Monday, July 14, 2014

Arizona Home Buyers Face Common Challenges

Recent articles in the Phoenix Business Journal suggest that home buying has slowed down in metro Phoenix, while rental demand has increased. Has home ownership lost its luster in Maricopa County, or is something else going on?

The answers may rest in a home buying survey completed by mortgage marketer The nationwide survey asked home buyers to share any obstacles they experienced during the process.

About 80% of respondents reported having at least one of the following barriers:
  • Insufficient credit score
  • Insufficient down payment
  • Inability to obtain financing at desired rate and terms
  • High home prices
  • High property taxes
These issues were common for buyers in every age group. It boils own to two central points:
  • Mortgage loan approval is still difficult for many home buyers
  • Home prices and home affordability remain a concern
In May of 2013, the median price for a home in Maricopa County was $185,000. As of May 2014, the median price was $205,000, a price gain of 11%. That's a healthy jump. This could be a part of the reason why landlords are enjoying low vacancy rates in our area, along with higher rents.

In fact, if we were to add more reasons to the above list, we would have to include "limited home inventory in appropriate price range" and "competition from cash buyers."  About 25% of all home purchases in Maricopa County are made by cash buyers, who often rent out the property.

This isn't to say that home buying is impossible! You simply need to level the playing field by working with an Accredited Buyer Representative - like me! I can show you comparable sales to help you avoid over-spending on a home. I will also counsel you about appropriate contingencies, home inspections, local amenities, and more. Having experienced, professional home buying guidance on your side is a must.

I also have a network of trusted industry professionals, such as mortgage lenders, home inspectors and contractors. Why go it alone? Let me help! As your Accredited Buyer Representative, I will guide you throughout the home buying process. Consider me your one-stop resource for the latest home listings and community information!

I have helped Arizona home buyers for over 30 years, and I'd like to help you too! Contact me today for complete home buying help in Fountain Hills!

Tina Nabers
Nabers Property Management & Real Estate
Check Out My Website
See Homes for Sale in Fountain Hills
Become a Fan on Facebook
Find Out More About Investing on Facebook
Connect With Me on LinkedIn
Contact Me

Monday, June 16, 2014

Finding Opportunities in Fountain Hills Fixer-Uppers!

Whether you are buying a Fountain Hills home as an investment, as a vacation home or primary residence, there are good reasons to include fixer-uppers in your home search! Homes that need a little work tend to sell for less. You might also find a "diamond in the rough" in a preferred neighborhood that could provide an excellent return on investment.

You do not need to be an expert handyman to consider buying a fixer-upper. However, there are a few rules of thumb you'll want to follow to avoid getting in over your head. Here are tips to keep in mind!

1. Look for fixer-uppers in the best neighborhoods. Location plays a strong role in home value.

2. Avoid homes that have structural defects or serious damage. Labor-intensive projects can be more expensive in time and money then they're worth.

3. The ideal fixer-upper is a home that is basically sound, but outdated. Condos can provide excellent opportunities for interior renovations and resale. A word of caution - the condo association may have rules regarding the nature of renovations and materials allowed. It's a good idea to review the association rules and make sure your plans are viable.

4. Know what you can handle. Are you willing to give up a few nights and weekends to tear out carpeting, paint the walls, and refinish hardwood floors? Make a list of the tasks that you know how to do. Shop for your Fountain Hills home with your skill set in mind.

5. Get professional estimates for the repairs you can't handle yourself. For example, if the home inspection reveals a problem with the plumbing, have a plumber examine the issue and provide an estimate. You can place contingencies in your purchase offer to cover these situations. I will help you!

6. Use appropriate financing. Fannie Mae's HomePath Renovation Mortgage allows you to finance both the purchase and repair of the home with one loan, and one closing. The FHA "203K" mortgage allows you to finance new appliances, cosmetic updates and repairs along with your home purchase. Both are excellent programs, but they do have limitations on the degree of repairs that can be financed. I will refer you to trustworthy mortgage professionals who can tell you more about these options.

7. Work with a local real estate expert! I have worked with real estate investors for many years, and I can help you find the best opportunities in Fountain Hills real estate! Whether you are looking for Arizona properties that have potential for a quick return, or you have a buy-and-hold strategy in mind, I will find the homes that best match your needs.

Please contact me today!

Tina Nabers

Monday, May 19, 2014

Tips for Top Dollar Offers on your Fountain Hills Home!

Some home sellers in Fountain Hills are finding that 2014 could be the Year of the Picky Home Buyer. While home prices are competitive and interest rates are low, buyers are frequently basing decisions on home condition. Homes that have recent upgrades and show like new are drawing the most buyer activity - and the best offers!

This doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune preparing your home for the market. There's no need to completely remodel - but you must be willing to look at your home with a critical eye. Simply put, many well-qualified buyers are not willing to take on a home that needs work.

This isn't out of laziness; it's simple economics. Mortgage rates are low enough that it makes sense for buyers to purchase the nicest home they can afford with the fewest worries, rather than buy a dated home and face repairs and updates out of their own pockets.

Here are a few examples of updates and repairs that should be considered:
  • Paint rooms with neutral colors. Earth tones are "in."
  • Replace worn out or stained carpeting.
  • Repair/refinish hardwood flooring.
  • Replace outdated appliances - stainless steel finishes remain popular.
  • Replace worn or stained kitchen countertops with granite.
  • Remove clutter from the interior of your home, as well as from the garage and lot.
  • Replace cracked tile.
  • Install new tub and shower liners.
  • Have the air conditioning inspected and serviced.
  • Add interest to the exterior landscaping - a splash of color adds curb appeal and makes your home stand out.
A good sales strategy begins with evaluating home condition and prioritizing necessary repairs and updates. I will help you by providing a pre-sale consultation - free of charge! You may also wish to have a home inspection completed. Often, we become so used to living with our home condition issues, such as a slow-dripping faucet or worn carpet, that we no longer take notice of them.

A top-dollar sale comes when you show your home at its best! I have proven strategies for you in my popular e-book, "450 Ideas to Sell Your Home Faster!"  It's completely free, and I encourage you to obtain your copy today.

I have many more home sale strategies and staging tips I'd like to share with you. Contact me today, and find out how we can sell your Fountain Hills home for top dollar!

Tina Nabers
Nabers Property Management & Real Estate

Monday, April 7, 2014

Are Fountain Hills Homes Affordable for First-Time Buyers?

Conflicting headlines about Arizona's real estate market can confuse first-time home buyers who are looking for direction. For example, Zillow recently made a dour statement that nearly half of Phoenix-area homes are unaffordable.

Days later, posted an article saying that the greater Phoenix area was among the Top 10 metros for first-time home buyers.

Is the glass half-full, or half-empty? Let's take a look at the basis for each claim!

Zillow's computations were based upon median home buyer income of $53,556 against a median home price of $187,900. A home buyer fitting this scenario would spend about 22.3% of their monthly income on a mortgage payment, which is well within traditional measures of affordability.

Zillow's pessimism is largely based on the limited supply of Phoenix-area homes priced under $200,000. However, by their own math, 56% of current listings are affordable for median wage-earners. It just isn't as exciting to phrase it that way.

Meanwhile, lists the greater Phoenix area among the top metros for first-time home buyers based on several factors:
  • Strength in local employment figures
  • Median home prices
  • Median age of inventory (days on market)
  • Inventory of homes of sale
  • Popularity of location by home search activity
Based on market data from February 2014, the greater Phoenix area was ranked #10 in home search popularity. Homes were spending an average of 59 days on market, which is an indication of good home buying activity. The glass is half-full!

Closer to home, Fountain Hills has added new home listings in recent weeks, improving the supply of affordable homes for first-time buyers. We have several attractive condominium units that are in walking distance to Fountain Park with beautiful views. Do the math for yourself, and you'll see why this is a great time to buy your Fountain Hills home!

Ready to find your Fountain Hills home? Let me help! As your Accredited Buyer Representative, I will guide you throughout the home buying process. Consider me your one-stop resource for the latest home listings and community information!

I have helped Arizona home buyers for over 30 years, and I'd like to help you too! Contact me today for complete home buying help in Fountain Hills!

Tina Nabers
Nabers Property Management & Real Estate
Check Out My Website
See Homes for Sale in Fountain Hills
Become a Fan on Facebook
Find Out More About Investing on Facebook
Connect With Me on LinkedIn
Contact Me

Monday, March 24, 2014

Arizona Home Price Projections and Home Seller Expectations

The National Association of REALTORS® projects that home prices in Arizona will increase by 3% to 5% during the next 12 months, according to the latest Confidence Index survey. The survey includes responses from over 50,000 professional real estate practitioners throughout the United States, and considers home price trends and overall market conditions.

As mentioned in prior blog posts, Phoenix-Scottsdale real estate benefits from a strengthening local economy and continued investor activity. This bodes well for Fountain Hills home sellers who are entering the market this year. However, sale price expectations need to remain realistic, and homes still need to be prepared for the market to obtain the best offers. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Lending standards have eased somewhat, but buyers remain challenged by the approval process.  Pricing your home according to current market values helps prevent problems with bank appraisals.

2. According to an article in the Phoenix Business Journal, new construction home sales have slowed during the early months of 2014. The median price of a newly-built home was about $290,000 in February; down from $301,000 during December 2013. While the article does not point to a specific reason, it's likely that buyers are finding better deals among the inventory of existing homes for sale. Newly constructed homes are impacted by material costs that have been steadily rising.

For the time being, existing homes have an advantage over new construction when it comes to price. But if builders begin to aggressively discount new homes, it could soften the values of similar properties in the area.

3. All real estate is local. Fountain Hills home values could outpace the projections for Arizona home values - or fall a bit short of those projections. Rather than count on a market trend to lift your home value, it's wiser to keep your home in the best possible condition - and invest in the repairs and improvements it needs to draw the best offers.

4. Being inflexible on price and terms can kill a deal, even if market trends are in your favor. According to the Confidence Index prepared by the National Association of REALTORS®, lack of agreement over price accounted for 11% of transaction failures. This isn't to say that you have to take any offer that comes along, but you should be aware of current values and be flexible within reason.

If you are thinking of selling your Fountain Hills home, now is the time to obtain expert advice and prepare for the market! Get started with my free e-book, "450 Ways to Sell Your Home Faster!"

Ready to find out what your Fountain Hills home is worth on the market? Contact me for your free home value and marketing consultation!

Tina Nabers
Nabers Property Management & Real Estate

Monday, March 10, 2014

Will Fountain Hills home buyers find fewer homes and higher prices?

Real estate trends for the Phoenix-Scottsdale metropolitan area are pointing to higher home demand throughout 2014, according to a recent HousingWire article. At first glance, it would appear that we could expect fewer homes on the market in Fountain Hills as a result.

But like all statistics and news headlines, it pays to look at the details within the facts! Let's break down what's happening and how it may affect Fountain Hills real estate.

First, the good news: home demand is up and likely to remain steady through 2014. Our local economy is adding jobs, and Arizona continues to attract new residents. We also have "boomerang buyers" returning to the housing market, thanks to a forgiving mortgage program by the FHA. We also have investors who continue to absorb distressed properties.

All these elements help support our improving home values, which is great news for Fountain Hills home sellers! Of course, many would-be sellers who postponed placing their homes on the market in recent years may be ready to test the water in 2014. As more home sellers enter the market, the resulting increase in home supply could tame future price increases.

However, the entry-level price ranges, generally including homes priced under $150,000, will continue to face limited inventory. This is where Fountain Hills home buyers will have some challenges. While we have fewer cash buyers in the market today, they are not limiting their investments to distressed properties. As foreclosures and short sales become harder to find, investors are casting their nets wider to secure affordable properties that will appeal to new households.

Will Fountain Hills home buyers find fewer homes on the market in 2014, and face higher prices? As it stands, this is very possible for price ranges below $150,000. This does not mean you won't be able to find an affordable home - but it does mean you should be pre-approved for your mortgage and work with an Accredited Buyer Representative who can help you!

For those of you thinking of selling your Fountain Hills home, now is the time to obtain expert advice and prepare for your opportunities on the market. Get started with my free e-book, "450 Ways to Sell Your Home Faster!"

Buying or selling Fountain Hills real estate? Contact me for your personal real estate consultation!

Tina Nabers
Nabers Property Management & Real Estate

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

7 Mortgage Qualifying Tips for Fountain Hills Home Buyers!

Home buyers in Fountain Hills often share a common concern: namely, how to qualify for the best mortgage! Getting approved for a mortgage at the best rate and terms takes a little planning. Here are seven mortgage qualifying tips to help you!

1. Keep good financial records. Your lender will want copies of your last 2 years of income tax returns, copies of recent bank statements, proof of income, and copies of your retirement accounts. If you receive any portion of your income in cash, be sure to document the source.

2. Minimize outstanding debt. For mortgage underwriting purposes, your total monthly debt payments, including your mortgage, consumer loan payments, credit cards and so on, should not exceed 43% of your monthly income.

3. Show good savings habits. Lenders love to see a consistent pattern of savings - including automated payroll deposits into a savings account, and regular contributions to a 401k. The deposit amounts do not need to be large; showing consistency is key.

4. Clean up your credit history. Even if you believe your credit is good, you should review your credit history at least once a year. Lenders prefer to see credit scores at 720 or above for a conventional mortgage. FHA loans will consider scores in the mid-600's. You can obtain your credit history from and your score from

5. Have a good down payment. While FHA mortgages allow as little as 3.5% down, you will be forced to carry mortgage insurance for the life of the loan. This can be $75 or more on top of your monthly payment. Instead, you could obtain a conventional mortgage with at least 5% down, and carry mortgage insurance until you have enough equity to waive it. In order to completely avoid mortgage insurance, you would need a down payment of at least 20%. 

6. Show a consistent work history. As a rule of thumb, lenders prefer to see you at the same job for at least 2 years. Consistency in your line of work is also a positive.

7. Don't rock the boat. Once you are pre-approved for your mortgage, keep your financial picture consistent through closing. Do not take out new credit, or close old lines of credit. Avoid changing jobs. Any financial changes can cause your lender to delay, or even revoke, your final loan approval.

Ready to speak to a mortgage lender? Let me help! As your Accredited Buyer Representative, I will refer you to trustworthy mortgage lenders, and help you throughout the home buying process. I have helped Arizona home buyers for over 30 years, and I'd like to help you too!

Tina Nabers
Nabers Property Management & Real Estate
Check Out My Website
See Homes for Sale in Fountain Hills
Become a Fan on Facebook
Find Out More About Investing on Facebook
Connect With Me on LinkedIn
Contact Me