Most Recent Entries

Hiring Professional Photographers for Real Estate Photos

Hiring professionals is what professionals do.

The guy in the red shirt? He'll take better photos than I would. Note the tripod.
Posted in General Real Estate | 1 Comment

How do I know I’m Getting the Best Deal (on a loan)

Shopping for a loan is hard. Comparing loan terms and offers can be harder. When I recommend a lender, there is an incredible amount of conveyed trust in that recommendation.

A client asked me the other day -

"How do I know who has the best terms?" So naturally I asked a lender I trust for his answer. Matt Hodges with Presidential Mortgage wrote: Well, there’s the following: 1.       Rate & points & fees & lock in time frames 2.       Meeting commitment/close dates 3.       Breadth of products 4.       Uniqueness of products – i.e. closing prior to starting your job, gift for 100% of down payment, 100% LTV deals, etc.   We all should be .125% in rate apart on any given day, but you might see outliers.  For example, I had a rate shopper asking for a conventional 20 year loan and I was able to quote 3.875%, and no one else was better than 4% and some were higher than that.  There are a few exceptions to that pricing point, but in general it’s the value a loan officer brings to the picture to get to the finish line with the least amount of upset and on time. ----- I'd add to Matt's last sentence with this: there is tremendous value in a lender (or any professional for that matter) who will: - Foresee and anticipate problems - Acknowledge problems - Communicate problems - If it's their mistake, own the mistake and ... - Fix the problems Also. I like local lenders; as a buyer's agent, they make me immensely more comfortable. As a listing agent, I value a local lender (whom I know to be good) tremendously - and convey that to my clients.
Posted in Charlottesville, General Real Estate | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Giving Useful Feedback on Listings is Valuable

So much for valuing feedback Here's a new question I'm going to suggest sellers ask the real estate agent they are considering hiring. "Do you give good feedback to your fellow agents?" ("Do you use professional photographers" should be one of the top 5 questions asked, by the way)

Giving feedback on houses I’ve shown kinda sucks. It’s tedious. I don’t always remember which house is which (after showing 12 houses in a day, 20-some over the course of three days, the houses sometimes run together - even for a professional!), and the feedback requests usually come a couple days later.* Frequently I have to search the MLS for the house so I can remember it. And the listing agents tend to not use the mnemonics my clients and I use to remember houses - the stinky house, the cold house, they yellow house, the house on the hill, country house with road noise ...

But. Feedback is valuable.

I can make the argument that giving feedback could damage my buyer client’s position. (ie. If the listing agent asks what I think of the price, I say it’s probably pretty accurately priced and then my client and I make an offer 10% below asking … ) But for this post I won't make that argument.

As a listing agent, getting (actionable) feedback is extremely valuable:

- The house smells (for God's sake, get rid of the smelly things, people!)

- Fix the carpet

- Mow the grass

- Replace countertops

- The price is way too high

Sometimes the feedback is “they didn’t like it” or “the house is too big” or other inactionable things.


A big reason I diligently try to give useful feedback to listing agents is because I want them to give me feedback when they show my listings. Charlottesville is a small town; with not so many productive agents. Building, having and maintaining those relationships is crucial to my clients. Being able to be candid and have good relationships and rapport is absolutely critical, and while giving feedback on listings may be one of the less fun and sexy parts of being a real estate agent, it’s one of the many important little things that matters.

Posted in General Real Estate | Leave a comment

Charlottesville’s Homogenization Continues

Great story by Sean Tubbs with Charlottesville Tomorrow

Anderson’s Carriage Food House on Barracks Road and C’Ville Market on Carlton Avenue both closed for the final time on Friday, with managers of each store citing tough competition as one reason for going out of business.
Nice usage of "-monger" in the story, too. Homogenization is not what makes Charlottesville special; but that's economics.
Posted in Albemarle, Charlottesville | Tagged , | Leave a comment

June 2014 Note – 5 Minutes!, the Market, Responsibility and Trust

June's monthly note begins (really, it begins a day or two after I publish last month's note and takes shape around now-ish).

The working outline (for now) is coming together. I have one or two other ideas to include and will likely pull out one or two included in the outline above. Notably, one of the most popular sections/segments/topics is the blog recap, in which I summarize the better of the previous month's blog posts, both here and for RealCrozetVA. Either way, I'm looking forward to writing this month's note. Interested? Two easy clicks here and I'll send you June's note when it's published. Usually the notes are no more than 1500 words. If you do choose to subscribe, you'll be in great company; my mom usually likes my notes.

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

Good to Have Companies Like Hemoshear in Charlottesville

Smart, growing, innovative companies doing cool stuff benefit everyone.

Their new space is in the old Martha Jefferson building, sharing space with CFA Institute, another anchor to Downtown Charlottesville and the greater Charlottesville economy.

Posted in Charlottesville | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Proposed Solution for 29 North

29 is changing. What’s that mean?

- Lots of money is going to be spent.

- 29 is going to be more challenging for a number of years.

- Hopefully things will be better and more efficient when they’re finished.

- Page 6 of this PDF shows the roads that will touched by the $203 million - Hillsdale, Berkmar, 29 North, Rio, Hydraulic and the Best Buy ramp. Plus funding for Amtrak to DC (which I think is super-cool).

- The segmentation of Charlottesville - Albemarle will continue (more).

K. Burnell Evans reports that: (read the whole thing)

Albemarle County supervisors decided Tuesday to back a $203-million plan to address congestion and mobility on Albemarle County’s main artery.

Two hundred and three million dollars. To fix 29 North.


If you're curious to learn more:

- Sean Tubbs at Charlottesville Tomorrow has an excellent recap of yesterday's meeting and where we are now.

- Charlottesville Tomorrow

- Download the PDF of the final proposed plan.

- Read the thoughts at the Free Enterprise Forum.

- Southern Environmental Law Center

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

What is the value of a Greenway?

Bikes on a deck in Charlottesville

What is the value of a green way to a buyer in today's market?

Had an interesting conversation this morning in the Crozet Mudhouse with someone who was noting that the attitude shift toward greenways has shifted significantly in the past 10 years or so.

It used to be that real estate agents and developers and even buyers placed little to no value in having access to a means of passage that was not centered around an automobile.

Today, that attitude has shifted 180°.

Access to bike paths or suitable walking trails (for strollers) is an enormous asset. through my admittedly myopic view as seen through the eyes of my buyer clients who are seeking such access and proximity, and through the eyes of my seller clients who are advocating for the benefits of such access, I would say that the world has shifted in this respect.

In the Charlottesville Albemarle area my view is that the City of Charlottesville is fairly well poised to design and build more greenways and bike paths (hint: West Main). The County of Albemarle needs more will and more money. And they both need to work together to have the respective systems work together.

Worth noting is that the departments within the respective localities are filled with remarkable people doing remarkable work.

The market wants these things.

Posted in Albemarle, Charlottesville, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment