Why I Use 2 Lock Boxes on Many Homes

Lock Boxes

From time to time seller’s ask why I place two Lock Boxes on their home.  It’s a great questions so I’ve decided to answer with a blog post.

Virginia REALTORS covers the Commonwealth of Virginia and consists of many local Associations and/or Boards.   Each Association/Board has its own Multiple Listing Service (an offer of cooperation and compensation where REALTOR members share information on real estate for sale such as property information, showing instructions, sales price, etc.).  These Multiple Listing Services often issue (sell or lease) LOCK BOXES (a device for storing keys w/ some type of coded access) to their members providing a standard method of accessing keys for showing homes.  Without the lock boxes, buyer’s agents (licensed real estate agents representing the buyer in a transaction) would have to drive from office to office picking up and returning keys or arrange for the seller/listing agent (licensed real estate agent representing the seller) to be at the property to grant access.  If you’re showing a buyer five to fifteen homes arranging the showings can be complicated and time consuming!

Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS

I’m currently a member of the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS (I’ve had duel membership in other associations over the years) which covers Charlottesville, Virginia and the surrounding counties.  We use the blue LOCK BOXES  in the top photo.  These are manufacture by General Electric and require an updated code.  They can be access by a smart phone with app installed or a D Key.  Both the smart phone and D Key must be updated daily to receive a code allowing a user to open the lock box.   I can also remotely turn off an lock box if the owners don’t want a home shown on a specific day and set the daily time range when the key can be accessed for showing the home.  These are pretty cool tools!

When an agent uses a smart phone to access the key in the Blue LOCK BOX, I get an e-mail alerting me to a showing with the buyers agent name and contact info.  This allows me to follow up with the agent to see if they have questions and request feedback.  Sellers often like to see the feedback from agents showing their home.  If an agent uses a D Key, I don’t get the e-mail till they place the D Key in a charging station to get the next days code.  The systems works well and is pretty cool!

Since much of Central Virginia has overlapping Associations of REALTORS (I had Louisa County listings shown by Charlottesville, Richmond, Southside, Fredericksburg , Northern Virginia & other associations member agents this year).   These agents cannot access the blue LOCK BOX in many cases (some can get a one day code).  I want to provide my listings and seller clients with maximum exposure for the real estate we’re selling so I market to buyers and Real Estate Agents outside of my Association.   So that these buyers agents can show the real estate to their ready willing and able buyers, I place a black or brown old fashioned combination lock box on the property as well.  Agents must contact me to schedule the showing and obtain the combination.  This allows me to know who is showing the property and follow up for feedback.   This system works well!

I’ve also had sellers benefit from the combination lock boxes when they or a guest locked themselves out of their home!  Appraisers and contractors doing upgrades/repairs can also be given the code allowing for more flexibility in scheduling.

If you have questions about lock boxes or real estate in general, let’s talk!  I am here to help.  The only bad or silly questions remains the one you do not ask.



Posted in Central Virginia, Commercial, Country Living, Farms, First Time Home Buyers, Friendly Real Estate Advice, Homes, HOUSE MONEY TV Show, Zion Crossroads | Leave a comment

Another Happy Seller!

Thanks Charlottesville Solutions, James Friend Dickerson, for selling our property so quickly. Anyone needing help with real estate, I highly suggest this agency, they are motivated to get the job done. Thanks again James Friend Dickerson.

Blue Ridge Mtn. Cottage

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Received 8.22.2018:

Mr. Dickerson,

You are amazing! Thank you very much for all your support and assistance during the selling of my home and relocation to Reston.

Greatly Appreciative Seller

3269 Gateway Circle, Forest Lakes, Charlottesville, Virginia

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Friday Night Shrimp

Shrimp, Pasta & Spinach

It’s Friday evening at Kamp Karen (our home in Western Louisa County) and almost time to cook dinner.  What to do for dinner after a long day of work?  I don’t want a frozen pizza or something that will take a lot of time.  After checking the freezer, we decide on NC Shrimp, Pasta and Spinach.

We drop a pound of frozen shrimp  (We stock up on shrimp when visiting family in Manteo, NC visiting family.)  into water to thaw while changing out of work cloths, going through the mail etc.  Then while Karen shells the shrimp, I start cooking.

  • 1 Pound Frozen NC Shrimp
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Italian or Creek Herbs to Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Garlic
  • 1 9 Ounce Package Frozen Spinach
  • 1/4 Cup Water or White Wine
  • Pasta (Today We Used Spaghetti Broken Into 2″ Sections)
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • Old Bay to Taste
  • Cheese ( Parmesan or Feta ) to Taste

Into a large frying pan, I add olive oil, garlic and herbs heating to brown garlic over medium.

While the garlic browns, place spinach in microwave and cook per package directions then add spinach and water/wine to frying pan.

Place the cleaned shrimp in a glass bowl then add lemon juice and Old Bay tossing to coat shrimp.

