Real Estate Blog by David Phillips, REALTOR

Local Knowledge - Global Reach

At The Real Estate Group we understand the importance of online exposure for your property which is why we've gone to great lengths to build an online presence that makes it easy for users to find exactly what they're looking for.

With clean, modern design we ensure that your property will never be held back by a confusing interface and a focus on imagery means that the unique details of your home are never lost in translation.

Whether you're a first time home buyer or you've been down that road time and again, you won't find a more reliable guide to navigate the Hampton Roads real estate market than a seasoned professional at The Real Estate Group.


How Your Heating and Cooling System is Affected by Drastic Changes in Weather

How Your Heating and Cooling System is Affected by Drastic Changes in Weather

Living in Hampton Roads has many benefits...but one of my favorites is that we get to enjoy all four seasons and sometimes all within the same week it feels like . One day it’s in the 30’s and the next it will be in the 70’s or even 80’s.

So how does this affect your heating and cooling system?

As we get closer to spring we will have more warm days and more cold nights. Switching your HVAC system between heating and cooling modes can create an extra workload on your unit and there are a few things everyone should be aware of to ensure hat your system runs smooth for many years to come.

In most cases, switching between heat and cooling mode on your thermostat is generally safe provided you follow a few key steps:

1. Always remember to set your thermostat to “OFF” first and wait 5 minutes before switching to another cycle or mode. This will allow refrigerant pressures to equalize and prevent short cycling which can blow fuses or trip breakers or even cause compressor lock out situations. Some newer digital thermostats have built in timers to prevent this but only work properly provided the batteries are fully charged so the best advise is to wait it out.

2. Adjust your thermostat. Once you have switched from heating to cooling mode you can now adjust your temperature to what is comfortable. The US Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees when in cooling mode. Reducing your cooling to temperatures of 72 degrees could increase your cooling cost by as much as 47 percent.

3. Schedule your tune up. Do you have an annual maintenance agreement for your system? If not,...

Blizzard 2018 and Your Pipes

You're probably still trying to dig yourself out from all the snow that dumped on Hampton Roads last week in the Blizzard of 2018, the first snowstorm of the year.

Unfortunately nearly 90,000 customers were impacted across the Dominion Electric VA system according to several news outlets. Without power and heat you are more susceptible to freezing pipes.  Locally more than 50 residents of the Heron’s Landing apartments off of Military Highway in Chesapeake have been displaced due to a sprinkler pipe burst this past Sunday night.  All these men and women have been homeless in the past and now have to stay in two Chesapeake hotels before they can return home due to flooding of their units.   

Frozen pipes are one of the most common plumbing problems within the home and water pipes burst because the water inside them expands as it gets close to freezing as this causes an increase in pressure inside the pipe.  It doesn’t matter how new your house is, everyone is at risk. Frozen water pipes are a problem affecting a quarter-million families each winter, and it can happen in homes with PVC, brass iron or copper pipes.

The potential water loss from burst pipes in your house can be as much as 400 litres, that’s 2 full baths an hour. This means if you were away for a full day you could have up to 9,600 litres of water or 48 full baths of water in your house from burst pipes. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can gush up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural...

Holidays 2017 in Hampton Roads

Holidays 2017 in Hampton Roads

Posted by NIcole Pandeloglou on Thursday, December 7th, 2017 at 9:12pm.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  

It's hard to imagine it's already that time of year...the holidays have always been my favorite season!  I love everything about them.  The Christmas carols, spending time with family (and seeing those that live far away come home), putting up our Christmas tree and decorating the house, holiday parties, gift giving and cooking with the ones you love.  To help you get in the holiday spirit and plan for an enjoyable yet hectic season I've put together a list of various holiday events throughout the region.   All of these happenings are local, family friendly and perfect wintertime fun whether it be with family or just your close pals.  Since kids will be out of school for a few weeks these should also help keep everyone busy.
12/9: Tacky Sweater 5K & Children's Fun Run @ Ocean View Beach Park (Norfolk)
Now through 12/31: Dominion Garden of Lights @ Norfolk Botanical Garden (Norfolk) 
12/8 through 12/24: A Christmas Carol @ The Wells Theatre (Norfolk)

Is Your Home Ready For Winter?

