Monday, April 30, 2007

Sellers Home Inspection

Over the weekend I met a nice couple that plan to sell their home in a desirable subdivision in Kingman. During my presentation I told them about the advantages in the current market of doing a home inspection, like what I wrote about before.

I notice other bloggers offering similar advice as well, here for example.

I think that I will be taking the listing today and putting the house on the market. There is another item to take advantage of that coincides with a seller having an inspection performed and that is obtaining a home warranty. A couple of weeks back I attended what is called an Affiliate Expo. The local Associations Affiliate Members basically put on an expo for the local Realtors. There I found out about a couple of home warranty plans for sellers that doesn't require the seller or the Realtor to 'pay' for the home warranty coverage.

A home warranty plan can be a negotiating point between a buyer and a seller. On lines 257 through 263 of the purchase contract you will find that the home warranty opportunity to negotiate is already pre-printed. Because this remains a buyers market I have conditioned my listing clients into offering such a warranty to the buyer.

This plan to obtain a home warranty at the time of listing the property can really be an advantage for a seller. First get the home warranty that is offered to the seller for free upon listing. Next, get a home inspection. If the inspection produces a defect to something that is now under warranty, the seller will only have to pay the deductible to repair the defect. Not only that the seller will then have documented proof to use for disclosure that proper repairs to the house have been done.

It is time to think outside the box (and how I hate that cliche) in this current market if you are a seller. You need every advantage to prove to potential buyers that your property is not only a good value price wise, but also simply a quality home compared to the competition. A seller can document this by using a home warranty (and passing it on to the buyer) and the inspection report.

My offer to sellers still stands. If you hire me to list your property AND follow through by obtaining a home inspection at your cost, I will refund the cost of the inspection at the close of escrow from the negotiated fees. For the rest of this year I will even double the refund at closing.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Heading to a state level meeting today...

The blog is yours and Yvonne's today. You post a comment and Yvonne will post an article.

I'm off to see what the fine folks at the Arizona Association of Realtors are up to today. I'll be attending a state level Realtor government affairs meeting.

Feel free to consider this an open post on any local subject you want. There is just so much happening right now... The Rhodes development... the Kingman Crossing... the ever dangerous RAID group... a new power plant near Yucca that uses as much water as the existing power plant does and neither plant would supply our community with power. I think you will especially want to keep your eye on that last one.

Until later...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Follow up on Tuesday's P&Z public meeting...

Around Kingman it takes a couple of days for articles written in the Kingman Daily Miner to appear on their website. I knew the article on the P&Z meeting would be well covered.

Here is the article from the Miner.

Here is why having a blog is fun. Now I get the chance to break it all down and respond to some of the comments that were made at the meeting.

Keep in mind that this meeting was for the P&Z to either recommend or deny the applicants request to change the land use designation for 168 acres of what could become very prime property if a number of things, still undetermined, fall into place. The applicant and the owner of the land is the City of Kingman.

I'm only going to address or respond to the comments that were made by the public that were in opposition of the applicant (City of Kingman).

First speaker for the anti-growthers was a former Mohave County worker in some capacity that talked about other commercial deals that did not happen out in the Golden Valley area some time ago. He rambled about wrongfully putting the cart before the horse and by the time he even made that point he was about 5 minutes past the alloted 3 minutes that each public comment was limited to.

The next speaker I believe is simply a concerned property owner. She is against the land use change because she fears the completion of an interchange would connect the street her property is on to an arteriole through-way to Haulapai Mountain road.

Penny Cross spoke as a resident of Seneca Street. Traffic on her street is already bad, she said, with big trucks speeding by creating a growing safety concern with small children in the neighborhood. She's concerned about the land value of her home, she said, and had she known this was going to be in the works when she moved here, she never would have chose to retire in Kingman.

"I don't feel confident that you're looking out for my welfare," Cross told the P&Z Commission, a statement that she said spoke to some of the Council as well.

Mrs. Cross happens to live in the sub-division named Hualapai Foothill Estates. She stated that she has lived in her home for about 4 years. According to public records her home was built in 2003 and is on 1.24 acres, I won't share the price she paid for the property and home. I will say this though, one of her neighbors recently sold their home that is similar in age and size for $180,000 more than Mrs. Cross paid for hers. She is not losing value on her property anytime soon.

I have been told that the street Mrs. Cross lives on was originally platted for a four lane road (it is currently a wide two lane road). However, I have not seen documentation as of yet.

Mrs. Cross could easily sell her property today depending on the condition of the home and property (her neighbor received and accepted an offer in 7 days). She would realize a substantial financial gain if she did.

The earliest the proposed interchange completion date is sometime late 2009. If this really is a concern for her as she says, there are options including moving to a location more suitable for her needs with less current traffic issues. Hualapai Foothills Estates will still be an area of Kingman in high demand by then, and in fact I believe it will draw even more interest from buyers if the access to the Interstate was improved.

Now onto the RAID presentation...

RAID member Harley Pettit gave the same presentation he offered at the first Commission hearing, basically a list of reasons why the voter-approved Rattlesnake Wash interchange would better suit the community.

He said that if the amendment were to pass and the zoning were to be changed, the city could see the equivalent of 34 Wal-Marts on its side of the freeway. On the north side, property owned by Vanderbilt Farms, LLC, of Tempe, the commercial area would allow for 41 Wal-Marts.

"We do not need 75 Wal-Marts," he said. But Pettit expressed his doubts about pulling in big box stores at all, given neither Target nor Costco, as examples, had even shown interest in Bullhead City or Lake Havasu City, which both have higher populations than Kingman.

These folks are nice people, the RAIDers. I have nothing personal against them, I simply disagree with them. I especially disagree with their math. 75 Wally Worlds?? Our local Super Wal-Mart sits on 23.33 acres of property and the building itself is 210,732 square foot in size. The store itself sits on nearly 5 acres and has over 18 acres of parking and access routes.

