Baby Hoses Septic Hurdles | November 2020 | Monthly Note Archives

Archives of my subscription-only monthly notes. This is for November 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 As of December, I’ll be writing these notes on Substack). If you’re interested, these are all the monthly notes I have written.

I missed last month. The second month missed in about six years of writing this Note. I’m not happy about the miss, but I’m not going to allow myself to agonize too much about it. That said, I am sorry to you for my miss.

Onward. And wear a damn mask.

The Market

The election. It’s over. Right? Let’s get on with it.

Short story on the Charlottesville market: In most market segments, we have very low inventory, buyer demand is up, interest rates are low. New construction is doing very well. City and close-to the City of Charlottesville homes are doing well.


Q: How is the Charlottesville area real estate market doing?
A: It depends on your market segment

Slightly longer story on the blog.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you: If you’re thinking about buying or selling, you can learn more about working with me here (buyers) and here (sellers).

Importantly: What questions do you have about the market?

Places for Baby Crap

People are staying in their homes for about 10 years now; that’s a lot longer than when I started practicing real estate.

Once, when walking through a house with clients who I knew were planning to have a kid, , I asked, “Where are you going to put the three pieces of baby crap?”


You know, the high chair, the baby jail, and the thing you put the kid in where she’ll bounce around while you try to get something done really quickly. (the bouncy thing my wife and I had for our younger one was a godsend)

That house didn’t have room for the baby stuff, but the one that they bought did. They’re still there and it’s been fun watching their adorable daughter grow up on Instagram. Asking the right questions that clients don’t think or know to ask, at the right time, is one of the most difficult and rewarding aspects of real estate.

Hoses and Sweaters

I was sharing a story with clients recently about another client who had neglected to remove the hose from the outside faucet in winter and was soon faced with the consequences.

My client shared a good rule of thumb: If the weather is so cold that you’re wearing a sweater regularly, best to make sure all the hoses are unhooked.

I like that rule.


A long, long time ago, when letters to sellers were more acceptable, I was representing a seller who was receiving multiple offers. This was so long ago, that offers were either faxed or delivered in person. I remember one of the agents brought her offer, and noted that her buyer knew the seller, as the seller would come into the buyer’s office frequently. I dutifully told my seller, who acknowledged that he knew her, stated how much he disliked her, and proceeded to take an offer for less than her offer.

From 2005: It’s not always about price.

The goal is to remove hurdles

That’s a lot of what good agents do: Help buyers identify and overcome hurdles to living the lives they want.

Often, that hurdle is proximity to X. Buyers who want to spend more time outdoors, hiking, biking, walking, but their current lifestyle and location is just far enough that they rarely choose to make the excursion to that hike. Solution: Move closer to trails.

Or access to friends and restaurants. Same solution as above: Move closer to those things.

Want to stay where they are, but keep their jobs. Solution: Find a place with internet.

Septic and the Pen

When representing buyers who are purchasing a septic system and a home, actual septic inspections (not “stomp and sniff”) are critical.

I was using a new-to-me septic inspector a few years ago and I was impressed that, unlike the other inspectors I used, he was wearing rubber gloves to protect his hands as he pulled the hose out of the tank. And then his phone rang. And he answered it, while still wearing the gloves.

A bit later, I was awfully happy that I always have a pen handy; when he wrote the invoice, he offered me his pen to sign. I quietly pulled out  my pen and signed for my client.

Being prepared is a bonus.

Substack and Tinyletter

Next month, there’s a good chance I’ll be writing this note from substack instead of tinyletter. I’m not looking for the pay route, but I feel that tinyletter may have run its course. Two stories that have me thinking:

“People Are Looking to Latch Onto Something Positive”: As Journalists Flock to Substack, Is There a Limit to the Newsletter Boom?
Tinyletter was one of the greatest missed opportunities in tech

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Long-time friend Sean Tubbs has started Charlottesville Community Engagement – a long and short form daily newsletter and podcast that is filling a huge hole in informing people about growth, development, politics, and everything surrounding those topics.

“Every weekday, I produce a newsletter and newscast that seeks to give you a quick brief on what’s happening in the area in and around Charlottesville. Our community faces many challenges and issues, and my job is to bring you the latest information as gathered from meetings, press conferences, and interviews.”

It’s really, really good, and one of the very few must-reads on my plate. We need local news, more than ever before.

What I’m Reading

What I’m Listening

Next month

  • What’s January going to look like?
  • How much work should we do on our house?
  • Doing the legwork to get to a fast offer
  • What if … the American birth and immigration rates continue to decline?


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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