Realty Executives of Flagstaff

Serving Flagstaff, Arizona since 1977

Realty Executives of Flagstaff


Celebrating Veteran Brokers' 30 Year Work*iversaries!

(Published on - 7/11/2024 3:57:27 PM)

Being the longest running real estate brokerage in northern Arizona is carrying a torch of responsibility that Realty Executives of Flagstaff is proud to carry. This year, they are looking at two big milestones in their history: reaching 47 years of business along with the 30th anniversary celebration of their two veteran brokers, Wayne McCormick and Gary Nelson.


Forty-seven years does not seem like a long time to many, but in the real estate industry, it is quite a feat because in that same forty-seven years, many other real estate brokerages came and went. “With constantly shifting real estate markets, there are very few real estate offices that are built to last,” says McCormick, who owns Realty Executives of Flagstaff along with his wife, Debra. “Our commitment to the communities we serve is the difference.”

“I would add that being local is really what sets us apart from our competition,” says Delegated Broker Gary Nelson. “With many real estate brokerages from other parts of Arizona, the dedication to community just isn’t there.”

By their own estimation, Realty Executives of Flagstaff has dedicated hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to local charities, non-profits, and youth activities. “We decided many years ago that our commitment to the people and nonprofits in our communities was the most important aspect of truly considering ourselves local," added McCormick. "The Realtors in our office have fully embraced that and do whatever they can to give back."

"We have such a great group of Realtors here," adds Nelson. “Each of them is a part of the community in their own way and has embraced the idea of ‘giving back.’ We have board members, committee volunteers, work horses, donors and Realtors that believe in a cause or event that is near and dear to their heart.”

Wayne McCormick and Gary Nelson are not only celebrating the forty-seven years that their brokerage has been running but also thirty years in the industry together. “We actually knew each other back in Boy Scouts here in Flagstaff, even though there were a few years between us,” says McCormick. “But we also started the same year in real estate and went through ‘orientation’ at the Northern Arizona Association of Realtors together. We are the last two left from 1994. And it was pretty much destiny that we would end up being partners like we are. Fifteen years ago, when I took over the brokerage that my father, Dave McCormick, founded, I needed someone to help me stay the course and commit to the community. Gary was that person, and we have never looked back.”

In September, Realty Executives of Flagstaff will throw a party – a big party! And it is not for themselves, but for the Realtors, other business people, and clients that have helped Wayne and Gary get to this landmark. “We have been in both competition and cooperation with thousands of Realtors in Flagstaff over the years,” says Debra McCormick. “They helped us get to where we are. Along with the lenders, escrow companies, contractors, and other professionals that worked with us to make this City a better place.”

“We throw a client appreciation party on the morning of the Fourth of July for about six hundred of our clients each year,” adds Debra. “Let’s see if we can get 600 of our fellow Realtors and industry professionals to help us celebrate in September! Even bigger, yet, will be our party in three years when we celebrate 50!”

Arizona Daily Sun, Shop Flagstaff (Local) Edition, June 29, 2024

Flagstaff Adventures: Picture Canyon Trail

(Published on - 6/27/2024 5:11:43 PM)

Picture Canyon Trail is an easy scenic hiking trail located in Flagstaff, Arizona, known for its stunning geological formations, ancient petroglyphs, and diverse wildlife. Here's what you need to know about this popular trail.

Scenic Beauty

Picture Canyon Trail winds along the banks of the Rio de Flag, offering hikers breathtaking views of the canyon's towering sandstone cliffs, lush riparian vegetation, and tranquil streams. The trail meanders through a picturesque landscape that is rich in natural beauty and geological wonders, making it a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Ancient Petroglyphs

One of the highlights of the Picture Canyon Trail is the opportunity to view ancient petroglyphs. The Northern Sinagua people who occupied the area from 700-1300 AD marked their presence with over 126 panels depicting archers, turtles, large mammals, birds, and geometric designs. Visitors can marvel at the intricate designs and symbols etched into the sandstone cliffs as they explore the trail.

Rich Cultural History

In addition to its natural beauty and archaeological significance, Picture Canyon Trail is steeped in cultural history. The area holds special significance for the indigenous tribes of the region, including the Hopi, Navajo, and Yavapai people, who consider it a sacred place. As you hike the trail, you'll have the opportunity to learn about the cultural heritage of the area and the enduring connections between the land and its indigenous inhabitants.

