Cell: (804) 370-0401
Sign Up Login

Articles Tagged "Buy a Home"

Living RVA Blog Home

rss logo RSS Feed
buying | 11 Posts
Economic Impact | 4 Posts
Home Sales | 3 Posts
Listing | 3 Posts
mortgage rates | 2 Posts
Richmond | 2 Posts
RVA | 31 Posts
Santa Cheer | 2 Posts
selling | 9 Posts
Uncategorized | 1 Posts
Virginia | 1 Posts
Awards | 1 Posts
Buying a House | 4 Posts
Community | 1 Posts
Events | 1 Posts
Home Buying | 2 Posts
Home DIY | 2 Posts
Home Improvement | 17 Posts
Home Selling | 5 Posts
Homeownership | 9 Posts
Lifestyle | 8 Posts
Market Trends | 2 Posts
Moving | 4 Posts
Richmond, VA | 30 Posts

Moving Expenses to Know About

Moving Expenses

The key to a successful and affordable move is to plan ahead. This way, you can start saving and budgeting well in advance of your moving date. But what expenses do you need to account for as you plan your move? Our real estate agents list some often-forgotten moving expenses below.

  • Moving Insurance
    When you hire a moving company, they generally charge you a base moving fee, plus additional fees for extra services like furniture assembly or appliance prep.

    One extra fee customers don't always account for is the cost of moving insurance. Most moving companies include a certain amount of insurance by default, but it's often wise to pay for additional coverage, especially if you have valuable items. Your moving company should be able to give you a quote for this insurance based on the value of your possessions.

  • Equipment Rental
    If you're moving things yourself, you may want to rent a dolly or moving straps to make carrying heavy items easier. You can rent these items from a local moving truck rental service. (Don't forget to account for the cost of renting a moving truck for your DIY move, too.)

  • Vehicle Shipping
    If you own more than one vehicle, you may need to drive one to your new home and have the other one shipped. Get quotes for vehicle shipping well in advance of your move. You'll often get a better rate if you book this service early.

  • Overnight Stays
    If you're moving a long distance, it might take you more than one day to drive to your destination. So make sure you budget for a night in a hotel as you calculate your expected moving costs. Even if you stay at a friend's house along the way, there may be costs involved, such as the cost of eating dinner out that night.

  • Dining Out
    When you're busy packing and moving, you'll probably eat out or order takeout more often than usual. As such, it's wise to budget for a few extra restaurant meals around the time of your move. The earlier you prioritize unpacking your kitchen items, the lower the cost.

  • Packing Supplies
    If you are packing yourself or doing the whole move yourself, you will need lots of packing supplies, including boxes, tape, and packing peanuts. You can save money by reusing packing supplies that friends may have, but make sure you still budget some funds for these materials. You can never have too much tape or too many markers.

  • Child Care
    If you have children, you may want to hire a sitter on days you're doing most of the packing. Even if a family member or friend is willing to watch the kids, it's nice to give them some cash as a "thank you."

  • Gasoline
    Whether you're driving a moving truck or just your personal vehicle to your new home, be sure to account for the cost of fuel. You'll probably use more gas than usual, making trips to the store for moving supplies, driving to the truck rental place, and driving to restaurants, too, so a little extra wiggle room in the budget doesn't hurt here.

When you set a moving budget ahead of time, there are fewer surprises along the way. If you happen to still be looking at Richmond homes for sale, don't dismay. We're confident you'll soon find the perfect place and start planning your move. Contact us if you'd like some assistance on your homebuying journey.


5 Tips for a Pet-Friendly Home

Pet Friendly Home

Many households view their pets as family members, so it only makes sense that you would consider your pets when searching for a new home. Our real estate agents suggest following these tips to ensure you buy a pet-friendly home. 

  1. Look for Flooring That's Easy to Clean
    Despite your best efforts, it's almost inevitable that your pet is eventually going to make a mess on your floors. If your pet is elderly or has a finicky stomach, these messes may occur more frequently. A pet-friendly home should have flooring that's quick and easy for you to clean, like laminate or tile. If you don't want this type of flooring throughout your whole home, search for a property that has pet-friendly flooring in the areas where your pet will spend most of their day. 
  1. Make Sure a Potential Home Has Space to Exercise Your Pet
    Your pet needs exercise, and the right home will give you space to provide your pet with the exercise it needs. This space doesn't necessarily need to be a large yard. A walkable neighborhood or a home that's close to a park are both terrific alternatives. Or, if you know from experience that you prefer the convenience of opening the door to give your pet room to play and exercise, make a spacious yard with a fence a top priority on your homebuying wishlist. 
  1. Check That a Potential Home Has Space for Your Pet's Equipment
    If your dog uses a crate or if you own pets that require a cage (like birds, rabbits, snakes, or guinea pigs), make sure that a potential home has ample space to house your pet's equipment. A large crate or cage can quickly take up much of the floor space in a smaller room. Or, if you have multiple cats, you'll likely need an area to house multiple litter boxes. When touring Richmond homes for sale, keep in mind the amount of space that your pet's equipment needs. Homes with an under-the-stairs area provide a great spot to house your pet's crate or litterbox. 
  1. Search for Homes with a Mudroom
    A mudroom is an excellent addition for any pet owner. It gives you a space to house your pet supplies so that they're conveniently located but out of sight. You can use your mudroom to clean your pet before granting them access to the rest of your home. Some mudrooms even come with wash stations ideal for washing muddy paws. 
  1. Consider if the Home Will be Accessible as Your Pet Ages
    As your pet gets older, they may have issues climbing stairs. A single-story home is a good option to ensure that your pets can easily navigate your home. Or, if you're interested in a multi-story home, look for one that offers the space your pet needs on the main level. 

Ready to move to a home with more space for all your family members? Contact us today to get started!


