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5 questions to ask before buying a condo

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Are you in the market for a condo? Before you make an offer on a property, be sure to get answers to these crucial questions from either your real estate agent, ow¬ners in the building, or the condominium association.

1. What are the main complaints?
Ask to look over the minutes from recent board meetings to find out what issues have been raised and whether they were resolved. Additionally, consider speaking with residents in the building to find out how complaints have been handled in the past.

2. What storage space is available?
In addition to closet space within the unit, find out if each owner has access to a locker in the basement or an outdoor shed. This is a particularly important question to ask if you have bikes, skis, or other large equipment that you don’t want to keep inside.

3. What does the insurance cover?
Be sure to get a copy of the building’s condo corporation insurance policy so you know what’s included. This will help you determine whether you need additional insurance for your unit and what type.



4. What are the rules of the building?
Every condo has its own set of regulations that re¬sidents must respect. This may include rules about owning a pet, planting a flower garden, or renting out your unit. Make sure these rules don’t clash with your needs and lifestyle.

5. What do condo fees get spent on?
In addition to knowing the amount you’ll have to pay every month, it’s important to know what the money collected is spent on. This will give you an idea of how well the common areas of the building are maintained and whether the board has an emergency fund.

Remember, your real estate agent can help you navigate this process, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

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Virginia REALTORS® releases 2022 Economic & Housing Market Forecast 

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Virginia’s largest trade association has released its 2022 Economic & Housing Market Forecast, which looks at what is ahead for the commonwealth.

Overall, the job and unemployment forecasts reflect the fact that our economy is still being driven by COVID. By the end of 2022, it is expected that job totals and the statewide unemployment rate will be back close to pre-pandemic levels.

“While home sales activity in 2021 will surpass even the strong performance of 2020, next year will be a little different, due primarily to rising affordability challenges, continued low inventory, and a slight uptick in mortgage rates,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, PhD. Prices will continue to rise in 2022, though the rate of price growth will slow as demand softens a bit and inventory expands, making it a more typical year for price appreciation.

  • Total Jobs in Virginia: In 2022, we forecast 2% more jobs will be added than in 2021. The pace of job growth will accelerate next year, and total employment is expected to hit pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.
  • Unemployment: Virginia’s unemployment rate is expected to continue improving in 2022, falling to 3% by the end of the year, half a percentage point lower than 2021.
  • Home Sales: Our projections are for a total of about 148,600 home sales statewide in 2021, which is up 6.2% from 2020. We are forecasting that sales activity will be down by just about a tenth of a percent in 2022.
  • Home Prices: While we predict the 2021 median home price in Virginia to increase by 9.2% over 2020, the rate of price growth will slow in 2022, with prices up by about 4.1%.
  • New Housing Permits: We are forecasting that a total of about 37,000 new housing units will be built in Virginia in 2021, up 10.3% compared to 2020. We predict a modest 0.5% rise in 2022, reflecting longer-term constraints to new housing construction.
  • Mortgage Rates: It is expected that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate will be 3.1% in December of 2021 and will rise to 4.0% by the end of 2022.

“As Virginia’s economy continues to improve, Virginia REALTORS® members continue to provide professional expertise to home buyers and sellers that are navigating this changing housing market,” says Virginia REALTORS® 2021 President Beth Dalton.


Click here for more details on the Virginia REALTORS® 2022 Economic & Housing Market Forecast.


About Virginia REALTORS®

Virginia REALTORS® (previously known as the Virginia Association of REALTORS®) is the largest trade association in Virginia, representing 36,000 REALTORS® engaged in the residential and commercial real estate business. Virginia REALTORS® serves as an advocate for homeownership and homeowners and represents the interests of property owners in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information, visit www.virginiarealtors.org or follow Virginia REALTORS® on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

NOTE: The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

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Some furniture does more than one thing

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The kitchen table serves as both a workstation and a Lego table. But that’s not really multipurpose furniture.

Multipurpose or multifunctional furniture are pieces that can be used in multiple ways.

Whether you live in a small apartment or simply want to maximize your space to get more use out of it, multipurpose furniture could be the way to go.

What does it look like? Consider wall beds and fold-down desks, for starters. A rotating wall bed can pivot out from behind a bookshelf, allowing the items on the shelf to remain in place.


A drop-down table attached to a wall in the kitchen can provide shelf space when down and an eating area when extended out. The sections of a modular sofa can be placed about the room.

In the living room, multifunctional furniture can be a simple sleeper sofa or something more exotic, like a sofa that transforms into a bunk bed.

