Category Archives: For homebuyers

Chesapeake and Suffolk among beast small cities in the U.S.

When money magazine recently ranked the top 100 small cities in which to live, they considered employment opportunities, schools, public safety and other quality of life factors. According to an article that I have just read in the entitled, “Chesapeake, Suffolk ranked among top places to live in U.S.”, Chesapeake and Suffolk, along with Centerville and Alexandria, ranked among the top 100 best small cities in which to live.

When compared to the rest of the nation, both Chesapeake and Suffolk offer great job opportunities and the unemployment rate in both cities is well below the national average.

I believe there are other factors that go into making a particular city a great place to live. There are amenities such as entertainment venues, restaurants, recreational opportunities, day care centers, medical clinics, transportation and retail centers that I imagine would also have been considered by the folks at Money magazine when they created this ranking. Regardless of age, the Hampton Roads area offers just about everything that one might need or desire. Those of us who live in or near Chesapeake or Suffolk know that we have all of these great amenities, not to mention the natural beauty of Virginia’s landscape or our wonderful beaches.

I was glad to see two cities in Hampton Roads make this ranking, especially during trying economic times. Hopefully this is an indicator that the worst is behind us and that we will be among the first areas of the U.S. to recover.

Please click the following link to read this article in its entirety at

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Filed under Chesapeake, Culpepper Landing, For home sellers, For homebuyers, Hampton Roads real estate, Norfolk Real Estate, Suffolk, virginia

Celebrate by planting a tree

I just read an article in entitled, “Fraim to unveil initiative to beautify city today”. According to this article, Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim unveiled the “Celebrate trees” initiative at the city’s first Living Legacy Grove on Tuesday.  The unveiling took place at 11 a.m. on May 25 at Lakewood Park on Willow Wood Drive. Members of the Environmental Club at Willard Elementary School were on hand to help celebrate this event.

The Celebrate Trees initiative aims to help beautify the City of Norfolk and improve the local environment by motivating residents and businesses to commemorate important events in their lives by planting trees.  Local residents and businesses can also make donations to the Living Legacy Groves directly. The goal of Celebrate trees is to help grow the city’s tree canopy from 33 to 40 which would help to improve local water quality, lower the city’s temperature and reduce air pollution.

I personally think that this is a great idea. What better way to commemorate something as important as a new birth in the family or the engagement of a family member or good friend, than by planting a tree? For years to come, every time you or someone you know sees that tree, they will be reminded of the special occasion that it represents.   By planting a tree to commemorate a special occasion, you will not only have a living reminder of that occasion, you will also be helping to make our city lusher as well as improve the local environment.

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A glimmer of hope for Fun Forest in Chesapeake

As some of you may already know, 1/3 of the Fun Forest Children’s Park in Chesapeake was burned down by an arsonist on the morning of April 1st. Well, according to an article that I have just read in entitled, “Burned Chesapeake Park a finalist in Sears makeover contest”, the city of Chesapeake and some local volunteers could be receiving much needed funds to help rebuild this local children’s park.

Currently Fun Forest Children’s Park is one of the 10 finalists in the Sears More green Across America Contest. The winner of this contest will be chosen by an online vote that will end on May 5. As of this morning, Fun Forest Children’s Park was in first place with 10,405 votes. Southern Park High School is currently in second place with 3,135 votes. Regardless of which of the finalists wins this contest, all ten finalists will receive a lawn and garden prize package from the Sears Lawn and Garden Crew.

Should the Fun Forest Children’s park win this contest, the lawn and Garden Crew will be paying a visit to the park next month to present the prize.

The City of Chesapeake’s parks and Recreation Department will be holding a meeting later today for the public and volunteers to discuss ideas as to how the site should be rebuilt. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at Shelter 1 in City Park located at 900 Greenbrier Parkway. If it should rain the alternate site for the meeting will be the Great Bridge Community center at 212 Holt Drive.

If you are a Chesapeake resident I would recommend that you go to the More Green across America Website and cast your vote for the Fun Forest Children’s park.

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Donate your old coat

I was cleaning out my closet the other day and I found a few old coats that I no longer wear and I was wondering where I could go to donate them to someone in need. So I got online and searched for places in the Hampton Roads area where I could drop-off these coats. Among the top searches, I found One Warm Coat. One Warm Coat is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing a warm coat to anyone who needs one. They have drop-off locations all over Virginia, including the Hampton Roads area: Most drop-off locations are at Burlington Coat Factories.

