Light Box Realty Real Estate Blog

Aug. 8, 2014

Favorite Friday - ShoreBreak Va Beach

avorite Friday – ShoreBreak Pizza and Billiards in Virginia Beach.  With rain in the forecast for this weekend, you might be looking for a family friendly place to go.  We recently visited ShoreBreak Pizza and Billiards in Virginia Beach to meet some friends from out of town.  I had never been and was pleasantly surprised.  It is a very large venue with an entire area devoted to pool tables.  There is also a game room where kids can play games and earn tickets for prizes (you spend $4 to earn a ball worth a quarter). Kids are big fans even if the adults are not.  What really surprised me was how good the food was.    Our table had pizza, steak bites, fresh garden salads and kids meals.  I did not have great expectations but the food was really good and reasonable priced.  The portions were huge and it was all very fresh and well cooked.


ShoreBreak specializes in group functions and can accommodate parties up to 100 guests.


Visit their website for coupons and more information     Their address is 2941 Shore Dr.

Posted in Attractions
Aug. 4, 2014

Light Up Your Deck With Solar

During the warm summer months, people want to spend more time outside in the evenings.  They might also want to improve the lighting on the deck.  Whether you want to illuminate your walkway, brighten up the patio, deck, deter crime, or add ambiance to garden parties, there is a look and function for every outdoor area. Solar lights are preferred by many homeowners. Because solar lighting uses the power of the sun instead of electricity, it’s an eco-friendly, energy-saving, and easy-to-install outdoor lighting option. Solar lights and solar outdoor string lights come on automatically at dusk and go off at dawn, and produce a soft, inviting glow.  They are great for defining an outdoor space.


Lighting includes beautiful table lamps and floor lamps designed to weather the elements, as well as decorative string lights and patio string lights, post cap lights, floating torches, tea light globes and lanterns.


Remember to hire a licensed electrician if you need to add outlets or electrical fixtures.


Aug. 1, 2014

Favorite Fridays - Williamsburg Premium Outlets

The Williamsburg Premium Outlets are a great place to do your back to school shopping.  From southside Hampton Roads, it is just over an hour drive.  Plan to spend the day there because there are over 135 shops.  It located at 5715-62A Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188  or you can check out their website at  Most parents have to buy “back to school” shoes and there are over 20 shoe stores alone.  A sample of the shoe stores are Stride Rite, Vans, Converse and Adidas.  There are 12 children’s clothing stores like Hanna Anderson, Hartstrings , Children’s Place and Gymboree.  For teens, you can check out American Eagle, Aeropostale, J. Crew, Gap and Levi’s.


This is a great weekend to visit so you can take advantage of the tax free holiday on school clothes.  Just be prepared to bring your patience along with your wallet.  It will be busy.

Posted in Attractions
July 31, 2014

Back to School Shopping

Back to school shopping in Hampton Roads will be a little easier starting tomorrow.  This weekend is a tax free holiday for all back to school purchases.  The tax free days are Friday, August 1 – Sunday, August 3.  During this three-day period, purchases of qualifying school supplies selling for $20 or less per item, and purchases of qualifying clothing and footwear selling for $100 or less per item will be exempt from sales tax.


According to the National Retail Federation, last year parents spent an average of $634.78, and they’re expected to spend even more this year on back-to-school shopping.  On average, their spending will go up 5 percent this year, to $669.28.


Computers are not included in this exemption.  


A detailed list is available on Virginia’s web site at    


While Hampton Roads offers some great back to school shopping, another popular area in Virginia is Tyson’s Corner.  With over 300 specialty shops and restaurants, Tyson’s Corner is home to luxury stores like Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters.  Tyson’s Corner is located approximately 3 1/2 hours north of Hampton Roads.  For more information, go to

Posted in Attractions
July 27, 2014

Using E-ZPass for Area Tolls

If you have recently relocated to Hampton Roads, you may notice the signs for tolls at area tunnels, bridges and at the Chesapeake Expressway.  The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) strongly encourages all local drivers to obtain an E-ZPass.  There is no person to collect your tolls at the Jordan Bridge, Midtown Tunnel or Downtown Tunnel.  The Midtown Tunnel (located by Norfolk General Hospital) and the Downtown Tunnel (by downtown Norfolk) are both routes to travel from Portsmouth to Norfolk.


