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Affordable and Easy Ways to Bring Buyers to Your Home

by Gary Nelson

Spring and summer months are always the best time of year to sell your home in Flagstaff. And it’s not too late to take advantage of this hot market.  So how do you make your home stand out from the crowd?  If your home looks like it’s taken care of, that will go a long way to making the sale. And the great news is that you can make your home have a great first impression without making a great impression on your wallet. Here’s a few tips.

1. Pressure-washing

If you get rid of the grit and grime that builds up during the winter on your home, it will make a huge difference, and it’s inexpensive. Just be sure that your pressure washer setting is strong enough to remove the mold and sludge without lifting the paint or splinter the wood. Renting a gas-powered pressure washer will cost about $80 a day.  Or better yet, spend a little more to buy one for later use in your new home.

2. A Pretty Porch

First impressions are everything, and your porch is going to speak volumes about the rest of the home.  Pat Vredevoogd Combs, a former National Association of Realtors®  president based in Grand Rapids, Michigan says he hears buyers say: “‘If they can’t keep up the outside of the house, what are they hiding on the inside?’” Keeping your porch clean is relatively easy and will make a huge difference.

3. Clean Outside Windows

This is not as hard as it sounds. If you use a cleaning product that attaches to your hose, it will be an inexpensive and easy task. Just spray the solution on the glass, and then follow with a rinse spray. Then just simply let it dry or squeegee it.

4. Paint the Front Door

In addition to your porch, your front door also tells a tale. So why not liven it up with a fresh coat of paint? If you use a premium one-coat exterior paint, it will reduce time and money as it doesn’t need a primer. Also use a semi-gloss as opposed to high gloss, as high gloss will reveal imperfections. All of this will cost about $35.

5. Shiny New Numbers

Does your house have those old small numbers that are hard to read? Buy some new ones that are shiny, big and bold. Get ones that are about 5 inches tall. Place them on the house by pretending you’re someone trying to find the house number that’s never been there before.

6. Porch Lights

Your porch light has probably never been replaced or cleaned, so now is a perfect time. Go with a contemporary finish like black, brushed nickel or oiled brass. And if you’re out of money, try using restoring wipes like Rust-Oleum or Rejuvenate to renew surfaces.

Just these few simple and affordable steps can help you sell your home faster and make more money.  So why not start now? Check back on our blog every week for more real estate and home care advice. 

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.

Enjoy the Memorial Day Weekend in Flagstaff

by Gary Nelson

The Memorial Day weekend is almost here in Flagstaff! If you’re still thinking about how you want to spend the weekend, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy the weekend in and near Flagstaff.  Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

Enjoy the National Monuments

Why not celebrate freedom in the country with a visit to some of the amazing national parks near Flagstaff? Walnut Canyon National Monument is a perfect place to see both geological wonders and the ancient history of the Southwest. And if Native American ruins fascinate you, then a visit to Wupatki National Monument is an ideal way to explore them.

Look to the Stars

If looking up into space is more your thing, why not make a fascinating visit to Lowell Observatory, where you can explore space and learn about the history of this famous observatory. It’s where they discovered Pluto and other important heavenly objects.  What will you discover?

Hike the Grand Canyon

If you want to enjoy visiting the Grand Canyon without all the tourists, why not hike the North Rim? If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, you’ll find it on this 21-mile hike, along with the most breathtaking scenery imaginable. At the end of your hike you can stop at the beautiful rustic lodge and refresh yourself at  the fine restaurants and shops. Or if you’re looking for something beautiful and unique, there’s Havasu Falls.

28th Annual Zuni Festival of Arts & Culture

May 26 & 27, 2018

Come to the Museum of Norther Arizona to enjoy the artistry and cultural traditions of more than 50 Zuni artists. You can buy traditional and contemporary art, listen to lectures, and delight in musical and dance performances by the Zuni Olla Maidens, White Eagle Dance Group, and the Fontenelle Family Dancers.

