Cleaning Pool Tiles

How frustrating is that white, hard water calcium line around the your otherwise clean and refreshing swimming pool?

I've scrubbed at my pool tiles with different types of cleaners over the years, and I've paid hundreds of dollars to have the tiles professionally cleaned, but that white hard-water line always comes back. My brother-in-law offered a suggestion of replacing all the blue tiles with white tiles, but that's not the solution I was after.

Instead I decided this year to talk with the folks at the local pool supply store, who recommended either a chemical bath product to soak in the pool (which I'm not thrilled about trying) or a synthetic pool stone to scrub with (creatively called Pool Stone.)

I decided to give the Pool Stone a try.

The stone itself is light - like a piece of styrofoam, but after it soaks in the pool for 20 minutes it becomes much heavier and harder - more like a pumice stone.

Unlike a pumice stone, though, this synthetic stone works wonders. Sometimes I pressed hard and scrubbed with attitude to aggressively clean a tile in about a minute. Other times (when I got tired) I would rub the stone without much pressure at all and it still managed to clean a tile, although it would take two or three times as long per tile.

I didn't take a "before" picture of my pool, honestly because I didn't expect this stone to work any better than anything else I tried, and I didn't expect this project to go so quickly and smoothly. But here is a picture of one section of the pool tile after I had scrubbed a handful of tiles:

Here is another section of the pool where the tiles are mostly done:

And finally, here is a side of the pool where all the tiles look blue again:

This is one of those DIY projects that isn't difficult at all, and which can save you a ton of money compared with having a professional do it for you. A few extra thoughts and tips regarding the process:

  • Slow and Steady - my pool has 186 tiles around the perimeter (if I counted correctly), so this wasn't something I could knock down in a day. I spent 20-30 minutes at a time over the course of a few weeks, cleaning 8-10 tiles in a session, before the whole pool was calcium line free.
  • Clean Completely - the big thick white line usually comes off in just a few seconds, but if you look closely you'll see a smaller, fainter line as well. Many of the tiles also had a faint line under the water line. Whenever I didn't clean the tile completely, these faint lines showed up the next day and stood out from the "clean" tiles. I learned quickly to clean the tile completely if I wanted to have shiny clean tiles.
  • Pool Stones wear away - I think I used up 5 Pool Stones during this project. At $10 each that's a chunk of change, but it's a fraction of the cost of a professional cleaning service.
  • Soak the Stone - the stone will wear out very fast if you use it before it's soaked full of water.
  • Maintenance - I'm going to buy a couple extra Pool Stones to have on hand; maybe I'll be proactive enough to scrub the tiles before they get really bad so I don't have to do this major clean up again in 2018.
  • Wear Gloves - I scrubbed the first two days with bare hands, and on the third day my thumb was worn just about raw. I wore work gloves for the rest of the project and didn't have any other problems.

And that's all there is to it.

I'd love to hear if you have a different / better way of keeping your pool tiles clean, of if you give this a try and it works for you too.

- Chris Butterworth


ARMLS introduces an APP

Here’s confirmation that:

A) ARMLS continues to stay at the forefront of innovation compared with other MLS services around the country.

B) The movement towards having information available anytime, anyplace, on any device, is continuing its march forward. This app is available for Android, iPhones, and there’s a mobile browser version for any other phone type.


5-10 years ago, embracing technology was a choice; today it’s simply part of the job description.

-Chris Butterworth

What documents do you need to attempt a short sale?

Here’s a letter we send to our short sale seller clients, describing the documents needed to attempt a short sale of your home. If you find the information useful and feel a short sale might be right for you, please contact us.

- - - - - - - - - -BEGIN LETTER - - - - - - - - -

Dear Mr & Mrs ________ ,

Thank you for choosing The Phoenix Agents @ Thompson’s Realty to list your home as a short sale. We’re pleased to be given the chance to assist you through this difficult transition. We have family, friends and numerous clients who’ve been where you are, and we know how to make the process easier, quicker and more successful.

