August 17, 2008

St George Real Estate Market Reports

The St George Utah Real Estate Market Summary

July was not a bad month for real estate sales in the St George area. Considering July is statistically the second slowest month (first place belongs to January) St George pulled ahead in this turbulent market. If you would like to see a market snapshot for July 2008 St George Real Estate Market, visit my monthly reports: Here, you can find various graphs and statistics updated monthly.

Foreclosures are on the rise in Washington County. Unfortunately, I believe it will become worse, before it becomes better. Each month, Washington County is breaking records from years past, for all time high notice of defaults being filed.

Foreclosures are not necessarily "deals". As I have personally witnessed many homes that have been destroyed by previous owners and tenants. Often, the former residents will sell off the homes appliances. This can make it impossible for a new buyer to obtain financing (FHA will not fund a loan unless the home is complete). Making lenders unable to provide loans on property, limits the already reduced pool of buyers.

It's not all DOOM AND GLOOM! There are some great deals out there being offered by some motivated sellers. Sellers are offering huge price reductions just to get their home sold. If the price is competitive, homes are selling in a matter of days or weeks. Buyers are able to achieve deals that vanished as market began to rise over three years ago. So, if you thought that home you liked down the street was still a bit to high in price, make an offer! You may find yourself with an accepted contract!

Check out all property listed for sale on my website!

You will NOT have to sign up and my site offers the most up to date resource for MLS listed homes around!

April 7, 2008

O48 Realty Has Merged with Unisun Realty

Last week, we merged with another local real estate firm. I am now affiliated with
Unisun Realty ~ O48 Associates.
We are now working inside of Unisun’s new office. (Unisun recently moved to a new location) The address is:

1086 South Main Street Suite 1-B

Our office has built a longstanding reputation in the community for providing superior service to buyers and sellers, for both residential and commercial real estate.

We intend to continue to offer the “Free Move” which several of my clients have successfully utilized. Our move company will be the same person who we previously worked with; however, he is no longer driving his own diesels and he is no longer affiliated with the O48 franchise. Understandably, with the cost of gas he is unable to continue to drive and make any sort of profit. Outsourcing will allow us to utilize his knowledge during the process and allow him to keep the expense at a minimum.

Additionally, I am working with Joyce Bennett. She is my partner and together we intend to offer an unprecedented level of service to our buyers and sellers. She has been in real estate since 1987 and has owned her own company for over 20 years. Joyce has an active Brokers license in Arizona and an Agent license in Utah. She will have the ability to service clients that would like to buy and sell in the Arizona Strip portion (near Mesquite).

My website and contact information will remain the same. Client satisfaction will continue to be my number one priority. If I can be of any assistance, please visit my Website at

January 24, 2008

New Construction or Resale Home?

Home buyers are out looking again, despite the news reports we have been hearing, there are buyers! I have received many calls from clients who are contemplating new construction or a resale home. In my St George Utah real estate market, buyers have an advantage with plenty to choose from, no matter what you want to buy. Builders have record number of homes available and the St George MLS reflects an unusually high number of listings. The high inventory coupled with lowering interest rates is making for a great buyer opportunity.

New construction is always appealing. To own a home that no one else has lived in, a blank canvass to create a home that can be yours, and the fact that everything is new, is desirable to most buyers. However, something to consider is that blank canvass can ultimately become an expensive masterpiece. With new construction, you must consider the costs of landscape (sod, trees etc…), window coverings, patios or patio covers, concrete work, and possibly block walls or fences. This is not to say that you should avoid new construction, it is only expenses that are occasionally overlooked. Selecting a home with a reputable builder who is familiar with environmental issues within the region is imperative. With all of the lending issues currently present, homeowners that are having problems also includes home BUILDERS in financial problems. A home builder can bypass construction requirements in an attempt to make the home appear complete in order to place it for sale. Possibly they are risking foreclosure on the home and rushing to get the home sold could potentially provide profit. A home inspector is a necessity even for new construction. It will be possible that the home inspector can uncover potential problems, however if you are dealing with a builder who will essentially vanish after closing, upon moving in you may uncover severe structural issues or incompleteness. This is why you must to your due diligence and select a home builder with a local reputation.

On a pre owned home usually the former owner has already incurred the costs for window coverings, landscape and other items mentioned above. Having already done the changes and still offering a lower sale price will allow the buyer to save the money and aggravation of doing it after closing. A preexisting home within an established community may provide the evidence of structural integrity within the neighborhood, as any problems may be obvious if the home has had time to settle. A home warranty from a reputable company is recommended. A home warranty can cover the homeowner for future problems, such as electrical, plumbing, appliances, and even the garage door opener. The home warranty company will repair or replace covered appliances or home issues, for a small deductible. This will give the homeowner peace of mind for home repairs. This will be comparable to the home warranty the builder will offer on the new construction. However, keep in mind; if the builder disappears it may become impossible to have your warranty honored.

Always research any home, new or pre-owned. Never make a purchase without utilizing the services of a qualified home inspector. You can learn more about Selection a Home Inspector by following this link. Use a Buyers Agent to represent you in any transaction, preferably a REALTOR. And remember the rule of thumb…if it sounds to good to be true, it is.

December 11, 2007

Southern Utah Sales Statistics

To follow is a snapshot of our St George area real estate market. The information is obtained from our local MLS system, and while the information is deemed reliable, it can not be guaranteed.

Please visit my St George Utah Real Estate Blog to view a more comprehensive chart reflecting actual sale statistics for Washington County.

Sales have again remained slow, yet steady. The number of new listings and active listings has continued to rise, which is a contributing factor to the longer months in inventory. With all of the listings, buyers definitely have a choice. This is forcing sellers to price their homes competitively or risk not selling at all. Many sellers are offering incentives or drastic price reductions, to assist with their property getting SOLD.

