Tag Archives: Real Estate

SEDONA…the beauty of fall

As I flew across 1/2 the world returning from Dubai, my thoughts were all about fall in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.  Mystic.

Fall in Oak Creek Canyon 2007

Fall in Oak Creek Canyon 2007

Hawaii was beautiful but its lack of seasons was the reason for my return to Arizona early in 2006.  My return was cemented in 2005 when I flew to AZ, and drove to Sedona in October.  A trip up the canyon to Flagstaff and Hart’s Prairie filled me with such a whole feeling that I returned to the Sedona hotel, looked at several neighborhoods, visited one listing, and wrote an offer while having breakfast at El Portal the next AM.  The offer was ultimately accepted and my return to the the land of enchantment became history.

Take a peek at why I returned.  My SedonaKathy website is full of pictures of Westfork along the Oak Creek Canyon in the fall.  Yes, those are the colors of fall.  And the beginning of fall throughout Sedona – ours runs through November.

Next, plan a trip to my enchanted homeland.  You won’t regret it.  Beauty will surround you.

Kathy Howe


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What a difference the other half of the world makes…

After flying Phoenix to Atlanta to Dubai, the lights appeared at the water’s edge and our landing commenced.  Disembarking into a new modern airport was not a surprise, but what was totally unexpected was to see such an open, easily navigated walkway to customs and eventually my taxi.  Bright, shiny, and truly clean.  Not a piece of paper, cigarette butt, trash… in sight.

Long trips don’t make for cheery dispositions, but when my taxi driver welcomed me to Dubai and very cheerfully answered questions about Dubai, where he was from, and the economy, I perked up.  At the hotel, I also found an exceptional attitude of hospitality from the reception desk.  My room at the Tamani Hotel at the Marina sported 4 baths, 2 bedrooms, kitchen, and living and dining.  Best yet was the fact that room service was available!!

The District 6 ARELLO conference is another blog… for now I just want everyone to know how wonderful are the people of Dubai.  Yes their economy is down with many other countries, and yes, development projects have been stopped, but many continue.  The Palm is finished and as my first trip out of the hotel I chose to have lunch at the Atlantis hotel at the Palm.  A hotel that is truly magnificent, complete with a large round aquarium with some of the most beautiful, large and small, fish.  Security and customer service people everywhere.  Lunch by the pool.

Then there is the world’s only 7 star hotel:  The Burj Al Arab.  Cannot remember the last time I spent $150 for a glass of wine and a 3 course meal… it was all worth it. 

A tour of the city after the conference and dinner with Aussie, N. Caroliba, and texas friends made the trip very special. 

Reflections:  Dubai is truly the hub of North Africa.  It is the city you would build if money were no object.  It showcases the eastern culture and all of its charm and beauty.  Would I return?  In a heartbeat!

See the videos at:  http://youtube.com/sedonakathy

Time to leave to catch a plane home.


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An Elected Sedona Mayor? Maybe Not.

Last night (8-11-09) I attended the Sedona City Council meeting where it was voted 6-1 to put the issue back to the voters:  Should Sedona “elect” the Mayor or should the Council determine who will be Mayor by appointing someone from their numbers.

What are the issues?

  • Miscommunication about the role of the elected Mayor
  • Not explaining the role of the City Manager in depth

Last night the discussion included the information that should have gone out to voters years ago, but somehow, missed the mark or was forgotten along the way.

Sedona has always operated with a “strong City Manager” (someone educated and proficient at running a city) model.  The role of the Mayor in either situation, appointed or elected, is to preside over meetings and to act as a representative of the Council at events that require Sedona’s “leader” to be present.

A “strong Mayor” model is where the City Manager is but an educated employee taking his/her direction from the Mayor.  AZ has no cities with such a model.  All 7 Council members agree we do not want this model.

The current Sedona city Council is responsible for the policies and the City Manager carries them out and runs the city in a fiscally responsible way.  We are a “strong City Manager” model with an elected Mayor.

We drove off the road this last election when campaign promises were made and executed by the elected Mayor without full Council approval, and last night, our Mayor, Rob Adams, admitted that he understood his campaign promises could not be executed without the full backing of the Council.

What went wrong?

Egos.  Yours, mine, and theirs.

The issue is about collaboration, not competition.  Our last election showed us how low we could go.  That’s not the Sedona we love.

Then there’s the price of running for office.  Spending over $20,000 for a $650/month job?

Last night the Council members, one by one, discussed the problem of finding competent people to run for the Council with the cost of running for office so very expensive.  Perhaps they should have said:  “The cost of winning the office of Mayor”…

In their wisdom (and I do mean wisdom), they have decided to ask us, the electorate, to once again decide about “electing” a Mayor or allowing the Council to select one from their numbers.

