Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Guest Blog...

From time to time I get a request from another person to share an article that they have written and produced. Today's guest blog appearance comes from our friend Donna Crouse. I've known Donna for some years now and all the while she has maintained a zeal for local political water issues. So I'm more than pleased to share the following with everyone here at MOCO.

Today's subject from Donna is more discussion on HB 2142. I'll say again that in this particular water subject I'm having a difficult time following along to get to a point to say I'm in support of, or this bill needs to be voted down. So I'm simply sharing the writing that Donna has offered. I hope you will read it and at the very least see a continued discussion.

All of the following words were written by Donna... enjoy.

The Emperor’s New Clothes….HB 2142
by Donna Crouse

Do you remember the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes? If you recall, there weren’t any clothes at all yet the emperor was deceived into believing that he was draped in finery beyond compare. The hoax was well contrived due to the tailor’s convincing story that only the smartest people of the highest class would be astute enough see the clothes. Try as I have, I cannot understand the benefits of HB 2142 to the county, Kingman or the Mohave County Water Authority, I just can’t see the clothes.

First, I truly feel that the members of the city Council and Mayor do hold what is best for the city of Kingman most dear. Those who I have met from the MCWA take their positions very seriously. But I feel that the tailors of HB 2142 have convinced them that the bill is something it is not.

Should HB 2142 pass, the wheels are already in motion for MCWA to sell the 3500 acre-feet for $500 an acre foot to Golden Shores and/or the Mohave Valley Irrigation District. Since these entities fall into a category that MCWA will accept a 10% transfer fee for handling, Kingman will receive 90% of the proceeds or $450 per acre foot for a total of approximately $1,575,000.00 that could be used towards drilling the needed wells to support the municipal water services to the newly annexed Rattlesnake Wash projected area properties. The MCWA will receive 10% or about $175,000.00 that could be used in the purchase of new water supplies for their district that includes, Bullhead City, Golden Shores, Lake Havasu City and Mohave Valley.

Should HB 2142 fail, then the industrial use only restriction on the water will remain and Kingman will get what? According to the contract with MCWA if the water is sold to an industrial user, their fee is 50% meaning that Kingman will only get 50% of the proceeds from the sale. There are state statutes that regulate the amount that the MCWA and Kingman can charge an industrial user for the water. Should an industrial user apply for the water, they can only be charged a minimum of $1050 per acre foot, or the going CAP rate, meaning the minimum Kingman would receive would now be $525 per acre foot for the same water, totaling approximately $1,837,500.00, a difference of an additional $262,500.00 that could still be used to drill the needed wells for the Rattlesnake Wash area project. And the MCWA would have about $1,837,500.00 to further purchase more water for its district, a difference of $1,662,500.00! The problem is there is no industrial user who has applied for the water.

Maureen George stated in March 25, 2009’s town hall, that the river cites are in a better position to rely on tourism as the core or base of their economic development, however, Kingman is more suited to support industry. When asked if the county’s economic development director, Jonas Peterson had been notified that this water was available in support of industrial promotion to the county, the response was no. When asked what had been done by the MCWA to promote this water’s availability to industry the response was nothing. When asked how an industrial developer was supposed to find out this water was available for use, the response was by contacting the federal Bureau of Reclamation. This could explain why no industrial developer has applied for the use of this water over the past 15 years.

Now we are being told to “use it or lose it”. When asked how that works, Maureen George explained that every 5 years the Bureau of Reclamation asks for a report from its allocated users that shows how much water is being used out of the allocated supply. The Bureau of Reclamation can at any time determine that it is going to take back any water that is not in use and can take back any water that is in use. The condition of use continually motivates those who receive the allocations to justify their priority need for their water. This 3500 acre-feet was reviewed last year and Board of Supervisor Johnson managed to retain the water for the county by promising to find an industry that would apply for this water. Mr. Johnson spoke of his attempts and that in fact at the time he did have an industrial developer who was seriously contemplating applying for that water, however the current economic crunch had postponed or possibly eliminated this particular opportunity. Mayor Nexxum has alluded that had his municipality been allowed to sell water services outside of their district that they could have sold water to support 4 different industrial projects. So even though no one has applied for these water allocations, it seems that industry has shown interest in our area.

The final point made during the town hall was that this county has a finite amount of water. Former mayor of Kingman, Carol Anderson had previously stated that in order to successfully meet the state requirements in granting the original allocations to MCWA, Kingman had to prove that it had sufficient water supply to support a community of 100,000 people for 100 years as of 1994. By 2050 some numbers suggest that the Kingman area could have a population of an estimated one million people. That is 10 times the number of people projected for in 1994, so once we hit the 100,000 mark how accurate will that 100 year supply theory be? Will there be enough water to support those living in the area and where will they work?

I agree that we currently have sufficient, even ample supplies of water to support future growth. I also agree that industry is the key to the success of our economic development. And I agree that we have a finite amount of water to support it all. In order for Mohave County to continue to be a thriving and viable place to live, we must start utilizing and sustaining our resources. Bullhead City, Golden Shores, Lake Havasu City and Mohave Valley are river communities that have limited resources for water beyond what they can acquire through the allocations of the Bureau of Reclamation from the Colorado River. This is nothing new to any of those communities. Since 1994, they have grown to the limits of or near limits of those allocations. What efforts have been placed into researching and acquiring more sustainable resources than relying on the MCWA to negotiate more water allocations from Kingman? What will they do once this 3500 acre-feet has been tapped as well? Wouldn’t $1,837,500.00 in available funds secure more resources than $175,000.00?

Meanwhile, Kingman must consider its best use of this water. Mayor Salem has stated many times that should HB 2142 fail; the city has other resources available to support the annexation of the Rattlesnake Wash Project. There is no impending need for Kingman to sell this water at this time. There is never an impending need for Kingman to ever sell this water for less than full market value! Kingman must concentrate itself into a successful economic development promotion to attract industry into the area utilizing all of its available resources, including water resources. Kingman is in the best position to enhance all of Mohave County by keeping that water available for industrial uses only. It will take Kingman working together with Mohave County in a unified promotional program to bring the right industrial developments into our area for our future prosperity.

Since the Bureau of Reclamation was looking for its answers last year, we have about 4 more years to see if we can find an industrial developer to use this water. A good start would be working with the county to promote its availability. Kingman and the county have far more to gain than just the actual difference between 50% or 90% of the proceeds due to Kingman or the MCWA depending upon whom this water is sold to. I have been told by one of the tailors of HB 2142 that I need to leave the water issues up to those who know what’s best, apparently so has Kingman and the MCWA, how else can you explain their support of HB 2142? I must be simple; I just don’t see the Emperor’s Clothes.

Friday, March 27, 2009

This day in history...

I was just looking over some factoids on what has taken place on March 27th's in history. Here's a few...

1794: Congress authorizes the construction of six frigates, including the Constitution (Old Ironsides), for the U.S. Navy.

Hey, something productive from Congress... when did that stop happening??

1866: President Andrew Johnson vetoed a civil rights bill which later became the 14th amendment.

Not good Andy, not good.

1884: The first long-distance telephone call was made, between Boston and New York.

Rates were pretty high I bet.

1917: The Seattle Metropolitans became the first U.S. hockey team to win the Stanley Cup.

They still around?? Maybe they need a goalie.

1958: Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier and first secretary of the Communist Party.

He said that he'd bury us... and now we have a president named Barry, maybe he was right.

1964: A 9.2 magnitude earthquake hit 80 miles east of Anchorage, Alaska, killing 117 and producing a 50-foot tsunami that traveled over 8,000 miles.

The earth is crazy like that.

1973: Marlon Brando refuses his Oscar for "The Godfather" in protest of Hollywood's treatment of Native Americans.

Way to take a stand Marlon... and you were terrific in that incredible movie.

1977: Pan American and KLM Boeing 747s collided on a runway in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands. The 542 people killed is the highest ever for an aviation disaster.

And I'm getting on a plane next week.

2001: A federal judge ruled that the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policy was invalid, a ruling that later would be reversed in an appeal.

Oh those political things.

2006: The first post on Mohave County Real Estate News is published.

Well... it has been a fun three years. I hope you still will allow me to humor you once in awhile.

Shades of possibility...

City Council members held a public work session last Wednesday, the subject was on the proposed Rattlesnake Wash interchange and road improvement project.

Read this whole article for a better update... I'm going to share the following from the end of the article...

One of the property owners present, Paul Shuffler, said a handful of property owners had been willing to help fund the project if it could be moved up in ADOT's calendar. Since that didn't seem likely, Shuffler said he thought it only fair that all property owners should be involved in some kind of development agreement with the city to ensure everyone paid their fair share. Another property owner, Bill Bowers, agreed that an improvement district was the only reasonable way to go.

Council directed staff to draw up a resolution to hire a legal representative to proceed with financing such a development agreement with the property owners, as well as to initiate a formal Intergovernmental Agreement with ADOT that would make official an earlier letter of intent calling for ADOT to finance 70 percent of the project, with the city funding the remaining 30 percent.

I consider this a positive sign of the times. There is so much potential for industry type of jobs and other opportunity in this area, but much work needs to be done. For the landowners to reach out publicly the way they did is certainly a great beginning to get the community on the same page. If they are willing to pony up in return for normal benefits and take some risk, I think the community would also be more willing as well.

I've said all along that this infrastructure is as important as any other Interstate related proposed project.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Short Sales: Part Two

In part one I discussed some of the generalities facing home owners in distressed situations (facing foreclosure for instance). What the benefits of a potential short sale could be to surrounding neighborhoods and even to the local economy. I also disclosed that I am now willing to undertake the practice of short sales in my business, so if you are facing foreclosure or you know of others that might be, please give them my name and contact information. I would love to help if at all possible.

Short Sale: Some Expectations

First thing, what are some of the components needed for a successful short sale transaction?? Well a seller for one, self explanatory but the ability to market the property at current local market values (think lower in terms of price than when purchased) is a great first step to attracting a buyer.

Of course that leads us to the need of a buyer for a short sale transaction. Buyers do exist but many have not come out to purchase because of many reasons. My feeling for that mainly has to do with the listing prices I continue to see that are much higher than what the sales market is willing to bare. Properties priced according to market are selling currently at a greater clip than they were last year. Buyers do exist. You can appeal to them by having a marketable property priced accordingly. A short sale offers this potential.

The next item on this list is optional... I'm talking the services of a Realtor. Might sound counter productive to my efforts of marketing my own services but I'm keeping it real, so to speak. It is possible for an owner in distress to take on the task of negotiating with their mortgage holder for allowance of a short sale, market the property to attract buyers, review all the necessary documentation -- cross T's and dot I's -- every single one of them, negotiate with potential buyers, and close the transaction. You can do it. There, I said it. I do encourage property owners in distress to contact an attorney, financial advisor, and/or a Realtor though. There, I said it.

Now a property owner needs not only a buyer, but a buyer with a lender willing to close on a short sale transaction that may or may not be fully pre-negotiated with the sellers mortgage holder... unless the buyer is a cash buyer. Disclose, disclose, disclose. Short sales are notorious for taking more than a couple of months to close and a buyer might lose out on a locked interest rate or be subject to further underwriting once the seller has everything ready to go. Think unforeseen complications.

So what else here?? Oh yeah... a willing mortgage holder on the property. Can't do a short sale unless that outfit is notified and willing. Might need the willingness of a 2nd mortgage holder as well, if there is one.

And every party listed above needs a positive reason to move forward with such a transaction, a motivation. What is in it for all of the above?? Hopefully all points point towards a winning position for all, given the unfortunate circumstances.

Next up we'll take a look at a partial list of things on a 'to do' list that the mortgage holder will want and need to consider moving forward with a short sale.

The distressed property owners loan package from when they purchased the property is needed. The mortgage holder will want to review the settlement sheet, the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) loan disclosures, Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) payments, and rights of rescission... and so will the seller and any agent that the seller may hire.

Distressed property owners will also need to know their property, meaning what is the current market value of the home?? Mortgage holders might take a broker price opinion (think comparative price analysis from a Realtor say) or an appraisal.

Mortgage holders will also want to know the seller and if the motivations are proper. Some common elements that speak to that include; a hardship letter about the distressed property owners situation (job loss, resetting payment, etc.), loan package workups for both the buyer (if already in an agreement) and the seller, income statements for at least the last six months, bank statments for the last six months, expenses (itemized and listed), debts (anything including mortgages, cars, ATV's, and other big ticket items that scheduled payments are owed on), and of course credit card balances and payments. And if you're saying -- 'screw all that, I'll just file for BK' -- keep in mind that your BK attorney will want all this information as well.

Now for some potential problems, yeah I know, but in these sorts of transactions there are potential problems.

First off there is plenty of information say like on the Internet (hmm... you are reading this on the Internet) and so much information that one may encounter information overload that becomes confusing or simply just misinformation as it may pertain to a property owners own situation. I'm not saying to not do some investigation or your own homework by whatever resource you choose, but I am saying that you will likely want to actually speak with someone that will look into your own situation and will agree to represent your best interests... whatever those interests may end up being agreed upon. This stuff is highly personal to the individual and no two situations are identical.

Also, the clock is ticking -- always -- for a distressed property owner. Ticking closer and closer to foreclosure if the terms of the mortgage can't be met. The short sale route of sales involves a huge time investment, mostly involving negotiations with the mortgage holder. Most people are not trained or have enough expertise to deal with the various needs that a short sale needs entails. Think lots of spinning wheels moving forward at a snails pace. If you are up against a clock this is the part of process that will give you the most stress.

And I'm sure that you've heard the scenario... a person got a mortgage with a $200,000 principle back a few years ago but the current market value is $130,000. The mortgage holder agrees to let the distressed owner out of the remaining obligation ($70,000) via a short sale and now comes the tax form known as a 1099. Well yes, maybe no, and actually it depends (doing my best lawyer imitation there). Reasons like tax implications are a real good reason a distressed property owner will likely need the services of a professional in either legal, financial, and/or real estate related fields.

The last problem that I'll touch on is maybe the distressed property owners mortgage holder isn't motivated because they will just settle on the PMI pay off and let the property head into foreclosure. Good for them perhaps, but not so good for the distressed property owner.

Alright, one more issue or potential problem... have you been following along with what our federal government is promising this week (as compared to last week)?? Do you know if that makes your situation better or not?? Yeah... I don't know either. But at this point I'm not all that confident with what the Congress promises... they don't even read the bills they pass.

For all of the above there are reasons as to why I've decided in the past NOT to represent clients in short sale situations... and now is the reason why I've decide to actually offer my services to clients wishing to try a short sale (very Carl Jung'ingan 'the duality of man' sort of thing I suppose). Of course, I have come to realize that in this current market basically two kinds of homes are selling... foreclosures and short sales (using a broad brush to make that statement), so by representing clients in a short sale I will likely do more business at this time. I'm not hiding that fact and it is a motivation. But increased business or not, I feel it is my duty as a Realtor to help people that choose the services I can provide.

Months ago I might have chosen to represent banks and lenders in listing their foreclosure fleet of homes, but I didn't. I choose to help buying clients that were looking for that kind of property instead of dealing with lenders and banks as primary clients. I had bank clients years ago and found that sort of business less than satisfying. Banks don't smile, but traditional (or human) buyers and sellers do... and while smiles don't pay my bills there is a payoff to me for the smiles I get when I help people. The kind of payoff that money doesn't buy, it is what I've come to love about the business I'm in. I want to help. The chance to avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy has potential to create some smiles even in these unfortunate economic times.