Wildlife Viewing

Picture Canyon Trail is home to a diverse array of wildlife, making it an excellent destination for birdwatching and wildlife viewing. Along the trail, hikers may encounter a variety of over 130 bird species, including hawks, eagles, herons, and waterfowl, as well as small mammals such as deer, rabbits, and squirrels. The riparian habitat along the Rio de Flag provides essential habitat for wildlife and offers visitors the chance to observe animals in their natural environment.

Practical Information

  • Trailhead:** The trailhead for Picture Canyon Trail is located off El Paso Flagstaff Road, just a short drive from downtown Flagstaff. Look for designated parking areas and trailhead markers to access the trail.
  • Trail Difficulty:** The trail is rated as easy to moderate and is suitable for hikers of all skill levels. It is approximately 2.8 miles round trip.
  • Trail Conditions:** Be sure to check trail conditions and weather forecasts before embarking on your hike. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, bring plenty of water, and be prepared for changes in weather.


Picture Canyon Trail in Flagstaff, AZ, offers a captivating journey through stunning landscapes, ancient petroglyphs, and rich cultural history. Whether you're a seasoned hiker, a history enthusiast, or someone seeking a peaceful retreat into nature, this scenic trail promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you inspired and rejuvenated. So, lace up your hiking boots, grab your camera, and embark on a memorable journey to explore the wonders of Picture Canyon Trail.

And as you pass through downtown Flagstaff, stop into our office to learn more about the Flagstaff area and housing market!

Realty Executives of Flagstaff

15 E. Cherry Ave., Flagstaff, AZ  86001


What is an Earnest Money Deposit? A Guide for Buyers and Sellers

(Published on - 5/30/2024 6:23:39 PM)

When you put an offer on a home, you'd want to do everything you can to make your bid more competitive. One way to do this is through earnest money. But what is it, exactly? And how much do you need?

Since providing earnest money deposits is an essential part of the home buying process, here's what you should know about them.

Earnest money is an upfront deposit that a buyer makes when planning to purchase a home, showing that they're making a serious offer. It’s also called a “good faith deposit” because the buyer is proving to the seller that they have every intention of buying the property if their conditions are met.

When a buyer and seller enter into a purchase agreement, the seller takes the home off the market while the transaction moves through the entire process to closing. Having earnest money keeps the buyer committed to moving forward with the home purchase while also giving the seller enough confidence and insurance to stop accepting new offers. 

It’s important to remember that earnest money is different from the down payment. This deposit is usually cashed and held in a neutral third-party, such as the title company’s trust account or the broker’s escrow company account, for safe-keeping until the purchase agreement is either completed or terminated.

An earnest money deposit isn't required, as there are no laws stating that home offers must have money attached to them. But it’s a common practice and even a necessity, especially if you’re shopping for a home in a competitive market. Sellers are likely to favor an offer that includes an earnest money commitment as it provides them extra assurance. If it’s a seller’s market and you’re going up against multiple offers, you might be better off submitting an offer with earnest money attached.

While there are no set amounts, most home buyers offer between one percent to three percent of the home's sale price. The amount you’ll deposit as earnest money will also depend on factors such as the current market, the local policies and limitations in your state, what's customary in your market, or even what the seller requires. You can deposit more if you want to make your offer stand out, or offer less if you’re in a buyer’s market. 

Work with a knowledgeable real estate agent to help you understand how much earnest money to offer. If you plan to purchase a home in a neighborhood where cash offers and bidding wars are common, they may recommend a higher good faith deposit as you could risk losing the home to the one with a stronger offer. But if it's a slow or moderate market, a good faith deposit in the standard range may suffice.

Your earnest money deposit will stay in the escrow account until you officially close on the home. Assuming that the deal goes smoothly, the deposit is then applied to your down payment or closing costs. Essentially, you're just putting up some of the money upfront. 

For some loans that don't require a down payment, such as VA and USDA loans, the earnest money will be applied directly to closing costs. If the earnest money deposit is more than the closing costs, the buyer can get the remainder back.

