Tag Archives: 22901

Prepping for Mid-Year 2014 Market Update

Looking briefly at the homes that have gone under contract in Albemarle and Charlottesville from 1 January to 30 June (June’s not yet over as of this writing) and if you do the math, you’ll see that this year’s market is (broadly) moving a bit faster than last year’s. I’m looking forward to digging into the numbers.

Halfway through 2014 and the market remains odd. Low inventory in some market segments, high inventory in others, houses hitting the market prior to hitting the MLS more often than I’ve ever seen, new construction prices increasing rapidly, new developments selling like crazy, and I’m starting to look at data to figure out what the market’s been doing.

Here’s a little bit of data looking at some price range statistics for Charlottesville and Albemarle so far this year - June 2014.

Questions, comments about the market? Let me know.

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Wine Mag Notes Charlottesville’s Great Food

Wine Mag notes Brookville and Pasture in its America’s 5 New Foodie Cities. Yum.

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Monday Reading – 16 June 2014

- This should be required reading - 8 Surprise expenses for homeowners. Changing locks, pest control … in something as rare as a purple dinosaur eating a banana in the middle of a soccer stadium talking on a cell phone, many of the comments are useful.

- City of Charlottesville City Council will discuss Belmont Bridge and the Albemarle Planning Commission will discuss downtown Crozet’s possible renovation, among other big meetings.

- This part of the conceptual plan for West Main Street is absurd:

Another change that the street could see is the addition of elevated and protected bicycle lanes on both sides of the road. Providing bike lanes that are protected from on-street parking could help to reduce the number of bicycle accidents that have occurred along the road. “The bike lanes will probably mostly be used by people who are tootling along, a little slower, maybe have children on bikes, and it’s a safer environment,” said committee member Rachel Lloyd. “People who are really moving can go in the vehicular lanes.”
Instead of elevated bike lanes, why not protected ones? - There is so much to the pocket listing conversation; it's fascinating that Colorado's Real Estate Commission may be entering the fray. I wrote about pocket listings last year and earlier this year in my note. - Creepy. What data brokers know about you. One day soon, this will (openly) affect lending. - This is a really interesting conversation on "what businesses should come to Crozet?" I missed the opportunity to better define the question - what anchor industries should come to Crozet? but the discussion was great all the same. Lots and lots of Facebook comments, too. - With clients yesterday, we debated whether the folks who designed Stonefield were drunk or high. We concluded they were probably both.
Posted in Albemarle, Charlottesville, General Real Estate | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

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.
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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

Quick Look at Crozet (and Albemarle) Real Estate Assessments

I was curious about what assessments were doing in Crozet so I did a quick look. If you're curious about background, context and methodology, please read the full post at RealCrozetVA.
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Talking About Charlottesville Real Estate – 26 January 2014

We covered an awful lot in an hour. I’ll update this post with edited show notes. In the meantime, you can listen to the podcast at the Charlottesville Podcasting Network.

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A Few Homeowners Insurance Questions Answered

I like experts. My clients come to me seeking solutions and part of the solution is helping them assemble the right team to help throughout the process. Everyone needs homeowners’ insurance and I tend to recommend Gary - I’ve found him to be helpful, knowledgeable and willing to share knowledge. I asked him to answer a few questions that most (new) homebuyers have.

By Gary Albert with State Farm.

Q: What is the purpose of home insurance?

A: For many, your home is the most important investment you make. So it makes sense that you would

want to protect that investment through homeowners insurance. The fundamental basis of insurance is the transfer of risk from one person or entity to another. We make decisions daily about risk in our personal lives, and each of us have a different tolerance for retaining risk compared to our neighbors. As it relates to homeowner’s insurance, the premium we pay speaks to how much of this risk we are retaining versus how much we are transferring to the insurance company.

Q: Tell me more about deductibles.

A: When you file a claim, the homeowner is responsible for a predetermined part of the costs. This is called a deductible. As a general rule, a low deductible will result in higher premiums, and a higher deductible will result in lower premiums. There is no template rule of what deductible to carry. There are some that advocate for the lowest deductible available and some that lean toward the other end of the spectrum, looking for the higher deductible options. It’s best that you figure out what works best for your particular situation.

To help make this decision, consider your financial situation and personal emergency savings in the event of a large loss to your home.

Q: How are rates set? Do weather disasters in other parts of the country impact the rates we pay here in Virginia?

A: At State Farm, we use claims experience from the past several years to project the cost of future claims. The ratemaking process also factors in trends such as the costs for construction, medical payments and other variables.

Rates are based on each state's claims experience. This means premium dollars stay within the state and do not compensate for losses in other states. So a wildfire in California will not have an impact on our rates here in Virginia.

Q: What about homes that need some work? Is there anything from an insurance point of view you should know when buying a fixer-upper?

A: First, make sure you work with reputable contractors. Get quotes from a few licensed contractors to find the best deal. You also want to make sure the contractor has liability and workman’s compensation insurance to protect you if someone is injured on the job.

Once you are done fixing up the house, make sure you check in with your insurance agent to see if you need to change your coverage. The upgraded kitchen you added could increase the cost to rebuild if something were to happen, and you want to make sure you’re adequately covered.

What's a CLUE Report? How is it used in the home buying process?


Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, 7 year database of claim information. Only the owner or the insurer, or lender can access the information. This service is maintained by Lexis Nexis.

When considering making a purchase of a home, involve an insurance company early in the process to run this report. Some carriers may not do this upfront, so be sure to ask if this report is being run at the time of the quote. If there are prior losses on the property, the insurer (and prospective home buyer) will want to research the repairs and get ahead of any potential loss/insurability concerns. I recommend doing this before the home inspection.

Q: Anything else to add?

A: Insurance can be very personal. Meet with your insurance professional on a regular basis to make adjustments to your coverage as needed for updates, improvements, additions, and endorsement review. Our community has many local, reputable insurance agents. If you’re unsure of whom to speak with, ask your neighbor, good neighbors are usually good sources of information.

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