Date Archives January 2007

Disclosures versus Disclaimers – caveat emptor to a lesser degree

sell the property without representations and warranties as to its conditions …In six years, I have seen only one transaction with a Disclosure, and that was a corporate-owned relocation.  The reasons for Sellers not electing to use Disclosures are varied – *The market has been so hot that, with Buyers waiving home inspections from time to time, there was no incentive to use Disclosures.*Using a Disclosure would confuse many (most?)…  This is a pertinent article from the HooK in 2003, wherein Robert Ramsey, a prominent and well-respected Realtor was quoted:However, “Just because a seller chooses disclaimer doesn’t mean he can go around committing fraud,” warns Ramsey.  “It doesn’t protect a seller who knows he has a terribly wet basement, waits until a drought year to sell, and paints the basement and puts in new carpet to hide the damage.”And while fraud is hard to prove, a disclaimer doesn’t mean the seller is immune from prosecution, nor does it prevent the buyer from suing.

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Density and too many Realtors

– this is an excellent post about the future of Charlottesville, sponsored by the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council, one of my favorite local groups (but unfortunately I rarely have the time to attend their events) Here is the podcast.* Density increases congestion.* Too Many Realtors?…  Furthermore, the increase in NAR membership even outpaced the increase in new households.When you compare the price per square foot in the Central Virginia region to here, we are downright affordable!…  A modest mean price per square foot in the Charlottesville are is about $150 per square foot, give or take $50-$75 dollars.  Increasing education requirements for new and current real estate agents in Virginia – getting a real estate license in Virginia is dangerously easy.

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An arbitrary Albemarle County bill

Um, who exactly would be determining this?Any such overlay zone may be established upon any area in the county where it is determined that the visual impacts of buildings and structures within such area may have a significant adverse impact upon the county’s scenic resources or on tourism.  (Bolding mine)This seems that an arbitrary panel of citizens(?)  could decide that any new development could be shut down using this extraordinarily vague language.Don’t just take my word for it, read the whole thing at Richmond Sunlight.  I like Sen. Deeds, but this bill seems dangerous.

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Problems commenting

I upgraded Askimet the other day and at least one regular commenter has been blocked.  I hope that that is resolved, but if anyone else is being blocked, please let me know.  Since the change the other day, I have received over 1,000 comment spams….  Comment spam sucks.

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Vacant houses

I’ve written about vacant houses before.In the Charlottesville/Central Virginia area*, there are 1709 residential properties on the market.  620 of these are vacant – a staggering 36%.Breaking the numbers down a hair more:1278 properties are not marked as “new construction.”38% of these are vacant.  The 38% number surprised me a bit; I don’t know why, exactly.

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Albemarle County tax assessments rise

It’s amazing what a simple press release will generate -The HooK and the Daily Progress were first to publish, but, here’s the release anyway (full release below the “fold”)The average annual increases for specific magisterial districts are as follows (biennial increases are in parenthesis):- Rio 13.57 % (27.14 %)- Jack Jouett 11.27 % (22.54 %) – Rivanna 14.98 % (29.96 %)- Samuel Miller 15.64 % (31.28 %)- Scottsville 15.54 % (31.08 %)- White Hall 16.72 % (33.44 %)- Town of Scottsville 15.93 % (31.87 %)Virginia, unlike some other states, requires localities to assess property at 100% of fair market value, which makes the reassessment process an objective analysis of the property’s actual worth in the marketplace….  As demonstrated by this chart, Albemarle County is not alone in experiencing rapidly increasing property values and a strong real estate market.Locality – Most Recent Annual Increase- Albemarle County – 14.9 %- City of Charlottesville – 13 – 15% *- Greene County – 24%- Goochland County – 18.5 %- Fluvanna County – 21% (Daniel Rothamel’s excellent ongoing coverage here)- Orange County – 25%- Augusta County – 8 % (January 2005)*preliminaryInterestingly, no one specific district had an inordinately higher or lower rate of appreciation.Some of the better discussion about local governments’ seemingly insatiable thirst for property taxes is at the Real Estate Bloggers….  An annual process will allow county assessors to react more quickly to changes in the real estate market and to reflect those changes in reassessments to individual properties.The average annual increases for specific magisterial districts are as follows (biennial increases are in parenthesis):- Rio 13.57 % (27.14 %)- Jack Jouett 11.27 % (22.54 %) – Rivanna 14.98 % (29.96 %)- Samuel Miller 15.64 % (31.28 %)- Scottsville 15.54 % (31.08 %)- White Hall 16.72 % (33.44 %)- Town of Scottsville 15.93 % (31.87 %)Virginia, unlike some other states, requires localities to assess property at 100% of fair market value, which makes the reassessment process an objective analysis of the property’s actual worth in the marketplace….  As demonstrated by this chart, Albemarle County is not alone in experiencing rapidly increasing property values and a strong real estate market.Locality – Most Recent Annual Increase- Albemarle County – 14.9 %- City of Charlottesville – 13 – 15% *- Greene County – 24%- Goochland County – 18.5 %- Fluvanna County – 21% (Daniel Rothamel’s coverage here)- Orange County – 25%- Augusta County – 8 % (January 2005)*preliminaryThe increase in this biennial reassessment continues a general upward trend the county has been experiencing since 1997.

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Charlottesville Neighborhood – Fifeville

One realtor tried to market the area north and south of West Main Street as “midtown,” though it hasn’t really caught on.The city calls the area south of West Main “Fifeville” after the Fife family, who once owned a farm in this area….  According to a UVA oral history of the area, Castle Hill was home to prominent African Americans and whites at the turn of the 20th century, until, in 1912, the city resolved that it should be illegal for whites and blacks to live next to each other and “the whites moved away.”This law was struck down by the Supreme Court a few years later….  Joe Mallory, an African American man who grew up nearby, had been buying and renovating houses near the intersection with the help of the Piedmont Housing Alliance in 2002.Mallory’s efforts, along with a police crackdown on prostitution, the success of the Downtown Mall, the growth of the University, low interest rates, etc. drew investors, speculators, and homebuyers in search of value to Castle Hill….  The neighborhood association has succeeded in stopping (for now) two proposed condo projects, one on Estes Street, near Walker Square and the other at the corner of Ridge and Cherry.Proximity to the Downtown Mall and the UVA Medical Center (for those of us who work there) is the main attraction of Castle Hill.

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