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What’s In a Co-Broke? Nothing and Everything

Here’s one of the more peculiar aspects of the real estate transaction: when we represent buyers, we are compensated by the seller through the listing agent 99 percent of the time. There are exceptions to this rule; some agents negotiate their own compensation directly with the buyer and anything above or below the co-broke listed in the MLS goes to or comes out of the buyers’ pocket. But, since most buyers have yet to see the value of an independent buyers’ agent – at least an agent they are responsible for compensating themselves (I mean, what really could go wrong […]

A Necessary Silence

My apologies for being quiet of late. Some of it, happily, has been due to a slew of closings all coming one on the heels of the next. That tends to make things hectic for a one-man, three-beagle shop but we find our way through. Some of it, sadly, has been caused by a need to bite through my tongue lest I find myself saying something I shouldn’t really discuss here. For instance, on Facebook the other night, I expressed frustration over receiving an opt out form in case I didn’t want my child to watch President Obama’s annual address […]

The Most Expensive Home in Phoenix

Yesterday I was talking to someone from out of town who said they liked Paradise Valley. Who doesn’t like Paradise Valley, outside of people who drive Lincoln slightly over the speed limit and receive happy notes from the photo radar cameras? There certainly are less expensive homes than this for sale in Paradise Valley, but if you’re going to spend, why not go big? [idx-listing mlsnumber=”4272159″ showall=”true”]

You Really Want Me to Tell You Where to Buy?

Saturday night, my wife and I had tickets to the National Comedy Theater – a hole-in-the-wall comedy club specializing in “competitive improv property.” It’s very small, very low budget and also really, really enjoyable. Before the show, I thought I’d take my bride to the Blue Adobe Grill – another more or less hole in the wall place in downtownish Mesa. We arrived and there were a handful of tables available but all were being held for people with reservations. (For those who don’t know the Valley, there are remarkably few restaurants who even accept reservations and they’re necessary at […]

A Failure to Communicate

Yesterday I received one of those e-mails that, as a real estate professional, cause me to grimace reflexively. After spending two years sending listings to a wonderful couple from California and showing homes when schedules allowed, all while waiting for their home back on the West Coast to sell, these folks walked into a new build and purchased on their own. It’s not so much the lost commission, though obviously that stings – I do this for a living, to put food on the table, and not just for giggles. It’s not so much the lost time – yes, I […]

Oh to Be a Shepherd

Long, long ago in a relationship far away, I once joked with someone about running away to Montana and herding goats for a living. I’m not even sure there are goats in Montana but that really wasn’t the point of the whole thing. Not quite so long ago but still long ago, during one of the interminable management training sessions at Charles Schwab, we were forced to perform mock interviews on a partner. No one apparently was aware that I mock mock interviews for sport and my own amusement, so I gave a lengthy interview on being a shepherd. These […]

An Appraisal Tale

So what does an appraisal really mean? Buyers usually view the appraisal as a declaration of a property’s value. Lenders view an appraisal as a benchmark for risk assessment. Real estate agents view appraisals and, more to the point, appraisers, as the bane of our existence. Cached amidst the flowery legalistic language, disclaimers and overly long and complicated appraisal forms, the agents see what few others realize – the appraisal only is one person’s opinion of value. Nothing more. Nothing less. It’s not even a pure opinion. Appraisers start the process with the purchase contract in hand. Since market value […]

Age Limits in Northwest Valley Retirement Communities

When the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968, preventing discrimination in housing in seven different categories including age, an exception was given for age-restricted communities. If a community was declared an age-restricted area and more than 80 percent of the homeowners were age 55 or over, then the restrictions were not a violation of the law. In communities such as Sun City (founded by Del Webb and essentially the first of its kind), Sun City West, Leisure World in Mesa, Sun Lakes in Chandler and elsewhere, the caveat provided by the 80 percent rule was irrelevant. The age limit […]

A Few Words on Lenders

Here’s my thought for the day on lenders … As the buyer, you have the right to work with any lender you choose. There are a couple that I recommend for a number of reasons – competency and communication being the primary two features. Maybe you’re concerned about fee structures. I get that. Maybe you’ve got a long-time relationship with your bank and want to keep the business there. Not a problem at all. But here’s the one request I have … make sure that your lender is competent and also willing to communicate with your agent. You know, me. […]

A Successful Earnest Deposit Battle

Thanks to the prevalence of bank owned homes in the Phoenix real estate market, the rules are getting rewritten on a daily basis. And nearly all of these rewrites are to the detriment of the consumer. Take the case of the hijacked earnest deposit, which I’d written about previously here. The short version is my buyer at the beginning of august cancelled a purchase contract on a bank-owned home in accordance to the terms of the contract and requested the earnest deposit be returned to him. This should have been cut and dried but it wasn’t. The asset manager working […]