Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ryan Howard... MVP!!!

I haven't really shared my love of sports on the blog, but my first ever post sort of covered it.

While I was putting together my last post, the Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard hit an absolute bomb of a home run!! Now I haven't seen it yet, I'm only going by the descriptions I've read on a team message board -- I'm still at my office for crying out loud!!

I'm only noting it because it was his 49th of the year and that breaks a team record. Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt (an all time favorite player of mine) held the record of 48 since the 1980 season. That season the Phightin' Phills' won the World Series. Ahh what great memories... I was in third grade and it is about all I can remember.

Anyway, congrat's Ryan. I think he is a special player and I hope he is playing for a special team (however please note, as a sports fan of teams from Philadelphia, I never really get my hopes up too much). I can guarantee you that if the Phils make the playoffs you won't be seeing any posts during those times when the games are on. Still another month to go, but my excitement level is rising!!

Look for my listings report on Friday. I'm heading home to see the highlights!!


Of course the Phillies totally blew that game against the Nationals that night. But over the weekend Howard went on to hit another 3 HR's in one game and one more on Labor Day!! The kid is on fire.

Newpaper print ad vs. the Internet

As I alluded to in a previous post, I'm looking ahead and am actively marketing my listings on the Internet instead of using more traditional forms of advertising, such as newspaper ads that typically appear in the classified section.

This news release by the Classified Intelligence LLC firm speaks to what is currently happening with a grim look ahead for newspaper advertising from the real estate profession. (Hat Tip to the Future of Real Estate Marketing)

Our own local newspaper also produces our monthly real estate guide magazine. In addition to that magazine they also have an online service to advertise listings from the local MLS (soon to be Data Exchange). You can see an example of a listing right here.

This was the first year I have experienced a lack of response from newspaper advertising, but it is a slower market than in recent years. And to be honest I haven't seen overwhelming success on my online advertisements, but I am a believer in this method 100%. Some of the lack of success I attribute to the size of my market. Kingman is not a large metro area by any stretch. In fact I also believe that the local market is a tad behind other areas in Internet use. Most of the time that I have received interest from the Internet advertising it has come from people who are living in another area and are planning to relocate to Kingman (or in my service area).

My expectation is that this will change in the very near future. There are currently plenty of listed Kingman properties on many of the popular search sites and I love that I can track the listing page hits on most of those that I have placed ads on.

It is not the wave of the future, it is happening right now. Make sure you ask your Realtor of choice his or her plan on how they intend to market your listing on the Internet. You will want as much Internet presence as possible, especially competing to sell your property in this current buyers market.

Wednesday's WARDEX meeting...

As I've posted about before, here regionally with two other Associations we are creating a new MLS organization. We are moving away from calling it MLS and now the buzzword is Data Exchange. The Western Arizona Realtor Data Exchange (WARDEX) had it's first meeting of interim directors on Wednesday. At the meeting we chose the interim Officers that will reside over duties until the permanent Board of Directors is selected by each of the Associations and installed in January 2007.

I'm happy to report that I am not an officer, but I am an interim director.

I will be using this blog to start letting the cat out of the bag on issues that will affect the Membership of KGVAR. I'm doing this because of the loyalty to the Association I have as president. There will be big changes that all Members will have to endure. Change is not easy for Realtors, duh...

First thing is that I've already mentioned that the interim board is in place and handling business.

The Board came to an agreement on the cost for the new service that each Member will pay for use. It will be an annual fee of $240 for the year. There won't be a monthly bill, there will be prorations offered on a quarterly basis, and there will be no refunds if a Member drops out of the service. The first time a bill for the service will be issued is in April and it is due May 1 and is delinquent on June 1.

The Board began to critique further the bylaws and the rules & regulations of the new organization. I'm not going into those details until the legal department looks over the changes.

We also agreed to formerly pass on the information for training of the new MLS (oh I mean Data Exchange) product that all Members will be using starting on October 25 of this year. You can view that information as it pertains to my Association right here.

The officers are; President -- Evan Fuchs from Bullhead City, Vice President -- Cheryl Westwood from Lake Havasu, and Secretary/Treasurer Ben Gangloff from Kingman. (Ben I can't find your website!!)

Lastly we agreed to meet the first Wednesday of each month and rotate the location of the meeting between the three Association locations. It's also likely that we will have supplemental meetings as we get ramped up.

Contact me for more information.

Wow, lots of stuff happening. No wonder I'm at my office ususally by 6:30 am and leaving for the day pretty close to when it is dark (and the days are getting shorter).

Tuesday's public workshop at P&Z

Didn't have an opportunity to post yesterday because of many meetings I attended, but on Tuesday I attended the 'public workshop', if you want to call it that, with the county P&Z commission. It was public, but there wasn't all that much working happening there.

Members of the public who wished to speak were given two minutes by the panel. Most folks had much more to say on their feelings of the proposed land split matrix. On many occasions the panel did have questions or were seeking further comments from the speaker.

Most in attendance were against the proposed land split matrix. However the commission continued to insist that they only proposed the matrix to use it as a guide to help them make decisions on whether or not to recommend a request for land division and/or rezone. And to my disdain some on the panel were basically saying that they thought the rights of the non land owner should supercede the rights of the landowner. NO... NO... NO!!!

What I mean is the example that one commissioner used was if a landowner wanted to legally split his property but his neighbors did not want to allow for a split, that the commission should consider the wishes of the non land owner. The key here is legally!! There, that is their guide. If it is legal the land owner should have his/her request granted.

The panel continues to say that this is about rezones and not about splits. But the matrix is for the division of minor LAND SPLITS!! And the commission has been using their made up guide (that elected officials have not given them the go ahead to use) to deny request for land splits.

Now, our Association (KGVAR) has submitted a draft resolution to the county. It was given to the County Supervisors and I know that P&Z staff has seen it. However no one from the county has shared this info with the P&Z Commission (the commission now has each their own copy). It really seems as if many on the commission are bowing to the P&Z staff and nothing more. Not all commission member, but enough to give me pause.

There is another public workshop scheduled for September 7th at 2:00pm at the county building in the auditorium again. I will once again attend and will ask that anyone who is in opposition to the proposed land split matrix attend and let your voice be heard. I think we still have a battle on our hands.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Anyone know what a separated shoulder feels like??

Drats, I am in pain today. Last night was our last softball game of the season and of course I had to slide into home plate on one play (and skin up my lower leg), and of course tried to make a diving catch in the outfield.

On the dive (which I missed, my wife says by a mile but I think only by a half step) I landed on my left arm that was stretched out. I didn't notice anything at the time, or even at all last night. But this moring my shoulder was sore and now it simply hurts just to raise my arm.

I'm 35, out of game playing shape, and really shouldn't be diving or rolling on the ground at these events any more, but I must say that usually I'm good with pain management but not today.

What's any of this have to do with real estate?? Well I imagine that the pain I'm feeling in my shoulder is similar to the pain that many sellers are having competing with other sellers in what has been a rather slow time in our market. I hope my shoulder feels better later, and that I'll get some offers on my listings later. There, brought it back.

I'm off to the public forum on the land split matrix held today at the county office building. I'll have an update on that tomorrow, an offer on a listing, and a better feeling shoulder. See you then.

Real estate blog carnival time...

Check out this weeks carnival. Get involved with the discussions that will only better inform you. Head over to TheLandlordBlog and see what all the fuss is about.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Maybe some of the fellow bloggers can help me.

