Friday, December 19, 2008

As the supply of homes for sale continues to grow throughout the U.S., hopes that the spring and summer selling season will see a rebound are dwindling. Many experts have declared that any meaningful rebound might begin next year. Home prices continue to decline in many areas, fueled by tight lending standards and a rising supply of houses on the market. It' been a long time since home sellers have faced these conditions -- in fact, many homeowners looking to sell are in uncharted waters.

Face the New Reality -- It's a Buyers' Market

Homeowners who want to sell have a choice: sell in the current market, or wait until later, when market conditions improve. Of course, the latter assumes they can wait. But if you are determined to sell, you need to forget about the real estate market of just a few years ago and face the new reality in many real regions -- it's a buyers' market, and you will be competing with a growing supply of motivated sellers to get buyers interested in your house.

Real estate professionals say that, when trying to sell your home in a buyers' market, the two most important factors, after location, are price and condition. I'll add flexibility. Buyers know real estate prices ran up far too much during the last several years of the real estate boom, and just because you may have paid too much for your home doesn't mean buyers think they should have to pay to bail you out. With this in mind, here are some of the strategies experienced realtors typically advise to help sell a house in a buyers' market:

Price It Right: Real estate pros say the key to selling a house is to “price it right.” Set the price at what you can get, not what you think it's worth. The fact of a sellers market is that it doesn't matter what you or your realtor think your house is worth -- the only thing that matters is what a buyer is willing to pay. You don't want to over-price your house, because buyers ignore it and your listing will lose its freshness and appeal, not to mention the uncompensated effort of keeping the home spotless during the showings. Also, the “original listing price” and “current asking price” are on your home's Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listing; if you do not show some decline from the original offering price, some buyers will see it as a sign you have unreasonable expectations of what you can fetch for your home. Sellers fear pricing too low and leaving money on the table, but there is little danger of this. If a home is priced too low, far below the competition, you should receive multiple offers that will drive up the price to fair market value.

Research Local Market: The best way to know if your home is priced fairly relative to comparable houses for sale is to compare your asking price to a comprehensive market analysis. This is the first step before you list your house. Get the listings of the houses in your area, and the price range. Look at the listing for every comparable home that is or was listed in your neighborhood over the past six months. Compare similar properties, make adjustments for locations, age, upgrades and lot sizes. and come up with a range of values. Also, get a list of the recent sales prices and the original listing prices of comparable houses in the area. You can track this down on web sites such as ,, and/or ask a local realtor to do it for you.

Have an Internet Strategy: Most buyers search the Internet and buy a home within 12 miles of their existing one - so use the Internet tools available in your area to see what the supply of homes for sale in your area looks like online. Also, if you are working with a realtor, don't choose to list with the one who suggests the highest listing price. Instead, select a listing agent who can back up his or her proposal with the most facts, market research and experience. When setting the listing price for your house, use round numbers, in increments of $5,000. Most buyers use the Internet to search for a home. When searching by price, they typically search in increments of $5,000. So, listing at a price of $250,000 will turn up in more searches that listing at $249,900.
Make a Great First Impression: Real estate pros often talk about “curb appeal.” Homes with it sell more quickly and those without it can languish on the market longer, further eroding the price buyers are willing to pay. Realtors often comment on the number of homes put on the market with little or nothing done to improve their curb appeal. One real estate pro put it this way: “Most buyers know the house is 'the one' when they see it the very first time; if they make a connection on the first showing, it's sold.” For this reason, doing what it takes to get your house in selling-shape is the second most important factor (after setting the correct price) if you want to get close to your asking price or sell as quickly as possible.

Some things you can do to increase your home's curb appeal and help it "show" better that don't take a lot of money include:

# Sprucing up the yard: Sweep the walk, mow the lawn, prune the shrubs, and clean up debris.

# Cleaning: windows, floors, carpets, kitchen, appliances, bathrooms, and even windows.

# Painting: front door, walls leading to entranceways, ceiling stains, cracked or chipping areas.

# Fixing or repairing: broken doorbell, leaky faucets, broken floor or counter tiles, door that don't close properly, and broken deck railings

# Organizing: all rooms, closets, and even the basement.

# Setting the Stage: Remove pets and litter box, light scented candles, play background music, rearrange and remove excess furniture.

The industry term for doing this is “staging a house” and, as you can imagine, it goes far beyond decorating and cleaning. But doing this can result in selling your home faster and getting a higher price, according to professionals who offer these services. If you don't have the time or would prefer to have someone trained and objective do this for you (after all, they will tell you to lose the bright orange paint in the kitchen!), ask your realtor to refer you to a professional home stager. Some realtors have earned the Accredited Staging Professional (ASP) designation and can do this for you. You can also learn more and locate a professional home stager at

Get a Pre-Sale Inspection: Sellers are strongly advised to consider getting a pre-sale home inspection, especially if their home is older or in need of repairs. They can either use a clean home inspection report as a selling advantage or take care of the repairs listed on the inspection report. Of course, it's advised that you make the repairs before listing the home if possible, especially if they involve things that can be messy and unsightly, such as replacing the roof or removing an old fuel oil tank. But if you can't make the repairs, you can use the report to make estimates available to show potential buyers about the cost of repairs.

Be Flexible: In this market, buyers will expect to pay less than the asking price. They will be armed with the original list prices and final sales prices of comparable homes and will know the price reductions other sellers are accepting. Many buyers may make a low-ball offer to see what your reaction is. Remember this: Emotion is the enemy of flexibility, so keep emotions out of it. Your objective is to sell the house and, if a buyer is truly interested and able to buy your house, then there is a price they may be willing to pay and you may be satisfied to get. Don't simply reject their first offer. Instead, make a reasonable counteroffer and send the message that you want to work with them to close the gap between their offer and the price you need to get for the house. Also, ask the prospective buyer or his or her realtor what information was used to determine the price offered for your house and why they want to buy your house. For example, say the buyer's respond that the offer was based on comparable price per square footage for two other listings. If your house includes upgrades and a finished basement that the other listings do not have, include with your counteroffer an explanation of the cost of your upgrades and the additional value per square foot.

If you or someone you know is interested in buying or selling a home please give Paul Jones a call at (435)313-6708 or email me at

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Real Estate Outlook: Affordability Dramatically Improved

How you see the real estate market at the moment depends on what parts you look at. If you focus primarily on mortgage rates and core affordability measures, you may see the country in a recession, but there are some very positive forces at work in the housing sector.

On the other hand, if you look at widespread employment losses -- 530,000 last month alone -- along with rising personal and business bankruptcies, mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures at levels not seen since the 1930's, you might ask: How can housing rebound if the overall economy is mired in such a mess?

And of course housing can't bounce back significantly unless national and regional economic fundamentals begin to improve. But there's at least an outside chance that housing could help in that whole process -- and begin to get healthier as a result.

Here's why: Number one -- affordability has dramatically improved since the end of the boom.

Thanks to severe price rollbacks and near-record low interest rates, homes are more affordable to households with average incomes than they've been for almost a decade. Standard and Poor's economist David Wyss calls affordability a major bright spot, and that's confirmed by the Housing Affordability Index compiled by the National Association of Realtors.

Mortgage rates are an important part of that equation, and they dropped again last week -- this time below five and half percent for 30 year fixed rate loans, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Add onto this the Treasury Department's reported plan to cut fixed mortgage rates for home purchasers to four and a half percent through a "buy-down" program, and you've got the potential underpinnings for serious increases in home buying just over the horizon.

Some economists project an increase in sales of 500,000 to 700,000 homes in the coming 12 months if mortgage rates are cut by a point, AND if the new Congress agrees to include a non-refundable tax credit of up to 10 percent of the purchase price of a home in the economic stimulus package expected in January.

