Posts tagged Buyers

Get to Know Your Neighbors – It’s Good for your Health! (How to Evaluate Neighborhoodiness)

I spend a lot of time thinking about connectivity and connectedness – “being part of something” is one of the most important criteria my buyer clients define.

The end of neighbours – How our increasingly closed-off lives are poisoning our politics and endangering our health

It’s a new day in the neighbourhood all across the Western world. More than 30 per cent of Canadians now say they feel disconnected from their neighbours, while half of Americans admit they don’t know the names of theirs. An Australian sociologist investigating community responses in the wake of the 2011 floods in Queensland found relations in “a precarious balance”; neighbours were hesitant to intrude even in emergencies—leading the scholar to conclude that “we are less likely than ever to know” our neighbours. Quite right, too: A recent poll of 2,000 Britons found a third declaring they couldn’t pick their near neighbours out of a police lineup.

Yet it’s hardly surprising, given how lengthy working days, long commutes and having both parents in the labour force have combined with the way we raise our children to create suburban neighbourhoods that are empty more than half the day, with scarcely a neighbour to encounter, let alone recognize, trust or befriend. But, however powerful the economic and social forces behind the disappearing neighbour—and however positive many of its results—according to reams of new research, the transformation is also poisoning our politics and, quite literally, killing us.

And another perspective on similar studies:

Always Talk to Strangers – People who know and trust their neighbors are less likely to have heart attacks. New research builds on the understated health benefits of a sense of belonging and community.

The study du jour, published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, is based on assessments of social connectedness in 5276 adults in urban, suburban, and rural areas. The subjects rated how strongly they agreed with the following four prompts:

• “I really feel part of this area.”
• “If [I] were in trouble, there are lots of people in this area who would help.”
• “Most people in this area can be trusted.”
• “Most people in this area are friendly.”

The responses landed the participants on a seven-point Likert scale. And then they were followed. Four years later, 148 of them had experienced heart attacks.

“On the seven-point scale,” Kim explained, “each unit of increase in neighborhood social cohesion was associated with a 17 percent reduced risk of heart attacks.”

“If you compare the people who had the most versus the least neighborhood social cohesion,” Kim continued, “they had a 67 percent reduced risk of heart attacks.”

But how does a stranger assess neighborhoodiness?

How friendly is the neighborhood?
– Knock on doors
– Walk your dog or kids (borrow one or the other or both if you don’t have them) in the neighborhood
– Drive through and see who waves (really).
– Does the neighborhood have a Facebook or Nextdoor group? I haven’t tried this yet, but I think i might start asking for a printout of the past few conversations if such a page does exist …

Read More

What Are Some Questions Buyers Should be Asking?

This thread on Reddit the other day prompted a bit of a writing prompt … What are some questions that home buyers should be asking?

In my practice, I ask a lot of dumb questions – dumb questions in that I know that my clients (buyers and sellers) should be asking them, but often don’t know to ask them. So I ask for them … these are just some that came to me the other day. I think I’ll add to this post over time, but felt that these were some awfully useful questions. I pulled some of them from my 30+ Tips for First Time Homebuyers post that I wrote earlier this year.

Have a question? Have a favorite question you like to ask? I’d love to hear (and add) it. 434-242-7140 or email me.

My two cents:

– Is there a survey? Where are the property lines? Are there easements about which I should be aware?

– Is there an HOA? What are the dues? What have the dues done over the past 10 years? Is the HOA professionally managed? (9/10 professionally managed is better than managed by those who have this much free time)

– What’s traffic like during rush hour? What’s the commute like? (Always, always visit at different times of day/night the place you’re considering)

What’s buyer agency? (if you visit an open house – there’s a 99% chance that the agent hosting it is there to represent the seller … not you)

Should I use an attorney or title company? (in my market, using an attorney is usually the better option of the two)

Should I rent first before I buy? (my advice: yes – rent in the area in which you’re going to buy so that you can learn the area)

Read More

30+ Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

This week I had the opportunity to talk to a small group of first time homebuyers. In preparing, I asked social media, “What one piece of advice would you give a first-time homebuyer?”

The answers – from clients (recent and not), friends, and good real estate professionals – were outstanding. I’m grateful for their sharing. I thought about highlighting one or two or ranking them in order from best to not-quite-best, but each is the best piece in its own category.

How does one rank these? They’re all really important – and these aren’t even a third of the great advice offered.

– Buy below your means

– Profits are made when purchasing a house not selling

– ignore HGTV

– Pay attention to the things that really matter (layout, size, neighborhood, etc.); don’t focus on aesthetics like paint color and appliances that can be changed.

Have savings after you close; cash solves a lot of future problems

– Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you’re worried they’ll make you sound dumb.

There are a lot more after the break.

Some of the notes I used to prepare and speak: (naturally, in writing this post, I was able to find and references stories I’ve written over the past 9 years)

– When to start? I’d say to engage with a good Realtor and lender about 9-18 months before you’re aiming to close. Take time to learn the area, the market, your life patterns, growth and development patterns. Read all that you can.

Rent first.

Always visit the area around your house before you buy – at multiple times of day on multiple days.

Questions a Realtor can’t answer (related: Big data and civil rights. Also:

Questions to ask your prospective Buyers Agent (My advice: don’t hire a part-timer) Also: Why hiring family may be a bad idea.

How to search for homes without a Realtor (in Charlottesville)

Assembling the team. How your Realtor helps assemble the necessary A-Team.

Work with a local lender. These are the two I tend to recommend the most.

How to choose the right buyers agent (hint: it’s sort of like dating)

– I highly recommend reading RealCentralVA and, if you’re interested in Crozet, RealCrozetVA. But at the very least, please do subscribe to my monthly note, in which I summarize the best posts from the previous month, among other original stories. In fact, the quote I read during the talk from a buyer client was published in my monthly note.

And because I’m writing this post purely as advice from a real estate professional, my name is Jim Duncan. I’m a real estate agent. I’m a partner at Nest Realty in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Call or email me anytime with questions – even ones you think are dumb.

Read More