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Curb Appeal: It’s Important

curbappeal

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

Live Music After 5 Jive at Smith Mountain Lake Summer Concert Series

Prudential Waterfront Properties, ‘After 5 Jive at Smith Mountain Lake’ continues Thursday, August 5, 2010 with “The Part Time Party Time Band” 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. Admission for Adults is $5, Children 10 and under are admitted free. Valid ID required for 21 and older.

There is a children’s play area including inflatable slides and moonwalk. All proceeds benefit the United Way of Franklin County.

‘After 5 Jive at Smith Mountain Lake’ is sponsored by Prudential Waterfront Properties, Verizon Wireless, Smith Mountain Building Supply, Kroger, WDBJ-7 and Coca-Cola.

August 4, 2010   No Comments

2010 July 4th Weekend Fireworks Display

SML Fireworks - photo by Ted Pratt

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 3, Raindate Sunday, July 4.  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, and a variety of foods.

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 3rd 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 July4rth 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 the the Smith Mountain Lake Visitor Center by calling 540.721.1203 or toll free 1.800.676.8203. 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.  Remember, Smith Mountain Lake — It’s Closer Thank You Think!

June 22, 2010   No Comments

PRUDENTIAL REAL ESTATE HAS THE HIGHEST AVERAGE SALES PRICE

The power and prominence of the Prudential Real Estate brand is evident throughout the industry. Once again, the Prudential Real Estate Network has achieved the industry’s highest average sales price of $344,232. This sales price is based on an analysis of transaction sides and sales volume data of the largest independently owned brokers in the U.S. for franchise networks recording at least 25,000 closed transaction sides in 2008, as reported in the 2009 REAL Trends 500.

September 22, 2009   Comments Off

CREATE AN ACTION PLAN FOR AN EASY MOVE TO SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE!

The key to an easy move to Smith Mountain Lake is careful planning. There are many action items that need to be taken prior to the move all the way up to the actual day the first box is loaded on the moving truck. Take time to write down and organize the decisions and activities that will need to be accomplished prior to the move such as securing a mover and changing your address. Ideally, you should try to break up the tasks over a two-month period. By doing so, you won’t overload your schedule, plus it can save you time and money.  To get you started, consider using the checklist below as a guide.

Eight Weeks Prior

  • Get estimates from at least three professional movers. If you are going to do it yourself, get estimates on rental trucks.
  • Decide which furniture and household goods you’ll be taking, which needs to be disposed and which needs to be replaced.
  • If you will be moving to a new city, contact the Chamber of Commerce of that town for a new residence packet. Your sales professional may also have information.

Six Weeks Prior

  • Inventory your possessions besides furniture – kitchenware, decorative items, electronics, apparel and so on.
  • Complete a change of address form with the post office. This can be easily done online at www.MoversGuide.com for a minimal cost of $1. Make sure you notify organizations, credit cards companies, and publications to which you subscribe of your new address, too.
  • Obtain copies of all medical, dental, legal, accounting and veterinarian records.
  • If children are changing schools, arrange for transfer of educational records.
  • Itemize moving-related costs with the mover including packing, loading, special charges and insurance.

Four Weeks Prior

  • Make arrangements for packing your belongings. If you will be using professionals, schedule with the company for packing to take place a day or two before the move. If you will handle packing on your own, purchase adequate boxes, packing materials and tape.
  • Arrange for short-term or long-term storage if needed.
  • Make travel arrangements for pets including necessary medical records, immunizations, medication and so on.

Three Weeks Prior

  • Begin packing items you won’t need immediately or that will go into storage.
  • Contact utilities on both ends of the move to order termination or turn-on for occupancy date.
  • Confirm travel arrangements for family and pets.

Two Weeks Prior

  • Terminate newspaper and other delivery services.
  • If necessary, arrange and confirm new bank accounts and local services in your new neighborhood.

One Week Prior

  • Gather important papers, records, and valuables for protected shipment to new home or safe deposit box.
  • Obtain any prescription medications needed for the next few weeks.

Day Before or Actual Moving Day

  • Defrost refrigerator/freezer and give away all perishable food.
  • Keep a box marked “Last Box Packed/First Box Unpacked” for tools, flashlights, first aid kit and so on. On moving day, this should be the last box placed on the truck.
  • Pack items to carry with you such as valuables, financial records, personal papers and so on.
  • Give the movers a telephone number and address to reach you.

To be sure, a detailed action plan can get your move well down the road before you ever depart to your new destination.

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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.