For 75 Super Wal-Marts you need approximately 1,725 acres of land. The owners of the north side (where commercial will most likely go in first) only have a bit over 200 acres which is room enough for 8 such retailers. Again, I've met the owners of the property and they seem like really smart business people... I don't think they have plans for 8 Super Wal-Marts stacked on top of each other for their project. Sorry Harley, your facts and figures are way off (wow, I've had to say the same thing to a different member of RAID as well on a different subject... there is a pattern emerging here).

Oh and Harley, are you sure about what you said about Target having no plans for Mohave County?? I'm fairly certain that my wife and I will be spending money at Target in BHC by next year. Kingman missing out once again on my sales tax dollars.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My Newsletter??

With all of the talk about the Rhodes development in the Golden Valley area, all the rumors and such, I've been getting contacted at times from members of the media. Here is my recent stuff from this article found on the East Valley Tribune site.

Todd Tarson, past president of the Kingman-Golden Valley Association of Realtors, defended Rhodes in an electronic posting on his newsletter April 14.

Tarson also urged his fellow agents to contact elected officials to voice support for the Pravada development.

In an interview with the Tribune, Tarson said he is concerned that if Rhodes drops his plans in Mohave County it would create an impression that the area is unfriendly to developers and damage the economy. Though he encouraged other agents to contact elected officials, it is not part of an organized effort, he said.

“There are certain city and county leaders who seem to want to put a kink in some of the development plans in Mohave County,” Tarson said. “Some of those people need to be reminded that this is a growing community and there is lots of potential for businessminded, professional people to enhance their lives. I don’t want to see that go away.”

I said what I said, but what gets me is MOCO Real is not a newsletter... it is a blog. I wish the journalist would have referenced MOCO Real in his article. Especially since he took information from it.

Oh well... this is the same journalist that has been writing some scathing articles about Jim Rhodes personally about his history in Las Vegas. I have no comment on that stuff other than to say that if Rhodes has met all regulations and the permitting needed to get his development off the ground - I gladly support his efforts.

As far as my quote about 'certain' City and County officials that would like to put a kink into development in this area goes... yes I do believe that some of the elected leaders have other interests that don't fall exactly in line with what I believe. However, I hold no proof or inside information about any one particular elected official. Only the sense that their interest is other based on public comment and what I see or hear in the media. In other words... I have my opinions.

City P&Z last night...

By a 4 to 2 vote, the city P&Z Commission voted to approve the request made by the city to modify the land use of the city property on the south side of Interstate 40. The land use is currently for 'Parks/Open Space' and the Commissioners decision last night was the first step that will change the land use there to 'Regional Commercial'.

I want to thank the Commissioners for letting me speak before them to make a couple of points.

I spoke first when it was time for comments from the public. I did prepare for the content I wanted to cover and managed to get through my comments. Of course I've always found that I could have included more points. One thing that did not get touched on and think that is very important is the fact that this City land is being used as a dump by some in the community. No, not an official dumping ground but at the site there has been reports of trash and debris deliberately dumped there. It is a shame really because this fact certainly does not help the City at all. If the City wanted to clean up the dump site it is going to cost them some money, I also imagine that there could be health risks and liability issues which could end up costing the City even more if something tragic should happen out there.

The best course of action for the City in my opinion is to make the property as desirable as possible to a private interest and sell the asset for highest and best value. This would include supporting the construction project to build the interchange proposed in the area, changing the land use then changing the zoning for commercial retail, and developing arteriole access points through the City land south bound.

There is plenty of work still to do, but timing is important and I don't think we can afford any delays along the way. This includes convincing 5 of the 7 Council Members to approve the major general plan amendment that I spoke on last night. City Council will decide the land use change at their next meeting on May 7th. Support is needed so I hope you can lend a hand.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lawmakers to allow Zestimates to continue... received some good news yesterday on the floor of the Arizona legislature. I'm sure the folks at Zillow worked the phones (and I'm glad they did) to get the friendly amendment to Senate Bill 1291 that would allow for a to provide the services they currently do.

Of course Greg Swann already posted about these results, and Jay Thompson followed up with some of his own.

Awesome news Zillow!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

City Council Meeting on May 7th...

A very important meeting regarding the future of Kingman will be held two weeks from today. The city council will decide as to whether or not to pass a major general plan amendment for the land use of 168 acres of property owned by the city located along the south side of Interstate 40 in the area known as Kingman Crossing. Directly to the north side of the freeway an investor has already purchased over 200 acres and has hired a commercial developer that plans on developing the property for commercial and retail opportunities.

This is a very hot issue in the Kingman area right now, I believe it is the most vital issue that faces the city. I've explained before that the natural progress for development heads east along the Interstate and Kingman Crossing is the first stop. At a special meeting of the common council held on April 16th, the council heard a presentation from Brian Kennedy of Stone Youngberg Capital Group. His presentation was most interesting and I'd like to cover some points. The presentation was made on the current status of the Kingman Crossing Interchange and the impact the city owned parcel affected by the new traffic interchange (TI).

The question for the Council is should they approve a major amendment to the general plan that was voted on by the citizens of Kingman some time ago?? The general plan was a broad and all encompassing plan to use as a guideline for the city's development through 2020. Plans are needed and can help a community, but like with any plan, things can drastically change over a short period of time or simply some items can merely be overlooked during the planning stages. In my opinion things have changed and things were overlooked. No biggie, identify the shortcoming, propose a sensible change, rely on the elected politicians to make decisions, and live on our merry lives.

There is one thing that is missing in this area along the Interstate as of right now, it is infrastructure in the form of a highway interchange that would patch together the existing eastern part of Kingman access through the Interstate north and south bound. Currently I can hit a stiff five iron from the proposed commercial development on the north side of the freeway to the city owned parcel that is need of a zoning change. However, if I got in my vehicle on the north side and drove to the other side to pick up my golf ball, it would take me darn near 20 minutes to arrive on the south side because there is no access between the two fast growing area's of Kingman.

