Date Archives October 2012

Will I Fit in (Politically, in this Neighborhood)?

Politically, Will I fit in? Will I like my neighbors? Will they like me? Will we get along? As a Realtor, I can help with some of these, and others I can’t.

When you move into a new area, buy a new home, you’re not just buying the house. You’re buying your neighbors – today, tomorrow, next month …

Driving around neighborhoods observing political signs is one way to help determine whether you might “fit in” in a neighborhood … many, many of my clients are doing that right now. Some might feel more comfortable in a Romney-dominated neighborhood, some in an Obama-heavy neighborhood, others prefer no signs, some a good mix (50-50 is nice in my mind) …

I’m looking forward to after the election so I can update this post from 2011 in which I looked at some of the voting trends in Charlottesville and Albemarle … I wonder what’s changed.

City of Charlottesville
Charlottesville, VA Neighborhood Statistics - Realtors Property Resource.jpg

County of Albemarle
Albemarle County Neighborhood Information - Realtors Property Resource

But really, I just want the election to be over. Who isn’t?

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#Sandy, Real Estate Closings and Homeowners Insurance

I asked Matt Hodges to help me with this post on how #Sandy is likely to affect real estate closings. (bolding & links added by me)

Whenever a natural disaster occurs, there is usually an effect on real estate closings. When the earthquake occurred last year, many counties from Louisa to Culpeper were declared disaster areas. Several actions typically follow, depending on the severity and we would expect similar reactions this week.

First, lenders will start requiring appraiser re-inspections of houses going to closing, to make sure that the lender’s interest in their collateral is secure. In some instances, an employee of the lender may do this visual inspection as well.

Next, homeowners insurance companies might not issue new policies and may suspend pending binders for coverage prior to closing. Talk to your Realtor, attorney, insurance agent to ensure you are all on the same page. Prepare for a delayed closing.

Finally, we expect disruptions in service – power, phone, internet. From lenders to settlement agents and attorneys, many of us will be without power and thus, unable to close transactions. This can cause blown rate locks or the need to extend interest rate protection.

Good communication amongst your partners is critical during times like these.


Update – I asked an insurance agent in Charlottesville for his input (because I’m not one) and he emailed:

That’s not the first time I’ve heard this today, and the short answer is, check with your insurance carrier.  Some insurance carriers are not binding new business anywhere in the storm’s path until the event is over.  This means the ability to place new coverage, existing policies, and policies that have been “bound” should be fine.  Some carriers are still writing business in this area (as of this writing, we are).

Coverage that is already in force or “bound” but not issued should still be fine, provided they are paid and there are no other company-specific restrictions.

Update 2: I heard yesterday of a closing delayed because the lender was requiring a reinspection (reasonable, in my opinion) due to FEMA’s declaration that Virginia is/was in a state of emergency.


So, what this means is this:

Virginia is in a State of Emergency.

First. Be Safe.

A few stories and resources I’ve found useful/helpful in preparing:

– Twitter remains the best way to keep track of what’s happening; this is my Twitter Charlottesville Media list.

– UVA, Charlottesville and Albemarle have put worked together (see? They can work together!) to put up a website – Community Emergency Information – that is chock full of great information. Tips, radio stations, links to locality information and more.

DIY Emergency Water Storage Tank

Mike Smith Enterprises Weather blog

A few tips on how to prepare for Sandy

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See Albemarle County’s Trails – without Leaving your House

Albemarle County’s parks are a tremendous asset to all – from the disc golf course at Walnut Creek to swimming and fishing at Mint Springs to mountain biking and horseback riding at Preddy Creek.

And now this, via press release:

Have you ever wondered what a trail was like before you hiked it? The Albemarle County Parks and Recreation department has partnered with to offer a new tool that will solve that dilemma. By visiting, hikers can take a 360 degree panoramic tour of the trails at Darden Towe, Preddy Creek, Byrom, Mint Springs, Ivy Creek Natural Area and Walnut Creek from their computers or smart phones.

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More Restaurants Coming to Stonefield

“Curated” …

via press release: (links added by me)

… announced the opening of several restaurants at The Shops at Stonefield including: Black & Orange, Parallel 38, and Cyclone Anaya’s.  These restaurants will join Jason Alley’s Pasture, Travinia Italian Kitchen and Burtons Grill to create a unique culinary destination in Charlottesville.  The Shops at Stonefield will open in November 2012.

So … Burgers, Mediterranean, Mexican. No big chains. Good.

Curious – Charlottesville prides itself on its local food, local restaurants, its general local-ness …

1) Will any of these restaurants source their food locally?
2) When was the last time you ate at a chain restaurant? (personally, I avoid them as Charlottesville has so many outstanding local restaurants)
3) What chain would you like to see? (if Olive Garden, please try these local options: Tavola, Bella’s, Vivace, Sal’s, Carmello’s …)
4) Anyone have early reviews/opinions on the soon-to-open restaurants?

Update: Interesting conversation on Facebook about this question. While I’ll never move the comments here to Facebook, I definitely want to link to the conversation so that I’ll be able to find it one day …

Update 2: Looks like Noodles & Company is coming to Charlottesville/Stonefield as well. Thanks to @Hunter for the tip!

Update: Courteney Stuart at The Hook has a nice story on the coming restaurants at Stonefield.


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Question 1 on the Virginia Ballot – Eminent Domain

Question 1 - November 2012

(the above is from the Albemarle County site)

“Shall Section 11 of Article I (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended (i) to require that eminent domain only be exercised where the property taken or damaged is for public use and except for utilities or the elimination of a public nuisance, not where the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development; (II) to define what is included in just compensation for such taking or damaging of property; and (iii) to prohibit the taking or damaging of more private property than is necessary for the public use?”

Property rights. + The Virginia Constitution. + Election Day.

Brings us to Question 1 on the ballot.

Read now so that you know what you’re voting for.

Eminent domain matters. Restricting the government’s ability to take private property for purposes they deem fit is crucial to ensuring individuals’ property rights. That said (and I’m no legal scholar) …

– I’m curious what constitutes “public nuisance”

– “Just compensation” can be a negotiable thing. (the City of Charlottesville nearly used eminent domain recently in Fry’s Spring)

You might have already made up your mind on whom to vote for President, but I’d wager few have heard of Question 1 on the Virginia Ballot this year; I didn’t know until recently. (while you’re reading, find out what else is on the ballot)

Ilya Somin writes at the Volokh Conspiracy (read the whole thing):

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