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4 DIY projects for your first home

by Desi Sowers

 

(BPT) - "Where should I start?" It's a question many homeowners ask themselves.

DIY is a great place to start for new homeowners. DIY projects are very versatile - they can easily be adapted to your skill level, budget and desired project. With a little extra time and creativity, you can transform your home.

Other benefits to choosing a DIY project are that they are typically more cost-effective than the alternative and they offer an added sense of ownership and pride in your home.

Since DIY project ideas are endless, it's important to choose ones that will improve your home's value at a reasonable cost. A DIY project should make your life easier and more enjoyable. These are some top recommended DIY projects for first-time homeowners. They won't break the bank but they will deliver a bang for your buck.

1. Add crown molding or update casing and trim. The addition of crown molding to the top of interior walls is a subtle change with big impact. Casing, which is the trim around doors and windows, can also make a huge difference. The replacement of dated crown molding, casing or trim can make a room look newly updated. Go one step further with a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and you'll basically have an entirely new room. For more information on how to install crown molding, check out these simple steps.

2. Replace doors. Doors are often forgettable, but don't have to be. Replace hollow core bedroom, bathroom and closet doors with wood alternatives for an instant dash of richness. And don't limit yourself to traditionally-styled options. From specialty woods to glass panels, there are plenty of options to choose from.

3. Clean and refinish your wood deck. As long as your wood is in good shape, all you need is deck cleaner and wood stain to turn something dated into the focal point of your backyard. You can buy deck cleaner at your local hardware store. Wood deck stains are available there or at a paint store. You'll be amazed to see weathered wood look like new again. If you haven't cleaned or refinished a deck before, here are step-by-step instructions.

4. Update your closets. Add built-in shelving or simply streamline clothes hangers for an organizational boost you'll thank yourself for every day. Or you can tackle a popular closet upgrade: lining a traditional closet with cedar. Natural cedar looks great, smells great and keeps moths and mildew away. It's a classic and high-end upgrade that's not terribly expensive or time-intensive. When your friends or family open your closet, they will be pleasantly surprised.

Use tongue-and-groove cedar to line some or all of an existing closet. You can leave baseboards in place if they're thicker than the cedar. If not, remove them with a pry bar before the cedar installation. Use nails to attach the cedar to the wall studs, or adhere them with a construction adhesive. Prepare to feel like a bona fide fancy grown-up when it's done!

These are just a fraction of the many DIY projects possibilities. The most important piece of advice is to have fun and don't be afraid to try new things. The more DIY projects you complete, the more confident you'll feel. To get started, pencil in a dedicated DIY day on your calendar and enjoy the process!

How Long Do Families Stay in a Home?

by Desi Sowers

 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) keeps historic data on many aspects of homeownership. One of the data points that has changed dramatically is the median tenure of a family in a home. As the graph below shows, for over twenty years (1985-2008), the median tenure averaged exactly six years. However, since 2008, that average is almost nine years – an increase of almost 50%.

Why the dramatic increase?

The reasons for this change are plentiful. The top two reasons are:

However, with home prices rising dramatically over the last several years, over 90% of homes with a mortgage are now in a positive equity situation with 70% of them having at least 20% equity.
  1. The fall in home prices during the housing crisis left many homeowners in a negative equity situation (where their home was worth less than the mortgage on the property).
  2. The uncertainty of the economy made some homeowners much more fiscally conservative about making a move.

And, with the economy coming back and wages starting to increase, many homeowners are in a much better financial situation than they were just a few short years ago.

What does this mean for housing?

Many believe that a large portion of homeowners are not in a house that is best for their current family circumstances. They could be baby boomers living in an empty, four-bedroom colonial, or a millennial couple planning to start a family that currently lives in a one-bedroom condo.

These homeowners are ready to make a move. Since the lack of housing inventory is a major challenge in the current housing market, this could be great news.

by The KCM Crew on November 2, 2016 in For Buyers

Every fall, the New River Valley rolls out a foliage carpet dressed in blazing oranges and reds, yellows and purples. Mid October is prime leaf-peeping time however colors can be brilliant two weeks before and after peak and even different from one mountain to another. Leaf peepers can drive the winding country roads, hike lush mountain paths and stroll town greens to soak in the electrifying display of color. If you’re planning a trip to the New River Valley region, here are the most vibrant scenes to see fall foliage.

