Tag Archives: first time home owners

Saving up for a New Home? Here Are All the Costs You Need to Know

Once you’ve found the perfect home and secured the loan, all that’s left to do is start chipping away at those mortgage payments…right? In actuality, there are a handful of other, often-overlooked expenses that come with buying a home, but as long as you know what you’re getting into, they’re plenty manageable.

Take a look at our comprehensive list of all the costs of buying a home.

One-Time Payments & Closing Costs

A person holding up keys to a house.

Closing Costs

For buyers, closing costs are typically low and range from 2-5% of your purchase price. A lot of these costs are one-time expenses, and totals can vary from state-to-state.

If you want a better idea of what closing costs could be for you, check out this helpful guide on the average payments for each state.

Miscellaneous Fees

There are quite a bit of one-time fees bundled into your closing costs, but most of them are pretty inexpensive. Some of the most common expenses include the home inspection, appraisal, credit report, deed recording, land survey, notary fees, title insurance, and document prep fees.

Recurring Payments

A woman and a child counting coins.

Mortgage Payments

Mortgage payments are the most obvious cost when buying a home. These are your predictable, monthly payments decided by both the final price of your home and your down payment—in addition to a few other bundled costs. A larger down payment means a smaller mortgage payment, and it’s a good idea to pay this off quickly, since it will accumulate interest.

Property Taxes

Property tax payments don’t go towards just one thing—they actually cover quite a bit, like road construction, community maintenance, public works, and local government salaries. The exact amount you’ll pay in property tax is calculated by the county based on your home’s value, and the rates tend to rise and fall over time. Many buyers pay their property taxes through an escrow account set up by the lender.

Homeowner’s Insurance

It’s better to have insurance and not need it than need insurance and not have it, so homeowner’s insurance is pretty crucial to home owning. While it’s almost always required when you get a mortgage and then bundled into your monthly payments, be sure to double-check that you’re covered.

Private Mortgage Insurance

If you can’t afford a 20% down payment on your home, you’ll have to pay PMI as a way to ensure that the lender won’t go under if you default on your loan. You don’t have to pay PMI forever—it ends once you pay off 78% or more of the principal amount—but until then, expect to pay up to 2% of your loan amount annually.

HOA Fees

Moving to a neighborhood with an HOA? Your dues can range anywhere from under a hundred dollars to over a thousand, but they come with perks like landscaping and exterior maintenance, and some even include added benefits like swimming pools and fitness centers. Not all neighborhoods have an HOA, but your agent can tell you what your payments will be if yours does.

Utilities

Lastly, utility fees can come as a surprise to new homeowners who are used to renting. Depending on the size of your home, you can expect to pay a few hundred dollars per month for water, electricity, heating and cooling, and trash services. If you’re curious what your utility bills might look like, just ask your agent, and they can likely secure a few statements from the past owners.

Ready to Make an Offer?

A man and a woman sitting on a couch with a dog and a cat.

When it comes to buying a home, the most important thing you can do is be prepared. While there are a handful of costs to keep in mind, the satisfaction of calling a place your own is well-worth it in the end.

Are you ready to get started on your home-buying journey? With years of professional and local experience, our team knows all about navigating the expenses that come with buying. Give us a call today at (540) 388-2541 to get a better idea of your costs, and let’s get started!

224 harpers ferry DRONE pic

Build Your Dream WATERFRONT in Lake of the Woods!

Welcome to 224 Harpers Ferry! Offered at $550,000!

The best was saved for last! Here’s your one and only chance to grab the last truly exceptional waterfront lot in amenity-rich Lake of the Woods! Offering 265 ft of water frontage ideally situated, you’ll capture spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Spanning the main lake as well as the cove, the best of both worlds awaits! Golf, pools, stables, fitness center, Clubhouse dining & so much more!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, that’s the #1 question asked by home sellers. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. The Question is how much is it worth? 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.

103 yorktown LOT

LOT in Lake of the Woods Now SOLD! BUILD Your Dream Home w/All-in-One Financing!

103 Yorktown Blvd- SOLD!

Build your dream home here on a fantastic lot in amenity- rich Lake of the Woods, VA. You deserve the lifestyle that LOW offers: dine on the dock overlooking lake, play a round of golf, take a trail ride at the Equestrian Center or take a dip in a pool. You will love how much there is to do in this community.

