Charlottesville, VA Real Estate News

By SHERRY HAYWARD, Charlottesville Homes and Farms
(KELLER WILLIAMS)
Albemarle - Charlottesville Real Estate & House Values Search Charlottesville real estate for sale. MLS access of Charlottesville real estate including full property details, photos, maps and school information. Learn what homes are selling for in your neighborhood. Albemarle - Charottesville Single Family Home Search Albemarle - Charlottesville real estate  Learn the value of you Albemarle - Charlottesville real estate online FREE!    Your Albemarle - Charlottesville real estate value report will include the following  Recent home sales that compare to your homeWhat your home is likely to appraise forAverage sales pricesAverage price per square footDetailed market information specific to your areaPricing strategies and statisticsCurrent InventoryAverage days on market  Contact Sherry H...
Comments 1
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
YES! Schools are IMPORTANT!   Although they rarely mention SCHOOLS in the "reality" real estate shows, the REALITY is that they are really important.   In our area, a new townhouse project started about 5 years ago was going to feed elementary and middle school children to a highly ranked county school compound because another, larger rental housing complex was going to be built that would feed into a NEWER elementary school in a more sparcely populated area of the county. When the second project did not materialize, the NEW residents to the first complex found that children had to go to the newer school....after they rented or bought because they thought their schools would be different.    This does not seem bad on the surface; however, it meant MORE bus traffic into the property for ...
Comments 8
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
I have local property management friends who are taking on UNsold listing for property management as the homeowners leave the area.   They think nothing of taking the MLS property description and using it in their web advertising for the property FOR RENT.   In my experience, I have never had a rental prospect ask if the home had trey ceilings, chair railings, 9' ceilings OR crown molding...yet, I keep seeing this irrelevant information in rental property ads on Craigslist and other rental web sites. Rental prospects DO WANT TO KNOW if the property has a GARAGE, a FENCED YARD and what appliances come with the home.   Since most rental prospects time to select a rental home is short and finite, wasting limited ad space giving USELESS information is counter productive to getting the home ...
Comments 13
Congratulations to Charles McDonald, an ActiveRain Millionaire   Real estate professional and blogger Charles McDonald is the latest member of the ActiveRain network to pass the million points level to place him at position #107 on the ActiveRain Leaderboard. Charles is your contact for properties in the area of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia. Charlottesville is the location of the University of Virginia and is a wonderful community. My student years were spent in Charlottesville for my undergraduate and law degrees at UVA. Please stop by to offer Charles your best wishes and congratulations. By the way, he celebrated his birthday on Saturday. Congratulations to Charles McDonald and best wishes for continued success.   Charles McDonald
Comments 14
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
This article from the Contra Costa Times (SF Bay Area of CA) shows the CONTINUAL perception that Landlords are RICH.   CA Landlord Drives Mercedes to Collect Rent$   The second paragraph points out that the Marin County (very RICH) retired architect drives to his Port Richmond (very POOR) rental properties in a Mercedes.....can I get a little Janis Joplin here!   ...so while the 74 year old retired Marin architect can certainly drive whatever car he wants for FUN....maybe he should have a 10 year old “beater” truck with good tires and locking doors to go collect his rent in Port Richmond.   From my FIRST day as a property manager, I was cautious of what type of car I drove.  Normally I would have 2 cars - FUN and WORK - and when time$ were tight, I had only the WORK car....and YES!  whe...
Comments 25
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
I’m on my SECOND adventure in AC condensate lines this summer.   Tenant wants RECONSIDERATION of $ervice Call   My first episode happened when my tenant’s DOG food ended up in the townhouse condensate line because of a MOUSE.   My current episode is the HOA notifying my property owner that his condo’s condensate line is leaking into the garage of the unit below.   No problemo....I wanted to initiate using my HVAC vendor to service this unit so I will take them a key and the tenant’s contact information this AM.   I had offered 2X since February to have the system serviced only to find out that my new client/condo owner had a “long-time friend” who was doing semi-annual checks on their system and their next schedule is in August.   Having HVAC systems serviced in the RIGHT season is CRIT...
Comments 4
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
  Each year at move-out time, some of my departing residents demonstrate why I need to refine my check-out cleaning instructions annually.   Although I provide the names of my PREFERRED service providers for house cleaning, carpet cleaning and yard work, every year some residents what to color outside the box and try to save $ by using a coupon that comes in the BLUE envelope.     I inspected a home on Saturday and when I entered, I realized that the AC was turned off and I then realized that the carpet had not been cleaned, or if it had been, it was done by someone who was not a professional and who did not know what they were doing.   There was debris on the carpet in clumps and the furniture divits had not been handled.   When I e-mailed the resident that I was going to have the carp...