What the commercial developer on the north side has proposed is an 850,000 square foot, multi phase, commercial and retail complex that would offer more choices to the current and future residents in the way of shopping, entertainment, and dining possibilities. It would also add many job opportunities and create sales tax revenue... and oh yeah... alternative access routes throughout the city to alleviate the overburdened Stockton Hill Road, which some folks waste nearly 30 minutes or more a day on.

According to Mr. Kennedy, the investor on the north side paid about $65,000 per acre to secure the land and if an interchange was there the property would be worth about twice that amount. If the interchange existed the developer has said they would have no problem finding commercial tenants to fill out their development. Tenants that would offer jobs to the folks from Kingman and the free enterprise that would take place there would create sales tax revenue for the city.

To top it off this developer would likely pick up some of the tab for the construction of the interchange. How do I know this?? Because they've done precisely this on their other projects in Arizona and California. It ensures they get the access they need to maximize their investment and it probably means the project gets done in half the time and at less cost if we left it up to the city officials to do.

But what does this have to do with the south side of the Interstate that the city owns you are probably asking by now?? Well, just to the south of the city owned land is a section of land about three quarters of a mile from the Interstate that is currently Arizona State Trust Land. It is also right now up for bid due to be sold later this year in June. The probable use for this land once purchased is residential. Chances are the new owner will want easy access to the Interstate to the north. It is simple, easy access equals increased appreciation and the opportunity to maximize their investment. According to Mr. Kennedy the new owner would likely also pick up some of the tab on construction of the proposed interchange.

But what does that have to do with the city owned land in between the probable new residential development and the Interstate?? If the city was to approve the major amendment to the general plan for land use and change the current zoning on their land to commercial they easily make it just as valuable as the already privately owned commercial property on the north side of the Interstate. Thereby making it a valuable asset they can sell and take the proceeds to pay for other infrastructure (like another interchange further east slated to begin in 2013). It would also identify another party that would likely want to pony up some dough to build the interchange.

At least three highly motivated interests would see to it that a much needed asset to the citizens of the community would be constructed, allowing access to the Interstate and alternative access routes to various parts of city taking pressure off the city's main avenue -- Stockton Hill. Oh, not to mention opportunities for job creation and tax revenue for the city. All are needed by the community in the worst of ways at this time. The three vested interests would likely set up a Community Facilities District (CFD) to be reimbursed by the city upon completion in some form of a repayment plan agreed to by all parties up front, including the city.

In order for any of this to happen a couple of things need to fall into place first. One, the City Council needs to approve the major amendment to the general plan for the property they own. Now there is vocal opposition from a few folks from the anti-growth contingent of this town. They insist that this issue has to go before the voters of the city in a referendum election to be held later this year. Their point is that the general plan was passed by community vote so the voters should decide this.

Hmm... Okay... Tomorrow there is a special city planning and zoning commission meeting with three major amendments on the agenda. This would be the required second such public meeting before the issue goes to the City Council. This same anti-growth group supports the commission and the Council to make of the proposed changes on a different item the agenda... no referendum election needed. Such hypocrites. The only significant argument that the anti-growther's make against the Kingman Crossing project is that they don't want to see a certain existing street, that was originally planned to be a four lane road but is only a two lane job currently, become a more traveled through-way. And mostly due to the fact that a few members of that group live on that street. Again, such hypocrites. Oh I see, it's okay that the masses eat cake...errr... I mean sit on Stockton Hill Road for extended periods of time but let's not perhaps inconvenience the few mostly well-to-do already-retired citizens that live on Seneca in their big houses on their one acre of property (homes in this subdivision called Hualapai Foothills sell for $350,000 and up).

The build-out of the Kingman Crossing commercial project would put over $1.05 million dollars into the city a year at first and up to $2.4 million dollars a year of tax revenues when completed (discounting inflation) and create 3,000 paying jobs.

The construction of the interchange would not require a substantial amount of money paid out by the city up front... the same city that says it is broke. The interchange and a simple rezone of the city's property would turn a nearly worthless parcel of property (that is currently used by some as a dump) into a very valuable asset to pay for other needed infrastructure projects that are needed... which then could turn into more residual income for the city and create more jobs if it is utilized as commercial property.

The other thing that needs to happen is that the voters need to allow the city to sell this parcel of land. That will be on the ballot in November and I know that I'd feel much better about selling that piece for highest and best value, which it clearly won't be unless the City Council makes one simple decision to see to it that it is. There is a movement underway to register as many residents as possible that support the Kingman Crossing Interchange and I fully expect to see this approved by the voters in a landslide (many would love to shop at Target and grab a bite at Olive Garden or catch a movie at a modern cine-plex).

On May 7th, I urge you to attend the City Council meeting and let the Council know your feelings about the future of our city and how great this simple decision can make it.

A Whole Lot of History

I’ve lived in Michigan, Florida, Oregon and California just to name a few states and a few communities in each. I have never enjoyed a community more than Kingman. This city has had a very colorful past and is now enjoying a wonderful period of growth. Kingman is here because of some very strong and courageous folks, mostly miners and ranchers who chose this area to make a living and to call their own.

I have been reading a book that I acquired a couple years ago from the Mohave County Museum. The book was written by a long time resident, Grace Neal who just recently passed away. The book is called, “That Cowboy from Burro Creek”. The Neal’s were ranchers here in Mohave County and later became water company owners and land developers and philanthropists. Now, when I drive around I see the Cerbats, Aquarius and other mountains and I think of the rich stories Mrs Neal related in her book.

For anyone who might be even slightly interested I have to encourage you to visit our museum and learn about how Kingman came to be. You might be surprised to know that they used to hold ¼ mile horse races on Stockton Hill Road and you might be curious about what business was located where the South Campus athletic field is now.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Zillow's got my back

The fine folks at Zillow sent me this and I told them that I would take a picture and place it on this blog. Thanks guys, it fits great!!

I think I'll wear this to my next WARDEX Board of Directors meeting as a symbol of the power of data sharing and how it will not only enhance our business, but also provide our clients better service.


Todd talked about all the rumors circulating around Kingman as to the status of one of the larger developments and it's developer. I have to say it's been an entire week and I am still hearing some strange things. I was in a local grocery store, not where one would expect to be hearing about such a topic. I am not one to eavesdrop, but I couldn't help hearing what was being said. Not only were the 'facts' incorrect (although none of us knows the real story but what was being said could be nothing but pure fiction), but it appeared that both parties were trying to trump one another to make their individual stories more absurd. The whole thing reminded me of the forwards we all receive in our email in-box, half of which is not true either, but stories or urban legends that folks find more interesting than the truth. I find it odd that folks just love the dramatic over the truth.

I have decided personally that I will not repeat anything that is not a fact from a trusted source or answer any questions with any information I have heard that I can not verify as absolute fact. The rumors are spreading like wildfire and I see no good can come from adding to it.

Let the greater part of the news thou hearest be the least part of what thou believest. - Francis Quarles

From the President

The president of the National Association of Realtors, Pat Vredevoogd Combs, talked about the importance of each an every REALTOR to ensure that they are working with their buyers to make sure the lending package they are receiving is one that works for them and will allow them to enjoy their home for as many years as they choose.
It really is important that buyers investigate the loan packages that they are offered to make sure that they are doing all they can to protect the equity in their homes. There were quite a few subprime lending delinquencies which the market is now truly feeling and I can’t say that it is a bad thing. The mere idea that these lenders are in a delinquent status implies that the loans they offered were not quality loans. The real loser in these instances is the buyers since ‘delinquencies’ in the subprime lending equals foreclosures. Real people losing their homes—not a good picture. I realize this is along the same lines as the article I previously published here, but it is something everyone needs to be aware of.

I listed in my other article some items to look for and of course, use a REALTOR. This is one of the, if not the largest asset you will ever own, make sure you take care and investigate.

In Honor...

A very nice tribute was paid last night to the victims of the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech last week. Anaheim Angles pitcher Joe Saunders was allowed to wear his old college hat in the game where he pitched. I'm sure it was an emotional moment for him and it has touched me as well.

Here is link to the recap from last nights game.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Kingman makes top 100 places to live...

According to Relocate-America, Kingman has been named as one of the top 100 places to live.

Check out the list here.

Congratulations Kingman!!

One of our Mohave County sister cities also made the list, so congrats are in order for Lake Havasu City as well.

They're out to get Zillow...

Currently there is a bill in the Arizona Senate SB1291 that is being considered and apparently a cease and desist order filed against Zillow by the Arizona Board of Appraisal.

This is big news to me because of my recent affinity I've found for

Zillow is a great marketing tool for real estate agents (like myself) and for sellers that are thinking about representing and marketing their own property. The drawback that most have with Zillow is that they offer what they call a 'Zestimate' when you enter in a property. Jay Thompson sums up what Zillow provides and 'Zestimates' are. provides an "AVM" (Automated Valuation Method). Punch in an address, and it will spit out a "Zestimate" — an ESTIMATED home value.

Truthfully, for whatever reason, Zillow is not very good with their estimations of market value in Mohave County. I think that is partly due to where they get their data from for the most part... Mohave County. MC offers a valuation that is not based on sale price when you search public records. If you search public records on property you will see a Land Value, an Improvement Value, a Full Cash Value, an Assessed Full Cash Value, a Limited Value, and an Assessed Limited Value... add them all up - divide them by a prime number - carry the 2 - and solve for the square root and you will get a clear picture of actual value... actually no you won't.

None of it makes any sense, nor is it any help in determining market price. It is my belief that Zillow uses some, most, or all of this data the county offers to come up with their 'Zestimate' which would explain why their estimate is normally way off and very low in this local market.

I am paid to successfully market and sell property in my clients best interest. Part of this means placing the listing on the market for a price that will attract a buyer AND appraise for the value agreed to by the buyer and seller. I'm much better at this than Zillow ever can be because I actually exist in human form number one, and I have the ability to compare like property to like property because I have better data, the MLS. Zillow and their 'Zestimates' can not do a better job than I can at helping clients set a price on property for the sales market. If a buying or selling client brings up the term 'Zestimate' it is merely an opportunity for me to prove my expertise... and I don't lose to Zillow or their 'Zestimate' ever.

The same goes for a professional appraiser. An appraiser has all the skills needed to place a value on a property. One of their very best tools to help them is access to our MLS.
Zillow and their 'Zestimates' cannot do a better job than an appraiser because appraisers locally actually exist in human form and can touch, see, tape measure the property (plus whatever else it is they do) and view actual recent sales data in order to determine a value for their reports.

Realtors should not fear the 'Zestimate'... and appraisers should not fear the 'Zestimate'.

But apparently they do.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Too much information...

No I don't mean that in the way that it seems to be trendy to say 'TMI' after somebody tells about something that is perhaps borderline gross.

What I mean is since late last week when all this local talk about developers pulling out of projects for whatever their rumored reason, I've had many interesting conversations on the phone, in person, on the blog, at other places on the Internet, and through email.

Because of it all right now nothing makes sense and actually most folks are simply sharing their best guess of the situation. But these are well connected folks sharing their thoughts with me (and others), yet still when I add it all up... my head hurts.

Would somebody just be willing to tell me the straight scoop??

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"You're the blogger."

I have to share a nice moment from today.

I was meeting with some folks today and passed my card to one gentleman. He looked at my card and then quickly looked again... leaned over and said "you're the blogger."


Simply a cool moment to have and all because of this blog.

Rhodes development update...

Just spent a good portion of the morning in a meeting with representatives of Rhodes and other community leaders.

Rhodes isn't going anywhere and it seems the plans have not changed at all. I believe that the 'pull back' or whatever is merely a business decision at this time. There are still some i's to dot and t's to cross with the various regulators and government entities. All of the work that can legally be done to improve the property to this point is done and the master planned community simply needs more green lights from the county and the ACC in order to continue.

I believe that Mr. Rhodes wants to do business in Mohave County and someday soon he will get the go ahead.

Again the customers of Pravada have supported the planned development by making reservations (one such person made a reservation yesterday even after hearing all the rumors that Rhodes was pulling out of the project and leaving it for dead).

Still the community needs to support the development as well. We need to remind our elected officials on our views. We have to do it wisely though. There is no need to be negative with these officials, just friendly reminders about the positives that will likely be achieved from such a project in our backyard. Of course, take the time to speak up at city and county meetings with the same approach.

I believe it when it is said of Rhodes that he is doing everything by the book to make Pravada a reality here in Mohave County. I just wonder how much bigger that book has gotten since Mr. Rhodes has attempted to make his plans a reality. A new standard is obviously being created by the powers that be and that could very well be a good thing for all of us when all is said and done.

Because of the local buzz...

I haven't been able to share provocative views with many fellow real estate professionals on ways to go about making big changes in our own industry as of late. Don't worry though, I continue to think of new plans to implement a more transparent real estate practice that favors the client in terms of costs paid for services rendered.

It's just that all of a sudden everyone wants to play local political bully and for now I'm fairly wrapped up in it with the rest.

I've always hoped that this site would be able to focus more on very local issues with many readers from the local area getting involved with the discussion. Lately it seems that the tide is turning in that direction somewhat. Please continue to check back in though as the more creative stuff, like mentioned at the beginning of this post, is never that far away from my thoughts.

Doing my best to keep you all informed.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Government Affairs Committee gets spotlight...

At last weeks local KGVAR Government Affairs Committee meeting we had the pleasure of having Nick Wilbur of the Kingman Daily Miner in attendance. I told him that he was free to pursue an article or simply just make some contacts for networking if he wanted.

He wrote an article.

I think it is a fair article, I just wish it didn't sound like our meeting was all about addressing the anti-growth group known as RAID. The conversations we had were many and diverse.

Anyway, it is nice that we are off to a good start with this new committee.


I'm late for work this morning because I spent an hour cleaning off my car and garage from the evil attack of chicken eggs at some point last night. I didn't even know that chickens could fly, let alone throw their eggs at property.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Thanks to the folks from over at Topix..

Thanks to all those from the Topix site who visited MOCO Real since yesterday. Feel free to join the discussion over here as well at your pleasure.

There is plenty of conversation going on about the very near future of Kingman and surrounding areas. This is a very important time to let your voice be heard.

The public was very effective last year in defeating the county sponsored land split matrix, and the public can be just as effective this time in letting the politicians know where we stand on developers that have agreed to pay for infrastructure costs in return for building a new community.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Rhodes development in Golden Valley

It has been windy this passed week. Fairly normal for this time of year in the spring.

If you listen close enough to the wind though, you might hear some wild rumors. For instance have you heard the one about that new fangled development in Golden Valley, the Jim Rhodes project called Pravada??

Apparently the billionaire developer has had enough with local officials, elected and otherwise, and is threatening to close the doors on that project in Golden Valley. Even after he has but a reported 200 million dollars into it already to this point.

However on the other hand, you may have heard the rumor that Mr. Rhodes is one silly little official signature away from getting the full green light to begin the project in earnest.

See an interesting Internet discussion about rumors here

There is going to be some big news next week about all of this. I was at a meeting with a fellow Member who represents Mr. Rhodes and the Pravada project. After the meeting it is very clear that it is time to man the battle stations, announce code red, and change the DEFCON number in the bad direction.

It is no secret that the Mayor and other city officials don't like the Pravada project and are playing pure politics with Rhodes. It is also no secret that one of the Mohave County supervisors is doing all he can to see that Rhodes doesn't build in the county. The problem has shown itself clearly, no one is putting any pressure on these elected officials. That should change by next week.

I have asked for a meeting with Jim Rhodes next week as the Government Affairs Committee chairman. I would love to help the effort of Rhodes to develop more opportunity for affordable housing and the many jobs that would likely be created throughout the county from a large master planned community would help bring. As much as I'd like to help, I want to know the facts from Mr. Rhodes. If he wants community support he needs to make his case.

This is such a huge issue all of a sudden with the alleged threat of his closing the doors and walking away. If he really does close up shop, the local real estate market will likely take a huge dump major-big-time.

You may want to think about bothering the Mayor of Kingman starting on Monday. His email is and the city phone number is 928-753-5561 (ask for old Les).

Forget the conflict between pro-growth and anti-growth folks here for a second. The city and county governments say they are broke and cannot provide needed infrastructure... but the developers can... and have said they will... on their dime... on their property they already own. The developers have jumped through each hoop these governments have put before them, and yet these governments still try to pull the carpet from underneath those that are investing millions upon millions of dollars into the area.

The government simply cannot create the kind of health and wealth for the citizens of the area that private interests can. I'm speaking directly about better paying jobs. The entire southwest region of the United States is growing and expected to continue sizable growth patterns well into the future. Mohave County has the best blank canvas in my opinion to make the most beautiful masterpiece. Our current elected leaders only have the ability to draw stick figures and will waste our opportunities if we don't take a stand.

Next week will be interesting to say the least. I hope Mr. Rhodes takes us up on the offer to meet with him and get the straight facts to end the rumors and to start pointing the fingers at the true culprits that are delaying the improvement of the lives of the great residents of Mohave County and the city of Kingman.

Yep... I'm a bit frazzled, a bit on edge, nervous, and pissed off.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dear Fellow KGVAR Members...

The post yesterday about the loss of control of the 'Real Estate Guide' has spurred me to inform you of the following.

I'm all too happy to take up the fight on this issue. As you know I've been a willing combatant on a wide range of issues since I have been in leadership. I've also lost my fair share of battles, while winning some others.

I don't consider the 'Real Estate Guide' my issue. It is part of a larger issue to me and because of that I'm willing to stick my neck out some at the Association level and of course at the WARDEX level.

But I have to warn you, my sword swings true and cuts deep. It will be better that you be behind me and ready to take the line if I may fall. In other words your voice needs to be heard, I will not speak for you alone as your proxy.

