27 Recession-Proof Cities
Recession? Are you sure?
By Jason Soifer
Fayetteville, Arkansas The Daily Courier, Prescott
Chino, California The proof of Prescott’s resilient Prescott’s job sectors grew 7.7 down and people are losing
El Centro, California economy for Mark Hovind is in percent in 1990, 3 percent in their jobs.
Madera, California data from the Bureau of Labor 2001 and 1.5 percent in 2007. “It remains to be seen how
Redding, California Statistics. It’s kind of like keeping up quickly we recover from it,”
Grand Junction, Colorado Hovind, president of JobBait. with inflation -- you’re either she said.
Valdosta, Georgia com, uses that information to keeping up or you’re not,” he “We are blessed with a diverse
Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho create a list of cities, including said. “It’s not about just grow- economy from manufacturers
Alexandria, Louisiana Prescott, which he says have ing and declining; it’s about to government to health care
better protection against a whether it grew enough to keep to retail services industries and
Lake Charles, Louisiana
recession than other areas of up with our population growth.” so on.”
the nation. Other factors, including She said the city’s economy
Farmington, New Mexico
Hovind crafted a list of cities housing and gas prices, are benefits from not depending
where jobs outpaced the work not part of Hovind’s list. exclusively on one job sector.
State College, Pennsylvania
force during recessions in Jane Bristol, the City of “We are better able to weather
Laredo, Texas 1990 and 2001, and took into Prescott’s director of economic the current storm,” she said.
Odessa, Texas consideration economic development, said the city’s “It is our hope that government
Tyler, Texas conditions from 2007. economy has done better and industry can continue to
St. George, Utah “I made the leap,” he said. than others. prosper, although it will likely
Bellingham, Washington “If a community can withstand That said, Bristol said that local be at a much reduced rate.”
Kennewick, Washington both recessions and what’s businesses still are feeling the
Olympia, Washington happening today, they are more effects of the economic
Morgantown, West Virginia likely to be recession-resistant.” slowdown because sales tax
Casper, Wyoming His research reveals that revenues and impact fees are
On the inside... A Firesky Real Estate is pleased to share that the Prescott market is
experiencing a recovery. Prices have stabilized, inventory is great, and
Page 2 Word record-
interest rates are at record-breaking rates.
It’s Easy Being Green -
Green Remodeling from full-
Firesky is a full-service real estate company. We pride ourselves in
providing outstanding customer service and sales associates that go
Honka Log Homes
our above and beyond the call of duty when representing sellers and buyers.
Page 3 ever- well-
In this ever-changing market be certain to select a progressive, well-
Help for Buyers - 5 ways to Broker informed real estate company. With mortgage programs changing
daily, it is reassuring to know that Firesky Realtors have relationships
finance bargain properties
with proven professionals in the mortgage industry -- as well as in
The Lincoln Logs Advantage Bobette other real estate support services such as the home inspection field.
Page 4 Sanchez-
It is imperative that a buyer is pre-qualified prior to writing a purchase
Help for Sellers - How is the 928.830.2900 contract. The buyer does not want to enter a contract that he/she cannot
seller’s credit effected by close, the seller does not want to take their property off the market if the
a shortsale? Bobette@LiveInPrescott.com buyer is not solid.
Our goal is to close escrows!!!! This is a great time to buy real estate.
Call a Firesky Realtor today and schedule an appointment to have a
personal consultation to buy or build your dream home today.
Firesky Monthly Newsletter Real Estate News / June 2008
It’s easy being green
Green Remodeling Idea 6: Windows
If you're thinking of doing an extensive remodel -- or just have a few New windows can get pricey, but a combination of tax credits and energy
extra dollars in your wallet -- you can make changes today that will savings can help offset the cost. Double- or even triple-paned windows
make an impact over the long run. will do a great job preventing drafts and reducing your energy costs. While
If you're considering a green solution but balking at the price, head to the the energy savings alone might not make it a sure bet, if you'd like a
government's Energy Star rebate and special offer web page to see if you different look for your windows anyway, the upgrade will be worthwhile. If
qualify for cash back or other incentives, or Energy Star's products page to you opt against new windows, be sure to make sure your current windows
find out if your new windows, doors, insulation or roofing qualify for tax
are well sealed; this alone will make a difference in energy loss.
credits. Here are some great ideas to get started.