If you have any additional St George real estate questions, feel free to visit my St George Utah Real Estate website, or submit a comment here on this blog and I can respond.

November 29, 2007

What should YOU expect from a "Buyers Agent"

Considering purchasing real estate? With the power of the Internet, buyers have a lot of power to search, and research property listed for sale. Many buyers feel that will all of the 'power' at their finger tips, they really do not need an Agent to represent them. Some buyers refuse representation, of course it is all about preference, however I would like to share what a Buyers Agent can do, and most important, SHOULD DO for you.

If you have decided to enlist the help of a Real Estate Agent to assist you with your purchase, ask if the "Agent" is a "Realtor". Although the term "Real Estate Agent" and "Realtor" are often used interchangeably, they are not necessarily the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of Realtors® are properly called 'REALTORS'®. Realtors are expected to subscribe to a strict code of ethics and they are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge for the process of buying and selling real estate.

When you contact an agent, to initiate your home search, it is likely they will ask you to sign a "Buyer Broker Agreement". This is a contractual agreement between you and the agent for a specific period of time. This contract will define what is expected between you and your agent. Signing this contract means you are asking the Realtor to represent YOU. If you do not want to commit to any one agent, then do not be surprised if you can not get any one agent to commit to YOU. Agents work very hard for their clients, the contract will essentially allow them to get paid for their work. The usual circumstance is that the sellers will pay the agent (as part of their listing agreement), not the buyer (however in rare circumstances you can be liable to pay, always read your contract carefully). If you are not going to offer a commitment to the agent, it is of little incentive for the agent to want to drive you around for days or weeks, only for you to call another agent when you are ready to purchase. Remember, if you sign the contract and you feel the agent is not holding up their end of the contract you can discuss this with the broker. It is possible that the agent or brokerage can release you from the contract, you can ask if this is possible even before you sign.

Once you commit to an agent, allow the agent to WORK for you. They should be aware of exactly what you are looking for. Do not be afraid to tell your agent if you dislike a property they have chosen to show you. It is important to express your feelings, tell them what you like and dislike in every home you see, this will assist them in filtering properties. This will ultimately save you time. Once you have found the property, and you are ready to make an offer...your agent will again be working for you.

The agent will begin pulling comparable sales and researching the statistics. Agents have the ability to see what other properties actually sold for, and can often be privileged to sale specifics. Depending on current market conditions, a strong negotiator can often return unbelievable results for you. Once your offer is accepted, your agent will assist you during your evaluation and inspections of the property. Your agent will keep on top of your time lines and keep you informed during the escrow process. At closing, your agent will be there for you to make sure all of the paperwork is in order and assist with explaining the documents you will be signing.
Your agent will be your "personal assistant"

After closing, your agent will be sure you have the keys to your new home. Remember, once you have moved in, you can always contact your agent if you have Home Warranty questions or other issues. Your agent should keep in contact with you, and it can be the start of a continuing friendship and partnership.

Paula Smith is a Realtor in St. George, Utah. I specialize in residential property for St George, Santa Clara, Ivins, SunRiver, Washington, Hurricane, and LaVerkin Utah. If you would like information about the services that I provide, contact me today. Visit my St George Utah Real Estate website to learn about me or to search the St George Utah MLS for all property listed for sale in Southern Utah.

October 24, 2007

Listing Agents are NOT all created equal...

So you've decided to place you home on the market. Now you are faced with the decision of who will list the property. Maybe you will consider an agent who is listing the home down the street? A real estate agent friend? Do a "Google" for ..."your city Listing agent"? I recommend researching many avenues before you hire an agent to represent you and who will simultaneously market your home using the most effective strategies. You must interview more than one agent. Some questions to consider during your quest for representation should be:
  • "Are you a Realtor?" Realtors are more than "agents" (despite the fact that many people use the title interchangeably). Realtors are sworn to abide by a higher degree of ethics.
  • "What will you do to market my property?" Obtaining a listing can be expensive for an agent. Are they financially backed to market your property? While not all forms of advertising are of monetary expense, does the agent posses the independent ingenuity to uncover alternative advertising resources. Which leads to my next question and consideration....
  • "What Internet experience do you posses and utilize?" A successful agent understands the importance of a well constructed website. Since 80% of home buyers are beginning their search online, your agent must be tapping into this number in order to accomplish maximum exposure. Having a website and placing your listing on is a good start, but there are many additional advertising venues. Is your perspective agent aware and utilizing any of them?
  • "Will you offer a guarantee?" While it is easy to make promises, are those promises being fulfilled 3 or 5 months after your sign goes in? Will you receive regular updates from the agent AND have evidence of what they have been doing to market your property? Will they BACK their promise by an agreement (preferably in writing) to release you from your listing contract if they are not accountable for their promises?
  • "How much experience do you have in real estate?" While I am not opposed to a new (or "Rookie") agent...considering I, myself would likely be classified as: Rookie about to graduate to "seasoned". How "new" are they to the world of real estate. So many agents get into the business only to realize they cant afford to stay. This topic will appear in my next blog. Just be sure that your agent has the experience, knowledge and the financial means to market your listing the entire listing contract duration.

Although there are other factors and considerations for selecting your Real Estate Agent, these are a few points to consider before making a selection.

I would enjoy hearing any comments or points regarding this topic. Feel free to give your input. Thank you for reading.

I am a Realtor in St. George, Utah. I specialize in residential real estate for St. George, Santa Clara, Ivins, Washington, Hurricane, LaVerkin and Sun River, Utah areas. If you are interested in learning more about my services, contact me or visit my St George Utah Real Estate website.