I downloaded this program for the desktop, windows live writer, to help me add content to my blog. It's pretty cool and easy to use. The reason this piqued my interest is because I have a devil of a time posting photo's with Blogger. Words are nice and all, but I have to get better with photo's because right after that I'm going to have be solid with posting video's (which for now I just link to other blogs that have the video I want to share).

Here is the only problem with the live writer program, it won't publish the photo's to Blogger. Pain in the you know what.

About a month ago, Greg Tracy calls me after I left a comment on one of his posts at BlueRoof Blog. He is a pleasure to talk with so I ask him about Blogger and how to work with it and all, he tells me about WordPress and how he is changing from Blogger to WordPress. He said it was easy and that I should look into it myself. I did produce a new blog site at WP. It's pretty cool to work with and I plan to make the jump when I'm ready.

Then I see a post at Greg Swann's site (Bloodhound Blog) about why WP is better than Blogger today. So I start to play around with my WP site again today and low and behold the windows live writer works rather nicely with the WP site. Accepts photo's and everything, real easy (even for me).

For now I'm going to keep messing around with this site right here. I'm tracking my increasing readership and am sort of put off by basically starting over again with all the site counts. Plus I'm just not totally cozy with the WP set up just yet. The help and FAQ talk over my head for now and I think Blogger is basic enough to learn the ropes.

If any of my bretheren out there want to give me some help feel free to do so. Email me or leave a comment. I'd appreciate it. Here is a sneak peak at my site at WP.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Land split matrix (again)

I want to thank the nearly 40 Members who showed up last Thursday for the meeting we had with the Western States Alliance regarding information on the county P&Z sponsored land split matrix that we are fighting as an interested party. Plenty of information was shared and I believe that more Members became aware of the issue and it will affect our business and more importantly our clients, the land owners of Mohave County.

Please do not forget that there will be a public workshop this Tuesday the 29th at 2:00pm at the county building. Plenty of attendance is what we are hoping for to get our message out.

First and foremost the P&Z commission is using their matrix to deny land splits, even though not one elected office holder has approved the use of the proposal. I see big time legal red flags with this practice and by no means does the Association want to see landowners get held up from their plans because of a class action lawsuit putting the kabash on county business.

Our Association, with plenty of help from the state Association (AAR), has put together a draft resolution for the country to consider. This will be the message on Tuesday, but please attend if you are local and can make it. This is a very important issue that faces all of us who reside in Mohave County today. There is strength in numbers, and I hope to see you there.

Related articles

Draft resolution to defeat the 'Matrix'
Board of Supervisors Meeting Today...
Mohave Country P&Z Land Split Matrix Proposal...

It's all about the water around here...

Many folks around the country have their eyes on the state of Arizona as a possible destination to live out their golden years when retirement time comes. I don't blame them. I'm pretty sure that I'll hang around after I retire as well (oh a long way to go for that Todd, don't make any plans just yet).

There is plenty of growth potential in my corner of the state. Plenty of cheap land (in comparison to say Las Vegas and Phoenix), pretty good weather (cooler than Phoenix and Vegas on the hottest days), emerging opportunities for commercial and service based business, etc.

However the catch is water. How much is there?? Will there be enough for all the boomers who are likely to start showing up oh, say right about... now??

Well my guess is it will depend on who you hire to do the water studies. It may also depend if you favor growth or not. There is a battle happening right now in Mohave County (MOCO) between the folks who don't want to see another soul move into the county and folks who want to develop the area and profit from their actions.

I'd like to know the truth, but I doubt the truth will be easy to point at anytime in the near future.

Here is an article that captures both sides fairly well from the local Kingman Daily Miner.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Continued discussion on listing fees...

Okay, my fingers are rested and I think I can continue this discussion about my thoughts of listing fees. Deep breath, here I go.

If you have been following along, I believe I described the various components of the listing fee. The MLS advertising fee, the expertise fee, and the marketing fees.

I was using an example of a $600,000 listing even though in my market it is more the exception and not the average price of a home. In visiting other real estate sites I just happen to see that $600K figure in the articles and the comments of various blogs.

If we were to supose that a seller offered a 3% commission to the buyers broker, agreed to compensate me for my expertise fee, and used the marketing package I described in my las post on this suject -- then a 6% listing fee would be the correct amount to agree to for a $330,000 listing.
  1. $6400 for marketing costs
  2. $3500 for expertise costs
  3. $9900 for MLS advertising fee

$19,800 total divided by 6% equals $330,000.

So is 6% a good deal if your property is going to sell for $200,000?? Let's remember that item number 3 above (the MLS advertising fee) is factored on a sliding scale based on percentage. In general terms that percentage rate is 3%.

So 3% of $200k is $6,000. The expertise costs and that particular marketing package is a fixed cost in my examples ($9,900) and yes I would say that if you negotiated for a 6% fee as a seller you would indeed be getting a great value. A 6% listing fee for a $200k sale would equal $12,000 which is less than $15,900 worth of the service package a seller would be getting.

Ahh, but I can hear you now out there saying, "Come on Todd you can do better than that, give me a real deal." Okay, follow along.

The largest expense I have is in marketing. The most expensive cost in marketing is the local advertising in the newspaper. I said in the marketing post that I run a larger ad in the classifieds for the best exposure. I could save on cost by going to a more simple add or even just the really simple and small print in one column like all the unrepresented sellers do. It's one way to beat down the cost. Yet I have no interest in that. In fact I really have no interest in advertising in the daily newspaper any longer. I don't see the same return on the dollar spent as I do in other mediums.

So if you agree with me to not want exposure in the local daily publication we are on the road to making you a deal. But what do you get instead?? How about we start by placing ads on the Internet first. Google Base, Trulia, Craigslist, Propsmart, HotPads, Yahoo... these are all places that many buyers begin their search for new property. As I mentioned before my only cost to properly place listings on these sites is my time, and like I mentioned before my hard cost fee to the client is $200. This is a savings of $4,000 to this point. Pretty good eh??

Now I do recommend the Kingman Golden Valley Real Estate Guide for advertising. Why?? Locals pick them up at many locations in the area and folks passing through town also pick them up. When I take calls about advertising, about 90% are asking me about the ad they see on a particular page (where my listings are found) so I know they are looking at the Real Estate Guide. In my example I was offering a full page, but usually the quarter page works rather well too. Especially for home prices in the lower tier (like a $200K listing). For the 5 months that it would be advertised the cost would be $500.

Now I'm not a big fan of post cards or open houses. Lets agree that we won't use either of those marketing avenue's because you want a better deal. Okay, one open house after the first month. So add $400 to the list. Where are we??

  1. $200 for Internet exposure
  2. $500 for advertising in the Kingman Golden Valley Real Estate Guide
  3. $400 for the open house event.
A total of $1,100. A savings of $5,300.

$12,000 is where we started for a 6% fee on a $200,000 listing. Now we are at $10,600 ($1,100 in advertising fees, $3,500 in expertise fees, and $6,000 in MLS advertising fees), this is now a savings of $1,400. You wanted a deal and now you have one.

But how good of a negotiator are you?? You can still offer less than 3% in the MLS. Offering 2.5% saves you another $1,000. Maybe you could get a good guy discount on my expertise costs?? Know someone who wants to sell their property?? I'll knock my expertise fee down $500 for you and the person you refer me.

The point of this entire conversation was to get you thinking about different means to an end. I don't consider my service to be 'discount' fees. You actually are getting what you PAY for. As I've been saying all along, everything is negotiable... and I mean EVERTHIING!! I also wanted to let you in on what is behind the 6% listing fee. I hope this helps clear the air a bit.

Comments please, lets talk.

Related articles

The advertising component of the listing fee...
Why 6%
The MLS and the client

Why is the MLS in trouble??

Well when you see comments like these...

Names withdrawn to protect... the pride of Realtors everywhere I assume.

"Open to the MLS, except for Agent X. He/She is not allowed on the property per sellers request. Seller will not consider offers where Agent X is the agent."

It's right in the remarks and to my knowledge the remarks are picked up at I just found this today, and as president of this Association, I hope to have this resolved pretty quickly.

Remember folks, the MLS is meant to be cooperative. That means cooperation. I learned about the word cooperation from watching Sesame Street as a youngling. I'm wondering if this has a complaint filed all over it??

I don't think the listing agent is doing anyone any good here. My first impression when reading this remark is that the seller is a hostile party. How long until my name gets added to the remarks?? There has to be a much better way to handle the sellers wishes here, and not dragging Agent X's name through the mud for all the Members to see would have been a fine place to start.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A good article for buyers on valuation...

Even though Ardell has called me misguided at times, I still read her stuff -- especially the stuff that pertains to the client. I think she rocks as a client first representative. I've even said that I'd hire her to sell my home.

Anyway check this out if you are a buyer for some good information on clear communication with your representative during the home or property buying process.

Through the eyes of the president

I'm trying to get more of the local agents to read this blog so I'm going to share some of the items talked about today at our Board of Directors meeting. And if you are a member of a Realtor Association you may be interested as well at some of these observations.

At the start of the meeting I spoke of the broker council meeting I attended a couple of weeks back and mentioned that I'd like to hear (as an Association Board Member) from them on a more regular basis. My hope is that they will get better organized then they have been for a couple of years now. Of course getting input from any Member has been difficult ever since I've been on the Board, apathy is mostly my gift from the Membership.

I gave the Managers report on behalf of our Association Executive because he is regularly seeing doctors to prepare for his prostrate cancer procedure. The Board missed his presence today and will do so for the length of time he will be absent from his position. Our AE is Frank Lessing, please keep him in your prayers for a healthy and speedy recovery if you don't mind. He has really been the glue to helping me run the Board this year. Even the other day I had him do some reports for me and he was still at the office at 8:30pm as I went by on my way home. His emailed reports hit my email at 8:47pm. I'm such a tough boss. Anyway, Frank get better we all miss you.

We discussed the situation ongoing about the county's land split matrix and our draft resolution we (as part of the state Association) presented to the county. Plenty of work to be done and our eye must remain firmly on the ball because we are in for a fight to defeat the matrix. Today there is another meeting for Members of the Association at 4:00pm for more information at the public library meeting room. I'll be there and hope to see about 30 to 50 Members there.

The Board then agreed on how the Association will furnish representation to the new regional MLS (WARDEX) Board of Directors that is fairly close to launching. The brokers council will select, at their meetings, two of those representatives and each year the Association president will also be a member of the WARDEX BOD. There were some conditions that a broker would have to meet to be considered by the brokers council, but in my opinion it is up to that group of brokers to choose the best qualified representative to serve what will be two year terms to the WARDEX organization. Yes, the onus is on the BROKERS... are you listening BROKERS?!?! You wanted control of WARDEX and this is how you will have that control. Now... do me proud.

I'm starting to leak information to the Members on the cost change for membership to the Association. The bulk of the Association revenue for years came from the MLS, well our KGVAR MLS will be dissolving to make room for WARDEX and with that the revenue goes bye-bye. So the annual dues are sure to increase. Currently those annual dues are $141 a year, I expect them to be in the $325 to $400 range to make up for the lost MLS revenue to run the Associations expenses. This subject will be on Old Business for at least the next meeting. Meanwhile we must have a Budget Committee meeting hosted by our Treasurer very soon. Once that meeting date is settled on I'll be going to the Members to ask for their attendance for input and simply for information purposes, as change is a comin'. Change can be hard for Realtors??... duh.

Lastly, for the record this morning I announced the going 'live' date for the new MLS provider. It will be October 25th. I eagerly look forward to that date because I hate my current providers product (Paragon 1 and Voyager... if you are in the biz I bet you hate these products as well). Training classes will be held two times a day for the week of Oct. 16th through Oct. 20th. The Board talked about making it a mandatory session, but we instead are putting the onus on the BROKERS whether or not to make those training sessions their requirement of the Agents in his or her office. Should be interesting. I personally do not wish to attend those training sessions because I believe the new product will be very easy to use and a few hours for me on the system to play around with the features is pretty much all I'll need.

I want to thank the Board Members for their attendance and input today. Also I'm so happy with the committee's that were represented as well. And special thanks to the FOUR other Members who sat in on this meeting. Their input was valuable as well. I just wish more Members would bother to have a glimmer of interest.

Members make or break the Association. Get involved.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What he says...

Here is a two part look at a recent article in The Economist magazine about real estate markets. I tend to pick up this magazine when I travel on an airplane somewhere. I find the articles very interesting but I will admit that sometimes I don't fully understand what I might have just read.

In this case David Smith from the Affordable Housing Institute helps spell things out. Give these articles a read.

Article one

Article two

Pay special attention to the five different kinds of buyers he describes in the first article.

The advertising component of the listing fee...

This is another installment of how the listing fee that is negotiated between a seller and a listing broker may apply.

In 2004-05 this would have been a total waste of space. Why?? Because by the time I may have had a yard sign placed in front of the property and the listing placed in the MLS, it was likely that I'd already have appointments from buyers who wanted to see the listing. In other words there wasn't much advertising that was needed to be done because the market was so incredibly active with buyers looking to acquire property.

Of course that has all changed because of the shift in the market, a market where the buyers have a position of power.

In my last article about listing fees I used an example of a $600,000 listing, with a 6% listing fee that would equal a possible commission paid by the seller of $36,000. Yes, it still looks like a lot of money and it IS!! I've discussed that in normal practice half of the $36k gets paid to the buyers broker leaving $18k for the listing agent. I then went on to say that a portion of that amount is collected for expertise costs. It was explained that a fair amount that I would negotiate for if I was only handling the documentation and negotiation of a transaction on behalf of a seller would be $3,500. Now we are down to $14,500 remaining of the listing fee commission that I would normally collect.

Again I am facing a softer market for sales when representing a seller, so it is imperative to advertise the listing so that any potential buyer for the listing will be aware of the property I am representing on behalf of a seller.

There are many, many ways to advertise a property. First of all a listing placed in the MLS will automatically be listed on the public web site, where buyers who have an interest in purchasing property in a particular region or city can search for properties that could possibly meet their needs and buying criteria. Although it seems free, a seller actually pays for this advertisement through the MLS advertising fee. It's hard to see, but trust me it is there.

Other avenues of advertising also do not seem to have a hard cost. Currently I am becoming more familiar with other searchable web sites for the advertising of property ( for example). I am finding more and more of these types of sites all the time and since the greater portion of potential buyers begins their search for properties on the Internet it is very important to place listing information on those sites for greater exposure. Again this appears to be a soft cost, but it takes real time and effort to place those listing on those many sites. So I've put a hard cost to this practice to the tune of $200.

There may be a time when another web related company that acts as an MLS in our local area becomes a viable option for advertising listings and they may charge me a membership fee of some sort. My plan is to pass on this cost to the seller as an advertising fee, since I am not aware of any such marketing avenues that would produce interested buyers at the moment, I won't offer a guess for this service at this time.

I let my clients know that I'll put their property on my own personal web site as well, and will do so for free. I also follow up by saying that my site does not get the traffic that the other sites do, so I feel this is a fair because I usually only have a handful of listings promoted on that site and it would be unlikely that the right buyer will find and find the exact property they are looking for.

I also will post the yard sign and allow use of a lockbox for the term of the listing at no charge. The yard sign is a major tool to attract buyers interest who may be looking in a particular area of town and may not be searching the Internet for possibilites. But also having the yard sign in the front yard also promotes my business to other potential sellers. In fact I believe that yard signs are the best advertising for me personally to attract selling clients. The more they may see my name in front of homes for sale the more they are likely to at least contact me about a possible listing opportunity. So to me this is a win-win for me and the client so I don't consider the yard sign as a cost to the seller. (Many brokers and Realtors may disagree with me on this)

So we have the sign in the yard and the listings featured in multiple Internet real estate related websites, and at a very agreeable cost to the seller ($200) to this point. What's next?? More traditional advertising methods. Ones that I'd like to see go away over time because in my opinion they won't be worth the money spent.

Currently some of my listings appear in the local monthly real estate magazine (the Kingman/Golden Valley Real Estate Guide). Each page that I contract for has a set cost that I incur. When a client wishes to have their listing appear in that magazine they will pay $100 for a quarter page, $150 for a half page, or $200 for a full page of exposure in each month it appears. Normally a quarter page will do, but if I was listing a $600k home it is likely that the client (in my market) would like the best exposure meaning a full page. If I am in a 6 month listing agreement with a client it would mean 5 months of advertising to the tune of $1,000.

Another resource of advertising is in the local classified ads in the newspaper. Costs vary for this kind of ad, but I normally like to place a larger ad than what is found in the classifieds (other real estate agents also do this), it would include a photo and some description of the home. This ad would cost the seller $100 per day, and usually the ad would run in spurts of a week here and a week there. Maybe two weeks out of a month but more like one week. Because I could advertise in the newspaper right away I figure $700 a month times 6 months to the tune of $4,200 for the listing period.

How about the ever present open house event?? I am not a big fan of these types of events in general, another post for another day. However, sometimes a client will insist on my holding such an event. The cost for open house that I pass onto the seller at close of escrow is $400 per open house. All inclusive. So figure holding two of these events during the listing period for a total of $800.

Post cards are another more traditional method of advertising, more specifically 'just listed' postcards. I know many Realtors that have had success with this method and are loyal to it and do this for each and every listing. I never had much luck using postcards so it is not a staple of mine. Nonetheless the fee I would pass on to the seller would be $2 per post card. I haven't done this in so long that I'm not sure what is the correct amount or average amount of postcards to send out. In my smaller market, I'll say 50 so that would be a cost of $100 per run and it would be likely that I may do two runs throughout the life of the listing, so figure $200.

Now you might be asking if I'm adding some profit into my actual costs for the items listed above and the answer would be yes. But think about it this way, if you had listed with me for six months and I forwarded these costs to you, you would have a bill for...

$200 for internet exposure
$1,000 for ad in real estate guide
$4,200 for newspaper ad
$800 for TWO open houses
$200 for TWO runs of postcards

$6,400 would be the grand total for this marketing package. After splitting the listing fee of 6% of a $600,000 listing my commission was $18k. After my expertise costs were subtracted from the $18k that left $14,500. Now subtract the $6,400 spent in advertising and there is still $8,100... hmm... what to do with all this money?? Think the seller would like to add it to his or her proceeds?? You bet they would. Which is exactly why I would be willing to negotiate any and all aspects of the listing fee. Honestly the $3,500 for expertise costs and the advertising fee costs that I collect from a successful transaction leaves me, ME, with enough revenue for a profitable business.

A follow up to this later.

Related articles

Why 6%
The MLS and the client

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I did my first trackback ping today for the carnival post.

The blog books I bought, and the information on the web that I viewed, all said trackbacking was easy. It was an easy concept. I understood what the resources said, but it was actually difficult for me grasp the functionality.

I thought I'd catch on to how the blog stuff works over the past month or so, but so far I have not. This HTML stuff... I really haven't grasped any of it. I want to make my site as good as the many other sites that I have linked on the right hand side of this site (and many others that I haven't had a chance to). Gosh darn they all make it look so freaking easy.

I really feel like the kid that skipped school on the wrong day.

Carnival of Real Estate is up..

Over at the Pine Needle Lawn you'll this weeks edition of the carnival. Ride the rides and win your best girl a teddy bear!!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Mid month forecast...

There was an episode of Seinfeld where the crew was excited to see a movie called 'Prognosis Negative'. The character George said those words slowly and in a sort of scary manner into the intercom at Jerry's apartment when Jerry answered. Well, that about sums it up for the usually strong selling season here in Kingman.

I am forecasting around 50 sales for the month of August, and about 47 listings to go under contract. If you look back at my charts you will see that is really weak if I am correct or even nearly correct.

The only glimmer of good news for a change is that I think listing activity will take a hit as well, down to 156 for the month. Down is good on that number, but it is hardly enough. I guess the real estate sign making business is going gangbusters.

I'll do a full listings report the first of the month.

Why 6%??

Here is a question I get from clients who are considering listing their property with me, why 6%??

I'm also seeing this issue discussed on RE blogs all over the place lately as well. This is my answer, it doesn't have to be 6%. The fee you agree to pay the listing broker can be any amount you wish to negotiate for. The 6% figure has been sort of a main stay in this biz for many years. (For clarification, this 6% fee is a typical fee for the sale of a single family home -- fees are different for modular homes, raw land, and commercial property -- I'm only speaking in general terms for the sale of a single family home on this post)

Prices of homes has shot up all over the country, Kingman is not on a price level with most other places that I follow and read about. There really aren't that many opportunities to sell $600,000 homes in my local area. That is more the exception and not the rule. But people use the $600,000 figure all the time and 6% of that is $36,000. That seems like quite a fee, and you know what I agree!!

A couple of posts back I spoke of the MLS advertising fee that sellers agree to pay for their listing to appear in the MLS. So if I were listing a $600k home for a 6% fee, typically it would mean that the buyers broker would collect $18k from the successful transaction. Again, WOW!! That seems like a lot of money, and it is. However, like I said before that figure is negotiable. You have to check what the going rate in the MLS is for what others are offering on MLS through a broker/agent. Maybe it is 2% or 2.5%, or even some sort of flat fee.

What I'm going to do here is look at my side of the fee if I was the listing agent in this case and an agreement was entered into by a buyer (that was represented by another broker) and a seller (that I was representing).

Would I like to make $18k on a sale?? You better believe it. Would I make that amount though?? No I would not. Not in reality. The MLS advertising fee is one component of the total fee a seller agrees to pay a broker/agent. The other components are more traditional advertising costs and expertise costs. I'll explain both.