How to Find the Right Real Estate Agent in 2022

Richmond Real Estate Agent

If you're planning on buying or selling a house in the coming year, you might be wondering how to find the right real estate agent to support your transaction. After all, so much of your success depends on the experience of the real estate agent you select to support you along the way. If you're selling your home, your real estate agent is key to securing the highest possible sale price. If you're considering one of these beautiful Richmond homes for sale, your agent's expertise in the market and negotiation experience can help you land a solid deal.

However, finding a good real estate agent with the right level of experience isn't as simple as you might think. With so many agents out there, you might have to do some work to really find one who is truly a good match for you and your family. To help you, below are some tips that can help you find the best real estate agent to support your transaction in 2022.

  • Seek Referrals From Someone You Trust
    If a friend, family member, or neighbor recently purchased or sold a home, you may want to consider asking them for an agent referral. An agent's past clients are the best source of information on the agent's expertise, character, and reputation. Just be sure to ask someone you trust!

  • Do Your Research
    Before choosing an agent, you'll want to do a good bit of research. Check out their online profiles, read reviews, and conduct an interview. During the process, look for signs that they're compassionate, patient, and knowledgeable about the industry. Set expectations around communication and timeframes, and see if they're willing to accommodate. 

  • Gauge The Agent's Responsiveness
    One of the most important characteristics of a real estate agent is responsiveness. In a hot market, you need an agent that's willing to quickly turn around offers and negotiations. When evaluating agents, pay attention to the time it takes them to return texts or calls. Also, look into the brokerage firm that supports them -- do they have a team behind them that can support if they're unavailable? Both buyers and sellers need to act quickly in today's market, and you don't want to miss out on opportunities due to an agent that is too busy.

  • Consider Their Experience
    It's always worth asking an agent about their track record of success. How long have they been an agent, and how many home sales or purchases have they supported? Ideally, you want an experienced negotiator in your corner, so it's perfectly acceptable to ask for examples of big wins and past client success.

  • But Experience Isn't Everything
    While experience certainly does matter, you also want to select an agent who is easy to work with and is the right fit for you and your family. Choose someone who is likable, relatable, and patient. If you're buying or selling for the first time, you'll likely want to work with an agent who takes their time and helps educate you on the process and the market. You're trusting your agent to guide you through one of the biggest financial transactions of your life.

Selecting the right real estate agent takes a bit of research, but it's well worth the time investment. A good agent can have a tremendous impact on the outcome of your home purchase or sale. Contact us for more tips or to speak with one of our real estate agents today.


Cozy Home Upgrades to Make This Fall

Fall Home Tips

Fall is a good time to embrace all the things that make us cozy and comfortable. Beyond sweaters, leggings, and pumpkin spice, this is also a great time to consider upgrades to make your home cozier as the weather gets cooler. Here are a few upgrades our real estate agents say can make a big difference, especially if you plan on listing your home for sale this fall.

  • Upgrade Your Flooring
    When the weather gets cool, you'll want flooring with a cozier vibe to keep your feet comfy. This could mean something as easy as picking out new throw rugs for your hardwood or tile floors or as involved as replacing your flooring entirely. If your carpet is wearing thin, consider replacing the pad and carpet for a lush floor you can dig your toes into this winter. If it's time to upgrade your bathroom floor, why not install heating elements beneath the tile? Flooring upgrades will make your home not just look better but also feel better too.

  • Update Your Windows and Exterior Doors
    As cold weather sets in, don't forget to update your windows and exterior doors, as they can be a source of drafts in the winter. Feel for drafts around the perimeters of all windows and doors to see if caulking or weatherstripping is needed. A new front door can provide better insulation as well, in addition to improved security and better curb appeal.

  • Invest in Energy-Saving Window Treatments
    If you don't have the funds to replace your windows at this time, you can make your home cozier by sealing drafts and hanging energy-saving blinds or curtains. Insulating window treatments help prevent your home from losing heat in the winter and keep the heat out in the summer, so they're useful all year long.

  • Get Your Fireplace Ready for Winter
    Nothing makes you feel cozier in cool weather than a fireplace! Before you use your fireplace, you should have the chimney checked for nests, as some creatures might have made it their home during the warmer months. If you have an old-fashioned wood-burning fireplace, you might also want to look into what it would take to convert it into a gas fireplace. 

  • Get Your Furnace Serviced
    One of the best ways to make sure you're not left in the cold this winter is to have your furnace serviced now, before winter weather sets in. An HVAC technician will do a tune-up, which involves changing your air filter, testing your furnace, and performing any needed maintenance. This would also be a great time to discuss upgrading to a new furnace or a smart thermostat.

  • Add a mudroom
    Popular Richmond homes for sale often feature a well-designed mudroom. If you don't have a dedicated room for a mudroom, you can repurpose an entryway with a built-in storage bench. Cubbies underneath the bench can hold shoes and other important things and hooks above the bench corral coats in one place. Add a mirror and a shelf for keys and other small items.

Everyone loves to get cozy in cooler weather, so if you'll be selling your home this fall, focus on updates that will wow buyers as they come in out of the cold. For more information about selling your home this fall, contact us today.


Should You Consider a Storage Unit for Your Move?

Storage Unit Tips

Coordinating the logistics of a move is rarely an easy task, which is why our real estate agents are always trying to offer tips to make things as easy as possible. In our experience, renting a storage unit can help make things significantly easier during the home sale and moving process. However, many of our clients wonder if the benefits are worth the expense. If you're planning on moving soon, below are 5 ways renting a storage unit can make your life a lot easier.

  • You Can Protect Your Belongings
    The chaotic nature of a move often leaves many concerned about the safety of their special belongings. Whether it's furniture, art, or keepsakes a storage unit gives you the opportunity to relocate your most important assets before the move begins. This can ultimately prevent them from being lost or damaged by the movers.

  • Easier To Stage Your Home
    Decluttering your home and removing personal items is an important part of the home staging process. We often recommend sellers create a neutral environment that enables potential buyers to see themselves in the space. For some great staging examples, check out these Richmond homes for sale.

    During the home staging process, you may want the option of quickly relocating furniture or decor. A storage unit offers an alternative to cramming everything in the corner of your basement.

