"Perfect!! Absolutely the best buying experience I have ever had!"
- Scott Marvin

1-877-SML-HOME  (1-877-765-4663)
1-877-SML-LOTS   (1-877-765-5687)

12th Annual Smith Mountain Lake Fall Chili and Craft Festival

November 1st, 2014 · Comment Now!


Rain or Shine, enjoy a full-day event featuring crafts and a spectacular competitive chili cook-off, with awards for Best Chili, People’s Choice, and Showmanship!  Held at Bridgewater Plaza, savor the essence of fall with ‘chili…just the way you like it’ at the Smith Mountain Lake Fall Chili & Craft Festival.  This event, slated for this Saturday, November 1st, is sponsored by the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce and it captures the best of everything with plenty of activity, great chili for tasting, craft vendors, awards and a beautiful lakeside setting.

chili sauce

Date: November 1, 2014
Time: 11:00 AM - 04:00 PM CDT
Website: http://www.visitsmithmountainlake.com
Location: Bridgewater Plaza,
Route 122
Moneta, VA
Contact: For more information – 540-721-1203
Email: info@visitsmithmountainlake.com
Date/Time Details: Saturday, November 1 – 11 am – 4 pm
Fees/Admission: $5 Admission

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The Insider’s Guide to the Best Dining at Smith Mountain Lake

October 6th, 2014 · Comment Now!


In response to our popular post, Lakeside Dining: 5 of Smith Mountain Lake’s Best Restaurants, we’ve rounded up five more restaurants that we believe to be must-eats for SML diners. However, this time we eschewed personal favorites and gone to the community instead to ask what’s best. You’ll find all restaurant descriptions accompanied by first-hand reviews and personal accounts of local diners.

After you’ve got the rundown on these five local favorites, make use of the interactive map at the end of the post to plan your next visit.

Jake’s Place

jakes_place_smith_mountain_lakePhoto via Jake’s Place

The first restaurant on the list is owned and operated by the same folks associated with the Blackwater Cafe, which we mentioned in our last post. Jake’s Place offers fabulous waterfront dining with a casual yet high quality menu and atmosphere.

“Jakes place is an absolute favorite for our family. I am an onion ring connoisseur and I don’t think I have had any better than Jakes Place. Service is always exceptional, and the staff makes sure you are taken care of well,” says local diner Teresa Sirois.

Check out the full Jake’s Place menu and learn more by clicking here.

Mango’s Bar & Grill

Another waterfront option, Mango’s Bar & Grill is most known for its expansive outdoor seating and frequent live music and events. Standard bar and grill fare cooked to perfection paired with an enormous drink menu make this spot one that’s hard to wear out.


Have a look at the entire Mango’s menu and see a schedule of upcoming events by clicking here.

Old Oak Cafe

You don’t have to look any further than the Old Oak Cafe website to find out what they’re all about: “Our traditional fare is designed to make you a regular – good food, served in generous portions, and priced so you can afford to make a habit of eating with us,” it says. If that sounds too good to be true, rest assured knowing that Old Oak Cafe definitely lives up to those promises.



Tuscan Tavern

There’s a special spot in everyone’s heart (and stomach) for authentic Italian cuisine. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find great Italian food. Sometimes it’s a challenge to find something that can even beat out the preformed chicken parmesan and frozen veal saltimboca at Olive Garden.


Thankfully for Smith Mountain Lakers, the Tuscan Tavern serves up some of the best Italian cuisine around. Italian lovers take note: this should without a doubt be your next stop in SML.


Waller’s is a cherished local eatery that has served the Smith Mountain Lake community for many years. For seafood, as well as a variety of other entrees, Waller’s knocks it out of the park every time. The menu is pretty big, but chances are you’ll like whatever you end up picking.



Did we miss your favorite spot? If so, get in touch with us via email or on Facebook and let us know your recommendations!


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How To Close On Your Smith Mountain Lake Property

October 3rd, 2014 · Comment Now!



So you’’ve struck a deal on the perfect, once-in-a-lifetime waterfront property! How do you go from there to getting the deed in hand? What will it cost to close on your property? By now you know the first thing I am going to say: Let your real estate professional guide you from this point as he has through the entire process.

