Richmond Ranked as the #1 Place to Celebrate the 4th of July!

Richmond Ranked as the #1 Place to Celebrate the 4th of July!Have you heard of Wallet Hub? It’s a social website that focuses on money and finances and this year Richmond, VA has been voted as the best location in the America to enjoy Independence Day!

Wallet Hub considered 14 different criteria to determine the overall best location to enjoy the celebration this year and Richmond ranked highest as compared to the other 99 largest cities in the U.S.  Among the things being considered were entertainment and food, available attractions and recreational activities and even the weather forecast for the 4th.

If you would like to visit the ultimate 4th of July celebration here’s the complete list of all of the firework displays that will be available. A word of caution however, you may not want to leave!


FIREWORKS ON THE JAMES – this is the 4th year that this celebration will be held. There will be entertainment provided by the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Richmond Ballet’s “Minds in Motion” and the Latin Ballet of Virginia and plenty of food to satisfy just about any craving! No alcohol, pets, glass, or metal containers are allowed.

  • July 3rd • 7:30 PM festivities begin, 9:15 PM fireworks start
  • Brown’s Island (viewable from many locations downtown)
  • FREE

FIREWORKS AT DOGWOOD DELL – a free concert will begin in the afternoon featuring both jazz and pop music featuring Bak N Da Day, a Carillon Bell Concert, and the Richmond Concert Band.

  • July 4th • 5:15 PM
  • Dogwood Dell, 700 Blanton Avenue
  • FREE

GOOCHLAND COUNTY FIREWORKS – this one is self explanatory and is one of the most popular gathering places for the 4th of July celebration in Richmond!

  • July 4th • 9:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Goochland County Administration, Goochland Elementary, and Middle & High School Complex • Goochland, VA
  • FREE

KING’S DOMINION MILITARY DAYS – here you can combine the holiday with all the thrills of this great amusement park! Perfect for adults and children!

  • July 4th and 5th
  • King’s Dominion, 16000 Theme Park Way • Doswell, VA
  • FREE Admission to active, inactive, or retired military personnel with ID with an extended 15-minute fireworks show on July 4th.

DOMINION AT DUSK – if you can’t make it on the 4th don’t worry, there will be fireworks every night here for the entire summer!

Fireworks every night through the summer for 10:00 PM closes; shows start at 9:45 PM.

  • May 24th – August 31st
  • King’s Dominion, 16000 Theme Park Way – Doswell, VA
  • Cost of admission: $49.00 – $64.00

FIREWORKS AND THE FLYING SQUIRRELS – looking for something a bit different? Here you can combine a little sports action with your fireworks on the 4th and the 5th with fireworks on both days!

  • July 4th & 5th • games start between 5:05 PM and 6:05 PM, respectively
  • The Diamond, 3001 N. Boulevard
  • $7 – $11

BUSCH GARDENS Star Spangled Nights

Live performances, music, and special effects every night

  • July 3rd – August 10th • Fireworks at 9:30: PM
  • Busch Gardens – Williamsburg, VA
  • $72.00 adult, $62.00 child

GENWORTH INDEPENDENCE DAY CONCERT – plenty to do here for the entire family including face painting, balloons and tons of different food to sample! Entertainment will be provided by the Heritage of America Band and the event is being held on the 3rd if you want to get the party started early!

  • July 3rd • 6:30 PM
  • Genworth Financial’s World Headquarters, 6620 W. Broad Street
  • FREE


COLONIAL HEIGHTS FIREWORKS – if you’re looking for a no frills way to see the fireworks that this is your best bet! The location is just off of I-95 Exits 53 or 54 in the Southgate Square/Wal-Mart area.

  • July 4th • 9:15 PM
  • Charles Dimmock Parkway • Colonial Heights, VA
  • FREE


  • July 4th • 5:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Chesterfield County Fairgrounds at 10300 Courthouse Road • Chesterfield, VA
  • FREE


Posted in Events, From One Agent to Another, Happy Holidays! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do you know the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®?

Do you know the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTORUnless you are involved in some way with the industry most people don’t realize that there is a difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®.  Although both are held to the same standards of conduct a REALTOR® has agreed to certain codes of ethics in the performance of their duties that is not required by a real estate agent. As a member of the National Association of REALTORS® there are very specific rules which must be adhered to at all times if a REALTOR® wishes to remain a member.

This is something that both home buyers and home sellers should consider when choosing an agent to assist them. The following Code of Ethics is what all REALTORS® agree to adhere to and it is much more restrictive and inclusive when compared to what is required to obtain and keep a simple real estate license. This is not to say that a real estate agent that is not an actual REALTOR® is dishonest or less trustworthy but it is an important attempt to regulate the industry that is honored and considered to be very important by industry professionals throughout the country.

