the Stuff in Your Closet
        No matter what year you're selling your home, some things remain timeless. Like the fact that a clean and decluttered space will show better to potential buyers. It's common knowledge that you need to declutter before listing your home, but it's best to cut the amount of stuff in your closets and cabinets by half. Buyers will open your closet and cabinet doors to get a closer look at the storage space in your home. Though it might seem like having the closet or cabinet packed full will showcase how much it can hold, it's better to stage the space with less stuff. Having less stuff in a closet or cabinet makes it appear roomier and well-organized, Both of these traits will increase its appeal to potential buyers. 
      • Price Your Home Right at the Start
        It's tempting to price your home at the higher end of what you think you can get for it in hopes of maximizing your profits. You may think that if it doesn't quickly sell, you can always lower the price after a few weeks. Most of the time, it's better to price your home at a lower, more realistic price. Homes that are correctly priced attract more interest and sell faster. A home that's on the market for an extended period often appears worrisome to potential buyers. They may worry that it hasn't sold because there are issues (like expensive repairs or strict offer requirements) that are preventing potential deals from closing. 

      Natural Lighting

      • Illuminate Your Home with Attractive Lighting
        A simple, highly effective way to help your home look its best is to ensure that it's well-illuminated. Any home looks better when it's lush with atmospheric lighting. Go through your home and check that all your light fixtures have working light bulbs. Confirm that the lightbulb in the fixture is the best alternative. For example, fluorescent lighting often looks hazy and a little dull. Swap these light bulbs for an LED bulb that emits a soft, warm light. 

      • Optimize Your Home's Natural Light
        A space with lots of natural light looks cheery and inviting; it also appeals to potential buyers. Maximize the amount of light that enters your home by cleaning your windows, washing drapes and blinds, and moving any furniture that obscures the light.

      Real Estate Agents

      • Work with an Experienced Agent
        A qualified agent with experience handling Staunton homes for sale transforms the home selling process. Since they have local experience, they understand how to properly price your home and what concessions are considered normal for your area. They can make recommendations that will help your home look its best. Your real estate agent will assist with scheduling tours and open houses, and they'll take care of the marketing for your property. Experienced agents know how to handle buyer negotiations so that you're able to get as much money as possible for your home. If a problem arises during the home inspection or appraisal, they'll try to salvage the deal. 

      Home Upgrades

      • Be Strategic with Your Home Upgrades
        You might think that completing a few home upgrades is a simple way to get more money for your home. Some upgrades will have an excellent return and help your home sell faster and for more money. Others don't make a significant difference to potential buyers and provide a poor return for your money. One area that tends to have a strong return for your money is your home's kitchen. If your cabinets are old, consider painting them and adding new hardware to update their look. You can replace your countertops for a few thousand dollars. This instantly gives your kitchen a facelift, and you'll get your money back when your home sells. Remember, home repairs and maintenance aren't upgrades. These are the tasks that buyers expect to be completed in a home that's been properly cared for. Check that all your utilities and appliances are in working order. Doors should be even and on track. All your home's electrical components should work. It's also best to take care of any plumbing or structural repairs that your home needs before listing it. 

      Ready to put your home on the market? Contact us today to get started!

      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
      25

      Comfort Food: Soup Recipes to Make This Fall

      Soup

      When we're not busy helping buyers explore the best Rockingham County homes for sale, many of the agents at Old Dominion Realty enjoy spending their time trying new recipes. As the colder weather starts to creep in, we particularly enjoy making homemade soup. Not only is it easy to make and comforting to eat, but when you cook a batch of soup, your home will smell amazing all day long. 

      If you don't have a favorite soup recipe yet, you're in luck! Next time you're in the mood for comfort food, plan to try one of these delicious recipes. 

        Soup

        • Creamy Pumpkin Soup
          Nothing says fall quite like a bowl of creamy pumpkin soup. This recipe has just the right amount of sweetness and is super easy to make. Best of all, you can serve it in a hollowed-out pumpkin. This is the perfect way to excite the kids or make a real impression at your next dinner party. Before you serve it, top it with a drizzle of heavy cream and some toasted pumpkin seeds. 

        • Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup
          We love making soup in the slow cooker! This delicious baked potato soup gets its texture from added sour cream and is topped with cheese, crispy bacon, and chopped chives. It's the perfect hearty meal to enjoy on a cold afternoon. 

        • Healthy Miso Ramen with Chicken
          This recipe for miso ramen with chicken is much tastier (and healthier!) than the instant Ramen noodles you used to eat in college. It's topped with scallions, seaweed nori, carrots, sweet corn, and boiled eggs. Once you try this, you'll want to cook your own ramen at home all the time. Feel free to experiment with the toppings so you can enjoy a different meal each time. 

        Soup

        • Creamy Tortellini Soup with Sausage
          When you're looking for comfort food, you can't go wrong with this tortellini soup. It includes Italian sausage, spinach, and kale, making it a tasty and wholesome one-pot meal. Best of all, you can get it on the table in less than 30 minutes and freeze any leftovers so you can enjoy it again on a day when you just don't have the energy to cook something new. 
        • Split Pea Soup
          This classic recipe for split pea soup is both filling and flavorful. It's loaded with nutrients thanks to the carrots, celery, and onions and has plenty of protein from the peas and ham. Top your soup off with crunchy, toasted homemade croutons for a delicious and memorable meal your family is sure to love. 

        • Beef and Bean Chili
          Whether you're looking for something to enjoy while you're watching the big game or you want a quick and filling dinner, you can't go wrong with beef and bean chili. This recipe has just the right amount of heat, but you can use more or less cayenne and chili pepper, depending on your taste. To make your chili even more delicious, top each bowl off with shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, and sliced jalapenos.
           
          Tomato Soup
        • Classic Tomato Soup
          A healthy twist on a classic comfort food! This tomato soup recipe is perfect for a chilly fall day and is sure to be a hit among all your family members. Enjoy it on its own, or make a grilled cheese to pair with your soup. 
           
