Archives: October 2018

How to Make a Wants Vs. Needs List for Your Home Search

It’s fall, which means home buying season at Wintergreen Resort has officially arrived! If you’re on the hunt for a new home, chances are you’ve already thought about the features you’d like to have.

However, one important part of searching for homes is making a distinction between your needs and your wants. Needs are amenities or features you can’t live without, while wants are things that you’d like to have (but they ultimately wouldn’t affect your home buying decision too much).

Two-story suburban home with a large garage and grey shutters.Ideally, you’ll want to come up with this list of needs (e.g. 3 bedrooms, under $200k, close to the slopes or Mountain Village) and wants (e.g. stainless steel appliances, walk-in closets) before you start looking for homes. This will save you time along the way as you browse dozens, maybe hundreds, of homes online or in person.

Here’s a guide for distinguishing between your wants and needs:

Your Needs

To begin, come up with a list of priorities. What are some features or amenities that are non-negotiable? Do you need a home with a certain number of bedrooms? Maybe it has to be in a specific location?

Write your priorities down on paper or in a smartphone app to better visualize what you need in a home. Here are some things to consider:

Lot Size

Small black and white dog sitting on a green lawn with a wooden fence behind him.How much outdoor space do you need? This is one feature than tends to be at the top of home buyers’ minds.

If you have a dog or two, you may want a large fenced-in yard so they have plenty of space to run around. You might also be interested in starting a garden, or perhaps you just like the extra space for peace and quiet.

Home Size

Your specific needs determine how much space you need in a home.

Do you anticipate any future changes in your household size? If so, you should think about how much space you may require to accommodate those changes. The larger your household, the more bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need (unless you want to spend mornings waiting for your turn to shower).

You may also consider if you’d like to have a large basement or bonus room to turn into a game room or home theater. If you’re an avid hobbyist, you may need an additional room for your workshop.

Location

Man driving a car with his hands on the wheel.Think about where you would like to be on the mountain. This will help dictate things to some degree while searching for property at Wintergreen Resort.

Make a pros and cons list about location and base your new list off of the features you like or wish you had.

Budget

When you’re coming up with your list of needs, one of the most important factors to consider in your home search is your budget.

A great way to set your budget is by meeting with a lender to get pre-approved. During this process, the bank will go over all your financial information and let you know exactly how much they’re willing to lend you.

Your Wants

Spacious open living room filled with natural light.Once you narrow down your list of needs (the biggest of which is your budget), you should tackle your list of wants.

Try focusing on amenities or special features that will increase your property’s resale potential (for when you decide to sell down the road).

Value-boosting home features can include dual-pane windows, additional “flex” rooms (such as a finished basement or in-law suite), and LED lights or other energy-efficient features.

Not only can these amenities increase your quality of life, they’ll likely get you more money in the long run when you decide to sell.

Prioritizing Your Wants and Needs

Smiling couple looking at a computer researching their budget.It can be challenging to find a home that has everything you need, everything you want, and is still within your budget.

Ultimately, you should prepare to make compromises along the way. (Which is more important, having a spa-like master bathroom or living less than 10 minutes away from the grocery store?)

Here are a few tips you can follow:

  • Consider any additional costs of certain home features and amenities. For example, if you want a bigger yard, make sure you have enough time to take care of it or the means to hire someone to maintain it for you.
  • Don’t always choose the latest upgrades. A number of different factors determine the cost of a home. Amenities like granite countertops and whirlpool tubs are likely to increase the price tag.
  • Adjust your list if necessary. You may realize during your home search that what you thought was a need is actually just a want.

Last on Your Checklist: The Right Realtor

Using your wants and needs list, a good Realtor can create a personalized list of potential homes that meet all your criteria.

That’s where we come in. Allow us to use our unique home buying expertise to help you find the home that’s just right. Give us a call today to get started.

5 Ways to Keep Your Home Secure While Selling It

It’s no exaggeration that selling your home keeps you busy. In the midst of staging, pricing, listing, and scheduling tours, it’s easy to overlook the details… like home security.

Close up shot of a welcome mat in front of an open door leading to a home.After all, while selling your home, you’re probably allowing dozens of strangers to come inside for tours.

And while most of them probably have good intentions, it might not be a bad idea to beef up your home’s security a little bit.

Here are a few ways to protect yourself and your belongings while still welcoming potential buyers into your home.

Showings by Appointment Only

When advertising your home for sale, be sure to use phrases like “appointment only” in your listing. Never allow anyone into your home unless they have a verified appointment with your Realtor.

It’s okay to be extra cautious during this time! We recommend being alert whenever you allow anyone new into your home.

Confirm Appointments and Oversee Tours

Couple walking through a home with a Realtor there to show them around.If you’re not working with a Realtor, you will need to personally request verification of potential homebuyers when they come for a tour.

When you work with a Realtor, however, you can trust that they know how to verify all potential buyers before any visitor walks through the door.

Remove All Valuables From Sight

Keep all valuables, including jewelry and collectibles, hidden in a secure safe or tucked away in a safety deposit box at your bank. Hide all personal information (bank statements, social security cards, etc.) in drawers or out of sight.

Don’t leave anything of value lying around or in plain sight. It’s part of staging your home to sell — you want to make sure your home looks as neutral as possible with zero personal effects.

Be Extra Cautious

Single key in the lock of a wooden door.It never hurts to be careful! This is where it helps to have an experienced Realtor on your side. They’ll know what to look for and how to supervise buyers in your home as they tour.

It’s also a great time to install a security system. Not only will this provide you with extra security as you sell your home, it may even increase your property’s resale value!

