100% Financing IS Available in Blacksburg

For the longest time I’ve been under the impression that 100% loans have not been available within Blacksburg and Montgomery County; those programs just haven’t been available. Then earlier this week, I learned of a program that StellarOne Bank has been offering to do just that.

The requirements are:

  • up to $300000 loan value
  • 700 credit score
  • borrower(s) can’t make more than $68800 per household
  • if you’ve had a foreclosure or bankruptcy more than 36 months from loan application, you may still qualify

This is potentially really big news for folks who have been struggling to get into the Blacksburg real estate market. It won’t fit everyone, but for many it will. You can find out more below, and contact Sandra Chafin at StellarOne for even more details.

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Retiring? The New River Valley Might Suit You Well

Blacksburg – and the New River Valley – have just been named to another “Best” list.

Where to Retire magazine just published an article, seen below, naming Blacksburg a great place to retire. I don’t know about the retirement part, but I can certainly say it’s a great place to live, and I’ve worked with a lot of folks over the last 10 years who’ve moved back here for many of the reasons mentioned in the article.

And there have been lots of other “Best Of” awards recently

Way to go, New River Valley!

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How To Be Sure Your Foundation Isn’t Moving

Is there a way to tell if your foundation wall is cracking and moving?

I came across an interesting post the other day from one of our Nest Realty agents in Charlottesville, Jim Duncan. I have said before that most of my good ideas come from other agents and Jim has certainly provided me with many ideas, so it’s no surprise that he would have already covered this issue.

Many homes in the New River Valley are built with concrete block foundations, particularly those built prior to the mid-1990′s. Concrete block foundations are not uncommon at all, and it’s definitely not uncommon to see cracks in the blocks, or in the mortar between the blocks, as the house as settled. The vast majority of time a home inspector will determine these cracks are nothing to be concerned about – often called “step cracks”, they’re simply a byproduct of the mortar around the blocks drying and cracking. But sometimes, blocks move, and in those cases it’s important to determine whether or not it’s a simple step crack, or something more serious. In the video below, Jim’s home inspector shows a simple way to do just that.

Thanks, Jim, for the tip.

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What’s the List to Sale Ratio in Blacksburg?

Seems a lot of people consider negotiation as “ask less than the list price and expect that they’ll come back somewhere in the middle.” At its’ simplest sure, that might work, but it also helps to know at what price sellers are pricing their homes, and also at what price buyers are buying those same homes for. This is where the list to sale ratio comes in.

To see the list to sale ratio in Radford, click here

Now, it’s not perfect, but it’s helpful, and the reason why it’s helpful is because it shows what kind of momentum, plus or minus, the market has at any given time. Should it be the only data point you and your agent examine when figuring out where to price your home, or at what price to make an offer on a home? Absolutely not.

To see the list to sale ratio in Christiansburg, click here.

For instance, here are some charts showing the average list prices (second column from the left) and average sales prices (third column from the left) for condos in Blacksburg in 2013. Note – these figures include foreclosures, which are not considered “arm’s-length transactions. Their impact on the market in 2013 was not statistically significant, so I left them in.

Blacksburg condosAnd here are the average list prices (second column from the left) and average sales prices (third column from the left) for townhouses in Blacksburg in 2013.

Blacksburg townhomesFinally, here are the average list prices (second column from the left) and average sales prices (third column from the left) for single-family homes in Blacksburg in 2013.

Blacksburg single-familySo, what’s it all mean, here? This one’s actually a really good example of what we’re seeing in the market – condos, with a list to sale ratio of 95.2%, are taking longer to sale (124 days) and accepting a greater discount than townhouses (97.1%) and single-family homes (97%). This matches what we’ve been seeing for a while, largely due to economic factors like financing, and the number of people buying second homes in the area.

 

 

 

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What’s the List to Sale Ratio in Christiansburg

Seems a lot of people consider negotiation as “ask less than the list price and expect that they’ll come back somewhere in the middle.” At its’ simplest sure, that might work, but it also helps to know at what price sellers are pricing their homes, and also at what price buyers are buying those same homes for. This is where the list to sale ratio comes in.

To see the list to sale ratio in Radford, click here.

Now, it’s not perfect, but it’s helpful, and the reason why it’s helpful is because it shows what kind of momentum, plus or minus, the market has at any given time. Should it be the only data point you and your agent examine when figuring out where to price your home, or at what price to make an offer on a home? Absolutely not.

For instance, here are some charts showing the average list prices (second column from the left) and average sales prices (third column from the left) for townhouses in Christiansburg in 2013. Note – these figures include foreclosures, which are not considered “arm’s-length transactions. Their impact on the market in 2013 was not statistically significant, so I left them in.

Christiansburg townhomesAnd here are the average list prices (second column from the left) and average sales prices (third column from the left) for single-family home sales in Christiansburg in 2013.

Christiansburg single-family

Unlike the example we saw in Radford, the list to sale ratios in Christiansburg, for both house styles, was 96.7%, a much better indicator of overall market health in the area. Does that mean if you list your house for $100000 you’re guaranteed to get $96700? Absolutely not. But aren’t numbers fun?

