If adventure is what you’re looking for then the Blue Ridge area is the place for you! Contact us today to find out how we can help make this wonderful place your home. And read below a recent article about how we were voted the Top Adventure Town…

Originally published by http://www.roanokeoutside.com/roanoke-named-top-adventure-town-blue-ridge-outdoors/

Top Adventure Town has a nice ring to it. And it’s a moniker we can use all year long. Roanoke is the 2016 Top Large Size Adventure Town winner in the annual ranking from Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.

The region beat out 47 other contenders and topped Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Baltimore, and Knoxville in head-to-head voting. What makes the win even more impressive is that Roanoke won the large town category, despite competition from locations more than double our size. (That just goes to show how much you love Roanoke!)

The region has earned top town honors four of the last five years as Top Mid-Sized Town in 2015, Best Trail Town in 2013 and was voted Best Mountain Town in 2012.

“Everyone else is really starting to notice what we’ve known about the Roanoke Region for a long time,” says Pete Eshelman with the Roanoke Outside Foundation. “There aren’t too many places with such easy access to such a diverse offering of outdoor recreation opportunities.”


Here’s what the magazine had to say about Roanoke:

“Drive through Roanoke tomorrow and you’ll see runners along the Roanoke River Greenway, cyclists heading up Mill Mountain, and kayaks on roof racks.”

A community invested in the outdoors is more than just good for the adventure-seeker. Recent research shows that communities like Roanoke that invest in invest in bike paths, parks and recreational assets, as well as in infrastructure that improves walkability have demonstrably better outcomes in important areas of health for their residents. (Learn more.)

Earning recognition from a publication such as Blue Ridge Outdoors helps, too! It helps spread what we already know in the Roanoke Region to people in other locations that may not know what a hopping outdoor spot this is.

You can read the full feature from Blue Ridge Outdoors in the November issue.

Why live in Virginia’s Blue Ridge area? Well hopefully this article will help explain all the great reasons why we call this place home.

Published by https://www.visitroanokeva.com/region/awards/

It should come as no surprise that the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge is a region that has received numerous awards and accolades over the past few years.

With our outstanding quality of life, stunning natural beauty and wide variety of activities, the region constantly finds itself on ‘Top 10’ lists and other rankings from numerous publications and organizations.

People in Virginia’s Blue Ridge take a tremendous amount of pride in where they live and they’re excited to share our culture and character with visitors.

Many of these awards and titles are thanks to the hard work and passionate commitment of locals who do so much to make the Roanoke Valley a wonderful place to live, work, play and visit.

It gives Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge great pride to be able to partner with the community and help celebrate this ever-growing list of awards, accolades and recognitions.

People around the world are learning what makes Virginia’s Blue Ridge the perfect place to experience a Blue Ridge Day, and we hope you’ll experience it for yourself.

The following is a list of awards and accolades for the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge:

Planning vacations can sometimes seem like a second job. Where should I go? When should I visit? What do I do once I get there? Enter in the stress that comes with finding a place to stay and suddenly the thought of a staycation seems incredibly appealing.

Before you hang up your swimsuit and bow your head in defeat, take a moment to read the Five Reasons You Should Vacation at Smith Mountain Lake. And if you’ve never heard of this hidden mountain retreat, then prepare to fall in love with Virginia’s best kept secret:

