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Displaying blog entries 411-420 of 421

Who Buys Property in Retirement Communities Anyway?

by Scott Wellman

Over the past few months, I have had the pleasure of spending a fairly substantial amount of time in the retirement communities of the NW Valley. As we have merged with another office, we now have an office full of producers who know that area like it is nobody's business! RE/MAX has always been known for innovative thinking and a high caliber of agent and this office is no exception.

Again this week, I went on tour with our agents in that area and I am surprised (quite honestly) at some misinformation that has been accepted as "truth" among some very intelligent people...

Some are under the impression that you have to spend money on targeted advertising for a specific group within their own geographical area. While I certainly see some value in advertising to a group of potential sellers, exactly the OPPOSITE is true when it comes to what consumers look for when buying or selling a home in this area...

Here are some facts:

  • 94% of Buyers start their home search on the internet. Simple fact. ARTICLE IS HERE
  • Next to Arizonans, Canadians are the largest group of real estate purchasers in Arizona. Stats on that RIGHT HERE
  • People who live in retirement communities are not the ones buying in that same community a majority of the time.

How important is marketing and branding? VERY important. Your personal brand can be destroyed by being affiliated with an ineffective brand. If you are not known outside your area (where buyers are coming from), you better hope your company is!

How can you effectively market your sellers home to those outside the area? Would your seller be better served if you could do so? Could you benefit from leads handed to you from outside the area? What if those leads were referral fee free?

How many times have you heard "OH...I am retiring in Sun City and looking to move to Sun City West"? NEVER. Does anyone "outside the walls" know who you are and who you represent?

If you would like answers to any of these questions, please contact me today. I appreciate any feedback you may have!



5 AWESOME Places to Visit in the West Valley

by Scott Wellman

OK...I admit it. I am particularly fond of the West Valley. I live and work here and have for almost 17 years. Here, in no particular order, are FIVE great things I have found to see in the West Valley:

1) White Tank Regional Park. I wrote about it in a past blog. I had not been there and when I went, I was truly STUNNED at what an idiot I am for not going there before! Check it out HERE

2) Cerreta Candy Company tour. It is chocolate and you can take a tour. Enough said. LOOK HERE

3) Cabelas. No matter what your age. Giant aquariums full of game fish are cool. Add an Arizona wildlife exhibit and...oh man! My true redneck starts coming out! Check it out HERE

4) Baseball. It is nearly year-round here! Pro, semi-pro, Little League, whatever! My personal favorites are MLB Spring Training and Arizona Fall League. Fall League is great to get autographs and pictures with future big-leaguers!

5) Visit Wickenburg. It is just a whole different world there. The drive is not too bad from the West Valley and they have periodic events that are family-friendly and different from anything you get in the "big city". Check it out HERE and if you decide you love it TOO MUCH, you can get more information on the area and particulars on the housing market by visiting my friend SERGIO HORCOS' website RIGHT HERE

As always, I would love to hear any other suggestions and I might even use yours in a future blog!


9 Cool Things to Do with Your Kids this Fall

by Scott Wellman

As the weather cools off a bit, many begin thinking of actually going outside their homes to do something! I know it is a foreign concept after a Summer of relentless heat, but it happens every year. Here are a few things to do with your kids this Fall:

1) Go Fishing. Many of the urban lakes are very accessible and an urban fishing license is inexpensive. License info is HERE

2) Build and fly a kite. Younger kids always enjoy this and enjoy you being there with them! How? INSTRUCTIONS

3) Find a FREE concert or festival. Many communities offer them free. Just hope it is not THESE GUYS

4) Go on a hike. The White Tanks in the West Valley are AWESOME and you can see petroglyphs. Trails range from very easy  up to difficult. Take some water and maybe a snack or two! Info can be found HERE

5) Go on a picnic. Nearly every community has a GREAT park for a picnic and some frisbee. One of my favorites is the Courthouse Square in Prescott. Great lawn there and always much cooler! Check it out RIGHT HERE

6) Go watch some baseball. Arizona Fall League is a GREAT value and teams are located around the Valley. More info HERE

7) Organize a neighborhood wiffle ball game. I do this one often. We invite all of the kids (and parents) from all over the neighborhood to participate and come up with our own rules. Cheap and fun and gets you talking to your neighbors!

8) Go on a biking adventure. In your neighborhood or in the mountains, there are great places to ride and spend time together doing something active.

9) Go hit golf balls. My favorite place in the West Valley is HERE

10) BONUS!! Hit a haunted house! There are a few to be found, but the best I have seen is at Fear Farm in the SW Valley. Check it out HERE

Just realized I told you to "go fly a kite" and to "take a hike" in one blog. Do both!



