Questions Buyers should be asking their Agents


What questions should Buyers ask before putting an offer on a home? Here at Solutions, we get asked lots of questions by clients in their search for their dream home. Because of Equal Housing Laws, there are some we’re prevented by law from answering, but there are a number of answers we can find out or sources we can point you towards to look up the info you seek.Below are a few common … [Read more...]

Helping First-time Homebuyers Find What They Can They Afford


What do you think of when you hear the phrase “first-time homebuyer?”  Chances are you think of a couple fresh out of college and starting new jobs. Did you know that a first-time homebuyer means anyone who has not bought a home in three years? Yes, you heard that right. This can apply to anyone, whether they had to go through a short sale or foreclosed on a home. If it has been three years … [Read more...]

First Time Home Buyers

New Home Buyers

Should I buy? Should I rent?  How do I get Financing?  Who can I trust?  What is Dual Agency? Questions, Questions, Questions.... there are a lot of questions and you have just found a resource for all the answers. Working with First Time Buyers is very rewarding for me as I get to help you in a new experience. We will locate the perfect area and the perfect place that you are … [Read more...]



When you are buying a new home it is a important decision. It can be a wonderful experience or it can be extremely difficult. This is a serious investment and for many the largest investment of their lives. I understand there are a lot of emotions and I want you to know that I am your advocate to purchase your next home. Whether it is a grand estate in Albemarle county or an investment … [Read more...]

Use a local Charlottesville Buyers Agent

Local Buyers Agent

When looking to buy a home in Charlottesville, or any area for that matter, logic dictates that you use a highly skilled local Charlottesville buyers agent. However, I see so many people go against this logic. So let's look at why. A Local Charlottesville Buyers Agent Knows The Market This just makes good sense. Most Buyers Agents specialize in a particular location. We know the … [Read more...]

Buyers need to ask the tough questions


Looking at number is amazing. It appears that 10% of agents in our MLS sell close to 50% of all transactions in our counties. Looking at the stats closer you would see that the majority of agent in our MLS have 1 to zero transactions for the previous 12 months. Many people choose an agent because they are a relative or a friend. The odds are not good that you are working with a top agent. As a … [Read more...]

Discussing First Time Buyers with Charles


There is nothing more intimidating that being a first time home buyer. Sure there is a lot of information available but a FTHB needs much more complete information and explanation regarding the process and what steps to take.   We love working with FTHB's. We understand that you do not go thru the process of buying a home everyday, but remember we do! More on Charlottesville … [Read more...]

Repeat Buyers with Charles McDonald

Multiple Homes! Today I am off to show homes in Charlotteville. These clients are looking for a 3rd home to purchase with me. There clients see the value in current home prices and are able to make proper investment choices. It is great to have clients who are so loyal to my business. Have a wonderful … [Read more...]

Forget open houses when looking at Charlottesville Real Estate use a top buyers agent and get all the listings!


It pays to use a local expert. Not sure I have to say anything more.   But I will... Open Houses are used by listing agents to do a couple of things. 1. Make a seller happy (the seller thinks this will helps sell the home) 2. Get additional Buyer Clients for the listing agent (this is done a lot more than sellers have any idea) Ask your listing agent to be 100% honest about open … [Read more...]

Local Charlottesville Buyers Agent compares Real Estate to Baseball

baseball real estate

I remember reading an article in our local paper about how our Area’s high-priced homes are harder to sell. Well it got me to thinking about our local Association of Realtors – CAAR and how many agents are having a tougher year than in the past. Why baseball popped into my head I do not know, but I see things like this…. Home Runs – Selling Charlottesville Real Estate over … [Read more...]

10 features home buyers want (Crozet and Charlottesville area is no exception)

1. Large kitchens with islands 2. Energy efficiency, including energy-efficient appliances, super insulation, and high-efficiency windows. 3. Home offices 4. Main-floor master suite 5. Outdoor living space 6. Ceiling fans 7. Soaking tub in the master suite and/or an oversize shower with a seating area 8. Stone and brick exteriors rather than stucco or vinyl 9. Community walking paths and … [Read more...]

10 Inexpensive Ways to Wow Buyers (Cville Real Estate)


10 Inexpensive Ways to Wow Buyers Now is the time for home owners contemplating a spring sale to spruce up their properties in anticipation of what Mike Larson of Weiss Research calls a potentially vibrant home-selling season. "If you have been beating your head against a wall, this is going to feel a lot better,” he says. Here are 10 cheap ways to make a property more attractive to … [Read more...]

Buyers of Charlottesville Virginia Real Estate need information…

When you are buying a new home it is a important decision. It can be a wonderful experience or it can be extremely difficult. This is a serious investment and for many the largest investment of their lives. I understand there are a lot of emotions and I want you to know that I am your advocate to purchase your next home. Whether it is a grand estate in Albemarle county or an investment property, I … [Read more...]

