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Why should every financed home buyer commit right now? Because interest rates can’t stay this low forever.

It’s a simple as this chart, 30 Year Conventional and FHA mortgage rates over the past year:

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What goes down will come back up – perhaps costing you tens of thousands of dollars on your loan qualification amount.

Ready to commit? Cathleen and Maddie have time available for a few motivated buyers: 602-740-7531.

There are always good reasons for waiting. The inevitable turning of the mortgage interest rate tide is a strong goad to act now. If you miss out on this opportunity, you might not see another one like it for a long time.

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What is the sound of one shoe dropping?

I’ll answer a cliché with a cliché: It’s never over until the fat lady signs – but then it is.

Everything that makes homes seem so affordable right now is a reflection of our insanely low interest rates. Every bump in those rates will cut the amount of house you can afford to buy – or commit more of your income to housing and less to the rest of your life.

If you’ve been thinking about making your move – tick tock.

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Moving up? Moving on? This may be the perfect time to make your move.

Why is right now the strategically perfect moment to move up?

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Because the mortgage interest-rate trend illustrated in that chart won’t last forever. There are other good reasons to make your move now, if moving’s on your mind, but these rates make a $200,000 home cheaper than the rent on half that much house.

There’s this, too: When rates turn upward, that will put a damper on already wilted demand, so we may be at the de facto top of this market swing. Prices have been stalled, as best, over the last year.

Washington does want to re-inflate the housing bubble. That’s the reasoning behind all the everything-old-is-new-again exotic loan products, including 3% FHA-beaters from Fannie and Freddie.

But at the same time, both mortgage-interest-deductibility and residential capital-gains deferment are political footballs always in play.

As matters of abstract economics, all of this is destructive, market machinations devised to churn the residential real estate market to no productive benefit.

But as matters of personal financial strategy, events like these provide a useful guide of when and how to act.

Ergo: If you plan to move up in the near future, the future is now:

1. If you have a house to sell, low interest rates increase your buyer pool. It’s a buyer’s market, so you’re going to sell for what you can get, but qualified buyers are out there for turn-key-livable homes,

2. Whatever mortgage you qualify for, you qualify for a lot of house. To be a seller in a buyer’s market is no fun. To be a buyer is a delight. The house you’re looking for is the one that can be home to you for a long time, if necessary. Your payment will be very low. You’re looking for a home that will make you love that loan payment just that much more.

3. Manage your cash. Low-down loans are bad for the economy, long-term, but they may be very good for you. You don’t want more house than you can afford, but you may want the house that will be perfect for you after a few years of concentrated rehab. In this golden moment, you have options about where to put your money, with Uncle Sam practically begging you to put your accumulated equity into other investments.

My take? Let’s dance. We list strong, to get our houses under contract quickly and for top dollar. We work with great lenders who can get you the most money for you money. And we can get you moved into the home you know you’ll be needing for your family in the years ahead.

There may not be another move-up moment this perfect anytime soon. Call me at 602-740-7531 and let’s get busy today.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like… home-buying bargain season…?

The holidays mean different things to different people, but they mean something special to well-prepared home-buyers:

When holly is in the air, it’s a great time to pick off bargains from motivated sellers.

It’s easy to understand why: All the other buyers are tied up with their holiday preprations. Inventories have been rising for more than a year, and some sellers need to make a deal NOW.


• Folks who want to account for their proceeds on this year’s taxes, not next year’s.

• New home builders who want their spec homes closed out on this year’s books.

• People who are sick of waiting and want to get on to the next chapter in their lives.

A well-crafted aggressive offer can make all the difference in a market like this one. Little things to take away the seller’s fears can make a huge difference.

As with everything in real estate, strategy matters. Give us a call – 602-740-7531 – and let’s talk about getting you moved.

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Will this infinite back yard always be this beautiful?


No. In a few months, when the wildflowers bloom, it will be even more breathtaking…

Live where it snows? Had enough? Isn’t it time to get your Winter back?

