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Funkhouser Blog

Pete Laver

Considering Cost of Living

September 21st, 2015  |  +  |  Leave a Comment

Close Up Of Man Carrying Sofa As He Moves Into New HomeWhen moving to a new city, a major concern is likely to be how far your paycheck will stretch. Newcomers to the Harrisonburg area are often pleased to find reasonable costs for everyday necessities like groceries and health care. In fact, some of the Shenandoah Valley’s most attractive qualities are its growing job market and competitive salaries – great draws when coupled with a relatively low cost of living as compared to other localities.

Of course, cost of living is also a concern for local residents considering relocation to another part of the state or country. The good news is that there are a number of online tools to help you determine how far you will need to make your dollar stretch in a new hometown. Tools like the Cost of Living Index presented by the Council for Community and Economic Research, and the Cost of Living Calculators maintained by Bankrate and CNN Money, allow you to make accurate and reliable cost of living comparisons between your area and any other participating city in the United States. You can access index comparisons for necessities such as grocery costs, housing, utilities, transportation, health, and more. You can even find average price comparisons for specific consumer goods, like how much more a T-bone steak will cost in Los Angeles than it does in Harrisonburg.

When compared to other cities in Virginia, cities in the mid-Atlantic region, and other major cities nationwide, the fact is that your hard-earned dollar generally stretches further in the Shenandoah Valley. To see how much of an economic advantage you’re gaining by putting down your roots in the Harrisonburg area, consider the following salary comparisons. If you make $50,000 in Washington, DC, for example, your salary could decrease to $34,808 in Harrisonburg and you could maintain a similar standard of living. Oh, and a T-bone steak? That will cost you $2.60 less than in our nation’s capital.

If you Make $50,000 and You are Moving From Here…

In the Harrisonburg-Area You Need to Make…

Asheville, NC $46,988
Atlanta, GA $49,446
Baltimore, MD $45,009
Boston, MA $35,797
Charlotte, NC $51,900
Charlottesville, VA $47,350
Chicago, IL $42,225
Harrisonburg, PA $49,396
Knoxville, TN $56,429
Los Angeles, CA $36,488
Miami, FL $44,239
New York City, NY $22,159
Orlando, FL $49,248
Raleigh, NC $52,792
Richmond, VA $49,596
Winchester, VA $48,375
Washington, DC $34,808




nar grant

Your Harrisonburg Rockingham Association of REALTORS just received notice that they have been awarded a Housing Opportunity Grant from the National Association of REALTORS to conduct a housing market analysis through the Madison Center for Community Development.  The Rockingham County Development Department recently completed a study of current housing availability and asked for our help in determining what types of housing the market will likely be looking for in the coming years as the area continues to grow.  Information gathered through this study will assist the development of the County Comprehensive Plan after the first of the year.

Pete Laver

Shenandoah Valley Fall Festivals

September 14th, 2015  |  +  |  Leave a Comment

fall festivals

The Shenandoah Valley is absolutely beautiful this time of year.  If you are looking for something to do in the month of September or October check out one of these Fall Festivals!

Sept. 18 – 20 – Edinburg Ole Time Festival

Sept. 19 – Grottoes Harvest Festival

Sept. 19 – Shenandoah National Park Apple Butter Festival – Skyland Resort

Sept. 26 – Town of New Market Heritage Days Fall Festival

Sept. 26 – Oktoberfest – Heritage Park Broadway

October 3 – Dayton Autumn Celebration

October 10 – Massanutten Resort Fall Festival

October 10 – 11 – Page County Heritage Festival

October 10 – 11 – Waynesboro Fall Foliage Festival Art Show

October 17 – 18 – Elkton Fall Festival & Arts & Crafts Festival


“One of a Kind” property that is ideally located and private at the same time on 1.24 acres with beautiful landscaping and trees that give you a feeling of peace and serenity as you enter. Enjoy the open floor plan, formal living and dining rooms, a luxurious kitchen and 5 large bedroom suites. The Master Suite is an oasis on its own private wing and boasts an expansive his and hers walk-in closet with built-ins and a luxurious bathroom. An added bonus is the detached three car garage. The finished walk-out basement offers room to relax with a 2nd living room, a rec room, home theatre, and 5th bedroom and bath. This is an exceptional property and comfortable place to call home. It is truly “one of a kind.

For More Information Go To:



living roomkitchenmaster


Pete Laver

No More Recycling Bins?

August 3rd, 2015  |  +  |  Leave a Comment

single recycle







Harrisonburg city residents don’t have to worry about putting their recycling bin out at the curb as of August 3rd. The city is adopting a new method of recycling collection that officials hope will boost recycling rates of local residents. Called the Single Stream Collection Program, this new method is an “all-in-one” system. The best news is that the new system is extremely easy to use – just throw everything away in one trash bin!

