Tag Archives: virginia

HAUNTED MANOR TOUR

Want to send a shiver down your spine? Tired of watching ghost shows, and want to experience it first hand? Than be sure to pay a visit to Deep Creek Vintage on September 7, 2019 as they take you along an after-hours ghost tour that is sure to make even the bravest of us quiver in fear. Guests will be a part of a 2.5-hour interactive tour that takes you through the manor, where your courage will be put to the test. You’ll learn the history that lies beneath these haunted grounds, hear all kinds of paranormal activity that occurs within the walls, and take part in a real EVP recording session! Tickets are available for $30.00. Suitable for mature children over 12. For more information be sure to click here. If you’re ready for a frightening good time, then make sure you’re there on September 7th!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

SLIDE FXBG 2019

Looking to spend your weekend cooling off, and enjoying time with the family? Make sure not to miss Slide FXBG 2019 for their one-day water slide event! Fall is right around the corner, so make sure you experience what is sure to be the highlight of your summer. What’s more fun than sliding? Sliding down a 1000-foot Slip-and-Slide! Invite your friends to make a splash on August 31, 2019 at William St, Fredericksburg VA for a day full of family, fun and of course, Sliding! Tickets are available in waves starting at 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM. Tickets are priced at $27.00 each, and for more information be sure to click here. See you on the slide! Credit for the image goes to the Fredericksburg Economic Development and Tourism.

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

How To Save Money When Buying A Property in Virginia

Whether you’re buying residential or commercial real estate, it is in your best interest to score the best deal. After all, that’s what negotiation tactics and offers are for. These days, there’s an increase in second-home purchases throughout the whole nation, but especially in Virginia. This means that by buying a property in Virginia you are also making a great financial investment. With homes that can meet a wide range of budgets, you are diving into a pool of opportunities – but how to know which is the right one? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered – use the tips below the maximize your investment and save money along the way.

Buying a property in Virginia starts online

Nowadays, searches of any kind begin on the internet. In the end, isn’t that how you ended up on this page? There’s no doubt that buying property is a financial reality check. From fees and interest rates to the mortgage process, you need to research each step before making the final decision. Gather any property information you can on the property market. Housing apps and property listing sites like Zillow and Tulia will get you an idea of the market so they are worth checking out.  Who knows, maybe you’ll find what you’re looking for sooner than you anticipated?

Found a potential buy but want to dig deeper? Then you’ll be glad to know that there are various research tools at your disposal. Before buying a property in Virginia, check the Multiple Listing Service database to find zoning, maps, and ownership. On Tulia, you have extra features where you can find out about school and crime statistics or median home values for a specific area. Google away!

google search on the topic of buying a property in Virginia

Hire a real estate agent

If you’re a first-time buyer, chances are you don’t know home buying terminology or the overall process. Unfortunately, the Internet can only do so much. In the end, it’s always best to place your trust in someone who has much more experience in the trade. A good real estate agent will save you not only money but time and nerves as well. In this way, you won’t have to be tangled up in the process as much, as your agent will ensure it goes smoothly.  

Realtors can also help you find other professionals who will assist you in the home buying process, like mortgage brokers and home inspectors. They can even refer you to good moving companies like Premium Q Moving and Storage Boston that will help you during the moving phase. The question is – how do you find a good realtor? It’s best to stay off the internet and ask for referrals from people you trust. If this is not an option, check customer reviews of real estate agents on property listing sites. Don’t forget to check if they are licensed at the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation License Search.

