The REAL on all things real estate related in the Greenbrier Chesapeake area!

Oct. 26, 2021

The Pros & Cons of Solar Panels on Your Home

I've been hearing a lot more about solar panels lately. It could be because advertising has really ramped up, or simply because I've been having conversations with clients and other agents to discuss their thoughts on the value of solar panels. Here's the great debate for most people: is it a good idea to install solar panels on my home?

There are several pros and cons to having solar power, but the first thing to do when deciding if installing solar panels is the right decision for you is to calculate the "payback period."

You may be asking yourself, so what exactly is a payback period? This is the amount of time (most likely in years) you will need to pay off your system in full through savings on your electric bill. Most systems cost an average of $20,000, which you can pay for upfront or through financing. You can also receive a 26% tax credit for going solar, netting you $5,200 on that $20,000 system. That means you're only paying $14,800 total for your system.

Now that you have the final cost of your system calculated, divide it by the amount of savings per year on your electric bill to figure out how many years it will take to fully pay off your solar panels.

For example, if you are saving $1,000 per year on your electric bill, it will take you about 15 years to fully pay off your system. ($14,800 ÷ $1,000 = 14.8 years). Most solar panel systems will pay for themselves in about 9-12 years. Because it takes years to pay off solar panels, it's important to ask yourself is this a home I plan on being in for a long time to come? If the answer is no, or I'm not sure, then solar energy may not be the way to go.

Now that we've covered what the payback period is, let's dig into some of the pros and cons of solar power. It's important to note that these are based on purchasing a solar system in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, though a lot of these translate to other parts of the country.

The Pros

Pro No. 1 - You're going to save money on your electric bill. Over the course of 20 years, you could save between $10,000-$30,000.

Pro No. 2 - You can get help from the government to pay for it. As mentioned earlier, you can receive a 26% tax credit for having solar panels, which can help pay for the system.

Pro No. 3 - You can have more stable energy bills. Even if you have to pay for some electricity, solar panels can help reduce your energy bill and make it more affordable.

Pro No. 4 - You will have the system for a long time and with little maintenance. Unlike wind turbines, which have moving parts that will deteriorate over time, solar panels have no moving parts, allowing for less maintenance.

Pro No. 5 - You can use net metering. If your system is creating more energy than your home is using, in some instances, you can use net metering to sell it back to the power company and get a check.

Pro No. 6 - You can get tax exemptions on your solar panels. 30 localities in Virginia are allowing a tax exemption for the increased value that the panels might add to your house.

The Cons

Con No. 1 - The cost > the potential value. This one is more specific to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia where solar energy is not as common as in other parts of the country. Because not many homes have solar panels, getting a potential buyer to pay more for a house with them versus an identical house without them might be difficult. And if you are still financing your system by the time you put your house on the market, that will basically be another mortgage that needs to be dealt with at the time of sale. This could narrow your field of buyers, as you would need to find someone open-minded to the advantages of going solar and are willing to take over the payments. 

Con No. 2 - It will not work at night or during storms. Solar panels need sunlight to create energy, so they will not work at night or during storms when the sun is hidden behind clouds.

Con No. 3 - You can't take it with you. Even if the system is paid for in full, it is very difficult to move solar panels from your old home to your new one. Once you buy it, it's attached to the roof of the house. In order to separate it from the house, you now have a roof that has holes in it where the system was attached. Another thing to keep in mind is installing solar panels on an older roof. When the time comes for the roof to be replaced, you will have to remove the panels in order to replace or add new shingles. If you know your roof needs replaced sooner than later, you may want to have that done before installing solar panels.

After taking all of the pros and cons into consideration, even with the number of pros outweighing the cons, installing solar panels in Hampton Roads doesn't really make sense, unless you know for a fact you will be in your home for the next 20 years. It is going to take time for you to see the value being added to your home, especially if you're financing the system.

April 20, 2021

Want To Live On A Golf Course?

"Well that one sliced way right... definitely going to end up in somebody’s backyard!"

Have you ever thought about buying your home on a golf course? While there can be several positives to living on a golf course, there are a couple of downsides you might want to consider before you spend your green living by the green.

