Archive for February, 2012

Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

3873 Jackson Rd Front

3873 Jackson Rd   Suffolk, VA 23434

New Construction-Open Floor Plan-Buyers still have time to pick carpet color. Formal dining room & eat-in kitchen. Great room with gas fireplace. Large master bedroom with walk-in closet. Deck on back of home. View Virtual Tour at:

Listed by: Phyllis Evans

Kitchen Area Master Bathroom Back of Home View

Harry’s Monthly Real Estate Insight

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

The question that I am asked most often is: IS THE MARKET BETTER OR GETTING BETTER? The answer is yes and yes, and of course there is a BUT! What is better, is that prices are much more affordable and consequently we are seeing more demand. The market will continue to get better over time in direct relationship to the improvement in the economic environment. The economic news I read and hear is that it is anywhere from this year to 2014. We are fortunate to have the stability of the Navy and other government influences with jobs and salaries in our Hampton Roads area. BUT it is the other major employers and small businesses that need to get back on track to make the economy start to go. I do not see the real estate market turning around this year and 2014 is probably when it will happen, in my opinion.

The other question I get is: CAN THE GOVERNMENT HELP THE REAL ESTATE MARKET? They have not so far. None of their attempts have made more than a small dent in the problem and most have done nothing to help. Such as the $8000.00 rebate to first time home owners. It did help sell some homes. The idea was that if the first time home buyers purchased properties, then those sellers would move up. Never happened, the first timers purchased mostly repos or bank owned properties. Unfortunately, most of the people who purchased these homes are now in a situation where their homes are “underwater”. They owe more than their home is worth.

One possible help to “underwater” home owners is a program that will allow them to refinance on their ability to pay, income and credit score; not on the appraised value of their home. This will allow them to take advantage of the lower rates and will save them some money. That is the program that needs to be in place for homeowners and it could stop a number of foreclosures.

Featured Property of the Week!

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

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3012 Whaleyville Blvd   Suffolk, VA 23434

Approximately 2130 sq ft brick Ranch on 2.98 AC corner lot. Completely remodeled 3 BR, 2 BA. Kit has ceramic floor, SS appliances, & maple cabinets. Both baths have ceramic floors & all new fixtures. New HW floors in dining & office/study. Large family room has carpet & FP. Huge deck on rear of house.

Listed by: Tommy Salmon

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Selling Your Home? Does Your Bathrooms Say Eeew or Aaah

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Bathrooms need to look absolutely pristine clean and as if they are not used. This means there should be no evidence of yours or your family members’ habits. This means no (and I mean no) personal items on the sink, in the shower or immediately visible.  No toothbrushes, used wash cloths, used towels, bathrobes, or used soaps, shavers, hairbrushes, etc.  While your home is on the market give each person a small caddy in which they keep their own items and take with them back to their rooms after use storing them in a closet.  Used towels and washcloths can be thrown in the washer or dryer out of sight. Light fixtures should glisten.  Ceiling exhaust fans should be free of caked dust.

Also remove all bathroom scales, toilet brushes, plungers, and magazine racks.  Remember if the bathroom isn’t used why would those items be there?  Getting my drift?

Does your medicine cabinet give away your medical history?  Buyers will focus on what is in there and if they perceive illness in a house may turn away.  In addition, it is unfortunate but true, there are some unscrupulous people out there posing as interested buyers who break away from the realtor with the intention of lifting prescription drugs.  The best thing is to put them in dresser drawers where buyers have no business looking.

Another psychological turn off are those fuzzy things on the toilet seats and floors. For some buyers just the thought of stepping on them grosses them out and they won’t even go in the room.  Best thing is to just remove them.  An absolute but obvious no-no is hair anywhere in the bathroom.  Does the word gross come to mind?  If it does, then you have just lost your audience.

Now that you have basically strip your bathroom of all traces of you, what can be put back to help set a mood?  Brand new fluffy towels, candles, flowers or greenery, sparkly glass jars of stones or shells.  Anything that sets the tone of luxury.  Think of a bathroom in an upscale hotel that has a basket of sample items for your use.  You are trying to give that feeling.