There are a number of inspections to be performed in the process of transferring a home here. The seller is typically required to fund and conduct three inspections within less than 30 days of closing. The first is a termite inspection. The seller will hire an inspector to examine the home for evidence of wood boring insects. The seller is also responsible to conduct a test of the well water. This is a simple test to check for bacteria in the water, not an extensive test of water quality. The seller will also conduct an inspection to ensure the proper operation of the septic system. Often the same inspector will conduct all three tests. If evidence of any problem from these inspections is discovered, the seller, unless otherwise agreed upon in the contract, is responsible to correct this situation in order to proceed to closing.

As I mentioned earlier, you as a purchaser may also choose to have a home inspection and a radon inspection. In addition, you may choose to request a more extensive water report and septic inspection. I have had purchasers ask for each of these. The septic inspection may include a visual inspection of the tank using a special camera. Sometimes an older tank may become corroded and need to be repaired or replaced. The basic required inspection will not find this defect, but it would need to be repaired if you are going to rent your home in Bedford County. A more extensive water test may include testing the water for other “less harmful” substances that you may choose to have filtered out of your water. If you plan to consider asking the seller to pay for repairs from these two inspections, or if you would consider calling off the purchase for bad results, be sure to delineate these terms carefully in the contract upfront.

The Closing Agent
In Virginia, the purchaser has the right to select the closing agent. Closings are typically conducted by a closing attorney or a title company. This agent coordinates the various elements of the closing including the title examination, deed preparation, prior mortgage (deed of trust) payoff, the new mortgage, title insurance, allocation for property taxes and homeowner dues, recording of the deed and mortgage, payment of recording fees, transfer tax payments, and the payment of any fees for services including realty commissions and inspections or other liens not paid previously. The closing agent summarizes all of these charges and allocations on the closing statement, otherwise known as a HUD-1, which is a legal form developed by the federal government for this purpose. You should request an advance copy of the HUD-1 prior to closing to ask any questions, look for any errors, and to avoid needless delays on closing day.

The Deed
It is extremely important for you to examine your deed when purchasing property anywhere. The deed is the ownership title for the property and the definitive document for many rights and encumbrances of the property. These may include power company easements, easements previously granted to neighbors, rights for common areas such as boat launches, requirements to adhere to neighborhood restrictions, and much more.
We worked with a seller who was using a deed that detailed the rules for constructing a dock in that neighborhood, which is unusual. Upon examining the deed, the buyer discovered that the current owner had built his dock too far into the cove. That meant that the seller was faced with obtaining a variance on his existing dock from the neighborhood property owner’s association before he could sell his home. By examining the deed, the purchaser saved himself from inheriting this potentially nasty problem.
Talk to your closing attorney about examining your deed before purchasing your new property.

Closing Long Distance
These days, many closings are handled long distance without either party coming to town on the day of closing. If this is best for you, the closing attorney and realty agents can use email, fax, overnight mail, and wire transfer. This will save you a drive to the lake, although the main downside is that you may not have the opportunity to do a walk-through of the property just prior to closing. Talk to your realty agent about how to best manage this situation.

Closing Costs
Though each situation is different, the following is a list of typical closing costs for a transaction in this region of Virginia at the time of this writing.

Purchaser Closing Costs
Title Examination $100
Closing Attorney Fees $350 to $450
Deed Recording Fee (transfer tax) 0.33% x price
Mortgage (Deed of Trust) Recording Fee 0.317% x loan amt
Mortgage Points and Other Charges Variable
Property Taxes* Pro-rated
Homeowner Association Dues* Pro-rated if any
Title Insurance** Up to 0.4% x price
Deed Recording Fee $33
Mortgage (Deed of Trust) Recording Fee $46
Realty Commissions $0***

* Property tax and homeowner association dues may be owed to you by the seller – or owed by you to the seller – depending on who is paying the actual bill and when.

**Note that title insurance is not legally required for cash purchases in Virginia but is highly recommended. Mortgage companies always require you to purchase title insurance to cover their interests. Talk to your closing agent for more information.

*** While it is common for purchasers here to pay nothing in realty commissions, it is illegal for multiple companies in a market to jointly establish realty commission rates. Commission rates here average about the same as other markets in the United States. Talk to your realty professional for more information.

