Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 200

When you purchase a home, you are not only choosing where to live, you are making a financial investment as well. Home Equity  is the percentage of your home value that you own and with each mortgage payment you make you are contributing to your own financial savings.  The goal is to build up as much equity as you can so that when you sell your home, you will make a nice profit!  Here are some tips for building home equity:

- Take Out a 15-Year Mortgage Loan - It’s common for people to choose a 30-year mortgage because many believe a 15-year mortgage is out of their budget.  However, it can’t hurt to ask your mortgage lender to run the numbers to see if a 15-year mortgage is doable for you.  You might be surprised to discover that the shorter term is within reach.  Sticking to a Budget that allows you to pay off your house in half the time will build equity faster and will certainly pay off in the long run!

- Pay Down the Principal - Build equity faster by paying down your home loan quicker.  Even if you don’t have the ability to take out a 15-year mortgage, you can still make extra mortgage payments when you have the means to do so and the difference extra mortgage payments can make toward building equity are huge. If you make just one extra payment toward  Principal each year, you can potentially pay off your home loan seven or eight years ahead of schedule.  There are ways to do this without breaking your budget.  For example, you can use a tax refund or a work bonus.  Another way to do it is to simply add a small amount to your principal payment each month.

- Make a Larger Down Payment - Depending on your credit standing, you can qualify for a conventional mortgage loan with a down payment as low as 3%, and an FHA loan with a down payment as low as 3.5%.  While it’s tempting to buy a house with a low down payment so that you have more cash on hand, the pros of making a larger down payment may outweigh the cons. The larger the down payment, the faster you build equity.  The faster you build equity, the more profit you will make should you have to sell your home before paying it off.

- Make Improvements on Your Home - Making Home Improvements is a good way to add value to your property.  It’s important to educate yourself about what home improvements give you the best ROI (return on investment).  For example, per Chris Terrill, CEO of HomeAdvisor, “a minor kitchen remodel is one of the best investments homeowners can make.”  “Projects including refinishing cabinets, updating the countertops and installing new appliances all provide high return without breaking the bank.”  Other home improvements that add value to your property include replacing garage doors, adding a bedroom, updating a bathroom and installing new windows. And don’t underestimate the value of curb appeal!  A professionally landscaped yard will not only help with a quick sale; it can also add up to 20% to your home’s value!

Owning a home is likely the largest financial investment you will make, and the more equity you acquire, the more options you will have.  You can utilize your equity as a nest egg for the future or it can be used as a cash down payment on your next home.  Use these tips to build equity faster so you can build up your savings and enjoy this wonderful perk of home ownership!

If you’re thinking about selling or buying a home in the New River Valley area, contact professional, experienced Realtor Desi Sowers and let her assist you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call today at 540-320-1328!

Unless you plan to stay in a home for the rest of your life, resale value should be a major consideration when purchasing a house. Home-ownership is a huge financial investment and the goal should be to get as much monetary return as possible when you sell.  While you can’t always predict what the future holds for the real estate market, there are some basic guidelines for what kind of properties have good resale value.  Don’t make the error of focusing only on what you want when doing your home search.  Think about the following factors that will affect the resale value:

  1. LOCATION - This should be a primary consideration when looking for a home that will provide a good return on your investment.  A desirable location is likely to remain a hot market for home sales.  Think about the school district you will be in.  Even if you don’t have children in school, a top district will draw many buyers.  Different people will be looking for different things, but most buyers will want basically the same things from the location of their home.  Home Buying: Location Matters
  2. NUMBER OF BEDROOMS - A house with more than two bedrooms will sell faster and for a better price than one with only one or two bedrooms.  Even a couple with no children will want extra space for an office or guestroom (or both).
  3. NUMBER OF BATHROOMS - Buyers will expect to pay much less for a home with only one bathroom.  If people are choosing between a house with one bathroom and one with two, they will almost always be willing to spend a little extra to get that additional restroom.
  4. GATHERING SPACE - Buyers want a large, informal space for relaxing and entertaining family and friends.  You will get more value out of a spacious family room than you will out of a formal living room.  Large Family Room Ideas
  5. STORAGE - These days people have a lot of “stuff” and they need places to put it all.  Storage space, including closets, a pantry and loads of cabinets will improve the odds of getting high bids for your house. 
  6. GARAGE - People who live in suburban areas need places to park their cars.  A covered parking place or two is ideal.
  7. OPEN FLOORPAN - Buyers are looking for homes with open spaces and rooms that flow from one to the next.  A house with an Open Floorplan will improve your chances for a profitable resale.
  8. OVERALL CONDITION - A property that is well-cared for, updated and remodeled will greatly enhance resale value.  Focus on rooms that matter most to buyers - kitchens and bathrooms. Make sure everything is in good working order.  Some people might be looking for a fixer upper, but many buyers are willing to pay a premium for a move-in ready home.