Pandapas Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a break and stroll around the 8 acre pond located just outside the town of Blacksburg.  The pond is surrounded by a forest of hardwoods and rhododendron making it the perfect place to watch the leaves change color. Visitors will enjoy strolling the one-mile wheelchair accessible trail that encircles the pond.

Cascades National  Recreation Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a hike out to the 66-foot waterfall within Jefferson National Forest.  The highly scenic, 4-mile round-trip trail meanders along a shaded mountain creek giving you great views of the changing leaves.  Pack lunch and enjoy picnicking at the beginning of the trail.  

Claytor Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ideal spot for enjoying the changing left colors is beside the 4,500 acre lake.  Wonder around hiking trails, spend the weekend camping or pack a picnic lunch to enjoy by the lake.  Stop by the historic Howe House to see the interactive exhibits describing the ecology of the lake and the surrounding areas. Guests can also rent bikes and enjoy a universally accessible fishing pier, picnic shelters, a seasonal snack bar and playgrounds. There are also two gift shops.

Mountain Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This beautiful resort welcomes day visitors to come and enjoy the changing season.   The resort offers guided hikes of the 22 miles of Mountain Lake Trails lead by a naturalist, a treetop adventure course, mountain bike rentals, geocaching and frisbee disc golf.  If you would like to enjoy the beautiful scenery longer you can book a room at the lodge or in one of the rustic cabins.  

Huckleberry Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can spend endless hours taking in the wonderful colors of fall on the Huckleberry Trail. There are plenty of benches along the trail to stop and enjoy the surroundings, and free parking is available at both ends of the trail and at Warm Hearth Park.

New River Trail State Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New River Trail is a 57-mile linear park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way. The park parallels the scenic and historic New River for 39 miles and passes through four counties and the city of Galax. The trail's gentle slope makes it great for visitors of all ages to hike, bike and ride horseback.

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. If you are thinking about buying or selling New River Valley Real Estate Give me a call or send me an email. 

 

Blacksburg, Virginia, July, 21, 2016 Desi Sowers of Re/Max 8 was named one of America’s most productive sales associates as a part of REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Agents, the newly issued ranking report produced by REAL Trends and sponsored by Zillow Group.  She is now a member of the “America’s Best Real Estate Agents,” and ranked number 30 for the state of Virginia.

REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Agents ranks over 12,000 residential real estate professionals solely based on their excellence in real estate sales during calendar year 2015. All production numbers are independently verified by a third-party in order to ensure accuracy and report integrity. This group of highly successful real estate sales agents represents less than 1 percent of all real estate practitioners in the United States.

The real estate professionals are ranked in four categories:

• Individual agent — Sales volume

• Individual agent — Transaction sides (in each real estate transaction there are two sides that can be represented by a real estate agent: the buy side and the selling side)

• Agent team — Sales volume

• Agent team — Transaction sides

To qualify for inclusion, an individual agent must have closed at least 50 transaction sides or $20 million in sales volume in 2015. For real estate agent teams, the minimum is 75 transaction sides or $30 million in closed sales volume.

“The average residential real estate agent in the United States closed fewer than eight transactions in 2015 and had less than $1.5 million in sales,” says Steve Murray, publisher of REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Agents and president of REAL Trends. “To say that Desi Sowers is an exceptional sales professional is an understatement. To attain this level of sales is truly outstanding.”

“We are also pleased that two of the nation’s most prominent online real estate websites, Trulia® and Zillow®, have partnered with REAL Trends to bring a superior level of customer exposure of these sales agents’ performance,” Murray added.

Information on those receiving this recognition can be found online at http://www.americasbestre.com

“I am thankful for wonderful clients, loving family...I'm blessed!  I am honored to be tiered with the country’s top residential real estate agents,” said Desi Sowers.  “It represents the time and effort that we put into each client that we serve and how much work it takes to build a successful real estate career. The level of sales it takes to qualify makes Real Trends Americas Top Realtors list a truly superior recognition.”

Upcycle your summer treasures with these 5 DIY tips

by Desi Sowers

 

(BPT) - The months of summer are a perfect time to hunt for hidden one-of-a-kind treasures buried in neighborhood yard sales. Whether it's an old wooden dining chair, coffee table or bookshelf, there is beautiful potential in what others view as old and outdated. And with just a few handy touch-ups, it's easy to transform yesterday's furniture trends into today's style. Follow these five steps to begin your DIY furniture makeover today.