I have requested that this issue be put on the agenda at the next Board of Directors meeting for the Association. The meeting is next week April 19th starting at 9:00am as the Association office. I know that I will be asking the Board of Directors and the Association to make a strong recommendation to WARDEX to reverse their earlier decision to end the mutual agreement our Association had with the Kingman Daily Miner.

Our Association alone no longer controls the data from the MLS so this is not something that we can accomplish at the local level. We must have a strong show of unity when we approach the WARDEX Board of Directors to gain the influence needed to restore what the Association worked so hard for back in 2004.

If we are successful at the local level in gaining the support of the KGVAR Board of Directors, I will announce the next open meeting for the WARDEX Board of Directors meeting along with the location and time (I don't remember it right now other than it is the first Wednesday of May). I will ask you again to let your voice be heard and demand the return of benefits that you and your clients have lost.

It is clearly your turn.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I am refinancing, should I get new title insurance?

When you refinance you are obtaining a new loan, even if you stay with your original lender. Your lender will require lender's title insurance to protect their investment in the property. You will not need to purchase a new owner's title policy; the one you bought at closing is good for as long as you and your heirs have an interest in the property.
Even if you recently purchased or refinanced your home, there are some problems that could arise with the title. For instance, you might have incurred a mechanics lien from a contractor who claims he/she has not been paid. Or you might have a judgment placed on your house due to unpaid taxes, homeowner dues, or child support for instance. The lender needs reassurance that the title to the property they are financing is clear.
If it has been no more than 10 years since you bought your house or refinanced, ask for a reissue or discount rate. They are not available in every state, and you might have to meet some criteria to be eligible, so be sure to ask.

Leadership Decisions

Way back in 2004 our local Association of Realtors (KGVAR) made an agreement with a division of the local newspaper (Kingman Daily Miner) to have them produce a listings magazine for Realtor Members only in return for a limited set of data from our then locally controlled MLS (then controlled by the KGVAR).

The Miner used the data from the MLS to set up a search site for listings that would be placed on the main site of the Miners website. Buyers had the opportunity to see listings offered on that site that were listed for sale. Sellers, for the most part, probably didn't even know that their listing was available at that resource but wouldn't have minded since it offered the listing more exposure. Since the data was coming from the Members MLS, the only listings included on that website were offerings from Realtors. The Miner also sold differing packages to Members to offer certain enhancements in the same vein that does.

In the agreement there was a condition that the magazine would only allow Realtor Members to advertise in the book. The reason at the time was that there were a few advertisers (such as builders and lenders) that were basically advertising their products that would shut out Realtor Members from being able to represent clients and thus making money. It was fair at the time because there was no stipulation on who could advertise in what was then called the 'Home Showcase' and competition is a healthy thing.

Many Members were upset because probably 95%, or more, of the 'Showcase' was supported by Members advertising dollars. The Board of Directors from 2004 worked hard on making an agreement that was a win-win for both the Miner and for the Members. I was part of the leadership team as a Director in 2004 and fully supported the effort.

The result was that the new magazine, called the 'Kingman/Golden Valley Real Estate Guide', filled up quickly with advertising and the old 'Showcase' faded into oblivion (in fact I don't think it is offered any longer).

Now lets go to the year 2006. I was president of KGVAR that year and helped an effort to create a regional MLS, which turned into WARDEX (Western Arizona Realtor Data Exchange). I ended up on the WARDEX Board of Directors as well. The WARDEX go live date was in late October of 2006 and the newly formed WARDEX would be in control of all the data. WARDEX is made up of Realtor Members in the three main communities of Mohave County; Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City, and Kingman. The Board of Directors is made up of three Members from each local Association.

The group from the Miner was notified that they would have to make an agreement with WARDEX to continue to have access to the MLS data (now the MLS is referred to as a 'data exchange', but I'll keep it simple and use MLS in reference). Keep in mind that WARDEX was in its infancy as an organization. While I argued that the data stream from the MLS should continue to be offered to the Miner, I was simply outvoted when the time came to make a decision. Because of this our local Association's agreement with the Miner was breeched.

Well guess who is advertising again in the 'Real Estate Guide'?? The very same builders that are not Members of the Association or of WARDEX (and thus do not offer listings in the MLS or the cooperating offer of commission).

My broker was president of KGVAR in 2004, he is also a local home builder and the project that he spearheaded during his term is now all but wasted. It was an important project to him because of how he values Membership to the Association, not to mention that he offers cooperative commission.

Today my broker is mad at the Miner and is pulling all of his advertising from that publication. I told him he should be furious with WARDEX and to make a case with that leadership group (which I am a Member of) to make good on the deal that was made a few years ago.

On the subject of data sharing I think the leadership group at WARDEX has been shortsighted to this point. I have often argued that our MLS should be looking for more avenues to put listing information in front of potential buyers on such places as the Miners website locally, AND with the big search sites like Google, Trulia, Zillow, and others. After many months of my arguments, I am seeing the light turn on among my fellow leaders a little bit. I will use the latest local developments to embolden my case because it is even easier now to point to the fact that our Members are being hurt to some degree by the actions of the WARDEX Board of Directors.

Leadership decisions are vastly more important that Members think at most times.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

March Sales Report (2007)

The following is proof on why I shouldn't be making predictions in this current market.

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.

Yeah, that was me last in last months sales report going out on a limb and making a bold prediction. I know what you are thinking, "Well Todd, did we blow that number out of the water??" The answer is... don't say a word and simply move your head from side to side... simply save yourself from speaking words, remain silent and humble.

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.

Normally this is where I start with the good news, well... sorry but I don't have good news. Total new listings were up big time once again in March, while the sales figures posted the lowest total ever since I have been keeping tabs on this data. See below for yourself.

I had to move the scale down to 30 on the axis for the chart. There were 53 more sales in March of 2006 so sales are way off, even though as your will see the average sales price is pretty much in line with the previous year. Listing inventory continues to climb and sellers continue to tell me that they need a 'certain' number of dollars to sell.

