Changing Careers? Become a Real Estate Agent!

Have you ever wondered if you could be a real estate agent? If you are looking for a new career, a real Become a real estate agentestate agent maybe a viable option for you.

Although there are no guarantees that you will succeed as a realtor and passing the test can be difficult and require dedication to learn the material, the overall process itself can be relatively quick. You could start a new career in just a matter of weeks or months (depending on state regulations). When armed with a positive attitude, dedicated work ethic, and a solid business plan, there are virtually no limits for the growth in the real estate business.

Being a realtor is a rewarding process when you can help share the joy and dreams of your clients and find them the right place to live. I once read that any realtor can sell a ‘house’… a good realtor will sell a ‘home’.

Below are some disclosures that will help you decide if you can become a realtor:

1. Like any job, it takes time to gain confidence. When you are a rookie, you may be at a disadvantage when you are going up against an experienced realtor. In the beginning of your career, partner with experienced agents to help learn the tricks of the trade and gain experience and confidence.

2. Since most open houses are on weekends, weekends can be hectic. Days of rest are a necessity, so plan on taking time off during the week.

3. Being a realtor is one of the few careers that you can transition into without prior experience, although starting a new career can be humbling. There are a multitude of items to learn in the real estate business. Be diligent and focused, like the ‘little train that could’, and you can succeed. Each day is a learning experience. Before you know it, you will be helping others who are considering entering the business.

4. Open houses are like hosting a party. When doing open houses, be prepared to greet many visitors. If you are a people person, you’ll love this aspect of the job.

5. A key benefit of being a real estate agent, your income isn’t limited by an hourly wage or salary range. As a realtor, your income is largely dictated by the time you invest. The growth potential is significant. It can take a while to start getting commission checks. Going from “Purchase and Sale” to “Closing” usually takes six weeks, planning ahead for your finances is necessary.

6. Seeing so many options and opportunities, it may be difficult to keep your opinions to yourself. Only your client can truly declare that “I love this place.” Of course, you can lead them and assist them with important information, when it comes to their tastes, that is a client decision.

7. Real estate is not only a young person’s game. The more ‘mature’ individuals bring life skills and calmness to the table. These are incredibly valuable assets in the business world. Buying a home may be the most important purchase a person or couple makes, it is your job to make that process go smoothly for them. Experience and maturity will offer a more relaxed experience.

9. Don’t be discouraged if you are young or just entering the career world. The younger generation brings technology savviness to the game. Using the knowledge of the web, Facebook, Twitter, Apps, and Blogs can catapult your career.

I have been in real estate for over 23 years and truly love what I do. If you want more information on the day in the life of a Realtor, contact me or give me a call at (480) 688-4443. I started CLA Realty in 1999 and have been able to mentor dozens of individuals and help them build a career in real estate. You could be next!

Tips For A Successful House Flip

Successful House Flip

Do You Think You Could Be a Successful House Flipper?

Thanks to HGTV, house flipping is an increasingly popular method of real estate investing. As easy as it may look, however, flipping is far from easy.

A seasoned house flipper admits, “We make it look easy,” she said. “But it’s risky, back-breaking work. It can be fun, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re sunk.” You need plenty of cash and nerves of steel to get into house flipping.

To begin with, you need excellent credit score, cash for down payment, and you need to know the real estate market. Here are some tips that will help you join in on the house flipping fun!

Calculate The Numbers

When first learning about flipping houses for profit, knowing how much the investment is going to cost is key. You need to know how much of your own money you have to invest, or whether you’ll need to find a partner or investors. You need to know your purchase price range, closing costs, insurance, taxes, and repair estimates. When it is time to sell, there are more numbers you will need to be aware of: your commission, days on the market, holding costs, and estimated property value. It is important to be comfortable with all of the numbers before you proceed.

Start Building Your Team

As soon as you finalize your purchase, the next step is to start building a team to make the flip a reality. A team should consist of real estate brokers, architects, contractors, accountants and lenders.
This team will help you find, fix, and flip the property. The experience and expertise will help you make a successful flip. It is impossible to do everything on your own. Enlisting your own group of talent will not only help you be more productive, but will help you work through the inevitable problems and challenges that comes with a flip.

Find A Potential Home

Although you can search online and see countless foreclosed homes for sale, never buy a home sight unseen.

Always personally investigate a property before making the decision to buy. Keep in mind, the online photos only tell part of the story. Out of date photos, awful neighborhoods, black mold, and rotted wood are just a few of the possible problems hidden on online listings.
It is important to consider the school district, location of the home, and making sure the home is in sound condition. All of these items will result in higher potential profits.

Tight Management

Once you purchase the house, you will need to personally oversee the operation. It is counterproductive to rely on your contractor to handle and supervise all the repairs. Make sure you manage this process tightly to ensure that your plan is being carried out properly and on budget.
In the end, your profit largely depends on the initial purchase price and keeping your repair cost within your budget.

Race The Clock

House flips average six months from purchase to sale, but it is wise to factor in a few additional months of expenses to ensure a profit.

Time is of the essence when flipping houses for profit. It’s a race against the clock because the longer the rehab takes or the longer the house sits on the market after completion, the less profitable the flip.

More time means less money. Costs such as financing payments, insurance payments, town taxes, utilities and other miscellaneous carrying costs, all which have to be paid at regular intervals.

Determine Sales Price

One common mistake that is often made, is thinking the property is worth more than it is. Even if you hit it out of the park, and the house looks amazing, it doesn’t mean it is worth more than other comparable homes in the area. Your real estate agent will be able to counsel you to determine a competitive listing price.

A house flipper must be prepared for the possibility that the home won’t sell right away. If you can handle the roller coaster of the flip process, you have an enthusiasm of transformation, plus you are up for some hard work, then house flipping might be right for you.

Find Your Next Flip

Colleen at CLA Realty can help you find you next flip. Contact her at or give her a call at (928) 662-9200.

Why Prescott?

Prescott Homes For Sale

Ever wonder why Prescott, Arizona, is such an incredible vacation destination, an ideal town to raise a family, plus a picture-perfect place to retire?  Undeniably, this quaint mountain town offers a perfect trifecta for all ages.

Prescott’s Appeal

Prescott is a quaint mountain town full of history and one of a kind beauty.  This popular community is known for its pleasant climate and vast amount of outdoor activities and recreation. In fact, the annual average high temperature is an enjoyable 69 degrees.

Where to Visit in Prescott

Historic Whiskey Row and downtown Prescott are high on the list to visit while in Prescott.  Not only can visitors stroll around the historic and majestic Yavapai County Courthouse, visitors can also shop in numerous specialty shops and antique stores, have lunch at several award winning restaurants, and grab an ice cream and sit on the park benches and enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains.

Visit Prescott during Fourth of July and enjoy the World’s Oldest Rodeo, which was founded in 1888. This event has week long activities of parades and numerous rodeo performances that are guaranteed to entertain.

What to Do in Prescott

Indoor or outdoor, whatever the preference, there are plenty of options for things to do in Prescott.  The Prescott area has several lakes that offer the perfect setting for a picnic or a day on the water kayaking or canoeing.  Visit Goldwater Lake, Granite Basin, Watson Lake, or Willow Lake, all of them offer beauty that leave visitors in awe. Feel like staying inside?  Consider the Sharlot Hall Museum or the Phippen Art Museum, each offer history and a relaxing option for a day on the town.

Family Fun

Take the kiddos to Heritage Park Zoo.  The Zoo offers a personal small town experience with the fabulous animals of larger zoos.  Visiting during the winter?  Check out ice skating at the Prescott Valley Event Center.  It is fun for the entire family.

Golfing Prescott

The near perfect climate in the Prescott area allows year around golfing.  There are several top-notch world acclaimed golf courses for visitors and residence to enjoy.  A few of Prescott’s area golf courses include:  Capital Canyon, Prescott Lakes, Talking Rock, Prescott Country Club, and Stoneridge.

