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Posts from — January 2012

Avoid These 8 Smith Mountain Lake Home Staging Mistakes

You may love your Smith Mountain Lake home, but that doesn’t mean that everyone coming through the door will feel the same way. What may be “charming” to the seller may seem off-putting to a prospective buyer. Many sellers attempt to stage their Smith Mountain Lake home themselves and, in doing so, create mistakes that can actually sidetrack the sale of their homes.

Here are some of the biggest staging mistakes, according to professional home stagers.

1. Getting too personal: Home staging is meant to create a neutral canvas that will appeal to the majority of buyers. Staging is all about de-personalizing the space, and creating more of a luxury hotel or a model home look that will appeal to most everyone. This is not the time to bring in your unique style and create a look that appeals to just you.

2. Using dark colors: If painting, you should choose a nice, neutral and warm color, such as beige tones, grey tones, or light blue or pale greens. You’ll be amazed at the transformation a few coats of fresh paint will make on your home.

3. Not taking advantage of natural light: People love natural light, so blocking off any light with heavy curtains or furniture can hurt your sale, especially if the home has attractive views. Anything dated in a home is a turn-off to a potential buyer and window treatments are one of them.

4. Thinking more is better: Scale down your furniture. The size of the furniture needs to be in balance with the scale of the room and the other furniture in it. Remember that the purpose of furniture when selling a home is to define the purpose of the room and to show what will fit where. It is not meant to show that you can provide seating for 15 in your living room and every seat has a side table to rest drinks on.

5. Leaving pets at home: You need to remove all traces of animals from the house and make sure “Fido” or “Sunshine” is away during showings. Having a pet could kill a sale before someone even steps into a house.

6. Neglecting the outside: People care about the outside space just as much as the inside, so add flowers, make sure the lawn is mowed, the yard is tidy and add a few backyard accessories for the kids.

7. Only dealing with “main” rooms: People are quick to stage living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms, but don’t forget to spruce up the garage, basement and closets as well.

8. Forgetting fixtures: When staging a home, it’s important to ensure all lights are burning with fresh bulbs, and that all fixtures are working.

Remember, staging a home means showcasing the property’s many features, not concealing its flaws. Make sure your house is in good condition and use staging to cast the home in the best light.

January 31, 2012   No Comments

Use Rugs In Your Smith Mountain Lake Home

It may not be the first thing one thinks about when decorating for a sale, but the addition of rugs to a Smith Mountain Lake home can go a long way.

Rugs can help warm a dreary room, add a splash of color to a dull space, can tone down a room that already has strong and bright colored furniture, and create a new look to almost any room. Plus, it’s a quick fix to any floors that may need replacing.

While there are Persian rugs that can cost thousands of dollars, many rugs can be purchased for prices in the hundreds.

A leather rug can lend depth to rooms and complements traditional and rustic styles. Wool rugs are warm, sustainable, and a great way to add a natural accent to your home. Meanwhile shag rugs can add dimension to a flat room and are extra cozy.

If you anticipate lots of traffic and wear, consider a patterned rug that will tend to hide stains. Also, a wool rug is easier to clean than those of other fabrics.

Pricey oriental rugs are a great eye-catcher when someone comes to see a home. These should be kept out of direct sunlight or they will fade, and these rugs must be specially cleaned.

A jute rug is a perfect indoor/outdoor fabric for enclosed patios and outdoor rooms.

One quick and relatively inexpensive way to dress up a room is by adding area rugs, which come in a wide range of colors and designs. These rugs provide warmth and comfort and can help to absorb sound in a room.

The shape of the rug should mirror the furniture or the room size. For example, a rectangular dining table should have a rectangular rug underneath. Likewise, a round dining table should be paired with a round rug.

Interior designers say you should never cover the entire floor with an area rug; leave at least nine inches of the floor exposed. However, a small rug right in front of the entry door is acceptable.

In a dining room make sure your rug is large enough to accommodate the legs of all chairs. As a guide, your rug should extend 24 inches from the edge of the table to the edge of the rug.

