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

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Smith Mountain Lake Versus The Beach

June 5th, 2015 · Comment Now!

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Lakefront living has many advantages over living near the ocean!

I will detail several of these advantages shortly, but let me start by giving you one simple reason. In general, oceanfront property became popular decades before lakefront, so the prices at the ocean skyrocketed to (often) many times that of lakefront homes. In the last decade, the popularity of lakefront property has exploded as well. But it is still not as fashionable as oceanfront…yet. As a result, the appreciation potential of a lakefront home is greater, in the opinion of many investors, than that near the beach.

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One person who helped clarify this for me was the man I mentioned earlier, David Stevens, the former Senior Vice President of Freddie Mac, and one of the most astute individuals in the nation on real estate trends, especially as they affect the financial markets. For years David had been looking for a second home at the Outer Banks, and was very pleased with the value of similar homes here at Smith Mountain Lake. He said the home he purchased here would cost many times more on the water in the Outer Banks. After spending a number of vacations here, he also realized that there was actually more of what his family really wanted to do here!

One of the reasons he gave is the opportunity to have a powerboat, jet ski, canoe and sailboat just a few steps from his back door. Though this may be remotely possible in rare situations in an oceanfront setting, this is the norm for homeowners here at Smith Mountain Lake. My dock and boathouse area include a Hurricane deck boat, a Hobie Cat sailboat, my friend’s wakeboard boat, two Sea Doos and a canoe. My neighbor on one side has a paddle boat for more leisurely rides and the other neighbor has a fishing boat.

David said his family didn’t want to spend big money and time docking their crafts at a local marina, as he would at the ocean. This is a hidden cost that many don’t think about when making a comparison. The convenience of having these vessels right at hand has provided David – and countless others here – the joy of a true waterfront experience.

Another reason that many now prefer SML to the ocean is the absence of hurricanes here in Southwestern Virginia.

Since I wrote the first edition of this book, one of my readers wrote me an email on this topic. He said:

Paul,
Another selling point of lake vs ocean. The salt water is much more harmful to the metals and finish on houses and water vehicles. I have to rinse my boats off after each use or pay a price in engine repairs and extra wax.
Patrick Stover
Annapolis, MD

I hadn’t thought of this one, and I guess it isn’t something one would think of unless they were living it. Thanks for the tip, Patrick!

I believe that Smith Mountain Lake holds many advantages over oceanfront living. I admit I am a little biased – but so are thousands of others from New England to California! One of my recent lot buyers has lived in seven or eight locations around the nation. He currently lives in a beautiful home near San Francisco. He was part of successful software company that went public and his wife is vice president of a national retail chain. He called me last summer and said that in all of his travels he’d never seen a place like Smith Mountain Lake, and though he could afford to live at the ocean or in the mountains, this is where he wanted his residential journey to end. His family had visited here only briefly while living in North Carolina years before, yet they decided that this is where they would one day build their retirement home.

He informed me that he was prepared to spend up to $1.5 million on a premier waterfront lot here with deep water, privacy, a direct view of the mountains, and a nearly flat building site. After going back and forth for months online and via phone, he traveled here for four days.

On day one, we took a boat tour of the lake. With map in hand, we surveyed the various features and home styles of the different sections of our “Jewel of the Blue Ridge.” We enjoyed a great view of many lots from the vantage point that only the water can give. On day two, we went by car and got a different view of the various waterfront lots that we had narrowed down in previous months. By sunset, we narrowed it down to the top four. On day three, we rented a private plane and flew over the lake, getting a breathtaking aerial perspective of the waterways, neighborhoods and lots we had been reviewing.

My new friend was more impressed with the lake than he had previously imagined, and was especially pleased that he was able to go home with a lot that exceeded his expectation at a little over half of what he anticipated from California. He has now told other Bay area residents of our beautiful secret and I am preparing to take his friends on a similar tour here soon.

David and my new West Coast friend are thrilled with their property purchases at Smith Mountain Lake. Are you ready to enjoy a similar experience? If you want to join people from all over the United States who now call this place home, please contact a local Smith Mountain Lake REALTOR® today.

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VA Film “Wish You Well” Celebrates DVD Release with Special Screenings at Four Virginia Theaters

May 23rd, 2015 · Comment Now!

