Three Reasons Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Agent

on March 4, 2016

Trends in technology boast of bringing the world together. Speaking to friends across the country through social media takes less effort than physically speaking to someone across the room. We connect via convenience and tend to shun communication that involves a living, breathing human being.

We’ve seen this trend seep over into the real estate industry through online resources like Zillow and Truila. These sites allow interested buyers to shuffle through listings in efforts to identify their ideal property while cozied up with a fluffy blanket and a hot cup of coffee. You may think that today’s modern advancements serve as a replacement for an actual real estate agent. After all, why should you pay commission to a stranger to help you find the perfect home when you can shop virtually from the comfort of your pajamas?

Before you write off real estate professionals as an ancient relic from days of yore, here are three reasons why you shouldn’t buy a home without one:

1. Real Estate Agents Answer Questions. Try asking Siri if the home you’re looking at has noisy neighbors, cracked ceramic tile, or drafty windows. Your real estate agent’s job is to protect your best interest. If you’re retiring to your dream home on the lake and have your heart set on tranquility and relaxation, then you might not want to be next door to rental property that houses party-all-the-time spring breakers. Remember, the property you’re looking at is represented by the owner’s real estate agent, who has been hired to sell their property. Their allegiance is with the seller.

2. Real Estate Agents Know The Market. You want to be in a quiet, waterfront community that’s within ten minutes to the grocery store and less than an hour from the airport. Your real estate agent knows the market and will show you homes that fit your criteria and will not waste your time shoehorning you into a home that doesn’t work for you.

3. It’s The Biggest Investment of Your Life. It’s one thing to buy a pair of shoes online. But buying a house is not even remotely comparable. The paperwork alone gives just cause for hiring a professional, as does the complicated art of negotiating. A real estate agent’s full-time job is spent, presumably, in the real estate market. They know the ins and outs of the industry far better than someone who isn’t. They’re also giving you advice that isn’t fueled by emotions. You may have romanticized that remote lakeside cottage as the perfect writing retreat, but your real estate agent will     point out that there’s no hope of an internet signal there, so forget about submitting your  articles via email.


If you’re ready to explore available properties at Smith Mountain Lake, then contact the area’s most trusted professional, Barbara Brooks, for your free consultation.

Staying Safe at Smith Mountain Lake

on June 15, 2015

If you’re one of the lucky ones who get to vacation at Smith Mountain Lake during the summer, then you’re well aware of the anticipation that sets in as you count down the days between now and destination SML. There’s nothing like that moment when you step out onto your porch, dock or balcony to soak up the first summertime sunset or that lazy slumber that follows a busy day of exploring the open waters.

All in all, life at the lake is laid back and easygoing. Part of the charm of this lifestyle is the allure of an open itinerary. Your to-do lists have been banished to the dark corners of your mind as you park yourself on the patio with your sunglasses, a glass of sweet tea and a good book.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” Coined by Benjamin Franklin, this golden nugget of advice is oftentimes left behind with those aforementioned to-do lists and the everyday responsibilities of a life not on vacation. But taking the time to ensure that you and your family have a safe Smith Mountain Lake summer is one list that you should study and keep close at hand.

Here are a few tips for ensuring that you have a fun-filled family vacation:

