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Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 60

Autumn Home Maintenance Must-Do List

by Desi Sowers

Summer is winding down and Autumn is just around the corner.  Take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather and get started on your Fall home maintenance to-do list now!

  • Check for peeling paint on the exterior of your home.  Don’t ignore it!  If paint is peeling or blistering, it’s a sign that it is no longer providing a protective covering for your siding, which can leave it vulnerable to damage that will cost you dearly in the future.  This doesn’t mean you have to repaint the entire house though.  You can repair the damaged areas and save yourself a lot of grief and money.
  • Clean your gutters.  Clogged gutters are a major source of wood rot problems and pest infestations.  Make sure downspouts are clear and joints and brackets are in good working order.  If they are damaged, replace them
  • Make sure windows and doors are sealed properly. Caulking and sealing is an inexpensive way to protect you home from the elements.  It also saves you money by preventing heat from escaping during the colder seasons.  Check your weather stripping as well. Replace it if it is damaged.
  • Take a good look at your roof.  Make sure there are no missing or loose shingles. Avoid having to deal with a leaky roof during the first snow by preemptively repairing any problems
  • Get your fireplace and/or wood stove ready.  If you have a wood burning fireplace, have a professional come out to clean your chimney. Making sure your fireplace/woodstove are in good working order is crucial for home safety.

Check these home maintenance projects off your list now and you can enjoy your Fall weekends in your cozy, warm house!

 

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/To-Renovate-or-Not-to-Renovate-Should-You-Fix-Up-Your-Home-or-Sell-it-As-Is

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/4-DIY-projects-for-your-first-home

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Upcycle-your-summer-treasures-with-these-5-DIY-tips

Investing in Real Estate - Tips for Success

by Desi Sowers

Real estate investing can be a great way to make money.  But to be successful at it, you need to do your homework first and make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.  Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Choose an experienced real estate agent .  Finding the right agent is critical to successfully capitalize on real estate investments.  You want to find someone who has the knowledge to make the process easier for you.  They should have awareness of location, value and return on investment.
  • Location, location, location!  Research what areas are declining and which ones are on the rise before deciding where to purchase an investment property.  If large retailers such as Lowe’s or Home Depot are setting up shop there, it’s probably a good place to invest because big chains do a lot of research before moving in.
  • If you plan to invest with a partner, make sure you have a partnership agreement drawn up to protect all parties in case something happens.  Relationships can sour and expensive mistakes can happen. Making early decision about how to handle bad situations will help prevent catastrophic results.
  • Be prepared to invest for the long term.  When you hold onto a property for a long time, you can manage expenses and income easier and use the money to pay the mortgage.
  • Be picky about renters.  If you are going to rent to students or rent rooms to different people verses to a family, you may need special permits, depending on where you live. Educate yourself about rules and regulations for renting out your property.
  • If you have more than three properties you’re renting out, you would benefit from hiring an experienced property manager. It can be overwhelming when you are trying to take care of multiple homes (including your own!). A property manager will handle repairs and minor problems for tenants. They will help find new tenants as well.  Just keep in mind that property managers usually get around 10% of the monthly rent.

Being a landlord isn’t always easy.  But with the right investment, it can be very rewarding!

Contact Desi Sowers for all your New River Valley real estate needs.

 

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Selling-Your-House-or-Renting-It-Out-Pros-and-Cons

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Help-for-First-Time-Homebuyers

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Buying-a-Home-is-a-Sound-Financial-Investment

Welcome to the New River Valley!

by Desi Sowers

As a new resident of this beautiful area, you have probably been so busy unpacking and getting yourself situated that you haven’t had time to really take it all in.  I want you to feel at home in your new community, so here are a few tips for getting to know the wonderful people and places in the New River Valley:

MEETING YOUR NEIGHBORS:

Often people don’t want to intrude when they see you are busy unpacking and setting up house.  But there are a lot of ways you can still meet your neighbors:

  • Take a walk around the neighborhood.  Chances are others will be out strolling with kids and pets.  Pets are fabulous ice-breakers!  Don’t hesitate to say hi and introduce yourself.
  • Join the neighborhood civic league and attend meetings.  If there is a home owners’ association, become an active participant.  Not only will you hear lots of good information at meetings, but you will find about fun activities that are happening.
  • Once you are settled, take some treats to your immediate neighbors thanking them for accommodating your moving truck. Include a note introducing your family. 
  • See if your neighborhood has a social media page and join if they do.

GETTING TO KNOW YOUR HOMETOWN

Take some time to explore your new surroundings. There is so much to see and do here!

