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Is now really the time to buy in Charlottesville, VA

May 8, 2009

check out the discussion on Michael Guthrie’s most recent appearance on the radio show “Charlottesville Right Now”

Check out the new info on Albemarle County Schools

May 7, 2009 also check out a new exciting place to find charlottesville tidbits

Kudos to Martha Jefferson Hospital

April 27, 2009

Martha Jefferson Hospital is moving to the Pantops Mountain area of Charlottesville.  The new hospital campus there will be pretty amazing but I am as impressed with their desire to make sure their current downtown location special as well.  So often, folks who leave one place don’t care what happens after their departure.  This is not the case with MJ Hospital.  Please listen to the podcast from a recently held CAAR General Membership meeting. The sound quality is not great but you will enjoy what will be happening in both locations.

Charlottesville and Central Virginia Analysis of 1st quarter market results

April 21, 2009

check out cville’s most recent article on what is happening in real estate here in Charlottesville

Charlottesville Area 1st Quarter Market Report

April 13, 2009

Follow the link to CAAR’s recently released report for real estate in Charlottesville and the surrounding counties

A different take on the Charlottesville/Albemarle Real Estate Market

April 12, 2009

As posted on the Cville Bubble Blog by Greg Slater of Real Estate III and the President-elect of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors. I’ve had a hunch about what was going on in our market, so I’ve been watching the percentage of sales under $300k compared to the prior year. The numbers I have pulled are on the contracts as they are happening, not on closed sales. I like to be a little more current and take a “snapshot” of what is happening now. Check this out: In Albemarle all categories: 1st QTR 2008 261 Contracts (33% under $300k) 1st QTR 2009 249 Contracts (74% under $300k) In Cville all categories: 1st QTR 2008 145 Contracts (54% under $300k) 1st QTR 2009 87 Contracts (71% under $300k) In ALB/CVILLE/FLU/GRN 1st QTR 2008 554 Contracts (54% under $300k) 1st QTR 2009 452 Contracts (71% under $300k) I’m no rocket scientist but I think this means when we come back and look at the CAAR report again end of 2nd QTR, median prices are going to move some more. I have no evidence to support the following but my interpretation of these stats is leaning towards: 1. Some of the increase in sales below $300k is reflective of price adjustments occurring now. 2. The first time home buyer is back and finding some value in our market. It probably has something to do with interest rates and tax credits, along with #1. 3. The urban ring (just outside city in albemarle county) is performing the best in comparison to 1st QTR 2008. Only down 5% year over year in # of transactions. Time will tell. Regardless of your prediction of where this market is going, the first time home buyer finding value in this market and choosing to buy instead of rent is critical to finding stability. To answer your question as to where the action is, the answer is under $300k. The data is available to get more price range specific, but I wanted to share the results of my latest anaylsis since it seems pertinent to the on going converstation here.

Low interest rates may be a thing of the past

April 6, 2009

If you are thinking about buying and want to get the best rate possible, your time may be running out.  The government has been buying back mortgage backed securities.  As of today, the treasury has bought about $250 billion in mortgage backed securities under their program that is causing these low interest rates. They just started this about three weeks ago. There was a total of $750 billion allocated for this program, meaning that 1/3rd is already used up just a few weeks into it. Once it is gone rates will rise up again. This means that people have another 6 weeks at this pace before the short is over and rates could rise after that. Sellers in Charlottesville and the Central Virginia area have become more realistic with their price in these last few weeks.  For some, buying now to take advantage of lower prices and what may be the lowest interest rates for the foreseeable future makes a whole lot of sense.

Choosing a Realtor in Charlottesvlle or the Central Virginia area

April 2, 2009

Although this article ( was written by a Texas Realtor Matt Stagliano on Trulia’s blog, what he says about choosing the right real estate agent pertains to this market place as well.  Whether you are buying or selling a condo, townhome, detached home, farm, estate, or a resort property @ Wintergreen, make sure you do your home work and make the right choice.  Obviously, we hope you will make a Realtor here At Roy Wheeler Realty Company one of those you interview.

