Saturday, May 31, 2008

Housing solutions??

I found a 'funny to me' article about a homeless woman in Japan that apparently 'moved' into a man's closet undetected for about a year.

See the article here.

Best line...

She had moved a mattress into the small closet space and even took showers, Itakura said, calling the woman "neat and clean."

Hat-tip to the mighty Instapundit, where I found the article.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Congrats to my 'Coach of the Year' sister...

Another post off topic, but important to me nonetheless.

I have a younger sister that excelled in most things she put her mind to. This last year my sister Teri, and her family, moved from Hawaii to Las Vegas. Teri is a teacher at Cheyenne High School and also the school's varsity softball coach. This was her first year running an athletic program and of course that would mean more 'excellence' produced by her.

She helped lead her new team to greater heights than they've achieved in recent years and she was recognized for her efforts. Here is a link to the article... she gets mention in one line... so I'll post it following.

Cheyenne's Teri Hernandez was named the league's Coach of the Year.

So congrats Teri... nice job. You certainly did not learn how to 'excel' at coaching from me, yet I'm not shocked that you would do a great job.

Funny and talented

One of my very favorite comedy actors has passed away, by now I'm sure you know.

Just loved this guy, especially in Mel Brooks classics like Blazing Saddles... but I've been watching comic bits from the Carol Burnett show on YouTube since I first heard the news and my side hurts from the laughter.

Always seemed to be funny to all walks of life and all age groups.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Is it the burrito that saves Kingman??

"What's he talking about now Martha??"

This afternoon I decided to have lunch. While this may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things (and it really isn't), I ventured out for something new... yet familiar.

You see, back in May of 2006 the local Dairy Queen stopped preparing and selling such menu items as all meat green burritos, taco's, tostadas, cheese crisps, and on and on. You might be thinking to yourself now that you don't know of ANY DQ that serves that kind of food, and you might be right.

However, in Kingman, our DQ used to have owners that also once owned a eatery called Senor Taco. Way, way back in the day my wife used to work there (when she was in her school years to give you some perspective). When the owners opened up the DQ they merged the Senor Taco menu to the DQ menu. Lunch at DQ was a normal part of life for Gail as the years went by (ice cream cones and freezes as well). I quickly adapted to this lifestyle as well once I moved here.

Gail and I used to catch lunch a bit early (to avoid the lunch hour rush) at least a few times a week. It was conveniently located near both of our work locations, we loved the food, but most of all loved the owners of DQ. But sometime in 2006, the DQ corporate types demanded that this particular DQ cease serving burritos and tacos and the like. And not long after that did the owners decide to sell their DQ franchise.

Since Gail spends much of her time in Minnesota, and I spend much of my time in Arizona... lunch without her is just not the same... lunch without all meat green burritos -- same deal. So lunch has not been a priority in my daily routine for awhile now (and that is okay as long as I remember to eat a little something for breakfast).

But there is good news to report. Senor Taco is BACK IN KINGMAN AGAIN!!

That is right, and today... I had lunch... and it was great.

Ahhh... the precious.

To bring this back to real estate for a moment. May of 2006 was clearly about the time the real estate market started to tank here in Kingman, it was also when the Kingman community could no longer enjoy the mighty morsels pictured above. Coincidence?? Well I'd hate to put too much pressure on my favorite burrito... so I won't.

To put this in a local political perspective... about the time these burritos were no longer available was about the time the city sales tax receipts started to wane. Coincidence?? Here I think not. (of course I'm kidding).

Let me suggest an all meat read WITH tomatoes.

Or an all meat green burrito. (I had to have one of each... for old times sake)

Senor Taco is located on Hualapai Mountain road in a new plaza across from the radio station. Sorry I don't have the exact address for you. Check it out sometime soon (the city needs sales tax revenue).

So nice to have these folks back, I wish them good luck on their new venture. The place was mobbed today but I was there during the lunch rush (which was typical way back when anyway).

Now that's what I call good eats!!

Foreclosures affecting rental tenants...

Sometimes I post information about the rental market since I have the best source of information on the subject in the office directly next to mine.

Linked here, you'll find an article that speaks to what is happening locally with some investment property/rentals and the tenants that are living in those homes. I said some, not all. In fact I doubt anyone is sure how deep the problem may be or may end up being.