New Constuction Buyers Agent – Charlottesville Real Estate (progess of home)

My clients know that I am the buyers agent in the Charlottesville Real Estate market to work with if they are considering new construction. I recently stopped by one of my projects with a Northern Virginia cleint and the progress looks great! We are well into the drywall phase and are looking for completion soon. (Photo of my clients new home near Charlottesville Virginia) As you can … [Read more...]

Buyers do you understand what an open house is all about?


Now I am sure that a lot of my colleagues will disagree with me and some may even think this is a subject I should not be discussing with the public, but I think the public should understand..... An "Open House" is a "HOOK" Well at least that is what I call it. We are in Charlottesville Virginia and we are a caveat emptor state. The sellers agent represents the sellers best interest. In … [Read more...]

Stimulus Package – Good News for First Time Homebuyers

Well, it looks like first time homebuyers will not get the $15,000 that was originally bandied about, but $8,000 is not a bad compromise for houses bought between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, 2009. There is some talk that this could affect taxpayers' 2008 taxes, but please do speak with a CPA to get the real scoop on how that will work out. Always be sure to get sound advice when it comes to … [Read more...]

Buyers need to ask…

Yesterday we had a meeting of the top 100 agents in our area. Amazingly our group of 100 agents sell close to 50% of all transactions in our counties. Looking at the stats closer you would see that the majority of agent in our MLS have 1 to zero transactions for the previous 12 months. Many people choose an agent because they are a relative or a friend. The odds are not good that you are working … [Read more...]

Best House Hunting Strategies

Best House Hunting Strategies Searching for your dream house can be a daunting task, and most of the homes you see won't be what you're looking for. Below are some great strategies to use to help you weed out the houses that are just not right for you and help you avoid common house hunting mistakes. Have your team in place While many house hunters think they will save money by not working … [Read more...]

All About Spring Creek


All About Spring Creek, Louisa Va For many people, being able to live in a gated community that offers a well-rated 18-hole golf course just 20 minutes drive outside Charlottesville, and with easy access to Rt. 64 and points east and west, brings them to Spring Creek as the perfect choice. Located just off Rt. 64 at Exit 136 – Zion Crossroads/Highway 15 – the entrance to Spring Creek is a … [Read more...]

Staging Mistakes


Staging Mistakes To Avoid So You Can Sell Your Home Faster When Sellers ask us here at Solutions for advice, it’s usually because they’ve read the latest magazines or watched HGTV and the many shows targeting fixer uppers or DIY projects, but just don’t know where to begin when it comes to listing their own home. The first thing to remember is that they’ll no longer be living there so … [Read more...]

Tips for a Smooth House Closing


Tips for a Smooth House Closing When it comes to finding your dream home, there are many steps along the way to a smooth closing. After you’ve identified your perfect house - negotiated the contract, applied and approved for a loan, inspected and agreed to repairs and/or credits - the last step is the most important: the closing. By knowing what to expect and doing some legwork, you can … [Read more...]

Your Home Stinks


How to eliminate odors in your home For Sellers, decluttering and staging a home are both incredibly important to presenting it in a flattering way, but it’s also important to make sure potential buyers don’t stop at the front door because of an unpleasant smell. We all have walked into homes that have the strong stench of something undefinable, whether it’s from pets, bad food or strong … [Read more...]

If You Can Rent in Charlottesville You Can Own in Charlottesville


Newly elected CAAR president Anthony McGhee recently said that he believed, "If you can rent in Charlottesville you can own in Charlottesville.” Here at Solutions, we thought this was worth investigating. Should you buy or rent? This is a question most of us will likely face in our lives, whether buying a house makes more financial sense than renting a home.  What’s the financial … [Read more...]

Shopping for a Home in January


Shopping for a Home in January With the start of any new year, buying a new home might be the furthest resolution on people’s minds. But it might, in fact, be a very smart way to start off the year right. For one thing, as a Buyer, you will have little to no competition for houses on the market, even though the inventory will be lower than the most popular time - spring. Another reason to … [Read more...]

Questions your Realtor may not legally be able to answer


As REALTORS®, we get asked many questions by Buyers. We’re happy to help answer as many as we can, ones like: how old is the roof on a house, or does it use gas or electrical heat?  Your Solutions agent can tell you pretty much anything you need to know about a home you’re hoping to buy (or at least find answers for you). But there are several questions that we (any REALTOR®) aren’t … [Read more...]

Why buy a Charlottesville Home in the Winter


Why Buy A Charlottesville Home in Fall/Winter? In a place where spring is one of the most beautiful seasons of all, it makes sense that our Charlottesville real estate market is also incredibly busy during that time  - with homes often selling within hours or days of coming on the market after fielding several contracts at a time. In spring, people who have been cooped up over the winter are … [Read more...]

​ 2016 Parade of Homes Charlottesville

53rd Annual Parade Of Homes - Oct. 1 & 2, 8 & 9 - Noon-5pm It’s that time of year again. Sponsored by the Blue Ridge Home Builders Association (BRHBA), the now 53rd Annual Parade of Homes is a chance to see what’s new in the world of building, and it’s a free event. This year’s Parade features 42 homes from 18 builders, up from last year’s numbers of 12 builders and 32 … [Read more...]

What to do with a Low Home Appraisal


What to do with a Low Home Appraisal In the home-buying process, there are several crucial steps along the way that Sellers and Buyers alike will have to navigate: the home inspection, radon test, title issues, getting a survey and negotiating when an appraisal comes in significantly lower than the accepted offer. When this happens both sides can go through many different … [Read more...]

FSBO Charlottesville

House for sale

FSBO - Is It Really Better To Sell A Home Yourself? Here at Solutions we’ve touched on the issue of FSBOs (For Sale By Owner) quite often as we’re frequently asked by potential Sellers why they should consider having an agent versus selling their home themselves. Selling a Charlottesville home is easy, at least that’s what some people say. All you have to do is put a “For Sale” … [Read more...]

Charlottesville Pets


Tips for Charlottesville Pets Now that summer is almost upon us again, many in the Charlottesville area are thinking ahead to vacation and short trips out of town. If you’re listing a home and own a pet the debate arises as to whether it’s easier to hire a house sitter or board them. With many listings we often suggest removing the pet if possible during showings, and this can also … [Read more...]



What’s the difference between a REALTOR® vs an Agent? Many people interested in buying a home often ask us, “What’s the difference between a Realtor® and a real estate agent, and, where does a broker fit in the equation?” We hear the terms real estate agent and Realtor® bandied about quite often, and many people think they’re referring to the same thing. Before the Multiple … [Read more...]

What is a HOA – and what are the pros and cons?


We’re often asked by prospective Buyers first, what’s an HOA and what does it cover, and second, what are the pros and cons of living in a neighborhood with an HOA? The first is relatively simple to answer. You’re required to join an HOA - or Home Owners Association - when you purchase a condominium, townhouse or other type of property in a planned development, such as a leased land … [Read more...]

Clean Your Home Before AND After Selling


The importance of Cleaning Your Home Before AND After Selling  In previous blogs, we’ve discussed the important of decluttering a house before listing it, and also about what the term “broom clean” means as you’re getting ready to close, but what about the importance of having a clean home before and during listing, and then again right before you close? Getting your home as clean … [Read more...]

Interview with a Professional Home Inspector


Interview with a Professional Home Inspector Having an inspection done is the only way for Sellers and Buyers to know the state of a house, at a given point in time, and have a general understanding of what to look out for in the way of potential upcoming repairs. Your home inspector wants the process to yield a comprehensive to-do list and not to unduly stress out either the Seller or … [Read more...]

Ways to Prepare for Your Home Inspection


Ways to Prepare for Your Home Inspection After you’ve fallen in love with your dream home, ratified the contract and contacted your lender, the next vital step in the buying process – for both Sellers and Buyers – is the home inspection. Having an inspection done is the only way for Sellers and Buyers to know the exact state of the house, and have a general understanding of what to … [Read more...]

2016 Charlottesville and Albemarle Tax Assessments


2016 Charlottesville Real Estate Assessment numbers are now out as I write this post. There are two areas that have the greatest impact on Assessments: the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, where Charlottesville is located.   2016 Charlottesville Real Estate Assessment The City of Charlottesville says that the released assessments are “an estimate of fair market … [Read more...]

Will Bookcases Become Obsolete?


Will Bookcases Become Obsolete? With all the talk of technology, e-readers and cell phones, it appears likely for people to assume books will also go the way of the dodo - with bookcases not far behind, because, if you don’t need them for books, what use are they? To many, a house without books is a bit bare. Ask around and you might be surprised how many people will say they actually … [Read more...]

House Hunting – Dos and Don’ts


House Hunting - Dos and Don’ts Searching for a house can be challenging and time-consuming, and most won't be “the one.” It's tempting to dive right in and start looking at every open house listed in the paper or online. But before you dedicate your weekends, you need to know what you're looking for. In order to prioritize your wants and needs versus seeing everything in case … [Read more...]

Pros & Cons of Removing Shoes Before Showing a House


Pros & Cons of Removing Shoes Before Showing a House Sellers want their houses shown in the best light, and many think that asking potential Buyers and their agents to remove their shoes is the perfect solution - thereby keeping their houses clean and dirt-free. Some Sellers, for example, may have severe asthma - so tracking in pollen/dirt/mold spores is a very real concern. But what do … [Read more...]