It might look like a coffee table that can transform into a dining table. Consider a home cinema unit that doubles as wall art when not in use. Or a console table that can become a desk.

It also includes clever storage ideas, like a storage bed — not storage shoved underneath the bed, but actual space under the mattress, like a big padded trunk. Or a mirror with hidden storage. Of course, storage benches and footstools are still popular as well.

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Virginia’s housing market begins seeing some “typical” patterns after an upended year

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According to the August 2021 Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, Virginia’s housing market has begun to exhibit the seasonality that characterizes a typical housing market, a pattern that was upended last year during the pandemic.

Home sales were up over last year’s strong August totals, while sales dipped slightly between July and August, which is typical of a late summer market. In total, there were 14,443 home sales in Virginia in August 2021, a 5.1% increase over last year. The dip in sales between July and August was 4.2%.

Virginia’s statewide median home sales price in August was $355,000, a 7.6% increase over the August 2020 median price, a gain of $25,000. In total, there was approximately $6.2 billion in sold volume in Virginia last month, an influx of about $700 million from a year ago, representing a 12.6% gain.

“As housing markets around the state begin to return to somewhat normal seasonal cycles, we should expect activity to cool this fall,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, PhD.



One of the biggest challenges in the market continues to be a lack of available inventory. However, the rate of inventory declines has begun to slow. At the end of August 2021, there were 20,363 active listings statewide, which is 10.6% lower than the supply level at the end of August 2020. This represents the smallest year-over-year supply drop Virginia’s housing market has had in more than two years.

“Inventory has expanded somewhat in recent months, which has offered buyers more options,” says Virginia REALTORS® 2021 President Beth Dalton. “However, supply is still at historically low levels and is far below what is needed.”

The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®. Click here to view the full August 2021 Home Sales Report. Current and past reports are available to members, media, and real estate-related industries through the organization’s website.

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Ask the expert: We are going to sell. Should we pay cash or finance at least part of the new house?

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Your decision depends on your financial and life circumstances.

If you are retired and the kids are gone, you might be one of the millions of people who want to downsize.

When you bought your last house, the house and location probably made a ton of sense for raising kids. But, now a different home makes sense.

With your mortgage paid off and retirement at hand, you now have a pleasant problem you may not have considered 30 years ago: Should you pay cash or finance?


Part of the answer depends on what you think about homeownership. Owning a home outright is satisfying and seems very secure. No more mortgage payments.

A study by Redfin found that one-third of U.S. home purchases were paid with cash. That is the largest share of cash buyers since 2014. According to HousingWire, some of these moves are because remote work has allowed people to live in less expensive areas. If you sell your house in Seattle, you can buy twice the house at half the price in Boise, for example, and walk away with cash to invest.

On the other hand, if you are retired, you might want to invest some cash. After all, mortgages are at 3 percent while the markets continue to dish out good returns.

Plus, you can use the cash for anything you want, including travel or just life.

If the cash from your house represents all of your savings, paying cash for another house might not make sense, since real estate prices don’t rise as quickly as stocks. You’ll want the home proceeds to be easy to access to help finance retirement. So at these low-interest rates, taking a mortgage could make sense, especially if you finance just part of the purchase.

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Residential real estate contributed nearly $52 billion to the state’s economy in 2020

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Virginia REALTORS® has published a new study conducted in partnership with George Mason University, quantifying the economic impacts of Virginia’s housing industry and demonstrating the vital role the housing sector played during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession.

Throughout 2020, Virginia’s housing industry was incredibly resilient, even as other parts of the economy struggled. Unlike in some other states, residential real estate transactions and other housing-related activities were able to continue throughout the pandemic. REALTORS® and other real estate professionals across the state were able to pivot to adapt to changing restrictions.

As a result of the industry’s resiliency and innovation, the housing sector contributed nearly $52 billion to Virginia’s economy in 2020 and supported more than 325,000 jobs in the commonwealth. This economic impact accounts for the effects of transactions related to buying and selling homes, building new homes, refinancing mortgages, renovating and remodeling homes, and managing and maintaining residential properties in 2020.

“One of the key reasons residential real estate is so important to the economy is because it touches so many other sectors of the economy. But the housing sector is also unique because it is an important economic driver across all regions of the state,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, PhD.


In addition to this impact on the economy, housing-related activities expanded state and local tax revenue by more than $2 billion in 2020. This tax revenue relates to real estate activities during the year but does not include property taxes paid on existing homes. Therefore, this number significantly understates the role housing plays in local tax revenue each year.

The full report on the impact of the housing industry on Virginia’s economy is available on the Virginia REALTORS® website.

