Friday, August 31, 2007

Moving Day

A couple of clients of mine are this weekend busily packing up and getting ready to move into their new larger home. They are of course exited and each time I go over to their home I see more and more boxes lining the walls anxiously awaiting the 'great day'.

Anyways it made me think that a great post would be Tips for Moving here it is.

Tips to Make Your Move Easier

Moving can be a stressful time, however, there are several things that you can do to make your move a smooth one. If you know that you're moving ahead of time, it's a good idea to start packing as early as possible. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day and, unless you have to be out in a hurry, it's better to take your time and remember every little detail now than to find yourself with the moving blues later.

A Little Goes A Long Way

If at all possible, pace yourself when packing. It's better to pack a little at a time and make sure that nothing is forgotten than to hurry and try to get everything done within a day or two. It's easy to forget to have your address changed, turn off your phone, internet, water and/or cable service, so take the time to make sure every little detail is ironed out now so that you can enjoy your new home later.

Have a Moving Sale

Get rid of everything that you don't need by having a moving sale. If you haven't used it within a year, sell it. Otherwise, you will just end up with the same clutter in your new house as you've had in the one you're leaving behind. Plus, the more you sell, the less you will have to pack and move. Not to mention, moving is expensive and there's nothing wrong with earning a few extra bucks whenever possible.

Create a Packing List (I make a list for everything!)

It will help you to remember things much easier by writing them down on paper as they come to mind. A packing list can act as a shopping list, which will remind you of the things that you need to remember.

Pack Lightly

Moving day is hard enough, so don't make it any worse by loading down your arms with too much weight. If you pack lightly, it may cost you a little more footwork, but your body will thank you at the end of the day.

Pack Smart

Because of their design, boxes are easier to carry and provide an effective way to keep everything stored safely in its place. Rather than just piling everything into the car or U-Haul and hoping for the best, take the time to pack everything carefully (especially breakables) inside of a box. What will not fit, such as furniture and other household essentials, should be tied down and placed in a moving truck. Furniture pads are also a good idea to prevent damage during the move. Make sure you label each box with the contents of each box along with the room it will go in at the new home. This will make unpacking more efficient and save you loads of time.

And there you have it!!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Proud Grampa times two

I just learned that I've become twice the Grampa I was about an hour ago. Healthy baby delivered to Bob and Summer Linn in Clovis New Mexico. My new granddaughter has not been assigned a name as of this moment.

I have a little road trip to make later this week.

Congrats Bob and Summer!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

So much information

Todays buyer has so much information to sift through just to determine if 'now is the time to buy'. Well, the media can keep us up to date on Wallstreet and what is going on with some of the financial institutions but one thing won't change and that is that interest rates are still at a historical low and housing prices are better now than they were even a year ago. In addition there will always be....

The Benefits of Home Ownership

The decision to purchase a home is exciting and a major investment for your future. Because there is only so much of it to go around, real estate is the top choice for many investors and the desire for most families. This article is designed to highlight some of the many benefits of home ownership and how buying a home can often turn the American Dream into a reality.
One of the most profitable markets in real estate is rentals, which means that many families are paying to live in a home that isn't their own. In some cases, renting a home is necessary. For all others, the money that would be spent on rent could instead be used to pay a mortgage. One of the greatest benefits of home ownership is putting money into something that you can call your own and knowing that the monthly payments are going toward your home's equity.
Speaking of equity, many properties experience a growth in value as more development moves into the area or the economy strengthens through an increase in job opportunities. If this happens, home values soar and owners can bask in the glory of their newfound profit. It is true we are experiencing a moment in time when our current inventories are at an all time high. This won't always be the case and just like gasoline....those prices may go up a little down a little, but when you put it on a graph over the course of 2-3 years, guess what? That's right....given time the prices will rise. When you purchase a new car, it depreciates the moment that you drive off of the lot. When you buy a home, however, it has the potential to appreciate year after year. There are few things in life that can offer you a return above and beyond your original purchase price, but a home can.

When you own a home, you will enjoy the freedom of decorating and making any changes that you choose without needing the permission of a landlord or property owner. In addition, you may even be able to use your home's equity to finance some needed improvements and/or repairs. In some cases, these changes may even increase the value of your home. An upgraded kitchen or bathroom, hardwood flooring or an additional room are examples of changes that could result in added value.

Another advantage of home ownership is the tax benefits that are available. The interest paid on a home mortgage as well as most property taxes paid are tax deductible. For additional information on deducting mortgage interest and property tax, consult the IRS or a tax professional.

In addition to providing yourself and your family with a feeling of stability and permanence, home ownership can also help strengthen your credit profile through timely mortgage payments and a steady financial history.

A taxing subject...

I am not an expert on taxes, nor do I play one on TV. The only thing I really know about taxes is that I think most are too high... for everyone. Easy position for me to take, lazy one as well.

Last year I had a posted this article about the Arizona Tax Revolt movement.

