Debbie Shelton, Author at Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate – Debbie Shelton

Author Archive for Debbie Shelton

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Your upstairs neighbor seems to walk in iron shoes. The couple next door loves to argue at 2am.  And your landlord refuses to fix your thermostat, keeping your apartment at 60 degrees all winter long. Just as you’re signing your check for next month’s rent, you start asking yourself if you can handle one more month of your neighbor’s toddler screaming her ABCs.

Before you jump the gun and turn in your notice, read through this list of tips for first-time home buyers and see if you’re prepared to take the first step into home ownership:

  1. How is your credit?  Your credit score is important because it tells financial institutions what kind of borrower you will be. A high credit score is a sign of financial responsibility and allows you to get the best possible rate for your home loan. Take the time to look at your credit score and rectify any errors that you see. And if your credit is on the low side, start taking the steps to repair it.
  2. How much home can you afford? We all tend to dream big rather than realistically, so taking the time to see how much home you can actually afford could be a major eye-opener. If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, you might have a hard time coming up with funds for home maintenance and repair, especially in the case of an emergency. Take a look at your incoming and outgoing expenses and track your monthly spending to ensure that you don’t get in over your head.
  3. Do you have proof of income? Lenders need to see how much money you earn, so make sure you have proof of income, such as recent pay stubs, W-2s, and tax returns. If you are self-employed, you may have a harder time securing a loan, so make sure you have access to two years’ worth of earning history to present to your mortgage lender.
  4. Start interviewing realtors. Partnering with an experienced real estate agent will ease the process of first-time home buying. Not only will you have an expert on your side to help walk you through the process, but your realtor will always look out for your best interest. Choose a realtor with experience in the type of home you are interested in purchasing, and always ask for references.

Thinking about purchasing a home in the Smith Mountain Lake or Roanoke area? Contact me today and let’s get started.

 -Source: 5 Essential Money Moves for First-Time Homebuyers,

New Brews and Tunes Festival Scheduled

The Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Smith Mountain Lake YMCA are co-hosting the first annual Brews and Tunes Festival. This event will feature craft beers and ciders from 20 local breweries and live music from area favorites Goose Gossett and Barefoot West.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, May 5th from 1p-7p on the lawns of the SML YMCA (located at 293 Firstwatch Drive, Moneta, off of route 122.) Advance admission tickets are $25 and $35 at the gate. Kids under six are free.

To purchase tickets go to

4 Things Burglars Don’t Want You to Know

You’ve invested in an expensive home security system and have tried your best to teach your lovable Labrador to bark at the sign of danger. What else can you do to keep would-be thieves from breaking into your home?

Here are 4 tips from professional burglars to help you keep your home as safe as possible.

  1. Burglars Prefer Daytime Break-Ins: It’s more common for homeowners to be out of the house during the day, giving criminals the opportunity to break in while you’re at work or out running errands. The most popular break-in times are between 12:30p-2:30p, not late nights or weekends.


  1. They’re Stalking You on Social Media: While you’re uploading your vacation photos from Hawaii, they’re ransacking your house in search of valuables. Privacy has become passé, and criminals are using our penchant for oversharing as research. Every time you check into a location, you’re letting the world know that you’re not home.


  1. They Don’t Like Security Systems: Burglars don’t want to risk getting caught, and typically strike homes without security systems. Also, inexpensive “tricks” keep burglars at bay. Examples include having parked cars in the driveway, motion sensor lights, and TVs that are left on.


  1. Keep Valuables Out of Sight: Enticing a burglar with an open view of your most expensive offerings increases the odds of a break in. Don’t leave your MacBook on your kitchen table, or your iPad on the couch. Multiple flat screen TVs visible from every window encourage burglars to check your locks for easy entry and a simple steal.


A burglary occurs every 20 seconds in the United States, so take the time to protect your family and your most prized possessions with a few common-sense tactics from the pros themselves. Keep your doors and windows locked, keep your valuables out of clear sight, and be selective in what you share on social media.

-6 Things Professional Burglars Don’t Want You to Know,