Happy New Year's - 2012

New Year’s Eve (woo hoo!)  New Year’s Day (gowl games!)  New Year’s Resolutions (uh oh.)


I wrote extensively about setting and achieving goals a couple years ago. (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.)


But for today, I thought this chart says it all.


Happy New Year’s, Everyone.  I’ll see you next year.




by visually via














- Chris Butterworth

It's Construction Time (again)

Ahhh. The last week of the year. Time for reflecting on things past and setting goals and direction for the next year. And for our long-time readers, this is usually a good time to revamp our website's layout & design!



Personally, I think it's been a little stale around here lately, and we've both been a bit less than energetic with our writing over the last couple of months... So let's mix things up!

Seriously, I'll be making some changes over the next couple of weeks - sidebars, buttons, widgets, colors, theme.. "a little ham & eggs coming at you", as the great Ron Burgundy would say. Bear with me, and if you notice anything goofier than normal, please let me know.

Thanks,

Chris Butterworth

Distressed Activity by Month – November 2011

THE GRAPH HAS INVERTED!  There are some significant changes to the graphs this month.  Finally!  (my thoughts below the charts)

(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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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

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Chart 6 - Home Sales by Type of Occupant

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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?

Chart 1 – New Bank-Owned listings are falling off the chart.  Finally!  From over 5,000 in March, 2009, to consistently between 2,000 and 3,000 for the last year, to the last few months being under 2,000.  And now we’re approaching the 1,000 mark.  This is great news.

Chart 4 – New Vacant Listings are also trending steeply in the right direction.

Chart 5 – November was the first month in well over 3 years where there were more sales of traditional / equity owned homes than bank-owned homes!

Now, before we get too carried away and think the market has recovered, there are still some sobering numbers in the above charts:

Chart 1 – there are still more than 1,000 new foreclosures hitting the market each month.  That’s a lot of people losing their home.

Chart 4 – 3,500 new listings are vacant; that’s not the sign of a normal market.

Chart 5 – I’m willing to wager that 2/3 (or more) of the equity sellers are investors who bought foreclosures a couple/few months ago and are selling the homes today.  These aren’t the regular mom & pop families selling their home in order to go buy a larger or smaller home down the street.

Chart 6 – There are still far more vacant than occupied homes changing hands.  Again, this isn’t the sign of a market which has recovered.

Overall, we’re definitely headed in the right direction.  Fewer bank-involved listings will translate into fewer vacant listings and fewer investor buyers down the road.  This month marks a big step forward in the right direction, but there are many more steps to be taken..

Your feeling a little more optimistic today Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Maricopa County Sales Charts – November 2011

This month’s charts look good, especially for this time of year.  # of Sales is down a little bit, but that’s just seasonality – it’s actually higher than it was a year ago.  In addition, Average Sales Price and Average $/Sqft are trending upwards, while Average Days on Market is trending downward.  All good signs.

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

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Average Sold Price

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Average Price per Square Foot

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Average Number of Days on Market

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** 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

Distressed Activity by Month – October 2011

I like the look of these charts!  (Best trending we’ve seen in 3 years..)

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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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

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Chart 6 - Home Sales by Type of Occupant

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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?

Although it’s painfully slow, the charts show we’re definitely moving in the right direction.  (especially the listing charts.)

Chart 1 shows the first time we’ve had less than 1,500 new bank-owned listings hit the market.

Chart 3 shows the 2nd time we’ve had less than 4,000 new bank-owned plus short-sale listings.

Chart 4 shows the first time we’ve had less than 4,000 new vacant listings.

And on the Sales side, Chart 5 shows the type of seller was more evenly distributed than we’ve had since I started tracking this stuff in early 2009.

So, we’re on the road to recovery.  How long the trip will take is still anyone’s guess…

Your happy to see we’re heading in the right direction Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Maricopa County Sales Charts – October 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.

While the number of homes sold is following its seasonal trend downward in the fall, it’s still up 17% from the same month last year, indicating continued strong sales volume.  This is echoed by the Average Days on Market chart, which shows homes are selling 10 days faster than they were at this time last year.

Specific Zip Code reports are 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

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Average Sold Price

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Average Price per Square Foot

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Average Number of Days on Market

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** 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

Market Update through the end of October 2011. Please note that the Valley Wide graph represents all of the MLS.