Should I Sell my Home As-Is?


Pros and Cons of Advertising a Home “As-Is” Sometimes people find themselves in a situation where they need to sell their house “as-is.” Perhaps they've already moved and can't be there to arrange for repairs, or maybe they don't have the money that improvements will cost, are dealing with complications to their health or are going through a divorce. When a Buyer sees the words … [Read more...]

Hidden Costs of Buying a Home


Many first time homebuyers have in mind that they need at least a 20% down payment and a monthly check for the mortgage. But that’s not the entire story when it comes to buying a home. There are a mountain of “hidden” costs — from closing fees to taxes — that can add up to more than $9,000 each year — and that number will only jump if you live in a major U.S. city. Three … [Read more...]

Sellers – Renovate or Sell AS-IS?


Should you renovate to sell your home? We often get asked by our Sellers, is it worth making a ton of home improvements - other than the typical staging suggestions we’ve made in previous blogs - or should you sell “as-is”? Of course, it depends on what the Seller can afford to do, how much the Seller wants to make on the home, the particular improvements the home needs, the local … [Read more...]

7 Signs That Your Home Is Over-Priced

over priced home

We get asked lots of questions about when the best time to list a home is - we’re heading into a traditionally quiet time of year - but there are other ways to make sure your listing gets noticed. We’ve talked about ways to spruce up your home so it stands out, from curb appeal to a sparkling decluttered interior, but we also want to emphasize that pricing is one of THE most important … [Read more...]

How do you break up with your listing agent


How do you break up with your listing agent if you decide it's not working? Here at Solutions, we’ve talked in earlier blogs about ways for a Seller to prepare their home for sale in the Charlottesville area, what to look for in a Listing Agent and what factors come into play in a Buyer’s mind when they see your home for the first time - curb appeal, location, price and condition. The … [Read more...]

How to Get your House SOLD

We often get asked by Sellers, when the inventory is as low as it has been recently, about pricing strategy. After all, Charlottesville has captured national attention because of its desirability as THE place to live - whether you work or retire here - and so Sellers can pretty much ask any price they want, right? Not so fast. It’s true that location is a good indicator for what price a … [Read more...]

What is PMI?


What is PMI? Here at Solutions, we often get asked lots of questions by first time homebuyers about all the acronyms that get thrown around by lenders when preparing an offer. For one example, what is PMI? Basically, it’s a protection for a lender. When your down payment is less than 20%, you usually have to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance, (PMI), which is the lenders’ (banks’) … [Read more...]

What is an Escrow Money Deposit and Who Holds it?


Here at Solutions, we often get asked by First Time Home Buyers, “What is an Escrow Money Deposit (EMD), and why do you need it?” In short, during the purchase offer stage, it’s like a deposit that a Buyer puts down to show that they’d like to purchase a property in good faith. An EMD is only deposited after a contract has been fully ratified (when all signatures and initialing are … [Read more...]

What is the Title Insurance, and Why is it Important?


Here at Solutions, we are often asked by our Buyer clients why they need title insurance and, when they order it, what’s involved in the process. Buying a home is a long, complex transaction. Title insurance is an important part since it insures and assures the Buyer that all liens placed against the prior owners of the property, or documents that will restrict their use of the property, have … [Read more...]

Do I Need a Home Inspection?


Here at Solutions, we often get asked by our new clients if they really need a home inspection when buying a home. As Virginia is a “Caveat Emptor,” or “Buyer Beware,” state, it’s really the only way to see if the home has any defects or hidden issues as most Buyers don’t have the necessary training to look for these. A home inspection is one of the best consumer protection services … [Read more...]

Do you need an agent when building a new home?

Build with Charles McDonald

For Buyers, the Model Home signs you see everywhere around the Charlottesville area often make you want to stop in and check them out. When you see the finished project, it’s easy to get excited about building your dream home from the ground up - choosing your lot, your model, interior finishes and upgrades, etc. But, like with any home purchase, buying new construction is an expensive … [Read more...]

Sign Out
Charles McDonaldBy Charles McDonald - Charles, and his firm, Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions, are known locally and around the world for helping people move in and out of the Charlottesville area. His background (running his own engineering firm for 20+ years in the Silicon Valley) has given him the skills to not only develop this site but also to manage a stellar group of agents!
Charles McDonald, REALTOR® and Principal Broker, is Licensed to sell Real Estate in Virginia. 434-515-1585
Charlottesville Solutions, 2013 Woodbrook Court, Charlottesville VA 22901
Copyright © 2005-2017 Charlottesville Solutions - All Rights Reserved - Terms of Use (Legal)