Archive for April, 2014

Harry’s Monthly Real Estate Insight

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

I have attached two charts from our MLS statistics that give you the history of what has happened and where we are today. Take a look at the charts and they will tell you how we got into the Real Estate bubble, how the market dropped, when it started to recover, how sales dropped in the early part of the year and have rebounded. Our current supply is higher than last year at this time and our days on market are up. The medium list price is up and the medium sales price was up 4.6% in the Suffolk area.

What does all this mean? The market is better, but still needs to have more demand to get it going with higher prices and shorter sales time. We are going in the right direction and Cross Realty experienced another good month in sales and rental management. Looking to finish the spring months strong.

Congrats to Lee Cross for winning a Gold Award in this tough market and for being in the top 4% of the sales people in our MLS area. Grandfather, Harry Lee, Jr. would have been very proud! Keeping the tradition of top professional service and community involvement strong for another generation!

Graph 1Graph 2

Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014



1538 Olde Mill Creek Dr.   Suffolk, VA 23434

Move today to enjoy your private backyard and stream! Home features an open floor plan with an eat-in kitchen. Great neighborhood for riding bikes and only a short drive away to all of Hampton Roads. Call today, priced to sell!

Listed by: Lee Cross


Recipe of the Month

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Shrimp-and-Black Bean Stir Fry

  • 1/2 medium-size red onion, sliced
  • 1 medium-size red bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined large, raw shrimp
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mango or pineapple
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki baste-and-glaze sauce
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • Hot cooked rice
  • Garnish: cilantro leaves
  1. Stir-fry onion and bell pepper in 1 Tbsp. hot oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from skillet.
  2. Add corn and 1 Tbsp. oil to skillet; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from skillet.
  3. Pat shrimp dry. Add shrimp, garlic, and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to skillet; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or just until shrimp begin to turn pink. Add mango and black beans; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add teriyaki sauce and pineapple juice, and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble. Stir in corn-and-onion mixture. Serve over hot cooked rice.


Note: We tested with Kikkoman Original Teriyaki Takumi Collection Sauce.



Southern Living-April 2014

Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014



2337 Kings Fork Rd  Suffolk, VA 23434

Waterfront country paradise with top of the line environmental friendly finishes including bamboo hardwood floors, multi-zone duel fuel heat systems, granite, tile, marble, & 16 seer AC. Water views from the kitchen, great room, first floor master retreat, plus other bedrooms.

Listed by: Lee Cross


Benefits and Drawbacks of Homeowners Associations

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Talk to 10 different people about homeowners associations (HOAs), and you’ll likely get 10 different opinions. Some people love living in a development with an HOA, while others find it too restrictive. Depending on your lifestyle and needs, it can be a great experience or one that feels too intrusive. Today about one in five Americans live in a house with home-owner or condo fees.

HOAs began in the mid-19th century but didn’t really gain in popularity until the early 1960s, as an outgrowth of the postwar housing boom and the growth of the middle class. Typically, an HOA is incorporated by the developer during the development and sales process, and gradually control and ownership are transferred to the home purchasers upon completion of the project. The original owner/developer quits membership in the association and has nothing more to do with it. Anyone purchasing a home in an existing housing development with an HOA must become a member. There is no other option. The overall purpose of the HOA is to represent the residents. Depending on how active these associations are, they can be quite effective in providing forums for common home-owner representation and needs.

HOAs Are Like Small Towns

A homeowners association governs the development like a small town. The HOA’s powers include imposing fines, organizing activities and providing certain services. It can also levy assessments and force home owners to pay them. Many HOAs have yearly dues, and a homeowners association can legally impose monetary fines to enforce its decisions. The groups usually appoint a board of directors, which may then elect an association president and other officers. Meetings are typically monthly but can be quarterly, depending on the size of the group.

If the HOA is larger, it will likely be broken down into committees. Committees are also appointed for various activities: maintenance, membership dues and neighborhood representation. An accounting committee or, in smaller HOAs, an individual is assigned to present the annual budget and monitor expenses and funds collected. During the foreclosure crisis, some HOA’s began to lose revenue as people living in homes facing foreclosure stopped paying their fees.