Double-paned vinyl windows start at about $150; wooden windows are
Idea 1: Energy audits
substantially higher. Triple-paned windows and glazed windows add
If you want to make sure the impact on your savings is as large as the significantly to the cost. Savings, however, can run 25 percent to 50
impact on the planet, an energy audit (offered through utility companies percent on heating and cooling costs.
and private companies) can help you find the places you're losing the
most energy, and where you can make changes that will give you the
most bang for your buck. Cash strapped? You can find a do-it-yourself
audit at the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable R
The World Leader in Log Homes
$0 to $700. Sustainable Business
Honka has formed a partnership with The power plant also generates 1 MW
Idea 2: Compact fluorescent light bulbs nature, recognizing that their ongoing of “green” electricity which covers the
You've likely heard this tip before, but it can't be emphasized enough: For success and profitability factory’s annual
just a few dollars' investment, you can reap significant returns by replacing
depend on sustainable power requirement.
your old incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. The bulbs usually
forestry and green build- Honka ships their
use less than a third of the energy of a typical bulb while producing the
ing principles. Honka logs and windows
same amount of light, and they'll last up to 10 times longer. They also
has made a long term and doors in 40’
don't give off as much heat as incandescent bulbs, which helps keep
rooms cool. effort to make all aspects containers by ship
of the company’s produc- and rail, a much more
Costs: tion as environmentally fuel-efficient (and
$2 to $5 a bulb ($10 to $75 in energy savings over the life of each bulb) friendly as possible, less costly) method
including building log than trucking.
Idea 3: Programmable thermostats homes and structures Honka’s laminated
Having a thermostat that automatically adjusts to a few degrees cooler that will last for genera- products are not only
or warmer while you're out of the house can mean big savings on your tions to enjoy. No “built- superior in perform-
energy bill. in obsolescence.” ance, but they also
In all categories of make the best use of
Programmable thermostats start as low as $30 and can result in savings this process, Honka has the resource. Honka’s
of about $150 annually. Visit WarmAir.net to calculate savings. applied sustainable computer controlled
business practices that milling also saves
preserve and protect the trees by reducing
Idea 4: Low or no-VOC paints
environment, and the waste caused by
Many paints and varnishes release volatile organic compounds, or VOCs,
which are dangerous not only to the environment, but to your health. To
resources Honka relies miscuts.
meet EPA standards, low-VOC paints must have less than 200 grams of on. Honka’s factories are Honka has placed a
VOCs per liter and varnishes less than 300 grams per liter. located in the middle of high priority on sus-
the forest, keeping trans- tainable forestry and
Costs: portation of the logs for manufacturing prac-
$27 to $45 a gallon.
manufacturing to a mini- tices to ensure their
mum. No wood material continued success,
Idea 5: Insulation becomes actual waste. minimizing the im-
A poorly insulated house can mean that you're spending lots of money All wood by-products are pact on their natural
cooling (and heating) the sky. Up to a third of all of a home's heating and reused or recycled either resources while influ-
cooling is lost through the attic and another quarter through the walls. at Honka’s own factories encing their industry
Though all properly installed insulation will improve your energy efficiency,
or is sold to other compa- in a very positive way.
consider recycled cotton insulation as a green option.
nies to use in chipboard, paper and Call us to learn more about Honka’s
Costs: energy production. environmentally friendly business
The costs vary, of course, depending on the type of insulation and the At Honka’s Karstula factory, waste practices.
size of your home. But the savings can be significant. If, for example, you wood is burned in a 10 MW/h power
had no insulation in your home and improved to insulation rated at R-22, plant that produces the heat needed
you would retain about seven times as much heat that would be lost
“Building a log structure is an
for the factory, as well as for part of environmental act” - Honka
through your ceiling. the town and other factories nearby.
