Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 254

You’re putting your house on the market and the idea is to MAKE money, not spend it.  But there are costs involved when selling a home that you might not anticipate.  Don’t let yourself be blindsided by these unexpected expenses:

  1. Utilities: Keeping your utilities running until closing is a good idea.  Not only does it allow the Realtor to show that the home is fully operational, it also helps prevent other possible issues. For example, during hot, summer months having the A/C on will help to keep the home mold-free.  And of course, you want the utilities on for the buyer’s final walk through.  Your Realtor can help you decide when it is the right day to have the utilities turned off.
  2. Renovations & Repairs: Before putting your home on the market, you need to budget for any renovations and/or repairs that will need to be done.  Walls looking drab?  They will need a fresh coat of paint.  Stains on the carpet? You’ll want to give it a good steam cleaning.  There may be a lot of little things that need to be done, or there might be one or two major projects.  Either way, you’ll want to be prepared for the costs involved. Before getting started, do your homework and find out which home improvements get the best return on investment. 6 Home Renovations That Return the Most at Resale
  3. Seller Credits to Buyer: If you don’t want to deal with repairs or renovations, it is possible to extend a seller credit to the buyer to compensate for the cost of fixing up the house. These credits are a loan option that allows buyers to finance their closing costs and, thus, purchase the home with less cash down. But be aware that lenders cap the credit amount that a seller can extend to a buyer at 3% to 6% of the total mortgage.
  4. Staging Costs: When your house is on the market, you want it to get as much exposure to potential buyers as possible.  You will need to not only stage your home, but digital staging services will be needed as well.  Great pictures and/or videos and descriptions of your home online are one of the most efficient ways to reach potential buyers. You may need to hire a professional home stager as well as someone to take care of the digital staging services.  Costs to do this can range from a couple of hundred dollars to $5,000 or more, depending on what you request. Sellers: The Benefits of Staging Your Home
  5. Agent Commissions: Realtors are paid on commission.  They usually get 5 to 6 percent of the home’s sale price.  Generally, commission is split between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent.  The home seller typically pays the commission fee, and therefore should take that into consideration when determining the asking price.
  6. Moving Costs: Make sure you include moving expenses in your budget when selling your house.  Hopefully you will get your asking price and make a nice profit on your home sale, but you should be prepared to cover your moving costs even if the house sells for less than you hope.

So, if you are planning to put your house on the market in 2019, now is the time to start planning for the extra costs involved.  An experienced Realtor like Desi Sowers can assist you in figuring out the right asking price for your home to help cover all your expenses. If you are thinking about buying and/or selling a home in the New River Valley area, contact Desi today at 540-320-1328 and let her assist you with all your real estate needs!

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Happy Veteran's Day!

by Desi Sowers

Preparing for Cozy Nights Around the Fire

by Desi Sowers

This past weekend we fell back to standard time which means the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer.  It also means that the weather is getting cooler.  There is nothing more comforting on a cold night than getting cozy around a roaring fire in the fireplace.  But before you do that, there are some fireplace maintenance and safety tips you should be aware of:

For wood-burning fireplaces

     - If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you need to get your chimney inspected by a licensed professional prior to lighting your first fire of the season.  Remember that safety is the top priority when using a fireplace. The Facts About Chimney Fires

     - Next you need to get your fireplace ready for use.  If there are any ashes leftover from last year, clean them out with a broom. Make sure that the damper is open and working properly.

     - Gather and prep the logs you are going to use.  Seasoned hardwood that has been split and dried for at least six month; even better if it’s been a year.  You will know it’s seasoned hardwood if it’s dark and cracked at the ends and makes a hollow sound when knocked together.  Prepare for a long-lasting fire by placing a rolled=up ball of newspaper beneath the grates. Then lay narrow pieces of finely split wood in a crisscross pattern on the grates.  To finish up, stack one to three dry logs over the kindling. How to Choose the Best Firewood for Your Needs

     - Now it’s time to prime the flue.  This is to heat up the cold air inside the flue so that smoke doesn’t back up into your house.  Before you light the fire, light a tightly rolled-up sheet of newspaper, and hold it toward the open damper.  Leave it there for a couple of minutes until you see smoke going up the flue.

