Who better than a Bloodhound to help you sniff out the best deals in Metropolitan Phoenix real estate?

Whether you're buying, selling, relocating or investing in a home in Metropolitan Phoenix/Scottsdale, you've come to the right place. BloodhoundRealty.com is the fiercely loyal guide you've been looking for to help you track down the perfect new home – or the qualified buyer for the home you own now. Are you ready to find your ideal new Phoenix-area home? Do you need to search the complete Phoenix-area MLS listings first? At BloodhoundRealty.com pride ourselves on our strengths listing homes. Shall we sit down to talk about selling your home? Do you have a question about Bloodhound's people or how we work? Email BloodhoundRealty.com and we'll get back to you as quickly as possible. Or just pick up the phone and dial 602-740-7531 right now. (Outside of Arizona? Dial 1-800-508-5430.) Meanwhile, our site is rich in detailed information about Metropolitan Phoenix real estate, so feel free to click on the links to explore your options.

Rental home investment possibility in Goodyear, Arizona: 15246 West Jefferson Street, Goodyear, AZ 85338

It’s offered as a short sale, but, for now, lender-owned homes are a tough get: Too much competition from first-time home-buyers looking for that $8,000 tax credit.

Nice overall, a lot of tile but needs some carpet, paint can just be touched up in many places, some new paint needed, needs landscaping. No range, no fridge.

For more details, click here.

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Rental home investment possibility in Goodyear, Arizona: 15241 West Monroe Street, Goodyear, AZ 85338

It’s a short sale, but that makes it eminently doable for cash investors.

Good shape overall. Needs carpet, paint, landscaping.

For more details, click here.

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BloodhoundRealty.com’s Greg Swann and Canadian real estate investor Bill Chipman featured today on an NPR Radio story on Phoenix rental-home investing for buyers from Canada.

Click on the embedded audio player below or read the story on-line. Reporter Peter O’Dowd — a genuine born-here Phoenician and a Brophy Prep alum — spent about four hours, total, with Bill Chipman and me, an amazing commitment of effort. And that photo above? That’s what paradise looks like. We have plenty to go around…

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More potential rental homes in Avondale, Arizona

I look at homes in the Phoenix area for investors several times a week. Here are four I saw yesterday:

The home on Granada is sweet. I don’t love lakefront lots for rental homes, but this is truly a premium spot on the globe. The house could command a premium rent, and it should do well on resale. For what it’s worth, it would make an excellent residence.

The homes on Fairmount and on Lincoln are both excellent values at their list prices.

I’m shopping for premium value in potential rental homes in the Phoenix metropolitan area. If you would like to purchase one of these homes — or one like it — shoot me an email or give me a call at 602-740-7531.

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The economic policies of the U.S. government could not be better — for Canadians buying real estate in Phoenix, that is…

Are you a Canadian thinking about buying residential real estate in metropolitan Phoenix? You and everybody else. Prices are low, the weather is incomparable — and the Canadian dollar — the Loonie — is trading at very favorable rates against the U.S. dollar. Canadian home buyers can take a 60% discount off our peak prices, plus an additional 15% discount on the exchange rate. There’s just something about buying a rental or getaway home for 75% off that’s hard to beat.

I tend to write a lot about rental home investing, but opportunities for all sorts of Canadian buyers abound in Phoenix right now. For example, here is a search of single-family homes in tony Paradise Valley. And here is every golf course home currently available in Scottsdale. If anything, prices on higher-end homes are even lower than they are for cheaper properties. And mortgages for Canadian home buyers are easier to obtain than they have been for years.

The truth is, it’s a perfect storm for all buyers in the greater Phoenix market right now. There are plenty of great homes available at bargain-basement prices. Interest rates are hovering at historic lows. And the house-hunting weather could not be more perfect. But Canadian buyers have all those advantages plus a very favorable currency exchange rate. If you’d like to explore your options, you can start by searching for your ideal home in Phoenix or Scottsdale. When you’re ready to find out more, send me an email or phone me at 602-740-7531.

