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Libby Gatewood
REALTOR®, ABR,GRI,RAA
Associate Broker/Appraiser
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Date Archives: August 2021

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Area Information | 78 Posts
Buy a House | 28 Posts
Chester, VA | 1 Posts
Chesterfield VA | 2 Posts
Glen Allen, VA | 2 Posts
Goochland VA | 1 Posts
Hanover County | 2 Posts
Henrico County | 5 Posts
Henrico, VA | 1 Posts
Hopewell VA | 2 Posts
Midlothian VA | 3 Posts
Napier ERA | 9 Posts
Petersburg VA | 4 Posts
Powhatan VA | 3 Posts
Richmond VA | 111 Posts
Uncategorized | 2 Posts
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. 

August
23

Scenic Dining Options in Central Virginia

Richmond Scenic Dining

It's no secret that Richmond and the surrounding areas feature stunning scenery. From the city skyline to the James River, there's a lot to see, even while you're dining. Our real estate agents love to feast on the views found at these great restaurants around Central Virginia. 

  • The Boathouse - 4708 E. Old Main St., Richmond, VA 23231
    How many cities have a downtown with spectacular waterfront views? The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing overlooks the James River, offering a view framed by lush greenery. While The Boathouse is known for their iconic crab cakes, the rest of their menu is equally impressive. Hours are 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday.

  • Conch Republic - 11 Orleans St., Richmond, VA 23231
    Enjoy the flavors and ambiance of Key West just minutes from Richmond homes for sale at Conch Republic. Take in a beautiful sunset as you dine on island-inspired dishes such as conch chowder, Islamorada fish tacos, and Cuban sandwiches. Don't be surprised if a bald eagle or heron flies by to complete the picture. Conch Republic is open 11:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily, with extended hours until 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. 

  • Byrd House - 301 W. Franklin St., Richmond, VA 23220
    Fly high at the aptly named Byrd House, not far from the VCU campus. You'll literally have the city at your feet as you relax on the rooftop bar that provides stunning 360-degree panoramic views. The menu includes veggie egg rolls, shrimp tacos, and other shareable small plates, but you'll want one of the signature Graduate Smash Burgers all for yourself. Byrd House is open through November, with hours from 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 5 p.m. - midnight Thursday through Saturday.

  • Amuse Restaurant - Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 200 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., Richmond, VA 23220
    After viewing incredible works of art, gaze at a masterpiece from Mother Nature while dining at Amuse Restaurant. Locals refer to Amuse, located in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, as one of the city's hidden gems. Many tables look out over the Sculpture Garden behind the museum, while others have a view of the stunning atrium. The menu changes based on the freshest seasonal ingredients, but there are always vegetarian and gluten-free options. Hours are 11:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday through Tuesday and 11:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

  • Maria's Old Town 21 - 21 W. Old St., Petersburg, VA 23803
    Owners Vincenza and Giovanni Crapa bring the sights, aromas, and flavors of their native Sicily to the area near Peterburg homes for sale with Maria's Old Town 21. The rustic decor and charming patio are reminiscent of a countryside trattoria, while the menu includes classic dishes such as antipasto, penne alfredo, and pollo marsala. Maria's is open 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

  • Capital Ale House - 13831 Village Place Dr., Midlothian, VA 23114
    Cap off a day of viewing Midlothian homes for sale with dinner and drinks on the patio at Capital Ale House. The menu is an upscale take on a German beer garden, with favorites such as pierogies, jägerschnitzel, and a sausage platter. The impressive beer list includes dozens of domestic and imported draft, bottled, and canned brands. Hours are 11:30 a.m. - midnight Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m. - 1:30 a.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. - midnight Sunday.

There's always something special to see in Central Virginia, including the amazing homes. Have questions about real estate? Contact us at Napier Realtors ERA.

