Real Estate in the off season…

Well…it is that time of the year again.  Thanksgiving is right around the corner and soon after, Christmas followed by New Years.  This is a joyous time of the year to give thanks, celebrate family, and to remember the reason for the season.  Soon after the holidays, local areas that Chincoteague Island and the Eastern Shore will be seeing it’s coldest temperatures of the year…and perhaps some snow.  That is why most consider mid November until around the end of March the slowest time of the year for real estate sales.

But whereas the market may be slower…that is not to say that there is no activity during this time period.  A few things to consider…

A home might be shown less frequent during the off season, as compared to the summer months, but during the off season, EVERY showing tends to be serious buyer.  This is because potential buyers looking in the off season have visited the area primarily to look at property.  This is compared to summer months when potential buyers split there time between not only viewing homes, but enjoying the beach, shopping, and seeing other sites in the area.

Another item that needs to be considered is the unpredictable weather on the Eastern Shore.  A typical winter is an average temperature of 35 degrees (give or take) and only a random inch or so of snow here or there…which often melts in less than 24 hours.  But some years have seen extreme cold with lots of snow, whereas, other years have seen warmer temperatures with little or no snow.  So we as Realtors, as well as sellers, need to be prepared for both options.  I, like most Realtors in this area, tend to get our Spring busy time in April and May.  But I often refer to Winter 2013, which was a very warm winter. In that year the month of February was personally my busiest month for that entire year.  That was completely unpredicted, but was clearly earlier than normal due to the warm weather.

So how does a current or future seller prepare for this unpredictability?  Each situation is different.  Some sellers say…I am going to list in April.  Or I am going to take the house off the market from November until April.  As a seller you need to understand that it could very well be April or May before you see increased activity and more showings, but you still need to be prepared for a warmer winter, like 2013, and should have your house on the market ready for buyers.  If we do have a warmer winter…with lots of activity, by the time a house is put on the market in April…you may have missed those early bird buyers we tend to get each year.  Especially 2017, which is expected to be an improving year with lots of activity.

So in summary, what do you do?  For starters, you call me, your local Realtor.  Each situation is different.  But chances are waiting 4-5 months to call to get your house on the market may not be the best option for you.  That is why Dockside Properties, and I, continue to advertise houses and promote our seller’s homes as much as any other time of the year.  There is definitely a difference in the market during different times of the year.  But with an improving market like ours, taking your home off the market during the off season or waiting until late Spring or Summer may not be the best action to take.

Give me a call at 757-894-1479 so we can evaluate your situation.
Also online at


All agents are not Realtors…

Many people incorrectly use the term REALTOR® in a generic way to refer to all real estate agents. However, all agents are not REALTORS®. The term “real estate agent” is a generic term and refers to a sales agent who is responsible to a real estate broker and who is licensed by his or her state real estate commission to assist the broker in the business of buying, selling, exchanging, appraising, and managing property. A REALTOR® is a real estate agent who meets all these requirements, and more.

The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics contains rules of fairness and honesty that govern conduct and provide access to arbitration and dispute resolution. It provides a guide for long-term business success by helping to operate a real estate business smoothly and without obstacles.

You can’t afford to go it alone. Consult with a REALTOR®—a real estate agent who is a member of the Eastern Shore Association of REALTORS®. Only REALTORS® can earn the professional designations that keep them better informed in a changing market. Only REALTORS® subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics. Only REALTORS® have made that extra investment in their own careers so that they can better serve you.

I am a REALTOR!!

-Bob Faith
Dockside Properties
Partner/Assoc. Broker

2016 Eastern Shore Association of Realtors PRESIDENT


NEW Real Estate App for your Smartphone

As times change…Realtors such as myself must keep up with the times.  I am happy to introduce a new app for your smartphone.

This app will allow you to have direct access to listings on Virginia’s Eastern Shore…including, but not limited to, Chincoteague Island, the Community of Trails End, and Captain’s Cove.

Click or type this link to download the new app.

If you have the Zillow app or any other app on your phone…you need to try this app instead if your interested in property on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.  If you follow my blog…you know that Zillow is usually inaccurate and out of date.  This app is up to the second current and directly connected to our local MLS!!!

You can still visit my website at for use with your personal computer.


Why rent your campsite…when you can own it!?!

In 2015 and now again in 2016 some folks who were renting their yearly campsite were giving some unsettling news.  Have your camping property move out by the end of the year.  YIKES!

Now for some folks, that may be easy…just hook up to your camper and take it home.  But for a lot of other folks…it is not so easy.  They may have a permanent set up that can’t be moved.  That means they will lose this property and the money invested into it.

So if your in a rental campground and your in this situation now, or afraid it might happen to you in the future…I have an option for you.  Consider Trails End Campground!  In Trails End, you own your site.  And usually, it is just for the cost of a couple of years worth of rent.  On average, the lot you own is larger than the lot you can rent.  And in most cases…there are as many, if not more amenities to enjoy.