So please, if you are a distressed property owner or know of someone that is facing a foreclosure type of situation please use my contact information to set up an appointment.

Look for the next post in this series... should be the final (and hopefully shorter).

A good day to be a...

... small wind energy turbine. It is windy in Kingman today.

Today I thank the goalie mask

Some of you know that I still try to play a kids game called hockey. There is an organization in Mohave County that has kids and adult leagues/programs and play at Sara Park just south of Lake Havasu City. I've been playing the game for many years now, the position I play is goaltender. Anyone familiar with the sport might start to understand me a bit better knowing this little tid-bit. You see, goalies are considered a tad 'off' shall we say.

The mask pictured above is the mask I use to help protect this simply gorgeous face of mine (see, I'm a bit off).

Last night I had the opportunity to play a second game because another goalie couldn't go (he was going to play a second game but tweaked something and didn't want to risk further pain). Of course after traveling more than 60 miles one way for a hockey game I normally accept playing a second (or even a third) game. Gotta get my monies worth.

With about 5 or 6 minutes left in that second game the opposing team is on the attack in our zone. I have traffic in front of the crease and am looking for the shooter who is setting up about 15 to 18 feet away. He launches a heavy, rising shot towards the goal. Only problem... my head is in the direct path (but trust me, that is a good thing... at least my teamates think so).

So what followed in the very next instant is a rather loud and violent sound, almost an explosion of sorts. Luckily the puck falls right in front of me and I quickly cover it to get a whistle. By the time play is stopped my ears are ringing louder than after sitting next to a set of speakers at a Who concert. The ringing goes on for more than a few minutes.

Typically every other week or so I take a shot off the cage (cage is goalie speak for the mask). Mostly glancing blows off of a deflected shot, but probaly once a year I get popped with a shot like I did last night. After the game, many players and other bystanders asked me if I was alright after that shot... that is how I know the shot was the real deal. I answered each and every one of the concered that I'm just fine.

And that is why today I thank the goalie mask.

But... if you ask me about the remaining minutes of the game, the details are a bit fuzzy (I heard we won though).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Water issues at town hall meeting...

There is a town hall style meeting tonight in the Mohave County Library at 3269 N. Burbank St.

Subject matter pertains to the House Bill 2142 read all about it.

I've been informed that Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson will be in attendance and perhaps speaking on this issue, along with him will be the Mayor of Kingman John Salem.

Sometimes these politicized water issues get very complex. That is how I see the issue, even after hearing people from both sides weigh in. So I'm not advocating at all, and if it wasn't for 'Hockey Night in Havasu' I'd be sure to be there tonight to hopefully gain a bit more knowledge... but since you are not playing hockey tonight you have no excuse to miss this town hall. So be there.

Here's a couple of more links and shares...

Water bill will get a close look at meeting

When the Mohave County Water Authority was created in 1996, it was tasked with selling the rights to Kingman's Colorado River allocation. Only 15,000 acre-feet were made available for municipal and consumer use, however, with the remaining 3,500 acre-feet set aside.

That requirement came following a decision by the Department of Interior that specified the 3,500 acre-feet could only be made available on a short-term basis. But the department later changed its stance on that decision, allowing the water to be used for longer-term projects, and freeing the legislature to consider HB 2142.

If signed into law, HB 2142 would allow the water authority to sell the rights for the 3,500 acre-feet to Bullhead City or Lake Havasu City, which could then allocate the water for new residential, commercial or industrial use. Kingman would receive 90 percent of the sale revenues to develop of new local water sources.

And this from Ric Swats...

River cities got the gold mine, Kingman got the shaft in 1996 water deal - will history repeat iteself?

The people of the City of Kingman were ripped off for millions of dollars when the city sold its initial 15,000 acre feet of Municipal-use water rights through the Mohave County Water Authority.

Now city leaders are licking their chops over the prospect of potentially taking in as much as $3.5 million they can use for pet projects like Kingman Crossing.

If HB 2142 passes, reclassifying the remaining 3,500 acre feet of water in Kingman’s allotment from industrial use only to municipal use, the city will make another huge mistake by letting the Mohave County Water Authority sell it at bargain basement prices.

The slurry pipeline from Mohave Generating is no longer used and extends to Golden Valley near the I-40 industrial corridor. It could send industrial water to the new generating stations and save 3,500 acre feet of groundwater in Golden Valley. Or it could supply the WalMart distribution center that is expected to be built. Or it could easily satisfy the 500 acre foot per year demand of the prison.

Again, I'm not weighing in on this, just passing along some information that may or may not lead you to want to find out more. Water issues are very important here in this desert... and obviously very political.

Read both linked articles and the House Bill. Be informed.

Short Sales: part one

I'm going to write about a subject that I have, up to this point, elected not to include in my business practice of real estate related services... 'short sales'.

The Wikipedia page begins the definition of a short sale as...

In real estate, a short sale is a sale of real estate in which the proceeds from the sale fall short of the balance owed on a loan secured by the property sold.

Sounds easy enough but I'm sure many real estate agents, buyers, and sellers could tell you something different... there is no 'easy' button in the vast majority of these situations. And just like no two 'normal' real estate transactions are the same, no two 'short sales' are the same.

My plan is to share some information here on this blog that may be of help. I'm also declaring that I will begin to offer my real estate related services to those that may look to the prospect of a short sale to sell their property. I'm changing my services because I've recently met a new resource that can help me as well as my clients that could be involved in a successful sales transaction of real property through means of a 'short sale'. I'll talk about that later on in this series of short sale posts.

The first part of this series will provide some information as to the potential benefits to the property owner in a distressed situation (facing foreclosure for instance).

Short sale... a possible solution:

There are no certainties in a real estate transaction... not even in the best of times. The potential for bad news and the 'deep-sixing' of a real estate sale can come at anytime for almost any reason. Short sales are no different in this manner and in fact have many more variables to consider and more pitfalls to avoid.

So why is a short sale a possible solution?? Because if everything is lined up just right, the opportunity to sell a home that is 'underwater' via its mortgage and remaining principle will allow the home to be purchased for current market value... the recipe for success for this market.

Home owners that face foreclosure or other elements of distress have some options. First they can try to get their current lender to modify the loan. I've heard wildly mixed results on modification... the good, the bad, and the ugly. Of course home owners can go for a what I would call a regular sale, sell the home at current market value and simply pay off the lender the amount for which a home owner in distress still owes. Keep in mind though that home values are off 42% from three years ago which could mean bringing lots of dough to the closing table. Some folks are waiting for the next new program that the government may offer (do you really want to rely on Barney Frank??). There is also the bankruptcy route, and I would ask you to contact an attorney for advice for that. While at the attorney's office you might want to see how possible it might be to sue the lender... again see your attorney. There is also the simple act of letting the home go into foreclosure, just lock up when you leave. Other variables probably exist but I've covered the main alternatives.

So this brings us back to short sales. Think bigger picture for a second, what is the good of a short sale say for the neighborhood and the local economy?? Well compare the situation of a short sale to a foreclosure, when a home is foreclosed on it may sit vacant for some months before it ever gets a 'for sale' sign on it. Potentially leaving the home unsecured and I'm not trying to scare anyone but I've heard things about empty homes becoming temporary homes to squatters, targets for vandalism and theft, and even dreaded illegal immigrant drop houses or meth lab locations. Not good for the neighborhood.

At the successful close of a transaction via short sale, a new owner with keen interest takes control of the premises. That could mean good things for the local economy. First this new owner would likely be a utility service paying customer, could need the services of a local contractor or sub contractor for improvements, might visit one of the local furniture and/or appliance stores for the new digs. The buyer might be a new resident to Kingman that found just the right property for the right price and now would be shopping local and adding to the economy in a positive way. Most of all the newly acquired property would be secured. All of the above is good for the surrounding neighborhood and local economy.