Join us every week on our blog for more great things to in Flagstaff and real estate related articles. And if you're in the market for a home in Flagstaff, sign up for our free listing alerts to see new homes as they hit the Flagstaff market. 

Have a Safe and Fun Memorial Day Weekend!

Should You Add a Deck?

by Gary Nelson

What to consider when building a deck in FlagstaffIs building a deck on your to-do list for your home?  Without a doubt, it’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery in Flagstaff.  What really matters though, is how much you want to spend and what type of deck is best for your home. According to Remodeling magazine’s “2018 Cost vs. Value Report,” a wood deck on average can cost around $10,000, while a composite deck can set you back almost $18,000. The report was based on a national review of costs based on a 16x20 deck with pressure-treated joists, a built-in bench and planter.

In the end, the cost for your deck will depend largely on size, style, and the contractor.  However, you can get an idea in advance of how much it will cost overall.

How much does it cost to build a deck?

You need to consider a number of items to determine final costs. Installation is one of the largest factors.  Determining installation costs will go a long way in ascertaining the final cost. According to Andrew Wormer, editor of Professional Deck Builder magazine: “For every dollar spent on materials and supplies, expect to spend another dollar to have it installed.” Some contractors cover both labor and materials in their quote.

Planning Your Deck Installation

Set Limits: Building a deck is no different than building any room. You’ll need to follow local Flagstaff building and zoning codes, which may end up determining the size of the project. When it comes to upkeep, you need to plan for the future.  Synthetic materials cost more up front, but they don’t need as much maintenance, costing less overall.

Budget: Set a budget by making a “wants” and “needs” list. Set a limit on the total price you’re able and willing to pay. The size of your home also should be considered. The deck needs to be proportional to the size of your home.  It may look find of funny if you have a large home with a tiny deck. And if your home is smaller, an elaborate deck might not make sense either. Also, check with your homeowner’s insurance to see about the need for additional insurance for your deck.

Find the Right Contractor:  This is a big one. Finding the right contractor will make all the difference, but make sure to do your research. Try to get quotes from at least 3 contractors so that you get a fair price.  Also check online reviews, and ask potential contractors for photos of past projects.  You should also check with your local building department to make sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured.

Reducing Costs

There’s more than a few ways to reduce costs. Stay away from fancy design features. You can reduce the overall size of the project to help reduce costs. The right materials also makes a difference. Untreated decks cost less to install, but more to maintain. The reverse is true for composite decks. Also, if you build during the fall or winter, it could save you more, as contractors have fewer jobs and may be inclined to reduce their costs.

Building a deck is a great way to increase the value of your home, both in how you enjoy living in it now and in the future when you decide to sell it. Check back on our blog every week for more real estate and home care advice. 

Add New Life to Your Home with an Indoor Garden

by Gary Nelson

Add New Life to Your Home with an Indoor Garden

If there’s ever been one constant in home décor over the centuries, it’s been the indoor garden. Indoor gardens come in all shapes in sizes, from just a few plant carefully placed to elaborate displays. But there’s so much more to an indoor garden than just making your home look good.  Taking care of an indoor garden has been proven to reduce stress. So having an indoor garden can be a win, win scenario for sure. Here’s a few tips that can help you on your way to having success at starting your own home garden.

Some might hesitate to start a garden because they don’t think they have the green thumb like mother had. Better Homes and Gardens, all the way back in 1939, had this to say regarding “green thumbs”: “Mother's and grandmother's plants grew, not because of green thumbs, but because they were treated as living, feeling beings that required the same common-sense care as the canary or any other house pet."

And that’s just it: all you need to cultivate indoor plants is common sense. Just starting with the basics will help you gain success.  Sunlight and water are certainly the essentials, along with other factors such as nutrients, cleansing and care to deal with the dry environment of your home. Taking care of these basics will help you care for a garden you’ll be proud of.

