30. September 2010 11:15
Looks like there IS an end to the rain and great weather coming. Don’t you want to go outside?
@ TowneBank Fountain Park in Town Point Park, Downtown Norfolk, VA
Friday, October 1, 2010: Destined Nation (Reggae), 5:30pm
Destined Nation formed in November 2008. Each member brings with them the experience of having played with multiple bands. Regardless of their backgrounds, the band has come together to form one Nation that is Destined to spread it’s positive conscious messages and good vibes to the people. Their goal is to unite the world as one and eliminate the segregation that isolates many in the world. One Love, One JAH, One Destiny.
@ Town Point Park, Downtown Norfolk, VA
22nd Annual AT&T Virginia Children’s Festival
Saturday, October 2, 2010: 10am – 3pm
Hampton Roads‘ most beloved family festival is filled with more than 100 creative and interactive activities, storytelling, hands-on workshops and educational displays, cultural experiences, arts and crafts, costumed characters and more! This event is designed with children 10 and younger in mind. A portion of the net proceeds to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
30. September 2010 10:57
Fall has always been known as the time to seed or re-seed your yard for a better established lawn the following spring, but did you know this applies to many other types of plants? This is especially true for wildflowers. All year long flowering plants in the wild bloom and sprout, then drop their seeds in late summer or early fall.
Hearty varieties of wildflowers, which bloom in mid-summer, “go to seed” (meaning they drop their seeds as the blooms die) as fall approaches and either sprout before winter prohibits, or wait until spring. This all depends on the arrival or severity of winter. Its a little different in a controlled environment such as your landscaping. Here, you’ll have to take charge and do the work nature was designed to do.
One big advantage of fall planting is that its usually more relaxed than spring planting. Just plant before the ground freezes. The weather in the fall is really more predictable than in spring.
Fall planting has one other advantage. The weed seed content in the soil is unpredictable. If your seed planting is delayed until spring, the weed seeds have had all winter to prepare and may begin to sprout with a little more muscle. But, if you sow your seeds now, they’ll be on a level playing field and can start to sprout along with the weeds in spring.
Now is the time to mulch your garden. This is good for many reasons. In addition to providing a “blanket” of protection over the root systems, it insulates and discourages winter growth of weeds and grasses where you don’t want them. Also, mulching helps in reducing the evaporation of precious water, while keeping the area protected against winter storms. And this, in turn, helps ensure against soil erosion.
Most of us handle our home’s landscaping ourselves. Consulting a professional landscaping firm is a good idea. They can provide a plan that makes the most of each season. And usually after initial installation, designs are easy to maintain. A well-designed yard adds a lot of “curb appeal” to your home. Be sure to know your desired “garden personality” before talking with the professional. Do you like native planting for a more natural look and feel? Are you looking for vivid colors and a more regimented look? And always ask about “green” alternatives to the products and fertilizers you are using.
24. September 2010 11:51
Looks like weather-wise we will be having another great weekend. What do you plan on doing?
NEPTUNE FESTIVAL BOARDWALK WEEKEND
By sea, by land and by air, the 37th annual Neptune Festival strives to assail the senses to generate maximum Beach enjoyment. The coordinated offensive culminates this weekend at the Oceanfront in the grand finale, Boardwalk Weekend.
VIRGINIA WINE TASTINGS GUIDE
It’s wine festival time, and Virginia has a lot of them. Which ones should you try? And which vintages? It’s not about the drinking. It’s about the tasting. That’s a simple guide for navigating the flurry of wine festivals during September and October, which is Virginia Wine Month.
DISNEY ON ICE ‘TOY STORY’
Disney on Ice presents “Toy Story 3” through Sunday at the Hampton Coliseum. Find out how a Virginia native plays keeps the skaters fitted, zipped, hemmed and cleaned while on tour. Also, find more on the performance dates.
WWI BIPLANES & ZEPPELINS DEMONSTRATIONS
The flying continues through this weekend thanks to the Military Aviation Museum in Pungo and its first World War I Biplanes and Zeppelins demonstration. Get a preview with a video ride in a biplane.
