Wednesday, September 30, 2015

RVA Fall Festivals

It seems like wrapping up the bike races has left Richmond in a daze and wanting more!  Fall is already a beautiful time of year in the city, what’s a better way to enjoy it than to have an amazing month of fall festivals!  

State Fair of Virginia
It started in late September and runs through Sunday October 4th at Meadow Event Park adjacent to King’s Dominion.  Get your funnel cake a farm animal petting on at this much loved State Fair!

RVA Field of Dreams Fest
Friday, October 2nd
Gates at 4:30
Held at the Diamond, come enjoy live music, local craft beer and wine as well as local food!  Proceeds go to bettering Richmond’s inner-city youth baseball facilities.  Advanced tickets are $30 and $45 at the gate.

Gallmeyer Farms Fall Festival
Saturday, October 3rd
10 am— 5 pm
Looking for fresh, outdoor family fun?  This is the place to be.  Bring a picnic, take a pony ride and browse the locally grown produce along with other craft vendors and local businesses.  Enjoy live music, free parking, free admission and free hayrides!  Get the family together and head out to Gallmeyer Farms.

Saturday, October 3rd
12 pm— Dusk
The Church Hill Association and Style Weekly are throwing this annual Libbie Hill bash complete with all the great BBQ Richmond has to offer.  Live music, beer and face-painting for the kids, there’s something for everyone, including vegetarians at this much anticipated Church Hill Festival.

2nd Street Festival
Saturday, October 3— Sunday, October 4
This fun festival stretches from Broad St all the way to Jackson Street celebrating African-American heritage with food and music.

Party on the Avenues
Sunday, October 4th
12 pm— 6pm
From Libbie Avenue at Patterson to Guthrie, Party on the Avenues celebrates the charm of the Libbie/Grove/Patterson area of Richmond.  The event is free to attend, bring the family for kid’s activities and enjoy live music, food and beer.

Richmond Folk Festival
Friday, October 9— Sunday, October 11
The next big international event to hit RVA!  Don’t miss the chance to see dance, vocal and instrumental acts from around the globe at this favorite Richmond festival.  Admission is free!  Check out the musical schedule and plan your trip around the world.
Richmond Oktoberfest
Friday, October 16— Saturday, October 17
In the Old Dominion Building at the Richmond International Raceway, come enjoy German food, music, beer and dancing in a traditional style Oktoberfest celebration!

VCU Broad St Mile
Saturday, October 17
10 am— 2 pm
Join the 5K walk/run and festival on Broad Street between Belvedere and Hermitage Road!  Support different charities or causes of your choice with different race options.  Entertainment, food, fitness demonstrations and kid’s activities included!

Virginia Hops & Harvest Festival 
Saturday, October 17
Gates 12 pm
At the Heritage Amphitheater at Pocahontas State Park enjoy live music until 9 pm while sampling beers from 20 Virginia Craft Breweries!  Tickets are $12.50 in advance and $15 at the gate.

Kickin’ Chicken Wingfest
Sunday, October 18
17th Street Farmers Market hosts yet another fun festival.  Eat wings, see who wins tasting contests while enjoying a cold one.

Festival of India
Saturday, October 24 — Sunday, October 25
Experience the culture of India through food and music at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Scott’s Addition Pumpkin Festival
Saturday, October 24
12 pm— 6pm
All pumpkin themed food, live music and craft beer at this harvest festival.  Held on Boulevard from Leigh to Broad Streets. 

Fire, Flour & Fork
Wednesday, October 28— November 1
A curated variety of food related events including educational tours, tastings, chef dinners and beer and wine pairings.  Many of the events are sold out, so grab your ticket to get on board Richmond’s foodie train!

First Annual Richmond Voodoo Festival
Thursday, October 29
Doors 8 pm

For those of you who are Halloween enthusiasts, check out the Voodoo festival at The Broadberry!  Enter the costume contest for a $250 cash prize, enjoy live music and Cajun catering!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Open House Friday and Sunday in Church Hill

This weekend as the bike race comes to an end we are happy to announce that we have TWO great homes that are new listings!  We will be holding an Open House for both properties on two dates this weekend.  Stop by for food, wine and beer while you view the race or grab a bite to eat at one of the many great restaurants in the area!

Both houses will be open:

Friday 4pm-6pm
Sunday 2pm-4pm

604 N 22nd Street 
Richmond, VA 23223
Right across the street from Alamo BBQ in Church Hill


106 N 27th Street 
Richmond, VA 23223
One block from historic Libbie Hill Park!  (if you're watching Richmond2015 UCI Bike Race, stop on by!)

We hope to see you there!

Women's Council of REALTORS supporting VCU Massey Cancer Center

     Yesterday, the Women's Council of REALTORS threw a wonderful event on the Street of Hope to benefit the VCU Massey Cancer Center.  All money raised will be going towards a new wing at the Cancer Center that will be dedicated to research for hematology and oncology, clinical trials and cancer prevention and control.
     The WCR hosted a fashion show and luncheon in honor of Karen Hoerath, a Realtor and past president of the organization whom we lost earlier this year to cancer.  It was a beautiful event, themed around "What Women Want," that showcased not only fashion but 8 gorgeous model homes designed to perfection.  There were refreshments, raffles, prizes to be won and all for a great cause!

