Monthly Note Archives | April 2015

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I know. The note’s a bit delayed, and I apologize. This month – Being opinionated, the market, unrepresented sellers’ needs, brief takes on millennials, and a coming seismic shift in the real estate closing logistics. 

The Market

To be blunt, this is an inconsistent market. Many houses are sitting, many houses are going under contract seemingly in minutes, and I seem to be discussing an overheated market and underwater sellers within minutes of each other.Your market will vary. Related stories from the blog: One Reason Good Housing Inventory In Charlottesville is Low and Pocket listings in Charlottesville.Don’t count on headlines or anecdotes to form opinions relevant to you.Download the 1st Quarter Nest Report.

Looking at 2015 vs. 2014 – 

Albemarle County

# of New listings:
Single family homes: 472 vs. 480
Attached homes: 149 vs. 161
Condos: 42 vs. 50
Total: 663 vs. 691# of Contracts:
Single family homes: 248 vs. 308
Attached homes: 92 vs. 111
Condos: 21 vs. 38 (A drive by Millennials to minimize home maintenance but still own?)
Total:  361 vs. 457 (wow) – 2nd Quarter is going to see a pop in solds!# of Solds
Single family homes: 140 vs. 143
Attached homes: 58 vs. 53
Condos: 15 vs. 16
Total: 199 vs. 197

City of Charlottesville

# of New listings:
Single family homes: 176 vs. 146 (I think there are a lot of pocket listings in this segment)
Attached homes: 33 vs. 29
Condos: 38 vs. 45
Total: 247 vs. 220 (Good inventory is wanting)# of Contracts:
Single family homes: 103 vs. 100
Attached homes: 11 vs. 19
Condos: 19 vs.  26
Total: 133 vs. 145
# of Solds:
Single family homes: 74 vs. 60 (Also driven by pocket listings not being entered into MLS?)
Attached homes: 7 vs. 9
Condos: 10 vs.  20
Total:  91 vs. 89I was curious to see the breakdown in price points, as the recent headlines in Charlottesville say only, “The market is doing better! Sales up 5%!” The bulk of the market – as shown above (and data here) – is in the $200K – $400K price ranges.

A brief look at condos – these are the under contracts and solds in the City + County since the start of this year. There aren’t any new projects in there – the newest condo is 2010, and the next newest is 2007. My hypothesis – some of these sellers may finally be able to afford to sell.

A question for you – would you be interested in an in-person conversation to talk about the market? I’d supply the beer/wine/location and you come for questions/answers/conversation. Just a thought. If interested, please reply to this note (Or forward it to a friend!)

Being opinionated

Clients want opinions. Informed opinions. Thoughtful ones, too. Opinions that will help them make good decisions. Often, that means not making an offer or walking away.

Years ago, I walked into a house with buyer clients and remarked quickly about how much better the entry would look after they took down the wallpaper. It took some effort to remove the foot from my mouth as my client remarked how much he loved it.

It takes time for me to form the necessary foundation with my clients that I need in order to effectively opine. My clients hire me for my opinion and insight. Anyone can open a front door and identify the kitchen. Listening to a buyer detail how much each cooks, where the kids like to play, and help buyers determine the feasibility of renovating a home, or figuring out how the house’s location will help or hurt the physical or social connectivity to the (Charlottesville) world around them – that takes thought -and a sometimes delicate touch.

Knowing when to overtly opine and when to prod conversation with just the right question – those are learned skills that I’d like to think add tremendous value to the home buying experience.

One of my goals with my buyer clients is to efficiently get to the point where they will trust me when I say I don’t want to show them a particular house because it’s awful/overpriced/poorly located. I know I’m right, but I need my clients to believe me and feel that they’re not missing something valuable by not seeing it.

Single Agent Dual agency – perils recognized by consumers

Single agent dual agency: in which an agent “represents” both the buyer and seller in a real estate transaction.

I was sitting in a local restaurant a few weeks ago and started talking to one of the folks at the bar (I’d coached one of her daughters many years ago). She remarked how her older daughter was starting to consider buying a home and how her daughter knew that she needed to work with a Nest agent. Her reasoning was gratifying – Nest agents don’t practice single agent dual agency. I’ve not talked about this in quite some time, but it’s heartening to hear that the Nest principles are making their way into the psyche of the consumer.

Representation matters.

Unrepresented Sellers need Guides

There are more unrepresented sellers in this market than we’ve seen in years. Years. And, respectfully, many of them have no idea what they’re doing. And, candidly, they make my job representing buyers harder. Good agents provide more than good advice, they also serve as buffers.

A few things sellers need to know:

– Inspections matter – and the seller isn’t supposed to be there during the inspection.
– Timeliness matters – taking days and weeks to come to terms serves no one’s best interests.
– Disclosures matter – property disclosures, lead based paint, material defects.
Emotions don’t matter. To be blunt, the market doesn’t care that this is the home in which you raised your family, nor does “it was like this when we bought it” change that it is still defective and needs to be fixed.
– The most competent people who comprise the team are most likely not your relatives.

CFPB – Let’s go ahead and call this a four letter word

This, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is going to change a lot about how real estate closings happen, from the forms used at closing to the timelines we’re faced with at closing. Naturally, no one really knows yet what the ramifications are beyond the fact that things are going to get difficult, and different, and we’ll get through it.

Hello, We’re from the government and we’re here to help.

RT: The CFPB could cost $25k/day
“That’s going to hurt.” #T3Summit

Pretty much. I’m going to write in detail about the CFPB next month, but be prepared: For loans that are started after 1 August, buyers and sellers are likely going to need to build time, flexibility, and patience into the process.

On Millennials* …

They’re delaying having kids, delaying getting married, delaying buying houses because of jobs, mobility, and student loans. They’re thoughtful too, having the benefit of seeing others – parents and peers – suffer from the market crash, and millennials don’t want to find themselves in similar positions. And one thing I’ve found – a lot of millennials have pets. They love their dogs/cats/fish – and these members of the family are just as important as human kids.* I really hate categorizing anyone as anything … I’d hate to be defined by when I was born.

On the Blogs

Last month was fun. Let’s try it again. If you made it this far, I’ll offer this – the best response to this note – insight, funny comment, question – in an entirely subjective way – gets a gift card to Mudhouse or Shenandoah Joe’s (or the local coffee shop of your choice). 

RealCrozetVA – 12 Stories

Thanks, as always for reading. Questions? I love hearing them.

— Jim

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