If you’re thinking about selling or buying a home in the New River Valley area, contact professional, experienced Realtor Desi Sowers and let her assist you with all of your real estate needs. Give her a call today at 540-320-1328!

The 50-20-30 Rule - Learning to Live on a Budget

by Desi Sowers

If you are new to budgeting, managing your money may seem complicated and overwhelming.  You not only have to be organized, but you must make challenging decisions about how to spend your money.  But there is good news for you.  You don’t need fancy financial apps on your phone or extensive spreadsheets with dozens of categories of spending to see how your money is being spent.  You simply need to follow the 50-20-30 rule!

The 50-20-30 rule assists you in building a budget by using three spending categories. 

  1. 50% of your income should go to living expenses and essentials including rent, utilities, groceries and transportation.
  2. 20% should go to savings, investments and Debt Reduction payments.
  3. 30% of your income should be used for flexible spending. This includes everything you buy that you want, but don’t necessarily need such as travel, going out to movies etc.

Remember that the percentages for essentials and flexible spending are the maximum amounts you should spend.  If you use less income in these categories, you will have more to put into your other financial goals.

Here is how to start the 50-20-30 budget. First, determine exactly how much money you bring home each month.  This will be the amount you will base your 50-20-30 split on.  Then Track Your Spending. Every penny of it, from your rent payment down to the coffee you stop for on the way to work in the morning.  As you are analyzing your spending, split it into the 50-20-30 categories.  Once you see what you are spending where, you can make the needed adjustments to ensure you are falling into the 50-20-30 parameters.  If you find you are spending too much on things that you want but don’t need, that’s when it is time to cut back.

The 50-20-30 rule works because it provides a simple way to track your spending so that you can pay your bills, add to your savings and have money left over for fun stuff.  It keeps you on the straight and narrow so that you can begin to meet your financial goals.  If you stay the course, you will eventually achieve financial stability.

Have you been saving to become a homeowner?  If you are thinking of purchasing a home, contact experienced, professional Realtor Desi Sowers and let her assist you with all your real estate needs!  Call her today at 540-320-1328!

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

Dog Lovers Unite! How to Find a Dog-Friendly Neighborhood

by Desi Sowers

When searching for your new home you want to make sure the neighborhood is a good fit for everyone in the family, including your pup. You will likely be looking for a nice yard, but it’s important to look beyond the property line. The type of neighborhood you end up in can make a huge difference in the quality of life for you and your fur babies. Here are a few signs that you have found a dog friendly environment:

- There are more groomers in a two-mile radius than hair salons…walk in appointments welcome!

- Restaurants and shops have water bowls and treats for visiting pups.

- Pet waste stations are abundant.

- The local dog park is always busy with happy pooches frolicking with friends.

Here are some more serious things to think about when considering the home and neighborhood that will work best for you and your pets:

- NEIGHBORS WITH DOGS.  They will be more understanding if your dog occasionally barks and are more likely to be helpful should you need someone to let your dog out or walk them while you are away from the house.

PET SHOPS.  Areas with a lot of pets mean that there will be pet shops conveniently available.

- SIDEWALKS. A neighborhood with sidewalks is idea for dog-walking.  Bonus point if they have waste stations too.

DOG PARKS. These are especially nice for urban areas. Check if there are off-leash hours or dog runs, or at least grassy areas where pups can run and play.

- MEET-UP GROUPS. Check and see if there are local meet-up groups available for playdates with other families with dogs. This is a great way for you to make friends as well!

If you are looking to move to the New River Valley area and want to find a pet friendly neighborhood, contact Desi Sowers at 540-320-1328 to start your home search today!

