A Guide to Richmond, VA Homes: The Ranch

February 26th, 2014

RanchFirst built in the 1930s, ranch homes were originally modeled after rural Western ranches. Ranch architecture bears a slight resemblance to the modern style with open floor plans and easy connections to the outdoors. Single-floor and split-level floor plans live under the ranch style. The houses fuse modernist ideas and styles with notions of the American Western period working ranches to create a very informal and casual living style.

The ranch style was extremely popular with the booming post-war middle class of the 1940s to 1970s. The style is often associated with tract housing built at this time, particularly in the western United States, which experienced a population explosion during this period, with a corresponding demand for housing. The style was exported to other nations and so is found in other countries. Their popularity waned in the late 20th century as neo-eclectic house styles, a return to using historical and traditional decoration, became popular.

Preservationist movements have begun in some ranch house neighborhoods, as well as renewed interest in the style from a younger generation who did not grow up in ranch-style houses. This renewed interest in the ranch house style has been compared to that which other house styles such as the bungalow and Queen Anne experienced in the 20th century, initial dominance of the market, replacement as the desired housing style, decay and disinterest coupled with many teardowns, then renewed interest and gentrification of the surviving homes.

The following features are considered key elements of the original ranch home style, although not all ranch houses content them:

  • Single story
  • Long, low roofline
  • Asymmetrical rectangular, L-shaped, or U-shaped design
  • Simple, open floor plans
  • Living areas separate from the bedroom(s) area
  • Attached garage
  • Sliding glass doors opening onto a patio
  • Large windows, often decorated with shutters
  • Vaulted ceilings with exposed beams
  • Exteriors of stucco, brick and wood and glass
  • Large overhanging eaves
  • Cross-gabled, side-gabled or hip roof
  • Simple and/or rustic interior and exterior trim
  • Aluminum windows (usually replaced), popular in the 1950s and 1960s

Want your own ranch home in Richmond? Contact Jenni Jennings for more information at 804-247-2568 or jenni.jennings@kw.com.

Information from DIY Network and Wikipedia.

Richmond Homearama 2014 by Southern Traditions

February 25th, 2014

3D Rendering - HomearamaRichmond Homearama 2014 at Magnolia Green is open May 1-18, 2014, Thursday-Sunday, 11am-6pm. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children 18 and under.

This exciting show returns this year featuring seven new idea homes at Magnolia Green in Chesterfield County. Each home showcases the very latest in home construction, design, and technological innovations. The homes are furnished and decorated by regional interior design teams.

Each home featured in this year’s Homearama is built by one of the area’s finest builders. The homes are thematically decorated by regional Interior Designers. There are seven showcase homes priced from the low $500s. The homes are available for purchase giving the buyer a true chance to own a designer home at a fantastic price.

The Jenni Jennings Team is happy  to announce we’ll be partnering with Southern Traditions, LLC for the Richmond Homearama!  Here’s a sneak peak of the rendering of the “Southern Charm”, which is in drywall stage of construction. We can’t wait to keep you guys in the loop on the progress along the way! If you’re interested in purchasing “Southern Charm”, please contact Jenni at 804-247-2568 or jenni.jennings@kw.com.

Mortgage Rates Projected to Rise as Tapering Continues

February 24th, 2014

Arrow Up It is projected that if the Fed continues to cut back on bond purchases that long term mortgage rates would start to climb. Many experts felt that Janet Yellen, who replaced Ben Bernanke as Fed Chair, was going to be less inclined to continue tapering bond purchases at the level established.

However, in her testimony in front of the Financial Services Committee last week, Yellen made it quite clear that she will in fact continue the current pace of tapering:

“In December, the Committee judged that the cumulative progress toward maximum employment and the improvement in the outlook for labor market conditions warranted a modest reduction in the pace of purchases, from $45 billion to $40 billion per month of longer-term Treasury securities and from $40 billion to $35 billion per month of agency mortgage-backed securities. At its January meeting, the Committee decided to make additional reductions of the same magnitude. If incoming information broadly supports the Committee’s expectation of ongoing improvement in labor market conditions and inflation moving back toward its longer-run objective, the Committee will likely reduce the pace of asset purchases in further measured steps at future meetings.”

What does that mean to a prospective purchaser? Currently, Freddie Mac’s 30 year rate is at 4.28%. Here are the projected interest rates for this time next year:

Mortgage Rates

Information courtesy of KeepingCurrentMatters.com

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home

February 18th, 2014

Happy-Family-SoldIf you are thinking about purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in real estate. Let’s look at whether or not now is actually a good time for you to buy a home.

There are three questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances. A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of the space

What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?

When looking at future housing values, we like the Home Price Expectation Survey. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.3% in 2014.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 28% by 2018.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 16.8% by 2018.

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately one full percentage over the next twelve months.

Bottom Line

Only you and your family can know for certain the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision. If you’re ready to buy, contact The Jenni Jennings Team for more information.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale by Owner

February 13th, 2014

Do-Not-FSBOSome homeowners consider trying to sell their home on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). The Jenni Jennings Team agrees with the great minds at Keeping Current Matters in thinking that this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are five of our reasons:

1. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to FSBO.

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • Your bank in the case of a short sale

2. Exposure to Prospective Purchasers

Recent studies have shown that 92% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 28% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

3.  Results Come from the Internet

Where do buyers find the home they actually purchased?

  • 43% on the internet
  • 9% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by just putting up a sign and putting it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong internet strategy is crucial.

4. FSBOing has Become More and More Difficult

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 9% over the last 20+ years.

5. You Net More Money when Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for $184,000 while the typical house sold by an agent sells for $230,000.   This doesn’t mean that an agent can get $46,000 more for your home as studies have shown that people are more likely to FSBO in markets with lower price points. However, it does show that selling on your own might not make sense.

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, sit with a real estate professional in your marketplace and see what they have to offer.

Need help selling your home? Contact The Jenni Jennings Team at 804-287-2568 or jenni.jennings@kw.com.

Information courtesy of http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2014/02/05/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-for-sale-by-owner/

Infographic: The Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent

February 10th, 2014

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate AgentInfographic from Keeping Current Matters,  Courtesy of: Park City Real Estate – JensenandCompany.com

5 Reasons to Buy a Home Now Instead of Spring

February 6th, 2014

Happy-Family-SoldBased on prices, mortgage rates and soaring rents, there may have never been a better time in real estate history to purchase a home than right now. Here are five reasons purchasers should consider buying before the spring market arrives:

Supply Is Shrinking

With inventory declining in many regions, finding a home of your dreams may become more difficult going forward. There are buyers in more and more markets surprised that there is no longer a large assortment of houses to choose from. The best homes in the best locations sell first. Don’t miss the opportunity to get that ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ buy.

Price Increases Are on the Horizon

Prices are projected to appreciate by over 25% from now to 2018. First home buyers will probably pay more both in price and interest rate if they wait until the spring. Even if you are a move-up buyer, it will wind-up costing you more in net dollars as the home you will buy will appreciate at approximately the same rate as the house you are in now.

Owning a Home Helps Create Family Wealth

Whether you are rent or you own the home you are living in, you are paying a mortgage. Either you are paying your mortgage or your landlord’s. The Fed, in a recent study, revealed that the net worth of the average homeowner is 30 times greater than that of a renter.

Interest Rates Are Projected to Rise

The Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Realtors, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have all projected that the 30-year mortgage interest rate will be over 5% by the this time next year. That is an increase of almost one full point over current rates.

Buy Low, Sell High

We would all agree that, when investing, we want to buy at the lowest price possible and hope to sell at the highest price. Housing can create family wealth as long as we follow this simple principle. Today, real estate is selling ‘low’ compared to where it will be next year. It’s time to buy.

Need help starting the process? Contact The Jenni Jennings Team at jenni.jennings@kw.com or 804-247-2568.

Information and photo courtesy of Keeping Current Matters- http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2014/02/04/5-reasons-to-buy-a-home-now-instead-of-spring-2/

Preparing Your Richmond Home for the Market: Repairs and Maintenance

February 5th, 2014

home-repair-maintenance-restoration-atlantaThis post in one in a series on preparing your home for the market. Check out why less is more, why it’s important to go neutral and how to make your flooring “wow” your potential buyers!

Many homeowners get a slight case of anxiety in anticipation of listing their home for sale. After all, it is understandable that one who doesn’t do this on a daily basis could be a little intimidated by the preparation and maintenance of having your home walked through by strangers that are judging your every nook and cranny on a daily basis.

Rule Number Four:  If you know about it, fix it before you hit the market (when it comes to repairs and maintenance).

99% of buyers will do a home inspection after they go under contract on your house, this will be their opportunity to pick apart the “defects” of your home.

