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The McLaren Team with Chantel Ray Real Estate is our Alanton -Virginia Beach, neighborhood expert! 📲(757) 235-1199

VIEW Alanton homes available ➡️

Interested in selling your home?  Curious to see if your home has risen in price?   Get a FREE valuation and find out!  

Open House Schedule – October 20-21, 2018

Open House Schedule - October 20-21, 2018

Hampton Roads Open House Schedule October 20-21, 2018.  Come and visit us this weekend!

October 20, 2018 

12pm-2pm . 124 Lewis Dr, York County

12pm – 2pm 4633 Miles Standish Rd, Virginia Beach

1pm – 4pm 410 Bertha Ln, Portsmouth

2pm- 4pm 4841 Pleasant Ave, Norfolk

2pm – 4pm 533 Englewood Dr, Virginia Beach

2pm – 4pm 809 Bishop Ct, Newport News

3pm – 5pm 3117 Crestwood Ln, Virginia Beach 


October 21, 2018

10am – 12pm 606 Kanawah Rn, York County

11am – 1pm 8 Pasadena Ct, Hampton

12pm – 2pm 1808 Windy Ridge Pt, Virginia Beach

1pm – 3pm 2208 Chesterfield Loop, Chesapeake

1pm – 3pm 14 Kenan Ct, Hampton

2pm – 4pm 4633 Miles Standish Rd, Virginia Beach

All Hampton Roads open houses for the weekend of October 20-21, 2018 

hampton roads open house schedule

For more information on this weekends open houses, you can contact us directly! See you this weekend!

Interested in selling your home too? 

Curious to see if your home has risen in price?   Get a FREE valuation and find out!  


Selling Your Home This Halloween Season?

Selling your home this Halloween season?

It’s that time of the year when the spooky Halloween decorations are creeping onto porches in your neighborhood. What if you’re trying to sell your home? Can your home still appeal to buyers with Halloween decorations?

Halloween Decorations When Selling Your Home

What TO Do: 

  • Keep it simple and neutral
  • Have a well-lit walkway to your front door
  • Place one or two pumpkins on your stairs or by your door
  • Place fall mums by your door or hang a Fall wreath on your door

What NOT to Do:

  • AVOID using skeletons, witches, goblins, inflatable pumpkins, etc. in your front yard
  • DO NOT crowd your front yard with too many decorations

You do not have to get rid of ALL your decorations but be sure to choose your decor wisely. The last thing you would want to do is scare off your buyers with spooky decorations covering up your home. Tone down your decorations to make the most of your curb appeal. Also, after the trick-or-treaters have come to your door. Clean up the yard where there might be leftover trash.

Always keep your potential buyer in mind when you are decorating your home for holiday seasons!


Is it time to sell your home?  Find the market value of your home for FREE!

Choosing a Housing Budget

Deciding on a Realistic Housing Budget

When the time comes to purchase real estate and enter the ranks of homeowners, there is plenty of work to be done before signing the papers and moving into your new home. Deciding on the proper budget to balance your needs and preferences in a home with your available income is the first, most vital step to ensuring your financial and personal future. The biggest mistake that many first-time buyers entering real estate markets throughout the country make is to leave the budgeting of mortgages solely to banks and lenders. Doing affordability calculations on your own will help you avoid the pitfalls of financial constrictions, and, possibly, improve your quality of life for the foreseeable future.

The bank may not be able to see the entire picture when calculating your mortgage payment.

Your mortgage lender will have access to information about your monthly payments and other obligations such as child support or alimony. They’ll also be able to calculate the four major portions that will combine to create your monthly home payment including property, interest, taxes and insurance, but there are other expenses to consider before entering into a fifteen or thirty year mortgage agreement. According to Investopedia, you should begin by calculating your household’s total take-home pay. This amount is the base for your monthly expenditures, and it is important to beginning your search for a new home.

Deduct your monthly expenses from your total take-home pay to find out how much house you can afford.

You should keep a running record of recurring monthly expenses to help you balance your budget over the long-term, but, if you haven’t already, check your bank statements, check book and credit card statements to determine an average for the past six months to a year. Remember to add in the utility costs of a new home, which may not have applied if you’re moving out of an apartment into your new home. The electric bill, gas bill, water bill, cable bill, phone bill, car payments, car insurance and even student loans should all be estimated and included to help give you a better idea of the amount of money you’ve got available each month.

Decide on a down payment that fits into your savings. A larger down payment could save you big bucks in the long run.

The down payment is the amount of initial equity that you’re willing to throw in to show the lender that you’re serious about fulfilling your payment requirements. A large down payment will decrease the amount of loan you’ll need, and you can even avoid the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can add a substantial fee to your mortgage payments each month. If your savings aren’t substantial enough to cover a down payment of at least 20 percent, you may need to account for PMI premiums when budgeting for your home. The added costs will bump up your monthly payments for the first portion of your repayment cycle.

Keep your total monthly payments, including your new home, at less than 36 percent of your available income to increase your chances of getting a mortgage.

According to The Nest, your new budget should leave plenty of room for savings to improve your financial outlook upon the purchase of one of the great residences available on the market. When your new budget is complete, compare it to your monthly income to determine the price range in which you feel comfortable. If you’re not sure about the numbers, ask an independent party, such as an experienced realtor, to look them over and advise you on the best way to proceed. Beginning your housing search with a clear budget and reasonable expectations will help you see the differences between a home at the bottom of your budget and a more expensive offering. Avoiding the pitfalls of unrealistic expectations and short-sighted planning, your housing search will prove to be more rewarding and, ultimately, more successful.

Ensure a happier financial existence by doing your due diligence before beginning a home search. With a little work, and a little help from the experts, you’ll be able to find the perfect home to suit your lifestyle needs without blowing your budget and jeopardizing your financial future.

Chris J. is a writer whose interests include Dallas homes for sale, technology and hanging out with his cat.



How hard is it to get pre-approved?

Most people think getting pre-approved for a home loan is a long drawn out process that takes forever – which isn’t true! You can get pre-approved over the phone in 15 minutes. They will ask for a few pieces of information that will give them the information they need to issue a pre-approval.

Once pre-approved and you are under contract with a home, the actual approval process takes place. This is where they will collect information from you like pay stubs, tax returns and bank statements to fill in the gaps they need from the pre-approval process. Once all of the information is received, the loan goes to underwriting where they make sure you qualify for the loan and all of the documents are in place to purchase the home. They may ask for a few other items, but this is almost the end of the process. Once the loan comes out of underwriting, the loan gets the clear to close and you can move forward to close on the home. The entire process from going under contract to closing takes 30-45 days – depending on the type of loan.

But to be pre-approved – that only takes 15 minutes of your time!