Get Loan Quotes from Multiple Lenders

A word of advice: Do not accept the first offer that your mortgage lender makes! Interest rates will vary, as different lenders may quote you different prices. For example, the average 30-year mortgage rate in Virginia is currently 4.14%. However, it can vary more than half a percent, which translates to around 60$ a month – you do the math. That’s why it’s recommended you get loan quotes from at least 3-4 different mortgage companies when buying a property in Virginia. Be aware that lenders charge various other fees for processing a mortgage, loan origination fee, loan application fees, etc. You will be able to see exactly what you’re paying for in the loan estimate, so use it to help you negotiate lower fees and rates. If you’re buying a house, choose one of Virginia first-time homebuyers program. These programs are designed to help you and lighten your financial burden.

wooden house toy and coins

Pick timing and location wisely

Let’s say you want to buy a vacation home in Virginia. Now, predicting the market isn’t easy. But what if you could save thousands of dollars if you knew when exactly to buy it? If you don’t rush and are flexible enough, the best way to save money on a good deal is to buy property around the holidays or in January. Most people selling their homes at that time are doing so only because it’s urgent. With the right negotiation tactic, you can use this to your advantage and lower the price.

Another one of great strategies for house hunting is picking the location. If you’re planning to purchase property in the northern part of Virginia, you need to act quickly. Since this is the most populated region of the state, you’ll have more competition which means the prices will increase. On the other hand, you can pick more affordable places. Houses in Richmond or Portsmouth tend to be below the median value for properties in the state – check them out!

a house in Virginia

Negotiate for the Best Possible Price

All the advice in the world will be for nothing if this part of the process isn’t done correctly. When it comes to negotiations, you either make it or break it, so it’s best to let your real estate agent do the talking. Since he has an understanding of the property market, he’ll be able to point out all the shortcomings that you might not have noticed.   Also, have him help you write your offer letter. It’s important that you personalize your interest in the house so that you stand out among other potential buyers. Don’t mention any of the shortcomings, as it can only be a deal-breaker. Instead, try to appeal to the seller by mentioning the particulars that you know about him. For example, is that his childhood home? Then make a connection and comment on how great your kids would have it growing up there too.

In conclusion, buying a property in Virginia is a great financial investment if you buy it for the right price. Getting that price, however, depends on many factors. Trust in the expertise of your real estate agent to get you through the process and you’ll soon be enjoying in your new Virginia home!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

Mortgage 101: What To Know Before You Apply

Everybody loves talking about mortgages. They’re fun, easy to understand, and a great icebreaker, right?….Wrong. Thanks to their lengthy process, technical jargon, and confusing options, mortgages have a bit of an intimidating reputation—but it doesn’t have to be that way!

If you’re in the process of buying a new home and dreading the mortgage application process, here’s what you need to know to keep things running smoothly. 

Know How Much You Can Spend

A person holding up money.

If you’re feeling antsy about getting started and want a general idea of how much loan you might qualify for, consider the 28/36 rule, or the Debt-to-Income ratio—AKA what most lenders use to help calculate your mortgage. 

Essentially, the 28/36 rule means that your monthly mortgage payment shouldn’t be more than 28% of your gross income. Additionally, your outstanding debts—like mortgage, car loans, student loans—shouldn’t account for more than 36% of your gross income.

Get Your Finances in Order

Statistics on a laptop.

Not seeing the numbers you were hoping for after calculating your Debt-to-Income ratio? Then, hopefully, you’ve given yourself a little time to shift things in your favor. Paying off loans, improving your credit score, avoiding big purchases—these will all help you change those numbers. 

Of course, completing those tasks is a little harder to do in practice than in theory, so you may have to take a look at your budget and see where you can cut out some extras—at least temporarily!

What You’ll Need to Apply

 

Paperwork.

In the weeks before you plan on applying for a mortgage, you should start collecting all of the documents you need. Since a lender will be telling you exactly how much money they’re willing to loan, they’ll need a comprehensive understanding of your finances beforehand. Start gathering things like:

  • W2s/tax returns
  • Photo ID
  • Your two most recent pay stubs
  • Current and prior addresses
  • Asset information (retirement funds, 401(k), stocks and bonds, other investments) 
  • Gift letters

Depending on the lender you choose, you may need additional documents, so consider calling in to double-check beforehand. 

Find the Right Mortgage

Three women pointing at a laptop.

