Price is Right in St George Real Estate Market

photo 2 How do you know the Price is Right in St George Real Estate Market? Pricing a home for sale is really not as easy as it may seem, especially in the St George real estate market. It may surprise some people to learn that pricing a home is not an exact science. There is also something to be said about a buyer buying on emotion and chemistry when they find a home they like. In my opinion people select homes on how they feel when they are in the neighborhood, and ultimately in the house they choose. A lot of time buyers in the St George real estate market will say, “this house just feels right”. I have heard this described as the Goldilocks syndrome. Some houses are too big, some are too small, and some are just right.

Emotions and St George Real Estate

Buying a house is an emotional event. The difference between an investor and a person looking to buy a home is the emotional component. When an investor is researching a new rental, typically if the numbers work, they will buy the house. When a home owner in the St George real estate market is looking for a home to live in, emotions are definitely a factor. This goes back to the house must be in the right location, and feel right. Smart home buyers can remove themselves from the emotional side, and select 2 or 3 homes to choose from. If all 3 are acceptable, they will more than likely get a better price on the home they choose than selecting only one and working to get it . This is because they would be happy in any of their choices. By using this strategy they can almost pit sellers against each other to see who will give them the best deal. When a person gets emotionally attached to one house, they will more than likely do what, and pay whatever it takes to secure the house.

The Price is Right

Back to my opening concept. If pricing a home were an exact science there would never be any disputes about what a persons house should sell for, or what a person should pay for a house. Unfortunately it is not an exact science, it is more of an art. Of course there are a lot of factors that become part of the comparative price analysis that helps establish a selling price. These factors are not new, they include, location, condition, age, and amenities. By amenities I don’t mean what is offered in the HOA, but things like granite counter tops, stainless appliance, and hard wood floors to mention a few. These are the variables. It would be easy if there were a standard pricing calculation that included price per square foot and age of the home, but there are quite a few more pieces of the puzzle. As I mentioned earlier, condition is a huge factor. Again there is not an exact figure that can be attached to condition. Condition of homes in the St George real estate area, and every market are subject to interpretation. What is nice to some people, may be unacceptable to another person. And therein lies the problem. One agent may think that a property is nice, and another agent may think it is terrible. That is when we have to use discretion. It is also interesting to note that if a person were to ask three different agents what a home would sell for, they would probably get three different answers. They would probably be close, but more than likely different. People may not realize that ERA offers a program where we will buy their home if we can not sell it?

St George Area House Hunting

St George Area House Hunting can be challenging. Most people have a general idea of what they would like in a home, and some have a very specific list of “must haves”. Personally I like the challenge of helping people find their dream home. In the last few months the inventory of homes in the St George real estate MLS has increased. This makes it a great time to get a good deal on a new home. When people compete for business it usually translates to better prices for the consumer. The best analogy for this is the automobile industry. When people are shopping for a car, if they only have 2 to choose from they may not get a very good deal. If they have 20 to choose from they can be very selective, and get dealers to lower their price out of fear of losing a sale. This is true in the St George Real Estate market also. With the number of houses nearing 2000 in the Washington County MLS buyers can be selective and offer lower prices.

St George Real Estate Market Forecast

May was a good indication of the current trend in our local market. There were about 30 price decreases every day in May. The reason people typically reduce their price is, they are area realizing that they may not be able to sell at the price they have their home listed at.


Another factor to consider when evaluating the overall St George Real Estate market is what is known as the absorption rate. This is the number of houses it would take us 6 months to sell at our current monthly sales rate. The graph shows the dramatic increase in homes for sale, and the absorption rate. The St George Real Estate market typically hovers around 6 months inventory. While it looks like a fairly small increase on the graph it is a fairly substantial increase in inventory.

These two graphs tell a story. People that study numbers for a living believe we are headed for more of the same. This may sound a little scary, especially given the recent history and the devastation created by the real estate bubble. Many people suffered financial devastation when the last real estate bubble popped. The difference with this slow down and the big crash is the spike preceding the slow down is not as large. The gradual increase we have experienced over the last few years appears to be sustainable.

