April 2024 Monthly Note | The Charlottesville Market Story is Stagnant

April 2024 monthly note.   Published on Substack, and available by free subscription there.

This month – the story of the Charlottesville real estate market, balancing business, buying relationships, seeing homeownership matter, and explaining the smush.

 


The Market Story Remains the Same

I’ve been trying to tell a different story: low inventory, higher rates, competitive market. Rates are now touching 8%. But that story remains the same.

And the buyer pool may be dwindling due to frustration, exhaustion, and lease renewals coming due.

From 1/1 to 4/21 last year, 618 resale listings posted in the Charlottesville MLS. This year, that number is 646. 443 (69%) of those 646 are either under contract or sold.

I’ve started doing a version of the chart below to help some sellers understand how to price their homes and to help buyers understand the lack of logic in the first weekend.

Pricing to suss out the irrationality is key from a seller’s point of view; being able to come to terms with your risk/price threshold is key from a buyer’s perspective.

And there’s a balance in there, somewhere. Allegedly.

One segment of the Charlottesville single family market, sorted in descending and ascending Days on MarketOne segment of the Charlottesville single family market, sorted in descending and ascending Days on Market
One segment of the Charlottesville single family market, sorted in descending and ascending Days on Market

 

Comparing contracts written in Charlottesville & Albemarle in first part of 2019 vs 2024.Comparing contracts written in Charlottesville & Albemarle in first part of 2019 vs 2024.
Comparing contracts written in Charlottesville & Albemarle in first part of 2019 vs 2024.

Thank you for reading! If you have a friend who’s thinking about moving and who might be interested … feel free to share.

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Turning down business

I was asked recently if I had the bandwidth to take on a new buyer client.

It’s easy to say yes every time when someone asks if you could take a new client.

Saying no is hard.

I know this: If I take on more clients that I am able to serve as well as I possibly can, everybody suffers. The client, me, the brand of my company, and most importantly, the client.

I called someone recently asking why his online calendar had no availability. He said, “I was getting booked out too fast on the website and it was getting a bit out of control — ended up not being able to work with the people that are my favorite that I’ve been working with for a long time so went back to personal booking and cut down the list of people I’m working with. With that being said what would work best for you?”

Perfect.

This is a business of relationships to a large degree, and one of competence as well.

 

Buying Relationships

When you hire someone you’re hiring more than their time and competence, you are hiring their experience and their relationships.

How do you value getting an answer from an attorney for an anxious client who needs an answer on Sunday evening?

Or a specialist inspector providing context, color and explanation at 8:00 on a weekend morning?

Being good at what one does is part of the professional equation.

 

Buying a home is a meaningful thing

I had forgotten the feelings associated with becoming a homeowner for the first time.

Yes, I remember how my wife and I felt when we had our first home and we were able to paint the walls whatever color we wanted.

I do this every day, and the feelings of excitement and accomplishment can feel commonplace.

And yet, those feelings were refreshed recently as I watched my older daughter and her husband sign their closing paperwork (there has to be a more efficient way!), then seeing them turn the deadbolt on their new home with their new keys.

Buying a home is a big deal, especially in this market with rates in the 7s and prices up.

I hope to never forget the big deal that is a home, and bring that to the table when representing buyers and sellers.


Home Tip

Check your dryer vents. Clear them for safety and efficiency. Really. Check the vents, and maybe, just maybe, consider getting your ducts cleaned!


Explaining the Smush

“I’m just going to cut the tendon here, and smush it back in there, and after rehab and PT, you’ll be as good as new.”

Looking back, I probably should have had the surgery on my ankle, which I had damaged playing soccer. The surgeon was by all accounts and reviews one of the best on the East Coast, and still is. And yet. I didn’t feel comfortable with the flippant dismissiveness of how he described what he was going to do to my ankle. It would have been fine, but my feelings got in the way.

For much of my career, I’ve shielded my clients from much of what I do. One of the things I am working to get better at is to explain to my clients what it is that I’m doing. I need to do better at sharing pertinent aspects of the “behind the scenes” work, while also protecting clients from the potentially sidetracking/transaction-ending discussions, most of which are emotional/irrational and not conducive to moving a transaction forward. Most of the time when there is a buyer who wants to buy, and a seller who wants to sell, minimizing emotional responses is more productive.

It’s easy to say, “I’ve got it,” and have it. It’s more important than ever to say, “We’ve got it,” and describe and demonstrate how.

Next month — renewing the push to educate about single agent dual agency.

Made it this far? Please subscribe if you haven’t already.

 

What I’m Reading

 

What I’m Listening To

This is a damn good ad from Zillow.

 

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