Monthly Notes | Glass, Lead, Septic & Representation

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 February 2013.

The Monthly Notes category.


Not sure about you, but my 2013 is flying by. Fast. The market was back, it was crazy, it slowed, interest rates were low, and “high” … this month: Google Glass, Lead, Septic, Blogs, Party, and the Boys and Girls Club.

Thank you as always for choosing to subscribe and read. This month, I’m at about 1500 words. First month, I wrote about 1000 words. My goal, respecting your time: never write more than 1500. Dig in.

The Market

Welp … Inconsistency is the word of the year. I’m looking for a stable number of transactions as as indicator of a somewhat stable market. I think we might be there now, but won’t know for certain where we are now until August 2015. I know, it’s a cop-out, but it’s true. That said, here’s a brief market summary (I’ll have a full market report soon on RealCentralVA):
1 June to 1 September 2012, single family homes only:
– Albemarle – 277 closed, median sales price: $350,000- Charlottesville – 123 closed, median sales price: $285,000- MSA – 577 closed, median sales price: $299,000
1 June to 1 September 2013, single family homes only:

– Albemarle – 314 closed (up 12%), median sales price: $391,000 (up 11%)- Charlottesville – 121 closed, median sales price: $292,500 (let’s call it flat)- MSA – 620 closed (up 7%), median sales price: $315,000 (up 5%)

Google Glass.


google glass 
I’ve had Google Glass for a couple months now and have used it sparingly. It has a ton of potential for real estate, no doubt. But. Simply put – the greatest value with Glass comes with wearing it every moment of every day. Frankly, I, my family and my clients aren’t quite ready for that. I spend much of my professional life demonstrating to humans that I bring a value to their real estate experience that they cannot (yet) discover via a screen. My perception, and I could be wrong, is that the general public isn’t quite ready to interact with me when I have a screen directly between them and me. As I said, I could be wrong. I’m going to spend the next month wearing them more and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Lead (based paint) is bad.

Most of us know that lead based paint was/is bad; that’s why it’s not being used anymore. But I’d bet good money that you had no idea just how bad it was.
This may be the most mind-blowing thing I’ve read this year. Big thanks to Gahlord for sharing it with me a few weeks ago.Read it.
Read this. Sit down, save it in Pocket or whatever read-it-later app you use, and read it. It might just change your perspective on lead based paint and crime. An excerpt to whet your appetite:

Put all this together and you have an astonishing body of evidence. We now have studies at the international level, the national level, the state level, the city level, and even the individual level. Groups of children have been followed from the womb to adulthood, and higher childhood blood lead levels are consistently associated with higher adult arrest rates for violent crimes. All of these studies tell the same story: Gasoline lead is responsible for a good share of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century.

The gasoline lead story has another virtue too: It’s the only hypothesis that persuasively explains both the rise of crime in the ’60s and ’70s and its fall beginning in the ’90s. Two other theories—the baby boom demographic bulge and the drug explosion of the ’60s—at least have the potential to explain both, but neither one fully fits the known data. Only gasoline lead, with its dramatic rise and fall following World War II, can explain the equally dramatic rise and fall in violent crime.

Septic systems

Each year brings new experiences, and experience matters. I was one of the first real estate agents in the area to consistently recommend real septic inspections to my buyer clients. Recently I had the unfortunate experience of finding a failed septic system. I’m at the point now where I feel comfortable saying that if a buyer’s agent does not advise a real septic inspection in which the septic company actually looks at and inspects the system, that agent is negligent in their representative duties. I know that’s a strong statement, but if I had not advised my clients to spend the $450 for this inspection – instead accepting the seller’s “stomp and sniff” “inspection” my clients would have discovered the failed system much too late (as in, after closing).
I know this: by advising these inspections, I have saved my clients tens of thousands of dollars and have heard that more agents in the area have taken up this practice. Septic systems don’t last forever, folks.
This is Steve with Cavalier Septic (my preferred septic company – they know what they’re doing & they’re honest – discovering something I’d never seen before:

Does anyone know (or care) that there’s a difference between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent?

I’ve long held that the primary difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent is that the Realtor pays board dues and has MLS access. I say this as a 13 year Realtor, long-term Board member and abider by the “code of ethics” (which itself depends on ineffective self-policing). (I can easily articulate the value of the Realtor association though) Knowing that I have two audiences here – for the Realtors – what does being a Realtor mean to you? Consumers – do you know or care about the differences?

From the Blogs

– RealCentralVA – The not-yet-built Costco is moving to Stonefield, the beginnings of statistical proof that buyers are willing, able and are paying higher prices for walkable homes in Charlottesville and Nest made the Inc. 5000 – after only 5 years of being in existence. We’re pretty darn proud and happy about the Inc. 5000 inclusion; it’s a reflection of our unwavering focus on our clients and how we’re growing well and smart.


RealCrozetVA – The Crozet Library closed and the new one opened. I thanked Blue Ridge Internetworks for hosting RealCrozetVA for free for the past many years and I recapped the Crozet Community Advisory Council meeting – if you’re interested in Crozet, this is a very useful post.

The Nest Party.

When we started Nest five years ago, we decided to throw our clients a party every year. The first year, we had about 250 people, a tent adjacent to our former office and two kegs … and we did everything ourselves. Fast forward to 2013, and the party is an event. Really. I’ve had clients ask me a year or two after closing if they were still eligible to be invited to the party – which was an awesome affirmation of the brand we’ve built (and yes, they’re invited!). It’s one of the most enjoyable things we do every year – we celebrate our clients and remind them and ourselves why we do what we do.

Feel like supporting a good cause?

This coming Sunday I’m riding in the Boys and Girls Club Challenge, after having just ridden 53 miles yesterday. Those of you who’ve read this note for the past few months know about my transition from soccer to bicycling. I’m intimidated by the prospect of riding 100 miles in one day but one thing that I learned early in life was to set big goals and fight to meet them. I have a feeling I’ll be fighting with weak legs and arms, but I’m determined to finish. If you’re inclined, I’m sure the Boys and Girls Club would welcome any donation you could muster.

Items on the short list for next month’s note:

– Does real estate search matter?- Local elections- How do you define a neighborhood? How does that differ from a development or subdivision?- Contextual search- Gmail’s new “tabs” – in brief: please add me to your address book so you don’t miss this note!- Maybe talk about the value of the Realtor association.

 

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