Category Archives: Real Estate News

4 Easy, Low-Budget Projects Buyers Will Love

If you’re getting ready to sell your home, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to impress buyers. In fact, making just a few small changes can have a lasting impact and help you secure a sale. Here are four easy, low-budget projects you can do on your own—and buyers will love the results!

Updating Hardware and Fixtures

Faucet with running water

Does your kitchen feel a little drab? Is your bathroom still stuck in the 1990s? You probably don’t have to undertake an entire renovation to bring your space into the new decade—adding some updated hardware and fixtures just might do the trick! Today’s buyers are looking for modern yet timeless finishes, so oil-rubbed bronze, brushed nickel, or matte black are all great choices. 

Start by checking out your light fixtures, faucets, or shower heads. Do they look dingy, worn, or out of style? If you’ve tackled a few DIY projects in the past, you can probably update them yourself. For an even easier change, try replacing the pulls on your cabinets—it only costs a few dollars.

Adding Some Fresh Paint

Paint roller

Adding a fresh coat of paint is an easy (and inexpensive!) way to update a room, but it’s crucial to choose the right color to enhance your space. While you might love bright hues or eye-catching wallpapers, buyers may feel differently. When in doubt, it’s best to go with a more neutral shade instead of something bold.

However, just because you’re repainting your home with more subdued tones doesn’t mean you’re limited to white or beige. In fact, grays, pale pink, light sage, and even steel blue are all considered “new neutrals.” It’s okay to experiment with a little bit of color, but be sure to ask your agent for a second opinion.

Maximizing Your Storage Space

An organized closet

Dedicated storage space is one of the most highly sought-after features in today’s market—and buyers are willing to pay a premium for it. Even if your home doesn’t have a lot of storage, you can still enhance what you already have with a few small tweaks.

Buyers often prioritize laundry rooms, closets, and pantries, so it’s best to focus on these spaces if you have them. First, start by decluttering and cleaning your storage areas to maximize every square inch. Adding some shelves, woven baskets, or wall-mounted organizers can create even more storage, too.

Improving Your Curb Appeal

Front porch with a plant

Want to make a great first impression? Don’t forget to update the exterior of your home, too! It’s crucial to wow buyers from the moment they drive up to your home—if they don’t like what they see on the outside, they might never make it inside.  

If you want to up your curb appeal, start by taking a look at your home from the street. Do you see any peeling paint, cracked walkways, or overgrown bushes? These are all repairs that you can tackle during a free afternoon, and you won’t even have to enlist the help of a pro. For a really simple fix, try adding a potted plant or a new welcome mat to your porch.

Are You Ready to List?

Selling your home is no easy task…unless you have the right real estate pro on your side! We’re always here to help you navigate the selling process from start to finish, and we have plenty of staging resources to get your home looking its best. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions and let us know if you’re ready to take your next steps.

Best Neighborhoods in Orange County VA for Young Couples

Orange County Virginia is a very nice place to live, judging by the opinion of a vast number of people. It has a lot to offer and yet it has succeeded in keeping a slow, stress-free, and peaceful lifestyle. If you and your significant other are looking for a place to settle down and make a future, we can help you choose among the best neighborhoods in Orange County VA for young couples. You will enjoy immensely and have an opportunity to do some fun things once your move to Orange County is complete.

What makes a neighborhood a good choice for young couples?

When choosing a place to live, young couples should follow certain criteria that will rule their final decision. Their needs and preferences are, understandably, significantly different from those of retirees, college students or graduates, for example. To be perceived as one of the best neighborhoods in Orange County VA for young couples, here are the features a neighborhood has to possess:

  • To be affordable. – Although there are, of course, young couples who can afford a considerably high standard of living, it is much more probable for them to prefer affordable neighborhoods where the costs of living are lower.
  • To have a strong job market. – Numerous job opportunities are an important factor for everybody, not only young couples. If they cannot find a job easily or earn an income they would like to, they opt for relocation and settling down in another city.
  • To be safe. – Safety is one of the most critical features you can expect from a neighborhood. Since young couples mostly consider starting a family in the near future, this is also yet another reason why safety is important.
  • To have a lot of amenities. – We all know very well that all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, right? Hence, young couples like engaging in various activities once they find some free time after work. Luckily, Orange County VA has it all. Whether they are nature lovers, thrill-seekers, or even partygoers, they will find something to enjoy in this area.

Our choice of the best neighborhoods in Orange County VA for young couples

Once we have defined what young couples value most when choosing a place to live, we can suggest a few neighborhoods in this area they might like. Even organizing a long-distance relocation is the sacrifice worth making if you find exactly what you are looking for right here. You will soon realize that Orange County VA has the reputation of one of the most livable and pleasant places to live in the USA for a very good reason.

Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods is a perfect choice for everybody regardless of their age or marital status. Its home to two very beautiful lakes that give plenty of options for recreational activity, and make a nice alternative than driving to the beach. The unemployment rate here is low since there are numerous job opportunities. As safety is one of the key features to look for, we will stress that the gated community prides itself on keeping all the residents safe with the help of their own security that patrol the streets on a regular basis.

There are a lot of things to see and do here, enjoying the various amenities to spending time in nature. If you have a dog, Lake of the Woods should be your first choice, since the place is genuinely dog-friendly. Here you’ll find substantially sized dog park within the neighborhood that is properly secured for both you and your pet to enjoy.

Young couples who are looking for a place to settle down permanently and start a family soon should seriously consider Lake of the Woods. It is a community that’s centered around each other, as well as in a wonderful school district.

Lastly, there are no short supply of activities to keep you entertained, as community driven clubs and events are constantly occurring with new ones sprouting up on a regular basis. At Lake of the Woods, you’re sure to find a place that truly feels like a forever home.

The Town of Gordonsville

Gordonsville is a small charming town with a lot of small shops and cafes. Although it is usually preferred by those who decide to buy a home in Virginia after retirement,  the situation has recently started to change. A very low crime rate and a lot of outdoor amenities attract all those nature lovers and people who live a healthy lifestyle.

The unemployment rate here tends to be on the higher side when compared to the national average, but the vicinity of some bigger towns increases the number of job opportunities due to short commute time. Also, the cost of living is around the national average, so we can say that living in Gordonsville is a good option for young couples.

The Town of Orange

As you might assume, Orange is the seat of Orange County. It has scored an increase in population in recent years as more and more people, young couples included, are desperately trying to run away from the hustle and bustle of urban areas. The cost of living here is a bit on the pricey side. On the other hand, safety, numerous amenities, and excellent educational facilities are a big plus.

What young couples also like here are nice cafes and restaurants with a warm, friendly atmosphere. They can enjoy a night out, entertain themselves, and still avoid the turbulence of big cities.

Final words on the best neighborhoods in Orange County VA for young couples

Living in Orange County VA is appealing for a great number of people. The County offers all a person needs – to earn a substantial income, have a nice, spacious home, get a good education, and enjoy various leisure activities. While some neighborhoods are a better choice than othres, whatever neighborhood you choose, you will not make a mistake. They are very similar and each and one of them has a distinctive charm that young couples will like.

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Orange, Locust Grove, Culpeper, Norther 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

The Essentials for Entertaining Big in a Small Home

homeowner setting dining tableWith the holiday season approaching, many homeowners are starting to plan get-togethers with friends or family. While entertaining can be more of a challenge in a smaller home, it’s not impossible to host a memorable dinner party with your loved ones if you’re working with limited space.
Here are a few tips for throwing a large dinner party in a small area.

Before Guests Arrive, Clean and Clear Your Home

You don’t have to put as much effort into cleaning and decluttering as if you were selling a home; the basics will do.
Put away any unnecessary furniture, home décor, and kitchen appliances before the dinner party. Clean and dust the rooms that guests will visit: bathrooms, the kitchen, and the dining area. If you have pets, don’t forget to vacuum upholstery and stash toys or the litter box out of sight.

Get Creative with Guest Seating

You likely don’t keep a dozen matching chairs in storage just for dinner parties. Show off your creativity by relocating chairs, stools, benches, or ottomans currently in your home around the dinner table.

appetizers on raised food standsMaximize Your Table Space

Invest in a tiered platter for dinner parties. Raising the serving plates gives the appearance of more space on your counters and tables and keeps your serving stations from looking cramped.
To further free up space on your dining room table, keep the centerpiece decorations to a minimum. Instead, hang decorations from your walls or ceiling to maximize your space.

Trying to Make the Most of Your Space?

If you’re downsizing but still want to entertain friends and family in your new home, there are many ways to make the most of your space while still enjoying memorable occasions with your loved ones. As real estate experts, we can share downsizing tips and help you find a home that’s just the right size. Contact us to learn more.

 Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Orange, Locust Grove, Culpeper, Norther 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

Home Organization Tips for the New Year

dining area with four chairs and a table

Now that 2020 is here and the busyness of the holidays is over, many people are setting New Year’s resolutions — whether personal, professional, or real estate-related. It is the perfect time to set goals and welcome the new year with a fresh start. And what better way to start the new year fresh than by cleaning and organizing your home?

