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Megan Napier
REALTOR®
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Articles Tagged "First-time Buyers"

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March
28

How to Save for a Down Payment

Down Payment

Saving for a down payment may seem difficult, especially if you're new to the idea of buying a home. It's not impossible, though, and a carefully planned strategy can make all the difference in helping you save. Here are a few suggestions from our real estate agents to help you save up a down payment.

  • Figure Out Your Goal
    If you think you have to save a full 20 percent to qualify for a mortgage, that may be making your home buying dreams seem less attainable than they actually are. In truth, the biggest difference not having 20 percent will make is that you'll have to pay an additional amount for private mortgage insurance. But it's still possible to buy a home with as little as 3 percent down. Figure out how much that will be, and don't forget to add another 3 to 6 percent to cover your closing costs. That gives you a minimum, and probably much more doable, goal to strive for as you save.

  • Pay Down Your Debt
    If you're still making payments every month on your debt, it'll make it difficult to put aside money for savings, so focus first on paying down that debt as much as possible. Pay off small amounts first, just to minimize the number of payments you have to make each month, and then prioritize paying off the debts with the highest interest rates. If you can't pay it all off, you might be able to refinance and cut down your payments that way, helping you to funnel more money into savings.

  • Cut Unnecessary Spending
    Now for the hard part! The best way to save money is, of course, to spend less. This means going through your monthly budget and spending records with a fine-toothed comb and reducing or eliminating the amount you spend on unnecessary stuff. You can save a lot by cutting the cable and switching to Netflix, and cooking at home, so you're not spending a lot on eating out and takeout. It's not going to seem like big savings at first, but over time it'll add up. If you need reminders of why you're saving, keep pictures of your favorite Richmond homes for sale posted where they can help you make good decisions, such as in the kitchen, to help motivate you to cook.

  • Save Any Extra Money
    If you get a bonus at work or a tax refund, for example, put that money away as soon as you get it. This keeps you from spending it and adds a significant amount all at once to your savings account. You can also find some deliberate ways to bring in extra money, such as selling off possessions you no longer need or picking up a side hustle, and stash that in savings as well.

  • Automate Your Savings
    Another tactic for making sure you make good decisions is to automate your savings. Set your accounts up to automatically transfer a certain amount of each paycheck into savings, for example. Never seeing that money in your account in the first place can help keep you from dipping into it, whether intentionally or accidentally.

As you save for your down payment, don't forget that there are programs to help reduce the down payment burden for first-time homebuyers. For more information about down payments or questions about buying your first home, contact us today.

November
15

7 Common Real Estate Myths

Real Estate Myths

Sometimes a myth is fun to believe, but other times, it has a negative impact on your ability to accomplish your goals. Our real estate agents know that real estate myths are fairly common in our industry. Here are several we've heard over the years that we want to debunk. 

  • Myth 1: Real Estate Agents Want You to Hurry Up and Buy a Home
    Real estate agents absolutely want you to find and buy a home, but they don't want it to be just any home. They want you to find a home that meets your needs so that you're a happy client. Unhappy clients are often very vocal about their experiences, and many agents receive recommendations from their satisfied clients. 
  • Myth 2: You Need a Lot of Cash to Buy a Home
    While it's always wise to have cash set aside for emergencies or homebuying expenses, you don't need a ton of cash to purchase a home. An FHA mortgage allows a down payment as small as 3.5 percent of the home's purchase price. Conventional mortgages may call for a down payment of 5-10 percent of the home's purchase price.
  • Myth 3: The Best Mortgage is the One with the Lowest Payment
    The loan with the lowest payment isn't always your best choice. Choose a mortgage that fits your financial needs. A shorter loan term will have higher payments, but you'll have a lower interest rate and pay less interest over the life of the loan. Look at a couple of options and decide which one is the right fit for you.
  • Myth 4: You Should Start Searching for a Home Before Anything Else
    Hold off your home search until you're preapproved for a home loan. Obtaining mortgage preapproval lets you know that you can for sure obtain a mortgage and it lets you know exactly how much you can spend. Make sure you get preapproved rather than prequalified for a loan. The preapproval process is much more intensive and accurate than the prequalification process. 
  • Myth 5: Open Houses are Absolutely Necessary to Sell Your Home
    The success rate of an open house depends in part on your area. However, it isn't absolutely vital to hold open houses in order to sell your home. If you decide to forgo an open house, you do need to make sure that your family is prepared for a showing on short notice. Buyers typically want to view potential homes as quickly as possible, and sellers are generally expected to adjust to the buyer's schedule. 
  • Myth 6: You Can Save Money Selling Your Home Yourself
    Some home sellers try to sell their homes on their own. This move can potentially cost you money and lengthen the amount of time that it takes for you to sell your home. When you hire a real estate agent, they'll add your home to the MLS database of Richmond homes for sale. This allows it to reach more potential buyers. Agents also know to negotiate a fair deal and confirm that all the necessary tasks are completed before your closing date. 
  • Myth 7: Start with a High Listing Price
    It's a bad idea to list your home at a high price, assuming that you can always lower the price if it doesn't sell. The longer a home is on the market, the less attractive it is to potential buyers. Buyers tend to assume that homes on the market for extended periods have something "wrong" with them. They're unlikely to pay a price that seems above the fair market price for the home. 

Our team has the experience needed to help you successfully navigate the Central Virginia real estate market. Contact us today for assistance!

August
30

What to Know About Credit Scores Before Buying a Home

Credit Score Tips

Credit scores have long been a mystery to homebuyers, in both how they are determined and how they matter in the long run. Most people think that if you pay your bills on time, you'll have a good score, but our real estate agents can tell you that there is far more to it than that. But while the exact formula used to determine your score is not public knowledge, you still have a great deal of control over it. Here's how you can optimize your credit score and qualify for a mortgage with a good rate.

  • Monitor Your Credit Activity
    Federal law requires that you be able to access your credit reports once each year, free of charge. Ignore all the ads you see for quick credit repair and go to the federally mandated site: annualcreditreport.com. Run one report from TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian. Each will have the same information and will vary by only a few points. Check for any item that is not accurate. Such items could be fraudulent use of your name and Social Security number, debts that were paid but still show open, or items older than seven to ten years. A single negative item can drop your credit score by a hundred points or more!
  • Pay Down Your Debts
    You may think that paying the minimum balance on time each month will mean you have great credit, but it's important that you don't use close to your limit. You never want your debt to exceed 30 percent of your total credit available. Carrying a monthly balance on a card does not increase your credit score. Paying it off each month does. Many people with high credit scores use one card each month for convenience in tracking expenses, then pay off the entire balance each month. Not only does this practice support a healthy score, but it also eliminates interest payments.
  • Don't Chase Credit
    Retailers often lure buyers with special deals if they apply for a store credit card. Credit companies consider the length of time the card has been open, lowering scores for new cards. Be particularly careful when purchasing a car, as multiple credit checks can also indicate poor financial health. Apply for additional credit with as much consideration as you use when considering a major purchase. This is an example of a hidden cost.
  • Maintain a Healthy Credit Mix
    Maintaining a few credit cards and paying them off each month will help your overall score, but the scoring model also looks at car loans, cash loans, and mortgages. Making your payments late on any of these, even by just a few days, can really damage your credit score. Just because you make your payment before a late fee is applied, that doesn't mean "on time." Use auto-draft options if you have trouble tracking payments to avoid being late. 
  • Understand How Your Score Affects Your Rate
    Mortgage companies offer different interest rates for different credit scores. While you may be able to qualify for a $300,000 home with a credit score of 620, that could mean an APR of about 3.962%. The same loan to a buyer with a credit score of 800 may have an APR of about 2.373%. The difference over 30 years is $93,611!

