Wednesday, November 29, 2006

WARDEX update...

I'll be meeting with the head honcho tomorrow of the our MLS vendor. Actually our entire Board of Directors at WARDEX will be. We need to talk about the many issues we are having with the data migration, lack of features, and system bugs that we are having.

Many Members are not pleased right now with the new Data Exchange that we worked so hard putting together. Tomorrow gives us a chance to sit down and clear the air on these lingering issues with the vendor (I'm not going to throw this vendor under the bus at this time and reveal who it is, but by doing a little searching on this site you can find out who it is). It has been just over a month since we went live, yet it feels like it was just yesterday.

If your local Association is thinking about merging your MLS system with another Association, I urge you to have your leaders contact others that have done so. Heck... I may even figure out a way to charge for consulting services as I know that merging is a hot subject right now across the nation for Associations and MLS's.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


This is just moving to me, I file this under a new label... inspiration.

Monday, November 27, 2006

One more...

Just one more link for you today, and it is from one of the contributors at Greg's site.

Richard Riccelli is referred to as a marketing guru. He is selling some property in the Boston area, but really that isn't the point. The point is please check out this link. Open it up and click on all the links. What you will be clicking on is, I think, a website just for the selling of this property. A one off web-site dedicated to the sale of the property. I've seen others write about producing such sites for property offerings before but never could quite the image in my head about how it would be effective. Well Richard has taken care of that for me... clearly.

Richard or someone needs to bottle that idea up and offer that kind of product to Realtors to use for their listings. I think they'd be a remarkable marketing tool. Heck even unrepresented sellers should inquire about this.

What is Greg Swann up to??

Besides dealing with the bubble dudes that is...

Well he has added some more team members and it is impressive.

Read about the new cast right here.

If there are investors out there I strongly urge you to read up on what Jeff Brown is talking about. He has me excited about investing again and I've yet placed a call... but make no mistake, I do want to know more. Jeff is one of the contributors at Greg's site, but also has his own blog (also featured on my blogroll)... and it is worth reading.

There goes Mr. Swann leading the pack again by assembling this team of contributors. The BloodhoundBlog will for sure be a daily read for me.

Them's fightin' words...

While on my little hiatus over the holiday weekend I was 'entertained' by some goings on in the world of weblogs, specifically between real estate related weblogs and housing bubble weblogs.

I think it was about time that this donnybrook happened for all to see.

I've been reading this blog for longer than I ever started reading real estate blogs. I've been a most 'entertained realtor' for the better part of the time perusing through the site. Everyday, practically, there is a new article about the demise of real estate in this entire country. The real 'entertainment' really comes from the so called commenter's. Most of which never reveal their identity and offer nearly just as much in their comments (as in nothing real). Panic is a great word for most of those commenter's as they surely are in a panic. However there are some great commenter's to be found on that site, some real diamonds in the deep dark rough but you must be real patient to find them.

I've posted as a commenter there on many occasions. At first I didn't want to reveal myself but logged in with the handle of 'entertained realtor' for a few months. I was mostly concerned with army of low class 'commenter's' fouling up my email in box. But after I started my blog I figured the worst that could happen is that these miscreants could find my blog and see that the image of Realtors depicted by Housing Panic's founder (some dude that won't even reveal who he really is that goes by 'Keith') was incorrect.

Props to 'Keith' for having the most visited real estate related blog (as recorded by blogtopsites). His blog is right up there with other 'doom and gloomers' as bad news is always more popular than good news it appears. Plus 'Keith' like to talk plenty of politics on his site which is always a great point of contention that attracts readers and commenter's (something I avoid on my own site and something I prefer to do only in a few other sites on the Internet).

When it comes right down to it... reading 'Keiths' site should have had me running out the door to find a job... any job... and leave the real estate biz forever. Yet nothing of the doom and gloom has yet to appear. Most of his stuff is much ado about nothing.

I know someday that I might get caught up in one of these 'blog wars' but at this time, thankfully, I haven't. However the folks that did give it a go certainly made for excellent reading and of course 'entertainment'.

First up was Greg Swann from in Phoenix. Now Phoenix is ground zero for most of the 'panic' type of blogs. You can feel the hatred of Phoenix when you stumble across sites like these. Greg playfully took a swipe at 'Keith' in a post from the 21st of November here.

Finally, it might be nice if everyone would chip in to buy Keith at Housing Panic some lubricant. The poor sod has been Masturbating to Armageddon for months now, to no discernible result. It’s gotta chafe…

To quote it correctly. Of course 'Keith' took umbrage of this remark. Now you'd have to spend about all of 1 minute to find much worse said about others (realtors, races, religions, politicians, home owners, etc.) on his site. Between Keith and his so called warriors there is plenty of vile vernacular for anyone that dares cross paths with them. Anytime I chime in over there my comments are met with the promise that I'll be homeless soon or that I should save money for ramen noodles for food because that is all I'll be able to afford. Heck, I've even seen comments that call for the public lynching of ALL Realtors (to be fair to 'Keith', he takes those comments off the site... when he sees them).

So Greg fires off this post on his site after getting some unruly comments. If you read that post you will find plenty of comments (74 so far... when a typical post may get 10 or less).

Then 'Keith' fires this one back. We are talking real class act (actually if Letter-Man from the old Electric Company show from PBS removed the 'c' and the 'l' from class we'd get the real picture here).

So now it is Gregs turn again. Heck, even guest blogger Russell Shaw at Bloodhound chimed in with this beauty. If the commenters would really take the time to read what the fine folks at Bloodhound are writing about they'd see that they somewhat of an ally, but alas the information does not fit the madness the 'panic' types are trying to push. Too bad really.

Awhile back a fellow Realtor blogger John Wake, a true gentleman and a scholar, posted this article. It is worth reading, maybe even a few times so that you will get the details. Certainly the 'panic' blogger and his minions don't get the details and after much time had passed.... HP posted this in response. No need to call Mr. Wake a dolt. It was uncalled for but it is standard operating procedure anytime guys of this ilk are challenged with facts. It seems to be all right with John though as this was his response. Not a bad word said against the one who called him a 'dolt'.

Another fellow Realtor and blogger... again from Phoenix also got wrapped up in this little squabble.... here.

The only reason I'm bringing you this information is to help you with ALL of the information that is out there. Notice how the folks that want you to 'panic' are acting for the most part. Most are not informed and it is easy to see. In fact I think many of them are mere sock-puppets that are just willing to parrot what they hear without actually knowing the facts.

I've said it before many times. I do NOT predict the future. I do my best to find any and all facts that could help my clients in their decision to buy or sell a property. The decision is never mine, only the clients.

Tell me how, as a Realtor, I am leading the cheer that everything is fine and dandy... can you??

Look over my sales reports and quickly you will see that if you are a seller, you have plenty of competition on the current market. That it is simply not 2005 any longer which means there is no guarantee that a buyer will be found to purchase your property at break neck speed.

If you are thinking about buying you won't find that the information I share with you says that NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY OR YOU RISK BEING PRICED OUT OF THE MARKET FOREVER, like the panic bloggers claim. Just last week I wrote an article that stated that indeed it may be a better time to rent rather than buy right now and for clarification.... no, I do not get paid ANY commission unless I represent a client in a transfer of ownership of a property. Renting is not transfer of ownership in Arizona (as I doubt it is anywhere).

The real enemy of the 'panic' bloggers is me and others like me. Some of them I've linked to on this article, but there are many more than I'll ever be able to link to. I simply don't want to see the 'panic' blogger warped sense of perception become reality in any sense whatsoever. The above dustup was long overdue and my hats off to Greg, John, Russell, and Jay for staying above the fray on a higher ground while making their points.

The corner....

Just like that Turkey that my Mom-in-law cooked for Thanksgiving was on it's last leg, so is this calendar year. And what a year it was and will be. I'm really looking forward to 2007, the best is yet to come.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Be safe, enjoy the holiday!!

Since moving to Kingman, Thanksgiving has gone like this for me...

Wake up... check

Relax around my home... check

Head over to the inlaws for Thanksgiving dinner (at 11:30am)... check

Eat plenty of food... check

Get myself in some photo's... check

Fake like I need to use my bathroom at home to spare everyone else the indignity.... check

Head home to watch football... check

Drink a few cocktails... check

Pass out on couch with football games on TV... check

Head back over to in-laws for more food (leftovers)... check

Silently slip out the door to head back home... check

Watch more football... check

Drink more cocktails... check

Wake up on Friday... check

So as you can see, I'll be pretty busy tomorrow. Make sure you all stay safe and enjoy the holiday in your special way. I'll be back to check on all of you Friday. Till then...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A good time to rent??

I'm getting the question of "is it a good time to buy or rent" a lot these days. Well it can be a good time to do either, but it always depends on your own situation.

If you have been paying attention to my sales charts, you will see that the average price of sale for a home in this area has been holding fairly steady. Up a bit sometimes, then down a bit. I think of it as flat lining. What will it do in the future?? I really don't know, however IF you need to know you should contact a financial advisor.

On a few occasions recently I've been asked this question by some younger couples in the 20 to 29 year old age groups. And typically these folks do not have money in their savings account, at least not enough for a substantial down payment. So to get them into a home today they would be looking at a low down, a zero down, or some other kind of loan that would involve perhaps the seller funding the closing costs on behalf of the buyer.

Since the market has changed, so has my answer. I've told them that if they were asking me this in 2003 my answer would have been 'buy' a home. Why?? Well, the average starter home in Kingman (a typical 3 bed, 2 bath, 2 car garage 1300 square foot home on a city lot) was in the $65,000 to $95,000 price range. That meant that if they had a low or zero down payment (and could qualify for financing) they would have a mortgage payment that was just a little less than what they might find for the same type of home as a rental.

Well we all know what has happened since 2003, don't we?? The same homes are now asking a selling price of $160,000 to $200,000 in some cases. Also what happened in our market was a huge influx of investors that gobbled up homes while they were less expensive and turned them into rentals.

Today there are many more rentals available than is needed, so rents have either held or have been lowered somewhat. That means that one can rent a fine single family home in the city for what they may have rented for back in 2003, while at the same time property value has sky rocketed up.

