Category Archives: Northern Virginia

new home

Buying or Selling in 2022? Look for an Agent with These 10 Qualities

Key Takeaways:

  • In today’s hot market, it’s more important than ever to choose the right agent to help you buy or sell a home.
  • Real estate agents don’t just offer local expertise—their insider knowledge and marketing prowess come in handy, too.
  • Thinking about making a move in the new year? Contact us to start planning now!

Here Are the Top 10 Qualities Every Successful Real Estate Agent Should Have

Did you know that 75% of buyers and sellers work with the first agent they meet? It’s true—but that doesn’t mean it’s the best decision. If you want to come out on top in today’s competitive market, experts often recommend interviewing a few candidates before settling on the right real estate professional for the job. And if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve outlined 10 qualities of a highly successful agent.

They keep up with the latest sold data

Analyzing real estate sold data

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you’ll want to keep up with the latest sold data for your neighborhood of choice. Sold data reports consist of homes that recently sold in your area, as well as their final prices. Not only do these numbers help sellers determine an accurate list price, but they can also be used by buyers to gauge an area’s affordability. A top-notch agent should be willing to provide you with up-to-date data every step of the way.

They know what’s happening in the real estate market

It’s hard to know what the real estate market will look like next year. But with careful forecasting, a local agent should be able to provide some valuable insight. Agents can educate buyers and sellers on everything from price fluctuations to mortgage rates—just make sure they’re using accurate data to back up their predictions.

They’re social media savvy

Real estate agent using social media

Nowadays, home-buying and selling primarily happens on the internet. According to recent research, over 95% of buyers start searching for properties online, which makes it imperative that agents maintain an active presence on their social platforms. Be sure to ask your agent about the virtual tools they offer buyers and sellers, such as access to the MLS, social media promotion, and paid advertising. Bonus points if they have their own website, too!

They have a network of contacts

When it comes to buying or selling a home, it truly takes a village. A well-connected agent can refer you to their network of local contacts, such as plumbers, landscapers, lawyers, and so much more. You’ll rest easy knowing that you can trust their recommendations for local service providers!

Their referrals are positive

Buyer or seller leaving online feedback

If an agent provides legendary customer service, their past clients are more than willing to leave positive feedback—or even refer them to their loved ones! Ask your potential agent about their reviews, or take a look online to see what previous buyers and sellers have to say about working with them.

They’re punctual

This one should be a given! The current real estate market moves faster than ever before, which makes punctuality an even more important quality than usual. If your agent is on-time (or early!) to your appointments, you’ll know they’re treating you like a priority.

It’s easy to get in touch

Scheduling an appointment with a real estate agent

Keeping in touch is key when it comes to real estate, so you’ll want to share the same method of communication as your agent. Tell your agent from the beginning whether you prefer to text, email, or talk on the phone. Not responding in a timely manner is a big red flag.

They’re shrewd negotiators

Buyers and sellers alike should look for an agent with top-notch negotiation skills to get them the best possible price. And if you want to evaluate a real estate agent’s prowess, just ask yourself this question: how well did they negotiate with you to win your business?

They’ve built their own brand

Buyers getting the keys to their new home

Real estate agents don’t just help you buy or sell a home—they need to be expert marketers on both sides of the transaction. Solid branding can help agents rise to the top of the competition and build a reputation that people rely on, trust, and recognize. Exploring an agent’s social media and website can give you a good idea of their personal branding strategies.

You get along with them

When you’re trusting someone with one of your biggest investments, it’s crucial to get along on both a professional and personal level. If you can’t have difficult conversations with your agent—or if you don’t get along with them—consider going with another candidate. Personality can sometimes trump experience!

Find the Right Agent for Your Move

Ready to start planning your 2022 move? Now is the time to find the perfect agent for the job! Contact us today to learn more about what we bring to the table, or explore our other resources to get a head start on buying or selling. We’re always here to offer superior service throughout every step of the transaction!

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 homeowners. 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 suburban neighborhood

The Differences between City, Suburban, and Rural Living

Every person in the world has a different opinion when it comes to urban and countryside lifestyles. Some would never give up the city amenities, no matter the financial burden and health threats that kind of life imposes. Others who experienced country life say that getting away from the city where you wake up to the sound of birds instead of traffic noise has no price. Still, there is a third option for those who are a part of both of these worlds – the suburbs. Each of these has many benefits and some downsides. Knowing the differences between city, suburban, and rural living can help you find where you belong if you’re starting to reconsider your living conditions.

Life in rural areas

Life in the countryside is a dream come true for anyone who wants to get rid of stress and anxiety induced by big-city survival. Rural living includes life in the open, spread-out areas and small communities. There is a lot of undeveloped lands, usually surrounded by magnificent nature.

