Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 51-60 of 70

New Listing - Backs up to Jefferson Natl Forest

by Desi Sowers

<p><span class="expanded_field_value">Gorgeous mountain views surround this  comfortable home nestled adjacent to Jefferson National Forest. </span></p>
<p><span class="expanded_field_value"> Screened by nature,  the property offers a quick commute to Blacksburg,   Salem or Roanoke. </span></p>
<p><span class="expanded_field_value"> Bright and open floor plan,  hardwood floors and  fresh paint are just a few features you will enjoy. </span></p>
<p><span class="expanded_field_value"> Just over 3 acres  offers plenty of room for gardening,  pets and privacy - Come See!   Please View Virtual Tour.</span></p>
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Gorgeous mountain views surround this comfortable home nestled adjacent to Jefferson National Forest.

Screened by nature, the property offers a quick commute to Blacksburg, Salem or Roanoke.

Bright and open floor plan, hardwood floors and fresh paint are just a few features you will enjoy.

Just over 3 acres offers plenty of room for gardening, pets and privacy - Come See! Please View Virtual Tour.

Must See Video - This Month in Real Estate

by Desi Sowers

This Month In Real Estate (US) February 2011

8 Tips to Lower Your Heating Bills

by Desi Sowers

Thermostat issues among common energy-wasters.

Q: We received our heating bill (gas) today in the amount of $266.74. We keep our thermostat set on 70 degrees during the winter and turn it down to 60 degrees at night. When we leave for any period of time during the day, my husband turns it down to 60 degrees.

My friend has a two-story house and keeps her thermostat set at 66 degrees during the winter. Her gas bill is much lower than ours. What might we be doing incorrectly? We have a fairly new energy-efficient heating system, the filters are changed, and the system is cleaned. --Ruth A.

A: There are lots of factors that can affect the difference in heating costs between two homes, including insulation levels, the efficiency of the windows, the amount of weatherstripping, how much air leaks into and out of the house, even how often you open and close exterior doors.

I would offer the following suggestions:

Have a heating technician come out and check the accuracy of your thermostat. If it's calibrated incorrectly, you might be heating the house to a higher level than you realize, which can waste energy. While the technicians are at the house, be sure to have them check the condition of the ducts. A broken or loose duct can lose a lot of heat into the attic or crawl space, which really wastes energy. Finally, be sure that they check the furnace itself. A cracked heat exchanger or other problem with the furnace can also lead to high energy bills.

Try a heat setting of 68 during the day instead of 70 and see if you're comfortable with that. Also, try setting the thermostat to 62 instead of 60 when you go out. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but a 10-degree temperature swing is a lot for the furnace to make up, and it make be making it work harder than it needs to.

If you tend to stay in one part of the house during some parts of the day -- for example, if you tend to stay in the living room during the evenings -- then consider lowering the thermostat below 68 and adding an energy-efficient portable electric or other type of heater in the living room. Known as "zonal heating," this helps confine the heat to the rooms you use instead of heating the rooms you're not occupying. Do not, however, shut off ducts in unused rooms, as this can unbalance the air flow in the heating system and potentially damage the furnace.

Consider the installation of a ceiling-mounted paddle fan, especially if you have high ceilings or a two-story house. This will move heated air off the ceiling and back down into the room, helping to make the rooms feel warmer. Finally, have an insulation or weatherization contractor examine the house and make recommendations about insulation levels -- including floor and duct insulation -- as well as weatherstripping and other measures to prevent heat loss.

Q: I have recently done extensive renovations on my 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment in New York City. I am on the 14th floor and have great views [and] have worked hard to make it look as beautiful as I can. The problem? My neighbor below smokes in his bathroom and it unfortunately is rising up into my bathroom. I cannot figure out how it is getting into my bathroom, but every time I open my bathroom door after being closed for a while it hits me in the face! The smoke odor is nauseating to me, as I do not smoke and it's extremely frustrating because I don't know what to do about it! Any suggestions? --Kathy D.

A: Every building has a number of penetrations in the walls and ceilings where pipes, wiring and building components are run. This is especially true with multistory buildings, where large chases are created for water lines, drain lines, air ducts, etc. I suspect that what's happening is that your neighbor's smoke is getting into the walls and/or the ceiling through penetrations in his bathroom, coming up through one of these chases, and getting into your bathroom through similar openings.

The first thing I would suggest is that you seal up everything you can find in your bathroom. This would include caulking the joint between the floor and the baseboards; getting behind the trim rings where pipes come out of the wall and sealing between the pipe and the wall; sealing around any heating ducts; sealing around medicine cabinets and light fixtures; even installing foam gaskets at the electrical outlets and switches.

