New Program to Help Buyers Bypass Appraisals

Mortgage giant Freddie Mac has announced a new program allowing some home buyers to skip a traditional appraisal, which could lower the fees the buyers pay and speed up the closing process. Full Article: New Program to Help Buyers Bypass Appraisals


  • Buyer saves the appraisal fee of $500.
  • Buyer could close on the home sooner (about 7-10 days).
  • If the appraisal is no longer an issue, the buyer and seller do not have to re-negotiate a sales price, if the appraisal comes in too low.


  • This is a tough one…The appraisal is put in place to protect the lender from not lending more money than the home is worth…translation…it also keeps the buyer from over-paying for a home.

Bottom line! Get good help from a REALTOR who understands how to:

  • Estimate a reasonable market value for the home before you present an offer to a Seller.
  • Work with an appraiser to dispute an appraised value, if it comes in below the contract purchase price. (If you do have a loan that requires an appraisal.)

appraisal photo

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How accurate is a Zestimate on Zillow?

On Zillow’s website, they answer this question for us.

Data Coverage and Zestimate Accuracy

Over the years, Zillow has become the most visited real estate website. When we meet with a seller to list their home for sale, the topic of the Zestimate is almost always part of the conversation. To give you an idea of their accuracy, here is a screen shot from the Zillow website. Their statistics for accuracy on Phoenix homes was last updated 8/8/17.

Zestimate Accuracy

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What Buyers want in a new home: Fixer-Upper vs. Move-in Ready

According to the Bank of America Home Insights Report, more buyers want a move-in ready home versus a home that they need to make repairs. We’ve noticed this as a very strong trend during our entire 2017 buying season. Sellers need to take note that a “turn-key” home will sell faster and for a higher sales price than a home that shows it will need some repair.

Homebuyer debate fixup or move in ready

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Why paying all cash for a house might not be a smart move

An interesting, brief article on things to consider before buying your home with cash instead of a mortgage.  Full Article

If you have the financial means as a buyer and you plan to hold the home for 5+ years, this strategy is worth considering.

A few things to remember, your home value is not related to how you paid for the home (cash or mortgage).

Ask yourself, can you invest this cash elsewhere and make a better rate of return? This gets a bit complicated when factoring in the tax breaks, cost of the mortgage interest, the initial loan closing costs, and cash flow. To keep it simple for decision making purposes, I use amortization schedule on the loan amount, the rate of interest, a 30- year mortgage, and assume I will hold the home for at least five years. It will give you the amount of interest paid for the first five years of the loan. Amortization Calculator

amort schedule bankrate






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How to Hire a REALTOR – 3 Core Requirements


Where do you begin???

We have 82,000+ licensed REALTORS in Arizona as of June 1, 2017. How do you decide? Many times buyers and sellers will hire the first person they interview or simply go with a recommendation by a friend or relative…or hire their friend or relative.

So, how to pick an agent? What makes them qualified to take care of your real estate needs?

Are the​y Full-Time and Experienced?

Your REALTOR should be full-time! If they have another full-time job and they are making a little “extra money” in real estate, it is impossible to be able to prioritize their client needs. Many tasks can be very time sensitive (contract deadlines, pre-closing final walk-through, closing day, etc) and the REALTOR needs to be able to ensure they are available when they are needed the most.

So what is full-time? We have specified work days and days off. Even on our day off, we are on call. As a listing Broker, we need to be able to answer buyer questions and respond to offers as they come in. Example – an out-of-state buyer is in the area shopping from Friday to Sunday. If our seller receives an offer on Saturday, we will usually have 24 hours to respond. We cannot wait until Monday. If we did, ​we would have lost a potential buyer for our seller.

Experience is also a strong part of finding a qualified REALTOR. Many agents will tell you they have been in real estate X number of years. What’s really important is how many transactions they​ have closed successfully. A full-time REALTOR will average about 10+ sales a year. When a new REALTOR gets their license (90 hours of class time), we have learned the real estate laws, requirements of the Department of Real Estate, taken an ethics class, and had one 6-hour class on the Purchase Contract.  The education on how to do the job is under the guidance of the new agent’s Brokerage, of choice, and in the field.  Experience comes from  learning “hands on” by meeting with clients and during the sales transaction.

Are they local and experienced with your neighborhood for buying or selling?

The answer should always be “Yes”. Let’s start with an example. We had a buyer’s agent call on one of our listings with questions. In the background, I heard her client ask another question and she answered…incorrectly. I had to promptly correct her. The buyer was asking if they can go boating on the lake behind the house. The buyer’s agent said “yes”. The answer is a strong “no”. The lake is owned by the golf course and is private property.

I could give a dozen other stories like this one. Many agents attempt to act like experts, instead of simply telling their client they don’t know the answer and will look into it.

Real estate if VERY local. In the City of Maricopa alone, we have price variations between communities due to amenities, location, and building construction. If an agent doesn’t know the area, they are likely to make incorrect assumptions. Example: A common error with out-of-area buyer agents is that Rancho El Dorado and The Villages at Rancho El Dorado share amenities (community pools, etc); they do not. They are separate HOAs.

Are they part of a team?

Teams have pros and cons. Here’s how to decide what works best for you.


  • Tasks are broken down between team members. Ex. Listing agents, Buyer agents, Offer negotiator, Transaction coordinator, etc. Each member is likely well-experienced in their specific role.
  • It is likely there will always be at least one team member, on call, 7 days a week.


  • Depending on how large the team, you may work with several different people during the sale or purchase of your home. Always ask how the communication and tasks are structured, if you prefer to work with the one REALTOR only.
  • Sales statistics aren’t always representative of each team member. The team​​’s sales numbers are usually significantly higher, since the numbers represent the efforts of several team members.  If you have a new, inexperienced agent who has come onto the team, they will share in those sales numbers. Alternatively, the team lead also has the option to keep all the sales under his/her name on the MLS. Ex. Jane is a team member under John. Jane is a buyers agent and she closes a sale. The closing is recorded in the MLS under John, the team lead, as if he was the agent.

Bottom line: Interview at least 3 agents. You’re the Boss and are hiring someone to work for you on one of the largest purchases you may ever make. 

'I'm just sayin', maybe we should look for another real estate agent!'




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Maricopa to build in three new areas, but no timeline set

We have lived in Maricopa since 2003 and we still get excited when we see new things coming to town. We’ve seen Maricopa grow from 4,000 people to just under 50,000. When we first moved here there was only Rancho El Dorado and the builders were just starting Phase 2 (homes east of the wash). There were no grocery stores and very few places to eat. Full Article: Maricopa to build in three new areas, but no timeline set

Container Park



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City of Maricopa Real Estate Market Update for July 2017

We’ve had a very busy selling season this summer!
Our city had 153 sales in the month of July with an estimated annual appreciation rate of 6.7%.
Here is the complete list of the sales by subdivision. I’ve added a new column to note if the home has a private pool.

Home Sales in Maricopa Arizona for July 2017

For those of you who like detailed statistics, I’ve included a screen shot from the Cromford Report. If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me anytime.

cromford stats 072717

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How to pick a home-security system you can monitor from your smartphone or tablet

We have been with a home security monitoring service for years. The average cost has been about $25/month ($300 year!) After looking at the costs to install a DIY home security system, it looks like a great way to go!

Tips for DIY Home Security



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Tesla’s Solar Roof Panels

We get asked about a lot of things in this business and one of the latest hot topics are the Tesla’s new solar roof tiles. Here’s a few sites to answer any burning questions:

What are solar roof tiles?

Tesla Website for the Solar Roof

Next BIG Question, what are the costs?

Press Release Video from NBC/Tesla:

Tesla’s solar roof prices come in cheaper than some had expected

Forbes give the full breakdown of the possible costs:

Here’s How Much Tesla’s Solar Roof Will Really Cost You

solar roof



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How Much Home Can You Afford?

How does a loan officer determine what you can afford? Here’s a quick breakdown of how they calculate your future house payment.

afford calcJon Crawford

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