Article in Daily Courier Brings hope to Prescott Area Market

Home prices are continuing to rise, moderately but consistently in Yavapai County. Single-family home price sales through September had a median price of $238,000, up 7 percent from the $222,000 in 2013, according to county assessor, Pamela Pearsall . The year-to-date median price through September was $225,000, up 5 percent from 2013 for Yavapai County home sales.

According to Pete Weaver, president of Prescott Area Association of Realtor (PAAR), the average sales price for local homes from January through early October went  from $207,000 to $234,000 from the same time last year. “Sellers are getting on the average  97 percent of their list price – that’s identical to last year,” Weaver said. “Time on the market is down 20 percent from the same period last year.”

The average home sales price In Prescott this year through early October was $299,000, up 9 percent from $273,000 last year. Thanks to larger developments (Granville, StoneRidge,  etc.), Prescott Valley’s year-to-date average through early October was up 15 percent from last year.

Chino Valley’s 2014 average is up 19 percent from the $144,000 last year to $171,000 .

This is indeed encouraging news to the community and brings a hopeful outlook to the future of  Prescott area real estate. It has been many years since we have had this kind of growth in the housing market. Now is a great time to sell your home if you have been waiting for the market to “come back”.

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Prescott Area Real Estate Market is Roaring Back

According to an article in the local Prescott area newspaper, the Prescott Valley Tribune the housing market is roaring back in the Prescott Quad City Area! With construction happening all over quad-cities, it could only mean one thing… the market for new homes is finally making a comeback in the Prescott, AZ area.

In the Prescott Valley Granville development, construction equipment is working hard to complete construction on 300 homes by late October.

“We’re running out of (completed) lots,” said Universal Sales Associate Shannon De La Sierra, gesturing to a site map full of “sold” markers. “Pretty soon, we’re not going to have anything left to sell.” It’s a not a moment too soon for the economy to turn around, she said. “Last year, we sold 125 homes. The year before that was 68. The year before that was 35. And the year before that was 15.

Richard Parker, Prescott Valley’s Community Development Director, agreed, “We’re up several hundred percent over last year. We’ve projected we’re going to do somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 residential (housing) starts this year.” That’s as opposed to 27 new starts in 2010. He called the current trend “healthy, if not robust.”

“We were wondering if (the market) would ever come back,” De La Sierra said.

It has, Parker said. “We’re going to see an increased number of building permits unless something happens nationally.” As for fears that this is yet another bubble, he said, “I don’t see it. Prescott Valley has, I think, a lot of potential into the near- and mid-future,” which he defined as five to 10 years.

Parker noted other major developments which are currently in the works: Glassford Hill Heights, which is going before the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission in April, and Quailwood, which is “clicking along.”

Joe Contadino, president of Universal Homes, said, “The dirt’s flying around. The market’s been really good.”

He called the Granville project “the largest earthmoving project in Yavapai County,” and said they would end up moving “in excess of 500,000 cubic yard of earth.”

He said they have about 1,400 homeowners and still have 2,000 homes to build.

Contadino added “When the market tanked, everybody left or got into something else other than construction,” he said. “So rebuilding those trade skills has been difficult to meet market demand.”

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Nice Article on a FSBO site that stresses importance of listing photos

Quoting an article written in the Los Angeles Times,

“A picture may be worth a mere 1,000 words in other circles, but in real estate, it enters the realm of deal or no deal.”

In today’s modern real estate market an estimated 90% of home buyers are starting their search on the Internet. It’s no wonder that photos are to home sales today what curb appeal used to be: the place where first impressions are made.

In a web features survey conducted by the National Assn. of Realtors, they highlighted that buyers found “very useful,” 83% mentioned photos, 81% liked detailed property information and 60% named virtual tours.

Decisions about which homes a buyer wants to see — and ones to skip over — are made based on what a buyer sees online.

