Tag Archives: 24073

From The Roanoke Times – “Exchanging Information over the Internet”

I’m a few weeks behind on this, but wanted to be sure it got out there. Sarah Cox of The Roanoke Times and I talked recently about the new real estate search on NRVLiving.com, as well as why being able to search for all New River Valley real estate is important. While I certainly want people to find me online, one point that’s missed is that information should be made as readily available as possible, and not hidden behind this veil of secrecy that real estate seems to crave. Real estate searches on NRVLiving.com bear that out … the site’s been inundated with recent searches.

IDX isn’t a new concept – it’s just that for a long time it’s been an overlooked concept.  It shouldn’t be an option for brokers to decide whether they want to share their listings with other brokers, in my opinion … the consumer should demand it.

Anywho, here’s the reprint – links to sites were included by me: But wait, there’s more

“Best in the New River Valley” series – Part 4

Welcome to a new week, and another in the “Best in the New River Valley” series!  In part 1, we introduced Coldwell Banker Townside, the real estate company you voted #1 in the New River Valley.  In part 2, we introduced yours truly and my snake charming skills.  Part 3 included an interview with Mike Eggleston, the agent voted #1 in the New River Valley, and in today’s video, we asked others what they thought about Mike and myself – you might be surprised at their answers.

So why exactly are we doing this?  Because last year, you voted Coldwell Banker Townside the #1 real estate agency in the New River Valley, and you voted Mike and myself the #1 and #2 real estate agents, respectively (although I’m still disputing the results), in the New River Valley.  We’re proud of that fact, and excited to share with you all the reasons we think Coldwell Banker Townside is special!

Don’t forget to vote!  Voting is now open at The Roanoke Times‘ website, or by clicking through on this link, and the deadline to cast your vote is February 14th.

Disclaimer #1 – your participation entitles you to nothing but our undying admiration. And – we hope – perhaps a chuckle or three.

Disclaimer #2 – thank you for thinking so much of us.  Seriously.  We’ve had a lot of fun with these videos, and we hope that you enjoy them, but in all honesty none of this would be happening if you didn’t think well of us and vote.

Disclaimer #3 – see Disclaimers 1 and 2.  Rinse and repeat.

“Best in the New River Valley” series – Part 3

The Best in the New River Valley series continues today!  We had fun with Part 1 and Part 2, and this time we introduce Mike Eggleston, the New River Valley’s #1 real estate agent in 2009 as voted by Roanoke Times readers.

Don’t forget to vote!  Voting is now open at The Roanoke Times‘ website, or by clicking through on this link, and the deadline to cast your vote is February 14th.

Disclaimer #1 – your participation entitles you to nothing but our undying admiration. And – we hope – perhaps a chuckle or three.

Disclaimer #2 – thank you for thinking so much of us.  Seriously.  We’ve had a lot of fun with these videos, and we hope that you enjoy them, but in all honesty none of this would be happening if you didn’t think well of us and vote.

Disclaimer #3 – see Disclaimers 1 and 2.  Rinse and repeat.

“Best in the New River Valley” series – Part 2

In Part 1 of the “Best in the New River Valley” series, we were introduced to Bill Gearhart and Anne Lee Stevens, managing brokers for Coldwell Banker Townside. They went on … and on … and on about all the things they thought went into making Coldwell Banker Townside the #1 real estate agency in the New River Valley, but truth be told they had a lot of good reasons.

But that’s not why you read this blog, right?  You want to hear from me!  <crickets chirping> Okay, my megalomaniac moment is over.  Following is Part 2 of the series, an interview with yours truly … warning, there are tears … and foam fingers.

Don’t forget to vote!  Voting is now open at The Roanoke Times‘ website, or byclicking through on this link, and the deadline to cast your vote is February 14th.

Disclaimer #1 – your participation entitles you to nothing but my undying admiration. And – we hope – perhaps a chuckle or three.

Disclaimer #2 – thank you for thinking so much of us.  Seriously.  We’ve had a lot of fun with these videos, and we hope that you enjoy them, but in all honesty none of this would be happening if you didn’t think well of us and vote.

