Blog Category - Buying & Selling Your Home

Considering a Reverse Mortgage? Read this!

Categories: Blog, Buying & Selling Your Home, Housing Industry News, News & Events, Recent Articles | Posted: July 25, 2016

Typically, reverse mortgages are used as a way for seniors to draw income from property they already own. But did you know that they can also be used to buy a new home?

One of our lending experts, Neil Sweren, VP of Reverse Mortgage Lending for Southern Trust Mortgage, just published a new blog discussing how seniors can use a reverse mortgage to finance the purchase of a new home. Check it out:



Thinking of moving? Your timing is perfect!

Categories: Blog, Buying & Selling Your Home | Posted: June 29, 2016

Are you thinking of downsizing? Debating the benefits of owning vs renting? Well, a variety of financial vectors have dovetailed to make 2016 the perfect time for you to get out there and make your move. Here are several reasons to BUY a carefree Cornerstone home this year:

  1. Record low interest rates

Even though they may creep up at any moment, interest rates on home loans are still at historic lows. Come see us about buying a new Cornerstone home today!

  1. Skyrocketing rents

Rents outpaced home values in 20 of the 35 biggest housing markets in 2015. What’s more, according to the2015 Rental Market Report, an 8% hike is predicted for 2016. Owning a Cornerstone home is a better financial decision all around.

  1. Stable home prices

For the first time in years, prices that have been climbing steadily are stabilizing, restoring a level playing field for buyers and sellers, even in heated markets. It’s a good time to sell your current home and buy a maintenance-free Cornerstone home!

  1. Tax breaks

Tax laws favor homeowners, so you’re not just buying a place to live—you’re getting a tax break! The biggest one is that unless your home loan is more than $1 million, you can deduct all the monthly interest you are paying on the loan. Homeowners may also deduct home-related expenses and home property taxes. Why wouldn’t you choose to own – especially in one of Cornerstone’s gorgeous neighborhoods!

  1. Reverse mortgages

If you’re 62 or older – and want money to pay off a mortgage, supplement your income, or pay for healthcare expenses – consider a reverse mortgage. It allows you to convert part of the equity in your home into cash without having to sell your home or pay additional monthly bills. Before you decide on a particular mortgage, talk to an expert. Cornerstone’s network of lenders can help you secure your new home with financing that works best for you.

In addition to these financial factors, there are also a couple of other reasons to consider buying a Cornerstone home.

  1. A sense of community!

No matter which Cornerstone home you choose to live in, no matter what amenities you choose to take advantage of, one of the most wonderful benefits we offer is a true sense of community. Our neighborhoods are designed to foster close-knit relationships. From meetings to classes, clubs to teams, you’ll run into your new neighbors all over the place. Before you know it, you’ll have your very own circle of friends!Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 10.52.39 AM

  1. It’s time for you!

You’ve raised your kids, worked long hours, and saved for this time of your life. Now is the time to enjoy it. Ditch your old house with its list of chores and worries. Embrace Cornerstone’s carefree life, with the opportunity to do whatever you want – whether it’s traveling, enjoying your family, or pursuing your hobbies. “Lock and Leave”. It’s what we are all about. You can travel for months and know that your home is safe. Spoil yourself – you’ve earned it!

6 Reasons to Come Live in a Cornerstone Community!

Categories: Blog, Buying & Selling Your Home | Posted: November 19, 2014

Are you on the fence about moving to an active adult community? It is a big decision, one that will affect not just WHERE you live, but HOW you live. After so many years of taking care of everyone else, now it’s all about you. So why not enjoy yourself! You’ve earned it!

There are countless benefits to the active adult lifestyle in a Cornerstone community. Here are a few of our favorites:

1) There’s always something to do!

At Cornerstone Homes, we celebrate the “active” in active adult community. From the incredible amenities we offer, to the beautiful locations we choose for our neighborhoods, we foster a relaxed and active lifestyle. You can choose among so many activities… Go on day trips. Meet for coffee. Take a yoga class. Go fishing. Have a swim. We take pride in having an entire world of activities right outside your door.


2) Location, location, location!

Part of simplifying your life is living in a great location that’s near your grandkids, your doctors, your bank, and anything else that’s vital. Cornerstone communities are located near health centers, golf courses, and shopping centers, so you won’t waste your time traveling long distances. Cornerstone chooses lovely areas, with picturesque natural amenities, close to vibrant cities and attractions, so you’re a short trip from museums and theatres, and sports arenas.