When the spinach reaches medium temperature add your pasta of choice (I’ve used macaroni, ziti, ravioli and others in the past.).

When the pasta almost reaches the level of doneness you like, add the shrimp and lemon juice mixture.  Tossing occasionally until shrimp is cooked.

Just before serving add cheese and toss again to mix well.

Note:  I cover and the frying pan as the pasta cooks and absorbs the liquid.  Monitor closely since you may need to add a wee bit more liquid as the pasta cooks.

Yields three servings (we save one serving to someones lunch on Saturday!).  If you add a salad and bread or use as a side to go with a steak, you can easily enjoy four servings.

Our Family Enjoying Lunch at O’Neil’s Sea Harvest

If you’re on the Outer Banks or Manteo, North Carolina and want fresh seafood, head to O’Neil’s Sea Harvest (seafood market & lunchtime restaurant) in Wanchese.  The seafood comes off the boats, through the backdoor  and straight to you.  You will not find better  friend oysters or soft shelled crab BLT when in season.  We stock up on shrimp, crab and tuna to bring home.  Support our American Fisherman by taking a short drive to O’Neil’s when at the beach.  You’ll be glad you did!!!



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Time to Walk the Land

Whether you’re looking for a Equestrian Property, a 200 acre tree farm, a 1/2 acre home site, water front get away, or a Blue Ridge Mountain vacation home, winter remains a great time to walk the land.  The greenbriar, vines and other annuals die back making it easier to walk and view the property.  We’ve got lots of great parcels of land for sale in Central Virginia so if you’re interested in buying land in 2018 or just have questions, let’s talk!  I am here to help.

Lake Front or Lake Access

Lake Anna, Lake Louisa/Blue Ridge Shores, Lake Monticello, Lake Albemarle and other Central Virginia lakes feature year round and vacation home sites.  Some provide direct lake frontage while others include deeded lake access.

Mountain Views

It’s great helping buyers and sellers of homes, farms and land in the Virginia Piedmont region.  We’ve got both the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southwest Mountains providing both mountain views and elevated home/cabin sites.

Equestrian Properties

Being in the heart of Virginia Horse Country presents many opportunities for buyers with one to twenty horses.

Renovated Virginia Farmhouse w/ barn & paddocks

One example of the available homes w/ stables & paddocks waiting for new owners!

River Front Land

Walk to from your home or vacation retreat to the River for swimming, canoeing, fishing or relaxing on your own beach!

Tree Farm / Timber Investment

Central Virginia continues to possess a strong timber market with forestry land available in various stages of succession.  If you’re looking for a Tree Farm, let’s talk!

Deer, Turkey & Small Game

With many hunters losing their hunting land leases, the demand for hunting land continues to increase.  There are many great hunting parcels for sales from 20 to 100’s of acres.

Blue Ridge Mountain Land

Escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains and build your dream home or a get away cabin.  This land is located outside of Crozet and just below the Blue Ridge Parkway!

James Friend Dickerson,
Your source for Homes, Farms & Land

If you’re interested in buying or selling land or just have questions, I am here to help.  Let’s talk.  I love discussing land sales/purchases & walking the land!

Posted in Central Virginia, Country Living, Farms, First Time Home Buyers, Forestry and Wildlife, Friendly Real Estate Advice, HOUSE MONEY TV Show, Land, Moving - Relocation Tips & Resources | Leave a comment

202 Richmond Ave, Mineral, Virginia – Renovated Farmhouse

Lovely 4 bedroom/2bath Farmhouse

Value ($214,797) prime location (Town of Mineral, Virginia less than two blocks from Farmers Market, parks and restaurants plus minutes to Lake Anna):  renovated w/ many upgrades.  Please take the Virtual Tour to see all this home offers!

Relax on the full country front porch (includes porch swing).

Why rent when you can own with low monthly fixed rate payments less than rent?  This home works for the USDA-RD loan (100% financing w/ low fixed interest rate guaranteed by the US Department of Agriculture).  I’ve used the USDA-RD loan often to help 1st time homebuyers and other move from renters to home owners!

Lovely Wood Floors

Chef’s Remodeled Kitchen

1st Level Bedroom

Large Deck for Grilling, Relaxing & Entertaining

Located on a 1+/- acre lot, you’ll enjoy the fenced back yard w/ room for pets, children, RV parking, horseshoes, etc.

Fenced Rear Yard

For a personal tour or questions, please contact Jim!

Posted in Central Virginia, First Time Home Buyers, Homes, HOUSE MONEY TV Show | Leave a comment

Why have 3rd party energy efficiency certification?

Don’t let home energy costs turn you around!

