Ask the Experts: Homes –


The story below is from our September/October 2022 issue. For the full issue Subscribe today, view our FREE interactive digital edition or download our FREE iOS app! Local homes experts answer all your questions about decor, maintenance, real estate and more. Building & Remodeling When shopping for new windows, why are premium windows a better option? Whether you are shopping for new […]

The story below is from our September/October 2022 issue. For the full issue Subscribe today, view our FREE interactive digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!

Local homes experts answer all your questions about decor, maintenance, real estate and more.

Building & Remodeling

When shopping for new windows, why are premium windows a better option?

Whether you are shopping for new construction or replacements, windows are a considerable investment. Therefore, it is important that you get the best value you can afford. While a premium window may cost more upfront, the long-term advantages are that it will be more durable, more energy efficient, more aesthetically pleasing and have more options from which to choose. While the energy efficiency is very important, you also want to consider how the window will stand up to the elements over time; will the exterior surfaces be affected by exposure to sun and rain and will the color fade or chaulk?

Mark Robertson, Window Specialist

Capps Window and Door Showroom


[email protected]

When considering an outdoor living space what are a few of the most important things to consider?

One of the most important things to do is to not get in a hurry.  Outdoor living spaces have become more of an extension of your home for entertaining and relaxation.  Take your time and look at what options are available to you.  We can help you with making these selections.  Such as what composite decking materials and colors are available, do I need a gas line for a fire pit, do I want wood in the ceiling, what advantage is it to use cable railing, do I want a dry space below my deck, etc.  So slow down, take your time, and let us help you with making the outdoor living space the place you have always desired.   

Mike Bryant

Construction Marketing, LLC


Are renovations disruptive to the daily functions in our home?

A simple project such as installing a closet organizing system or changing light fixtures are just minor inconveniences that last a few short hours.  However, if you are renovating your master bath, adding an addition or converting your galley kitchen to the gourmet kitchen of your dreams plan to be significantly more inconvenienced during construction.  If a home is being largely gutted for a total update you’ll want to plan for an alternative location temporarily while the renovations are taking place. Contractors want to work full days that may start early so the sound of tools and people in and out of your home should be expected…but well worth the final result!

Alicia Smith

F&S Building Innovations


We recently started moving forward with a major remodeling project and we’re very confused at the range of prices submitted.

This is probably one of the most common questions that we hear.

Let’s start by making sure that your remodelers are properly licensed and insured.  You can visit the DPOR website and search contractors to determine their licensing status. Here’s a link to the DPOR Consumer Protection Statement to help you understand class limits:

First, contractors come in all sizes and shapes so make sure the contractors have the proper staffing to manage your project.  Remodeling requires a great deal of communication and coordination and there are generally several team members on a remodeler’s staff that help move the project smoothly through the various phases.  One of the most important phases is preconstruction, where designs are finalized, selections are made and materials are procured.  If one of the remodelers is a sole proprietor or works alone then they’re certainly going to have lower overhead costs which can make their quote less expensive than a competitor with a more robust staff to better manage the remodeling process.

Are the remodelers pricing the same project?  Clients often do not provide drawings to remodelers.  What typically happens is clients explain their desires to the remodelers who then arrive at different solutions to the client’s requests.  While this can be advantageous to the client because it offers various solutions, it results in an apples vs oranges pricing scenario.  Pricing from the same design should result in similar price ranges from remodelers.

Next, thoroughly review the proposals from each remodeler to make comparisons on products and allowances to determine which remodeler is providing the most value.

It’s important to discuss how the remodelers are going to manage your project.  One may include temporary protection measures that minimize the disruption to your house from things such as dust while the other has provided no such protections.  You may also find that one is providing a temporary kitchen during your remodel while the other has not provided any such accommodations.

Remodeling is as much about the process as it is about the final product.  While you may end up with the same final product between two remodelers, you most likely will not have the same remodeling experience and one remodeler could make for a miserable experience.

