Tomorrow is Thanksgiving!

A holiday full of good food, good people, and good laughs, we are excited to get into full swing of this holiday about giving thanks.

Perhaps you spend the holiday with friends, family, watching football, or on vacation, but no matter how you celebrate the holiday, let’s remember to give thanks for all we’ve been blessed with. Food on our plates, a roof over our heads, and all those we love around us – these are just a few of the things we here at the Kathleen Yamauchi Group are thankful for.

Whether your life is going great, or you’re having some struggles right now, we pray you still have many things to be thankful for as well.

From all of us at the Kathleen Yamauchi Group Real Estate, we want to say HAPPY THANKSGIVING! We pray you have an amazing and blessed time with your loved ones, eat all the good food, and have the best Thanksgiving Holiday yet.

Ready or not, Thanksgiving is on Thursday and we’re here to help!

Below is a list of all the things you may need to purchase at the grocery store so you don’t forget anything! Cooked and basted turkey, stuffing, cranberries, green beans, honeyed ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and the list could literally go on and on! Is anyone else’s mouth watering? Courtesy of our friends at Lawyer’s Title, they have thought of everything you could ever possibly need to buy at the store so you won’t have one single staple Thanksgiving dish or food missing from your feast.

So, print off this list, do your grocery shopping, and get ready for Thanksgiving because it’s only three days away! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, we are thankful for you!

Prescott’s 2019 Veteran’s Day Parade!

In Prescott, Arizona, Veteran’s Day is a special holiday.

With about 7,000 Veterans in our town and a population of 42,000, that means that about 16.5% of our population is made up of U.S. Veterans. That’s a lot! This doesn’t come as a shock considering Prescott has a great VA Hospital, is known as a great place to retire, and has been attracting more retirees, including veterans, as the years pass.

That being said, Prescott celebrates our Veterans the only way we know how… with a parade of course!

On Veteran’s Day this Monday November 11th, from 10:30AM to 1PM, there will be a parade in downtown Prescott to celebrate all those who’ve fought for us, our freedom, and our country, and whom we are honored to know.

Here’s some more info about the parade from the City of Prescott’s website:

“Opening ceremony begins at 10:30am on the main stage (Cortez St and Union St) across from the Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza. Parade will begin promptly at 11:00am.

Parade route is as follows: Corner of Cortez St and Willis, south on Cortez St to Goodwin St, Weston Goodwin St to Montezuma (Whiskey Row)), and then north on Montezuma to Sheldon St.

Participation in the parade is free. Please click 2019 Veterans Day Parade Application for a participation application.”

We hope to see you there as it is a beautiful Prescott tradition that honors our Veterans and is fun for the whole family – not to mention there are plenty of fabulous places to eat and drink with your loved after the parade!

Happy early Veteran’s Day to all our Vets out there! We could never say thank you enough for the sacrifices you’ve made for us and for your country! We are forever grateful!

 

 

The History of Veteran’s Day

In case you didn’t know Veteran’s Day occurs every year on November 11th. It originated as “Armistice Day” in 1919 on the first anniversary of the end of World War 1. In 1926, congress passed a resolution for the remembrance to be an annual observance on November 11th and in 1938 it became a national holiday. It was officially renamed Veteran’s Day by president Dwight D Eisenhower in 1954.

According to history.com, “In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed by Congress, which moved the celebration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. The law went into effect in 1971, but in 1975 President Gerald Ford returned Veterans Day to November 11, due to the important historical significance of the date.”

Veteran’s Day differs from Memorial Day because it pays homage to all Veterans, whether living or dead. However, it is meant to especially give thanks to living veterans who’ve served their country with honor during war AND during peace.

While it is mainly an American holiday, some other parts of the world observe it was well. Great Britain, France, Australia, and Canada commemorate the veterans of World War I and II on, or near, November 11th. Canada has a holiday called Remembrance Day and Great Britain’s holiday is called Remembrance Sunday, which takes place the second Sunday of November. It is also common in Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries to observe two minutes of silence on November 11th at 11AM.

In the united states today, history.com says there are:

  • 1 million living veterans served during at least one war.
  • 2 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • 2 million veterans are women.
  • 7 million veterans served during the Vietnam War.
  • 5 million veterans served during the Persian Gulf War.
  • Of the 16 million Americans who served during World War II, about 558,000 are still alive.
  • 2 million veterans served during the Korean War.
  • 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
  • As of 2014, 2.9 million veterans received compensation for service-connected disabilities.
  • As of 2014, 3 states have more than 1 million veterans among their population: California (1.8 million), Florida (1.6 million) and Texas (1.7 million).
  • The VA health care system had 54 hospitals in 1930, since then it has expanded to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 live-in care facilities for injured or disabled vets.

