Winchester, VA Real Estate News

By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
When our first son was born my wife had a best friend who was always at our house.  She nearly raised Jonny the first year.  Julie's husband was a professional musician, and he traveled a lot.  So, Julie traveled over the bridge to our house, and we loved her very much and we are always glad to see her. Unfortunately, Julie and Rob moved to the mid-west and the role of parenting was returned to us.  But, before they moved I played a little trick on them.  While Rob was on the road I sneaked into his house and reversed the doors on their refrigerator.  Instead of opening to the left they now opened to the right. Rob was home for a couple weeks before he and Julie noticed that something was different.  Finally, I confessed.  That made me think of something I've noticed with some of my rea...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
Oh, boy, I've gone and done it now.  I set a challenge for my indoor cycling classes, and now I'm going to have to put or shut up.  I challenged my classes to fill 30 Spinner® NXT bikes for 12 hours. The plan is to fill those bikes for 12 hours with 30 students per hour.  The students will form teams and rent each bike for $200 for the 12 hours.  If they fill them for all 12 hours I promised I'd ride the whole 12 hours - solo.  The goal is to support the Susan G Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research with a minimum gift of $6000.00.  I think I can pedal for 12 hours for that gift.  I know that a lot of my online contacts live in the Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland (OK, Andrea Bedard, I'm looking for you) areas.  I'd love to have you come join me in this worthy cause.  If you'r...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
My little hometown is just rolling in good news these days.  A month ago we were listed as one of the top ten cities for real estate investors.  Then, we were listed as a top business community, and now we are listed as one of the top 5 places for an affordable retirement. How great is that?  The article "AARP Seeks Out Most Affordable Places to Retire" listed Winchester as number 5 with affordable housing, things to do and overall availability of services.  AARP's study didn't just look at the least expensive places to retire.  The least expensive places tend to be the coldest.  This list is based upon numerous other more broad and balanced criteria.  If you're thinking about retirement, give me a call and move to a great city for the budget-minded.  Mike Cooper, principal broker, Corn...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
In the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes, there is a scene where Kathy Bates is getting ready to pull into a parking space when two young girls pull up in a red convertible VW and take the space.  Kathy Bates tells them she was waiting for the slot, but they respond that they are "younger and faster". Well, that didn't go over real well with Kathy Bates who begins ramming the VW until she has crushed the rear of it.  The girls come running out of the mall in horror.  Kathy Bates responds to their dismay by saying, "Face it girls, I'm older and I have more insurance." (Video) That brings me to a conversation I had with a group of friends a few years ago.  I discovered that in nearly every couple, partnership or work team there is a what I call the "egg" thrower.  What that means is that if you...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
The third annual "A Taste of the Valley" is coming to Middletown, VA this weekend.  Stephanie M. Mangino, reporter for the Winchester Star, writes that it will be "food, crafts, music and wine aplenty." Eddie Richard, owner of Richard's Fruit Market, started the event three years ago to highlight valley products.  It also supports local valley charites.   The first year supported the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation followed by Habitat for Humanity of Winchester-Frederick County last year.  This year's event will focus on the Winchester Parks Fountain.  North Mountain Vineyard and Winery of Maurertown and Cedar Creek Winery in Zepp, VA will be the local wines highlighted.  Other Virginia wines will also be offered.  Mangino writes, "The night is designed to be relaxed," Richard said. ...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
This is a test.  It's only a test.  If it were an actual event your arms would be burning and you would have a headache right now.  Here's the test.  Take two cans of soup, and stand with your arms extended straight out shoulder height with one can of soup in each hand.  OK, got it.  I'll wait while you do the test.  Go ahead.  No really, give it a try.  How long were you able to stand with your arms fully extended with a can of soup in each hand?  A typical can of soup weighs around 10 3/4 ozs.  Less than a pound.  How long could you do it?  Most people are not going to be able to do it very long.  Even though the weight is insignificant, over time it becomes heavier and heavier until your muscles collapse under the pressure of a 10 3/4 oz can of soup. Now, let's translate that into st...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
If you're a history buff, there is no better place to live than the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  Every inch of the valley exudes history.  From the early settlers through the 1900s the valley played one important roll after another.  One of the more notable periods in US history was the Civil War.  July 21st is the 150th anniversary of the First Battle Of Bull Run.  Or, if you're not from the area you might call it the First Battle of Manassas.  It was the first major battle of the war, and it was the first revelation to President Lincoln, and the Northern armies, that this was not going to be a weekend event.  This was going to be war with all of its horrors. A friend of mine was involved in a remodel of a building in downtown Winchester, VA.  The building was called 9 Court Square....
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
What does a fish in the market, Jimmy Hoffa and an overpriced listing have in common?  They're all deceased.   At least somebody wants the fish for dinner.  The FBI has spent a fortune trying to find Jimmy, but nobody wants an overpriced listing.  In their report today, MReport.com posted "Home Sellers Over-inflating Home Prices."  The article states that buyers who bought before 2002 have their homes overpriced by 11.6 % over market value.  Those who bought between 2002-2006 price their properties about 9.3% over market value.  Sellers who bought their home in 2007 and after overprice their homes about 14.1%.  The bottom line in all three examples is that these homes are overpriced, and they are going to sit unsold until reality settles in. The MReport.com article would be a great piec...
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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 my locksmith retired leaving me wondering who would be the next candidate to work with our company.  Then I got to thinking about all the times I needed someone immediately, right now and not a week from Thursday.  My locksmith was pretty good about accommodating my REO schedule, but it took a while to get him in the flow with that kind of fast paced schedule. So, I decided I'd just do it myself.  I know, Realtors shouldn't be involved in the "arms reach" portions of REOs, but what I found is that if I do it free, REO companies don't seem to have any issues with it.  If I could open my own doors, I could move quicker when time came to take over an REO.  So, that's what I did. First, I learned how to pick locks.  It's not terribly hard.  I already knew how to change the l...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
Blues House 2011, Winchester, VA, July 16, 2011 We've got the blues.  Yes we do!  This Saturday, July 16, 2011 will be the 12th annual Blues House Music Festival in Winchester, VA.  The festival is the largest Blues festival in the Northern Shenandoah Valley and Northern Virginia. The proceeds from this year's event will benefit the local Habit for Humanity Chapter.  Join us for great music, a beautiful day and a great organization.  Music begins at 11:00 am and ends at 7:00 pm.  This year's event takes place at the Winchester Eagles Club, 700 Baker Lane, Winchester, VA 22601.  Check out the full schedule, fees and band line up at the Blues House 2011 Facebook page.                                                   
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
There are lot of issues a potential buyer should consider when looking at a piece of real estate, but few are more important than the electrical system.  In the electrical system, there are different levels of concern.  A good home inspector will be able to identify these items for you.  The first electrical issue a home-buyer should consider is what kind of electrical service does the house have?  What amperage is it?  100 amp (absolute bare minimum), 200 amp (the modern day minimum), 400 amp (the new norm) Fuses or breakers? - Along with the size of the service is the issue of fuses or breakers.  A fuse panel screams "OLD" panel and potentially old wiring.  Breakers should be the current norm.  Fuse panels should be replaced. Panel brand - Most electrical panels should bare the UL lab...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
Some days I just want to say, "Lighten up!" when meeting some people.  Life can be stressful.  So, if you haven't learned the fine art of laughter you're doing yourself a great disservice.  I once had a lady accuse me of never being serious, but I explained to her that I ascribe the philosophy of the world renowned philosopher Tennesse Ernie Ford who once said, "It's not so important to be serious as it is to be serious about important things."  That pretty well describes my life. Nearly everyday I run into a humorous situation.  I really appreciate it because I like to laugh, and there are a lot of funny people out there.  Today, I got a haircut.  When I went in the stylist said, "What do you want?"  I said, "Make me beautiful" to which she replied, "I only have four hours left."  Ouch...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
I tend to see life from a humorous point of view, and I am convinced that you don't need to make things up because life is just funny.  There are so many comical things that happen throughout the week that I rarely need to go looking for something to chuckle about.  Today, a headline in the local paper read, "Alligator listing gets man arrested."  Apparently, it is a crime to post and sell your used alligator on Craigslist.  Where would you sell your used alligator?  Yard sale?  Flee market?  Reptiles-R-Us?  The alleged alligator perpetrator sold the aforementioned reptile to an undercover agent for the whopping sum of $200.  Who would you have to tick off to become an undercover agent buying used alligators from Craigslist?  The seller should have been suspicious of the buyer right up ...
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By Natalie Langford, Winchester, VA Real Estate
(Realty Negotiations)
  A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, WE TRAVELED TO ENGLAND FOR MY BROTHER IN LAW'S WEDDING.  WHILE VISITING FAMILY AND FRIENDS, WE NOTICED ALL THE CHARMING SHEDS IN THEIR GARDENS.  HAVING NEVER HAD ANY INTEREST IN A SHED, IT BECAME OUR QUEST TO FIND THE PERFECT ONE UPON OUR RETURN TO WINCHESTER.       RATHER THAN OPT FOR A PREFABRICATED SHED, MY HUSBAND DECIDED TO BUILD ONE HIMSELF.    HE FOUND A PLAN FOR THIS ONE IN A HANDYMAN MAGAZINE WE PICKED UP AT LOWES. Not only does this shed add interest to our yard, it also adds value to our home and a place other than the garage to store our stuff!         BELOW ARE THE ORIGINAL INSPIRATIONS WE FOUND IN THE GARDEN'S OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY.                            Please feel free to post photos you've taken of your own shed's in the comment section.  
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
One of the unique titles that I wear is "dual-business" owner.   Both companies cross over each other, but they are two completely separate companies.  Of course one is a new real estate brokerage which is the offspring of a real estate investment corporation I started in 1992 (The Cornerstone Business Group, Inc.).  The second is an electrical contracting company I started in 1984 (Quality Electric Co., LLC). For me, it's just a matter of taking off one hat and putting on a hard hat.  They have both been such a big part of my life that I would miss either one if it was gone.  When the economy started to weaken in 2007-2008 my electrical contracting company was forced to scale back on manpower.  That meant I was occasionally forced to go out into the field, and that is still true today....
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
One of the problems with having children grow up is that you can't go to a children's movie without kids.  It looks creepy, and I think it freaks out the parents with kids.  So, if you're like my wife and me, you watch animated movies on pay-per-view.  This past week I caught the movie "UP."  If you haven't seen it you really should take a night and watch it.  In the movie there is an old man named Carl Frederickson who is the main character.  I think the only way to describe Carl is to say that he is a curmudgeon.  He's grumpy most of the time.  He grumbles and grouses throughout the movie.  When a big construction company wants to build a skyscraper around Carl's house, Carl won't sell. But, after a series of unfortunate events, he finally does the only thing he can.  He ties a huge n...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
Keeping some buyers on track is like herding cats.  They're here, they're there, they're back, they're gone, they're, they're, they're.  With the advent of the Internet in real estate it can be challenging to keep buyers on track.  They might be focused about buying or renting a house, but how they accomplish that can be very unconventional. They can find just about anything online.  It may not be up to date.  It might not be accurate, but it's under their control and they like that.  I had two clients in a row that were very web-savvy and part of the herd.  It wasn't unusual to get a call at 3:00 pm from one of the women, saying, "Hey, I'm sitting in front of this house.  Can we go in?"  Maybe.  She had already done her web search, drove by to confirm location and now she was calling m...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
What can the Tour de France teach us about real estate?  A lot!  Being a cyclist, I can tell you that cycling in the 21st Century is not like cycling when I was a child.  If you're a serious fitness or performance cyclist you can't walk into Target or Walmart and pull a bike off the rack and have it be the perfect bike for serious riding.  No, cycling has changed.  Seat height, crank size, number of crank sprockets, gear cassette ratios, top tube length, saddle shape, tire style, tire inflation pounds, pedal type, cycling shoe type, brake lever design, shifter position, handlebar width, seat post angle, frame material and weight and a host of other issues dominate high end cycling today.  When I raced mountain bikes I had a friend ask what a good mountain bike costs now days.  I told h...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
  Is the real estate industry dead?  No, it's only "mostly dead."  If you're a fan of the movie, "The Princess Bride," you've heard a line something like that before.  In the movie, Westley(the hero), who was masquerading as the Dread Pirate Roberts, was in hot pursuit of the love of his life, Buttercup.  Buttercup was kidnapped and betrothed to Prince Humperdink who was the bad guy in the movie.  Westley gets captured just before he gets to Buttercup, and he is tortured by the Prince's nasty six-fingered strongman. When his friends find him he looks dead.  They take him to Miracle Max the local medicine man (Billy Crystal) who is asked if Westley is dead, and he replies, "No, he's only mostly dead."  Westley needed a reason to live, and when they filled him with air and then pushed it...
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By Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro
(Cornerstone Business Group Inc)
I had a client this past year who was stunned when I gave her the CMA for her home.  We were in the midst of signing a listing agreement, and I had prepared all of the things necessary to get her house on the market. She had talked to me the year before, but when I told her what her house would sell for she went with another agent who convinced her she could get radically more.  Well, a year later and she was calling me back.  Unfortunately for her, the market had declined during that time in that area, and her house was worth less. Her new CMA was approaching $100,000 less than the original CMA.  J. Phillip Faranda posted an excellent blog on pricing a property right.  (Compelling Reason to Price Your Home Right from the Start) In that blog he posted a graph of what the variables are o...
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