Saturday, March 31, 2007

A couple of ads to share

I will be running some of my listings in the local Real Estate Guide. The guide is choc-full of outdated listings (because deadlines are a month in advance).

Over the years I've had so-so success with this kind of advertising on behalf of my represented listings. Although, when I first started in this biz, I used to put a few bits of other information about me on my page. Used to have an in-action photo of me playing hockey, a nice photo of me and my wife, that kind of thing. I'd get people saying, "Hey, you are that guy in the picture playing hockey," or "Wow, I didn't you were married to her. I've known her for years." I placed photos of my wife in my ads because she has lived here in Kingman most of her life. The hockey photo was in place of listings that I didn't have at that point in my new career. But again, these more personal ads for whatever reason got response. More than the photos of the listings.

Clients love to see their homes advertised in the local Real Estate Guide. While it is likely that there is benefit from such advertising, it is hard to gauge the bang for the big bucks. When the market was piping hot I stopped advertising in this guide. By the time the guide hit the presses and was being delivered, most of my listings were already in contract. The guide became razor thin practically. Now it is thick again and the average time on market is well over 30 days (more like 4 months and beyond).

I've promised some of my clients that I would run ads for them in the guide in upcoming months. This gave me some time to think about including some other more personal bits to include on the pages once again. No, I'm not going to waste ad space with my hockey playing ability or put my wife through the "I didn't know you were in the real estate business" phone calls again.

Here are the ads that I am going to include...

Click on either to enlarge. It is my hope that I can draw more local readers to this blog and even to my sales website. I also am curious to see what kind of response the 'flat fee' ad might bring. I'd be thrilled to hear folks say that "You're the blog guy" or "You're the flat fee guy". After all I do think that if I get referred to as the above it would mean more to my business than "You're the hockey guy" or "You're the guy married to Gail" (which, honey, if you are reading make no mistake that I will always be thrilled to be THAT guy who is married to Gail).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sellers, consider a home inspection...

In Arizona when a Realtor uses a contract to write an offer on a property, it will include a period of time called the Buyers Inspection Period. I've since renamed this period the buyer's 'Free Look', because during the inspection period a buyer can practically give any reason to cancel a contract and be entitled to all of their earnest money back, almost no questions asked.

So what can you gain by getting a home inspection at the time you decide to sell your home?? Well for one you will know the true present condition of the house through the eyes of a licensed inspector. Chances are the buyer for your property is going to hire the services of an inspector, and chances are good that a buyer is going to furnish you with a laundry list of things that they want you to fix before they go ahead and truly agree to proceed with closing the transaction. You won't be happy on this day.

Inspectors climb around in the attic, check plumbing and electrical systems, and poke around in plenty of other dirty places that most sellers never bother with in their own home. They will find things that will surprise a seller at times. And when buyers find these things they think you are trying to sell them a lemon, again not a fun day for you. It is much better to know about whatever they find before you may be in the middle of a transaction. Especially if you've already called the moving company and have begun to pack your belongings.

Think about this in terms of setting the price as well. Lets just say that your home has a very favorable inspection report, one that says there are no real red flags or needed repairs. You would have third party, licensed evidence of this fact and could advertise this. Between two different sellers with a similar property, who would have the negotiating advantage with a potential buyer?? The seller with a true picture of the condition of the home, or the seller that is waiting to find out from the buyer what the inspection report has on it??

Even if your report comes back with some negatives on it, you certainly will know about these and will be able to fix the issues. This could allow you to once again ask for more $$ for your home than a competing seller, depending on the issues. Most sellers in today's market hang on the whim of the buyers and their inspection report. Get in front of the issues. Most home inspections cost in the neighborhood of $300, and it is a small price to pay if it means you can get a few thousand dollars or more for your home. This is a unique opportunity as most sellers nor listing agents do NOT make an inspection a standard of practice.

By ordering a home inspection before you list your property will also help you with your seller disclosures. You will be able to offer a more accurate representation of what you actually know about the home. This also covers you to a degree if a buyer decides to use your disclosures against you in court after the sale for some reason. Having an inspection report to give to the judge is better evidence than saying you didn't know at the time.

You can also offer a copy of the inspection report to the buyers after the offer is agreed to. The buyer still has the right to have their own inspection done (and I would still recommend it to my clients). But again, lets say you have your own inspection report and found some items that needed correction. You simply fix those issues and provide receipts or invoices from the folks you hire to do the repairs. Now the buyer sends in his inspector and asks that these particular issues are paid attention to... chances are they don't show up on the buyers inspection report and the transaction proceeds without delay.

An inspection report can validate your asking price and will give you an advantage in the market if used properly.

For any local folks who are thinking of selling your home I will make this offer to you. If you hire an inspector for a home inspection and hire me as your listing agent, I will refund you the cost of your inspection at the close of a successful transaction out of my representation fees. Simply provide me a copy of the inspection report and the invoice at the time of listing or sometime before an offer on the property is made. In fact, through the end of this calendar year I will double the refund of your cost of the inspection at the close of escrow out of my fees. Some restrictions would apply, but they are reasonable and negotiable.

Been a lot of talk about disintermediation...

That word 'disintermediation' continues to flabbergast me, especially as it pertains to the real estate business.

Here is the best all around example of how disintermediation is actually a friendly word to Realtors everywhere. Not only that, but the example shows it will be very friendly to home buyers. Give them the information they can use, why is it so hard to understand??

I found while commenting on another blog. Great stuff, I've added the site to the blog roll and I hope you check them out.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

One year ago today...

I almost forgot, today is the first birthday of this place I call MOCO Real Estate News. Just some little blog way out here in the Arizona desert just humming along.

Things have changed since my first post.

One thing that I have discovered about blogging in real estate, it is an ever evolving activity. I still can't figure out HTML language no matter how hard I try, but overall I have been pleased with the results from my efforts. I think of this place as the little blog that could, and it is my hope to continue along for many other such anniversary dates like today.

While I do not really know what the future holds for blogging, all I can do now is look back. When I do, I see that I have made some blogging friends and through those relationships I have learned a great deal about the real estate business. Most of my idea's for this place, and my business, have been spawned from other ideas that I have seen throughout the real estate blogosphere.

I think this will end up becoming a valuable medium for the kind of information that real people are looking for when they want to know more about real estate; locally for sure and even on a larger scale.

I will continue to inform you on issues that pertain to real estate (such as my monthly sales reports), a look into leadership dealings at the Association levels I'm involved in (local Association, state Association, national, and even our own newly formed regional MLS). Plus as always I look for more ways to challenge the 'norm' from within the industry. How to make it more transparent to help the public and even other Realtors and licensee's. No you don't always have to agree with me and you are most invited to give me a piece of your mind in the comments section at any time you feel the need to let your own voice to be heard.