  1. Sunscreen: Nothing puts the brakes on a summertime vacation like a painful sunburn. Take the extra time to apply and reapply your sunscreen to keep your skin safe. Aside from not looking like a lobster in all of your selfies, you’re helping to prevent permanent damage to your skin that may result in skin cancer.
  2. Hydrate: It seems silly that one would forget to stay hydrated when surrounded by so much water, but it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself when you’re out and about at Smith Mountain Lake. Intense exercise, such as hiking, biking, and water skiing, can leave your body dehydrated, and dehydration can cause disorientation, dizziness, heart palpitations, and fainting. Keep plenty of water with you at all times and know when it’s time to take a break.
  3. Rules of the (Water) Road: Operating a vessel on the open water is a lot of fun, but it’s also a huge responsibility. Take the time to get properly trained on how to operate a boat and familiarize yourself with area marinas and channel markers. Always make sure that everyone on your boat, including pets, has a lifejacket on board, and check to make sure that you have plenty of gas to get you to and from your destination. Do not operate a watercraft while drinking alcohol and put your mobile device away.
  4. Know Your Healthcare Options: If you or someone in your family has special medical needs, take the time to connect yourself with area specialists in the event that you may require their care. For instances that may not require an emergency room visit, you can go to Velocity Care, an urgent care clinic by Carilion. You can even check in online using their iTriage portal located at
  5. Relax and Recharge: Listen to your body. If you’re tired, skip that midnight bonfire and go to bed. If you’re being pulled away by push notifications from your mobile device, let those who need to know that you’ll be taking a hiatus from your phone for a few hours and put it up for a while. If you’ve been binging on fried foods, decadent desserts and cocktails, then treat yourself to a salad filled with fresh vegetables and fruits and some lean protein.
  6. Slow Down: Yes, you’re excited to get out and explore, but make sure you obey all traffic laws and slow down in unfamiliar areas. Some of those back roads can be tricky, especially during those sudden summertime thunderstorms. Slow down and pull over if you need to reference your mobile device for directions.


Now that you’ve taken a moment to make sure that you and your family will be safe this summer, you can set your sights on Smith Mountain Lake and start your highly anticipated summer vacation. And remember, if you have questions about Smith Mountain Lake homes for sale, including waterfront, water access, condos, townhomes and more, call me directly at 540-420-0135 or visit

Winter at Smith Mountain Lake

on January 19, 2015

Embracing that “fun in the sun” attitude that Smith Mountain Lake holds so dear can seem rather difficult in the midst of winter. After all, how is “the jewel of the Blue Ridge” supposed to sparkle when there’s no summer sun?

Residents know that Smith Mountain Lake has four seasons of fun to explore. But the allure of an SML winter may be lost on those who visit solely during the summer months.

Granted, coasting along the open waters on a freezing cold January afternoon doesn’t sound very appealing, but there are still plenty of attractions in and around the Smith Mountain Lake area that give visitors a host of fun and exciting areas  to explore during the off-season.

Whether it’s the dead of winter or the hottest day of the year, having a glass of wine is almost always in season. Throw on a scarf and your coziest pair of wool socks and head out for a visit to area Smith Mountain Lake wineries. These award-winning destinations are perfect for experienced wine tasters and novices alike. Examples include Hickory Hill Vineyards, Brooks Mill Winery, and Peaks of Otter.

There’s something about retail therapy that just elevates one’s mood, and there is no shortage of places to shop in and around Smith Mountain Lake. Be sure to check out Downtown Moneta ( and Westlake Towne Center ( for a full list of shops ranging from home décor to upscale designer jewelry.  If you’re aching for a larger, commercial shopping mall, then you’ll be happy to know that Smith Mountain Lake is conveniently located a short distance from both Roanoke and Lynchburg.

If live music is on your must-do list, then check out The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount, Virginia ( The Harvester hosts a variety of artists and acts showcasing all genres including rock, bluegrass, indie, gospel and comedy.


Visit SML during the off-season gives guests the opportunity to see what Smith Mountain Lake is like once summer vacations have come to a close. This is especially important if you’re thinking about relocating to the area. If you’re interested in learning more about Smith Mountain Lake in the winter, or would like to search for available Smith Mountain Lake properties, call me directly at 540-420-0135. You can also search my listings directly from my website at

Festival Season Hits Smith Mountain Lake

on September 20, 2014

Even though Smith Mountain Lake is largely considered a summer vacation destination, one visit during the fall season and you’ll quickly see how much the area has to offer year round.

The post Labor Day crowd has dissipated and Smith Mountain Lake has started to shed its summer façade in favor of the rich sights, scents and sounds of fall. And the area’s calendar of events is shaping up to showcase the absolute best of SML, including a variety of fun fall festivals and special events.

The Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival is by far the region’s most popular and highly anticipated event. In its 26th year, the SML Wine Festival hosts 27 Virginia wineries and 85 food and craft vendors. This year’s event will be held Saturday, September 27th and Sunday, September 28th at Lakewatch Plantation, which is located roughly one mile south from Hales Ford Bridge. Live music will be provided by Tim Martin and Fuzzy Logic (Saturday) and The Harwell-Grice Band (Sunday.) Tickets can be purchased on the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce’s website ( or by calling 540-721-1203. A full list of ticket vendors can also be found on the chamber website.

In its second year, the Smith Mountain Lake Oktoberfest and 5k Trail Race has also become a popular fall festival…and not just because it celebrates beer. The 5k Trail Race benefits the Smith Mountain Lake YMCA, which offers SML residents a safe, fun place for families of all sizes to get fit and have fun. Guests also get to sample delicious German food, sample special Oktoberfest beer by Sunken City Brewery and dance the afternoon away to the sounds of a traditional Bavarian band. This even takes place Saturday, October 4th at Westlake Towne Center. Information can be found at

The Fall Chili and Craft Festival, located at Bridgewater Plaza, will be held November 1st from 11am to 3pm. Lake area residents and guests alike line up to sample recipes and vote for their choice in one of three categories: “best chili,” “people’s choice,” and “showmanship.” If chili isn’t your style, then browse the boardwalk and set your sights on displays by local artisans, area bakers and confectioners and more. Tickets are $5 at the gate. TNT Auto Body Repair and Services will be shuttling visitors to and from the event in their “big green bus” that will be stationed at Trinity Ecumenical Parish.

If festivals aren’t your cup of tea (or wine, chili or beer…) then take advantage of the absolutely gorgeous fall scenery that’s abound in every direction. Smith Mountain Lake, affectionately known as The Jewel of the Blue Ridge, offers breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Pack a picnic and head to the Smith Mountain Lake State Park, or visit one of our many area wineries.

If you’ve fallen in love with Smith Mountain Lake, then let’s make an appointment to explore this beautiful region together! As one of the area’s most respected real estate agents, I can show you the areas that have the amenities you’re looking for that’s also in your price range. The fall season is a wonderful time to go house hunting and I’d love the opportunity to serve as your guide.

For more information on listings, resources and life at Smith Mountain Lake, visit or call me, Barbara Brooks, at 540-420-0135.

Memorial Day Marks The Official Kickoff of Vacation Season at SML!

on June 5, 2014

Even though Smith Mountain Lake is a four-season destination, there’s no denying that the area “heats up” on Memorial Day weekend. Happy motorists line the streets with shiny boats in tow anxious to hit the water and soak up some much needed Smith Mountain Lake sun. Area businesses put their best foot forward with enticing summer sales and specials as lake lovers from all across the world drop anchor in southwest Virginia for an extended vacation.

This year’s Memorial Day holiday marked another successful kickoff to the tourism season, proving once again that Smith Mountain Lake is a vacation destination worth exploring. The lake was buzzing with water sports enthusiasts perfecting their waterskiing and wakeboarding skills. Barbecues and bonfires seemed to show up on everyone’s to-do list, followed closely by afternoon naps and lazily lounging by the swimming pool.

As summer rolls on, Smith Mountain Lake will continue to greet tourists with that special brand of Southern hospitality that makes it almost impossible to leave. This charming atmosphere is one of the reasons why many visitors choose to purchase a home at Smith Mountain Lake. If you’re considering relocating to Smith Mountain Lake, simply call 540.420.0135 and speak with lakefront specialist Barbara Brooks. Her expertise as a Smith Mountain Lake real estate agent ensures that you will receive the utmost attention and professional service when searching for that perfect Smith Mountain Lake property.

Interested in seeing what’s available? Check out for a complete list of available properties.

July 4th at Smith Mountain Lake

on April 23, 2012

July 4th at Smith Mountain Lake is a Special Time.   Awesome Firework displays.  Boats anchor to watch from different venues!  Come join the FAMILY FUN!   As always, it is a crowded time at this gorgeous Lake;  so have fun and keep SAFETY in the forefront of ALL Activities!


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