Tag Archives: Blacksburg

How Many Homes Are For Sale in Blacksburg and Christiansburg?

As Realtors, we get asked a lot “what’s the market like right now?”. I was in Richmond last week, meeting with Virginia Senators and Delegates from our district, and every single one of them asked “how’s the market?”. It can seem disingenuous to always be saying that the real estate market is moving quickly, but as you can see from the graph below of single-family homes in Blacksburg and Christiansburg, as of this post the market is moving quickly. We’re not making this up.

(The graph is interactive, and therefore should update automatically over time; what it’s detailing is how many months worth of supply there is at any given point. If you hover your mouse over a particular point on the graph, you’ll see the exact data representation for that point of the graph.)

Find your own single-family home here.

As you look at this, what you’re seeing is that – since July 2016 – inventory levels in the NRVMLS (New River Valley Multiple Listing Service) have been falling. It took Blacksburg and Christiansburg a few more months to catch up, but beginning in September 2016 they also saw inventory levels starting to fall. In January 2017, inventory in the NRVMLS was at 6.3 months of inventory, in Blacksubrg it was 2.6 months, and in Christiansburg, 3.4 months. We call this the Absorption Rate – how long it would take the market to absorb the available inventory in the market. I’ve written about it before, and it’s something that we at Nest Realty watch pretty closely.

Why does Absorption Rate matter? Well, it gives us a sense of both where the market has been, and where it is now. The general line of thinking is that 6 months of inventory is a relatively balanced market, favoring neither buyers nor sellers – much like the New River Valley real estate market right now. Click Here to see more info. Anything greater than six months typically favors buyers because supply is exceeding demand, and anything less than six months favors sellers because demand is exceeding supply. That’s what we’re seeing in Blacksburg and Christiansburg.

So what’s that mean for buyers and sellers in Blacksburg and Christiansburg right now? It’s a familiar refrain, I’m afraid – sellers who are priced well and show well are going to be in the drivers’ seat for the foreseeable future, and buyers need to be ready and prepared (preapproved) to buy … there isn’t going to be much opportunity to wait and think about it.

Find your nest. It’s free. Truly.

Blacksburg VA Named A Top College Town

I’m woefully behind on this news, but Blacksburg has once again been named a “Best” Town in America, this time by BestCollegeReviews.com. From the site:

Blacksburg is home to Virginia Tech, Radford University, and a number of large employers. With close to two students for every non-student, Blacksburg is definitely centered around college life. Though small, the town is forward thinking, as the home to Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV) since 1991. BEV and close proximity to high quality graduates make Blacksburg an ideal location for tech firms.

As far as creature comforts, Blacksburg is situated between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains with beautiful views around town. In the mountains there are tons of scenic drives and outdoor activities. In town, there are more than 150 restaurants, pubs, art galleries, and boutiques. If you want a high quality town that’s on the smaller size, Blacksburg could be the place for you.

None of this is news to those of us who live here, but it’s nice to once again see the recognition. As I tell clients all the time, there’s nothing like living in a college town.

National Bank of Blacksburg Building Auctioned Off

If you’ve been around Blacksburg for any length of time, you’ve almost certainly noticed the old National Bank of Blacksburg building – on the corner of N. Main and Roanoke Street – standing proudly but looking rather weathered and beaten up. The building was an earlier home to the National Bank of Blacksburg, and in recent years had been passed around from owner to owner while sitting vacant and, quite honestly, falling apart.

The story is muddled, of course, but here’s a synopsis.

Earlier this month, it was finally auctioned off (along with two adjacent storefronts), and the highest bidder at the auction – Steve Hill – is a real estate developer well-known to folks in and around Blacksburg.

Going Once, Going Twice, Sold to the man with the pants on!

Going Once, Going Twice, Sold to the man with the pants on!

From a professional standpoint, I was interested in the auction because of the location of the building. It is a centerpiece of the downtown core, and has sat vacant for FAR too long. And I wasn’t alone – there were probably 100 other folks there, most of watching and afraid to move in fear of bidding for a property we couldn’t buy!

From a personal standpoint, I was even more interested because I was the agent who had the building the property listed in 2005, and I had watched it for nearly 10 years continue to fall into disarray. I knew what had been planned for the building and it was sad to see it not come to fruition, but I was excited about the possibilities for the future, as well.

I tried livetweeting the auction, which was interesting – head down, thumbs furiously typing, I wasn’t real sure who was bidding what, but I tried to capture most of it.

In my opinion, Steve is a great person to head a redevelopment project like this. I know that lots of folks what all sorts of things for a site like this, but none of us know what will actually come to pass. From my interactions with him, however, I know that Steve knows and loves Blacksburg, and I have every confidence he’ll do something really nice with that spot.

Congratulations, Steve – there’s a whole Town watching!