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Lynchburg, Virginia (May 20, 2015) – In celebration of its DVD and VOD release, Wish You Well will be screened on Tuesday, June 2 at four theaters across Virginia: The Grandin Theatre (Roanoke), Westlake Cinema (Hardy), The Byrd Theatre (Richmond) and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Ashburn). All screenings will begin at 7:00 p.m.; doors will open at 6:00 p.m. A Q&A session with writer/producer David Baldacci and producer Sara Elizabeth Timmins will follow the Roanoke screening; a Q&A with actor JP Vanderloo will follow the Ashburn screening. Seating is limited; tickets can be purchased in advance at https://wishyouwell.ivolunteer.com/kickoff. The first 30 people to arrive at each theater will receive a free Wish You Well poster.

wish you well

Filmed entirely on location in Giles County, Va., Wish You Well was adapted from David Baldacci’s bestselling novel of the same title. After a family tragedy, a young girl moves from New York with her younger brother to live with their great grandmother on a Virginia farm and comes closer to understanding the land and roots that inspired her father’s writings while discovering herself, the love of family, and the power of truly believing.

The film stars Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Interstellar), Mackenzie Foy (The Twilight Saga, Interstellar), and Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama). It was directed by Darnell Martin (Cadillac Records) and produced by Sara Elizabeth Timmins of Life Out Loud Films, David Baldacci, and Karen Spiegel of Copper Beech Productions.

Wish You Well will be released in the United States on DVD and VOD by Entertainment One Ltd. Mission Pictures will distribute the film internationally.
For more information about Wish You Well and future updates on where DVD’s can be purchased nationally, please like us on Facebook.

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Is Smith Mountain Lake A Profitable Place To Invest?

May 3rd, 2015 · Comment Now!

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Lake Property

Real estate investment at Smith Mountain Lake is a profitable way of increasing personal wealth. You may think, as I once did, that buying a second home is too costly or frivolous, that it is a stretch to make it work within your investment and retirement plan. But there are many reasons that buying at Smith Mountain Lake may be the best investment you ever make. I have chosen to invest a significant portion of my portfolio at Smith Mountain Lake, and many others have done the same.

The retirement of the Baby Boom generation means that tens of millions of people are in the process of finalizing their plans to make their big move in the coming years. The majority of Americans live in the East and will likely remain in this part of the United States upon retirement. It is no secret that a significant proportion of these retirees are looking to live by the water or in the mountains. They want to slow down their pace, yet they still wish to enjoy the culture of nearby cities.

Smith Mountain Lake truly has all of this and much more. Every year we hear the same comments over and over. Recently, a couple from Pennsylvania who found Smith Mountain Lake on a map scheduled a two-day visit to check out the area. They had been looking all over the Northeastern seaboard for a place to spend their golden years. Their trip turned into six days. They bought a beautiful waterfront lot, and their home is underway. They said they never imagined it would be so beautiful here. It’s people like this that are causing SML to grow in popularity every year.

Did you ever consider why the retirement of Baby Boomer Generation is so significant to the value of resort properties like those offered here? Statistics say the Baby Boomers have the greatest wealth of any group in the history of the world. One reason for this is the significant income earned by these individuals in recent decades. Much of this has been plowed into retirement plans that will be available soon. Many people think that there is no better use for these funds than to purchase a place to enjoy and continue to see grow in value.

A second reason for this Baby Boomer wealth is the unprecedented growth in home equity during recent decades. I regularly interact with clients who bought a home for around $100,000 that is worth close to a million dollars now.

Another often overlooked factor is the release of massive funds through inheritance. Statistics say that $8 trillion (eight with 12 zeroes) is being inherited from the passing of the WW2 generation in one decade. Amazingly, these funds are being received by the same people with the incredible wealth in retirement plans and home equity! And these are the same people who often want to live near water and mountains, often in the Eastern US.

All marketers know that massive revenue will be generated wherever the baby boom population arrow is pointed. In the 50s, it was Gerber baby food. In the 70s, Levi Jeans. In the 90s it was mutual funds and VHS players. Now the arrow is pointed directly at retirement and expensive recreation. This is why Warren Buffett, who looks at 20 year trends when investing, recently bought one of the world’s largest RV manufacturers. And multi-billionaire real estate investor Sam Zell has reportedly purchased a number of high-end RV campground properties. Do you see how Smith Mountain Lake perfectly fits this bill?