2 Real Estate News / June 2008
help for buyers
5 ways to finance 'bargain' properties
By Joanna Glasner • Bankrate.com
• The Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Housing &
Community Facilities Program for low-income buyers in rural areas.
Falling real estate prices may have you thinking it's a great time to 4. Try an alternative lender: If securing a down payment is your
apply the Golden Rule of wealth creation -- buy low, sell high. It's always primary obstacle to buying a home, an alternative lender can be a
good advice, but deceptively simple because it assumes you have worthwhile option. That is, if you can stomach the rates and repay-
money available to snap up under-priced assets. Today, prospective ment schedules.
real estate buyers are faced with the opposite problem they had a few So called "hard money" lenders -- who provide financing at above-
years ago. Deals abound, but debt is hard to secure. market rates to needy borrowers -- can provide cash when banks
If you're interested in profiting from the down market the following won't. Borrowers can try calling mortgage brokers and asking for
five tips may make it easier to finance your next property. referrals to these lenders, or look for their ads in newspapers or other
1. Scrutinize personal resources: Take an orderly approach. See how publications with real estate listings. Remember that hard money
much you can borrow right now. Are there assets you can sell (a car, a lenders are best used sparingly.
boat, that old baseball card collection) that would boost your down Another fast-growing alternative source of funding is the so-called
payment? Can you tap equity from another property? Could friends and "peer-to-peer" loan market. Prosper.com, which operates a Web site
family members help with the financing or co-sign a loan? through which people borrow from and lend to one another, provides
2. Get down to business: Considering the challenges most people face loans at rates that CEO Chris Larsen says are typically 3 to 5 percent
financing just a first or second home, how do serial investors keep get- below credit card companies. With loans ranging in size from about
ting loans? A big part of their success stems from presenting banks $1,000 to $25,000, Prosper isn't a place for financing a mortgage.
with a compelling business case for why an investment will succeed. However, members are using the marketplace for down payments
For investment properties, prospective buyers need to demonstrate and probably works best for homebuyers with higher incomes, since
that the cash flow from the building -- the rent minus mortgage, tax and loans get paid back within three years.
maintenance costs -- will cover the costs of ownership over many years. 5. Split it up: When financing a whole building proves too difficult, try
3. Call on your Uncle Sam: The federal government actively promotes getting part of one. That's what buyers in high-priced markets like San
home ownership, often extending financing to people (generally, not Francisco are doing. High costs have led to the rise of an ownership
investors) who don't qualify for traditional bank loans. structure called a tenancy-in-common, or TIC, in which homebuyers
The Federal Housing Administration runs the largest program -- offer- purchase a share of a multi-unit building. Typically, buyers either share
ing mortgage insurance to cover loans up to a fixed amount (recently a mortgage or take out individual loans. In communities across the
raised to $730,000 in some areas under the 2008 federal economic country, buyers find that while they may not be able to independently
stimulus package). "The beauty of FHA is because we are protecting finance a single-family home, splitting a duplex or other multi-unit
the lender from risk of loss, the lender is able to make loans to borrow- property can be affordable.
ers with riskier credit profiles," says Meg Burns, director of the FHA's Don't force it
Office of Single Family Program Development. Burns estimates that If no one wants to lend to you, there may be a good reason. Perhaps
three-fourths of FHA borrowers are first-time homebuyers. the property you covet isn't the great buy it first seemed to be.
Other federal programs include: Damage discovered during a site inspection, deteriorating local real
• The Veterans Administration Home Loan program for veterans. estate market conditions, or a purchase price that's higher than what
• The Department of Housing & Urban Development’s Teacher Next you can realistically afford are all sound reasons to walk away even
Door Program to help teachers. from what seems like a screaming deal.