I talked about it in the Listing report earlier that there were many high dollar homes that hit the market in March (including a 2.9 million dollar offering), so I understand why the listing average price moved higher and I'm willing to excuse the rise to some degree. Realtors placed 4.83 new listings on the market in March, yet only closed 1 per day. These numbers indicate more power for the buyers. If you are thinking of selling but don't have to, please save yourself from becoming a statistic. I can't see the red line moving much higher at all and in fact I would not be surprised to see it fall in the coming months.

Below you will see proof that the market can no longer handle the current average selling price. The average is basically the same as the previous year but the overall number of sales is dropping like a lead balloon. You do the math.

Hey sellers, I understand, you want to get 'yours' like perhaps your neighbors did maybe last year and certainly the year before. As long as you know the score, to get 'yours' you will most likely be waiting perhaps a year or more at this rate. Price concessions is where it is at right now and the numbers in the charts above prove my case.

Here's more for you, of the sold listings in March the average entering price on the market for these units was $228,268. In order to successfully sell the average price concession was $18,184 to arrive at the sold average price of $210,084.

The average unit sold last month had 3.06 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 1.87 car garage, with 1,586 square feet of living space, and was built in 1992. The price per square foot for this average home was $131 per.

Armed with this knowledge, buyers are going to low ball like crazy or simply wait you out. Are you going to sell your house or are you going to help your neighbor sell his??

Caught my eye...

I was heading in a restaurant for a late dinner last night and out of the corner of my eye I see a headline that says, "It's a buyers market -- like never before" with a photo of a nice couple out in front of their home next to their broker's real estate for sale sign (nice little free promo for that Realtor).

Anyway the headline comes from the Arizona Republic which happens to be the main newspaper from Phoenix. Here is a link to the article.

Now I don't know about the 'like never before' statement, maybe it is. This is the first time I am experiencing such a strong buyers market since I became your friendly REALTOR.

Here are a couple of key points

So what is driving the numbers? Analysts point to several things:

• Sellers are unrealistic. Many are pricing homes higher than what buyers are willing to pay.

• It's partly cyclical. Sellers dust off their homes after the holidays and put them back on the market for the spring buying season.

Investors are unloading homes. Those left over from the boom are trying to get rid of houses that are declining in value.

(Emphasis mine on the above)

Wow, sellers... you are being called out even by the media now. The media, although, was nice enough to offer some market advice linked here.

Consider this a primer for the sales report that is due to follow shortly.

A little spring cleaning of my own...

Yvonne had a nice post about spring cleaning last week. Well I cleaned up this place (MOCO Real) a bit yesterday. I upgraded the blog to the new blogger platform. It will now be easier to add stuff to the site so that is nice. In the end though, not much has changed other than cleaning up some of the HTML (whatever that is... you know I still don't get it).

Yesterday, with broom and dust bin in hand, I managed to take part in buyer side commissions over at a new to me blog Real, it is nice to see these conversations picking up. Even Greg at BloodhoundBlog got in the act on his site and his explanations, especially in the comments, are brilliant.

I did the sales report for March and will be showing that later.... not good, not good at all. is up to some good things, everyone needs to see this site and search the Kingman area. I posted about 50 homes that are currently for sale in the Walleck Ranch and Rancho Santa-Fe subdivisions. No, those are not my listings, but I utilized a tool that allows me to notify Zillow that certain homes are listed for sale (of course I posted the actual listing broker info on the notifications). The actual listing agent can come along and update those listings with photos and other bits of info if they choose. Until then if you are looking for property in either of those subdivisions you will see my photo and link when you click on the more information area. I believe the term is electronic farming, and I think it is a great tool.

Zillow even lobbed me a phone call to see how I liked the newer enhancements. I asked, no make that -- I begged them to update the mapping in the entire Mohave County area, because even in the two subdivisions I posted information on there were probably another 25 or so I could have only if Zillow knew those addresses.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Hualapai Mountains!

We are experiencing a beautiful spring here in Kingman. Today is the grand opening day of the Hualapai Mountain Park's new off road trail. I love to do a bit of off-roading from time to time and enjoy the scenery in and around Kingman. This latest improvement in the Hualapai's was funded by a grant. They have been working on this series of improvements for quite awhile now and have finally completed the finishing touches. The improvements also include 10 new camping sites.
I think I will check it out on Sunday!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Google Searches MOCO Real

Just want to share some Google search hits to this blog:

'arizona realtor sharing commission' (was at the top of the search page, just above RE blog heavyweight BloodhoundBlog... woot!)


'unhooking home sellers from listing agreements' (I hope this was a customer looking for information and not a fellow Realtor trying something underhanded)

'mohave county landowners association' (I get this one fairly consistently)

'multiple listings kingman,az' (this hit came from page 2 of the search)

'mls using innovia' (Hmm... this has to be WARDEX related somehow)

'mls for Bullhead City AZ wardex' (Has to be related to the other search)

'wardex' (should I be getting nervous??)

'disclosing a burst water pipe selling' (Yes, it is a very good idea)

'yvonne kingman' (Yvonne are you out of business cards??)

'fee for service buyer representation agreement' (Mr. or Mrs. Visitor... Hope you found what you were looking for because there is plenty on that subject right here)

'am i a philosopher' (No I am not)

'Shari Speaks' (from this article, but funny how this stuff works. The post from this blog was listed second)

'can an arizona realtor pay a referral fee' (if they close on a transaction where a licensed Realtor got an agreement up front from the referred to Realtor... the answer is yes)

'Buck County Real Estate Transactions Last 4 months' (was linked to one of the sales reports, but funny how the Google search thingy's work)

'Buy Now Pay Later sign Kingman, Arizona' (Never seen this one myself)

'kingman crossing' (This is simply a huge political issue in Kingman right now and this blog sits in the middle of the search page after the local media sites. I am determined to have a voice in this)

It is interesting sometimes to see how some people may find this blog.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spring Cleaning

Well it is that time of year again. Call me silly but I enjoy spring cleaning and yes, even though springtime is tax time, I still enjoy it. I like the idea of 'OUT WITH THE OLD'....that way I make plenty of room for the new!!!! If you have your home listed for sale this is also a PERFECT time to get rid of anything you don't want to pack and take with you and make your home look and feel like SPRING.

