Perspective, Predictions, Wedding or a House? | November 2018’s Monthly Note

Archives of my subscription-only monthly notes. The blog is more searchable. Interested in not waiting a few months to read it? Subscribe 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). 



Market Predictions

I went heavy on the market data last month, so I’m focusing on predictions this month.

  • Things will be okay. Probably.
  • As far as I know, we don’t have the bogus “liar loans” or negative amortization loans that were part of the previous crash.
  • We’re going to see lower inventory in part because people are choosing to stay in their homes for longer, because a) many of them want to and b) many who can afford to sell can’t afford to buy up the next rung in the ladder.
  • We’re going to see higher inventory levels because I suspect houses are going to take longer to sell, and, people are going to continue to need to sell.
  • I know that I’m contradicting myself, but both of those statements are accurate.
  • The Charlottesville area market is going to continue to have affordability struggles, and I’d bet we’re going to see the Midwest markets pick up even more as people who are able to work remotely choose lower cost of living.
  • I’ll let you know in 18 months what the market is doing today.

Related Reading

Wedding or house?

One or the other … not at the same time. Please.

Before meeting with new buyer clients, I send a fairly comprehensive buyer survey, in which I ask all manner of questions, ranging from how many bedrooms and bathrooms, to what are they trying to solve with their purchase. One I just added is, “What stressful life events besides buying a home are on the horizon?

One afternoon, I was meeting for the first time with a young couple, talking about the home buying process, their needs, wants, and don’t wants. We had talked about aiming to close in June or July. At one point in the conversation, one of them mentioned that they were meeting their wedding planner that afternoon and started down a path of wedding planning stresses, timing closing with the wedding and honeymoon, and it sounded like they were planning a large wedding requiring remarkable time and focus.

I stopped them. Dialed in a bit on the timing of wedding and home search time needs. They would be squeezing in looking for homes between wedding meetings, selections, etc.

I stopped them again, and said, “Please don’t do this. To me, yourselves, or each other. How about we put off the home search for a few months until you’re either closer to or after the wedding?” A great discussion ensued and the stress levels palpably dropped. Buying a home because that’s what you “should” do is not the right foundation upon which to start the process.

They agreed with me, thanked me, and left, assuring me they would be back in touch after the wedding. They did, and they’re in a great house.

If you buy a house, do it because you want to and because it’s the right thing to do, not because it’s what is expected of you.

PS – I wrote the above before I listened to Seth Godin’s great podcast, The Wedding Industrial Complex.You should listen to it.

From my assistant, Sarah 

Last month, a friend suggested that I add color to my “working with an assistant“ segment, so I asked Sarah to give a bit of insight into what it’s like working with me. It’s fun seeing this.?

Jim is extremely driven, often doing 5 things at a time, yet doing them all very well.  Its like watching a circus, I sit back and watch stunned and amazed all at the same time.  The term herding cats comes to mind.

He begins every story with, “funny story…” as he pulls out his daily children’s snack (pb&j, apple sauce, or banana).  He is sometimes hard to read, and works way too much. I can always tell if he hasn’t had a morning bike ride due to the amount of 4 letter words he uses ;).

I try to keep him focused and in line, but I know it does not come easy to him.  He is learning to delegate things to me – but I know deep down in side he would rather just do it himself.  Integrity is the most important thing to him. Jim is the only real estate agent I have ever worked with who truly does not care about his ‘bottom line’ – his clients always come first.  I hope that I am able to give him just a little bit of relief at the end of the day.

New Construction

I have had many homes and, except for the one that burned in a California wildfire, I have never experienced this level of general home failure. At this point, I find something new every couple of weeks. I truly believe that I have bought a lemon, possibly because I was living out of state during construction.

I hate getting emails like that from people I didn’t represent. You would be surprised, nay, shocked at the number of people I talk to who opted to not have home inspections during the building process, who suffer myriad issues post-closing.

Phased inspections are critical.

Challenging and Defending Price

When representing clients, my valuation has to be defensible:

  • To myself
  • To the client
  • To the buyer/seller
  • To the other agent
  • The lender
  • Sometimes, the parents/peers/friends. (This should be disclosed early in the client/agent relationship.) 🙂

Push back. I don’t make decisions; the client does.


A few thoughts after a relatively minor bike wreck. A friend said to acknowledge vulnerabilities and ask for help when needed; I’ve mostly listened. Asking for help sucks, but it’s part of healing. I guess.

  • Wrecks happen. Get up.
  • Friends matter (especially when they have good advice).
  • Asking for help is hard. But necessary.
  • If you can, live your best life. You never know when it’s going to be taken or altered.

What I’m Reading

As always, thank you for reading! (If you really like it, please forward to a friend)

— 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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