Memories of 9/11

by Scott Wellman

As we come closer and closer to the 10th anniversary of the events of September 11th, I cannot get a few things out of my head. Here I sit at 9:00pm at my kitchen counter reflecting on where we have come as a country since that terrible day 10 years ago. But, I also reflect on where I have come as a person.

It is hard for me to write much on this topic, as I feel that there is no way I can understand or even describe the feelings felt by so many who lost loved ones that day. First responders, military personnel, citizens of New York, employees at companies based in the twin towers, spouses, brothers/sisters, parents, family and many lives immediately impacted by a senseless tragedy.

I am not here to argue or to teach. I am not here to debate points or to try to put anything into perspective. Tonight, I am simply here to write what I am feeling.

It is common knowledge that during that time period surrounding these events, we came closer as a nation. I watched it happen just like you did. My initial reaction was exactly that...instant. I called a military recruiter and asked how I could go about possibly re-enlisting. I felt it was the least I could do. While I am not sure if I would have followed through on that reaction, I certainly made the call with the best of intentions. I was not sure of everything I was feeling, but I know that NOBODY messed with the good 'ol U.S. of A!!

What happened to those feelings of immense patriotism and unbridled pride? Where did they go? When did they go? I really don't remember. Am I still proud of my country? YES. Would I fight to protect it if asked to do so? YES. Do I feel that there is somewhat less that I am proud to protect? HONESTLY...MAYBE.

Like most, I am tired of the politics. I am tired of my benefits being slashed while elected officials get pay increases and MUCH better medical and retirement benefits than those who put themselves in harm's way every day. I am tired of the lies and dishonesty. I am tired of our elected officials getting away with murder. I am JUST PLAIN TIRED...


There are some things I am not tired of yet. I am not tired of living in a house with a roof over my head. I am not tired of having three meals every day (Have you SEEN me??!!). I am not tired of my job. I am not tired of our military members tirelessly performing their duties despite all of the odds against them. I am not tired of being able to worship in the manner of my choosing without fear of death or persecution. I am not tired of the concepts that this country was founded on and I will forever be proud of who I am and for what I stand.

This Sunday (9/11), I will look forward by looking at what the past has taught me. I will be more grateful than ever. I will spend time with my friends and family and join them in thanking those who make our safety possible. I don't think I will EVER get tired of that.

Just my thoughts...Smile

Flu Shot...or NOT?

by Scott Wellman

As someone in the Real Estate industry, you are exposed to multiple people and often required to enter into a stranger's home. As we approach the time of year to consider flu season, I am wondering if anyone has any particular stories about a flu shot and why they do or do not get one each year. It seems that more and more people are telling me that they DO NOT get the flu vaccine and end up fine at the end of the season.

I have a healthcare background and I am familiar with Influenza and the different strains supposedly covered by different vaccines. I am also aware that "flu-like symptoms" are not necessarily influenza.

I never really considered the potential impact this illness could potentially have on the agents in our office until this year. They do not know what situation they walk into in all cases.Repeated exposure to infected persons cannot be good! I guess this can occur in any public place, but these are the people I work with every day so I am interested in their insight!

One local company is already gearing up to offer the flu vaccine and has already received an allotment of vaccine. They are recommending a flu shot for anyone over 6 months of age. That article can be found RIGHT HERE and I am interested in hearing your personal stories. Flu shot...or not? Please share!


Just my thoughts...

What Will Tomorrow's Real Estate Agent Look Like?

by Scott Wellman

I think the best way to look at a successful agent of the future is to look at the successful agent of today. I have the good fortune of being surrounded by many agents doing amazing things in both their work and home lives. Here are the Top 5 things I see that affect the success of today's agent:

1) The ability to adapt to a changing market - this one is quite obvious, but it is staggering how many agents are unable and unwilling to do so. Among this category lie those who are unwilling to work with distressed properties, renters, and lower income properties.

2) The understanding that Real Estate is a CONTACT SPORT and not simply a numbers game- EVERYONE is bombarded by email, junk mail, and social media. You are simply one of the masses unless you are establishing and maintaining personal contact with those around you. Statistics prove, time and time again, that phone calls and personal meetings are the most effective way to communicate and build relationships with those in your sphere.

3) Diversification of lead sources- While working by referral is a GREAT way to work, it is a limited stream of income. In a word where many people are stressed by financial and personal situations, you may not be the first one they want to talk to about their struggles. Being personally involved and friendly with someone may actually complicate that matter. Learn to live with this fact and identify additional sources of business.

4) Ability to identify the need to "walk away"- A majority of the agents I speak with have a very tough time doing this. Many feel that they are letting someone down by walking away from a potentially toxic situation. Others simply cannot "afford" to walk away form any potential business at this point. My question to them is "What is your time worth?" Is your family better served with you stressed beyond belief and working non-stop on something that only creates more stress? Would you be happier and healthier if you could simply tell someone that you may not be the best person to help them? I did a little experiment and asked my son what he would prefer. Try it- you might be shocked with the results.

