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BlogArizona.com - the ORIGINAL Arizona Real Estate Blog
BlogArizona.com offers discussions on a wide variety of subjects, but focuses on Arizona and real estate.  The articles  posted here are contributed by various working professionals.  Their insights and experiences will inform, educate, challenge and entertain our readers week after week.  Some of the best reading on blogs often comes from reader Comments!  We encourage you to use the 'Comments' feature to join discussions and interact with both our Contributors, and our other readers.  We do require that you first review and accept our 'Comment Rules' in order to preserve the quality and integrity of this blog.  Also be aware that all visitors are subject to our Terms of Use.

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BlogArizona Category: Arizona Real Estate Blog

This page contains all BlogArizona posts related to Arizona Real Estate Blog.   Read a specific post by clicking on a title below, or scroll further down the page to read through all posts in this category.
  • BlogArizona.com - An Arizona Real Estate Blog

  • Monday, October 19, 2009

    Extending or Expanding Tax Credit for First Time Homebuyers: Good for the Real Estate Market?

    Knowing that I'm a Realtor® and that much of my income is dependant upon the real estate market, you might be surprised as you read my opinion on extending and/or expanding the Homebuyer Tax Credit.  For starters, I'll say that I believe the free market can almost always solve problems better without government involvement.  Unfortunately, the real estate market has not been allowed to operate without government interference for some time.  I'll even go one step further and say that government interference caused the real estate market bubble and resulting crash, and the same idiots who created the problem should not be trusted to fix it.

    Politicians, who wanted to buy votes by forcing banks to give loans to people who could not afford to pay them back, are the primary cause of the real estate bubble and ultimate crash (which I believe also caused the current recession).  This effort was driven by bleeding-heart liberal Democrats, but many of the so-called conservative Republicans shamefully went along with it for many years and many administrations.  We all know what happens when banks are forced to lend money to people who can't afford to pay it back... eventually they don't pay it back and the banks lose money.  The banks then have to make up these losses somewhere else: either by charging good customers more, or by (the new trend of) getting billions in bailout dollars from taxpayers.  So either way, hard-working taxpayers lose when government forces businesses to make bad bets.

    But instead of recognizing that government is the problem, our brilliant bureaucrats instantly (and without any real thought) decided that more government is the answer.  So they offered $8,000 refundable tax credits (aka govt handouts) aimed at first time homebuyers who otherwise could not afford to buy a house.  HELLO?  These are the people whose loans are currently foreclosing at astronomical rates.  Incentivizing people who can't really afford a house into buying one anyway isn't going to fix the real estate market or the banking situation.  This is what caused the problem!  Repeating the same mistake will only prolong the agony and further stress the financial institutions that finance these properties.  Not to mention the fact that it's inherently unfair to ask some taxpayers to pay higher taxes so the government can give their money to others for a down-payment on a new house they can't really afford.  And then add insult to injury by forcing those same taxpayers to bail out the banks when these loans foreclose, as if it were not foreseeable (right!).

    So like cash-for-clunkers, I believe the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit was a stupid idea, and therefore extending or expanding it will ultimately do more harm than good to the real estate market.  It may cause a short-lived spike in sales like cash-for-clunkers did (at the cost of future sales, by the way).  But do we really want manic ups and downs in the real estate market, or do we want a slower but sustainable growth?  I think anyone who owns real estate or works in the real estate industry would agree that a slow, sustained growth is better for all of us in the long run.  Some lawmakers and various Realtor® associations are pushing to increase the tax credit to $15,000 and extend it to more than just first time homebuyers, with a higher limit on the buyer's income.  To me, this is just the same dumb idea with longer lines of people taking the handout, and with a much higher price tag.

    So when will the real estate market start to recover if government stops interfering?  It's already started to recover, in Arizona at least.  Keep in mind that national statistics quoted in the news may not be applicable to Arizona's real estate market.  Real estate is local.  Arizona was one of the first and hardest hit areas of the country when the real estate bubble started to burst (for lack of a better term!).  And I think Arizona was also one of the first to start recovering, because Arizona real estate prices were driven down faster and lower than other areas.  And lower prices is what makes buyers start coming out.

    Don't get me wrong, the Arizona real estate market is not all sunshine and lolli-pops.  Not at all.  There are still tough times ahead, but people are buying despite the fact that banks aren't really lending like they should be (I guess it's more profitable for banks not to lend, and suck up taxpayer bailouts instead!).  But if the government just stays out of the way, the market will slowly recover on its own - without unnecessary, artificial government stimulation that really just wastes billions in taxpayer's money.

    Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard

    Great American Realty, Inc.