  • Play tourist for a day.  Check out local travel guides and city websites to see what’s going on in your new town.
  • If you are a stay at home Mom, check out Moms' Groups; an excellent way to meet other Moms!
  • Join your University alumni association.  These groups offer you the chance to socialize locally while maintaining a connection with your college.
  • Check out social media for local groups, book clubs, meet ups and community events.
  • Join the YMCA or Community Recreation Center and meet people while staying in shape!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at (540) 320-1328.  As a resident of the New River Valley, I am happy to welcome you home!

 

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Moving-Day-Survival-Kit

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/The-Perks-of-Retiring-in-a-College-Town

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/The-Upside-to-Downsizing

It’s that time of year again.  Back to school.  Curb chaotic mornings by organizing your kitchen in a way that makes lunch prep a breeze!  The following tips will help:

  1.  MAKE A LIST

Don’t just wing it.  By creating a menu of items that you will use for your kids’ lunches, you will not only save time in the mornings (because you won’t spend time trying to decide what to pack in their lunch bag), you will also have a handy, dandy shopping list for when you go grocery shopping.  Here are some lunch box ideas to get you started.

  1. MAKE YOUR FRIDGE LUNCH BOX FRIENDLY

Organize the space in your refrigerator to make lunch prep quick and easy.  Clear plastic bins with labels can be used to divide things up by type of food/drink or by day of the week.  Experiment with these ideas and find the one that works best for you.

  1. CREATE A STAGING CENTER

Have a designated spot in the kitchen for lunch prep.  A basket or bin for lunch bags/boxes will mean that you will never be frantically searching for them in the morning.  Have your kids empty them of containers/trash when they get home from school and place them in the designated area.  Keep containers handy and make sure you have enough counter space to accommodate everything you will need.

  1. HAVE A SUPPLY STATION

Clean out a drawer or cabinet near your staging center and keep all your lunch prep supplies in one spot.  Stock up on baggies, containers, napkins, straws, plastic utensils, foil, saran wrap etc. 

  1. STOCK PANTRY WITH “SCHOOL LUNCH ONLY” ITEMS

Avoid the frustration of going to grab something for your child’s lunch only to discover there is none left.  Create an area in your pantry that is only for school lunches.  An over the door hanging shoe organizer is a great space-saver and can be used to store school snacks.

Whether you prepare your children’s lunches, or you have them do it themselves, being organized will make the process easier and quicker. 

 

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Moving-Day-Survival-Kit

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Protect-Your-Home-from-Fire-Four-Surprising-Fire-Hazards

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/To-Renovate-or-Not-to-Renovate-Should-You-Fix-Up-Your-Home-or-Sell-it-As-Is

Packing it Up and Moving it Out!

by Desi Sowers

Let’s face it, no matter how prepared you think you are, moving is stressful .  One of the worst parts of moving is packing up your current house.  You are probably busy enough already, and now you are adding this huge task to your “to do” list.  It can be overwhelming.  One way to make it a little easier is to spread it out over several weeks instead of trying to do it all right before you move.  Here is a general timeline for packing that you can use as a guide. 

FOUR WEEKS BEFORE MOVING DAY: PRE-PACKING - If you are lucky enough to know a full month before you have to move, take advantage of it.  Pre-pack items that you won’t need or use before you move.  Out of season clothing, tools and small appliances, and collectibles/knick knacks are items that you won’t miss and you can get them out of the way.

THREE WEEKS BEFORE MOVING DAY: NON-ESSENTIALS - Among the items that you didn’t pre-pack, choose those that you know you likely won’t need before moving.  Books, extra linens, and kitchen items can be packed up because you likely won’t be doing much reading, and you only need enough linens, plates, and utensils for the number of people living in the home.  CDs and DVDs can go as well.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE MOVING DAY: TIME TO GET SERIOUS - Yes…now it is time to really start paring down the amount of “stuff” still in your home. If you have children,  allow them to choose a few toys/games to keep out, and pack up the rest.  If you have a home office, clean it out and box up what you plan to take with you.  Jewelry and shoes that you don’t wear daily can go as well.  You may feel that two weeks is a long time to go without these items, but trust me, it will go by fast!

ONE WEEK BEFORE MOVING DAY: SEVEN DAYS AND COUNTING: Now it is time to pack up all but the few things you will need to get through the last few days at your current home.  The rest of your clothes and kitchen items can go (leaving yourself what you will need until the move, of course).  Go through your medicine cabinet and toss any expired medications. Pack the rest except for the ones you take daily.