  • It Will Be Easier To Downsize
    Deciding what items can stay and what can go often makes downsizing difficult. If you're planning to move into a smaller home, a storage unit can allow you to downsize on your own terms. Instead of being under pressure to get rid of a ton of things at once, a storage unit gives you that extra space to hang on to your belongings and part with them incrementally over time.

  • You Can Manage The Gap Between Closing Dates
    Aligning closing dates is one of the most difficult aspects of buying and selling a home at the same time. If the closing dates of your current home and future home don't align, you may want to consider temporarily storing your belongings in a unit while you rent an apartment or stay with a family member.  A storage unit can also help ease the pressure of finding a new home within a set time frame. Knowing you have a storage solution as a backup plan, you can take your time when searching for the perfect next home.

  • Storage Units Are Affordable
    Many people are understandably concerned about the cost of a storage unit, but they are usually affordable. A storage unit typically costs anywhere from $100 to $300 per month, and the rates are usually based on location and unit size. In most cases, you can rent them on a month-to-month basis.

Moving is often one of the most stressful events in life, but a storage unit is a great way to make things a lot easier. For move moving tips, contact us today.


Get Ready to Buy Your First Home With This Checklist

First Home Checklist

Are you ready to buy your first home? Congratulations! This is a major milestone and an awesome accomplishment that you should be proud of. Our real estate agents understand how important this decision is, and we're here to help anyone who feels ready to enter into homeownership. Get ready to buy your first home by using this helpful checklist.

  1. Check Your Credit Score
    First, we recommend all first-time buyers check their credit score, resolve any issues, and increase their score if possible. A few simple tricks can increase your credit score in a matter of months, which may help you secure a better mortgage rate.

  2. Determine Your Budget
    Before you determine how much home you can afford, you should look at how much your rent and bills cost now. This will give you a baseline of what you can afford, which you can then use to determine how much farther your budget can stretch.

  3. Know Your Finances
    As you look at your expenses, you should also determine how you can save for a down payment. See where you can not only cut expenses but find additional ways to proactively save each month to hit your down payment goal.

  4. Learn About Real Estate Transactions
    Educating yourself about real estate transactions is never a bad idea. Learning the lingo, uncovering the "hidden" costs of buying a home (such as closing costs and moving expenses), and understanding how a transaction proceeds from start to finish will better prepare you for your own experience.

  5. See if You Qualify for Assistance
    Many first-time homebuyers qualify for federal, state, or local programs that either provide financial assistance or enable you to secure a lower mortgage rate. You should also look into other assistance programs available to see if you qualify for assistance.

  6. Get Pre-Approved
    Getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan is extremely beneficial. Not only will you discover how much you qualify for before you put in an offer, but you'll also look better in the eyes of the seller when you place an offer that already has pre-approval from a mortgage lender.

  7. Make a Wish List
    Before you begin your house hunt, create a list of what home features you need, want, and can live without. This will help you view each home objectively and not become distracted.

  8. Find a Real Estate Agent
    A knowledgeable, experienced, and honest real estate agent will be your best resource throughout the homebuying process. 

  9. Tour Homes
    It's time for you to begin your home search. Once you've narrowed the inventory down to your favorite homes, schedule private showings with your agent. Be sure to revisit your favorites multiple times at different hours of the day and night so you can truly get a feel for what the property and neighborhood are like throughout the day.

  10. Trust Your Instincts
    Ultimately, you need to trust your gut when buying a home. This is one of the largest purchases you'll ever make, and you must be completely confident and comfortable with your decision. Trust your instincts, and you'll achieve your homeownership goals.

Would you like to schedule tours of our latest Richmond homes for sale? Let us help you. Contact us today to tour the best homes in the RVA.  


5 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes You Should Avoid

Homebuyer Mistakes

Purchasing a first home is one of the largest financial decisions most people make in a lifetime. The process can be an emotional roller coaster -- stressful, exciting, and overwhelming at the same time. For inexperienced homebuyers, it can be difficult to know what to expect and it's common to make mistakes during the house-hunting process. However, with a little preparation and research, you can avoid costly pitfalls and prevent major issues from popping-up down the line. Below are some tips to help you make the best decision when purchasing your first home.

  1. Don't Look at Homes Before Applying for a Mortgage
    While it may be tempting to dive right in and start viewing these beautiful Richmond Homes for sale, your first step should be to apply for a mortgage. Being pre-approved sends a signal that you're a serious, qualified buyer. Not only will this help you understand how much you can afford, but you'll be in the right position to make an offer once you do find the home you love.
  2. Consider Multiple Lenders
    Sometimes first-time homebuyers will accept a mortgage from the first lender they meet with instead of shopping around for the best rate. This can be an incredibly expensive mistake. Be sure to compare rates and evaluate at least three lenders and a mortgage broker to be sure you're getting the best deal.
  3. Draining Your Savings
    While putting down 20% is usually a good idea, it's also important not to drain your savings. Owning a home can come with many unanticipated costs, so it's a good idea to have some cash on hand for emergencies. If you barely have enough cash to make the 20% down payment, you might be better off putting a smaller amount down so you can be better prepared for emergencies.
  4. Forgetting About the Neighborhood
    Remember, you're not just buying the house, you're also buying a piece of a neighborhood. It's common for first-time homebuyers to fall in love with a house, only then to later realize the neighborhood isn't what they expected. Be sure to buy a house in an area that has the location, and amenities that are the best fit for you and your family. 
  5. Making an Emotional Decision
    Because purchasing a first home is such a major life experience, it can be easy to fall in love with a particular feature or amenity. It can be easy to envision some of life's great moments happening in a specific home. While it might be difficult, it's important to try to remove emotions from the decision making process and instead, make sure your future home checks all the right boxes.

Buying your first home can be an intimidating experience, but our REALTORS® can help. If you're a first-time homebuyer, contact us today for assistance. 


What Sellers and Buyers Need to Know About Home Inspections

Home Inspections

A home inspection is an important step when you're buying or selling a home, so it pays to know what an inspection entails and exactly what kind of information it reveals.

