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Megan Napier
REALTOR®
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June
20

Kitchen Gadgets that Come in Handy

Kitchen Tools

Cooking is so much more enjoyable when you have the right tools for the job. And yet, selecting kitchen gadgets is not always as simple as it may seem. You don't want to purchase tools only for them to sit there unused. Unused kitchen tools can make your kitchen feel cluttered, especially to potential buyers!

Here are some key kitchen gadgets that our real estate agents recommend adding to your collection. Each of these tools simplifies your life and cooking routine in its own unique way.

  • A Pressure Cooker
    If there's one countertop appliance worth buying, it's a pressure cooker. These devices can cook meals like stews and braises in 30 minutes, versus the 4 or 5 hours they would take on the stove. You can also use your pressure cooker to make perfect rice, steam veggies, and craft perfect risotto.

  • An Electric Can Opener
    Opening cans with a handheld can opener can be pretty frustrating. If you have money in your budget for an electric model, definitely spring for one. You won't have to suffer through wrist fatigue to make tuna casserole ever again.

  • A Salad Spinner
    Buying whole heads of lettuce is often cheaper than buying pre-bagged lettuce, but then you have to clean it. Luckily, cleaning heads of lettuce is easy if you have a salad spinner. You just spray them down, then pile the leaves into the spinner. Press the button a few times, and the spinner will dry the lettuce, preventing it from wilting in your fridge. You can even store your lettuce inside the spinner.

  • A Spray Bottle for Oil
    Are you tired of trying to lubricate your pans without flooding them with oil? There are spray bottles made specifically for cooking oil. Fill one up, and spritz your pans with ease. This is also a more eco-friendly option than using aerosol non-stick sprays.

  • A High-Powered Blender
    If you like making smoothies, dressings, and sauces, then it's worth investing in a high-powered blender, such as a Vitamix. They do a much better job than low-end blenders, and their motors last longer, too.

  • A Vacuum Sealer
    Are you tired of throwing away food that spoiled too soon? Maybe you like to pre-portion food into bags, but they often leak. A vacuum sealer will solve both of these problems. Vacuum-sealed food stays fresh for a lot longer since it is not exposed to air. Plus, vacuum-sealed bags are far less likely to break open and leave a mess in your fridge or freezer.

  • A Knife Sharpener
    When your knives get dull, you don't have to throw them away and replace them. Instead, invest in a good knife sharpener, and use it to keep your blades in tip-top shape. If you get into the habit of sharpening them every week or two, you'll never find yourself fighting with a dull blade again.

  • A Digital Thermometer
    If you're looking at Richmond homes for sale and you see a digital thermometer in the kitchen, you know the owner is a serious cook. A thermometer lets you cook meats and other foods more precisely. Digital versions are easy to read and give quick results.

If you fill your kitchen with these gadgets, you'll have a lovely time making your favorite meals and snacks. Contact us if you're still looking for the perfect place to call home. We'll help you find a kitchen to decorate and fill. 

May
16

How to Pick the Right Furniture for Your Outdoor Spaces

Outdoor Furniture

With warmer temperatures and flowers in bloom, it's the perfect season to start spending more time outside. If you just bought one of the Richmond homes for sale with a backyard or patio, you're probably looking forward to how you'll use it this season! You could lounge outdoors while reading a book or grill some food to share with friends. Of course, this is most enjoyable when you have outdoor furniture that suits your needs. Make the most of your outdoor spaces by selecting the right furniture. Here are some tips for selecting furnishings for your own patio or yard.

  • Measure Your Space
    Outdoor spaces often look larger than they actually are. You don't want to arrive home with a new patio set and find out it doesn't fit your space. Make sure to measure the area you're planning to furnish and bring those measurements with you as you shop.

  • Map it Out
    As you look at various furniture sets, use a piece of graph paper to sketch the way you'll arrange the furniture. Use the measurements you took of your space, along with the measurements of the furniture, to guide you. Experiment with different layouts to see which option you like best.

  • Sit on Chairs Before Buying Them
    People often focus on the appearance of outdoor furniture, overlooking the fact that furniture should be comfortable, too. This is why it's a good idea to shop for furniture in person. Sit in the chairs before you buy them and make sure you choose ones that are comfortable. Does the back offer enough support? Are you at a reasonable height when you scoot up to the table?

    Some people prefer patio chairs with cushions, but there are some really comfortable, non-cushioned chairs out there, too. Sit in a few and see how you like them. It really is a matter of personal preferences.

  • Choose a Low-Maintenance Material
    Maintaining outdoor furniture is not as fun as relaxing in it. So, make sure you choose furniture made from easily cleanable materials. Vinyl and aluminum are both good choices. If you like a more natural look, teak and cedar tend to be the best wood options. These woods resist rot, so you can hose them off to clean them.

  • Look for Easy Storage
    Most people like to store their patio furniture in a garage or shed during the winter months. So, when looking at various furniture choices, consider how easy it is to store. Chairs and tables that fold up will take up less space in storage. If you prefer rigid chairs, look for ones that stack. Also, try picking up the furnishings. Be sure to choose furnishings you can lift and carry safely. Vinyl is a good, lightweight material for those with less strength. Wood, while beautiful, can be heavy. So if you go with wooden furniture, make sure you have help moving it.

  • Coordinate Colors With Your Landscaping
    Neutral colors like white, black, and natural wood should look good with most any landscape. But if you want brighter-colored furniture, make sure the color you choose coordinates with your landscape and home exterior.

    It often works well to choose a color that is seen in small amounts elsewhere in your yard or garden. For instance, if you have purple flowers, purple furniture may look nice. If you have forest green trim, then outdoor furniture with some green is an option.

With these tips, you're sure to find the perfect outdoor furniture for your yard or patio. If you're still looking for the perfect house and yard to furnish, contact us. Our real estate agents will gladly walk you through the buying process.

April
25

7 Ways to Increase Your Home's Storage Space

Storage Space

Is your home looking a little cluttered? Getting rid of any extras is a good first step, but you'll also want to look at ways you can improve your home's storage space. Creating more and better storage solutions will ensure you have places to stash your items so they don't keep cluttering up your counters and tables. Luckily, our real estate agents have some useful storage tips to help make your space look more open and inviting for potential buyers.

  1. Use Your Vertical Space
    Take advantage of the space above your refrigerator, the space on top of cabinets, and even space at the top of your living room walls. Look for some easy-mount shelves you can add in these places.

    These higher-up shelves are perfect for storing lightweight items and smaller containers. For example, you can keep your extra kitchen towels on a shelf above your fridge.

  2. Store Sheets in Your Pillowcases
    If you're tired of having sheets tumble out every time you open the linen cabinet, shove each set of sheets inside its matching pillowcase. The stuffed pillowcases should then stack neatly in your linen closet.

  3. Replace Your Footstool With an Ottoman
    If you have a basic footstool in your living room, consider donating it and replacing it with an ottoman. An ottoman has a lid that you can lift off, revealing empty storage space inside. 

    Ottomans are perfect for storing magazines, books, remote controls, and other living room items. They'll give you a convenient way to clear off your coffee table, and you can also use them as footstools or makeshift seats, as needed.

  4. Purchase Clear, Plastic Storage Bins
    Storage bins are perfect for storing items in your basement, attic, or spare room. However, if you can't see what's inside a storage bin, you're likely to rifle through several of them before you find what you need. This problem is easily solved with clear plastic storage bins.

    As you fill your plastic storage bins, position the items so you can see them from the outside of the bin. This saves you from having to label the totes and makes it easier to find what you need.

  5. Hang a Pot Rack in the Kitchen
    Having to go through a drawer overflowing with pots and pans can make cooking an annoyance. You probably end up with pots and pans sitting all over the counter because putting them away is a hassle, too. A pot rack makes storing your pots and pans much easier. 

    You can hang the pot rack next to your stove or over the stove, depending on your kitchen design. Hang large, heavy pots on the bottom and smaller, lighter pots near the top.

  6. Use an Over-the-Door Pocket Hanger in the Bathroom
    In the bathroom, there tends to be a lot of items you want within reach. You don't really want to hide these things away in a drawer.

    For convenient bathroom storage, purchase an over-the-door pocket hanger. Use this to store your hair products, brushes, razors, and other toiletries, so they're tidy within reach.

  7. Hang Hooks Inside Kitchen Cabinets
    Whether you screw hooks into the cabinet doors or purchase stick-on ones, they give you a convenient place to store items like measuring cups and extra mugs. Put some in your lower cabinets for dish rags and scrubbers, too. This will help highlight the space your cabinets have to offer.

If you work on creating more storage space and simplifying your storage approach, your home will stay tidier. Don't forget to contact us if you're looking for Richmond homes for sale. Our experienced and professional agents can guide you through the process.

January
10

Get Your Home More Organized in 2022

Home Organization

The year has just started but there's still time to make a New Year's resolution for your household. Perhaps you could resolve to keep your home more organized! A good organizational scheme makes it easier to find what you need and tidy up when you're done for the day. Or if you're getting ready to list your home for sale, a well-organized home will show better, and be easier to get ready for prospective buyers.

So, how do you go about keeping things more organized in 2022? Our real estate agents have a few helpful tips.

  • Divide Your Fridge By Food Group
    When your fridge is disorganized, you're more likely to misplace things until they spoil. An easy way to organize your fridge is to divide it into zones based on food groups. Keep fruits and veggies in the bottom drawers. Put your dairy on one shelf and your meats on another shelf. Drinks deserve their own spot, and you can put condiments on the door. Label your shelves if you think you need a reminder to put things back where they belong.

