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Posts from — July 2011

United Way of Franklin County Receives $1,000 From After 5 Jive Proceeds

The United Way of Franklin County was presented with a $1,000 check for proceeds from the second After 5 Jive by Carilion Clinic representatives Bill Jacobsen, President and CEO, Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital and Curtis Cornell, Director, Carilion Clinic Urgent Care – Westlake. Carilion Clinic is one of the co-sponsors for the After 5 Jive concert series.

The next outdoor event is scheduled for Thursday, August 4 featuring “Key West” performing at Westlake Towne Center, next to Kroger. Gates open at 5 p.m. with live music getting underway at 5:30 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. Admissions for Adults is $5, children 10 and under are admitted free. Valid ID required for 21 and older. There will be a children’s play area with an inflatable slide as well as face painting.

After 5 Jive at Smith Mountain Lake is sponsored by Prudential Waterfront Properties, Carilion Clinic, Appalachian Power, Western Virginia Water Authority, Smith Mountain Building Supply, Kroger, Ferguson Kitchen & Bath, Laker Media, WDBJ-7, Budweiser, and Coca-Cola. Participating food and drink vendors include Homestead Creamery, Hot Shots, Brooks Mill Winery, Budweiser and Coca-Cola. Lawn chairs welcome. No coolers, outside food or drinks, rollerblades, skateboards or pets are allowed on the premises. Events are subject to cancellation and possible rescheduling due to inclement weather.

For additional information visit www.After5Jive.com or contact (540) 721-5288.

July 22, 2011   No Comments

Floor the Competition

When people enter your Smith Mountain Lake home they usually look down before up, so that first step is vital for attracting a homebuyer and making a great first impression. This is one reason why more people are installing hardwood floors in their homes.

Hardwood flooring enhances the look of any room and can create a classic ambiance that will beautify the interior design of your home. Prudential Waterfront Properties real estate agents agree that Smith Mountain Lake homes with wood floors hold their value better, sell faster and fetch higher prices.

Last year, 99 percent of real estate agents responding to a national survey conducted by the National Wood Flooring Association agreed that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell. The survey also found that 82 percent believe that homes with hardwood floors sell faster and 90 percent said they would sell for more money.

The American Hardwood Information Center adds that restoring hardwood flooring in the home is one of the best long-term investments to be made.

“Hardwood floors are environmentally friendly, forever fashionable, and will last for generations,” said Pembroke Jacobs, president of the Hardwood Manufacturers Association. “Plus, with an expected life span of up to 100 years for certain premium hardwood flooring, you can be assured that that the hardwood really is a one-time investment with a very long-term payoff.”

Prudential Waterfront Properties real estate agents also agree that carpeting does not impress potential buyers, but hardwood floors are always a draw. Engineered wood floors impart warmth, depth and richness to a home’s decor that cannot be matched by carpeting, tile or vinyl flooring.
Despite the existence of modern architectural trends in flooring, hardwood can still compete with floor tiles and other artificial materials. It comes in a variety of colors and grains; light, medium, or dark shades; and a variety of sizes, styles, finishes and species.

Maple, mahogany and oak are the most popular woods, but some homeowners are investing in exotics such as Brazilian cherry and purpleheart.

The Environmental Protection Agency has said that indoor air quality is one of the top health threats and wood floors can help contribute to a healthy living environment. In fact, a recent EPA study found that pesticides used in gardens and homes accumulate on floors and other surfaces in the home, but that wood floors greatly reduce the accumulation of such toxins. Hardwood floors also do not trap or harbor dust mites or molds.

Though wood floors will probably need to be refinished at some point, when properly taken care of they are much easier to maintain than other floor surfaces.

The NWFA recommends regular sweeping of hardwood floors with a soft-bristle broom or dust mop to remove surface dirt and debris. If your floor contains beveled edges, it recommends using a vacuum with a soft bristle brush attachment to remove dirt and debris from between the floorboards.

Having hardwood floors could be the difference between selling your home or watching a potential buyer walk out the door on a less-appealing type of flooring.

 

July 19, 2011   No Comments

Keeping the Kids at Bay When Selling Your Smith Mountain Lake Home

Smith Mountain Lake homeowners with young children face a common challenge when their house is on the market: How do you keep the home clean and ready for prospective buyers while maintaining a kid-friendly and safe environment?

Keeping that “staged look” as the kids create instant messes can be overwhelming.  Your primary focus should be the kids’ bedrooms, according to two home stagers.