Our REALTORS® explain the following points buyers and sellers need to know about home inspections for Richmond homes for sale.

  • How a Home Inspection Works  
    A home inspection isn't mandatory, but it's usually a good idea to have one performed. The homebuyer usually pays for the inspection, which calls for a third-party professional inspector to closely examine and evaluate many aspects of the property. If you'd like to look at the home when the inspector does, there's a lot you may be able to learn.   

    Sometimes a home seller will pay for an inspection to reassure potential buyers that their property doesn't have any major issues. The areas covered by an inspection usually include the foundation and basement, interior plumbing systems, interior electrical systems, heating, and cooling systems, and more. After the inspection, a report will be generated for you to examine.

  • How to Choose a Qualified Home Inspector  
    If you need help finding a home inspector, your REALTOR® can often suggest someone who has the proper credentials and experience. He or she should have certifications from groups such as the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NASH) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). That way, you'll know they meet ongoing professional standards.

    In addition, they should carry an insurance policy that protects you in case they're injured on the property you own. Experience in the local area is also a plus. That way, the inspector knows about local pest issues, soil conditions, and more.

  • What an Inspection Can't Do  
    While an inspection provides a great deal of information, it can't predict the future or give you a guarantee of how long a system will last. Instead, it can let you know about the age of important systems and provide a snapshot of their condition at the present time. A system that was working properly when it was inspected could develop problems. 

    And some areas of the property – such as inside the walls or septic tanks – may not be a part of a standard inspection. If that's the case and you'd like to have these areas inspected, your REALTOR® may be able to suggest someone who can do this more specialized job.

  • What Happens After the Inspection  
    After the inspection is completed, the buyer will be given a report detailing any problems. At this point, the buyer may decide to move onto another home or may choose to negotiate with the seller to either make some repairs or to lower the price to compensate for the cost of fixing the issues that were found.   

    If the seller has ordered the inspection and it reveals any serious issues, he or she might choose to make the repairs, since potential buyers may not want to deal with the hassle and time involved with significant repairs even if the home price is reduced accordingly.

Contact us to learn more about home inspections and how they can benefit buyers as well as sellers. And whether you're buying or selling a home in the Richmond area, our experience and knowledge of the local area can help make your transaction proceed smoothly.


Study Up on These Real Estate Terms Before Buying a Home

Real Estate Terms

Buying a home requires learning a new language. It is normal to feel a little lost in the conversation until you learn the lingo. To help make buying a home in Richmond a little easier, our real estate agents recommend studying the following vocabulary words as you start the process.

Mortgage Terms

  • ARM - Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) refers to a mortgage whose interest rate changes over time. ARM's can adjust at 5, 7, or 10-year intervals, and you will want to go over the terms of the loan carefully before deciding on this mortgage option.
  • Amortization - This option allows you to combine both interest and principal in your payments. This allows you to build equity in the home earlier in the process.
  • Discount Points - Don't like the interest rate offered by the bank? Ask about discount points. You can purchase these and receive a lower interest rate, which can save you money over the life of the loan.
  • Fixed-Rate Mortgage - A fixed-rate mortgage is a conventional loan. Most fixed-rate mortgages are for 15, 20, or 30 years. With a fixed-rate mortgage, your interest rate remains unchanged for the life of the loan.
  • Pre-Approval Letter - Pre-approval letters are issued by the bank and estimate how much money they will lend you to purchase a home. This requires proving income, employment, and credit history. It's a good idea to get a pre-approval letter before you start searching. There are two reasons for this. First, it helps you narrow your search to homes you can afford. Second, it shows sellers you can purchase the home, and it can give you a little leverage during the negotiation process.

Legal Terms

  • Active Contingent - When the seller accepts your offer, both parties may have certain contingencies, you will need to meet. Active contingencies can include the results of a home inspection, mortgage approval, and the seller's purchase of a new property before you can move in.
  • Appraisal - Lenders will require an appraisal of the home's true value before they will approve the loan. The appraisal needs to be conducted by a qualified third party.
  • Clear Title - It is imperative to conduct a title search before purchasing any property. The title search verifies that there are no liens or levies from creditors or government entities. When you receive a "clear title," you have a green light to purchase the home that verifies there are no building code violations, survey problems, back taxes, etc. on the property.
  • Escalation Clause - This clause establishes how much you are willing to bid on a property if a bidding war develops. This clause will set a ceiling on your bid price and the terms that you are willing to accept as part of the deal.
  • Dual Agency - The laws in Virginia allow real estate agents to represent multiple parties in the transaction. There are strict rules regarding this, and it is essential to ask your real estate agent all the parties to the transaction that they represent.

There are a hundred or more terms to learn when buying a home. Contact us and our team will help you study these as you start the process of examining which Richmond homes for sale are best suited for the lifestyle you want to enjoy. 


Guide to Closing Costs for First-Time Buyers

Guide to Closing Costs

Like most major purchases, buying a home involves expenses beyond the reported sale price of the home. Some of these expenses are for processing key paperwork, and others cover measures to help you aware of potential issues with your purchase. Our real estate agents want you to be prepared for the full process of buying a home. Some expenses consist of a flat fee, such as the mortgage application or home inspection fee. Other expenses represent a percentage of the sale price. While exact figures are hard to determine before you make an offer on a specific home, knowing what these expenses are can help you estimate a figure for the assorted expenses involved. 

Go With The Pros

New homeowners can recall one key aspect of buying a house: the reams of paperwork. You're making a large and legally significant purchase, and much of the paperwork will be in complex, legalistic language. Many homebuyers hire an attorney to review the paperwork and ensure that all is in order and that there are no aspects of the sale that will surprise either buyer or seller. It's a small cost compared to a home purchase price and can save you much more in unexpected expenses. 