103 yorktown LOT
Community Features
Management: Owner/Self-Management
Bar/Lounge, Basketball Courts, Beach, Boat Ramp, Club House, Common Grounds, Fitness Center, Gated Community, Golf Club, Golf Course, Jogging/Walking Path, Horse Trails, Lake, Meeting Room, Picnic Area, Pier/Dock, Pool (Outdoor), Putting Green, Recreation Center, Riding/Stables, Security, Soccer Field, Boat Slip, Gift Shop, Tennis Courts, Tot Lots/Playground, Water/Lake Privileges
Management Included, Master Insurance Policy Included, Pier/Dock Maintenance, Reserve Funds Included, Road Maintenance Included, Tot Lot(s)/Playground Included, Security Gate Included, Snow Removal Included, Security Included, Pool(s) Included
Covenants, Restrictions
School Information
Elementary School: LOCUST GROVE
High School: ORANGE
Middle School: LOCUST GROVE

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.

moving with pets

Does Moving to a Bigger/Smaller Home Impact Your Pets?

The time has come… you’ve been searching for your dream home and you’ve found it! You’ve completed the grueling loan process and are ready to close and move in right away! It has the right amount of bedrooms and baths that you feel are perfect for beginning to start or continue to grow your family; have you stopped and considered one thought…”how will this affect my fur-friend?” That loving animal-companion that has been there through each of your apartments or room-sharing rental homes. There are many questions that you may want to start thinking about after the initial thought…
Will he/she have more territory to protect and feel overwhelmed? Will they be lonely by themselves if no-one is home anymore to give them attention they had grown accustomed to? Will they have a fenced in yard now to roam free, when they may not have before? 
Moving is a big deal and should be treated as such, even for non-humans! When you buy your first or even your second home, it’s because you plan on staying there for quite a while and want something secure and stable compared to moving apartments once a year due to increased rent or maybe some not-so-nice neighbors. Whatever the case may be – you want to feel safe – but your fur-friend does too! Pets can often get stressed with the ongoing commotion of packing up boxes and seeing regular household items “disappearing” from their normal places they belong. This new stress and change can cause fear – so be cautious – when opening doors while going in and out for the removing of completed packed items; chances are higher your pet(s) will take off to get out of the confusing situation.
In your new home, as much as we want to let them run around and check this new building and environment for them, experts say it’s better to introduce them to one room at a time, at a slow place. This allows them to adjust properly compared to feeling overwhelmed. Help your pet feel more secure by placing their food & water bowl, bed and toys in a place where they will more than likely remain. Animals really like stability and routine; so they are eagerly willing and ready to learn their new routine and begin their adjustments to the new environment in their new home with you!
Have you ever moved with a pet before? How did they react? Did they take it well or did they have a hard time? Have they fully adjusted now?
Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. 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.

Decluttering Tips for a Clean Start to 2019!!

It’s a fact: You feel better when the space around you is organized and free and clear of clutter. There are some easy steps you take to tackle getting the job done.

  1. Include everyone in the house in the project. Talk about the plan and how to execute.
  2. Divide and conquer: Pick small sections of a room and work that till complete, then move on. It will be less overwhelming that way.
  3. Clean for 10 minutes every day. Pick your time and see what you can accomplish in small burst.
  4. Unpack all bags that come into the house immediately.
  5. Divide all unwanted stuff in 4 piles or boxes: Keep-Sell-Donate-Trash
  6. Everything has a home inside and outside.  Make sure it goes there!
  7. If family members do not want your treasures, find out which organizations could really use them and donate.
  8. Pare down on paper and photos. Sort through the piles and shred what you can.
  9. Be realistic about your belongings. If you will never wear it, use it or love it again, get rid of it!
  10. REMEMBER: YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU!!

There are many resources around that can help with projects like this. Let us know if you have any questions and we will be glad to help!
Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. 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.