Disclaimer #3 – see Disclaimers 1 and 2.  Rinse and repeat.

Do You Know Your Home’s WalkScore?

Yesterday I went for a run – a very slow run – and I was surprised by something.

Because of my job and the distances between towns here in the New River Valley, I obviously travel by car quite a bit – more than I’d like to, really.  And since I have a tendency to be rushing, I’ll take the fastest route possible and don’t always get to see the side streets and alleys that connect neighborhoods together.

So yesterday while I was out huffing and puffing, I noticed something – there are a lot of people in Blacksburg that commute to and from work.  And that’s cool.  In a short period of time I noticed at least a dozen people, all in work clothes, walking or riding their bike home from work.  I never knew so many people in the area did that; it was really cool to see.

While I love the New River Valley, sometimes getting around by foot or bike can be a bit difficult, so it was nice to see people doing it anyway.  And if you’re interested in just how easy it is to walk around your neighborhood, try out WalkScore.com.  It’s a site that quantifies just how easy – or difficult – it is to get to points of interest in your area; just plug in the address and you’re off.

Try it out – see you on the trail?

Stay Current On New River Valley Home Values

There’s a service I’ve been providing to many folks throughout the New River Valley, and as the latest information went out I thought it might be worth mentioning again.

A lot of people ask me “when’s that house down the street going to sell?”, or “how much did that two-story on Main Street sell for?”  While I’m glad to tell you, there’s a way you can find out even faster.  If you’ll email me your name, email address and the neighborhood you live in, I’ll set up a search in the MLS that’ll email you every time a property in your neighborhood comes on and off the market.  You’ll be the first to know when it this the market, the first to know if the price changes … be the envy of all your friends!  Don’t worry – by providing your email address I won’t be spamming you, or sending you cutesy recipe cards in the hope that you’ll remember my name.  If it helps, I won’t even save your address.

I’ve just found that if you’re interested in following the values in your area, this is a good, real-time way to do that.  I’ve set it up for myself to track my own neighborhood, and those of some of my former clients, and can do the same for you.  Just email me and I’ll set it up; I hope you find it useful.

A Simple Way To Save For a Home in 2010

Thinking about buying a home in the New River Valley this year, but having trouble saving specifically for a house purchase?

I’m a terrible money manager, honestly, so I deal with this issue every time I want to save for something.  Recently, the Roanoke Times ran an article about what’s called the Envelope System, and while the article deals more with expenditures such as groceries, entertainment and personal expenditures, it just as easily could apply to buying a home this year.

Here’s how it can help you buy a home in 2010:

Each month, take a predetermined amount of money and stick it in an envelope marked “House Fund”.  In this case, it would be good to have a bank account rather than an envelope, but you get the idea.  Remember – you can’t touch this money, it’s earmarked solely for buying a home.

Imagine that you’re bringing home $3000 a month, and 15% ($450) of that is going into your House Fund “envelope”.  After ten months you’ll have $4500, plus any interest you might have earned.  $4500 is a big chunk of money, and could be used to help with your downpayment, pay closing costs, or make repairs once you move in.

And since you’re automatically putting this money away every month, you don’t see it and, therefore, you don’t spend it.

As I said, I’m no money manager, but I’m eternally grateful that my wife is.  She’s gifted when it comes to money and finances, and she’s worked hard over the years to keep us positive – despite, sometimes, my best efforts at screwing that up.  We’ve been using the envelope method for a couple of years and it’s really helped keep us on track.  If it can help with a family budget it can certainly help save for a new home … think it might work for you?

Where To Dispose of Christmas Trees in Blacksburg & Christiansburg

Holidays are as much about family traditions as anything else, I think.  When the activities are over, and the family has dispersed, all that’s left is to break it all down and get ready for next year.  So what do you do with that Christmas tree if you live in Blacksburg or Christiansburg?