This lifestyle is a choice of people who enjoy close-knit communities, where everyone knows each other. You get to enjoy the vast space, lovely views, healing nature. This is the perfect choice for people in search of more sustainable ways of living. With a bit of gardening and farming skills, you can provide for yourself and your family and perhaps even start a small business. In addition, the peace, quiet and clean air makes it perfect for those working remotely.

Since Virginia offers majestic nature, many young families and retirees decide to move to local counties. Besides the obvious health benefits of clean air and a stress-free environment, they provide a lower cost of living and much more affordable housing.

Countryside in Virginia
Magnificent woods, lakes, rivers, and trails could be at your disposal if you move to the countryside.

The downsides of living in the countryside

Even though countryside residents have many health and financial benefits, there are some downsides. One of them is the commute issue. If you don’t work close to your home, you’ll need to drive to work in the city. Even though some rural areas such as Orange County are less than 30 miles from Charlottesville, which makes the commute to work bearable, not all places have the same luck.

In addition, local shops and amenities can be found only in the strict village center. Thus, you will need to stock up on food and supplies to avoid driving to town anytime you need something. That means that families usually need more than one car to get around. Also, with fewer amenities, you have fewer available services. Not being used to this occurrence can be hard if you’ve moved from the city to the countryside. However, living in rural areas makes you resilient and craftier. After you get used to such living, you’ll eliminate the need for many things.

Suburban life

There are clear differences between city, suburban, and rural living, including housing costs, development patterns, and population numbers. However, the difference between suburban and city lifestyles was never clearly defined. Finding the perfect home in a suburb is a choice of many growing families, young professionals, and retirees searching for a slower pace and more affordable cost of living. The benefits of such a lifestyle are many since you get to live peacefully and more comfortably. Plus, the commute to work isn’t as daunting as when you live in the countryside.

A house in a suburban neighborhood
Suburban lifestyle, no matter how convenient, may often lack green surfaces and have nearly the same living costs as the city does.

The good and bad side of being “in-between”

Life in the suburbs is different from city life due to a slower pace and more affordable housing. Still, a suburb is considered a subset of the city. There is no official definition for it. It’s not a central part of the city, nor is it a town of its own. Some suburbs share some country-like living amenities, but still, they are not the countryside either. The cost of living is very similar to that in cities, and since cities are constantly growing and expanding, places around them are often modified with new buildings construction.

It’s safe to say that cities are slowly swallowing the suburbs, making them closer to the core. This is a good and a bad thing since you will be a homeowner in a competitive market. Still, everything you were trying to avoid while living in the city will eventually catch up with you. However, if you’ve tasted the suburban life and you need more action, maybe the city is something worth considering. Since most moving companies provide their services to wider areas, a transfer to the city from the suburbs is not something you should worry about.

City lifestyle

Needless to say that cities are the centers of happenings. They are densely populated hubs of industries, cultures, and politics. There is no better place for work opportunities, education, social and cultural life, and thousands of other amenities. Often you will hear that cities have a life of their own, that they never sleep, and that is true. They are the places where everything is happening, where progress takes place and dreams come true. Still, achieving those dreams is not always easy.

Busy streets of Richmond, VA
One of the perks of living in the city is the fact that you can get almost everywhere on foot.

Life in the city takes its toll

Even though life in the city can give a lot, it takes the same. To sustain in such an environment, you have to work very hard and overburden yourself with life’s many stressful factors. Daily traffic jams, rush, ever-emerging bills, limited living space, polluted air, lack of green surfaces, high costs of living, and many other small things add up to a substantial overwhelming worry. For example, for the price of a tiny apartment in NYC, you can get two beautiful homes in the countryside. This change can help you get the home of your dreams and a passive income. Even with the recent fluctuations in the housing markets worldwide, investing in real estate is always a great idea.

City life eats your money, and you can never earn as much as you can spend. No wonder if you feel a sudden rush to run away from it all. You don’t have to make a radical change and move to the countryside, but you can try living in the suburbs for a while. Even though the moving process takes a lot of time and preparation, you can still get everything ready in 7 days if you develop a good strategy.

Conclusion

Leaving the city would certainly make you healthier. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be happier. Country life is not for everyone – you have to be ready for it. The urge to get away is becoming more frequent with young Newyorkers who are moving to the countryside looking for sustainable ways of living. Others, however, find it hard to let go of all the city amenities. In addition, for some, the move is a financial necessity or comes with age. Still, it’s essential to know your options when the time comes to change directions. Whether you decide to focus on your career, family, or eco-friendly lifestyle, understanding the differences between city, suburban, and rural living can help you turn your life around.