Once it’s time to start thinking more concretely about applying for a mortgage, you have several options to consider. While all the mortgage options out there could easily fill a whole blog post on their own, here’s a quick rundown to give you a general idea:

  • Conventional/Fixed-rate:  The interest rate of a fixed-rate loan won’t change over time, making it a popular choice for its predictability. Conventional loans typically require a 20% down payment or mortgage insurance for smaller down payments.
  • Adjustable-rate: The interest rate of adjustable-rate mortgage will fluctuate over time, sometimes lower than fixed-rate, sometimes higher. There is a cap in place so the rate doesn’t get too out of control, but ARMs are typically more popular with those who plan to refinance.
  • FHA: If you are struggling to come up with a down payment, you may have options with an FHA mortgage. Provided by the Federal Housing Administration, these loans come with a low down payment requirement and built-in mortgage insurance.
  • USDA: Live in a rural area? Then check out your USDA eligibility! A surprising amount of areas qualify for USDA loans, even if you aren’t living in the countryside. Plus, USDA loans don’t require a down payment and offer lower insurance premiums.

These aren’t the only options you’ll have, just the most common. If none of these sound right or you aren’t sure which to choose, just ask your lender!

Choose the Right Lender

When it comes time to decide who to work with, you’ll have to do your research. Each lender is different, meaning they’ll likely offer you different rates, charges, and loan options. 

Luckily, we’ve been working in real estate around the area for years, so we know exactly which lenders are right for which buyers. If you need a few suggestions before you kick off your search, just let us know! 

Still Have Questions?

That’s okay—we get it. Applying for mortgage is confusing and challenging, especially if it’s your first time. If you have any questions about the process, we’re here to help. 

Ready to start looking at a few homes in your price range? We can help with that, too! Check out our specialized search tool to narrow down your options, and give us a call to start seeing a few in person!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

a woman with question marks around her head because she is asking herself if buying real estate in Virginia is a good investment

Is Buying Real Estate A Good Investment?

Money investment is always a serious endeavor. It takes doing some serious calculations, thinking and analysis to be able to make the right and final decision. Bringing the whole process to the end successfully is highly rewarding. A smart investment, by all means, is the one that brings a return on the investment – be it a genuine joy or certain financial gain. Bearing in mind all these facts, is buying real estate in Virginia a good investment? We can provide you with vital facts on the subject. Then, take your time to deal with the dilemma and finally decide.

Things to know before considering buying real estate in Virginia as an investment

It is a well-known fact that Virginia is the promised land for nature and history lovers. Living among those mostly highly-educated and friendly people is a real pleasure. Should you want to rest and relax, the opportunities are ample to have a day trip or an excursion with your family. You will not miss job opportunities either. If you already live in this state, you might want to consider your options in other counties or cities as well.

Virginia is the promised land for nature and history lovers. Alt.tag: a part of the West Virginia scenery

So, before you start seeking professional assistance for your local relocation in Virginia or even organizing a long-distance move after purchasing real estate there, here are the facts of key importance to pay attention to. 

High standard and the matching cost of living

Whether we like or not, finances are among the most important factors when choosing where to live. If you are considering purchasing real estate in Virginia, it is essential to know that the cost of living is relatively high. Understandably, the costs vary depending on the area, but it is impossible not to admit that cities in some counties are very expensive to live in. On the other hand, considering the number of perks Virginia offers to its residents, one would say that moving there is worth considering nevertheless.

To rent or to buy?

To buy we say. The prices of rent are considerably high. Regardless of the type of residence and the area, rent in Virginia is well above the national average. Thus, we would agree that buying real estate in Virginia is an intelligent choice. Depending on the city you choose, you can expect to pay anything between $220,000 and $850,000 for a decent home. This wide range proves that you can find a favorable option for any budget. Even if you have to downsize a bit in the beginning, this is not a reason to worry since you can find affordable storage units easily.

Figure 3 We say buying real estate in Virginia is a good investment. Alt.tag: a person showing a thumb up for buying real estate in Virginia

The population is on the increase

Yes, and it is getting very diverse. Multiculturalism in the state makes people tolerant of differences and a nice place to live. You will get used to your new home location in no time, and maybe consider buying a vacation home in Virginia as well.