VDOT is relying on drivers to use their pass to pay their tolls.  If you do not have an E-ZPass, you will be charged an additional fee for using the tunnel.   The Chesapeake Expressway does have the ability to collect money.  If you will be traveling on the Chesapeake Expressway either to visit the beaches or if you are moving to Currituck or Camden Counties, you will need to sign up for Chesapeake Expressway discount program.  During the summer months, drivers can save $5.25 per toll transaction by using this program.  For more information on registering for the Chesapeake Expressway, go to

If you are a Virginia resident, you can open your E-Z Pass account in any of these simple ways:


Personal Account Application or Business Account Application

Call 1-877-762-7824

Visit one of our Service Centers or DMV partner locations

By picking up a transponder at an E-ZPass On-the-Go retailer and registering online or by phone. A list of retail stores carrying Virginia E-ZPass On-the-Go transponders can be found here

Drivers are encouraged to use E-ZPass to pay area tolls.

Drivers are encouraged to use E-ZPass to pay area tolls.

Please contact me, Jennifer Smith 757-735-2937, at Today Homes Realty for information on relocating


Posted in Uncategorized
July 25, 2014

Favorite Fridays - A. Dodson's

One of my favorite shops is A. Dodson’s.  There are currently two locations; one on Bridge Road in Suffolk and another on Colley in Ghent.  A new shop is opening in Virginia Beach soon.  A. Dodson’s features unique apparel, gifts, home accessories and antiques.  It is the my “go-to” place for weddings, shower and baby gifts.  Although we are months away from Christmas, I bought many Christmas presents from A. Dodson’s.  Their staff is incredibly helpful with finding just the right gift.  However, most of the time, I also leave with something for me.


A. Dodson’s is a destination too.  If you are not a believer of retail therapy, you have not been to A. Dodson’s.  It is a feast for the senses!


You can feel good about shopping for two reasons; you’re supporting a local business and they support our local community.  Each month A. Dodson’s has a round up campaign with the proceeds going to a local charity.  Past recipients are St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children, The Oakleaf Club of Tidewater, and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.


According to their website, A. Dodson’s is not just a store – it’s a destination. Unlike almost anything else in retail today, A. Dodson’s is a shopper’s oasis, where you can select from trendy clothing, distinctive home furnishings, exquisite gifts, and antiques of yesteryear. We’re serious about style, yet you will find this shop unpredictable, quirky, and alluring. 




Suffolk – 2948 Bridge Road Suffolk, VA 23435    (757) 483-1344


Open Monday-Saturday from 10am-5pm


Open Sundays from 12pm-5pm – November until Christmas


Norfolk – 1611A Colley Avenue Norfolk, VA 23517     (757) 222-0254


Open Monday-Saturday from 10am-6pm


Open Sundays from 12pm-5pm – November until Christmas


Posted in Uncategorized
July 21, 2014

Favorite Norfolk Restaurants

There are so many great restaurants in Norfolk.  Here are a few of my favorites and I added a few of my friends’ favorites as well.  Last week, I listed my favorite Virginia Beach restaurants.


Fellini’s – Has fantastic pizzas and I love their Greek salad.  My friend Whitney loves their chicken salad plate with curried rice as the side.  3910 Colley Ave. in Ghent.

No Frill Grill – I just had the most amazing shrimp and grits at their Sunday brunch. 806 Spotswood Ave. in Ghent.

Luna Maya – has the best guacamole and tamales.  2010 Colley Ave.

Green Onion for special occasions.  1603 Colley Ave.

Doumars – home of the original waffle cone.  I love their limeades and the curb side experience.  1919 Monticello Ave.

Franco’s in Ocean View has great Italian food. 6200 N. Military Hwy.

Bardo Edibles & Elixirs. 430 W 21st St.

Most of my favorite restaurants are in the Ghent section of Norfolk.  This area is within walking distance of beautiful Norfolk properties for sale.  It is a very quick commute to downtown Norfolk and also close to Eastern Virginia Medical School  and  Norfolk General Hospital.  Many of the homes in Ghent are historic and have beautiful features.  To see any of these stately homes, please contact me Jennifer Smith at Today Homes Realty at 757-735-2937.


July 19, 2014

Buying Rental Properties

t is a great time to buy rental properties in Hampton Roads.  Buying rental properties is still a legitimate means to grow your investment portfolio.  Here are a few reasons why it is an ideal time to buy property in general and, more specifically, as an investment.


