Real Estate Information

The Gary Nelson Group's Blog

Gary Nelson


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 72

5 Reasons to Use a Real Estate Agent When Buying or Selling

by Gary Nelson

Real Estate Agent

Whether you are buying or selling a home in Flagstaff, it can be quite an adventure. What you need is someone to guide you through this complex process so that you have success on this adventure. Some home buyers and sellers are tempted by instant gratification, so they may turn to selling or buying a home on their own.  This is called FSBO, or "for sale by owner." You've no doubt seen a few lawn signs around the Flagstaff area that say this. But is going it alone the best route?

The reasons you need to hire a Flagstaff real estate professional hasn't changed over the years. In fact, projections of higher mortgage interest rates and home prices has made it even more crucial to have help when buying or selling a home. Here are 5 of the top reasons you need help when buying or selling a home.

1. Do you want to deal with all the paperwork?

Arizona has regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true real estate professional is an expert in the Flagstaff and Arizona markets.  They know what paperwork needs to be completed and know how to do it. Save yourself that headache and let a pro take care of it.

2. What do you do when you find your dream home?

Many people don't realize that there are over 180 possible steps that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Do you know what they are? A real estate professional does. Let them take care of the process.

3. Are you a good negotiator?

Real estate transactions require negotiations with a number of parties. Most people are not familiar with this process or practiced in negotiation tactics. You need to negotiate with buyers (who want the best deals possible), home inspection companies, all the way to the appraisers.  There are at least 11 different people who you will need to be knowledgeable of, and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

Do you know what your home that you're selling in Flagstaff is really worth? Do you know what the home you're buying is worth? It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the amount of time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to a study by Collateral Analytics, FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by real estate agents:

“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.”

To get the most from your transaction, you need someone who's familiar with the Flagstaff market and can set the optimal price.  And if you're buying, you need someone who can tell if a home is set at the right price and can negotiate the best price.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the Flagstaff, Arizona market?

There is so much information out there on the news and on the internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on in the Flagstaff area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring a local agent in Flagstaff who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

If you're buying or selling a home in Flagstaff, you can count on The Gary Nelson Group to help you through the process. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. And you can always feel free to call us at 928-225-3510 to talk to an experienced agent today to start you on your journey of buying or selling your home in Flagstaff.

Get Your Home Ready to Sell For Spring

by Gary Nelson

The Spring home selling season is fast approaching in Flagstaff, so now is the time to get your home spruced up if you plan on listing it this Spring. Spring is one of the best times of the year for the real estate market.  You need to make sure your home is ready to compete with the competition. You can use Spring decor elements with fresh bursts of colors and patterns to make your home more appealing and take advantage of the Spring fever in the air. Here's a few ideas that will help you stay ahead of the game.


Display locally picked flowers, blooming branches, or twigs.  The natural elements of the Southwest can create a relaxing atmosphere and add to the flavor of the area. Display them in pots or vases made in the Southwest for added cultural appeal.  Make sure you don't go overboard and make the arrangements too fragrant or distracting.  Tasteful placement makes all the difference.

Update Paint Colors

Paint can transform any room.  Using spring colors like soft violet, dusk blue, emerald, or lemon zest on an entire room or an accent wall can really make a room come alive. Or you can add a subtle decal if you don't want to paint.  Also think about the colors of pillows, bedding, etc. Make sure that the colors compliment the rest of your home's colors.

Add a Wreath

Usually wreaths are displayed later in the year, but in Spring, they can really add an inviting feel to your entrance. And you don't need to make one yourself as most craft stores sell them.  If you do buy one, maybe add some natural elements or a pastel ribbon.  You can also add subtle fragrance with dried lavender.

Clean Up

It's about time for Spring cleaning anyway, so why not get a head start? Put items you're not using ins storage and get rid of as much clutter as you can. Many people use the 6-month or 1-year rule - if they haven't used something during the last 6 months to a year and it's not sentimental, they donate or sell it. And make sure you focus on the outside of the home.  First impressions are everything. Make sure the yard is cleaned and trimmed, and the house exterior is clean, including windows.  Pressure wash the driveways and walkways if needed.

Make sure to check back each week on our blog for more real estate tips, along with great reasons to call Flagstaff and the surrounding communities home.