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If you bought a house in Metropolitan Phoenix within the past few years, you may be able to sell it at a profit.

Hard to believe, isn’t it? You can actually sell a home in Greater Phoenix and make money on the deal.

How can this be so? The long answer is long and boring, but the short answer yields a comprehensive truth in only two words: Market volatility.

We were a slow leak on the way down, until all of a sudden we were a fast leak. And then, just as suddenly, the market surged upward, gaining back a lot of lost price-pressure very quickly.

The result? If you bought a house in Phoenix or its suburbs within the past two or three years, it could be possible for you to sell that home and actually pocket some cash on the deal.

How much money could you scrape off the table?

Phoenix real estate: Sell your Phoenix homeIt could be a lot, actually. We’re getting ready to list a property where we expect the sellers to more than double their 20% down-payment in less than 15 months, total, since they closed on the home.

Your mileage will vary, of course, but you only need to beat your original purchase price by 7% or so to put yourself in the black — and home values are up more than 30% over the past year.

Okay, so you might be able to sell at a profit. Why would you do it? And why now?

The why is your question to answer: To move up to a better home, to move down to a house you can own free-and-clear, to move on to another part of the country, to get your money out of housing and put it into a business — your reasons are your own.

But why now? Because supplies of homes are very low, demand is insanely high — and because neither of these circumstances can last forever.

It could be that we’re back on the appreciation track for the foreseeable future, in which case holding out for higher prices makes sense.

But it also could be that the recent upsurge in prices is the eye of the hurricane, and continued foreclosures combined with other bad economic news could push home values down yet again.

I don’t know which will happen — but I know that no one else knows either.

But if you have a reason to sell your Phoenix-area home, we can make it sell quickly and for top dollar right now. If you want to explore your possibilities — and calculate your potential profits — drop me a line.

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Got equity? To sell your Metropolitan Phoenix home, marketing matters.

Phoenix real estate: Sell your Phoenix homeWith the recent surge in home prices, for the first time in years it matters how you market your home for sale in Greater Phoenix.

Lender-owned homes are sold like a grab-bag of garbage, take it or leave it. And while short-sellers might want to do a better job of marketing, typically they just don’t have the cash needed to do the job properly.

But now many homeowners in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and the suburbs of Metropolitan Phoenix have equity in their homes. They have a chance to make some money when they put their homes up for sale.

And that little fact makes all the difference…

Why would you want to mount a serious marketing effort to sell your home? To sell it faster, for more money, with less hassle and to a better-qualified buyer.

Marketing always matters, but when the seller has equity on the closing table, a good marketing effort can pay off at $10 to $1 — or better.

We wrote the book on selling homes in Phoenix, a comprehensive, deeply detailed guide on what works and what doesn’t. If you’re thinking about selling, let’s talk about why marketing your home for sale can make all the difference.

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Don’t you love reading all that good news about the the Phoenix real estate market’s recovery? Guess what? You’re being lied to — as always.

This is what’s really happening: FannieMae and FreddieMac are holding foreclosed houses off the market, in anticipation of “selling” them to campaign donors.

Meanwhile, the town is being picked clean, with prices being bid up by buyers convinced that houses are going out of style — a story we’ve heard before, yes?

As an example, my BargainBot search, which is shared with hundreds of investors all over the world, is at less than 5% of it’s peak. A search I use to select premium rental homes produces one listing this morning, where it stood at 45 homes in April of 2011.

If Fannie and Freddie “sell” the homes they own to politically-connected “investors,” the rental market in Phoenix will be slaughtered.

And if they release the homes they have been hoarding into the MLS, Phoenix will hit a third bottom before the market can finally recover.

You can call the news media idiots or you can call them liars. But any news from any official source about Phoenix real estate is dangerously misleading.

Meanwhile, if you need to sell, your house will go for top-dollar at blinding speed.

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It’s hot and dry and gorgeous in the desert.


The photo is from a house Cathy closed on Wednesday, a get-away-from-it-all mini-mansion way out in the desert. That’s what they call a street, when you get that far out. You can measure how clean the air is by the definition of my shadow, maybe sixty feet away. On the way home, we saw a yearling coyote on Dear Valley Road.

