Community Property Type Price Min Price Max Beds Baths

Trilogy at Vistancia to Open New Neighborhood

November 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Trilogy at Vistancia remains my favorite active adult community in the Valley.  When I do a walk-through of a new home in Trilogy, I’m consistently impressed with the quality of construction.  With many builders, I leave a walk-through looking like a blue-tape blizzard has blown through, due to so many quality control issues.  I’ve done walk-throughs with Shea Homes where we haven’t even torn one strip from the blue tape roll.  Just amazing!

Equally impressive are Trilogy customer support and onsite staff.  They’re helpful to my buyers and responsive to needs after close of escrow.  Every time I accompany them on a tour of Trilogy’s amenities, I learn something new.

As an obvious fan of Trilogy at Vistancia, I was pleased to receive the following email from one of the Sales Staff notifying me of a new parcel release:

I hope this email finds you well.  I wanted to give you a quick update on our Trilogy at Vistancia community in Peoria Arizona.  I am very excited to share we are days away from opening our next neighborhood Desert Bloom aka Parcel C-12.   This quaint neighborhood will have approximately 99 home sites and will be released in phases.  The first phase we will release home sites 1582 through 1622.  Please let me know if you have a client who you think may have an interest – if so, highlight the specific lot of interest and I will be more than happy to provide more information!

Sales will commence on Saturday, November 17, 2012.  While I am not anticipating needing a drawing, you just never know.  So, should we have more than one individual interested in the same lot we will have a drawing for that specific lot to determine who has the first opportunity to purchase the home site.  If a drawing is necessary it will be held on Saturday morning, November 17th, 2012.  The party drawn who has the first opportunity to purchase that specific lot will have 4 hours to execute a purchase contract.  Should they fail to execute a purchase contract in the 4 hour window then the 2nd interested party will have the same 4 hours to execute and so on until the lot is sold.

I have included a copy of the new neighborhood map for Desert Bloom at Trilogy (Parcel C-12) below for your reference.  I also included a copy of the overall Trilogy community map so that you can see where this new neighborhood is located within Trilogy.  The location is spectacular – in the heart of the community and extremely close to the Kiva Club.  We saved the best for last – this will be your clients last opportunity to enjoy a new home in a premier location!!

Here’s an updated price list (remember — BASE PRICES ONLY — no lot premiums or personal upgrades):

 

A couple of important points to remember when you consider purchasing a new home.  Most importantly, don’t EVER contact a new home builder directly until your Realtor has registered you.  Otherwise, the builder will not allow you to work with your Buyer’s Agent.  Furthermore, the builder will require you to sign a disclosure that says you understand and agree that the builder’s agent ONLY represents the BUILDER, not you!

Read more in one of my previous posts about new home representation in Phoenix here.

For many considering Phoenix real estate, new homes are an attractive option.  Call or email if you have any questions at all!  I can help you evaluate new home subdivisions across the Valley and compare prices with resale homes in the same communities, which are often available.

Phoenix builders acquiring lots – anticipate continued market recovery

September 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

As further evidence that the Phoenix real estate market is in full recovery, many homebuilders are aggressively expanding their land holdings in anticipation of continued recovery.

As noted in the Arizona Republic, Taylor Morrison Homes of Arizona, for example, has already purchased 700 lots in 2012,  has contracts on 1,000 more, and is seeking additional opportunities in Maricopa County.

The builder has communities under construction in the East Valley, but the current focus is on North Valley locations, such as Lone Mountain, Vistancia, Terramar, and parts of Scottsdale.

Charlie Enochs, Division President of Taylor Morrison Arizona, expects the builder to build twice as many homes in 2012 as it did in 2011.

Taylor Morrison isn’t alone.  The City of Scottsdale recently reported a 52% increase in building permits issued over the previous fiscal year.

The uptick in construction activity is a function of resale inventory scarcity, frustration over short sale logistics and waiting periods, and aggressive incentives offered by homebuilders.

From my perspective, it’s refreshing to drive through new home subdivisions and see and hear the hustle and bustle of construction.  For a few years, construction came to a virtual halt.  In fact, in some parts of the Valley you can still see skeletons of subdivisions abandoned mid-build, victims of the housing bust and weak economy.

 

2009 – Home Builders Abandoned Communities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today – New Home Construction is Back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Considering a new home in Phoenix or Scottsdale?  I have helped many buyers save money by representing them on their new home purchases.  In fact, purchasing a new home without dedicated Realtor representation can cost you big time!

For more information on how a Realtor can help you buy a new home, read this posting.

How to Pick a the Right Real Estate Broker to Buy or Sell

April 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Art and Science of Selecting a Phoenix Real Estate Broker

Issues to Consider and Questions to Ask

One of the largest single transactions you’ll ever complete is the purchase or sale of a home.  A multitude of factors play a role in the ‘success’ or ‘failure’ of the transaction, not the least of which is your choice for representation.  While some choose to navigate the real estate waters without representation, most elect to employ the services of a professional Realtor.

