Side bar conversation: Social media, real estate, small business strategies, and more

Stephen Murphey contacted me, asking for an interview for his ASU class in Communications. Without taking a breath, I agreed.  Having spent so much time in school, I have a soft spot for students.  Turns out Stephen is taking a Ph.D. level class, where he is focusing on social media,  and we had a great time chatting about Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and more. 

I guess you could say that I enjoy what I’m doing – take a peak!

How do you create long term relationships? from Stephen Murphey on Vimeo.

Stephen has a new blog, Business Gets Real, and he’s interviewing various business people who are sharing their thoughts on social media and business.  I really enjoyed his first interview with Miss Details Design. You might too!

Updated 2/8/2011:

Stephen has moved his blog to a new address:

Phoenix Metro Real Estate: In Retrospect – Highs & Lows

Interesting chart that Michael Orr has on his lead-in page at today.

Look at all these highs and lows that were recorded in April 2009.


Today, a year later, I’ve posted today’s results for some of the most meaningful statistics:

Market Statistic Reading Difference %
Pending Listings 13,915 -98 -0.6%
Monthly Sales $/SF $91.64 +$9.58 +11.6%
Average Price – Monthly Sales $176,657 +$20,792 +13.3%
Median Price – Monthly Sales $127,500 +$12,450 +10.8%
Days on Market – Active Listings 146 -24 -14.1%


Slightly few homes under contract (negligible), prices increasing slightly, and homes selling more quickly.  Pretty good news, wouldn’t you say?

The figures shown are for the entire Arizona Regional area as defined by ARMLS (Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service). All residential resale transactions and all dwelling types (singfle family houses, condos, townhouses, patio homes, manufactured homes on land) recorded by ARMLS are included.  For-sale-by-owner, auctions and other non-MLS transactions are not included. Land, commercial units and multiple dwelling units are also excluded.

Single Family Rentals Harder to Find in Scottsdale


I have a client moving into one of my Scottsdale listings next week, and while I knew she’d been looking independently for three months, I didn’t know how challenging her search had been until last night.  She copied me on an email, referring me to a colleague who needed to find a home to rent in the next week.

In part, her email said:

So you know, it’s a rental frenzy right now.  We looked for 3 months to only find that every decent home we liked, there were already 2-3 offers on the table.

And then, I read this update from Michael Orr at the Cromford Report.

We know that rental MLS listings represent only a small part of the overall rental market since since many landlords and rental agencies don’t use the MLS to advertise their rental properties. This is particularly true of multi-family apartment buildings. However the rental listings that do appear within the ARMLS database represent a statistically significant sample of the rental market. There are usually between 7,000 and 10,000 rental listings active on ARMLS and single family detached rentals are particularly prominent among these listings.

Six months ago, on September 21, 2009 there were a total of 9,381 active rental listings on ARMLS, of which 5,460 were single family detached. Today there are only 6,009 active rental listings of which 3,133 are single family detached.

So in just six months, 36% of the total rental inventory on MLS has disappeared, while 43% of the single family detached rental inventory has gone. This is NOT normal!

Challenging, if you are renter.


Opportunity, if you are an investor or home seller not attracting any buyers.


To get a copy of the rest of Michael’s commentary, just email me at, or contact me via Linked In, Facebook, or Twitter.

Photo Credit:

Home Buying Trends

The following home buying  stats from 1999 and 2009, were just published in this month’s Certified Residential Specialist magazine. 

% of U.S. home buyers 1999 2009
Bought single family home 82% 78%
Bought in suburban neighborhood 46% 54%
Began home search online 37% 90%
Married 68% 60%
Single women 15% 21%
Single men 7% 10%
Median home value $137,600 $172,600
Median age 39 39

Data Source: National Association of REALTORS®

The most significant change is how many more buyers start their home searches online, now reaching 90%.  That number has been steadily increasing over the past 10 years.

More single people are buying homes, which I’m definitely seeing in my business, even more so than these statistics show. 

I find it interesting that the median age has stayed the same.  I would have guess that it would have decreased, but can think of a lot a reasons it didn’t. 

Phoenix Homeowners’ Survival Event – Free Community Assistance

Notice of this event is courtesy of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS):

On Saturday, March 20, 2010 from 10am to 4pm, the Arizona State Escrow Association in conjunction with the Better Business Bureau, Arizona Department of Financial Institutions and the Arizona Mortgage Lenders’ Association will host the Homeowners’ Survival Event at the Steele Indian School Park / Memorial Hall at 300 East Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ 85012.

Attendance at this community assistance event is FREE.  Throughout the day there will be mini sessions on adjustable rate loans, foreclosure/homeowner eviction, short sales, scams, tax implications and second mortgages/credit impact.

Attendees who would like to meet with a counselor from Take Charge America are encouraged to bring copies of their current loan documents, e.g., Note, Truth-in-Lending Statement, etc.