        • Creamy Turkey Orzo Soup
          This creamy turkey orzo soup is the perfect solution for leftover turkey. You can make it all in one pot in less than 30 minutes. After you make it once, you'll be craving it all the time. It's similar to a chicken noodle soup but has a creamier texture. While it's a great way to use leftovers, you don't have to wait for the holidays to make this tasty soup. Just whip up a batch of slow cooker turkey breast and shred it up instead. 
        • Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
          This white chicken chili is easy to make in the slow cooker and has a ton of delicious flavor. It only takes about 20 minutes of prep time and will soon be one of your family's favorites. This soup is made with white beans, frozen corn, heavy cream, and an array of spices and seasonings. It's particularly delicious when topped with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and chopped avocado. Serve it with a lime wedge to bring out even more flavor. 
        • Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
          Cauliflower soup is both tasty and comforting. This recipe features plenty of cheese, crispy bacon, and just the right amount of Cajun spice. The butter, flour, whole milk, half-and-half, and sour cream give it a thick, decadent texture, making this amazing dish is practically the definition of "comfort food." 

        If you're looking for your dream home, the agents at Old Dominion Realty are here to help! We have the inside scoop on all the best Shenandoah County homes for sale and we'll help you explore your options until you find the perfect one for your needs. Contact us today.

          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. 

          September
          13

          Happy Cat Month: How to Make Your Home Cat-Friendly

          Home Improvement for PetsWhether you have one beloved cat or a full house with multiple cats, you want to provide a comfortable, safe, cat-friendly home environment.

          September is National Happy Cat Month. Yes, there really is a recognized month when cat lovers celebrate their feline friends. Happy Cat Month is an annual event held in September that serves to inform and educate cat owners about creating a cat-friendly home. At Old Dominion Realty, our real estate agents take pride in supporting the well-being of our furry felines. Take a look at ways you can create a cat-friendly home.

          Cat in Home

          Create an Outdoor View

          Although your cat may be an indoor-only feline, they will welcome an outdoor view of trees, plants, flowers, and outdoor critters. Cats are curious creatures, and they need stimulation to stay happy. If you're looking for properties in Virginia, many homes have spectacular outdoor views that will keep your cat mesmerize your cat for hours.

          Keep Your Cat Active

          Keeping your cat active will provide exercise and mental stimulation. Cats love to play, so they love cat toys with playful interaction. You don't need to buy expensive toys since cats like unwinding balls of string, attacking shadows on the floor, jumping up to catch a feather, and chasing toy mice. Taking time to play with your cat shows affection, creates strong bonds and promotes healthy activity.

          Tabby Cat

          Create Vertical Spaces

          One of the best ways to create a cat-friendly home is by providing vertical spaces where your cat can climb. This is especially important in multiple-cat households where cats need their own private space. Cats love to climb and perch themselves high above the floor where they feel safe. If Broadway homes for sale have high ceilings, you can use tall cat trees with multiple levels, as well as cat shelves that can be attached to walls and windows.

          Indoor Cat

          Provide a Cozy Bed

          Cats spend a lot of time sleeping, so they need a cozy bed where they feel safe. Some cats like to rest and relax in different spots in the house, so you can use soft quilts, blankets, and large throw pillows to create cozy places to relax in different rooms. For cats who like to hide, soft baskets and decorative containers are cozy options for Dayton homes for sale with large rooms and open floor plans. 

          Buy a Scratching Post

          Cats scratch to file their claws and mark their territory. If you don't buy a scratching post, you're likely to find scratches on your walls, cabinets, furniture, and upholstery. Scratching posts should be as tall as possible to allow your cat to scratch vertically at a full stretch. If you build a floor-to-ceiling scratching post in an area where your cat likes to scratch, your cat will love you, and your furniture will last a lot longer.

          Indoor Cats

          Buy a Quality Food Bowl

          Cats look forward to eating their food. As creatures of habit, they prefer regular daily feeding schedules, food placed in particular bowls, and meals served in certain places. Cats are picky about their food. It's best to buy a food bowl made of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel so you can wash it. Avoid bowls made of plastic that can give off chemical odors because your cat will turn up his nose. An elevated food bowl will keep your cat's whiskers cleaner and out of the food.

          Provide Fresh, Clean Water

          Water is essential to your cat's health, so make sure they always have fresh, clean water. Most cats like their water bowl near their food, but some cats prefer water in separate locations. Cats are natural hunters, so finding a water bowl in a different room rewards their hunting instincts. Cats prefer water bowls that are filled to the brim so they can drink without putting their heads down. Pet drinking fountains encourage drinking while creating a playful experience.

          Pay Attention to the Litter Box

          If you have a cat, you need a litter box. Cats instinctively know how to use a litter box, even if they have never stepped into one. Make sure your cat's litter box is big enough for your cat to easily move around. If you have two cats, get three litter boxes. As a cat owner, you owe it to your cat and yourself to clean out litter boxes every day and refill them with clean, fresh litter. Dirty litter boxes can quickly create unhealthy, stinky odors in your home. 

          Ready to find a new home for you and your cats? For information on Virginia homes for sale, contact us for available listings and prices in different neighborhoods. 

          August
          9

          Summer Rain: What is a Rain Garden?

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

          What is a Rain Garden?

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

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

          Why Are Rain Gardens Important?

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

          Here are more benefits of a fully functional rain garden:

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

          Choosing Plants for Your Rain Garden

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

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

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

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

          Some of the best plants for a rain garden include:

          Black Eyed Susan

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

          Scarlett Bee Balm

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

          Marsh Marigold

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

          Spike Rush

          • Spikerush
          • Smooth Alder
          • Swamp Rose
          • Cardinal Flower

          Daylily

          • Daylilies
          • American Beautyberry
          • Red Osier Dogwood

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

          Build Your Own Rain Garden

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

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

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

          July
          19

          Summer Projects That Increase The Value of Your Home

          Summer Projects

          If you're thinking about selling your home, there are a lot of things you can do to make it more appealing to potential buyers. There are plenty of Augusta homes for sale. What does your house have that the others don't? Even if you're NOT thinking of selling your home right away, a few improvements won't go amiss. They can make your house look better, feel better, and increase its overall value when you do decide to sell. Here are a few improvement projects you can do this summer to increase the value of your home.

          Painting

          • Painting
            If you've lived in your house for any length of time, the walls are probably a bit worn. There's dirt and grime, and the paint may be peeling. A new coat of paint in an inviting, neutral color can make it feel cleaner and brighter and even make the room look bigger. Neutral color doesn't necessarily have to mean white or grey, either. A nice warm yellow or cool green can add a splash of color while still being generally unassuming.

