Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 15

How Much is a Home With a View in Flagstaff Worth?

by Gary Nelson

The fabulous vistas of the Flagstaff area are certainly hard for a homeowner to resist. But how much are you going to pay to see those amazing views of the mountains, water, or other scenic features from the comfort of your home? What you need to determine is how much extra that cost is and if it’s worth it.

According to appraisers and analysts, there’s no simple answer. Principal data scientist Andy Krause at Greenfield Advisors says “Views are actually really difficult to quantify. It’s somewhat subjective. What makes a better water view? Do you want it to be wider? Do you want more of the water from a taller angle? You know, some of that is in the eye of the beholder.”

And that’s the difficult part of the equation. Not all views are equal, and not all tastes are the same.

If a view is a must have for your next home in Flagstaff, here’s a couple of tips.

Is the view protected?

A homeowner of an expensive home in Houston sued after a high-rise office tower was built across the street. The building ended up blocking their view and they no longer had privacy in their backyard, as office workers could see their backyard and pool. But if they had done some research, they would have seen that the area was zoned for such a building, and so the lawsuit was dismissed. To avoid this happening to you, it’s a good idea to check with planning authorities about zoning near your home and if there’s any large projects planned where your view is going to be.

Find a Great View with a Not As Great House

You may be able to find a house with a great view, but maybe the windows are smaller and don’t show off the scenery.  In that case, you may pay less for the home and then invest money in a limited remodel to add larger windows or perhaps a rooftop deck. Make sure you check the deed for restrictions as well as homeowner association rules, if any.

What could be better than a home with a spectacular view of the Flagstaff area? If you’re looking to buy a home in Flagstaff, whether it’s a spectacular mountain view, or just a regular view, we can help you find the perfect home. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool. And make sure to follow us on our blog every week for more real estate advice and news, along with articles about living in Flagstaff.

4 Reasons to Sell Your Home in Flagstaff This Spring

by Gary Nelson

Spring has arrived and the home selling season is hotter than it’s been in a while.  This is great news if you plan on selling your home in Flagstaff.  Normally Spring is the best time of year for home sales. Yet this year stands out to be even more promising.  There are a number of reasons why selling your home this year during spring is going to be your best course.  Here are the top 4 reasons why selling your home this Spring is such a great idea.

  1. Strong Demand

Buyer traffic is strong in Arizona, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors. This is because home buyers are out in the market and buying homes right now. And more competition means you may end up getting more money for your home in the end.

  1. Less Competition

Over the past 32 months there have been fewer homes on the market. This is a good thing if you’ve been building equity in your home. Yet it may not last. The average number of years that homeowners stayed in their homes has been around 9-10 years since 2011.This was due to the previous negative equity that kept many homeowners from selling.As values rise, more people will sell.So don’t wait too long or you could end up getting less for your home.

  1. The Process Will Be Quicker

Competition is stiff in the Arizona real estate market, and that means more buyers will be ready in advance to buy your home. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is one way they do this.Buyers are more likely to know what they want and how much they can spend, which really speeds up the process for everyone.

  1. Time to Move Up

Are you planning on moving into a better home?The good news is that higher priced homes are actually selling for less due to a higher inventory in the higher price ranges. So if you’re selling a starter home, your home will sell more quickly and you’ll be more likely to find a premium home.

This spring promises to be a boon for Flagstaff home sellers.  Gary Nelson and Realty Executives have the experience you need to sell your home in Flagstaff.  Call them at 928-225-3510 to start the process today.

11 Steps to Buying Your First Home in Flagstaff

by Gary Nelson

11 Steps to Buying Your First Home in Flagstaff

What an exciting time – you’re ready to buy your first home in Flagstaff! But be careful not to get swept up too much in all that excitement. This is certainly a big decision, so it’s easy to get lost in the process.  There’s a lot of time and money on the line.  But don’t let that deter you.  As long as you know the basic steps involved in buying a home in Flagstaff, then you’ll be better prepared for the experience. You also need to forge relationships with experts in Flagstaff who can help you along the way.

Here are the 11 steps to owning your first home in Flagstaff.

