Micro Expectations Septic Ethics | July 2019 Note | 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). 

A quick reminder, as much for me as for (new) readers: this note is for consumers, curious clients, inlookers, and generally for those not in the real estate space.

A Patched Jacket

I have a gray Patagonia winter jacket, one of those puffy ones. I’ve patched it in a couple places where briars tore little holes 7 years ago.When my clients and I were walking out of a closing, we talked briefly about the journey from when we met to closing on their new home, and I reminded them about one of the first properties I showed them, and the jacket I was wearing. She said, “the briars tore holes in your jacket!” When they were handing their then baby to me, down off a high point on the property, I reached up, got him, and tore my jacket. And I told them how I thought of them – in a good way – every time I put on that coat.

The jacket is still warm, and it accumulates stories every winter.



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Micro Market Analysis

This is a longish segment. Bear with me; I find this interesting and fun.

Last month I wrote, “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. ”

And you responded. Thank you!

I am taking you at your word. I’d love to know more from you about the Johnson Village micro market. Even more specifically the OG Johnson Village that doesn’t include either Cherry Hill or Village Place (you probably know why I ask).

I think the differentiation between OG Johnson Village, Cherry Hill, Village Place is crucial, so I asked the sender permission to use it.

“Johnson Village” is an interesting neighborhood, and defining it requires a bit of local knowledge. Neither of the following is correct. For example, Zillow shows this when searching for Johnson Village.

RPR (the Realtor Zillow-like site) has this.

This is correct.

Micro-markets, and micro-market knowledge, matter.

“Right now” is 11 July, early evening.*

Digging in a bit to Johnson Village, I’m going to be a bit more broad here than I would be for a client looking at a specific property, but …

  • In the City of Charlottesville, between $275K and $425K, single family homes, there are 23 active and 33 pending – a pretty good ratio for a seller.
  • 98 have sold since 1 February; I tend to look at the previous six months of solds, then I look at the previous 3 months … a market can shift a bit in just a couple months. 78 have sold since 1 April.
  • Then, looking at those that have at least 3 bedrooms, at least 2 baths, on less than an acre, and were built before 1990, we have 30 results. 13 active and 17 pending. And then, in the Johnson Elementary school district, we have 4 results – all pending.

Short summary – the Johnson Village market has been less active this year than last, in part I’d suspect, because the people who live there like it there. Last year, the average sold price in Johnson Village was $331K and $176/foot(relevant for trend number, but not actual value) So far this year, those numbers are $365K and $174/foot.

Shorter summary: Johnson Village is doing pretty well right now.

I’ll aim to address the second-to-email neighborhood next month, but there are some similarities between the Rugby Hills neighborhood and Johnson Village. Walkability/bikeability and relative affordability are at the top of the list
I enjoy these newsletters.  I am interested in the Rugby Hills neighborhood in Charlottesville City if you are doing micro market analysis.

This was fun; I’d welcome another micro market analysis option – suggestions?

Why not file a Code of Ethics complaint?

I wrote last month about how an agent lied to me, and how I wasn’t going to file a complaint. (reminder: outright lying by an agent is an anomaly, in my experience) Why not file?

The simple answer as to why I won’t file a complaint is because I am going to have to work with that agent again, and my filing a complaint today would 1) lead to a tiny penalty, if any, 2) most importantly, my future clients will be disserviced by my filing a complaint.

Imagine in two years I represent buyers who are one of three offers on a property he’s marketing; think their offer will be presented as favorably as the others? Nope.

Or when I have a listing, do you think he’s going to be inclined to show it, or might he attempt to dissuade his buyers from looking at it? I’d wager on the latter.

Tangentially Related: I represent my clients so well, the listing agent advised sellers to not accept my buyers’ offer.

Septic or Public?

I understand that homes in Albemarle County outside the development areas are on well water and septic tanks. Does this make a difference to many buyers? I know I was leery of septic, because I’ve never lived with one, and really didn’t consider homes with them. But maybe I’m an urban-raised minority and no one else cares.

Well … living on a septic system is a bit different. This is one of my favorite videos I’ve done: Steve with Cavalier Septic explaining the simple ways to live on a septic systems, starting with, “#1 and #2 and nothing else.”I’ve had buyers shun all houses on well and septic, and I’ve had buyers avoid public water and sewer as the prefer living on well water. Broadly, I’d say that most buyers (broad brush here), given the option, would choose public water and sewer.

The conversation about the differences between life on a well and septic vs life on public water and sewer is a vast one that is well summarized by a colleague: when you’re on well and septic, you are your own water and sewer treatment plant.

This question won the prize – a donation to the questioner’s preferred charity.

Managing Expectations

A friend said recently that his expectations were too high. Having high expectations is a good thing. Understanding that they’re high so that you can calibrate them with reality is useful. Critical, even.I have high expectations as well, for myself and for my clients, and I’ve found that it’s far easier to manage my own expectations than it is to manage others’.

Helping clients ratchet their own expectations from a high point to a, we’ll call it a less high point is a fun challenge at times – whether that’s the expectations of how the transaction will go, how the involved parties will act, or the quality of the product. Sometimes, this ratcheting starts with a simple answer, “that’s just the way it is,” and that’s an admittedly hard answer to hear.

Keep expectations high, but know when to lower them.

What I’m Reading

Thanks for reading.~ Jim

A thing I try to do: tell the people who’ve impacted me how they’ve done so.

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.

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