Also notice that the lovely, gracious, and uber talented Helena (property management extraordinaire) is featured in the local article. (She also happens to be that best source of information about the rental market in Kingman... in my opinion).

From the article...

Helena Baughman is a property manager and Realtor with RE/MAX Preferred Professionals in Kingman.

She said that while it's not a common occurrence for renters to be evicted because their landlords can't pay the bills, it has been happening here, as well as across the nation.

"It is rare, but it only has to happen once or twice for it to be just overwhelming," Baughman said. "Unfortunate as it is, we do have investors, the majority of them out of state. Most own more than one property, and so it's a ripple-down effect."

Baughman said that while a number of factors contribute to landlord foreclosures, the primary culprits are the adjustable-rate mortgages many took out on their investment properties when they initially bought them.

"The big factor was, with a lot of these loans, they were reset," she said. "In essence, the landlord if you will, their payment may have gone from $800 a month to $1300 a month. Rents came down, owners' payments came up - some of them were exorbitant."

Be sure to read the whole article.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It just doesn't matter...

There is big news in the real estate industry making the rounds today in the media. Does it affect folks outside of the biz?? You know I'm not sure. The better question might be... does it affect those of us IN the biz?? And again, I'm not sure.

Here's a few links about the news...

From Real Central VA

From Network World

Oh... there are many... many more thoughts and articles out there that you can peruse if you must.

The gist that I keep seeing is that because of this settlement... fees and other related costs to consumers for representation in real estate transactions is going to come down. That new business models will have a chance to prosper. Is this true?? Heck if I know.

What I do know is that I've been offering creative programs for real estate representation for the last year or so and finally have some interest from consumers for those services and 'new model' fees. I mostly market on the Internet anyway and I've never felt that I couldn't offer my listings on the MLS or was ever 'hamstrung' with the way I do business.

As a Realtor though... I know that the DOJ vs. the NAR deal has been going on for quite some time (a few years at least). High powered attorney's were no doubt used in this process and surely they came with a huge price tag. So as a member of NAR myself AND a taxpayer... I contributed to this 'hub-bub' on both sides. Nice.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

National RE market (bad) news for sellers...

The Case Shiller index came out with the March numbers. There is a link within that article that can take you to a site that explains the Case Shiller index so you know how they come up with their figures.

But honestly... March wasn't good for prices here locally either.

Just had a great weekend...

Memorial Day weekends are usually great with the extra day added in as a holiday. Often times I'll head out for a fishing trip or partake in a BBQ event somewhere. Well I did manage to stop in on a friends BBQ on Sunday (and as usual, the food and company were great), but I spent most of the weekend with clients on a quest to purchase a home... and I wouldn't have traded the weekend for anything else... and not just because I need the business either (but yes I do need more business and it was part of the consideration).

While I won't divulge too much information about my clients or the the possible purchase they may be involved in... I do want to pass along a few observations.

First off, the weather. I think typically we in Arizona are looking at near 100 degree temps this time of year and the mercury never got anywhere near there. Sure it rained most of the day on Saturday, but the temps were very pleasant.

The temp was nice because my buying clients were very well researched on the market and found quite a few homes that they thought could possibly fit their criteria. Darn near 20 homes. Getting in and out of an air conditioned vehicle and air conditioned home in between normally hot weather conditions is not much fun normally.

For the market my clients (yes they signed a buyer-broker agreement so I can call them my clients) were interested in, I have to say we saw some really nice for sale properties. For the most part the homes were in good showing condition... a few sellers are in the midst of moving out... some other listings were already vacant. Sellers are making good efforts to show their property in peak condition.

Choices, choices... so many homes for sale right now. My client brought a digital camera, asked each owner occupied seller for permission to take photos, to help with their notes on what they liked or didn't like about the listings they saw. At one listing we all headed straight for the backyard to snap some photos of the pool area. This is a great idea if you are home shopping right now, the digital camera thingy. If you don't have such a camera, ask your representative if you can use their's if you are on a similar home hunt.

It is often typical of a buyer to have an idea of the home they are most going to like out of a list of homes to view before I take them out on showings. This weekend was no different. Yet even though my clients have decided to enter negotiations on this home they thought they'd most like, it was still worthwhile to view as many homes that could have fit their criteria.

