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March
7

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.

February
28

Just in Time for Spring: Window Cleaning Tips

With spring around the corner, it's time to plan your spring cleaning. One area that many homeowners often overlook is their windows. 

Clean windows maximize the amount of natural light that enters your home; our real estate agents know that gleaming windows also help your home look its best during home showings. 

Here are a few guidelines to follow when spring cleaning your windows. 

  • Start by Vacuuming Around Your Window Sills and Window Frames
    Have you ever tried to wipe up dirt with a wet cloth? If so, you know that it turns to mud, making it more difficult for you to clean. Use the crevice attachment on your vacuum to remove dirt and debris from your window sills and frames. 
  • Choose the Right Materials
    To clean your window glass, you need cleaning materials that won't leave streaks. Usually, it's your rag that leaves streaks, not your window cleaner. Newspaper is one cheap alternative that won't leave streaks, or you can use microfiber cleaning cloths. Depending on how many windows you need to clean, you may want to invest in a squeegee specifically designed for glass cleaning. A squeegee will allow you to quickly remove the excess cleaning solution, so you have a streak-free finish. 
  • Use Soapy Water to Clean Your Window Frames
    When cleaning your window frames, you don't need anything fancy. Usually, a few drops of dish soap and warm water are an effective cleaner. After you wash the frames, make sure that you dry them, as the materials of some frames (like wood or metal) can be damaged by excess moisture. 
  • Remember to Wash Your Curtains or Blinds
    Don't forget to wash your curtains or clean your blinds. Otherwise, they'll transfer dust and grime to your clean windows. You should also wash your window coverings before adding your home to the list of Richmond homes for sale. Remove your curtains and launder according to the instructions. Some curtains can be washed in the washing machine on the gentle cycle, while others require dry cleaning or steam cleaning. To get your blinds clean, use an old sock and a mixture that's half water and half vinegar to dust them. If your blinds are extremely dirty or have a greasy residue, spray them with a degreaser (like the yellow Mr. Clean). Then, wipe them with a warm, wet rag. Make sure that you also dust your window hardware, like your curtain rod or blind brackets. 
  • Remove Your Window Screens to Clean Them
    If your windows have screens, remove them and lay them on a towel or old sheet. Vacuum both sides of your screens to remove dirt and debris. Then, mix a quarter of a cup of cleaner with a half-gallon of warm water. Wash each side of your screens using a sponge or microfiber cloth. Then, rinse them with your water hose on a low setting. Use a dry towel to remove excess moisture before reinstalling your screens. 

With a little time and a few materials, you'll quickly have your windows looking their best. Interested in buying a home with more windows or natural lighting? Contact us today to start your search!

February
21

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!

January
17

2022 Trending Paint Colors

Richmond paint colors

Redecorating after moving into a new home can feel like an insurmountable task. Let's say you've finally closed on one of these Richmond homes for sale and are looking to change up a few things to fit your style better. Now, where do you start?

Let's take a closer look at the trending paint colors that will inspire you in 2022. Make sure to consider the mood you want to inspire and the types of rooms you might want to use these trends for in your home.

  • Bring on the Energy with Red
    Red is energetic, lively and just happens to be the color of good luck. While many people associate the color red with exteriors, country barns, and farmhouses, red is undergoing a renaissance in interiors. Red is becoming a pretty popular color for dining rooms, living rooms, and entryways because of its ability to awaken appetites and spur conversations. When you first paint a room red, it can feel overwhelming. Here, the key is to pay attention to what colors, materials, and décor pieces you pair red with. Red, of course, makes a great accent color. You can paint one wall red or just the ceiling to give the room a nice, cozy feel without overwhelming it. 

  • Evoke Happiness with Yellow
    ​​​​​​​Yellow is the color of happiness and is considered the strongest color psychologically. It brings positive vibes and can instantly lift your mood and energy levels the minute you walk into a room. The shade citron is a muted yellow that's grounding and calming without being draining. It's a beautiful color that's abundant in nature. Plus, it pairs excellently with olive greens. Yellow can make a room feel bigger. Moreover, wooden furniture looks great with yellow walls. Yellow is a great color for living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, and bathrooms. It can awaken a space by inducing excitement and enthusiasm.

  • Green for Calming Shades
    Green is the most prolific color in nature. Painting your walls green can bring about that same calming energy you get when walking in nature. There's a reason actors and TV show guests relax in greenrooms before appearing on talk shows. It's a calming color that brings a sense of relaxation, safety, and security into a space. For this reason, green is a great color for your bedroom, living room, or kitchen. It's also one of the easiest colors to decorate around.

