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Phoenix builders acquiring lots – anticipate continued market recovery

September 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

As further evidence that the Phoenix real estate market is in full recovery, many homebuilders are aggressively expanding their land holdings in anticipation of continued recovery.

As noted in the Arizona Republic, Taylor Morrison Homes of Arizona, for example, has already purchased 700 lots in 2012,  has contracts on 1,000 more, and is seeking additional opportunities in Maricopa County.

The builder has communities under construction in the East Valley, but the current focus is on North Valley locations, such as Lone Mountain, Vistancia, Terramar, and parts of Scottsdale.

Charlie Enochs, Division President of Taylor Morrison Arizona, expects the builder to build twice as many homes in 2012 as it did in 2011.

Taylor Morrison isn’t alone.  The City of Scottsdale recently reported a 52% increase in building permits issued over the previous fiscal year.

The uptick in construction activity is a function of resale inventory scarcity, frustration over short sale logistics and waiting periods, and aggressive incentives offered by homebuilders.

From my perspective, it’s refreshing to drive through new home subdivisions and see and hear the hustle and bustle of construction.  For a few years, construction came to a virtual halt.  In fact, in some parts of the Valley you can still see skeletons of subdivisions abandoned mid-build, victims of the housing bust and weak economy.


2009 – Home Builders Abandoned Communities









Today – New Home Construction is Back








Considering a new home in Phoenix or Scottsdale?  I have helped many buyers save money by representing them on their new home purchases.  In fact, purchasing a new home without dedicated Realtor representation can cost you big time!

For more information on how a Realtor can help you buy a new home, read this posting.

Trust in Justin Standard of Service: I don’t take phone calls!

August 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 


You read that right.  I DON’T TAKE PHONE CALLS…while I’m in appointments.

Have you ever scheduled an appointment to meet with someone only to find they spend more time on the phone and answering the phone during your appointment than they do actually meeting with you?  It’s a personal pet peeve of mine that I’ve addressed in my business.

Could the caller be a hot lead for a new listing?  Or a buyer hoping to interview me as their Phoenix Buyer Agent?  Absolutely.

But a have implemented a Service Standard that says scheduled appointments take precedence over all other interruptions, except in the case of a rare emergency.  You’ve waited your turn to meet with me, so why is it fair to allow someone else to essentially cut to the front of the line?

Does that make me less accessible to my real estate clients?  Not at all!

If the issue is important enough for someone to leave a voice message, I promise to return the call as soon as my appointment ends.  Anyone who interacts with me knows that I am super-accessible and that I return calls!

How about you?  Do you care when someone you’ve scheduled time with doesn’t give you their uninterrupted attention?

Phoenix Real Estate Sellers Get Their Cocky Back

May 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Competitive Phoenix Real Estate Market Inspires Insanity

As more and more local property owners clue in to the state of today’s frenzied market, we’re starting to see some of the crazy cockiness that sellers exhibited in the mid-2000’s during the height of the boom.

Yes, our market is looking better for sellers than it has for 6-7 years, but I’m not yet convinced that some of today’s tactics are justified…if they ever are.

Here are some of my ‘favorites,’ if you can call them that.

“We’re not considering any offers that are less than asking price.”

Yep, I recently showed a property in Chandler where the Listing Agents had been instructed by their seller to not even present any offers below asking price…which was 20% over market value.  I’ve been around the block.  I understand that there are opportunists who are willing to try and capitalize on extreme market conditions.  However, this was short-sighted.  After years of negative media, excessive inventory, and fire sales, most Phoenix real estate buyers aren’t yet accustomed to the idea that they can’t at least negotiate a few thousand dollars off the asking price.  Even the savviest of buyers who are in tune with today’s aggressive conditions aren’t prepared to pay 20% over market value.  As for the sellers, if they want 20% over fair market value, that’s completely their prerogative.  However, they should ask 21% over market value so they can at least give the appearance of negotiating.


“Buyers Must Waive All Contingencies in the Contract After 15 Days”

This is a flashback to the “good ol’ days” that I’ve even used myself.  Unfortunately, today’s market is different than even that of 6-7 years ago.  Lending guidelines have become tighter and HOAs are less cooperative than ever with delivering docs in the contractual timeline…among other issues.  In short, my job as a Buyer’s Agent is to advise my clients of the risks of accepting this condition.  It’s up to them to determine whether or not the potential reward is worth the risk.  Personally, I wouldn’t do it today because too many things can go sideways in a transaction that one can’t foresee or prevent.