Let There Be Light

Of course, light is the first step to helping plants thrive. How much light a plant needs depends on the type of plant and it’s native environment. Doing some basic research will give you the information you need on how much light your desired plant needs. Then consider your home’s design. Older homes, especially those from the Victorian era, were designed to let in plenty of light, making them ideal for indoor gardens. But not all of us live in such a home. Newer homes and apartments present a little more of a challenge because there are fewer natural light sources. But don’t let a little challenge stop you.

Most plants will thrive in south facing windows, as there are more hours of light for your plants to soak up what they need for photosynthesis. But if you only have north facing windows, try going with plants that require minimal light, such as a fern, spider plant, or African violet. Pothos don’t need any light to thrive, in case you have very little to no natural light available.

Get With the Program

Try to set a schedule for regular plant care, as this will also help them thrive.  This is also where research can be a big help. Make sure to schedule to water and feed your plants with plant food or fertilizer.  Cleaning the leaves of larger plants with a damp cloth periodically will help them stay healthy. Also check for mold or pests as this will indicate if your routine is effective. Periodically trim or thin out your plants on occasion.  You may also have to repot large plants in larger pots as they grow.

If your schedule doesn’t permit this level of commitment, why not start with plants that don’t require as much attention? Cactus, succulents, or bamboo plants are ideal choices. Succulents are a popular choice as they are easy to care for and offer unique textures and colors.

Of course there’s more to consider when it comes to having a thriving indoor garden. But with planning and patience, you can succeed. Check back on our blog every week for more real estate and home care advice. 

Treat Your Mom to the Perfect Mother's Day in Flagstaff

by Gary Nelson

It's time once again to show our moms how special they are. And there's no better way to do that than in a special city such as Flagstaff.  You'll have no problem finding the perfect way to show how much you appreciate her. And since Mother's Day falls on a Sunday, a number of restaurants in Flagstaff will be hosting special Mother's Day brunches. So get ready for a special day with mom in Flagstaff with these brunch specials.


From 10am to 3pm Josephine's is hosting a special Mother's Day brunch, featuring tasty items such as Brioche French Toast Bananas Foster, Southwestern Crab Cakes, Baklava Baked Brie, House Hickory Smoked Salmon, and more. $34.50 Per Person, Kids 6-12 $13.50

Little America Hotel

Come to Little America Hotel for an outstanding brunch experience.  This lavish brunch features mouth-watering meats, seafood station including Alaskan crab legs, made-to-order omelets, waffles, and crepes, plus customary brunch dishes, salads, gourmet cheeses and an extensive selection of sumptuous desserts along with a chocolate fondue fountain. 9 AM - 2 PM. Adults: $48 | Children $22 (Ages 5-10) | Children 4 and under are free.

Twin Arrows Casino

Enjoy a beautiful brunch setting overlooking the San Francisco Peaks, featuring made-to-order omelets, USDA prime rib, eggs benedict, a seafood spread and delicious desserts. Reservations recommended

And if brunch isn't her thing, you can treat your dear mother to a day of pampering at Flagstaff Face & Body. And sweet treats for a sweet lady are always a great choice.  Flagstaff Chocolate Company is one of the best places in Flagstaff to get your mom that special treat.

There’s always something memorable to do in Flagstaff. Check back on our blog for more great reasons to buy a home in Flagstaff. And if you're in the market for a home in Flagstaff, sign up for our free listing alerts to see new homes as they hit the Flagstaff market. 

Have a Happy Mother's Day!

What to Consider With Home Inspections

by Gary Nelson

what to consider during a home inspection

Are you getting ready to buy or sell your home in Flagstaff?  If so, the home inspection is an important part of the process. A home inspection is so critical because it will determine the condition of the home.  A good home inspection will let you know what problems need to be addressed right now before the home is sold, and what potential issues that may need to be dealt with later.

What are some important things to consider when getting a home inspection?