I realize that home owners in distress may not be thinking big picture and it is certainly understandable, but maybe you know someone in your neighborhood in distress (while you, yourself, are not) so you might want to encourage your neighbor, a friend, or relative to speak to someone that could help facilitate a possible solution that won't detract from the neighborhood or local economy (an advisor, an attorney, and/or maybe even a Realtor).

More in line with the term big picture for home owners in distress is the options they face. A short sale might just be the right course of action. Again, I can't state anything here with certainty for all situations, but a short sale in most cases can be better off for the distressed owner than the ramifications of being foreclosed on. Also, in many cases, a short sale can be more beneficial than filing for bankruptcy. Don't just take my word for that, see your attorney and/or financial advisor.

My role in a short sale is marketing the home and negotiating the agreement for purchase, in simple terms. This is my expertise. While I know other Realtors that have helped clients with short sales on their own and think that it is more than possible to do so, to this point I have not engaged in that practice. What has changed for me is that I have met another professional real estate practicioner that has plenty of experience and expertise in the short sale style of closing transactions. Initially, this resource will help me put together all of the information needed to begin the process of negotiating with the lender that holds the mortgage, while I will handle the marketing of the property and negotiating with prospective buyers.

There also is an elective service available to distressed owners that I can introduce to clients. What they do is negotiate with the lender to a point where I would be able to market the property as a 'PRE-NEGOTIATED SHORT SALE'. The advantage of this is prospective buyers (and their broker/agent) would know going into the negotiation that as soon as they can close escrow, they can take control of the property. No waiting perhaps many months for responses from the lender (which can happen for many reasons including not having all pertinent information disclosed to the lender... yep, missing one tiny bit of information... no action... very frustrating for potential buyers).

This is just part one of a series of posts designed to market my services in the realm of short sales and to offer information and things to consider to distressed property owners that they may not have been thinking about before. I'm here to help as best as I can and believe that finding some trusted resources with plenty of experience and expertise offers potential clients quality service they should expect. So check back for future posts on this subject. If you have questions now, feel free to email or call me. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More econ development efforts from other places...

Just to keep a good thing going here are more reports on other communities and how they are dealing with a down economy and their quests for improving their situations...

Lilburn group tries to start community improvement district

A group of civic and business leaders from Lilburn have begun work to establish Gwinnett County’s fourth community improvement district.

Community improvement districts, or CIDs, are made up of businesses and property owners who agree to tax themselves to generate money to pay for economic development and transportation related projects.

I think in Arizona these sorts of plans are called community facilities districts (CFD's), sound similar in any case. CFD's could be used for projects in Kingman (just not Kingman Crossing... anyone know why??).

King, Atwood urge unity on development

BRUNSWICK — Brunswick's two at-large town councilors on Monday proposed a series of "achievable" economic development goals they hope the council — recently polarized over economic development philosophies — will endorse.


The proposed goals arise at a critical time for the town, which faces the looming closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station, several empty storefronts on Maine Street and two key vacancies, including an economic development director, in municipal government.

Exacerbating the dilemma are the polarized "visions" of economic development endorsed by councilors. Some have supported careful, considered development and others — most consistently represented by King — have repeatedly expressed frustration that the council "fails to act on economic development" despite a loss of businesses and jobs.


The proposed goals, outlined by King on Monday, include successful completion of the Maine Street Station project; support of existing businesses and attraction of new businesses; support of efforts to improve education about activities of various economic development organizations; and "active" endorsement of efforts to expand the creative economy.


In recent years, councils, as well as town staff and boards, have struggled with developing a unified vision for economic development. For example, they stumbled over a joint development agreement for the Maine Street Station project; then argued at length before finally killing a proposed town business park.

Recently, councilors advocating different approaches to economic development lobbed angry barbs over a proposed gateway overlay district at a major Pleasant Street intersection that would allow a large Walgreens store.

Apologies for the length of this share, but to me at least there were many similarities to what I have witnessed here in Kingman for many years.

Growth agency touts progress in tough times

When a plastics recycler decided late last year to move into the long vacant Reichert Stamping plant in Sylvania Township, it didn't attract headlines.

But the decision by Next Resins, Addison, Mich., was among the quiet victories achieved last year by Toledo's nonprofit Regional Growth Partnership and other economic development agencies.

"We have high unemployment, a tough economy, a lot of work to be done, but there is economic prosperity," President Steve Weathers said at the partnership's annual meeting yesterday.


Its early-stage venture capital fund, Rocket Ventures, awarded more than $1.8 million in grants to high-tech companies.

The fund's Ignite program provided a dozen entrepreneurs with $50,000 grants each. This year, administrators of that program plan to boost total grants to $750,000 from $600,000 in 2008.

The fund, which provides other types of assistance, received 225 inquiries last year. It is working with 32 new firms, and officials hope to boost that number to 100 by the end of next year, said Greg Knudson, director of Rocket Ventures. The start-up companies are involved in bioscience, health care, alternative energy, and advanced materials.

The partnership and other economic development agencies in the region helped attract 1,500 jobs and investments of $409 million in 2008, officials reported.

Projects included Next Resins, which will spend $3.5 million at the former Reichert Stamping plant and create 30 jobs there.

In addition, northwest Ohio's solar-energy industry attracted coverage from CNN, ABC World News Tonight, and Fox Business News, partnership officials said.

Despite tough economic times, the partnership worked with 139 firms contemplating a move or expansion in northwest Ohio or southeast Michigan.

That was a 60 percent increase from 2007.

And, if January and February are any indications of the rest of this year: "We're going to have a very exciting 2009," said Dean Monske, vice president of business development.
Folks... partnerships, economic development agencies, 1,500 jobs created, $409 MILLION in new investments, 139 firms considering moving to the region... in Ohio?? All I ever hear about Ohio is that it is located in one of the worst economic areas for activity (otherwise I hear it is a pretty nice place). Throw in a solar power energy industry... in Ohio no less... there is simply no excuse why this A) isn't happening in Kingman/Mohave County and B) efforts to do such things aren't covered by the main source of media in this town.

Economic development issues on tonight’s agenda

City commissioners will discuss two economic development issues at their meeting this evening.

Commissioners will consider approving a new overarching policy to govern economic development incentives, like tax abatements.

The policy will create a new cost-benefit model that commissioners will use to measure whether tax abatements are fiscally feasible. It also will set new guidelines on how large of an abatement should be offered to firms interested in moving or expanding in Lawrence.

The key term is fiscally feasible... I realize a term like that gets lost on the hardliners around here, either that or the hardliners accuse those with an open mind of being bought off by out of town developers. Whatever.

Mayor Pam Iorio delivers multimedia presentation at Tampa Convention Center

Progress, in terms of neighborhoods, economic development, mass transit and the arts, was the theme of a multimedia State of the City presentation delivered by Mayor Pam Iorio at 10 a.m. Monday to a standing room only crowd of roughly 800 at the Tampa Convention Center.


In the video Iorio highlighted some of the city’s significant developments of the past 12 months, including construction of a 353,000-square-foot Ikea store near Ybor City that is slated to bring 400 new jobs.

Iorio also drew attention to East Tampa, the site of several community center upgrades as well as the future location of a $4 million Fifth Third Bank facility on Hillsborough Avenue.

Wait, wait, wait... a new retail store and a new bank facility?? In this economy?? Hard to see when hiding in a shell I guess.

Last one...

City goals include streets, bayfront

TRAVERSE CITY -- City commissioners have their hands full with goals to cut employee benefit costs, boost economic development outside downtown, fix city streets and improve the bayfront.

Those and other issues are among a host of matters commissioners pitched as their personal priorities.

The city commission tonight will clarify and prioritize a draft list of 12 goals that will influence the city budget.