Our annual late summer “monsoon” is being pushed out of the Valley of the Sun by very hot, dry weather rolling in from the Mohave Desert. Within the next couple of weeks, we will shift back to the dry heat that makes Phoenix so perfect all winter long.

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The philosophy that informs our real estate practice is the same one that will drive our property management business: Do everything we would want done, if we were the landlord or the tenant, and nothing we wouldn’t.

Everything we do as Realtors is informed by two simple ideas:

  1. We want to do everything we would want done for us if we were the buyer or seller, not the agent.
  2. We want never to do the things we hate when we see other agents doing them.

That’s a pretty simple ethic, a hard target to miss. And it is the philosophy we will deploy as we enter the property management business.

Despite many requests from our investors over the years, we’ve avoided doing this, primarily because we have never liked the way that other companies handle property management. Real estate is an active pursuit, best undertaken out in the world, where property managers have always seemed to me to be much too interested in working office hours and taking weekends and holidays off.

But that creates a market niche, doesn’t it?

We bring years of careful thinking to our representation of suburban Phoenix rental home investors. We go to great pains to find the right houses in the right neighborhoods, homes that will rent easily and stay rented to premium tenants, and then we prepare those homes to make sure they will be appealing to those tenants. I don’t blow smoke up anyone’s nose, and I don’t let the investors I work with make profit-killing mistakes. We have gotten so good at this, over the years, that the homes we are involved in routinely command the highest tier of rents, among comparable properties, attracting their first tenants in less than twenty days on market.

And we want to bring that same level of commitment to the property management business. We know what we don’t like, in the way this business has been done until now in metropolitan Phoenix, and we know what we would want done, if we were the landlords or the tenants. So now we’re going to put our philosophy to the test, to see if we can’t reinvent property management, just as we have reinvented investor representation.

We’re starting with one house, a four-bedroom ranch home in Avondale’s Coldwater Springs. We represented the buyer in the purchase of the home, and we got it at a deeply discounted price, because no one else wanted it.

Handyman of Phoenix Mark Deermer whipped the home into shape, and we were able to put in on the MLS system just a week after we had closed escrow.

Do you want to take a moment to sharpen your pencil? The home was leased for two years at full price in twelve days on market. We got $1,050 per month in rent, even though there are two competing homes in Coldwater Springs in that exact same floorplan languishing on the market at $995 and $895 a month. We had our choice of applicants, and the house was showing so much I took the lockbox off once we signed the lease.

Your mileage may vary, of course. Every house is unique, and no one hits a home-run every time at bat. But we’ve always been able to select and prepare houses that rent well and stay rented, and we are confident that we can apply the same kind of intelligence and diligence to the job of keeping our tenants happy and our landlords profitable.

Even so, this is a work-in-progress, and we’re boot-strapping the business, rather than trying to take on hundreds of properties all at once. But the systems we’re putting in place will be unprecedented in the Phoenix real estate market. As an example, every landlord and every tenant will have a page on our computer system. Tenants can log-on to post maintenance requests — or to pay their rent electronically. Landlords can check into the system to see an up-to-the-minute accounting of their funds. Every dollar of inflow and outflow will be accounted for on-line, with instantaneous posting. No more waiting to find out where your money is. No more float games with your proceeds.

There’s more — and more to come. You can see our Property Management Agreement by clicking this link. We’ll be working with the court-tested Arizona Association of Realtors Rental Lease, modifying its terms with our custom Lease Addendum, which you can review by clicking this link. The bottom line is, we’re going to do property management the way it’s never been done in greater Phoenix — happy landlords, happy tenants, happy neighbors.

I would love to talk to you more about this. We can discuss taking on the management of your existing rental properties, when their current management contracts come up for renewal. Better yet, we can go out shopping for suburban Phoenix rental homes and put them under Bloodhound Realty’s management from the first tenant. If you want to explore your opportunities, contact me by email or give me a call at 602-740-7531.