If you're considering Richmond homes for sale, be sure to contact us for help navigating the mortgage process. 

January
27

Understanding Real Estate: The Home Search

Understanding Real Estate – a new series of educational videos from Napier Realtors ERA!

Our first video is all about HOW & WHY to do the real estate home search. Some ways are better than others (looking at you, Zillow) – learn how to search with the home experts!

January
15

2020's Final Market Update

Final 2020 Market Update

Central Virginia had a very active December 2020! After an unexpected year, we are happy to see the market staying active and fast-moving!

December had thousands of transactions and we're seeing big jumps in higher home prices as time goes on, month over month, year over year.

Let's see what 2021 will bring for CVA! Contact Napier Realtors ERA for your buying and selling needs and view homes for sale now.

November
16

October 2020 Market Update for Central Virginia

Central Virginia is still buying and selling as we move into the fall!

October had thousands of transactions and we're seeing big jumps in higher home prices as time goes on, month over month, year over year.

Contact Napier Realtors ERA for your buying and selling needs. https://www.napierera.com/contact/

October
12

Tri Cities Market Update

Central Virginia Is Still Buying And Selling As We Move Into The Fall – especially in the Tri Cities area!

From Dinwiddie to Colonial Heights, to Fort Lee from Petersburg – we've got the Tri Cities covered!

Contact Napier Realtors ERA for your buying and selling needs. https://www.napierera.com/contact/

October
7

Fall 2020 Market Update

Central Virginia is still buying and selling as we move into the fall!

September had thousands of transactions and we're seeing big jumps in higher home prices as time goes on, month over month, year over year.

Contact Napier Realtors ERA for your buying and selling needs. https://www.napierera.com/contact/

September
8

August 2020 Market Update

 

Central Virginia is still buying and selling in Summer 2020!

August had thousands of transactions and we're seeing higher home prices as time goes on, month over month, year over year.

Contact Napier Realtors ERA for your buying and selling needs. https://www.napierera.com/contact/

August
31

6 Things to Know Before You Buy Your First Home

Buy First HomeBuying a new home can be exciting, complicated, and overwhelming all at the same time. After all, it's also commonly considered one of the largest financial decisions many people will make in a lifetime. With so much on the line, it can be easy to make mistakes, especially if you're buying your first home. Being prepared is the best way to avoid costly pitfalls. If you're considering these Richmond homes for sale, below are six things to know before you buy.

  1. Always Use a REALTOR®
    Working with a REALTOR® is the best way to avoid costly mistakes. Not only are they trained negotiators, real estate agents can guide you through the entire home-buying process from start to finish. They can help you narrow down your choices, save you a lot of time, and provide information about a particular neighborhood. 

  2. Always Put Down 20%...Unless You Can't Afford It
    You should make every effort to make a 20% down payment. Otherwise, you might be stuck paying private mortgage insurance (PMI). This covers the lender in the event you default on your mortgage, and it can cost you thousands in unnecessary expenses. However, if making a 20% down payment leaves you with little to no savings, you may be better off paying PMI in the short term, as owning a home can come with many unexpected costs.

  3. You Should Get Prequalified Before Looking at Homes
    If you've decided you're ready to purchase your first home, it might be tempting to start booking appointments and viewing houses. However, the best first step is to get prequalified for a mortgage. This not only helps you understand what you can afford, but it signals to potential buyers that you are seriously in the market. The last thing you want to do is miss out on the home of your dreams because you're not prequalified.

  4. Home Inspections Often Uncover Issues
    It's not uncommon for a home inspector to discover a wide range of issues before the closing, so it's important to be prepared and temper your expectations. Keep in mind the negotiation process can continue after the home inspection, so you can use the results to your advantage to have the seller fix an issue or reduce the cost of the home.

  5. The Closing Process Can Take Awhile
    Many first-time homebuyers are surprised by how long it takes to actually close on a home. Unlike other major purchases, the process is lengthy and can take anywhere from 30-60 days on average to close after a seller accepts your offer.

  6. Don't Forget About the Closing Costs
    In addition to your down payment, you also need to account for closing costs, which are fees that cover inspections, title services, taxes, appraisals, and many other expenses involved with the transaction. Closing costs can range anywhere from 2-7% of your sale price, and they must be paid upfront.

If you're in the market for your first home, our real estate agents can help guide you along the way. Contact us today!

August
10

July/August 2020 Market Update

July and August are going strong for home sales!

The time to list your home in Central Virginia could be now! Home inventory is low, and prices are rising. The real estate market in our area continues to be extremely active and in the month of July alone, 2525 homes were listed, and 2655 homes were successfully sold! The average sales price in our area was $320,592 in July 2020, up 6.8% over last year.

If you've been putting off listing your home, this could be the perfect opportunity to contact a Napier ERA sales professional, who can give you an accurate assessment of what you can expect in your local market. 

Contact Napier ERA today to get started!

July
13

Summer Market Update

Summer Market Update

Central Virginia is still buying and selling in Summer 2020! June had thousands of transactions and we're seeing higher home prices as time goes on. Even the average price has increased since June 2019. Watch our latest video for all the latest numbers.

 

Contact Napier Realtors ERA for your buying and selling needs. 

June
15

Summer 2020 Market Update

May & June are going strong in Richmond's Real Estate Market

It's a GREAT time to list your home in Central Virginia because home inventory is low and prices are rising.

The real estate market in our area continues to be extremely active and in the month of May alone, 2,513 homes were listed, and 1,952 homes were successfully sold!The average sales price in our area was $300,826 in May 2020 compared to $288,203 last May – more than a 4% increase!

If you've been putting off listing your home, this could be the perfect opportunity to contact a Napier ERA sales professional, who can give you an accurate assessment of what you can expect in your market.

Contact Napier ERA today to get started!

 

May
18

Spring Market Update

Central Virginia is still buying and selling in Spring 2020! April brought us over 4000 transactions – and May is going strong! 

Keep up with all the latest Richmond housing news when you Subscribe to our YouTube Channel and Like Us on Facebook

May
18

Open vs Closed Floor Plan: How to Choose the Right One for You

Open and Closed Floor Plan

Home design trends are fun to stay updated on, which is why there are so many TV shows dedicated to highlighting them! But seeing a trend take shape on a home renovation show is different from considering it as a prospective homeowner. Open floor plans have cycled in and out of fashion for quite a long time, and according to The Spruce, the most recent trend started in the 1990s. If you're considering homes built after 1950, you'll probably see a few open floor plans among the Richmond homes for sale. Determining whether they are right for you involves paying attention to several key factors. 

Mix and Mismatch

Open floor plans work best when the decor scheme is consistent, or at least harmonious, between spaces. A farmhouse kitchen and a shabby chic dining room will work well together, but if your coffee table is glass and chrome and your kitchen table weathered wood, the lack of a wall between the two will make that contrast jarring. This includes major appliances, so if you have a chrome refrigerator that you love, it may wind up influencing the look of the entire first floor. A closed floor plan creates a mental "reset" as you move through doors to new rooms, so if you have very different styles for different rooms, a closed floor plan might be for you. If you have an eclectic style, or if your preferred style is consistent throughout your home, an open floor plan is a great way to show that off. 

The Family That Stays Together

If you have children, floor plans affect family life in distinct ways. The flow of sound in the household isn't broken up by doors, which may not be the best situation when you're trying to get a toddler to nap so you can make a phone call. Some open floor plans have closed kitchens, which can be crucial to the safety of very young children. Older kids and teens may want privacy. But opening up a floor plan can also encourage the family to interact more. You may get to hear more about your teen's day at school besides the fact that it was "fine." But if you need to tiptoe backward out of the nursery so you can finally watch a movie, a closed floor plan is best. 