Traffic may spoil the fun

We have to admit that traffic in Virginia can be really heavy. Hence, considerably lower gas prices when compared to the national average do not matter much. Commute time is 28.2 minutes on the average, which is slightly longer. If you opt for using public transportation, you can get a pass for the unlimited number of rides in 30 days. It costs around $60. However, minors, seniors and the disabled pay only $35.

A word or two on taxes

Income tax in Virginia is within the range of 2% to 5.75%, unlike the property taxes which are below the average national value. They range between 0.42% and 1.37%. If you are preparing for retirement, you will like to hear that Virginia is a retirement tax-friendly country. Finally, the sales tax is between 5.3% and 7%, depending on the county.

Healthcare

As is the case with the above-mentioned parameters, the median healthcare price also varies greatly throughout Virginia. It can be up to 2% lower than the national average, or be as much as 14% higher. Generally, the bigger the city the higher the prices.

Timing matters

When considering buying real estate in Virginia as an investment, timing is an important factor. It affects both the price and the number of properties on the market. So, if you want to make a good investment, remember this. If you want to have an immense number of options, spring is the best time. This period is characterized by increased supply and a lot of choices. On the other hand, if you have a limited budget, consider conducting the purchase in summer. The prices tend to be lower and more affordable due to summer holidays and less serious demand. Anything later than this goes with certain hazard. You risk not finding the real estate of the quality you need and want.

Where to buy real estate in Virginia?

Once you decide purchasing real estate in Virginia is what you really want, choosing where to invest is the next dilemma. Most often, buyers choose Arlington, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Falls Church, Norfolk, Williamsburg, and Chantilly. Make a list of your needs, wants, and priorities and choose accordingly. In case you realize you have made a mistake, study the tips for marketing your home to millennials or target any other group, and sell the property. Hence, you will have a chance to find something more appropriate and invest again. We must admit the whole process is challenging indeed, but it is not unachievable.

Figure 4 Arlington is a city worth considering when buying real estate in Virginia. Alt.tag: a view of Arlington

Buying real estate in Virginia – how to do it right?

Buying real estate in Virginia requires professional assistance. Having a real estate agent by your side in the process will save you a lot of trouble. Moreover, it will significantly reduce the risk of making a costly mistake of buying a property of low quality or even dealing with fraudulent sellers. An experienced and knowledgeable agent can help you with getting a mortgage, obtaining the necessary insurance and going through the settlement process smoothly. Then, after signing the contract of sale, you can get down the most important things to do after buying a home. At the end of the day, it turns out that buying real estate in Virginia is a good investment indeed.

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

Houses in line on a shore

Why buying a Vacation home in Virginia is a Great Investment

Thinking about investing in property, or how nice it would be to vacation at your own beach house instead of renting one? Recently, the economy has led to an increase in second-home purchases, nationwide. Especially in the state of Virginia. When buying a vacation home in Virginia, you’re making one of the few investments that offer both financial and personal rewards. The best thing when purchasing a vacation home is that you don’t have to be rich to pull it off. This investment allows you to diversify your income, plan for retirement, take a vacation without extra costs, and maybe even build wealth. You need to set your goals before buying a second home. Weigh out the pros and cons, and once you’re clear on why you want to buy it, you can focus your search and match it with your priorities.

Advantages of buying a vacation home in Virginia

No matter which part of society you belong to, whether you are a retiree who is seeking to escape city life or a beach lover who wants to live in a sunny state like California or Florida, you have the option of buying a home. Whether you’re looking to buy a property as a vacation home for summers or winters or just looking for an investment property to rent out, there are homes that can meet a wide range of budgets.

Long-term profits

Today, people are starting to value short term over long term profit, because earnings are more significant when repeated many times over a short period. Luckily for you, vacation properties have retained their value because they are located in areas which are still popular. Because the mountains and shorelines are limited, there is a finite number of houses which can be built. That holds the price when it comes to vacation properties.  

