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Piedmont Real Estate Blog

How Virginians Think About Virginia

Sep. 23, 2011
Categorized in: Miscellaneous

I still can't figure out where this study or the underlying data comes from so don't make any big lifestyle changes based on this, but here's some information on how we feel about ourselves.

This survey asked people how they felt about their state in six areas: Natural Beauty, Things to Do, State Economy, Environmental Friendliness, Education and Medical Care. Here are the grades for Virginia:

  • Natural Beauty                      B
  • Things To Do                        B
  • State Economy                      C
  • Environmental Friendliness   D
  • Education                              C
  • Medical Care                         C

Overall, people seemed fairly pessimistic. That's not surprising given the overall economic gloom and doom we're all living with at the moment.

I do think Virginians were a little hard on themselves regarding the State Economy. While it may not feel this way (especially if your house is under water) our economy in northern Virginia actually looks pretty good compared to most of the country.

How would you grade us?

P.S. My home state of Minnesota fared pretty well!

New Kind of Real Estate Market

Jul. 2, 2007
Categorized in: Local News
Historically this area has seen rapid growth and escalating prices as families looked to move further away from Northern Virginia in search of more value for their money and better quality of life.
Those days are over and will probably not return for a very long time!
  • Gas prices will likely remain high.
  • Home prices are not low enough to make the extra fuel/time costs attractive.
  • Traffic congestion will likely only get worse.
  • There are unlikely to be any mass transit alternatives available from this area any time soon.
  • No more overbuilding!
  • Any new construction that gets approved should reflect future demographic/housing trends.
  • New construction needs to be developed with a view to the larger community, not just that subdivision.
  • Education (at all levels) must be a top priority.
  • We need to attract employers who will employ highly skilled/highly paid individuals.
  • We need to be a destination in our own right, not simply an “outer suburb”.
  • We need to look to other regional centers of growth and opportunity and foster mutual cooperation with those centers. (Culpeper – Charlottesville, for example)

VA Broker's License

Mar. 6, 2007
Categorized in: Business of Real Estate

I'm celebrating because I've just passed the test to get my VA Broker's license. In VA you must have at least three years as a licensed sales person, 180 hours of course work and pass the test in order to get your broker's license.

Before I go into anything else, let me assure everyone that I'm absolutely thrilled to have gotten it!

However, I'm not so sure that we're doing a good job of training brokers. By and large the course work is a rehash of what you have to memorize to get your salesperson's license. There's no harm in a refresher course in that material. It's largely a course in legal definitions, real estate related laws, etc. It was a good idea to learn much of this to pass my salesperson's exam. (Although much of it never gets used again!) And a refresher course along the way is probably a good idea.

But I have to say I expected a little more depth in the material covered. I expected in depth analysis of the tough issues facing the industry today. I expected case studies of areas that have caused heartburn for brokers over the years. I expected to know a lot more from the 180 hours invested in course work and many more invested in studying.

In fact, mostly what I've gained is more rote memorization of facts, many of which won't be relevant to me ever again. (I don't foresee any property management role in my future, for example!)

I hope to see some changes in the course work and in the exam for a broker's license.

Meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy the fact that I'm done with all that studying and memorization for awhile!

A Really Idiotic Bill

Jan. 27, 2007
Categorized in: Real Estate Legislation

The VA Association of REALTORS helped to defeat a bill in the VA Senate that would have waived the current 180 hour educational requirement for a broker's license if an agent had been in the business at least 5 years.

This is one of the most absurd proposals I've heard in a long time! In a profession that is already woefully remiss in requiring enough education the state senate was talking about making the situation worse! It's hard to see what the motivation would have been for such a move. Surely the consumer doesn't win by weakening the standards. The 180 hours is already laughable considering that my hairdresser needs 1500 hours to become licensed!

There is also a bill moving through the house to strengthen the continuing education requirements for agents. This was a bill that was crafted by the industry because most of us recognize the need for more knowledgeable agents. The consumer deserves it and we certainly prefer working with others who know what they're doing. Unfortunately, the house has already watered down the requirements. So, while we're likely to make some progress, in the end it won't be as dramatic as we'd hoped.

I'd urge each of you to support legislation that increases the education required before an agent helps you with one of the largest financial transactions of their life!

What NOT to Buy

Aug. 6, 2006
Categorized in: Buyers
Tagged with: buyers, education, guide, resale

I've just gotten back from vacation!  And while vacation is wonderful, it's also great to be home!

Recently some clients who are almost ready to buy a home sat down with me to talk about what they should look for and what they should avoid in a home.  In my opinion, not enough buyers take the time to do this kind of planning. While it may not seem to make much of a difference up front, knowing what to avoid in a home can make a difference when you're ready to sell. As I tell my clients, if you plan to live in the home for the rest of your life, no need to worry about resale.  Otherwise, though, it's important to give this some serious thought.

So, a quick list of what you'll want to avoid when buying a home. Note that this list is based on our area of Virginia.  Real estate is always, always local!  The list will be different in other localities and other states.

Avoid properties on busy roads.

Avoid split foyers.

Avoid properties with wood/cedar siding.

Avoid homes with less than 3 bedrooms (4 is even better).

Avoid homes with less than 2 bathrooms.

Avoid homes in areas with undesirable businesses. (Don't buy a house next to the landfill!)

These are the basics. If you're in the market to buy and you'd like to sit down for a longer discussion of this subject BEFORE you get that big mortgage, give me a call at 540-270-2742 or e-mail me at Julie@JulieEmery.com  I'd love to hear from you!

Piedmont Real Estate Blog

Blog by Julie Emery
Amissville, Virginia

An ongoing dialog on real estate news, opinion and trends in Northern Virginia and the greater Piedmont area. Julie is an Associate Broker at Frankly Real Estate Inc, 6304 Crossroads Circle, Ste 102, Falls Church, VA 22044


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