Your home will appear in the MLS within 24 hours, and you will be given a chance to approve the MLS entry for accuracy. Meanwhile, please forward the following to us within the next 14 days so we can complete your file and be ready when a buyer makes an offer:

  • Current mortgage statements from every loan on the property

  • Paycheck stubs for the past 2 pay periods

  • Tax returns for the past 2 years

  • Completed Sellers’ Property Disclosure Statement

  • Sign the enclosed letter to your lender authorizing us to speak with them

  • Begin working on the enclosed Financial Worksheet detailing your income and expenses

Marketing Your Home

Our goal is to get an offer on your home within 30 to 45 days, by aggressively marketing it in the MLS, dozens of other national websites and our agent network.

Negotiating Your Short Sale

Once we have an offer, we’ll work with your attorney to submit the offer and the above documents to your lenders. We’ll actively manage the communication process with your lenders with a goal of getting a short sale decision within 60 to 90 days, and a closing within 30 days after that.

Protecting You Now, and in Future

We strongly recommend you hire an experienced short sale attorney to assist you with this transaction, and work with an experienced CPA as well. These two professionals can help us to help you to avoid future taxes and lawsuits in connection with your short sale. In almost every case, the attorney and accountant fees are paid through the process of the sale, with no out of pocket costs to you. We recommend Scottsdale Law Group and Thomson Law. We also recommend Brad Huss and Associates CPAs who can help you avoid being taxed on the unpaid mortgage balance.

- - - - - - - - - END LETTER - - - - - - - - -

Wondering if a short sale is the right option for you?  Contact us anytime; we’re here to make this difficult process easy.

This information pertains to metro Phoenix, Arizona in 2011. If you're reading this from another locale or long after the publication date, please consult a professional in your area. We are Realtors, but we are not your Realtors; get local, professional advice.

Phoenix foreclosure bargains #1

Metro Phoenix can be a real estate investor’s wonderland, or your worst nightmare. It’s all in whether you choose your residential investment property carefully. Or not.

From time to time, we here at The Phoenix Agents @ Thompson’s Realty like to point out those too-good-to-pass-up houses. Here’s one…it’s a complete fixer-upper but priced about $30,000 below area comparable sold properties!



  • $45,800 -- bank owned

  • 4 beds, 2 baths, 1450 square feet, built 1955

  • 1 car carport -- 7,500 square foot lot

  • Area comps are $75,000-ish and about $950/month as a rental

Near 19th Avenue and Camelback Road in near-West Phoenix, this home is like a time capsule. It literally has not been touched since 1955: you can see the original curtains in the living room and kitchen.


This isn’t a house for the feint of heart or novice investors! It needs significant work – new roof, probably a new HVAC unit, tear down the back porch enclosure, re-tile the master shower, needs all the appliances, remove and replace window coverings, consider replacing the cabinets throughout the house and/or the linoleum floors.


This property needs a lot of TLC, but look at those comps! You can do the basic fundamentals and a few cosmetic remodels and re-sell it (fix and flip) or do the same and turn the home into a cash-flowing rental property.

Use our Foreclosure Search to browse all Phoenix-area foreclosure homes.

If you’re looking for something like this home to invest in, please contact me. I work frequently with novice and experienced investors. In addition to all of Phoenix, I cover territories from Tempe to Surprise, from Glendale to Goodyear. Colleagues in my office cover all of the East and Southeast Valley (Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler, and points east). We’ll all be happy to assist you with your real estate investing goals.

Standard Disclaimer – the property described in this article may not still be available when you read the article. The pricing and value advice offered in this article is meant as a guide only, and does not in any way create a guarantee or a client relationship with the Realtor author. In other words, I am a Realtor but I am not your Realtor… yet, and as such you are responsible for your own due diligence, investigations and negotiations, unless/until you hire me to assist you with same.

Maricopa County Sales Charts – May 2011

Here’s a look at the recent trends county-wide.  I’m pulling a rolling 13-month history so we can see the last year’s trends plus a comparison of this month to the same month last year.

Specific Zip Code reports are now available!  If you’d like to see how the sales activity in your zip code compares with the county as a whole, just click here to sign up, and you’ll receive your zip code report via email each month.

and now, on to the reports.  (click each chart to embiggen)

Number of Homes Sold by Month



Average Sold Price



Average Price per Square Foot



Average Number of Days on Market



** The data for all these charts represents Single Family Homes sold in Maricopa County via the MLS.  All data was pulled from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, and is thought to be accurate but is not guaranteed.  Please do not make any life-changing decisions based solely on the information contained herein.