My S.W.A.T. Team!

Look at those gorgeous chandeliers, fashion show in progress!

My raffle ticket didn't win...

Amanda and Ned in front of that great big house!

Look at that funky chandelier

A kitchen to dream about

Unique sink

The textures are great in this room

   There are two more events being held to show your support for the Massey Street of Hope: 
      The Concert of Hope, September 24th
      Massey Family Fall Festival, September 26th & 27th
   Visit Massey Street of Hope for more info.

Friday, September 18, 2015

WCR and FeedMore Food Bank Pig Pickin' Event

We had a very cute table set up at the Pig Pickin' last night in support of the FeedMore Food Bank. Thrown by the Women's Council of Realtors, this event was a huge success, and since we had the wine table...I think we were pretty popular as well.  My team and I enjoyed the live music and good food, and we got to break out our newest team apparel!  Rhonda Howlett's S.W.A.T. team! Service With A Thrill!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How to Navigate Home Inspection Contingencies

     I have often talked about the importance of a home inspection for many reasons.  As a buyer, to make sure there aren’t any major hidden problems with your purchase, on foreclosed homes to find out what will or will not pass inspection and even affect your loan terms, or as an investment property in order to accurately tally the foreseen cost vs. profit margin.  Here’s an article by Benny L. Cass that speaks from the seller’s point of view and I think it makes a lot of really good points.  It not only explains the differences between a general contingency and specific contingency, it weighs the benefits for each party and how to avoid missteps as a seller when negotiating the contingencies on the contract to save you time and heartache.


Question: We are selling our house and have just received an offer to purchase. The offer contains a contingency for the buyer to obtain a home inspection report.

The buyer is asking for a general inspection contingency, but our real estate broker is advising us to use the specific inspection contingency. Can you explain the difference and give us some assistance?
Answer: In my opinion, it is imperative for a homebuyer to obtain a home inspection after the contract for sale is signed by all parties. Buyers often purchase real estate based on emotions rather than facts, and a good home inspection is important to satisfy the purchaser that the property is substantially in sound condition.
A buyer should always include in a sales contract a contingency to the effect that the contract is contingent on the purchaser obtaining, at purchaser's expense, a satisfactory home inspection within three or five business days after the real estate contract is ratified.
Sellers may think, at first blush, that an inspection is not in their best interests. However, if the seller stops and thinks about it for a moment, it becomes very clear that even from the seller's point of view, it is advisable to let the buyers have a short contingency to back out of the contract if they are not satisfied with the condition of the house.
I would rather have a purchaser back away early in the process than wait until the very last minute and raise all sorts of problems and concerns on the day of settlement.
Of equal importance, if the purchaser has obtained a satisfactory home inspection report, that same purchaser will be hard-pressed to raise issues about the condition of the house on the day of settlement -- or even later. Often, I have heard sellers tell buyers "you removed the home inspection contingency, and if you have a problem with our house, look to your own home inspector."
As you have indicated, there are two basic inspection contingency forms used in the Washington metropolitan area -- both of which are equally applicable for all real estate transactions. The first is known as a general contingency, which gives the buyers the absolute right to back out, if, for any reason whatsoever, they are dissatisfied with the inspection report. In practical terms, however, buyers often tell sellers that the contingency will be removed if the seller makes certain repairs.
The other contingency is known as the "specific contingency," which works likes this: After the buyer has completed the inspection, the buyer must submit a list of items to be repaired or corrected to the seller. The seller has three days to advise the buyer whether they will do any or all of the items on the list. The buyer then has one additional day after receiving the seller's response in which to determine whether to buy the property or to declare the contract null and void.
Obviously, from a buyer's point of view, the general contingency is much preferred. Basically, the buyer can walk away from the house for any reason whatsoever. On the other hand, the specific contingency is clearly much better for the seller, since it narrows down the issues, and gives the seller the opportunity to correct certain defects, rather than lose the buyer.
Needless to say, from your point of view as the seller, the specific contingency is in your best interests. However, from a psychological and a marketing point of view, if the buyers are demanding the general contingency, they might be suspect as to why you are insisting on the specific contingency. Keep in mind, your buyer does not know the house at all, and if they feel you are trying to hide something from them, they may become very hesitant to go forward with the purchase of your property.
My own suggestion is to rely on your real estate broker's advice in this case. If your broker truly believes the buyer will not sign a contract without the general inspection contingency, then clearly you should use that form. On the other hand, if your broker does not believe the buyer really cares, then the specific contingency should be included in your sales contract.
You have indicated, however, that there is no time limitation on the contingency. This is not acceptable. If you do not have any time limitation, then the buyer literally can back away from the sale on the date of settlement by producing an inspection report that is unsatisfactory. You should limit the inspection contingency to a period not to exceed three or five days after the sales contract is signed.
You should also insist, however, as a seller, to obtain a copy of the entire inspection report, whether or not the buyer raises any objections based on that report. After all, if the buyer raises problems later at the settlement table -- or even months after taking title, it would be very helpful to have a copy of that report in your possession.
For the full article from RealtyTimes by Benny L. Cass, click here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Charity of the Month

     With the UCI Road World Championships being hosted by Richmond, Virginia this year, I thought it fitting to name REACHcycles as my September Charity of the Month.  A truly historic event not just for Richmonders, but our nation.  The UCI bike race is returning to the U.S. for the first time since 1986!  Cyclists are coming from around the world to achieve their goals and reach their full potential and REACHcycles strives to give children with disabilities that same encouragement.  Their adapted cycles provides independence and mobility for those that don’t take it for granted. 

