Sale of Westover Hills Home Helps Fund Greenhouse in Eastern Europe

It has been a crazy spring in Real Estate- at least here in Richmond.  Everyone I know who is tied to the Real Estate biz seems to be busier than they have been in years.

SOLD after 12 hrs on the market

And seriously- mortgage rates hit 3.67% a few weeks ago (they went up to 3.71 again… blast!) so people who are used to renting are finding that it’s actually a lot cheaper on your monthly budget to buy a house right now.

A few weeks ago, I helped some people sell their gem of a house on Sylvan Rd in Westover Hills (at right).

 

Easiest. Transaction. Ever.

 

Kennon & Sarah, the owners, were some of the easiest people to work with.  We struck up a fast friendship over living in strange and far off places- they having lived and worked in Nigeria for a spell and us in Indonesia.  We also happen to share the woes and wonders of living with a 3 year old boy.

Over the several years they owned the house they did all the right things to set it up to sell quickly and for a good price.

Sarah happens to have an amazing eye for interior design:

 

Tied Together.

One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to give a loan to someone whenever a house sells.

This house provided a loan for Emrie, a farmer in the small Eastern European country of Georgia.

click for more on Emrie’s loan

Emrie will use her loan to build a greenhouse so that she can grow vegetables through the winter and earn additional income by selling them in the market.

What’s the connection between homes in Richmond and loans for struggling entrepreneurs?  Click here.


Jay McGee used to live in Southeast Asia, doing language research and literacy development. Now he’s a Real Estate Agent with Compass 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.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com

Church Hill Civil War Home Provides Loan for Civil War Survivor in Sudan

A little while ago, I had the good fortune of helping some friends buy a home in Historic Church Hill.  I thought I’d post a few pictures and let them tell you about the process.  I also thought it was cool that they bought a pre-Civil War era house, which is now connected in a small way to a young woman in Sudan, who is living in the aftermath of her own country’s longstanding civil war.

When I need to know a piece of history about Richmond, Richard is my go-to guy.  So it seemed appropriate that he would be the person to buy this little gem in Church Hill- right above Libby Hill Park- and care for this living piece of history in the decades to come.

The house was built circa 1850

I asked Richard a couple questions:

Me: This is a very special house in a wonderful location, and complete with a well preserved servant’s quarters and an English Basement.  What were the things about the house that stood out to you?
Richard:  1850 is the vintage as far as I know, we value historic houses and were happy to find one whose owners had a sense of stewardship for the place.  We appreciated that though it had been a duplex, the renovations were sensitive to the historic materials and done to last.

Charming streets complete with gas lamps

 

Libby Hill Park, just down the block

Me
: You got to choose who would receive a loan to be tied to the purchase of this house.  Why did you choose Lucy Peter?

Lucy will use her loan to expand her business of buying and selling fish in the local marketplace. Click photo to learn more

Richard: It was a joy to choose a loan to Lucy Peter in South Sudan, and giving this loan reminded us how amazingly fortunate we are in this country to have a  banking system that functions well for so many people.  A 4% loan in a country that is fairly stable economically is surely rare in this world.  I wish everyone buying a house could have the opportunity to tie it to a loan for someone in a country where loans are so much harder to come by.
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2 more houses in Church Hill have also contributed to the success of struggling entrepreneurs around the world.  If you want to, you can learn more about those loans by clicking on the pictures of the loan recipient below!

Mawar women expanded their farm in Indonesia

Wahhab started a motorcycle repair shop in Iraq

Jay McGee used to live in Southeast Asia, doing language research and literacy development. Now he’s a Real Estate Agent with Compass 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.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com

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.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com

In Which I Have Become… a Bank

“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t really need it.”

 

Back in July, I helped a nice young couple buy a house in Church Hill.  They used a loan to buy their home, like most of us do.  And you know the deal; every house that I help someone buy or sell in Richmond, I connect to a struggling entrepreneur somewhere in the world.  The concept is simple- dreams should be on the buddy system.  Whenever you achieve a dream, don’t let it stop there.  Bring someone else’s along with it.

Wahhab's motorcycle shop

So when I got my paycheck, I gave a loan to a young guy named Wahhab, in Iraq (that post is here).  He was trying to expand his small motorcycle repair shop.

Looks like Wahhab’s business is doing well; last week, I got my first repayment(I don’t get any interest).  The monthly payments come back in the form of Kiva credit, and you can either choose to put the credit back on to my credit card, OR youcan relend it to another borrower.

Helping somebody achieve their dreams at no cost to you- you just have to part with your money for a while.

 

When you go onto Kiva’s website, you can see a picture of the people around the world who have requested loans through Kiva to help them with their small business.  You can click on them and see a bit of their story, and what their business idea is.

After you make a loan, you can see the people who have borrowed from you and where they are in their repayment.  Right now, I have loans out for borrowers in Iraq, Nicaragua, and Indonesia.

People’s business begin to prosper, and they make small monthly repayments.

If you’ve ever benefited from being the recipient of a loan (maybe a mortgage, a car loan, if you use a credit card…), think about giving a loan to somebody.  Somebody who really needs it.