"I get the sense that people are recognizing some of the most important issues in the city, and saying instead of 'we need to eliminate a cell phone for employee C, or a car for employee D', I think commissioners are now starting to think in a big picture," Mayor Michael Estes said.


The list also includes projects on which the city wants to spend more money, such as streets, infrastructure and bayfront amenities.

Here is more from the list of their goals at that link.

-- Address tax increment financing and the Downtown Development Authority

-- Foster economic development outside the downtown

-- Improve streets and other infrastructure

-- Work with surrounding jurisdictions to receive more funding for the city's regional assets, such as Hickory Hills and the Senior Center

-- Address city parks and recreation facilities

-- Implement the bayfront plan

-- Work with the Michigan Department of Transportation to redesign and reconstruct Division Street.

These were just a few but as you can see, many communities are in some form of similar straights. I just get the overwhelming feeling that the longer we stay in our 'shells', as it were, the longer it is going to take this community to recover. It won't happen until this community actually begins taking steps to improve the economic conditions in a way that is heard loud and clear (you know, gets reported on by the media... and if the media actually doesn't have anything to report on, then the lack of progress leads to the city).

Until next time...

Existing home sale up, nationally

Really shouldn't come as a shock or that large of a surprise.

Link here...

Sales of U.S. pre-owned homes rose 5.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million in February, boosted by "deep" price discounts, the National Association of Realtors reported Monday.

Some say this news helped bolster the stock market yesterday, personally I don't have a clue as to what spurs the stock market on a daily basis.

I maintain a belief that there are two data points to consider and each has its own 'bottom' if you will. One data point is the value in dollars... and I don't think our local real estate market has reached that point yet. The other data point is sales in units and what I emphasized above has led to an increase of unit sales... and yes it appears that the bottom has been reached there.

Imagine how many more homes would sell if there was an ongoing effort to develop Kingman to attract new neighbors. It would coincide with the bottom of the price data point much earlier.

It is all about demand from here on out.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Last weekends buzz worthy term...

If you watched or read any of the national media outlets over the weekend, you may have noticed a buzz worthy term thrown around that is intended to help the overall economy.

Now, I haven't had the time to look into the details of this new plan... brought to us by the president and his treasury secretary... so I don't know if I support the plan or not.

But, I will at least give it a look.

The term... if you haven't guessed by now is...

Public/Private Partnership

I know I've heard that somewhere before... hmmm.

some econ development stuff...

Most of the time when I run these econ development pieces I search them out and find it is rather easy to come up with four or five examples of other communities doing what they can to improve their local economies. Now the process, for this post at least, is proving to be even easier. Over the weekend a couple of readers sent me an article (and no, I will not be giving those readers named credit for doing so, ha!!).

So I will share the two here and simply pretend that I found these on my own (but if you have articles to share, please send them in and save me the twenty minutes it takes to find such articles on my own).

First one is from a store opening right here in Arizona (but alas, not here in Mohave County).

Shoppers flock early to new Gilbert Macy's

Shoppers from across the southeast Valley showed up as early as 7:30 a.m. Friday to check out the new Macy's at Gilbert's SanTan Village.


R.B. Harrison, president and chief operating officer of Macy's West, said the company has been eyeing Gilbert's growth and proximity to high-profile developments such as Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and the planned Gaylord resort in east Mesa.

He said Gilbert is "poised for growth."

Kathy Langdon couldn't agree more.

"I really see this as the first step to recovery in a down economy," said Langdon, president of Gilbert's Chamber of Commerce. "This couldn't have come at a better time."

No folks... Kingman is not getting a Macy's anytime soon as it is simply too much of a 'high-falootin' type of retail place that doesn't fit in with current demographics (hi Al). It is, though, the 'poised for growth' and 'first step to recovery' comments that I felt were worth sharing.

Kingman could still be poised for growth (if it was actually being worked on) and drastically needs at least one positive thing to manage its own first step to recovery.

City looks to 'enterprise zone' to boost fortunes

Enterprise zones offer tax benefits and other incentives for businesses located in them. An enterprise zone could help attract coveted biotech and high-tech businesses to Escondido's mostly vacant business park when the economy recovers.

“This is a big story for Escondido,” Pfeiler said. “We are investing in the future of Escondido.”

The City Council made the decision to pursue a designation at its meeting Wednesday.

“Escondido has a good shot at it. If we can get it, it will be that much more powerful an incentive,” Councilman Dick Daniels said. “These are times when businesses are not thinking about relocating, but we want to be in position when they do. We have great potential for a business park.”

What?? Investing in the future?? Being ready to position itself for new opportunity?? Is not much to ask... that is if the future is any concern to the great folks that live in Kingman.

"Is it really that bad"

Friends from the Mortgage Calculator have sent me a link to share. I found it interesting reading and just wanted to pass it along.

U.S. Housing Market: Is it Really That Bad?

Plenty of good links to check out in their article. (I can't write all the articles people)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Day by day...

Day By Day is not your average comic strip. I read it daily. I think this one is apropos because news reports say that an estimated 3,000 people showed up in Orlando Florida for a Tea Party today.

Locals, don't forget we have our own Mohave Tea Party scheduled on April 1.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New tax credits... homes related

The TaxProf Blog has an interesting set of links worth checking out including info on the $8,000 first time home buyer credit and various credits for energy efficient home improvement things.


They include up to $1,500 in tax credits for adding qualifying windows, doors, insulation, roofs, heating and cooling equipment, water heaters and even wood and pellet stoves to your house in 2009 and 2010. Perks for installing pricier solar technology, small wind-energy systems or a geothermal-well system include a tax credit of 30% of qualifying expenditures with no upper limit through 2016.

Is happening.

notable quotable..

Well smack my ass and call me Charlie... the Kingman Daily Miner did a brief write up, including quotes, on the subject of Kingman Crossing. I had to look out the window to see if pigs were flying (none visible).

Shares from this article...

"As HMMC grows and attracts more patients, however, we foresee the local community wanting even faster access by means of an I-40 interchange," Scholer said.

"Appropriate infrastructure growth is surely going to depend on the creation of not just one, but two additional interchanges - one at Kingman Crossing and another at Rattlesnake Wash. From the point of view of optimal access to health care, we believe the community would certainly be well served by the Kingman Crossing interchange.

"The community will also need an infrastructure that grows with it, and that includes access on and off of I-40," (Hualapai Mountain Medical Center President Duane) Scholer said.

I can almost hear the no-growthers now... I remember some crowing that the new hospital stating it didn't need an interchange. Well I guess it is too late for a referendum, dang it. The hospital doesn't need an interchange... but potential patients in need of emergency services might beg to differ.

Optimal access to health care... has a great ring to it.

Of course the reader comments are already laying the propaganda groundwork with cries of 'no tax exemption' and 'driveway to nowhere'... well if you are in need of emergency services of a hospital in that area, that 'driveway to nowhere' is actually a very important somewhere.

Yet for all the coming hand-wringing... none can argue on any factual basis on how a possible new interchange in the Kingman Crossing area might come to pass. Nothing is on the table in the form of negotiations or solutions (pigs might actually fly by the time any of that A) happens and B) gets reported on by the local daily).

There was also this from the article...

On Feb. 9, the city met with Vanderbilt and Vestar for the first of several negotiations concerning a tax reimbursement agreement for Kingman Crossing.

The two groups haven't met since, and no other meetings are scheduled, Mayor John Salem wrote in an e-mail.

Cool of the Miner to finally getting around to reporting on a meeting held over a month ago [sarcasm off/].

Today's email share...

Go this a little while ago...

Once upon a time a man appeared in a village and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each.

The villagers, knowing there were many monkeys, went to the forest and started catching them. The man bought thousands at $10 and, as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort.

He then announced that he would buy monkeys at $20 each. This renewed the villager’s efforts and they started catching monkeys again.

Soon the supply diminished and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce it was an effort to even find a monkey, let alone catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50 each! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would buy on his behalf.

