Phoenix West Valley Real Estate Market Report for December 2017

January 5th, 2018

Happy New Year Everyone!! Wow what a great finish to 2017 our West Valley Real Estate Market. Contrary to popular belief, that December is a bad time to sell, the Holidays didn’t stop buyers for shopping for their dream home! Surprise had incredible boom with a 24.7% increase over Dec 2016, followed by Litchfield Park at 17.8%, while Buckeye was up 11.4% and Glendale with 8.4% increase. A few cities saw a down turn in the December market, Peoria -9.9%, Avondale at -9.7% and Goodyear at -7.5%.

As we continued to struggle with low inventory levels all year, I am happy to report that Maricopa county finished 2017 strong with a 6.6% increase in the number of sales over 2016. Even better ALL West Valley cities saw an increase in transactions over 2016. Buckeye with an incredible increase of 14.5%, Peoria came in strong with an 11.00%, Surprise with the third highest at 10.4%, followed by Phoenix 7.2%, Glendale 6.3%, Avondale 3.8%, Litchfield Park 1.9% & Goodyear 1.3%.

Some interesting facts of 2017, Maricopa county saw the largest increase in homes sales with properties with a sales tag of $2,000,000- 3,000,000, in fact we sold 227 properties compared to 179 in 2016, a 26.8% increase. The $550,000-$749,000 had an increase of 26.5% selling 3532 homes sold, versus 2792 in 2016. Further proof that its a good time to have real estate equity in AZ, all homes sales from $180,000 — over 3 million saw double digit increases over 2016. West Valley cities contributed to the over million dollar homes, actually selling more than twice as many homes over a million than 2016. Those cities were, Peoria with 16 sales, Glendale with 9 and Litchfield Park selling 6 homes over a million in 2017.
Maricopa county closed out 2017 with a 6.67% increase in median price at $240,000. Starting our 2018 with all below norm inventory levels, at 2.69 months of inventory in Maricopa county. All West Valley cities are below 3 months of inventory, if you know someone who is thinking of selling, now is great time. All in all Maricopa finished out 2017 in a nice stable market and appears to be headed to repeat that stability in 2018.
As always we would love the opportunity to assist you with all your real estate needs, Buying, Selling, Investing, Property Managment, our team has you covered.

Real Estate Licenses Exposed! Before you Buy or Sell in AZ, here are some things you need to know

December 6th, 2017
Can we just cut to the chase and get to the point. All to often I hear, “well I thought all real estate agents were the same, how was I supposed to know?”  Well I am here to tell you that they are not all the same and hopefully help you to choose an agent wisely.
First of all, I want to expose the myth of Real Estate school. In the state of AZ, in order to obtain a real estate license, you must complete 90 hours of class room time. This can be done in a 2 week crash course, 6 weeks or 1 year. These classes are to prepare the licensee on subjects like Fair Housing, State Laws, Water Rights, types of Loans, and basic real estate vocabulary. Truth is, you don’t learn anything about real estate transactions, you haven’t even seen a purchase contract. Once you have completed your required courses, you are required to pass the state and federal exams. It is at this time, the licensee will need to complete a 6 hour purchase contract class. Then you can “Activate” your license and start selling real estate!
So where does an agent learn how to write a purchase contract, complete a market analysis, perform searches on the MLS, negotiate contracts., etc.? There the rubber meets the road and  things you need to know before you hire your next real estate agent. But first I must explain something that many people aren’t aware of, as an agent, you pay your company to work for them!! Sounds crazy right? True story, we are independent contractors, that pay our Brokerage to work as a part of their company. How much money depends on what they provide to the agent and their clients. These fees can be deducted from the commissions at a rate of 15-50% or monthly payments as little as $20-50 per month or as much as $1150 per month. Typically brokerages that have small monthly rates, don’t have a lot of training programs or an onsite Broker for training and mentoring.
So what if the agent can only afford to work at low cost broker that doesn’t offer training? Then it is up to the agent to find education or mentoring on their own. They can go to the local Board of Realtors, perhaps join a team, or obtain a Graduate of REALTOR® Institute (GRI). This is a 90 hour course schedule specifically geared towards the real estate transaction. Then there is the more popular form of education, just wing it! Trial and Error! Fake it till you make it! Unfortunately we see this a lot. And unfortunately there is a 90-95% failure rate within the first 2 years for real estate agents in the Phoenix Metropolitan area.
Now you probably have a vision in your head of a brand new agent, after all we began the discussion with real estate school right? Something else you should also know, the time a licensee has had a license does not mean they have experience. We see agents all the time that have been licensed 15-20 years and only sold 4 homes during that time. There are no guidelines for part time versus full time agents. Once you obtain your license, you just have to complete 24 hours of renewal classes every two years, subjects are similar to real estate agenda and pay your dues. Its the same wether you sold 100 homes that year or zero its just 24 hours every two years.
Something else to expose here, is the difference between Broker and licensee. In AZ, there are two kinds of Brokers, Designated and Associate, what’s the difference? There can only be one, Designated Broker per Brokerage, any other agent that has obtained a Brokers license are considered Associate Brokers. These are licensees that have had a real estate license for at least 2 years and took a 90 hour Broker course, similar to the real estate licensee agenda, but more intense. Note, I did not say that these licensee’s were required to have completed a real estate transaction, there is no requirement, not even one, in order to obtain a Broker license in AZ. In fact, many states do not recognize a Broker in this manner, AZ is one of a handful where the Broker is responsible for over seeing the paperwork, contracts and keeping the agents up to date on current changes in laws effecting the industry.
So how do you choose a good agent to work with? Ask the right questions. Don’t be afraid to ask them where the get their training from? Are they being mentored? Are they on a team? Do they have a Broker that is available immediately should a situation arise? Are they familiar with the area you are wanting to live in? How many homes have they sold/listed in the area in the last 6 months? What type of on-going training does their Brokerage offer them? Are there any benefits to you such as advertising or technology for you, as a client to work with their Brokerage? If you choose to no longer work together, what is their Brokerage cancelation policy? Is it in writing? Side note, when you sign employment agreements with an agent, you will be employing the Broker and not that agent.
At the end of the day, buying or selling a home is one of the biggest decision of your life, you need to know that your investments are protected with an experienced and knowledgeable agent by your side.
Want more information on this subject? See our blog post entitled Buying a Home in AZ, what is your Agent’s role as your REALTOR®

Buying a Home in AZ, what is your Agent’s role as your REALTOR®

December 6th, 2017
Buying in AZ maybe quite different from other states. There are several things you should know before you choose a REALTOR® to work with. First, we are not “an attorney state,” severals states have laws that mandate the involvement of an attorney to draft executed purchase contracts, amendments and estate closings. Arizona is unique in that Article 26 of the Arizona Constitution authorizes real estate salespersons to engage in the practice of law, in order to draft purchase contracts and other legal documents needed to transfer real property. Arizona Association of REALTORS® have boiler plate forms that your agent should be using, these forms are drafted by attorneys and approved by committees of Brokers, Mortgage Attorneys and other Board members, they are written according to the law with best regards to the Principals of the contract, Buyer and Seller. It is very important that your agent fully understand and be able to explain these contracts to you.
Who determines the value of the home? Keep in mind in AZ, it is not standard practice for the Seller to obtain an appraisal prior to sell. The listing price of the home could have been determined by several different sources. The listing agent hired by the Seller provided a Comparable Market Analysis in order to determine the value. The seller has a set amount that he needs to obtain in order to be able to sell the property. Automated Evaluation sites online, such as a Zillow’s Zestiment. Crazy as it sounds, one time I asked an agent where they came up with the listing price, “thats what the neighbor told the seller it was worth.” All of these sources can be completely inaccurate in their valuation of a property. So what does this mean to you as a Buyer? Typically the Buyer pays for the appraisal, if the home does not appraise for the purchase price, Buyer and Seller have two options, reduce the contract purchase price to meet the appraised value or cancel the contract. Therefore choose a Buyer’s agent that is competent, educated and skilled on providing you with a Market Analysis on the home, prior to you making an offer.
A revison to the AAR Purchase contract, was the limitation on Seller Warranties, basically the homes are sold as-is, where is. Sellers are not required to repair any items that were not working on the day you wrote the offer. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. Prior to writing the offer, you and your agent should throughly explore the property. If you notice something is not working, for example, the microwave door is falling off, if you would like this item repaired/replaced, your agent will address the issue in the offer. You are given a 10 day inspection period, highly recommended that you hire a professional home inspector. Your agent should also provide a Buyers Advisory to you so you can perform your Due Diligence and research, schools, crime stats, sex offenders, etc. You will also have an opportunity to give the Seller a notice of the items that you disapproved of during the inspection and the Seller will have an opportunity to repair those items or not. Should the Seller choose to not, you are given an additional 5 days after notice from the seller to cancel or accept the items, as-is and move forward with the purchase of the home. This is 10-20 day negotiation process, you will need a knowledgeable agent advising you on red flag repairs and negotiate strongly for your best interest.
If you are financing your purchase, your Buyer’s agent will follow up with your lender. In the purchase contract the Buyer agrees to update the Sellers with the loan progress. There are more than 38 boxes that need to be checked on in a specific time frame, in order for you to move into your new home on time.  The Buyer’s agent should be requesting a Loan Status Update from the lender to ensure the loan is processing smoothly. It is very important that your lender and your agent have a good communication process through out the transaction. Many experienced real estate agents have gained strongly relationships with preferred lenders, ask your agent for recommendations.
Your agent will also be in communication with the Title/Escrow company facilitating the transaction and issuing the title insurance policy on your behalf. This will ensure that the title is free and clear of liens. The escrow officer will also receive your loan documents and facilitate the signing and notary of the Docs. At that point, your agent will review the Settlement Statement, provided by the Escrow officer to ensure that the fees being charged to you are accurate to agreed amounts of the purchase contract, to ensure your not be over charged. Your agent will arrange signing, if you are not in the state at the time of closing, no worries, the documents will be FedEx to you and you will have them notarized and send back with the enclosed FedEx packing slip. If you are in the state, the title company will graciously accommodate you and your work schedule. Most title companies have office valley wide, if need be, they can arrange a mobile signing at your home or workplace.
As you can see there are a lot of roles your Buyer’s agent will be playing on your behalf. Something else to consider when buying in AZ, although many states no longer allow “Dual Agency” it is legal here. Dual Agency is a limited representation from an agent that is representing BOTH the Buyer and the Seller on a transaction. Hopefully know that you see the significant role your agent performs on your behalf, you will also see why you would not want to work an agent that has already signed an agreement with the Seller to negotiate on behalf of their best interest. I am sure you can imagine it is a challenge for an agent to try to get a Buyer the best price on a home, while trying to get the Seller top dollar, all while the agent is getting twice the commission, who’s best interest is at stake here? This is why our team consists of “Buyer’s Specialist” and “Listing Specialist.” If you call on our listings, you will be working with the Buyer’s Specialist, whom has your best interest at heart.
Now you are probably wondering why I didn’t mention the one BIG THING, maybe the ONLY THING you thought a Buyers Agent does for you, FIND YOU A HOME. Am I right? We hear that all the time, “well I found the house” or “I don’t need an agent, I like to shop online and will find my own home” Well hopefully you can see now that finding a home, is important part of a Buyers agents role, it is no where near what the extent of our role as your agent. It is very important that you have and your agent have a consultation and they thoroughly understand your needs, wants and must haves. This will help them establish a search portal on the Multiple Listing System, now you will be alerted of a home that meets your criteria the instant it is listing by the Sellers Agent. Many websites you are searching online are 3-5days behind, the property could already be sold by the time you see it on Zillow or another website. It is very important that you and your agent have good communication and if your criteria in your home search changes in anyway, you let them know so they can set your search portal accordingly.
Unique thing about all this Buyer Representation does not cost you a thing. The Sellers pay the listing commission and the listing agent offers a split of that commission on the MLS for the Buyer’s agent. So why would you not have a Buyer’s Specialist representing you?  If your would more information on Buying a home in AZ, call us for a no obligation Buyers consultation today.

Phoenix West Valley Real Estate Market Report by City November 2017

December 5th, 2017

How’s the Market? Here is the November 2017 West Valley Market Report. Black Friday deals weren’t the only thing selling last month. Two West Valley cities reporting double digit increases in the amount of homes over last year, Surprise 20.00% increase, Peoria 13.8%, followed by Phoenix 8% and Buckeye 6.7%. Inventory or Home supply levels, continues low, as each month we list and sell almost the same amount of homes. 

However something interesting happened last month, we saw increases in the amount of New Listings. Buckeye had the largest increase of new listings  with a 33.8% increase over November 2016, leaving them at 2.98 months of inventory year to date.  Followed by Peoria 9.1%, Glendale 7.8%, Phoenix 5%, Surprise 4.8% Avondale 0.9%. 
Pending sales were down in all cities except Litchfield Park. Avondale was down -47.7%, Goodyear -38.7%, Peoria -26.6, Phoenix -25.5% Glendale -23.9%, Surprise -18.7%, Buckeye -4.7%, Maricopa County -27.8%. 
New listings taken on the rise and Pending sales down, we could start to see the Market shifting to more of a Buyers market. We will keep on eye on these numbers closely next month.
As always we would love the opportunity to earn your business and help you with any real estate need you may have, Buying, Selling, Investing or Property Managment, we are here to serve you!

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How will the Proposed Tax Reform Bill Affect Arizona Homeowners, Investors and Renters?

December 1st, 2017

The following article was presented to ARMLS members on 11/15/17, with tax debates underway and changes likely, I thought it was worth sharing. As it stands the changes look good for Arizona,  investors and even renters.


There have been numerous articles written over the past week about the new tax implications. In his daily observations from November 6th, Michael Orr of the Cromford Report shared his take on the tax adjustment.

“The Mortgage Interest Deduction is not as important as many in the housing industry believe. It only comes into play for taxpayers who itemize their deductions and for many people the standard deduction is already larger than the total of their itemized deductions. With the proposed tax changes under re- view in 2017, the standard deduction will increase while many other deductions will be reduced. This will mean the Mortgage Interest Deduction will become irrelevant except to a very small percentage of home owners in Arizona. Only people with incomes well over $200,000 are likely to find it worthwhile to itemize their deductions. Needless to say, this is a lot higher than the typical income level to be found across Greater Phoenix.

“The limit on the size of the mortgage for which mortgage interest can be deducted is proposed to fall from $1,000,000 to $500,000 and property tax deductions will be limited to $10,000. In California these limits may look rather low, but in Arizona there are few people who will be affected. This is because our property taxes are much lower than California and our average mortgage is much smaller too.”

“The net effect of the proposed tax changes will be to lessen the tax advantages of home ownership versus home rental. This could divert some demand away from homes for sale towards homes for rent. Neither type of home is easy to find in affordable form in the Phoenix area right now, though expensive homes are easy to find for both rent and purchase. It also means the tax proposals will be unpopular with real estate agents, who much prefer people to buy rather than rent. This is confirmed by the strong opposition to the tax reforms voiced by the National Association of REALTORS®”

“Another thing that agents will dislike is the new incentive created for high end homeowners not to sell their home. Existing mortgages will have their interest deductibility preserved but any new mortgage will be under the new rules. The national mobility is rather low at the moment, so this tax change will probably reduce mobility further, especially at the high end. On the other hand, people involved in re-modelling and renovating will be pleased about the changes, as owners decide to stay with their existing mortgage and update their home instead.”

“From a builder’s perspective, they too prefer incentives to buy rather than rent, so most are in opposition to the tax proposals. However, it will be high end builders like Toll Brothers and those with a greater exposure to expensive markets on the coast who will be most negatively affected. The Arizona market will feel very minor effects in comparison and the low and mid-range demand for new homes is likely to remain intact.”

“Those involved in rentals will love the changes because rental demand will get a boost. Doubling the standard deduction will give most filers the tax benefit of owning a home without the bother of having to a purchase one. The likely increase to their take-home pay will probably make it easier for tenants to pay their rent on time and agree to the rent increases that landlords love to impose. The tax changes are therefore friendly to landlords and real estate investors.”

Numbers from Maricopa County public records in 2017 echo these sentiments:

90% of the homes purchased in Maricopa County are less than $482,000 77% of all homes purchased had a mortgage
Less than 3% of the homes purchased had a mortgage greater than $500,000

My personal sentiments align with Joseph Callaway in a recent azcentral article, “It has been a long time since we had a buyer say that they were buying a home for the tax deduction on interest,” he said. “If tax reforms bring more prosperity to people, then home ownership and demand will go up.” And I might add, a tax change that negatively impacts California might bring positive economic gains to Arizona.

It should be noted the tax-reform bill hasn’t passed yet, and more changes will come as Congress sifts through the proposal. As is most often the case, it’s difficult to anticipate the true ramifications of changes within the tax code, and at this early stage, we’re only guessing.

Reproduces with permission courtesy of ARMLS® COPYRIGHT 2017

Real Estate Market Report for Surprise Subdivisions- October 2017

November 22nd, 2017

Hows the Real Estate Market in Surprise, AZ? Median home prices have seen double digit increases over last year. Inventory levels remain low and new listings continue low, 2017 should finish strong for homeowners in Surprise. Click below to enlarge a detailed report on all Surprise Subdivisions. 

Feel free to contact your Surprise Area Specialist, selling Surprise since 2003.

Phoenix West Valley Real Estate Market Report by City for October 2017

November 8th, 2017

How’s the Market? Here is the October 2017 West Valley Market Report. Happy Fall Y’all!! Cooler Temps have heated up our Market! Maricopa County had an increase in sales over last year of 4.3% with a median sales price increase of 6.57%. West Valley cities that had the largest increase was Buckeye at 43% increase over last year, Litchfield Park 33.3%, Peoria 6.7%, Goodyear 6.3% and Phoenix 3.9%. All other cities reported slight decreases were Avondale -16%, Surprise -7.3% and Glendale -4.1%. 

Inventory levels remain low as New listings taken are much less compared to 2016 numbers in Avondale, Glendale, Peoria, Goodyear and Surprise. Although Litchfield Park 23.5%, Buckeye 15.7% and Phoenix 2.4% reported an increase over last year.
As we head in to the Holidays it will be interesting to see how this Real Estae market ends in 2017. Typically the last quarter of the year is a strong selling season, with the increase in winter visitors however pending sales are down significantly in all west valley cities compared to last year. Avondale -26.9%, Buckeye -12%, Glendale -23.3% Goodyear -27.4%, Litchfield Park —28%, Peoria -16.8%, Phoenix -25.6%, Surprise -12.4% and Maricopa County -26.1%. It will be interesting to see how November pans out. Will we see home prices drop? Will the Pending sales increase to hold prices steady? Stay tuned.
Thinking about selling? Give us a call for a Free Market Analysis. Thinking about buying? We have a dedicated team of Buyer Specialists ready to help you step by step find your dream home.

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Ways Landlords Fail

November 8th, 2017

As you may know we have a property management division within our team, to help our investment property owners manage their properties and maximize the overall return. There are a few things that commonly pop up as we take on properties that I thought I would discuss here. This is not written to poke fun of anyone, it’s to shed light on the problem areas we are commonly seeing so that you can perhaps make an informed decision on whether you need a property manager to help or not. So here are three very common fails we are seeing…

  1. Not running it like a business. Real estate is valuable, it can be the single best investment you will make in your life. Don’t run your business on a whim or gut feeling, run it on sound business principals and proven models to ensure success. I’m surprised how many people that own an investment property decide to handle it on their own without any experience whatsoever. There are huge consequences to doing things wrong in this business so be aware!
  2. Running on emotion. Making decisions on gut feelings or emotions is not the way to operate. You MUST follow a business model to have success. This is very common because the owner may lease the former family home, or has become too emotionally attached to the home while purchasing. Or very commonly we see landlords lease to friend, family or even become friends with the tenants. This can lead to Landlord Tenant violations and other issues like not increasing rent according to market rent or spending too much or too little on maintenance to keep your buddy happy. You need someone to be the buffer, someone to be the bad guy when rent needs to be increased after the lease term. Yes, spending a little on property management will pay for itself over time by avoiding these fails.
  3. Lease poorly written. We see this one all the time, and perhaps can be the most damaging if ever challenged in court. We take countless classes and attend seminars and meeting with attorneys to learn how to properly write a lease to protect the owner. I’m surprised how many people out there simply write their own without any education on the matter. Be very careful here, you can end up massively in debt and have very serious charges brought against you for simply writing something wrong. And most the pre-printed leases available out there contain provisions that should NOT be used. There are very strict laws out there be very careful.

If you need assistance with property we are happy to help, please let us know.

City of Surprise Subdivision Real Estate Report September 2017

October 10th, 2017

Hows the Real Estate Market in Surprise? City of Surprise Median Home prices are up 7.14% over last year. Click below to enlarge a detailed report on all Surprise Subdivisions. Feel free to contact us with questions or to get a detailed report on your specific property.

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Phoenix West Valley Market Report by City September 2017

October 7th, 2017

How’s the Market? Here is the September 2017 West Valley Market Report. Inventory levels once again held steady in most west valley cities. A few dropped a couple of percentages while a few went up a tick. Only Surprise and Peoria saw increase values in the Median sales price, all other cities reported a decrease in median home prices. As you can see from August Market report, they were not significant price decreases, but with low inventory supply, we expect to see prices trending up. In case you missed, be sure to check out last weeks blog “Whats Up with this Market” where I shared what our team, and other agents are experiencing in this market.


Now to give an accurate picture when looking at these numbers, you need to keep in mind 30-45 day average closing time for real estate transactions, this means most of the homes that closed in September, actually sold in August. So with that said, another number I pay close attention to is the Pending Sales. Not sure if its a “sign of a shift” or higher than normal temperatures, but the winter visitors and influx of home buyers that usually see in September just weren’t there. Pending Sales in September in just about all west valley cities showed double digits decreases over the same month last year. Avondale -27.6%, Glendale -33.4%, Goodyear -32.5%, Litchfield Park -31.2% Peoria -17.8%, Phoenix -25%, Surprise -30.3%, Maricopa County -28%, the only city to increase sales over last year was Buckeye with 7.5% increase over last year. 

Along with Pending sales, I watch “New Listings taken.” Buckeye reported 18.8% increase over last year, that was followed by Peoria 4.2% and Surprise 1.1%. All other cities were in the negative for listing taken this year versus last year. Litchfield Park -22.7%, Avondale, -15.4% is where we saw the least amount of listings, other cities averaged -4% decrease. 
We shall see soon what October has in store for our West Valley Real Estate Market.

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