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Libby Gatewood
Associate Broker/Appraiser
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Date Archives: November 2019

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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.


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.


Small Business Saturday: Richmond Businesses for Holiday Shopping

Small Business Saturday Richmond

Small Business Saturday is an excellent opportunity to find deals on holiday gifts at Richmond small businesses, and the big day is right around the corner. The event is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and this year Small Business Saturday will be on November 30th. Whether you're shopping for fashion, art, books, a personalized gift basket, or nearly anything else under the sun, you'll find it in Richmond. Our REALTORS® are ready to shop, and we've got the local scoop on where to go in Richmond for your local holiday shopping.

  1. Mod & Soul – 323 West Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220
    Richmond homes for sale
    make it easy to visit so many amazing, local small businesses, and Mod & Soul is a great place to start for fashion lovers. Mod & Soul specializes in dresses, skirts, accessories, jewelry, gifts, and so much more. Visit anytime to take a look at the latest styles, and pick out something new for your wardrobe. Small Business Saturday is also a great chance to grab unique gifts from Mod & Soul.

  2. Nellie George – 5714 Grove Ave., Richmond, VA 23226
    Whether you're adding to your wardrobe or searching for the perfect gift for a stylish friend, Nellie George has just what you need. Nellie George stocks a wide selection of women's, children's, and baby clothing, along with gift items. If you're shopping for a new mom, be sure to visit this popular spot.

  3. Art Works Inc. – 320 Hull St., Richmond, VA 23224
    Looking to decorate your own home, or find the perfect gift for someone who has everything? Art Works Inc. is one of Richmond's best destinations for purchasing art of all types, from both local and international artists. This facility is part exhibition center, part art gallery. Stop by to see the work of talented artists from around the world, then choose the right holiday gift or piece of art for your home.

  4. Chop Suey Books – 2913 West Cary St., Richmond, VA 23221
    If you love to read or know someone who does, then Chop Suey Books is a little slice of heaven. This local bookshop has an incredible selection, with books both well-known and obscure. The friendly staff at Chop Suey Books is happy to help you comb the stacks until you find the perfect gift.

  5. Taylor Made for You – 464 Southlake Blvd., Richmond, VA 23236
    Doing some holiday shopping on Small Business Saturday? Taylor Made for You offers customizable gift baskets for every occasion, and everyone on your list – pets included! Choose one of many pre-made gift baskets suited to every recipient, or pick and choose the ideal items for a custom gift basket.

  6. Beasties – 3218 West Cary St., Richmond, VA 23221
    Shopping for a friend with a young child, or someone who has a baby on the way? Beasties is sure to have a holiday gift they'll love. Work with the talented team to put together a truly unique gift basket, or shop for individual items. 

Living in Richmond means that you won't need a special occasion to enjoy a vibrant collection of local small businesses, no matter the season. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Richmond area.


National Cappuccino Day: Where to Get Your Caffeine Fix in Richmond

Coffee Shops in Richmond

Whether you're looking to celebrate National Cappuccino Day or you treat every day like a holiday for your favorite drink, Richmond has excellent coffee shops. The coffee shops of Richmond are as diverse as the city itself, with a mix of small cafes, diners, breakfast shops, and simple coffee retailers that deliver fabulous flavors from around the world.

Our REALTORS® are ready for National Cappuccino Day, and we've got the details on 6 of the best spots to get your caffeine fix around Richmond.

  • Black Hand Coffee Co. – 3101 Patterson Ave., Richmond, VA 23221
    With an incredible selection of coffee, cappuccinos, and more from around the world, Black Hand Coffee Co. is the perfect place to get your caffeine fix close to Richmond homes for sale. Locally owned and operated, Black Hand Coffee Co. imports its beans from farms across the world and uses them to create unique, flavorful blends.

  • Demolition Coffee Co. – 215 E Bank St., Petersburg, VA 23803
    Searching for a caffeine fix near Petersburg homes for sale? Head for Demolition Coffee Co. for a cappuccino, along with a full breakfast and lunch menu. Demolition Coffee Co. offers all of your favorite drinks, from hot coffee to espresso, and iced coffee. Grab some take out, or sit down for a drink at Demolition Coffee Co's historic Petersburg location.

  • Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee – 1501 N. Parham Rd., Henrico, VA 23229
    Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee
    is a Richmond original, which has grown into a popular local chain. Henrico homes for sale make it easy to visit Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee anytime to get your caffeine fix and satisfy your sweet tooth. There are fresh, hot donuts throughout the day at Sugar Shack, along with a huge selection of coffee, espresso, and specialty drinks.

  • Shockoe Espresso and Roastery – 104 Shockoe Slip, Richmond, VA 23219
    Whether you're stopping for breakfast, lunch, or just a quick cappuccino, Shockoe Espresso, and Roastery always has what you need. Shockoe Espresso stocks a full selection of local Mill Mountain Coffee, and features an extensive tea menu when you're in the mood for something different. Stop by anytime for breakfast, lunch, and a caffeine fix.

  • The Lab by Alchemy Coffee – 814 W Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220
    With a scientific approach to quality and one of the most diverse coffee menus in the city, The Lab by Alchemy Coffee is one of Richmond's favorite spots for a hot drink. The knowledgeable team at The Lab is happy to teach you all about the secrets of a great cup of cappuccino, in a friendly, approachable setting.

  • Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream – 3600 Forest Hill Ave., Richmond, VA 23225
    Looking for a coffee shop that the whole family will enjoy? Crossroads Coffee and Ice Cream serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, ice cream, and fantastic cappuccino in a truly unique setting. Crossroads is a bit of a hybrid, with a funky diner atmosphere and a menu a mile long. The family-friendly atmosphere and diverse menu have made Crossroads a popular local destination.

Whether you're celebrating National Cappuccino Day or looking for a pick-me-up before work, Richmond's coffee shops always have what you need. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Richmond.

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 11/27/2022. The listing information on this page last changed on 11/27/2022. 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 Sat 11/26/2022 11:10:19 PM EST) or CVRMLS (last updated Sun 11/27/2022 1:07:42 AM EST) or Williamsburg MLS (last updated Sat 11/26/2022 10:54:24 PM EST) or NNAR MLS (last updated Sat 11/26/2022 10:26:31 PM EST) or Chesapeake Bay & Rivers (last updated Sat 11/26/2022 8:50:22 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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