Archive for August, 2012

What Makes Home Values in Your Neighborhood “tank”?

by: Maria Hass –

Home values are neighborhood-specific. Twocommunities next door to each other can be valued differently – and sometimesby a lot – depending on location, amenities, neighborhood appeal andmore. Some neighborhoods hold their values better while others continue todip. Here are some reasons why homevalues in your neighborhood may dip:

1. “Motivated Seller”– This type of seller will lower the price of the home sooner to sellquickly.

2. Short Sale – Sellers whoshort sell their house often do not get any money from the sale of the house.They merely want to save their credit. Based on this premise, the sellerdoesn’t care how much the house sells for.

3. Realtor Pricing – Someshort sale Realtors price the listing too low in order to get an immediateoffer or multiple bids without considering the effect on home values in theneighborhood. Sometimes, a Realtor may have an investor friend who will onlypurchase the property at a great deal. It is a practice that is frowned upon –but it does happen. In some cases, the Realtor is not familiar with the areaand may price the home way below market value. It’s always important tohire someone who works the area frequently.

In my neighborhood for example, myneighbor down the street listed the house with a Realtor who priced the home at$20,000 less than fair market value. It is the same model as my home. Now, myhome is worth $20,000 less than before, thanks to the incompetent Realtor andthe seller who didn’t care. This is nothing less than infuriating,because it is totally avoidable.

On the other side of the coin, aseller or Realtor of a short sale or REO may initially overvalue a house. Theresult: the home sits on the market without any offers. Tired of waiting, the seller’sprice is dropped to a level that is less than fair market value to solicit anoffer.

4. Marketing –
Below average marketing by the realestate professional could result in the house not getting any offers. Forexample, a house in my neighborhood was listed for weeks without pictures. PerARMLS, listings should have at a minimum of one exterior photo within 4 days of posting on the MLS. I reported the listing to the ARLMS. Soon after, thephotos were posted and an offer came in. The house, which I thought would havesold for $275,000, sold for $235,000 – less than what smaller houses inour neighborhood previously sold for. Due to the negligence of the Realtor toinclude photos with the listing, the house sat for months without an offer.

Finding a knowledgeable Realtor to sell your home isessential to keep home values in the neighborhood stable. Unfortunately, sellersleave the community and no longer care about what happens to the home values ofthe neighborhood. As a good neighbor, you could recommend a knowledgeableRealtor to your seller neighbor, thereby helping keep your neighborhood’shome values up.

August 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm Leave a comment

What Do Lenders Look For In Your Credit?

What makes a credit score?
Payment History: 35% impact. Paying debt on time such as utility bills, mortgage, credit card bills, car payments have a positive impact. Late payments, judgments and charge-offs have negative impact. The newer the delinquencies, the stronger the impact.

Outstanding Credit Balances or Amount owed: 30% impact – This factor is determined by the outstanding balance vs available credit. Make an effort to keep balances as close to zero and definitely below 30% of the available credit limit when planning to loan within 3-6 months. So, if you have $2,000 available credit in your credit card, keep your outstanding balance or what you owe to under $600 or 0 if you can.

Length of Credit History: 15% Impact – this is determined by the length of time a particular credit line was established. Maintaining a long and paid up credit history with a credit card company is considered “gold” in achieving a high credit score.
Caution: If you plan to reduce the number of credit cards you have. Start with those with the shortest credit history or the newest credit cards.

Type of Credit: 10% Impact – A mix of auto loans, credit cards, mortgages is more positive than a concentration of debt from credit cards alone.

Inquiries: 10% Impact – This quantifies the number of inquiries (or requests for credit) that have been made on a consumer’s credit history within 6-12 month period. Each individual inquiry- up to 10 can hurt your credit score by as much as 5-30 points. Any additional inquiries thereafter will not affect your credit score.

In other words, don’t start the loan process until you’re ready to act. However, scoring models have been adjusted to count multiple “hard” inquiries within a 14-day period as a single inquiry. So, when you’re ready, your credit will be too.
Check your own score yearly by ordering reports from the three major credit scoring companies: Equifax (, Experian ( and TransUnion (

What to do if your credit report is inaccurate?
Notify the credit bureau of inaccuracies, along with copies of documents that dispute incorrect entries. Close accounts not in use. Request that late payments older than seven years be removed. Verify and update accounts and account numbers. Verify your address and Social Security number.

