Tag Archives: Hampton Roads

Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia

I was just looking around online to see where I could go to donate some food to the needy when I ran across the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia’s website, www.foodbankonline.org. The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia is a local, non-profit organization that was established in 1981 with the aim of helping to acquire and distribute food, clothing and other essential products to those in need, as well as provide leadership and education on issues relating to hunger. Its ultimate goal is to help eradicate hunger and economic disparity in our communities.

If you would like to help the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia help our less affluent neighbors during this holiday season, you can drop off food, clothing or related items at all Farm Fresh Food and Pharmacy locations, Old Point national bank locations and all Walgreens locations. Grand Furniture will also be accepting donations at multiple locations.

Please click for a complete listing of all of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia’s drop-off locations in the Hampton Roads area. If you would like more information regarding how you can help the Foodbank by volunteering your time, please visit the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia’s website. You can also help by hosting your own food drive, for more info please click here.

Because our national economy is in a slump currently, there are more folks without work and as a result, there are more people who are in need of the basic necessities. Tough times have also made it so that there are considerably fewer folks donating to food banks all across the nation. According to a recent article in HamptonRoads.com, donations to the Salvation Army in Hampton Roads are down 20% and demand has increased by 10%. If you are in a position to help those who find themselves in need of the most basic necessities, now is as good a time as any.

I’d like to wish everyone a happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous new year.

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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 onewarmcoat.org 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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Filed under For home sellers, For homebuyers, Hampton Roads real estate

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 DailyPress.com 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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Filed under For home sellers, For homebuyers, Hampton Roads real estate

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

Alien Invaders?

Not likely, but I am sure that folks from Maryland to Hampton Roads probably imagined they saw some UFOs last night after seeing bright shooting lights and cacophonous explosions in the sky.  I personally was not one of the witnesses to this strange phenomenon, I just found out about this when reading and article in HamptonRoads.com entitled, “Streaming lights, explosions reported all along the coast“.  According to this article, the National Weather Service has not yet released an explanation as to what those light and sounds were.  So far the National Weather Service’s Wakefield office has said that there could be a number of possible explanations for this event and that there are people looking into what was the source of the bright streaking light and the subsequent explosion.

Witnesses to this phenomena claimed it was like an orange fireball that streaked across the night sky followed by a loud explosion.   The American Meteor Society is asking any witnesses to this event to go to fill out their Fireball Reporting Form in hopes of being able to identify what this phenomenon actually was.  If you were a witness to this event, please go to the Fireball Reporting Form and give the details of what you saw.  The form may seem a little intimidating at first to those who are not very familiar with the terminology used in astronomy, but it offers explanations to any terms that may be difficult to understand.  This information provided by witnesses can help scientist find a general location where they can search for any evidence of the occurrence.

Please click the following link if you would like to read this article in its entirety at HamptonRoads.com.

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New smoking law passed in Virginia

According to an article that I have just read in HamptonRoads.com entitled,”General Assembly passes partial smoking ban in restaurants” the Virginia General Assembly has voted 27-13 in favor of SB1105, a measure that bans smoking in most bars and restaurants in Virginia.  From now on smoking will only be allowed in facilities that have separate smoking areas equipped with independent ventilation systems, establishments with open-air outdoor patios and private clubs.

This law will go into effect starting December 1, 2009.  There is a provision in the bill that will allow bar and restaurant employees who so choose, to work outside designated smoking areas without being subject to professional punishment.

I applaud this move to help ensure the rights of those who do not smoke.  Regardless of whether they are restaurant employees or patrons, non smokers should not be exposed to second hand smoke against their will.  I also applaud the wording of SB21105 because it allows provisions for businesses that would still like to offer their customers the option to smoke.  I know in some foreign countries, when a smoking ban law is passed, it applies across the board, not allowing restaurants, bars and clubs the option to have separate smoking sections or be exclusively for smokers.

