December 2013 Market Update

December Market Update

Please note that data fluctuates daily when running these reports; these figures were obtained on 12/4/2013. Graph for Average Price per square foot in Metro Phoenix is below.

Please consult a real estate professional to see how statistics impact the area where you are considering selling or buying. Blended statistics will not be as accurate as a more detailed report that I would be happy to provide to help you with your decision making.

The month of November showed another increase in the amount of Active Sales. In fact there were 5,000 more homes competing for Buyers than this time last quarter. The Good News is that prices are holding steady or increasing across all categories. Homes are staying on the market longer and Sellers must be more competitive in their marketing and showing strategies. Although “Days on Market” is up from last quarter by a slim 5 days, inventory is still considered to be low and a slight advantage to Sellers. Homes that show great and are priced right are selling competitively.

For buyers, this means that though the inventory is increasing, the great values are going fast. Interest rates are still low. You have more room to breathe than last quarter; but don’t relax so much you miss out on the home you really want. So be ready and get Pre-Qualified. If you need a trusted Lender partner just let me know. Homes are selling at an average of 97% of list price, so use a conservative price range when shopping. Enjoy – Buying a home can be fun again!

Would you like to know what is happening in your neighborhood? 
Would you like to know the value of your home?
Do you need help deciding whether to sell or not or would you like to know if now is the right time to buy?
I would be very happy to get you that information.  Just call or email.




What to Say When You’re Selling

What to Say to Make your Home Stand Out

1.  Do Tell: Anything in or around your home that is ‘new’ (or nearly so). To a buyer, seeing features, amenities and appliances described as new-ish creates several connotations beyond the dictionary meaning of the word:

  • ‘New’ implies modern: in look and functionality. New appliances, furnaces, and finishes like paint and flooring simply have efficiencies, functions and an aesthetic style that older ones don’t.
  • ‘New’ implies clean: the suggestion is that even the most germaphobic buyer won’t have to fumigate the place with various disinfectant sprays to expunge decades’ worth of cooties (imaginary or otherwise).
  • ‘New’ implies less work for your home’s eventual buyers – especially if what’s new is a necessity that home buyers often have to buy before they can move in or a cosmetic item that home buyers often like to replace (i.e., carpet, paint, fridge, etc.).

That said, you should actually avoid using the word ‘new’  – unless something has been installed since you’ve moved out, and has truly never been lived in or with. Better to specify ‘recently remodeled,’ ‘installed this year,’ or ‘updated in 2012,’ to avoid legal problems later.

Think broadly when you’re thinking about how to apply this advice – work with your agent to determine whether to call out anything that’s new-ish about your home, whether that be appliances, a recent kitchen remodel, paint or landscaping. For that matter, look beyond your home with this point, to anything new in the neighborhood that might be relevant to buyers-to-be, like a new school, park, subway station, shopping strip or Farmer’s Market.

2.  Do Tell: Your home’s dominant features. Ask yourself: what’s the very best thing about this place?  Then ask again until you have maybe a handful of items. That handful of things may contain great fodder for your home’s marketing materials.

If you have to choose, prioritize features that (a) visitors to your home often comment on, and/or (b) that you have immensely enjoyed while living in the place.  And think outside the box: consider things like the light, the floor plan flow, the amazing block parties, the Zen you achieve sitting in your garden, the smells and sounds and the nearby attractions you haunt.

3.  Do Tell: Anything that’s exceptional about your home – the things that differentiate your home from the competition. Is your home larger or does it have more bedrooms than the average home in your neck of the woods?  Is your lot bigger or more private? Is your home a ‘regular’ sale in a sea of short sales, or the lowest priced listing in your super-chic subdivision? Does it have panoramic water views in an area where most homes overlook a block wall?  No rear neighbors where most properties are surrounded?

You’d be amazed at how many home listings fail to point out the differences buyers really do care about.  Don’t let your home’s listing be one of those. To avoid that dire fate, it might be helpful to take notes when you ask prospective listing agents for their first impressions of your home as compared to others in the area. Another strategy is to revisit your listing description after your agent has collected feedback. What you’re looking for is not something to exaggerate into a stunning selling point; rather, the goal is to find something that’s unique about your home relative to other nearby or competitive properties.

If people buy homes in your area because of its great school district and family-friendly activities, then mention the big, level backyard; the play structure and the fenced/covered pool. If your target buyers are looking for chic, car-free, urban living, talk about the Whole Foods Market and the gym on the ground floor of your building and the multiple public transport options within spitting distance.

