Monday, December 29, 2014

Why I Choose Virginia Beach

Some of you may know that we just opened an office in Virginia Beach, which I am super excited about. It’s kind of crazy that we have a second location in these short years of me being in the real estate business. I have been very lucky to be working with a set of really outstanding group of individuals at Virginia Capital Realty.

When we initially set our eyes in the Virginia Beach area, we asked ourselves if it was feasible, it is after all a very different kind of market. What we know about Richmond does not apply to what we know about that area. In Richmond we have a lot of professionals and young families, this is in addition to all the well established individuals in the area. It’s a very steady market with a lot of possibilities and diversity. So what is the biggest difference between the two?

Virginia Beach is predominantly a market that caters to military families, some of you may not have already known this. A lot of these individuals are first time home buyers which can be a challenge on its own since they are not too familiar with the process and require more attention than more seasoned buyers. Luckily for me, this is kind of my specialty and I love doing that kind of work, especially because I have a great appreciation to what they do for this country. Guiding someone through the process of making the first major investing can be thrilling, I mean it's a decision that will affect their rest of their lives. Personally I think I have a pretty awesome job.

The technical stuff is surprisingly easy with military, they have a lot of different aids from banks and the government to make it easy for them to purchase a home. Instead on focusing on a lot of paperwork we can focus more on getting their dream home. It’s very important that we find a proper home for them and their loved ones because in case that they are deployed somewhere, they can rest assure that their loved ones are in a place that they like and feel comfortable in.

I’m very excited to be starting the New Year with an office in an area that is a completely different market and a different type of buyer. I know it’s only a two hour drive away from Richmond but the differences are palpable. As long as I can make a positive impact in that community and help them navigate what can be a confusing process of buying a home, I feel like I have done my job. Happy New Year’s everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

This Christmas, Don’t Forget About Williamsburg

(image courtesy of

Whether you are staying in town this holiday season or you have friends or loved ones visiting, a lot of us forget how many amazing things are just a short drive from Richmond. One of the biggest “tourist” destinations is Williamsburg, and when we think of this charming little town most people think two things: Outlet Shops and Theme Parks. That’s great an all because yes, there are those two things there but there is so much more to offer.

Starting with the basics: Williamsburg has Christmas Town at Busch Gardens during this time of year, this is fun for all of your loved ones and it is filled with Christmas related activities. A lot of the rides that are geared towards kids are open during this season with a couple of roller coasters still open for kids. The outlet shops in Williamsburg are famous for carrying designer brands at discounted rates, if you haven’t completed your shopping list then this may be a good opportunity to do so.

There’s so much more though! Richmond Magazine did a great article about some of the other activities to do there, they focus mainly on a couple of things that you may not know about or have forgotten about. The activities included cover: Culture, Shopping, Food and Relaxation.

From the article:

"The last time I went to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum several years ago, the museum was still in a small house off the Colonial Williamsburg property. I recall it seeming small and tired. That was then. In 2007, the museum was combined with the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in a bright, sprawling warren of galleries. For lovers of antique furniture and porcelain, the DeWitt collection offers ample eye candy. The layout is confusing at first, but after a trek through these galleries, you arrive at the folk art museum. Mrs. Rockefeller (who also co-founded the Museum of Modern Art in New York City) put together a remarkable collection of American folk art, from portraiture to figures and musical instruments. There is a great deal to be learned from this artwork, and the museum has done an excellent job with explanatory signs. Be sure to give yourself time to take it all in."

"For dining options, you can choose between basic fare, bistros and high-end seafood, in addition to Williamsburg classics like The Cheese Shoppe and The Trellis. (Be prepared to see costumed actors among the shoppers.) On weekends in December, you can catch a free, 30-minute street-theater production of Master Thespian’s A Christmas Carol by the Virginia Theatre Machine, and the Williamsburg Christmas Parade takes place Dec. 6 from 8:30 to 11 a.m.."

What this tells me is that there is still things to do in Williamsburg apart from the obvious choices, I think it is time to revisit that wonderful place. Now that we have an office in Virginia Beach, I will make sure to be stopping by more often in Williamsburg.

Read the whole article right here. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Buying A Home Around Christmas - 4 Reasons Why You Should!