  1. Research the Inspector

You may want to hire whoever is recommended to inspect your home and not check the inspector’s background and record.  This could be a costly mistake, as the inspection is only as good as the inspector.

Here are some important questions to ask a potential inspector:

  • How long have you been inspecting homes professionally?
  • How many home inspections have you performed in your career?
  • What are your qualifications, certifications and training?
  • What did you do for work before you were a home inspector? (Preferably, you want someone who was a contractor or builder.)

You should also make sure that the home inspector is receiving ongoing education and keeping current. They should be skilled enough to clearly explain the home’s good and bad points so that you can make the best decisions possible, whether you’re buying or selling a home in Flagstaff.

  1. Be There During the Inspection

There’s no rule saying you have to be at the inspection, but if you are there you can see the issues first hand and have them explained more clearly.  Reading the report doesn’t always reveal all that needs repairing.  When you see the issues in person and have the home inspector explain them, it will be far more helpful.  Even though an inspection may take a few hours, it’s well worth your time as it could save you a great deal of money.

  1. Get a Presale Inspection

If you’re selling a home in Flagstaff, you may be tempted to leave the inspection to the buyer. But it’s better for you to have an inspection before you put your home on the market.  If the buyer’s inspection reveals repairs that are needed to make the sale, you won’t have as much time to make the needed repairs. But if your home is inspected before you put it on the market, you’ll have more time to make needed repairs and will have more control over the costs.

A good home inspection is crucial to buying a home, so make sure you find the best inspector you can. If you’re ready to buy or sell a home Flagstaff and the surrounding area, we can help.  We’re happy to answer any questions about the process and make sure you have the right information going into the home inspection process. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool


How Has the 2018 Tax Reform Affected the Housing Market?

by Gary Nelson

For several months a number of experts and new sources were anticipating that the 2018 tax reform would have a negative impact on the real estate market. Quite a few sources were reporting that there could be a significant price depreciation because of changes in the tax code. Some were also surmising that there would be a significant drop in buyer demand. The dream of owning a home in America seemed to be hanging in the balance.

Now that we are past the first quarter of 2018, and we can really begin to look at the numbers and get a feel for the impact of the tax reform on the real estate market. Here are a few important questions we can ask.

1. Has tax reform killed off home buyer demand?

If we take a close look at the Showing Time Index which “tracks the average number of buyer showings on active residential properties on a monthly basis” and is a “highly reliable leading indicator of current and future demand trends,” we see that the number of home buyers has actually risen each month over the last three months. In fact, the numbers are even higher than they were for the same months last year. This shows that buyer demand is going up, not down.

2. Have the tax changes affected America’s belief in real estate as a long-term investment?

A few weeks ago, Gallup released its annual survey that asked Americans which asset they thought was the best long-term investment. This is what the survey showed:

“More Americans name real estate over several other vehicles for growing wealth as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. Just over a third cite real estate for this, while roughly a quarter name stocks or mutual funds.”

The same survey also showed that there has been no significant change in the percentage of Americans who believe real estate is a good investment in the past year.

3. Has the homeownership rate been negatively impacted by the tax changes?

In her latest “Z Report,” Ivy Zelman showed us that the 2018 tax reform didn’t damage the homeownership rate, but instead helped it.  She explains it this way:

“We have been of the opinion that homeownership is most highly correlated with income and the net effect of tax reform would be a positive, rather than negative catalyst for the homeownership rate. While still in the early innings of tax changes, this has proven to be the case.”

4. Will the reforms in the tax code cause home prices to tumble over the next twelve months?

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights Report, home prices will appreciate in each of the 50 states over the next twelve months. Appreciation is projected to be anywhere from 1.9% to 10.3% with the national average being 4.7%.

As we continue to move through the year and see more numbers, we can see that the dire predictions of the 2018 tax reform have not panned out as anticipated.