Here are the specific standards that all REALTORS® must abide by:

1) Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly.

2) Shall refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing material facts; and is obligated to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant.

3) Shall cooperate with other brokers / agents when it is in the best interests of the client to do so.

4) Have a duty to disclose if they represent family members who own or are about to buy real estate, or if they themselves are a principal in a real estate transaction, that they are licensed to sell real estate.

5) Shall not provide professional services in a transaction where the agent has a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.

6) Shall not collect any commissions without the seller’s knowledge nor accept fees from a third-party without the seller’s express consent.

7) Shall refuse fees from more than one party without all parties’ informed consent.

8) Shall not co-mingle client funds with their own.

9) Shall attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and will give everybody a copy of what they sign.

10) Shall not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

11) Expects agents to be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified.

12) Must engage in truth in advertising.

13) Shall not practice law unless they are a lawyer.

14) Shall cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence requested.

15) Agree not to bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.

16) Shall not solicit another REALTOR’S client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.

17) Shall submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.

Posted in From One Agent to Another | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being “nice” does NOT mean being stupid!

Being “nice” does NOT mean being stupid!There are times when a home is being bought and sold that unusual circumstances may arise. I have seen situations where either the buyer wanted to move in before closing or the seller needed to remain for a period of time after the closing due to personal circumstances of one kind or another. I have always warned both parties against this type of arrangement.

First of all I would like to say that I understand that unexpected things happen in life that no one can prepare for. I believe that most people want to help others when they can. Something as small and seemingly insignificant as allowing the person that you just bought your home from to stay an additional week after closing because their new home closing has been delayed and they have nowhere to go might not seem like such a big deal if you can accommodate, right? After all, if you can stay where you are without undue hardship why not help them out of a difficult situation? Well, actually, that just isn’t the case.

By allowing such a request you are now entering what can legally be considered a landlord-tenant agreement and that can change everything. As an example, what if the unthinkable happens and their financing falls through? What if suddenly they can no longer buy the home that they were supposed to move into after selling you theirs? As the new owner you do own the property but how do you get the previous owner to leave if they refuse due to circumstances? Court trials take time and where will you be living if it goes that far? Can you afford to pay rent and the mortgage on your new home at the same time until the matter is settled or the tenants finally move out?

As if that isn’t enough to consider there are many other things that can happen as well. Insurance issues are another major concern. Many policies do not take effect until the new owner actually takes occupancy of the new home. This means that as the policy from the previous owner has no doubt elapsed that your new home may be without insurance protection of any kind. What if there is a fire or some other kind of emergency and the home is damaged? What if the people living there now damage the property in some way? This list can go on forever and it doesn’t get any better.

If I haven’t convinced you yet that this type of situation is not in your best interest, than consider this. So far we have talked about the worse that can happen, so let’s consider those things that are much more likely to occur. It would not be unheard of for the previous owner to leave the home in less than perfect condition even if they do stay for a very short period of time. Even if there are no huge tragedies that happen during this time period it’s for sure that there is going to be some type of misunderstanding. Perhaps they mistakenly take an appliance or some item that was originally supposed to stay. Maybe they forget to tell you about the stain in the carpet that occurred a few days ago or maybe they simply forget to lock the door when they leave!

No matter how small or innocent the misunderstanding these types of situations are never going to be perfect and I believe that it’s so much simpler for both parties involved to simply go about it the old fashioned way; the seller leaves, the buyer moves in, period. Helping others is always a great thing to do but risking the biggest investment of your life is foolish regardless of the reason.

Posted in From One Agent to Another, Humorous | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How do you know if you’re a good conversationalist?

How do you know if you’re a good conversationalistIf you really think about it the people that are most important to you in your life are those that listen to you, really listen. It’s fair to say that a person that is enjoyable to talk to is also a person that can be considered a good listener but having a great conversation with someone is a two way street and give and take is essential. So how do you know if you are a good conversationalist?

The first step to a good conversation is listen first, speak second. That may sound simple enough but it’s surprising how many people lack this basic communication skill and listening does not just mean using your ears. Paying attention to the other person’s expressions, body language, tone of voice and looking them in the eyes tells that that you are paying attention to their words, that you care.

Make sure that you are giving the other person a chance to speak. When we are involved in a conversation that is interesting or exciting to us we sometimes tend to talk more than we listen. With practice you can learn to take a breather once in a while to make sure that the other person has a fair chance to voice their opinion. Dominating a conversation means that you are not truly listening and your partner is sure to notice.

Asking questions is another way to let the other person know that you are interested in what they are saying and that you are paying attention. Everyone appreciates the opportunity to voice their opinion and the more questions that you ask, the more they will appreciate it!

Be sure that your expression and mannerisms match your words. What do I mean by this? Have you ever told someone a joke and after the punch line they said something like “Wow, that’s really funny” but you noticed they didn’t even smile? How about someone that keeps saying things like “yeah”, “uh huh”, “sure” but they aren’t even looking at you when they’re saying it? It’s easy to tell that they are being polite but they aren’t really paying attention to what you are saying.

Learning to be a good conversationalist is easy to do if you pay attention to these few simple rules of conduct. You may find that making new friends is much easier and your business will flourish because clients will know that you are sincere.

Posted in From One Agent to Another | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

True Success is NOT Measured in Dollars and Cents

True Success is NOT Measured in Dollars and CentsUsually when people use the word “success” they are referring to money. We would all agree that Donald Trump is a very “successful man” but what about the rest of us? While most of us cannot be compared to Mr. Trump in the financial sense of the word I am sure that we are successful in our own lives in many different ways. So what is the meaning of a truly successful life?

For starters I think the most important measure of success is happiness and that comes from a lot of different places. In my humble opinion if you are happy than you have achieved success, real success. I know that there are plenty of people in the world that have a lot of money but they are clearly not happy. How many times have you seen a famous pop singer or rock star destroy their selves by using drugs or a famous actor with a serious drinking problem? For me this is proof positive that they are not very happy even though they seem to have everything that anyone could ever want.

So what is the secret to leading a truly successful life? Some people achieve happiness by achieving goals that they have set for themselves. Others are content in their life because they are the best at what they do and take great pride in their accomplishments. Still others find contentment in a more personal manner such as helping others to achieve their personal best or contributing to various charities or causes to improve the lives of those less fortunate than themselves. Although I think that this is a wonderful thing to do I also think that giving of your time to someone else is the most valuable gift of all.

Time is the one thing that can never be replaced. When we give of our time and effort to help someone else than we are truly sacrificing for their benefit. It’s easy to give money (especially when you have a lot of it) but giving of yourself takes effort, commitment and sincerity. I believe that true success is not measured in what we think of ourselves but rather what others think of us. I remember a saying I heard many years ago that I have never forgotten. It went something like this: No one ever said on their deathbed, “Gosh, I wish I had worked more”. Maybe we can all learn something from this almost forgotten wisdom.

Posted in From One Agent to Another | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Ninja with a Blazer?

A Ninja with a BlazerOk, first of all I want to say that I did not write the following blog myself. I was sitting at my computer trying to decide what I should blog about today while scouring the internet for something interesting when a search result caught my eye. It was entitled “15 Reasons to Date a Real Estate Agent”. I thought to myself “that has potential”! What interested me the most was not actually the title but the source of the short article. It was posted on a very well known dating website and I couldn’t believe that it was so career specific. My curiosity was aroused and I just had to take a look for myself.

So what’s so great about dating a real estate agent? Well you can judge for yourself but my personal favorites are #1 and #7. I never thought of myself as a “ninja with a blazer” before!

15 reasons to date a real estate agent:

1. According to Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy, “Every realtor is just a ninja with a blazer.”

2. Real estate agents are good negotiators.

3. They don’t give up easily. (He won’t give up easily on you, either.)

4. Real estate agents are comfortable with taking calculated risks, depending on commission to pay their bills.

5. Crave confidence in a date? Real estate agents trust their own abilities to sell properties and close deals for clients.

6. She’s a matchmaker: Real estate agents help clients’ dreams of home ownership come true by pairing what they can afford with what they need.

7. He probably doesn’t live in his parents’ basement.

8. For realtors, beauty is more than skin deep. They can see the potential in a property that others can’t.

9. Real estate agents are self-motivated, driven to succeed in a difficult field of work.

10. Real estate agents are accessible. They intentionally make themselves available to their clients — and, in all likelihood, to their significant others.

11. No 9-to-5 here. If you’re also a freelancer, a real estate agent’s unconventional schedule might appeal to you. Sure, she might be busy tomorrow evening, but she might also be able to swing a weekday brunch.

12. Real estate agents are smart — and good at math. They’re always updating courses and intentionally learning more about their business and the neighborhoods they sell in.

13. Can’t handle awkwardness? Real estate agents depend on their people skills to survive financially. Invite a realtor to a dinner party, and he/she will bring out the charm.