However, if you are a seller or thinking of selling it should be important to note that in this case, the photos of the listing that they thought they'd most like and the property description obviously helped to get my clients excited about this particular listing even before they actually saw it. We did not view that home first either... but I could tell that there was some comparisons taking place with the listings we had seen before we ended up at the listing they most wanted to see. Good quality photos and descriptions were vital in this case. The listing agent did a very nice job I must say.

My clients saw the listing on the WARDEX public search site that is linked over on the sidebar of this blog. While there is a limited amount of information on the public search site, all it took was an email to me with a list of MLS numbers that I gathered and sent back more detailed information such as location, year built, days on market, etc.

A few of the listings that were initially sent to me had received a contract or were taken off the market for some other reason, which pared down the list by a few. With the list of MLS numbers that were sent, I was able to find additional listings that could have met the client's needs. All in all, it was very easy to communicate back and forth leading up to the time we all headed out for a couple of days home hunting.

I'm also quite happy to report that the client is a reader of MOCO Real and has been for quite some time. I was told that the market updates were very informative and helpful, and the political stuff was at the very least amusing. But the key factor for the phone call the client made to me was the buyers flat fee that I offer.

Now ever since I started blogging here I have received several contacts... and of those contacts I do believe that some of those folks will end up offering me a chance to represent their real estate needs. But in this case... I do believe that this particular client is my first client that is a client because of MOCO Real. Trust me, it is soooo worth it to have worked over a holiday weekend because of this news alone.

Last observation over the weekend... my clients viewed a couple of brand new construction homes that were left open for an open house and each time we viewed a home like that... there was another party looking at the home (in each case unrepresented or at least unaccompanied by a representative). That tells me that folks out there are looking and perhaps activity continues to pick up. Some good news perhaps for the market.

Lastly, trivial matter over the weekend... the Pittsburgh Penguins lost both games in the Stanley Cup final over the weekend in a bad way to the Detroit Red Wings. Awesome!! The supposed 'new' face of the NHL is a crying and whining little twerp who has no business being the 'new' face of the league or let alone captain of his team. He may be a talented hockey player... but he is an embarrassment to all hockey players, professional or otherwise. Just had to throw that in at the end of a long post. Carry on.

Thinking about real estate investing??

If you are, you may be like me and wonder where to get some advice. There are always many sources or 'investment guru' types willing to charge you some hard earned to hear what they have to say.

I ran across this link recently and thought it'd be good for anyone who is thinking of relying on a 'guru' of their own. The list is very long and has praise and criticism for the players out there that you may or may not have heard about. Even Donald Trump is critiqued.

Quite a read.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day...

Today we remember those that gave everything in every way possible for our freedom and liberty. Today is perhaps the most important American holiday on the calendar. I just wanted to offer my many thanks to those that served the ultimate service for our great country.

I'm honored to be lucky enough to live under the flag of freedom that those who we remember helped ensure for all generations.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Here's to the winners!!

The election results are posted at the Mohave County site linked here.

Rounding out the new city council is Carole Young and Keith Walker. Congratulations to the both of you and I know the both of you can be the leaders this community is going to need over the next few years.

Great campaigns!!

It was great to have even been a part of this process because no matter what, heading into today... Kingman was going to get leaders that really believed they were going to do what was best for the community first... no matter who won these seats.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Election day tomorrow...

It is time to go do the voodoo that you do so well. That is right, time to get off the couch or sneak away from the boss or whatever excuse you are going to try and use on Wednesday to reason why you didn't vote in this important election.

There were a couple of interesting articles from the KDMiner over the last few days, if you did not get a chance to read them... no excuse... they are linked below.

The last candidate forum


The KDMiner editorial board review

Once again, good luck to the candidates... and good luck to our community, may we choose the best representative for our needs today and to get us pointed in a better direction for tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Just voted...

I decided to get my votes for the city elections out of the way to avoid all the long lines (the long lines comment is sarcastic FYI) on election day May 20th.

I stated that I'd be voting for Keith Walker after the primary election... and I did just that. I did vote for another candidate, but I'm keeping who I voted for to myself.

All in all, I think we have a marvelous choice of candidates to choose from at this time. I don't think that I'll be disappointed to know the results of the election no matter what the results show.

The only result that I'd really love to see is more of a real percentage of registered voters show up to be counted for a change. It'd be great to see 5,000 or more bother with lending their voice to the immediate future of this place we call Kingman. I mean, if we really want to send a strong message to our newly elected leaders... we should at least let them know we are interested in what they do as an elected city official. Voting in greater numbers should get their attention.

