Winchester, VA Real Estate News

By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
I've spent the majority of my adult life in a suit, behind a desk, writing, speaking and directing traffic for both business and non-profit organizations.  When my wife's car went in for inspection a week ago it failed for ball joints.  I hate ball joints.  For a small window of time, I was able to put on a pair of coveralls, pull out a floor jack, grab a tool-set  and get greasy.  It was great.  Making sure her car is running at its absolute best is extremely important to me.  I still hate ball joints, though. Wednesday, I had a friend call who decided that he could defy the powers that be and build a small house without permits.  Just a heads up, the powers that be get really testy when they find out you did that.  The local county came down on him like a hammer, and he called me.  My...
Comments 13
By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
A older gentleman was frustrated with a religious group that kept coming to his door week after week.  So, he asked a friend what he should do to get them to quit coming by.  He didn't want to be rude, but he was tired of seeing them on his door step week after week. His friend said, "Oh, I know these people well.  They don't believe in saluting the flag.  They don't believe in singing the National Anthem.  So, the next time they come, just make them pledge allegiance to the flag and sing the National Anthem, and they'll go away and leave you alone." Well, this really got him upset. He said, "You mean to tell me they will not salute our flag?  They won't sing the National Anthem of the country I fought for?  I know what I'll do!" He went out and found the biggest U.S. flag he could find...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
Every time my dog gets up from a nap he does something that is a lesson for us smarter, but sometimes unaware humans.  He stretches.  It's good for his body, and it gives him a few seconds to become aware of his surroundings.  Scripture tells us that "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Ps 19.1).  Even our best artists can't duplicate the magnificent array of colors in a sunset or a sunrise.    Life is full of lessons.  If we're aware, they will help steer us to better decisions and more success in life and business.  Here's a few examples: Sunrise and sunset.  They have a natural order.  So does life.  I've watched a lot of associates do everything to be at the peak of the business before they've barely established themselves.  They spend a fortune for all the "shiny keys" early on,...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
Something was about to happen.  Troops had been massing south of Middletown for a couple days now.  Winchester was half a day's march down the road.  Strasburg was nearby.  The Belle Grove plantation could be seen off in the distance. The smell of frying bacon mixed with hardtack wafted through the air.  One soldier banged his hardtack biscuit on his Springfield.  It made a metal on metal sound.  "Hey, we should throw these at the Rebs.  The war would be over in a weekend!"  It was nice to think about something beside the rumors of Early's cavalry moving toward Strasburg. Oh, it's just a rumor.  The Union lived on rumors and slop.  But, what if they were heading this way?  What could a simple foot soldier do against the well trained Confederate cavalry with their tall horses and nerves ...
Comments 13
By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
I'm convinced that if I have a guardian angel he has probably put in for a transfer more than once.  Over the years when my sons were small, they never got rushed to the emergency room for an injury.  In that, I feel very blessed.  One the other hand, I've been rushed in for emergencies too many times to recall. This past Sunday, I didn't make it to the emergency room, but I did provide another story for my sons to pass on to their friends and our family.  I have a number of shop vacs that we use around the house and in our business.  One recently had a switch go bad.  So, being the handy guy that I am, I took it apart to make sure it was the switch and not the motor that went out. No problem.  I do my own stunts.  When I got into that section of the vac it was so clogged up with dust t...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
While I'm sitting here in my office waiting on a client, I've been pondering what I'd like to blog about today.  I have a number of local issues that I want to get out to the blogosphere, but there is one thing that keeps coming to mind.  I can't seem to shake it, so here it goes.  I'm thankful.  There, I said it.  I'm thankful.  When is the last time you stopped long enough to think about what you're thankful for?  I begin most of my weekday mornings at 4:20 am.  I'm out the door by 5:00 am, and I'm off to teach a Spinning® class.  During my 15 minute drive to the gym I have my quiet time and prayer time. Whether you are a spiritual person or not, quiet time is always a good thing.  It's that time when you let your mind settle down and take a look at the world around you.  What is it t...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
