Greetings Virginia Real Estate Team Client Appreciation Movie Night

Each summer, the Greetings Virginia real estate sales team with Keller Williams Realty team hosts a client appreciation party to acknowledge our past clients, friends, family, and referral partners. Our real estate sales business is largely referral based from our happy past clients that refer us to their friends, families, and co-workers are in the market to Buy a Home, Sell a Home, or Invest in Real Estate.

When you buy a home or sell property with Greetings Virginia, you become a part of our GV Insider’s Club where we become your advocates for life. In addition to inviting you to great events like our annual Movie Night, we will be available to refer any resource to you that you may need in the future. Our extensive connections include close, well vetted relationships with almost any resource that you may ever need. Need a handyman or plumber or a chiropractor or massage therapist? Just pick up the phone and call us and we will introduce you. This is just another way that we provide World-class Solutions to our clients and past clients.

Members of our GV Insider’s Club enjoy invitations to free events such as Movie Night as well as our Christmas Tree Exchange and Toy Donation. In addition, we also support unwanted, abandoned, abused, or stray pets to be rescued and placed into loving homes by helping Homeward Trails Animal Rescue.

 

Check out a few photos from our last Greetings Virginia client appreciation Movie Night:

 

Some brought their kids and had loads of fun!

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Your Home Sold in 72 Days Guaranteed

Guaranteed Home Sold in 72 Days – Greetings Virginia Real Estate Sales Network

Your Home Sold Guaranteed

GUARANTEED Home Sold in Virginia

While every agent will promise to sell your home, the reality of the real estate market today is that, this simply doesn’t always happen. Needless to say, this is highly frustrating to a home seller like you. Well, we set ourselves apart from most agents by being accountable to you. In other words, we don’t just promise to sell your home, we Guarantee it. Our Sell Your Home in 72 Days campaign is as simple as this:

We guarantee to sell your home in Virginia within 72 days or we will buy it.
As you can see, we put our money where our mouth is. Instead of making you empty promises, we give you a written guarantee of performance and if we don’t live up to this agreement, you pay us absolutely nothing at all. We’re taking all the risk so you don’t have to, and this gives our many clients much greater peace of mind in the home selling process.

Want to know more? Just fill out this short inquiry and we will contact you soon.

Your Home Sold GUARANTEED!

Your Home Sold GUARANTEED!

 

 

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Mortgage rates dip slightly, continuing to hover near yearly lows

Mortgage rates seem to be stuck in a holding pattern as they hover near yearly lows.

According to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average slipped to 3.9 percent with an average 0.5 point. (Points are fees paid to a lender equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.) It was 3.91 percent a week ago and 3.56 percent a year ago.

The 30-year fixed rate has remained within a tight band the past five weeks. Since falling below 4 percent in late May, it has fluctuated between 3.89 percent and 3.95 percent.

The 15-year fixed-rate average slid to 3.17 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.18 percent a week ago and 2.83 percent a year ago. The five-year adjustable rate average dipped to 3.14 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.15 percent a week ago and 2.74 percent a year ago.

“Mortgage rates are continuing to hold at year-to-date lows amidst ongoing economic uncertainty,” Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac chief economist, said in a statement.

It doesn’t appear home loan rates will make any big moves in the foreseeable future. Bankrate.com, which puts out a weekly mortgage rate trend index, found half of the experts it surveyed say rates will remain relatively stable in the coming week.

“From an economic news perspective, I don’t expect anything that should move the dial going into the end of the month,” said Jim Sahnger, mortgage planner, Schaffer Mortgage.

Meanwhile, mortgage applications were flat last week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The market composite index — a measure of total loan application volume — increased 0.6 percent. The refinance index rose 2 percent, while the purchase index dropped 1 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity accounted for 46.6 percent of all applications.

“Overall mortgage application volume reached its highest level since mid-November following the election during last week, as the relatively low rates continued to encourage late-to-the-game refinance borrowers and assisted those ready to purchase,” said Lynn Fisher, MBA vice president of research and economics. “Along with an increase in refinance applications last week, purchase applications remained in strong territory, up 9 percent relative to the same week last year.”

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17 Log Cabins We Love

Though set against the larger-than-life landscape of the Lost Creek Wilderness Area, this Coloradan cabin provides an intimate atmosphere for those who appreciate the simple things in life. A cozy but spacious covered patio and wrap-around redwood deck is an ideal spot to soak up the sun and bask in the charms of nature. Rustic details continue into the interior, where oak hardwood floors work with real log beams and walls to create a homey environment.


Related: Living Remotely: 12 Stunning Homes in the Middle of Nowhere

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Porcelain or Ceramic: Which Type of Tile is Right for You?

The Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles

Photo: istockphoto.com

When considering a tile refresh for any floor, wall, or countertop, keep porcelain and ceramic tiles top of mind for their classic look and clean-lined appearance. Homeowners love their durability and versatility, as well as the wide variety of style options available. Despite all of their similarities, though, a handful of important differences separate the two types of clay-based tiles, from porousness and absorption to durability and cost. Read on to explore the pros and cons of each to help you choose the best fit for your home. Whichever way you lean—porcelain versus ceramic tile—we can equip you with the maintenance advice to keep each looking good as new.

PORCELAIN TILE

Porcelain tile is made of refined clay and other natural elements. After being kiln-fired, the tiles are either left in their natural state or transformed to look like stone, wood, concrete, or other materials. The clay-based construction makes porcelain tile a subtype of ceramic tiles; however, porcelain tile has a hardier construction and greater durability than non-porcelain ceramic tile varieties. Homeowners can choose either glazed and unglazed porcelain tiles. Unglazed, or full-bodied, tiles have color running through the entire thickness (as opposed to a glaze placed on the top), making them longer lasting and more resistant to chipping.

 

Understanding Porcelain vs Ceramic Tile

Photo: istockphoto.com

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Porcelain Tile
Known as the most durable type of tile on the market, porcelain is harder, denser, tougher, and less porous than ceramic tile. It also has a very low absorption rate, meaning it’s virtually impervious to water damage, even after prolonged exposure. This characteristic makes it an ideal choice for bathrooms, laundry rooms, patios, and other moisture-prone areas. Since porcelain tile can withstand heavy traffic over long periods of time, it works well as a flooring and countertop material.

Despite its durability and versatility, porcelain has two major drawbacks: price and ease of cutting. On average, porcelain tile costs at least 60 percent more than its ceramic competitors. Also, due to its density and hardness, homeowners typically require a wet saw with a diamond blade to cut cleanly through the material. Professional installation is preferred for a flawless finish with undamaged tiles. If you’re looking to take on a budget-friendly DIY installation project, ceramic tile might be the smarter choice.

Porcelain Tile Upkeep and Maintenance
In general, porcelain is very forgiving when it comes to spills and scratches; it’s hard to damage and relatively simple to keep clean. Sweep and vacuum porcelain tile once or twice per week, depending on how much traffic it experiences. Once a month, use a vinegar-and-water solution or tile-friendly commercial cleanser to banish dirt and day-to-day build-up. If you have glazed tile, use a mop. If you have unglazed or textured tile, rely on scrub with a soft-bristle brush instead. Take care to avoid using oil-based products, waxes, abrasive scrubbers, and anything containing bleach or ammonia. Follow up with a hot water rinse, and dry thoroughly with a towel or microfiber cloth. For step-by-step guidance, consult our tutorial for cleaning porcelain tile, which breaks down the routine for glazed, unglazed, and even textured tiles.

 

CERAMIC TILE

Ceramic tiles are kiln-fired at a lower temperature than porcelain tiles, making them less dense, softer, and more porous. The clay used in its composition is also less refined, making it a more affordable, albeit less durable, option. Many homeowners opt to install ceramic tiles as flooring, especially in warm climates, where the natural coolness of the tile becomes a welcome perk in the summer months.

 

Understanding Porcelain vs Ceramic Tile

Photo: istockphoto.com

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Ceramic Tile
Ceramic tile is a versatile and affordable option for those in the market for large quantities of tile. Not only does it cost significantly less than porcelain, it’s also easier to install. Thanks to its relatively soft surface, homeowners can cut ceramic tile with a simple tile cutter—a piece of cake when you consider the far more involved process of cutting porcelain tile. What’s more, ceramic tiles have an attractive clean-lined appearance, and the durable glazed finish can be customized in a variety of colors and patterns.

Ceramic tile is not as durable as porcelain, and homeowners must clear away spills quickly due to its relatively high absorption rate. It’s best to avoid using ceramic tile in areas often exposed to moisture, such as the shower and patio. Also, due in part to its tendency to absorb moisture, ceramic tile requires weekly deep-cleaning, as opposed to monthly. The coolness of the tile might feel nice in the summer, but it can also be uncomfortably cold during the winter. Ceramic tiles are coated with a glaze, and if the tile cracks or chips, the clay material underneath the glaze will show through. Homeowners should consider using ceramic tiles in areas with low or moderate foot traffic.

Ceramic Tile Upkeep and Maintenance
With a bit of discipline, it’s easy to keep ceramic floors looking great for years on end. Once per week, sweep or vacuum your ceramic tile to clear the way for easier mopping. Then, using a mild dish detergent mixed with hot water, work your way from one end of the tile to the other with a string mop. Finally, dry the entire area swiftly and thoroughly with a towel or microfiber cloth. For a deeper dive into howto keeping these tiles sparkling, check out this guide for cleaning ceramic tile.

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Louisiana Real Estate Appraisal Board fights back against FTC price-fixing allegations

Last month, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisal Board, accusing the regulatory body that oversees property appraisals in the state of stifling price competition by requiring appraisal management companies to follow the state’s established polices for the fees that AMCs pay to appraisers.

