Purchase and Remodel a home with only 3.5% cash out of your pocket

Today I attended a class on the FHA 203 K loan.  It has always been one of those things that sounds really good but is practically impossible to get done.   But I met a team of peeps all working together and getting the FHA 203k loans closed and people into their beautiful homes.

One of the challenges in todays market is that so many of the homes (foreclosures and short sales) are in poor condition.  Having items and issues that need repair in order to get a loan on the property; and with both short sale and foreclosure properties being “As Is” transactions, and no repairs being completed by the seller, getting a loan approved, funded and closed can be like pulling teeth without any Novocain.

In comes the FHA 203K team!

Together, a lender who will complete this type of loan; the home inspector, termite inspector, general contractor, HUD inspector, and a handful of other people that together know what is required, are working in unison to help people purchase these distressed properties, make the needed repairs and do some remodeling and updating at the same time.

How does it work?

The home buyer finds out what they will qualify to purchase.  Working backwards from there, if you qualify for 200,000 and you are going to put 20-35,000 into repairs and remodeling; look for homes priced around 160,000.  At the same time you have the home inspection, also bring in the general contractor and maybe the HUD inspector too.  Find out the cost for what is needed to be repaired and what you would like to have remodeled.  The cost of repairs and remodeling are rolled into the final loan amount. At closing the general contractor gets in the house and makes the repairs and remodeling, a few weeks later the home owner gets to move into their beautiful newly re-done home.

This takes an experienced team, a well oiled machine and fantastic communication.  I am glad to know the players! and to have been invited to join the team and help a few more buyers get into their dream home.

Desert Botanical Gardens

I love our gardens. Love being a member, even if I don’t get there as often as I would like. Last year the Desert Botanical Gardens had the Dale Chihuly: Nature of Glass exhibition. Because of the exhibit, the gardens increased their revenue last year by 45%.

With so many of the museums, parks and other community facilities facing closure due to the economy and lack of funds, I am glad The Desert Botanical Gardens is doing so well.

Connect with them on Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter

Phoenix area market condition

The numbers are starting to look a bit more encouraging. After months and months of sales prices falling the home sales prices seem to have stabilized. For the past 10 months the average home sales price has bounced between $170,000 and $180,000. Up a bit one month, then down a bit the next, I think is an indication of multi-million dollar home sales added into the mix.

As you can see from the Arizona Multiple Listing Service chart, the prices dipped as low as $159,000 and are seeming to hold steady.

This is a broad picture, looking at all of Maricopa County. Things may be different neighborhood to neighborhood and community to community. Depending on the number of foreclosures, short sales and total sales, the outlook can be different for the area you are considering purchasing a home.

To see this chart full sized, head over to the ARMLS Sold Chart


It is time for a talk about Air Conditioners and what you need to know!

It is time to think about your air conditioner, and not because summer is around the corner. There are new laws governing air conditioners. Freon systems (R22) can no longer be installed. This is due to the Clean Air Act of 1990. As of January 1, 2010 air conditioning systems that use Freon (R22) are no longer allowed to be manufactured. All new systems must be Puron (410A).

The challenge is the two cooling chemicals don’t work together. They are like oil and water; like putting regular gas in a diesel vehicle. It just won’t work. So if your compressor goes bad, you could have to replace the compressor and air handler! And that is a huge cost.

What does this mean to you? Well I had a chat with Tara Carter from Old Republic Home Protection and learned a few things. She said that there is no specific time frame for parts to be available. Depending on your AC unit, and what needs to be replaced on your unit, there could be a shortage of parts, starting right now. Parts could be found out of state, and across the country. So understand that repair times could be longer than desired. If a part is not available anywhere in the country, you will have to have the whole unit replaced. That could be a cost of 6 or 8 grand and up.

That is why if there was ever a good reason to have a home warranty, it would be now. A few things to check before you choose a Home Warranty company make sure they will cover the full replacement of your AC both the air handler and the compressor. (like Old Republic) If one or the other goes, both will have to be replaced.

If you have a newer unit, you may not need to worry. Be sure to get your unit serviced annually and keep it in good working order for as long as possible.

Why isn’t the bank doing a short sale?

I had a great question asked this week. The person asked me about a house in their neighborhood. It had been vacant for a while and they were interested in the stats and possibly purchasing it. I looked up the house and found out the property was scheduled for foreclosure in less than a month.

The question: “Why isn’t the bank doing a short sale?”

The consideration for a short sale is requested by the owner of the home. It may be in the owner’s best interest to do a Bankruptcy, and let the property foreclose. If the owners had consulted with a tax attorney, they may have been advised to move forward in the manner they were.

Doing a short sale is not the choice of the bank. They (the bank) cannot opt to sell the property, as they do not own it. The current owner could at the last minute pay the bank the fees owed, renegotiate their loan and get out of default. The foreclosure process allows the owner to get out of trouble if they can.

The bank is not at liberty to do anything until they have ownership of the property.

Foreclosures in the Active Adult Communities

With today days real estate market I get asked about foreclosures all the time. Specifically about foreclosures in the adult communities. As people are looking thru the listings from our website (Active Adult Communities in Arizona) they don’t see many foreclosures. I am not hiding them, or keeping them from the selection available, I promise.

It is the nature of the buyer in Adult Communities. They are much more conservative. Many if not most, purchase with cash. If they require a loan, the amount down is usually greater than 10 or even 20% and the loans are all fixed rate loans. Only investors in those communities purchased with interest only, adjustable loans. And most new build communities did not sell to investors.

So we don’t see many home foreclosures in the adult communities. When they do come on the market, many times was an investor that got in over their heads, or some major personal issue, or the property passed on to the family and they couldn’t handle paying the additional mortgage.

The result, the housing prices in the adult communities have not been affected by foreclosures like the all aged communities. Instead, the conservativeness of the buyers, and the balance of retirement accounts has kept the buyers away, bringing the prices down in those communities.

In conclusion, the adult communities see far fewer foreclosures, and though the prices have come down with the real estate crisis, they prices have not come down as much as the all aged communities.

REO/Short Sale/Normal – What’s really selling in the Phoenix area housing market

I was looking through the charts and statistics and came across these 2.  They offer an interesting view on what homes are selling, and how much of our housing market is really about the foreclosures.

From the chart below you can see that steadily for the past 6 months the REO (bank owned properties) are about 15% of the active listings. The Short is for short sale listings running at about 35% and Normal, is a regular buyer and seller no bank involved is still 50% of the homes on the market.


Compare the above chart with this one and you can see REO (bank owned property) sales dominate. Currently about 45%, down from 55% of all the sales are REO’s.

Normal transactions having 35% of the sales (back in Nov what was thought to be the end of the home buyer tax credit and people were looking to make the home purchase happen and not mess with the banks)

The Short Sales have increased from 15 to 23%.


What does all that tell me, a few things?

1.       Bank owned homes sill offer the best value

2.        Banks are starting to approve short sales.  (it sure has taken a long time)

3.       With more short sale approvals, fewer homes are going to foreclosure

4.       And there is nothing like a home that has been loved and taken care of

Considering buying a Short Sale?

Anyone watching the active listings of homes will see the abundance of  “Short Sales” available.

So what are they?

  • A short sale is where the seller owes more on their home than the current value and they are asking the bank to be ‘shorted’ the funds due them.

And what’s the deal…

  • Any offer must also be accepted by the Bank(s) holding the loan(s) on the property
    • Banks are slow to respond (could be months and months)
    • Bank must determine if it is in their best interest to do a short sale (is there mortgage insurance on the existing loan?)
    • Bank will determine at what price/value they will accept an offer (could be an amount greater than the asking price)
    • Bank may choose foreclosure over short sale
  • It is an “as is” purchase – (no repairs will be done by the seller)
  • The seller is not allowed by the bank to contribute any expenses regarding the closing (to pay for a home warranty for example)
  • All parties must agree to the terms, buyer, seller, and bank(s)
    • If the seller does not agree with terms from bank – they can cancel
    • If the seller has excessive tax implications that they learn about – they can cancel
  • And many more items to consider

And yet they could be a good deal for the person who…

  • They sell for near foreclosure prices, and sometimes less
  • is not in a hurry with no time frame requirements to meet
  • Realizes the “list price” may not be the sales price and is prepared to raise their offer beyond the list price.
  • has the patience of Job

New stuff on Scottsdale-Blog

I have been busy adding new info to Scottsdale-blog. I have added detail about each of the communities in McCormick Ranch, starting with the town home/patio home communities, then the apartment styled condos and the last section, still to come, will be the single family communities.

Check out the tables, making it easy to identify communities with features like golf views, heated community pool, gated and others. As the weeks go by I will be posting about each of these different communities. Making it easier for you to identify the right neighborhood for you.

Why use your Realtors preferred lender?

The short answer: All lenders are not the same.

I recently completed a transaction where the lender was one my client had been working with. I respect the relationships that are built between LO (loan officer) and buyer. My client had been working with this LO building her credit back up and getting to the savings goals she needed to purchase a home.

As we started he promptly emailed me the LSR (Loan Status Report) a document that is included with every offer filled out by both the LO and the buyer. Soon after we were in contract, all going smoothly…. Everything was great.

Till it wasn’t. The LO was never available to answer his phone, he didn’t respond to his email. I finally had to call his office and get connected with his loan processor. The file had been in underwriting for over a week, we had been told we would get the file back in 48 hrs. I had no idea what the delay was. And with no communication, I was fearful of the worst. The selling agent was anxious too. We were supposed to close in just a few days, and I couldn’t get the lender to communicate!

When he did communicate, he assured me that the file would be out of underwriting that afternoon…. But it wasn’t and not the next day or the next… once the file did come out of underwriting it was to be just 48hrs till the documents would be at the title office for signing, and funds were to be sent at the same time as the docs so there would be no delay. It took almost another week to get the docs, and the funds were delayed beyond that.
Thank goodness the seller was patient. We extended the contract again, and again, again and finally closed.

It takes a team to purchase and close on a home. Each person is needed to do their part, working hard behind the scenes to make the transactions move along smoothly. If there is one member of the team not holding up their part, it makes the whole transaction stressful for everyone.

Communication is key, I don’t care if you prefer to communicate via phone, email, text or any other form as long as you communicate.

In this instance the buyer had her belongings packed in a truck and had fully moved out of her previous home, and had to stay with friends as she was homeless during the delays.