You may never see a convergence of events like this again. We’re ready to jump when you are.

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Rental home possibilities in Avondale, Arizona

I look at homes in the Phoenix area for investors several times a week. Here are four I liked today:

I’m shopping for premium value in potential rental homes in the Phoenix metropolitan area. If you would like to purchase one of these homes — or one like it — shoot me an email or give me a call at 602-740-7531.

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We can’t undo what happened yesterday in Haiti, but we can do what we can to make tomorrow better. Here’s how you can help.

Tom Vanderwell, who writes with us at BloodhoundBlog, our national real estate industry weblog, adopted two of his children from Haiti. He has long been involved with the orphanage there, even setting up their weblog: God’s Littlest Angels in Haiti.

Since yesterday’s earthquake, Tom has been working continuously with the orphanage’s staff, both to make sure they have what they need right now and to help them prepare for what seems likely to be a surge in orphaned children.

No doubt there are a lot of people appealing for your help right now, but Tom’s efforts could produce the most immediate and yet also the most lasting impact.

Read his post about the Haitian relief effort at BloodhoundBlog. And then, if you can, push the PayPal button at the bottom of that post to make a contribution.

There’s so little we can do, really, at times like this. But that little bit we can do can make a big difference to people who have lost everything — maybe even their parents.

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Are the uninformed chatterboxes in your area insisting that the real estate market has recovered? You may want to defer the celebration. Even so, this could be the golden moment for investors in Phoenix.

I’ve known for six months or more that there was a sweet spot on the horizon for investors and other highly-solvent buyers in the Phoenix real estate market. That event was delayed by the first-time home-buyer’s tax credit. Today’s news about declines in the number of pending purchase contracts is a symptom of the market returning to an unstimulated level of demand. I watched the dropoff reflected in today’s news as it happened last fall. Lenders cut off new applications for first-timers and, just like that, price pressure eased, available inventories started to rise and it came to be a lot easier to get a house under contract.

We’re all waiting for the other shoe — the shadow inventory — to drop, but the supply of the homes I want most for my investors has almost doubled since mid-October, from around 350 units then to just over 600 today.

Here’s even better news for buyers (not for banks): Prices are going down.

This is the Cliff’s Notes for the last four months, as reflected in the BloodhoundRealty.com Market Basket of Homes:

September: +3.15%
October: +2.14%
November: +2.22%
December: -8.03%

That’s a huge drop for December — giving back almost everything we’ve gained since April, 2009. But, interestingly enough, the ratio of sales price to list price was positive. In other words, there is still competition for listed homes, but list prices are dropping.

I don’t know how it is where you live, but this is the perfect storm for investors in Metropolitan Phoenix. The homes are in much better condition than they were this time last year, and the prices are at hovering just above the 2009 low.

Are we at the bottom? Feels like it — but we’re going to be here for a while. Positive cash flow is easy, but cash flow is all there is right now. If you’re not a buy-and-hold investor, Phoenix is not for you. I’m sure that’s true in most rental markets.

But if you’re thinking of buying a rental home anywhere in Greater Phoenix, reflect on this: This could be the coldest winter in 25 years. Whether they can afford to or not, people in the snowy states are going to move. When they do, they’re going to need a place to live.

Give me a call at 602-740-7531 and let’s talk about how you can ride the Phoenix real estate thunderbird as it rises anew from the ashes and soars its way back into the cloudless skies.

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Why are lender-owned homes so much easier to buy than short sales?

An extended answer to a question from a buyer client, the short film linked below goes into the in-house procedures that result in the observed effect: Lender-owned homes are much easier to get under contract and to get through the closing process than are short sales.

We also talk a bit about strategy, particularly for mortgage-financed transactions.

Click on the link below to watch the video.

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To our friends and clients: Merry Christmas, Joyous Holidays, Happy New Year — and thank you so much for being here with us!

Here’s to your health, wealth and happiness in the coming year!

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A look back at the last decade in real estate, what I got right, what I got wrong — and where things go from here

My friend Andrew Breese asked me to go through my own history, in light of both the real estate boom and the bust, detailing where I was wrong and where I was right.