Real estate has always had its ups and downs, and will likely continue to have them in the future. Therefore, keep in mind that there is no guarantee that your second home will sell for a higher price in the future.

Pile of fifty euro Banknotes

Vacation properties have retained their value, so renting it is a good choice

Taxes

When buying a vacation home in Virginia, think about tax deductions and how you want to use your property. Will that be a home for rent, or will it only be for personal enjoyment? Many people prefer not to rent their second home because if they did, the interest on the mortgage and the property taxes would be fully deductible from the gross income. This mortgage can be treated the same way you are treating the mortgage on your primary residence.

Income

A great thing about buying a vacation home in Virginia is that you can decide to rent it out. You can always use it yourself. Whether you are renting it or just personally using the property, you are going to have to invest in it. Furnishing a house requests a certain amount of money, but renting afterward can help you return at least a part of it. You have the option to move things from your family home to a vacation home, this way you can redesign your home. Moving your household with professional help is your best option for a stress-free move. Once you have furnished your vacation home, you can start renting it out.

Rental fees differ from season to season. Another important factor is the popularity of the resort location. For most resorts, weekly rental fees are equal to or greater than the monthly mortgage payment.

Convenience

Buying a vacation home in Virginia can be really convenient. You have the option to keep the items that you exclusively use there in your vacation home, which simplifies travel and packing. If you and your family like to ski, you can store some of your winter clothes and ski equipment in your vacation home. This allows you to easily make spontaneous trips for a weekend of skiing without having to worry about packing.

Retirement

The goal most retirees strive for is to have a place of retreat for the times of the year they dislike spending in the primary residence. Buying a vacation home in Virginia is a great investment for those people. You would be one of the lucky ones if you buy a second home before retirement. You then have the time to experience the benefits of a refuge. If it turns out that wasn’t your dream, you also have time to correct the mistake and maybe sell it.

Gathering location

Memories are the one thing no one can take away from us, and places stir memories in people. Both big and small families enjoy annual gatherings. Building a tradition keeps families strong and in some way obligates them to see each other, even for one day. Buying a vacation home in Virginia will not only be an investment for your future, but also an investment for the beautiful memories you’ve created in the past. The annual gatherings keep families close, especially if people are all over the country.

People stand under an awning

You can’t put a price on the memories – especially a home that has been a site of many happy gatherings.

Some people struggle whether to buy a vacation home or not, even when the finances are acceptable. Some of the questions they encounter are:

·      Do I want to vacation in the same place every year?

·      Will this make me happy?

·      Can I handle renting the property to a stranger?

·      Will I come as often as I hope?

·      Will my kids and grandkids use this property once I am gone?

Question mark illustration

Some people struggle to decide whether to buy a vacation home or not

Buying a vacation home in Virginia is a long-term commitment. You need to be prepared if your dreams don’t come true because you could be stuck with high costs and responsibilities for years. For many buyers, dreams do come true, and the payoff is well worth it. Sometimes, you have to risk money to make money.

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

Guide for Canadians Buying a Property in Virginia

A brick suburban home, representing buying a property in Virginia.

Guide for Canadians buying a property in Virginia

Are you considering going into the Virginia real estate market? While this could turn out to be the investment of your life, you should be careful; buying a piece of real estate is no small feat. This will be a complicated process, during which you will definitely have a lot to do. So, before you make such a purchase, ideally you should consider all the factors; the amount of money you can spend, the features you want from a home, and the best possible neighborhood. But apart from that; as a Canadian who’s buying a property in Virginia; you should also consider the legal practicalities of such a purchase. Don’t worry, though; we’ve got it all covered right here! 

Finding a good real estate agent in Virginia 

It doesn’t matter if you’re moving down the street or if your move is a long-distance one; if you ask us, choosing your new neighborhood and the specific piece of property will be of major importance. And if you want to play this smart, you should contact an experienced local real estate agent. Trust us; a good agent is worth their weight in gold. During the process of buying a property in Virginia, a professional agent will lead you every step of the way. They’ll draft the order you write, and negotiate in your name with any potential sellers. If you hire an agent to take care of the purchase for you, they’ll get a better deal in terms of the smaller details too, such as the house closing costs and the escrow process.  

