From Woodland Heights with Love

Last week saw another closing.  This time in Woodland Heights- maybe my favorite Richmond neighborhood.

It was an old house.  A foreclosure.  The kind of place you dream about fixing up: a 1920’s house with a ton of space and even more character in a great location.  It was just begging for a young couple with a creative spirit to give it new life again.

Over the next 3 months or so, my friends are going to be repainting siding, refinishing floors, rebuilding the wonderful wrap-around porch, knocking down walls, creating an entirely new kitchen area, a new bath on the main floor, custom pantry and laundry room, new master bedroom with a totally new bath.  It is going to be a spectacular house in a few months.

Brian Ward, at Greenleaf Renovations, will be in charge of the renovation.  Old homes are his thing; he doesn’t build new ones (though I know enough about contracting to know that that would probably be a lot easier.)

“Given the existing housing stock, we think it is much more sustainable to take care of what we have and renovate it to suit our current and future needs.”

I can get behind that.

The other wonderful thing about this house is something that you will never be able to see by driving by: it’s tied to the dreams of a grandmother in Kyrgyzstan.

Click to learn more about this Kiva loan

Whenever clients of mine close on a house, I give a loan to somebody in the developing world.  You can learn why on the about page.  But the bottom line is what I think is a simple but powerful idea: what if, when you achieved your dream of home ownership, you made sure somebody else’s dream came along with it.

A sort of buddy system for dreams.

This house in Woodland Heights will be a source of financial stability over the coming years for a young family here in Richmond.

And in Kyrgyzstan, Mrs. Kanymetova, 63, (pictured in center) has requested the loan to purchase more sheep, which will breed and increase her flock size, which will be a source of financial stability for her and her family.

From Woodland Heights to Kyrgyzstan, I think the average person has the same dream: the opportunity for our hard work to provide our families with financial stability.

Freedom from worry.

And now, thanks to Kiva, another home in Richmond is tied to the dreams of another hard-working family in the developing world.


At the moment, Mrs. Kanymetova’s loan is still not fully funded.  Want to help her get her sheep?  Click on her picture to learn more about her loan and about how lending your money through Kiva works.

Click to join the RealRVA Lending Team.  We are simply a group of people who want to help struggling entrepreneurs in developing countries to succeed.


Jay McGee used to live in Southeast Asia, doing language research and literacy development. Now he’s a Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty. He gives a microloan to somebody in a developing country every time someone in Richmond buys or sells their home with him.  Learn why here.


  1. yay for new house in Woodland Heights, and yay for Mrs. Kanymetova in Kyrgyzstan!

  2. i’m so glad someone is fixing that house up! we walk past it all the time and LOVE it; glad it’s getting some TLC. and you are doing amazing things around the world jay!

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