Do Your Homework

  1. With any big decision, it’s always a good idea to sit down and figure out a plan. And there’s plenty of things to think about, such as price, housing type, neighborhood, school districts, and more. Here's a worksheet that can help you lay all these items out. Make sure to fill it out with everyone who’s involved in the process so that everyone has the same goals in mind.
  2. Start Shopping for Homes in Flagstaff
    Now that you know what you're looking for, start looking for listings online.  Here's a great tool for finding the ideal home in Flagstaff and surrounding communities.
  3. Find a Great Agent
    The Gary Nelson Team is ready to help you find the perfect first home and help you through the process
  4. Choose a Lender
    Now it’s time to find the right mortgage lender. Your lender will be working closely with you throughout the process, so it’s important to find one that understands your goals and needs.
  5. Pick a Loan
    Your lender will work with you to determine the right mortgage to fit your financial needs.  You'll need to provide proof of income, employment, and other details.
  6. Look at Homes
    Now things are starting to get interesting! Your agent will help you find homes in in Flagstaff and the surrounding areas in Arizona that fit your budget and the needs you determined in step 1.
  7. Make an Offer
    Now that you’ve located the home you want in Flagstaff, then you make the offer.  Your agent will help you decide how much you want to pay, along with contingencies that both parties can agree on.
  8. Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate
    This is where you work out the deal for your new home in in Flagstaff.  But watch out that you don’t get carried away by emotions because you want the house. Some sellers may just accept your offer, but some may make a counter-offer.  Your agent will work with you to decide what to do.
  9. Inspect the Home
    When an offer is accepted, then you'll sign a contract that will no doubt include a home inspection contingency.  At this point you'll hire a licensed home inspector to look for needed repairs. If major repairs are needed, then the seller will be asked to make those repairs.
  10. Appraisal
    Your lender needs to determine if the home is worth enough to cover the mortgage.
  11. Close the Deal
    You’re almost there! You just need to sign the final paperwork to finish the deal.  Now it’s time to get moved into your first home!

The Gary Nelson Team has been helping people buy their first home in in Flagstaff for years. They can help you through all of these steps to guide you to owning your first home in in Flagstaff. Give them a call at 928-225-3510 or 928-773-9300 to start your journey to owning your first home today.

Our Top Featured Listings in Flagstaff

by Gary Nelson

Looking for a great home in Flagstaff with plenty of room for the whole family and great features? Look no further than these two top featured homes!

2353 N Ricke Lane, Flagstaff

This home is back on the market, so do let it slip away this time! Located in Walnut Ridge Estates, this lovely home is set on a .39 acre lot with amazing views of Mt Elden.  With tons of room, updated kitchen and huge deck, you're family will have plenty of room to live and entertain.

Check out all the details and photos!

36 W Quartz Road, Flagstaff

With 5 beds and 4 baths, there's plenty of space for your family and friends.  The soaring vaulted ceilings adds to the spaciousness. Add to that an outstanding kitchen with great cabinets and stainless steel appliances, along with a huge back yard, and you have a deal you can't miss!

Check out all the details and photos!

Is Now the Time to Buy Your Dream Home in Flagstaff?

by Gary Nelson

If you’re thinking about moving into your dream home in Flagstaff, you should seriously think about doing it earlier in the year rather than later. The reason is that the two components of your monthly mortgage payment, which are home prices and interest rates, are both expected to increase during the year. Also, interest rates are expected to rise.  Here are some predictions:

Freddie Mac

“While full employment and rising inflation are signs of a strong economy, they also have the potential to push mortgage rates and house prices up. The higher rates and higher prices create significant affordability concerns, which may continue to characterize the housing market for the rest of 2017.”

Lynn Fisher, Vice President of Research & Economics for the Mortgage Bankers Association

“By the time we get to the fourth quarter of this year, we will still be under 5 percent – we are thinking 4.7 percent…Something north of 5 percent by the time we get to 2018, and by the time we get to 2019, we show fourth-quarter rates hitting 5.5 percent.”

Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economist

“Despite some regional disparities, title agents and real estate professionals do not expect increasing mortgage rates to have a significant impact on the housing market this spring. Continued good economic news, increasing Millennial demand and confidence that buyers will remain in the market even if rates exceed 5 percent bode well for 2017 real estate.”

Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist for Freddie Mac

“We will probably see rates higher at the end of year, around 4.5%.”

So if you’re in the position to buy your home now, then don’t delay.

