Monthly Note Archives | A Question for You, Where’s the Market and Why Buy a Home

I’m going to be posting my previously-written monthly notes. Since starting these in early 2013, the only thing that I’ve lamented about the notes is the lack of search- and link-ability. I’ve written before that the blog is my pensieve, and, simply, I want to be able to link to these stories for my clients (and for me).

So, apologies for the cluttering of your feeds for the next few days (fixing formatting from the notes to the blog is time-consuming). This one is from May 2013.

The Monthly Notes category.

The Market

It’s been an interesting first third of the year. Not only has the Charlottesville area real estate market shown signs of consistent, stable improvement. National indicators are throwing out numbers of “9.3% appreciation!” – numbers which are inherently irrelevant when looking at any local real estate market. Some segments in our market have shown stability, some have shown remarkable appreciation – as indicated by days on market, quick sales, buyer interest in quality homes and, to be blunt – some homeowners are finally able to contemplate selling after being stuck for so many years. I have concerns that some national segments are failing to learn from last market’s mistakes, but will continue to advise my clients (and readers) to do good due diligence and buy a home with a long-term mindset.

Feedback and Thoughts

You have sent me some wonderful and thoughtful feedback; I really and truly appreciate your taking the time to send your thoughts and insights.
This month, I’m sharing two thoughts from clients – one as a response to last month’s note and one from a just-bought-their-first-home client. Every home buying experience is a journey; some journeys are longer than others, some are terrifyingly short. This note is the type of reaffirmation that is needed from time to time. Buying a home can be a great (bad or good) financial investment, but above all, buying a home is an investment in one’s self and one’s family:

“Amidst the clutter of a fresh move, boxes strewn everywhere, disorganization, life going on, cakes to make…there is a peace in me, a calm, that cannot be shaken. This house became our home the moment we stepped inside. We willed it to happen. Owning a home has lifted a weight off of our shoulders that was ever present in our subconscious. The weight and worry of never knowing what your landlord is thinking, of ever being asked to leave a house that you have made into a home, being outbid on a rental, never being able to really make the house your own, paying someone else’s mortgage with nothing to show for it in the end, these are things I hope I never have to think about again.”

I am grateful for their giving me the opportunity to help. As I was telling my wife, that note makes what I do worthwhile.
And then there was this awesome response to part of April’s note in which I described the value of being appropriately emotionally detached from the transaction and how empathy is the “killer app” that was partially lost in the previous real estate market:

“Also, what you said about detachment….competence + empathy = disaster (I paraphrase) resonated with me. In my profession, you have to be competent…and you have to…or should…possess empathy…but you also have to know when to exercise the empathy..or you lose focus and your judgment becomes clouded. For example, in the middle of a resuscitation (i.e. when a person comes in without a pulse…), you can’t break into tears…you have to be focused and be deliberate in your actions…or the patient suffers….. I think the concept is the same in all…or at least many…professions.”

That is what my clients (should) expect from me. Every transaction has new things to learn; if I lose my head and share the fear and emotion that my clients are experiencing, I’m not doing what they’ve hired me to do – to be the competent, knowledgable guide who will advise them appropriately. Again, I am thankful for her sharing that with me (and allowing me to share with you).

Last month on the blogs

A few of the stories I wrote in April on RealCentralVA –  CLUE reports’ impact on homebuyers (and sellers)how real estate licensing in no way leads to competence, how Charlottesville Tomorrow is expanding into covering education and how Zillow and Trulia are mostly worthless when looking for current active inventory.

Downtown Crozet as seen from the Crozet library.
If you have interest in Crozet, I wrote 11 stories on RealCrozetVA, ranging from a brief Crozet market update to WAHS’ new principal (the first search result for him in Google stirred a lot of discussion amongst the kids apparently) and welcomed Crozet Fire Department to Twitter.


Local Matters

I was meeting with a local builder last weekend, and his response to my question was gratifying. “How many of your sub contractors are local?” was answered immediately with a smile with “most of them.” Local matters – it might not matter to all of my buyers, but it matters to me. Years ago when I was prompting my clients to factor in energy efficiency and the costs of operating a home, not nearly as many of them cared as do now. I’m hoping to have a similar impact on this issue. Not only does more money stay locally, it feels better to use local folks.



Real Estate Tech South – The best damn real estate conference in the country, in my opinion. What started as a small real estate conference focused on technology morphed this year into a real estate conference focused on the business of real estate. The conference this year caused me to think. Hard. There were so many takeaways that it’s impossible to distill the conference into a one-paragraph summary. If I were to choose one, it would be this – practicing real estate is a business that can be run as either an Anheuser-Busch-type operation or as a small craft brewery, focused on each batch (client) from start to finish. I choose the craft approach … and the conference helped me refine that thinking.



I mentioned last month that I have an ethical dilemma I’ll be presenting to you. I’ve decided to wait a month to ask you for your input. I really appreciate your patience. The subject matter necessitates the right timing.


Question for you

What would you like to see me write about? What questions or concerns do you have about the Charlottesville area/Charlottesville area real estate market?


Thanks for reading. If you like this note, I’d really appreciate your forwarding it to a friend or replying to let me know your thoughts.


— Jim


PS – If you’d like to subscribe to my real estate blog, you can do that here. I publish ~ 10 times a month, but try to stay to stay focused on real estate and real estate tangents related to the Charlottesville area. (I do happen to be a practicing real estate agent, you know. 🙂)

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