    Cell: (480) 695-6672
    Email me

    Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on October 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (8)

    Is the Phoenix, Arizona Real Estate Market Recovering?

    Here's a snapshot of the current Phoenix metro area real estate market, as I see it:

    At the end of last year, the real estate market in the Phoenix metropolitan area started to pick up...  not because of any government program, but because the free market works.  When prices came down to a certain level, the investors came out to play.  Some of those who were sitting on the sidelines waiting decided it was time.  And people started buying again... not in huge droves like a few years back when people were fighting each other for houses.  But then again, who wants that, really?  (I was taught that slow and steady wins the race!).

    Since then, I've seen a steady flow of buyers into the market, and many banks/real estate agents are even creating bidding wars again.  Of course, these bidding wars are driven by totally fabricated demand.  The bank has a real estate agent list the house for a super low price to attract multiple offers.  Then instead of rejecting any of the offers, they entice all of the propsective buyers into a bidding war and tell them to make their "highest and best offer".  None of the buyers know what the other bids are, so they often times end up bidding higher than they should because they get sucked into the emotion of 'wanting to win the bid' rather than rationally determining what the house is worth without that emotion present.  I always tell buyers to avoid bidding situations, even in a sellers market.  But especially in the current buyer's market... there are still way too many houses available for sale right now to get into a bidding war.  Go find a seller who appreciates your offer more and is willing to negotiate under your terms.  In a buyer's market, the buyer should feel like they're driving the terms of the deal, not the seller.

    But realize that Arizona's residential real estate market still faces significant foreclosures, and this will continue for some time.  Supply is good for buyers and you shouldn't let uncertainty scare you away from the market if you're buying an owner-occupied home that you plan to keep for at least 3-5 years.  However, I would advise inexperienced investors to be very careful buying Arizona real estate right now, especially if you plan to do a short-term flip.  There's money to be made, but you can also lose a bunch so just know what you're doing.

    In my opinion, Arizona's real estate market is recovering, but is not out of the woods yet.  The biggest danger to this recovery (other than government interference) is the commercial real estate market.  I'm not sure why nobody is talking about it, but the commercial market could create huge problems in the coming years, especially if banking problems are not addressed.  Commercial real estate market trends lag the residential market, and I don't think we've even started to see the real impact of the commercial market yet.  Here's why: Many commerical real estate mortgages are 5-year or 10-year interest-only loans with balloon payments due at the end of the term.  So as those commercial loans made at the height of the real estate bubble start to come due (as they currently are), the property owner (probably a small business owner) will have only a few choices.  They either have to pay off the entire balance, which is unlikely for most businesses since they're probably already struggling to make ends meet.  Or they'll have to re-finance the loan, which is also unlikely because 1) property values are much lower now and the property is probably not worth the loan amount anymore, and 2) lending standards are tighter and commercial loans are very hard to get.  So if these loans can't be re-financed or paid off, the only other option is to sell the property before the loan is due.  Many property owners will wait too long, not realizing how long it takes to sell a commercial property in today's market and will consequently face foreclosure.  For this reason, I believe the commercial market could be the next big real estate crisis.

    Of course, I don't have a crystal ball, and nobody really knows for sure what tomorrow will bring.  Everybody with an opinion on the future of the real estate market is really just guessing :)  So my advice is guess carefully, and as always, buyer beware!

    Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard

    Great American Realty, Inc.

    Cell: (480) 695-6672
    Email me

    Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on October 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Monday, February 25, 2008

    AZ Home Inspector Licensing Board going away?

    Arizona Home Inspectors need your help!

    Arizona's home inspector licensing agency, the AZ Board of Technical Registration (BTR) is inefficient, expensive and allegedly corrupt.  In fact, Arizona lawmakers are thinking about eliminating the BTR altogether (SB1171), and moving home inspector licensing to the Registrar of Contractors (ROC).

    As most of my readers already know, I'm co-owner of Homewerx Home Inspections, one of the Valley's leading home inspection companies since 1999.  As such, I sincerely appreciate your support on this matter.

    While I do NOT support eliminating the BTR, it definitely needs some change - starting at the top with the guy in charge.  It's unfortunate, but AZ home inspector licensing seems to be alot more about money and power and industry organizations than it is about quality home inspections.  There are some real problems and conflicts of interest that have just been ignored at the BTR, and we all know that problems don't just go away when they're ignored...they get worse!  Now, the BTR is so inefficient and lacking accountability that I think the whole idea of protecting homebuyers got lost somewhere along the line.  Home Inspectors don't trust the BTR, consumers kind of laugh at them.

