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Spruce Up Your Curb Appeal Without Breaking the Bank!

by Desi Sowers

When selling a home, curb appeal is one of the most important factors in attracting buyers.  Your yard and the front of your home are the first thing they will see, and while nobody should judge a book by its cover, many people do. The appearance of the outside of the home can determine if a potential buyer will even be willing to look at the inside.  So, attractive curb appeal is vital to getting your home sold.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get great curb appeal.  There are many small, inexpensive home improvements that can be done to create a look that will impress!

  • Give a fresh coat of paint to the front door, trim or shutters.

Nothing will brighten up your home’s façade like a bright, fresh coat of paint!Costing only about $30 a gallon you can get a lot of bang for your buck.Choose a bold hue that will stand out, while still complementing the overall color of your home.

25 + Front Door Colors and Ideas for the Prettiest House on the Block

  • Add some creative new house numbers.

Installing some new house numbers will not only look good, it will also make it easy to find! Be creative and utilize materials that will match the finish of your exterior light fixtures.Make sure the numbers stand out!

  • Change exterior lighting.

If your light fixtures are looking shabby, it’s time to replace them. Consider the design of your home and look for fixtures that add both function and style. Save yourself some time by using fixtures that have the same mounting system as the ones you will be removing.

  • Replace your mailbox.

Whether your mailbox is by the road or attached to your house, it can either add to or take away from your curb appeal depending on how it looks.You can find a new mailbox for as little as $20.This quick project will go a long way toward improving the look of your home.Just make sure you are following city/county/HOA regulations when installing it.

  • Install flower boxes.

If you want to add some color to your home exterior, there is no better way to do it than with flowers!Try adding some inexpensive flower boxes to your front porch railings or under your windows.You can even DIY them in an afternoon! Choose flowers with colors that will complement your home.

Beautiful Window Boxes

If you are thinking about selling your home, contact professional Realtor Desi Sowers and let her help you get your house on the market and sold for the best possible price. Call her today at 540-320-1328!

Photo Credit: diynetwork.com

New River Valley Rocketry presents the Two Day, High Power Summer Launch known as their Big Fine Summer Launch (BSFL) on Saturday, July 28, 2018 and Sunday, July 29, 2018 on Virginia Tech's property in Long Shop, Virginia.

The BFSL is NRV Rocketry's biggest, high power rocket launch of the year. This is the one you don't want to miss! If you’re interested in flying rockets or just relaxing outside and watching some cool flights, bring the whole family for free!

Launch Schedule:

• Saturday, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm: Commercial Launch

• Sunday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm: Research Launch

Food will be available for purchase and bathroom facilities will be available on site. Chris' Rocket Supplies, a rocket supply vendor, will also be on site.

The launch site is located a couple miles off Prices Fork Road in Long Shop, just 15 minutes from the Virginia Tech campus.

Information and photo provided by the New River Valley Rocketry

Tips for Handling a Last-Minute Move

by Desi Sowers

Sometimes things happen that are out of our control.  Perhaps a change in employment is forcing a move that you weren’t expecting. Other times you might have known you were moving, but were so busy that you waited until the last minute to start preparing.  Either way, it can seem overwhelming.  Whether your move is unexpected or you are just an expert procrastinator, here are some tips to help you get through a last-minute move:

Think Logically - A last minute move might make you feel paralyzed with anxiety over where to even start.  There is so much to be done and the “to do list” can seem insurmountable. Don’t despair. The key word here is “list”.  Take a deep breath, sit down with pen and paper and make a list of what you need to do. As you complete each task, simply cross it off the list. Before you know it, there will be more items crossed off than there are to do.  The first step should be hiring a moving company or renting a moving truck (depending on whether you are using movers or doing it yourself). It can sometimes be challenging to find movers and/or trucks available last minute, so make sure to do this as soon as you know you are moving.  There are tools you can use such as a Moving Company Directory to help you find reputable companies in your area.  Make sure to get two or three quotes, but then decide quickly.  Once you have the logistics worked out, you can get on with the rest of the tasks on your list.