It’s a good time to buy property. Rates and property prices are generally low right now, which means you can get a great mortgage rate and a good price on a property you like.


Your expenses are offset in several ways. By buying a property and renting it out, your tenants will be covering a large portion of the costs you incur. Over time, rents will increase as you pay off the mortgage, leaving more income as profit. In addition, you’ll benefit from tax breaks and incentives on your depreciation and expenses.  Contact your tax professional for more information.


Appreciation works in your favor. Your investment will be appreciating on the entire value of the property. If you put 20% down on a $200,000 property, you may be paying 4% interest on the 80% you borrow, but a 3% appreciation on the value of the property is on the entire $200,000, not just the $40,000 you put down. Compare that to your return on an investment in the stock market.


Diversify your investment portfolio.  Remember that by spreading out your investments, you’re more likely to realize the benefits of a changing economy.


You can invest in your retirement. If your $200,000 investment appreciates 3% per year for the next 20 years, just think of what you can do with the money when you sell the property upon your retirement. Or perhaps you bought a property you would want to retire to.


Source:  Movement Mortgage


Here are a few more tips to keep in mind. Before buying a home in a development, make sure the restrictive covenants allow rentals.  Also, make a plan with a goal.  By stating a plan and criteria, you can hold yourself accountable to your goals.  Being a landlord can be stressful for many people. However, the benefits of investing in property outweigh the negatives for many and the stress can be relieved by hiring someone to manage the property.


Contact me, Jennifer Smith, at Today Homes Realty.  We can work together to find the best investment property for you.


July 18, 2014

Favorite Fridays - Virginia Beach Restaurants

I did a little crowd sourcing for this blog and asked my Virginia Beach friends what their favorites restaurants are.  I have my own favorites.  Here is our combined list of favorite Virginia Beach restaurants.


Lubos Wine Tasting Room -   cozy and casual  1658 Pleasure House Rd.

Citrus -  for breakfast and lunch 2265 West Great Neck Rd.

El Taco Loco at Hilltop - My friend Maria especially loves the grilled avocado.  3333 Virginia Beach Blvd.

Waterman’s Surfside Grille at the oceanfront has great views www.watermans.com415 Atlantic Ave.

Flip Flops VB Grill in Red Mill.  My friend Cindy says, “Yummy food and great beachy atmosphere.” 2217 Upton Dr.

Zia Marie at Chic’s Beach.   Great Italian food. 4497 Lookout Road

Surf Rider at Cypress Point.  Delicious crab cakes and casual atmosphere.  928 Diamond Springs Rd.

Scotty Quixx.  Awesome food – especially the fish tacos. 2404 Virginia Beach Blvd. (near Great Neck Rd.)

Steinhilber’s Thalia Acres Inn.  A special occasion restaurant known for their butterflied shrimp.  Reservations recommended.  653 Thalia Rd.

Burtons Grill.  Food is always great.  741 First Colonial Rd. #107

Fire Brew Bar and Grill.  Unique self serve wine bar.   1253 Nimmo Parkway Ste 117 (in the Red Mill section).

These are just a few of our favorites.  I would love to hear what your favorite restaurants in Virginia Beach are and why.


Posted in Attractions
July 16, 2014

Luxury Golf Course Communities in Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach offers has numerous golf course communities with luxury homes available.  Most of these neighborhoods have waterfront properties available too.


Indian River Plantation has beautiful luxury homes and is located next to the Arnold Palmer’s Signature Golf Course at West Neck.  This community has six area lakes with fountains, tennis courts and walking trails.

Church Point in Virginia Beach is a historic neighborhood on the Lynnhaven River.  Before becoming the community of Church Point, this area was part of the Bayville Farms Estate.  This land was owned by the Burroughs Family, who are the seventh title holders to the land since its original grant by King Charles II of England in 1635.  It is currently linked to the historic Adam Thoroughgood House.  The prestigious Bayville Golf Club is located nearby.

Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club has older luxury homes surrounding this beautiful, private course.  Linkhorn Park has top rated schools and beautiful views of the Lynnhaven River.

The Broad Bay neighborhood in Virginia Beach has gorgeous, upscale homes on the Broad Bay Country Club.  This neighborhood borders Broad Bay and has many waterfront homes as well.

For more information on any of these luxury, golf course communities, please contact me, Jennifer Smith from Today Homes Realty at 757-735-2937.