These folks are making the news again as they have two new initiatives they are seeking support on to make the state ballot for the November 2008 ballot.

Yesterday I was invited to the residence of a coordinator that volunteer's her time for the Arizona Tax Revolt. It was an afternoon meeting and the Chairman of the movement, Marc Goldstone, was there to answer questions and to gather more volunteers to help spread the petition sheets across the state.

Almost all the folks that attended the meeting yesterday were of the retirement age and once hailed from California (all very nice folks as well). All were concerned about the new property tax statements that all property owners in Mohave County will soon be seeing.

The proposed initiatives may just what the attendees are looking for to help stem the increase of taxes.

The Arizona Tax Revolt organization is looking for support from the Realtor community and Mr. Goldstone will be meeting with the state Association of Realtors later on and I've invited him to a future local Association Government Affairs Committee meeting.

Again, I'm not claiming to be an expert on taxes, it appears the initiatives are aligned with infamous 'Prop 13' in California. When I've been privy to discussions on 'Prop 13' in the past it has seemed there is little middle ground, folks either strongly supported it or hated it with a vengeance.

So do me this favor... I'm asking you to educate me on 'Prop 13' and the proposed initiatives brought forth by the Arizona Tax Revolt folks. I don't want higher taxes is my only position at the moment.

Will the efforts of the Arizona Tax Revolt organization be a good thing for Arizona or not?? Why??

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I read a book.....

I guess I have to back up a bit. Actually, I read an old article that Mark Bogard of the Kingman Daily Miner wrote. In it he referenced a book written by a local resident of Kingman, Patti Lewis. Here is the article I had to find the book. I have read every book by a local author I have found to date. (what can I say, it's just what I do) Well, if you notice the article was an older one written in 2006, in it Mr Bogard says you can find the book at was a bit tricky but indeed I have found it 'Victim Condemned'

I am sure not everything in the book is accurate and it is told from one persons point of view, however, for anyone who lives in Kingman who has had issues at planning and zoning that just seemed odd, anyone who had tried to combine or split a lot in the county and could not where the circumstances just did not seem right or anyone who has even needed to call the police or sheriff regarding something that should be fairly 'cut and dry' so to speak, and it wasn't....might want to read this book and see if their personal experiences reflect what they find in the book.

Where did RAID go?????

Awhile back I posted about the proposed development near the airport here in Kingman. I was responding to an article printed in the Kingman Daily Miner.

I believe in personal property rights and what the developer proposes is between him and the proper authorities however, I thought common sense should prevail in this case and possibly the owner told that either he required a much larger buffer or maybe a residential housing development at the foot of a runway wasn't the proper usage for the property, but.....noooooo.

Now where was Raid for all of this????? Since the beginning all I have ever heard spokespersons from their organization pontificate how "they were for the little people", "they were the voice for the common man" and "they were against irresponsible growth"! I would have thought I had heard a small comment....but alas, silence.

I guess the only reason I brought it up was that I have always wondered if the location of the proposed Kingman Crossing really was a factor in this organizations motivation.


Sometimes you just have to call it like you see it. I attended City Council meeting two evenings ago with special interest to see what the reactions were to the recent news of the firing of City Manager Paul Beecher.

For the most part I wasn't surprised with what was said during the comments from the public. In fact I could support plenty of what was said that night by all that stood in front of council. I would happily support some of the things that all four gentlemen shared (and the lady that talked about a recycling program has plenty of merit too).

I'm certain that what I'm about to write will get back to one of those gentlemen. I'm not going to use his name in this post, but I will be offering a link to the video of the council meeting and ask you all to pay close attention to what was said starting at the 27:50 mark of the video. Many will know who this person is, many probably already know.

Video link here.

I'll first say that I have respect for the man. He is a smart business man and it is obvious he has plenty of concern for the Kingman and the direction it is going. I've quietly supported his criticism on some issues involving the city. So it is not like I'm against even most of what he has to say. But this one thing was simply too much of a stretch and I'm taking liberty to call him on it. It is one hell of a 10 second sound bite.

I've tried my best to copy exactly what was said in those 10 to 11 seconds for accuracy. See below.

"Do you think this CIVIC group that we got in Kingman, backed by Phil Moon - his daughter & son and Brent the PR man for Rhodes... Do you think this isn't a Rhodes organization?? Think again."

He then followed up by trying to tie CIVIC to Kingman Crossing and Rhodes in some manner immediately after.

Once again, in his nearly 10 minutes in front of council, this man made some good points that I support... but the above is too much to let go for me.

Last night I attended the third CIVIC meeting. Full disclosure, I attend the meetings because I believe in the vision of the group... which basically is to take no side to ANY issue, inform citizens of the issues to make up their own minds, register to vote for upcoming elections, and to head to the polls to cast their vote how they see fit. I also think that the task on the CIVIC group's hands is a difficult one, if not impossible. However the folks in charge have the heart and the will to do whatever it takes to see their vision through.

