Real Estate Tax Assessments – What to Expect and What You Can Do

In the last few years, city real estate tax assessments have increased 10 or 12 percent. A lot of this is due to the fact that real estate assessments were fairly stagnant while the market rebounded from the housing crisis. The city is trying to catch up and realize that market value has increased significantly and are reassessing accordingly.

If you feel that you were unfairly assessed based on the determined value of similar homes in your area, you can appeal your assessment.

There are 3 ways to appeal when your assessment arrives around the end of June (all information here comes directly from the city assessor’s website).

  • Office Review – A written appeal must be filed with the City Assessor’s Office no later than July 31. The Office Review Application and filing instructions can be obtained on found on the Forms page of our website. The property owner will have the opportunity to submit any information that demonstrates a more supportable fair market value of the property in question, or to submit comparable assessment data that indicates the subject assessment is inequitable with similar classed properties.

    All office review applications with submitted data will be analyzed by a staff appraiser, and the applicant will receive a written response.

  • Board of Equalization (BOE) – The deadline for applications will be November 30 of the current calendar year and cases will be heard beginning in January of the following calendar year. The Board of Equalization Application can be found on the Forms page of our web site.
  • Direct Appeal to the Court – An owner may, at their discretion, appeal the real estate assessment directly to the Circuit Court of the city of Richmond. This filing must be made within three years of the assessment year. However, no owner may make any such filing for a year other than the current year unless such owner has provided to the City Assessor, the Director of the Department of Finance or the City Council written notice of disagreement with the assessment during the applicable tax year.

 

Decluttering Part II: The Dreaded DESK

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They say a messy desk is an indicator of creative genius. We’ve found that it can also be a indicator of late tax filings… with that said, as we head into tax season, maybe now is the time to talk about organizing those stacks of paper in your file cabinet and desk.


Of course, everyone has different ways of keeping track of paperwork, receipts, expenses, etc. but here is what we’ve found is a key to success:

Boxes.

We know, it seems overly simplistic. But if you have trouble keeping paperwork straight – if you find that you have a folder in your file cabinet for all the paperwork, but that paperwork still sits on your desk for months without being filed… try this method. Most craft stores sell nice cardboard boxes with a space for labeling right on the front. They look nice, they’re stackable, and – maybe best of all – they’re cheap.

Get yourself as many boxes as you feel you need, but here’s a good jumping off point:

  1. Invoices
  2. Receipts
  3. Paperwork you’ll need for business tax filing
  4. Paperwork you’ll need for personal tax filing
  5. Drafts of work written
  6. Supplies/documents that you find yourself using regularly (consider putting these in a binder or electronic form)
  7. Training & educational materials (later to be filed or put in binders, perhaps? Timeblock for this project)
  8. Paperwork to be filed (make sure to timeblock filing regularly so this box doesn’t fill up too quickly – it will)
  9. Surplus pens/pencils/highlighters/post-it pads

This, of course, is a jumping off point to start organizing – because the smaller the items are, the more overwhelming the task can feel. Once you have categorized the paperwork into their respective boxes, then you can begin to timeblock for filing and organizing the paperwork in each of these boxes, and the job won’t seem nearly as daunting.

History of an Old Jackson Ward Home

Richmond is full of so much history. Of course, the most famous being Civil War relics and the subsequent monuments… but some of the homes in Richmond are still standing from the antebellum days. Including one that we had the privilege to sell just a couple of years ago.

Widely believed to be the oldest remaining structure in Jackson Ward – dating back to the turn of the 19th century (likely 1798), Tucker Cottage is a unique and eye catching monument to days long since passed. It’s easy to miss, hidden in plain sight… but if you’ve spotted it while driving down Leigh Street anytime in the last several years, you’ve probably stopped a moment to wonder about its unique architecture. Located near the corner of Leigh and Chamberlayne, it’s like a little gambrel-roofed farmhouse in the middle of the city.

Long abandoned and left to decay at its original location at 612 N 3rd Street, it risked being demolished to make room for a church expansion. The City of Richmond took drastic action, lifting what was left of the entire structure and relocating it.

Obviously, it has undertaken some rehab and updates. New siding, roof, and a permanent foundation are its most noticeable refurbishments. But the home itself maintains much of its original layout, floors, and walls (and, if we do say so ourselves, charm).

* Photos retrieved from the Library of Congress, HistoricRichmond.com, and VCU Libraries

New Year, New (decluttered) Life

2019. It’s a new year, and a new opportunity to come home from work and breathe easy in a clean and decluttered space. Have you been inspired by Marie Kondo, thinking you can take over the world one drawer at a time? The challenge most face when trying to declutter is taking on too much all at once. We start to vacuum the floor, to get distracted by shoes that need to be put away, to get distracted by clothes piled in the closet, to get distracted by a broken shelf… the “squirrel” mentality of home cleaning.

The key to successful decluttering can be broken down into 4 basic parts: 

  1. Work on “bite-sized” portions of your home
  2. Make a list ahead of time of what you’re going to declutter and clean
  3. Be honest with yourself about what you’re capable of and willing to do, and – above all –
  4. BE CONSISTENT

Let’s start this year by talking about arguably the most important room in the house – the kitchen. Your list for the kitchen might start to look something like this:

Food Storage (i.e. refrigerator, pantry, etc)

  • For first timers (or if you haven’t decluttered in a long time) it’s important to start with a blank slate. Take EVERYTHING out and clean the shelves.
  • Throw away expired foods, and make note of what has expired – maybe think about buying smaller portions of these items in the future.
  • If you find non-perishables that you forgot you had, that you honestly don’t see yourself eating, consider donating them to a local nonprofit like Feedmore.
  • Store items like-with-like (all pastas, all soups, all crackers & chips together, etc)
    ** A single container with baking essentials allows for ease when 36 cookies are due in class the next morning, and will keep you from buying more of that baking powder that’s just lost in the back of the cabinet!

Some more tips for the kitchen declutter challenge:

  • Try to end every night with a clean kitchen – mornings will start better
  • Wash your silverware/utensil holders every month, and wipe down drawers and shelves
  • Re-evaluate your pots and pans and make sure you’re not holding onto something you don’t use that you have multiple of (like, do you really need four spatulas?) – consider donating items to a local nonprofit like St. Joseph’s Villa, which provides rapid re-housing services to homeless families. Your donations go directly to a family setting up a new home.
  • The less you keep on your counter, the cleaner your kitchen feels (and the cleaner the items stay, tucked away in a cabinet or other closed storage solution). Think about this when you’re considering where to store your knives, stand mixer, paper towels, etc.
  • Make a plan for the future: Once you’re happy with the organization, make a plan to keep it that way. For example: make a decision to quickly wipe down your refrigerator shelves before you put new groceries away. 

Cobblestone Development Presents…

Cobblestone Development has quickly become a recognizable name in Church Hill and other parts of the city, for their stunning transformations of old homes. Cobblestone does not “flip” homes, but rather rehabs them to even greater than their former glory.

Old homes have been a specialty of Cobblestone Development. And with good reason. Many old homes have that charm and workmanship that is hard to find anymore. But what if you could have the best of both worlds? What if you could have that charm and workmanship, combined with all of the benefits of a new home? Wood floors AND energy efficiency; solid wood cabinetry AND an updated kitchen; large old-school country porch AND durable Hardiplank siding…

Oh, and did we mention charm?

Cobblestone has an eye for old-meets-new design that is arguably unmatched in the Richmond area.

The photos above are from Cobblestone renovation projects on old homes. If you know Cobblestone Development, you know that their mission is to provide a quality of living while maintaining an old world element of style and craftsmanship.

You can check out more of their projects HERE.

Introducing 2520 Stratford Rd, Stratford Hills, RVA

This time, Cobblestone is starting from scratch, fulfilling their ambitious vision from start to finish. The plans for this home include (but are not limited to):

  • Hardiplank siding
  • Energy efficient systems
  • Wood floors
  • Double sided fireplace, accessed from the Great Room and Sun Room.
  • Large Country-style front porch
  • 2,436 square feet of living space
  • 3 bedrooms, 2.1 baths
  • 1st floor Master

front-elevation

first-floor-plan

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This beautiful home to-be-built is listed at $415,000.

For more information
Visit our website or contact Listing Agent Amy Tesauro at 804.467.1881.

Is a Condo Right for You?

With today’s low interest rates for a mortgage, it is often less expensive to own your home versus renting. These low interest rates coupled with attractive financing options (gone are the days that you need a 20% down payment), means that young professionals (purposefully avoiding the term millennial here) are able to own their own homes.

The number one feature that we find young professionals attracted to in their first home is location; specifically, walking or biking distance to restaurants, good coffee, river trails, and shopping. In Richmond City, this includes the Church Hill, Museum District, Bellevue, and Jackson Ward neighborhoods… and the Fan. Everyone loves the Fan.

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The average sales price for a single family home in the Fan for the first half of 2016 was $510,000. This exceeds the budget for most first time homebuyers. Buying a condo in Richmond’s Fan District is one of the ways buyers can take advantage of the desirable location and still stay in budget.

Other that being able to live in a neighborhood you couldn’t otherwise afford, what are the advantages of living in a condo?

