Mid Year Report

Nest has completed our 2013 Mid Year Nest Report. Download the whole report here. 2013_Q2_NR.

To summarize: The market continues a cautiously optimistic upward trajectory. Sales are up in the County and slightly down in the City. However, many believe that the City transactions have been limited only by a low inventory. In the City and Country median prices are up 4.6% and 6.4% respectively from this time last year.

Inventory is virtually identical in size to last year, producing a slightly lower months of inventory at 6.14.

3rd Quarter looks positive as contracts written in 2013 were up more than 12% in the 2nd quarter.

29.3% of homes sold in Albemarle went under contract in LESS THAN 10 DAYS.

And Nest is proud that through June 30, we were the #1 Firm in Central Virginia in volume of Buyer Representation. We helped more people than any other company find homes. And that makes us happy.


Lockboxes – Limitations

I recently posted a study on lockboxes in the Charlottesville area on our Nest Report site. We keep that information up to date all the time in house. But we don’t release it very often in the public realm. The reason for that is that sometimes information exists that is hard to interpret, and which can include inaccuracies. This is one of those areas. We like our lockbox data, but I want to explain the limitations and potential errors.

First and foremost, these boxes are great, and I can’t imagine my job without them. In terms of functionality, they rank super high in the customer satisfaction ratings. If you ask agents if they like them, they probably don’t even think much about them, because they just plain work… almost all the time.

A primer on how these boxes work. There are two parts to the lockbox, There is the lockbox itself which stores the actual key for the house and stays attached to a doorknob or rail. The other half is the actual key that agents carry with them. When an agent arrives at a listing, a passcode is entered into the key and it communicates via IR technology to the lockbox which subsequently opens. The key then stores the lockbox serial number in its memory along Google Image Result for.jpg with a time stamp. Each evening, the key must communicate via either computer or phone line with GE who takes that serial number and time stamp and alerts the listing agent of who showed which house and when.

Then, Nest collects that data from GE and puts together the trendline info you saw in the article. But there are some real limitations to the information.

Agent cooperation: The key that is used to open the lockbox is sometimes a smart phone, and sometimes a little black box like the one pictured here. When Real Estate Keys.jpg it is a phone, no problem. The phone automatically updates pretty much instantly that the house is being shown. But… if the little black box is being used, the agent needs to take some action for the upload to occur. Let’s say an agent shows a listing, but doesn’t go out for another week or so to show more clients. That agent doesn’t NEED to update their key, and so the info takes as much as a few weeks to update. The listing agent finds out 10 days later that their home was shown. And our data gets updated 2 weeks late.

Workaround: We looked every week for several months at the weekly data. We compared Week X data at the end of the period, a week later, two weeks later and so on out about 2 months or so. What we found is that at the end of the week, as few as 60% of showings are accounted for. BUT, within 2 weeks, roughly 95% of showings are in the system. So, we just ignore the most recent two weeks. We start paying attention about 14 days out. As more and more agents are going smart phone, the time delay is going down.

Agents opening boxes, but not showing property: You may not think this is a problem, but it is. Remember, we can’t see what boxes are being opened, or by whom, or why. So, an agent who is listing a new property may very well be in his office and open a lockbox to check that there is no key inside. He then may go to the house and open it again to insert a key. He may then go back with a photographer, or a contractor, or a floor plan artist. The house still isn’t listed, and a lockbox associated with it has been opened 5 times.

Now, think about the other end. When a house sells, typically a buyer looks at a house multiple times, then puts in an offer. After under contract, the buyer goes back for at least one inspection. Plus a contractor to price repairs. Plus the termite inspector. Plus the listing agent getting the key out. Again, this is 4 openings of a lockbox that do not count as a showing. All AFTER the contract is written.

How about the listing agent. On a vacant property, a listing agent might check the property as often as once every other week. Again, openings that don’t count as showings.

So, what is the trendline good for? Lots. All these openings that don’t count… They provide us with a baseline. Even if no one shows a single house in all of Charlottesville, there are still going to be some openings. You just get used to this. So what we look at is not the actual number of openings, but the change in that number from period to period. We are looking to see if showings are up or down from last week to this week and from this time last year to this week this year.

