Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

March 22, 2023

Fourth Time’s the Charm – for a Charming Home

realtor clients at closing

Getting shot down three times in a row in trying to buy a house could have stopped some people in their tracks.

Not Paul Schellhammer and Liz Farber, who used those experiences as learning moments during a frenetic time for homebuyers. Continuing to work with Realtor Mark Cipolletti and lean into his advice, they refined each new offer to come up with the right bid in hopes of finally resonating with a seller.

Their wait and insights paid off – to the tune of spending $100,000 under budget – when their offer on a fourth house was accepted in fall 2022.

“Mark understood what our points of emphasis were and knew what had been happening during bid processes at a tough time for buyers. We’d say, ‘Let’s do this.’ And he’d say, ‘maybe you want to think about something else’ and point out the options,” Paul said. Those included offering more earnest money, determining how much to bid over asking price (without going crazy – or broke) or negotiating a longer rent-back period with a seller who wasn’t anxious to get out the door.

Paul and Liz had reached out to Mark, who previously had helped Liz sell her West End home, just as the pandemic sellers’ market was ramping up. Looking for their first house together, the couple wanted to enjoy the benefits of city living, such as easily taking their long-legged rescue dog on walks and having great restaurants, coffee houses and other amenities within blocks. 

“Mark possesses such a great study of the market, and he’ll give you his honest thoughts."

They targeted several neighborhoods where Mark could start looking. Knowing those locations would likely land them in an older home, the two added their preference for a previously rehabilitated home, but light renovations weren’t off the table.

Their initial offers came on two houses in the Museum District and one in Forest Hill. They could have turned any of those houses into a home.

Church Hill row house Richmond Virginia

Then, Mark took them to tour a two-story classic townhome in Church Hill. A red door with gleaming glass panels invited them into the olive house.

“When this house came up, it just clicked. It was the right size for us and the right area. We just loved it,” said Paul, a Navy veteran and longtime private contractor who works one day a week from home. “We immediately worked with Mark to put in the right offer.”

Built in 1910, the house – totaling just over 1,500 square feet – had been fully refurbished, featuring new appliances and a well-appointed kitchen with fresh cabinets for a couple who enjoy cooking. The bedrooms and bathrooms are generously sized for a home built in that generation. There’s space where Liz could work for her job with a higher education savings organization. And one last big perk? No grass to mow, since a generous deck anchors the backyard which is just big enough for the dog to stretch her legs.

Making it their own required fast action, and “Mark’s experience in the last few years of dealing with this market was great,” Paul said. “Mark possesses such a great study of the market, and he’ll give you his honest thoughts. If he has other ideas, he’ll shape those in a way that helps you understand why those are better options. We really leveraged his experience to make the right bid.”

And they got the house.

The couple closed in late November and moved in just before Christmas, opting to unpack the holiday decorations first and simply enjoy the season in their new home. They finished unpacking as the calendar turned to January. 

And they’ve been exploring the nooks and crannies of their Church Hill community. Some of Richmond’s acclaimed go-to eateries are within walking distance, including Sub Rosa Bakery, Grisette and The Roosevelt. They also discovered a new favorite coffee, the in-house-roasted Church Hill blend from Riverbend Roastery.

“I don’t think we could be any happier,” Paul said. “This house and location are definitely what we wanted.”


Start your home search off on the right foot by contacting Mark today.


Feb. 17, 2023

7 Must Haves for Your Online Listing (To Get the Most Showings and Offers)

7 must haves for your online listing


By Mark Cipolletti, Realtor


Ninety percent of home buyers say they found their house online. That’s no surprise when you think about how many websites, mobile apps and social media platforms are known for featuring up-to-the-minute listings of homes for sale. 


Buyers review dozens of homes online before deciding which three or five homes they will request an in-person showing with their agent. How will they narrow the field? The listings that provide the most information and present the house from “every angle” rise to the top over the listings that leave the buyer with more questions than answers.


Smart sellers are choosing real estate agents who understand how to populate a house listing like an product page, rich with content to help it stand out in the crowd.