Also be sure your rugs don’t cover floor vents or keep doors from opening.       Finally, for safety, avoid placing rugs so that traffic patterns have people walking along carpet edges where they can catch a toe or heel.

Colorful rugs, placed correctly, can give your Smith Mountain Lake home a distinctive look and added dimension that potential buyers will remember.

January 27, 2012   No Comments

Virginia Bride Magazine Features The Water’s Edge

Check out this The Water’s Edge Feature showcasing The Water’s Edge Country Club and beautiful Smith Mountain Lake written by Grace E. Pedalino in the current issue of Virginia Bride Magazine. Awesome photos by Photography by Frame, Holland Photo Arts, and Bob Updegrove!

January 25, 2012   No Comments

Thinking About Smith Mountain Lake Co-ownership with a Friend?

Friends often share holidays, vacation together and are there for all the important moments in life. So, why not buy a home at Smith Mountain Lake together?

An increasing number of consumers are considering joint ownership. Such as transaction makes sense, as it can help those who may not have been able to afford a Smith Mountain Lake home on their own, it gives each owner a real estate investment, and it can even strengthen the friendship.

But the opposite could happen as well. Friends can feud over the most trivial of things, placing the long-term housing investment at risk.

Here are some tips for surviving Smith Mountain Lake co-ownership with a friend.

1. Be sure before agreeing to this life-altering decision that all parties are willing to disclose their financial information, agree upon the type of home and location they are after, and are truly comfortable with living with one another.

2. Consult with an attorney: A contract between the parties is vital, as is listing each person’s name on the deed and the mortgage papers. The percentage of ownership must be clearly stated in the contract, including details of each person’s share of the down payment and the way in which mortgage payments will be divided. This sets the stage for deciding each one’s share upon sale.

3. Get pre-approved for a mortgage: Mortgage companies aren’t always thrilled with lending to two unmarried or unrelated people. Odds are those buying a home at Smith Mountain Lake will need to jointly qualify as co-borrowers on a single mortgage in order to purchase a property held in tenancy in common or joint tenancy.

4. Understand each other’s wants and needs: House options, mortgage rates and contract terms will be contingent on each individual’s credit history, financial health and both short-term and long-term obligations, so it is smart to discuss all of this ahead of time. During the house-hunting stage, the friends may have different ideas on what they are looking for. It’s always a smart idea to sit down and list the most important features to each and figure out what each is willing to give up.

5. Have an exit strategy: Jobs change or a surprising romance could evolve where marriage will soon be in the picture. What happens to the house then? This is something that should be agreed upon before the house is bought.

Once everything is agreed to and a mortgage commitment is in hand, things still aren’t easy. It’s hard enough finding the perfect home, but to have to find the perfect home for two is even tougher.

Friendships can stand the test of  housing issues, so don’t be scared off; just make sure that when buying any real estate with friends that you don’t let the friendship cloud your judgment.

January 24, 2012   No Comments

Housing Goes “Green” at Smith Mountain Lake

Wherever you turn these days, it seems that someone is talking about “Green”, or “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED”) certified buildings, “EarthCraft” and “Zero Energy Homes.” Each of these share a commitment to reduced energy consumption and the “re-use, repurposing and recycling of materials,” “improved indoor air quality” and use of “environmentally friendly” and “renewable products.” Green or LEED buildings generally generate 20 to 70 percent in energy savings, while a Zero Energy Home (ZEH) by definition must generate enough energy to meet or exceed its own heating, cooling and electrical needs in any given year.

With all of the recent attention being given to energy conservation, you might not realize that a handful of individuals began vigorously exploring ways to significantly reduce energy consumption in the early 1970’s. Since then, energy saving practices have been refined and expanded and have been incorporated into projects ranging from small homes to large commercial buildings, schools and fire stations to government buildings. Recent projects have successfully demonstrated the economic viability and sustainability of incorporating rigorous energy and conservation standards into new construction without increasing budgets or extending schedules.

Many conservation efforts are most easily incorporated at the time of initial construction, however some are easily adapted either as a stand-alone project or as part of routine equipment replacement.

Heating, Cooling and Electricity

High efficiency furnaces and/or heat pumps – replacing old furnaces with higher efficiency models or possibly converting from an older type of heating and/or cooling device to one utilizing newer technology can lead to significant energy savings. Many furnaces built just 15 years ago are quite inefficient when compared to models available today.

Insulation – adding additional insulation in attics, crawl spaces and exterior walls are all potential areas for reducing energy costs. Also, by sealing cracks in the attic around areas where ceiling lights and fans are installed or wires are strung can also cut energy costs substantially. When all these small openings are added together, they can have the same effect as having a window left open.

Horizontal Loop Ground Source Heat Pump System – this relatively unheard of heat pump system runs coils 4 to 6 feet underground to tap into the constant temperature of the earth’s soil to provide either heating or cooling depending upon the season.

Windows – installation of wood or vinyl encased triple pane windows significantly reduces heat loss and eliminates drafts.

Building Site Orientation – for new construction, orienting a building to utilize the southern exposure along with window placement allows for the exploitation of both natural lighting and solar heat.

Light bulbs – the days of the incandescent light bulbs may be numbered as legislators across the nation discuss legislation to ban their use in favor of the more efficient LED and CFL lighting technology as a measure to reduce energy usage.

Higher efficiency appliances – installation of high efficiency appliances will significantly reduce energy consumption, particularly for appliances that run all the time, are energy consumers or are used with high frequency.

Water Consumption

Water heaters – there are several energy saving strategies available when it comes to water heaters. When opting to use a traditional storage tank, the location of the tank can have a significant impact on the amount of water consumed and the cost of heating the water. The most economical placement is to have the tank as close as possible to where the water is used most so there is less water wasted waiting for the hot water to arrive. Adding insulation to the first foot of the pipe coming out of the hot water tank will reduce heat leakage. An alternative to the traditional hot water heater is the tankless water heater that only heats the water as needed by running the water through heated coils. This method eliminates the need to keep water hot all the time and the energy required to do so.

Landscaping -by designing and implementing a landscape centered on plants native to your locale that are also drought tolerant will reduce landscape watering requirements.

Rainwater cisterns with filtration systems – also gaining popularity are rainwater cisterns that store water from rooftop collection systems to be later used for irrigation. Sizes vary and can be selected based up on rainfall averages, collection area size, and available storage locations.

Impervious Paving Systems – porous surfaces reduce the impact on surrounding areas by allowing rain water to penetrate surfaces and be absorbed into the soil. Reducing runoff helps alleviate premature expansion of storm water treatment facilities.

Indoor Air Quality

Flooring – several options exist when making flooring selections that will increase air quality. For those willing to either reduce the quantity of carpeting or forego it all together, selecting sustainably harvested wood or bamboo is a good alternative. However, for those set on having carpeting, selecting carpets made using natural fibers with a low-pile can reduce the collection of allergens. Also, air quality will remain stable when carpeting is installed using tacks rather than fume emitting glue.

Paint – better air quality is achieved by using low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) and low-toxic interior paints and finishes instead of other paints and finishes that release higher levels of chemicals and toxins.

Additional Energy Sources

Solar – once thought of as an “alternative” source of energy, solar panels are gaining popularity. Solar panels remain an expensive option; however, their cost has dropped significantly over the last number of years, making them less cost prohibitive. Although solar panels will work in any climate, sunnier locations will result in higher productivity. To encourage the installation of solar panels, governmental agencies as well as some utilities have created different incentive and rebate programs to lower the cost.

Wind – although not practical for the average home owner due to its high installation costs ($40,000 or more), it does remain an option for those located in areas with sufficient wind and land resources. Generally, a home tower will produce between 8,000 – 18,000 kWh per year given sufficient air movement and requires being located on at least an acre of land.

January 4, 2012   No Comments