In other words, close off any access from the walls, floor or ceiling that could be opening into your bathroom. Depending on the location and the size of the gaps, you can use clear silicone sealant, colored acrylic latex caulk, or even expandable foam.

I assume you have an exhaust fan in your bathroom. I would suggest putting it on a timer, and having the timer operate the fan daily at a time when it's convenient for you -- perhaps while you're away at work during the day, or late at night when you're asleep. This will flush out the stale air, along with any excess moisture, and keep the odors from building up.

Finally, if you're on good terms with your neighbor (or if you have a good building superintendent or condo association), perhaps you could explain the situation to your neighbor, and ask if he would consider the same steps in his apartment: sealing penetrations and installing a fan timer.

Written by Paul Bianchina

30-Year Mortgage Rates Plumb New Depths

by Desi Sowers

30-Year Mortgage Rates Plumb New Depths

Freddie Mac reports that the average interest on 30-year fixed mortgages slipped to an all-time low, for the third consecutive week, to 4.19 percent.   WOW!!!

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Nathan Becker (10/15/10)

What's New in New Housing Design

by Desi Sowers

What's New in New Housing Design

Here are the products grabbing the attention of the home building and remodeling industries, according to Bill Millholland, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Case Design/Remodeling in Maryland, and Jamie Gibbs, a New York-based interior designer:

· Appliance Drawers
. Small warning drawers, modest-sized dishwasher drawers for small loads, refrigerator drawers and microwave drawers.

· Counter-depth refrigerators
. Some are only 24 inches deep.

· Motion-detecting faucets
. Like you'd find in the restrooms of businesses.

· LED (light-emitting diode) lighting
. These are used under cabinets and in ceiling fixtures as a longer-lasting, more efficient alternative to compact fluorescent lamps and incandescent bulbs.

· Electric heated floors
. A nice touch in bathrooms.

· Showers with multiple heads and body sprays. Bathtubs are out.

Source: The Washington Post (09/25/2010)

Great Advise for Selling Your Home

by /posted by Desi Sowers

Sell Faster When You Understand The Buyers Mindset

When most sellers list their home for sale the first thing they think about is how much will I get and that is usually followed by how soon will I get the money. It's certainly understandable that those two concerns are, most often, top of mind. After all, you're likely selling your home to buy another one or invest the money in something else.

 But, if as a seller, you can get into the buyer's mindset, the sale of your home can come faster and for more money.

Understanding the way buyers think involves seeing things not from your perspective but from your potential buyer's mindset. It can sound easy but actually it's often harder to do than most sellers think. The psychology of buying is driven by emotional experiences, money, and timing. With that in mind, sellers can help create optimal circumstances that literally help walk the buyer through the process and completion of the sale of your home. 

 It starts with a feeling. When you meet someone for the first time, you form a first impression based on a feeling. That's exactly what happens when buyers set foot into your home. Work with an experienced agent to learn exactly what kind of impression your home is giving off. If it's a small home, make sure it's not overfilled and cluttered.

 Pick up all the loose clutter that's floating around. Throw out old magazines. People like to see things that are streamlined or clean or fresh looking. There's nothing worse than walking into a place and seeing a stack of magazines all over the place or an unmade bed.

 Go the extra step and take care of items that might have been overlooked for quite some time. Steam clean the carpets, the upholstery, the furniture, if that's what's needed. Have the windows cleaned, light fixtures cleaned. Make it feel clean when you walk in.

Go back to basics. You may love your turquoise carpet but do you really think buyers will? Getting inside the buyers mind will help you answer these questions. You can also pick up home décor magazines and see what appeals to the masses. You don't have to change everything in your home, but going back to basics in a few areas will help buyers see how your home can become their home.

 As soon as buyers see a really loud red, orange or lemon-green color they automatically think about re-doing. That, of course, means the buyers are already beginning to calculate the amount of money they need to take off of the sale price in order to get the home in the condition they would like it.

 If instead you stick with neutral colors such as painting the walls off-white, light beige or Navajo white, you have a better chance in preserving the sale price.

 Repair anything that looks torn, worn or broken If you walked into a retail store and saw a garment that you liked but it was torn or missing buttons, chances are you'd search for another one or ask for a discount if that were the only one of its kind.

 That's what buyers will do with your home when they spot torn screens, garage doors that don't open, or broken light fixtures that are hanging out of the wall. Buyers, if at first they don't get completely turned off and walk away from the sale, will first begin to think that there is more damage to the home than what they're able to see and then they start to calculate the cost of repairing those damages. But buyers often exaggerate the amount of money needed to fix the repairs.

