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Arizona Real Estate Blog Archives: June 2006

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Friday, June 30, 2006

Fed Announces Another Interest Rate Hike

Yesterday, the Federal Reserve announced another quarter point increase in interest rates.  However, with the bad news, this time we also have what looks like good news.  The Fed indicated that this may be the end of interest rate hikes.  The news made the stock market go crazy (in a good way!).

While the economy as a whole is still strong and unemployment rates are very low, the housing market is definitely cooling and a large percentage of the overall economy depends on the real estate market.  Hopefully, the Feds are now done manipulating the housing market as a means of controlling inflation.

Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard
Realtor®-Investor

Great American Realty, Inc.

Cell: (480) 695-6672
Email me

Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on June 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sellers Need Edge in Arizona Real Estate Market

While I'm still definitely not buying into the bursting bubble theory, there is no doubt that Arizona real estate inventories are way up and days on market are much longer than a year ago.  Almost daily, I hear Arizona Realtors® talk about how sellers need to get the dollar signs out of their eyes and realize they can't sell their house for whatever price they want like they could last year.

Let's face it...sellers became spoiled and now they don't want to give up any of last year's gain.  I guess I can't blame them.  But to me, 50% appreciation minus 10% depreciation is still 40% appreciation!  So unless a seller just bought their home last year, they should be able to sell at a reasonable price and still come out pretty well financially.  The bottom line is that sellers will have to price their homes right in order to make the sale in this market.

There are obviously other things you can do as a seller to give your home an edge over the competition.  I previously blogged about one recent trend among Arizona sellers, the Pre-Listing Inspection.  This is just one of many ways to make your home more attractive to potential buyers.  Here is another real estate sales technique that can make your home much more memorable to those who view it.  Using attractive, well placed signs to point out the features of your home will not only impress the buyer's agent, it will also help buyers to notice features that may otherwise go unnoticed.  You generally see this in higher end homes, but it can be a great way of making your home stick out in the minds of those potential buyers that just viewed 10 homes in one afternoon.  For example, the last house I sold had several locking cabinets in the kitchen, including the cabinets under the kitchen sink.  The locks were a nice upgrade most other homes in the neighborhood didn't have, but they were hardly visible as you walked through the large kitchen.  So by placing a sign near the locking cabinets under the sink, the seller (without being present) can explain to the buyer what a nice safety feature these locks might be for a family with young children.

Obviously, proper pricing is key and there's more to making your house stand out than placing descriptive signs around.  But in the current tough market, every little thing you can do to give your home an edge is worth the effort!

Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard
Realtor®-Investor

Great American Realty, Inc.

Cell: (480) 695-6672
Email me

Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on June 23, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Help Support Jessica's Law and Protect Our Children

I don't usually blog about national or political issues, but this post about sex offenders affects everbody and it relates to real estate somewhat.

The California Organization of Police and Sheriffs (COPS) is fighting for America's children by pushing for National passage of the Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act of 2006, a.k.a. Jessica's Law.  As most everybody probably knows, Jessica's Law is named in honor of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, who was taken from her home in Florida and brutally murdered by a registered sex offender with an extensive criminal history.  The U.S. Attorney General's Office has created the National Sex Offender Public Registry, which connects the sex offender databases of all fifty states.  But just by watching the news every night, I think we all know much more still needs to be done.

According to the COPS website, Jessica's Law will:

  • Ensure that all child molesters who molest children under the age of 14 are put into a prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years or 25 years to life. Closes all loopholes in California's "one-strike" laws.
  • Eliminate all "good-time" credits for sex offenders ensuring that these sex offenders are required to serve their entire sentence and will not be released for good behavior.
  • Electronically monitor convicted sex offenders for life, if they are ever released from prison, through GPS tracking.
  • Create a 2,000-foot "predator-free" zone around schools and parks to prevent sex offenders from living near where our children learn and play.

The "Megan's Law Report Card'' was released this past May by the watchdog group, "Parents for Megan's Law".  The report card compared the sex offender registries and community notification programs of all 50 U.S. states.  While 24 states received a grade of "F", Arizona received a "B", making it one of only 5 states that received a "B" or higher.  And this doesn't even sound right to me for some reason, but Florida earned the top grade of "A+".

Arizona, along with Oklahoma, Florida and Louisiana were among the first states to pass an equivalent of Jessica's Law.  But many lawmakers believe that in order for the legistation to really work, all 50 states need to adopt the same approach to dealing with these predators.

Please sign the Jessica's Law petition today to help keep the entire U.S. safe for our children!

Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard
Realtor®-Investor

Great American Realty, Inc.

