Frequently Asked Questions About Buying A Charlottesville Home
If you are wondering about Charlottesville, you may find out more information about this beautiful place with these FAQs about homes, schools, hospitals, and others.
1) Are Charlottesville homes expensive?
The typical median home value of our homes is $400,000. A savvy realtor can possibly save you $1,000s if you are prepared to write an offer on the first day the home comes on the market.
2) Where are the best Charlottesville schools?
As a parent of two & a full-time realtor since 2003, I am biased and will happily tell anyone who listens – the Western Albemarle School District. My kids attended them then went to UVA.
3) Where is the best place to begin searching for a home?
Crozet and Ivy. Kids and seniors love it here. You are always within view of the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountain and it’s an easy 20-minute drive into Charlottesville.
4) Are there great hospitals in Charlottesville?
Indeed there is! Two nationally ranked health systems. Sentara and UVA Health Systems. Cancer victims all over the USA head to UVA. UVA also has a brand-new Children’s Hospital, and it is top-notch! The area is home to thousands of natural healers too. As a full-time realtor, I’ve had my share of accidents and always found both hospitals clean and 5 stars.
5) How are the golf courses around Charlottesville?
Superb! There are 5 wonderful challenging courses: Farmington, Glenmore, Keswick, Meadowcreek, and Old Trail. As a Charlottesville realtor, it’s important to keep my handicap low! See you on the 19th hole!
6) Is Charlottesville a good place for seniors?
It sure is! In fact, Forbes voted Charlottesville the Best Place for Seniors to Retire To a few years back. I’m a senior and I love it here! I can’t think of a better spot to live other than Palm Beach (if only I could afford it!). Some of the best fun I have as a Charlottesville realtor is showing fellow seniors my fabulous town, gardening, cooking, playing golf, and drinking wine at one of our 13 vineyards.
7) Can we low-ball the seller?
Yes, always…but it depends how badly YOU want to own the home. In a hot seller’s market (like we are in at this writing) it would be silly to make an embarrassingly low offer. Most of the time the seller will not respond. That is why pulling ‘good’ comps (comparable homes sold in the neighborhood) is paramount to making a winning offer. Most sellers build in a certain amount they are willing to discount their price. For $300-400,000 homes it could be as much as $20,000 and as low as $5,000.
I have found the sweet spot to be around $7,000. Again, it all depends on the seller and our current Charlottesville real estate market. Also, particularly important, are the DOM (Days on the Market) on the MLS. If a home has been active on the MLS for over 30 days, then it’s best to re-run the comps and take a closer look at the home (and neighborhood). I concentrate on all these things before offering my customers advice. I lay out all the facts using my 17 years of local knowledge on the line.
I’ll then ask YOU what you want to pay for the home. It’s up to you (not me) to decide. Then once you decide on a price (you can afford), I’ll put my 24 years of real estate negotiating to use. I’ve been a licensed realtor (https://www.nar.realtor/ ) in Florida, Rhode Island, and Virginia and have learned every trick to save you money.
8) What if I’m out of state and home shopping online?
The first thing I’ll do is tour the home you are interested in. I do this for many of my out-of-state customers. I then drive the neighborhood inspecting the lay of the land and nearby houses. So many times, a home looks fabulous on Zillow (https://www.zillow.com/charlottesville-va/houses/or Realtor (https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Charlottesville_VA) only to be on a busy road, near a powerline, have barking dogs, or a trailer park next door.
9) Who pays my commission?
The seller does unless specified in our MLS www.mycaar.com. We make this noticeably clear to you in our first conversation. And we encourage you to sign up at www.mycaar.com for a free account on our MLS. Very important – Never, ever purchase a home from the same agent. The listing/selling agent MUST by law represent the seller’s interests. You’ll always pay more and not be a happy camper at closing.
10) Does the home have to appraise if we are borrowing the money?
Yes, and only the lender hires the appraiser as this keeps everyone honest. If the Charlottesville home does not appraise then the bank deducts the amount it’s short and asks you to come up with that amount at closing. You then must decide to continue with the sale or move on to another home. This only happens when the seller lists their home at an unrealistic price. But this rarely happens in today’s Charlottesville real estate market.
11) How can we buy a Charlottesville home if we don’t have enough funds to cover the closing costs?
There will always be closing costs and they are a big-ticket item (See a great article here on: What Are Closing Costs Buying A Home ( https://www.valuepenguin.com/mortgages/what-are-closing-costs-buying-a-home#:~:text=Closing%20costs%20refer%20to%20the,a%20house%20purchase%20is%20finalized.&text=Typically%2C%20the%20buyer’s%20costs%20include,to%20their%20real%20estate%20agent ) for in-depth info. These closing costs typically include mortgage insurance, homeowner’s insurance, appraisal fees, and property taxes, while the seller covers ownership transfer fees and pays a commission to their real estate agent. I always negotiate with the sellers to cover some of these closing costs especially with new home builders like Stanley Martin and Ryan Homes. They expect it and build it into their price. Therefore, you NEVER purchase a new home without a knowledgeable Charlottesville realtor.
12) Do we need a home inspection?
Yes, if you are borrowing from any public lending institution. However, you have the choice of who you want to perform the inspection. The better the inspector, the more you’ll know what’s wrong with the home. You then can use this information to renegotiate the sales price.
13) Is purchasing a Charlottesville home easy?
It depends on the buyer (you), the seller, and the agents representing each. One bad entity on this chain can make a deal go very wrong. That’s why it’s good to work with a Charlottesville realtor who has at least fifteen years of real estate sales experience. I have 24 years of experience as a Charlottesville buyer’s agent and have seen every trick in the book.
14) How fast can we close?
If you’re borrowing from a lender then usually you can close within 60 days. But in today’s hot Charlottesville real estate market, it might take longer. If it’s a cash deal, then around 30 days. The bank and the appraiser are usually what holds up the loan, which holds up the closing.
15) What happens if we close and we find problems with the home?
The first thing you’ll do is go back to your home inspector and ask them about the problems you’ve encountered. They’ll either acknowledge the problem and give you an approximate estimate to fix it or they’ll puff and say it’s not their fault. In either case, you’ll also contact your homeowner’s insurance and discuss it with them. If it’s something that can be repaired for under $1000 then I suggest you do not file a claim. Why? Because your rates will go up.
16) What about HOA fees?
Usually, the fees are listed in the Charlottesville MLS, what they cover, and when you are billed. I’ve found it’s better to contact the HOA with your list of questions and concerns. Most do not take phone calls but use email. Some are horrible to deal with…and I know who they are.
17) When we move-in will all the services be turned on?
No. Water (if public), gas, electricity, cable all must be set up in advance by yourself. I suggest doing this 2 – 3 weeks in advance especially with cable.
18) What Does a Top Charlottesville Realtor do for You?
A top Charlottesville realtor does much of the work to make sure your deal runs smoothly. We run comps, we give you our local knowledge, we suggest a fair offer, we suggest 3 good home inspectors, title companies, and lenders, we make sure your lender is not gouging you with fees, we open the door for the home inspector and discuss their report with you, we open the door for the appraiser, we negotiate a lower price (if need be), we work with your lender to make sure the closing date will be met, and finally we make sure any repairs have been done, and the home is clean for your final walk-thru before paying.