I'll start with the expertise costs. This basically regards compensating me for my skills in handling all the necessary documents and negotiations in a transaction. Think documentation fees. We first start doing a comparative marketing analysis of a property, this could include time spent with me driving by other listings currently on the market or recently sold homes for better perspective on what we are comparing. Then I help facilitate filling out the sellers disclosure forms, researching basic title information, verifying pertinent facts about the property, filling out data sheets for the MLS (optional) and submitting all of the information where it is applicable. There is other information that I obtain as well, the point is that the clock is ticking because I am working for the client to provide all of this on their behalf and I get compensated for my time and efforts.

Honestly, to this point, this does not take a lot of time, but it does take expertise. Why?? Because I have been doing it now for some years and I have it down to a system that works for both my clients and me.

I'm skipping over the advertising costs here for a bit (and probably will offer a whole different post on that later as this post continues to get longer). So next comes an offer from another broker to purchase the listed property. In Arizona the real estate purchase contract is quite long and there are many possible addendums that could be included. It is my duty to thoroughly review all the documents to have a clear understanding of the offer. Then it is time to convey that information to the seller. Most sellers want the bottom line dollar figure so I produce an estimated net sheet for them to review that estimates the bottom line.

We are now in the process of negotiation. Because the current market is one where the buyers have the upper hand, this probably means a counter offer or a series of counter offers could be in the works. This is my favorite aspect of this business, it is where I really shine. I love the black and white of a printed document, just something about it that feels so right. This is where deals and made and broken, this is where I'm my clients guard dog and I have no problem showing teeth once in awhile.

Okay, now we have an agreement. Now it's on to playing quarterback for me. This is where I stay in touch on a timely basis with the buyers lender (if there is one), the buyers agent/broker, the title and escrow company, and the multitude of inspectors and appraisers (if needed) to insure all of the documents are in accord to the agreement. On most occasions there are situations that arise that could threaten the agreement, this is what I'm on the constant lookout for. I practice this business this way, if the deal fails it's on me... no matter who could be at fault for unhooking a deal. If a lender is slow getting doc's in, or the title company mixes up some of the documents, or the buyer starts to get second thought, or whatever... it's on me at this stage to keep things on track. If you are selling a property how much is this expertise worth to you??

How much?? Let's negotiate it, because it is worth a different amount to different people.

I won't speak for other agents or for brokers. But I'm willing to charge a fee from a negotiated flat fee to just having it included in the 6% more typical fee that most people are familiar with. I will say this though, the work I just described above is the same kind of work I do whether or not the property is worth $600,000 or $50,000. To me it does not matter. The flat fee I offer for the work above is $3,500.

Tune in later for the advertising component, I'll also do a summary for a clearer understanding on how anyone can negotiate his or her listing fee agreement.

Photo from my trip last week

This is a photo of the lake where I spent most of my time last week. I was in Michigan in the Irish Hills area. Wow what a great place. You could call me the tomato burgler because it seemed everyone had tomato's growing and they were just oh so good. My lunch consisted of a swiped tomato every day I was there. Yummy.

I really want to thank my buddies Joe and Art here in Kingman for inviting me along. They have invited me for the past few years but I wasn't able to go for one reason or another. This year, this trip, was just what the doctor ordered.

I also want to thank Joe's sister, who lives in the Detroit area, for letting me come out. Both Rose and her husband Dan own a nice cottage on Crytal Lake in the Irish Hills area. Their place is so ideal. The cottage is right on the small lake, only electric motored boats are allowed on the lake so it is very peaceful there all day and night.

Many other thanks to Joe's Dad, Joe Sr. Papa Joe was always fixing up something for breakfast for those of us that hit the lake very early in the morning when we returned. Plus he had his homemade red sauce there for a pasta night, I'll just say I indulged three plates worth of pasta and probably should of had more. Also Rose and Dan's next door neighbors were very friendly. Matt and Gina said they might be selling their place and believe me I went through many scenario's on how I might be able to buy their place (I haven't come up with one as of yet that would make sense).

My pal Art caught the largest bass on the trip, it was over 19 inches. I got myself a nice 18 incher but I'm still waiting on the photo's of that fish and me. See it was just Art and I on the boat when I pulled in my personal best bass ever and we did have Joe's digital camera with us. However, Art couldn't figure out how to power up the camera so I traded him the fish for the camera. I snapped a photo of the fish, but Art was holding it. Joe Sr. was on another boat and they swooped by and took a photo with me and MY fish, but I just don't have the photo yet. Yeah, I know it sounds like a fish story, you'll just have to trust me.

Our host Dan caught the largest fish on my visit though. He landed a 27 inch walleye.

This is me on the last day with a 16 to 17 inch fish. This fish was also photographed with Art and Joe like they caught it. (Yeah, another likely fish story right??)

Anyway, thanks again to everyone for the truly great time I had. Hope to do it again next year. This time I'll bring my own camera.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The MLS and the client

Let me take a moment just to explain how I see the MLS in relation to the client.

First off our local MLS is owned by our local Association (KGVAR). That does mean in this case that one has to be a Member of the KGVAR to have access to the MLS. The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a handy tool for Members. When a client signs an employment agreement with a Member of the KGVAR, the client has an option to have their listing appear in the MLS for all the Members to view. That's right it is still an option.

However the MLS is still a very intelligent way to advertise a property listing. While non Members of the MLS can't have full access to the data, through the MLS data those non Members can still happen across listing information via the IDX data stream. One may notice these listings at, my website, or other advertising avenues. Usually you will see a photo of the home, the price of the home, and other information such as size of property and bedroom information.

That's all good because we have been told for many years that buyers begin their search for property online. And agent or even an unrepresented seller can manually list their listings on other search mediums like Google Base, Yahoo Real Estate, and However not every potential property buyer goes to each non MLS site to search because there are so many of those.

The crux of all of this is in order to place your listing on the MLS, there has to be an offer of compensation to the buyers agent. In other words, it will cost a certain amount of your proceeds to place the listing in the MLS. Now many think that offer of compensation has to be half of the negotiated listing fee. For example, many brokers charge a 6% listing fee and half of that 6% gets paid out to the buyers broker (think 3%). But it doesn't have to be that way at all. You as the property owner can negotiate that amount that you are offering on the MLS. Now for you it is a unilateral negotiation for the most part. If you say that you'll only pay a flat fee of $2500 when 3% of the sales price could mean $5000, you may not get alot of response from the real estate professionals. Again the key word there is may.

Agents should not only show buyers homes that pay them the most amount of dollars, but we are all human and sometimes that human nature thingy takes over. Keep in mind right now that there are many more listings on the market than there have been (probably ever in this market), and to separate your listing from others you will want to think about perhaps increasing the amount of compensation offered on the MLS.

Perhaps offer 3.5%. But that does not mean you have to pay a higher total amount of fee's. You could still perhaps settle on a 6% fee with your listing agent and tell the listing agent that you want to see the split be 3.5% for the buyer broker and 2.5% to the listing broker. Now, I will tell you that there are brokers that will not want to play that game. So contact another agent that might be willing to do so (like me).

I explain to my potential listing clients how compensation works. That there is basically three components to compensation. I'll explain that in another post on another day. For now though, I hope you'll have a better understanding of the MLS. Leave a comment if you have further questions.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Working towards a new regional data exchange service...

I've alluded to this before on this blog, our local Association is partnering up with the other local Associations (Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City) and producing a new regional MLS (we are calling it a data exchange though).

I'm writing this post for the record, as there is still some confusion going around the ranks of Members in our Association. I'll try my best to make this as interesting for anyone else who is not a local Realtor or Member of the Association.

In the summer of 2005 at a local Broker Council meeting that I attended (as MLS President/Vice President of KGVAR) some brokers were making comments along the lines that with broker and agents from outside our own Association becoming more active in our area it might be time to consider moving toward a regional MLS. You see, us local Kingman agents were seeing fellow Realtor yard signs from the other nearby Associations pop up. This led to some discussion about the fact that the sales data of those listings would not populate into our MLS and as a result we could be looking at problems.

Such as two building sites across the street from each other in a subdivision near a golf course community of Valle Vista were sold around the same time. The story goes that the Kingman agent had listed and sold the property based on our own MLS data for $40k, while the Havasu agent listed and sold the property across the street for $60k. I'm talking about two lots the same size with the same utility attributes on the same street across from each other. If the seller who was represented by the Kingman agent was to find out, I imagine they'd be ticked off at their agent for not setting the price around $60k. At the same time if the buyer of the lot represented by the Havasu agent was to find out they could of had the lot across the street (that backed up to the fairway on the golf course) for $20k less, I imagine they'd be ticked off as well.

This matter was discussed at that broker council meeting, and to a broker or representative there you could see trouble a brewin'.

At this point our Assocaition was just over a year away from having our MLS provider contract expire so we were in the starting stages of seeing new vendor products. My Havasu Association counterpart (Cheryl Westwood) got wind of our situation and notified me that they were also seeing demonstrations from MLS vendors because they were heading towards the end of their agreement sometime early in 2007 (yeah it's about an 18 month process to get a new MLS provider). So Cheryl invited us to attend the demo's they had set up.

Well as you might imagine this was a good time to share with the Havasu folks what was talked about at the brokers council meeting. Luckily Cheryl and the gang were hip to the idea of a possible MLS merger. Talks ensued for the rest of 2005 between the two Associations. We had decided to invite the Bullhead City folks to the table at this time and formally made a presentation to their Board of Directors the first week of January 2006.

Now there is a history of mistrust between the three Associations going back way before I ever thought of living in Mohave County. In fact when I started telling Members that I was having talks with the other Associations some said I was wasting my time. To this day I chose to be ignorant of the reasons as to why the three Associations didn't get along, frankly I don't care and never will.

It is now the start of 2006 and the clock is running on our current MLS contract due to expire in November. The three groups had our first meeting to begin the formal talks about whether or not this would be a good idea. The groups were made up of mostly leadership types from each Board of Directors. From that meeting, after plenty of discussion, we all decided it was worthwhile to get started. We agreed that it would be in our best interest to hire an outside consultant to guide us along.

In early February we had a meeting to meet with the consultant. He outlined the process and the model we should probably use. We had narrowed down our choice of MLS provider to two vendors and the consultant would do a comparison for us to help us decide our vendor of choice. The consultant would also help us in the negotiation of the vendor contract. The ball was clearly rolling.

I asked for a local Broker Council meeting again later that month of February to review the process we had set up to see this project through. Not one broker voted against the plan, but that group had asked that the leadership would set up a regional broker council type of meeting for brokers from all three Associations. We did so and scheduled it for the last week of February. The local brokers had requested that our hired consultant be in attendance to make a presentation. The meeting went smoothly, of course there were some crazy comments and questions for the panel that I was on. The panel was the group that met early in the month and called ourselves the Steering Committee. At the end of the long meeting with the brokers of the region, not one of them voiced a vote to stop the process. Each Association agreed to review the different components of the project with the Association Board of Directors at the open meetings to stay up to date on the progress.

At this point the Steering Committee really took flight. We divided ourselves among various sub committees. I was on the vendor contract committee. Other committees included the business planning, budget, bylaws and rules & regulations, and forms. My committee got right down to business with the vendor of choice. It took about a month but the contract was signed in late April, all three presidents (which I was by then) took pen to paper and away we went.

During this time a resolution was drawn up to begin the formality to merge the MLS regionally and was passed by the Board of Directors of Kingman and Havasu, while the Bullhead City Association had to have a Membership election. I believe that election was on April 12th and I remember being somewhat nervous about the results because if that Association voted 'no' then this effort would be for nil and we'd have to scramble to negotiate the vendor contract on our own. Timing was everything to this point, and everything ended up on the good side of things.

Since this time the business plan has been reviewed and accepted by each Board of Directors. What remains is finalizing the budget, the forms, and the rules & regs. The Steering Committee met once again in July to review where we are all at, and honestly this was the first time I noticed some dissagreement amongst the groups. The items in question are the start date of the new organization and the fee for the Members.

I am now getting nervous for the first time because I want a working MLS for my Association come November. All systems still appear to be a go to have what I want in place, but with as well as most things have gone so far, you never know what could still happen. We are very close on this. The legal team we hired is doing a final review of the bylaws and regs. The budget group is still working things out. The forms group is still chugging along, but this is the area I worry most about. The forms will no doubt change and my Members will have to adjust. I would feel better if I could start to leak out the information of the kinds of changes they should expect.

Each Association has named the interim Board of Director members for the new organization, which is now called WARDEX (Western Arizona Regional Data Exchange). I've requested another meeting with the Steering Committe to take place in the next few weeks to give that group the chance to finalize what they've been working so hard on. If agreements cannot be made I'm going to suggest handing over the remaining work to the interim Board of Directors to handle (unfortunately for me I am one of those interim Directors -- like I have the time). Bottom line, this baby bird needs to fly out of the nest and the momma birds should probably let it go at this time.

This is where we are right now. For more information please email me and we can discuss more on this subject.

In due time I am going to recognize all the names that have helped along in this process. They are all true leaders with their own Memberships at heart. Not only Members, but more importantly our clients as well. Someday soon we will be able to offer our Members a better data source and our clients a better choice for service. When I input a listing on WARDEX, instead of the 500 or so Members having access to that data over 1700 will. Those Members could very well be representing buyers who are looking for just the offering I am representing. I certainly think this process and finished product will be well worth the many hours of effort that the leadership group has worked on for nearly a year now.

This has been a powerful experience for me to this point, and to see this though will be very satisfactory. I will feel a sense of accomplishment like I never have in my professional experience. I believe in this project 100%. I am amazed at what has been accomplished so far in this short period of time, I originally thought this would be a 2 or 3 year ordeal. I'm simply blessed to have been working with the forward thinking folks that make up our current leadership.

Still plenty of work to be done, and I promise updates as we move along. Stay tuned!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Home staging...

I've never been an agent that asked the seller to change or improve their own property to help sell it, but with the market the way it has been it's time to reconsider.

There was a recent report about home staging in 20/20 that I found at the plugintoprescott site that you can see here.

I only know of one home staging outfit here in Kingman, if you are interested in using their service please contact me for the information.

I certainly do not think I have an eye for interior design so if you are thinking about selling you home and would be open to using a home staging service, I'd be inclined to knock off the amount of that service on our listing agreement at the close of escrow. Contact me and let's talk about it.

Okay, how'd you do on your reading assingments??

Got back in late last night (this morning actually) and took my sweet time getting to the office and the computer. Lot's of emails and client calls to return. Once that's done I'll be getting back into the swing of things around here.

I've just quickly viewed the blogs I linked to before leaving on my previous post. Wow, so much good stuff for me to catch up on. Please, if you saw something that I really need to see please leave a comment and point me in the right direction.

BTW.. while I was gone I basically ate, slept, and bass fished on a private lake in central Michigan. Still pretty new at the bass fishing thingy but I did manage to land a handful of 16 to 18 inch fish. Our host brought in a 27 inch walleye. I'll have a wrap up of this with some photo's in the next couple of days.

