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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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Making your dream home: advice for the would-be builder

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Are you thinking about building your own home? While there are many advantages of designing a space that works for your family in every way, here are some things you should consider before breaking ground.

Location
Do you want to live in the city or suburbs? If so, it may be hard to find an unoccupied plot. In this case, you may need to look further away from your desired location in order to find land where you can build.

Blueprints
If you build the house in a subdivision, you may be able to use pre-made builder’s plans. However, for a more customized home, you’ll need to hire an architect instead.

Lifestyle
When making design choices, it’s important to think about how you plan to use the house both now and in the future. For example, a steep set of stairs may not seem like a big deal right now, but they may prove difficult if you choose to raise a family or grow old in your home.

If you do decide to build, remember that the home will eventually need to be sold. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make design choices that aren’t so luxurious that you’ll be priced out of the area or that are so quirky that other people won’t want it.

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Beth Medved Waller receives 2019 VA/West VA Keller Williams Regional “Superstar” Award

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Beth Waller, a Warren County top producing Realtor and founder of the nonprofit, WHAT MATTERS, was recognized by Keller Williams Realty  Virginia/West Virginia Region as a 2019 “Caught-in-Culture” Superstar. Out of the nearly five thousand agents that make up the large multi-state region, Waller was one of three agents receiving the annual honor for their real estate and impact contributions during 2019.

In her acceptance presentation, Waller was asked to share some background around  her 501(c)(3) nonprofit, her origins of volunteerism, highlights of her real estate career  and motivational tips for the audience. “This was my first experience speaking on stage about my passion projects, and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to share my story and some ideas with fellow Realtors. I was moved by the line of people afterwards wanting to chat with me as well as the letters and messages I received after the event from people who were inspired. It’s another of the many opportunities I’ll always be thankful for as a KW agent,” said Beth of the honor.

During her presentation, Beth was asked to share about her initiatives that range from a $24,000+ per year Main Street meeting space she funds for her Front Royal/Warren County community, the $12,000+ she’s given through the years in scholarships to local seniors, the nonprofit center in which she provides free office space in Front Royal, her interest-free loans to help those in need and her community video interviews. She also discussed her international mission work which includes well over $25,000 in personal contributions to a brand new primary school in a remote village in Uganda (named the Front Royal Light up Academy) in addition to the funding of a music studio and financially supporting vulnerable children in the ghettos of Uganda’s capital city of
Kampala.

Lee Beaver, Regional Co-Owner and OP shared as she presented the award, “You’re just incredible, as an agent, as a person, and you’ve not only impacted your community but not impacted people overseas, it’s just amazing. We appreciate what you’re doing and we are blessed to have you in our company.” Waller received many other agent sales awards for monthly sales production units for the Manassas Market Center office throughout 2019. “I remain so blessed by all who have supported my real estate career including my family, friends, clients and especially my KW Transaction Coordinator Bridget Rosensteel. I’m glad to have found a home with the thriving KW Manassas office and still have the ability to have my office in downtown Front Royal,” she added.

Waller was also honored to be selected among America’s Top 100 Real Estate Agents® for Virginia – Greater Virginia in 2019.

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10 real estate euphemisms

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Never forget that a real estate listing is a sales pitch. Here’s a list of 10 common euphemisms and what they might really mean.

1. Charming, unique or quaint. From an unusual layout to downright bizarre architecture, this property is likely to strain the meaning of “unique.”

2. Cozy. This probably means the space is small, which could be a selling point for some buyers.

3. Access to everywhere. This often indicates close proximity to a freeway, with the associated noise included.

4. Efficient kitchen. This may be code for a kitchen so small you’ll only need to twist to reach the other end of the counter.

5. Needs TLC. This typically means that the house is a fixer-upper.

6. Bright or light. Some houses described this way have a lot of natural light. Alternatively, everything from the walls to the plumbing fixtures, cupboards, floors and window treatments may simply be painted white.

7. Retro. More often than not, a home described this way is dated. Picture avocado green appliances and shag carpets.

8. Original. This abode isn’t old enough to be called a period home, but it’s also not new enough to come with a reasonably priced utility bill, at least not without a few upgrades.

9. Up-and-coming neighborhood. This catchphrase means that the area is transitioning into a hot spot but isn’t quite there yet. The property likely has potential to appreciate over time.

10. Designer colors. This often means that the previous owners made bold painting decisions and that you’ll likely want to give the place a new coat.

The best way to navigate the real estate market is to rely on a good realtor, so don’t hesitate to ask them any questions you may have.

