First Quarter 2016 Market Report

What’s the difference between “median” price and “average” price?  Median means there are as many sales above the sale price as there are below the sale price.  Average sale price is the sum dollar value of all sold homes divided by the number of sold homes.  An average higher than the median means that there were several homes that sold well above the median price that pushed the average higher.

CAAR 1st qtr 2016 stats scan


Where’s the port-a-potty?

blog image - CA port-a-potty

Virginia regulations require a minimum of 100 feet of separation between a well and septic field when installing them.  Let’s hope California has similar rules!

Home Sweet Home


After two days on the road in Northern Virginia with business meetings and conference and sleepingin hotel beds, it is relaxing to walk in the back door, drop my bags and greet kitty, who is just as happy to see me as I her.  Never mind the stack of unopened mail on the kitchen table, the empty frige or the two unwashed coffee cups in the sink.  The bumper-to-bumper , stop-and-go-traffic is forgotten.  The two hours on the road are a faded memory.  Unpacking the suitcase can wait.  I sit down.  Sanctuary awaits in relaxed quietude.

Things to Check When Buying a House on a Well

blog image - wellhead

Most of my buyers will tuen on a faucet or fluch a toiletwhen going through a house, and that’s usually the extent of checking out the water.  The standard contract calls for the Seller to have the water tested if it’s from a well.  This test is for the presence of bacteria only.  It tells you nothing about amount of available water, flow rate, acidity and any other substances that may be present.  To determine this will require a phone call or trip to the local environmental health department if the records exist, or, if they do not, a call to a well testing company.

Modern wells are drilled, whereas older ones were dug by hand or installed with a pile driver.  A permit is first issued by the county Health Department showing where the well is allowed to be placed.  Thw well driller then turns in a report once the well is installed that documents flow rate and depth along with other measurements.  This is kept on file by the county.  However, these records go back only so many years.  Also, as wells age, their flow rates will slow down over time.  That well pumping 15 gallons/minute when new may be down to 5 gallons/minute after 20 years or so.  Also, hand dug or pile driven wells did not have the depth or capacity that newer wells have and may be marginal or insufficient for use.

If you are selling a farm or rural property served by a well, having it checked before you list can save you unexpected headaches if the buyer discovers the problem.  I once had an appraiser order a well tested, resulting in the Seller having to get a new well installed before the sale could go through.