The idea here is to stoke up housing sales and construction -- and dozens of other industries through housing's well-documented multiplier effect -- the stimulus it gives through ripple effects into building materials, appliances, furniture among others.

This has worked before. Congress took precisely these two steps -- interest rate reductions plus tax credits for home purchases - in the 1970s, and the program had far-reaching positive effects on jobs and the economy as a whole.

It could happen again -- even if, on any given day, the picture looks a little grim.
Written By by Kenneth R. Harney

If you or someone you know is interested in investing in real estate in the St. George, Utah area please call or email me at (435) 313-6708 or

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why Small Cities Rock

They may not make a big splash nationally, but small metro areas continue to dominate the top ranks of's Best Cities rankings. This year, for example, 18 of the top 25 cities are small metros.

We decided to take a look at what makes these places tick by focusing on one of them. St. George, Utah, has a lock on first or second place for the third year in a row. St. George is the bustling population and commercial center of Utah's Dixie, a nickname given to the area when Brigham Young persuaded Mormon pioneers to grow cotton and wine grapes and harvest silk for export to the Civil War-torn northern states.

The cotton plants, grapevines and mulberry bushes largely are gone, but the area overall is thriving. Nestled near Zion and Bryce National Parks, St. George has been attracting visitors and retirees for decades. But increasingly, the new houses lining the red-bluffed valleys are not occupied by those at the end of their productive lives; they are being snatched up by younger people and families anxious to take advantage of economic opportunities in a lovely setting. The population has doubled every decade in the last three.

But it’s not just scenery that attracts. This is a community with a strong sense of pride and connection with its past. And unlike many attractive communities, this one still wants to grow -- and has done so by appealing to companies from giant Wal-Mart (which has a distribution center here) and Skywest to entrepreneurial firms who are filling the spacious, orderly industrial parks in the region.

St. George also is taking advantage of its location. With easy access to I-15, between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, notes Scott Hirschi, director of the Washington County Economic Development Council, it’s within a day’s semi-truck ride from almost the entire West Coast. At its current pace, Washington County is expected to grow to between 600,000 or 700,000 people by 2050.

In some small metros, as shown by the dominance of Texas cities in the overall rankings, the resurgence is due to the fact that the pillars of the economy -- food, energy, and manufacturing -- are in high demand in the global economy. For others it's the presence of a university or college, the beautiful scenery and abundance of recreation activities, the proximity to a large metro area, or the position within a multi-polar urban complex. In places like Bend, Ore., or Bellingham, Wash., a combination of factors -- beautiful settings, movement of skilled workers and entrepreneurs -- has come together to create a robust crucible for attracting new talent and new businesses.

Affordability is also a critical factor. St. George is joined this year near the top of the rankings by its intermountain neighbors Salt Lake City and Provo. So, it seems that Utah’s strong and diverse job growth and low housing prices -- at least compared to California -- continue as a draw for people seeking more affordable communities ideal for raising families and growing businesses.

"St. George is the last small, snow-free community as you travel east from California’s Pacific Coast,” says the town's development director, Scott Hirschi. "And, we have no gambling here which appeals to people that are looking for a family-friendly community." By: Delore Zimmerman

Summary of St. George

Although settlers came to Washington County as early as 1852, St. George, Utah was settled in 1861. Mormon leader Brigham Young sent a group of pioneers to the far reaching corner of the Territory of Utah to grow cotton and wine grapes and harvest silk for export to the Civil War-torn northern states. Today the cotton fields are gone, the wineries are closed and the silk industry has given way to modern, more prosperous businesses.

St. George, the county's largest city, lies along interstate 15 with a host of smaller communities that make up Utah's Dixie. The advantages of the county's position along one of the nation's key north-south routes between California and places such as Salt Lake City, Denver and Albuquerque is making Washington County one of the nation's fastest growing communities. The scenic area not only provides easy access to major markets of the western United States, it has become a destination point for countless people and businesses looking for a better way of life and more fruitful atmosphere for growth and prosperity.