5) Ability to truly live by The Golden Rule- We all learned it early. SOme took it to heart and others well...uhhh...not so much. Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You. Simple, yet amazingly effective if applied to all areas of your life!




What do you think the successful agent of the future looks like? I would guess, just about the same as they do today.

  • The market is ever-changing and that is a guarantee for the future.
  • Contact is king. Always has been and always will be. People have to buy you before they buy what you are selling.
  • Lead sources are abundant and opportunity will increase as things get better in our market (they already look to be doing so).
  • There will always be those who just need to work with someone who can work with their personality and expectations better than you can. Reintroduce them to the market!
  • Doing the right thing NEVER goes out of style. Serving others and putting them above yourself ALWAYS results in a positive.

Just my thoughts...Laughing

How To Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself

by Scott Wellman

Of the many things I love about working at Professionals, our affiliation with charity organizations has got to be among the top. We encourage and support our agents in their charitable endeavors and we are a HUGE supporter of Children's Miracle Network.We spend time and money supporting this amazing organization and will continue to do so.

Most of us are fortunate enough to never have to worry about a sick child. We never have to wonder if our child will live. We don't even have to worry about them being able to walk, run, laugh, and play like every other child. We don't even think about it...

I challenge you as you read this blog. THINK ABOUT IT! We are all on this big blue and green ball together. I have seen multiple families affected by disease and tragedy over the past few years. Along with that comes an amazing sense of community that I have experienced in this office. We are here for each other...NO MATTER WHAT!

If you are currently doing what you can to "lighten someone's load" good for you! If not, there is no better way to stop feeling sorry for yourself than to serve someone less fortunate! I guarantee you that you will be a better person for doing so.

Just my thoughts...

Merger: RE/MAX Integrity Joins RE/MAX Professionals!

by Scott Wellman

RE/MAX Professionals is excited to announce a merger with RE/MAX Integrity, which will pair elite agents and strong leadership to create one of the most successful and productive real estate brokerages in the area. The two firms combined will remain RE/MAX Professionals and will service all areas of the Valley.

RE/MAX Professionals was founded in 2001 by Owners Nate Martinez and Frank Russo, while RE/MAX Integrity has been in operation since 1992. Combined we will have approximately 200 professional and experienced real estate agents serving the Phoenix Metro and surrounding areas.

In addition to an increase in market share, this merger furthers the outstanding reputations of our two premier groups offering world class service to Arizona homebuyers and sellers, investors, and commercial clients. Both Nate Martinez and Frank Russo previously worked with RE/MAX Integrity prior to founding RE/MAX Professionals 10 years ago. RE/MAX Integrity Broker/Owner Ed McCloud is a mentor and friend to both Nate and Frank, and all parties are excited for this opportunity!

“We took a long look and saw that a merger of these brokerages would create a win-win situation for all parties involved,” said Frank. “Our offices share similar philosophies and creating an even stronger alliance is in everyone’s best interest. The RE/MAX agents in both firms have provided outstanding service to their clients for years and with even more resources, we’re confident we’ll continue to build on our current success in this market.”

Nate added, “This is a great day for both groups. We respect Ed (McCloud) and we have worked with the many outstanding Integrity agents over the years. We’re excited to merge the talent from both sides and serve an even greater population of homebuyers and sellers in Arizona.”

In 2010, our agents participated in a combined total of 4,528 closed transactions which ranked us No. 8 nationally and No. 1 in Arizona among all RE/MAX Affiliates for closed transactions sides, and places us at an incredible No. 77 amongst all brokerages and brands in the entire United States according to the recently released Real Trends 500 report.

RE/MAX Professionals now has seven offices located in Surprise, Avondale, Glendale (2), Sun City West, Anthem, and Central Phoenix.

The Pros Can Close!

by Nate Martinez, Owner, RE/MAX Professionals

RE/MAX Chairman and Co-Founder Dave Liniger shares his thoughts about short sales in a column for the July edition of DSNews magazine, a premier trade publication for the default-servicing industry. The essay, headlined "The Pros Can Close" and highlighted on the magazine's cover, promotes the idea that education and experience factor heavily into an agent's ability to close short sales. The column:

The Pros Can Close: When It Comes to Successful Short Sales, Agents with the Highest Levels of Experience and Education Lead the Way

Short sales are gaining very real momentum, which is encouraging news for those of us who see them as a key part of the housing recovery.

With the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) guidelines effective in April and the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac policies announced inJune, the pieces seem to be in place for short sales to increase significantly.

I'm seeing signs everywhere. Consumers are growing more aware of their short sale and deed-in-lieu options. Tech vendors are fine-tuning their systems to enhance communication and coordination among the parties involved. Servicers, lenders, and investors are recognizing the value of the approach. And real estate agents are embracing training opportunities and closing more sales.

