Raising Perceived Value

I had a professor in B-School who at the end of a class session would, as students began coming to the conclusion that he wanted all along, remark, “I love it when a good plan comes together.” Well, I feel that way today. On March 17, I posted a blog on tax assessments and relative value / perceived value. I argued that sellers should fight with the County / City to raise their assessed value when they go to sell their house as this will provide a higher baseline. County of Albemarle - GIS-Web - Property Information.jpg

Well, I have a reader who did just this. Perhaps they are not a reader, but I found a listing this morning where this has happened. Look to the right at this copy from their assessments, and I’ll go over what has happened.

So, here is a very nice home in Western Albemarle that was assessed in 2007 for $924,500. In 2008, that assessment dropped to $899,800. Along with the overall market decline in 2008, the 2009 resulting assessment dropped another $39,000 to $860,000.

Enter the owner who wishes to sell his home. I contacted the assessor to ask what “Appraiser’s Review” meant. According to the assessor, the notes in the computer stated that the “owner contacted the assessors office and stated that they believe that the property assessment did not reflect a high enough value.”

Wow. They keep records of why appraiser’s reviews take place. Even better for my purposes. The new assessment reverses two years of declining real estate prices. The new assessment was valid as of Feb 13, 2009 and was entered at $927,600.

On March 4, 2009, the house goes on the market for $1.125 mm. Now, that is still priced at a 21% premium to the tax assessment. Pretty aggressive. But if you go back the official County of Albemarle assessment, we are now 30.7% premium to tax assessment.

Personal thought: neither will fly. BUT… 20% over tax is certainly better than a 30% premium. And if other agents don’t really look through the history of the assessment, they may not even notice the change.

A note to the readers. In the City of Charlottesville, there are no history files available on assessment values for real estate. Only the current assessment is on line. You can contact the assessor’s office and they will give you the historical numbers, but their on-line information does not have the ability to display the history.

If any readers see additional homes like this, let me know, and I’m happy to look at the process.

Nest In The News

Frequently, I am asked how Nest is going. “It’s great!” seems a bit trite. So, rather than tell you how I think it’s going. I thought I would just point out how other people think its going.

Discussing Nest Realty:

From The Hook:

“changing the way real estate is transacted in Central Virginia” by using a more “technologically savvy” and “client-centric” approach.

Discussing our web site:

Charlottesville Real Estate_s New Breed of Broker_ Nest Realty Group.jpg

From 1000 Watt Blog

But this is about more than a website. … Brokerage companies are in for a serious brain drain unless they can use their assets in a manner that supports, rather than inhibits, these stars [referring to Jonathan Kauffman, our Principal Broker].

From PropertyLight – A UK On-Line Marketing firm (We have no idea how they found us)

  • Nest Realty Group has created the property website you wish you had.
  • In the US, a small property broker has created a website that should make most of the industry here in the UK re-think how they present themselves online.
  • Inspiration. This website does something that we’ve yet to see in an agent website here in the UK…. it inspires.

Discussing our Custom Signs:

From NBC 29

Killer Signs from Keith Davis on Vimeo. BloodhoundBlog.com | Nest Realty, Jim Duncan’s new broker, joins the custom sign club | National real estate marketing and technology blog | Realtors and real estate, mortgage and investment news.jpg

From the Bloodhound Blog

First, I think these signs are striking, very interesting graphically. The grid layout is sweet and fine, a very clean style of communication.

From RealCentralVA – This is Jim Duncan’s site who is one of our agents. But, notice the comments he got, many from other agents and brokers.  (A few of the more than 20 comments are below.)

  • What’s not to love? They look great and I am happy to see “single property signs” spreading, I think they are one of the best services you can bring to the seller.
  • really impressed with this. love how it’s modular (top and bottom are on each sign, the big portion goes with each house). brilliant. well done!
  • Talk about transparency! That is awesome and I think the gen. public will love it. If the house isn’t what they’re looking for, then “no harm, no foul” and no one wasted anyone’s time.
  • I like this! Not only do you get a price on the property without stopping the car, but this sign is actually more about the property for sale than the agency representing it. That’s refreshing. I would love it if I were a seller.

(Emphasis Mine, WKD)

The End of the Cul-de-Sac

When I started studying New Urbanism some 9 or 10 years ago, I think I was shocked to find that there were really good reasons not to do the things that seem so obvious to us.

SSAR_Summary_03-20-09-1.pdf (page 7 of 11)-1.jpg

1) Wide Roads are safer than narrow roads. Of Course this is true. After all, there is far less chance of hitting something if you have plenty of space to drive.

2) Cul-de-sacs are safer. Another no brainer. After all, no one drives down a cul-de-sac if they don’t need to be somewhere at the end of the road. Less traffic = less accidents. Further, dead end roads mean that robbers won’t dare to try and target you, as they have no where to go.

Well, both of these statements are actually false, and now Virginia is leading the way to correct and change the way developers build. Statistics show that wide roads are far more dangerous, as drivers become complacent. Roads that have unexpected stops and curves (such as our Park Street after “traffic calming measures” were installed) cause drivers to slow down, and thus drive more carefully. Wide roads, even when in subdivisions lined with homes and kids playing, promote excessive speed.
As for cul-de-sacs, they cause more damage than they prevent. First off, rescue vehicles take far more time (and expense) to navigate neighborhoods full of cul-de-sacs. They increase distances between two points thus increasing the number of vehicle miles driven, and the decreasing the likelyhood that people will walk from point to point.

Well, Tim Kaine and the Virginia Legislature has done something about it. Check out the full report if you can’t fall asleep tonight. (It can also be accessed on my Report Download Page.) Finding ways to enforce powers not granted to legislative bodies has been a pastime for both our national and state governing bodies for decades, and this is no exception. The Federal Governement can’t dictate state drinking ages, so it instead refuses to give out Federal Highway Funds to any state not cooperating with their “recommendations.” The State can’t impose development guidelines, so instead it offers these recommendations to developers. The punishment for non-compliance is that the roads within the subdivision will not be accepted by VDOT for ongoing maintenance. Too expensive? Yup… Developers will take note.

The new regulations don’t outlaw cul-de-sacs, but they do create pretty substantial penalties for not connecting to nearby neighborhoods. Devotees of New Urbanism will applaud these actions. For a generation, the goal has been to live at the end of the cul-de-sac with minimal traffic so your children can play outdoors. The new goal will be to create neighborhoods where once again, children can ride their bikes to school without having to venture out onto a major artery.

The new regulations only affect urban and suburban areas, and to differing degrees, but the direction this is clearly taking is outstanding. Create a network of streets that allow pedestrians younger and older to walk and ride bikes where they need to go. I can’t wait to see this taking shape.

A New Section

I have been trying to find an opportunity to get this done for some time now. Well, today is your lucky day. You will note that I now have a new page “Report Downloads” at the top. This section will provide you with access to all of my published quarterly reports from the past. I have added all my 2008 reports as well as some other interesting things. Enjoy.

I am Such a Geek

OK, so I admit that I’m a geek. I embrace it. This is not quite what I had in mind in terms of time, but hey, it’s my first shot at a video data analysis, so cut me a little slack. I’ll get the time down and break it into smaller segments, but either way, its good info in the video.. Make sure you blow it up to full page to actually view much of the data.


2009 03 21 from Keith Davis on Vimeo.

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