 In today's market people are looking desperately to find out what's wrong with a home so that they can lower the price.

 n the buyers' minds, they come up with some kind of incredible price to fix repairs. In their mind, they go way overboard and eventually it affects the bottom line price for the seller.

 Don't miss an opportunity to get the word out about your home being listed for sale. It only makes sense to let your neighbors know. By doing this your neighbors can sometimes become great facilitators and supporters of the sale.

 Most people are visual buyers. If the home doesn't look clean, spotless, and repaired then the buyer thinks what's behind the walls, how much more money do I have to put into this home.

 Remember understanding the psychology of the buyer's mindset can help you sell faster and for the price you really want. 

  Written by Phoebe Chongchua

A professional home inspection can not only provide a great education about the home’s systems, but also be a crucial tool in negotiating the most equitable price on the home, according to HouseMaster, one of the first and largest home inspection franchisors in North America.

“Our experience and research shows that approximately 40% of resale homes have at least one defect that can cost a home buyer a minimum of $500 to repair,” said Kathleen Kuhn, President of HouseMaster.“A home inspection by a professional and qualified home inspector is an excellent tool to encourage home sellers to make repairs or make further price adjustments as a result of conditions noted in the inspection report.”

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), in 2009, a record 47% of homes sold were purchased by first-time buyers. Tax credit incentives from the federal government of up to $8,000 and historically low mortgage rates continue to attract first-time buyers to the market. A professional home inspection not only educates buyers on the condition of the home but can minimize costly surprises down the road. HouseMaster provides the following tips to ensure that first-time buyers make an educated decision when purchasing a home and get the best price possible.

1. Inspect the Inspector. Only hire a home inspector with an excellent reputation and credentials. Ask how long the company has been in business, ask about specific formal training and ongoing education the inspector has and verify the inspector carries professional liability insurance also known as “Errors & Omissions” (E&O). If the company doesn’t carry this insurance, it could indicate a poor track record or lack of experience.

2. Ask for a sample of a report. The credentials of the inspection company and the quality of the final inspection report will be important. A poorly prepared report without pictures or clear, concise details addressing all the various systems and accessible elements of the home is less likely to be taken seriously by a home seller.

3. Inspect ancillary systems. It’s hard for first-time home buyers to know what they need, so be sure to ask what additional services the company offers. If the home you are considering has a septic system for example, a professional home inspection company may offer septic system inspections or can coordinate that service for you. Generally, the company will offer you a multiple services discount as well as the added convenience of only having to attend one inspection appointment. Other common services offered by home inspectors are termite inspections, mold screening, water testing and radon testing.

4. Go along on the inspection. Ask the inspection company if they encourage buyers to tag along on the inspection. If the inspector discourages you from going along and asking questions, find another inspector. A home inspection is not simply a laundry list of what is wrong with the home. In addition to documenting issues and needed repairs that may exist, a professional home inspector will also show the new buyer how to operate the various systems in the home and provide tips on improving energy efficiency and maintaining the home in general. And being present during the inspection will make the final written report that much more meaningful.

RISMEDIA, April 21, 2010

10 Staging Tips to Help Your Home Sell

by /posted by Desi Sowers

10 Staging Tips to Help Your Home Sell

Want to sell your home? Get out the bucket, mop and Mr. Clean. The key to making a positive first impression is simple, said Sandra Rinomato, host of HGTV’s popular “Property Virgins” show.

“Get it clean, clean, clean,” said Rinomato. “If your house isn’t clean, it instantly sends up negative thoughts that the home is not well maintained. If your house is spotless, you’re ahead of the game,” she said.

But don’t stop there, advised Rinomato. To increase your chances of making a sale, “stage” the house to make it as attractive as possible. Until recently, “Staging meant pulling out all the stops—setting the dining table with your best china and crystal, arranging flowers, lighting candles,” she said. “Now we take the minimalist approach. Basically, you want to strip the house to its bare essentials, depersonalize it so potential buyers can superimpose themselves and their lifestyle on the house.”

Rinomato offered the following tips for staging a home:

1. Visit model homes and examine shelter magazines for inexpensive decorating ideas. Always keep in mind you are not decorating for yourself but for the general public.

2. Start with the outside. Give the house a fresh coat of paint, add shiny hardware to the front door and plant a few flowers to send a subliminal message the house is loved and well cared for.

3. Declutter every room to make it look larger. Get rid of family pictures, trophies and knickknacks. Closets and drawers should be no more than 30% full.

4. Invest in eco-friendly but bright lights. Open the drapes or remove them completely. “Light, bright rooms give the impression this is a happy place—and everyone wants to move into a happy place,” said Rinomato.

