Letters Next Door Video | January 2022 Note (Archive)

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This month: buyer letters’ evolution, looking next door, working 9 to 5, and a return to doing some real estate video.

The market is picking up. If you’re looking for buyer or seller representation, I’d welcome the opportunity to have a conversation with you. I’m here.

434-242-7140 or jim@realcentralva.com

First, the Market

The questions buyers want to know: could I/should I buy right now?

Short answer: Maybe. Let’s talk about it. The market right now is challenging for a buyer in so many ways – low inventory, competing against cash offers, fast-moving market.

And for sellers: could I/should I sell right now?

Short answer: same as above. Also where would you go? If you’re moving out of the area, the conversation is easier. If you need to sell your house in order to buy the next one, particularly if you’re staying local, we are going to have to have a conversation about juggling and maybe renting.

Serious advice: please hire competent representation. This market is not one for the faint of heart, or the incompetent or inexperienced.



Evolution of thinking about buyer letters

“Don’t send buyer letters when sending offers.” I’m a bit less blunt in the MLS when advising buyer agents to not send buyer love letters, but the message is the same.

My perspective on letters has evolved.

In 2018, I wrote about the potential risks posed by buyer letters, and yet still gave advice on what information buyers should include when writing letters. In early 2021, I wrote this:

Let’s keep the offers and contracts about the terms – price, closing, financing, etc. – rather than the who. Our history has shown the troubling results of choosing buyers based on who they are.

From a client when we were discussing my advice to not permit buyer letters, as it was a new conversation to them.

I see how it makes sense in nearly every situation, but to a degree, who buys the home, and their purpose for it, will likely influence the neighborhood, and my home directly.

You know what? We chose you for a reason. I trust you completely. Go for it – tell ‘em no letters. … in the end, everyone needs a home, and I know that whoever buys it will benefit the property and themselves.

Going forward in 2022, no buyer letters. Unless maybe it’s a letter from a buyer’s cat to my seller’s cat. Just kidding. No letters.


Looking Next Door

I’ve long said to my clients, “We can find you a house that will be fine. It will have three bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, and probably with most of what you need and a lot of what you want. But the where matters. If we find you an amazing house, but you hate the neighborhood, or it’s too far from work/play/school/grocery/etc., would it be the right house?

I was showing a house several years ago, and I don’t remember who noticed this first, but when my clients saw the cornhole boards painted as confederate flags, they immediately said, “Nope.”

It’s a free country, and people are allowed to have those things; people also have the right to want to not live next door to them.

Always look next door, and down the street. Where matters.


Growing Older

I’ve long been a seasoned agent. I hope that as I enter my 21st year of practicing real estate that should I slip, trusted colleagues will tell me. It’s easy to keep doing things the way I’ve always done them, or how I learned 15 years ago. While this is still a human business, the practice of real estate has changed in so many ways.

Related story from Seth Godin that popped up after I’d finished this draft:

“The way things are”

That’s how culture perpetuates injustice and indignity. Because that’s just the way things are around here.

But the status quo isn’t permanent. The world doesn’t stay the way it was. It changes.
And it’s been changing faster than ever.


Back to Video

I did videos years ago. I’m trying them again. My face is older than it was then, but now I have captions and bumpers. So … progress? In 2018, when Facebook was lying to its “customers” about the value of video, I wrote that I thought the pivot to video was short-sighted and unwise. The pivot was a disaster for so many.

The fun thing about video is that when I do a video, I push it to Instagram, YouTube, and RealCentralVA.com. The media shift, but the content will always be home on the blog(s). The videos aren’t yet good, but I’ll get there.

Two lessons
  1. Own the platform; in my case, those are my blogs.
  2. Content remains king/queen.

With that, two recent videos:

  • What’s this house worth (the first week on the market)?
  • 2021 vs 2022 market dynamics.


This is not the riding I want to do, but it’s what the weather dictates. Also, this is a metaverse.

Working 9 to 5

My wife and I were talking recently about what life would have been if I’d had a career with normal hours. Or as I tell my clients, “If I had a real job with real hours.”

Knowingly, she said, “You wouldn’t have been happy with a 9 to 5.”

She’s right.

A friend in the business recently wrote this to me, and I hope that I never lose sight of the this.

“I learned a lot from you – one key lesson being that harboring goodwill should be thought of during a transaction – not just “winning” for your client.”


And Snowflakes

Come on, man.

My wife and I needed something done at our house, so I called around to some of the usual people to try to get something scheduled. One of them said that they’d come to me because he’d worked with me before. He continued on that he wouldn’t accept any more customers in Charlottesville because they’re “snowflakes,” who “ask me to wear a mask and ask about vaccination status.”

We found another service provider.

It’s hard to have a society when we can’t even agree to protect each other. (related)



What I’m Reading


What I’m Listening
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