    And the cost of inefficient government regulation is real... look at how much it costs to be a home inspector in Arizona compared to other professionals licensed by the same agency.  And look at how much Arizona home inspectors pay compared to home inspectors in other states.  "Wow" is all I can say!  Home Inspection companies inevitably pass these ridiculous costs onto the homebuying consumer, who is already strapped for cash in case the BTR hasn't heard.  And a home inspection is an out-of-pocket expense - those are the ones that really hurt and will be a deal-breaker alot quicker than borrowed money will.

    So please Help support the 'little guy', and you will help keep Arizona home inspection prices down plus eliminate government incompetence at the same time.

    Thank you again for your support!

    Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard

    Great American Realty, Inc.

    Cell: (480) 695-6672
    Email me

    Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on February 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    AZ Real Estate Blog has its Perks!

    Okay, I'll tell you up front that this post has absolutely nothing to do with Arizona or real estate.  And in 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan - click to view more pictures!the spirit of full disclosure, I was asked to write this post but it's all my opinion and I was not paid.  Well...I did get the free use of a $40,000+ vehicle for a week!

    Dodge and Matchstick are doing a 'word of mouth' marketing campaign for the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan.  They selected fifty "influential moms" in the Phoenix area to test drive a fully loaded 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan for a week (and I mean FULLY loaded!).  I'm not sure how I qualified as an "influential mom" when my own kids won't even listen to me.  But for a free tank of gas and the opportunity to put a week's worth of mileage on someone else's vehicle, I'll let Dodge think whatever they want!

    So they brought me a brand new, fully loaded 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan all gassed up and ready to go.  It had just under 500 miles on it when delivered (luckily it was past the break-in period so I could really test drive it!).  I got to keep it for a week, and they encouraged me to drive it as much as possible.  They even said I could let other people take it for a day or so (as long as they were 21 years old with a valid AZ driver's license).  It was fully insured by Dodge's insurance, not mine.  They showed me how to use all the features and gave me a list of phone numbers to call in case I had any questions or problems (of course it came complete with roadside assistance).  They even left me a camera to take pictures of my adventures, and a list of games for kids to play in the car!  All they asked is that I write a blog post about my experience afterwards.  As a business owner myself, I have to give Dodge a great deal of credit.  Asking me to write about my experience before they knew whether it was a good or bad experience was pretty gutsy.  They're obviously very confident they have a great product.

    And why wouldn't they be confident.  This van has everything you can think of.  It has all the usual goodies - AM/FM stereo with CD, cruise control, tilt wheel, 3-zone AC/heater, alarm with door remote.  And of course it has power everything - you can even open the back (hatchback) door and two side sliding doors with the alarm remote, or by using buttons located inside the van.  You can also use the remote to start the van from a distance, to get it warmed up or cooled off ahead of time.  From the driver's seat, I have complete control over every door, every window and basically every feature in the van.  It has an awesome sound system, satellite radio, satellite TV, GPS navigation with voice recognition, two DVD/CD players and two TVs (both with video game hookups and wireless headsets), rear back-up video camera, a touch screen console, and my teenager's favorite feature - it's IPOD compatible! (complete with USB port for downloading music and pictures to the vehicle's 20GB hard drive).  There are music controls on the side of the steering wheel, which makes it easy to change the song or turn up the volume without taking your eyes off the road.  The power seats adjust in every way possible. It has sliding doors on both sides, which is much more convenient than the traditional vans that just have a sliding door on one side.  It even has good drink holders!  One feature that I hadn't seen before which is pretty cool is the power adjustable foot pedals.  That's right, not only can you adjust the seat, but if you have longer or shorter legs than usual, you can move the foot pedals back or forward to allow total comfort while driving.

    And speaking of driving, this van drives great.  Of course, most new vehicles drive great.  But this van doesn't feel like a van at all.  It handles like a much sportier vehicle.  It corners well and has more than adequate get-up-n-go.  In fact, my husband and I bet on the engine size.  I said it must have a V8 as quick as it is, but he said it probably has a V6.  I lost that bet - it's a very fast V6.  I can't really comment on the gas mileage since I drove it like I stole it (just kidding Dodge!).  Actually, I don't know how big the gas tank is, but the computer readout on the dashboard said I was averaging 14.2 miles per gallon.  This van also has a very nice turning radius.  It's very easy to park even in somewhat tight spaces, and it can make a U-turn just about anywhere.  I really enjoyed driving it.

