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  • psst … I’m a Realtor! Thanks for stopping by my website. I would love to help you find your dream home and community in the Hampton Roads or Williamsburg area or to sell your existing home. This website is authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of Hampton Roads and the historic triangle, and his expertise in the local real estate market. His websites, WilliamsburgsRealEstate.com and Mr Williamsburg.com were created as a resource for folks who are exploring a move to Williamsburg, VA , Hampton Roads VA and the surrounding areas of the Virginia Peninsula. On his website you can search homes for sale , foreclosures, 55+ active adult communities, condos and town homes , land and commercial property for sale in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New Kent, Poquoson, and Gloucester, VA as well as surrounding markets of Carrolton, Chesapeake,Gloucester, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth Mathews, Newport News Norfolk, Poquoson, Smithfield, , Suffolk, Surry, Va Beach, Yorktown and York County Virginia You can reach John by email John@MrWilliamsburg.com or phone @ 757-254-813
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Red crabs could be seafood’s next big thing

The cameras were rolling Tuesday when workers at a Hampton fish house wheeled a vat of glistening Chesapeake ray toward celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern, who had come to Virginia for a taste of it.

imageThe cameras weren’t rolling a few minutes later when he put a forkful of Atlantic red crab meat into his mouth and proclaimed, "This is crazy good!"

Tuesday proved something of a doubleheader for Virginia seafood marketing efforts.

Zimmern, host of The Travel Channel’s "Bizarre Foods America," had traveled to L.D. Amory & Co.’s seafood packing house in search of Chesapeake ray, an odd and plentiful species that, despite years of marketing efforts by the industry and the state, has proved a difficult sell to the public.

More of the story here

In Williamsburg, the only restaurant serving the red crabs is Seasons They are being processed by Graham & Rollins and Amory Seafood, in Hampton

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Dominion Virginia Power – Energy Conservation Programs

The time for everyone to get in on the savings is now!!

Dominion Virginia Power is committed to helping its residential customers save energy and money and is offering these energy conservation programs to help  customers conserve energy and maximize savings.

These energy efficiency and peak-shaving programs are designed to meet the needs of customers and move Dominion towards meeting the state’s 10 percent voluntary energy conservation goal enacted by the Virginia General Assembly and the governor in 2007. They provide environmental benefits in a cost-effective manner that translates into very real financial savings for  customers.

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Home Programs

Details are available at Dominion’s website at www.dom.com/savenowVA.

Kroger and Harris Teeter Announce Merger Agreement

The largest grocery store chain in the US is getting  bigger.

Kroger Co. said today it is buying Harris Teeter Supermarkets in a deal valued at  $2.4 billion .

The deal will be the fourth-largest acquisition of a North American food retailer the past decade. It also would be Kroger’s biggest takeover since 1998, when it bought Fred Meyer for more than $12 billion, according to financial media giant Bloomberg.

Kroger has seven supermarkets in Hampton Roads and is scheduled to open the region’s first Kroger Marketplace – a larger format that sells furniture and jewelry in addition to groceries – later this month in Virginia Beach. It plans to expand that concept to two more locations in Portsmouth and Suffolk.

Harris Teeter, based in Matthews, N.C., has 15 stores in Hampton Roads and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

After the deal closes, Harris Teeter will continue to operate its stores as a subsidiary of Kroger, which will then have 9% market share nationwide.

The proposed merger of The Kroger Co. and Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. would make Hampton Roads one of a handful of markets where the two grocers overlap – in some cases with stores right next to each other.

That could force the combined company to close or sell at least a few local stores.

"We look forward to bringing together the best of Kroger and Harris Teeter while continuing to operate and grow the Harris Teeter brands," Mike Schlotman, Kroger’s chief financial officer, said during a Tuesday conference call with analysts.

Kroger has no plans to close stores and intends to keep the Harris Teeter name, Schlotman said. The chains have "minor overlap" in Hampton Roads, Charlottesville and in the Raleigh, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn., areas, he said. "We’re making plans for how we’ll operate in each of these markets in the long term."

The deal requires approval from the Federal Trade Commission, which could require the company to sell off some locations where the combined retailers would wield too much market control. That’s likely to happen in Hampton Roads because of the amount of overlap, said Jeff Metzger, publisher of Food World, a supermarket industry publication based in Columbia, Md.

Metzger said he also expects Kroger to eventually choose one of the two names under which to operate all of its stores in this region.

New program will allow some On-Time Borrowers to Leave Homes & Mortgages

imageFor some homeowners, March 1, 2013 will be Liberation Day. That’s when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will start allowing some homeowners who have been stuck in their homes—unable to move because they owe more than the property is worth—to walk away from their homes and mortgages

The new rules for deed-in-lieu of transactions apply to people who are current or less than 90 days late on their mortgage payments. To the extent that the change makes it easier for people to move—to take a new job, shift locations following the death of a spouse or caregiver, or if they become ill and can no longer afford the house payment—it should help the economic recovery. The change also will benefit military personnel who are relocated.

Previous foreclosure-prevention programs were designed to help only borrowers on the verge of losing their homes, in effect penalizing those who kept paying.

To be eligible to turn over the house keys, homeowners must be making payments of at least 55 percent of their monthly income for the house and must be able to document a “hardship” that requires a move, such as a spouse’s death. The home must be clean and not damaged. Homeowners may also have to surrender as much as 20 percent of personal assets, excluding retirement accounts, to partially meet the loan’s unpaid balance, depending on the borrower’s financial situation. The program does not affect second mortgages. Mortgage servicers can offer up to $6,000 for second-lien holders to release borrowers from the loans, but there’s no requirement that the holders agree. This could limit participation.