A side note – the caption on the photo above is something my grandfather would say. He was an auctioneer – and also a rodeo clown, businessman, and quite honestly probably just a hustler – but he used to say “Going once, going twice – sold to the man with the pants on!” I had no idea what it meant – still don’t – but as a small boy I thought it was funny. So the caption is homage to Rabbit.

Blacksburg – A Look Back In Time

Floating around on Twitter this week was a link to a site called That 70’s Blacksburg … written by a real estate broker at Coldwell Banker Townside, Dennis Smith, it’s an interesting look at Blacksburg back when it really WAS a sleepy little town. Now, it’s a vibrant place … although it’s still a town.

I’ve never met Dennis, but wrote him to tell him how much I’ve enjoyed looking back through time – hope you will as well. And that black and white photo below? That happens to be Nest Realty NRV’s office today!

Bus in Blacksburg VANest Realty NRV

 

Live Where You Love – Blacksburg

It’s the start of Orientation here at Virginia Tech today, and all around Town we’re seeing starry-eyed (incoming) freshmen and their families wandering the streets.

Welcome to the Class of 2017! We hope you love living here – we certainly do, and we thought we’d show you, in the video below, a little bit about what we think makes Blacksburg special. Welcome to Blacksburg!

This is one of a series of videos Nest Realty produced, and is recognized as a finalist for an Inman Innovator Award.

Blacksburg Development and Dirty Words.

On Thursday of last week, The Roanoke Times posted an article regarding the development of the Old Blacksburg Middle School (OBMS) site, detailing some of the issues developers and Town and County officials are facing.

Blacksburg middle school site redevelopmentThis isn’t a new issue – it’s been a hot button topic of dissension among, well, everyone, it seems, for as long as I can remember. The long and short of it, as I understand it, is this – the County owns a prime piece of real estate in the center of Blacksburg, and though Blacksburg doesn’t own the property, they do have the right to say what gets built on it.It was announced in 2011 that Modea was going to be involved in the redevelopment of the site, and serve as an anchor to what was going to be a mixed-use site including residential, retail and office, and community parks, but that has since changed, and other potential tenants – including Rackspace – have announced they’re going elsewhere because the two sides can’t get along (I’m paraphrasing).

pointing fingers

No one – I think – can logically argue that something doesn’t need to be done with the site. It’s 20-acres in downtown Blacksburg, it’s owned by the County (who needs much needed income), and I’m sure Town officials want it developed in order to tap into the tax and retail revenue. The bigger story out of Thursday’s article might be the fact that emails from Council demonstrate very clearly the tension that exists between the Town and everyone else. Lots of finger pointing …

Here’s what I know. Publicly calling out the County – or anyone else – to try and move things along hasn’t proven effective to this point; we’ve been doing that for years, saying “this group needs to do this”, and “that group keeps us from doing that”, and it hasn’t gotten us anywhere. What did Einstein say about insanity? No one benefits by all of this finger pointing, he said/she said stuff, so why do we keep trying it? I appreciate efforts to make sure that the site is developed in a responsible manner, but are we really being responsible, or just difficult? Are we just talking about a turf war and hard feelings? Wow, that was four questions back to back to back to back – sorry.

The Town says the County shut down communication. The County says the Town needs to move ahead. Sheesh.

It’s easy for me to sit here, basking in the warmth of my laptop screen and my slippers, acting like I’ve got the answers. I don’t. The truth is, the only thing I truly know regarding the complexity of developing a site such as this is that it’s incredibly complex. And that it takes time. That said, what are the real issues here? Office/retail/residential/public parks and gathering spaces in the middle of downtown Blacksburg … that’s what we’re talking about, it seems like. Yes, I get that we don’t want another First & Main debacle, which was bungled from nearly the beginning and is finally starting to show SOME signs of life after years of sucking wind, thanks to the efforts of business owners and some Council members. But what do we have to argue about here? The TYPE of housing? Saying that we need more senior housing on the site, and single-family housing, says to me this is a smokescreen for “We don’t want any more students downtown.” Please. I don’t want single-family on the site, personally – it’s a waste of space, in my opinion, and I’m in the business of selling single-family homes! But if housing is on that site, it seems it’s far better suited for a higher density than single-family. That doesn’t have to mean low-quality student housing, but in nine years of selling real estate I’ve never once had a senior-citizen client say to me “I’d really like to move downtown.” I’m sure someone has said it, but I’ve never heard it. Let’s put housing – and retail, and office – that is truly representative of what’s needed and desired in the Town of Blacksburg.

Caboose ParkI propose – somewhat tongue in cheek – that we invite the Blacksburg Town Council, the Montgomery County School Board, the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, and anyone else associated with the project (including the development partners) to Hand-in-Hand Park to work this out. Maybe a change of scenery would be good … and soften their tones toward each other.