Questions, comments, suggestions?  Please give us a call/email anytime – we’d love to hear from you!

Your keeping an eye on the trends Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Top 10 counter top options

Quick! What kind of counter top is this?

EcoTop counter, from apartment therapy DOT com-ny-kitchen-choosing-kitchen-countertops-pros-cons-147495

Most people probably guessed "granite".  Designers and foodies might have said "soapstone" because the counter in this picture is lacking granite's shiny gloss. At first glance, this counter could also be Caesarstone or Silastone, two popular faux granite surfaces. But these guesses are all wrong. What is it?

It’s EcoTop, a new player on the already-full stage of available kitchen counter top materials. EcoTop is a bamboo & paper composite, is available in a variety of colors, and comes with a 15-year warranty. Manufacturer KlipTech says

EcoTop is comprised of a 50/50 fiber blend of 100% post consumer recycled fiber and rapidly renewable bamboo fiber, then bound with a clear 100% water-based system. EcoTop® is a repairable/renewable surface with water absorption of less than 1%, making it impossible to permanently stain. This is a highly scratch resistant product that will withstand up to 360 degrees F.

Wondering which counter top material is best for you?  Here’s a starting point – a concise review of kitchen countertop options with pro’s and con’s for each.

Are you replacing your kitchen counter tops so you can sell your home? Aside from painting the home, replacing kitchen counter tops is one of the biggest bang for your buck remodeling jobs you can do to spruce up a home for re-sale. But, it's easy to go overboard and "over-improve" for your price range. For instance, a $60,000 home in a 40-year old neighborhood does not need 2-inch thick slab granite counters in the kitchen; it's overkill and you won't get your money back when you sell.

Feel free to contact us for advice on which type of counter top is likely to entice the most potential buyers in your price range and neighborhood. We've been helping buyers, sellers and investors in the metro Phoenix area for a combined 13 years and are always happy to offer advice based on what we see selling... and failing to sell.

Image credit,  ApartmentTherapy.

Distressed Activity by Month – May 2011

MOTS:  More Of The Same.  Lots of distressed activity.

Good News:  Bank-owned listings, short-sale listings, and vacant listings are all trending downward.  (although the trend line is at a very shallow slope.)

Good News:  Sales of all types are trending up – vacant, occupied, bank-involved, regular sellers.  Sales are outpacing listings.

Good News:  (not in these charts.)  The number of new foreclosures is trending downwards from last year’s peak.

Bad News:  There are still almost 5,000 new vacant listings hitting the market each month – that’s a far cry from normal.

Bad News:  (not in these charts.)  Although sales activity is way up, it is primarily driven by investors.  Should anything happen to change investors’ appetites, inventory levels will skyrocket.

This post will have a lot of easy to read charts, and then I’ll write up a couple thoughts at the end.  I hope you enjoy it..

(Click on any chart to see a larger version.)

Listings First – Here are the new distressed listings hitting the market each month going back to January 2009, broken out by different types and views.

Chart 1 - New Bank Owned Listings  - (new listings actually owned by the bank – think foreclosures and REOs.)



Chart 2 - New Short Sale Listings (new listings, still owned by the ‘owner’, but needing the bank to take a short payoff because the home is worth less than the mortgage balance.  The bank will need to approve the sale.)



Chart 3 - New Bank Owned + Short Sale Listings  (a combined look at the above charts – these are the new listings where the bank is going to take a loss on the property, and the best reflection of my former Distressed Listings chart.)



Chart 4 - New Vacant Listings  (new listings which are vacant homes.  While not all vacant listings are distressed listings, I am including them because they represent a very large percentage of the overall market, and therefore provide some measurement of Distressed.)



Now the Sales - I’ve pulled all the homes sold since 1/1/2009 for Single Family Residences in Maricopa County, broken out by who owns them and who lives in them.

