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Ask the expert: We are retiring and thinking of buying a condo in a building we have long admired. Is this going to be hard to finance?

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Condos can be more difficult to finance than single family homes, but the key to getting a conventional loan is in the building itself.

Remember that when you buy a condo, your mortgage company (and you) are placing trust in the whole building, not just your unit.

For this reason, buildings must meet some standards. Here are a few:
– Common areas must be completely finished and owned by the unit owners or the Home Owners Association.

– At least 51 percent of all the units must be owner-occupied or second homes.
– The building must maintain an adequate budget to run the property.
-At least 90 percent of the units must be sold and currently owned by unit owners.
– A single entity can’t own more than a certain percentage of the building.
– Unit owners must be keeping up with their association dues.
– The condo project must be covered by adequate insurance.

If the condominium project is established and known to meet guidelines, and you are a credit worthy borrower, you will probably have little difficulty getting a conventional loan.

Keep in mind that in calculating your debt-to-income ratio for the loan, lenders will count your HOA fees as part of your total monthly expenses.

As usual, you can save on mortgage insurance by putting at least 20 percent down.

When you buy a condo, you are buying into the HOA and you are sacrificing some privacy for convenience. It’s a good idea to take a look at the minutes from the HOA meetings to see the sorts of issues being discussed.

When the building qualifies and you find the property suitable, financing a condo should be much the same as a conventional home.

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The truth about pets abandoned on moving day

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It’s a sad truth that every year countless dogs and cats are abandoned by their human companions. Frequently this happens as the result of a move, and in particular, when a person’s new residence doesn’t allow animals.

Abandoned pets
Abandoning dogs and cats is illegal in most states. Nevertheless, many domestic pets are cast-off, either by releasing them into the wild or putting them out on the street. Unfortunately, starvation, and ultimately death, is the fate that typically awaits them.

Pets in shelters

Pets that are forfeited to shelters don’t always fare much better; a circumstance that’s largely due to the fact that animal shelters across the country are grossly overcrowded.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are six to eight million dogs and cats that enter shelters each year. The organization approximates that about three million of these animals are euthanized, despite the fact that around 80 percent of them are fit for adoption.

But even pets that aren’t euthanized may face difficulties. Both dogs and cats tend to form strong bonds with their owners, and when this bond is severed, they’re likely to experience a great deal of stress and sadness. It isn’t uncommon for animals in shelters to be depressed to the point of refusing to eat.

What you can do
If you’re in the process of looking for a new home, make sure you find a place that accommodates your pet. And if you want to welcome a dog or cat into your new home, consider adopting one from your local animal shelter.

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How to safely dispose of burned out light bulbs

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When a light bulb burns out, you may wonder whether to toss it in the trash or take it to your local recycling center. However, the best action to take depends entirely on the type of light bulb you’re throwing out.

Incandescent bulbs
When a standard light bulb burns out, you can put it in the garbage with the rest of your household waste. The thin glass and metal wires are almost impossible to separate for recycling.

Compact fluorescent lights (CFL)

CFL bulbs contain small amounts of mercury that can damage the environment if the bulb breaks. Many municipalities have drop-off points for hazardous waste items and you should dispose of CFL light bulbs at these locations.

Light-emitting diode (LED) lights
LED lights don’t technically burn out like other bulbs, but they do dim over time. When this happens, you can safely discard them in the trash as they don’t contain mercury like CFL bulbs do. You can also check with your local recycling center to see if they accept this type of bulb.

Regardless of the type of light bulb, take care to wrap it in paper before you throw it away. This way you’ll avoid the possibility of someone getting injured by the broken glass.

Many hardware store chains have recycling boxes for CFL bulbs as well as batteries, left over paint and other things that can’t safely be thrown out. Check your local hardware store to see if they offer this service.

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4 ways to get your outdoor living space ready for summer

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Now that the warmer weather has arrived, it’s time to set up your outdoor living space for the season. But before you bring out the patio furniture, you should attend to these four tasks.

1. Wash your windows. Clean the frames and glass, and don’t forget to give the screens a scrub as well. You should also inspect the caulking around your windows and doors. If there are any cracks, apply new caulking

2. Get your deck ready. Clean your patio or deck and check for loose boards or anything else that looks like it needs to be fixed. Make repairs, then sand and seal wood surfaces.

3. Examine exterior surfaces. Inspect your siding for damage and ensure your foundation is free of cracks that might have formed over the winter. If you see any peeling paint on your shutters or window frames, make plans to have them painted.

4. Inspect your barbecue. Look out for signs of damage. Clear off spider webs, clean the grill and make sure animals haven’t nibbled on the gas line.