Seller Closing Costs
Deed preparation $100
Grantor (transfer) tax 0.1% x price
Property Taxes* Pro-rated
Homeowner Association Dues Pro-rated if any
Realty Commissions** As Negotiated

* Property tax and homeowner association dues may be owed to you by the purchaser – or owed by you to the purchaser – depending on who is paying the actual bill and when.

** It is illegal for multiple companies in a market to jointly establish realty commission rates. Commission rates here average about the same as other markets in the United States. Talk to your realty professional for more information.

One final note: As a home seller or purchaser, you may wish to purchase a home warranty. This will warrant a large number of home elements for the purchaser for at least a year after closing. This may allay the purchaser’s fears of problems and could help avoid tensions between the parties after closing. These warranties typically cost between $300 and $450 for one year.


→ Comment Now!Tags: Real Estate: Buying a Home

Blueberry Benefits and Our Own TLC Buffy’s Blueberry Orchard

September 9th, 2014 · Comment Now!


TLC Blueberry Orchards is now under new ownership. The new owners Doug and Sharleen Schmidt have re-named their orchard TLC Buffy’s Blueberry Orchard. Buffy was Sharleens nickname while working as a hair stylist in Northern Virginia for 37 years and since Buffy’s Blueberry’s has a nice ring to it they decided to carry the name to the orchard.

TLC Buffy’s Blueberry Orchard are loaded with berries that began to ripen in July. There are twelve varieties of blueberries in the field and the plants will produce berries through the month of September and possibly into October.The hours of business will be from 7am. to Noon, Wednesday thru Sunday. Select times are available for groups picking a minimum of 20 pounds. Call 540-330-5144 For more information or to schedule special picking times. If you pick the berries the price is $4.00/lb. If you call ahead for a certain quantity already picked, the price is $6.00/lb. There are 4 acres of blueberries that are pesticide free. Because of this we cannot use chemicals to control pests or poison ivy. It is recommended to wear long sleeves and long pants and to spray your legs or pant legs to prevent chigger and tick bites. Sharleen has bug spray available if you forget yours.

The property also hosts a resident Emu named Harvey, 10 chickens and 7 Guinea hens. A rustic barn and blackberry picking in season, are added attractions at the orchard. The orchard can be made available for special events. Contact Doug or Sharleen for additional information.
TLC Buffy’s Blueberries is located on Capital Hill Road off of route 608 in Huddleston, Virginia. To find them with your GPS enter the address 1038 capital rd. Huddleston, va. 24104. The orchard is the first entrance on the right after turning on Capital Hill Rd. The 1038 address is the yellow house on the corner of 608 and capital hill rd. After turning on Capital Hill Rd Follow the signs to the orchards entrance.


A Few Blueberry Benefits:

- Blueberry’s are rich in antioxidants and are believed to be beneficial for brain function, memory, eye health, anti-aging, nervous system and immune system.

- Blueberries can be frozen without doing damage to the fragile antioxidants they contain. Freezing blueberries at temperatures of 0°F (-17°C) for no more than 6 months, showed no significant lowering of overall antioxidant concentrations in research.

- Blueberries are a good source of Vitamin C and fiber and are also are high in manganese. (Vitamin C is necessary for growth and repair of tissues, immune system, inflammation response, wound healing and much more.  Manganese helps the body process cholesterol and nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein.)

- They are low in fat and sodium, have just 80 calories per cup and recent studies have found that blueberries have a positive impact on blood sugar regulation in type 2 diabetes.

- Organic is better: Studies of organically grown versus non-organically grown blueberries have given impressive results for the organically grown berries. Organically grown blueberries turned out to have significantly higher concentrations of total phenol antioxidants and total anthocyanin antioxidants than conventionally grown blueberries, as well as significantly higher total antioxidant capacity.



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Grand Openings at Smith Mountain Lake

August 20th, 2014 · Comment Now!


New businesses are regularly opening up around the Lake, and some existing companies are doing remodels. It is nice to know there is evidence of steady economic growth as we see new services being offered and existing ones being revived. So come on out and support one or two of the upcoming Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies. You will enjoy yourself as well as supporting your community.