Meta description: When looking for new living conditions knowing the differences between city, suburban, and rural living can help you turn your life around.

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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 homeowners. 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.

3115 Lakeview Pkwy, WATERFRONT LOT for Sale Lake of the Woods Virginia 22508

3115 Lakeview Pkwy, WATERFRONT LOT, Lake of the Woods Virginia 22508 now UNDER CONTRACT!

Imagine the memories you’ll make! Spectacular sunsets from the perfect lake home or dock designed by you and built for you are just the beginning! This deep, incredibly beautiful main lake wooded lot offers 64 feet of sensational, clean and clear water frontage that is the perfect backdrop for your new lake home! Whether you enjoy your day on the boat, kayak, jet ski, simply swimming or floating from your dock, or entertaining family and friends, this lot provides the ideal setting for your dream home. So let’s get this lake home and lake life started! Situated on the main lake, you’ll love the lifestyle! If you also enjoy history and/or hiking, your new home will be across the street from the Wilderness Battlefield walking trials for easy access.

A private, gated, secured community, Lake of the Woods offers anything and everything you could possibly want. Home to two lakes (the 550 acre main lake and a 35 acre “fishing lake”), a golf course, an equestrian center, a fire and rescue department, and a church all within the gates, Lake of the Woods simply has it all. Whether your passion is boating, water skiing, kayaking, golfing, horseback riding, or simply taking in the breathtaking views from the clubhouse while enjoying a fabulous meal, from your own deck or yard, or from one of the beaches, you won’t be disappointed! Perhaps you’d like a game of bridge or volunteering your time and talents… Lake of the Woods offers more than 60 clubs and/or organizations from which you may choose to become involved. Located in Orange County, we are fortunate to enjoy low real estate taxes. Coupled with home prices ranging from the mid-$100,000s to over $2,000,000, Lake of the Woods is the perfect community for both full-time residents, as well as weekenders. But don’t take my word for it, please come see for yourself! I will gladly give you a tour of Lake of the Woods by boat and by car so that you may experience why I love Lake of the Woods!

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 homeowners. 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.

Virginia scenery

Ways to Prepare for a Long-Distance Move in Virginia

A long-distance move needs to be properly planned. You cannot simply pop over and fix things you had forgotten to handle the way you can when moving just to the other side of town. So, take the time to organize the process properly, and give yourself at least a few months to do it! To help with this, here are ways to prepare for a long-distance move in Virginia.

Plan for pets and children in advance

Even if you are moving to one of the hottest neighborhoods in Orange County, your kids, no matter how excited they are, are still going to be stressed and worried about the move. The uncertainty, leaving their childhood home, and the difficulties of a long-distance move will all combine. Make sure to set some time aside to calm them down and keep an eye on them throughout the process. Your pets will similarly likely go through a crisis. This will be compounded by the fact that some species do not handle relocation and travel well at all. Make sure their travel carriers are covered in breathable cloth since it might help them calm down.

A relaxed puppy in a box
Keeping your pets relaxed and happy will let you focus on the move better!

Update your address on all your documents

It is important to remember that your documents will need to be updated with your new address. This might take some time, but make sure to do it anyway. If at all possible, in fact, do it before your move. You will likely be busy enough as it is, trying to handle everything when you are there. So something like updating your address could slip your mind in the chaos. Still, it can cause any number of issues, starting with getting your driving license suspended, so the importance of it is not to be underestimated.

Call off your subscriptions and redirect your mail

Your mail will still be delivered to your old address unless you take the time to visit your local post office and have them redirect it to its proper new destination. This is another thing you need to do before you move, since it would be time-consuming and complicated to accomplish from your new home instead. Similarly, do not forget to cancel or redirect any subscriptions you have bound to your previous address.

Find a reliable moving company

When it comes to a long-distance move in Virginia and hiring a moving company, you want an easy process without any troubles. After all, it will be the very first step into your new life. You do not want to get off on the wrong foot. The best way to ensure this is to get cost estimates from multiple companies first. This will let you eliminate both the ridiculously expensive ones and obvious scams. You will easily recognize the latter. They will be promising you a move for next to no money at all. Make sure they have references from other customers and chat with them. You can then decide relatively safely on the company you prefer.

A moving company at work helping clients prepare for a long-distance move in Virginia.
Make sure to iron out all the details in the contract you sign!

Get insurance

Get a good insurance policy! It is not a waste of money. It is a precaution, and it is foolish not to have it. If there is an accident, and you do end up losing everything, it will soften the blow. You will not be able to replace sentimental items, of course, but at least you will not be going into your new life with next to nothing to your name.