But, because there is a baseline, and we can’t know EXACTLY what that number is, it means that a 5% shift is really MORE than a 5% shift. Up or Down.

Take the change from the weeks of Sept 1st to the week of Sept 8th. The lockboxes showed a decrease from 1390 to 1299, a decrease of 6.5%. BUT, if the number of those openings that wasn’t really a showing was say 400 in each period, then the real shift is from 990 to 899. And that difference is 9.2%. However, it is easier and more consistent for us to just use the actual numbers than for us to try and determine what the “true showing value is” plus… we’d never get it right.

RiverBluff – In the Residents’ Own Words

At Nest we represent a lot of different clients in different types of projects. I have been honored to be a part of a great project in RiverBluff. Comprised of nearly 19 acres along the banks and bluffs of the Rivanna River, RiverBluff is only a mile from the Downtown Mall and part of the nearly 20 mile trail that surrounds the whole city, meaning that biking and walking is convenient. And of the 19 acres, only about three acres is actually built on, leaving the remaining space as common land.

Hear what our residents have to say about living at RiverBluff and why the chose to live there.

A Bigger Nest

–Nest Realty Group Acquires Summit Realty–
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (Feb. 8, 2010) – Charlottesville-based Nest Realty Group ( today announced its acquisition of Summit Realty Company. The move combines two of Charlottesville’s most successful real estate firms and expands the 1-year-old Nest Realty team to 14 full-time real estate professionals. It also paves the way for Nest to expand its services from a primary focus on residential real estate into commercial real estate and leasing.
“While other firms are cutting back, Nest is continuing to expand,” said Jonathan Kauffmann, Principal Broker, Nest Realty. “I believe this is a testament to our top-notch agents, the emphasis we place on technology and our dedication to client service. Our combined resources and expanded services will allow us to better serve our clients, something that is paramount to all of us.”
Founded in 1982, Summit Realty grew to be one of the most well-known and respected real estate companies and brands in Central Virginia. Owners Bob Hughes and Bob Headrick took over Summit in 2007 and are enthusiastic about joining forces with Nest Realty as Associate Brokers.BobHughesTeam.JPG
Bob Hughes has been a full-time Realtor since 1989. He is a consistent top producer, a past winner of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors’ Salesperson of the Year award and was named C-Ville Weekly’s Best Real Estate Agent in 2009.
Specializing in commercial and residential property for sale, purchase or lease, Bob Headrick brings an array of experience to Nest Realty. He also offers strong expertise in investment sales, corporate services, and both tenant and landlord representation.
“We are excited to be part of the Nest team. They are an aggressive, young company with a vision of how real estate will be marketed and sold in the future,” states Bob Hughes, Associate Broker, Nest Realty.
In 2009, the company’s first full year of operations, Nest Realty was awarded the prestigious Most Innovative Brokerage honor by Inman News at the Inman Connect Conference in San Francisco. Hewlett Packard also honored Nest Realty at the National Association of Realtors conference in San Diego with its 2009 Real Estate Technology Award, given to only five Brokers nationwide.
Nest Realty is known for its use of technology to better serve clients, both locally and nationally. The firm has received national accolades for its cutting-edge web site,, which features interactive home search capabilities and detailed information for more than 175 Charlottesville neighborhoods. Jim Duncan, one of Nest Realty’s partners, was recently named to Inman News’ Real Estate’s 50 Most Influential Online.
In addition to a strong focus on technology and innovation, Nest Realty agents are held to a higher standard. All agents must have a minimum of three years experience, practice real estate full-time and earn their Broker’s license shortly after joining the firm. With almost $4.7 million in sales per agent and 13.75 transactions per agent, Nest Realty agents more than doubled the production for the average Charlottesville Realtor in 2009.DavidFerrall.jpg

“We pride ourselves in having a team comprised of exceptional professionals, said Kauffmann. “We want consumers to know that if you work with a Nest agent, you are working with a true, full-time professional with high ethical standards. To date, we have had an extraordinary team; the addition of the Summit agents only enhances our strength. The combined experience and track record of Bob Hughes, Bob Headrick, and their entire team is a wonderful addition to the Nest family. We couldn’t be happier.”

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