EAGLEFEST FEATURING SUGARLAND
This year’s country music Eaglefest, hosted Friday by radio station 97.3 The Eagle (WGH-FM), features Sugarland with special guests Little Big Town, Randy Montana and others at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater this Friday. Find more ticket information via the link above.
FESTEVENTS ON NORFOLK WATERFRONT
Check out FestEvents website for a full calendar of autumn events on the revitalized Norfolk waterfront. While there you can visit Nauticus and the USS Wisconsin!
24. September 2010 11:30
So, you‘re applying for a mortgage. Congratulations! This is an exciting time in your life. If you’ve never bought a house before, you’re probably coming across some terminology you’ve never heard before. Here are 10 common terms you’ll probably hear your REALTOR® or your lender mention, or that you’ll see in loan documents:
Amortization: the process of paying off a loan over a specified period of time by making regular payments that include both principal and interest. Most mortgages have an amortization of 30 years.
APR (annual percentage rate): the interest rate for your loan, plus additional loan costs, such as points. It will be higher than your interest rate because of the additional costs.
Closing: the process of transferring ownership of real estate from the seller to the buyer. You’ll sign your name and your initials more times than you thought possible, give the closing agent the check for your down payment and closing costs, and get the keys to your new home!
Escrow: an account to hold and disburse funds collected from every mortgage payment to cover the cost of property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.
Lock: an option during the loan process to secure, or “lock,” the interest rate and points that are available at that time. People generally want to lock in terms to avoid the risk that mortgage rates will go up before the closing date.
MI (mortgage insurance) or PMI (private mortgage insurance): insurance required by a lender when a borrower finances more than 80 percent of the value of the house. It protects the lender if you default on your loan and is added to the monthly payment. When you have 20 percent equity in your house, you can cancel this insurance.
Points: One point is equal to one percent of the loan amount. There are two kinds of points. Origination points may be added to cover the expenses associated with processing a loan; discount points are used to lower the loan’s interest rate.
PITI: principal, interest, taxes and insurance, the four components of most mortgage payments.
Principal: the actual dollar amount that you’re borrowing from the lender to buy a house.
Underwriting: the part of the loan approval process when a lender reviews the information in your application and decides whether or not to approve the loan. Be prepared to provide lots of financial information and DNA samples (just kidding about the DNA).
24. September 2010 11:03
The best mortgage rates are offered to the borrowers with the strongest credit. Lenders look closely at a borrower’s credit score, so it’s to your advantage to do everything you can to make sure your score is the best it can be.
The first step to take is to order your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus – Experian, Trans Union and Equifax. You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year at annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. (You’re also entitled to a free copy if you’ve been denied credit based on information in your report.) If you want them faster and with your credit score, you can also buy your reports online.
When you get your report, make sure all the information is accurate. Look for accounts that aren’t yours or late payments that shouldn’t be there. If there are errors, take steps to correct them. The report will tell you how to dispute information in your file. Also, check for negative comments, such as accounts that have been turned over to collections, and public records, which include bankruptcies, foreclosures and evictions. If you have old, unpaid debts on your credit report, contact those creditors and make arrangements to get current and then stay current.
The best thing you can do to improve your credit score is to pay your bills on time every time. Payment history is the biggest factor in determining your credit score.
If you have credit cards, pay them off every month if at all possible. If that’s not possible, keep an eye on your balance. You don’t want to have a balance of more than 30 percent of the available credit.
The length of your credit history also is important, so don’t take out a lot of new credit, or even apply for new credit, unless it’s necessary because it brings down the average age of your accounts. Don’t get sucked into applying for a store credit card to get a 10 percent discount on that day’s purchase.
17. September 2010 11:19
In today’s housing market, many homes for sale are in need of repairs and renovations. The FHA Streamlined 203(k) program helps add money into a mortgage for repairs and renovations. Lowe’s and REbuildUSA are partnering to bring a national in-store
program offering customers a one-stop destination for all of their repairs, renovation products and services needs.
