Archive for September, 2012

Mansion Sells, Was it a Good Price?

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

The Mansion on Bank Street sold at auction for $400,000.00 plus the 10% auction fee for a total of $440,000.00. I keep getting asked, “Was it a good deal?” Depends on which side of the sale you are on. I hear and read in the local paper that the buyer is planning on making it into a Bed and Breakfast with other offerings to the community. I also heard she purchased about $60,000.00 worth of the furniture at the auction.

I was at the auction to see the fun and I noticed only three people made bids, plus one of the owners threw in a bid. Not sure how that works in an “absolute auction”, but they would have the right to do so. Auctions work well if you have interested parties that bid against each other and run the price up in the frenzy.  Also, I noticed that no locals were willing to go the price to make it their dream home.  It really is one of the most magnificent homes I have ever been in and I have been in a lot of homes. In today’s market and with today’s building costs, it would probably take two million dollars to replicate the home, lot and furniture purchased.

So, was it a good buy? Well, we will see. You “marry” a home like this when you buy it, for better or worse. A big unknown is what will it really cost to get it to be that upscale Bed and Breakfast. In my opinion, the most important factor will be if the local community really gets behind this new owner and supports her efforts. We need to send her business, use the home for parties and support her in this adventure. I have never met her, but I am in, are you? Let me know.

Harry L. Cross, III

Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

new pics 004 1828 Woodland Rd   Suffolk, VA 23436

New kitchen, roof, HVAC, carpet, tile & paint make this home a must see. Vaulted ceilings in the huge den and oversized master suite. Home is located in a family friendly neighborhood and an easy drive to all of Hampton Roads. Call Today!

Listed by: Lee Cross

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Guide to Paint Sheens: Oooo, Shiny!

Monday, September 24th, 2012

You think choosing the right color for your paint job is hard? Try picking the right sheen. This guide will help you tell your semi-gloss from your satin finish.

This paint sheens guide can help you add the perfect finish to an infinite number of paint colors. The higher the sheen, the higher the shine. Flat paint has no shine; high-gloss is all shine. In between are eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss, each with its own practical and decorative job to do. Don’t know which sheen to pick for your situation? This paint sheens guide helps you decide which sheen will perform and look best on your walls.

In the painting world, very shiny translates to very durable. High sheen can take a lot of abuse and a lot of scrubbing. The lower the sheen, the silkier the effect; but, like silk, scrubbing will damage it.

High gloss: The most durable and easiest to clean of all paint sheens, high-gloss paint is hard, ultra-shiny, and light-reflecting. Think appliance-paint tough. High gloss is a good choice for area that sticky fingers touch—cabinets, trim, and doors. High-gloss, however, is too much shine for interior walls. And like a Spandex dress, high gloss shows every bump and roll, so don’t skimp on prep work.

  • Practical application: kitchens, door and window trim
  • Durability: very high

Semi-gloss: Good for rooms where moisture, drips, and grease stains challenge walls. Also great for trim work that takes a lot of abuse.

  • Practical application: kitchens, bathrooms, trim, chair rails
  • Durability: high

Satin: Has a yummy luster that, despite the name, often is described as velvety. It’s easy to clean, making it excellent for high-traffic areas. Its biggest flaw is it reveals application flaws, such as roller or brush strokes. Touch-ups later can be tricky.

  • Practical application: family rooms, foyers, hallways, kid’s bedrooms
  • Durability: high

Eggshell: Between satin and flat on the sheen (and durability) scale is eggshell, so named because it’s essentially a flat (no-shine) finish with little luster, like a chicken’s egg. Eggshell covers wall imperfections well and is a great finish for gathering spaces that don’t get a lot of bumps and scuffs.

  • Practical application: dining rooms, living rooms, libraries
  • Durability: medium

Flat or matte: A friend to walls that have something to hide, flat/matte soaks up, rather than reflects, light. It has the most pigment and will provide the most coverage, which translates to time and money savings. However, it’s tough to clean without taking paint off with the grime.

  • Practical application: adult’s bedrooms and other interior rooms that won’t be roughed up by kids
  • Durability: medium-low
More fun sheen facts
  • Dark, richer paint colors have more colorant, which boosts sheen. If you don’t want a super-shiny wall, step down at least one level on the sheen scale. Ditto if you’re painting a large, sun-washed or imperfect wall.
  • Adding sheen also adds price: Valspar Ultra Premium eggshell costs $32, satin $33, and semi-gloss $34. Logic

Five Key Areas to Pay Attention to When Buying a Home

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Looking for a new home can be exciting and frustrating. You can help alleviate the frustration by paying close attention to five key areas of the homes you’re considering buying; it may save you money in the long run.

Don Walker is an inspector and owner of Ace Home Inspections. He says there are five areas in homes that he frequently reports problems with. They are electrical, foundation, plumbing, the attic, and landscaping.