Yes, interest rates remain low -- not as low as they were a couple of years back, but still very low in comparison to history. Today may still be a good time to 'buy' because of it, since there is no telling which way the interest rates go in the near future or in longer terms. I simply do not have those answers. But... don't let that fear or emotion get the best of you. Think things out completely.

Let's take the young couple I talked to a couple of weeks back. They said they would be happy with a 3 bed, 2 bath, 2 car garage home in the city and found one on the Internet in Kingman priced at $169,900 in a sub-division called Greater Kingman Addition. I did some work up on an approximate guess at what the mortgage payment might mean to them and came up with a figure of $1,200 for a 30 year loan, with very little money down. I then showed these fine folks a rental list and highlighted a home just two blocks away that basically matched the home they were interested in buying. The monthly rent price is $785, a monthly difference of $415.

They told me they could afford the $1,200 monthly payments no problem, so I sold them the house listed right?? Nope. I offered them this advice, go ahead and rent the property two blocks away for $785, but put the extra $415 they would have been on the hook for in the bank and DO NOT TOUCH IT. After one year they would have socked away $4,980, after 2 years they'd have $9,960 plus interest.

These would be buyers would know two things 1) if the could indeed afford a home at these prices and 2) would be able to put the money saved towards a down payment.

Again, I don't predict the future. I won't know where the average price will be in two years, nor will I know the going interest rate. Heck I won't even guess as to where the price of rentals may be at, but if these would be buyers followed this path they would be able to adjust to any market change that may be coming.

After what we saw this year, sales slumping and prices leveling off.... and what we saw in previous years, an unhealthy rapidly rising property value.... there is no telling what the near future has in store.

For now though, folks that have properties to rent are wildly competitive and that means great terms for renters. And also now we are seeing sellers pricing property just out of reach of many would be buyers. Factor in also that in Kingman there isn't a ton of higher paying jobs at the moment. I believe that will change, no, I hope that will change within a few years. These are the factors that face us today and decisions should be made based on these very factors, not on what might happen.

Some will say things get worse.

Other say things are close to hitting the bottom.

The decision is yours.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Offering my thanks...

I was invited to the awards banquet for the Bullhead City/Mohave Valley Association of REALTORS last Saturday night as a guest of honor. I have been working with many of the leaders of their Association over the last year and was pleased to attend. Thank you for welcoming me and my wife Gail, we had a great evening.

The folks who attended looked spiffy and everyone was friendly. I'd like to offer my congratulations to fellow WARDEX Board of Director Evan Fuchs for winning the REALTOR of the Year award for his dedication to their Association. He sure has put in his time this year and has made a huge impact on the direction of WARDEX (even though we disagree on some things). He is most deserving of the honor.

I was also invited to attend the installation and awards banquet in Lake Havasu last Friday night as well, but was unable to attend. I was able to attend last year though and know I missed another great night.

In February our local Association holds our awards banquet and since it is my party, the honored guest list will be long this year. Just so many people outside of my local Association to thank for their help throughout a long and challenging year.

One thing I want to say is that both the LHC and the BHC/MV Associations are headed by a great group of leaders that understand the changing real estate business that faces us all currently. For sure, the right people at the right time.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I'm offering a flat fee service for buyers...

This year I have been plenty of brainstorming for ideas for my business. I'm ready today to begin negotiating with buyers on the cost of my service.

All along my time in this business I have always disclosed to my buying clients my commission so I've never lost sleep when the check from my broker comes to me so I can deposit it into my bank account. In a 'typical' transaction of a single family home in Kingman, one where I represented a buyer to purchase a home that was listed by another broker in the MLS, I disclosed to my client the amount of money that my broker would be paid at the close of escrow. Often times that amount was based on a percentage figure in the 2.5% to 3% range.

Like most other Realtors, I didn't feel like the buyer was paying for my service. The commission was coming from the seller. If you asked 10 sellers, buyers, and Realtors how the buyers broker gets paid I'm willing to bet that 9 out of 10 of each will say that the buyer broker is paid by the seller.

Side note... technically the seller pays the listing broker the agreed to commission, then the listing broker pays the buyers broker the funds. The seller does not pay the buyers broker directly.

Since I started this blog back in March of this year and through the many other real estate related blogs that I read, I have been able to read about the thoughts and actions from many other [what I call] leaders of this profession. This has helped me in brainstorming for newer and fresher ideas to implement into my business. In other words I wasn't coming up with the ideas all on my own.

One very important blog (to me anyway) that I read is BloodhoundBlog. Judging from the many links to their site you probably would have guessed that anyway. Anyway, Greg started some conversations about buyer representation and has even put together a new fee policy for buyers. Well I'm going to mimic some of the things he has done. I don't argue with any of his ideas on the subject, but I will change some of the things he does to fit my own business.

While I'm launching this today, I probably won't be marketing this just yet. There are some changes I want to make in my online marketing and other things before I roll this new policy out for all of Mohave County to see. That said though, I will be informing any potential buyer that is looking for quality representation to help them with their real estate transaction about my new fee structure.

So how does this work?? It is simple really. Lets take the average price home sale in Kingman as of last month, which was $201,250 (you know this because you have read up on my latest sales report). If you were the buyer and hired me to represent you we would have already agreed [through negotiation] that you will pay a flat fee of $4,000 for my service. We would negotiate that fact and both sign a buyer/broker agreement to reflect it.

But I already hear you saying that you don't want to come up with $4,000 out of your pocket to pay me... well you won't have to. Here is why.

If you hired me and we did not negotiate a flat fee and this home that you wanted to purchase for $201,250, my fee for service would be $6,037.50 (if the home in my example was listed in the MLS and offered a 'co-broke' fee of 3% of the final sales price). By not negotiating a flat fee you should see that you left $2,037.50 on the table for me or for any other Realtor that you may have chosen to hire for representation.

First off, you are thrilled with your new home choice and can't wait to move in. You are already thinking about where the furniture is going to go or maybe on which side of the garage you are going to park on... and you've already come to terms on the price. So how can this deal be even better?? How about if I applied the extra $2,037.50 of YOUR money to YOUR down payment or to pay whatever closing costs your lender will allow you to pay with this 'rebated' money??

What is this about 'YOUR money' you ask?? Well yeah, without you agreeing to pay $201,250 to the seller no real estate agent gets any commission. It is YOUR money, how do you want to spend it?? I hope you see the picture I am trying to paint.

Some might ask why I would offer such a fee and my answer is that when representing a buyer, any buyer, the goal is the same; to negotiate a price and other terms for property that my buyer client and a seller can agree on to transfer ownership of the property. It is the exact same job, in essence, for each buyer I may work with. The total price of the home does not factor into the work I do for my client. In other words, if the property is sold for $100,000,000 or for $210,250 my goal is simply to navigate through all the terms agreed to in order to successfully close escrow and transfer ownership of the property at my clients bidding.

When representing a buyer my expenses for my business are basically; my expertise, my time, fuel costs, vehicle costs, membership to my MLS and Association, and a service fee to the electronic key for our Associations lock box that we use locally, errors and omission insurance, my brokerage fee, and the rent I pay for my office. The fee that I am offering buying clients of $4,000 will compensate me fairly enough to thrive in this business (as long as I have clients wanting to purchase property).

There are many more multitudes of cost that I will have while representing a seller, mainly for marketing efforts, but it is different on the buying side and you should know. And it is the reason that you owe it to yourself to first negotiate whatever fees that you are paying to your representative.

What if you were thinking about buying a home in the beautiful Lazy YU area here in Kingman overlooking the city out your front window while enjoying an incredible view of the Hualapai Mountains out your back yard?? This subdivision features larger exclusive homes in the $500,000 range and up. So lets just take one home for sale in that sub division for a moment and apply my fee to the transaction. We will assume that the home is listed by another broker/agent and it is included into the MLS with a 2.5% commission to the buyers broker. You and the seller agree that you will pay $545,000 for this remarkable home.

The commission I would normally make in the above scenario is $13,625, but you and I sat down together before we started searching for your new home and agreed that I will be compensated $4,000. Now there is $9,625 on the table of your own money. Apply it to the down payment and borrow that much less from the lender, just an idea. I'll help you make it happen.

Hey it is YOUR money and there is no way I can provide an extra $9,625 worth of service to justify keeping YOUR money. While some could argue that a Realtor would be more motivated to work on your behalf for the extra commission, there just isn't nine grand worth of stuff to make a deal happen any faster or face less potential problems. In fact, I think that I'd be more motivated to handle your transaction for the lesser amount so that I can represent another buyer, and another buyer, and so on. Also I can make the case that I am treating all my clients more fairly because my fees are almost always the same (I say 'almost' because the key word is negotiation when we sit down together and talk about my service fees for you).

So please consider me the next time you are thinking about buying a home in my serving area. I know I can provide the service that you are looking for and I have the knowledge gained from my many years worth of experience working for buyers to satisfy your needs for representation when buying property.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Blogging from NARdi Gras...

Well as you could tell late last week, I wasn't able to blog from New Orleans. I simply had too much to do and I do not tote around a laptop computer (as I do not own one).

Sellsius has a great link to many other Realtors that were blogging from NARdi Gras though and I hope you check this post out to see what others were up to.

Earlier in the year I attended the Mid-Year NAR Leadership Conference in DC and I remember walking by a sign that said 'Bloggers Lounge'. Now at the time I wasn't really doing a whole heck of a lot with my own blog... I was still in my infancy stage with this thing and I never bothered with checking out the 'Bloggers Lounge'. But low and behold, in New Orleans I happen to come across the same sign and I made sure to check it out.

The 'Lounge' was set up at the Hilton where many of the governance meetings were held, about a 10 minute walk from the Convention Center. I think that was a weird choice to have the 'Lounge' and I bet they would have had more traffic if they were able to set up at the Convention Center.

No matter though, there I met Ian and Chris from the Center for REALTOR Technology. So I tell them about my blog and enter my URL on their computer to show them I really did have such a site. They even included my visit on this article. It was at this 'Lounge' that I was able to run into Dustin Luther from Rain City Guide and as I explained in an earlier post.

I'm hoping in future NAR conventions that NAR will cater to bloggers more than they do now. This is not a criticism of the current 'Lounge' in any way. I'm just saying this because I wanted to meet other fellow bloggers more than pretty much anything else while I was there. I thought I'd be able to do that at my few visits at the Bloggers Lounge. NAR simply did not do enough for bloggers who, in my opinion, are doing many great things for our industry.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One more Birthday wish...

One more special Birthday wish goes out to little Zoe, my granddaughter. She is two years old today and I'm very jealous of my wife today because she is visiting Zoe in New Mexico to celebrate the day. I wasn't able to attend because of my trip to New Orleans. I'm going to make it up to Zoe in the future years though you can bet.

Grampa loves you Zoe.

Happy Birthday to my favorite Sister!!

Hey Teri, hope you love the way I send birthday cards these days. At least I didn't forget.

My sister Teri is a frequent reader of this site. It's practically her only way of seeing what I'm up to these days. You see my family is located all over the country and often in far away places... such is the case with Teri as she lives in Hawaii. I don't always get to hang with my family and honestly I have mental breakdowns just figuring out what time zone various members of the family are in and if I would be calling too early or late in the day, so phone calls usually do not get made. It's all on me for this, I do not blame anyone else in my beloved family.

Please join me in wishing my sister a happiest of birthday's this year. Even though she is six years younger than me, she was the toughest in the family. I know because I was on the receiving end of a bloodied nose on multiple occasions (if you are scoring at home that is two bloody noses for Todd, zero for Teri). I then had to endure the fact that she was being named to All State athletic teams while competing in High School when I only managed an honorable mention award at a Boy's Club obstacle course race when I was 10 years old, a race that I lost badly in.

Now Teri will tell you that I inspired her to be the best that she could and be all warm and fuzzy about that, but it wasn't her that had to listen to my pals snicker and say; "Dude, you're telling us that it was your sister that beat the crap out of you??" or "Buddy, we are picking your sister to play for our team instead of you because we want to win." Pretty much anything along those lines would apply.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Teri. Give my nephew Ricky a big hug and kiss for Gail and me. All the best.

October sales report (2006)

Well... here we go. As always I'm pleased to present to you the sales report for last month. It should be noted that in this month our Association is using a brand new MLS product and we just merged three different data bases into one in our new regional MLS, or as it is called now, our new regional Data Exchange.

So far some agents are having some issues with the data. The data migration wasn't pretty to say the least but none of us in leadership thought it would be. I've monitored this report before I left for the Realtor Convention and again once I returned. I feel that this report is a fair reflection of the market activity for last month. I do think that it will get better as all the Members get used to the new system. Some things have changed in the ability to give the same kinds of data that I have been providing. I think that eventually I'll be able to offer the same set of data again and perhaps even run more specific reports for even better information.

For now though, sit back and enjoy the following report.

You will notice below that the unit numbers of sales went down again last month. By far this is the lowest total of the year. It could be that I'm missing some data, but I do get the general feeling that sales were again slower than the previous month... and this is normally the slowest time period of sales traditionally for SFR's in the Kingman area.

The average sales price also declined. While the decline looks dramatic, I think it is more of a reflection of a correction from some sales that were recorded last month that I've covered before in previous reports. In other words the spike up last month was the anomaly. I think the average price in general has held up pretty well all year long to this point.

As you can see from the chart below that last months unit figure is the lowest it has been since February of 2004 in my search area. Again, the Kingman area has not seen a dramatic increase in wages or salary to warrant to meteoric rise in property value and so it is much harder for buyers to qualify for the higher prices.

The chart below still tells me that the sweet spot for average price is in the $175,000 price range give or take. I doubt we head back to those numbers locally, but hopefully there will be some good news for the labor force in the area fairly soon that will bring better paying jobs.

The average home sold last month had 1,489 square feet living space and three bedrooms with 2 bathrooms. No info could be taken for garage spaces or for the age of the homes this month. As I get better at working with the new MLS system that should change.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"America's Odd Couple"

At the NARdi Gras open session on Saturday two former presidents of the United States were in attendance. This event was highly anticipated and a crowd of 20,000 (the figure is what I heard I really have no idea) attended.

Yes the presidents really did steal the entire show. I know these two guys have plenty to do, but if they took some time off and practiced a routine they would give Abbot and Costello a run for their money.

Here's the best my camera could do by zooming to the max, I was not even nearly this close to the stage but I did manage this photo.

They both took the stage and each had their turn at the podium and later were involved in a question-answer segment. As they entered the stage I was overcome with a weird sense of pride even though I never voted for either of these two men. I guess it was just the fact that these two powerful men were in the same building as I was or something, I had no problem giving each of them a rousing standing ovation.

I have to say that President Bush, the elder, is quite a cut up. He had the place rolling with his quick wit. He had a little anecdote about when he'd go to San Fransisco how there would always be some protest group waiting for him. One time, he described, there was a mangie looking woman that ran up near the presidents limo and held out a sign that said 'stay out of my uterus' to which Bush said, "No problem!" Obviously you had to be there to get the desired affect. Clinton was practically rolling out of his chair in laughter.

One other mention, and I'll try not to butcher it. Bush said that when he left office that he promised Clinton that he wouldn't be talking to the press on what he would do different on policies that Clinton proposed or how he ran the country. In other words he wouldn't be overtly critical of the job Clinton had to do. But he said that he couldn't offer the same thing to the current president (kind of a swipe at #43) which got plenty of laughs. He said this is especially true for his wife Barbara and that she lets her son know about it all the time.

