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Thursday, November 9, 2017

We’d Like to Thank You By Taking Care of the Pie This Thanksgiving

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and we are thankful for you! As a token of our appreciation,
we’re giving away pumpkin or apple pies for your Thanksgiving feast.

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You have made an impact on Riddle Realty. You have made an impact on the people in our company as well, and for that we are immensely grateful. 

We’d like to offer you a token of our appreciation by giving you a pumpkin or apple pie for your Thanksgiving feast.

All you have to do is give us a call at 480-448-2238 or send an email to Let us know if you want pumpkin or apple and we’ll get that ordered for you!  
Let us know if you want a pumpkin or an apple pie!
On November 21, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, stop by our office between 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to pick up your pie. We’ll also have cranberry mimosas, mulled wine, pumpkin bars, and other fun munchies for you to enjoy. 

Of course, if you need to run in and run out with your pie, that’s fine too. 

Again, we are so grateful to you for your support over the years. We would love the opportunity to say hello, give you a hug, and, of course, give you your pie. 

As always, if you have any real estate questions, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Monday, October 23, 2017

How to Prevent and Identify Wire Fraud

Being protected in today’s digital age is incredibly important. Today, I want to go over some of the ways you can prevent a particularly insidious scam which often targets buyers in real estate: wire fraud.

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Today I would like to bring you some information about a particularly insidious scam. I’m talking about wire fraud, and it particularly pertains to the environment of buying and selling a home.

Wire fraud is something I hope you never have to experience. Nevertheless, it’s incredibly important to be informed. Wire fraud occurs when a home is close to closing and the buyer needs to wire funds to a title company.

Hackers will send a fake email to a buyer, giving them instructions to wire funds to a different account. Once the money is sent, there is no way to get it back. 

Rarely does a seller ever have to send funds via wiring, but it does happen. This could affect either party in a transaction. Even if the seller is not the one being scammed, they will still be affected if the buyer is left unable to close as a result of wire fraud.

There are a few different ways you can identify and avoid this scam:

1. Use encrypting. If you are sending any personal information, send it through encrypting. If you don’t know how to do this, feel free to reach out and let us help.
2. Confirm the wiring instructions are correct. Before you send the money, you can simply give a phone call to the title company. Don’t use the phone number on the scam email, though. Use a phone number you receive directly from an agent.
3. Clean your emails out regularly. This will prevent any hackers from noticing habits you may have and learning information about you. It could even prevent hackers from knowing you’re buying or selling a home at all. 
Once the money is sent to a hacker in a wire fraud scam, there is no way to get it back.
4. Change usernames and passwords regularly. Using the same information across multiple platforms and for long periods of time can hurt your security.

5. Never click links in suspicious emails. These links can take you to dangerous websites, cause viruses, or give hackers access to your information.
6. Don’t conduct business on unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Hotels, coffee shops, and restaurants aren’t secure places to do business.
7. Trust your instincts. If you see something that is off, don’t trust it. As an example, there was an email that was once sent to a buyer with a history of emails. It looked as if there had been a string of emails over a series of days, all to make the message look more authentic. Emails like these can even appear to be coming from your agent.
8. Implement up-to-date virus protection. Having anti-virus software will be critical. It’s much better to be safe than sorry.
9. Make sure all parties have security measures in place. You aren’t the only party who needs to be protected in order for your information and money to stay safe. Don’t send any personal information like your social security number to your agent. They don’t need it, and this would be a massive red flag.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Should You Work With an Agent When Buying New Construction?

Why should you hire a real estate agent to buy a new construction home? There are many reasons, but the main one is that the builder's agent will not protect your best interests.

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If you are interested in buying a new construction home, should you work with a real estate agent? 

Builders like Richmond American or Taylor Morrison will have an office you can walk into and model homes for you to look at. Do you need an agent with you when you walk through the door? Yes, and there are a few reasons why. 

The agent you meet at the builder’s site is there to represent the builder. They are all wonderful people who are great at their job, but the bottom line is they are not there to protect your best interests. You need someone there with you to represent you.  

If you want to look at model homes and you walk into the office without an agent, they will ask you to sign a form. If you sign with the builder and decide that you would like to buy from them, it is now too late to bring your real estate agent into the transaction. You already signed without them on that first visit. 

To avoid this issue, make sure your agent goes with you. Your agent can sign you in. If you decide not to buy from that builder, then there’s no problem. If you do decide to purchase from that builder, your agent will be able to represent you. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that the builder has pre-approved lenders who offer great incentives to work with them. It’s no secret that the builder and the lender are a team, and you can get fantastic incentives. However, if you have your own agent, they may know other lenders that could be a better choice than the one recommended by the builder. 

The contract with the builder is completely designed to protect the builder and their interest. That’s okay, but it is important to have someone there to tell you the black-and-white of that contract, not the spun version the builder will present. If you listen to the builder and you decide to cancel the deal after you’ve signed the dotted line, there is a very good chance that you will lose your earnest money. 
The builder’s agent is there to protect the builder’s best interests, not yours.
When it comes to taxes, the builder will quote taxes on the unimproved land. To get an idea of what your property taxes will be once the home is built, your agent will do some research to figure out what your tax bill will be 12 or 24 months from now. 

The public report is a critical piece of this transaction. I’ve seen clients walk in ready to sign a contract that says, “You have read the public report.” The builder agent may say, “This just shows that I gave you a copy of the report.” 

Don’t fall for this; the contract says that you have read through the public report. It’s a very important document that you need to read. 

I also recommend that you walk your lot to see if it will be a good fit for you when all of those other homes are built down the road. Things may be wide open now, but your agent can help you make sure that the lot will work for you in the future as well. 

As your real estate agent, we are there to protect you and your investment. You may not plan on selling this new home for another 20 years, but we can still give you a little advice when it comes to resale value. You never know—you may need to move sooner than you think. When it’s time to choose your cabinets and countertops, your agent can help you increase your resale value so that your home will be adored by prospective buyers in the future.   

Those are just a few main reasons you should absolutely work with a real estate agent when buying a new construction home. If you have any other questions about this process, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What Does the Fed’s Recent Rate Hike Mean for the Real Estate Market?

The Fed’s recent rate hike shouldn’t have any significant impact on our Phoenix market. In fact, it might actually stimulate it.

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On June 14th, the Federal Reserve increased its federal funds interest rate by 0.25%. They’re also widely expected to raise rates once or twice more over the course of 2017. What does this mean for the real estate market?

While any action by the Fed always garners a lot of attention and everyone starts to go crazy, I believe these increases will not have any significant impact on our market. There are three reasons why.

First of all, mortgage rates have actually trended lower in the wake of the Fed’s recent announcement. The 30-year mortgage rate recently hit 3.9%, the lowest level in 2017. In fact, it’s a common pattern for the mortgage rate and the Fed rate to move in opposite directions, and the same thing has happened the last two times the Fed raised rates. 

Second, the economy continues to do well. The Fed decided to increase its rate because unemployment and inflation are low, household spending is picking up, and we’ve seen steady growth for the past nine years. This is good news for the real estate market. As expected, we continue to see strong demand and a corresponding increase in home prices. 

Third, while the Fed’s rate increase is usually meant to cool off the economy, it might actually be having the opposite effect it in this case. Because interest rates were so low for such a long period of time, experts believe the recent increases might ease pressure on the financial system and encourage increased lending. 

Case in point: since the Fed started raising its rate in December 2016, total mortgages are up 2.5% year over year. 

In conclusion, while any move by the Fed is likely to lead to a lot of hand-wringing, I believe the real estate market will not be affected and will continue on its own healthy course. We still have a balanced market, especially above the $300,000 range.

Nonetheless, it’s clear that right now is a uniquely good moment for everyone in the real estate market. Today’s low mortgage rates are good for homebuyers because they make homes more affordable.

If you have any questions about our market or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, give me a call or send me an email. I’d love to help.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Can You Buy a Home With a Low Down Payment?

The biggest concern for many people when it comes to buying a home is coming up with the cash for a down payment. If you're in this camp, consider these options.

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If you're looking into buying a home in the Phoenix area, the down payment tends to be the biggest obstacle. A recent survey found that 55% of respondents said they couldn't come up with the cash to qualify for a home loan. The continuing growth of home prices certainly isn't helping. More people are choosing to rent since they feel they don't have the money to buy a home.
Not too long ago, it seemed that anyone with a pulse could get a mortgage, but that's not the case anymore. If you have decent credit and steady income of about two years, though, there are a number of loans you might qualify for:
  • USDA loan: This is a zero money down loan with lenient credit requirements that's valid for homes in certain rural and suburban areas.
  • VA loan: This is a zero money down option for anyone who has served in the military and has low closing costs and low interest rates.
  • FHA loan: This loan requires 3.5% down, but that's far less than conventional loans.

With decent credit and steady income, there are many loans you might qualify for.
As you can see, there are plenty of options even if you're in that 55% of people who list the down payment as the No. 1 reason you're not able to buy a home. If you have any other questions about financing options or buying a home here in the Phoenix area, give me a call or send me an email soon. I'd be more than happy to help.

Monday, March 20, 2017

What Happens If You Change Your Mind About Buying or Selling?

Today I want to go over what your options are as a buyer and as a seller if you change your mind after signing a purchase agreement.

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What can you do if you change your mind after you’ve signed a purchase agreement on a home?
As a buyer, there are so many loopholes in the Arizona purchase agreement. For example, you have a 10-day inspection period. If you know for sure that you don’t want to buy a particular home, something will come up in the inspection that will allow you to get out of that contract. You could also find an issue with the seller’s disclosure form, the HOA guidelines, the codes and restrictions for the area, etc. If you want out of that contract, you are covered. Fear not!
As a seller, all bets are off. If you are a seller and you have signed a purchase agreement to sell your home, you are bound to that purchase agreement. The buyer might request some things such as repairs, in which case you can refuse to comply and hope the buyer walks away from the sale. However, if you feel in any way that you may not want to sell your home, tell your agent.

If you’re a buyer and want out of a purchase agreement, fear not!
It’s much harder for a seller to get out of a purchase contract, so you need to be sure you want to sell before it’s signed.
In fact, I am working with a buyer right now in a case where the seller has changed their mind. The buyer now has an attorney, I have an attorney, the seller has an attorney, the seller’s agent has an attorney, and it is a complete mess. The seller is in hot water because she has a contractual obligation to sell her home, and it’s going to cost her a lot of money to keep it.
At the end of the day, this is your biggest investment, so make sure you are open and honest with the professional you have chosen to represent you. If you have any other questions about this topic of you're thinking about buying or selling a home, give me a call or send me an email. I'd be happy to help you.

Monday, January 23, 2017

4 Tips to Help You Sell This Spring

Are you selling your home this spring? If so, follow these four steps in order to have a successful sale.

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When it comes to real estate, spring starts in January​, especially in AZ!​

You might already know spring is the hottest season in terms of home sales.

Home buyers come out in big numbers ​right after the 1st of the new year.

​Nationally, the numbers bear this out — homes sold in the spring sell 15 days faster and for about 2% more money than the average listing.

However, in order to make the most of the spring real estate rush, you have to start preparing now.

Today, I want to show you how to do that in four easy steps.

The first step is to find out what your home is worth.  

Pricing your home correctly from the start will mean it sells more quickly. And homes that sell more quickly tend to sell for more.

To get an idea of the value of your home, check out the calculator on my site that takes into account recent Phoenix sales.

Enter your street address here to find out what your home is worth

You can also give me a call at (480) 207-2645 ​and I’ll give you an even more accurate estimate based on the unique characteristics of your home.

The second step is to decide the right time to list.

The spring market has already started!
A home's listing is viewed five times more on its first day than even one week later, so it’s important to get this exactly right.  

In addition, the ​Phoenix market has some quirks about the best time to list, depending on when you are hoping to close the sale.

If you’re thinking of selling, give me a call and I can give you specific recommendations for the perfect time to list your home.

Third, you'll want to maximize curb appeal.

The reason why is simple: 63% of home buyers will drop by a home they viewed and liked online.

Make sure you give them a good first impression by removing the lingering effects of winter.

Simple projects are often enough — ​painting the front door and adding new hardware, ​pressure washing the outside, refreshing the landscaping, and cleaning the windows.

Occasionally, upgrades such as a paint job or roof repairs also make sense and can add thousands of dollars to the value of a home.

Finally, you have to prepare for the viewings.

Tidy up the inside of your home, declutter as much as possible, and start packing away non-essential things in anticipation of a sale.

​We have a 75-point checklist to help you with this step!​

And really, that’s it. By following these simple steps, you’ll be taking full advantage of the spring boom in the real estate market.

And if you need any advice — about pricing your home, about the best time to list, or about small projects that can bump up your sale price by 10% to 15% — just give me a call at (480) 207-2645
I'm here to help.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Why Is Selling Now the Right Move?

Home prices have now surged ahead of where they were at the last market peak. This time, however, they show no signs of slowing down.

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First, home prices have hit record highs over the past few months.
In fact, home prices are now higher than they were in 2006, at the peak of the housing bubble.
In spite of this, the current market is not experiencing a bubble like we saw 10 years ago.
Instead, today's high prices are mostly driven by a lack of supply.
That's why — if you are looking to sell your home — you are in such a good position right now.
Second, we are seeing a period of low but rising mortgage rates.
For example, the average 30-year mortgage rate has been steadily increasing from its low of 3.37%, recorded last July. It now stands well above 4%.
It’s true that by historical standards, today's mortgage rates are still very low.
There is going to be healthy demand for months to come.
And when you combine this with the possibility of continuing increases in the near future . . .
. . . it's clear why so many home buyers are eager to take advantage of the current situation.
Third, we've made it to the end of the election cycle.
Many people were sitting on the sidelines because of the election and the associated uncertainty.
They are now re-entering the real estate market . . . and this will keep demand healthy in the coming months.
Now, even though it's only January, the spring season is definitely approaching.
Spring is the hottest season for the real estate market, and you have to get moving now to take advantage of it.
To get started, check out a home value calculator I've put up on my site.
It takes into account recent sales in the Greater Phoenix Area to give you a good idea of what your home is worth in the current market.
If you'd like to get an even better estimate of your home’s true value, give me a call at (480) 207-2645.
I know the Phoenix area well and I talk to home buyers every day, so I have a great feel for the current real estate market.
Once we discuss the unique characteristics of your home, I can give you my best estimate of how much you could get for your home right now, and how quickly you could sell.
And if you have any other questions about how you can take advantage of the current market, simply reply to this email, or give me a call at (480) 207-2645.