St. George Real Estate Blog - The 'Jedi's' Write Here...

St. George Real Estate Blog - The 'Jedi's' Write Here...

Jeremy Larkin

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Displaying blog entries 261-269 of 269

Wal-Mart, Raving Fans & Sinus Infections

by Jeremy Larkin

 You know you do it.  You walk up to the cashier in your friendly neighborhood Wal-mart and initiate conversation in the simplest way possible: "Hi, how are you?"  You then think to yourself, "I hope they're doing good....I mean if they weren't they wouldn't really tell me, would they?....Cause gosh, if they aren't doing good I will (insert your own feelings here) feel really bad, not care at all, not know what to say...."

And of course, they always say "fine" or something similar.  But not this time, no the Wal-mart cashier just had to tell me the truth, so here it goes..(brace yourself). And I quote:

Cashier: I could be better

Me: Wow!, how come?

Cashier: I've had a really bad sinus infection for 2 months

Me: Can you throw in a case of that hand sanitizer right there?

No, I'm not kidding. Then there's the one at the other Wal-mart that always manages to tell my Assistant about her latest woes of being middle-aged and single and how the last guy dumped her, ran off, got a sinus infection, whatever.

My question is this: How in the world do these people make it to the front lines of the local Wal-mart? No, seriously! I've seen MUCH better qualified employees stacking pallets at 3 AM.

The answer is simple: The Wal-marts of the world aren't committed to creating 'Raving Fans.' They are barely committed to creating 'satisfied customers.' A satisfied customer, of course, is someone who isn't happy or sad about the business transaction, they just..."are"....they're neutral I guess.

Ken Blanchard writes about this topic in one of the best books I've EVER read, conveniently titled "Raving Fans." Blanchard discusses the fact that most businesses are just aiming for satisfied customers, but that satisfied customers aren't good enough!  We are trying to implement these concepts into our real estate practice, and it ain't easy. I have started the process of asking myself questions like, "what are we doing for our clients that is memorable?"  Sometimes I have no answer for myself of course.

What do you think? When was the last time you transacted business with someone or some business that made a "Raving Fan" out of you? Where the experience was so good that you would tell all of your friends about it? What about the opposite? Think about how often you have a mediocore restaurant experience and your reply to the Manager who asks how everything was is "fine." Is 'fine' good enough?

What about in your own business? Ask yourself: "Am I looking for 'satisfied customers' or 'loyal fans'?"

I'd love to hear your stories. In the meantime I've gotta go back to Wal-mart and pickup some Mucinex and hand sanitizer....

Historic Fed Rate drop cuts both ways for Borrowers...What about you?

by Jeremy Larkin

FIrst of all, I'm NOT a mortgage specialist, so what you get here is my best summary based on personal research. (meaning you might want to stop reading now if you really appreciate authoritative mortgage commentary!) On the heels of its surprise rate cut of .75 basis points last week, the Federal Reserve cut key interest rates again, the fifth straight cut since September 2007.  In short, economic data suggests the US is on the brink of recession, and the Fed is acting accordingly.

Who benefits from this cut?
I am LOVING this cut as a HELOC borrower! If you have a loan that is directly tied to the Prime Rate, you will see an immediate benefit. Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and variable rate charge cards are the types of loans that will have an interest rate reduction on their next statement.

What does this mean for long-term rates?
Long-term mortgage rates could actually increase after yesterday's cut, based on historical performance and recent trends. Wierd to some, I know, but it's just the way it is.

How does the economic stimulus package fit into the picture?
The economic stimulus package from Congress and the White House could be a double-edged sword for borrowers. Combined with recent Fed actions, the package could create inflation and bring about higher long-term interest rates.

On the positive side, conforming loan limits are likely to be raised from the current $417,000 to upwards of $625,000. This means great potential savings for purchase and refinance candidates who live in high-cost areas across the country.

The reality is that as always, "timing the market" is next to impossible, and if you want to know a little secret - some of the most savvy investors I know are on the lookout for purchases to hold long-term RIGHT NOW. As far as economic stimulus goes, I'm not seeing immediate improvements in the local market, so the jury is still out.

St. George Musical Theater Raises $165k in one Night?!?!?

by Jeremy Larkin

The plan of course, was to raise $50k, which was a noble goal in and of itselt. As a matter of fact I saw on the news this week that a University of Utah fundraiser put together something like $70-$80k, which is no small sum.

Can you imagine $165,000 big ones (including donations in kind) being raise for the St. George Musical Theater?....in one night!?!?!?! Well believe it, and I was pleased to witness it.  That is just plain HUGE!!

If you didn't make it, Dick Nourse "MC'd" the even, which headlined well-known Utah musicians such as Alex Boye and George Dyer.  Alot of wild opinons and commentary have been floating around about the theater for the past 2 years as they have contemplated their future in an effort to raise funds for their new location.  I am personally a huge fan, and as a Real Estate Professional, see ALOT of value in having community theater in our area. 

I challenge all reading this who are able to join the "give a grand" cause to get the Theater into a new home. CONTACT ME direct for more info or feel free to comment here!

