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How can appraisal account for wild swings in home values?

The COVID-related fluctuations in Valley housing prices, marked by a huge downswing in March and culminating in unprecedented increases in June and July, are cause for paying extra attention to home appraiser practices, according to a Phoenix appraiser.

During a ZOOM webinar with local Realtors this week, appraiser Jay Josephs said these “dramatic fluctuations can cause panic in the appraisal industry” because of the recent wild swings in prices paid for home in the Phoenix area over just the past five months.

Josephs said that in March, before COVID-19 affected the marketplace, Metro Phoenix had about 8,900 sales for the month, and the average price per square foot for a home was $231. In April, home sales dropped 19 percent to 7,180, and the price per square foot dropped 8 percent in that one month.

In May, 7,028 homes were sold — a 2 percent drop, while per-square-foot prices plummeted 16 percent to $181, Josephs said. 

Then in June, a rebound to 9,719 homes sold — up 38 percent — with per-square-foot pricing at $197.

“We didn’t think the rise would be that dramatic or fast,” Josephs said. “How does an appraiser account for these changes?”

Josephs told Realtors that when representing a home seller, it is important to meet with the appraiser and provide information about the property they may not otherwise be aware of. He encouraged agents to work with sellers to provide a year-by-year listing of important improvements or remodels to the property, to ensure the appraisal is fair and can justify the selling price. In addition, it is a good idea for Realtors to determine the geographical competence of the appraiser and discuss comparable properties or share details of comparable homes that are significantly low or high.

“Arizona and Maricopa County are positioned really well to come out of COVID from a real estate perspective,” Josephs said. “There is a gravitation from higher- to lower-density markets, and a release of pent-up demand — I just didn’t expect it in June. Our market is thriving.”

July 21, 2020 at 12:56 pm Leave a comment

Legal advice offered on fix-and-flip properties

If you plan to sell a home after renovating or remodeling it — commonly known as a “fix-and-flip” property — a Valley lawyer recently offered a few tips on ensuring you don’t entice a lawsuit from the buyer after the sales contract is signed.

Attorney Patrick MacQueen, a 16 year veteran real estate lawyer of Macqueen and Gottlieb, PLC told a webinar audience this week that he has handled about 235 cases involving fix-and-flips in the past four years, accounting for approximately 40 percent of his client caseload.

There are five major allegations a buyer can accuse the parties involved with the sale, MacQueen said. The first is “common law fraud,” meaning an “outward statement” about the property’s condition that is “an out-and-out lie.”

The second is fraudulent misrepresentation is “fraud by omission,” MacQueen said, such as when a question about the property comes up, but the seller or seller’s agent “fails to say anything” despite a known problem with the home with respect to the question. Such can be the case of non-disclosure of mold in the property.

Third is “Consumer fraud” typically has to do with statements or representations made in advertising materials, MacQueen said. “For example, if the MLS listing says the home was a ‘complete remodel’ but not everything was redone,” he explained.

The fourth is “Negligent representation” which involves a statement made to the buyers about the subject property that you didn’t know was false, and the buyers relied on that information. For example, if the seller tells the buyer all needed permits were obtained in the construction of a major addition but one necessary permit was never granted, that would be negligent representation, MacQueen said.

MacQueen said he also sometimes sees breach of contract claims filed against sellers if a claim made by the seller in the signed contract is found to be untrue.

MacQueen said the best practice in selling a fix-and-flip property is to avoid adding superfluous “as-is” statements in the sales contract, because standard Arizona real estate contracts already include a standard as-is language.

Further, MacQueen urged that sellers “disclose what you know” in the Seller Property Disclosure Statement (SPDS) that is typically included in a sales contract, rather than try to avoid using the SPDS when they are selling a property they never occupied.

“Disclose everything,” when selling a fix-and-flip property, MacQueen concluded.

For a Buyer purchasing a fix-and-flip property, MacQueen offers advice. Conduct a third party inspection, request contractor information, warranty, receipts and confirm verbal representation via email through your Realtor. So, when the Seller claims that the contactor who completed electrical repair is licensed, have this confirmation in the form of an email.

Following these tips could reduce the risk of facing a potential and costly law suit.

July 14, 2020 at 4:26 pm Leave a comment

What does Woodside Homes LLC offer that other builders don’t?

The answer: A frame walk through. The frame walk through is an added value that buyers get if they purchase a home from Woodside Homes LLC at Heritage Crossing in Mesa, AZ. It is conducted by the field supervisor with the buyer, and agent if applicable. The supervisor goes over every aspect of building the electrical, mechanical, plumbing, cooling and heating, sewer, foundation, grading, etc. of the interior and exterior of the home prior to installing drywall.