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This would seem to be the ideal time to remind people that there are places in this country where there is no snow on the ground…

…with Phoenix being the most beautiful and the most affordable, of course.

If you’re snowed in, stuck at home with nothing to do but surf the internet, the movie linked below will show you a better way of living…

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When I write the book on earning profits on suburban Phoenix rental home investments, this house will be my example of what not to do.

That’s a nice looking home, isn’t it? It’s in Coldwater Springs in Avondale, Arizona, one of my favorite subdivisions in one of my favorite suburbs of Phoenix. I have sold many homes in Coldwater Springs, both to owner-occupants and to rental home investors, always with happy results.

So what’s wrong with this wannabe rental home? A lot, as it turns out.

For one thing, the home is facing straight west. The entire front of the house is going to get blasted by the brutal desert sun all summer long. That means much higher air conditioning bills. Tenants can glower at their bills just as well as homeowners. The result is that west-facing homes in Coldwater Springs sit vacant an average of 21 days longer than comparable north- or south-facing homes. That’s three extra weeks on market — if you’re lucky — every time the house goes vacant. Money talks: Call it a $750 loss in real cash money every time the home has to find a new tenant.

That’s a bad mistake on the investor’s part, but here’s a worse one:

Yes, that’s a major thoroughfare right behind the home. The house will always suffer from traffic noise — but never quite so much as when potential tenants are rejecting the home and moving on to the next candidate on their shopping list.

It gets worse. The house is oriented toward the corner in such a way that anyone heading south at night will flash their headlights right in the living room window. Dozens of times a night, every night. Tenants may learn to ignore the traffic noise, but they’re never going to learn to love having headlights in their home all the time.

There’s more. Check this out:

At $1,095 a month, this rental home is overpriced, but not by a huge amount. Facing north, without the headlights and traffic noise, it would be worth around $1,050 a month. Discounting for the truly awful location, it’s going to rent for less — maybe $975 if the landlord gets very lucky.

So what’s the benefit of pricing this house at least $120 a month over the rent it can reasonably be expected to earn? No pesky phone calls — to the landlord’s phone in Riverside County, California. The “marketing strategy” of posting two hardware-store signs in the window is just the icing on the cake.

Just think! Tenants can over-pay on the rent in order to have a home in a poor location. They can suffer traffic noise and headlights in the living room all night. They can pay at least $1,000 more a year in air conditioning costs. And they can deal with a remote-control landlord who, to all appearances, is committed to demonstrating in his every decision that he can’t get anything right. Why would they ever even consider renting another home instead?

In real life, the only tenants who will apply to lease this home will be the folks who have been turned down by every other landlord they have approached. All of the premium tenants — good jobs, good credit, good rental history — will be living in premium homes, while the tenants who land in this home could easily be slow-pay — or no-pay — candidates for forcible eviction. And remember, this home will cost an extra $750 in vacant days, on average, every time it goes vacant.

All of the identifying details about this property have been obscured to avoid humiliating the guilty party. But this exercise is a slam-dunk demonstration of the reasons why rental home investors need representation — expert representation.

I’m a salesman, that’s a fact. I make my money selling houses. But I don’t ever sell the wrong house, and I don’t ever let my investors make even minor errors, much less boneheaded mistakes like these. I have lots of ideas about how to make money investing in rental homes in the suburbs of Phoenix. If you would like to explore every idea I have for getting things right — buying the right house in the right location and then marketing that home to premium tenants, all at very substantial annual cash-on-cash returns — drop me an email or give me a call at 602-740-7531.

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Here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and health, wealth and happiness for the New Year!

Christmas is family and friends and lots and lots of food. It’s gifts and the spirit of giving and glad tidings of great joy. But Christmas is also the time of year when we think about the year just ending and the new year about to unfold. We are very lucky to be able to work with people we respect and admire, to be a part of life-changing events in the lives of those people. Never doubt our gratitude. We couldn’t run our business without you, of course. But our lives would be less joyous without the real estate roller-coaster we get to ride with you. Here’s wishing you every good thing a well-lived life can provide!

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It’s 4:15 pm. Do you know where your Realtor is? A consumer’s guide to using social media to supervise your goof-off employee.

Your mortgage lender just called. The appraiser is standing outside the home you’re hoping to buy, but there is no key in the lockbox. The lender called you so that you could call your Realtor. Your Realtor in turn can call the listing agent, and then someone can get over to the house — pronto! — to let the appraiser in.

There’s just one problem: You can’t seem to get your Realtor on the phone.

Stuff happens. Your Realtor could be tied up with another client or stuck in traffic in a cell-phone dead zone. Heaven forbid, he might have been in a car accident.

But… There is another possibility…

Do you remember when you first made contact with your Realtor? Do you recall him telling you all about how hi-tech his business is, detailing his presence on all the biggest social media sites?

So: If you’re not getting your calls to your Realtor returned, where might be a good place to look for him?

How about Twitter, for a start? How about Facebook? Foursquare? Tumblr? Posterous? You might have to look in a few places, but there are only two kinds of hi-tech Realtors: The kind who work a lot and the kind who play a lot.

How can you tell if your Realtor is the kind who plays a lot? It’s easy. He’ll be leaving tracks all over the place, Retweeting jokes and commenting on Facebook photos and writing detailed reviews of burger joints and doing — and documenting — just about any activity on the face of the earth — except attending to your real estate transaction.

Here’s the sad part: Even if you’re seeing dozens of Tweets and Facebook comments from your Realtor, you’re probably just seeing the tip of the iceberg. You’re not seeing the direct Twitter posts or the private conversations being carried out on Facebook or in email.

But: If your Realtor seems to be wasting his entire day on social media sites, there’s a reason for that:

It’s because he’s wasting his entire day on social media sites.

I’ve tried pointing out to Realtors that schmoozing on Twitter or Facebook is bad marketing, so far to no avail:

I say that trying to sell real estate via Twitter/Facebook is a waste of time — and it is anti-marketing even if it seems to produce some results. Why? Because the bulk of your chatter is going to look like… chatter. Your clients might like it when you schmooze with them, but your public schmoozing with every other time-wasting Realtor and vendor in the is going to look to your clients like just what it is: Time-wasting laziness.

Here’s the good news: You have the power to do something about this. Once you’ve discovered that your Realtor is ignoring your needs in order to goof-off online, put him on notice: “You will either service my transaction or I will fire you with dispatch.” You’re the boss. Act like it.

Even better, when you’re shopping for a Realtor, shop his or her online presence. Is your prospective Realtor a big-time Twitter kibitzer? This will come back to bite you in the butt. Is she an all-day Facebook schmoozer? Be prepared to handle your own transaction; your Realtor has another job she likes better than the one you’re offering her.

Why can’t you get your Realtor on the phone? Why don’t your repair issues get dealt with? Why is your lender calling the title company for you? Why is there an appraiser stranded outside your new home?

Part your problem is that you have a lazy Realtor.

The other part is that you have been a lax supervisor.

Whether your are a home seller or a buyer, you’re paying a lot of money for real estate representation. If you’re not getting it, you must either demand better performance immediately or take your business elsewhere.

The beautiful thing about capitalism is that you can always put the bums out of work. That’ll give them something to chat about online…

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I went shopping today in Coldwater Springs in Avondale and found some great rental-home investment properties.

I pick properties that rent quickly and stay rented to premium tenants. I know what works for rental properties, I know what they will rent for and how much to pay in acquisition costs. Handyman Mark Deermer whips them into shape in scratch time, so we can minimize vacant days. Our track record is excellent.

Phoenix is crawling with investors who are making spectacular mistakes — buying bad houses in the wrong neighborhoods and dealing with the headaches of too much competition and inadequate rents.

These are better choices for Phoenix-area rental home investors, by far. I know exactly what I want, and I’m always shopping for new opportunities. If you would like to be a subscriber to my shopping list, say so.

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