Monday Reading – 16 June 2014

- This should be required reading8 Surprise expenses for homeowners. Changing locks, pest control … in something as rare as a purple dinosaur eating a banana in the middle of a soccer stadium talking on a cell phone, many of the comments are useful.

- City of Charlottesville City Council will discuss Belmont Bridge and the Albemarle Planning Commission will discuss downtown Crozet’s possible renovation, among other big meetings.

- This part of the conceptual plan for West Main Street is absurd:

Another change that the street could see is the addition of elevated and protected bicycle lanes on both sides of the road. Providing bike lanes that are protected from on-street parking could help to reduce the number of bicycle accidents that have occurred along the road.

“The bike lanes will probably mostly be used by people who are tootling along, a little slower, maybe have children on bikes, and it’s a safer environment,” said committee member Rachel Lloyd. “People who are really moving can go in the vehicular lanes.”

Instead of elevated bike lanes, why not protected ones?

– There is so much to the pocket listing conversation; it’s fascinating that Colorado’s Real Estate Commission may be entering the fray. I wrote about pocket listings last year and earlier this year in my note.

– Creepy. What data brokers know about you. One day soon, this will (openly) affect lending.

– This is a really interesting conversation on “what businesses should come to Crozet?” I missed the opportunity to better define the question – what anchor industries should come to Crozet? but the discussion was great all the same. Lots and lots of Facebook comments, too.

– With clients yesterday, we debated whether the folks who designed Stonefield were drunk or high. We concluded they were probably both.

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  • Mark

    I like how you put it in your monthly note:

    “Buyers who don’t know about [pocket listings] until after they’re sold suffer – and this suffering leads to a justified fundamental mistrust of organized real estate.”

    My gut is pocket listings are probably better for the seller all-around, but not for buyers. But if we assume there are unfulfilled buyers out there who would have made an offer on the pocket listing, that speaks to increased demand, which only benefits sellers. So in essence, sellers are making trade-offs (less showings/less hassle, snob appeal/bragging rights) and ending up with less money than they could get on the open market. When it’s the seller’s decision…hey, it’s a free country.

    But how do agents benefit? I imagine they have an easier job- less feedback, fewer phone calls, fewer contracts to review…and collect the same ridiculous commission (why do consumers still put up with paying 6% to middlemen?). Further, “pocket listings” seem to be a way for realtors to stratify themselves and their clients, to make themselves “exclusive”–and therefore exclusionary, possibly even discriminatory when a realtor aspires to a reputation–as a country club’s realtor, or the “med student realtor” or whatever.

    Back to the fundamental mistrust of organized real estate. This is an industry with very low barriers to entry licensing-wise (40 hour class), whose promotion and lobbying (along with the lending industry) created the housing bubble, which continues to skim 6% off every transaction when house prices have far surpassed inflation and median salaries…and most realtors put their Glamour Shot on their yard signs and business cards. Ridiculous.

    • http://www.realcentralva.com/ Jim Duncan

      I think the jury’s out on who benefits and there’s no consistent answer.

      The seller who sells for X price but doesn’t have to go through the invasive marketing/showing process wins.

      The buyer who gets a shot at a house before others may win.

      In each case, they may pay more or less than “market” but if the “market” of that buyer and seller determines X is the right price, and so long as all parties are aware of and understand the possible risks, that’s a market, right?

      I’m again not going to take the bait of defending realtors’ commissions but will acknowledge and stipulate what I’ve said for years – that newbie, just-finished-the-book agents (frequently) get paid the same as experienced ones – is absurd.

      Make sure you include Wall Street, tranches, federal government and consumers in the mix when you’re allocating blame for the housing bubble.

  • http://www.bankforeclosuressale.com/ Simon Campbell

    Loved the surprise expenses article. It reminded me of all the expenses that came with my first home purchase. Even though the mortgage was cheaper than rent, my costs at the end of the month just about doubled that payment. Buying a fixer-upper can surely nickel and dime a person to death. Still loved the house though.