Kierland CommonsCongratulations and a huge thank you to my friends and great clients on the purchase of their new condo at The Plaza Lofts At Kierland.  These residences offer amenities that are unparalleled by any other community in the valley.

The Plaza Lofts, while located in the heart of dining, shopping and a mixed use development offer residents security and privacy.  Private entrances, parking, concierge services, workout facilities, roof top pool, and community rooms are just a few of the features that give residents a definite sense of security and a feeling of being home.Patio

Located in North Scottsdale, The Plaza Lofts at Kierland puts you just steps away from the finest dining and shopping anywhere.  Choices for dining range from sushi to sandwiches and casual to formal.  Zinc Bistro, Ocean Club, North, The Green House, P F Changs and the Cheese Cake Factory are just a few of the many choices available. Shopping includes fine jewelry, designer clothing, furniture, cooking stores and even a barber shop.  Across Scottsdale Road is the Scottsdale quarter offering even more choices including the i-Pic theater.  Within one square mile the options for entertainment are endless.  Kierland Golf Course and the Tournament Players Club (TPC) home of the Phoenix Open are just a few minutes away.

The residences range from the low $500,000 range to several million for the Penthouse homes.  A variety of floor plans and square footage truly offer something for just about everyone looking for this unique successful lifestyle.Pool

I would be happy to help you with your search for the unique home you are looking for throughout the Valley Of The Sun.  Click here to search for your next residence and dream home.

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Real Estate Jargon, Explained

Real Estate Jargon, Explained

It pre-dates “textese” and pager codes, but even to individuals familiar with those modern informal languages, real estate lingo may still be incomprehensible.

There are two types of real estate slang: the acronyms used in ads (of which there are over 6,000) and the daily jargon used by real estate industry professionals in their work. If this is your first real estate rodeo, let’s bring you up to speed on what you may hear coming from the mouth of your real estate agent.

Contingency: It’s surprising how many real estate professionals throw this word around as if everyone knows what it means. “Don’t forget, we have to remove that contingency,” might just as well mean “I need to see a podiatrist for something growing on my foot.”

A contingency is simply a clause in the contract that puts off the terms of the contract until another event occurs. Think of it as saying: “This contract isn’t enforceable unless X occurs by such-and-such a date.” Common contingencies include the sale of your current home, obtaining a firm offer of financing, the home appraising for at least the loan amount, and acceptable inspection results.

CC&Rs: Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions are the governing documents of a homeowners association. They set forth what are known as deed restrictions – which include how the association operates and the rules and regulations that all homeowners must follow. Although that sounds pretty straightforward, these are important documents that may be challenging to read through.

CID: A Common Interest Development is a combination of individual ownership of property and property held and managed in common among all the individual owners. CID might describe a condominium, planned community or cooperative – any development where the individual owns the unit and shares ownership in the common areas.

Closing Costs: The fees paid at the closing of a real estate transaction are known as closing costs. These costs vary, and some are negotiable and may be paid by the buyer, the seller or both.

CMA: Comparative Market Analysis. A research report compiled by a real estate agent that analyzes a segment of the housing market to determine the market value of a particular property.

Escrow Impound Account: You will be asked to prepay taxes and insurance when you close on a home. This money goes into an escrow impound account and is used to ensure that these bills are paid on time. Not all mortgages require an escrow impound account, and if your loan-to-value ratio is 80 percent or less, you may be able to have this requirement waived and sometimes the lender will charge you for this.

FHA and HUD: The Federal Housing Administration is an office overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Many Americans assume that “FHA loans” are loans actually granted by this agency. They’re not. The FHA guarantees the repayment of the loan granted by a conventional lender.

GFE: Good Faith Estimate. A form supplied by the lender that itemizes the terms and costs of the loan for which you have applied.

HOA: Homeowners Association. This is the governing body of a common interest development. It is made up of a board of directors, elected by the homeowners.

HOI: Homeowner’s Insurance. This is required by the lender and it protects the property from hazards such as theft and fire. It also covers your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries on your property, including those caused by pets that live in the home.

HUD-1 Settlement Statement: An itemized list of services and fees charged to the borrower by the lender. By law, the borrower is given at least 24 hours before closing to inspect the HUD-1.