Photo Credit: thespruce.com

New River Valley VA Real Estate 200 Hagan Street Christiansburg VA 24073
 
 
 
View the Tour

 

Pack your things and get ready to move! Here is your chance to live in a charming Bungalow with in-town conveniences. An inviting covered porch overlooking nearly a half-acre sets the scene for this sparkling move-in ready home. One lucky buyer will enjoy glistening refinished hardwood floors, neutral paint colors, sun drenched rooms, built-in’s, French doors, vinyl windows and the pride of home ownership! A bright kitchen offers ample cabinet and counter space plus an adjoining breakfast area that is just waiting for a family to make memories. Main level master and two upper bedrooms for a dreamy night’s rest. Large unfinished basement includes a laundry area, outside access and plenty of storage. Gorgeous lot with mature trees, garden area and storage shed. Ready set go, first time home buyers this is the home you have been looking for.

You don’t have to just visit; you can live here and enjoy Virginia’s growing economy and vacation-like lifestyle! With easy access to I-81 you can appreciate a prime example of why New River Valley VA is such a desired place to live and play.

Desi Sowers has distinguished herself as a leader in the New River Valley real estate market. Desi assists buyers looking for New River Valley real estate for sale and aggressively markets New River Valley homes for sale.

Desi brings with her a keen eye for the details of buying or selling a New River Valley home and seemingly boundless determination and energy, which is why her clients benefit from her unique brand of real estate service. Rooted in Tradition, focused on the Future – Desi Sowers will help make the most of your New River Valley real estate experience. Give her a call today, 540-320-1328, and discover the difference she can make during your family's move.

Pool Ownership - Love It or Leave It?

by Desi Sowers

Summer is almost here and it is getting hotter with every passing day.  There is nothing more refreshing on a steamy summer day than slipping into the coolness of a swimming pool.  The idea of having a swimming pool in your own backyard sounds very appealing, but before you decide to install one, take some time to learn the pros and cons of pool ownership.

Pros:

  • Family Time - What better way to spend a hot summer day than playing in the pool with your family?  Spending time with family is one of the biggest reasons people get pools.  Gathering your family together in the heat of summer to sit around inside your home isn’t half as much fun as swimming and being around the pool together.  A swimming pool provides activity and fun for families. 17 Swimming Pool Games for Kids This Summer
  • Entertainment - Many people enjoy hosting backyard cookouts during the summer months. Having a pool makes cookouts even better.  A pool will keep your guests cool and entertained.  Celebrating special occasions poolside makes them more fun!
  • Lifestyle & Convenience -  Being able to walk out your back door and relax by the pool is another reason why pools continue to be a popular choice for homeowners.  Going to a public pool isn’t always relaxing.  First, you must pack up everything you’ll need for the day - towels, books/magazines, water, snacks/lunch, goggles, pool toys etc.  Once you get that all in the car, you have to drive to the pool, find a parking place and lug all that stuff into the pool area. Then hopefully you find a chair (or if you brought your kids, two or more chairs together).  Once you finally settle in and open your book, relaxation may not come easy at a crowded pool with loads of screaming children splashing and playing around you.  Now, imagine simply stepping out your back door with book, towel and drink in hand, lying in a comfy chair, and enjoying a quiet day of reading and cooling off in the crystal water of your own pool.  Sounds pretty spectacular to me! 
  • Aesthetics - A pool makes a beautiful centerpiece for the backyard.  With attractive landscaping and lovely patio furniture, a sparkling pool can become the crown jewel of your outdoor living space.17 Swimming Pools That Make us Wish that Year-Round Summer Was a Thing
  • Health - An increasingly popular reason to own a swimming pool is for physical activity. Swimming has been a favorite form of recreational activity for a long time.  Whether you do lap swimming or water aerobics, physical activity in the pool can help you stay in shape while also being easy on your joints. 