Bedford Landings will have their Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting, Wednesday, August 27th, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00p.m.,with the Ribbon Cutting at 12:15p.m.. Refreshments will be served. Directions: Route 122 South to White House Road (Rt. 608) Travel about 7 miles to right on Airport. Go one mile. Left on Buccaneer. Go one mile. Bedford Landings is on the right (1995). Roof Cleaning Service has a new Billboard on Route 608 east of Downtown Moneta. Stop by our office at 330 Lakewood Forest Road in Moneta for a $50 SoftWash Bucks coupon.  Visit our website www.riddickroofing.com for more info or call 540-721-1329 for a consultation and free estimate.

The Cabinet Gallery cordially invites you to a Grand Re-Opening and Ribbon Cutting event, August 28 from 11:30a.m. – 1:00p.m. with the Ribbon Cutting at Noon. The Cabinet Gallery, a new subsidiary of Smith Mountain Building Supply, features cabinetry ranging from “simply functional” to “your wildest dreams” and all places in between. Come enjoy complimentary refreshments, visit our showroom and meet our AKBD-certified professional designers.

Kupkakery Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting at 1544 Franklin Street in Rocky Mount, Va. on September 10th.

O’Kelly’s at Westlake is hosting a Skin Care Day, Friday August 15, 11:30 to 2:30. Enjoy a free smoothie and meet with Beauty Consultants! Discover how to enhance and protect your beauty while “At the Lake”. Skin Care/Glamour Samples, Beauty Bucks Coupons, and O’Kelly’s gift cards to be given away.

Southern Roots is bursting at the seams and moving to a bigger store in The Plaza Shopping Center…Suite 1100, between Old Oak Café and Curves.  Just a short walk from the current location.  Same great stuff, more room for your shopping pleasure. Southern Roots is open Monday-Friday 10-5, Saturday 10-3.
Is everyone else’s business going full speed except yours? Are you tired of that nagging feeling that you’re stuck in last place? Think that maybe you “just don’t get it”? Want some FREE expert help? Call Dick Ephgrave at the Longwood University Small Business Development Center276-632-4462 orephgraverg@longwood.edu.

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How to Naturally Repel Pests With Essential Oils

July 22nd, 2014 · 2 Comments


Maintaining a home while keeping out unwanted pests is no easy feat. And the challenge is even tougher when you’re living near the water. Food crumbs, trash cans, and warm temperatures can attract a variety of rodents and creepy crawlies to your home.

So what are you to do? It often seems that spraying harsh chemicals and setting cruel traps are your only options, but that’s not the case.

You can actually repel pesky critters with essential oils derived from totally natural botanical sources.


Try out these natural solutions the next time you need to give the boot to unwelcome pests. You can pick them up at any health or natural food store, or even order them online.

The best way to use these oils for pest control is to dilute them in some water and spray them through a spray bottle. They’re simple, non-toxic, and safe for kids and pets too!

Keep Mice at Bay With Peppermint

They’re sneaky, and they’re fast. Mice can hide out in any number of nooks and crannies in your home, and they’re a real challenge to exterminate. What’s more, the main methods of eradication – sticky paper, traps, and poison – aren’t exactly humane.


Thankfully, peppermint oil can keep mice away with no trouble at all. Just spray a solution of peppermint oil and water around the baseboards of your home and around any areas where you believe they might be coming in. Before you know it, they’ll be abandoning your home to find more hospitable lodgings.

Banish Ants and Other Creepy Crawlies With Pennyroyal and Orange Oil

Ants: once you have them, they’re almost impossible to get rid of. The same is true for spiders, centipedes, and other insects. And unfortunately, making a habit of spraying insecticide in and around your home is both costly and hazardous.

That’s where pennyroyal and orange oil come in. Apply these oils in the same fashion as above – using a diluted solution through a spray bottle – for a cheap, safe, and effective bug killer. This natural solution doesn’t just kill bugs; it repels them too!

Combine Lavender, Lemongrass, and Citronella to Repel Mosquitoes and Ticks

Of all the bugs out there, the ones that feast on our bodies have to be the worst. And they aren’t just a nuisance. Mosquitoes and ticks can carry a variety of serious illnesses.


