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5 small gestures that will make you a good neighbor

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To truly feel at home in your community, getting along with your neighbors is a must. Here are five simple things you can do that will help you make a good impression.

1. Be courteous. Greet your neighbors when you pass them on the street or at the park, and take the time to ask them how they’re doing.

2. Offer your help. Whether you shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway or collect parcels left on someone’s doorstep while they’re away, lending a hand will certainly be appreciated.

3. Be mindful of noise. Mow your lawn and do other noisy tasks at a reasonable hour. Also, don’t let your dog bark unnecessarily, and keep music at a moderate volume at all times. If you’re planning a party or a major renovation, let your neighbors know.


4. Keep your yard clean. Don’t leave old tires and other trash lying around your yard. In addition, be sure to maintain your lawn and garden, so they don’t become overgrown.

5. Respect property boundaries. Take steps to ensure you don’t encroach on your neighbors’ property. This means being careful about where you place hedges, fences, and trees as well as making sure your pets stay in your own yard.

Finally, if you’re new to the neighborhood, or if others have recently moved in nearby, don’t hesitate to introduce yourself. This way you can start the relationship on the right foot.

 

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Virginia’s housing market a leader in economic recovery following COVID-19

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Virginia’s booming real estate industry has been a leading contributor to the commonwealth’s economic recovery following the recession triggered by COVID-19.

According to Virginia’s Secretary of Finance, the Commonwealth of Virginia is expecting a half-billion budget surplus by the end of June. The state’s economy has far outpaced expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic and recession, and a major reason has been the strength of the residential real estate market. The housing market boom has contributed to a 40% surge in state revenues in taxes paid on deeds and other court filings.

“Strong homes sales activity in Virginia has been fueled by steady growth in higher-wage professional jobs and historically low mortgage rates,” according to Lisa Sturtevant, PhD, Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist. “The strength of the residential real estate market has been essential to the resiliency of the state’s economy.”

Virginia REALTORS® worked closely with lawmakers to ensure the industry would remain open in the commonwealth. “Our association has worked with the Governor’s office, legislators, and regulatory agencies throughout the pandemic to ensure our members could stay in business. These efforts have been instrumental in making sure Virginia’s sales and rental markets did not stagnate or atrophy but were able to remain healthy and contribute significantly to Virginia’s economic recovery,” says Virginia REALTORS® CEO Terrie Suit.


“Over the past 16 months, while other states shuttered real estate through severe restrictions, our 36,000 members responded by pivoting our business practices, models, and client interactions, adhering to the strict guidelines of the CDC. By adopting new technologies and procedures, the REALTORS® of Virginia continue to help lead the way through the economic recovery,” says Virginia REALTORS® 2021 President Beth Dalton.

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Real Estate

Discover what your new neighborhood has to offer

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If you recently moved or getting ready to move, it’s a good idea to explore your new neighborhood as soon as possible. In addition to familiarizing yourself with the street names, you should look for anything that might be useful or interesting. As you walk around, keep an eye out for:

• Essential and convenient services like police and fire stations, grocery stores, bus stops, pharmacies, health care facilities, hair salons, clothing boutiques, markets, gas stations, and more.

• Places to visit such as museums, art galleries, beaches, parks, theaters, restaurants, coffee shops, microbreweries, bowling alleys, and other fun venues.

• Recreational opportunities offered by music schools, theater groups, educational training centers, soccer clubs, libraries, swimming pools, bicycle networks, and other organizations.


Feel free to take notes as you explore. You should also consider greeting your neighbors and asking them what places are a must-see in the area. Enjoy!

Learn more online
Visit your municipality’s website to get the waste collection schedule, find out what community services are available, and learn about upcoming local events.

 

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Real Estate

How to prepare your home for a photo shoot

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Since most prospective homebuyers start their search online, it’s vital that your property is listed with beautiful, high-quality images. In addition to hiring a professional who specializes in real estate photography, here’s what you can do to make sure your home looks its best.

Front yard
Remove cars, garbage cans, bikes, and other items from the driveway. Use the garage for storage as needed. You should also mow the lawn and freshen up the landscaping.

