Freeze Your Own Credit? - 08/29/08 02:27 PM
Would you intentionally freeze your credit?
Much in the same way one would want to stop a check or put a temporary block on a personal credit card- consumers may find a need to freeze all personal credit. In most states this is possible. In Arizona, it will be.
On September 1, Arizona citizens will join 44 states in being able to take the most extreme ID Theft protection measure out there. It will become possible to prevent access to credit files at all three credit bureaus. By so doing, the consumer will be able to prevent others from
Credit Freezers Told to Chill - 08/26/08 10:17 PM
This Just In...
The Office of Thrift Supervision publishes their purpose on their website:
"The OTS supervises savings associations
and their holding companies to meet
America's financial services needs."
Today, in response to a large number of consumer complaints, they issued a six page press release that deals with the way financial services have been handling lines of credit. The meat of the release is this:
“Declining home prices in parts of the country are prompting some institutions to curtail, suspend, or terminate customers’ home equity line of credit. Today’s guidance emphasizes that institutions taking such actions
Bank Owned Homes in Phoenix and the East Valley - 08/25/08 06:09 PM
Home Sales in the Phoenix area are increasing... and so is the inventory. Investors are cashing in on these buying opportunities as there are many homes priced well below the median. Among the most aggressively priced homes are those owned by banks.
I've created a link that allows the more sophisticated user to be able to search through the bank owned inventory. The reason I say sophisticated user is because this link has a few features that are database-specific. This, in essence, is the same database that a real estate agent uses to find you properties. Some of the fields that
Is Photosynth the Ultimate Virtual Tour Tool? My Goodness- it's Awesome! - 08/23/08 01:21 PM
There's a new, easy-to-use, free tool that turns the average Joe and JoeAnn into a virtual world builder.
And it's brough to you by the freaky geniuses at Apple Microsoft.
Microsoft? That's right... after years in the lab, Microsoft is offering Photosynth.
Check out this video:
My guess? The bloggers will soon be offering a round of tutorials and testimonials regarding its use as a real estate prospecting and selling tool.
Warren Calls "Game Over" in Freddie/Fannie - 08/22/08 08:00 PM
As Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue thier free fall one very rich man has decided to pass on investing.
In an interview on CNBC Warrent Buffet says the "game is over" for the two. He sites a lack of net worth as a major factor. This increases the speculation that the government will need to get involved in a bail-out.
In other news, here's what Warren Buffet (investor/richest man in the world) had to say about the current defit situation and the varied economic factors facing today's market.
Why You Find Fewer New Homes in the Bigger Cities - 08/22/08 07:05 PM
The Ship Builder: A friend of a friend built a ship. It was like a larger-than-average houseboat. People admired his one-of-a-kind creation and asked where he bought it. Discovering this was a custom creation, someone wanted him to build another.
Life Change: He turned his back pasture into a makeshift shipyard. Then another request came in. Soon he was a yacht builder. It was an accidental job change that was turning into a lucrative endeavor. He couldn't be happier with the new direction his life had taken. He had become an artist and master-craftsman and loved every minute of
Market Pulse: What I'm seeing in the Phoenix metro Area - 08/21/08 05:34 PM
"How's the Market?"
I'm asked this question all the time. Since the market is varied, the answer is different depending on the sector. If we were to take the pulse of the market right now here are a few trends we'd notice:
New Homes: It's not a great time to be a builder. Profit margins are down- and it will probably stay that way for a while. This is good news for the buyer. The selection is phenomenal. New home starts are down to a 17 year low nationwide. This is bound to happen. The builder inventory is still high...
The Return to Housing Affordability - 08/20/08 06:41 PM
Look at Those Prices!
In 2004 people around these parts (that's the Phoenix metro area for anyone new to this blog) found that there was an abundance of homes from which to choose.
Houses were affordable and the selection was tremendous.
Then came the boom. For the next two years the affordable selection dwindled.
What do I mean by affordable?
Affordability has a nuanced meaning. For you, it means anything that fits your budget. For the market it includes any home that the average resident can afford.
When the average home buyer is able to purchase the average home
Arizona Home Builders in Financial Trouble - August 19,2008 List - 08/20/08 12:48 AM
The Arizona Department of Real Estate has released a list of, what they call, "Arizona Homebuilders in Financial Trouble". This disclosure is to advise potential buyers to be aware that such properties could have issues of special concern that may be typical of builders undergoing financial difficulties. Note: This list is current as of August 19, 2008.
Arizona- the New "Little" Hollywood - 08/19/08 11:47 AM
Before Hollywood, there was Flagstaff.
Westerns were the first popular films and an enterprising group of people decided Flagstaff would make an ideal filming location. There's the old west look as well as the snowy mountaintop vistas. Money and supplies in hand, a large crew assembled in this great northern Arizona city.
Then it snowed, and snowed and snowed some more.
After many weeks of this, the crew moved west to a little town called Hollywoodland.
Oops. There went Arizona's chance.
Fast forward to a few years ago... a few film
Coming Home - 08/18/08 06:20 PM
"You Can't Go Home Again"
In my rather short life so far (let's think optimistically, shall we?) I've had more than three dozen addresses. Some places I've lived for a matter of weeks, others- a few years. Only in the past decade have I managed to come close to living up to the the expression of "growing roots."
Some of places I lived seemed like a weigh station... a place to live until I've found "home." One of the best ways to find out if the new house feels like home is to leave for a while.
Arizona Home & Building Expo Opens Friday- Get in Free With This Link - 08/12/08 08:50 PM
Downtown Phoenix is the place to be this weekend as the Home and Building Expo heads into its 17th year. The organizers bill it as, "Arizona’s premier home show" and it's being held at the newly expanded Phoenix Convention Center - 111 N. 3rd St. Phoenix, AZ 85004 - Map
Who will be there?
Seven hundred companies that offer home related products or services. They're the companies and people that can help you decorate your home inside and out. It's like having the nation's best in one place; they're there to answer your questions and compete for your business.
The optimism of the contrarian - 08/10/08 06:49 PM
Here follows my longest post to date. It contains my ruminations on what it is to be a real estate agent who sometimes works with investors. Many investors are on the sidelines these days- and with good reason. Still, there are contrarian investors who are looking at our current market and seeing an opportunity. This post is my attempt to relate to you what makes them tick. If you're at all curious, keep reading. If this is not your cup of tea, by all means, stop reading right here... what follows will be a few dead minutes. If you are a
Bargain Homes Available- Phoenix Metro Area - 08/10/08 12:19 PM
Homes are on SALE... Bargains, Bargains, Bargains!
Home prices are just unreal these days. It seems like a carnival atmosphere- the advertisements for homes are replete with astonishing price tags.
In short- homes are on sale. And... they're quite the bargain.
What are bargain homes? I suppose everyone has their own definition.
Whenever someone is looking for an investment property or starter home, I like to first search for homes with at least three bedrooms and 1.5 bath, between $80k - $130k.
Here are the current MLS counts for such homes in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area:
Leave the Stretching to Exercise- Not Home Purchasing - 08/09/08 04:04 PM
"I've been approved for $200k- so let's find something at that price."
That's a sentence I heard last week. Change the dollar amount and it's a phrase that real estate agents have been hearing for quite some time.
Though this mentality might work under certain conditions, it can spell disaster. Let me explain.
Let's look outside the U.S. market for an extreme case. In the 1980's inflation in Brazil was in the triple digits. People would buy the most expensive house they could find under the assumption that the high priced home would be a bargain in a matter of
Price of Water- How is it in your city? ... This may surprise you - 08/08/08 07:30 PM
Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner - 1797
These are among the memorable lines from the classic epic poem. Even if you're at sea- with water in every direction, it doesn't mean it's drinkable.
I live near Phoenix, Arizona. It's dry and surrounded by desert. We're in a drought.
We live "next door" to California. They're also experiencing a drought.
Unlike our desert, theirs is next to an extremely large body of water.
The Olympics Begin Tomorrow- Catch Them Online - 08/07/08 08:06 AM
When the Olympics is held on the other side of the world we find ourselves in the unique position of being unable to catch much of the action live.
There will be a great deal of live coverage but many of us will be watching tape-delay or the tivo'd versions. Stick around... I provide a link to online locations.
I have been a big fan of the Olympics for as long as I can remember. This event has even shaped my career choices... it certainly had an impact on my college major: International Relations.
When the Winter Olympics headed up north
Phoenix Suns Schedule Announced- TV Maximum Reached - 08/07/08 06:51 AM
The Phoenix Suns will be one of only four teams to play the maximum (25) games to be broadcast on the major networks. The Arizona Republic reports, "Only the Suns, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers will appear the maximum 25 times on ABC, ESPN and TNT for the coming regular season."
For all the years I've watched this team I enter each season like most fans, wondering "can they do it this year?"
They come so close so often but have yet to win a championship.
Let's see if Nash and Shaq have anything left in the tank...
A Look at the Indicators... Where is Housing Headed - 08/05/08 11:51 PM
For any speculator, this is a fun time to be looking at the market.
"Why is that?" you ask.
It's because the market is putting on a great poker face. Here are some of the curve balls we've witnessed over the past couple years:
Homes have lost equity, stocks have lost ground, transportation prices have soared, the national deficit has increased, the dollar has weakened, state and local governments are facing deficits from loss of property tax revenue, etc.
All of this activity has kept money tight. That is to say, people are being careful with their discretionary income. Whenever this
Tempe Beach Splash Park- Beat the Arizona Heat at Tempe Town Lake - 08/04/08 08:22 PM
What to do on a summer day? How about cooling off at the Tempe Beach Splash Park? That's what we decided to do yesterday. Juxtaposed between Tempe Arizona's famous Mill Avenue District and the Tempe Town Lake is this little oasis. What better way to beat the heat than to ride the slides and step among the splash pads?
With school just around the corner this was one more opportunity to finish off the summer.
Appliances, Furniture and Decor - A List of my Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler Favorites - 08/03/08 08:49 PM
We bought the House- Now What?
Every once in a while a new home buyer will ask me for my opinion about the best places to go for furnishings.
I usually ask them what their tastes are and will email a few suggestions.
Some of these suggestion do not vary as they are generic enough to work for most people.
Here are a few of my favorites:
They tend to have the appliances that the bigger stores carry but their prices and customer service has won them a very loyal following.
Thank You Kent Simpson - 08/03/08 12:17 PM
A few months ago I had the opportunity to pass a potential lead to Kent Simpson, an agent who works the cities in and around Tucson, Arizona. That deal was more of a shot in the dark that we both discovered (quite quickly) that it wasn't going to happen.
No problem... there would always be other possibilities. We've had the chance to pass a few ideas back and forth, knowing that someday we may find an opportunity to work together on something.
Last week Kent was up in the Phoenix area and I had the chance to take him
Volunteer Opportunities in Mesa and other Phoenix area Cities - 08/02/08 04:00 PM
The city of Mesa, Arizona has opportunities for volunteers- people who have time to lend a helping hand. They even have a web page which lists the opportunities and includes a sign-up form. It's found here: City of Mesa Volunteers.
One that I became aware of is the Building Strong Neighborhoods Initiative. Katie Brown is the volunteer coordinator. She's looking for "neighborhood ambassadors" to work in pairs. They'll be conducting door to door surveys to query Mesa residents about issues in the community.
In times past, such surveys could take weeks. The goal for this season is to perform
The Narrow "Free Money" Window for the First Time Homebuyer - Update - 08/02/08 12:26 PM
Attention First Time Home Buyers:
There is a very a narrow window of opportunity right now.
I'm talking about those who go into contract before October 1st.
You'll be able to qualify for down payment assistance programs that pay most (sometimes all) of your closing costs.
You'll also be able to qualify for the tax credits that will be made available through new legislation. This is a credit toward your taxes valued at up to $7,500.
UPDATE: The details are thus... Any home purchased between April 9, 2008 and July 1, 2009 can qualify for $7,500 or 10%
When it Clicked - 08/01/08 03:39 PM
I received an email quite a few months ago. It was from a teenager who was wondering what it would take to become a home-buyer. I sent a reply ... it took just a few minutes. It could have been titled "Baby Steps to Home Ownership." It was what she requested. The first step involved building credit.
She thanked me, saying mine was the only reply. I put her information into my calendar and checked up with her every once in a while.
To my surprise she had actually followed my advice.
Today I received a referral from a