Is your home ready for Winter?.

Winter is upon us in Hampton Roads with the first official day of the season kicking off on Thursday December 21st. Keeping the heat in, the cold out and your energy bills to a minimum are the goals in preparing for winter weather. Are you ready? 

What precautions have you taken to help you save money while preventing costly repairs during the holidays? Here are a few things you can do right now for under $100.

  • Replace Filters - Changing your filters on a regular basis is crucial to ensure your system is running at optimal performance. If your air flow is restricted, your system has to work twice as hard to heat and cool your home thus resulting in higher than normal utility bills and will actually shorten the life span of your heating system.

  • Caulking Doors and Windows- Drafts are everywhere. Sealing up drafts will help keep your home warmer throughout the colder months and it’s a relatively inexpensive task. You should be able to get Caulk and the Caulking gun between $10 and $20 depending on where you are shopping. If caulking doesn’t seem to do the trick, consider a window insulation kit that seals the entire window with shrink wrap plastic and a hair dryer. Keep in mind, these kits...

Does your Home or Business Air Conditioning system use R-22 Refrigerant?

Does your Home or Business Air Conditioning system use R-22 Refrigerant?

Why is this important and what you need to know.  

Whether you are planning to stay in your home/business, sell the one you are in, or buy a new one, you should be aware of the type of system and refrigerant your system is using. 

Most air conditioning systems primarily use one of two types of refrigerant, the older R-22 or the newer R410A. Many home inspectors only pay attention to how old a system is and in the past, this detail was typically overlooked because it didn’t make much difference, until now. 

The EPA has recently classified HCFC-22 or R-22 Refrigerant as a class II ozone depleting substance and is now highly regulated which means any new production, import and use is being phased out by 2020. This is causing the price of the R-22 refrigerant to skyrocket and prices will continue to go up daily. This will not change. Many manufacturers are now regulating the amount of R-22 being sold to contractors.

What this means to you is that if your system uses R-22 and you have a leak or repair needing to be done, the cost to repair the leak or fix the unit could potentially be far more expensive...

Harborfest 2017

Today marks the start of the 41st Annual Norfolk Harborfest.  This is one of my favorite weekends of the summer for many reasons, but the first being that it features two of my and water! It's the largest, longest-running, free maritime festival in the nation and will be taking place in Town Point Park on the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront.  You can also pop over to the brand new Waterside District (which sits right beside the park) and check out what all the talk has been about. 

This year’s Harborfest will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the world’s largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk.  Homecoming at Harborfest will honor all active duty service members and veterans who serve or served at Naval Air Station Norfolk.  Between aircraft flyovers, the U.S. Navy Fleet Band and a patriotic fireworks display... the Navy's increased participation this year will add a new level of excitement!

For three fun filled days, this historic waterfront festival offers a weekend packed full of thrilling activities on both land and sea.  It kicks off with the Parade of Sail (with the world's largest ships coming in to Norfolk on the Elizabeth River) at noon Friday, June 9, 2017.  ...

Who Knew This Scary Fact About Grilling?

Who Kew This Scary Fact About Grilling?

I can't believe summer is already here!  How did that happen and where did the time go? 

Now that we've unofficially kicked off the start of summer vacation and Memorial Day weekend has quickly come and gone, we're also full swing into one of my favorite times of the year...grilling season.

I love everything about a BBQ (that's the NJ in me...down here we refer to it as cookout).  It usually involves two of my favorite things...friends and family and doesn't food just taste better when it's been on the grill? Charcoal or doesn't matter.   I've never really been one for hot dogs or even burgers...but on the grill who can turn one down?  This holiday weekend I went to 4 separate cookouts and at every single one there was the All American staple...hamburgers and hot dogs.  It's a national tradition.  