Yeah, they both talked politics a bit and you can see they disagree about things along those lines, but they have done some great work for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and hats off to them joining together like they have.

A couple of Clinton quips. He said that if millions of us care about the same thing at the same time that we'd have more power in this country than Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or any ONE man and that together we could change the world. This went along nicely with his message about how the Internet has been so powerful in the efforts to raise money for the Bush-Clinton Katrina fund.

He also said that he told the leaders that he was campaigning for to remember that if the democrats win the mid term elections (they did) to keep in mind that the voters were probably not aligning themselves entirely with his political party, instead the voters were telling ALL the leaders to get stuff done in a positive manner on behalf of the people of this country. This was a time to work together for solutions that the American people are demanding. I found his message to be sincere but I doubt the leadership in his party is going to see it the same way, and I also think he knew his audience as NAR is frequently a better supporter for the repbulican agenda on issues important to NAR and Realtors.

I'm really happy that I didn't miss this event. I went to my hotel room to catch up on some college football games and got right in to the event with no problem at about a quarter to 4:00pm. Later I found out that people were waiting in line since 2:00pm (the event started at 4:00pm) and there was some kind of HUGE line outside the building. I guess I cut in front of thousands of people by taking some side entrance. I had no idea that I was cutting in line though... and I wasnt' the only one doing so.

Kingman mentioned in USA Today

While I was waiting to take the airport shuttle back yesterday I read through the free copy of USA Today at my hotel in New Orleans. Here is a link to the article.

Building farther out

Las Vegas builders will go north outside the valley along Interstate 15 toward Mesquite, and south, toward Kingman, Ariz., and the site of a proposed new airport, says Somer Hollingsworth, president of the Nevada Development Authority. "This is a whole new ballgame ... thinking like a big city," he says.

[Emphasis mine]

If you read the article, this is the only mention of Kingman but it is worth noting that many here in Kingman have known about this situation in Las Vegas for a long time now. Because of that there are scheduled developments that are supposed to get underway in the next year or so to help accomodate the overflow of southern Nevada residents south into Arizona. Mentions like this in the national media let the secret out a little more each time.

My adventure on Bourbon Street

I'm not all that thrilled with the photo's I snapped on Bourbon Street, but I'm still willing to share a few. The one below isn't even Bourbon Street but what stuck out to me were the buildings. A very unique style with lots of charm.

We all know that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and I think there are many millions of visitors over the years that pray the same rule applies in the French Quarter. Below this sign was amusing so I snapped this one. After I did so I noticed beside the entrance to this little establishment some examples of photographic evidence on what may go on in there. Let's just say that there is no worries for breaking any truth in advertising laws. And no, before you ask I did not honor the place with my presence. It may have held more interest to me when I was younger and not married.

Bought a bunch of this stuff below and am eagerly awaiting for my wife's return from her trip out of state. (Not really Gail in case you are reading) (I promise) (I'd never share these kinds of details with my readers) (honest)

I had trouble with the nighttime shots on Bourbon Street and I didn't try all that hard to figure out the correct settings and all. Way too much people watching going on for me.

I think the equine partner thought he was off duty and wanted a cocktail. I almost needed the services of the NO police department a bit later and was glad to know they had the beat.

Why did I almost need the police?? Well towards the end of our walk up and down Bourbon I almost had a situation. Before I go into that... you should know that I did get what I would think is a typical taste of activity on Bourbon. Yes, that means I saw people flashing skin for beads. These weren't really what I'd consider Kodak moments and I didn't bother snapping any photo's of this. If you want to see this activity, just head on down to NO on a busy night in the French Quarter and see for yourself.

I know that I would have loved that scene if I was still single and in my 20's... or maybe just single. Beyond that I also grew short with the many drunken displays put on by what I'm sure were tourists. I saw some things that I won't share because they were in bad taste. But what a country we live in when we have the freedom to be idiots.

Okay, as we decided to end our journey on Bourbon St. I ducked into one of the many, many places that are set up with fancy 'slurrpee' machines with frozen cocktails. I just had to have a hurricane since NO seemed to be famous for them. The drink I bought also came with a shot of some other concoction... I chose that shot to be a kamikaze (I make these at home for my guests).

On the way into buy these drinks, I locked eyes with a wiry gentleman that appeared to have a few drinks too many. He immediately got up from his table and followed me to where I ordered my drinks. He was saying something to me that for the life of me I couldn't understand. He seemed upset about my presence. What it the dress shirt, pants, and shoes?? I realize that I was overdressed for that crowd but I didn't have time to change before my little group headed out for dinner.

The guy serving my drinks shot be a look that said 'ignore' the guy that is getting in my face so I tried my best. There was really loud music pumping through this place so it was hard to hear in the first place, but this smaller man with long hair that looked like he smoked too many cigarettes in his life kept on with his act. I asked him if I knew him to which he answered with more unintelligible dialogue. Just then my NARdi Gras buddies entered the place and sort of stepped in to save me. He got one look at my crew and backed off.

I never really was all that worried about a physical confrontation... I was more thinking about my clothes... my nice clothes... and didn't want to see anything happen. Now, while this creature backed off and headed back to his table he still was giving me a look like I stole his girlfriend as I left after getting my drinks.

