All About Spring Creek

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All About Spring Creek, Louisa Va For many people, being able to live in a gated community that offers a well-rated 18-hole golf course just 20 minutes drive outside Charlottesville, and with easy access to Rt. 64 and points east and west, brings them to Spring Creek as the perfect choice. Located just off Rt. 64 at Exit 136 – Zion Crossroads/Highway 15 – the entrance to Spring Creek is a … [Read more...]

All about Belvedere Neighborhood – Charlottesville VA

belvedere-charlottesville-va

Like Old Trail out in Crozet, Belvedere - just off Rio Road and next to Dunlora - was designed to be a self-sustaining neighborhood that would include plenty of green spaces, and provide a blend of houses near retail and business centers. Founded on the principles of sustainability, healthy living and great streets, Belvedere is a sought-after hybrid — combining the best of urban and country … [Read more...]

Tips for a Smooth House Closing

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Tips for a Smooth House Closing When it comes to finding your dream home, there are many steps along the way to a smooth closing. After you’ve identified your perfect house - negotiated the contract, applied and approved for a loan, inspected and agreed to repairs and/or credits - the last step is the most important: the closing. By knowing what to expect and doing some legwork, you can … [Read more...]

Moving abroad?

flying

Moving abroad - how complicated can it be? If you think moving across town or a few states over is hard, consider what’s involved with moving to another country. As exciting as a move abroad can be, it’s also complicated — with a seemingly endless number of issues thrown at you as you make your way from Point A to Point B across the globe.  You already know about the visas you need to … [Read more...]

Charlottesville 2016 4th Quarter Market Report

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Charlottesville Real Estate - CAAR 2016 Fourth Quarter Market Report Our Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors has just released the latest real estate market report showing stats for sales in our area, 2016 4th Quarter. This report comes out Quarterly and gives us a good idea of the current Real Estate Market in the greater Charlottesville Area. The specifics are pulled from our … [Read more...]

How to Get Ready to Move

Moving day box representing movers and packaging for a move from one home to another

How to Get Ready to Move You’ve gotten your house contact signed and are on your way to the settlement date, but there might be one hiccup left along the way - how are you going to move everything? While you’re excited about all the possibilities a new home can bring, this might also be the perfect time to get rid of old clutter in your life so you can really begin anew. But where to … [Read more...]

Tips For Keeping Your Home Safe

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Protecting your home and family go hand in hand. With the help of a little research, finding the right home security tools will prepare a homeowner, whether they’re just moving in, are already living in or are in the process of selling a house, for whatever may happen. Most burglaries occur on weekdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Homes that appear unoccupied during the day, are dark at night, … [Read more...]

If You Can Rent in Charlottesville You Can Own in Charlottesville

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Newly elected CAAR president Anthony McGhee recently said that he believed, "If you can rent in Charlottesville you can own in Charlottesville.” Here at Solutions, we thought this was worth investigating. Should you buy or rent? This is a question most of us will likely face in our lives, whether buying a house makes more financial sense than renting a home.  What’s the financial … [Read more...]

Shopping for a Home in January

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Shopping for a Home in January With the start of any new year, buying a new home might be the furthest resolution on people’s minds. But it might, in fact, be a very smart way to start off the year right. For one thing, as a Buyer, you will have little to no competition for houses on the market, even though the inventory will be lower than the most popular time - spring. Another reason to … [Read more...]

Questions your Realtor may not legally be able to answer

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As REALTORS®, we get asked many questions by Buyers. We’re happy to help answer as many as we can, ones like: how old is the roof on a house, or does it use gas or electrical heat?  Your Solutions agent can tell you pretty much anything you need to know about a home you’re hoping to buy (or at least find answers for you). But there are several questions that we (any REALTOR®) aren’t … [Read more...]

Charlottesville 2016 3rd Quarter Market Report

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Charlottesville Real Estate - CAAR 2016 Third Quarter Market Report Our Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors has just released the latest real estate market report showing stats for sales in our area, 2016 3rd Quarter. This report comes out Quarterly and gives us a good idea of the current Real Estate Market in the greater Charlottesville Area. The specifics are pulled from our … [Read more...]

Why buy a Charlottesville Home in the Winter

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Why Buy A Charlottesville Home in Fall/Winter? In a place where spring is one of the most beautiful seasons of all, it makes sense that our Charlottesville real estate market is also incredibly busy during that time  - with homes often selling within hours or days of coming on the market after fielding several contracts at a time. In spring, people who have been cooped up over the winter are … [Read more...]

​ 2016 Parade of Homes Charlottesville

53rd Annual Parade Of Homes - Oct. 1 & 2, 8 & 9 - Noon-5pm It’s that time of year again. Sponsored by the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association (BRHBA), the now 53rd Annual Parade of Homes is a chance to see what’s new in the world of building, and it’s a free event. This year’s Parade features 42 homes from 18 builders, up from last year’s numbers of 12 builders and 32 … [Read more...]