3) A sense of community!

No matter which Cornerstone home you choose to live in, no matter what amenities you choose to take advantage of, one of the most wonderful benefits we offer is a true sense of community. Our neighborhoods are designed to foster close-knit relationships. From meetings to classes, clubs to teams, you’ll run into your new neighbors all over the place. Before you know it, you’ll have your very own circle of friends!


4) It’s time for you!

You’ve raised your kids, worked the long hours, and saved for your golden years. Now is the time to enjoy it. Cornerstone gives you a life where you are free to do whatever you want – whether it’s traveling, enjoying your family, or pursuing your hobbies. Our communities are Lock and Leave, so you can travel for months and know that your home is safe. Spoil yourself – you’ve earned it!


 5) Safety & security

We want Cornerstone residents to feel safe and secure in their new homes and community. To that end, our neighbors know one another and look out for each other, and look out for each other. All of our homes have attached 2-car garages with remotes for safe and easy access. Our communities are designed with sidewalks and streetlights, and no “drive-thru” traffic. Our maintenance crews take care of yard work and home maintenance so that you are never at risk atop a ladder or wielding power tools.


 6) A brand new maintenance-free home!

After years of taking care of an older home, embrace the pleasures of new construction! Cornerstone homes are brand new, energy efficient, single -story, and maintenance free! From the innovative designs to the quality construction, the energy efficiency to the warranties, a Cornerstone home is a great value. Not only does this leave you more time to do the things you want, it helps control your monthly costs. (Not a bad thing if you’re on a fixed budget!)


It’s Time To Consider Right-Sizing Your Life!

Categories: Blog, Buying & Selling Your Home, Home & Garden, Richmond, VA | Posted: August 21, 2014

You’ve been having a nagging feeling. You look around your once bustling home and wonder, “Do I really need all of this?” The reality is that you can’t remember the last time you actually set foot in some of your rooms. And your grown kids don’t want all the stuff they left behind. As you begin to sort through closets and de-clutter rooms, you’re on the path to right-sizing your life.

right-sizingRight-sizing is the concept of taking what you have, and making better use of it. It is taking stock of what you have, and figuring out what you actually need. The right-sizing movement has been growing as Baby Boomers figure out how they want to spend the next decade or two (or three!). They’ve discovered that paring down a lifetime of possessions and beginning a “new” life with things that have meaning liberates them so that they can pursue their passions such as travel or hobbies without the responsibilities of too much “stuff” weighing them down.

In the case of many 55+ adults, right-sizing leads to downsizing. Once they’ve pared down their belongings and reflected on what they really want, many decide to move to a smaller home, often in an active adult lifestyle community from Cornerstone Homes! Our Villas at Magnolia Lakes community is perfect for people who’ve decided to simplify their lives! Here you can focus on enjoying life more – without the hassles and expenses of a big house and yard. At the Villas at Magnolia Lakes, our homeowners have chosen to live worry-free and joy-filled; to live every day like it’s a vacation.

So what do you do with all of your time? Anything you want! Spend your days cooling off poolside or watching sports on TV on the outdoor Lanai. The community is graced with the natural beauty of a lake, just waiting for you to throw in a line! The Clubhouse, complete with a kitchen, fitness center and fireplace, is the perfect place to meet up with neighbors and friends. At the Villas, it is so easy to make new friends and have fun. And there is always something going on.

The Villas at Magnolia Lakes has a neighborly atmosphere, as well as easy living, single story, maintenance-free homes that are specially designed with an active lifestyle in mind. Our two- and three-bedroom homes offer charming and spacious living for an exceptional value.

Once you’re ready for the good life at the Villas at Magnolia Lakes, you may still need to sell your current home first. No problem. We’ve thought of everything! Cornerstone Homes’ exclusive Own A Villa program is designed to make the transition to your new lifestyle easy and virtually painless. The program covers preparing your home for sale, selling your home, securing your financing, and organizing your move. The Own A Villa program also includes discounted fees and services from our team of experts. With our 5 easy steps, you’ll be enjoying the freedom you’re dreaming of in no time!

So, think things over and right-size your life by moving to the Villas at Magnolia Lakes.

Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

Categories: Blog, Buying & Selling Your Home | Posted: July 24, 2014

Between downsizing (also known as rightsizing) and wanting to go out and enjoy your retirement in an active community, there is no better time to sell your home, than now!  But can you sell your home?  In addition to our OWN A VILLA TODAY program which can save you money on commissions and assist you in selling your home, we found these great tips on some secrets that will help your home sell faster.  From the experts at HGTV, here are 10 quick tips to keep in mind when you’re putting your home on the market:

1. Selling at the right price
Find out what your home is worth, then shave 15 to 20 percent off the price. You’ll be stampeded by buyers with multiple bids — even in the worst markets — and they’ll bid up the price over what it’s worth. It takes real courage and most sellers just don’t want to risk it, but it’s the single best strategy to sell a home in today’s market.

2. Half empty closets
Storage is something every buyer is looking for and can never have enough of. Take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organize what’s left in there. Buyers will snoop, so be sure to keep all your closets and cabinets clean and tidy.

3. Give it lots of light
Maximize the light in your home. After location, good light is the one thing that every buyer cites that they want in a home. Take down the drapes, clean the windows, change the lampshades, increase the wattage of your light bulbs and cut the bushes outside to let in sunshine. Do what you have to do make your house bright and cheery – it will make it more sellable.

4. Find the right agent
A secret sale killer is hiring the wrong broker. Make sure you have a broker who is totally informed. They must constantly monitor the multiple listing service (MLS), know what properties are going on the market and know the comps in your neighborhood. Find a broker who embraces technology – a tech-savvy one has many tools to get your house sold.

5. Pets
You might think a cuddly dog would warm the hearts of potential buyers, but you’d be wrong. Not everybody is a dog- or cat-lover. Buyers don’t want to walk in your home and see a bowl full of dog food, smell the kitty litter box or have tufts of pet hair stuck to their clothes. It will give buyers the impression that your house is not clean. If you’re planning an open house, send the critters to a pet hotel for the day.

6. Don’t over upgrade
Quick fixes before selling always pay off. Mammoth makeovers, not so much. You probably won’t get your money back if you do a huge improvement project before you put your house on the market. Instead, do updates that will pay off and get you top dollar. Get a new fresh coat of paint on the walls. Clean the curtains or go buy some inexpensive new ones. Replace door handles, cabinet hardware, make sure closet doors are on track, fix leaky faucets and clean the grout.

7. Take the home out of your house
One of the most important things to do when selling your house is to de-personalize it. The more personal stuff in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Get rid of a third of your stuff – put it in storage. This includes family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes. Consider hiring a home stager to maximize the full potential of your home. Staging simply means arranging your furniture to best showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.

8. The kitchen
You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.

9. Always be ready to show
Your house needs to be “show-ready” at all times – you never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door. You have to be available whenever they want to come see the place and it has to be in tip-top shape. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the dishwasher cleaned out, the bathrooms sparkling and make sure there are no dust bunnies in the corners. It’s a little inconvenient, but it will get your house sold.

10. It’s all about the first impression
No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers. You can typically get a 100-percent return on the money you put into your home’s curb appeal. Entryways are also important. You use it as a utility space for your coat and keys. But, when you’re selling, make it welcoming by putting in a small bench, a vase of fresh-cut flowers or even some cookies.


Have you recently sold your home using any of these tips or have any more advice?  Share them with us!


Consider a Downsize

Categories: Blog, Buying & Selling Your Home | Posted: June 20, 2014


You bought your home with the kid’s needs in mind. Now that they have left home, you may have realized you don’t really need 2,300+ square feet of living space. Many baby boomers are happily taking this opportunity to sell their homes and downsize into something more manageable.

Selling your home can also provide you with much-needed equity, which you can use during your retirement years. This extra money can provide baby boomers with priceless peace of mind; as the 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefits Research Institute notes, only 17 percent of people past the age of 55 said they are confident that they will have enough money to tide them over during retirement. Moving to a smaller place usually means spending less on the mortgage, utilities and taxes, too.

Consider a downsize to one of Cornerstone Home’s 55+ active adult communties in Virginia and North Carolina.

Today’s New Reverse Mortgage Information

Categories: Blog, Buying & Selling Your Home | Posted: March 28, 2014

reverse mortgageCornerstone Homes partners with Neil Sweren, CRMP to discuss today’s new reverse mortgage

Neil Sweren is a trusted expert in today’s new reverse mortgages for purchases.  Neil speaks frequently at our Lunch & Learn Events for our Own a Villa Today program, and is available to our prospective buyers to discuss new reverse mortgages for purchases.