  • Buy Some Over-the-Door Organizers
    Those plastic shoe organizers that hang over doors are good for more than just shoes. Put one over your child's bedroom door, and use it to store their small toys. Or, put one over your own bedroom door, and use it for belts and other accessories.

  • Gather Your Cleaning Supplies in One Spot
    Do you have cleaning supplies under the bathroom sink, others in the kitchen, and still others in the basement? Get organized by consolidating them all into one cleaning supply storage area. This could be an extra cabinet in your laundry room or a shelf in your hall closet. Put the cleaning supplies you use most often in one bucket so you can grab the whole bucket and go.

  • Designate a Clutter Basket
    Buy a large basket, and set it in one corner of your living room or hallway. When you find an item someone left out, put it in the clutter basket. Once a day, empty the clutter basket, putting these stray items back where they belong. This will help keep your home from getting too disorganized when life gets busy.

  • Put an Outbox by the Door
    Put a box or a basket in your entryway, and use it to hold onto items that you need to take outside or to your vehicle. This will help prevent items from building up in the entryway and being forgotten again and again. It will also keep your entryway looking tidier for those last-minute visitors.

  • Swap Out Your Seasonal Clothing and Items
    Gather up all of your warm-weather clothing and decor, and put it in tote boxes. Store it out of the way until spring comes again. This will help eliminate clutter, making more space for your winter items. Don't forget to declutter while going through your seasonal items as well! 

Once you get your home more organized, you'll feel so refreshed and at ease. Contact us if you're still looking for Richmond homes for sale. We can guide you through the process and ensure you end up in a home you love. 

October
11

How to Add Personality to Your Home

Home Tips

The hustle and bustle of daily life can be a drain on your energy and health. To promote a healthy lifestyle, experts recommend making your home a place of comfort and relaxation where you can unwind from a stressful day. Our real estate agents know homebuyers are drawn to welcoming spaces that reflect all the comforts of home.

Once you purchase a home, you can add special touches that reflect your design style and personality and welcome you home. Start incorporating your personal style into your new space by following these tips. 

  • Decorate with One-of-a-Kind Pieces
    If you inherited a few family heirlooms or purchased some great vintage pieces, adding them to your home will create a unique style. One-of-a-kind pieces that can't be replicated instill character and personal charm in a home. Antiques and family heirlooms introduce pieces of history that enhance special memories, while vintage items bring out creative and sometimes quirky personality traits.
     
  • Hang Art Reflecting Your Style
    Whether you're an educated art connoisseur or a novice, art plays an important role in design style. If you don't have the budget to invest in original art pieces, look for art that reflects your personality. If you're a whimsical free spirit, look for abstract art with bold patterns and colors. If you're a bit more reserved, landscapes and historical scenes may be more your style. Hanging art that reflects your personality is a great way to welcome yourself home after a long, stressful day.

  • Display Your Hobbies
    Most of us have hobbies we enjoy, even if we are not masters of them. Displaying your hobbies in your home is an easy way to add personal touches to interior spaces. If you play the guitar, hang it on a family room wall or display it in a bookcase. If you love throwing pottery, choose your favorite pieces and display them on shelves and tables. If you enjoy photography, display some of your favorite photos throughout the house in frames that compliment your interior design style.

  • Showcase Your Collection of Books
    If you're an avid reader, you likely have a large collection of books that range from paperbacks to beautifully bound novels. Books make wonderful design accessories when they're displayed in bookshelves, hutches, and cabinets. Gather a collection of your favorite books with embossed leather and colorful jackets and put them on display. They will not only reflect your personality, but they will also start many memorable conversations with guests around a warm, cozy fireplace.

  • Relax and Unwind with Nature
    Plants and flowers have health benefits because they increase oxygen and decrease carbon dioxide in the air. It's a good idea to bring green plants and flowers into your home. You can add personality with clay or painted pots, decorative containers or baskets, or colorful glass vases that reflect your style. If you have a backyard or a deck, create a peaceful garden oasis where you can relax with nature while you enjoy your morning cup of coffee or your favorite glass of wine after dinner.

Creating a comfortable, welcoming home that reflects who you are and the things you love is what home is all about. If we can help you find that perfect home among the Richmond homes for sale, contact us today.

September
27

Home Security Tech Upgrades

Richmond Home Security

Home security is a big deal for Virginia homebuyers. Whether showing historic homes with older features or new homes with all the bells and whistles, our real estate agents are always asked about home security.

