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Throw out the rule book! The best time to sell is now

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Everyone knows that the spring home sales market heats up in early March and that’s when all the buyers are out, right? That may not be true in 2021.

Here are five reasons why:

1. Schools.
With many schools still going back and forth between virtual and classroom learning, buyers have less allegiance to school as a reason to wait until spring for a move. In most schools, sports and activities have been cancelled or curtailed, further softening parental concern about changing school districts.

2. Work.
More people are getting clarity on whether they will return to work in offices or continue working from home. Telecommuting remains popular, and telecommuters want homes with space for offices. This makes a cohort of buyers that are ready when you are. Suburbs and rural areas are hot right now as urban dwellers flee cities for more security, more space and a lower cost of living.

3. Not many homes on the market.
For sellers, that means don’t put off listing to wait for the market in spring. The market may well be ready now. Supply is low in most locales, and your property will shine with less competition in listings.

4. Home values are up.
There is no better time to get a great price for your home. Lots of buyers in the market means high demand. Fewer homes on the market means low supply. That is a recipe for a high selling price!

5. Sweet buying environment, too.
Buyers are now in a great position. Mortgage interest rates are historically low. Lenders want to lend. Demand for housing is high. In addition, some buyers have delayed during 2020 to wait out economic and social uncertainty. But much of that uncertainty is now resolved.

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Popular window styles and where to use them

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Do you want to update the windows in your home? If so, here are some popular types and where they might look best.

• Double-hung windows feature two large sashes that slide up and down along vertical tracks. They perfectly complement rambler, farmhouse, bungalow, and other modern-traditional style homes. They have many customization options and look good in almost any room.

• Slider windows are available in a variety of styles, materials, and finishes. They open horizontally rather than vertically, which makes them ideal for spaces with horizontal features. For example, they look good over a counter or in a hallway. Since slider windows are easy to open and close, they’re also practical in hard-to-reach spaces.

• Casement windows open inward or outward with a mechanical crank. They’re well suited to contemporary homes and great in rooms where you want to let in a cool breeze.

• Bay and bow windows extend outward from the home and are traditionally composed of a picture window flanked by one or more pairs of double-hung or casement windows. Place them anywhere that overlooks a view or in a living room, family room, or bedroom that needs a focal point.

The best windows for your home will depend on your budget and style. In all cases, however, it’s best to make sure they’re energy-efficient (look for the Energy Star label) and installed by an experienced contractor.

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Touchless design features for a germ-free home

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Touchless technologies have long been featured in public spaces to limit the spread of germs. Now, these motion-activated innovations are making their way into homes. Here are a few you may want to adopt.

• Light switches. Illuminate your home by walking past conveniently placed sensors.

• Faucets and toilets. Touchless versions will help keep your bathrooms sanitary.

• Soap dispensers. Wash your hands without getting the dispenser dirty.

• Appliances. Dishwashers, refrigerators, and ovens are increasingly featuring technologies that allow you to open and close them without using a handle.

• Garbage bins. Open and close your trash can with motion-activated technology.

You can find touchless technologies at hardware and appliance stores in your area.

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Virginia’s 2020 home sales top 2019 sales by nearly 11%

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According to the December 2020 Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, Virginia’s housing market surged in the second half of 2020. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, there were 13,603 more home sales in 2020 than there were in 2019. This is an increase of 10.8%—the Commonwealth’s fastest growth in annual sales transactions in more than five years.

Sales activity in the final quarter of 2020 was significant compared to recent years. Home sales activity gained steam throughout the fall and into the winter months when transactions typically tend to slow. In December, there was a total of 12,525 home sales in Virginia, which is 32.4% higher than a year ago.

Demand for homeownership has been strong throughout the pandemic, fueled by historically low mortgage rates. Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, PhD, says, “The foremost challenge for Virginia’s housing market has been a lack of supply. Declining inventory has limited options for would-be homebuyers and has driven up home prices across the Commonwealth.”

In Virginia, the median sales price in 2020 was $319,902, which was up from $295,000 last year, an 8.4% increase. For the past few years, home prices have risen by between 2 and 4 percent, so the gain in 2020 is notable. The biggest price gains were in the last few months of the year. In December, the median sales price statewide was $325,000, up 10.2%.

Demand for homeownership will continue to be strong in Virginia in 2021, while a lack of inventory will constrain market activity. Virginia REALTORS® forecasts that home sales will increase in 2021, though the pace of home sales transactions will slow due to insufficient supply.

The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®. Click here to view the full December 2020 Home Sales Report. Current and past reports are available to members, media, and real estate-related industries through the organization’s website.