Downside No. 1 - Flying Golf Balls

A golfer yells “FORE,” and the next thing you hear is the sound of your kitchen window shattering. No matter what the skill level of a golfer is, there will always be the chance of golf balls landing in your yard or damaging your house. So, when you’re looking at buying a home on a golf course, you need to look at where the house is located on that specific hole.

Here is an example of a Par 4 hole labeled with three different Risk Zones. The first area in green is the “Almost No Risk Zone.” Locations in front of the tees and way behind the putting green are the most ideal places to buy a house. There will always be the chance of a golf ball ricocheting and bouncing into your yard from this zone, but generally speaking, the risk of a ball actually landing in your yard or causing damage to your home is much lower.

The next area in yellow is the “Low Risk Zone.” This area is close enough to the green or tees that there’s less chance of having golf balls just shoot off and fly sideways into your house. It’s important to remember that there will always be a risk of seeing golf balls in your yard - the golfing you see from your backyard is not the same as seen on TV, and the balls can fly in all different directions.

The final area in red is the “High Risk Zone.” Buying a home inside this zone will almost guarantee you will never have to buy another golf ball in your life as many will be flying into your yard. Not only that, but people may walk on your property to retrieve their golf balls and might even try to lean over your fence with a ball retriever to snatch them up. One important thing to note is that when you are standing on the tee box looking toward the green, the homes on the right are more likely to house golf balls, because most golfers are right handed and amateur golfers have a tendency to slice the ball to the right.

But it’s not just the golf balls you have to worry about - sometimes it’s the golfers themselves.

Downside No. 2 - Limited Privacy 

Living on a golf course means not only do you have to deal with your physical neighbors, but sometimes you have to deal with “temporary” neighbors as well. Golfers using carts on the course means they will be driving near your home, creating a little loss of privacy. It could also become noisy at times inside your home. Alcohol will get consumed on the golf course, especially during best ball tournaments. But even on a regular weekend, groups will be drinking alcohol, so things can get a little loud and sometimes people can get a little bit obnoxious out there. Visit homes during these busier times so you can see just what it is you might be getting yourself into.

If you don’t want your home buying experience to be subpar, keep these thoughts in mind and remember the three most important rules about real estate.

Location.
Location.
Location.

Jan. 25, 2021

Are Some Buyers Going ‘Too Far’ to Win a Bidding War?

Facing an upsurge in housing demand across the country, many home buyers are finding themselves in bidding wars for the limited inventory on the market. To win, buyers are trying to find ways to entice sellers beyond price—and at times are taking it too far, real estate professionals say.

Mary Lou Wertz of Maison Real Estate in Charleston, S.C., talked to The Wall Street Journal about one couple relocating from New York who fell in love with a $1.2 million, four-bedroom home online. The seller had already accepted another offer, however. The New York couple offered to pay $10,000 more than the other buyers as well as offer their competitors $25,000 to walk away from the home. They also told the seller that they would make a $30,000 donation toward a hospital for cancer research since the seller had recently lost his wife to cancer.

 

Ultimately, the New York couple’s offer was not accepted. The offer seemed “a little over the top” to the seller, Wertz told the Journal.

 

Another couple shared with the Journal how they toured 50 Los Angeles homes, submitted 16 offers—sometimes above the asking price—and were outbid every single time. But they weren’t about to lose out on a three-bedroom home listed for $735,000 in the Northridge area. “We were turning up at showings, and there would be a line of people who were there before us,” Andrea Kissling of Los Angeles told the Journal. “These houses were getting 30 or 40 offers and going $100,000 over asking.”

 

The buyers noticed memorabilia around the house of the Harry Potter films. So they produced a Harry Potter-themed video for the sellers (one of the buyers provides design services for Warner Bros.). The video fawned over the home and showed the couple reading Harry Potter books to their children. The couple also offered to buy the sellers VIP passes to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood.

 

Despite all the work, the couple still lost out to a higher offer for the home.

 

Chris Furstenberg of Nourmand & Associates in Los Angeles told the Journal that one of his clients—a filmmaker—once made an offer that came with the promise of tickets to the Academy Awards. Still, the seller went for a higher offer.

 

Furstenberg says such enticements often only work to settle a tie in a bidding war. But if there’s a higher price, that usually always wins out in the end—no matter how much buyers try to sweeten the deal with other offerings.

 

 

References

National Association of Realtors. (2021, January 21). Are some buyers going ‘Too far’ to win a bidding war? Realtor Magazine. https://magazine.realtor/daily-news/2021/01/21/are-some-buyers-going-too-far-to-win-a-bidding-war

Posted in Housing Market
May 19, 2020

How has Covid-19 effected the Housing Market.

As an Agent, I didn't know how the market would do with this "Global Pandemic" that we are facing. Honestly, right now things don't seem to be looking too bad, recent research done by Lending Tree has shown that property searches had rebounded by 54% by the end of April. So what exactly does this mean? Well, most people are thinking that there will be some "Great Deals" coupled with attractively low-interest mortgage rates. So why not take a little gander into the housing market? See what is out there, and how things are priced. 

The median sales price has increased from 94% in the first quarter of 2019 to 96% in the first quarter of 2020. Home prices for the first quarter of 2020 are at $274,600 which is an increase of 7.7% since this time last year.  This may not seem huge, but with the ongoing Covid-19 happening, any growth is good. Seeing as no one really knows when relief will come, or where their jobs will be when it is over. 

Phase 1 of reopenings happened this past Friday, and it was great seeing people out and about stimulating the local economy. Although restaurants are only able to do outdoor seating, with social distancing, of course, people still flocked to get out of the house. Menus are online, the wait staff wore masks and gloves, but no one seemed to mind. With live music and beautiful weather, what did it matter?

Hopefully, this is a sign that things may return to "Normal" here soon, where we will be able to do more in-person showings, more client sit-downs, and proceed as we always have in the past. 

 

See the source image

 

 

 

**This blog contains short cuts to some articles where I gathered some of my information, along with a photo courtesy of Google Images.**

Posted in Housing Market
April 24, 2020

HGTV House Hunters- Humble Beginnings.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to those that have been here before! 

 

I was recently featured on HGTV's series, House Hunters. This episode took place in Suffolk, VA, which was voted "One of America's 100 Best Small Cities to Live" back in 2010. Suffolk is home to The Planters Nut and Chocolate Company, dubbing it the "Peanut Capital of the World". Also offering the Legends of Main Street ghost walk, and providing access to The Great Dismal Swamp. The Great Dismal Swamp isn't as gloomy as you would expect it to be, given its name!  It offers over 100,000 acres of outdoor recreation, from canoeing on Lake Drummond, to hiking any of the Ditch trails; there is plenty of wildlife to be spotted! From turtles and bobcats, to bears, oh my! 

Alright, enough about the beauty of Suffolk, and onto the show.

 

Working with this couple was an absolute pleasure, and I was glad to be able to find them a home that was the best of both worlds. Although both Marcelo and Amanda come from a modest background, their wants and needs were different. Marcelo was looking for something remote, a little smaller, and something that he could invest some "Sweat equity" into. While Amanda was looking for something in a neighborhood, with a pool, and a bit more room for their expanding family. During this episode, I showed them 3 houses; one "Ranch" style, one "Colonial" style, and one "Traditional" style home. 

The ranch home was a little bit smaller; had been recently updated, was off the beaten path, and well under their price point. The colonial-style home was built in 1929, was over 3,200 sqft, and offered an inground pool. The traditional style home, offered quite a bit of sweat equity, a large back yard, and the ideal master closet. 

 

Which home did they choose? Check out the "Humble Beginnings in Virginia" episode of House Hunters here

 

Would you want to be featured on an episode of House Hunters with me? If so, please reach out! :)

Posted in House Hunters
Feb. 18, 2020

The Specialty Club - Owner Interview

 

 

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mauricio Mova to get an in-depth look at what it is he does within The Specialty Club and how he got where he is today! 

Check out their website: The Specialty Club

Do you have a local business you would like me to interview? Comment down below and let me know which business I should spotlight next! 

 

Want to see more videos like this one? Subscribe to our YouTube channel: Peak Realty Inc on Youtube

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