MLS: Multiple Listing Service. A database on which listing brokers share information about properties for sale with other agents. The information contained in the MLS is proprietary and typically not available to the general public.

PITI.: Pronounced “pee-tee,” this acronym stands for Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance, which, combined, make up your monthly mortgage payment.

PMI: Short for private mortgage insurance, a policy paid for by the borrower but benefitting the lender. Lenders typically require PMI when the loan-to-value ratio exceeds 80 percent.

PUD: Planned Unit Development. These developments are designed to offer amenities and conveniences not found in conventional subdivisions. They are typically governed by a homeowners association. Some PUDs are a mix of residences and retail operations.

REALTOR®: Many consumers assume that all real estate agents are Realtors®. This isn’t true. A real estate agent must be a dues-paying member of the National Association of Realtors® to legally use the term REALTOR®. (The association requires the registered trademark symbol be used with the term.)

Title Insurance: There are two types of title insurance policies. One covers a buyer’s interest in real property. The second type protects the lender. Title insurance is necessary to protect your interest from other claims of ownership.

TDS: Transfer Disclosure Statement. This describes a form that is filled out by the seller and given to the buyer as part of the disclosure process. The TDS contains a list of questions that must only be answered by the seller (not by his or her agent). Some of these questions are about the condition of the property and whether or not the seller has knowledge of any major repairs made to the house and items on the property, such as burglar alarms, sump pumps and even rain gutters.

VA Loan: A mortgage offered to U.S. service members, veterans and sometimes spouses that is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Zero-lot line: When a home sits right on the lot’s boundary, with little or no space between homes, it is said to have a zero-lot line.

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Retirement: Is This a Good Time to Downsize?

Retirement: Is This a Good Time to Downsize?

Moving into a smaller home – downsizing – isn’t just a way to save creaky knees from the two-story monster where you raised your family. It’s also a way to free up equity to use during retirement.

Money Bags

Although Americans lost a substantial amount of home equity during the housing crisis, older Americans fared better than most. In fact, in 2010 the median home equity for those between the ages of 55 and 64 was $100,000, according to Reuters. Americans aged 65 and over did even better; they typically claimed $135,000 in home equity.

This is money they fully intend on tapping into during retirement, and downsizing into a smaller home is one way to access that money.


Only 29 percent of baby boomers between the ages of 50 and 64 plan on moving within the next five years, according to Reuters, and only a fraction of them plan on downsizing.

“Downsizing is scary, and it’s a major event in life, like having an empty nest after the children leave,” Gerontologist Karen Owen-Lee told the Salt Lake Tribune.

Attitudes change as we age, however. Of the 14 percent of folks over 65 who say they’ll move within five years, 67 percent plan to make that move to a smaller home.

Pros and Cons

Like any move, downsizing requires careful consideration, consultation with your financial advisor and a solid plan.

Although often impossible to achieve, perfect timing comes in handy as well. Timing the sale of your current home to coincide with a seller’s market, when sales prices are up, helps you hang on to that hard-earned and much-needed equity. Selling in a down market, on the other hand, may result in a loss.

One other disadvantage to selling your current home is all the fees associated with the sale: Real estate commissions, mortgage fees and concessions to buyers can all add up to a significant amount of money. If downsizing into a condo, you’ll need to consider HOA fees, while moving to a more expensive community will bring additional costs as well.

Advantages to downsizing in preparation for retirement, or to save more money during retirement, include the obvious: a lower mortgage, and thus lower payments. If you have enough equity in your current home, you may be able to purchase the new home outright, thus eliminating mortgage payments completely.

Utility bills will be lower with less square footage to heat and cool, and a smaller lot may allow the retiree to avoid having to pay a landscape maintenance company. If the new home is in a walkable area, you’ll save money on gas and wear and tear on the car.

Make a Plan

One of the most important steps to downsizing is looking for that window of opportunity – a time when the market is robust for sellers yet sales prices aren’t so high as to price you out of the market on your new, smaller home.

While waiting for that opportunity, create a plan that includes downsizing to a smaller home, but also consider a less expensive location to get maximum bang for your retirement buck.