Spend the Perfect Flagstaff Valentine's Day

by Gary Nelson

Valentine's Day is just a week away.  Have you made plans with that special someone yet? If not, don;t worry.  There's plenty of romantic ways to spend the day in Flagstaff. From the traditional flowers and treats to the un-traditional, Flagstaff has what you need to spend the perfect Valentine's Day with your loved one.  Here's a few local business in Flagstaff to help you out.


Of course, if you're going the traditional route this Valentine's Day, flowers are a must.  Flagstaff has some great local florists to chose from.  Robynn's Nest Flowers & Gifts Family owned and run, they​ feature a great selection of Valentine's arrangements on their website starting at only $40. Sutcliffe Floral is also locally owned and has a large range of floral and gift options.


Equally sought after on Valentine's Day is the perfect confection.  And why settle for the department store boxes when you can find something special at one of Flagstaff's locally owned shops? The Flagstaff Chocolate Walk is the ideal way to find the most tempting treats made in the area. For just $8, you get a pass to explore the downtown area tasting chocolates and treats from local vendors, while collecting points toward a grand prize drawing, along with getting discounts from some of the businesses.


You really can't go wrong treating your special someone to a fancy dinner. Brix Restaurant and Wine Bar offers contemporary American food made with local ingredients, paired with the perfect wine or mixed drinks. Josephine's Modern American Bistro is located in the historic downtown area and offers a romantic setting with two wood fireplaces to set the perfect mood.

Whatever you do to celebrate your love, have a great Valentine's Day in Flagstaff!

Have Fun WIth the Whole Family in Flagstaff

by Gary Nelson

Antelope Canyon Near Flagstaff Arizona

It's a well known fact that Flagstaff is a mecca for outdoor attractions and fun.  As such, there's tons of activities that the whole family can enjoy.  There's dozens of places to hike and bike, get a close-up look at bears, look into deep space, enjoy seasonal activities, ride the Scenic Skyride, or just enjoy fishing and camping. You can also enjoy guided activities such as rock climbing and horseback riding.  There's definitely plenty of fun things to do for the whole family that fit just about any interest.

Here's a few family friendly things to do in Flagstaff.

Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend have certainly been immortalized in photographs and computer wallpapers. Why not take the family and see these wonders with your own eyes? Antelope Canyon Tours takes you to the heart of one of the most recognized slot canyons in the world. Then you'll visit the famous Horseshoe Bend and marvel at the might of the Colorado River. Certainly a memory making journey for the whole family.


There's more than just bears in Bearizona. As you drive through 2 miles of forest you'll get up close to bison, wolves, and more. You're whole family will enjoy watching the bear cubs play along with other small animals. The Birds of Prey show will thrill with large raptors soaring above. It's only 20 minutes from Flagstaff, so it's the perfect way to spend time with the family and enjoy the excitement of local wildlife.

Maverick Helicopter Tours

A helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon might be a little steep on price, but the experience justifies the price tag. This is no ordinary helicopter tour either.  Maverick takes you deeper into the canyon than other tours with their ECO-Star helicopters, specially designed for a full unobstructed view.  You'll see some of the most spectacular views of the canyon as you come up on the North Rim and eastern end.

Outdoor and Indoor Rock Climbing

Flagstaff Climbing is located in the heart of downtown Flagstaff, where you'll find 6500 square feet of widely varied climbing terrain to suit all abilities and climbing styles, just right for a family outing. They also have a bouldering gym next to Paragon Athletics and Wanderlust Brewery on Main Street. The also feature programs for the kids and adults as well.

There's so many reasons to buy your next home in Flagstaff.  Check out our other blog articles and visit us every week for more great reasons to call Flagstaff home.

How to Find the Right Mortgage Lender

by Gary Nelson

Mortgage Broker

Finding a mortgage lender in Flagstaff or online can be a challenge, especially if you don't know what to ask or what points to cover. It's ideal then to prepare to talk to mortgage executives at different types of institutions, like a bank, a lender, and a broker. As a buyer, your first meeting with a lender should be to see if you trust them and what you qualify for.

First you need to find a lender. How do you do this?

1. Talk to a lender before you start looking for a home.

Processing mortgage paperwork can take a long time, so you should start looking for lenders and rates before you decide on your house so you don't lose out on it. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will make the entire process smoother. In fact, some real estate agents may reject offers from buyers without a mortgage pre-approved, so it makes send to be prepared.