August
16

Antique Stores Around Central Virginia

Richmond Antique Stores

Everything old is new again, especially when it comes to the incredible variety of vintage furniture, artwork, home accessories, and jewelry found in local antique stores. Our real estate agents love to spend weekends antiquing at these great shops around Central Virginia.

  • West End Antiques Mall - 2004 Staples Mill Rd., Richmond, VA 23230
    Why do people consistently name West End Antiques Mall as the best antique mall near Richmond homes for sale? With more than 250 booths across 53,000 square feet, you're sure to find something that catches your eye. The comprehensive assortment of antiques and collectibles spans a full spectrum of periods and styles. Just 25 percent down holds any purchase of $100 or more for 45 days. Hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon - 6 p.m. Sunday.

  • Sheppard Street Antiques - N. 1126 Arthur Ashe Blvd., Richmond, VA 23230
    Virginia native Sara Garza blended her passion for antiques and dreams of entrepreneurship when she opened Sheppard Street Antiques. Originally, the shop specialized in vintage garden-related items, reflecting another of Sara's interests. As Sheppard Street Antiques became more successful, Sara expanded the scope to include an eclectic offering of antiques and collectibles. In support of her native state, Sara also carries a number of handmade jewelry and gift items by local artists. Sheppard Street Antiques is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

  • Sixty West Vintage - 8004 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, VA 23235
    When you visit Sixty West Vintage, you may feel like you're in someone's home rather than a store. Sixty West Vintage is well-known for featuring high-quality wood furniture from top brands such as Pennsylvania House and Thomasville. Be sure to stop in the gallery of Carole Stewart and take home one of her original oil paintings to grace the walls of your home. Hours are 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon - 6 p.m. Sunday.

  • Penniston's Alley Antiques & Collectibles - 102 W. Old St., Petersburg, VA 23803
    Historic Old Town is an appropriate location for Penniston's Alley Antiques & Collectibles, just down the street from Petersburg homes for sale. Two Federal townhouses dating back to the early 1800s form the setting for the shop, creating a gracious and comfortable ambiance. Owners Sid Scott and Chris Brown took advantage of their jobs as flight attendants to bring back stunning furniture and accessories from around the world. Sid, Chris, and their staff love to share information about antiques as well as historic tales of Petersburg. Penniston's Alley is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

  • Tye's Antiques - 4200 Steger Creek Dr., Powhatan, VA 23139
    Like many of the best entrepreneurial ideas, Tye's Antiques started out as a personal hobby for owners Tom and Robyn. The pair soon filled their home with furniture and family heirlooms Tom restored in their garage-turned-workroom. In addition to selling antiques, Tom puts his refinishing skills to work on customer-owned pieces ranging from a drop-leaf table to a pair of old church pews, many of which are now proudly displayed in Powhatan homes for sale. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 

Central Virginia's historic past and lively present make it the perfect place for your future. Contact us at Napier Realtors ERA for expert help buying or selling a home. 

August
9

Pay Attention to These Things When Your Neighbor Lists

Neighbor Selling

Has your neighbor recently listed their home? After you spot that for sale sign, this is an opportunity to find out more information about your neighborhood, your competition, and even your own house. Here are five things our real estate agents recommend you check out, especially if you plan on listing your home in the near future.

  1. Who is listing the house? 
    Is it someone who specializes in your neighborhood, for instance? It might not be a bad idea to have a conversation with your neighbor's real estate agent. See how well they know the area and if they have any recommendations.

  2. How similar is their home to yours?
    If you've never been inside your neighbor's house, go to the open house or ask if you can schedule an appointment. Another option is to view the listing photos online. If you do attend the open house, while you're there, consider features such as square footage, floor plan, number of rooms and bathrooms, and how updated their home is compared to yours. Taking a look around can tell you whether your home is comparable to theirs, so you know whether you can use their final sale price as an indicator for what your home might be worth.

  3. What does your home look like from a neighbor's point of view?
    Before you go into your neighbor's house, stand on the walk and look over at your house. Try to view it as a prospective buyer or a neighbor would. Take a look at your house from the neighbor's windows and backyard, too. What would you think about your house if you were a homebuyer visiting your neighbor's home? 

