Retiring in Williamsburg Blog

Lifestyles, Community Information. Helping you find your new home


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Ready to Buy? Let Rolf Kramer Real Estate Agent Specializing in Retiring in Williamsburg HELP!

You probably have experience buying and selling real estate.  However, if it has been a long time since the last real estate transaction, you may need to learn about some of the things that have changed since your last transaction.  For example, disclosure laws, buyer representation, and reverse mortgage financing are all relatively new for buyers and sellers.  For those of you that may need a refresher, we can provide you with complete information about today’s home buying process.  Here is a great home buying guide to help you understand the current home buying process: “The Perfect Fit, Home Buying Guide“. You can also check out our Buyer ReportsFrequently Asked Questions, and Real Estate Glossary. Buyers no longer need to represent themselves during the home search and purchase, while all agents represent the seller. Smart home buyers today can receive undivided confidential representation by choosing a “Buyer’s Agent.”  Find out more about Buyer’s Agents and how we can represent you and protect your interests during your home purchasing process.

Rolf Kramer, Real Estate

Financing Your Home

The first step has not changed much.  You need to know how much you want to spend. Will you get the money from the resale of your current home? How much can you afford or qualify for?  In today’s financing process it is critical to check your credit report to know your credit worthiness.  Clear up problems, if any, before going to a lender.  A good credit rating will result in you receiving lower interest rates.  Your credit rating will also affect the rates for the property insurance on your new home.  Read more about the New Reality of Property Insurance.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage from a mortgage broker or lender, with a commitment to fund your mortgage in writing.  Ask about the various types of mortgages to find the one that may be right for you.  There are many more options than there were even five years ago.  Once pre-approved for a loan, you will know your price range to begin shopping for real estate.

Finding the Right Lifestyle, Neighborhood and Home

Check out the various lifestyles that Williamsburg has to offer.  Whether you choose an active adult community, a golf course or country club community, waterfront living, urban condominium, suburban single family, or if continuing care is needed, you will find them here.

Determine the type of neighborhood you are looking for.  Do you prefer a neighborhood with lots of trees, one in the middle of town or out in the country?  Would you like to have easy access to a highway?  Do you prefer a community with a Home Owners Association or one without?

Make a wish list of all the specifications you want in your home.  Prioritize the list based on your wants and needs.  Next, mark out those aspects that you are willing to compromise on, in case you need to.  Then start searching for your home. You can search the Williamsburg MLS right from our website, or you can have us do it for you.
Review the property listings that meet your needs.  Select properties to see in person and then tour them with us, your Buyer’s Agent.  Once you have selected the property that best meets your needs, we will generate a Comparative Market Analysis to determine the market value of the property.  We will then write and negotiate an offer to purchase the property.

Closing the Deal

Once the contract is ratified we will continue to represent you and assist you throughout the post-contract procedures.  This will include participating in a professional home inspection, selecting your settlement attorney, obtaining property insurance, contacting utility companies, conducting the pre-settlement walk-through, and the Settlement at your attorney’s office.

rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455 Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188 Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.


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Liberty’s Ice Pavilion now open for skating in Colonial Williamsburg

Liberty’s Ice Pavilion is is open through February 15, 2016, including holidays! The ice rink is lit up and fills the square with Christmas music. It is the perfect backdrop for a stroll, at Christmastime. It is also a wonderful activity for the grandchildren.

The rink is located on Duke of Gloucester Street between Nassau and Henry Streets. If you have Colonial Williamsburg admission, park at the Visitor Center and catch a ride in one of the heated buses that will drop you off just down the street.

Refreshments including hot cider, hot cocoa, coffee, and more will be available for purchase only steps away from the ice.

Liberty's Skating Pavilion open for ice skating in Colonial Williamsburg, Rolf Kramer Real Estate

Monday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–11 p.m.
Sunday: Noon–8 p.m.

Skate rentals ($3) are not included with your ticket ($$8/$10) and may be purchased separately. Skate sharpening is also available at the pavilion for $5 a pair.


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Christmas in Williamsburg – start planning now!

Enjoy the charm of the holidays as Williamsburg comes alive with the sights, sounds, and smells of the season.

Christmas parade fife and drum

Check out historic Colonial Williamsburg. Beginning Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day  hundreds of events, grand and intimate, welcome you with music, dance, merriment, and sumptuous dining.  Download the Holiday Planning Guide – here.

Warming hands by a cresset cw grand illumination and first night

Join the lighting of the cressets to guide your path through the Revolutionary City’s decorated historic homes, taverns, and government buildings during the free nightly Illuminations. Enjoy a traditional celebration of lights featuring the illumination of the colonial capital’s neighborhoods with candles and cressets. The spectacle will be accompanied by a narrative, the firing of muskets, and music by the Fifes and Drums. My most favorite evening walk.