          Caulking

          • Caulking
            Over time, the caulking around your sinks starts to get brown and dirty and disgusting. Removing the old caulking and putting in fresh is a fast and inexpensive job that will make your sinks look worlds better to potential buyers.

          Landscaping

          • Landscaping
            This can be as simple or as involved as you want. Adding a small garden to your yard can make it look appealing. Planting a couple of trees can add hundreds, even thousands of dollars to your home's value. Installing a flower box can be helpful, too. If you really want to go all out, you could add a brick walkway through your yard. If you prefer something simpler, even just mowing your lawn and doing a bit of edging can increase your curb appeal - and thus your home's value - significantly.

          Front Door

          • Front Door
            This has some benefits. Your front door is the first thing people see before entering your home so that a new one can create a better first impression. Both steel and fiberglass doors are sturdy and durable, low maintenance, and highly energy efficient. This gives them a very high return on investment - the immediate value they add to your home is almost equal to the installation cost. Not to mention the amount you'll save in energy bills in the meantime. Steel and fiberglass doors are great for keeping outside air from creeping into your home, which allows your HVAC system to heat and cool more efficiently.

          Windows

          • Windows
            Replacing your existing windows with energy-efficient panes can go a long way. They keep heat in during the winter and keep it out during the summer. This decrease in heating and cooling bills will add to your home's resale value. You can also get significant energy savings by combining windows and landscaping. If you have a large window or glass door that gets direct sunlight, plant a deciduous tree in the yard near it. In the summer, the shade from the tree will keep the sun out, providing natural cooling. In the winter, the tree will shed its leaves, letting the sunlight in and providing natural heating. This simple addition to your home can really boost your resale value.

          Fencing

          • Fences
            A fence will add a sense of security to your property, which increases its value. If you don't have one, consider putting one in. If your home has a fence already, fix it up and get it in good condition. Make sure the door closes and locks securely. If you have a picket fence, give it a fresh coat of paint, and replace any slats that are worn or broken. In addition to security, this adds curb appeal, which is also great for a property value increase.

          Whether you've just bought your home, are looking to sell it, or are somewhere in between, a few improvements can always be helpful. Our real estate agents can help you figure out the best improvements to your home to increase its value to future owners. Contact us for help with both buying and selling your home!

          March
          1

          Top 10 Things To Get Your House Ready for The Spring Market

          List Home in Augusta County

          Spring is just around the corner, and if you're thinking about putting your home on the market, now is the time to start getting ready. The real estate market heats up every spring, and with interest at historic lows, there couldn't be a better time to take advantage of the seller's market. 

          Preparing to list your home can be a lengthy process, especially if it's your first time. From cleaning to staging, you may not know where to even start. If you want to make sure your home stands out among these beautiful Virginia homes for sale, be sure to follow these tips below:

          1. Find A Good Real Estate Agent
            The first and arguably most important step to listing your home is to find a reputable real estate agent. Referrals from trusted sources are usually the best ways to find a good agent. Working with a trusted real estate agent is the key to a smooth and successful transaction.

          2. Scope Out The Market
            Make sure to do some research about other Augusta County homes for sale, so you can get a sense of what other properties are selling for in your area. Look at homes that are similar in size to your own, as this can help you at least establish a starting point for a sale price.

          update lighting

          1. Invest In Lighting
            Lighting is one of the most important aspects of the staging process. If you have rooms in your house that don't receive adequate sunlight, it's time to invest in additional lamps and lighting fixtures. Remember, bright rooms often appear larger and more welcoming. A real estate agent can help you optimize the lighting placements in each room.

          2. Declutter Your Home
            If you're planning to move soon, do yourself a favor and start the decluttering process early. Empty the attic and basement and get rid of any junk you no longer need. Decluttering will not only help streamline the staging process, but it will also make your move a lot easier.

          3. Make Repairs
            If you've been procrastinating on repairing that leaky faucet, running toilet, or squeaky door, now is the time to address it. Go through your home and make sure to repair anything that isn't functioning as it's supposed to. Even if it doesn't seem like a big deal, you can bet that potential buyers will notice.

          4. Depersonalize Your Home
            As much as you may enjoy looking at your family photos and favorite art, any personalized items can certainly be off-putting to prospective buyers. Seeing personalization in a home can make it difficult for buyers to envision themselves living in the home.

          Fresh Coat of Paint

          1. Paint
            It's always a good idea to add a fresh coat of paint to your home's interior before listing it for sale. This can help give your home a fresh, clean look and also help your rooms appear brighter. Just be sure to stick to neutral colors, as anything bright or creative may turn off potential buyers. 

          deep cleaning tips

          1. Deep Clean
            Once you're almost ready to list your home, it's time to clean like you've never cleaned before. Every corner, nook, and cranny will need your attention. It's also a good idea to have your carpets professionally cleaned. You don't want potential buyers noticing any dust or odors, so it's best to make sure the home is pristine. 

          2. Create a Relocation Plan For Your Pets
            Your furry friends might be cute, but not every buyer will think so. It's wise to come up with a relocation plan for your pets so they're not in the way when you're showing your home. Also, be sure to hide any bowls, litter boxes, or toys and eliminate any odors caused by your pets.

          3. Consider a Professional Photographer
            High-quality photos are one of the best ways to attract buyers to your listing, so you might want to consider hiring a professional photographer. Good photos are a great way to help your listing stand out from the competition. Check out some of the listing photos for these Staunton homes for sale. If you're having trouble finding a good photographer, ask your real estate agent for recommendations.

          Selling your home doesn't have to be an intimidating process. Working with a good real estate agent is the best way to ensure a smooth transaction. If you're planning to list your home this spring, contact us today.

          January
          11

          Home Office Decorating Tips From Our Agents

          Home Office Augusta

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

          Home Office Agents

          Lightening the Workload with Krista Fields

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

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

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

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

          Home Office Tips

          Polishing Up Your Workspace with Duane Turner

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

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

          Bea Miller Office

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

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

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

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

          January
          4

          7 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe This Winter

          Pet Friendly Tips

          Cold winter weather can be hard on us humans, but it's not easy on our four-legged friends either! Our real estate agents want to make sure your pets stay safe this season, so be sure to take these safety tips into account if you're out there looking at Rockingham County homes for sale!