Moving Checklist

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Moving Checklist It’s that time of year again - college students are heading back to school and anxious parents are trying not to forget anything along the way. Moving to your dorm room or apartment is the same as moving into a new house - just on a slightly smaller scale. We have some great tips to help your move go smoothly - regardless of whether it’s to a smaller or larger … [Read more...]

What to do with a Low Home Appraisal

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What to do with a Low Home Appraisal In the home-buying process, there are several crucial steps along the way that Sellers and Buyers alike will have to navigate: the home inspection, radon test, title issues, getting a survey and negotiating when an appraisal comes in significantly lower than the accepted offer. When this happens both sides can go through many different … [Read more...]

What is a HOA – and what are the pros and cons?

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We’re often asked by prospective Buyers first, what’s an HOA and what does it cover, and second, what are the pros and cons of living in a neighborhood with an HOA? The first is relatively simple to answer. You’re required to join an HOA - or Home Owners Association - when you purchase a condominium, townhouse or other type of property in a planned development, such as a leased land … [Read more...]

Interview with a Professional Home Inspector

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Interview with a Professional Home Inspector Having an inspection done is the only way for Sellers and Buyers to know the state of a house, at a given point in time, and have a general understanding of what to look out for in the way of potential upcoming repairs. Your home inspector wants the process to yield a comprehensive to-do list and not to unduly stress out either the Seller or … [Read more...]

Ways to Prepare for Your Home Inspection

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Ways to Prepare for Your Home Inspection After you’ve fallen in love with your dream home, ratified the contract and contacted your lender, the next vital step in the buying process – for both Sellers and Buyers – is the home inspection. Having an inspection done is the only way for Sellers and Buyers to know the exact state of the house, and have a general understanding of what to … [Read more...]

Will Bookcases Become Obsolete?

bookcase

Will Bookcases Become Obsolete? With all the talk of technology, e-readers and cell phones, it appears likely for people to assume books will also go the way of the dodo - with bookcases not far behind, because, if you don’t need them for books, what use are they? To many, a house without books is a bit bare. Ask around and you might be surprised how many people will say they actually … [Read more...]

House Hunting – Dos and Don’ts

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House Hunting - Dos and Don’ts Searching for a house can be challenging and time-consuming, and most won't be “the one.” It's tempting to dive right in and start looking at every open house listed in the paper or online. But before you dedicate your weekends, you need to know what you're looking for. In order to prioritize your wants and needs versus seeing everything in case … [Read more...]

Pros & Cons of Removing Shoes Before Showing a House

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Pros & Cons of Removing Shoes Before Showing a House Sellers want their houses shown in the best light, and many think that asking potential Buyers and their agents to remove their shoes is the perfect solution - thereby keeping their houses clean and dirt-free. Some Sellers, for example, may have severe asthma - so tracking in pollen/dirt/mold spores is a very real concern. But what do … [Read more...]

Downsizing in Charlottesville

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Downsizing in Charlottesville Whether you're an empty nester moving from a house into a condo, or a renter trading in a two-bedroom for a studio, downsizing is hard— a smaller place means you don’t have room for all of your current belongings. But downsizing is also an opportunity to refresh and start anew. If you get rid of the clutter, you can fill your new place with the things you … [Read more...]

Charlottesville Doctor’s Loan

Beautiful young doctor standing with hands folded and assistant doctors in background

Doctor Mortgage Loan Here in Charlottesville, we are home to the University of Virginia Hospital, one of the premier teaching hospitals in the state and on the East Coast. Every year in the United States,16,000 new doctors graduate from medical school and about the same number graduate from residency. Every year here in March, know as “Match Day,” we see a new crop of residents … [Read more...]

To Move or Not to Move Before the Baby Comes

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To Move or Not to Move Before the Baby Comes Moving can be one of the most stressful things you can do under normal circumstances. But when you add in the factor of moving while pregnant - whether you’re three, five or even nine months along - this can take the stress to a whole new level. Luckily, when it comes to expecting a baby, when you ask for help there are usually plenty of … [Read more...]

Hidden Costs of Buying a Home

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Many first time homebuyers have in mind that they need at least a 20% down payment and a monthly check for the mortgage. But that’s not the entire story when it comes to buying a home. There are a mountain of “hidden” costs — from closing fees to taxes — that can add up to more than $9,000 each year — and that number will only jump if you live in a major U.S. city. Three … [Read more...]