  1. Exterior maintenance is usually included in the monthly fee. Leave the landscaping and painting to someone else and enjoy your weekends.
  2. Condos are perfect for the traveler. With neighbors close by and maintenance of the common areas and exterior taken care of by the board, it is easy to pack up and leave your home empty while you trot the globe.
  3. With a set monthly fee to the association, which usually includes some utilities such as water, sewer and trash, it can make setting a budget easier to follow.
  4. Since the condo fee includes insurance of the exterior and common areas, condo owners are pleasantly surprised by the affordability of their monthly homeowner’s insurance premium.
  5. There is a sense of community in a condo building. You may find yourself surrounded by neighbors similar to you (since you all wanted to live in the same space). Condo associations also give you the opportunity to develop your leadership skills if you wish to sit on the board.
  6. Unlike an apartment, you own a condo up the exterior walls, so you can modify the design and paint the walls however you desire.

Enter ‘The Wellesley” condos located in the heart of the Fan at 1618 Park Avenue. 

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This one bedroom unit with outdoor balcony space is walking distance to so many popular restaurants. You can enjoy a Café con leche and cuban sandwich at Kuba Kuba, grab a picnic basket from Garnett’s, or listen to the fantastic music (pardon the pun) and dancing that Balliceaux offers.

Now let’s talk numbers. This unit at The Wellesley, #2d, is listed at only $174,900. With a price that low, the monthly payments would be very comparable to most rentals in the Fan.

See this beauty for yourself this Sunday, August 12th, 1-3pm.

Woodland Heights – a Bit of History

Linchpin Real Estate Group is offering up a beautiful new home for sale, very soon. This place is so grand, we decided that we couldn’t really speak for it on our own. So we’re using a bit of history to do the talking for us – the original Woodland Heights brochure, first published in 1891, only 10 years before this home was built.

Woodland Heights Book_Page_13

 

700 W 27th Street

“A description of places is like that of physiognomy – no two people agree. To clearly convey why a place or person is beautiful is difficult.”
001-Exterior Front Straight

“The first impression is, that no place could be more desirable as to location. Lying on the bend of the river opposite Richmond and adjoining Manchester, it commands an extensive view.”
002-Exterior Front Angle Left

“No city is more attractively located than Richmond, and to see it at its best, the Heights must be the vantage ground.”
005-Front Porch Left.jpg

“… being far enough away from the hum of busy city life, solemnity is added to the view, and it impresses the beholder, alike for its grandeur and beauty, as for its historical associations.”
006-Front Porch Right.jpg

“As a whole, the subdivision is a splendid one. The lots are of a sufficient width and have a generous depth, not often seen in the general suburban plans.”
007-Historic Plaque

“We have one prime object in calling your attention to Woodland Heights. We desire to make you a resident…”
009-Kitchen Straight

“If the description in the foregoing pages interests you enough to excite your desire to inspect the property, this … has fulfilled its mission, and we feel assured that such inspection will cause you to think and ponder over the advantages we offer.”
012-Kitchen Fireplace Right (1).jpg

“We assist in every manner possible, your acquirement of a beautiful home.”
013-Master Bath Shower

“We believe that a free consideration of the advantages of Woodland Heights as a residence section will convince you of all the claims as outline here, and would be pleased to have you inspect, promising our services in any capacity for the full investigation of its merits.”
015-Master Bath Sink (1)

We are, very respectfully and obediently yours,

A.J. Bradley & Co., Real Estate Agents     

Leader Building, Manchester Va.

Why should you price your house right the first time?

“It’s a seller’s market.”
“My neighbor’s house sold in 1 day with 4 offers.”
“That house just down the street sold for the highest ever in the neighborhood.”

These are some of the things we hear homeowners in Richmond, Virginia saying. While there are more qualified buyers than there are desirable homes available for sale (the supply is shorter than the demand), homes that sell quickly typically have two things in common: the homeowner used an experienced REALTOR® and house was priced right.

Many homeowners price their home based on what they paid for it, what they owe, or the profit they want to make to buy their next home. In reality, a house is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Be wary of the REALTOR® that gives you a number you want to hear simply to get the listing. The REALTOR® that provides the best Comparative Market Analysis (a CMA) and an explanation of the market to back up their list price will provide you with the confidence to move forward with selling your house.

Why should you price your house right the first time?

  • You never have a second chance to make a first impression. In RVA’s fast paced real estate market, buyers are waiting for the perfect house to come on the market in their price range. If they see it, and the condition or the location doesn’t match the inflated price, they’ll move on and not come back.
  • You think at a higher price, that you are providing room for negotiation. Statistically, homes that are overpriced end up selling for less than they would have if they were priced correctly in the beginning.
  • You will have more showings at the right price, and could potentially end up with multiple offers. This will give you the opportunity to pick the best offer of the bunch.
  • You price it high, knowing that you don’t have to move right now. But this could end up costing you, if the real estate economy starts declining and you find yourself chasing down the market. Buyers see the days on market (DOM) as a negotiation tool.

What should you do if it wasn’t priced right?

React quickly. Listen to the market. If you are not getting showings, or the feedback from potential buyers is that your price is too aggressive, adjust your price.