Glad to be back though, time to move some property!!

Friday, August 11, 2006

It's vacation time for me...

I will be away from this blog until late next week. But here's some links to great information and reading while I'm away. Just don't forget about me and please return next week for more fun from Mohave County.

BlueHouse blog
Real Estate Tomato
Affordable Housing Institute
Rain City Guide
Real Central VA
Northern Virginia Real Estate Guide

And Porkbusters. Why?? Because the government spends too much of our money.

While I'm gone I'll be reading a how to book on the finer points on blogging as my quest continues to provide a half way decent blog to one day compare to these that I've listed above.

Draft resolution to defeat the 'Matrix'

Locally, the Realtor Association has been involved in a debate over the county using a set of guidelines (that was never authorized by the County Supervisors) for splitting parcels. It's generically called the 'Matrix' around these parts (not to be confused with the excellent blog called Matrix -- check that out -- you will like).

Our Associaiton is doing the best we can to defeat the matrix as it is written. Read more about the recent history here.

Here is the new draft resolution that will be presented to the county supervisors for consideration.



WHEREAS, at a meeting of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors held on XXXXXX, a public hearing was conducted to consider whether proposed amendments to the Mohave County Land Division Regulations should be approved, and,

WHEREAS, this amendment adds numerous provisions of the Land Division Regulations to meet A.R.S 11-809 of the Growing Smarter ACT, and

WHEREAS, this amendment compliments the public disclosure land affidavit for minor land divisions as required by A.R.S 33-422;and

WHEREAS, the notice of hearing was published in The Kingman Daily Miner, a newspaper of general circulation in Kingman, Mohave County, Arizona, XXXXXX, and posted on XXXXXXX, as required by Arizona Revised Statutes and the Mohave County Zoning Regulations. .

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Supervisors, at their special meeting on XXXX, Month DAY YEAR, APPROVED the attached Mohave County Ordinance No. 2006-xxx, an amendment to the Mohave County Land Division Regulations as outlined herein.


Pete Byers, Chairman

Barbara Bracken, Clerk


Ministerial Review – Parcel Plats

7.00 Minor Land Divisions

A. Purpose

To ensure that minor division of lands comply with applicable zoning regulations, have legal and physical access, necessary and appropriate utility easements and does not constitute a subdivision, it is necessary to establish an administrative review of all minor land divisions. This Section is intended to comply with the Growing Smarter and Growing Smarter Plus legislation adopted in 1998 and 2000, respectively.

B. Applicability

The provisions of this Section shall apply to land divisions of property located within the unincorporated territory of Mohave County.

C. Permit Required

No parcel of land may be divided into five or fewer separate parcels of land, any of which is ten acres or less, either by recordation of a contract of sale or deed of conveyance or by requesting a split of a tax assessor parcel unless a Land Division Permit, approved by the Director or designee, has first been issued.

D. Filing of Application

Any applicant proposing a land division as described in Section shall file a Land Division Permit application with the Director. Said application shall include a legal description of the existing parcel and legal descriptions of proposed parcels including access and utility easements.

The application shall include a survey map with dimensions showing existing and future parcel lines and all easements. The map shall be of a size and format acceptable to the County Recorder; i.e., 8-1/2 x 11, 8-1/2 x 14, or 18 x 24. The legal descriptions and the map shall be prepared by a registered professional land surveyor. This requirement may be waived by the Director in areas where aliquot parts are used and are deemed adequate.

E. Action of the Director

Upon receipt of a complete application, the Director shall approve or deny the Land Division Permit within 30 days. Approval shall be based on meeting all of the following findings:

1. The lots, parcels or fractional interests each meet the minimum applicable county zoning requirements of the applicable zoning designation.

2. The applicant provides a standard preliminary title report or other acceptable document that demonstrates legal access to the lots, parcels or fractional interests.

3. The applicant provides a statement from a licensed surveyor or engineer, or other evidence acceptable to the county, stating whether each lot, parcel or fractional interest has physical access that is traversable by a two-wheel drive passenger motor vehicle.

4. The applicant reserves the necessary and appropriate utility easements to serve each lot, parcel or fractional interest created by the land division.

5. Identify topographic, hydrologic or other site constraints, requirements or limitations that must be addressed as conditions to the eventual issuance of a building or use permit. These constraints, requirements or limitations may be as noted by the applicant or through county staff review, but there shall be no requirement for independent studies.

The County may not require a public hearing on a Land Division Permit application. The County may not deny a Land Division Permit application that meets the requirements of this Section or where the deficiencies are noticed in the deed(s). If review of the request is not completed within 30 days of receipt of a complete application, the land division shall be deemed approved.

F. Denial of Building Permit

An application to split a parcel of land that does not comply with one or more these items shall still be approved if the applicant provides an acknowledgment that is signed by the applicant and that confirms that no building or use permit will be issued by the County until the lot, parcel or fractional interest has met these requirements.

G. Waivers; Deficiencies Noted in Deed

Land divisions may be accomplished where the resulting parcels do not meet minimum county zoning requirements, where there is no legal access, or where the legal access does not allow access by emergency vehicles; however, such deficiencies are required to be noted in the deed(s).

F. Recordation of Land Division Permit

After approval of a Land Division Permit, it shall be recorded at the County Recorder’s Office along with any attached supplementary information. Recordation must occur within six months of approval by the Community Development Department, or approval shall lapse and become void. Digital submission of land division survey maps is required, if the maps are prepared by a surveyor.

H. Noticing of Access or Zoning Deficiencies

Deficiencies defined in this Section must be noticed in the deed(s), said noticing shall consist of a detailed description of the deficiency. For zoning deficiencies, the applicable Zoning and Development Code section(s) and the nature of the deficiencies shall be included.

I. Removal of Deficiencies from the Deed

If zoning or access deficiencies are corrected it shall be the responsibility of the property owner to remove the deficiencies, subject to review and approval by the Director prior to recordation.

J. Acting in Concert

It shall be unlawful for a person or group of persons acting in concert to attempt to avoid the provisions of this ordinance or subdivision laws of the State of Arizona by acting in concert to divide a parcel of land into six or more lots or sell or lease six or more lots by using a series of owners or conveyances. This prohibition may be enforced by the County Attorney’s Office or the Arizona Department of Real Estate, or both, pursuant to A.R.S. Title 32, Chapter 20.

ADOPTED ___ DAY OF October, 2006.

The county gets the final say (like they are looking for) on handing out building permits and the ability to put disclosures directly written on the property deed to shelter themselves from certainl legal matters. Yet the landowners still get to split their property to perhaps increase value (or to give it away to the in-laws). This resolution is a total win-win for the landowners and the county. The Board of Directors of the KGVAR have this resolution and are deciding whether or not to support it. I hope to get that support so as an Association we can take it to the public for their support.

This should be a no brainer and I'm asking landowners for support on this resolution to adopt the Arizona Revised Statutes 11-809 (Growing Smarter) legislation for the better of Mohave County.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Charts for the July 2006 report

Click on any chart for a better view

Once again the numbers for last month do not show steady improvement for the SFR market here in Kingman. I was very surprised at the decreased number of sales again this month. This marks the lowest volume in SFR sales since January of 2005 (67) and the only number lower in any month was February of 2004 (49).

I'm still getting the hang of working with the charts I'm creating, if there is other information you'd like to see leave me a comment.