“Children’s bedrooms are often problematic when getting a home ready to sell,” said Külli Yee, founder and president of Ilus Design Home Staging and Re-design, Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada. “They tend to have more clutter than most rooms in the form of toys and activities, and out-of-season and hand-me-down clothes and toys are often stored in the child’s bedroom.”
Ye suggests limiting the number of toys and activities that children play with each week and adding and subtracting as the kids get bored.

“Most kids only actively use three or four favorite toys at a time and the rest just sits there collecting dust,” Yee said. “Pack away extra toys, stuffed animals and books. Organize the remaining toys neatly in baskets, boxes and bins and display only a few items on the shelves.”

Alice T. Chan, a Fremont, Calif.-based home stager and author of the book 8 Steps for Creating an Irresistible Market Ready Home that Sells, recommended keeping a child’s bedroom floor and closet free of clutter by lightening the load.

“Reduce the amount of items stored in the closets,” she said. “Pack, store or give away anything that the child doesn’t need for the next two to three months. This is also the perfect time to get rid of unused or broken toys and old clothes.”

For those with infants, a nursery should be kept tidy with all extra diapers, wipes, lotions, baby bottles and clothes hidden away in a dresser. Make sure that the diaper pail is emptied frequently.

Moreover, remove any furniture that doesn’t serve a purpose in the nursery. Anything beyond a crib, dresser, rocking chair, changing table and small accessories should be packed away.

If your kids have their own rooms, consider asking them to share a room for a couple of months until the home sells. This allows you to set up the other bedrooms as a guest room or home office, adding extra value to your home.

Unlike pets, you can’t simply pack up the kids and send them away for weeks at a time. Remind your children that once your current home sells, the new home will bring them exciting new adventures. If that doesn’t make them more cooperative in helping keep the place then there’s always plan B: bribe them with ice cream, outside!

 

July 15, 2011   No Comments

Short Sale Guidelines Are Making a Difference

The theory behind short sales seems simple enough: If a homeowner owes more money on a house than the house can sell for, and the homeowner is struggling to pay the mortgage, the lender will allow the house to be sold for less than is owed.

For obvious reasons, lenders are not big fans of short sales and often make it a complicated process.

In April 2010, The Home Affordable Alternatives Program (HAFA) released new guidelines designed to streamline the short-sale process and allow more delinquent homeowners to sell their homes and move on with their lives.

In its first year, participating servicers initiated 12,266 HAFA agreements and completed 5,447 transactions.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the share of distressed homes—bank-owned properties and pre-foreclosure short sales— in April 2011 dropped to 37% of total sales volume, down from 40% in March and an average of 39% over the first quarter.

HAFA complements the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a loan modification program designed to reduce delinquent and at-risk borrowers’ monthly mortgage payments by providing alternatives for borrowers who don’t qualify for or don’t complete a trial modification.

“[HAFA short-sale guidelines] are designed to help people who are unable to keep their home under the HAMP loan modification program,” said Jeff Lischer, managing director for regulatory policy for The National Association of Realtors. “Let’s say you can’t keep your property under HAMP, the next step is a short sale, which is better than a foreclosure.”

It’s estimated that lenders lose about 40% of a property’s value on a foreclosure, whereas the figure is reduced to about 19% on a short sale. Moreover, the short sale is a graceful exit from the ownership, which is better for people’s credit scores.

New rules also add incentives for the short-sale process. One incentive helps sellers relocate by providing them with $3,000 for moving expenses. A second incentive is for mortgage servicers, who receive $1,500 from the federal government for each completed short sale. Under new guidelines, homeowners can secure a short sale approval in advance from the bank representing a minimum net amount the bank will accept.

Lenders participating in the HAFA program maintain the following requirements for homeowners considering short sale: The loan must be less than $729,750, made before Jan. 1, 2009, and the home must be the owner’s primary residence. Also, the homeowner must be delinquent and unable to pay the mortgage, and the homeowner’s mortgage payment must be more than 31% of his or her before-tax income.

July 13, 2011   No Comments

Mortgage Points: To Pay or Not to Pay

If William Shakespeare financed a home today he’d probably ask on the subject of mortgage points: “To pay or not to pay? That is the question.”

Homebuyers direct the same question to their real estate agents. Here are some perspectives:

In its simplest definition, a point is an additional loan fee that is paid to the lender in exchange for a lower interest rate. It’s called “buying down,” and it allows you to reduce your rate for the life of the loan.

