Archive for August, 2010

 “Cash is king” is the mantra heard all over the financial world but when you are purchasing a home, your credit should be “golden”.

A lender considering whether to approve you for a home mortgage will examine your credit history. Credit history is your record of paying back loans, including credit card bills.

If you have a “good” credit history of repaying loans on time and in full, you can usually (but not always due to the strict guidelines the banks have set in place) get approved for loans with lower interest rates.  If you a ‘bad” credit history of missing payments or paying only minimum balances, your loans may be with a higher interest rate.

Sometimes you may not be able to be approved for a loan at all.

If you are thinking about buying a home, even years from now, maintain good credit. Keep your credit “golden”.

Credit Reports

You need to know what your credit score is and what your financial institution considers “good” credit. As always, ask your financial consultant for advice. You may request a credit report, a report that details your debt and payment history.  Credit reports typically include a credit score (also called a FICO score) that gives lenders a quick summary of the quality of your credit.

FICO scores range from 300 to 900 or more. Generally, a score of 700 or above is considered “good”, while a score below “700” may be a disadvantage while attempting to secure a lower interest rate loan. Again, the banks are strict so these numbers may vary.

To order a credit report, contact one of the three major credit bureaus; Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax.

A new law entitles all Americans to one free credit report per year, available at Monitor your credit and check the reports for errors.

For any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at: or 602.687.9933.

 Downtown Phoenix residential properties, First Time Homebuyer

We all want a place to call our own, a place in which we can paint the walls purple if we want, where we can hang pictures where we want. Buying a home is typically more cost effective (in the long run) than renting. In the short term, buying a home is definitely more expensive. I want you to be aware of the significant up-front costs that are involved when you purchase a home.



 Down payment: A one-time cash payment that is typically 5-20% of the purchase price of the home. Buyers who pay less than 20% must usually pay additional Private mortgage insurance, called PMI.

Closing costs: The various fees that lenders charge for processing your loan. These charges are usually    1-5% of the overall purchase price.

Property taxes: State and/or local taxes levied on your home. Property taxes vary widely by jurisdiction. Expect to pay at least 1% of the purchase price of your home per year.

Insurance: The cost of homeowner’s insurance and title insurance.  Homeowner’s insurance covers your new house and its contents. Title insurance covers you if the sale of the home was somehow fraudulent. Insurance costs vary substantially depending on the value of your home and its contents.

Repairs: Costs for any necessary or desired repairs, which vary widely depending on the condition of the home. If you’re interested in a property that needs substantial repairs, make sure to budget for the work.

Moving costs: The more stuff you have and the farther you have to move, the more it will cost.  Interstate moves typically cost $3,000 and up.

You will need savings to cover the up-front costs of buying a home. You will also need a steady income to cover the ongoing expenses, such as repairs and upkeep.  If you do not have both saving and a steady income stream, it is typically better to keep on renting.

Build up your funds by cutting costs and saving money.  Eventually, the time will come when you will be able to buy a home.

For more information call: 602.687.9933  or

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Buying and owning a home is not for everyone. It could be one of the   best financial decisions of your life, but before you jump into the process, it is best to analyze the pros and cons of renting vs buying.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Renting vs Buying

The Advantages of Renting:

  • Time: It usually takes less effort to find a place to rent than one to buy.
  • Less responsibility: You’re not responsible for damage that results from everyday wear and tear.
  • Personal flexibility: It’s usually easier and less expensive to break a lease than to get out of a mortgage.
  • Financial flexibility: Since you typically pay just a deposit and not a substantial down payment, as you would for a mortgage, your assets remain more liquid and accessible.

The Advantages of Buying:

  • Investment: Homes can grow in value. Rent, once paid, is lost forever
  • Taxes: Mortgage interest is tax deductible, lowering payments.
  • Stability: Fixed-rate mortgage payments never rise  in cost, whreas rent can rise every year.
  • Design flexibility: You’re completely free to renovate, remodel, or landscape your home however you like.