If your bathroom has a whirlpool or garden tub, play up its value by creating a spa atmosphere.  The idea is to boost the perception of the strengths of the room and minimize its shortcomings.

Declutter Your Home = A Successful Sale

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Since the advent of home staging other new words have been added to the English dictionaries. Declutter is one of them. To quote the World English Dictionary “declutter-(verb) to simplify or get rid of mess, disorder, complications, etc. declutter your life.” Now that we are all clear on exactly what it means, let’s discuss how to actually do it.

In terms of real estate staging the object of decluttering is to remove the items that would enable buyers to focus on who you are, how you live, and your interests. These are not the things that are for sale. Since there are precious seconds before we lose buyers’ attention we need to keep them focused on the task at hand—appreciating the space and features of the home you are trying to sell.

Here are some tips:

  • If your house is going to be on the market and you are serious about leaving, start packing as if you are moving. It is ok to have boxes neatly stacked in a basement or garage. It shows buyers a commitment on your part to selling your house. They will feel you are ready and willing to strike a deal.
  • Truly assess what you will be able to take with you in your new home. Don’t put off “figuring it out” until you get there. If you are downsizing then you will need to begin giving things away to friends and family members. Let them be the new keepers of the family mementos.
  • Donate, donate, donate—There have to be things in your house that you rarely, if ever, use that someone could find very helpful. Plus you will benefit on your taxes from the deduction. It is a win for everyone.
  • The rule of thumb in staging is that cabinets (yes even kitchen cabinets) and closets should be no more than 2/3 full. Jammed storage areas give buyers the impression that this home isn’t large enough for your things and therefore won’t work for them either.
  • I know you already have heard about removing personal photos. But do you also know that collections however large or small need to be removed as well? These are all distractions. It feels good to have people admire our photos and collectibles, but that is not what we are selling.
  • Don’t neglect garages and basements. Very often can become dumping grounds for things we no longer use or know where to put. These areas are important selling features and need to look as neat and tidy as any room in the house. Organize.
  • Keep the wall adornments to a minimum. Less is more. The more wall space showing the larger the room looks. And when accessorizing anything such as walls, tables, shelves always use the 3-5-7 rule. Accessorize in odd numbers and if things are on a level surface, have something at each level—high, medium, and low.

By following these basic principles you will be well on your way to maximizing the look and feel of your house.

Remember this: Having clutter in your home is in essence like paying for storage without the unit. There will be a loss of perceived value on the part of the buyer which translates into lower or worse yet, no offers.

Recipe of the Month

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Caramelized Banana Pudding

Makes: 8 servings
Hands-On Time: 30 min.
Total Time: 1 hr. 15 min.


  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 48 vanilla wafers

For best flavor, choose firm, ripe bananas with brown speckles.

  1. Cook first 3 ingredients in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly. Add bananas; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat.
  2. Whisk together 3/4 cup granulated sugar, next 3 ingredients, and 4 egg yolks in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until a pudding-like thickness. (Mixture will just begin to bubble and will hold soft peaks when whisk is lifted.) Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
  3. Divide half of banana mixture, pudding, and wafers among 8 (1-cup) ramekins or ovenproof glass dishes. Layer with remaining banana mixture, pudding, and vanilla wafers.
  4. Beat 4 egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Add remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves (2 to 4 minutes). Spread meringue over ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 325° for 15 to 20 minutes or until meringue is golden. Let cool on a wire rack 30 minutes.

Southern Living Magazine-February 2012

Featured Property of the Week!

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

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2820 Manning Rd   Suffolk, VA 23434

Peaceful country living and less than 30 miles to Norfolk. Backyard oasis with a pool and hot tub. Open floor plan, a cook’s dream kitchen, & more in this immaculate home.

Listed by: Lee Cross

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Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

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5045 Godwin Blvd   Suffolk, VA 23434

Just outside the city on a large lot sits this immaculate 3 BR, 2 BA brick ranch with in-ground pool.  Eat-in kitchen with spacious counter, custom cabinets & appliances. Family Room with fireplace sunroom over looking the fenced-in pool area. Workshop, storage shed, 2 car carport & attached garage. Mature landscaping.

Listed by: Harry Cross

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