From 1990 to 1995, Washington County grew a staggering 50 percent and St. George grew 61 percent, while the rest of the state tallied up a total growth rate of 16 percent. The tiny farming community of St. George had grown up and surrounding cities followed suit.

By the end of the decade, the St. George - Zion National Park areas of Washington County were rated among the best communities in the country to retire by Rand McNalley, Prentice Hall, Money and the American Association of Retired People. As a result there was a large amount of construction of new homes in the Washington County area. There are many great communities in St George like Sunriver St George. You can also visit our new urbanism communities, retirement communities, and our utah foreclosures sections.

There are many great events here, such as the St George Utah Marathon or the Huntsman World Senior Games.

The unprecedented growth experienced in the county has not been limited to retirees, however. Young working families joined the migration to Utah's Dixie to establish one of the most stable and reliable work forces in the nation. They came for the climate, the scenic beauty, the family atmosphere and explosive job opportunities. Much of the growth is due to the area's competitive construction rates and low crime. Link

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tips for First Time Home Buyers

It's not uncommon for a first-time home buyer to say to me, "Gosh, just last week I called you about buying a home and now I'm in escrow! How did this happen so fast?"

The answer is it didn't. First-time home buyers start the search long before most even realize it.

Here's what you can expect from your home shopping experience.

Figuring Out the Benefits

You should buy a home. That's what you've been hearing from friends and family, right? So, by now you have likely already weighed the benefits and decided that home ownership was the best decision for you. That's a major hurdle now passed. You are focused and certain. Good.

Defining Search Parameters

Almost 80% of all home searches today begin on the Internet. With just a few clicks of the mouse, home buyers can search through hundreds of online listings, view virtual tours, and sort through dozens of photographs and aerial shots of neighborhoods and homes. You've probably defined your goals and have a pretty good idea of the type of home and neighborhood you want. By the time you reach your real estate agent's office, you are halfway to home ownership.

How Long Should It Take to Find What You Want?

In Sellers market, often I show only one home. After all, how many homes does one family need? A few buyers will look for years, but buyers who do that aren't motivated. A motivated buyer will find a home within two weeks. Most of my buyers find a home within two days.

Good real estate agents will listen to your wants and needs and arrange to show only those homes that fit your particular parameters. Your agent should preview homes before showing them to you as well.

How Many Homes Will You See?

Studies show that the your memory dramatically improves after consumption of carbs and slows upon consuming sugar. So, layoff the soft drinks and have a hearty meal of carbs before venturing out to tour homes. The average number of homes that I show to a buyer in one day is seven. Any more than that, and the brain is on overload. Therefore, don't expect to see 20 or 30 homes; although it's physically possible to do so, you probably will not remember specific details about any of them.

The "Red Shoes" Experience

Women will relate to this. Say, you need a new pair of red shoes. You go to the mall. At the first shoe store, you find a fabulous pair of red shoes. You try them on. They fit perfectly. They are glamorous. Priced right, too. Do you buy them? Of course not! You go to every other store in the mall trying on red shoes until you are ready to drop from exhaustion. Then you return to the first store and buy those red shoes. Do not shop for a home this way. When you find the perfect home, buy it.

How to Rate Inventory

  • Bring a digital camera and begin each series of photos with a close-up of the house number to identify where each group of home photos start and end.
  • Take copious notes of unusual features, colors and design elements.
  • Pay attention to the home's surroundings. What is next door? Do 2-story homes tower over your single story?
  • Do you like the location? Is it near a park or a power plant?
  • Immediately after leaving, rate each home on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.

View Top Choices a Second Time

After touring homes for a few days, you will probably instinctively know which one or two homes you would like to buy. Ask to see them again. You will see them with different eyes and notice elements that were overlooked the first go-around.

At this point, your agent should call the listing agents to find out more about the sellers' motivation and to double-check that an offer hasn't come in, making sure these homes are still available to purchase.