Comments 7
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
With the local rental market for single family homes getting VERY tight....rental prospects are having to look outside of their housing budget for suitable housing. We have lots of new apartments and townhouses for rent in our area; however, few single family homes are available because...1) many that would be in the rental pool are now for sale; and 2) people with GREAT CREDIT are more desirable rental prospects than those who have to rent UP to get what they need for their family.   Frequently, even before they view the property, rental prospects want to know if the rent is negotiable - I ALWAYS say YE$!  I’ll negotiate UP...A$KING before the property is viewed is a waste of most prospects time so I have decided to ask them their credit score BEFORE saying NO to this negotiating tacti...
Comments 6
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
I have several new properties where the owners are relocating elsewhere and moving out of their home which I will be managing.  This will be a very hectic time for them so taking as much of a load off of them is a benefit for us all.   In my initial property presentation, my frequent comment is that “I Can Do That For You!”   I can:   1) have repairs and painting done so that the property shows BEST in photos and rental prospect viewings;   2) have the property cleaned PROFESSIONALLY after move-out so that the first renters will have a benchmark for their move-out cleaning standards AND I have a PAID bill to show a subsequent judge if the new tenant disputes my cleaning standards at move-out;   3) have the carpets cleaned PROFESSIONALLY and note the presence of pets so that the proper ...
Comments 3
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
I am in HEAVY move-out mode with approximately 15 residents moving between NOW and the end of July.   I have changed my move-out procedure as I experienced residents wanting to get “checked-out” at odd times over the last couple of years.   ENTER my SMARTYPHONE....to paraphrase The Eagles in Hotel California....You can check-out any time you like....just text me!  Yes, I am now requiring that residents leave their keys, garage opener(s) and forwarding address on a size #10 envelope ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER and that they TEXT me that they have left the property. It eliminates (1) them having to come to my office to return keys; and (2) the need for me to go to my office to get their keys to do their check-out inspection.   Once I receive a text, I can schedule the move-out inspection accor...
Comments 4
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
I RARELY take condo/townhouse properties in self-managed HOAs because of the burden of educating many board members on the nuiances of their rules and regulations NOT conforming to state and federal laws.   I did take a townhouse a few months ago and got it rented with almost a month lee-way to get lease approval from the 4-person board of directors.   I sent a copy of the 6-page lease to the designated board member and as well as my owner and waited a week.   After conferring with my owner on the NON-response from the board member, I sent all 4 members a copy of the lease with evidence that the lease had been submitted a week earlier.   The designated board member acknowledged the second e-mailing and indicated he would respond SHORTLY.  2 weeks go by and the owners and I are moving fo...
Comments 2
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
This is happening more NOW that there are fewer rental single family homes in the area.   Rental prospects just don’t realize that they need to come to the area to view rental homes late Wednesday afternoon and PRE-schedule viewings Thursday, Friday and sign their lease on Saturday and return home on Sunday. If they come during the weekend ONLY, they may only be able to view large apartment complexes with on-site staff to show them model units.   Even prospects that think that a real estate agent can get them into rental homes are finding they wasted a trip and should have taken time off of their CURRENT job to view homes during the week.   These rental prospects do not realize that signing a 6-month lease in an apartment complex means they will have to move AGAIN when they find a suita...
Comments 3
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
RENTAL PROSPECT from my web site:  Will you inquire of your client if they would consider lowering the rent ? I know that a higher payemt is chosen to deter residents who would not take care of the property. I relocated from Fairfax county and I get it. I will take care of it, but I am asingle parent putting a child through University and working I'd just like to see if she would consider. thank you    MY RESPONSE:  There is no incentive to lower the rent to less than what the owner has received for the last year.....good luck with your rental home search    RENTAL PROSPECT’S RESPONSE:  but you do have an obligation to your client to present her with the request and let her decide    MY RESPONSE TO HER MISTAKEN IMPRESSION:  Actually...no, I don't....don't confuse a property manager wit...
Comments 10
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
I recently wrote a blog post about charging a tenant with half of the cost of a HVAC service call.  Tenant wants RECONSIDERATION of $ervice Call....Sure, I'll REconsider! At about the same time, I had a showing request from an insistent rental prospect who demanded I show him and his girl friend an occupied home.   After explaining my process and requesting that they use the contact/inquire option from the property listing on my website, I receive an e-mail that critiques my 1) use of AOL as my contact e-mail provider on my website; 2) website because it is OLD and OUTDATED;   3) business practices; and toward the end of his electronic rant he proceeds to tell me that my business model will fail and if after my going bankrupt he sees me living in a box he would not be surprised....and, ...