(you can click on the chart to see a bigger version)

This chart shows you the percentage of distressed properties that are being listed and sold.

  • Short Sales represent 29% of the Closings for October (compared to 26% in September)

  • Short Sales represent 37% of the active Listings currently on the market.

  • Distressed Sales (Short Sales and REOs combined) accounted for 64% of the total sales for October.

  • The listing success rate for Short Sales is 60.0%!

Phoenix area housing statistics

Here are a few charts from the Cromford Report website that show the most current statistics on the Phoenix-area housing market. All figures are for metro Phoenix Arizona through the first 10 days or so of November 2011, and all types of housing (condo, detached home, patio/town home) are included.

These are charts for Days on Market and total dollar Volume of home Sales.

 

[caption id="attachment_9649" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Days on Market, metro Phoenix AZ, Nov 2011"][/caption]

 

[caption id="attachment_9650" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Total Volume of Sales, metro Phoenix AZ, Nov 2011"][/caption]

On the top graphic, you can see that time on market -- an indicator of both sellers picking the right price and buyers wanting to buy -- is dropping. That's generally a good thing, and it's watched as an overall indicator of market health. Three to six months on the market is considered about "normal"; more is a buyer's market, less is a seller's market.

The red line chart on the bottom graphic shows the typical bump in sales activity in the summer. But the blue line chart to the right shows that sales volume is higher year-over-year than this time last year. In other words, our summer sales growth left us at a higher point that this time last year, selling more homes overall.

Our buyers are writing multiple offers before getting one accepted, but sellers are still generally willing to pay closing costs.  What have you been seeing when you're shopping for homes? How many offers are you writing on homes before you get one accepted? Are sellers still willing to pay buyer's closing costs? We'd like to hear your feedback, please leave a comment.

 

Email Question – How much fixing up is too much?

Question:

Is it worth putting in some work on the houses or should I just run away? How much fix up is too much?

Answer:

There isn't an exact science about how much is too much.  It's all very personal and very dependent on the ability (financial, emotional, and hammer-swinging) of the person doing the work.

The only obvious truth is that the cost of the home plus the cost to improve it should be less than the value of the home after it's improved.  In other words, if you can buy a different home in the neighborhood for less than the cost to buy & fix up this one, you should just buy the already fixed up one instead.  Unless (and there seems to always be a caveat), the home you want to fix up is perfect in some other way and can't be match by any other - lot size/location is the most common reason.

Another thing to consider is capital.  You can spend $50,000 more on a home and only have to come out of pocket with a couple thousand dollars for the additional down payment; the remainder can be financed (assuming you qualify for the increased mortgage).  However, your fix-up costs will most likely need to be paid for with cash.

Ideally you can find a home that looks a little run down, which keeps the home on the market longer and depresses its list price, but which only needs inexpensive, cosmetic fixing up.  Flooring, paint, and fixtures fall into this category, as well as giving the landscaping some TLC without having to entirely re-landscape the yard.

Countertops and cabinetry go a long way towards freshening up the kitchen and bathrooms.  But this can sometimes cause a domino effect - your vision for the right cabinets will be best complimented with new appliances, countertops, flooring, and an update to the ceiling - now we're talking real dollars!

That's a long answer.  The short answer to your short question is:  it depends.  You can get a great deal on a home if you're willing to do the work, and the harder the work the better the deal.  But you need to be able to do the work as inexpensively as possible (the goal after all was to save money), and you need to have the cash available to do it.

Does that help at all?

Sincerely,

Your looking for value Realtor

Chris Butterworth

FHFA's new program to help underwater homeowners

Today the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced a new program designed to help even more underwater homeowners refinance their mortgages at today's low rates. The plan hopefully will allow homeowners to lower their monthly mortgage payments, thus freeing up money to be spent in the broader economy and help the US from slipping back into recession again.


Previous programs had been restricted to homeowners who were no more than 125% upside-down on their homes. The new FHFA program places no cap on how much the borrower owes, or how far underwater they are.  Only mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be eligible. Need to know if your mortgage is owned or managed by Fannie/Freddie? Check here and then here. Then call us for a loan officer recommendation.


Helpful links -

Does Freddie Mac own your mortgage?

Does Fannie Mae own your mortgage?

