Is the “Recovery” Leading to a Boom in Real Estate Agents (in Virginia)?

# of newly licensed real estate agents in Virginia - as of 27 October 2014-1

# of newly licensed real estate agents in Virginia - as of 27 October 2014-1

Is the “Recovery” Leading to a Boom in Real Estate Agents (in Virginia)?

Not yet.

There’s a sweet spot for productivity. Too few and you’re not (in my opinion) truly competent; in the words of an agent from whom I’ve learned a lot over the years, “if you’re not doing enough business, you’re not screwing up enough to learn.” Experience matters; every transaction, every person, every situation is different. If you’re doing too many, the customer is going to feel (and be treated like) a number rather than a human – a person making a big freaking life and financial decision – the right balance of productivity is critical.

But …

Think about this:

- about 10% of the licensed real estate agents are new, some of whom are likely experienced agents from other states, but in general, new.

- In my opinion, if a new agent is mentor-less, he or she is not remotely qualified to represent a client.

- As the real estate market recovers, more agents will enter the profession.

- Hopefully we never return to 2006 numbers.

- I’m going to cover some of this in more detail in this month’s Monthly Note, focusing on the consumer’s responsibility when vetting and hiring representation.

# of licensed real estate agents in Virginia-1

For some context, in Charlottesville there are about 900 Realtors:

- 672 have done at least a half a side (co-representing either buyer or seller)

- 289 have done at least five sides this year

- 149 have at least 10 sides

- 66 have at least 15 sides

- 44 have at least 20 sides

Credit to Calculated Risk for the idea and Virginia’s DPOR for emailing me the data – quickly!

Charlottesville Sellers – Take Pictures Now

This is why I advise my clients to take pictures of their houses in the fall.

A photo posted by Jim Duncan (@jimduncan) on

I’ve said for years that if you’re in the Charlottesville area and are thinking about selling your home in the Spring, you should be having pictures taken of your home Now. If you decide in the dead of winter and want exterior photos taken those pictures will be of a desolate landscape – and that doesn’t look so great to potential buyers.

Also, if you’re thinking about selling, now is the time to start truly learning the market, evaluating comps, and determining whom to hire to represent you.

If you have questions or would like a recommendation for a photographer (or a market analysis), please ask me.

How do buyers find homes – interwebs or agents?

Me? I was somewhat surprised at how few found their new home via real estate agents … but upon reflection, not really.

For years I’ve written and said that a good real estate agent’s skillset is far, far more than having a login to the MLS and a lockbox key (although I’d argue that that’s the primary skillset for at least half of licensed real estate agents).

A great real estate professional helps buyers (and sellers) put together puzzles, serves as a guide – a navigator of the market, and a filter and interpreter of the seemingly endless morass of purportedly relevant information available.  Searching for homes online is easy; ascertaining whether that home is the right one for you is often much more difficult.

Heck, in 2007, I wrote about 12 reasons to to use a Realtor.

With that preface, have some fun with the data the NAR just put out about where buyers find homes.


And for even more fun with data (and data display):

The life of a community blog – RealCrozetVA



A friend wrote some time ago that part of finding success is to give a sh*t.

Giving a sh*t is hard. But it’s rewarding and meaningful. This post? Not about real estate, other than that a tremendous component of “real estate” is community.

Just over nine years ago, I started RealCrozetVA with a simple goal -“to provide a forum for Crozet to (hopefully) discuss their thoughts about Crozet’s growth.” At the time of the blog’s inception, Crozet was smaller, Old Trail hadn’t yet begun, the new Crozet Library was still being designed, and there was palpable concern, and questions, about what was happening.

In the past nine years, a lot has changed. Facebook and Twitter, for example, didn’t exist. Now those channels have become major components of the RealCrozetVa communication voice. I’ve never spent the time to figure out a “strategy” per se, but some things are more appropriate for Facebook, some for Twitter, and I’ve started a “recently on facebook” category on the blog to archive the conversations there.

Two thoughts on the changing technology – 1) I wish I’d done a better job of archiving photos of Crozet. 2) One of the constants in this journey has been WordPress.

The Crozet Gazette launched a few years ago and has provided consistently great reporting, something I’m just not going to do.

Charlottesville Tomorrow started and is awesome.

I added a calendar component some time ago, but last year spent the money on a plugin that’s made the calendar much, much more functional, enabling community members to add events on their own.

I’d love to be able to make some changes to the design (like add an “add to calendar” button) but that’s likely to not ever happen by me.

But really? The “success” of RealCrozetVA is thanks to the community’s involvement, their comments, likes, replies, etc.

Have I “gotten business” from RealCrozetVA? Maybe, but that’s never, ever, been the goal. I occasionally write about the Crozet real estate market (46 posts in 9 years – about 3% of the time), merely as a reminder that I do happen to earn a living as a real estate agent.

One thing that is absolutely critical is Blue Ridge Internetworks who provide the hosting and support for RealCrozetVA for free. Thank you.  (I’d get their fiber to my house if I could)

I’m grateful for the community in which I live, and hope to continue writing about it for some time.

* I’m always looking for guest posters, though!



2014’s 3rd Quarter Market Report – Answering “How’s the Market”?


Download the 2014 Q3 Charlottesville Market Nest Report.

The #1 Question buyers and sellers ask – whether in the conference room, the coffee shop, beers or dinner, is “how’s the market?” The underlying question tends to be a variation of, “can I sell?” or “should I sell” or “can I buy a home” or “should I buy a home”?

Update: NBC29 had a nice report last night and I’ve immensely glad they used what I’ve been saying for years –

“Get advice on what this report means to them because the report gives them good guidance but every market truly is extremely localized. The Charlottesville and Albemarle areas can vary neighborhood by neighborhood, street by street,” Duncan said.

For example -

I was pulling some data this afternoon on condos in the City of Charlottesville. Comparing 3rd Quarter 2014 with the 3rd Quarter 2013, condo prices in the City were up about 15%. But. Looking at the data a bit more granularly:

In 3rd Quarter 2013, 32 condos sold in the City versus 22 in the 3rd Quarter 2014 … and one sold in this 3rd quarter for $1.1 million, with the next highest sold price being $485k. Compare that with the 3rd Q 2013 where the highest sold price was $450k.

The data matters, but the context – and relevance to your particular situation – matters more.


The below reports will provide some top-level insight, but be cautioned … top level analyses provide just that – insight into what others are able (or unable) to accomplish.

More digging to be done, but for now here is CAAR’s 3rd Quarter Market report.

The Nest Report will be released a bit later today has just been releasedDownload the 2014 Q3 Charlottesville Market Nest Report.

2014 Q3 Charlottesville Market Report