Chart 5 - Home Sales by Type of Owner



Chart 6 - Home Sales by Type of Occupant



I am including Single Family Detached Homes listed for sale (or sold) in Maricopa County via the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service.  These numbers are believed accurate but not guaranteed.

What does it all mean?

Investors are purchasing homes faster than new homes are hitting the market for sale.  This is good news in that it’s keeping a floor on pricing.  And if new bank-foreclosures are decreasing, this should cause a decrease in supply, further stopping prices from falling.

Even though there are precious few “regular transactions”, where a family is selling one home and buying another, the fact that investors have found a comfort zone with our current pricing suggests we shouldn’t see prices falling further.  (unless they do…)

Your thinking we’re past the bottom, but the normal is still a long ways off Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Phoenix not in Top 10, but investors still buying here

Inman News reports on "The 10 Best Markets for Real Estate Investors" and here's some takeaways from that report:

  • Tucson is in the Inman "top ten" best real estate markets for investors, but Phoenix is not.

  • Investors usually pay cash for homes (61% compared to just 20% of owner-occupant buyers who pay cash

  • Most investors plan to own their investment home for about 10 years, and 52% say it's likely they'll buy another property soon

  • Investors are optimistic about the future of housing: 77% say "now is a good time to purchase real estate."

You can view Inman's full report here: http://www.inman.com/reports/10-markets-invest/

Real estate is local, so let's see what's going on in metro Phoenix...

Valleywide MLS statistics show that investors are buying in metro Phoenix, and they're buying a lot of homes. The Cromford Report shows investors are purchasing 24% to 26% of Valley homes sold so far in 2011.

Nationwide, Inman says distressed properties account for 40% of existing home sales, but you can see in the chart above that metro Phoenix area stats are much higher: investors bought 64% of all metro Phoenix area homes sold in May. (6,316 distressed sales out of a total 9,845 homes sold in May 2011).

How's buyer demand in metro Phoenix?

In a word: healthy. Check out this chart, also from the authoritative Mike Orr at the Cromford Report which shows that February 2011 was the third highest buyer demand month since January 2001. Only June and August 2005 -- the peak of the peak of the market -- had more homes sold.

[caption id="attachment_9173" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Feb 2011 second-highest sales volume for Metro Phoenix since Jan 2001"][/caption]

Are you thinking about buying a home? Either for yourself or as an investment? Contact us before you do anything! We've been helping buyers and sellers in metro Phoenix since 2004, before the boom and bust brought our market to it's knees.

We know how to find and negotiate the best possible deal for you, and our customer service is top notch. Check out what our clients say behind our backs and give us a shout when you're ready to chat with a professional Realtor.

Metro Phoenix: cheaper to buy than rent

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="242" caption="Image credit Shuttermon via StockExchange"]Image ID 1020195 by user Shuttermon[/caption]

Trulia regularly tracks the buy vs. rent equation and reports again that it’s cheaper to buy a home than to rent in metro Phoenix. See full story here: http://explore.trulia.com/datavis/rentvsbuy/Q2-2011/

Meanwhile, mortgage rates are in free-fall, according to an Inman.com interpretation of Freddie Mac’s rate survey…

Rates on fixed-rate mortgages declined for a seventh week in a row to new lows for the year ... Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

It’s not the ideal time for everybody to buy a home, and mortgages are still a bit difficult to obtain. But it could be a great time for you to buy:

  1. Home prices just double-dipped according to Case-Shiller numbers (they're down over 50% from their Summer 2006 peak)

  2. Sellers are frequently willing to pay the buyer's closing costs,

  3. There's talk in Washington about increasing the minimum cash down payment of the FHA mortgage program from 3.5% to 5% sometime soon, so buying now could save you a couple thousand dollars over waiting

A few questions can help you decide if you should consider buying a home now, or not...

  • Are you emotionally & financially ready to be a homeowner?

  • Do you have stable employment?

  • Do you plan to stay put in your home for 5 to 10 years into the future?

  • Do you have a couple months’ worth of salary in savings?

  • Have you planned your future budget to account for costs of home ownership like maintenance & property taxes?

  • Do you consistently pay your bills on time or even early?