That is a lot of men and women who put their lives on the line for our own, for our freedoms, and for our country! This coming Veteran’s Day, we would like to encourage you to say “thank you” to the Veterans in your life, or any Veterans you might encounter during your holiday celebration. They are the true heroes and we owe them more than we could possibly understand, or ever pay back.

To all our Prescott, Arizona, and U.S. Veteran’s out there, we say thank you for your service and all you’ve done for us!

Happy Almost Halloween!

Tomorrow is Halloween! A day full of fun, dress up, candy, pumpkins, friends and family, and more!

Halloween on Mount Vernon

In Prescott, a common place to celebrate the Holiday and go trick-or-treating is on the iconic Prescott street of Mount Vernon, occurring on Thursday October 31st (obviously).

Probably Prescott’s main Halloween attraction, this is a town “event” you won’t want to miss. The entire street gets closed down in the afternoon as trick-or-treaters flock to the site by the hundreds. People come from all over to trick-or-treat, get some cocoa or cider that is often offered by many homes, enjoy all the Halloween decorations the residents worked so hard to put up, and walk down the beautiful street of orange stained trees changing for the Fall. A family event for all, you’re sure to have fun and a night to remember at this time-honored Prescott tradition.

Make sure you dress warm though! The temperature high on Thursday is only 60 degrees, which means it will get pretty chilly at night during trick-or-treating hours.

Halloween History

In case you were curious about the Halloween holiday and it’s historical origin, here’s a small history recap of how Halloween came to be from history.com:

“Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated each year on October 31, and Halloween 2019 occurs on Thursday, October 31. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a day of activities like trick-or-treating, carving jack-o-lanterns, festive gatherings, donning costumes and eating sweet treats.”

 

Whether you’re staying at home to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, going to Mount Vernon with your friends and family to partake in the festivities, going to a Halloween costume party, or just staying in and watching scary movies, we hope you have a great Halloween holiday! From all of us here at the Kathleen Yamauchi Group, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

iSquatters: When iBuyer self-tours go wrong

Today’s Real Estate game is changing and that includes new companies buying homes and turning around to re-sell them, commonly known as iBuyers. However, in places like Arizona where this type of Real Estate model is growing, there are some scary risks for agents and their clients whom go to see these iBuyer homes. Check out this article below from inman.com detailing just how serious and real some of these risks are.

Invasion of the iSquatters: What happens when iBuyer self-tours go wrong? Some iBuyers have drawn tech-savvy squatters who gain access to homes through company apps in a bid to find shelter or abuse drugs.

by Veronika Bondarenko

October 23, 2019

Mrgudich had been planning on touring a home listed on Opendoor with a buyer when he noticed something strange through a window. A child was running around the dining room while a woman looked on. Instead of buzzing the door open through an app on his phone, Mrgudich knocked — and promptly heard the sound of the lock clicking shut from the inside.

“I put one and two and three together and I go, ‘Alright we have a squatter here,’” Mrgudich, who works at West USA Realty in Peoria, Arizona, told Inman. “So I turn to my buyer and explain the safety issue briefly and suggest that we move on.”

The iBuyer model, which has grown in popularity for its convenience, has also posed new risks regarding squatters and people who enter the home to use drugs, party or engage in activities other than touring the home. Ever since Arizona police arrested a couple found squatting inside an Opendoor home with two children and a cache of drug paraphernalia in September, agents have been discussing safety issue they see with iBuyer homes.

Over the past four years, iBuyers have exploded in markets nationwide. Startups like Opendoor and Offerpad allow homeowners to unload their properties for an all-cash offer in exchange for a seller’s fee of approximately 7 percent.

Opendoor, which recently acquired a Georgia-based title and escrow company, currently operates in 20 cities and recently began providing home loans. Offerpad, meanwhile, has raised nearly $1 billion in equity and debt capital and hopes to operate in 30 cities by the end of 2020. Traditional real estate companies including Keller Williams and eXp Realty have also all launched their own instant-offer platforms.

Zillow Offers, another iBuyer platform, also operates nationwide and allows buyers to tour homes on their own through an app.

The iBuyer model has been particularly popular in states like Georgia and Arizona, where all of the major iBuyers have a presence.

With Opendoor, Offerpad and Zillow Offers, in particular, interested buyers can find for-sale homes near them through the companies’ apps and enter the property with or without an agent — either by entering a code on a front-door keypad or unlocking the home directly through a phone.

All Offerpad homes currently have traditional lockboxes but some also have instant access through a phone code.

Heather Gearhart, an agent in Chandler, Arizona, recalled in a recent Facebook post seeing a key left inside the front door of an Offerpad home. Bob Hertzog, another agent in Arizona, said numerous agents across the state have been discussing the problems they encountered when trying to tour iBuyer properties.