Under the single-stream method, all waste will be shipped to a processing facility.  At the facility, waste will be sorted, and recyclable material will be marketed for reuse. City officials anticipate 12,000 tons of waste and recyclables to be collected annually. The new recycling program, however, is far from the only green initiative in Harrisonburg. Here are a few other examples:

  • The Harrisonburg Community Bike Map is a great resource for residents who want to bike around town. The map was developed in partnership with JMU, and classifies streets based on a measure of cycling comfort. This measure evaluates factors like the number of travel lanes, vehicle speeds, the presence of a right turn lane, the presence of bike lanes, and the type of intersection traffic control.
  • Blacks Run Cleanup Day is part of a collaboration between the City and the regional Stormwater Network call This mission of this effort is to educate the public about sources of water pollution and its impact on local water supply, aquatic ecosystems, and quality of life. The Blacks Run Cleanup Day has been going strong for 15 years. In 2015, 4.1 tons of trash were collected from the stream and local Harrisonburg streets.
  • Rain Barrel Workshop is another periodic offering of When workshops are held, residents are invited to build their own rain barrels for use in their yards to collect roof runoff. Water in rain barrels can be used to water gardens or lawns, and help mitigate stormwater runoff, which can negatively impact Blacks Run and other streams and cause erosion.

Master Bath With Marble TubAs any avid watcher of home improvement shows knows, not all renovation projects are created equal, or at least are not equally likely to recoup their cost at resale time. Remodeling Magazine, for instance, states that homeowners may not expect to get a significant return on their investment for a major (upwards of $50,000) kitchen or bath remodel. A minor kitchen or bath remodel, however – installing upgraded countertops, new tile, or contemporary fixtures – may return as much as 92 percent at resale.

Buyers want an attractive home, but they also value low maintenance.  Installing a pool, the epitome of upkeep, is rarely worth it. Improvements truly appreciated by buyers include upgrades to basic household systems like heating/cooling, energy efficiency, and projects affecting routine maintenance. New siding, replacement windows, and upgraded HVAC systems are almost always value investments.

Beyond considerations of value, there are other factors to consider when remodeling and updating a home. We all want to live in homes that make us feel at ease. We want to feel proud of our homes, and we want our homes’ aesthetics to match our preferences. Sometimes outdated kitchen appliances, torn linoleum flooring, and shag-carpeted bathrooms just don’t cut it. That said, when considering a remodeling project, it is important to keep in mind the potential downside of choosing trendy features over timeless ones.

Kitchen trends that are here to stay include stainless steel appliances, high-end cooking appliances, neutral colors, wood or tile flooring, and eco-friendly materials. Some trends that are surprisingly “on the way out” include granite countertops and farmhouse sinks. That’s not to say that you can’t opt for a farmhouse sink if you really love it. Homeowners need to find the right balance between what makes them happy in their homes, and potential effects on resale value. If you plan to stay in your home for a number of years, feel free to personalize your space as you wish. More than 70 percent of purchasers of existing homes have plans to remodel from the time they sign on the dotted line at closing anyway. If selling your home is likely to be a reality in the short term, however, prioritizing timeless and neutral renovations over personalized, quirky, and trendy ones will likely get you more bang for your buck.


Family moving home and carrying cardboard boxesMoving can be a very stressful experience for children. Whether across town or across the country, children will be faced with saying goodbye to old friends and the fear of making new ones. Comforting routines will have to be re-forged. The security of their room, their stuff, their house, their neighborhood – all of that will be disrupted. Luckily, however, there are steps that parents can take to ease the transition to a new home.

  • Talk with your children about the move. Include them in discussions about what they are looking for in a new home. If you’re moving within the same town, make visits to their new neighborhood to familiarize them about its location and amenities before moving day. Involving your children helps them to feel more like active participants in the move, and less like it is being forced upon them.
  • If your children are young, be sure to explain every step of the moving process. For example, when you are packing up their toys, make sure they understand that you aren’t throwing them away and that a reunion with their toys will happen very soon. Try to put yourself in their shoes, and anticipate what they likely will find upsetting or confusing. Simple things can make a young child feel more comfortable in their new home, like arranging the furniture in a similar way, keeping up with household routines, and fun activities like using role playing or toys to act out the move in advance.
  • After moving day, keep in mind that it will take time for your child to adjust. First focus on helping your children get settled. Unpack their room(s) before tackling other rooms.  Take them on a tour of their new school to meet their teachers. If there are attractions nearby, visit them to boost the “fun” factor of your new home. If you live close to your old home, allow your child to have friends over for a playdate. The opportunity to introduce their new home and neighborhood to a friend may help a child feel more like they belong.