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Warren County Market Report – December 2019

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Start preparing NOW for the spring market. These numbers are incredible!

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

In general summary – UP UP UP:

  1. New Listings are UP 34.1% in December 2019.
  2. New Pending UP 36.1%.  We list them and they are going under contract fast. 157 Active Listings.
  3. Closed sales are UP 42.9%.
  4. Average Median Sold $239,500 dipped compared to this time last year.  However, after a closer look, the sold price only leveled back out to our July/August 2019 numbers.  I predict they will climb back up in January.
  5. Average Days on Market 56.  In my opinion, anything under 60 days is great!

*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 January 2020

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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6 creative ways to use your attic

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Are you thinking about converting your attic into usable living space? If so, here are six things you may want to do with it.

1. A master suite
The sloped ceiling is perfect for creating a comfy bedroom you’ll love to curl up in.

2. An office
If you work from home, the attic is likely isolated enough from the rest of the house to provide you with a distraction-free work space.

3. A playroom
If you don’t have a basement, let the kids use the attic as their space to hang out, study and play.

4. A luxurious bathroom
Do you need another bathroom in your busy household? If so, converting your attic may be the solution.

5. A yoga or meditation space
If you yearn for a quiet space to call your own, use the attic to create a relaxing at-home studio.

6. A guest suite
Give your guests a quiet space to relax when they come to visit. If you have the room for it, you could even install an adjoining bathroom.

In short, with a little imagination, your attic can be used to create almost any type of room. Just make certain to adequately insulate the walls and to install a staircase. This ensures that the space will be comfortable and accessible for the entire family.

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To bid or not to bid: red flags homebuyers shouldn’t ignore

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If you’re buying a house, getting a home inspection before signing on the dotted line is a must. But even before the inspector arrives, there are several things that should give you pause. Here are some potential problems to look out for.

Water damage
Fresh paint and carpeting can easily mask signs of water damage. Try to spot bubbling or irregularities in the paint, as these can be indicators of a problem.

Rot and mold are other signs but may also be hidden. A moisture detector is therefore a must when inspecting a home.

Infestation
There aren’t always obvious signs of a pest infestation as animals and insects can hide inside walls, under carpeting and even beneath floorboards.

Inspectors will check the exterior of the home as closely as possible for any potential entrances.

Roof issues
Issues with the roof may be missed if simply viewing it from the ground. Prior to the home inspection, it’s a good idea to ask the seller how old the roof is, as an old one is likely to have issues that need fixing.

HVAC issues
Inspectors may not run a full test of the HVAC system. The age of the system, however, is usually a good indicator of its state. In addition, inspecting visible air ducts will usually give you a good idea of the system’s overall state.

While inspectors tend to provide very thorough evaluations, there are things that should give you pause even without one. While not all of these things are deal breakers, they’re all worth being aware of when negotiating a price for your new home.

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Upcoming Events

Jan
22
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 22 @ 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, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]
Jan
23
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 23 @ 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, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]
Jan
24
Fri
9:00 am Veterans Services Meeting at Abl... @ Able Forces
Veterans Services Meeting at Abl... @ Able Forces
Jan 24 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Veterans Services Meeting at Able Forces @ Able Forces
Able Forces Foundation will once again be hosting a visit by Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Department of Veteran Services, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Danielle Cullers, Homeless Veteran Advocate-Volunteers of America[...]
Jan
25
Sat
11:00 am Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 25 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
A Story Ballet. Join us in a celebration of classic literature through dance! The whole family will enjoy this ballet performance, presented by the Northern Virginia Academy of Ballet.
1:00 pm Moving Mindfully: Finding and ke... @ Ruby Yoga
Moving Mindfully: Finding and ke... @ Ruby Yoga
Jan 25 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Moving Mindfully: Finding and keeping your footing @ Ruby Yoga
Join Ruby Yoga and Deborah Romero of Optimal Posture LLC for a series of workshops on moving more mindfully through life using the principles of yoga and the Alexander Technique. Slated for Saturday, Jan. 25,[...]
2:00 pm Aspiring Artists @ Samuels Public Library
Aspiring Artists @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 25 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Aspiring Artists @ Samuels Public Library
Are you aged 7 or older? Do you enjoy art? If so, please join us for our children’s art class. Using the classic scissor cutting art of Scherenschnitte, we will make silhouettes in a nature[...]
Jan
28
Tue
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 28 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! Tuesday, January 7 – Based on books about Balto, we will learn more about service dogs this week. For ages[...]
Jan
29
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 29 @ 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, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]
Jan
30
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 30 @ 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, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]