The information I consider reliable that I research off of my current MLS only goes back to 2004 (of course when we were ramping up on the hot market). I still believe that other than the oversupply of listings that are available on the market today, that sales volume is in line with what we saw before 2004.

On the chart to the left I highlight the highest average price of sale for each year, and as you can see the current average price is as high as it's ever been. It did dip a bit earlier in the year but now I'm seeing more of a plateau. It wouldn't surprise me if it came down a bit by the end of the year though. In any case the average seller is not losing their shirt if they are selling this year.

This chart is a sales volume chart and I highlight the high and low volume figure for each year I have researched. This should be the strongest time of the year for sales based on the past two years but so far it has not panned out that way.

Buyers certainly have the power as of this moment and must feel like the only kid at Toys r Us being allowed any one toy of their choice. You know that kid would be going up and down each and every aisle, carefully weighing his or her decision. Probably going back and forth and comparing THE toy that would make them happy. And perhaps taking much longer to decide without other kids in the store pulling toys off the shelf and heading for the cash register.

Sellers right now are the Toys r Us store manager and they want to close up and go home.

Hopefully next month will be better, and perhaps my charts will better as well. As always this whole thing is a work in progress.

The data I use to make these reports comes from the KGVAR MLS. There is a reason our Association is partnering up with our neighboring Associations to merge into one data exchange. The reason is our current MLS could be alot better than it is right now. I consider the current data a decent reflection of the market... but it could be better. This data does not consider listing or sales information from sellers who represent themselves or any other transaction that does not get published on the KGVAR MLS database. The data search area only includes SFR's in the boundaries of the city of Kingman with the exception of Valle Vista, the Hualapai Mountain area, and North Kingman where many SFR's are typically found.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Locally, are we overpriced??

This article on CNN says that we are located in between two overpriced large markets (Phoenix and Las Vegas). Where does that leave us here in Mohave County?? The article mentions that the National Association of REALTORS has reported that nationally we are in a buyers market.

Kingman and Mohave County actually has many things going for it. It is located nearby a couple of metro area's. The Hoover Dam bypass is nearing completion making it easier to travel by vehicle to the great city of Las Vegas. State Highway 93 south towards Phoenix has been improved and widened in many more stretches of road, you aren't stuck behind an RV or semi tractor trailer for 30 miles at a time on your way to see the Cardinals play football this season (or whatever you may want to do in Phoenix).

Add to those facts that you pay considerably less per square foot for a single family home in Kingman than in either metro area and I have a feeling that if we are overvalued, we aren't as much as the Phoenix or Vegas areas.

But still the market is slower and softer, there is no denying it, than it was in 04 and 05. So are we overvalued?? We could be, the answer is in the eyes of the buyer right now though... clearly. And this article says the buyers have the power they haven't had in a few years, so what is your next move if you are a seller??

Monday, August 07, 2006

Real estate carnival is here...

I'm not sure if there is some secret handshake that I'm meant to learn, but I've been reading the carnival of real estate over the last few weeks and want to share it with the readers. Plenty of great information for the consumer and the professional alike. Click on the link and check it out.

There is one article that really was of interest to me in this weeks carnival. The subject is about buying homes from new builders. Now in Kingman there has been plenty of new construction sales over the past few years. I'm thankful for these builders because they have done a great job. I'm not saying that because I work for builders (as I've never represented a builder in a transaction), I just like the nice housing that is available in abundance.

Check out this article and understand some of the things you should be aware of when negotiating for that great new home.

Nothing is great...

No, no, no... this is not a negative outlook on the market. Just a follow up on last Friday. Nothing, actually doing nothing, was great. It was needed. I'm refocused. Just in time for my trip to Michigan at the end of the week.

I will post the sales numbers and charts this week, so hold on to your butts.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Trying something different today...

I think that I'm taking most of the day off today. Not that it's really anything new, I'm at my office right now doing some comparisons for a couple of clients, but what I'm going to attempt is to head home in awhile and really do nothing.

I take afternoons off to play golf, I don't work all that much on weekends unless I'm working with a client (although I do hit the office in the early morning to catch up on a few things). I do get time off to get out of town (Vegas or Phoenix weekends are common), but rarely do I do nothing.

There are days when there are Association meetings that take me away from my service to my clients, or hearing panels to attend, or something else related to the real estate business. So again I get plenty of time away, but I don't get all that much time (during normally perceived working hours) to do nothing.

Nothing is the key word today when I leave the office. Nothing. Nothing for a change.

Well, I'll probably organize the garage a bit... but to me that is nothing.

(watch... my cell rings off the hook today I bet)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

How the market reacts...

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you are always faced with reacting to the current state of the market. With the excess inventory of listings here in Kingman momentum has swung in favor of the buyer. However this market is not alone.

Here is a link to another blog that gives some perspective to how the buyer and seller should react currently. This is an excellent blog that has plenty of great information of his local area. I continue to work hard at bringing this level of quality information to this blog.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

July's listing numbers report (2006)...

While I still have a beef over when to post sales for the previous month (due to tardy input into the MLS), I can post the listing and under contract information with more confidence.

Today total listings available for single family residence equals 768 (up from 701 at the start of July). 298 are new homes and 470 are existing homes on the market.

There were 173 new listings for the month of July (176 in June). 3 homes have already closed and 10 have contracts. The average asking price for these new listings is $248,605 (down from an unusually high number last month of $274,502) this figure is fairly consistent with the months prior to June (range $246K to $253k approx.). The median asking price is $219,900 (down from $235,450 -- again a skewed number in comparison to earlier months), this number matches the median asking price from February of this year.

83 new construction homes listed (average asking price of $243,557, median asking price $225000). 2 of these have closed already and 6 more are under contract.

90 existing homes listed (average asking price $253,149, median asking price $213,900). 1 of these has already closed and 4 more are under contract.

48 homes entered into contracts in the month of July (down from 54 in June). The average asking price for homes that received contracts was $212,516 (up from $206,872 in June) and the median asking price for July was $189,975 (down from $195,900 in June).

18 new construction homes entered into contract (average asking price $222,557, median asking price $192,975).

30 existing homes entered into contract (average asking price $206,492, median asking price $187,000).

The interesting number that jumped out at me this month was the decline of new listings of existing homes on the market (down from 115 to 90, the lowest total since February). Of course since the total numbers still looked the same, that was thanks to the increase in the number of new contruction listings (up from 61 to 83, the highest number this year). The average new construction listings for the year to date is 61 a month, the average existing listings to hit the market this year is 102 a month. You can see that these numbers were flipped in July.

I don't think this neccessarily points to a clear trend, but I hope the existing listings is the start of one. My feeling on the uptick in new construction listings is that there was a new impact fee for new contruction permits that took effect on July 1 of this year (I know because I paid it for my own new home project, I was about a week late getting everything together to avoid the fee). I'm guessing that many contractors pulled all the permits they could to avoid the new impact fee and perhaps the number will drop back to average over the next month or so.

I wish I knew how to post a spread sheet of this data in a clear an easy form for you all to read, but I'm stumped right now (I've produced on and it's real nice to look at, believe me). If anyone can help me figure this out I'd be greatful. I don't have a problem posting charts but I can't make a simple spread sheet appear.

Sales data for the month will be posted later this month (when I'm confident all the Members of the MLS have updated their listings LIKE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO WHEN THE PROPERTY CLOSES).