4 Qualities To Look For In A Real Estate Agent

When looking to buy or sell a home you’ve likely done a fair amount of research already. You’ve maybe selected the neighborhood you’d like to live in and come to know something of a price range you can expect to pay. If you’re selling, you’ve likely looked into how to tee yourself up for the biggest success possible.

However, have you done your research when it comes to selecting the real estate agent you’d like to choose? Below, The Fay Group goes over a few qualities to look for in a real estate expert before making your decision.

1.) Focus on Expertise

You want to make sure that you choose a real estate agent that has the most experience in the field as well as the market in which you plan to make your purchase or sale. 

Make sure to consider the following:

  • Best knowledge of the local market.
  • Experience with buyers most like you
  • Track record of success

Always try to take into account such key performance indicators as the number of closings per year, the average number of days a property stays on the market during the real estate agent’s oversight, as well as the average price of the homes bought and sold.

2.) Client Reviews

Checking out what previous clients have to say about the real estate agent in question is of paramount importance. However, don’t get discouraged if a real estate agent has a negative review — nobody is perfect. You do want to pay attention to how the agent in question handles adversity. If the agent does everything in their power to rectify the situation, this should be taken into consideration.

Real estate agents with excellent customer reviews generally go above and beyond the call of duty for their clients. Real estate agents with a poor overall score should be taken out of consideration.

3.) Connections

Choosing an agent with excellent connections in the real estate industry will always serve you well. These are all resources that will ultimately be used for your benefit. A great real estate agent will have close relationships with contractors, appraisers, banks, plumbers, and all the other types of personnel who are pivotal in making your homeownership dreams come true.

4.) Person-to-Person Skills

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, go ahead and start making some phone calls. Choose a real estate agent who is responsive and approachable. A successful real estate agent will generally have good overall people skills, making the experience less stressful throughout. 

Looking for the right realtor and having some trouble making a decision? I can help!

I have been a successful realtor for over 12 years. As part of The Sibbach Team, we pride ourselves on being a market leader. We are constantly learning and expanding our education through extensive and ongoing training, field research, and client feedback. Whenever you’re ready for a superior client experience, give me a call at 602-329-7782. Get in touch with the Sibbach Team today to enlist the assistance of a Top 1% realtor in the Phoenix Metro area. We look forward to helping you achieve your real estate goals.

What is Earnest Money and How Much Can I Expect to Pay?

Purchasing your first home is an exciting time where there are many new decisions to be made. There are also more than likely going to be more than a few terms that get thrown at you that you might not fully understand at first. 

That’s why The Sibbach Team is here — to provide information that will help put you in the very best position to make a successful first purchase.

You might be familiar with terms like escrow and closing costs, but maybe the term Earnest Money slips from your grasp. That’s okay! Once you get past the unfamiliarity of it, earnest money is quite an easy concept to understand. Just read on and you will have all the answers you need.

What is Earnest Money?

Earnest money is often called a good faith deposit — this is the money that you’re going to end up putting down if you get a home under contract. First off, congratulations! Now it’s time to let the seller know that you’re serious about seeing this deal through to its closing. 

If a seller accepts your offer to purchase a home, they will end up taking their listing off the market in the name of this transaction being completed as discussed and agreed upon. 

How does the buyer know you’re not going to back out of the purchase? This is where earnest money comes in. When a buyer has an earnest money deposit that they put on the line, it’s going to be far less likely to cancel the purchase on some sort of whim. 

Is Earnest Money Mandatory?

Earnest money is not a legal requirement, but it does happen to be a widely accepted industry standard. Look at it this way: earnest money might not be required, but, if you want a seller to accept your offer, it’s going to significantly help your case.

How Much Will I Pay?

Earnest money might be different depending on the state you plan to make your purchase. In the case of the great state of Arizona, for instance, residential resale real estate currently has an earnest money amount equivalent that sits right around 1% of the price offered for the home.

Let’s say the home is selling for $1 million. The earnest money that a buyer would pay would likely be around $10,000. 

Please keep in mind that the exact amount usually depends on certain market conditions as well as competition for the home in question. 

If you’re buying in what is considered a seller’s market, for instance, the earnest money you end up paying might fall closer to around 3%. For a home that has sat on the market for a good long while, the seller is more likely to accept earnest money landing on the lower end of the spectrum.

Contact Elise Fay Today!

It’s okay if you have questions, because I have all the answers during your time of need.