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4 tips for homeowners upgrading their garage door

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Replacing your garage door is a home renovation project with a high return on investment. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re making this upgrade.

1. Use manufacturer websites. Choose a door design you like by perusing your options online. Many manufacturers have software on their website that lets you upload a photo of your home and try on different garage door styles.

2. Invest in good insulation. The effectiveness of a garage door’s insulation is referred to by its R-value. The higher the number, the better the door prevents heat transfer. Garage doors insulated with polyurethane are the most efficient.

3. Opt for the best springs. Springs are what hold the weight of your garage door and allow it to effortlessly move up and down. Standard torsion springs are rated for about 10,000 cycles, but those rated for 20,000 cycles are only a bit more expensive and well worth the extra cost.

4. Buy an opener at the same time. If your opener is showing its age, or you want one with the latest features, this is the perfect time to replace it. You can save on installation costs by having your contractor put in the door and opener at the same time.

Finally, make sure you hire a professional to install your garage door as this job can be complex, time-consuming, and dangerous.

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How to become a homeowner in 2021

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Is your new year’s resolution to buy a new home? If so, here’s how to make good on this promise.

Establish a budget and start saving
Determine how much money you require to buy a home. Research house prices in the area where you want to live and educate yourself about mortgages and what’s required to apply for one. Your bank or a reputable mortgage lender can assist you.

Once you’ve calculated how much money you need, establish a budget that allows you to reach this goal. To make ends meet, you may need to trim unnecessary spending. However, you can grow your finances further by keeping your money in a high-yield savings account or investing it wisely.

Boost your credit score and get pre-approved
A good credit score is a key to buying a home. It gives you more mortgage options and will lower your monthly interest rate. Here are a few ways to improve your score:

• Pay all your bills on time and don’t surpass your credit limit.

• Don’t transfer the balance of an older credit account to a new one; the longer an account is open and in use, the better your score.

• Use different types of credit (such as a credit card, car loan, and line of credit), since using only one type can result in a lower score.

Once your credit score is in good shape, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage through your bank. This will equip you with a letter indicating how much you can borrow. Mortgage pre-approval is a great asset when house shopping, as it shows sellers that you’re a qualified buyer.

Once your financial affairs are in order, you’re ready to become a homeowner. To find a house that meets your needs, make sure to hire a realtor.

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Travertine flooring: is it right for your home?

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Travertine is a type of limestone that naturally forms in deposits near mineral springs. It comes in earthy neutral colors like beige, tan, off-white, and gray and has a fibrous, marble-like appearance.

As a flooring material, it’s sold in tiles by the square foot. While very durable, it does require ongoing maintenance and care. This is because travertine is a porous material, which makes it prone to staining and etching. It should be coated with a protective sealant upon installation and then again every three to five years. Travertine floors should also be regularly swept and mopped to prevent scratches and discoloration.

In terms of cost, travertine is a mid-range stone that tends to be more affordable than marble but more expensive than granite. It’s not the cheapest type of flooring for your home, but it isn’t the most lavish either.

Travertine has a timeless quality that complements both traditional and contemporary design styles. It typically comes in one of four finishes — polished, honed, tumbled, or brushed — and the type you choose will impact whether your floors look glossy and refined or rustic and weathered.

So, is travertine flooring right for your home?

If you have an ample budget and want a floor that gives your home a sense of reserved dignity and prestige, travertine may be the right pick.

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Jan
29
Fri
12:30 pm Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Edu... @ Online Event
Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Edu... @ Online Event
Jan 29 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education @ Online Event
Save a Life: Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education January 29th The Northwestern Prevention Collaborative and Northwestern Community Services Board will offer a free virtual REVIVE! Training on January 29th from 12:30 pm to[...]
Jan
30
Sat
2:00 pm Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Jan 30 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
We will paint these beautiful camellias on Saturday, January 30th at 2 pm at The Studio. This will be the first in a series of floral paintings we will do over the course of 2021.[...]
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Jan 30 @ 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[...]
6:00 pm Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Jan 30 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Known in medieval Celtic culture as a storyteller, verse maker, and composer, the word ‘Bard’ has become synonymous with the world’s greatest poets. However, few are as celebrated as Scotland’s own ‘National Bard’, Robert Burns,[...]
Feb
9
Tue
10:00 am Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 9 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
11
Thu
6:30 pm Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 11 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
13
Sat
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Feb 13 @ 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[...]
Feb
15
Mon
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Feb 15 @ 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[...]
Feb
16
Tue
10:00 am Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 16 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
17
Wed
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Feb 17 @ 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[...]