The first meeting two months ago was an introductory meeting setting the purpose of the CIVIC group and to select the board of directors to organize the group and meetings. I am NOT on that leadership board but I see a wide array of different interests on the leadership board. From what I remember about the folks selected to be on the leadership board, one is a planning and zoning commissioner for Kingman, one is a former Kingman City Councilman, one is a civil servant (postal worker), some are small business owners, one is a Public Affairs representative for a company that has Jim Rhodes as a client, at least one is a Realtor (who also produced the Mohave County, AZ Road Guide), and the last one I can remember is an attorney.

It is easy and safe to say that it is a diverse group with many differing interests and even vested interests in certain issues locally.

At the second meeting held last month, the finance director for the City of Kingman gave a presentation about how the city government is set up and included information on how citizens can apply to serve on commissions. The subject of Jim Rhodes never came up.

At last nights meeting, a representative of the City of Kingman's planning department gave a presentation on the history, background, and issues surrounding the city's General Plan. The subject of Jim Rhodes never came up in the presentation. The Jim Rhodes subject may have come up in the following board of directors meeting because of what was said at the city council meeting, but I wasn't there for that so I'm not sure.

The gentleman I quoted above has yet to be seen in any of the three CIVIC meetings. Also worth noting, this Jim Rhodes character has yet to appear at any CIVIC meetings.

The title to this post is 'Wrong' and it is intended for the gentleman who spoke out against CIVIC at the public meeting on Monday night. He was wrong about what he implicated.

CIVIC's main mission is to get more people to vote in Kingman than we normally see. What is the harm in that?? There is no harm in that. Hat's off and salutes are in order for those that care so much for the community to offer a program that will only help others to be more informed, to make THEIR own decision. The CIVIC meetings have all been friendly in nature and it is a very comfortable environment to ask questions that one may have that otherwise wouldn't have a chance to ask.

I have a simple suggestion for the gentleman that was spreading non truths about CIVIC at city council, please attend the next meeting in person. There you will be able to make up your own mind about what is happening at a CIVIC meeting... just like the rest of us who take the time to attend.

Rolling out the red carpet near Phoenix...

Infamous master plan developer Jim Rhodes seems to be having some better luck getting a new project near Phoenix off the ground.

Article about this linked here.

A couple of highlights...

So far the rough times Rhodes is having in Mohave County have not slowed his work in master planning 7,700 acres of critically situated state land near Baseline Avenue and Ironwood Drive in Apache Junction, which he bought rights to in December.

But with all the turmoil surrounding the controversial developer, officials in both Apache Junction and the state Land Department say they are making sure they are getting iron-clad protections to ensure the problems Rhodes is having in other parts of the state do not surface here.

(Emphasis mine, you bet)

Uh huh, right. It will be easy for the officials in Apache Junction to do this since the State of Arizona won't be meddling in the business of the developer like they have in rural Arizona for the last two years. I've said it all along... Mr. Rhodes will see plenty of red carpet with that project as compared to the treatment he is getting in Mohave County.

The work on the Apache Junction property has largely been technical, focusing on such things as assessments of drainage and geographic features that will eventually dictate what can be built where, Steinke said.

As the planning process advances, Rhodes will have to gain approvals from both the land department and the city for developments he ultimately proposes.

How hard is this going to be, really?? Is it good for their local economy?? Most likely.

But while things are going smoothly for Rhodes in Apache Junction, August has been a bad month for Rhodes in Mohave County, where his plans to build more than 130,000 homes are at a standstill.

Good for Phoenix. Good for Phoenix. Good for Phoenix. And really... that's all that matters. (tongue firmly planted in cheek for those that don't get it).

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Letters to MOCO

I've been involved in some discussions at an on-line forum in the past few months. Among the many local topics that come up is the local media (specifically the Kingman Daily Miner).

Some think that the Miner only covers one side of a story and that when they write letters to the editor in rebuttal, they never see their contributions.

I'm not here to say whether or not the Miner is doing that intentionally or not. Personally I have found them very reasonable when I have submitted something to them. I've seen my contributions show up on their website and in the hard copy paper. I don't offer contributions all that often, mainly because I have this blog and I say my peace at will here.

Since I started this blog I have received many emails from readers. I've never posted my email address here but it hasn't stopped anyone from writing to me. So with this in mind I am going to offer something a bit different around here.

If you want to respond to the media with something like a letter to the editor, I will post your submissions that you email to me here at MOCO.

Some ground rules:

If you pen a letter to the editor... send it to the editor as well as to me. Give them the chance to put what you wrote in the paper. I don't have the circulation that they do and they may just include your contribution there.

Nothing personal... I won't post stuff, especially nasty stuff about the editor or any journalist. If you have an issue with an article or a column you may offer a rebuttal to the issues and/or facts that were presented. I'm simply not going to share personal attacks.

Nothing personal again... I won't post snarky attacks against city, county, or state officials or of people that work for those entities. The same will go for citizens as well. I'm not offering this for personal attacks against anyone. Disagree with City Council or a community group all you want, just don't focus on an individual or a group of individuals in a personal nature. It won't show up in the Miner... it won't show up at MOCO.

Tell me what article you are referring to... if you want to address something in an article, clue me in on the article. Send me the link in the email if you can. I'll post the link to the article (if applicable) so that the readers can also be clued into what you may be responding to.

Disclosure... tell me who you are and how you want me to identify you. You don't have to reveal your identity if you do not want to. Signed by concerned citizen will do, but you must have your facts together and certainly no personal attacks. The more you reveal about you the more lenient I will be on sharing what you wrote on this blog. There is going to have to be some level of trust between you and me. I'm going to have to trust that you are who you say you are and in turn -- if you don't want your real name included -- you will have to trust me not to reveal it.

Subject line on email... I get tons of spam already so the subject line should say something along the lines of 'letters to MOCO'.

You do NOT have to agree to my agenda to be included... however, if you disagree with me on something please just respond to the applicable blog posts by clicking on the comments and leaving something there.

It does not have to be political in nature... if you simply want to recognize someone for doing something good in the community I will share it. Won't do the negative stuff, sorry. Feel free to contribute your feelings about the real estate market, the water situation, you views on new development... whatever you want to as long as it fits into the ground rules from above.

I am the final say... If I decide not to share something, you'll get an email back from me telling you so. I may give you a reason for not including your contribution, and I may not. Reasonable discourse and discussion is strongly preferred.

There... now you have another resource to share your views. I hope you will take me up on the offer as you see fit. I hope it helps develop more discussion on important topics here locally.

So who will be the first??

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

News about local rentals...

This morning, the ever so lovely property manager extraordinaire here at RE/MAX Preferred Professionals and I had a conversation about the state of the rental market in Kingman.

The discussion wasn't pretty.

The property management here does complete credit and criminal background checks on applicants that wish to rent properties represented by this firm. There is a noticeable change in the applicants.

Helena (the property manager extraordinaire), estimates that one in every five applicants has a felony criminal record including such crimes as theft and drug use. Checks are also made for sexual predators and the like and they too are submitting applications. The noticeable change probably started about nine months ago and before then applicants with a criminal history might have made up one in about twenty or more.

Around the time frame of nine months ago, Kingman probably saw the pinnacle for single family homes that were available for rent (it hasn't changed much either). As a result we have seen owners of rentals fiercely compete for live bodies to place as tenants, monthly rents have dropped. To sweeten the deal many times the first month rent is offered for free. The available rental list is still large in comparison to where it was last year and certainly in years past.

Yes the price of a home since early this decade has boomed upwards spurred on by demand stemming from easy financing and low interest rates. Another large factor in the rise of property value was demand from the investor sector who intended to purchase property to offer as rentals.

There are not many typical high density apartment complexes in Kingman. Because of that, a good portion of single family homes have been available as rentals. That good portion exploded upwards in the last few years especially.

It is less expensive to rent on a monthly basis than it is to purchase a home at today's home prices. There are still advantages to owning over renting but so often these days people make decisions based on monthly cost... and renting sure is a lower monthly cost.

So here we are. Who are we attracting to the community??

Mohave County is actively looking to place another prison in our backyard near the what once was sold to the community as a low security level DUI prison that actually turned into something more on the lines of a maximum security prison. The convicts there are not your typical 'one too many' drivers to say the least. They are hardened criminals from metropolitan areas in Phoenix.

Kingman also hosts the Mohave County lockup for criminals from Bullhead City and Lake Havasu (as well as Kingman). Where do you think the criminals are released?? Yep right here near Kingman. Where do they look for a cheap roof over their head?? Yep right here in Kingman, and there is plenty of very nice single family homes to choose from.

I normally have to be careful when talking about 'people' because of my status as a Realtor, but I am a concerned citizen that is running for city office in the next election. I do want 'people' moving to Kingman, but we must make every effort to attract something other than what we have been attracting.

Sometimes we are the product of the market and it is very difficult to control a market. Markets have a mind of their own based on the minds of buyers and sellers, but in the end markets are never wrong.

I cover the sales market in Kingman right here on this blog. It is easy for me to do so because I have access to pretty dog gone good data. For the rental market I don't have the access to the same kind of hard data. I simply have a list of available properties, and I've been shown enough scary rental applications to know that Kingman is not attracting an ownership society at this time.

Another market that has a higher degree of difficulty for me to follow on is the coming foreclosure market. We know foreclosures are in the news and we've been told that Mohave County has the highest percentage of pre-foreclosures compared to all other counties in the USA. It really shouldn't be a surprise though, Arizona's foreclosure laws allow for an easy out in most cases to property owners. From this...

A note regarding Deficiency Suits: A lender may not bring a deficiency suit against a person who lost a property that is 2.5 acres or less at a foreclosure, provided the property was a single one-family or a single two-family dwelling. This is so even if the high bid at foreclosure was less that the balance due on the loan.

The real risk on the property owner is their credit the way I read the source I linked to. I am beginning to see what may start to happen. We may start to see secondary property owners simply walk away from their rental investment properties. Current rents are very low and I doubt that most even cover the mortgage payment. Add in the other expenses that a property owner is liable for (repairs, taxes, etc.) and many such property owners could be very upside-down on things. It wouldn't make sense for these owners to sell the property because they would be bringing money to the closing table.

If this does indeed start to pan out this way, it is doubtful in the current sales market that the banks would find takers at trustee sales in the foreclosure process. This means the banks themselves will have to sell the property in a Real Estate Owned (REO) sale. It is also likely that the banks will offer the properties for much less than current sales prices (not asking prices). This will have effects on the real estate sales market, the market prices will be reset by this.

Like I said, none too much sounds all that great does it??

The key will be who the buyers are for those REO properties. I believe that the buyer needs to be primary residents, not simply a churn of investors with intentions of rentals. What can Kingman and the community do to attract interest for primary residents??

I have my ideas and visions on this, and since I have declared my intention to seek city office I will be sharing them in the coming days and weeks. I'm always looking for suggestions though so feel free to join the discussion. Lets collaborate and make this community attractive to the owners, the folks who will take ownership of the community, the folks who will be great neighbors.

We can do this.

What happens in Kingman...

Gets reported on in New Hampshire.

New hospital in 2009

Here is some interesting news from the Charlotte Business Journal involving new health care facilities (hospital) and Kingman Arizona. Read article linked here.

Lets hit the highlights of the article shall we??

MedCath Corp. plans to build a 105-bed hospital in Kingman, Ariz.

Construction of the 200,000-square-foot Hualapai Mountain Medical Center is expected to begin early next year.

The acute-care hospital will have 72 beds in service and space for 33 additional beds to support future growth.

The hospital's name reflects its proximity to the Hualapai Mountains, a local landmark.

(Emphasis mine)

Nice to see the Kingman name out there. MedCath hasn't even broke ground yet and they are already planning for more growth. As far as the proximity to the mountains goes, it is interesting because of the actual location for the new hospital. More about that in a minute.

Total development cost for the project is expected to total $68.5 million, including pre-opening expenses of $5.5 million. Construction is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2009.

The hospital will be developed with local physicians who will own 21.9 percent of the limited liability company that will own the hospital. Charlotte-based MedCath will own the remaining 78.1 percent stake.

This seems pretty ambitious and will likely be a shot in the arm to the local economy. I assume that we will start seeing more about the local doctors that are involved and more detailed plans. This is certainly some good news.

Now... getting back to the location. I am confident that this hospital is being built on the north side of Interstate 40 in the Kingman Crossing development. A location that is centrally located but has limited access.

MedCath (NYSE:MDTH) is a health-care provider focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

I'm no doctor and I don't even play one on TV, but that sounds like folks with heart attacks or heart ailments are going to want to have easy access to this facility. This is where the argument for public safety and convenience comes squarely into place in diagnosing the very real need for a traffic interchange at Kingman Crossing. The interchange would clearly have better Interstate access for patients. Another big plus would be that the fine people that live on the southeast side of town would also be opened up for easy access. Might be the difference between life and death.

Here is more information on the plans for the hospital in Kingman

Time to bring solutions to the table to improve the infrastructure of Kingman. We can do this.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The paper today...

There is a front page article in the Kingman Daily Miner today. This blog was referred to and I was even contacted for a few quotes. Article is linked here.

This was the first time I spoke with Aaron Royster about an article. I think he did a fine job, but I do want to clarify a few things from the story.

In July, there were 131 single-family residences listed in the Kingman, north Kingman and Hualapai Mountain areas.

A little less than half of the homes listed were sold. The 62 sold in July is close to the 65 sold in July 2006.

What I emphasized above to me reads incorrectly to me. I'm using this as feedback though and maybe other are interpreting the data the way Mr. Royster did. Of the actual newly listed homes last month, I doubt any of those 131 have actually sold at this point, and certainly not 62 of them. These are two different numbers that represent two different things... 1) newly listed homes, and 2) recently sold homes. The sold homes normally do not come from the newly listed homes data.

There were 173 listings in July 2006. That month was the pinnacle for single-family residences listed in the past years, according to information compiled by Realtor Todd Tarson.

The emphasized is likely a typo... God knows there are plenty seen right here at MOCO all the time. Just in case though, since I've been tracking new listings, the high water mark is 185 new listing for the month of March in 2006. And if that was only meant to say last year, then it is correct.

What Tarson is lacking, as well as all other real estate agents is how many homes listed are vacant.

Tarson said an accurate number couldn't be created because vacant home listings do not always include developers' homes. He estimated 20 to 25 percent of listed homes in the Kingman area are vacant.

