Most Recent Entries

What’s an Ello?

Ello. The newest, greatest social network that's hoping to supplant Facebook. I hope they succeed. But what is it? (what's this have to do with real estate? Not much, other than real estate is in part a social business, and ello is social.)

I'm still figuring Ello out, and it's a bit fun to be in the early days of something new and somewhat undefined. The loneliness there is a bit different from the loneliness I perceive on Google +; to me, Ello is new while G+ is tried and mostly failed.

But really, I signed up in order to further my lifelong battle to be thought of as Jim Duncan from Charlottesville rather than Jim Duncan the weatherman. 

Some thoughts I wrote on Ello the other day:

NB: My blog is in transition right now; the tag isn't working, so to read the rest, click here.

Posted in General Real Estate | Leave a comment

Jobs and Albemarle County’s Comp Plan

Charlottesville (meaning: Charlottesville + Albemarle) is a great place to live, and a great place to retire as well.

Neil Williamson poses a great question, highlighted by one of the better opening sentences I've read in some time:

Rather than asking if they aspire to be Austin or Aspen, the real question for Albemarle County is a choice between fostering job growth or becoming a land of newlyweds and nearly deads?

(great conversation on his FB post, too)

Great question that speaks to the dearth of "ladder jobs" and the need for the County to actively seek out employers who will provide said ladder jobs. For an example of how Albemarle is competitively outmatched, look no further than how they were completely outmaneuvered (so I'm told) in the recent battle to woo Stone Brewery to Crozet.

Part of the conversation should also be - how can the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle cooperate to bring businesses that will benefit all parties (residents, local coffers, tourists).


Posted in Albemarle, Growth | Leave a comment

October’s Note: Perspective, Oddities & Inspections

October's monthly note - realcentralva


The subscription-only monthly note from Jim Duncan/RealCentralVA - this month, the Charlottesville real estate market, perspective & thoughts on home inspections and the always-popular roundup of the previous month's best blog posts from RealCentralVA and RealCrozetVA.

Two clicks here and you'll have the note next week when it's published.

One change that I've made recently: I'm publishing the archives a few months after they're published. If you're curious, you can read 2013's notes, and I think I'm going to publish them all here on RealCentralVA in December. (me? I tend to print them to edit them)

Posted in Albemarle, Charlottesville, General Real Estate, Monthly Notes | Leave a comment

Wi-Fi Locks on Houses when you Miss a Payment? Wi-fi locks on houses when borrowers miss a payment can't be that far in the future, based on this NYTimes article:
Ms. Bolender was three days behind on her monthly car payment. Her lender, C.A.G. Acceptance of Mesa, Ariz., remotely activated a device in her car’s dashboard that prevented her car from starting. Before she could get back on the road, she had to pay more than $389, money she did not have that morning in March.

And for context, Zillow has a nice, digestible post (with pictures) in which they look at subprime mortgages' return:

Similarly, premiums charged to subprime borrowers remain higher than in 2011 and 2012, but have been mostly flat in recent months (chart below). For a 30-year fixed rate purchase mortgage, upper-tier subprime borrowers pay 70 more basis points while lower-tier subprime borrowers pay 120 more basis points.

Posted in General Real Estate | 1 Comment

Student Loans’ Impact on Housing – Two Perspectives

I've written about student loans' impact on housing, notably its impact on the Charlottesville market, but these are two recent stories, each with its own take on student loans. (My short opinion: student loans are increasing for the same reason the housing bubble expanded ... we do remember what happened to that, right?)

The Wall Street Journal:

Higher levels of student debt will reduce U.S. home sales by around 8% this year, according to a report released Friday by John Burns Real Estate Consulting, an advisory firm. ... Higher debt burdens will defer home purchases for many borrowers while requiring others to buy a less expensive home in order to qualify for a loan or save for a down payment. The paper estimates that every $250 per month in student loan debt reduces borrowers’ purchasing power by $44,000, and since 2005, some 3.8 million additional households have at least $250 per month in student debt. Put differently, around 35% of households under age 40 have monthly student debt payments exceeding $250, up from 22% of households in 2005.

And The Onion:

Lamenting that she will spend the foreseeable future paying off her college expenses, local 23-year-old digital marketing assistant Ashley Orlinsky expressed concern Wednesday that her student loans will prevent her from ever owning an entirely different type of utterly crippling debt. “Realistically, it’ll take years or even decades to fully repay $50,000 of loans, which makes me worried that I’ll never qualify for a backbreaking mortgage on a house that I can in no way afford,” said Orlinsky, adding that with $350 in monthly student loan payments, she will likely struggle to even borrow money to purchase a new car that will destroy her credit rating and may one day be repossessed by the bank.

It's all about your perspective!

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One of the Best Things about Living in Charlottesville

Taken on this morning's bicycle ride on Garth Road. Taken on this morning's bicycle ride on Garth Road.

One of the best things about living in Charlottesville is, quite simply, this time of year. The weather - the crisp temperatures, clean air, blue skies - and the changing of the leaves makes this truly a great time to live in Charlottesville.

But living in Charlottesville is one thing - making/taking the time to appreciate where we live is another.

Posted in Albemarle, Charlottesville | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

C’Ville Pie Fest 2014 – 28 September

I love this about Charlottesville.

C'Ville Pie Fest is Back! It's this Sunday at the Crozet Mudhouse, supports the Crozet Volunteer Fire Department, and pie entries are needed (there are some hungry judges!)

mmmmm … Pie.

It all started on Twitter and was, as I said at the time, ridiculously good fun at the Charlottesville Downtown Mudhouse.

And we had pie later in 2009 at Crozet Mudhouse, and it benefited PACEM.

And Pie was had in 2010.

And more pie in 2011, benefiting the Haven.

And the judges:

- Head Judge Brian Geiger
- Wendy Novicoff
- Sean McCord
- Rebecca Cooper
- Josh Harvey (Albemarle Baking Company baker)
- Nathan Moore of WTJU
- Gary Dillon of the Crozet Firefighters
- Jim Duncan (that's me!)
Posted in Albemarle, Charlottesville | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food for Thought about New Economies

Food for thought ...

A couple stories and trends that I'm trying to work through as they apply to real estate: Tesla and Uber/Lyft:

Tesla, the groundbreaking electric car company is slowly but surely breaking down archaic, consumer-unfriendly barriers to being able to sell their cars direct to consumers, and Tesla is in the midst of building a new infrastructure through which to distribute the fuel for their vehicles.

Uber/Lyft, brand new to Charlottesville, have seemingly led to a 65% decline in cab use in San Francisco.

The real estate world has its own parallels - real estate agents (some are middlemen, some are critical advisors), MLS (the infrastructure) and the shifting dynamics of ownership (do we really own our iPhones) and motivations to buy homes (see: millennials).

I'm not yet sure where the real estate world is evolving, but it's going to be different in 18 months than it is today.

Posted in General Real Estate | 5 Comments