          1. Keep your house humidified.
            You're probably very familiar with the effects of dry winter air on your own skin. Pets suffer in much the same way, so it's best to run a humidifier for both your sakes! Dry, flaky skin can also be exacerbated by coming in and out of the cold, so dry your pets off quickly any time you come inside (especially their feet). 

            Dog Outside

          2. Stay inside when it's too cold.
            It's easy to assume that just because pets have fur, they're impervious to the cold. That's actually not the case, and while fur does provide some protection—how much depends on the breed—dogs and cats are susceptible to the cold in the same ways we are. They can get hypothermia and frostbite when it's bitterly cold, so it's best to stay inside as much as possible during cold weather, keeping outdoor potty breaks as brief as possible. Plus, keep a towel near the door to wipe off their paws, legs, and belly after being outside in winter. This isn't just to keep them from bringing snow and ice inside. It's to get rid of any chemicals they might have picked up, like antifreeze and de-icers, which can be toxic.

          3. Dial back the grooming.
            Don't shave your pet down to their shortest hair length in winter. A little extra fluff will help them stay warm. If you have a long-haired breed, you can trim it a little shorter (just enough so that their fur doesn't drag on the snow and pick up ice balls). Also, cut back on your pet's bathing schedule. Frequent bathing removes essential oils from the skin, which leaves cats vulnerable to dry, flaky skin. It's best to bathe your pet less often in winter and ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo. 

          4. Watch out for spills.
            While antifreeze is toxic to dogs, it has a sweet taste that may tempt them to lick it up off the ground. Do your best to avoid spills in your own yard and driveway, and don't let your pooch lick the ground in areas where there may be chemicals mixed in with the snow. 

          5. Give them a warm bed.
            Your dog or cat bed doesn't have to be fancy, but a warm blanket and/or a bed appropriate to their size will help them stay warm on chilly nights. It's especially important to give your pet a place to sleep if you have wood or tile floors. While you're at the pet supply store. Consider buying a sweater for your dog, especially if they have short fur. Not all pets take kindly to wearing "clothes," so use your best judgment! That being said, most dogs—especially shorter-haired breeds—can benefit from a doggie jacket or sweater when they go outside. And booties can help protect their paws from harsh salt and chemicals. 

          6. Use pet-safe de-icers.
            Contrary to what some product marketing may suggest, no ice melting product is perfect for dogs. Your pet should never be allowed to eat or lick up rock salt or other de-icer products off the ground. But some products are less harmful than others. De-icers made of magnesium chloride are a bit easier on pets' paws than regular rock salt. 

            Cat Outside

          7. Feed them a little more.
            Pets may burn more energy in winter than they do in the summer, especially if they're spending time outdoors and their bodies are trying to stay warm. It's okay to give them a little more food than you normally would and the occasional extra (healthy) treat. And as always, make sure they have plenty of water! 

          At Old Dominion Realty, we're committed to finding the perfect home for every pet... and their humans too. Contact us today to learn more about how to find pet-friendly Harrisonburg homes for sale!

          September
          21

          National Tune-Up Day is September 25 - Get Your Home Ready for Cold Weather Ahead

          Get your home ready for fall

          The start of fall offers many things to look forward to, with warm days, cool, crisp nights, and beautiful foliage to enjoy. It's also the perfect time to make sure your HVAC system is ready for the winter, which is why National Tune-Up Day is observed on September 25th. National Tune-Up Day is a reminder to have your heating system serviced by the pros, to maximize efficiency and address any issues before the cold weather arrives. Our real estate agents have the details on five local HVAC companies that can service your system.

          Why It's So Important to Have Your HVAC System Serviced
          Whether you've just moved in after shopping for West Virginia real estate or have lived in your home for a long time, your HVAC system is key to comfort during the winter. Regular maintenance ensures your system is working at maximum efficiency and helps identify small issues before they become big ones. Having your system serviced by the pros before the cold weather arrives will make life much easier, which is why National Tune-Up Day happens every year at the start of fall.

          Local HVAC Companies

          1. Mountain Valley Home Comfort – 260 Charles St., Harrisonburg, VA 22802
            With more than 30 years of experience providing service for homeowners and Virginia homes for sale, you can count on Mountain Valley Home Comfort to keep your heating system in great shape. In addition to conventional HVAC systems, Mountain Valley Home Comfort also services ductless and geothermal heating systems so you can expect great service no matter how you heat your home.
          2. Excel Heating & Cooling – 1030 Greystone St., Harrisonburg, VA 22802
            offers a full range of HVAC services for both residential and commercial customers in the Harrisonburg area. You can count on Excel Heating & Cooling to keep your system running at its best, and the team is also available 24/7 if you run into a heating issue that needs to be addressed right away.
          3. Virginia Service Pro – 1537 Jefferson Hwy., Fishersville, VA 22939
            National Tune-Up Day isn't just for your home! It's also a reminder to have the HVAC system at your business serviced too. The team at Virginia Service Pro specializes in commercial HVAC systems. Keep your heating system working great, for the benefit of your customers and employees. Virginia Service Pro can also handle refrigeration systems, boilers, and a wide range of mechanical work.
          4. Valley Comfort Systems – 924 S High St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
            Have a busy schedule, and need to arrange your heating system tune-up for a night or weekend? That's no problem for the team at Valley Comfort Systems, which is happy to schedule an appointment at any time that works for you. A fall tune-up from Valley Comfort Systems can help you save money on heating costs and stay comfortable this winter.
          5. Morris Heating & Cooling – 1044 W Market St., Harrisonburg, VA 2280
            Family-owned and operated since its foundation in 2005, Morris Heating & Cooling has the experience and knowledge to get your job done right the first time. The licensed, certified pros at Morris Heating & Cooling provide a full range of HVAC services, including the annual maintenance that's so important at this time of year.

          Are you still searching for the perfect home to call your own this fall? Our team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes in Virginia's Central Shenandoah Valley and Eastern West Virginia.

          August
          17

          Does Your WIFI Blanket Every Corner of Your Home?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          July
          13

          Steal These DIY Ideas for Your Front Porch

          DIY Ideas for Your Front Porch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          July
          27

          Home Selling Ideas to Make Your House Stand Out

          Home Selling Ideas to Make Your House Stand Out
          Selling your house runs more smoothly when you begin with a plan.