The Lincoln Logs Advantage
The log home. What could be elements from each of these
more authentically American? styles sets Lincoln Logs in a
And no one makes American class by ourselves.
log homes quite the way we do. Blending old world craftsman-
Lincoln Logs started with log ship with cutting-edge architec-
homes. Today, we are one of ture, our Timber Frame homes
the largest and most respected set new standards for form,
log home producers in the in- structure, and style. Massive
dustry. But, we offer much timbers, precision joinery, and
more. Our traditionally-framed open spans complement these
homes and timber frame homes stunning homes.
offer the same attention to de- Lincoln Logs offers over 80
tail, yet present entirely differ- combinations of log profiles, Over the next few months In the meantime, if you would
ent approaches to design, style sizes, finishes and corner sys- we will feature all the different like more information, call Fire-
construction. This flexibility and tems. So, whatever style you log profiles and building plans sky at 928-445-9477 and talk to
The ability to ‘mix and match’ want, Lincoln has it. available. one of our agents.
3 Real Estate News / June 2008
Help for Sellers
How is the seller's credit effected by a shortsale?
By: Tim and Julie Harris
Sellers will take as big a hit on their credit will show up as a pre- lender will offer any kind of interest amount and the amount paid. In
credit by going through foreclosure foreclosure in redemption status. rate that makes sense. California, purchase money loans
as giving the lender a deed-in-lieu Which will result in a loss of 200 to are not subject to deficiency
of foreclosure. Points lost on a 300 points. This means a short sale Short sale judgments; however, hard money
FICO score are as follows: with a previous FICO of 720 will see A notation on a consumer's credit loans, equity loans and refinances
it fall from 520 to 420. profile of 'settled for less than are. Some other states have laws
Foreclosure or Deed-in-Lieu of The effect on a consumer's credit owed' (short sale) precludes the regarding personal guarantees,
Foreclosure report—foreclosure vs. short sale— consumer from obtaining an which could also result in a
Both of these solutions affect credit is the difference between being hit institutional loan for 24 months, deficiency judgment, if the home
the same. Sellers will take a hit of by a train or a bus. depending on the lender's program owner is held personally liable for
200 to 300 points, depending on Here's why: and regardless of FICO score. loan repayment.
overall condition of credit. This Fannie Mae guidelines require 24 The lender has sole discretion
means if a seller's FICO score Waiting Period Before Buying months seasoning, and there's no whether to pursue a deficiency
before foreclosure was 680, it could Another Home way to get around this. judgment in those instances when
dip as low as 380. the judgment is permitted. To
Foreclosure or Deed-in-Lieu of Short Sale/Foreclosure
determine whether a pending
Short Sale Foreclosure Deficiency Judgments
foreclosure or short sale is subject
The effect of a short sale on a A seller who wants to buy another The bad news is a seller could be
to a deficiency judgment, talk to a
seller's credit report is identical to home after foreclosure will end up subject to a deficiency judgment for
real estate lawyer.
that of a foreclosure. The ding on waiting about 36 months before a the difference between the loan
It’s Time to Buy at $495,990!
Owner/Contractor 2340 Square Feet
Bobette Sanchez-Harvick Chef’s Kitchen Stone Fireplace
4 Bedrooms 2 Baths
220 S. Montezuma St. Large Covered Porches & Patios
Prescott, Arizona 86303
Phone: 928.445.9477 Quiet Cul-De-Sac
www.LiveInPrescott.com Owner/Agent MLS #917161
Check out our virtual tour:
Here are just a few of the Firesky family
You’re invited! who can help you with all your Real Estate needs.
July 5th: 9am-Noon
We’re having an Open House to help Rhett Harvick Alena Herrington Genna Herron
Owner/Contractor 928.830.7743 928.925.7740
celebrate Prescott Rodeo Days 928.713.9417
Come early and save your seat because the Parade passes
right by our front door! You can stay cool watching from
the shade of our tent while enjoying cool refreshments. Jacquie Rutkowski Don Shaffer Larry Tucker
928.848.1661 928.710.0061 928.830.8069
4 Real Estate News / June 2008