Friday, October 17, 2008

OSU Homecoming 2008!

Last night as I stood on my front porch I saw a divine signal that Oklahoma State's homecoming was going to be one for the record books. A huge ORANGE moon! I know, I should have taken a picture to share with you, but I didn't have my camera. I'll take it home with me tonight in case there is a repeat performance. Other signs that homecoming is upon us: the fountain in front of the Edmon Low Library runs full with orange water, sorority girls and fraternity boys are walking around like zombies from sleep deprivation with stained fingers from all the "pomping", Stillwater street crews are frantically trying to complete small projects surrounding the entrance to the campus, and there's a turkey thawing in my kitchen sink right now (nothing says Homecoming like a deep fried turkey tailgate party)! The Homecoming walk-around is tonight, the OSU Basketball Bash starts at 9:30pm, Homecoming parade is tomorrow morning beginning at 9am and the game kicks-off at 2pm! Click here for a link to the Official OSU Homecoming webpage!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Why real estate is a good investment

During the past few weeks, the financial crisis facing our country has caused many of their retirement accounts to suffer. I was visiting with a person that had lost $26,000 in just a few days because of the stock market decline. Lucky for this person I had convinced him to buy a rental property close to the OSU campus several years ago. I asked him if the rent check for October had come in yet and he smiled and said it sure had. He realized at that moment that if you have rental properties under lease, that the income stays constant during bad times. As a matter of fact, as this nation's financial crisis continues it's downward spiral and homeowners are foreclosed on, rental properties will become a better investment. Let's face it, everyone needs a roof over their head and if they aren't homeowners then they are renters.

If you would like to discuss using some of your retirement account to buy rentals contact our office at ERA Stillwater! We have a trust company that we work with to meet the IRS requirements of a IRA or 401k, we can locate the property and we can manage it for you too! Give us a call today!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Back in the Saddle

I'm sorry for the lack of posts in September, we just got very busy around Stillwater listing and selling homes.

It seems every day someone asks me about how the Stillwater market is doing and how the economy is effecting the market. These are complex times that we live in and I'll answer the questions for you to the best of my ability. As of August 31, 2008 we have sold 629 houses to last year's 626, so a very very slight increase in sales. The median home sale price is up $2,750 to $135,000 while the average home sale price is up $7,012 to $153,438. The average home price being higher than the median home price indicates that there are some very high priced homes that have sold which have lifted the average sales price higher. That's the good news. Now for the bad news, August 08 versus August 07 shows a significant decrease in the number of homes sold. Typically we don't like to look at a short term indicator like a month versus month, but the numbers were off so drastically that there might be a need to keep a close eye on this market.

Will the economic bailout help our real estate market? Will the stock market's rapid decline hurt our market? The answer to these questions will be revealed in my next post, but here is a preview: Hmmmm, my 401k lost a lot of value Monday, but my rental properties kept paying that same old rent which is giving me a 12% return on my investment.........

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Oklahoma Rock Song

I'm not sure who came up with the idea, but if you look at all of the nominees for Oklahoma's Official Rock Song, you would see that we have a rich history in the rock genre. Here is a link to the voting site!
Oklahoma Rock Song

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What's Happening in Stillwater

This weekend is the big College Fest out at the Tumbleweed. Dirks Bentley is the main headliner for Saturday evening. The weather forecast looks to be outstanding for the entire event. For more information or to get tickets click here!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Buy of the week

What a fantastic home! This roomy three bedroom home is located just a couple of short blocks from the Boomer Lake walking trail and picnic areas. Updates galore and priced to sell at $149,000. 2623 N. Monroe is this week's buy of the week. For more information and more photos click on this link: 2623 N. Monroe

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wonder what happens when your child loses their balloon?

OSU students build and launch a sensor into space

Stillwater, OK--Students from OSU's Radiation Physics Laboratory built and successfully launched a cosmic radiation detector this summer that reached the edge of outer space. Carried by a helium-filled balloon 12 inches in diameter, the detector flew for more than two hours and reached 104,000 feet in altitude. The device recorded radiation levels at the varying altitudes - information that will be used by NASA to develop instrumentation for space flight.

"This is really amazing," said Carl Johnson, a physics graduate student who designed andconstructed the device. "Our detector actually flew to the edge of outer space and then back to ground, and the whole time it workedperfectly."

take off The high-altitude balloon carrying a radiation detector, high-resolution camera, sensors for temperature, pressure and humidity, and a GPS launches from OSU in Stillwater.

