Left Turns, Nest Summit, A Big Mistake and a Question | Note from Jim

I was emailing a client, and thought about the “left turn” story that I knew I’d written. I searched. I couldn’t find it, so I found it and published it.

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)



Discussed: Nest’s Summit, a Big Mistake, Brief Market Overview, Left Turns, and a Question for you

I’m late. For someone who prides himself on being punctual, this is a tardy note, but I have a good reason (sort of). We held our Nest Summit last Wednesday, in which all six Nest offices came together at King Family Vineyards. The Culture Evangelist from Zappos spoke to us about intentional, deliberate culture, humanity, and service. If you have 13 minutes, this is Jon talking last year.

We announced some changes, some additions, and some improvements that will allow us to better do what we do: represent our clients and ensure our brand is strong, valuable, and meaningful, all of which will benefit those who provide us the opportunity to work with them.

I particularly liked their definition of culture:

This is what we’re building at Nest, what we’re trying to convey for our clients, and how we want everyone with whom we interact to perceive Nest and our agents (including me!).

One of the images from my talk follows, and if you’re interested in seeing the slide deck showing the topics of what I discussed, you’re welcome to have a look at them. (And if you’re curious and want me to write more about this stuff, please reply to this note.) 


19 months of notes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these notes and have found value in them; I know I have. A question for you – what do you like about the notes? What should change?

Finding your left turn.

Several years ago, I was representing a client who loved a house in the Stonehenge neighborhood. She bought a house in River Run, on the other side of the road. She had the foresight to know that she needed to go north every day, and if she bought the house in Stonehenge, she’d “wake up every day and be pissed off” because she needed to take a left turn but there’s no traffic light at Stonehenge, while there is one at River Run … and Stonehenge probably never will have a light.

When buying a house – do you consider what your “left turn” will be?

2014 is nearly over. What is 2015 going to bring? 

An apology: Extracting good market data from the new MLS in Charlottesville is proving quite challenging. I think it’s accurate, but I don’t yet have full confidence that the numbers are accurate, so I’m going to bag the market data for this month and save it for January’s note, in which I’m planning to delve into home sales, what’s selling, new versus resale, and more. If I don’t trust the data and analysis, I don’t want to share it with you.

In 2015? I’m hoping and expecting Stability. Hopefully.  My market outlook often wavers depending on those to whom I’m speaking. Some first time homebuyers are excited, some fearful – what happens if they buy and prices drop? What if they don’t buy and prices and interest rates rise?

A lot of sellers still are unable to afford to sell; there are fewer distressed sales than we’ve seen, but they’re still there. Younger buyers are saving some money, but have a lot of student debt, and are buying less expensive homes.

There’s a lot of conflicting, succinct information here, for example. Appreciation has cooled, but continues to grow. The story will change depending on what market segments we’re studying.

Broad strokes for 2015?

– Stability.
– Some appreciation
– Some distressed sales
– More apartments and hotels in the City of Charlottesville
– Walkable and bikeable areas/houses will fare well
– The Charlottesville – Albemarle area real estate market will get more segmented when the Rio Road project starts.
– There will be more homes built to cater to the baby boomers and more young people will choose to rent than buy.

RealCentralVA’s new look

RealCentralVA just went through some fairly massive changes. Hopefully you didn’t notice anything other than the new look. What does this mean to you? The site is easier to read, much easier to read on mobile, and because I’ll be spending less time messing with plugins and such, I expect to have more time to read, research, and write.

For the first time ever, RealCentralVA is not what’s called a “self-hosted” blog; I’ve moved to wpengine with the help of Jesse Petersen. This means little to you, but to me, it means less back-end maintenance and more focus on real estate and writing.

In just less than a month, RealCentralVA will mark 10 years of existence. A lot has changed since I published my first blog post. For the curious, the Wayback Machine provides an interesting look at the various looks of RealCentralVA over the years.

Changes for subscribers coming. The RSS feed and the email service will change in January. We’re getting things sorted out before we make those big shifts. This tinyletter will stay the same.

Even as I refresh the look, I’m writing less on the blog, but writing better here. I don’t see myself ever ceasing to write on the blog, in large part because of these 10 reasons (all of which I’ve identified before, but it’s nice to see the “10 reasons to write” neatly displayed like this). If I had made the list, #3 would have been #1; to paraphrase: writing makes me a better real estate professional. Period.

Thanks to the editors. 

Really. Thank you. This note is better because of your input, insight, and time. One day, I’ll consistently use the Oxford Comma.

Curious what’s really happening in your neighborhood? Let me know and I’ll set you up on an automated search that will send you information when properties actually come on the market, and when they actually sell. (And thanks to my friend for suggesting I start this note!)

One of my larger mistakes in this business (and an uncomfortable one for me):

Not focusing on asking for reviews has negatively impacted my business. I know most of my clients would gladly write a review, and this is part of the process …  I would greatly appreciate your submitting a review on Zillow about me. Thank you!

The Blogs

RealCentralVA (8 stories)

West Main’s evolution continues. I said last week in an interview that I think the City of  is changing more rapidly than at any time in my lifetime. I think I’m right. What do you think?
(Realtor) punctuality matters. A lot.
– Albemarle Gets a Transportation Planner + Urban Density – While the City grows, the County plans.
– A Few Surprises from NAR’s Home Buyer and Seller Profile – Every year, I love this report.
– How much snow do you get in Charlottesville? – The answer to the question I get from so many of my incoming buyer clients.

RealCrozetVA (11 stories)

Interested in group bicycle rides in Crozet?
Crozet’s Angel Tree was more populated this year … and again, all the kids were taken care of.
The CCAC meeting recap; if you’re not paying attention to these meetings, you should be.
WAHS gets a high ranking.
Safe Routes to School project is again delayed. And no one is surprised.
A few videos of Crozet
The RealCrozetVA facebook page, much as I hate facebook, continues to thrive.

Thank you. Thank you for reading, for replying, for forwarding. Let’s have a great 2015.

— Jim

Further reading/stuff I find interesting:


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

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