REW Writers



Virginia wine time

Virginia wine time

Not so long ago, the best wine was European, and good American wine was Californian. Period. Virginia oenophiles knew that Thomas Jefferson had tried and failed to make a drinkable beverage from Old World vines on Virginia soil, and if the Renaissance man of Monticello couldn’t do it, it obviously couldn’t be done. End of […]

Simple schemes to trim expenses

Simple schemes to trim expenses

If you regularly run out of money before the month is over, it’s time to consider some economies. Here are concrete ideas to help stretch your money farther. First, build an emergency fund—enough to cover three months expenses to start and building to six months. Then if an emergency strikes, you’ll have funds to cover […]

Can a rental unit add value to your property?

Can a rental unit add value to your property?

When Norma Rafferty’s father passed away, it made sense for her and her husband, Bob, to have a modest apartment addition for her mother built onto their home. A few calls showed neighborhood zoning and homeowner regulations allowed it if various permits were granted. They hired an architect to design an addition to fit well […]

The latest in paint

The latest in paint

Walking into a paint place with those thousands of little paint sample cards can be a daunting adventure. Choosing among dozens of shades of white—white!—is mindboggling. And there are hundreds more shades of actual colors with names that range from imaginative to exotic. Here are some things to consider. First, select colors you can live […]

Horse properties boost local real estate market

Horse properties boost local real estate market

If you love horses you’ve come to the right place. Our area’s love affair with all things equine began in the 1600s when colonists brought the first English stock to this country.  Ultimately, historians believe it was the introduction of the bloodlines from these early animals that resulted in the American Quarter Horse. Today’s horse […]

Fridays After Five: a Charlottesville tradition

Fridays After Five: a Charlottesville tradition

It originated outside the Omni Hotel in 1988, and it quickly became a Charlottesville tradition. In the 90s it moved to the grassy bowl at the other end of the Mall, and when the Pavilion opened in 2005, it took up residence there. If the Downtown Mall is the locus of Charlottesville civic life, the […]

Historic Garden Week 2015

Historic Garden Week 2015

If you walk along the serpentine brick walls by the Pavilion Gardens on the grounds of the University of Virginia, you will see a plaque commemorating the restoration work of the Garden Club of Virginia. Inside, right about now, the daffodils and periwinkle are blooming, and the tulips are on their way. In fact, thanks […]

Small yard, big impact

Small yard, big impact

While some people live on country estates with ample acreage, many people these days have less-than-spacious yards—especially in condominium or townhouse communities. “There are challenges in having a small yard,” points out Charlottesville Horticulturist Karyn Smith. It can be tempting, she says, to visit a nursery or garden store, buy a bunch of good-sized trees […]

Extra living space: outdoor rooms

Extra living space: outdoor rooms

Since spring is busting out all around central Virginia, it’s a perfect time to consider upgrades to outdoor living space. An ideal project might be a deck addition or a screened porch. Another welcome addition could be an outdoor kitchen with counter space, a grill, a built-in ice chest, or even a small refrigerator. Families […]

Getting the lowdown on low-down mortgages

Getting the lowdown on low-down mortgages

The resurgence of low-down financing seems dangerous on the surface. However, since the 2008 recession, things have drastically changed, including requirements regarding down payments. What’s different this time? According to Karen Dowell of Real Estate Solutions (www.karendowell.com), the primary difference is the underwriting criteria. Although there are still some low credit score types of programs […]

The BRHBA Home and Garden Festival

The BRHBA Home and Garden Festival

As Executive Vice-President of the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association (BRHBA), Kristin O’Connell Sorokti might be expected to think that Central Virginia is “a very, very good place” for homebuilders and home improvement buffs. But O’Connell doesn’t ask us to take her word for it. O’Connell invites us to see for ourselves. The BRHBA shows it […]

Being sure the price is right

Being sure the price is right

Experienced REALTORS® will tell you it’s critical to price a property appropriately from the get-go. Research shows overpricing a home and then dropping the price several times often leads to a final selling price that’s less than what you originally should have asked. In fact, the longer a property stays on the market, the lower […]

Trees add benefits and value to homes

Trees add benefits and value to homes

“Mature and young trees as well as herbaceous shrubs and fruiting species add value and curb appeal to most properties,” declares REALTOR® Sara Greenfield. The founder of Charlottesville Fine Homes and Properties, her college degree was in Forest Management and Outdoor Education. Greenfield explains she was very specific about leaving mature oak, maple, and elm trees […]

