Date Archives September 2011

Charlottesville Tomorrow Gets a New Grant

Awesome. I couldn’t be as well informed on what happening in Charlottesville and Albemarle as I am without Charlottesville Tomorrow.

At the DP:

According to Charlottesville Tomorrow’s founder and executive director, Brian Wheeler, the grant will help the nonprofit news organization expand its presence on the web, improve cvillepedia, its community wiki, and increase its use of Google Earth-based 3D modeling.

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Trulia Enters the Cluttered and Confusing Home Valuation Arena

With one more entry into the (automated) home valuation arena, how does one make sense of all the methods of valuing a home in this market?

There are at least six methods of home valuation out there right now; I know that my customers and clients are going to use the ones that they find; my challenge in advising them is to put these valuations in context and either demonstrate their respective accuracies or most likely, prove just how wrong they are. And why.

Trulia’s Estimates – (automated) – “Trulia has jumped into the home value game.” Now that they’re here, so what? While the Trulia Estimate are only in San Francisco right now, presumably they’ll be making their way nation-wide.

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A Plug for VPAP – Tracking Money in Charlottesville and Albemarle Elections

The Charlottesville City Council and Albemarle County Board of Supervisors races are going to be interesting this year. Take note: local politics matter.

Albemarle County on VPAP

City of Charlottesville on VPAP

If you don’t think local politics matter, read this story in yesterday’s Daily Progress about the proposed ramp at Best Buy … you have City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County and VDOT folks discussing a transportation project that will affect how many of us get around.

Heck, John Grisham is mighty involved in local politics, having given $20k to local candidates over the past two years. So are Realtors.

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More Bureaucracy is Not the Answer to Solve the Housing Market

But it sure seems like “more bureaucracy” is government’s answer.

Clearly, the market is not functioning as it should. Despite near-record-low interest rates, credit conditions remain tight for many consumers and investors interested in buying or refinancing residential real estate. Moreover, the lack of sufficient numbers of buyers and sellers may limit price discovery, which heightens uncertainty about the “right” price for a given piece of real estate and further limits activity. In addition, the large number of foreclosures and a protracted foreclosure process have led to an unprecedented level of bank-owned homes, a level that is likely to persist for some time.

So how do we move forward in these difficult circumstances?
In August, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), working with the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, issued a request for information seeking ideas for the disposition of REO owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHA, including ideas for turning these properties into rental housing. Together, the GSEs and the FHA hold about half of the outstanding

REO inventory and so may be able to aggregate enough properties to facilitate a cost-effective rental program in many markets.

No. No. No.

I don’t see “become a landlord” anywhere the the federal government’s enumerated powers.

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