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Peggie Smolko

Realtor

My Blog

Fourth of July in Williamsburg

6/30/2016

Fourth of July in Williamsburg!

Click Below to see what's going on this Independence Day Weekend!

Williamsburg Fourth of July Events

 

Existing Homes Sales Inch up in January!

2/26/2016

2016 Real Estate Predictions

1/11/2016
    1. Millennials will continue to be a major buying force in 2016 with the majority of first-time buyers being between 25 and 34. Although the presence of younger generations (primarily Millennials) in the real estate market has been exaggerated over the past couple of years, they still represented $2 billion in sales nationally in 2015, approximately one-third of all home buyers. Also, don’t be surprised if buyers in their mid-30s trend towards the suburbs if they can get more for less.
    2. The Baby-Boomer generation will boost the market with double transactions as both sellers and buyers. Most of them are already home owners so they will be looking to sell and downsize to a smaller home to lower their cost of living to maximize ease of retirement.
    3. New home construction will focus more on affordable housing as opposed to luxury housing, even in urban environments. Developers and builders want to capitalize on the demand of the entry-level market.  With a slowdown in the last quarter of 2015, ultra-luxury condos and homes aren't moving as quickly because supply has caught up with demand. That being said, United States in particular is still very much a leader in the international luxury real estate market, attracting a variety of wealthy elite foreign and domestic buyers who recognize the value of owning property , especially when the price per square foot is still considerably less than in other major cities globally such as London and Hong Kong. There will always be buyers looking for extraordinary homes but the current inventory in the luxury housing market, coupled with what's on the books for opening in 2016, will be enough to meet the demand.
    4. The inventory levels for single-family homes are expected to increase in 2016, which could have an effect on home prices in many areas since consumer confidence and job creation are on the rise, putting more people in a position to buy. Prices will either remain the same or go down slightly based on the principles of supply and demand. A slowdown in home-price appreciation could motivate more property owners in NYC to sell, further easing the inventory crunch that we experienced in 2015.
    5. Mortgage rates will likely be higher than the historical lows we have become accustomed to for the past several years due to the recent move by the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates. The new rates should still be manageable in most cases; Freddie Mac is forecasting the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to average below 4.5% for 2016 on an annualized basis, which would raise monthly payments just over $100 on a $350,000 loan.
    6. The higher interest rates may finally bring down housing prices to more affordable levels in many markets giving more property owners the incentive to sell, leading to an increase in inventory. Given the increase in rents, the modest increase in the interest rates shouldn’t deter buyers. If they’re smart, they will recognize that they should buy “more today than less tomorrow” as interest rates will only continue to rise in the years to come. 

 

Great News for First Time Homebuyers!

10/28/2015

The latest from the Virginia Housing Development Authority!

 

New VHDA program boosts homeownership tax benefits

The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) has recently rolled out a new Mortgage Credit Certificate program that will offer Virginia’s qualified homebuyers another option to help make purchasing a home more affordable. A Mortgage Credit Certificate, or MCC, allows an eligible homebuyer to receive a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal income taxes, up to 20 percent of the annual interest paid on the mortgage. By reducing the amount of federal income tax a qualified homebuyer owes, the MCC boosts the tax benefits of owning a home.

Area

Income

Maximum Sales Price/Loan Limits

2 or Fewer People

3 or More People

New & Existing construction

Norfolk-VA Beach-NN

$80,400

$93,800

$375,000

To be eligible, the borrower must be a first-time buyer or have not owned a home as a primary residence in the last three years (this requirement is waived in federally-targeted areas). Also, the borrower’s income may not exceed VHDA’s maximum household income limit for the specific area, and the home sales price must be below VHDA’s maximum. This program is designed for the purchase of a home as a primary residence, so second homes are not MCC eligible. The MCC benefit does not apply to state income tax, only to federal. So, a borrower must have a federal tax liability in order to benefit. The credit is equal to 20 percent of the annual mortgage interest paid, and the remaining 80 percent of mortgage interest paid is still eligible for itemized deduction. Unused MCC credit may be carried forward for up to three years. As long as the borrower continues to live in the home, the MCC is effective for the life of the mortgage. An MCC borrower who sells the home in the first nine years of ownership may be subject to federal recapture tax.

For the latest information, program updates, and a list of participating lenders. www.vhda.com/mcc

 

Best,

 

Colonial Williamsburg Resident and Visitor Discount Tickets

10/8/2015

 

A Special Pass for Williamsburg Area Residents

Area residents can enjoy the Revolutionary City, art museums, exhibition sites, and special offers and discounts through our Good Neighbor program.

