Our Blog | Chantel Ray Real Estate

To buy or sell a home,  call  757-717-1003.

Our Blog

Check out market updates

The Neighborhood Scoop: Williamsburg

You want it, it’s in the Williamsburg area.

History? Got that — the downtown area is a restored 18th century village. America’s first permanent English colony of Jamestown is nearby. So are the battlefields at Yorktown, where the British army surrendered and ended the Revolutionary War.

Water? Got that — boat on the James, York and Chickahominy rivers, sail on the Chesapeake Bay. Drive an hour to swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

Entertainment? Got that, too — Busch Gardens, Water Country, shopping, restaurants, dinner-movie theaters, miniature golf, even ghost tours.

Education? The College of William & Mary is among the best. Public schools are good, too.

You even have access to big towns like Richmond and D.C…what more is there to say?

Williamsburg’s Current Real Estate Market

Compared to Northern Virginia, the cost of living and home prices are much lower — the average home price in 2010 was $333,500. But if you want a million-dollar, waterfront home with some land, it can be found. In James City County last year, 20 homes sold for $900,000 and above.
But affordable homes are here, too, so it’s no wonder that the area is desired by young families and retirees alike. With the Hampton Roads area home to every branch of the military, it’s inevitable for military families to live here, too.
Saying “I live in Williamsburg” doesn’t just mean you live in the city of Williamsburg, however. Under Virginia’s independent city and county system, a “Williamsburg address” might mean James City County or York County. So while about 80 homes sold in the 9-square-mile city of Williamsburg in 2010, about 750 sold in 144-square-mile James City County.
Because of the first-time homebuyers program, the housing market went in “fits and starts” in 2010. Home prices were lower than in 2009 and spent more time on the market. Buyers generally spent under $300,000, and a $75,000 fixer upper could be found in Williamsburg city.
The area really has tripled in size since the 1990s. Then, there was one high school; now there are three in the Williamsburg-James City County public school system. But the area still holds a small town feel.
Popular neighborhoods range from homes in exclusive, gated resort communities to stately brick or columned homes with a most definite Southern flair. Homes on streets leading into the city of Williamsburg are often decorated with fruit wreaths and other decorations — the pineapple, after all, is a symbol of hospitality dating back to colonial America.
The average price of a home in the Williamsburg area in 2010 was $333,500.

To look our beautiful Williamsburg listings, just click HERE!

Decisions, Decisions: Flipping Houses Vs. Rental Properties

Okay- Let me start by telling you that real estate is one of the quickest ways to financial freedom.

Got it? Good.

Now lets get into the nitty gritty.

Flipping houses and owning “buy and hold” rental properties are two of the most popular real estate strategies. These two strategies work very differently, and generally its best if you choose one path. But which one is right for you?

GOALS AND LIFESTYLE: What are they? What do you envision for yourself?

House flipping entails finding the right deal, fixing it, and then selling it to make a profit. Usually you’re looking for homes that are deeply discounted, and in disrepair. Flipping can be a great way to make money, and that’s why it’s alluring. Many flippers can make anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000 on one deal alone. However, it’s important to remember that flipping is transactional.

Have you seen Flip or Flop on HGTV? They paint a great picture, but some important behind-the-scenes details are missing. It’s like having a paycheck-based job. You have to work constantly, and always be on the hunt for the next project. Flippers have to hustle! A typical project takes about six months to complete, and then once you profit off the sale, you’ll need to move onto another to make more money.


If you want real estate to be your new full-time career, then maybe flipping is for you. For most new investors, passive income is the way to go. “Buy and hold” investing is a great way to sit back and collect rent checks, without neglecting your family, job, or other commitments. If you’re thinking that being a landlord doesn’t sound very passive, then your next step would be deciding on a property management team.

If you put the right safeguards in place, renting out your properties can be passive and scalable. Our properties earn an average monthly rent of $700. Each property brings you cash flow every single month, the tax benefits are tremendous, and it’s a great way to build your net worth.


There is a little something called the “1% rule”. Basically you want the rent of the property to be about 1% of the purchase price of the home so you can get a better return for your money. For example, if you buy a $400,000 home it would be $4,000 to rent (which is extremely hard to entice renters), but if you have a $100,000 home it is WAY easier to rent out for $1000. If you had four of these $100K properties you would gross $48,000 at the end of the year, BUT if you rent out the $400,000 for $2,700 (a much reasonable rental price), you’d only gross $32,400.