Living in Prescott

Prescott has been named the Number One Best Value Town in the Southwest by Sunset Magazine, in a recent article about Top 20 Best Value Towns.   Combine that with Time Magazine’s declaration that Prescott is one of the “happiest and healthiest cities in America” … it’s settled, Prescott is the perfect place to live!

“Once again we are proud to be recognized for our many unique qualities,” said Prescott Mayor Harry Oberg. “It’s no secret to us in Prescott that the quality of life here is world-class. Our cultural and heritage amenities, variety of businesses, scenic beauty, outdoor recreation, and even air quality make Prescott a top destination to live, learn, work and play.”

Prescott has earned these well-deserved accolades due to Prescott’s higher education opportunities, variety of businesses, scenic beauty, outdoor recreation, and air quality.

Housing in Prescott

Mountain homes, downtown historic beauties, luxury homes on golf courses, family communities, and rural properties are all available in Prescott, Arizona.  Prescott is a splendid compliment for the varied life styles of all ages.  There are over 70 major subdivisions in the Prescott area, each with different amenities and styles.

Want More Information?

The best way to learn about Prescott is to ask someone who lives and immerses themselves in the Prescott lifestyle.  Give Colleen McElmell with CLA Realty a call at (480)688-4443 for more information on all that Prescott has to offer.  Colleen can help you with a place to stay while you visit Prescott, click here for information on vacation rentals.


What Should You Remodel To Get The Most For Your Money?

Remodel with best Return on Investment

Kitchen?  Paint?  New Shower?  What should be remodeled first to give you the most return on your investment?  Below we will analyze where to best spend your valuable remodel dollars, to stretch them further, boost the value of your home, to sell your home faster and for more money.

It’s important to remember that there is not always a direct relation between exactly how much you put into a specific renovation project and exactly how much you get out of it.  When you view remodels as a whole, you create an overall house improvement and potentially a significant return on your investment. In fact, according to, “On average, in 2017, you can expect to get back 64% on every dollar you plow into home improvements”

Important Warning!  As with all projects, make sure you don’t over spend for your neighborhood.  Know your market before you open your pocketbook and bring out your hammer.

For a $10,000 remodel, let’s take a look at Top 5 Target Projects to get the most bang for your buck!

  1. Kitchen. This is one of the most expensive rooms to remodel in your home. To be fair, it is also one of the rooms that receive the most attention from potential buyers. Sadly, $10,000 is not going to get you a full kitchen makeover and still leave you enough to make many other upgrades.   As an alternative, consider upgrading the appliances, resurfacing the cabinets, or possibly upgrading the countertops.
  2. Master Bath. Yet, another expensive room to do a full remodel. With some creativity it is still possible to create a ‘Wow’ effect.  Frameless glass shower enclosure, updating the fixtures, and installing a new vanity and countertops are all valuable items to consider.  Each will provide a valuable return on your investment.
  3. Paint. Fresh paint speaks volumes. On the interior, repaint and keep it neural with soft earth tones. Finish the project by selecting some fantastic pillows and accessories to add punches of color.
  4. Replace The Carpet. Tired, old, stained, dirty, worn-out carpet sends a loud message to potential buyers. Replace the existing carpet. It is best to stick with a neutral shade.
  5. Curb Appeal. This is a low cost bonus. Trim up the hedges, green up the grass, plant some flowers, give the front door a fresh coat of paint in a wonderful accent color, add shiny new house numbers, and maybe even a new mail box. New outdoor lighting is an easy cost effective improvement that is a minimal investment.  According to “the 2017 data suggest that “curb appeal” projects (such as new doors and exterior siding) generate higher returns than improvements done on a home’s interior… If you’re trying to sell, pretty up the outside and it’ll pay off in spades.”

Bonus Tip . . . if there is an existing room that looks out to the backyard,  push it out!  Replace the existing windows with some French doors and build a small deck.  This little addition has just increased the “size” of that room, adding value to the house, while using very little of your budget.  Win, win!