When I read the first emphasis, I thought for just a second my wife may have talked to Mr. Royster about me not vacuuming last week... but reading further I realized that what I lacked was accurate data on listed home that were vacant... whew!!

I wanted to make the point that it is difficult to gage how many vacant homes are on the market. I have seen people refer to a number of 1500 homes that are sitting vacant on the market right now. As of last month I only showed 742 total SFR's on the market. Other ridiculous numbers suggest that hundreds of brand new homes sit empty as well.

I took the following from the Kingman page.

Single-family new house construction building permits:

* 1996: 300 buildings, average cost: $74,200
* 1997: 289 buildings, average cost: $76,800
* 1998: 276 buildings, average cost: $81,500
* 1999: 272 buildings, average cost: $77,100
* 2000: 189 buildings, average cost: $89,100
* 2001: 238 buildings, average cost: $89,100
* 2002: 299 buildings, average cost: $91,000
* 2003: 416 buildings, average cost: $91,600
* 2004: 635 buildings, average cost: $85,500
* 2005: 884 buildings, average cost: $110,400
* 2006: 309 buildings, average cost: $167,400

Now I know that folks like to embellish to make certain points, but if 'hundreds' is the number then those folks are suggesting that no new homes have sold in a least a year.

Yes, I cannot accurately mine the data for vacant listings but it cannot be as bad as some are saying out there in the community.

With such change and being the first down market he has experienced, Tarson said he wouldn't make any guesses about the future of home sales.

"It's crazy because no one can answer that," Tarson said.

I may have said it just like as it is written, but it is not normally how I think or speak to others on this subject. I actually do think there are folks that can provide an answer on future home sales. Many people can in fact. Those people are the buyers and sellers themselves.

Overall though, I want to thank Mr. Royster for the article and I'm happy to provide information anytime.

Links on the firing of the city manager

Plenty of reaction in town over the weekend on the firing of the City Manager last Friday.

Here are a couple of links...

Main article.

Column from the editor.

Draw your own conclusions.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Time to pick up the pieces...

Yesterday was very interesting to say the least. After the City Council meeting I made some phone calls, sent plenty of email, and of course blogged about what happened.

It was an interesting experience to spread the news.

Many emails came back simply saying thanks for keeping folks informed and many included that for this city at this time -- it was very welcome news. I feel almost a collective sigh of relief from many corners of the community.

The last couple of nights I've been attending a seminar. I don't want to describe it as a self-help seminar but it certainly is helping me learn more about myself and relationships I have. I still have two more full days to go (today and tomorrow). Posting will be light this weekend as a result.

So have a great weekend everyone. Next week we will begin the drive for community lead solutions.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Breaking News...

Kingman City Manager, Paul Beecher was just relieved of his duties to the city by members of the City Council.

All city leaders voted for removal in a unanimous decision.

I'm certain there will be media reports galore on Sunday (paper is not published on Saturday), so I will link to those articles.

I can't say it was surprising. Travin Pennington was there and allowed me to view more of the recently released emails. Many actually were copies from previous releases. Many included parts that had been whited out.

The only thing missing was an appearance from The Donald.

Well it is over now and hopefully we can all help to pick up the pieces.

Click on the comments below and share your reaction.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Rock... meet hard spot

Looks like City Council has another situation on their hands, once again surrounding actions taken by the city manager.

Article from yesterday.

City Council is holding an executive session meeting tomorrow morning at 10:00am to address the concerns.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

July Sales Report (2007)

Do you remember last months record breaking stats for highest average and median priced sale for a month?? Well those records are completely safe apparently. July responded to June by falling hard against those previous numbers. The good news here is that more buyers responded to what had to of been more attractive prices.

I told you that these numbers will be interesting this month. Now don't go scrolling down to take a gander at the pretty charts just yet, please read the disclaimer first.

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.

Listings and sales in units chart:

First thing we see is that new listings were flat in July and secondly a nice bump up for units sold. This marks the best month in unit sales this calendar year. The new listings are still too high and the units sold are still too low but at least for now some things are headed in a better direction.

Average listings and sales averages chart:

Go ahead, click on the chart for a larger view. First, sellers are responding... well new sellers are at least. Third month in a row that the new listing price on average has fallen.

So how do we explain the dramatic drop in average price of the units that sold in July?? Well first, the average square footage of living space this month was in the 1400 range (last month it was in the 1700 range) so the homes that sold were smaller. The drop does look dramatic but the comparison between months had more to do with size of homes on average in my opinion.

2004 through 2007 unit sales chart:

Just short of the unit sold for July the previous year. Still a long way from the posted numbers from 2004 and 2005.

2004 through 2007 average price chart:

We have basically been steady with last years average numbers and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. We are not far off from 2005 averages if we stay in this range.

2004 through 2007 median price chart:

Average SFR statistics:

The average home sold in July had 2.95 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 1.6 car garage, included 1,451 square feet of living space, and was built in 1994. The average hold sold for an average of $130 per square foot of living space.