    But anybody who wants to impress me with a car definitely has their work cut out for them.  Since I spend quite a bit of time in my car, I'm accustomed to driving some pretty decent vehicles.  To be fair to Dodge, I should give a little background information about the vehicles to which I was comparing this van.  I currently drive a newer model Lexus SUV, and sometimes I drive my company's Hummer for business purposes.  My last car was a new BMW 528i.  Before that I had a lightly used BMW 525i.  Before that, I had a lightly used Nissan Maxima.  Not only do I generally buy foreign cars, but I've also never really considered myself a minivan type person (although I would consider a van, and I did drive a Toyota minivan several years ago).  My husband, on the other hand, has always driven a truck and Dodge is his favorite.  We've owned several Chevrolets and Dodges, and the Dodge trucks we've owned have always been more comfortable and more reliable than Chevrolet trucks.

    But the new Dodge Grand Caravan takes comfort to a totally different level.  In fact, if I had to summarize the Dodge Grand Caravan in 2 words, they would be: comfortable and functional.  It's not just the features that make this van great, but the way in which they're organized.  It has two captain's chairs in the middle row, and a 3-seat bench in the back (all leather and power, of course).  The middle and back row seats can be re-arranged in every which way possible.  You can turn them towards each other and put a table (included) in between (so it's kind of like sitting in a booth in back).  You can fold & stow away the third row of seats, or I think you can even take them out altogether to haul stuff (but I didn't try).  You can even reverse the third row seat so that it faces backward for tail-gating.  There are lights and AC vents for each passenger, so everybody can get comfortable.  There are even several regular 110V outlets like in your house.  So the teenage daughter can finish curling her hair on the way if you're running late!  Each window has a sunscreen that you can pull up to block the sun (very necessary in Arizona - my kids loved that feature).  When not in use, they retract back into the door where they aren't really visible.  This vehicle is extremely well organized, and again, very comfortable for the whole family.  I took some pictures of the van's interior, but they didn't turn out nearly as well as the pictures on Dodge's website, so I'm not posting them!

    Dodge targeted moms with this campaign, but I would also suggest another target audience - real estate agents.  This van is perfect for driving clients around town.  You can fit seven people very comfortably, you have GPS navigation to find your way around, and the two TVs can have two different movies or video games playing at once to keep the kids happy.  With all the technology and features, this van could easily be an office on wheels.  And even the pickiest client would be happy to go house hunting in this van.  In short, Dodge's 2008 Grand Caravan is the perfect real estate agent vehicle!

    The only complaint I can think of with this van is that there are too many features and buttons (not really a complaint, more of an observation!).  Most of the features were very user friendly and easy to use, but there were a few things I couldn't figure out.  I'm sure it was user error and in time, I would learn to use them (so Dodge, how about one more week with the van?  Or heck, how about a free year with it - I'll even write another post!).  Both of my kids loved it and didn't want to give it back.  My (almost 16-year old) daughter even asked if I would buy her a van like it.  Surprised at my somewhat spoiled teenager, I responded, "You'd want to drive a mom-mobile?  Your friends would make fun of you if you drove a minivan."  And she said, "Yeah they would, until they saw the inside.  Then they'd say, let's take Sara's van!"

    Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard

    Great American Realty, Inc.

    Cell: (480) 695-6672
    Email me

    Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on November 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    Thursday, June 14, 2007

    AZ Real Estate Blogs & Bubble Bursters

    Arizona Republic Article About Valley Real Estate Bloggers Yesterday, the Arizona Republic did an article on Valley Real Estate Bloggers (at least that’s what the title was).  It was a little disappointing to read because it didn’t really have much to do with Valley Real Estate Bloggers.  In fact, BlogArizona.com was the only Arizona real estate blog mentioned.  While BlogArizona.com was the original Arizona real estate blog, there are many other great AZ real estate blogs that you couldn’t possibly miss if you were looking.  In fact, I even gave the AZ Republic reporter the names and URLs of at least 4 other Valley real estate blogs, yet none of them were mentioned in the article.  I mentioned Jay Thompson's blog, Bloodhound Blog, AZMortgageGuru and of course, my husband’s blog, the original Home Inspection Blog!

    The article did mention some Valley bubble bursting blogs, if you consider those to be real estate blogs.  These are the bloggers who cheer for decreasing home values and hope for a total collapse of the real estate market.  They wish hateful things on all who own real estate - investors and average homeowners alike.  I believe some of them have more of a political agenda, some have a business motive to hate real estate, while others are just bitter renters who were priced out of the market during the last boom.  Regardless of the motives, the amount of hate you find on these ‘bubble burster’ blogs is just WRONG, and it makes me question everything they post.  While some of the facts they tout may indeed be true, it’s hard to give any credibility to someone that’s hoping the real estate market will crash so that all property owners will be financially hurt.  Normal people do NOT think this way.