Good luck to all the candidates, you all would do a fine job if elected (and we'll hold you to it).

New zoning needed for alternative power...

I believe it is time for the city of Kingman to be a leader for once. Last month I commented about an article that appeared in the KDMiner about a Kingman resident that put up a personal use wind powered generator. I was very excited about this news.

Look outside right now (if you are in Kingman). Yeah... it is windy here. Spring time always brings windy weather... but you'd find the same kind of conditions practically any time of the year. Normally late in the afternoon the wind will pick up... even on a mostly calm day.

A letter to the editor appeared in the same KDMiner from a resident that is trying to capture some natural force that can be used to generate electricity for home use. This person is running into so many obstacles that he basically is ready to quit trying... and that is a shame.

Here is the letter in full...

I quit and you win

Sunday, May 11, 2008

For months, I have been trying to get a permit to put a wind generator in my backyard. This has been denied by the city Planning and Zoning office each time I have asked. I am told there is a zoning problem in that I live in a residential neighborhood. The City Council also told me a wind generator would be "blight" on the neighborhood.

I can stand on my front porch and view more than 50 electrical wooden utility poles that are at least 40-50 feet high. At the end of my street is a cell phone relay tower, which is probably well over 100 feet high.

Beyond that is an electrical yard with many steel towers supporting electrical wires leading from the yard and across the landscape. There are also numerous water storage tanks in the area. Why are none of these "blights" on the neighborhood.

On April 29, the Miner published a story and photo on the front page of a citizen having a wind generator installed on his property.

The permit office told me this person lives in a "rural" area and a wind generator is permitted. According to the Miner's article, this location is about two blocks from the intersection of Stockton Hill and Airway, probably the busiest intersection in Kingman. I have a hard time understanding how this could be "rural."

I live in the Hualapai Foothill Estates on a lot that is a bit over 1-1/2 acres. I have checked with my immediate neighbors to find out if any of them have any problems with me installing a wind generator in my backyard and none do. In fact, each told me they thought it was a fine idea.

One of the problems with my wanting this is the 41-foot pole the generator would have to be mounted on. I was once told that I could apply for a variance that would allow the 41-foot pole. This variance once required a $500 fee.

I am told now that fee is $1,000 and is non-refundable no matter if the variance is granted or refused. This $1,000 is required to have the request proceed, but it seems a bit excessive given processing probably requires the reading of the request and making a decision yes or no.

During my last encounter with the permit office, I was told that I could have a permit for a 35-foot pole. It made me wonder why wasn't I told about this during my first request for a permit.

Had I been told this, a lot of unpleasantness could have been avoided.

It is obvious the Kingman City Council has no interest in allowing electrical wind generators to come to Kingman. For what reason, I am not sure.

I do suspect one of the reasons is the tax situation it will create.

If I have a wind generator that is producing electrical power which will lower my monthly electrical bill, that means my monthly tax on that bill will be less. I'm sure there are probably more reasons.

My reason for wanting this generator is very simple - it will lower my monthly bill. I have neither green issues nor anything against green issues.

The City Council's resistant to this makes me wonder if I even own this property. I think I own it; I surely paid a lot of money for it.

I certainly have no control over it. It seems to have been taken over by the City Council, Permit, Planning and Zoning office.

Now that you have elevated yourselves to be the riling class, I take this opportunity to advise, "the council of lords" your Lordships, I quit, and you win.

I will no longer bother the Fiefdom of Kingman about a permit for a wind generator. I will take my little serf body and the money I intend to spend in this community and spend it elsewhere.

Marvin A. Schrank


I think it is time for a letter writing campaign in support of a residential zoning classification that would allow for personal use wind generators.

The 'excuse' of blight is just that... a lame excuse. Mr. Schrank is correct there are already teams of wooden power poles all around town. The power poles do look like crap... but I doubt if maybe but a very few of us would do without those transmission lines that bring the ability to power up our TV sets and lighting fixtures in our homes. We simply deal with those power poles... in fact I bet most of us don't even consciously think about those tall wooden structures with power lines attached to them on a day to day basis.

So a 41' foot tall wind mill may look out of place on this very day... but there is going to be a day when we think of those personal use wind mills the way we think of power poles... not very much.