New Years Eve Masquerade Casino Night

James Madison Belle Grove Foundation is hosting a New Years Eve Masquerade Casino Night on Monday, December 31st from 6pm to 1am! Where? None other than the birthplace of President James Madison: Belle Grove Plantation (9221 Belle Grove Dr, King George VA 22485).
Ring in the New Year the right way at this entertaining, formal event! Suit or Tux required for the men and formal or cocktail dresses required for the ladies, and your masquerade mask of course! (The Belle Grove Plantation does ask that ladies not wear heels or spiked shoes as their historic floors will get damaged by them.) Now the only question left is, will you make your own mask or purchase one?
General admission tickets are $75 per person and include 2 drink tickets. VIP admission tickets are $95 per person and include unlimited drinks. There will be a cash bar available and heavy hors d’oeuvres for all. Purchase your tickets today, before they are sold out!
Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. 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.

eyes

Virginia Living from the Eyes of 25

I love the diversity of Virginia, especially Fredericksburg/Orange county areas; I find it surprising when people say it’s “boring”. Here at Lake of the Woods we are so close to so many other different local areas: including Culpeper, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania. There’s plenty to do – some things are even free. Explore downtown Culpeper or Fredericksburg, on a warm sunny day; adventure out of the house for a little bit during the cold Christmas season too! Just dress warm, of course – but don’t let it hold you back from a beautiful brisk night out on the town. The immediate counties and towns by Lake of the Woods are full of beautiful holiday decorations and lights – and it doesn’t cost a dime to enjoy them (other than a little bit of gas, if they’re not within your walking distance).
In addition to the historic downtown areas, Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and even Orange all have many battlefield sites; did you know there’s a pyramid in Fredericksburg? I sure didn’t until one of my best friend’s took me there and now, I can’t help but mention it whenever someone suggests there’s nothing here to do. There are so many different battlefields spread throughout the area, if you feel like adventuring outside and learning some history, you will have many options! So check out: Meade’s Pyramid to start, Wilderness Battlefield, and the Spotsylvania Battlefield to name a few. With some detailed research you can certainly plan a day trip or even a whole weekend, if you’re really feeling adventurous!
Right in Orange, Virginia (less than a 40 minute drive from Lake of the Woods) is the Inn at Willow Grove, if you fancy a nice meal while you’re out. The grounds are beautiful and right down the road is James Madison’s Montpelier and Museum; if you’re looking for a ‘boozier’ adventure, try taking a wine trail tour. There are multiple wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries between Fredericksburg and Charlottesville, Virginia. Check out the popular wineries and breweries in Orange and if you visit – let us know what you think! 
If you’re up for spending a little bit of money and going on a drive, there are a couple drive-thru movie theaters I would highly recommend! Check out my reviews here. And they’re less than 2 hours away from Lake of the Woods.
There’s also the classic bowling or dinner and a movie! Most notably in Fredericksburg and Culpeper. Fredericksburg holds a unique establishment in which, they have bowling, pool tables, a restaurant and a movie theater all in one – there’s certainly no room for boredom there. Both Fredericksburg and Culpeper are only about a 30-minute drive from Lake of the Woods. The drive is beautiful especially in the fall, when the trees alongside Route 3 are starting to change.
It’s always nice to window shop around the local Spotsylvania mall, or antique shop in downtown Culpeper, Orange or Fredericksburg. In the warmer days it’s even more enjoyable to visit the local parks and downtown shops, especially if you have a fur-friend to bring along! Many local area businesses are dog-friendly (especially in downtown Fredericksburg) it only takes a quick moment to look them up before you bring Fido to make sure he/she will be allowed inside. 
One place Fido is always welcome: the Shenandoah National Park! They have many hiking trails and lodging available for you and your companion(s) among the mountains. The best part is that it’s only a 45-minute drive from Culpeper and from Fredericksburg, less than a 2-hour drive. It’s certainly an adventurous way to spend the day with your best pal(s). 
From the historical cities and battlefields, to the drive-in theater, bowling alley or trip to the mountains, there is always something to do. What are some of your favorite places to visit in Virginia? We’d love to hear about them!
Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. 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.

Christmas Trees Real or Fake? What's your preference?