Comments 46
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
I used the flashlight app on my first smartyphone (3 phones ago) within the first week....I must have learned to download it because I do not think it came loaded on the phone; however, I used it to show the basement of a 3-story townhouse with the basement bulb had burned out.   I have also advised residents how to find their keys when they dropped them outside of their rental unit in the dark....HELLO!  I’m not driving 20 minutes to get you into your home so you can turn on your exterior lights and find the keys you dropped....Flashlight app was my first choice since her car headlights would not reach into the area where she dropped her keys.        ...all I’m saying is that having this app on my smartyphone has saved me time, $$$ and gas. 
Comments 7
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
I have a property owner client who has known for 4 months her residents of 3 years were leaving the end of June.   I did a PRE-move-out inspection the end of March to assess what needed to be done in the “make ready” process for new residents.  I made the inspection with the Class B contractor I have used for over 15 years.  He gave up a workday to drive to 6 properties with me while we performed this process because he 1) knows how I want for my properties; and 2) he appreciates that I am his BEST customer....if not his LARGEST.   When I advised my client in April what needed to be done...1)repaint the upper 2 bedrooms, trim, full bath, ceilings AND 2-story stairwell to the main floor as well as possibly the master bedroom and full bath with walk-in closet AND remove the plastic waterp...
Comments 23
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
Occasionally I have to collect monies from my residents in addition to rent....plumbing bills for shampoo caps that fell into the toilet; HVAC service firm calls for NO HEAT when the filter is totally covered with debris from burning candles and incense. While I do try to talk(via e-mail)  most residents through mundane issues....sometimes a service firm is called and the cost may become the tenant’s responsibility. My latest such issue is a tenant who returned home to fine the AC condensate line leaking....she reported it appeared broken via e-mail and I responded to turn off the AC, put a pan under the leak and that I would have HVAC firm call her first thing Monday.  She baulked at waiting 2 days because she was having to empty the pan under the leak with a turkey baster. I just rece...
Comments 7
By Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer
(Gibson Management Group, Ltd.)
One of the things I ♥ about Craigslist for posting my rental properties is that they LISTEN TO THEIR USERS.....OH!  I don't think they are actually listening to ME; however, I suspect that through their various forums, posting options and FAQ, they are getting the word that rental prospects who use their site would like to know when a rental property is AVAILABLE. So Slap-Me-On-The-Head and call me CRAZY......Craig(list) is now offering 2 of the 4 important questions I ask in response to initial rental prospect inquiries.... While buyers may make their move-in date a condition of their purchase offer, landlords and property managers may well be dealing with occupied properties with fixed-term leases or lease-end dates that are KNOWN at the time that their internet posting is made. This ...
Comments 18
By Valorie L. Easter, Valorie Easter & Co, Charlottesville/Albemarle Rea
(eXp Realty)
Although we have definitely experienced an economic recovery as compared to the not so distant past, there are still many homeowners that owe more on their home than it is worth. This is a situation that has always existed and will continue to do so regardless of the economic climate. So what is a homeowner to do if they owe $450,000 on a home that is valued at only $200,000? Is it really OK to walk away? This question is a lot more complicated than it sounds. The legal implications alone are considerable and what about the damage that such a decision can do to your credit rating? First of all, if you live in what is known as a “recourse” state it is possible (and likely) that the lender will sue you for the difference between the sale price and what you actually owe on your mortgage. ...
Comments 1
By SHERRY HAYWARD, Charlottesville Homes and Farms
(KELLER WILLIAMS)
Forest Lakes Farmers Market 2014 is now open for business!  Forest Lakes farmers market is open for business from April through October. The farmers market has super convenient hours of operation. Open Tuesdays from 4PM to 7 PM. Easy to swing by after school or work. Enjoy farm fresh produce and grass-fed meats and  while supporting our local Charlottesville area farms. The Forest Lakes farmers market has over 25 vendors selling goods from produce, eggs and meats to baked goods, plants and fresh-cut flowers. You won't want to miss trying out some of the wines from the local wineries. A large bulk of your necessities can be purchased here at the Forest Lakes Farmers Market. All of the produce, meats, eggs, cheeses, butter, jams, jellies, baked goods and sweet treats and even arts and cra...
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