Kitchen
Clear the countertops of all clutter including knife blocks, soap dispensers, and paper towel holders. Leave out no more than one small appliance. Hide the garbage can in a closet and take everything off the fridge.

Bathrooms
Close the toilet seat cover, put out fresh towels, and remove mats to show off the floor. Install a neutral shower curtain. Clear the countertop, bathtub, and shower of all personal items including soap, toothbrushes, and shampoo bottles.



Living spaces
Clear all surfaces of everything but decorative pieces. Hide or replace personal photos with landscape shots. Wash windows and open the blinds and curtains. Check for burned-out bulbs, and make sure all your lighting is the same temperature.

Bedrooms
Make the beds and neatly arrange throw pillows or blankets. Remove all clutter from the nightstands and dressers. If you have walk-in closets you want to feature, make sure they’re presentable.

Backyard
Vacuum the pool, clean the barbecue, and neatly arrange the patio furniture. Trim shrubs, rake leaves, and consider adding fresh flowers to your garden. Make sure all toys and tools are out of sight.

By following these tips, your photos are sure to make a good first impression. If you want to maximize your home’s appeal to potential buyers, consider having it staged by a professional before the photoshoot.

A note for pet owners
Make arrangements, so your pets aren’t around during the shoot. This will make it easier for the photographer to work. Store bedding, toys, and other supplies out of view. Pick up droppings in the backyard as needed.

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5 hidden costs of selling a home

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If you want to put your home on the market, it’s important to note that you won’t pocket every dollar from the sale. Here are some of the costs associated with selling a home.

1. Realtor and legal fees
As the seller, you’ll need to pay the commission due to both the buyer’s agent and your own. Plus, you’ll need to hire a real estate attorney to oversee the transaction and handle the paperwork.

2. Repairs and upgrades
Do you need to replace a leaky roof following an inspection? Or maybe you want to boost your home’s appearance with fresh paint and landscaping? These projects can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

3. Home staging
A home will often sell faster and at a higher price if it’s been staged. You should also consider having your home professionally cleaned before an open house.


4. Loan payoff costs
If you have a mortgage on your current home, you’ll likely be charged a prepayment penalty for paying it off before the end of your term. You’ll also have to repay your home equity line of credit when you sell your property.

5. Taxes
Unless you’ve prepaid your property tax for the year, you’ll be responsible for the portion that applies prior to the closing date. If the property isn’t your primary residence, you’ll also have to pay a capital gains tax on any profit from the sale.

Keep in mind that while the cost of working with realtors, stagers, and other professionals can quickly add up, their expertise will ensure the process goes smoothly and that you get top dollar for your home.

 

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Should you offer list price on a home?

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The list price is a simple concept: It represents the price a seller is asking a buyer to pay for a property.

Typically, a real estate professional will help a seller determine list price by comparing similar properties, analyzing what sold recently, how much competition is currently on the market and what the competition is listed for.

So does a buyer have to pay the list price and is a seller locked in to a list price once advertised?

As the saying goes, everything’s negotiable (almost everything, anyway). And this is where a top-notch real estate professional can make a big difference.


An agent will understand the current market, down to the specifics of an individual neighborhood. For a seller, the agent helps pinpoint an accurate list price that will help you sell fast and net the most money. For a buyer, the agent will understand which listings are priced accordingly and can advise you on potential negotiations — whether that involves price, repairs after an inspection, or other concessions.

The specifics of the market and the amount of competition are big factors in price. When there’s a lot of inventory — meaning more properties on the market — there’s generally more room to negotiate because buyers know they can probably find another property fairly easily if this one doesn’t work out.

When there’s less inventory or a “hot” market during which properties are selling quickly, there tends to be less room for negotiation. Sometimes a seller may even get higher than the asking price — this sometimes happens when there’s a multiple offer situation.

Other factors come into play: the condition of the property; the seller’s motivations (do they need to sell quickly or can they wait?); the buyer’s motivations; the type of financing (will it be an easy process or one with a lot of government red tape); the amount of the down payment; and what kind of inspections the buyer wants.

All this is to say, while list price is simple in concept, the execution of it involves quite a few moving parts and the help of a professional to make sure you’re happy with your decision at the end of the transaction.

