Archive for the ‘Buying A Home’ Category

Phoenix Neighborhood Stabilization Program info
February 19, 2013

NSP Logo 250

We had a speaker come into our office today and talk to us about the Neighborhood Stabilization Program for the city of Phoenix today.  I had heard about this program and actually put a client through a similar program a couple of years ago.  The info she shared I found very useful and thought I’d pass it along.  Basically the program is an opportunity for home buyers to receive assistance with down payment on a house (up to $15,000) as a forgivable second loan. The payback decreases by $1,000 per year and disappears after 15 years. If you sell the house before the loan goes away you simply pay back the portion that remains. It’s great opportunity for people who don’t have a lot of money to put down to get into a house. The homes are either new or “move in ready” condition and have been built/remodeled to very high standards. I will include a few links to their pages that may be helpful.

Here is the address to their home page (http://phoenix.gov/residents/stabilization/nsp/index.html).

Here is the address to their qualification page (http://phoenix.gov/residents/stabilization/nsp/eligible/index.html).  You can buy either a new home or a “move in ready” home.

Here is the address to the page where you can see a list of the “move in ready” homes that qualify for the program (http://phoenix.gov/webcms/groups/internet/@inter/@res/@stab/@nsp/documents/web_content/moveinreadyhomeinventory11-11.pdf)

If you would like to talk to me about the program or for more info, please feel free to give me a call or drop me an email at TLee@TLeeRealty.com

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How’s The Phoenix Home Market?
September 19, 2012

Home prices are definitely on the rise and inventory is very low. This is causing bidding wars again in many neighborhoods. The reasons behind the rebound in our market are varied but a lot of it is centered around the value of investment property to rental pricing and demand. The laws of supply and demand are definitely in play and with the increasing prices more people are getting “right side up” on their mortgages again. As displayed in the graphs below you can see what the market trends are.

Phoenix average property price
Phoenix Homes For Sale
Phoenix – number of properties
Phoenix Homes For Sale

Questions or comments are certainly welcome. I can be reached at tlee@tleerealty.com

The Future of Short Sales in Phoenix
November 15, 2011

In these tough economic times we have seen lots of good people who are struggling to make their payments and keep their homes.  Recently I attended a seminar that talked about the future of short sales in the Arizona market.  It was headed by a panel that included executives from Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase and some other well-known people from the financial industry.  The long and the short of it is that short sales are not going away anytime soon.  One of the panel members made the comment that he sees the numbers rising not decreasing in the near future.  We were assured that while there is noshadow inventory” in the Phoenix future, there will be lots of short sales that will continue to affect the market locally.  Another panel member reminded us that a short sale transaction is a settlement of debt, not a relief of debt.  Basically he was saying that lenders are not in the habit or will they be in the habit of approving a short sale if the sellers do not have a true hardship causing them to no longer be able to afford the house.  “Strategic default” was brought up and the bank execs all agreed flat-out, do not submit them because they will not be approved. If you are not familiar with the term strategic default it means that the seller wants to sell because they no longer want to pay on a home that is worth substantially less than what they owe.  This is not what the short sale was intended for and banks made it clear they do not and will not work with these home owners.  One other point that was brought up was that the IRS has recently hired 20,000 new agents and they are going to be primarily be investigating mortgage fraud and the strategic default process.

As for real estate agents, we were encouraged to hear that the banks have stream-lined their short sale process and in many cases are even able to aid the seller in getting out of the home and relocating into a new home but offering a little $$$.  The HAFA and HAMP programs are there and can be a great help for those who qualify.  There are some great articles out there that explain the options to home owners that are in trouble.  One website I highly endorse is shortsalehelp.org  I urge all home owners and agents who work with short sales to educate yourself on the process and keep up to date.  The short sale market is changing rapidly and by the time you read this I am sure that some of the rules have changed.

As with any legal and financial dealings I highly recommend that you not only speak to a reputable real estate attorney but also talk to a CPA that you trust to find out what your financial implications may be.   While we are in an anti-deficiency state here in AZ, you still may have financial implications.  Real estate agents are great to help you market and sell your home but we are not legal or financial experts and should not be relied upon for that purpose.

Below are some links to lending institution web sites that may be helpful if you have a loan with one of them and are looking for answers:

Bank of America

Wells Fargo

Chase

NAR Reports Rise in Home Sales
February 20, 2011

 

Existing-home sales exceeded analysts’ expectations by increasing by 12.3 percent in December. Homes sales are returning to their highest level since last May.

 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported seasonally adjusted sales rose to an annualized rate of 5.28 million last month from 4.7 million for November. Analysts had predicted a rate of approximately 4.9 million units.

 

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “December was a good finish to 2010, when sales fluctuate more than normal. The pattern over the past six months is clearly showing a recovery. The December pace is near the volume we’re expecting for 2011, so the market is getting much closer to an adequate, sustainable level. The recovery will likely continue as job growth gains momentum and rising rents encourage more renters into ownership while exceptional affordability conditions remain.”

 

NAR said the median existing-home price in December was $168,000, down 1 percent from a year earlier, which was attributed to the number of distressed properties sold during the month. The level of distressed-home sales last month rose to 36 percent of the existing-home market, up from 33 percent in November and 32 percent last year.

 

Regarding distressed-home sales, Yun said, “The modest rise in distressed sales, which typically are discounted 10 to 15 percent relative to traditional homes, dampened the median price in December, but the flat price trend continues,”

 

NAR President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I., said buyers are responding to very good affordability conditions despite tight mortgage credit. “Historically low mortgage interest rates, stable home prices, and pent-up demand are drawing home buyers into the market,” Phipps said. “Recent home buyers have been successful with very low default rates, given the outstanding performance for loans originated in 2009 and 2010.”

The Value of Long-Term Homeownership
January 18, 2011

 

Despite the decline in home prices over the past few years, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released a survey concluding that moving into a new home, particularly over the long-term, is a good investment.

 

The typical seller is experiencing positive returns, and the vast majority of homeowners see their property as a good investment, according to the latest consumer survey of home buyers and sellers.

 

Although typical sellers had been in their previous home for eight years, up from seven years in a 2009 study, first-time buyers plan to stay for an average of 10 years. Repeat buyers plan to hold their property for 15 years.

 

NAR 2010 President Vicki Cox Golder said the pattern of home buyers purchasing with a long-term intent has solidified over the past few years. “This underscores two simple facts – homeownership encourages stability, and the longer you own, the better your investment. . . Despite swings in the housing market in recent years, the fact is most long-term owners see healthy gains in the value of their property.”

 

According to the NAR, even with several years of price declines, the typical seller who purchased a home eight years ago experienced a median equity gain of $33,000, a 24 percent increase, while sellers who were in their homes for 11 to 15 years saw a median gain of 40 percent.

 

Paul Bishop, NAR vice president of research, said “Eighty-five percent of recent home buyers see their home as a good investment, and nearly half think that investment is better than stocks,” he said. “Even with the turmoil created by the housing boom and bust, this indicates the long-term view of homeownership as a fundamental goal and value remains sound. In fact, the single biggest reason most people buy a home is the simple desire to own a home of their own, cited by 31 percent of respondents, including 53 percent of first-time buyers.

 

“Clearly the agenda here is sustainable homeownership,” said Ron Phipps, incoming president of the NAR. “We know homeownership matters. Long-term, it is very, very important. But we want to make sure that people who are buying homes are able to enjoy them and support them over the longer haul. . . There are people who need to rent, and that is fine. . . The market should accommodate that. But the majority of families are better off with homeownership for the long term.

 

“I think it will be interesting to watch,” said Phipps. “The market will be very creative in what it encourages. I like the entrepreneurial nature of developers and Realtors in figuring out what that future is. Right now, I am much more focused on the near future. The long-term market is strong.”

 

Other benefits of long-term homeownership include:

 

  • Social cohesion and stronger communities. Long-term homeowners move less than renters, and therefore, they stay in the same community longer.
  • Educational achievement. Studies show that the decision to stay in school is more frequent for those raised by parents who are homeowners compared to those whose parents are renters. Also, changing schools frequently due to moving can negatively impact a child’s educational outcome.
  • Civic participation. The longer a homeowner is part of a community, the more likely he is to be politically active and vote in local elections. Long-term homeowners have a higher membership in voluntary organizations.
  • Lower crime rate. It is easier for homeowners to recognize perpetrators in stable neighborhoods.
  • Better quality of home. Long-term homeowners spend more time and money maintaining their property. Neighbors can also influence other homeowners to improve their property, resulting in a better overall quality of the community.

 

6 Common Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid
November 12, 2010

You’ve determined that you’re ready to buy a home. You’ve saved enough for a down payment, you’ve been searching for properties, and you’re ready to make your dream a reality. Buying a home is an exciting process; however, if you’re not careful, it can turn into a nightmare. Here are 6 common home buyer mistakes to avoid. 

1. Not Budgeting Properly

It’s easy to overestimate what you can afford. Although owning a home may be a better investment than renting, it’s not necessarily going to be cheaper. Take a good look at your income and expenses for a few months before determining what you can comfortably afford. Make a budget sheet using Microsoft Excel or any other budgeting software. List all your income as well as every single expense, including food, gifts, and even haircuts. Keep in mind any emergency expenses as well.

When budgeting, don’t forget about hidden costs including closing costs, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, HOA fees, and décor and furniture to fill your new home.

2. Neglecting your Credit Report Prior to Getting Approved

Your credit score can be either helpful or detrimental to your loan process. Getting a full credit report from all three credit reporting agencies – ExperianEquifax, and TransUnion – before applying for your home loan will not only let you know how credit-worthy you are, it can lead you to possible reporting errors. One study found that as many as 25 percent of credit reports have damaging errors.

3. Not Getting Pre-approved for a Home Loan before Searching

Most sellers prefer bids from prospective buyers who are already pre-approved for a home loan. Being pre-qualified and pre-approved are different. Pre-qualification is usually the unofficial process of informing a lender of your credit status, income, and debt. The lender can usually give you a ballpark figure of what type of loan they may offer. Pre-qualification is based on your word alone and doesn’t hold much weight with sellers.

Pre-approval is the verification of the information you provided to the lender. This process will give you a better idea of how much the bank will loan you. Getting pre-approved can get you a step ahead other potential bidders that have no pre-approval.

4. Skipping the Home Inspection

You love that old fixer-upper, but skipping the home inspection can cost you as much in repairs as the cost of the home itself. The home inspection should include the overall foundation and structural features of the house, the roof, walls, plumbing, the presence of mold, pest infestations, heating, air conditioning, appliances, and the electrical system. Also, ensure that your inspector is certified with the American Society of Home Inspectors.

5. Picking the wrong neighborhood

You’ve found a home you love, but do you know what happens in the neighborhood after dark? Do you know the crime rate? What is the traffic like during rush hour? How is the school district?

Knock on your potential neighbors’ doors, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Call the school principal, or talk to parents who are waiting to pick up their kids after school. Read the local newspaper to learn more about the community. There are many real estate blogs and community websites on the internet so before buying the home, check out the neighborhood.

6. Using a Bad Real Estate Agent or No Agent

You want a real estate agent who understands your needs and limitations and will work for you and look out for your interests. Get references from friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. Consider interviewing a few different agents to find out about their activity and experience in your area.

It’s definitely possible to buy a home without the help of a professional real estate agent, but realtors have access to all the homes on the market through the multiple listing service (MLS). Unless you are in the real estate business yourself, you’ll likely not have any access to the MLS in your area. Real estate agents spend their time sifting through listings, making appointments to show homes, meeting with inspectors, and helping you create a comparative market analysis to determine proper pricing.

The real estate agent you choose could be the greatest asset or biggest obstacle to finding your dream home.


Buying a Foreclosed Home
November 5, 2010


The current state of the economy has caused a flood of foreclosed properties on the market. Many home buyers are taking advantage of the extremely low cost of a foreclosed home. A foreclosure occurs when a property owner fails to make the payments on his or her loan which leads to the property being seized and sold.

 

There are generally two options when buying a foreclosed home. You can either purchase the home from the lender/bank, or you can purchase the home from a foreclosure auction or sale. Because the process is very different for each, this article will specifically focus on bank foreclosures.

 

Listings of foreclosures can be obtained from most banks. Some agents and brokers who specialize in foreclosures may also assist you in finding foreclosed property for sale. Consider the following tips when looking at a foreclosed home:

 

  • Inspect the house very carefully. Many foreclosed homes have previous homeowners who did not maintain upkeep on the home or the landscape. Sometimes the repairs are minor, but take into account any unexpected repairs when budgeting. You may want to contract a private inspection to give you a better indication of the cost of repairs.
  • Evaluate the neighborhood. Knock on your potential neighbors’ doors to ask them how they like the neighborhood. Research the crime rate in the area as well.
  • Have an agent find the prices of comparable homes in the area to ensure you are actually getting a good deal.

 

Once you have found a foreclosed property you are considering buying, go to the County Recorder’s Office. The County Recorder’s Office can provide you with the Trust Deed, the Notice of Foreclosure Sale, and the Notice of Default on the property. These documents are public record and reflect how much was originally loaned to the homeowner, when the loan was issued, how much was owed at the time the Notice of Default was filed, and how much the bank paid for the property. Since there are usually no concrete rules banks follow that determine their bottom-line price, these documents will help you explore the lowest possible price the bank is willing to sell the home for.

 

Foreclosed homes are often offered at a significant discount at upwards of 30% or more, so if you are in the market for a bargain, a bank foreclosure may be a great option for you.

 

Great Articles on Home Buying
June 7, 2010

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2010 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®


March 18, 2010

Reduced price on 10204 N 12th Place.  I just dropped the price to $129,000 on this great condo. Freshly painted inside and a nice fountain and patio with mountain views.

Buyers… the time is now!
March 5, 2010

If you are considering buying a home… the time is now! With the expiration of the tax credit (April 30th) just around the corner, that is incentive enough for you to make a decision. Now with the U.S. Treasury Department printing money like there’s no tomorrow, that means one thing… inflation WILL rise just as sure as a river in the rain. With inflation rising, so will interest rates. Some experts are predicting that we could see 30 year rates in the double digits before the end of the year. This is not meant as a scare tactic to get people off the fence. It is simply a warning… if you have the means to buy a home you will not find a more perfect storm than now. Prices at a decade low, interest rates on the verge of a steep climb and the government (local and federal) have several programs offering funds that can be used to make repairs or even cover some closing costs.

My advice is to get approved with a reputable lender and choose your house quickly so you don’t miss the boat!