Pricing Homes For Sale

In the last few months we have priced homes anticipating that the growth and increase in values would continue. I believe we will need to be a little more conservative moving forward to avoid building false hopes in the clients who list with us. The statistics don’t lie and I believe it is the agents responsibility to stay informed of trends, and to educate those we work. Personally, I would rather lose a listing than have it expire because it was priced too high from the beginning. Pricing a home is easy, pricing a home to sell is a little more of a challenge.

December 2013 Market Report

Here is the December 2013 Market Report.






Listings Are Up

Listings are up!

Listings are up in the St George area!

Recently we have seen a major up turn in the number of listings on our local MLS in the St George Real Estate market. In December the listings were below 240 in January they neared 700. One factor is the Parade of Homes. Many people trying to sell their homes are hoping to catch a little of the momentum from the influx of buyers that come to the parade. It is estimated that nearly 40,000 people migrate to St George each year to see the parade. Many of those who come are also trying to get out of the cold and smog of northern Utah. It is a great time to sell a home, but with the increase in listings it is also an even better time to buy a home in the St George Real Estate Market.


More Competition For Sellers

As with any type of commodity, more competition is a good thing. When there are a limited number of homes on the market, sellers can be a little more demanding. With an increase in listings in the St George Real Estate Market buyers now have a slight advantage. I would not say that it is a buyers market at this point, but the jump in new listings doesn’t hurt those trying to make a good deal on a home purchase. This increase also changes the way sellers may price their home. When things are more competitive sellers and their agents will have a tendency to price homes a little more conservatively. The easiest analogy to explain this is the a grocery store. When one store decides to reduce the cost of milk other stores are forced to follow or they will lose business. It is true that a home is not a business, but the principle is the same.

St George Real Estate Listings

Listing in the St George Real Estate market have close to doubled, which is not a bad thing. Our inventory was very low for the last few months, and most of last year. The increase is a welcome change to people interested in moving to the St George area. Not only is the selection of homes better, but the ability to negotiate is also better. Building permits are still on the increase and the future still looks good for real estate in the St George Real Estate Market. There is another factor that may be coming into play in our local St George Real Estate market. The number of real estate agents in the St George area have increased from around 600 up to about 900. This increase is also more than likely having an effect on the number of listings in the St George Real Estate market.

In My Opinion

I personally believe the most people who come to the area to look at the homes on Parade, are coming to do just that. Most people do not block out a week to see the parade of homes. Most people that come to look at the St George Real Estate area Parade of Homes will more than likely only spend a weekend or a few days. With 28 homes to see, there really isn’t much time left over to look at existing homes.

Household Water Pressure

Water Pressure

St George Real Estate Market Water Pressure


Household Water Pressure

Have you ever thought about your household water pressure or why water comes out of the faucet when you turn it on? Its like magic, yet there are no mechanical parts, no motors to push the water through the pipes in our homes, it just comes out when you turn it on. The principle has been around for ages. In our St George real estate market water is stored in large tanks that are strategically located through out the area. They are typically located at the highest elevation available. Water pressure is created by water running downhill following the path of least resistance with the help of gravity. The pipes that leave the large water storage tanks are quite large, and are gradually reduced in size until they reach your home. The largest water pipes in most homes are 1”, 3/4”, and 1/2”. Household showers, toilets and sinks usually use 1/2” pipes. Water pressure in a house should be around 55 to 75 lbs. This pictures shows water pressure above the recommended amount.

Water Pressure Too High?

home owners tips St George Real Estate market

Every home in our St George Real Estate market area should have a water pressure valve, like this one pictured below. This valve is designed to keep the water pressure from getting too high. If the water pressure gets too high it could actually begin to to damage pipes, or fixtures. The appropriate setting for most homes water pressure should be 55 to 70 lbs of pressure.