Maricopa County Sales Charts – September 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.

As far as trending, nothing much to report.  I don’t see anything in this month’s charts that makes me sit up and take notice.

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

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Average Sold Price

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Average Price per Square Foot

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Average Number of Days on Market

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** 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

Distressed Activity by Month – September 2011

Lots of information showing we’re heading in the right direction, but we’re still a long way from “recovered.”

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.)

image

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

image

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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

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Chart 6 - Home Sales by Type of Occupant

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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?

Chart 1 shows a distinct downward trend in the number of new bank-owned listings to hit the market.  September had the fewest number of bank-owned listings since I started keeping track, and the last 2 months have both been under 2,000 units.

Chart 3 shows a similar downward trend, although not quite as drastic.  This chart includes Short Sales along with bank-owned listings.  Short sales have not decreased as much as bank-owned, but September was the first month the number of short sale & bank-owned listings was less than 4,000.

Chart 4 shows the number of vacant listings has steadily decreased over the last year, with September’s 4,113 being the lowest point on the chart.

Chart 5 shows we had almost as many traditional “equity” sales as we had bank-owned sales last month.  We had a similar closeness a couple times in 2010, but for the most part the bank-owned sales have dwarfed the traditional sales.  However, we’re still looking for our first inversion point..

Chart 6 shows us how far away we are from being in a normal market.  There were 3 times as many vacant properties changing hands as those which are occupied.

We’re still heading in the right direction, but we’ve got a long way to go.

Your watching & waiting Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Evernote – part 2 – How I Organize and My 10 Best Uses

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Last week I wrote about Evernote Basics - what it is and some samples for how to use it.  Today I'll dig a little deeper and share how I use it personally - both how I organize my digital notes and what purposes I use it for.  But before I dig into the details, I want to take a step back and talk conceptually about notes and filing.

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Digital vs Paper

There really isn't much difference between digital and paper notes.  Forget digital for a minute, and think about paper notes:

If you write something down, or print a web page, or have a photo, that paper item actually exists.  You can hold it, feel it, read it, share it, and eventually - put it somewhere.  Your ability to access the information on that piece of paper is only as good as your ability to remember where you put it.  If you put a minute's effort into filing it into a well-labeled file folder hanging in a drawer in a filing cabinet, odds are you'll be able to find it when you need it.  If you throw the note onto the kitchen counter, along with piles of other notes & junk mail, odds are you won't remember exactly what happened to it a few months from now.

Digital notes are very similar to paper notes.  Each note is an individual piece of information that you might want to access again later.  You can be very meticulous about filing them, or you can be less rigid.

Digital notes are also very different to paper notes.  Each note can have an unlimited amount of information on it, including whole web pages, links to other notes, pictures, audio clips, and any other file (word document, pdf file, spreadsheet, etc.).  In addition, the notes are search-able, so even if you just throw your notes into a big pile on the Evernote kitchen counter, you'll most likely still be able to find the note you're looking for.  I have some notes which only contain a subject line - just a short phrase to remind me of something I need to do, and I have other notes which are several megabytes and contain several attachments - one of these notes might be an entire file folder if I had to print it all out!

Storage, Use, and Growth

My first boss was an organization maniac.  He would preach that we take lots of notes, because nobody had a good enough memory.  He taught us that if you have 5 pieces of paper on the same topic, that topic needed its own folder.  If (or when) a topic's folder got too big (maybe 50 pieces of paper), you needed to break it out into more, smaller folders - either chronologically or by subtopic.

This process leads to a slow but steady accumulation of files, with an ever-evolving organization system based on how many notes you have about various topics.  You don't go out on day 1 and pre-name hundreds of files, drawers, and cabinets with what you *think* you're going to need to file; you slowly add a file here and there as you have the need for them.

image (my file cabinet, 3 years ago.)

I use this exact same system for Evernote.  I started with one notebook, adding a few notes each day.  That quickly became several notebooks representing various topics.  Eventually I wanted to group related topics together, so I gave them a Notebook Stack.  This is the Evernote equivalent of moving related file folders into the same drawer in the file cabinet.  Over time my file tree has consistently grown; I currently have 1,993 notes in 72 notebooks and 9 notebook stacks.  Looking at them today, I have only 1 notebook with more than 100 notes, and I have a dozen or so with less than 10 notes.  Just last week I created a new notebook stack, when I felt like one stack was getting really big and it contained notebooks representing 2 different topic genres, so it was easy to break it out into 2.

