I haven't had a chance to go through it in great detail; has anyone had an opportunity to navigate it? Regardless, it's nice to see - I know Brad Stipes, who championed the cause, is glad to see it finally finished.
Kudos to everyone who's worked on the site, including Margaret, Kelsey and Sam. A lot of time and effort has gone into it already, with more to come, with the goal of making it even easier to immerse yourself in the business of real estate here in the New River Valley!
A lot of neighborhoods in Blacksburg and Christiansburg have either formal or informal LISTSERVs and things set up for neighbors to send out information, notices, etc., but today I learned that Blacksburg's Wyatt Farm has gone a step further. They've set up a blog.
Last week I mentioned that there had been a lot going on at NRVLiving Real Estate these past few weeks, and it's true - we were writing offers up to December 31st, so there was a lot to be done to prepare for closings scheduled in 2009. Adding to the craziness were my two trips out of town, back to back, to some amazing conferences that I've shared some about and hope to continue to do so throughout the year.
One big thing that's happened in 2009 is that the NRVLiving family has gotten a little smaller. Well ... a lot smaller. Aaron and Steve, who've been with me since 2006 and 2007, respectively, have struck out on their own. They both have great relationships throughout the community, and they're going to leverage those relationships even more than we have over the last couple of years. As far as I know they've decided to stick with the Coldwell Banker Townside family here in Blacksburg, but I wish them all the best moving forward! And I'd like to thank them both - for the enthusiasm and impeccable service they offered NRVLiving and our clients, and their patience in working with me!
Smaller isn't necessarily a negative, however, so if you're a past, present or future client don't be alarmed; in fact, I'm enthusiastic about the opportunities that are presenting themselves. Working on my own again in no way eliminates my commitment to streamlining the process of transacting real estate in the New River Valley, and I'm working on designing background systems that will continue that commitment with no interruption to you, the client.
Anne Giles Clelland, of Handshake 2.0, recently drove the Bywire XGV (an unmanned Ford Escape Hybrid converted by Blacksburg firm Torc Technologies). She captured a video of the experience, you can see it here.
Kudos to Anne for sharing the experience, and to Torc for allowing us all to check it out. Torc Technologies is just one of the many companies here in the New River Valley that are doing some absolutely amazing things; it's really cool to see technologies like this in action.
Real estate talk's around the corner, I promise - lots of stuff happening here at NRVLiving these past couple of weeks and I'm just starting to get back on my feet, so I know it's been an oft repeated phrase lately but bear with me!
January 21st 2009 was the first full day of a new administration, and everything I keep hearing is that they've got 100 day grace period before the public starts to keep a tally. Now, I think the public's starting to keep a Pro and Con checklist sooner than that, but nevertheless one of the items on the administration's agenda has to be the economy and jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate has risen to 7.2%. Job losses are on a lot of people's minds, even here in the New River Valley where the unemployment rate rose to 5.6%. But there is good news, as well, particularly here in the New River Valley. Have you seen the latest Fortune
Magazine? Check it out - Blacksburg's Mailtrust, and it's parent company Rackspace, was named one of the 100 Best Companies To Work For (#43, to be exact). Congratulations to Pat and all the rest of the crowd over at Mailtrust - they are certainly a trendsetter in our area.
They're not the only ones making a difference, though. And you can be a part of the action, as well. Opportunities to improve are available now through the Roanoke Higher Education Center open house on February 5th. Check out this video for more information ...
It's freakin' cold outside, have you noticed? Of course you have ... have you noticed your heat bill lately, coincidentally? Likely a good bit different than previous months, I'd bet. I know we got our December gas bill and immediately turned the thermostat down a few degrees. THAT bill was a cold dose of reality! I've heard stories of folks around the New River Valley with heating bills hundreds of dollars higher than they've been in the past! Seems like everything - oil, natural gas, and electric - seems to be going up in price.
How are you combating it? Any tips or tricks you want to share with the rest of us that might save a few shekels? There's no cost to leave a comment below for everyone to benefit!
Now, I didn't know much about Gary prior to the conference. I knew he did Wine Library, and had made some appearances on late night TV, but beyond that I was pretty clueless. I had a lot to learn.
Full of it? Maybe a little, but who isn't from time to time?
Worth the price of admission? Absolutely.
If you've got 32 minutes to spare, I highly recommend watching this video. It's a little choppy at first, but stick with it. You don't have to be in real estate to get something from this - you are your own company. You are YOU. How will you spread your message? How will you stand out and be different?
I think there are pieces here that are important for all of us. I sat in the back of the room - the absolute back - during this keynote and watched the number of heads doing the "Blackberry Prayer" (head down, thumbs furiously pounding away), as well as the folks who just got up and left, during his talk. On the one hand it's disappointing to see such a dismissal of the topic, but on the other hand that's fine ... it's less competition for me and NRVLiving Real Estate. Gary's point about the horrible Return on Investment of traditional advertising is something that Steve, Aaron and I have struggled with for years, and I know there are many other industries that read this blog who have as well.
In your industry, how can you stand out? Even if you work for someone else, how can you brand yourself? Interesting thoughts, enjoy the video.
This has been making the rounds across the Web right now - it's a simple reminder of what sellers (and their agents) should be paying attention to. It doesn't matter if it's a home in Blacksburg, or Christiansburg, or Radford ... all of these things make a difference. The short list?
Leave during showings
Your first offer is often your best offer
Lowball offers are simply starting points - they're not insults
Update, clean and paint
Curb appeal matter
Lighten up the house
Fix broken stuff
And Jim Duncan adds #11 - "Price to the market; what you owe does not matter to the buyers or the market."
There's a lot else happening right now, which I'll discuss in more detail over the next couple of weeks. It's been in the works for many, many months, and we're on the doorstep of serving our first residents later this month. Hope everyone's ready for 2009, it's here whether we like it or not! Stay tuned to the blog for pics and videos as I can post them, I hope to have a post or two from Inman later this week.
Ever had one of those days? You know the ones I'm talking about, where you say or do something and then think "HUH? What just happened?"
There's absolutely no point to this post, I've just found I'm having one of those days. I remembered these pictures had made me pause and chuckle, so I went back to them and thought I'd post them here.
It's not a Letterman Top 10 list, but could I get a drumroll please?
From FrontDoor.com comes their "Top 10 Things To Expect in the Housing Market in 2009" list. #5 might be the
most important, in my opinion.
Continued market adjustments - With home prices in some markets having reached astronomical levels, it
was inevitable a reset button be pushed. Sellers will continue to be
challenged in 2009 as the inflated pricing of years past adjusts to
normal levels. With banks and builders willing to slash prices to sell
a backlog of foreclosures and new homes, individual sellers will have
to price their homes competitively.
Action from the Obama administration - President-elect Barack Obama's plan to help the housing sector includes
a 10 percent mortgage tax credit for homeowners who don't itemize their
taxes and a crackdown on abusive lending practices.
Thorough reviews of mortgage applications - Before the subprime mortgage debacle, you didn't have to prove you
could afford to borrow $200,000 for a home and you didn't need a down
payment. Those days of sketchy lending practices are gone. Lenders now
require potential borrowers to provide extensive income and expense
documentation. Homebuyers with the best credit will get the lowest
interest rates. Take steps now to get your finances in order and boost
your credit score.
Low prices and low interest rates - 2009 could be the time for reluctant homebuyers to act, as this is
perhaps the last year of the best buying opportunity in recorded
Cool tech tricks and tools for the real estate obsessed - As homebuyers turn to the Web more and more for their real estate
needs, video, webcasts and mobile search tools are becoming more
prevalent. Sellers should consider using these cutting-edge tools to
make their homes stand out.
Wiser consumers - After facing this foreclosure crisis, buyers, sellers, real estate
agents and even tenants will have a deeper understanding of real
estate, mortgage and credit, which they can use to make better
decisions and be more self-protective in the future.
Leaner, greener homebuying - Across the board, homebuying is becoming more eco-friendly, from
transactions being conducted digitally to buyers opting for smaller
homes within walking distance of school and work.
An increase in consumer confidence - As the year goes on and we near the projected end of the recession,
sellers can breathe a sigh of relief as buyers regain confidence in the