Making the Selection

I'll let you in on a little secret. I generally know which home a buyer is going to choose, and I suspect most other agents operate the same way. It's an intuition. But I make it a practice not to steer buyers, and I insist that buyers choose the home without interference from me. It's not my choice to make.

Real estate agents are required, however, to point out defects and should help buyers feel confident that the home selected meets the buyer's search parameters.

Call me today to help you find the perfect home in St. George, Utah! 435-313-6708 Paul Jones
Or check out my website

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Buying Foreclosures

Buying Foreclosures for Excellent Savings

Most savvy homebuyers know that buying foreclosures can be a great way to purchase a home at just a fraction of its market value. But beware! Those who jump into the foreclosure market without any additional information are liable to learn some very valuable lessons the hard way. Just like anything else in life, buying a foreclosed home has its pros and cons. They present wonderful, profitable investment opportunities, but they can just as easily become money pits if you don't know what you're doing.

Why Buy Foreclosures?

Why would you want to buy a foreclosed home? Here are just a few of the reasons that homeowners and investors are flocking to the foreclosure market.

  • Low prices. Foreclosures sometimes sell for 20 to 50% below their true market values. More modest discounts of 5 to 10% are more common, but foreclosures are almost always priced lower than homes in the traditional real estate market.
  • Great fixer uppers. Many foreclosed homes are 'fixer upper homes' that need repairs, renovation, and tender loving care. By investing a little sweat equity, most homebuyers find that they can make significant profit by reselling the home after some relatively quick and minor repairs.
  • Lower closing costs. The banks and government agencies that sell foreclosed homes are in a hurry, which means that they are often willing to accept lower offers on down payments, financing options, closing costs, and all the other miscellaneous costs associated with buying a home. Many sellers will come right out and offer buyers great deals and contract terms simply to sell the house quickly.
  • No move-in delays. Most foreclosures are vacant, meaning that you can move in almost immediately after purchasing the home, without having to wait for the previous owners to move out.
  • Flexible financing. When banks sell foreclosed properties, they're often willing to offer very flexible financing terms to sweeten the deal and sell the property more quickly.
  • Profitability. Because foreclosures are so inexpensive, they're great options for resale, equity-building, renting, and other investment purposes. You can easily make a tidy profit, and quite possibly make your personal fortune by wisely investing in foreclosed properties.

    The Learning Process: Buying Homes in Foreclosure

    With so many advantages to buying foreclosed homes, why isn't everyone doing it? Because there are some important disadvantages to doing so. The disadvantages are manageable, but only if you're well aware of what you're getting into before making an offer on a foreclosed home.

  • Liens and liabilities. Foreclosed properties may have liens from unpaid taxes or liabilities regarding the property title. These hassles can increase the paperwork burden and make the process of buying foreclosures more expensive. Fortunately, a little preemptive research and help you avoid these time wasters.
  • Former homeowners. Sometimes the former owners of a foreclosed property are in denial and refuse to move out of the home. If you're the unlucky buyer, evicting them will be your responsibility. But again, doing research in advance and working with a professional real estate agent can obviate the situation.
  • Property condition. Many foreclosed properties are in good condition in beautiful neighborhoods, but some are rundown and reflect the financial difficulties that the previous owners were facing. The latter require significant repairs and renovation, which is fine if you want a fixer upper, but it's not something you want to discover after purchase. Be sure to give the home a thorough inspection before buying it, so that you won't be unpleasantly surprised by leaky roofs and septic tanks after purchase.
  • Different buying procedure. When buying a home in the foreclosure market, you'll find that you need to do more research and paperwork and exercise more caution than you would in a traditional real estate market, because foreclosed homes are sold as is, without any guarantees. But given the profit-making potential of these homes, the extra paperwork seems a small price to pay. Published on

If you are interested in receiving a notice of default list or foreclosure list for the St. George, Utah area. Email me at