David Stevens is the President of Mortgage Bankers Association, and former FHA Commissioner. David passed over waterfront properties all over the East Coast to purchase a vacation home here at SML. David said, “The Smith Mountain Lake area is a hidden gem for long-term investment value. The ability to buy waterfront property at affordable prices, on one of the most beautiful lakes in the nation, still exists at SML. With the aging population aiming towards retirement on or near waterfront in temperate climate areas, combined with the unique timing right now of almost record low interest rates and a wonderful inventory to choose from, buying a home at SML…may prove to be one of the wisest investment opportunities for real estate available in the mid-Atlantic or Southeastern US.”

The pieces of the puzzle fit together well. Does it make sense for you to contact us to discuss investing at Smith Mountain Lake? I hope you’ll call or email us today.

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Vacation at Smith Mountain Lake

March 8th, 2015 · Comment Now!

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After a long, cold winter a little bit of sunshine starts us dreaming of summer vacations, outings on the lake and all sorts of warm weather fun. So go ahead and dream a little! Imagine a vista of sparkling blue waters against the back-drop of beautiful mountains……and you and your favorite people laughing, swimming and eating together on the deck of a half million dollar rental home!

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Or perhaps your dream consists more of renting a gorgeous big boat and riding off into the sunset, fishing, swimming and camping on some beautiful little island. In fact you can just quit dreaming and start planning. Put in your time off request and make your reservations! Whatever your summer dream vacation looks like, Smith Mountain Lake has it all!

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To find just the right place to stay, you can talk to Diana Salyer for marvelous rentals on the lake, from cottages to homes or condos. Or you can find a magical place online by cruising Vacation Rentals By Owners. There are many wonderful vacation spots at SML, including Smith Mountain Lake State Park.

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Visit local Vineyards and breweries; play at some fantastic Golf Courses; Go fishing in one of Virginia’s most popular fishing destinations; Spend the day on the lake on the boat rental of your choice; Visit several of the marvelous restaurants SML has to offer; Enjoy Water Sports such as Wakeboarding, Water or Jet skiing, Stand Up Paddleboard, Kneeboarding, etc.; or you could even plan your trip around one of the dozens of fun and exciting events happening at the lake!

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The Magic of Snow

February 20th, 2015 · Comment Now!

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It is not always easy to appreciate winter, when your electricity goes off, your water pipes freeze, or your nose and fingers go numb in the frigid temperatures. But even in the midst of cold weather hassles and challenges, it is difficult to dismiss the wonder of the falling snow.

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In spite of all the extra trouble it makes for many of us, there is something a bit magical about the world when it grows misty with glittering frost and the soft crystal snowflakes fill the air. In tinkling silence the snowfall infuses whispers of goodness and hope into our noisy and stressful lives.

                                                                                                                              ~FASCINATING FACTS~
Aesthetics aside, snow truly is an amazing phenomena! While it is an explainable occurrence in scientific terms, it is also full of myriad fascinating aspects. For instance did you know that:

~ Snow is a mineral like diamonds or salt.

~ A snow crystal can be 50 times as wide as it is thick, so even though crystals can be grown in a lab as big as two inches across, they’re generally far thinner than a piece of paper.

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~ At the center of almost every snow crystal is a tiny mote of dust, which can be anything from volcanic ash to a particle from outer space.

~ Thunder-snow (a blizzard with visible lightning) is rare. But some scientists believe that all lightning is born of snow that’s just out of sight: Ice crystals in clouds collide and generate electricity.

~ Don’t eat red snow, either: It is called ‘Watermelon Snow’ and is ruddy-tinted snowfall that smell like fresh watermelon. It gets its color from a species of pigmented algae that grows in ice. The snow tastes great, but eating it will give you the runs.
(Taken from http://discovermagazine.com/2008/jan/20-things-you-didnt-know-about-snow)

snow on river

Here are even more interesting Snow Facts……
Are you aware that there is actually a “National Snow and Ice Data Center” or NSIDC? And that there is more than one kind of snowflake? According to the NSIDC
Snow Crystals are categorized as one of 4 types:

Snowflakes are single ice crystals or clusters of ice crystals that fall from a cloud.

Hoarfrost is the deposition of ice crystals on a surface when the temperature of the surface is lower than the frost point of the surrounding air. In this process, moisture goes directly from vapor to solid, skipping the liquid phase. Hoar frost is usually composed of interlocking ice crystals, and tends to form on objects of small diameter that are freely exposed to air, such as wires, poles, tree branches, plant stems, and leaf edges.