I have worked tirelessly as a successful realtor in the Phoenix Metropolitan area for over 12 years. As part of The Sibbach Team, I’m excited to be working in tandem with a market leader delivering top 1% results for my clients. 

Whenever you’re ready for a super-agent, give me a call at 602-329-7782. I’m here to help you achieve all of your real estate objectives.

I look forward to helping you on your home buying or selling journey.


Spring Cleaning Dos and Don’ts!

As the Spring season approaches, you might be looking to make some improvements to your home. Spring cleaning is an infamous pastime that you might have lamented during your childhood having to sacrifice great weather days to spruce up the home. However, as an adult, Spring represents a season of renewal, which can be channeled into your seasonal cleaning and home improvement process.

Getting started on your Spring cleaning might have you perplexed and possibly overwhelmed. That’s okay. Read on for a few tips and a few practices to avoid in order to make it a productive Spring season.

Do: Get Rid of Clutter

Decluttering is a great way to free up more space at your home, which will make your living space less cramped. You can declutter by donating items you no longer need or use, or you could even have a garage sale in order to make a little extra cash.

If you can implement a rule, use the 90-day principle, which means if you haven’t used something in 90 days or more, it’s probably safe to get rid of it.

Don’t: Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

One common theme among homeowners is that many have lofty DIY projects that they set out for themselves during the Spring and Summer seasons. Instead, try to make smaller objectives instead of taking on grand-scale projects, especially if you’re a working professional.

One way to keep things manageable is to focus on a specific room or area of the house. Start with the kitchen and work your way into the bedrooms and maybe even the garage.

Planning larger projects takes more time and larger projects have a way of not getting done over the course of a weekend. You don’t want to set a project out for yourself that takes months to complete as part of your Spring cleaning strategy.

Do: Finish What You Start

Making a strategy will help you zero in on what needs to be done around the house, not to mention force you to land on your end goals once your Spring cleaning is done. Set out tasks for yourself to complete on your off days. Try not to plan projects that will take more than one or two days to complete. This way you can make sure that you don’t begin a new task/project until the task at hand is finished.

Don’t: Clean From Bottom to Top

Working smart instead of hard is of the essence when it comes to Spring cleaning. Clean from top to bottom, this way the last thing you end up cleaning are the floors after everything has been cleaned and dusted. This will make sure that you don’t backtrack or clean objects and areas of the floor more than once.

Ready to Sell? Contact Elise Fay Group Today!

If you’re planning on Spring cleaning as a way to prep yourself for selling your home, I’m here to help. Call The Fay Group at 602-329-7782 today to learn more about how I can help you get 5% more for your home. Happy Spring cleaning season!


Tips for When it’s Time to Move

When it comes time to move you might be faced with more than a few decisions and actionable items to handle, all while adjusting to a new environment.

Whether you’re moving across town, across the country, or even to an international location, it’s important to have all of your ducks in a row. Below, Elise Fay Group goes over a few tips that will help make your big move less stressful.

Remember to Plan Ahead

Planning is your best bet to make it through your moving day with your sanity intact. First, make sure that your utilities are shut off at the place you are moving from and turned on at the place you are moving to. You don’t want to jump the gun and find out the hard way how much you need services like electricity, water, and even the internet. When you get all this set up ahead of time you will save yourself a tremendous amount of discomfort.

Plan ahead when it comes to getting help with moving your belongings as well. Rent any sort of van or truck ahead of time and make sure not to wait until the last minute. Rental companies are notoriously swamped toward the end of the month because, guess what, other people out there happen to be moving as well.

If you can plan your move during the week instead of the weekend you will beat the rush and have some breathing room when it comes to relocation. Taking a little bit of time off of work will make sure that your schedule isn’t slammed as well. Make this process as easy on yourself as humanly possible.

Do Your Research

Make sure to look into whichever moving services you plan to use. You don’t want to hire a company that has a bad track record when it comes to customer service. Take a look at review sites and consumer reports to double-check and make sure that your moving company isn’t going to damage your belongings.

While it’s important to save as many dollars as you can, make sure that you’re not skimping on the quality side – you will end up paying for any half-measures you end up taking.

Invest in Moving Materials

It might be tempting to fly by the seat of your pants when it comes to moving, but it’s a good idea to stock up on moving supplies that will make your experience less difficult. Make sure you have boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, a dolly, tie-downs, and markers to label your boxes.

Moving materials will help protect your items and help you organize your move. However, make sure that you only purchase what you need to stick to your budget.


