Category Archives: Albemarle
Curiosity stole an hour of my morning … I intended to update only the Crozet “When do homes come on the market” spreadsheet, got lost there for a bit and decided to look at the Charlottesville MSA numbers.
2012’s Charlottesville MSA sales trends – looking at when homes came on the market, when they went under contract and when they closed.
Well, this is interesting.
And the differential between 2013 and 2012.
Data is fun. Big data is more fun.
I know this – I was surprised both at the most “super” zip in the Charlottesville area as well as the purported median income in the City of Charlottesville.
What do you think?
Part 2 of 2. Part 1 is here.
Continuing the “what is usual and customary” question and answer series …
What’s “normal” in the Charlottesville real estate market? It’s a question that’s asked of me by buyers coming from other markets (agents, too) and sellers who haven’t sold a house before (or for many years). Note: what you see on HGTV is not what is “usual and customary” in the Charlottesville market. (or any market on Planet Earth).
“Usual and customary” is always changing. Radon inspections weren’t usual and customary a couple years ago; now they are. Heck, buyer agency wasn’t usual and customary 15 years ago.
Q: — Who attends the home inspection? Appraisal? Termite/Radon inspections?
A: A buyer’s agent attends all of these, with the home inspection being far more important for them to be onsite than for the termite or radon inspections. Meeting the appraiser can be tricky – sometimes if the appraiser has a lockbox key and MLS access, we never get the call to schedule. I try to meet all appraisers onsite, as I like to pick their brains about what they’re seeing in the market as they see the market through a different lens than I do.
Q: Recording and possession. Is recording done the same day as closing? Are keys transferred when closing docs are signed or when transaction is recorded?
A: Usually recording and possession happens on the same day, although I advise my buyers to not have a moving truck on the front lawn the afternoon of closing … I’ve had this happen, something went wrong and many tears were shed, curse words flew, phone calls made and a few nights in a hotel for the buyer highlighted why I advise what I do. Frequently the keys are given to the buyer at closing, with strict instructions to not enter the property until recordation has occurred.
Part 1 of 2.
What’s “normal” in your market may not be (and probably isn’t) normal in the Charlottesville real estate market.
So what’s “normal” in the Charlottesville real estate market? It’s a question that’s asked of me by buyers coming from other markets (agents, too) and sellers who haven’t sold a house before (or for many years). Note: what you see on HGTV is not what is “usual and customary” in the Charlottesville market. (or any market on Planet Earth).
“Usual and customary” is always changing. Radon inspections weren’t “usual and customary” a couple years ago; now they are. Heck, buyer agency wasn’t usual and customary 15 years ago.
Tina, a colleague in the Nest Blacksburg office, asked a few questions and naturally I felt the answers would be well-served to be posted here, particularly for buyers moving to the Charlottesville area and for sellers who may be moving to other market and not have relevant experience selling a home in our market. Answers are mine.
Q: Do agents use a standard contract? If so, is it the VAR (Virginia Association of Realtors) contract, one provided by your Realtor Association, or a combination of both?
A: Most Realtors in the Charlottesville area use the VAR contract for almost all of our forms, including home inspection, radon etc. We tend to craft specific addenda as needed.
Should I try to sell now or wait until spring?
Therein lies the question as we enter the autumn and winter seasons in Charlottesville. This is the time of year when sellers planning to put their homes on the market in the spring start the process of getting their homes ready for the spring market.
Jonathan Miller pointed out a great article in a New York publication that neatly aggregates some very good responses to this question – “should I sell now or wait?” – all of which are summarized essentially by my default answer of “It Depends.”
Whether you sell now or wait depends on your goals, your flexibility, your timelines, your lives …
A few things to consider:
- The market is seasonally slowing right now – fewer homes are coming on the market and fewer homes are going under contract. As a buyer this means less selection, as a seller this means less competition.
- If you decorate your home for the holidays, be prepared to re-take photos after the holidays … few things date a home’s time on market like Christmas photos.
- What’s the market like for your home right now? What’s it likely to be in January-March? What is your competition likely to be? Existing homes? New construction?
- Will the market for your home be stronger in the spring?
A few questions to ask yourself when debating whether to put your home on the market now or in the spring:
- If you sell now, where will you go?
- Where do you want to live?
- What happens if you can’t sell but find a place you want to purchase?
- What do you have to do to get your home ready for the market? Is it a short list or a long one?
- The holidays are by definition disruptive; are you willing to add “trying to sell a home” to the disruptions?
