Author: Dan Vollmer

Having Your Cake (And Renting It Too)

A new twist to an old conversation… I had a meeting with some friends and clients this past week… a young couple who bought their first house a few years ago, and are now looking to make their first “move up.” We had a good conversation, one I’ve had countless times with clients who are both buyers AND sellers. This time, though, with an interesting component. One I believe is gaining traction across our market. I started in real estate in January 2006. Back then (according to census data), the population of Lynchburg was 70,530. Liberty University’s on-campus undergraduate...

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The Home Buyer’s Lament

But I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For When Bono plaintively sang, “I have climbed the highest mountains/I have run through the fields” he was most likely NOT talking about trying to buy a house. Although for many buyers in today’s market, those words have an eerie familiarity. For many months now, it feels like buyers have been roaming the streets, pre-approval letters in hand, waiting to see a new “For Sale” sign go up in someone’s yard. And the minute a decent new listing comes on the market, rushing like Beatles fans to get in the door....

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THE TWO LISTS AND WHY YOU WANT THEM AS SHORT AS POSSIBLE

Back in college, I had this stance against list-making. I was pretty proud of how well I kept up with my obligations sans “A List.” Remember, this was before you could just say, “Hey Siri, remind me to do my laundry next week.” Back when making a list involved an actual piece of paper and a writing instrument. How was I able to manage this, you ask? Well, for starters, like a lot of college kids, I didn’t have a whole lot going on. And furthermore, I’m pretty sure I frequently forgot things that I wouldn’t have, had I...

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Lynchburg Architecture, 200 years in the making

The More Things Change in Lynchburg Architecture… similarities and differences, 200 years in the making… As this issue casts a light on architecture, I thought it might be fun to reflect on shifts in how homes have been built over the past couple centuries. We are fortunate in Lynchburg to have numerous examples of classic architectural styles through the ages. And if you’re one of the really lucky ones, then you’ve got a copy of the quintessential guidebook on this topic, Lynchburg: An Architectural History, on your bookshelf. (Side note: landing a copy of this out-of-print gem years ago...

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Hitting Your Goal Weight…

…or why the real estate market does not need to lose a few this year… If you’re like most people, the holidays are not exactly a time for self-control, eating in moderation or slimming down. It’s true that an impending summer vacation is the most common motivator for dropping those extra pounds, while year-end events afford an excellent opportunity to throw caution to the wind. Something about the difference between tank tops and wool sweaters can have that effect on us. It occurs to me that our market operates in reverse. For the next 6+ months, the real estate...

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Reflections & Reminiscence

After all, what’s a year-end column without a little looking back… Ok let’s be honest. As you read this, real estate may not weigh heavy on your mind. If you’re reading this as the magazine comes out, then right now you’re mostly concerned with how to survive holiday meals with your visiting in-laws. Or maybe you are the visiting in-laws—in which case, you’re probably just pretending to read a magazine. Or maybe looking for some interesting talking points to bring up later over dinner. Either way, I get what’s going on here. We could discuss the statistical data regarding...

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It Ain’t What They Call You, It’s What You Answer To…

Observations on millennial home buyers and sellers W.C. Fields knew what he was talking about, even 100 years ago. You can define a person (or a generation) however you choose. But each individual person accepts or declines that definition by their actions and attitudes. This is not a new truth. It should come as no surprise, then, that many who technically fall into the millennial category do not find the moniker personally applicable. This was true of prior generations—Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomers. Even those referred to as “The Greatest Generation” often decline to be labeled as such....

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Real Estate, Supply and Demand

A modern fable about (real estate) supply & demand Once upon a time, in a modest little city, there lived a shopkeeper who owned a modestly successful shoe shop. As one might expect, the meticulous shopkeeper took great care every week to keep record of the available shoes for sale. Furthermore, once a week a truck arrived with a shipment of new shoes for the store to sell. All of this was accounted for in the shopkeeper’s dusty old accounting book. Having owned a shoe shop for many, many years, the shopkeeper was accustomed to both good times and...

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A Little Perspective

Taking stock of where the real estate market has been and where it’s headed… In meeting with seller clients, I find it helpful to start any conversation about the value of their property within a framework of “where the market is today.” I pull certain statistics, and we discuss both the macro level (our entire market) as well as the micro (usually their zip code). It’s helpful for me to keep tabs on various market segments, and I think sellers find it instructive to know what to expect going forward. When asked how the market is, it’s easy to...

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Who Really Cares About Real Estate Predictions?

If they don’t affect YOUR future, then what’s the point… As a society, we like to take advantage of a relatively small window of time to reflect on what has happened in the past, and project forward what we think will happen in the future. (Unless, of course, you work for a company that uses a non-calendar fiscal year, in which case you get two small windows.) For the majority of us, however, that small window of time usually occurs in the final few days of one calendar year, and the first few days of the next. Which means...

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The Moral of the (Real Estate) Story…

As we are approaching (or depending on when you’re reading this, perhaps in the middle of) the holiday season, I thought it would be appropriate to tell a real estate-related fable—enjoy! Once upon a time, there was a cute Cape Cod on a quiet side street in a bustling little city, a three bedroom/two bath charmer with nearly 1800 square feet on a ¼-acre lot, great schools and many recent upgrades—but that’s not important. For you see, inside the wood-sided, big-windowed home lived a mom and a dad, a boy and a girl, and a friendly puppy name Jack....

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Clearing a Hurdle You Forgot Was There: Appraisals

“Surprise, Surprise!” Some folks love a good surprise. Others, not so much. Take, for example, having a baby. There are some couples who want to learn the baby’s gender in advance, so they can plan, pick a name and gear up in the appropriate colors. Others are “not finder-outers”—and those people are crazy. I’m joking…no, these couples prefer to wait until the day of the birth to find out if they’re having a boy or a girl. SURPRISE! And then there are people who like surprises in some areas but not others. My wife, for example, would not have...

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Peaks & Valleys or Mountains vs. Molehills

How the Local Market “Behaves” May Be Different than you Expect Lots of folks move to Lynchburg from outside the area, many even from outside the state. They arrive in our fair city with their experiences and expectations in tow—both of which are often misaligned with how Lynchburg real estate “works.” I hesitate to use that word, because it sounds very “inside the box”—as if we aren’t open to change or new ideas. I don’t mean it in that sense. I mean it in the sense that every market has its own behaviors… its own unique blend of how...

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Covering All Your Bases: Tips on Structuring a 4-part Financing Contingency

Okay, so if you’re like most people, you probably haven’t spent much time reading over real estate contracts lately. Contracts which, over the past 20 years, have grown from two pages to eight, not to mention supporting addenda and disclosures. Simply making an offer on a property now consists of 25 or more pages of documents and a dozen signatures. As a prospective homebuyer, unless you purchase a home every couple of months, you are largely dependent on your buyer agent to walk and talk you through this pile of paperwork. One important aspect of any purchase contract is...

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