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Libby Gatewood
REALTOR®, ABR,GRI,RAA
Associate Broker/Appraiser
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Articles Tagged "Millennial Buyers"

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July
18

Moving to a New City: Long-Distance House Hunting Tips

house hunting

Moving to a new city is exciting, but it also has challenges. If your new city is more than a couple of hours from your current home, then house hunting might be one of those challenges. How do you go about finding a home from a distance? We've helped plenty of out-of-town buyers find lovely Richmond homes for sale. Along the way, we've compiled a few tips.

  • Make Sure You're Ready
    When shopping for a home from a distance, you often need to make quick decisions. You may need to say "yes" or "no" to a home without waiting for that weekend's open house. You may need to decide, within a day or two, whether you're interested in a home outside of the first neighborhood you were looking in.

    These decisions will be easier if you sit down and make sure you are completely ready to buy a home before you start looking. Apply for mortgage pre-approval, decide what month you want to move, clarify terms with your employer, and so forth.

  • Find the Right Real Estate Agent
    You'll be relying on your real estate agent to be your eyes and ears on the ground. So, you want to hire a real estate agent who is used to working with remote clients. When interviewing various agents, ask how comfortable they are with video conferencing technology. Make sure they are comfortable navigating remote document signing software, too.

    You also want an agent who knows the area well. Since you're not there and may not be overly familiar with the area, you will be relying on your agent to know which neighborhoods suit your needs, what the market is like in certain towns, and so forth. Search through our real estate agents and see how they'll be able to help with your house hunt.

  • Research the Area
    Read up on the cost of living in the city you're moving to. Research various neighborhoods and what they have to offer. As you learn more about the area, you can start to create a short list of neighborhoods where you would prefer to buy a home. Provide this list to your agent, and ask them for more information on your desired areas.

  • Use Cost of Living to Inform Your Budget
    Setting a budget when house shopping in a new city can take some work. First, you want to see what various homes are selling for in certain neighborhoods. However, you also need to consider the cost of living in the new city. You can do this by creating a mock budget.

    Based on the cost of living, write down how much you expect to spend on groceries, utilities, fuel, and other needs. Subtract these costs from your monthly income. How much of what is left can you afford to spend on housing? From this number, you can work backward and determine how much house you can afford.

  • Be Flexible
    It's always good to be flexible when buying a home, but even more so when you're shopping remotely. You may not find a home that checks every one of your boxes, but you may find one that checks 9 out of 10. You may not find a home in your top-choice neighborhood, but your agent may recommend one that you like even more. Make plans and lists, but be willing to change them as needed if your information and goals change.

Follow the tips above to successfully find a home in a different city. If you're looking for a home in the Richmond area, please contact us soon. Our real estate agents have experience working with out-of-town buyers and can simplify the process for you.

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.

December
27

How to Find a Coworking Space in Richmond

Richmond Coworking

The last few years have made people rethink where and how they work. It comes as no surprise that the number of coworking spaces and people who use them has skyrocketed in 2021. 

In all fairness, coworking was already a major trend before the pandemic changed everything—the number of flexible workspaces in the U.S. grew by more than 200% between 2014 and 2018—but being forced to work from home has shifted everyone's perspectives. After all, wouldn't it be great if you could work from home... but not from home? 

What is Coworking?

If you've ever used a local coffee shop as a place to get work done, then you have an idea of what coworking is all about. But a dedicated coworking space is different because it's actually designed with the needs of remote workers in mind. 

At a typical coworking space, you'll see individuals and groups all working independently on their own projects in a space that's made for working. Coworking spaces have all the amenities remote workers need, like Wi-Fi, printers, various workspaces, and conference areas. 

Unlike a coffee shop, you won't feel like you're on display. And unlike a coffee shop, you don't have to keep buying a steady stream of coffee and scones to avoid feeling like a freeloader (but don't worry; many coworking spaces have coffee and snacks). 

Coworking Spaces in Richmond

The number of spaces dedicated to coworking in the Richmond area has gone through the roof in recent years. Check out some of these amazing places convenient to Richmond homes for sale

  • Venture X - 1806 Summit Ave Suite 300, Richmond, VA 23230
    Spanning 18,000 square feet, Venture X is one of the largest coworking spaces in the city. Venture X is designed with various workers' needs in mind, and you can choose different membership plans depending on what works best for you. Options range from a shared or individual desk to a conference room or communal office. Plus, there's free coffee at the onsite cafe. 

  • Expansive - 11 S 12th St, Richmond, VA 23219
    The Richmond location of Expansive (a growing nationwide group of coworking spaces) is conveniently located where the historic Shockoe Slip neighborhood meets Richmond's financial district. Nestled in a red brick building dating back to 1905, Expansive offers a modern, vibrant and flexible workspace with dedicated desks, conference rooms, indoor and outdoor lounge areas, private offices, and even a working mothers' room. 