Over the Overflow 

Without walls and doors to break up a space, everything moves freely. This can include heated or cooled air into spaces that aren't being used, dust into far corners, and various household items into spaces where they don't belong. For large homes with young children, keeping heating and cooling costs down while maintaining an organized home could be challenging. But if your dream home is small and you keep clutter to a minimum, an open floor plan can be an excellent choice.

Our REALTORS® will be happy to discuss the best floor plan options for the way you live. 

There is no universally ideal home design, which is why there are so many. Whether a home design is on trend is much less important than your comfort. We're here to help you find the home you love, so contact us today.

December
30

Real Estate Terms: Pre-qualification vs. Pre-approval

Real Estate Terms

Our REALTORS® know getting a mortgage on the best terms is something all buyers think about. That's especially true of first-time buyers! When you're exploring the best Richmond homes for sale, sound financing means peace of mind.

Luckily, the mortgage process is a lot easier than it seems at first!

The more you know, the simpler it is to get a mortgage loan you can be happy with. We'd like to address one of the most common questions about home financing our team gets: The difference between pre-qualifying for a loan versus receiving pre-approval.

Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval: What's the Difference?

When it comes to getting a great home loan, starting sooner makes life easier.

Prequalification and preapproval are steps you take to smooth the path to your final loan package. You can think of one of them as the trial run, while the other is the "real deal."

Pre-qualifying can happen in a matter of minutes the first time you talk to your lender. You discuss your finances and get a ballpark estimate for what loan amount you can expect. It's not necessary to document your income, and you're not committing.

Pre-qualification is often the first or second step someone takes before starting a house hunt since it indicates what homes and neighborhoods to focus on. It's a good idea to check with several different lenders and take an average of their estimates.

Pre-approval, on the other hand, represents a conditional commitment by your lender. During the pre-approval process, you submit detailed documentation of your income. The lender takes extra steps to verify your financial health, including a detailed credit check.

Once you "pass" pre-approval, your loan package is effectively ready. You can bid on a home at or below your conditional loan approval amount. However, you need to act quickly. Specific loan amounts and rates are usually only locked in for 30-90 days.

A loan commitment is a final step. It's issued only when the lender approves both the funding amount and the property. This takes longer because lenders want to make sure the home is insurable, usually by awaiting the results of a home inspection.

Why Do Both Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval?

Technically, you can skip pre-qualification if you wish. It is not a requirement, but it will give you some beneficial advantages as you move through the buying process.

First and foremost, you'll never have to guess how much funding you may qualify for. That saves you time and effort you might otherwise waste on properties that won't fit your budget.

Plus, you have the chance to see whether a given lender seems right for you. How a lender responds to your questions and discusses your needs can provide you with plenty of insight.

Pre-approval is valuable, too. Although it's not the same as a loan commitment, it gives you a negotiating edge when working with sellers. They'll know you are ready to move forward right away. Only cash bidders can offer sellers a faster process.

Whether you're pre-approved, pre-qualified, or just getting started, Napier ERA is here for you.

Our experienced team members are experts in the Richmond area. We'll work with you to find properties fitting your needs and your budget. Contact us to find out more.

December
16

13 Gift Ideas for First-Time Homebuyers

Homeowner Gift Ideas

For first-time buyers, furnishing a new home is equal parts fun and intimidating. Give a gift this holiday season that will help warm up a new home.

Get holiday gift inspiration from this baker's dozen list of holiday gifts for first-time homebuyers compiled by our REALTORS®.

  1. Throw Blankets and Pillows
    You can never have too many throw blankets and pillows. Create a new look in five minutes just by changing them out based on season, theme, or mood. Throw blankets and pillows also create a cozy, comfortable ambiance.

  2. Pizza Baking Stone
    A pizza baking stone lets first-time homebuyers maintain the regular pizza night schedule without denting the budget. Great for baking homemade bread as well.

  3. Meal Delivery Service
    When the pressures of work and home get to be too much, cooking is the last thing on your mind. Make it more comfortable with a gift card for Blue Apron, HelloFresh, or another convenient meal delivery service. For those stressful days, go with a gift card for a restaurant delivery service like DoorDash or Uber Eats.

  4. Instant Coffee Maker
    Today's K-cup coffee makers deliver a fresh cup of java instantly with no guesswork. Include a K-cup sampler of different brands and flavors so they can expand their coffee horizons.

  5. Basic Toolbox
    Being responsible for home maintenance can be a rude awakening for many first-time buyers. A toolbox filled with a hammer, pliers, screwdriver kit, tape measure, level, wrench, and other essentials eases the transition.

  6. Doormat
    Help the new homeowners welcome guests in style with an eye-catching doormat. Personalize it with names, sayings, or themes revolving around personal interests. 

  7. Amazon Prime Membership
    It's Amazon's world, and we're just living in it. A Prime membership includes free two-day delivery and automatic shipment options on an unbelievably wide range of products along with streaming video and music for at-home date nights.

  8. Snap-On USB Outlets
    Between phones, tablets, e-readers, and other high-tech devices, old-school electrical outlets aren't enough. Outlet cover plates with built-in USB ports take just minutes to install and provide power access for all your gadgets.

  9. Bartending Kit
    Entertaining is one of the joys of homeownership. Get the party started with a pro-style mixology set including a cocktail shaker, corkscrew, ice tongs, and mixing spoon. Many kits come in attractive cases and stands that look good even when they're not in use. 

  10. Linens
    Towels and sheets are another category of household items that are always needed. Before buying sheets, make sure you know the correct bed size.

  11. Personal Assistant
    With Amazon Echo or Google Assistant, a busy owner can check the weather, make a shopping list or turn on some music even in the middle of other tasks.

  12. Vases
    Vases are one of those items that are rarely thought about until they're needed. They come in an endless variety of colors and styles to fit any decor. Some vases even perform double duty, such as bookend vases.

  13. Subscription Boxes
    Traditional wine- and cheese-of-the-month services have exploded into subscription boxes tailored to any interest. Choose from makeup and skincare, vegan products, pet toys and accessories, wellness care, hot sauces, crafts, and even clothing and underwear. 

Any of these items would make wonderful accents for the beautiful Richmond homes for sale. Whether you're buying or selling, contact us to get started.

November
25

HOA Pros and Cons: Know Before You Buy

HOA Pros and Cons

While showing our clients the best Richmond homes for sale, many of our REALTORS® have gotten questions about HOAs.

An HOA – Homeowners Association – is an organization that oversees property maintenance and special amenities for a particular group of homes. HOAs can be established in an average neighborhood, but you will usually find them in planned communities and some apartments.

Before you move into an HOA home, you need to meet with a representative. That person will go over the guidelines contained in a document called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions. This spells out what residents can and can't do.

Naturally, there are pros and cons to the decision to move forward:

Pros of an HOA

  1. More Responsive Maintenance
    A significant portion of HOA fees goes back into the property, including all types of maintenance. Residents are not responsible for maintaining the grounds, usually get lawn care, and might even have certain repairs on their own homes performed at a discount or for free.
  2. Better Home Amenities
    HOA neighborhoods tend to have "centerpiece amenities" to make them attractive to prospective residents. For example, they may have a pool, golf course, or clubhouse. All of these are maintained out of the general HOA fund and kept available for you to use.
  3. Greater Sense of Community
    HOA staff are often involved in planning and hosting community events. If you like having opportunities to meet your neighbors and make new friends, this can be great. You could enjoy anything from a free barbecue to karaoke night depending on the local culture.
  4. Clear Dispute Resolution
    If your HOA is not fulfilling its side of the bargain, there are ways to deal with disputes. The process is often much easier than addressing problems with a landlord. The HOA can even help resolve certain types of neighborly disagreements, like noise complaints.