Theater Info: http://www.sgmt.org/

I have a secret weapon that is producing miracles...

by Jeremy Larkin

Happy Thanksgiving! Why do we wait all year to feel or show some gratitude? t's silly isn't it? We wait for the media to "tell us" to be grateful to do so.  Let's all do better!

My business  coaches & mentors have really beaten this gratitude thing into me this year and the results have been amazing.

I'm now going to share with you my "secret tool" that was introduced to me last year called the "10/10 Visualization" or "10/10 Exercise." It has produced miracles for me - seriously. It goes like this:

1. Every morning (or night for those with days/nights mixed up) sit down with a piece of paper, a journal, or your computer. Think of and write down the 10 things you are most grateful for. Really think about it, emotionalize it. I promise you when you really think about it, you'll find that life is really pretty good.

2. Now, while in complete gratitude mode, think of and write down the 10 things you would most like to attract.  BE HONEST HERE! You want $1 million net worth by the end of 08? Write it down! Want a loving and passionate relationship with your spouse and kid? Write it down! Trying to kick a bad habit? Write it down!

As I've been INTENTIONALLY grateful on a daily basis, using the 10/10 visualization, I have literally seen miracles popping up around us.....professionaly, personally, for my family, etc.  I DARE YOU to try this every day for a month, or at least every week or work-day for 1 month.

You probably have it better than you think. Try this and call or email me with the results!

 

Is it time to invest in Real Estate? $50.5 Trillion says yes.

by Jeremy Larkin

 

My Dad handed me a newspaper article yesterday that he had picked up from the Denver Post while travelling across the country. He warned me that it would be upsetting. "Geesh, why would $50.5 trillion in debt be upsetting, Dad?"

$400,000 - the amount the average US household owes toward that debt.  Isn't that amazing? If you think I'm just making it up, go here http://www.denverpost.com/perspective/ci_7344870 to read the interview with David Walker who is currently on his "Fiscal Wakeup Tour" across the country, trying to "wake people up."

If you don't want to read the whole article, let me sum it up for you: Forget about your Social Security, Medicare, etc - it's all drying up in the not too distant future. Which means that we'd all better find a way to build up our own nest egg, right?

I know the whole world is concerned about real estate right now. Yet let me point out that in Washington County we have RECORD inventory, motivated sellers, and phenomenal interest rates. It could be the perfect storm for buying up investment properties, which have always been great long term investments.

Timing the market is impossible, by the way. Kind of like when you hear Jim Kramer talk about the next greatest stock pick on TV, it's too late.

Just food for thought. Pick up a good little rental, let the Tenant pay your mortgage, and hang on for the long-term cash out? It beats planning on your share of $50.5 trillion in debt doesn't it?

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

177 Sales.....I should have become a Fireman.

by Jeremy Larkin

It's official! The profession of real estate is now (2-years running) considered the "least prestigious" profession according to the Harris Poll survey of 23 occupations. 

Guess who was first? No, not Priests,(they were #7). Firemen!  Everybody loves those hunky guys and gals, especially since 9/11.

It is also official that the real estate market in Washington County has become extremely complicated. Check this data out:

Nov 2005

Active Listings: 2870 - New Listings: 725 - Sold Listings: 446 - # of Mos. Inventory: 6.43

Nov 2007

Active Listings: 6044 - New Listings: 1074 - Sold Listings: 177 - # of Mos. Inventory: 34.15!!

WOW! We have really outdone ourselves. The good news is that even though I am in the least prestigious profession in the world, I get to share that honor locally with nearly 1600 others! The bad news? We also get to share the 177 sales.......ouch.

You see, the real difference between Realtors and Firemen, (besides them typically being stronger and more handsome than me), is that the Fireman actually have to DO something, BE something to qualify and get hired for the good jobs. You are probably aware that getting on the Las Vegas department is a tough job in and of itself and that only a few coveted positions come available every year.

This market will weed out a large number of part-time and unqualified real estate people for sure. However, I don't think we can ever solve this prestige & perception problem with real estate professionals until the standards required to get into the business are modified, the bar "raised" so to speak.  As you can imagine, it makes it really difficult for those of us taking our job seriously to be taken seriously.

Stay tuned for more about this market.....until then, let me know when they are hiring in Vegas again!

J

 

"Giving your house away" doesn't exist...Sellers Facing Music

by Jeremy Larkin

Go to your listing agent right now and DEMAND that they take an honest look at the list price of your home.  Then hold them accountable for the marketing plan they presented to you at listing (if there was one...). It may be the single best thing you can do to get out of where you are and into where you want/need to be.

Alot has been said by the PR people at  NAR (National Assoc of Realtors), UAR (Utah Assoc) and WCBR (Wash. County Board of Realtors) to minimize the public's feelings "being hurt" about the current real estate markets. I can understand why they do this, and for some time now, it's been really tough to figure out just "how bad" it really is. 

