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Arizona Real Estate Blog Archives: March 2008

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Beware of Red Light Camera at Gilbert & McKellips in Mesa!

A couple years ago when I had to go to driving school, I was told the cameras in intersections can catch you either speeding or running a red light.  Some are set for red-light only while others are set for speed.  But the cameras are all the same, it just depends on how they're programmed. 

Well apparently, the red light running camera at Gilbert and McKellips in Mesa has recently been re-programmed to catch speeders too.  Don't ask me how I know this!  :(

Photo radar ticket at the intersection of Gilbert & McKellips in Mesa, AZI live just a few miles east of this intersection and drive through it quite frequently since it's between my house and my office.  For those readers who are lucky enough to have never seen a photo radar ticket, I've posted one of the pretty pictures the City of Mesa was nice enough to send me (with the speed removed to protect the innocent, of course!).  They say you have to be going at least 11 MPH over the speed limit to get your picture taken for a speed violation.

Considering the fees they're charging for speeding tickets these days, I don't know how the City of Mesa is losing money on the photo radar program.  Perhaps this recent re-programming of cameras is an attempt to get a better return on Mesa's investment.  Obviously, I have mixed feelings about that!  As a Mesa resident and taxpayer, of course I want the city to keep the roads safe, and I want them to maximize the return on investment when they spend taxpayers money...but not at my expense!

If you're wondering where other Mesa traffic cameras are located, the City of Mesa's website lists all the intersections with red light cameras, along with the locations of Mesa's photo radar vans.  Also, here's some more info on Arizona photo radar tickets.

Remember, slow down at the intersection of Gilbert & McKellips and drive safe!  :)

Related Articles you may also find interesting:
Scottsdale, Arizona Traffic Cameras (February 2007)
Mesa Adds Several New Traffic Cameras (April 2006)
Arizona Traffic School is Educational, But Not Fun! (March 2006)

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 March 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Monday, March 24, 2008

Homeowner Needs Help with HOA Issue

I get many emails from homeowners who are having problems with their Homeowner Associations, and are seeking advice.  I'm not an attorney, so I can't offer advice on how to handle specific HOA problems.  But I've been there myself, so I found the email below particularly interesting.  Without revealing any personal information, I'm posting the majority of the email along with my response:

"I don't know if you can help me with this but if you can offer some help or direction that would be greatly appreciated.  I have a truck that I have had parked on the side of my house for four (4) years.  Nothing was ever said.  Now, I have received a letter from my HOA telling me I can't park it there because it can be seen over the gate.  Maybe six (6) inches of the roof.  And, that it is parked in a "Landscaped Area", which it is not. It is a utility area that is not landscaped at all.

We buy these houses with big double gates so we can utilize the area behind these gates for things like this.  I can understand if it was something offensive, but no one has ever complained or said anything about the truck being there till this.  Any help?"

My Response...

"...I'm sorry you're having a problem with your HOA.  I had a similar problem myself and know first hand how frustrating it can be.  Obviously, every situation is different and your situation is probably based on very different facts, CC&R's, legal principles, etc.  And I'm not sure if you're in Arizona, but state laws also can affect your situation.  So the best advice I can give you is to seek advice from an attorney, which I am not.  From a homeowner standpoint, I can tell you that when I consulted an attorney in a HOA situation several years ago, the advice I was given was to work within the neighborhood to gain support and resolve the problem.  Here's what happened to me several years ago:

We had a nearly new pickup truck parked in the 'third-car' area of our driveway.  But it wasn't paved like the rest of the driveway, it was covered with rocks.  The truck was driven every day, and we had been parking it there for about 3 years or more when a certain Board member decided to make a stink about it.  Our attorney told us that in our case, by allowing us to park there for several years, the HOA had given us "constructive notice" that it was allowed.  Our CC&R's did not specifically prohibit it, however they did not specifically allow it either.  So our attorney claimed that in the absence of a restriction, it was permitted.  Then the Board member tried to use some vague landscaping clause to make us stop parking there.  Of course, there were others in the neighborhood who parked in a similar manner, so we found them and got them to show up at the next meeting for support when we addressed the Board.  Since only a few people usually showed up to Board meetings, we only had to get a few neighbors to show up to have overwhelming support.  We also went to each of our immediate neighbors and had them sign statements saying that we had been parking there for years and they had no problem with it.  Additionally we went door-to-door and asked other neighbors who agreed we should be able to park there to sign a petition so we could amend the CC&R's to specifically allow it.  We came up just short of the 2/3 required for an amendment to the CC&R's, but it was enough to make the other Board members agree to drop the issue.  Shortly thereafter, the Board formally adopted a policy which allowed parking on rocks with certain criteria, which we met.  End of story.