Cons of an HOA

  1. HOA Fees
    Most buyers consider HOA fees to be a major drawback. These fees can make up a significant portion of your home's cost of ownership. Fees can go up within a very short time, and can even be raised on a temporary "emergency" basis to complete a project.
  2. Lack of Freedom
    HOAs all vary in the types of rules and restrictions they enforce. In general, residents will be expected to uphold specific standards about the exterior of the home. You may not be able to paint the exterior your favorite color or do your landscaping how you want it.
  3. Potential for Foreclosure
    Your HOA may be able to foreclose on your home if you fall behind on association dues for any reason. Debt collection procedures are specified in your covenants. However, some HOAs are notorious for their aggressive collection practices. Know an HOA's reputation before you move.
  4. Inconsistent Management
    Some homeowners associations are terrific with responsive customer service. Others, not so much. Since the management of a community can change hands, you might find yourself dealing with new management at almost any time.

The key to a successful experience with a homeowners association is to gather information from multiple sources. In addition to HOA representatives, talk to current residents – and previous ones, if possible. 

The experts at Napier ERA will help you find the ideal HOA development for you.

Contact us today to get started.

November
18

Tips for Getting Settled in Your New Home

Getting Settled in New Home

Between packing and loading the truck to transporting kids, pets, and belongings to a new home, moving can be stressful. Although most people breathe a big sigh of relief when they land in their new surroundings, getting settled can also be overwhelming. Our REALTORS® know that there's so much more to settling in than moving furniture and unpacking. Here are some tips on how to make the process run smoothly and get settled into your new place.

  • Forward mail and transfer utilities.
    Before you move, fill out a change of address form on the USPS website and have the utilities transferred and turned on at your new home. This will help you avoid headaches such as walking into a dark house with no electricity or missing important mail. To change your address with your bank, credit card companies, and other financial institutions contact them directly.

  • Check out your home's safety features.
    You have no idea how many keys were made, so it's vital to change the locks as soon as you move into your new home. Take a look around and locate the circuit breakers, fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and water and gas shutoff valves.

  • Clean as you go.
    It can be tempting to start unpacking and immediately arrange furniture, rugs, and other items but cleaning is easier if you do it before unpacking. Start with vital rooms like the bathrooms, bedrooms, and kitchen.

  • Unpack much-used items first.
    Having your favorite cozy sweater handy can be a comforting way to settle in. Make up the beds with fresh sheets so you can slip into a good night's sleep from the first day you're there. Unpacking items you frequently use in the kitchen will make it easier to prepare your first meal. Making kids' favorite toys and art supplies accessible will keep them busy and help them adjust to their new surroundings.

  • Cook something simple.
    Nothing says home like a homemade meal, right? While it may be tempting to order pizza and keep on unpacking, taking the time to prepare a meal and sit down and eat with the family is about as homey as you can get. It doesn't have to be fancy. An easy pasta dinner and salad can quickly be eaten picnic-style on the floor and gives you a chance to relax around a home-cooked meal.

  • Get personal.
    Unpacking family photographs, children's artwork, favorite books, candles, and music can make the transition to a new home much more enjoyable.

  • Check out the area.
    Take a walk around the neighborhood and introduce yourself to any neighbors you may encounter. Talking with other people who live in the area is a great way to find out about the best restaurants, parks, movie theaters, and other can't-miss places in your community. Check out your local grocery store and take the kids to the park or library to get a feel for what's happening around town.

  • Celebrate!
    Once you've unpacked and feel a little more settled, hold a small gathering to celebrate your new beginnings. Don't worry about your house being perfectly decorated or spotlessly clean—it won't matter to your friends and family.

Are you interested in learning more about Richmond homes for sale? We can help you find a home you'll love. Contact us to get started.

August
26

Put it in Writing- Benefits of Personalized Offer Letters

Personalized Offer Letters - Napier ERA Realtors

In a crowded marketplace, homebuyers are doing anything they can to stand apart from the crowd. And while making a smart bid is important, it's not always the highest bidder who wins. Often, it's a personal touch that wins sellers over. 

Our real estate agents have found that writing a personalized offer letter is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out. Here's why it works – and how you can write a great message that puts you at the head of the pack. 

Why Personalized Offer Letters Work

Buying a home is a financial decision, but it's also a personal one. Selling a home is the same way. There are a lot of emotions tied up in the process of selling a house, especially if the seller has lived there for a long time, made a lot of memories, or maybe even raised a family there. In many cases, the seller doesn't just want to sell the house; they want to make sure it's in good hands.

That's where writing a letter comes in. It's an opportunity to make a personal connection with the seller, to let them know that you're the right person to live in their house and that you see the house as more than a collection of rooms – that you care. The personal touch of writing a letter can also give you a leg up if you aren't the highest bidder on the property. Writing a great personalized offer letter is a perfect option if you're in one of these situations: 

  • It's a seller's market.
  • The home you're looking at is receiving a lot of offers.
  • You aren't able to offer the full listing price.
  • You're worried about losing a bidding war.

Writing a Great Letter

Writing a letter is an opportunity to convey your feelings about the house, but it's important not to get too swept up in your emotions. Plan your message carefully, and follow these tips to write an offer letter that stands out:

  • Seek common ground. Find things you have in common with the seller to help build a connection. It could be something big, like the fact that you're both raising a family, or it could be a small detail, like noticing that you both have a lot of bird feeders in the yard.
  • Stay positive. Focus on how much you like the house, and avoid anything that might make you sound desperate, like mentioning how many other houses you've made offers on. 
  • Show why you like the house. It's important to convey what you like about the house, and why. Don't gush or be overly flattering, but be clear about what it was that made you fall in love with their home. 
  • Keep it short. Include all the information you need to include, but don't go on and on. The last thing you want is for the seller to get tired of reading.
  • Don't mention remodeling. If you have it in mind to make any changes or do any remodeling on the house, it's best to leave that out. Afterall the seller might object to your plans. 
  • Proofread your letter. Make sure there are no spelling and grammar mistakes. Read the letter out loud to see how it flows.

Contact us today to learn more about making a great offer that no seller can ignore. From start to finish, our real estate agents are here to help you along on your journey toward homeownership. 

July
29

Buying a House? Here's Help to Improve Your Credit Score

Home Buying Improve Your Credit Score

7 Steps to a Better Credit Score

So, you're ready to make the leap from renting to owning your own home, but you're worried that your credit score might hold you back. If that's the case, you're far from alone. Our real estate agents get a lot of questions about how prospective homeowners can improve their credit score before buying a house, and we're here to provide some answers. 

