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Thursday, December 15, 2016

How the Election Has Affected the Real Estate Market

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There's some good news and there's some bad news.
First, the bad: mortgage rates have shot up since the election.
From a low of 3.47% on November 7th, the average fixed 30-year mortgage rate increased to over 4% by the end of November.
Economists are saying this kind of volatility is likely to continue, with day-to-day changes driven by the moves and statements of the incoming administration.
The good news is that there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic down the line.
Promised tax breaks could reinvigorate sales of luxury homes, which have seen a glut lately.
This could have a ripple-down effect throughout the rest of the real estate market, spurring sales and construction of mid-level and lower-priced housing.
Also, looser regulation could further stimulate construction and make it easier for buyers to obtain mortgages.
And while these are long-term improvements to look forward to, there's one thing to be grateful for right now:
One way or another, the election is finally over.
You might have seen that the stock market has been surging in the past few weeks.
That might be a vote of confidence for our President-elect and his anticipated business-friendly policies...
... and it might also be a sign of relief that the election and the associated uncertainty are done with.
It certainly seems things are getting back to normal as people come to realize the world's not ending.
In fact, many people who were waiting on the sidelines while the election was going on are now entering the real-estate market.
It's a great time to take advantage of this if you are selling.
Home prices are near record highs. If you'd like to get an idea of what your home is currently worth, check out this calculator which takes into account recent Phoenix sales:
And if you're looking to buy, there are two things you should know.
First, even though mortgage rates have gone up, they are still historically very low, and worth taking advantage of.
Second, many new homes have entered the market since the election.
It's definitely worth investigating what's available around Phoenix right now.
And if you want to talk about the election and where real estate might be going in the coming months, give me a call at (480) 502-0505. I'm here to help.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Appraisals & Their Outcomes with Buyers or Sellers

You've likely heard the term before, but do you know all that goes into an appraisal, and even what it is for?

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Let's talk about appraisals.

An appraisal is a third party getting the value of a home in the most scientific way possible. The appraiser is neutral, so unlike buyers, they won't have an emotional connection to the home or its value. They use comparable properties in the neighborhood together with the updates in your home to find a value for the home. A willing and able buyer and their purchase contract will be a big part of that.

Anyone can order an appraisal on a property they own, but I recommend sellers that I work with not get a pre-appraisal because, as a real estate professional and local market expert, I can give you a value and show you a marketing plan to get your home sale to that value. 

Buyers, on the other hand, will be required to do an appraisal by their lender if they are financing their purchase. Cash buyers may want to have an appraisal, but they aren't required.
Don't let appraisal issues break a deal at the 11th hour
If the appraised value of the home comes in lower than your offer, you might not be able to get your loan, because the bank won't lend more than they think the house is worth. If the home appraised higher than the offer price, the seller can't change their asking price, because you already have a contract.

Obviously, there are a lot of things that can happen surrounding an appraisal and a lot of things your agent can do up front to help you avoid issues down the road that can make or break a deal at the 11th hour. That's why it's so important to have a great agent on your side to help you as a buyer or a seller.

If you have more questions, or you're thinking about buying or selling a home, give us a call.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What Has Been Going on in the Phoenix Housing Market?

We have a quick market update for you today. Home sales are up, but so is inventory and the average days on market.

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I just have a quick update for you today on our housing market. The latest stats are in for Phoenix and I wanted to give you an idea of what the market is looking like right now. Here are some of the notable statistics we’ve been monitoring:
  • Average listing prices are up 4.5% over last year.
  • The average sale price is up 7.9% over last year.
  • We have about 3.29 months of inventory, slightly up from last year.
  • The average days on market rose slightly from 71 to 74.
Inventory has crept up slightly.
New home sites have also been increasing, too. The number of new home sites is still historically low, but the increasing number is encouraging. These numbers are for the Phoenix metro area, so if you would like some stats specifically for your area or neighborhood, we would be happy to send those to you. 

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Why You Should Contact a Realtor to Find a Lender

Should you reach out to a Realtor to find a lender in order to finance your next home? 

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Should you reach out to a Realtor to find a lender in order to finance your next home? The answer is absolutely yes. 

Realtors by far represent the best option in finding a lender. The reason I say that is because I am so confident in my team’s own lenders, who I hand-picked because of their phenomenal because of their phenomenal customer service, rates, and loan costs. As a real estate broker, I did the legwork for you and found lenders that I believe are top notch in offering the best rates, the best costs, and the best chance to get your loan done on time.

Our lenders are Aerick Squier and Timothy Potemba. We’ve chosen two because we always want the ability to give our clients different options. We love them both and our clients have nothing but great things to say about them. 
Realtors by far represent the best option in finding a lender.
Is it true that a larger institution such as Wells Fargo can serve your needs better? No. In fact, Wells Fargo just came out with an article claiming they could do 3% down on home loans. Tim and Aerick can do the same thing, but without all the bureaucratic red tape.

Is there a better chance at a pre-approval with a larger institution? Also no. What I’ve found with larger institutions is that you’re more of a number to them than you are a person. This is why we highly suggest our lenders over a place like Wells Fargo. You will receive better customer service with an equivalent rate, and probably a better cost.

If you have any questions for Aerick or Tim, please don’t hesitate to contact them. If you have any questions for us, just give us a call or shoot us an email. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Multiple Offer Situations in the Phoenix Market

Both buyers and sellers should be prepared for multiple offer situations when dealing in the Phoenix real estate market.

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What should you do if you're in a multiple offer situation in the Phoenix market?

As a buyer, you really want to be in the hands of an experienced, humble agent who can build a rapport with the listing agent. If you want your offer to be accepted, your agent matters. Don't work with someone who lets ego get in the way.

When it comes to the offer itself, there are a few ways you can make yours stand out. The first is to make a cash offer; sellers will always favor cash offers because they can close faster with less hassle. Purchasing a home as-is will also be attractive to sellers, knowing they won't have to deal with repair requests. These two ways alone could make your offer more attractive than a similar one with a higher price.

All cash and as-is offers are very attractive to sellers.

As a seller, what are you looking for in a multiple offer situation? You probably want the least hassle and an offer that gives you back time and money. As previously mentioned, cash offers or as-is offers are preferred, as are buyers who can offer a quick close.

Hopefully, this gives you an idea of what to do on either side of a multiple offer situation, but don't forget, the way to put yourself in the best position to succeed is by using an experienced real estate professional.

If you have questions about this topic or you're thinking about buying or selling a home, don't hesitate to call or email me today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How Inventory Levels Affect Home Buyers and Sellers

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Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, inventory levels are important information that you need to know. It is also important to have a real estate agent who can tell you what inventory levels are and how they can hurt or help you, depending on your situation.

If you’re a seller, your agent should be able to tell you the inventory levels in your area as they pertain to you. For example, we could look at the Crawford Report and see that there are 134 days of inventory in the Cave Creek area. What does that mean to you? Not much. There are many different types of properties, and you only need to know how inventory levels pertain to your specific home. This information is critical in determining how you’re going to price it.

Inventory levels determine both buyer and seller strategies.

For example, if there are only one to two months of inventory, I would price your house about 10% higher than its current market value. If there are five to six months of inventory, I would price the house 10% lower in order to be competitive and get it sold. Otherwise, you could be on the market for months and lose value daily. If you’re somewhere in the middle (three to four months), we’d price it spot-on.

Let’s flip the coin and examine the buyer’s side. If you’re looking for a property at $250,000 or less, that’s a very hot market right now. You’d be seeing low inventory levels, which brings with it the possibility of encountering multiple offer situations on a single property. Again, you need an agent who knows that this is coming and can set you apart from the rest so that your offer gets accepted. I would personally estimate that seven or eight out of every 10 agents don’t even know how to calculate inventory levels.

Hopefully this information helps you. If you have any more questions about inventory levels or real estate in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to me by phone or email.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

10 Ways to Save for a Down Payment

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If you rent a house, you're paying someone else's mortgage, and if you rent an apartment, you're probably just filling an investor's pockets with cash. Buying a home is a great way to spend money on your housing that actually builds equity. It's not only a home that you own, it's an investment, a great way to build future wealth, and a point of pride.

Of course, you may want a home, but simply can't afford to buy right now. You're definitely not alone. A recent survey by a personal banking firm reported that one in five Americans don't even have a savings account, and a significant portion of those that do don't even have a balance on that account.

One of the hardest parts of affording a home is coming up with the down payment. In the Greater Phoenix area coming up with a minimum of 3.5% up to 20% for a down payment may seem daunting, but it's not impossible. I've found these steps to be helpful for clients in the past who thought they'd never be able to come up with a down payment.
1. Set a target goal. Talk to a mortgage professional to find out how much home you can afford. That way, you'll know roughly how much you need to save for a down payment. Research shows that people who have specific dollar amounts in mind for a savings goal have a better success rate.
2. Assess your spending habits. Don't just make a rough audit of your monthly rent, utilities, insurance, and grocery costs. Really look into your monthly bank and credit statements from the last three months to see where your money is going. That will help you really find out where you can start to cut back.
3. Shrink your TV package. The average cable bill hit a record $99.10 last year. That's nearly 40% higher than the average from 2010! You can always - ALWAYS - call your local provide and try to negotiate a lower rate. If they have competition, use that as leverage. Also consider consolidating to only streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Sling TV.
4. Drop the gym membership. This could be tough if you frequent the gym - but many of us don't. Think about what you can do outdoors, and research some of the endless home workouts available online.
5. Unload your stuff. This can be done locally or online, of course. Even niche items can be sold with online services like Craigslist and eBay. You may not be sitting on a fortune of stuff that people will pay for, but in combination with other savings, it will make a difference.
6. Downsize your apartment. In Phoenix, moving from a one-bedroom to a studio could save lots of money without sacrificing too much space. This can also help you purge some unnecessary belongings, which can also bring in some more cash. A smaller space can also create savings in heating and cooling bills. Every dollar counts!
7. Get a side gig. You're probably thinking your 9 to 5 job is enough work, but think about opportunity cost. That hour you just spent watching the Kardashians or the same episode of Sports Center after work is $10 you could have made pouring coffee at the local coffee bar, driving for Uber, or doing freelance work for services like TaskRabbit or AgentAnything. A couple of night shifts or even a single weekend shift at a part-time job could contribute thousands toward your future down payment.
8. Open a high-yield savings account. If you're saving more or earning more with a new part-time gig, don't keep that money in your checking account where it's not accruing any interest. High-yield savings account offer daily access to money and accrue interest daily as well.
9. Get a cash rewards credit card. Ditch the no-frills credit card for one with cash-back rewards. It's an easy way to earn extra cash - if you consistently pay your bill on time each month. Credit cards typically have higher interest rates.
10. Save your tax refund. This is a nice yearly chunk of change depending on your work. If you can commit to socking away your tax refund, it'll be easier not to spend it when the check shows up.

If you have more questions about how to save for a down payment, don't hesitate to ask me! I can help you find out how much home you can afford and what you need to do to reach your goal.

How We Impressed Jackie and Linda With Our First Time Buyer Process

Tell me about your experience working with Riddle Realty.

"Riddle Realty is absolutely the most awesome realty team around. They are great with first time buyers. They walk you through the process from start to finish. It's a wonderful experience. They are all awesome."
-Jackie Westbrook
"Kodi is a spit-fire. You definitely want her on your side. Give them a call and they'll do a great job for you!"
-Linda Peterson

To contact Riddle Realty, call (480) 207-2645 or email

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Has Your Phoenix Area Home Increased in Value?

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Most homes in the Greater Phoenix area have seen appreciation over the past year. Even if you have made no updates to your home, it is probably worth more money. Here is the appreciation break down from area to area:

  • Phoenix - 6.5% appreciation
  • Peoria - 7.5% appreciation
  • Scottsdale - 2.6% appreciation
  • Gilbert - 6.5% appreciation
  • Tempe - 4.6% appreciation
  • Mesa - 8.4% appreciation

All of these percentages are from the Cromford Report by Mike Orr, who is a genius. You can definitely count on these figures. Here are a few more appreciation rates from secondary cities:

  • Cave Creek - 2.9% appreciation
  • Sun City - 8% appreciation
  • Fountain Hills - 5.4% appreciation
  • Paradise Valley -  1.2% appreciation

"Even if you haven’t made upgrades to your property, it has probably gone up in value."

The only area where home values have decreased is Anthem, where home values are down by 3.1%. Otherwise, even if you haven’t made any updates to your home, your home value has probably gone up.

If you have any question about your specific home’s value in today’s market, give us a call or send us an email. My team and I would be happy to help you!

Friday, July 1, 2016

How We Brought the Right Buyer for Randy and Cindy

Tell me about your experience working with Riddle Realty.

"Our experience was very good with Kodi and her team. We sold our house in Cave Creek in three days. She brought in the right buyer. We were ready and it was great experience. We enjoyed working with Kodi. She was very clear in what was going to happen and gave us a lot of help in that way. We will definitely use her again."
-Randy & Cindy LeSaar

To contact Riddle Realty, call (480) 207-2645 or email

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

We Take Pride in Treating Our Clients Well

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We had a great time at our recent client appreciation event. Early spring is a great time in Phoenix to catch a baseball game, and that’s just what we did. It was great getting to see all of our family, friends, and past clients and enjoy a spring training game right here in Phoenix.

This isn’t just a one-time thing. We host two client appreciation events each year, as well as a Thanksgiving pie giveaway and a Valentine’s Day brownie giveaway. We appreciate our clients so much, this is just a small way that we say thanks.

"This is just a small way that we say thanks."

We’re all about adding value to the relationships we have with our past clients and their referrals. That’s why we created this video blog, and it’s why we’ve got some great tools right on this site for all of our followers to use.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How We Impressed Pete with Our Straightforward Business Attitude

Tell me about your experience working with Riddle Realty.

"Kodi has helped me with a purchase and sales. I'm really glad she was my gal. It's always nice to do business with someone who's nice and straightforward."

Pete Wolmitchell

To contact Riddle Realty, call (480) 207-2645 or email

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

We Can Show a Bird’s-Eye View of Your Phoenix Property

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We recently took a drone video of a fantastic home in Cave Creek!

This desert paradise was built on 1.25 acres and comes with a courtyard and covered patio in both the front and back. The backyard features a sparkling pool, fountains, waterfalls, and an enclosed slide. There’s also an exterior fireplace and spa.

To fully showcase this wonderful property, we took a video using a drone. Drones allow us to present a bird’s-eye view to buyers so they can see the full beauty of your property, especially if you are on multiple acres or have an extravagant backyard like this property does.

If you have any questions about this property or about our new drone video service, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How We Sold Roy and Nancy a Home While They Were in Canada

Tell me about your experience working with Riddle Realty.

"We're snowbirds from Canada who bought a place in Phoenix, AZ about five years ago. Kodi was fantastic! She kept in touch with us by email, showing us places, we would Google Earth them. We would select a number of places we wanted to see. We planned a trip out here, Kodi organized everything to make best use of our time. Once we picked our house, it was a short sale which took a while to go through. Kodi hung in there through to the end. Did all the leg work with the bank and the owner. There was a lot to it. She was fabulous. We definitely highly recommend her. We have recommended her to friends and family. We will use her again when we sell our house someday. You would be in excellent hands if you work with her and her team."

Roy Gardner & Nancy Green

To contact Riddle Realty, call (480) 207-2645 or email

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

We’re Excited to Launch Riddle Realty

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Today, we are having our launch party for Riddle Realty! I’m super excited about our new company. Thank you to our past and current clients for celebrating with us. We are so grateful for your loyalty and your trust. We wouldn’t be here without you.

If you haven’t worked with us yet and are looking to buy or sell, give us a shot. We are in the top 1% of over 40,000 Realtors here in this valley and we are extremely proud to have gotten to that spot. We will make you proud by taking care of you. If we miss you this year at this launch party, hopefully we will see you next year as a past client to celebrate a great year in real estate. 

Thank you again for your support. We look forward to launching Riddle Realty to be a huge success!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What’s the Secret to Selling Quickly in Phoenix?

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We have a great guide for our home sellers called Pricing Your Home for Maximum Value: The Definitive Guide. This will help you market your home to the widest audience possible, and it will show you how to utilize your home’s price to help it sell. Please let us know if you’d like a copy!

The one thing that will ultimately determine the value of your home is the market. It’s not the upgrades on your home or the landscaping. Absorption rates and supply & demand will be major factors affecting the final sale price of your home.

Absorption rates are used to describe the amount of supply and demand. The real definition is the inverse of months of supply. For example, if there are 100 condos listed for sale in a certain area, and 10 condos sold over the last month, the absorption rate is 10/100=10%. An absorption rate of 20% or higher means that homes are selling quickly and the market favors sellers.

If inventory is low, which it is in most places, you will get a nice price for your home. However, even when inventory is low and the market is working in your favor, you still need to price your home correctly. If you price your home right at the market value, people will see a good value in it and fight for it. A bidding war will ensue and your price will be raised by the invisible hand of the market.

If you price your home too high, buyers will be able to see that you’re asking too much. Home buyers are much savvier than they were 20 years ago, and they will simply not look at your home. When your home gets no activity on the market, it will go stale and it will either sell for a reduced price or it will not sell at all.

This is why coming out with the right home price is so important. If you want to learn more, ask us for a copy of this guide. There is a lot more information in there!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Different Way to Inspect Your Home

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Today we are going to talk about your property inspection. Whether you are buying or selling, a property inspection is going to be a part of your transaction. Today we are specifically going to talk to buyers about home inspections, and offer them some tips and ideas relating to them.

In Arizona, you have 10 days to inspect a home as a buyer once you’ve gone under contract. A lot of things need to happen in this short time frame, but today we are going to focus on the property inspection. Over 16 years in my career, we have always had an inspector to recommend to our buyers. We have had the luxury of watching this person perform many inspections over a long period of time, and you just don’t get that kind of experience as a buyer. It’s true that an inspector is a professional, and they identify problems in the home, but we have realized that another strategy might make a little more sense.

Instead of hiring a home inspector to tell you what’s wrong with your home, so you can then find contractors to do the work, why not skip the middle man? What we are saying is, why not just call the roofer, the plumber, the electrician, the HVAC person, and have them come out and inspect the individual systems of your home? With this strategy, you make sure you have all of the major systems in your home checked by a professional in that field, and you might even save some money on the deal.

Our inspectors have been great over the years, but we usually find that we have to hire these specialized inspectors anyway. Testing out a strategy like this might not be a bad idea if you are looking to save some money on your home inspection. If you have any questions for us, give us a call or send us an email!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pitfalls of Lease Purchases in the Greater Phoenix Area

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What does rent-to-buy actually mean when you’re dealing with a home? Today, we’ll discuss leases purchases, or rent-to-own homes.
A tenant will pay above market value for rent every single month. A portion of the rent will go towards the purchase, perhaps a year later. The time frame ranges, but you can expect one to three years. As a seller, you set the price when you initiate this transaction.
However, no one knows the market in advance. It’s impossible to know how to price your home when selling it so far in advance. We do know the buyer won’t be paying in cash down the line, so they will need a loan and likewise, an appraisal. What if it doesn’t appraise for the set price later? You might establish a price now, and then, later on, the buyer won’t be able to afford the home. This hurts both parties and makes it difficult to plan.
A seller doesn’t want to pay double mortgages. That’s why they want tenants to occupy their home now. Of course, then, the buyer can live in the home. It’s important to read the fine print. If a buyer can’t purchase the home, after all, they are out the extra money. They overpaid for a rental property, and they can’t get that money back. I’d even argue this happens 95% of the time: most buyers are unable to close after the time is up. Although the buyer has to list again, they profited off this tenant.

As a solution, ask to lease with an option to purchase. When negotiating with sellers, buyers should ask for the option to buy the home after the lease is up. Personally, I wouldn’t pursue lease purchases without this component!
If you’re thinking about leasing, renting, buying, or selling in Scottsdale, reach out to me today! I’d be happy to sit down and discuss your real estate needs with you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Three Important Questions to Ask When Buying

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If you want to make the most of the buying process, there are a few questions you need to ask:

1. What’s the quality of local school districts? Are they top rated? Do they offer a different educational perspective for your children? For example, we have Spanish immersion programs at top-rated schools in the Cave Creek area. Whether you have kids or not, knowing the quality of local school districts will help you when you eventually sell the home you plan to buy. It’s all about value!

2. What are my average utility bills going to be? You can get this information while shopping. We can provide this information for you before even making an offer! This is extremely important for buyers moving to Arizona from another state or region.

3. What’s the age of various items in the home? How old is the roof, water heater, or the AC unit?

We can help you answer these questions! If you’re thinking about buying a home, give us a call.