Make a solid schedule and stick to it

This is important since moving companies, good moving companies at least, have rigid schedules. You could lose your contract and the money you paid if you fail to keep to the plan you had agreed to. In addition to this, it will help keep things on track, and you will always know exactly what needs to be done and when. This will help reduce the stress and uncertainty a long-distance move can entail. You will also know how much time you have to find a good realtor for the sale of your old home, so you can plan around getting your hand on those funds.

Decide what to leave behind

You can’t take all of your belongings with you. Or rather, you probably could, but it would cost even more money, time, and effort. This is an excellent opportunity to go through your stuff and decide what you really need and what you no longer even want. In turn, not only would you trim your luggage, you could donate to charity, give away gifts and heirlooms, or even organize a sale and earn back some money for at least minor spending upon your arrival at your new home.

Pack smartly and well in advance to prepare for a long-distance move in Virginia

Even if you have just bought a vacation home in Virginia and are not planning to live there full-time, packing right is important. When moving permanently, it is even more crucial. You need to get quality shipping containers. Preferably plastic, since cardboard boxes easily get wet, torn, or damaged. You can even get recyclable versions. You need to mark what has gone into each container so you know what is where. Finally, you need to organize your luggage so that the least important items are packed into the trucks first. That way, you can quickly get at the important things. And don’t forget to pack the most important items and toiletries into a bag you keep with you at all times! This includes essential documents such as school and medical records.

A moving box used creatively.
If you do opt for traditional boxes, there is plenty you can do with them after the move is over!

Say goodbye to your friends and neighbors

Chances are, you will not be able to easily visit your old friends and neighbors. So, take the time to properly say goodbye. Go on one last outing together. Have fun and try to revisit old memories. It is always good to foster friendships, and you can always keep in touch online!

Conclusion

We hope that our list of ways to prepare for a long-distance move in Virginia was informative and helpful! Good luck, and we are sure that if you stick to what we discussed, your move will at least be a lot less stressful than it otherwise would have been.

Meta Description: Check out our list of ways to prepare for a long-distance move in Virginia and learn everything you will possibly need!

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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 homeowners. 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.

virginia winter market 2021

Our Full Guide to This Winter’s Cooled-Down Market

Key Takeaways:

  • According to this winter’s market forecast, there’s going to be a flurry of new housing inventory that benefits both buyers and sellers.
  • More housing inventory provides additional options for buyers and newfound confidence for sellers who need to find a home after they list.
  • Thinking about making a move? It’s not too early to begin planning—and by starting now, you’ll be settled in your next home by the new year!

The Winter Weather Forecast Is Calling for a Cooled-Down Market

It might still be the beginning of autumn, but it’s never too early to start planning a successful home sale! If you’re thinking about listing your home this winter, you should expect the market to look a little different by the end of the year. Winter is usually the quietest time for real estate, which means you can look forward to a cooled-down winter market forecast. A slower-moving market will give sellers more time to prepare their listings and peruse the market for their next homes.

Here’s what more housing inventory means for sellers

homeowners meeting with realtor

After enduring a red-hot sellers’ market so far in 2021, this year’s winter market forecast is finally calling for increased housing inventory. More homes on the market means two things for sellers: they gain more time to prepare their listings, but they might need to do a little more to stand out from the competition.

With additional properties expected to hit the market this winter, we want to make sure you get your home listed before our area gets snowed in with sellers. From highlighting your home’s top features to marketing it to targeted buyers, we can sell your property for top dollar in no time.

Homebuyers, your holiday present is here

homeowners hugging in kitchen

Instead of a present under the tree, what if we could give you a new home instead? Current predictions indicate an onset of new housing inventory this winter, which means more options for buyers. So bundle up buyers—it’s finally going to be your turn to make a move in the market. More housing inventory and continually low interest rates could lead to a long-awaited decrease in home prices, all of which will help create a more balanced market.

As your local area experts, we know how to land your dream home in just the right community. So whether you’ve been browsing for your next home or already know you’re going to need a house after you sell, you can count on us to find your perfect place. And by using our comprehensive market reports, we can help you secure a home within your budget, too!

Now’s the time to take advantage of this year’s wintery market mix

couple meeting with realtor over coffee

While it might be tempting to put off listing your home until after the holiday season, you never know when the market is going to shift again. Trying to time the market is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a homeowner, and we’re here to assure you that this winter (or even fall!) is the time to make your real estate move.

