Phoenix Area Real Estate Blog

Phoenix Homes for Heroes Program

PHX Homes for Heroes

Ed Drummond, Homes for Heroes Affiliate

We are proud to announce that our brokerage, Capstone Realty Professionals, is now an affiliate with Homes For Heroes, a national program designed to give back to the service people in our community when they buy or sell a home. Since 2007 our team has helped hundreds of home owners navigate through their real estate transactions. We are passionate about real estate and love when we can translate that passion into helping others buy or sell real estate in the Metro Phoenix area. Offering a credit of 25% of our commission, Heroes receive credits and discounts when buying or selling a home at the close of escrow or, can choose to have the 25% donated to a cause of their choice. Our business was built with the support of the service people in our community. We are excited about the opportunity to give back while doing what we love, helping you buy and sell real estate.

Here are some questions and answers for you to simmer on:
Q. Who can participate?
A. Anyone that is: Military, Firefighter, Police, Teacher, Medical (including nurses and doctors), Clergy, and First Responder.

Q. How much does the program cost?
A. FREE. All costs are covered by local participating vendors.

Q. How much does it cost to help me buy a house?
A. Our services are no cost to you as a buyer. In a real estate transaction, the seller is typically responsible for compensation to the buyers agent. Of that compensation, and through the Homes for Heroes program, we credit back 25% to the buyer.

Q. What is the catch?
A. There is none. This program offers a great platform for us to give back to the community that has helped us grow to become a top real estate boutique brokerage in the Phoenix metro area. No catch, No red tape, No hidden Fees.

You give back to the community through your service. Now let us give back to you. Please fill out the attached form and a member of our team will follow up within one business day. Thanks for your service!

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Tips For Buying Real Estate in a Sellers Market – Step 3

So far we have covered getting pre-qualified by a lender and doing your homework on where you want to live. It’s time to find your home.

Step three. Have an agent create a portal from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to update you when listings hit the market. This is something ALL Realtors worth their salt can do and know how to do well. The MLS is the best tool for finding properties because it is in real time. I want my buyers seeing the market as it happens, not two weeks later! Statistically most buyers that are successful at buying homes start their search online. They use websites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and others to determine value of properties and then consult with a Realtor to make it all happen. I like those sites, they are great for what they do which is provide information. If we use these sites just as a gauge for how rapidly the market is moving they can prove to be useful.

Unfortunately the information on these sites is not always correct. Homes still active on the site may have sold months ago, listing prices may not be accurate and so on. The MLS portal that an agent can put together sends out an email when ever a new home is added to the MLS that matches the buyers criteria. Buyers are seeing the homes on day 0, not day 15-20. Due to the lack of inventory in the market right now, when I list a home at the right price it will get multiple offers within two weeks, that is why this portal is pertinent to your home search. Sites like Zillow, which update infrequently and not often enough do not give a buyer real time information for what’s happening in the market. It is good information for looking at historical stats and what the market has done, but not for what it is doing.

In conclusion, I hope you find this information very helpful. Feel free to comment with any questions or feedback that you may have. If you or someone you know is interested in taking the first steps at buying or selling their home please consider us a resource. Feel free to contact me directly at 602.354.5404

Tips For Buying Real Estate in a Sellers Market – Step 2

In our first part of this three part series we stressed the importance of speaking to a lender and getting pre-qualified before immersing yourself in a home search. After getting pre-qualified its time to move on to step two.

Step two. Do your homework. Now I’m not telling you to try to do the work of a Realtor but in today’s market you are empowered as a buyer. There are many tools and sites out there that can assist you in finding just about anything you want to know about most properties on the market. Of course you won’t be able to get the most detailed or up to date information we can as Realtors but gathering as much information about area and location will help narrow down your search and allow you to focus on properties that you want to put offers on.

Given the current state of the market, initially we like to show our buyers no more than 5 properties on our initial home search. It’s kind of our rule of thumb. We do this for a couple reasons. First, it saves time and money for you and us. I know that if I put somebody in my car and I take them to 20 properties over the span of a month chances of them finding what they are looking for is greatly reduced. Expectations haven’t been met because the homework on the front end hadn’t been done. Secondly, we don’t want to chase the market. Buyers who are chasing the market tend to submit offers much lower (or higher) than will be accepted by sellers. In this market the good deals will have accepted offers in a month or less, often for within 2-3% of the asking price. Sellers don’t accept offers that are too low for obvious reasons, but offers that are too high? Keep in mind if you are financing the home through a bank, that bank is going to require a third party appraisal. If the home isn’t worth your offer you aren’t getting financed.

Keep in mind, if you are considering viewing a home that has been on the market for some time, more than likely there is a good reason that home is still on the market. Chances are the price is too high for what the home offers and/or it may have maintenance issues or an uncooperative Seller. Knowing what the values should be in an area from doing your homework with your agent is crucial to knowing where your offer should be to come out with the accepted offer.

In our final part of the series we shall discuss the most important component to searching for a home in this market. Stay tuned!

Tips For Buying Real Estate in a Sellers Market – Step 1

It’s hard to turn a blind eye to what is happening in the real estate market right now. With half of all homeowners in Phoenix being upside down with their mortgage you would think deals would be a plenty. But such is not always the case. Yes prices are low and interest rates are the lowest they have ever been, but as some home buyers are experiencing, buying a property in today’s Phoenix market can come with its own set of challenges.

Currently active home inventory in the Phoenix metro area is at a 3 months supply. So what does that mean? Based on the current rate of homes being sold, it would take only 3 months for all the supply to vanish if new listings weren’t being added to the market. Check out these stats. Current listing inventory on MLS is down almost 40% from this time last year while home sales are up 21% for this same month last year. The shortage of real estate inventory is very real and has potential buyers competing on single properties where we are seeing 5-10 offers being submitted. So how do you get your offer accepted? What can you do as a buyer to increase your chances of finding your “diamond in the rough”?

Step one. Get pre-qualified with a reputable lender. This is a big one and the step I stress as the biggest to people thinking of buying real estate. Before you start looking for a home you must know what you qualify for in today’s market and know what your payment will be at any given interest rate and home price. The key, is knowing what you qualify for today, not six months ago. As of today, rates are at the lowest they have been in 60 years. Seriously, 60 years! Guidelines for qualifying have been going through a state of flux since the market began to decline in 2006 and you need know how the current lending guidelines affect you and your ability to borrow money.

Something important to remember here is that just as we as Realtors are very different, so are lenders. As lending guidelines have become stricter it is very common that lenders will have different rates of success closing loans. In our experience, going directly to a big bank, a national bank, for your mortgage in this market is not the best place to look. More often than not, their underwriting guidelines and times to fund your loan are going to be longer than going to a smaller bank where you get more personalized service. We have a couple mortgage lenders that we work with time and time again that consistently beat the timeframes of larger banks because they have the ability to make underwriting decisions in-house. They take great care of our clients, and really develop a great relationship with our clients and instill confidence that they can get the job done right from day one. Another thing to remember about financing is that we cannot submit an offer on a property without a prequalification letter per the Arizona real estate contract. If you start looking for a home and find the one of your dreams but you haven’t been prequalified more than likely you will miss out on the property because homes are selling so fast.

Once you are confident your finances and loan prequalification is done it’s time to move into step two.

Stay tuned next week for step number two in our three part series.

Please feel free to comment with any questions or feedback that you may have. If you or someone you know is interested in taking the first steps at buying or selling a home please consider us a resource. Feel free to contact me directly at 602.553.4382.

Seller’s Market You Say?

Let me start by saying, I love conversations about real estate. As I look at real estate market data almost daily, I like to think I have a very good grasp on what’s happening in the Phoenix Metro market. Or at least I’d hope so, right? Lately I’ve had or overheard numerous conversations about what kind of market we are in. They range from “buy now, it’s a buyers market, your going to get the best deal ever, yadda yadda yadda” to “the market still has a long way to fall and we are going to wait until a great deal comes along.” Both opinions I can respect. My intentions with the upcoming market data is to inform and educate. I will put my spin on the data to ensure a clear message comes out of each, but I’ll try to keep the rhetoric to a minimum.

It’s interesting to see where we get our real estate information these days. Websites like Zillow and Trulia (which The Drummond Group does subscribe) can be helpful tools in getting market data and trends but in a very rapidly moving market, where 11,000 homes are selling in a month (i.e. Phoenix June 2011) how can the data actually hurt us as buyers versus help? I love the online aptitude most of my clients bring to the table when we meet for the first time. It makes the process a lot easier and ultimately I feel they have the best chance of finding their dream home if they can actually see what’s on the market. Getting back to Trulia and Zillow, the information provided can help with historical data and tell me what happened a couple months ago but an aide in making pricing choices it is not.

As of September 14, 2011, 27,013 active listings are on the market in Phoenix Metro area. As a reference, at this time last year, we had more than 44,000 active listings on the market. So far this year 99,032 homes have sold in the Phoenix Metro since the beginning of 2011. At this point last year less than 92,000 homes had sold. For people trying to buy a home right now, the market is definitely more scarce than it was a year ago. Why? Inventory in Phoenix Metro is currently at just over three months supply. Last year it was almost at seven months supply. A stable market in our area is between 5-6 months supply. These numbers indicate we are in a sellers market, a weird sellers market, where prices are still pretty low, but a sellers market none the less.

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