ARMLS is making this information available as a courtesy, and has no vested interest in the outcome of the event or any of the participants.  The event is sponsored by trade associations and will not be used as an opportunity to promote the services of a for-profit organization.

Click here to learn more.

Questions?  Contact the Better Business Bureau at 602-264-1721.

Scottsdale 101: Governing Structure

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I’ve been taking this fabulous series of classes from the Scottsdale Association of Realtors, called Scottsdale 101.  An amazing amount of information is being provided to us by the employees of the City of Scottsdale and my plan is to share some of what I hear. It’s interesting to learn about the inner workings of the city, and to see the dedication and enthusiasm of the many speakers who are educating a room full of Realtors on the inner workings of the city.

Scottsdale Governing Structure

In our first class, David Ellison, Assistant City Manager, and David Richert, Acting City Manager, explained the structure of Scottsdale city government.

Scottsdale operates under a charter government, where the elected officials, the City Council, set policies, and the City Manager and his staff, implement the policies and oversee the delivery of Scottsdale city services.


City of Scottsdale Organization Chart

Scottsdale and many other cities in Maricopa County, including Phoenix and Chandler, use this charter form of government.  The structure is set up to take the politics out of running the city, by separating administration and policy-making, thus providing a continuity of service.

The City Council consists of seven members and the Mayor.  A similar set up to corporation with a Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board.

In Scottsdale, the City Council assigns six positions:

  1. Attorney
  2. Auditor
  3. Clerk
  4. Manager
  5. Treasurer
  6. Judge

The Scottsdale City Manager is, in effect, the CEO running the equivalent of a $1.2 billion business, with responsibility for about 2400 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. Approximately 100 other employees report to the other five positions.

One of the things that I’ve been most struck by in the six classes I’ve attend so far is how plugged-in and proud, the speakers have been.  The assistant city manager talked a bit early on sharing that city employees created the employee values, and that they are actually implemented, because employees feel like they own them. He also talked about what an innovative and creative city, Scottsdale is. The excitement of working in such an environment has been evident in every present I’ve seen over the past three weeks.

Scottsdale General Plan

The city has a General Plan that serves as a guide to the city’s future in regard the character, land use, and quality of life.   It also includes aspects related to:

  • Economic vitality
  • Community involvement
  • Housing
  • Neighborhoods
  • Open Space & Recreation
  • Preservation and Environment Planning
  • Cost of Development
  • Growth Area
  • Public Services and Facilities
  • Community Mobility

Voters actually have to approve the plan and the next iteration of the General Plan will be up for vote in 2011.

Get Scottsdale General Plan 2011 info on Facebook.

Scottsdale General Plan Growth Areas

The General Plan focuses on future growth of three primary areas of Scottsdale:

  • The Airpark — Plans call for a roadway system surrounding the Scottsdale Airport which would allow travelers to circumvent some of the busiest intersections surround the airport.  The City Council has already approved a $110M budget for the project with completion of Phase 1 occurring in 2012.
  • Downtown Scottsdale – from Thomas to Camelback Roads, including Fashion Square
  • McDowell Road (formerly the Motor Mile) — The remaining car dealerships would be moved to the 101 and McDowell Road.

Other Miscellaneous, but Interesting Scottsdale Facts

  • The city is 32 miles long and covers 185 square miles.
  • Downtown Scottsdale covers 800 acres.
  • The fiscal year starts July 1st.
  • Scottsdale is one of eighteen cities in USA with AAA rating by all three rating agencies. Triple-triple A.

Scottsdale Real Estate Update: What’s inventory doing?

Sitting here at my desk this afternoon, completing the final paper for a house that sold this week, I found myself wondering if the number of houses for sale in Scottsdale has decreased, now that we are into the spring selling season. I’ve been as busy as ever, and I know many other agents are too, so thought it was worth a quick look.

Courtesy of Altos Research, I pulled the following two charts. Looking at the whole of Scottsdale, you can see that the number of single family houses for sale (inventory) has dropped by about 25% since this time last year. However, just looking at the past six months, it appears that the number of homes available has stayed about the same.

All Homes for Sale in Scottsdale

Still a bit curious, I took a look at four Scottsdale zip codes that cover a wide range of house prices, from 85257 in South Scottsdale, to McCormick Ranch in 85258, to DC Ranch in 85255, onto the far north of zip code 85262.  Median home prices in these zips, definitely increase the farther north you go.

As you can see, the higher priced areas have followed the trend of declining (25-30%), and then plateauing in the past six months.  What you see in the lower price ranges, are significantly fewer homes for sale, and a steady supply over the past year.

Homes for Sale in Scottsdale 

What I think I find most amazing in the chart is how few homes are actually for sale in Scottsdale 85257.  Not a lot to choose from, which has to be a positive for home sellers with equity and a well-maintained home!