I recently had an opportunity to witness this walk through with a client, which so many builders do not provide. It gave my client and myself an idea of what is hidden behind the walls and gives us a good feeling that the builder is being transparent about how they construct your house.

Angela, the field supervisor, walked us through the entire house and found a few items that needed to be fixed. She immediately contacted her workers and the job was completed even before we finished the walk through. That is great service!

A frame walk through is similar to what a third-party inspection does. With Angela’s competent guidance, it gave my client the assurance that Woodside Homes LLC strives to do their best to build a great house for their client.

My client will be closing on the home in a few weeks and so far Woodside has been communicative and coordinated in providing my client the information they need to close on the new home. Builder representative Susan Collins kept us informed and delivers high quality customer service.

In addition, unlike many builders with one lender, Woodside Homes LLC partners with four different lenders, which allows the buyer to shop around for the lender that best fits their needs.

Currently, homes are going fast at Heritage Crossing by Woodside Homes LLC. Their Landmark development can sell only four lots a month and their Village development can only sell nine lots a month. Both developments have waitlists, since they both exceeded their lot quotas because of early demand. Insane!

July 5, 2020 at 2:44 pm Leave a comment

Valley real estate demand as hot as ever following COVID19 pause

Residential real estate in Metro Phoenix continues to be in an affordable range, and prices are likely to appreciate over the next five years given the current economy and demand, according to recent remarks by a local real estate analyst.

During a June 25 ZOOM webinar, Tina Tamboer, senior analyst from local real estate statistical analysis publication The Cromford Report, reported that historic low mortgage interest rates are helping Valley homes continue to be affordable for buyers, even though the supply is low and prices are up.

For example, she said, the selling price of a 1,500- to 2,000-square-foot home in the Valley is up an average of $50,000 compared to last year – but mortgage payments are roughly the same for buyers because of the low interest rates.

Tamboer said the Phoenix area market is still affordable for homebuyers with an average income ($72,000); the normal range of affordability is between 60 and 75 percent, and Phoenix is currently at 63 percent. (Nationwide, affordability is at 61.3 percent, she noted.)

However, affordability is declining, Tamboer said. “If incomes do not rise with pricing, we may become below normal in affordability.”

Therefore, she added, “buyers need to buy now. No price declines are coming.”

Supply of homes for sale in the Valley are down 11 percent since the start of the Coronavirus shutdowns, and also 13 percent lower than June 2019, Tamboer added. 

“Demand is shooting up, but there is no surge in new listings,” she said, adding that the supply of homes in the $200,000 to $250,000 range is down 61 percent from a year ago.

July 2, 2020 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

What you need to know about buying a new home with Taylor Morrison

My client recently went under contract with one of Taylor Morrison’s homes at Adora Trails in Gilbert. My client wanted to schedule a third-party inspection prior to drywall. This is within the buyer’s rights with new construction homes, but is often not mentioned by builder’s representative.

I quickly contacted Taylor Morrison’s sales representative to get the inspection scheduled as soon as possible. But, unlike with most other builders, it was not that easy. Taylor Morrison requires 30 days’ advance notice of the buyer’s intent to schedule an independent home inspection to the seller’s customer care representative. Taylor Morrison also requires that the independent inspector provide proof of liability insurance coverage of at least $1 million.

The sales representative mentioned that it would take a few days for Taylor Morrison to get an approval and discouraged me from continuing to pursue the independent inspection because of the lack of time before drywall installation. He also mentioned that Taylor Morrison takes pride in quality work. Also, I was told there is NO assurance that they will fix any items listed in the independent inspection.

I shared this information with my client and he decided to waive the third-party inspection. I’m disappointed that Taylor Morrison didn’t do more to accommodate my client’s request.

This incident reduced my level of trust in “America’s Most Trusted Home Builder.” How can you trust a builder who doesn’t help a buyer complete their own independent inspection? It makes you wonder what they are hiding.

I understand that Taylor Morrison doesn’t want to delay closing a sale, but in this case, even though construction seemed ahead of schedule and they had time to allow a third-party inspection, it felt like they didn’t want to accommodate or bother with it. My client closed on the home ahead of schedule. Other than this request, he was happy that all other aspects of the sale went smoothly.

On the other hand, Lennar Homes at Layton Lakes allowed two of my other clients to complete an independent inspection with short notice. Lennar Homes fixed the items identified by the independent inspector, including an accidental leak that occurred at time of inspection, and my client was happy.

The next time you shop for a new home, have your Realtor ask the builder about their independent inspection procedures. You’ll find that one builder may be more flexible than another. And the peace of mind of having an independent inspection is priceless.

April 21, 2018 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

Advantages and Disadvantages of Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP)

by: Maria Hass – The Uniform Collateral Data Portal® (UCDP®) is a single portal through which lenders electronically submit appraisal reports for conventional mortgages delivered to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Through UCDP, lenders can upload appraisal data and view edits and submission details.

But what does the UCDP really mean to you?

Advantages of UCDP:

  1. Prevents Home Values from surging -The portal was created to prevent another housing bubble which occurred in 2005-2006 by identifying appraisers whose home evaluation is inconsistent with the norm. In the last year or two, home values have remain steady.
  2. Simplify process – The portal is able to identify any red flags in the appraiser’s evaluation (square footage, number of rooms, lot size and so on) for the underwriter to review.

Disadvantage of UCDP:

  1. Over cautious Appraisal evaluation – the portal has the ability to blacklist any appraiser whose evaluation report may be viewed as uncostumary. As a result, Appraisers are over cautious and strongly conservative in their valuation of home features for fear of losing their license. Homes that may have appraised for more are faced with appraisal issues due to the possible consequence that UCDP can impose on appraisers
  2. Low appraisal – UCDP controls home appreciation. More homes are faced with appraisal issue and Realtors and Sellers are more likely to keep their listing low to a fair market value to “list to appraise”. Some homes can appraise for more but are appraised for less for fear that the appraiser could eventually lose his/her license.

There are two opposing views on the creation of UCDP. One view is, UCDP prevents a housing bubble and in contrast, UCDP drives home values down. If the market is fairly strong UCDP takes less of presence in determining home values. But if the market slows down, it will have a significant effect in keeping home values low.

August 4, 2016 at 3:16 am Leave a comment

Why Buy Real Estate in the Philippines NOW?

Avida is the brand name for affordable living communities by Ayala Land Corporation

Avida is the brand name for affordable living communities by Ayala Land Corporation

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Ayala land image4

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????by: Maria Hass
I had the opportunity to listen to a recent Scottsdale presentation by an Ayala Corporation Representative Bong Gutierrez explaining “Why buy real estate in the Philippines now?”

At the end of the presentation, I didn’t just get answers to this question, but more compelling reasons to invest in real estate in The Philippines. I am not the type of person who is easily impressed, but the economic signals presented and my last visit to the Philippines strongly indicate that The Philippines is poised for greater heights.

What are these indicators?

1. Language – The Philippines is an English-speaking nation. This means English-speaking foreigners can easily adapt to the country. It is a huge attraction for businesses, business people, their families and friends to relocate and make The Philippines their home.

2. Vibrant and Young Generation – The median age of people living in the Philippines is in their 20’s-30’s. This category of people are on the go, tech savy, explorative, can adapt to changes and best of all has a long life ahead of them. Businesses are always looking for long time and loyal customers and whose referrals can extend to several generations in the family tree and a strong and talented work force to develop the business.

3. Consumer Spending – Filipinos are fun-loving, friendly social people who like to eat, shop and hang out with friends. No wonder the largest malls in the world can be found in The Philippines, including SM Mall of Asia, SM City North EDSA and SM Mega Mall. Filipinos love hanging out at these huge malls. Consumer spending is strong and is fueling the growth of the economy.

4. Population – According to the Philippine Commission on Women,the Philippines is among the most populous countries in the world, ranking 12th globally, 7th in Asia, and 2nd in the Southeast Asia. Its population continues to increase with an annual growth rate of 1.90 percent. Businesses need people to consume their goods or services.

5. Real Estate Value – The price of homes in the Philippines is fairly affordable compared to United States, Europe and neighboring countries like Singapore.
You can buy a property in Cavite for $10,000. A three-bedroom house in Nuvali starts at $98,000.

6. Cheap Labor – Retirees benefit from hiring a private nurse, cook, nanny for a very low price. Medical enhancements such as face lifts are offered at rock-bottom prices. Any form of service is relatively inexpensive compared to other parts of the world.

Economic reports validate these observations. Bloomberg and Forbes Magazine describe The Philippines as a dynamic, robust, young and booming nation.

Finally, CNN Business News reports, “By 2050, The Philippines will leapfrog 27 places to become the world’s 16th largest economy.” This is the biggest jump any country is projected to make by 2050. For a full story of this article go to The potential for growth is enormous and opportunity to invest is huge.

A leading company that develop commercial and affordable residential developments in the Philippines is Ayala Land, Inc. It is the largest property developer in the Philippines with offices recently opened in California and Arizona. It is owned by the Ayala group of companies.
Avida Land Corp, the name representing multiple condominium and single family detached home projects all over the country won 2 distinguished international awards in 2013. Judge by a panel of international experts, Avida Land received The Asia-Pacific Property Awards for the Highly Commended Mixed-use Development for Avida Towers Riala and Highly Commended Residential High-rise Development for Avida Towers Centera.

Avida condominiums and “house and lot” is projected to appreciated at 7 percent to 11 percent annually compared to United States average annual real estate appreciation of 3 percent to 5 percent. The terms are easier and rental value exceeds your mortgage payment which provides for positive cash flow. As a real estate consultant in Arizona for eight years, having easy terms, steady value appreciation, positive cash flow, booming and vibrant economy, low interest rates are great reasons to buy real estate in the Philippines.

So, if you’re searching for a place to invest some of your hard-earned money, you may want to look into real estate in The Philippines now, before home values become unaffordable.

Contact (480) 650-0075 if you have any questions about this blog or investing in the Philippines.

March 31, 2014 at 12:22 pm 1 comment

New Waiting Time for FHA Borrowers In Default To Buy a New Home

FHA borrowers who have filed for bankruptcy or had their homes recently foreclosed upon or sold via short sale may be eligible for another FHA loan just 12 months after the negative event.

The Federal Housing Administration will require borrowers to follow several requirements to become eligible: 1) Document (with W-2’s and/or tax returns) that the negative event was caused by at least a 20 percent loss in household income for at least a six-month period. 2) On-time rent payments for a period of 12 months. 3) Fully-recovered credit for at least 12 months after the negative event (meaning no collections, late payments, etc.). 4) The borrower has to show that previous negative credit appearing on the credit report was due to the loss in income rather than a history of late payments, collections or financial mismanagement.

As with any major rule change, investors modify these guidelines until they receive clarification from the FHA on exactly what they will and will not accept on these files before qualifying borrowers for loans using these new rules.

The government-backed loan program is easing up its conditions, making it easier and quicker for borrowers who defaulted on their loans to purchase a home sooner. The American dream of owning a home is closer to achieve. America is a “forgiving” country. You default on your loan and before you know it, you are back in the market for a new house.

In some ways, it is good to get a second chance at a new life in a new home. But in some other ways, it may not teach borrowers to be financially responsible. The collateral of the unpaid loan is the house itself and nothing more.

Other countries provide for stricter penalties on mortgage defaults, foreclosures or bankruptcy — including jail time, community service, garnishing wages, and requiring expensive collateral other than the home that defaulted.

Those types of consequences teach borrowers a lesson about financial responsibilty that many in this nation greatly need.

August 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm Leave a comment

Beware and Be Late with Ocwen Short Sales

It’s not pleasant to have to come to this conclusion, but it would appear that “common sense” may not be so common at Ocwen when it comes to the handling of short sales.

First of all, Ocwen requires that a borrower be 60 days late (or more) on a payment in order to approve a short sale. Regardless of the circumstances of the situation, Ocwen has declared a company policy that denies a short sale when the borrower is current with their mortgage.

So, if a borrower is relocating or if a borrower’s relative has been temporarily paying the mortgage to save the borrower’s credit, it won’t matter to Ocwen. Instead, Ocwen will come back with a denial and a require a TOTAL payment of the balance owed in the loan. This is a “poor” business decision, since it is ridiculous to ask for the total balance due from someone who has no money. It doensn’t make sense for Ocwen to lose more money by waiting for the borrower to be delinquent.

This Ocwen company policy should be communicated to ALL authorized parties in writing at the BEGINNING of the short sale application process to expedite short sale approvals.

When dealing with Ocwen, parties negotiation a short sale need to be prepared to talk to someone in India, since the company outsources its jobs offshore to save money. In addition to making international calls, be prepared to know that many times, Ocwen representatives provide conflicting and misleading information.

At one point, one Ocwen representative said that I did not need to submit additional documents and that the file would be reviewed. Two days later, I receive an email requesting more documents. Then, a representative located in India instructed me to email the short sale packet to, which I did. The email was not returned, and I thought it was successfully delivered. A week of follow-up showed that the email was never received, and I was required to fax the documents instead.

Simply finding out what documents Ocwen required to process a second lien short sale was also a struggle. Again, the representative from India said there are NO documents necessary other than an approval from the first lien, which I found rather absurd. Because of this, I had to contact the office of Ocwen’s president to get corrected answers to a simple question. It seems like every step with Ocwen is a more like a hurdle.

I’m hoping to talk with someone in Ocwen who actually knows the short sale process and has at least some “common sense.”

October 12, 2012 at 9:31 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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