The assistant told the villagers, "Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that my boss has already collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and when my boss returns, you can sell them to him for $50."

The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys for 700 billion dollars.

They never saw the man or his assistant again, only lots and lots of monkeys!

Now you have a better understanding of how the Wall Street Bailout Plan works.

Thought you might like it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bloggers at Winter Conference...

Last week I was very fortunate to finally meet face to face with a few fellow real estate bloggers that I have been reading for more than a few years now.

Jay Thompson
, John Wake, and Dru Bloomfield are all real estate practitioners in the Phoenix area and have been sharing information about their business, market, and personal interests on their blogs for some time. I've had them linked here at MOCO over on the sidebar.

Jay and Dru were part of a panel discussion on blogging and other forms of social networking at Winter Conference. This Winter Conference is the first one that I have attended where I have met other RE bloggers. I'm certainly not THE pioneer of RE blogging... in fact I initially modeled my monthly sales reports based on how John produces his reports and Jay's blog has been an inspiration for MOCO since I first stumbled across his site. But the point is, I believe blogging and other forms of social networking are vital moving forward in this industry... and I have had modest success myself using this forum in my own business. So finding other real estate professionals of like mind, to some degree, is satisfying in terms of blogging... after what seems like all these years.

There are other local Realtors who are now blogging, Evan Fuchs in Bullhead City and Kathleen Murray right here in Kingman. And I say... the more the better.

I look forward to a plan to collaborate with Evan in the coming weeks and producing an online radio/podcast type of format on real estate related issues locally (but you just have to know that I'll throw my local political two cents in as often as I can).

Better days ahead, for real estate pro's... and especially for anyone else that simply wants more organic information that local blogs offer that more traditional media sources simply can't.

Time for a tea party...

Wow... really, really cool.

Kingman is set for our own version of the Tea Party Movement that has, with very little main stream fanfare, spread out across the country. Now a couple of people that post here have put their heads and resources together to organize such an event in this great location.

Click on this link for more information on the Mohave Tea Party.

I want to thank Donna Crouse and Loyd Peterson for taking the next step and organizing the event (there may be others that have had a hand in this and they should get credit as well).

Are you not sure what a Tea Party is all about... try this...

The American tea party movement bears more resemblance to a rolling block party than a unified organized movement or cause. And that’s precisely why I love it. These people are nice. They’re smart. They come from all walks of life. And they’re sincere. I’ve met hard-hat wearing construction managers, accountants, school teachers, the unemployed, retirees, even the nicest anarchist couple who are worried about their kids’ futures.

You could also 'google' American Tea Party for more info.

Come on out, fashion up a sign, and remind your government that they work for you.

Related post on MOCO

I'm back...

After AAR's Winter Conference I headed out to eastern New Mexico to spend a few days with my wife and the grandkids. Just didn't feel like blogging, or staying current on local issues for that matter. Seeing the kids smile and laugh was enough for me.

Have been trying to catch up and am about half way through my emails (yep, didn't check those either)... hopefully there will be time for some updates throughout the day.

Glad to be back though... and who do I thank for the great weather??

Oh... and on the econ development front from the location I was at was this...

Part of the city’s economic achievements include more than 1,000 jobs created in the past few years and more than 1,200 homes sold in the last two years. And new industries attracted to the city particularly because of the industrial park, (Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield) said.

“Even with the state of the national economy and the loss of capital markets, our economic development efforts have been very successful,” she said.

And it is too bad that the local newspaper, for whatever reason, doesn't include their Sunday edition online as there was a great article on the success of their local real estate market.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It was 'lunch and learn' day...

I spent the lunch time hour at the Kingman/Golden Valley Association of Realtors office today. The education committee has been putting on events called 'lunch and learn'. Until today I had not participated at such an event.

Today's topic and presentation was put on by local attorney Mark Sippel and he covered the subject of 'short sales'.

I found the presentation extremely handy for today's housing market, and it never hurts to hear about such issues straight from a lawyer. I have a personal business rule not to engage in potential short sale transactions, but have been thinking about breaking that rule lately.

But mostly, I want to commend the work of the education committee of the Association. I am very impressed by the number of fellow members that attended and all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes from the committee members, Association staff, and the Board of Directors.

There are many committee activities that I have noticed lately and all seem to be producing value and benefits for the members.

So a heart felt thank you to all that helped put this event together today.

Monday, March 09, 2009

February Sales Report (2009)

Hey folks... sales were up in February 115% compared to last year!!

I have to admit that part of me wants to leave this sales report right there with no further explanations. Sales are up... sales are up... but really does it matter?? Last year, last February was the worst month that I've recorded for sales in the study area I track data from. This year with banks selling foreclosed inventory at lower level prices than I have data records for (2004), this rise in unit sales is not a surprise at all.

More information, data, and thoughts in a bit... but 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:

Obviously we are still looking at a surplus of inventory issue in this market... but the slow part of the selling season is over and perhaps the red line begins to gain on the blue line a bit to close the gap. One thing is for certain, the market cannot take on as many listings as it has been -- unless the new listings are priced accordingly for a realistic sale.

Average listings and sales averages chart:

Put yourself in the shoes of a soon to be seller in this market. It is easy to beat the competition IF -- you can afford to do so. I have a hunch that the red line continues in a certain direction until the surplus inventory issue begins to go away in earnest.

2005 through 2008 unit sales chart:

So far sales in at the same level they were in 2007 (is why you can barely see the orange line), in fact the same number of sales through the first two months. In case you forgot... 2007 wasn't all that great of a year for the housing market. What looks to be good news though at this point is that current pending contracts are up over 2007 levels and if all goes well at the closing table, unit sales could break from the pack and head to the plus side of things.

2005 through 2008 average price chart:

Gonna need to adjust the scale soon I bet. Here's what helped the unit sales figure jump 115% year over year... the average priced sale dropped 33% from last year (down 42% from 2006).

Anyone ready to call the bottom yet?? I'm not.

2005 through 2008 median price chart:

The median price dropped 35 percentage points compared to last February, and is down 50% compared to 2006 (yep... you read that right).

The price range of all sales in February 2009 was from $25,600 - $301,750

Average SFR statistics:

Data tables for all sales tracked in February 2009

Price Data
ItemFeb. '09
Average Price per Unit Sold $118,437
Median Price per Unit Sold $102,600
Average Price per Square Foot $75

House Data
Item Feb. '09
Ave Living Space per Square Foot 1,574
Year Built 1995

Marketing Data
ItemFeb. '09
Days on Market to Contract 95
Days on Market to Close 128
Price Reductions on Market $17,981
Negotiated Price Concessions $7,159
Total Price Concessions $25,140
Total Percent Conceded

Bonus Charts:

I usually do not make remarks after this chart, but if you are that potential seller and want to estimate what your home might sell for -- take your square footage of your home and multiply by $75. It will give you a round number somewhere in the ballpark. And you will see in the table below, the spread between foreclosed sales and traditional seller sales was not that far off in February.

This chart still says that seller are asking way too much for their property on the market, as the chart is not trending in one direction or the other.

Foreclosure Impact:

This table below went over pretty well last month based on emails and comments. I'll continue to break out the data like this as long as the foreclosure impact is as severe as it has been.

Traditional Seller vs. Bank Owned sales comparison for February 2009

Price Data
ItemTraditional Seller
Bank Owned
Total Units Sold in Month
Average Price per Unit Sold $132,884$109,876
Median Price per Unit Sold $99,900$104,750
Average Price per Square Foot $82$71

House Data
Item Traditional SellerBank Owned
Ave Living Space per Square Foot 1,6191,547
Year Built 19921997

Marketing Data
ItemTraditional Seller Bank Owned
Days on Market to Contract 11582
Days on Market to Close 145118
Price Reductions on Market $26,203$13,109
Negotiated Price Concessions $8,453$6,392
Total Price Concessions $34,656$19,501
Total Percent Conceded21%

Again, it is easy to see that without the foreclosures there wouldn't have been an increase of unit sales to the tune of 115%, in fact there would have been a decrease. It is no secret, price is key. In fact it is THE key in marketing property at the moment. Just look a the concessions of the traditional sellers above for that key.