I think scores of wind mills scattered throughout Kingman would symbolize many good things about our community.

First off... we'd be telling the world that we are a forward thinking community that realizes the importance of utilizing forces of nature that can enhance our lives at no cost to the environment.

Also... many have told me that our part of Arizona is attractive to soon to be retiree's and if they buy a home here to retire in wouldn't a home that comes with reduced utility bills be a nice benefit??

The technology is getting better all the time for these personal use products. Some, like Mr. Schrank, are willing to give it a go... but the city for whatever lame reason is not thinking clearly on this issue. I know there is a bit of safety concerns involved because it is 'possible' that a 40' foot tower could fall over and cause some damage to person or property. But come on... at least offer the ability for property owners to install one of these if they have a half an acre or more. It is a good start.

I don't have any information to link, but I'm sure that I heard about a newer windmill product that can sit on a roof top (with no tower). It is probably just in the prototype stage at this time, but the more people that decide to install a wind mill on a tower, the more likely that other forms of wind mills that produce 'clean energy' will end up on the market. Hopefully the city won't be as restrictive to the new 'rooftop' products when or if they ever materialize.

Time to get ahead of this thing. Do it now, look at possible changes to zoning restrictions, and let's show the rest of the country the positive direction our community is taking to be a great partner with the environment.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mothers Day!!

To Mom's everywhere... enjoy your weekend.

April Sales Report (2008)

And just like that... another month passes.

Interesting data for April... the average price swings back up, sales in units is up again over last year (albeit beating last years figure by one unit), and total price concession was also up over the $30,000 mark. Mixed bag of results overall.

Let's get started... first 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.

Listings and sales in units chart:

The market is basically performing the same as it did last year... which really wasn't that good, but if we want to put a positive spin on it -- at least the performance did not get worse. New listing units were down 4.6% and unit sales are up over last year at this time by 1.9%. Still too much gap between hopeful sellers and actual buyers.

Average listings and sales averages chart:

As you can see the average sales price bounced back up after actually finishing lower than at any point in the last year. Does this mean the theoretical 'bottom' of the market is near?? Let's wait a couple of more months before drawing that conclusion. This could be an anomaly as we saw multiple units close transactions in April with a final sale price of over $500,000, where as there were only two units (total) that sold for over that amount since October of last year through March of this year.

2005 through 2008 unit sales chart:

I think the only comment that works here is to wonder if prices have fallen enough to maintain at least 2007 production numbers. 2007 was a bad year, but beating a bad year would be a good thing. With summer months getting close it would be nice to see the market eclipse at least one month from 2006. There has been an increased level of new pending listings for a few months now so it could happen by June or July.

BTW, it took about an average of 6 months for the 52 sales reported on for April to happen. Many units were on the market for nearly a full year and one half.

2005 through 2008 average price chart:

Been a few months since we've seen the average price in line with the previous years mark. My hunch is the average sales figure yo-yo's around in between current levels and 2005 levels... just a hunch though.

The average sales price for April of 08 was down only 1.9% as compared to the April of 07.

2005 through 2008 median price chart:

The median price for April 2008 was off 8.2% as compared to the April 2007 figure, but it bounced back up over 2005 levels.

The price range of units sold for April was between $68,100 through $570,000.

Average SFR statistics:

The average home sold in April had 3.25 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a 2.25 car garage, included 1,663 square feet of living space, and was built in 1997. The average hold sold for an average of $117 per square foot of living space.

It took an average of 136 days of marketing to attract a buyer to come to an agreement and a total of 177 days from the first day of marketing to the close of escrow.

Sellers reduced price $19,033 to attract a buyer on average from the first day of marketing, and conceded another $11,083 to the buyer in the transaction. The total average price concession for the homes sold in April was $30,116.

Bonus Charts:

The average price per square foot fell 9.3% as compared to the year before.

Sellers in April conceded 13.39% off of their original listing price from when the property entered the market until it successfully closed. That is just over 5 points more than sellers conceded at this time last year.

As I said at the beginning... interesting stats for April. I think I'll head out and do some fishing today so I'll see you next time.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

and... speaking of local political stuff...

Don't forget that May 20th is election day. It is now less that two weeks away. Early voting is also open at the county building. No lines there.

Vote early... vote often... or something like that.

Speaking of stuff in the Miner...

