Richmond RVA Radar: Westhampton.

Richmond RVA Radar: Westhampton.

Westhampton is generally described as the area near and surrounding Libbie, Grove and Patterson Avenues. This is a vibrant affluent neighborhood in Richmond’s Near West End and convenient to a diverse range of local shops, dining, drinking and entertainment options. This mid-century, well maintained stylish area has it all within walking distance. However, it does still fall under the city taxes so it is more expensive than Henrico for instance.

The Blue Goat is my first choice located on Grove Avenue. Laid back, eclectic, and unpretentious. This is a great place to meet your special friends for drinks or food. Sit out on the patio and watch the people go by on this wonderful street in Westhampton, or sit inside and listen to the music surrounded by exposed brick and soft lighting. The dining experience is quiet lovely, you get what you pay for here, a wide variety of choices and features some great American southern comfort food. Everything is created from scratch and sourced locally whenever possible, representing the bounty of the surrounding area. To enhance the experience they offer a selection of wines from around the world with a focus on small producers,from fresh seared scallops and pan seared rockfish to fried oysters and crab cakes. Beyond seafood you’ll find a hearty bistro steak, pimento tots, and fried green tomatoes, The staff are courteous and knowledgable. If you like beer, they have a rotating list of craft beers from local breweries. This is a must go to experience, you will probably want to move to this neighborhood after visiting the Blue Goat.

The Continental is located again on Grove Avenue.This is a Richmond ‘Go To’ venue. Large portions, (so order something that you want to eat tomorrow too, they do provide you with a take home container), and let your eyes feast on the expansive menu. Lobster fried rice and Nachos were my choice, amazing! This place has a great American bar feel, dark and comforting, with an outside covered area, so sit and drink at the bar and watch the game or sit in a booth and satisfy even the largest hunger pangs. The staff are warm friendly and great company, so this is another great reason to move to the neighborhood, (Call me!).

#The BritinRVA.

Jack Brown’s Burger & Beer Joint On Grove Avenue, with over 100 craft beers on tap, this burger joint is full of great food and drink. The venture started in Harrisonburg before expanding with a second location in Westhampton. Their large list of Burgers is made from Wagyu beef, which is also known as American-Style Kobe beef and is the result of cross breeding Japanese Wagyu cattle with Angus cattle. Kobe meat is highly sought after because of intense marbling and high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat. Wagyu cattle raised outside of Kobe must be identified as Wagyu or Kobe-style. so these burgers are a little bit special, there’s something for every meat lover out there and some great Vegetarian options too!

   Yellow Umbrella You’ll find it on Patterson Avenue. Yellow Umbrella is the area’s premiere sustainably of harvested fish, seafood, artisan bread and produce market. This is your one stop shop for delicious and fresh local goods. If you want to treat yourself to the finest of ingredients for a special meal, please head here.

   The Toy Center Again, head to Patterson Avenue, This is the oldest toy store in Richmond VA, celebrating 50 years! (1966). Mary Mollen the owner is wonderful! She takes great care in sourcing all the ‘right’ toys and games to stimulate your child’s enquiring mind. From Playmobil® to locally sourced toys, Mary will also source that hard to find toy for you. The train set in the store is worth going for alone. If you want to have that special time with your child bring them here and watch their excitement, (and yours if you let it!), as you walk round the store. I love this place, as does my 5 year old son! Personal service and a massive choice, there’s something for everyone.

Libbie Market is on funnily enough on Libbie Avenue! It is locally owned By David Taylor and Buster Wright who love to provide a special client experience.This grocery store gives you an upscale user experience offering prepared foods, a gourmet bakery, coffee bar, butcher shop and Groceries. Libbie Market also offers gourmet sandwiches, freshly prepared sushi, a salad bar, extensive wine and beer selections, and catering services. Libbie Market also carries traditional grocery items as well as over 500 different wines. If your having a special event there is always the option of using their catering service. Truly a one stop shop.

Paper On The Avenues Located on Libbie Avenue ‘Friendly, Knowledgeable Service in a Relaxed Boutique Setting’ They sell traditional as well as modern and unique invitations for both weddings as well as special and everyday occasions plus a wide variety of stationery products, Paper On The Avenues is your go to paper store. From custom engraving and letterpress products to thermography and digital services, so if you need something printing go and see them, they can do it all.