You'll have a chance to view your new home before you buy it, but what you probably won't have at the open house is the expertise of a home inspector. Home inspectors are trained and licensed to diagnose signs of damage and deterioration and identify areas in need of repair. You can have this done before you make an official offer, or as part of closing. You may also want to have the lot your home sits on surveyed to help establish boundaries and dimensions. It's more common for commercial properties, but can be beneficial for homebuyers to know where their responsibilities end and where their neighbors' begin. 

A Sense of Entitlement 

When you buy a home, you're joining a chain of owners. Occasionally, that chain can get tangled or even break. Your closing costs will include a title search and title insurance to make sure that you bought your home from someone authorized to sell it, and to protect you if a dispute over ownership arises. If you omit these, you may wind up making a significant investment in a home you don't truly own. 

Starting On The Right Foot

Some closing costs represent the initial payments of expenses you'll continue to pay after you take possession. These include property taxes, mortgage insurance, and homeowners insurance premiums. How much you have to pay upfront can vary, and you may be asked to cover a period before your move-in.

If you'd like to get an estimate of closing costs for one of our Richmond homes for sale, this worksheet should give you a good idea of what to expect. If you have further questions about buying a home in Richmond, we'll be pleased to answer them when you contact us.


7 Signs It's Time to Buy a Home

Time to Buy a Home

For most renters, owning a home is the eventual goal – it's just a matter of when to make the leap. Whether you've always wanted to own a home or you're simply growing tired of renting, there are plenty of signs to tell you that now is the time. Our REALTORS® are here to help you decide, with signs that you may be ready to buy a home.

  1. Do You Daydream of Your Own Home?
    Sometimes, the signs are straightforward. When you find yourself going online frequently to scout out Richmond homes for sale and dreaming, it's time to start thinking about turning that dream into reality. If you can already afford a monthly rent payment and your credit is in good shape, a mortgage may be more within reach than you expect.

  2. Family on the Way
    Whether you're transitioning from single to married life or expecting a child, sometimes life changes are the perfect motivation to move from renting to owning. Maybe you want additional space to accommodate a family or a place to settle down in a great school district. Either way, it may be time to buy.

  3. Rising Rents, No Return on Investment
    Tired of paying rent? For the vast majority of buyers, owning a home means taking on a mortgage payment, but that shouldn't scare you off at all. With rent prices rising and the reality that your rent only pays the landlord's mortgage, the ROI isn't there when renting. A mortgage allows you to build equity in the home over time and eventually own it outright, making it a much better investment.

  4. You're in a Good Place Financially
    For many, renting is just a temporary solution on the path to owning a home. If you've been working to save money, build your credit score, and qualify for a mortgage, then you've already taken some of the most important steps. Financial security is an excellent motivator for buying a house.

  5. Falling in Love with a Community
    While you're certainly part of the neighborhood when you rent in a community, buying a house gives you a personal stake in the future of the neighborhood. If you love the place that you currently call home, then it often makes sense to consider a more permanent arrangement.

  6. Customize to Your Heart's Content
    Renting provides flexibility in some ways, but it's also very limiting in others. If you would love to be able to customize your living space, remodel rooms, and make needed additions, then owning is a better option. You're responsible for maintenance on the home, but you're also free to customize your property without permission from a landlord.

  7. You're Prepared for the Additional Costs of Owning a Home
    Buying a house is about more than saving for a down payment and budgeting for monthly mortgage payments. You'll also want to make sure you have the extra cash for moving, repairs, maintenance, and emergencies. When you're prepared for the cost of both purchasing and maintaining a home, you're ready to say good-bye to renting.

Are you ready to take your next steps to toward the dream of homeownership? Our team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Richmond, VA, area.


Is a Multigenerational Home Right for You?

Multigenerational Home - Joyner Fine Properties

Multigenerational homes have become a popular option for buyers in recent years. When you're shopping for Richmond homes for sale, it's worth considering whether a multigenerational home is an option for your family. Of course, choosing the right multigenerational home is a huge key to keeping everyone happy. Our real estate agents put together a guide to help you decide whether a multigenerational home is right for your family.

  • Why More Families Are Considering Multigenerational Homes
    Multigenerational homes have exploded in popularity over the last decade, and the trend doesn't appear to be slowing down. Some families live under one roof to take care of older family members, while others do so for cultural reasons. The housing market crash caused many families to move in together. Also, multigenerational homes are popular for families with recent college graduates who are finding their way on the job market.

  • Deciding Who Will Be Living in Your Multigenerational Home
    Choosing a home to accommodate multiple generations under one roof has its challenges, and knowing who will be living in the house is key. Will there be young children in the home or elderly family members? How much space does everyone need? Will residents share a kitchen and other areas, or will there be entirely separate living spaces? Once you know who's moving in, you can find the right match.

  • Popular Types of Multigenerational Homes
    There are tons of options to choose from when you're searching for a multigenerational home, and the right choice will depend on your family. Duplexes are a popular option and provide entirely separate living spaces. You can also pursue a lot with two separate homes, or a home with a guest house. Some families build apartment spaces over garages, or on other parts of the property. Or you can choose a home with shared spaces, but separate master suites.

  • A Place Where Everyone Can Have Their Space
    To keep everyone happy under one roof, make sure every member of the household has the space they need. Meaning entirely separate living spaces, like in a duplex, or shared areas with private spaces to sleep. While spending time together is a perk of living in a multigenerational home, you want to make sure everyone can have privacy.

  • To Buy or To Build
    Having trouble finding a multigenerational home having everything your family needs? You can shop for a piece of land and have a home custom built to your family's needs. This option can be more costly, but it allows you to customize a home just right for your family.

  • How the Right Real Estate Agent Makes It Easier to Find a Multigenerational Home
    Your real estate should be an asset throughout the process, and it helps to have an agent who is familiar with multigenerational homes. The right agent can answer questions, help you identify prime targets, and make sure you're getting a home suited to your family.

Whether you're shopping for a multigenerational home or any other type of dwelling, our team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the area.


How to Draft a Personalized Offer Letter

Personalized Offer Letters - Joyner Fine Properties

After days, weeks, or even months of browsing Richmond homes for sale, you've found the perfect house for you. Research and diligence have placed you in the best position to take the next steps — submitting an offer.

