The project runs through June 9 2013 – if you’ve ever enjoyed a movie/concert/play/community event at the theatre, please consider donating to their campaign. This is a great resource to have in the heart of Blacksburg, let’s keep it going strong by donating to their campaign here.
You’re buying a home. Maybe it’s your first, maybe it’s your second, maybe it’s your tenth. Regardless, the process is almost always the same – but what, really, does the whole thing look like?
It’s different for everyone, of course, but one of the biggest hurdles in every transaction is getting the mortgage loan. Dan Green of TheMortgageReports.com put together this awesome infographic on the financing side of buying a home, including 5 Popular Sources To Find A Mortgage, Affordability, and Closing Costs. Check it out.
On Thursday of last week, The Roanoke Times posted an article regarding the development of the Old Blacksburg Middle School (OBMS) site, detailing some of the issues developers and Town and County officials are facing.
This isn’t a new issue – it’s been a hot button topic of dissension among, well, everyone, it seems, for as long as I can remember. The long and short of it, as I understand it, is this – the County owns a prime piece of real estate in the center of Blacksburg, and though Blacksburg doesn’t own the property, they do have the right to say what gets built on it.It was announced in 2011 that Modea was going to be involved in the redevelopment of the site, and serve as an anchor to what was going to be a mixed-use site including residential, retail and office, and community parks, but that has since changed, and other potential tenants – including Rackspace – have announced they’re going elsewhere because the two sides can’t get along (I’m paraphrasing).
No one – I think – can logically argue that something doesn’t need to be done with the site. It’s 20-acres in downtown Blacksburg, it’s owned by the County (who needs much needed income), and I’m sure Town officials want it developed in order to tap into the tax and retail revenue. The bigger story out of Thursday’s article might be the fact that emails from Council demonstrate very clearly the tension that exists between the Town and everyone else. Lots of finger pointing …
Here’s what I know. Publicly calling out the County – or anyone else – to try and move things along hasn’t proven effective to this point; we’ve been doing that for years, saying “this group needs to do this”, and “that group keeps us from doing that”, and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere. What did Einstein say about insanity? No one benefits by all of this finger pointing, he said/she said stuff, so why do we keep trying it? I appreciate efforts to make sure that the site is developed in a responsible manner, but are we really being responsible, or just difficult? Are we just talking about a turf war and hard feelings? Wow, that was four questions back to back to back to back – sorry.
The Town says the County shut down communication. The County says the Town needs to move ahead. Sheesh.
It’s easy for me to sit here, basking in the warmth of my laptop screen and my slippers, acting like I’ve got the answers. I don’t. The truth is, the only thing I truly know regarding the complexity of developing a site such as this is that it’s incredibly complex. And that it takes time. That said, what are the real issues here? Office/retail/residential/public parks and gathering spaces in the middle of downtown Blacksburg … that’s what we’re talking about, it seems like. Yes, I get that we don’t want another First & Main debacle, which was bungled from nearly the beginning and is finally starting to show SOME signs of life after years of sucking wind, thanks to the efforts of business owners and some Council members. But what do we have to argue about here? The TYPE of housing? Saying that we need more senior housing on the site, and single-family housing, says to me this is a smokescreen for “We don’t want any more students downtown.” Please. I don’t want single-family on the site, personally – it’s a waste of space, in my opinion, and I’m in the business of selling single-family homes! But if housing is on that site, it seems it’s far better suited for a higher density than single-family. That doesn’t have to mean low-quality student housing, but in nine years of selling real estate I’ve never once had a senior-citizen client say to me “I’d really like to move downtown.” I’m sure someone has said it, but I’ve never heard it. Let’s put housing – and retail, and office – that is truly representative of what’s needed and desired in the Town of Blacksburg.
I propose – somewhat tongue in cheek – that we invite the Blacksburg Town Council, the Montgomery County School Board, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, and anyone else associated with the project (including the development partners) to Hand-in-Hand Park to work this out. Maybe a change of scenery would be good … and soften their tones toward each other.
(And yes, I know this photo is of Caboose Park – I just liked it better)
Had a chance to catch a sneak peek at the new and improved NRVLiving.com yesterday, and I’m excited about what’s coming.
I started writing this blog in 2006 (wow, that long ago?), and have over the years added 1188 well-written and incredibly informative posts, forgotten about plugins and add-ons, and just in general made the thing far too bloated than it needs to be. The new version will be a slimmed down version, with some additions that will continue to make it the best place on the web to get information regarding New River Valley real estate.
By definition, appraising a home is the act of assigning monetary value to a property; determining its “fair market value”.
For today’s home buyers, a home appraisal helps to determine whether you’re over-paying for a home relative to similar for-sale homes, or getting a “good price”. For refinancing households — save for those using a no-appraisal-needed streamlined refinance — the appraisal helps to determine your mortgage eligibility.
Appraisals are performed by licensed home appraisers and there are several different methods by which an appraiser will assign value to a home. The Sales Comparison approach is the most common.
Via the Sales Comparison appraisal approach, a home appraiser will compare your home to similar homes in the immediate vicinity with similar physical attributes.