But, as much as I love grilling out I just learned something for the first time that I never knew.  Apparently it is not safe to cook with aluminum foil on the grill!  Yep, who knew?  It's so easy to just throw some fish on aluminum foil or wrap an ear of corn and baked potato up in foil and cook on the grill, however this can lead to long term health issues.  According to a 2012 study, aluminum can leach the foil into your food when cooking at high temperatures. In other words, metal can transfer from the foil into your food.  This is especially relevant when you are cooking spicy and acidic foods, like all those spicy and vinegary marinades we love to drench our meats in. ...

Summer Camps for Kids in Hampton Roads

Summer Camps for Kids in Hampton Roads

Driving to work today, I noticed that the azalea bushes are now in full bloom.  This makes me think about spring coming to an end and summer being right around the corner.  With all the rain we've had over the past 5 days I've been wondering what would be some good activities to do with my nephews over the summer and I was astonished to learn that we have quite few educational camps right here in our own backyard that I never knew about.  And the best news is that they're located throughout Hampton Roads so no matter what city you live in, there's something for your family.
Here's what I found: 
Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center: 
Art and music are on the schedule at several camps for ages 6–15 hosted by the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center in historic Olde Town Portsmouth. Older kids will construct a West African drum they’ll learn to tune and play. Young campers will have the opportunity to make their own artist books, explore a variety of mediums including collage and printmaking, learn about ancient Egypt, and study the artistic side of recycling while making treasure out of trash. 
The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk:
The Chrysler will be offering art camps that feature activities you’re not likely to find anywhere else in the area. Teens ages 13–15 can try their hands at glass-making, learning this challenging art form in the museum’s cutting-edge glass studio. They’ll practice a variety of techniques—including flameworking and glassblowing—and learn about the physical properties of glass.

Famous Frank Lloyd Wright Virginia Beach Home Sells

Famous Frank Lloyd Wright Virginia Beach Home Sells

Posted by NIcole Pandeloglou on Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 at 4:48pm.

Possibly the most architecturally recognized home in Hampton Roads was up for sale recently has been sold for 2.2. million.   The Cooke House was designed by American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator Frank Lloyd Wright.  Some consider Wright the greatest architect of the 20th century, and the greatest American architect of all time.  He believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he referred to as  organic architecture.  Wright’s  American style of architecture emphasized simplicity and natural beauty in contrast to the elaborate and ornate architecture that had prevailed in Europe at the time.


 The 3,000-square-foot house has 4 bedrooms, 3 complete bathrooms, 3 zone radiant heat in the floor, 2 zone central air conditioning, and Indirect lighting.  It features concrete floors and the furniture was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright himself.  One of the most prominent pieces is the 40 foot built-in sofa in the great room that is staying with the home.  There is a curved window wall in the 70ft Great Room, supported by cypress beams that overlook Crystal Lake (picture a scene from the famous movie On Golden Pond).  The Atlantic Ocean is just a few blocks away and it’s the only Frank Lloyd Wright home with direct boating accessibility from house to Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay.


Is Your AC running properly?

Is Your AC running properly?

When the outdoor temperature reaches 95 degrees, a perfectly functioning  air conditioner should be able to keep the temperature at the thermostat about 72 degrees indoors.  However, as the temperature goes above 95 degrees outdoors, the temperature at home should increase about 1.5 degrees for every degree the outdoor temperature goes above 95. 
So when the outdoor temperature reaches 100 degrees, the air conditioner should run non-stop and maintain an indoor temperature at or below 80 degrees. If the house stays at 72 degrees indoors, when it is 100 degrees outdoors, the air conditioner is most likely oversized. This is great for when it is 100 degrees, but creates high indoor humidity conditions throughout the remainder of the year. The one exception is for households with two-stage air conditioners. A properly sized air conditioner should run constantly when it is at or above 95 degrees outdoors.
One of the simplest ways to save money on your electric bill is to remember that if your air conditioner is on, make sure all your home's windows and outside doors are closed. For room air conditioners, isolate the room or a group of connected rooms as much as possible from the rest of your home.
Here are a few other quick things to do to make sure your unit is up to speed and running accurately:
Inspect your unit’s filters.
Check the air filter once per month and replace it as needed. Replacing filters is one of the easiest and most effective methods of conserving energy and saving money on your HVAC usage.  Very similar to changing the oil in your car, this is a critical step in keeping your ac system working. This is especially important right now...