    As soon as I spoke with Glenn Creno, I suspected the article would focus on these bubble blogs.  He asked me several questions about them, and he was really curious why they were so hateful and what kind of person could seriously root for a collapse of the housing market.  So Jay, Greg, et al, don’t be offended your blogs weren’t mentioned -somehow I don’t imagine you’re losing sleep over it :).  You didn’t fit his agenda.  In fact, if anybody should be bothered by this article, it’s me.  BlogArizona was listed just beneath the Housing Panic blog, under the heading, “Critical of the Market”.  But at least the ‘chatter’ on BlogArizona.com “is more subdued” than the Housing Panic blog.

    Seriously, there are more important things in the world to worry about than some Arizona Republic article.  As one of the comments on azcentral.com reminded me, Paris Hilton’s in jail.  I have to go watch the news and see how unfairly she was treated today!

    Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard

    Great American Realty, Inc.

    Cell: (480) 695-6672
    Email me

    Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on June 14, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Friday, April 13, 2007

    BlogArizona.com Welcomes the Arizona Mortgage Guru!

    Those who read BlogArizona.com regularly have probably noticed that I myself have been a blog mute over the past few months!  To the many people who read BlogArizona.com each day, I sincerely apologize for my absence.  Of course, there's no excuse to neglect your blog :)   But I will say (in my defense and in defense of the AZ real estate market in general) that I've been crazy busy lately!  No matter what the newspaper or other media may say, BUYERS ARE BACK TO THE ARIZONA REAL ESTATE MARKET!  That's why I haven't blogged lately!

    Now that we've established that the Arizona "real estate bubble" is still not bursting, I want to welcome Shailesh Ghimire to BlogArizona.com.  Shailesh is the Arizona Mortgage Guru and a local Home Loan Expert.  Shailesh and his wife Aimee are a team at CTX Mortgage, serving the Greater Phoenix area.

    If you've read Shailesh's first BlogArizona post or visited his blog, I think you'll agree that Shailesh will make a great addition to BlogArizona.com.  I have no doubt that his posts will add interesting and current content that BlogArizona readers will enjoy.

    I also want to say that while I haven't posted much lately, I have been working on some new upgrades/features for BlogArizona. These improvements will be added over time, and that's all I'm saying so you'll have to keep checking back to find out what they are!  BlogArizona.com is also looking to add new Contributors.  Here's more information if you or someone you know is interested.

    Visit Shannon Hubbard's Home Page     Written By: Shannon Hubbard

    Great American Realty, Inc.

    Cell: (480) 695-6672
    Email me

    Posted by Shannon Hubbard, AZ Realtor & Computer Guru on April 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    BlogArizona.com Among Top Real Estate Blogs

    BiggerPockets.com recently put together a list of the Top 35 Real Estate Blogs, and of course, BlogArizona.com was on the list!  BiggerPockets.com considered real estate blogs for their Top 35 list based on several factors including frequency of updates, as well as how unique, timely and relevant the blog's content is.

    Considering the thousands of real estate blogs that are out there, BlogArizona.com considers this an honor!  But being named as a top real estate blog is not new to BlogArizona.com.  Not only was BlogArizona.com one of the first real estate blogs in Arizona, but it has consistently been listed among the top blogs and real estate sites.  So whether your buying, building, selling, renting or just want to learn a little about Arizona, be sure to come back to BlogArizona.com regularly!

    Posted by BlogArizona BlogMaster on August 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    Saturday, May 20, 2006

    BlogArizona Gets Mention in Arizona Republic Real Estate Blogging Article!

    BlogArizona.com was recently contacted by Arizona Republic reporter, David van den Berg, who was doing an article on real estate bloggers.  Several of BlogArizona's Contributors were interviewed and quoted in the article, which came out in the May 17th Arizona Republic.  The article, "Blogs Will Grow As Tool For Real Estate", can also be viewed online.

    Posted by BlogArizona BlogMaster on May 20, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    Monday, June 20, 2005

    BlogArizona.com Listed Among Top RSS Feeds

    Although our official launch date is not until July 31, 2005, BlogArizona.com is already being noticed by real estate bloggers near and far!  The Wealth Builder Group (a Michigan Real Estate Investment Club) has already listed BlogArizona.com on it's list of "Interesting RSS Feeds!".  BlogArizona.com is in good company, as this list contains about 50 of the most popular RSS feeds on the web, such as Curbed and Grow-a-Brain, to name a few.

    BlogArizona.com will continue to post a variety of interesting and helpful articles, so be sure to visit us frequently!

    Posted by BlogArizona BlogMaster on June 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


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