Whether you’re looking to sell a Phoenix condo or a buy luxury Scottsdale home, picking a Realtor can be an overwhelming proposition.  The recent housing boom and the perception of ‘easy money’ has caused a huge swelling of the Phoenix real estate agent ranks, especially among Phoenix Realtors and Scottsdale Realtors.  Virtually everyone knows a Realtor, or several.  The problem is, how do you select the best one for your needs?

I put together the following list of suggestions as a good starting point for any prospective homebuyer or homeseller looking for ‘the perfect match.’

 

For Buyers and Sellers

Ask around: A good place to begin the screening process is by asking colleagues and friends if they’ve ever worked with a real estate agent that they think did a great job.  Ask very specific questions so you can get a feel for how the agent truly performed.  “How often did the agent communicate with you?  Were they easy to reach?  Do you feel they negotiated effectively for you?  Was there anything they might have done better?  What kind of personality do they have?  Have you heard from them since the sale closed?”  Have you ever had someone give a glowing review of a restaurant that you just “had to try” only to find once you went that it was mediocre at best?  Everyone has different preferences, so don’t rely too heavily on the opinion of a friend’s experience.

Don’t compromise: When researching Realtors, do your homework and listen to your instincts.  As easy as it is to take the path of least resistance by working with the first agent you meet, don’t settle for an agent who you feel gives you any less than 100% effort and professionalism.

Consider certifications and designations: Real estate is an ever-evolving field.  Trends change, contracts change, momentum changes.  In short, the only constant is change.  You should consider working with a real estate agent who continually strives to better themselves and stay abreast of the latest issues and trends.  Certifications and designations reflect a proactive effort to hone ones skills and result in a better educated, better informed real estate agent.

Ask for references:  In fact, if a long list of references isn’t voluntarily offered, I’d be cautious.  Any highly-performing agent will have accumulated a long list of satisfied customers that they can gladly refer you to.

CALL THE REFERENCES!  You’d be surprised how few home sellers ask for a list of references, and then fail to call even one single person on the list.  Pick 2 or 3 references from the list and CALL THEM!  Ask a few very specific questions about their experience with the agent and take notes so you remember which feedback belonged to which agent.

 

For Prospective Home Sellers

Visit open houses, but BEWARE: Successful real estate teams often divide their agents into Listing Specialists and Buyer Specialists.  In Phoenix real estate, if you visit an open house, you will most likely be greeted by a Buyer Specialist on that team who may not be equipped to answer your questions about the team’s listing program.  You should ask for the Team Leader or Listing Specialist to schedule a listing consultation.

Beware: New Realtors and those who don’t carry many listings will often volunteer to hold an open house to pick up buyers.  These agents may have no affiliation with the Listing Agent whatesoever, except that they work in the same brokerage office.  While they may be excellent agents-in-training, to maximize your chances of working with an experienced team you should only work with a Listing Specialist or Team Leader.  Note: If you ever visit an open house in which you were very impressed with the agent holding the house open but you’re not quite ready to sell, be sure to get his/her card and jot a few notes down on the back, then file it away in your “Mortgage” file so you can pull it out and look them up when it comes time to sell.

Also, never visit an open house if you’re currently working with a Buyer’s Agent without your agent present.  In Arizona real estate, your agent will not be entitled to represent you if you view the open house without them present.  And as mentioned above, many agents holding open houses are specifically looking for unrepresented buyers, so be up-front with them.  See my earlier posting about this subject…

Interview the local specialist(s): Most neighborhoods are served by many Realtors, but may be dominated by one or two ‘local experts.’  A local expert isn’t necessarily the best choice, but can serve as a good starting point.  They have likely visited/previewed more homes than anyone else that works in the community and are better in tune with price dynamics and neighborhood trends.  Furthermore, the local expert usually lives in the area, which means they have a vested interest in preserving property values.  Be aware, however, that the local specialist may not be the right choice for you.  Local knowledge may be offset by a stronger marketing plan or an agent with a better personality fit, among others.

Tips for the interview: There are many pieces of information that you should collect before and during the interview in order to make the best choice for your needs.  Does the Realtor show up on time for your appointment?  Are they dressed professionally?  What sort of ‘vibe’ do you get at the very first moment you meet?  Are they comfortable to be around and easy to communicate with?  Do they sound like they know the area?  Remember, this agent will be representing you to prospective buyers, title officers, lenders, and other Realtors.  Your agent should convey the image that you’d expect of a professional and have the knowledge and experience to get your home sold!

Once the introductions are made, let the interviewee ‘lead’ the process.  They should ask for a tour of the home before you ever sit down for the presentation.  During the tour, do they ask lots of good, fact-finding questions about your home?  Do they tour the entire home, including the back yard, sides of the house, closets, and garage?  They should already be trying to determine how to best position your home for the market, even before the listing is issued.  A thorough inspection is part of the process.

Focus on the Marketing Plan: After the tour is complete, the interview begins.  The Realtor will present his/her marketing plan and why they believe they’re the best candidate for the job.  You should look for a marketing plan that advertises to a broad segment of the market, both online and in print.

Make sure your agent will communicate with you: As I detailed in an earlier post, the biggest complaint I hear from sellers about past Realtor experiences is that their Realtor fell out of contact with them after they scored the listing.  “They took my listing and I never heard from them again!”  Your agent should commit to providing detailed, written status updates so you will have a formal record of the progress on the sale of your home.  You should know what is being done at all times to market your home, as well as how it’s being received by the market.

Ask for a cancellation clause: Ask each listing agent interviewee if they will put in writing that you may cancel the listing agreement at any time if they’re not performing to your expectations.  Any Realtor that believes in their quality of service should be willing to offer the same assurance.  Just ask for it.

Don’t put too much weight on sales stats:  Many articles encourage you to ask a Realtor about their listing statistics: average days on market, list-to-sale-price ratio, etc.  I disagree.

Why?  Because stats can be deceptive.

For example, of you list your property on the low side of fair market value, it’s highly likely that your agent will sell your home faster and closer to the asking price.  In this example, days on market and sales price as a percentage of list price will both be favorable for the listing agent.

And what about short sales?  I represented clients in a Phoenix short sale that took 6 months to close.  That’s a transaction that could negatively impact my days on market (time to sale) stats.  To pad my stats, I’d have to turn these clients away.

Finally, you can’t easily validate an agents statistics.  I quit providing sales stats when on one listing appointment I had my sales statistics recited back to me by a seller who had previously interviewed another agent that worked in my area.  Not surprisingly, the other agent had superior numbers.  It’s pretty easy to position yourself against the competition when you know the competition’s numbers.

The bottom line about sales statistics is that they don’t always tell an accurate story.  You can ask for them, you can’t confirm them or interpret them.  Place more emphasis on other screening factors mentioned here.

 

For Prospective Home Buyers

Don’t commit until you’re comfortable: It’s a commonly-accepted practice for a Buyer Broker to require clients to sign a Buyer Broker Agreement, which confirms agency and outlines party commitments.  In my opinion, you should not sign a BBA until you have a chance to evaluate a buyer’s agent.  At a minimum, you should have an initial consultation, be set up to receive Phoenix real estate listings or Scottsdale real estate lisings, and go out for one property showing appointment to determine whether or not there’s a good match with the Realtor.  You will learn so much about the agent the first time you go out to view properties together and you’ll know whether or not you’ve found the right professional.  Once you’re confident that you have, you should be ready to commit to the agent just as the agent is committed to you.

How well does the Buyer Specialist know the process?  You should ask all the questions you can think of about the purchase process, escrow, inspection period, and the contracts.  Even better, ask to review some of the forms that you’ll experience during the purchase process.  Does the agent answer your questions promptly and confidently?  Do their answers make sense?  If the Realtor can’t explain things clearly or you just get the feeling they don’t have everything straight, then find someone else.  No need for you to be a ‘learning case.’

There are so many Scottsdale real estate agents and Phoenix real estate agents that it’s hard to even know where to begin to look for the right one for your needs.  If you follow the tips that I’ve offered here, you will be on the right track.  Just remember to be patient and not to compromise your expectations.

How to buy Phoenix properties in a tough seller’s market

April 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Bargains can be found on Phoenix properties regardless of market conditions.  Currently, the Greater Phoenix real estate market is facing a supply shortage, with less than a 2 months supply of inventory.  Still, there are steps any prospective home buyer can take to maximize their chances at finding and securing the right property at the right price.

Here are my recommendations:

Work with a Realtor

It may sound self-serving considering the source, but your best first step is to find a Buyer Specialist to guide you through the purchase process, from initial search through close of escrow.  I’ve posted tips on how to pick a good Realtor, which you should review if you haven’t already hired one.  Don’t settle on just any Realtor — determine the service standards that are important to you and filter candidates against these criteria.  And if you find an agent doesn’t meet your expectations and you’re not able to resolve your concerns with them, find another one ASAP.  You have too much at stake to settle for a so-so member of your team.  ‘Nuff said.

Develop a Search Plan

Your Buyer Specialist should have a specific plan to help you find your hidden gem.  My approach involves a thorough initial consultation, after which I build a targeted search and notify you anytime properties matching your criteria are listed.  In certain cases I can also tap into alternative resources, such as wholesalers and local ‘fix and flip’ investment groups.  Different buyer needs dictate the need for different strategies and an experienced Buyer Specialist can develop the best one for your situation.