While some Richmond homes for sale have state-of-the-art security systems, others may need security improvements. If you're a techie, you may know about laser security systems, safe-room doors, and biometric locks, but those aren't the only ways to keep your home safe. Take a look at 7 tech-centered ways to increase home security:

  1. Smart Home Alarm Systems
    Smart home alarm systems like Google Nest and SimpliSafe are easy to install and affordable for DIY homeowners. Both systems link to smartphones and come with sensors that attach to windows and doors. Google Nest also syncs with your Nest camera and Google Assistant. These systems will help give you peace of mind whether you're home or away on a trip.

  2. Biometric Digital Door Locks
    Sure, a conventional key works for locking your doors. But are you looking to secure your doors even more without making a trip to the locksmith? Check out the Samsung SHS-P718-LMK Push Pull Biometric Touchscreen Digital Door Lock that requires dual activation by a fingerprint and a password for entry. An IR sensor sounds an alarm if suspicious movements are detected or if doors open while you're away.

  3. Ring Video Doorbells
    Ring video doorbells have been around a while, but they're upgraded each year. The Ring Video Doorbell Elite works during the day and at night with its infrared night vision. By linking to your smartphone, it immediately sends an alert when someone approaches your door.

  4. Shatterproof Windows
    Windows are common entries for home intruders, but not anymore with shatterproof, bullet-resistant, high-security windows. For added protection, these windows can be fitted with electronic keypad readers and electro-mechanical locks. 

  5. Perimeter Fencing
    Perimeter fencing may not be a high-tech home security feature, but it does protect your home against unwanted 2 -legged and 4-legged intruders. Seco-Larm E-9644- IR Curtain Sensors added to your fence top will trigger when a single beam or two adjacent beams are disrupted.

  6. Landscape Lighting
    If your front or backyard is unlit after dark, you're welcoming intruders to your home. Protect your home with security lights, up-lights and down-lights in trees, spotlights on walls, and pathway lights along driveways and walkways. An upgrade like this will help deter potential intruders. 

  7. Locking Mailboxes
    Mail theft is big business these days for burglars and thieves who want to steal your identity. A locking mailbox will deter mail thieves, porch pirates, and hackers who can make your life a nightmare. Check your local hardware store for a variety of locking mailboxes to protect your home.

Still searching for a home that you'll want to add all the latest smart home technology to? Contact us today to learn more about homes in Central Virginia. We can help you find your dream home!

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. 

July
12

Learn How to Keep Your Pets Safe on National Pet Fire Safety Day

Pet Fire Safety Day

July 15th is National Pet Fire Safety Day, making it a perfect reminder to revamp your family's fire safety plan to ensure your four-legged family members stay safe. Our real estate agents know that a little preparation makes a big difference in your family's safety. Check out these tips to keep your pet safe from a house fire. 

  1. Install Monitored Smoke Detectors
    Monitored smoke detectors are usually installed in a home as part of a security system. With a monitored smoke detector, emergency services are notified about the fire, even if you aren't home. If you're concerned about a fire breaking out while your home is unattended, a monitored smoke detector can help protect your pets by shortening the response time of first responders.
  1. See That Your Pet is Used to a Crate or Leash
    During a fire, you'll need to quickly evacuate your pet. The easiest way to do so is by putting them on a leash or in a portable crate. However, if your pet has never been exposed to a leash or crate, they'll likely freak out if they're expected to tolerate these items, especially during the stress of a fire. Check that you have a secure way to transport your pet and that your pet is comfortable with that method. Make sure that you always know the location of your pet's leash or crate.
  1. Put Decals on Your Home to Alert First Responders
    If a fire breaks out when you're away, first responders won't know that your pets are inside. Prevent this problem by placing a rescue alert stick on your front door. This sticker first responders know that pets are inside of the home and tells them what pets they're looking for. 
  1. Create a Fire Evacuation Plan
    Your family needs a fire evacuation plan to ensure everyone gets out safely. Assign each pet to a specific family member. Ideally, assign the pet to a person with who they're likely to be in close proximity and that they're comfortable with. Make sure that each family member knows their assigned pet's favorite hiding spots so they can quickly locate them. 
  1. Take Steps to Prevent a Housefire
    Keep your pets safe by making a few changes that prevent the likelihood of a fire. Richmond homes for sale that have certain safety features are also likely to attract potential homebuyers. Check that all the electrical cords in your home are secured; unsecured cords often look like toys to curious pets. You can even conceal them with a box or fixture designed to contain and hold cords. See that your pets can't reach or access the knobs to your stove, and avoid leaving candles unattended around your pets. Or, swap your candles for flameless alternatives. 
  1. Have Your Pets Microchipped
    In the chaos of a housefire, a frightened pet may get loose or hide outside. Have your pets microchipped and regularly check that the information is up-to-date. If someone finds your pet, they'll be able to quickly get them back to you. 

Find a home both you and your pets will love in the Central Virginia area. Contact us today to start your search!

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 12:52:57 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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