1 Beach Community - 3 Names

Chesapeake Beach was developed in the early 1900's (somewhere around World War 1) as a beachfront residential community. Current maps have it being bordered on the south by Shore Drive (Shore Drive is one of the corridors leading to the tourist destination of the Virginia Beach oceanfront) and Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base caps the west side of this community.  This two mile stretch of beach merges longer stretches of undeveloped, protected beaches which harbor dolphin and other marine life. 
Older maps, dating back to the 18th century, identify the area as “Pleasure House”, likely named for The Pleasure House, a tavern that catered to Confederate soldiers.  Currently this little stretch is where the longest bay-bridge connects to the Eastern Shore, across the Chesapeake Bay (The Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel).   
 It’s an established residential neighborhood consisting of beach cottages, condominiums, townhouses, duplexes, apartments, as well as  single-family homes.  Residents of this eclectic beach community enjoy less public traffic due to restricted parking and it’s relatively less renowned than other area beaches; such as the North End and Sandbridge.   Being that four different lakes wind through the area...jet skiing, kayaking and paddleboarding are perfect hobbies for this waterfront village.   You’ll also find lots of jogging and biking trails .  But probably the most popular neighborhood activities are walking along the beach or sailing the bay. There are also a couple different boat ramps for all  you boaters and fisherman.
Nicknamed both Chic's Beach and  Chick's Beach there’s an decades-old debate about how Chesapeake Beach got it’s  name.  The shortened...

National Night Out 2016

National Night Out 2016

This evening National Night Out will take place.  This will be the 33rd year of bringing neighborhoods and the police that serve to protect them together.  38 million neighbors within 16, 000 plus communities will work in conjunction to support this event nationally.

The idea behind it is to: heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support and participation in local anti-crime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police community relations, and send a message to criminals letting them know local communities are organized and are fighting back.  In other words, often the best way to prevent crime is to know your neighbors & your surroundings.  Preventing and solving crime is truly a community endeavor.  The overall goal is to forge better connections between law enforcement and neighborhood residents as well as connect neighbors.  In many locations, this is the one time all year that the community mingles and many people end up meeting their “neighbors” for the first time.

Due to the current landscape I believe this is critically important and will be especially beneficial to have neighborhoods throughout Hampton Roads see police officers in a new light.  As one US Senator has stated…”National Night Out triumphs over a culture that isolates us from each other and allows us to rediscover our own communities.”

With efforts from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide, the National Association of Town Watch estimates  the 2016 National Night Out to be the LARGEST ever!   For instance, Norfolk’s police department has called all residents together for the biggest neighbor's meet and greet...

Something for Everyone = East Beach

Something for Everyone = East Beach

Norfolk, VA is home to one of the most sought after waterfront community neighborhoods on the East Coast.  It’s ideally located with only a short commute to the Norfolk International Airport and a quick 20 minutes to downtown Norfolk.  Two major military bases (including the world’s largest naval base) are less than 9 miles away.

East Beach was first developed in 2002 as a “Traditional Neighborhood Development” (TND), otherwise known as New Urbanism {a movement in urban planning that reflects a return to the classic American hometown, with mixed uses and pedestrian scaled streets.}  It was designed and built in the style of traditional Atlantic coastal villages with a master plan that encourages a sense of community as it weaves the natural features of the neighborhood with mixed uses of retail, office space, schools, and restaurants.  Streets are intimate and narrow to slow down the traffic and encourage residents to walk. Any part of the neighborhood is accessible in less than a ten minute walk so you will find plenty of tree lined streetscapes throughout that were designed with walking, running, and biking in mind. This is a village created to bring people together….whether you’re on the beach, playing in one of the many neighborhood parks, rocking on your porch, or pushing a baby stroller down one of the sidewalks. A neighborhood planned for pedestrians so that shops, amenities, and schools are all within easy walking distance.

