Engaging with Albemarle County

An easy way to learn about and engage with Albemarle County – Engage Albemarle.

Here’s an interesting topic:

The Comprehensive Plan is Albemarle County’s most important document regarding growth, development and change. It establishes government policy to help guide public and private activities as they relate to land use and resource utilization. What general thoughts would you like to share about the Comprehensive Plan as it is being reviewed by the Board of Supervisors this summer and fall?

Better to express your opinion now in the hopes the Comp Plan can be altered than complain about the decisions that have already been made.

What would be helpful would be if the County would identify which specific parts of the Comp Plan are, or are likely to be, up for debate/discussion – in the Housing section, for example (pdf).

What Are Some Questions Buyers Should be Asking?

This thread on Reddit the other day prompted a bit of a writing prompt … What are some questions that home buyers should be asking?

In my practice, I ask a lot of dumb questions – dumb questions in that I know that my clients (buyers and sellers) should be asking them, but often don’t know to ask them. So I ask for them … these are just some that came to me the other day. I think I’ll add to this post over time, but felt that these were some awfully useful questions. I pulled some of them from my 30+ Tips for First Time Homebuyers post that I wrote earlier this year.

Have a question? Have a favorite question you like to ask? I’d love to hear (and add) it. 434-242-7140 or email me.

My two cents:

- Is there a survey? Where are the property lines? Are there easements about which I should be aware?

- Is there an HOA? What are the dues? What have the dues done over the past 10 years? Is the HOA professionally managed? (9/10 professionally managed is better than managed by those who have this much free time)

- What’s traffic like during rush hour? What’s the commute like? (Always, always visit at different times of day/night the place you’re considering)

- What’s buyer agency? (if you visit an open house – there’s a 99% chance that the agent hosting it is there to represent the seller … not you)

- Should I use an attorney or title company? (in my market, using an attorney is usually the better option of the two)

- Should I rent first before I buy? (my advice: yes – rent in the area in which you’re going to buy so that you can learn the area)

Prepping for Mid-Year 2014 Market Update

Homes sold through June 30 in Charlottesville and Albemarle

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.

Monday Reading – 16 June 2014

- This should be required reading8 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.