1000 Normandy Drive ($439,950) – Happy Hour Open House Thursday 4:30 to 6:30

I have a great new listing that hit the market yesterday that I wanted to share with you.  1000 Normandy Drive, Henrico, VA 23229, listed at $439,950 (for a virtual tour and more information please follow this link:  https://hd.pics/100093).  I am going to be hosting a Happy Hour Open House on Thursday, February 26th from 4:30 to 6:30 (all are welcome agents and the public) and then on March 1st I will have a normal Sunday Open House from 1:00 to 3:00 so there are plenty of chances to get by and take a look!

This 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath Cape Cod is located in the highly rated Tuckahoe Elementary school district.  As you can see from the pictures above it has been thoroughly renovated and boasts a pretty outstanding open floor plan that is really geared towards entertaining and solid flow.

Making life easier is what this house is all about.  With brick and vinyl siding, replacement windows throughout the first floor, and a newer dimensional shingle roof the maintenance is considerably lower than some alternatives.  There is ample yard/green space but the pool certainly cuts down on the amount of attention needed in the yard.  Not only is the pool there for you to enjoy but it is literally helping your life!  Furthermore, there is a first floor master suite which allows the 2 bedrooms and 1 full bath upstairs to be devoted to guests or family.

You will not want to miss the kitchen.  A bunch of words here do not do it justice, so I will not try.  Just trust me and come take a look.  The two TVs and sound bars mounted to the fireplace convey as well.

I hope to see many of you Thursday and Sunday.

Have a great rest of the week everyone!

 

 

Identifying the Age of House Systems (HVAC & Water Heater)

Today, I wanted to write a little about some of the systems people have in their homes and how to identify the age of these systems properly as well as provide some thoughts on budgeting.  I think some folks tend to think that they will just find out about it from the home inspection. This is not always the best plan for a variety of reasons and also too lengthy of a discussion for just one blog post.  Other’s simply rely on the information provided by the listing agent’s marketing material. Agents have a responsibility to exercise honesty but that does not mean that the information they are provided from their clients is correct.  

What if part of your agent’s routine when showing you a house was to make sure to verify that information for you for each system the agent could access?  That would be pretty valuable and helpful right?  Well, if you are not currently working with an agent then I would be remiss if I did not tell you that I try to remember to do that for my folks, but if you are working with another agent or are simply just trying to figure out ages of systems on your own I still want to help!  Below is a description of how I go about obtaining the information for my clients.

There really is not a whole lot to this process.  You simply need to get the make and the serial number for the particular unit of the home’s system in question and then there is a great website developed by some good folks that will help you decipher the number.  You can visit “Building Intelligence Center” (https://www.building-center.org/) and they have indexes for HVAC systems as well as water heaters.  The process I outline here is going to be for HVAC systems but it is the exact same process for a water heater.

For the first example we will take a relatively easy HVAC brand to decipher, Goodman.  Goodman’s serial numbers should always be 10 numbers with NO letters. For Goodman the first two numbers represent the year and then the 3rd and 4th digit represent the month of manufacture.  So in the photo below you will see in the top right corner the serial number 1105654978 which means this unit was from May of 2011.  You can see the example given on the Building Intelligence Center website at the following link:  https://www.building-center.org/goodman-hvac-age/

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The example below is from my own home.  This example exhibits a typical HVAC split system where there are two units running the job of heating and cooling your home.  This is another Goodman system.  The first picture is of the compressor (the outdoor unit) and often we see that piece of equipment located outside near the rear or side of a house.  The second picture is the blower, evaporator coils and heat pump (depending on the system this could be the furnace part too for gas forced hot air) and is usually found inside the structure of the house.  Occasionally, these units will be together in what is known as a packaged unit (another discussion for another day).  The compressor’s serial number is 1810044898 which translates to October of 2018 and I know this to be true because it was installed shortly after Halloween when my old oil boiler decided it had had enough.  The heat pump, or inside unit, has a serial number of 1807465096 which you should now know translates to July of 2018.