Here are some of the key features that buyers expect to see in an online listing:

  1. Photos and Video: High-quality photos and video that accurately showcase the property's best features, including the exterior, interior, and any outdoor spaces are a must. No iPhone photos here. You will want to use photos shot by a professional real estate photographer who will know the best angles, lighting and lenses needed to make your home look like it’s on the pages of a home decorating magazine.
  2. Detailed Description: A clear and detailed description of the property should include information about the size, layout, and condition of the home, as well as any notable features or amenities. It’s okay to be creative, just don’t overdo it.
  3. Floor Plan: A floor plan shows the layout and flow of the home, including the location of bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas, and any other key rooms. Include the floor plans in the photo gallery and consider making them downloadable supplements to the listing so that the buyer’s agent can easily download and print them.
  4. 3D Virtual Tour: A 3D virtual tour allows buyers to see the interior and exterior of the property from multiple angles and get a sense of the property's style and flow. Buyers can digitally walk through the house as if they are there in person providing a realistic showing experience without having to even get in the car.
  5. Map: Buyers like to see a map that shows the property's location in relation to nearby roads, schools, places of worship, shopping and parks.
  6. Aerial Photos: Most real estate photographers can also take aerial photos of your home using a drone. Buyers use these photos to see the property in relation to neighboring properties. Aerial photos can be especially useful to see the distance between the home and amenities like a neighborhood pool or school.
  7. List of Major Improvements Projects: Home shoppers and their agents are sure to ask about whether major improvements have been made to the home. Save everyone a little time and provide a list of improvements and the years they were completed. Be sure to note age of roof, HVAC systems, windows, water heater, appliances and any renovations to the kitchen and bathrooms.

Sellers who hope to sell their homes quickly and for the most money cannot afford to get filtered out early in the vetting process. An investment in these listing features will pay for themselves many times over by generating more interest, showings and offers. 

Feb. 17, 2023

New Services Available for Downsizers

New services available for downsizers


By Mark Cipolletti, Realtor


Moving can be one of the most stressful things that we do. For seniors, moving can be even more stressful. It usually means they will be downsizing and finding a smaller home and the modified lifestyle that comes with it. 


All of my recent senior clients have expressed that they want to move and often need to move to improve their quality of life but are overwhelmed with the thought of downsizing. Almost all wait too long to start the transition to a home that would be better suited to their life stage and needs. Why? Because they are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff to sort through and their emotional attachment to their things.


The stress extends to the children of the older adults who are downsizing. Since many downsizers put off the work as long as possible, their kids are often needed to assist with decision making, packing and disposal of unneeded items.


Knowing that this challenge would be a part of my clients' lives for many years to come, I decided to proactively assemble a team of partners who can provide a one-stop-shop for downsizing, home renovations, as well as my traditional real estate services.


I’m excited to announce a unique partnership with Alyson Pedlow and her company HomeMatters of Virginia. Alyson is Richmond’s downsizing guru. She has over ten years of experience helping clients execute their downsizing strategies, easing the burden and stress on seniors and their families.


HomeMatters will assist my clients with:

  • Decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of
  • Disposal of unneeded items
  • Move management, including packing and unpacking
  • New home set-up and floor planning
  • Management of online estate sales 


It’s also no secret that many seniors’ homes have some deferred maintenance as well as needed renovations and redecorating. Many seniors end up taking less money for their homes because they pass this work and expense on to the buyers.


Through another new partnership, my senior clients (all clients really!) can make sure they get top-dollar for their homes by making the pre-listing improvements that buyers want. The best part is that this partner, Curbio, doesn’t get paid until closing! So no upfront cash is required.


If you or someone you know is planning to downsize in 2023, I hope you will put me in touch with them. My team will take exceptionally good care of them and they will probably wonder why they didn’t downsize sooner.


Thank you for your continued support. Through your referrals, I doubled the amount of houses I sold last year. In 2023, I hope to help even more people, especially the seniors in our community.

Feb. 17, 2023

9 Things Buyers Hate About Your House (and you should update before listing)

Old bathroom fixtures

By Mark Cipolletti, Realtor

When it comes to selling a home, first impressions are everything. That's why it's important for home sellers to make improvements that can help attract potential buyers and increase the value of their property. Here are some improvements that home sellers should consider making before listing their home for sale:

  1. Popcorn Ceilings - Popcorn ceilings are outdated and can make a home look old and uninviting. Consider removing them and replacing them with a smooth finish to modernize the look of your home.
  2. Wallpaper - While wallpaper can add character to a home, it's often a personal choice that may not be to everyone's taste. Nothing turns off buyers more than wallpaper so consider removing it and painting the walls a neutral color to appeal to a wider range of buyers.
  3. Bold Paint Colors - Bright or unusual paint colors can be off-putting to potential buyers and they look terrible in the online listing photos. Consider repainting the walls in a neutral color to create a blank canvas that allows buyers to visualize their own personal style.
  4. Broken or Outdated Kitchen Appliances - The kitchen is the most important room in the house and buyers know they will use the appliances every day. Not only will new(er) appliances improve the buyer’s opinion of your home, they will also recognize that they won’t need to buy new ones for several years.
  5. Colored Bathroom Fixtures - Colored bathroom fixtures (like blue, pink, green and mustard) make a home look dated and remind buyers that these items haven’t been updated since the 60s or 70s. Consider replacing them with white fixtures for a more updated look.
  6. Heavily Landscaped Yards - While landscaping can add value to a home, an overly landscaped yard can make it appear high-maintenance. Not many buyers want to take on a second job as a gardner so consider simplifying the landscaping to create a more inviting and low-maintenance outdoor space.
  7. Old Carpet - Old carpet is gross and a turn-off for potential buyers. Most buyers don’t want any carpet or only find it acceptable in bedrooms so replace it with fresh carpet or consider hardwood or laminate flooring for a more modern look.
  8. Mismatched Flooring - Speaking of flooring, having different flooring in every room makes your home feel smaller and connecting rooms often don’t coordinate well together. Buyers always point this out when touring homes for sale. If budget allows, install one continuous flooring material or at least minimize them.
  9. Weathered Exterior Doors and Entries - Your front door is the first thing that prospective buyers will see and touch when visiting your home. Make sure the paint on the door isn’t chipped or faded. Install a new door handle, lock and lighting too if the existing ones aren’t making a great first impression. Nothing is worse than when an agent has trouble unlocking the front door because the lock is broken.

