Sunday, December 03, 2006

Feedback from the email-bag...

Since I started this blog back in March of this year, on occasion I have received email from readers. Most of it has been from fellow RE bloggers after I have left a comment on their own site. I have taken the occasional email from other Realtors who do not have a blog. At times, I've even taken an email from somebody outside the RE world, someone who wants more information on the Mohave County (MOCO) area.

Well yesterday I had planned to head out for one final fishing trip for the year. However Mom Nature said that I should head to the office instead. Ma Nature has really dropped the hammer on some bitter chill for this region. I can deal with the cold okay... but when she mixes in high winds, well fishing on a boat in a large lake is not much fun at all.

So fine, I got the hint from Ma Nature. Yesterday I hit the office just after the noon hour. Waiting for me was an email from a reader who is not a Realtor nor someone with a RE Blog. This person was located right here in Kingman which was a fantastic plus for me to find out. Local readers are my long term plans for this blog.

After reading the lengthy (but spot on) email, I knew I wanted to share what she had written me with my other readers. Before I did so I asked for permission to do so. Later on Saturday this reader had given me the go ahead. So let me introduce you to Shari Veditz and to some of the things she said.

I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks but did not see an
email address on there. You seem to have some non-realtor like thoughts on this
market, which is a credit to your profession. So I just thought I would rant to
you. You need not read this but I just had to yell at someone.

This is how the email started. First, I'll fix the email thing so it is
easier for anyone to email me. I worry about spam and whatnot but if I can
make it easier to communicate with me I'll do it. And at this point I was
excited to see what Shari had to yell about.

We had been coming to Laughlin/Kingman for years and decided in early
2004 to sell our home and move here. At the time we considered the drawbacks of
little shopping and restaurants but that was offset by the price of homes and
the closeness to our youngest grandson in California. By the time we actually
sold our home and moved here, it was February 2005. Imagine our surprise
that the cost of houses had doubled and tripled in that year. Nothing had
changed but the speculators that had been running around the country flipping
land and houses had landed in Mohave County.

Yes, there was a sudden pressure on our market that did come squarely from investor type of clients in that time frame that Shari speaks of.

Buying a home here is probably not in the cards. Although I seem to be
in the minority, I feel house prices will come down considerably in the future
in this area, but I'm not sure we want to wait around for that. Prices per
square foot are already more than in many areas of California and
prices there are dropping as we speak.

It is nice to know what is on the minds of folks who are thinking about buying property, and as you can see Shari is up to speed on what is happening in many markets in the west. And to sellers and would be sellers pay real close attention to what Shari said above.

One of the reasons we were attracted to Kingman was because it was a
town where a young family could actually afford to buy their own home without
putting their finances in jeopardy. We really love it here, except for the home
prices. I feel badly for young people that are buying into the "buy now or
be priced out forever" hype. There will likely be many foreclosures in the

I'm not posting this in an effort to change the minds of the masses. I'm only sharing this because of the perception that real people have about the real estate market. I mean I could say that there were plenty of foreclosure opportunities even when the RE market was hot around here awhile back. But the data may have looked different because investors were snatching up distressed properties before these foreclosures hit the trustee sale stage. I doubt there will be a line of investors waiting to take the higher priced distressed homes off of the hands of those in foreclosure like how I saw it a couple of years ago.

But here is the gem from Shari. This is what brought the smile to my face...

I kind of got side tracked in my rant. My main purpose in emailing was in regard
to the MLS in Kingman. We have been following for our information
and keeping lots of lists/spreadsheets, etc. First the square footage
disappeared, OK, I can deal with that. But now the addresses are gone. That
means there is no way for buyers to do any research or look for homes in the
area. Very arrogant, you don’t need buyers obviously.

Ohhhhh SNAP!! <--- I hate that expression, but it fit nicely here. Pardon me for a second while I dance the jig and high five imaginary people around my empty office this morning. I am actually 'river' dancing like a maniac right now (thank goodness the office is empty as I am no dance machine thanks to my two left feet). At our new regional Data Exchange (think MLS) called WARDEX, we just agreed to terms with to allow them to carry our listing data. Side note, before we had that agreement, must have been scraping the data from us because they were hosting listing data without our authority. I'll save that for another day. Part of the agreement with was to eliminate the address of the listings. Why did we do this?? Perhaps Shari has the answer (and for the record, I'm with Shari on this one)...
The computer may not be used by Kingmanites to search for homes, but it is a
preferred method for a lot of people. In case you haven't noticed, both
California and Nevada put addresses in most of their ads. I don't
see the point, if you see a house you want to see, you still have to contact the
realtor. I am not going to contact the realtor on every home to see where it is,
you have just lost me as a buyer.

Shari is not alone and I'll bet every last dollar I have on that. While buyers like Shari are having these problems... to me it has to be worse for the seller to hear what buyers like Shari are saying.

Shari went on to say that her frustration and many other people with such frustrations are talking about this on the Internet in various forums. They are talking about us professionals and leaders of this trade right here in Mohave County.

To Shari, thanks for the rant, the follow up email, and allowing me to share this with everyone. I have a WARDEX meeting this Wednesday and I will be using this to once again make my points as to why the leaders of the RE world in Mohave County need to take this opportunity to shape our system to be more 'client' friendly. Our profession depends on it. Also Shari, I have reached out to Google Base to see how WARDEX and Google might be able to partner up to provide listing information on a different platform than I think there will also be other aggregators that WARDEX should consider partnering up with to provide data in the effort to sell properties for our clients. To me being partners now will be much better than having Internet giants be competition later.

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