Local Lenders, Filter Bubble, Realtor Value Proposition |

Archives of my subscription-only monthly notes. The blog is more searchable. Interested in not waiting a few months to read it? Learn more here.   For these posts, I don’t do much formatting/changing as I’m more concerned about simply having the content here (because I own the blog, and not Tinyletter)

First, a request: if you have a friend you think would like or benefit from reading this note, please forward to them. 

Local lenders

I’ve written about the need to use local lenders countless times. Here’s one more story for you. Trust me; if you use a local lender, things are likely to go better.

I represented a seller, and the lender lied to me, the other agent, the buyer, the seller and ultimately delayed closing by months. MonthsHis boss took over, reassigning minion lying lender. Boss was less than forthcoming throughout the process. We ultimately closed, with much pain all around.

Sometime later, I’m representing a seller, in which we were expecting multiple offers. One agent called me and indicated he would be bringing an offer. I mentioned that the lender would be a factor in my clients’ evaluation process. When he said his clients would be using (an awful big bank, the same big bank who had lied) I advised that I would counsel my clients with my experience, and hence, his clients would be in a weaker position than the other offers.

Buyers – the time to evaluate lenders is not the day of the offer. The time to start and build that relationship is now.

Sellers – Hopefully you have competent representation. When you receive an offer, ask about the lender.

Buyers and sellers – make sure you’re hiring a better than average real estate agent. The 2017 market is going to demand expertise.

Related and useful posts:

Questions? Call me. 434-242-7140 or reply to this email

Making decisions in a Snapshot

  • What’s the market going to do next year?
  • What else will come on the market that I’ll like?
  • Should I buy this?
  • Should I not?

It’s hard – and scary – to make a decision with relatively limited information, albeit the best and most accurate and most up-to-date information available.

When figuring out whether to make an offer to purchase, we look at comps, we scratch itches, often, we’ve talked through life plans and goals, but ultimately, one of the biggest data points in the equation is a question, “Will we be happy here? Will we feel good about our decision?

As a Realtor, I can’t answer that question, but I can prompt it, and facilitate the conversation. The actual decision is yours.

* when I started writing this section, I recalled that I’d written it before. I recommend that story.

Goal for 2017: Get out of the Filter Bubble

Buy this book.

What is a filter bubble?

A filter bubble is a result of a personalized search in which a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user (such as location, past click behavior and search history) [1][2][3] and, as a result, users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles

Filter bubbles are dangerous, as we’ve seen this year. If all I read what National Association of Realtors press releases/market updates (to be fair, I like what Lawrence Yun writes), and didn’t read other stuff, like Naked CapitalismNational Association of Home BuildersCalculated RiskFox Business) I wouldn’t at least be trying to see the whole picture.

The Market

Honestly, this kind of bores me this month, and I’m debating procrastinating until January. Short story: 2017 is likely to be hard. Quick insight here.

If you’re thinking about selling in 2017, and you’re seeking representation, please contact me before Christmas … lots of things to consider over the holidays.

Buyers – let’s get started now. I’d love to have the conversation.

Value Proposition

What’s a great Realtor worth?

I ask in my buyer intake survey “What are You Expecting from a Realtor”? A recent response answers that question for me.

Having moved several times during my career, I know that a good realtor can make a huge difference, while a subpar one can cost a client tens of thousands. As you can guess I have experienced both. Above all, be diligent, do the homework and ensure that I don’t get burned.

Experience matters. Professionalism matters. Skills matter. We’re entering another real estate market where expertise is going to matter. I’ve said countless times that representation is critical. Take it from my experienced client; representation matters.

Nest Presents

We’ve started a new program at Nest where agents can invite clients, or whomever, to a movie. The first one was the new Harry Potter movie, and the December one is Star Wars.

The Nest marketing team is exceptional, and they make us all look good. We truly appreciate our clients, and the money I spend inviting clients to these events (I won’t invite all clients to all Nest Presents events – that would get crazy expensive fast!) is worth it. I could spend money sending recipes or random tips, but we’re building relationships and experiences.

I’m proud of what Nest has become, and look forward to the coming year. Watch out.


At one point this year, I represented a seller in a Homeowners Association. I ordered the HOA package, my clients were out of town, so I wrote the check to the self-managed HOA and left it on the HOA rep’s doorstep (who knows me). They lost it for a few weeks. When they did cash it, it bounced. I so rarely write actual checks that I inadvertently grabbed the wrong checkbook.

I heard about my mistake when a friend sent me a message saying the HOA was going to send the wolves after me. Thankfully, my friend spoke up and said, “why don’t we ask Jim?”

He did. I took cash, and covered the bounce fee.

Sadly, this is an easy example of many HOAs – rather than be human, defaulting to the lowest common denominator, and ultimately giving other HOAs a bad name and reputation.

Remember when I wrote a couple months ago about being nice? It’s not hard.

The Blogs



What I’m Reading

The Crozet Cycling Club

I started riding a bicycle in 2013 after being forced out of soccer through injury. I liked riding my bicycle; it was fun. I started the Crozet Cycling Club in 2015 and rode almost 1,100 miles. I  have ridden way more this year than ever before – over 8,000 miles as of this writing. We’ve created a group that loves riding bicycles, enjoys laughing, drinking beer, and taking pictures of the amazing place in which we live.

I’m actually and accidentally following my new doctor’s advice:

Eating a healthy diet with at least 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables daily, staying active during the day, avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol to no more than 2 drinks/day, and maintaining positive social connections will all help keep you healthy.

My wish for everyone is that they are able to be part of something like the CCC.

Next month: I’ll get to writing about unrepresented sellers, make predictions about 2017, and hopefully answer a couple emails from readers.

Questions? Comments? Hearing from you is one of the highlights of my month.



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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