Graupel consists of snowflakes that become rounded, opaque pellets ranging from 2 to 5 millimeters (0.1 to 0.2 inches) in diameter. They form as ice crystals fall through supercooled cloud droplets, which are below freezing but remain a liquid. The cloud droplets then freeze to the crystals, forming a lumpy mass. Graupel is sometimes mistaken for hail, but tends to have a texture that is softer and more crumbly. Graupel is sometimes also called snow pellets.

Polycrystals are snowflakes composed of many individual ice crystals.

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There are hundreds more tidbits of information and amazing things to learn about the snow on the NSIDC and other websites. You might enjoy taking some time to read about more of them at https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/snow/resources.html. And the next time you see the snow falling softly, you will have a whole new appreciation for this marvel of creation!

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Winter Fun At Smith Mountain Lake

January 19th, 2015 · Comment Now!

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Smith Mountain Lake and surrounding area is most popular in the summertime for water sports, vacationing, fishing tournaments and so forth. But there are also many wonderful winter attractions and fun activities at the lake during winter months as well. Bundle up warm and come out to enjoy some of these fabulous cold weather events at the lake and it’s surrounding counties! Below are just a few you could choose from.

~ The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount, Franklin County, VA. – This is a new and exciting live music performance center. Large enough for good size crowds of nearly 500 in the main room (plus a lower level); a 40 ft. stage with state of the art lighting/audio, etc. and offering performances in a variety of genres. In Jan. and Feb. 2015 you can enjoy great groups such as: The Embers, Marshall Crenshaw & The Bottle Rockets, The Wildfire Band and much more. See the complete Harvester Calendar here https://www.harvester-music.com/calendar.

~ Sontag Disc Golf Course will be hosting the The Brawl Disc Golf Tournament on Feb. 7th. What is Disc Golf you may wonder? Disc golf is a game somewhat similar to traditional golf. However, instead of a ball and clubs, a concave plastic disc is thrown into metal baskets situated on an outdoor course. The sport became popular in the 1970′s, and just like in regular golf, the object is to complete the course with the fewest throws. This tournament is part of a series that includes four division: Pro, Ladies, Amateur and Junior and does involve fees. Contact Jeff Peters at jpeters@uttermost.com for more details. (Picture Credit - ”Disc golfer and basket” by Steve Ganz – http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveganz/11559175/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via )"Disc golfer and basket" by Steve Ganz - http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveganz/11559175/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Disc_golfer_and_basket.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Disc_golfer_and_basket.jpg

~ SoVA (Southern Virginia Wine Trail) will be having it’s Winter Wine Fest on Feb. 21st in Danville, VA. Twelve Virginia farm wineries will offer tastings from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a heated the indoor arena at Danville Community Market. Good food and live music from Firecracker Jam of Lynchburg. For Ticket Prices and other available information visit  http://www.sovawinetrail.com/.

~ Southwest VA Boat Show 2015 - The Southwest Virginia Boat Dealers Association has hosted the Annual SWVA Boat Show for over 30 yrs. This years Boat Show will be at the Roanoke Civic Center February 20th through February 22, 2015. The event has grown tremendously over the last couple of years and represents a unique opportunity to see every dealer and boat on Smith Mountain Lake. The event will have a Free Admission Friday….for more on other admission fees and info. go to  http://www.roanokeboatshow.com/. (Picture Credit - ”Sea Isle Marina Miami Florida left 20100213″ by Averette – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0)640px-Sea_Isle_Marina_Miami_Florida_left_20100213

~ The Red Valley Community Center in Burnt Chimney, VA will feature a live Bluegrass Concert by Johnathan Dillon & Friends. The concert will take place on Jan. 31st from 6pm to 8:30mp. Refreshments will be available for purchase. Admission $10 at the door. For more info call 540-537-3415

Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, VA offers a chance to spend time with the Dinosaurs! On Saturday, January 24th, the museum’s Dino Day festival will feature exciting, NEW life-sized dinosaur skeleton casts! Marvel at real dinosaur fossils from the museum’s collections! Play dino-themed games and create dino-crafts! Witness special presentations by dinosaur experts! Did we mention animatronic dinosaurs?! Dino Day is sure to be a festival of Jurassic proportions! Visit www.vmnh.net to get more details and info. diplodocus-carnegii

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Choosing a Buyer’s Agent At Smith Mountain Lake

December 19th, 2014 · Comment Now!