  1. The Views Are Breathtaking. Smith Mountain Lake is nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains, creating a stunning backdrop for early morning sunrises and romantic summer sunsets. In fact, the Smith Mountain Lake setting is ideal for those seeking a truly relaxing retreat. Crisp, clear skies set the stage for stars to shine their brightest, while the lake’s calm waters serve as the ultimate reflecting pool.
  2. It’s Super Friendly. The Smith Mountain Lake community is hands down one of the friendliest places you’ll ever visit, and residents take every opportunity to show it off. And even though the lake encompasses 500 miles of shoreline, it feels like one giant family. Don’t hesitate to ask a local where to find the best steaks on the lake, the best fishing spot, or family-friendly activities for the little ones. Not only will you get the best recommendations, but you’ll also make a friend for life. It should also be noted that the community as a whole is extremely laid back. You won’t find bumper-to-bumper traffic, massive crowds, or three-piece suits. Instead you’ll find flip-flops, thank-you waves, and a lot of dogs enjoying the breeze from the passenger’s side.
  3. It’s Affordable. It’s hard to fully relax during your vacation when you’re constantly visualizing your upcoming credit card statement. However, Smith Mountain Lake vacationers soon realize that booking a stay at the lake is downright affordable. In fact, the low cost of living is one reason why many tourists purchase summer homes in the Smith Mountain Lake area after their first visit. Check out www.VacationRentalsSmithMountainLake.com for a list of available properties. You can choose from a host of amenities, including pet friendly rentals, on-site beaches, and luxury homes.
  4. Everything is Close By. Smith Mountain Lake is only moments away from local airports, highways, and train stations, making travel to and from the area very easy. There are also a number of cities within a short driving distance, including Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Greensboro, North Carolina. These locations make great day trips for shopping and sightseeing.
  5. There’s Always Something to Do. Even though the Smith Mountain Lake area is largely hailed as a summer vacation destination, there’s always something going on around the area regardless of season. There are a number of festivals planned each year including Smith Mountain Lake’s signature event, the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival. This two-day event boasts a number of local Virginia wineries, as well as food and craft vendors. Other notable festivals include the Beer and BBQ Festival, the SML Fall Chili and Craft Festival, and the Franklin County Moonshine Festival. You can check out a full list of events at www.VisitSmithMountainLake.com. Smith Mountain Lake is also home a number of marinas, restaurants, golf courses, wineries, historical sites, and parks including the Smith Mountain Lake State Park. This popular attraction houses a public beach, playground, fishing piers, hiking and biking trails, picnic areas, and public boat docks.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about Smith Mountain Lake, why not book a vacation and experience it for yourself? You can learn more about activities in and around the lake by visiting www.VacationRentalsSmithMountainLake.com. And while you’re there, check out available rental properties by searching the site’s inventory of lakefront homes, condos, cabins, and luxury rentals.

As a resident real estate agent for Smith Mountain Lake, Leslie Becker knows the area as only a local can. If you’re ready to enjoy the luxuries of a Smith Mountain Lake lifestyle, then contact the area’s most trusted REALTOR.

Even with the prospect of tough times ahead for the global economy, Jeremy Rifkin, Adviser to the European Union, Senior Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, President of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, DC and one of the most influential economists and thinkers of these days, argues that it is not all bad. In his latest treatise “The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and World,” Rifkin clearly states, that we are heading towards a new exciting era, one that combines new communication technologies with renewable energies aiming to completely escape the use of fossil fuels.

According to Rifkin, Economic Revolutions occur, when “new energy regimes emerge and communication systems enable them to become more operational.” The First Industrial Revolution for instance, happened thanks to the combination of printing and the steam machine, allowing production of much higher quantities at considerably lower prices.

The second Industrial Revolution made electricity and communication tools such as radios, and later televisions and telephones, available to the general public. However, Rifkin speculates that this revolution is slowly coming to its end, as the price of almost every good is strongly dependent on the crude oil price. The economic crisis which began in the summer of 2008, caused the price per barrel to rise to almost $150 which, in turn, led to an economic downward spiral. In addition, coal, oil and natural gas, the so called “elite energies” requires an immense investment of capital due to their poor availability. That makes them not efficient enough to remain the main energy source of the future.

This is where Jeremy Rifkin believes that the Third Industrial Revolution comes into action: contrary to the “elite energies,” renewable energy sources like the sun, wind, geothermal warmth or garbage are available in any form almost all over the world. As adviser for the EU he had the honor to establish the “Roadmap For Moving To A Competitive Low Carbon Economy In 2050,” a five-pillar based concept. For this concept it is critical that one pillar can only function in relation to the other four, creating synergies that are likely to change Europe and the whole world and which will significantly stimulate economic growth.

These pillars are designed (1) to establish renewable energy (the EU aims to support 20% of their energy needs from renewable resources); (2) transform the building stock of every continent into micro-power plants in order to collect renewable energies on-site; (3) develop storage technologies in every building to save any surplus of generated energy; (4) use Internet technology to transform the power grid of every continent into an energy internet that acts just like the overall Internet (millions of buildings connected to each other, allowing them to sell/share any surplus of energy among each other) and (5) integrate the transportation sector in this power grid.

Currently, this project may seem difficult to attain as prices for such technologies remain very high, but Rifkin anticipates that the prices will very soon plummet, empowering the general public to adopt technologies and to become part of this new revolution, which will change the way power is distributed in the 21st century. Furthermore, this change will require “a wholesale and reconfiguration of the entire economic infrastructure of each country, creating millions of jobs and countless new goods and services.” The entire process requires a new way of thinking, working, doing business and therefore “a new humanity.”

Back in the 1970’s, kit houses were all the rage. Since then, architecture styles changed enough to allow modern interpretations to offer a trip down memory lane. This is the case of the Far Pond Residence by Bates Masi Architects – a 1970s kit house in Southampton, New York, revived with a contemporary appeal. The existing glulam post and beam construction connected with steel plates was extended with the help of an additional volume.