The above scenario brings me to a point that is worth mentioning.  Do not assume that if you have found the year from the serial number of one of the two units that the second will be identical.  Sometimes people only replace one unit in an effort to save money.  Do your due diligence.

Here is another example I found in my photo log that is a bit more tricky.  Here we have a Rheem with the serial number of HM21875844.  So obviously this is going to be different from the Goodman we learned about above.  On the website they give you 7 different styles for Rheem and none of them seem to be exactly like that one but after looking at them all common sense can tell you that it is not from 1944 or 1958 so context clues let you know that it was the 21st week of 1987 which is May/June.

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It is true that sometimes on some units they will put a date of manufacture which is awesome but it does not always work that way.  Below here is a Carrier unit that has a date of manufacture but also a serial number.  As you can see the Date of Manufacture says August 2012.  The serial number above that date is 3212E16349.  This matches up with Carrier Style 1 from the website mentioned above.  Style 1 here says the 32nd week of 2012 which was August 6th through August 12th.

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All of this information ultimately will help you budget and plan for the unexpected things that come with home ownership.  Most newer systems tend to have a typical useful life of between 10 and 20 years if you are lucky.  I tend to follow the rule of 10 to 15 years myself.  If you know before you buy a house that the heat pump is 15 years old then you should realize that it is highly likely that it will need to be replaced sometime soon and if you cannot negotiate that into the deal, either at the offer phase or during the inspection period, then you will need to either be prepared with a home warranty or with savings.  Depending on the system and the situation this could be anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 (in another post this year we will try and clean some of these budget numbers up a little bit but this works for a conservative take for now).

So what are the takeaways from this long post?  Your resource for verifying the age of your systems is the Building Intelligence Center (https://www.building-center.org/).  Or if you want to buy a house and do not want to worry about having to figure this all out please do not hesitate to give me a call and I will have you covered!

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading.

Will

Cost Versus Value

Generally, each January we start to see a number of reports on the new trends in the renovation world in terms of design and products for the coming year as well as opinions from industry experts on what sort of values you might expect to add by completing certain improvements.  They often detail costs associated with the projects as well. As consumers we usually get very excited about these reports and make plans in our heads regarding what we need to tackle and how much value it might add to our homes. Having asked the question a number of times, “how much are you hoping to spend on this project” and received the answer “it seems as if I read that the average bathroom costs . . .” or “I saw them do this bathroom on a TV show for about x dollars . . .” I am quite familiar with the problems associated with delivering information like what is contained in these reports, especially given the world we live in today.  However, since restraint is not a bedfellow of commerce and information these problems and expectations are likely to remain. This means we must take everything in the proper context as well as try to seek out the best sources and experts for compiling and then disseminating reliable information.

Usually, I tend to have a level of skepticism about these reports because of my experience in the construction industry.  It is very clear to me that installing a new front door at 1001 Main Street might end up being entirely different from installing that same door directly next door at 1003 Main Street.  The framing could be damaged at one of the houses and the existing rough opening could be completely out of square and therefore far more attention would be needed to ensure a correct fit and proper operation.  It is not impossible for the same project to cost dramatically different. Moral of the story take these numbers with a grain of salt and use them for exactly what they are a guide.

Now that I have thoroughly bashed these reports and asked you to think deeply about our society, I want to share with you a Cost Versus Value report from Remodeling Magazine.  Remodeling Magazine is a publication I have been receiving for a number of years and have found to have high quality articles with many experts in the industry making impactful written contributions.  Many of these other reports will say something simple such as “Bathroom Renovation” and give an estimated cost and potential value. I was always frustrated with this; clearly there are many different sizes and shapes of bathrooms that exist and you can have super high end as well as mid range renovations.  Remodeling Magazine addresses this in their report as best they can and even gives their audience an idea of their assumptions of quality, size, etc. It is impossible to develop perfect all encompassing rules for any of this but I think these numbers are far closer to what I would expect than most other reports I have seen.