In addition to the radiation sensor, the balloon carried a high-resolution camera, sensors for temperature, pressure and humidity, and a GPS module to determine altitude and geographic position. The balloon and instrumentation launched from the Stillwater campus and landed about 10 miles away in Perry. OSU engineering graduate and undergraduate students Joe Conner, Xander Buck and Ryan Paul conducted the launch.

Funded through a NASA EPSCoR grant, this project was overseen by Drs. Eric Benton and Eduardo Yuihara of the OSU physics department and Dr. Andy Arena of OSU department of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Art Lucas of Lucas Newman Science and Technologies also assisted on the design and development of the radiation detector.

Benton said the purpose of the grant is two-fold.

"The purpose of the grant is not only to develop instrumentation for use in space flight but also to promote student interest in science and engineering through experiments with high-altitude balloons," he said. "The best part about the project is that the detector was built from everyday materials and launched into near space from right here in our own backyard. This proves you can accomplish really amazing things with simple materials."

The detector serves as a prototype for radiation detectors that will be included in the Near Space Standard Science Platform, a program used by science students at high schools and colleges around the country conducting research on high-altitude balloons.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

$7500 First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit

Newsflash! With the new housing bill signed into law, there is now a $7500 tax credit available for first time home buyers. But like so many of the good things in life, time is of the essence for buyers who want to take advantage of this outstanding opportunity. Only homes purchased on or after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009 are eligible.

Now, let's think about coupling that with the City of Stillwater's $5000 Homebuyer's Assistance program and you are talking about some serious cash.

The $7500 first time home buyers credit is a tax credit and is refundable which means that the home buyer credit can be claimed even if the taxpayer has little or no federal income tax liability to offset. Typically this involves the government sending the taxpayer a check for a portion or even all of the amount of the refundable tax credit. This tax credit is considered a loan and will have to be paid back. Yes, the tax credit must be repaid. Home buyers will be required to repay the credit to the government, without interest, over 15 years or when they sell the house, if there is sufficient capital gain from the sale. For example, a home buyer claiming a $7,500 credit would repay the credit at $500 per year. The home owner does not have to begin making repayments on the credit until two years after the credit is claimed. So if the tax credit is claimed on the 2008 tax return, a $500 payment is not due until the 2010 tax return is filed. If the home owner sold the home, then the remaining credit amount would be due from the profit on the home sale. If there was insufficient profit, then the remaining credit payback would be forgiven.

The city of Stillwater's $5000 assistance program is a loan program that provides a $5000 loan for qualifying applicants that is paid back if the home is sold within 5 years. The loan is forgivable, meaning you don't have to pay it back if you hold the home more than 5 years and is prorated for the 5 year holding period. So if you sold the house in year 4 you would only be required to pay back 20% to release the mortgage.

For more information on the Federal $7500 first time homebuyers tax credit go to:
For more information about the City of Stillwater Homebuyer Assistance program go to:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Buy of the week

Our Buy of The Week this week is 1924 S. Elvin. Beat the heat with your beautiful pool or spend those lazy summer afternoons in the fully finished basement. CLICK HERE for more information or to schedule a showing!

4th of July

We pause and give thanks for the troops that are stationed here and abroad that make it possible for us to celebrate our independance day in the United States. A big salute to the 45th Brigade Combat Team that are enduring the heat of Camp Bucca, Iraq and Baghdad, Iraq this summer!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Attendance Boundaries for Elementary Schools

Okay, so I'll throw in my 2 cents before you read the official press release from the Stillwater School Board. There will be some uproar over the number of Sangre students being switched to Westwood. Well, 43 years ago, Westwood was THE school to go to! It was good enough for me and they've even updated it since then! I see three problems with this change. 1. Westwood doesn't have enough outdoor space (playground, learning center, etc) for 419 students, it probably didn't really have enough free space for the 286 kids that it had in the past. 2. Parking is non-existent. 3. When gasoline is pushing $4 per gallon, why should you have to drive 6 miles to take your child to school when there is a school a mile and a half away.

As far as objecting to your kids transferring, a school is a reflection of the families that use it. So if parental involvement continues as it did at Sangre Ridge, then Westwood will be just as strong and just as active as Sangre. So stay involved and get ready, because I think a bond issue will be coming down the line that will be building a new elementary school further west.

And now for the official press release:

On Thursday, June 19, the SPS School Board approved the new attendance boundaries for our elementary schools. This will go into effect when school resumes in August.

Any incoming fifth grader who should now attend a different school due to the boundary changes will be "grandfathered" for the 2008-2009 school year and can decide whether he/she wants to remain at his/her former school or move to their new school. Transportation will not be provided by the district for the "grandfathered" students. The district is gathering data to see if it will be possible for the siblings of "grandfathered" fifth graders to also be "grandfathered".