Grand Illumination FireworksFollow this link to see the list of all the events during each week. Then, go online and order tickets to the events you would enjoy.

christmas town 2014 airview

As you know, we love Busch Gardens especially at Christmas. Christmas Town, at Busch Gardens has become a holiday tradition. Christmas, and the season, come to life as you walk through the transformed amusement park. Over 8,000,000 lights transform the sky into a magical winter wonderland – a romantic, holiday experience. Christmas Town brings international Christmas traditions to life with heartwarming shows, delicious holiday dining and festive shopping opportunities. Christmas Town starts Nov. 27 through Jan 3, 2016.

rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455 Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188 Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.

 


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City of Williamsburg Community Night – meet the new City Manager, Marvin ‘Marc’ Collins

This Thursday, September 24, from 5-9pm, spend an evening under the Pop-Up tented sports bar, on the beautiful lawn, of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

Bring your friends and neighbors and meet the new City Manager, Marvin ‘Marc’ Collins and mingle, with City Council members, in an informal setting.

Admission is free and open to the public. Food and drink will be available for purchase.

good shot judy

Live music by Good Shot Judy.

The entire evening’s event will be sponsored by:

All of Williamsburg is celebrating the biking culture in Virginia and provide a Williamsburg-based fan zone for the UCI World Championship Road Races held in Richmond, VA, later this month.

All week long during Spoke & Art, attendees will enjoy a large display of the Las Bicicletas traveling exhibit, as well as a rotating exhibition of sport-related paintings, sculpture and photography that has been curated especially for this event by John Lee Matney, owner of the Linda Matney Art Gallery.  

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rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455 Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188 Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.


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The Grandkids coming to Williamsburg? The Top Five ToDo’s!

Love this list by Mommy Blogger, Mara Mother of All Trips!

Top 5 things to do with kids in Colonial Williamsburg

 We immersed ourselves in the colonial experience! In fact, we spent one full and two half days visiting and could easily have filled up several more (in fact, another visit is definitely in my family’s future). Colonial Williamsburg is an educational, fun, and fascinating place to visit with school-aged children. Although we didn’t get to see everything Colonial Williamsburg has to offer, we did cover a lot of territory. Here are our highlights, including the five favorite things chosen by Teddy and Tommy, my six- and nine-year-old sons.

Slave quarters at Great Hopes Plantation1. Visit the Great Hopes Plantation. It can be easy to miss this important exhibit, since it lies outside the main town that most people arrive in Williamsburg expecting to see (it’s also off the shuttle route). But if you walk from the Visitor Center into town you pass right by the entrance. As the interpreter pointed out, the plantation represents what life was like for 98 percent of the population of Virginia in the 18th century. Slavery is addressed in a sensitive and realistic way as it is throughout the sites in Colonial Williamsburg, with an emphasis on humanity and day-to-day life and an acknowledgement that slave labor is what made colonial life (and probably the American Revolution) economically viable.

This tour helped the boys understand what life on the plantation was like; they sat on the hard bed in a one-room shack that probably housed seven to twelve people – and then wondered that most of the people had to sleep on the even harder dirt floor. They took their turn grinding corn into flour by hand. They handled the precious gourds that were shaped into tools and bowls. They saw how much work the slaves had to do to have enough to eat – and were told that they had to tend their garden or make their tools only after they had finished their other work in the fields for the day. They looked at tobacco drying in the barn and hams being smoked in an open-air shack. They saw the kitchen and asked what plantation dwellers ate for dessert. (The answer? Probably pie, although no one is totally sure since this was not a population that recorded recipes.) They saw that the slave garden grew plants like okra and sweet potatoes while the plantation owner’s garden was full of herbs. And they learned that even though life on the plantation was unquestionably much harder than city life, the slaves there tended to escape much less often thanks to their lack of education and finer clothing that might enable them to pass for freed blacks.

Gourds in the slave quarters at Great Hopes Plantation Tobacco drying at Great Hopes PlantationGrinding corn at Great Hopes Plantation Kitchen at the Great Hopes Plantation We probably spent close to an hour roaming this small space, and it captured the boys’ imagination in a way that nothing else at Colonial Williamsburg did.

Teddy in costume at Colonial Williamsburg 2. Rent a costume. All of the interpreters at Williamsburg are in costume, and kids who like to play dress up can join in the fun as well. Daily costume rentals for children are available at the Visitor Center and at the small open-air market in the middle of town. Teddy was thrilled to wear his loose shirt and canvas bag and to carry a wooden rifle (hats are available for purchase).

Children who rent costumes are given a letter of introduction, inviting them to do various things around town. These include visiting the post office, learning the proper form of greeting (a “courtesy” for boys and a curtsey for girls),

Exchanging courtesies in Colonial Williamsburg planting turnip seeds in the colonial garden,

Planting turnips in the colonial garden at Williamsburg and in the case of boys, mustering at the magazine with the indomitable Sergeant Dawson whose barked orders and mock exasperation made for high comedy.

Mustering the troops at Colonial Williamsburg Presenting arms in Colonial WilliamsburgCan you just hear him shouting “preeee-sent!”?

Idea board in the Kid's Corner at Colonial Williamsburg 3. Play some games at the Kids’ Corner. We took a break from the houses and museums at this small cabin where kids can play with colonial games and toys, write on slates, and explore exhibits designed to help them understand the objects and history they are looking at in all the other sites.