These numbers are broken down into specific cities and their particular region compared against national averages.  Obviously, I selected the report containing Richmond and the South Atlantic. Due to licensing and copyright restrictions I am only able to share 5 of the Project Types with you on this blog but there are over 22 Project Types listed on the actual report if you care to dig further, which I highly suggest doing.  I decided to select the 5 Project types which returned the highest estimated value and according to the Remodeling 2020 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com), the top five are:  

  1. Manufactured Stone Veneer (Job Cost:  $8,764, Resale Value: $8,778, Cost Recouped:  100.2%)
  2. Entry Door Replacement – Steel (Job Cost:  $1,759, Resale Value: $1,621, Cost Recouped:  92.2%)
  3. Siding Replacement – Fiber Cement (Job Cost:  $14,976, Resale Value: $13,278, Cost Recouped:  88.7%)
  4. Siding Replacement – Vinyl (Job Cost:  $12,654, Resale Value: $10,429, Cost Recouped:  82.4%)
  5. Minor Kitchen Remodel – Midrange (Job Cost:  $21,549, Resale Value: $15,722, Cost Recouped:  73.0%) – Data courtesy of the Remodeling 2020 Cost vs. Value Report (© 2020 Hanley Wood Media Inc. Complete data from the Remodeling 2020 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at http://www.costvsvalue.com).

As I mentioned above, these numbers are far from perfect but based on my experience they seem to be more reasonable than some I have seen in other places.  If you are thinking of selling soon (and I do hope you will give me a call to chat about that) and are considering some projects to help the appeal of your house, I encourage you to spend some time with these numbers.  However, if selling is not part of your immediate plan and some remodeling projects are then give far less consideration to this report.

We should not always make our decisions regarding house projects based on value added.  Now if you are doing these things strictly to sell then that is another thing altogether, but if you are planning on doing some renovation work and are planning on staying awhile after you are done, then please make your decisions based on your enjoyment that the change will bring to you.  Many folks these days are so razor focused on adding value and moving on to the next thing that I think they tend to lose some of the details, quality, and charm that we can pass on through our renovations. It is important to try and leave your mark on a home.

If you have any interest in talking about your home, particularly in buying or selling but also in renovations, please remember I have a great deal of experience in both areas and I am always happy to talk shop.  Thanks so much for taking the time to read.

Updates for 2020

1/29/2020

Friend; Family; Past, Current, and Future Clients;

I wanted to take some time and write to you all about my business and how it is changing and what it might look like going forward.  First, thank you to everyone who has been so supportive so far over the course of my career from both the real estate side to the remodeling business.  I truly believe I have worked with some of the best clients in both arenas as well as some of the best contractors and subcontractors in the construction world.  While I have split my time between the two worlds I have learned more than I could have imagined in so many different areas. The experience has been productive and priceless.

In late 2019 I came to the conclusion that I needed to change some of how I approached earning a living.  It became far too difficult to split time trying to be a full time real estate agent and growing a remodeling business while being there for my family as well.  I finally came to the conclusion that my primary business focus needed to go back to real estate. That being said, I did not feel like I could get out of the remodeling business completely because I love the challenges that it presents and, like real estate, it is a real passion that I enjoy.  I have since decided that I will consider remodeling projects from past, current, or future real estate clients as well as any past remodeling clients only. This allows the base of remodeling work to be smaller, more manageable, and completely relationship based from the very beginning. I am also fortunate to have some wonderful folks in the construction business who can help me manage this process more effectively.  It could very well be that I do not take on any projects in a given year and it might be that I have several but this puts the focus back on helping my real estate clients.

By committing to this model I can not only grow my real estate business but I can truly provide a value added approach for my clients that would be tough for them to get from others.  Helping my clients see what they might not normally and understand how their house is built and works, allows them to make more informed decisions. Together, we can create reasonable budgets for improvements to a potential purchase or an existing listing in order to add appeal and hopefully return some of the investment at the same time.  It is always my hope to be the resource for clients when it comes to real estate, home improvement, and remodeling.