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Get the power of knowledge

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In an era when it’s become increasingly easy to DIY everything from our home renovations to our taxes and even business tasks, does it make sense to do the same when it’s time to sell a home?

While a lot of things can be accomplished via YouTube videos, selling a home is one area where professional help is imperative.

How does a real estate agent help in selling a home? Here’s a sampling of ways:

*They know real estate law. Agents must be licensed and then keep up with their education to retain that license. That education includes courses on real estate law, which covers everything from discriminatory practices to disclosures and more. These aren’t always obvious to the layperson, and a misstep — even if you had the best of intentions — can land you in a lot of trouble. Best to let a professional guide you.


* They understand contracts. Similar to the trickier areas of real estate law, licensed agents understand which contracts you need as well as each section of those stacks of paperwork.

* They are bound by ethics. Real estate licensing goes beyond the letter of the law to include strict ethics codes.

* Experience in negotiations. A trained and experienced agent will be able to help you get the best price for your home.

* Market expertise. An agent will know the ins and outs of the real estate market, down to individual neighborhoods and streets. The market can be dramatically different from one area to the next, regardless of what’s happening nationally or even regionally, and agents keep on top of it.

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Upcoming Events

Sep
25
Sat
10:00 am 3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
Sep 25 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
3rd Annual French & Indian War Weekend @ Abram's Delight
Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26, from 10 am to 5 pm. 18th Century Colonial encampments with historical interpretation of British, French and Native Americans on the Western frontier of the Virginia Colony during[...]
10:00 am National Public Lands Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Public Lands Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sep 25 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
National Public Lands Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. A blight decimated American Chestnut trees in North America in the 1920s. One hundred years later, Sky Meadows State Park has teamed up with the Virginia Chapter of the[...]
11:00 am Friends of Sky Meadows Farm Market @ Sky Meadows State Park
Friends of Sky Meadows Farm Market @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sep 25 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Friends of Sky Meadows Farm Market @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Stop by the Friends of Sky Meadows Farmer’s Market for tasty preserved products, heirloom vegetables, eggs and more. Pick from seasonal vegetables grown in Sky Meadows’ authentic Kitchen Garden, July through September. Grab[...]
12:00 pm Honor Display: Warren County ens... @ Warren County Courthouse
Honor Display: Warren County ens... @ Warren County Courthouse
Sep 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Honor Display: Warren County enslaved @ Warren County Courthouse
WHAT: The local chapter of Coming to the Table is hosting a display on the Warren County Courthouse lawn to honor the more than 1,100 men, women, and children enslaved in the county at the onset[...]
Sep
26
Sun
10:00 am 3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
Sep 26 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
3rd Annual French & Indian War Weekend @ Abram's Delight
Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26, from 10 am to 5 pm. 18th Century Colonial encampments with historical interpretation of British, French and Native Americans on the Western frontier of the Virginia Colony during[...]
Sep
27
Mon
2:00 pm Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
Sep 27 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
WARREN COALITION OFFERS FREE TRAUMA-INFORMED TRAINING IN SEPTEMBER Have you ever felt alone? Do you wonder why you react the way you do? Do you work with children? If you answered yes to any of[...]
Sep
28
Tue
7:00 pm Community Parent Night @ Dominion Ridge Academy
Community Parent Night @ Dominion Ridge Academy
Sep 28 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Community Parent Night @ Dominion Ridge Academy
Dominion Ridge Academy is proud to host this free community event for parents featuring international speaker, author, and comedian Christopher O’Shaughnessy. Come enjoy an evening of laughter and inspiration as Chris addresses the themes of[...]
Oct
2
Sat
4:00 pm Oktoberfest: Family Fun Day @ Wakefield Country Day School
Oktoberfest: Family Fun Day @ Wakefield Country Day School
Oct 2 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Oktoberfest: Family Fun Day @ Wakefield Country Day School
October 2, 2021 from 4pm-8pm All are welcome to attend the 2nd Annual Oktoberfest at Wakefield Country Day School. Loosen your Leiderhosen and get ready for Oktoberfest! This year, the Edelweiss Band is coming to[...]
Oct
9
Sat
6:30 pm Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 9 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meets behind Mount Bleak. Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) Ambassadors[...]
Oct
14
Thu
5:00 pm 6th Annual Wine Pull @ Front Royal Golf Club
6th Annual Wine Pull @ Front Royal Golf Club
Oct 14 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
6th Annual Wine Pull @ Front Royal Golf Club
Last year we did not get to hold our annual Wine Pull due to COVID. We are so excited that we are able to have this fun fundraising event this year, so be sure to[...]