Hello and Welcome to Baker's Blog! 

Here you can find answers to your real estate questions. Perhaps even real estate questions you didn't know you had. You'll also find thoughts, observations, and commentary on real estate and real estate related issues. Have a question or a suggestion for a post? Message me or give me a call. I'm always happy to answer questions and share information with others. And don't forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

Oct. 8, 2020

Good News Is Rare These Days...

Here's last month's market update, published in the September 24, 2020 issue of the Glendale Star and Peoria Times. 

 

"Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond." While this Hunter S. Thompson quote may be from 2003, it certainly rings no less true in 2020. Good news may be rare these days, but there's a little something for everyone in real estate today. 

 

The good news for Sellers is that we are still a strong Seller's Market. The National Association of Realtors reported that prices in July "rose in every region" of the U.S" as "for the first time ever, national median home prices breached the $300,000 level." And in their bid to be competitive, many Buyers are increasingly willing to forego asking the Seller to contribute to their closing costs. And it's working. In Maricopa County, only 24.5% of Sellers contributed to Buyer's closing costs in August, down from 31.2% in July, and 37.9% in June. 

 

Showing traffic is still holding strong. According to ShowingTime, the platform REALTORS use to schedule most of the MLS showings, during August, listings in the $200,000-$299,999 range in averaged 17.9 showings per listing in Glendale, and 15.67 in Peoria. The next closest was the $300,000-399,999 range, with 13.75 showings per listing in Glendale, and 10.59 showings per listing in Peoria. And not every showing is scheduled through ShowingTime, so the actual numbers are higher.

 

Some good news for Buyers is that inventory is increasing. During August, 339 MLS listing sales closed in Glendale, and 395 in Peoria. Today there are 219 active and available listings (not counting properties already under contract or pending close of escrow) in MLS in Glendale and 281 active listings in Peoria. That's 64.6% of one month's inventory in Glendale (up from 42.85% in July) and 71.14% of one month's inventory in Peoria (up from 59.75% in July). Overall, Maricopa County is seeing an increase, with today's active listings at 89.17% of August's closed sales (up from 75% last month).

 

And in more good news for Buyers, interest rates are still low and are expected to remain that way. According to Freddie Mac, National Mortgage Rates for the week of August 27th averaged 2.91% for a 20-year fixed, 2.46% for a 15-year Fixed-Rate, and 2.91% for a 5-Year Hybrid ARM. And on August 27th, the Federal Reserve Chairman announced changes in the Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy. With these changes, it appears the Fed will be less inclined to hike interest rates when the unemployment rate falls, so long as inflation does not creep up as well. Even with rising prices, this should allow Buyers to continue to reach their goal of homeownership, which is good news for everyone. 

 

If you're struggling right now, there are people to contact who may have some good news for you. If you're a Homeowner, contact your Lender to see what programs they are offering. If you're a Tenant, rental assistance is available through the Arizona Department of Housing website at www.saveourhomeaz.gov. If you're a Landlord, you can apply for aid at https://arizonatogether.org/grants

Sept. 8, 2020

Where Are You?

Where are YOU in your real estate search?

Everybody starts somewhere. And sometimes, in the end, some decide the journey isn’t for them. And that’s ok. Sometimes there are starts and stops, setbacks, and delays. And sometimes, plans and needs change entirely during the process. Whether it’s your first or your second or your tenth, each search will be different. And while no two searches look precisely alike, there are stages common to every process.

Thinking About Buying A Home – You are starting to gather information and research home values and neighborhoods and look around for a Lender and a REALTOR. If this is your first home purchase, you’re probably talking to neighbors, friends, and co-workers who are homeowners about their experiences and asking for advice.

Starting The Process –  You are gathering documents to get pre-qualified by your Lender and evaluating your buying power. You're Looking online at homes in your budget and seeing how they stack up against your wants and needs list. And you're waiting for your pre-approval from your Lender.

Buying A Home – You have your pre-approval letter, you’re ready to tour homes with your REALTOR, and you have your Home Inspector on stand-by. It isn’t uncommon for your search criteria to change during this time. Sometimes you decide something on your wants and needs list is no longer a want or a need. Your REALTOR understands completely and wants to help you find the home that best suits your needs, even if those needs change!

So where are you? Wherever you are, I’ve been there. I’ve been there myself, and I’ve been there with Buyers - and with Sellers becoming Buyers again. Need guidance? You can email, text, or call. I'm just a click away.

Let’s talk about where you are, and what you need to get you home.

Sept. 3, 2020

Mortgage Rates Update!

Mortgage are remaining near all-time lows, averaging around 2.91%

ARMLS data reports 7758 listings closed in Maricopa County during August 2020. The median days on the market for those sales was 29 days!

If you're thinking about selling a home now is the time! If you're thinking about buying a home, make sure you get pre-approved and know there will be competition from other Buyers looking to take advantage of these rates!

According to Freddie Mac and REALTOR Magazine, interest rates are remaining near an all-time low.  Rates are even expected to remain there until the end of the year and into 2021.

Mortgage Rates Remain Near All-Time Lows

Aug. 20, 2020

It's a Seller's Market All Over The Valley

Doors

Here's my article on the current real estate market, as published in this week's editions of the Glendale Star and Peoria Times. 

 

 "When one door closes, another one opens." There seems to be quite a bit of that going on in today's real estate market. ShowingTime, the platform REALTORS use to schedule most of the MLS showings, reports that in July, listings in the $200,000-$299,999 range averaged 17.27 showings per listing. The next closest was 14.10 showings per listing, in the $300,000-399,999 range. And not every showing is scheduled through ShowingTime, so the actual numbers are higher. That's a lot of traffic.

 

You've heard the real estate market is hot right now. That it's a "Sellers Market." But what does that mean? It has to do with the inventory of available homes for sale, most often calculated using the number of active and sold listings in the Multiple Listing Service. Anything less than four month's worth of inventory is considered a Sellers Market. Anything over seven months is, you guessed it, a Buyer's Market. During July, 462 MLS listing sales closed in Glendale alone, and 472 in Peoria. Based on that number, four month's inventory, just barely a Seller's Market, would be 1848 active listings in Glendale, and 1888 in Peoria. As I write this, there are only 198 active and available listings (not counting properties already under contract or pending close of escrow) in MLS in Glendale, and 282 active listings in Peoria. That's 42.85% of one month's inventory in Glendale and 59.75% of one month's inventory in Peoria. Maricopa County is a little better, with today's active listings about 75% of July's closed sales. Compound that with interest rates of 3% and lower, and you have our local real estate market today.

 

It's happening in markets across the valley and the country. Homebuyers hoping to lock in low-interest rates and take advantage of the additional buying power, as a result, face heavy competition, not only from other homebuyers but also from cash-paying investors and flippers. Buyers know they will be up against multiple offers, and find themselves having to be creative with their sacrifices and incentives, in the hopes of having their contract accepted by a Seller inundated with offers. Even Builders are experiencing high traffic and demand, some resorting to a lottery system for available lots.

 

And it seems many would-be Sellers are instead choosing to take advantage of the low-interest rates by refinancing, further contributing to the lack of inventory. 

 

No one has a crystal ball, but we suspect a housing crisis of a different sort could be looming in the distance. Banks do not want another market crash and have already been offering forbearance programs to current homeowners. With forbearance and a renewed eviction moratorium, there is hope that people will be able to remain in their housing until unemployment returns to pre-COVID numbers. For those needing additional resources, rental assistance is available through the Arizona Department of Housing website at www.saveourhomeaz.gov, and Landlords can apply for aid at https://arizonatogether.org/grants

 

 

Did you know there's more to the quote? "When one door closes, another one opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us." It's a good reminder to keep moving forward, navigate the market we have today and keep opening those doors.

Feb. 17, 2020

Red Flags! Things To Look For When You're Buying A Home!

Red Flag

Sometimes you see about with a property that makes you wonder if maybe it isn't a deal-breaker, but it could be something that warrants some additional explanation or investigation. RED FLAGS! Here are a couple of examples of red flags to watch for.

Price Adjustments - Have there been big price adjustments or a lot of little ones? One or two changes, not a big deal, it happens. But if you're seeing a lot of them or significant numbers, you have to wonder, why is this listing not getting any traction?

Going off and on the market, multiple times - Buyers cancel, it happens, once maybe twice, but if you're seeing it multiple times, you have to wonder, why are Buyers putting in an offer to buy a property and then canceling? It may be a disclosure issue or a negotiation issue — something to ask about.

Statistics - How are the crime rates? The school statistics? Get on the internet look at statistics. Anything important to you. These are all good things to check out before you start getting invested in a property.

Neighborhood - Drive through the area at different days and times. And what about retail? Are businesses opening up, or are they closing down? What sort of an area are you looking for? An up-and-coming neighborhood or something already established? 

Disclosures - Are you being asked to waive disclosures? Even a fix and flip investor knows the work that they have done. And they have, at least, had the utilities turned on. If you are dealing with a bank-owned property or a probate sale, then no one will have first-hand knowledge of the property. But, if you're being asked to waive disclosures, ask why!

Less Than Professional Craftsmanship - It isn't unusual for a homeowner to make their repairs with less than professional craftsmanship unless they are a trade professional. But, if you are walking through a property that is a recent flip, or where a lot of replacements have been recently made, and you see less than professional craftsmanship, you may have to wonder what other repairs - that you can't see - may have been done, and done poorly.

Feb. 1, 2020

New Listing Coming Soon!

New Listing Coming Soon!

6416 W Christy Drive in Glendale, AZ 85304

6416 W Christy Drive in Glendale, AZ is coming to the market on February 14th!

Great three-bedroom, two-bath home with a pool in a convenient Glendale location with NO HOA! The home has 16'' tiles through the living room, kitchen, hall, and baths, and the kitchen cabinets and countertops were installed in 2013. The Great Room has vaulted ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace, and french doors that lead out to the side patio, back yard & pool. The master bedroom also has french doors out to the back yard, patio & pool. Newer pool pump & motor. Water heater new in 8/18. All appliances stay. The neighborhood park has a playground, tennis, racquetball, & basketball courts. Seller is having a home built & would like to lease home back until it is finished — an excellent opportunity for investor or owner that doesn't need to move right away. The home will be available for showings starting February 14th! More photos coming soon!

To receive updates on this listing, including status and price changes, sign up at https://www.lisarbaker.com/featured/

Sept. 30, 2019

Five Star Professional Award Winner 2019

I'm so very excited - an honored - to be selected for this award! You can click on the spotlight link for my Five Star Professional page, and click the photo for a video link about the Five Star Selection process.

"Lisa R Baker is part of a group of only 7% of real estate agents named a 2019 Five Star Real Estate Agent for providing an excellent customer experience in the Phoenix real estate market. Find out more by visiting https://fivestarprofessional.com/spotlights/48619."

 

Five Star Award Winner

 

 

 

Aug. 30, 2019

What Are Your Plans For The Weekend?

 

What are your plans for Labor Day?
How will you be spending your Holiday Weekend? Relaxing? Working?
House Hunting?


I hope everyone enjoys their 3-day weekend. 
But it's good to remember not everyone is taking the day off.

If you're around this weekend and doing a little house hunting, don't hesitate to reach out. I'll still be available by call, text, or email to answer your real estate questions.


Just getting started or thinking about starting your search? Click here to go to LisaRBaker.com. You can do a quick search or check out the Advanced Search and Map Search options. And you can save as many searches as you wish and receive daily updates for all - or just a few of them. The choice is yours.