As a resident of the city of Williamsburg, James City County, or the Bruton District of York County, you’re eligible for a Colonial Williamsburg Good Neighbor Pass

A Special Visitor's Pass

If you are fifty years or older you can get a discount when you visit Colonial Williamsburg. Pay for one day you can visit for the rest of the year for free.
The cost of a one day ticket for an adult is
$40.99.
 
This offer is valid from September 1 through October 31, 2015.  Call (888) 965-7254 for more information.

 

Benefits of the Good Neighbor Pass

  • Unlimited admission to the Revolutionary City—up to 35 Historic Area sites and 22 trade sites practicing more than 30 18th-century trades for one year from date of purchase
  • Access to our two world-class art museums
  • Complimentary shuttle service
  • 10% off your purchases* at official Colonial Williamsburg stores, everyday!
  • 25% off tickets for most tours and evening programs
  • 10% off food and beverage purchases at the Raleigh Tavern Bakery and all Colonial Williamsburg dining taverns, restaurants, and cafés
  • Seasonal discount on carriage rides
  • 10% discount on Busch Gardens & Water Country USA single-day admission tickets
  • 25% off up to 20 general admission passes each year per household for your friends and family
  • Access to Pass Member Preview Day
  • Special Offers & Events

See You There - Peggie

Food for thought.....

9/16/2015

The New Reality of Real Estate

 

Two-thirds of renters surveyed believe they need a very good credit score to buy a home, with 45 percent thinking a “good credit score” is over 780.Consumers also overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan, with 36 percent thinking a 20 percent down payment is always required

- Ipsos Survey

 

 

 

Literacy for Life: Williamsburg International Food & Arts l

9/14/2015

IFAFWhat do Chinese dragons, Alewerks beer, chicken tikka masala, the band London, and hula dancers all have in common?

On September 19th, they will be at the W&M School of Education for the Williamsburg International Food and Arts Festival. We have music and dancers booked from 11:00 am - 7:00 pm.  There will be food from around the world, arts and crafts vendors, as well as lots of demos and activities for kids. The event will take place rain or shine (there is both indoor and outdoor space), and admission is FREE!   

This event benefits Literacy for Life, and we are excited to celebrate the "internationalness" of Williamsburg!

 

Hope to see you there!

IFAF2

 

 

Top Places to eat in Williamsburg

9/14/2015

 

Le Yaca- Williamsburg, VA

 

If you think that Williamsburg, Virginia is all about history then think again. The beautiful Williamsburg is not only an educational experience, but also a culinary experience as well. Visitors come to Williamsburg for the history and charm, but the food scene is worthy of a visit all on its own. Whether you're looking for a melt-in-your-mouth steak, some succulent seafood or All-American comfort food, you'll find it in Williamsburg, Virginia.

 

D.O.G Street Pub
We’ve transformed an eighty-year-old bank into the only Gastropub that belongs on the most historic avenue in all America. June 2012, Chef David Everett opened DoG Street Pub committed to honoring the dignity and heritage of its namesake, Duke of Gloucester Street.  DoG Street Pub’s focus is simply presented, excellent food without the rubbish. With an understanding that a superb beer is the perfect complement to a perfect meal, we scour the globe to craft a beer menu to please all tastes, from the casual fan to seasoned enthusiast whose favorite is “something new.” Our goal to provide the greatest personal service, facilities and quality cuisine in a casual setting is driven by Chef Everett’s dedication to an experience and atmosphere that will exceed our guests’ expectations. (757-293-6478)

Blue Talon Bistro
Chef David Everett at the Blue Talon Bistro describes his cuisine as "serious comfort food," and everything from the food to the friendly neighborhood atmosphere will make you feel right at home in this French-inspired bistro. Try the chicken and mushroom crepes, served with asparagus and Parmesan cheese or the fresh goat cheese drizzled in honey. Wash it all down with a selection from the extensive wine list. (757-476-2583)

Fat Tuna
Freshest Fish at Family Friendly Pricing! Fat Tuna has excellent fresh fish, steaks, and chef specialties daily. Open for lunch and dinner with a full bar with more than 20 craft beers on tap! Fat Tuna proudly serves the freshest available ingredients from our local farmers and seafood suppliers. Private party and meeting rooms available. Groups and Buses welcome! (757-903-2811)

Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant
Celebrating 23 years! Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant is a family friendly, locally owned Italian restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia. Giuseppe's offers gourmet individual pizzas, delicious soups and salads and an array of pasta dishes. Check out our lunch and dinner menus and come in and see us. We look forward to serving you and your families soon!Don't forget to check out our special events page for the latest wine dinner menu! (757-565-1977)

Five Forks Cafe
For real American diner food, it doesn't get much better than the family-run Five Forks Cafe. Virginia locals are known to drive an hour just to eat breakfast here on the weekends, and there's almost always a wait. To eat like the Southerners do, try the corn cakes with honey, grits or country-fried chicken with sausage gravy. (757-221-0484)