In August, Hertzog entered an Opendoor-listed home with a buyer when a man with disheveled hair ran past them while incoherently mumbling something about wanting to buy the property. They toured the home anyway but, upon coming in, noticed that the protection preventing the air conditioner from being tampered with had been torn off.

“In Phoenix, it gets so hot that people living on the streets or people who don’t have a home definitely look at this like an opportunity to shack up for a while,” Hertzog told Inman, adding that he tried to call Opendoor to report the problem but gave up after sitting on hold for nearly 30 minutes. “We’re starting to see it more and more.”

iBuyers acknowledge that their homes pose a risk of attracting squatters. An Opendoor spokesperson told Inman that, upon receiving reports of someone in a home, the company will “immediately engage with any impacted customers, investigate and regularly refer matters to local law enforcement.” It also said it has home monitoring systems, security patrols and customer-vetting systems in place to minimize risk.

Offerpad, meanwhile, told Inman that “home sellers have always encountered the unfortunate risk of becoming a victim to vandalization or breaking and entering” but that the company is working on a new security system that, once in effect, will improve safety at its homes.

Nonetheless, agents who have encountered problems at these homes believe the companies’ screening systems aren’t comprehensive enough considering that anybody with a smartphone can claim to be an interested buyer in a bid to gain access. Hertzog said that without the traditional high-security lockbox agents use to enter an open house, no security system can deter people with bad intentions from seeking out the homes.

“It takes seconds to kill somebody or hurt somebody really badly,” Hertzog said. “They can sit there and say all day long that they have monitoring systems and things like that but it didn’t work in my case.”

Robert Siciliano, a cybersecurity analyst and chief security architect at ProtectNow, told Inman there is no such thing as a 100 percent secure empty home — but the text-to-open-home model has attracted a new type of squatter that is specifically looking for homes with full amenities that are easy to open.

“When you can get a code online and walk into a house, you’re going to see a whole new stream of squatters take advantage of the situation,” Siciliano told Inman. “What you’re going to see is serial squatters with full knowledge of how to game the system.”

At the same time, Siciliano advises agents who are entering any open house alone not to “trust that the company is managing that risk” but rather take their own precautions every time they enter a home, iBuyer or not. This includes doing a full scan of the property before going inside, having alarms and easy access to law enforcement ready on one’s phone and getting trained in basic self-defense skills.

Given iBuyers’ young age (Opendoor launched in 2013 and Offerpad launched in 2015), the high risk of squatters may be part of the growing pains they need to get through as the companies work out more sophisticated systems and learn how to weigh easy access against security. But, at least in areas where iBuyers are most prominent, some agents are only now figuring out how to keep themselves safe while touring the homes.

“We’re just holding our breath, quite frankly, and hoping that there’s no worst case scenario,” Mrgudich said.

Columbus Day History

Columbus Day, while perhaps becoming slightly controversial in our time, is still a celebrated day on the calendar every year (for now).

Though there is still school and it is not a bank Holiday, it is recognized every year on the second Monday of October and this year that day is on Monday the 14th.

That being said, here is a quick video from History.com that ponders whether or not Columbus was truly the first person to discover America.

Click Here to watch the video.

 

For some things to do this weekend, you might head to the Downtown Square where there will be a Craft show going on all day Friday and until 3PM on Saturday.

Another option would be to head over to Watson Lake where there will be a Corvette car show from 10AM to 2PM on Saturday.

Also going on at Watson is “The Big Sting – Its a Country Thing” from Friday at 3PM to Saturday at 11:30PM. This event states, “Come see what all of the Buzz is about… Escape to the Country for an Exclusive Music Camp out weekend in the rocks with You and 3000 of your closest friends with the Shadows Foundation out at Watson Lake, Prescott, Arizona. Concerts, Food, Beer, Camping, family, friends, sunshine, Corn Hole, other games and more!”

We hope you have a fabulous weekend in our amazing town of Prescott, Arizona!

How to Sell Your Home This “Off” Season

Although we love the Fall season, in the Real Estate business, it does start a downturn in our industry. The market slows with less people out looking to buy a home as they prepare for the holiday season with their family. Even though Prescott has a great housing market, we are not immune to this slower season.

So, what can you as a seller do then to help sell your home if you are trying to sell during this time? Well, check out this great article below from HomeLight about just that. They have some great tips on things you can do to sell your home this season, as well as some great advice to help with this process as well.

October Events in Prescott!

Fall is here and that means it’s time to start kicking off Prescott’s Fall season events! From fun events in downtown to pumpkin patches around the quad cities, there’s plenty to do! Check out this month’s events below, brought to you by our friends at Lawyer’s Title.