Let’s say you secured a mortgage loan for $500,000 without points, at 4.6% on a 30-year mortgage, your payment would be approximately $2,560 a month. If you paid two points ($10,000), the interest rate in this example would go down to 4.1% and the monthly payment would decrease to around $2,415, a savings of $145 a month.

In this scenario, it would take you about eight years to recoup the money you paid up front, so if you are planning on staying in your home a while, this will save you money in the long-run.

Home buyers must answer some key questions to determine if paying points is a wise decision. Specifically:

  • How long will you keep the home?
  • Do you have extra money to pay points?
  • Could that money be better used for something else?

Money managers may suggest that a smarter option is to invest that $10,000 because you could do much better than your $140 savings, but you have to weigh the variables.

“Paying points depends on your career, your interests and all the things that predict your future,” said financial advisor Thomas Watkins of Total Mortgage Services in Milford, Conn. “Points are paid up front while your savings will be spread out into the future. Therefore, you get more benefit if you own your home longer, or if you don’t refinance for a long time.”

The rule of thumb when it comes to points is simple: If you plan to stay in the house for less than three years, do not pay points. If you plan to stay in the house for more than five years, pay 1 to 2 points. If you’ll be in the house for three to five years, paying points doesn’t make a significant difference.

Another important aspect to consider: Since points are interest-payment related, they are fully deductible on your taxes in the year that you close. See your tax advisor for details.

Mortgage points can add up to valuable savings over the course of your loan, but the future isn’t always predictable. Even if you “plan” on staying in your home for 20 years, changes in your career or family life could alter the plan.

July 11, 2011   No Comments

Bringing the Generations Together

Although your home may have been housing a traditional family of a mom, dad and two kids, savvy Prudential Waterfront Properties real estate agents will tell you that in order to attract more buyers, staging your Smith Mountain Lake house as one fit for multi-generations is the way to go.

More parents and grandparents are finding a need to move in with family, as many can no longer afford the increasing rates of the adult communities where they once lived. Furthermore, the economic climate is forcing many kids to return home once their schooling is done.

A recent multi-generational study conducted by the Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C., revealed that multigenerational living has been on the rise over the past decade, fueled by demographic and cultural shifts.

“One of the things that struck me about this change is that it’s coming from all directions,” said Paul Taylor, author of the report. “More young adults are moving back home, more elderly are moving in with their middle-age children and more middle-aged children are moving back with their elderly parents.”

Data from the study shows that in the 10-year span between 2000 and 2009, the number of households practicing multi-generational living increased to 33%, with more than 49 million Americans currently living in homes with three or more generations.

Real estate professionals are tending to highlight features such as finished walkout basements and bonus bedrooms today more than ever. That’s why when your agent tells you that switching out your office or transposing the basement play area to one that resembles more of a bedroom is the way to go, you should be listening.

When selling your home, you need to look at the process from the perspective of all buyers, not just yours. Consider how a multigenerational family might use the various spaces available, and give prospective homebuyers options to easily transform from single-family to multigenerational living.

Therefore, any home that contains bonus space is a viable candidate for a multigenerational buyer who’s planning to bring an ill or out-of-work family member back into the fold.

Experts agree that intergenerational living is easier when each family subunit has its own space. “Everyone who is going to share the home should have a private area of their own,” said Amy Goyer, a multigenerational expert at AARP. “It is best if there is more than one common area so that children and adults have spaces to relax in without everyone having to spend all their free time in the same room together.”

Multigenerational house design can be applied to just one structure or can be accomplished with two or three units to keep families together while preserving their independence and privacy.

According to Cam Marston, author and founder of the research firm Generational Insight, there are a number of benefits for different generations of a family living together. “It’s less expensive, obviously, but more importantly, they can learn from one another,” Marston said. “Separating generations keeps them aloof from the trends and important things impacting each generation. When they are all under one roof, they can grow up sooner and stay young longer. It works on both ends of the generations.”

Another thing for home sellers to consider when it comes to attracting multigenerational buyers is the home’s accessibility for people who might be living with aging parents who use wheel chairs or walkers.

Creating a complete, accessible living space on one level with safety features can make a home attractive to people of all ages.

July 7, 2011   No Comments

Join us for After 5 Jive at Smith Mountain Lake

Come out and join us for the After 5 Jive at Smith Mountain Lake outdoor concert tomorrow, Thursday, July 7 featuring “The Embers” performing at Westlake Towne Center, next to Kroger. Gates open at 5 p.m. with live music getting underway at 5:30 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. Admissions for Adults is $5, children 10 and under are admitted free. Valid ID required for 21 and older. There will be a children’s play area with an inflatable slide and other activities.