  1. Get Started Early
    As much as we'd all like to improve our credit scores overnight, bear in mind that working on your credit is a marathon, not a sprint. There are plenty of actions you can take that will boost your credit and make you look better to lenders, but they take time. The earlier you can start working on your credit, the better off you'll be.
  2. Check Your Credit Report
    TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian all offer free credit reports. Get your hands on one, and go over it carefully. Not only will this give you a better idea of where you stand and what you need to do to make improvements, but it also gives you a chance to check for errors. Many credit reports contain mistakes that you can dispute, immediately improving your score. 
  3. Keep Your Bills Current
    We know this is sometimes easier said than done, but paying your bills on time is one of the best things you can do for your credit score. Most creditors will report whether your payments are timely or not, and your payment history affects 35 percent of your credit score, making it the biggest single contributing factor. If you have trouble remembering to pay bills on time, set up automatic payments to take forgetfulness out of the equation. 
  4. Improve Your Credit Utilization
    Credit utilization is the ratio between your credit card balances and your credit limits. For example, if you have outstanding credit card debts of $300, and your credit limit is $1,000, then your credit utilization is 30 percent. You want this number to be as low as possible, and the best way to achieve that is to free up credit by paying off your credit card debts.
  5. Use Credit Responsibly
    Using credit cards isn't a bad thing. In fact, making responsible purchases and routinely paying credit card bills on time is a great way to build credit. So once you have your credit card debt under control, feel free to use credit cards to pay bills and make small purchases; just make sure to keep the balance current.
  6. Keep Positive Accounts Open
    You might be tempted to close out credit accounts once you've paid them off or eliminate old lines of credit that you no longer use. In reality, there is no discernible benefit to doing this, and it could actually hurt your credit score. Actually, leaving old accounts open can help your credit score by giving you a longer credit history. 
  7. Be Careful About Getting More Credit
    There are pros and cons to opening new lines of credit. On one hand, having more available credit will improve your credit utilization ratio. On the other, opening a new line of credit decreases the average length of your credit history, which may hurt your score. Be sure to carefully weigh the potential costs and benefits before you open any new credit accounts.

We firmly believe that homeownership should be within everyone's reach, and we're committed to providing the tools you need to make that dream a reality. In fact, we've designed a home-buying tool just for you! You enter a few pieces of information, and we'll return a list of homes we think are affordable for you based upon those entries.

Our mortgage partner, Movement Mortgage, is available to assist you in qualifying for and obtaining a home loan.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can boost your credit score and improve your ability to own your own home. 

Napier ERA Home Buying Help

November
13

7 Tips for Buying a Home in Henrico During the Holidays

Henrico Buy a Home for the Holidays
Fall is in the air and the holiday season is gearing up. As you prepare to do your holiday shopping, our real estate agents want you to know that there is no better gift to your family than a new home. As you consider homes for sale in Henrico, the following are seven tips that can turn your homeownership dreams into a reality this holiday season. 

  1. Golden Geese Lay Great Deals
    Holidays are not prime season for home sales which means that when you find a good deal, it is often a bargain. Sellers who list their home between November to January are typically highly motivated to make a deal. If you are willing to be patient and work with buyers on move-in dates, etc., you will find plenty of opportunities to pad your nest egg with plenty of gold.  

  2. Watch Interest Rates Closely
    Many factors can influence interest rates, and you should pay close attention to news reports about potential rate changes. This will help you determine the best time to purchase and whether you want to lock in a 30-year fixed mortgage or another mortgage product.

  3. Get Pre-Approved
    Sellers are eager to wrap things up quickly during the holiday season. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you leverage at the negotiating table. For sellers, it shows that you are serious about making the purchase and that you have the ability to seal the deal. On your end, it also helps simplify your search and help you plan for the monthly payments. 
          
  4. Shop Early
    While everyone else is getting ready for Black Friday sales, spend your time searching out the perfect property for your family. The thousands you can save in property prices far outweigh the deals and discounts offered by retailers. Our real estate agents can help you find a home in Henrico that fulfills your vision as the perfect setting to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. The sooner you start, the sooner you can move into your new home.

  5. Talk to Your Accountant
    Homeownership offers some significant tax advantages. These include deducting mortgage interest. Of course, it is a two-sided coin and you will also be liable for property taxes. Purchasing a home will have a considerable impact on your tax liability. You will want to discuss this beforehand with your accountant so that you know exactly what to expect when the ink dries on the contract.

  6. Bring Your Imagination
    It is easy to see the beauty of a home in the spring and summer. It's not so easy during the fall and winter. When searching for properties during the holiday season in Henrico, you will need to imagine and envision what the home and landscape look like when the flowers are in bloom and the trees are lush and green.  

  7. Use Your Vacation Time
    Do you have a week or two of vacation time saved up? As things slow down at the office, now is the time to make the most of them. You can use your vacation days to scout neighborhoods, view properties, and seal the deal with the lawyers and bankers.

When visions of new homes replace the sugarplums and fairies in your dreams, Napier ERA Real Estate can help you make your home ownership dreams a reality. Contact us to start searching for homes for sale in Henrico this holiday season and to learn more about our services.  

February
26

Richmond Named by Zagat to Top 30 Most Exciting US Food Cities

Richmond VA Top US Foodie City
Richmond has long enjoyed a rich and diverse culinary scene. Recently, though, it has attracted more attention – drawing visitors from across the U.S. and even around the world.

In late 2016, WalletHub helped put Richmond on the map, noting it was #1 Per Capita in Craft Breweries and Wineries among America's 150 top cities and #9 overall for the best food and within the top ten in four other categories. In 2017, Zagat added Richmond to their list of the "30 most exciting food cities in America 2017." 

No matter if you're taking a long weekend or checking out Richmond homes for sale, there are some local restaurants you simply shouldn't overlook. If you're ready to get a true taste of Richmond, we've got some memorable recommendations for you!

Six "Can't-Miss" Dining Experiences in Richmond, VA

  1. L'opossum, 626 China St., Richmond, VA

    Richmond - L'opposum

    When you think of delicious food, an opossum might be the last thing on your mind. The unusual name conceals one of Richmond's premium dining experiences, consisting of a creative, quality menu at affordable prices. Prepare to enjoy one of the city's best wine, beer, and cocktail menus alongside entrees like jumbo lump crab cakes and exquisite desserts.

  2. Metzger Bar and Butchery, 801 N 23rd St., Richmond, VA

    Richmond - Metzger Bar & Butchery

    Metzer brings a touch of German culinary tradition to the Richmond area with rustic food, wine, and cocktails centered around the season's finest ingredients. Led by Richmond-born, New York-trained chef Brittanny Anderson, it is open for dinner and brunch with both small and large plates. Chicken schnitzel, beef cheeks, and steelhead trout are just some of the selections.

  3. Sub Rosa Bakery, 620 N 25th St., Richmond, VA

    Richmond Subrosa

    Sub Rosa is a traditional wood-fired bakery that prides itself on the craft of delicious fresh bread and pastries. It uses organic heirloom and regional grains in confections ranging from sesame rye to stone ground shortbread cookies. You can enjoy a light breakfast, tea, or coffee at the espresso bar. Plus, virtually anything on the menu is available to special order for your event.

  4. The Roosevelt, 623 N. 25th St., Richmond, VA

    Richmond - The Roosevelt

    The Roosevelt is a celebration of Southern food with a number of charming, unconventional twists. After opening in 2011, it was named 2012 Restaurant of the Year by Style Magazine and has been going strong ever since. In addition to scrumptious seafood including roasted rockfish, mahi mahi, and seared scallops, its bistro steak and slow-cooked pork shoulder are celebrated.

  5. Proper Pie Company, 2505 E. Broad Street #100, Richmond, VA

    Richmond - Proper Pie Co.

    Described by one reviewer as a "wonderful, magical place," Proper Pie Company is a cozy local storefront with a wide range of sweet and savory pies. Delectable sensations like the lamb and vegetable pie have won kudos from as far away as New Zealand. The menu includes plenty of vegan options, too – the vegetarian "steak and cheese" is a particular delight.