You will find East Beach situated right on the Chesapeake Bay where the Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean.  This waterfront community is the only place where one can walk just a few short blocks to the Chesapeake Bay and walk in the other direction to Pretty Lake’s deep water marinas and the various shops and restaurants along Pretty Lake Avenue.  ...

St. Pauls Downtown Farm Market closing for good

St. Paul's Downtown Farm Market closing for good

 Last Saturday I found out that my local Farmer’s Market in downtown Norfolk was closing for good. My heart instantly sank to the floor when I first read it because I thought how is this even possible? How did my neighborhood not embrace (or get behind enough) this wonderful mission?  I mean we all have to eat, right?  And they have food...and not just any food, but really good food.  All locally grown from local farmers in our backyard with pop-ups shops, breakfast food trucks and a diverse group of talented local musicians performing.


But then it occurred to me that it’s really important for any business (even farmer markets) to thoroughly understand and effectively communicate to their neighborhood.  Although “farm to table” markets are growing in large numbers not just in Hampton Roads but throughout the country, surprisingly a sizable number of them end up failing. Now you may be thinking to yourself, there's never been a better time for farmers' markets!  Exactly, I mean food consciousness is at an all-time high and people are seeking out healthier lifestyles which include organics and fresh produce.  BUT even with all that said, it’s quite easy for markets to enter a downward spiral in which they have difficulty attracting additional customers because they do not have enough variety, yet cannot attract additional vendors to offer more variety because they don’t have enough NEW customers every week.  I saw this happen first hand with my farmer’s market.  Vendors were constantly pulling out last minute or canceling because the previous time they were there they did not make enough money to support...

Popular Home Trends This Year

Popular Home Trends This Year

Posted by NIcole Pandeloglou on Thursday, May 19th, 2016 at 8:42pm.

There are many cool Home Trends this year, so much so that I will be writing a second blog on just luxury home trends.  Please stay tuned and check back soon in regards to that.  If there is one word for 2016, I think it would be STYLE!

As we begin to mark the halfway point of 2016, here are some design trends that have really taken off over the last 6 months.

Now if you are anything like me, your home is always changing and evolving to keep up with your busy "on the go" lifestyle. Our living environment affects us in a multitude of fashions so it’s important to create your home to integrate well with your needs.

Personally I'm always running from point A to point B that when I get home I crave simplicity.  A more serene lifestyle that includes "turning off.”  In my opinion that's the thread that connects everything together.  All the trends below seem to cater to the seamlessness of just being in your home.  

COLORED STAINLESS STEEL - Black stainless steel is hot!  In a Houzz poll, nearly two-thirds say they would consider the dark alternative to shiny silver metal and if dark is not your thing, no need to worry.  There’s also Whirlpool’s Sunset Bronze finish which is perfect for folks who prefer a lighter look.

FORMAL DINING ROOMS - This isn’t everyone but if you’re a homeowner who entertains frequently a designated area just for special meals or hosting parties is perfect.  

Home Ownership and Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

Home Ownership and Permanent Change of Station (PCS).

Members of the armed forces learn very early in their careers that being flexible is an important skill. When orders are handed down, they will be expected to cooperate and make adjustments quickly. One of the major adjustments that this group faces is called PCS or permanent change of station. Essentially, this is a relocation, and for those who own a home there can be quite a few complications. Here are a few simple solutions and tips that can make these change easier to handle.

Major Issues

The main issue with home ownership and PCS is something like this: You own a home and are forced to move somewhere new, where you must decide to rent, own or (if available) live in the barracks. This is complicated further by the following considerations:

  • How much equity do you have in the home?

  • How did you time the market when you purchased (can you sell the home for close to what you paid for it)?

  • How quickly can you sell the home?

  • If you rented the home, would rent cover your mortgage payment?

  • Do you have a family, and are they moving with you or staying in the home?

We certainly can’t talk through every single possibility here, but we can give some broad advice that will apply to most of these situations.