The design of the existing house was enhanced by building a modern interpretation of that theme, one that focuses on clearly expressing the structural system. Prefabricated elements were used to resolve space problems and keep the old and new parts related: “Examining the strategy of a kit of parts, current material fabrication technologies are utilized to expand on this idea. A different approach to sustainability is explored, minimizing waste by simplifying to the essential components in order to resolve multiple problems, thus eliminating typical construction waste.”

A modified version of prefabricated shear wall panels like the ones used in areas prone to hurricanes were mounted on site to keep a secure structure: “The new structural panels multitask throughout the addition. The solid steel transitions to a perforated panel that baffles the sunlight over windows and doors. The light quality varies throughout the day as light levels transition through the overlapped perforations. Fins that protrude from the wall panels are laser cut to accept shelving, seating and countertops. The same perforated steel becomes the dining room chandelier, and the platform for the stair and desk. ” Overlooking surrounding wetlands down to an estuary and an ocean bay, the fascinating kit house turned modern home exudes a casual vibe and an inviting warmth. Maybe this horse ranch turned into a stunningly elegant modern home will further convince you of the architect’s creativity, attention to details and hard work.

Do you live in a new house or was it transformed from an existing structure into what it is today?

Home prices in the US continued to show solid growth in most of the country due to limited inventory conditions, but rising prices and severe winter weather caused existing home sales to slip in February.
According to the latest existing home sales index report from the National Association of Realtors, completed transactions fell 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.60 million in February from 4.62 million in January.

Sales were 7.1% below the 4.95 million unit level recorded in February 2013 and the month’s pace of sales was the lowest since July 2012, when it stood at 4.59 million.

‘We had ongoing unusual weather disruptions across much of the country last month, with the continuing frictions of constrained inventory, restrictive mortgage lending standards and housing affordability less favourable than a year ago,’ said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

‘Some transactions are simply being delayed, so there should be some improvement in the months ahead. With an expected pickup in job creation, home sales should trend up modestly over the course of the year,’ he added.

The median existing home price for all housing types in February was $189,000, which is 9.1% above February 2013. ‘Price gains have translated into an additional $4 trillion of housing wealth recovery over the past three years,’ Yun explained.

The NAR data also shows that distressed homes sales, that is foreclosures and short sales, accounted for 16% of February sales, compared with 15% in January and 25% on February 2013. Some 11% of February sales were foreclosures and 5% were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 16% below market value in February, while short sales were discounted 11%.

Total housing inventory at the end of February rose 6.4% to two million homes available for sale, which represents a 5.2 month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.9 months in January. Unsold inventory is 5.3% above a year ago, when there was a 4.6 month supply.

The median time on market for all homes was 62 days in February, down from 67 days in January and 74 days on market in February 2013. Short sales were on the market for a median of 94 days in February, while foreclosures typically sold in 60 days and non-distressed homes took 61 days. Some 34% of homes sold in February were on the market for less than a month.

First time buyers accounted for 28% of purchases in February, up from 26% in January, but down from 30% in February 2013.

NAR president Steve Brown believes that student debt appears to be a factor in the weak level of first time buyers. ‘The biggest problems for first time buyers are tight credit and limited inventory in the lower price ranges. However, 20% of buyers under the age of 33, the prime group of first time buyers, delayed their purchase because of outstanding debt,’ he said.

‘In our recent consumer survey, some 56% of younger buyers who took longer to save for a down payment identified student debt as the biggest obstacle. It is also clear there are other people who would like to buy a home that are not in the market because of debt issues, so we can expect a lingering impact of delayed home buying,’ Brown added.

All cash sales comprised 35% of transactions in February, up from 33% in January and 32% in February 2013. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 21% of homes in February, compared with 20% in January and 22% in February 2013. Overall 73% of investors paid cash in February.

Single family home sales edged down 0.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.04 million in February from 4.05 million in January, and are 6.9% below the 4.34 million unit level in February 2013. The median existing single family home price was $189,200 in February, up 9% from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales declined 1.8% to an annual rate of 560,000 units in February from 570,000 in January, and are 8.2% below a year ago. The median existing condo price was $187,900 in February, which is 9.8% above February 2013.

Regionally, existing home sales in the Northeast fell 11.3% to an annual rate of 550,000 in February, and are 12.7% below February 2013. The median price in the Northeast was $237,800, up 1.5% from a year ago.

Existing home sales in the Midwest declined 3.8% in February to a pace of one million, and are 12.3% below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $140,900, which is 8.6% higher than February 2013.

In the South, existing home sales rose 1.5% to an annual level of 1.98 million in January, but are 0.5% below February 2013. The median price in the South was $163,400, up 8.3% from a year ago.