Making these improvements can help create a more desirable and marketable property, which can ultimately lead to a faster and more profitable home sale. Remember that small improvements can go a long way in attracting potential buyers and increasing the overall value of your home.


Thinking about listing your home for sale? Check out our three listing packages.

May 13, 2020

Does Your Home Work As An Office?

home office


Let’s face it. The home office is here to stay. Not only are some major employers already announcing that workers won’t return to the office this year, others like Twitter have decided to never return to the buildings they once occupied. This is just the beginning. 


Office space and office amenities are expensive. Very expensive. And now that companies have been forced to invest in work-from-home technologies and discovered that their employees can successfully work from home, they will be eager to shed expenses like ten-year commercial leases, cafeteria subsidies, networked copiers, closets full of office supplies, and the salaries of the employees needed to support this stuff (sorry folks).


If you are one of those new work-from-home employees, you may be looking at your home in a different light. It’s not just where you live, it’s now also where you work. But does it work? Here are some of the ways that working from home will change the way you think about your home:

A dedicated work space
You may be making do by working at the kitchen table or in the little “nook” you created in the corner of your bedroom, but this won’t be sustainable for the long term. A dedicated home office will soon become one of the most sought after amenities in homes across the country. Whether it’s a converted living room, a quiet corner in the basement, an extra bedroom or space over the garage, you will need a place where you can separate yourself from the rest of your family and avoid distractions like kids, pets, dirty dishes and laundry.

Room for two (or more)
For most of us, having one great work space will be our goal but what happens when you, your spouse and your children all need to work from home? Consider making your home office usable by multiple people or creating dedicated homework stations throughout your home.

Made for TV backdrop
Now that we’re all Zooming instead of doing face to face meetings, coworkers and strangers are getting a glimpse into our homes (good or bad). You don’t want others to see your messy kitchen counter, inappropriate artwork or exploding closet. If you can’t use a virtual background, make sure your home office space has an appropriate backdrop that looks professional and has proper lighting. 

A smart home
Your old, slow internet connection just won’t do any longer. Be sure that your home has enough bandwidth to handle life and work over the internet. You’ll probably also need room for a nice printer/scanner since you won’t have access to that networked behemoth at your old office. On a positive note, you won’t spend half the day fixing the jammed paper or empty toner cartridge that one of your coworkers left for you. And don’t forget to install a Ring doorbell so you can see who’s at the door and speak to the Amazon delivery person without leaving your home office.

Take a break
One recent study by NordVPN found that American workers are putting in about three more hours of work each day since the switch to work-at-home. Ouch. Make sure your home has a place (or places) to get away from work. A deck, patio, or porch swing are perfect for taking a break. Homes with yards will become more popular even with younger, city dwellers than in the past. And now that you’ve lost access to that free gym at the office, consider a home gym to burn off some of that work stress.

Location, location, location
For many homeowners, the locations of their homes were selected to make commutes to work easier. Now the commute is from the bedroom to the basement! Reconsider the location of your home now that home and office are one-in-the-same.

About a third of employed adults have shifted to work-at-home during the pandemic. While it’s difficult to know how many will remain in home offices in the future, there’s no reason to believe that this trend won’t continue long-term. If you want or need to find a new home that’s better suited to your new work-at-home needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I'm (at home) ready to take your call...or Zoom.

About the Author
Mark Cipolletti is a licensed Realtor based in Richmond, Virginia. Before pursuing a career in real estate, Mark spent 25 years as a marketing and communications executive and consultant. He now uses those skills to market his client's homes at the highest level. Mark is also a real estate investor, having acquired investment properties to flip and to rent. He can be reached at or 804-482-1347.

July 31, 2017

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Posted in Market Updates