The Barrel Thief and Cafe, is located on Patterson Avenue and is quite simply a wonderful place to go and meet a special someone, eat from a delicious snack menu and drink a great glass of wine. This is a well established choice for the wine curious to be educated by their knowledgable staff. Go to their Jazz nights, join their club to get discounts in store or buy a gift card for a loved one!

So, whether you want to socialize whilst eating and drinking, go shopping in small boutiques or just go and people watch this is a wonderful area to spend a day or evening. Please leave comments below if you would like me to review any of the other stores in this area as this article is going to expand with time. #The BritinRVA

Home Warranties – The Low Down!

Home Warranties: The Basics

When you own a home, you almost certainly have homeowner’s insurance, if not, I suggest you call someone! That type of coverage is crucial, but it doesn’t do a thing for you when appliances and systems break or fail due to normal wear and tear. Could you afford to repair or replace a major appliance in your home if it stopped working tomorrow? If doing so would be a struggle, or if you’d just like to avoid the headache and stress of forking over huge amounts of money to repair or replace systems and appliances in your home, a home warranty may be right for you.

So what is a Home Warranty?

A home warranty is essentially a service contract. In exchange for a reasonable annual fee, most of a home’s major appliances and systems, including electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling, are covered by warranty protection. In the event that a major appliance or system requires repairs or needs to be replaced, you’re only responsible for a small service fee. The rest of the cost of the repair or replacement is covered by the home warranty. In this way, home warranties make it easier, more affordable and more predictable to maintain a home.

What is Covered?

The coverage varies from one home warranty to the next, so it’s crucial to read the fine print with care while shopping for a plan. However, the majority of home warranty plans cover plumbing systems, heating and cooling systems and electrical systems. They also cover most major appliances, including dishwashers, garbage disposals, ovens, ranges and water heaters.

Standard home warranties don’t typically cover washers, dryers, refrigerators, spas, pools, garage door openers or outdoor systems and components. However, it’s often possible to extend coverage to such items for an additional fee.

How it Works

Once you’ve secured a home warranty, using it is easy. When a covered system or appliance breaks down, place a call to the home warranty provider. The provider then contacts an authorized repair company in your area. The repair company then gets in touch with you to schedule service. After diagnosing the problem, the technician either performs the repair or obtains and installs a replacement. You never see the actual bill; instead, you just pay a small service fee to the home warranty provider.

Regardless of your financial situation, the condition of your home and other variables, you’re sure to find a home warranty to be worth it for the peace of mind alone. Talk to your Realtor® get their advice as to which policies in their opinion suits your home purchase best, let them be the source of the source of where to do your due diligence in finding the policy that suits you best.

If you have any good or bad or funny Home Warranty stories please share them below in the comments box, Every little helps! The Britinrva.

5 Tips For first time Homebuyers

If you’re in the market for your first home, you’re no doubt in the midst of a whirlwind of excitement and probably a little bit of terror too if you’re completely honest with yourself. Making the jump from a renter to a homeowner is really exciting, but it’s also the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, and one you should consider very carefully. Here are 5 tips to consider when purchasing your first home to make sure you don’t jeopardize everything you’ve worked so hard for.

1. Address Any Important Maintenance Issues

Now that you’re a brand new first time homeowner, there is no longer a Landlord or maintenance person on call to come and fix a broken pipe or the air conditioning free of charge, so you’ll want to make sure you keep on top of small problems as they arise and before they become larger, much more expensive problems. Your Realtor® should advise you on the pro’s and cons of a Home Warranty which can be extended after the first year is over. This is a great way to prevent the large bills of mechanical failures where you only pay the call out fee of around $100, a typical example of one of these is the Old Republic Home Warranty.

