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A practical guide to downsizing

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Any move can be challenging, but downsizing in particular can be tricky. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the process.

1. Choosing a new home
The first thing to do when downsizing is to choose where you’ll live. This decision will help determine which belongings you should hold on to, and how many of them you can bring along.

Keep in mind that moving to a smaller house or a condo doesn’t come with the same limitations as moving in with family, an assisted living facility or retirement community. It’s therefore a good idea to weigh your options carefully.

When choosing your next residence, consider your current needs and how they might change as you age. Open and honest communication between you and family members is the key to ensuring that you get the support you need and that your new accommodations meet your requirements.

2. Planning for the move
Start planning your move well before you put your house up for sale or give notice at your rental. Write out a detailed plan and make a list of the tasks that need to be completed. Assign those tasks to everyone involved in the move. If you need to hire professionals to assist you, be sure to do so ahead of time. Being organized is the best way to ensure that your move goes smoothly.

3. Decluttering and sorting belongings
This step can be trying, both on a practical level and on an emotional one. However, the simplest way to approach it is to deal with one room at a time.

Separate your belongings into five categories: keep, give away, donate, sell and throw out. To assess where a particular item should go, here are some helpful questions to ask:

• How necessary is it?
• How often is it used?
• Will it fit in the new space?
• Does it have sentimental value?
• Does it have monetary value?
• Are there multiples?

Don’t worry if the sorting process needs to be repeated. Give yourself the time and space to go through items at a pace that’s comfortable to you.

Finally, if you feel overwhelmed or need more help, know that some companies specialize in helping seniors downsize.

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Are sellers eavesdropping on homebuyers’ private conversations?

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In the hustle and bustle of today’s real estate market, sellers are often absent during showings, and buyers are increasingly talkative when visiting their homes. However, the growing popularity of affordable home security devices should give buyers pause. In fact, the availability of surveillance equipment such as Wi-Fi enabled cameras and microphones means their conversations may not remain private.

Unexpected surveillance
Most people don’t expect to be under surveillance when visiting a house, but if the house is equipped with a surveillance system, owners can obtain sensitive information. For instance, a buyer may let slip that they’re willing to pay a lot more than asking price for the house.

A complicated issue
In most places, there’s no legal requirement to disclose the presence of a surveillance system. Nevertheless, in some states making an audio recording requires the consent of at least one of the recorded parties. Making a video recording, however, would be entirely legal in most cases. The best thing for buyers to do is to act as if the owner is present during all home showings.

Most reported cases of sellers obtaining information they can leverage have been accidental. While realtors report their customers didn’t use this knowledge to their advantage, there’s no way to know for sure.

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4 things realtors might not tell you

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Most realtors act with integrity and are honest and upright. However, here are four things they might not tell you.

1. Commissions are negotiable
Commissions vary, but keep in mind that “standard” rates needn’t be mandatory. Not only can you negotiate a commission up-front, but it’s also possible to ask agents to lower it to ensure that a deal goes through. For instance, if you and the buyer are $4,000 apart, you can ask the agents to lower their respective commissions by $2,000.

2. They may be too busy for you
When signing with a brokerage, always ask them what you’re paying for. This is especially true in the case of well-known realtors who trade on their reputation. Find out whether they’ll be the ones handling the legwork, answering your calls and dealing with other agents on your behalf. Some of them might pass you off to a junior agent after you sign.

3. You can look them up
You probably already know that you should always deal with licensed realtors, but you may not be aware that in most cases you have access to records kept by regulatory agencies. Before signing with a realtor, look them up through the relevant organization.

4. Your house isn’t worth that much
“Buying your listing” is an industry term that refers to overestimating the value of a house to motivate a seller to sign with an agent. The agent gets the listing and you get a house that’ll sit on the market for a long time. Shop around for a good agent who understands current market conditions and uses that knowledge to price your home realistically.

Though they aren’t exactly trade secrets, knowing these four things will definitely give you an edge when shopping for a good realtor.

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Client or customer: know the difference

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Some realtors want you to sign on as their client while others prefer that you be their customer. You may think that the terms are interchangeable, but there’s a significant difference.