“If you can’t get them in the door, you can’t sell the house.”

said Kenny Bellini of Santa Monica Coldwell Banker.

Agents and sellers are often turning to professional photographers to take those jaw-dropping glamour shots even when the home isn’t an architectural gem. When a professional photographer is brought in, it’s most often the realty agent who pays for the service as part of the marketing plan, however many agents do not want to invest the money in making their client’s home look it’s best to potential buyers.

With millions of potential buyers starting their search online sellers cannot afford to have their home dismissed as an option because of of mundane photos. Comparable homes that offer professional quality bright, cheery photos and crisp color are much more likely to be shown when compared to amateur agent photographed dark, blurry photos.

In fact, I believe compelling listing photos are the most important part of marketing a property in today’s real estate market. You could spend lots of money in advertising in print publications but if photos of the property aren’t engaging, it doesn’t matter how many potential buyers you reach if the home doesn’t look desirable. In fact, it could actually be a deterrent if the photos don’t do the home justice. Many homes may be exactly what a buyer is looking for but if the photos don’t reflect that, the buyer will move on and keep looking.

Also, there are many people relocating across the country that buy a home they have never seen and make their decision solely based on home specs and photos! Listing photos are extremely important to those who can’t physically see the property and are acting on what they can see on the internet. This is becoming increasingly popular as real estate websites are offering higher resolution pictures and videos.

It is important to choose the right realtor when you decide to place your home on the market. The market is filled with lazy, unambitious agents that will place a sign in the front yard and wait for a contract so they can get paid. Choosing a real estate agent or team(such as the Stringer Real Estate Group) with an aggressive marketing plan including the most engaging photography available will yield to more buyers walking through your door and will give you a better chance of selling your home quickly. Please contact us today to get a risk free market analysis of your home.

National Geographic names Prescott “America’s Adventure Town”

Kayak in Prescott

Prescott has something to offer for everyone, especially the outdoor enthusiast. Will numerous lakes, hiking & bike trails, overlooks and twisty, curvy roads, the Prescott area has a variety of outdoor activities to participate in year round. It doesn’t take long to figure out why people come from all over to kayak on Watson Lake, rock climb on the Prescott Dells, run in the annual Whiskey Row Marathon and participate in the Whiskey Off-Road event.

Having four seasons makes Prescott an attractive place to live, work and play. With so much to do here, there is even more if you choose to venture nearby. Want to ski or snowboard? The Arizona Snowbowl is just 90 minutes away and will cure any snow craving that you may have. Take in some sun or wake board on Lake Pleasant in the valley of the sun just 75 minutes the other way.

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10 Mortgage Misconceptions

Calc-ErrorMortgages are tricky and often hard to understand. Because most people only purchase a home every five to seven years, prospective homebuyers understandably don’t spend a lot of time in the interim educating themselves about mortgages and the mortgage process.

With the real estate market picking up and mortgage rates prime for refinancing, Zillow has compiled a list of common mortgage misconceptions based off the results of the just released 2013 Mortgage IQ Survey.

Misconception No. 1: Your interest rate reflects the true cost of your mortgage. Your annual percentage rate is actually the figure that represents the true cost of your mortgage. It is inclusive of your interest rate, points, mortgage insurance (when applicable) and other fees, including origination and underwriting fees. It does not include the cost of your homeowners insurance policy. The APR is typically higher than your interest rate because it incorporates the rate and the fees. In fact, when shopping for a mortgage, it is best to compare loans based on APR instead of the interest rate because it gives a better sense of the total cost over the life of the loan.

Misconception No. 2: Mortgage rates are only released once per day. Mortgage rates for all types of mortgages can change frequently, sometimes dramatically, throughout the day. Because of the rapid changes in mortgage rates and a lender’s ability to control what is offered, it is important to shop around for the best rates. Getting multiple loan quotes is highly recommended.