But what if the deal falls through and you're unable to close on the home, will you get your earnest money back? It depends on how the purchase agreement is written. Your contract includes contingencies that spell out when the earnest money is refundable and when it becomes nonrefundable, as well as how the refund is handled.

If you include contingencies with your offer, you’ll get the earnest money back if a contingency isn’t met. For example, if you’ve included a home inspection contingency in your offer and the home inspection reveals structural damage or severe defects, you may choose to cancel the home purchase and your earnest money deposit will be refunded. Additionally, if a financing contingency is included in the contract and your financing falls through because of appraisal or approval issues, you’ll get your money back. 

But if you break the contract without cause, back out of the deal for a reason not listed in any of the contingencies, or simply change your mind about the purchase, the seller might be able to keep your earnest money. You may also lose your earnest money if you cancel the deal after your contingencies have passed their expiration dates.

Earnest money deposits can mean several thousand dollars—a huge sum that can be put towards other aspects of your homeownership dream. This is why it's important to take steps to protect your money. The best way is to talk to your real estate agent about ways to safeguard your deposit, and have them walk you through the entire purchase contract before you sign anything. Other things you can do to protect your earnest money include:

  • Using an escrow account: Never give funds directly to a home seller, or wire the money to the real estate brokerage, attorney or title company without first confirming the wire instructions have been sent from a legitimate source. When the funds are deposited, make sure you get a receipt.
  • Understanding the terms of your contingencies: Again, your agent or real estate attorney can explain all contingencies and what your obligations are as the buyer, as well as the best way to waive a contingency if that’s the right strategy. Make sure you know your end of the bargain and in what circumstances you would keep or forfeit the earnest money.
  • Staying on top of deadlines: The contract will likely include a timeline of when things need to be done, such as the inspection or loan approval. If you miss a deadline, the seller might claim you’re in breach of contract, which means they could terminate the agreement and keep your earnest money deposit.


Gary Nelson

Delegated Associate Broker

Realty Executives of Flagstaff



2022 AZ Realtor of the Year

Olympians Train in Flagstaff

(Published on - 5/9/2024 4:28:49 PM)


Yes, Flagstaff, Arizona is a popular location for Olympic athletes to train. Flagstaff’s high altitude and mild climate make it an ideal location for athletes to train and prepare for international competitions, including the Olympics. The city has a number of training facilities, including the High Altitude Train Center, which is located at Northern Arizona University.

Several Olympians from a variety of sports have trained in Flagstaff, including marathoner Deena Kastor, long-distance runner Bernard Lagat, and cyclist Kristin Armstrong. The U.S. Olympic marathon team has also held training camps in Flagstaff, and the city has hosted a number of Olympic Trials events, including the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Now it’s drawing international athletes as they begin training for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics.

NAU’s pool has been packed with swimmers from across the world, including Germany, Australia, China, and Hector Pardoe from the United Kingdom. He is competing in Paris this summer as an open-water swimmer in his second Olympics.

Pardoe is one of the many Olympians in Flagstaff training at 7,000 feet for weeks. However, going from sea level to 7,000 feet has its challenges. Altitude training can be an uncomfortable adjustment, but when athletes return to close to sea level, they can really shine.

What makes Flagstaff the ideal training destination?

In a nutshell, successful training camps are often about the big picture rather than any one thing. This means a combination of elements, rather than any one particular element. In Flagstaff, you have an incredibly unique combination of training camp components that make it, in terms of an altitude training site, second to none anywhere in the world:

  • Physiologically ideal altitude of 7,000 feet where the desired physiological adaptations from altitude training (increases in erythropoietin production, red blood cell mass, total blood volume to move oxygen more efficiently through the bloodstream, etc.) can occur.
  • Very high-quality training venues (sprinkled around the city and centered around Northern Arizona University).
  • World-class performance-related services (courtesy of HYPO2 and its experienced high-performance management team).
  • World-class extracurricular activities and diversions (such as the Grand Canyon) that attract millions from all over the world.
  • All the advantages that come with being based in an actual city at altitude (such as restaurants, museums, observatories, Route 66 attractions, etc.), rather than training in other, typically remote altitude training sites. 
  • Extremely strong sport culture, in which athletes achieve easy integration into a city that is used to seeing and supporting elite athletes in training.