September 18, 2009   Comments Off

TIPS FOR A GREEN HOME AT SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE

Eco-friendly. Carbon footprint. Global warming. Energy-efficient. These catch phrases have become part of our lexicon as we’ve become more aware of our impact on the environment and our role in protecting it. As a homeowner, there are some simple, inexpensive steps you can take to make your home energy-efficient. Get started on the road to being “green” with these five tips:

Change Your Light Bulbs

By replacing just five incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, you can save $100 per year on electric bills while using up to 75 percent less energy and removing greenhouse gases from the environment.

Buy ENERGY STAR® Appliances

ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances, such as refrigerators, washers and air conditioners, meet a higher level of energy efficiency set by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy than standard models. According to ENERGY STAR, if just one in 10 homes used ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances, the impact could be compared to planting 1.7 million new acres of trees. And, switching to these appliances is not only good for the environment, but easy on your pocketbook. Although these appliances may costs more, you can reduce your energy bill by $80 per year.

Seal Up

Cracks and air leaks represent cash seeping from your doors and windows. Get rid of air leaks in doors, windows and other areas by caulking gaps and cracks. This will help decrease your heating and air conditioning bill. But make sure you use silicone sealants. Acrylic caulk tends to shrink, while silicone sealants are waterproof and won’t shrink or crack, creating less waste.

Use Less Water

Did you know that roughly 60 percent of a home’s water consumption takes place in the bathroom, according to the California Urban Water Conservation Council? The largest culprit is the toilet, which accounts for 27 percent of your household supply every year. By installing low-flow toilets, showerheads and faucets, you can save thousands of gallons of water each year. In addition, replace leaky fixtures. That slow-dripping faucet can waste as much as 2,400 gallons of water per year.

Adjust the Thermostat

When adjusting your home’s thermostat, the rule of thumb should be: turn up the dial in the summer and down in the winter. Lowering the temperature by just one degree will reduce your electrical costs. And if you use a programmable thermostat, you can program your air-conditioning and heating systems to reduce output while no one is at home or at night while you sleep. Ceiling fans are also helpful in circulating the air to keep the room cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Going green doesn’t have to be overwhelming or costly. By making just a few small changes within your home, you can help decrease energy consumption and help make the world a “greener” place.

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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.

September 16, 2009   Comments Off

TIPS ON MOVING WITH PETS

When making your moving plans, don’t forget to include your beloved pets. Although they present a new set of challenges, it doesn’t have to add to your stress if you take the following steps before your big move.

Visit the vet
Schedule a pre-move visit with your veterinarian for a checkup and to make sure that all vaccinations are current. Use this time to get copies of your pet’s records, a recommendation for a veterinarian in your new location, and possibly a tranquilizer to give your pet during transportation.

Research laws in new area
Research the requirements regarding animals in your new locality. Nearly every state has laws regarding entry of dogs, cats, horses, birds and other pets. For example, most states require interstate health certificates for dogs and horses coming from another state. If you own an exotic animal such as a ferret or potbellied pig, check to see if it is allowed as a pet in your new city. Some states require an entry permit. You can obtain compliance information from the state veterinarian or other appropriate authority. It’s important to get this information well ahead of your move so that you can get any necessary examinations or documents.
Make sure your pet’s identity and rabies tags are current. You should also have a special travel identification tag just in case they become lost during the move. The tag should include the pet’s name, your name and new address, and an alternate contact.

Decide on transportation mode
Decide how you will be transporting your pet. Animals are not allowed on moving vans, so your choices are by car or air.

By car
If traveling by car, the American Animal Hospital Association suggests that you take your pet on short rides before the trip so that he can get accustomed to the movement. The day of the trip, don’t feed your pet for several hours before departure. It’s also a good idea to take him on a long walk before heading out.

Pack a travel kit to include food, food and water dishes, can opener, scooper, paper towels for clean ups, and plastic bags. You may also want to include a blanket to cover your car seats, plus treats and a favorite toy.

If you are traveling with birds or other small pets, such as a hamster, make sure they are in a stable cage with proper ventilation. A kennel for cat or dog may also be a good idea.
If your trip will require an overnight stay, find out well in advance of your trip whether pets are allowed at the lodging of your choice. The website www.petswelcome.com is a great place to search for lodging that accommodates pets.

By air
Traveling by air definitely requires preplanning. Each airline has its own policy regarding pet transportation. In addition, there are federal requirements you must follow. For example, dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old and weaned for at least five days. In addition, cages and containers must meet certain standards.

You need to decide if your pet will accompany you in the cabin or be checked as baggage, or shipped separately by air freight.

