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What’s a pre-purchase inspection?

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Investing in a pre-purchase inspection is an essential step when buying a property. Here’s what it involves.

Why you should invest in an inspection
A pre-purchase inspection aims to identify any problems with the property you’re looking to buy. This information can help you negotiate a better sale price or even consider withdrawing your offer to purchase. In short, it tells you the exact condition and value of the home you’re bidding on.

What does an inspector do?
The inspector will examine the home’s condition, both inside and out. This includes the electricity, plumbing, foundation, heating system, siding, roofing, and ventilation. It’s important to note that a pre-purchase inspection cannot detect hidden defects but may point to signs of them.

Once complete, the inspector will send you a written report with their observations. The report will detail the condition of the inspected areas and indicate those that weren’t checked and why. The report may also recommend work, like replacing the home’s windows or roof.

To ensure you’re getting the facts and making the best decision, hire an experienced, trustworthy inspector.

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Real Estate

The Baby Boomer Conundrum: To Sell or Not to Sell Your Home

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Weighing the Financial and Emotional Costs of Home Ownership in Retirement.

As baby boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—reach retirement age, they face a question that has both financial and emotional implications: Should they sell their homes or hold onto them? With house prices hitting all-time highs, an impressive 85% of boomers report they’re clinging to their homes. Yet, the rising interest rates lurking around the corner could bring down property values. This presents an unsettling dilemma for seniors: Should they cash out now or risk missing potential gains?

Traditional wisdom advises seniors to aim for fixed costs during retirement as they’re often dealing with a fixed income. Owning a home offers some level of predictability—mortgage payments might be stable, but maintenance costs can go up annually. Renting, on the other hand, can be a dicey gamble. While it relieves one from the woes of property taxes and appliance repair, rents have been on an upward trend, with no signs of slowing down. In 2021, the average US house price clocked in at about $360,000, according to Market Watch, offering a tempting escape route to those willing to relinquish their homes and gain some financial breathing room. The question boomers should ask themselves is, “Can I afford unpredictability?” and professional services for these tasks come at a premium. Renting eliminates these headaches, transferring the burden to the landlord.

Furthermore, renting can provide flexibility that owning cannot. Want to move closer to the grandkids or find a place with a gentler winter? A lease allows for more freedom than a mortgage. According to recent data, baby boomers made up 53% of sellers and 39% of buyers between July 2021 and June 2022. These numbers indicate that relocation and downsizing are already in full swing among this demographic.

One aspect that statistics can’t capture is the emotional attachment to a home filled with decades of memories. This often overlooked element can weigh heavily in the decision-making process. For many, the home is more than four walls; it’s a capsule of life’s milestones.

The dilemma of whether to sell or keep the home during retirement is complex and influenced by a myriad of factors, including financial stability, physical ability, and emotional ties. What’s important is that the decision is tailored to meet the individual’s or couple’s unique needs and circumstances. Whether you’re a baby boomer pondering this decision or a family member assisting in the process, it’s essential to weigh all options and potentially consult with financial and real estate advisors to make the most informed choice.

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Community Events

Community News & Real Estate (Aug/Sept 2023) with Jen Avery, REALTOR

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COMMUNITY NEWS:

Celebrate Kids Day – Warren Coalition

  • Sept 24 | 1pm – 4pm | Health & Human Service Complex (465 West 15th Street)
  • We are excited for Celebrate Kids Day again this year by the Warren Coalition. It will be held on September 24th. I will be participating in the PITCH BURST once again. My goal will be at least $500 to be given the privilege to sit under the exploding balloon! There is a recent UPDATE to the $500 goal. It is now $1,000!!! Crystal Cline has upped the competition and we need to bring in at least $1,000 to be top fundraiser! Let’s do this! DONATE TO JEN
  • Facebook Event Page

Boots & Bourbon – Rotary Club of Warren County

  • Sept 30 | 6pm – 10pm | Warren County Fairgrounds
  • Great cause this year. We will be fundraising for five $3,000 scholarships for Skyline High School seniors to go to college or trade school. Please pull on your favorite boots and come enjoy some bourbon with us! There will be line dancing, DJ, yummy food, mechanical bull riding competition and more!
  • Facebook Event Page

REAL ESTATE:

Warren County Market Report for August 2023 with Jen Avery, REALTOR

Watch this video for a quick summary of Warren County real estate for August 2023. Could the market be improving? Looks like it from these numbers. In general summary:

  1. New Listings are UP 1.4%
  2. New Pending DOWN  -20.3%
  3. Closed sales are EVEN 0%
  4. Average Median Sold  $386,500
  5. Average Days on Market 34

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

Resource: August 2023 Market Stats by ShowingTime
Bright MLS: Statistics calculated September 2023

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

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The Nitty-Gritty of Non-Qualified Mortgages: A Guide for the Self-Employed and Beyond

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Navigating the Maze of Mortgage Options for Unconventional Borrowers.

Mortgages are often a significant milestone, yet they can be a tricky navigational course for those who don’t fit into the traditional borrower mold. If you’re self-employed, your lender might have told you that a Non-Qualified Mortgage (Non-QM) is your best shot at financing a home. But what exactly does this mean, and how is it different from a Qualified Mortgage (QM)?

First things first: QMs are mortgage loans that adhere to stringent guidelines set forth by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). These are standardized, with limited fees, and are generally considered secure for both lenders and borrowers. However, they require comprehensive financial documentation—something not everyone can provide. Non-QMs, on the other hand, offer more flexibility, catering to borrowers with unconventional financial situations beyond the traditional W-2 form that most lenders seek.

The need for a Non-QM often arises from the very nature of being self-employed. These borrowers may not have W-2s, or their tax returns may not accurately reflect their actual income due to business-related deductions. Non-QMs enable such applicants to validate their income through bank statements and business records, thus providing a more accurate picture of their financial stability.

But the appeal of Non-QMs isn’t restricted to the self-employed. Commission-based salespeople, seasonal workers, and those seeking financing for investment properties can also benefit from this alternative, as it allows for income averaging over a specified period rather than relying solely on the most recent pay stubs.

Though they offer flexibility, Non-QMs are not without their drawbacks. These loans usually require higher down payments and carry higher interest rates compared to QMs. Moreover, borrowers seeking large loan amounts that exceed the conforming loan limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may also need to opt for Non-QMs.

Non-QMs open up the housing market for those who don’t fit into traditional lending categories, but they come with their own set of limitations and risks. For self-employed individuals and others with non-traditional income, they can be a lifesaver, but it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons carefully. Always consult with a financial advisor to determine if a Non-QM is the right fit for your financial landscape.

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Real Estate

Navigating Property Tours: A Guide to Effective House Hunting

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House hunting is an exciting journey filled with anticipation and a vision of the future. Central to this process is the property tour, a chance for potential buyers to walk through the home, assess its condition, determine its fit to their lifestyle, envision potential renovations, and potentially negotiate a better price.

To optimize these tours, a strategic approach is necessary. The first step begins at home, with diligent preparation. Reviewing the property’s online advertisement for critical information such as dimensions, asking price, and the year of construction can provide a starting point for your assessment. Take note of any missing elements or areas that require further clarification, and prepare a list of questions for the owner or the real estate agent.

However, understanding a property’s potential often extends beyond its current state. It’s important to keep an open mind during the tour, remembering that achieving your dream home may not always be a case of love at first sight. Some homes may require a few repairs or upgrades to realize their full potential, and it’s up to you to see that possibility.

An effective property tour is never rushed. Take the time to walk through the entire property, inspecting all areas, including the attic, shed, and garage. Investigate under the sinks, inside the electrical box, and inquire about any renovations carried out over the years. Note down your observations and impressions to aid your post-tour reflections.

Don’t forget to consider the property’s neighborhood and proximity to local amenities. Check whether public transportation, grocery stores, schools, and other facilities are within walking distance. Remember, when you buy a house, you’re also investing in a community.

Property buying can indeed be a complex process, and the tour forms a crucial step. To ensure a seamless experience, consider hiring a professional to guide you throughout the journey, helping you make an informed and confident decision.

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Understanding the Role of Land Surveyors in Real Estate Transactions

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When embarking on a journey to purchase land, understanding the property’s exact dimensions and boundaries is crucial. That’s where land surveyors come into play. They are highly trained professionals with a deep understanding of municipal bylaws and a keen eye for identifying property boundaries.