There are homes in some areas that may have higher water pressure. This could be due to the slope of the neighborhood or even the individual home.  Homes located in the St George real estate market area and in St George city and Washington county have water pressure reduction valves, but it is impossible to give everyone perfect water pressure. Too high of pressure can create problems for water heaters. When the pressure coming through the house gets too high it will begin to push water through the emergency valve located on the water heater. The emergency valve will begin to drip and water will eventually stream out. Some water heaters have a metal or plastic pan under them that will catch the water and send it down a drain. In some cases there is not a pan or a drain and water can begin to move into places it shouldn’t go. I was recently informed that the county is requesting that water overflow tanks be installed with the installation of every new water heater.This tank is usually installed above or to the side of the water heater, it allows the excess pressure a place to go, rather than out the emergency valve.

The bolt at the top of this valve is designed to reduce the amount of water pressure going through the house. It if will no longer adjust the pressure it is time to replace this valve. The total installation process for the new valve is a fairly simple process, and should only take about 30 minutes to accomplish. Once replaced adjust the bolt to the desired setting of 55-75 lbs of pressure. This will not only save water, but eliminate additional wear and tear on the plumbing in your house. Paying attention to this detail could also save you the expense of a new water heater or other soggy problems. Water damage is one of the leading causes of damage in our St George Real Estate area.

Short Sale Changes

Short Sale Changes

“Effective December 31, 2013 – Short Sales no longer have an automatic waiver of the deficiency.  It is even more important now for agents to recommend sellers get advice from their accountant or legal counsel.”

This statement was sent to all agents  in our Local St George Real Estate MLS recently. Basically what it means is, up until now if a person entered into and sold his or her home short (for less than they owed) there was no tax penalty. This was because the Federal Government had passed a bill allowing people that sold their homes in a short sale to be forgiven of the tax liabilities associated with it. This is significant not only in our St George real estate market, but across the nation.

Hire A Professional

You my be wondering, “what tax liability? I am struggling right now and had to give my house away and mess up my credit”. Exactly now according to the above statement, if a person sells their house for less than they owe, they will be taxed on the amount they benefit from. If you owe $300,000 on your house and were only able to sell it for $250,000, you would be sent a 1099 tax form to notify you that you will be taxed for $50,000 as if it were income. There are some exceptions to the rule, one of which is proving that you have had some type of hardship that contributed to the short sale. At any rate this is something that requires the help of a trained CPA.

Short Sale Specialist

I work closely with a short sale specialist in the St George Real Estate market. Her expertise is unsurpassed when it comes to helping with a short sale. It is like anything, when someone specializes is something they become better at it than people who dabble in it. She has knowledge of how the various lenders operate, and the nuances of each of them. Armed with this additional knowledge she can expedite the process as much as possible. There is really no way to hurry the bank as they work through their tedious, slow and drawn out process. The St George Real Estate market short sale specialist assures that the bank is never waiting for the person listing their home.

Short Sale May Not Be a Good Idea

In our St George Real Estate market it may be a good idea to wait for the market as it continues to climb. Many people have been fortunate enough to see their home values climb to where they can sell and put a little money in their pockets. In spite of the slow economy, real estate values continue to climb. There is a difference in the climb we are currently experiencing and the bubble that burst a few years ago. The increase in the St George Real Estate market values this time is more gradual and consistent. Professionals in the real estate industry believe that this increase will be sustained and more consistent. All of that being said it might be a good idea to hang on a little longer, if at all possible, rather than short sale. This is even more important given the new tax penalty. Of course it is impossible to guarantee consistent growth.

Agents And Agency

Many people do not understand all of the hoopla that agents make about Agents and Agency. Agency is a legal term that basically means you have hired someone to work with and for you. Associated with the term agent are terms like Fiduciary Responsibility. This big term means that your real estate agent has certain duties that he or she must perform to help you as you buy or sell your home.

In the St George Real Estate market and throughout the state Agents representing the seller have the following responsibilities. The description below comes from a form created by the Utah Association of Realtors. It explains that the Listing Agent has a responsibility to help you the St George Real Estate market home seller, and the agent also is expected to be honest and fair with potential buyers.


