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.

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.

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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.

What is the value of a Greenway?

Bikes-on-deck.jpg

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.