Phone: (480) 234-9225

Monday, August 22, 2011

Show and Tell

Remembering my first few days back at school each year, Show and Tell was always an agenda item.  The teacher would have each student come up front and tell the class about his or her summer.  Nervously, we’d come to the front of the classroom and describe some educational adventure, a family camping trip, perhaps a road trip vacation. 

With my passion for homes – new and old, I thought I’d do the same and take you on an arm chair tour to the Rocky Mountain town of Grand Lake, CO where each year I am fortunate enough to spend a cool, peaceful and relaxing week with my entire family.   

Founded in the late 1870’s, Grand Lake began as a mining town and a summer haven for the well-to-do that could venture over Trail Ridge Road where the elevation peaks at over 11,000 feet.  They’d arrive in their horse drawn buggies after the snow finally melts sometime after the 4th of July.  The destination was clearly worth the journey and they built some wonderful cabins, cottages and lakeside retreats to be used as their vacation homes.

Sit back and enjoy some of the historic and significant homes of Grand Lake:
Abandoned cabin at Big Meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park circa late 1800's.

The famed Hallmark family home.

The Grand Lake Yacht Club

If you go, you need to make a point to visit the Kaufmann House, home to the Grand Lake Historical Society.  And, no trip to Grand Lake is complete without an evening of fine dining and relaxing at the historic Rapids Lodge overlooking the river. 

Not a bad spot for a vacation home, eh?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Facing a Short Sale or Foreclosure: “When can I buy again?”

Notices of foreclosure posted on the doors to Phoenix area homes are not an uncommon sight.  In recent months, reports indicate upwards of 40% of the properties being sold are the result of short sales or foreclosures.  With the recent rough economic times, a number of people are finding themselves in situations beyond their control. They may have gone through a foreclosure, short sale, or bankruptcy and are asking the question, “When can I buy again?”
Steven Johnson, Senior Loan Consultant at Flex Mortgage, LLC in Tempe put together a great chart that provides some valuable information and may help answer that question.  Of course, no two situations are the same, so don’t take it as gospel, but it gives some generalized scenarios that may be helpful.

When Can I Buy Again?

Fannie Mae
USDA Rural
7 yrs from Trust Deed Date
3 yrs from Trust Deed Date
2 yrs from Trust Deed Date
3 Yrs from Trust Deed Date
7 yrs from Trust Deed Date
Short Sale

2 yrs w/ Max 80% LTV

4 yrs w/ Max 90% LTV

7 yrs – Max LTV

3 yrs from completion Date

*Per FHA ML 09-52, FHA financing can be obtained in less than 3 yrs under certain circumstances*
No specific information on this yet. Assume Foreclosure rule of 2 yrs
3 yrs from Completion Date
7 yrs from Completion Date
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
4 yrs from Discharge Date
2 yrs from Discharge Date
2 yrs from Discharge Date

3 yrs from Discharge Date

7 yrs from Discharge Date
13 Bankruptcy
4 years from Discharge Date
1 yr of the payout must elapse & payment performance must be satisfactory. Buyer must receive permission from the court to enter into a Mortgage
1 yr of the payout must elapse & payment performance must be satisfactory. Buyer must receive permission from the court to enter into a Mortgage
3 yrs from the discharge Date
7 yrs from the Discharge Date

If you have questions regarding the above, feel free to contact Steven at (480) 222-2122 or via e-mail at, or consult with a licensed loan consultant.

Photo courtesy of Flickr by Casey Serin.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Buying is cheaper than renting in most U.S. cities

Buy vs. Rent -

Deciding whether to buy a property or rent one has long been a question needing careful consideration. As the market shifts, the answer may be much easier now - According to new reports by real estate web site, Trulia, our bank accounts may actually be better off if we gave up on being a tenant and become a homeowner. Check out the article~

Buying is cheaper than renting in most U.S. cities

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Best Places for Sellers

Despite the market woes being felt by many, according to a recent report by Zillow, one of the leading real estate sites today, sellers in a number of California towns and a few other cities are getting contracts on their homes at prices that are very close to their listing price.  

Here’s the top 10 list for sellers:  Bakersfield, CA; Bend, OR; El Centro, CA; Las Vegas, NV; Merced, CA; Modesto, CA; Riverside, CA; San Jose, CA; Stockton, CA; and Washington, DC.

Check out MSN’s article, “The 10 Best Places for Home Sellers” for more details.

Photo from Flickr courtesy of james.thompson.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

John Hall & Associates to become Realty ONE Group

As the saying goes, "Change is a powerful force" and if it weren't for change, we'd all be stagnant doing the same old thing.  Looks like John Hall & Associates is teaming up with one of the fastest growing brokerages and will soon become Realty ONE Group.  Clearly combining forces seems like a logical and prudent move.

I don't have many details at this point, but here's what our broker and Phoenix area real estate guru Jim Sexton and Realty ONE Group CEO Kuba Jewgieniew wrote to all associates:
Dear John Hall & Associates,
I am pleased to announce today that John Hall will soon become Realty ONE Group. John Hall’s highly respected reputation and strong foundation will come together with Realty ONE Group’s transparent business model bringing systems, support and technology. Together, John Hall and Realty ONE Group are uniquely positioned to provide experience and innovation to today’s real estate market.  Jim Sexton will be joining forces with Realty ONE Group as their designated broker. Jim will continue to dedicate his time to making this industry better and will share his 25 years of experience with the organization. 
You may be asking yourself “Who is Realty ONE Group?” Realty ONE Group is one of the fastest-growing independent companies in America. It was started in May 2005 in Las Vegas and has become the largest full service real estate company in Nevada and is fastest growing in Arizona & California over 2500 associates.  Their fast-past growth, generous commission fee structure, passionate employees, support and technology has allowed them to receive the INC 500 award for the third consecutive year, a rarity. 
... Existing John Hall & Associates staff and locations will be retained while the Family and Home grow larger with more support, tools, technology and locations.
Stay tuned for more details on this transition. 

Photo from Flickr courtesy of brockvicky.

Friday, August 5, 2011

July’s Priciest Home

As I turn the calendar towards a new month, I always review the Phoenix area real estate market data and statistics from the previous month.  In July, 2011, the Phoenix area had approximately 3,100 single family home closings in the month, according to ARMLS data, with the priciest home selling for a mere $2,750,000. 

It’s always fun to keep tabs on the luxury market and the area’s more significant homes.  Here’s what one lucky buyer ended up with in July: This 8,091 square foot home was custom built in 2006 and is located in Paradise Valley.  The property sits on nearly two manicured acres of lush grass and tropical landscape overlooking the Camelback Golf Course and features 6 bedrooms, 6 baths, a wine room, theatre, game room and exercise studio, heated pool and spa, plus a number of other features. 

Here’s the details:

Listed November 29, 2007.  Closed July 15, 2011.
Total days on the market was 1,318 days
Original list price was $4,750,000.  Final sales price was $2,750,000
Sales price per square foot: $339.88.

The home was originally purchased in April of 2007 for $4,250,000. 

Photos courtesy of ARMLS.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

So, you want a 4-bedroom, eh?

If you’re in the market to buy a 4 bedroom home in the Phoenix area, you’re in luck – there’s plenty to choose from.  In fact, today ARMLS shows 7,005 active listings for 4 bedroom homes.   Thanks to the internet, SEO and perhaps a bit of PR, I get a fair amount of buyer leads via e-mail.  The most recent said the prospect “needs a 4 bedroom single level home to buy.” 

You would think that shouldn’t be too difficult of a request to make to your Realtor®, and don’t get me wrong, I’d love to help ‘em find the perfect house.  The problem is there are no other details.  Zip, zilch, none.  Not even a phone number that I can call to see if I can get more information. 

Of course I’ve sent e-mails back asking for more details, such as preferences regarding a geographical area, single level or multi-level, pool, number of baths, age of the property, and price parameters – Anything would help.

So, you want a Phoenix area home with four bedrooms? Maybe this will help:

The key to getting what you want is communication and that’s especially true in real estate.  Work with the other person in partnership and let them know what you’re looking for.  As agents, we have a number of elements we can tweak to better hone in on the perfect property – Give us as much information as you can, and we’ll be able to work smarter, faster and more successfully.

Phoenix area home specialists working with ARMLS can use a number of search fields in the system, including, but not limited to the following:
  • Price
  • City
  • Zip code
  • Beds
  • Baths
  • Square footage
  • Type of dining
  • Great room
  • Lot size
  • Dwelling type
  • Subdivision
  • Builder name
  • School district or name
  • Garage spaces
  • Fireplace(s)
  • Exposure
  • Flooring
  • Laundry
  • Type of construction
  • Roofing type
  • Type of heat
  • Number of days on the market
  • Access to property photos
  • Land lease
  • Fix-up
  • Lender owned
  • Short sale
  • Probate/estate
I often suggest to buyers just beginning to think about buying a home to sit down together and go through this list.  Identify what’s important and what’s not.  What the “have to haves” are vs. what are the “nice to haves.” 

And, no, we can’t do a search for just properties where there has never been a smoker, or cats have never lived there.  Or, the water heater is new. Or, if there's a door to the toilet in the master. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Madrid of Scottsdale

Madrid of Scottsdale is a beautiful gated community offering estate sized homes at the base of the McDowell Mountains near
Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd
100th Street
in the desirable 85260 zip code.  Madrid offers two separate gated sections located on either side of Frank Lloyd Wright.  The community has a total of 85 lots -  Approximately 60 homes are behind the iron gates off of Thunderbird on the west side of Frank Lloyd Wright, and 25 homes are on the east side of FLW.  Madrid is a newer Scottsdale neighborhood, built by Hancock, a Meritage Homes Corporation starting in 2003 and was completed as recently as 2006.

Homes in Madrid range in size from approximately 3,700 square feet to over 5,700 square feet, with some homes offering basements.  Although property lot sizes vary, they are generous in size and average approximately 15,000 square feet.   

Stunning mountain vistas are complemented by the classic architecture.  Madrid is influenced by its European name and neighboring Italy with the Tuscan styling, courtyards, turrets and rotundas, intricate stonework and well-manicured yards.  Madrid is one of Scottsdale’s best kept secrets with grand, regal homes in the hub of north Scottsdale, but nestled quietly against the picturesque backdrop of the mountains.   

I’ve been fortunate to view a number of homes in Madrid.  Spectacular kitchens with gorgeous woods, imported granites and unique stove hoods seem to be one of the many hallmarks of distinction in these homes.

Close to shopping, dining, entertainment, parks, recreation and cultural attractions – in fact, the famed Taliesin West is just a few blocks to the south – residents continue to remark about Madrid’s perfect location in the heart of their beloved 85260. 

View all available homes for sale in Madrid by clicking on the link below: 

Artist rendering taken from the original Meritage Homes marketing brochure.