Real Estate Blog

4 Outdoor Projects That Add Value To Your House

You can add value to your home by doing outdoor enhancements. These are a few things you can do to add value.
1) Lawn Care-200% If you pay $500 per year it should double your money to $1000.
2) Outdoor Kitchen-100% Install a permanent grill and fridge for approx. $15,000 and recoup $15,000.
3) Whole Landscape Upgrade-100% Install a new paver walkway, planters, trees and shrubs for another recoup of 100%.
4) Patio-95% Install a new patio for $10,500 and recoup $10,000.
Not everything with home value involves the interior. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

New Home Buyer Cancellations In Phoenix

Let's start off with a quick school lesson. Economics 101-When a President spends like a teenager with a credit card, you are going to have inflation. The Feds have to raise rates to cool down the rate of inflation. In turn, rising interest rates lowers the mortgage amount that consumers can afford. The latest numbers show permits for new homes fell more than 20 percent in February. Homes that were resold also dipped more than 11 percent. Last year the average base price for new homes was $386,000. This year the median closing price was $267,000. Buyers are now cancelling their contracts because they can’t sell their existing homes in the slowing resale market. To be honest, the market is finally normalizing and leveling out.

There’s still lots and lots of activity out there because there is still a shortage of land. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Rising Rates Are Scaring Investors

As mortgage rates rise, buyers can afford less and less of a home. Because of this, prices begin to drop and real estate investors can't flip houses as easily as previous years. Due to the rising rates and lowering prices, investors are turning the homes into rental properties. This all sounds like it will be a better situation for the first-time home buyer, but ironically not. Since these homes are being converted to rentals rather than reselling, this turns an already low inventory level to an even smaller one. Hopefully, if investors continue to pull back, inventory rises and home prices begin to lower, some buyers could be in a good position to buy.
So good luck with your home search. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Housing Inventory Shrinks

Housing inventory has dropped to it's lowest levels in decades. In December 2021, inventory was already at a low mark of 1.7 months of supply and now it has dropped to 1.6 months. Not much to choose from if you are currently searching for a home. Good Luck! #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Calm Market Ahead

Housing sales have skyrocketed the last two years. In 2021, home sales reached 6.12 million, which is the highest since 2006. The median home price has reached an all-time high of $347,100, which is a one-year gain of 16.9%. Prices will continue to rise, but will rise at a more stable rate of 3% to 6% per year for 2022 and 2023. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Top 10 places people are leaving to move to Metro Phoenix

More people moved into Greater Phoenix area from L.A. than the entire population of El Mirage, Arizona. Just about 38,200 Los Angelans chose to make Phoenix their new home. Second on the list are the people from Tucson moving north to Phoenix. More than 11,600 people moved from Tucson. Asian countries were the 3rd-largest group, with over 10,500 people moving to Phoenix, almost the same number as the combined total of Central American, Mexican and Canadian immigrants coming to the Valley. Welcome to diversity. Phoenix is the new "melting-pot"

1. Los Angeles, CA

2. Tucson, AZ

3. Asia

4. Chicago, IL

5. Central America

6. Seattle-Tacoma, WA

7. San Diego

8. Riverside-San Bernardino, CA

9. Flagstaff, AZ

10. Canada and Mexico

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Popping Bubbles in Phoenix

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of people rumoring that we are in a market bubble that's about to burst in Phoenix. To put it in simple terms, "No. We are not in a bubble." "I repeat. We are not in a bubble." As I've stated in other blogs, Phoenix is it's own economy compared to the rest of the United States because we have droves of people who are tired of paying high taxes and gas prices from the likes of places like California and Washington. Not only that, but in 2021, Arizona went an entire year with less than 1,000 bankruptcy filings per month. That has not happened since 2007. Bankruptcies in the state were down 27.5 percent for the year of 2021.

Welcome to the Land of Milk and Honey, my friends. You have arrived in Paradise. So hurry up and buy a house before there aren't anymore. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

2022 - What To Expect in Phoenix

I know, I know… Everyone’s asking what does 2022 hold in store for real estate in Arizona. I would have to say that this year will be exactly the same as 2021, but with less activity. Home prices will rise, but much more slowly than 2021. The one thing that still causes the home prices in Phoenix right now is the fact that we have very little inventory for such a big city. In the past, when we needed supply, builders would build new construction to take up the slack of what was not available. Unfortunately, due to exponential price increases on building supplies, new home builds went down in 2021. This is the first time in 6 consecutive years that new builds went down.

So, with inventory being so scarce and no market crash in sight, I would have to say that if you are a seller, it is a GREAT time to sell. If you are a buyer, believe it or not, it is also a GREAT time to buy. It is always a great time to buy a home in an advancing market, especially when there is no inventory available. It’s all about Supply and Demand. Give me a call if you need any help. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Most Affordable Cities in the Metro Phoenix area

Last month I posted the most expensive cities in the Phoenix Metro area, so it’s only fair to post the most affordable cities in the Metro Phoenix area. Below is a list of those cities and the price per square foot:

• $180.66 — Sun City

• $179.34 — Avondale

• $178.97 — Tonopah

“Location, Location, Location”. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Top 5 Most Expensive Square Footage Prices in the Metro Phoenix area

As prices rise in the Metro Phoenix area, it does bring a curiosity as to which cities bring in the most value per square footage. Below is a list of the top 5 cities and the average price per square foot.

1. $549.71 – Paradise Valley

2. $372.07 – Scottsdale

3. $337.12 – Carefree

4. $298.31 – Rio Verde

5. $295.03 – Fountain Hills

As they say, "Location, Location, Location". #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Metro Phoenix New Home Prices jump from $172,000 to $425,000

Pre-coronavirus new home-buyers were searching for smaller houses to be able to spend more time outdoors and enjoy a more active lifestyle. After the outbreak of coronavirus and government mandated business-closures, new home-buyers are looking to spend more time in the home and are looking for more creature-comforts and space. Buyers are searching for dedicated workspaces with more and more working remotely from home with the advent of Zoom software.

The new trend is leaning more toward a more comfortable living space in the home such as high-end appliances, upgraded cabinets, granite countertops and more upgraded technology in the home. In addition to the extreme high demand for homes in Arizona, the demand for a more comfortable place to live has driven the new home prices up from $172,000 to $425,000.

"Gotta Have Your Creature Comforts". #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Who leads the Nation with the Fastest Growing Home Prices?

National home prices are tracked by the S&P Dow Jones Indices. The latest indices results for U.S. home prices for June 2021 show that home prices increased 18.6% in annual gain as compared to 16.8% from the previous month. The big news of the day shows that Phoenix is leading the nation for the 25th consecutive month with a 29.3% increase. Phoenix also has the fastest growing rent prices in the nation. To all the fence-sitters waiting for prices to drop, all I can say is "Good Luck". #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Deep-Pocket Buyers are in Town

Pre-2020, a Million-dollar home would sit with a for sale sign possibly for a year before it sold. New statistics show that Valley mansions are selling within a few weeks and possibly days. Mansion sales with seven and eight-digit price-tags have hit a new record in April and are up 32% from December 2020’s record. Not only that, but many buyers are paying cash. Apparently, millionaires are coming to the Valley in droves. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

2 of the Top 10 Cities to Rent In

Two of our Valley cities made the top 10 list of Forbes Best Cities for Renters in 2021. With Plano, Texas, taking the No. 1 spot, and Omaha, Nebraska, coming in at No. 2, Gilbert took No. 5 and Scottsdale took No. 7 on the list. The list takes rent prices, square footage, safety, parks, shopping amenities, and entertainment into account.
Not only does the list look into the number of swimming pools, gyms and in-unit washers and dryers, they also looked into account of household salaries for the areas and Gilbert and Scottsdale ranked highly at $88,212 for a median household income.

Just another positive reason to live in our beautiful Valley of the Sun. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Are Homes and Lots becoming an endangered species in Phoenix?

With the flood of new residents fleeing dense populations and high cost of living locations like Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco to find the promise land of cheaper housing and more spacious luxury homes in the valley, it is definitely a looking-glass view of what supply and demand is.

Due to an all-time low of housing inventory, demand is far-exceeding the current supply. It is definitely a "seller's market" with housing prices skyrocketing into the fastest rising growth ever seen in this country. Just put a sign in front of a house and watch the bidding-war take place.

Despite the prices going up, the Phoenix Metro area is still a lower cost-of-living compared to a lot of areas in the country. This is one of the things that makes the Valley an attractive place to live. So if you are a buyer, you better grab onto whatever you can get your hands on, because the pickings are slim, if non-existent.

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Who Said 2020 Was A Bad Year?

Amid an epic pandemic, Phoenix real estate sales figures for 2020 was a great year for sellers. 2020 real estate sales are up 18.5% since last year. The average new list prices are up 11.1% from 2019. The average sales price is up 23.1% for the year. Total inventory has decreased by 22.5%. Days on market were down 13 days year from last year.

The biggest mistake a buyer can make right now is sitting around waiting for sale prices to decline. It is quite evident that the ongoing pandemic has not had any major impact on Phoenix's housing market. Another incentive for buyer’s to buy right now would be the historically low interest rates. As of this writing, a 30-year fixed loan is 2.81% and a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is down to 2.32%. It almost makes me want to run out and refinance my own house right now.

Despite the horrible pandemic our country is going thru, there are some positives in the real estate market for both buyers and sellers right now.

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Ways To Clean Your Home The Green Way

To start off, you can make your own disinfecting spray. Mix 6 drops of essential oils (any scent) with 8 ounces of white vinegar, 4 ounces of rubbing alcohol and 4 ounces of hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle (Note: Do Not spray on sealed countertops-the acid in the vinegar will damage the coating). Eliminate clutter as clutter attracts dust and gives it a place to hide. Don't use paper towels anymore. Use cloth towels. Clean your garbage disposal naturally. Use a lemon grind in it, which will relieve you of that foul odor. Mop your floors using microfiber. This will help prevent you from using harsh chemicals on your floors. And last, but not least, use a littel dab of olive oil to make your appliances shine. It is great for stainless steel appliances. Now your house will look and smell clean using earth-friendly products. Peace!

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Results of Home Sales during COVID-19

With mortgage rates declining to another record low, dropping from 3.29% to 3.26%. Mortgage applications to purchase rose 5% for the week and were a remarkable 33% higher than a year ago, which broke an Arizona record. Buyer demand has been incredibly strong since mid-May, after the coronavirus shut down most housing activity in April. The only thing standing in the way of more sales is the record low supply of homes for sale. Another record was broken as the average purchase loan size increased to $365,700, as borrowers fight over the limited supply and higher home prices. Who knew there was a market in which COVID-19 had little to no effect on.

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Feeling financially squeezed? Maybe Mortgage Forbearance is for you

We are currently living in strange and trying times with the pandemic of COVID-19. There is a new federal program called CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. This program is for those homeowners who are experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic that could use a Mortgage Forbearance. A forbearance is a program to help homeowners keep their homes by pausing or reducing payments for a limited time. To qualify for a forbearance, you must have a mortgage backed by one of the following federal agencies: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, or USDA.

If you qualify, contact your mortgage company to find out what options are available to you. Some options may be delayed payments and some be partial payments. The most important part for you to remember about the forbearance is, at the end of the forbearance period, all of the delayed payments are now due in full unless you have a repayment plan. Make sure you discuss all options upfront, so you know what's available to you and please, please, please, make sure you get it all in writing, so that you are clear on what you are agreeing to. Peace Out!

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

What To Do While Staying Home

During this time as the nation quarantines, there are some positive and helpful ways to spend your time. One that I can think of is to call or friend or family member that you haven't spoken to in awhile. Binge watch a TV show and catch up on all those shows you've been meaning to watch on Netflix, Hulu, etc..Read a book that you've been telling yourself that you haven't had time to read. Exercise more (I seriously need this suggestion more in my personal life). Treat yourself to a bubble bath with candles. And go one further; Thank the employees of grocery stores for being there and working those long hours stocking the shelves and dealing with cranky customers fighting over items. Please be kind and courteous to one another ;)

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet


If you haven't been living under a rock the last couple weeks, you have noticed that store-shelves are bare of what used to be toilet-paper, bottled-water and Purell hand-sanitizer. In addition, the daily collapse of the stock-market, the NBA is shutdown and face-masks being sold on eBay at alarming rates. I know I am dating myself here, but have to admit that I am a survivor of Y2K, the bird-flu and swine-flu epidemics and I'm still here to talk about it.

The new 2.0 Version of media hype is here, welcome to Coronavirus. Even though more people die in a year to the common flu, people are scared out of their wits. I know what you are saying to yourself, "What does this have to do with Real Estate?" Well nationwide there are fewer homebuyers searching and sellers are deferring sales of their homes to avoid human contact. Some are concerned about the uncertainties of the economy and the stock market.

If you take my pollyanna attitude of turning lemons into lemonade and look at the long-term, you will see the silver-lining in the clouds. Due to the mass hysteria,the feds are dropping interest rates and you will be competing with less buyers (since they are now staying indoors with their stock of canned-goods and bottled water). Can you see the double-rainbow yet?

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Next Generation Neighborhood...No Cars Allowed

As the Metro Phoenix grows a a rapid pace, so does the traffic. It seems there is a slight cultural movement towards public transportation. A Tempe developer (Culdesac) has made an agreement with the city to become the nation's first neighborhood development with zero parking for it's residents. Instead this development will be a primary location of 24,000-square-feet of retail and 35,000-square feet of amenities on 16 acres where everything is accessible such as boutique grocery store, a quick-serve micro market hall, a café, co-working space, a wine bar, a contemporary casual restaurant and general personal services such as a nail salon and barber shop.

The retail will be like nothing else ever seen in the Phoenix-metro area. This will be a retail magnet filled with mixed-use buildings that will create a sense of place and community that encourages outdoor activity throughout the day and evening. It will be fun to watch this develop!

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Where to Watch In Metro Phoenix

It's a new year and everybody's wondering where the next hot spot in real estate is going to be for 2020...Okay, okay, the place to watch for the hottest activity in the Metro Phoenix area would be Loop 303 corridor, in the town of Surprise. The Loop 303 connects Interstates 10 and 17 in the West Valley. We are expecting to see 20 new home communities being built on the Loop 303 corridor from such builders as Taylor Morrison Homes, Meritage Homes, Pulte, Richmond-American, Woodside Homes and others. More infrastructure such as schools and retail are currently being built in the corridor. The homes are expected to range between $250,000 and $350,000. When you buy, make sure you get a view of the White Tank Mountains. Ciao!

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

It's A Great Time To Sell In Metro Phoenix

With high taxes, gas prices and the crazy political climate going on in California, it seems as though the entire population of the golden state is moving to Arizona. Most of the country's real estate market is flattening, but not Arizona. Because of job growth and the recent surge of home-buyers swarming to the Valley of the Sun, demand of homes is sky-rocketing. I get this question at least once per week, "Are we in a bubble that's about to burst?". I say, "No. A decade ago, the mortgage industry was handing out loans like candy; all you needed was a pulse. Now there are a lot more regulations and rules are a lot tighter."

Currently, there are around 16,000 homes for sale in the valley and more than double that for the number of people migrating here from other states. So if you remember anything from your high-school economics class, when there is more Demand than Supply, Prices go Up. That means we are in a Seller's Market. Essentially, seller's can get whatever they are asking.
Good Luck with your sale or purchase and think of me.

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

2020 New Year's Resolutions

1. Have a Healthier Diet.
2. Exercise More.
3. Stress Less.
4. Spend More Time with People You Love.
5. Have a More Positive Outlook.
6. Stop Paying Rent.
7. Buy Your Own House.
8. Celebrate.

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

How to Cope with Holiday Stress

Holidays can be a stressful time of year. Many people feel pressured to make things perfect or to spend beyond their means. To ensure you will enjoy the last few weeks of the year, celebrate in a way that will make you feel content. First of all, organize your tasks and complete them one at a time. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Most people will gladly help.

Volunteer; Helping others will undoubtedly bring you joy and help you feel as though you are doing something worthwhile. Make a budget. Making a budget and sticking to it can help reduce some of your anxiety. Financial worries are often one of the biggest holiday stressors. Stop trying to keep up with the Jones's. Spend time with others.

All of these suggestions will help you find balance and help you to enjoy the holidays with others as they were meant to be spent.

Happy Holidays from #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

What to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

1. Family is the foundation. Grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces and grandkids. Nothing is better than going home to family and eating good food and relaxing.

2. Children bring such love and light to your life.

3. Without our Parents, we would not be here! Our parents have sacrificed a lot to make our lives as comfortable and loving as possible.

4. What is life without friends who will stick with you through thick and thin?

These are just a few of the things that I'm thankful for. What are you thankful for?

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Yikes! I Bought a Haunted House!

Since Halloween is this week, I thought I would write a story about homeowners buying haunted houses, unbeknownst to themselves. Most homebuyers who claim to live in a haunted house say they didn’t know their house was haunted until after they moved in. What makes a house haunted? Strange noises and shadows are the spookiest occurrences reported by homeowners. Almost 50 percent of homeowners said items inside the house shifted on their own, certain rooms felt haunted, felt touched by someone or something, and some said their home had hot and cold spots.

Moving into a new home is a really exciting time, but finding out that your new abode has an unwanted guest can definitely put a damper on the celebration. Every once in awhile I run into homebuyers with stories of how they unknowingly moved into a haunted house, and even more so by how many people knew and decided to move in regardless. I've found that some people are okay living next to a haunted house, most people are against the idea of living in one. Boo!

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

5 Home Upgrades To Attract And Get That First-Time Homebuyer

To attract millennial-aged homebuyers just follow these simple upgrades.

Add USB Chargers
Millennials are glued to their smart-devices (smartphones and tablets), so one way to attract them is to have USB outlets or charging stations installed throughout the house. This is a simple and cheap upgrade.

A Home Office
With the advent of remote work opportunities, young professionals are eager to have a comfortable workspace within their abode.

Energy-Saving Appliances
Millennial buyers tend to be environmentally conscious and are more concerned about their carbon footprint on the planet.

Garage Tech
Millennials are already known to adopt whatever the latest technology is, so installing hi-tech gadgets to the garage is a huge plus. For example, the latest garage door openers are equipped with technology that allows you to open and close the door with an app.

I'm sure that I am not listing all the ways to make your house more attractive, but this is a great starting point with these 5 simple upgrades to make it appealing to Millenials. Good Luck!

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Millennials are driving home prices higher again

Home price gains had been shrinking over the last year, but the increases turned higher again this summer. Home prices were up 3.6% in July compared with July 2018. That is stronger than the 3.4% gain in June. Real Estate is predicted to go even higher by 5.4% annual rise by July 2020. More than a quarter of the nation’s largest generation said they were interested in buying a home in the next 12 months.

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

How To Avoid Rental Scams

There are two types of common scams: the hijacked listing and the phantom rental. In the hijacked listing, a scammer copies an advertisement for a rental using the same photos of the real ad and posts it to another location. In this case, the scammer may even use the name of a reputable real estate agent, one who holds a license, but when the prospective renter calls, they are not getting the agent, but instead the scammer. In the phantom rental, scammers simply copy and paste photos of a listing that is not at the address that is listed in the ad. It may be an old ad for a property that was previously sold or rented.

In both cases, the bogus agent may ask a consumer to wire money to them in order to hold the property. This sometimes includes asking for the first month’s rent and a deposit, even before the prospective renter gets a chance to see the property. Scammers attempt to lure renters with low rental prices or lavish amenities and once they have your attention, they try to get your money from you before you even get to see the place. Apartment hunters might assume that if a real estate agent who is licensed appears in an ad, then that agent is one and the same. It is not a safe assumption.

There are 3 red flags to watch out for: 1) The listing agent asks you to wire money. 2) The agent won’t give you the address of the listing. 3) The agent won’t let you see the property before getting you to sign documents or send money. If there's one thing my mother taught me as a young boy, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

How to Find Your Dream Home

1. Get Pre-approved for your mortgage to start.
This way you will know how much home you qualify for before you even start your search.

2. Make a "Must-Have" list.
A list of features you must have in your new home. For example, Do you want 3Bedrooms/2Baths, 2-3car garages, a pool, large kitchen, etc. This will help you stay in tune while searching before emotions take over.

3. Select the Neighborhood that fits your needs.
Try to select the neighborhood that is in the school district for your kids or close to work, grocery stores, entertainment, etc.

4. Pick a house style.
Do you want a condo, townhouse or a self-standing house. Keep in mind the HOA fees for each. One one end of the spectrum a house usually has smaller HOA fees, if any, but less is covered. On the other end of the spectrum, a condo has larger fees, but more is covered. Usually the exterior, roof, pool, and landscaping, etc. is covered.

5. Last but not least, take lots and lots of notes and pictures if you have to.
After looking at so many houses and neighborhoods, your head is going to be spinning in confusion and all your thoughts are going to run together in a blur. Documenting will help you keep your thoughts organized.

6. It is now time to pull the trigger.
By this time you have now done all your homework and tough decision-making needed to make the most educated choice.
You have now found your Dream Home!

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Happy Independence Day America!

Have a Safe 4th of July Everybody!

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

4 Reasons to Sell this Summer

1. Buyer Demand Remains Strong
Buyers are out in force looking for their dream homes! Buyers are competing with one another right now. The median number of days on the market currently is 24 days, as of May 2019.

2. There is Less Competition Now
Housing Inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market.

3. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up
Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.8% by next year. You might not be able to afford the same house by next year.

4. It's Time to Move On With Your Life
The time has come to start living the life you desire.

#mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Top 5 Hottest Selling Markets in the U.S. for May 2019

Believe me. I almost fell off my chair when I found out which markets were the hottest. Even as a youthful Real Estate Agent, I don't recall these markets ever being hot. Now it's YOUR turn to have the same reaction I did. Drumroll please...Number one, Rochester, NY.; #2-Fort Wayne, Indiana; #3-Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN; #4-Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH; and #5-Midland, TX.

After all the shock and reaction has subsided, there is reason to justify these markets. To start, the biggest collection of first-time homebuyers are the millenials. So in effect, these 5 markets are by no surprise attractive because they are affordable. In addition to the fact that they have great metro areas with schools and markets, etc. with great walkability to these locations. All of this said, it is becoming more and more clear as to why these markets are now hot.

So millenials, Good Luck in your search! #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

7 Steps To Sell Your Home Faster

Getting ready to sell your home? There are 7 things you can do to do to maximize the chances of selling and getting the best offer.

1. Declutter Everything
Organizing your space will help prospective buyers visualize the home with their own things in it.

2. Leave all lights on during showings
Leaving lights on ensures buyers can see every corner and room that they’re interested in.

3. Deep Clean Your Home
Give the best impression to interested buyers.

4. Make an Appointment with a Handyman
Fix all items that need fixing, to make your home more appealing to buyers and to make sure they have no anxiety or worries about their purchase.

5. Do Some Touch-up Painting
Get rid of bright colors and make everything neutral. Neutral colors make your house seem brighter and more welcoming.

6. Stage Your House
Staged houses sell faster and at higher price points.

7. Depersonalize Your House
Make sure your home looks inviting and welcoming by taking photos and personal items down. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

When's the best time of the year to sell my home?

Spring is a popular season for house hunters as the warm weather brings prospective buyers out of hibernation, willing to spend more time outside in search of a home. The question remains: When exactly should you put your home on the market if you want to get the highest and best price? The science isn't exactly clear. Homes listed on Thursday tend to sell for the most money and fastest compared with other days of the week. That's because homebuyers tour for-sale houses during the weekend, and those listed on Thursday are on top of buyers' minds. Homes listed on Thursday sold for an average of $3,015 more than homes listed on Monday, the worst day for selling homes. The best two-week listing window comes between the second half of March and the first half of June.

Overall, the best month is early May, the online real estate database found. Homes nationwide listed for sale between May 1 and May 15 tended to sell for roughly $1,600 more than the typical U.S. home and about six days faster than usual, according to Zillow data. Springtime is largely the sweet spot for selling homes because buyer activity typically picks up once the holidays are over and the weather starts to turn for the better. The increased competition from the buyer side creates more urgency, which can lead to quicker and more competitive offers as buyers feel more pressure to lock in a home they’re interested in. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

2 Major Swings in the Economy to make Housing more Affordable

Two major swings in the economy have reared their pretty head to make housing more affordable in 2019. Mortgage rates have dropped to new lows, right as reports show that wages have increased at their highest rate in decades! These two factors have helped keep housing affordable despite low supply of houses for sale driving up prices. Ongoing supply shortages remain the main driver of the performance gap as the housing market continues to face an inventory impasse – you can’t buy what’s not for sale. However, an unexpected affordability surge, driven primarily by lower-than-anticipated mortgage rates, rising wages and favorable demographics, has boosted housing demand.” Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for most of 2018 before reaching their peak in November at 4.94%.

Currently, as this is written, interest rates last week came in at 4.20%. Average hourly earnings grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in March, up substantially from the 2.3% average pace seen over the last 10 years. These two factors contributed nearly $6,000 worth of additional house-buying power for median households from February to March 2019. Low mortgage interest rates have kept housing affordable throughout the country. If you plan on purchasing a home this year, act now while rates are still low! #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Renters Paying More While Buyers Paying Much Less

National reports have shown that rent prices have skyrocketed since 2005. Meanwhile, the typical mortgage payment has actually decreased. The national rent index was up 36% in December 2018 compared with December 2005, while the typical mortgage payment was down 4% over that period.” Why the difference between the costs of renting versus owning? It’s mainly because mortgage rates back in December 2005 were significantly higher, averaging 6.3% for a fixed-rate 30-year loan, compared with 4.6% in December 2018. The national median sale price in December 2005 – $190,000 – was lower than the $220,305 median in December 2018, but because of higher mortgage rates in 2005 the typical monthly mortgage payment was slightly higher back then – $941 – compared with $904 in December 2018.” Additionally, a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that purchasing a home requires less of your monthly paycheck. So much so that it actually has decreased in the last 3 months straight. What does this all mean? It means, "Stop throwing your money away to rising rents and be smart with your finances, by buying a house." This is a great spring home-buying season! #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

3 Questions You Need To Ask Before Buying A Home

I'm sure you are getting a lot of advice from friends and family about your future home purchase. Albeit your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market. Ask yourself the following three questions to help determine if now is a good time for you.

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?
This is truly the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

Studies show that the main reasons people buy homes are: A good place to raise children and provide them with a good education. A place where you and your family feel safe. More space for you and your family. Control of that space.

2. Where are home values headed?
According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of homes sold in February (the latest data available) was $249,500. This is up 3.6% from last year. The increase also marks the 84th consecutive month with year-over-year gains.

CoreLogic is forecasting an increase of 4.6%. In other words, a home that costs you $250,000 today will cost you an additional $11,500 if you wait until next year to buy it.

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?
A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long-term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by even a small increase in mortgage rates.

The federal government and all the mortgage experts have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase over the next twelve months. If purchasing a home at $200,000 at 3.5% interest your payment will be $718 per month, but if you purchase at 4.5%, the same home will be $810 per month. 1% can make a big difference.

Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

5 Reasons To Sell Your House This Spring

1. Buyer Demand Is Strong
Buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other for the same home. Might as well take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. Less Competition
Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. There are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker
Buyers are getting pre-approved more often now and know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. This makes the entire selling process much faster and simpler.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up
Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.6% over the next year. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more money, both in down payment and mortgage payment if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life
You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

How Much House Can I Afford?

In determining how much house you can afford, financial advisers agree that people should spend no more than 36 percent of their gross income. The 36% rule is the tried-and-true home mortgage affordability tip that you should take into account when establishing a baseline for what you can afford to pay every month. Depending on where you live, your annual income could be more than enough to cover a mortgage or it could fall short. Knowing what you can afford can help you take financially sound next steps. The last thing you want to do is jump into a 30-year home loan that’s too expensive for your budget, even if you can find a lender willing to write the mortgage.

The most basic research on homebuying will inevitably lead you to this general fact: houses are one of, if not the most, expensive purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. There aren’t many other opportunities to drop hundreds of thousands of dollars in one sitting… or over 30 years. Use this for an example, if your monthly income is $5,000 per month then your mortgage payment shouldn't exceed $1,400 per month. #mikeblackrealtor @sellingarizonanet

Is Your House Priced To Sell Immediately (PTSI)?

In today’s real estate market, with more houses coming to market every day and eager buyers searching for their dream home, setting the right price for your house is one of the most important things you can do. According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index, home values have risen at over 6% a year over the past two years, but have started to slow to 4.4% over the last 12 months. By this time next year, CoreLogic predicts that home values will be 4.6% higher. With prices slowing from their previous pace, homeowners must realize that pricing their homes a little OVER market value to leave room for negotiation will actually dramatically decrease the number of buyers who will see their listing! Instead of the seller trying to ‘win’ the negotiation with one buyer, they should price their house so that demand for the home is maximized. By doing so, the seller will not be negotiating with a buyer over the price, but will instead have multiple buyers competing with each other over the house.

The key to selling your house in 2019 is making sure your house is Priced To Sell Immediately (PTSI)! That way, your home will be seen by the most buyers and will sell at a great price before more competition comes to market! If you are debating listing your house for sale, meet with a local real estate professional, like me, who can help price your home appropriately for your area and maximize your exposure this Spring Market! #mikeblackrealtor

7 Things To Avoid After Applying For A Mortgage

Now you’ve found a home that you love and have applied for a mortgage! You are undoubtedly excited about the opportunity to decorate your new home! But before you make any big purchases, move any money around, or make any big-time life changes, consult your loan officer. They will be able to tell you how your decision will impact your home loan.

Below is a list of 7 Things You Shouldn’t Do After Applying for a Mortgage! Some may seem obvious, but some may not!

1. Don’t change jobs or the way you are paid at your job! Your loan officer must be able to track the source and amount of your annual income. If possible, you’ll want to avoid changing from salary to commission or becoming self-employed during this time as well.

2. Don’t deposit cash into your bank accounts. Lenders need to source your money and cash is not really traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

3. Don’t make any large purchases like a new car or new furniture for your new home. New debt comes with it, including new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt to income ratios… higher ratios make for riskier loans… and sometimes qualified borrowers no longer qualify.

4. Don’t co-sign other loans for anyone. When you co-sign, you are obligated. As we mentioned, with that obligation comes higher ratios as well. Even if you swear you will not be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payment against you.

5. Don’t change bank accounts. Remember, lenders need to source and track assets. That task is significantly easier when there is consistency among your accounts. Before you even transfer money between accounts, talk to your loan officer.

6. Don’t apply for new credit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO score will be affected. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and maybe even your eligibility for approval.

7. Don’t close any credit accounts. Many clients have erroneously believed that having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. Wrong. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both those determinants of your score.

Bottom Line
Any blip of income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. The best advice is to fully disclose and discuss your plans with your loan officer before you do anything financial in nature. They are there to guide you through the process. #mikeblackrealtor

Interest Rates Hit New 12 Month Low

According to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently at their lowest for 2019. Rates like these haven’t been seen since February 2018.

Last week’s survey results reported an interest rate of 4.35%. This is a welcome change from the near 5% rates seen in mid-November. At 4.32%, the second week of February 2018 was the last time rates were this low. “Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, continuing the general downward trend that began late last year. Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.”

Bottom Line

If you plan on buying a home this spring, meet with a local real estate professional, like me, who can help prepare you for today’s market before rates increase. #mikeblackrealtor

2019 Will be a Great Year for Buyers AND Sellers

Many homeowners believe that rising interest rates and home prices have scared away buyers and therefore have not listed their houses for sale. However, the truth is that buyers who were unable to find a home last year are out in force, and there are even more coming!

Real Estate Legislation in Arizona to Watch For

Arizona’s state House members have been busy in the recent legislative session. Eight real estate-related bills from both sides of the aisle Already have crafted and introduced. Below are summaries of each bill being proposed.

H2084: MUNICIPAL ZONING; REZONING PROTESTS Clarifies that the group of persons authorized to file a protest in writing against a municipal rezoning, which triggers a requirement for the rezoning to obtain a 3/4 vote of the municipal governing body for passage, is the owners of 20 percent or more of the property by area and number of lots, tracts and condominium units either within the area of the proposed change or the area within 150 feet of the proposed change, including all rights of way.

H2095: AGRICULTURAL PROPERTY CLASSIFICATION; WATER REDUCTION Posted On:1/15 3:16 PM For the purpose of the property tax classification as property used for agricultural purposes, property that has been in active production may be inactive or partially inactive due to a partial reduction in the available water supply or irrigation district water allotments for agriculture use in the farm unit.

H2396: WATER; WELL METERING; NONEXEMPT WELLS Posted On:1/17 2:45 PM A person who withdraws groundwater from any nonexempt well, instead of only those in active management areas, is required to use a water measuring device approved by the Department of Water Resources, unless another statutory exemption applies.

H2397: WATER ADEQUACY REQUIREMENTS; STATEWIDE APPLICABILITY Posted On:1/17 9:48 PM County boards of supervisors are required, instead of permitted, to adopt regulations requiring all subdivisions to either have a determination of an adequate water supply from the Department of Water Resources or obtain a written commitment of water service for the subdivision from a municipal or private water company designated as having an adequate water supply by the Dept.

H2434: COLORADO RIVER TRANSFER; LIMITATION Posted On:1/17 9:32 PM An irrigation and water conservation district located in a county that has formed a county water authority is prohibited from transferring fourth priority Colorado River water that is subject to the Boulder Canyon Project Act to a location outside the counties in Arizona that border the Colorado River.

H2449: ADEQUATE WATER SUPPLY; COUNTY REVIEW Posted On:1/17 9:38 PM For a county that is not in an Active Management Area, the county board of supervisors is required to review the provision for adequate water supply for a subdivision and after review may by unanimous vote at a public meeting not to readopt the provision. The review is required to occur not more than 5 years after the effective date of this legislation and every 5 to 10 years thereafter. If the board does not vote unanimously not to readopt the provision, the provision remains in effect. If the board votes unanimously not to readopt the provision, the provision has no further force if a list of specified conditions apply at the time of the vote. The board is required to give written notice of any vote not to readopt the provision to the Director of the Department of Water Resources, the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality and the State Real Estate Commissioner.

H2476: SURFACE WATER FORFEITURE; REPEAL Posted On:1/17 5:12 PM Repeals statutes governing future water rights acquired through appropriation and forfeiture or reversion of water rights due to nonuse.

Be Careful Of Where You Park Your Bike In Scottsdale

There are a multitude of bikes and scooters in Downtown Scottsdale such as sharing services like Lime, Razor and Bird. These two-wheeled transit options seem to the way for people to get around until they are done with them. Where they leave them lies the challenge. They are left in the oddest of places, such as bikes being stacked up on grates, or left haphazardly blocking sidewalks or leaned up against sign poles. The City of Scottsdale has taken up issue with the problem created changes to the bike and scooter ordinance that went into effect in December. While the changes should certainly assist property owners and pedestrians with the problems of discarded bikes and the like, they will also affect individuals riding or using bicycles, electric bicycles, motorized bicycles, motorized skateboards, motorized play vehicles, and stand-up electric mini-scooters.

These are some new rules to follow from the City:

“Keep sidewalks open for pedestrians: Do not park devices on public sidewalks in areas that obstruct the portion used primarily by pedestrians.

The owner is required to keep devices properly parked: The owner – whether an individual or a company – is responsible for making sure their devices are parked properly.

Devices should be parked in racks or designated parking areas.

Devices should be operable and used: The ordinance makes it illegal for devices to remain at the same location on public property for more than 72 consecutive hours. Improperly parked, inoperable or abandoned devices may be impounded.

Don’t park too many devices together. To reduce the amount of visual clutter, the ordinance seeks to properly space parking of devices – a maximum of 5 devices from the same owner can be parked within 200 feet of each other.

Respect private property: Devices can only be on private property with permission of the property owner (except in commercial or multi-family residential properties within common area bike racks and designated bicycle parking zones).”

The ordinance clarified rules for how and where to legally ride motorized bikes and scooters:

“All bicycles and scooters, electric or otherwise, must obey traffic laws, including always yielding to pedestrians. Scooters and bicycles can be ridden on a public sidewalk, multiuse path or roadway if it is at a safe speed to avoid colliding with people, cars and objects around them.

Motorized scooters are prohibited on streets (including bike lanes) with speed limits of 40 miles per hour or greater, and class 3 electric bicycles are prohibited on sidewalks and multi-use paths.

The revised ordinance also prohibits riding electric bikes and scooters while under the influence of alcohol or recklessly. Persons violating these new ordinance provisions are subject to arrest and possible jail time.”

If you need to report an issue such as unsafe riding in a particular area the city askes that you call the police non-emergency line at 480-312-5000.

To report improperly parked bikes and scooters go through the city’s website at Scottsdale EZ website. “Once there, type “bike” or “scooter” into the search box and follow the prompts to make a report. The application will forward your report to staff or to the private bike- and scooter-sharing companies. People can also report parking issues to 480-312-7433 (312-RIDE) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.” #mikeblackrealtor #sellingarizonanet

Cromford Daily Observation (August through October 2018)

- The numbers have been released for the latest sales period and the 20 focus cities fared as follows:

Phoenix +0.70%
New York +0.41%
Las Vegas +0.33%
Charlotte +0.30%
Tampa +0.27%
Atlanta +0.16%
Miami +0.14%
Boston +0.13%
Los Angeles +0.11%
Washington +0.02%
Dallas +0.01%
Detroit -0.02%
San Diego -0.12%
Minneapolis -0.13%
Denver -0.28%
Chicago -0.35%
Cleveland -0.52%
Portland -0.55%
San Francisco -0.71%
Seattle -1.05%

Once again Phoenix is at the top of the table having opened up a gap ahead of number 2 New York.

We see almost half of the focus cities with negative changes, but this is partly due to seasonality and the national average was +0.10%.
Phoenix was seven times the national average and is over-performing again. As a result, it even made a mention in the Case-Shiller press release.
Seattle took another large hit for a single month while San Francisco and Portland are slowing after very strong gains over the past 4 years.

For the year over year numbers we see:

Las Vegas +12.8%
San Francisco +7.9%
Phoenix +7.7%
Seattle +7.3%
Denver +6.9%
Tampa +6.4%
Detroit +6.0%
Atlanta +6.0%
Minneapolis +5.9%
Los Angeles +5.5%
Boston +5.4%
Charlotte +5.0%
Portland +4.9%
Cleveland +4.8%
Miami +4.8%
Dallas +3.9%
San Diego +3.8%
Chicago +3.3%
New York +3.1%
Washington +2.9%

The national average was +5.5% so Phoenix was well ahead of that, and it moved up to 3rd place from 5th place last month.
None of the focus cities are showing a negative move year over year. #mikeblackrealtor #sellingarizonanet

$200 million GrandeVita project approved by Mesa

The City of Mesa just moved forward a plan for a 20 acre, multi-use, campus-style community at Crismon Road and Hampton Avenue. This $200 million project, called GrandeVita, will allow seniors to “age in place” in a high tech and innovative environment. When completed, GrandeVita will create an estimated 326 jobs with an average wage of $45.25 an hour and generate 28.6 million dollars in wages. GrandeVita’s concept and design has been developed with the intent of creating a unique campus atmosphere with a world class resort feel. The campus is nearly 700,000 square feet of independent and assisted living, hotel rooms, multiple dining options, medical offices, a luxury tower and luxury condos, nursing school and rehab clinic spread out over 20 acres.

This will be a high-end, assisted living community that will be unrivaled. Mesa Mayor John Giles emphasizes GrandeVita’s positive impact on the City of Mesa. “GrandeVida is an excellent addition to southeast Mesa,” Mayor John Giles said. “Their innovative approach to building a senior community with integrated healthcare, recreation and resort living will change the way we think about aging.” GrandeVita will have a high-end resort-style design complete with reflecting pools, pergolas, fountains, and green roofs which will allow its residents to age in place, in a community that feels like home. #mikeblackrealtor #sellingarizonanet

Beware of Bad Flips when Buying a House in Metro Phoenix

A day after the homebuyers closed on their newly renovated north Phoenix house last summer, they found water all over their kitchen floor. A plumber scoped the sewer and told the couple it had collapsed, and the house would flood if they ran water. It was just the beginning of the problems. The former foreclosure house that government-backed Fannie Mae had fixed up and sold to the couple also had hidden mold, asbestos and electrical problems that cost more than $100,000 to fix. "It took five painful months of living out of storage units and spending all of our money to fix the house," "It's been a nightmare" for the homeowners.

A record number of Valley homes have been renovated and flipped during the past few years. But the rush to fix up bargain homes and sell them for a profit has led to big headaches and costs for some buyers. Swimming pools full of construction trash, drywall covering moldy walls, kitchen remodels with no permits, vents that aren't piped to the outside, electrical wiring not up to code and attics emptied of insulation are some of the recent problems reported with flipped Valley homes. Those examples come from inspectors, attorneys and real estate agents who see the shoddy work. "Some flippers just want to put enough lipstick on a house to sell it," said a metro Phoenix home inspector, who teaches classes to the real estate industry about disclosing home problems to buyers. "About 85 percent of my examples of bad work in homes come from flips." Many recent Valley homebuyers, signed an "AS IS" agreement to buy their home because of the competitive housing market.

One homebuyer started digging, he found the house had a pool that had been filled up with an old toilet and other stuff from the house's renovation. Demand for renovated older Valley homes helped spark the fix-and-flip frenzy. Metro Phoenix is one of the top housing markets in the U.S. for flips, with as many as 10,000 so far this year, according national real estate data firm CoreLogic. But that number likely includes some homes purchased and sold by ibuyers Opendoor and OfferPad that aren't completely renovated. There are good licensed contractors that do good flips, but for the amateurs the pressure to flip for the most profit quickly can lead to problems.

The DIY craze has led to more people trying to get into the fix and flip business, but people are taking on projects they aren't qualified to do. It can be a good thing to get into the flipping business, but if you get in trouble, do not hire Uncle Bob for a six-pack to do work, hire an expert.

If you are a homebuyer looking at homes, especially homes that have an "AS-IS" addendum, I would advise my clients to invest in a detailed inspection and then follow up on getting problems fixed. In addition to getting signed receipts from the contractors for any work done to fix problems from an inspection, too. The typical basic home inspection costs about $500 in the Valley. #mikeblackrealtor #sellingarizonanet

Report Shows Many Californians Migrating to Arizona

Wondering where all your new neighbors are coming from? There’s a good chance they’re from California. Due to atmospheric home prices and higher taxes, many buyers in the market to buy a home in the state of California are unable to afford Real Estate. New figures from the Census Bureau show nearly 262,000 people moved into Arizona from other states last year. And almost 60,000 of them were residents of the self-proclaimed Golden State. But that’s only a piece of the picture about the state’s growth rate.

That same report finds that more than 45,000 people who were in Arizona in 2017 were living abroad a year earlier. The Census Bureau provides no breakdown of which countries are providing the lion’s share of new residents. But 2015 figures from the American Immigration Council shows 56 percent of immigrants came from Mexico, with 4.2 percent from Canada, 4.1 percent from India, 2.9 percent from the Philippines and 2.7 percent from Vietnam.

What might be surprising is that all that migration is not coming from people fleeing the colder northern climates. After California, Washington is the next largest contributor of new Arizonans, with more than 14,000 deciding they prefer to live here. That’s followed by Illinois where the winter weather can charitably be described as often brutal. But after that, the list of most popular places for Arizonans to be from extends to places with less hostile weather like Colorado, Texas and Oregon.

All that migration is not strictly one way. For example, the Census Bureau finds that almost 27,000 people who lived in Arizona in 2016 found their way to California in 2017. And more Arizonans decided to become residents of the Lone Star state than those who opted to move here. #mikeblackrealtor #sellingarizonanet

Hard to Believe, but Highways Can Have a Positive Impact on Property Value

Many people think that highways are filled with traffic, noise pollution and can bring property values down. Turns out, this is the old way of thinking. As population skyrockets and more people squeeze into busy cities, traffic congestion is soon to follow. After a few days of hurrying along your daily commute and being stuck in dead-stop traffic, you begin to think about how to improve your quality of life.

One choice would be to have a workplace within walkability to avoid traffic all together. Second choice would be to live close to some sort of public transit system. Last, and some people would say is the best choice would be to live close to a freeway system to shorten the stresses of your daily commute.

Modern transit and highways are more well thought out now. Highways now have sound-proof barrier walls to prevent traffic noise and provide easy access to the proximity of your workplace. Highways are the future to easy accessibility in highly-populated cities. Prepare to see increases in property values in areas with good accessiblity to good transit. #mikeblackrealtor #sellingarizonanet

Millennials are now the driving force toward home ownership

Millennials have put off home buying longer than any generation that came before them, but market trends show that the largest generation in history is beginning to warm to the idea of home ownership. Older millennials – people ages 27 to 36 – made up 28 percent of home buyers in the country in 2016. That ties them with Gen X'ers for the largest number of total home buyers last year, according to the National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report 2017. Add in younger millennials, which made up 6 percent of buyers, and the demographic group as a whole represented the largest demographic of home buyers in 2016, according to the report.

Although Millenials have usually gravitated towards renting over the last 5 years, they are now interested in home buying due in large part to rising rents. They are starting to realize that they can spend less on a mortgage payment” than they currently pay for rent. Rising interest rates are also causing millenials to gain a sense of urgencey to buy homes now rather than later, when their money will not go as far. A lot of millennials are at the age for starting families and suddenly living close to nightlife is less important. Living close to work and having a safe neighborhood is becoming more important in the scheme of their priorities. #mikeblackrealtor #sellingarizonanet

As interest rates rise, Phoenix home prices dipping

Okay, so it may not be a great analogy as dipping your toes in water, but it could mean good news. Housing may become more affordable for new home buyers or anybody eles looking to purchase a home right now. The median home price in the Phoenix area is down about 2.8 percent from the record high in July. Metro Phoenix’s median home price is about $260,000 now, compared to a record $268,000 in June 2018.

Other parts of the U.S., including several more expensive cities, are seeing bigger dips in prices than metro Phoenix has so far. The U.S. cities with the biggest recent price declines are as follows: Denver: 3 percent; Austin: 4 percent; Chicago: 4 percent; Washington DC-area: 4 percent; Seattle: 5 percent; San Francisco: 8 percent; San Jose: 8 percent and Nashville: 9 percent.

The Phoenix housing market is going back to a more normal balance now, we don't see a big price drop in the future, but more likely prices will flatten out. #mikeblackrealtor #sellingarizonanet

Granny Pods are the next big thing.. or should I say Tiny thing

What is a granny pod, exactly? A granny pod is a new alternative to a nursing home for elderly parents. It is a small home, typically between 300 to 500 square feet. It is situated on the same home property of whomever will be looking after the occupant. These homes have a bedroom/living room, a kitchenette, and a bathroom. Most pods are equipped with the following: wide doorways allowing easy access for a wheelchair; even flooring, making navigation easy; and open floor plans. Other smart features available include a system that allows the occupant to remotely or automatically control the door locks, HVAC, lighting, and audio-visual equipment. For those needing more advanced medical care, some pods feature a virtual system that can track one's blood pressure, glucose levels, heart rate, and blood gases, and share that information with the occupant's family and physician. The system is also equipped to verbally remind the occupant to take their medications.

Questionable nickname aside, many see these tiny granny pods as a creative care-giving solution that has wide-reaching benefits to both elderly and younger family members. There are some women who are balancing the demands of caring for their own children while also caring for aging parents. By having grandma and grandpa move into a granny pod out back, they enjoy the benefits of independent living while still having close, likely daily, contact with their adult children and grandchildren. Children also benefit from having a grandparent nearby, as a friend, caregiver, and partner in play. While these units can be extremely expensive at first, overall they will be much more affordable than long-term nursing care at a nursing home and will provide plenty of social-emotional benefits for these adults while having the pleasure of hanging out with family.

Thinking Of Selling Your Home By Yourself? Here’s A Few Reasons You May Want to Rethink That Idea

With home prices on the rise and buyer demand still strong, some sellers may be tempted to try and sell their homes on their own without using the services of a real estate professional.

Real estate agents are trained and experienced in negotiation and, in most cases, the seller is not. Sellers must realize that their ability to negotiate will determine whether or not they get the best deal for themselves and their families.

Here is a list of some of the challenges the seller must be prepared to face with if you decide to sell it yourself:

1. The buyer who wants the best deal possible
2. The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interests of the buyer
3. The home inspection company, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
4. The termite company if there are challenges
5. The buyer’s lender if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
6. The appraiser if there is a question of value
7. The title company if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits

- Bottom Line -

The percentage of sellers who have hired real estate agents to sell their homes has increased steadily over the last 20 years. If you want to get the most money for your house, simply call me, Michael Black.

Rising Interest Rates

Rising interest rates are making homes less affordable for homebuyers in the Valley of the Sun in the areas of Phoenix, Mesa and Scottsdale. Mortgage payments are 15.2% higher this year. On average, mortgage payments are up an extra $136, which would result in an extra $1,638 per year.

Affordability of Housing Concerns Rise

Housing payments rose this year for homebuyers as mortgage rate increases and surging home prices increased the cost of homeownership. The current monthly payment on a home is $130 higher than at the beginning of the year, driven by a interest rate increase. Fixed-rate mortgages now average about 4.5 percent, their highest level since 2011, and this has increased the gap between the monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home and the average monthly apartment rent to $320.

The shortage of entry-level homes for sale has been amplified by the rapid interest-rate increases. Move-up buyers have become more reluctant to sell their existing home because many homeowners locked in rates as low as 2 percent. With interest rates now as much as 250 basis points higher, purchasing power and affordability have been impacted. This is slowing activity for new home sales. Builders have been unable to construct homes at the entry-level price point because of rising construction and land costs. Home sales activity has flattened as a result.

Risk of a housing shortage could rise as residential building flattens. Multifamily developers have been setting a record pace over the past five years, but single-family home construction has remained less than half of levels prior to the Great Recession. With the strong economy and tight labor market boosting household formation, residential deliveries will likely fall short of demand.

June-September 2018 Sales Figures for Scottsdale Luxury Condos

I decided to do something a little different today. It was a little time consuming, but I thought it would be educational to know the current price per square footage and sales price figures for luxury condos that actually sold for the last 3 months, June to September 11, 2018

Where does Phoenix rank among Most Valuable Cities in America?

LendingTree, the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, today released its study on the most valuable cities in America. LendingTree researchers analyzed the total value of residential real estate in American cities. The real estate values are from the My LendingTree property value database, which is a collection of real estate data of more than 155 million U.S. properties. The total value of real estate in metropolitan areas in the database was $26.2 trillion, close to the Federal Reserve’s estimate of total residential real estate value of $28.4 trillion.

The study also compared the total value to the GDP of countries around the world, pairing cities with their equivalent country GDP values. Of course, the comparison is not apples to apples: GDP represents a single year’s output, while the value of homes persists year after year (mostly upward and a few times declining).

“American households own $28.4 trillion of residential real estate, a significant part of the $100 trillion in household net worth,” said Tendayi Kapfidze, Chief Economist at LendingTree. “Financial assets add $81.7 trillion, consumer durable goods add $5.7 trillion, while debts, including mortgage, subtract $15.6 trillion. The real estate wealth is not evenly distributed across the country and is largely concentrated in metropolitan areas.” Currently, Phoenix is ranked №14, with a total value of $444 billion, making the city worth about the same as Iran.

Optima Kierland is breaking ground on Tower Two

Optima Kierland Center, the well-known high-rise luxury condominium and rental community in Scottsdale, announced today that they have broken ground on the second phase of condominium homes for sale at the award-winning development with an expected completion date of 2020.

Located at Scottsdale Road and Kierland Boulevard, the first condominium tower of Optima Kierland, 7120 E. Kierland, far exceeded sales expectations and is already 95 percent sold with more than 90% of the homes closed. Home prices for the first phase ranged from the $300s to more than $6.5 million.

“Optima buyers tell us that the ability to combine and customize floor plans is a huge selling point, so we have taken that to the next level in this second condominium tower,” said David Hovey Jr., president of Optima, the project architect and developer. “Customization is the primary focus – floor-to-floor, wall-to-wall – if you can dream it, we will make it happen. Living in a high-rise condominium does not limit the ability to create your custom dream home when you live at Optima Kierland Center.”

Brand-Named Condos

Real estate developers have recently started to put luxury brands on their buildings in big metropolitan areas. Developers are finding out that international buyers are more likely to buy from developments that are tied to brand names that they recognize.

The Association of Realtors reported that foreign nationals are increasing purchases in the United States by a greater percentage. So to sell to the large international segment of buyers for the condo market, developers are forming partnerships with luxury brands of automobiles and apparel. Branding is especially important to international buyers because they are more familiar with a condo project’s brand than its developer or its address.

The developer of a branded condominium usually pays the brand 2 to 5 percent of the proceeds when the sale of each condo unit is closed.

Porsche Design, Aston Martin, Fendi, Missoni Baia, and Armani are just some of the well-known brands being used to brand condos in the Metropolitan areas of the United States, as well as the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Paradise Valley, Arizona. The buyers that we spoke to exuded confidence, just knowing that the brand name of their choice was behind the development.”

The Tiny House Movement

There is a trend going on in America called the "Tiny House Movement". It has become a social movement. People are choosing to downsize the space they live in, simplify, and live with less. People are embracing the tiny life philosophy and the freedom that accompanies the tiny house lifestyle. The tiny house movement is about more than simply living in a small space (although, a small house is certainly part of it).

While the typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, a tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet. Most tiny houses are independent structures—some are parked on land with other buildings or a larger home. Other tiny houses are parked on their own lot. Some tiny houses are designed and built by the owner themselves, while others are purchased, adapted from trailers, or built from a tiny house kit. Tiny houses come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but they all enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space.

Why join the Tiny House movement? 75% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and people are finding out that when they finally pay off their 30-year mortgage and add in interest, taxes and repairs over that time frame, they've paid approximately 3 times the actual amount of the original principle. Most Americans believe that bigger is better when it comes to houses, but a new trend has been appearing across the country. This trend towards the tiny house movement is based on people realizing they are overwhelmed by the cost of their homes. A tiny home can cost a fraction of what a new home would cost and can be paid for in a couple years. Once the house is paid for, all you need to pay for is the land where it is parked.

The tiny house movement is great for anyone who is concerned about life simplification, environmental consciousness, self-sufficiency and financial freedom. The tiny life allows for you to have more time and freedom to enjoy life adventures. The tiny life is about financial freedom and living a more engaged life with the luxury of time to do what YOU want.

How Concierge Services Target High-Net-Worth Buyers

Ultra-luxury concierge services target high-net-worth buyers at the Ritz-Carlton Residences Miami Beach, where homes are priced from $2 million to $40 million. Well-heeled buyers receive one-year of complementary medical concierge services valued at $12,000 from a top Miami medical practice. This is presented as a closing gift. We saw this as an added value that would grab the attention of even the most jaded buyers.

“There is a lot of luxury development going on in Miami. We were looking to add something unique to the high-end product we are delivering while complementing our buyer’s lifestyle. Residents (each household member) receive an annual executive physical examination, access to the practice’s physicians via cell, text, email, office, same day visits (including immunizations and checkups), house-calls, coordination and scheduling of all specialty physician appointments, diagnostic procedures, hospital services, inpatient consultation, and supervision for patients needing hospitalization.

“We are providing a total health care approach through private medicine. The personal attention we give appeals to these buyers,” explains Dr. Arthur Agatston. Agatston confides he is talking with other luxury condominium developers in Miami to add the program to their residential offerings.

This incentive appealed to Simon Mass, a Toronto real estate developer. “When we heard about this, it was a key factor in our deciding to buy there,” said Mass who purchased a 3,500-square-foot residence pre-construction. “It’s important to us as Canadian citizens to have access to the proper health care during the time we plan to spend there.”

The need to distinguish one ultra-luxury project from another is all about innovative amenities and truly personalized services. “I’m convinced the idea of the highest level of concierge service is here to stay as well as ultra-luxury amenities because there is a lot of competition in Miami’s luxury market, saving people time is exactly what appeals to these buyers.

These concierge services vary. A personal wellness assistant is offered at some locations for help on nutrition, fitness, mindfulness, sleep, and relaxation.

There’s an amenity and high-end services war in New York’s luxury market right now. Need a hair stylist who makes house calls? Consider it done. From securing great seats for a Broadway show to hard to get restaurant reservations. Look to concierge services to become more creative as competition in the luxury residential market increases.

“The McDowell” – A New 371-unit Complex going up in South Scottsdale

JLB Partners has submitted a rezoning approval request to the City of Scottsdale to build a new community that will include both residential units and office space on McDowell Road in southern Scottsdale.

The community, called “The McDowell,” will be built on the 12.3 gross acres (11.6 net acres) that are currently occupied by Chapman Scottsdale Autoplex. The dealership plans to relocate by this October. JLB Partners plan for approximately 371 residential units and 8KSF of flexible office space in the new mixed-use neighborhood, valued between $60M and $75M.

The project, which will feature two-, three- and four-story buildings, is bordered on the north by McDowell Road. Single-family residential housing runs immediately south of the property. The lot’s western boundary is the Crosscut Canal, while the eastern boundary includes Scottsdale RV.

According to the project proposal, The McDowell will help revitalize the McDowell Corridor and help fill an increasing demand for new housing in southern Scottsdale.

The current zoning of the location is Highway Commercial, consistent with the needs of Chapman Scottsdale Autoplex. JLB Partners propose that the zoning designation be changed to Planned Unit Development.

The McDowell proposal cites several reasons why the project will succeed. First, the plan boasts an attractive location. The spot is close to downtown Scottsdale, Phoenix and Tempe. The owners also suspect the residential units will benefit from the close proximity to the Crosscut Canal, Papago Park, Sky Harbor International Airport, the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Gardens.

Not only will new residents benefit from the project, but the project will also benefit the surrounding areas. The proposal claims that “incorporating new residential units and office space is essential to the success of southern Scottsdale and the McDowell Road Regional Corridor.”

Plans for The McDowell were guided by Scottsdale’s 2001 General Plan, which includes six guiding principles designed to inform project design. The six guiding principles, which prioritize things like sustainability, lifestyle, economic vitality and preservation of open space, have been specifically incorporated into the proposal and addressed by the owner.

The proposal promises that the final product will “contribute to the live, work and play land use balance promoted by the General Plan” and the plan for southern Scottsdale.

Popular Reasons to Buy a Condo

If you’re thinking about buying a new home, a condo can be a smart choice. Often, they offer many conveniences that you wouldn't necessarily have with a house – such as swimming pools and fitness centers, etc. Here’s a rundown on some of the top reasons to buy a condo.

Condominiums often provide access to certain amenities that wouldn’t be practical or affordable for an individual house owner. Clubhouses, golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts, fitness facilities and even the actual location – such as restaurants, entertainment, shopping and grocery stores.

Many developments offer a strong sense of community, especially those that provide a variety of planned social events.

One of the biggest perks of owning a condo is that the individual owners are not directly responsible for maintenance on the building, common areas or grounds. For many people, this is desirable because it frees up time for other pursuits. For others, it is a well-earned break following many years of home maintenance. In general, your monthly condo fee covers all expenses related to the repair and maintenance of central services, parts of the building (aside from the individual units), grounds and community facilities.

A condo offers a great deal of flexibility – it requires less maintenance than other types of homes and it’s easier to leave vacant while you travel. Condos can also provide more flexibility in terms of finding renters while you’re away. Condos are typically much more flexible about this, which makes them attractive to snowbirds and other frequent travelers who might want to rent out their homes while they’re away. Just keep me in mind during your condo search

-Michael Black

Big projects being developed in downtown Phoenix

The city blocks between the sevens throughout downtown, midtown and uptown Phoenix are no longer day-time communities after more than a decade of investments into the area. The region between Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street has become an urban epicenter, attracting jobs, restaurants, venues, events and residents as developers have refurbished and built new places for folks to live, work and play.

The midtown and uptown areas have grown exponentially in the past few years from commercial development, with more projects on the horizon. But downtown Phoenix is where the success story began, and it’s set to continue as developers work to change the skyline between the sevens with high-rise developments and mixed-use projects.

“There is a real economic transformation underway throughout the region, particularly the high density of projects in the urban center of Phoenix,” says Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Between 2005 and 2014, downtown Phoenix’s 1.7-square-mile redevelopment area has received $4.7 billion worth of investment, according to the City of Phoenix. Phoenix defines this redevelopment area as the city blocks between Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street and McDowell Road and Lincoln Street.

Developers are working on projects like Block 23, which will bring the first Fry’s Food Store into Phoenix’s downtown urban core. The project will also include offices and multifamily components and is located right across the street from CityScape and Talking Stick Resort Arena. “A simple glance across the skyline shows a number of construction cranes that are indicative of the maturing centerpiece to the Valley,” Camacho says. “The new development, much of which is anchored near light rail, is creating a modern sense of place in jobs, residences, art, culture and attractions for both residents and business alike.”

Central Phoenix Mercedes dealership property turned into new apartments

The longtime midtown Phoenix home of Arizona's first Mercedes dealership has sprouted new apartments. Parc Midtown, with 306 apartments, has opened to renters on the former site of the Phoenix Motor Company Mercedes Benz dealership at Third Avenue and Indian School Road. The Mercedes dealership, located on the site since 1964, moved to Scottsdale in 2016. Developer Evergreen Devco paid $8 million for the property. When businesses and residents began to move out of central Phoenix to Valley suburbs in the 1980s and 90s, the upscale car dealership remained an anchor in central Phoenix.

Phoenix suburb selected as top US destination for retirees

Move over, Florida: A Phoenix suburb was recently selected as one of the top destinations for retirees.

Tempe will be featured in the latest issue of Where To Retire, a nationwide magazine that aims to help people decide where they want to relocate after they retire.

“Retirees often look for locales that provide easy access to dining, shopping and entertainment, and downtown districts often afford these and more within a confined area,” Editor Annette Fuller said in a release. “Downtown Tempe has high-brow amenities like the Arizona Artisans Collective Grotto Gallery and the Marquee Theatre. Arizona State University enlivens the town, and Phoenix, 10 miles west, is easily accessible by light rail. One retiree told our writer, ‘We want to see the world when we walk out the door. That energy revitalizes us.’”

Tempe was one of the eight cities profiled for downtown living in the July/August 2018 issue. It is available nationwide on June 12. The other cities included Charlotte, North Carolina; El Paso, Texas; Little Rock, Arkansas; Madison, Wisconsin; Richmond, Virginia; St. Petersburg, Florida and Sarasota, Florida.

Another feature detailed in the profile for the Phoenix suburb was Mirabella at Arizona State University, an “on-site, 20-story housing facility for older adults.” Mary and David Patino, a couple from Los Gatos, California, said they chose Tempe because it offers a lot to do and allows residents to have easy access to the light rail. “Everything is all in one place. We’re on campus. We’re part of the college community,” Mary said. “That’s the exciting part of it.”

According to Where To Retire, 700,000 Americans relocate to new towns to retire each year. These moves bring “significant economic benefits” to their new states and hometowns. Two dozen states and hundreds of towns also seek to attract retirees as a source of economic development.

April: Housing Prices are Skyrocketing

U.S. reports have stated that home values for the month of April are now higher than they have ever been.  Check out the appreciation in Phoenix.

National median home values are rising at their fastest pace in 12 years, according to a Real Estate Market Report

Over the past year, home values across the country rose 8.7% to a median value of $215,600.

Home values have not appreciated this quickly since June 2006, right before the housing bubble bust, when they were appreciating 9% annually. U.S. home values are now higher than they have ever been, and home values in 21 of the 35 largest housing markets have surpassed peak value hit during the height of the housing boom over a decade ago.

Are Zillow estimates as accurate as you think they are?

The internet is a great tool to help homeowners to communicate the goings-on in the neighborhood. The internet can also let homeowners learn the value of their biggest asset, their home. Zillow has become a household name in the real estate community to let consumers know what is for sale in a particular area of interest or to provide an estimate on a home value. Zillow uses algorithms to come up with their estimates which they appropriately call "Zestimates".

Zillow provides Zestimates for over 100 million homes and their algorithms are based on both public data and user-submitted data. According to Zillow, “the vast majority of Zestimates are within 10 percent of the selling price of the home.” But Zestimates are only as accurate as the data behind them, so if the number of bedrooms or bathrooms in a home, its square footage or its lot size are inaccurate on Zillow, the Zestimate will be off. Users can correct these mistakes. However, Zillow cautions that updating a property’s details won’t result in an immediate change in the home’s Zestimate, and sometimes it won’t result in any change at all.

Along with accepting user-submitted data, Zillow deals with the inaccuracy problem by reporting estimated value ranges for individual properties. The smaller the range, the more reliable the Zestimate is because it means Zillow has more data available on that property. Looking at the high and low end of the range will give you a better sense of a home’s possible worth.

Zillow factors the date and price of the last sale into its estimate, and in some areas, these data make up a big part of the figure. If this information is inaccurate, it can throw off the Zestimate. And since comparable sales also affect a home’s Zestimate, a mistake in one home’s sales price record can affect the Zestimates of other homes in the area.

There are many other factors which are not recognized by Zillow such as home improvements,  extra room additions, etc., etc... All of these factors can add tremendous value which are not recognized.  For example, Zillow algorithms can't see that your home was completely renovated with a newly remodeled kitchen and bathrooms and your neighbor is still using a "Brady Bunch-era" kitchen, circa 1972.

Unfortunately, Zillow has created a huge hurdle for professional real estate agents to overcome since many consumers take Zillow Zestimates as gospel.  It can be quite a hassle talking clients off the ledge while explaining to clients a true calculated value of their home. This is about the time when homeowners pull their phones out and tell the agent, "Oh No! That can't be right, Zillow says it's worth this amount of money....."

Although information is power, the wrong information can be harmful. Most homeowner's are unaware that if a home is listed above it's actual true value, it could sit on the market for a long period of time, where it will eventually become stagnant. When a house becomes stagnant, it will have to have a drastic price drop to get the action it needs to sell, which is the opposite effect than what was desired by the seller.

Although Zillow has pretty good algorithms, the are too many factors which compromise the accuracy of their estimates. The only way to get a true and accurate price to sell a home is to hire a professional real estate agent or an appraiser.

Exclusive Luxury Condos….Taking the World by Storm….

Scottsdale Az, It has become the place to be for luxury condos. The Ritz-Carlton, is making its entrance into Arizona’s most affluent and desirable area, the town of Paradise Valley. This long-awaited marriage will bring together a masterfully-crafted community of luxury Residences within the gates of what will soon become the pinnacle of sophisticated, full-service resort living.
Luxury has it’s privileges. The Ritz-Carlton will provide a knowledgeable and experienced concierge team is available to assist with personal arrangements. The residences will have additional luxury amenities and services, including a separate resort style swimming pool, lobby and underground valet parking.

The Enclave at the Borgata, is a luxury condo development that is redefining luxury living. It provides walkable amenities, exceptional floor plans, lush landscaping. Unrivaled. The locals like to say, “There’s a reason why it’s called Paradise.” One of the most exclusive and affluent addresses in the nation,
The Enclave at Borgata lies adjacent to The Town of Paradise Valley. Perhaps, more important, there are few places more breathtaking than this small slice of the world, where the City of Scottsdale meets The Town of Paradise Valley.
Positioned in the heart of it all, with iconic Camelback Mountain as a neighbor, your journey begins at The Enclave at Borgata. Furthermore, The Enclave is surrounded by world-class resorts including: The Phoenician, Sanctuary, The Camelback Inn, Montelucia and Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch.
At Lincoln Drive and Scottsdale Road, it all comes together, offering the finest restaurants, entertainment, shopping, culture and recreation. Together, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley create an exclusive, yet comfortable neighborhood, all within walking distance.

Artesia is a gated condominium community at the Southwest corner of the McCormick Ranch area in Scottsdale. This 480-unit community built in 2008 includes many spoils, including a private resort-style pool and hot tub, 10 acre private park, and excellent location just off of Scottsdale road.
The community is not short on entertainment options, within walking distance are many fine dining options, beautiful walking trails, and the famous McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park.

There are a plethora of Scottsdale condos being developed that it’s almost impossible to list them all in this article. If you want to be part of the growing trend and want to reside in one of the most beautiful cities in the country.

Michael Black - Realtor
Realty USA Southwest
14040 N Cave Creek Rd 101N Phoenix, AZ 85022