Perspective Ice Appraisals Financials | September 2020 Note from Jim

Archives of my subscription-only monthly notes. This is for September 2020. Interested in not waiting a few weeks to read it, and want it straight to your email? Subscribe here.   For the re-posts here on the blog, 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.

Questions about the Charlottesville market? Ask, please. 434-242-7140


I saw the husband of one of our agents in the grocery store a few weeks ago. (Maybe months? Time is hard for non-client things.) I asked him how they were doing. His response echoes what I think every time I go to the store.

“I’m able to buy groceries for my family during a pandemic.”

Simple, true, and a good reminder to give to your local food bank.

Make your own ice

We were young when we bought our first house. I vividly remember the first day we owned it. As we were figuring out how different it was vacant versus how it was when it was lived in by other people, I opened the freezer and said to my mom (who represented us) and my wife, “Hey, they left us ice in the icemaker! Great!”

I’m pretty sure my wife was first to yell, but the message was, “Dump it out and start with your own ice.”

I still tell my first-time homebuyer clients to clean the carpets, do a deep clean, and to make their own ice.

From my very first note in February 2013

At what point does showing houses become a financial waste of time?

That’s a hard question to answer. – Realistically, probably after 30 or 50 homes, my time would probably be better spent working on other things – writing blog posts that might generate conversation or interaction, look at MLS data to see what’s happening in the market, meet with other clients…

But I tend to work with a lot of families with kids. If I judged my success purely financially I wouldn’t continue doing what I do; I’ve never made decisions based solely on monetary return. I base my success on the number of people I’m able to help and the letters I receive like this:

Enough with the unpacking of boxes. It’s time to give some serious thanks where thanks are due. We will always be grateful for the countless ways in which you helped get us into this happy home; from the YouTube videos to babysitting, you were an enormous support. As you endearingly say of others, we also think that you are “just a really nice human being.”

(I’m not comfortable, nor am I inclined to share letters from clients, but I do ask for reviews on Zillow)

I carry that note with me in my bag at all times, both as a reminder of why I do what I do and a stabilizer for those days that are more difficult than others. As a Lifehacker post noted, if you haven’t learned something in the past 30 days, it’s time to find a new job. I’ve learned something every single day of my career.

If I were to measure my time with my clients purely as a financial equation, I might not babysit when we’re in a home, letting the parents spend time together figuring things out, I might not do a lot of things I do, but my reasoning is rarely “How much is this client worth to me?”

Reflecting a bit on the above, through today’s lens of COVID-19, and more and better online tools for buyers to use, the above holds true. I think I’d likely shift the 30-50 homes to 20-25, as my clients are doing a lot more self-vetting, and I’ve helped with that with my buyer survey. My clients are doing more drive-bys of houses and learning themselves and their needs/wants more as well, more rapidly, too, in today’s world.

The truism that remains is that a lot of people still need and want guidance, relevant contextual information and analysis, and a trusted human to help them buy or sell their home.

Appraisals Matter

2020 has been a year of awakening, I hope, for a lot of us. I rarely post with a simple request for you to read, but please read this from the NYTimes. Their house appraised for $330K.

The new appraiser gave their home a value of $465,000 — a more than 40 percent increase from the first appraisal.

Race and housing policy have long been intertwined in the United States. Black Americans consistently struggle more than their white counterparts to be approved for home loans, and the specter of redlining — a practice that denied mortgages to people of color in certain neighborhoods — continues to drive down home values in Black neighborhoods.

Even in mixed-race and predominantly white neighborhoods, Black homeowners say, their homes are consistently appraised for less than those of their neighbors, stymying their path toward building equity and further perpetuating income equality in the United States.

We have a long way to go.

If you’re reading this note, I’ll assume that you’re going to vote.
I also know not to assume. So, Vote.

What I’m Reading

What I’m Listening

The Blogs

Yes, I still write them.

  • RealCentralVA
  • RealCrozetVA – Lots of discussions about community meetings, growth, NIMBY, YIMBY, voting. I’ve been writing this blog since September 2005, and it feels more useful and critical than ever to have what is sort of a community archive of events. Or at least, the best that I can do to provide that archive.

Next month:

  • Hurdles
  • Nearing the end of 2020’s market
  • What if … the American birth and immigration rates continue to decline?
  • Your ideas? What are you curious about ??

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.

No matter what happens, November is going to be an interesting and hard month, I suspect.

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