I love this business, truly, and I love the community I belong to. I've been actively involved in many local issues politically and I can see that these activities will only multiply going forward, so I hope you check in from time to time to see what all the local 'hub-bub' is about. These are very important times in our city and county. Land ownership and private property rights are still a very big interest to me and you will continue to see my opinions on these issues.

I would like to thank so many people who have indirectly helped me during the last year (and sometimes directly helped me). Mostly other bloggers and I'll get to them. But many of you have called or emailed me to let me know you that you read this blog and have come to enjoy it. I love to hear that this place has been 'bookmarked' in your favorites. It is a huge honor to me when I read or hear of such things. Please help me continue to spread the word about a little blog that does its best to offer information that is so hard to find in other venues, especially locally.

Very special thanks to the following...

The gang at BloodhoundBlog. Greg and Cathleen are simply the best and will never know how much it meant to me for all of their help over the time I have had the pleasure of knowing them. Of course they are the big dogs for a reason. They have it together. A million thanks will never be enough for you folks.

Jay Thompson at Phoenix Real Estate Guy. His was the first real real estate blog that I found in Arizona when I first got the wild notion to perhaps start a blog of my own. His blog proved to me that it is certainly worth while to give this thing a shot.

Jeff Brown at Bawldguy Talking. He has always left comments frequently here and has taken the time to say some nice things about my writing. I read him plenty because I want to know what he is teaching about investing and retiring on passive income. There will come a day when I will probably want to be a client of his, especially if I'm not getting to where I want to be without his help.

Greg Tracy at Blog. I once left a comment on his site and about 20 minutes later I received a phone call from him and we had a nice conversation about the industry and blogging. I felt like I belonged after that phone call. Plus the fact that he has the exact kind of real estate website that I want to copy. Totally first rate and someday (when I have the cash needed) I will copy (something I learned while in college, even though I did not graduate).

Ardell DellaLoggia of Rain City Guide and her own ARDELL'S Seattle Area Real Estate Blog. When I first started commenting on other blogs, she was the one writer that would take on the issues that I brought up. It made for exciting banter back and forth for me and she really did help open my eyes to some extraordinary customer service ideas. I'd hire her to be my representative for real estate needs. Also at RCG I'll thank Dustin Luther. I had the chance to meet him at last years NAR convention and I have to admit it was like meeting a rock star or star athlete, because that is what he is among real estate bloggers.

Mike Price of Mike's Corner. Mike proved to me how small the world can be made because of blogging as he introduced me to a title company general manager that just opened up shop here in Kingman recently. Friend of a friend really applies in blogging.

Tim Miner of Tim is a dear friend of mine from back in the day when I lived the single life in Las Vegas. Tim has gone on to some wild success as a lender and started his site for networking for real estate investors. He asked me to write for his site about Kingman and by doing so it really got me into the blogging mentality. I no longer write for InvestmentRiches but the experience has led me on the path I am on now.

Dean Esmay of Dean's World. This was the first 'blog' I ever read -- that I know of. I don't know Dean and have never even commented on his blog. I found his blog searching about some political issue. I can't remember what the issue was but I was left reading the other articles he posted and just have never stopped visiting. His blog has been bookmarked longer than any other blog in my favorites. He has a mostly political site but intermingles plenty of his own personal life and very strong opinions in his writing, and I know that is something that I have tried to emulate here.

Oh I'll forget many but let me add Jim Duncan at Real Central VA, Jim Cronin at The Real Estate Tomato, Athol Kay of RE Agent in CT, Merv Forney at Northern Virginia Real Estate Guide, and Diane Cohn at Reno Realty Blog.

Heck and just for giggles I'll even thank the HousingPanic blog. Not because it is all that great, but because I continue to go back and read that train-wreck of poor propaganda pieces. Keep up the hate Keith, it fits you so well.

Lastly, but not least-ly, I want to thank Yvonne for agreeing to become a contributor on this blog. From the beginning I have noticed she was a reader and left comments. I have the utmost respect for her because of how she does business in real estate and because she has always been the type of Realtor that lends a helping hand at the local Association. She is a true asset to the direction this blog may be headed in, and to the community at large.

So far the journey has been incredible. Now, let's see where the next year takes us.

Happy Birthday MOCO Real!!

Fixtures & Personal Property

FIXTURES AND PERSONAL PROPERTY: A fixture is an item that was once personal property, but is affixed to the home in such a manner as to become a part of the home itself. A buyer purchases the fixtures affixed to the home, but personal property is not part of the transaction unless it is listed in the contract. The contract should specifically identify all items that are to be conveyed in the transaction[1]

If you have your home for sale or you are thinking of placing your home for sale this definition may mean the difference between a smile or a few tears.

I have to relate a story here about a seller who had a beautiful handmade clock. The clock was the focal piece of the living room and was situated right above the fireplace. The clock was so large and the manner in which it was attached could have been construed as ‘affixed’. When the offer came in I was excited for my sellers because it was a full price offer, however, on the page that contains the additional language the buyers had requested that, and in some very specific language, the clock stayed and became the buyers property.

Now, the sellers and I had the discussion that all of the items, like the clock should be put away while the home is offered for sale, but the sellers also felt that the home and the space defined by the fireplace really showed well with the clock there. We had a discussion about what should be done about removing it and replacing the space to it’s original state. Of course, it was true that the clock did make the fireplace stand out but now the sellers where faced with making a decision. Since their move was precipitated by a lucrative job offer that included relocation they were concerned about doing anything to jeopardize the offer. I was prepared to discuss with the buyers agent how important the clock was to the buyers offer but the sellers asked that I let it go since they had put themselves in the situation anyway. So it was that the clock went with the transaction and the sellers shed a bit of tears when saying goodbye to their beautiful clock.
Moral of the story: If it is precious to you, put it away.
[1] Definition from

Sometimes it is just like this...

Yesterday I get a full price offer on one of my listings, and after a day of trying, I cannot get in touch with my client.

I may have to play 'private investigator' for some of the day today.

Update as of 12:26pm today:

Well, Magnum PI has got nothing on me... (well, except good looks and a Ferrrari). Good news, I found my client. He has a hard time hearing and when it comes to his phone it is just not happening. I asked to see his phone (it is a cell) and it showed 52 missed calls. I'm sure I was most of those missed calls.

The other bit of good news is that because it was a full price offer, my client accepted the terms of the offer. Time to open escrow!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Over the weekend...

Just an update on a couple of things that happened over the weekend, but not really real estate related.

My sister Teri (you may have seen her comments here as she is a loyal reader) is in Las Vegas right now with plans on moving there from where she lives in Hawaii. She and her husband are interviewing for teaching positions, I think today in fact. Their plan is to live in Vegas sometime this summer.

On Saturday I was able to play a round of golf with Teri and one of my dearest friends, Eric Weiss. While Teri is planning on moving to Vegas, my good friend recently took a job which will move him to Austin Texas. He is going to be some big-wig manager at a large lending firm. It is funny, my family is moving closer to me from parts all over the country, while my friends from Vegas seem to be moving out of the area.

One thing you should know about my sister is that while I was 'good' at things like sports growing up, she excelled at those things. She made all state teams while I may have been lucky to merely make the team. She was the star player and I was the role player. Luckily she is six years younger than me so I didn't have to deal with these kinds of facts while in school. Well Saturday at the golf course this fact reared it's ugly head once again.

Eric, Teri, and I were to tee-off in the early afternoon at the Tuscany Golf Course in Vegas. The course added a fourth to our group and it just so happened to be a fellow Realtor that works in Las Vegas named Jeffrey Gahr (I'm having trouble with his website so I cannot link to it). He was a very nice guy to play golf with and he played very well.

Right away Teri was impressing the group with her shots. She tells me that she hasn't played in a long time, but every drive seemed to be long and straight. Sure she was a little rusty, but even my buddy Eric tells me that it is easy to see who the real athlete of the family is.

On the back nine, our fourth says that we need to play partners and he selects Teri as his partner. We play best ball (meaning that of the partners whoever has the best score wins the hole). I accept the pairing. I'm not going to lose to my sister right?? Wrong, Eric and I never win a hole from that point on. In fact Teri won a hole on her own when her partner hit a ball out of bounds early on the hole we were playing. I was sure that Eric and I would at least tie her, but no, we choked -- no make that -- she excelled in typical fashion.

It was a great day no matter how you slice it (and I sliced it on many of occasion).

Locally while I was having so called fun in the sun, my wife was having a garage sale at one of our rentals. When the last tenants moved out they left a garage full of items, including some really nice power tools. My wife Gail is very involved in this years local cancer walk to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. She decided that all proceeds from the sale of the former tenants items would go towards her efforts to raise money. She happened to collect $370. She didn't even place price tags on the stuff that sold, she merely told people that the money was going to charity and the people gave more than I think they normally would have if this was a normal garage sale.

She was moved by one of her customers. He was a young boy (I think she said around the age of 9), he offered her 20 cents on something and Gail said that would be great. He then asked her about the charity and she said that she was trying to raise money to help save people's lives. He then gave her the rest of his change that was in his pockets and said to her to add that to the effort. He even then went to his parents car and got more money and gave it to Gail. Gail was practically in tears when she was telling me this story. The people of Kingman were very generous and there were other stories similar to this.

My only regrets this weekend is that I don't have any photo's to share on either happening.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Negative editorial on Kingman Crossing interchange

More fun in the sun (well at least the partly cloudy sky where the sun is doing its best to shine). A local columnist says that the proposed Kingman Crossing interchange is bad for our community.

See the op/ed here.

Here is my retort to the author in case it does not get published.

In other words... let them (the citizens of Kingman) eat cake... I mean let them congest Stockton Hill Road even more.

I mean who doesn't love their half hour a day (or more) wasted on Stockton Hill right now?? Smell that?? That is sarcasm. (The traffic on SH is only going to get worse without the proposed interchange)

The development planned for the Kingman Crossing area will bring jobs to the area and then bring sales tax revenue. That helps the city coffers so the mayor doesn't have to cry poverty every chance he gets.

Rattlesnake Wash needs an interchange AS WELL. Expansion to the east is the most logical progression for our growing community. For now though the development connects closer to the Kingman Crossing area, and while it may be inevitable about Rattlesnake Wash the timetable is further out and it won't address congestion problems on Stockton Hill the way an interchange at Kingman Crossing can.

Oh and here is a little secret, the new interchange(s) will mean demand for residential property in those area's. Unlike you, apparently, most people like access to faster roads to get to and from where ever they are going. The highway system in emerging cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix was very good to the equity positions of the folks that lived in homes in those areas. Those, like you, that don't like the proximity to shopping and the Interstate will likely be even more able to sell their home and move out of that area and into a neighborhood more to your liking without such amenities. It is a win-win situation for all of us.

I had a nice conversation with one of the editors of the Daily Miner this morning. I think the media is more accepting of the idea to listen to other voices rather than just the anti-growth groups. The problem has been that the pro-growth groups are not voicing their side of the story enough. I can't say if that is totally true or not, but I got the impression that if our local Realtor Association wanted a say on these matters that the paper would give us space in an article to do so.

I also agreed with the editor on the fact that the city government is not doing enough to inform the public on the entire project. The city seems to have a 'we can't talk about this now' problem and that is unfortunately all too true from where I stand. Something to keep in mind for the next round of city elections.

The editor also had one other concern. I think he heard through the grape vine that the Association was going to call for a boycott of ads in their paper. For the record this in not true, nor will it ever be true. The reason that some of us advertise our listings in the paper is to aid the sale of property on behalf of our clients and I can't see our Association ever putting our own agenda in front of our clients needs. I'd file a complaint against the Association if they ever even talked about organizing such a boycott. I am still a voting Member of the Board of Directors and this alleged boycott has never been spoken about or has even been an agenda item at any one of our meetings.

Presenting----the Buyer Advisory

When working with buyers I always use a document published by the Arizona Association of Realtors. The document is called a Buyers Advisory. I have them in my office and before we go over the contract I go over the information included in this pamphlet. The pamphlet includes information on and addresses to websites about many crucial items to be taken into consideration when choosing a property as well as defining some of the documents realtors use in the transaction.

Some of the information included in this pamphlet includes information on Swimming Pool Barriers, Termites and Other Wood Destroying Insects and Organisms, as well as Septic Systems and On-Site Wastewater Treatment Facilities. There are websites included that give wonderful descriptions of a Subdivision Public Report, the MLS (multiple listing service) Printout, and the Title Report or Title Commitment Report. If you are interested in a home that is located on property where CC & R’s have been recorded and there is an excellent checklist included on the website as well as another website with information on the purpose and effect of CC & R’s. All of these items and the rest included in this little booklet are important. You need to have all the information available to make an informed decision that is best for m.

Even if you are currently renting and just in the planning stages of choosing a new home it isn’t too early to begin looking at the information included in the pamphlet. In fact, whether this is the first time you are buying or the tenth you could benefit from the great information that can be found here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Buyers, why you should negotiate with your agent on commissions

I've talked about negotiated flat fee professional service fees for buying clients many times before. Here is one such example.

Well today I will use three extreme examples of listings that better make my point. Extreme because they are new listings that have a very large price tag. I'll post the list numbers so you can use the search for property link on the sidebar to see these listings for yourself.

Here is the first property. List number 790083. This is a very nice home in a great location in Kingman. In fact I own property near there and plan to build a home when I can truly afford it around those parts. No it will not look like this one, not even close as I wouldn't want to vacuum nearly 4000 square feet of floor.

This is a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom home with 3,750 square feet of living space on 2.25 acres. Plenty of garage parking as well. The asking price is listed at $799,999. What you won't see is the commission offer to the buyers agent because it is a public site. I will say that it is a very fair 2.5% of the final sales price.

So let's make a virtual offer shall we?? Let us say that you the buyer and the seller agree that $780,000 is a fair deal. This means that as your virtual agent you have agreed to pay my brokerage $19,500. Remember that I do not split commission's with my broker so I'll end up with practically the entire amount after my office fees that pertain to closed transactions.

Where will I be spending your money?? Bass Pro Shops for sure, some of it anyway. Maybe a new golf club or two, probably take the wife on some extended weekend. Then I'll put the rest away for a rainy day.

Why did I say your money?? Because it is. We could have just as easily negotiated a much more affordable rate of commission before we ever wrote the offer. My buyer flat fees are $4,000 at the present (always subject to change though). So while you and the seller agreed that $780K was a fair deal, you really left $15,5000 on the table. You could have used that money towards your down payment, for non reoccurring closing costs, to buy down your interest rates, or to simply pick up a check for that amount at closing. We'd only have to disclose our fee agreement to your lender and the escrow company, the seller or listing broker need not be bothered.

Again, it is your money. Anytime you bring money to purchase anything... it is your money. How do YOU want to spend it??

Here are two more examples...

  1. List number 788783; a 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 4091 square foot home on the golf course listed for $949,000. This one offers me a 3% co-broke commission. But you and I already agreed that I would represent you for $6,000 (see prices can go up). You and the seller agree to transact for $900,000 (it is a buyers market). Congratulations, you have another virtual $21,000 to mess around with.
  2. List number 789766; a 7 bedroom, 9 bathroom, 5800 square foot home high atop the Hualapai Mountains on 24 plus acres listed for $2,950,000. This place used to be an inn and someday I hope I have a client that wants to see it, so that I can see it. Wow. You ready for the co-broke rate?? A whopping 6%. Again, buyers market so you and the seller agree to a virtual transaction amount of $2.5 million. Before you did that though, you and I agreed that my commission will be $20,000 (so I can go to Bass Pro Shops, AND take my wife on that extended weekend). You now have a virtual $130,000 to apply towards the costs of your virtual purchase.
The point is simple really. You don't care how much I spend at Bass Pro Shops, you care about getting the best priced property for your needs. My motivation based on final sales price and the percentage of the commission is taken out of play because I'm ready and willing to represent you for the amount we already negotiated.

I'm also not judging these particular listings in any way. They may be great listings, at this time I don't have any buying prospects that are looking in this price range. I'm only using them as examples. I think the co-broke commission offers are plenty fair, and do not have a negative thing to say about the agents or brokers representing these sellers.

For more average priced single family homes (think the $200,000 range), it still pays to negotiate with your professional representative. I realize that the sound of getting $15k to $130K back in some form at closing is incredible but it is not always realistic. A home purchased in the $200K range, through a professional representative that you have negotiated a fee arrangement with, could still land you a couple of thousand dollars in the transaction to help offset costs. You just have to be willing to have that negotiation.

It is your money!!

Trying my hand at video

I certainly will not be confused with some big name film maker, Hollywood type. In fact this is nothing but a short silent film (at least it is in color).

I've been meaning to mess around with presenting a video of my listings and thought now was a fine time. I spent zero dollars to produce this. Actually I did buy the Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 along with the photo program that I use for my personal photo's at home, but I bought it so long ago I don't consider it an expense for this project.

I used my new Kodak EasyShare V570 for the video recording. Remember I bought this camera for wide angle views for my listings. If I end up liking the video stuff I will certainly buy a more proper video recording device.

Well here is the vid...

Now I post this here simply because I'm looking for some input. I also have this posted on my other blog that I have started for the purpose of featuring my listings. I do try to keep my intention of not using this here blog for marketing efforts. But please check out the video.

My problems for now are that the camera records in MOV files. Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 can handle the editing of the MOV files... but dang it is slow and a burden on my office PC. I like the Elements program other than that. I'm better with Windows Movie Maker, the program that came with my version of Windows, however it does not edit MOV files. I know there are programs that convert MOV to AVI or WMV but I wonder if I lose video quality when converted.

This project took up most of my afternoon yesterday. It probably took an hour to shoot the video, another two hours to edit, and easily another couple of hours to render the video (to me that seems really slow). I uploaded to YouTube last night and now have posted it to both of my blogs.

The weather didn't do me any favors yesterday either. It was cloudy and windy (where did my blue sky's go??). Again, this is mainly just a test run. I think I can do better. I would love to add audio (but the camera is a bit limited with audio... especially when it is windy).

I would love to offer this kind of service to my clients, as long as it looks legit and will make a marketing difference.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Link added...

If you are interested, under the main links I've added the WARDEX public search site. The name of the link is 'Search For Property'. It should take you to the site where you will be able to search for property available in the Kingman market and includes the entire data base of listings in Mohave County. Enjoy.

So... Sellers,

How is it going out there?? Be honest. Remember that you are competing with about 14 months worth of standing inventory in the Kingman market currently. That is right by my estimations the absorption rate is incredibly high giving buyers in this market plenty of advantage in negotiations.

This is just a quick refresher on negotiation strategies. There are three basic principles to keep in mind.

  1. Time -- What time frame did you have in mind when you decided to put your home up for sale?? Again, be honest with your needs for selling. If you need to sell because you are moving out of the area (job transfer, etc.) remember that 80% of concessions you make will come with 20% of the time remaining that you need to sell.
  2. Information -- Buyers today want to know things that are important to make the best decision to purchase a home. That doesn't equal good news for sellers because the information I am speaking of is the time your home has been on the market. Buyers want to know how long you have been trying to sell and their follow up questions if they find out your home has been on the market for a lengthy period of time are; What is wrong with the home?? And, will the seller take less money in order to sell??
  3. Power -- Sellers, in negotiation you have the most power immediately after you place your home on the market. Every day that goes by you lose negotiating power. You are currently competing against other homes that are just as nice (and even nicer - trust me) so what will entice a likely buyer today?? Please say price because it is the right answer.
Keep in mind that serious buyers make serious offers. If you are not getting offers your home is not priced right. This is the reality of today's real estate market. The market is always right, and the market never lies.

Remember the market wasn't wrong two plus years ago when all you had to do was walk outside your front door and yell out that you were selling your home and a swarm of buyers pushed and shoved each other to give you an offer on the home. You could dictate the time, the information, and you had the power because homes were getting serious offers shortly after you put your home up for sale.

Believe it or not you can still make what I just described happen in today's market... as long as you price the listing correctly.

Ask yourself this question... is your home 'on' the market or in the market?? Now look at the chart below.

Yes the above is the chart I normally post in my monthly sales reports (see here for last months). Once again there is currently 14 plus months worth of standing inventory of homes listed 'on' the Kingman market. More are added every day. Worth looking at on the chart is the blue and red lines.

The blue line represents homes 'on' the market. The red line represents homes that were in the market. If you need to sell today, when you call your friendly Realtor and have them give you information about the current market ask for two lists. One list should be the listings that are 'on' the market for sale, and the other should be a list of homes that were in the market (think closed listings). Pay no attention to the actively listed properties. Why?? Well did you want to price your home so that yours sells or your neighbors?? Do not forget that you are competing with far more sellers for not so many buyers at this time.