A real estate agent who lists a seller’s property for sale (“Seller’s Agent”), acts as the agent for the seller only, and has fiduciary duties of loyalty, full disclosure, confidentiality and reasonable care to that seller. In practical terms, the seller hires a Seller’s Agent to locate a buyer and negotiate a transaction with terms favorable to the seller. Although the Seller’s Agent has these fiduciary duties to the seller, the Seller’s Agent is, by law, responsible to all prospective buyers to treat them with honesty, fair dealing, and with good faith.

When you are looking for a home in the St George Real Estate Market the agent you choose to work with is bound by similar terms. Here is the description from the same Utah State approved form.


A real estate agent that acts as agent for the buyer only (“Buyer’s Agent”) has the same fiduciary duties to that buyer that a Seller’s Agent has to the seller. In practical terms, the buyer hires a Buyer’s Agent to locate a suitable property and negotiate a transaction with terms favorable to the buyer. Although the Buyer’s Agent has these fiduciary duties to the buyer, the Buyer’s Agent is, by law, responsible to all prospective sellers to treat them with honesty, fair dealing, and with good faith.

As you can see St George Real Estate agents and agents everywhere are expected to assist home buyers and sellers, in an honest and forthright way. If you are looking for a home, it is a good idea to make sure the home you are interested in is still available. You can easily do this by visiting our local MLS. This link provides up to date information about the homes in the St George Real Estate market. Many people like to use Zillow and Trulia, which is fine. After you have identified a home on one of these sites check here to make sure it is still available.

2014 Parade of Homes

Plan now to attend the 2014 Parade of Homes.

Every year in February Washington County comes alive with nearly 30,000 visitors. The Washington County Parade of homes has become a tradition for many people from northern Utah, and other surrounding areas. Builders are currently busily engaged putting the final touches on their homes. If you have never attended the Washington County Parade of Home you should make plans to attend this year. The Parade runs for 10 days, the 14th through the 23rd this year, providing plenty of time to see the 28 homes being featured. The fabulous selection of homes is never a disappointment for those who take the time to visit them.

For many people in Northern Utah, the Washington County Parade of Homes is an excuse to leave the inversion, travel to St George, and dream about moving to sunny southern Utah. For some the dream becomes a reality when they purchase one of these trophy homes. For years after the parade of homes, some listings may include the phrase “former parade home”. These homes can bring a little more than a non parade home because people expect more from a parade home. This can make buying a parade home a good investment.

Parade of Home Vendors

Another side benefit from the Washington Parade of Homes are the vendors selling the latest and greatest in home improvements. This forum provides a way for vendors to display and explain new products that can be used in any home. Some home designers attend the parade to get new ideas for home decorating. The parade in one sense sets the trend for home decor for the upcoming year. Ideas for home staging can also be gleaned from the parade. People considering selling their homes can imitate concepts and decorating ideas from looking at the professionally staged homes. New paint colors and combinations can give an older home a new feel.

Washington County Parade of Homes Tickets can be purchase online by visiting this site, or purchased at local sponsors located on the Parade of Homes website. Tickets are $15.00 and they are good for the entire 10 days. There are several re-look opportunities providing parade goers to look at their favorite houses again.

Parade Time is a Good Time to Sell

One side benefit of the Washington County Parade of Homes are the “non parade” listed homes that sell during the parade. As we have mentioned previously, people in Northern Utah love to visit the St George area. It is not unusual for parade goers to buy a non parade home while they are in the area for the parade of homes. This provides an opportunity for people considering selling their home to get them listed prior to the parade. Not everyone can afford a parade home, but they “can” afford to buy a home. This opens the door for non parade homes to sell. If you are considering selling your home, this can be a great time to test the market.

Help Me Sell My House

If you have asked yourself, “can anyone help me sell my house”? The answer is yes. Previously I wrote about the importance of fresh paint and new carpet when trying to sell a home. If you want some additional ideas about selling your house in the St George Real Estate market, you may consider jazzing up the curb appeal of your home. One of the most obvious to improve your curb appeal is to clean your windows until they shine! Clean windows are indicative of the way a home is taken care of. Screens with holes in them and dirty windows are sometimes the first impression potential buyers may see. These are such easy problems to remedy, it doesn’t make sense not to take care of them.

Invest A Little

If you really want to make a difference with the first impression your house gives you may consider installing some window boxes. These are relatively easy to add, and can be done in most cases at a fairly low cost. There are plenty of places within the St George Real Estate market to help with this project. There are several websites that offer help for homeowners engaging in a do it yourself project, not the least or which is DIY. The addition of window boxes will allow you to add some color to the front of your home. It may not seem like a big deal, but some flowers really add to the appeal of the home. Not only are flowers in window boxes a nice addition, it is a good idea to clean up landscaping in the front yard. New bark or ground cover and some flowers can also be planted to freshen things up. Most local big box stores are very helpful when you are looking to begin a project like this. I like Lowes, but Home Depot is also very helpful for the do it yourselfer.

Add Some Shutters

Another inexpensive way to dress up your St George Real Estate is the addition of some shutters. Like other home improvement projects it is a good idea to measure the area you are interested in working on. It might even be a good idea to take some photo’s for reference on your smart phone. Armed with this information you can head to your local hardware store. You may also want to search online for shutters. It is always a good idea to get a few prices online, it will help when you actually get ready to purchase. Some stores may even match online prices. There are several types of shutters including color variations. You may want to take a sample of your exterior to match the shutters you are selecting. Some shutters can be painted or stained, making the color combinations endless. It is usually a good idea to keep colors more neutral to appeal to a wider variety of potential home buyers. The St George Real Estate market is pretty competitive even when it comes to for sale by owners.  It is a good idea to make your home look better than others in your price range.

The Real Estate Market Is Still Hot

Real Estate Market Is Still Hot

Good news the St George Real Estate Market is still Hot. Real estate sales in St George are up 37% over the same time last year. Buyers are still a little cautious due to the uncertainty of the economy. That being said, 37% is a very large increase. Some people are worried that we may be entering a bubble like the one we have just recovered from. Those who have been in the industry watching the trends for years say that the growth that we are experiencing now is different from the terrible bubble that popped a few years ago. The country as a whole seems to be pulling out of deficit real estate values that left so many people in financial straits. The increase in real estate values is not being inflated by Wall Street, but more by true demand. When St George real estate values went south many builders stopped building, allowing demand to consume much of the inventory. This “market correction” was difficult for many people and the increases we see now are much more sustainable.

Going Forward

Of course no one has a crystal ball, nor can anyone guarantee what will happen going forward. It does seem like a great time to buy a home. The reason I say this is that interest rates are still historically low. Sure they have come up from the 3% levels of the past few months but, think back over the last 10-15 years about what the lowest interest rates have been. It used to be we were excited to refinance a house because the rates dropped into the 6% range. With rates in the St George Real Estate market still in the 4% range the timing could not be better. Inventory is still lower that it has been, but with every tick upward in the interest rate buyers choices will also be slipping away. What I mean is, if a buyer is qualified for a $200,000 home at 4.5% they may only be able to qualify for a $180,000 home at 5%. These figures are hypothetical, but illustrate the point I am trying to make.

In Summary

If you have been waiting on the sidelines for the real estate market to come back, it has. Some buyers wonder, “how come I miss all of the good deals”? It might because good deals are usually not easy to spot. Like anything, investing in, or purchasing real estate in the St George area is not easy for someone that only participates a few times in their life. Using a real estate professional may save you thousands. Since our main focus is the real estate market, and that is what we do every day, it makes sense to let us help you. Using an agent to help you buy a home is especially a no brainer, as the seller pays for our commission. So if you are looking for real estate in St George, Washington County , or Southern Utah in general give me a call I can help!