How to Draft a Personalized Offer Letter in 10 Steps

Before you ask your real estate agent to formally offer a price, you may want to consider writing a personalized offer letter. Sending in a sincere note along with your offer price can make a world of difference, especially when you're competing against other buyers. Our real estate agents suggest following these ten steps when drafting your personalized offer letter.   

  1. Format & Outline

    Any document you create should look as professional as possible. Look for templates or advice on how to format an offer letter. Start with a friendly introduction, perhaps two to three paragraphs for the body and a strong yet amicable closing statement.

  2. Personalize it from the Start

    First, purchase a nice piece of stationary and plan on handwriting the letter for a more personal touch. When addressing the seller, refer to them by name and introduce yourself. You want your message to act as a friendly introduction.

  3. Paint a Picture

    Help the seller visualize who might live in their home. Provide a few details about yourself, such as how large your family is and if you're new to the area. By offering a few personal details, you can help them see you as an individual, not just another prospective buyer.

  4. Find Commonalities

    If there's a way, you can connect with the seller on a significant topic, consider including it. For example, if you've noticed they have décor reflecting a sports team you're a fan or if the flowers they've planted in their garden are your personal favorites, mention it. This could create a more meaningful connection.

  5. Highlight What You Like About the Home

    Pick two or three aspects of the home that you love the most and praise them. Whether it's the large backyard, spacious living room or cozy kitchen, be sure to identify these features as your favorites. Identifying the specifics shows that you'll appreciate the unique features of the house.

  6. Don't Mention Remodeling

    You might want to do a few renovations to the home, but you shouldn't mention that to the seller. They may not agree with your changes or may not appreciate someone remodeling the home.

  7. Extend a Reasonable Offer

    Don't beat around the bush when you state your offer and don't be unreasonable. Extend your offer with confidence and respect, showing that you're serious about moving forward.

  8. End With Impact

    Closeout your letter by thanking them for their consideration and expressing a willingness to make this process as smooth as possible.

  9. Edit Twice, Submit Once

    Don't send it off right after the ink dries! You need to proofread the letter and make sure it looks and sounds professional. We suggest having someone like your real estate agent review it.

  10. Be Confident & Content

    Once you feel like the letter is ready, submit it and try to relax. You've prepared and presented your position the best way you can — now it's time to wait for a reply.

For help finding and putting an offer in on fabulous Richmond homes for sale, contact us today!


How to Make a New Town Feel Like Home

Moving to a New Town - Joyner Fine Properties

Moving to a new city is an exciting experience, but that doesn't mean you'll instantly feel at home. It's only natural to have an adjustment period after moving to a new town. Getting to know your new city can be a fun, exciting process, and there are plenty of little things you can do to make your new town feel like home along the way. Our real estate agents understand what it's like to move to a new community, and we've got tips for how to make a new town feel like home.

  • Start By Getting Comfortable in Your New Home
    If you were shopping for Richmond homes for sale and decided to move to the city, your first step toward making your town feel like home is getting settled in your new home. Unpacking, arranging furniture, and decorating the house will make it feel more like your space. Start with the essentials, and add the personal touches to make your house feel like a home.

  • Treat It Like an Adventure
    Not every move happens by choice, so it can be daunting arriving at a new location when you're moving specifically for work or other necessities. No matter the reason behind your move, it helps to treat the move as an adventure. Every community has something to love. The adventure is in discovering what your new home has to offer and finding new things.

  • Use Online Resources to Research the Community
    You can learn so much about a town before you even move there when you research online. Search for local attractions and events, with a focus on events that help you get to know the community. Check social media for local groups with similar interests to yours, and community organizations that help new residents get to know the area. Research can provide something to look forward to before you move, and make it easier to feel comfortable after you arrive.

  • Don't Be Afraid to Get Social
    What's the easiest way to get to know a community? Socialize with the people who already know and love it! During your online searches and travels around town, look for opportunities to be social, and meet new people. Join local organizations, or head out to social spaces and meet people. Forging new connections will help you feel at home and provides an easy way to learn more about the community.

  • Try New Things
    Connecting with like-minded people who share your interests can tell you a lot about your community, but it's also important to go outside of your comfort zone to try new things. Your new town may not have all the same attractions as your old one, but that only means you'll have lots of new things to explore. Trying new things will help your transition feel like an adventure and can help you find a new hobby! 

When you're ready to start shopping for homes in a new city that you'll love calling home, our team is here to help with all of your real estate needs. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Richmond, VA, area.


Final Walk-through Checklist for Home Buyers

Checklist for Home Buyers - Joyner Fine Properties

You've found your dream home, your offer was accepted, and now you're anxiously awaiting your closing date. 

While it might seem like the hard part is over, there is one more thing you need to take care of before you sign your closing paperwork: your final walk-through. It is your last chance to make sure the home is exactly as it should be before it becomes yours. This is not something you should take lightly. 

During your walk-through, you'll want to make sure that all repairs are complete and that nothing has changed since the last time you saw the home. To help make sure you don't forget anything important, our REALTORS® have created the following final walk-through checklist. Let's get started! 

