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How to spot a bike-friendly neighborhood

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Are you buying a new home? If your main mode of transportation is a bicycle, it’s a good idea to determine how bike-friendly a neighborhood is before you decide to live there. Here are five factors to consider.

1. Designated bike lanes
It’s safer to ride in designated bike lanes than on the road. The ideal neighborhood for cycling has bike lanes separated from roads with a barrier. Conversely, the most unsafe routes for cyclists are those where riders are sandwiched between moving traffic and parked cars.

2. Road conditions

As a cyclist, it’s best to steer clear of routes with large cracks and potholes. Look for a neighborhood where the roads and paths are in good shape and well-maintained.

3. Traffic volume
It can be unpleasant to bike in heavy traffic. In addition to being less safe, busy roads are noisy and more polluted.

4. Speed limits
Residential streets with low vehicle speed limits are ideal for cyclists, especially if they must share the road with drivers.

5. Flat terrain
If you use your bike for long commutes, a hilly neighborhood could be a problem, as it can make your daily ride excessively grueling.

Lastly, if you love to bike in nature, choose a neighborhood with bike paths that pass through parks, waterfronts, and other scenic areas.

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3 smart home features that buyers want

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One of the best ways to gain an edge in the real estate market is with smart technologies that provide improvements in comfort, convenience, and security. Here are three smart home features that home buyers are increasingly interested in.

1. Smart home security
Smart security systems provide robust all-round protection. They consolidate various security tools — burglar alarms, fire alarms, locks, surveillance cameras, and lighting — in one wall-mounted touch panel and smartphone app, allowing you to fine-tune your home security and manage and monitor your system from a distance.

2. Smart thermostats

Smart thermostats allow homeowners to remotely adjust their heating and air conditioning using an application on their phone. Many can also be paired with ventilation systems and humidifiers. These devices help homeowners save energy and enjoy optimal comfort by automatically adjusting the temperature according to their usage needs and preferences.

3. Smart appliances
Homebuyers appreciate that smart fridges, washers, dryers, stoves, and other appliances are generally more energy-efficient and offer various useful features. For example, a smart stove allows users to preheat the oven from their smartphone and receive alerts when the cooking has finished. Additionally, certain smart washer and dryer units use artificial intelligence to determine the weight and fabric softness of each load in order to select the optimal wash cycle.

If you have any of these home technologies, flaunt them when selling your house. If not, consider upgrading your home to make it “smarter.”

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5 DIY painting projects to refresh your home

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It’s amazing what a little paint can do. Here are five fun and easy projects that can have a major impact on the look and feel of your home.

1. Garage. Elevate your home’s curb appeal by giving the garage doors a facelift. Choose a color that matches the trim and shutters and complements the house’s other exterior features.

2. Dresser. If you have a dingy old set of drawers or want to give a boring room a boost, consider refurbishing your wooden dresser. Use a punchy color if you want to create interest, but opt for a neutral if you prefer the piece to blend in.

3. Front door. First impressions matter. Make a great one by choosing a bright, welcoming color for your front door.

4. Cabinets. In a kitchen, painting the cabinets can completely redefine the look and feel of the space. When choosing a color, consider the hues in your backsplash, countertop, floor, and walls.

5. Shelves. If you have built-in shelves, consider painting them a bold color to draw attention to your collections, photographs, and books.

To find paint and brushes, visit your local hardware and paint stores. For bigger painting projects in your home, consider hiring a professional.

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Virginia’s housing market off to a strong start in 2021

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According to the January 2021 Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, strong demand and low mortgage rates led to a strong start to Virginia’s housing market in 2021. While home sales typically slow in the winter months, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the traditional seasonality of the home buying market.

There were 8,806 home sales in Virginia in January, which is more than 2,000 more sales than January 2020, an increase of 31.1%. The median home sales price statewide was $315,000 in January, up 12.5% from a year ago. This is the 6th consecutive month of double-digit price increases, a trend that has occurred across most regions in Virginia.

The greatest challenge for buyers continues to be the shrinking levels of available inventory. While the inventory has been on a downward trajectory for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more would-be sellers to delay selling their homes. At the end of January, there were just 16,280 active listings across Virginia, which is 12,259 fewer active listings than there were at the end of January 2020, a 43% drop. Inventory declined by 7.2% between December and January alone.

Due to the dwindling inventory, homes are selling quickly, and multiple offers and bidding wars are increasingly common. “It’s a challenging market for buyers in Virginia right now,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, PhD. “Some would-be buyers have put their home buying on hold or have decided to remain renters. Sales activity could slow in the months ahead, not because of a softening of demand, but rather as a result of insufficient inventory.”

The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®. Click here to view the full January 2021 Home Sales Report.

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Home prices up on surging demand

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The housing market is booming and experts predict further growth in 2021 and continued record home price increases.