  6. River City Food Tours, 3199 W. Cary St., Richmond, VA

    Richmond (c) River City Tours

    If you want to enjoy all of the mouth-watering delights that Richmond has to offer, one of the best ways is with an established food tour. River City Food Tours is one of the favorites, thanks in part to its two exciting options. You can choose from the Carytown Food Tour or Arts District Food Tour. Each takes in five or six sights in one easy mile – a great way to spend about three hours.

Once you get a taste of all Richmond has to offer, you might just find you're not so eager to leave. Contact Napier ERA and we'll help you find the right new home for you in the heart of Richmond or any of our welcoming local communities.

 

February
23

6 Tips for Finding the Right Neighborhood

Finding the Right Richmond Neighborhood

When you're buying a home in a new city, it's hard to know if you're making the right choice by choosing a specific house—not to mention an entire neighborhood.   Home buyers often ask our REALTORS®, "How do I know if this neighborhood is the right one for my family?"  

There are a lot of answers to this question; however, finding your own best place to live is a personal process. Your list of wants, needs, and preferences will shape what you're looking for in a home.  Understanding how to prepare, prioritize, and reach an informed decision ultimately goes a long way in finding the right Richmond homes.

When you begin to search for homes in our community, here are six tips to help you get started:

  1. Build a Budget
    While most neighborhoods feature homes in a variety of price brackets, it's also true that some neighborhoods are more affordable than others to call home. Building a budget based on what you realistically have to spend will allow you to focus on homes that fit your price range making it easier to narrow your list and find a home that matches your needs. 

  2. Prioritize Wants and Needs
    With an idea of what you have to spend, you can get busy finding a home that both meets your needs and fits your budget. Before you dive into evaluating homes, consider making a list of wants, needs, and deal-breakers. Making a list will help you cross off homes that clearly don't meet your needs, and focus on the properties with the most promise. You can always update your list as you shop and get a clearer idea of exactly what you want.

  3. School Districts, Safety, and Family Homes
    Whether you have children now or plan on starting a family in the near future, it's important to look at how the place you choose to live will impact every member of the household. Finding a neighborhood with low crime rates and great schools is often a top priority for families, so it's worth doing your research online to see exactly which neighborhoods offer the best potential fit.

  4. Finding Fun Close to Home
    Are you able to enjoy your favorite leisure time activities close to home, and maybe find some new hobbies in the process? Every neighborhood features its own entertainment options, attractions, and events schedule, so look for a place where it's easy to unwind when you're in the mood for a good time.

  5. Employment Options
    Earning a living is a huge factor in finding the right place to call home, whether you're moving specifically for a job or will be looking when you get there. Take the time to research the employment market of any neighborhood that piques your interest, with a focus on major industries, job growth, top employers, and daily commute time.

  6. Become a Neighborhood Expert
    There's plenty to learn from people who have shopped for homes before, but ultimately finding your best place to live is a personal decision. Become a neighborhood expert by researching online, speaking with your real estate agent, and making visits to the neighborhoods that look most promising. When the time comes, you'll have all of the information you need to make an informed decision on your best place to call home.

Finding the right place to call home takes effort, but it's more than worth it. When you find the right neighborhood, home, and community, you've got a great chance of loving your next home for years to come.   Contact us at Napier ERA to get started.

February
7

Moving to Richmond? Tips for Finding the Perfect School

Finding the Perfect Richmond Area School
Moving can be stressful. We all know it. As excited as you surely are to be finding your new home in Richmond, there are a lot of important decisions to be made, and many of them aren't easy.

If you're a parent, there may be no more important decision than where your children go to school. That means you need to find not only the perfect home in the area, but also the perfect school. We understand the challenges, which is why our real estate agents are eager to share these tips for finding the right school.

6 Tips for Finding the Perfect School

There are two basic strategies for finding a great school in a new city. Either you can find your dream home and then look for great schools nearby, or you can find your dream school and then look for great homes nearby. Either option can work for you, but it's good to start out with a solid plan of attack.

  1. Do Your Homework
    It would be great if you could actually see each school ahead of time in person if you can, by all means do – but that can be difficult if you're moving from across the state, or even across the country. Luckily, there are a lot of online resources that can help you learn more about schools, and find the one that's just right for your kids. Greatschools.org is an excellent resource for finding the highest-ranked schools in any given city, while NeighborhoodScout.com breaks cities down into neighborhoods and provides detailed information on each neighborhood, from school rankings to crime statistics.

  2. Look Beyond Test Scores
    It's easy to browse through online information about schools and make snap decisions based on how well each school ranks in terms of standardized test scores. But don't be too hasty. Just because one school is a few points lower test-wise doesn't mean that school doesn't have great teachers, wouldn't be a good fit socially, or isn't located in a great neighborhood. Don't ignore test scores completely, but remember that they aren't the only factor.

  3. List Your Needs and Wants
    Every child has different needs and every parent has different ideas of what their child's needs are. So take the time to really think out what you're looking for in a new school – a great arts program, lots of extra-curricular activities, top-ranked athletic teams, small classroom sizes? Make a list of "must-haves" and "like-to-haves" that you can use to objectively evaluate each school.

  4. Contact the Schools
    Calling up a school and asking questions is a great way to get a feel for what a school really offers. Talk to a principal or school administrator, and have all the questions you want to ask written down so you don't forget any. Remember to ask about things beyond academics. Does the school have a lot of after-school activities? How do they handle bullying?

  5. Have Reasonable Financial Expectations
    If money is no object, that's great; but if you live in the real world, you know that there's a limit to what you can pay for your new home. You probably also know that the best schools aren't always located in the areas with the cheapest housing. You shouldn't have to settle for a home or a school that you're not entirely satisfied with, but the process will be easier if you know what you can afford, and keep that information in mind moving forward.

  6. Talk to Your Real Estate Agent
    An experienced real estate agent is arguably the best resource you have for learning all there is to know about your new city, neighborhood, and home. The agents at Napier ERA have a wealth of knowledge that will make it easier to find the ideal school for your kids, and we're always happy to help!

Contact Napier ERA today to learn more about the process of relocating to Richmond, VA. Our team is here to help you every step of the way, from locating your dream home to living your new life to its fullest!

January
31

Selling Your Home - Top Reasons Why FSBOs Fail

WHY FSBOs FAIL
If you're the kind of person who likes to do things on your own, you might find the idea of an FSBO sale – for sale by owner – intriguing. Unfortunately, the benefits that people expect often fail to materialize ... and the final sale turns out to be much less profitable than planned.

Homeowners who are going into their first sale often believe they can save money and even speed up the process by going it alone. When things go poorly at first, it's easy for inexperienced sellers to double down and feel like they just need to "tough it out."  By the time they decide to work with a qualified real estate agent, they may have done more harm than good selling their home.

By the time someone is there to get the sale on track, trends in the housing market could be shifting. Sometimes, the changes are positive ones. In many cases, though, sellers find themselves running after the initial conditions that persuaded them to sell in the first place.

That can be a disaster – it could even sabotage the prospects for selling at all.

How FSBOs Go Bad

It would be one thing if an FSBO went south in a few days or even a few weeks – that would leave you time to recover. But problems often unfold slowly, with their own gravity, that brings you inexorably to a failed sale. There are simply so many factors creating headwind against a successful transaction that virtually anyone would struggle with them.

Let's look at some of them:

  • House Valuation
    Real estate agents get housing valuation info from a number of sources. That includes historic data on recent sales in the area and trend lines for similar markets. A valuation is not simply "how the agent feels" about a home, it's calculated to attract the right kind of buyer. Sellers risk losing thousands by undervaluing a home or pricing it out of the market by overvaluing it.

