How long have you been a part of the (local) real estate community?
I have been a full time realtor since August of 1987. During that time I have been an individual agent, a team leader, managing broker, and company president. I have also been very active in the local, state, and national associations of Realtors. Locally that has included 3 separate rotations on the Board of Directors, CAAR President in 2000, two terms on the Board for the Virginia Association and Chair of Professional Standards for the state, and currently on the Professional Standards Committee for the National Association of Realtors.
What’s the biggest change you have seen during your time in real estate?
There are many changes that have occurred and many that continue. When I entered the business the consumer had to come to the Realtor for the information. Now information is readily available. Knowledge about the market and the ability to make sense of all the information that is available is the more important value that Realtors bring to the table. Buyer Brokerage is another big change that occurred, creating a better and fairer market for all parties.
What trends are you currently seeing in the market?
There are many trends in the market ranging from market activity to marketing trends, finance to environmental considerations. One of the biggest trends to watch is the ongoing move toward more urban living vs being out in the country. The two biggest demographic groups (boomers and millennials) both want to live in to the urban area for greater access to services, entertainment, walkability, and closeness to friends and family. This trend has driven prices up considerably in the urban area and created a significant shortage of available homes. This also compounds the challenges that exit in the area of affordable housing.
What’s your most important advice for buyers?
My advice to buyers has always been start early and get prepared. This includes getting educated about the market as well as preparing financially. Meet with a lender and get a credit approval before you start looking at homes. Work with an agent who is knowledgeable, communicative, and has your best interests at heart. Always consider your 5 year cost of ownership vs the initial acquisition cost only (what repairs, maintenance, or improvements should be factored in).
What’s your most important advice for sellers?
Be reasonable with pricing. The market is showing signs of decelerating caused in part by resistance to price increases, rising interest rates, and changes to tax laws. Don’t try to squeeze every dollar out of a sale, but pay close attention to terms of the sale as well. Be sure to get the house ready for sale by decluttering, cleaning, and making necessary repairs. Bring in a realtor early to help make the best decisions for return on investment with preparations or improvements.
What does Charlottesville Look like in 5 years?
Charlottesville will continue to be a desirable community despite the relative cost of housing and challenges with supply of housing options. Despite the appearance of overwhelming growth, the pace of growth has actually been moderate over a period of many years. Limited availability of developable land and high cost of that land will continue to create challenges for affordable housing. Expect continued urbanization of both the city and county with increasing density. Along with these trends will come greater options for public transportation and increased walkability. Charlottesville is a great community and enjoys a rich diversity of residents. This is one of our great gifts, and while challenges exist, will continue to be one of our great strengths.