Exhibit about colonial life in the Kid's Corner, Williamsburg Playing games in the Kid's Corner at Colonial WilliamsburgThis is also a great place to get some ideas about what to do with kids as daily events are posted – the interpreters are more than happy to answer questions or offer suggestions.

Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg 4. Check out the Governor’s Palace. It’s hard to believe that this building is actually a 1930 recreation of the original, which burned to the ground in 1781. The interpreter here pretends to be one of the maids working there on the day of a large ball hosted by Lord Dunmore, the last British governor. Tommy’s favorite was the bright blue ball room, although I think Teddy liked the entrance hall with its impressive display of weaponry.

Entrance Hall in the Governor's Palace at Colonial Williamsburg Kitchen at the Governor's Palace in Colonial WilliamsburgHedge maze in Colonial Williamsburg The palace grounds include a working kitchen, an impressive stable, and a small hedge maze, which the boys really enjoyed.

5. Make bricks. Did you know that making bricks by hand involves stomping around in a big patch of muddy clay? Neither did I, but I can tell you that the boys loved helping to make the material smooth enough for use.

Walking in the mud at the Colonial Williamsburg brickyardWashing up in the brickyard at Colonial Williamsburg

Once they had rinsed off their feet in a big barrel of water (word to the wise, they weren’t exactly clean when they were done) we moved on to seeing how the bricks were formed in molds. The boys then got to help carry the molds over to the drying area and turn the perfectly formed bricks out to sit in the sun, a task that would actually have been performed by children in the 18th century.

Molding bricks in Colonial Williamsburg Tommy carrying bricks in Colonial WilliamsburgThe bricks turned out perfectly! In the process, we learned a great deal about how bricks are made and fired, including the fact that variations in color are due to the bricks’ placement in the oven (those at the bottom nearer to the heat are darker; up near the top they are lighter and less durable, more suited for use indoors than out).

And brickmaking isn’t the only trade that kids can see in action at Colonial Williamsburg. Tommy watched in fascination while the blacksmith made nails and Teddy was offered a job at the wigmaker’s shop after he asked the mistress there questions about all of her tools. A scribe shows children how to use a quill pen at the post office and the cobbler hangs the shoes he makes in his window. There are gardeners, gunsmiths, cooks, printers, carpenters, barrelmakers, and bookmakers all demonstrating what they do and offering children the chance to ask questions and often allowing them to touch tools or help out. At the cabinetmaker’s shop, Tommy sat for 15 minutes and played his Bach recital pieces on an actual harpsichord that was built there.

Playing the harpsichord in Colonial Williamsburg Talk about hands-on history!

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rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455 Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188 Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.


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Beat the Heat of Summer, in Williamsburg!

Summer’s heating up, in Williamsburg – even as we are winding down to August. If you’re looking for ways to cool down and still have a great time with family and friends, here are a few suggestions.

— River —

York River, Rolf Kramer Real Estate Agent

There may be nothing better than a cool dip in a small river – and we’ve got two big ones!  Think day-long floats, canoeing, boating, fishing, and kayaking.

— Water Park —

Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Waterpark, Rolf Kramer Real Estate Agent

There is a few splash pads at our amusement parks for the children (and the adults who like to get splashed — I am one of them!) And lots of slides and lazy rivers

— Museums —

What do museums have? Consistent temperature. Museums are a little warmer than subterranean 50-something-degrees, and they’re beautiful, creative places to chill out … and maybe learn something new.

— Pool —

There isn’t a community that I sell in that doesn’t have a community pool. Some of them are works of  art and the perfect place to meet the neighbors and chill out!

Why does Barbara love Love LOVE the house that Rolf Kramer helped her find, at Colonial Heritage?

The resort-like pool at Colonial Heritage is a pool party, waiting to happen.

Fords Colony Pool, Rolf Kramer Real Estate

Fords Colony Pool

Patriots Colony pool, Rolk Kramer Real Estate Agent

Patriots Colony pool

Kingsmill Lazy River, Rolf Kramer Real Estate Agent

The Lazy River at the Kingsmill Resort (as part of Kingsmill on the James community)

Where do you like to cool off during the summer?

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rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455 Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188 Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.


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Swinging on a Star – in Williamsburg, on the 4th of July

If you are looking for something to do, in downtown Williamsburg, on the fourth of July, check out a old-fashioned USO show, at the Hennage Auditorium in the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. This patriotic 4th of July entertainment will have a World War II flair and will be similar to what the servicemen and women at USO clubs saw. The soldiers “home away from home” and “mom away from mom” provided wholesome entertainment both here and overseas. Overseas they saw such entertainers as Bob Hope and Frances Langford and in Williamsburg they saw shows like this one. The lovely Amy Stallings will be singing with the band – she is not to  be missed!

Swinging on a Star: A Tribute to the Local USOs and the Troops of World War II

Swinging on a Star USO show, Williamsburg

Buy tickets, here.

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rolf kramer, real estate, Williamsburg, VARolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO 757-564-4455 Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188 Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.