The ladies in my crew were asking me what was that all about and to this very moment I have no idea. But we all agreed that it looked more likely that more freaks were about to come out with all the drinking going on and agreed to call it an evening and headed back to our hotels. I doubt the mounted police would have needed to be called in, but I was glad to get that photo for this little story.

My NARdi Gras buddies...

I had full schedule by day while attending NARdi Gras... I'll be covering that as the day moves along. Give me a moment to introduce you to the crew I was lucky enough to hang out with most of the time. Here we are having another wonderful meal together.

Above from left to right is the Lake Havasu Association Executive Officer Ken Standahl, some big ugly guy next to him, Lori Dee Doerfler (President Elect of LHC for 2007 and fellow WARDEX Interim Director), Chery Westwood (current LHC President for 2006 and fellow WARDEX Interim Director, and Paula Singleton (2007 President of LHC and fellow WARDEX Interim Director... alas no link to website though that I could find).

Here we were at a little hole in the wall kind of place called Pentunia's located just off Bourbon Street on St. Louis (I think). The meal was outstanding (I think it would be difficult to find a 'bad' meal in New Orleans).

The company was great as always. I've been lucky all year in all the travels to hang with this group. They have a great bond as leaders for their Association and have really helped me (directly and indirectly) with leading my own Association. If I'm half the leader these folks are then I'm doing a great job.

I managed to have a couple of dinner's with this group in New Orleans and I have a little side story that I'll share later re guarding our sojourn along Bourbon Street last Friday night. For now though, check out dessert...

These were some kind of crepe concoctions. The one on the left was stuffed with french vanilla ice cream. The photo doesn't show it, but it was set on fire at one point to darken the banana's and the glaze (I'm guessing). Now I don't eat dessert all that often. I do have a weakness for cheesecake once in awhile but I'd rather have another portion of the meal in most cases rather than dessert. On this night though.... Oh wow.... that stuff was exceptional. I think the dish on the left was called a banana foster thingy?? The dish on the right was good also but it didn't have that glaze the other did. Big difference maker for sure.

I'd go back today and just have the dessert... well... they also made some pretty strong cocktails as well so I'd have a couple of those while I was waiting.

Thanks again LHC leaders for your company. We had a great time!!

The People of New Orleans...

First, to the people of New Orleans... you are simply amazing. Everyone I met from the city was so helpful and it was easy to see how appreciative they were that our convention was being held there. Thank you fine citizens of New Orleans, I think you are great.

I really didn't have much time to visit the areas that were most affected by the flooding and the hurricanes. I know the city has much to overcome still, but the citizens are putting the best possible face on their situation. They all seem to have an understanding that they are all in it together and I hope they bounce back as a city stronger than ever.

Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart New Orleans... you were the real highlight of my visit.

Back from the Big Easy...

Just got back way late (or early, depending on how you look at it) last night. Looking forward to catch up on things around here today. Had a great time.

One of the highlights...

By chance I was able to meet Dustin from the Rain City Guide when I stopped by the Bloggers Lounge. It is great putting the names with the faces.

More on this, and plenty of other things, later.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

With the elections over...

I love politics, but not so much on sharing my views on them. I'll spare you of my feelings of yesterdays action.

I'm most interested always in ballot propositions and the like, especially ones that involve real estate and found this article.

Under the Community Preservation Act, the money would have been used for open space, affordable housing and historic preservation, with those three areas each getting at least 10 percent of funds. The money also could have been used for recreation projects. All expenditures would have needed town-meeting approval.

[Emphasis mine]

Now now, see, I don't get this affordable housing thingy. Sounds great and I'm sure it feels good, but how affordable a home is, is based on mutual agreement between a buyer and a seller in my opinion. And even if some tax funds were to go to providing affordable housing, how is anyone going to guarantee that the housing will always be affordable?? I just don't buy the notion that the government can supply such things. Feel free to disagree.

Good on the voters to turn that tax down.

Here today, gone tomorrow

Wow, it seems like I just got back from a trip but yet I'm ready to embark on yet another. I head off to NARdi GRAS, the Realtors Conference & Expo for the rest of the week and part of next week.

I still don't have a laptop so I doubt that I'll be blogging all that much (unless I can convince someone to let me use their computer for a stretch), but I am going to try. I will take notes and all that, photo's a plenty to share at least when I get back.

Who knows, maybe I'll see some of my fellow readers out there?? Just look for the big dumb guy walking around complaining about my dress shoes that I wear a couple times a year.

I'll still be around for a bit before I leave, if you are going to be there leave me a comment and maybe I'll buy you a drink when I see you.

Going shopping...

Lets say I'm headed to Cabela's for some fishing gear (tackle or whatever). I'm there in the equivalent of Toys R Us for outdoor sporting types and shopping for a few items...

Yes... new tackle box... check, some new fishing line to replace the stuff that is a couple of years old now... check, I wander over to the boat section to fantasize about the new watercraft I may one day make mine... check, Oh I'm going to need that new fangled rod and reel set as well... check.

Oh and while I'm there I'll look into buying some property??

Cool product offering it sounds like.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Time in...

