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Real Estate

4 signs you are ready to sell



It’s undeniably a great time to sell a house.

Buyers are out and they want more choices in homes for sale.

Sale prices are generally high.

The economy is good and people have money in their pockets.

But are you ready to part with your home?

1. Equity is the key question.
You need to know how much your home is worth and it’s probably best to consult a real estate agent on this question. You need to know how much you owe on your home. Value minus mortgage balance gives you a picture of your equity.

Strong credit scores will help you score a new mortgage quickly. If your credit score is low, consider taking some time to raise your score before you make a move.

2. Cost of the move.
You have to live somewhere and you are going to have to pack up and that usually means professional movers. Cash on hand, plus a little elbow grease, should be the ticket.

Be sure to figure in the costs of painting and fix-up.

3. Does your existing home fit?
Put aside emotion for a moment. You may have raised kids in a lovely multi-bedroom two-story home. Lots of memories there, but do you need this particular home right now?

Aging sellers might want a ranch style home with no stairs, fewer bedrooms (who needs to clean that big house?), less yard work, or a
convenient location near the grandkids.

Younger sellers might need more room for kids, enough land for a garden, or a location close to work.

4. A change in lifestyle.
Older homeowners especially may be living in a pile of equity that could finance a new retirement lifestyle: Travel, a retirement living community, or just cash for living expenses.

One consideration: If you live in a high-cost housing market, your money will be worth so much more in the more rural areas in Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, Arkansas, Kansas, upstate New York, or northern Maryland — the least expensive housing markets in the country.

As an example, a 1,200 square foot home in California might cost $300,000, but a similar home in one of these areas could cost about $50,000. Or build one for about $120,000. That leaves you with a nice nest egg for travel and enjoying a slower-paced life.

Real Estate

Can solar panels increase your home’s value?



You’ve probably heard solar panels can reduce your electricity bill and lead to major savings over time, but can they also increase your home’s resale value? Over the last few years, researchers have discovered that in fact, they do.

While installing solar panels may seem like a costly investment, a recent study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (the Berkeley Lab) found that Americans are willing to pay more for homes that have solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The study estimates that buyers typically pay about four dollars per watt of solar power installed, meaning that a five-kilowatt system can lead to an added value of $20,000. Even given the costs of solar panel installation, the study suggests homeowners end up making money when selling their homes.

It’s less clear whether solar panels add value when homeowners rent solar power systems instead of buying them outright. Because of the upfront costs associated with solar panels, many Americans choose to rent PV systems. These leases often last for 20 years and can make selling your house more complicated. Nonetheless, a 2016 survey by the Berkeley Lab found that leased solar energy systems don’t reduce a home’s overall value and in some cases add value. Overall, real estate experts are finding that in an era when homebuyers are looking to go green, investing in solar panels — whether you buy or lease them — is likely to make your home more valuable.

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Real Estate

Tips for getting your house ready to sell



Decided to sell your house? Before it’s listed, you’ll need to get it in tip-top shape. Here are some tips for making your home appeal to potential buyers so that you can sell it quickly.

Think about curb appeal
First impressions are important and you only get one. Check that the light fixture nearest your door works and is clean so that visitors always have a good view of your home, even in the evening. Keep your grass cut and plants tidy and well maintained.

Remove personal touches
While you may love bold walls, they won’t help you sell your home. Paint every room a light, neutral colour to appeal to the greatest number of people. Remove personal photos and cute pictures your kids drew for you. The goal here is to make your home a blank slate so potential buyers can picture themselves living in it.

Get rid of excess stuff
No matter how long you’ve lived in your home, chances are you’ve acquired stuff. Too much clutter can make even the biggest room feel cramped, so before you list your house, take the time to pack up anything that you won’t need before you move. Clean and organize all your closets to make them look bigger and emphasize storage space.

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Real Estate

Things to disregard when house hunting



When you’re shopping for a house, it’s easy to be distracted by things that won’t make a difference in the long term. Here are a few things that you can easily disregard in your search for the perfect house.

Bad decor: don’t worry if the house has dusty pink walls or orange shag carpeting. Look past the cosmetics and make sure the house has what you need — the right number of bathrooms and good-sized rooms. Everything else can be changed.

Chic features: instead of a high-end kitchen or bathroom, look for a house that has a solid foundation with no cracks, a roof that’s in good repair and a heating and cooling system that works efficiently. Once you have all of these things, you can make the kitchen look as fabulous as your budget allows. After all, wouldn’t you rather be choosing your new kitchen counter than shopping for a furnace?

A trendy neighborhood: living within walking distance to your favorite bars and restaurants may sound like the ideal situation, but you shouldn’t buy a house based on this. Instead, find a location in a good school district — a good selling point even if you never plan on having kids.

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Local News

Welcome Next Home Realty to Main Street



The Front Royal/Warren County Chamber of Commerce has welcomed another new business to our community. Next Home Realty is located at 210 E. Main St. Front Royal.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or an experienced investor, you’ll find useful information about how to choose the “right” property, making an offer, negotiating, financing, mortgage rates, moving, and everything involved in making an informed home buying decision in today’s market on their website.

If you currently own property and are thinking about selling it, their website contains information about preparing your home for sale, selecting the right agent, pricing your home appropriately, marketing it effectively, going through the inspection process, and receiving a timely market evaluation. Check out Next Home Realty if you need more information on anything, please feel free to contact their office at 540-667-9097.

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Real Estate

National Association of Realtors economic/research specialist to be speaking at LFCC



WHAT MATTERS Warren – Mark your calendars for THIS THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29th, to hear from a National Association of Realtors economic/research specialist at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown (173 Skirmisher Lane Middletown, VA).