     - Come on baby light your fire!  Now you are ready to get that roaring fire going so you can relax and enjoy it!  If the fire starts to wane, gently fan the flames with folded newspaper or use a poker to get the air flowing again.  Use tongs to add logs as needed to provide more fuel.

     - One of the most important thing you must do for safety is to make sure the fire has gone completely out before you go to be for the night.  If your fireplace has metal or glass doors, close them after the fire is out.

For gas fireplaces

     - Take a look at your owner’s manual just got give yourself a reminder of the basic cleaning and maintenance needed to keep your fireplace functional and safe.  Remember that different fireplace models may require different types of cleaning and maintenance.

     - Examine the outdoor vent.  During the off season your fireplace vent can become clogged with debris.  If the vent is clogged and you light a fire, you risk not having a fire hazard, but also having unsafe amounts of carbon monoxide levels in your home.  Clear away any cobwebs, leaves or other debris that in in the vent. If it appears that there have been pests living in the vent, you may need to call a pest control professional to come out and address it. Troubleshooting a Direct Vent Fireplace

     - Check your glass covering for any cracks or chips that might weaken it or allow harmful gases into your home.  Remember that the enclosure helps regulate carbon monoxide when the fireplace is on.  Tighten any hinges that might have loosened to make sure the glass closes securely over the fireplace.

     - Clean the internal elements of the fireplace.  The ceramic log, rocks, or beads in your gas fireplace can become dusty while not being used. This can create an unpleasant burning smell when you start a fire. How to Clean a Gas Fireplace

     - Dust the blower. The electric blower in your fireplace helps circulate warm air throughout your home.  It can become dirty during the summer and needs to be cleaned to run more efficiently.

     - Inspect your pilot light to make sure there are no loose or exposed wires.  If you do see issues, have a professional come to assess the problem before you turn the pilot light on.

     - If you’re not comfortable with your own assessment of your gas fireplace, schedule a professional inspection.  And inspection can help identify problems such as gas leaks or broken sensors. 

Whether you have a wood burning or gas fireplace, just remember SAFETY FIRST!  Then, make some hot chocolate, grab a good book, and cozy up by the crackling fire for warm, comforting relaxation!

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!

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Don't Forget to "Fall Back" this Weekend!

by Desi Sowers

Happy Halloween!

by Desi Sowers

Horrific Halloween Treats - Take a Bite if You Dare!

by Desi Sowers

When hosting a spooky Halloween soirée, it’s all the more frightening and fun if the food you serve is tasty AND terrifying!  Imagine, if you will, an ominous room lit only by candlelight with a table filled with guts and brains and…well, you get the picture.  Check out these recipes for creepy cuisine that will have your guests screaming with delight! (Click on links for recipes)

Witches' Finger Cookies with Red Velvet Hot Chocolate Blood - Fun to make and sure to give your guests a fright, these buttery cookies dipped in red velvet hot chocolate are both disgusting and delicious! 

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If you’re serving Witches’ Fingers, they will be complemented nicely by Monster Toes!  Made using cocktail franks with mustard toes and ketchup blood, even the pickiest of little ghosts and goblins will eat them up!

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Looks like body parts will be a big part of the menu on Halloween.  How about some Monster Mouths!  These deliciously devilish goodies combine apples, sweetened cream cheese and almonds for a taste little monsters won’t be able to resist!

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Eyeballs anyone?!  Oreo Eyeball Cookies are easy peasy and fun to make and super yummy to eat. Even little witches and wizards can help make these treats for your spooky soirée!

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No haunted house is complete without a black cat and every cat needs a litter box.  So how about serving up a delectable Kitty Litter Cake.  It might look gross, but it tastes fantastic!  Let your guests scoop up some with an actual kitty litter scooper for a truly authentic experience!

