Buying a House? Talk to Planners First

Things change. Especially so when it’s some else’s property. Spend some time at GIS sites and look at historical photos – everything changes.

The things I dream about … (or Zillow, or NestRealty or  Sitegeist + Charlottesville Tomorrow + Geocoded Locality Planning data:.

I’ve said for years that if you buy a house and are expecting that field (or house) across the way to stay that way you’d best buy it yourself.

In response to my note last month, I received this insightful email: (a few edits for clarity and bolding are mine)

I will say this about the questions “what it’s like to live here” as a planner I wish that the local realtors would tell potential buyers in the county (or City) are those areas that are within the development area and those in the rural. It always amazes me when people get upset about development on an adjacent property when they moved to the development areas. It would be awesome if they were told, “this is the development area so see that nice forested property? It may be developed in the future.” Not sure if you are “allowed” to give that info, but I am always amazed by people who get angry that didn’t know they bought in a development area. I think it should be added to the MLS, so buyers ask the question of what does that mean.

I make sure my clients are as aware as possible about the risks posed by adjacent properties and what they need to do to educate and prepare themselves.

As far as the MLS having development-area information: the flaw is almost always the human. Whether a house is in the development area would have to be an automated or required field, as many Realtors inputting property data neglect to specify basic data points such as whether a property has high speed internet.

Better yet, wouldn’t it be cool if there was an app that pulled locality data from Albemarle County’s County View and stories from vetted local sources, such as, say, Charlottesville Tomorrow (and RealCentralVA)?

Charlottesville’s going to be changing MLS’ this year and now would be the time to do this. At the same time, how about making “hardwired internet – Yes/No?” Plus a speedtest required fields. Darn it.

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1 Comment

  1. Mark June 11, 2014 at 09:29

    Caveat emptor still works.


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