     Started by James Howard, a disabled veteran, REACHcycles is a non-profit started in 2014.  He was inspired by a therapeutic cycle he received himself for a bike ride in Texas sponsored for disabled veterans.  His organization provides recreational therapy for children and veterans with disabilities alike and has been inspired by many other chapters throughout the country providing similar adapted cycles.


To donate or learn more about this great organization visit

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

12766 Summerhouse Lane; Perfect for your growing home!

     If you are looking for a place you can truly call home this place is it!  It’s in a great neighborhood with great schools.  You can enjoy hours of entertainment outdoors with a fire pit, custom built tree house and two story deck! The back yard is fenced in if you have furry friends and has access from the kitchen with full electrical. There have been many upgrades made besides the outdoors, including updated kitchen appliances and thermal windows to save on your energy bills.  Four bedrooms and two full baths allow plenty of space you to grow and cherish the time spent in your new home!

Please contact me to view this property and click here to learn more!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Equal Access to HUD Properties and FHA Lending

In honor of Pride Fest this weekend in Richmond, VA I thought I'd share an article about HUD Equal Access Rule!

HUD Issues Guidance Based on Equal Access to Housing Rule
RISMEDIA, Wednesday, July 15, 2015— As part of the recent White House Conference on Aging, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued guidance to better serve and help avoid discrimination to LGBT Americans seeking HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing. The guidance will help clarify the Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Rule (Equal Access Rule), which was originally published in 2012. The Equal Access Rule ensures that housing across HUD programs is open to all eligible individuals regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status, including Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly.

“Every American deserves to live with dignity, regardless of who they love or who they are,” says HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “HUD is committed to fighting unjust discrimination and to expanding housing opportunity for all.”

HUD’s guidance on multifamily and insured housing programs clarifies that a determination of eligibility for housing that is assisted by HUD or subject to a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) shall be made in accordance with the eligibility requirements provided for such a program by HUD, and be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. The guidance also clarifies that no owner of administrator of HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing, approved lender in an FHA mortgage insurance program, nor any recipient or sub-recipient of HUD funds may inquire about the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant for, or occupant of, HUD-assisted housing or housing whose financing is insured by HUD, whether renter or owner occupied.

Violations of the rule and guidance could result in HUD’s determination that the owner has failed to comply with program requirements. HUD may pursue any available remedy, including sanctions, that it determines appropriate to remedy the violation. 

The creation and implementation of the Equal Access Rule builds on HUD’s and President Obama’s commitment to expanding opportunity, advancing equality, and leveling the playing field for the LGBT. Since 2010, HUD has taken steps to strengthen LGBT protections, such as formally adopting the principle that gender identity discrimination is sex discrimination under the Fair Housing Act, releasing agroundbreaking study on LGBT housing discrimination, and pursuing complaints under the Equal Access Rule. The multifamily assisted and insured housing guidance follows additional guidance issued by HUD in February on home lending and transgender access to homeless shelters.

For more information on the recent guidance, please click here.

    Wednesday, September 2, 2015

    This Month's Contest Winners!

    This past month, I held a competition with my team, the winners of which would win $250 cash in hand!  The competition had 3 categories: 

    1. Most closed leads from me
    2. Highest units sold
    3. Highest volume sold

    I am so proud of my team because everyone was so close in every category!  Not only had everyone tied for second in one category, in another it came down to the very last day of the month!  Not too long ago I was hustling to make any and every sale I could to make it in this business and now my team has grown to 12 talented people who all bring something different to the table.  I'm happy to have all of you as part of the Rhonda Howlett SWAT team!

    Congratulations to Tammy Robinson for most closed leads, Ricky McNeal for highest number of units sold, and Bruce Richardson for highest volume sold!  Enjoy your hard-earned prizes! 

    Tuesday, September 1, 2015

    Charity of the Month: Comfort Zone Camp

        Now that my closings this month are complete, I am proud to announce my August Charity of the Month, Comfort Zone Camp.  The Comfort Zone Camp provides children ages 7-17 a safe place to grieve the loss of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver.  It’s a nationwide non-profit organization that offers partnerships with like-minded organizations to bring camp programs and services to their local area.  Comfort Zone Camp is a great organization, and doing good work to make sure children aren’t left to grieve alone through one of the hardest times in their lives.

         For more information, or to join me in making a donation to such a great cause, visit