How to Schedule Viewings When Buying Northern Virginia Real Estate

Filed Under: Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

holding the keyShopping for Northern Virginia real estate will require plenty of leg work. Most often buyers and their realtors will drive countless miles and walk through numerous floor plans before finding the perfect property. So how can a buyer schedule viewings in an efficient and sensible way? A way that fits into a full calendar and takes advantage of time sensitive opportunities like exclusive and new listings?

Your realtor will be an essential partner. And technology plays a major role.

View Before the Viewing

An Internet listing can be used as an effective tool in the primary stages of shopping. Use online information to preview properties, scroll through pictures of the rooms and read through room sizes to get a better idea of the home’s layout. This will allow you to eliminate homes that do not suit your needs and tastes, without having to visit them physically.

Print up pictures to bring along to your viewing. This will give you space to make notes or sketches. And you can more accurately remember the property later if you have those images to trigger your memory.

Bulk Viewings

Ask your realtor to schedule multiple viewings on a single day. This can make for a busy afternoon, but by viewing one property after another you will also avoid emotional responses. The properties will be more accurately compared when the time between viewings is measured in minutes, instead of in days or weeks.

Group the viewings together by neighborhood to cut down on fuel and be respectful of people’s time. Don’t spend more than 30 to 45 minutes in each home, although you may want to leave a few minutes between the viewings to process information and talk about what you just saw. Make notes as you go as well, to aid in recalling information and impressions after the day is done.

Your realtor will be constantly on the look out for properties that suit your needs. Ask them to create a running list of potential homes and work on grouping them as the list expands. Add or subtract from the list as needed, making a note of any that you may want to return to for a second viewing.

Pick a Date and Dedicate it to Real Estate

If you are seriously shopping for Northern Virginia real estate, viewings will become an essential step. Mark off the time in your schedule and dedicate it to the task. That means getting a babysitter for the kids and turning your cell phone on vibrate for a few hours.

It’s time to concentrate on the job, giving each potential property your full attention for the time you are there. You may want to take pictures at the properties (if this is allowed) and start a filing system on your computer that allows for easy viewing later on.

Buyers can use Internet listings to preview potential properties and avoid wasted trip. They also need to coordinate with their realtor, grouping nearby Northern Virginia real estate listings together for multiple viewings. Give these dates your full attention and come prepared to shop seriously. This will give you an edge and help your family to find that perfect home faster and with less stress.

Using Software and High Tech Tools to Design Your Virginia Deck

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_deckLandscape design is a specialized field that involves various skills. Knowledge in horticulture is an asset, as is an understanding of how drainage, soil conditions and plantings come together to form a beautiful, functional landscape. Your Virginia deck will fit into a well planned yard. And using software and other high tech tools will help you develop a seamless design.

What Type of Deck Design Software Is Best?

Many of the deck designing programs on the market are limited in their function. Look for software that will provide the most flexibility, allowing you to sketch out and plan for a deck that includes unique shapes and custom features.

Have a look at reviews online to get a better idea of how the program functions. Getting feedback from those who have actually designed their deck or patio using the program is invaluable. Unbiased opinions will help you to see which software developers are delivering systems that work well and which programs are a waste of time.

The ideal deck design software will provide multiple views of the finished design – including a bird’s eye view (from the top) and side view (usually from ground level). You may also find it useful to have close ups of the railing systems, framing and stairs. These closer views will provide the detail needed to assemble the structure as required. Taking a look at the deck from a broader scope will help determine the best size and shape for your yard.

Information That Should Be Inputted

In order to design the ideal Virginia deck you will need to input various pieces of essential information. The dimensions of your yard are important, as are any local building code limitations. Perhaps you must keep the deck a certain distance away from the property line. Or there may be railing height requirements and limits placed on the width or number of rises in the stairs.

Look for a software program that will ask for this information before your design begins. Then you can be assured that the final design falls within the local building codes and will fit well on your property. A bird’s eye view helps to assess this scenario.

High end software and landscape design programs will also allow you to place furniture and accessories onto your deck drawing. This lets you virtually decorate your outdoor living space – it’s also handy when you are shopping for patio furniture.

Devices That Help

Tablets and smartphones are especially helpful when designing your yard. These portable devices can be carried out into the space, allowing you to get a physical view at the same time as you’re designing on the screen.

Look for deck design programs that work on your preferred device. You may even come across decent online applications that utilize the features of your device, such as touch screen capabilities and file sharing. Send your latest design to the decking contractor for a quotation. Or bring the device with you to the lumber yard to help field questions and create an accurate material list.

Consider how a computer program can help you to design the ideal Virginia deck. Planned out to meet the specifications of your property and the needs of your family, decks designed using the latest technology are on the cutting edge of this industry.