If you’re ready to buy a home Flagstaff and the surrounding area, we can help.  We’re happy to answer any questions about the process and make sure you have the right information going into the home buying process. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool


First Time Home Buying Misconceptions

by Gary Nelson

Are you thinking about buying your first home in Flagstaff? No doubt you’re excited about your decision, but may have some doubts about whether you’re able to make this work. There are certainly misconceptions circulating that may give you some doubts. Friends and family may be telling you things that are outdated or simply not accurate. Times change, and the housing market is certainly something that changes.  What are some of the home buying misconceptions that may deter you?

  1. You need a 20% down payment to get a mortgage.

At one time this was the case. Decades ago, you had to pay 20% - 50% down for a mortgage and needed almost perfect credit.  This obviously limited home ownership. In order to make it possible for more people to own a home, the government created the Federal Housing Administration and began offering “FHA Loans”. Today the FHA will back a loan from a home buyer who only has a credit score of 500 and a 10% down payment. And for those with a better credit score of more than 580, you only need 3.5% for a down payment! Because of this provision, more people are able to buy homes today.

  1. You Can’t Qualify For a Mortgage With Student Loans

Debt is debt, whether it’s a credit card or loans.  Just because some of your debt is a student loan doesn’t make a difference, beyond what your total debt is compared to your income. And this is what lenders look at – your debt to income ratio. What really matters is if you’re managing your current debt and can afford to add a mortgage to it.

  1. You can save money by not using a real estate agent.

This belief is simply not true. Some people may thing that using a real estate agent is going to add to the cost of buying a home. Sure they make a commission.  But the point is that the seller is the one who pays that fee, and it’s worked into the selling price of the home, regardless of whether you decide to use an agent. So why wouldn’t you use an agent if it’s not going to cost you in the end? It makes buying a home so much easier. The agent takes care of all the paperwork, appraisals, inspections, and other matters that are part of the process, so you don’t have to.

  1. It’s cheaper to buy a home that needs a lot of renovating.

Some people who watch home improvement shows may think that buying a home that needs major renovation is the way to go. If you can do most of the work yourself, maybe. But if you have to hire all the work, not to mention the time and materials, it will not be cheap. Save yourself the pain and chose the home in Flagstaff that meets your needs without all the mess of renovation.

If you’re ready to buy your first home Flagstaff and the surrounding area, we can help you make your first home buying experience a positive one.  We’re happy to answer any questions about the process and make sure you have the right information going into the home buying process. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool

Should You Sell Your Home By Yourself?

by Gary Nelson

Are you planning to sell your home in Flagstaff? Are you planning to use an agent or sell it on your own? You may have been told that selling your home without an agent will make you more money in the end. But is that really true? Sure, you would expect that a real estate agent would advise you not to sell your house on your own, or FSBO (For Sale by Owner). Maybe you think that real estate agents are just trying to use your home to make money just for themselves. But it really is in your best interest when selling a home to consider why using an agent to sell your home in Flagstaff will benefit you more than selling your home by yourself.

Just think about this fact. Selling a home is the largest transaction that most people make. This isn’t the same as selling an item on Facebook. There’s hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of dollars at stake.  And the money is only the tip of the iceberg. You have legal matters, mortgages, mounds of paperwork, and plenty of people to negotiate with. The other thing to consider is how to determine the true value of your home.

Also consider that real estate agents have many years of experience and training in selling homes in Flagstaff.  Sellers usually do not have this experience. Your ability to negotiate will determine if you get the best deal for you and your family.

Here’s just a sample of some of the people you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The termite company if there are challenges
  • The buyer’s lender if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • The title company if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits
  • The town or municipality if you need to get the CO permits mentioned above
  • The buyer’s buyer in case there are challenges with the house your buyer is selling
  • Your bank in the case of a short sale

Over the past 20 years, the amount of sellers who have hired an agent has been rising. 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. Don't lose out on the benefit of using an agent to help you get the most from your home sale.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 95

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