  • Do you know what your credit score is? (studies show that people who know their score tend to have better credit ratings than people who don’t know their score)

  • Have you talked with a lender to find out how much home you’ll qualify for? (In Arizona, buyers *must* submit a loan approval with a purchase offer)

If you answered yes to all or most of these questions, you’re probably a great candidate to buy a home. Contact your Realtor. Don’t have a Realtor yet? You’re in luck, we’re Realtors. Winking smile Read what our clients say about us behind our backs, and then give us a shout by email, phone or even text or Facebook.

Ready to start browsing listings online? We provide you a direct link to the private, Realtors-and-appraisers-only Multiple Listing Service. That's the most up to the second, accurate information consumers can get their hands on. Use our map based home search, or use our Detailed home search to really dial in on your housing wants and needs.

Phony cashier’s checks going around

June 30, 2010

Image ID 754431 by Stock Exchange user aeropw

Just got an email news update I thought I’d share.

Mechanics & Farmers Bank (NC) reports that counterfeit cashier's checks bearing the institution's name are in circulation. "The counterfeit items display the routing number 053100452, which is assigned to Mechanics & Farmers Bank. The items are similar to authentic cashier's checks. A security feature statement is embedded in a darkened top border and along the bottom border between two padlocks. A box contains the dollar amount. Authentic cashier's checks are light gray with burgundy overtones and have a four-sided design border.

Who’s liable for the value of forged cashier’s checks?

The Federal Trade Commision, in a 2007 publication, said that:

Forgeries can take weeks to be discovered and untangled. The bottom line is that until the bank confirms that the funds from the check have been deposited into your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check.

Who do you tell if you think you’ve been given a fake cashier’s check?

  • The Federal Trade Commission Visit ftc.gov or 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). • The U.S. Postal Inspection Service Visit www.usps.gov/websites/depart/inspect or call your local post office. The number is in the Blue Pages of your local telephone directory.

  • Your state or local consumer protection agencies (i.e the State Attorney General’s office)

  • In Arizona, that’s Attorney General Terry Goddard, at www.AZag.gov or 800.352.8431 (local callers, use 602.542.5025)

  • click to visit the source of data above

80% of no-money down buyers in 2006 default

Colleague & friend John Wake found a wopper of an article yesterday, quoting a Federal Reserve study on negative equity and default decisions.

“The study examined borrowers in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada who bought homes in 2006 with no money down.  Nearly 80% of those borrowers had defaulted by September 2009.”

Wow.  Not entirely surprising, but still a very big number to see.

A couple of thoughts as to why this group defaults more than others:

1. No Savings – no down payment probably means no savings which means either the borrowers don’t earn much money (comparatively weak borrowers) or they don’t have the discipline to save money (also a weak borrower trait).  It also means they don’t have a safety net for the times when things go wrong.

2. No Initial Equity means these borrowers were upside-down at the first sign of market depreciation.  For comparison, borrowers who put 20% down watched their house depreciate 20% in value before they were upside-down.  (they lost their own money first.)

The study also examined tipping points at which defaults were driven purely due to negative equity – in other words, how far upside-down to people have to be before they decide a strategic default is their best option?

According to the study, there is a big change in attitudes at the 50% upside-down mark.  For those who were upside-down by less than 50%, only 20% of the defaults were considered purely strategic.  For those who were more than 50% upside-down, that number increase to 50% – half of the people who defaulted when they owed twice what their home was worth, did so specifically because of this reason.  (that’s not to say half of those 50% under water will default – we’ll have to wait and see on that one.)

Very interesting stuff indeed, and I expect all of these numbers to rise during 2010 and at least the first half of 2011.

Your blown away every day by the idiocy of the people who made these loans in the first place Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Phoenix has less Shadow Inventory than other major markets

There’s been a lot of discussion about Shadow Inventory around the internet over the last year or so.  I can hear those of you not in the industry saying “What in the bleep is shadow inventory?!”

Shadow Inventory is the amount of homes the banks are ultimately going to foreclose on and put on the market as For Sale by Bank REO, but which they haven’t actively started the foreclosure process yet.  Most Short Sales fall into this category.  There are also many homeowners who are 2-3 months behind on their mortgage payments (or more), whom the bank doesn’t have the time, manpower, or inclination to “deal with” yet.