Cons:

  • Time - If you already live a busy lifestyle and you are rarely at home, a swimming pool is probably not for you.  There is no point in having something that you are not going to use.
  • Lifestyle -  Many people think “if only I had a pool, I would use it all the time!”. And maybe you would. Maybe you would stay home more often and exercise more.  But you must be realistic.  Just like having a pair of running shoes doesn’t make you a runner, having a pool might not make you change your current lifestyle.  And you can’t hide your pool in your closet.  Before installing a pool, give a lot of thought as to whether you will use it enough to make it worthwhile so that you don’t end up with buyers’ remorse.
  • Money - Installing and owning a swimming pool means spending some money.  Most people will finance their pool, so you have to budget for the monthly payments.  Also, there will be costs for upkeep.  There will be monthly chemical and utility costs.  If you don’t think you will use the pool enough or that you will want to spend that money elsewhere, purchasing a swimming pool is probably not a wise financial move.
  • Upkeep - Pools don’t take care of themselves.  They have to be cleaned and maintained regularly.  At the beginning of summer, you have to “open” your pool and at the end of the season you must “close” it.  It’s a lot of work.  You are either going to have to do that work yourself, or you’re going to have to hire someone to do it. Either way, you need to decide if you will use the pool enough to make it worth it. Pool Maintenance 101

Getting a pool is a big expense, so carefully think through the pros and cons before having one installed!

If you are in the market for a new home in the New River Valley area and you would like a home that already has a swimming pool, Desi Sowers can help you find it!  Give her a call at 540-320-1328 and let her assist you in finding your dream home today!

Photo Credit: houselogic.com

When choosing a new home, there are usually several items on the buyer’s list of priorities, but when kids are involved, school systems often top that list. According to the latest National Association of Realtors’ "Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers", more than half of all homebuyers with children under 18 years of age rate the quality of the local school district as a major factor influencing their choice of neighborhood.  People are often willing to pay more and sacrifice other desires to make sure they are in the best school district for their children. Private Schools may be a feasible alternative for some, but that is not the case for many. Even if buyers don’t have children (or plan to have them), they may still want to buy in where the schools have the best reputation because it will have a positive effect on resale value down the road. But keep in mind, that may mean that available homes in that area will harder to come by and might be more expensive than comparable homes in other areas. It’s also important to note though, that a poorly ranked school district does not automatically mean that the overall quality of local education in an area is poor.  You must do your research.  Consider the age of the schools, their physical condition, the student-to-teacher ratios and standardized test scores.  Understanding how the school system works in the New River Valley will be helpful in your search as well. Information is readily available online, but the best thing to do is to talk to someone who knows the area well. If you’re relocating to the New River Valley area,  Desi Sowers can not only help you find the perfect home, she can help you find the perfect home in the right school district!

Desi Sowers is an award-winning Realtor with over a decade of experience helping clients buy and sell homes in the New River Valley.  Call her at 540-320-1328 and start your home search today!!

Photo Credit: sheknows.com

Now is a Great Time to be a Move-Up Homebuyer!

by Desi Sowers

We hear a lot about people downsizing and simplifying, but if you are looking for a larger home, now is a great time to sell your smaller home and move up to something that better suits your wants and needs.  Perhaps you have a growing family and need more space, or an additional income-earner has joined your household or maybe you have enough equity in your current home that you can now afford your dream home. Whatever the reason,movin’ on up is an exciting prospect!

Ok, now let’s contain that excitement a bit and think about what it means to purchase a more expensive house.  First, just because you can afford something on paper, doesn’t mean you should commit all your resources to the most expensive property on your radar.  It would behoove you to take a thorough look at your current budget and then play with the numbers a bit to determine how much more you’re willing to spend each month on a higher mortgage payment.  A dream house is wonderful, but being house-poor is not.  Think about your lifestyle and don’t make the mistake of getting into a financial bind that doesn’t allow you to do the activities you enjoy.

When financing your new home, you have a couple of options.  If you haven’t sold your current home yet, you can choose a Home Equity Loan or a Bridge Loan to make the down payment on the new home.  A home equity loan allows you to borrow against your current home’s equity and is usually less expensive than other loans.  A bridge loan is a short-term loan that is used until you can obtain permanent financing.  Because they are short term, the interest rates on them will be relatively high.

Before you put your house on the market and commit to purchasing a new one, educate yourself about the prices of houses in the areas where you will be selling and buying. Whether it’s a buyer’s market or a seller’s market, a Professional Realtor will be able to assist you in navigating the process.  The goal is to sell high and buy low, and in today’s market that is an achievable dream!

Contact Desi Sowers at 540-320-1328 and let her help you list your current home and find your dream house today!

It’s a challenging time to purchase a home this spring because you not only have to find a property you want; you must also beat out all the other homebuyers who want to make an offer on it as well.  It is a Sellers' Market right now and that means supply is low and demand is high. This is especially true in the price ranges desired by first time homebuyers. The latest figures from the National Association of Realtors show that that there was only a 3.4-month supply of homes for sale in February, which is lower than the six-month supply that indicates a balanced market that equally benefits buyers and sellers.