Misconception No. 3: All lenders are required by law to charge the same fees for appraisals and credit reports. There are no laws that require lenders to charge the same fees for services such as appraisals or credit reports. In fact, in order to make their loan quotes more competitive, some lenders may waive charges for such services. Conversely, some lenders may charge higher fees for these services, so it’s important to shop around.

Misconception No. 4: I must get my mortgage through the same lender I was pre-approved with. A pre-approval is a conditional agreement that estimates the size of the home loan a lender would fund for you. It typically involves income verification and a credit check. However, you are under no obligation to proceed with the lender that gave you the pre-approval. Make sure you get at least three loan quotes before proceeding with a mortgage.

Misconception No. 5: You will almost always get the best mortgage interest rates at the bank where you have a checking account. While some banks do give their customers discounts, it’s unlikely your bank will offer the best interest rate available simply because you bank there. To get a competitive mortgage rate and terms, get quotes from multiple lenders either in person or online – including your bank – and pick the one that works best for you.

Misconception No. 6: When taking out a mortgage with your spouse, lenders will look at each of your credit reports equally when determining the interest rate you qualify for. When applying jointly for a mortgage, lenders will pull your credit scores from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. They’ll then take the middle score of each set and use the lower of the two to help determine your mortgage interest rate. This means that the least creditworthy borrower will have the greatest effect on your monthly payment. It does not matter who the primary or secondary borrowers are.

Misconception No. 7: You cannot get a home loan with less than a 5 percent down payment. It is a common misconception that you need to put down 10 percent, 15 percent or even 20 percent on a home, especially in light of the recent housing crash. But with as little as 3.5 percent down, you can often obtain a mortgage through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). FHA loans have become a popular loan option for those who may not have a large down payment or have blemishes in their credit history. FHA loans are available to everyone, not just first-time home buyers. (Find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of an FHA loan here.)

There are also alternative loan programs through other agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These loans also require little-to-no money down.

Misconception No. 8: If you go through a short sale or foreclosure, you must wait 7 years before getting another home loan. In most cases, to buy a home after a short sale, you’ll typically only need to wait 2-4 years depending on your down payment and the loan type you select. The waiting period after a foreclosure is longer: Typically you’ll need to wait 3-7 years before getting another home loan. Even if you can afford to get a mortgage right now, you’ll need to have a good credit score, which can be difficult to rebuild in just a few years. Unique circumstances can lead to different outcomes, so make sure to check with a lender or two.

Misconception No. 9: If you are underwater on your home loan, you are unable to refinance. It is estimated that millions of homeowners who are underwater and current on their mortgage can refinance using one of two special government programs. The first, the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), is available to homeowners who have a loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The second program, FHA Streamline Refinance, has recently been modified to help homeowners with loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Both programs help homeowners refinance into lower interest rate loans and may help dramatically lower payments without very much cost to the borrower. Zillow Mortgage Marketplace is the only online mortgage marketplace where you can get loan quotes for HARP and FHA Streamline. As an added bonus, it is the largest mortgage marketplace where you can anonymously get loan quotes, meaning you don’t enter any personally identifiable information and therefore cannot get spammed and hounded by lenders who were sold you contact information. See if you may qualify.

Misconception No. 10: You can only refinance your home loan once every 12 months. With conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (the vast majority of loans today), you can refinance as frequently as you’d like so long as you do not take cash out when you refinance and are just refinancing to lower the interest rate and/or term of your mortgage. The rule of thumb is to wait until the difference between your current interest rate and the available interest rate would save you enough money each month to cover the costs of refinancing in two years. The amount of time that you plan on being in the home should be considered, as well. In general, refinancing will be more financially beneficial the longer you are in the home. Use the refinance calculator to determine how long it will take to break even on the costs of refinancing.

If any of the misconceptions had your name written all over it, visit the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace Help Center, where you can brush up on everything mortgage before you refinance or purchase your next home. You can also take the Mortgage IQ Quiz for yourself, or send it to a friend who is in the market; they’ll thank you.