          Buyers have ample options when shopping for West Virginia real estate, so it's essential to present your listing in the most favorable light possible. Our real estate agents are here to help for selling your home, with six tips to make your home stand out in your local real estate market.

          • Clean Your Home, Remove Clutter, and Keep It Looking Great 
            A deep cleaning of your home – both indoors and outside – is an absolute must if you want to maximize the appeal of your property, and cleaning before you list will also make life easier when it's time to move. While you're cleaning, take the time to remove clutter as much as possible, whether you decide to store it, sell it, donate it, or toss it. Remember to keep the home clean throughout the sales process, so it will always be ready for buyers who want to visit.
          • Consider Curb Appeal for a Positive First Impression
            Buyers start forming an impression of your home the minute they arrive. Curb appeal is a crucial ingredient when you want your home to stand out from other Virginia homes for sale. Start by cleaning your yard, keeping the lawn cut, trimming trees, pruning shrubs, and removing any plant debris that has built up. If your home's exterior could use a boost, adding fresh landscaping features can be a cost-effective way to enhance curb appeal.
          • Fresh Paint and DIY Fixes
            When buyers visit a home, they will be looking for small indicators of how well you've taken care of the property. So if your home has any small maintenance issues, it's worth investing the time and effort necessary to fix them. While you're tackling maintenance issues, check whether any walls need a touch-up or a fresh coat of paint.
          • Highlight Areas Where You've Added Value 
            Have you made any improvements to the home that you feel deserve the attention of buyers? Perhaps you've added an area for entertaining guests outdoors, turned an unfinished basement into an attractive living space, or made improvements to the master bedroom/bathroom. While not every upgrade adds value in every buyer's eyes, it's well worth pointing out areas where you have upgraded the home.
          • Professional Photography Helps Your Home Stand Out Online
            With all of the work you've put into prepping your home for sale, you want to make sure that buyers get a great impression when they find your property online. Professional quality photography is a must for your online listing and will help buyers fall in love before visiting in person.
          • Pick the Right Price to Maximize Your Market
            Choosing the right price, based on a comparative market analysis (CMA) from your real estate agent, is one of the biggest keys to maximizing your home market. A price well above market value will scare off potential buyers, but you also don't want to leave money. Your real estate agent should be your number one resource for picking a price that will get your home sold.

          Sell Your Home

          The right real estate team can make your life so much easier when selling your home, and we're here to help with all of your real estate needs. Contact us to buy and sell homes in Eastern West Virginia and the Central Shenandoah Valley.

          July
          20

          Should You Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioner?

          Air Conditioner Home Maintenance
          Home Maintenance Help: Repair or Replace Your HVAC System

          Waking up on a hot summer night to a broken air conditioner is a nightmare. Unfortunately, HVAC malfunctions are common, and it's only a matter of time until your A/C unit is on the fritz.

          Although this may be an unavoidable issue, knowing whether you need to replace or repair your unit will help save you thousands of dollars. Our real estate agents believe that you should know which problems with your air conditioning unit may require a quick repair or a full replacement.

          • Old Age = Replace
            No appliance lives forever, including your powerful HVAC system. While you should be able to get 10-15 years out of you're A/C unit, systems that show malfunctions around the decade-mark generally will need replacing. Repairing an old machine may not be money well spent if the entire system kicks the bucket shortly after.

          • Warm Air = Repair
            An air conditioner that's blowing hot air is a problem, but thankfully, it's usually not a serious issue. In most cases, the warm air can be caused by a faulty compressor, low refrigerant, or a duct problem. These repairs are usually affordable and last for years to come.

          • Multiple Repairs = Replace
            Most units will need a handful of repairs over the years, even if you do have them serviced every year. While many small repairs are common, you should keep track of their frequency. If you've had to repair an element of your air-cooling unit once every year or two, you'll notice that these expenses quickly add up. It may be better to invest that repair budget into a new replacement system that won't give you trouble for a few years.

          • Minimal Air Flow = Repair
            Similar to warm airflow, a lack of airflow in certain sections of your home is another inconvenient problem. Thankfully, this is an issue that typically points to a problem with the compressor or the ductwork. HVAC technicians will usually identify the cause of interrupted airflow swiftly and perform a quick repair that will keep the cool air flowing for years.

          • Increase Utility Costs = Replace
            As your system ages, it loses efficiency, and thus, increases your utility bills. While it's not uncommon to see a small rise in your electric bill, you should be concerned about consistently increasing spikes in your monthly expense report. If your bill is inflated continuously year after year, a replacement A/C unit could save you hundreds instantaneously.

          • Strange Noises/Smells = Repair
            Odd noises or odors coming from the unit, both outside and inside, should be assessed immediately. Smells and sounds can be caused by multiple issues, including electrical problems or fungal growth that present health hazards to your family. Thankfully, if these issues are caught early, they can be resolved with an affordable repair.

          Whether you've just moved into one of our Virginia homes for sale or have owned your current home for years, it's wise to get your HVAC system inspected and maintained to prevent breakdowns and extend its lifecycle. Routine checkups will make it easier to identify and understand if the problem should be repaired or if the repair cost would be better spent on a new system.

          For assistance buying West Virginia homes for sale, contact us today!

          May
          11

          Where to Invest Your Remodeling Dollars?

          Remodeling Project That Pay You BankIf you're planning to sell your home soon, one of the best things you can do is invest your money in targeted renovations. Our REALTORS® have helped many clients find cost-effective ways to improve the sale price of a property – even just a few weeks before it goes to market.

          The caveat: When it comes to remodeling, not all projects are created equal!

          Market trends and other factors can play into whether your project could add a significant amount to your selling price. While some projects are very reliable, others come and go. A real estate pro can help you choose the best way to make the most of your budget.