New Reverse Mortgage – Buy your dream home with 50% down and no monthly mortgage payments EVER…


New Reverse Mortgage Frequently Asked Questions:

62 or older?

If you are at least 62yrs old and in the market to buy a new home you will want to learn more about the FHA insured (HECM) Reverse Mortgage for Purchase program. In lending circles, we call it the H4P.


What is a HECM?

HECM is the government assigned acronym for Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. This is also referred to as a Reverse Mortgage. The terms are for the most part interchangeable. HECM specifically is a reverse mortgage which follows the guidelines issued by and is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
A HECM Reverse Mortgage is a loan. The amount you can borrow is based on property value (or purchase price) and your age. The older you are, the more can borrow as a percentage of the property value. The unique feature of the HECM loan is that it does not require you to make any monthly mortgage payment. You can live in the house as long as you want. Title and full control remains in your name and you are free to sell it whenever you like.


What is H4P?

H4P is a HECM (Reverse Mortgage) that is used for the purchase of a home. FHA began allowing use of the program to purchase a home in January of 2009. The amount you need to purchase the house is based on the age of the youngest borrower and the total price of the home. For example, a 65yr old purchasing a $300,000 home would need a total of $149,187 (about 50%) in TOTAL cash and we would finance the rest. Once you make the initial cash investment you are not required to make any additional mortgage payments, you only need to pay your property taxes, homeowners insurance and association fees (if any). That’s it!


Sound too good to be true?

Not at all. With a regular mortgage you make payments every month to the lender and when the house is eventually sold, any balance is paid off and you or your heirs keep the difference. With a reverse mortgage there are no monthly payments but we are repaid in full with interest at the end of the loan. When you or your heirs sell the house, the loan balance is paid off and you or your heirs keep any difference. If for any reason your loan balance exceeds the property value, FHA steps in and pays us the difference. You and your heirs are not responsible.


Still not sure you understand?

Don’t worry; part of the process is education. We will explain everything in detail and you will also talk with an independent third party FHA approved counselor before moving forward.


– –

new reverse mortgageNeil Sweren, CRMP [NMLS 139177]

Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional

(443) 738-9121

Old Man Winter is upon us…

Categories: Blog, Buying & Selling Your Home, Local Articles, Richmond, VA, Roanoke, VA, Wake Forest, NC | Posted: February 17, 2014

old man winterAnd as beautiful as it is, there are weeks of shoveling snow still to come!

Unless of course, you live in a Cornerstone Homes Community, where maintenance-free living means time to do the things you enjoy and the carefree lifestyle you’ve always wanted.

Say ‘goodbye’ to shoveling snow!

Smartly designed single-story villas are highly energy efficient and come in 2 or 3 bedroom floor plans.  Open, flexible living spaces cater to spacious everyday living and entertaining, and are accented by 2 car attached garages, quaint courtyards, patios, and sunny verandas.

“I love that my home is on one level – it’s very open,” said Rita L., homeowner at The Orchard Villas Roanoke. “My favorite room is the veranda – the three walls of windows provide beautiful views of the mountains and sky.  And the people are wonderful – they really look out for each other.  It’s like one large family!”

To assist with selling your home quickly and for the best price, Cornerstone Homes designed the Own a Villa Today Program to help prepare and sell your home, secure financing, and organize your move.

Joe and Karen G. sold their home and moved in under 30 days.  “Using the program, our house sold in five days and we saved money!  The Own a Villa Today Program made the move effortless.  We are so excited to be here and can’t wait to enjoy the social events at the clubhouse.  Everyone has made us feel so welcome here.”

So why wait?  Old Man Winter has arrived!  It’s time to let someone else shovel your snow!

Find your next home at a Cornerstone Homes Community in:

VirginiaThe Pointe at Magnolia Lakes in Richmond, VA  |  The Orchard Villas Roanoke  |  The Villas at Peppers Ferry in Christiansburg, VA  |  The Villas at Harrison Crossing in Fredericksburg, VA

North CarolinaThe Orchard Villas Apex  |  The Villas of Wake Forest

Selling Your Home in 2014 | North Carolina Lunch & Learns

Categories: Apex, NC, Blog, Buying & Selling Your Home, Wake Forest, NC | Posted: February 5, 2014

Make a Smart Move in 2014 and let us provide you with help selling your home during one of our Lunch & Learns during the month of February.

“I’m ready to move, get rid of the big house and yard work and SELL MY HOUSE!”  Sound familiar?  Then we can help!