Hiring a real estate agent 

Apart from handling some of the specifics of buying a property in Virginia, your real estate agent can be of help in other ways as well. Having a professional who knows the real estate trends of the area will be of major use, trust us. And besides; in most cases, working with a real estate agent on buying a home won’t actually cost you a dime. Why? Well, the usual practice is the seller paying the whole commission for the realtor. Typically, that’s around 5% of the sale price for the home, that the seller’s agent and your own agent split between each other. Also, your real estate agent can help with finding other professionals who can provide you with different services in the process of purchasing a home; like home inspectors or mortgage brokers. 

A two-story brick home in Virginia.

If you want a quality home, hire a good realtor!

Naturally, you must be wondering what the best way to select a particular real estate agent is. First and foremost, you want to make sure that your potential agent is licensed; check the registry of the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. Apart from that, you want to hear the different reviews on real estate agents, on places like Trulia and Zillow. Trust us, if you choose your real estate agent correctly, and use other professionals prudently, buying a home here can be an extremely pleasant experience.  

Sale disclosures 

As a Canadian who’s buying a property in Virginia, one thing is certain; you’re probably not too familiar with local laws. Even people who’ve lived in Virginia their entire lives aren’t always well-versed in the legalities of home purchases in the area. For example – while you’re searching for the perfect neighborhood in the area, you might want to familiarize yourself with the seller disclosures that the law demands. And just what are these, you ask? Well, these are regulations which obligate home sellers in the state of Virginia to report some types of defects on their properties. The aforementioned Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation has the details within their Residential Property Disclosure document, but we’ll give you the gist of it here.  

A small blue suburban house.

There are certain issues that a seller must disclose

In essence, there are a few kinds of defects that a seller must disclose during a real estate transaction. First of all, they must tell the buyer if the property is nearby a military air installation. Secondly, they must report any defective drywall. Also, a seller must report if their property was at any point the site of a meth lab, if it hasn’t been cleaned up in accordance with state guidelines. Finally, a seller is obligated to tell the buyer if their home has a septic system that isn’t fully functioning.  

Also, people selling houses which were built before 1978 have an additional piece of compliance to perform. They need to make certain that their house complies with federal regulations on lead-based hazards, and more specifically lead paint.  

Getting a home inspection 

If you were to take a look at seller-disclosure regulations in other states, you’d find that buyers are much more protected. In other words, the list of defects that the sellers have an obligation to report is far larger. But with the disclosure limits here, buying a property in Virginia usually means one thing – hiring someone to do an independent home inspection.  

A suburban home with a driveway and a garage.

If you want to make sure you’re buying a good home, a home inspection is in order

In the process, this outside inspector has to check out an entire host of potential issues. For example, you want them to see if the house is susceptible to any pests or termites. Then, you need to be sure that there are no structural issues, and that the roof and windows stand upon a firm foundation. And finally, there are the drainage and other soil issues, as well as mold or the presence of certain odors.  

Hopefully, any Canadians buying a property in Virginia can find this guide useful. You are surely going to enjoy here. 

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

History in Our Backyard Chapter 11: the Unfinished Railroad in the Battle of the Wilderness

Chapter 10 described the history of the “unfinished railroad.”  This article tells how it was used during one of the Civil War’s battles.

Exhibit 14 General Wadsworth Monument

May 6, 1864 was a day of changing fortunes as the Union fought the Confederates along Orange Plank Rd.  It began with a 5 AM attack by the Union II Corps, reinforced by divisions from V and VI Corps, under command of General Hancock.  The attack drove General A.P. Hill’s III Corps from its positions.  They fled west towards Parker’s Store.  The 7 AM arrival of General Longstreet’s I Corps stemmed the rout.  Longstreet’s counter attack at Tapp Field drove the Federals back toward their starting positions to the east.  By 10 AM the two armies were at a standstill facing each other astride Orange Plank in the vicinity of the monument to Union General James Wadsworth.

