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Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home

With mortgage interest rates at an all-time low, many first-time homebuyers are ready to buy. But are you really ready?

Why Do I Want to Buy a House?

Before you start house shopping, ask yourself why you want to buy a house. Many first-time homebuyers are pressured into buying because family and friends push them. They convince first-time buyers that mortgage interest rates are so low that now is the right to buy. While it’s true interest rates are at an all-time low, buying a home for the wrong reasons often results in disaster. Instead, buy a house because you want a stable place to live or a place to call “home”.

Can I Really Afford It?

Do you feel safe enough in your job to commit to a 30-year mortgage? Do you have enough stashed away in savings to cover your mortgage for six months? Being able to answer “yes” to these two questions is important for your financial security when buying a house. It’s important that your monthly mortgage payment be affordable. Some lenders may approve you for a loan that is more than you can comfortably afford. Plus don’t forget that your monthly mortgage payment is only the beginning. You still have to pay homeowners insurance, property taxes, as well as pay for maintenance, repairs, and the inevitable home improvement projects.

Will I Want to Live Here in 5 Years?

As you’re searching for neighborhoods and homes, imagine staying there for five years. Do the homes, neighborhoods, and cities have everything you need to be happy? Is the house big enough to accommodate a growing family (if you decide to have one)?

Without a doubt, now is a great time to buy a home. Just make sure you’re buying for the right reasons. When you’re confidently ready, give me a call, I’d love to help you buy your first home! 602-329-7782

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Featured Home at Tuscany Point

glendale home for sale

Highly sought after floorplan in Tuscany Point-Arrowhead Ranch has a newly redesigned rear yard and pool with a great lake view. Brand new pool, filter and decking just completed this year. Brand new flooring, 24” tile and luxury vinyl flooring upstairs. This home boasts 4 beds, 3 full baths plus a dedicated office. The kitchen overlooks the fabulous yard-newer appliances, granite counters and walk-in pantry! Lots of great closet space, lots of natural light with vaulted ceilings and expansive views.

Home is located in the Legends Golf course community. Drive-thru Arrowhead Loop and take in all the gorgeous lake, golf, mountain views and lush vegetation. Highly sought after Legend Springs Elementary school is a short distance away.

Call or text me today to schedule your private showing! 602-329-7782

Advantages of Buying a Home

Buying a home is often referred to as the “American Dream.”  While there are many obvious benefits of owning a home, there are also some that are not so obvious.

1-Stable Monthly Payments

If you choose a fixed-rate mortgage, then your monthly payments will remain mostly the same, which is one of the best benefits of owning a home. When renting a property, there is always the unknown if the monthly payments will increase each year when you renew your lease. Consistent monthly payments that come with owning a home can provide some peace of mind when it comes to creating a monthly budget. Of course, monthly payments can change when owning a home if property taxes or homeowners insurance change, but the amount of change in property taxes is typically a very small amount.

2-Opportunity to Build Equity

The longer that you own a home, the more you pay towards the principle balance of your mortgage.  As the balance of the mortgage lowers, and hopefully the value of the property increases, the larger the equity!

3-Cheaper Than Renting Overtime

Undoubtedly, there are many associated when buying a home, such as the down payment, appraisal fee, and homeowners’ insurance.  The upfront cost to buy a home is substantially more than just paying monthly rent to a landlord. Yet, over time, owning a home is cheaper than renting which is a great benefit. In Arizona, if you compare a rental property and the monthly mortgage of a comparable home, the cost of ownership is typically much less.

4-Owning a Home Provides Tax Advantages

Paying taxes is a necessary evil, but a great benefit of owning a home is

the tax advantages that it provides.  Arguably the biggest tax advantage of owning a home is the option to deduct paid monthly interest from your tax returns. If you’re unsure how owning a home will impact your taxes, it’s recommended that you discuss it with your accountant so you fully understand how owning real estate will impact you come tax season.

5-Build Your Credit

There are many factors that impact a person’s credit score, one of the most important being the length of credit history.  Since the length of a mortgage is typically 15 or 30 years, having a mortgage on your credit history is a great way to lengthen the average of your credit accounts.  In addition to improving the average length of credit accounts, each and every month that a mortgage is paid on-time it shows that you’re a responsible borrower which not only can improve a credit score but also improves the chance of approval for future credit accounts.

Owning a home is much more than just having a place to live. Give me a call when you’re ready to become a homeowner! 602-329-7782

buying a home

Homebuying During the Coronavirus

house for saleWith mortgage rates at all-time lows and an uncertain future due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, is now a good time to buy a home? It may feel contradictory to purchase a home at this time, however, for people who feel confident about their job security and finances, this might be the perfect time to buy.

Why Making the Move Now May Be Right for You

House hunting during the coronavirus can have its benefits. There may be less competition for the houses in the areas where you might be planning to move, and sellers may be more motivated to sell or more flexible on price. Once the crisis passes, there may be more house hunters back on the market and prices may escalate due to a more competitive market that benefits sellers rather than buyers, so taking a few steps forward now will put you ahead of the game.

Use This Time to Research the Market

Despite the decrease in the number of newly-listed homes, there are still excellent options in property listings. This is a time to research the market and find your preferred property in a community you like. Take this time to expand your search to other surrounding neighborhoods that might have homes with excellent value for money, amenities, and facilities.

As you spend more time at home, it’s an opportunity to assess your current home and determine the level of functionality and comfort it offers you. That helps in knowing your priorities when searching and, consequently buying a home.

Get Preapproved for a Mortgage

When you do find the home of your dreams, being preapproved for a mortgage proves to the seller you are serious. It’s possible to get preapproved online through some banks. Mortgage preapproval is a letter from a lender that indicates how much you are qualified to borrow from the lender, at a specific interest rate.

Virtual Home Viewing

Many real estate agents post virtual tours of properties for sale on their websites. When you take a virtual tour or attend a virtual open house, you can get a realistic view of the property. Then, with a click of the mouse, you can see all the details that are important to you. In addition, by touring homes virtually, you can see many more than would be possible in a single day with your real estate agent.

Prepare Your Home For Sale

While entertainment, sports, and other social events are canceled, take advantage of this while to prep your current home for the market. Preparation may include anything from mowing the lawn, exterior repairs, tidying the gutters, and decluttering the interior.

Start with a DIY approach to reduce expenses before calling the professionals. Do an online home improvement search to note the additional décor that can enhance the visual appeal of the home.

Do you have questions if now is the right time for you to buy? Call me today, I’d love to help answer all your questions and find your new home when the time is right for you! 602-329-7782

Buying a New Construction Home

new construction homeBuilding your dream home from the ground up can be exciting. You get to choose your lot, the floor plan, the interior finishes and any upgrades. There is a common misconception when you’re buying a new construction home that you don’t need to work with a Realtor®. However, that’s not necessarily true. Read on for 5 reasons why you should use a Realtor when buying a new construction home.

1. Your real estate agent is your advocate. When you walk into a model home, the friendly salesperson who greets works for the builder, therefore they may not work in your best interest. Your Realtor works for you and your best interest.

2. Hiring a Realtor comes at no cost to you. When working with builders, there is no additional cost for working with a Realtor. The builder will pay your agent’s sales commission.

3. A Realtor can help with lot, floor plan and upgrade selections. They can help guide you by making recommendations on items that appeal to a larger number of future buyers if you think you may sell your property in the future. For example, the lot you may be thinking about buying may save you some money upfront, but it may not be the best lot selection for resale value.

4. A Realtor can help you make the right choices for your budget. With a seemingly endless list of choices to make, new construction can be overwhelming. A good Realtor can help guide some of your decisions within your budget. Also, when working within your budget, an agent can guide you on what items are better to install now versus items that are easier to improve upon later.

5. A Realtor Can Help with Inspections and Contract Contingencies You know you need an inspection when you buy an existing home, but did you know an inspection is an important part of buying new construction?

When it comes to buying new construction, there are many benefits that come with working with an experienced real estate agent. Are you thinking of buying a new construction home? Give me a call for information on all the new developments in the West Valley and let’s schedule a tour! 602-329-7782

Love Where You Live!

A Friendly Note to my Neighborhood-

I sincerely hope that each person reading this is doing well, staying healthy and strong. I hope, like me, you have found the personal strength to rise above the challenges not only for your family but for our community.

I wanted to make this “Neighborhood Note” a bit more personal. Since I have been spending more time around my home and less time in my car, I a noticing things about our community that have made me smile and remember why I “Love Where I Live” – the Arrowhead Ranch area in Glendale – so much! I also would like to share with you a bit about my personal journey that has led me to Arrowhead.

My favorite thing was seeing all the chalk art on the sidewalks around Arrowhead Loop – including a few Grateful Dead verses – that really brought joy to my morning walks! I love seeing families riding their bikes, walking their dogs and runners and exercise enthusiasts out on Arrowhead Loop.

Click play to watch my video featuring some of my favorite things.


A little Bit of my Personal Journey-

My husband Jeff’s position with American Express afforded us the opportunity to relocate to Arizona. We moved here from Long Island, NY in October 1995 with my 19-month old daughter. I was excited for our move but still cried the entire 5-hour plane ride ! Leaving our family and friends and all that we knew was a huge leap for us. Prior to our move, I worked for over 10 years in the medical industry. I became a full-time licensed Realtor in 2003.

Some of the things I remember the most about the early years:

-The Yellow Pages were my best friend. (Can you relate?)
-ABCO was the only supermarket located on 67th Ave south of Beardsley Rd.
-I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new elementary school – now knows as Legend Springs – back in 1998.
-The sweet smell of citrus from the orange groves that made up a large portion of the Arrowhead area…something I still miss!

I would love to hear about your journey and the reasons why you “Love Where We Live”! Connect with me via phone, email, or look for me on Social Media!

Elise Fay

602-329-7782
[email protected]

Covid-19’s Impact on Arizona Real Estate

Hey Everyone, Elise Fay here—hope you are all doing well and taking care of one another. Concerns about the global impact Covid-19 will have on the economy are real. And they’re scary, as the health and wellness or our families, friends and loved ones are high on everyone’s emotional radar. That said, we can be confident that, while we don’t know the exact impact the virus will have on the housing market, we do know that housing isn’t the driver.

The reasons we move: marriage, children, job changes, retirement etc—are still part of our lives. As a result we are still open for business!

Let me share with you a few facts from yours truly, based upon what we are seeing, boots on the ground. Since March 15th, 2020:

-4040 homes were put under contract.
-3233 NEW listings were added to the market
-3481 homes successfully closed in Maricopa County—those are buyers and sellers who sold their homes and went thru with the sale despite the Corona Virus effect.

Personally, our team has put 19 deals under contract, 25 deals have closed. So if you think these numbers look promising but you are still scratching your head…Here is the how and why. It still goes back to Supply and Demand.

We still have a lack of sellers. Low supply of homes is the result of several factors—I will share with you a few of them.

-New Builds: we have half the number of new builds to the market than we did in the early 2000’s and this is due to labor shortages, some gov’t regulations and in most cases, not enough available land.
-During the last recovery we saw savvy investors and some of the larger institutional investors buy up a lot of homes that were in short sale or foreclosure. These investors were building up their portfolios and had plans to either sell on the upside or hold them as rentals. Well with rents on the rise, as a result of the short supply of sellers, these landlords are NOT selling and instead holding on tight to their investments. Being a landlord IS profitable right now!
-Empty nesters who weathered the downturn in the market years back, are now keeping their homes on average about 13 years—some are still a bit frozen, unable to unlock all their equity. Let’s not forget the HGTV effect that we are seeing on some of these older and dated properties.

Right now, we are seeing that demand is being dampened by the Corona outbreak and as a result we are seeing that inventory is loosening up, making more homes available and in some price ranges, lessening the competition a bit. We are seeing this in the market space where millennials may be entering for the 1st time. Interest rates are still at an all-time low, making owning a home cheaper than renting. Lending guidelines have tightened up a bit but that is another level of protection that has been put in place.

We have a crazy new normal. We are out showing homes, taking greater precautions; we wear gloves, carry hand sanitizer and retain a safe distance. We also have protocols in place to protect our sellers. In Arizona, housing is a huge economic driver for our economy—I am not here to sugar coat anything but just want to let you know that we are not seeing doom and gloom at this point.

If you have questions about what it means for your family’s homebuying or selling plans, reach out to me. I will be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. 602-329-7782

Covid-19

Extra Precautions While Showing Homes During the Coronavirus

hand sanitizerThe Coronavirus is having a mixed impact on the housing market. It may be decreasing buyer traffic, yet it’s also not deterring some home buyers and sellers from taking advantage of the lowest mortgage rates in history. To help keep my buyers and sellers healthy during this unprecedented pandemic, I have adjusted and added some procedures when showing homes for sale:

-All of my open houses have been suspended. For now I will only doing private showings of homes to one person (or couple).
-At this time, while I am only doing private showings, I will ask buyers to meet me at each home instead of driving with them.
-I will do my best to arrive before each showing to open doors and windows to minimize door knob touching and allow fresh air inside. I will also sanitize door knobs, counters and other high traffic touch areas before and after each showing.
-Additionally, I will have hand sanitizer and gloves, or ask clients to place their hands in their pockets as they tour the home.
-I will also be using video chats for virtual tours and walkthroughs so my clients can social distance themselves by staying at home in quarantines/self-isolation, while still allowing them to see the homes.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you have about how the Coronavirus/Covid-19 may be affecting the Arizona real estate market. 602-329-7782

1st Quarter Real Estate Updates

As we finish the first quarter of 2020, I have some surprising facts to share:

-As we move into 2020 there are currently 12,742 active listings or homes for sale in our marketplace.

-As we entered into 2019, we had 16,428 homes ofr sale. No one predicted those numbers for 2019, as that was the lowest inventory we had seen in over 8 years, until now.

-Did you know that we sold an average of 8300 homes per month in 2019? On average 4% more homes per month were sold in 2019 with far fewer inventory than ever before!

-2019 brought us, depending on your area, 5-8% price appreciation. Averaging out to about 6.3% appreciation.

BUYERS: We have amassed a list of homes from sellers who reached out and said if we had a buyer they would sell or they just were not ready to list buy wanted to sell. IF you are a buyer, call us! WE can help you find the right home amidst all the low supply.

SELLERS: Selling your home to an owner occupant will typically yield you 3-7% more money! If you want to sell your home to an owner occupant with minimal hassle and inconvenience-call me. No obligation, no commitments or contracts. My extensive reach can find you a buyer, one who will be an owner occupant and get you top dollar!

Real Estate 2020 brings you lots of options and opportunities while still providing the highest level of customer service!

Tips on Improving Your Credit Score to Prepare for Home Ownership

If you are currently renting and are considering purchasing a home you may need to check a few things before you begin your search.  One of the most important things to know before you venture into home ownership is what your credit score is.

Your credit score will tell you everything about your credit history and this is what lenders will be looking at when deciding whether to approve you for a home loan.  You may have thought you were doing everything right but your credit score will be the deciding factor.  Read more