A similar law SB1106, which would have made it illegal for people to smoke in a motor vehicle when a child is present and would have cost violators $100 in fines was not passed.  I found this a bit strange.  I wonder whether our legislators should be more concerned with the rights of those who cannot protect themselves (children) over those who can (adults).  After all, an adult can choose to go to another restaurant or bar but a child cannot choose to not drive in their parent’s car.  It will be interesting to see if SB1106 comes before the Assembly again in the future.

Please click to read this article in its entirety at HamptonRoads.com.  This article also has a list of how all of our representatives voted on Sb1105

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Hampton Roads annual open house and holiday home tours

November 29th and 30th marked the beginning of this season’s annual open house and holiday home tours in Hampton Roads.  For those who are not familiar with this annual event sponsored by Hampton roads area civic groups is a wonderful opportunity to tour some beautiful local homes and neighborhoods as well as meet other Hampton Roads residents.  The tours will feature decorated homes and neighborhoods, antique shows, exotic car shows and bake sales as well as wine tastings, auctions, arts and crafts and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia will be hosting a canned food drive.  If you love historic architecture, you will not want to miss these wonderful viewings.

If you are interested in finding more information including ticket costs, dates, locations and phone number to more information, please click here.

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Just an update from one of my mortgage lenders, Nancy Brown, with Resource Mortgage, soon to re named Fulton Mortgage:

This is an update concerning lending and how it affects both buyers and sellers in light of the fact our area has been named a declining market (I to disagree with this assessment.)

As many of you have heard, Fannie Mae (FNMA), the largest purchaser of residential mortgages in the secondary market, recently released a new policy announcement stating that they will lower the loan-to-value (LTV) on loans that they purchase in what they feel to be “Declining Markets”.  There are several sources that FNMA looks to in order to determine what they believe constitutes a “Declining Market”.  Several of these data sources, specifically S&P/Case-Shiller® Home Price Indices and a number of the Private Mortgage Insurance Companies have placed the Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach MSA in the “Declining Market” category.  Based on FNMA’s new policy this could mean that a 5% LTV reduction by lenders may be necessary in order to comply with the new FNMA requirements.

Resource Mortgage believes that the majority of our markets in Hampton Roads are stable and not declining.  As such, we have developed an alternative outlet to the secondary market directly through the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB).  The FHLB, unlike Fannie Mae, is not designating declining markets and LTV reductions.  Therefore, Resource will continue to offer maximum financing on both conforming and jumbo loan products in our market.

Other recent FNMA and investor guideline changes also include credit score, and LTV adjustments to interest rate and points for borrowers. Resource   Mortgage will not be charging these increases since they are not required by FHLB.  This can make a significant difference in the rate and terms available to your buyers.

The mortgage industry has gone through unprecedented changes recently and there will likely be more changes to come before things stabilize.  I am here to support your business in any way I can.  Resource Mortgage (soon to be renamed Fulton) and I value our partnership with the real estate community and will continue to support you in these turbulent times.

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

See to the Seawall

One of the great things about real estate in the Hampton roads area is the availability of wonderful waterfront homes. However, far too often, people forget one of the most important things when it comes to buying a property on the water, the bulkhead, dock or seawall. These structures have to withstand some of the heavies loads of any structures built these days. They have to provide for subsurface drainage as well as withstand extreme weather and corrosive saltwater in some cases. Do not buy a waterfront property without first having a home inspection performed that includes the Bulkhead, dock or seawall. I repeat, DO NOT buy a waterfront home before seeing an inspection on these important structures.

If this is your first time purchasing a home on the water, it is especially important that you find out as much as you can about these structures and hire a recognized and licensed inspector to make sure everything is structurally sound before you buy. Not many of know enough about these important structures so it is important for those buying a home on the water to make sure they have hired a professional who does.

If you are selling your waterfront home, you can help take this hassle out of the equation by having a pre-listing inspection of your bulkhead, dock, retaining wall or seawall. This will help facilitate the process and will show the prospective homebuyer that you are not trying to hide any structural issues.


Filed under bulkheads, docks, For home sellers, For homebuyers, Hampton Roads real estate, Home inspections, Seawalls