Archive for October, 2011

Featured Property of the Week!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011


9190 Southwestern Blvd   Suffolk, VA 23437

Nice spacious 4 bedroom home on 20 acres close to Rt.58 that qualifies for family subdivisions…provide parents or children with land, if desired. Property is listed at $20,000 less than appraised value on appraisal dated 10/6/2011.

Listed by: June Little

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Featured Property of the Week!

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

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808 McKinley Ave  Suffolk, VA 23434

Waterfront, remodeled kitchen with granite, refinished hardwood floors, new roof, new heat pump, and new custom paint job make this house a great buy. Move today and enjoy the water views from your back deck.

Listed by: Lee Cross

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Do’s and Don’ts for Finding Your Dream Home

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

The quest for your dream home can be very exciting, but it is also easy to get overwhelmed by options. There is a tendency at times to lose sight of the bigger picture and get caught up in small details. Home buyers should keep in mind some simple guidelines on what to look at and what to look beyond when visiting homes:

Many first (and even second, third or fourth) time home buyers pass over homes with tremendous potential because they can’t see past ugly paint, flooring or countertops. So, here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” for homebuyers as you hit the streets looking for your dream home.


  • Don’t worry about color. It can be changed. It will be changed. Assume you will have to paint when moving into a home, and if somehow the previous owners picked your absolute favorite  colors, then you’ve won the new homeownership lottery.
  • Don’t try to be a structural expert. Yes, the structural integrity is something that will end up being incredibly critical to a home purchase, but this is why we rely on inspectors. As a buyer, don’t over-analyze every crack and imperfection in the dry wall. Sometimes, a home with seemingly no structural flaws can require thousands of dollars worth of foundation work, and a home with some small cracks here and there can be perfectly sound.
  • Don’t be afraid. If you’ve never done any sort of home repairs or renovation, it can be intimidating. The good news is a licensed contractor can do just about anything. Ok, maybe not anything, but pretty dang close. And if you don’t have room in the budget and have to DIY, many projects are actually easier than they seem. Just keep in mind when searching for a home which of these categories you fall in to. If you’ve never picked up a hammer and can’t afford a contractor, you may not want to plan on knocking out walls in a new home yourself.


  • Do look for general layout. If you like to cook, then it may be incredibly important to you to have a kitchen that opens directly to the main living area. Many people are not even really aware of the things they are looking for in the floor plan of a house; for many of us it is difficult to envision. So think about your lifestyle and try to picture yourself doing daily activities in your ideal home. Talk about it with your agent, they should be able to hash it out with you and figure out the most important aspects of general layout of a home that fits your particular situation.
  • Do be picky about location. If you know you want to live in a particular neighborhood or area, be patient and only look at homes in that area. Location is something you will not be able to change.
  • Do make estimates about how much time and money will be spent making cosmetic repairs. While you don’t want to immediately rule out a house because it needs a fresh coat of paint or new carpet, those types of upgrades can quickly add up. If the home is just barely in your price range, and you can’t afford all the repairs it needs right off the bat, then that home may not be the best fit for you.

Harry’s Monthly Real Estate Insight

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

October is one of my favorite months. The leaves turn and the heat is gone. Not much heat in the real estate business. Rates are still great (FHA 4.125/30 yr, Conventional. 3.625/15 yr). The REIN MLS system puts out some great graphs that show what has happened in the market. Below is a graph that shows you the real estate “bubble”, when it happened and what happened. Essentially the local market went from average growth from 1997 to 2001, and then ballooned with an average price going from $122,000.00 in 2001 to $238,000 in 2007. As the market “bubble” burst with the financial crisis and economic downward spiral, the median price came down to $195,000. If you look at Supply of Listings and Demand for those Listings, you get the same picture and same effect. Looks like we may not be completely through with a downward trend. It is all about the economy and jobs. I doubt this Congress can get its act together to help stabilize the economy. If a seller understands where to price their home, it will sell. We know where that is, call us.


Are You Ready To Own A Home?

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

There comes a time in many young adults’ lives when they begin to think about owning a home. Home ownership is, after all, the American Dream, but it’s not the right choice for everyone at a prescribed time.