Make sense? A basic rule of thumb is making sure you are getting AT LEAST a 10% return. ($1000 rent on a $100K property = 12K year gross = 12% return).

Anything less than 10% and well, you can do better.

Whether you are going to be a Flip or Flop pro or rent those properties out all over your neck of the woods, we have amazing listings you can look at now. Click here!

Jump the Broom Right into a Home!

Whether you’re experiencing the first rush of newlywed bliss or you’re a seasoned married couple, buying a home is an exciting journey to partake together. Just make sure the stress of home search doesn’t derail your relationship! With a lot of discussion & a little effort, you’ll be able to find a place you both love. Even better- settle on some agreed ‘must-haves’ before you start looking to save both time & disgruntled discussions. Don’t know where to start? Check out these four tips below!

1. Watch Those Habits.

How often do you need to work at home and how much private space do you need to do that? How much do the two of you like to entertain? Does one of you like to go to sleep a little earlier, while the other prefers to stay up and watch TV or do laundry? How do you feel about long, uninterrupted baths? Do you prefer to dress out of the clean laundry basket or put things away in closets and dressers? Ask yourselves how you’ll be able to do the things that are important to you in your new space, without wanting to kill each other. (Thats the main goal.)

2. Who Will You Borrow Sugar From?

Have a good long talk about neighborhood. If you’re already living in the same neighborhood, and you both like it, this one should be easy. But if you aren’t, and you have different feelings about how close to work and other places you want to be, this could take some discussion. If one person has a long commute and the other one is home by six pm every day, who cooks?

3. Each Square Foot Matters.

How much space do you need, and how much can you afford? If your partner needs space for things you don’t, you aren’t allowed to complain about it. Your needs are hers or his, and vice versa. His dog is your dog, so you may need a larger, fenced in yard. Her need for a home office is your need, even if the space is dedicated to her work and you can’t use it. You’ll need to figure out how to live in harmony. Sharing a bedroom doesn’t always mean you need just one. If his out of town relatives will be coming to stay, a spare bedroom is essential. If she snores during allergy season, your happiness, and sleep schedule, will be preserved by another bedroom for an occasional retreat from the noise.

4. Have you Been Binge-watching HGTV & the DIY Network?

Looking at a fixer upper? How you feel about DIY? Talk about how much you can fix yourselves, and how much you want to. There are expenses associated with owning a house that you don’t have as a renter. Even if you both owned homes, you may have different views about when to DIY and when to call a repair person. If you’re planning on remodeling together, know each other’s expectations.

So, are you ready? Your home search together will be fun, and probably a great bonding experience, but it helps to go into it with open eyes!

 Jump the broom with Chantel Ray and start your home search HERE!

Top Apps for the Homebuying Process

In an age where people hate typing out complete websites on their phone and wanting results yesterday, we have gathered the top apps to make your homebuying process informative- but more important, convenient.

1. Chantel Ray Real Estate Mobile App (Cost of App: FREE) 

Now you know we weren’t going to write this blog without including our own little slice of app heaven in here did you? Our app competes with the best by allowing for easy home searches at your finger tips. Know the area you want to stay in but aren’t quite sure exactly where to look? This app uses its GPS to help you out a bit further. Customized and optimized  for our local market here in Hampton Roads, you know you’re in good hands with this.

2. HomeSnap (Cost of App: FREE) 

This is one of the top recommended apps by our agents in our company, and it was “Most addictive real estate app” by HGTV Magazine. After downloading it ourselves, with a client perspective in mind, it is pretty cool. For starters, you can take a picture of a home and it gives you all the details you need! That was enough to keep this on our landing dock.

What details you ask? Well here’s a list:

  • Home value estimates
  • Interior Photos
  • Beds/baths
  • Taxes
  • School Ratings
  • Lot Boundaries

You can also easily search for homes via school zones, and even open house dates. Want to send a message? You can ask Siri to do it for you- easy peasy. These homes are also updated in real time. No wonder this is a crowd favorite.

3. My Nest (App Cost: FREE) 

Have you ever gone home shopping and you try to take a billion pictures of each home only to forget which picture belongs where? Well stress no more! This is a PERFECT app just for this! You can even take voice notes! I know, right?!

This app is a home buying photo journal that captures and organizes every detail of every home to review and share later with friends or loved ones.

Here are some of the perks:

  • Snapshots are assigned to specific property, room, and/or home feature.
  • Organization. You can choose from photos, videos, or voice memos & review your library organized by address
  • Easy to Share: Easy to share and get the opinions that matter most to you
  • Total Cost Analysis: Transparency in mortgage options

4. CrimeMapping (App Cost: FREE) 

Whether or not you have a family, most people searching for a home like to know if they are in or around an area with low crime- and reasonably so. No need to check into the local authorities because…

Theres an app for that.

