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Won’t Appraise, You Say? Then Bring Me a Cash Buyer!

Won’t Appraise, You Say? Then Bring Me a Cash Buyer!

If only it were that simple. I’ve had this pearl lobbed across the kitchen table by a would-be Scottsdale home seller in denial more times than I can count, and I can count all the way to eleven, thank you very much. After all, it’s self-evident that the single most effective way to combat the potential deal-killing reality of a third party evaluation is not to have one. Thus, it never comes as a surprise when a homeowner objects to the recent sales data by flipping the script on my argument that there is no way on God’s green earth that the home would appraise for the lofty number in his/her head, even if some foolhardy buyer would prove willing to plunk down greenbacks well in excess of true market value.

“You need to find us a cash buyer so there won’t be an appraisal, then.”

While rummaging through my briefcase for the ready supply of cash buyers I keep on hand in case of emergency, I’m dismayed to find that there appears to be a hole in the bottom. All those investor whales who bleed money from their blowholes must have fallen out as their portfolios shrank to guppy size over the past few years.

There are cash buyers out there, but times have changed, people. This is not 2005-2006 where many “cash” buyers were actually relying on draining a HELOC to close. Or those others who have been bounced from the pool by decimated 401k’s and suddenly nonexistent pensions. The cash buyers who are still around in 2010 are genuine Daddy Warbucks types and professional investment syndicates.

Genuine. Cash. Buyers.

And you know what? Those with the coin to be players in the current market are not interested in overpaying for your, or any other, property. The only people buying homes at present, regardless of whether the property is a need or a want, are those intent on a modern day train robbery. When even the value-priced properties linger on the market as the slap-your-momma-value-priced properties are the ones being snapped up, the game plan is to grossly overprice your home in hopes of landing one of these cash buying makos? Seriously? Because they are so darned cute and cuddly, I gather?

As strategies go, I’d sooner advise trick or treating at Dick Cheney’s house as a pheasant hunter.

Happening upon a cash buyer is one of those fun eventualities that is largely determined by price point and fate. Those fortunate enough to have such a creature fall in their laps quickly learn that the cash comes with a steep price: negotiating disadvantage. If you are overpriced, your home won’t even be a blip on Mr. Moneybags’s radar. If you are priced in line with values, he will lowball you. If you are priced significantly under market, he still might attempt to haggle a little. After all, he has cash, and cash is king, right? You aren’t the only one who knows it.

While a cash offer may represent the panacea to the appraisal conundrum, the actual cash buyer is not a willing participant in the “I’m willing to spend whatever it takes, because I simply must have THIS HOUSE” game. He goes across the street and buys the ugly one for 100k less.

Don’t believe me? Let’s try a quick role-playing exercise.

You are a homebuyer in 2010. Through shrewd investment strategy, you have managed to not only hang on to your capital, but to actually amass a larger fortune during these lean economic times. Sensing that opportunities abound in Scottsdale Real Estate at present, you are in the market for a house or two. You might even live in one when you are not at the penthouse in Manhattan, the chalet in Brussels or the flat in London. You’ve studied the market, read all of the stories and spoken with your most trusted advisors. Putting to work the analytical mind that has served you so well in critical financial decision-making to this point … what are you going to buy?

Are you going to spend all day making doe eyes at some overpriced turkey playing hard to get, or are you going to fill your tag by blasting the one with a limp?

Thought so.

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All Aboard the McCormick-Stillman Railroad in Scottsdale, AZ!

Digging through my old archives for additional community information I could use to populate this site, I came across this video I shot aboard the Standard Pacific Railroad at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park in McCormick Ranch (Scottsdale). Hard to believe it’s already been two and a half years since I shot this, as I barely recognize the cast in comparison to their 2010 doppelgangers. Time flies when you’re chasing your children around the house with a fire extinguisher full of holy water. Looking for something to do with the munchkins this weekend? There are worse ways to spend an afternoon. Enjoy.

All Aboard!