There is an interesting letter to the editor that appeared yesterday.

Before I share... I just wanted to say that I have been trying my darndest not to write anything about the community group RAID for some time. I've had the pleasure of meeting with some of the people that are in that group and I've come to respect them as individuals... I just find myself disagreeing with them on issues. So I'm not including this to 'blast' RAID... this is just something I wanted to share with readers.

Here is the entire letter... but I ask you to click on this link to read the comments below the letter.

Have you seen the new shopping center in Bullhead City, Fort Mohave and Lake Havasu City? The giant malls that provide jobs and sales tax dollars? Stores like Kohl do and Target in Fort Mohave.

Residents Against Irresponsible Development (RAID), or as I like to call them, Kingman Residents Against Progress (KRAP) is doing everything possible to kill this city and turn it into a clone, like Needles or Holbrook. They are consistently against every growth-related issue that comes before the City Council. Their name says "responsible growth." They have shown themselves to be consistent against any kind of growth by their actions. More and more letters like Bridget's Yankowitz's need to pour into the Miner. Who cares about the Beverly intersection when this organization is doing everything it can to kill the future of this city. This group is a vocal minority of elderly people who have no stake in the future of Kingman. They have no intent on maintaining "their vision" of what they think this city should be.

It is time for the people of this city to rise up and crush this group that is so full of itself

Raymond Kielsmeier


BTW... the RAID all-stars were back at in front of city council last Monday. One prominent member said at the podium (fairly close quote following) "light industrial uses of land is not in the best interest of the city."

Now to be fair, I'm pulling this out of context on purpose. The nice lady that said those words was basically talking about a few acres of land included in a rezone request made by a developer.

I think she should have said that industrial uses are not in the best interest for the particular area, and that is something I could see myself agreeing with (not saying I would though). However to make a blanket statement like that about limiting land uses in a city that needs to see job growth (and as I understand it, light industrial uses has the potential to lead to more jobs... and that is a good thing last time I checked) sends the wrong message. So therefore, once again, I disagree... but respect the nice lady's opinion.


Luckily for RAID, the Miner came to their rescue today.

Kinda funny to me (political)

Found some interesting quotes in todays edition of the about some issues a local developer is having getting a rezone request through the system.

See the entire article here...

A few snippets...

She (Deborah Raney) remains hopeful that the rezone will go through without further delay when Council picks up the case again in two weeks. One of the current landowners, however, is considering removing the item from the May 19 agenda and waiting to re-hear the issue until the new Council takes office June 2.

"I'm scared to death of these guys," said Jay Schritter, a co-owner of the property with his son and two partners, Lee Bruno and Jeff Goldberg.

If Council were to deny the request, the case would not be allowed to come back before Council for a year.

Oh the humanity... please.

Schritter noted that liquor license regulation has nothing to do with rezone cases, but he said he wasn't surprised by Council's scrutiny over his request.

"It's just a real immature type deal," he said in an interview Wednesday. "All it is is something to slow us down. It's my name on that application, and of course Spear hates me and so does (Councilman Kerry) Deering."

Schritter has been an outspoken critic of city officials in the last year, most notably during controversies surrounding former City Manager Paul Beecher's employment. Schritter's most recent involvement was during the Nov. 7 election.

To discourage voters from approving the city's request for $56.7 million in capital improvement bonds and several Kingman Crossing ballot measures, Schritter erected signs around town to remind voters about e-mail lawsuits, well site bidding controversies and IRS threats - issues that created a hot political climate in 2007.

Funny... was it immature of this dude to call the city council members 'monkeys' like he was quoted in the Miner last summer??

Gotta hand it to this guy though, he's out to change the makeup of the current council. He got his man in the mayor's office (by that I mean that I'm sure he likes it just fine to have an in law of one of his business partners as mayor) and chances are still a reality to maybe even see his son win a seat on council (and I'm still considering seriously voting for Mr. Craig Schritter). Maybe then he won't be so frightened of the city council.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Do I wish I had more listings??

That is a good question, and there is no simple or uncomplicated way to for me answer this question in the current market unless I add some word descriptors somewhere in the original question.

For a couple of years now I have been posting local housing market reports that have shown a clear trend to the 'down' side of things. Sales in units are WAY down, and prices of sold listings are also WAY down. Those are the facts.