10 Ways to Get Rid of Last Year’s Clutter

“Out with the old, in with the new” as the saying goes. To help you start fresh with a clean and organized home, here are ten tips for kicking out the clutter and keeping it out in the new year.

1. Tackle Holiday Messes First

The busyness of the holidays often brings messes — shredded wrapping paper, loose Christmas tree needles, half-eaten leftovers in the fridge. Cleaning up from the holidays is a great place to start, and HGTV offers a great article about how to clean your home in 45 minutes.

small vacuum cleaner on dark floors in a home2. Vacuum the Floors

Now that the holidays are over and the constant flow of guests has diminished, give your floors a little TLC with a thorough vacuuming. Even this simple cleaning task can make a world of difference in the look and feel of your home.

3. Open the Windows

Freshen up your living spaces by letting in the natural light. Opening the windows helps make your home seem more inviting to both you and your visitors.

4. Refresh and Rearrange

Tired of the layout in your living room or bedrooms? Mix it up for the new year to add flow and a fresh look to your home.

5. Dust in High and Low Places

Give your rooms a thorough dusting to get rid of last year’s grime, starting with the lowest shelf on the bookcase and moving up to the ceiling fans and the hardly seen areas behind your shelves.

6. Replace Light Bulbs and Fix Squeaky Doors

Have a minor fix that you haven’t gotten around to correcting yet? Maybe it’s the burnt-out lightbulb in your bathroom or squeaky door to your closet. Make those tiny repairs now and your home will start to feel new again.

7. Organize and Declutter

We all have that one space we use as a catch-all for our miscellaneous clutter, whether it’s a closet, a chair, or a table. This year, keep the clutter at bay by getting rid of unused items, removing the clutter catch-all, or organizing everything in labeled bins.

8. Donate or Discard Old Clothes

What better way to say “out with the old” than to get rid of any shirts, jackets, pants, or shoes that you no longer wear? Now you’ll have more space in your closets and more room for new clothes.

bathroom clean of grime and clutter9. Deep Clean Your Bathroom

A clean shower door and bathroom wall can do wonders to enhance the overall appearance of your bathroom. DIY Network has several easy cleaning tricks for bathroom sinks, shower heads, and toilets that you can use to get rid of the built-up soap scum and grime.

10. Put Out a New Welcome Mat

What better way to welcome the new year and your guests than with a new, clean welcome mat? You’ll impress your visitors from the moment they walk in, and that curb appeal can do wonders for how even your neighbors perceive your home.

Decluttering Works Well During Home Staging, Too

These home organization tips can work wonders when you sell your home, since the foundation of home staging includes decluttering and cleaning to give buyers the best first impression. If you are selling your home in the new year, we can recommend other home staging tips and resources to help you sell your home quickly and for top dollar.

We hope you had a wonderful New Year’s and are looking forward to what 2020 has in store. Let us know if there is any way we can help make the home selling process easier on you in the new year.

market stats 2019

The LOWdown on Real Estate at the Lake 2019 By Pat Licata

The continued inventory shortage experienced by most regions of the country was evident in Lake of the Woods again in 2019. Listings increased only 6.4%, from 373 in 2018 to 397 in 2019, while closed sales were up 28.6%. New construction accounted for 30 of the 301 sales. The median sold price increased a healthy 8% year over year from $249,900 to $270,000.

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Of the 301 total sales reported in 2019, only 5, or 1 1/2%, were either short sales or foreclosures. At the height of the distressed real estate market in 2010, a whopping 43% of all sales were either short sales or foreclosures.

So let’s look at our steady growth over the past five years:

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In 2015, there were 247 sales, with 15% being distressed. Those total sales represented almost a 30% gain over 2014, and the median sales price was $210,000.  

In 2016, the market was quite flat compared to 2015 in regards to total sales, which held at 243 with a decrease in distressed sales to 11.1. However, 2016 saw the median price jump to $225,000, a healthy 7.1% increase.

In 2017, there were 294 total sales, a whopping 21.1% increase over 2016 with only 5.8% being distressed. The median sales price climbed to $239,000.

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Average days on the market (DOM), which is the number of days it takes from the time a property is listed until it goes under contract, has steadily declined from 127 in 2015 to 57 in 2019.

It’s also telling to note that a significant number of lots have sold in the past five years.  From January 1, 2015-Decemeber 31, 2019, 184 lots exchanged, with 41 occurring in 2019, down from 55 in 2018. There simply aren’t that many lots left in LOW.

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New construction has been climbing, as well. 2015 realized 41 new construction starts; in 2016, there were 28; in 2017, there were 30; in 2018, there were 34; and in 2019, there were 48.

In 2020, according to Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage rates are expected to stay within the 3.7-3.9% range.

