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Posts from — February 2010

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE DAM

One of the most interesting places to visit at the Lake is American Electric Power’s Smith Mountain Lake Dam. At the Visitor Center overlooking the Dam, you’ll enjoy learning how electricity is generated in a pumped storage and hydroelectric project. There are hands-on exhibits and computer models to try, a theatre with audio-visual presentations, and a three-dimensional terrain map, which shows the lake area as if viewed from an altitude of 25,000 feet. Outside the Visitors Center there are overlook areas providing spectacular views of the dam, gorge and lake plus picnic facilities with charcoal grills located near the base of the dam. So make a day of it at this great attraction that created the lake back in 1966.

Smith Mountain Lake Dam Visitors Center, Phone: 540.985.2587

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_Mountain_Lake

February 25, 2010   No Comments

KEEPING AMERICA GREEN

Although today’s economic environment has a lot of Americans seeing red, many are still thinking green when it comes to housing. 

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the green homes market is expected to increase to 10 percent in 2010.

Ninety percent of recent home buyers believe energy efficiency is a very important factor when shopping for a home. Buyers who placed a priority on energy efficiency were also more likely to value other environment-friendly features, such as proximity to parks and public transportation, and existence of sidewalks in the neighborhood.

Would you like to learn more about how popular are environment-friendly homes are at Smith Mountain Lake and surrounding areas? Talk to a Prudential Waterfront Properties Realtor to find out which energy-efficient features buyers are most interested in and talk to homeowners who “went green” to see if they found it cost-effective and beneficial.

February 24, 2010   No Comments

UNITING FOR HAITI

The Haitian earthquake disaster prompted humanitarian outreach efforts all across the globe. Prudential Waterfront Properties, Smith Mountain Lake’s premier real estate company, is working in conjunction with Prudential Financial in raising donations for Haiti. Prudential Financial, after already pledging $150,000 in earthquake relief for Haiti through the Prudential Foundation, has announced it will match affiliate donations made for Haiti.

In addition, The National Association of Realtors (NAR’s) Relief Foundation is contributing $550,000 to relief of victims of the Haiti earthquake, and is calling upon its 1.2 million members to help. Part of the contribution came from Lowe’s, a partner of NAR’s REALTOR Benefits Program, who donated $100,000. $50,000 will go to the Harvest of Haiti program, which was founded by a 2007 REALTOR® Magazine Good Neighbor Awards winner, Patrick Moore. The program supports orphans, delivers clean water and provides medical care in Haiti for approximately 3,500 people every year. Moore is currently planning his 64th trip to Haiti to deliver six months worth of food to an orphanage in Anse Rouge and help residents in and around Port-au-Prince.

February 24, 2010   No Comments

SALES STEPPING UP

Is it a Seller’s Market?

Existing-home sales rose 5 percent in 2009, and December 2009 sales were 15 percent higher than December 2008. This suggests many areas around the country are showing glimpses of a balanced turnaround for sellers.

Housing inventories have steadily declined – an indication home prices in many areas have stabilized and could soon return to normal appreciation patterns. Buyers still have good choices but are purchasing near the bottom of the price cycle with historically low mortgage interest rates. The first-time home buyer tax credit has also been a key motivator in moving sales along.

In addition, current homeowners who are in the market to buy a home can qualify for up to $6,500 if they have a contract in place by April 30, 2010, and close by June 30.

Ask a Prudential Waterfront Properties Realtor® how selling conditions in your area compare to a year ago. Have prices increased? Is buying activity strong?

February 23, 2010   No Comments

COME VISIT OUR WINERIES!

A pleasant way to spend a day is to visit the wineries near Smith Mountain Lake. Virginia wines have earned a reputation for high standards and the nearby vineyards provide unique settings for touring and enjoying the fruit of the vines.

Brooks Mill Winery
6221 Brooks Mill Rd, Wirtz, VA 24184
540.721.5215
We are a new family owned and operated winery located near Smith Mountain Lake in Franklin County. We offer delicious fruit wines for all personal tastes. Call for a tasting appointment. We’re just minutes from the Westlake Corner.

Hickory Hill Winery
1722 Hickory Cove Lane, Moneta, VA 24121
Phone:540.296.1393
We invite you to visit our vineyard and experience its quiet country charm. Tours of the winery and tastings are available. You can enjoy one of our wines on the covered porch of the winery or in the picnic area over-looking the vineyard.

Peaks of Otter Winery
2122 Sheep Creek Road, Bedford, VA 24523
540.586.3707

Breathtaking views near the Peaks of Otter, this winery features tastes of the fresh fruit used in the wines including Apple, Crab Apple, Cherry, Berry, Apple Pepper, Chili Pepper and Apple Cinnamon wines. They also have a wonderful assortment of jellies, jams, butters, sweet ciders, a picnic pavilion, and self-guided farm tours.