When it comes to Christmas trees, there’s no doubt there are many different family traditions that are passed from generation to generation. There are some families that continue those traditions and some that decide to go the more modern route. There are many options when it comes to picking the family or household Christmas tree. Do you buy a fake tree that can be used year after year and potentially save you money in the long run? Or do you insist on buying a real tree, even going as far as cutting it down yourself? Or do you pass on Christmas tree purchasing and decoration completely?
There are many pros and cons to all sides and in the end, it comes down to personal preference. No one can tell you what kind of tree to buy. It’s part of the Christmas spirit – doing what makes you and your family happy. If your family has a tradition of packing up the car with all the kids, going to the local Christmas tree farm, Bees and Trees and Christmas Tree Farms, to name a few that are here locally, and letting the kids pick out their favorite one, then why change it? It’s a family event – one that is sure to have a positive influence on everyone involved. From the drive to the farm, to chopping it down and loading it on top of the car, seeing the smiles on your children’s and spouse’s face from the excitement, nothing else can bring that type of feeling. And nothing smells more like Christmas than that real pine, spruce or fir tree filling your home. The only downfall is because it is alive, you must take care of it as such! Real trees require water and checking to make sure they are well hydrated. Nothing can ruin Christmas quicker than a tree catching fire and potentially burning down the gifts you worked hard to purchase or much worse, your home. So please remember that while having a beautiful live tree is wonderful, it is a responsibility and should be cared for accordingly.
Some families enjoy the joy of simply decorating their home and tree together. So, driving out in the cold and going to the farm to chop down a tree doesn’t excite them very much. Instead, they’d rather buy their green or white Christmas tree from the store and come together as one to decorate it with cheerful holiday music playing. This takes away from having to drive to the farm each year; opting in for pulling it out of storage instead, a much closer and shorter trip. The tree is right in the home (or storage) until its usage is required. Having a fake tree certainly doesn’t take away from the fun of decorating and spending quality time together! It can even save you the money and hassle of cleaning up the fallen pines or having to remember to water it. 
christmas tree catNow, for the new “Modern” trees. Particularly for those who own cats, I have heard there are people who hang their tree upside down from the ceiling to prevent their furry friends from climbing on them (like the cat pictured here). I’ve also seen some photos of Christmas trees that stand higher off the ground to try to prevent their cats from jumping on them, although not sure how well that will work as I’ve witnessed cats jump high! Do you have something special you do to keep your fur-friends from messing with your trees?
Whatever you do, do it with love and compassion! Whether it’s chopping down the tree from the Earth itself or going to the store to purchase a fake one, it’s all about the Christmas spirit. Even if it’s having to buy a modern or makeshift tree to accompany those furry companions. Have a wonderful and happy Christmas this year!
Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. 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.

Here Comes Santa Claus Right Down Lake of the Woods!

Santa will be visiting the Lake of the Woods neighborhood on top of Engine 29! Engine 29 is from the Lake of the Woods Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company. Santa will be saying hello to all the boys and girls of Lake of the Woods beginning Friday, December 21 through Saturday, December 22 and Sunday, December 23.
Friday, Santa will begin his visit from the Front Gate to Confederate Cir (Marina side). Saturday, he will continue from Confederate Drive to the Front Gate (golf course side) and finish Sunday, completing one trip around Lakeview Pkwy and making his way to Rapidan Drive, Wilderness Shore and Somerset neighborhoods!
Check on Santa’s whereabouts by visiting the Santa Tracker provided by the Lake of the Woods Fire & Rescue Company.
Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. 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.

New Years Eve Masquerade Casino Night

James Madison Belle Grove Foundation is hosting a New Years Eve Masquerade Casino Night on Monday, December 31st from 6pm to 1am! Where? None other than the birthplace of President James Madison: Belle Grove Plantation (9221 Belle Grove Dr, King George VA 22485).
Ring in the New Year the right way at this entertaining, formal event! Suit or Tux required for the men and formal or cocktail dresses required for the ladies, and your masquerade mask of course! (The Belle Grove Plantation does ask that ladies not wear heels or spiked shoes as their historic floors will get damaged by them.) Now the only question left is, will you make your own mask or purchase one?
General admission tickets are $75 per person and include 2 drink tickets. VIP admission tickets are $95 per person and include unlimited drinks. There will be a cash bar available and heavy hors d’oeuvres for all. Purchase your tickets today, before they are sold out!
Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your professionals for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia, we are your proven Real Estate professionals. 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.