  • Contract Errors
    Real estate agents bring procedural know-how and connections to ensure legal errors are kept to a minimum. Scams happen, and selling or buying a home without contracts in place will leave unscrupulous characters free to run off with your money or turn around and leave you in the lurch when you might believe a deal is as good as done.

  • Honest Mistakes
    Real estate agents carry errors and omissions insurance – E&O – to protect them against liability if facts in a listing turn out to be wrong. Without that added layer of protection, FSBO sellers can find themselves in the hot seat. Even buyers who agree to purchase a home at a certain price could turn around and sue, claiming you misrepresented the merits of the property.

  • A Longer and Much Less Lucrative Process
    All other factors being equal, FSBOs sell for less and spend more time on the market than other properties do. In 2015, they were estimated to lose about 16 percent of their sale price compared to agent-assisted sales. Prices dropped even further when the buyer was someone the seller knew. At the same time, around 18 percent of FSBOs failed to sell within the desired timeframe.

When you choose to work with Napier ERA, you'll see the value you get from day one. Our real estate agents are experienced local experts who know what it takes to help Richmond homes for sale succeed on the market. For personalized advice that will put you on the road to the sale you really want, simply contact Napier ERA today.

January
28

Napier ERA Launches Express Sell Program

Napier ERA has launched a new program in Central Virginia perfect for those who are ready to purchase a new home, but haven't sold their existing one! It gives you some certainty around when and for how much your home will sell. If you're interested, and think this may be a good fit for you, contact Napier ERA at 804-794-4531!

 

January
25

Millennials are on the Move: Richmond Housing Market

Millennials Richmond Housing Market
For the first time since the 2008 housing bubble, homes are going on the market en masse – and the Richmond, VA housing market is one of the hottest places in the United States.

Napier ERA President Jim Napier put this into perspective in the June, 2017 publication of Richmondmag.com:

"Six months' worth of inventory is considered a normal market that favors neither buyer nor seller. On average, the Richmond region has a little more than four months of inventory based on home sales from the first quarter of 2017."

Conditions remain tight throughout desirable Richmond areas:

  • Fan District: 2.2 months of inventory
  • Museum District: 2.2 months of inventory
  • Wyndham: 3 months of inventory
  • Northern Chesterfield: 3 months of inventory
  • Henrico: 3 months of inventory

Millennials Driving Home Market Success in Richmond and Beyond

The seller's market in Richmond is an inspiration for communities all throughout the United States that want to see a vibrant housing market. And who is the economic engine behind it all? It's Millennials--the oldest of whom are about 35 today.

Institutions have long undervalued Millennial purchasing power. The effects of structural issues like the economic downturn coupled with huge and rising student debt have given the generation a pragmatic streak that looks askance at luxury items like diamonds and sports cars.

Now, however, Millennials are entering the housing market in greater numbers.

Suppressed earnings caused by weak economic conditions have given way to a robust employment market granting Millennials a chance to start fresh at building a family and pursuing homeownership.

With $200 billion in buying power and representing about 25 percent of the population, Millennials have come roaring onto the scene – bringing a merciful end to years of think-pieces and stale jibes about avocado toast.

Still, it's essential to approach the Richmond market with eyes open.

How to Succeed as a Millennial Buyer in Richmond's Seller's Market

Thanks to its many career and educational opportunities, paired with unbeatable amenities and a welcoming community, Richmond is a Millennial magnet.

To make the most of all it has to offer, Millennial home buyers should keep these steps in mind:

  • Start with VHDA
    The Virginia Housing Development Authority has recently strengthened its offerings for first-time home buyers, making it a much more attractive resource. VHDA mainly serves current state residents, offering a range of 30-year fixed mortgage programs. These include special mortgage packages for veterans as well as rural development loans in designated areas.
  • Use First Time Home Buyer Savings Plans (FHSP)
    FHSP was enacted by Virginia in 2014 to make it easier for aspiring home buyers to save money for their goals. Any state resident can establish an FHSP account, which is protected from state taxation. In such an account, Virginians can accrue up to $50,000 toward the cost of a down payment. Parents and relatives may choose to contribute to an accountholder's savings.
  • Start With a Budget
    Buying a home is making sense for more and more Millennials, particularly those in the Richmond area. Rent has continued to increase over the last several years, while attractive home bargains continue to appear despite the strong market bent toward sellers. Developing a budget and comparing prospective housing options will help you make the right move.

Hire a Real Estate Agent You Can Trust

At Napier ERA, our real estate agents are dedicated to helping you achieve the dream of homeownership. Our team is made up of the foremost experts on the Richmond real estate market. We will give you the personalized guidance you need to make an informed decision each step of the way. Contact Napier ERA today.

 

January
3

5 Things First-time RVA Home Buyers Need to Know

First-time Home Buyers RVA

2018 will be a promising year for anyone who wants to buy one of the homes for sale in Richmond. Richmond is a desirable real estate market for both growing families and upwardly-mobile professionals, and there are plenty of opportunities to find amazing homes in our community. 

While Richmond is still the same great area for home buying it has been for years, some aspects of the housing market are shifting. The more you know, the easier it'll be to navigate your options, make the best choices for you, and find the Richmond home you've been searching for.

Let's review some of the most important trends influencing area home buyers today:

  1. Qualifying for a Mortgage Loan is Getting Easier
    Mortgage lenders have been making it easier for buyers – especially first-time home buyers – to qualify for a loan. Down payment expectations are dropping and buyers with a heavier debt load are being considered. Even the paperwork involved is more streamlined than ever.

  2. Debt Limits Are Going Up, Not Down
    Debt-to-income ratio has long been one of the most crucial factors in getting a favorable loan. Strict debt limits are being eased in Richmond and many other places: Potential buyers may now qualify for favorable mortgage terms even if their debts would consume up to 50 percent of their monthly income.

  3. Home Prices are On a Slow Ascent
    From coast to coast, the second half of 2017 saw fast-paced action in the home market. All the activity might usually accelerate home price growth, but prices have remained on a steady crawl. That means 2018 offers plenty of leeway for buyers – but, the sooner you get started, the better!

  4. Mortgage Rates May Tick Upward
    A tiny fraction of a percentage point can save (or lose) you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage loan. Conditions are right for rates to jump sometime in 2018, and it can happen with little warning – another good reason to make your move as soon as you can.

  5. Down Payments Are Shrinking
    It wasn't that long ago when a down payment of 20 percent was considered standard – and as much as 30 percent was advisable. These days, buyers have much more freedom to take action even if they haven't spent years saving up … but even a smaller down payment still makes a difference.

If you are a first-time home buyer with your eye on real estate for sale in the Richmond area, Napier ERA is the expert team that can help make your homeownership dreams come true. Contact Napier ERA today – our real estate agents are looking forward to helping you.

December
11

Buying Your New Home in Richmond

Richmond New Homes & ConstructionAre you deciding whether to buy a brand new home or an older home in the Richmond area? Both options have their benefits, and Richmond is an excellent place to shop regardless of what type of home you are targeting. Older homes offer that comfortable, "lived in" feel, but may also require more maintenance after you move in. New homes are more likely to offer the latest amenities, unique, customized features, and energy efficient design throughout the home. Our real estate agents are here to help you make the right choice for your needs, with a guide to new homes in Richmond, VA .