Indicators of a trend
According to Campbell Communications, short sales accounted for 17.3 percent of all residential transactions in May. That's down a bit from April, but for the most part short sales have been rising in the study since last November, when they represented 12.6 percent of the total. Campbell also reports that time on market for a short sale has declined significantly. It was 20.5 weeks in February; now it's 17.9.

Another indicator is Equator's report that 215,000 short sales have been initiated through its system since it launched late last year. That's a huge number. Equator's online platform, which is widely used within RE/MAX, streamlines the process a great deal, and its certification program helps agents become even more proficient.

The trend toward more short sales is certainly promising, but the transactions themselves remain complex and challenging. A lot of things must fall into place for a short sale to close. The real estate agents, the servicers, the lenders, the investors and the consumers involved all need to feel as though their interests are being served. That's not an easy task.

Keeping things on track
Much of the work rests with the listing agent, who must have the skills to conduct an effective price analysis, manage the emotions and expectations of the sellers, market the property effectively, and submit a comprehensive short sale package with no holes or flaws. And that's just the beginning of the job.

Keeping things on track is critical. One of the very best short sale specialists in the RE/MAX organization, an agent in Arizona, says a key to success after submitting a short sale proposal is something basic but too often overlooked: professional courtesy. She treats the people on the other end of the phone with respect and expects the same in return. It's a small thing, but it works – and it makes the processors view a file as though it's their own.

It helps that this agent, a 17-year veteran, is a sharp, well-trained expert who soaks up education and understands every detail of the process. The servicers and lenders who encounter her quickly realize they won't be wasting their time.

This is the kind of agent who creates confidence and trust among the other people involved in a tough transaction, effectively mitigating the frustrating, confrontational tone that kills many of these deals. It's the sort of thing you learn to do over time.

NAR report shows correlation
It's interesting to note that more experienced agents, like the Arizona star, are involved in short sales to a larger degree than newer agents. According to the 2010 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Membership Profile, 41 percent of the country's Realtors closed at least one short sale last year. But the figure dips to 23 percent among Realtors who have been in the business two years or less.

That doesn't suggest newer agents aren't capable of handling these transactions, but it does support the idea that experience provides an edge in short sales, just as in every other sector of real estate. Education plays a large part in that because experienced agents – especially top producers – are more likely to have invested in professional designation courses during their careers.

Education has fueled the exponential growth in short sales. Agents are investing in distressed property classes at a pace I've never seen in my 40 years in real estate.

In addition to the Five Star Institute's suite of excellent classes, training courses such as Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) or NAR's Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource (SFR) provide the skills that agents need to succeed in this historic market.

Credentials and confidence
Professional designations also help lenders and servicers identify which real estate agents are willing to commit time and money to learning this part of the business. If I were a servicer looking at a stack of short sale files, I would have much more confidence in the ones submitted by a top-producing agent with a CDPE, SFR or Five Star certification. Likewise, if I were an asset manager assigning REO properties, I would look for candidates with the best credentials and track records.

In any segment of any profession, the cream always rises to the top. A year from now, the 2011 NAR Membership Profile will undoubtedly show an increase in the number of agents successfully closing short sales and other distressed property transactions. It's a safe bet that those with the highest levels of experience and training will be leading the way.

Changes To Utility Rules For Rentals

by Nate Martinez, Owner, RE/MAX Professionals

The city of Glendale enacted a new policy which impacts landlords and tenants of properties located in Glendale. Arizona. The new policy prohibits tenants from opening an account for utilities on a property they are renting; only the landlord may have an account, which means the landlord is held financially responsible for the usage of water, sewer and garbage service while the tenant occupies the property. The new policy went into effect on Sept 7th 2010 and will apply to any new utility accounts or properties that change occupants. There is a waiver the owner/landlord can sign, however, we strongly encourage you to read this disclosure carefully to make sure you are fully informed of what you are signing - or consult an attorney before you make this decision to sign your rights away. The other alternative is prepare your lease agreement to incorporate the utility expense and determine how it will be paid before the tenant moves in. As always, you never want to enter into an agreement without first consulting a professional Realtor.

See the City of Glendale's site for additional information about these changes here.

The city of Avondale Council is considering adopting this new policy as well, which would impact all rental properties located in the city of Avondale. The Council is meeting on Oct 4th 2010 to review the proposal. There are opponents on both sides of the fence, for the new rule and against the new rule. Investors are a vital part of the recovery of our market. This new policy changes the game for many who are thinking of investing in both these cities. In the end this will only continue to perpetuate the challenges Arizona is dealing with financially. I encourage you to get involved if you own a rental property in any part of the Valley. Being informed is the only way we can help rebuild our economy. If you have questions or need further help with your real estate concerns, please don't hesitate to call us anytime!

Displaying blog entries 411-420 of 421