In fact, foreclosure sales held their ground in terms of average sales price and price per square foot compared to last year. Traditional sellers did not.

However, traditional sellers did make up ground in terms of time on the market to attract a buyer and close of escrow... but they probably did so because of the price concession. It is all coming back to price and it will continue to do so until A) the surplus inventory goes away, B) the inventory of bank owned foreclosures is reduced, and C) the economy improves.


I've covered most of the conclusions already but I'll sum it up... prices are down and sales are up.

Until next time.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

More econ development news... in other locations

I'm just going to continue to bring this kind of information here, from time to time, until we here in Kingman start to see these kinds of discussions happening in our media and from our elected officials.

CB 10 meets the challenge

All signs point to economic recession. But Community Board 10 intends to meet that challenge head on. The board voted unanimously to create a brand new economic development committee on Thursday, February 19.

“This new committee is going to be great,” board member Anne Jack said. “A lot of businesses in Westchester Square and on Crosby Avenue need our help.”

Until now, the board has barely addressed business concerns. But a global financial crisis has the district teetering between renewal and decline. Economic development, like residential development, deserves attention.


According to Kearns, the committee could work with Westchester Square merchants to launch a Business Improvement District. It could also sponsor seminars covering government loan, tax incentives and grants.

“We’ll have business-minded members on the committee,” he said. “We’ll have a business-minded chair.”

Board member Virginia Gallagher isn’t frightened by the prospect of a second Great Depression.” But Gallagher believes communication between business owners and civic leaders will prove crucial to the area’s success.

Ready to face the challenge... and ready to put a plan of action in place?? Cool.

Less duplication, more cooperation: Local officials say improvements possible

The local government machine aims to provide its taxpayers with public services they depend upon - transportation access, economic development, education, recreational opportunities, law enforcement protection, infrastructure for water, roads, growth planning and more.


Morton County Commissioner Andy Zachmeier said some duplication could be eliminated by city and county boards attending the other's meetings. "We could work together. The snow removal could be one example," he said.

"We want to promote growth, but we want to keep property taxes low and keep business taxes low," Zachmeier said. He said that would attract more residents and economic development.

While snow removal is not a worry for us here (at least this month), I do like the effort to keep taxes low on business and property in an effort to attract MORE residents and economic development. It can be done folks.

Economic development program hopes to lure top companies to region

The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada may be seen as a player-coach in Greater Reno-Tahoe's economic diversification efforts, but there are some real all-stars playing the actual game.

Key partners in this endeavor include NV Energy; the Nevada Commission on Economic Development; the cities of Reno, Sparks and Fernley; the seven counties that make up our region; the University of Nevada, Reno; Truckee Meadows Community College; Desert Research Institute; Reno-Tahoe International Airport; developers; Realtors; businesses and more. Some provide vital funding, others needed skills.

This diversity of talent will make something happen and that is precisely what our "Out-of-Market Business Attraction" program is all about. We're working to recruit companies and jobs to our area in addition to responding to inbound company inquiries and assisting existing companies looking to expand or even just stay in business.

Out-of-market attraction is important for at least four reasons:

# Jobs. Nearly everyone knows or is related to someone out of work and we need to create jobs as the feed source to the economic stimulus.

# Tax dollars. Companies and the people they employ pay taxes basic to our interdependent system of government and services.

# Diversification. A broad base of companies from different industries -- clean energy, advanced manufacturing, business and financial services, advanced logistics and more -- provide jobs and taxes that minimize the obvious dangers of a region supported by a single industry.

# Competition. Through sales relationships, public/media relations and marketing we must promote the Greater Reno-Tahoe region and its many assets to attract new business.


Our goal is to bring company executives here to experience Reno/Tahoe firsthand. Second only to personal contact, decision makers are most influenced by news stories, which makes a national public relations campaign critically important to our region's of-market attraction efforts and getting the word out that Reno/Tahoe is a top place to do business.

So I'm not just imagining influencing factors like 'news stories'. I knew it. I'll resist the urge to link to some really non flattering articles about our community from one of our main local media outlets. Issues that probably give private interests with private money pause before dropping their dollars locally.

But I really like the bullet points in the linked article. Jobs, tax dollars, diversity, competition... all things Kingman sorely needs more of.

PROGRESS: Building friendships: Cities find the personal touch helps draw, retain businesses

A friendly face can make all the difference in economic development.

The former Clarion Hotel in Wickliffe was a good opportunity and key location when Julius Mosley bought it in June 2007.

Yet, the reason the hotel reopened in January as the Mosley Select Suites Hotel was the city's desire to build a relationship with him.

"It helps when you have a friendly city," Mosley said. "Originally, they were very receptive so that was a plus. That takes down 90 percent of the roadblocks if you have a cooperating city."

Even with an economy still struggling to recover, Mosley continued his plans to open the 196-room hotel, located at 28500 Euclid Ave.

"I already started it before the economic meltdown. I can't let that affect me. I can't just roll over and play dead," he said.


Attracting business

Available land, buildings and work force represent vital elements to bringing business to the area, said Jay Foran, senior vice president of business attraction for Team NEO.

The Cleveland-area group, which focuses on marketing and outreach, has 45 active projects — 10 new ones in 2009 — that could potentially bring employers to Lake and Geauga counties. Although there were 12 new projects in 2008, the potential is great for the area considering there are 10 months left in the new year, Foran said.

"We're an attractive place," he said. "In these economic times, we will see a decent amount of lead opportunities come our way.

Of the 45 possible projects, Foran anticipates that 10 percent of them will come to fruition, which he considers "a good average."

"We've developed relationships with these people over the long run. We are being successful with these people," Foran said.

"We're becoming a contestant in these opportunities much more so than the past.

"Basically, I'm feeling good about our lead stream compared to the previous year. We didn't expect to be this vibrant this year," he said.


Keeping businesses

Business retention often can be more impactful than bringing in new businesses.

In 2008, Wickliffe attracted 30 new companies and 130 employees; however, Laver said 80 percent of the city's job creation is through existing businesses.

In Chardon, Assistant City Manager Randy Sharpe also said that job retention is crucial.

Last year, the city collaborated with the chamber of commerce to create a business visitation program, which allows them to build more personal relationships with employers.

Since the program was implemented, the city has visited 16 employers; Sharpe said the visits have been well-received.

"We felt it was a way to get to know them better, help them grow where they are or somewhere else in the community," Sharpe said.

Does Kingman see a decent amount of lead opportunities come its way??

Development head seeks to add 2 employees

By assuming day-to-day management of the city's infrastructure and development plan, the Greater Alexandria Economic Development Authority is encountering a work force issue for itself.

GAEDA, the city's economic-development arm, has two employees, Executive Director Clifford J. Moller and Executive Assistant Angela Varnado. That staff may need to double for the authority to handle the $96 million development plan known as SPARC, for Special Planned Activity Redevelopment Corridors.


Alexandria Mayor Jacques M. Roy said compensation will be addressed in a cooperative endeavor agreement he hopes to present Tuesday to the Alexandria City Council.

The agreement will lay out the role and deliverables associated with the SPARC program as agreed upon by the city and GAEDA. "A sharing of responsibilities" is how Roy described it.

SPARC's goals range include improving infrastructure, transportation and housing as a means to induce private economic development. The plan segments the city into three cultural restoration areas, or CRAs, roughly described as downtown and the Red River waterfront; North Bolton Avenue and MacArthur Drive; and Masonic Drive and Lee Street.

