Category Archives: General Real Estate
You know your credit affects everything, right? Did you know that your house (and the one you’re trying to buy) has a credit report? You know there’s a database for everything, right?
Several years ago a real estate agent I know had a buyer who was closing on a home purchase in a couple days. He called his insurance company a few days prior to closing and said he needed insurance. But.The combination of his credit (not 800+ credit score) and the house’s credit resulted in his insurance policy costing many, many times what he was expecting (and budgeting for). He no longer qualified to buy the house … and everyone found out a few days prior to closing.
So … when the power went out for a week in last year’s derecho and the seller of the home you’re trying to buy filed a homeowner’s insurance claim for the $400 worth of groceries they’d just bought? That could affect the buyer’s ability to get affordable homeowners insurance.
“Only information about property loss claims made against homeowner’s or automobile policies is included in the CLUE database. Information from the CLUE database plus your risk score make up the complete insurance risk profile. However, your credit history can play an important part in an insurance company’s judgment about your risk potential.”
When I’m putting together offers to Purchase when representing clients, I use an addendum (that has been a part of the standard Virginia Association of Realtors’ forms since at least February 2005) called the “Homeowners’ Insurance Addendum” (simple, right?). The most difficult part of this form is that
most many Realtors in Charlottesville seem to have never seen this form – and many see it as an unnecessary, superfluous contingency . I don’t know why.
The form addendum is clear – it forces the buyer to ascertain within a short time period (similar to that of the home inspection contingency) that they can get affordable homeowners’ insurance – with a certain cap on the annual premium and the deductible.
Better to find out in the first two weeks if the homeowners insurance will be $4,000 per year instead of $700, right?
Local elections matter.
There are six seats on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors; at least two will be contested this year. Every race should always be contested, so thanks to those who are volunteering to run for seat that pay $14,542 per year.
Jack Jouett – retiring Dennis Rooker has anointed School Board Rep Diantha McKeel as his successor.
Samuel Miller – Liz Palmer, board member for Albemarle County Service Authority, will be running against incumbent Duane Snow
Rio District – Urban and Environmental planner Brad Sheffield will run again incumbent Rodney Thomas.
To my eye, the announced races seem to be very much managed-growth (challengers) versus not-so-well-managed-growth (incumbents).
Pay attention, folks. Albemarle County is (and has been for years) at a crossroads. Think less of the “Austin or Aspen or Arlington ” debate and more of the “Loudoun County or Albemarle County” debate.
Get ready as well to follow the money at VPAP, the Virginia Public Access Project.
You know what leads to competence? Practice.
“… the Principles of Real Estate course doesn’t talk about completing a contract“
Because … how often does a real estate agent write a contract, right?
Note: Principles of Real Estate is the course that all new real estate licensees in the Commonwealth of Virginia must take in order to get licensed.
The only true education (in anything, really) is experience. I’ve talked about this, and sat on committees (for *years* – at both national and state Realtor levels) about “real estate professionalism” … and have since resigned myself to the ineffectiveness of the political system with respect to this issue.
The only reasonable solution is an apprenticeship program.
More hours won’t solve this.
To consumers: caveat emptor as there is no viable nor valid means by which to ascertain a real estate professional’s competence online without asking another competent professional his opinion of another.
Numbers matter. Today is the new normal when evaluating the Charlottesville real estate market. Last year’s market matters (as do the previous years) but what truly matters to buyers and sellers is what today’s market is.
Some context – the number of homes (single family, attached, condo) sold – in the first quarter – in Charlottesville and Albemarle since 1999:
For this story, I’m not looking at Fluvanna, Greene, Nelson, Louisa as their growth seems to have started a bit after Charlottesville’s and Albemarle’s did, respectively. Right now, I’m seeking consistent volume in the real estate market.
Single family homes are the traditional marker of the market, for the sake of consistency. Attached homes have exploded in popularity (we’ll be looking at new construction numbers next week) in the past 5-7 years.
