Arizona Gives Day is April 4

Arizona Gives Day is here! What an excellent opportunity to support specific charities in Arizona by participating in this statewide giving day.

There are over 1,000 charities of all types participating and you can even search for Flagstaff charities (or your city of choice) and browse by category. Last year, this event raised an astounding $2.84m for participating charities!

To donate or for more info, go to And if you’re reading this after the 4th, don’t worry, the website stays up for donations year-round.

1 in 3 Realtors Leaves the Business

As you would expect from this challenging real estate market, the number of real estate agents has really taken a dive over the last few years. At the peak of the market, people were joining the real estate industry in droves, thinking it was a glamorous business or that they could make a lot of money easily. As soon as the market started correcting downward, however, these agents realized just how difficult it would be to stay in business. In other words, only those who were serious about their career and committed to gaining the skills necessary to sell homes in this market were able to stay in business full-time.

This attrition has been just as true in Flagstaff as in the nation as a whole. There was a high of 656 Realtors* in northern Arizona in 2007 and it’s down to 401 Realtors in August 2012. That’s a reduction of over 250 agents or 39%! Essentially, more than 1 out of every 3 local Realtors didn’t make it through the recession.

Nationally, the drop was about 27% from a high of 1,370,758 Realtors in October 2006 to 998,983 Realtors in August 2012. This is a return to the same level as spring 2004 and marks the first year that membership has declined to below one million since 2004.

This really is good news for both the full-time agents who are serious about their real estate career and for consumers who are better served by a knowledgable and professional agent who has experience in this type of market.

*Realtors are real estate agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors and their local board, such as the Northern Arizona Association of Realtors.

Source for national membership numbers:

Local stats provided by the Northern Arizona Association of Realtors.

5 Key Times To Get Your Home Inspected

If you’re a homeowner, you can save yourself a lot of headache by knowing when to get a professional home inspection. Most people mistakenly think of a home inspection as something you only do when purchasing a home.

Unfortunately, I have seen numerous occasions where a home inspection would have been well worth it for the homeowner. Professional home inspectors find things that even the most observant and savvy homeowner may not notice.

Here is my take on key times to get your home professionally inspected:

1. Buying a home – even a new home

It goes without saying that you should get a home inspected when buying a resale or used home, but it’s just as important when buying new construction. Building a home is very complex, so even when working with a very reputable builder, issues can come up. I always recommend people get a home inspection on new construction and I have yet to see a perfectly clean inspection report. There is another huge benefit to having an inspection done at this time: you can take all the items found and give it to the builder as a punch-list for your final walkthrough.

As a side note, another thing buyers sometimes don’t realize is that they can have a real estate agent represent them on the purchase of new construction (so we can advise you on things like this).

2. Before your builder warranty is up on your new home

New construction typically comes with a builder’s warranty – a period of time during which the builder is responsible to repair any defects. If you didn’t do a home inspection before moving in, it would be a good idea to have one done before the end of this warranty period. There could be latent problems that don’t become obvious until after the warranty period.

3. After a major renovation

Similar to new construction, there may be things that got missed by the contractor on a major renovation. It’s best to know about these things right away so you can call the contractor back out to take care of them.

4. Pre-inspection before listing your home

The most important reason to do this is that there are likely problems with the home about which you’re not even aware. Being able to address the problems ahead of time increases the chances that everything goes smoothly with the buyer’s home inspection and that you make it to the closing table. You can also use the fact that you’ve had a pre-inspection as a selling point to prospective buyers.

5. Have owned for many years

It’s possible that problems have crept in over the years or that you’re on the verge of needing repairs. Plus, there may be updated safety standards since you purchased and a home inspector can point these out to you.

All of this boils down to the fact that it’s far better to know about a small problem or potential safety issue as soon as possible. Finding out the hard way can either mean a much larger repair bill or losing a sale when a major unknown item comes up on an inspection report. Don’t wait for a problem to occur – usually preventative maintenance is a lot less expensive.

In Flagstaff, you can find reputable home inspectors who will do a full inspection for a few hundred dollars (depends on the size of the house) and provide you with a very detailed report. This is money well spent. Having seen countless home inspections during my real estate career, I have never seen a home inspection come back with nothing wrong.

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Top Reasons to List Your Home In The Winter

Many people ask if they should list their home in the winter or wait until the following spring. Despite the sometimes snowy and cold winters in Flagstaff, there are many good reasons to list and, yes, homes do in fact sell during the winter months.

Being that your home can sell anytime of the year, it’s more important to sell when you’re ready than to try to time the market or season perfectly.

Here’s a list I created of reasons to sell your home in the winter. As much as I wanted to make this a “Top 10” list, I have come up with eleven great reasons. So here goes…

    1. You have less competition from other sellers because many homes come off the market.

    2. The buyers who look in the winter are more serious buyers.

    3. There are, indeed, plenty of buyers in the winter – some examples include: people who get relocated, people who sold in the summer and have been living in temporary housing until they find a place, and first-time homebuyers whose leases may end in the winter.

    4. There are, in fact, numerous sales in the winter. Over the past six years, almost half of my sales have been between October and March.

    5. Some motivating factors for buyers don’t depend on the season. For example, a new child being born may cause the family to want more space as soon as possible.

    6. Many people have a strong motivation to spend the holidays in their new home.

    7. Many people review their goals and finances around the first of the year and may decide that it’s time to buy a new home.

    8. Some buyers may have more time to look for homes when they have off for the holidays.

    9. Some homes may show better during the winter because they’re already being kept clean and decorated for the holidays.

    10. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons.

    11. We know what the current market and prices are like. We don’t know if it will be better or worse next year!