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When is a New Build Not a New Build? When USAA is Involved in the Process

Suddenly, it all makes sense … the emphasis on protecting the relationship, being supportive of the program no matter what, the ever-present big picture. Once upon a time, back during my time at Century 21 I was a member of USAA’s Movers Advantage program. It was something I couldn’t mention unless someone told me they were a USAA client and proceeded to engage in the super-secret 14-stage handshake known only to USAA members and Movers Advantage agents. Why? Because those were USAA’s rules. God forbid an agent in some way manage to profit from paid membership in Movers Advantage. Wait, […]

Time is Ticking … Just Not as Fast as it Seems in Surprise

As I sit here, the clock atop the scoreboard at Surprise Stadium is in its own little world. One minute ago it was 1:35. Now it’s 1:50. All the while, it’s 11:44 a.m. Though something in the machine clearly is screwed up the overall theme isn’t … the clock is ticking. If you’re looking to take advantage of the Homebuyers Tax Credit, either the $8,000 or $6,500 version, you have ten weeks left to be under contract – it’s April 30th or bust (unless NAR and others are successful in their push to continue the program another several months – […]

I Just Called to Say 5-3

One of the things I’ve made relatively routine is reaching out to talk to my past, current and prospective clients. There doesn’t necessarily have to be an underlying purpose for the call (though I always let them know that, by the way, as good as business is I’m never too busy for any of their referrals), and sometimes the calls without a point are the most enjoyable. Today was dedicated to calling as many Canadians as I could and there absolutely was a point, even if it had nothing to do with real estate. After all, when you have the […]

Fair Housing’s One Thing, Common Sense a Close Second

So, here are the two thoughts that cross my mind any time asks me about the “desirable” areas of Phoenix or the subdivisions and neighborhoods that I would “recommend.” 1) Legally, I cannot steer buyers toward or away from any given area based on subjective criteria as per the Fair Housing Act. 2) Given you don’t really know who I am, why are you asking me for a recommendation? I can spend the next two paragraphs extolling the virtues of Sushi Yuki, a hole-in-the-wall sushi place in Peoria two minutes from my office and five minutes from the Peoria Sports […]

Phoenix in the Springtime

Simply put, mornings like this morning are the reason I have made the Phoenix area my home for the last 33 years. Temperatures in the 60s on the way to highs in the 70s, blue skies, Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder … Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. For those for whom the ground looks like an Olympic cross country skiing course, here’s the view this morning from the concourse at the Surprise Recreation Concourse, spring home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals: The air is filled with the scent of orange blossoms while the quiet […]

Buffeted By the Winds of Knowledge

Yesterday I joined my wife and a co-worker of hers at lunch. Any time the fact I’m in real estate comes up, I inevitably find myself fielding specific questions and trying to provide very, very generalized information so as not to contradict the other agent that folks always seem already to have hired. I’ve often said the issue with the general public isn’t so much what people don’t know but what they don’t realize they don’t know. There was a quote on ESPN Radio today that conveyed much the same message, something the late Will McDonough told a caller to […]

Evidence that Appraisals are Opinions and Biased Ones at That

Appraisal … the word to many is akin to the gospel handed down from the heavens, an unassailable determination of a property’s true worth. Sadly, the reality is a bit different. An appraisal is one person’s opinion of value. No more, no less. It’s an informed opinion, to be certain, based on experience, training and guidelines developed to help an appraiser determine what a property’s value might be. But it’s still an opinion and as such it carries a certain bias. bias (n, adj, adv, v) a particular tendency or inclination, esp. one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question; […]

Finding the Elusive Deal in Phoenix Real Estate

Mention the phrases “bank owned” or “short sale” and most potential home buyers act like shoppers storming the ramparts for Nordstrom’s semi-annual sale. But are these really sources of deals? And are they the only sources? Gentlemen, bear with me – I’m sure you’ll get the gist. Let’s say you find a great blouse marked 50% off and fight off everyone else to get it to the counter. The cashier scans the blouse and asks you to go wait on a bench over in the shoe department while you wait for an approval of the sale price; that approval could […]

The Bank Won’t Let Me

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that banks aren’t running the show here. Such as with the “active” listing one of my clients wanted to see, which is listed as “active” even though the REALTOR remarks show a contract has been accepted. “The bank won’t let us mark the home as pending until we close, probably.” It’s not the bank’s choice; Arizona Regional MLS rules say once a contract has been accepted and executed (read: signed) the listing has to be either listed as Active with Contingencies or Pending. There’s no choice in the matter. But, by all means, let the […]

Duck, Duck … Canadian Goose!

It started with the sound of chirping birds on a peaceful morning in the Crystal Gardens subdivision in Avondale. Suddenly the relative silence was broken by a single honk off in the distance. Followed by another, and then another … growing in frequency, intensity and volume over a several second span … heads turning, trying to determine what was causing the increasing noise, wondering from which direction the attack might come … and then they appeared, two Canadian geese flying no more than 20 feet above the ground after lifting off from the lake in search of, well, other water. […]