Exhibit 15: Unfinished Railroad Cut

General Lee sent his Chief Engineer, General Smith, to see if there was a way to break the stalemate.  Smith and his party walked east along the unfinished railroad, which lay south of the Union’s flank. Both armies were aware of the unfinished railroad about ¼ mile south of and parallel to Orange Plank.  In the chaos of battle, neither army had thought about using it as an attack route, or about defending it against such an attack, until Smith’s reconnaissance.  Smith found the railroad grade undefended.  He returned and reported his findings to Longstreet. 

Longstreet sent four brigades to attack the Union flank under the command of his aide Lt. Col. Sorrel.  Sorrel arranged the men along the railroad grade and, when all men were in position, began the attack shortly after 11 AM.  It burst upon the Union flank in total surprise.  In addition, as soon as the fighting started on the flank, Longstreet’s remaining troops attacked the Union’s front.

McAlister’s brigade on the Union flank was first to feel the Confederate onslaught.  It was quickly routed.  Soon all eight Union brigades south of Orange plank had collapsed like dominos.  Union General Wadsworth, in command of Union forces north of Orange Plank, heroically attempted to organize a defense on the north side of the road.  It was to no avail leaving him mortally wounded.  By 12:30 PM, all Union positions had been overrun with the defenders withdrawing east to Brock Road or north to the Lacy House (Ellwood Manor).

The Confederate’s success quickly turned to failure.  While riding to the front to direct a continued advance, General Longstreet was accidentally shot by soldiers of the 12th Virginia of Mahone’s Brigade. While he survived, it wasn’t until four hours later that the Confederates were able to reorganize and resume the attack.  By then the Union had strengthened its defenses along Brock Road.  The renewed attack failed.  In addition to the short term loss, it would be months before Longstreet recovered sufficiently to resume command.

Author: John Bell

Date: July 2018

Read Previous Chapter. Chapter 10: The Unfinished Railroad

Continue to Chapter 12: Beef on the Hoof

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

History in Our Backyard Chapter 10: The “Unfinished Railroad”

The term “unfinished railroad” refers to the roadbed without track that existed during the Civil War.  This article will give a brief description of its history. Another article will discuss its use specifically during the Civil War period.

Exhibit 12 Standard Gauge (left) vs. Narrow Gauge

The “unfinished railroad” had a role in the Civil War, but later it was two different working railroads run on the same roadbed. Although incorporated in 1853 no track had been laid as the Civil War began. Running between Orange and Fredericksburg, it existed under several names and configurations existing operationally from 1877 until 1984. The first line was narrow gauge, best known as the Potomac, Fredericksburg and Piedmont Railroad (PF&P). It provided passenger and freight service for almost fifty years. The second venture was standard gauge. It also hauled freight and passengers under the name of the Virginia Central Railway between 1927 to1937 and freight within Fredericksburg until 1984.

Incorporated in 1853, the Fredericksburg and Gordonsville Railroad Company’s (FGRRC’s) “purpose was to build a railroad between Fredericksburg and Gordonsville or Orange Court House in order to connect with the rail lines already running to Gordonsville.” The company failed by November 1857.  Road grading from Fredericksburg on 18 miles of the project had taken place by the time of the Civil War but no track had been laid, thus the “unfinished railroad” term. The project was resurrected in 1871. Some progress was made by the new company, however, after many delays, the State took possession of the railroad in December of 1873. It restored the property to the original owner, the FGRRC. In March 1876 the railroad was again reorganized and the name changed to the Potomac, Fredericksburg and Piedmont (PF&P), best known to locals as the “Poor Folks, and Preachers” due to its clientele. The first train to Orange arrived on February 26th, 1877.