  1. Gather Up the Essentials
    You're only going to get one shot at your final walkthrough, so make sure you have everything you need before you head out. You'll want to bring your final contract and your inspection summary. Also make sure you have a pen and paper, and your mobile phone and charger (in case you need to take photos or videos). Finally, confirm that your realtor is planning to attend the walk-through with you. 
  2. Check All Repairs
    One of the most important things you'll do during your walkthrough is to confirm that all negotiated repairs have been completed to your satisfaction. Also, make sure the previous owner has left copies warranties for the work and purchase receipts. This will come in handy if you need to follow up after you've purchased the home. 
  3. Make Sure Nothing is Missing
    Your purchase agreement should note exactly what's included in the sale of the home. This includes things like blinds, light fixtures, and appliances. During your walk-through, check to make sure everything that's supposed to be in the home is there.
  4. Check the Outside of the House
    Don't forget about the outside of the home! Walk around and check the condition of the yard, landscaping, and trees. Make sure any landscape lighting, statues, or anything else that should be included hasn't been removed. Check the pool pump and heater. Finally, check the sprinkler system and inspect the fence and gates to ensure there's no damage. 
  5. Inspect Everything One Last Time
    Although you should have already had a full inspection done on your home, things can change from the time the inspection is done and your final walk-through date. It's always a good idea to repeat most of the inspection points including:
    • Make sure all appliances work
    • Make sure all windows open
    • Confirm that no windows or screens are broken or missing
    • Check bathrooms for standing water, water damage, or mold
    • Turn on all faucets and showers
    • Check that the hot water works
    • Check the kitchen for standing water or water damage
    • Test the heating and air conditioning system
    • Turn lights on and off and confirm that all outlets work
    • Check doorbells, security system, and garage door 
    • Check door locks and hinges
    • Look for signs of pests or rodents

Hopefully, everything will look great, and you can look forward to your closing date. If you notice any issues, however, you'll want to discuss them with your REALTOR® who will help you decide on the best course of action. In most cases, any problems can easily be fixed and shouldn't impact your closing date. 

If you haven't found your ideal home yet, now is the perfect time to get started. There are plenty of great properties available in Richmond, and we would love to help you find the one that's right for you. Contact us to get started. 


3 Things To Know In The Housing Market Today!

Daily News On Ipad with Coffee and NotepadA lot is happening in the world, and it's having a direct impact on the housing market. The reality is this: some of it is positive and some of it may be negative. Some we just don't know yet.

The following three areas of the housing market are critical to understand: interest rates, building materials, and the outlook for an economic slowdown.

1. Interest Rates

One of the most important things to consider when buying a home is the interest rate you will be charged to borrow the money. We recently posed the question, "Are Low Interest Rates Here To Stay?" The latest information from Freddie Mac makes it appear they are. We are currently at a 21-month low in interest rates.

30 year fixed rate Mortgage rate

2. Building Materials

Talk of tariffs could also affect the housing market. The National Association of Home Builders reports that as much as $10 billion in goods imported from China are used in homebuilding. Depending on the outcome of the tariff and trade discussions between several countries, there could be as much as a 25% boost in the cost of building materials.

3. Economic Slowdown

At the beginning of the year, many economic leaders thought we could expect a recession in late 2019 or early 2020. As spring approached, we reported that economists had started to push that projection past 2020.  Now, three leading surveys indicate that it may begin in the next eighteen months.

Next Recession Beginning Chart

Bottom Line

We are in a strong housing market. Wages are increasing, home prices are appreciating, and mortgage rates are the lowest they have been in 21 months.  Whether you are thinking of buying or selling, it's a great time to be in the market.

SOURCE: Keeping Current Matters - Steve Harney


How to know if you're ready to buy a house

Buying a house should never be entered into lightly, and often many potential buyers may not realize just how much work it actually takes or the process involved. Doing as much research as possible can help determine exactly what is needed and required, to put a buyer in the best possible position to make a purchase.

Here are ten (10) great ways to help you identify the point at which making a home purchase becomes feasible for you:

1) Little to no credit card debt

When you're trying to get a mortgage, perhaps the most important aspect of doing so is getting your credit card debt reduced as close to zero as possible, according to Money Under 30. That's true for two reasons. First, the size of your credit card balances relative to your limits makes up a significant portion of your credit score. Second, lenders look at debt-to-income ratio. As long as you're carrying relatively small balances from one month to the next (or ideally, not carrying a balance at all), you'll be in good shape.

2) All other loans paid off

One of the biggest hurdles for the millennial generation when it comes to being financially capable of buying a home is student loans. It may not be wise to try to buy until your loan balances under control. That doesn't mean they have to be paid off in full, but they certainly need to be somewhat small relative to your income.

3) Tens of thousands of dollars in savings

Ready to buy?If you're trying to buy a home in today's market, you'll almost certainly need to make a sizable down payment. While it's possible to get mortgages with down payment requirements as low as 3 percent, the added long-term expense could end up costing you significantly over the life of the loan. Making as large a down payment as possible is going to keep your borrowing costs down.

4) A rainy day fund

In addition to the money that will go toward your down payment, it's vital to have some additional money saved just in case something goes wrong with the home, according to Mint. As a general rule, having about $1 per square foot - or 1 percent of the purchase price - in the bank will help cover some basic expenses you're likely to encounter after your home purchase.

5) A long-term plan

Whether you're buying a home for a whole family or as a single person, you need to know what your situation is going to look like two, five, 10 or even 20 years down the road. That will inform a lot of decisions about the kinds of homes you're looking to purchase - i.e. not buying a small one that you'll have to move out of in a few years when you have kids - and how much work you'll have to put in to make sure your finances are in good enough shape to do so.

6) Reliable income

Lenders also want to make sure you're going to be able to keep up with your mortgage payments in the long term, so a steady job is a must, according to Credit Sesame. While no one can predict their employers' future with 100 percent accuracy, it might not be a good idea to go house hunting at a time of turmoil. As long as you're fairly confident in your position, shopping should be no problem.

7) A comfortable cushion

One issue some homeowners encounter after buying a home is they've pushed themselves so far financially trying to get ready for the real estate sales process that they come out the other side in rough financial shape. Being "house poor" means people own a house but otherwise struggle financially because of the cost of that property. You'll need to make sure you're not buying too much house or else risk running into other financial problems even if you can technically afford the mortgage and other costs.

8) An understanding of what constitutes affordability

Along similar lines, it's vital to not only factor in the cost of the mortgage, taxes and so on themselves, but also other expenses. This may include higher electric and heating bills that come with living in a bigger space, more costly insurance coverage (especially if your new home is in an area prone to flooding) and so on. Sitting down and doing the math around the true cost of homeownership will help you avoid being house poor or running into expenses you might not have realized will crop up

9) A list of must-haves and nice-to-haves

When people actually start shopping for homes, it can be easy to fall in love with certain properties, according to Forbes. However, while it would be nice to have a state-of-the-art kitchen with stainless steel appliances, it's probably going to be expensive and not necessary to your happiness in the home. Having a list of things that you will absolutely need out of your new property - big backyard for the kids, finished basement for a home office, etc. - will inform your choices and help you get a better idea of what you can actually afford.