Very big job, and it would be a long essay to write, so I’ve elected to go through it in video instead.

Click on the graphic below to watch the video.

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What matters most in rental home investing in the Phoenix area? Everything!

I represented tenants for my first two years as a real estate licensee. I walked into — and walked right out of — hundreds of homes that were amazingly inappropriate candidates for tenancy.

Horrible locations, with no access to jobs, schools, shopping, entertainment, transportation.

Still worse, horrible homes, dingy, run-down testaments to the perils of deferred maintenance.

And still worse, many of these homes would be filthy — stained carpets, smudged walls, debris everywhere. In many cases, the carpets had not even been vacuumed, and often the back yards were shoulder-high jungles of weeds.

Would you want to live in a place like that?

Why would you expect that a tenant would?

Here’s a better question: What kind of tenant, do you suppose, would settle for a rental home like that?

Landlords can be penny-wise and pound-foolish. They will buy a dump of a property because it’s cheap, convinced that their salvation will be low rents. But bad properties attract bad tenants — by repelling all of the good tenants.

The wrong rental property is the worst kind of real estate investment: It will rent slowly, with long vacancies between tenants. And the tenants the landlord will be forced by circumstance into accepting may be slow-pay, no-pay eviction candidates who may do damage or steal the appliances on the way out. And, of course, because the house is repellant, it will attract nothing but low-ball offers on resale.

But take heart. There is a better way of doing things.

First, what you want is the right location — a built-out suburb with its own job base, with schools and shopping and entertainment already in place. And don’t buy a dump. Nobody wants to live in a dump. The house you’re looking for should be appealing to tenants, but also to owner-occupants. Why? Because owner-occupants will pay more than investors when it’s time to sell.

But even then we’re not done. We’ve got the right house in the right location, but we also need to refurbish the home to turn-key condition. Why is that? Because tenants — especially premium tenants — have choices. We want for our home to be first on their list of candidates, when they go out shopping. That way, you will have your choice of top-quality applicants: Good jobs, good income, good credit, good payment histories, good real estate references.

A home like this will rent quickly, will stay rented, and — if you continue to maintain it in turn-key condition — will suffer little vacancy between tenants. Moreover, your tenants will treat your home as if it were their own, so your costs between tenants will be lower. And because we chose the property with resale value in mind, it should sell quickly and at a premium price, ideally to owner-occupants.

This is a sound business strategy. Your objective is to make money. This is the way to make money in the suburban-Phoenix rental housing market.

I’ve written a guide on how to make money by investing in rental homes in Metropolitan Phoenix. It covers these issues in more detail, with a video explaining my thoughts on home selection. There are also before and after photos of a real rental home, to illustrate what I think is necessary to make a property appealing to premium tenants.

If you want to discuss Phoenix-area rental home investment in more detail, you can phone me at 602-740-7531 or just shoot me an email.

Being a landlord is not easy, and very often it is decidedly not fun. But it is potentially very lucrative — if you go at it the right way.

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The news media may insist that the real estate market has turned the corner, but my attitude toward work is simple: “Just say yes!”

This from my Arizona Republic real estate column (permanent link):

We represented the buyers for a million-dollar house, our first, that closed this week. A week from now, we will be listing a million-dollar home, also a first for us. We are carrying two listings at $450,000 right now, with another to come, and we will be listing another home at $800,000 shortly.

But also this week, I sold a property for $65,000. Just a few weeks ago, one of my listings sold for $27,000.

Am I schizophrenic? I hope not. But I am scared to death to say no to anyone right now.

Salespeople like to say yes. It’s not in our nature to turn people down. We like to make people happy if we can.

But I have no idea when this recession is going to end, so I don’t want to pass on any opportunity that might present itself.

Here’s the funny part: We’re living with a foxhole mentality, but 2009 is going to be our second-best year since we came into the real estate business. We’re not rich by any means, but we’re making more money than we have in the past three years.

But here’s the unfunny part: Virtually all of our income for 2009 is coming to us in the second half of the year. Our business was all-but-moribund in the first two quarters, and we came much too close to losing our own home.

So I am not proud, bashful or shy. If you have a real estate problem, I’m ready to talk about it. We’re working sixteen hours a day, at least, seven days a week. We haven’t taken time off in three years, and I don’t know when we will take our next vacation.

The job is survival right now, and I know we’re not alone among Realtors in thinking this way.

I’m nobody’s bear, and I would love to believe all the cheerleading I hear in the news about the real estate market. But my strategy for now is to just say yes to every opportunity I get to earn a living.

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Despite the hype, the long-term trend of home prices in Phoenix is still steadily downward

This from my Arizona Republic real estate column (permanent link):

With all this activity in the Phoenix real estate market, prices must be going up, right?

Wrong.

Sales prices for bread-and-butter single-family homes in Metropolitan Phoenix were down in June, July and August. They were up in May, and it looks like we’ll finish higher in September. But the net effect is to put average home prices right back where they were in March of 2009.

That’s right. We just worked our way through six very busy months, with the $8,000 first-time home-buyers tax-credit as a huge incentive to buy houses, but sales prices for those homes are virtually unchanged.

How can that be? Haven’t we heard about shortages of homes, about frenzied bidding wars? If you’re trying to sell a home right now, market activity can look like manna from the heavens. But if you’re trying to buy, what you’re seeing may look more like a plague of locusts.

But taking account of the bigger picture, none of that matters. The Phoenix real estate market is over-built, especially at the lower end of the market. The long-term systemic trend of prices is downward, and it will be for quite a while. Incentives like the tax-credit can stimulate activity, but until demand eclipses supply, prices will continue to deflate slowly.

When the tax-credit lapses, the pace of that deflation will quicken. If banks start to reintroduce foreclosed inventory at a faster rate, prices will drop even more. Arguably, we are two or three years away from reselling all of the homes that will have to be repossessed and resold by lenders.

And prices could be low and trending generally lower that whole time. New home builders are not able to compete in this market, so we’re not adding new inventory. But until the supply of foreclosed homes is fully absorbed, prices probably will not go up.

And even then, don’t bet your life savings on dramatic upswings. It took us a long time to dig this hole, and it could take a long time to dig our way out.

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Looking for a reason to buy real estate? How about free ice cream?

This from my Arizona Republic real estate column (permanent link):

When I was a kid, my Uncle Jack, my mother’s oldest brother, told me a story I’ve never forgotten. He was at a little county fair way out in corn country. Nothing special, just beauty contests for hogs, cheesy little rides and sticky, sugared confections.

Late in the day, the ice cream vendor decided to pack it in, announcing that he was giving away what was left of his inventory. People elbowed their way to the front of the crowd, so eager were they to get something for nothing. They walked away with the ice cream piled into their bare hands, rushing off to their cars, leaving a trail of melted drips behind them.

The lesson I took from my uncle’s story was that those folks didn’t really want ice cream. They were willing to get themselves dirty, and to get their vehicles dirty, just to have something for free. Most of them probably didn’t even eat the ice cream, and they certainly couldn’t have enjoyed it. Imagine trying to inhale a glutton’s quantity of chocolate-fudge-swirl before it melts all over your clothes.

Could that be what’s going on right now with the $8,000 first-time home-buyer’s tax credit? I happen to be carrying three listings that are undeniably “investor’s specials” — which means they’re a good buy, but they need a lot of work. Even so, my phone is ringing off the hook with agents trying to sell those houses to owner-occupants — folks with very little cash trying to get an FHA loan so they can buy a house, thus to get $8,000 in “free” money.

Do those buyers really want homes, or do they just want that free money? What will happen to the properties when the $8,000 is spent? Should we dial the clock back to 2006 to see if anything looks familiar?

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors is campaigning for even more “free” money to bribe even more otherwise-unmotivated buyers. The only thing that could make the deal sweeter would be a double hand-full of “free” ice cream.

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