What being a client means
Being a client involves signing a representation agreement with the agent you hire. This means the selected realtor has a fiduciary duty and is obligated to protect your best interests. Here’s what you can expect from them:

• They’ll keep information you give them confidential
• They’ll negotiate on your behalf and put your interests first
• If you’re buying, they’ll take steps to find out all relevant information about the property you’re buying
• If you’re selling, they’re obligated to convey all written offers to you

What being a customer means
If you sign a customer service agreement instead of a representation agreement, the realtor you hire will still be able to provide you with competent and conscientious service. However, they won’t owe you a fiduciary duty. Here’s what you can expect:

• They’ll treat you fairly but won’t privilege your interests
• They’re free to share any information you give them
• If you’re buying, they’ll only disclose material facts they already know about the property
• If you’re selling, they don’t have to convey all written offers to you, unless otherwise specified

Why this matters
It’s important to understand the difference between client and customer to ensure you know what to expect from the realtors you do business with. For instance, keep in mind that if you signed a customer service agreement, you shouldn’t expect your realtor to keep information you share with them confidential. You should be particularly cautious with realtors who handle both sides of a transaction.

However, you don’t always need to sign on as a client. Simply make sure to articulate your needs as clearly as possible and understand your real estate representatives’ obligations toward you.

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Warren County Real Estate Market Report – September 2019

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We have been talking about the low interest rates lately. Looks like they continue to inspire a lot of buyer activity! In other news, be sure to watch to the end of the video to see highlight photos from the 2017 Zombie Walk. This year it will be held on October 19th, line up at Bing Crosby Stadium starting at 6pm.

Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for September 2019. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!

In general summary:

  1. New Listings are up 20.3%
  2. Closed sales are up 74%!!!
  3. Average Median Sold $245,000.
  4. Average Days on Market 66.

*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to jenaveryrealtor@gmail.com.

Resource: 2019 Market Stats by ShowingTime
MRIS: Statistics calculated October 2019

Jennifer Avery, Realtor
“Your Happy Home Expert”

BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
jenaveryrealtor@gmail.com | 540-683-0790
CRUM REALTY, INC | 318 S Loudoun St., Winchester, VA 22601 | 540-662-0400

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Real Estate Market & Economic Summit 2019

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Real Estate Market & Economic Summit with:

  • Dr. Lisa Sturtevant – Virginia Realtors, Chief Economist
  • Patrick Barker – Frederick County Economic Development Authority Executive Director
  • Shawn Hershberger – Winchester Development Services Director
  • Doug Parsons – Warren County Economic Development Authority Executive Director
  • Hosted by Blue Ridge Association of Realtors
  • Proceeds to benefit Habitat for Humanity and BRAR Scholarship Fund

A few key take aways from Dr. Lisa Sturtevant’s portion of the summit:

  • Because mortgage rates are so low, more people are locking in low interest rates instead of buying their next home. They are adding on to existing home.
  • Healthcare is highest growing job industry in Virginia.
  • We have lost 25-34 year-olds from Virginia. They are moving to places like  Austin, Cleveland, and Des Moines because of high quality of living and affordable housing. QUALITY OF LIFE AND HOUSING ARE BIGGEST REASON FOR LEAVING.
  • Job growth is the primary demand for housing.
  • Prices are going to continue to rise in the months to come.
  • Trend of supply will continue to decline.

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Avery.






Jennifer Avery, REALTOR®
“Your Happy Home Expert!”
BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
jenaveryrealtor@gmail.com | 540-683-0790
CRUM REALTY, INC | 318 S Loudoun St, Winchester VA 22601

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Warren County Real Estate Market Report – August 2019

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Huge shift in NEW PENDING sales in 2019. Could it be low interest rates?

Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for August 2019 and a brief visual update of the new splash pad construction across from Fantasyland Playground. Video footage will show the progress including some additional work on the creek around the small overpass bridge near Bing Crosby Stadium. The work appears to be helping to protect the creek from future flooding and has already helped the flow of water in this area.

In general summary:

  1. New Listings are down for the first time in months. -5.66%
  2. New Pendings are the most remarkable change this month. 62.50% Because this change is so drastic, it has caused me to dig a little deeper. After reaching out to a few other business professionals including Michelle Napier (CBM Mortgage) and Jennifer Compton (Blue Ink Original Title and Settlement), we think the low interest rates that are available to purchasers right now must be playing a role in the sales jump. Jennifer commented, “The low interest rates have had us extremely busy the past few weeks closing refi’s.” She continued, “I bet these low rates are playing a big part in the percentage change in pending sales.”
  3. 3. Average Days on Market 73.

