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 January 2013.
January 4 marked the 9th year that I’ve been writing my real estate blog; that’s a long time to do anything, but I’d say that starting to write consistently remains one of the better decisions I’ve made.
I truly love hearing from you (and hearing that you’ve shared my notes).
January Table of Contents & Takeaways –
- If you’re looking to sell, I’d be inclined to advise you to do so sooner rather than later.
- If you’re looking to buy, get ready. I suspect there’s going to be a lot more inventory this year.
- Market update
- Why I do what I do
- Predictions for 2014
- Social Media overload and fractures
- Blog roundup
Several years ago I was having lunch with another agent whom I trust and respect and I asked her, “How’s the market? Good? Bad?” Her response hasn’t left me. She said, “Jim, the market is. It doesn’t matter what I think of it. It’s not good or bad. It is.” How was the 2013 market? It was.
Historical market trends are interesting and relevant when seeking to distill market norms, but for the sellers I’m advising who need/want to sell in April, it doesn’t matter what the market in 2007 was. What I’m looking for now is, “How many homes should I expect to sell in 2014?” I wrote a couple years ago that there is no “new normal” just normal; normal is now.
Market Update for Charlottesville and Albemarle:
Single family home sales in December 2013 vs December 2012: 87/89 – Same, as far as I’m concerned
Single family home sales in 2013 vs 2012: 1302/1215 – Up 7%
Attached home sales in December 2013 vs December 2012: 23/24 – Same.
Attached home sales in 2013 vs 2012: 441/339 – Same
Condo sales in December 2013 vs December 2012: 6/13 – Down 54%
Condo sales in 2013 vs 2012: 167/234 – Down 29%
Keep in mind that these stats are likely not completely up to date, as agents are still entering in closings from 2013. But they’re likely close enough to say that there were a few more Charlottesville/Albemarle single family homes sales in 2013 than 2012, attached home sales were about the same and condo sales were way down (mainly because Walker Square condos sold out in 2012). And you know what? We’re due for some stability, free of spikes and drops.
List sooner rather than later (Y’know, I’m a Realtor. You could call me. 🙂 )
I suspect that we’re going to see more inventory as the year progresses.
More inventory means more competition and selection for buyers. More competition means potential price appreciation for sellers is likely to be diminished.
Why I do What I Do
I was at a party at the home of friends who are also clients. We were nearing the end of the night – friends, kids all were winding down in the main living space. They’d moved in last year after a couple of years trying to make this move happen. Last year, the stars and the market aligned.My client leaned over and said, “This. This is what I’ve wanted since I was a kid. This is why we moved. Thank you for everything you did to make this happen.”
Humbled doesn’t begin to describe how I felt. And feel. And how I will hold his sentiments close and dear with each one of my clients.
Take a deep breath. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change …
- QRM – Qualified Residential Mortgages – I think this is likely to be one of the most significant challenges to the market this year for two reasons: it’s new and it’s an unknown uncertainty. The market will figure things out, in spite of the government, but not without some stress, battles and patience.
- Interest Rates – Talk to three lenders and you’ll likely get three slightly different answers. I think – so long as rates stay under 6% we’ll be fine.
- Inventory – I think this is likely to be the second consecutive year that hope shows up. That hope is going to lead to more sellers who’ve been underwater (since they bought) to consider selling. And hope will bring more inventory – new construction and resale. More inventory means more competition. More competition means flattening or downward pressure on prices – not so awesome for sellers.
- (Un)Employment – This concerns me. The question that I’ve been asked since I started practicing real estate in 2001 has been – where are the jobs? How are people able to afford to buy in the Charlottesville area? Headlines that state the Charlottesville MSA lost 1000 jobs in November don’t help.
- Home prices – See inventory. But ultimately I think we’ll see low levels of appreciation this year – with spikes up and drops across the board.
Social media in 2014.
Stop it. Just stop trying everything. And just. Be. Social.
Snapchat, Whatsapp, Pinterest, Instagram … Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus? Whatever. If you like posting to Pinterest (I don’t, really), do it. If you’re a huge Instagrammer, have at it. But don’t do it because you saw on some guru’s blog how to do social media in seven minutes a day, after paying $19.95/month. Be you. Be real. Be authentic. We’re all fighting information fatigue.
Being authentic and nice and truly connecting is going o take on more value in 2014 and going forward as social networks fracture and Dunbar’s number leads to smaller networks developing more and more loyal users. I’m blessed (in so many ways) to have two daughters – one 19 and one nearly 10. I’ve watched my older one’s social media evolution and her usage tracks with what I’m reading. She’s a heavy Twitter user, dwindling Facebook participant, and she spends an ungodly amount of time trading dumb faces with her good friends on Snapchat. I’ve not yet figured out how to similarly engage my clients or potential clients on Snapchat, and I don’t think any of us want me to.
Be nice. Be real. Be a good friend. Be good at what you do … and interact with people where they are.
2014 is going to an interesting year.
From the blogs.
RealCentralVA – It was a slow month. Every December I try to take a hiatus for the second half of the month. I got curious and looked at three charts that summed up December, lamented the new construction all over Charlottesville and its impact on transportation and asked a couple questions about transportation, air quality and preservation development.
RealCrozetVA – It was a busy December. The Crozet Streetscape project is getting ready to start, Crozetians solved the Angel Tree in record time, a very involved high school student guest posted about his observations at the CCAC meeting, I added a Streetscape category to the blog, the former Barnes Lumber may be moving forward, I did a brief update on the Crozet market, and I did a Crozet year-in-review – something I couldn’t do if I wrote on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter or whatever.
- For the first time ever I’ve added a pop-up to my blog, asking visitors to subscribe to this note. I’ll let you know how it goes.
- Court upholds willy-nilly gadget searches along US border (scary)
- I’m taking a Constitutional Law class starting this month and I have a feeling knowledge will anger me.
- Topics that didn’t make the January note cut: Agent update and dissenting in my life after the Realtor Board of Directors.