To rid yourself of multi-legged, bloodsucking hitchhikers, mix up a homemade bug repellant using lavender, lemongrass, and citronella (tea tree, peppermint, and pennyroyal are good additions too, although they can cause a slight burning sensation if not properly diluted). These oils can be mixed into a salve with beeswax and coconut oil too.

Deter Raccoons and Other Rodents From Rummaging Through Trash With Tea Tree and Peppermint

No matter how cute their little furry masks may seem, raccoons are a huge nuisance. Unattended trash is their prime target, and they can leave behind a huge mess.

To keep them from digging through your garbage and rummaging around your home, simply spray your cans and bags with a solution of tea tree and peppermint oil. The tea tree oil imparts a bitter, off-putting taste to your trash, while the peppermint causes burning and irritation (both oils have an odor that raccoons find very unpleasant too). Don’t worry about causing the raccoons harm. They’ll likely take a couple whiffs and move on before they have the chance to dig in.

Photo credits:

1. Photo via Kate Ware

2. Photo via Flickr

3. Photo via Flickr


→ 2 CommentsTags: Health · Lake Living

Must-Know Tips for Boat Dock Maintenance

June 30th, 2014 · Comment Now!


If you’re in the market for a lakeside property, you’re likely a boating or watersports enthusiast. As such, you’re going to need a place to store your boat or watercraft.


Thankfully for boaters, many of lakeside properties on the market come pre-equipped with boat docks. However, wood docks require occasional care and maintenance to maintain their functionality. Of course, there are contractors and repairmen that can tend to these needs for you, but you can also take care of a great deal of your dock’s maintenance needs on your own.

To keep your dock in great shape, follow these five simple steps.

Always Use Treated Lumber


For any repairs you may need to execute on your dock, be sure to use only treated lumber materials. Treated lumber will resist rot and degradation better than any other type of wood.

Never Use Sealants or Treatment Products

After being told to only use treated lumber on your dock, you might be tempted to stock up on sealants, stains, and other lumber treatments, but you shouldn’t!

Applying sealants to lumber only sets off an endless cycle in which you have to seal every six months – a scenario that’s only beneficial for the folks who make sealants.

Treated, unsealed lumber can handle wet conditions just fine. What’s more, it can dry out naturally, a necessity for dock longevity that’s impeded by sealant application. Six or so months after sealant application, the sealant will degrade enough to allow water in, but not enough to allow it to escape entirely – a recipe for disaster.

Leave your treated lumber unsealed and unstained for optimal results.

Replace Old Flotation Barrels

For those whose docks make use of flotation barrels, one of your dock’s most important facets is also one of the easiest to replace.

Flotation barrels can be replaced with a few simple tools and a little elbow grease. And replacing old, leaky barrels can have a huge impact on dock stability.

Mend and Treat Chains

If your dock makes use of chains, take care to treat them with lubricant regularly. Regular lubricant application will deter rust and keep everything running smoothly.

Check Fasteners

In harsh waterside conditions, fasteners are one of the first things to deteriorate. Screws, nails, and other specialty fasteners can loosen, even fall out, after years of wear.

Screw Diversity

Take a few hours to look over your dock’s fasteners, tighten were necessary, and make note of needed replacements.

Sand Down Split Boards and Large Splinters

Split lumber can cause a multitude of problems, the foremost of which being injury from splinters.

Luckily, getting rid of splinters is a pretty easy task. All you’ll need is a pair of gloves and a belt sander. Just sand down any splinter that’s underfoot, and run your hand over the newly sanded patch with a gloved hand to ensure optimal safety.

When sanding treated lumber, it’s always best to wear a utility mask and safety glasses.

Photo Credits:

1. Photo via Flickr

2. Photo via Flickr

3. Photo by Martin Kenny


→ Comment Now!Tags: Lake Living · Real Estate: Selling a Home

7 Renovations to Boost Your Home’s Value and Seduce Potential Buyers

June 24th, 2014 · Comment Now!


Whether you’re preparing to sell or simply interested in making a sound investment in your home, carrying out quality renovations is a surefire way to add value. However, it can be a challenge to know which renovations will return the most value.

