Thursday, December 1, 2011

Do People Still Buy New Homes????


Please stop laughing and pick yourself up off the floor! Yes there are rock bottom deals out there, foreclosed homes, short sales and even conventional sales. New home builders however are emerging from the post housing collapse as a slightly different animal and although the purpose of todays' blog is not to persuade you to buy a new home, I would like to bring to your attention some of the selling points that are being touted to offset the builders inability to compete from a price standpoint.
  • Home Warranties - Yes that's right, remember these, no "AS IS" here! Your appliances will be new, and the home itself will have a warranty!
  • Energy efficient building materials and standards. (See examples below)
  • Builder incentives - Yes thats right builders offer incentive to the buyer such as $$ towards costs at the design center, more recently they have been known to help pay costs towards landscaping and window fixtures!
  • Pick your own floor plan, paint color, appliances etc. You are not at the mercy of a previous owner that made their selections based on their own lifestyles and needs.
    So In summary, before you discount a new build, please do consider some of the benefits listed above. Savings on utilities are the gift that keeps on giving month after month. Warranties save you money on repairs. You get to pick your dream house based upon your own unique needs and preferences.

    I listened to a real estate panel today and one of them was the designated broker for a new home builder here in the valley. He mentioned that there were several points of negotiation with new home builders that had not previously been on the table, in addition to some of the items I mentioned above he talked of a few examples where the home builder was  willing to change out carpeting and counter tops for buyers in pre-built spec homes at no additional cost. Unlike the days of the boom, they rely on most of their business from real estate agents, and much of the flexibility that had was a real eye-opener for agents!

    As always please contact me with any questions or comments!
Energy Star Certified Appliances
Appliances and home electronics are responsible for about 20% of a US homes’ energy bills.  Devices carrying the Energy Star logo generally use 20%–30% less energy than required by federal standards by employing superior designs that require less energy to perform the same or better job.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that Energy Star appliances saved about $14 billion in energy costs in 2006 alone. 
Minimum SEER 14
Heating and cooling homes accounts for nearly 60 percent of residential electricity usage in the United States.  The higher the SEER of your unit, the greater its efficiency – and the lower your operating costs. Comparing with models 10 years old or older, cooling costs can be lowered 20 to 40 percent with newer, more efficient models.
Low-E Windows
Low-E coatings on Windows reduce energy loss by as much as 30 to 50 percent over regular windows.  Low-E coatings, which are microscopically thin materials bonded to the surface of a window's glass, are so thin you can see right through them yet they prevent heat and ultra-violet (UV) rays from passing through the glass.
Low Flow Faucets
Every faucet and showerhead in a new home can exceed industry standards for water savings, reducing water bills and the cost of heating water by as much as 50 percent.
Programmable Thermostat
The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills.  A programmable thermostat reduces residential energy use by adjusting the temperature according to a series of programmed settings that take effect at different times of the day.  This allows the temperature difference to be reduced without sacrificing comfort.  It is not unusual to achieve 30 percent heating and cooling energy usage reductions with the pre-programmed settings that come with ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostats.
Low VOCs paints and finishes
The EPA has identified indoor air pollution as one of the four greatest risks to human health.  Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are found around the home; cleaning solvents, adhesives, paints, and carpets all may emit VOCs.  Many VOCs have negative health consequences.  In recent years many common materials and products used indoors have been developed and are labeled by their manufacturers as "low VOC" or "zero VOC content”  to improve indoor air quality.  Today, many low VOC materials are equal or better in quality and durability than conventional VOC-based formulas.
Third Party Inspections
A home energy rating will consider: the construction & materials of the home, insulation levels, window/door types & efficiency, the window/door to wall area ratios, appliances and lighting (including the water heater), mechanical system (heating and cooling), the orientation of the house, the size of the conditioned area in square feet, and the leakage or air infiltration of the home envelope and duct work. The Home Energy Rating is completed from on-site visits using test equipment like the blower door and duct tester and from blueprints on new homes.
Energy Star Certified Appliances
Appliances and home electronics are responsible for about 20% of a US homes’ energy bills.  Devices carrying the Energy Star logo generally use 20%–30% less energy than required by federal standards by employing superior designs that require less energy to perform the same or better job.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that Energy Star appliances saved about $14 billion in energy costs in 2006 alone. 
Minimum SEER 14
Heating and cooling homes accounts for nearly 60 percent of residential electricity usage in the United States.  The higher the SEER of your unit, the greater its efficiency – and the lower your operating costs. Comparing with models 10 years old or older, cooling costs can be lowered 20 to 40 percent with newer, more efficient models.
Low-E Windows
Low-E coatings on Windows reduce energy loss by as much as 30 to 50 percent over regular windows.  Low-E coatings, which are microscopically thin materials bonded to the surface of a window's glass, are so thin you can see right through them yet they prevent heat and ultra-violet (UV) rays from passing through the glass.
Low Flow Faucets
Every faucet and showerhead in a new home exceeds industry standards for water savings, reducing water bills and the cost of heating water by as much as 50 percent.
Programmable Thermostat
The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills.  A programmable thermostat reduces residential energy use by adjusting the temperature according to a series of programmed settings that take effect at different times of the day.  This allows the temperature difference to be reduced without sacrificing comfort.  It is not unusual to achieve 30 percent heating and cooling energy usage reductions with the pre-programmed settings that come with ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostats.
Low VOCs paints and finishes