If you are relocating to the Harrisonburg area, there are many attractions that appeal to children. Visiting Harrisonburg’s award winning Explore More Discovery Museum is a must-do for preschool and elementary-aged children. A Dream Come True playground is an accessible and inclusive playground with many unique and one-of-a-kind features. Outdoor opportunities abound, including hiking at the Shenandoah National Park, visiting the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park, and exploring numerous tourist caverns, including the largest and most popular cavern on the East Coast, Luray Caverns. If you would like to know more about what the Shenandoah Valley can offer to your children, speak with your Funkhouser real estate agent.


Welcome to 1153 Nelson Drive Harrisonburgg, Virginia 22801

5 Bed | 4 Full Baths | 5,315 Square Feet | MLS# 532672 | View The Property Website:

A rare find where you can enjoy the convenience of city living in a quiet country-like setting just minutes from shopping, downtown dining and entertainment, James Madison University and RMH Sentara Health Campus.  This beautifully constructed and well-maintained home features an all brick exterior and three spacious living areas which include formal living and dining rooms, a family room  and a rec room both with fireplaces, an exercise room, a wood paneled office and a custom designed kitchen with cherry cabinets. Take advantage of the beautiful private backyard from the large deck and patio.  This home has it all!


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[photos courtesy of Mike Miriello: The Downtown Creative]


Come home to this spacious, master craftsman home on the golf course with outstanding attention to interior and exterior finish work. Enjoy breathtaking mountain views from the sunroom, deck, patio and private deck off the master bedroom. The kitchen has custom cherry cabinets, granite counters and stainless steel top of the line appliances. There are 9 ft ceilings on both levels, hardwood floors throughout the main level, tile floor in all baths with a heated tile floor in the master bath. The huge rec room has a wet bar and lots of natural light. The media room comes with the home theater system equipment and screen. In addition to the oversized double garage, there are over 1,000 sq. ft of storage with doors to the outside.

585 Claremont Ave Harrisonburg, VA 22801 | 5 Bedrooms | 4 Full Bathrooms | 2 Half Bathrooms | 6,355 Square Feet | Click here to view the property website









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Pen on contract deal paper with blank line for signature to closSavvy sellers worry about days on the market. They know that the longer their home sits on the MLS, the less interest it typically generates among potential buyers. So for most sellers, a quick sale is desirable. Some lucky sellers, however, experience the excitement of not only a quick offer but multiple offers. Typically, receiving multiple offers is a reflection of a few key factors: correct pricing of the home, due diligence getting the home as ready for the market as possible, and appropriate marketing of the home to highlight its desirability. 

The excitement of receiving multiple offers, however, can quickly turn to anxiety. Which one should I choose? It is important for sellers to first identify the best buyer. The highest offer may not necessarily come from the best buyer. Sellers should want to work with buyers who have seen the property multiple times, are preapproved, and are working with a local broker/agent. A seller should work with their agent to identify the best buyer – one who is likely to be committed to the purchase all the way to closing.

Sellers should always work closely with their agent to determine the best approach to dealing with multiple offers. According to the National Association of REALTORS, options include accepting the “best” offer; informing potential buyers that multiple offers are on the table and inviting them to make their “best” offer; countering an offer; and more. There are various pros and cons to each strategy, and a listing agent should be able to advise a seller on what best to do given the realities of the local housing market.

Finally, keep in mind that the failure-to-close rate of transactions with multiple offers can be as high as 50 percent, according to the real estate blog from Inman. Potential buyers may also look suspiciously at a home that is back on the market after being under contract. As a result, the seller may not be able to get the same or similar price or terms again. A seller should ask their agent to keep in contact with the second-best buyer’s agent until all contingencies are removed it might be possible to engage the initial loosing prospect into a first back up situation.  Accepting a first back up essentially means if your contract falls through the back up immediately goes into effect.  The verbiage in a first back up contract would be something like this:

“This offer is submitted as a back-up offer, which means the property is subject to a previously-accepted offer which has priority over this offer. If this offer is accepted, the buyer retains the right to continue looking for other acceptable properties. If the buyer finds another acceptable property before this back-up contract becomes the priority offer, the buyer will deliver notice to the seller within _24_ hours. Both parties agree to sign a mutual release, returning the earnest money deposit to the buyer. Time is of the essence as to this provision.”

Sellers who work closely with their experienced agent to navigate the emotional waters of multiple offers are the ones who likely will have the best experience. Remember, a listing agent’s goal is always to represent the seller in order to achieve the best possible price and terms!