Dr. Caine will be contacting each family affected by the redistricting during the next two weeks to answer questions. These families will be receiving a letter from her explaining the redistricting decision. The letter will also outline the process for "grandfathered" fifth graders to use to notify their school of their intent for the 2008-2009 school year.

All students who have been granted in-district transfers in the past must reapply. The transfer application is available here and a hard copy is available at the BOE. All transfer applications are due to the BOE front desk no later than July 15 at 5:00pm.

If you have a question about redistricting that has not been answered, you may contact the district via email at

Information Related to Attendance Boundary Change

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Buy of the week

3 acres, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths $149,000
You will love sitting on the covered porch at the end of the day enjoying the peace and quiet of your new country home. Come inside to a large, open kitchen with oak cabinets, pantry, new flooring and ample stoarge. Large living room offers many arramgement possibilites. Bonus room upstairs with its own entrance and separate heat/air. Seller is offering a $3,000 carpet allowance and a home warranty!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What's the Deal?

This week's what's the deal article will discuss real estate auctions! What is an auction? Well an auction is a process where you bid against other potential buyers for a property. Just as in any real estate transaction there are two sides to each auction. There's a buyer's side and there's a seller's side. Let's tackle the buyer's side first.

Buyer: Why would I go to an auction to buy property? If the property is one that is only be offered through an auction and it's a property that you really would like to buy, then the auction might be the only way to buy it. Now if it's a true absolute auction and you're the only buyer there you might walk away with a steal! The beauty of auctions for buyers is the search for a deal. Just like buying from Ebay, you're looking to get a better deal than paying full price for something. Think about it. If you want to buy a golf club, you can go to a golf store and pay full asking price, but at auction, you might be the only person bidding and you might walk away with that golf club for pennies on the dollar! What should you be aware of when buying at an auction? Usually the auctioned property is as is where is, so your chance for inspections and financing contingencies have gone out the door. You have to be ready to buy and you will usually have 30 days to close on the property. Watch out for the DUMMY in the corner! ????? A Dummy Bidder (sometimes called a plant, a shill) is a bidder that has been placed in the crowd by the auctioneer to drive bids up. So you might be the only buyer at the auction but you can be tricked into bidding more for the property. So, should you buy at an auction? Sure! I've purchased properties at auctions and if you know what you're doing it can be an exciting venture where you can buy property for less than market value, but if you need experience on your side, you can always contact a REALTOR to act as a Single Party Broker on your behalf and assist you through the auction process.

Seller: Why would I sell my house at auction? Well maybe you HAVE to sell the property and it's an unusual piece of property that will attract more than one bidder. That is the key to being able to have a successful sale at an auction, you have to have more than ONE motivated buyer! Sure there will be 10 or 20 people at the auction, but most of them are looking for the steal. You have to have two buyers that are willing to pay at least full price or else you might end up taking a bath. Well, what about the fact that I will sell my property faster at an auction? Sorry, that's not a fact at all, it's a myth. In reality some properties will sell the same day that they are listed because salespeople keep a list of all of their prospects that want a property just like yours. So it is possible that you would have sold your property faster using a typical real estate company. How about the line that it won't cost me as much because the auction charges a 10% buyer's premium instead of charging me a listing fee. Hmmmm, let me see, I'm bidding on a piece of land that is worth $100,000, I guess my maximum bid will be $90,000 now that I'm paying a premium on top of my bid. That didn't take long to do the math now did it? How's that workin for you now? You just walked away with $90,000 less advertising and abstracting expenses. Sure you didn't have to pay a commission, OR DID YOU???????

Auctions are appropriate for some properties, but when you consider that the definition of market value as provided by the FDIC:
(g) Market value means the most probable price which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby:
(1) Buyer and seller are typically motivated;
(2) Both parties are well informed or well advised, and acting in what they consider their own best interests;
(3) A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market;
(4) Payment is made in terms of cash in U.S. dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and
(5) The price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale.

So was the property exposed for a reasonable time? One day is not reasonable, yet an auction is typically advertised for 30 days.

My opinion is that if you are considering auctioning off your property, first consider listing it on the open market for at least 30 to 90 days to see if you can get full price for it. If you are considering buying at an auction, first consider entering into an agreement to allow a real estate broker to represent YOUR interests at the auction.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Major Scott Hagerty

Major Scott Hagerty
September 1, 1966 - June 3, 2008

As I'm sure you know, Stillwater native son Army Major Scott Hagerty was killed in action in Afghanistan last Tuesday, June 3, when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle, killing Scott and 20-year-old Pfc Derek Holland of Wind Gap, PA.