It took an average of 120 days of marketing to attract a buyer to come to an agreement and a total of 158 days from the first day of marketing to the close of escrow.

Sellers reduced price $8,432 to attract a buyer on average from the first day of marketing, and conceded another $5,554 to the buyer in the transaction. The total average price concession for the homes sold in July was $13,986.

Bonus Charts:

See you next month!!

What do we know??

I've been asked to help put together a presentation on the issues of annexation for the Kingman area at a meeting a week from now. I have to say that I'm not sure if I'm the right path or not. Each time I try and do some research I get side-tracked on other information. For example here is an article I just found from June of 2006. Here is the kicker...

A 1993 report – the last time a water adequacy study was done – determined that the city would have an ample supply for 100 years based on a total population of 292,577. General Plan 2020 estimates the region would reach that total in 2037.

This is the first time I've noticed a definitive look at the water situation in Kingman. The above was also the last line in the article.

As of right now there is an estimated 27,000 people living within the city limits of Kingman according to information. This means Kingman can add ten times as many residents before the countdown on the clock can begin on the 100 year supply of water.

I don't believe the very last line regarding the General Plan 2020 takes into account possible annexation and expansion to further reaching areas like west towards Golden Valley and east. If I'm right then annexation should probably be priority number one right now. The more land the city of Kingman can control, the better the chances for responsible growth can be achieved.

I'm not trying to speak for all here but who would want upwards of 300,000 folks living within our current city boundaries?? The small town feeling would be in jeopardy for sure, not to mention what the traffic will look like on Stockton Hill Road by then without at least two more traffic interchanges along the Interstate.

It is time to take full control. It is time that Kingman makes certain demands on new development in the area while we still can, before outside the city limits development begins to use more of the precious resource that we cannot control (i.e. water). Not only does outside development have the potential of using up precious resources, but the county government and state government could as well.

We know of one current county supervisor that loves the idea of placing prisons and major water using power plants right in our backyard. Prisons that nobody else in the state wants for criminals from mainly the larger metropolitan areas of Arizona. Power plants designed to benefit the people in Maricopa County -- not Mohave County -- while using our precious resources.

And even the governor has stated a need to perhaps draw water from some areas for use in other areas. The state regulated utility (APS) even tried to sue for eminent domain of a large ranch in a different rural county to access water it needs to generate power... for customers mainly in the Phoenix area.

None of this should be taken lightly at this time and in fact it should be a motivating factor to indeed locally control this resource. The sooner we start using and controlling it... the better.

Monday, August 06, 2007

More crazy letters to the editor...

Link here.

Citizens of Kingman, your mayor and City Council want to give the developer, Vestar, 60 percent of the sales tax revenue for an indefinite period of time for construction costs. This is the same developer who negotiated a $23.2 million giveaway with our (and your) former economic development director, Jeff Weir.

60% of what sales tax revenue?? Does anyone know?? All incoming revenue from sales tax or something else??

This kind of blatant propaganda really stinks. Why doesn't anyone back up their bark with some bite?? Does it have to be Missouri or can't someone 'show me' the agreement that backs up the above that is quoted??

I don't pretend to know the issues about giving away $23.2 million dollars so I won't comment on the situation in Oro Valley.

Arizona passed a law in August of 2006 that requires an independent third party to confirm that, without the giveaway, the developer would not build.

Again, what is being given away here?? In Kingman we are talking about a reimbursement of actual costs the city cannot pay up front or get a loan for. Someone please explain what exactly is being given away.

Vestar "suggests" that the town hire the firm that Vestar recommends. They will also provide the information to the firm. Vestar cannot be trusted!

It is very obvious that the city cannot use who Vestar informed the city on to who has done these reports in the past for the feasibility study. There are others that can do the job. But keep in mind whoever is eventually hired to do the study is going to have to get information from Vestar in order to do the study.

They told the voters of Oro Valley that their Marketplace would provide "an extraordinary shopping experience with unique standout shops." They are giving us Wal-Mart and other stores that can be found in any mall in the country.

At least you won't have to drive as far now (or when the shopping center opens).

They also said that approval of the Marketplace will "help the town of Oro Valley to avoid the imposition of a property or other taxes at a time of budget deficits." Shortly after Vestar announced who the tenants of the Marketplace would be, the town imposed a 2-percent utility tax, and they are now talking about imposing a property tax as well. Do not be fooled like we were! Go to for more information.

Phillip L. Gibbs

Oro Valley, Ariz.

Sounds like you all need some new city leaders that will be more honest with you. How does one thing lead to the other though??

The city of Kingman already is planning for a new property tax WITHOUT any agreement to build a new traffic interchange or shopping center. It is right in the Kingman Area Economic Development Strategic Plan that was recently approved.

From that plan (on pages 16 and 17)...

Support the adoption of a city primary property tax which will provide adequate funding for existing and additional city
services that satisfy providing the quality of living desired by current and future residents.