Find the Perfect Home in Flagstaff

by Gary Nelson

If you plan on buying a home in Northern Arizona, then no doubt you've already considered calling Flagstaff your home.  And with good reason! Flagstaff has so many things going for it.  It's a medium sized city with about 139,000 residents in the metro area, so it's not overcrowded.  Flagstaff is located near so many natural and man-made attractions.  Its location just south of the San Francisco Peaks adds to the stunning natural beauty of the area.  Flagstaff is an outdoor lover's dream come true.

When it comes to natural attractions in Flagstaff, you could explore them all for a lifetime. The greatest of these is, of course, the Grand Canyon.  We could just leave the list at that, but why should we? There's Wupatki National Monument, Walnut Canyon National Monument, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, and Barringer Crater to add to the list.  And you can also explore the 50 miles of trails in The Flagstaff Urban Trails System.  If you're into sports, don't worry, there's plenty of parks, disc golf courses, tennis courts, baseball fields, basketball courts, and more to keep you busy.

And let's not forget about the great shopping and dining waiting for you.  At the Flagstaff mall, you'll find all your favorite retailers.  Or for local vendors, you can go downtown to the Old Town Shops to find locally made items.  

Where you have tourists, you also have great food. Flagstaff boasts impressive culinary selections, such as Delhi Palace, the Horseman Lodge, Satchmo's BBQ, Fat Olives, and much more.

Hopefully, your curiosity is peaked about this amazing city.  You can learn more about living in Flagstaff in Flagstaff Real Estate & Community Information, where you can also search for the perfect home for sale.

Here's a few of the finest homes on the market right now in Flagstaff.

Flagstaff's Top 3: Pizzerias

by Gary Nelson


The Best Pizza I Have Ever Had

The best pizza I have ever had in my life was in Long Island, New York, hands down.  Not Manhattan, not Chicago...Long Island.  My good friends Kenny and Phyllis Nelson (not related to me, but should be) were wrong about it, though.  Kenny said if you have a slice of Grandmas pizza at Umberto's (not King Umberto's) in New Hyde Park, NY that it will be the best pizza you have ever had in your life.  And by the way, a slice of Grandmas Pizza from Umberto's was featured on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on the Food Network.  Additionally, it is the official and favorite pizza of the lowly New York Giants of the NFL.  But, my friend Kenny was wrong. And the reason he is wrong is...because the pizza with vodka sauce is better!  Here is a link to the best pizza you will ever have:

Click Here For A Link To The Real Deal!

But, we don't live in New York, we live in Flagstaff, AZ.  And by the way, New York doesn't have very good Navajo Tacos.  So there, New York.  However, you can get some pretty good pizza here.  By my friends standards, I am not sure how they would rank against New York or Chicago. Or if it would compare to Pizzaria Bianco in Scottsdale, which many food blogs and food networks think is the undisputed best Pizza in the US. It's not as good as Umbertos in Long Island, but it is delicious.

But, let's get to it.  Here are 3 pizza joints in Flagstaff that will not disappoint (Unless your last name is Nelson and you live in Long Island):



Click Here For A Link To Fratelli's Website!

Click Here For A Link To The Tripadvisor Review Of Fratelli's! 

​Fratelli's Pizza has 2 locations in Flagstaff and will soon have another!  Early in 2017 (or maybe midway, since they are taking their sweet time), we will see Fratelli's expand to a third location at 1850 N. Fort. Valley Road (Highway 180 to you flat landers), next to Late For The Train.  This location has been several restaurants that haven't made it, but Fratelli's will succeed there. Northwest Flagstaff needs a good pizza place and the locals, skiers and tourists alike should make it a go.

Fratelli's is what I would classify as a good pizza parlor.  It's not as dynamic as the next 2 on this list, but it is a good solid choice, won't break your wallet and is better than everything else in Flagstaff!  But don't get that last sentence wrong, you can get very good pizza at Fratelli's.  If you are a little adventurous with the menu, it gets very good.  I love the Route 66, which is a spicy BBQ Chicken pizza.  As a few of you know, I love BBQ and wish they had a better sauce, but this is one fine pizza!

Fratelli's Rout 66

Give Fratelli's a shot at either location and support the new one when it is open.  The owners always support local charities and schools and also have Mama Burger, down the road.


Fat Ol​ives

Fat Olives is an offering by the owners of Salsa Brava which is a long-time Mexican restaurant here in Flagstaff.  Fat Olives has been in business around 4 years now, and has gathered quite the following, it seems.  I know that when I am there, the place seems very busy.  Located at 2308 East Route 66 in Flagstaff, it serves thin crust Neopolitan style pizza that is wood fired.

The pizza is very good and the crust has that salty, chewy, crunchy and charred flavor that makes this style of pizza irresistible​.  As for me, I order the Arrabiata which has Marzano tomato sauce, mozarella, basil and a spicy sausage.  It has a pretty good kick, but I like spicy food.  The Margherita pizza is also very good, and you can judge a good pizza place by how well they can make a Margherita pizza.  In New York, a pizza place can be judged by how good your Grandma's Pizza is.  Out here, maybe a Margherita.

Click Here For A Link To The Fat Olives Website

Click Here For A Review On Tripadvisor!

And by the way, this is another restaurant in Flagstaff that supports charities.  You will always see their support of Special Olympics and other causes and it makes me want to support then as well!




This is another high temperature, Neapolitan style pizza restaurant that is smaller than Fat Olives and pretty much sticks to pizza.  In the pizza wars of Flagstaff (if there were any), I would personally give the nod to Pizzicletta. I think that many others would as well, as they have a cult following here in the Northland.  I will point out that they are across the street from Fratelli's south side location and both are surviving, so that is a testament to both places, I would think.  Totally different styles of pizza, but they do survive!

Click Here For A Link To Pizziclettas Website!

Click Here For A Link To A 10 Best In Arizona Blog That Includes Pizzicletta!  

Click Here For A Link To A Tripadvisor Review!

As I said above, you can judge a pizza place by how good there Margherita pizza is.  On my most recent visit (last night), that is exactly what I did.  It was chewy with that perfect salty char that balances with the tang of the pure tomato sauce and the creaminess of the house made mozzarella.  It was very good!  

Pizzicletta Oven

So, in the grand scheme of things, you really can get good pizza in Flagstaff!  And before my friends start squeaking about why a certain place known for their slices isn't on this list, it's because the slices are just OK, and not great.  The above are much better no matter how you "slice" it!

And the same can be said for a place known for a different style of east coast pizza.  It's good, but not great and I think it's obvious that the employees love to party a little too hard for me. 

Next up will probably be a blog dedicated to the top 3 burgers in town which may be followed by the top 3 places for girls night out and then boys night out! Stay tuned!


Gary Nelson is a lifelong resident of Flagstaff, Arizona and is the Delegated Associate Broker at Realty Executives of Flagstaff.  Find your own part of Flagstaff at

Is Your Realtor Qualified? Part 2 of 4

by Gary Nelson

As I stated in my last blog (Part 1 of this subject) I believe that unfortunately there may be a majority of Realtors who are not qualified to represent your best interests in a real estate transaction.  You can read that earlier blog here:  Is Your Realtor Qualified? (Part 1).   I have come to this conclusion by rubbing elbows with the best in the industry and also having experience with agents that are…less than stellar in their business practices.  It is my opinion that a Realtors “professionalism” can be measured by experience, dedication, adoption of technology and trends and finally education.  We will look at education in this blog.


I would divide this category into two sections, really. Those would be continuing education and also Realtor designations.  When it comes to “continuing education”, a Realtor has many choices, but the choices they make can be very telling.  What I mean is this: Is your agent dedicated to getting the best, most current education there is…or are they skating by, and only taking the minimum in continuing education hours because it is required by the Arizona Department of Real Estate?

A significant number of Realtors learn about changes to the industry by trial and error.  Scary, isn't it?  Name another profession where the "School Of Hard Knocks" is the most attended school for continuing education. 

In Arizona, a real estate agent needs 24 hours of continuing education in a 2 year period.  That is a pitifully low number of hours required.  That’s 12 hours of classroom time per year. But, the State also allows online education, webinars and live feeds.  So, your Realtor can actually be “educated” by sitting in front of a computer, take an online class, never interact with an instructor and move on.  But the worst part is, many real estate agents have learned how to cheat the online system, by not actually being at the computer while the timer is going!  Ultimately who they are cheating is themselves, but unfortunately that means they are cheating you too.