I tend to be a pretty lighthearted person.  Actually, I think life is pretty funny, and I generally find humor in most things, but there is one thing I’m totally serious about.  It’s Realtor safety.  Realtors are a uniquely vulnerable group of professionals when it comes to safety.  Think about it.  You meet a stranger, he asks you to go an empty house two miles down a dirt road out of cell range and you go along without a care in the world.  Well, it would be nice if that scenario was an excited first time home-buyer looking for a super deal on a country foreclosure. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. At the risk of sounding paranoid, every Realtor needs to have a set of mental guidelines he/she uses when showing property.  I wish every client was like the overwhelming majorit...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
Last night I caught a glimpse of one standing in the yard, and I wondered, "Who is that?"  He was clothed in all white, motionless and silent.  It was a little uncomfortable, but I assumed he was just passing through.  The next time I peered out the window there were two.  Now I was really starting to get curious.  What could they want?  They appeared to be  marching toward my house, quiet in the moon light.  The second one was also clothed in all white.  Strange.  Why were they here? When I woke this morning, there were a dozen.  All clothed in white, in a near straight line, heading toward my front door.  Now, I was getting worried.  They were beginning to take over my yard, and I was sure the neighbors were going to be calling soon to make sure everything was all right.  They had pos...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
  Finding a lead generating system for your real estate business can be daunting, but it really isn't that difficult.  I had a mentor when I was in seminary that used to say, "The bible is so easy to understand, you have to have help to misinterpret it."  He was so right, and real estate lead generating can be a lot like that.  One size fits all programs don't always produce the results agents desire when they sign up for classes, coaching and webinars.  That's OK.  Don't get discouraged if took a class on lead generating and realized half way through the class that the techniques in the class did not fit your personality.  I will never be comfortable knocking on doors or making cold calls to people I don't know.  Knowing that, I need to find a way to reach out to people that does not i...
Comments 38
By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
There is an old saying in Virginia that says, "Napa is for auto parts, Virginia is for wine producers."  Well, I think that saying is catching on because Virginia Wine Sales have reached an all time high!  Virginia wine sales increased 11.8% since June 2010.  Governor McDonnell's office just released the income generated for the state through Virginia Wine Sales for the past fiscal year.  The tally for the fiscal year topped 1.8 million from state wine sales.  That's extraordinary, but not really.  Virginia wines are fantastic!  Annette Boyd, director of the Virginia Wine Marketing Office said, "Virginia wines have made some amazing strides in quality in the last five years.  Virginia is a day's drive from two-thirds of the U.S. population."  Virginia's proximity to major population hub...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
OK, cyclists, it's time for the Valley Rally Bicycle Ride benefiting the local Boy Scouts of America.  The ride is open to riders of all fitness and experience levels.  You can do the "Family Route" of 10 miles, or if you'd like a little more of a challenge you can do 25, 50, 65 (metric century) or 100 miles.  The Shenandoah Valley offers some of the most beautiful scenery a cyclist could want.  The courses will be a combination of flat roads, rolling hills and some steeper climbs.  There will be monitors along the course to make sure everyone stays safe and to offer assistance with bike issues.  The event takes place October 1, 2011, rain or shine.  The entry fee is $35 per rider.  A family team can sign up with one adult and one child under 12 for $35 per team, and teams of 5 or more ...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
As we approach the anniversary of September 11, 2001, I have to reflect a bit.  On that morning, I had just returned from the gym and turned on the TV.  The first tower had just been hit and there was a lot of confusion about what had just happened.  Reporters were just starting to broadcast, and there were more unknowns than knowns. I was telling my wife that it looked like a small plane had crashed into one of the twin towers and it was on fire.  Then I saw the second plane circling around to make impact.  Within seconds it hit the tower, and I followed that with the comment, "We're under attack."  As a Christian, I'm familiar with the voice of God, and instantly He said, "It's not over!"  That started a day of phone calls and prayer at our house.  Two of my good friends were commerci...