I'm not in a position to apologize for the current market condition as I have nothing to do with market forces, it is what it is (I hate that expression). The market rules the day and it doesn't care about your wants, but you can use the current market information to take care of your needs.

Now I know that you could find a representative that will be all too happy to place your home 'on' the market, but you would be better served if you found a representative that will place your home in the market. I hope you better see the difference.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Back from Winter Conference...

Very nice event this year. It did not live up to it's winterly name though this year, as the days in Prescott were very nice and warm (last year it did snow while I attended). Of course I was stuck in-doors all through the days in various meetings and presentations.

Over 350 Arizona Realtors attended the conference this year, it was announced as a record for attendance. Many of the usual suspects were there, by that I mean many faces are of the leadership variety.

On Wednesday I made it in time to catch an informative course presented by CRS instructor Chuck Bode. It was called 'The Question is the Same, the Answers Are Different'. This was a very timely presentation based on the current sales market. I'll have more on this later as I'm going to use much of the materials in future blog posts. I'm so glad I made this course.

I was going to try and make a local pro hockey game on Wednesday night, but our Kingman leadership group scheduled a nice dinner that attended instead. I'm not one to pass up a nice paid for meal. Prescott has many nice dining options... something that I hope Kingman will offer someday in the future. Maybe I'll catch a hockey game next year.

Thursday was all business all the time for the entire day. Starting at 8:30am in the morning the open session featured two prominent speakers. The first speaker was our new state department of real estate commissioner Sam Wercinski. This guy has a ton of energy and I can easily see some positive changes coming our way from the licensing department. He even talked about a proposal to renew our real estate licenses every four years, instead of every two years like we do now. His rational, this would allow the department to focus resources on protecting the public instead of using many resources in administering renewals. I hope he can pull this off. I think that licensee's will like the work that Sam is planning to do.

The other open session speaker was the current NAR president, Pat Vredevoogd-Combs. Don't ask me to pronounce her name, our state AAR president simply introduced her as Pat 'V' Combs. It was nice having the national president in the house.

I then worked my way to a breakout session about dealing with properties in foreclosure. It was a good refresher. The attorney that presented the session gave plenty of great information.

Next I attended a session on RAPAC, which is our state political action committee. I am serving as RAPAC chair for our local Association this year and this session was information about the various bills that are of keen interest to private property rights and other real estate related issues in the state. I'll bore you if I go into too much on this for now, but I'll share some things later on as the days go by.

My favorite session of the day was next and it was certainly eye opening for the many that were in attendance I believe. The subject was technology trends. Earlier in the day at the open session the NAR president (remember Pat 'V') asked the attendees if they read blogs and about 15% of the hands went up. She then asked how many had their own blog of course I raised my hand... but I didn't see anyone else raise theirs (apparently there were only a few that did but I was sitting up near the front and did not look around).

The presenter for the technology trends session was former NAR president (2001) Richard Mendenhall. He hit the nail on the head so many times, much of what he had to say is very similar to the things I have been saying right here for the past year. Especially as it pertains to the future of MLS.

Richard also was the key speaker at the general session. He is a great speaker and it is easy to admire him. I was able to meet him after he spoke at the general session, shake his hand, and let him know how much I was glad to hear him speak that day.

It was then time for the annual Arizona industry update where the VP's from AAR spoke to some issues on such things as the changes to the Code of Ethics, a report on the lobbying activity, and legal issues.

Whew, what a day... but it wasn't over. I had to head to an impromptu WARDEX meeting. The great news here is that the Board of Directors got to meet our new Executive Officer that was just hired, Jack Best. WARDEX has had many issues in recent months but having a person of Jack's stature in place is going to make things improve in the coming weeks. I told others that Jack just rode into town on his white horse to save the day... and that is truly how I feel. I'll keep you updated, for the first time in a long time I'm looking forward to the next WARDEX Board of Directors meeting.

Lastly for Thursday I attended the dinner theater event. This year it was a murder mystery show with a 60's class reunion theme. It was all right, but with all the dining options in Prescott I wish I could have skipped this particular show and next year I will.

Friday was the easy day in comparison. A couple of other fellow Directors and I headed out for breakfast at a place I cannot remember the name of (sorry). It was located next to a tiny stream or brook. We sat outside because it was already a beautiful day. There was a tree that extended over our heads and a woodpecker type of bird decided to do some construction while we ate and he managed to drop some of his handy work on our table, which made for a few laughs.

Back to the conference for a short regional caucus meeting. I was asked to co-host the meeting because we assumed I would be the regional vice president in 2008 and 2009. The meeting went by fast as we had numerous guests pop in to give various updates.

It was then on to the AAR Board of Directors meeting where yours truly officially was elected as Region 1 Vice President for 2008 and 2009 (I ran unopposed, but I told voting directors that the other candidate didn't like puppies and kittens just in case they weren't sure who to vote for). I look forward to the new duties, but am pleased that they don't officially begin until next year.

All that was left was a two hour plus drive back home, where finally after a couple of hectic weeks, I was able to catch up with my wife who was traveling all over the place either visiting family or on a business trip. We've been two ships passing in the night it seemed. Things should be settling down again though.

The good news is that I have plenty of good stuff to share in the coming days, the bad news is that I'm tired out and I've got to move some stuff that was left in one of our rentals out of the garage so that we can get a new tenant placed. So I'll see you all in a couple of days. Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Yellow Journalism

Yellow journalism, in short, is biased opinion masquerading as objective fact. Moreover, the practice of yellow journalism involves sensationalism, distorted stories, and misleading images for the sole purpose of boosting newspaper sales and exciting public opinion.

What is the remedy to yellow journalism? Simply double- and triple-checking one's sources and reading between the lines.

Yellow journalism was prominent in some of our nations most heralded newspapers and occurred some years ago. It was the birth of the code of ethics most journalists and their papers now adopt.

I wonder whether the all of our area newspapers has a code of ethics they follow and what it says. I found the code written by the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

Some of the items found in their code of ethics include:

1. When including a quote make sure they are not taken out of context. Include enough of the entire quote to represent fairly what was actually said.
2. If the article includes a criticism of someone they need to give him/her a chance to respond in the same story
3. Source, source and source again
4. Be accountable
5. All articles should be based on or characterized by good judgment and/or sound thinking

All the citizens in a locality would benefit from fair and unbiased news reporting. More good would be accomplished since less time would be wasted trying to find out 'what is really going on'. Fact based reporting would disseminate the correct information so the best path for the majority could be chosen and endorsed by the same.

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: "President Can't Swim." ~Lyndon B. Johnson

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

AAR's Winter Conference...

I'll be heading out this morning to Prescott Arizona for the state Associations Winter Conference.

Meetings, meetings, and meetings.

For entertainment tonight I'll be attending a Prescott Sundogs ice hockey game. It is a professional minor league team that is affiliated with an NHL team. Usually there is good value in catching a minor league game. Lots of action with good seats available.

I'll be back on Friday afternoon, the good news this time with me leaving is that you are not alone any longer. Yvonne will keep you up to date on this blog while I'm away.

See ya!!

More on Kingman Crossing

See article here...

Things to notice in this article...

1) The local fish rag stroking the anti-growth group again. Whatever this group has to say to the paper, it is published as it is the gospel. It's rather pathetic. (Note to this ridiculous RAID group, it doesn't matter what the city sells the property for in all reality. Whatever the sales price is becomes the gravy, while the main dish is the tax revenue that WILL be generated.)

2) Shots taken at the former mayor.

3) Mudslinging accusations against the landowners that plan to develop up to 900,000 square feet of commercial space (bringing jobs and sales tax revenues to the city).

Solid effort by the local newspaper once again to only one side of the very important issue that faces Kingman. The Miner better get it's head out of it's behind pretty soon before they really cause damage to the citizens of this community.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Where did all the lenders go?

One of the mortgage brokers that I work with frequently called me, she has been receiving updates from lenders regarding sub-prime lending. The most recent updates include information on the programs that were utilized regularly last year. Most of those programs are no longer available or have made qualifying for these programs more difficult. She also told me that many of the lenders who used to offer sub prime lending are no longer in business or soon to cease operations.

As the first quarter of 2007 is coming to a close the changes in the sub prime market are evident. Wells Fargo, the largest sub prime lender, said Wednesday that it is cutting 320 sub prime jobs in Fort Mill, S.C. and Concord, Calif., saying loan volume may decline following a Feb. 16 tightening of its lending policies according to Jonathan Stempel of Reuters. In addition to Wells Fargo, I was especially surprised to see that Option One who is owned by H & R Block one of the companies that is for sale.

This is going to mean big changes for realtors and how we do business. Realtors who work primarily with first time buyers are going to need to learn new ways to qualify their clients and there may be more counseling of young buyers to get them prepared. I doubt if we will see as many 100% financed purchases, although I don’t think that is a bad thing. We will see more responsible lending for sure and buyers who have to work a lot harder in order to get the house that they want.

It is not a fun conversation...

I just got off the phone with a listing prospect and had to tell him that I could not, at this time, be his agent. This prospect has a lovely home; 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage with about 1200 plus square feet of living space.

This prospect is a very nice man and treated me well, still it is not a fun conversation to get into about meeting the price that the seller has in mind when the market says it won't sell for that price (what a terrible sentence).

To top it off, the nice gentleman bought his home only six months ago. His long term plans have changed and he wants to relocate in another part of the state. Of course he doesn't want to take a loss on his purchase. I informed him that I wouldn't be taking the listing at this time.

I am in this business to sell property and not to 'hang' out with my clients for the term of any contract I enter with them. I get this feeling that there is going to be many more prospective listing clients that I'll have to have this conversation with. I've had them before, I had this one this morning, and I can't imagine the ones in the future will be any better. Thankfully this time, like I said, this particular gentleman seemed very gracious and understanding.

Friday, March 09, 2007

It is simply a beautiful day

And because of that, I'm taking the rest of the day off. Well that is after I attend a meeting with some representatives from Mohave County at 1:00pm.

Nope, no pictures to share with you it is just the kind of day that screams playing hooky.

I hope it is nice where you are today and get the opportunity to enjoy. See you soon.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Is your mortgage broker licensed?

Would you go to a doctor who did not hold a valid license? What about a contractor or a even the accountant that does your taxes? Does it matter to you what type of training they received? Is it important that the teachers who are influencing our nations children have teaching credentials and licenses? What about your hairstylist or nail technician? Did you know that according to an article in Central Arizona titled, "Rules Sought on Mortgage Officers" it was cited that, "Many of the people in AZ who help home buyers finance what is often the biggest purchase of their lives are not licensed". This is a reality that many realtors in Arizona are more than aware of. Realtors in Arizona are not only licensed, they must maintain their licensing every two years with mandatory continuation classes. The lack of licensing among the lender community is often a topic of discussion.

The January edition of Arizona REALTOR also had an article about lenders and our responsibility to educate our buyers and to make them aware of unsavory practices. There is good news however, House Bill 2320 will require some form of licensing and bring accountability to the lending industry. As my part to educate potential buyers that need to choose a lender I have put together the following:

To better determine is a lender right for you, here are 20 questions to ask a lender/mortgage broker before asking them to help you.
1. Do you represent a mortgage broker, mortgage banker or lender, consumer finance company or financial institution?
2.If they work with a mortgage broker, is that broker licensed by the state?
3.What is the interest rate you are offering me? If this interest rate fixed or variable? Is this the best rate possible for my credit score?
4. Are you locking my rate and if so for how long?
5. What would be my APR?
6. How much would you be paid for this loan?
7. What other costs and fees will be associated with this loan?
8. What will be the principle balance of my loan?
9. What will my monthly payments be? Will there be an impound?
10. When would my payments be due? what will the grace period be?
11. What is the length of the loan, will there be a balloon payment due?
12. Who will be my lender?
13. Will my loan be sold?
14. If I pay the loan off early will there be a prepayment penalty?
15. What is the appraised value of the property?
16. If I pay for the appraisal how do I get a copy of it?
17. If I pay for a credit report how do I get a copy of it?
18. Am I required to have private mortgage insurance? When and how do I cease paying it?
19. Are you or your company affiliated with the title co?
20. Who do I contact 24 hours prior to closing to obtain a HUD settlement statement?

All of these questions are good ones and will not only help you to find the right lender for you it will help you understand the total lending process.

February Sales Report (2007)

Well... more of the same this month. The market continues to collect inventory at a fast pace and successful sales crawl slowly along. I have the same charts this month that I normally do but I'm going to add some more data towards the end (not in chart format). I'm finally getting the hang of our new MLS program (oops, I mean Data Exchange program) to be able to find more reliable data to share. As always, the disclaimer...

Disclaimer... all data compiled for this report comes from the WARDEX Data Exchange and does not include any sales activity from outside that resource. All research is done only on single family homes and there is no inclusion of modular homes, commercial properties, or vacant land. The geographical area researched includes; all areas within the boundaries of the city of Kingman, north Kingman, the Hualapai Mountain area, and the Valle Vista subdivisions. Click here to see maps of the included area's.

The good news for February is that we outproduced January even with three less days in the month, however it wasn't a total thrashing of the previous month.

60 more new listings than successfully closed sales is the first thing that pops out when I look at this. Yes, better than the ratio in January but this gap needs to begin to close on a consistent basis. By my guess there is at least 14 months worth of inventory in the areas I include for data research, that's 14 months worth of waiting in line to perhaps sell your home... and you only want a 90 day listing contract Mr. and Mrs. Seller??