  • Bring Richness with Pantone's Color of the Year
    Soft lilac is going to be everywhere in 2022. It's a shade of purple that's soothing and relaxing. In fact, all shades of purple have this effect to varying degrees. However, deeper shades like plum can make a room feel more luxurious and dignified. The elegance of purple is undeniable, and while it's not the color you expect when walking into a room, it's more versatile than you think. Pantone has released a new color, Very Peri Pantone 17-3938, a vibrant shade of periwinkle designed to pique creativity while bringing warmth and joy into a room. It's been named the Pantone color of the year for 2022, designed to merge the calming qualities of blue with the dynamic presence of a violet-red undertone, making it the perfect color for absolutely any room in your house.

2022 is your year! Our real estate agents are well-versed in Richmond real estate and can help you find a home that suits your style and needs. Contact us today so you can start searching for a home where you can utilize your favorite interior design trends.

December
27

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.

October
18

Best Gifts for a New Homeowner

Homeowner Gifts

Finding the perfect gift can be a challenge, no matter what the occasion. One occasion that may have you scratching your head is shopping for a house-warming present for a new homeowner.

Is your friend or relative settling in among Richmond homes for sale? Our real estate agents have vast experience helping homeowners acquire the home of their dreams or selling their homes so they can move on -- but they also know a thing or two about what a new homeowner might welcome in the way of a gift.

Here are a few suggestions your friend or relative will love having in their newly acquired home.

  1. Every Home Chef Needs One: an Instant Pot
    There are lots of Instant Pots on the market, so you'll have to decide about how many functions (do your friends/family members need the frying function?), and how big (will the 3-quart do for a couple, or does the growing family need a 10-12-quart model?). Regardless of size or number of functions, your giftee will love how fast an Instant Pot can cook dinner so that they can get back to unpacking boxes.

  2. Chip in for a Robotic Vacuum
    A robotic vacuum is perfect for the folks with a big, shedding dog, multiple cats, or just a family with kids tracking dirt in and out. Maybe you have one, and you've seen the amazing way these self-propelled vacuum cleaners go about ensuring the floor is dust-free. They're pricey, though, so maybe this is a gift a couple or more of you can go into buying together. Your giftee will be forever grateful.

  3. Celebrate Their New Space with Wine
    After moving, your giftees may want to break out their new wine glasses and give them a try. There are all kinds of wine glasses on the market these days, and if you didn't know, some are for white wine -- that's the more traditional shape we think of a wine glass having -- and a bigger, more balloon-like shape, which aerates red wine better, bringing out the flavor. What might really work as a gift is a set of four, good-quality wine glasses with pretty patterns etched on them. Consider gifting with a bottle of their favorite wine.

  4. Give a Polyethylene Chopping Board
    These are sturdy enough to stand up to strenuous chopping chores but you can find some pretty ones too, in an assortment of colors. Some are so pretty they can do double duty as a cheese tray. Add in some local cheese to encourage them to use their new chopping board as a cheese tray. Polyethylene chopping boards are easy to clean with soap and water.

  5. Cook up a Present for Their New Kitchen
    The kitchen is the heart of the home, so gifting something for the kitchen means you're giving the new homeowner a great gift! There are plenty of things you can gift to encourage the new homeowner to utilize their new cooking space. Consider spice mixes, olive oils, or fresh pasta from a local farmers market. They'll appreciate the gift when they get to try it out in their new kitchen. 

Need tips on buying or selling a home in the Richmond area? Contact us today. 

August
16

DIY Projects Perfect for a Rainy Day

Rainy Day Projects

Rain, rain go away! Summer showers are bound to happen and even people who love the rain can get cranky when they are cooped up inside all day. You can stave off that boredom by jumping into a DIY project to stay active. Our real estate agents have a few ideas for projects for kids and grownups alike. Some are just for fun, while others are designed to spruce up Richmond homes for sale. Take a look at some of these great options:

  • Update Cabinet Hardware
    Your kitchen will take on a brand new look by simply switching out hinges and handles. New drawer pulls are a great way to add a bright new look to old cabinetry. This is an excellent job for young people just learning how to use tools. If you don't want to replace brass, polish it up to a high shine, and it will look like new. 
  • Change Light Fixtures
    This can have a big impact on any room, but perhaps the greatest is in the bathroom. New lights over the sink are simple to install and will make the room more modern and efficient. Don't forget to change out all of the light bulbs. Upgrading the mirror will also make the room much more attractive to potential buyers. With a minimal purchase and a little time, you can transform the room from tired and dingy to bright and beautiful. While you're at it, installing a new ceiling fan is a similar process, adding both comfort and style to any room. 
  • Deep Clean Appliances
    You'll marvel at the difference a sparkling stove, spotless microwave, glistening refrigerator, and clean dishwasher will make to the appearance of any kitchen. Pay particular attention to fingerprints on brushed aluminum or chrome. Simply running the dishwasher through a cycle with nothing but a cup of white vinegar will remove the detergent build-up, mineral deposits, and small food particles, leaving it smelling fresh and clean. Add a fresh box of baking soda to the refrigerator to neutralize food odors. 
  • Vacuum the Dryer Vent
    Damp lint debris caught in the vent will cause a significant increase in the time required to dry your clothes as well as causing a nasty, musty odor. When that lint dries, it becomes a serious fire hazard. Pull the dryer from the wall and unplug it. Disconnect the dryer hose from the back of the unit and the wall. Vacuum out the lint, or if the hose is damp or shows any signs of damage, consider replacing it. They are only a few dollars at a home improvement store. Clean the wall vent from the inside and the outside of the house to ensure that all debris is removed. Reverse your steps to put everything back in place. 
  • Work with the Kids
    Choose a project appropriate for their ages. Young teens and preteens might be capable of helping with the projects listed for adults. You can teach them valuable tool skills and help them understand home maintenance. You will be amazed at the sense of pride they have after assisting with a home improvement project. Smaller children can make simple crafts such as cardboard birdhouses or creating an indoor herb garden. When lunchtime rolls around, you can give kids of any age cooking lessons.