International athletes and visitors also enjoy coming to northern Arizona for the sights and activities the area offers, including Sunset Crater, Wupatki National Monument, the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and many more. Just one more reason that it’s great to be in Flagstaff!

Next time you’re in downtown Flagstaff, stop by our office to learn more about the area, and the housing market! We always have a real live Realtor® on duty in the office during office hours to answer any questions you may have.

NAR Settlement: Here's the Truth

(Published on - 4/25/2024 4:28:00 PM)

The NAR Settlement: Here’s the Truth and How it Affects You.

1. The settlement forces brokers to reduce their compensation. FALSE

The settlement in no way establishes a standard or limitation on Realtors for what they may charge, nor services they elect to deliver. Those fees have always been negotiable and there has never been any collective bargaining. In every market, there is a wide variety of fees, just as there are levels of marketing, service and competence.

2. The settlement will, for the first time, allow sellers to no longer pay compensation for an agent bringing the buyer. FALSE.

There has never been an obligation for a seller to pay buyer agent compensation, yet it is a practice that’s worked well. A past rule requiring an offer of some amount of compensation was a rule of display on a Realtor-owned MLS, yet it could have been as low as $1. That limitation was removed and today the MLS accepts all listings, regardless of buyer agent consideration.

3. The settlement prohibits sellers from paying a commission to a buyer’s agent and relieves sellers of the financial burden. FALSE.

The mandate restricts buyer agent compensation from displaying on association-owned MLS, yet the practice can’t be restricted in any other form of marketing. Sellers may still elect to pay buyer agent compensation to differentiate their properties. While sellers can elect not to pay buyer agent compensation, that doesn’t mean they will avoid the economics as buyers may write into any offer a contingency requiring the seller to cover the cost or request other concessions.

4. The settlement will serve to meaningfully lower prices and make homeownership affordable again. FALSE.

Values in real estate are determined by supply and demand. Fees in a real estate transaction represent additional expenses, yet these include not only commissions but many other related charges. Should real estate commissions be reduced by 1% because of compression, that $500,000 home will now cost $495,000. Do you think the seller now believes the home is worth less and will happily give the difference to the buyer? The reason home ownership is increasingly less affordable is that homes in our market have significantly risen in value these last few years.

5. The settlement is a win for buyers who will now be able to negotiate the fee for representation. QUESTIONABLE.

For readers who have purchased homes, it is more than likely you were happy to have the seller compensate your agent so you didn’t have to. For buyers who had to provide the down payment and closing expenses, having the commission paid by the seller and incorporated in the home price allowed them to finance the amount over time instead of coming up with additional cash at closing, which in turn could allow them to afford a higher priced home. Most buyers do not have cash in their hand to pay an agent directly, so the sale process is used for that. Only about 30% of sales are cash or with buyers able to pay an agent directly.

6. The settlement will result in significant restitution to consumers who were “harmed” over recent years in their transactions by Realtors. FALSE.

The settlement is huge, yet when one divides the amount by the number of potentially qualifying consumers it works out to about $10 per person.

7. My commitment to providing you with the best possible real estate experience will not change. TRUE.

I was born and raised in this community and have been a real estate professional for over 30 years. The NAR settlement does not change my determination to provide professional, top-notch service to buyers and sellers I represent.

I have had the privilege of working with numerous clients in what is likely their largest investment. I enjoy going above and beyond to help buyers realize their dreams and sellers maximize their returns, and making the process a positive experience for them.

As the 2nd generation Broker/Owner of Realty Executives of Flagstaff, the oldest brokerage in Northern Arizona, I have seen many changes in the industry. Our brokerage has always adapted to the best way to represent buyers and sellers whenever there is a shift in the environment. And we will continue to do so.


Wayne McCormick

Broker Owner
Realty Executives of Flagstaff

15 E. Cherry Ave. "Historical Downtown"

Flagstaff, AZ  86001

Phone: (928) 773-9300

Direct Line: (928) 526-9300



Questions? Need Advice? Complete this form for more information.

Contact Information::

Copyright 2024 Realty Executives All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: Each office independently owned and operated. Please disregard this message if you are already under contract with another real estate professional.