5. Feature only a few pieces of furniture with mainstream appeal. Pull pieces away from walls to make rooms look bigger.

6. Make sure a room’s primary use is obvious. A bedroom should look like a bedroom, not an office, hobby center or gym.

7. Bedrooms and kitchens are difficult to stage because they are in daily use, but make the effort. Clear everything off the counters and nightstands, roll up the rugs and hide the laundry hamper. Buff the cabinets with car wax and clean under the sinks. Invest in pristine white bed linens and towels.

8. Minimize the “pet effect.” Remove food bowls and litter boxes to the utility room. Deodorize thoroughly.

9. Organize the utility room and garage. Hang up the bicycles, roll up the hose. Renting a storage locker is worth the cost if it helps you sell faster and for a higher price.

10. Once your house is staged, invite your friends or Realtor over and walk them through to get an objective opinion.

Written by Jean Patteson

Home Improvement Trends for the New Year

by /posted by Desi Sowers

Most homeowners are unlikely to be building, remodeling or decorating with abandon in 2010, given the slow recovery from the recession. But if you do plan to update your home or garden, here are some trends to keep in mind.

Home decor. The sleek, sophisticated but comfortable style known as “soft contemporary” will be a key look for the New Year, said Kris Kolar, vice president of interior design at Robb & Stucky Interiors. Instead of the eclectic clutter that has been popular for a while, there will be a move toward using just one or two eye-catching accents. These “punctuation-mark pieces,” featuring hand-worked techniques that give a custom look, may include special materials such as mother-of-pearl, flame mahogany and stainless steel.

Furniture. The environmental movement is getting stronger, said Jackie Hirschhaut, spokeswoman for the American Home Furnishings Alliance. Increasingly, furniture is being built using natural-fiber fabrics, recycled metals and sustainable woods. Red will be the trendiest accent color for furniture, she predicted. And home offices will continue to boom as growing numbers of Americans work from their residences.

Color. Classic neutrals and pops of exotic brights are the key shades at Pittsburgh Paints, which recently announced four color palettes for 2010.

The “Canvas” palette includes deep gray-browns and gray-blues, muted beige and chalky white. “Pink City” offers vibrant pinks, spicy oranges, grays and chocolate-brown. “Grace” includes elegant hues such as pale butter, bronze-gold and sea foam. And “Zest” reinvents the style of Palm Springs circa 1950, mixing high-energy yellows with gray, white and black.

Landscaping. Organic vegetable gardens, like the one installed at the White House are likely to be a huge trend in 2010, said Orlando, Fla., horticulture expert Tom MacCubbin. Community gardens are a growing trend, especially those that involve children. Of all vegetables, he predicts tomatoes will be especially popular. In the landscape, perennial plants that last longer than annuals and need less care are a strong trend, he added. Trendy plants include gold mound duranta, a shrub with acid-green foliage, and perennial bulbine, which sports spikes of yellow blooms.

New-home construction. The era of the extravagant McMansion is over, said Nathan Cross of NWC Construction in Orlando. When building new homes, people are increasingly budget-conscious. “It’s back to basics. Even the pool is a no-frills deal,” he said. About the only area where homeowners may be prepared to splurge a little is the master suite. Energy-efficiency will be important. So will going green: “So long as it’s a green trend that doesn’t cost too much.” Outdoors, some homeowners will be installing fireplaces, fire pits and summer kitchens.

Remodeling. The trend toward making minor improvements to home exteriors is likely to extend into next year—for good reason. It gives homeowners the biggest bang for their bucks when it comes to selling their homes. In terms of costs recouped, eight out of the top 10 home-improvement projects this year were exterior upgrades that cost less than $14,000, according to Realtors Report’s annual Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report. A steel entry-door replacement topped the list, recouping 128.9% of costs, followed by upscale fiber-cement siding replacements (83.6%), wood deck additions (80.6%), and several types of window replacements (more than 70%). The two interior projects that landed on the top-10 list were attic-bedroom additions (83.1% recouped) and minor kitchen remodels (78.3%). The least profitable remodeling projects in terms of resale, and therefore not likely to be popular in 2010, were home-office remodels and sunroom additions.

Written by Jean Patteson

Great Video! Know About the 2009-2010 Tax Credit

by Desi Sowers

Please click here to view a very informative video that explains the 2009-2010 Tax Credit.  We RE/MAX agents want you to be informed!

Displaying blog entries 51-60 of 70




Contact Information

Photo of Desi Sowers,  Associate Broker,  Real Estate
Desi Sowers, Associate Broker,
Certified Residential Specialist at REMAX 8
1344 N. Main Street
Blacksburg VA 24060
Phone: (540) 320-1328

Each Office Independently Owned and Operated