Lying Aesop Allergies Emotions | Note From Jim | 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? 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). 

Every day is a new day

Knowing what questions to ask is one of the most important things I do, and I do so with a healthy skepticism.

Another Realtor put me in a new position, that of having to tell my clients that a fellow Realtor was a bold-faced liar. Next month, I’ll tell you why I’m not going to file a “Code of Ethics” violation.*

4 bedrooms & a 3 bedroom septic?

“I know it’s a 3 bedroom septic, but I changed it to 4 bedrooms in the MLS because I wasn’t getting traffic at 3.”

Huh? Yes, he really said that to me.

I had never before been in a position where I had to tell my buyer clients that the other agent had flat-out lied to me, and in turn, to them. I’ve had occasion to know that I need to do a bit more due diligence on my clients’ behalf, but an unabashed lie? That was new. (Note: This speaks well of Realtors in Charlottesville that 18 years into this career, and hundreds of transactions, this was only the second or third time I’ve had this conversation with my clients.)

Here’s the thing: Septic systems are designed and sized based on the number of bathrooms and potential occupants. Simple. We all (should) know this.

Why won’t I file a Code of Ethics violation against this agent? Next month. I’m still working through how I tell this part of the story.

The house is listed as a 3 bedroom home in the MLS. And is still active.

The Market

I know last month I promised I’d go in depth this month on what the Charlottesville market is doing, but I’m not. Here’s why: I’ve had a lot of conversations in the past few weeks about how many micro markets there are in the Charlottesville market (and I assume all other markets). So here’s what I’m going to propose – Ask me which micro market interests you and I’ll write about it.

Saying “the attached market is X,” or “the single family market is Y” is absurd. The answer to, “How’s the market?” is “It depends.”

  • In the MLS,
    • There are 744 active properties in Albemarle. 582 pending. Feels buyer-markety.
    • There are 155 active properties in Charlottesville.152 pending. Balanced?

I’ll do houses with acreage this month.

  • In Albemarle, there are 457 single family homes active on the market, with 352 pending. Buyer-market.
    • 434 are not new construction
    • 352 pending. 219 not new. (That’s a lot of new!)
  • 248 active with at least two acres. 91 pending. Very buyer-markety.
  • Between $400K and $650K, 74 active and 19 pending. Very very buyer markety.
    • Of the 74, average days on market is 119, from 0 to 507. Of the 19, average days on market is 65, from 2 to 427 days.
    • Moral of the story? Price it right and buyers will buy. Finding the right price for homes with more than 2 acres is hard, because there are fewer buyers for these properties than there are buyers for homes with small lots in neighborhoods.

Here’s the first quarter Nest Report. We’ll have the mid-year one out soon. If you’d like a hard copy, please let me know.

Letting Emotions Take Hold

I’ve written before about about how my role is to be the dispassionate guide and advisor, and part of that is to counsel clients to not get excited. Almost never.

But… Sometimes it’s important to listen to the emotions and see the stories that may unfold. Houses become homes, neighborhoods become sanctuaries for some, the places where second families are formed, and it’s critical to have the vision of what that home may offer. My role is to ask those questions of my buyer clients, when they don’t know to ask themselves, and to tell those stories for my seller clients. Knowing when to listen to the emotions … that’s one of the hardest parts.


“In the story, a dog that is carrying a stolen bone or piece of meat or cheese, looks down as it is crossing a stream and sees its own reflection in the water. Taking it for another dog carrying something better, it opens its mouth to bark at the ’other” and in doing so drops what it was carrying.”

I know the pain of clients losing offers – when you have five offers, try to work them all, and lose three of them because those buyers don’t want to get into a bidding war. I do my best to convey that pain to clients without having them actually experience it.


– Work the strongest offer, and don’t tell the other parties? (Define “strongest.” Best price? Maybe. Look at the whole thing – price, dates, realtor, lender, contingencies.)
– Ask for “highest and best” from all parties and risk losing one or more?

Working the offers without losing the one you have — that’s a challenge.

Real estate truism: The first offer is usually the best offer, and trusting your representation and your gut are good decisions.

As an aside, this is such a dumb commercial. “One is cash, one is FHA, one is VA, so what can you do?” Probably take the cash offer?

Allergies & Constant Evaluation

You know how sometimes you do something for a long time and then it just stops working? I was talking to a friend recently about his allergy meds. It seems this year’s allergy season has been the worst in recent memory. Hewas talking about dialing in his allergy meds. It struck me how this sort of constant evaluation and self-awareness is lacking in our society a bit. It’s easy to keep doing the same thing, day in and day out, but taking stock and evaluating is necessary, useful, and rewarding, and admirable when done well.


The Blogs

  • RealCentralVA
    • One story last month is about how I spoke on stage for the first time in years. It was fun; I had missed it more than I thought.
  • RealCrozetVA


Road ahead

What I’m reading

A thing I try to do: learn at least one thing from every person I meet. Some have a greater impact than others. 
Jim on: Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn RealCentralVA | Instagram

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


Comments? Questions? Best question gets a prize. Really.

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