What’s the Difference Between a Short & Traditional Sale?

Purchasing a home that’s a short sale is usually pretty similar to a traditional home sale; however, there are still key differences in how the process plays out.

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Today we’re answering a question from Allison, who replied to my inquiry about what topics or questions you’d like me to discuss. Allison asks, “Could you explain what happens if you purchase a home that’s a short sale?”

First off, what is a short sale? A short sale is when the home seller is selling their home for less than the actual loan amount and the bank agrees to assume the loss. Therefore, the decision maker in a short sale is the bank, and they are much more involved than they would be in a traditional sale.

The short sale process takes anywhere from four to six months. Once the bank approves a home to be sold as a short sale, the process of purchasing it is usually pretty similar to a traditional home sale. For example, you still have the pending inspection period, which allows you to cancel the transaction if the condition of the home.

The purchasing process is usually similar to that of a traditional home sale.

There are some key differences between a short sale and a traditional sale, though. With a short sale, sellers are going to be less likely to make any repairs, so buyers usually purchase the property in as-is condition. If the seller has already moved out, there may be more maintenance issues since the the house has been left empty. In my experience, the bank doesn’t get involved in making any repairs to the home, since the homeowner is still technically the owner.

The short sale process is complex, so when you interview an agent, be sure that you ask them how many short sales they’ve done from start to finish. I recommend choosing an agent that’s done at least 10. Our team has done more than 50 short sale transactions, so we would be more than happy to help you out in this regard.

A very special thanks to Allison for bringing this important topic to light. If you have any questions or are looking to buy or sell a home, please feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to help!

Why Is Winter a Great Time to Sell?

The winter is actually one of my favorite times of the year to sell homes. Why? Tune in to find out.

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Have you thought about listing your home, but the holiday season gave you pause? Maybe you think that there won't be any buyers in the market to purchase your home.

The holidays are actually my favorite time to sell a house. Here's why:

  1. Holiday buyers are more serious buyers.
  2. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the holidays. Less competition means more money for you!
  3. Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there'll be less demand for your particular home. Less demand, of course, means less money for you!
  4. Some buyers have more time to look for a home during the holidays than they do during their regular work week.
  5. Some people must buy a house before the end of the year for tax purposes. This just happened to me today!
  6. You can still be on the market and restrict showings during the six or seven days when you're actually celebrating the holidays with your family.

Winter buyers are more serious buyers.

This article outlines the 11 reasons why right now is such a great time to list your property.

If you have any more questions or you're ready to list your home this winter, don't hesitate to give me a call. I'm always ready and happy to help!

The Impact of Good Schools on Home Value

Do you know how much the school district that you live in affects your home's value? Homes in areas with good schools not only have higher value, they see better appreciation rates.

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Your home's school district has a big impact on its value.

According to the 2016 School Housing Report, neighborhoods with at least one good elementary school have greater home values as well as higher appreciation over the long term when compared to homes in districts without good schools.

Neighborhoods with at least one good elementary school have greater value.

A 'good school' is defined as having an average test score of at least 30% above the state average. Of the zip codes with at least one good school, the average estimated home value was $427,000, which is 70% higher than the average home value of $241,000 in zip codes without good schools.

Homeowners in zip codes with at least one good school gain an average of $74,000 in value since the purchase price on the average return of  investment increases 32%.

If you're curious about the school district in your area or you have questions about the Phoenix real estate market, give me a call or send me an email. I'd be happy to help you out.

How We Easily and Quickly Helped Linda Sell Her House

“It was very good results. We had a fair offer, it went through very quickly, and I’ll be happy to work with her and her team again.They’re all just very good and that’s their normal business practice.”

Join Us on November 5th to Help the World's Poor

On November 5th, we are hosting a Battle of the Sexes Tennis Tournament to raise money for the Guerrant Foundation, an amazing organization dedicated to helping the world’s poor.

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Today I am excited to introduce you to Anne Guerrant, founder of the Guerrant Foundation. Anne was once ranked #11 in the world for women’s tennis and she now runs an amazing organization. The Guerrant Foundation gives microloans to the world’s poor.

On November 5th, we are having a Battle of the Sexes Tennis Tournament to raise money for the Guerrant Foundation. This is a free event that runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and all donations will go to the Guerrant Foundation.

We will also hold a raffle to win a number of exciting prizes, including a round of golf, overnight stays, dinners at great restaurants, and a free class at the I Fly Trapeze School at the Phoenician.  A $250 donation will get you three chances in the raffle and $100 gets you one chance. You do not have to be present at the event to win.

The Guerrant Foundation gives microloans to various organizations that help the poor in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. These loans help people start their own businesses and usually run from about $50 to $400. The small businesses provide goods and services, such as food, clothing, or household items, to people in their community.

The Guerrant Foundation makes a huge difference in people’s lives..

These microloans make a huge difference in some of the poorest communities in the world. In fact, 90% of the donations go to women and mothers, which is one of my favorite things about this organization. Anne has done 13 site visits around the world and heard story after story about what a life-changing experience this has been for their families. The first thing many of these women do when they get a little extra money from their businesses is put their children in school.

Anne is incredibly efficient with her money. The Guerrant Foundation is entirely made up of volunteers. The offices are in her home so they incur very few expenses; any expenses they do incur are paid by Anne and her husband. All of the money you donate goes directly to the organizations that the Guerrant Foundation supports, and Anne personally visits the micro-lending sites to see how the new entrepreneurs are doing.

In fact, Anne and her husband match donations up to $100,000 each year, so really 200% of your money will go to an organization in need! Anne and her husband are truly dedicated to helping the world’s poorest people.  If you are interested in learning more about the Guerrant Foundation, check out their website.

Part of the reason why I love this organization is that I know how much of an impact they can make. My mother and I grew up together; I was given many grants and scholarships along the way. I am here today because people gave me an opportunity to move up. This is my opportunity to give back.

I hope you can come to our event on November 5th. If you can’t, please consider making a donation on our YouCaring page. The donation to YouCaring is merely a suggestion. You have the option to reduce or eliminate their fee, or you can send a check to the Guerrant Foundation at 569 North Acacia Drive, Gilbert, AZ 85233.

If you have any questions in the meantime, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

What Your Loan Officer Should Be Able to Tell You

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We’re back again with our preferred lender, Tom Ross, with Nova Home Loans. We’re here at his office to talk to him a little bit about some of the most important questions you should be asking your loan officer when you’re trying to get a mortgage. Tom’s been in the business for 18 years, and we’ve spent the last decade working together to help so many people with many different loans. There are a few different questions that Tom thinks you should be asking your loan officer.

The first that comes to mind may be “How much do I qualify for?” but that’s the wrong question to ask. The officer should actually ask you where you are comfortable making your payments. You shouldn’t be miserable making a high payment just because you qualified for it. We want to find the sweet spot you are comfortable paying each month.

There are plenty of great loan options available.

Down payments are another specific topic you should discuss. It’s true that with 20% down, you can get out of paying mortgage insurance. However, some people simply don’t have that much liquid cash. If you’re comfortable with your monthly payment at 5% down, that could be a good option too. You’ll definitely keep more money in your pocket up front. There’s really no right or wrong answer.

What about financing options? Many people are stuck on the 30-year fixed rates because they are so low, but there are other great options in addition to those. Adjustable-rate mortgages are one possibility, as are 15-year fixed rate loans. When people have the ability to qualify for a 15-year rate and don’t even look at it, it’s a loss. Your payment will be higher but you will ultimately pay far less for your mortgage.

If you have any questions for us or Tom, don’t hesitate to give us a ring or send us an email. You can reach Tom at 602-791-5861 or tom.ross@novahomeloans.com. We can answer any questions you may have or point you in the right direction of someone who can. Hope to talk to you soon!

The Waiting Period After a Short Sale

When can I buy again?

That’s what my clients who’ve recently had a short sale keep asking me. Today I’m joined by Tom Ross from Nova Home Loans to help give you some answers.

As to the when, it depends on what kind of financing you’re going after. For conventional loans—meaning anything less than $417,000—you’re looking at a four-year waiting period before you can buy again. For an FHA loan—meaning $271,050 or lower—you’re looking at a three-year waiting period. For VA loans, you only need to wait one year.

If you need help with your credit or finances, it might be a good idea to speak with a loan officer and utilize their free credit services department. After a short sale, though, the tendency with some people is to completely withdraw from staying active with their credit score.

It might be a good idea to speak with a loan officer.

Depending on the type of financing you’re looking to obtain, the loan officer has to be able to see that you’re using credit. Many times, after four years, your credit score will have naturally increased to a point where you can qualify.

Regarding foreclosures, the timeframe is slightly different. In this instance, the waiting period is seven years for conventional loans, three years for FHA loans, and two years for VA loans.

For more information specifically about home loans, be sure to contact Tom by phone at 602.791.5861 or email at tom.ross@novahomeloans.com.

If you have any other real estate questions, be sure to give me a call or send me an email. I’d be glad to help you in any way I can.

How the Elections Will Affect the Phoenix Market

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I’ve been asked a lot recently about the presidential elections and how they are going to affect the real estate market. Every four years I see similar patterns, so I wanted to share them with you so you can be prepared.

The first thing I notice is that in the months leading up to an election, a lot of people adopt the “wait and see” mentality to buying and selling. However, I do think that the 3rd quarter of 2016 will be our strongest quarter of the year even though some people will be waiting to see what happens.

Every four years I see similar patterns.

Normally, everything will soften after an election. If you’re looking to sell, I think the time is now. By taking advantage of the market now, when it’s hot, you are protected from the inevitable softening we will see run from the fourth quarter this year all the way into next year.

If you have any questions, feel free to call me. I would love to hear from you!

The Phoenix Market Mid-Year Review

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Have you been wondering about what has been going on in our real estate market? If so, you’re in luck. We’re here to give you a mid-year review of the Phoenix market. Ever since February, we have been gaining momentum each month. Now we’re in July, already halfway through the year.

Right now, we’ve got less than a three-month supply of homes in Phoenix. Anything under five months is considered a strong seller’s market. Our average days on market in Phoenix is only 55 days, and our average list-to-sale ratio is coming in at 97.5%. Buyers are having to put in strong offers to get them accepted.

These are just general averages for the Phoenix market as a whole. Each area has different numbers, which we will demonstrate now by showing you the averages from three different areas of the Phoenix market.

We’ve been gaining momentum since February.

The average days on market in Phoenix is 65. There is a two-month supply of homes, and the average sales price is $289,000.

Scottsdale has an average days on market of 118, with a five-month supply of inventory and an average sales price of $650,000.

Paradise Valley is more of a luxury market, and has averages of 185 days on market, 13 months of supply, and a $1.6 million average sales price.

If you’re curious as to what’s happening in your specific segment of the market, give us a call or send us an email and we would love to give you some numbers. We look forward to hearing from you!

Expert Money Saving Tips for Phoenix Homeowners

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Today, Tom Ross from Nova Home Loans joins us to discuss PITI, which stands for principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. There are a few things you can do with PITI that will save you money as a homeowner in the long run.

Principal is what you owe on your house. There is not a lot you can do to save money on principle unless you put more money down in the first place.

There are two ways you can save money on interest. First, you can refinance if interest rates get 0.5% better. Popular wisdom usually says to wait for a full point of improvement in rates, but when you do a no-cost refinance, you don’t need that full point. Tom and his team will run the numbers to make sure refinancing makes financial sense for you.

The other way to save money on interest is to make an extra payment each month. Instead of paying the minimum mortgage payment, put a little extra money into the interest. That way, you can turn your 30-year loan into a 25-year loan.

You can save money in interest and on your insurance policy.

Taxes are what they are. There is not much you can do to save on taxes.

A lot of people don’t think about looking at their home insurance policy. However, there are a couple of major carriers that recently upped their rates by 20% to 30%. These companies retooled their models and if you didn’t have a tip-top credit score, your insurance rates went up. It’s not a bad idea to look at your policy every couple years to check if anything has changed with your insurance.

If you have any questions for Tom, you can give him a call at 602.791.5861 or send him an email at tom.ross@novahomeloans.com. As always, if you have any real estate questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Don’t Shop for Homes Without Pulling Your Credit

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Today, I’m here with Tom Ross, our preferred mortgage lender, to talk about pulling your credit. When should you pull your credit before the home buying process?

Pull your credit as soon as you know you’re prepared to buy a home. This helps determine your buying power in the transaction. However, this needs to be done with a respectable lender, not an online service.

The problem with free online credit reports is that they don’t include FICO scores. There’s a difference between FICO and credit scores. They use different algorithms. Ultimately, you can have two totally different scores, but the FICO score is the most important.

Does it hurt your credit if you pull it too early? Fortunately, the impact is minimal. Your credit score is only affected by three points per bureau. After 90 days, it will not show up and likewise, not hurt your credit.

There are only advantages to knowing your credit ahead of time.

Tom’s company, Nova, has its own in-house credit services department, which makes the process easier for you. Six months prior, we request your FICO score to help you improve it by the time you want to buy a home. Plus, this service is free of cost!

There are only advantages to knowing your credit ahead of time. Pull your credit ahead of time and even try improving it if necessary. To reach Tom, call him at 602-791-5861 or send him an email at tom.ross@novahomeloans.com.

As always, if you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to answer any real estate questions you might have!

What’s It Like to Be a Buyer in Phoenix?

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Today we are joined by buyer specialist Holly Huntimer to talk about what it’s like to be a buyer in Phoenix right now. Holly has helped 10 families this year find their dream homes, and she’s going to share with us what the environment is like right now for home buyers.

In this tight market, sellers don’t have to be negotiable on their price. Homes are selling anywhere from 97% to 107% of their list price. There are not a lot of homes to look at on the market, so it comes down to about 3 to 5 homes that will match your criteria. We will look at them first, research them, write a contract, and start the process so we can get them in their new home quickly.

We’ve been specially trained to figure out exactly what you're looking for, research, and find those homes for you. It’s Holly’s job to preview those homes so our clients don’t have to make a career of buying a house, Holly is doing that for them.

If you want to find your dream home in Phoenix, we would love to hear from you. We would love to show you how our performance will outsell promises. Give us a call or send us an email any time. We would love to hear from you!

Why Hire the Monique Walker Team?

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There are hundreds of thousands of qualified real estate agents in the country, so why should you choose my team? Let me explain.

I have been selling real estate for 13 years, and my full-service team has helped over 700 families buy and sell homes in Phoenix. In fact, my team was ranked #40 out of more than 40,000 agents nationwide.

When you’re thinking of hiring a real estate team, keep these things in mind.
  1. The average agent sells only 10 homes per year. Our team helped 130 families in 2015. 
  2. The average agent can only sell a home for 95% of its asking price. We average 99%, so we don’t leave much money on the table. 
  3. Most homes take 71 days to sell. Our team can sell a home in 45 days.
Please call me at your convenience to discuss how we can get your home sold quickly and for more money.

We expect 2016 to be a phenomenal year for home sellers in Phoenix. Rising interest rates will cause more buyers to come onto the market, and this means a faster sale for you. If your home is priced well and in good condition, you can expect buyers waiting right outside your door!

I look forward to speaking with you!

Don’t Miss this Luxury Home in Paradise Valley

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Today we have a magical listing available in Paradise Valley, the premiere luxury home neighborhood in all of Arizona! This home is situated beautifully on a huge lot, and no expense was spared with the amenities and decor.

This home is located at 4670 E Sunset Dr, and it is a 3 bedroom, 3 bath masterpiece! It has over 3,000 sq. ft. and the lot it sits on is over 40,000 sq. ft., giving you and your family plenty of room to move around.

Listed at only $997,500 this home is a steal for any Californians looking to escape into Arizona!

This home has restaurant-grade appliances in the kitchen because the previous owners were gourmet chefs. Every single detail in the home is intricate, and the backyard is absolutely beautiful. There are over 5,000 laid bricks in the backyard and over 27 palm trees lining the pool. The mountain view in the backyard isn’t too shabby, either!

You have to see this home to believe it!

What is even better is that Nova Home Loans have expanded their Professionals Program to include nurses, professors, engineers, intel, and many other professionals. Just contact Tom Ross at Nova Home Loans to inquire! I’ve worked with Tom for over ten years and there is nobody else I would recommend.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Calling All Professionals in Phoenix!

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Today, our favorite lender, Tom Ross of Nova Home Loans, joins us to introduce a brand new loan product!

There is currently a professional program that allows doctors, attorneys, dentists, or CPAs to get into homes for less money down and no mortgage insurance. Recently, the definition of what professions qualify for this loan has changed! So now, veterinarians, engineers, pharmacists, university faculty members, and so many others can qualify for this fantastic loan package!

If you’re financing a loan amount between $250,000 and $1 million, and if you have been practicing in your industry for four years, you can secure it for only 10% down and with no mortgage insurance! It’s also extremely competitive on the interest rate side of things!

Nova Home Loans is the company that carries this product, so give Tom a call at (602) 791-5861 or reach out a www.NovaHomeLoans.com/the-ross-team. They would be happy to help you take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.

Our Probate Sale Service in the Phoenix Metro Market

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If you’ve recently lost a loved one, we are here for you. We can provide service based around your individual needs. My team and I can add value in several different ways during a difficult time.

We can list and sell your property on the open market. We can create a strategy to get the property sold in the shortest time for the most amount of money.

We can handle any personal property in need of removal. The family can remove what they want and our estate sale partners will handle everything else.

We can make any necessary repairs or improvement. We have contractors to fix the slightest repairs to full-blown renovations. We know investing in the right improvements add value to the home and help you earn top dollar.

We can bring a cash offer within 24 hours. If the situation calls for a quick sale, we can provide a cash offer with the ability to close within three weeks or whatever time frame is the best fit.

We’re willing to work with your needs. If you’d like more information, or would like to discuss any issues you’ve experienced with a probate sale, please reach out today!