Existing home sales in the West rose 5.9% to a pace of 1.07 million in February, but are 10.1% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $279,400, up 18% from February 2013.

Start the spring season with SMLRCC’s annual event – Rockin’ Brews & BBQ’s at Smith Mountain Lake, a fun, family event with live music, several BBQ vendors and food vendors from North Carolina to Downtown Moneta. Event activities will include an inflatable play area for children and much more!

This year’s event takes place on the southwest side of Rt. 122 and Rt. 608 – across from Mayberry Hills in Downtown Moneta, VA on Saturday, April 27th, Noon to 6pm.

Admission is $5 and kids 12 and under get in free. Front gate admission includes tickets for food, a beverage and kid’s activities. Please note that no coolers are allowed.

Come enjoy great music and great BBQ! For more information call Lauren Parcetich at 540-721-1203 or go to www.visitsmithmountainlake.com.

The 17th Annual Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon is schedule for May 3, 2014 and will be held at the Smith Mountain Lake Park.

Participants will compete in a 750 meter swim, 20k bike race and a 5k run.

For more information call 540.297.6066.

The 2014 Oakley Big bass Tour Open Tournament will kick-off Friday, April 25th at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta.

This year’s event is scheduled to host close to 400 anglers and will be televised on the World Fishing Network and Fox Sports West. Registration is Friday, April 25th from 3pm-7pm. Participants may sign up for a one-day entry ($100) or a two-day entry ($150.)

This year’s grand prize is a 2014 Nitro Z7 valued at $30,000.

For more information, visit http://oakleybigbass.com.

Deducting Mortgage Points

Third in a four-part series of tax tips for homeowners

If you itemize your deductions and can take the mortgage interest deduction on your federal income tax, you may be able to deduct the points you paid on your home mortgage, too.

Points are prepaid interest, so they get reported as home mortgage interest on Form 1040, Schedule A .

The total deductible points you paid during the year (along with the interest your paid) show up on the Form 1098 your lender sends to you.

The median tax deduction for home mortgage interest points was $509 in 2011, according to most recent IRS data.

You can typically deduct points in full in the year they’re paid, if your meet all these requirements:

  1. The mortgage was for your primary home.
  2. Paying points is an established business practice in your area.
  3. The points you paid were typical for your area.
  4. You use the cash method of accounting (you report income in the year you receive it and deduct expenses in the year you pay them).
  5. The points you paid didn’t cover services or products that show up on your loan settlement sheet such as appraisal fees, inspection fees, title fees, attorney fees or property taxes.
  6. The points you paid at or before closing, plus the points the seller paid, were at least as much as the points charged. You didn’t borrow money from your lender or mortgage broker to pay the points.
  7. You used your loan to buy or build your primary home.
  8. The points were computed as a percentage of the principal amount of your mortgage
  9. The amount is clearly shown as points on your settlement statement.

You can also fully deduct (in the year paid) points paid on a loan you used to improve your main home–if you met #1 through #6 above.

If you refinance and you use part of your loan to improve your main home, and you meet requirements #1 through #6, you can fully deduct the part of the points related to the improvement in the year you paid them.

If You Don’t Meet The Requirements

If you don’t meet the IRS’ requirements (and this typically happens in a refinance) you may still be able to deduct your points over the life of your new mortgage rather than in a single year.

You can deduct the rest of the points over the life of the loan if you meet these requirements:

Other Pointers On Points

If you’re a seller and you paid points for a buyer, you don’t get to deduct those as interest on your tax return. But, you can count them as a selling expense, which can reduce your capital gain.

When a seller pays points for you as a buyer, you have to subtract the amount of those points when you calculate your basis or cost of the residence. You’ll likely do that capital gains calculation when you sell the home many years from now, so be sure to file your settlement sheet where you can find it in the future.

Points you pay on a second home loans can generally be deducted only over the life of the loan.

When you’re deducting points and your mortgage ends you can generally deduct any remaining balance in the year your mortgage ended. But, if you refinance with the same lender, you have to deduct the remaining balance over the life of your new loan. Mortgages end when you prepay, refinance, lose your home to foreclosure, or experience a similar event.

You may be subject to a limit on some of your itemized deductions, including points. For more information on the adjusted gross income limitations, please refer to the Form 1040 Instructions.

If the mortgage you got to acquire your home was for more than $1 million or your home equity debt exceeds $100,000, you probably can’t deduct all your mortgage interest or all your points. Read Publication 936,  Home Mortgage Interest Deduction, to figure out how to deduct your points.

Tax laws and tax rules are constantly being updated and interpreted. This article contains general information, so please discuss your individual situation with a trusted tax adviser before making tax decisions.