However, many people have 'opinions' that often are contrary to the 'facts'. Currently in my line of work the best example I can give is when a property owner has the opinion that he/she can sell their property for much more than what the current market will allow. As always, I can and do respect the opinions of all the fine folks I've had this kind of conversation with. Opinions are allowable and everyone should have them.

For the last year (or longer) I have been presenting local housing market facts (the same facts I share on this blog) to the many fine folks that have called me to perhaps hire me to list their property. Now in fairness, the market turned around on me in a darn quick fashion and I admit that I wasn't ready for it in all cases. Often I'd take listings for a higher asking price than I thought was going to attract potential buyers. I'd acquiesce to my prospective listing clients (who became clients), and rarely did it work out well for the client or for me as a business person.

After learning some lessons the tough way, I stopped taking listings that I felt would be at a price level that wouldn't attract ready and willing buyer's. Now I've never been a doctor (nor should I be confused with one... ever), but at times over the last couple of years during listing appointments I've felt like I was giving really bad health news to a patient... sending the patient into a panic and a quest for a second professional opinion. Since I DON'T hold a gun to the head of prospective listing clients during listing appointments and force them into signing listing agreements (just not my style) I didn't mind when those folks told me they were going to seek out another opinion... in fact I encouraged it.

Did I give away clients?? Did I run off opportunities to make revenue for my business?? In my opinion (like I said earlier, everyone is entitled to their own opinion)... the answer is no.

For a professional Realtor, overpriced listings comes with one guarantee... a future conversation with the client about price reductions. This kind of conversation comes complete with another round of 'opinions' and I find the whole thing very unpleasant (the conversations) and I imagine that the client finds them even more unpleasant (insert curse words here if you are a seller... it's okay). Conversations about price reductions lead to uneasy feelings and practically sleepless nights... not good for the blood pressure or the stress level... and that is just on my end of the business.

A fellow real estate blogger, Jay Thompson (the Phoenix Real Estate Guy), shared a post from some calls he took over the weekend. See the whole post here, but I'll copy the pertinent stuff following...

Three calls came from people wanting us to list their homes.

Cool! Three new listings in two days!

Not so fast…. I turned down all three listings.

Why would a real estate brokerage turn down listings? My old Century 21 broker would be mortified. “Just get the listing!” was the beginning of a common soliloquy there.

But, pray tell, exactly what is the point in taking a listing that can not be sold? All three of these homeowners called knowing exactly what price they wanted to list their home for. They were off the mark (on the high side) by $60 – $135K.

I tried to help them understand the current Phoenix real estate market conditions. I supplied data, I waxed eloquently about why their homes would never sell at those prices.

One snapped into reality and decided to wait to list. We’ll stay in touch and when market conditions permit them to get what they want, they’ll list their home. That is of course, assuming nothing else changes in the 12 – 36 months (or more) that could take.

Two of the would-be listers were adamant that there homes were worth 20 – 40% more than what I was telling them. One home had been on the market approaching one year, and we would have been their fourth agent. One has “only” been listed for six months and the owner is growing weary of his agent telling him to reduce the price. They’ve had one showing in those six months.

They will be finding another agent that will “List their home for what they want”.

I’m sure they will have no trouble doing just that.

Oh, we could have taken the listings. It would have given us the opportunity to plant our sign in the yard, and maybe a few inquisitive buyer-types would call. We could then hook them, reel them in, and have new buyer clients.

But I prefer not to have my signs rotting away in a yard, in the hopes of stumbling across a buyer client. There far more efficient ways to get new clients.

Now Mr. Thompson recently started his own brokerage and that comes with tons of risk (especially in this kind of market... and yes the market is tough in Phoenix too), but I bet that turning down listings like that really isn't that hard of a decision... even for a new broker. Sure, his shiny new real estate signs placed in the front yards of overpriced listings would offer advertising benefits... for his brokerage... but I think he realizes that taking overpriced listings doesn't benefit the client most of all.

I also think that Jay has it right, out of every three calls like this... one hopeful seller will get it and not list their property at this time... while the other two will find a broker that will end up listing their property -- and that broker will acquiesce to the price opinion of the seller.

Folks, particularly folks who are thinking of selling property, as long as there are nearly four new sellers that enter the market the same month that maybe one buyer actually agrees to purchase a property... pricing the property to the actual price point of the market is the very best way to attract a ready and willing buyer.