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Tips for buying in a sellers’ market

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When demand is high and there aren’t enough properties on the market, the competition can be fierce among buyers. Here are some tips to help you buy your dream home in a sellers’ market.

• Get pre-approved. Applying for a mortgage before you make an offer reassures sellers that you won’t waste their time.

• Be ready to act fast. Know what you want beforehand, and when you find a home that checks all the boxes, don’t hesitate to schedule a showing and make an offer.

• Increase your deposit. Earnest money shows you’re serious about purchasing the home, so a larger installment will look attractive to sellers weighing multiple offers.



• Limit contingencies. Waiving the appraisal or home sale contingencies can be an effective way to win a bidding war, as it means fewer hurdles for the seller to overcome.

• Offer to delay possession. Sellers may be more inclined to accept an offer that lets them move out at their leisure. Consider proposing a rent-back agreement, which allows sellers to become tenants in their former home for a limited time after closing.

• Add a personal touch. Include a letter with your offer explaining why the home is a perfect fit for your family. This can create an emotional connection with the seller.

Finally, remember that working with a local real estate agent is one of the best ways to ensure the process goes smoothly, especially if you’re buying in a sellers’ market.

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Jun
13
Sun
11:00 am The Royal Front @ SVAXECO
The Royal Front @ SVAXECO
Jun 13 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Royal Front @ SVAXECO
Axe Throwing Tournament to support the Army Rangers. A percentage of the proceeds from the event will go to the Army Rangers! Do you have what it take to be a ranger? Come try sticking[...]
Jun
14
Mon
6:00 pm FREE Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
FREE Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
Jun 14 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
FREE Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
WARREN COALITION HOSTS FREE TRAUMA-INFORMED TRAINING The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training beginning on June 14th. This course is designed to provide information[...]
Jun
16
Wed
4:00 pm Messy Makers and Art Adventures ... @ microWave Project
Messy Makers and Art Adventures ... @ microWave Project
Jun 16 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Messy Makers and Art Adventures for Kids @ microWave Project
We are bringing back two of our most popular classes for the month of June, Messy Makers and Art Adventures! Messy Makers returns for the month of June on Wednesdays from 4-5 pm. With the warm weather[...]
6:30 pm Diamonds and Pearls Gala @ Holiday Inn & Suites
Diamonds and Pearls Gala @ Holiday Inn & Suites
Jun 16 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Diamonds and Pearls Gala @ Holiday Inn & Suites
You’re invited to Reaching Out Now Leadership Program! Join us as we celebrate the resiliency of our girls. Our current girl leaders will continue to carry the torch, lighting the way for our future girl[...]
Jun
17
Thu
7:00 pm Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun 17 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball vs. Purceville Cannons Thursday, June 17th @ 7 PM Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun
19
Sat
7:00 pm Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun 19 @ 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball Game @ Bing Crosby Stadium
Front Royal Cardinals Baseball vs. Woodstock River Bandits Saturday, June 19th @ 7 PM Bing Crosby Stadium
Jun
20
Sun
1:00 pm A Benefit for James @ Virginia Beer Museum
A Benefit for James @ Virginia Beer Museum
Jun 20 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
A Benefit for James @ Virginia Beer Museum
 
1:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 20 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah (BONS) and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program series examines all aspects of beekeeping from hive[...]
Jun
21
Mon
9:00 am Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Jun 21 @ 9:00 am – Jun 25 @ 12:00 pm
Stop Motion Animation @ Code Ninjas
Stop Motion Animation Experiment with video production through a variety of mediums including Claymation, LEGO® Minifigures, pipe cleaner creatures, and much more! Ninjas will capture images frame-by-frame and produce videos in a rapid prototyping style.[...]
1:08 pm Summer At Sacred Heart @ Sacred Heart
Summer At Sacred Heart @ Sacred Heart
Jun 21 @ 1:08 pm – 2:08 pm
Summer At Sacred Heart @ Sacred Heart
Come check out the biggest camp selection in Winchester! Over 57-week-long camps are offered on a rotating basis, from June 21 through August 13, for kids ages 3-13. Extended care options are available. We offer[...]