According to Forbes, surging buyer demand, lagging supply, the ongoing economic recovery, and low mortgage interest rates will continue to push home prices higher. Danielle Hale, the chief economist for realtor.com, notes that price growth will likely slow during 2021 as mortgage rates and continued price increases make homes less affordable for prospective buyers.

Even in COVID-19 hot spots, housing markets are sizzling. According to the Alexandria Echo Press, a Minnesota publication, home sales, and home values increased substantially in the hard-hit upper Midwest. Regional experts credit historically low-interest rates for the increases.

Some Americans also seek more space as work styles continue to be redefined. Remote work is the new norm for many, and according to ABC News, the change leads more people to seek out homes with more office space, bigger kitchens, and room for recreational activities.

The shine is at least temporarily off city condos, according to Crain’s Business as COVID-19 restrictions close down restaurants, parks, and entertainment. Violence in the cities earlier in 2019 has left many urban shopping areas boarded up, if not closed. Craig Lazzara, Managing Director at S&P Dow Jones Indices, told ABC News these factors have prompted buyers to move from urban condos to suburban homes.

According to Bloomberg, the competitive market and lean supply pushed home prices up for their biggest gain since 2014. The October S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of property values, which measures home prices in 20 U.S. cities, showed property value increases of 7.95 percent from the same month the previous year. The same report showed that the cities that experienced the highest price gains were Phoenix, Seattle, and San Diego.

Price increases aren’t limited to the existing housing stock. New home construction is also competitive, as land becomes more valuable and the home construction industry faces higher costs, longer delivery times, and labor shortages due to the pandemic, according to Forbes.

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How to make your home wheelchair accessible

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Renovating a home to accommodate the needs of someone in a wheelchair can be challenging. Undoubtedly, you’ll require the help of professional contractors. Here’s a brief look at the modifications you’ll need to make.

• Bathroom. You’ll need sufficient clearance space and a sink and toilet adjusted to the appropriate heights. A stand-alone shower or walk-in bathtub will also be required. In both cases, grab bars are a must.

• Doorways. Modifying your doorways by installing offset hinges or removing the door and trim may be sufficient. However, widening the doorways might be necessary. Handles may need to be replaced with ones that are easier to use.

• Kitchen. A true wheelchair-friendly kitchen will include modifications to the countertops, sinks, cabinets, appliances, and possibly the overall layout.

• Flooring. The ideal floor in a wheelchair accessible home is one that’s slip-resistant, easy to maintain, wears well, and provides good traction. Laminate, vinyl, ceramic, and low-pile or commercial carpeting are all good choices.

• Lighting. Glare is often an issue for people who use a wheelchair, but this can frequently be resolved by altering the position or angle of lights. Another consideration is the location of light switches, which should be placed at a height of 36 inches.

Keep in mind that other modifications may be needed. Depending on the configuration of your home, you may require a chairlift, elevator, ramps, and even structural changes to the house’s layout. For help remodeling your home, contact a local specialist in home adaptation projects.

Good to know
Most wheelchairs have a seat width of 18 to 22 inches, however, comfortable passage typically requires at least 36 inches of clearance. In addition, a turning radius of 60 inches is required in order for a person using a wheelchair to comfortably navigate a space.

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Warren County Market Report – January 2021 with Jen Avery

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Hoping for more inventory as spring approaches! It is a tough market for buyers right now. Prices are high and inventory is low; sellers market all the way!

Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for January 2021. Charts demonstrate the changes in the market, so be sure to click play!

In general summary:

  1. New Listings are DOWN -18.9%
  2. New Pending UP 10.4%.
  3. Closed sales are UP 15.9%
  4. Average Median Sold $275,000
  5. Average Days on Market  25

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

Resource: December 2020 Market Stats by ShowingTime
Bright MLS: Statistics calculated January 2021.

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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Front Royal
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6:47am6:03pm EST
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Pressure: 30.38"Hg
UV index: 0
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Upcoming Events

Feb
27
Sat
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Feb 27 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parent's Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Help Code Ninjas Front Royal celebrate our Grand Opening! We are hosting our first Parent’s Night Out! $35 per child, space limited to 5! – Drop them off. Go have fun. Just remember to pick[...]
Mar
1
Mon
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Mar 1 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
Mar
3
Wed
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Mar 3 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
Mar
9
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 9 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
13
Sat
10:00 am HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
Mar 13 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
The Humane Society of Warren County “Polar Plunge” delayed from February 20 due to “too-polar” weather here in northwestern Virginia has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 13 – Don’t worry, it will still be a[...]
Mar
16
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 16 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
23
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 23 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
28
Sun
2:00 pm Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 28 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Come join the staff of Warren County Parks and Recreation and get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny! Pictures will be taken and printed on site; upon departure you will be given an Easter[...]
Mar
30
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 30 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Apr
17
Sat
all-day Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Apr 17 all-day
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
This tried and true Epic 24-hour AR will test your biking, paddling, trekking, and navigation skills as you explore two state parks (one of them brand new!) and national forest lands. Join soloists and teams[...]