I don't use tags - they tend to confuse me.  Each note only needs to reside in one place - the right notebook.  Tags feel sloppy and haphazard.  But that's just me.  Google "organizing Evernote" and you'll find more people who preach tags than those who don't.  It's all about making organization work for you.  I've been using Evernote for 2 years, I have almost two thousand notes, and I can find any of them in about 2 seconds from any of my computers or phones - it simply works!

My 10 Best Uses for Evernote

1.  Kids' School Work.  the kids bring home mountains of paperwork from school, and my wife wants to save all of it!   I scan or snap a photo of each page, then put it into an Evernote notebook.  now it's stored forever, without any boxes of old crap to keep in the attic!

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2. Client Files.  each client/project gets a notebook, and EVERYTHING goes into it. I now have all my info & notes, neatly together, wherever I am.  For organization & clutter sake, and because Evernote has a limit of 250 notebooks (although they'll allow thousands of tags), once the client closes I move their notes into a combined notebook - I still have everything available, but I have fewer notebooks to sift through.

3. To Do List. I've used dozens of task managers over the years, but I keep coming back to Evernote.  It's fast & easy to jot down a to-do item as I think of it, it's with me all the time on all my devices, and it's easy to add notes, screen clips, emails, etc. to my to-do notes.  I have one notebook for my tasks that are due immediately - today or tomorrow, and another notebook for tasks due in the future.

4. Web Research.  I have taken screen clips of tons of things over the last couple of years - maps, computer comparisons, cell phone plans, state parks and hiking information, hotel information and confirmation, online shopping receipts, etc. etc.  Anything that shows up on my computer screen that I want to keep a picture of - done.

5. Special Foods.  My oldest son is on a restricted diet, so I've taken pictures of some of his foods with my cell phone & shared them to Evernote.  Then, when my wife asks me to stop at the store on the way home to pick up some ________ , I get the right kind!  I've also taken pics of the vitamins he takes, so when my wife calls from Sprouts to ask which specific brand is his, I can tell her.  (Bonus husband points for me!)

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6. Bookmarks.  Evernote has a browser add-in which allows you to highlight any part of a web page and keep that selection as a new note, with the web page's URL attached to it.  (or, don't highlight anything and Evernote captures the whole page.)  I use this to add bookmarks with one mouse click, and my bookmarks are now available to me from any browser on any computer.

7. Names.  I like to jot down a quick note of people's names, especially when I meet a group of new people.  It helps me remember the names better, and it gives me a quick reference guide to review on the way to an event where I'm likely to see those people again.

8. Journal.  A couple days a week I do a voice recording on my way home, (using Hi-Q MP3 android app to record in mp-3 format), as a way to journal what's going on - mostly notes about the kids, but I also journal about work, triathlon training, and whatever other thoughts I have.  It's become a great record of the last couple of years.  I can also add text and photos to my journal notebook - sometimes I just take a picture of the kids with my cell phone & share it to my Evernote Journal Notebook - done.

9. Blogging.  Combining the Web Research and Journal functions gives me a great blogging resource.  I store ideas for future posts, web articles & research, and rough drafts.  In fact, this post was composed entirely in Evernote.  I wrote some of it from my desktop, then I added some notes from my phone during my son's soccer practice, then I used my laptop, before finishing it from my desktop.

10. Paperless.  I expanded on my Kids' School Work concept and started scanning &/or photo'ing all my admin files:  records and receipts for the cars, medical receipts, notes & receipts from household items, etc.  Once my records are in Evernote, I'm able to shred or trash the paper document.  I also take pictures of the box or the model/serial number when I buy new things (dishwasher, SLR camera, etc.), so I'll have the information I'll need in a few years for a repair or replacement part.  Right now I'm 99% paperless, and I'm more organized, with more information that's easier to find, then I've ever been.  1,993 Evernote notes and counting.

Remember my filing cabinet from 3 years ago?  Here's my filing cabinet today.

