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Posts from — November 2015

Curb Appeal: It’s Important

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Smith Mountain Lake home sellers spend so much time preparing their interior for the sale that they can easily overlook the outside. Great curb appeal invites prospective buyers to view the rest of the property. In fact, it can increase the value of a property by as much as 15-20%.

Start with the basics: A well-manicured lawn is a magnet for Smith Mountain Lake home buyers. Overgrown trees or large bushes hiding the house are a definite no-no. Don’t forget to rake leaves, wash windows and skylights, clean gutters and trim shrubs.

Don’t overlook the details: Consider adding flowers or sprucing things up with decorative grasses or Japanese maples. Accent trees with rocks or boulders to make a bold statement. Or how about adding a modest fountain to the yard or garden? Add low voltage lighting to highlight the yard, trees and the home’s exterior.

Sometimes it’s the little, inexpensive things that can make a real difference. Do something as simple as adding a new mailbox, address numbers on your home, a new welcome mat and some potted plants by the front door.

Remember, first impressions are often the most important.

November 27, 2015   Comments Off

The Importance of Assets

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Lenders dissect the entire credit history of a potential client with strict attention to income, credit, collateral and assets. Of the four, assets are perhaps the least discussed, yet may be the most important in securing credit and buying a home.

Assets include the amount of money needed for the down payment plus closing costs, pre-paid costs (e.g., insurance and taxes, escrow fees and funds that would be available in case of an emergency).

Assets could be considered a reflection of a one’s fiscal strength. Savings and budgeting could be a significant factor in assessing paying habits.

What are assets? Common considerations for a loan include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, 401Ks, retirement accounts, life insurance, cars, boats, antiques, jewelry and other real estate.

The source and timing of assets is also critical as restrictions have tightened. When borrowers are paying off credit cards to get their ratios in line, lenders want to know where the money came from. If it can’t be determined when a direct deposit is made from your employer or a transfer from one account to the next, a letter of explanation and a showing of proof of where it came from is likely to be required. It may not be advisable to make cash deposits or take any monies from someone personally unless it is a gift from a relative.

Large and recent savings deposits raise underwriter concerns as they can indicate loans that have yet to appear on borrowers’ credit reports. Borrowing from relatives to boost savings and credit worthiness also doesn’t help. If funds aren’t reflected on income statements and tax returns, they can’t be used to qualify for mortgages.

Make sure your assets are in order with proper documentation. Your preparation can speed you on the road to homeownership.

November 25, 2015   Comments Off

A Glance at Green Benefits for Smith Mountain Lake real estate

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Single-family homes are responsible for more than 20% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. A green home can help reduce the causes of climate change and more homebuyers are looking to purchase homes with eco-friendly features. Consumers want homes that are sensitive to the environment.

Solar panels aren’t for everyone. A home must be in an area with sufficient sunshine and be in an appropriate location. They typically require an up-front investment but because they are clearly visible from the street, they are likely to command a price premium.

There are more inexpensive ways to make a home green. Energy-efficient appliances can reduce utility bills. Tankless water heaters mean less time and waste. Replacing old furnaces can lower your heating bill. Consider replacing windows and doors and finding ways to insulate the home.

Producing 12 months of past electricity bills can signal to potential buyers that the home has an added bonus.

A potential buyer may notice a swimming pool or great kitchen, but the home’s energy efficiency and “greenness” is harder to see. Therefore, a homeowner should make their home’s green features well known.

November 20, 2015   Comments Off

Think about adding a Theater to your Smith Mountain Lake home

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Home-theater technology has evolved. Prices continue to drop, placing the concept easily within reach for many Smith Mountain Lake households. It’s where the family comes together to be entertained—and is likely one of the most occupied room in the house.

There are several ways to make the home theater more appealing prior to showing a home:

Clean all surfaces: Keep wiring discrete. While seating space is practical in a media room, consider reducing the number of sofas to give a spacious look to the room.

Smart furniture choices: Choose furniture that improves the look of the room and creates the movie environment that so many desire.

Keep equipment out of sight: Blu-Ray players, gaming consoles, speakers—should be kept out of sight. Unique features such as hidden wheels, flow-through ventilation, adjustable shelves, built-in media or speaker storage, and integrated cable management systems can make a big difference.

Indeed, we’re in the golden age of gadgets and components. Rooms focused on technology and entertainment can be extremely appealing.

November 17, 2015   Comments Off