Well, with that all said we have the spring buying season approaching faster than we realize and it is time to get to work!  Again, I cannot thank everyone enough for the support and I hope that I will get a chance to work on buying or selling a house with all of you here soon.  

Best wishes to you all this year!

Just listed at 15075 Horseshoe Bridge Road.

Open Sunday, April 7th from 1:00 to 3:00. Listed at $365,000.  3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths.

Tranquil serenity on scenic Horseshoe Bridge Road located 10 minutes from Ashland. This 3 Bedroom, 2.5 bath Colonial offers an updated main living area with great flow. A detached barn like out building houses a heated and cooled first floor with french doors, exposed beams, and a greenhouse/sun room off the side. Currently used as an office this space can take on a variety of uses. Pool table and wood stove convey. Upstairs in the barn is an additional 341 square feet currently used as storage but that is just waiting to be finished as well with great potential for a guest house. Be sure to ask agent for more information regarding renovations and rough pricing information. Take advantage of the amazing spring, summer, & fall weather with the enormous detached screen porch with vaulted tongue & groove ceiling or soak up some sun on the expansive rear deck. The screened porch has a covered walk way to keep you dry when you want to go listen to the summer rain storm while relaxing in your porch swing. Screened porch also already has speakers installed to enjoy your favorite music while relaxing. With a park like yard outdoor activities are only limited to your imagination.

Inside a beautifully renovated kitchen with porcelain tile floors, silestone counter tops, & beautiful custom cabinets sits in between the generous family room (wall mounted TV conveys) with wood burning FP & formal dining room. Large living room has french doors & crown moulding & extensive bookshelves. The enormous 25′ by nearly 15′ master bedroom has a walk in closet, wood burning fireplace & on suite full bathroom. The large front bedroom has another walk in closet and the rear bedroom boasts 2 large closets as well. Parking is plentiful with circular paved driveway with additional side parking allowing for plenty of room for guest. Dual zone HVAC with propane back up/supplemental heat keeps the house comfortable and a brand new wall mounted heat pump was recently installed in the first floor of the barn.

This is not your typical country style life with little to do. Being about 10 minutes from the Town of Ashland (the Center of the Universe) there is plenty of places to eat, shop, and enjoy for anyone in the household! The popular Ashland Coffee & Tea is a must stop for music enthusiasts. Is fishing, canoeing, or kayaking your thing? The South Anna River boat ramp is about 5 mins away and the river itself winds its way within about a half mile from the house. People are also known to park down at Horseshoe Bridge and put in there as well.  This home has it all!

Nearby Attractions:

  • South Anna River Boat Ramp (3.2 miles, 6 minutes)
  • Poor Farm Park (3.2 miles, 6 minutes)
  • Town of Ashland (6 miles, 11 minutes)
  • Origin Beer Lab (6 miles, 11 minutes)
  • Center of the Universe Brewing Company (12 miles)
  • Ashland Coffee & Tea (6.1 miles, 10 minutes)
  • Ashland Theatre (6.2 miles, 11 minutes)
  • Hanover Country Club (3.7 miles, 7 minutes)
  • Federal Club (Golf) (9 miles, 16 minutes)
  • The Hollows Golf Club (7.1 miles, 11 mintues)
  • Kings Dominion (11 miles, 19 minutes)
  • Short Pump (17 miles)
  • Downtown Richmond (25 miles)

See the virtual tour here:  https://see.tourvahomes.com/public/vtour/display/1266202?a=1

 

Post 4: Open House at 34 W Locke Lane, Unit 4 on Sunday, October 22nd from 1:00 to 3:00!

Sundays in the fall are for football and Open Houses!  Come out and visit me this Sunday, October 22nd from 1:00 to 3:00 at 34 W Locke Lane, Unit 4, Richmond, VA 23226 and check out this awesome 2 bedroom, 2 bath Lock Lane Condo.  The location does not get much better than this with easy access to Libbie/Grove, Carytown, and the Museum District/Fan areas.  Priced to sell at $259,950, don’t let this great opportunity pass you by!  Call me for more information 402.7799.