What is the process for a Deed-in-Lieu?

To qualify for a DIL, you will work with your mortgage company to complete the eligibility process, such as determining the value of the property and how much you still owe as well as reviewing your current hardship. If approved, you will need to vacate the property (unless we agree to lease the property back to you), and you may be required to sign standard pre-closing documents as well as attend the closing.

Additionally, you will need to leave the home—both inside and outside—in good condition, free of interior and exterior trash, debris or damage, and all personal belongings must be removed. In some cases, you may be eligible to receive relocation assistance to use toward your moving expenses and to make the transition to new housing easier.

A DIL usually takes around 90 days to complete, but this could be shorter or longer or depending upon your specific situation.

The new programs are separate from the government’s Making Home Affordable foreclosure-prevention efforts that require homeowners to be in or near default. The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs don’t require borrowers to be turned down for a modification before applying, as does the Treasury-run Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternative program, or Hafa.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may require repayment of some of the shortfall between the value of the home and the mortgage balance — if the borrowers have the means. Homeowners who apply for deed-in-lieu transactions may be asked to make cash contributions of up to 20 percent of their financial reserves, excluding retirement accounts, according to the guidelines.

Or, they may be asked to sign a promissory note for future no-interest repayments. The amount and terms can be negotiated, according to the servicer guidelines.

Two weeks ago, Congress extended a law that grants tax-free status to the forgiven portions of mortgages, which normally would be considered income for the borrower.

Builder on Eastern Shore of VA earns highest efficiency rating

It may seem as if LEED Platinum designations must always be awarded to the most ultra-modern, big-city projects with huge price tags and outlandish designs. Sometimes, however, the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest rating recognizes the ingenuity used to make modest, rural homes as energy efficient as humanly possible.

kellam home in cape charlesSuch is the case for a 3,500-square-foot residence located on Cape Charles, Va., on what is known as the Eastern Shore, a long, sparsely populated strip of land formed between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The home, which uses heat-pump technology, photovoltaic solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system and several other green features, is he first building on the Eastern Shore

Since he was a small boy, Luke Kellam has been swinging a hammer. But his building resumé, up until a few years ago, only included some tree forts and a house that he helped a contractor construct in Wyoming, where he once lived and worked as a wilderness instructor.

After the West, and a stint teaching in Northern Virginia, Kellam found himself back on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where he grew up in Belle Haven, itching to – again – pick up that hammer and build.

This time, though, Kellam dove into his new career by working alongside a master builder in Virginia Beach for a few years until he was ready to start his own company.

That road – and opening L.J. Kellam Construction in 2005 – has led Kellam to build a single-family home that has earned the Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification by the United States Green Building Council.

Not only is this house the Virginia Eastern Shore’s first platinum-certified LEED single-family home, it’s where his father and step-mother live.

The Platinum rating is the highest LEED rating a project can achieve.

To be LEED-certified, a home must be "designed and constructed in accordance with the rigorous guidelines of the LEED for Homes green-building certification program," according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s website, USGBC.org. "LEED for Homes is a consensus-developed, third party-verified, voluntary rating system which promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes."

Participation demonstrates leadership, innovation, environmental stewardship and social responsibility, plus, the certified buildings lower operating costs, reduce waste, conserve energy and water, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and provide a healthier environment for residents.

They also qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in many cities across the country.

Read the rest of the story here

L.J. Kellam Construction Co. was founded by Luke Kellam in 2005. The company provides residential building and general contracting services on the Eastern Shore. The headquarters is located in Belle Haven, Virginia. For more information, visit www.kellamconstruction.com.

Fixed mortgage interest rates continue to climb

Fixed mortgage interest rates have risen for the third straight week, according to McLean-based Freddie Mac.

This marks the third straight week of  mortgage rates moving higher. reversing a trend  of  record lows for 13 of 14 weeks.

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for this week showed:

• 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) averaged 3.62 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending Aug. 16, up from last week when it averaged 3.59 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.15 percent. 

• 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.88 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.84 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.36 percent.

The latest economic indicators point toward low inflation but gradually stronger economic activity which placed further upward pressure on long-term Treasury yields and, in turn, fixed mortgage rates,” Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac, said in a statement. “For example, inflation remains in check with 12-month growth in the core consumer price index falling for a second month to 2.1 percent in July. At the same time, industrial production rose 0.6 percent in July compared to a 0.1 percent increase in June and retail sales jumped 0.8 percent in July from a 0.7 percent decline in June.“

Va Beach Whole Foods to open in October 2012

Whole Foods Market but residents of Va Beach will be able to shop at their new Whole Foods earlier than expected. The  Virginia Beach store is now set to open on October 24th at 10 a.m, several months ahead of initial expectationsWhile Williamsburg VA still has no Whole Foods Market but residents of Va Beach will be able to shop at their new Whole Foods earlier than expected. The  Virginia Beach store is now set to open on October 24th at 10 a.m, several months ahead of initial expectations.

This is  the first Hampton Roads location for the popular grocer, known for its selection of specialty goods and organic and health products.

The closest Whole Foods store to Williamsburg at this time is in Richmond, in the Short Pump Area.

On opening day, the Va Beach  Whole Foods plans to provide free tastings, live music and cooking demonstrations, the company confirmed Thursday in a news release. The 40,000-square-foot store at 1800 Laskin Road will operate daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m