Four Corners Principle

As a Buyer’s Agent, I can tell you about what is contained within the four corners of the property and can (and do with the appropriate caveats) speculate about what may happen outside those four corners.

Heck, I heard a story last week about people who had moved into the City of Charlottesville thinking that they were moving into the County of Albemarle. (I don’t think those folks had representation) Check, check and double check everything.

This stuck out to me in the HooK this week:

“Almost as soon as she moved here in 2006 and bought a three-acre spread on Pritchett Lane in northern Albemarle, Neff got a taste of local issues like rural v. growth areas.

“My realtor didn’t bother to say that North Pointe [development] was moving in across the street,” recalls Neff. “I’ve got cows across the street.” (Ed. note: link to North Pointe added by me)”

Not speaking directly about this particular example but the “what’s going on around me” in general:

The Commonwealth of Virginia Disclosure Statement says -PDF- (in part):

“(a) The seller is making no representations with respect to any matters that may pertain to parcels adjacent to the subject property. Purchasers should exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary with respect to adjacent parcels in accordance with the terms and conditions of the purchase contract, but in any event prior to settlement on the subject property.”

If you don’t own it, it’s going to change.

This is why I tell my clients that everything can change.

As a consumer, it is your responsibility to ask questions. As a Realtor, it is my job to educate my clients as much as possible. My particular favorite answer is, “I don’t know … but I’ll find out. Have you looked at Charlottesville Tomorrow?”


Albemarle County’s fantastic GIS site.

Louisa County’s great GIS site

City of Charlottesville’s GIS site. Wait, they don’t have one for some bizarre reason. With all of their budget surplus, couldn’t they find a way to fund a better, more functional online tax assessment site?

Update: Thanks to Dirt Worshipper’s comment, I remembered Albemarle County View. Awesome. Now … if they’d just post their crime statistics in a format other than a PDF …

Update #2 17 August 2009: This seems like the most appropriate space to mention Albemarle County’s being named the Sixth best county for delivering digital services by the National Association of Counties and the Center for Digital Government.

From the press release:

For the seventh year in a row, Albemarle County has been named among the top ten most technologically advanced, cutting edge county governments of its size in the U. S. by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties (NACo) in their 2009 Digital Counties Survey. Albemarle County ranks sixth in the nation, up from ninth place last year, in utilizing information technology (IT) to deliver high quality service to its customers and citizens based on a population category of 150,000 or less. Albemarle is among only six Virginia jurisdictions ranked in the top ten for the four population categories.

We are delighted to be included in the elite communities across the country that are receiving national recognition for providing quality information technology services to their citizens,  said County Executive Bob Tucker in response to the county’s ranking. “We continue to see significant increases in the number of citizens using our website to conduct business at their convenience, which greatly improves the efficiency and accessibility of county government.

The Center for Digital Government (Center) has found in its annual Digital Counties Survey that America’s counties are embracing new technologies to involve citizens, are moving toward transparent government and are increasing green and sustainable measures while continuing to improve online services. The 2009 Digital Counties Survey is an annual study by the Center and the National Association of Counties (NACo) which identifies best practices and recognizes those counties with exemplary digital service to their citizens.

Center Executive Director, Cathilea Robinett, said, Despite challenging economic circumstances, America’s counties are continuing to use new tools such as social media to engage and encourage citizen participation and feedback. Additionally, counties are moving forward in very responsible ways by green and sustainability efforts, energy efficiency monitoring, e-waste recycling and government transparency. We heartily congratulate all the winners!

Counties were asked to respond to questions that included more than 100 measurements and data points about online service delivery, infrastructure, IT architecture and governance models.
The Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The Center is a division of eRepublic, Inc., a national publishing, event and research company focused on information technology in the public sector.

View the full list of winners at

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  1. Dirt Worshipper August 14, 2009 at 11:46

    One of the particularly nice, and little known features, of the Albemarle site is that you can also see projects pending review, along with staff comments about the application.

    For example, were you told that this property has been divided into x number of subdivisions? You can check to see if that’s reality or not. Believe it or not, I’ve seen people actually selling subdivisions of parcels that don’t even exist yet, and that probably will never exist.

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