2. Contact different types of lending institutions. 

There are multiple ways of getting a loan. There are banks, credit unions, online lenders, and brokers who offer mortgages. Check out different websites to see where you can find the best deal. Even though you can visit banks and credit unions in person, you may have to call an online company.  Remember to be careful of scams with online lenders.

3. Research common terms and conditions. 

Make sure that you get familiar with the terms and types of mortgages that you may talk about with a lender. Here are some of the terms you will likely encounter:

Interest rate: This is the amount you pay to borrow the loan. The interest rate is a percentage of the loan. You pay this on top of the money you owe to repay the loan.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): This is the amount you will pay every year for the loan including fees and interest.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM): This type of mortgage has interest rates that change over time. Rates may start low and then increase which works fine you are planning to sell the house after a few years.

Fixed Rate Mortgage: This type of mortgage has interest rates that do not change over time. If you plan on keeping the house the full length of the mortgage, this type is ideal.

Hybrid Adjustable Rate Mortgage: This type of mortgage has fixed fees for the first year or two. After this point, the rates may change.

Make sure that when you talk to a lender that you're prepared.  Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice.

Should You Use an Appraisal Contingency?

by Gary Nelson

The time has come at last! You're buying your new home in Flagstaff.  Things are going smoothly so far. The seller has accepted the offer, the contracts are signed and you've put down your deposit.  Now comes the appraisal.  What could go wrong? It turns out that the home is appraised for less than what you offered. Now the bank refuses give you the loan.  Of course you want to avoid this and you can with appraisal contingencies.

Not everyone knows about appraisal contingencies. But you should, because they can save you a lot of trouble. They are conditions that have to be met on a real estate contract before it becomes legally binding.  Most real estate contract include these conditions:

The appraisal contingency: This states that the home has to be appraised at the sale price or higher.  This will help keep the mortgage from falling through.

The finance contingency: This mandates that the deal is based on the bank granting the loan.

The inspection contingency: The home must pass inspection.

If these conditions are not met in a certain period of time, you can back away from the deal with your deposit.

How exactly does an appraisal contingency work? When a home is appraised, the bank will usually only loan the amount that the home is appraised for.  That means that if the appraisal is lower than the seller's asking price, you can walk away from the deal and get your money back if the seller refuses to lower the price.

But isn't this the same thing as a finance contingency?  Almost. If the bank agrees to a smaller loan that meets the finance contingency, then the seller can demand that you make up the difference from your own pocket.  In this case the appraisal contingency protects you, otherwise you have to come up with that extra money, or be in breech of contract and possibly lose your deposit. That's why you should have both the appraisal and finance contingency in a contract.

Does this mean you should always have contingencies in a real estate contract? That depends. Usually a seller can get offers from multiple buyers, especially in a hot market.  The easier the deal is for the seller (by not having contingencies), the better chance you have of getting the home.  But you risk that you won't get the loan you need. In the end, it's up to you, based on the market and what risks you want to take either way.

Find a New Way to Wake Up In Flagstaff

by Gary Nelson

Are you looking for a great new way to start the day in Flagstaff? If you love coffee and are thinking about buying a home in Flagstaff, or you already live here, then you’re in luck.  Flagstaff is home to an abundance of great places to get coffee and tea. You’ll find both major chains like Starbucks, along with local shops.  And it’s these local shops that are fun to explore and discover a new flavor or treat.  It’s a chance to relax while checking out the art scene or just reading or socializing.  Here’s a few of the best coffee shops in Flagstaff to explore.

Kickstand Kafe

You’ll find this nice coffee house located on a quiet side street, creating a relaxing environment away from the tourist crowds. They not only offer great coffee, but a light breakfast and lunch menu, along with delicious pastries. Their espresso drinks are rich in flavor and never burnt, using the highly rated Italian espresso coffee and IIIy café. The friendly service and relaxing setting make this a great coffee stop to just sit and relax with your tasty brew.

Late for the Train

Also located way from the crowds is a great shop known for its unique atmosphere, previously being a gas station. Travelers and locals enjoy coming here on their way to the snowbowl , a hike, or the Grand Canyon.  They offer a full menu of drinks and a year-round pumpkin spice blend. The setting is eclectic, relaxed, and not congested.  It’s a great place to come and relax, especially during the winter months where you can look out at the snow covered pines.