Additionally, many agents wait until the last few days of that 2 year period to take their classes and then scramble to find a live class or just take all their online renewal classes at once.  There are real estate classes called “renew-athons” where the agent can just take all 24 hours needed over a fun-filled weekend.  Many times these are online classes, but some of these classes are offered live in Mexico or on a cruise ship!  Now that is dedication to an industry.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some multi-day conferences in Arizona that give your Realtor a tremendous education.  2 dear friends of mine are Realtors and educators.  They have 1 ½ day conferences that provide wonderful education, discussion and insight into trends.  These classes are both fun and informative.  Also, some Realtor designations require multiple day classes and also provide the best education possible to a Realtor in today's market.

Another way that a Realtor can continue their dedication to educating themselves is by earning designations and certifications.  For a list of recognized designations and certifications, look to  This is not, which advertises homes for sale. is the website for the National Association of Realtors and the part dedicated to explaining designations is here:

As you can see, there are many ways a Realtor can extend their knowledge base and these are the programs that are recognized by the National Association of Realtors.  If your Realtor’s “designation” isn’t listed here, then chances are it took them an afternoon to earn.  It may be a private certification class to teach them how to “negotiate” with the big dogs.  When it comes to designations for a residential Realtor, the CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) is the top designation one can get on a national level and the GRI (Graduate of the Realtor Institute) is the top state specific designation in most, but not all states.  In Arizona, the GRI program is regarded as one of the best nationwide and the classes and therefore the designation, is top notch.

So, when I started this blog in Part 1, I suggested that you ask your Realtor a series of questions specifically geared toward discovering what they do to stay educated.   My first suggestion would be to search for your Realtor here:

That site is of course, the Arizona Department of Real Estate.  It allows you to not only see if any disciplinary action was taken against your Realtor, but also how many continuing education classes he or she has taken and what kind.

 In addition to that, here are some suggested questions for your Realtor:

  • What real estate designations do you hold?
  • How many continuing education hours did you turn in when you last renewed your license?
  • How do you typically get your continuing education hours?

After reading what I have outlined here, clicking on the above links and educating yourself on your Realtors education, you should be able to decide for yourself how well your current or prospective Realtor does when it comes to education!  How is this relevant to you?  Think of any other profession that requires continuing education to keep a state license and how you hope that person stays connected and educated!

My next blog in this series “Is Your REALTOR Qualified”, will discuss some agent’s worst nightmare:  Technology!  Technology and your Realtors relationship to it can make or break a deal.  Stay tuned as I explain why!

Gary Nelson is a lifelong resident of Flagstaff, Arizona and is the Delegated Associate Broker at Realty Executives of Flagstaff.  Find your own part of Flagstaff at

Is Your Realtor Qualified? Part 1 of 4

by Gary Nelson

Is your Realtor qualified to represent your best interests?  Odds are…they are not.  In a recently released study, the National Association of Realtors shocked the industry by revealing that the greatest threat to organized real estate is “marginal agents”.  Released in June of 2015, the National Association of Realtors report was called the “Danger Report” and detailed out that the greatest threat to the real estate industry are agents that are unskilled and lack the knowledge to effectively represent buyers and sellers.

From the Danger Report: “The real estate industry is saddled with a large number of part-time, untrained, unethical, and/or incompetent agents. This knowledge gap threatens the credibility of the industry.”

For Sale Sign

The Danger Report continues: “The knowledge and competency gap from the most to the least is very large, due to the low barriers to entry, low continuing education requirements, and the lure of quickly making big dollars. For decades the industry has held the opinion that it’s a profession, however the reality is that those outside the industry don’t hold the same opinion. Most professions (doctors, lawyers, accountants, and engineers) require thousands of hours of study, beginning with a bachelor’s degree. Even becoming an earth driller requires an average of 704 hours of instruction, and becoming a cosmetologist requires an average of a 372 hours. But to become a licensed real estate agent requires an average of only 70 hours with the lowest state requirement being 13 hours.”  Arizona Requires 90 hours of classroom instruction to become a real estate agent.  