          Consider these useful options:

          1. Slap On a New Coat of Paint
            Painting is one project you may be able to do yourself – and it can really pay off. Even when it doesn't have a major effect on selling price, it makes a great first impression. That can be the difference between getting an offer in the first week or waiting 30 days. Plan for both exterior and interior paintwork, but if you must choose just one, the exterior is the winner.
          2. Put In New Flooring
            New flooring can make a home look new and vibrant no matter its age. Worn-out carpets get dull and dingy, and even steam cleaning them might not restore them to their original look. Also pay attention to flooring in the kitchen and bathroom, which tend to have less square footage to cover but make a big impact whenever they're modernized.
          3. Refresh Countertops and Cabinets
            Countertops "frame" the kitchen and give an immediate indication of how up to date it is. That said, there are many different styles of countertops. Appearance and cost can vary widely. Before you decide on granite, laminate, or quartz, be sure to talk to your real estate agent about what buyers want. A mid-range countertop is often a better investment than a premium one.
          4. Replace Faucets, Fixtures, and Switch Plates
            It seems like a small detail, but fixtures are remarkably helpful in making bathrooms look their best. Equipping a whole home with new fixtures may run into the hundreds of dollars, but it is often worth it. Combined with cleaning, it prevents your sinks and tubs from showing their age.
          5. Update (Some) Kitchen Appliances
            Updating smaller appliances such as the microwave and toaster can be a surprising perk for your buyers. That's especially true if the newer elements beautifully match the larger elements in the room, such as the refrigerator, and complement the countertops and cabinets.
          6. Declutter
            You might not think of decluttering as a home renovation, but it really is that important. Remove about 30% of items from a home before you list it and leave closets about 50% empty. This makes a home seem more spacious and inviting. Moving items into storage can also help you work much faster when it's finally time to move into your next home.
          7. Perform Lawncare and Seeding
            Have a nice front lawn? You can recover several times the cost of some basic landscaping. Many of today's buyers are looking for enough space for dogs and kids alike to play. A professional can amplify your curb appeal with just a few hours of work. Also consider smaller touches – a wreath on the door, for example, or a path of decorative pavers leading up to the front step.

          Trends change, but Old Dominion Realty is always here to help you get the best deal for your home. To learn more about getting your property on the market, just contact us today.

          June
          20

          5 Great Ways to Add Personality and Value to Your Home

          Add Value to Your Home
          No matter if you're thinking of selling in the future or plan to put your home on the market in the next few days, our real estate agents want you to know there's never a wrong time to raise a home's value!

          You don't have to spend tens of thousands to get a return on your renovation projects. Many projects are inexpensive – some, you could do yourself with only the cost of supplies – and the right ones are eminently worthwhile.

          No matter what your timeframe looks like, you want to be sure you're making the right selections to make the most of your investment. Luckily, there are consistent winners that stay the same no matter what style trends are popular.

          Let's look at them now:

          1. Refurbish the Kitchen
            The kitchen is always the #1 place to add value to your home. Buyers will spend a lot of time in the kitchen and family gatherings tend to center around the kitchen and dining area. With that in mind, they'll be giving its current state a close look.

            You don't have to start over with a completely new kitchen to get the benefit of updating. New appliances are reasonably inexpensive and will stand out to your prospective buyers. Updating countertops and finishes will also add new life to the space.

          2. Upgrade the Bathroom
            The bathroom is another area people spend plenty of time in but don't often think about much.

            To maximize value, it's always best to add a second bathroom if you can. If this isn't feasible, though, you still have options. Small touches go a long way in the bathroom: Classy towel bars, new fixtures, and re-grouting your tile will revitalize things with much less hassle.

          3. Brighten Things Up
            Color is powerful, but lighting has the most profound effect on the psychology of a room.

            People are subconsciously tuned into lighting conditions at all times, even if they don't notice it. The brighter a room is, the bigger and more open it feels. In addition to installing brighter bulbs, you can also bring in airy curtains and drapes to optimize natural light.

            LED lighting is extremely inexpensive and energy efficient – plus, it generates a tiny fraction of the heat associated with older bulb styles. This gives you more potential to add new lighting, such as under-counter lighting in bathrooms and kitchens.

          4. Add a Coat of Paint
            Fresh paint is an ideal solution for bringing a house in line with today's styles. Since would-be buyers form their first impression based on the outside of your house, an exterior paint job is just as valuable as anything you decide to do on the inside.

            What about indoors? Neutral shades, focused on living areas that form early impressions and stick in buyers' minds, are the best bet. If there's not much time, zoom in on painting trim.

          5. Do Some Landscaping
            Depending on where you are, your front yard could be a huge asset for your home sale. Many people look forward to the ability to have a garden of their own, and the stock of housing that offers this space is not always ample – but green spaces must be neat and tidy.

            Dark-colored mulch can rejuvenate an outdoor area quickly. Replace cracked or broken paving stones and concrete paths, too: Damage makes it feel like the space will be a chore to care for.

          This is only a small sample of the many ways you could raise your home's value before it goes to market! Contact Old Dominion Realty today to find out more.

          Contact Old Dominion Realty

          September
          27

          How to Hire a Home Improvement Contractor

          How to Hire a Trustworthy Contractor for Your Home

          Home Improvement Contractor

          Hiring the right home improvement contractor is a big decision, and we've all heard the horror stories about what can go wrong when you hire a less-than-reputable contractor to complete important work on your home. While it's true that hiring the wrong contractor can lead to serious headaches, there are also plenty of home improvement success stories where everyone is happy once the job is finished. The trick is finding the right contractor, and finding a good match will require some research on your end. The good news is that trustworthy contractors usually share a few common traits, and knowing what to look for will help you make the right choice.

          Our team at Old Dominion Realty knows what it takes to hire a great home improvement contractor, and ahead we'll share our time-tested tips for finding the right person to work on your home.

          6 Tips for Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor 

          1. Easy Access – A good contractor will make time to speak with customers, and should return your first call quickly. If you need to call more than a couple times to make initial contact, that's not a great sign for the contractor's responsiveness if there are any issues down the line.
          2. Punctuality – Another simple but important indicator that reflects on a contractor's overall quality. If a contractor calls back or arrives for an estimate when they say they will, then there's a better chance they'll be punctual when it comes to getting the real work done.
          3. References – The process for hiring a contractor is actually similar to the process you'd use to hire a new employee at a business. In other words, you want someone with a proven track-record of success and reliability. You can start researching references before you even reach out to a contractor, by asking for referrals from nearby friends and relatives who have hired local contractors for home improvement work.
          4. Money Isn't Everything – When you're shopping around for the right contractor, there will always be at least one candidate offering to do the work at a price that seems too good to be true. Opting for the lowest bid may save a bit of money in the short-term, but it's likely to lead to higher, unexpected costs down the line. You don't need to choose the most expensive bid, but you don't want to choose the cheapest, either.
          5. Sign on the Dotted Line – Once you've found the right match, make sure you get a legally valid contract for the work you're having done. That way, if there are any complications with the project – or the contractor – you always have something to fall back on.
          6. Busy Isn't Bad – The best contractors will often have busy schedules, and may not be able to start on your project immediately. As long as they're responsive about returning calls and showing up for planned meetings, a busy schedule isn't a bad thing. It just means the contractor you've chosen is in-demand, and that's usually a good sign for the quality of their work.

          Contact Old Dominion Realty
          Hiring a home improvement contractor is always a big decision, but rest assured that there are plenty of good, honest contractors out there, as long as you're willing to put in a bit of effort to find them. Our list is simply a tool to help you filter out the less-than-desirable options. And if you're still searching for the perfect home to improve, don't worry! Just contact our team at Old Dominion Realty to buy a house or sell a home.

          June
          13

          How to Add Home Value with These Backyard Investments

          Add Home Value with Curb Appeal
          Whether you're preparing to sell your home or interested in adding value to it, look no further than your own backyard.  Getting started doesn't necessarily require a major investment because many backyard projects will fall comfortably in the DIY category for homeowners. Even if you have to hire a contractor, updating your backyard with the right additions will typically generate a solid return on your investment – both financially and in terms of curb appeal.

          Our team of REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty knows what catches the eye of home buyers, so we've gathered a collection of backyard curb appeal ideas that are sure to add value to your home.

          Outdoor Updates Add Major Curb Appeal and Value to Your Home

          Before we dive into the updates, it's time for a little tidying up. Literally. If your backyard has doubled as a storage space or your garden has seen better days, cleaning up is the perfect way to get started. It won't take much time, you can do it yourself, and it's always best to work from a nice, clean slate when updating your home's outdoor aesthetics. With that out of the way, you'll be ready to move ahead full-speed.

          • Outdoor Lighting – Just as it does inside, lighting makes a big difference in the visual appeal of your home's outdoor spaces. Adding outdoor lighting is also quite affordable, and the many solar-powered lighting options available make installation a breeze. Get started by scouting your lighting options online for inspiration, or visiting your favorite home improvement store.
          • Rustic Walkways – Another relatively simple update, adding walkways is an excellent way to boost your yard's visual appeal while also saving wear on your lawn. Slate walkways are still popular and have a classic look, while pavers are easy to install, with plenty of variety in shape, color, and size.
          • Outdoor Cooking – There's nothing like a backyard barbecue, and adding a dedicated cooking space provides a perfect excuse to fire up the grill regularly. You can opt for something simple like a grill enclosure on your patio, or even add a full outdoor kitchen if you're aiming to appeal to the luxury market.
          • Landscaping – There is a ton you can do to upgrade outdoor landscaping, so this is one place you can get creative with curb appeal ideas. Trees take time to mature, but add serious value if you plan to wait a bit before selling your home. For a more immediate upgrade, shrubs, flowers, and a healthy lawn are perfect. Sticking to plants that are native to your area will simplify maintenance, for you and your home's lucky buyer.
          • Just Add Water – If you're looking to create a peaceful, tranquil backyard atmosphere, a water feature will look great next to your updated landscaping. Adding a small pond or fountain won't take a major investment, either. Just remember to add a few nice chairs nearby for relaxation.
          • Decked Out – An outdoor deck or patio is the perfect place to spend a warm summer evening with friends and family. It's also an effective way to increase the value of your home. Most homeowners will want to call a contractor for this one, but there are few better ways to dramatically update the look of your yard.

          Contact Old Dominion Realty

          Upgrading your yard is a great start, and your REALTOR® will help you find shoppers who are ready to fall in love with your home's new look. Contact our team at Old Dominion Realty for more ideas and advice on selling your home.

          March
          18

          8 Spring Cleaning Tips for Home Sellers

          Polishing Your Home to Perfection

          House for Sale Spring Cleaning Tips

           

          Spring arrives on Sunday.  As we welcome warmer weather, you might be considering selling your home.  If you are a newcomer to the real estate market, you might not know where to start.  Not to worry…our team of REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty is filled with real estate wisdom when it comes to selling and buying homes.  We've created this simple, spring cleaning checklist that will add a little sparkle and shine to your home, helping it stand out from the crowd.

          1. Start with the Windows: Getting your windows in tip top condition should be at the top of your spring cleaning checklist. Clean windows let in more sunlight, making your home feel brighter and more beautiful. Mix an eco-friendly solution of 1 part white vinegar, 8 parts water and a drop of dishwashing liquid. Keep your windows streak free by using newspapers and washing windows on a cloudy day.

          2. Don't Ignore the Landscaping: Your home's first impression begins at the curb, meaning your yard needs to be as pretty as your home. Pay attention to the often-ignored yard chores or hire a professional landscaper for a spring spruce up. Rake up old leaves. Clean out flower beds and fill them in with new soil and fertilizer. Bring a smile to a buyer's face by adding in some pretty, fresh blooms.

          3. Freshen the Walls: In a well-loved house, our walls show the wear. Giving your walls some love goes a long way toward making your home look fresh and clean. If possible, consider a fresh coat of paint. At a minimum, wash the walls to get rid of grime and fingerprints. For best results, use an all-purpose cleaner and use a mop to scrub from the top of the walls to the bottom.

          4. Say Goodbye to Clutter: When you're preparing to sell, it is essential to make rooms look spacious and functional. Help your home put its best foot forward by making a whole-home organization plan. Clean out drawers, getting rid of junk. Clean out the fridge, giving it a good scrub down and tossing unwanted food. Untangle and hide unsightly electronic wires. Go through each room, eliminating unwanted items and furniture.

          5. Dust Frequently: Keep your home looking and smelling fresh with frequent dusting. Work from top to bottom, using a dust-trapping product. Start with ceiling molding and fan blades, working your way down to the furniture.

          6. Clean the Carpets: Cleaning the carpets should be on everyone's spring cleaning checklist. If you are planning to sell, removing deep down grime instantly makes the home feel refreshed.