Tomahawk Mill Winery
9221 Anderson Mill Road, Chatham, VA 24531
434.432.1063

Enjoy fine wines in a 114-year-old historic, water-powered gristmill built by a confederate soldier. Have a picnic viewing the stored millpond and dam. Taste Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Concord and Mead wines.

Valhalla Vineyards
6500 Mt. Chestnut Road, Roanoke, VA 24018
540.725.9463
Valhalla Vineyards has quickly become “Roanoke’s Winery.”  Tour our barrel cave, sixty feet beneath the vineyard!  If you want a taste of French wine country without going to France, come spend an afternoon with Valhalla Vineyards.

White Rock Vineyards & Winery
2117 Bruno Drive, Goodview, VA 24095

We are a family owned and operated vineyard and our winery is located in the appropriately named Goodview area of Bedford County, VA.  Come visit our tasting room and veranda and enjoy the spectacular views, breathtaking sunsets, and lost of good old Southern hospitality.

Prudential Waterfront Properties is a proud sponsor of the annual Smith Mountain Lake premier wine festivals with over twenty wineries, food, entertainment and arts and crafts.

February 23, 2010   No Comments

2010 SOUTHWEST VA BOAT SHOW

February 26, 27 & 28 – 2010 Southwest VA Boat Show at Roanoke Civic Center

Friday, February 26, 1pm – 8pm; Saturday, February 27, 10am – 8pm and Sunday, February 28, 10am – 5pm

Visitors to this year’s Southwest Virginia Boat Show Feb. 26-28 will have some new “waters” to explore. First, the show will be expanding into a much larger indoor exhibit area. New exhibitors this year will include dock builders, providers of barbeque grills and other outdoor living furnishings and living accessories, casual clothing retailers and landscapers, to name just a few. The increasing popularity of board sports at SML will also be reflected at the show. Several of the participating dealers offer boats designed for towing wake boarders, wake skaters and for the newest craze, wake surfing.

February 22, 2010   No Comments

NEW FHA RULES

The Federal Housing Administration has announced major changes to its program. The agency will increase the amount of upfront cash paid by new borrowers and require higher downpayments from those with the poorest credit.

Upfront insurance premiums paid at the closing table will increase to 2.25 percent of the loan value, but buyers will still be able to finance the premiums. Borrowers with credit scores below 580 will be required to put at least 10 percent down, but home buyers with higher scores will still be allowed to put down as little as 3.5 percent. FHA also plans to reduce seller concessions from six to three percent of the home’s value.

These policy changes come on the heels of FHA’s announcement in October 2009 that its capital reserve fund had fallen below the congressionally mandated level of two percent. Lawmakers believe these changes will help ensure the agency’s financial soundness and fulfill its mission of serving borrowers not adequately served by the private sector.

Talk to a Prudential Waterfront Properties Realtor® about these changes or visit www.realtor.org/government _affairs for more information about other FHA developments.

February 22, 2010   No Comments

BE SURE TO CHECK FOR RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS

You’ve just toured the home of your dreams and are ready to make an offer. You can already envision upgrades you would like make: a pool in the back yard, window shutters and a black picket fence to match. You’re even excited that your boat will fit in the driveway. Yet, what you may not be aware of is that there are restrictions that dictate what can and cannot be done to or on the property.

Homebuyers, especially first-timers, may not think of asking about restrictive covenants, yet when you purchase property governed by restrictive covenants, you are consenting to abide by those provisions.

A restrictive covenant, which is a type of deed restriction, regulates a group of new and existing homes or building lots. Developers use them to preserve a development or subdivision as a model community and control its use and appearance. Buyers agree to the sometimes-rigid restrictions in order to maintain the aesthetic standard set by the developer and to safeguard the value of their homes.

Restrictive covenants should not be confused with local zoning and government regulations. Some covenants and zoning regulations overlap; for instance, either can limit the height of a building. But, restrictive covenants tend to exert greater control over a homeowner’s lifestyle. In addition to standard clauses, which may stipulate a home’s minimum size, height, architectural style, and color schemes, covenants often ban practices that could be regarded as aesthetically objectionable–such as parking RVs, boats and non-running vehicles on the property.

