How to Get Top Dollar When Selling Your Home in Today’s Marketplace

Pick up any national real estate news magazine and you’ll quickly notice that Phoenix is being ranked one of the fastest growing areas in our nation in terms of home appreciation. The news is great! Especially considering that our marketplace was also one of the hardest hit back when the housing market crashed in the 2007/2008 years and beyond.

So what does this mean to us at ground level? It means that this could not be a better time to sell. In fact, with the market conditions as they are nowadays, it’s ripe with opportunity to yield top dollar on the sale of your home.

But it’s not just as simple as pricing your home higher and hoping a buyer will accept that higher price. A lot more goes into it. Here are three things that my team and I do to make sure you are getting top dollar on your property.

Going the Extra Mile on Research
Most homeowners have no idea how their home’s value is estimated. In fact, many do not realize that there are multiple ways a valuation can take place. One such way is through a Comparative Market Analysis. Done by those in the real estate profession, a CMA is a report that highlights recent past homes that have sold on the market; homes that are comparable to yours. Now as you can imagine, this can be a very subjective report because what one agent might find a reasonable comp, another might overlook.

That’s why my deep research into your neighborhood, seeking as much of an exact comparison as possible and putting on paper what I truly believe buyers out there will pay for you home – will make all the difference. I take the time to carefully study each aspect of your local and sub-local marketplace before presenting the ideal price range, looking at other factors such as absorption rate and specific details.

Exercising Strong Negotiation Skills
When it matters most, you need a strong player at bat for you. And these days, with buyers still used to a buyer-controlled market and sellers starting to enjoy multiple offers on their properties – a lot comes down to negotiation.

There is no reason that you should be shortchanged on higher returns for your property’s sale because an agent does not have enough property know-how. I bring strong negotiating skills to the table and I support them with the industry knowledge needed to back up my stance for a higher price.

Follow-Through, Not Just Follow-Up
There is a significant difference between following up with a transaction versus following through. This is particularly important during the appraisal process. When an appraisal is being done, I make it a priority to make sure the appraiser knows everything he or she needs to know before evaluating the property. If we can get our hands on blueprints, share information about any upgrades done on the home or anything else that would be useful – we do it.


A lot more goes into effectively selling a house and I assure you that we do our best to make sure you get that well-deserved top dollar when we sell your home. I invite you to contact me today to learn more so we can begin making your real estate dreams become a reality!

Are Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments Worth the Time and Effort?

In most cases, yes! It’s essentially a process by which you make extra payments on your mortgage. That way, you save interest costs and pay off the loan faster.

How Does It Work?

You make a payment to your lender every two weeks instead of once a month. This means that each payment is equal to half of the monthly amount due. The result – you’re paying the equivalent of 13 full payments rather than the usual 12.

It gets even better! The full amount of the extra payment is applied toward the principal. And because the principal balance is the amount on which interest is calculated, paying down principal results in a reduction in accrued interest!

Let’s look a traditional payment monthly schedule vs. a bi-weekly schedule so you can see exactly how it works.

Example 1: Traditional monthly payments

Let’s assume you have a loan balance of $250,000 with a 6 percent interest rate and a 30-year loan term. In this example, your monthly payments are $1,498.88. So, over the life of the loan, you’d pay a total interest of about $289,595.

Example 2: Bi-weekly payments

Using the same loan balance and terms described above, the difference would be the following:

• $749.44 paid every two weeks
• About $225,490 paid in total interest
• This results in a savings of more than $64,000 in interest!
• In addition, the loan is paid off in 24 rather than 30 years

Bi-monthly payments are still a good strategy if you’re an individual who doesn’t plan to keep your house for 24 or 30 years. Why? Because bi-weekly payments still reduce principle, even over a short period of time.

For example, in the first year, the principle is reduced by nearly $1,600. And, at the end of the fifth year, the principle amount has been reduced by about $9,000!

How Do I Arrange Bi-Weekly Payments?

The first task is to contact lenders to find out if they do offer a bi-weekly payment schedule.

If they offer one, ask what the participation requirements are. In typical situations, lenders require you to have payments automatically withdrawn from your bank account since they dislike processing checks every two weeks.

Often, it’s the case that a one-time fee is charged for this service. The fee can be minimal or be in the several-hundred-dollar range, depending on the lender.

So, after all these benefits, how can there possibly be disadvantages to bi-weekly mortgage payments?

Well, the first disadvantage relates to a situation I mentioned above - the lender’s fee is very expensive for the service provided. In such a case, the costs may outweigh or cut down your overall savings.
A second disadvantage occurs when paying bi-weekly is too hard on your budget. Upfront, you need to make sure that you have the money available for the increased payments.

The final potential disadvantage relates to the length of time you plan to stay in your home. That can affect your overall savings on interest.

I recommend that you weigh the pros and cons of bi-weekly mortgage payments by using one of the many online calculators. Just enter your numbers and the calculator will give you a comparison.

If you’d like the assistance of an expert on the subject, contact us immediately!

Listing in the Fall/Winter is One of the Best Ways to Get Your Home Sold

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There is a misconception out there that placing your home on the market to sell during the cooler months is a bad idea. Contrary to popular understanding, the truth is that it is a great time to sell your home! Why? Not only because there are fewer properties on the market competing against your home but also since the people that are out there buying continuously seek a great opportunity and keep looking regardless of season. 

Bring in the factor of today’s phenomenal interest rates and you have a winning combination for selling success with all the buyers eager to lock in amazing interest rates still making housing market history.

Home Sales In Fall/Winter Compare Closely to Sales in Spring
Consider this: house for house, there are almost the same number of homes sold during the cooler months of the year as there are in the “peak” real estate season, that is spring. To demonstrate this, I have pulled a few statistics that will surprise you.

Right now there are 15,228 active listings on our market. This translates to just over two months of supply. Going back to the basic concept of supply and demand, anytime there are fewer than 4 months of supply of homes, it is a sellers’ market where homes will sell quickly and for top dollar.

This is the part that surprises most of my clients; looking back to the sales in November of 2011, we had a total of 232 homes sold per day, 260 homes sold daily in December 2011 and skipping forward just a few months to that “peak” season the number was 290 homes sold each day on average in April.

This is merely an 11% difference. In other words, the number of homes sold in the winter months was very similar to those sold in the spring, as evident in these market statistics.

To see more detailed statistics of specific areas, Click Here.

Strong Selling Season Expected Ahead
What this means is that there is no reason for you to pull your home off the market – in fact, I believe that could be detrimental to your selling success. Furthermore, choosing to list your home in a market environment known to generate heightened interest and subsequently multiple offers yielding top dollar is the right choice for most people.

If you would like me to look at your situation and provide a customized evaluation of what you might expect to receive for your home in today’s market – or anything else dealing with your real estate needs, contact me today.

Why This is the BEST Time to Refinance

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There is no reason to pay more for something – anything, if you don’t need to do it. And this could not be truer for mortgages. When the housing market crashed in 2007 most homeowners had no idea of what the aftereffects would be. Yet today, as we are on the brink of a full recovery and we continue to see national and local improvements across the board – it remains one of the best times to refinance your home.

Here’s why: The Fed continues to keep interest rates at their record setting historic lows. Add to that the slim chance we will not see an increase in the base rate anytime before late 2013 or even 2014 and you have the perfect recipe for mortgage savings.

Right now, we are seeing interest rates that are in the mid 3% range for 30-year fixed rates loans and even lower for 15-year notes. So assuming you qualify, how do you know if a refinance is the right thing for you?

The answer is a simple one. If you are a homeowner that is paying 4% or more on your mortgage – it’s definitely time to see if you qualify for a refinance! Not only is this a great time because the government is actively pushing interest rates down and banks are lending money but also you will see a huge dip in your mortgage payment.

It is important, however, to make sure that you protect your equity. There are several different ways to do a refinance and doing a no-cost one works very well. Keep in mind that purchasing a new home versus refinancing one are two completely different functions. When it comes to refinancing you want to be savvy about how you go about it. The first thing you need to do is find out the approximate value of your home. Your real estate agent will be able to assist you with that by doing a Comparative Market Analysis.

Though there will be closing costs associated with a refinance of your home, just like when purchasing a property, you can finance at a slightly higher rate and then save money since it’s a pure profit as opposed to if you had done a lower interest rate plus costs. There is also no prepayment period this way, making it the best way to refinance in our opinion.

To find out if you qualify for a refinance or to learn the value of your home, contact us today! We are happy to help!

Now is the Best Time to Buy

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Nearly everyone knows that after our housing market crashed in 2007 things got crazy in the real estate industry. Values slumped, people were forced into foreclosure and short sales and the market pretty much slowed down almost to a standstill. Well today, things are finally coming back up – in fact, they ARE up. With phenomenal market conditions, including fabulous interest rates, lower inventory levels, increased demand and more lenient lending practices, there could not be a better time to buy a house.

Interest Rates Continue at Record Setting, All Time Lows
Right now in our marketplace and across the country, people are able to lock in interest rates as low as in the mid 3% range for 30-year fixed rate loans. When you consider other factors such as credit condition and debt-to-income ratios, some borrowers are even able to lock in lower rates. Go to a 15-year fixed rate loan and you can expect even lower interest rates.

Inventory Levels Are Dwindling
As more and more buyers are snatching up properties, fewer homes are available on the market. Going back to basic supply and demand principles, this ends up driving up prices while demand continues to rise.  Our changing market continues to shape prices with an overall upward trend looking at year over year prices from 2011 to 2012.

Buyers Have Lots of Buying Power
The low interest rates in addition to decreasing inventory has pushed up buyers’ buying power significantly. They are able to afford a lot more house for a lot less. This is prompting a lot of first time buyers plus homeowners that had previously been on the fence about purchasing a property, to get back in the market.

Lenders Are Back in the Game
For a while there in light of all the scandals going on in the mortgage industry, there was a lot of uncertainty in the lending market. Now, however, banks are loosening up more, they have money to lend and they are willing to lend it. In fact, lending practices have eased up enough that buyers with less-than-perfect credit are now able to borrow again as are previous homeowners that had gone through a short sale.

As conditions continue to improve and buyers eagerly lock in their buying power, we expect to see increasing multiple offer situations (which is ideal for sellers but not so much for buyers). Right now is a great time to buy, considering all these factors. So if you have been thinking about buying a new home and want to take advantage of the fantastic market conditions we are experiencing right now – contact me today. I would be happy to help!

Also, check out one of our latest listings at 2015 W. Davis in Phoenix!
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