If you choose not to do some of the minor repairs now, just know that this could be used against you and the price you are asking for your house down the road. Our team has great resources for handymen and contractors that can generally get everything taken care of in one fell swoop. If you suspect there may be issues with your home, consider having a pre-listing inspection. According to our friends at Capitol Home Inspections, a pre-listing inspection:

  • Provides you with an objective, non-biased evaluation of the overall condition of the property in order to provide full disclosure.
  • Shows good faith to potential buyers that everything possible has been done to reveal any defects in the home.
  • Saves you the money, time and hassle by identifying problems that could surface after negotiations when the buyer has their own home inspection performed after negotiations.

A Guide to Richmond, VA Homes: The Colonial

February 4th, 2014

DIY_colonial-style-home-exterior_s4x3_lg(This is an ongoing series on the types of homes you can find in Richmond, Virginia! We’ve featured the Loft and the Craftsman already! )

Back in the 1700s when Colonial architecture originated, there were many variations of the style. The most common type still found today is the Georgian Colonial.

Known for its symmetry, Colonial architecture is most often characterized by evenly spaced shuttered windows. Dormers, columns and chimneys are also evenly proportioned to complement the formal style. The Colonial style houses often featured emphasis on the front door. The Colonial home is one of the most popular styles of home in the United States, according to “Better Homes and Gardens.” colonial in bon air

Colonial architecture flourished in two main US regions: New England and in the Southern US. They are designated as New England Colonial and Southern Colonial. As the architecture evolved, the two styles took on distinct differences. In the South, ceilings were built higher in order to provide ventilation during the summer months. In New England, the majority of colonial homes were built with wood siding, as the material was easy to come by. Colonial homes in Virginia, which is considered part of the New England family, were built primarily of brick because clay was plentiful. The style can be found as far west as Ohio and Illinois.

As Colonial architecture evolved in the United States, architects and homeowners sought to put their own stamp on the style. These accessories include such items as brass door knockers, cut-glass doorknobs and gilt indoor mirrors. The use of shutters on the front windows also evolved out of the Colonial style.

Several other types of Colonial homes have evolved from the original style. The French adopted the style as they built homes in what became Louisiana. These homes have steep roofs, elevated brick foundations and wide porches. Spanish Colonial homes evolved during the time of the Spanish Empire in Florida and the US Southwest. These homes were differentiated by their materials, which were usually adobe and stone to help keep homes cool.

Photos courtesy of DIY Network and Realtor.com


Preparing Your Richmond Home for the Market: Flooring

January 28th, 2014

Floor-CleaningThis is the third post in a series of preparing your Richmond home for the market. Read the first and second posts!

Many homeowners get a slight case of anxiety in anticipation of listing their home for sale. After all, it is understandable that one who doesn’t do this on a daily basis could be a little intimidated by the preparation and maintenance of having your home walked through by strangers that are judging every nook and cranny on a daily basis.

Rule Number Three: Hardwood Floors – If you have them, flaunt them!

This means taking up all rugs that cover them. Trust us, this is the fastest way to increase the value of your home – show off your beautiful hardwood floors! Do you have hardwood flooring underneath carpeting? Consider removing the carpet. If they are looking kind of drab and worn, consider polishing or refinishing to give them a nice shine.  Here’s some tips:

  • To begin with, you should start by using a microfiber dusting pad to get rid of excess debris from the wooden floors. This is an important first step to prepare the floors for further cleaning and polishing. Be sure to buy a microfiber cleaning pad, as other types may not be soft enough and could end up scratching your wooden floors. To get debris and dust out of crevices and corners, you may also want to consider using a hose attachment on your vacuum.
  • Next, choose a floor cleaner that is specifically made for hardwood flooring. Never use a generic disinfectant or other cleaner that is not labeled specifically for use on hardwood. This is because it could cause serious and expensive damage to the flooring this way. Apply small amounts of the cleaner to each area of the floor and rub them into the wood using a microfiber pad.
  • Once the cleaner is applied, check to make sure that the floors are not too slippery. If the floors are slippery, ensure that any potential buyers you show your home to keep their shoes on when viewing the home to avoid slipping hazards.
  • Once the floors are shiny and clean, you may also want to consider applying a floor polish to give them an extra shine and protective finish. Most of these come in a wax form, though some cleaners even have the polish built in to save you time and hassle.

Overall, preparing your hardwood floor for a home showing takes time and some careful work. However, in taking the time to get your floors looking their best, you will drastically increase the overall appearance of your interior space and your chances of being able to sell your home!

Photo and cleaning information courtesy of http://blog.homegain.com/