5350 Discovery Park Blvd.

Williamsburg, VA 23188

757-254-4354

hollymiller@lizmoore.com

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The Williamsburg real estate market and surrounding areas has really heated up.  Inventory is low and homes are selling at a much faster pace than we have seen in years.  This is great for sellers, but how does it affect buyers?  Rates are also on the rise and low inventory is driving up values and prices.  The chart below outlines how slight increases in interest rates can drastically affect your buying power.  In short, if you are considering a purchase, now is definitely the time.  As the overall economy improves, rates will likely continue to rise throughout the year.

Rent prices in the Williamsburg area has also continued to rise and in many cases, the cost of buying a home can be less that the cost of renting.  I am happy to discuss the process with any potential first time buyer and explain the steps to becoming a homeowner.  It is not as difficult as you may think.  Williamsburg real estate is my specialty and can help you find the perfect fit and area for your needs.

For folks that already own a home, now is also a great time to upgrade or downsize if that is something you have been considering.  Since the market is strong, it is not only a great time to buy, but also a great time to sell.  Contact me today to discuss your real estate goals.  As a native to the Williamsburg area having been in the business for nearly 20 years, I am certain I can help you reach them.

Buyer Information Form What's My Home Worth?

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By Steve Vaughan

Modified:
Saturday, July 28, 2012 9:09 AM EDT

Originally Published: Saturday, July 28, 2012

After years of decline and stagnation, the local housing market picked up in the second quarter of the year.

According to figures offered by two pros and the Williamsburg Area Association of Realtors, sales rose in the greater Williamsburg market, prices were stable and inventory on the market continues to shrink. All three are keys to recovery.

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The 37th annual Pork, Pine and Penaut festival is this weekend from 10 am until 5 pm Saturday and Sunday at Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry.  Come and enjoy our regions finest resources. Fun for the whole family including live music, arts and crafts, petting zoo, BBQ cookoff, tractor pull,

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With the blazing temperatures and high humidity we have all been experiencing, Dominion Virginia Power has put together a list of tips to help save money and energy this Summer:

  • Raise your thermostat to 78º. If you are away from home for more than eight hours, raise the thermostat setting and you can expect to see up to a 3% savings on cooling costs for each degree of setback. This is the number one way to conserve energy.  This will reduce the amount of energy used to cool your home while you’re away. You can learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.
  • Keep shades closed when the air conditioner is on. Sunny windows account for 40 percent of unwanted heat and can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.
  • Check and clean filters. Cleaning and replacing air conditioning filters monthly allows the system to run more efficiently.
  • Clear attic vents.  If the home has an attic fan, make sure it is functioning properly.
  • Install ceiling fans and make sure they are blowing down. Don’t underestimate the importance of ceiling fans. Moving air over the body provides a cooling effect. The use of ceiling fans can mean savings of around 25% on cooling costs and can make the temperature seem 10 degrees cooler.  Most fans have a switch to change the fan direction. Make sure ceiling fans are blowing downward (in a counter-clockwise direction) to send air past your body.
  • Postpone activities that require hot water and large energy use – such as washing dishes or clothes – to early morning or late evening.  This will keep from adding more heat and humidity to the home. Use the dishwasher and clothes washer late in the evening. When used during the day, these appliances produce additional heat, causing your air conditioner to work harder.
  • Use cold water to wash dishes and clothes. This will save on water heating costs.
  • Avoid using the stove if possible.  Consider grilling outside instead.
  • Unplug equipment not in use. Electric chargers, televisions and audio/video equipment use electricity and produce heat even when they are not in use. Running an older refrigerator can use up to three times the energy of a modern one. Unplug any appliance when it’s not in use.
  • Turn off lights. Turn lights off when exiting a room.  They add to the heat in the home.  Consider replacing incandescent bulbs with energy efficient compact florescent lights (CFLs). And remember to recycle CFLs whenever possible.

You can find out more information on their website by clicking here.

Holly Duke Miller is an Associate Real Estate Broker with Liz Moore and Associates in Williamsburg, Virginia.  She is also a certified Senior Real Estate Specialist or SRES®.  She specializes in homes for sale in Williamsburg, James City County, York County, New Kent County, and surrounding areas.  She offers full service real estate support to both buyers and sellers of Williamsburg area homes and land.  As a native to the area, Holly is very knowledgeable about the local market and takes pride in helping each and every client reach their goals.  Whether you are considering buying a home in the Williamsburg area or have a property to sell, she looks forward to working with you.  Please contact her anytime at 757-254-4354 or email her at hollymiller@lizmoore.com for all of your Williamsburg and surrounding area real estate needs.

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15-year loans have been below 3 percent for 7 weeks

By Inman News®, Thursday, July 12, 2012.

Mortgage rates broke records again this week as fears that the European debt crisis will slow the global economy had investors moving money out of stocks and into safer investments like Treasuries and bonds that fund most mortgage loans.