14. A good real estate agent is discerning. He/she knows when to sell a property and when to hang on to it.

15. You’ll learn more about your city. Date a real estate agent, and you’ll get an education in thriving neighborhoods, up-and-coming areas to watch, zoning laws and gentrification.

Posted in From One Agent to Another | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Waiting to buy a home? BIG mistake!

Waiting to buy a home BIG mistake!If you’re even thinking about buying a home then there are a few things you need to know about. First of all the cost of rent is dramatically going up in many parts of the country and some areas are seeing record breaking increases. Although this alone may not be enough to consider making the move into your new home (if you currently rent) there are other factors that are making now an opportune time to buy for almost every situation.

Housing inventories are continuing to shrink in many areas and if you wait too long to find your dream home it might be a lot more difficult than it is right now. Housing prices are expected to increase dramatically and as early as 2018 home seekers may be looking at an average increase in cost of as much as 25%. While that’s great news for sellers it is terrible news if you are in the market for a new home. A home that is on the market today for $200,000 would cost $250,000 at an increase of 25% and a $400,000 home would increase as much as $100,000! That’s a big difference to pay for the same home.

You are paying a mortgage whether you realize it or not! What do I mean by this? If you are renting than you are still paying a mortgage. The difference is that you are paying the landlord’s mortgage instead of your own. Regardless of what changes may occur in the housing market is this ever a smart idea?

Experts insist that interest rates will rise again by the end of this year. This prediction comes from those “in the know” including the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers’ Association. The average 30 year mortgage is expected to be over 5% and that is definitely higher than today. 30 years is a long time to pay more than you might have if you had acted sooner. Taking advantage of the low rates now being offered is a wise decision that will reward you for many years to come.

One last point to consider; the average homeowner has a net worth that is 30 times greater than that of those whom chose to rent. Real estate is and always has been one of the most stable and reliable investments that anyone can make and with the cost of housing soon to increase now is the perfect time to get into your next home. If you have questions I am here to help. Don’t wait until you can’t afford to buy what you really want.

Posted in From One Agent to Another | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Fence is on my Neighbor’s Property! Now what?

My Fence is on my Neighbor’s Property! Now whatMistakes happen in life and the world of real estate is no exception.  Every homeowner’s nightmare is finding out that somehow a mistake has been made regarding your property line and you (or a previous owner) have built something that extends beyond your own property. This could be as simple as a fence that is actually sitting on your neighbor’s property or even an additional structure such as an addition or garage.

Although this type of situation is rare it has happened before. So what do you do if this happens to you? Well, first of all, don’t panic. Depending upon the circumstances it is possible that you won’t be required to remove the impediment. In Virginia there is a difference between a nonconforming property and an illegal property. Regardless of what type of structure is located beyond the property line if a building permit was issued granting permission to build as well as a use permit or certificate of occupancy than the building will not be considered illegal and will not be required to be removed. This is one great reason to obtain the proper permits from your local government if you have any future building plans in mind.

Another caveat that may be a saving grace if you find yourself in this position is time. This is one time that taxes can actually be your friend! If the issue concerns a building on your property and you have been paying taxes on that additional structure for a minimum of 15 years than current Virginia law states that again your structure will be deemed as nonconforming but not illegal.

If you learn nothing more from reading this than the fact that obtaining a building permit is always a good idea before committing yourself financially than you have learned a lot. Building permits are not very expensive and aside from avoiding possible legal issues with the local authorities they do provide a level of protection for the homeowner. As always it is best to seek the advice of an attorney in such matters but if you are experiencing this type of problem at least there is the possibility of solving the problem without being required to remove the structure or paying “rent” to your neighbor!

Posted in From One Agent to Another, How to....., Real Estate Marketplace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Too Much is Too Much!

Too Much is Too Much!As a realtor I get to see a lot of homes. As we all know when you are trying to sell your home staging is vital and first impressions are everything when perspective home buyers pay a visit. One thing that will make any home look sparse and bare is empty walls. Have you ever seen a home with nothing on the walls? No pictures, no artwork, no décor of any kind?  It really gives the impression of “emptiness” and makes the home feel uninviting and lonely. But there is one thing that’s just as bad as bare walls and that is too many pictures!

I’ve written many times about how important it is to de-clutter your home before showing it to buyers. A neat, clean well organized home is something that every buyer wants and it is nearly impossible to sell your home if it is disorganized or “junky”. This applies to the walls just as much as every other part of the home. Here is a simple “rule of thumb” when it comes to having too many pictures on the walls: if you feel like you’re being watched than you have too many pictures! Here are some great guidelines as to how to hang pictures properly in your home without overdoing it.

