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Roanoke County Wins Digital Government Award

Roanoke County received first place in the 2014 Digital Counties Survey Award, in the category for populations up to 150,000. The award was presented earlier this month by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties.

The award cited Roanoke County's use of digital projects such as its new Geographic Information System portal and use of data-driven crime prevention. Four other Virginia counties placed in the top 10 including Franklin County seventh place and Montgomery County tenth place.

Majority of Home Owners Planning to Renovate

Sixty-seven percent of consumers say they're planning a home renovation within the next six months, according to's Home Improvement Survey of more than 1,500 home owners. They're planning to spend more money on their renovations than last year, the survey found.

Survey respondents indicated that these are the most popular areas of the home to renovate: the kitchen (61%), bathrooms (59%), backyards or patios (33%) and the exterior of the home (32%).

The most popular reasons for the planned home improvements:

  • To improve the aesthetics and/or enjoyment of the home (32%)
  • In preparation for putting house on the market (22%)
  • Recently purchased a home needing renovations (19%)
  • To improve the value of the home (11%)
New Law Addresses First-time Homebuyers

On July 1, 2014, a new law takes effect that makes it easier for Virginians to save for their first homes. Thanks to the Virignia Association of REALTORS' 2014 signature legislation, Virginians will now be able to invest up to $50,000 in financial institutions like credit unions and banks or directly in mutual funds, brokerage accounts, or almost any other financial vehicle and declare them first-time homebuyer savings plans.

The gains or earnings on the investment are free of state taxes, and the funds can be used for down payments and closing costs on first home purchases in the Commonwealth. Whether it's a grandparent opening an account for a newborn or a recent college grad looking to the future, first-time homebuyer savings plans will reinforce the idea that setting a little something aside today will make it easier to buy a home tomorrow. Click here for more information.

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