2. Don’t Over extend Yourself with New Furniture & Remodeling

Take your time, and budget, budget, budget. So you’ve just purchased your first place and might be thinking how nice it would be to have all new furniture, paint all the rooms, and get some new appliances to go along with it. That’s all great, but make sure you’re not overextending yourself. Some homeowners, many of whom have already forked over a large portion of their savings for a downpayment, dig themselves into a hole by spending too much money on new furniture, remodeling, painting and the sort. Be mindful of what you can afford and always set a budget to tackle these projects and more as you can afford to do so, you have a lifetime to sort it all out.

3. Use Qualified Contractors & Remodelers

When you do choose to tackle a home improvement project, remember that while the DIY route may save you money, it’s not always your best option. Hire qualified professionals for jobs like electrical and plumbing work unless you really know your stuff–you could end up injuring or even killing yourself, or presenting a hazard in your home down the road. Let the professionals handle the tough stuff. Please see my previous article, ‘How To Choose Your Contractor In Richmond VA‘.

4. Keep Your Receipts

Please keep all of your receipts for any home improvement projects. By doing this, it can help you maximize all tax-free earnings on the home you’ll earn when it comes time to sell. You can earn up to a $250,000 tax exemption from the sale of your home if it was your or your spouse’s primary residence (if you owned the home with a spouse, each of you would be entitled to up to this amount).

 

5. Retain Your Sense of Humor

Owning a home is wonderful and will provide many great memories, but it will be the cause of stress and pressure at times. This can impact on both your financial security and on your family relationships. To prevent, or at least lessen the impact of this start a monthly savings plan today,(I have a savings plan with Virginia Credit Union), but all banks have them. This way when something goes wrong you have a fund to take care of it.

If you have any great tips or ideas that you wish to share, please leave them in the comments section below, everything helps!  #Britinrva.

How to Choose your Contractor In Richmond VA

When you need to get some work done on your home…Be Careful!

It is all too easy to get taken advantage of in this day and age, after all America is the “land of opportunity” and the unscrupulous contractors are out there ready to prey on the unprepared and trusting folk of this land. I have taken this list of Do’s and Dont’s from the DPOR website which is a fantastic and under utilized source of information.

Tips for dealing with a contractor:

  • Deal only with licensed contractors who meet state requirements for minimum competency.
  • Verify license status and check for any past disciplinary actions using License Lookup.
  • Educate yourself about the type of contractor you need for the job. Read What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor.
  • Ask friends and neighbors for referrals. A paid advertisement isn’t necessarily a good indication of the quality of a contractor’s work, and not all online reviews are unbiased or truthful.
  • Get written estimates from at least three contractors. Don’t automatically choose the lowest bidder! Ask for explanations on price variations among proposals.
  • Insist on a detailed contract, including agreed-upon start and finish dates. Licensed contractors are required by law to provide a written contract for residential work, signed by both parties.
  • Don’t rely on verbal agreements. Get all guarantees, warranties, and promises in writing.
  • Limit your down payment or deposit. A reputable contractor should be able to front the costs of most supplies without a large sum of money from you.
    • A good rule of thumb is an initial deposit of no more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less.
    • Unless the job requires custom-made items or special orders, in which case an initial down payment should be no more than 30% of the total value of the contract.
  • Consider making payments during the project contingent upon completion of certain tasks–that way, if the contractor is behind schedule, your payments are delayed.
  • Don’t pay 100% of the bill until the work is 100% complete.

Tip-Offs to Potential Rip-Offs

Not all contractors operate within the law or regulations.

Here are some warning signs. Watch out for scams or an unlicensed contractor who:

  • Solicits door-to-door (you have a three-day right to cancel a contract negotiated in your home!) 
  • “Just happens” to have materials left over from a previous job
  • Pressures you into making an immediate decision
  • Asks you to pay for the entire job up-front
  • Only accepts cash payments
  • Asks you to obtain required building permits

A Badly Managed Project

If you are victimized by a licensed contractor who engaged in improper or dishonest conduct, and unable to recover on a court judgment, you may be eligible for monetary relief from the Contractor Transaction Recovery Fund.

I would also go onto the Virginia judicial website to look for any pending or previous cases to see how your contractor does or does NOT do business.

Most of all be careful and do your due diligence as your home is your most valuable asset and these decisions can affect your life.

Kindest Regards,

Phil