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Discussed: Potty Pictures, the Market, Face Time, Community.
Pictures from the Potty
I do a lot of video for out of town/country clients. Many years ago, pre-video, I would take as many photos as possible for my clients, and put them on password-protected sites. (Anyone remember .mac accounts?)
After sending nearly 100 photos to a buyer client, I asked him what I could have done differently or better to help him figure out the house.
Every time I tell this story, I preface with, “It’s a bit crude, but – “
He asked me for a photo from the toilet, looking out the window.
Crude, but important to him. That one comment made me better at what I do. Now, when taking videos of houses, I look out the bathroom window and the kitchen windows and the bedrooms… Looking at the kitchen is one thing. Looking out the kitchen window when doing dishes is the sort of shot that can help someone decide whether to make an offer.
Think about it.
City vs. County
Too long for a note, but …
I’ve long described the relationship between the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle as one of estranged, divorced parents who get along just well enough to feed the kids a couple times a week. In this scenario, the citizens are the kids.
The City and County need to merge. It’s time for the fighting, arguing, and duplication of systems to cease. Describing to newcomers the duplicitous differences – police, fire, schools, governance, snow removal, etc – and then trying to explain the Revenue Sharing agreement (e.g. Albemarle paid the City nearly $20M in 2009) highlights the insanity.
Velocity is slowing. Some pockets are smoking hot. Some are slower than others. It’s easy to take a myopic view based on headlines and say, “Everything is selling!” or “Nothing is selling,” but every sub-market is unique. I put two houses on the market last week and both went under contract in less than 48 hours. I also have listings that have sat for a couple weeks and some amazing lots that have been on for a couple weeks as well. And I showed a house recently that was a trashed foreclosure (asking $350K, could be worth $500K).
Every sub-market is different. Just because your friend’s townhouse in the County took a few weeks to sell doesn’t mean your house in the City won’t sell in a few days or hours. Ask for a proper analysis.
One thing that is concerning to me: new construction prices.
As of 19 May 2017
576 homes under contract in Albemarle.
– 261 are new. Median price is $541K
– 315 are resales. Med. price is $350K.
164 homes under contract in Charlottesville.
– 33 are new. Median price is $464K
– 130 are resales. Med. price is $301K.
Market Data From the Nest
- Monthly data sheet for the City of Charlottesville (pdf)
- Monthly data sheet for Albemarle County (pdf)
Community. It Matters
I often hear/see/participate in stories about how a community rallies behind a person, or a family in need. I recently had occasion to witness first hand the value and power of a community that is present, aware, and available.
Many (most?) of my clients indicate that they are looking for a nice house in which to live, but more importantly, they want to be “part of something.”
I’ve written before that I don’t care about my house, but I care about the location. Location and community are far more important (to me) than the type of counters in the house.
Recently, I had need of the community in which I live, and it was there. It was unquestionably available, present, and needed. For that, I’m grateful, and more aware.
Face time with clients is critical. I was talking to a colleague the other day about the time spent with clients and how some big-time listing agents rarely see the clients beyond the initial “getting the listing” as they quickly hand off the rest of the process to a team. This is anathema to me; I truly enjoy being with my clients. Listing homes is a highly systemizable process, and the “required” face time with clients is somewhat minimal once the listing is signed (photos, stager, final prep don’t “require” my presence).
But my clients are hiring me. The relationship- and trust-building are with me. Others do it their way; I like my way.
What I’m reading
- An Inventory Quandary: Three Theories for Why People Are Moving Less
- Uber Movement Could Change the Way We Plan Cities
- Wipe or Wash? Do Bidets Save Forest and Water Resources?
- New Single-Family Home Size Continues to Trend Down (not necessarily accurate in the Charlottesville – Albemarle area)
- Gamechanger: Zillow getting into home selling business with “instant offers”– I suspect this will be an interesting, and evolving conversation over the next few months.
RealCrozetVA (it was a slow blogging month)
RealCentralVA (a really slow blogging month)
- Did You Know about the Hole in the Wall? (I love this story)
- 4 Things about Seasonal Slowing of the Charlottesville Market
Thanks for reading.
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Jim Duncan, Nest Realty, 126 Garrett Street Suite D, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Licensed real estate agent in Commonwealth of VA.