Nice to see the red line bounce back a little, but it would be even nicer to see the blue line head south for awhile. Looking at the new listings there were seven new listings that hit the market for more than $400,000 so I know that helped move the blue line somewhat higher. I'll have more on the success of sales for homes in this price range later on. As far as the red line goes I believe we will see it jump up and down between $190,000 and $210,000 for the rest of this year.

Below you will see the charts for the data for the last three plus years, the orange represents the 2007 year. It's an ugly orange which is fine, because that is the way this year is likely to end up... ugly.

In February there was one closing that had a $445,000 price tag, this marked the first time since August of 2006 that a home sold for this amount and only two others even sold for $400,000 or more in that time frame. I believe we will see a home close escrow for more than $500,000 in the next month or two as one listing is under contract right now that had a listing price of $549,000. So maybe things are picking up again in the high priced market. Stay tuned.

With our new Data Exchange (think MLS) service we now have the ability to view the original list price when a listing was first brought to market and we have the currently listed price, which are two different items. Our old MLS would not allow me to search for the original listed price as it only showed me the current listed price (even though on the listing itself I could see the original listed price... confused?? So am I just bare with me). Basically I have three columns of price for listings.

When I compare last months numbers I see that the current listed price was conceded an average of $10,190 to the final sales price. However when I compare the original listed price to the final sales price, the average price concession was $23,752.

Now as I explained in my listings report for February, we now have a 'cumulative days on market' data figure.

Also to note the average days on market for these 'new' listings in February is 44 days. 44 days?? But isn't there only 28 days in February?? Why yes darling, you are correct. The reason for the higher number is that our days on market figure includes any properties that were re-listed again either by the same broker or another new broker that adds to the total amount of days on the market. This is referred to as cumulative days on market or CDOM.

Now looking at the CDOM for the sold listings for February the average number of cumulative days is 250. Again, that is the average number. Keep in mind that some of these sold listings were re-listed by either the same broker or a different broker... but the clock kept ticking. This information along with the original list price data concession to the successful close of escrow sales number tells me that along with sellers, local Realtors were not reading the market correctly throughout much of last year (all too willing to just get the listing... and I was guilty of this to an extent as well) .

Here are some CDOM number that might blow you away... 298, 465, 623, 786, and 1226 total days to close escrow. I even left out some within that range. I realize that it is possible that some of these sold listings could have been lease option purchases that finally closed as I know this how the listings work through the system, and honestly I didn't delve that deep into the data (who has the time??).

On the other side of the coin, five listings of the 42 that sold in February spent less than 30 days on the market.

I think those numbers are interesting and I plan on revealing this kind of data in the future.

The average home that successfully closed escrow and sold in February had; 2.88 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 1.83 car garage, with 1541 square feet of living space (@ $130 a square foot), and was built in 1994.

Lastly, 1.5 homes closed escrow per day in February which was up from 1.29 a day in January. Based on this run rate I am going to predict that in March 48 homes will sell. If you are a seller currently, will yours be one of those 48?? Now that you have all the facts and figures to play with you certainly can be one of those 48. The prevailing question will be, is your home priced right??

Have a great month!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The AZ Corporation Committee has it out for...

...the Jim Rhodes project in Golden Valley. See this article right here.

If you remember, I testified to the ACC last year basically on behalf of new developments and the positive impacts they will have on Mohave County. Sitting through that meeting on that day it became crystal clear that two commissioners in particular do not like Jim Rhodes or want to see him do business in Mohave County. You can even feel this tension in the article linked above.

Now the Rhodes development is a sensitive subject to bring up around Kingman depending on who you talk to. My feelings still stand that as long as any developer is contributing to infrastructure improvements and have all their legal ducks in a row, that these master planned communities are a positive for this area. And to me at least the Rhodes group has done everything that has been asked of them to this point.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Thanks Todd

First of all I want to thank Todd for inviting me to post. I have been keeping up with his blog and other real estate blogs for awhile now. I think Todd is correct that we are the few in Kingman who are venturing into this new territory.

In support of blogging in general I think kind of sums it up in their article 'Why Blogging Matters to Business". I really enjoy the interactive nature of a blog and Susan from About says, '“What sets blogs apart from other online writing … is their dynamic nature (as opposed to static Web pages) and their voice (style).” The voice of the writer (or writers) of the blog, in a successful blog, is unique to that blog."

Here's to blogging!

Price, price, price!!!

For as long as I can remember, the three most important deciding factors in real estate sales was 'location, location, and location'. I know this isn't the first time in history that we are seeing a strong buyers market like we are right now at this moment. So I bet the deciding factors have changed from time to time and could have looked like 'price, price, and price'.

Please read, 'Here are 10 things your Realtor won't tell you' from the Reno Gazette-Journal. Hat tip to Diane Cohn of the Reno Realty Blog.

Just some food for thought.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Adding a new voice to the blog...

Heck, it has almost been one year since I started this blog (March 27th will be the first such 'birthday' if you will of MOCO Real Estate News). In the last year I've had the pleasure of many visitors and readers to follow along with my posts, mostly regarding real estate related information.

Kingman and Mohave County are very unique locations. I have tried to give you some insight so that you may feel like you know this area (if you don't live around these parts), and have offered a clear picture of the market on an ongoing and consistent basis. I hope that March 27th comes and goes for many more years in the future with this blog still intact, with me contributing, and the visitors getting something out of the efforts.

Today I am joining other real estate blogs by bringing on an additional contributor. Some may know her already as she has been an actively contributed comments on many posts over the last year. So join me in welcoming Yvonne Reil to MOCO Real Estate News.

I've known Yvonne for the better part of three years since we both worked together at a different brokerage. When she started she picked up right away and became a solid producer. Her clients always seemed to enjoy working with Yvonne. You will find her contributing to the local REALTOR Association on the Bylaws Committee. Last year she chaired the committee and has agreed to do so again this year. I believe this is her third year on that committee in total and their efforts have been staggering from the amount of work the Board of Directors has given them over the years. Yvonne and I parted ways from that brokerage a couple of years ago and she moved on to the 'other' RE/MAX office in town and has continued her success.

One quick story... I found out one day, back when we worked at the same office, that we had similar interests in a certain musical group on accident. After one office meeting I carpooled with Yvonne and a couple of other ladies on the listing tour. As we approached one of Yvonne's listings, being the gentleman that I am, I offered to open the lock-box that was on a gate outside of a large parcel of land where the home was located. I didn't have my lock-box key with me so Yvonne gave me hers and told me the PIN number. Low and behold it was the same PIN I used for my lock-box key. Later on I asked her why she chose that particular number, and as it turns out it was the same reason I chose my number.

So maybe Yvonne and I think alike in some ways, but I'm sure she sees many things differently than I do regarding the real estate world. This is why I've invited her to post her thoughts on things as often as she would like to. While I still haven't come across any other agent or broker in the Mohave County area blogging, I do think other voices need to be heard. Please join the discussion no matter who may be bringing it to you.