Sal's By Victor Italian Restaurant
Sal’s by Victor is a family run restaurant specialized in both southern and northern Italian cuisine. We’ve been serving Williamsburg and the surrounding areas since 1974. The restaurant was originally founded by Salvatore (Sal) who named the restaurant after himself. In 1990 Victor acquired the business from Sal and decided to keep the name, while at the same time giving the “by Victor” touch.Sal’s by Victor’s mission is to treat all our “customers” as our guests and to make sure they leave the restaurant with a smile on their faces and a full stomach. We take complaints very seriously and always demand that our staff provide the best experience possible for our guests. We firmly believe that there is no better advertisement than a positive experience conveyed via word of mouth.(757-220-2641)

New York Deli & Pizza Restaurant
New York Deli & Pizza Restaurant is the #1 stop in Williamsburg for authentic New York-style sandwiches, subs, pizza and much more. Family owned and operated, New York Deli & Pizza has won “Best Deli in Williamsburg” each year since its opening in 2005. Enjoy our casual dining room, or call to place a quick carry-out order for lunch or dinner. (757-564-9258)

Peking Mongolian & Japanese Restaurant
We are proud to announce that Peking Restaurant was award the "Best Asian Cuisine" by the Virginia Gazette for the year 2012. This making us "Best Asian Cuisine" for 20 years in a row! Thank you Williamsburg for your continued support! In addition to this award, Peking Restaurant attended the TOP 100 Chinese Restaurant in the . We attended the three day award ceremony in Las Vegas and are proud to bring home the "TOP 100 Local Favorites." Thanks to everyone who has participated in this annual event and we hope to climb the ranks of the overall Best Chinese Restaurant in the future.(757-229-2288)

Nine Reasons a Great Agent is Vital to a Seller

6/12/2015
 

June 12, 2015

Selling your home without hiring a real estate agent might be tempting, especially if you're in an area where buyers are clamoring for properties. It's not uncommon for sellers to think (even for a split-second) "How hard can it be to sell on my own?" But there are probably some challenges they're not considering.

Here are some key ways a real estate agent – more specifically a licensed Realtor – proves to be indispensible during the selling process.

1. We  offer wide exposure. Find an agent with the education, experience and know-how – along with the backing from a brokerage and powerful brand – to increase exposure of your house to potential buyers. Your agent can devise a marketing plan that stresses showing your property to other agents as well as to the public.

2. We bring objectivity. You probably love your home even with all its faults, but a prospective buyer might not be so dazzled. A solid real estate agent can give you helpful tips on things that need to be fixed and ways to improve your home’s appearance and curb appeal. Your agent can also evaluate and focus on features that might set your house apart from the competition.

3. We know the market. Agents can access current market data about pending and recent sales, and they can use that information to help you establish an appropriate asking price for your home. Homeowners often expect unrealistically high prices for their homes, which can turn off buyers who are seeing homes with more competitive prices. A house that is priced accurately from the get-go will sell more quickly and for a higher price than those that are priced too high right out of the gate.

4. We take care of all showings. You may not be available to show your home to prospective buyers, or you may have already moved out, but your agent can show your house even when you aren’t there. Agents can answer visitors’ questions and take note of their feedback. Further, prospective buyers usually feel more comfortable touring a house when the owner isn’t present. They might want to comment on a house’s drawbacks.

5. We take security seriously. Real estate agents can vet all potential buyers, including verifying they're preapproved for a home loan and weeding out the “looky-loos” who aren't serious buyers. They also can provide security by pre-screening visitors and accompanying them while they're in the house.

6. We are prepared to negotiate. Agents will negotiate contracts on your behalf. FSBO sellers generally negotiate with a professional representing the buyer's interests. Your agent, on the other hand, can help you negotiate with the buyer’s agent to secure a contract that gets you the best price for your house.

7. We help you avoid legal trouble. Your agent knows the requirements for disclosures in your state. The seller is required to disclose any problems that could affect the value of the property. In most states, it’s against the law to hide physical problems such as flood hazards and prior damage. Some states require a seller to search for such problems even if they aren’t obvious. An agent helps prepare necessary disclosure documents.

8. We are with you to the end – and beyond. Getting to the closing table is a complicated process, filled with paperwork, and mistakes can sidetrack the deal. Good real estate agents have safeguards in place to avoid them. Your real estate agent will work with you every step of the way to closing, and can even be a resource for you as you consider your next move.

9. We follow a strict Code of Ethics. Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and they are required to complete a two-and-a-half hour Code of Ethics course every four years. The repeat training ensures that agents are familiar with the code’s newest provisions and that its key guidelines are reinforced: protecting clients, protecting communities and protecting the industry.

 

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