Here are seven renovations that are most likely to pay you back in the long run.

Repaint With the Right Colors

Applying fresh paint from a neutral palate is one of the best things you can do to make your home more salable. Potential buyers want to envision themselves in your home, and if your walls are painted in bright shades that don’t suit their preference, that imaginary vision is quite a bit harder to construct.

Install Energy Efficient Windows

Home buyers are increasingly concerned with energy efficiency. As they prepare to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a new home, they want to make sure it won’t put them in the poorhouse by burning through energy unnecessarily.

windowsPhoto by Les Haines

Windows are one of the best (and least expensive) places to improve efficiency. A variety of highly efficient offerings are available from many different brands. Consult a local contractor to learn more.

Replace an Ailing Roof

This renovation is little pricier than the rest, but it definitely pays off. Although you’ll spend a notable amount to add a new roof to your home, it will bring an enormous amount of value to the table.

If you’re interested in adding even more value to your home, check out metal roofing. Seamless metal roofing will likely outlast every other facet of your home. Plus, it adds even more value than conventional roofing!

Check Your Plumbing

Little more is frustrating than dealing with old, dilapidated plumbing in a newly purchased home. Buyers know this, and they’re paying attention to what kind of shape your plumbing is in. If it’s seen better days, letting a plumber give it a once-over will be well worth the time and expense.

Add a Bathroom

No other room is in as high demand among home buyers as the bathroom. At the end of the day, it’s hard to have too many of them.

new_bathroomPhoto via Poshsurfside.com

Even adding a small half-bath can make a big difference in home value. If you’re open to doing a little DIY’ing, you’ll only end up spending a little for a lot of extra home value.

Give Your Kitchen some TLC

An aesthetically pleasing, highly functional kitchen is a major selling point for any home. Consider taking the time to turn your kitchen into a special space to entice potential buyers.

Increase Storage Space

This renovation probably has the highest return on investment out of them all. Adding storage space through new shelving or otherwise is a cheap and easy way to add instant value to your home.


→ Comment Now!Tags: Lake Living · Real Estate: Selling a Home

Do I Need A Home Inspection When Buying At Smith Mountain Lake?

May 31st, 2014 · 2 Comments


Q: Should I, as a buyer, get a home inspection?


Q: Are there situations where buyers, by their own choice, have opted to forego an official home inspection and as a result saved tens of thousands of dollars?

A: YES! However, I would need to qualify this response by explaining how they went about this. There is a creative way to get the benefit of a home inspection and still save mucho dinero on the purchase price. Using this technique gives some buyers the best of both worlds. This is situation-specific, so please contact me to get more information on how to accomplish it.

Q: Does the selection of a home inspector play an important role in the validity of the inspection’s results, or do most inspectors perform the same investigations and come up with the same results?

A: The choice of a home inspector is important, especially if you are from outside of this area, and you choose a home inspector out of the phone book or without a personal recommendation. Many buyers are surprised to learn that home inspectors in Virginia have no significant license or experience requirements. It is possible that you could hire a home inspector who has few qualifications, little education, or no experience, yet has decided to be a home inspector.

A new friend called me in tears. She and her husband had relocated to Roanoke from Northern Virginia last year and made the mistake of not using a buyer’s agent. When they placed an offer on a large home, they worked directly with the listing agent, and chose a home inspector out of the phone book. The inspector gave the home a virtually clean bill of health, and they made the purchase.

After months of suffering with wiring, plumbing and apparent structural problems, they called me for advice. The first thing they needed was an experienced, professional home inspector to undertake a thorough re-inspection. What this new inspector found horrified them. It appears that the house had been cobbled together in the builder-owner’s spare time and had sat vacant and incomplete for more than 12 years in the process. Much of the home had apparently never been inspected (it was out in the country, deep in the woods!) and the wiring, plumbing, extensive decks, and much more needs a total overhaul. The cost of the repairs necessary just to get the home to a serviceable level will likely be $50,000 to $60,000.
There were many obvious things that were not built to code, which could have been a tip-off that there was something very wrong. Though no home inspector is perfect, if this couple had worked with a professional who represented their best interests it is probable that their current suffering would have been avoided.