  • Common House - 303 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220
    A unique multi-function space in the heart of Richmond's arts district, Common House offers a little bit of everything. It's equal parts common space and social club, with open coworking and meeting spaces as well as food and drink, community lounges, and an event venue space. They even have an outdoor pool and a wine club. It's a whole new way to look at working remotely.

  • Gather - 313 E Broad St, Richmond, VA 23219
    Gather provides one of Richmond's premier coworking spaces, with beautifully renovated offices, meeting spaces, and communal work areas. It's a perfect environment in which freelancers, start-ups, and entrepreneurs can grow and thrive. In addition to the Gather location in the Downtown arts district, Gather also operates coworking spaces in Midlothian, Short Pump, and Scott's Addition. Membership to one grants you access to all of them. 

Contact us today to learn more about living and working in Richmond, VA. Whether you work from home, from a coworking space, or at a traditional workplace, Richmond offers a host of amazing opportunities. 

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. 

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/

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!

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!

 

January
16

The Future is Here: Live Smarter in 2019 With These 5 Smart Home Investments

2019 is here and the annual Consumer Electronics Show is over, unveiling new technology that allows us to be more automated and updated on what's happening in and around our homes.

Automation is still new and it may be hard to tell which devices may actually improve your life and your new home, so we have put together a list of the top items that will allow you to start making your home "smart" in 2019 and make your life easier.

 

Nest Smart Thermostat

Regulate Inside Temperatures and Save Money: Nest Learning Thermostat

With proven energy settings and the ability to change the temperature of your home remotely, the Nest Thermostat solution allows you to have more control over the temperature of your home than ever before. You can control the temperatures of different rooms all from their app and with their sensor feature, you can make sure the coldest room of your house is still feeling the love from the heat. Nest also learns your schedule and will turn down the HVAC when you're not home automatically, meaning no more wasted energy or money. This product isn't new, but it is always improving and could help you improve your energy bill, too.

Smart Lightbulbs

Set the Mood, Save Money, Even Turn on Alerts: Philips Hue Smart Light Bulbs

You can put these light bulbs throughout your home and have full control of your lighting. From the intensity of the lights to the colors, these smart light bulbs are so popular probably because of the effect they can have on mood. Wake up to the color of the sunrise or turn your daughter's room fully pink for princess playtime with the smartphone app. You can also sync the lighting to the sound of your music or have your lights blink a different color when you receive a text message or phone call. These bulbs aren't new but are always getting updates to sync with other smart devices.

Baby Monitor

 

Monitor your baby, smartly: Motorola's Halo baby monitor

Baby monitors are hardly new technology, but Motorola has made the baby monitor smart in 2019. The Halo baby monitor attaches to a cot or crib for an overhead view of the baby. The 1080p camera includes night vision and two-way audio that you can use on your smartphone. Above the camera, a ring of soft light glows and changes colors, while a virtual mobile projects scenes onto the ceiling. There's also the option to play lullabies or your own voice recordings through the Halo's speakers.

Smart Vacuum

Clean Up With Little to No Effort: Ecovacs Deebot N79S Vacuum

Most of us know that vacuums can be wildly expensive in price, plus the effort that you take to vacuum your home often can eat into your family time. You can now get the job done quickly with a smart vacuum that's remote controlled and can be automated to run when you're not even home. This vacuum is truly smart -- it can steer itself around your house, picking up grime from all types of surfaces and then drive itself back to its homebase to charge for the next clean sweep.

Ring Doorbell

Caller ID at the Front Door Keeps You Safer: Ring Doorbell and Camera

Ring's approach to the doorbell allows you to view exactly who is at your front door in high resolution. With instant mobile alerts and two-way talk features, Ring can help you recieve mail deliveries, avoid stranger danger, and reduce crime in your neighborhood. Ring's newest feature boasts improving community safety by helping neighbors identify potential delivery thieves among other crime.

Smart Laundry

Get Smarter at Doing Laundry: Samsung's Bixby-enabled smart washer

Unveiled at CES 2019, Samsung is bringing their voice assistant, Bixby, to your laundry room. Use your Samsung phone to get suggestions on the best laundry cycles for different types of garments, check-in on a cycle, or schedule a wash for later. It also has a SuperSpeed setting that's supposed to wash a regular load of laundry in just 30 minutes.  

Amazon Echo

Best Speaker and Connector: Amazon Echo

Amazon's Alexa-enabled devices top all the lists of the most useful smart home devices. The device itself looks like a speaker but it can do so much more than turn on the music. It can also take voice commands from users by talking to "Alexa." This device easily connects to many other smart home devices and makes it easy to have all your smart devices work together. On its own, it can give you daily news stories, set alarms and reminders, make calls, help you with your grocery list and so much more.

Take Them With You When You Move

Investing in smart devices is worth it, even if you are planning to move soon. Many devices are easily portable and will fit just as well into your new home! 

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
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.

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.

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 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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