What is “Usual and Customary” in Charlottesville? – Part 2

Ipswich, Waterfront, Ipswich Campus, The Big Question Mark Sculpture

Part 2 of 2. Part 1 is here.

Continuing the “what is usual and customary” question and answer series –

What’s “normal” in the Charlottesville real estate market? It’s a question that’s asked of me by buyers coming from other markets (agents, too) and sellers who haven’t sold a house before (or for many years). Note: what you see on HGTV is not what is “usual and customary” in the Charlottesville market. (or any market on Planet Earth).

“Usual and customary” is always changing. Radon inspections weren’t usual and customary a couple years ago; now they are. Heck, buyer agency wasn’t usual and customary 15 years ago.

Q: Who attends the home inspection? Appraisal? Termite/Radon inspections?

A: A buyer’s agent attends all of these, with the home inspection being far more important for them to be onsite than for the termite or radon inspections. Meeting the appraiser can be tricky – sometimes if the appraiser has a lockbox key and MLS access, we never get the call to schedule. I try to meet all appraisers onsite, as I like to pick their brains about what they’re seeing in the market as they see the market through a different lens than I do.

Q: Recording and possession. Is recording done the same day as closing? Are keys transferred when closing docs are signed or when transaction is recorded?

A: Usually recording and possession happens on the same day, although I advise my buyers to not have a moving truck on the front lawn the afternoon of closing — I’ve had this happen, something went wrong and many tears were shed, curse words flew, phone calls made and a few nights in a hotel for the buyer highlighted why I advise what I do. Frequently the keys are given to the buyer at closing, with strict instructions to not enter the property until recordation has occurred.

Q: Owner’s title insurance. Does the settlement agent automatically include an enhanced title policy or do they discuss with the buyer ahead of time?

A: Usually the settlement agent discusses title insurance with the buyer ahead of time. I know of at least one attorney who couldn’t figure out a concise way to explain the enhanced coverage to the buyer so he doesn’t offer it. 🙂 Others typically discuss it with the buyer during closing.

Q: Showings. Does the buyer’s agent usually call the listing agent or the seller/tenant directly to make a showing appt.?

In the Charlottesville market the most common approach is for the obeyers’ agent to contact the seller directly with the most common (and best, in my opinion) is to call, leave a message and then the agent uses the lockbox. A fair amount require advance notice or appointments as the sellers may work at home or have kids, nap schedule, home school, etc.

Q: Is there a “typical” timeframe for contract to closing? For example, 30, 45, 60 days? (of course this is not including short sales!).

A: Typical: I’d say a “typical” closing is 45-60 days from Contract Ratification to Closing, with most buyers wanting to close at the end of the month.

Q: Financing. Of the average buyers in your market, what percentage are: cash, 20%+ down, 5-15% down, 100% financing?

This year for the Charlottesville MSA as of 11/12/13, per the Charlottesville MLS:

– 2,368 homes sold

– 555 – Cash (23%)

– 50 – ARMs

– 1,118 – Conventional/fixed (47%)

– FHA – 179 (7.5%)

– USDA-Rural Development – 97

– VA – 143

Part One of Two is here.

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