Bob Stephens





I have been working for Clay and West USA for about 31 years, through good times and some bad times. I recall about 2008 as the market was slowing way down, I suggested to Clay at lunch one day, that maybe now is a good time to sell West USA. He said he had certainly thought about it but one very important item to him that he could not overlook. HE HAD OVER 100 EMPLOYEES THAT HAVE A JOB AT WEST USA, TO SERVE THE AGENTS, AND THERE WAS NO WAY THAT HE WOULD ABANDON THAT RESPONSIBILITY!!!!

And now comes a time that the world is hit with COVID-19 which was unheard of in the world by most people until about 2020 and still going on ALL of this year. The President of the United States and hence the Governors ordered that people should stay at home except for necessities. However, West USA has kept all of their staff working even as we “shelter in place”! Many agents from other companies have signed on with West USA and kept on working, listing, selling and renting properties WITH a very strong commercial representation of agents, Land and Business Opportunities are a big part of West USA also. Of course, the Clay Fouts culture of business is a legend in Arizona and agents want that experience, therefore our growth continues. A very large number of agents have been here for many years and even some as long as I have been employed here. I started with him in the 28th Dr. office and have expanded with him to what has become 8 offices around the valley.

The staff that makes everything work properly to serve the agents are amazing people and we do not really have much turnover of great folks to work with.

One very notable observation I make here, is the very diverse mixture of agents that have come to West USA, with many backgrounds prior to real estate. I enjoy speaking to them about their previous careers and am fascinated by their reasons for deciding to make real estate their career. I am so happy they have become a part of our great Clay Fouts legacy and culture at West USA Realty!

BOB STEPHENS   5-26-2020




The morning after our first big rainr

And the waters have finally started to drain,

Away from the houses and out of the street 7 Each ring of the phone make my heart skip a beat.

It never fails that some unfortunate buyer Has reason to believe my seller's a liar.

For during the night while he is asleep Into his attic the rain starts to seep.

The nasty liquid begins to pour Down the walls and on to the floor.

The ceiling starts to sag and drip About this time the buyers will flip.

The damage is heavy» the carpet's a wreck,

We've seen less water on the Titanic's deck!

The cost of repairing something so watery,

Could only be covered by winning the lottery!

Whom do they call? Whom do they blame?

Why the Realtor of course, we're always fair game.

Why is it when the roof starts to leak Almost always it's the Realtor they seek?

When they saw the house, they said it looked fine;

So why has the blame suddenly become mine?

Are Realtors so wealthy, we can bear the expense Of providing a lawyer to present our defense?

Or are we expected to dash out the door The day after .the rains start to pour,

Go into hiding, or take a long trip,

And not come back 'til we've given them the slip?

"You can't do that!" the judge will declare,

"It's no longer the days of 'Let the Buyers Beware" "Couldn't you tell the roof wasn't right?

It was on top of the house, right in plain sight."

"I couldn't tell," you start to explain,

"That there were buckets in the attic to catch the rain," "Should I have climbed into the dark attic space To make sure every shingle was in the right place?"

The seller declared the roof was intact How could I know that wasn't the fact?

I try to be thorough to avoid any trouble But the rains never fail to burst my bubble.

As I stand by my lawyer my knees start to quiver I try to be calm, I try not to shiver I close my eyes and begin to pray Rain, Rain, go away......................

As I listen for the verdict, my nerves all tingle,

The buyers will surely use my license as a shingle As I stand there hoping, praying to win,

I look out the window - Oh no! It's raining again!



I am quoting from an email I received today from an agent of the Mesa office. She says, “I get a lead from a company I subscribe to for leads! I call the man within minutes and he says: “yes, we want to see homes in Verde Groves; we’re very interested in active adult communities and 2 of the homes in there are for sale”. “Can you show them to us?” Our agent says “sure, I’d be happy to”!

Then what is YOUR next step? Would you agree to meet them in 30 minutes and jump in the car to drive to the address in Verde Groves?

After you answer this for yourself—honestly—then read the correct response as handled by a real pro in the real estate business.


 Are you currently working with a Real Estate agent? (answer from prospect) “Well, my son’s a REALTOR but he’s on the other side of town.”

Our agent-- “Would he be representing you in this transaction?”

Him: “Yes, but we’d have to see the house first and see if we like it”………………

Our agent-- “Well sir he’d have to be the one showing it to you; because I’m applying for the job to represent you and you don’t need 2 of us!”

Him: “Well, I have to know if I like it first before I bother my son to show it to us, will you show us the homes or not?”


BOB STEPHENS—9/25/2016

Email from Manon Piccoli



It’s a brilliant book by a young fellow, Gary Vaynerchuk, who had to do a lot of research to come up with the timelines and mindsets of previous generations. It then evolves into the NOW generation and the changes that have been made exponentially as world-wide social media grows. I can relate to all the scenarios that he speaks of since I was born in 1934. This book speaks of the super power of consumers via social media.