“Showings only at 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays”

Seriously.  I called a Listing Agent today to confirm availability on a property and she said her clients only allow showings on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm.  Not 1:45.  Not 2:30.  2pm.  I explained to her that my clients were only in town on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and were going to make a decision while they’re here.  Too bad, she said.  Wow!  If she was advocating her client’s interests, she would have called them and explained the extenuating circumstances and allowed them to decide whether or not to allow the showing.

As Phoenix real estate continues to sell at a torrid pace, I expect to see more unique terms and conditions from sellers that show they’ve indeed gotten their cocky back

Phoenix Real Estate Primer: Tips to Attract Buyers Part 2

April 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Tips for Phoenix Home Sellers – Part 2

A few postings ago, I offered a list of ideas that Phoenix real estate owners can do to attract more buyers and faster, higher offers.

This is the continuation of that posting, which was born from an article I read about was to turn off homebuyers, which you can read here.  While I definitely agree with the list, I have several other ideas and additional commentary to add to the mix.  It never ceases to amaze me that, as broadly-covered as this topic has been, so many Phoenix and Scottsdale property owners fail to capitalize on these easy-to-accomplish tips.

To recap, here are the previous tips:

Tip #1: A Clean Home is a Happy Home

Tip #2: Eliminate Odors and Freshen Up!

Tip #3: Update Any Dated Fixtures

Tip #4: Neutralize Wall Coverings


Now let’s get to the next batch of suggestions…


Tip #5: Say “Goodbye!” to Popcorn Ceilings

There is a time and a place for popcorn (acoustic material) ceilings.  Unfortunately, it was in 1975.  And for the many, many homes that have been slathered in this most unfortunate of finishes, it’s time to consider a good stripping!

You see, not only is the material unsightly and dated looking, it’s porous and highly absorbent.  There’s no better way to absorb and preserve off-putting odors than popcorn ceilings.  And we know that foul odors are a no-no!  (see Tip #2)  So to bring your home into the 21st Century and enhance it’s fresh appeal, remove the popcorn!

It’s very important to be aware, however, that your popcorn ceiling material may contain asbestos, a known carcinogen.  In fact, anyone engaging in removal should assume it does and take necessary precautions to avoid risky exposure.


Tip #6: Depersonalize

One of your many main goals when staging your Phoenix real estate to sell is to try and present an environment in which prospective Phoenix home buyers can easily imagine living.  The more personalized the environment, the more challenging it becomes to do that.

While you might be tempted to think that this tip only pertains to your award-winning, 67 unit Snow-Baby collection that’s proudly displayed in your living room, that’s just part of the story.  Yes, put the Snow Babies on ice, but also remove family photos, diplomas, awards, ‘unique’ artwork and furniture, and anything else that brands the home as “YOU”.

Besides conflicting with your goal of helping the buyers imagine the property as theirs, personal effects can also be distracting.  “Oh, honey, look!”  (Prospective buyer points to diploma on the wall)  “He went to ASU, too!  I wonder if we know him?  Look, there are some photos over there…let’s take a look to see if we recognize him…”  Don’t laugh.  It happens.  A lot.


Tip #7: Leave Already!!

Another goal of any Phoenix home seller is to do what you can to get buyers talking about your home while they’re at the property.   I emphasize while they’re at the property because by the end of a long day of looking at homes, they’ll forget a lot of the details of yours.

What does this mean for you?  Do your best to leave your home when it is being shown.  That encourages home buyers and their agents to discuss the property freely — the pros and the cons — while they’re onsite.  Dialogue gets proverbial ‘juices flowing’ and ensures your home has the opportunity to shine while it’s in the spotlight.


Tip #8: Don’t Misrepresent

In real estate, I think of misrepresentation as being closely tied to disclosure.  There can be a fine line between showing your home in the most positive light and actually taking proactive steps to hide negatives.  The former is encouraged, while the latter can get you in big legal trouble!

Licensed real estate agents consistently have the message, “Disclose!  Disclose!  Disclose!” driven into their heads.  The message is conveyed to us, among other ways, in continuing education, from various associations and groups that we belong to, from the Department of Real Estate, the contracts and forms that we use, and from legal verdicts.