Both buyers and sellers can take advantage of this year’s wintery market mix of competitive listings and increased housing inventory. New properties on the market will provide buyers with more housing options to choose from, and sellers can list their homes knowing that they’ll be able to find a new place after they sell. And if you’re listing soon, you don’t have to worry about making your property stand out—our top-notch agents can handle all the details.

Ready to Slide Into the Market This Winter?

Hop on your sleds, we’re ready to help you slide into the real estate market this winter! Buying or selling your home—even during the holiday season—doesn’t have to be stressful. Allow us to handle all the details of your real estate transaction for you this winter, so you can be settled in your next home by the new year!

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 homeowners. 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.

buy a second home in Virginia in the woods

Does it Make Sense to Buy a Second Home in Virginia in 2021

After settling down in your home, you start thinking about how to spend your time when you’re away. Spending days traveling is great, but sometimes we wish for a base. Somewhere we want a place to come back to any time we want and relax away from our daily routines. A home away from home seems like a perfect solution. Picking a favorite location and purchasing a second home there is the dream of many families. However, it’s not easy to make this decision – it’s a costly investment and takes time and effort to maintain. But, buying a vacation home surely has its benefits, and we’re here to help you decide if you should go for it. Let’s see if it makes sense to buy a second home in Virginia in 2021 and provide your family with a fantastic place to spend future vacations. 

What are the factors that may stop you from buying a second home?

Every purchase has its pros and cons. When it comes to buying a second home, the factor that worries most buyers are the costs. Making your dream of having a second home come true possibly requires a  new mortgage, but also maintenance costs. Second homes need regular maintenance, furnishing but also paying unexpected costs whenever they come up. Finally, if your first house is located far away, visiting the second home frequently comes with increased travel expenses. 

Remember: Make sure you evaluate your budget carefully before purchasing a second home. Even though this investment comes with additional costs, it shouldn’t be a heavy burden on your budget. Include all the factors and expenses, including taxes, which apply differently to owners of vacation homes. 

 beachfront vacation properties

Even though they have a lot of benefits, vacation properties can cost a lot.

It’s a permanent holiday destination 

Another reason why people hesitate to buy a second home is related to traveling. When owning a vacation home, you hardly ever decide to go somewhere else, which may become monotonous over the years. However, families who love peaceful vacations and a homey base will surely love having a place to go whenever possible. 

Reasons why buying a second home in Virginia makes sense

If you decide to buy a second home in Virginia in 2021, you need to consider all the pros and cons. However, we feel that all the advantages will win over. Let’s go through all the benefits that will show that this decision actually makes sense. 

It’s a home away from home

Even though this seems like just a phrase, owning a second home means heaving a retreat from daily tasks – any time you want. If you decide to buy a second home, pick a location where you can truly enjoy your days off – and Virginia has a lot of them to offer. This way, you can be sure you can have a weekend getaway or a longer vacation in your favorite location where all the daily chores, work stress, and other problems simply disappear.

a road in the woods in Virginia

With just a short ride away, you can have a home away from your home.

You can save on vacations 

Having somewhere to go anytime you need a vacation can save you money, too. You don’t need to spend a lot on hotels, flights, etc. This way, you can have a great vacation – on a budget. Furthermore, the previous year and the global pandemic have prevented people from traveling abroad, so many of them decided to buy a second home within the same state. This is usually far enough to change your environment, but not travel too far away from your home.

Father and son on the beach

If you plan on renting it as a vacation home, it makes sense to buy a second home in Virginia.

Second-home can become a source of income 

Another budget-related advantage of owning a second home is earning from rentals. This investment can become a steady source of income despite some additional expenses that rentals have. However, what worries buyers is the global pandemic that stopped travel and reduced rental revenues. Hopefully, the pandemic is coming to an end, which is why it makes sense to buy a second home in Virginia in 2021. 

Ready for the big purchase?

Buying a second home in Virginia is so exciting, but picking the best location may be challenging. Many interesting nature spots can be a perfect retreat for your family. Do some research and choose the place you will enjoy the most. The next step would be purchasing the property and moving in. 

With both of these, make sure you trust the professionals. Local real estate experts will ensure you find the best property, as they are knowledgeable about the market. Also, an experienced agent will guide you through the buying process and make it a lot simpler. The next step is moving in. Again, trusting a professional to handle your relocation to the new home is essential if you want to minimize the stress and save time. Browse only trusted moving pros at bestcrosscountrymovers.com so you can be sure your items are safe. Unfortunately, the moving industry is filled with low-quality companies, so be sure to do your best to avoid them. 

Prepare for the stay 

If you plan on staying in your second home longer, make sure you prepare your first home first. This means you should turn off the water, get rid of perishable food, take care of your plants or find someone to do it for you. Now you can stay on vacation as long as you want. However, you need to prepare well for a more extended stay.