If you're getting your home ready to sell or looking for a new place, don't hesitate to contact us. Our real estate professionals are always ready to assist you at any point in the buying or selling process. 

May
10

Are You Making These Interior Design Mistakes?

Interior Design

Designing a beautiful home is no easy task. While it may seem simple, it takes a keen, knowledgeable eye to create an interior with that special wow factor! Our real estate agents show a variety of homes that reflect beautiful design style, and we see the difference it makes when buying or selling a home.

As interior designers know, it requires vision, skill, and planning to understand the impact of scale, color, and balance in your home. Many design decisions go into a well-designed interior. In Richmond homes for sale, savvy buyers are looking for interiors that reflect current design trends, so they don't have to sink money into costly design mistakes.

Scale

Scale is so important when designing interior spaces. It's more than just taking measurements to make sure everything fits. Scale means understanding how the size of the room relates to interior furnishings like rugs, furniture, lighting, artwork, and accessories. The slightest mistake can quickly destroy the design style and ambiance in a room. Common design mistakes to avoid:

  • Over-Sized Furnishings – The scale of your furniture must work with the scale of your room. Large rooms with high ceilings are great for oversized sofas, large tables, and heavy armories, but using them in small rooms will make the space feel cramped and uncomfortable.

  • Small Area Rugs – If you fall in love with an area rug that doesn't fit your budget, don't buy a smaller rug just because it does. Area rugs should be anchored under furniture pieces, not floating between them, leaving the room feeling sparse and unfinished.

Color

Colors used in paints, wallpapers, textiles, window treatments, rugs, and accessories have a big impact on your room's comfort and light. While lighter colors reflect light and make rooms feel more spacious, darker colors absorb light, making rooms feel smaller. When choosing interior colors, avoid mistakes that may create an uncomfortable room:

  • Dark Colors – Using dark colors on low ceilings or walls in small rooms can create a gloomy, uncomfortable space that feels claustrophobic, especially when rooms have minimal natural light from windows and doors.

  • Glossy Paints – While high-gloss and semi-gloss paints are great for doors and trim, they often create too much sheen on walls and ceilings. Glossy paints should be avoided on stucco or textured walls where surfaces are uneven or flawed.

  • Large Patterns – Wallpapers and textiles with large, bold patterns and colors can create a showstopping style in a large room, but they quickly overpower everything else in a small room. Consider your room size, furnishings, and light before choosing large, bold patterns.

Balance

Creating good balance in a room means paying attention to important details like the ceiling height, interesting focal points, and symmetrical or asymmetrical features. To avoid mistakes that ruin balance:

  • Create a focal point

  • Vary heights of furnishings, accessories, and light fixtures

  • Spread colors and patterns evenly throughout the room

If your room has a built-in focal point like a beautiful stone fireplace, emphasize it with spot or track lighting. If there's no focal point in the room, you can create one with a wall of colorful paintings or black and white photos. To create a good balance, keep frame colors and finishes to a minimum and make sure that artwork complements other things in the room. In a bedroom, your bed can serve as the focal point with beautiful quilts, linens, and throw pillows that showcase the room.

If you're interested in buying or selling your home, contact us for more information and opportunities. We can help with all your real estate needs.

April
26

The Ultimate Guide to Decluttering Your Kitchen

Kitchen Organizing

If it feels like your counters are consistently cluttered, or you waste precious time searching for the proper kitchen tools each time you cook, it's time to declutter your kitchen.

Ready to make your kitchen more visually appealing and organized? Follow this guide to maximize your decluttering efforts. 