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It's also my briefcase.  The silver one on the right is my backup.  Not only is it easier to find what I need when I need it from wherever I am, but the next time I move is going to be a whole lot easier!  ;-)

Your Evernote-lovin’ Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Distressed Activity by Month – August 2011

A look at the new listing charts this month shows the trend is continuing in the right direction.  However, a look at the numbers on the charts shows we’re still a ways off from being recovered.  (same story, different month!)

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.)

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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.)

image

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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.)

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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.)

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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

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Chart 6 - Home Sales by Type of Occupant

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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?

A couple of pieces of good news:

On the bank-owned front, this was the first time since I began tracking this activity that we’ve had less than 2,000 new bank-owned listings. (chart 1)

Also, there were more bank-owned homes sold than listed, which continued the recent trend.

Overall, we’re still showing a large number of sales each month, which is preventing the inventory from building up and helping to keep prices from falling further.

But it’s not all good news:

There were over 4,500 new vacant listings this month.  4,500 – that’s a lot.  No way the term recovery can be considered with that many vacant homes hitting the market each month.

Short sales showed the opposite relationship from bank-owned; more short sale listings than sales.

There hasn’t been much change in the ratio of bank-owned, short sales, and traditional (equity) sales since the summer of 2009.

Again, same thing I say seemingly every month – it’s great that sales activity is so high, and we’re clearing the market of so many distressed listings each month.  But the market won’t start recovering until there are fewer distressed listings each month.

Your waiting patiently, ‘cause it’s all he can do Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Rapidly dwindling inventory of bank owned homes in metro Phoenix

In his September 15th market summary Mike Orr of Cromford Report said




We are projecting about 4,500 new foreclosure notices during September, a drop of some 16% from August and about 2,850 trustee sales, a drop of about 21%. Part of the drop is because September has 9% fewer working days (21) than August (23).


Nevertheless it still looks like the foreclosure tide is on its way out, and the inventory of bank owned homes continues to fall, as does the count of pending foreclosures.



Context: In the 30days preceding Mr. Orr's report, there were 8,763 properties sold in the greater Phoenix metro region. As of September 20, 2011 there are 19,241 properties listed for sale in the area. Nineteen thousand, plus forty-five hundred, minus nearly nine thousand... equals not enough homes for sale in a mere couple of months.


You can sign up for the highly respected and frequently dead-on accurate Cromford Report for a nominal fee for a 3month membership. Last I checked I think it was $90 for 3 months. WELL worth it.


By the way, I completely agree with Mr. Orr. The foreclosure tide is on it's way out. My investors looking for bank owned homes in the under $125,000 price range are having a devilish time finding and getting the right home. Multiple offers, bidding wars, paying over asking price. If you're shopping under $75,000, triple that difficulty level.

Evernote – part 1 – The Basics

I don’t know about you, but when I love a product, I tend to talk about it.  (sometimes a little too much!)  Evernote is one of those products.  I’ve talked it up enough that more than a few people have asked me what it is & how they should use it, which gives me a good reason to write a post about it.

Evernote Basics

What is Evernote?  Well, a screen clip from their website is a great place to start:


image

That basically says it all.

Capture anything.

  • Sceen Clippings
  • Web Sites
  • Thoughts, notes, ideas
  • Voice notes
  • Photos
  • Emails
  • Digital files - pdf, doc, xls, etc.

Access anywhere.

Everything you put into Evernote is readily available on every device you own, as well as any computer (or any other device) with an internet connection.  It’s totally platform independent.

  • Windows PCs & laptops
  • Netbooks
  • Macs and MacBooks
  • Android phones
  • Android tablets
  • iPhones and iPod Touch
  • iPads
  • Blackberry phones
  • Blackberry PlayBook

This means anything you note, capture, or edit on any of these devices will be automatically sync’d up with all your other devices, ready to be retrieved or edited from wherever you are & whatever device you’re using.

Find things fast.

Evernote offers 3 completely different ways to organize your notes, each of which can be used with or without any of the others:

  • Categorize with notebooks
  • Label with tags
  • World class searching, including searching handwritten & typed text in photos and scanned files.

image

(image courtesy of Jeffrey Beall)

Notebooks and Notebook Stacks.  Stacks are like file cabinet drawers (or stacks of file folders), and Notebooks are like file folders.  Each note can only be in one notebook, like each piece of paper can only be in one file folder.  You can have multiple notebooks in a stack.  People who are good with filing systems - paper or digital - will probably gravitate towards this system.