*Lose the dirt and return the natural shine. A dry microfiber cloth is all you need to remove dust and loose dirt. If the wood appears dull or faded, create a polishing solution of half olive oil and half white vinegar to restore its natural shine. Apply the mixture with a cheese cloth and use a clean soft cloth to blot any excess liquid.

*Repair the imperfections. Even wooden furniture with gouges or scratches can be restored to its former glory. Apply DAP Plastic Wood All-Purpose Wood Filler and simply wait for the filler to dry before sanding, painting and staining. If you're a beginning DIYer, take advantage of new Plastic Wood-X, which goes on pink and dries natural to signal when it's time to move to the next step - taking the guesswork out of drying time. Both of these wood fillers dry with minimal shrinking and no cracking, are low in odor, and clean up easily with water.

*Enhance the color. After the wood filler dries, sand and stain the area to create an invisible repair. If you wish to paint the furniture, sand the entire table or chair to prepare the wood for new primer and paint. White paint gives traditional-style furniture a vintage touch, while adding designs with clean lines provide a more contemporary edge. Bold colors, such as turquoise, can also transform your new furniture to become a statement piece in the home.

*Add your personal touch. Along with saving money and helping the environment, upcycling furniture is beneficial because it provides an opportunity to create truly one-of-a-kind designs. Furniture stencils make it easy to restore wooden pieces with eye-catching patterns, or you can add prints using fabric and wallpaper. If you prefer a simple style, a fresh coat of paint and new hardware are all you need to update a table or dresser.

You can even repurpose furniture to achieve a unique look. A small TV stand can become your bedroom's nightstand. An old wooden changing table might be the perfect place to display your succulents and herbs. Get creative and try out a few different ideas to discover the best use for your new find.

*Keep a repair kit on hand for later. Most wooden furniture will likely need a touch-up from time to time. With DAP's Wood Finish Repair Kit, you can repair and restore the furniture you already have when scratches, small nail holes or other minor blemishes appear.

Don't let the small imperfections turn you away from bringing a beautiful piece of old furniture into your home. By following a few easy steps, you can breathe new life into any wooden furniture you find this summer. To learn more about Plastic Wood, Plastic Wood-X and other DAP products, visit www.dap.com.

Homeownership Builds Wealth & Offers Stability

by Desi Sowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most recent Housing Pulse Survey released by the National Association of Realtors revealed that the two major reasons Americans prefer owning their own home instead of renting are:

  1. They want the opportunity to build equity.
  2. They want a stable and safe environment.

Building Equity

John Taylor, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalitionexplains that those who lack the opportunity to become homeowners have a weakened ability to reinvest their wealth:

“We traditionally have been huge supporters of homeownership. We see it as a way to provide stability for households but also as an asset-building strategy. If you continue to be a renter, locked out of the homeownership arena, increasingly those things are further and further out of reach. They’re joined at the hip. They perpetuate each other.” 

Family Stability

Does owning your home really create a more stable environment for your family?

survey of property managers conducted by rent.com disclosed two reasons tenants should feel less stable with their housing situation:

  • 68% of property managers predict that rental rates will continue to rise in the next year by an average of 8%.
  • 53% of property managers said that they were more likely to bring in a new tenant at a higher rate than negotiate and renew a lease with a current tenant they already know.

We can see from these survey results that renting will provide anything but a stable environment in the near future. 

Bottom Line

Homeowners enjoy a more stable environment and at the same time are given the opportunity to build their family’s net worth.

by The KCM Crew on July 12, 2016 in For Buyers

 

View the Tour

Welcome home to 10 Camellia Lane situated in the popular New River Village with easy access to all parts of the New River Valley. Four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, new carpet, new heat pump soothing ceiling fans, neutral paint colors, full appliance package including the washer and dryer are awaiting the lucky buyers of this spacious home. Come on in but please slip your shoes off or use the shoe covers. An inviting open main level living floorplan boasts vaulted ceilings and abundance of natural light is sure to impress. A cheerful kitchen features ample cabinet and counter space including side bar for serving. Slip out on the deck enjoy the lovely views overlooking the fully fenced backyard; one could happily linger here all day! Main level master suite with private bath plus there is an additional two main level bedrooms and two full bathrooms allowing for a soothing nights rest and plenty of privacy. Awesome lower lever offers a family room, laundry room, bedroom and full bathroom perfect for overnight guests and recreational fun. One car garage is ideal for storage. Come on over and make this home yours!