Covenants may additionally regulate grass height; window treatments; holiday decorations; walls, fences and hedges; as well as pets–some limit number and type of pets allowed. Very often, owners are required to make repairs within a specified number of days of the initial notification. Depending on a community’s location and other unique features, restrictions may be applied to the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers and removal of dirt and trees. Owners can be prohibited from installing solar panels, building an enclosed patio or adding a swimming pool. Restrictive covenants can also prevent owners from renting the home or operating a home business, including music lessons and daycare. Condo and townhouse owners sometimes face even more rigid restrictions.

What happens when a violation occurs? It’s up to the homeowner’s association or individual property owners to enforce a covenant. Local authorities cannot enforce contractual agreements. Instead, it’s likely that a committee would review the complaint, then notify the homeowner. If the homeowner ignores the initial notice, he or she might receive a notice from an attorney. Legal action would be a last resort.

Before You Buy

While most homeowners enjoy the quality of life resulting from restrictive covenants, some covenants may prevent you from living the life you planned. Before committing yourself to a property, be certain you can live with all the restrictions.

  • Ask to see a copy of the restrictive covenants prior to taking a trip out to a property. You may be able to eliminate the house from your “To See” list.
  • If the sales professional didn’t have the document available initially, be certain to review a copy of the restrictive covenants prior to making an offer.
  • Or, make your offer contingent on your review and approval of the restrictive covenants.

February 19, 2010   No Comments

PRUDENTIAL WATERFRONT PROPERTIES INTRODUCES DREAMBUILDER

Comprehensive program geared for independent real estate contractors includes access to insurance and financial services.

Prudential Waterfront Properties launched a comprehensive program that makes available insurance and financial services to its team of independent real estate contractors.

The program, called DreamBuilder, provides access to group-health insurance, individual medical insurance, dental and vision discount programs, disability-income insurance, long-term care insurance, life insurance, retirement options including owner-only 401(k) plans and simplified employee pension (SEP) plans, and even personal consultation with a licensed insurance and financial services professional.

Additional services provided by licensed financial professionals may include coverage review and strategies for education and retirement funding and estate preservation.

Cathie Daniel, broker, Prudential Waterfront Properties said DreamBuilder® was created to help sales professionals – who are typically independent contractors responsible for their own health and other benefits – gain options that might otherwise be unavailable to them, including medical insurance at group rates. “DreamBuilder® will also help Prudential Waterfront Properties recruit and retain top real estate professionals,” Daniel added.

“This type of program is unique for our industry as few companies can offer such access to a comprehensive array of insurance and financial products and services,” Daniel said. “Our sales professionals now have even more resources that can help them build their financial futures by protecting themselves and their families today while at the same time helps them focus more of their time and energy on their clients,” added Daniel.

“DreamBuilder® is a true, competitive advantage for my company, and another reason why real estate professionals should make their living with Prudential Waterfront Properties,” Daniel added. To learn more about the DreamBuilder® program or career opportunities with Prudential Waterfront Properties, contact (540) 721-8659 for a personal interview.

Prudential Waterfront Properties markets property throughout Smith Mountain Lake and the surrounding areas. As members of the Multiple Listing Service, Prudential Waterfront Properties REALTORS® are able to assist buyers and sellers with all listed properties in a variety of price ranges and locations throughout the lake and surrounding areas. Prudential Waterfront Properties REALTORS® are consistent leaders in sales as well as customer and client service. Visit online at www.smithmtnlake.com.

February 18, 2010   No Comments

GET ONLINE WITH AN ECERTIFIED SALES PROFESSIONAL

Increasingly, consumers are doing business online; they are using the Internet for research and want to have the option of communicating on their terms.

If you’re selling a home, a Prudential Waterfront Properties eCertified sales professional can help provide maximum exposure using the internet to market your home. With a Prudential Waterfront Properties eCertified sales professional, you can count on regular e-mail updates so you can stay on top of the progress of your home’s activity on the internet.

As an eCertified real estate professional, Prudential Waterfront Properties sales professionals have an understanding of the latest Internet marketing solutions available to promote and sell their clients’ properties; use the latest office automation products for added efficiency and organization; understand and use digital imaging to bring added value to the home buying experience; be familiar with popular graphic file types and know how to use the files when sending electronic information to consumers.

eCertified sales professionals are set apart from their peers with:

  • Knowledge of leading Internet marketing solutions available to market properties
  • The ability to generate, send and receive electronic documents and images
  • Access to the latest in digital photography to enhance the home shopping experience
  • The discipline to return email communications in a timely manner
  • An understanding of current technology options available to consumers to help them research important property and financial information

If you’re looking to start your search online, a Prudential Real Estate eCertified sales professional can help you navigate your way to the right location and property.  Call or visit us today and discover what working with a Prudential Waterfront Properties sales professional can mean for you!

February 16, 2010   No Comments