Eliminate Items You Don’t Want or Need - Packing is quite a chore and the less you have to pack, the easier it will be. With a last-minute move, easy packing is all the more important.  As you go through each room in your house, separate items you no longer want or need into three categories: donate, recycle, and throw away.  Now is not the time for sentimentality.  Don’t make the mistake of packing everything thinking you will sort through it after you move.  Get this done before you go and you will have less to pack, which will make setting up your new home easier.  Once you have your piles sorted get rid of them immediately.  Donation Town is a great resource for finding places where you can donate items in your area.

Create an Essentials Bag - Prior to packing, set aside an overnight bag and fill it with essential items that you can’t afford to misplace.  Items such as medications, electronics chargers, important papers, toiletries and a couple of changes of clothes should go in this bag.  This bag is especially important for a last-minute move where things might get a bit chaotic. You may also want to consider putting together a Moving Day Survival Kit.

Time to Pack - Packing in a hurry means there won’t be much time to think and organize.  The important thing is to get everything into boxes so your possessions make it from your current home to your new home.  Don’t worry about trying to pack only “like” items in each box.  Put things where they fit. You can sort through everything once you’ve moved.  Keep a marker handy to label the boxes in a general manner. For example, simply label which room a box should go to such as kitchen or master bedroom.  It’s ok if there are miscellaneous items that don’t belong in the room the box is labeled for, as you can put them where they belong later.  Use towels, socks and blankets to wrap around breakable items.  Save yourself time and boxes by packing clothes as they are.  Use garbage bags to wrap around hanging clothes using the bag’s strings to tie around the hangers.  Keep clothes in dresser drawers and wrap the drawers in packing materials to be moved as is.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help - This is a big task you’re taking on, particularly since it must be done quickly.  Family and friends can and will help if you ask. And with help, you will get the job done quicker, which is the goal in a last-minute move!  To show your appreciation you can order a meal for your helpers while they are there.

Moving is stressful regardless of how much time you have, but when moving quickly focus on the end goal…which is getting all your belongings to your new home as safely as possible.

If you are planning to move and need to sell your home, let professional Realtor Desi Sowers assist you in getting your house on the market. Give her a call at (540) 320-1328 today!

Historic Smithfield Plantation presents the Blacksburg Community Band in concert on Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 4pm.

The Blacksburg Community Band, under the direction of Jay A. Durner, will be performing a variety of contemporary and classical arrangements for band at Historic Smithfield Plantation.

Information and photo provided by Smithfield Plantation

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!

The Heartland Marimba Festival is coming to Blacksburg July 11-15 with free concerts for the public. They will be performing July 14th, at 5:00 PM in Burrus Auditorium on the Virginia Tech campus, this performance will feature the Marimba Orchestra.  Tickets are not required for the Blacksburg performance. 

The festival seeks to reach a range of audiences to help support and advance the classical marimba art form, its music, its composers, and its performers. The first Heartland Marimba Festival and Workshop took place in 2014 at Iowa State University, organized by founder and executive director Matthew Coley.

Information provided by Virginia Tech

New River Valley VA Real Estate For Sale
385 Colin Reid Pass, Christiansburg, VA  24073

View the Tour

Dreaming of a new home? Be the first to live in this new construction home in Senneca Springs. Glorian model is sure to impress with an open floor plan, high ceilings, hardwood floors, pocket doors, extra storage, low maintenance brick/vinyl siding and attached 2 car garage. Beautiful living room with vaulted ceilings flows effortlessly into the dining area – entertainers dream layout! Well-appointed kitchen is a chefs delight with SS appliances, granite counters, and an oversized island. Soothing master & pampering bath include a custom tiled shower and soaking tub. Two generously sized bedrooms and a full bath are perfect for a growing family or guests. The HOA features lawn maintenance, snow removal and common area maintenance. Only minutes from Blacksburg with the charm of country living and a small-town feel, yet just minutes to VT, hospitals, shopping and Huckleberry Trail.

