Hey Nick, How’s The Market?

There is rarely a day that goes by when I haven’t had a conversation about real estate. As you know, it’s in my blood and I enjoy talking to people about any aspect of the real estate business.

In the mid 2000s, the conversations were a little different than they have been for the past few years. Obviously, we have gone from what seems to be one extreme to another.

Currently, the topics people mostly ask about revolve around short sales, bank-owned homes, trustee sales, strategic default and more. Often, people just don’t know what to believe. Have we hit bottom? Is it a good time to buy a home? Should I sell now? Can we compete with the banks?

Just a few weeks ago, CNN posted an article titled, “Real estate: It’s time to buy again”. In that article, we read that “the most attractive asset class in America is housing.” They go on to talk about the real estate industry and how low the new-home starts are in the country. Just 5 days before the CNN article was published, I got a call from a reporter asking about the condition of our real estate market in the valley. When Channel 10 called, they asked me a few questions on the phone and then wanted to know if they could come by my office to discuss the market. In the video below, we talk about how builders are in the business to sell homes and how they have had to compete with a high percentage of distressed sales. While I don’t think the market is perfect for everyone, I do believe there are some good opportunities. Waiting for prices to fall might not be the best decision for the long term.

While many of the news reports over the past few years have been quick to say that home ownership isn’t a good idea, it seems there has been a recent change of heart from some of the larger players. To me, it usually seems like many of the media outlets are a few months behind in their assessments. Take a look at this video below where my friend Steve de Laveaga at Fidelity National Title also agrees that the media can be behind and talks about a very strong first quarter of 2011.

In the video, you hear Steve make several interesting points about the current real estate market.

1. They have had “back to back to back record resale openings” at Fidelity.

2. Investors are back. People from all over the world are purchasing property in Arizona right now.

3. At the time the video was shot, they had seen 9 straight weeks of price increases.

4. Steve says, you better buy something quick or you are going to pay more for it.

So, are we out of the woods and back to doing the happy dance every day? No way. Many challenges remain. Some areas are doing better than others and each person has a unique situation. If YOU want to talk about the current real estate market… “Just Call Nick!”

Can You Compete?

The last few years have been tough on traditional home sellers. Downward pressure on pricing has made it very hard for many people to compete against the large numbers of bank-owned and short sale properties. Unfortunately, many home sellers price their home for what they “should have sold for” when they first thought of selling. Over-pricing a home can be a huge mistake. In order to price properly, you need to take many things into consideration. Location, features, competition, and several other key factors should be considered when looking to sell. The fact that you “need” to get X amount of money isn’t always the most realistic place to start. I hate to tell people that, but it’s the truth.

Bank owned homes - A "sign of the times?"

In the current market, buyers are looking for a deal. Obviously buyers have always wanted a deal, but with media reports of homes being sold for pennies on the dollar, people have been told that foreclosures and short sale homes are a great way to go. Let’s face it, for the average buyer, many things go into a decision to move. But with interest rates bordering on ridiculously low, and prices many thought they wouldn’t see again, people are looking for a deal as much as a home. A recent report from the National Association of Realtors tells us that first-time home ownership is way up, and I have seen lots of smart people moving up into larger homes in better areas to take advantage of the current market. Fortunately, competing with the banks in today’s market may not be as hard as you think. As long as the correct value is in place, many buyers are looking to avoid the short sale process and the headaches that can come from bank contracts. A traditional sale sounds pretty darn good to many people in the market to buy that may have had a bad experience with a short sale or a bank transaction. As a seller, you can compete – you just might need to have someone on your side to help you through the process. 🙂

Bottom line is this… If you have questions about buying or selling real estate, "Just Call Nick!"

Happy Birthday Lori!

Happy birthday to my beautiful wife. Thanks for being soooo much more than I ever hoped for. The perfect mother, the love of my life and the best friend I have ever had. I thank God each and every day for what we have…  

Fun - Catalina Island

"Suite" view of Chase Field

Where's the beach_

My favorite wedding photo

Nick and Lori

Nick and Lori cruise

Salty Dog in Boston.

My better half

No Flyers in the Flyer Box!

OK, I saw this video last night titled “No flyers in the flyer box” and had to share it. My friend Darin Persinger is an awesome real estate coach with a unique style all his own. By that, I mean the guy totally understands the needs of his clients. How? It’s easy, he has “been there, done that”. Darin has had a very successful real estate business and now makes sure that people learn a lot about the real estate business from him.

In the past, Darin has written that agents “can do better” with the presentation of homes. For instance, if you are not going to keep flyers in the flyer box, don’t have a box! If people drive by a home and see a box, they expect the box to be full. When it is empty, they probably assume you are not doing your job. Many of you that know me know I am not a huge fan of fliers. What I am a fan of is properly pricing a home and then doing a GREAT job in making sure people are able to easily find the home online and to get information quickly. A custom sign or a custom sign rider with a web address for that specific home, along with a “text for information” number, allows for immediate “access” 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To me, this is a much better idea.

Trying out some new signs...

Obviously, there is much more to this topic than just flyers or a sign. The video and this post really stand for properly marketing a home. It’s about telling a story.  It’s about creating interest, talking about the neighborhood, giving people a feel for what it is like to live there. This type of marketing can be considered hard work and time consuming to the average agent. Guys like Darin don’t look for average agents to coach, they look for agents that go far above and beyond what is “common” in the industry.

For the past 18 years, I have been selling homes here in Arizona. In good markets and bad, one thing remains constant, the fact that I love helping people buy and sell homes. Marketing properties has changed dramatically since “the old days” and I have been fortunate to surround myself with some top notch marketing professionals so that I can continue to do the best job possible for all of my clients.

I may not pick up a guitar and sing about things any time soon, but it is good to know that some of my friends will pick up the slack.

AZ Real Estate Market Heating Up

Ok, so we had our first 100 degree day recently, big whup…. Around here, that is child’s play.

For many, the a/c has been cranking for weeks, but for some, they hold out as long as possible. I can tell you one thing, if you are selling a home right now, don’t try to “cheap out” and turn the a/c up to 85 or 90 when you leave for work in the morning. Try to keep it cool, it could help.

Last week, I was looking at homes in Tempe with a friend / client and was glad that many of them were occupied. As you know, there are many parts of town and a few price ranges where the majority of the homes are vacant. Not only are these homes vacant, they have no power on. No power means, no a/c. Ever step out of a car into the hot sun only to find the inside of a home to be hotter? Believe me, it’s not cool.

If a buyer needs to rush back to an air conditioned car with sweat dripping off of their forehead, he / she probably isn’t going to have a real fond memory of that home. Same thing when the sellers leave all of the blinds shut and the a/c up to barely bearable – it just doesn’t show as well.

From SRP we get this information that probably doesn’t have a home seller in mind:

Q: Is it better to set the thermostat to a high temperature (85° to 90°) while at work all day and cool the house (two-story, approximately 3,200 square feet) when you get home to a comfortable temperature (approximately 80°), or to keep the thermostat just a degree or two higher during the day so that the cooling unit doesn’t have to work as hard during peak hours to cool the house?

A: You will save money anytime you can increase the temperature on your thermostat and cause the unit not to run. The old myth that says you will spend more energy bringing the temperature back down than you would have spent just leaving the thermostat alone is just that, a myth.”

So, you might save a few bucks by turning the a/c up to 90 when you leave for work, right? Well, if you are trying to sell a home, it could cost ya’ even more. If your home shows well and is priced correctly, leaving the a/c in a comfortable range during the day might just be money well spent…