Creation of a Responsible Funding Approach Committee that will prepare an appropriate message that results in a
successful adoption of a primary property tax for the City of Kingman.

Initiate immediately.

And Mr. Gibbs, please feel free to clarify your position here at MOCO. I'd love to hear more details about your situation down near Tucson.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The record will be reopened...

This might be old news by now, but the Arizona Corporation Commission's Administrative Law Judge decided to reopen the application on the developer in Golden Valley that is applying to operate a water and sewer utility company for the master planned community.

I've decided to link to some official letters from the docket on this ACC case.

A letter requesting reopening the record. And a second one. These two have already made up their mind in my opinion, but know they will be on the wrong side of the decision... when it is finally made.

A letter from the Chairman of the ACC stating nothing would be gained by reopening.

The decision of the Administrative Law Judge to reopen.

Response from the legal representative of the applicant.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Kingman offers incentive to private company

Today we find out that Kingman, Mohave County, and the State of Arizona and others are offering a large private company money to move to the area.

Here is the article.

The reason I bring this up is because it really was not all that long ago that many folks in Kingman were up in arms about entering into 'incentive' deals with private firms to attract business, jobs, and other forms of revenue.

Now to be fair in this case Kingman is only offering $60,000 (which I doubt will be reimbursed by the private firm any time... as in ever). I also fully support any effort to bring another 75 jobs to the area.

If Kingman is willing to invest $800 per job on this project, why are some in the community not willing to invest $0 for 3,000 or more jobs?? Not to mention investing $0 for a net add in sales tax revenues among other benefits like public safety and convenience??

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I did not know this...

I was reading an article about the weather we are currently having here in Kingman. It's the monsoon season and we have seen late day storms in and around the area for a couple of weeks now.

What I didn't know is that a person could be struck by lighting and not even know it. Here, read the article right here. I'll copy the passage I am referring to below.

"Flooding is the number one killer and lightning is the number one unknown killer," said Faith Borden, a staff meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Las Vegas.

"The problem is people may be struck by lightning and not know anything about it. They may suffer its effects for months or years without knowing it."

When I think about being struck by lighting I think of the image to the right. I would think that being struck by a bolt of lighting comes with very painful clarity of the situation... if one survives the blast.

For years I've read that people have died or have been badly injured when faced with being zapped.

Does anyone know about the condition the person quoted above is referring to?? I've not heard it before.

I think I may have been effected by a lighting strike now come to think of it. It was when I first laid my eyes on my wife. I didn't think I felt anything at first, but since then I've been gladly suffering the great effects that came along with that moment.

Yet, I don't think this is what the person quoted above is referring to.

July Listings Report (2007)

Noticeable changes this month, as you will see. New sellers are starting to respond to the sales market. Starting to, and hopefully it is not too late for many of them.

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 742 (up some from 729 on June 1). The rate of new listings taken per day in July was 4.2.

There were 131 new listings taken in July (steady as compared to 132 in June). The average asking price for the new listings is $227,829 (while last month is was $247,731). The median asking price is $185,450 (down from $199,000 previously).

The average newly listed home has 2.94 bedrooms, 2 baths, a 1.9 car garage, with 1604 square feet of living space and was built in 1993. The average asking price per square foot of living space is $142. Lastly, 19 of the new listings were actually re-listed either by the same or different broker.

Of the new listings in July, 1 already has taken a contract.

Units under contract:

As of today there are 109 total units under contract (down from 129 last month).

47 homes entered into contracts in the month of July (steady as compared to 49 the previous month). The average asking price for homes that received contracts was $213,317 (up from $204,496 last month) and the median asking price for July was $179,450 (down from last months $182,500 figure).

The average home that went under contract in July has 3.11 bedrooms, 2 baths, a 2.28 car garage, with 1576 square feet of living space, and was built in 1994. The average asking price per square foot of living space for listings that entered contract this month is $135. It was also priced $17,730 higher when it first was listed as compared to its current asking price (the average price concession was $24,418 last month). It took an average of 180 days of marketing to get a contract.


The average asking price for this month actually came in lower than the average sold price in June, of course there are still plenty of variables that come into play on that.

The average listed price per square foot that attracted a buyer to the table the last two months has been $135 per. That appears to be the number to get folks talking. The new listings this month still came in at $142 per square foot, but after price reductions I'll bet that the action begins when the home is priced right.

I'd still like to see far less new listings each month, the sales market is not catching up to the supply of the listing market. Sellers will only have to be more cut-throat with each other for a potential buyer. There still seems to be only 1.5 buyers for each 4 new listings. Buyers still have a superior advantage.

I suspect with all the talk of foreclosures on the rise in Mohave County, that at some point those foreclosures will reset the market even lower than the direction it may be going. Even though the month of June set new records in average and median price for a one month period, it will only be a footnote in history once the market is reset and I doubt those records are threatened again this year (or even next year).

I can't hardly wait to do the sales report for July, I think that report will be even more interesting. The charts will do some changing based on my initial look at sales from July.