White Dove Coffee Shop

This quaint little shop on the east side of Flagstaff is also a nice alternative if you’re looking for a local coffee house experience.  The pricing is fair and they offer a frequent customer reward program.  In addition to great espressos, they offer a light menu of burritos, bagels, yogurt, and smoothies. You can relax by the cozy fireplace during the winter while playing board games, or just sit and read your favorite book.

There’s a lot of things that make Flagstaff an amazing place to visit and to buy a home.  Visit our blog every week for more great reasons to buy a home in Flagstaff.


Should You FSBO?

by Gary Nelson

Are you thinking about selling your home in Flagstaff? If so, you may be tempted to sell it by yourself, otherwise known as a FSBO (for sale by owner).  This may seem very tempting on the surface.  People may think that by cutting out the middle man that you can make more of a profit.  And sometimes that can be the case. But there are many reasons why FSBO home sales are not always the best idea.

Here are five reasons you should think twice about selling your home on your own:


Almost all home buyers search online for their home.  You might think that listing your home on Craigslist or some other online market will be enough.  But the question to ask is: do I market homes for a living? The answer is probably no.  On the other hand, most successful real estate agents in Flagstaff have a marketing strategy that covers various methods to get your home the exposure you need to find the highest paying buyers.  The more people who see your home, the more competition there will be.  And that may mean more money.

The Internet Produces Results

Based on recent studies, here’s the breakdown of how buyers found the home they purchased.

  • 49% on the internet
  • 31% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 7% from a yard sign
  • 1% from newspapers

Simply putting a sign on the front lawn is not going to get the buyers you need. Like the last point brought out, successfully selling a home requires a solid marketing strategy that leans heavily to online marketing methods.

Too Many People

Selling a home isn’t like selling a bicycle. There’s a number of people who legally will be in the mix.  This a huge transaction, and that means that various professions are called into play during a real estate transaction. Here’s who you’ll have to negotiate with 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 appraiser if there is a question of value

Are you successfully prepared to deal with all of these individuals?

FSBOing Has Become More Difficult

The number of sellers selling their own home has dropped from 19% to 8% over the past 20 years, simply because of the complexity of the paperwork.

Using an Agent Nets More Money

Your gut reaction to the title of this paragraph may be “sure, the agent makes more money.”  Yes they do.  And so do you. In fact, a study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases, may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent. One of the main reasons for the price difference at the time of sale is:

“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”

When more buyers look at a home, there could be a bidding war. And is certainly the case when you use an agent.

Let us help you make the most money on your home for sale in Flagstaff.  Give us a call today at 928-225-3510 or 928-773-9300 and let us show you why using an experienced real estate agent is the smart move.

Bring in the New Year WIth These Fun Events

by Gary Nelson

The time has come already for us to say farewell to 2017 and bring in the new year! If you haven't planned your new year festivities, then here are a few events you can look forward to coming up this new year's eve.  From a boot drop, to great dining and silent meditation, there's a way to bring in 2018 for every taste.

The Great Pinecone Drop

Come to the Weatherford Hotel and watch the iconic pinecone drop at midnight. There will be two countdowns - one to coincide with the ball drop in NYC, and the other to mark the new year in Flagstaff. It's free for all ages!

New Year's Eve Boot Drop 2018

Join the street party at Whiskey Row as the 6-foot illuminated cowboy boot drops to bring in the new year. This even is family friendly, and best of all, free! No need for reservations or tickets, just show up at 8pm!

Barley Hound New Year's Eve

Party like its 1499! It's a nod to the middle ages with a feast fit for a king.  Everyone will sit at a community table with family style dining, with a menu inspired by centuries old traditions. Yes, it's meats on big platters and free flowing spirits, just like you would expect from a medieval feast!

New Year's Eve - Silent Meditation Retreat

Want a more serene way to enter 2018? The Meditation Learning Center offers a New Years Eve Weekend Silent Meditation Retreat, where you'll be able to focus on your own personal experience of meditation and mindfulness. 

Have a safe and happy new year's eve!


Seasons Greetings From the Gary Nelson Group

by Gary Nelson

The Gary Nelson Group would like to wish all of our past, present, and future clients a very happy holiday season and a prosperous new year in 2018. We thank you for giving us the privilege and pleasure of helping you buy or sell your home in Flagstaff.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 72

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