Replacement Windows Virginia Homebuyers Want To See

Filed Under: Windows    by: Steve Kayhill

replacement_windows_virginiaReal estate can be a tough market. Sellers need to be sure their homes include features and designs that allow the property to stand out above the competition. Some renovations are eye catching; others are valuable in terms of energy efficiency and comfort. New windows offer buyers all of those advantages, making them one of the smartest home improvement projects to tackle before putting up the for sale sign. Check out these replacement windows Virginia homebuyers are looking for.

New Sliding Patio Door or French Doors

Open up the living room or dining room with natural light and add another entrance to your home with new sliding or French doors. This is an easy install that will cause minimal mess. Simply have the wall cut out to the size of the door and install the frame. Your new door will fit right in and bathe the interior of your Virginia home with sunshine.

Remember to insulate well around the new doors to assure energy efficiency. Caulking should be applied to provide a durable seal between the frame and the brick or siding.

French doors are more expensive than a standard sliding door, but this replacement window project also adds a level of class to the property. It’s these details that will sell your home quickly and for a better price.

Double Glazed or Low E Windows

Replacing your older or dated windows will not only increase the overall value of your home, but this project will also help you avoid low ball offers. Many buyers assess their bids based on the condition of major elements in the house – windows and doors included.

Buyers tend to look at a house with old windows and automatically knock thousands of dollars off of the asking price. By taking the initiative and installing replacement windows Virginia sellers can secure a higher price for their real estate. Expect to recoup between 70 and 100 percent of the upfront cost, which is significantly higher than the price you can expect to be offered with the older windows left in.

Bay Windows

Bay windows are ideal for small living spaces, since they add the appearance of space without increasing the home’s footprint. Bay windows also create built in seating, making them an ideal addition to a master bedroom or home office. This classic style of window comes in a variety of sizes and many product lines can be installed without any alterations to your walls.

Take the measurements of your existing windows to the retailer. Find out if they have any bay windows in that width and have a look at the different configurations that will work with the interior and exterior of your home.

Buyers love the look of a well-fitted bay window. Be sure to have a professional contractor handle the installation – it’s well worth the additional cost in terms of appearance and durability. Prospective buyers and home inspectors will spot a badly installed window right away. But a professional job will leave them with a good impression, which tends to translate into a higher price.

If you are considering selling your home in the next few years think about budgeting for one of the replacement windows Virginia homebuyers are looking for. Showcase the beauty and value of your home by hiring a professional contractor for this upgrade. You’ll likely end up with a quicker sale and a higher profit on the property.

Get Ready For Winter With Virginia Home Improvement Projects

Filed Under: Virginia Home Remodeling    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_home_improvement_winterThe summer is winding down and cooler temperatures are invading the night. Is your house ready for winter? Take a look at these simple, yet beneficial Virginia home improvement projects that will help your residence gear up for the coming cold.

Fireplace and Chimney Inspection

Along with a check up of your central heating system, the fall is an ideal time to schedule a fireplace inspection and chimney cleaning. These processes – many times offered by the same company – help to clear any creosote build up and reduce the risk of chimney fires significantly.

Keeping your fireplace or wood stove in peak condition will ensure it remains efficient. Heating bills continue to rise and it is more important than ever to maintain your existing systems. Both wood burning hearth appliances and those fueled by natural gas need to be inspected. Keep your family safe by following the maintenance schedule outlined in the owner’s manual of your hearth appliance.

Door and Window Replacements

Drafts steal heat out of your home and contribute to an uncomfortable atmosphere. Older windows (single pane or those with deteriorating frames) also make it more difficult to capture the warmth of the sun in those long months of winter. Open up your home and maintain a cozy level of heat with a window replacement project. Even if you choose strategic locations and replace a few windows at a time, this project will pay back major dividends.

Improperly insulated doors can also leave gaps that are unsafe and inefficient. Consider how much better your home will look and feel with a new front door and sidelights. Or how about upgrading from an older style to the latest composite doors, known for their durability and strength? Take a good look at the windows and doors in your home and think about how a Virginia home improvement project would spruce up the appearance while offering more comfort and efficiency.

Roof Replacement

Fall is also an ideal time to take a look at your roof. Harsh heat and summer storms can take a toll on shingles, causing them to deteriorate much faster than expected. Your local Virginia contractors have a variety of roofing options available – from metal roofing to lifetime shingles and even recycled rubber products. Research and compare the brands and styles currently on the market.

This is a major investment, but when your roof is worn and aged there should be no hesitation. Replacing the roof before any major leaks occur is the best option. And tackling this project in the fall will help you to rest easy this winter, knowing the interior of your home is well covered and protected.

Although you may not be looking forward to the coming winter, time marches on. Preparations will allow you to make the best of the cold and enjoy all of the pleasures that winter has to offer. Take on the Virginia home improvement projects that apply to your home and are within the budget. Then settle in, knowing you and your house are ready.