Quality not Quantity – Whether you choose to adorn your walls with loved ones or prefer a more “artsy” décor, use good judgment. One interesting picture is better than 100 every day photos so choose wisely and hang pictures that are unique, different and interesting. Adding character to your home will make it more interesting and a good conversation piece is priceless!

Family Pictures Have a Place – I have noticed that many people like to place pictures of loved ones everywhere throughout their home. The truth is that the best place to place pictures of loved ones is probably in the family room and living room. It just makes sense in those places. Others can still see them and when you’re selling your home visitors expect to see them in these areas.

Home Offices – If you have a home office, library or den in your home this is the perfect place to hang awards, diplomas, business documents and pictures of business associates and the like. It’s a great way to show “who you know” or what you know but placing these types of photos and documents in the more public areas of your home can easily give the impression that you are “showing off” to visitors. Believe it or not such a simple thing can even cause buyers to be “turned off” by your home and no longer be interested in buying it. I know that may seem a bit silly but people can be fickled and even the smallest thing can have an impact on their mood or general impression of your home.

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place – Common sense is always a good idea and placing the proper pictures in the proper place can give meaning and purpose to every room in your home. After all, who wants to see pictures of food in the bathroom or deceased relatives’ pictures in the kitchen? Remember the importance of colors as well: red and orange are great in “high energy” areas of the home where you intend to entertain guests and calming colors such as pastels work well in bedrooms and patios.

Where you place pictures together on a wall also can make a big difference. If you want to highlight a certain photo (such as a picture of your grandparents) you can make it the centerpiece by placing other family photos around it. Adding a large frame or even a table easel will increase the impact that much more and can do wonders for the décor of that particular room.

I’m sure that if you take the time you can think of many ways to display photos and artwork throughout your home in a very tasteful and attractive manner. The bottom line is that too much of a good thing is just too much and can make selling your home more difficult.

Posted in From One Agent to Another, Real Estate Marketplace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richmond VA from an “insiders” point of view!

Richmond VA from an “insiders” point of view!Have you ever considered living in Richmond, Virginia? Whether you enjoy city life or prefer the peace and solitude of country living Richmond should be on your list of places to consider. The first thing that you will need to understand is that in Virginia the cities are actually a completely separate entity from the counties and as a result the city of Richmond is physically located in both Henrico and Hanover counties. All 3 of these areas are considered to be the actual metro area.

You won’t find a lot of housing choices within the business district of the city but if you insist on being close to the action there are some apartments located along the canal. If you’re looking for a great view and intend to rent this is one area that you might want to check out.

Carytown is well known for its array of restaurants and shops and is a big hit with the “20 somethings” in the area. It’s great for a very pleasant night out or a great meal and the historic Byrd Theater is located there as well. This famous movie house was actually built in the 1920’s and today it is still popular for its second run movies and authentic Wurlitzer that is played on the weekends! History and culture are alive and well in the Carytown district. There are some very nice homes here for buyers but most have very small yards. If that suits your tastes than you need to plan a visit or give me a call for available listings in the area.

The western side of Henrico County is a very busy place for those of us that enjoy the daily hustle and bustle. The eastern side of the county is a bit less hectic but it is growing steadily and might be the perfect choice if starting a new business is something that you are considering.

Chesterfield is very similar to Henrico but it is actually more rural in nature and if you are retired or looking for a great vacation home I can say that this is one of the best locations in all of Virginia. And by rural I don’t mean that there is nothing to do! Chesterfield has its fair share of museums, historic areas, shopping areas and even amusement parks so excitement is there when you need it. You can tour numerous battlefields from the civil war as well, a great way to spend the day for history buffs like me!

Hanover County is another great area that is mainly rural (except for the town of Mechanicsville). This is a definite must see if you are considering living in an upscale area.  Here you can definitely find your share of million dollar mansions but there are also many very nice homes starting at around $300K.

The entire Richmond area really is fantastic. Here you can see plenty of wildlife and on occasion a Bald Eagle! The school system is for the most part very, very good and access to other interesting places is a breeze. DC and North Carolina are only about a 2 hour drive and whether you plan a sightseeing tour in the nation’s capital or are looking to furnish your new home everything is within easy reach. In the same amount of time you can visit the mountains or enjoy a fine summer day at one of the many beaches.

I know the area quite well as I was born and raised in Virginia so if you have any questions about what area is right for you I’m sure that I can help! Feel free to call me at any time or shoot me an email. Be sure to check out my website as well. I have some featured listings that you really need to see if you are looking to buy a home and there’s lots of other useful info. there too.

Posted in From One Agent to Another, Real Estate Marketplace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment