Archive for September, 2011

Featured Property of the Week!

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

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2 Finch Place  Newport News, VA 23608

Welcome to your new home in the very desirable Windsor Great Park neighborhood. Enjoy the newly remodeled and updated kitchen and the wonderful outdoor space that has been created. Located close to the interstate, Ft. Eustice, shopping, local parks and restaurants. Call today for a showing!

Listed by: Dan Lawson

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Harry’s Monthly Real Estate Insight

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Is it a good time to refinance your home loan?

Rates are at an all time low and lenders are looking to make loans. There is a lot of money in the system. So, is it the right time to refinance? Depends on what you are trying to achieve. Yes rates are as low as 3.25 on a 30 year loan, 2.75 on a 15 year loan and FHA is at 3.375/30 yr and 2.75/15 year. I also saw an ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage) for 1.8%/5year term. But “rate” is only one piece of this puzzle. Yes you can lower your payments, but is that going to help you achieve your long term financial goals? Oh, you do not have any long term goals; best get some! Traditionally, refinancing was about getting cash out of the “equity” built up or increase in value. That is now history and a bad idea in this economy. If you need to lower your payments, then make sure you do the “math”. Closing costs are usually 3-4% and if you do not plan on staying in your home for another 5 years, it may work against you financially to refinance. The simple answer is: DO THE MATH! Get good advice and make sure it is beneficial to your financial future. Lowering your rate and lowering the number of years you will be paying for your mortgage can save you a lot of money. It is like a forced savings account. There are mortgage refinancing calculation assessment tools online. We have a very experienced loan officer in our office, Robin Stallings. She would be glad to help you through the numbers. If you want to learn more about it, call Robin or me to discuss it with you.

Fall Is The Time To Put Down Roots

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Plant a Tree

Consider planting a tree this fall. It’s an act of hope –  a long—term investment in beauty and the environment. In most regions, fall is the perfect time to plant because moisture levels and soil temperatures provide optimal conditions for roots to grow deeply and establish a healthy foundation before the first winter freeze. By the time leaves begin to sprout and the world begins to green up, the tree will have a jump start on spring!

Here’s How

  1. Select a tree that fits your yard as well as your needs. Consider its mature size, the shade it might cast on existing flowerbeds and any nearby power lines or paved areas its branches and roots may disturb. Before digging, be sure to contact your local utility company to mark gas lines, water pipes or underground cables.
  2. Dig a hole as deep as the tree’s root ball and twice as wide. Try excavating soil onto a tarp to protect your lawn throughout the planting process.
  3. Mix organic filler into heavy clay or sandy soil, replacing up to one-half the volume of the excavated soil. Slice roots by scoring the sides of the root ball with a shovel, which will encourage new roots to grow.
  4. Place your tree in the hole, replace some of the soil, and straighten the tree. Ensure that the trunk flare (where the first roots spread out from the base of the tree) is level with the soil line. Fill the hole, keeping the flare exposed. Add a ring of mounded soil 12 to 18 inches out from the trunk, creating a moat so water can soak into the roots.
  5. Mulch with shredded bark, pine straw or some other organic matter, beginning 3-5 inches away from the trunk. Water weekly during the first growing season.

Lowe’s Creative Ideas magazine

Featured Property of the Week!

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

new pics 0261505 Pine Grove Lane  Chesapeake, VA 23321

Riverbend in Western Branch for only $365,000! This immaculate home has hardwood floors, a large kitchen, two walk-in closets in the master bedroom, and huge master bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. The fenced-in backyard with deck is great for entertaining. Roof less then a year old.

Listed by: Lee Cross

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Recipe of the Month

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Makes: 12 servings
Hands on Time: 40 min
Total Time: 4 hr. 10 min

Cream Cheese Filling
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Apple Cake Batter
1 cup finely chopped pecans
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about 1 1/2 lb.)

Praline Frosting
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

  1. Prepare Filling: Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Add egg, flour, and vanilla; beat just until blended.
  2. Prepare Batter: Preheat oven to 350. Bake pecans in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Stir together 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs and next 3 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in apples and pecans.
  3. Spoon two-thirds of apple mixture into a greased and floured 14-cup Bundt pan. Spoon Cream Cheese Filling over apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around edges of pan. Swirl filing through apple mixture using a paring knife. Spoon remaining apple mixture over Cream Cheese Filling.
  4. Bake at 350 for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely (about 2 hours).
  5. Prepare Frosting: Bring 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 3 Tbsp. milk to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly. Pour immediately over cooled cake.

Southern Living-Sept 2011

How to Recognize and Control Moisture in Your Home

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Moisture can be one of the most destructive forces, causing damage that could lead to expensive repairs. When warm air from the tropics encounters a cold front, the results are often thunderstorms. When warm moist air from indoors makes its way into cooler walls and attic spaces, the result is condensation which leads to mold, rot and rust. And there is no time when this is more prevalent than early spring. While everyone talks about the weather and can do nothing about it, moisture in homes can be controlled. The way to deal with it is to determine if there is a problem, understand where it comes from and then learn to control it.

Where Moisture in Homes Originates

Typically, moisture in the form of excess humidity is produced in homes just by the act of living in them. Taking a shower, cooking a meal, even breathing all add moisture to indoor air. You don’t necessarily need a leaky roof or seepage from masonry surfaces to create excess humidity, although they will certainly contribute to the problem.

When moist inside air contacts cold exterior surfaces the moisture in the air condenses to form water. Once this water is released from the air it can do its damage. For example, if a bathroom fan exhausts warm moist into the attic (instead of outside as it should) the air will mix with the cold air in the attic. When this happens the moisture in the air will either condense on attic surfaces or worse, create its own mini weather system complete with a small rain shower in your attic. To a lesser degree this same effect can happen in exterior walls, around single pane windows, on the side of a refrigerator or anywhere inside air meets the cold outside air.

Symptoms of Moisture Problems

If you suspect moisture problems look for the following signs:
–mold, fungus or mildew on interior surfaces
–efflorescence (salt deposits) on both interior and exterior surfaces
–flaking paint and peeling wallpaper
–corrosion on metal surfaces including metal surfaces in basements and attics
–condensation on windows and walls
–<warped, cracked, or rotted wood
–chipped or cracked masonry surfaces
–ice dams in gutters and on roofs
–dank and musty smells

Controlling Moisture

The best way to control excess humidity is to stop it at its source.
–Fix all leaks, roofs, pipes and radiators.
–Control seepage through masonry by applying waterproofing treatments.
–Keep moist air away from cold surfaces by plugging holes in walls and sealing fixtures and outlets.
–Seal leaks in ventilation systems.
–Make sure that exhaust fans, such as those in bathrooms and kitchens, vent outside.
–Consider upgrading poorly insulated windows and doors.
–Adjust your heating system to take in at least 10 percent of its air from outside. This will improve indoor air quality.
–Turn on fans and open windows when showering or cooking.

Treating Moisture Damage

Finally, once excess humidity is under control, it is important to treat and repair all moisture damage promptly. Moldy areas should be scraped clean and washed with bleach. In most cases, damaged wood should be removed because rot will often continue even after the source of water has been removed. Don’t delay repairs. Spores from mold and other fungi can be released into the air and can lead to various respiratory illnesses. To determine whether you have solved your moisture problems, you may want to test with a moisture meter or have a professional tester check for you. Inserting the moisture meter probes into plaster, wood or other building materials lets you test in areas you cannot see. If the levels are too high, then you have a problem. If not, then you can rest easy.

Featured Property of the Week!

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

front 1517 Raven St   Suffolk, VA 23434

Well maintained 2-story on quite cul-de-sac. 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, living room with fireplace, large kitchen, and fenced backyard with deck

Listed by: Marion Grigg

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Featured Property of the Week!

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011


4060 Woodland Dr   Chesapeake, VA 23321

Enjoy the serenity of over 4 waterfront acres convenient to shopping but secluded in lush tree line. Fish and crab from your own backyard or troll through Baileys creek to access the Elizabeth River. Investors welcome. Land is sub-dividable. Property sold “as is” “where is”.

Listed by: Amanda Janney

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