Again, your overall situation is different than mine, so you should speak to an attorney about the legality of your issues.  Much of the HOA's power comes from the CC&R's and an attorney can explain your rights under the CC&R's.  From a non-legal standpoint and from my experience as a homeowner, the power a HOA has comes from its members.  The unfortunate truth from my experience with HOA's is that in many cases, most members don't care and won't get involved in things they don't care about.  But if you can find those neighbors who are in similar positions, you may find strength in numbers.  Or you might find that others disagree with you totally and you are the minority in your neighborhood.  But chances are, there are others out there who recently got notices to stop doing things they've been doing for years also.  Did you recently have a new Board member elected who might be pushing a stricter agenda?

Again, other than telling you of my experience, you're in lawyer territory!  While I can't advise you on how to handle your situation, I hope my story helps.  And I wish you the best of luck in resolving your HOA issues.

Sincerely,
Shannon

Hope you found this interesting too.  Have a great day!

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 March 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Arizona Snowbirds in my Swimming Pool?

Okay, these may not be the type of 'Arizona snowbirds' you were expecting...  But early this morning, we found an Easter surprise in our swimming pool.  These two ducks decided to use our pool as a free hotel.  They spent a couple hours drinking, bathing and resting in our pool before continuing on their journey.  I'm no bird expert, but we figure they probably needed a place to stop and rest as they were migrating home (heading back north after flying south for the winter?).  My kids were hoping they were an Easter present.  My cats were hoping they were dinner.  And although they were kind of fun to have as guests for a couple of hours, I'm just glad they're gone!

Arizona snowbirds in my swimming pool!

Happy Easter to you and yours!

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 March 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Saturday, March 15, 2008

For Sale By Owner in Phoenix, AZ

Okay, this has nothing to do with real estate, but I love this "Best of Phoenix" Craigslist ad anyway - what an interesting way to get rid of scorpions and termites.  And can you even believe those pesky City of Phoenix lawn police are forcing the poor guy to sell...!

Craigslist's "Best of Phoenix" also has this interesting take on driving in Phoenix.  And this guy has a unique idea for a home security system... or at least to keep the neighbor kids off his lawn.  Enjoy!

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 March 15, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Foreclosure Rates and Neighborhood Crime

Here's an interesting statistic:

For every 1% increase in a neighborhood's foreclosures, violent crime increases 2.33%.

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 March 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Recent Changes to the FHA Loan Program

It seems like the FHA Loan program is being looked to by government leaders, consumers, lenders and anyone in between to save the housing market. As a result there has been a lot of changes to this program within the past few months.

1. FHA Loan Limits Increased: The loan limit has been raised across the entire country. For Maricopa and Pinal County (which includes all the major cities in the Phoenix Metro area) the new limits are as follows:

  • One-Family is now $346,250 (was $263,150) = $83,100 increase
  • Two-Family is now $443,250 (was $296,390) = $146,890 increase
  • Three-Family is now $535,800 (was $360,100) = $175,700 increase
  • Four-Family is now $665,850 (was $415,500) = $250,350 increase

2. Down payment Assistance Programs: While this is not a direct FHA feature, one of the major reasons to use the FHA program is because it allows third-parties to contribute towards a buyer’s down payment. The FHA loan limit is 97% of the value of the property but it allows the remaining 3% to be gifted from such non-profits as AmeriDream, Nehemiah etc. Recently HUD (which oversees FHA) challenged the legality of such gifts and threatened to shut them down. The down-payment programs fought back and recently won in court.

3. FHA Secure: This was an initiate from the White House designed to help subprime borrowers refinance into a FHA loan program. It is targeted to those on adjustable rate mortgages facing abrupt increases to their monthly housing payment. The HUD website  has addition information, but here are some high points on how you may qualify for FHASecure:

  1. A history of on-time mortgage payments before the borrower's teaser rates expired and loans reset;
  2. Interest rates must have or will reset between June 2005 and December 2008;
  3. Three percent cash or equity in the home;
  4. A sustained history of employment; and
  5. Sufficient income to make the mortgage payment.

There are further changes coming to the FHA program. Congress is working on a FHA Modernization bill which will decrease the down payment requirement but add risk based insurance (higher insurance for lower credit scores).

So, stay tuned, nothing stays the same in today’s mortgage market.

Shailesh & Aimee Ghimire of CTX Mortgage in Arizona - Your Mortgage Team for Life!Shailesh Ghimire
CTX Mortgage Co.
www.aimeeloans.com
www.azmortgageguru.com
(480) 516-1851 / (480) 516-1819
Email me

Posted by Shailesh Ghimire, AZ Mortgage Guru on March 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

       

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