Lesson: Get personal recommendations and then obtain a home inspection from a professional, experienced home inspector.

PostScript: Few people are aware that there may be a way to file a claim through the title insurance company for some limited types of pre-existing damages. I helped my friends recover $25,000 of the damages that they suffered in the incident described above. Few home owners have any idea that this option is available to them, but it can mean tens of thousands of dollars in recovered funds when unfortunate events occur. Talk to your closing attorney to see if this type of coverage is available through a premier title policy.

Q: Do I need a radon inspection for the home I am buying?
A: As in many places across the United States, some homes in this area have radon in the basement. While there does not seem to be more radon here than anywhere else, I strongly recommend that you conduct a radon test as part of the home-buying process. The good news is that the fix for radon is always about the same and the cost is not that great. Typically, an agent can write up an offer that will compel the seller to pay for the cost of radon remediation prior to closing.

One note: There may be ways for a home seller to tamper with certain radon measurement devices. A smart home inspector with good equipment can detect this and frustrate their plans. Be sure to ask your inspector if he knows how to guard against this situation.


→ 2 CommentsTags: Real Estate: Buying a Home

Visit These Breweries and Vineyards During Your Time at Smith Mountain Lake

May 13th, 2014 · Comment Now!


There’s nothing quite like the therapeutic ritual of lounging at the water’s edge with a glass of wine or a cold brew, and the experience only gets better with small batch, handcrafted libations. Fortunately for beer and wine enthusiasts, Smith Mountain Lake is surrounded by several top-notch breweries and vineyards, some close by and all within driving distance.

So go ahead and take a trip to one of these fine establishments for a tasting. We’ve included an interactive map at the end of the post to guide your way.

Note: Sunken City is not listed on GPS or Google Maps. However, if you enter “Westlake Towne Center, Hardy, VA” into your map service or GPS, it will take you within sight of the brewery.

Parkway Brewery

Hidden in northern end of Roanoke, Virginia’s suburb of Salem, Parkway Brewing Company is the region’s newest brewery. Having opened in early 2013, Parkway has experienced notable success, both in the local community and across state lines. Currently, Parkway offers a crisp west coast-styled IPA, blonde ale, kolsch, and porter.

beer_flightPhoto via Flickr

Anyone is welcome to stop in at the Parkway brewery during tasting hours (set seasonally). During tasting hours, visitors can enjoy Parkway brews on-site or fill up a growler to take home. Go enjoy a fresh pint along with live music and local food truck eats on one of Parkway’s open house get-togethers, usually scheduled for Thursday, Friday, or Saturday; see the Parkway Facebook page for details.

Sunken City Brewery

Just a short drive from the water, Sunken City Brewery artfully produces three varieties of microbrew craft beer – the Red Clay IPA, Smith Mountain Lake Dam Lager, and Sunken City Brown Porter. During the fall and winter months, they also produce two rich seasonal brews, a winter ale and harvest lager.

After operating for just under a year, Sunken City has earned a place in the hearts of Smith Mountain Lake beer enthusiasts and casual sippers alike. Visitors are welcome at the brewery tap room, where limited run brews and snacks are served. Hours are available at http://sunkencitybeer.com/.

Valhalla Vineyard

Valhalla Vineyard has been producing award-winning wines for discerning palates in the Roanoke Valley for nearly 15 years. For the cost of a tour, vineyard visitors can sample five wines of their choice, get a glimpse of the Valhalla aging process in an authentic cave storage space, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the vineyard.

wine_cork Photo by Derek Gavey

Tours and tastings are by appointment only, so plan ahead if you’re interested in stopping by. Learn more by visiting Valhalla on the web at http://www.valhallawines.com/index.htm.

Hickory Hill Vineyard

Undoubtably the vineyard with the strongest roots in Smith Mountain Lake, Hickory Hill has been crafting wine in the area for over 30 years. Taking pride in their local heritage, Hickory Hill’s proprietors are dedicated to growing, processing, and aging all of their wine within Moneta county borders.

The Hickory Hill tasting room is open Wednesday-Sunday between April and October. During the rest of the year, tastings are held on Saturdays only. For detailed information on Hickory Hill wines and business hours, visit them online at http://www.smlwine.com/.


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