Examples of such traits includes number of bedrooms; number of bathrooms; age of home; quality of home finishes; and square footage. Location matters, too, such that similar homes in different school districts may have different appeal and may not be considered “comparable”.
Appraisers will then look at recent sales data of such similar homes, and will assign your property’s value based on available data, and with adjustments made for variances between homes. A home with a finished basement, for example, may be adjusted to a higher value; as might a home with recent renovations.
Homes sold in the most recent 90 days will receive the highest weight in the Sales Comparison approach. Homes sold over 6 months are often given no consideration whatsoever.
Ever thought about using the ground to heat and cool your home? It’s called geothermal heating and cooling, and it’s a fantastic way to use the earth’s energy to maintain the temperatures inside your home.
It used to be that technologies, like geothermal heating and cooling, were outliers, but now my clients seem to be looking at the energy efficiency of every home they’re considering. Almost any existing home can be converted over to geothermal, and new construction can incorporate it into the HVAC system, as well. I remember talking with an HVAC installer a couple of years ago, who told me that the cost to install a geothermal system was nearly the same as that of a traditional heat pump system, and the savings recouped made it a no-brainer.
Progress Street Builders talked about this technology in a recent newsletter, which I’ve quoted below. I’ve made a comment, in bold.
“The temperature of the ground is about 68 degrees (Things I’ve read put this between 55-degrees, and 68-degrees – if you can confirm what it actually is, please let me know). Conductive, non-toxic fluid is pumped through the pipe and is heated or cooled (depending on its temperature) by the constant temperature of the ground. When that fluid returns to the surface, it transfers its temperature to the air being blown into the home’s ductwork.
That’s exactly how conventional, air-sourced heat pumps work, except that those systems use the temperature of the ambient outdoor air, which is far less predictable and constant than underground temperatures.
In winter, for instance, if the thermostat is set at 72 degrees, the heating coils in the pump only need to boost the incoming ground-conditioned, 68-degree fluid by a few degrees to achieve the desired temperature. The outdoor air temperature that day, however, is likely much colder, which requires far more energy from the pump’s heating coils to warm it sufficiently.
Because this type of ground-source system requires far less supplemental heating or cooling measures to achieve desired indoor temperature and comfort levels, it uses less energy. In turn, there’s less wear and tear on the heat pump, allowing it to operate at optimum efficiency for a longer period of time and with less maintenance.
Cost and payback: Until 2016, the Federal Government is offering a 30% tax credit on geothermal systems with no upper limit. This covers both the cost and installation of the units. These credits apply to both new construction and existing homes. The cost to install a geothermal system and the savings vary. Hypothetically, if a Geothermal system costs twice as much as a conventional air-sourced system, and cuts the monthly energy use and cost in half, there will be a substantial return on investment within a few years.
People with geothermal systems also report better and healthier indoor comfort, especially in the height of summer or winter when a conventional heat pump has a hard time conditioning the outside air to the desired indoor temperature.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems may not be for everyone or every new-home condition, but they are a proven, energy-efficient option that delivers better performance and lessens environmental impact.”
Looking for a way to cut your energy-costs, either on a new or existing home? Check out geothermal … your wallet will thank you, and truthfully, the greater good may be in using resources more effectively.
Yes, we have Jobs in Blacksburg – just not this one
I’m late to this information – like, TWO MONTHS late – but that’s okay … the news as it relates to jobs in the Blacksburg/Christiansburg/Radford area is still good.
As announced December 21st on MSN Money, the Blacksburg/Christiansburg/Radford area of Virginia was the number two ranked city (Blacksburg and Christiansburg are both towns, but you get the idea) in the country for adding jobs in 2012.
Let that sink in – more jobs were created, by percentage increase, in only one place elsewhere in the country than the New River Valley, which saw a 7.17% increase in 2012.
Home modification grants, designed to make “aging in place” easier than every before, are now available in the New River Valley. I’m told that Roanoke just had the same grant, and did $900000 (that’s HUNDRED THOUSAND) worth of work last year.
Designed to be forgivable grants of up to $15000, they’ll help make homes in the NRV more accessible and/or energy-efficient. The only limiting qualification is an income requirement, which are listed below. There are other stipulations, found at this link, but everything is pretty typical for a program like this.
Essentially, eligible households can receive up to $12000, and veterans can receive up to $15000. While it’s technically considered a loan, the balance of the loan is entirely forgiven if the homeowner stays in the house for 5 years. Should you need to move before the end of the 5 years, then you pay back the grant amount left, assuming a payoff rate of 1/60th per month.
Here are some ideas of the work that can be done:
Home accessibility modification grants can be used for: an exterior ramp, sidewalk or driveway; handicapped bathrooms, including sink, toilet, shower, grab bars and vanities; kitchen cabinets and sink; carpentry to widen doors; and replacement of floor coverings.
Energy efficiency and weatherization grants can be used for: heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, exterior doors, insulation, water heaters, roof, windows, low-flow plumbing, floors, and walls.