Rent Vs. Own: the Phoenix Market
In an Inman News Report this week, it was found according to statistics provided by Realtor.com that the Phoenix metro area took the number one spot nationally for overall rise in property values – a 23.5 percent jump from this same time a year ago. This is a huge improvement from last year’s reports which showed the Phoenix market in the top ten metro areas with a year-over-year price decline.
Even with reports of market stability, there is still the looming question: should I buy or rent? Although there are many factors a home buyer should consider before purchasing a home, the overall view of rent vs. own in the Phoenix market shows to be a positive decision. In a study of twenty-six of the Phoenix metro cities, it was reported that owning a home is indeed a better financial decision than renting.
Short Sale or Foreclosure?
In this quick video, learn the answers to a few important questions when considering a short sale or foreclosure such as:
Click here to watch now!
“Some parts of the region experienced home value increases of 5 to 10 percent a month this year because of a shortage of homes for sale that is sparking bidding wars between investors and regular buyers armed with pre-approvals for mortgages.”
There were 21,841 Active Residential Listings - Same time last year we had 37,246
Of these Active Residential listings:
Please know that as a licensed REALTOR I have access to the most up to date information available- and can help you determine what your home might sell for in today’s market- I can also provide you with data specific to your neighborhood or for your particular area of interest. Just let me know if you have questions and remember….
Real Estate is my FULL TIME career. I can help you navigate through all of this information to find answers that make sense for you - to make your best real estate investment decisions.
Bill Campbell, Buyer Agent for Barb Henderson’s Team
In our local real estate market, there has never been a more important time to have a professional representing your interest when purchasing a home. The need for an experienced, knowledgeable, and resourceful Buyer Agent can be a determining factor: do you have a good home buying experience or not.
Bill Campbell has been the Buyer Agent for Barb Henderson’s Team at RE/MAX Professionals since 2009. He has been an active agent in both the residential and commercial real estate industry for over twenty years. As a Buyer Agent, Bill prides himself on providing excellent service and exceeding his clients expectations. As your Buyer Agent, he will be your trusted partner and will ensure that you make an informed and comfortable decision with the most accurate information, while seeking out the perfect house to call your “home.”
In addition to his years of experience, Bill also has a BA in Economics. A local Valley resident, he has been married for twenty-four years and has three children. When he is not busy helping another Arizona home buyer, Bill spends his time coaching their sports activities. He is the co-founder and past president of the Mountain Ridge Girls Softball Booster Club. You can reach Bill at 623-606-1177 or via email at WilliamDCampbell123@yahoo.com.
New FHA Guidelines as of April 1st
This Sunday, April 1st there will be all new FHA Guidelines for home buyers. To clear up any confusion or stress, I want to share with you an outline of what those changes will be and how they will impact home buyers financially. Here is quick look at the new FHA Guidelines as of April 1st:
So let’s look at real numbers to see how they will impact the bottom-line cost of an FHA loan. If we were to take a $150,000 loan amount as an example at the current guidelines the fees would look something like this:
After April 1st when the new FHA Guidelines begin, here is what the fees will change to:
This communication is provided to you for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon by you. Barb Henderson and RE/MAX Professionals are not a mortgage lender and so you should contact Cobalt Mortgage, Mai Yahn who provides mortgage product(s) directly to learn more about its mortgage products and your eligibility for such products.You may reach Mai Yahn at 602-314-8450.
Stop Mortgage Scams: Know the signs!
With the recent buzz around town about short sales there are bound to be alternatives offered which are not legitimate solutions for Arizona homeowners. It is unfortunate during these challenging times however it is a reality in our market place. Protect yourself and those you care about. Here are a few signs to look for to help you avoid mortgage scams:
• You are told you will get a federal incentive to walk away from your mortgage
• You are asked to pay upfront for counseling
• You are pressured to sign papers immediately
• You are asked to sign your house over to a company or person who is not working with your mortgage company
• You are asked to make a mortgage payment to someone other than your mortgage company without their approval
• You are guaranteed a successful short sale or mortgage modification
• They claim to be a representative of the federal government
If you are considering a short sale or need help avoiding a foreclosure, please contact me for assistance. As a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) I am trained and experienced specifically in the short sale market. Please don’t be a victim of a mortgage scam – call me today to learn more about your options - 623-362-3035.
On Sunday, March 11th we will begin Daylight Savings time – it’s time to “Spring Forward!” Most people in Arizona don’t really pay attention to Daylight Savings since our physical clocks don’t change. However, we do actually change time – time zones that is. In the spring months we are on Pacific Time or in other words the same time as Los Angeles and our other friends on the west coast. In the winter months, we are on Mountain Time or the same time as Denver. Beginning this Sunday, March 11th at approximately 2:00am we will be one hour head of Mountain Time, two hours ahead of Central Time and three hours ahead of Eastern Time. Make sure you check your calendars for conference calls and travel plans – just because we don’t change our clocks, the rest of the world does!
Don't let this happen to you!
Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home, it is important that you choose an agent who is going to be there for you. My team and I have many years of local experience and selling real estate is our full time job. Don't let this happen to you! Call Barb Henderson's Team today - we specialize in first-time buyers, short sales,
relocation and investments.
Point Your Future Toward Blue Skies
These days, after much upheaval and 7.9 million homes lost to foreclosure since 2007, the landscape has changed – banks would rather agree to a sales price below the amount owed, than get stuck with another foreclosure. The U.S. Treasury’s Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) Program are offering cash relocation assistance to qualified homeowners and the push to correct the housing market has caused positive changes in the short sale process.
It is time to point your future toward blue skies – if you are no longer able to make your monthly mortgage payment and you owe more than your home is worth, it is time to ask for help. For homeowners who qualify, the HAFA Program can offer:
Meet My Preferred Lending Team
I would like you to meet my preferred Lending Team – Mai Yahn and Carla Hancock with Cobalt Mortgage. They offer all our clients a professional touch with superior customer service. Our clients get the expertise they need when shopping for a home loan.
Cobalt Mortgage was founded in 2001 and is the largest privately owned mortgage banking firm in the state of Washing with branches throughout the Western states, including Arizona.
I have been working with Mai and Carla for many years now. I trust them to get the job done and so can you! If you are thinking about purchasing a home, there has never been a better time. Contact The Yahn Team to get your loan started so we can get shopping for your new home!
Click here to meet my preferred lending team.
Barb Henderson, RE/MAX Professionals
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What is your New Year’s Resolution?
Happy New Year! I can hardly believe there are only a few more days left of this year – and what a year it has been. What will be your New Year’s Resolution? Perhaps buying a home is at the top of the list. As the final reports for 2011 are starting to roll out, I want to share some interesting statistics about our Phoenix Real Estate Market to help you decide if the New Year will be a good time to buy.
According to ABC news online, “October's decline in home prices was driven by slides in major cities, including New York, which has, over the past several years, exhibited more stable prices than many other regions, said Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist with Janney Capital Markets. Nineteen of the 20 cities analyzed had decreases in home prices over the month. Phoenix was the only one of the 20 areas that had a positive monthly change at 0.3 percent.”
The National Association of Realtors also posted some positive insights regarding the housing market. “Other recent good news for the housing market: November sales of existing homes increased 12 percent year-over-year, new-home building starts were up nearly 21 percent year-over-year, and mortgage rates reached new record lows last week, pushing housing affordability even higher.”
Our Phoenix market is seeing signs of improvement, from low inventory, less foreclosures and more short sale approvals. When inventory is low, the law of supply-and-demand will naturally cause the values to rise. If you are waiting to see if the market has bottomed out, you might not want to wait much longer – if you want to take advantage of the pricing opportunities available now, buying a home should be on your New Year’s Resolutions!
And just in case you didn’t know, mortgage rates have no fallen to a new “record-low.” Freddie Mac, or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation announced last week that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 3.91 percent. This “new all-time low” has dropped below the previous 3.94 percent, which was the record low.
Santa has a Message for you!
In between the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking, parties and all night wrapping, remember to take time to celebrate the magic of the season with those you cherish. I thought you might enjoy this great website I found which will help you capture the spirit of the St. Nick.
The Portable North Pole creates a personal message direct from Santa Claus – it only takes a few moments to create a memory that will last throughout the New Year. I hope you enjoy!
7 Tips to Saving Money for a Down Payment
If buying a home is on your New Year’s resolutions for 2012, here are a 7 tips you can implement to help you save the money you need for a down payment. Buying a home today has never been easier or more affordable!
1.) Have a budget
I know none of us what to think about the dreaded word “budget” however it is an essential piece to buying a home – not only will the discipline of a budget help you save the money you need for a down payment, in the long run, it will help you be a more financially responsible homeowner.
2.) Avoid the QT
Let’s face it, they are not called QT without good reason! And although they are “quick trips” and oh so very convenient, they wreak havoc on our budgets. Avoid paying the price for convenience and you will see a huge improvement in your checking account.
3.) Track your spending
Not everyone enjoys maintaining a running spreadsheet of their daily expenditures however, tracking your spending is an important part to saving the money you need for a down payment. If you don’t know what you are spending money on and how much, then you will never be able to maintain a good, solid budget. Even if you can spend 10 minutes at the end of each week to tally up your receipts, you would have a better handle on your spending.
4.) Have a list
Before you leave the house on Saturday morning to run your errands, make a list. Know what you need before you get to the store – it will help avoid over spending on things you don’t necessarily need right then.
5.) Paint a picture of your new home
If buying a home is on your New Year’s resolutions, then I encourage you to do a little painting – with your mind! Sit down for 30 minutes and create a picture of what your home will look like. If you aren’t the creativity type, then use the Internet to help you out. Print a picture of the house you would like to own and put a copy on the refrigerator or on your bathroom mirror. Having a visual reminder will help you stay on track with your savings plan.
6.) Pay cash when you can
Now days you hardly see anyone paying cash for purchases – instead we reach for our super convenient, handy-dandy debt cards. But the problem with using “debt cards” is our awareness to how much we are spending. When I was growing up, we wrote checks and had to balance our check books – just because we had checks didn’t mean we had an unlimited supply of money! Paying cash has a different emotional feeling than swiping a debt card. The money is taken from your hand and it is literally gone – you realize how far a $1.00 goes when you pay cash.
7.) Avoid the impulse purchase
Did you know that most major shopping stores spend millions of dollars each year to find way to improve the “impulse purchase?” Did you ever notice all the really great merchandise strategically placed at the front of the store so it is “convenient” for you to throw in the cart? In order to be successfully at saving the money you need for a down payment, you will need to practice impulse control. Try implementing a rule that only allows you to spend a certain dollar amount on thing that are not on your list or perhaps you wait a few days to think about the purchase before you react to the urge to buy it now. You might realize tomorrow that you don’t really don’t need it after all!
If you or someone you know is thinking about purchasing a home in 2012, please give me a call – I can help you stay on track so you can save the money you need for a down payment!
2012 Real Estate Crystal Ball
I recently attended a half-day seminar offered by Fidelity National Title Agency called the Crystal Ball Conference – which was a glimpse into the future of real estate – or what we might call the “crystal ball” for the 2012 market. As a real estate professional I believe attending events like the Crystal Ball are an essential piece to representing my clients and aids in the success of their real estate goals.
With 175,000 Valley homes gone to foreclosure in the past few years, the pending foreclosure statistics are half what they were this time last year. The number of bank owned homes on the market for sale in the Phoenix metro area are almost a fourth of what it was a year ago. So what does that mean for you? Well, here is what I learned regarding the 2012 Phoenix real estate market:
We believe 2012 will be the year of the short sale home transaction. With the shift in the REO inventory supply, the focus will now become short sales. Just at Bank of America alone, they have hired additional staff, putting to work over 3,000 employees in their short sale department. The drive in the market next year will be a continued effort to improve the housing economy by reducing the number of bad or under water loans by way of a short sale.
As many of you know, I have been helping clients navigate through the short sale process for the last few years. I am excited to share with you the improvements projected for 2012. It is my hope that we will be able to help many more Arizona homeowner’s who are struggling with a home that is under water in value. Consider what your real estate and financial goals might be for 2012? Do you need a fresh start? If you answered yes, then a short sale might be a possible solution.
Reverse Mortgages: good or bad?
With the change in the economy and the housing market, some homeowners may be looking for alternatives for cash reserves. I am sure you have heard the increased exposure and advertising about the Reserve Mortgage. Of course, as with any big financial decision it is wise to consult with a loan officer who is skilled and knowledgeable about the loan program before you make a decision.
Reserve Mortgages: the bad
1.) Reserve Mortgages cost more than a typical loan
With a Reverse Mortgages the borrower has to pay a loan origination fee plus the HUD Up-Front Mortgage Insurance. Depending how the homeowner chooses to take their loan funds, it may end up costing more in the long run. A Reserve Mortgage loan balance grows over time and the fees are based on the principal loan limit or the appraised value, whichever is less.
2.) Eligibility changes
For seniors who do not plan to pay off their current mortgage but wish to take all their Reserve Mortgage funds up front, could face possible challenges with need-based programs. By having a large sum of cash available, they may limit or restrict eligibility for programs, like Medicaid.
3.) Higher risk for scams
Elderly people are the target of unscrupulous individuals who are looking for ways to scam or steal from them. This is especially true for seniors with large sums of cash. Be wary of people looking to “sell” or help you “invest” your money.
4.) Who is responsible?
When there is an age difference between two homeowners, where one is younger than the other, it is tempting to remove the young borrower from the title and only use the older borrower for the Reserve Mortgage. If this is done, there should always be adequate insurance coverage or another plan in place in case the older borrower should pass on. This would leave the younger spouse responsible for the balance, which they may or may not be able to qualify for, leaving the property at risk for foreclosure.
5.) Additional costs
Homeowners should keep in mind they are always responsible for the upkeep of the property as well as for the property taxes and insurance costs.
Reserve Mortgages: the good
The biggest benefit a Reserve Mortgage offers is the opportunity to live in their home with no monthly mortgage payment (loan is repaid after they leave the home).
2.) Other liens
A Reserve Mortgage can be taken out on a property, even if there is existing financing on the home or it is free and clear.
3.) No income or credit requirements
A borrower does not need monthly income to qualify for a Reserve Mortgage, nor are there any credit requirement to meet in order to qualify. And the loans are government insured.
4.) No monthly payment
With traditional financing, conventional or FHA loans, the borrower has to make a monthly mortgage payment. With a Reverse Mortgage, the borrower does not have to make any payments, so long as they are living in the property.
5.) Ownership does not change
The borrower always maintains ownership of their property and then passes onto their heirs. Reserve Mortgage proceeds are tax free and the homeowner can use the funds however they wish.
Reverse Mortgages can offer a good solution for certain individuals – they are not suitable for everyone and must be reviewed thoroughly to make sure it is the right decision for your financial situation. If you are interested in learning more, please call me. I can recommend an expert loan officer to help you determine whether or not a Reserve Mortgage is good or bad.
Presently, there are only 16,376 homes on the market for Maricopa County. In 2009 there were roughly 60,000 homes for sale! The more startling number is the sale pendings – 16,089 homes in Maricopa County are presently under contract – that is nearly equal to all available inventory! When the “housing bubble” burst in 2008-2009 there were speculations that we had a years and years of inventory for sale and it would take a decade to dig out from under it. I think, all things considered, the fact there are less than 20,000 homes for sale in the 6th largest city in the U.S. is a great sign of positive changes in our real estate market.
What do the changes to Obama’s new refi program mean to you?
By now you have heard the buzz about the new changes to the HARP program as announced this week by President Obama. The changes are a revamp to the existing HARP program which was put into place in 2009 to assist homeowners avoid foreclosure. So what does this mean for you?
There are several key changes that have been made to the program, which will open up the edibility of nearly 1 million underwater homeowners. Here is a brief overview of the changes:
· Must be current on mortgage payment
· The revised program will eliminate the 125% loan-to-value
· There will no longer be a requirement to have 20% equity in the home
· Mortgages backed by Fannie and/or Freddie Mac and originally sold to the GSE’s on or before May 31st 2009 are eligible for the new refinance program
· Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have done away with the requirement for a new appraisal
· HARP program has been extended from June 30, 2012 through December 31, 2013
We hope to see the changes in place as early as December 1st 2011. With the options available now, homeowners will be able to take advantage of the low interest rates and free up monthly income they would have otherwise been paying to their mortgage bill. Officials for HAFA and HARP believe the improvements to the program will help prevent future strategic foreclosure.
If you are not sure if you qualify or if you have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan, please give me a call – I can help you. 623-362-3035.
RE/MAX Professionals Home Hotline provides you with recorded information on all new listings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! It’s easy to use and the best part – it’s FREE! Just follow these 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Call the number 602-277-3111 from your cell phone
Step 2: Enter the house number of the property you are looking at (for example if the address is 123 Main St, you would enter 123 on your cell phone keypad).
Step 3: Listen to the information and follow the prompts for more details
If you are actively looking for a home to buy, I can register you on RE/MAX Professionals Home Hotline, for FREE and you can receive additional information – when you are ready to see a home, just give me a call, text or email and I will schedule an appointment ASAP.
Top 10 Halloween Safety Tips
Halloween is a festive time of year for every member of the family, especially the young ones who like to get dressed up. In order to help everyone have a safe and happy Halloween this year, I have put together a top 10 list of Halloween Safety Tips for you.
1.) Children under the age of 12 should never go trick or treating without supervision. Even if your child doesn’t like it, you or someone old enough should chaperon. When they get to the door, make sure the person who answers can see there is an adult with them. For children over 12 years, you should always establish a curfew time for their return home.
2.) If you don’t live in an area that is safe for trick or treating, you can always attend a community event. Many cities, libraries, churches, recreation centers, etc offer a planned Halloween event with games and custom contests and best of all, the treats!
3.) Plan a route for trick or treating before you leave the house. Planning ahead will avoid potential danger.
4.) Make sure your child’s costume is safe. If they are wearing a dark colored material, it is a good idea to attach something that glows or is reflective so they can be seen by others, especially those driving in vehicles. Make sure your child can breathe properly and can see clearly if they are wearing anything that covers their head as a part of their costume.
5.) Teach your children about stranger danger. Create a plan in case something happens. You can provide your child with a wristband or a slip of paper in their pocket with their address, phone number in case of an emergency.
6.) Never let your children eat their treats until you have had a chance to inspect them. Candy that has been tampered with can cause serious health risks.
7.) Teach your children how to cross the street safely. Make sure they stop and look both ways before entering the street.
8.) If your child should get lost, teach them how to ask for help and who to look for.
9.) When approaching a house, make sure you only choose houses that are well lite and in safe areas.
10.) Practice safety first so you can enjoy Halloween!
Interesting Arizona 2010 Census Findings
As we can all remember, the US Census conducted their survey last year to determine the current population in Arizona. I thought the information was very interesting and wanted to share it with you.
According to the US Census, Arizona’s population in 2010 was 6.4 million, up from 5.1 million in 2000. The number of people living in Arizona in 2010, verses the 2000 Census is up almost 24%.
“Per capita income went up at approximately the same rates in Arizona and the U.S.
Per capita Arizona residents had incomes of $34,999, a total increase between the years 2000 and 2010 of 33%.”
The Census report also found that vacant housing makes up a large percentage of the total housing in Arizona. As of April 2010, there were 2,844,526 housing units in Arizona, 83.7% of which were occupied leaving the state with 16.3% vacancy rate. Out of those figures, they found that 184,327 vacant homes were seasonal residences. The other 270,000 homes are potentially for sale.
“Over the previous decade, Arizona added approximately 1.3 million people. Assuming that the state adds 130,000 people a year in the near future, the population addition would translate into an additional 58,000 households per year in the state, based on 2.25 people per household.”
Nationwide, one in seven mortgages are headed for foreclosure. While the statistics in our market vary from community to community, it is no doubt that helping homeowners out of foreclosure has become a national priority. It is important for any homeowner who is underwater on their mortgage or financially overstressed to understand that none of the parties involved want to see a foreclosure happen.
Banks were blindsided by the foreclosure crisis of the past few years, and too many homes have been lost to foreclosure, but the landscape has significantly changed. Several entities within the Federal Government, along with major lenders, have retooled and restaffed in order to more effectively help homeowners to avoid foreclosure.
Among the most troubling statistics pointed out is the fact that the majority of homeowners who end up in foreclosure never seek the services of a real estate agent or attempt a short sale.
As a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) I am up-to-date on important information regarding the short sale process. I have the expertise and insight to serve my clients within the complicated and highly distressed sale process. There are options other than a foreclosure. Don’t just walk away - please call me today to discuss how we can help you.
Existing Home Sales Increased
According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales increased in August, even with looming credit and appraisal problems. Total home sales, which included single family homes, townhouses, condos and co-ops rose 7.7%.
National Association of Realtors, President Ron Phipps, was quoted “the market is remarkably affordable for people with secure jobs, good credit and long-term plans. “All year, the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income has been hovering at historic highs, meaning the best housing affordability conditions in a generation.”
The numbers speak for themselves and indeed it is a great time to get your slice of the American Dream – if you are thinking about buying a home or know someone who is, please give me a call. I would love to be your Realtor!