Archives of my subscription-only monthly notes. This is for March 2020. 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). If you’re interested, these are all the monthly notes I have written.
Reminder: I’m a Realtor. Thinking about buying or selling? I’m here.
New readers: This note is a little different. Here are all the notes I’ve written.
I had an outline.
And then the world got sick.
A friend told me once that life is a series of stories. We are going to have a helluva a lot of stories once we get through this.
So I’m going to truncate my outline, postpone it, if you will, and tell you a couple stories.
If you can give blood, please do. Here’s where I give blood.
The time I saw naked people.
I remember the clients, the street, and the house; they have bought, sold, and moved. The house is still there, as is the scene seared into my brain.
The agent had assured me the tenants knew we were coming. When we arrived, I had a feeling the tenants didn’t know, so I asked my clients to wait outside while I cleared the house. Entering, bottles and cans were strewn about, stale alcohol aroma pervasive, no lights anywhere. It was well after 11am. We were near UVA, but well outside the the typical student residential area. Making my way through the dark house, I knocked on doors and slowly opened them. At the last one , I knocked, slowly opened the door, and as the room came into view, two equally surprised naked people leapt from the bed, slurred, stunned words coming from their mouths.
My memory tells me that I calmly acknowledged them, turned, and walked calmly outside, informing my clients that we’d have to come back another day.
They ended up building.
There was a time at VMI when we were rats, and one of our Brother Rats would play his electric guitar. I don’t remember the song, but I remember the feeling of all of us rats being stuck in hellish barracks, but that was a moment of solidarity/togetherness. I thought of that when I saw some of the videos of locked-down Italians singing from balconies.
Signing Moments Matter
I tell my clients that what I do is about more than representing buyers and sellers. Yes houses, but there’s more.Sometimes, I’m lucky to be part of a moment, a memory, that maybe my clients will remember forever. They may not, but I will.
A simple moment: The first time my newly-married client signed her married name was when she signed the offer (albeit electronically). She teared up.
They have since renovated the kitchen and it looks great. One of the best parts of working with them?
When we did the final walkthrough, she said, “Jim, you growed us up!”
Maybe a little.
And maybe, one day I’ll grow up too.
Jonathan, Keith, and I called all of our Charlottesville agents this week, just to check in on them and listen a bit. We’re all stressed. FUD – Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt – are powerful things. I heard stories of contracts being lost, some in jeopardy, some unknowns, and I heard of buyers continuing on, sellers limiting showings, but keeping their houses on the market.
Everyone needs a house. We’ve not been through something like this before, but we’ll get through it, be stronger for it when we do, and we’ll have some stories.
The market is slowing as I type, and damage is being done. Every day feels like a lifetime, so I’m not going to bother writing right now about the market.
Running and Community
I ran up Jarmans. For a cup. It’s a stupid hill. But I ran because my local running store offered a cup in return for a post on Strava with a picture and a hashtag. Cups are fun. I had only ridden my bike up that stupid hill and hated that too. I’ve got some great memories on Jarmans; might as well add another one.
They ran out of the 100 cups (limited edition!) much faster than they’d anticipated. But the coolest thing is the community. I talked with John, one of the owners, and he said they were amazed by how many people came from all over to run Jarmans and get a cup. He added that had they done this silly thing in the first year, it would have been perceived as a gimmicky-selly thing. Now, it’s a remarkable community thing that brings people together in an authentic way. Very cool. And I have a cup.
They also run the Jarmans Invitational Marathon (JIM) which is a whole different kind of community. You should read about it.
Buying a house, when you’re in the business.
My assistant, Sarah, just bought a house. Besides choosing great representation, she (and I, through that lens) had a few lessons to share. It’s interesting seeing the transaction this way; we do this every day, and doing it yourself is completely different, and reinforces the trauma and empathy associated with moving.Lessons Learned and/or Reinforced
1) Timing is important, be respectful, and get back to people in a timely fashion.
2) Having a market-ready home is a huge plus for both buyers and sellers.
3) Get yourself the best Realtor, lender, and attorney. This is critical. Not your college roommate, not your neighbor. Team up with someone who you trust.
4) Always get a survey.
5) Realize that buying a house is a fluid process. Price, dates, situations, feelings, all can change in an instant.
7) Don’t expect people to be reasonable when buying or selling a house. Everyone has strong convictions but at the end of the day they usually don’t matter. (Jim: Emotions are the enemy.)
8) Buying a house can be a rollercoaster, but I would do it all over again.
9) Packing up to move and unpacking from a move take twice as long as you think they will.
10) Thank the people around you who make it all come together. It is not as easy as it looks. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes.
Maybe next month.
- I use Zillow. Sorry! Don’t be sorry.
- Walmart checks and paying cash for deposit. Times have changed
- Aging Realtor – Will I be able to keep up?
- What development areas/regions are buyers missing out on?
What I’m Reading
- How schools are using kids’ phones to track and surveil them. Nope.
- All Praise the Fist Bump
- Privacy isn’t Free
- Why Amazon knows so much about you. I unplug the Alexa in my house every time I walk in.
- Jonathan Miller’s Housing Note
- Short, practical guide to preparing for COVID-19
- Aloneliness is a mismatch between the intention to spend time alone and the satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) of time spent alone. A high mismatch is linked to poor well-being but intentional solitude for peace and quiet is linked to improved well-being.
- This Is How Much Caffeine You Can Drink for a Healthy Heart
- And the BBC, and Twitter, and Nextdraft, and all the damn news about what’s happening in our world
Jim Duncan, Nest Realty, 126 Garrett Street Suite D, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Licensed real estate agent in Commonwealth of VA.
Undulations and ebbs and flows.
Appreciating the moments. You never get them back. When they are gone, you have the memories. Value those moments, those seconds; they matter more than you may know.