A good REALTOR will advise their clients to disclose anything and everything that could be of potential material importance to a prospective home buyer.  In fact, your agent is obligated to disclose any issues that they’re aware of, even if you instruct them not to.  You authorize them to do as much in the Listing Agreement.  But that’s another posting for another day…

Back on topic.  If you know there’s a carpet stain in the living room that you’ve unsuccessfully tried to remove, then don’t you think it’s reasonable that a home buyer might want to know they’ll need to budget for carpet replacement?  Because of the potential financial impact on the home buyer, it’s a material fact.  If you intentionally cover the stain with an area rug and fail to disclose it in writing to the buyers, you’re asking for problems after the sale when the buyers realize they’ve been tricked.

Here’s what I recommend to my Phoenix real estate clients:  By all means, enhance the cosmetic appearance of old repairs and do an additional repairs that financially make sense.

That old water stain in the garage ceiling from 8 years ago…the one that signaled it was time for a new roof, but that you never got around to painting over after the roof was replaced?  Paint over it!  Then disclose it to the buyers when you receive an offer.

The toilet in the master bedroom that runs constantly?  Fix it!  Then disclose it.

The baseboard under the vanity in the bathroom that swelled like a balloon when you had that leak last year?  Replace it!  Then disclose it.

See the common theme?  You can repair and enhance your home, but you need to disclose the issues so the buyer has an opportunity to do their due diligence, such as hiring a roofer to confirm the roof was properly installed or hiring a plumber to confirm the pipes were re-connected properly.


Tip #9: Curb Appeal Matters

I like to say that the key to a successful Phoenix real estate sale begins at the curb.  Others say that “you only get one chance to make a first impression.”  Regardless of the credo, the fact remains the same: To sell your Phoenix property, you should create the best possible experience from the front of the property through to the back yard.

Pull weeds, rake up leaves, sweep gravel off the sidewalk, keep the lawn green and neatly trimmed, ditto for shrubs, replace dead plants, add some colorful flowers and a new welcome mat at the front door.  You want home buyers to say, “WOW!” before they ever set foot inside your home.  A little attention to your front yard will go a long way in accomplishing this goal.


Tip #10: Declutter

This tip really goes hand-in-hand with Tip #6 (Depersonalize).  If, like many homeowners, you’ve outgrown your current home and are bulging at the seams with overflowing closets and a disaster of a garage, then consider renting a storage locker on a month-to-month basis.  Remove everything you can live without, within reason.  You can leave your coffeemaker and toaster oven on the countertops in the kitchen, but remove the gelato machine, food dehydrator, and baby food maker that you haven’t used in 6 months.

Eighteen sets of towels?  Store ’em away.

Extra china settings packed in the pantry?  Store ’em away.

Tools, boxes, and equipment in the garage that you forgot even existed?  Store it away.

Winter snow gear in your closet and it’s June?  Store it away.

Do your best to create the appearance of space everywhere you can: closets, counter tops, drawers, cabinets, and shelves.


Tips #11 and Beyond: Staging Tips and MLS Success

There are a number of other recommendations that I can make to help sell your Phoenix real estate that weren’t covered in the original article.  The first tips relate to staging your home.

In keeping with the notion of encouraging prospective buyers to stay in your home as long as possible and creating a pleasant environment, consider the following:

  • Remove pets from the property, especially noisy ones.
  • Leave the thermostat at a comfortable level (even if your home is vacant!): Nobody will spend long in a Phoenix house in July if the AC is off!
  • If you know there’s going to be a showing: turn on all lights and ceiling fans, open up window coverings to let light in, light a few aromatic candles and/or spritz some unoffensive air freshener, and turn on some soothing music when you know your home is going to be shown.  Even though everyone will know it’s a contrived staging, it will work.

Finally, let’s talk about the most important piece of staging your real estate for sale: your property’s listing sheet.  The listing sheet is your home’s face to the world. Not only is it used to attract real estate agents to your property, but many people don’t realize that the MLS information (including photos) are automatically distributed to affiliate websites through IDX agreements.  So the way your home appears in the MLS is also how it will appear on and Zillow, among hundreds of others.  Prospective buyers will see your listing sheet.

I’ll cover these in detail in an upcoming blog post, but here are some tips for a successful MLS listing:

  • Lots of photos and compelling photos (optimized, if possible, and taken AFTER improvements to property, if any)
  • Virtual tour
  • Accurate directions
  • Accurate mapping in the MLS system
  • Room measurements
  • Compelling verbiage
  • Complete and accurate accounting of all features
  • Avoidance of verbiage that makes you appear to be difficult to work with
  • Disclosure of any terms that might be material prior to showing (e.g. “In the process of painting, to be completed by Friday.”)


Phoenix real estate is a tough business in any market.  Indeed, even in the strongest of seller’s markets there steps that any home seller can take to get top dollar offers and help their home stand out from the crowd.  Sure, it’s possible to not follow a single tip that I’ve listed and still sell your home for asking price on the very first day it’s listed.  However, following the tips here might put thousands of dollars more in your pocket, and what seller wants to leave equity on the table?

Now is your chance to sound off.  What do you think I’ve missed?  Have a funny story of something you saw while visiting a property?  Tell us below!  And, as always, thanks for reading.

Phoenix Real Estate Primer: Tips to Attract Buyers (Part 1)

April 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Tips for Phoenix Home Sellers – Part 1

Phoenix real estate is competitive business in any market.  The good news is that there are several easy steps you can take you can take that will help your property stand out from the crowd and sell faster.  An article was posted online last week that discussed various things that repel prospective home buyers.

In this multi-part post, I’m going to turn it around and discuss some ideas that attract home buyers.  Most of them are simple and (relatively) painless, while others involve nominal costs.  In all cases, however, I firmly believe the costs are offset by the benefits.

Tip #1: A Clean Home is a Happy Home

Home buyers tend to associate “cleanliness” with “condition”.  In other words, there’s a perception that a clean home is also a well-maintained home.  If a homeowner makes the time to stay on top of vacuuming, dusting, changing air filters, etc, then they have likely also kept up with less visible routine maintenance and repairs.

Whether they realize it or not, home buyers inherently understand that if you can’t even maintain a clean home when you’re trying to sell it, you’re probably not keeping up with more costly maintenance, such as roof checkups and heating and AC system tune-ups.

Here’s a ‘sub-tip’ that should be on every Listing Agent’s staging list:  CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER(S)!!

While a buyer may casually overlook a little dust on your furniture or some streaky mirrors, they usually don’t miss the air filter.  And if they do, their agent probably won’t.  In homes where the air handler is visible, a little red flag goes up if the filter is clogged up with dust and hair.  “I wonder how much time the AC has left…?

Dust, wipe, polish, mop, vacuum, steam clean, scrub…it’s not fun, but whether you hire a cleaning team or do it yourself, remember that a clean home is within your control and does make a positive difference in the eyes of prospective home buyers.


Tip #2: Eliminate Odors and Freshen Up!

Your home’s smell is arguably the first impression that someone has about your home.  It’s interesting to notice how many people instinctively inhale deeply when they step into a home, often followed by a comment such as:

Is that cat I smell?  Do you think it would come out?

Wow…guess they had curry for dinner last night!

Does it smell moldy in here to you, too?

Or, my favorite, “EWWWW!  A chain smoker must live here!

You should make every effort to not only remove potentially-offensive odors in your home, but you should seek to create a sense of freshness.  Humans very closely link visual cues with olfactory cues, so the smell of a property will be associated with its condition.  Clean fragrance = clean, well-maintained home.

Even the challenging odors spotlighted above can be remediated.  Some fixes are simple, such as using fresh-smelling cleaners on every surface you can reach and plug-in air fresheners, to more complex solutions, such as changing carpet, removing popcorn (acoustical) ceilings, and repainting.

You can also try scented foggers, obtainable online or from janitorial supply stores.  They’re like the insect foggers, where you set them strategically throughout the property and vacate for several hours.  These can be very effective, especially with cigarette smoke odors.

Ask your agent how your home smells and don’t be offended by their answer.  Your common goal is to sell your property as quickly as possible for maximum value.  A clean smelling home will provide a positive first impression to further that goal!


Tip #3: Update Any Dated Fixtures

You’ve seen them before.  Dated light fixtures, fans, hardware, and faucets that make you think you’ve been transported back in time and deposited onto the set of the Brady Bunch.  Unless your home is decorated in a retro motif, you should evaluate all of your fixtures and hardware for possible replacement or removal.

Your overall goal as a home seller is to ensure that only positive features stand out to buyers.  Clean, contemporary fixtures that are updated for the times and flow with the design of the home create a favorable impression.

Impressions are important and intangible.  However, the other angle can be tied directly to costs.  As prospective buyers tour your home, they put together a list of things they would change if they purchased it.  Updates, repairs, etc.  The shorter you keep that list of additional costs to the buyer, the more likely you are to receive a top-dollar offer, especially when you consider that buyers often over-estimate the cost of replacements and repairs.


Tip #4: Neutralize Wall Coverings

Judicious use of color can help the overall aesthetic and enhance the elegance of a home.  However, over-application of bright colors and (particularly) wallpaper, can do more harm than good.  Rarely do I find prospective buyers who agree with a wallpaper selection made by an existing homeowner.  To the contrary, they factor in the high costs of removal, including potential drywall repair if the removal gets ugly.

The trend at this time is to use a neutral earth tone (beige or light gray) on walls, with white baseboards, doors, trim, and ceilings.  Keep in mind, an accent wall of color is perfectly acceptable, but the darker the color you use, the more likely you are to offend prospective buyers.  Before you make any decisions to add color, ask for several opinions from family and friends, as well as your Listing Agent.


I’ll post more tips soon to help Phoenix real estate owners better prepare their properties for sale.  In the meantime, what staging advice would you give a homeowner?

How to Pick a the Right Real Estate Broker to Buy or Sell

April 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Art and Science of Selecting a Phoenix Real Estate Broker

Issues to Consider and Questions to Ask

One of the largest single transactions you’ll ever complete is the purchase or sale of a home.  A multitude of factors play a role in the ‘success’ or ‘failure’ of the transaction, not the least of which is your choice for representation.  While some choose to navigate the real estate waters without representation, most elect to employ the services of a professional Realtor.

Whether you’re looking to sell a Phoenix condo or a buy luxury Scottsdale home, picking a Realtor can be an overwhelming proposition.  The recent housing boom and the perception of ‘easy money’ has caused a huge swelling of the Phoenix real estate agent ranks, especially among Phoenix Realtors and Scottsdale Realtors.  Virtually everyone knows a Realtor, or several.  The problem is, how do you select the best one for your needs?

I put together the following list of suggestions as a good starting point for any prospective homebuyer or homeseller looking for ‘the perfect match.’


For Buyers and Sellers

Ask around: A good place to begin the screening process is by asking colleagues and friends if they’ve ever worked with a real estate agent that they think did a great job.  Ask very specific questions so you can get a feel for how the agent truly performed.  “How often did the agent communicate with you?  Were they easy to reach?  Do you feel they negotiated effectively for you?  Was there anything they might have done better?  What kind of personality do they have?  Have you heard from them since the sale closed?”  Have you ever had someone give a glowing review of a restaurant that you just “had to try” only to find once you went that it was mediocre at best?  Everyone has different preferences, so don’t rely too heavily on the opinion of a friend’s experience.

Don’t compromise: When researching Realtors, do your homework and listen to your instincts.  As easy as it is to take the path of least resistance by working with the first agent you meet, don’t settle for an agent who you feel gives you any less than 100% effort and professionalism.

Consider certifications and designations: Real estate is an ever-evolving field.  Trends change, contracts change, momentum changes.  In short, the only constant is change.  You should consider working with a real estate agent who continually strives to better themselves and stay abreast of the latest issues and trends.  Certifications and designations reflect a proactive effort to hone ones skills and result in a better educated, better informed real estate agent.

Ask for references:  In fact, if a long list of references isn’t voluntarily offered, I’d be cautious.  Any highly-performing agent will have accumulated a long list of satisfied customers that they can gladly refer you to.

CALL THE REFERENCES!  You’d be surprised how few home sellers ask for a list of references, and then fail to call even one single person on the list.  Pick 2 or 3 references from the list and CALL THEM!  Ask a few very specific questions about their experience with the agent and take notes so you remember which feedback belonged to which agent.