For example:

Suppose you had a Notebook Stack called Vacation, which contained Notebooks for San Diego, Colorado, Florida, and New York.

Information for your trip to San Diego would go in your San Diego notebook.

You could find all your San Diego notes by selecting the San Diego notebook, OR by selecting the Vacation notebook stack.  (in which case you would see your San Diego notes mixed in with your notes from Colorado, Florida, and New York.)

Tags. Tags are like labels.  Each note can have an unlimited number of tags.  In addition, Tags can be organized into a file-tree for those who want to organize groups of tags together – this makes it visually easier to find a tag or tag group on the screen.  People who prefer a little less structure, or those who are used to using labels extensively, will most likely gravitate towards tags.

a plain white undecorated gift label on a turquoise backdrop (ChristmasStockImages.com)

Example:

Information for your trip to San Diego would be tagged with San Diego and Vacation.  (and possibly Restaurants, Theme Parks, or Hotels.)

Search by Key Words.  Since Evernote's search capabilities are so good, some people just put their notes into a "big digital pile", but they can search for a particular word or phrase to find the note they want.

Example:

Information for your trip to San Diego is just put into Evernote.  You could find it by searching for San Diego, or San Diego Restaurant, or Sea World, or whatever makes sense for whatever you are looking for.

How to get started using Evernote

Because it can be a bit overwhelming to think about what goes into Evernote, or making a switch from where you are today to going paperless, or anything drastic like that, I recommend you start with 1 thing, and add other uses as you get comfortable with it.

Recipes.  My wife gave Evernote a try with her recipe collection.  Over the years she had accumulated magazine pages, email & website printouts, and lots of individual recipe-cards.  Years ago I built her a template she could use to type in a recipe & have it print out onto postcard.  The postcards were then kept in a cute little box in the kitchen.  This was ok when it worked, but it had several flaws:

  1. She would get behind & end up with a stack of printouts, then have to stay up late one night to type them all out.
  2. She would get a new computer, and if everything wasn't backed up perfectly, she would lose her digital copy.
  3. She would be at the store, or at her mom's house, and wouldn't have the ingredient list for a particular dish with her.

image

 

Using Evernote has solved all 3 problems.

Now she can type them up, clip the web page directly into Evernote, or take a picture of a magazine page with her cell phone, and the recipe is stored – permanently and easily searchable-sharable-readable.

She tags the recipes as needed - chicken, main dish, dessert, appetizer, gfcf, etc., so she can quickly search for whatever type of dish she's looking for.

She also has them wherever she goes - home computer, smart phone, mom's computer, wherever there's an internet connection.

By doing this, she’s become more familiar with Evernote as an application – how to put stuff in, how to find it later, and how it all shows up wherever she needs it to be.  That makes it a lot easier to start using it for other things, too.

Other ideas include:

  • web research – Evernote is awesome here.  Screen clippings save exact images from your screen.  Web clippings copy web pages and include the url they were copied from.  And you can add as many notes about it as you need to.
  • plan a vacation – maps, hotel information, restaurants and entertainment ideas, flight info, contacts in the area.
  • client notes – housing likes and dislikes, neighborhood criteria, photos, notes about homes you’ve shown them, mls search results, alternative contact information, frequently reviewed emails, etc.
  • receipts – take a picture of a receipt with your phone, and Evernote will read the text for searching later.
  • hobbies – Evernote can become a collection of notes, projects, history, ideas.
  • blogging! – Jot down an idea (typed or voicenote) wherever it comes to you.  Write rough draft posts in.  Clip articles and images to be used later.
  • journal – an easy way to write up your daily thoughts throughout the day, from whichever device or wherever you are.
  • add more ideas as you get comfortable with it!

In part 2 I'll write about how I use Evernote - how I organize it and some specific ways I use it to be more efficient.

For those of you who want to know more about it – security, sharing notes, bandwidth limitations, free vs premium, etc., there’s been more written than you have time to read!  Start by reviewing the evernote website, then try one of the 61,400,000 results that returned in my Google search for Evernote.

Anyone out there already using Evernote?  Please chime in on anything I might have missed..


** Update 9/28/11 - Link Here to Evernote Part 2 - How I Organize and My 10 Best Uses.

Your thankful to have an external brain Realtor,

Chris Butterworth