Moving when You have a Family

Moving without your family can be much more complicated and expensive. If you rent or own in the new location, you will essentially be running two households, which can be quite costly. Your best two options are typically to either move the family to the new location or request to...

Selling in the Holidays

Selling in the Holidays

It might seem like the holidays, November through January, would not be a good time to sell or buy a home.  While it's true that the holiday season can be  stressful enough without added distractions, don't rule out the unique opportunities that the season provides.  Here are a few examples. 

Because the holidays are so hectic many choose not to sell during this time.  This provides a less competitive time to place your home on the market.  It can be a particularly good opportunity in a popular area or a hot market and give you a step-up in showing your home. 

Speaking of showing your home, the holiday season can be the best time to make yours feel warm, cozy and inviting.  The smell of the tree or fresh cookies baking can make visions of sugar plums dance in the heads of potential buyers.  Curb appeal can also be enhanced with candles, lights and tasteful decorations.  In fact your entire block will probably be at its best and make home shoppers fall in love with the inviting appearance of your neighborhood. 

Finally, many businesses transfer personnel at the end of the year and folks might have to find a place to live or sell their home quickly.  If you're in the market for a home you might find a great bargain from someone that has to move quickly, or conversely you might be able to get more from your sale from a someone that needs to find a home quickly.  
In any case, the Winter might not seem like the optimal time to be in the market at first glance, but it certainly does offer some unique opportunities.  If you simply give it some thought and confer with a professional, you can take advantage of those opportunities. 

Let me help you with that strategy by giving...

Hurricane & Tropical Storm Preparation & Safety

Hurricane & Tropical Storm Preparation & Safety

As you know, not too long ago, we were all on a hurricane watch.  Fortunately the most we got was heavy torrential rain combined with tidal flooding.  But for a few days I was panicked that we were going to be hit with a category 4 hurricane so like the rest of Hampton Roads I found myself rushing to the store to buy a ton of water, bread and other basic necessities.

Being that during a hurricane, homes can be easily damaged or even destroyed by high winds and high waves as well as debris possibly breaking windows and doors, I was fearful that I was not fully prepared for Hurricane Joaquin and on high alert.

Thus, I thought this might be the perfect time to refresh how exactly to prepare for a hurricane and tropical storm.  When your local meteorologist warns you to take cover because a hurricane is on the way, the very last thing you want to do is worry about whether or not you’re prepared. With a little effort now, you can yield big savings (and lots peace of mind) in the future.

A hurricane is a severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico or eastern Pacific Ocean. To form, hurricanes need warm tropical oceans, moisture and light winds. They gather heat and energy from the warm waters.  Evaporation from seawater increases their power.  Every year in the Northern Atlantic Ocean, hurricane season is June 1 - November 30.

Hurricanes rotate in a counterclockwise direction around an "eye." They have winds at least 75 mph. When they come onto land, they can bring heavy rain, strong winds and floods,...

Virginia Beach is the place to be this weekend!

Virginia Beach is the place to be this weekend!

This weekend the annual Neptune Festival is kicked into high gear, a month long celebration that's one of the biggest and successful festivals along the East Coast.

Neptune's Surfing Classic takes place Saturday, September 12 @ 7:30pm through Sunday, September 13 @ 5pm from 1st to 8th St at the oceanfront where old and young surfers face-off in this popular surf classic.

Also Saturday & Sunday, the 19th Annual Neptune's Fall Wine Festival 12pm-5pm @ Neptune’s Park (31st St/Atlantic Avenue).

The festival gains momentum with local favorite End of Summer Bay Bash on Friday, September 18th.

There are over 40 Neptune events per year, but the majority runs throughout September culminating with the flagship event Boardwalk Weekend, 9/25 – 9/27 which always begins on the last Friday of September.  It’s actually the largest annual special event in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Festival annually generates approximately $21 million in economic impact, approximately $700,000 of direct municipal taxes, and shares over $100,000 with partnering charitable organizations such as EQUI-KIDS, Virginia Beach Rotary, Virginia Beach Jaycees, and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society among others.

See you this weekend…