What Your Real Estate $$ Buys Today

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Ed says he shows the home several times a month but, at this price, won’t be surprised if the home remains on the market for two years – the owners aren’t in a rush to sell. Nine out of ten potential buyers are from out of town, including some from Europe, and at an income level where they’re not concerned with interest rates. “Most likely they will pay cash,” says Ed. “Over 50 percent of the $1 million-plus homes in Sedona are paid for with cash.”

Buyers in this range typically have grown children, though Ed has shown the house to a family with teenagers. Potential buyers are drawn by the allure of a Sedona address. They ask questions about the crime rate, weather and medical facilities. “I tell them Verde Valley Medical Center is just down the road and has specialists all around it,” says Ed. “There’s not much you can’t find in Cottonwood or Flagstaff and of course Phoenix has it all. You are two hours from any medical specialist.”

Ed has been in the real estate business for 40 years and has sold homes in Sedona for the past four. According to MLS, the median price of a home in Sedona was $599,900 as of July; Ed predicts it will reach $1 million by 2011.

“Five years ago there were no million-dollar homes in Sedona,” says Ed. “Today, there are 76 on the market.”

Finding a Bargain

If you’re the type who clips coupons, scours yard sales, and lives for day-after-Christmas sales, take comfort in the fact Sedona real-estate bargains can be had, if you play your cards right. But Roy Grimm, president of Buyer Brokers Realty of Sedona, whose agents represent buyers and collect a commission from the listing broker (www.sedonarealestate.com), warns cheaper does not necessarily mean a good deal, and timing is key.

“We are in a buyer’s market now, but that window won’t remain open for long,” Roy says. “The smartest thing a buyer can do is to get a local agent who works with you exclusively. You can’t just cruise around town and find a bargain on your own.”

Roy says for buyers in Sedona, “it’s all about views, views, views,” and a house without them may not look like a steal at resale time. He says an older home with great views can be very attractive because at resale, buyers nowadays aren’t averse to buying to build on the lot. But he cautions against buying mobile homes with that strategy. Most of that land is specially zoned and building there may be restricted.

Roy believes condos can be an excellent bargain “as long as you’re careful.” He says condos hold resale value because they’re always attractive as vacation homes. If apartments have been converted into condos, he advises making sure they have all the amenities. He also calls buying a house or condo in Sedona to “flip” quickly a very risky proposition.

“A lot of ‘truisms’ in real estate don’t apply to Sedona,” he sums up, “but I believe, in the long run, prices [here] will go up astronomically. There’s a limited supply of real estate and land, and demand will continue to build as Baby Boomers age. Now is the time to buy. You may have to hold on for two to five years to make money, but I believe you will.”

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