Comments 114
By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
One of the great things about Winchester, VA is that there is always something to do.  The Shenandoah University offers an array of talented productions including plays, musicals and a variety of other events.  The Winchester Little Theaterand the Wayside Theater provide some of the finest talent the small stage has ever seen. Beyond the arts though, is the annual Shenandoah Valley Apple Harvest Valley Arts and Crafts Festival that makes its way to the community every Fall.  The festival was started as a celebration of the annual apple harvest.  For decades, Winchester, VA was called the "Apple Capital of the World," and it probably was at that time.  The apple orchards have gotten smaller over the years, but the festival has gotten bigger.  It now boasts of a car show, apple pie eating...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
While the national economy continues to struggle, Winchester, Virginia is beginning to show signs of life.  The construction and opening of new businesses in the area has given hope to locally unemployed workers looking for jobs.  According the Virginia Employment Commission, the Winchester-Frederick County area has out-paced the state on job creation and growth.  Many national companies are making good use of the easy access to empty retail and industrial property.  Where closed signs hung just a few months ago, "Open for Business" signs hang today. Vic Bradshaw, of the Winchester Star, writes, "The raw data shows that since December, Winchester and Frederick County businesses have added 2,919 employees, growing 5.6% to 55,042.  The overall number in the civilian labor force is now 58,...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
A few years ago I was teaching in the Ukraine, and I had lunch with a pastor and his family after services.  It was always a special time.  Unfortunately for me, my Russian was marginal at best.  So, I always traveled with interpreters.  If not, I would probably still be wondering around the countryside trying to get back to my instructor apartment. Annie Budarina was my interpreter on this particular day.  Annie had been my student the year before, and it was wonderful having her as my interpreter on this adventure.  She's a good friend to this day.  During lunch, our host served each of us a piece of meat.  I looked at the meat and realized I had no idea what it was.  I could not figure out what I was about to eat, so I leaned over and asked Annie, "What kind of meat is this?" Annie, ...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
Being a business owner who has seen recessions come and go, I always get a warm fuzzy feeling when I see national chain stores and restaurants show up in my community.  I recently posted about our two new restaurants, Carrabba's and Longhorn Steak House that are being finished right now.  That's exciting! But, when I see retail chains bringing new business to the area I get really excited.  If the company has done their homework they have realized that demographically there is a market here.  The latest of our national chains is "Hobby Lobby."  I became familiar with Hobby Lobby when I lived in Tulsa and Broken Arrow, OK in the early 1980s.  It was amazing.  Years later, when we traveled back to Tulsa, I introduced my wife to the mega hobby store.  She was in love!  My wife is a very cr...
Comments 16
By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
About a decade ago, I made a commitment on January 1st to read one book every week on investing and finance.  I actually read more than 52, but who's counting.  It turned out to be my most prosperous year ever.  Go figure.  One of the books I read was a little book called, "The Instant Millionaire," by Mark Fisher.  In this fun little book, the main character is desperate for money.  He learns of a millionaire who will teach him all the ways of becoming rich and financially independent.  So, he goes to see him.  When he arrives, the butler ushers him to the garden where a man, in gardening clothes, is working with the roses.  During a brief conversation, the man asks the young man if he has $10 he can have.  The young man is really short on money, but he finally gives the old gardener t...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
One of the signs that an economic recovery is in the works is the presence of new construction projects.  When those construction projects are retail it's even better news.  When a company has done enough research to trust that the economy will support its business, that's good news for that community. Winchester, Virginia is about to become the recipient of it's third Walmart.  When Winchester received it's first Walmart a couple decades ago no one knew the impact it would have in the community.  It was so successful that it warranted a second one on the opposite side of town to relieve the original location.  That original location was so busy that it did more business per day during the Christmas shopping days of December than the entire Mall did all month.  That's busy! Walmart's lo...
Comments 5
By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
If you listen to the nightly news you would think the country is in the final spirals down the drain, but not in Winchester, VA.  In our community, business is booming.  The local area is seeing a rise in new businesses.  Two restaurants are joining the Winchester community. Carrabba's, an Italian restaurant, is coming to the south end of town, and the Longhorn Steakhouse is coming to the mid-town area.  Both of these of these areas have seen recent growth in franchise businesses in the past year.  Winchester has a growing number of national chains, along with the local fare that is spectacular.    Carrabba's was started by two brothers from Texas. They have been influenced by family and environment.  They write, "We love the Creole and Southern food our family members picked up passing...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
I left a short sale meeting this morning, a rare event for me on a Sunday morning, and I returned to the office to get a listing agreement together.  When I fired up my computer I ran across Dick Greenberg's blog, "A Modest Proposal Concerning Short Sales."  Dick offers sound advice about his reservations about dealing with short sales.  If you have reservations about working a short sale please consider the dynamics of a short sale. Sellers are short on time.  This is not a time for on the job training. Sellers have more to lose than you do.  Losing a listing is one thing, but the stress of an impending foreclosure can be devastating to a family.  Short sale listings need to be pre-approved.  Do you have time to get it pre-approved?  A deed in lieu might be the next best option if time...
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