1st Dominion Realty


I am originally from Warren, Rhode Island, a small town in the East Bay area of the state. I have loved the water from very early on, and one of my greatest pleasures is snorkeling. I attended Boston University for several years, and finished my at Roger Williams College in Bristol Rhode Island. My BA is in Creative Writing. I worked in human services for many years, first at a CAP agency covering the East Bay area of Rhode Island, later at the Elizabeth Lund Home in Burlington, Vermont, and later still at Region Ten in Charlottesville, Virginia. At Region Ten I was first a Case Manager for the long term mentally ill and later a Prevention Specialist. As a Prevention Specialist as visited a number of local schools to work with guidance counselors and students on issues of drug & alcohol abuse in the family. In 1994 I became a real estate licensee, and several years after than I earned my broker's license. Helping people to purchase and sell real estate is a fascinating profession. Every day is different. And indeed it is a valuable tangible service to offer. I belong to WriterHouse, a local organization that offers support and programs to writers. Horror & Fantasy are my preferred genres, although I like my stories reality based with a flavor of the 'unusual'. My wife & I took up musical instruments about 10 years ago. Sue plays fiddle and I play mandolin. We play 'Old Time' music, but over the past two years Sue has gravitated towards traditional Irish music and lately I too have been learning some Irish tunes. There is a great music scene here in Central Virginia. We have many real good musicians and there are many venues to hear them in. Charlottesville is a great place to live, and I guess that is why I have been here since 1985.

The monthly water/sewer bill for a city home had increased exponentially over the period of a couple months. With all the water in the house turned off we looked at the meter in the ground by the street. The little flow triangle was turning. There was a leak in the water line somewhere between that meter and the house.
The problem: the water line was a distance from the house and possibly ran under a concrete stairway, and it did run under a concrete front porch, and also there were two elevations from street level, so the line itself could have been a number of feet underground in a couple places. Worse, the house itself perched on a concrete slab.
There was not any water in the meter compartment itself. Water from a break in the line usually follows the water line back into the meter, so the concern was that the leak was near the house or under the house (beneath the slab). The plumber, Ray Hunt, dug next to the foundation on either side of the concrete stairway, but could not find water line – that was bad news as it indicated the line ran under the stairs and concrete porch. The idea had been to find where the line entered the house, cut and cap it, and see if the meter’s flow indicator were still spinning. If it was, that would mean the break was between the house and the meter. If it was not spinning, that would mean the break was somewhere under the concrete slab of the house – bad news, as to repair or replace would mean breaking through the concrete slab in several places inside the house, and that would mean a huge mess and expense.
As it was, Ray turned the water on at the meter and waited a few hours. Eventually he saw the ground near the meter was moistening. Water still was not flowing into the meter compartment. Where was it going? Who knows, but Ray did find the break only a few feet from the meter itself, and that was a lucky break.
I’ve seen a few water line breaks during the course of my real estate career, but this could have been a true disaster for the property owner. It made me wonder why when water lines are installed they not run through a conduit? In other words, the water line would pass through a slightly larger line, both running from the water source to the house. That way if a break should occur, the water line can easily be pulled through the conduit and repaired or replaced. There would be an increased but negligible cost at time of construction, but a huge savings in the event of a water line break.

Not long ago I mentioned a new development in the mortgage loan industry: the Qualified Mortgage and Qualified Residential Mortgage (QM and QRM). At that time the regulatory body creating the new regulations, which will affect a borrower’s ability to get a mortgage loan that is backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was still in the process of drawing up the new regulations. They are further along now. This link to an article published by the National Association of Realtors talks more about QR and QRM:


How’s the local Real Estate market doing? In a nutshell, it’s doing pretty good and expected to get better. You may have seen this article in the Daily Progress. If not, here is a link to it:


For help and inquiries about real estate in the Charlottesville and the Piedmont area of Virginia, contact me!  I look forward to hearing from you.

Not long ago I wrote that the regulators were coming up with new requirements for lenders making home loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Those new requirements are getting formulated and you can read about it by following this link:


You can be certain that more is to come.  Hopefully these new regulations won’t make it more difficult for people get loans.

This post is courtesy of the Trulia real estate people via the VAR (Virginia Association of Realtors) BUZZ daily newsletter:

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Trulia on the pluses and minuses of Obama’s re-election

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 06:20 AM PST

Forbes has a column from Trulia’s chief economist, Jed Kolko, “What Obama’s Re-Election Means for Housing.” Interesting reading, but if you’re lazy here are the main points:

1. More opportunities for refinancing as the Obama Administration is expected to expand programs such as HAMP to more underwater homeowners.