TWO DAYS BEFORE MOVING DAY: NOW IT’S GETTING REAL: At this point the stress might reach maximum levels, but if you have been following the time-line and packing a bit each week, you should be almost finished!  Box up your electronics (in their original packaging when possible), bathroom items, and any miscellaneous items that are left.  Keep a box for essential items that you will keep with you as you are moving.

MOVING DAY: IT’S HERE! All that should be left is furniture and appliances.  Whether you have hired movers to load the large items or you are doing it yourself, it will be so much more manageable with everything else already boxed up and ready to go.

IMPORTANT TIP: Label every box.  You can either write what is in the box or what room the box should go to.  Or both.  You will be glad you did when you are unpacking!

Remember that this is simply a general guideline.  You should do what is right for you and your family when it comes to packing and moving. But hopefully this will make what can be a trying and overwhelming time a little more pleasant.

 

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Moving-Day-Survival-Kit

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/The-Top-Ten-Things-to-Look-for-When-House-Hunting

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/The-Upside-to-Downsizing

What Women Want - She Sheds!

by Desi Sowers

The she shed trend has arrived and it looks like it’s here to stay. And really, what took so long?  Men have had their “caves” for years.  Women should have their own space to get away and unwind too!  Whether a she shed is used for relaxation and contemplation, watching chick flicks, or as a space for hobbies, it is a long overdue oasis for hardworking women who deserve a peaceful space to call their own.  If you’re ready to create your own she shed, here are some ideas for you:

If you already have a backyard shed, you are going to need to clean it out.  Completely.  You will want a blank slate for designing your perfect environment.  Find new storage options for the items you are keeping and give away the rest.  If you don’t have a shed, you can build one with an  easy-to-build kit purchased online or from a local home improvement store.

Show off your one-of-kind sense of style by giving your she shed a fresh coat of paint.  Choose colors that you love.  Do you want a rustic look, or do you dream of a storybook cottage?    The ideas for designing your personal retreat are endless.  Remember, it’s all about YOU!

Think about what you want the purpose of your shed to be.  Will you use it as a peaceful sanctuary where you can curl up with a good book?  Perhaps you might set up an easel and use it as your art studio.  Whatever your intent, be sure to keep it in mind while coming up with your design. 

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to furnish and decorate your she shed.  Search antique stores and flea markets for unique pieces.  The idea is to make it feel relaxed and cozy.  You might already have everything you need, but just needed a special place for it all. 

Choose a spot in the yard that takes you away from your day to day grind and makes you feel surrounded by nature.  Lush plants and window boxes full of flowers will give you a tranquil ambiance that will provide the calm environment needed for quiet serenity.

The most important thing is to make your she shed a reflection of yourself.  And remember…it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, so as your interests and hobbies shift, your shed can transform with you and always be there to fulfill your needs and desires.

 

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Heavenly-Homes-Churches-Converted-to-Residential-Living-Spaces

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Ten-Décor-Trends-to-Avoid-in-2017

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Bedand-Breakfast

Don’t Let Your Pets Ruin Your Home Sale

by Desi Sowers

You love your fur babies. They are part of your family.  But not everyone feels the same way you do about your pets, or even pets in general. According to a 2017 report put out by the National Association of Realtors, pet ownership has a “moderate to major impact” when selling a home.  So, if you want to get top dollar for your home, it’s important that you consider the amount you might lose with a dog, cat or other animal in residence.

There are many reasons why potential buyers may not like your pets:

  • Nervousness.  Pets make some people very uncomfortable.  Maybe they never had pets growing up, or they simply don’t enjoy being around animals.
  • Fear.  Whether real or irrational, some people are truly scared of animals.
  • Your pets are not their pets.  Even if they are pet owners and animal lovers, they don’t know your pets or what you allow them to do. 

The number one solution for not allowing pets to ruin a home sale is to relocate them while your house is on the market.  While it might be painful and upsetting to do this, it is the best option.  At minimum, you should try to remove your pets from the house during open houses and when the home is being shown. 

  • Ask a friend or relative to care for your fur babies.
  • Board them at a kennel.
  • If possible, take them to work with you for the day.
  • Move out and take them with you.

