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August
1

Old Dominion Realty

As an independent real estate firm, our goal is to provide the best possible service to you and provide comprehensive assistance in achieving your real estate goals. This is true whether you're moving to a Virginia/West Virginia community from across town or across the world. One of the ways that we provide that level of service is through our affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), a worldwide network of top independent real estate brokerages.

Click Here to Read More...

August
16

Real Estate Agent Tips

A combination of low-interest rates, limited nationwide inventory, and pent-up demand has made this year's real estate market one of the hottest in history. In a competitive seller's market, buyers often lose some negotiating leverage and are forced to enter into bidding wars.  

However, if you're looking for a home in today's real estate market, all hope isn't lost. The key to finding the right home for the right price is a combination of patience, dedication, and working with an experienced real estate agent. 

Click Here to Read More...

August
1

Making the Family Pooch Feel Right at Home

Moving to a new home can be hard for anyone, but it is especially challenging when you are moving with pets. Pets can get excited easily and may be put in physical and mental danger during the course of the move. To help you and your animal friend move to a new home as smoothly as possible, follow these helpful tips:

 

Moving with the family pets 

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October
23

The government shutdown has impacted people in all states and industries. In the housing market, the shutdown has caused serious issues when it comes to processing loans, verifying buyer information, and conducting transactions for housing purchases. The state of Virginia has specifically been hit hard because of its large number of federal workers and members of the military.

The Shutdown's Impact On Housing

Government shutdown

Throughout the country, the government shutdown has caused some serious challenges for people that are looking to buy a new house. Loans that were going to be approved by the FHA or Federal Housing Administration are backed up because of the shutdown. Even private mortgage market companies that are not government entities were impacted by the shutdown because their pending loans could not be researched properly: the IRS was unavailable to verify the income of someone trying to purchase a house or get information about them by researching their social security number through the Social Security Administration.

Effects Felt By Virginia

Virginia in particular has seen drastic impacts on its economy and housing market because of the large impact the government has in the area. According to the Vienna, VA Patch, Virginia is one of the five states with the most federal workers per capita, the most federal contract money per capita, and the most veterans per capita. Without income from government contracts or benefits from the Veterans Administration, even those that are not directly employed by the federal government felt the sting of the shutdown. And while many government employees that were furloughed will get what they were owed during the time that the government was shut down, many contractors saw pending awards simply vanish because of the government shutdown. Without these valuable federal dollars it is difficult, if not impossible, for many in Virginia to purchase a home.

Although it is now over, the government shutdown had a ripple impact on markets in all areas of the country. In Virginia, the real estate market was hit because of the state's huge presence of federal workers and contractors. Buyers or sellers that are interested in navigating the post-shutdown housing market should get help from specialists like the ones at Old Dominion Realty.

August
27

Real estate title insurance helps to protect the most valuable piece of property most people ever own: their home. Just like with other types of insurance, the policyholder receives protection from potential financial loss.

Title Insurance photo courtesy of titlehub.com

What is a Title?

When an individual purchases a home, what they are purchasing is the title to the property. The title is what provides them with the right to occupy the property. If they do not own the title, they do not own the property. There are various hazards that can affect an individual's right to title and thus their investment.

Title Hazards

These include:

  • Forged deeds or mortgages.
  • Deeds signed by people who were not of legal age.
  • Deeds signed by mentally incompetent people.
  • Deeds procured fraudulently or under duress.
  • Deeds that contain the wrong wording or wrong names.
  • Pending legal actions against the property.
  • An heir to the property who was presumed dead.

If a homebuyer's right to title is challenged, they could spend a lot of money defending their ownership of the home; they also run the risk of losing the home itself.

How Title Insurance Provides Protection

Real estate title insurance will pay the attorneys' fees and court costs a homeowner will incur as they attempt to defend their ownership; it will also cover their losses should they lose the home. Lenders will make the purchase of title insurance a condition of the home loan, but that will only cover their interest in the property so homeowners should ensure that they have their own policy as well. Title insurance is essential because even with the most thorough examination of public records there still remains the potential for hidden risks. Additionally, there are some problems that cannot be uncovered in a search and which may only emerge after closing.

How is Title Insurance Purchased?

The homeowner will pay a premium once at closing. The policy they purchase will provide protection for the duration of their ownership of the property. Prior to insuring the property, the records will be examined by a professional examiner, verifying that the title is clean; after this step will the insurance company provide protection to the homeowner against challenges to title.

Real estate title insurance exists to provide peace of mind for the homeowner; with it, they can rest assured that their investment in their home is safe. If you have questions about title insurance contact an Old Dominion Realty expert today.

 

June
11

Mill View Estates Bridgewater's Newest Residential Community

In the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, in the town of Bridgewater, is a new residential community named Mill View Estates.  Mill View Estates is a neighborhood featuring single-family and duplex lots.


A three-phase development on a 40-acre tract of land north of Dry River Road, Mill View Estates consists of single family homes and upscale duplexes starting at $229,000.