(And yes, I know this photo is of Caboose Park – I just liked it better)

Photo credit and Photo Credit.

 

10 Things To Make Your Move to Blacksburg Easier

I don’t do guest posts very much – I guess I just don’t play well with others.  No comments, please.  But this post, by Nest Realty’s own Tina Merritt, seemed like the perfect thing to put on the blog.  It’s … well … good.

Tina and her husband moved to Blacksburg a couple of years ago, leaving behind very successful and established careers in Hampton Roads because they wanted something better for their family, and they found it in the New River Valley.  Regardless of the situation, though, moving is stressful, and Tina has some tips to help keep you – and the move to Blacksburg – safe and sane.
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Blacksburg VA at nightMoving to a new place can be so overwhelming.  There always seems to be that time when the furniture is moved in, the utilities are hooked up, the address changed and you sit back and go, “OK, I’m here…now what?

Here are 10 things that really helped me become familiar with my new surroundings in Blacksburg.  I hope these can help you too.

1.  Take the 16 Blocks walking tour.  It’s a great way to learn about the history of Blacksburg and get some exercise as well.

2.  Sign up for the Blacksburg Citizens Institute.  Offered once per year, this is a fantastic way to learn all about the various town departments, how the town operates and also the great amenities available.

3.  Pick up copies of the Blacksburg and Montgomery County Parks and Rec guides.  These can be found at the local libraries, town/county offices as well as the recreation venues themselves.  There are many ongoing classes and activities; some of which provide insight into your new area.

4.  Sign up for a Virginia Tech campus tour.  They’re free and give you a great overview of the campus.  While you may not be affiliated with the University, it is an integral part of our community and offers many benefits for town residents.

5.  Go get a library card.  We have a great library system in Montgomery County.  The libraries are modern, spacious and rarely crowded.  In addition, they offer e-books and even e-readers for check out.

Blacksburg Farmers Market6.  Sign up for Blacksburg Alerts.  This is a town-run notification system which keeps you updated on road closures, meetings, construction updates, and inclement weather.  You can customize your account to receive only the alerts in which you are interested.

7.  Follow DTBlacksburg on Twitter.  Every day, they let us know about specials, events and news going on in our town.

8.  If you have kids in the Montgomery County School System, sign up for Cafe Prepay, a system which lets you put funds into your students’ school meal account (no more bringing cash to school for lunch!).  Also, make sure your school puts you on the email distribution list.

9.  Become a supporter of The Lyric theater.  For just $30 annually, you and your family can receive a 50% discount on all movie tickets plus advance registration privileges for special events.  It’s also tax deductible!

10.  Take your time.  Things tend to move slower here than in many places.  If you expect a fast pace, you will be let down, so just learn to take it easy and enjoy your new surroundings!

On a side note, there is also a group for new residents; the Blacksburg Newcomers Club.  I did not know about them when I moved here; however, I have seen a lot more information as of late regarding their events.
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What would you add? Drop them in the comments below! 

Photos graciously supplied by the amazingly talented Laura’s Focus Photography. Check her out!

Can a Slogan Encourage You To Be Local?

Buy Local, Eat Local, Live LocalDowntown Blacksburg Inc. has unveiled their new t-shirt design centered around their “be local” campaign.

You like?

Does a slogan make you think about ways to be local?  I think for Natalie and I it has, as we’ve tried to buy local, and eat local, and soon, we’ll be living local, as we move into an apartment downtown.  What about you – does it have an impact?

You can pick up bumper stickers and magnets at various Blacksburg stores (downtown, naturally), as well as buy a t-shirt at shops like Greenhouse, Mish Mish, and Heavener Hardware.

Photo credit from The Roanoke Times.

 

A Town Called Happiness

My colleague at Nest Realty, Tina Merritt, posted on Twitter yesterday a video she’d put together called “A Town Called Happiness, Blacksburg VA“.

Tina has an interesting story, because she lives in Blacksburg with her husband and son, yet she works as a real estate agent in Hampton Roads.  For those of you not familiar with Hampton Roads, it’s 259 miles east of here, on the coast of Virginia (320 miles if you go all the way to the coast).  But Tina is able to do it because she has a great team in Hampton Roads, and investor clients who trust her and her real estate expertise.

A couple of years ago Tina, with her husband Frank, decided to ditch the lifestyle of the beach to come live in Blacksburg.  They liked the pace of life, and they wanted their son to experience what it was like living in a community like Blacksburg.  While we may be a little off the beaten path, we more than make up for it in terms of quality of life – and she’s documented some of that experience with photos taken throughout the New River Valley over the last two years.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to live in Blacksburg VA, this is a good depiction. Come and visit some time, would you? And if you want to talk to someone who took the plunge, I’m sure Tina would be glad to share her experience.