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Funkhouser Blog

 
 
town of bridgewater

Image Courtesy of Town of Bridgewater

OK, so I am a little bias having been born and raised in Virginia, however it is pretty impressive that in this countrywide assessment of small towns in America Virginia appears 3 times in the top 10 and two other Shenandoah Valley towns Strasburg and Woodstock were mentioned.

A big hats off to Bridgewater for making the top 3!

My only bone to pick is when you click on the “Bridgewater” link at the top of the page it takes you to horrific statistics regarding real estate.  YIKES, unless you can afford a million home you better race to Bridgewater because there is only one other home to choose from!

If you look at the logo to the left of those two lonely listings it is being pulled from MRIS a regional MLS system which very few local Realtors are members of and NOT a comprehensive picture of the real estate market in Bridgewater.  So you can see what caused my chuckle when next glancing at the MOTOVO tagline “Real Estate Made Easy.”  

Here is the real comprehensive list of homes for sale in Bridgewater, VA 

Obvious Tip of the Day:  If you are in the market to sell or purchase a home my advice would strongly be to work with a local REALTOR and don’t rely MOVOTO’s data.

Here is what they had to say about Bridgewater:  “If you’re looking for serious quality, without a high price tag, Bridgewater is definitely your best bet.  For starters, it had the lowest cost of living in our top 10, but still had the fifth-lowest crime rate, the 11th-shortest commute, and the 25th-lowest taxes. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.  While it had fewer amenities than others in our top 10, it’s still all about quality, featuring such places as Francesco’s, which is cozy but has to-die-for Italian food.  If you’re worried about affording all the delicious food, don’t be too concerned. The unemployment here was at merely 3.7 percent, so you’re unlikely to be out of a job in these parts. Not bad for a town of just more than 5,000 people, right?”

 
 

Zillow puts out heartwarming and entertaining commercials, they grab your attention and clicks with online advertising, and peak your interest with details about homes for sale in your area.   Then after cleaning and de-cluttering for months, picking paint out of your hair while neutralizing all those colorful bedrooms, waddling for days after weeding and mulching your entire yard on your hands and knees, feeling the blisters on your hands and toes after power washing and staining the deck you realize the beauty in Zillow that has been captivating you all along has turned into the beast who thrashes the price of your home that you have poured blood sweat and tears into for the last several years.

In the last month I have received several calls regarding Zillow’s Zestimates and how a customers were frustrated that Zillow is saying their home is worth significantly less than what they feel it is worth  and/or the facts of their home were completely wrong (in one case a 104 acre farm displaying as a 104 square foot home)!  After a brief explanation on how Zillow calculates their value and gathers their data there is usually a little sigh of relief on the other end of the phone yet a lingering feeling of aggravation not being able to do anything about it… or can you (I’ll get back to this point in a bit)?

zestimate

Our Local Area Zestmates

  • Harrisonburg City Zestimate 1 Star
  • Rockingham County Zestimate 1 Star
  • Staunton City Zestimate 1 Star
  • Waynesboro City Zestimate 1 Star
  • Augusta County Zestimate 1 Star
  • Page County Zestimate 1 Star
  • Shenandoah County Zestimate 2 Stars

 

So what does my Zestimate mean?

  • Zilllow’s Definition: “The Zestimate® home valuation is Zillow’s estimated market value, computed using a proprietary formula. It is not an appraisal. It is a starting point in determining a home’s value. The Zestimate is calculated from public and user submitted data; your real estate agent or appraiser physically inspects the home and takes special features, location, and market conditions into account.”
  • My Definition: The Zestimate Zillow places on your home is completely unreliable.

What can you do about it?

Did you know you can claim your own home and edit the data to be more accurate?  Below is a screen shot of where to look after you search for your home and find it on Zillow…

zillow claim listing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can even submit a new evaluation based on a recent appraisal, broker opinion, etc…(see below)…

zillow estimate

Of course, you need to set up an account and all these submissions need to be reviewed by the Zillow team but, you do have some control on their data, it’s accuracy, and ultimately the Zestimate so what are you waiting for?  Claim your home now don;t wait till it is time to sell.

Here is what Zillow says about claiming your home (note: the following confession: “information can be outdated or missing”):

“Since our data comes from public records, the information can be outdated or missing. Since the amount of data we have for a home affects the Zestimate accuracy, it is important that you review your home facts and update the information, if necessary. By updating your home details, it could affect the Zestimate.   By updating your home facts (such as number of bedrooms or square footage), your Zestimate value and Rent Zestimate could be affected. To update your facts, you must first claim your home.