I know that buying a home around the holidays can be a bit challenging with everything that is going on, however there are many great reasons to buy a house before the end of the year. Even though there is quite a few number of reasons, we’ll focus on four of them now:

The interest rates that you pay on your home are tax deductible, how about starting the New Year with a nice tax deduction? This could be a significant one, especially since the way that most mortgages are setup is that you pay more interest upfront.

Builders Are Slow
Construction and remodeling companies have a slow season too, and this is typically it. What this means for you is that you’ll get incentives and maybe some free upgrades and goodies just so they can get your business. You’ll probably need this especially if you’re buying a house that you haven’t built yourself.

Moving Companies Are Readily Available
Have you ever moved in the Spring or in the Summer? It’s somewhat a pain in the butt, mainly because scheduling someone to help you move during this time is especially difficult. This is a completely different story during the Winter months, moving companies won’t have as many jobs during Christmas and like many construction companies, they’ll too be running specials and discounted rates. It’s all about saving money!

New Year, New Rent
Once you secure a mortgage rate, that’s it, you know exactly how much you’ll be paying every month making it easy to budget. This is not always true when you rent a place, a landlord can increase your rent and sometimes this could happen at the beginning of the year. This can be a huge inconvenience especially if you don’t have a place to move right away and don't want to pay the inflated rates.

If you’ve been sitting on buying a home, you may not want to do it too much longer especially if you want to take advantage of all the things mentioned above!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Top 5 Things For Christmas

I feel incredibly blessed this year, mainly because I have been able to really make a difference in people’s lives not just because I have been able to find many their dream home or a great investment but because I have been lucky enough to participate in groups like: Women’s Council of Realtors and the Young Professionals Network.

In my first year of being a real estate agent I won an award for the Realtor’s Association Rookie of the year because my sales reached fifty two homes in one year. This year, I was honored to be nominated as a Realtor of the Year, only a total of five people were nominated. So as a top five agent of Central Virginia, here are the five things I am thankful for this Christmas:

My Family
This will always be a first and foremost, currently my brother is off working on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean and I always pray that he is ok out there. My parents live an hour away so I am lucky that I get to see them frequently, they have been my biggest supporters!

My Family

My Team
I am just one woman and I know I can’t do it all, so I am so grateful to have such a wonderful business team.

Amanda is part of my team (she's a little pregnant)

My Clients
Obviously I wouldn’t be able to be where I am today if it wasn’t for all of them. They really are amazing people and I feel so lucky that I have been able to work with them.

My Health
I don’t think there is much to say about this one, other than I am just happy to be healthy so I can run around from one appointment to the next.

Being Able to Mentor
If I can teach just one person how to be a better business  woman or person, I think I have done my job.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Talk - Speaking of Investments

As you all probably know, I have been all over the place this month. Between hosting a client appreciation party last week, the Grand Illumination downtown and having a fabulous dinner with some our investors, I started reflecting on how lucky I am to be in this business. Not that many years ago Real Estate was one of the things that took a really big hit when the economy was doing not so great and it made a lot of people almost fearful of the idea of buying a house. People seemed to be a lot more careful with their money and investments.

There are still plenty of you out there that haven’t owned their first house, but honestly there isn’t really a better time than now to get one. The government and mortgage lenders are aware of these concerns in people’s minds and have started so many incentive programs for first time buyers. Between tax breaks and awesome rates, it really is a good time to become a homeowner, not to mention that the cost of homes is expected to rise within the next few years because of an increased number of well qualified customers.

Let’s back track a little bit though, so what about incentives? What are they exactly? Well there is a quite a few of them and over the course of the next few weeks I will be covering different points but here is the full list of them:

  • Mortgage interest
  • Points
  • Real estate taxes
  • Private Mortgage Insurance premiums
  • Penalty-free IRA payouts for first-time buyers
  • Home improvements
  • Energy credits
  • Tax-free profit on sale
  • Home equity loans
  • Adjusting your withholding

Let’s talk a little bit about Mortgage Interest Rates, they are at their lowest they have been since last summer. Partly due to the fact that it is winter and the season tends to be slower so banks and lenders tend to make it more attractive for buyers during the holiday season. This is good for buyers and investors and should be taken advantage of to its full extent.

Mortgage Interest can also be a tax deduction for some depending on income. An excerpt from TurboTax

"For most people, the biggest tax break from owning a home comes from deducting mortgage interest. You can deduct interest on up to $1 million of debt used to acquire or improve your home.