Instead of looking at cities or towns with strong job markets (a strong job market tends to increase home prices), look at smaller cities. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to move far from friends and family, claims Richard Satran of U.S. News and World Report. “Even overheated housing markets are ringed by pockets where home prices are more affordable,” he said.

The median move for folks over the age of 65 is 71 miles from their current home, Satran said, but 25 percent of them end up over 1,000 miles away. A great source for researching cities that might fit your bill is AARP. They list the best cities if you crave sunshine, the most affordable cities, best cities abroad, and even the most quirky cities in which to retire.

Once you narrow down where to live, the rest of the plan is easy. Determine what is most important to you in a neighborhood or community. Walkability? Proximity to recreational facilities? With a list of your wants and needs, a good real estate agent can help you find the ideal home in a community that fits your lifestyle.

Deciding whether to downsize is a personal choice. It requires taking into consideration your current financial position and the lifestyle you hope for in retirement. Seek the counsel of financial and real estate experts before making any firm decisions.

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7 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling a House

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling a House

Lucky is the homeowner who has experience with selling a home. First-time sellers have a steep learning curve ahead of them and many obstacles on the road to a successful sale. Although common with first-time sellers, some of these obstacles aren’t obvious.HOME

1. Not Preparing the Home for Sale

“Dress your house for success,” is probably the best advice for home sellers. Just as you wouldn’t attempt to get top dollar for a car without cleaning the interior and detailing the exterior, so it goes with the sale of your home.

Cleaning the house is the first step because, face it, nobody will buy a dirty house. But, here’s incentive for you to put on the rubber gloves and drag out the cleaning supplies: Clean houses sell quicker and for more money.

According to a recent survey, commissioned by one of the big real estate companies, a $402 investment in cleaning and decluttering a home realizes a 403 percent return on investment. That is a whopping $2,024 in your pocket at the closing table.

As impatient as you are to move on to the next phase of your life, it is vitally important to get the cleaning, painting, repairs and staging done before the house goes on the market.

To read the rest of the article click here.

To search the MLS like a Realtor click here.

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Should You?!?

Should You Carry?

Help Sell My Home Fast: Should I Sell My House and Carry the Contract?

In slow markets, when homes just don’t seem to move as quickly as we’d like them to, offering seller financing may be the key to getting a home sold.

With the sluggish real estate market of the last few years, seller financing has been dramatically increasing in popularity, but is it a smart move for you?

If you just can’t bear to let your home go for a fraction of what you paid for it, or you really need to sell quickly, then it may be a great option for you. Offering to carry the contract makes it easier for interested buyers who simply can’t get a home loan in today’s tough lending environment. Owner financing could help you avoid the nasty consequences of a foreclosure or allow you to trade up and take advantage of a great deal on a better home while prices are low, without juggling two mortgage payments.

Offering any form of seller financing can instantly make your home more attractive and stand out in the sea of properties on the market. It can also allow you to set a far higher price than you could get if you sold it to a cash buyer today. Just make sure you are aware of all your options and how badly it could turn out if things go wrong.

To view the entire article, click here.

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How to Keep Your Home Healthy

Healthy home

When you think of indoor pollution, those grotesque, blown-up images of dust mites might come to mind. Tiny bugs living in our mattresses are only one source of pollution, however. Different types of indoor pollution include air and water pollutants, cleaning products and cosmetics.

Most of us think of our home as a haven – a safe place where we are protected from the rest of the world. But sometimes extra care needs to be taken to create a healthy home.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

To search the MLS like a Realtor, Click Here!

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Highly Sought After Santa Fe II, Scottsdale

Quiet Street, Close to Pool, Corner Lot

Situated close to Lakeside pool with views of the golf course, this town home in Santa Fe II, Scottsdale, Los Libros is on one of the quietest streets in Santa Fe II. Updated unit with tiled patio and landscaped backyard with lighting and irrigation.  New Roof, AC, Fresh Paint and updated tile. Excellent opportunity to live in this highly sought after community. Friendly community with low HOA fees and no land lease.  See today.  Open houses every weekend. Contact us for a private tour…Greg Schamp  602.677.6816.

For all your SCOTTSDALE and PHOENIX Real Estate needs. To search the MLS like a Realtor CLICK HERE.

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