Pack your vacation items safely 

Once you buy your vacation home in Virginia, you can transport all the vacation essentials there. This way, you won’t risk damaging them when you pack every time you travel. For example, if you love fishing, you will want to pack your fishing equipment so it can travel safely. If you want to bring fishing gear with you, explore the main packing guidelines to keep the items protected during transport and enjoy your favorite hobby without any problems.

Take your time to feel at home 

As you can see, it makes perfect sense to buy a second home in Virginia in 2021. And once you do, remember that settling in a new property is not always fast. Take your time adapting your second home just the way you want it, so you can make it a true oasis for your family.

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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 homeowners. 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.

3 Charts That Show This Isn’t a Housing Bubble

With home prices continuing to deliver double-digit increases, some are concerned we’re in a housing bubble like the one in 2006. However, a closer look at the market data indicates this is nothing like 2006 for three major reasons.

1. The housing market isn’t driven by risky mortgage loans.

Back in 2006, nearly everyone could qualify for a loan. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) from the Mortgage Bankers’ Association is an indicator of the availability of mortgage money. The higher the index, the easier it is to obtain a mortgage. The MCAI more than doubled from 2004 (378) to 2006 (869). Today, the index stands at 130. As an example of the difference between today and 2006, let’s look at the volume of mortgages that originated when a buyer had less than a 620 credit score.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, reiterates this point:

“There are marked differences in today’s run up in prices compared to 2005, which was a bubble fueled by risky loans and lenient underwriting. Today, loans with high-risk features are absent and mortgage underwriting is prudent.”

2. Homeowners aren’t using their homes as ATMs this time.

During the housing bubble, as prices skyrocketed, people were refinancing their homes and pulling out large sums of cash. As prices began to fall, that caused many to spiral into a negative equity situation (where their mortgage was higher than the value of the house).

Today, homeowners are letting their equity build. Tappable equity is the amount available for homeowners to access before hitting a maximum 80% combined loan-to-value ratio (thus still leaving them with at least 20% equity). In 2006, that number was $4.6 billion. Today, that number stands at over $8 billion.

Yet, the percentage of cash-out refinances (where the homeowner takes out at least 5% more than their original mortgage amount) is half of what it was in 2006.

3. This time, it’s simply a matter of supply and demand.

FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) dominated the housing market leading up to the 2006 housing bubble and drove up buyer demand. Back then, housing supply more than kept up as many homeowners put their houses on the market, as evidenced by the over seven months’ supply of existing housing inventory available for sale in 2006. Today, that number is barely two months.

Builders also overbuilt during the bubble but pulled back significantly over the next decade. Sam Khater, VP and Chief Economist, Economic & Housing Research at Freddie Macexplains that pullback is the major factor in the lack of available inventory today:

“The main driver of the housing shortfall has been the long-term decline in the construction of single-family homes.”

Here’s a chart that quantifies Khater’s remarks:

Today, there are simply not enough homes to keep up with current demand.

Bottom Line

This market is nothing like the run-up to 2006. Bill McBride, the author of the prestigious Calculated Risk blog, predicted the last housing bubble and crash. This is what he has to say about today’s housing market:

“It’s not clear at all to me that things are going to slow down significantly in the near future. In 2005, I had a strong sense that the hot market would turn and that, when it turned, things would get very ugly. Today, I don’t have that sense at all, because all of the fundamentals are there. Demand will be high for a while because Millennials need houses. Prices will keep rising for a while because inventory is so low.”

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 homeowners. 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.

soon to be parents financial planning

Fundamental Financial Planning Tips for Soon-to-Be Parents

Getting married and starting a family is life-changing. While you’re likely incredibly excited about welcoming children into the world, try not to get ahead of yourself! It’s important that you and your partner are on sound financial footing before embarking on the financial—and emotional—roller coaster that is parenting. If you’re about to get married, and you’re thinking about starting a family, familiarize yourself with the following financial planning tips to ensure you’re prepared, presented by The Licata Group Real Estate.

Make a Will and Declare a Guardian

Writing wills is never fun. No one wants to think about what will happen to their kids in the event of their untimely death. Although these tragic events are rare, they do occur, so it’s always best to plan for the worst. As The Bump explains, drafting a will ensures that your wishes will be carried out regarding how your children are cared for, as well as who will be caring for them, if something should happen to you. Besides dividing up your property among your beneficiaries, your will can be used to declare a guardian for your children. You may also want to include a healthcare proxy and power of attorney to ensure your financial and medical wishes are carried out if an accident or illness prevents you from making these decisions yourself.