Cell: (480) 695-6672
Email me

Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on June 22, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

New Law Helps Arizona Homeowners with HOA's

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano recently signed House Bill 2824 into law, giving Arizona homeowners one more tool to fight back against abusive homeowners associations (HOA's).  The new law, which goes into effect 90 days after the legislative session ends, will enable homeowners to have their HOA disputes heard before a judge rather than having to file an expensive lawsuit.  The filing fees haven't been set as of yet, but the non-refundable filing fee is expected to be around $500 versus what could be tens of thousands to file a lawsuit.  Most lawyers oppose the new law, while most homeowner advocates support it, so it must be good for homeowners!  I believe it will help to level the playing field between the homeowner and the HOA.

Personally, I have mixed emotions about HOA's.  I'm currently the President of a commercial property owners association, and I have worked closely with the Board of Directors in other HOA's.  I have seen first hand how great a community can be if it has a good HOA, and how miserable it can be with a bad one.  While homeowners associations can be good for property values, a "bad" HOA can seriously mess up your life.  Because they have the power to lien and foreclose on your property, it is important that you stay paid up on your dues and promptly deal with any fines or non-compliance issues, no matter how angry you become!  I've seen homeowner associations turn a couple hundred dollars into thousands of dollars in fines, late fees and interest in a relatively short period of time. 

So what is a bad homeowner association?  First, it's important to understand how HOA's work.  A homeowners association is usually made up of two components - 1) the elected Board of Directors, who are members of the association, and 2) the property management company, who is hired by the association to take care of the association's daily operations. In my opinion, a "bad HOA" is bad either because it has a "bad" Board of Directors or it has a "bad" management company, or both.  My experiences both in residential and commercial real estate have lead me to the conclusion that property management companies are some of the sleaziest people in the real estate industry.  (Just my opinion, of course!).  I think the reason for this is that property management is not a licensed activity - anyone can do it.  Don't get me wrong, there are many really good property management companies that provide great service to their clients.  But the ones that are "bad" do a huge disservice to their entire industry.

As far as the Board of Directors go, they can be "bad" in more than one way.  If your association has that one Board member that wants to measure everybody's grass and make sure it's not out of compliance, that is "bad" in my opinion.  That's the guy I call the "Neighborhood Nazi", and I've met him!  As long as the Board has other reasonable members to overrule the Neighborhood Nazi, the HOA can still be okay.  If there are more Neighborhood Nazis than reasonable members on the Board, I would call that a "bad" HOA.  The Board of Directors can also be a problem if they are too passive, what I call an "absentee Board of Directors".  Unfortunately, when a management company realizes they are dealing with an "absentee Board", they will often take advantage of the situation.

Remember, not all homeowners associations are bad.  But also remember that even a good HOA can quickly become a "bad" HOA with the election of one or more new Board members, and vice versa.  But the "bad" HOA's worst enemy is the informed, involved homeowner...so be sure to go to meetings, vote and participate in your association.  And even more importantly, before you purchase a home, carefully read the CC&R's.  I know they're usually long and boring, but sometimes they have rules you don't expect like you must have at least 2 citrus trees in your front yard, or you can't park a pickup truck in front of your house overnight.  So use your inspection period wisely and inspect more than just the house, inspect the association before you buy!

Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard
Realtor®-Investor

Great American Realty, Inc.

Cell: (480) 695-6672
Email me

Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on June 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Arizona Wildfires are Back

Sorry the last couple weeks have been nuts and I've had no time to post anything to BlogArizona!  None of the other BlogArizona.com Contributors have either, but I think that is because the Arizona real estate market is picking back up and they too are probably crazy busy!

Anyway, with the fires burning near Flagstaff, today I'm posting a link to an article that gives tips on how to protect your home during wildfire season.  This article may not apply to everybody, but for those of you with homes in areas vulnerable to wildfires, these tips can definitely help.

Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard
Realtor®-Investor

Great American Realty, Inc.

Cell: (480) 695-6672
Email me

Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on June 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Mesa's Stapley Jr. High School Gets A+

The Arizona Education Foundation recently selected Stapley Jr. High School in Mesa as an A+ school.  This is a great accomplishment since only a few outstanding schools throughout Arizona receive the A+ designation each year.  In addition to Stapley Jr. High School, 3 other schools also made the list this year:

  • East Valley Institute of Technology, Mesa
  • Marana Middle School, Marana
  • Mountain Ridge High School, Glendale (Deer Valley District) 

Prior to this year, the last time a Mesa secondary school made the list was in 1995.  According to the Arizona Education Foundation's website, "A+ Schools serve as models of educational excellence to other schools throughout the state and the nation."

Great Job Stapley!

Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard
Realtor®-Investor

Great American Realty, Inc.

Cell: (480) 695-6672
Email me

Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on June 7, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Keep the Kids Cool at Local Jr. High Schools

Summer is here and if you have kids, they will soon be bored out of their minds!  As a parent, this can make you crazy!  So to keep your kids busy this summer, check out your local Parks & Recreation Department.  Most local cities have a variety of classes, sports and other activities you can enroll your kids in for the summer.  Also, most of the junior high schools have swimming pools that become public pools during the summer months.  Even if you have your own swimming pool, your kids can still enjoy hanging out at one of the city pools.  Some of them have big water slides that the kids love (see Aquatic Complexes below), and of course, there are always tons of other kids there!

For those who live in Mesa, here is a list of swimming pools where you can take your kids (for a small fee, of course):

  • Brimhall Aquatic Complex - 4949 E. Southern Ave.  (480) 644-5087
  • Fremont Pool - 1001 N. Power Rd. (480) 644-2369
  • Kino Pool - 848 N. Horne  (480) 644-2376
  • Mesa Jr. High Pool - 828 E. Broadway  (480) 644-2377
  • Poston Pool - 2433 E. Adobe  (480) 644-2371
  • Powell Pool - 855 W. 8th Ave.  (480) 644-2378
  • Rhodes Pool - 1860 S. Longmore  (480) 644-2550
  • Shepherd Aquatic Complex - 1407 N. Alta Mesa  (480) 644-3037
  • Stapley Aquatic Complex - 3250 E. Hermosa Vista  (480) 644-4877
  • Taylor Pool - 705 S. 32nd St.  (480) 644-3036

Fees are as follows:
-  Younger than 6 months old - FREE
-  6 months to 17 years - $1 per day ($1.50 at Stapley, Shepherd and Brimhall)
-  Adults - $2 per day ($3 at Stapley, Shepherd and Brimhall)

Mesa also offers swimming lessons, competitve swimming and special pool events.  For more information, call (480) 644-4950 or visit the City of Mesa's website.

Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard
Realtor®-Investor

Great American Realty, Inc.

Cell: (480) 695-6672
Email me

Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on June 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas

If you live in the East Valley and enjoy taking trips to Las Vegas, you may want to look into flights from Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa.  Passenger air service recently began between Mesa and Las Vegas on Vision Air.  I think airfares start at around $69 for a non-stop flight.  You can get more information at Williams Gateway Airport's website.

Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard
Realtor®-Investor

Great American Realty, Inc.

Cell: (480) 695-6672
Email me

Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on June 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, June 02, 2006

What's Up with All the Bee Swarms in Arizona Lately?

Lately on the news, I've seen several stories about bee swarms in Arizona.  In fact, just yesterday, there were 2 stories about bees in Arizona on the news channel I watch (a national news channel).  There was a story about a dog in Peoria that was swarmed by kajillions of bees and firefighters had to rescue him.  The dog was okay, but a little freaked out as you can imagine!  There was also a guy who was swarmed by bees while he was hiking yesterday.  I'm not sure where in Arizona it was, but I think he ended up falling off a cliff trying to get away from the bees.  I don't think he was hurt too badly, if at all.  I just caught the tail end of the story, so I didn't hear all the details.

Also, a couple months ago, there was an incident at an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game in Tucson where the game actually had to be cancelled because there were bees all over the field.  The game was between the Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies, and the bees were really going after some of the players (must have been their cologne!).  The bees were so bad, the umpires had to call the game after only 5 innings.  But Arizona was ahead 3-1 so it was okay!

I don't know why we're seeing so many bee swarms all the sudden, but they are no joke.  I remember when I was a kid, we found a bee hive in one of the trees in our front yard.  My parents called the animal control people and they came out with their protective suits and took it away.

So what do you do if you're swarmed by bees?  Well, we've all seen the cartoons...you look for water to jump in!  Okay, not really - I just made that up!  According to experts, the best thing to do if you get swarmed by bees is to run (as if you need an expert to tell you that!).  No, really.  Apparently, bees will not usually run more than a quarter mile to a half mile, and a person can generally outrun them.  You should cover your head since they like to attack the head.

Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard
Realtor®-Investor

Great American Realty, Inc.

Cell: (480) 695-6672
Email me

Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on June 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Latest Jobs Report May Be Good News for Interest Rates

After recent talk that the Feds will likely continue interest rates hikes (perhaps several more increases this year), the most recent U.S. employment numbers came in short.  Although about 175,000 jobs were expected to be created (in April, I think), the recent reports show that only 75,000 jobs were actually created.  These lower than expected figures have some saying that the economy is beginning to cool.

While that sounds like a bad thing, it could be good for the real estate market as it could influence the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates.  And it isn't really bad news for the job market either.  The U.S. unemployment rate is less than 5%, which is basically full employment.  In other words, pretty much everybody who wants a job has one (that's according to the governemnt, not me!).

Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard
Realtor®-Investor

Great American Realty, Inc.

Cell: (480) 695-6672
Email me

Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on June 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

       

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