Temperatures are starting to drop and I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to endure a harsh Virginia winter without so much as a warm coat. And, with the current economic difficulties we are experiencing across the nation, some folks are forced to choose between spending their limited funds on buying a coat as opposed to paying rent or buying food. I can’t imagine having to prioritizing between, what I consider to be, and necessities. Thanks to folks who donate to organizations like One Warm Coat, it’s a choice that many folks won’t have to make.

Do you have an old coat in good condition that you no longer wear? Well, that coat could be very much appreciated by someone who does not have one. If you would like to help someone else by donating an old coat or maybe even organizing your own coat drive, please visit for more information and to find the drop-off location nearest you.

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Filed under Chesapeake, Culpepper Landing, For home sellers, For homebuyers, Hampton Roads real estate, Helping Others - Donating, virginia, Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach is family friendly

I just read an article I just read in Business Week online, Virginia Beach has ranked 47th among the top Best Places to Raise Your Kids. Business Week worked with Onboard Informatics in order to determine which cities in America were the best to raise children.  Two other cities in the Hampton Roads area were runners up in this ranking, Newport News and Chesapeake.

When you are going to move your family from one area to another, what do you look for? Well there are many factors that folks have to consider when deciding whether a certain area is family friendly; good schools, safe neighborhoods, friendly neighbors and parks are all important things to think about when deciding where to move. Of course, you have to also think about how affordable homes are.

Virginia Beach really is a great place to raise kids, I know because I raised mine here and if I had it to over again, I can’t think of anywhere else I would have liked to raise them. Add to that that we have some of the best schools in Virginia, our crime rates are low and we have plenty of parks and miles of beautiful beaches. And, compared to similar areas, home values are very competitive in Virginia Beach.

From personal experience, I agree that Virginia Beach should have been considered in this ranking.

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Hampton Roads weathering the economic storm

It seems that the Hampton Roads area of Virginia is one of the strongest metropolitan areas in the US according to a Brookings Institute report. I found out about this positive bit of news while reading an article at entitled, “Hampton Roads showing signs of economic recovery”. This Brookings Institute ranking considered several factors including gross metropolitan product, unemployment, housing values and average salaries. According to this ranking, Hampton Roads has ranked 16th out of the top 100 metro areas in the US.

Hampton Roads’ gross metropolitan product has dropped 0.05% from its peak and was up 0.03% in the  first quarter of 2009, while the national average is down 3.3% from peak and down 1.6% in the first quarter of 2009.

In terms of employment, the US is down 2.9% from peak and 1.5 % down in the first quarter of 2009. Hampton Roads is only down 0.05% from peak and as of the first quarter of 2009, is down only 0.1% in the first quarter of 2009.

Housing prices across the nation are down 6.3%, in Hampton Roads, they are only down 3.2%.

Average salaries in the US are up by 1% in the first quarter, whereas average salaries in the Hampton Roads area are up by 0.8%

Overall, Hampton Roads ranked 16th out of the top 100 metropolitan areas, though some economists say it is too soon to celebrate, including Vinod Agarwal, an economics professor at Old Dominion University. According to professor Agarwal, we are doing better than other areas of the US, but he questions whether he Hampton Roads area will be able to continue doing so over the coming months. Because this is the Brookings Institute’s first metropolitan-area report and because it is only paints only several parts of a bigger picture, professor Agarwal says it’s too early to tell at this point.

While nationwide, home values have fallen by an average of 6.3%, Hampton Roads home values have only declined by 3.2%, which means that homebuyers still have the upper hand when it comes time to negotiate a final selling price for homes. However, interest rates are relatively low, the IRS is extending a tax break for qualified first-time homebuyers of $8,000 or 10% of the home’s value and home values have dropped by an average of 3.2%, so these factors should motivate buyers who have been sitting on the fence. Lower home values, lower interest rates and this tax credit for first-time buyers should help to stimulate our market and bring us back to historic levels.