Purchase Life Insurance

While you may have been fine without life insurance when you were single and childless, getting married and starting a family changes everything. Now, you have people who depend on you financially. If you should pass away unexpectedly, would your spouse and children be able to maintain their lifestyle without your income? For most young families, the answer is no. This is why every parent—even stay-at-home moms—should consider life insurance! 

You also have to think about your funeral and burial expenses. No family should have to navigate tough financial decisions during a period of intense grief, so make a plan to cover your final expenses while you have the chance. One solution is to purchase a pre-paid funeral. Not all pre-paid funeral plans make financial sense, so take the time to understand what these arrangements will cover and whether this really is the best option for you and your family.

Create an Emergency Savings Fund

Life insurance isn’t the only financial safety net you should have in place. An emergency savings fund can protect your family from taking on debt to cover sudden, unexpected expenses like major home repairs, car breakdowns, medical emergencies, or periods of unemployment. If both you and your spouse hold steady jobs, start by saving three months of living expenses in your emergency fund. If only one spouse works or you’re self-employed, it’s a good idea to put away more.

Remember to Plan for Your Retirement

It’s easy to postpone retirement planning when you have so many other things to save for, like your children’s post-secondary education, but NBC News Better stresses the importance of prioritizing your retirement savings over that of your children’s education. Your kids will have access to several funding opportunities when it comes time for college, including scholarships, student loans, and grants. You, on the other hand, will have to make do with the money you’ve saved up for retirement. 

Develop a Household Budget

Budgeting is the best way to ensure you can afford the additional costs of raising children while at the same time meeting your family savings goals. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to spending. Plan your budget together, differentiating between things your household really needs and things you would like to have. At the same time, remember to set some money aside for fun activities like date nights or going out with friends.

Of course, your household budget can change a little when you decide to purchase a home. There are a lot of things you’ll need to take into consideration when you buy a house, from saving up for the down payment and securing a home loan. There are also things you may not have considered, such as reducing the interest rate on your loan by paying points on the mortgage. The Licata Group Real Estate can help you throughout the process, so get in touch with one of our agents whenever you’re ready.

Discussing your financial plans is a chance to build a stronger bond with your new spouse. While talking about money may not be the most romantic activity, it can be fun making goals and dreaming about your future together. Getting your finances organized now will set your family up for a lifetime of stability and stress-free living!

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 homeowners. 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.

Reap the Benefits of Your Realtor Even After You’ve Moved

Key Takeaways:

  • Our real estate expertise goes far beyond just buying or selling your home—you can rely on us for quality resources before and after you’ve moved.
  • Whether you’re searching for the best local handyman, a notary, or something else entirely, you can trust our vetted providers to get the job done.
  • If you ever need a real estate recommendation—today or years down the road—just give us a call for personalized advice!

Unlock Our Exclusive Real Estate Recommendations

We like to consider ourselves real estate experts, and we love being able to share our knowledge with you! Throughout our years of working in the housing market, we’ve formed deep relationships with not only our clients, but with local trusted businesses, too. We’ve vetted these vendors ourselves so that you don’t have to play the costly game of trial and error.

Need some personalized recommendations or strategic advice? Here’s how your agent can serve you even after you’ve moved.

Sellers, we don’t stop at “SOLD”

couple with a sold sign

When we say we’re by your side every step of the way, we mean it—which means our services never stop at “SOLD!” Whether we’ve just listed your home or already sold it, we know there’s always more work to be done. Seemingly small details go a long way in making a house a home. We’ve worked with the best professional landscapers, painters, and cleaners in the area—all contacts you need to put the finishing touches on your space.

We consider our clients to be one of our own, which means our exclusive buying and selling resources are always available to you. At any time, you can see if your home value has increased using our free estimator or jumpstart the buying process after you sell with our advanced search tool. Our real estate professionals have gained invaluable experience in working with our clients, so we try to return the favor whenever possible by providing in-depth insight.

New homeowners, you’re not done with us yet

Couple holding keys to a home

We loved helping you find your dream home so much that we want to keep working with you—and honestly, we think we’re going to need each other! Homeownership is a huge investment, so you want your new place to be in tip-top shape at all times.

First things first, it’s important to change your locks when you move into your home, since you don’t know who might have a copy of your keys. Don’t know of a local locksmith? Don’t worry, we’ll open some doors for you! Don’t let a household repair linger just because you don’t know a trusted provider who can get the job done. Whether you’re looking for a handyman to lend a helping hand on a home project or need repairs for your HVAC, you can count on our personalized recommendations for the most reliable providers in the area!