Walker says sometimes homeowners assume with newer homes that all will work just fine but that’s often not the case. “I [inspected] a brand new house — four years old but the electrical was all done incorrectly,” says Walker.

Having a complete home inspection will help to rule out any problems and point out any areas of concern. However, even as you’re browsing homes, buyers can start to make note of the key areas that Walker mentioned, such as the foundation.

Walker says a four-year-old home he inspected recently was already showing trouble signs which could result in a costly repair project. “It was a model home. What [the homeowners] did was plant trees for shade to make it look really nice, but they planted the wrong trees and they’re going to crack the foundation and it’s going to cut the property value down by $50,000,” says Walker.

Walker says in the case of that home, the trees were causing micro-fractures in the tile in various locations of the home. “As you walk through the house, 21 feet in and 30 feet deep, there’s just too much root invasion and it’s going to ruin their tile,” explains Walker.

He says some tell-tale signs with this home were the minor cracks in the foundation that were causing a lifting and separation of the foundation. Also, the windows were not opening and closing properly, “which means the foundation is moving.”

However, just because you see cracks doesn’t mean there is a foundation problem. “Most people don’t understand that there are natural cracks in a house. That’s why when we do an inspection report we have to look at it and say ‘Okay, this is a typical crack and this one is an untypical crack,'” says Walker. He says some cracks may lead to other problems while others won’t.

Walker says another big area of concern is the plumbing. It’s an area that you can’t always spot as easily but it can create expensive repairs if plumbing issues go either undetected or are not properly fixed. “Mold forms underneath sinks when people have a leak and they fix the pipe but they don’t take care of the mold,” says Walker.

He says things like caulking the sink can help prevent mold. “That’s my number one thing I always find — bad sinks,” says Walker.

He says that when you look at the sink, look behind it and most of the time you will discover a little crack. “What happens is, when you wash dishes or you wash your hands in the bathroom or the kitchen, the water gets in that crack and seeps down. Once the water gets behind the cabinet it’s in a perfect position to create mold,” says Walker. The dampness, humidity, and lack of light can turn that area beneath the sink into a mold-breeding ground.

“You can tell everything about the house by the attic,” says Walker. He says other areas of the home can be covered up if a repair had occurred. For instance, if there was a leak and it damaged a wall, with the right contractors and repairs it can be made to look like new and, hopefully, function like new. But Walker says the attic is sort of the eyes to the soul of the home. “In the attic you can tell where all the damage has been,” says Walker.

“If you’re in a 20-year-old house and you see that the insulation is brand new, you know that there was a water leak because it had to be replaced,” says Walker. He adds, “You can tell if the roof is good because you can look right at the wood.”

“There should not be moisture or plants next to your house,” says Walker. He says there should be a 12 inch barrier between the landscape and the house. Walker says otherwise you run the risk of having the foundation crack and affect the home. What happens is, as the landscape that is too close to the home is watered, the foundation and soil expand. Then, when no watering occurs, the foundation dries up and shrinks and this can cause it to crack.

Remember, knowledge is power, so learning about the home before you close the deal on it will keep you from making a mistake that may cost you extra out-of-pocket money later. Blog

Recipe of the Month

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake


  • 8 ounces uncooked rigatoni
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 3 cups cubed cooked chicken breasts
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8-oz.) container chive-and-onion cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Prepare rigatoni according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, spread oil on bottom of an 11- x 7-inch baking dish; add onion in a single layer.
  3. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or just until tender. Transfer onion to a large bowl, and set aside.
  4. Drain chopped spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels.
  5. Stir rigatoni, spinach, chicken, and next 4 ingredients into onion in bowl. Spoon mixture into baking dish, and sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake, covered, at 375° for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly.

Sausage ‘n’ Spinach Pasta Bake: Substitute 3 cups cooked, crumbled hot Italian sausage for 3 cups cubed cooked chicken breasts. Reduce salt to 1/4 tsp., and omit 1/2 tsp. pepper. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Southern Living Magazine

Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012


262 Kings Hwy  Suffolk, VA 23432

Completely updated Bungalow with stainless steel appliances, Corian countertops, recessed lighting, newer windows, Heat & AC. Updated bathrooms in charming Chuckatuck. Picture perfect with lots of charm: HW floors, paneled doors, porches. Pride of ownership really shows…Move In Ready!

Listed by: Margaret Richardson

Kit 2 Living 2 Dining 2 Back Porch

Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012


95 Greenfield Crescent   Suffolk, VA 23434

Move-in ready 2 bedroom, 2 bath Ranch with bonus room that can be converted into an office. Priced $30,000 below city assessment.

Listed by: Jennifer Pearce

10 9 6 3

Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Front 254 Jonathans Way   Suffolk, VA 23434

Immaculate home with granite countertops, new kitchen appliances (all convey), new cabinets, new AC, new roof, huge utility room, tankless water heater, loft, great floor plan in desired neighborhood convenient to 58 bypass.

See Virtual Tour at:

Listed by: Margaret Richardson

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