Happy June. This month: I’m writing about comparisons, perspectives, and connecting. A bit about the Charlottesville real estate market, too. And I didn’t even get to single agent dual agency; that’s next month. Subscribe to my note at JimsNote.com.

“You don’t realize you’re in the best days of your life until you’re out of them.” My wife said that recently, and I had to write it down, and share with you.

This month, a bit about agency, the value of the last touch, filter bubbles and insurance, and a reader’s response about AI. And some Charlottesville market insight, too. I hope you like it.

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Agency

Would you hire the same attorney to represent both parties in a contested divorce?

We’re going to see more of Single Agent Dual Agency. When one agent represents both parties in the same transaction. We’re going to see more of this in our brave new world of decoupled real estate commissions, as buyers are not able to afford representation, they are going to be forced to forego buyer representation, and thus be unrepresented or dual-represented by the listing agent.

What is single agent dual agency? (I wrote this in 2006)

One of the primary values a Realtor brings to a transaction is representation – representation of his client’s best interests. How can a Realtor advocate for the best interests of both parties and still maintain the perception of fairness and full representation? In my mind, there is a difference between treating all parties fairly and honestly and being able to advocate with 100% vigor for one party.

Realtors practice dual agency all the time – successfully. Never had I had someone remark how much they appreciated their agent representing both sides. I have been told numerous times by clients how they perceived their agent in a shady, less-than-honest manner because that agent had both the buyer and seller.

Dual agency devalues Exclusive Representation.

In a divorce, would you have the same attorney represent both parties?

Having a client perceive that my loyalties were less than 100% is simply not worth whatever amount of money I might make.

I’ve said a few times recently that the proposed real estate settlements seem to me to have a similar goal as this quote reflected: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

Next month: How many of you remember or know about sub-agency?

 

The Last Touch Matters

Everything in a transaction can go great – offer and contract negotiations go as expected, inspection and related negotiations are reasonable, lender is responsive, title company or attorney does what they do, and then — the last touch. The last freaking touch, which I can’t control, happens. Whatever it is, whoever it is, is irrelevant, and it matters so much.

If that last touch is a rough one, the multi-month transaction that had otherwise gone smoothly is damaged. Imagine if you’re eating the most expensive sandwich you’ve ever eaten, a life-changing experience, and every bite has been delicious and memorable, and the last bite is revolting. The memory of every other bite is lost.

2024 has been a hard year in our market, with more of the uncontrollable final touches being challenged. Why write this? Because this is the reality we’re facing right now, and the good ones are doing everything we can to ensure that each touch results in a good and memorable experience.

 

“Are homes still getting multiple offers driving up the price, or have things cooled down a bit?”

A client asked that question recently.

I used my response to them as a prompt for my note to you.

321 non-new construction homes were listed in Charlottesville + Albemarle from 5/1/24 – 6/17/24. 170 (62% ) of the 275 listed in that period went under contract. Median days on market for the 275 contracts written in that period: 6.

Looking to see if things are slowing, I looked at the 2/1 – 4/30 timeframe, only resale homes in Charlottesville + Albemarle. 519 homes were listed, and 419 of those (81%) went under contract in February, March, and April. 518 of the 519 went under contract. Median days on market for the 419: 5.

For deeper context, from 1 May to 17 June 2019, 424 homes non-new homes were listed, 337 total contracts were written, and the median days on market was 14.

Different/same answer:

In response to the house they asked about, I wrote, “The first weekend is a crapshoot as a buyer (and seller). This house is listed at $850K. I could see it going for $850K-$900K by Tuesday. Or ~$825K in two weeks.”

It went under contract the first weekend.

I almost always do these analyses by hand; I find that pen & ink helps me better grasp what’s happening.

As I wrote last month, my instincts and feelings say the market is slowing; the data seem to show that to be true.

Duct tape needed at Sugar Hollow Dam

How to define a great agent

How to define a good agent? Best answer: a good one. One unquantifiable and difficult to explain quality of a great agent — emotional intelligence and awareness, the ability to listen, and when to be silent.

A recent text conversation with a friend in a different profession:

“What he doesn’t know is that I doubt what I do every single day.”

Me: “I find that the longer I do what I do, the more I doubt it, and I’d like to think that that constant questioning makes me better at what I do.”

“I think that is the mark of a true professional. I know I am good. But I also can’t ever allow myself to be arrogant or cocky.

A sign of a great professional is acknowledging that I don’t know everything, I’m learning every day, and while I avoid mistakes, I know that I make them and I learn from them.

Quiet solo gravel rides are lovely

 

Filter Bubble

What do you read/watch/consume to see beyond your filter bubble, to see things that aren’t typically part of your daily habits? To expose yourself to topics or opinions you might not see otherwise? I’m genuinely curious.

I acknowledge that my filter currently brings me a fair amount of climate-related news. It’s hard to avoid even if I didn’t seek it out; climate affects *everything* and more of my clients are talking about climate refugees/immigrants coming to the Charlottesville – Albemarle region. It’s not just me.

This I know: while I have long used the Homeowners Insurance Addendum as a talking point with my buyer clients, I am going to start using it when working with my sellers. And keep explaining the addendum to other agents.

Client’s new construction home. Things happen fast.

 

I’m already tired of AI.

I’m sharing this email from a client in response to my note last month discussing authenticity, humanity, and AI.

LinkedIn is becoming a dinosaur. The entire concept of career networking is being rapidly replaced with AI.

Smart career climbers these days don’t write their resumes anymore, they let AI do it.

I’m the lead recruiting technical analyst for all [redacted] Many viable candidates are identified with our AI cloud-based platform [redacted] selecting their AI-generated resumes. … it’s pretty impressive, and easily abused.

The interesting point is a candidate is only as good (from a system perspective) as how well the AI used to generate their resume meets the requirements of our AI that reads it.

I upgraded to a newer iPhone, and in spite of completing the setup for Siri exactly how Apple recommends, Siri and I had communications issues. It was her, not me. Finally, in frustration, I asked Siri how I could make her understand me better. Her response compelled me to create my all-time favorite screen capture, perfectly describing the struggles of humanity and technology.

 


Defining a Brokerage’s Value

What would the cost be to duplicate what I get at Nest? I have no idea, and I know that the market is shifting, the brokerage value is more valuable than ever. The longer I do this, the more I realize how much help great agents need to do what they do. Could I do everything the brokerage provides? Sure, and that would mean I was doing more of that stuff and spending less time with clients.


What I’m Reading

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What I’m Listening To

 

Thank you for reading, reading this far, and sharing this with a friend if you’re so inclined. Next month, I’m aiming to write about travel, summer market update, sub-agency and the lawsuits, and one or two other topics. If you have a suggestion, please let me know!

 

— Jim

434-242-7140

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