Okay, back from Sedona. Incredible place to relax and enjoy some time away from the office. If you like scenery I advise checking into a stay in this quaint little area of Sedona.

Above is me at an Arizona vineyard. I had to visit this place because it is part owned by the lead singer of one of my favorite music bands known as Tool. The lead singer (Maynard James Keenan) spends his off time in Arizona and has this little hobby of growing grapes and making wine so I wanted to check the place out and sample the goods. However his wine was not on the tasting menu and he wanted $88.88 a bottle (no he wasn't there but that was the price tag). Now I don't drink enough wine to spend that kind of money but there is a new wine of his coming out in a few weeks for $25 a bottle. I'll buy it online. Very nice place though and I could see why he likes it there.

No, the picture above is not my new listing, but I have taken challenging listings before and this would rival it for sure. Looking at this place though and the line from the movie 'Shrek' that goes... "Sure it's big enough, but look at the location!" This is Montezuma's Castle, it is ill named though because Montezuma never visited or lived here.

For the photo above you must know that there should be signs like this posted most everywhere in Arizona. My eye's are constantly peeled for these little critters but I have yet to see one (with a rattle on it's tail) while living in Arizona. Still, if you drop one of these beasts behind me at the starting line of a 100 meter dash in the Olympics I'd win the gold medal no questions asked. It's all about the motivation.

The picture above is from the little old mining town (now pretty much a hippie town) named Jerome. Interesting folks there and I just loved this signage. I'm thinking if this was Nevada and not Arizona that a Belgian Jennie's Realty operation might work. I could just see this sign posted in the front yards with the tag line of 'Bordello Realty and Land Sales'.

I snapped this photo on the hike I took with my wife. It was the Long Canyon Trail... it was as the name implied... long. To catch this trail you had to take the Dead Man's Pass trail, on the way back I felt like the name might actually have some meaning.

Interesting colors were found in abundance along the hike. Fall is beautiful when the leaves turn color anywhere, not just Vermont.

And of course this is me enjoying the time away from the office doing what I do best. Honestly, I had just the right amount of this on my trip.

Well, I'm back in town for just a couple of days as I am now preparing for my trip to NAR's NardiGras in New Orleans for the Realtors Conference and Expo. I hope to get some blogging in before I leave.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Time Out...

I'm taking some time off and heading back down to Sedona Arizona for a long weekend.

My wife and I were in Sedona back in January and had such a fabulous time, we are heading back today.

I'll check you all later.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Strategic Planning Session today...

Our local Association is having our annual planning session today so I'll be out most of the day.

Leave me some of your great ideas for the new year in your business, your plans on buying or selling property, or if you were in a leadership position your ideas and goals. I would love to hear them.

Do you want the listing data??

This question is posed for the Googles, Trulias,'s, HotPads, Yahoo's, and the many others out there.

Do you want access to our new WARDEX Data Exchange listing data??

What are your terms??

Are you willing to negotiate WARDEX's terms??

Our Board of Directors is currently deciding on how we may or may not share our listing data with outfits such as the ones I mentioned above. I find myself firmly on the side of my clients that would love to have the extra exposure on the Internet where the listing clients have been told over and over that buyers are looking for homes to purchase. A few of the other Board Members aren't as willing to share, so I'm calling out the search sites to see what ya'll got for us fine folks at WARDEX.

Okay, I'm all ears... This offer may not last long... but the offer is there.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

October listing numbers report (2006)

Today is the first day of the new month and as usual I am offering this listings report like I have for some months now. One big change has affected my ability to reproduce this report in the detail I have over the last few months... that change has been documented on this blog a few times. Yes I'm talking about our new data base conversion that we just went through last week.

The only major change that I am facing is that I won't be able to give reports with separate information on new construction homes and existing homes. See there is a toggle box that is not mandatory on the new system that asks if the home is new construction or not. I'm hoping to make this a mandatory category that other agents need to enter the correct information. But for now I'll just give the overall numbers and not separate new construction from existing homes until the data clears up.

So on to the report...


Today total listings available for single family residence equals 703 (down from 757 in October).

There were 109 new listings for the month of September (110 in September). 1 home has entered contract and zero homes have closed. The average asking price for these new listings is $236,055 (that's up from $2225,539 last month). The median asking price is $192,000 (up barely from $191,750 in September). Very similar numbers from last month with the exception of the increase in the average asking price.

Units under contract:

48 homes entered into contracts in the month of October (up from 37 in September). The average asking price for homes that received contracts was $205,523 (down from $216,683 last month) and the median asking price for July was $194,900 (similar to last months $195,975 figure).


Well, it is nice to see us eating into the total listings available for the last few months, at this rate we will be in the 600's next month. The fact that more homes entered contract in October is also a good sign. I have noticed more activity on the home sales front in recent times, still it is normally a slow part of the year for us and I'm not expecting huge increases in sales volume later this month when I do my sales reports.

Also without being able to split new construction from existing homes it has made this report rather short than in months past but I'm upset about it because I have been tracking that kind of data all throughout this year and now suddenly I won't be able to. I'm guessing that will change as we tweak the new system moving forward.

As I have told many other agents (and even the newbies at orientation yesterday), feel free to use this data as you see fit as we still do not have an official source from the Association or the new Data Exchange (WARDEX).