You're Invited to Our "Back to School Bash"!


As a way of showing our appreciation to our clients, you’re invited to our 
"Back to School Bash". 

Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Did you hear the collective cheers of parents across the land as school started this week? We did, and we were some of them! And to celebrate “back to school” time and show off our BRAND NEW office in downtown St. George you’re invited to our “Back to School Bash” this Friday, August 18th!

When: Friday August 18th from 5:00 – 6:30 PM

Where: 50 E. 100 S. #300 in St. George.

What: Pick up Papa Murphy’s pizza, drinks and a Redbox gift card to ring in the school year!

What do I have to bring? NOTHING! Take 10 minutes to say hello, make a stab at our school-supplies guessing jar (all supplies donated to a local school in need) to win a Steakhouse Gift Card, and enjoy dinner and a movie on The Larkin Group!

THANK YOU again for choosing The Larkin Group for your real estate adventures! We’re honored and hope to see you Friday.

RSVP HERE!

Jeremy’s 4-Minute Tour of St. George, Utah!



I want to take you on a brief tour today to show you all that St. George has to offer.

Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Here’s a transcript of the video:

As a lifetime resident of St. George, one of my favorite places is the remarkable Town Square, the epicenter of downtown’s energy and the location of the Ironman 70.3 finish line. 

Today, I want to give you a brief tour of all this wonderful city has to offer and show you why people continue to flock here from all over the world. 

St. George is the county seat and the largest city in Washington County. The area is also known as Utah’s Dixie. Why? Many of the first pioneers in the area were cotton farmers from the South who settled here.

St. George has a long, rich history even before the 1860s. It used to be a major stop on the Old Spanish Trail, and a home to Native Americans dating back 2,000 years. 

Right now, there are 90,000 residents in St. George. We stopped by to ask Mayor Jon Pike why he thinks so many people love living in St. George. 

“We really do care,” says Mayor Pike. “We have an attitude of service. That’s why we’re here. This city is owned by the people who work here; it’s theirs. They are the stockholders, in my view. I’m here to do the very best job I can to serve them.” 

The city is nestled in a picturesque valley surrounded by lava rock, sandstone, and other formations. St. George boasts over 300 days of sunshine a year, which is perfect for recreational activities.

St. George is perfect for outdoor recreational activities.

There are four championship golf courses within city limits, as well as miles of hiking and biking trails, parks, and festivals. Some popular events at St. George include the Ironman, World Senior Games, and the St. George Marathon. 

We took a moment in our tour to talk with Stacey McAfee, who was showing her niece around town and hanging out at the Town Square—which, again, is one of my favorite places. Stacey says, “St. George does a great job with parks, splash pads, and things to do with young children. My four-year-old requested that we come to this splash pad today because he loves the river and the water. It’s hot here, so we like to get in the water and cool off.”  

Education has always been a priority for the St. George community. There are 12 elementary schools, three intermediate schools, four middle schools, and five high schools—with more on the way.  

St. George is also home to the 111-acre Dixie State University campus, which has an enrollment of 8,500 undergraduates.  

The accredited and expanding Dixie Regional Medical Center is another great benefit to the area. This state-of-the-art facility offers rehabilitation services, sports medicine and training, outpatient surgery, and the neuroscience institute. It is the top major medical referral center for northwest Arizona, southeast Nevada, and southern Utah. 

In the first quarter of 2017, the unemployment rate in St. George dipped down to 3.4%, which is the lowest we’ve seen since the beginning of the recession. In 2016, the average monthly wage was $2,813. 

This July, there are 1,097 homes for sale and 70 for rent, which puts us firmly in a seller’s market. The median listing price is currently at $289,000. 

So, with mild weather, beautiful scenery, a progressive business atmosphere, educated workforce, low crime, and close proximity to Las Vegas—not to mention the gateway to National Parks—it’s no wonder why St. George is one of the fastest-growing areas in Utah. 

If you have any questions about St. George or if you know someone who’s thinking of moving to the area, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

END TRANSCRIPT. 

Thanks for going on the 4-minute tour with us! We love, love, LOVE this town and hope you do too. Don’t hesitate to shoot us an email at sales@gostgeorge.com or a quick jingle to 435-216-3888 with questions about real estate, schools, bike trails, or even our favorite St. George eateries!