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Hampton Roads and the surrounding areas June 2009 Events

  • June 10, 2009 – No Doubt with Paramore and The Sounds at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater, located at Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater in Virginia Beach.  For more information call 757.368.3000 or visit the event website.
  • June 11, 2009 – Kayaking at First Landing State Park, located at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach.  For more details on this fun family event call 757.480.1999 or visit the Kayak Nature Tours official website.
  • June 12, 2009 – 6th Annual ABNB Fishing Fest to Benefit CHKD, located at the Virginia beach Fishing Center at Rudee Inlet in Virginia beach, call 757.523.5300 or visit the 6th Annual Fishing Festival website for more details.
  • June 13, 2009 – Great Dismal Swamp Narrated Bus Tour, the tour departs from Suffolk Visitor Center in Suffolk.  Witness the aftermath of the 2008 wildfire and learn about the swamp’s ecosystem.  This is a great event for the family.  For more information call 757.514.4130.
  • June 14, 2009 – 10th Annual Phelps Brothers Music Festival Free Event, located at Lakeside Park in Chesapeake for more information on this music filled event call 757.467.2149 or visit the Phelps Brothers website.
  • June 18, 2009 – Annual June Jazz Garden Party, located at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens in Norfolk. Come out and enjoy jazz, food, and dancing under the stars.  For more information call 757.889.9421 or visit the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads website.
  • June 20, 2009 – Gold’s Gym ForKids 5K Run for Homeless Children Free Event, come out and help homeless families and children in Hampton Roads.  The race will start at Norfolk Botanical Gardens in Norfolk, for more information call 757.622.6400.
  • June 20, 2009 – Virginia Beach SPCA’s Summer Solstice Celebration, come out with the entire family for this fun filled event to benefit all the animals.  Located at The “View” – southeast of Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach, call 757.427.0070 ext. 14 or visit the Virginia Beach SPCA website for details.
  • June 25, 2009 – Kenny Chesney with Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum, located at the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater for more information and details call 877.598.8698.
  • June 26 – 28, 2009 – 19th Annual Afrikan American Festival Returns to Downtown Hampton come out for this fun event and donate $3.00 (admission) for Peninsula Association for Sickle Cell Anemia.  This event will be held at Mill Point Park in Hampton, for more details call Alton Blackley at 757.817.6513

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Hampton Roads and the surrounding areas May 2009 Events

May 13, 2009 – National Tourism Week “Champions of Hospitality” Rally located at the Half Moone Cruise & Celebration Center join the Norfolk Convention & Visitors Bureau to celebrate the importance of tourism in Norfolk.  For more information call 757.664.6620 ext 670 or visit the Norfolk Convention & Visitors Bureau

May 14, 2009 – Fine Dining in Greenbrier… For a Cause, come and enjoy a good time and great food with family and friends with 20% of the foods sales benefiting the Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation.  Located at Sterling Restaurant in Greenbrier in Chesapeake, for more information call 757.549.2626 or visit the Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation website. 

May 16, 2009 – Westmoreland Relay For Life, American Cancer Society’s signature activity.  Celebrate the life of those who have battled cancer.  For further information on this great even Rebecca at 493.7940 or visit the Relay for Life American Cancer Society website. 

May 17, 2009 – Paws for Cause Dog Walk and Festival, come and join us as the Peninsula SPCA announces its third annual Paws for a Cause dog walk and festival to raise funds for area homeless animals. This event is located at the Riverview Farm Park in Newport News.  Call Vicki Rowland at 757.599.1399 or visit the Peninsula SPCA website.  

May 23, 2009 – Canoe in the Great Dismal Swamp, come out and have fun with guided canoe tours on Lake Drummond in the Great Dismal Swamp.  Tours depart from Suffolk Visitor Center. For more information on this fun family event call Valencia Moore at 757.514.4130. 

May 29, 2009 – Great Bridge Battlefield Historic Park Groundbreaking, in partnership with the City of Chesapeake, we will be breaking ground for the Park portion of our project and would like everyone to come out and have a great time.  For more information on this historic event contact Victoria Wallace at 757.482.4480 or visit The Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways History Foundation website. 

May 30, 2009 – Wine Country Safari, come out and spend the day with the Virginia Living Museum and explore wine country.  Wine tasting, complimentary lunch and finish the day with a tasting of dessert wines.  Must be 21 ore older, for more information on this event call 757.595.9135 or visit The Virginia Living Museum website. 

May 31, 2009 – The Ultimate Show for Women will have something for every woman. Find out about education, entertainment, pampering, health, beauty, travel, finance, and lots of shopping.  The event will be held at Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach, contact Barbie Bartlett at 757.222.3931 or visit The Ultimate Show for Women website. 

