Monthly Note Archives | May 2015

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It’s funny how one experience can reshape plans.

I had set the outline for this month’s note, even put it on the blog –  and then something happened. I introduced a new buyer client to my community, and that changed this month’s note dramatically. What I don’t get to this month will either be a blog post or find its way into June’s note.

This month: 1) The Market 2) Community introductions 3) Don’t want to think about money

The Market – Balanced? Overheated? – It depends on your market segment

A friend from another market texted me the other day:

How do you feel about the future housing market?  Does it look good or up in the air?  Just a short quick thought would be great.

My response to him –

Our market is mostly trending up. Certain segments are balanced while others, primarily the urban properties, are skyrocketing.

Crazy low interest rates remain a positive for sellers, but create some inherent risk for buyers from a resale perspective.

I continue to think that employment remains a hidden, not much discussed, challenge.

In short – do research on your particular and narrow market segment – but also understand the markets just above and below it.

Not bad for a text conversation at 8 in the morning.

Now for some data relevant to the Charlottesville area market:

One big benefit of writing this note mid-month (I think I’ll keep this pattern going) is that the data that has been entered into the Charlottesville MLS is likely to be more accurate.

A quick look at some data:

— Note: New listings do not reflect new construction “proposed” listings.

April in Albemarle County – 2014 vs. 2015

Overall, we might be balanced.

# of New Listings:
Single family homes: 218 vs. 243
Attached homes: 50 vs. 54
Condos: 20 vs. 13
Total: 288 vs.  310

# of Contracts:
Single family homes: 137 vs. 143
Attached homes: 53 vs. 53
Condos: 8 vs. 16 (A continued drive byall demographics to minimize home maintenance but still own?)
Total: 198 vs. 212

# of Solds
Single family homes: 79 vs. 79
Attached homes: 28 vs. 15 (I’m thinking this could be due to more new construction poised to close next month.)
Condos: 9 vs. 11 
Total: 116 vs. 105

April in the City of Charlottesville

# of New Listings:
Single family homes: 75 vs. 73
Attached homes: 13 vs. 13
Condos: 9 vs. 15
Total: 97 vs. 101

# of Contracts:
Single family homes: 52 vs. 54
Attached homes: 8 vs. 9
Condos: 10 vs.  7
Total: 70 vs. 70

# of Solds:
Single family homes: 37 vs. 21 (Also driven by pocket listings not being entered into MLS? I’m working on sussing this out)
Attached homes: 3 vs. 3
Condos: 8 vs.  3
Total: 48 vs. 27

One random number: In Charlottesville + Albemarle, January through April in 2004, there were 562 home sales; this year there were 460 in that same timeframe.

Community introductions

I first talked to this client about a year ago. My buyer-client gestation period — the time from first contact to contract —  tends to be somewhere between two months and three years.

Last week was the first time we met in person – buyers + kids. The kids were apprehensive about the move, and my role was as much to educate, inform, and comfort the family (kids) as it was to educate and inform about the area and market.

1) There’s (way) more to real estate than houses. Community is way more imptorant than houses. I’ve said for years that I’m usually pretty confident that we can find a house that fits, but finding a community in which my clients will feel comfortable can occasionally present the greater challenge.
2) Moving is traumatic; anything I can do in my role as a Realtor to alleviate stressors in the kids’ lives, I’ll do (within reason). Most often, the parents are the ones choosing to move; the kids are dragged along, sometimes unwillingly.

asked for help on the RealCrozetVA facebook pagetwitter, and made a couple of personal requests as well:

I need a teenager from WAHS, preferably one on the swim team and/or crew team, to meet with clients’ kids tomorrow and tell them about life at WAHS, talk about the teams, and help them better understand life in Crozet. Help?
I won’t say the responses were overwhelming, but I did have to turn down one or two offers; offers for which I was grateful.

I couldn’t have done this without having the community that I have built and nurtured, and that the community has built and nurtured, for nearly 10 years. I didn’t create RealCrozetVA to sell;a I created it in an attempt to benefit the community. A great community sells itself.

From all accounts, the meeting between the coach and the kids went well; well enough that Crozet may one day soon be welcoming more great people.

One of the comments on the Facebook post particularly struck me:
Also, I love that you do this for your clients. When we moved from Crozet to South Florida I was totally overwhelmed and really relied on our agent to help me navigate a new place (I didn’t get that kind of service–and we ended up buying a pricey home, in a virtually kid-free neighborhood, hated the schools, and lived across from a sex offender.) Needless to say, you’re a great ambassador for our community.

That. That is what I’m hoping to help my clients avoid.

Don’t want to think about money

Another client story –  when we were discussing his comfortable price point (not the max he could “afford” but hiscomfortable range, I liked the way he described his comfort level: (paraphrasing)

“I want to buy a home at a price where I don’t have to think about money. If I’m at dinner with my friends, and want to pick up the tab, I’m not thinking about my mortgage.”

Brilliant. Simple. Useful. And I recommend this mindset for any homebuyer.

On the blogs

RealCentralVA – 10 stories

RealCrozetVA – 8 stories

Quick question for you – What’s one perception you have about millennials? I’m somewhat fascinated by the desire by some to pigeonhole demographic groups; note: all demographics want work-life balance, not just millennials. Best response gets a donation to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank made on their behalf.

Next month – 

– Millennials and their pets
– Building community
– 4 Builders, 4 Different Experiences
– Confidence

Thanks, and if you have questions or comments, please ask!

— Jim

Subscribers – one day last week, two people subscribed – one, a Realtor, the other, not a Realtor. This note’s for the latter, although I welcome all.


Jim on: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn Subscribe to RealCentralVA | Jim’s Instagram

Jim Duncan, Nest Realty, 126 Garrett Street Suite D, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Licensed real estate agent in Commonwealth of VA.

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