  1. Be Picky with Your Kitchen Utensils
    It's easy to collect a stash of kitchen utensils. After all, if a spatula is still functional, why throw it out? However, take a few moments and consider which utensils you grab when you're cooking. Chances are, you tend to reach for the same spatula or ladle, leaving the rest of your utensils untouched a majority of the time. Get rid of anything that's broken, redundant, or that you haven't used in two years. 
  1. Rethink Bulky Items
    If you have limited kitchen or counter space, rethink how many bulky, oversized items that you decide to keep. Keep only pieces that you've used in the past year or two, and be leery of duplicates. Richmond homes for sale that have less "stuff" tend to look larger and appear more attractive to potential buyers. For the remaining items, consider storing anything that you don't use multiple times a week in your pantry or other storage space. Or, if some of your items are seasonal (like seasonal serving dishes or cookie jars), you can store them in a plastic tote in your garage or attic. 
  1. Group Like Ingredients Together
    When decluttering your pantry or cabinets, you may find that you have several bags or containers of the same ingredient. Store these duplicates together so that you can clearly see how much flour or pasta you have before you head to the store. 
  1. Downsize Your Collections
    It's not uncommon for homeowners to collect mugs or shot glasses, or even recipe books. However, when you have so much of a single item, it's easy for the best items in your collection to get lost. Keep only the pieces that you absolutely love, and display them, so that doesn't sacrifice your counter or cabinet space. A wall-mounted display unit (like a shelf or small cabinet) is an excellent alternative to add to your kitchen. 
  1. Store Like Items Together
    Once you've gotten rid of pieces that don't fit your needs, it's imperative to store your remaining pieces in a way that makes sense for your cooking preferences. This will make it easier for you to find the item when you need to use it. There are a couple of ways to do this. One solution is to store like items together. For example, you might store all your baking sheets together, all your plates together, or all your Tupperware together. Another idea is to store items that you use for the same job in a single location. If you like to grill, you might stow everything that you need for grilling (utensils, silicone mats, spices, and meat thermometers) in the same cabinet. It's trendy to store or display items according to color. While this certainly creates a lovely space, it's usually not the most practical way to organize a kitchen. 

Feel like your home is lacking storage space? Our real estate agents can help! Contact us today to start exploring Richmond homes with spacious kitchens. 

November
2

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.  

September
21

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. 

August
24

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.

May
26

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. 

December
16

Housewarming Party Etiquette Guide for Hosts and Guests

Housewarming Party Etiquitte

One of the most joyful parts of the home buying process is just after closing when the pressure is finally off for everyone, and the homebuyer is ready to move in. Time to throw the housewarming party! If you're throwing this bash or you've been invited to one, there are certain rules of etiquette our REALTORS® want to share so you can have a blast without any faux pas.

Etiquette Tips For Homeowners

When you're planning your first housewarming party, you may not know where to begin. Good etiquette comes before you send out your first invitation. It all begins with when the party is scheduled. You may be impatient to have it as soon as possible, but it is important to make sure that your house is in good order before you plan. You shouldn't be living out of boxes or luggage when your guests show up at the front door. A housewarming party is a presentation, and you want to give yourself enough time to make a good impression.  

Other important points of etiquette include:

  • Invite new neighbors first to make a good first impression
  • Request that guests who are driving in RSVP to ensure sufficient parking spaces
  • Skip the gift registry and permit your guests to gift freely without pressure
  • Be prepared to provide snacks and refreshments in an easy-to-access area
  • Make sure there is enough well-prepared food for everyone during mealtimes
  • Be a personable host and greet each visitor in person, mingling with different groups throughout the event
  • Send thank-you notes for attendance, especially for any gifts that were received

Proper Etiquette For Guests

When it comes to etiquette slip-ups at a housewarming, it can be tougher on the guest than the host. It can be awkward visiting someone's home for the first time. Just remember these points of visitor's etiquette, and you should be fine.  

  • Ask in advance if it is acceptable to bring children, pets, or strangers
  • Be punctual and do your best not to be early or too late, keeping to a 15-minute window
  • Always let the host greet you before you enter the home, even if they're busy
  • Don't show up empty-handed and present any gifts at the door
  • Compliment the home authentically and sincerely
  • Allow the host to give you a tour before wandering off on your own
  • Go easy and don't party too hard, being very careful to prevent any messes
  • Do not linger overlong if the party seems to be breaking up and depart gracefully

Gift Ideas 

If you're unsure what your host needs, a modest gift card may be the best bet. Traditional gifts include bottles of wine, decorative items, and household necessities, such as kitchenware. Avoid bringing food items unless the gathering is planned explicitly as a potluck. If you do have any concerns and have no idea what to get, it is acceptable to ask your host.

Joyner Fine Properties is here to answer all your questions about the home buying process. Check out our selection of  Richmond homes for sale and contact us for answers to all of your real estate questions.

November
25

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.

September
23

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!

September
16

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.

May
30

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

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March
25

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. --

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