Home Buyers and Home Owners continue to focus on energy costs as part of the total home ownership cost.  A National Association  of REALTORS (NAR) study shows buyers will pay more for a 3rd party certified energy efficient home! Is your home worth more?What’s the energy efficiency of your home?  Check with my great partner Pearl Certification (a 3rd party that certifies energy efficiency) and find out!  The 1st step is a quick online survey (2-3 minutes) .  If the survey indicates your home qualifies for certification, a Pearl representative will conduct you to schedule a site visit to evaluate and rate your home.  Pearl Certified homes receive a certificate of 3rd party energy asset (Silver, Gold or Platinum) ; a Green and Energy Efficient Appraisal Addendum for the buyers appraiser to use when validating the increased value; an info sheet to be using in inputting the green and energy efficient home features into the Charlottesville Area Association  of REALTORS’ (CAAR) multiple listing service’s (MLS) green fields; information sheets specific to your home that can be uploaded to the MLS documents sections; and house talkers (table tents to use in your home identifying the energy efficient and green features to buyers as they tour your home.  By properly using the green fields, your home will be set apart from the competition!  Your home will be identified as a match when buyers search for specific green features.

Everyone always wants to know the cost, so here goes.  Since I’m a registered Pearl Partner, I can pass savings on to you making the Certification investment less than $300.  If you have questions let’s talk!  I am here to help.  If you’re ready to get started, contact Pearl Certification to begin the process.  By working with Pearl Certification we can justify a higher sale price for your home to buyers, REALTORS, lenders and appraisers.

Would you pay more for an Energy Efficient home w/ Green features?

Posted in "Green" Building & Remodeling, Central Virginia, Country Living, Farms, First Time Home Buyers, Friendly Real Estate Advice, Homes, HOUSE MONEY TV Show, Real Estate Partners and Vendors, Residential Investment Real Estate | Leave a comment

Hickory Shad & Herring

Shad & Herring Waters

Last week we took our granddaughter to visit North Carolina cousins.  Two of us slipped away from the family visit, heading to a small coastal river.  The Hickory Shad were beginning their annual spawning run so we planned to catch a few.  I’d never fished for Hickory Shad and was excited to be included in the adventure.

1st Catch Double Herring

We found a great spot in Windsor, NC and fished with several folks playing hooky from work plus a few retired gentlemen of leisure (all names have been withheld to protect my fellow fishermen!).  My 1st catch produced a double herring hook up!  We ended up catching and releasing over 30 herring (They’re protected.  I’d wanted to compare herring and shad roe but it wasn’t meant to be this trip.).

After catching several herring doubles, I landed my 1st Hickory Shad!  Fun fishing on light line.  We ended up catching quite a few shad releasing most but keeping three for the roe and dinner.  The shad are boney so I’ll keep exploring recipes for baking and frying.  When we got back to town to clean the fish, Ava (granddaughter had to inspect our catch).

Ava Inspecting Shad

Ava approved our catch and made Grandpa Jim promise to take her fishing soon. She remained very sad not to have been included in today’s adventure.

Prior to dinner my fishing partner baked the shad roe to perfection.  He’s given me permission to share his recipe:

Bacon Wrapped Shad Roe


Shad Roe Sacks, Bacon, Salt & Pepper, Lemon Juice, No Stick Spray


Clean and rinse roe sacks. Sprinkle salt and pepper on each roe sack then drizzle with lemon juice. Wrap each sack in a piece of bacon. Use two pieces of bacon if the roe sack is real big and one piece does not seem to wrap it up well (you never can have to much bacon!). Put a piece of tin foil on a baking pan and spray it with no stick spray. Lay the bacon wrapped roe sacks on the foil and sprinkle with more pepper to garnish. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until the bacon is done.

Another great fishing trip in the books! When fishing don’t forget to make memories with children and grandchildren!!!

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Call before you Wire

Burning Brush

Don’t Let Your Wire Go Up In Smoke

If you’re participating in a real estate transaction, don’t get burned with your wire transfer!  Anytime you’re going to wire money, please call the recipient prior to executing the wire transfer to verify the wiring instructions.  I’ve talked several Central Virginia law offices this week and several individuals in our area have fallen prey to scams and lost their money!  Please don’t let this happen to you.  CALL AND VERIFY THE WIRING INSTRUCTIONS PRIOR TO WIRING YOUR MONEY!!!!!

Posted in Commercial, First Time Home Buyers, Friendly Real Estate Advice, HOUSE MONEY TV Show, Moving - Relocation Tips & Resources, Real Estate Partners and Vendors, Residential Investment Real Estate, US Army Rivanna Station-NGIC & DIA, Zion Crossroads | Leave a comment

Have you moved recently? Did you update your voter registration?

Central Virginia Home for Sale

Central Virginia Home for Sale

Did you move since the last election?  Don’t forget to update your voter registration!  The deadline to register in The Commonwealth of Virginia remains October 17, 2016 for this November’s election.  Check/Update your Virginia registration.

Need more info on voting in Virginia?  Please click here!

See you at the polls in November!


Posted in Central Virginia, First Time Home Buyers, Friendly Real Estate Advice, Moving - Relocation Tips & Resources | Leave a comment