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Home Selling Mistakes

People say the best days to own a boat are the day you buy the boat and the day you sell it. That's not true when it comes to home ownership, unless, maybe, you live on a boat. The best days in home ownership are when you buy a home and all the way through until the day you decide to sell.
Lots of home owners cry when they sell. Before the ink is dry on the listing agreement, eyes often swell with tears, and we're not talking about the listing agent. That's because sellers have developed relationships with their homes. Homes hold treasured memories. It's common for sellers to be very emotional about their home. Some are overcome by sellers remorse. However, some sellers weep for a different reason. They sob because they can't sell their home.
Home is Priced Too High
By far, the worst home selling mistake a seller can make is hanging the wrong price tag on a home. If the home is priced too high, buyers won't look at it. If it's priced too low, sellers worry that they'll give away profits.
Pricing a home to sell is an art. Part of the market value is based on comparable sales, but other factors to consider include market movement, demand, the home's location and its condition.
If the home is overpriced, buyers might submit lowball offers, which tend to result in an immediate offer rejection. These extremely low offers tend to infuriate and insult sellers.
Some agents deliberately overstate the value of a home and push a seller to sign an overpriced listing There are many reasons why agents do this, but the bottom line is sellers lose a competitive edge when later reducing the price. The bottom line is sellers who "test the market" get stung.
The Home is in Bad Condition
Getting your house ready for market goes beyond making the beds and washing dirty dishes. Although I've seen plenty of homes with toys scattered throughout and dishes piled in the sink; buyers can't get out of those homes fast enough. There are at least 10 essential steps to take to preparing the home for sale.
Some homes need updating and quick fixes. Doing repairs before resale can boost chances of quickly selling. If items are broken or buyers see deferred maintenance, they wonder what else is wrong. It's more expensive, actually, not to fix the house.
Dressing your home for showings is called staging a home. Think of the process like arranging flowers in an attractive vase. If you or your agent lack the vision or ability to stage, consider hiring a professional home stager.
Home is Marketed Wrong
Whenever I see a badly shot photograph in MLS and perhaps it's the only photo, I want to shake the agent and scream, "What are you thinking?" But agents and sellers make plenty of marketing mistakes.
The battle cry of frustrated sellers is: "Why isn't my home selling?" These are likely sellers who are not employing marketing strategies designed to expose a home to the largest pool of buyers. Here are 10 good marketing tips that take the guesswork out of selling your home.
Once a buyer has entered a home, the marketing continues. To increase the chances that a buyer will entertain an offer, here are ten showing tips.
Seller Hired an Inexperienced Agent
You can hire a good listing agent or a mediocre agent. They all cost about the same. Here are 10 reasons to hire an agent.
If you want full-service, then hire a full service agent. If you are fairly confident your home will sell without a full-service agent, then talk to a discount broker. Learn the difference between REALTORs® and real estate agents.
Carefully read the listing agreement to make sure the agent who brings a buyer is fairly compensated because one surefire way to make sure an agent won't show your home is to offer a silly commission percentage.
Written by:By Elizabeth Weintraub,

Great Priced Townhome in St. George Only $115,000

This St. George Condo is a great buy for only $115,000. It is 2 bedroom and 2 bathrooms. It features vaulted ceilings, ceiling fans, fireplace, window coverings, microwave, dishwasher, etc. It is 992 square feet. The HOA dues are only $75 per month and it includes; cable, insurance, water, yard maintenance. This is a steal! Call me today to see this listing.
To view this listing click on link below:
Call the Paul Jones Team today to schedule an appointment at (435) 313-6708

Beautiful home in Diamond Valley

This stunning home in Diamond Valley has just been listed! This is a must see house! It sits on .91 acres of horse property. It has breathtaking views! This 4 bedroom 3 bathroom home has lots of upgrades! It features granite countertops, jetted tub, fireplace, arched entryways. Enjoy your privacy on this secluded property. It is only two blocks away from the elementy school.

View this listing on

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