Do Backup Offers Really Work in Our St. George Market?



Backup offers used to be a fool’s errand in our market, but two recent developments have changed that way of thinking.

Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Is it wise to write backup offers if you’re a homebuyer?

For years, we told people not to write backup offers because it was considered a fool’s errand. If they did write a backup offer, they often failed to close on the house they wanted because someone else closed ahead of them. These buyers were always seeing other homes. Every time they saw one dream home, another dream home popped up somewhere else. 

Two situations in our St. George market, however, have changed this real estate rule of thumb.

First, we have insanely low inventory—less than three months' worth. That means it would take less than three months to sell every single home currently for sale. Buyers in this case are having a hard time finding what they want to purchase. When they DO find what they want to purchase they’re often getting beat out by 1,2, even 5 other Buyers ahead of them!

UGH. How is this helpful to you as a St. George home buyer? 

Because so many folks are writing so many offers on so many homes…(that’s a lot of “so many”), many buyers are “flaking out” on the first offer they wrote. They’re writing offers on properties they’re not sure they even want just to tie the property up, then later cancelling their offer after finding a home they like better.

Enter: your backup offer, stage right!

Knowing that many of the Buyers that beat you out may in fact end up pulling their offer, you write a backup!

This means if you see a home you like and someone else has already written an offer on it: pick up the phone, call your real estate agent, and tell them you’d like to write a backup offer on that home.

 If they’re not willing to do that for you, they clearly don’t understand the current real estate market. 

Bottom line? There’s a better chance now than ever in our market to score a home with a backup offer.

Don’t be discouraged to write a backup offer—it just might work.
If you have any questions about the buying or selling process or you’re thinking about buying or selling a home yourself, give us a call. We know this town, and we’d love to help you. Our phone # is 435-216-3888 or email us at sales@gostgeorge.com.

I’m In a Real Estate Bidding War, Now What?




Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

After a well-known major “boom” and subsequent “bust”, the St. George Real Estate market has come roaring back in the in past 4 years, and with it? The dreaded (if you’re a Buyer) or coveted (if you’re a Seller) real estate “bidding war.” In today’s post we address what this means for both home Buyers and home Sellers, and how to best handle the situation. Home SELLERS: Navigating a Bidding War for Maximum Price and Minimum Hassle So, you have multiple offers on your home in St. George. Congratulations! That is fantastic. But what offer should you choose? The one with the most cash? Quickest closing? Nicest Buyers? Maybe. Let's discuss this for a moment. What you need to consider is what type of outcome is most important to you at the close of sale. There are three different routes you can take when this happens. Keep in mind that at The Larkin Group we’ve sold over 40 homes this year in bidding wars - so this guidance is coming from hard-worn battle experience. 1. You can accept one of the offers. You aren't required by law to respond to all offers on your home so if you see one that you cannot say “no” to, just accept it and move on. However, these things aren't usually so simple. 2. The second option is to counter each of the offers…yes as in ALL of them at once. You'll need an agent with good negotiation skills to do this, but it can pay off if you do so correctly. In this case you let the buyer know that there are multiple bids on your home and counter each with your desired terms. Even if all of the buyers accept your counteroffer, you have a designated time period to determine which of those offers you would like to accept.

Asking for everyone's best offer can tend to scare people away.
3. "Hit me with your best shot” – asking all Buyer for their “highest and best” offer. This works great when the market us ultra-hot because it drives the price up, but it also has the highest likelihood of scaring one or all buyers away. 

These are the three options you have in a sticky multiple offer situation. There’s simply no substitute for experience when it comes to charting these waters so be sure to reach out to an experience real estate Pro who’s listed and sold (different than buying) many homes.