After 5 Jive at Smith Mountain Lake is sponsored by Prudential Waterfront Properties, Carilion Clinic, Appalachian Power, Western Virginia Water Authority, Smith Mountain Building Supply, Kroger, Ferguson Kitchen & Bath, Laker Media, WDBJ-7, Budweiser, and Coca-Cola. Participating food and drink vendors include Homestead Creamery, Hot Shots, Brooks Mill Winery, Budweiser and Coca-Cola. Lawn chairs welcome. No coolers, outside food or drinks, rollerblades, skateboards or pets are allowed on the premises. Events are subject to cancellation and possible rescheduling due to inclement weather.

For additional information visit www.After5Jive.com or contact (540) 721-5288.

July 6, 2011   No Comments

2011 Independence Weekend Fireworks Display

The Saunders Volunteer Fire Company will present its annual Smith Mountain Lake Fireworks and Fire Company Fundraiser hosted by Parkway Marina in Huddleston on Saturday, July 2, Raindate Sunday, July 3.  The spectacular fireworks presentation is preceded by a fun-filled day of activities — including live music with “The Worx.” Enjoy the spectacular fireworks show by boat or on the shoreline.  Car and Boat Show begins at 2 p.m. along with fire and rescue equipment, display and military hardware and vehicle display.  Beginning at 3 p.m., you can enjoy amusement rides, arts and crafts, a variety of foods, and live music by The Worx.

The SML Water Safety Council asks all boaters to travel at no-wake (idle) speeds within the No-Wake Zone boundaries from 7:30 PM July 2nd until after heavy spectator traffic has departed the Zone following the fireworks (usually about 10:45 PM).  Skippers are expected to slow to idle speeds as they enter the zone for the safety and comfort of those already drifting in that area. Once boats reach the No-Wake Zone boundaries along their routes home after the fireworks, it should be safe to proceed at a prudent after-dark cruising speeds on up the channels.

We hope to have boats on the water that evening marking the boundaries with large orange balloons, lighted after dark. However, if you don’t see a marker boat along your path, realize that the boundaries are located roughly as follows:

  • From Bernard’s Landing/Rabbit Island across to the north-eastern shore of the Roanoke between R12 and R10
  • From Christmas Tree Island due east across the Blackwater
  • Across Craddock Creek at marker C3.

Extra caution and prudent speeds are also recommended while proceeding through the squeeze at the S-curve. The Water Safety Council, VDGIF and other lake safety patrols urge all boaters to wear their life jackets while boating on the July4th Holiday weekend. “You wore your seat belts getting here; wearing life jackets while on the water makes equally good sense.” Boaters who enjoy the fireworks are asked to help keep this SML tradition alive by sending a tax-deductible contribution to: Treasurer, Saunders Volunteer Fire Co., P.O Box 14, Huddleston, VA 24104.

The event culminates at dusk with a magnificent fireworks display including salutes from the National Guard’s howitzers! No Pets will be allowed on the Point.  For more details contact organizers at 540.297.4412.  Details are also available at the Smith Mountain Lake Visitor Center by calling 540.721.1203. Parkway Marina is located off of Smith Mountain Lake Parkway (Route 626) on the Bedford County shore of the lake.  Come out to celebrate America’s Independence Day Weekend.

July 1, 2011   No Comments

Happy July 4th!

The Fourth of July stands for our country’s declaration of independence.  This historical holiday is commemorated each year as a special time to gather with friends, family, and neighbors to celebrate with some good old-fashioned American summer fun.  That usually means fireworks, picnics, barbecue, baseball, and the beach.  Whether you choose a backyard barbecue, a pool party, or a beach bash take a moment to reflect on this day and be thankful for the freedom you have.

As inspiration for your celebrations, Allen and I have gathered the following collection of patriotic quotes.

America, for me, has been the pursuit and catching of happiness. ~ Aurora Raigne

America is a passionate idea or it is nothing. America is a human brotherhood or it is chaos. ~ Max Lerner

I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him. ~ Abraham Lincoln

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. ~ John F Kennedy

The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. ~ Douglas MacArthur

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. ~ Elmer Davis

Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all!  By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall.~ John Dickinson

America is a tune. It must be sung together. ~ Gerald Stanley Lee

And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.  And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.~ Lee Greenwood

Stars & Stripes

Family & Friends…Are Forever.

From all of us here at Prudential Waterfront Properties, Smith Mountain Lake’s Premier Real Estate Company, Have a safe holiday!

July 1, 2011   No Comments