Do I feel your pain sellers?? You bet I do... sales are down and mere opportunities for sales are down. I realize there are some things a seller can do to enhance their chances to attract buyers, but all the repainting and re-carpeting and home staging in the world won't amount to anything but spent money if the home is not priced really close to the current market.

The old cliche that states the three most important elements of real estate sales are location, location, location is wrong in a down market. Location can stay in the list of top elements, but price is first on the list right now. Price, location, and price is it... for the time being until the market show some balance between buyers and sellers again.

My next post is going to be about a new promotion I plan to run... to attract more listing business. That is right... listings. Do I wish I had more listings was the original question and the title to this post... and the complicated answer is YES I want more listings. Check back to see those complications next time (if you are a seller and can offer a price that is concurrent with the market I will save you hundreds and maybe even thousands of dollars on the sale of your property).

Thursday, May 01, 2008

April Listings Report (2008)

Have you caught Stanley Cup fever yet?? I sure have and my beloved Flyers are pleasantly surprising me and exceeding whatever expectations I may have had. Oh... wait a minute, this is the listings report for last month... my bad.

Sure I could bore you with goaltender stats, faceoff winning percentage's, fighting major's, and the like... but you want housing market information. Fine.

April... not bad, still too many listings hitting the market but I think you'll see some bits of good news out of what still is a bleak local market for sellers.

First, as always... the disclaimer...

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


Today total listings available for single family residence equals 633 (down just a bit from 643 on April 1). The rate of new listings taken per day in April was 4.17. Compared to last years total listings available on the market are down 11.3%.

There were 125 new listings taken in April (pretty much the same as compared to 127 in March). The average asking price for the new listings is $199,847 (down from last months $206,106). The median asking price is $164,250 (fairly steady from $162,000 previously). Newly listed units are down 4.6% from last year and the average initial offering price dropped 23.5% as compared to April of 2007.

The average newly listed home in April has 3.1 bedrooms, 2.11 baths, a 1.864 car garage, with 1,654 square feet of living space and was built in 1993. The average asking price per square foot of living space is $121. Lastly, 16 of the new listings were actually re-listed either by the same or different broker. 8 units listed last month are already under contract and 1 already closed.

The original price of new listings last month was from $32,500 through $949,999.

Units under contract:

As of today there are 117 total units under contract (up a good amount compared to the number of 104 last month).

56 units entered into contracts in the month of April (a nice increase as compared to 45 the previous month). The average asking price for homes that received contracts was $188,689 (down from $197,800 last month) and the median asking price for April was $169,900 (up from the previous months $162,450 figure). Units entering contract are up from April of 2007 by 5% though the average marketing price is down 9%.

The average home that went under contract in April has 3.11 bedrooms, 2 baths, a 1.946 car garage, with 1,646 square feet of living space, and was built in 1992. The average asking price per square foot of living space for listings that entered contract this month is $115. It was also priced $15,439 higher when it first was listed as compared to its current asking price (the average price reduction was $18,861 last month). The average marketing time to reach a contract was 235 days (from 104 last month).

The advertised price of units that entered contract was from $32,500 through $552,000.


I decided to write the down the 'goods' and the 'bads' of this report, and the 'goods' list was much longer than the 'bads'. However, the bad news trumps quite a bit of the good news in my opinion.

What was 'good'?? Well inventory is down 11.3% from last year comparing year over year. The average initial offering price was below the $200,000 threshold for the first time in a long time, so it seems sellers are getting the message to some degree. The number of new contracts for the month is heading in the right direction after historic lows just a few months ago.

What is so 'bad' that is trumps some of the 'good' news?? Well, in my opinion, there is still way too many sellers entering the market. The ratio of new listings to new contracts per day is 4.17 to 1.87... balance will only be achieved when that ratio narrows a lot and actually favors the new contracts over the new listings. There is still very little pressure on buyers as evidenced by the data. I expect to see continued drops in pricing levels.

But hey... the Flyers are up 3 games to 1 against the top ranked team in the Eastern Conference... so I have that going for me.

Will there be better data later on this month when I post the sales report?? Will the data improve again when the next listing report is ready on June 1?? Will the Flyers still be in the hunt for the Stanley Cup?? Those questions and others will be answered next time you check back in for the next installment of the MOCO Real listing and sales reports.

Until then, keep on mucking and grinding (hockey terms).