- Are you already looking for homes? Here’s a few tips to search smarter for homes in Charlottesville.
My thoughts -
- Talk to a lender now, if you need one.
- Talk to a good real estate broker now to help you get a firm understanding of what your marketing strategy and price should look like
Above all, do what’s going to be most advantageous to you, while still maintaining a semblance of sanity. After all, we’re taking about your home; marketing and selling a home is by definition disruptive. Do what you can to minimize the stress and disruption.
Questions? Ask me . I’m doing quite a bit of consulting right now with sellers who are looking to put their homes on the market in Spring 2014.
The Albemarle County elections last night brought about a resounding change on the Albemarle County Supervisors. Gone are Rodney Thomas and Duane Snow; in are Brad Sheffield and Liz Palmer. For what it’s worth, the Democrats won and the Republicans lost.
Looking at the races through the lens of VPAP data, I saw this in a Facebook conversation:
So which Supervisors are beholden to real estate development groups? Here are some of the top donations by industry… Notice a pattern?
Duane Snow, $17,800 Real Estate/Construction
Liz Palmer, $26,043 Miscellaneous
Rodney Thomas, $12,300 Real Estate/Construction
Brad Sheffield, $17,386 Miscellaneous
It’s hard to argue with money. Seemingly more than the ballot box, money matters.
Local elections matter. The localities vote on growth management strategies, property tax rates, the ways in which the emergency services operate and cooperate (or not) and notably transportation and infrastructure improvements. And yesterday, about 13,000 people in Albemarle County helped decide the near (and long) term future of Albemarle County.
Palmer, Sheffield and McKeel ran campaigns hinged on the county’s growing transportation problems and angst over the Western Bypass of U.S. 29.
Whether the Western Bypass gets built will be an interesting (continued) debate. Will they build it? Will they shut it down? Will they study it more? Will they extend it so it’s a more logical and functional road?
The County needs infrastructure improvements … let’s see how the new Board chooses to take up that task.
The third quarter of 2013 ended with a neither a bang nor a whimper, but a nice, consistent breathing pattern. As it stands right now, recovery seems to be in full swing.
I’ve said for years to question the data – whatever its source (it’s why I tend to provide raw data for readers to vet). If you’d read the market report from CAAR last week, you’d have been reading
inaccurate conclusions different conclusions than the ones in our report. I won’t go point-by-point through the discrepancies (but will in my monthly note), but will say simply: the conclusions are wrong. We look at data differently using the same sources. As I’ve said for years – question everything (even the stuff I write – and ask me your questions).
If you watch national news you’d see:
- September existing home sales fall 1.9% (USA Today)
- USA Today is much the same as the NAR’s blog post
- Existing Home Sales in September: 5.29 million SAAR, Inventory up 1.8% Year-over-year (Calculated Risk)
- and then we have Zero Hedge: Existing Home Sales Plunge At Fastest Pace In 15 Month As Affordability Drops To 5 Year Low
Those trends are evident in the Charlottesville area as well. As prices rise, sales volume drops.
Some quick year over year numbers for the Charlottesville area:
MSA – sales volume up 19%
Albemarle – volume up 16%
Charlottesville City – volume up 16%
Single family home prices, long the bellwether for the housing market:
MSA – up 10%
Albemarle – up 16.2%
Charlottesville – up 12.5%
Your micro market will vary.
Update: so I upset a few folks with my calling the CAAR report “wrong” and “inaccurate”. I apologize for my tone, but remain 100% confident that the numbers I and we present are accurate. We do use different methodologies when looking at the data.
I’m not trying to pick a fight and could have been more diplomatic in my original post’s tone. For that, I apologize. I cannot apologize for presenting accurate data to my readers and clients.
What would it take to make Charlottesville and Albemarle truly walkable? People who live in areas that are walkable are happier, leaner, have more money for leisure, spend more time with their families … is that really achievable in the Charlottesville area?
The answer is – the public would have to express its desire for this, the leaders would have to listen to the people, collaborate, plan and execute a vision that would enable the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle to create more walkable and bikeable localities. Of course, in an area that takes 30+ years to build a short Parkway, I think there’s a better chance of flying cars gaining prominence than thoughtful infrastructure being implemented.
What could be done to craft a truly walkable City/County?
This is the original Google Map I did in 2007. I’ve updated it for today’s world. Biscuit Run is no longer planned. Albemarle Place is now Stonefield (and is built). North Pointe is far off in the horizon.