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.56 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending July 12, down from 3.62 percent last week and 4.51 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey. That’s a new all-time low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971, and rates on 30-year loans have now been below 4 percent for 16 consecutive weeks.

For 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 2.86 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from 2.89 percent last week and 3.65 percent a year ago. That’s also an all-time low in records dating to 1991, and rates on 15-year loans have been below 3 percent for seven weeks.

Rates on five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans averaged 2.74 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 2.79 percent last week and 3.29 percent a year ago. That’s an all-time low in records dating to 2005.

For one-year Treasury-indexed ARM loans, rates averaged 2.69 percent with an average 0.4 point, up from 2.68 percent last week but down from 2.95 percent a year ago. Last week’s rate for one-year ARMs was an all-time low in records dating to 1984.

A separate survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that while demand for purchase loans was up a seasonally adjusted 3 percent during the week ending July 6 compared to the week before, purchase loan applications were down 3 percent from a year ago  Read More

Holly Duke Miller is an Associate Real Estate Broker with Liz Moore and Associates in Williamsburg, Virginia.  She is also a certified Senior Real Estate Specialist or SRES®.  She specializes in homes for sale in Williamsburg, James City County, York County, New Kent County, and surrounding areas.  She offers full service real estate support to both buyers and sellers of Williamsburg area homes and land.  As a native to the area, Holly is very knowledgeable about the local market and takes pride in helping each and every client reach their goals.  Whether you are considering buying a home in the Williamsburg area or have a property to sell, she looks forward to working with you.  Please contact her anytime at 757-254-4354 or email her at hollymiller@lizmoore.com for all of your Williamsburg and surrounding area real estate needs.

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Capital – Updated July 11, 2012, 7:51 p.m. ET  By David Wessel

The housing market has turned—at last.

The U.S. finally has moved beyond attention-grabbing predictions from housing “experts” that housing is bottoming. The numbers are now convincing.

Nearly seven years after the housing bubble burst, most indexes of house prices are bending up. “We finally saw some rising home prices,” S&P’s David Blitzer said a few weeks ago as he reported the first monthly increase in the slow-moving S&P/Case-Shiller house-price data after seven months of declines.

Nearly 10% more existing homes were sold in May than in the same month a year earlier, many purchased by investors who plan to rent them for now and sell them later, an important sign of an inflection point. In something of a surprise, the inventory of existing homes for sale has fallen close to the normal level of six months’ worth despite all the foreclosed homes that lenders own. The fraction of homes that are vacant is at its lowest level since 2006.

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Holly Duke Miller is an Associate Real Estate Broker with Liz Moore and Associates in Williamsburg, Virginia.  She is also a certified Senior Real Estate Specialist or SRES®.  She specializes in homes for sale in Williamsburg, James City County, York County, New Kent County, and surrounding areas.  She offers full service real estate support to both buyers and sellers of Williamsburg area homes and land.  As a native to the area, Holly is very knowledgeable about the local market and takes pride in helping each and every client reach their goals.  Whether you are considering buying a home in the Williamsburg area or have a property to sell, she looks forward to working with you.  Please contact her anytime at 757-254-4354 or email her at hollymiller@lizmoore.com for all of your Williamsburg and surrounding area real estate needs.

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Did you know that Cogan’s Deli and Pub in New Town has off track betting??  I am by no means an expert, but I went in there and had a lot of fun trying my luck at the horses.  You can choose from tracks all around the world and the bets are at a minimum cost.  You do not have to be a big spender to play.  You must register and open an account with a minimum of $25.00, but most bets have only a $2.00 minimum and some are less. I had a great time and actually won a few bucks.  Go in and check it out.  They also have cold beer and great sandwiches.  Click here for the menu

Holly Duke Miller is an Associate Real Estate Broker with Liz Moore and Associates in Williamsburg, Virginia.  She is also a certified Senior Real Estate Specialist or SRES®.  She specializes in homes for sale in Williamsburg, James City County, York County, New Kent County, and surrounding areas.  She offers full service real estate support to both buyers and sellers of Williamsburg area homes and land.  As a native to the area, Holly is very knowledgeable about the local market and takes pride in helping each and every client reach their goals.  Whether you are considering buying a home in the Williamsburg area or have a property to sell, she looks forward to working with you.  Please contact her anytime at 757-254-4354 or email her at hollymiller@lizmoore.com for all of your Williamsburg and surrounding area real estate needs.

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Very, very few people are qualified to sell their home without the help of a real estate professional.  And, unfortunately, many people who believe they are saving money… aren’t.  In fact, they may be surprised at just how much it’s costing them to go it alone.

Here are some of the reasons that a professional Realtor is invaluable:

1)  Pricing in this market is tricky.  Setting a price on your home takes an insightful analysis of not only past sales, but current pending sales.  Many for sale by owners are actually over pricing their properties right now, because they don’t have the experience or access to the right data in order to accurately determine market value.