For Prospective Home Sellers

Visit open houses, but BEWARE: Successful real estate teams often divide their agents into Listing Specialists and Buyer Specialists.  In Phoenix real estate, if you visit an open house, you will most likely be greeted by a Buyer Specialist on that team who may not be equipped to answer your questions about the team’s listing program.  You should ask for the Team Leader or Listing Specialist to schedule a listing consultation.

Beware: New Realtors and those who don’t carry many listings will often volunteer to hold an open house to pick up buyers.  These agents may have no affiliation with the Listing Agent whatesoever, except that they work in the same brokerage office.  While they may be excellent agents-in-training, to maximize your chances of working with an experienced team you should only work with a Listing Specialist or Team Leader.  Note: If you ever visit an open house in which you were very impressed with the agent holding the house open but you’re not quite ready to sell, be sure to get his/her card and jot a few notes down on the back, then file it away in your “Mortgage” file so you can pull it out and look them up when it comes time to sell.

Also, never visit an open house if you’re currently working with a Buyer’s Agent without your agent present.  In Arizona real estate, your agent will not be entitled to represent you if you view the open house without them present.  And as mentioned above, many agents holding open houses are specifically looking for unrepresented buyers, so be up-front with them.  See my earlier posting about this subject…

Interview the local specialist(s): Most neighborhoods are served by many Realtors, but may be dominated by one or two ‘local experts.’  A local expert isn’t necessarily the best choice, but can serve as a good starting point.  They have likely visited/previewed more homes than anyone else that works in the community and are better in tune with price dynamics and neighborhood trends.  Furthermore, the local expert usually lives in the area, which means they have a vested interest in preserving property values.  Be aware, however, that the local specialist may not be the right choice for you.  Local knowledge may be offset by a stronger marketing plan or an agent with a better personality fit, among others.

Tips for the interview: There are many pieces of information that you should collect before and during the interview in order to make the best choice for your needs.  Does the Realtor show up on time for your appointment?  Are they dressed professionally?  What sort of ‘vibe’ do you get at the very first moment you meet?  Are they comfortable to be around and easy to communicate with?  Do they sound like they know the area?  Remember, this agent will be representing you to prospective buyers, title officers, lenders, and other Realtors.  Your agent should convey the image that you’d expect of a professional and have the knowledge and experience to get your home sold!

Once the introductions are made, let the interviewee ‘lead’ the process.  They should ask for a tour of the home before you ever sit down for the presentation.  During the tour, do they ask lots of good, fact-finding questions about your home?  Do they tour the entire home, including the back yard, sides of the house, closets, and garage?  They should already be trying to determine how to best position your home for the market, even before the listing is issued.  A thorough inspection is part of the process.

Focus on the Marketing Plan: After the tour is complete, the interview begins.  The Realtor will present his/her marketing plan and why they believe they’re the best candidate for the job.  You should look for a marketing plan that advertises to a broad segment of the market, both online and in print.

Make sure your agent will communicate with you: As I detailed in an earlier post, the biggest complaint I hear from sellers about past Realtor experiences is that their Realtor fell out of contact with them after they scored the listing.  “They took my listing and I never heard from them again!”  Your agent should commit to providing detailed, written status updates so you will have a formal record of the progress on the sale of your home.  You should know what is being done at all times to market your home, as well as how it’s being received by the market.

Ask for a cancellation clause: Ask each listing agent interviewee if they will put in writing that you may cancel the listing agreement at any time if they’re not performing to your expectations.  Any Realtor that believes in their quality of service should be willing to offer the same assurance.  Just ask for it.

Don’t put too much weight on sales stats:  Many articles encourage you to ask a Realtor about their listing statistics: average days on market, list-to-sale-price ratio, etc.  I disagree.

Why?  Because stats can be deceptive.

For example, of you list your property on the low side of fair market value, it’s highly likely that your agent will sell your home faster and closer to the asking price.  In this example, days on market and sales price as a percentage of list price will both be favorable for the listing agent.

And what about short sales?  I represented clients in a Phoenix short sale that took 6 months to close.  That’s a transaction that could negatively impact my days on market (time to sale) stats.  To pad my stats, I’d have to turn these clients away.

Finally, you can’t easily validate an agents statistics.  I quit providing sales stats when on one listing appointment I had my sales statistics recited back to me by a seller who had previously interviewed another agent that worked in my area.  Not surprisingly, the other agent had superior numbers.  It’s pretty easy to position yourself against the competition when you know the competition’s numbers.