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Failed Business Slogans

As I prepare to place a new business card order for the first time in forever, certain aspects of its predecessor can stand some revision. After years of template neglect, for instance, I’m humiliated to admit that my email still reflects the AOL address I acquired in college. While not amongst the technology snobs (you know who you are) that mock those still utilizing the America Online paradigm, I made the switch to a branded gmail account several years ago. I’d say I never looked back, but that would be a gross distortion of the truth as I have to log in sporadically to ensure I haven’t missed any correspondence from a holder of one of the 3″ x 2.5″ instruments of disinformation I continue to dispense with impunity. Or for confirmation of my Nigerian lotto winnings (funny, I don’t recall purchasing a ticket …). While ironing out such inconsistencies, it’s probably not a bad idea to include passing reference to the website to which I’ve devoted THE LAST TWO YEARS OF MY FREAKING LIFE either.

So I can be somewhat resistant to change, sue me. One person’s hoarding is another person’s preparedness. Roll your eyes if you must, but don’t come looking to borrow my red parachute pants when breakdancing comes back.

Amongst the myriad changes that Business Card 3.0 will entail, I figure it’s time to roll out a new tagline. You know, like Hasta la vista, buyer, or I’ll be back … with a standard AAR purchase contract. Just updated to have a relevant, modern edge. Given the changes in the industry over the past few years, I need a blurb that tells people I am hip to the new jive. Let’s try a few out.

Transparency, it’s all the rage in modern internet marketing. With that in mind, we could always cut straight to the quick with, You need a house. I sell houses.  Boom, done.

Post-Bubble Apocalyptic: Leg stuck in a negative-equity bear trap? I have a saw.

Partisan: Freaking Obama. (alternate version: Freaking Boehner)

Short Sale Negotiation: Don’t call me, I’ll call you.

The Foreclosure Specialist: Predators, Incorporated. You need’em, we bleed’em.

The Roger Waters BPO: Hello, is there anybody in there?

The Lawrence Yun: It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

The John Merrick: I am not an animal, I’m a licensed Realtor!

The Full Monty: I’m broke. Buy something!

The REHarmony.Com: Deep Levels of Compatibility with Your Money

The Ike Turner: Slapping the taste out of value’s mouth since 1999!

The British Petroleum: Your guide to housing values that have fallen by 2%. Okay maybe 5%. 15% tops. Alright, 60%, but it’s not like you can’t go commune with a cactus in the Gobi, you bunch of moisture-starved jawas.

The Chilean Miner: Trapped in an underground mortgage since 2006, and I all got was this lousy t-shirt.

The Baby Jessica: Posers.

The Max Von Sydow: Your REO Hellhole Exorcist

The B of A: Your One Man Foreclosure Moratorium

The FED: Going Out Of Business Sale, All Rates Must Go!

The Realist: Paul’s House of Puppeteering, Magic and Real Estate

The Obscurist: When your donkey brays in fiscal agony, don’t let it bleed out on the berber carpet

The Serial Market Killer: Have you checked the Zestimate? (alternate: It puts the charge-off on its credit)

On second thought, maybe I should just let the marketing talent at HA Media save me from myself.

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Town & Country Scottsdale

Town & Country Scottsdale

Continuing the Unique Architecture in Scottsdale series, this edition focuses on the mid-century modern designs of famed local architect Ralph Haver. If you enjoyed the style of the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired homes of Mountain View East in McCormick Ranch, but are operating with a lesser budget, the South Scottsdale subdivision of Town & Country Scottsdale might be for you.

A small neighborhood of 62 homes, Town & Country Scottsdale is coveted as much for its downtown Scottsdale location as it is for its classic lines. Featuring the clerestory windows and sharp angles that make enthusiasts of contemporary design swoon, Haver homes are always in high demand. There are other Haver subdivisions scattered throughout Phoenix, but Town & Country Scottsdale is the only Haver neighborhood that has been designated “Historic.” Besides, it’s as Old Town Scottsdale as it gets.

These homes range in size from just under 1400 square feet to nearly 2400 square feet, and were constructed between 1952 and 1960.All properties are single-level and feature block construction. 35 have private pools.Some remain virtually untouched by time while others have been renovated from top to bottom.As such, the prices can fluctuate wildly between the upper $200,00s and the low $400,000s (as of the time of this posting).

For those who want their unique architecture on a budget, it is tough to beat this charming neighborhood. While this older area of Scottsdale has less flash than the new developments further north, it makes up for it in character. With the direction the cost of gas is heading, it’s hard to argue with the central location which allows residents to walk or bike to all of the downtown attractions (restaurants, nightspots, art galleries, etc).

