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Discussed: Local Lenders, Close Family, Googling Best Schools + the Charlottesville Market | Note from Jim
It’s been a busy first quarter. I’m late with this, so I’m diving right in. Thanks for reading. Feel free to respond with your thoughts or forward to a friend!
Keeping family close
I’ve written before (and say often) how kids ruin everything. “Understanding that kids fundamentally change the housing dynamic, and being able to effectively communicate that to clients who don’t (yet) have that life experience, are two critical skills in the always-evolving real estate equation.”Part of having kids is having support. Often (when lucky), that support is provided by parents. From personal experience, having a mom close by (~20 minutes) who can watch a kid with little notice is a fundamentally critical and beneficial part of life.
Words of advice for those moving to or within the Charlottesville area: Keep that proximity to support at under 25 minutes. Less than that could feel too close,although I know some who live next door to each other. More than that, and parental units may be less willing to come to your house and drive home late at night.
Food for thought when you’re defining your locational triangles.
Local Lenders. Good Lord, They Matter
I say, write, cajole, nudge, beg, clients to use local lenders. I make this recommendation based on experience. My clients come to me for guidance to assemble a trusted team. Who is on the team matters. A local attorney with whom I work sent this out recently – and I’m sharing with permission:
“On-time close rates have greater variance than ever among lenders. What I’m sharing below is not meant to endorse some or speak negatively about lenders…we track this now, and I am simply reporting numbers based off of our closings:
– Who appears to close with the highest “on time” percentage rate? As a class, (these two local lenders) are well into the 90% on time close bracket which is the highest
– Who doesn’t close on time? (Big national lenders) are perhaps the worst offenders at below 50%.
– What’s the lesson/theme? If your lender has someone on the ground here, our stats show that makes a huge difference and drives a higher close-on-time rate. If we split our stats based on who has a local presence, then generally it’s 92% on time for those lenders versus about 40% for the others. We are truly blessed to have some excellent folks around here.
– Internet lenders, when combined close on time 30% of the time. (ask me, I’ll tell you which one) is the “best”—but below 50%.”
How do you Google “What’s the best school for my kid?”
Simple. You can’t. Reality and perception are often two different things.I’m working with a client now* who’s moving back to the Charlottesville area after many years away. They came in targeting the Western Albemarle School district, in large part because it’s “always” been the best school district. So we spent our time there, looking at houses, neighborhoods, areas… even wrote an offer on a house that fit their needs and wants.
As I learned more about them, and their kid, I got the feeling that WAHS may not be the best fit. (Note that all three Albemarle County high schools just got listed as being in the top 5% nationally) I suggested they look at the MESA (Math, Engineering & Science Academy) program at Albemarle High School, as it may be a better fit for them.
That afternoon, he called me, thanking me profusely, apologizing for the past few weeks, and announced that we were now looking only in the Albemarle High School district. A twenty minute conversation with the head of the program convinced him that MESA was a far better fit for his kid.
Moral to the story: There is way more to what a good Realtor does than opening lockboxes and searching for homes. Matching people to communities, families to neighborhoods, and kids to schools are some of the much more important aspects of what I do.
* client gave permission for me to write about his experience.What are you going to do?
Put your head down and do it.
The Market. Cooling? Or Bubble?
I like efficiency. As such, I’m going to direct you to our just-released Nest report and then share a story.
This report is a broad market report, covering the Charlottesville MSA and individual localities. Market vary widely within localities, school districts, by acreage, house type and age, and so many more variables.
Pay attention to your micro market.
For example – In the Charlottesville City market, sales are down 5%. What does that mea?
- What about condos in the $200K – $280K range? Is financing available?
- Single family homes – are there differences between North Downtown and Belmont? Rugby? Woolen Mills? (yes.)
- Attached homes – our report doesn’t break out newer townhomes (3 years or newer), new townhomes, or older ones … I’d likely not use a brand new townhome as a comp in a market analysis for a client if I was seeking to determine value for a townhome built in 1995.
- And so on.
As I’ve written for years, I’ll know in 18 months whether we’re in a bubble, so I’ll say just this: parts of our market are doing extremely well. Other parts are doing ok. And sometimes, the market is bad.
- Has the Charlottesville market ever been bad?
- Building walls in Charlottesville – the evolution of the 250 bypass is visually stunning
- Density in Charlottesville – Where, if not Downtown?
- Robots in Real Estate
- Reaffirming WordPress’ value (in real estate), or, Why I continue to blog
- Crozet Library got a new sign; it’s cool.
- Quick Crozet real estate market stats
- I’ve not yet been, but I love that Crozet has a Community Chorus.
- CCAC meeting recap; as always, lots of important stuff.
- Libraries are awesome
- Jerry Finazzo passed. This is a huge loss to Crozet. Cancer sucks.
What I’m reading
- Now is a Great Time to Sell, Unless You’re Also a Buyer – sent to me by a client in another market, this is true for pockets of the Charlottesville market as well
- Is there a housing bubble in Charlottesville?
- Do Rising Rents, Especially For The Poor, Mean We Do Not Have A Housing Bubble? – I don’t think there is a bubble (yet) but there are some troubling signs.
- Google reaches into customers’ homes and bricks their gadgets – I think this qualifies as 1) Evil. 2) Scary as hell. 3) a bad sign for the future.
- New homes in San Francisco! From the low $1,000,000s. Really.
- Charting the Automation Potential of U.S. Jobs. Related: With Hollywood’s Advanced Digital Face-Lifting, Do We Even Need Actors?
Thanks, as always, for your time!
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Jim Duncan, Nest Realty, 126 Garrett Street Suite D, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Licensed real estate agent in Commonwealth of VA.