Here is a link to the startling website that was created:

Do you think that is scary?  Well, this is worse:  In my opinion and having been in the business for 21 years now, I believe that well over 60% of Realtors have no business being in the business.  And 60% is being very, very generous.  That is of course my opinion, but this echoes the Danger Report and when I mention this to my colleagues, they all agree.   I have not had one single Realtor disagree with my assessment and some think that only 25% of Realtors are actually qualified to do their jobs!  At a recent leadership event that was hosted by the Arizona Association of Realtors, every colleague I asked felt that less than 50% of current agents should be in the business at all.  Several of my most respected colleagues said less than 25% should be allowed in the business.

Transfer Of Keys

And the sad thing is that the number of sales that an agent has in a year (what agents call “production level”) has very little to do with it.  Yes, an agent can learn the hard way, as they say, but unless they are keeping up with trends, changes to law and regulation, changes to commonly used forms and technology, how many houses they sold last year pales.  A Realtor may have sold 50 houses last year, but if they are not properly educated and dedicated, they could get you or someone else into a lot of trouble in this litigious society we have today.

So what does this mean to you?  It means you need to interview your agent.  Even your current one.  Even your friend.  Many agents will suggest and provide you a list of questions to ask a Realtor during an interview.  They are typically good questions, but usually the questions provided are easily answered in a positive way by the person that wrote the questions and then gave them to you!  I would suggest delving just a little deeper and maybe coming up with your own questions.  And how you do that is up to you, but if it was me…I would ask questions in these categories:  Education, experience and technology.  I will elaborate in upcoming blogs, give you some ideas to formulate your questions and talk about different Realtors’ general dedication to professionalism in the industry.  Stay tuned!

Gary Nelson is a lifelong resident of Flagstaff, Arizona and is the Delegated Associate Broker at Realty Executives of Flagstaff.  Find your own part of Flagstaff at

2016 Special Flagstaff Market Update!

by Gary Nelson

Special 2016 Report!  Here is the information you are looking for about what is happening in Flagstaff housing in 2016 and what occurred in 2015.  Inside Flagstaff, the average price paid for a “home” in 2015 was $320,785 and the median price was $295,000. This compares to the 2014 calendar year statistics of an average of $308,500 and the median price for a “home” was $291,900. This is for all types of homes. More accurately, a single family home had an average sales price of $388,288 last year as opposed to our all-time high, which was the 2006 average of $452,200. The average townhouse is at $277,349 and a condo is at $162,209.  It took an average of 94 days to sell a home in the past 12 months. That is down from 112 days on market the year before. Again, this is for the city of Flagstaff for the past 12 months. Rural markets near Flagstaff are slightly different, so please contact me for accurate information in rural areas.

When reading the above information, keep in mind that I average information over a one year period, not quarterly and not monthly.  Why do I average over a 12 month period?  Because we are an extremely seasonal market and a small market at that!  A comparison of a one month period to that month of the year before may show an increase or decrease of activity, but a minor fluctuation in closed sales would throw the data off to indicate a problem in the market.  Also, sales in Northern Arizona are typically slow during the colder months and heat up nicely during spring and summer.

When looked at on a monthly basis, we are seeing a steady increase in values in townhouses, and in single family homes. Less so for condominiums. Condominium sales continue to remain sluggish due to the difficulty in financing them and most sales are still cash.  This will change in 2016 as FHA has announced changes to their condo guidelines.  I will blog about that later, I am sure.

Flagstaff and its surrounding communities are under what many consider a “Seller’s Market”, with lower inventory of homes than Buyers ready to buy.  That is to price ranges to about $400,000.  Above that is a neutral market and above $700,000…I think is a Buyer’s market.  We are seeing very low inventory in most housing categories, but single family homes are leading the charge here in Flagstaff. 

For buyers looking in the Flagstaff area for a home this all means that there are very few choices when searching for a home and every once in awhile a “good deal” to be had.  Again, we are seeing very low inventory in Single Family homes and townhomes, making for increased demand.  We shall see how this year progresses.

For sellers looking to sell in the Flagstaff area, there is not as much competition depending on location.  Some areas in the Flagstaff market and some price ranges are still difficult to sell in, but we have had much stronger market conditions this past 12 months.  This means that you still have to concentrate on 3 things: price, preparation and presentation. You must be priced at market value. No “fishing” and hoping it sells. Secondly you must be well prepared, in good repair and staged to sell. Finally, you must be well presented with a great internet presence, graphics and a huge MLS (Multiple Listing Service) presentation, etc. Of course you need a top notch, experienced Realtor© to get the job done.