Jay Gauldin, President

Elegant Exteriors by TBS, LLC


Home Maintenance

I have rooms that I don’t use very often.  Can I close the air vents in those rooms?

Air flow is very critical to both performance and life expectancy of any heating/cooling unit, so closing the vents restricts air flow much like a dirty air filter does. We recommend not closing the vents, but if you must, only close them by about 10%.

Tyler Bower

Marketing & Sales

Bower Heating & Air Conditioning

[email protected]


What are ten things I need to know about mold, and when do I need to hire a professional?

What a great question.  Here are ten things you should know about mold.

Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory complaints.

There is no practical way to eliminate all mold, and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.

Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by: benting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioner and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation and using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.

Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need be replaced.

Prevent Condensation:  Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces

In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).

It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items with 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

When do you need to hire a professional?  If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself then call a professional.  Look for professionals that are certified by an accredited organization. The IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification is one such organization.  They certify companies in Water damage and Mold Remediation. They also follow the S520; which is the Standard for Professional Mold Remediation.

Consolidated Construction Services


How do I avoid unexpected home repair bills?

Much like a yearly physical can uncover early warning signs of a health problem, having your home’s major systems checked annually will catch the small problems early which helps you plan for future larger repairs when the timing is best for you.

Additionally, the most important benefit of annual systems checks is the peace of mind that you are keeping your family safe and comfortable. If you need an Electrical, Plumbing, or Heating & Air system check we would be happy to help.

D.J. Ostrom

Ostrom Electrical Plumbing

Heating & Air


Why would I buy a Daikin Fit Inverter HVAC System?

The Daikin brand Inverter is called the Fit system because it “Fits” in so many ways…Comfort, Space, and Budget and is ultra quiet.  It FITS on your Patio, on your Roof and can be mounted on your home…it goes anyplace.

Like a car operating on cruise control, The Daikin Fit inverter carefully controls the heating and cooling power generated by the unit and adjusts the compressor’s speed to meet the demand.  This minimizes temperature fluctuations and provides continuous cooling and heating comfort and your home will no longer feel too hot or too cold.

You also save money each month as you invest in state-of-the-art and efficient technology.  Inverter systems can save you up to 30% energy consumption each month.

The Daikin Fit inverter system is the future of HVAC!  Contact The Butler today to learn more.

W.C. Butler Heating & Air Conditioning


Mortgage Lending

When should I refinance?

That is a broad question. The old ‘rule of thumb’ was to refinance when rates dropped at least 1-2% from your current rate. But given the current low rates, the reduction could only be ½% and still make sense. Shortening the term of your mortgage from 30 years to 15 or 20 years when rates are low could keep your payments affordable and in turn, result in a faster payoff. Rates have remained steady for the past several months, so if you are on the fence on a refinance, reach out to a lender and find out how refinancing your mortgage could benefit you.

Vicky Zimmerman

Vice President/Residential Lending

Skyline National Bank

Real Estate

What is a settlement?

To start the process, we need a Contract, which is the same as an “agreement” between the purchaser and seller. A title search is performed, which is a search of the public records for recorded instruments that affect the title to that particular piece of land. After all the information is gathered we can proceed to settlement, in some areas called a “closing”.

The process of completing a real estate transaction may include: signing of deeds, loan documents, leases and other required instruments to satisfy contract requirements, an accounting between the parties is made, documents are recorded and monies are disbursed, and all other details such as payment of outstanding liens and mortgages, hazard insurance, and inspections are completed at this time.

Loretta Bourne

Colonial Title & Settlement Agency

[email protected]


Should I buy before I sell?

A common concern for homeowners is that if they sell their home first, they may not be able to find another home to buy.  It is understandable with the low inventories currently available in most markets, but a strong argument can be made to buy your replacement home first.

In fact, there are some advisors that would tell you not to sell at all.  Instead, keep the home for a rental investment and refinance it to pull out some cash for the down payment and closing costs for the new one.