At the time, the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board denied the FTC’s allegations, stating that any accusations that it operates beyond its rights are “ludicrous” and without merit.

“To now suggest that LREAB’s good faith efforts to comply with federal law is some sort of shadowy price-fixing conspiracy is ludicrous. Congress and six financial regulatory agencies in Washington have directed Louisiana to do exactly what the FTC is now alleging is an antitrust violation,” Bruce Unangst, executive director of the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board, said in a statement at the time.

Unangst also said that the board planned to fight the FTC, and that’s exactly what the board is doing.

Earlier this week, the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board filed a response to the FTC’s allegations, in which the group repeatedly denies the FTC’s numerous allegations.

“The LREAB categorically and vociferously denies these allegations as factually false and politically wrong-headed,” the board said in its response. “The State of Louisiana and the LREAB diligently implemented and followed the Dodd-Frank federal mandates so as to protect the greater public interest in a financially sound home real estate market.”

The board also states that the FTC has “no cause, legal or factual, to punish the LREAB for acting in good faith” to implement the appraisal laws laid out by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

“LREAB’s actions throughout the rule-making process — tracking the express language of Dodd-Frank and allowing extensive public comment on its proposed rules — demonstrate LREAB’s painstaking efforts both to be consistent with federal law and responsive to public and industry concerns,” the board’s response states. “The FTC has no cause, legal or factual, to punish the LREAB for acting in good faith to implement federal laws and policies designed to serve the public interest by ensuring the integrity of the residential mortgage appraisal process.”

Those rules stipulate that appraisal management companies should pay “a rate that is customary and reasonable for appraisal services performed in the market area of the property being appraised.”

In its complaint, the FTC alleges that the board required that appraisal fees are equal to or greater than the median fees established in survey reports commissioned and published by the board.

Additionally, the FTC claimed that the board exceeded its authority by investigating and sanctioning companies that paid fees below the levels specified in those reports.

The FTC’s complaint alleges that Dodd-Frank “neither requires nor authorizes the restrictions that the board placed on appraisal fees.” And according to the FTC, the state’s rules and the board’s insistence on enforcing them limits the freedom of appraisers and their customers to engage in “bona fide negotiations” to set appraisal fees for real estate appraisals in the state.

“The Board adopted a regulation, effective as of Nov. 20, 2013, purportedly implementing a requirement under federal and Louisiana law that AMCs pay appraisers a ‘customary and reasonable’ fee for real estate appraisal services,” the FTC said in its complaint. “In both promulgating and subsequently enforcing that regulation, the Board has unlawfully restrained price competition.”

In its 15-page response, the board denies all of those allegations. In fact, the board’s response goes through each paragraph of the FTC’s allegations individually and denies each one in turn.

The board’s response also lays out a series of defenses to the FTC’s charges, stating the following:

  • The FTC’s complaint fails adequately to allege that the Board has a controlling number of active participants in the relevant residential appraisal market (emphasis included in board’s response)
  • LREAB has acted in good faith to comply with a federal regulatory mandates
  • The Complaint fails to allege any plausible harm to competition
  • The Complaint fails to allege any plausible harm to consumers or consumer welfare
  • The alleged potential harm to competition is not actionable
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Renters now setting their sights on homeownership

Americans are shifting their preferences from renting to home buying, an analysis by TransUnion for the first quarter of 2017 showed.

The study showed 55% of those who shopped for a mortgage in the first quarter of 2017 were non-homeowners, most of whom were renters. This is a significant increase from the first quarter of 2016 when that number was 50% and from the first quarter of 2016 when it sat at 45%.

“The rental market has seen sustained growth for the last several years, but occupancy rates have flattened from their peak in the second quarter of 2016,” said Mike Doherty, senior vice president of TransUnion’s rental screening solutions group.

“This new uptick in mortgage shopping could be a precursor to further declines in occupancy, which would impact rent growth, and ultimately, revenue, for multifamily property owners,” Doherty said. “In anticipation of this potential shift, owners and property managers should be offering the right amenities and programs designed to attract renters.”

Millennial interest in homeownership has been steadily growing, the TransUnion study showed. In 2017, 29% of non-homeowners who shopped for mortgages were Millennials. This is up slightly from 28% in 2016 and 27% in 2015.

“Property management companies should consider new services such as rental payment reporting to credit bureaus to entice renters into their multifamily properties,” Doherty said.

“In many cases, renters are more likely to choose a unit if their property manager reports their rental payments,” he said. “Our survey data show that most renters prioritize their rental payments and want their payment reported.”

Previously, TransUnion found 51% of renters were more likely to choose a property if they knew their landlord would report their payments to credit bureaus, and 79% of respondents said they prioritize rental payments above all other monthly bills.

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