Buying or refinancing, now may be the time

March 20, 2009

I referred a friend here in Charlottesville who wants to refinance to a lender today.  I just received an email thanking me because they were able to get a low rate with no points.  This Wall Street Journal article that follows below confirms that they may very well have made the decision at the right time.     MARCH 20, 2009 Under 5%, Mortgages May Be Near The Bottom By JAMES R. HAGERTY The Federal Reserve is going to extraordinary lengths to push down long-term interest rates, including home-mortgage rates. But those hoping mortgage rates will fall sharply from current levels, already historically low, may be disappointed.  Mortgage firms Thursday were quoting rates averaging 4.75% on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, according to, a real-estate information service. That is down from more than 5% two days ago and about 6% in mid-November. But further big declines will be hard to achieve, partly because the mortgage-lending market has grown less competitive in the past year as hundreds of small banks and independent mortgage lenders have collapsed. The big banks that dominate the market are eager to boost their profits margins, not give deeper bargains to consumers. Rates for borrowers with the strongest credit are likely to be in a range of roughly 4.5% to 4.75% for the rest of this year, says Mahesh Swaminathan, a mortgage strategist at Credit Suisse in New York.  Others say that is too optimistic. Assuming no big change in government policy, Walter Schmidt, an analyst at FTN Financial Capital Markets, sees a range of 4.75% to 5.5% for most of this year.  The Fed began driving mortgage rates down in late November when it announced plans to buy as much as $500 billion of mortgage securities this year. On Wednesday, the Fed expanded that program, saying it will spend as much as $1.25 trillion on such securities in 2009. That is enough to provide funding for more than half of all home-mortgage loans likely to be made in the U.S. this year.  The Fed also is buying long-term Treasury bonds to drive down rates on those securities, whose pricing affects mortgage rates. By historical standards, rates look incredibly low. Until recently, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages hadn’t been below 5% since the 1950s. For the past couple of months, rates have been bobbing between about 5% and 5.25%. The 30-year rate averaged 4.98% in the week ended March 19, down from 5.03% the prior week, according to Freddie Mac’s survey. Fifteen-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.61%, down from 4.64%.  One reason mortgage rates often tick back up after a decline is that a rush of people seeking to refinance quickly causes backlogs at lenders, which frequently don’t have enough employees to process all of the applications.  “If lenders are working people overtime to close loans, they don’t have an incentive to compete too hard on price,” says Arthur Frank, who heads research on mortgage securities at Deutsche Bank in New York.  The situation highlights a conundrum for the government. It wants low rates to spur the housing market, but also wants the banks to make profits on loans so they can return to financial health. Many of the small mortgage banks that remain are struggling. Mortgage banks, often small, family-owned companies, aren’t licensed to take deposits and so lack that source of money for their loans. Instead, they typically borrow money for short periods from so-called warehouse lenders. They use this short-term credit to make loans to their customers and then pay back the warehouse lenders after selling the loans to bigger banks or to government-backed mortgage investors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  But this warehouse credit is much harder to obtain than it was a year or two ago because many of the big banks and Wall Street firms that used to provide it have exited that business. Despite these constraints, the Fed’s action is “going to be a plus” for the housing market, says Thomas Lawler, an economist in Leesburg, Va. Lower rates make it more likely that home prices will hit bottom in many parts of the country later this year, Mr. Lawler says. The recovery, though, is likely to be gradual, partly because rising unemployment reduces housing demand.  Christopher J. Mayer, a real-estate professor at Columbia Business School in New York, says the Fed’s moves to cut rates are “helping to put a floor under the housing market.” But he worries that the Fed could face huge losses on the mortgage securities if inflation fears eventually push interest rates much higher.   As I always advise,  it may or may not be the time for you to sell, refinance, or buy.  Seek out an expert you trust and look at your individual situation.  If you want to sell be realistic and aggressive with your price.  If you choose to buy, get yourself pre-approved with the best credit score possible.  Remember, the more you can put into your downpayment, the better interest rate you will get.

Learning from the experts on staging a home

March 14, 2009

There is much to be learned from experts that stage model homes.  With as many homes as there are on the market, as a seller or a listing agent in Charlottesville and the surrounding Central Virginia area, this Washington Post article is a must read.  It offers insights on what to do depending on what type of buyer you are trying to attract to your farm, country property, or a home for the first time buyer.

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