The general talking point is that the market can’t heal until all this inventory is cleared out.  However, reports have varied widely about how much shadow inventory actually exists and what data can be used to collect it.

Either way, it was nice to read a Standard & Poor (S & P) report on housingwire.com showing Phoenix being in the best shape of any city in the top 20 metropolitan areas, with *only* 16 months of shadow inventory.  (compared with, for example, New York City’s 8.5 years’ worth!)

Does this mean we’re still on track for a Phoenix-area recovery to begin in late 2011?

Your hopes so Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Not all banks are utterly moronic

Last December our buyer clients found a house online that they loved in a big way. It was priced at $2,195,000 and their budget was $1,800,000 max. It was a short sale, headed for the foreclosure auction block in 2 days.

We saw it in person. They fell in love. I checked the tax records:  seller’s mortgage is held by a local savings and loan.

Bam! Foreclosure auction. House goes back to the bank.

I get on the horn and call the savings and loan in Scottsdale. The receptionist puts me right through to the guy in charge of selling the S&L’s foreclosed homes. Right through! The guy! I nearly fell off my chair.

He & I talk; he says send an offer. We help our buyer clients write up an offer and we send it over.

Long story short, about 60 days later our buyer clients moved into their dream home. Which they got for about 18% less than the true market value. And the savings and loan sold a foreclosure property without paying two Realtor’s fees or any landscaping & pool maintenance fees. Happy, happy all around; win-win for everybody.

All because someone at a bank answered the phone, in person and was ready to act when opportunity knocked. Wouldn’t it be nice if more banks operated that way?

The Shiny

Real life observation: women who go to the gym in a full face of makeup with their hair done just so. . . . they crack me up.

This has nothing at all to do with real estate.

Or. . . does it?

Many of the buyers we've worked with in the past 2 years or so are shopping in the lower price ranges. Single family homes with 3 bedrooms and 1 or 2 baths. Price range is about $70,000 to $100,000.

Inevitably the selection of houses we see includes something just like the two homes below.

Home Number One

The Realtor’s description reads like this -

A/C replaced 2 years ago, new roof in 2009 with transferable warranty, water heater only 5 years old. Exterior painted last month. Seller will buy 2-year home warranty. This home has been well cared for by original owner. Price reduced to $105,000!

This house has pictures like these:

the shiny, old KIT

the shiny, old BA

. . . and it looks like this from the front:

the shiny, old ext, good curb appeal


Then there’s the other option. . .

Home Number Two

Inside, it looks like this:

the shiny, new KIT

the shiny, new BA

But it looks like this on the outside:

the shiny, shiny house bad EF

. . . and the Realtor description on this house says something like this:
Complete remodel! Travertine floors, maple cabinets, stainless steel appliances. New carpet, new paint. Seller will not issue Disclosure Statement about condition or provide CLUE insurance history. Ready to move in at $97,900.

Home number one has all the fundamentals dealt with. The big-ticket, expensive items to replace have all been replaced. The cosmetics are, well, to be kind: dated.

Home number two is an obvious investor fix and flip. The investor just completed a total overhaul of the house but refuses to provide a disclosure statement listing what he or she knows about it. Nice! Plus, that chain link fence in the front makes me reach for the eye bleach. I guess the seller’s message here is “we don’t really like our neighbors much” ?

It’s the curse of The Shiny

Guess which house the majority of buyers make an offer on? Home number 2.

Buyers get stars in their eyes over the fancy, shiny interior remodel and forget that they’re buying a home they know nothing about that could possibly need a roof, A/C unit and water heater in the first couple years of ownership. Plus miscellaneous plumbing &/or electrical problems as yet unknown, because even the best home inspection can’t possibly uncover everything.

Sure, the interior cosmetics of home number 1 are dated. It looks like the Brady Bunch just moved out. I get that. I do, I really do. I don’t want to live in the Brady house anymore than my buyers do.

I just can’t help feeling that I’m not really doing my job 100% when I can’t convince the average buyer to consider for more than a few fleeting moments the incalculable value of a house with the big-ticket stuff already paid for. Even if it’s an extra $7,000 in purchase price and has 15 year old cabinets and counters… The value of having a new roof, A/C and water heater are nearly priceless to cash-strapped first time homebuyers.