If you’re in the Triangle, North Carolina area join us at the Orchard Villas Apex or The Villas of Wake Forest for our FREE Lunch & Learn Events on February 13, 2014 and February 14, 2014.


At our Selling Your Home Lunch & Learns you will get help to:

  • Prepare your home for sale – The Secrets of Staging
  • Sell your home and SAVE YOU MONEY
  • Secure your financing
  • Rightsize your belongings
  • Organize your move
  • and more!

We will also be helping enroll in our Own a Villa Today program, which can save you on commission costs selling your home and help you move into a Cornerstone Homes community.



RSVP to our FREE Lunch & Learn at The Orchard Villas Apex on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 11:00am by calling Janet Davis or Susan Williamson at (919) 267 – 6701.


RSVP to our FREE Lunch & Learn at The Villas of Wake Forest on Friday, Feb. 14 at 11:00am by calling Sue Vincent or Bev Gregory at (919) 569 – 0043.

Fredericksburg is Fastest Growing Locality in Virginia

Categories: Blog, Buying & Selling Your Home, Local Articles | Posted: January 30, 2014

Fredericksburg, VA is one of the fastest growing localities in the US – according to a UVA study.  It has remained one of the fastest growing localities since 2010, and as the article below reports, shows no signs of slowing down.  For more information on how you can retire to Fredericksburg by purchasing your own maintenance-free home, visit



This article taken from the January 30, 2014 issue of The Free Lance-Star.

Fredericksburg still at top of Virginia growth list


The two things passers-by on Interstate 95 notice about Fredericksburg are the signs for its Civil War sites and the Central Park commercial center.

But residents see the numerous housing developments under construction that signal the continued resurgence of the area’s population growth.

Fredericksburg, which has been the fastest-growing locality in the state since 2010, retained that title in 2013. Between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2013, the city grew by 15.1 percent, or 3,659 people, according to the latest estimates from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

While the city had the highest percentage growth in the state, other Fredericksburg-area localities grew, as well.

Stafford and Spotsylvania counties, which were among the nation’s fastest-growing localities in the previouvirginia growth-charts decade, also posted strong numbers.

Stafford had the second-highest growth rate in the region, adding 6,180 people for a 4.8 percent increase since 2010. Spotsylvania County grew 2.6 percent, adding 3,158 people.

King George outpaced Spotsylvania to rank third, with a growth rate of 3.7 percent, or 876 people.

Elisabeth Hyatt is one of the new Stafford residents. When she moved into the developing Rappahannock Landing Community off U.S. 17 in July 2012, she was surrounded by new construction.

“At the time, there wasn’t too much to see besides unfinished town homes and yards. But the idea that every new house being built meant a new family meant that we would be welcoming not a new house but new friends,” Hyatt said.

Fredericksburg’s location, halfway between Richmond and Washington, has made it attractive to commuters. But the boom has fueled job growth in the last decade as many of those new residents look to work closer to home.

Along with Stafford’s new residents, the last five years have also brought 4,220 new jobs to the county. While a good portion of the population still commutes to the Washington metro area for work, almost 40,000 people work in Stafford.

The region’s population and business growth has fueled an increase in the area’s gross regional product from $5.6 billion in 2001 to an estimated $14.5 billion in 2013, according to Todd Gillingham, vice president of marketing and operations for Fredericksburg Regional Alliance.

Gross regional product is similar to a nation’s gross domestic product because it is measured by the market value of all foods and services provided within a metropolitan area. The GRP’s increase is also driven by the needs of the population living and migrating to the area such as health care, education and professional and retail services.

“A lot of our success, especially in the first 10 years, you could directly point to the fact that the Fredericksburg area was growing at the rate it was,” Eric Watkins, co-founder of Infinity Technologies, said in a recent interview.

When Watkins and two others formed Infinity Technologies in 1996, it was a retail store that sold software. The company changed its business model to meet the changing needs of the region; it now provides information technology support to small businesses, with 90 percent of its clients being within 20 miles of Fredericksburg.

In addition, government contractors have moved from Washington and Northern Virginia into the Fredericksburg area to be closer to the bulk of their workforce, said Brian Baker, the executive director for the University of Mary Washington Small Business Development Center.

“What we are seeing is, Quantico Corporate Center is an example, of a new type of development,” Baker said. “The jobs that used to hang around the Beltway for so many years are starting to migrate to our area.”