South Scottsdale is typically thought of as entry-level housing to our community, but that doesn’t mean it has to entail a small, boring shoebox of a home. Town & Country proves that. With a resurgence of appreciation for this mid-century modern design, the future is bright for this neighborhood.

View homes for sale in Town and Country Scottsdale

Contact us to find the Scottsdale home that is unique as you are.

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The Appointment

“I’m not going to GIVE my house away!”

Blaine leaned back in his seat, laced his fingers behind his head and closed his eyes. This appointment was over. It was over before it started, in fact. A humorless smile played at the corners of his mouth.

“Something funny,” the would-be seller demanded.

“No, Mr. Davis, nothing funny. It’s just been awhile since I’ve heard that one,” Blaine replied.

Opening his eyes, he was surprised to find his red-faced counterpart had gone an even angrier shade of crimson. The lone stop remaining in the color palette of denial was purple. He’d only seen purple once, and that poor bugger had stroked out right in front of him while discussing the merits of a leaky faucet in an inspection report. One more comparable sale placed upon the glass top of the breakfast table between them and he’d be calling Mr. Davis an ambulance.

“Goddamn Realtors. I was dealing with guys like you before you were born. You just want to slap the lowest price you can on a house so it sells fast,” the now twitching homeowner spat.

“I’m just showing you the data, Mr. Davis. Do you want to see the rest of it,” Blaine asked.

“Waste of time, I can see where you’re going. You want me to list my house at the same price that all of those bank and short sale properties sold for, but my home IS NOT DISTRESSED, you nitwit,” Mr. Davis railed.

“It’s awfully hard to propose an opinion of value without first presenting the background data, Mr. Davis,” Blaine countered. “I put two days into the analysis, but if you want me to cut straight to the chase, I will.”

“About time,” the seller scolded. Even his hair looked pissed.

“Five hundred thousand.”

“FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND?! I paid five fifty for it!”

“Yes, you did. Two years ago. In a declining market,” Blaine finished.

“But, but …,” Mr. Davis sputtered, “but then I have to pay commissions and closing costs on top of that?”

“Yes, sir.”

Blaine looked at his watch and fiddled with his briefcase. He knew exactly what was coming.

“Well, I’m not paying you to sell my house at a loss! Your commission will be whatever we get over five hundred,” Mr. Davis decreed.

“You don’t understand, Mr. Davis. Five hundred thousand is my recommended list price. I anticipate you will actually sell closer to four seventy five,” Blaine answered.

That did it. Mr. Davis turned purple.

“FOUR SEVEN- you want me to sell seventy five k below what I paid, and to pay you for the f&%$ing privilege,” Mr. Davis bellowed.

The sudden rise in octave caused a stirring behind one of the barnyard-themed curtains in the adjoining bay window. A black form exploded past Mr. Davis’s shoulder, leaving a tornado of paperwork in its wake as it shot across the table and out of the room.

“What the hell …,” Blaine mustered, absently pawing his face for blood.

“I guess Mordor doesn’t like your price, either,” Mr. Davis opined, cracking his first smile as he gestured in the direction the previously unseen cat had fled. His face receded to an animated pink, and the whites of his eyes returned, liberating the inquisitive green irises that had first greeted Blaine at the door. A deep sigh punctuated the sudden shift in disposition, and resignation washed across his creased features.

“List at five and sell for four seventy five, you say,” Mr. Davis asked.

“Yes, sir. That’s the best we can possibly hope for.”

“I suppose you have something for me to sign?”

“I do,” Blaine confirmed and withdrew the listing forms from his briefcase. He stooped to gather up his strewn paperwork while the seller signed the agreement, but was stifled by a light palm across his chest.

“It’s my mess, son. I’ll clean it up.”

———— <BEEP> <BEEP> <BEEP> <BEEP> <BEEP> <BEEP> ———–


Blaine blindly groped the nightstand for the shrieking alarm. Finding it, he pressed random buttons until the dark room returned to silence. Once fully immersed in the wakeful world, dread began forming in the pit of his stomach.  Yet another day of unlistable listing appointments. A quick shower and quicker breakfast, and he was out the door, for once hoping to cross paths with a few black cats.

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