 

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Buying A Home Where a Violent Crime Occurred

Imagine you’re a buyer. You’ve seen a house a couple of times, and then one day you learn from a local that several years ago, someone had committed suicide in the home that you’re looking at. Now, you don’t know for certain that someone committed suicide there, but you trust your source. Would you still buy the home?

Which got me thinking … do buyers really care about that stuff? Do buyers really care that a violent crime, like a murder, happened on the property? My guess was yes, so I posted the question to Twitter and Facebook. The result? YES, buyers want to know.

The unfortunate side of life is that sometimes bad things happen, and sometimes they happen in a home. Not every property is “stigmatized”, of course, but some are, and some people are sensitive to that.

In Virginia, real estate agents are not required to disclose whether a violent crime happened in the home, and to my knowledge, most states around the country have a similar rule. And it’s my understanding that, as an agent, I can’t legally share that information without the seller’s permission … the line of thinking being that divulging that information puts the seller in a weakened position in terms of making the house available for sale at market rates. On the flip side, in the HIGHLY scientific poll above, conducted in the controlled environs of Twitter and Facebook, buyers seem to want to know. Seems I should be doing what my buyers hired me to do, which is to help them sift through the wealth of information available to them.

What’s an agent to do?

Doesn’t matter … we’ll find a way to research that information, for when you’re buying, you should ALWAYS research. Certainly throw the property address into Google and see what comes up, and when possible, talk to neighbors. As an agent who texted me said,

“While I do not necessarily care if someone was killed or whatever in my house, I do care about the stigma and the property value. And I would super hate to hear about it from the next-door neighbor two days after I closed.”

That, I think, is the crucial point. While some may care and some may not care, being surprised after closing is something we should ALWAYS try to avoid. Can you imagine being this guy? If we have the chance to do online searches, to talk to police, to talk to neighbors, shouldn’t we?

So … would you buy?

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What’s The List To Sale Ratio in Radford?

Seems a lot of people consider negotiation as “ask less than the list price and expect that they’ll come back somewhere in the middle.” At its’ simplest sure, that might work, but it also helps to know at what price sellers are pricing their homes, and also at what price buyers are buying those same homes for. This is where the list to sale ratio comes in.

Now, it’s not perfect, but it’s helpful, and the reason why it’s helpful is because it shows what kind of momentum, plus or minus, the market has at any given time. Should it be the only data point you and your agent examine when figuring out where to price your home, or at what price to make an offer on a home? Absolutely not.

For instance, here are some charts showing the average list prices (second column from the left) and average sales prices (third column from the left) for townhouses in Radford in 2013. Note – these figures include foreclosures, which are not considered “arm’s-length transactions. Their impact on the market in 2013 was not statistically significant, so I left them in.

Radford townhomes

And this graphic shows the average list price (second column from the left) and average sale price (third column from the left) of single-family home sales in Radford in 2013:Radford single-family

 

So what does the list to sale ratio show? In this case, not much. Conventional wisdom would say that with only 13 sales for the entire year, townhouse owners in Radford would be giving up more of a discount on their list price than single-family owners, when in reality the list to sale ratio for townhouses was less (96.7%) than for single-family homes (94.9%). Owners of single-family homes in Radford actually gave up MORE money on their sale than townhome owners.

The long and short of it is this. List to sale is an interesting tool, but not always a helpful or truthful tool. Use it cautiously. :)

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Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA Among The Safest

I’m admittedly a week or so behind on this news, but it’s relevant nonetheless.

Earlier this month, Farmers Insurance named the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford Metropolitan Statistical Area one of the safest places in the country. The MSA, named the 7th safest place to live among small towns (population < 150,000 people), has been on the list before, showing stability throughout the region.

What’s it mean for real estate? The impact is pretty simple, people want to live where they feel they and their family can be safe – that’s a no-brainer. Demand drives value, and the area’s housing inventory benefits.

Search for New River Valley real estate here.

So how do you know if an area is safe? You might want to walk the area, both in the daytime as well as at night, and see how things feel. Is everything shut down, or are people out and about? And always contact the local police department in an area you’re considering – they’ll be able to provide you with records detailing arrest reports. You can also use CrimeMapping, but I can’t guarantee how accurate it is.

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Giles County’s Cascades Waterfall, Frozen

Cascades Giles CountyDuring the “polar vortex” we experienced earlier this week, I mentioned online that it would be a great time to go out to Giles County’s Cascades waterfall, as I expected the waterfall was likely pretty-well frozen. I’d gone out a few years ago to see it during a snowstorm and it was really cool, but I didn’t go this year … opportunity lost. There’s my photo of the falls, to the left.

Thankfully, someone DID go this week and take photos of the falls, and his photos make you feel like you were really there (minus the negative temperatures and snot-freezing spray coming off the falls).

Cascades_FrozenThanks to photographer Michael Speed for making the trek out to the falls to capture this, and for posting it on his blog. You can read the whole post here, and see other images he captured.

Next time, I’m not saying I wish I had the time to go out there. I’m going.

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