The Virginia Festival of the Book

The Virginia Festival of the Book

It’s an online world these days, but here in Central Virginia we still love books. We still love books a lot. See us read. See us hold a book festival. See us celebrate reading, literacy, and literary culture with five days of events for print and language lovers on every level and with every taste, from Dick […]

A protester is pulled from the crowd by police during a protest over the arrest of Martese Johnson on March 18. Credit: Screenshot from Fall Line video

Biggest bang for your buck in kitchen upgrading

“Kitchens have historically served as a gathering place for friends and family, originally because it was usually the warmest place in the house,” observes REALTOR® Janet Matthews, founder of Charlottesville Town and Country. “The open floor plans that are prevalent today help with creating space and make the kitchen much more visible and integrated in […]

Area’s farms and estates market

Area’s farms and estates market

Virginia’s diverse and vibrant economy includes substantial urban areas, but the dominant industry continues to be agriculture, which provides in excess of 300,000 jobs and adds over $50 billion annually to our economy. Virginia has relied on agriculture from the time of the earliest colonists who cultivated food crops to feed their families.  Eventually they […]

Seeing clearly with up-to-date windows

Seeing clearly with up-to-date windows

According to the National Association of Home Builders, windows are the most common building component homeowners employ to improve the energy efficiency of their home. On the other hand, Consumer Reports points that even with energy savings, it will take many years to recoup the cost of replacing existing windows. Still, new windows can spiff […]

Get ready for the spring real estate market

Get ready for the spring real estate market

Traditionally spring is the time of year when many people put their homes on the market, and buyers come out to see what is available.  There are many reasons for this.  The holidays are over, the air is warmer and landscapes are alive with blooming plants and trees.  Children are still in school in the […]

Six ways to trim your household expenses

Six ways to trim your household expenses

As a homeowner, one of your challenges is figuring out ways to reduce your regular monthly bills. These continuous expenses can leave a big hole in your monthly budget, essentially leaving you with less money to invest for the future, and even less money to spend on more leisure pleasures. When you find yourself short […]

Positive outlook for commercial real estate market

Positive outlook for commercial real estate market

Predictions for the 2015 commercial real estate market are encouraging.  A recent report from Deloitte states, “In many ways, the commercial real estate (CRE) industry is on more solid footing than it has been for quite some time. The US economy continues to progress and investors are generally seeing robust performance across most property types […]

Built-ins add value

Built-ins add value

Built-ins—permanent installations of anything from shelving to bunk beds—can be space savers or space makers, adding convenience, value, and personality to a home. “Today’s buyers want homes that are open and uncluttered,” declares Kelly Ceppa, a REALTOR® associate with Charlottesville’s Nest Realty Group. “Built-ins can make a home look ‘finished’ or custom built.” There’s no […]

Augusta County – views, the arts, and a strong economy

Augusta County – views, the arts, and a strong economy

Augusta County lies west of Charlottesville on the other side of Afton Mountain.  It is known for its spectacular scenery and panoramic mountain views and for its slower paced lifestyle that includes many of the conveniences of city life, along with an arts scene that features music of all varieties, and both professional and community […]

Positive steps for beating the winter blues

Positive steps for beating the winter blues

Let’s call the REALTOR® “Joan,” since she’d rather not use her real name. She says that after the activity and energy of the December holidays, she always felt like she’d hit the bottom of a roller coaster in January and February. At home she felt lazy, slept late, and skipped her daily mile-long walk in […]

Second wind: why seniors love Central Virginia

Second wind: why seniors love Central Virginia

The boomers are retiring, ready for the good life, and they’re not all heading to Florida. Senior citizens make up 14 percent of the population in our area, a number that will more than double between 2000 and 2020 –  and is it any wonder? Named by the AARP as one of the top ten […]

A spare room? – so many choices

A spare room? – so many choices

So you have an extra room? Lucky you! Maybe it’s the bedroom of a now-out-in-the-world young person. Or an elderly relative has entered assisted living. Or you’ve relocated to a larger home. There are a number of choices you can make for that room, depending on your needs and interests. Home offices popular “The most […]

Finding enough home storage

Finding enough home storage

House-hunters always have “enough storage” near the top of their “want-to-have” lists, along with energy efficiency, a fireplace, a laundry room, and a garage. In fact, having good storage options is a positive selling point for any dwelling. There are two kinds of storage, of course, and it’s good to have options for both. First […]

Buying new versus old homes

Buying new versus old homes

According to trulia.com’s recent survey, twice as many buyers prefer new homes over existing ones. In fact, the survey reveals that two in five Americans strongly or somewhat prefer a newly built home over one that was previously occupied. That’s a sizeable 41 percent of the population that prefers shiny and new. Interestingly, the results also […]