Need a Lender? I have you covered. I only recommend qualified, experienced mortgage professionals, who work with a variety of scenarios to get you the best mortgage for your needs and the best service available.

If you have a home to sell, you can get an automated Market Report to give you a starting point for the value of your home. A Market Report is a great quick answer to your value question, but it's no substitute for having an in-person evaluation.

Call or click to get in touch with me so we can schedule one at your convenience. I can even make recommendations for staging options at no additional cost.

So enjoy your weekend, and if you're thinking about real estate, think ofLisaRBaker.com.


If you're moving to Glendale, check out MoveToGlendaleAZ.com or find it on my website by clicking Glendale, AZ on the top right corner of any page. You'll find links to Glendale resources for a variety of needs, from education to services to community information!

Ready to start your home search? Click here.

 

Aug. 19, 2019

Check out MoveToGlendaleAZ.com!

MoveToGlendaleAZ.com is now live!
See How It Can Help You Make Your Next Move

 

If you know me, you know I work all over the valley! It's no surprise to hear me talk about a Client out in Queen Creek or up in Anthem. I'm happy to go wherever I'm needed!

But, Glendale is my home, and it's where I'm the most connected. That's why I've launched  MoveToGlendaleAZ.com. It's designed to be a resource for relocating to Glendale. And I'm asking everyone to take it for a test drive. You can even start your Glendale home search right there.
 
And I'm always looking to improve. MoveToGlendaleAZ.com will change and evolve, and I welcome your input and suggestions for making it the best it can be. From my website, you can click to email or give me a call. 

If you are moving to Glendale or selling a home in Glendale, visit 
MoveToGlendaleAZ.com to see how I can help you make your next move!
July 2, 2019

With Escalating Valley Rents And Phoenix Seeing The Fastest Growing Rents In The Nation, Is It Finally Time To Trade Your Lease For A Mortgage? You May Be Surprised By What Your Monthly Rent Can Buy.

At The Intersection Of Renting Versus BuyingI started to write a post today about rental rates in the 100 most expensive cities, to compare ownership vs. renting, based on an article at Zumper.com. But it isn't the same comparing the cost of renting an apartment to owning a house. If you would like to read that article, you can find it here. 

Today I also read an article on KTAR.com that, according to HotPads, which is owned by Zillow Group, Phoenix had the fastest growing rents in the nation during the second quarter of 2019. You can find that article here.  

The Zumper article references 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, and the KTAR report mentions one-bedroom rents are higher but doesn’t specify apartment or house rentals otherwise.

So I wanted to compare apples to apples based on actual, local, MLS data.

The median sales price in Glendale for a 3+2 house recorded from 06/01/2019 - 07/02/2019 was $255,000. With an FHA loan with a good (not excellent) credit score that will run you about $1,560/month PITI. The median rental rate for an unfurnished 3+2 house in Glendale that closed from 06/01/2019 - 07/02/2019 was $1,550.

If you're renting a house in Glendale, you could be paying your OWN mortgage every month for ALMOST EXACTLY the same amount. And here is the local MLS data to back that up.

3 Bedroom 2 Bath Home Sales in Glendale June 2019

3 Bedroom 2 Bath Home Rentals in Glendale June 2019

Homeownership builds wealth and creates stability and a sense of community. If you’re ready to take the next step towards homeownership, I’m just a call or click away. If you’ve already reached out to a Lender, great! If you haven’t, or you aren’t sure where to start, I am happy to pair you with a local, experienced, Lender who understands your needs and knows what it takes to get the job done. And if you’re a few months or a few credit score points away from needing a mortgage, that’s ok. There’s no better time to start your home search than right now.

So don’t sign another lease until you’ve taken a look at what that monthly rent payment can BUY. Put your money – and me – to work for you on your path to homeownership.