A land surveyor’s role often remains in the backdrop of real estate transactions, yet it is essential. These professionals measure plots of land to help buyers comprehend precisely where their property boundaries lie and what they include. This service ensures that buyers understand the exact plot they’re purchasing and safeguards their ownership rights should any disputes arise about property portions.

An integral part of the land surveying process involves a comprehensive examination of the property’s legal description and the history of the deed and title. Following this, the surveyor physically visits the property to measure each boundary and record all buildings or other structures present.

The culmination of these efforts is a detailed map showcasing the legal boundaries of the property. This includes a thorough description of the land and buildings, the street address, and the location of neighboring properties. It’s an indispensable document that gives the buyer a clear and accurate understanding of what they are investing in.

Though it is not always mandatory when purchasing a property, it is highly recommended to commission a land survey before finalizing the deal. Ideally, prospective land buyers should reach out to a land surveyor at least 20 days prior to signing the deed of sale. However, the earlier these experts are consulted, the better prepared you will be.

Land surveyors play a pivotal role in securing peace of mind for land buyers. Their work delineates clear property boundaries, helps avert potential disputes, and provides buyers with a precise understanding of their investment, making them an invaluable part of any real estate transaction.

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Low Inventory of Available Homes in Virginia Drops Even Further 

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According to the July 2023 Virginia Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, the number of active listings on the market is getting smaller again, and fewer new listings are coming on the market. Despite a brief uptick in inventory at the beginning of 2023, about 67% of counties and cities in Virginia had fewer active listings on the market at the end of July compared to a year ago, with Northern Virginia continuing to have the largest reduction in supply.

In total, there were 16,508 active listings across the commonwealth last month. This is 3,881 fewer listings than a year ago, a 19% drop. There were 10,948 new listings that came onto the market in July statewide, which is about 2,800 fewer new listings than last year, a 20.3% decrease.

“Inventory conditions are worsening in most local markets in Virginia,” says Virginia REALTORS® 2023 President Katrina M. Smith. “With mortgage rates at a 20-year high and a low supply of homes on the market to move into, some would-be sellers are choosing not to list their homes. However, it is a seller’s market, and most who do sell their homes are receiving multiple offers.”

In total, there were 8,985 homes sold in Virginia in July, a 20.8% decrease from last year, or 2,361 fewer sales. Despite the slowdown in sales, low inventory and strong buyer demand have kept upward pressure on home prices. The statewide median sales price rose $15,000 from July of last year to $400,000, an increase of nearly 4%. The median home price in Virginia is now more than $100,000 higher than it was at this time five years ago.

“So far in 2023, Virginia’s housing market has been slow but competitive,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Ryan Price. “Overall transaction volume is way down, back to 2015 levels, but the results of our latest REALTOR® Confidence Survey indicate that sellers are getting more than three offers, on average, for their listings, a signal of competition in the market. These competitive conditions are driving up home prices and will likely continue to be a factor into the fall market and beyond.”

The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®Click here to view the full July 2023 Virginia Home Sales Report.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

@AHIER

Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Mountain Creative Consulting

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Jamboree LLC

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

Front Royal/Warren County C-CAP

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Treatment Center

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jean’s Jewelers

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Arc of Warren County

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Vetbuilder.com

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal
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Humidity: 93%
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UV index: 0
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Upcoming Events

Sep
27
Wed
10:30 am College Day @ Corron Community Development Center
College Day @ Corron Community Development Center
Sep 27 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
College Day @ Corron Community Development Center
Join us for College Day at the Middletown Campus, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Sept. 27, in the Corron Community Development Center. Meet with reps from more than 40 public and private universities, including Bluefield[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Sep 27 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Sep
30
Sat
10:00 am Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth C... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth C... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sep 30 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth Connections Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. Join professional outdoor instructor Tim MacWelch to learn about the remarkable seasonal wild edible and medicinal plants of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This full-day hike will cover native and[...]
Oct
4
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Oct 4 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Oct
7
Sat
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 7 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Oct 7 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
New Bluegrass and traditional music jam the first Saturday of each month starting Feb. 4th, from 1pm till 4pm. All levels of playing invited to attend.
Oct
8
Sun
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 8 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
Oct
11
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Oct 11 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Oct
14
Sat
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 14 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
6:00 pm Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Oct 14 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA’s Jet Propulsion[...]