May 31, 2009 – Chow Hampton Roads – if you love food come out and sample various restaurants and different dishes.  Chow is a Virginia Green certified event and promotes the movement of local foods. This year featured ingredients are Smithfield Ham.  All proceeds of the event benefit the Samaritan House which is a local shelter for battered and homeless women.  Call Melissa Estrada at 757.631.0710 or visit the Samaritan House website for more details. 

May 31, 2009 – Steve Gambill Cancer Classic is a memorial fishing tournament to raise money fro the American Cancer Society.  Located at the West Landing Marina in Virginia Beach, come out and enjoy a fun family filled day for a great cause.  Call Chris Vitovich at 512.6831 or visit the Deparak website for more details.

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Virginia in top 20 Safest States for 2009

I was just surfing the web when I noticed that Virginia has ranked 14th in the CQ Press’s 2009 Crime State Rankings.  The last time that Virginia placed this highly on this ranking was back in 2001.  Last year, Virginia came in at number 15. 

The CQ Press’s annual Crime State Rankings consider a variety of factors when determining how well states fare.  These factors include arrests, corrections, courts, crime clearances, drug and alcohol treatment, juvenile justice, Law enforcement expenditures and Offenses. 

With 1 being the worst possible score and 50 being the best score, Virginia ranked as follows:

  • Assault:  42
  • Burglary:  45
  • Murder:  23
  • Motor vehicle theft:  41
  • Rape:  443
  • Robbery:  26 

This is good news for Virginia and reflects our state’s level of commitment to law enforcement and corrections.  Placing highly in terms of crime rates when compared to the rest of the nation should also help to keep auto and home theft insurance rates from increasing.  It should also help maintain higher median home values. 

When you consider the things that go into making a great community, there are several important factors, crime rate is definitely one of the more important factors, after all, no one wants to live in a crime ridden area.  I am glad to see that Virginia is placing higher every year in this important ranking. 

Please click to see how Virginia and all 50 states fared at

If you are interested in purchasing the complete rankings for all 50 states from CQ Press, please click here.

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Hampton Roads and the surrounding areas April 2009 Events

  • Tastefully Yours…Peninsula’s Best – April 16, 2009 from 6 to 9:30 pm at The Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton Virginia.  Over 30 Peninsula’s Best Restaurants in Hampton. For more information call 757.596.7188 ext 12 or visit 
  • Relay for Life Fundraiser at Keagan’s – April 16, 2009 from 4 to 9 pm at Keagan’s Tower Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  For more information contact Lisa Pesquera at 757.424.3232.  Support the American Cancer Society! 15% of your total bill goes directly to ACS!  Please come out and show your support! 
  • Chesapeake Ducks Unlimited Annual Banquet – Aril 16, 2009 at the Hickory Ruritan Club in Chesapeake, Virginia.  Call Steve at 757.619.3232 for more information on this event.  
  • International Children’s Festival – April 18, 2009 at Mill Point Park in Hampton Virginia, bring the entire family to the International Children’s Festival, taking place from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Call Cyndi Masterstaff at 757.727.8314 or visit International Children’s Festival website.  
  • 2009 Oceanfront Spring Crawl – April 18, 2009 from 4 to 9 pm, a tour of ten different bars on the Virginia Beach oceanfront to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma SocietyLocated at the Virginia Beach Resort Area in Virginia Beach, contact Ghent Bar Tours at 757.353.4660 or visit the Oceanfront Spring Crawl website.  
  • Experience the Virginia Culinary Expo featuring Emeril – April 19, 2009 doors open at 11 am at Ted Constant Convention Center in Norfolk, Virginia.  For more information on this fun event featuring Emeril Lagasse call 888.3.COXTIX .  
  • Norfolk Garden Week at East Beach – April 23, 2009 from 10 am to 5 pm at East Beach in Norfolk, Virginia.  Norfolk Garden Week will showcase the gardens at East Beach, a traditional neighborhood development along the Chesapeake Bay.  For more information on this event contact Melanie Wills at 757.489.1963 or visit the East Beach Website.  
  • Spring Craft Show at the Farmers Market – April 25, 2009 from 9 to 3 pm at the City of Virginia Beach Farmers Market in Virginia  Beach, Virginia. Call Karen Alvarez at 757.385.4395 for more information on this event for the entire family.

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Filed under For home sellers, For homebuyers, Hampton Roads real estate