Saturday, April 14, 2007

Fayetteville Arkansas #1 in new "Best Places" study

Our best-kept secret has been announced to the world by Bert Sperling of Sperling’s Best Places fame. Sperling has previously researched and written books about a variety of issues such as the best places to raise a family and cities with the lowest crime rates.

The idea is that although larger cities may be a great place for young graduates to find work and jump start careers, often the high cost of living is prohibitive for young families. This study looked at affordability and job growth, as well as quality of life for the real estate section at MSN. The Fayetteville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) ranked number one in the country, according to Sperling. (Fayetteville MSA includes Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and stretches into extreme southwest Missouri.)

The area boasts five-year-job growth of 26.1% and a low unemployment rate of 3.5%. In addition to the headquarters for Wal-Mart, Tyson and J.B. Hunt Trucking, many other Fortune 500 companies have facilities here.

Living costs are low and there are many cultural opportunities: the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville with all their sports and cultural activities, several museums plus a world-class museum scheduled to open in 2009, a large performing arts center, excellent medical facilities, and our own regional airport with non-stop service to Chicago, Houston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Dallas and additional cities.

Add all that to the clean air and natural beauty of the Ozarks, many lakes including Beaver Lake with its 449 miles of shoreline, and a very livable four-season climate and you can easily understand why Sperling found this area so attractive.

Other cities featured in the study are also smaller cities with vibrant economies and usually universities: Idaho Falls, ID; Logan, UT; Auburn and Huntsville, AL; Iowa City and Dubuque, IA; Pensacola, FL; Blacksburg, VA; and Fargo, ND.

To find real estate information for Fayetteville:

Fayetteville and NW Arkansas Real Estate

To search for homes in NW Arkansas:

For more information about the study:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Short Sales

For those of you who follow the news of southeastern Michigan and the auto industry, you know just how much our real estate market has declined. Today Michigan is 5th in the country with foreclosures. Detroit is #1 of all cities in the country, with 1 out of 21 homes in foreclosure. There is more reason for this than just the auto industry, such as mortgage practices that put many homeowners in an "upside-down" position.

With this situation if an owner has to move, and does not have cash to take to closing, as Realtors we are suggesting to the owner to try to work a deal with the lender to take less than is owed on the mortgage. This is called a "short sale."

You might question why a lender would do that, but often they are better off taking a little less now than spending over a year going through the foreclosure process with mounting legal fees, taxes, and utility bills to pay. Plus there's the concern the lender should have of sitting with a vacant house that could be vandalized or have frozen pipes in the winter or whatever.

From the owner's point of view, they end up with a rather mild "blip" on their credit record as compared to going into foreclosure which stays on their credit record for TWELVE years and makes it difficult to get another mortgage at a reasonable interest rate during those years.

Difficult as it is to lose a home, we encourage owners to face the issues early on while there is time to possibly work a deal with their lender. As Realtors many of us are able to provide asistance with the process.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Wasilla, Alaska First Quarter Marketing Statistics for 2007

Our market here in Alaska started changing last fall. We have transitioned from a seller's market to a normal market. This change of pace has caught a lot of folks and a lot of real estate agents off guard. Currently our residential market is off 5% as compared to the first quarter of 2006. To see my full first quarter report click here

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Real Estate Myths Debunked

Real Estate Myths Debunked

After almost 23 years in the real estate business I have found there are still lots of misconceptions surrounding real estate. Here are my top 6 real estate myths:

1. If the house has been on the market for a while, the seller will negotiate price. There are many reasons a house may have been on the market for awhile. Maybe they had an offer that fell through because the buyer couldn’t qualify, possibly the house was listed at a higher price initially and after several days on the market the sellers reduced their price, or maybe the seller had an emergency and the house couldn’t be shown for several days. Just because a home has been on the market for more than the average number of days, does not mean the seller will negotiate their listed price.

2. If I make an offer, the seller can’t sell to anyone else while I am negotiating with him and/or the seller must address my offer first if I was the first one to submit an offer. Neither of these is true. Up until the buyer and the seller have come to an agreement (fully accepted offer), the seller can choose to accept a different offer and stop negotiating with you. Additionally, if more than one offer is presented to the seller, the seller can choose to accept either offer without notifying both buyers that more than one offer was received. The thing to remember is that all offers must be presented to the seller regardless of whether the seller is currently negotiating an offer or not. Then it’s the seller’s decision as to how he would like to proceed and negotiate with the buyers.

3. A full price offer can’t be rejected by the seller. Yes, a seller can reject a full price offer. There are several other terms to an offer other than just price. The seller does not have to accept any offer, even full price offers.

4. Discount Brokers or FSBO save sellers money. Not true according to The National Association of Realtor Statistics (NAR). NAR indicates that sellers end up with a much higher sales price when using a full service Realtor, up to 10% more on average.

5. I'll save money if I don't use a Buyer Representative (sometimes called a buyer specialist).
In my opinion you will save money and lots of heartache if you use a Realtor to represent you. I have seen some real horror stories where buyers purchased a home without representation and ended up with problems (encroachments, set back violations, inspections that were never completed, lack of sex offender notice, etc.) that could have been resolved prior to the purchase if a professional had been helping them from the beginning. My husband and I bought a condo in Girdwood about 7 years ago and we hired a Realtor to represent us instead of trying to represent ourselves in a market where we were not familiar. A buyer’s representative can show you ANY home regardless of who has it listed.

6. Assessed Value is Market Value. Unfortunately, this is not true either. Assessed values rarely accurately depict the actual market. This can happen for many reasons. The article that I wrote last month goes over several of these reasons. That article is posted on my blog Click Here. If you want to know what the market value is of your home, ask your Realtor for ALL comparable pending sales and solds in your area. Pending and sold data is the best indication of value. If you would like more information on the value of your property, contact me at 907-373-3575 or email me at