2. New mortgage regulationsbecause Dodd-Frank isn’t going away. We’re still waiting to see how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will define “qualified mortgage” and “qualified residential mortgage” — and what effect that will have on lenders.

3. No changes to the mortgage interest deduction. Gov. Romney proposed capping itemized deductions at $25,000, effectively reducing the MID. (When it comes to the amount of mortgage interest per household, Virginia ranks #3 in the country and Washington, D.C., is #9.)

4. Less of a chance for principal reductions. Gov. Romney had called for principal reductions, but with protections for lenders if a home’s value appreciates. That would have been more palatable to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which has refused to allow Fannie and Freddie to cut principal without such a clause, as the Obama Administration wants.

If lately you have applied for a mortgage loan, or know someone who has, you’ll be aware that getting a loan has become a lot more challenging than it was in the past.  In some respects, that is good, as a big problem that helped bring on the big economic crash of several years ago (and that we still live with today) was lenders making home loans to people who did not have the ability to make their loan payments.
Starting sometime in 2013 getting a home loan will become even more difficult.  Stricter lending guidelines called Qualified Mortgage (QM) and Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) will come into effect.  The idea is to set standard guidelines to be followed by lenders and to be met by borrowers in order for the loan to be warranted and/or sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  In other words almost all lenders will follow the QM and QRM guidelines as they will not want to ‘eat’ the loan in the event the borrower fails to make payment.
In a follow up email I’ll try to explain the issues surrounding QM and QRM, but perhaps the main one for home owners hoping to sell their current home is that borrowers are going to have a harder time getting a loan. 
How will this affect the just beginning economic recovery?  How will the shadow inventory of ‘foreclosed’ homes the banking industry has not released to the market yet, but eventually will, affect recovery?  We’ll find out. 

I received this blog from Bill Tucker, well known Charlottesville area real estate attorney.  Please read it.  If you have purchased a home recently or know someone who has, this message may prove important to you.

Tip 39-2012:  New Scam for Purchasers – “Deed Processing Notice”


There is a new scam targeting Purchasers of real estate which usually occurs several months after the closing.  A questionable organization, which goes by “Secured Document Services”, “National Processing Center”, etc., with a Washington, D.C. address is sending new purchasers a “Deed Processing Notice“.  This notice recommends that the property owner needs a copy of their recorded Deed from their respective Clerk’s Office.  The notice contains data from the local public records about the purchase (“Property Profile”).  To make it even easier to scam you, they include a prepaid addressed envelope. 


All the homeowner needs to do is pay “Secured Document Services” $85.00 for this fantastic service.




First off, the attorney or settlement company performing the closing will usually give the Purchaser a copy of the Deed being recorded.  Secondly, the Clerk’s Office will usually send the recorded Deed to the homeowner after the Clerk’s Office is finished processing the Deed.  This will normally occur within one to two months after the closing.  (Just ask your settlement attorney to give the Clerk a self addressed stamped envelope to return the actual recorded Deed directly to the homeowner.) 


Finally, the Deeds recorded in the Clerk’s Office are public records.  Anyone can get a copy of any recorded Deed for as little as 50 cents to one dollar per page (usually no more than two or three pages).  This is a clever scam.  Please warn your clients and we will, too.


PS – Click here to view a sample “Deed Processing Notice”.


Contact me at 434-951-0858 or Tucker@TGBLaw.com if you have questions, or visit our blog below for previous tips.  Thank you for allowing us to send you this email.    


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William D. Tucker, III   

Tucker Griffin Barnes P.C.  

Photo Gallery – VideosFirm Brochure

Charlottesville, VA 434-973-7474 | Lake Monticello (Palmyra, VA) 434-589-3636  

Once again LeRoy Houser has a great blog entry about credit scores and short sales (as in, how a short sale affects a person’s credit).  Here’s the article and follow the links for more detail.

Credit Scores Are Nothing To Sneeze At

Crumpled rejected loan applicationMost states now have a pre-licensing course for those seeking a license to sell real estate (usually called Principles of Real Estate or something similar). The subject matter covers everything from how to measure the square footage of a home to how to write a sales contract. However, most of the agents I’ve had in my Short Sale & Foreclosure classes over the past several years have had no or very little knowledge about credit scores, which can make or break a real estate deal in a nanosecond—even at the closing table.

There’s also a lot of confusion about the effect of a short sale transaction and/or a foreclosure on a person’s credit score. I’m convinced that many of those who sell their homes short are shocked to discover that the effect on their credit score was the same as if the property had been lost to foreclosure. I’m not an expert on credit scores, but I know who the experts are—so the objective of this blog is to introduce you to two invaluable sources of updated information that you can pass along to your customers and contacts.