Here are a few tried and true tips from someone who really likes to do their spring cleaning.

First, make a list:

1. file old receipts
2. switch over winter clothes to summer clothes
3. uncover patio furniture
4. plant flower bed
5. do a serious clean on the living room, including drycleaning the drapes
6. take everything out of kitchen cupboards, clean, re-organize.

ok, your list will be different than mine, and this is just an example, both your list and mine will be longer,'s were we make this all fun.

Now, #1 is pretty much just what it is, get a box and file, however, this is also a good time to do some planning for next year so that when tax time comes around again you have all of your documents ready and all in an easy to find place. When you go to the store to get those archive boxes pick up some items to efficiently keep track of the New Year too!

Number 2 is my favorite, you can take the things out of your closet and sort it between winter and just plain, 'GET RID OF'. Every city has it's own charity that will be happy to take what you no longer want and redistribute it to people that can really use it. Now your closets are organized and look much larger a great selling point for any house.

Number 3--A great time to get creative and have some fun at the same time. After you uncover it determine if your patio furniture needs a new coat of paint, or new pillows or just a nice pot of flowers! All of these ideas are fun and easy. Your local hardware store will be happy to show you the proper paint to us to spruce up your patio furniture. A nice inviting space on a sunny patio might just be what a potential buyer is looking for.

Number 4--plant a flower bed. Of course!

Number 5--Hmmm....while those heavy drapes are at the dry cleaners why not try some fabulous summer sheers. This little trick will make it scream springtime in your living room!

Last but not least number #6--What do you do when you empty all those kitchen cabinets----get rid of stuff! Again, there are probably oodles of items in there that you don't use. This is a great opportunity to drop those things off at your local charity, let them redistribute the items and now you have room for all the items on your counter tops. Use the space for these items and you won't believe how great your kitchen will look!!!!!


Monday, April 02, 2007

Play Ball...

Talking sports here for a second.

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.

The new baseball season is upon us. Now baseball is not my favorite pastime as far as sports events are concerned, but it is close. I do love the game and love the new feeling I get when the new season begins.

Some of you may know that I am a Philadelphia Phillies fan and this season brings us fans some real promise that we haven't seen in a long time. (I say some of you know because I posted a bit about the Phillies and specifically the player Ryan Howard during last season and I still get hits on this site because of it)

This Phill's take the field in about 15 minutes. Normally I would do my best to try and catch the game on the television somewhere but I have too much to do around the office today. I will be getting updates from the Internet though (what a lovely creation the Internet has been for a sports fan on the go like me). Today is only game one and I won't live or die by the outcome of the game. But, if like in seasons past, the Phill's start out bad and we end up many games behind in the standings -- I've been known to get a little testy about it.

As soon as last season ended I immediately could not wait for this one to start. The Phillies really some great young players (Chase Utley and Ryan Howard) that are right now star quality. I was able to attend a game last year in Phoenix when they visited but I don't think I will be able to this year because I may be on a fishing trip in Michigan when they are scheduled to play the D-Backs in May. Hopefully I will be able to catch them in another park out west (maybe Jeff Brown of BawldGuy Talking reads this and picks up a few tickets and offer an invite to San Diego?? Not a real expectation Jeff, as I haven't looked at the schedule and I do have a very busy summer ahead of me).

I'll just be happy to hear the magic words of "play ball" once again. If you are not a Phillies fan I wish your team success, just not when they are playing the Phightin' Phills.


Ah, crap... the Phill's lost in extra innings today... the season is over!!

March Listings Report (2007)

I am not going to comment much during this installment of the listings report. Instead after you review this report, please take a look at previous months reports. The song remains the same, if you know what I mean.

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 714 (up from 681 on February 1). The rate of new listings taken per day in March was 4.8 (ooh boy, to be a real estate sign maker these days, it was 3.6 a day in February).

There were 150 new listings taken in March (only 102 in February). The average asking price for the new listings is $258,530 (while last month is was $246,578). The median asking price is $195,900 (down a bit from $210,000 previously). Okay, here is a comment... 23 of these new listings were priced over $350,000 and the highest priced was $2.9 million (I spoke about this listing here, and how I could save you six figures on this purchase). I'm sure these helped push the average up.

The average newly listed home has 3.14 bedrooms, 2.17 baths, a 1.94 car garage, with 1661 square feet of living space and was built in 1995. The average time on market equals 52 days, and 23 of these 'new' listings were actually re-listed.

Of the new listings in March, 5 already have taken a contract.

Units under contract:

55 homes entered into contracts in the month of March (up from 48 the previous month). The average asking price for homes that received contracts was $204,850 (down from $210,598 last month) and the median asking price for February was $189,900 (down from last months $199,500 figure). These price figures have gone back and forth over the last few months. Steady as she goes.

The average home that went under contract in March has 3.13 bedrooms, 2 baths, a 1.8 car garage, with 1589 square feet of living space, and was built in 1994. It was also priced $12,408 higher when it first was listed as compared to its current asking price (the average price concession was $9,000 last month).


Mr. and Mrs. Seller, meet Mr. and Mrs. Buyer. No, the Buyers' don't understand what language you are speaking at the moment and there is no real motivation for them to learn your language. Instead it will behoove you to learn the dialects and inflections of Mr. and Mrs. Buyer. I can help you, I speak Buyer pretty well. Mr. and Mrs. Seller, you also have to understand that right now there aren't many fine folks like the Buyers' around right now. The sooner you can clearly communicate effectively with the Buyers', the sooner you will sell your home. For free lessons on these communication skills see practically any post on this blog with 'Seller' in the title.