Let me relate a personal experience from about 1980 when I took my 1978 Cadillac to Coulter Cadillac to be serviced. I waited for it in the waiting room of Coulter. About 6 hours later, after I had inquired several times about the car and later they admitted that they could not find it. Finally, they did find it up on the roof of Coulter. I was very, very irritated about this wasted day. I had 2 Cadillacs back then, both of them new when I got them, but they spent a lot of time being serviced and fixed. A 1975 that I traded in for the 1978. My wife suggested that I switch to a Lincoln and I did so in 1982 when I got a new Mark V. That was 30 years ago and I have driven Fords, Lincolns and Mercurys since then. Cadillac does not know that this happened but they have lost 15 sales to me since then and several others for my wife. I bought 12 of them from 1 salesman at Sunland Lincoln and he has since retired. I have yet to find another salesman that I trust like Jerry Johnson.

So if social media were available back in 1980, I could have made my feelings known to many people and perhaps Coulter would have felt the pain, causing them to recommit to great customer service. However, I now use YELP to complain or praise businesses.

Do you believe that you could lose business and never know why? I take the complaint calls for WUSA and they are simple problems such as non-communication. Other issues I have written about are contained in an article regarding property management. Common problems are not returning calls, repairs not done and retention of security deposits. Perhaps many of these complaints are unjustified, but these people are usually going to speak negatively of you and your company. I have had complainants tell me that they will never do business with the company again even though they are only angry with 1 agent, they include the company such as I did when I quit buying Cadillacs.

So in this morning’s newspaper, I read a story called "Use tweets to resolve disputes". The complainant states that calling a customer service # when you have a problem is frustrating. Dave Cherry is the author and his answer is that Twitter may be your best option to resolve the problem.

Let’s not let it come to that in taking care of clients, even unreasonable ones. Not only will you lose the business of that client, but they can be very harmful in how they speak of you even in word of mouth, but much, much more by using social media.


Download it on your Kindle, Zoom or I-pad or if you need to have the actual book, go to and order it at a great price.

Bob Stephens—9-3-2016


Do the parties to a residential purchase contract understand what it says?

It is only 4 lines on the first page of a contract but I wonder how much hard discussion came forth about what it means and can the parties live up to it.

If the property is occupied, do they have the means to be out on the close of escrow? Many believe that when it closes, they will receive their proceeds check AND THEN, they will load up and get out. BUT, that is not what the contract says and all have agreed to abide by the contract. Years ago, agents would tell the sellers that they have until 5 PM to move but that was not true. A contract is an absolute document and I can remember working on this issue on a contract committee at AAR. It was then changed to what it is now and leaves no questions in anyone’s mind about possession. When the foregoing notes are not fully digested by all involved, the problems begin.

Last week we had a seller who is an agent, decide that he will not move until Saturday even though the closing was on Friday. The buyer wanted in, the moment that it closed and I became involved as he asked me what to do. Of course, until it closes and the seller is still in there, then a CURE notice must be sent regarding possession. BUT the buyer does not want to close unless the seller is out of the property. So he did not want to close until the property was vacant and if that happens, then perhaps the buyer is in breach of contract and would be tendered a CURE notice on Saturday.

Can you see the importance of POSSESSION being as important as the price that is negotiated? My advice—spend a lot more time on it being understood by everyone including the agents involved. AND, if PRE & POST possession addendums are used, you will find that these also create a lot of problems.

Broker Bob 2018







The Buyer Contingency addendum could effectively take your home off the market if used by a buyer. Your buyer will then market THEIR property to find a buyer, of which we know nothing about at this point and does “their” unknown buyer need to borrow money to buy the buyers property? When “they” get a buyer, our Seller needs to immediately have access to their buyer’s pre-qualification form if they need to borrow money to purchase the buyer’s home.

Is the buyer’s property listed for sale and offered in the Multiple Listing Service? What is the co-broke being offered? We need a copy of the MLS listing furnished with this offer. If terms or price changes in the MLS during the contingency period, that the seller thinks, is to his detriment, can he cancel and state the “sole discretion” reason? Does it need a lot of repairs and does it have an appraisal on it yet? If not, is it being marketed at the fair market value?  We need a copy of any appraisal as soon as available. Should any earnest money be non-refundable as compensation for putting YOUR house effectively “on hold” while the buyer markets their property?

If the buyer sells their property to a buyer that cancels, should their escrow instructions be to immediately inform our seller’s agent, that the transaction is cancelled and NOT wait 3 days to be informed by the buyer?

Read the 2 pages of the Buyer Contingency Addendum carefully so that a decision is made that is in the interest of your seller.

