Tag Archives: Safety Issues

What Natural Disasters Occur in the New River Valley?

Safe to say, the New River Valley doesn’t see a lot of natural disasters (save for that derecho, and an earthquake). Okay, other than those two events, we haven’t seen a lot of natural disasters in the 12 years I’ve lived here. Which is nice.

If you’re curious in doing the research yourself, however, Trulia has released this information via their LOCAL page – just head over to Trulia.com/Local, plug in the area you want to research, and click on Natural Hazards. From there, you’ll be able to see heat maps of earthquakes, flooding, tornados, and more, for the area you’re searching.

Here’s an example for wildfires in Blacksburg:

Wildfires in Blacksburg VAAnd here’s one for flooding in Radford:

Flooding in Radford VAAnd just for “fun”, here’s the wildfire map for areas surrounding Phoenix, AZ:

Wildfires in Phoenix AZ



Crime Statistics in Blacksburg and Christiansburg

For the record, NRVLiving.com should not be used as an official crime tracker
in the New River Valley. 

New River Valley VA Crime statistics

For that, you need to contact your local police departments (Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Radford). But if you’re interested in a unique way to see who’s up to no good – I can’t get Inner Circle out of my head, for some reason – then you just might be interested to know that CrimeMapping just added Blacksburg.

 I don’t know how accurate the site is, so don’t use it as an exact science, but it’s an interesting tool to get a sense for what crime might be in a particular area. You can research Blacksburg here, and Christiansburg here. Radford isn’t on CrimeMapping.com yet, but you can search here for Radford. For further due diligence, be sure to contact the local police department of any area you’re considering moving to.

Dear Abby and Open Houses

A client of mine, Danielle, sent me a Dear Abby column this morning as a PSA.  I swear, no offense to Abby but she’s not exactly in my daily reading list!

The point is important, however:

If your property has a “For Sale” sign in front and someone comes to the door, that person should be instructed to phone your agent for an appointment. And by the way, for their own safety, many agents now have a second person on hand so they’re not alone in a house with strangers.

I’ve had this happen.  Clients have told me, “oh, this person stopped by while we were out in the yard and so we showed them the house. We gave them your card!”  Never-ever-ever-ever let a buyer into your house without making sure that (1) they’re accompanied by an agent, and (2) they’re accompanied by an agent.  That’s why we put the lockboxes out – it allows us to track who’s entering and exiting your home by giving us a real-time record, and it assures that only an agent in good standing (with a valid lockbox key) can access the key.  It seems ridiculous to write this, but personal safety should never trump selling your home.

Looking for a home, and want to see crime statistics?  See this post, and this one.

Sorry, Abby.  Not quite good enough to make it on to my RSS feed, but good column nonetheless!

Crime Statistics In The New River Valley

The Roanoke Times wrote me this morning to tell me of a new service they’re providing on their online site.

It’s a crime aggregator, basically – they’re compiling crime statistics from across the New River Valley and posting them on Roanoke.com.  Right now, it appears that they’ve got limited statistics, but they tell me that they’re adding stats as quickly as they can. 

I’d love to say that there’s no crime throughout the Valley, but the unfortunate truth is that’s impossible to say anywhere.  Farmers Insurance thinks we’re pretty safe, and I do too, but if you’re interested in tracking just how safe your area … or that new neighborhood you’ve been thinking about … is, then this just might something you want to bookmark.

Thanks to Preaprez for the image.

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You Must Protect This House

That’s what a certain clothing line tells us (they’re not providing me with royalties so I won’t mention them here, although it rhymes with “Wonder Charmer“.  I’m just saying).

It’s spring break here at Virginia Tech, and Radford University will go to break soon as well.  Lots of places will be left empty while the students are gone – here’s a good reminder if you own an investment property, or if you’re just leaving town for a while, on steps you can take to protect your house.

Thanks to Eric Johnsen and State Farm for providing them.

  • Have newspaper and mail stopped or regularly picked up by a trusted neighbor
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your home. Make sure a neighbor knows where the water main shut-off is located in the event of a broken pipe
  • Set timers on interior lights to deter burglars
  • Unplug TV, computer and appliances susceptible to lightning and power surges
  • Advise your alarm company and local police if you will be gone for an extended vacation
  • Take jewelry and valuable papers to a safe deposit box
  • Turn off water valves to your washing machine, icemaker and dishwasher

If it’s still cold where you are, make sure to:

  • Set the heat in your home to no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Allow water to drip from a faucet near an outside wall
  • Keep downspouts and Gutter Covers clean to prevent ice dams on your roof
  • Disconnect all garden hosesLocate and insulate pipes most susceptible to freezing.  Typically those near outer walls, in crawl spaces and in the attic are most vulnerable
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach uninsulated pipes under sinks and where appliances are near exterior walls
  • Shut off and drain the water system in your home (except indoor sprinkler systems) before an extended vacation

Privacy, Members Only Jackets & Craigslist

I originally wrote this post for a real-estate industry blog I post to occasionally, but thought it might be appropriate here, as well. 

In all likelihood, most of us have used sites like Craigslist before, whether we were looking for a place for a customer or a sweet Members Only
jacket – wait, is it just me that wants a Members Only jacket? My bad.
The one in this picture sure looks nice, especially with the blue
hoodie underneath.

A staff member in my office this morning sent out an email warning
of a housing scam she had uncovered while searching for a place for her
and her family to rent. She had uncovered a single-family house for
rent here in Blacksburg, at a great monthly rate, but she also knew the
house was for sale in our local MLS for $300,000+. When she contacted
the email address listed on the posting, the person responded by asking
questions that violated all sorts of Fair Housing rules,
including asking her age and her religion, among others. The emailer
claimed to be the owner of the house, and that they would be requiring
two months rent with the application.

So what, right? Just a scam? Sure, just a scam, but the reason I bring it up here is because the posting had MLS pictures of the house right there in the ad – both interior and exterior photos were used. The exact street address was used. And it’s likely that this staff member wasn’t the first person to contact about such a low rent for such a great house.

The point – be careful. The TRUE owners of this
home were not aware their home was getting unwanted attention based on
this scam ad. They had no idea someone was advertising their home and
location for sale, or who might have been driving by. It’s no
indictment against their listing agent, who immediately notified them
so that they could have the ad removed from Craigslist. Instead, it’s a
reminder to constantly be aware that the distribution of
information is a benefit to all of us, but we also need to monitor what’s being put online as well.  You never know who’s watching.

Photo credit: Bradley J