There are credit repair companies that dispute your credit entries for a fee or if you have the time and knowledge, you may do this yourself for free.

August 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment

Tips for Tenant and Landlord

By Maria Hass

In order to serve my clients better, I continually attend real estate classes. A course I recently attended was an interesting topic on “Landlord-Tenant Issues.” facilitated by real estate attorney Dennis Brookshire. Mr. Brookshire is an experienced landlord as well. His Knowledge and opinion comes from his legal background and personal experience which makes him a good source to talk about the topic. I won’t bore you with a review of the entire three-hour discourse, but I want to list the important concepts and ideas that I took home from the class. Some are related to renting issues and some are merely lessons in life to help you become better renters or landlords, and become smarter people.

1. “NO good deed remains UNpunished.” As a Realtor, giving favors to a friend or someone outside of your realm of expertise could get you into trouble. It is best to refer them to someone who specializes in that specific field of real estate.

2. Under the Fair Housing Act, no one may be descriminated against based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age or handicap. However, churches, private clubs and adult communities are exempted from Fair Housing Act.

3. Landlords should manage the maintenance of their property and not allow tenants to take control of repairs, in order to avoid liability.

4. Businesses who accept clients at their home office should have their office in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

5. “Tenants always lie.”

6. A commercial Lease does not follow the protective class of residential lease.

7. If landlord allows for pets, be sure to have tenant sign a pet addendum, secure pet insurance with the property management company and the landlord as additional insured in the policy so that you will be notified if the policy is cancelled. Also, ask for an additional deposit.
8. What qualifies for a pet is usually a dog or a cat but in some instances, other pets like birds, snakes, iguanas, or hamsters will depend on your level of risk tolerance.

9. A once a month visit by landlord to suspect tenants is reasonable. Visits to responsible tenants who pay on time will be less frequent.

10. Tenants who claim to have an assistance animal should secure verification documentation of such need from a doctor or qualified agency.

11. Require rental insurance prior to tenants moving in.

12. Only give keys once tenant has complied with ALL requirements.

13. If a landlord accepts partial payments, under the law, the landlord has to put in writing when full payment will be accepted before receiving the partial payment. Otherwise, anything unpaid becomes waived.

14. A landlord is required to make repairs if notified in writing under the Landlord-Tenant Act.

15. The two forms of acceptable communication under the law are 1. Personal delivery; 2. Certified or Registered Mail unless agreed differently in the lease agreement.

16. Security deposit is 1 1/2x the rent amount.

17. A refundable security deposit is preferred to provide incentive to the tenant to keep the home clean and avoid damaging the property.

18. If a tenant was denied due to credit rating, the listing agent is not obligated by law to give tenant’s credit report to the tenant. The tenant may request a credit report from any of the three credit report bureaus. The listing company is not obligated to provide a reason for denial.

19. The homeowner’s right to live in the house ends once a new owner buys the house in an auction.

20. This year’s Protecting Tenant at Foreclosure Act allows the tenant 90 days to vacate the property after foreclosure if tenant entered into a qualified lease with owner and the property is to be utilized as owner occupied. A qualified lease includes 1. Rent is fair market value; 2. It is a reasonable term — usually one year; 3. Lease was entered into before foreclosure.

This sums up the three-hour class on Fair Housing and Tenant-Landlord issues. The questions brought up by the listening audience made for a worthwhile educational class. When in doubt, consult the Arizona Landlord-Tenant Act or visit

August 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm Leave a comment

Why do People Chose to Live in Chandler?

By: Maria Hass

Selecting an area in which to live takes time and research. Every place has its own merits and faults.

To help families get to know the City of Chandler better, I’ve asked several Chandler residents why they chose Chandler as the town in which to live.

* “When I first moved here, the area was rural and gave me a ‘small town’ feeling. Also, our neighborhood is clean. People are not stand-offish and neighbors seem to care about each other.” – Jan

* “Being a mother of young kids, I found the Chandler School District offered a lot of options from Charter, Choice or public schools. When my kids were little, I utilized city programs to enroll them in swimming and dancing.” – Edna, 15 yrs in Chandler

* “My wife, who is a teacher, likes the school system because of its higher standards. It’s also a nice area to raise a family. When we first moved here, we saw the potential for growth, which is a positive. I cannot think of any negative reasons to live in Chandler.” – Art, 16 years in Chandler

* “I like the location. It is close to everything such as schools, airport, mall. My family grew up in Chandler. We live in North Chandler in the older part of town. Having an older home is perhaps one of those things I would change.” – Rose, 22 years in Chandler.

* “I like the developments in Chandler compared to other neighboring cities. The homes are newer in Chandler, bigger homes and it is close to freeways, schools and ASU, which allows easy access to neighboring cities. Chandler has strong neighborhoods and a very good school district and strong employment like Intel. Unlike Mesa, Chandler doesn’t have mixed neighborhoods of nice developments adjacent to run-down houses. Maricopa and Queen Creek are too far. It never occurred to me what I don’t like about living in Chandler. Chandler is the place to be.” Millicent, 13 years in Chandler.

* “Chandler offers great location, highly-rated schools, strong neighborhoods, numerous community service activities for all ages, strong employers like Intel, Microchip, Orbital and Wells Fargo to name a few. Chandler is centrally located and offers close access to other cities, mall, schools, freeways, employers and more. What I don’t like about Chandler is high taxes compared to other cities at around 9 percent, and the crowd of “illegal aliens” hanging out early mornings at the Circle K gas station in Downtown Chandler looking for work. These people remain unattended and unnoticed.” – Michelle, 6 years in Chandler.

I support the reasons given above by Chandler residents. But what makes Chandler stand out from other neighboring cities?
1. The City of Chandler was voted an “All American City” in 2010 due to the quality of lifestyle and services it provides to residents. This distinction is carried on and remains a focal consideration in Chandler’s existence.

2. Chandler has the highest number of award-winning aquatic facilities in Metro Phoenix with seven lap pools and kids pool areas.

3. Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) was ranked among the top 10 school districts in Arizona by and CUSD surpassed the state measurements for meeting and exceeding grade levels in 2011.

4. Chandler has a strong and conservative budget. The recession took a bite from the city budget but Chandler’s city financials looked stronger than its neighbor cities, thanks to conservative city officials who kept a tight lid on expenses and balanced the budget to prepare for future mishaps.

5. School support – Chandler residents approved a school bond to allow Chandler schools to continue with its programs at a time of recession while other cities school bonds failed to pass. School year 2012-2013 marks the opening of a couple of new elemenatary school namely John and Carol Carlson and

6. This city is open to diverse ethnic backgrounds and ages. Lee Lee Supermarket, the largest oriental market in the state, is located in Chandler and is a hub for Asian and other immigrants. Around it are Asian-owned businesses ranging from Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Fiilipino and more.

7. Chandler caters to diverse age groups. There are four active adult communities in Chandler alone — namely, Springfield community, Solera, Sun Lakes and Sunbird. There are also master planned communities in Chandler like Rancho Del Ray, Fulton Homes community and the upcomming Adora Trails. New construction permits are increasing in Chandler. Maracay Homes Stonefield along the Price corridor, Shoreline at Fulton Homes on Arizona and Ocotillo, Evans Ranch by Lennar at Chandler Heights and Val Vista, Andorra Trails on Riggs and Lindsay, Cachet and Calex homes on Arizona and Queen Creek Rd and more.

8. Chandler is home to many big employers like Intel at Ocotillo and Rural Rd, Orbital, Microchip, Wells Fargo, Avnet and many more. These companies attract the best workers who value a high quality of life.

9. Chandler real estate continues to prosper. Chandler is one of the top two cities (the other is neighboring Gilbert) with the most homes sold in the last year, and its home values rank higher than any other Southeast Valley cities.

These reasons sum up why the City of Chandler is one of the most sought-after cities in Metro Phoenix.

August 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm 2 comments



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