October 2021 Note | A different market update, Kids Work, & a Wedding

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The Market

I’m going to start doing something new, especially as I tend to publish these notes near the end of the month. These are two of the best things I digest consistently to get a gauge on the real estate market.

They are both outstanding with respect to learning overall market trends, most of which can be seen in the Charlottesville area market.

But my clients aren’t national; they care about whether they can (or should) buy or sell right now. Inventory remains low, and market activity feels busier now than I recall previous years. Conversations I’m having now with clients are about inventory, interest rates, competition, timing, and inventory.

Through the lens of some of the contracts I’ve written or closed in the past four weeks, all within Charlottesville or Albemarle:

  • Under asking price, multiple offers
  • Over asking, multiple offers
  • Over asking, multiple offers
  • Asking, one offer
  • Under asking, one offer
  • Under asking, multiple offers
  • Over asking, multiple offers
  • Under asking, multiple offers
  • Asking, multiple offers
  • Over asking, multiple offers
  • Over asking, multiple offers

That’s part of my lens, which I think is reasonably representative of the current state of the Charlottesville market.

know this: Buyers are ramping up prep for spring (interested in representation? Learn more here) as are sellers (learn more here). 2022 is going to be interesting.

Next month: more predictions on the 2022 market.

 

“Kids Today”

It’s getting harder and harder to be able to tell my clients, “I’ve got this,” when the handyperson/plumber/electrician/contractor is either too busy to return calls, might not show, or has COVID.

There was a time when I could tell my clients with confidence, “I’ve got someone for that.” Now it’s often, “I should have someone for that; if he can’t do it, we’ll have to go to a bigger company with scale, and higher prices, but they’ll show up.”

I was talking to a contractor recently about how difficult it is for him to find work, but that he’s optimistic that when robots and automation become more commonplace, he’s not concerned, as he’ll be the one owning the robots and hiring the people to operate them.

There’s opportunity in the trades – for people to learn hard skills, be able to do things, and make a darn good living at it, and often choose the people for whom you work. A lot of the older tradespeople are not being replaced … and that’s bad on a lot of levels.

One tradesperson I know is scaling back because he has too much work and doesn’t want to work for people who don’t respect him and who he doesn’t like. That’s a good position to be in.

 

Work Stops at 5:30pm. What?

I was talking to a younger client recently and they were saying that they rarely work past 5:30pm. They would go days “not even thinking about coworkers or work.” That’s a mindset that I cannot fathom, but I think it’s healthy.

The Great Resignation is fascinating; I don’t have any great thoughts on the why, as I’ve been self-employed for nearly 21 years. I simply don’t understand the “not caring or thinking about work” mindset, but there are times when I wonder what life would be like if I had a career with hard hours. (I wouldn’t like it; I always need to be doing something).

I’m wondering if this is widespread or if my thinking is simply a result of recent interactions that don’t reflect the wider market.

Anyone have thoughts on this?

 

What’s Life Like Here Throughout the Year?

It’s easy to like a house/neighborhood/area on Sunday afternoon when you drive by it the first time and easy to like it Monday afternoon when you see it in person. And hopefully you like it during the home inspection and the walkthrough the morning of closing.

But what about after that?

Four times a year at the nearby community pool there are swim meets. Buzzers, noise, traffic. My wife and I knew this before we bought, or it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten, and don’t know life without it.

Other sounds we can hear – the new lightning sensor at the pool. It’s loud. Really loud. It can be heard for about two miles, and we’re much closer. We can watch and hear the 4th of July fireworks.

We can also hear occasional live music from the nearby brewery, now that most of the trees have been removed for upcoming housing development. And occasionally smell the hops.

These are all sounds that a buyer probably wouldn’t know about before making an offer.

A quiet hike with my wife; our favorite time of the year, and a reminder of why we live here.

The Attorney and the Thug

This was a first. I had clients, and we were right. But the other side didn’t want to concede. So they opted for intimidation.

Client – “Their lawyer just had the letter hand (that he’s emailed) delivered to us.” (On a Saturday morning)

Me: What?

Client: The letter delivery by the thug guy was quite theatrical and evidently meant to be intimidating.

Things worked out in the end, and my clients were happy, but I learned about an attorney to not use.

 

My wife and I voted; I hope you do too.
My wife and I voted; I hope you do too.

 

Safety Blinds

A client sent me this, that she had sent to her builder:

My name is X and I own (and love) one of your homes.


October is Window Cover Safety month and I wanted to ask if you would consider removing blinds with cords from their design center options or providing information (
such as this CPSC information) on preventing child strangulation. Even if the current potential homeowners do not have kids or plan on having them, future homeowners might, and it would certainly increase the value of a home to me to see cordless blinds already installed.

I told my client that not only would I suggest this to my new construction clients, but resale clients too, as well as note it here.

Noted.

 

What I’m Reading

On a personal note

My older one is married. Simple, beautiful, graceful. Reminds me of our wedding in a lot of ways. I’m proud of them, and I hope there are no videos of me barely holding it together during my speech.

What I’m Listening To

 

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