 Once you have claimed your home, verify the home facts are correct. Update the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, home size or lot size by clicking “Edit home information.” You can also add architectural style, roof type, heat source, building amenities and more. Learn more about editing home facts.”

Enjoy Zillowing … for what it is worth!

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

There are literally hundreds of online Rent vs. Buy analysis tools and “expert” opinions however, I think the New York Times many have just perfected all the angles you might need to make one of the most significant financial decisions in your life…. Do I (we) rent or buy?

It is easy to use with the ability to type numbers or use the slide bars and cover most if not all of the possible details of your financial situation and long/short term decision.  <<< CHECK IT OUT >>>

rent vs buying

 
 

emu suter centerRecently, EMU students and faculty welcomed several construction crews to the campus as plans to renovate the 46-year-old Suter Science Center commenced.

The $7 million upgrade includes the expansion of the building’s East Wing and laboratories, as well as the purchasing of brand new lab equipment for students.

According to Daryl Bert, vice president of finance at EMU, the first step of the plan is to tear down one of the classrooms on the south side of Suter and replace it with a larger room.  The university is aiming for the classroom to be finished by the start of the 2014 fall semester, while expecting the entire project to be completed by August 2015.

With many of EMU’s majors housed in the Suter Science Center, university officials

believe that these upgrades are exceedingly necessary to ensure that the science program can keep up with the advancement of technology and research in the scientific community.

Although the majority of the fund was accumulated through alumni and foundations, much of the money for the construction was raised through student efforts. Students were also able to raise more than $21,000 of extra money through an auction that was recently held on campus. With the extra money earned, EMU plans to put it towards a $3 million renovation to Suter’s West Wing to ensure that the whole building is up to date for the needs of those enrolled in the science program.

 

 

 
 

rocktown beer and music festival

The Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance will be hosting the 4th Annual Rocktown Beer and Music Festival on April 26th at the Turner Pavilion and Park.

Known around town as one of the biggest events of the year, the music festival attracts roughly 3,000 beer and music enthusiasts to enjoy a day out with the community.

Typically, the event features a variety of different American style craft beers from around the nation. Each of the breweries that hold a tent at the festival are handpicked and represented by one of their knowledgeable members. Each brewery will carry their flagship brew as well as some of their seasonal beers and ciders for guests to taste. A few of the breweries that will be participating in this year’s festival include Blue Mountain Brewery, Smuttynose, and Bold Rock Cider.

The festival also showcases an array of performances from local and nationally touring bands. This year, the concert lineup includes The Kelly Bell Band, The Deadmen, and Bronze Radio Return. Fans of the blues scene, American indie, and rock and roll will sure be impressed with these eclectic groups taking center stage.

Tickets for the event can be purchased for $34 online or for $40 at the door. Each ticket will grant a guest ten 4-ounce samples as well as a 5-ounce souvenir sampling glass. Rocktown Pint cards can also be purchased during the event for $5 to receive an addition four samples.

Tickets for the festival have sold out online in the past so be sure to get yours quick before it is too late!

 

 

 
 

According to the newly revised Virginia Outdoors Plan, the state is calling for a solid focus on the expansion of tourism and economic opportunities through projects of outdoor recreation and land conservation.

The “Virginia is for Outdoor Lovers” proposal suggests putting several projects into motion that will protect and strengthen the natural resources of the central Valley. A key element to the plan is to carry out the remaining steps of the Linville Creek Greenway plan to provide extensive opportunities for fishing and boating to residents and visitors along with a link to nearby commercial, residential and public sites.

Several hikers that are part of the Southern Shenandoah Valley chapter of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club feel this project should be fully executed since it will greatly benefit the community. By providing a closer commute to outdoor recreation, the area will receive a wider range of outdoor enthusiasts hiking and biking the greenways.

In addition to the Linville Creek Greenway plan, the program calls for regional and local organizations to increase water access on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River as well as create a “blueway” to connect Broadway, Timberville and New Market along the North Folk of the river.

The plans also suggests the creation of new trails to connect the George Washington Forest, Jefferson National Forest, Shenandoah National Park and the Appalachian Trail to the neighboring areas of Elkton, Grottoes, Waynesboro and Buena Vista.

 
 

www.GCVirginia.org

This year, the Garden Club of Virginia will kick off its 8-day statewide premiere event from April 26th to May 3rd.

With the annual spring event dating back to 1927, Historic Garden Week has been a long-standing tradition welcoming visitors from all over to tour 250 of Virginia’s most extravagant gardens, homes, and historic landmarks. During “America’s Largest Open House,” the Garden Club of Virginia welcomes guests to view outdoor gardens at the height of the springtime season as well as take a peek inside the historic homes of Virginia covered with countless handmade floral arrangements.

