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Gary and Shannon Kiernan's Blog

By Gary Kiernan | Agent in Anthem, AZ
  • Market Correct Pricing Is Crucial, And Always Has Been

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Phoenix, Home Selling in Phoenix  |  January 25, 2011 10:36 AM  |  1,733 views  |  No comments

    Now, perhaps more than ever, a sensible approach to pricing is imperative in today's difficult market. With more restrictions on appraisers keeping a tight rein on their work, it is important that both buyers and sellers are reasonable in their expectations.
    Some weeks back I received a phone call from a gentleman whose home was currently listed by a friend (not always the best situation, in my opinion.) "Why," he wondered, "is my house not selling?" A quick search revealed the truth. His home was a plain Jane, builder-basic Formica and vinyl house in a large sub-division. There were many other homes with updated kitchens, granite counter-tops and top quality flooring on the market. He was asking $269,000 even though a near neighbor with a much nicer home was listed at $249,000. The only fix was to lower the price to a point where a potential buyer could perform the upgrades and be rewarded financially for doing so. He thanked me and I noted that a week later he had reduced the price. To $264,000! Clearly, he did not get it and his friend was not helping him. A month later, however, I noted that he had lowered it to $225,000 and now it was in escrow. A bit of a slow learner, but he got it in the end. You're welcome.
    In a similar vein I got to talking real estate with a gentleman whilst on a hike recently, after he discovered I was a licensee. We were discussing recent sales on a particular street, one of which I participated in, at prices that were close to one million dollars. He opined that to him they were only "worth" half a million. To back it up he trotted out the old saw that something is only worth what someone will pay for it. Sure, except that people were paying those prices in many cases. I tried to explain that more accurately something is worth what the "market" would pay for it, not what a misguided individual my want to pay for it. It all fell on deaf ears. He then went on to say he thought that it was a good time to build his own home (???). However, he was having trouble, even in this down-economy, finding a contractor willing to discount his services enough to satisfy his needs. I wonder why.
    Ultimately, I walked away and, unusually for me, decided not to offer him my business card. I have worked with difficult folks in the past, but as Ron White memorably stated, "You can't fix stupid!"
  • I'm From The Government, And I'm Here To Help

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Phoenix  |  May 30, 2010 7:25 AM  |  340 views  |  No comments

    Recently, in the middle of April, we were working with a buyer looking to purchase a home in the $150-$160K range. With the $8000 tax credit about to expire, we thought there might be a spring in his step, but we were wrong. He was curiously detached about the credit and reasoned that prices might even go down upon it's expiration. We tend to agree with him. When the government introduced "cash for clunkers" to salvage the auto industry, its main effect was to drain all future sales from the pipeline in short order. Much the same will happen in the housing market. It makes sellers and buyers lazy when it comes to negotiating. If $8000 is on the table, the seller wants to get his "share" while the buyer is less motivated to haggle. I am not a fan of artificially supporting the market for anything, especially when the money involved does not exist and will have to be borrowed. All in all, another smoke-and-mirrors job by the ne-er-do-wells in D.C.

    Talking of smoke, an agent called me for feedback on a house we had shown. I told her it positively reeked of cigarettes. To which she replied that they had repainted the house. Be that as it may, the place still stunk like an ashtray. Either have the place professionally deep-cleaned or throw out the carpets. To not do so is a sever dis-service to your client and frankly, is wasting the time of your fellow agents. No one will contemplate such a home without a deep discount.
  • The Good News, and the Not So Good News in the Housing Resale Market

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Arizona  |  January 26, 2009 4:21 PM  |  369 views  |  No comments
    Today, Bloomberg.com published an informative article by Bob Willis, on November existing home sales. Please click the link to read.
    The article speaks for itself and shows the power of the free market to stimulate sales. Yes, prices were down, but it encouraged buyers to step up. I have never understood the rush to artificially prop up prices. What is wrong with lower prices? It allows more folks to become home-owners without the lowering of credit-worthiness standards that have brought us to this current debacle. Note that all government attempts at "rescue" have centered on helping the banks that were encouraged, aided and abetted by Congress and Wall Street, to offer loans to people who could not afford them. Other organizations, like the under-investigated A.C.O.R.N. and various inter-faith groups are slated to receive billions in funding to offer "counselling" to those who are in danger of losing their homes. Counselling? We are witnessing the largest single giveaway of public funds, that we do not have, in the history of this country. Future generations will pay dearly.
    Senator Chris Dodds, currently under an ethics investigation due to the preferential terms and conditions of two mortgages from Countrywide, was not only in charge of this tragedy, he remains empowered as someone who is supposed to extricate us from this mess. As I write this, Dodds promised to reveal the details of his sweetheart loan 185 days ago. Click on this link to see how much time has elapsed since his empty promise.
    In politics there is no longer any shame. Throughout this entire fiasco, name one politico who has resigned. Remember, Pelosi promised to "drain the swamp" and give us the "most ethical Congress ever". I'm still waiting.
  • North Phoenix Real Estate Market, Healthy or Not?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Phoenix  |  January 22, 2009 3:38 PM  |  322 views  |  4 comments
    In response to various inquiries, I delved into the statistics of an anonymous Phoenix area neighborhood to check the pulse of the market.

