Date Archives November 2013

Another Student Housing Complex on West Main?

West Main Street’s evolution continues. A third student housing complex may be coming. You know what would be a great addition to West Main if they’re planning to bring over 1000 bedrooms to that area in the next 12 months? Innovative bike lanes.

For some background, I wrote abut West Main’s evolution in October of last year and September of this year.

Charlottesville is getting denser. Let’s hope infrastructure is part of the planning – and implementation – of said density.

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Sell Now or Wait Until Spring?

flowers have the funniest names

Should I try to sell now or wait until spring?

Therein lies the question as we enter the autumn and winter seasons in Charlottesville. This is the time of year when sellers planning to put their homes on the market in the spring start the process of getting their homes ready for the spring market.

Jonathan Miller pointed out a great article in a New York publication that neatly aggregates some very good responses to this question – “should I sell now or wait?” – all of which are summarized essentially by my default answer of “It Depends.”

Whether you sell now or wait depends on your goals, your flexibility, your timelines, your lives …

A few things to consider:

The market is seasonally slowing right now – fewer homes are coming on the market and fewer homes are going under contract. As a buyer this means less selection, as a seller this means less competition.

– If you decorate your home for the holidays, be prepared to re-take photos after the holidays … few things date a home’s time on market like Christmas photos.

– What’s the market like for your home right now? What’s it likely to be in January-March? What is your competition likely to be? Existing homes? New construction?

– Will the market for your home be stronger in the spring?

A few questions to ask yourself when debating whether to put your home on the market now or in the spring:

– If you sell now, where will you go?

– Where do you want to live?

– What happens if you can’t sell but find a place you want to purchase?

– What do you have to do to get your home ready for the market? Is it a short list or a long one?

– The holidays are by definition disruptive; are you willing to add “trying to sell a home” to the disruptions?

– Are you already looking for homes? Here’s a few tips to search smarter for homes in Charlottesville.

My thoughts

– Talk to a lender now, if you need one.

– Talk to a good real estate broker now to help you get a firm understanding of what your marketing strategy and price should look like

Above all, do what’s going to be most advantageous to you, while still maintaining a semblance of sanity. After all, we’re taking about your home; marketing and selling a home is by definition disruptive. Do what you can to minimize the stress and disruption.

Questions? Ask me . I’m doing quite a bit of consulting right now with sellers who are looking to put their homes on the market in Spring 2014.

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Monday Morning Reads – 11 November 2013

Gabe Silverman, one of the modern architects of Downtown Charlottesville has died. Waldo has a heartfelt and candid account.

Interesting ramifications of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion (or lack thereof) on the University of Virginia and medical Residencies – a typically strong component of the Charlottesville homeownership and rental markets. More at the Atlantic.

Bike and pedestrian safety gets more attention in Charlottesville – Charlottesville Tomorrow

Gonzaga Students Facing Expulsion for Legally Possessing Guns in Private University-Owned Apartments – I wonder if UVA has similar policies.

New head of Greene County’s Economic Development – Greene continue to grow, become more self-sufficient and segmented from Charlottesville/Albemarle.

– Suburbia then and now (via reddit) — interestingly, I live in a similar type neighborhood and this is the first year I’ve contemplated buying a rake as this is the first year we’ve had leaves of any volume.

This is a touch of silliness in the Waylands Grant neighborhood in Crozet. Apparently the one of the common areas – belongs to the bank is is liable to be sold. For houses. Hopefully the HOA is able to buy the land.

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Charlottesville’s Walkscore – Not Bad on the Whole

As a City, Charlottesville has a Walk Score of 57, but neighborhoods close to the city center are much more walkable.

Walkability, in addition to generally having a positive effect on housing values, seems to lead to happier people as well.

If you haven’t seen Nextdraft, you should.

Are you trying to be more happy? If so, you might want to consider getting out of your car. According to Charles Montgomery, author of Happy City, we tend to be happier in places where we take to the streets and interact with each other. “As much as we complain about other people, there is nothing worse for mental health than a social desert. The more connected we are to family and community, the less likely we are to experience heart attacks, strokes, cancer and depression. Connected people sleep better at night. They live longer. They consistently report being happier.” Here are the secrets of the world’s happiest cities.

Food for thought.

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A Big Shift in Albemarle County’s Board of Supervisors

Virginia Board of Elections - Election Night Results - November 5th, 2013 - Snow-Palmer.jpg

A lot of money was raised and spent in these elections.

The Albemarle County elections last night brought about a resounding change on the Albemarle County Supervisors. Gone are Rodney Thomas and Duane Snow; in are Brad Sheffield and Liz Palmer. For what it’s worth, the Democrats won and the Republicans lost.

Looking at the races through the lens of VPAP data, I saw this in a Facebook conversation:

So which Supervisors are beholden to real estate development groups? Here are some of the top donations by industry… Notice a pattern?

Duane Snow, $17,800 Real Estate/Construction
Liz Palmer, $26,043 Miscellaneous
Rodney Thomas, $12,300 Real Estate/Construction
Brad Sheffield, $17,386 Miscellaneous

It’s hard to argue with money. Seemingly more than the ballot box, money matters.

Local elections matter. The localities vote on growth management strategies, property tax rates, the ways in which the emergency services operate and cooperate (or not) and notably transportation and infrastructure improvements. And yesterday, about 13,000 people in Albemarle County helped decide the near (and long) term future of Albemarle County.

J. Reynolds Hutchins at the DP says:

Palmer, Sheffield and McKeel ran campaigns hinged on the county’s growing transportation problems and angst over the Western Bypass of U.S. 29.

Whether the Western Bypass gets built will be an interesting (continued) debate. Will they build it? Will they shut it down? Will they study it more? Will they extend it so it’s a more logical and functional road?

The County needs infrastructure improvements … let’s see how the new Board chooses to take up that task.

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