HOAs Can Promote Neighborhood Harmony and Uniformity

HOAs offer many benefits to the home owner. According to the bylaws of the association, it can collectively represent the group for whatever purposes assigned. For example, to maintain a certain degree of conformity, the association can stipulate which changes are permitted for the exterior of the buildings. Sometimes the HOA can determine acceptable noise levels. If there are common areas, such as gardens and pools, the members can appoint an internal management committee or elect to bring in an outside maintenance company. On snowy days, a snow-removal company may need to be called in, and this service will be paid for out of the association’s funds. For condos or groups with shared structures or parking lots, fees can go to upkeep.

HOAs Can Be Restrictive and a Financial Drain

If you want to change the color of your house or even add a new tree, you may run afoul of your local organization. Also, if your HOA decides to undertake a major capital improvement project and the governing group approves it, you may be left with no choice but to pay your share. If you fail to pay your dues or you go against the HOA rules, you could be assessed fees and late charges. If you disagree with some of the rules, it can be very hard to get them changed.

Overall, most people see an HOA as a positive. According to the Foundation for Community Association Research (FCAR), 70 percent of residents in common-interest communities say they are satisfied with their community-association experience. The FCAR’s research also found that 76 percent believe their own community-association rules “protect and enhance” property values.

Should You Buy a Home That Has Been a Rental?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Most homes on the market are owner-occupied, but that’s not always the case. In recent years, many home owners ended up renting out their homes when they could not sell but needed to move elsewhere. Now that the market is shifting, many of those accidental landlords are looking to sell. At first glance, buying a home that’s been rented out by the current owner may not appear different from buying any other home, but there are some potential issues to keep in mind.

1) Check the overall condition.
Some rental homes are in terrific shape: The renters have kept up with maintenance and have even made improvements such as fresh paint. In other cases, the rental hasn’t received much love. Because the home isn’t truly their own, some renters can be rough on a rental. Also, renters may not notice or report some of the maintenance issues that an owner would readily pick up on and address. A rented home may have additional wear and tear, especially if it has been used as a rental for many years and through multiple tenancies. Ask your insurance agent to check the history of past insurance claims on the property

2) How’s the neighborhood?
Factor in the neighborhood: Are the surrounding homes mostly rentals? Is the neighborhood mostly single-family homes or a mix of multi-rental units along with other homes? Owner-occupied neighborhoods can be better protected against possible market-value fluctuations. Also look at the appearance of other homes on the street. Do they have well-tended yards? How does the condition of the home you are looking at compare? If the home you are interested in compares poorly with others in the area, that may help you strike a better deal.

3) Is it occupied?
If there are tenants, tour while they aren’t home. While a tenant can be a source of information about a home, they may not want to move and may try to prevent the sale by complaining about the property. Look for signs of obvious damage, holes in the walls, stained or ripped carpeting, damaged flooring, leaky faucets, and mold. Be sure to check  out all rooms and the basement, garage, or attic. You can tell a lot about how the home has been maintained by looking at how the tenants are living in the property

4) Is it unoccupied?
If a home has been unoccupied for a while, find out for how long. Sometimes — although less common lately — these homes are listed at a reduced price. Unoccupied homes may have lacked attention and may need repairs or basic maintenance. If the home was unoccupied and the utilities have been turned off, that may prevent a prospective purchaser from doing a thorough home inspection. Depending on the area, sometimes utilities can be turned on temporarily, but it often requires putting the utilities in the prospective buyer’s name. Vacant homes can also have broken pipes, leaky roofs, mold or damage from pests, so a thorough inspection is vital.

Check the HVAC and get a home warranty. Being a rental sometimes the air conditioning filter was probably not changed, and that is the worst thing for the system. Your home inspection will alert you to any repairs the home may need before you move in, and it can give you bargaining power if there are potential issues.

Featured Property of the Week

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014



1424 Lake Meade Dr.   Suffolk, VA 23434

A Rare Find! Private & Peaceful Lake Meade Waterfront on 1.2 acres w/great fishing! All brick ranch w/open floor plan: family room w/FP & bar, eat-in kitchen w/adjacent sunroom, incredible pantry & laundry, 2 huge master closets, formal dining, spacious BR & French doors to office.

Enjoy your tour!

Listed by: Margaret Richardson



Featured Property of the Week

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014



8079 Pond Dr.  Zuni, VA 23898

Gorgeous Atrium-ranch on 5.56 acres with barn and easement to community stocked pond. Open floor plan w/ hickory floors, stone gas fireplace, bar, cathedral ceiling, wood stove, recessed lighting, screened porch & expansive deck, patio . With attached 2-car garage & whole house generator hookup.

Listed by: Margaret Richardson

KitchenDiningGreat RoomScreened Porch

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