Work With a Trusted Realtor

With the right Realtor on your side, you won’t have to worry about keeping your home safe during the selling process. An experienced real estate agent will know exactly how to sell your home without jeopardizing its security.

That’s exactly what you get when you choose to work with us. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you sell your home.

Home Buying 101: The Service Providers You Need for Your Home Purchase

When it comes to buying a home, there are more things to consider than you may realize. After all, it’s a lot more complicated than walking into the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk!

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases the average person makes. As such, you can expect there to be a lot of preparation, negotiation, and paperwork involved. In addition to obtaining a mortgage and signing the paperwork, there are a number of other tasks that need to be completed before you can open the doors to your new home.

Here’s a quick crash course in Home Buying 101: what service providers you need to hire while purchasing your new home.

Mortgage Lender

Man and a woman speaking with a bank lender holding pens.Ideally, you should start talking to lenders before you even begin looking for homes—and get pre-qualified for a mortgage as soon as possible.

Pre-qualification involves reviewing all of your finances, including income, expenses, and savings, with a lender.

Then, the lender will do some math and let you know exactly how much the bank is willing to loan you.

Home Inspector

Before you purchase the home, you absolutely must schedule a home inspection! This usually happens after you negotiate a price and sign the initial Purchase and Sale Agreement with the seller.

The home inspector will carefully go through every room of your new home (including basement, attic, and roof) to ensure everything is in proper working order. If the inspector finds any major issues, you can negotiate with the seller to get them fixed.

The average home inspection cost ranges from $300 to $500, but it may end up being higher depending on the size of your home as well as any other add ons.

Appraiser

Woman at a computer explaining a home appraisal.After the home inspection comes the appraisal. Your lender requires an appraisal because they want to protect their investment by making sure the home is worth at least as much as they’re lending you.

The appraiser will take a close look at key features in the home and compare them to the features in other homes (and what those homes have sold for). If the appraiser values the home at less than the sales price, the bank will lower the amount of your mortgage to match it. If this happens, you have several options.

Depending on the contract you signed with the seller, you may be able to get your deposit back and walk away. You can also dispute the appraisal by talking with your Realtor about property values. Another option is to negotiate the price with the seller.

Title Company

Title insurance promises peace of mind when buying a home. Basically, when you purchase title insurance, a title company will come in and ensure the seller actually owns the home and the title is valid. This protects you down the line, in case any issues come up regarding past taxes, contracts, or prior mortgages with the home’s title.

It’s also a good idea to purchase owner’s and lender’s title insurance to protect yourself and your lender from any issues with claims to the title of your property.

The cost of title insurance depends on the size of your mortgage and your location.

Have any Questions? We’re Here for You

For even more information on how to navigate the purchase of your home, including all the fees, paperwork, and legal jargon, give us a call today. We’re always here to help.

Two kids with their moms carving Halloween pumpkins.

Get Ready for a Winter Wonderland at Wintergreen Resort

Fall is here and winter is fast approaching. You know what that means: the holidays are coming to Wintergreen! We can’t wait for the snowy nights, steaming cups of hot chocolate, and holiday cheer that will spread throughout Wintergreen Resort in the coming months.

To help get you in the spirit of things, we’ve come up with a list of five Wintergreen events to celebrate the holidays! There’s something for everyone (and every occasion) at Wintergreen.

Here are four bonafide ways to celebrate the upcoming season at Wintergreen.

Harvest Fest

One of my personal favorites, it’s time to get into the “spooky spirit” at Wintergreen! The Harvest Fest is held the weekend of October 26th from Friday to Sunday. It will feature fun activities for all ages, including a pumpkin hunt, cookie decorating, spooky movies, live entertainment, and more!

This is also a wonderful opportunity for adults to try out Nelson County’s different orchards, breweries, and wineries. Guests will get to experience a side of the resort they’ve never seen before, like finding out who drives the resort’s big trucks and what they do!

But really…. we’re in it for the candy, the treats, and the “spooktacular” fun!

Thanksgiving

Close up shot of a thanksgiving turkey.Gobble, gobble! Thanksgiving is more fun when spent with family and friends. That’s why we’re so excited for the upcoming Thanksgiving Feast at Wintergreen Resort. See the illumination of the courtyard, lit up with gorgeous lights and decorations, and take part in the holiday workshops to make seasonal crafts!

There will be a gingerbread house workshop, live music, restorative yoga, and a nature hike to get you feeling thankful for the wonderful year we’ve had at Wintergreen.

Be Thankful 5k

After you’ve gotten your fill of turkey and stuffing… time to run it off! Held on the day after Thanksgiving, the Be Thankful 5k directly supports the Nelson County Community Fund.

The Community Fund provides funds to different non-profits serving county residents.

Blue Ridge Mountains Christmas

Ornaments hanging off of a Christmas tree.It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Spend the Christmas season with your friends and loved ones at this Wintergreen staple. Perfect for residents of all ages, the seasonal activities are held from December 21st to New Years Eve. They include sugar cookie decorating, a family movie night, fabulous dining options, an ugly sweater contest, and more!

The best holiday gift? Making memories with the people you love. We can’t wait to see what the holiday season brings!

Have the Time of Your Life at Wintergreen Resort

Whether you’re searching for a luxurious condo, a spacious home, or a wide-open lot upon which to build your dream home, we’ve got you covered. There’s a home here for every kind of buyer, which is one of the many reasons Wintergreen is such a popular community.

Let’s get started on finding your dream home in Wintergreen together. Give us a call today to get started.