Once you’re done with the above, it’s time to set up your outdoor furniture. Give chairs, tables and loungers a good cleaning, then sit back, relax and enjoy soaking up the sun.

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Warren County Market Report – May 2019

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

In general summary:

  1. Closed sales are UP by 13.8% compared to this time last year
  2. Average Median Sold $254,750.
  3. Average Days on Market 66

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

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

Jennifer Avery, Realtor for NextHome Realty Select
“Your Happy Home Expert”

BPOR, SRS, CNE, E-Pro Certified | Licensed in VA
jennifer@nexthomerealtyselect.com | 540-683-0790
210 E Main Street, Front Royal VA
www.jenaveryrealtor.com 

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Virtual reality: the future of real estate

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Virtual reality (VR) is a powerful tool that’s revolutionizing the real estate industry. It refers to the computer simulation of three-dimensional environments that can be interacted with by a person. Here are three key applications of VR in the real estate industry.

1. Virtual property tours. VR can be used to allow people to virtually tour countless properties from one location. By simply putting on a VR headset, you’ll be able to experience immersive, 3D walkthroughs of dozens of properties so you can decide which ones are worth visiting in person.

2. Virtual home staging. Studies show that furnished homes sell better than unfurnished ones, but investing in furniture and decor for staging an empty house is costly. Using VR technology allows you to experience what a property will look like when it’s completely furnished.

3. VR architectural visualization. VR can also be used to market properties that haven’t been built yet, such as new condo developments. With VR tours, interested buyers can see what the homes will eventually look like.

VR in real estate is a game changer for buyers and agents alike. For buyers, it saves time and allows them to browse for homes across great distances. For real estate agents, VR tools pay off in terms of heightened global outreach, increased sales and more satisfied clients. It’s predicted that VR will become commonly used in the real estate business in the years to come.

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iBuyers: are they worth the convenience?

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Instant homebuyer companies, also known as iBuyers, are tech companies that buy homes directly from sellers online and then put them back on the market. Without even visiting your home, iBuyers will make you an instant cash offer using a proprietary valuation model. If you accept the offer, you can close the sale in a few days.

While the appeal of selling your house to an iBuyer is understandable, the instant bids they offer may not be worth the associated convenience.

Keep in mind that though iBuyers claim to offer the full value of your home, the bids they make are typically below fair market value (in case they can’t resell the property at the full price). They also charge a fee for conducting the transaction, which is often higher than the standard brokerage fee.

Additionally, the bids iBuyers make on homes are generally lower than what the seller would get from working with a real estate agent. Experienced agents often get as much as 125 percent of a home’s fair market value.

What’s more, these companies strategically appeal to sellers who are in distress. They target people who’ve been unable to sell their homes or have expired listings. Those who are divorcing, in bankruptcy or have homes in foreclosure are also easy marks. Because the sellers are in difficult situations, they’re more likely to accept lowball offers.

Though selling your home to an iBuyer may seem like a good idea, you’ll gain far more from working with an experienced listing agent. A skilled realtor can help you sell your home at, or above, the property’s fair market value.

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Upcoming Events

Jun
17
Mon
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Jun 17 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 17 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
Jun
18
Tue
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 18 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
Jun
19
Wed
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 19 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
Jun
20
Thu
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 20 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
5:00 pm Annual Wine Pull @ Blue Wing Frog
Annual Wine Pull @ Blue Wing Frog
Jun 20 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Annual Wine Pull @ Blue Wing Frog
5th Annual Wine Pull | Thursday June 20, 2019 | 5:00 – 7:00pm | Blue Wing Frog, 219 Chester Street. Tickets: $40.00 – Includes food, glass of wine, and a bottle of wine or wine[...]
Jun
21
Fri
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 21 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
Jun
22
Sat
9:30 am Acrylic Pour Workshop – Level 1 @ Art in the Valley
Acrylic Pour Workshop – Level 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 22 @ 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Acrylic Pour Workshop - Level 1 @ Art in the Valley
Learn the process and art of acrylic pouring with artist and instructor Jan Settle. You’ll have a fun & exciting experience creating your own original masterpieces in this workshop! Learn how to manipulate paint &[...]
1:00 pm Meet the Author: NP Haley @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Meet the Author: NP Haley @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Jun 22 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Meet the Author: NP Haley @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Lily and the Ghost of Michael Thorne By local author, NP Haley Feeling someone or something looking at her, Lily peered into the shrouded forest and buildings surrounding the alley. Blinking rapidly to make sure[...]
7:30 pm Middle School Pool Party @ Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool
Middle School Pool Party @ Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool
Jun 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Middle School Pool Party @ Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool
Middle School Pool Party! FREE to all Warren County students who will be in the 6th-8th grades for the 2019-2020 school year. Event will take place at Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool on June[...]