For anyone looking to buy a home in the Charlottesville-Albemarle markets right now, five key points to be aware of are:
- Quality inventory is in high demand, low supply. Of the 550 homes (all types) in the MSA that went under contract in 1st Quarter 2013, 276 had days on market of less than 30, 214 had days on market of less than 14, 129 had days on market of less than 3! (57 had days on market of at least 300)
- Overall inventory is up (surprised, right? Me too)
- Quality, well-priced homes are selling – fast. Often with multiple offers (I’ve written several escalation clauses in the past few weeks, if you can believe it)
- Being prepared – both as a buyer and seller – is crucial. Know the market; hire a quality real estate agent, prepare your house effectively.
- Be patient. If you’re a buyer looking in particular segments, you might have to lose at least one house in the process. I know it sucks. But there will be another house.
If you’re interested in the actual numbers, click through to see the rest of the story.
Public Service Announcement:
I hate to pick on Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.com (frankly, I’m surprised by Realtor.com)
1: If you’re looking for a house in Charlottesville to see today, use a site that is trusted as having a current, local feed from the Charlottesville MLS.
- The local Realtor Association’s site.
2: Maybe the big sites aren’t picking up the “Contingent” status as “Under Contract” – maybe they’re waiting for “Pending”
3: Two doesn’t really matter. The data’s not right.
4: Ultimately, bad data might not matter to consumers; they’re still going to use the big sites.
5: Seeing the house still being listed on all the other sites leads to confusion, mistrust and frustration – on behalf of everyone involved.
Take some lessons from my client. Seriously.
I’m going to be writing (in a few weeks) a longer post about the process, but for now … spend some time reading her posts.
“We don’t want to restrict growth, and I think saying ‘no growth’ is absurd,” Duncan said. “I think saying ‘unbridled growth’ is equally absurd. Somewhere in the middle, between those two extremes, there has to be some sort of solution.”
- Buyer psychology and reading buyers – being able to read and guide buyers is a critical skill. This is one reason that I don’t know what my buyer clients want until we’ve gone out once or twice.
- Housing has been booming! Construction jobs haven’t. Here’s why. – I’d be curious to see data this localized to the Charlottesville area market (and out of area contractors don’t count). The Charlottesville area didn’t seen larger construction companies laying off people so much as it saw a reduction in the number of construction companies – big and small.
- I’m really proud of the community that’s been built around RealCrozetVA (including RealCrozetVA on twitter & Facebook) – it hasn’t been deliberate other than I’ve wanted to build something for the good of Crozet. That said, this is an interesting post on how to build a community on a blog.
- Hashtags considered #harmful – I’d argue that #hashtags are less harmful than #tinylinks – urls shortened by a service like goo.gl, bit.ly, etc – once those short links expire (of the service providing them expires) – those links are gone.
- Home Value Highest Since ’07 as U.S. Houses Make Cash – Keep in mind, this is a national report.
- My outline for for April’s monthly note is taking shape … if you’re interested in reading a somewhat more personal, not-published-anywhere-else note from me, I’d be honored if you’d choose to read it.
Technology in and of itself isn’t the challenge, the challenge is how we as a society deal with it. This is the sort of thing that will likely take legislatures many years (after “privacy” has been eliminated) to sort out.
I highly encourage reading the whole thing – John Paul Titlow writes in Smart Homes: Our Next Digital Privacy Nightmare:
Every time we connect another one of our household appliances to the Internet, we’re going to be generating another set of data about our lives and storing it some company’s servers. That data can be incredibly useful to us, but it creates yet another digital trail of personal details that could become vulnerable to court subpoenas, law enforcement requests (with or without a warrant) or hackers. …
Of course, this has been the case for quite some time, but in the age of the smart home, a stolen or hacked phone isn’t just a repository of personal information: it’s a remote control for your entire house. If you’ve signed up for the remote surveillance service, it also contains live video feeds from every room in the house.
In-Home Video Surveillance: Fair Game For Authorities?
The video monitoring feature alone raises some serious questions about privacy, hackers aside. These videos are living on Comcast’s servers. If the police suspect me of being a drug lord and they ask Comcast for access for a live video feed into my house, will they comply? Would the police need a warrant?
As is often the case with digital privacy issues, there’s no clear legal precedent to draw from. Courts and legislative bodies tend to move considerably more slowly than the pace of technological innovation, so we end up with awkward grey areas like this.
We’ve gone from buyers asking whether a house has septic or public sewer, to asking if hard-wired internet access is available, to … is this home a smart home? Continue reading