Browsing Category Questions for readers

You’re Going about It all Wrong – Or How to Search for Homes in Charlottesville (Without a Realtor)

Look at picture to see how different the home looked a few years back (pics usually taken in 2002 or 2003). ( ed note: this leads to a separate rant about Realtors stripping the MLS of photos of their listings when the listing expires/sells – this kills the accuracy and historical context of the MLS )e. … For example: Grove St. plus Charlottesville clued me into the Grove Square development (which I was unaware of because I’m new to C’ville). (ed note: don’t forget to visit Charlottesville Tomorrow for the most in-depth reporting on growth, development and politics in Charlottesville/Albemarle) 5.

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Moving to Charlottesville?

Clubs/Networks (just a sampling) Charlottesville Young Professionals Charlottesville Sports and Social Club The next three came from my curiosity – I started typing in “Charlottesville [blank] club” into Google and quickly figured that there’s likely a club for anything and everything (seriously be creative when you try it!) – Charlottesville Track Club Charlottesville Hiking Club Charlottesville Drinking Club Rentals – For most people relocating blind to the area (having only been here once or twice) I would much rather we take a “rent now, buy later approach” (although this is certainly not “one size fits all” – each person and situation is different).

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Choosing the Right Buyer’s Agent in Charlottesville

Last week’s article in the Daily Progress was good, but as I told the journalist at the time – there is so much more I wanted to go into that article, and newspapers are so limited by what they can offer in print. They deal in inches, and for better or worse, bloggers don’t have those limitations. With that preface, this is one of things that didn’t make it in the article due in part to space limitations – My advice to buyers in the Charlottesville area –

Choose the right representation. Choose the right buyer’s agent. Choose someone whom you trust and get along with and like – not just because you met them at an open house, or because they have a blog, or because they are your sister’s husband’s friend who is just getting started and needs a break. Choosing the wrong representation is not just not worth it.

A good (great) buyer’s agent is someone who will advocate 100% on your behalf – simple. Contrary to public opinion, a good buyer’s agent is focused on the client’s needs more than their own. If you feel that “your” Realtor is focused more on the “sale” than your best interests – tell him.

Going waaay back in the archives to 2005, citing a WSJ article

“Finding a real estate agent is kind of like dating. You have a small window to make an impression and then you’re with that person for a long time.

Here is my business philosophy when I work with buyers – I want to sell their house when they move. Every buyer client represents a minimum of three transactions –

1) The house they are buying right now.

2) That house when they move (everybody moves, even if “this is the last house I am going to buy”)

3) At least one of their friends or family when my clients proselytize for me

I work with Buyer-Broker agreements with my buyers for a variety of reasons – first and foremost because we negotiate my fee upfront, and I am free from the perception that I am not showing unrepresented sellers’ (FSBO) houses or those houses that are offering lower commissions in the MLS than many Realtors are used to. And – it formalizes the contractual relationship that I have to my clients and that my clients have to me.

You can find a sample (although a bit dated) Buyer-Broker Agreement here.

Updated – this is a current sample Buyer-Broker Agreement. Note that it takes two sections to warn/educate about Dual Agency.

My advice is this – do your due diligence. If you have questions about the process, what questions to ask (or if you have an experience you would like to share) please contact me anytime.


And the coup de grace with regards to what blogs have over print – here are a bunch of very relevant links to help you get started in your research:

Here are some questions to ask when hiring a Realtor, courtesy of Redfin.

Do you like/do Dual Agency? One of my favorite posts I have written about Dual Agency is this – Dual Agency – Who Benefits? —- The Realtor.

Representation isn’t free

How to Choose a Realtor

Great Questions for a Seller to Ask

Questions to ask your (potential) agent in Charlottesville

Steering Buyer’s Agents

Why Use a Realtor – Decoding NAR-Speak

Rolling the Dice with Buyers

Being Selective

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Reader Question – What do you think about Fifeville?

“curious if you are familiar with the fifeville neighborhood in charlottesville. and if so what you think about the huge price tags on houses in a neighborhood that is clearly still in the early stages of gentrification” Thank you for the question. … As I have said many times before, (almost) any house or neighborhood that offers “walk-ability” to desirable “stuff” – coffee shops, restaurants, shopping, grocery, parks, gyms – will likely be well poised to take advantage of the local real estate market going forward.

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If you could ask Lawrence Yun a question, what would it be?

I am intrigued by Lawrence Yun.  He even has his own Lawrence Yun Watch site, following his predecessor’s own “Watch” site.  If only because watching him painstaking try to regain the credibility that was squandered by David Lereah is a monumental task.  If you had the chance to ask him one question – about where he candidly thinks the economy is going to what his thoughts are about stepping into such a politically daunting position – what would it be?

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How to market new construction

The methods being employed in Fluvanna and Louisa at present are: (1) Make all lots available for sale to anyone (via standard marketing tools, i.e., MLS, print ads, etc.)…Simply market the hell out the thing in every way possible….  Pros: faster lot absorption, higher lot price potentialCons: speculators purchasing lots and sitting on them, undesirable heterogeneity in home styles, market-level sales commissions (2) Require buyers to use one or more pre-selected builders…In several instances, I’m seeing developers hire listing agents to sell lots, while requiring buyers to use a pre-selected builder(s)….  Pros: minimal sales commissionsCons: buyers may not want to use pre-selected builders, slower absorption (3) Sell all lots to one or more builders …assuming the desired price and absorption can be negotiated, and the builder is not some startup guy who could fold if a single home doesn’t sell, this is probably the best situation for developers.  Pros: no sales commissions, predetermined absorptionCons: small builders may back out, price discount likely *Best, in this context, is how best to maximize value/return on the development of the subdivision.

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Questions answered

A bit of a take-off of the “ask the agent” feature that some of the other real estate blogs have been doing of late – I have taken some of the more interesting or pertinent search phrases that have led visitors to this blog.  Should you get title insurance?Yes, in most cases….  In most cases, title insurance costs a percentage of the sales price.  If you choose not to purchase owners’ coverage (lenders’ coverage is required by the lender) think about the hassle and cost that would come from having to hire an attorney for at least several hours …  Broker’s agreement w/ buyer VAHere is my explanation for that.How the real estate cartel harms consumerI don’t think there is a “cartel”.  Real estate is an enormously competitive industry.  Is ivy road in charlottesville walkable?Much of the Ivy Road that is close to the City of Charlottesville is, but the part of Ivy Road known better as 250 West is not.  Old Ivy Road is if you’re daring and brave – particularly under either bridge.Real estate, what does pending mean?Active: Actively on the marketContingent: Under contract, with contingencies such as home inspection or financingPending: All contingencies have been satisfied and both parties are waiting to close.Do you have any questions that you would like answered?

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