  4. How does the sale go?
    Continue tracking the listing, and note important details such as how long it takes to sell and what the final sale price is. If it sells within days, for instance, now might be an excellent time to list your home, too. If it takes weeks or months to sell, on the other hand, it might benefit you to wait out the slow market and list once home sales in your area pick up more.

  5. Is this an opportunity to work together?
    If you were about to list your own home, consider whether your neighbor's listing is an opportunity to work together. Rather than viewing your neighbor as competition, for instance, consider the ways in which your homes are different. You and your neighbor could use the same agent or encourage your agents to work together. Not all Richmond homes for sale are the same, and your two homes may have important differences that set them apart and make one or the other more appealing to specific buyers.

Whether you're thinking of selling soon or just biding your time, your neighbor's home sale can provide a wealth of information to help with your decision. If you're interested to learn about selling in your Central Virginia neighborhood, contact us today, and one of our experienced agents will talk to you about what you can expect when listing your home for sale.

August
2

Late Summer Blooms: Gardens Around Central Virginia

Gardens in Richmond

Central Virginia is always in full bloom when late summer rolls around. It's a season our real estate agents look forward to all year! Our local farms and gardens are bursting with life this season, and we're thrilled to share these great places to see the colors and taste the flavors of the season.

  • Agecroft Hall & Gardens - 4305 Sulgrave Rd, Richmond, VA 23221
    A splendid Tudor manor house and estate overlooking the James River, Agecroft Hall & Gardens offers splendid scenery in the heart of Richmond. It has several unique gardens, and the Shakespeare Garden is especially not to be missed, with its historic 1920s fountain tucked away among the boxwood trees. Agecroft Hall's beautifully manicured gardens have earned it a place on the Richmond Garden Trail, which includes some of the most picturesque sites in the city near these Richmond homes for sale

  • Fresh Branch Farm - 13801 N Ivey Mill Rd, Chesterfield, VA 23838
    There's always something new growing and something fun to explore at Fresh Branch Farm. You-pick sunflowers are always a highlight of their summer season, and visitors can pick their own blooms from vast fields of towering sunflowers. They're usually in full bloom by August. Located just minutes from many Chesterfield County homes for sale, Fresh Branch Farm also offers grass-fed Piedmontese beef shares and fresh eggs from their large flock of free-range chickens.

  • Lavender Fields Herb Farm - 11300 Winfrey Rd, Glen Allen, VA 23059
    If you're in Virginia in June, be sure to stop at Lavender Fields Herb Farm to see their 200 lavender plants in full bloom. But if you're planning a visit later in the summer, rest assured that there's still plenty to see at this lovely farm just outside Richmond. They offer dozens of herb, vegetable, and fruit crops that are seasonally available, and many of their specialties, like lavender ice cream and lavender lemonade, are available throughout the warmer months. You'll find them just a short drive from these Glen Allen homes for sale, among the rolling hills of Henrico County. 

  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - 1800 Lakeside Ave, Henrico, VA 23228
    Spanning more than 50 acres, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a prime destination to immerse yourself in the beauty of the natural world. With more than a dozen themed gardens, including the Rose Garden and Cherry Tree Walk, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens offers something special in every season. Late summer visitors can delight in finding the roses, daylilies, hibiscus, gardenias, and sacred lotus in full bloom. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is located a stone's throw from these Henrico homes for sale, just outside Richmond. 

  • Going for Green Farm - Merchants Hope Rd. Prince George, VA 23875
    Bring home locally grown flowers when you stop by Going for Green Farm. Sarah is the owner and "chief flower grower" who started her business near Prince George homes for sale. Be sure to check out their schedule for farmers markets they'll be attending with their locally grown sunflowers and other late summer blooms. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Central Virginia, and be sure to ask our real estate agents about finding your dream home in Richmond and the surrounding areas.

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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