If this seems extreme to you and there is NO way you could (or would) relocate your four-legged loved ones while trying to sell, here are some tips for making your home as appealing as possible to homebuyers:

  • Cat litter boxes and doggy potty pads - keep them OUT OF SIGHT and impeccably clean. Nothing turns off buyers faster than opening the laundry room door and being greeted by the offensive scent of your cat’s business.
  • Carpet and floor pet stains - Hire professionals to get rid of the stains, or replace any carpet, padding and flooring that has been ruined by pets. Buyers will spot them and form opinions about the whole house because of them.
  • Pet odors and smells - You probably don’t smell it anymore because you live with them…but chances are your home has eau de doggy (or kitty).  Bring in a neighbor to do a whiff test.  Don’t use strong air fresheners to try to cover up the aroma because some people are allergic to those types of scents.  Try enzyme cleaners such as Simple Solution, Nature’s Miracle or call a professional ozone company.

You will also need to remove any signs of your pets:

  • Remove online photos of your pets in your house.
  • Seal up doggie doors.
  • Put away food and water bowls when not in use.
  • Vacuum religiously.  Every day.  Sometimes twice a day.
  • Put away pet toys.
  • Pack up kitty condos and any other cat paraphernalia.
  • Remove photos of your pets from the refrigerator, walls and table tops.
  • Pack up all cages, carriers and animal beds.

If your house is being shown and you can’t take your pet out, put them in their crate or carrier and attach a note asking that they not be disturbed.  The last thing you need is a buyer sticking their hand in and getting scratched or bitten.  You cannot predict how an animal react when locked up and alone.  Never let your pets run loose when buyers are looking at your house!

 

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/To-Renovate-or-Not-to-Renovate-Should-You-Fix-Up-Your-Home-or-Sell-it-As-Is

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Ten-Décor-Trends-to-Avoid-in-2017

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Real-Estate-Myths-Dont-Let-Them-Fool-You

Selling Your House or Renting It Out - Pros and Cons

by Desi Sowers

Whether moving for a job or just relocating for personal reasons, you still must decide what to do with your current home.  Should you rent it out?  Or sell it?  There are many circumstances to consider before making that decision.  How long do you have before you move?  What is the housing market doing in your area?  And do you have someone you can trust to manage your property?

Of course, the biggest motivator in your decision is which option will be most financially profitable.   If you have a lot of equity in your house and can sell it, you’ll walk away with some cash to put toward your new home.  If the house is paid off, you’ll walk away with A LOT of cash.  However, if your equity is built up and you have low mortgage payments (or no mortgage payment), you could bring in a substantial monthly income by renting the house for more than your monthly payments.  You do have to consider the costs involved with renting the house out.  If you’re relocating to another town, you will likely have to hire a property manager to collect rent and take care of issues that come up.  You might also have to pay to advertise the home.

There are going to be risks involved either way.  If you put the house up for sale, you run the risk of not selling it quickly and possibly ending up with two mortgage payments or a house payment and rent payment on a new place.  But renting out your house might be a bigger risk. There’s a chance you will rent it to people who you think will be good tenants, but wind up paying the rent late or not at all.  There is also the risk that renters will not take care of the house and lower its value.

Another issue to consider is that housing markets can greatly fluctuate from year to year. You must question whether your neighborhood is in the kind of shape to support a quick sale.  If other homes haven’t been selling, for example, you might not get as much for your house as you might if you could wait a year or two and rent it out in the meantime.  On the other hand, if the housing market is hot in your neighborhood, it might just be the best time to take advantage of it and sell to get the best price possible.

Finally, you have to think about whether you can afford a new mortgage while you still own the first house.  Per Kiplinger, lenders count about 75 percent of the income you receive from renters when figuring out if they’ll give you a new loan, but that’s only if you have a signed lease and your salary is sufficient to cover the rest of the mortgage requirement.  Selling your house will make it much easier for you to qualify for a new loan.

The bottom line is that, after doing your research, you can decide whether selling or renting is the best and most financially sound choice for you.

 

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Paint-Colors-that-Sell

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Moving-Day-Survival-Kit

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/To-Renovate-or-Not-to-Renovate-Should-You-Fix-Up-Your-Home-or-Sell-it-As-Is

Paint Colors that Sell!

by Desi Sowers

If you’re thinking about painting the rooms in your house, why not think about resale value while you’re at it?  Of course, you will want to choose colors that appeal to you personally, but at the same time you may want to consider how those colors might affect potential buyers in the future.  Looks aren’t everything, but they are important when making an impression on people who may possibly purchase your home.  Here is a palette you may want to consider if you want to make more money when you sell:

According to Zillow kitchens painted in light blue to soft gray-blue tones brought in $1,809 more than other colors while kitchens painted yellow saw resale value drop by about $820. 