          7. Vacuum, Vacuum, and Vacuum: When it comes to spring cleaning, your vacuum will quickly become your favorite tool. It is certainly is not just for the carpets. Use the vacuum to remove dust from the mattress, drapes, dust ruffles and upholstered furniture. Ensure your rugs and carpets look their best by using long, even strokes. Bonus tip: Make your bed, every morning!

          8. Give the Bathroom Attention Daily: Keep disinfecting wipes on hand, giving your bathroom a daily wipe down. Couple this with a good, weekly scrub and you will always be prepared for an unexpected showing. Bonus tip: clean tile grout and caulk around the tub. If it doesn't easily come clean, consider removing and replacing grout and caulk.

          Contact Old Dominion Realty


          Now that you've checked off your spring cleaning checklist and you are ready to sell your home, contact Old Dominion Realty today. Our team of REALTORS® in Virginia and West Virgina will help take you from "for sale" to "sold."

          October
          1

          Great Green Living Ideas for Your Home

          Kermit Was Wrong After All... It Is Easy Being Green!

          Kermit for green living
          Green living is a popular topic these days, and for good reason. We're better equipped than ever to see the benefits that environmentally friendly habits have on our surroundings, and there's a real public push toward greater efficiency at home. The real secret to the popularity of going green, however, is that it will also save you money. Ahead, we'll cover why that's the case, along with how you can take advantage of the environmental and financial benefits of green living.


          Going green is really about improving efficiency, so you can make the biggest early gains by targeting the home systems that are traditionally less efficient. Your heating and cooling system is the perfect place to start, because there are a few simple fixes that apply to nearly every home. The best part? Most of our green living tips are inexpensive to implement, and will be a boon to your budget long-term.

          Seal and Caulk

          • Feel a draft? Seal it up. Check areas in your home where outside air slips inside, and seal them with caulk or weather-stripping to prevent heat loss. Windows, doors, and vents are prime places to check.

          • When it's time to replace an old appliance – including your furnace, A/C unit, and water heater – make sure your new model is EnergyStar certified. Certified appliances are more efficient, and will save you money on energy bills.

          Compost for your garden

          • Look for creative ways to reuse items that you'd otherwise throw out. Food scraps make great compost for your garden, and old clothes turn into new rags. Using rags to clean will also help you limit paper towel use.

          • When shopping for furniture, look for gently used items instead of brand new. If you take the perfectly reasonable position of preferring new furniture, opt for brands with eco-friendly production standards.

          • We've all got a ton of gadgets, and all of those gadgets consume energy. When you're done using something, turn it off before you leave the room. Unplug your phone when it is fully charged, and don't plug it in again until you need to recharge.

          • Check your plumbing, and have any leaky items fixed as soon as possible. Save even more by choosing a low-flow shower head, which delivers the same cleaning power as a traditional shower head while using less water.

          Turn off lights

          • Turn off the lights when you leave a room, and choose energy efficient CFL bulbs instead of the less efficient incandescent models. Switching bulbs is an easy way to start going green, and many people choose it as a first step.


          Even just a few short years ago, it would have been hard to imagine saving the environment and saving money at the same time. Green living is more than a passing trend. It's here to stay, and you won't have to change your lifestyle to feel the benefits.

          Contact Old Dominion Realty


          Are you searching for the perfect home to create your own green-living oasis? Old Dominion Realty, serving Virginia and West Virginia, offers everything you need for a seamless home-buying experience. Contact our experienced REALTORS® for answers to all of your big questions, and begin the journey to your dream home.

          September
          17

          10 Fall Maintenance Musts for Your Home

          Use these easy fall maintenance projects to keep your house in peak condition throughout the winter months.

          Fall Maintenance Must Dos

          Autumn leaves are beautiful, but not when they clog your gutters.  Fall is an ideal time to tackle home maintenance projects to protect your largest investment now and save cash later.

          1. Clean the Gutters
            Ensure your home's gutters are clean before snowy weather begins to prevent ice dams and other roof damage. Water that melts from snow and ice on your roof needs a clear path to the ground. After cleaning the gutters, clear any obstructions from rainwater downspouts. Consider installing gutter guards.

          2. Prep your Furnace
            Fall is a great time to get your furnace ready for the winter heating season. Replace the air filter, have an HVAC professional inspect the system and ensure that it is clean and properly functioning.

            Fall Maintenance Chimney
          3. Check the Chimney
            Have your fireplace cleaned, inspected and repaired before you start using it to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.  If you plan to use the fireplace during the winter, store your firewood in the fall so it will be ready when the cold weather hits.

          4. Insulate the Home
            Is there an area of our home that is prone to drafts? While you are attending to fall home maintenance, take the time to ensure that your home's envelope is secure and well-sealed. You can find them by holding a lighted candle near windows and doors, watching for the flame to flicker. Replace seals and caulking or use window covering films if you have a draft problem.

            Fall Maintenance Leaves
          5. Remove Leaves
            Leaves will be easier to remove in the fall rather than waiting for them to decompose under the snow and cause damage to your lawn.

          6. Fertilize the Lawn
            Winter may be the dormant season for your lawn, but that does not mean it does not need to be fed. With proper winter fertilization, you can prevent winter damage and limit problems with spring weeds.

          7. Prep Winter Equipment
            If you expect snow this winter, take the time to prep your snow blower and restock winter essentials like sale and snow shovels.

            Fall Maintenance Sidewalks
          8. Repair Sidewalks and Driveways
            If you have cracks or similar problems on your sidewalks or driveway, they could get worse when exposed to freezing and thawing in the winter. Home maintenance in the fall can benefit from an attention to these problems.

          9. Winterize Irrigation Systems
            Do not let water freeze in the lines of your irrigation system. Have your sprinkler or other irrigation system drained and checked before winter weather hits.

          10. Prune Your Trees
            Finally, check your trees for dead or damaged limbs that could break when weighed down with snow or ice. If you notice any limbs close to your roof or power lines, trim them back before winter.

          Contact Old Dominion Realty
          Fall home maintenance ensures your home is ready for winter and all that snow and ice can do to your home. If you are prepping to buy or sell a home this fall, contact the team at Old Dominion Realty for help and advice as you start the real estate process.

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