Consider this definition of a bank: A bank is a place that will loan you money if you can prove that you don’t really need it.

Many people in developing countries have zero chance of getting a loan from a national bank, making it next to impossible to achieve their dreams.  You know… it takes money to make money.

What’s stopping you and me from lending to people who the banks refuse to?


 

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.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com

 

The Story Behind the Sign (a Kiva Loan for Maria)

Whenever someone sells a house, there’s usually a compelling life story behind it.  Maybe a new baby or a new job.  Maybe someone’s been saving up for years and waiting to move to a new house, a different neighborhood, and now the moment has come.

And then there are the stories that are more sadness than excitement.  Another foreclosure.  A lost job.  A decision between keeping a house you love or paying medical bills.  A lot of our friends and neighbors here in Richmond have those stories.  More than you might think.

When you see a For Sale sign in someone’s yard as you’re driving around today, what do you think the story is behind that sign?  Chances are, it’s a compelling one.

Last month, I helped my friend and colleague Kelly Blanchard sell a house with a story.  But not the fun, “we’re selling our house because I got a promotion and our dream house just came on the market” type of story.  The other kind.  A house being sold out of necessity- out of loss.

Click photo to learn more about Maria's loan

So today, with that story on my mind, I’m making my Kiva loan for that house to Maria, in Nicaragua.  She’s a single mom who is responsible for the care of 4 other people.  In many developing countries around the world, once you get into debt, it is impossible to get out.  Exorbitant interest rates and even the threat of violence comes with debt.   That weight is a heavy one for a single mother.  This single mom needs to pay off some loans, and she needs an honest loan to do it.

Thanks to the people who responded to the last Kiva loan I made, and to the people who made their first $25 Kiva loan last week!  I’ve added a dollar on to Maria’s loan on behalf of each of you.

 

Why do I give a loan whenever someone in Richmond buys or sells their house with me?  You might be surprised.  Click here to learn.

Right now, Maria has 22% of the amount she needs to pay off her high interest debt.  Why not help her meet her goal?   The RealRVA Lending team is for people who want to loan money to folks in developing countries because we realize that we are lucky to have the access to loans and financial services that we do.

Join the RealRVA Lending Team

 

Lend to Maria and other struggling entrepreneurs like her.

 

 

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.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com

 

From Church Hill with Love

I had the good fortune of helping some old friends buy a house in Church Hill.  It just closed, so that means it’s time to tie another home loan in Richmond with a microloan for someone… somewhere.

This time the someone is actually 10 women, and the somewhere is Indonesia.  Confession: I used to live in Indonesia, so it is hard for me not to send most of my microloans there.  I look at this picture of women and I feel like I’ve met them.  I know exactly how flimsy those sandals feel in your hand and I can picture the street market where they were probably purchased.  I see their decidedly Indonesian strike-a-pose deadpan stare at the camera and I am once again there.  In the heat.  Smell of smoke.  Smell of smog.  Animals and kids.  Muddy shoes.  I miss it.

One of the women is going to use her part of the loan to buy 2 piglets, pig feed, and improve upon her barn.

These women are taking out a group loan.  This is very common in microfinance.  A group of neighbors takes out a lump sum of money and they are all responsible to pay the full amount back.  If one woman does not repay her share, the other women must pay her part.  This is actually one of the things that makes microloans in developing countries so successful; there is accountability.  Each of these women will support and encourage the other to work hard, plan well, save, and be successful in her business.

In the group, everyone has a stake in everyone else’s success.

Isn’t it the same for all of us?

RealRVA Lending Team

 

 

Want to change the world in a small way?  Join the RealRVA Lending Team.

Want to learn more about microfinance?  Check out some of the Microfinance Websites on the right.

Baby Steps… All you need to do is link to this post on twitter or your facebook page to earn $1 more for this loan.  Just leave a comment and let me know that you did!

 

Jay McGee used to live in Southeast Asia, doing language research and literacy development. Now he’s a Real Estate Agent with Compass Realty. He gives a microloan to somebody in a developing country every time someone in Richmond buys or sells their home with him.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com

 

A seed takes root in Iraq

The RealRVA Lending Team gave a  loan last week.  This loan was made on behalf of some clients who just bought a home with me as their Buyer’s Agent a few weeks ago.  The husband likes riding motorcycles, so I thought Wahhab would be the perfect match.

Wahhab Razzak Jabbar

Wahhab Razzak Jabbar, Iraq (Kiva.org)

Wahhab is from Iraq. He is 27 years old, single, and lives with seven family members.
He opened a shop for selling and repairing motorcycles in 2007. He has good experience and a good reputation and he is well known in his area.

He was requesting a $2400 loan to pay the annual rent for his shop. He is aiming to gain more profits so he can improve his family’s quality of life.

RealRVA and 75 other lenders pooled together our money to give Wahhab the $2400 loan he needed.

Click here to read more about Wahhab.  There’s also interesting info about how loans work in Muslim countries.

Want to give a loan to somebody like Wahhab?  Join the RealRVA Lending Team!

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.
Contact: jaymcgee.kw@gmail.com


HOPE International