In reading this, when you personally have a buyer, do they have the means, to buy a home? If they need to borrow money to do so, be sure and have them pre-approved by a dependable lender. Hopefully, you will not need to use the Buyer Contingency Addendum unless it is for the Contingent Upon CLOSING of Buyer’s property.

By Bob Stephens--June 23, 2018

Managing Broker—West USA Realty



Example: Closing is tomorrow. BINSR said to fix the roof. Roofer came and did so (or not) and gave a 3 year warranty to the seller. BIG RAIN CAME AND NOW ROOF LEAKS. Much damage to interior of home. Question comes to Broker—What do I do now?

Broker says, send a cure notice to fix roof and also quote line 273 regarding condition of property.

Agent says, “Oh no, they do not want to CANCEL and they really want this house, so I do not want to send a cure notice”!

Now then, did the Broker say anything about cancelling? NOPE! And yet, a whole lot of agents believe that a cure notice is a cancellation!!! So why not read under 7. REMEDIES, lines 278-281. NOWHERE, do you see the word “cancellation”. The cure period merely establishes that a breach of contract exists, IF NOT CURED!

The next portion is called BREACH! On line 282 the words “MAY cancel this contract”, (it does not say SHALL cancel the contract) and on the last line are the words, “rendering the contract SUBJECT to cancellation. BUT, it is a call that is made by the “non-breaching party”!

So, the buyer can establish a breach of contract by the seller by sending a cure notice to the seller—BUT, the seller can cure this and come back into compliance with the contract.

 A couple of other alternatives exist. The seller does nothing and the buyer closes. However the buyer has established a breach of contract which I think, is a powerful point, when going to court for damages. OR, the seller does nothing and the buyer can cancel the contract unilaterally, because the buyer has established a breach of contract and per line 282, the non-breaching party may cancel the contract. (An A-form in your dashboard)






I started at 11022 N. 28th Dr. We had a great group of agents there and many of them are still with us at the Arrowhead office now. Some passed on while working at the 28th Dr. office and I recall Jack Webber, John Horga & Robert Conroy as very memorable agents. When Jack died, we all met at his favorite golf course and planted a tree in his name. I would like to see it now! For John they put a rock in the front of the office with his name on it. It was there for about 5 years and the owner of the building finally made us remove it. Robert was a much loved ex-football player and we all grieved as he passed on. I had his wife come to a meeting and accept a Christmas ornament that I gave certain people. There are probably others that I have missed—I hope not. I think we grew to about 1000 agents and were a very close group back then and this proved to be the culture of being at West USA and without Facebook!  We did not have email yet either—I recall receiving the first address!

Also, I have always been very concerned about breast cancer and decided to do something for those that would take advantage of it. I arranged for a very large bus to appear in our parking lot and anyone could get a mammogram in this vehicle for $20. There was a line of gals out there all day. So popular that I had to get a repeat of this service a couple of weeks later. I wonder how many will remember this—many of them are now at the Arrowhead office. And, I had the AIBH (Arizona Institute of Breast Health) out to the offices to speak of their free services many times. At Christmas time, for a donation, they would light a bulb for a remembrance of anyone you designated and tag it for you. I did this many times for loved ones in my family including one niece that passed on from this disease. AIBH operated out of Scottsdale but has now ceased operation.

I could easily write a book from West USA memories such as dancing ladies coming out of a large box and dancing around me on my 60th birthday as a gift from Clay Fouts, at a party in a very large hotel venue. But, I need to save some thoughts for future writings.

Broker Bob   7-24-2018



Why won’t it go away? Of course, you need to know what it is, so I will quote it for you. SIGNATURES on contracts—1 on a listing and 2 on a sale! I have heard too many old timers in the business of selling real estate inform the newbies that this practice is OK. I even know a designated Broker that said it is OK and have heard teachers in CE classes say it is a common practice and is OK. I have been in real estate 45 years and have NEVER declared it to be OK! I have discussed it recently with a real estate lawyer that was a guest speaker in one of our agent sales meetings and she agrees 100% with me.

I have this discussion about once a month with agents that harbor this belief, when a very large problem surfaces regarding this idea. An agent takes a listing but only gets 1 signature on it which usually involves a man and wife or it may even be several owners and none have the authorization to sign for all.

The agent then puts the home on the Multiple Listing Service and asks all members, about 40,000 of them, to help them find a buyer for this home. They do this and bring offers in to the agent who now must present this to the owners for their approval. BUT, hold on there, the other owner or owners had no idea they were on the market and actually; DO NOT want to sell.

We had a husband and wife that owned a rental. He wanted to sell it and an agent took the listing but did not have the wife sign it. An acceptable offer came in which he signed but his wife would not sign the offer. As time went by we found out why she would not sign. She was having an affair with the tenant and wanted him to stay on as a tenant and therefore would not sell the rental.

So, as you can see, we do want all owners to sign a listing on a property that THEY want to sell.

Will the MYTH go away? Probably not!

Broker Bob