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. This Christiansburg VA home is just steps to shopping, nightlife, VA Tech and recreational activities.

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.

 

New River Valley VA Real Estate

4985 Cove View Road Pulaski VA 24301

MLS#323850

$649,900

View The Floor Plans

Imagine slipping away from the hustle and bustle to a quiet lakeside retreat where the worries of the world melt away. Picturesque is only the beginning of this desirable Claytor Lake location with a level ½ acre lot, no steps to the water, 189’ of water frontage and panoramic lake views. A private escape to ski, tube, fish, take a scenic cruise or simply sit quietly and enjoy sweeping lake views. The sun drenched open living and dining area will certainly be a favorite gathering place with hardwood floors, stone gas fireplace, beamed ceilings and big window views. A delicious kitchen is ideal for multiple cooks with granite counters, custom cabinets, tiled backsplash, butlers pantry with sink, serving bar and an island. The family room and an amazing connecting screened porch overlook the lush lawn and lake, perfect for casual lake front entertaining. A dreamy main level master suite offers deck access and a pampering bath including a soaking tub, walk in shower, dual vanities and tile. Three soothing upper level bedrooms, two with private balconies!  Slip on down to the waterfront dock with boat lift and upper level deck, one could happily linger all day long. Quality landscaping, large mature trees and open grassy areas on a sprawling lake front offers plenty of room for sun, play and entertainment. A double attached garage plus a single boat storage garage by the lake offers plenty of space for your recreational toys. Ideal for year round vacations or easy access to Virginia Tech events this Claytor Lake home is perfect for investment, personal use or year round living. Schedule a showing today – this is an exceptional home where you can create the most treasured memories for your family!

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. This Claytor Lake home is just steps to shopping, nightlife, VA Tech and recreational activities.

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.

Real Estate: 2016 Will Be the Best Year in a Decade

by Desi Sowers

A few weeks ago, Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist at realtor.com, exclaimed: “All indicators point to this spring being the busiest since 2006.”

Now, Freddie Mac has doubled down on that claim and is saying that 2016 will be the best year that the real estate industry has seen in a decade. In their March Housing Outlook Report, Freddie Mac explained:

“Despite the challenges facing the housing market, we expect this to be the best year for housing in a decade. Home sales, housing starts, and house prices will reach their highest level since 2006 according to our latest forecast…Challenges remain, with low housing supply and declining affordability being a key concern in many markets, but on balance, the housing markets in the U.S. are poised for the best year since 2006.”

The key indicators that have given Freddie Mac such a positive outlook are:

  • Low interest rates
  • A resilient labor market
  • An increase in household formations
  • A projected increase in newly constructed homes

Bottom Line

2016 looks to be shaping up as a great year for residential real estate. Whether you are thinking of buying or selling, now may be the time to sit down with a real estate professional to discuss the new opportunities that are arising.

 
 
View the Tour

 

Sprawling light filled living wrapped around serene pasture views, this cul-de-sac home in Cloverlea is a must see. Offering comfortable everyday living with 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, finished basement, a stone and vinyl exterior, hardwood floors, tiled floors, vaulted ceilings, storm doors and windows, tankless hot water heater, full kitchen appliance package, pantry, over a ½ acre lot and a double attached garage! Elegant formal dining plus an eat in kitchen with breakfast bar all overlooking long range mountain views. A dreamy master bedroom with office space, luxury bath including spa tub, walk in shower, dual vanities and walk-in closets. Wow walk out finished basement is a thriving place to entertain or just hanging out with the family. Offering a family room, kitchenette, full bath, bedroom, kids play area and easy access to the outdoors you are sure to be impressed. Slip out to backdoor and toast your toes by the outdoor fireplace or just relish in the serene pasture views. Pack your bags and come on over you are sure to enjoy the Cloverlea community with green space and walking areas. View The Floor Plan!

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. This Pulaski VA home is just steps to shopping, nightlife, VA Tech and recreational activities.

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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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