And for when you’ve been watching (maybe too much) HGTV

Older couple talking about renovations

We get it, watching Fixer Upper makes you want to DIY your entire home, especially if you’re thinking about listing soon or just moved in. But for when you’re not in the mood to do it all yourself, we’ve got contacts for everything from new light fixtures to full-on home renovations. Our desire for you to live in your dream home doesn’t stop when you sign the closing documents, and we will always be available to help with any home improvements.

Want Access to Our Preferred Vendors?

Working with a top-notch real estate agent means you’ve gained a partner for life. So when anything comes up in your buying, selling, or homeownership journey, just give us a call!

Whether you’re at the beginning of the selling process or have already bought your dream home, you can always rely on us to connect you with the area’s best vendors. Contact us today for any recommendations you may need—and don’t forget, we’re locals too, and we love to catch up with our clients!

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 homeowners. 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.

Practical Tips to Declutter Your Home (and Keep It That Way)

As more of us become aware of the fact that we might have too much stuff laying around, decluttering has gone from an occasional chore to a lifestyle trend. This is a positive shift, especially given the global problems caused by waste, but it can be difficult to know how to go about it. 

The facts are, a less cluttered house can reduce your stress and lead to a happier life according to clinical psychologist Jaime Zuckerman. Not only is it good for your mental health, it can also be good for your wallet as decluttering and taking care of cleaning and tidying projects can actually increase your home appraisal.

Some people call in “decluttering experts,” but the truth is that unless you have a hoarding situation on your hands, you don’t need this service. Courtesy of The Licata Group, here are some tips for how you can minimize and declutter on your own. 

Thinking of purchasing or selling a property? The Licata Group can help you navigate the Lake of the Woods housing market. Call us today at (540) 388-2541.

Pick a Decluttering Strategy

If you don’t know where to start with decluttering, there are many existing strategies you can use. These range from the now-famous KonMari method of sorting and decluttering possessions to the Minimalist Game, where you get rid of an increasing number of things based on the day of the month. Pick one that seems doable for you, and you may find the structure of a defined method helps you actually follow through.

Make Plans for Getting Rid of Stuff

What do you do with the bags of stuff you’ve decided to get rid of? Whether you’re going to the recycling center or a charity, know exactly when, where, and how you’ll tackle things. Alternatively, arrange a pick-up from an organization that offers that service. 

Additionally, if you have any large, bulky items you no longer need, consider hiring junk haulers to properly dispose of them. In addition to appliances, professional removal services will handle things like mattresses, carpeting, and furniture. What’s more, they’ll make sure these items end up where they belong, whether it’s a junkyard or a local recycling center.

Hack Your Storage Space

Some of us aren’t blessed with a lot of storage space, even post-declutter. Luckily, there are organization hacks to help you with every room in the house. Use under-bed space in the bedroom, invest in furniture and decor that doubles as storage (such as trunks and ottomans), and use narrow spaces (like the one between your fridge and cabinet) to install vertical storage. And if you want to spruce up those shelves and drawers, use removable wallpaper, which you can find in a number of modern looks. This is also a good solution since it’s easy to swap out designs whenever the mood strikes you.

Set Up a Cleaning Schedule

Now that your home is looking tidy and clutter-free, it’s time to keep it clean. Set a regular cleaning schedule — and then stick to it. For some, this could mean setting aside Sunday mornings for cleaning; for others, a weekly schedule with a couple of small daily tasks is easier. Just make sure it fits with your routine and you can actually picture yourself doing it. 

Control Your Buying

According to the Atlantic, Americans bought an average of 66 garments in 2017. Are spending habits like these part of why you had to declutter in the first place? If so, you need to re-evaluate this, or you will end up with a cluttered closet again in a matter of months. 

You don’t have to go full minimalist or swear to never buy anything again, but you can learn to buy less stuff. Buy good-quality items that last longer, remove temptations like email mailing lists and free delivery subscriptions, and buy only items that you have a planned, concrete use for. 

The act of decluttering itself can be fun and exhilarating. It feels great to see a home that feels cleaner, tidier, and more relaxing. Realistically, the hardest part is keeping things that way. The secret to effective decluttering is not to approach it as a one-time exercise, but as a gradual change in your consumer and home maintenance habits. Over time, you will start to value the long-term comfort and ease of a clutter-free home over the intense (but brief) rush of buying and acquiring new stuff.

Photo via Pexels.

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Orange, Locust Grove, Northern Virginia, or even Maryland or DC, we are your Real Estate team committed to finding the perfect home for you! Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by homeowners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar, and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, one of our area expert advisors 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 properties, please visit our website licatagroup.com