A total of $40 million from the city's sale of two long-term municipal bonds in July 2008 is available now to fund projects.


Roy and Lawson agree on SPARC's potential to transform the city.

Lawson called it the most significant thing the council and city have done. Roy described SPARC as "city altering."

"I know it can be," the mayor said, "and I believe that we're really on the precipice of something great."

The goal there is to attract private economic development. Will that be the goal here in Kingman?? When??

Covington mayor gathering IDEAs through certification program

Economic development, strategic planning for communities and building a competitive community with an attractive quality of life are only a few of the topics of the Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association (IDEA)’s economic development certification program course that Covington Mayor Candace Watkins is attending this week in Baton Rouge.

Watkins said that participating in courses like these continuously gives her training to implement programs and ideas for growth in the city of Covington.

She will be commuting to Baton Rouge each day and plans to use the knowledge obtained through the course and seminars to further economic development and planning in the city.

Other seminars in the four-day course include retail expansion and downtown redevelopment, workforce development from the ground up, business retention and expansion, developing an entrepreneurial economy, finance in the local economic development world, effective targeted marketing for business recruitment and managing the economic development organization.

Citizens of Kingman are demanding everything I emphasized in the above paragraph from our local government.

Economy has slowed, city still seeing growth

Although the economy nationwide has slowed, Coppell’s economic developments is still growing, slowly, but it is growing, according to economic development coordinator Mindi Hurley.

“There has definitely been a slow down in development,” Hurley said. “Every city has experienced some slowdown because of the economy, but we have been fortunate in this area to not see the kind of slowdown other parts of the country has seen.”


Several new businesses have come into Coppell in the last six months, which is important to the city.

“In the last six months, we have had Market Street open, two restaurants, Chipotle and Mooyah, and American Home Mortgage Servicing,” Hurley said.

According to Hurley, American Home Mortgage Servicing could employ more than 750 people.

“I think that many people think you get a new business every week and that is not necessarily true,” Hurley said. “It takes a long time before a company will finally make the decision on a location.”

Hurley said she has had a few meetings in the past two weeks with companies putting out feelers about coming to Coppell.

“That doesn’t mean they will come,” she said. “In the last two weeks, I have met with four different companies that are looking.”

The companies range from small retail to larger industrial users, she said.


Hurley sees two areas which she hopes will continue to grow in the future.

“I hope we will see more retail and a variety of retail coming in,” she said. “In addition, we are just now beginning to see more office space in the community.”

When, I say when, will the good folks of the Kingman community see this kind of information in our own media??

Friday, March 06, 2009

New markets and obsolescence

Daniel R. Patterson is an Arizona State Representative in the current legislature, and he has a blog (fun to find these things from our elected officials). He, along with other House democrats, are pushing through a bill that passed the Water and Energy Committee.

Now, I'm NOT a legislator -- nor do I play one on TV -- but I started to give the bill a read and found some of it interesting pertaining to the future of housing (i.e. construction).

Here is the bill in its original form here. Now I won't say that I've read all 37 pages of the PDF file, in fact I've only read lines 5-27 on page of the proposed bill. I've scanned through some other pages but that is it. So my comments from here are based only on those lines of the bill at this point.

Below, I'm copying some from the House Summary pertaining to new construction of residential and commercial property.


· States that it is the goal of the state to promote the construction of energy efficient buildings.

· Establishes voluntary statewide goals for the construction of energy efficient residential and commercial buildings as follows:

· 15% of new buildings are on average more efficient than the 2006 IECC in 2012.

· 30% of new buildings are on average more efficient than the 2006 IECC in 2016.

· 50% of new buildings are on average more efficient than the 2006 IECC in 2020.

· Requires DOCEO to track the number of energy efficient buildings constructed in the state and submit an annual report to the Legislature with the number and percentage of energy efficient buildings and an estimate of the percentage of new residential and commercial buildings that were more energy efficient, beginning in 2010. The DOCEO must also present the information to the House of Representatives Committee on Water and Energy and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt.

· Requires cities, towns and counties to report to the DOCEO the total number of building permits issued and the percentage of those that were issued for energy efficient residential and commercial buildings, including the energy rating system value, beginning February 1, 2012.

· Defines energy efficient buildings.

The bill states plainly that all cities and towns shall report to the Department of Commerce Energy Office (DOCEO) whether new building permits meet the energy efficiencies referred to above. Starting on or before February 1 of 2010 all Arizona cities and towns will report to DOCEO all building permits and the percentage of the new buildings that will be energy compliant.

I'm removing the politics of this bill in my line of thinking here. I'll pretend that this bill goes through whether I want it to or not, I think this bill will deliver a couple of things. One is obsolescence and the other is a new market. In the current state of the housing market, neither is a bad thing right now in my opinion.

I know that I'm viewed in some circles as a champion for alternative energy products, like wind turbines for instance, and really I don't care if that is actually true or not. I see products like wind turbines and solar panels as potential property enhancements more than anything else really, products that could increase value and marketability. Property owners could wish to purchase such products and services for their own energy saving needs to utilize whatever benefit they may find, and also offer those products and services to the next owner of the property if the current owner decided to sell for whatever reason.

Of course I realize that these alternative energy products are going to have to actually deliver on the promises being made if the premise I'm in line with becomes reality. In other words a seller would have to prove that his/her home actually has a lower utility cost than perhaps his/her neighbor that is also selling but doesn't have the alternative energy products. Potential buyers will basically have to be able to see it, feel it, and realize it.

Now this bill doesn't actually have any wind turbine tower or solar panel information in it (at least from the documents that I scanned through), but the gist is the same. New construction homes, at least a percentage of them, will have to meet new requirements put in place by whatever government that puts them there.

Maybe it will be the squiggly looking light bulbs that have to be put into lighting fixtures, maybe it is (even) lower flow toilets, or something else along those lines that this bill is pushing... but no doubt that reducing energy needs in a home will be the rage (if it isn't already).

So this really means that new residential developments (if there ever is such a thing again) will likely market the heck out of the fact (if they choose to) they offer these energy efficient homes. These energy efficient homes will find a market for the new home buyer and strain the older less efficient home market... leading to a form of obsolescence.

The bill doesn't appear to even be as harsh as it certainly could be. The bill only calls for 50% of new construction projects to be up to whatever energy efficiency level they are talking about by 2020. But nevertheless, the clock is ticking (if the bill passes).

I guess that I don't live in one of these energy efficient homes at the moment (although I do have squiggly light bulbs in many places). I don't have a wind turbine or solar panels either. There will be opportunities to retrofit my home to be more efficient, and at the increased rate that utility rates are increasing, perhaps even someday soon those retrofits might even be cost effective.

But... my home will still likely be facing the clock of obsolescence.

Future developments that offer energy efficient homes will draw more demand than even a retrofitted home once that market really appears. Retiree's on fixed incomes will be drawn to such a home, folks that think they are saving the planet will be drawn to that kind of dwelling, penny pincher's like me will be drawn to a lower cost solution, and even just some folks that want to live near someone from the examples I just shared will likely be drawn as well. It will be a new market... a new product market. A new product is just really what the overall housing market could use to fuel demand.

Normally I'd rather simply let the free enterprise market deliver the new market, but it seems the government is bent on doing it at this time. I'd feel better about the kind of organic demand that free enterprise always delivers, and my only worry about the government interference in this case would be that these new 'efficiencies' aren't really efficient enough to make up for the actual cost/benefit difference that there clearly is at this point in time (I doubt I'm saving all that much money on my squiggly light bulbs yet... it is not noticeable at least).

I'm left wondering how much faster obsolescence clock ticks if this all happens and how quickly a new product market appears if these kinds of government mandated, along with truly beneficial cost saving energy efficient products, changes the overall housing market.

It is always smart to be in the present taking care of issues that need attention today... however we should always keep one eye down the road and be ready for future issues.