According to, the top three remodeling projects to receive the highest Return on your investment (ROI) are:  Fiberglass Attic Insulation (108% Cost recouped), Steel entry door replacement (90% cost recouped), and Minor kitchen remodels (80% cost recouped).

All in all, keep an eye on your budget and the market condition in your neighborhood.  A little remodel can go a long way.  For more information on ways to increase the value of your home and to help sell it faster, give Colleen McElmell with CLA Realty a call at (480)688-4443.


Tax Reform Impacting Home Ownership

Tax Reform and Real Estate

In early November, the House GOP leaders took their biggest step yet in their attempt to overhaul the U.S. tax code by releasing legislation that proposes sweeping changes to the current system.  The proposal unveiled a new top tax rate, new tax brackets, a lower corporate rate, and a compromise on the state and local tax deduction.

The implications of tax changes are wide spread.  The question that most households are asking is “How is it going to affect me?”  One of the changes in the spotlight is the treatment of taxes on mortgage interest.  The National Association of Realtors, as well as the local Prescott Area Association of Realtors, have been paying close attention to the tax proposal and its impact on homeowners.

REALTORS® are on high alert since the tax reform could threaten most of the tax benefits of owning a home.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is opposed to the tax reform legislation. “This bill is a direct threat to consumers, to homeowners and to our businesses. Not only will millions of homeowners not benefit from the proposal, many will get a tax increase. Additionally, homeowners could lose substantial equity from the more than 10% drop in home values likely to result if the bill is enacted.”

Below is a summary provided by NAR to help us understand some of the specifics of what the Legislation would do in the recent proposal.

  • Caps the mortgage interest deduction at $500K for new mortgages
  • Cap applies to new mortgage debt (but not refinancing) incurred after November 2, 2017.
  • Limit is not indexed to inflation causing its value to even further diminish over time.
  • Income from passive activities would be taxed entirely at the 25% rate. This means that all rental activity is taxed at a 25% rate.
  • Increases the standard deduction. Puts homeownership tax incentives beyond the reach of more than 90% of American families.
  • New rules would require homeowners to live in their home for 5 of 8 years before a sale to qualify for the exemption, versus just 2 of previous 5 years with the current legislation. This will create a hardship to homeowners who have to move inside that five-year window.
  • Exemption phases out for single filers with incomes over $250K ($500K for joint returns).
  • Eliminates the deduction for state and local income or sales taxes.
  • Eliminates the Mortgage Interest Deduction for second homes.
  • Eliminates the deduction for moving expenses.
  • Eliminates the deduction on interest on student loans.
  • Eliminates the deduction for medical expenses.

All communities in Arizona are going to be impacted by these proposed changes.  Prescott, Arizona, residents need to brace for the changes as well.  The Prescott Quad city area is comprised of four thriving communities:  Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, and Dewey-Humboldt.  These are diverse communities with approximately 1,300 homes for sale at any given time, ranging in price from $50,000 to $5,000,000.

Prescott, who has a population of around 41,000 people, has a unique economic structure with it being a blended community of families and retirees.  The median resident age is 56.7 years, whereas the Arizona median age is 37.4 years.  The growth is also evident in the household income figures, the estimated median household income in 2015 was $48,210 (Arizona’s average is $51,492), that is up from $35,446 in 2000.  With the Prescott area being heavily populated with middle-class homeowners, the local REALTORS®, community leaders, and business owners are paying close attention to the recent Tax Reform proposal.  House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady, the author of the tax bill, said the House should pass the plan by Thanksgiving.

As homeowners and potential homeowners, it is important to know the implications of the tax reform.  Millions of middle class homeowners would see a tax hike under this proposed plan.  In addition, if homeowners buy a home and then have to move within 5 years, they could be hit with a significant tax bill under this plan.

REALTORS® spend a significant amount of time keeping informed on laws and strategies to help guide their clients.  Visit for more information on how this legislation will affect homeownership, visit, or give CLA Realty team a call at (928) 662-9200.

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