Trails End offers an Olympic sized pool, playground, clubhouse, marina dock and boat ramps, crabbing pier, 24hr security, Ocean Deli II Restaurant, general store, pavilion, basketball court, volleyball court, Laundromat, miniature golf, and lots more.  All for a modest HOA fee.

Trails End is located in Horntown, Va.  And whereas it will slightly increase your commute to the beach…many who have taken advantage of what Trails End has to offer feel it is well worth it.

Take a minute and visit or and see a current price list of lots in Trails End.  Camper sites and even sites with cabins built on them are also available.

Email or call today to find out more about Trails End what it has to offer.  Make sure you ask for Robert “Bob” Faith when you call.


Is it time to list your property?

One of the most common questions to a Realtor is “when is it a good time to list my property?”.

The answer can be very different from market to market, and property to property.  Considering the Eastern Shore Virginia, the answer may be very different if you’re talking about Chincoteague Island or Trails End, which tend to have a lot of second home purchases and seasonal owners, versus some of the other towns further south, such as Parksley and Onancock.

Some properties it’s OK to list any time during the year… Especially if they are homes that you or your Realtor feels a year-round occupant (or a local) may be interested in. However if your home is going to be a vacation home, or second home for your buyer… you may not want to list your home during months when there’s less buyer activity.

In my professional opinion, if your property is located in an area that the number of buyers is affected by the weather and warm temperatures, such as Chincoteague Island or Trails End, then the spring is the best time to list your property.

But spring in this case, does not mean when the calendar says spring starts. In my opinion it can be whenever temperatures tend to start getting warmer and warmer each week. This is often around Easter time, but can be as early as Valentine’s Day or as late as Memorial Day.

Considering this year, 2016, it appears like Easter weekend may be a good time to have your property on the market. But you do not want to wait until the Friday before Easter to list your property. Buyers are looking on the internet now, and planning their trip now to look at the houses and properties they are interested in seeing in a few weeks.

So with that being said, if you’re considering listing your property on Chincoteague Island, the community of Trails End, or anywhere else in Accomack or Northampton County… Give me a call so we can discuss what options and what timing will work best for you.

Direct: 757-894-1479

Office: 757-336-3200

Selling real estate with trailers and other personal property

If you are getting ready to sell real estate with a trailer or camper on site…then this blog is for you.

This conversation will include anybody whose building is considered personal property. It could be a single wide trailer, a travel trailer, park model, or a camper. It could even be a Doublewide trailer, if the Doublewide has not been converted to real estate. Basically if you still have a DMV title for your building…then please pay attention.

There is been a growing problem in the real estate world with sellers trying to sell their property when they do not have a proper DMV title in their possession. Maybe it was never put in their name… Maybe it was lost or misplaced.  

In many cases this does not come to light until the buyer and the seller go to the closing table.  If the seller does not have a proper DMV title to convey to the buyer it will most likely hold the deal up. Most buyers are not willing to go to closing without the DMV title… And a bill of sale is not usually enough to make the buyer comfortable. In addition, most lawyers and title companies are no longer willing to let the transaction go to closing if the DMV title is not available and in proper order.  And the very few that will allow the property to go to closing will often hold a significant amount of money in escrow until the seller can resolve the issues with the title.

So what can you do to make sure this problem does not affect your sale?

1) When you purchase a building that has a DMV title… You are required by Virginia law to place that title in your name within 30 days of ownership. If that is not incentive enough… Consider this, if you do not put the title in your name, and then you lose the title… DMV will have no way of issuing you a replacement title.  Even if you inherited the personal property, were widowed, got married, or divorced.  Make proper updates to the title.

2) Keep your title in a safe place.  I personally recommend a fire box or a safety deposit box.

3) When you decide to sell your property, go find your title.  Put your eyes and hands on it.  Look it over and make sure everything looks right.

4) Once you list the property…consider sending your Realtor a copy for their file.  That way they can show a buyer or settlement agent that you have it and can provide valuable information, such as the VIN number…which is required for the settlement and other documents.  If you don’t take this step…consider at least sending a copy to your settlement agent as soon as you get a buyer.  This will give them time to review the form in case corrections are needed.

5) Do not sign the title until settlement.  Most settlement agents want to witness the signature.  Plus, if the transaction is cancelled…you don’t want a signed title floating around.

It is in your best interest to follow these steps.  Don’t wait until settlement and realize there is an issue.  Plan ahead and ask your Realtor for help.

If you selling or buying on Chincoteague Island, Va; the community of Trails End or anywhere else in Accomack County…give me a call.

757-894-1479 or

Why Owner Financing and NOT Rent to Own…

Some of my blogs are written based on ideas I’ve had.  And some are in direct reaction to a concern I have after an interaction with a client or customer.  This is a blog from the latter option…and one I hope folks learn something for future reference.

There are several differences between the two.  The biggest difference is that in rent to own the property ownership is retained by the seller until payments are complete. In owner financing…the property transfers quickly and the seller becomes the lienholder.

Some folks say…I want to retain ownership in case some thing goes wrong. But this does not outweigh the risks you are taking.

In rent to own, the seller owner not only retains ownership…but also remains responsible for the tax bill, any HOA fees, or any other property invoices.  If during the process these bills are not paid it affects the seller owner and not the person purchasing the property.  In owner financing, the purchaser owner is responsible for these fees and it is part of the owner financing requirements that these are paid current at all times.

Let me pause and give an example… I spoke to a customer that had a friend (husband and wife) that had gone into a rent to own deal to sell a property.  After several years of payments the last payment was made.  After the last payment and before a new deed was recorded, the husband passed away.  Now, the husband’s children needed to sign the deed in his place.  And even though the children knew the father’s intent, they would not sign the deed.  Now the wife can’t sell the land, and if she can’t get the children to sign, she can’t uphold her end of the contract to transfer the owner to the person who has been making payments for years.  Of course that makes for a very happy buyer who won’t own the property they have been paying on and the seller may owe a large portion of the funds received over that time back to buyer(which my quess would be that those funds were already spent).  And the buyer may need to move.  If the children will not sign there will likely be legal action taken and costly court costs and lots of time.

Before you say that situation would not happen to you… Keep this in mind…there are several other situations and scenarios that can cause a rent to own agreement to go bad.

Here is another scenario.  A property cannot be done through owner financing if the seller has a lien on the property. However, rent to own can be done if the seller has a lien on the property.  Why does this matter… You could be renting to own a property for years… And if the seller stops making the mortgage payment, and the property is foreclosed on, the person renting to own will be removed from the property and will then need to take legal action against the seller.

In owner financing the buyer OWNS the property and the seller has a lien, just like a bank.  It is safer for both parties and for the seller, you just collect checks.  And it is actually easier to foreclose on a property in owner financing than it is to evict a rent to owner.

There are lots of scenarios, please talk to your attorney about what legal advice they would give.  I will end with this…in all my years as a Realtor I have never recommended rent to own, but I have been brought in to try and fix a rent to own gone bad on too many occasions.  The opposite has not occurred.

For all you real estates needs on Chincoteague, in Trails End, or anywhere in Accomack County…call me at 757-894-1479 or 757-336-3200.  Online at .

Real Estate Auctions…the Pros and the Cons

From time to time I get questions about whether it is a good idea to buy property from a real estate auction.  First we need to identify why the auction is happening to begin with.

In most cases…an auction is happening because the owner of property owes money against the property and one of the lienholders is taking action to get the money owed to them.  It could be a foreclosure sale, a tax sales, a sale by an HOA, or even an auction by the owner themselves to try and sell the property.

There is one obvious reason, as a buyer, to buy at an auction…to get a property cheaper than the current market value.  Getting a property significantly below market value only happens about 50% of the time.

As for the cons…there are a number of reasons why there could be a negative.  The biggest reason is a buyer not doing adequate research on the property prior to bidding and getting surprised by unknown details after they own the property.  In many cases it could be additional liens on the property that the buyer did not know about.  Just because the property is going to auction, DOES NOT mean the lot is debt free!

Every auction, jurisdiction, and area are different…But if you are going to a tax auction…also called a tax sale…taxes may be the only lien cleared off the property.  Liens from banks, HOAs, or anything else may still be attached to the property.  If you goto an HOA sale…HOA fees may be the only debt cleared off.  And if you are the new owner…that debt is now yours!

Another issue is personal property.  If you are buying real estate and there is ANY personal property located on site.  You usually do not get the personal property.  And you can’t just trash the previous owners stuff.  You now need to work with the previous owner to “evict” their stuff off the lot.  This could include furniture, cars, campers, single wide trailers, etc.  Or in rare cases…maybe the previous owners themselves.

The last big negative to buying a property at auction is the sale is not always final.  Just because you goto an auction and win the bid…does not mean the property is yours.  Usually, the winning bid needs to be approved by a third party…someone who is not at the auction.  Don’t be surprised if you get a call a week or so after the fact telling you that your bid was not high enough and you need to pay X dollars more to get the property.  Or even a call to say that as they did the final research to accept your bid, the governing body found and issue and the property could not goto auction after all.

Investors who attend several auctions do well at auctions.  The “average joe” usually does not.  There is usually a lot of concerns and worry both before, during, and after the auction by the bidder who may be looking for properties for their family to use or live in.

So in summary…you can get a deal at an auction.  But BE PREPARED.  Research the property, don’t get into bidding fever, and be ready for anything!  If you can’t be 110% prepared…I do not recommend auctions.  Buying a property through the mainstream market (such as through a Realtor) is much safer, there are little or no surprises, and in many cases…through negotiations…you can still get a good deal on a property you like.  And if any “surprises” come up…there is usually a legal way to resolve it or you don’t need to continue with the purchase.

If your looking to buy or sell property on Chincoteague Island, Va., in the community of Trails End, or any where else in our area…please give me a call.

Direct: 757-894-1479
Office: 757-336-3200