The bottom line about sales statistics is that they don’t always tell an accurate story.  You can ask for them, you can’t confirm them or interpret them.  Place more emphasis on other screening factors mentioned here.


For Prospective Home Buyers

Don’t commit until you’re comfortable: It’s a commonly-accepted practice for a Buyer Broker to require clients to sign a Buyer Broker Agreement, which confirms agency and outlines party commitments.  In my opinion, you should not sign a BBA until you have a chance to evaluate a buyer’s agent.  At a minimum, you should have an initial consultation, be set up to receive Phoenix real estate listings or Scottsdale real estate lisings, and go out for one property showing appointment to determine whether or not there’s a good match with the Realtor.  You will learn so much about the agent the first time you go out to view properties together and you’ll know whether or not you’ve found the right professional.  Once you’re confident that you have, you should be ready to commit to the agent just as the agent is committed to you.

How well does the Buyer Specialist know the process?  You should ask all the questions you can think of about the purchase process, escrow, inspection period, and the contracts.  Even better, ask to review some of the forms that you’ll experience during the purchase process.  Does the agent answer your questions promptly and confidently?  Do their answers make sense?  If the Realtor can’t explain things clearly or you just get the feeling they don’t have everything straight, then find someone else.  No need for you to be a ‘learning case.’

There are so many Scottsdale real estate agents and Phoenix real estate agents that it’s hard to even know where to begin to look for the right one for your needs.  If you follow the tips that I’ve offered here, you will be on the right track.  Just remember to be patient and not to compromise your expectations.

Looking for an ‘incredible’ Phoenix real estate agent??

August 31, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

There’s a great directory service out there called “Incredible Agents.”
Read more

Beware of this real estate rental scam!

August 7, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

There’s a scam going around that anyone who’s in the market for a rental home should be aware of.  Here’s how it works:


Someone posts a fraudulent ad, usually online where it’s free (like on Craigslist) for a rental property at a smokin’ rate.  When an unsuspecting tenant responds to the ad and agrees to rent the property, the con artist, posing as the owner, agrees to meet the tenant at a site other than the property to collect the deposit.  He tells the tenant that the deposits are normally $1500 but that he’ll reduce them to $1250 if the tenant agrees to have the doors re-keyed, because the last tenant ran off with the keys.  When the tenant hands over the deposit, the ‘landlord’ drives off and is never seen or heard from again.


To avoid being duped on a rental property, follow these tips:


  • Never trust a deal that seems too good to be true.  It probably is.
  • Always inspect a property prior to purchase or rental.  If the ‘owner’ has some story as to why he/she doesn’t have the keys, sever contact immediately and let the opportunity go.
  • In many larger cities, tax records are readily available online in the public domain.  Check the name on the tax record to see if it matches the name of the ‘landlord.’  If not, they’re not authorized to lease or sell the property.  If so, feel free to ask to see identification prior to signing any contracts or handing over any money.
  • To be safe, think about working with a Realtor.  A Realtor is likely to spot a scam before it affects you.


Phoenix real estate and Scottsdale real estate scams are becoming more and more widespread in today’s tumultuous housing market, but a little bit of caution will help you from becoming an unwilling victim.

Phoenix Real Estate Update / Scottsdale Real Estate Update

July 6, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Here’s a look at what the latest sales reports tell us about Phoenix real estate and Scottsdale real estate sales activity.  All data is from reports published in mid-June using data through the end of May, and compiled by the Arizona Association of Realtors, the Scottsdale Association of Realtors, and the Phoenix Association of Realtors.


Phoenix Real Estate Update


Total Inventory:

March: 13,086

April: 12,970

May: 12,850


Average Days on Market:


Single Family: 93.28

Condo: 95.86



Single Family: 92.51

Condo: 104.02



Single Family: 86.38

Condo: 114.51


Average Sales Price:



Single Family: $255,568

Condo: $195,214



Single Family: $249,483

Condo: $166,824



Single Family: $239,035

Condo: $199,903


Over the past three months, the single family market for Phoenix homes and Scottsdale homes has showed signs of stabilizing, even correction.  The market for Phoenix condos and Scottsdale condos, however, still remains unstable and no significant inferences can be made.


Consult a qualified Phoenix Realtor or Scottsdale Realtor for additional information.