Town of Blacksburg:

  • Town residents can begin placing their Christmas trees at the curb beginning January 1.  The trees will be picked up the first two weeks of January, giving all of us procrastinators plenty of time to finish the job.
  • You can also donate you tree – balled and wrapped in burlap – to Blacksburg Parks and Recreation to be planted in town parks.  Crews will pick up the tree and replant it.

Town of Christiansburg:

  • Trees can be placed on the street for curbside pickup during the week of January 4th through the 11th.  There are no drop-off points in Town that can take trees, curbside pickup only.

Montgomery County:

View Montgomery County collection sites in a larger map

Additionally, if you’d like your natural tree to be used as reef structure for game fish in Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin, you can drop your tree off Claytor Lake State Park, Dublin VA and park officials will handle it for you.  Roughly 300 more trees are needed by January 27th.

We also recommend to check the south jersey tree removal service for more information.

It’d be really nice if there’s a local company that could help facilitate that (note to self)?

New River Valley Home Safety Tips from Eric Johnsen of State Farm

Earlier in December, Mother Nature dumped nearly two feet of snow across areas of the New River Valley, stranding residents and wreaking havoc.  Truth be told, we just don’t get snow storms like that around here, so when we do it causes headaches … in bunches.  I decided to ask Eric Johnsen, State Farm agent in Christiansburg, his thoughts on how homeowners should approach winter weather in the New River Valley …

Q: So with all of the winter weather we’ve been having, and scheduled to get, what precautions or things should homeowners be doing to prevent damage to their homes?

A:  Have you ever had the misfortune of cleaning up a smelly, wet and very cold mess on a freezing winter day? I hope you haven’t and never do. Thousands of people, however, suffer through this nightmare every year because unprotected water pipes in their homes freeze and break.

A more subtle destructive winter wonder is the phenomenon known as ice damming. Snow on your roof can lead to ice dams that damage the roof, gutters, walls, interior ceiling and even items inside the home.

There are ways you can prevent frozen pipes and ice dams, simple solutions to avoiding the hassles and costs of cleaning and repairing your home.

The value of two minutes

Two minutes. That’s about as long as it takes to begin a small trickle of water from your home’s hot and cold faucets and to open the doors of cabinets with water pipes running through them.

Two weeks. That could be the length of time needed to find and hire contractors to tear out smelly, water-soaked carpet and wallboard, dry the remaining flooring of your house and replace all that might have been destroyed by flooding from burst, frozen pipes. An eighth-inch (three millimeter) break in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons (946 liters) of water a day, wrecking floors, furniture and keepsakes.

As you can see, there can be a tremendous advantage to spending a couple of minutes taking simple, no-cost precautions to prevent frozen pipes. The saying, “time well spent,” is certainly an under-statement when you consider the soggy consequences of doing nothing. Here are a few additional steps to protect your home or apartment:

  • Use heat tape to wrap pipes. (Use only products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., and only for the use intended (interior or exterior). Closely follow the manufacturer’s installation and operation instructions.
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside, near where pipes are located.
  • Close air vents leading under the house.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.

What are ice dams?

After several days of melting-freezing cycles, it’s common for the melted water and ice to work up under the shingles until water enters the attic and eventually does damage to the ceilings, wall and contents.

In cases where the ice dam goes unnoticed for an extended period of time, it can do significant damage to the building and its contents.

There’s no way to guarantee an ice dam won’t damage your home, but you can take steps to cut the chances of an ice dam forming in the first place:

  • Thoroughly clean all leaves, sticks and other debris from your home’s gutters and down-spouts.
  • Make every effort to keep snow on your roof to a minimum. Long-handled devices on the market called “roof rakes” let you stand on the ground and pull the snow off the roof. Keeping heavy snow loads off your roof reduces the chances for both ice dam formation and roof failure due to the weight.
  • All winter long, keep gutters and down spouts clear of snow and icicles.
  • Evaluate the insulation and ventilation in your attic. Most experts agree the R-value of attic insulation should be at least R-30 (R-38 is preferable in northern climates).

   For more information on these and other home safety tips, stop by my office or visit statefarm.com®.