Just as there are low inventories of homes for sales, there are shortages of available single-family homes for rent, as is evidenced by rent continuing to rise.  Rising prices and rents contribute to the rates of return that rental properties enjoy.

It is likely that the rent could cover the total payment on the refinanced former home.  The seller, then, benefits from income, depreciation, equity build-up, appreciation, and leverage.

There is even a window of opportunity possible for the homeowner to rent it for a while, which covers his payment, allows the home to continue to appreciate, and then, sell and close it within two years and still be eligible for the section 121 exclusion of gain in a principal residence.

The homeowner may find that the investment is providing a better return than alternative investments and keep the rental beyond the two years.  At some later date, if the homeowner wanted to dispose of the property and buy another more expensive rental, a section 1031 exchange may be available to avoid capital gains for a while longer.

Buy before you sell but they don’t have to be at the same time; they can be years apart.  Do a cash-out refinance on your current home for the proceeds to buy another home that meets your needs now.  Then, convert your current home to a rental investment.  Don’t wait because rising interest rates will increase your payments on not only the new home but the refinanced home also.

Susan Bailey


Long & Foster Realtors


Why is it more important than ever to work with a real estate professional to help buy and sell your home right now?

With such a competitive market, buyers and sellers need a professional who will manage expectations, establish clear communication channels, and prepare them for each stage of the process. It’s essential to find an agent who is skilled in pricing strategies and contract negotiation. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate agents act as your dedicated expert, ensuring that you have experience on your side in order to navigate these novel challenges.

Catherine B. Daniel

CRB, Principal Broker

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices


Moving to a New Town

When a new neighbor moves into town, what resources would you suggest to help them get to know their new community?

I would suggest they visit their county’s website and search for the new neighbors section to find essential information regarding taxes, schools, trash pick up, etc.

Next, I would direct them to the Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge website,, which highlights fun things to do in our area with a great calendar of events. Local magazines such as The Roanoker can help people get to know their community.

I also recommend searching local Facebook Groups such as “Welcome to Virginia’s Blue Ridge!” to connect with local businesses, community leaders and influencers.

Many of our new neighbors will receive a Welcome Basket that include gifts, coupons, and information about local businesses and non-profits. To learn more visit,

Brooke Buehring

The Welcome Basket

[email protected]

In the Home

How much internet speed do I need?   

Whether you’re an occasional emailer or an all-night binge-watcher, we’re here to help you find the internet speed and package that’s just right for you. Up to 150 Mbps can easily support a household of five with everyone on their device for HD streaming, virtual learning and more. The more devices, the more bandwidth you’ll need. So, 1 Gbps is more ideal for a household with gamers, working from home, streaming and all your smart home appliances.


(540) 776-3848

What kind of stone should I use for a steep bank where I don’t want to mow or need to prevent erosion?

For a steep grade, there are generally two products to consider.  The first is a product called Surge, which is approximately the size of a grapefruit and easy to handle. The second option is a product called Class 1 Rip Rap, which is approximately the size of a basketball.  This product is harder to handle because the individual stones can weigh from 30 lbs. to 150 lbs.

As an additional tip, make sure to put down geotextile fabric before placing your stone to prevent rain water from eroding the soil under the stone. The fabric will also help to control weeds.

Frank B. Caldwell IV

Roanoke Sales and Business Development Manager

Rockydale Quarries Corporation


What separates you from the rest of the flooring stores in the area?

We are a member of a buying co-op of approximately 900 stores called Carpet One Floor & Home. With group buying power we can offer better prices by using the dynamics of a large group of stores, each independently owned and operated, while maintaining the hometown identity the community has come to love. We are a second-generation business that has been in operation for over 62 years providing both residential and commercial services.  Please stop by so we can get to know you and help put your next flooring project together. Also, we offer a pre-measure of your home at no cost or obligation to you!

Bob Garby, Retail Flooring Specialist

Whitt Carpet One Floor & Home


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