So, home sales are moving quickly and often have multiple offers.  That means you need to be strategic to get into the home of your dreams.  Going to open houses and perusing listings is not enough to acquire the house you want in this market.

Seeking out an experienced Realtor to assist you in your search is vital to your success in buying a home this spring.  Realtors can help you with everything from finding properties, to placing appropriate offers and negotiating terms.   Knowing what is most important to sellers is key to winning a bidding war.  A good agent will know what motivates sellers.

Take the following steps to prepare and you will have a better chance at success:

  • Get your finances in order and shop for a Mortgage Pre-Approval prior to making an offer on a house.
  • Move quickly once you find the house you want.
  • Don’t make snap judgements based on listing photos. You must see a home in person to know if you truly love it or hate it.  Pictures do not tell the whole story!
  • Be realistic about the inspection and repairs.  In a competitive market, owners don’t need to make repairs to sell.  Inspections should be utilized to find major flaws that may be deal breakers for prospective buyers.
  • Start with your best offer. A competitive market is not the right market for negotiating a bargain.
  • Write a personal letter to the seller. You never know what might influence their decision.  Some homeowner love their house so much they want it to go to someone who will love it as much as they do.
  • Make a big earnest money deposit. A large deposit will let sellers know that you are serious about the purchase.
  • Make a backup offer. Even if a house is already under contract, the deal might still possibly fall apart for various reasons such as inspection issues or financing.  If you love a house, put a backup offer on it so that you will be first in line if the initial buyer walks away.
  • Consider waiving or shortening contingencies. Most offers are made contingent on the buyer being approved for a mortgage, the appraisal being equal to the purchase price and the buyer approving the inspection. Waiving any one of those contingencies can be risky, but may be worth taking a chance on in some circumstances.

Desi Sowers is an experienced, professional Realtor serving the New River Valley area in Virginia. If you’re looking to buy a home here, give her a call at 540-320-1328 and let her help you navigate this sellers’ market and successfully purchase the home of your dreams!

It’s Cookout Time! How to Clean Your Gas Grill

by Desi Sowers

Spring has sprung and for many families, that means it’s cookout time!  One of the best things about cooking out on the grill is that there are fewer pots and pans to wash than with stovetop cooking.  While you don’t have to scrub down your gas grill to shiny perfection after each use, it is important to give it a deep clean every now and then to make sure it runs safely and efficiently.  Here’s how!

  • Gather your cleaning supplies - You may want to use gloves and you will need a grill brush or some other type of cleaning brush.  You will also need old cleaning rags or paper towels, a bristle brush or putty knife, and soap and water.
     
  • Turn off the gas supply - This is very important!  Make sure the gas supply is turned off or play it extra safe and remove the gas tank from the grill while cleaning it.
     
  • Remove the grill grates - Pull them out so you can give them a thorough cleaning. Scrub them with a grill brush or other coarse brush.
     
  • Clean anything covering the burners - Remove any V-shaped metal heat tents, ceramic briquettes, or lava stones that cover the burners and brush them clean.  You will want all the Gas Grill Parts to be spic and span.
     
  • Clean the burner tubes - Lightly brush the burner tubes and make sure all the gas ports are clean and open.
     
  • Clean the bottom of the grill and the lid - Brush or wipe any debris out of the bottom of the grill. If there is peeling black stuff (usually carbon flakes and grease) on the grill lid or bottom, use a bristle brush or putty knife to scrape it off
     
  • Clean the grease collection tray - Use soap and water to clean the grease collection tray and replace any disposable pans as needed.  Make sure to dispose of grease properly - pour it into an empty can or bottle, wait for it to harden, then throw the whole thing away.
     
  • Wipe down the outside of the grill - With a rag or paper towel, wipe down the outside of the grill and any side trays using soap and water.
     
  • Put the grill back together - Now you’re ready for a cookout!!

Are you looking for a home with a great outdoor space for cookouts?  Desi Sowers is an experienced Realtor who can help you find just what you’re looking for. Give her a call at 540-320-1328 today!

Photo Credit: doityourself.com

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 200

Syndication

Categories

Archives

Each Office Independently Owned and Operated