Contact Elise Fay Group Today

If you’re planning your next move and looking to buy or sell your home, we can help. We’ve been the area’s top realtors since the mid-1990s. We live and work in the North Glendale area and possess unparalleled experience selling homes in Glendale, Peoria, N. Phoenix, Desert Ridge, Surprise, Buckeye, Goodyear, and our surrounding communities. Get in touch today if you’re looking to buy or sell a home with style.

Benefits of Purchasing a Home Warranty

One of the early purchases you might make as a homeowner is your home warranty. In fact, a home warranty is such a common helpful resource for homeowners that it’s often negotiated into a purchase contract which means you receive warranty coverage as soon as you close on your home.

A home warranty is a contract you enter with a warranty provider to gain repair coverage for your home. It’s a great alternative to needing to file an insurance claim if something, like the AC, goes out. A home warranty claim is a lot more cost effective for the homeowner (typically around $60 for the trip charge) compared to filing an insurance claim where you then have to pay a hefty deductible before you get your repair made.

If your home warranty wasn’t included with your home purchase, you can also pay for a home warranty on a monthly or annual basis. When a problem occurs with an appliance or one of your home systems, you’ll give your provider a call to file a claim. With a snap of your fingers, a service specialist will be there to diagnose the problem and provide applicable service. Since you’re already paying for your warranty, you generally won’t have to shell out any more cash in a problematic or emergency situation.

What Exactly Do Home Warranties Cover?

Home systems covered by warranty usually include electrical, heating (including your water heater), interior plumbing, ductwork, and in some cases more.

Major appliances covered by many warranties include air conditioning (which is usually optional), dishwasher, garage door/garage door opening system, garbage disposal, oven/stove, refrigerator, pool-related equipment, and more.

Home Warranty Benefits

Home warranty benefits include peace of mind knowing that you’re covered whenever a problem happens. Many homeowners worry about the functionality of their home systems and appliances, sort of like worrying about an automobile that is not covered by a warranty. Whenever a problem happens you will usually have to pay a hefty sum completely out of pocket. With home warranty coverage you can rest at ease.

A home warranty will also save you time. If you need to file a claim, all you have to do is contact your provider and they will make it simple and easy on you. If you have to go out of pocket for repair, you’ll spend more time comparing the prices and services of contractors. 

Having a strong home warranty will help you stick to your budget and continue to build your savings. Without coverage, random problems might seem to come up right when you’ve put a little bit of money away, draining a huge amount of your savings in the process. With a home warranty, you can anticipate exactly how much you’ll spend on a monthly or yearly basis.

Contact Elise Fay Today

If you have questions about whether or not you should purchase a home warranty or questions about becoming a homeowner, Elise Fay Group can help.

With over $22 Million in sales, our team has developed a solid reputation as Top Real Estate Agents in the West Valley and Phoenix-Metro areas. We have unparalleled expertise in the current real estate market. We work with integrity, loyalty, and professionalism. Elise Fay Group aims to provide stellar customer experiences at every stage of the homeownership process, whether you’re buying, selling, or somewhere in between. Contact Elise Fay Group today to learn more about who we are, what we can do for you, and how we can help you achieve the living situation of your dreams.

What to Expect During a Home Inspection

One of the necessary parts of buying or selling a home is getting a proper home inspection, which helps secure the sale and gives both parties peace of mind.

I’ll put it this way: without a home inspection, buyers can easily overlook or miss key issues with the house. There can be foundational problems, plumbing issues, and even electrical issues that both the buyer and seller might not know about.

A home inspection is a necessary measure to take for many reasons. But what should you expect when getting a home inspection?

What is a Home Inspection Exactly?

Only a qualified home inspector can give a proper home inspection. The inspector visually examines a house to document the home’s current condition — both the home’s structure and its systems.

The most common scenario for a home inspector to come into play is after a buyer has their offer accepted, at which point they will bring in an inspector. However, it is not uncommon for sellers to be proactive and get a home inspection before listing a home to be as transparent as possible.

What Does a Home Inspector Look For?

Generally, a home inspector will cover primarily visible areas, which includes:

  • Walls, Floors, and Ceilings
  • Windows and Doors
  • Visible Areas of the Foundation
  • Heating and Cooling Systems
  • Electric System
  • Plumbing
  • Roofing
  • Any Attic or Basement Space

Some areas of the home will end up being inaccessible to a home inspector and might require an additional, more specialized inspector. Such nooks and crannies of the house might include sewers and plumbing intricacies, electrical intricacies, material inspection (asbestos, radon, or pest), pools, HVAC systems and sometimes fireplaces.

If you are unsure about any area of the home that wasn’t inspected by a standard home inspection, you are always free to contact additional specialists. You can always supplement your home inspection process until you are satisfied with the result.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

If you do a quick Google search, you will find that a home inspection in the Phoenix, AZ area can range anywhere from $250-$350. Larger properties or properties with pools or additional special inspections needed (such as septic inspections) will increase the cost of an inspection.

It doesn’t matter if you’re buying or selling, it’s important to have the right people in your corner, just like you want to hire the right home inspector. With over 12 years of experience in real estate, I am proud to be a part of The Sibbach Team, where we pride ourselves on being a market leader. Contact me today for a superior client home buying or selling experience; Elise Fay at 602-329-7782.

10 Reasons to Work with a Local Realtor

1-Local Realtors will know why some homes on the same street are worth more than others.

2-They can determine accurate prices on specific homes in the neighborhood.

3-They may know who previously owned homes in the neighborhood, and why they sold them.

4-They know which streets in a neighborhood are more desirable than others.

5-They know the listing agents in the area and can negotiate with them and get the inside information.

6-They can advise you on which agents take overpriced listings and which take listings at market value.

7-They can refer you to local home inspectors, and they know if there are any inspections that should be performed that are specific to the area.

8-They know about homeowners associations that may be in the neighborhood, and what their rules and regulations are.

9-They know what attributes a buyer in that neighborhood should be seeking.

10-They know what you need to know before you even have to ask!

From June Gloom to June Bloom

Last year, 2020 – the ultimate “June Gloom”. This year, 2021 is bringing us “June Bloom”! See the red demand line in the chart coming down? How about the blue supply line that has just begun to sideways?

Historically speaking, summer is a busy season for real estate as families prefer to move when the kids are out of school, yet 2020 was an anomaly. Covid-19 test results were peaking last summer, so most of us stayed home to self-quarantine in an effort to keep our families healthy. The real estate market dramatically changed because homeowners took down their for-sale signs because they did not want people (and germs!) entering their homes. This led to even lower supply numbers than we previously had seen.

Demand remained constant because of lower interest rates. As demand remained strong and supply fell we saw prices rise. Supply fell because of a few factors:

  1. Record low building across the country as home builders were still gun shy from the last boom/bust.
  2. Sellers are pulling homes off the market because they didn’t want to invite covid into their home.
  3. Sellers started to see the value of their homes go and it’s hard to sell an appreciating asset.

Multiple offers became the norm. Buyers had to come out of pocket to cover the difference between appraised values and purchase price. Let me say that in a different way. Buyers had to have more cash to buy a house than the norm because when they were under contract for $315,000 or $3,500,000 and the home would only appraise for $300,000 or $3,000,000 it meant they had to negotiate down the seller or come out of pocket to cover the price above appraised value.

Look at these Cromford Market Index numbers  – Cromford Market Index is how balanced the market is between buyers and sellers. 100 is balanced. We’ve been at record highs, but all cities except for Surprise has turned back towards balanced.

Why June Bloom?

Today, as we prepare to turn the calendar to June and summer 2021 is upon us, the real estate market is slowly turning back to normal. Mask mandates are being lifted and for sale signs are going back up – even though we’re still severely under average supply levels.

Because the higher-priced houses have closed and can now be used for appraisals, it’s easier and requires less cash to buy a house today than in February. Appraisals catching up to values means less cash needed to buy a house at the agreed-upon contract price. We actually had a contract for a buyer at $315,000 this week that appraised for $330,000!! Woo-hoo!! Instead of coming to the table with $15k cash, they came to the table with $15,000 of equity.

In the chart below you can see the Cromford Market Index turned 3 months ago! That’s a good thing. Another reason why I love this chart is because the CMI is overlaid on average appreciation levels. You can see the last time the CMI dipped below balanced, it took almost a year for prices to stop appreciating.

Supply has started to creep up.

Demand is starting to creep down.

We’re by no means back to a “buyer’s market” but at least we’re done going to an ultra extreme “seller’s market”.

If you are a buyer and were worn out by the craziness and cash reserve requirements, the good news is it’s getting a little easier. Yes, prices are higher than a year ago, but at least the difference in purchase price can be financed.

2021: The Year to Save THOUSANDS on Commissions


Supply & Demand
Active listing count in ARMLS is the lowest ever, with only 4364 properties for sale. The average number of active listings for this millennium is 28,539!

Last year finished as the 2nd highest number of sales through MLS; 105,368. The record in 2005 was 106,810. We have 40% more people in Metro-Phoenix in 2021 vs 2005 but we haven’t seen the number of sales exceed that record year.

When Will This Market Stop?
Two most important watch items – declining stock market will hurt the luxury momentum and/or interest rates rising at a quick pace. In 2013 interest rates rose by 1% and inventory rose by 11,000 homes immediately following.

Lower Commissions
One of our new tools in 2021 allows the seller to pay half of the traditional fees to sell. We’re excited to talk with you about it!

Last but not least, THANK YOU!
We’ve helped more clients this past year than ever. We appreciate your continued support and love bringing commission savings tools to you.

Call or Text me at 602-329-7782!


Understanding Title Insurance

Title insurance is a mortgage term we’ve all heard when buying real a house, but what exactly is it?  Why is it necessary?

Simply explained, title insurance is another form of insurance for your home.  Just as flood insurance and homeowner’s insurance protects against loss from theft or fire or floods, title insurance protects the title to your home from financial hazards.  When you purchase a home, you’re not purchasing the actual land or the building, you are actually purchasing the title to the property (i.e., the right to use and occupy the property).

The title to the property you intend to purchase may already be affected by claims or rights filed by others, and these claims may limit your use of the property and may even cause financial loss.   Therefore, by purchasing title insurance you are authorizing a search of public land records surrounding the property you intend to purchase.  A title agency typically will conduct this search and will look for any evidence of issues surrounding the title.  For example, there may be a lien against the property due to the seller’s unpaid taxes, pending legal action against the property, or an unknown heir of a previous owner who claims ownership of the property.   Being aware of these issues will enable you to require these issues to be addressed before you take title to the property.

Purchasing title insurance will protect against these hazards and defects that may exist in the title and is purchased at one time, instead of annually.   Even though this is a short summary of title insurance, we hope this has shed some light on a common part of a real estate transaction.

Every transaction is different, and while I’m unable to give legal, tax, or accounting advice, I look forward to helping you navigate your own process with ease and clarity.


How Changing Jobs Affects Buying a Home

For most people, changing employers will not really affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage loan, especially if you are going to be earning more money. However, for some homebuyers, the effects of changing jobs can be disastrous to your loan application.

How Changing Jobs Affects Buying a Home

Salaried Employees

If you are a salaried employee who does not earn additional income from commissions, bonuses, or over-time, switching employers should not create a problem. Just make sure to remain in the same line of work. Hopefully, you will be earning a higher salary, which will help you better qualify for a mortgage.

Hourly Employees

If your income is based on hourly wages and you work a straight forty hours a week without over-time, changing jobs should not create any problems.

Commissioned Employees

If a substantial portion of your income is derived from commissions, you should not change jobs before buying a home. This has to do with how mortgage lenders calculate your income. They average your commissions over the last two years. Changing employers creates uncertainty about your future earnings from commissions. There is no track record from which to produce an average. Even if you are selling the same type of product with essentially the same commission structure, the underwriter cannot be certain that past earnings will accurately reflect future earnings. Changing jobs would negatively impact your ability to buy a home.


If a substantial portion of your income on the new job will come from bonuses, you may want to consider delaying an employment change. Mortgage lenders will rarely consider future bonuses as income unless you have been on the same job for two years and have a track record of receiving those bonuses. Then they will average your bonuses over the last two years in calculating your income. Changing employers means that you do not have the two-year track record necessary to count bonuses as income.

Part-Time Employees

If you earn an hourly income but rarely work forty hours a week, you should not change jobs. There would be no way to tell how many hours you will work each week on the new job, so no way to accurately calculate your income. If you remain on the old job, the lender can just average your earnings.


Since all employers award overtime hours differently, your overtime income cannot be determined if you change jobs. If you stay on your present job, your lender will give you credit for overtime income. They will determine your overtime earnings over the last two years, then calculate a monthly average.


If you are considering a change to self-employment before buying a new home, don’t do it. Buy the home first.
Lenders like to see a two-year track record of self-employment income when approving a loan. Plus, self-employed individuals tend to include a lot of expenses on the Schedule C of their tax returns, especially in the early years of self-employment. While this minimizes your tax obligation to the IRS, it also minimizes your income to qualify for a home loan. If you are considering changing your business from a sole proprietorship to a partnership or corporation, you should also delay that until you purchase your new home.