PF&P showed a profit for many years. 1910 proved a banner year with 18,000 passengers and $56,000 in freight revenue. The high point for number of employees was 63 in 1920 but the decline was coming. The automobile and the truck “offered portal to portal service and substantial reductions in labor costs.” Furthermore the line could not interchange freight with mainline connections. In 1925 the line was sold and reorganized as the Orange and Fredericksburg Railroad but that was quickly sold to Langhorne Williams, a Richmond banker. The new name was the Virginia Central and the first upgrade was to install standard gauge track in 1926.


Exhibit 13 PF&P Engine and Tender

The line generally operated at a loss until it petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1937 to abandon the 37 miles between Orange and West Fredericksburg. It would continue to operate one mile of track in Fredericksburg as a switching operation for 15 industrial customers.  The Williams family continued to operate that line until 1967 when it was transferred to the city. The line was quickly recognized as a white elephant and although several schemes promised a profit, in March of 1984 the ICC approved final abandonment

Three excellent sources of reading are “Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad Historical Society, Inc.” Volume 5, Issue 4, Fall 2009, “The Virginia Central Railway,” Ames Williams, pages 18-28, Remembering: A History of Orange County, Frank S. Walker Jr., pages 252-256 and “Tracks Through Time; A Railfan Tour of Orange County, Virginia”, Frank S. Walker Jr., page 20, a pamphlet available at the Orange County Visitor Center.

Author: Bob Lookabill
Date: July 2018

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Continue to Chapter 11: the Unfinished Railroad in the Battle of the Wilderness

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

History in Our Backyard Chapter 6: Relive the Battle of the Wilderness

Next month marks the 154th anniversary of one of the largest and most significant battles in America’s Civil War, the Battle of the Wilderness.  Conducted around, and sometimes on, our community’s grounds during the first week of May 1864, the battle is often considered the beginning of the end of the Confederacy.   This year, during the weekend of May 5 and 6, the National Park Service (NPS), in conjunction with local living history re-enactor organizations and the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield, will offer to the public, free of charge, a full range of events and demonstrations commemorating this momentous battle. 

This event will be held on the grounds of Ellwood Manor, a restored plantation home located on Route 20, approximately a half mile from intersection of Route 20 and Route 3.   Participating in the weekend’s activities will be Confederate and Union infantry and cavalry re-enactors as well as individuals depicting key battle commanders such as Generals Ulysses Grant, George Meade, and Gouverneur Warren.   Each participating organization will set up a campsite near Ellwood that will allow you to view several demonstrations of camp life, including stepping into the life of a soldier or learning about the medical realities of war in the mid-19th century.

Exhibit 6 Ellwood Event Layout

Anyone who wants to learn more about this hallowed land where we live should not miss this event.  The activities will be held on the grounds of Ellwood each day on May 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; some will be ongoing and others scheduled at specific times, usually on the hour. 

There will be multiple infantry and cavalry battle demonstrations between the Confederate and Union re-enactors each day.  At 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. both days, the NPS will conduct live fire artillery demonstrations.  At 4 p.m. on Saturday, all of the infantry, cavalry, and artillery units will conduct a combined battle demonstration.  You don’t want to miss these!  Just prior to the midday firing demonstrations each day, you will be able to witness a major confrontation among Generals Grant, Meade, and Warren just as it may have occurred on May 5, 1863.  There will be opportunities to talk to each of the participants and plenty of photo ops in front of the manor house as well as with all re-enactors and horses.

Regardless of what you know about the Wilderness Battle or the Civil War writ large, you will leave Ellwood with a better understanding of and new perspectives about the events that occurred on this hallowed ground and how they affected the final outcome of the war less than a year later. 

For more information about this Living History event, you can visit the local NPS website (www.nps.gov.frsp) or the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield website (www.fowb.org).  They will provide you with additional details about the events and participants, as well as the timeline for specific activities and demonstrations.   Mark your calendars – this weekend is a must see!

Author:  Dick Rankin
Date:  April 2018

Previous Chapter 5: An Oral History (Continued)

Continue to Chapter 7: Jackson’s Flank Attack & Wounding

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.