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No haunted dinner party would be complete without the pièce de résistance - Ribs & Guts!  Tasty ribs and savory sausages make up the torso of a very unlucky fellow that won’t be joining you for dinner tonight!

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So, invite your guests to enjoy a frightening feast this Halloween!  Muahahahaha!  Happy Halloween!

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!

Buying a Home During the Holiday Season

by Desi Sowers

The holiday season is just around the corner, and with everything that goes on this time of year, you may think that buying a house right now would be crazy!  But, really, there are a lot of reasons it makes sense to buy a house at the year’s end.  So, if you’ve been contemplating the purchase of a home, but thought you should put your search on hold for the holidays, here are some reasons why you should consider the holidays a great time to buy!

  1. THERE IS LESS COMPETITION - If you’ve been keeping up with the real estate market, you already know that right now there is a shortage of homes for sale. That means that sellers are often fielding several offers for their homes. But, since most people probably think this is a bad time of year to buy a home and move, that means there will be fewer buyers and fewer people making offers on homes.  You might actually get a great deal if a seller needs to be out of their house by the end of the year and you are the only one making an offer!
  2. MOTIVATED SELLERS - Let’s face it… nobody really wants to move during the holidays. But sometimes it can’t be helped.  It’s likely that people who are selling their home over the holidays are highly motivated to do so.  If you have a motivated seller combined with less competition from other buyers, chances are you are going to get a great deal on a home! A Home Buyer's Guide to Motivated Sellers
  3. MOTIVATED AGENTS - With less activity in the market this time of year, Realtors will be dealing with fewer clients.  This means they will have more time to devote to you and your search for the perfect home.  Also, getting a sales commission before year’s end is sure to be a motivating factor to bring your purchase to completion.
  4. LOWER INTEREST RATES - With Interest Rates Projected to Increase in 2019, now is the time to get that mortgage and save some money.  It might not seem like much, but may be surprised to discover how much you save over the life of your mortgage with just a small difference in the interest rate.
  5. LOWER PRICES - In addition to a lower interest rate, you will find that some people drop home prices when selling during the holidays.  This goes back to that “motivated seller” who really needs to move before the end of the year.  Historically, December has lower home prices than any other month.  There is no guarantee that home prices will drop, but it’s worth talking to a professional Realtor about the local market.
  6. FASTER CLOSINGS -  Generally, all the people involved in a real estate transaction want it done before year’s end.  As a buyer, you want to be settled in your new home and sellers certainly want to be moved and in their new homes as well.  Lenders want to include the loan in their current year’s books. And Realtors want to include their commissions on the current year’s income.  If you do your part and have all your paper work in order, your closing will be as quick and smooth as possible.

So, the moral of this story is…if you’re thinking of buying a house, you don’t have to wait!  Now is a great time to buy!  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!

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Farm to Table Dining in the New River Valley

by Desi Sowers

Farm-to-table is a social movement which promotes serving locally produced food at restaurants and school cafeterias.  Food is acquired directly from its original sources including wineries, breweries, ranches, fisheries along with farms.  Farm-to-table often provides food traceability so that you know where your food comes from.  Participants in the movement often reject conventional agricultural practices.  They embrace sustainable agriculture, organic farming, free range animal husbandry and fair trade.  They oppose genetically modified food and animals treated with antibiotics and hormones to make them grow more quickly.

General changes in attitudes about food safety and freshness have occurred at the same time as the farm-to-table movement. People are motivated by the lack of fresh, local ingredients, the poor flavor of ingredients shipped from afar and the poor nutritional integrity of shipped ingredients.  They want to bring back small family farms and ingredients that are organic and not genetically modified.