 

 

Blog Post 3: Just Listed: 34 W Locke Lane, Unit 4

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Welcome 34 W Locke Lane, Unit 4! This is a fantastic Lock Lane condo with 1,028 square feet, located in the Westhampton area near both the Libbie/Grove corridor & the Museum District/Fan area, an excellent location with quick access to numerous parts of the city. Walk to your favorite Grove Avenue and Carytown shops and restaurants. Located on West Locke there is ample parking in front & back as well as less traffic giving it an ideal placement in the community. This 2nd floor unity was completely redone with brand new wiring & plumbing as well as all other systems. It has beautiful hardwood floors throughout with ceramic tile in the 2 full baths & kitchen. This unit has all the older architectural charms mixed with an open floor plan & modern conveniences. The kitchen boasts granite counters, a built in pantry, & stainless steel appliances & is open to the living & dining rooms.

Off of the dining room this unit has an added living space which could be used as an office, den, or even a nursery.  It is this added room that made the unit in such high demand when it first went on the market after the rehab project was completed. The master comes with an in suite full bath as well as 3 closet spaces.

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Spend the summer relaxing by the beautiful pool & grilling out in the picnic areas with friends & family. Lock Lane even has its own exercise facility for residents to enjoy. There is some storage available in basement & you have security coded entrances. Do not miss this opportunity!

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Showings start on Thursday, October 12th for this great unit and it is listed at $259,950.

Feel free to check out the virtual tour here:  http://see.tourvahomes.com/public/vtour/display/885595?a=1

Blog Post 2: Getting Your House Ready to Sell

With the recent temperatures in Richmond pushing into the 70’s on quite a few occasions we are reminded that spring is right around the corner and so too is the seasonal upswing in our local real estate market.  From the eyes of this agent it seems clear that Richmond has an inventory problem (to make it as simple as possible more buyers than sellers and a slower rate of sellers entering the market), which for a seller is not really a problem.  With that in mind it is a great time to consider selling your home!

So you have decided to sell your house and you want to make the most money you can and sell it as quick as possible, what do you need to do and what are your next steps?  Everyone tends to give out the list of minimize clutter, paint neutral colors, landscape etc. and that is good advice but the honest truth is that it depends completely on the house, house condition, market conditions, and the clients’ needs/situation.  While this seems obvious, I tend to try and look at each house as an individual case in of itself and then make recommendations accordingly.  Moreover, making changes such as painting or replacing counter tops can often be quite personal in terms of buyer preferences and selections.  There is no question that updates etc help a listing sell faster, show better, and sometimes can earn a seller more money but your choices in some of these matters can end up hurting you believe it or not.

With this in mind I think it is important to consult with an agent well in advance of selling so that an individualized assessment and plan can be attained.  It does not seem prudent to me to start going through lists you see online to start making changes/improvements prior to selling because the particular case of your house could be different.  Sometimes credits for painting, flooring, and changes might be just as worthwhile an endeavor as actually doing the work.  Obtaining real estimates with some choices allows you to be armed with information and options for both you and your prospective buyers.  With these estimates you can even agree to do the work in advance of closing once many of the contingencies involved in a real estate transaction have been satisfied that way the buyer can move in without having the headache of trying to get work scheduled and completed prior to their move.  If you do not want to do the work prior to closing for the buyer at least  you have potentially saved them a step in the process and helped deal with any potential objections that might exist.

Simple landscaping, minimizing of clutter, staging, and cleaning are always worth while however it is important to remember that other often suggested “updates” are very individual in nature and the cost and effort involved is not always worth it in every situation.  I know there are some agents that disagree with this thought process however I like to try to find ways to minimize my clients’ financial exposure when selling a property.  If something makes sense then quite simply it makes sense but I do not believe in “painting everything with the same brush” so to speak.