In addition, we are also seeing approximately 1 in every 5 appraisals coming in low, sometimes thousands of dollars.  A good Realtor can assist with appealing an appraisal, or working with the appraiser or underwriter to get a value adjustment, potentially saving the seller thousands of dollars.

2)  Realtors are expert negotiators…an absolutely essential need in today’s buyers’ market.  With the leverage of the Multiple Listing Service and in-depth knowledge of available loan programs, a good Realtor can insure that buyers and their agents are attracted to your property first.

3)  The name of the game is not finding a prospective buyer for your home, but finding the right prospective buyer.  The biggest mistake a private seller can make is taking their home off the market for an unqualified buyer, or one who has allowed a loophole in the contract.  They are fooled by supposed “pre-qualification” letters that aren’t worth the paper they are written on.  Realtors are diligent about checking out the qualifications of potential buyers, knowing the right questions to ask, and how to identify potential trouble spots.  Because Realtors prepare, negotiate and process sales contracts every day, they know what to watch out for in contracts.

4)  There are at least a dozen junctures in the real estate transaction where working with a professional Realtor saves the seller money.  Insuring that their clients don’t pay excessive “junk fees” (fees charged by lenders that the buyer is, by law, not permitted to pay), coordinating timing to avoid duplicate or unnecessary mortgage payments, limiting liability and repair exposure, the list goes on and on.  For many, simply access to their Realtor’s network of reliable and affordable affiliates saves clients hundreds of dollars and a lot of headaches.

And, of course, this is not to mention the time involved to market, sell, and close a home.   Before you risk going it alone, you owe it to yourself to interview a professional Realtor!

Holly Duke Miller is an Associate Real Estate Broker with Liz Moore and Associates in Williamsburg, Virginia.  She is also a certified Senior Real Estate Specialist or SRES®.  She specializes in homes for sale in Williamsburg, James City County, York County, New Kent County, and surrounding areas.  She offers full service real estate support to both buyers and sellers of Williamsburg area homes and land.  As a native to the area, Holly is very knowledgeable about the local market and takes pride in helping each and every client reach their goals.  Whether you are considering buying a home in the Williamsburg area or have a property to sell, she looks forward to working with you.  Please contact her anytime at 757-254-4354 or email her at hollymiller@lizmoore.com for all of your Williamsburg and surrounding area real estate needs.

 

 

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I am often asked what improvements that a homeowner makes to a property have the most value when it’s time to sell.  What a great question!  The least expensive investments with the greatest returns are undoubtedly the following:

1.  Fresh paint.  Choose a neutral color, and give the interior a bright new look.  You may want to consider doing some early packing, and not re-hang all of your pictures.  Less clutter will make rooms appear larger, and the new owner will appreciate not having to fill holes.

2. Landscaping.  A carefully manicured lawn, and weed-free beds are an indication that the property is well cared for.  Mulch and some color in the flower beds go a long way toward creating that important curb appeal.

3.  Replace carpet and vinyl.  New flooring in a neutral color allows the buyer to feel that they are moving into a “new” home.

All three of those improvements tend to encourage a full price offer on your property, because the prospective buyer is not moving in with a laundry list of “to-do’s” which are likely to be estimated at a higher cost than you’ll actually pay.  By doing them in advance, you preclude a buyer for reducing his offer price by the amount he feels he’ll need to invest.  Other additions that aid in marketability are minor kitchen and bathroom remodeling, such as replacing dated counter tops and appliances, and refacing/replacing out of style cabinets.

Carefully consider any major renovations such as room additions, garage conversions, swimming pools, etc.  It’s important that you make those investments to enjoy while you are living in the home, because chances are that you will not recoup but a fraction of your cost.  Garage conversions, for instance, may add a great bonus room or extra bedroom, but when it comes time to sell, you’ll have to subtract the value of the garage that you no longer have.  If garages are customary in your area, the loss will most likely exceed the gain.

It’s also important to evaluate the improvement based on what is typical in your neighborhood…it is easy to fall into the trap of “over improving,” and ending up with the greatest home on the street, which is never a sound financial move.

With interest rates so low, your best bet is probably to take a serious look at moving up, rather than sinking a lot of expense into an existing home.  A professional realtor can help you evaluate your prospective home improvement projects in advance, to make sure that you are enhancing your greatest asset!

 

Holly Duke Miller is an Associate Real Estate Broker with Liz Moore and Associates in Williamsburg, Virginia.  She is also a certified Senior Real Estate Specialist or SRES®.  She specializes in homes for sale in Williamsburg, James City County, York County, New Kent County, and surrounding areas.  She offers full service real estate support to both buyers and sellers of Williamsburg area homes and land.  As a native to the area, Holly is very knowledgeable about the local market and takes pride in helping each and every client reach their goals.  Whether you are considering buying a home in the Williamsburg area or have a property to sell, she looks forward to working with you.  Please contact her anytime at 757-254-4354 or email her at hollymiller@lizmoore.com for all of your Williamsburg and surrounding area real estate needs.

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