Check with your airline to make sure that pets are allowed to travel in the cabin and obtain guidelines. The U.S. Federal Animal Welfare Act requires that pets traveling in the passenger cabin be in a carrier that can fit underneath the seat without blocking the main aisle. The container must remain stowed the entire flight.
If your pet will be transported as baggage or by freight, make shipping arrangements as far in advance as possible so that space can be reserved. It is recommended that you schedule a non-stop flight on a weekday. You also need to supply the air carrier written instructions for food and water.

Other precautions to take when transporting your pet by air include:
• Before traveling, get your pet accustomed to the kennel in which it will be shipped.
• Don’t give your pet solid food six hours prior to the flight. Providing water a few hours before the flight is advisable.
• Write your contact information on the container and make sure your pet is wearing a tag with the same information.

The Federal Aviation Administration (www.faa.gov) and Department of Transportation’s (http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov) websites have valuable information regarding traveling with pets.

Transitioning to new home
Once you are in your new home there are some things you can do to help ease the transition for your pet. If you have a dog, take him for a walk immediately so that he can become familiar with the new area. Cats, on the other hand, have a tendency to run away searching for their old home. They should be kept indoors for several weeks until they become comfortable in the new home and familiar with its scents and noises.

Veterinarians also advise that you bring water from your old home, because a change in water sources can sometimes cause your pet to become sick.

Like humans, pets are can become stressed when change occurs. By planning ahead, you can help to make sure your pet has a smooth transition to its new environment.

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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.

August 25, 2009   Comments Off

5 TIPS TO HELP YOU SELL YOUR HOME FASTER

There is no question that in many parts of the country, houses are currently on the market longer. As a seller, this slow-down means there is more competition for a limited pool of potential buyers. Consider the following five tips to place your home on the fast track to sale:

Price It Right
The first 30 days are the most critical. If your home is priced too high, interested buyers may never even tour your listing. The longer the property is on the market, the fewer the prospects.

Deciding the value of a home isn’t an exact science. Yet, there is data to help you determine a fair asking price that is right on target. You may want to hire a real estate appraiser for an objective, unbiased estimate. Then consult with a real estate professional who can help you determine true market value based on a comparable market analysis, which will include recent home sale transactions as well as homes currently on the market. From your analysis, you may want to price your home conservatively to give it a competitive edge.

Make Your Home Irresistible
Unless they are looking for a fixer-upper, most homesellers are more likely to make a bid on a home that they can enjoy immediately. Therefore, you need to create an environment the buyer can’t resist. In other words, do everything you can to make the home so attractive, charming, cozy, inviting, comfortable and exciting that a buyer will want to buy that lifestyle for himself.

Evaluate the home from a buyer’s point of view. An experienced real estate professional will be able to offer an objective view and will also know what buyers are asking for. Get your home in tip-top shape by making repairs and cosmetic improvements, and removing clutter. This may mean investing in a few upgrades to modernize your home’s look such as installing newer carpet and light fixtures and painting the walls a neutral shade.

Create Traffic
If you want buyers to see your home, you must first find the buyers. Work with your real estate professional to design a marketing plan that is flexible and capitalizes on your property’s most desirable features. Your strategy should include ways to reach buyers online and offline – such as word of mouth, the Internet, yard signs, direct mail, open houses and so on.

Go with a Professional
Selling a home is more than just putting a sign in your yard and having a listing on the Internet. And in a competitive market, you don’t really want to take the chance of making novice mistakes that can slow the selling of your home. By hiring a real estate professional, you get the benefit of an experienced marketer and negotiator who is familiar with real estate issues in your community. A real estate professional can offer worthy advice on pricing and staging your home based on their vast experience.

Plus, there’s the added value of the peer-to-peer networking among real estate professionals, which can bring buyers and sellers together – sometimes even before the property goes on the market.

Offer Incentives
Offering incentives can be just the impetus a potential buyer needs to select your property over others. You may want to consider offering a carpet or paint allowance. Or, pay for a professional home inspection or a home warranty – and, depending on your market and budget, offer to pay some of the closing costs.

Don’t be discouraged if there are competing homes for sale in your neighborhood. With just a few smart moves, you can turn a buyers’ market in your favor.

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.

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August 24, 2009   Comments Off

SIX QUESTIONS THAT CAN HELP YOU GAIN INSIGHT ON A PROSPECTIVE HOME

Unlike an automobile, you can’t test drive a home before you purchase it. You have to base your decision on other factors such as layout, condition and much more. And, of course, the seller is obligated to disclose the property’s condition that may alert you to issues such as previous mold, defective water heater or leaky roof. Yet, that still doesn’t always paint the entire picture. Here are six questions you should consider asking the seller to gain additional insight about the prospective home before you make a final decision.