Too many bad feelings carried over from the last election and the finger pointing continued long into the Mayor’s term.  We, the voters, will be deciding if we want to go through this again.

Let’s think long and hard.

Have a great Sedona day!

Kathy Howe

Kathy Howe

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What Do Options and Mortgage Fraud Have in Common?

Maybe some time in the “Big House”, and a reduction in your 401K.

Brokers, do you hae a listing whereby you find out there’s someone who owns “an interest” in a property you have listed, but that person is not on title?  Ask your agents.  They don’t volunteer this willingly till the offer comes in and the Seller says, I’ll have to get with Joe, and let you know”.   You need to be involved here.

Brokers, find out if your buyer agents have an offer in on a Short Sale that has an Option-Holder (who is not on title).  Your agent may not understand what is going on.  You need to be involved here, too.

Is an Option illegal?  Not usually.

But, it is if the purpose of the Option is to circumvent state licensing laws or to defraud the lender from reaping the most possible from a Short Sale.

Question:  If a lender agrees to short a loan of $200,000 by writing off $50,000, and accepts the buyer-seller agreement, no problem.  What if the lender agrees to this agreement, only to find out that there was a simultaneous closing that was for $10,000 more than what the lender received?  Who pays the $10,000?

You and me.  Yes, the losses are what we the taxpayers shell out through the Feds to make up all the bank losses.  If there were only a $40,000, instead of a $50,000 write off, we would not have to shore up the banks any where near as much as we will if the short sales continue to have so many hands in the pot.

Would the RTC hae done a better job of clearing the market of toxic assets?

Real story:  one of my agents and I were doing an Open House at one of our listings.  Sheepishly my agent told me that the property was scheduled for a Trustee Sale.  Note:  In AZ we use Trust Deeds and a non-judicial foreclosure period of 90 days from filing of the papers to the Trust Sale.  Agent unsure of date.  So, will the Seller agree to go through the process of filling out and submitting to the bank, short sale papers, ask I?  I couldn’t get a straight answer and had to get out my pliers.

“Why hasn’t the Seller spoken with the lender and asked for a packet if she’s without a job and cannot afford to pay the loan on this 2nd home?”

“A what?”

“The Seller did what?”  Gave 1% interest in the house to a man she hardly knew to do property management?  Unlicensed?

Yes, the story goes down hill from here.  My agent then continued to tell me that that same “property manager” was going to remove the cabinets the following week.

Some of you don’t know me… but by now can guess…

I said, “you call the Seller and tell her that if one cabinet is removed from this property I will make it my life focus to make certain that the person removing the cabinets spend time behind bars!”  I should have been more inclusive.  The next week the cabinets were there but the light fixtures, appliances, etc. were gone.

That agent is no longer with me.

People, that is mortgage fraud!!!

Watch this video:  http://activerain.com/blogsview/1168080/what-is-the-difference-between-a-real-estate-wholesaler-and-a-real-estate-broker-be-careful-out-there

Dick Fryer is a member of the Floride Real Estate Commission and he believes, as do I, that real estate professionals are eventually going to find themselves in a world of hurt just by turning a blind eye to the hanky-pank that’s taking place.  By the way, the term “wholesaler” is a synonym for “dealer”.

Here’s what the AZ Attorney General Terry Goddard just filed:


Brokers, ask your license law officials about these issues, call your attorney and discuss transactions like this with him/her, and for heaven’s sake, get involved with your agent’s short sale and Rent-to-Own transactions.  Look at me, sounding like the lady in the drug ads telling parents to get involved.

Must get back to writing the AZ CE course…  look for a post about the “Shrink-Wrap House”… more on short sales, AZ’s amendment to the anti-deficiency judgment statute, and bankruptcies.



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Don’t Post Your Business Stuff on My Facebook Page…PLEASE!

How did something I enjoyed so much become a place that I no longer want to go?

Facebook is for my family and friends.  If I “connect” with you, I hope you will respect my page and only post to me things that are about you personally…maybe an occasional post about what you’ve been doing in business, or where you are going in business, BUT, please do not try to solicit me to buy your books, your training programs, or your children!

LinkedIn, I allow people to try to solicit me.  I figure it’s all about business.  But, not my Facebook page.

Today I “disconnected” someone I “connected” with recently.  His first post to me was an out and out solicitation.  Flush!

Using someone’s Facebook page to advertise your wares is like pinning a note on someone’s child and sending them home to Mom.  Mom does not like that.

We’re all looking for ways to “connect” and I am glad to “connect” with strangers as long as they don’t abuse their welcome.  My page has become so cluttered with videos that I will never watch, business news and comments from people I don’t know, and information I don’t need.  Can I be the only person who is getting p—-d off?