1. Check out this recent article that appeared in the Washington Post, written by Kenneth Harney, entitled “Short sellers may take a big hit on their credit scores, fairly or not.” It’s one of the best articles I’ve read on the effect of a short sale on a seller’s credit score and about who does and doesn’t control what goes into a credit score calculation. Take a read: http://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/short-sellers-may-take-a-big-hit-on-their-credit-scores-fairly-or-not/2012/09/06/b3e49cc0-f6ad-11e1-8398-0327ab83ab91_story.html

2. FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) is a leading source of helpful information for both real estate agents and their customers, and I believe that including the source of this information in a newsletter or on a website could have a positive impact on an agent’s professional reputation. There are many myths about credit scores that are dispelled on the FICO website, along with much helpful information regarding how to improve and maintain credit worthiness. FICO’s Credit Education page can be accessed here: http://www.myfico.com/CreditEducation/FactsFallacies.aspx

The role of a real estate agent has gone from being the source of homes for sale to the source of all real estate information—and this customer wants more information from us than most customers we’ve had in the past. They can find the home to buy on the Internet, but they want to know how to buy it and help with decisions and problems. The information we present on websites and social networks and in newsletters extends our reach to people we’ve never met via those who pass along the material to help someone they know. The source of the information truly becomes the source of the sale, so the more information you give to the right people, the more sales you will make.



Below is a copy of a blog entry by LeRoy Houser, area Real Estate guru.  This info below is just plain common sense, but pay attention anyway!

Avoid These Blunders

1. Not Negotiating. Regardless of how ridiculous an offer may be, it’s never a good idea to reject it. You can’t move forward with a REJECTED contract! If the buyer prospect took the time to make an offer, the least the seller can do is to make a counteroffer. All sales begin with an offer of some kind, and negotiating is the rule of the day, so sellers should be prepared for this at the outset. They can’t take a low offer personally. It’s an honor to get an offer in a Buyers’ Market!

2. Not Keeping the House in Top-Notch Condition. Yes, it’s inconvenient and stressful to live in a home that’s for sale and/or staged because privacy is interrupted and lifestyle is compromised, but it’s all part of selling a house. There aren’t usually an abundance of buyers for every property, and the “buyer of a lifetime” may just show up to see the home on a 30-minute notice (and usually does). The longer a property is on the market, the less exciting the process becomes for the seller, so you must work with them to prevent it from becoming “Listing Impossible.” This is accomplished by having an open discussion in the beginning and reinforcing it on a continuous basis.

3. Unrealistic Restrictions. No Open Houses, No Yard Sign, No Brochure Box, Not On the Internet, Listing Agent Must Be Present for All Showings (sometimes necessary but rare), Cannot Show the Garage Because That is Where the Attack Dog Lives…these restrictions are workable when there are ten buyers for every home, but those markets are few and far between.

4. Waiting Too Long to Allow Changes. This one is SOOOO frustrating. Typically this relates to cutting the price, so it’s crucial that goals for showing are established in the beginning. Since most buyers shop online for a house to buy without the services of an agent, it’s extremely important to evaluate showings, inquiries, and open house visitors and make adjustments if there is not sufficient traffic. If comparable properties are selling or being shown and your listing is not, something is wrong—and the “something” is usually price or condition.

Open House, Sunday 6/17, 1-3 PM. 

209 Surrey Road, Charlottesville, VA.    Dir:  from Barracks Road Mall take Barracks Road going west just a very short distance.  Turn left on Surrey Road.  This home is almost in the cul de sac.

Ready to move in! This spacious home has 4 roomy bedrooms and a large finished basement. Very close to UVA and 3 county schools, minutes to downtown C-Ville, easy walk to Barracks Rd Mall. Open kitchen with granite counter tops and family room w/fireplace are perfect for entertaining. Screened porch, basement office w/fireplace. Dining room and living room with built-ins. New in 2009: windows, front & screen door, heat pump, house wrap and siding. Roof new in 2005. Great Neighborhood!  Check out the Visual Tour:  http://www.visualtour.com/show.asp?T=2711519


Open House, Sunday, 6 May, 1-3PM

3640 Echo Valley Road, Barboursville, VA.  From Charlottesville take Rt. 20 (Stony Point Road) northbound.  After 8 miles or so Echo Valley Rd will be on the right hand side.  Go about 1.5 miles to home on right.

How Green My Valley

Craftsman-like cottage, beautiful wood floors & accents, unique & efficient hot water heating system, central A/C, updated windows, custom kitchen by Blais Gaston. Magical location flanked by Southwest Mt Rural Historic District’s 31,000 acres of preservation & within Blue Run Ag District. Separate studio/office has electricity & heat. Peace & Nature Supreme. Near end of Echo Valley Rd, off Rt. 20 north, Barboursville. Contact me for more information.