The prognosis for 2020, as it was in 2019, is excellent! In LOW, there are 57 homes active on the market as of 1/14/2020. In January of 2018, there were 62. Low, stable rates and hopefully more inventory should propel us to experience healthy sales and appreciation.

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.

4 Tips to Ace Your First Home Purchase

If you ask a homeowner what it was like to buy their first home, they’ll probably mention a few things they’d change if they could do it all again. While it’s impossible to know everything about the home-buying process beforehand, you can still prepare yourself for what lies ahead—and figure out how to avoid some potential pitfalls. Not sure where to begin? Here are some key pointers to keep in mind before starting your search.

You’re Buying More Than a House

Neighborhood

We all know the phrase “love at first sight,” and it can certainly apply to homes, too! Even if you step inside a home and instantly fall in love, it’s crucial to step back and consider the whole picture before making a purchase.

When you buy your first property, you’re investing in more than just four walls. It’s worth paying attention to things like a home’s location, neighborhood, and physical condition, too. Even if you find that open concept kitchen you’ve been dreaming of, it might not be the right fit if it’s in the wrong community or if the rest of the house requires out-of-budget repairs. It’s best to stay realistic and listen to your agent’s (and home inspector’s) advice. Remember, this is likely one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so spend your money wisely!

Down Payments Are Different for Everyone

Piggy bank and house figure

So many would-be buyers are scared of homeownership for one reason: the down payment. Traditionally, you’d put down around 20% on a home and spend anywhere from 10 to 30 years paying your lender back. However, you actually have more flexibility than you might expect. 

Depending on your credit history, location, and occupation, you could be eligible for loans that require as little as 0% down. However, making a larger down payment means you’ll pay less interest to your lender in the long run. Be sure to shop around for the right fit and reach out to your agent with any questions—they’re always available to help you out. 

Prepare for Extra Expenses

House fund coin jar

Homeownership often comes with unexpected expenses, especially right after you move in. When you’re setting a budget for your big purchase, consider adding some wiggle room to allow for any additional and long term costs. You don’t want to realize that you can’t afford your home after you’ve purchased it!

Wondering what kinds of expenses can come up? Inspections, homeowner’s insurance, prepaid taxes and other various closing costs, HOA dues, and repairs are just a few possibilities. You’ll pay for some of these before or at the closing, but certain recurring costs will have to be factored into your monthly budget. 

Get Pre-Approved Before You Start Searching

Tax forms with phone and coffee cup

Once you’ve made the decision to buy, it’s tempting to start looking at listings right away. However, you might want to press pause and complete an essential step before you start scheduling showings. Getting pre-approved for your loan will show sellers and agents that you’re serious about buying—and it can tell you exactly how much you can afford to spend.

Ready to start the pre-approval process? First, you’ll want to get your finances in order and shop around for the right lender. Be sure to have all of your important documents on hand, such as your W-2 tax form, paystubs, and social security card. Most lenders allow you to apply online, and within a few business days, you’ll know whether you’ve been approved or not, as well as the conditions of the loan. 

Are You a First-Time Buyer?

Buying your first home is a big deal, and it’s important to have the right agent by your side throughout the process. If you’re ready to start your search, feel free to reach out to us with any questions. We can’t wait to help jumpstart your journey to homeownership!

 Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Orange, Locust Grove, Norther 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

monthly stats

January 2020 Lake of the Woods Market Statistics

In January, 12 homes sold in Lake of the Woods.
3 sold between $130-200,000;
1 sold between $200-250,000;
4 sold between $250-300,000; 2 sold between $300-400,000;
2 sold above $650,000.

49 Active Listings for Sale
30 Homes Under Contract
12 Homes Sold since January 1, 2020.

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.

Open House on Saturday, February 1st From 1PM – 3PM!

Don’t miss this opportunity to see our newest listing! We’re gonna be showing off this gorgeous home in Lake of the Woods on Saturday, 2/1 from 1PM – 3PM! For more pictures and information, be sure to click on the address below!

503 Yorktown Blvd, Priced at $259,900

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.

Picture-Perfect Home With Gleaming Hardwood Floors in Lake of the Woods! 503 Yorktown Now UNDER CONTRACT!

The stone accents and paved drive welcome you to 503 Yorktown! Once you enter, you are greeted by gleaming hardwoods, cathedral ceilings, cozy fireplace, and a sought-after open floor plan! The ample windows allow the sun to shine in this well-maintained, move-in-ready Lake of the Woods home, where you can enjoy relaxing on the deck or gardening in the level yard. For more information about this listing, Click Here!

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, waterskiing, 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 $150,000+ 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 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.