Happy days!!

Some R&R over the weekend...

Posting was light late last week as I was looking forward to hitting the lake for some fishing over the weekend. It was a good news/bad news weekend. The bad news was that the fish were not biting. The good news was that the weather was beautiful and I enjoyed each and every second I was out there.

My good buddy Art Garcia and I headed out to South Cove to launch on Lake Mead Saturday morning. We experienced some strong winds for some of the afternoon but everything seemed to calm down just nicely. I think it still may be a bit too early to land some largemouth bass (but we tried). The only fish we caught were of the striped bass variety and only did so down deep beyond 40 feet of water. I expect that the activity will pick up for both of these fish by the end of the month.

Here are some photos.

Photo above of the boat launch at South Cove.

After the winds calmed down I was able to get this photo.

Photo taken from the Nevada side looking back towards Arizona in the early evening.

Photo of just how much the water level has fallen over the last 6 or 7 years. We are hoping for a better run off this year to help raise the level a little.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

February Listings Report (2007)

Okay, only 28 days in February this year so the numbers should look pretty good right?? Well let us see together.

As always the disclaimer...

Disclaimer... all data compiled for this report comes from the WARDEX Data Exchange and does not include any sales activity from outside that resource. All research is done only on single family homes and there is no inclusion of modular homes, commercial properties, or vacant land. The geographical area researched includes; all areas within the boundaries of the city of Kingman, north Kingman, the Hualapai Mountain area, and the Valle Vista subdivisions. Click here to see maps of the included area's.


Today total listings available for single family residence equals 681 (up from 679 on February 1, a net gain of two). The rate of new listings did drop this last month down to 3.6 new listings a day in February from a killer 4.9 new listings a day in January.

There were 102 new listings for the month of January (152 in January). 5 homes have entered contract of these new listings, but none of these have closed yet. The average asking price for these new listings is $246,578 (that's up from $236,404 last month). The median asking price is $210,000 (down a little from $216,400 the previous month). I noticed more higher end homes hitting the market in February and that may be the reason for the increase in the average. At least two were $550K and another was listed at $750K which probably skewed the average figures.

The average newly listed home has 3.13 bedrooms, 2.12 baths, and a 2.11 car garage -- and includes 1,725 square feet of living space -- and was built in 1997.

Also to note the average days on market for these 'new' listings in February is 44 days. 44 days?? But isn't there only 28 days in February?? Why yes darling, you are correct. The reason for the higher number is that our days on market figure includes any properties that were re-listed again either by the same broker or another new broker that adds to the total amount of days on the market. This is referred to as cumulative days on market or CDOM. There were 15 such properties included in these figures and all had a CDOM figure of over 200 days.

Units under contract:

48 homes entered into contracts in the month of February (up slighty from 43 the previous month). The average asking price for homes that received contracts was $210,598 (up from $195,985 last month) and the median asking price for February was $199,500 (up from last months $189,900 figure).

The average single family unit included; 3.0 bedrooms, 1.94 bathrooms, and a 1.65 car garage -- and has 1568 square feet of living space -- and was built in 1990. Also, while I don't know the final sales price for these pending contracts, the average seller reduced their initial listing price approximately $9,000 over the course of the listing period to attract buyers.


Production numbers still lag for this growing community. 1.7 homes a day entered into contract in February trailing new listings by almost 2 homes (I knew I should have gone into real estate 'for sale' sign making last year). Clearly this is still a very strong buyers market and it is my observation that buyers and sellers haven't learned each others language. Buyers want 'X' and sellers are offering 'Y'.

Single Family homes offered as rental units are still available in huge numbers. There is real competition to fill vacancies for these units and rent prices have dropped because of it. This fact, along with restricted options for various loan products for lower income and first time home buyers has made renting a better option for those 'would be' 'could be' buyers. Price of the home is what is going to attract such buyers and right now they are priced out of the market in many cases. Thereby there are far fewer buyers in the market that can actually be approved for a mortgage. Because of these factors I don't see the production levels changing drastically to the positive for sellers relatively soon.

See ya next month!!

I notice a large co-broke offering...

While looking at the Member bulletin board on our WARDEX data exchange (think MLS), I noticed that a seller is now offering a whopin' 10% co-broke (the commission amount to a buyers broker for bringing in a buyer that is ready willing and able to purchase the property).

I'm not going to share a ton of details on the property other than to say it is a single family home in an area of town where many other improved properties are of the factory built kind (think mobile home). The asking price is now $150,000 for this particular listing.

I only bring this up because it fits nicely with my own buyers flat fee program I have started. I want to use this particular listing as an example to see how one of my clients could benefit from using my service.

As I explained before my buyers flat fee program is $4,000. If you were thinking of purchasing this property for $150,000 with most any other agent, your representative's broker would be receiving a $15,000 check to disburse with your agent under their agreement (I'm a 100% agent which means I only pay a low brokerage fee to my broker and errors and omissions insurance, other agents split their commission with their brokers on a percentage scale).

Again, this 'would be' $15,000 payday (for me) is a rather nice offer by the seller... but this is your money and wouldn't you like to know what you are paying for?? Sure you would see the commission amount on the closing documents but normally after you have agreed to the price terms with the seller. Ask your agent about disclosing the commission the next time you are in the market to purchase property... before you write a contract. It is your money (and I just can't say that enough).

Now lets look at his as if you had hired me to represent you to acquire this particular property. Before writing the contract you and I would have entered into a contract with each other. One that states that I will be representing you for the agreed amount of $4,000 to act as your agent to the purpose of buying a property.

We then would write the contract to the seller. Maybe we low ball the offer some more, lets make the offer $140,000. I present the offer to the sellers agent. The seller agrees to our terms. The co-broke commission would equal $14,000. Our agreement stated that my broker is to be paid $4,000, which leaves $10,000 on the table. We must disclose our agreement to the title and escrow company and to your lender (if you need one). There would be instructions to use the $10,000 as part of the down payment (if your lender would allow it) which would lower the amount borrowed and reduce the monthly mortgage payment to your benefit.

Or, we could amend the contract to lower the price of the home to $130,000 if the seller and the listing broker would agree to conditions that state the listing broker would pay the buyers broker (think me) $4,000 in return for the lower final sales price. I don't see why the seller wouldn't agree to this, but there may be a question as to whether the listing broker would because if their commission was based on percentage of the sale, it would mean reducing their commission (probably in the neighborhood of $250 to $300).

Now if you are out there thinking that the extra $10,000 would get you over the top for a better financing product and want to know more about this opportunity contact me right away. I'll send you the property information. I'm assuming that many local agents have seen this same offer and plan to make every effort to sell this property to one of their clients for the big payday (heck, I don't blame them really).

Basically the sellers have told me (without actually talking to me) that they are willing to help the buyer... buy the property with up to $11,000 for you to use as you want... if you hire the right buyers representative... that is.