Scott's parents Don and Shirley Hagerty are longtime Stillwater residents. Also living in Stillwater are Scott's wife Daphne and sons Jonathan (age 10) and Samuel (20 months), Samuel is named after a civilian contractor Scott worked with in Iraq who was later killed by an IED.
Scott graduated from Stillwater High School in 1984 and earned a bachelor's degree in 1993 in political science, pre-law, and international relations from Oklahoma State University.

Scott's funeral will be Friday, June 13, at 10:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church (corner of 7th and South Duck streets, Stillwater) with Strode Funeral Home in charge of local arrangements. Burial will immediately follow the funeral at Sunset Memorial Garden,
6500 South Perkins Road, Stillwater. Since Scott was killed in action, he will be accorded full military honors at his funeral and burial.

Hopefully, many individuals and groups in the Stillwater community and surrounding area
might like to be present on Friday morning to honor Scott and to offer thanks for his ultimate sacrifice for us. Here are some ways you and others can be a part of a support group to honor Scott:

1. Attend his funeral. The church sanctuary is large but if it is full when you arrive, there will be ushers and additional seating in the fellowship hall just south of the church, and the service will be transmitted live there on big screen TV.
2. Many officials and military personnel will attend the funeral. If you have an opportunity, let's honor Scott's service by thanking them for their service to our country.
3. Help us line the route from the church to the cemetery with individuals and groups of caring supporters.
4. Let Scott's family know that you appreciate the sacrifice Scott made for all of us. Several sites are provided such as the "condolences" link at, - or search for Scott Hagerty on the link at

If you can help line the route to the cemetery, the procession will travel east on 7th street to Main Street, and then south on Main Street to Sunset Memorial Garden. Just as folks do for the OSU Homecoming parade, it is OK to park and stand at any safe location. It will be hot, so bring your water bottle. Also, each person might bring an American flag of any size and/or a homemade sign of remembrance or thanks for Scott. If you know of folks who might like to participate as a group, let me know if possible so we can share this information with the Hagerty family. Let's show this grieving family that Stillwater appreciates the freedom we have because of Scott and others who willingly serve with the knowledge they may lose their own lives.

Please forward this to others who might like to have the information.
Major Scott Hagerty
September 1, 1966 - June 3, 2008
Beloved father, husband and soldier
We will miss you always...
I know that I haven't been on here to post much in the last few years. No real excuse I guess. But this post is one that I had never hope or desired to make. On June 3, 2008, my daughter was informed by the Department of the ARMY that my son-in-law had been killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb (IED). Maj Scott Hagerty, (my son-in-law) was on a mission of goodwill in the Paktia Province in the northern part of Afghanistan with his team. His missions centered around assisting the surrounding villages, and helping to improve their living conditions. They would go from village to village and meet with the local leaders and discuss the needs of that area, such as wells for drinking water, roads conditions when necessary, and life in general.
This was Scott's third tour in the region. He served his first tour in Iraq shortly after taking Saddam out of commission. He was there when Saddam was captured and his intelligence team played a major part in his capture. From there he served in the Horn of Africa, this time in the role of a civil officer. Here his team went around helping the villages in the area improve their living conditions, as well as making a local orphanage one of their major assistance projects.
Scott dedicated his life to the military. Although he was in the Army Reserves, he spent the better part of the last five years on active duty. Scott earned his rank the hard way. He started his service in the lower ranks and worked his way up to Sgt. From here he went to OTC and received the rank of lieutenant. From that point on he strove to be the best officer he could possibly be. He was well respected in every aspect. By those that served under him, those he worked directly with in the upper ranks and most of all by his family and friends. Scott was promoted to the rank of Captain shortly before he went to Iraq for his first tour and was promoted to his present rank of Major shortly before his deployment to Afghanistan. Scott never waited to be called up to active duty. He felt it was his duty as a soldier to volunteer, and that is what he did three different times.
Scott's main goal was to make life better for everyone he came into contact with. Both as a civilian and as an officer in the Army. Scott always placed the good of his men before himself and was always there to give support to those in need. Scott leaves behind a loving wife Daphne of twelve and a half years and two wonderful boys, Jonathan 10 years old, and Samuel 20 months old. The void in our lives will never be filled. His smile, laugh, and mere presence seemed to light up the room whenever he came in. There aren't enough words to describe the loss that we feel and the anguish that my daughter is going through. Although she is showing resentment toward the person that changed his orders at the last minute sending him to Afghanistan, she knows that this is what Scott wanted to do, and nothing could have kept him from it. The scares will probably never heal completely, his absence always felt, but his memory will last forever and the joy that he brought into so many lives will never fade. Please pray for our family and Scott's parents as we go through this very traumatic time.
Our family would also like to ask that you remember Pfc Derek Holland's family in this time of mourning. Derek was one of the soldiers under Scott's command at the time of the IED explosion, and who also gave his all. Please remember him and his family in your prayers.
Our thoughts and prayers are with these families at this most difficult time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Buy of The Week