Here’s where it’s good to mention any such features your home has that you know buyers in your area tend to look for that may be pleasantly surprising to those who just see your home online. This may include the actual size of very large rooms, the fact that you have a living room and a den, or all the amazing built-ins and customizations you’ve had professionally installed in your kitchen, closets, office, workshop, craft room or garage.

4.  Do Tell: Incentives, extras and details that make the transaction easier or more favorable than a buyer would expect. If you or anyone else is providing any sort of bonus or incentive that promises to make the transaction even a small amount less expensive, smoother, easier or faster than the norm in your area, call it out!

This may include:

  • HOA or closing cost credits paid by you (or your bank or relocation company)
  • Personal property you’re willing to leave behind (i.e., furniture, electronics, yard equipment)
  • Your willingness to finance part or all of the sale price
  • The fact that your listing is not a short sale or foreclosure – or anything else of this sort.

Because you’re probably not nearly as well versed in what area buyers expect from a transaction as your agent is, this is one particular area in which you should look to your agent for strategic counsel.

Insider Secret: Keep in mind that prospective buyers may only see a few lines of your home’s description online, and may not be able to see everything that would go on a flyer, or even the detailed or agent-only remarks that local agents can see on MLS listings. So after you talk with your agent about which of these ‘verbal staging’ points to include, it’s important to actually view your home’s online listings to ensure that buyers can actually see the important points.

So Say it all but Say it Simple!

Phoenix Buy vs Rent?

Phoenix ranks among the very top cities in the nation, for being cheaper to buy than rent, according to an analysis by Trulia. Affordable homes, and escalating rents, make the Phoenix area a good place for Home Buyers; and a great place for Investors to add some quality rental properties to their portfolio. The continuation of record Low Mortgage Rates makes this an excellent time to consider Real Estate.

Contact us for more information on how you can benefitin this market!

For the full article click this link:




Phoenix is Tops for Rental Income

Phoenix’s housing market has created a good place to invest in rental property, according to a recent survey ranking the top 100 cities for such properties in the United States. HomeVestors of America Inc., and Local Market Monitor, ranked Phoenix as the seventhbest market for investing in rental properties. The study found markets that suffered severe hits in the housing crash have become the best rental markets.

Phoenix, got good marks for keeping rents relatively stable, with the drop in home prices and the fact that jobs seem to be growing again. Carefully considered investment rentals can be a great long term wealth building strategy. Our team would be happy to review trends, and projected vacancy rates for you, to pinpoint the most profitable neighborhoods.

Let us know if you’d like more specifics. Good news for investors and homeowners alike!

Facing Short Sale? What to do

If you need to sell your home, and you expect that the total amount you owe on your mortgage will be greater than the selling price of your home, you may be facing a short sale. A short sale is one where the net proceeds from the sale won’t cover your total mortgage obligation and closing costs, and you don’t have other sources of money to cover the deficiency. A short sale is different from a foreclosure, which is when your lender takes title of your home through a lengthy legal process and then sells it.

1. Consider loan modification first. If you are thinking of selling your home because of financial difficulties and you anticipate a short sale, first contact your lender to see if it has any programs to help you stay in your home. Your lender may agree to a modification such as:

•·  Refinancing your loan at a lower interest rate
•·  Providing a different payment plan to help you get caught up if you are behind
•·  Providing a forbearance period if your situation is temporary

When a loan modification still isn’t enough to relieve your financial problems, a short sale could be your best option if:

•· Your property is worth less than the total mortgage you owe on it.
•· You have a financial hardship, such as a job loss or major medical bills.
•· You have contacted your lender and it is willing to entertain a short sale.

2. Hire a qualified team. The first step to a short sale is to hire a qualified real estate professional and a real estate attorney who specialize in short sales. Interview at least three candidates for each and look for prior short-sale experience. Short sales have proliferated only in the last few years, so it may be hard to find practitioners who have closed a lot of short sales. You want to work with those who demonstrate a thorough working knowledge of the short-sale process and who won’t try to take advantage of your situation or pressure you to do something that isn’t in your best interest.

A qualified real estate professional can:
•·   Provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) or broker price opinion (BPO).
•·  Help you set an appropriate listing price for your home, market the home, and get it sold.
•·  Ease the process of working with your lender or lenders.
•·  Negotiate the contract with the buyers.

•·  Help you put together the short-sale package to send to your lender (or lenders, if you have more than one mortgage) for approval. You can’t sell your home without your lender and any other lien holders agreeing to the sale and releasing the lien so that the buyers can get clear title.

3. Begin gathering documentation before any offers come in. Your lender will give you a list of documents it requires to consider a short sale. The short-salepackage” that accompanies any offer typically must include:

•· A hardship letter detailing your financial situation and why you need the short sale
•· A copy of the purchase contract and listing agreement
•· Proof of your income and assets
•· Copies of your federal income tax returns for the past two years

4. Prepare buyers for a lengthy waiting period. Even if you’re well organized and have all the documents in place, be prepared for a long process. Waiting for your lender’s review of the short-sale package can take several weeks to months. We usually request the Buyer open escrow with a non refundable earnest deposit to keep them committed until we gain approval.

Some experts say:
•·  If you have only one mortgage, the review can take about two months.
•·  With a first and second mortgage with the same lender, the review can take about three months.
•· With two or more mortgages with different lenders, it can take four months or longer.
•· These are only estimates and results with your Lender will be unique

When the bank does respond, it can approve the short sale, make a counteroffer, or deny the short sale. The last two actions can lengthen the process or put you back at square one. (Your real estate professionals, with your authorization, can work with your lender’s loss mitigation department on your behalf to prepare the proper documentation and speed the process along.)

5. Don’t expect a short sale to solve your financial problems. Even if your lender does approve the short sale, it may not be the end of all your financial woes. Here are some things to keep in mind:

•· You may be asked by your lender to sign a promissory note agreeing to pay back the amount of your loan not paid off by the short sale. If your financial hardship is permanent and you can’t pay back the balance, talk with your real estate attorney about your options.

•· Any amount of your mortgage that is forgiven by your lender is typically considered income, and you may have to pay taxes on that amount. Under a temporary measure passed in 2007, the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act and Debt Cancellation Act, homeowners can exclude debt forgiveness on their federal tax returns from income for loans discharged in calendar years 2007 through 2012. Be sure to consult your real estate attorney and your accountant to see whether you qualify.

•· Having a portion of your debt forgiven may have an adverse effect on your credit score. However, a short sale will impact your credit score less than foreclosure and bankruptcy.

We are very familiar with the short sales, and will be happy to assist you through the process, and be there for you at every step.

Note: This article provides general information only. Information is not provided as advice for a specific matter. Laws vary from state to state. For advice on a specific matter, consult your attorney or CPA

When are my Arizona Property Taxes Due?

Nobody likes to pay taxes. Gratefully Arizona property taxes are significantly lower than other states. However, they still must be paid, and on time to avoid any penalties.

According to the government, there are no excuses for not paying your real estate taxes. If you own a home, you are responsible for knowing that taxes must be paid.  Even if your mortgage company impounds monthly for your Arizona tax liability, you must make sure your taxes get paid. Unfortunately this is true whether the bill comes in the mail or not.

The County Treasurer in which your property is located, will bill you or your designated paying agent. Tax statements are paid in arrears and issued once per year, in September. The September statement has two payment stubs, so you will not receive a second billing for the payment, due the following March.

If your real estate taxes are not paid on those dates, the tax bill becomes delinquent on November 1 (for the first half) and May 1 (for the second half). At that point interest/penalties will start to accrue. Eventually, the State of Arizona could put a lien on your property for unpaid taxes.

If the total amount of your Arizonareal estate tax is $100 or less, the entire amount is due on October 1. If the amount of taxes is over $100, one-half of the amount is due and payable on October 1, and the remaining one-half of the taxes is due and payable on March 1 of the following year.

If you don’t receive the bill in September, or have questions about your tax bill, contact us and we can put you in touch with the County Treasurer’s office for your County. We’d be happy to help.

Talk to a Lender, BEFORE you look for homes

Yes, before you even begin to shop for homes, we can’t stress enough how important it is to Talk to a Lender! You will save yourself time, energy and possibly heartache.

Here are 3 reasons why:

*It’s important to understand how much home you can truly afford. With today’s interest rates it may be more than you think. But if not, it’s very discouraging to shop first then pare down your dreams to fit your budget. It will leave you feeling disappointed and less excited abut the home ownership process. Buying a home should be fun so find out how much you can afford, THEN shop.

*You must submit a pre-approval with any offer. As of February 2011, this is no longer an optional advantage but a requirement.  So if you see your dream home on a Friday but can’t talk to your Lender until Monday you risk the chance that a more prepared Buyer will secure the property before you have a chance. In this market it’s very common for the best homes in an affordable price range to have multiple offers. You, the Buyer, must be competitive, which means being prepared.

*Your agent and your Lender can work hand in hand to smooth your path to successful home ownership! Having a good team in your corner greatly increases your chance of getting the best home for your money. Some properties and neighborhoods will accept certain types of loans. Similarly, some sellers will offer incentives to assist with your loan or closing costs. Knowing your options opens doors you may have thought closed, literally.

We’d be happy to refer a quality Lender to guide you.