You may “tweet” me with business news, or post on my LinkedIn page, but PLEASE, discontinue posting to me on Facebook.  Give it to me on Twitter.  It goes away and does not go to everyone who views my page.  I’m about quality, not quantity.

It’s called Social Networking for a reason… Facebook is for my chosen friends or people I think I would like to have as friends.


Kathy Howe

Kathy Howe

Tweet your news to me at:  http://twitter.com/sedonakathy

LinkedIn: http://linkedIn.com/sedonakathy


Filed under AZ CE Courses, Pets, Real Estate, Retirement, Sedona Housing, Taxes, Technology, Uncategorized

What does the NSA and AMY CHOREW have in common?

They both made my week!

NSA is the National Speakers Association.  It’s members include people you have only heard about or seen on TV.  They are the creme de la creme of the speaking industry.  I only wish I were a member.

Through twitter one day I received a “tweet” from someone who did a twitter search and found my name.  Michael Benidt introduced himself and we “tweeted” about our worlds.  He asked if I knew that the NSA was meeting the week of July 12-17 in Phoenix…I replied “no”…he asked if I had time to attend… I said I would find the time.  Why did he go this far with someone who was not a member of NSA.  As the President Elect of the Real Estate Educators Association (REEA) he thought his organization and our organization had common ground.  Now, friends, this is the ultimate in Social Networking!

I’m not sure what NSA got out of meeting me, but I can tell you what I got out of the National Speakers Association:

  • They are competent, dedicated, professional, and in a class by themselves
  • They put on one dy-n0-mite conference – thanks Sarah Michel
  • Their speakers push you to the max with ideas that don’t quit

I had the privilege of being invited to attend a CSP-only session presented by Michael Benidt and Sheryl Kay, Hidden Treasures of the Internet:

“New Online Survival Strategies:  How to Find Real Value in an Overloaded World”, at which, in the Twitter portion, I was introduced as a way in which Twitter can expand your SOI.

My privileged day then included sitting with them at the Conference Chair’s table and sharing the excitement of the speakers, holding the “windbag” with Steve Spangler‘s wife, and making new friends.

…as well as seeing those already in my SOI:  Amy Chorew, Rhonda Hamilton, Doug Devitre.  All are both NSA affiliates and REEA members.

Is there an ROI for Social Networking?  What do you think?

The next day I was in a real estate CE class presented by AAR with Amy Chorew as the presenter.  No disappointment there.  She rocks!  And her passion for what technology can do for your business is her gift to the classroom.

So what do these two have in common?  Me.

Oh no!  I’m not trying to be arrogant.  They both gave me such get-up-and-go that I’m afraid my to-do list will be perpetual.  Keeping up with change is almost a full time job, but to be good, you have to stretch.  I’m feeling like a 300 lb woman trying to get into a pair of Chico size O tights… there’s going to be a lot of stretching going on.


Oh, I might add that the day was probably an expensive one as I will now have to have an iPhone so I can “bump”, apply to the NSA for membership, and plan on adding 3 more conferences to my already committed 8 conference dates over the next year.  Anyone want to adopt and fund one slightly aged, inquisitive, passionate, often outspoken blonde?

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I-17 Closed 7-15 Due To Brush Fire

Going to Phoenix in the summer is always iffy!  During the monsoons we have lightening (the dry type as well as storm lightening) which ignites the now-dry spring plant growth like a match to cotton.  The car is always packed with water (or coffee – can’t do the AM without it!) both directions.  Toolbox…well, actually mine is a toolcase with flags, bungee cords, a sledge hammer, and open house signs.

Yesterday’s fire had been phoned in to me after meeting a friend for lunch.  So what did I do?  I called DPS and asked how long they anticipated the fire to burn and the roads to be closed.  They said 1-2 hours, so I planned my shopping accordingly!  An extra stop at Marshall’s at 18th St & Camelback cost me a bit more than I had planned…

Headed up the Hwy and screached to a halt just south of Black Canyon City.  Turned off the engine, grabbed an Open House sign to block the sun on the drivers side and made a few calls.  Got bored…got out of the car…4″ heels get the attention of others and other drivers came over to talk.  They weren’t aware of the fire, so with them standing there I recalled DPS who said the northbound lanes were opened 5 minutes earlier but it might take another 10 minutes to move traffic.

Can you even remember life without a cell phone?

I carried that Motorola “brick with an antenna” starting 1988 and paid $.32 per minute.

Oh, the fire was started by a car fire this time, but as I speeded across I-17 to Copper Canyon, the lightening was vicious and at one point I thought it had hit very near me.  Mother Nature having a snit.

Have a great day!

Kathy Howe

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