Median ​v​s Average ​Price

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We recently released the 2015 3rd Quarter Charlottesville Market Report and sometimes it helps to define how numbers are determined. Many Buyer clients ask us: “What’s the difference between median and average values?” And many of our Sellers want to know: “How does this affect my listing pricing strategy?” Let’s start with defining the term “average”, also known as the … [Read more...]

What is PMI?

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What is PMI? Here at Solutions, we often get asked lots of questions by first time homebuyers about all the acronyms that get thrown around by lenders when preparing an offer. For one example, what is PMI? Basically, it’s a protection for a lender. When your down payment is less than 20%, you usually have to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance, (PMI), which is the lenders’ (banks’) … [Read more...]

Do I need a Home Humidifier?

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Many people know that using humidifiers is a great idea when the weather outside starts turning colder, although it’s hard to imagine that in the summer here in the Charlottesville area when the last thing on your mind is to add moisture inside a home when it’s so hot and sweaty outside. During the colder fall and winter months, humidifier therapy adds moisture to the air to prevent dryness … [Read more...]

Charlottesville Solutions Moving Checklist

The questionnaire

The arrival of summer at Solutions also heralds the sight of moving trucks in many neighborhoods across the area. In fact, this year, the weekend of June 27 & 28 was recently named the “busiest weekend of the year” by several local moving companies. Many people take advantage of this time of year, when school is officially out, to move their households. In order to get organized below … [Read more...]

What is an Escrow Money Deposit and Who Holds it?

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Here at Solutions, we often get asked by First Time Home Buyers, “What is an Escrow Money Deposit (EMD), and why do you need it?” In short, during the purchase offer stage, it’s like a deposit that a Buyer puts down to show that they’d like to purchase a property in good faith. An EMD is only deposited after a contract has been fully ratified (when all signatures and initialing are … [Read more...]

What is the Title Insurance, and Why is it Important?

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Here at Solutions, we are often asked by our Buyer clients why they need title insurance and, when they order it, what’s involved in the process. Buying a home is a long, complex transaction. Title insurance is an important part since it insures and assures the Buyer that all liens placed against the prior owners of the property, or documents that will restrict their use of the property, have … [Read more...]

Do I Need a Home Inspection?

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Here at Solutions, we often get asked by our new clients if they really need a home inspection when buying a home. As Virginia is a “Caveat Emptor,” or “Buyer Beware,” state, it’s really the only way to see if the home has any defects or hidden issues as most Buyers don’t have the necessary training to look for these. A home inspection is one of the best consumer protection services … [Read more...]

Five New Home Trends for 2015

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Where once McMansions reigned supreme in new house sales, buyers today are now asking for more energy efficient, customized and smaller models. While we aren’t quite at a Jetsons-style home with dinner at the push of a button, innovation and invention are at the forefront of building industry trends. These designs include options that are “green”, are more pedestrian-friendly - with … [Read more...]

Spring Tips to Make Your Home Shine

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Spring is the ideal time for Buyers to find their dream home, so Sellers can take advantage of this by getting their homes ready with these seasonal staging tips: Start with a Spring Cleaning Clean until your home sparkles - and don’t forget the windows, blinds, gutters, molding and ceiling fans! Then, turn your attention to getting rid of winter clutter - you don’t want to weigh down … [Read more...]

Buyer Beware: Red Flags when Purchasing a Home

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Top Things to Watch For When Buying a Home  Virginia is a “Buyer Beware” state when it comes to purchasing a home. While there are lead based paint and the standard seller disclosures included in most active area listings, Sellers don't always disclose the whole truth to potential Buyers, especially if they're motivated to sell. Having a home inspection done is a must when it comes to … [Read more...]

How to Prevent Freezing Pipes

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How to Prevent Freezing Pipes With the recent bone-chilling temps here in Central Virginia, many homeowners are understandably concerned about the possibility of frozen or burst pipes. In fact, every winter season, pipes in a home are at risk of damage from freezing conditions. Pipes most at risk for freezing include: exposed pipes in unheated areas of the home; pipes located in exterior … [Read more...]

Some Home Tax Deductions You Might Forget!

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Some Home Tax Deductions You Might Forget When it comes to the “owning vs. renting” debate, it appears that owning a home wins when it comes to tax time. Below are a few homeownership-related tax deductions and strategies to lower your tax bill: Mortgage Interest Deduction One of the best deductions itemizing homeowners can take advantage of is the mortgage interest deduction, which you … [Read more...]

Who Really Represents the Client in a Real Estate Transaction?

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So, Who Really Does Represent the Client in a Real Estate Transaction? We know many of our Solutions clients are tech savvy, and they’ve become familiar with such websites as Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and others when they’re either looking to purchase or sell a home. But, did you know that Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, and even our Local MLS' website, promote something called “Dual … [Read more...]