Home BUYERS: Navigating a Bidding War for the Least Cost and Maximum Lifestyle Benefit



Buying a home is very exciting. It’s like HGTV on virtual reality steroids! ☺ You meet with a great, trusted real estate advisor, go through a needs assessment, drive all over town, look at Zillow and Realtor.com, and finally, finally find the perfect house. Only then do you find out that you are bidding against other buyers. Crap. Multiple offer situations happen all the time, and right now, bidding wars are popping up very frequently. As a buyer, how do you manage this process? 1. Breathe: Have you noticed how often you get that advice? Just breathe. That’s because when you get stressed out, you literally can’t breathe, and then your brain doesn’t work correctly. Take a minute and breathe. You’ve been thrown a curveball, but you can navigate this and procure the home of your family’s dreams. 2. Goals: Review your goals. When you got into this process, did you want to get the best deal in town? Or did you want to find the perfect home for you, your family, and your lifestyle? The fact that the home is being bid on by multiple buyers indicates that it probably is a good deal. Maybe even an insane deal. 3. Stay in/Get out: Once you find yourself in a bidding war, you can walk away or you can submit your highest and best offer. Maybe you offered $225,000 to begin with but decide to go up to $235,000 because your mortgage payment isn’t going to go up that much and you really want this house. A lot of buyers bail out because of bidding wars and miss out on home. Don’t let your pride prevent you from participating in a bidding war!

Don't miss out on your dream home.

Summary?  Buying and selling real estate is stressful business – VERY stressful. Don’t let anyone, especially a Real Estate Agent looking for their next deal, convince you that it’s not! Someone, and we’re really not sure who, said: “Nothing great was ever accomplished without making sacrifices.”  


If you’ve got further questions or would like our help on minimizing the impact of that stress, just give us a jingle! (435) 215-4533. 



3 Reasons 50% of homes never sell (in ANY market…)



Shockingly, almost half of the homes that go on the market will fail to sell. Here are three main reasons why.

Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.


When you hire a real estate professional, put a sign in the ground, and put your home on the market, you automatically assume that the home is going to sell. However, many homes that hit the market NEVER SELL!

In fact, 49% of homes that hit the market in 2016 in Washington County failed to sell. REALLY. Why?

Three primary reasons:

  1. Price
  2. Condition
  3. Marketing



Almost half of the homes that hit the market fail to sell.



Price

Pricing your home is, amazingly, not too unlike pricing a piece of clothing in a retail store. Have you ever walked into your local Gap or Old Navy and gone STRAIGHT to the sale rack? I know – me too. EVERY TIME!

How do articles of clothing end up there? Quite simply, the were offered to “the marketplace”, and based on a variety of factors, but primarily PRICE and STYLE…they were rejected.

Will they ever sell? Yes. At some price, everything sells.

Where you DO NOT want your home… is on the sale rack. Properly pricing a home in the first 30 days of listing has statistically proven to get Sellers the most money…much more, in fact, than if they “hold out” for the “right buyer” over months or even years.

Condition

While pricing may get buyers in the door, a poorly conditioned home will send them right back out the door!

As you prepare your home for sale, remember that Buyers will most often have problems with:
  1. Your colors.
  2. Your clutter.
  3. Your dirt. Especially your dirt.


The improvements and upgrades you made for your enjoyment may not mean much to another Buyer who hasn’t been raising their children or living their life in your home!

At The Larkin Group we utilize a professional staging consult, all at our cost, to help clients prepare their home for sale. Every time. And it pays big dividends in time on market and ultimate sales price to our Sellers!

Marketing

Why did we list this LAST? Well ironically, it’s what most Sellers expect FIRST from their Realtor….and what they get LAST from their Realtor. If they get it at all.

Marketing is the “story” we tell about your home. Think “depth”….how GOOD we tell the story, and “breadth”, how WIDELY we share that story.

According to Borrell Media, the average real estate agent spends just $400 per month. Per month. Can we put that into perspective?

At The Larkin Group we spend nearly $3000.00 per month pushing our listings to the top of Zillow Trulia….alone. That doesn’t include Radio, pay per click (google) advertising, a host of websites, our YouTube channel, paid Facebook marketing….

A great question for your Agent: “How much do you spend on marketing monthly? (answer). Great! Show me.” Don’t let them make a claim without backing it up!

So there you have it – the 3 reasons nearly 50% of homes never sell! We’re baking cookies here folks with your home…..if we leave out the vanilla or baking powder or sugar? It’s going to be a BAD cookie. Be sure that the St. George Real Estate Agent you hire to sell your home is including ALL of the three ingredients above for the most profitable and timely home sale!

Questions about selling or buying a St. George home? Give us a jingle at (435) 215-4533, or just shoot us an email to sales@gostgeorge.com

Happy home selling!

Does the St. George Parade of Homes Actually Impact Our Market?


Does the St. George Parade of Homes affect our real estate market? Here’s what we found from a three-year analysis.

Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

Today’s video comes from atop the iconic Red Hill, looking into the iconic St. George Valley, talking about the iconic St. George Parade of Homes, which is now in its 27th year.
It’s an iconic video!

Every February right around President's Day weekend, as many as 35,000 people from Washington County and all over northern Utah descend upon our community for the Parade of Homes to look at the best and brightest of St. George building.


As many as 35,000 people come to Washington County for the Parade of Homes.




They come here also to hit soccer tournaments and enjoy softball and baseball tournaments, and of course to get out of that smog and into this beauty. It was at least 65 degrees on the early February day we shot this video!

The question is, how does it affect St. George real estate? Often at this time of year, our clients at the Larkin Group reach out and say, "Hey, Jeremy, we want to hold an open house during the Parade of Homes because we think that someone will buy our home."
The reality is that two years ago, we conducted a three-year analysis of home sales between January and April to determine what the Parade of Homes is really doing for or against St. George real estate. We were able to determine the following.

The parade itself during the parade does not really impact St. George real estate in any way, shape, or form unless you are selling a parade home or selling a luxury home very near a parade home.

The long-term benefit later in the spring and into the summer and year after year is that it continues to sell what is so great about living here in St. George. If you're living in smoggy Logan or Salt Lake City and you come see St. George on an early spring weekend and look at luxury real estate, there's a great chance that you will eventually purchase a secondary or even primary home here in beautiful Washington County.

If you've got questions about your home's value, I'd say don't put it on the market just because it's the Parade of Homes. Put it on the market if it's time for you to sell your home. If you've got more questions, visit us online at soldinstgeorge.com or give us a phone call. Now get out and see the parade!

3 Things Every Homeowner Should Do in 2017



The St. George real estate market is ripe for the picking in 2017. Here’s how you can take advantage of it.

Want to see which St. George area homes are currently for sale? Click here to perform a full home search, or if you're thinking of selling your home, click here for a FREE Home Price Evaluation so you know what buyers will pay for your home in today's market. You can always call us at (435) 215-4533 for a FREE home buying or selling consultation to answer any of your real estate questions.

One of the questions we often get around January 1st of every year is, "How do I take advantage of St. George Real Estate in the coming new year?" I've got three very simple and practical tips for every St. George homeowner as we move into 2017.
  1. You need to determine your home's current market value.
The rationale for this is you might want to use the equity in your property for, say, home improvements or take that equity and trade over or trade up to a new home. You can do that online at a free home valuation site like DixieHomeValue.com, Zillow.com, or contact an appraiser who can conduction an independent appraisal for about $350.00.
  1. Every homeowner who has a mortgage should consider a refinance.
A refinance can save you between $100 and $300 per month on your mortgage during 2017 and many years beyond. So don’t walk, RUN to a good Lender and see if you qualify!
We work the best lenders in St. George daily. One of our favorites is Chantry Abbott of Guild Mortgage. He can be reached at 435-979-1775. Here’s a video we shot with him last year: http://www.soldinstgeorge.com/1-reason-home-buyers-dreams-may-crushed/
  1. Finally, every homeowner should consider purchasing an investment property.
Now that you own your own home, you might want to consider investing in a property that a stranger will pay the mortgage on, and build your retirement nest egg. How cool is that?
If you don’t have copy of the book “Hold”, please contact us at 435-215-4533 and if you mention this blog post, we’ll give you a FREE copy! It’s arguably the finest book on investing in real estate ever written.
Those are three very simple tips to help you have a profitable and happy real estate year in 2017.


If you have any questions about selecting the right lender, determining your home's value, or finding an investment property please give us a call and we'll help point you in the right direction!
-Jeremy Larkin & The Larkin Group
435-215-4533 / sales@gostgeorge.com