Your lender will send you Form 1098 in January listing the mortgage interest you paid during the previous year. That is the amount you deduct on Schedule A. Be sure the 1098 includes any interest you paid from the date you closed on the home to the end of that month. This amount is listed on your settlement sheet for the home purchase. You can deduct it even if the lender does not include it on the 1098. If you are in the 25 percent tax bracket, deducting the interest basically means Uncle Sam is paying 25 percent of it for you."

There’s no time like the present and if you’ve been sitting on the thought of making an investment, this may be the best opportunity for you to do so, especially if you are a first time homebuyer.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Saving for the Future? Think of Investing in Real Estate

It’s true what they say, investing in Real Estate is not for everyone. It’s not a quick get rich scheme, instead it is something that requires time, patience and most importantly planning. What is funny about this logic is that it is not much different than investing in other investments and it could yield a very high return if done right. Real estate is a tangible good as opposed to other type of investment portfolios so its value doesn’t decrease as quickly as some other riskier ventures, but it does depend largely on the economy. 

So what are some things that you may want to consider before jumping the gun and investing in a property? 

Think Longterm
You’ll need to have all your personal finances in order and realize that this is something that make take a few years before it really starts paying off, it requires an upfront investment that can later create income by being rented out. Make sure that you plan for this from beginning to end, it is also smart to keep an exit strategy in your back pocket in case things turn sour. 

Be Realistic
A lot of people think that getting a bargain home is a great idea, that they’ll put it in a couple of thousand dollars and have something that is ready to move in after light repairs. Take your time and go through homes carefully, or even better get a real estate agent that knows what they are doing so they can ensure that you are getting a home that will eventually pass a proper home inspection. Don’t take projects that you think you’ll be able to fix on your own, most often times than not, you’ll need to hire a contractor to help. A good real estate agent can help with most of these things, and honestly they should!

Location, location, location
Pick a neighborhood with a centralized location or an up and coming area, good schools and not too far from city centers. Your next step is to check to see how much you will get for the property if you rent it out, does this cover the mortgage and all other costs associated with the purchase? If not, then you may be looking like at a very good investment. 

Ask yourself these questions because like i’ve said before this type of investment is not for everyone. Take your time and don’t rush into anything that quickly because this is something you will own for many years to come. 

As always, give me a call or shoot me an email if you have any questions about investing in Real Estate, especially if this is your first time, i’m here to help!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Best Single Thing You Can Do To Your Home For Thanksgiving

You know, I love Richmond around the holidays. I know, i’m supposed to say that because I am a real estate agent in Richmond. Well it’s quite funny because it is true, I love this city and whenever someone tells me that this place doesn’t have much to offer I take it upon myself to prove them wrong. I love a challenge, especially when it comes to my city!

One of the things that I love about this place is that it has so much character. It has great historical significance, excellent restaurants, we have sports, we have amazing parks and a variety of shopping options. Everything is so close by including DC, Charlottesville and Virginia Beach. It has been voted as one of the best places to eat in the East Coast.

With so many things happening in Richmond, I’ve come to realize that it’s important to make your house stand out, how do you do this? As an experienced realtor I can tell you that curb appeal goes a long way. Which means having a well put together yard both in the front and back, decorating according to the season, and making sure that your home is well maintained on the outside. Make sure that your home looks festive for the holidays!

We’re seeing an explosion of people moving into Richmond because of the many businesses and corporations that are transplanting into Richmond's backyard. Home maintenance should be a top priority just to ensure that your home stays competitive with the market so if you ever do decide to sell you’ll get the maximum amount of money.

I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving and if you’ve been sitting on a home project for a bit that needs completing, now may be the best time.



Hey guys! Welcome to my new blog, I’ve had so many success stories and I have learned so much through my journey of being a Real Estate Agent that I would like to take sometime to talk about my best business practices. I love helping people and making sure that they get exactly what they want when it comes to Real Estate and Housing.

You will find all kinds of tips, tricks, real estate trends and advice in my blog. I spend a lot of time finding information for my clients about getting the greatest possible rates, finding the best contractors and making sure that the property in question is always the best it can possibly be and I would like to share all of this knowledge with you.

Thanks for visiting and make sure to stay tuned for updates from Rhonda Howlett Real Estate!

Your Richmond preferred Real Estate Agent

-Rhonda Howlett