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You will face some complex issues when purchasing waterfront property at Smith Mountain Lake. Unless you already live on the lake and are intimately familiar with all of these issues, it is crucial that you locate an agent who will work to find the best property for you and assure that you avoid the pitfalls enumerated here. How do you find an agent like this?

First of all, I believe it is important that you select a full-time agent — someone whose family is depending on this individual to earn the income needed to survive. Many agents are not full-time. I can tell you from experience as a full-time buyer’s agent that it is challenging to stay on top of all of the listings available out there. When you contact a buyer’s agent looking for a certain type of property, it is imperative that they have a working knowledge of the inside and the outside of a large variety of homes on the market. It is difficult for a part-timer to do this.

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Second, you should attempt to work with a seasoned SML agent. The growing popularity of Smith Mountain Lake has drawn many new realty agents and investors, so it is important that you ask a prospective agent about their experience and credentials.Third, you should select an agent who is fully devoted to Smith Mountain Lake, not an agent who works in a nearby city and is only slightly familiar with the lake. There are fantastic agents in nearby areas, but they are often not aware of the variety and complexity of issues involved in the purchase of real estate here at Smith Mountain Lake.

Thanks to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) of the local Board of REALTORS®, any licensed realty agent can arrange a showing on any property on the market, regardless of who has it listed. Many clients often get a sneak peak at “pocket listings” that have not yet been formally listed.

SML buyer agents must be able to assist clients in knowing the waterfront situation at a variety of properties. With all of the online resources available to the public today, it is critical that agents be able to quickly comment on a variety of prospective listings that a client selects online. When a client calls and tells me he has found the perfect property online, I can virtually guarantee that it will not be the property he selects when he comes to town. It almost never fails. There are just too many factors that are hard to capture in a description, photo and virtual tour. This is partly what makes this such a unique and wonderful place. However, it also means that you need a devoted agent to help sort out these factors.

As an example, a client of a newer realty team member selected about 10 homes that interested him. One of our veteran team members, and one of the top buyer agents at Smith Mountain Lake, went down the list and was able to comment in detail on each of these homes. His analysis included a description of the lot, the view, the slope, the neighborhood, and in some cases the rental potential for the home. This is invaluable information that you would normally not receive from a part-time or inexperienced agent. Choose a devoted Smith Mountain Lake agent. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions, and if you don’t get the answers you want, don’t fear politely excusing yourself from the relationship. There is too much at stake to leave it in the hands of a rookie.

One if by Land, Two if by Sea
Since you are likely coming to Smith Mountain Lake for the lake and the mountains, it probably makes sense to see properties both by car and by boat. Strangely enough, they are quite different and it is important to get both views, at least when you are in the process of narrowing down the field to the top candidates. I have seen a number of occasions where someone really liked a property when arriving through the front door, but was scared away when they got there via the dock, or vice-versa.

You may even want to see an aerial view of your top picks. I had a lot client who elected to see his top picks by boat and from the air in a private plane. This gave us a unique perspective and gave the buyer great confidence in purchasing his expensive dream property.

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Since many of the lake agents live at or near the water, there are many who routinely show property by boat. It is really worth the effort to do both.

Do a Trial Run
If you have interviewed a few buyer (or listing) agents and you think you’ve located the right one for you, give them a test before making a commitment. Ask them to investigate a number of issues for you with an agreed upon deadline. This could be as simple as pulling listings for a number of properties meeting certain criteria. Then privately hold them accountable to getting the information back to you in a timely and professional fashion. If they don’t perform as planned, it may be the signal for you to find another agent. If you are unsure after the first trial, give them a tougher one and see how it goes. I am sad to say that some realty agents do not always follow through on their commitments. You should not have to bear the consequences of their laziness in the process of acquiring or selling one of your largest assets.

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12th Annual Smith Mountain Lake Fall Chili and Craft Festival

November 1st, 2014 · Comment Now!

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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 · 2 Comments

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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.

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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.

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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.

tuscan_tavern

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

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.

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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!

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HOW DO I CLOSE ON MY SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE PROPERTY?

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.

Inspections
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.

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