Learn More about the Benefits of Buying a New Home in Our Local Communities

If you're looking for the latest design features, modern layouts, convenient tech, and efficient home systems, then buying a new home will often be the best way to cover all of your needs. New homes are often more energy efficient, thanks to efficient, modern appliances, new HVAC systems, and the latest building components. You'll find that new homes also offer diverse floor plans, and unique interior design. And when you're shopping for new homes in Richmond, you'll have plenty of great options to choose from:

  • Dumont Homes in Hallsley
    If you've already begun to scout out new homes in the Richmond, VA area, there's a good chance you've visited a beautiful home constructed by Dumont Homes LLC. Dumont has been creating spectacular Richmond homes for decades, and Hallsley has been named one of America's best communities to call home. In addition to a wide selection of beautiful homes, Hallsley offers extensive amenities, community events, and tons of outdoor fun close to home. Homes here offer the latest in efficiency, and are located in a community that covers all of your key needs.

  • Cottage Lane Homes in Bayhill Pointe
    Are you searching for a new home that offers all of the latest features, but also has an appealing, classic design? Cottage Lane Homes blend the best of old and new, with new homes that fit the historic character of Richmond and modern spins on classic designs. Cottage Lane Homes in Bayhill Pointe are perfect for buyers who love the classic designs of historic Richmond homes, but also want the latest and greatest amenities.

  • Sabot Creek Homes
    Looking for a new home in a community loaded with outdoor fun? Sabot Creek Homes are located in the heart of horse country, with equestrian centers, golf courses, and beautiful outdoor spaces to explore close to home. Nature trails wind throughout the community, and two-acre lots give you plenty of room to have fun right outside of your front door. You'll find a wide selection of lots available, with custom homes to suit every taste.

  • Westlake at Mill Mount
    Continuing our theme of new homes in beautiful, natural areas, we have homes in Westlake at Mill Mount. Enjoy waterfront fun and outdoor adventures around the large, scenic lake, or settle in on your patio for a sunset with your favorite glass of wine. The community is located close to all of the services you need, and offers a quiet, natural retreat from city life. New homes are available to suit every buyer, with lots ranging from two to 15 acres. If you are searching for a custom new home, where you work with the builder to plan every important detail, then Westlake is a great place to find it.

Looking for the right real estate team to help you land the new home of your dreams? Contact Napier ERA to buy and sell homes throughout Richmond, VA.

June
15

What Virginia Loves about The Fan District

The Fan District Association
When you're searching for a home in Richmond, finding the perfect neighborhood definitely matters. A favorite location loved by Richmond locals is the Fan District. Located between Broad Street and Main Street, this culture-filled neighborhood lies at the eastern part of the West End area

So what is so appealing about the Fan District? Find out why Richmond locals love this historical and picturesque neighborhood.  

Fan District History

Architecture and History

Considered the largest intact Victorian neighborhood in the United States, over 2,000 historic homes line the streets of the Fan District. Largely developed between 1890 - 1930, this area marks a period of economic prosperity for the City of Richmond. In addition to Victorian homes, it also features architecture in assorted well-known styles including Italianate, Richardsonian Romanesque, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Bungalow, American Foursquare, Tudor Revival, Spanish Colonial, and Art Deco.

Monument Avenue

The rich history of Richmond is visible in more than just houses, most prominently featured on Monument Avenue. This street features a grassed divider lined with statues of prominent figures in Richmond history. The majority of these figures represent Confederate Generals such as Robert E. Lee but also include tennis star Arthur Ashe, a Richmond native.

In addition to the year-round display, Monument Avenue is home to many events including those held by Civil War reenactors and a well-known Easter parade. The street is part of the larger Monument Avenue Historic District.

Fan District- Community

Strong Sense of Community

The Fan District is also known for a strong sense of community. This highly walkable area features many restaurants and shops that are easily accessible. Streets feature lower speed limits to ensure pedestrian safety too.

Area residents take pride in their community appearance too, with frequent efforts to maintain yards, clean up after animals, and remove graffiti as detailed by the Fan District Association. But these Richmond residents don't just care about the buildings; they care about the people too.

Fan Village volunteers work to assist older residents, helping them age in place, instead of allowing them to get left behind by new construction and rising costs. Free services offered include simple tasks like taking out the recycling bins or grocery shopping and include kindness such as daily phone calls and well-being checks.

Calling the Fan District Home

Homes in Richmond are already hot, and homes in the Fan District are even hotter. Home value growth in this neighborhood is currently at 4.8 percent, based on a strong job market, attractive living environment, and reliable home equity.

It's clear that the Fan District provides beauty with picturesque homes, historic artwork, and caring people. Our real estate agents at Napier ERA understand why people fall in love with Richmond community and can help you find a home of your own.

 

June
9

Where to Find Great Homes in Richmond, VA

Getting to Know Richmond Real Estate

Richmond Real Estate

The historic city of Richmond, VA lies in the heart of the Mid-Atlantic region with the sprawling Chesapeake Bay to the east and the majestic Appalachian Mountains to the west. The Richmond area is filled with big-city attractions along with a healthy dose of small-town charm. When you're shopping for Richmond real estate, it's a great idea to take a look at all of the communities that make up the historic Richmond area in order to find the right fit. Today, we'll be taking a closer look at Richmond City along with Henrico County, Chesterfield County and Hanover County.

  1. Richmond City

    You may know Richmond as a city steeped in history, tradition and outdoor entertainment--and that's all true. But did you know that the city is also a huge destination for fashion, fantastic food and public art? The city is even home to a thriving craft beer scene with more than 20 micro-breweries serving unique, creative flavors that you won't find anywhere else. No matter your interests or who will be moving with you, every member of the household will quickly find something to love about life in Richmond, VA.

    By the way, the households are pretty impressive, too! Homes in Richmond feature a mix of the historic and the modern with properties priced to fit every budget. This is the place to be if you're after the best of urban living in VA and it's the sort of city that will never stop surprising you.

  2. Henrico County

    Meandering its way north of the city of Richmond, Henrico County is filled with family-friendly communities and fun outdoor activities. The Recreation Department in Henrico County maintains a vast collection of public parks along with a golf course, sports leagues for all ages (seniors included!) and summer camps to keep the kids busy while school is out. The community is also big on history with a fascinating Civil War Trail and plaques posted throughout the area detailing important local historical events. Homes in Henrico County will be especially appealing for families with kids, but this is a great place to be for anyone seeking suburban living near Richmond, VA.

  3. Chesterfield County

    Located just south of Richmond, Chesterfield County has a history that dates back to the county's foundation way back in 1749 and beyond. Today, Chesterfield County has grown into a hot-spot for large, corporate employers with companies like DuPont, UPS, Walmart, Amazon and Capital One operating large facilities within county borders. Even with all of that economic action, the communities of Chesterfield County more than maintain their small-town charm. There is also natural beauty to be found in every direction in Chesterfield County so it's easy to find homes in Chesterfield County that feature great views.

  4. Hanover County

    Last but definitely not least, Hanover County is located north of Richmond and it's a lovely place to call home. Hanover County is the smallest on our list by population size and that translates to a collection of small, welcoming towns that still provide easy access to the big city. Homes in Hanover County really do offer the best of both worlds. There's also plenty to do around Hanover County including adult sports leagues, a huge collection of parks and a unique commitment to preserving local history.


Ready to find your next home in one of Richmond's communities? Our real estate agents are here to help. Contact Napier ERA for all of your real estate needs in the Richmond, VA area

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 07/02/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 07/02/2022. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of CAAR MLS (last updated Fri 07/01/2022 11:10:32 PM EST) or CVRMLS (last updated Sat 07/02/2022 12:32:56 AM EST) or Williamsburg MLS (last updated Fri 07/01/2022 10:54:28 PM EST) or NNAR MLS (last updated Fri 07/01/2022 10:26:55 PM EST) or Chesapeake Bay & Rivers (last updated Fri 07/01/2022 8:50:24 PM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Napier Realtors ERA 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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