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.

Preserving Family Heirlooms 101

by Desi Sowers

Family heirlooms are treasures that evoke memories of the past and hold great sentimental value.  Keeping them safe and well preserved is important. There are many kinds of keepsakes. What may seem not very special to one person, might be the most cherished of items to another.  The following tips will help you preserve them and keep the memories alive:

Paper Documents

Don’t make the mistake of keeping precious papers in a box somewhere. Paper is vulnerable to crumbling and fading if it is exposed to too much light, heat or moisture.  You can keep documents safe by placing them in acid-free envelopes or folders.  When you want to look at them, make sure your hands are clean and dry. Avoid using lotion on your hands if you know you are going to be handling paper heirlooms.  Three ring binders are excellent for keeping documents organized and safe.  Keep them in temperature controlled parts of the house to avoid deterioration due to heat and moisture.

Books

Like paper documents, books need to be kept away from heat, bright light and anything highly acidic.  If you want to keep a book pristine, interleaf the pages with acid-free tissue paper.  If you keep favorite books on a shelf, make sure it is not exposed to too much sunlight.  They will fade over time, but keeping them out of harsh conditions will make them last longer.

Photographs

Many people have photographs stored in old-school albums where they are stuck on the pages by adhesive. Unfortunately, many of these old albums are not acid-free and will cause the photographs to deteriorate and fade over time. To preserve them, remove them from these albums and place them in PVC-free plastic sleeves, which can then be placed in binders.  If you are lucky enough to still have the negatives from old photos, keep them safe so that you can replace pictures if they are destroyed or lost. How to Properly Store Your Negatives

Textiles

When preserving textiles such as quilts, wedding dresses, baptismal gowns or antique linens, you want to make space for flat storage.  It’s vital that you keep them in an acid-free box and in a location free of pests.  If you get them cleaned and pressed, make sure starch isn’t used because bugs will attract bugs. Make sure your hands are clean and free of lotion when handling your cloth heirlooms.  Do your research and get professional advice on how to clean them before storing. The Golden Rules of Washing Vintage Items

Regardless of what kind of treasure you are attempting to preserve, it is advisable that you never store them in the attic or basement. Extreme temperatures and humidity will harm stored artifacts.  Keep your boxes and binders of family heirlooms in a closet or on a shelf in your temperature controlled living space.  Make sure they are out of direct sunlight.  Not only will this keep them safer and preserve them longer, but it will also make it easier for you to get them out to look at when you want to take a trip down memory lane!

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!

Photo Credit: jewelrywise.com

New River Valley VA Real Estate For Sale
130 Gavins Court NW, Christiansburg, VA  24073

View the Tour

Welcome to Senneca Springs in Christiansburg VA where homes match the taste and lifestyle of anyone who loves low maintenance living. The Rendition Grande model offers main level living, Timberlake cabinets, a brick/vinyl façade with stucco accents, hardwood flooring, vaulted ceilings, arched doorways, granite counters, tiled backsplash, stainless appliances, recessed lighting and two car garage. Gorgeous open floor plan offers comfort and quality to meet today’s busy lifestyle with a living, kitchen and dining room combination plus a large sunroom. The HOA features lawn maintenance, snow removal and common area maintenance. Only minutes from Blacksburg with the charm of country living and a small-town feel, yet just minutes to VT, hospitals, shopping and Huckleberry Trail. Come see this new home!

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.

Draper Mercantile and Trading Company presents a Community Flea Market on Saturday, July 7, 2018 9:00am-2:00pm, at Merc Farms.

Enjoy a Community Flea Market featuring vendors, food, artists, live music and more! Vendors include honey & goat lotions, local produce, handcrafted jewelry, street dogs & breakfast burritos, fresh made doughnuts, fresh popped kettle corn and many more.

There will also be a fire truck on hand for kids and a planting class in the greenhouse.

Merc Farms is located near the Draper Mercantile at 2980 Brown Road in Draper, VA.

Information and photo from Draper Mercantile

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