1. Why is the seller selling the house?
This question may help you evaluate the “real value” of the property. Is there something about the house the seller does not like? If so, you may be able to adjust the purchase offer accordingly.

2. How much did the seller pay for the home?
In some instances, the answer to this question may help you negotiate a better deal. However, it is important to remember that the purchase price is influenced by several factors, like the current market value and any improvements the seller may have made to the home. The original purchase price might not have anything to do with the current value of the house.

3. What does the seller like most and least about the property?
By asking the seller what he or she likes most and least about the property, you might get some interesting information. In a few cases, what a seller likes the most about a home might actually be something the buyer is looking to avoid. For example, if the seller describes his house as being in a “happening neighborhood,” the buyer might consider this a negative factor because the area may be too noisy or busy for his or her taste.

4. Has the seller had any problems with the home in the past?
It is also a good idea to ask the seller if he or she has had any problems with the home while living there. Has the seller had problems with a leakage from the upstairs bedroom in the past? If so, even if the leak has been corrected, the floor and walls around the bathroom might have been damaged. You should check that these items were repaired properly.

5. Are there any nuisances?
Use this question to find out about barking dogs, heavy airplane traffic or even planned changes to the community, such as a planned street widening. This may give you insight on why the seller is really moving.

6. How are the public schools in the area?
Because the value of a community is usually greatly influenced by the public schools in the area, finding out the buyer’s perception can give you some insight about the quality of the area’s schools.
Knowing all you can about a prospective home will help you make a more informed decision as well as offer. Your real estate professional can be a great resource in helping you get your key questions answered and give you advice on how to evaluate your findings.

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.

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August 20, 2009   Comments Off

OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND FOR FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS

If you have recently decided to move from renter to homeowner, you are not alone. First-time homebuyers made up 41 percent of the market, according the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2008 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. And price declines in many markets around the country have created unique opportunities for those considering home ownership for the first time.

As a homeowner, you have security and stability, the freedom to decorate and remodel, potential to build equity and tax benefits. And with interest rates still at historically low levels – 5.22% for the typical, 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (as of early August 2009), combined with ample inventory, now is a great time to buy.

Plus, there are several incentives and programs available specifically for first-time homebuyers.

First-Time Homebuyer Credit
One program that is a great financial opportunity is the highly publicized First-time Homebuyer Credit, which was part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. This federal initiative allows first-time homebuyers to take up to an $8,000 tax credit, which doesn’t have to be repaid, toward a new or resale property purchased prior to Dec. 1, 2009. For new construction, the purchase date is considered to be the date you first occupy the home.
Under this program, a first-time homebuyer is considered to be anyone who has not owned a principal home within the last three years. If you are married, both spouses must meet this criterion. However, unmarried joint purchasers may allocate the credit amount to any buyer who qualifies as a first-time buyer. In addition, ownership of a vacation home or rental property not used as a principal residence does not disqualify a buyer as a first-time home buyer. You are also eligible to claim first-time buyer status if you owned a principal residence outside of the United States within the last three years.

The actual tax credit may vary depending on the purchase price and your income. The credit is generally equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price, not to exceed $8,000. In addition, the income limit to receive full credit is $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return.

For complete details, visit www.irs.gov and www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com. As always, consult with your tax advisor on how this tax credit may affect you.

State Programs
Many states also have first-time homeowner programs. Under these programs, first-time homebuyers may be eligible for grants for down payments and closing costs. Some states even offer various tax deductions and credits. For instance in (insert your state). (Provide name and brief summary of program in your state)

Mortgage Loans
As a first-time homebuyer, you don’t have the advantage of using the equity in a previous property to help bridge costs associated with down payment, closing and other fees. Many financial institutions have mortgage products with you in mind. In addition, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers mortgage programs in which your down payment can be as low as 3.5% of the purchase price, and allows most of your closing costs and fees to be included in the loan. Although FHA does not directly loan to consumers, you can work with a FHA-approved lender. For more information, visit www.hud.gov.

Workshops
Besides financial assistance, there are workshops specifically geared toward first-time homebuyers. They provide a wealth of information about the home-buying process, such as how to search for a home, setting up a budget, choosing a real estate professional, loan products, and so on.

The transition from renter to homebuyer is a large step and is arguably one of the largest investments you’ll make, so make sure you take advantage of all the assistance available to make the road to homeownership that much easier.

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.

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August 14, 2009   Comments Off