Who Buys?

Having been involved with Realtor association and MLS leadership on a local, state and national level, I continuously have conversations with Realtors from various parts of the state and country.  Realtors and real estate economists from across the nation and across Arizona all agreed that our markets have continued to increase nationally.  However Arizona, as usual, is beating to a different drum.  Almost all Realtors in various parts of Arizona are reporting a change in their market this past few years, of course. We have increased slightly in values and we will continue to experience a Sellers’s market in the outlying areas, but not in the Metro Phoenix market.  There is a change brewing in the Metro Phoenix area.  A HUGE change.  Demand has increased and supply is decreasing.  We know what that means, right? Typically, Flagstaff and the rest of Northern Arizona follows Phoenix by several months.  Also, there are several factors that are leading to the market we see in the Flagstaff area, which is much STRONGER than most in the U.S.

First, we have experienced less inventory on the market for the greater Flagstaff area this past 3 years.  Buyers still have choices, especially in the Townhouse and Condominium markets, but fewer choices.  Also, we continue to enjoy very low interest rates that are still hovering above the 4% mark, and have fallen slightly since January 1st.  In my work with the National Association of Realtors, I have heard many real estate economists that feel that relatively low interest rates will continue for 5 to 6 more years, barring any unforeseen economic disaster which the U.S. Government spent 2009 through 2011 staving off.

Secondly, Northern Arizona is greatly impacted by second home buyers from other areas.  I heard an estimate that for 2006 (Flagstaff’s all time high year for real estate), 57% of Buyers in the Flagstaff area were second or vacation home buyers!  Buyers come mostly from the greater metro Phoenix area and especially the Scottsdale and Sun City areas. The greatest impact seems to be from the completion several years ago of the 101 freeway both east and west of Interstate 17.  When the completion of the 303 occurs in the west Valley, it will have the same effect. This has made Flagstaff and its surrounding areas 20 minutes to a half hour closer to those trying to escape that blazing metro Phoenix weather!

Another impact, although a smaller one, is the buyer relocating to Flagstaff for its weather and lifestyle. This is a great place to live. Clean air, good schools, wonderful forests and tons to do. We are not seeing much of an increase in population (about 2.7% per year), so relocating buyers may be mostly replacing those that are moving out of the area.

In my opinion, California has a blown-out-of-proportion impact on home prices here. We do see buyers coming in from California, and many of them over-paying and in cash. However, as a percentage of our market they do not have that big of an impact on demand in Northern Arizona. Scottsdale has a much bigger impact on demand than the entire state of California!

So we seem to be in a more normalized market than what we have seen: A frenzied 2004 and 2005, a somewhat slow, but slightly increasing 2006 and a declining market in 2007 through 2011. The tail end of 2008 and early 2009 had the biggest drop. 2011 through 2015 shaped up to have good activity, less inventory, tentative buyers and deals to be had! The current market value of property in the Flagstaff area is roughly equivalent to what it was at this time 2005. But vastly different market conditions.

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The Crystal Ball:

So, what can we expect for 2016? The beginning of this year should see more of what we saw in the end of 2015 – less inventory of housing product than the year before and better sales, extremely low interest rates and “deals” to be had. As 2016 begins, our market will continue rebounding  with both number of listings available for sale and in actual sales.  Remember, 2011 through 2014 were “rebuilding” years, but each was different.  2015 will be recorded as different again.  And 2016 will have increasing buyer activity, too few homes on the market and great interest rates.

Flagstaff’s demand for housing product will continue to gradually rise driven primarily by the financial strength of the second home buyer and the availability of “cheap money”…very low interest rates in our country.

Gary Nelson is a lifelong resident of Flagstaff, Arizona and is the Delegated Associate Broker at Realty Executives of Flagstaff.  Find your own part of Flagstaff at

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Contact Information

The Gary Nelson Group
Realty Executives of Flagsaff
15 E. Cherry Ave. Suite 101
Flagstaff AZ 86001
Direct: 928-225-3510
Office: 928-773-9300
Fax: 928-774-1102