Be Ready to Pounce!

Over the course of your search, you should see enough properties to know when you find “The Property.”  You’ll understand how features relate to value for your chosen area.  Once you do find your Phoenix or Scottsdale property, don’t hesitate for a minute.  Write an offer ASAP!  Even in the strongest of buyer’s markets, you don’t want someone else to come in ahead of you, resulting in your loss.

Structure a Smart Offer

There’s more to value than sales price for both buyer and seller.  An experienced Buyer Specialist thinks outside the box to help you craft an offer that positions you favorably to the seller and sets you apart from any competing offers.  I’ve helped buyers acquire properties at lower prices than competing offers by putting together offers that didn’t give away anything of material value to my clients, but offered added value to the sellers.  The key is to understand what is most valuable to both parties, as well as what’s not, and reflecting those differences in the offer.

Sadly, you can’t always win.

It’s important to note that there are so many variables involved in the process and things beyond your control, it is possible do everything right and still experience multiple rejected offers and a protracted search.  So while nobody can guarantee a perfect experience, I believe that the issues I’ve identified here can help you buy Phoenix properties in any market.

Why Do People Hate Real Estate Agents?

April 18, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

A few years back I heard about a public opinion poll that had rated real estate agents only one spot ahead of used car salesmen in trustworthiness and likeability. At first I wanted to deny the results. “Show me proof of this poll!” I very quickly realized, however, that the existence of this poll was irrelevant. If such an idea could remain alive and circulate freely through the general public without being quashed, it’s clearly not so far-fetched.

I vowed to do whatever I could to separate myself from “them.” I created a slogan that let people know they could trust me to serve them. And I created a mission statement that captured the essence of my business philosophy:

“Re-defining the residential real estate experience through integrity, market knowledge, and professionalism.”

Most importantly, I sought to understand precisely which behaviors led to the public’s perception of my chosen path. In any service industry, the best way to learn how to improve one’s performance and one’s image is by understanding where we fall short. I use the term “we” to include all professionals working in a given field, because customers tend to lump various types of professionals together in terms of their characteristics (think “postal employee”), without regard for the natural tendancies that differ from person to person.

Very early on in the relationship I like to have a discussion with my clients about what sorts of experiences they’ve had with Realtors in the past, if any. Have you worked with a Realtor before? To buy or sell? Tell me about your agent. Were you pleased you used them? Why aren’t you using them for this purchase/sale?

I’ve interviewed hundreds of people on this topic and few common complaints surface again and again.

Home buyers most often report that their agent “didn’t listen” to them with regard to property characteristics. “We told him we wanted a house with a large kitchen, but he kept showing us houses with small, galley-style kitchens!” Or “We said our home MUST be in a certain community, but he continued to send us property listings for homes in other areas! He didn’t listen to us!” Many of these buyers ended up ditching their agents to take their searches into their own hands.

Hands-down, the most common complaint among home sellers is, “My agent took my listing and I never heard from her again, except to suggest price reductions! I have no idea what she was doing to sell my house!”

Both buyers and sellers commonly report that their agent didn’t negotiate as strongly as they thought they should have, or that a ‘mistake’ in the contract paperwork caused a negative financial impact (e.g. “He didn’t tell us that our flat-panel big screen TV was considered a fixture and had to convey with the house!”).

Unfortunately, the sales cycle is an emotionally-charged time for all parties, so any problem, either real or perceived, is magnified. Realtors are paid handsomely for their expertise and nobody likes to feel like they’ve overpaid and been underserved.

As for my team, we listen to and learn from our clients in order to continually improve the value of the services that we bring to the table. Whether we’re working with a seller of a $150,000 Phoenix condo or someone who owns Scottsdale real estate, our service standards do not vary. Our clients put their trust in us to represent them as effectively as we can regardless of the price point of the transaction and that’s exactly what we deliver.

Back to my original question, why do people hate real estate agents? I believe it boils down to a few key reasons, all centered around consistency and quality:

  • Low barriers to entry and perception of ‘easy money’ have flooded the market with agents, resulting in erratic service at best;
  • There are no standardized systems for running a real estate business – agents are independent contractors who are responsible for developing their own business and service models. This results in inconsistent (often incompetent!) service because it’s beyond their expertise to build them;
  • There are no systematic mechanisms in place to regulate real estate agent performance – we’re free to practice at any level of competence as long as we retain our licenses, which involves 48 hours of continuing education training every 4 years and not running afoul of the law. Only public complaints filed with the Department of Real Estate or legal troubles seperate the professionals from the rest. Otherwise, we all look the same.

 

The good news is that high quality real estate professionals will thrive in all market conditions, while those who aren’t, won’t. Every decade or so the housing market will ‘correct’ and the least capable agents will be forced from the business, leaving it a better place, at least temporarily.