Real Estate Market Shift – Tips for Buyers and Sellers in Charlottesville

The Charlottesville real estate market is shifting. We’ve been in a sellers’ market for several years, and we’re transitioning (broadly, all markets are micro-local) to a balanced/buyers market. For some buyers/sellers (and agents) this is going to be a shock to the system.

Tips for Sellers

  1. Be patient
  2. Price your home accordingly to the market, and price it to sell. If you price high, hoping to get an offer that you can negotiate down, you might not get that opportunity.
  3. Reduce your price aggressively. Stair-stepping down is blood in the water to today’s hyper-aware, knowledgable, and patient buyers
  4. Prepare your home; this takes work. Buyers aren’t going to overlook the mismatched paint or the underwear on the floor.
  5. Be candid. With yourself and your representation.

Tips for Buyers

  1. Be patient. You’re liable to have more inventory from which to choose, and you may not feel the same stressors and pressure you’ve felt (or read about) for the past few years.
    1. Regardless, be ready to move quickly. If you like the house, someone else probably does, too.
  2. Be prepared. Know yourself, your wishes, wants, needs.
  3. Choose the right representation. Really. There’s a lot of great (and terrible, and terribly irrelevant) information online. Note: I am a Realtor. And have a nifty buyer survey I use with new buyer clients.
  4. Buy for the long-term. If you’re looking at a 3 year horizon, maybe don’t buy. Rent. If you’re buying for 5-7 year horizon, imagine that’s 10 years.
  5. Get started now; buying a home is a necessarily deliberate process. As I tell my clients, “it’s only a huge pile of money and the rest of your lives.

For Buyers and Sellers

  1. Ask questions. About everything.
  2. Trust the answers your agent provides.
  3. If you don’t trust them, you’ve chosen poorly.
  4. Hire a competent agent. Just because your uncle’s cousin’s sister has a real estate license doesn’t mean she’s qualified or competent. Could you fire that family member?
  5. Seek to understand the process, and know what you’re getting into.
  6. See #1.


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  1. Amy L Warren November 29, 2018 at 11:08

    Jim, how much more inventory is available this year compared to this time last year. Are you confident what we are seeing is a shifting, or is it just the slowdown of the fall/winter market that will heat back up again this spring?

  2. Jim Duncan November 30, 2018 at 09:17

    I updated the post with pdfs with relevant data.

    The best answer is the one I frequently give – I’ll tell you in 18 months what today’s market is doing. That said, I’m reasonably confident we’re seeing a shift. Increasing prices are pricing a lot of people out of our market. Increasing rates are contributing. Societal shift towards renting is a factor. Student loans. Transience.

    From 1 Jan to 30 November 2017, 2,282 homes were listed in the MLS in Charlottesville and Albemarle*

    From 1 Jan to 30 November 2018, 2,905 – about 600 or so – more homes were listed.

    Looking at ratified contracts and not sold, as I suspect the solds will change between today and four days from now.

    From 1 Jan to 30 November 2017, 2,106 contracts were entered in the MLS. This year, 2,127 contracts were written.

    That’s not a great (or even good, really) data set, but it’s enough for me to say that there are more homes on the market now (and more that aren’t selling) this year than last.

    *not including some new construction, and including those listings that expired, were withdrawn, re-listed.

  3. Pingback: Humanity, Offers, and a Wrap | December 2018's Note -

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