Too many home buyers act like the star-struck middle-aged men at the gym: so blinded by The Shiny of a middle-aged woman in Kabuki makeup and a fancy hairstyle they can’t focus on anything else. Not even their own good.

edited to add links below

What is a Seller's Disclosure Statement?

What is a CLUE insurance report? (scroll down a bit in the article linked here, to about 1/3 of the way through the article)

Sometimes, banks amaze me

Image ID 898464 by Stock Exchange user cGarbiano (picture credit to Stock Exchange user cGarbiano)

Every once in a (very great) while, the banks selling houses amaze me, in a good way.

Two days ago we got an approval of a short sale from the seller’s lender. It took two weeks and 1 day. Astounding! We usually warn our clients they’ll wait 3 to 6 months for a short sale approval letter from the seller’s lender.

Good on you, MetLife Home Loans! You’ve just made two first time buyers very, very happy.

Huge gap between new home, existing home sales

I found an interesting post this morning via the Calculated Risk blog – take a look at the changing ratio of new home sales (red) to existing home sales (blue) in the national market.

Home Sales Distressing Gap May 2010

Existing home sales are great since they generally enable the selling family to move on with their life, usually to buy another house.  This can even produce a domino effect, where several homes are able to change hands due to the first buyer choosing an existing home over a new home.  This is especially important when the inventory level is high, as it was over the last couple of years.  However,

New home sales are generally considered more important for driving the overall economy, as they require a greater investment in goods & services after their purchase, as well as employing multiple people to build each one.

Think about this – if 5 people move, but they’re all part of a sell-buy domino chain, you could potentially have 5 families move into “new” homes, yet only 1 new refrigerator is purchased!  On the other hand, 5 families buying newly-built homes means 5 new refrigerators, 5 washers & dryers, 5 yards landscaped, 5 homes with new window coverings, etc. etc. etc. – more money flows into the economy.

Your would like to find this ratio for the Phoenix area Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Did you know? We're huge.

Just an interesting little factoid I found today while looking for something else.

Did you know that Maricopa County (which includes most of the Greater Phoenix metro region) is one of the largest counties in the entire country?

Maricopa County covers 9,228 square miles! Within that are literally thousands of miles of land that are in a floodplain. Yep, floodplain. . .   in the desert. (information courtesy of The Flood Control District of Maricopa County)

See pictures of Phoenix area monsoon flooding here and here

Read articles about the Phoenix area monsoons and the after effects here and find out when is monsoon season in Phoenix.

Design Ideas for Teenage Boys’ Rooms

Sometimes looking at pictures can be a spark for inspiration, and I thought these pictures were great!

I see a few common elements to most of these rooms:

  • Lots of Storage – shelves, cubbies, and closets
  • Going Vertical – efficiently getting the most out of the available space
  • Clean & Organized – sort of an oxymoron to have a teenage boy’s room be clean and organized, but it’s a great goal to shoot for!
  • Calming Colors with bold accents
  • Work Station for homework (or more likely for late-night video chatting and multi-player gaming…)

teen room 7 554x4271 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

25 room designs teen boys

teen room 17 554x36911 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

bedroom boys 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

teen room 4 554x42611 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

Cool Boys Bedroom Ideas by ZG Group 6 554x3001 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

boy room11 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

19 cool boys bedroom ideas by zg group 554x30011 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys


Hats off to www.Freshome.com for putting these together – they actually have 25 pictures posted, so click on over if you’d like to see more!

Your doesn’t have teenage boys quite yet Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Moving Stills 94 – Flagstaff Wild Fire

Flagstaff Wildfire
Yesterday my family was driving across Northeastern Arizona towards Flagstaff.  We could see this plume of smoke from 75 miles east on I-40, and stopped at Little America for a chance to stretch our legs and take a couple pictures (and smell the charred forest…)

You can read the rules for a Moving Stills post and learn how the series came to be by reading my initial post in the series - Moving Stills 1.

Your bummed thinking think about how one idiot could cause such devastation Realtor,

Chris Butterworth