Flush First, the Market, and Trust | Monthly Note Archives

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 forever (because I own the blog, and I don’t own Tinyletter)

April 2017.

April. Spring is upon us.

Like the note? Forward to a friend. 🙂 


Trust. Hard-earned, and easily lost.

“My friend told me that I should …” Is your friend in real estate? No. Does your friend live in the area? No.

But you trust your friend. You want to trust your friend. I get that. I want to trust my friends (and family) too. Yet … heed the advice of those friends in context of how it’s given, and the expertise of the giver.  

I was thinking of how to structure this segment, and how to capture the jarring feeling when a new client actively mistrusts me (likely, they’ve read a story on the internets advising to “never trust your realtor” or something like that. And that jarring feeling is a reminder that I need to earn the trust of every single person with whom I interact – whether a new client recommended to me by another client, a long-time reader of one of my blogs, or someone who randomly came my way.

The Market

First, Download the Nest Report here. Pricing your home as a seller is crucial. Buyers – be smart, and do the legwork. I have advised many buyers to wait, as I vividly recall the calls I received from clients a few years ago (and even some this year!) who were/are under water. I hate those calls.

Now …

I don’t have complete faith in these numbers, for one simple reason – I perceive that a lot of transactions are happening without the MLS. I’d wager that Realtors are involved in at least 90% (admittedly, an arbitrary number) of the off-MLS transactions, but unless I were to scrub tax rolls with MLS transactions, I’m left making educational guesses.

When doing analyses for clientsAlbemarle County’s tax site and the City of Charlottesville’s site are fairly functional when seeking to evaluate sub-markets. Example: in the City of Charlottesville, between $350K and $450K, from 1 January to 8 April 2017, the MLS shows 19 transactions and the GIS site shows 24.

Looking at Contracts in Albemarle and Charlottesville

From 1 January to 31 March, contracts for all properties up 5% year over year.

New construction up 49% and resales are actually down 5%.

If you are competing directly with new construction, you are in an unenviable position.

I wrote this to a friend last week

  • These are the two active resale homes in your neighborhood, and countless new ones.
  • Of the 9 homes that are under contract in your neighborhood, all 9 are new construction.
  • Of the 7 in your neighborhood  that have closed since 1 August, all 7 were new.

If you’re buying new, be aware of the future plans surrounding you, and be acutely aware of your own timeline. Life happens, as I say, and sometimes that happening hurts.

Unrelated tip for Sellers:  if there is something wrong/hinky with your house, and you’ve grown accustomed to it, “they’ve never had an issue” is likely not going to fly with buyers who are not accustomed to your house’s idiosyncrasy.

Questions about the market? Call or email me – jim@realcentralva.com or 434-242-7140

Flush First

If I think about it, I might make this a regular segment … stories from the years that I tend to tell frequently. 

When showing houses, sometimes buyers need to use the bathroom. It happens. Many years ago, I was showing a house with a client who had one of those tiny dogs with her – a pocket dog, if you will. I hadn’t even noticed. Until we get into the home, and I hear my client yelp, and I discover that the dog had pooped on the tile kitchen floor. I handed her paper towels so she could clean it up. She throws the poop in the toilet, and I hear another yelp. The toilet didn’t flush.

At this point, the fear in my stomach is real. How am I going to tell this woman to scoop the poop from the toilet?

Luckily, the solution was simple and less messy … the toilet was turned off, so I turned it on, flushed, and turned the water back off.

But that fear was real. And that, friends, is the reason when a client asks, “May I use the bathroom here?” I respond, “flush first.”

Not In It For the Money; Helping find Homes

One of our agents recently recounted an encounter with another Charlottesville realtor who remarked in colorful terms how he was only in the business for the money, hated his clients, wanted to make as much as he could and get out early.

Sadly, he’s quite productive.

I’ll gladly tell the rest of the story in person, but that story made me think about something I wrote ten years ago:

There are no little deals.

Every transaction is a huge transaction for the buyer, and usually the seller, too.

Dismissing the “little” deals as such is detrimental to everybody involved. We were all, at some point, a “little deal” ourselves.

What I’m Reading

The Blogs



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


Next month

Thanks for reading.

— Jim

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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