Our Buy of The Week this week is 2114 N. Burdick. Don’t let this one get away! Beautiful home with large, open kitchen/dining area with tons of storage. Kitchen has a wonderful center island and ceramic tile.
Living room features a gas log fireplace with built-ins and a trayed ceiling.Large master bedroom with two closets and access to back patio.

CLICK HERE for more information or to schedule a showing!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What's the Deal?

Weekly, I'll be writing a What's the Deal column for this blog. This week's What's the Deal will address the national real estate "experts" that are quoted or interviewed on national news programs. First off, remember that the three most important things in real estate are: location, location, location. The most quoted index currently is the S&P Case-Shiller Report. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller nationwide housing index focuses on major metropolitan areas and includes expensive properties as well as cheaper ones. The S&P/Case-Shiller indexes use only purchase prices gathering information from county assessor and recorder offices. Now the interesting thing that YOU will want to remember, the Case-Shiller report doesn't collect ANY information from Oklahoma! Location, location, location! The closest city that they gather information from is Dallas. Now think about this, if you had just been hired by Oklahoma State would you go home shopping in Dallas? So you might ask, what's the deal with all the news channels reporting that the housing market is terrible, down 14% this year, etc? Well, the deal is, in some cities during the past 10 years there have been huge upswings in value. Some markets are very volatile while some markets are more steady. Since the early 80's, Oklahoma has had a very steady real estate market. If you are wondering about the Oklahoma market you can navigate to and get current information regarding the Oklahoma market. If you would like information about the Stillwater market, drop me a note and we'll subscribe you to our monthly newsletter that includes the most current information regarding Stillwater's sales and listings. Need more information about your subdivision? Let me know and I'll get you overloaded with

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Joe Muller Named UCO Athletic Director

Our friend Joe Muller is back in Oklahoma. Joe was named today as the new athletic director at the University of Central Oklahoma located in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Joe most recently was employed in the athletic department at Purdue. Muller graduated from Stillwater High School and Oklahoma State. He worked at Oklahoma State as the director of athletic marketing and promotions from 1985 to 1990 before entering the television industry.

He returned to Oklahoma State in 2002 as an associate athletic director and has been Purdue's senior associate athletic director for external relations the past two years.

Joe Muller will begin his duties at the NCAA Division II school in Edmond in about a month. He replaces Bill Farley, who spent five years as Central Oklahoma's athletic director and now will work with the UCO Foundation.

Joe, welcome back to Oklahoma where YOU belong!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Our BUY of the week!!!!

This beautiful home on 5 acres is one of a kind and is looking to become yours! A storm shelter is built-in, so you're safe from tornado season. Please check it out and find out about available financing or set an appointment to view this home on the range before it's gone. If you're thinking about selling your home, check out the webpage and know that your home would get the same "Diamond" level of service from our company!

More Information on 3008 McMurtry Road Click Here

Thursday, May 22, 2008

City of Stillwater assistance is now easy!

Have you ever hit a pothole and wondered who you contact to get it fixed? The City of Stillwater has updated their website and has a new assistance request form that allows you to ask questions about nearly anything that the city oversees. Click here for the link that will take you directly to the assistance website: City Requests. EASY! I've heard reports that you will typically receive a response on the same day that you request information. It's a good thing you live in Stillwater!

Who do you know that is thinking about selling or buying real estate in Stillwater? Drop me an email and I'll be glad to help them find the perfect property that will meet their needs!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Our Moving Van!

WOW!! We didn't realize the response that our new moving van would receive in Stillwater. If you have a community organization that needs to use a moving van please give us a call. The van is primarily for clients and they will get priority treatment when reserving, but if the van is available for your organization we would be glad to let you check it out!

Boone Pickens donates $100 million to OSU!

At a large gathering on the lawn of the Oklahoma State University this morning, President Burns Hargis announced that OSU has received a historic gift of $100 million from OSU alum Boone Pickens. Governor Brad Henry was at the announcement and pledged that the state matching funds of $100 million would be transferred to OSU immediately.