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear from one of the country’s TOP REAL ESTATE EXPERTS as he answers “How’s the Market?” at the Shenandoah Valley Real Estate Market & Economic Summit sponsored by the Blue Ridge Association of Realtors.  Learn insight from speaker Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®.

Yun will present a 12-24 month economic forecast of the national level in addition to a hyper-local forecast of the Shenandoah Valley real estate market.  Anyone who is thinking of buying/selling, investors, and members of the real estate industry are encouraged to attend.

Doors Open at 8:00AM for registration and the presentation runs from 9:00 to 11:00AM.  Following Dr. Yun, leaders from our local Economic Development Authorities will present updates from Frederick County, Warren County, and Winchester City (including commentary on Amazon’s recent announcement).

Cost is $15.00 in advance and $20.00 at the door, with FREE admission for BRAR Members.  For Reservations or more information, call 540-667-2606. This is a nonprofit event and all proceeds will benefit the United Way and the Blue Ridge Association of REALTORS Scholarship Fund.


Lawrence Yun is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®. He oversees and is responsible for a wide range of research activity for the association including NAR’s Existing Home Sales statistics, Affordability Index, and Home Buyers and Sellers Profile Report. He regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1.3 million REALTOR® members.

Dr. Yun creates NAR’s forecasts and participates in many economic forecasting panels, among them the Blue Chip Council and the Wall Street Journal Forecasting Survey. He also participates in the Industrial Economists Discussion Group at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. He appears regularly on financial news outlets, is a frequent speaker at real estate conferences throughout the United States, and has testified before Congress. Dr. Yun has appeared as a guest on CSPAN’s Washington Journal and is a regular guest columnist on the Forbes website and The Hill, an “inside the beltway” publication on public affairs.

Dr. Yun received his undergraduate degree from Purdue University and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland at College Park.


Are you or your group in need of a free video that could be created to help market your cause or event?

Beth’s WHAT MATTERS Warren/Town Tip videos post on Facebook and YouTube. They are also shared with Royal Examiner online (most are distributed in their daily email blast to thousands of local residents). Sign up for Royal Examiner Email Alerts HERE and check out the “WHAT MATTERS Warren” tab under “Features.”

Visit “Community” section to request a TOWN TIP or WHAT MATTERS WARREN BETHvid.

Learn more Beth’s nonprofit,  WHAT MATTERS, a 501 (c) (3), at out the “Community” section to request a TOWN TIP or WHAT MATTERS WARREN BETHvid or contact her at 540-671-6145 or


WHAT MATTERS is a 501(c)(3) that she started this year to enable people to have the benefit of a tax deduction for their donations through her fundraising matches.

Here is the Current Match Campaign for the children of Bunyade school project.

WHAT MATTERS has ZERO overhead as 100% of the expenses are funded by her real estate business (THANK YOU CLIENTS AND SUPPORTERS for making that possible!).  Every cent donated goes to the cause.

WHAT MATTERS is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on local and global outreach to help spread the word, support and raise funds for causes that matter. If you’d like to get involved, or travel to Africa with her on a future trip to work with the children of Light up Life Foundations, please visit

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Real Estate

Ask the Expert: Take over payments



I would like to take over payments on my brother’s house. The interest rate is a little bit lower than I can get now. Plus, it would help him out. Can I just put my name on the loan?

The short answer is no: No mortgage allows you to just put a new name on the loan.

What you are asking about is called assuming a mortgage and it can be a more complicated matter than you might expect.

First, all conventional mortgages are not assumable. They require that the loan be paid on sale or transfer. So, in this case, you would need to get a loan and buy in the usual way.
Some non-conventional loans can be assumed, however. They are FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans.

If your brother has one of these three loans, it might be a good deal. It is at least possible that you could benefit from the lower interest rate and have lower costs. In addition, the loan would have a shorter term since your brother has already been paying on it.

If the loan is assumable, remember you would have to qualify for the loan. Your credit score, income, debt, and employment history must meet the criteria of the lender.

Sometimes even if the loan is assumable and you qualify, it might not be the best choice.

For example, if the loan is a VA loan, the veteran’s entitlement stays with the loan. If your brother wishes to buy another house, he won’t get the whole entitlement on his new house.

Lenders usually see mortgage assumptions in the case of divorce, family gifts, or estate planning. But assuming a mortgage is not always possible and may not be the best way to go.

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all-day The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
Dec 16 all-day
The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
Don’t miss The Nutcracker! This professional production of the seasonal classic ballet will be presented at Skyline High School, Front Royal, VA on December 15th and 16th, Saturday 2:30 & 7:00 pm and Sunday 2:30[...]
4:00 pm R-MA offers Free Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus
R-MA offers Free Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus
Dec 16 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
R-MA offers Free Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus
The public is cordially invited to attend the Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) Christmas Band Concert on Sunday, December 16th at 4:00 pm. This free concert will take place in Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus. The[...]
10:00 am Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Dec 17 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Create your own 5″ x 7″ koi fish paper sculpture with your friends! Schedule your own party for up to 8 people (3-person minimum). No drawing skills are necessary. Artist Tiffany Budzisz will walk you[...]
6:00 pm Volunteer Info Session – Child A... @ Middle of Main
Volunteer Info Session – Child A... @ Middle of Main
Dec 17 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Volunteer Info Session - Child Advocate @ Middle of Main
Learn how you can help ensure abused and neglected children find safe, loving, and permanent homes.  The first step to becoming a CASA volunteer is to attend an Information Session. There, you will have the[...]
9:00 am 2019 Dare to Dream Grant Applica... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2019 Dare to Dream Grant Applica... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 18 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
2019 Dare to Dream Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Now Accepting Applications for 2019 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a profession, start a non-profit, anything[...]