*If you would like a copy of this report emailed to you, please send request to jenaveryrealtor@gmail.com

Resource: 2019 Market Stats by ShowingTime
MRIS: Statistics calculated September 2019

Jennifer Avery, REALTOR®
“Your Happy Home Expert!”
BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
jenaveryrealtor@gmail.com | 540-683-0790
CRUM REALTY, INC | 318 S Loudoun St, Winchester VA 22601 | 540-662-0400

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‘Tis the Season

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Front Royal
38°
Cloudy
06:5217:01 EST
Feels like: 30°F
Wind: 13mph WNW
Humidity: 51%
Pressure: 30.05"Hg
UV index: 1
TueWedThu
39/21°F
38/22°F
49/28°F

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Upcoming Events

Nov
12
Tue
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing II: Drawing in... @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing II: Drawing in... @ Art in the Valley
Nov 12 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing II: Drawing in Color @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in colored pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four week course will focus on continuing to build drawing skills as applied to botanicals: students[...]
4:30 pm Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Nov 12 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Science Scouts and More @ Samuels Public Library
Tuesday, November 5: Kids will explore popular books and book series through science, games, food, and more! Based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we will do some taffy pulling and have a[...]
7:00 pm Learn how the Old and New Testam... @ Macedonia United Methodist Church
Learn how the Old and New Testam... @ Macedonia United Methodist Church
Nov 12 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Learn how the Old and New Testaments reveal God's plans @ Macedonia United Methodist Church
COME and HEAR…. PASTOR ERIC MICHAEL TEITELMAN from HOUSE of DAVID MINISTRIES LEARN HOW THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS REVEAL GOD’S PLANS FOR ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH – HIS FAMILY OF NATIONS Born to a[...]
Nov
13
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Nov 13 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, November 6 and Thursday, November 7: It’s playtime! Come in for stories, songs, and a craft about our favorite toys, games, and imaginings! Siblings welcome.[...]
1:00 pm Tech Bytes @ Lord Fairfax Community College
Tech Bytes @ Lord Fairfax Community College
Nov 13 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Tech Bytes @ Lord Fairfax Community College
A look at the rapid-fire evolution of cybersecurity through the lens of a veteran cybersecurity journalist who has been covering this space for more than two decades. Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor of Dark Reading,[...]
1:30 pm Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Nov 13 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor, Elena Maza, will deal with the basic three-primary color palette, different pigments and how they interact, how to mix all colors from three primary colors, how to apply washes,[...]
Nov
14
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Nov 14 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, November 6 and Thursday, November 7: It’s playtime! Come in for stories, songs, and a craft about our favorite toys, games, and imaginings! Siblings welcome.[...]
5:00 pm FAFSA Party @ LFCC Middletown Campus
FAFSA Party @ LFCC Middletown Campus
Nov 14 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
FAFSA Party @ LFCC Middletown Campus
Join other college-bound students and their parents at LFCC for a FAFSA Party on the Middletown Campus on the following dates: Monday, Nov. 4 Thursday, Nov. 14 Monday, Nov. 18. Time: 5-7 p.m. Learn about[...]
7:00 pm Winter Living Forum @ Middle of the Main
Winter Living Forum @ Middle of the Main
Nov 14 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Winter Living Forum @ Middle of the Main
An open forum for the foods and methods suggested for optimum healthy and robust winter living. Open to All: 7.00 p.m. EASTERN / 6.00 p.m. CENTRAL / 4.00 p.m. PACIFIC – This is an open[...]
Nov
15
Fri
12:30 pm Kaine Connects in Front Royal @ Samuels Public Library, Lou Benson & Naomi Salus Conference Room
Kaine Connects in Front Royal @ Samuels Public Library, Lou Benson & Naomi Salus Conference Room
Nov 15 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Kaine Connects in Front Royal @ Samuels Public Library, Lou Benson & Naomi Salus Conference Room
Dear Friends, On November 15, my staff will host Kaine Connects office hours in Front Royal from 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM. Although I can’t be there in person, this is a terrific opportunity to[...]