Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sign of the Times

The face of real estate success sure has been changed in the past few years. Until foreclosures and short sales started to dominate the market in the past few years, the elite real estate sales agents in Tucson were those who sold a few dozen luxury homes.

Now the heavy hitters are the real estate teams who focus on handling bank-owned properties. Last year, the sales volume top producer was Bob Zachmeier, who had a mind-boggling 492 sales averaging $112,568 each, followed by Marsee Wilhems with 350 sales averaging $121,600.

Agents number 3, 4 and 5 in sales volume were the traditional sales leaders: Janell Jellison, Rob Lamb and Russell Long. Their number of sales and average sale prices were 44 and $693,011; 116 and $214,705; and 37 and $656,677, respectively.

The agents in positions 13 through 17 each had over 300 sales averaging under $50,000. The thought of doing all that paperwork makes my head hurt.

The old saw that 10% of the agents do 90% of the work is still true. More than half the 4,600 agents in Tucson last year made two sales or fewer. I don't do foreclosure management, and I rarely sell a luxury home, but I still managed to be in the top 10% in sales production, as I have been since before the real estate boom and subsequent bust. I enjoy doing business the old-fashioned way. I help people, rather than banks, achieve their real estate goals.

Dirt Road Blues

Have you ever thought it would be nice to live way out in the desert on a dirt road? If you are contemplating such a move, be sure to find out who is responsible for maintaining the road. When a summer monsoon turns the only route to your house into quick sand, who will put it right? Do you think it's 1) Pima County, 2) A helpful neighbor who likes to play with his Bobcat 3) A contractor hired by the people who live on the road or 4) Nobody?

If you assumed it wasn't number 4, you may have a hard time getting home. I just got this from loan officer extraordinaire Catherine Ellinwood with Fairway Independent Mortgage:

If a property is on a dirt road, you’ll want to know whether the road is county-maintained or has a private road maintenance agreement. Recent lesson learned: it’s not enough for the seller to say the county goes by once in awhile and grades the road, as the road in question turned out NOT to be county-maintained. Conventional, VA, FHA, and USDA loans will require some type of road agreement. So if you’re buying a property on a dirt road, you’ll want to know in advance if the road is not maintained. This was not really an issue before 2011, but now all dirt roads must be county-maintained or have a maintenance agreement on the preliminary title report if it’s a private road.

Pima County has a website that shows all the roads they maintain. Determining the maintenance status of a particular road seems like a pretty byzantine process, so call Catherine (520-954-1907) if you want her to walk you through it.

Why do I say Catherine is a loan officer extraordinaire? In order for one of her customers to buy a house on a dirt road, all the homeowners on the road had to sign a road maintenance agreement. Catherine and the buyer's agent went door to door to get the signatures and saved the deal.

Safos Dance

This weekend Safos Dance will perform a modern ballet, "Caroline's Story: Le Plus Beau Jour de Ma Vie". The theme of the ballet is a woman's journey through post partum depression. The music was composed by my fabulous client Jordane Lafitte.