Should I Appeal My Charlottesville Tax Assessment?

home numbers

It's Tax Assessment Time Again It’s tax assessment time again in the city of Charlottesville. Here at Solutions, we’ve taken a look at the recent press release from the city of Charlottesville and have found out a few things about this year’s assessments. Many residents get understandably nervous when their assessments go up as that means their taxes will be higher. First, we will … [Read more...]

Best Month and Day to Buy or Sell a Home?

Time

Is there a Best Time to Make an Offer on a House? We recently posted about the best time of year to list your home - spring - and best day of the week to list - Thursday - but is there a best month to buy? Although many experts say the best month to make an offer on a house is January (and we’re almost at the end of that month), there’s also a best day of the month to make an offer on … [Read more...]

The Pros & Cons of Owning a Home in a Rural Area

rural virginia

Many people come to the Central Virginia area because of the natural beauty in the form of the Blue Ridge and Southwest Mountains that surround the towns of Charlottesville, Ivy, Crozet, Earlysville, Afton, Earlysville, Free Union and Ruckersville, to name a few. Although you might be familiar with the challenges that living in a more rural area can bring, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re … [Read more...]

Questions to Ask A Mortgage Lender Before Writing an Offer

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Questions to Ask A Mortgage Lender Before Writing an Offer You’ve chosen your dream house, gotten pre-qualified and are about to write your offer - so now what? At Solutions, we recommend finding out as much as possible about your mortgage before you make the next big leap. In fact it is a good idea to talk with a lender, before actually looking at homes, so you know that you can afford that … [Read more...]

Homeownership Based on Age

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Does Your Age Make a Difference When It Comes To Owning a Home? When it comes time to make the leap from renting to owning, many people wonder if it makes a difference depending on their age. We all know about the Baby Boomers - those born from 1946-1964 - the Gen X-ers - those born in the early 1960s to the early 1980s - and Generation Y or Millennials - those born in the early 1980s to early … [Read more...]

Tips for saving on Winter Energy Bills

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How to Save Energy This Fall & Winter As the cooler days and nights of fall turn into full blown winter, thoughts turn to how to keep your house warm and snug. Here are some strategies to help you save energy. Some of the tips below are free and can be used on a daily basis to increase your savings; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings through … [Read more...]

How to pick a home builder in Charlottesville

Charlottesville Builder

Here at Solutions we get asked questions all the time about working with area home builders. When thinking about building your dream home, you have your choice between the larger companies and several well-established smaller local builders. If you prefer the “hands-on” approach, working with a small builder may be your best option, and selecting the right one is a key step in the journey … [Read more...]

Getting to know the Belmont Neighborhood

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Here at Solutions we get asked a lot of questions about the different neighborhoods in Charlottesville. The area known as “Belmont” comes up a great many times in conversation as it’s near the Downtown Mall, has lots of charm, boasts wonderful examples of architecture from the late 1800s to modern day, is the perfect neighborhood to walk around and explore, and is home to many of our best … [Read more...]

What’s the Difference between a Pre-Qualification Letter and a Pre-Approval for a Loan?

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Here at Solutions we get many questions from our Buyers about how to best prepare ahead of time for purchasing their dream house. Our local housing market has very low inventory right now, so, when a great listing comes on the market that is in the right location and is priced well, you can almost guarantee that you will have to compete with other Buyers for the home. At Solutions, we typically … [Read more...]

Questions Buyers should be asking their Agents

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What questions should Buyers ask before putting an offer on a home? Here at Solutions, we get asked lots of questions by clients in their search for their dream home. Because of Equal Housing Laws, there are some we’re prevented by law from answering, but there are a number of answers we can find out or sources we can point you towards to look up the info you seek.Below are a few common … [Read more...]

Costs To Add Into Your Budget When Buying a Home

listit

Ever wonder how much a house truly costs? You can crunch the latest mortgage rates, estimate your tax & insurance payments, and take a realistic look at how much house you can afford after getting pre-qualified with a lender, but there are more expenses involved in home buying than just the property costs. And those additional payments, if you don’t factor them in, can be high enough to … [Read more...]

How Are Buyer’s Agents Paid Anyway?

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Here at Solutions, we often get asked many questions by prospective Buyers, but one in particular tends to stand out - “How do we, when we work as Buyer’s Agents, get paid?”Our answer is very simple - as Buyer’s Agents, we don’t work for free, but it’s the Seller who pays our fee, not the Buyers themselves.The Seller, who has already entered into a listing agreement, pays both their … [Read more...]

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Charles McDonaldBy Charles McDonald - Charles, and his firm, Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions, are known locally and around the world for helping people move in and out of the Charlottesville area. His background (running his own engineering firm for 20+ years in the Silicon Valley) has given him the skills to not only develop this site but also to manage a stellar group of agents!
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