“Homes needing renovation are typically the very best buys available; however, most prospective buyers have no idea how to finance both the purchase of the home and the renovation work required,” says Dennis Walsh, CEO of REbuildUSA. “The FHA Streamlined 203(k) offers a competitive solution. At the same time, millions of current homeowners could also benefit from this program that offers excellent rates and the ability to make improvements to their homes. We’re excited to partner with Lowe’s to make use of the Streamlined 203(k) much easier than ever before.”
The FHA Streamlined 203(k) renovation loan program provides funds for both the purchase and renovation of eligible homes packaged into one mortgage loan. Once the purchase of the home is closed, renovation funds are held in escrow to pay for pre-determined renovation work done by approved renovation contractors. There were approximately 21,000 FHA 203(k) loans in 2009, including Streamlines.
“Lowe’s is working with REbuildUSA to be the home improvement solution for products and services required by a Streamlined 203(k) loan,” says Mark Malone, vice president of consumer marketing for Lowe’s. “We can help facilitate the needs of home buyers acquiring distressed properties and facilitate the process of getting their projects done.”
And for the industry’s top leaders, they believe this announcement is coming at just the right time. “[This program] is nothing less than the future of real estate,” explains Ed Krafchow, president and CEO, Prudential CA/NV Realty.
Specially trained Lowe’s associates in stores across the country, except in Texas, can help the customer plan the project and select products and Lowe’s independent subcontracted installers can handle the installation. The program allows Streamlined 203(k)-qualified customers to have a huge selection of products and services under one roof, and it gives customers the ability to immediately improve their homes by adding equity with the repairs and renovations.
Concludes Alex Perriello, president and CEO of Realogy Franchise Corp.: “REbuildUSA is a concept whose time has come and will have a positive impact on the real estate industry and homeownership in America.”
15. September 2010 10:49
When preparing to purchase a home, credit scores and history are ever important. Learn what to look out for
before filling out a mortgage application.
What DOESN’T Affect Your Credit Score:
• Your bank account has no effect on your credit score (except when you bounce checks and they turn into collections).
• Payment of household bills does not affect your credit score (unless you don’t pay the bills and they turn into collections).
• Payment of insurance does not affect your credit score.
• Payment of your rent doesn’t affect your credit score (except when you violate your lease and that becomes a collection or judgment).
• Payment of medical bills does not affect your credit score (except when you don’t pay them and they turn into collections).
What DOES Affect Your Credit Score:
• Any loans and credit card accounts. Some banks (especially smaller) do not report to the credit bureaus and loans that don’t report to them don’t help your credit score. Any late payments that are 30 days or more on your credit report have a highly negative effect on your credit score. If you get 60 or 90 days late, your credit score will take a very long time to recover.
• Balances you carry affect your credit score. Carrying high balances in relation to the card’s credit limit will negatively affect your score. You should avoid carrying a balance over 30% of the credit limit. If you have balances over 30%, you should pay them down.
• New credit will greatly impact your score. If your overall credit history is pretty short, taking on a new car loan will lower your score. After you have made payments on the loan for 6 months, those on-time payments will start improving your credit score, but to begin with, your score will drop.
When it comes to getting a handle on your credit score, it can really help to know some things about what affects your credit score and what doesn’t.
10. September 2010 16:29
The seven cities have so much going on. Whether it is Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth, or Suffolk there is always something fun to do. Check out our suggestions for this weekend – September 11-12.
HAMPTON BAY DAYS
Taking place for the 28th year during Hampton’s 400th anniversary, Hampton Bay Days will feature more than 35 musical groups, including classic rock, reggae, country, alternative, jazz and R&B, on three outdoor stages. Headlining the event are the Fabulous Thunderbirds on Friday, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic on Saturday and Joe Nichols on Sunday. Renowned artist Wyland will make a special guest appearance Saturday.
NEPTUNE’S WINE FEST
Celebrate the Virginia vine and King Neptune at the same time with Neptunes’s Fall Wine Festival Saturday and Sunday at 31st Street Park. The fest brings in plenty of Virginia varieties for everyone to imbibe. Live music, gourmet foods and specialty vendors also will be included in the experience.