Employment History, Ample Savings and Good Credit

Mortgage lenders expect to see stability in your employment history, so they’ll look more favorably on buyers who have been employed in the same field for at least two years. Lenders also want buyers to have two-three months of mortgage payments saved in reserve. Consider this a small emergency fund, but lenders want to know that you haven’t taken absolutely everything you have and put it into the home purchase. You’ll need to make sure your credit history is as clean as possible, as you will most likely need to get a mortgage to enable you to buy a piece of property. You’ll need to review your current credit score, and the higher your score the better chance you’ll have to be approved for the mortgage loan. If there’s anything on your credit report that’s not entirely favorable, try to resolve it if possible.

Roots Not Wings

For those just starting out in life, buying a home may be premature until you’re settled on life decisions including career choices, the city you’d like to reside in and whether you’d like to marry and start a family. If those choices are settled, home ownership might be a good option for you, as you can start to build up equity instead of just paying rent. Owning a home requires hard work. There’s a lawn to mow, windows to wash and other repairs from time to time. Are you going to have the financial resources, time and desire to put in the effort ownership requires? Also, if you don’t plan to remain in one place for at least a few years, home ownership may not be the right choice for you right now. With the costs of buying and selling a home, if you’re forced to sell sooner than a few years’ time, you may end up losing substantial money.

Review Your Financial Condition

The rule of thumb is that you can buy housing that runs about two and a half times your annual salary. But beyond that, you’ll want to understand if you undertake this major purchase if you’ll be able to afford anything else outside your home. Lenders use a debt-to-income ratio, which is the percentage of your monthly income that goes to existing debts, to see if you’ll be able to handle your current monthly debt obligations, your new mortgage and home ownership costs, and still have some cash left over every month. If you’re trying to buy a condo, you’ll also need to factor in the possibility of special assessments into your budgetary considerations. To determine how much house you can afford to buy, another common rule of thumb is the 28/36 rule. Your monthly housing payments, including your mortgage, insurance and property taxes, should not exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income. Your total debt should not exceed 26 percent of your gross monthly income. Also, you’ll need to ask yourself the following questions to determine if you can financially swing home ownership:

  • Do I have a reliable source of income?
  • Do I handle my finances responsibly?
  • Do I have a written budget?
  • Do I have money for closing costs, a down payment and moving costs?
  • Do I understand the additional costs associated with home ownership, such as insurance, maintenance and larger utility bills?

If you understand both the financial and emotional ramifications of home ownership, and think your current lifestyle and future goals fits into those parameters, then happy home hunting!

Recipe of the Month

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Light-German-chocolate-cake-XLLight German Chocolate Cake

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Makes: 18 servings

Cooking spray
1 (4-ounce) package Baker’s  German’s Sweet Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large egg whites
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 (12-ounce) can fat-free evaporated milk, well shaken
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350. Coat two 9×1 1/2-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper and spray the parchment.
  2. For cake: Place chocolate in a medium bowl, add boiling water, and whisk until smooth. Add yogurt, oil, vinegar, and vanilla to chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add egg whites, whisk until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the next 5 dry ingredients (through salt). Pour chocolate mixture into flour mixture and whisk just until combined. Divide batter between the prepared pans. Tap pans lightly on a work surface to pop any air bubbles.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers of the cakes comes out clean (leave oven on). Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Turn the cakes out of the pans, remove the parchment, and cool completely.
  5. For topping: Spread the pecans and coconut on a large baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring once, until lightly browned (10-12 minutes); set aside. Whisk together evaporated milk and cornstarch in a small, heavy saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and foamy (it will happen almost all at once), about 4 minutes. Whisk in sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt; cook for 3 1/2 minutes, until thickened. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Stir in coconut and pecans before frosting.
  6. Place 1 cake layer on a platter and spread half the frosting over top of cake. Add the remaining cake layer and spread with the remaining frosting over top. Slice and serve.

Health Magazine-October 2011

Featured Property of the Week!

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011


5932 Everets Rd   Suffolk, VA 23434

Gorgeous family estate. Brick Cape Cod over looking the lake with all the charm of an older home; crown molding, 9 foot ceilings, hardwood floors, formal rooms and a casual den as well. First floor BR & BA, 2 fireplaces, screen porch, 2 car garage, & 900 sq ft of porches, breezeways & ROG/Attic.

Listed by: Barbara Kayes

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Featured Property of the Week!

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

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237 Pinner St   Suffolk, VA 23434

Elegant Victorian home, in wonderful condition. Kitchen completely remodeled. Amazing hardwood floors and high ceilings make this house a must-see home to truly appreciate.

Listed by: Lee Cross

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