Bathrooms painted light blue or periwinkle can bring in $5,440 more on average, while bathrooms painted in varied shades of white reduced home sale prices by about $4,035.

When it comes to your bedroom, the blues win again!  A pink one can cost you about a $200 loss in resale value, while a light cerulean or cadet blue bedroom can bring you an extra $1,856.


Blues seem to be the colors of choice for most rooms in the house when it comes to resale value, but one room where that is not the case is the living room. Zillow found that a light beige, pale taupe and oatmeal color tends to add $1,809 to home sales, while living rooms painted in varied shades of blue, silver and gray lose out on approximately $820.


So, if you’re looking for a low-cost way to upgrade your home, break out the paint brushes and make sure to choose the right colors to get more bang for your buck when you sell!

 

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/To-Renovate-or-Not-to-Renovate-Should-You-Fix-Up-Your-Home-or-Sell-it-As-Is

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/Ten-Décor-Trends-to-Avoid-in-2017

http://www.desisowers.com/Blog/The-Best-Chance-For-Selling-Your-New-River-Valley-VA-Home

New River Valley Summer Camp Guide 2017

by Desi Sowers

School is out for summer and now it’s time to figure out how to keep your kids engaged, entertained and happy while they are on their break.  Whether you are looking for child-care or simply want some fun activities for your little ones, there is something for everyone in the New River Valley.  Here is sampling of summer programs available: (click links for camp web sites)

Mike McGuire Basketball Camp at Radford University
Radford University’s Women’s Basketball Head Coach, Mike McGuire, will be hosting basketball camps on the campus of Radford University this summer. Mike McGuire Basketball Camps is committed to providing an educational and fun experience for all ages and abilities. Basketball camp is a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow in many ways and we hope you will want to join us at Radford University this summer!

Astro Camp
AstroCamp Virginia Science & Adventure Summer Camp! The rolling hills of Staunton Meadows and Lake Harvey create a unique summer camp experience for boys and girls ages 8-14! AstroCamp Virginia is a science and adventure summer camp located in Clover, Virginia. Campers come each summer to make memories, have fun, and get hands on science and astronomy training while participating in a variety of activities from the scientific to the fun! AstroCamp is a STEM program that pushes campers to deepen their science understanding by participating in space explorations, playing in our state-of-the-art labs, build and launch rockets, and have time nearly every night to use our large array of telescopes to explore the night skies. For those seeking more adventure in their summer camp experience, one of our biggest draws is our motorsports program. Campers can get behind the wheel of our karts or off-road vehicles and strap in for the ride of a lifetime. After the track, campers can enjoy other outdoor adventure activities from swimming, hiking, mountain and BMX biking, craftsmanship and art, and take in our nightly events that change every summer. See more details of our program by clicking here. Campers come to AstroCamp Virginia from all over the country and even internationally to live for a week in our serene and beautiful camp setting. Participation in AstroCamp Virginia programs are open to everyone regardless of race, color, gender, national origin, sex or disability.

GEMS Camp - Girls Empowered at Mountain Shepherd
GEMS are Girls Empowered through exploration of seven survival priorities: positive mental attitude, first aid, shelter, fire, signaling, water, and food. During a five-day overnight experience, GEMS learn the practical skills associated with each priority. Girls also discover the parallels between each survival priority and their lives in the “front country.” GEMS gain an appreciation for their natural and social surroundings through fun — and deceptively educational — activities such as night hikes, team-building games, and biodiversity studies. After five days, GEMS leave with confidence and compassion, knowing more about themselves and how they interpret and interact with their world.

Jo Eloe Productions Camps
In 2017,LoCo Arts’ Summer Shakespeare camp joins forces with JoELoe Productions, LLC to present Hamlet. 8:30am-5:00pm    This week-long theatrical experience provides an opportunity for young thespians to collaborate with an experienced instructor to produce a fun and inventive reimagining of William Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy! Students will learn the fundamentals of acting and theatre production as they grow into a close-knit cast, and build their confidence onstage! The group’s hard work will be showcased at a matinee performance in the unforgettable, historic Newport Community Center theater on July 15, 2017. Family and friends are invited to the post-production, pot luck cast party. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity!

Camp VA Jaycee
Camp Virginia Jaycee serves children and adults with special needs in an outdoor camping environment. The counselor to camper ratio is 1:3 and there is a Certified Health Care Provider on duty at all times.

Visit our website for updates on things to do in the New River Valley. Thinking about buying or selling a New River Valley VA Real Estate, Call your local expert Desi Sowers 540-320-1328

Displaying blog entries 11-20 of 60

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