Crimemapping allows you to explore your desired neighborhood with reports that come directly from the local law enforcement agency.

You can:

  • Find crime, where available, in your current location or by typing an address.
  • Filter by crime type and by date up to 6 months back.
  • List all the participating agencies and view their crime.

5. Mortgage Calculator for iPhone (App Cost: FREE) 

Before we dive into this, we want to make sure that you understand that NO mortgage calculator will ever replace talking to an actual mortgage lender. The calculators are meant to give you information so you make educated decisions on your home purchase. With that being said, here are the benefits of this app:

  • Calculator is extremely inclusive, factoring in property tax and mortgage insurance
  • All-in-one calculator for managing other financial matters including car loans, credit cards, and student loans
  • Save loans to your favorites for a quick snapshot
  • Interactive sliders for quick data entry
  • Animated graphs, because who doesn’t love watching their balances tumble!

6. DocuSign (App Cost: FREE) 

Once you’ve started your home buying process, you know there is going to be paper work. Well long gone are the days of faxes- what is that? Enter DocuSign, an app thats lets you send, read, and sign documents securely on the go.

Check out below why this is the most widely used eSign app worldwide.

  • Sign Docs for free
  • Send complete documents via email, dropbox, Evernote, google drive and more
  • Create and customize personal signature
  • Supports PDF, Word, Excel, Images (PNG, JPEG, TIFF), text and more
  • Offline access- no wifi needed to sign! — You can even sign on a plane!
  •  Most important- everything is legally binding per the eSign Act.

7. Pinterest (App Cost: Free) 

Okay, Okay…we just wanted to sneak this one in here because HELLO!- there are TONS of ideas floating around on that app! From redecorating, to real estate photos, cleaning hacks, home buying process info graphics- you name it! Its on there.

I mean, once you start pinning and making boards its a done deal. This app is seriously addictive.

For more information on how we can make your home buying process smooth and simple, with results as fast as yesterday, call us today! 757-717-1003 or fill out the form below:

The Neighborhood Scoop: Lago Mar

Neighborhoods are important when deciding where to buy your home. How are the neighbors? Is there crime? Is it kid-friendly? How old are the houses? Well Lago Mar was voted one of the top five neighborhoods in Virginia Beach to relocate so we are sure this article is bound to check off some of your needs on that sheet.

Read on to see what the hype is all about!

Lago Mar a neighborhood on the north end of the Currituck Sound in the Princess Anne area of southeastern Virginia Beach, Virginia. Lago Mar lies between Nimmo Road and Sandbridge Road in southern Virginia Beach. Sandbridge Road, which forms Lago Mar’s southern border, is currently the only public road to access the north end of the Currituck Banks Peninsula. Heading east on Sandbridge Road, Lago Mar is the last neighborhood before entering Sandbridge itself, making Lago Mar “The Gateway to Virginia’s Outer Banks”. This road is also part of Virginia Beach’s “Green Line”, which is its boundary for urban growth. Thus Lago Mar lies just where urban conveniences transition into the rural forests and farms of the south.

Real Estate

The median real estate price is $371,686, which is more expensive than 73.4% of the neighborhoods in Virginia and 78.7% of the neighborhoods in the U.S.

The average rental price in Princess Anne is currently $2,849, based on NeighborhoodScout’s analysis. The average rental cost in this neighborhood is higher than 94.6% of the neighborhoods in Virginia.

The real estate is primarily made up of medium sized (three or four bedroom) to large (four, five or more bedroom) single-family homes and apartment complexes/high-rise apartments. Most of the residential real estate is owner occupied. Many of the residences in the neighborhood are newer, built in 2000 or more recently. A number of residences were also built between 1970 and 1999.

Real estate vacancies in Lago Mar are 7.3%, which is lower than one will find in 60.7% of American neighborhoods. Demand for real estate is above average for the U.S., and may signal some demand for either price increases or new construction of residential product for this neighborhood.

Hot Spots & Points to Remember


  • Great for families
  • Low crime rate
  • Amazing school district
  • Retail therapy plus!
  • Joggers, bikers, and hiker paradise


  • Access to Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
  • Nimmo Trail
  • Red Mill Commons Shopping Center
  • Hell’s Point Golf Club (Located on that “Green Line,” we mentioned above)



1 2 3 26