Many people today want to eat healthier…to BE healthier. If you are interested in farm-to-table dining, there are several places in the New River Valley area that offer this fresh, healthy alternative to traditional restaurants. Here are just a few:

Preston's Restaurant in Blacksburg prides itself on offering regional and seasonal cuisine coming straight from the farms and seas of Virginia.  They use the freshest food and ingredients including Black Angus beef pasture raised on the hills surrounding Va. Tech and seafood caught in the Chesapeake Bay.  Serving up delectable dishes with a southern flare, the offer a dining experience you won’t want to miss!

The Palisades Restaurant in Eggleston, VA offers a combination of southern hospitality and sophisticated cuisine. Located in unique, country side setting of the former Pyne’s General Store, this neighborhood restaurant gets most of its pork, beef, trout and produce from right here in the New River Valley. That means you are getting the freshest of ingredients while also supporting the local economy!

The Till & Grill Food Truck’s mottos is “from our farm to your fork”.  This farm to food truck venture started in 2016 with an idea to bring sustainably grown, healthy, local food to more mainstream audiences. Their goal is to serve the best tasting, freshest food and to that they get their food right off their own sustainable farm based in Christiansburg, VA. They also source from other farms in the New River Valley. They can be hired to cater weddings and special events, and the truck can be found weekly at various locations around the New River Valley.

So, if you’re looking to start eating healthier, check out these farm-to-table establishments for wholesome, nutritional and delicious food!

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!

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Making Small Spaces Work for You

by Desi Sowers

Downsizing and simplifying can be a wonderful thing. There are many Benefits of Downsizing Your Home. First, it costs less money…which frees up funds for other things you enjoy like travel and hobbies.  And the peace of mind that comes with living within your means is priceless.  Also, with less space, there is less to clean.  And less cleaning means more time for fun and relaxation.  But sometimes it can be challenging to fit everything you need (and want) into a home with limited square footage.  Don’t despair!  Not only can you make it all fit, you can do it with style and create a comfortable, cozy home that suits all your needs.  Here are some clever ideas for making the most of small spaces:

- Make everything seem bigger by painting walls in light colors. 

- Use small scale furniture rather than large, overstuffed pieces that will overwhelm the room.

- Use mirrors to create the illusion of more space.  One mirror will make an impression, but two facing each other will make a bigger impact by amplifying the semblance of added area and light.

- If you’re thinking of doing any renovations, consider adding a bay window. Not only will it maximize square footage, but it will provide the added bonus of flooding the house with natural light.

- Keep things simple.  Clean lines make things feel streamlined and give the impression of openness.

- Take advantage of high ceilings by going vertical with cabinetry.  Not only will it draw the eyes up and away from the limited counter space, but it will also provide maximum storage.

- Continue thinking up and not out by utilizing tall bookshelves.

- Use furniture pieces that serve more than one purpose. Clever Multipurpose Furniture That's Perfect for Small Spaces

- Got stairs?  Don’t let the area underneath them go to waste.  There are great options for creating extra storage that will be functional and look great too. 12 Creative Ways to Use the Space Under Your Stairs

- If you’re going to hang curtains, hang them as high as you can to make the ceilings seem higher. In addition, extend the rods about 4 inches on either side to make windows seem wider and to allow more light in when they are open.

Downsizing and simplifying will make you realize that less really IS more, but it doesn’t mean you must sacrifice style and comfort!

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!

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Mountain views in a peaceful country setting await the lucky buyer of this Belspring cottage. Neat, clean and move in ready with fresh paint, new carpet, trendy light fixtures plus many additional improvements. Nestled on fenced acre lot with a covered front porch setting the scene for relaxing everyday living. Inviting living room with big window views is the perfect place to entertain. The kitchen flows easily into the living area and offers a French door refrigerator, electric range, dishwasher, an abundance of cabinet space plus a serving bar. Comfortable main level living with a master suite, bedroom two, second bath and a laundry room. Additional large bedroom upstairs overlooks this picturesque setting. Keep your outdoor toys out of the elements with unfinished basement space, a garage and storage building. Convenient access to schools, shopping and dining. Pack your bags, this one is a winner and ready for you. View The Floor Plan


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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.

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