Mill View Estates


The developers of Mill View Estates, JCM Development LLC, is a building and development company specializing in developing and building custom and speculation residential housing. JCM partners, JM Snell, Chad Branson and Michael Pugh, bring a wealth of experience to the Mill View Estates development.


Mill View Estates Construction


JCM Development LLC recently completed several homes and duplexes in Mill View Estates. The company was recognized by the Shenandoah Valley Builders Association Parade of Homes for their Mill View Estates duplex. The company's duplex design received awards for best interior, exterior and overall in the multi-family category.


JCM Development LLC homes in Mill View Estates feature single family homes with 2,566 square feet, four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a spacious and open floor plan, hardwood floors, two-car garage and a covered front porch. The duplexes featured one-level living space, attached garage, open floor plan, hardwood floors, tile, carpeting, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and paved driveways.


Mill View Estates Home


Mill View Estates streets are cared for by the town of Bridgewater and the town provides water, sewer and garbage collection services. Residents in Mill View Estates will not pay home owner association fees and will still enjoy parks and walking trails.


Old Dominion Realty serves the greater Harrisonburg, Virginia, area. For more information about lots in Mill View Estates, call Pam Estes at 540-820-1323 or Gail Mitchell at 540-810-2983 or Judy Linhoss at 540-820-1402.  For more information on duplexes and single family homes contact Chad Branson at 540-478-5798.

 

December
27

The strange sound you hear coming from the TV is not a problem with reception, but perception.  It's the media's opinion regarding the "impending doom" certain to hit the nation as the fiscal cliff deadline quickly approaches. 

Since none of us has a remote control that fast forwards our lives like Adam Sandler's character in Click, we can only guess on how the fiscal cliff will impact our lives—especially for those in the real estate market.

As Washington's lawmakers meet for negotiations, media reports abound about increased taxes, higher unemployment, decreased business spending, debt ceiling doubts, and expiring unemployment deadlines.  If you listen (and read) carefully, terms like "could," "possible" and "might" are sprinkled throughout the reports. The truth is none of us knows for sure what is going to happen. 

Many Old Dominion Realty customers have voiced concern regarding the fiscal cliff and future real estate transactions.  Let's take a look at the facts surrounding the fiscal cliff and its impact on the US housing industry.

Bipartisan cooperation is lacking during these Washington summits, allowing each side to create its own agenda for scaling different sides of the cliff instead of working together.  Regardless of how politicians deal with the fiscal cliff, real estate markets — now seeing a boost in activity — will be influenced.  The question is how?

Much will depend upon how the combination of government spending reductions and tax cut expirations are handled. If Washington takes a moderate approach (extending tax cuts and the mortgage interest deductions), financial experts feel the results on housing would be positive.

If elected officials opt for allowing tax cuts to expire, cutting government spending, and eliminating mortgage interest tax deductions, the outcome for the now-healing housing market would have an opposite effect.

In a recent article on Investors.com Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia.com, stated, "The best-case scenario is a deal that avoids sharp tax increases and spending cuts next year.  With that kind of deal, you would avoid stalling or reversing the economic recovery while at the same time creating a long-term path for getting the government budget more in balance."

There are three possible scenarios:

  1. No agreement is reached.  Tax cuts expire, taxes increase, and deep government spending cuts are applied. The overall real estate market would suffer negative consequences. From a homebuyer's standpoint, this would mean higher tax rates and less take home dollars.  Potential homebuyers would have less money to spend and have no choice but to purchase a lower priced property or even to postpone their home purchase entirely.

Some experts feel a combination of spending cuts and tax increases would catapult the country's economy back into a recession—never a positive sign for the real estate industry.

  1. Democratic Party's Answer to Fiscal Cliff.  Under this proposal, tax rates are increased on households earning more than $250,000.  This option leaves tax deductions and mortgage interest deductions unscathed for the most part except for the luxury real estate market.
  2. Republication Party's Answer to Fiscal Cliff – The Republication party's answer involves generating $800 billion in new revenues.  Bush tax cuts would be extended for one year with revenue being raised in other areas including ending tax breaks.  The elimination of which tax breaks have not been detailed, but experts feel the mortgage interest deduction would definitely be "on the chopping block".

The primary worry for most homeowners is how Washington will handle tax deductions for home mortgages.  On one side, Washington appears to be considering reducing it or eliminating it because it represents about a $100 billion loss in annual revenue for the government.  On the other side, the mortgage interest deduction supports the US housing market by making home ownership more affordable.  Its elimination would be like kryptonite to the real estate industry. Real estate groups continue to lobby to keep the deduction in place.

Even if Washington arrives at a mutually beneficial agreement on reducing spending and raising revenue by the end of 2012, the real estate market won't be off the hot seat until specific details are released.

The moral of the story is every news report will put a different spin on the fiscal cliff and its impact on the real estate market.  Unless you own a crystal ball, the only thing to do is to wait and see what 2013 brings.

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