KINGS OF LEON
The Tennessee-bred alternative rock band Kings of Leon stops in Virginia Beach this Saturday. It’s pretty good timing for fans too. The band just released (on Wednesday) the video for the single “Radioactive” via their website, KingsofLeon.com. The concert also features two not-to-miss opening acts – The Black Keys and The Whigs. Who isn’t ready to rock out?!
BLUES AT THE BEACH FESTIVAL
It’s a blue, blue, blue weekend as the Oceanfront also hosts the annual Blues at the Beach festival Friday through Sunday. This year see Jimmy Hall & Friends, Shaun Murphy (of Little Feat), Zac Harmon, Billy Price, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Mike Zito, Lil‘ Ray Neal, Charles “Big Daddy” Stallings, Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers, Freeborn Blues Band and The HRB Band.
The festival season is upon us. Let us know what you are doing.
9. September 2010 08:23
Now that the kids are back in school and the weather is turning cooler, we have time to really look at our home. Is it appealing?
When you’re selling a house, the importance of curb appeal – how your house looks from the street — can’t be overstated. It’s especially true to day with so much competition and with so many people starting the process online. You only have a few seconds to catch their attention before they scroll on the next listing.
Here are 10 low- or no-cost tips from real estate agents and home stagers on ways to dress up your house from the street to the front door.
- Clean up the clutter. Put away lawn tools or kids’ toys, and throw away anything sitting around the yard that’s broken, like plastic outdoor furniture.
- Trim overgrown landscaping. Stand across the street and look at the shrubbery. You want people to be able to see the house. Take a walk from the driveway to the front door. Do branches impede the walkway?
- Weed and seed. An untended lawn with bare spots and weeds is a sign that a house hasn’t been maintained – and a cue to buyers to slash the asking price from the get-go. Fertilize and weed the yard. If you need to green it up in a hurry, buy sod.
- Pressure wash the house. You may be stunned at how good the paint or siding looks with just a thorough cleaning. While you’re at it, pressure wash the front walk and the driveway. Oh, and wash the windows.
- Clean the roof and gutters. A new roof is a major expense. Don’t give prospective buyers a reason to think that your roof needs replaced when it doesn’t. Get an estimate on having the roof cleaned. (Don’t try to do it yourself.) While they’re at it, have the gutters cleaned out.
- Paint the front door. The color you choose depends on the house color, of course, but glossy black or red can really make it stand out.
- Do pest control. Address spider webs, wasp nests, and ant beds. Empty standing water that can breed mosquitoes.
- Dress up the mailbox and house numbers. A colorful mailbox and decorator house numbers give your house some character, and provide a memory point for buyers who may be looking at a dozen or more properties.
- Add colorful plants. A splash of seasonal color by the mailbox, the front walk, or the front door is very inviting. Pick up decorative pots or hanging baskets at a garden store and fill them with flowering plants.
- Upgrade light fixtures. If you have standard light fixtures by the front door, replace them with larger, decorative ones. You can get a pair of attractive fixtures for well under $100.
9. September 2010 08:12
Mortgage interest rates are historically low right now. Between 2008 and 2009, the average mortgage rate dropped a full percentage point, according to Freddie Mac. It has dropped farther in 2010.
What difference does that make? If you were buying a $250,000 house and put 20 percent down, your monthly principal and interest on a mortgage at 6 percent would be $1,498.88 (Of course, most mortgage payments also include the homeowner’s property taxes and insurance, so the payment could be higher.)
At 5 percent, it would drop by more than $150 a month. Over the life of the loan, the difference in the payments would add up to $56,455 – more than the value of the down payment!
The other important thing to know is that mortgage rates can change daily – and getting approved for a mortgage takes time. If you want to take advantage of these historically low rates, don’t wait. Talk to your local home mortgage consultant today to get the process started.
Contact an Advance Mortgage Home Mortgage Consultant at any Rose & Womble Realty office or link to www.AdvanceMortgageCompany.com for more information. Our offices are located in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Suffolk and Newport News.