    Around this time of year, whilst attending a never-ending round of cocktail parties that being a busy Realtor entails, one question is posed time after time..."How's the real estate business?" the truth is- not bad! It could be, and has been, far worse.

    So I decided to run the numbers on a neighborhood that has homes for sale from the low $200's, up to the one million dollar mark; and here is what I found.

    In the last six months there have been 37 genuine sales, not change of ownership by virtue of a property being returned to the bank. Of these sales, 13 (35%) were regular person to person, arms-length transactions. A further 43% (16 homes) were either REO's or short-sales, and the remaining 8 homes (21%) were sold at a loss by their owners. Currently, in the same area, there are 83 homes active on the market. This means that this community has slightly more than a 12 month supply of homes available; or slightly less than 12 months if the 8 homes that are currently "pending", actually close.  Not good news for sellers but definetly a buyers market.

    Clearly, from the numbers I have cited, two thirds of sales have been a distress sale of some kind, which is not good for sellers. However, buyers are out in force, and taking advantage of lower sales prices. If this trend continues, it will represent a great stride towards the return of a normal and balanced market-place. Once all foreclosed and bank owned properties are absorbed, we will begin to see a return to single-digit annual appreciation.

    Strangely enough, we hear some buyers are still being reticent, lest prices fall further. Whilst, no one really knows for sure if they will, it is a lucky man who is able to buy at the absolute bottom, or sell at the absolute top. Most of us just need to ride the general wave of the trend to do well. Interestingly, during the crazed sellers' market of 2005-2006, buyers were falling over themselves to purchase a home in case they missed out to higher prices. My suggestion would be to take advantage of this current buyers' market and remember that, in the long term, a home is still the best investment you can make.

    If you were unfortunate enough to have purchased your home at the wrong time, but are able to weather the storm; then do so. It will turn around soon.
  • Phoenix Real Estate Predictions For 2009

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Phoenix  |  January 13, 2009 8:25 AM  |  290 views  |  No comments

    Predicting future events is never an easy job, and more often than not, a futile exercise of vanity over reality. However, that has never stopped me from sticking my neck out! Further complicating the issue this year is the fact that we will be installing a new administration on January 20th, 2009. Also, due to the strange peccadilloes of the electorate in general, we have managed to re-elect virtually every member of Congress, (leastwise those who were up for re-election). Please bear in mind, that this was a congress whose popularity rating has never, ever been rated at a lower percentage, since records have been kept. This means that they very same congress-critters who got us into this mess, will be the ones who will be attempting to fix it! Encouraged-I am not!

    I believe that the volume of sales will remain steady, or increase slightly, during the course of 2009. Here, in the Valley of the Sun, we have a great deal of affordable housing, which attracts out of state buyers. If the economy remains constant, or improves slightly, there will be a commensurate increase in sales. Notice I said "increase in sales"- not increase in prices. Big distinction. I still believe that the majority of sales will be some kind of distress sale, i.e. REO's, short sales or people losing money personally to close the deal. However, it is absolutely vital for these properties to be absorbed into the market in order for normalcy. Whatever that may be, to eventually return.

    In the more affluent neighborhoods, Cave Creek, Carefree or Fountain Hills for example, I think we will see fewer sales. This is because in those areas, many of the homes are owned by retirees or wealthy snowbirders. Often, they do not have to sell, so the decision to stay in the property and ride out the storm is a relatively easy one.

    So, is it going to be a good year, or a bad one? Well, it all depends on your perspective. For buyers, I think it will be all good--especially first-time buyers. For homeowners, who purchased in 2005 or later, who have to sell, there will be some degree of pain. For those who don't have to sell, or bought before 2004, it's a wash. Although, the growth they initially experienced has gone away, I think we will return to low single digit appreciation in late 2009, early 2010. Which will mean, as ever, that a home is always a good Long-Term investment.

    More importantly than all of the above, however, is to stay healthy and enjoy life.

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