I can't quantify how "bad" or "good" it really is. That is pretty subjective and will feel different to each buyer or seller. What I can say is this: 

#1 - there is ALOT of inventory and everyone knows it.

#2 - some people have to sell their home sooner rather than later

#3 - as long as there is air to breath condition #2 will exist.

#4 - every time a seller has to sell, even at a deep discount, it causes prices to go down, period.  

#5 - in every real estate market there are ALOT of sellers who have to sell soon.

We are working with mulitiple sellers right now who have left their residence empty as a result of a job change. There must be hundreds of spec homes sitting empty with huge monthly interest nuts. What is the best solution for most of them? Drop the price. Sounds cruel, doesn't it? Well when the fish aren't biting you've just got to lower than line to deeper water where the fish are, right?

On countless occasions I've heard "I'm not willing to GIVE my house away." Working in the trenches, I've come to learn that "giving a house away" doesn't really exist. Buyers determine value, both in hot and cold markets. Many say that sellers were "naming their price" during the boom. They were, but BUYERS were determining if that was ok, and they did.

When the price is right, they buy. When it's not, they don't.  I mean, if a gallon of gas goes down to $1.50, do you expect the Gas Stations task for $2.00? I doubt it.

Sellers- it's ok to sell right now. You can't control the market, you can only make the best decisions for your family, and if that is a decision to move, then do so. However, if you just want to "see what you can get", don't waste your time, or your agent's, or muddy the pond any more than it already is.  

Buyers - yes, you can buy now. Prices are at or BELOW 2005 levels if you can believe it. "But what if they go lower?" They might, but I suggest the prescription above - make the best decision for your family.

The #1 Place to do Business in the Country!?!?!

by Jeremy Larkin

You may or may not be aware that every year, as part of their annual report, Inc. Magazine analyzes job-growth data, as supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on 393 metropolitan statistical areas across the nation and comes up with a list of the very best places to "do business" in the Country. 

They break down the rankings into small, medium, and large cities. So who do you think was the #1 small AND overall city to do business?.............yes, St. George, Utah.  What was more alarming than the #1 ranking for 2007, was the fact that I had no idea that we were #2 in 2006!

What does this mean? I really don't know, but I can only view this as another piece of national notoriety that will continue to "insulate" the local housing market from national trends.  Just recently many heard that St. George was still listed as the fastest growing MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) in the US, but alot of my Seller Clients will sure question whether enough people are moving in! 

Only time will tell how all of this national exposure will affect the County - stay tuned.

Here is the link to the full article, rankings, and other statistics - enjoy!http://www.inc.com/bestcities/index.html

 

 

They're right, all Real Estate IS local..

by Jeremy Larkin

I mean honestly, how many times do we have to read about the poor investors/sellers who got waaaaaaayy ahead of themselves gobbling up property in out of state markets, and have now been left holding the proverbial "bag" of real estate inventory? 

Believe me folks, the lesson to be learned is clear: Real estate happens at a local level, right down to individual suburbs and neighborhoods. I've had this whole nagging thought on my mind as I am reading a newly released book by National Assoc. Realtors Chief Economist, David Lereah. Titled "All Real Estate is Local", he hangs the whole concept right out there for us to learn from.  He comments that "real estate markets are NOT fair and equitable."  Amen to that!

Take for instance, the out of town For Sale By Owner.  This individual leaves their long time home of say Las Vegas, NV, and moves to Reno, but hangs on to the home as an investment in Vegas.  A few years down the road, this person decides it's time to "cash out" of Vegas and move on, so they make a weekend trip to Vegas, buy a sign at Lowe's, and place it in the yard, and return to Reno. (only to be bombarded by agent calls of course!)

Now what is wrong with this picture? It is NOT the fact that they are selling by owner. They have that right and I respect it. What is WRONG is the fact that they are SO FAR removed from the local market dynamics, trends of "in" and "out" migration,  Employment & new business trends, etc, that they can't possibly truly understand how to best defend their biggest asset! What's worse is when this individual mentions to inquiring agents that they themselves are agents and that they "know how do do it." 

"Having experience" doesn't majically make you a local and instantaneously provide you "on the ground" insights into a given market. Nor does reading a few articles online, or even having a "buddy who is into investing" in that area. 

There is no better way to build wealth than real estate, but do your homework. Get some professional, local advice. Go to Amazon.com and order "All Real Estate is Local." You'll be glad you did.  Because guess what?..........it is.

Displaying blog entries 261-269 of 269

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Photo of Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group Real Estate
Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group
Keller Williams Realty
50 E 100 S, Suite 300
St. George UT 84770
435.767.9886
Fax: 435-359-5085

St. George Real Estate - Your premier destination for St. George,Utah Real Estate Listings, Home Values, MLS Search, REO/Foreclosure Info &  St. George Real Estate Statistics.  Serving St. George, Santa Clara, Ivins, Washington, Hurricane, LaVerkin, Toquerville & more! Specializing in REO/foreclosure properties, frustrated Sellers, First-Time home buyers, and Investors. Looking for the most LOCAL St. George, Utah real estate information available? Your search is over!