With my background and current place in the construction industry in the Richmond area I am well positioned to help sellers make informed decisions on what changes are worthwhile and what might be unnecessary in the grand scheme of things.  I am fortunate to have plenty of contacts and a great list of subcontractors who can help in this area as well.  If you are thinking about selling and want to discuss a personalized plan on getting your house ready to put on the market please give me a call or shoot me an email to discuss as I stand ready to address the particular and individual needs of your home.  It is important to remember that with our current market sellers are in the driver’s seat so to speak and a blanket plan of updates and work prior to listing is not always the best route to take.  I am ready to help you make the right decisions in order to prepare you house to sell as quickly as possible for the highest amount possible!

Introduction (2/21/2017)

Introduction

I know.  I am a little late to the party when it comes to starting a blog but better late than never I reckon!  First, welcome and thank you for stopping by.  I hope that the information will be helpful and that you can gain something from my ramblings as well as the links and articles that I intend to post in addition to my own content from other significantly more talented and succinctly eloquent individuals.  It goes without saying that I am not a professional writer nor a particularly gifted one at that, however, I will do my best to provide useful and informative content in my own personal way.

This blog will host content related to the real estate market (particularly in the Greater Richmond Area), the world of general contracting, additions, renovations, DIY ideas and techniques, as well as news and information that has some bearing on the construction and real estate industry of Richmond, Virginia.  You never know, you may sometimes see the occasional music and beer related post as well; talk about what you know, right?

The first question is likely “Will, how are you qualified to talk about these things and what makes your opinions matter?”  I am not sure that my opinions matter but for better or worse I tend to have a lot of them.  Living in a place that is full of wonderful breweries with great craft beer (yes I do love Natural Light and yes I do realize that it is not a craft beer) I get to try a lot of great local brews and enjoy sharing them with friends.  I am a longtime lover of music and I occasionally try to play it every now and then; strumming the guitar and much to what I imagine is the disdain of my wife and utter assault on her ears belting out lyrics at the top of my lungs.  

As for my qualifications towards the majority of the content, I have been selling real estate for Joyner Fine Properties in the Richmond area since 2006 and have had the pleasure of helping a large number of wonderful clients through the process of buying and selling homes all around the area.  I have seen many different types of market conditions and dealt with properties ranging from $17,000 up to over a million.  I have been involved in investment properties of my own both on the flipping and rental side of things and have friends and mentors who have and continue to give me a wonderful education in the real estate investment world.  Moreover, my parents have exposed me to the world of construction, general contracting, additions, and renovations since before I can even remember through our family business, Guza Company, which I am fortunate to help run as a 4th generation in the family business.  You could say it was in my blood.  For Guza Company I have served many roles including but not limited to general laborer, project management, job estimating, carpentry, painting, handyman work, some design, sub-contractor coordination (we have some of the best subcontractors you could ever hope to have and I stand ready to share information with anyone when needed) and everything else in between.  Prior to my time in real estate and contracting I even worked as a title examiner for a title insurance company here in Richmond researching property records in many of the local courthouse record rooms for real estate settlements.  To summarize I have spent a lot of time dealing with a lot of different components of the residential property.  To say that I have been fortunate to have learned so much from so many wonderful people is quite the understatement and I am thankful to all who have shared their knowledge and expertise with me over the years.

Over the years I have seen a boom in the DIY movement as well as observed the effects of the renovation and real estate entertainment industry on the contracting industry and the relationships between contractor and client.  Both the DIY movement and entertainment industry have provided both positive and negative impacts on our society and my industries in particular and this blog will address some of that as well as it relates to my preferred techniques, quality, and dealing with your contractors.  The DIY movement has been a wonderful thing and the information that is available to people has increased their ability to tackle projects that they would not have otherwise attempted.  I am not claiming that everything I write about technique wise or opinion wise is the only right way to go about it; simply put it is just the way I would approach it given my experience and preference for a high level of quality and planning in order to do things the right way as I see it.

So thanks again for checking out my blog and I hope that you will find it useful and entertaining.  Also, please remember that if you are interested in buying and/or selling any real estate in the Greater Richmond Area or have any needs regarding renovations and additions please know that I stand ready to help with a high level of service and commitment to you and your interests!