Harrisonburg and Rockingham County will be featuring their garden tour on April 30th from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.  The tour will feature a look into the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum as well as a glance into some private homes and gardens around the area. The 125-acre botanical preserve houses several signature plants including woodland wildflowers and azaleas from the mid-Appalachians, an Oak-History Forest, and an herb and rose garden. Advanced tickets for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Tour can be purchased here for $20 a piece or for $25 the day of the tour at all tour properties.

The Augusta Garden Club will also host a tour in Waynesboro and Stuarts Draft on May 3rd from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The “From Colonial Expansion to Colonial Revival” themed tour will first feature a newly renovated 200-year old brick residence and 240-acre farm that was part of a land grant from King George II. The tour will then shift to a private in-town bed-and-breakfast surrounded by gorgeous gardens near Waynesboro’s Fishburne Military School. Advanced tickets for the Waynesboro and Stuarts Draft Tour can be purchased here for $20 a piece or for $25 the day of the tour at all tour properties.

For the garden enthusiasts interested in attending all of the tours throughout the state, statewide passes can be purchased here for $175 a piece.

 

 
 
MLS Photo

www.RawleySprings.com

The Highland of Rawley Springs is a subdivision consisting of 2-10 acre lots are located in a historic area adjacent to the George Washington National Forest.    Each lot offers breathtaking views, underground utilities, and are located in the Turner Ashby School District, 9 miles west of Harrisonburg.

Since 1800, Rawley Springs has been a destination for visitors seeking relaxation and a taste of the medicinal waters. In 1810, Benjamin Smith built the first cabin for his mother who had an incurable disease.  She recovered fully after spending her first summer in the area. The resort soon flourished and more cabins were built. In 1825, the area was named Rawley Springs after a farmer who lived near the resort.By 1880 three hotels were built on the property accomodating 800 guests. Visitors enjoyed bowling alleys, stables, and music from the bandstand. The resort suffered a loss in 1886 when the Virginia and Washington houses were burned down. Both were rebuilt in 1892 and again burned in 1915.

Recently, Rawley Springs has been a recreation and leisure spot for visitors looking to cool off in Blue Hole or fish in Dry River.

Click here for available lots for sale!

 
 

valley aids networkIn an effort to further promote the “buy fresh, buy local, eat fresh, eat local” movement in the Valley, the Valley AIDS Network is working on a new movement titled “share fresh, share local” to ensure that local families in need are receiving healthy foods.

Through this new program, the organization is requesting help from avid gardeners to grow and deliver fresh produce and fruits to low-income individuals and families. With the network’s food bank fund recently cut, director Alexandra de Havilland believes that this is the perfect solution to ensure that their clients receive nutritious foods for the next couple of months.

Havilland is also hoping that this small program becomes the start of something big. While the Valley AIDS Network works to partner growers with clients, their ultimate goal is to build a strong relationship between the two groups and encourage others in the community to lend a helping hand and participate in the movement. With the great and continuous success of the “buy fresh, buy local, eat fresh, eat local” movement in the area, many are hopeful that this new program will take off in the snap of a finger.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating as a gardener for the “share fresh, share local” movement or just interested in volunteering with the Valley AIDS Network, please call 568-8838 or visit their website here for more information.

 
 

three notched brewBy late fall, Harrisonburg will no longer be home to just one brewery. Locals Tim Brady and Jamie Long are proud to announce that they will be setting up shop in the Ice House where they will be selling custom craft beer.

Plans for the Pale Fire Brewing Company include a spacious tasting room as well as two types of standard-issued beers that will be available for purchase year-round. As the business continues to grow, the men behind the operation also plan to release a selection of seasonal beers that can be expected to have a “hop-forward American style”.

In addition to the opening of Pale Fire Brewing, the town is also set to welcome a nano-outpost of Three Notch’d Brewing in May. The brewery will be housed in the Urban Exchange building and will have numerous beers by the bottle including their Mosaic Imperial Red Ale and Oats McGoats Oatmeal Stout.

With rates of beer tourism spiking high and a community full of avid beer lovers, Brady and Long felt that Harrisonburg was the perfect destination to open their brewery. At first, it was the restaurants and specialty stores of Harrisonburg that sparked a beer culture in the city. Now with the combination of Three Brother’s Brewing, Three Notch’d Brewing, and Pale Fire Brewing, Harrisonburg is on it’s way to becoming the prime beer destination in the Shenandoah Valley.