The EPA has identified indoor air pollution as one of the four greatest risks to human health.  Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are found around the home; cleaning solvents, adhesives, paints, and carpets all may emit VOCs.  Many VOCs have negative health consequences.  In recent years many common materials and products used indoors have been developed and are labeled by their manufacturers as "low VOC" or "zero VOC content”  to improve indoor air quality.  Today, many low VOC materials are equal or better in quality and durability than conventional VOC-based formulas.
Chris@northwestvalleyrealtor.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

HUD Homes - Whats the deal with these?

Dear Spalding BLOG folks, today I’m going to share with you some information on HUD homes. I’ve had lots of questions on these recently so wanted to share some fun factoids with you on these properties.

.

What is a HUD Home?

A HUD home is a 1-to-4 unit residential property acquired by HUD as a result of a foreclosure action on an FHA-insured mortgage. HUD becomes the property owner and offers it for sale to recover the loss on the foreclosure claim.

Who Can Buy A HUD Home?

Almost anyone! If you have the cash or can qualify for a loan (subject to certain restrictions) you may buy a HUD Home. HUD Homes are initially offered to owner-occupant purchasers (people who are buying the home as their primary residence). Following the priority period for owner occupants, unsold properties are available to all buyers, including investors.

Should I Get a Home Inspection?

HUD does not warrant the condition of its properties and will not pay for the correction of defects or repairs. Since the new owner will be responsible for making needed repairs, HUD strongly urges every potential homebuyer to get a professional inspection prior to submitting an offer to purchase.
If you are interested in acquiring a HUD Home that is in need of repair, you may be interested in applying for an FHA 203(k) Rehabilitation Loan. When a homebuyer wants to purchase a house in need of repair or modernization, the homebuyer usually has to obtain financing first to purchase the dwelling; additional financing to do the rehabilitation construction; and a permanent mortgage when the work is completed to pay off the interim loans with a permanent mortgage. Often the interim financing (the acquisition and construction loans) involves relatively high interest rates and short amortization periods. The Section 203(k) program was designed to address this situation. The borrower can get just one mortgage loan, at a long-term fixed (or adjustable) rate, to finance both the acquisition and the rehabilitation of the property

How do I look at and buy a HUD home?

HUD Home Store is the listing site for HUD real estate owned (REO) single-family properties. This new site provides the public, brokers, potential owner-occupants, state and local governments and nonprofit organizations a centralized location to search the inventory of HUD properties for sale. In addition, registered real estate brokers and other organizations can place bids on behalf of their clients to purchase a HUD property. HUD Home Store also includes many informative user-friendly features providing advice and guidance for consumers on the home buying process.

If you are in the market for a great priced investment property or have more questions on HUD or the homes they offer please feel free to contact me any time!!!

Chris

http://www.northwestvalleyrealtor.com/

Friday, October 28, 2011

So just how much "Castle" could you afford?

I was thumbing through bank owned properties in the Northwest Valley today and again I continue to be shocked by the incredible deals that are being afforded in todays market.

Now , its no secret that this local Realtor is originally not from these parts. I am in fact originally from a small community that lies just a little over 5000 miles east of downtown Phoenix called "England". The land of greenery and castles right? Well there is an old saying back home that reads "An englishmans home is his castle"

 I wondered to myself, so if I were back in the UK how much castle could I afford? Time for a comparison! Lets take 100k (dollars) and see what we can find in Phoenix

This little beauty is up for sale for $99,000 dollars which equates to about 60k Pounds in England.


This property is 2400 square feet and has 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. It also has a private above ground swimming pool.

Now what can we get with our cash in the UK? lets find out.


Ok so I'm only kidding right? well I am, but this little beauty is up for sale for 18k  which is $29,000!!! but anyway I digress, lets look again!


So this is a pretty grand looking building right? not bad for your 100k! oh except wait a minute, for those of you not familiar with flats in England, I have highlighted the borders of the property you just bought above in red. Thats right you just bought a 500 square foot flat in Brighton.

So you Phoenicians! its time to go out and buy a house, in fact go out and buy three!!! and make sure you call me when you do! thanks!

Chris Spalding
http://www.northwestvalleyrealtor.com/

Friday, October 14, 2011

Building a business and the business card bandit....

I have spent many hours lately reading about how to expand your business and expand your client base. One of the more interesting subjects surrounding business cards and their use to help promote ones self! An article I read suggested that you should leave business cards at bus stops, in library books, on counters in stores, all for the purposes of increasing the likelihood that somebody would place one in their wallet and then at some later point extract the aforementioned card and call you with the express intention of utilizing your services. I had a hard time feeling comfortable with this marketing technique, it did not seem very Spalding like. Anyway as the days went by I thought about this some more until I found myself in Baskin Robins with my two boys Nathan and William (5 & 7). I noticed a spot next to the sprinkles where people had left their business cards, what the heck, I placed one down next to the pile of cards. That was it!!! I became addicted, the OCD side of my nature kicked in and I was doomed. Over the next week I embraced this habit and found myself leaving cards in tip jars, drive through Starbucks counters, restaurants, you name it I was leaving a trail! Yesterday was a sad day for this realtor as my new obsession hit new desperate lows, I was tasked with picking up some Flonase for my sons allergies from Walgreens. I decided to use the drive through and found myself in the outside lane using the suction tube. At the very end of the transaction after my credit card and meds were safely dispatched , I found myself slipping a business card into the empty container and shooting it back to the teller before driving off quickly from the lane! Anyway the moral of this story is please forgive me if you are the victims of one of these stunts, I promise one day very very soon to gain control over this :)


Chris@northwestvalleyrealtor.com

http://www.northwestvalleyrealtor.com/

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Homes - Remember those????? Colina Del Sur by K Hovanian


I previewed a new community today just south of Jomax road between 67th and 83rd avenue. Colina Del Sur is a subdivision built by K Hovanian Homes. The homes are ranch style on oversized lots starting from around $300,000. I had several discussions with some of the people viewing the model and there seemed to be two main conversational themes

1/ When was the last time you saw new homes being built?
2/ How do these compare with used homes in the market and especially those that are bank owned?

So one of the things that I find encouraging about the NW Valley right now is the sudden reappearance of people swinging hammers and flags pointed high above several new home developments. This to me is a key indicator that the market is at a point of recovery. The grand opening of this subdivision completely overwhelmed the sale people to the point that they completely ran out of literature. Admittedly I'm sure a large percentage of this traffic was curiosity seekers but it still shows movement in what has been a very stagnant market. Model homes are great! they have a way of making home buying seem fun again! I think everyone has had a enough of looking at pictures of homes with trashed cabinets and concrete poured down sinks!!!

So how do these new homes match up? well they look great in the model, but you are probably up to $50,000 lighter once you take the sales price and spend an afternoon walking through the design center! They are offering some incentives (although I noticed these were not heavily advertised and I had to ask), there is $5000 towards closing costs and $5000 off at the design center. These are unique properties in that they are single storey and up to 4500 sq ft. The plus side of a new home is they come fully warranted. You might pay more than you would for an REO but you will not inherit any of the possible headaches of buying a home "as is".



Bottom line is if you are interested in buying a new home, the homebuilders want nothing more than for you to show up without representation. Its cheaper for them and you are less likely to place as many demands and require as many assurances as would a seasoned agent. It costs nothing to you as the buyer and I would encourage you to contact me today if you want help being guided through this fun and exciting process!!

Chris@northwestvallerealtor.com

http://www.northwestvalleyrealtor.com/

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lazy Realtors and Great Pictures!!!

So how important are photographs when it comes to selling your house? It is the humble opinion of this realtor that a house needs to be staged and photographs need to be clean, crisp and look as though we are taking a peek through the window of a model home, this opinion however is not shared by all of my peers. Take this picture below for example.







Do we notice what's wrong here? Aside from the general clutter and abundance of pictures hanging from the wall, it might be a nice idea to photograph this room without the homeowner asleep on the couch!!!!!!

Here is another priceless effort! Maybe this was an "open" house??


























So in this next pic, does the car come with the house? or do we have some difficulties accessing the driveway????

























So anyway I think you get my point here!!! Some realtors are offering "no hassle listings" meaning you can take your own photographs, never meet the realtor, not have to put up with a listing presentation at 6pm in your house while you are trying to bath the kids, but you have to ask yourself this question, if you want a no hassle listing then why are you employing a realtor at all? essentially you are taking the hassle away from them and the value away from you! a good realtor can make it painless for you and still get the job done right.

My clients get the benefit of my experience, a free staging service and also can sleep at night knowing there are no pictures of themselves asleep on the couch in MLS.

I rest my case!

As always feel free to contact me with any of your real estate questions or concerns!

Chris Spalding - Realtor
http://www.northwestvalleyrealtor.com/



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The thought of foreclosure have you up at nights?

Thought You'd be Interested

Families all across America are struggling to come to terms with a tough economy and are facing difficulties paying the mortgage for their primary residence. In a healthy economy, downsizing or changing homes in to something more affordable would have been an option. In today's climate this is simply not the case. Most homeowners are sitting under a mass of negative equity that completely crushes their choices when faced with financial issues due to job loss, income changes or other mitigating circumstances. This is an incredibly difficult as well as emotional issue when people are faced with losing or letting go of their home, but short sales are a viable option and can sometimes be approved BEFORE the homeowner gets behind on their mortgage payments. If you or someone you know wants to discuss a short sale as an option, I would be happy to meet and discuss options with regards to your home.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Homepath - Fannie Mae's REO Offering


"HOMEPATH" is Fannie Mae's REO offering and some of you may have noticed it being advertised on real estate signs in your neighborhood. REO is a bank owned property which failed to be sold at a foreclosure sale. So what does this plan have to offer you? Well here are the basics:
  • Low down payment and flexible mortgage terms (fixed–rate, adjustable rate,  or interest–only).
  • Down payment (at least 3 percent) can be funded by the borrower’s own savings; a gift; a grant; or a loan from a nonprofit organization, state or local government, or employer.
  • No lender requested appraisal.
  • No mortgage insurance; ask your lender for cost details on loans without mortgage insurance.
  • Expanded seller contributions for closing costs allowed.
  • Available for primary residences, second homes and investment properties.
The great thing is that there is much more flexibility for the buyer, and the low down payments make these properties more reachable for buyers and investors alike. I spent the past week taking a look at all the homepath properties in the 85383 zip code up here in ther Northwest Valley. While the financing options are attractive, there are some down sides to consider before making an offer on an REO. These properties are usually sold "as is" meaning a property inspection is essential but cosmetic deficiencies will be yours to own as the new proud home owner. I have noticed that these houses tend to be initally overpriced by 10-25% when I have pulled comps in the area, but be patient because I have watched as they tend to decrease rapidly approximately every 30 days. The low down payments may make a property in reach for you, but don't necessarily jump and buy a house that is priced above market value at the get go.

This can be a great packaged plan but buyer beware, use a Realtor to guide you through the process and ensure you come up trumps!!

Chris Spalding

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Another day, another nail in my tire!

For those of you that have lived in Arizona for less than 3 years there is a good chance you will not have a clue whats going on in the picture below!

This is called housing construction and it used to be somewhat popular here in the valley of the sun! Now one of things that has struck me in recent months has been the sudden reappearance of this phenomena. What then you may ask does this have to do with the title of the blog entry??? well during the boom years in mid to late 2000s I remember my local tire shops also used to be booming, there were so many nails being shot into so much lumber in sprawling new subdivisions that it seem like several times a year I would find myself getting new tires having picked up yet another stray nail from the asphalt of a upcoming neighborhood. So this weekend as I drove through another northwest valley neighborhood, I felt a somewhat nostalgic flashback as the air from my passenger side rear wheel began to hiss and the car gently came to a halt next to a half framed home. Well, maybe I thought there is some normality coming back to the market place after all!

For all your real estate needs or for a good tire shop recommendation, call me any time
Chris Spalding (602-312-7237)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bashing on the competition? (Well maybe a little...)


I've hosted two open houses this week in vacant properties that are listed by other Realtors. Now I dont want to use this as an opportunity to totally "bash" on the competition, but I do have a couple of observations that I would like to share. As a Realtor you have a responsibility to your client to try and sell their house in a timely fashion and at the best possible price. This will not happen so much if every smoke alarm in the house is beeping, nor will it happen if the front room looks like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie (dead spiders, cockroaches etc). When I am selling your vacant property I can assure you of certain things. The house will be clean, it will be vacuumed, it will not have dead scorpions in armchairs. Smoke detectors will have batteries AND I also offer  a free staging service, this means that although the house wont be fully furnished, it will have candles, plants, ornamental styling that will help to show your home and present it as something more than just a dusty empty house. Real Estate is like anything else in life, if you want to sell it, make sure its priced well and that its presentable!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

OPEN HOUSE at 9766 W BLACK HILL RD Peoria, AZ 85383

I'm hosting an open house on Sunday the 11th from 10am to 2pm. See Listing Details Here:
Realty ONE Group Arizona

I've always loved this neighborhood in Pleasant Valley, they are big homes with even bigger backyards just across Lake Pleasant Parkway from where we live in West Wing. One of our favorite family traditions at Christmas is to grab Hot Chocolates from Starbucks and drive around the homes in Pleasant Valley looking at the Christmas lights. They are the best in the area! If it's warm enough we get out and walk a ways as well. I wish the pictures showed the grass a bit greener because this yard with it's built-in BBQ and kids play set is making ME want to buy it for myself.

Homes here are in the Deer Valley Unified School District. Elementary aged kids in Pleasant Valley are zoned to attend West Wing Elementary. I just attended the PTSA meeting for West Wing Elementary where the boys are enrolled on Monday and they are anticipating their "Excelling" school label for the 3rd year in a row to be released in the next month. This is just a great area to raise kids here in the Northwest Valley, there is a fantastic sense of community, great public, private and charter schools nearby and let's nor forget the incredible mountain views surrounding our homes!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

15 Years in Arizona

October 6th 2011 will be 15 years to the day that an old British Airways DC10 touched down at Sky Harbor Airport, starting my personal adventure in the city I have grown to know and love, Phoenix AZ.

The landscape has changed dramatically in the time that I have spent here. I remember in 1996, I had never seen so much construction going on! It seemed like every month that passed a new subdivision would spring up out of nowhere. I remember how odd all the wood framework seemed having come from the UK where everything is typically built from red brick. As time moved on and I bought my first personal real estate, followed shortly by investment property, I noticed the changes starting to occur around me, the boom, the slowdown and even, believe it or not a few years of average steady growth in between!! I pulled some stats tonight on new home permits for the same period of my stay and thought I would share. The numbers really tell an interesting story.

Single-family new house construction building permits:

  • 1996: 6798 buildings, average cost: $117,400
  • 1997: 5752 buildings, average cost: $129,200
  • 1998: 5585 buildings, average cost: $134,100
  • 1999: 5302 buildings, average cost: $139,000
  • 2000: 4732 buildings, average cost: $143,100
  • 2001: 5501 buildings, average cost: $154,300
  • 2002: 7116 buildings, average cost: $161,300
  • 2003: 9086 buildings, average cost: $170,200
  • 2004: 12749 buildings, average cost: $181,600
  • 2005: 12391 buildings, average cost: $193,100
  • 2006: 9032 buildings, average cost: $195,100
  • 2007: 6560 buildings, average cost: $179,200
  • 2008: 2176 buildings, average cost: $218,200
  • 2009: 1336 buildings, average cost: $225,000
  • 2010: 1111 buildings, average cost: $221,100
I suspect that the next few years will see a slow but steady increase back to more reasonable levels. We'll see! One thing for sure is this is still a fantastic place to live and raise our families!

Chris Spalding (602-312-7237)
http://northwestvalleyrealtor.com/

Friday, September 2, 2011

I'll Take Two...Supersized

A direct pull from ARMLS this morning shows there are currently 19,280 active listings which is down even further than the 27,400 described in the article below. The short term outlook is for a shrinking inventory which in turn will drive up prices. This market has many moving parts but one thing is for sure, this is an unprecedented opportunity to purchase real estate at historically low prices and interest rates. So if you are a potential first time buyer looking to get a foot in the market, a new or seasoned investor, or someone with recovering credit because of a prior foreclosure or short sale during the crash, now is the time to make the move!

This article does an excellent job of describing the ever shifting dynamics of the current real estate market in metropolitan Phoenix:
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/08/28/20110828az-real-estate-market-confusion.html

Feel free to contact me today with any questions.

Chris Spalding (602-312-7237)
http://northwestvalleyrealtor.com/

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thought You'd be Interested

Thought You'd be Interested

Nothing like the feel of a glossy business card in your hand!