10) A talented and experienced agent

The key role of real estate professionals in every portion of the process cannot be overstated. They will be able to help first-time buyers as well as those who have previously been through the process get as prepared as possible so they can maximize their understanding and the value they get out of buying a home. Experienced agents have likely seen it all and can help shepherd any client through a sale - as either buyers or sellers - with ease.


Buying a home is usually going to be the biggest purchase anyone makes in their entire lives, so it's important to put in a lot of legwork - over a period of months or more - to ensure things go as smoothly as possible at each step of the shopping process. That, in turn, will help you feel more confident in your ability to make a purchase with confidence that you've done everything right. 


Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click



5 tips for first-time buyers

Spring is here and that means many first-time buyers are looking to enter the market. Having the ability to get through that process with as little stress about the purchase as possible is critical in highly competitive markets.

With that in mind, here are five tips that should help first-timers better navigate the real estate sales process without a lot of stress, confusion or hiccups:

1) Work with a qualified real estate professional

First-time buyers in particular are always advised to work with a real estate agent on the process because it can be so complicated and time-consuming, even with professional help, according to The Balance. There are about a million things that can pop up in the course of the search for a home and, even after a deal is agreed upon, the sales process itself. As a result, having an agent you can call or text with questions or concerns as they develop is an absolute must.

2) Get pre-approved

When trying to buy a home, one of the most difficult things for first-time shoppers is finding a budget that works for them and their unique financial situations, and actually sticking to it. When shoppers fall in love with a particular home, it can be easy to bid aggressively and end up agreeing to a price they might not actually be able to afford.

This is one huge reason getting pre-approved for a mortgage is so important: A lender will let you know roughly how much credit they will extend to you, and that should serve as the ceiling for what you can bid. As an added bonus, borrowers will also be able to expedite the sales process itself if they are pre-approved.

3) Narrow the search

With the help of an agent and a budget in mind, first-timers will have a much easier time finding homes they're interested in and really focusing on which will be best for them based on their own needs. Honing in on specific features within a certain price range can help reduce the number of open houses they have to attend.

4) Look beyond the asking price

first-time home buyersIn addition to the expense of buying the house itself, first-timers would be wise to remember the other costs associated with homeownership, according to DaveRamsey.com. Adding in expenses like higher electric and heating bills, homeowners insurance and the cost of making the small home repairs that will likely add up significantly over the course of the year is a must when it comes to determining how much house you can truly afford.

5) This about more than just the house

Finally, it's also important to consider future plans. If first-time buyers think they will be looking to trade up for a bigger house in the next five years, that's something to discuss with an agent. The same is true of local amenities, the quality of school districts for those with kids and so on, because all of this will not only affect the price of the house, but also the quality of life for first-time buyers.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty. HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers. To learn more click www.hmsnational.com


Married and House Hunting: Buying a House That Works for You Both

Home Buying for Couples

If you and your spouse have started researching Richmond homes for sale, you might have noticed that you have different tastes. Whether it's the size, location, or style of home, there's a good chance that you'll need to compromise on some things. Since your home is one of the single largest investments you'll ever make, it's important to make sure you'll both be happy in the long run.

Getting on the same page before you start home shopping will save you a lot of headaches. The last thing you want is to end up in a stalemate that causes you to miss out on a great buying opportunity, or, even worse, make a purchase that you later end up regretting.

Our REALTORS® have plenty of experience in working with couples to help them find a home that's perfect for both of them. Here are some of their best tips to help you get started.

  • Make Separate "Must Have" Lists
    One of the best ways to come to a compromise is to figure out which things you and your spouse agree on. To do this, each of you should make a list of 10 things that are "must-have" features, and 10 "wish list" items. It's best if you make these lists completely separately and compare them only when you're done. 

    Once you've come up with at least a few items that you have in common, you can use this is a basis to start narrowing down your options. When you come across a home that has at least some of the features you both want, you'll find that compromising on other points gets much easier.

  • Set a Realistic Budget (And Stick to It)
    Your dream home can quickly turn into a nightmare if you find out after your purchase that you really can't afford it. Before you even think about looking for a home, both of you need to sit down together and take an honest look at your finances. Consider whether you think your financial situation will stay the same for years to come, or if you need to accommodate for changes like one of you staying home with children. 

    Once you've agreed on a budget, don't fall into the trap of stretching it. It's important that you take emotion out of the equation and stick to your guns, no matter how deeply you fall in love with the home in question. Remember that no home is worth the stress of dealing with financial problems for the next 15 to 30 years. 

  • Use a Rating System
    As you're checking out houses, both you and your spouse should assign each one you see a rating of 1 to 10. This will help you keep track of how you feel about each option and is a good indicator of which ones to rule out immediately and which ones have some potential. 

  • Let Your REALTOR® Help Mediate
    Great REALTORS® have an intimate knowledge of the homes that are currently on the market and can help you find one that comes as close as possible to meet both of your needs. Don't be afraid to tell your realtor about the sticking points you're running into. In most cases, he or she will be the best one to help you find a happy solution. 

Are you ready to start looking for your dream home? We can help!  Contact us at Joyner Fine Properties to get your home search started.

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 08/18/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 08/18/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of CVRMLS (last updated Thu 08/18/2022 1:07:51 AM EST) or Bright MLS (last updated Thu 08/18/2022 12:56:29 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Joyner Fine Properties may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

Privacy Policy / DMCA Notice / ADA Accessibility

Agency License Information: Joyner Fine Properties and its agents are licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Agent License Information: 0225056580 Licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia

Login to My Homefinder

Login to My Homefinder