Make your decision wisely. If you need personal or financial flexibility, don’t have much time to find a place, or do not want to be responsible for the upkeep of your home, renting is the better option. If you are in a place where you want to stay a while, have a place to call home, then buying a home is probably the better option. For any questions, contact us at: 602.687.9933 or e mail us at: .


Grand Prize: The Penthouse at One Lexington on Central Avenue

There is excitement is our offices as Downtown Phoenix’s St. Joseph’s Hospital kicks off its Fall 2010 Raffle. This will be their 15th Raffle. The raffle is one of the largest fundraisers for St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Barrow Neurological Institute, and the Scott and Laura Eller Congenital Heart Center.

The Health and Wealth Raffle was the first raffle of its kind in the United States and is called, “Arizona’s Original Raffle.”

It has given away more than 114,000 prizes, including $14.5 million in cash and 26 homes.

More than 1.8 million Raffle tickets have been sold since the Raffle began in 2003 and it has raised more than $50 million for St. Joseph’s and Barrows Neurological Center.  

The funds from the Raffle are particularly important to the hospital because they are unrestricted. They can go toward any project within the broad umbrella of education, research, and care for those in need.

All prizes and services to run the Raffle are purchased locally whenever possible. This benefits Phoenix business and people in our community.

The cost of a Raffle ticket is $100, with a limited number of 3 tickets for $250. You must purchase your tickets in Arizona but ticket purchasers do not have to be residents of Arizona to win.

Unfortunately, the IRS does not recognize the cost of a ticket as tax deductible.

There are more than 4,300 prizes available in the Fall Raffle including:

Grand Prizes 

  • A million-dollar penthouse or a million dollars cash.
  • His & her Mercedes or a cash option of $150,000 (2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet and 2011 Mercedes-Benz R350 Crossover)

Grand Prize: His and Her Mercedes, wow!

For a full list of prizes: Click on this link

These are some key dates to remember:

Public launch — Thursday, August 12
Early bird cutoff to purchase tickets – Thursday,
September 2
Early bird draw — Thursday, September 9 

Final cutoff to purchase tickets — Thursday, September 23
Final draw — Thursday, September 30


To purchase tickets for the Raffle, call 1-866-390-9034 or visit the Health & Wealth Raffle website at

Good Luck to All but I really want to win the Penthouse!

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Recently, we have had several of our homebuyers buy much more house than they originally thought that they could due to the exceptionally low interest rates. Honestly, I have never seen these rates this low for so long.

Long-term interest rates hit an all-time record low for the seventh straight week, falling to 4.49 percent, excluding points, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac Thursday.

Here’s why rates are so low still:
The gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2010 grew at a rate of 2.4 percent, slightly lower than predicted and Freddie Mac is saying that looking back, GDP has grown much slower than we previously thought during the past few years. Slow economic growth means minimal inflation.

From Marketwatch
“There is a strong relationship of bond prices to inflation risk,” Cameron Findlay, chief economist of, said in a news release. “Generally as the risk to inflation grows, bond prices move lower, leading mortgage rates to increase. Recently, there has been a very low risk of inflation, forcing bond prices higher and mortgage rates to move lower.
“With price growth slower than expected, borrowers can expect mortgage rates to remain low,” he said.

Lender rate sheets this morning are improved when compared to last weeks. The par 30 year conventional rate mortgage remains in the 4.25% to 4.50% range for well qualified consumers. To be considered well qualified you must have a FICO credit score of 740 or higher. For consumers with lower FICO scores, you should consider a FHA loan which offers similar rates but with higher closing costs.

Current Mortgage Rates

PRODUCT 30 Year Fixed

RATE 4.59 %
APR 4.75 %
CHANGE 0.00 %

15 Year Fixed

RATE 4.06 %
APR 4.23 %
CHANGE 0.00%

5/1 ARM
RATE 3.69%
APR 3.47%
CHANGE 0.00%

10/1 ARM
RATE 4.38%
APR 4.00%
CHANGE 0.000%

If you have any questions regarding this post or any other post, please do not hesitate to contact us at or 602. 687.9933.

Rates fluctuate on a daily basis, please check with your lender for any lender information or questions.

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The National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday that prices in Phoenix stayed firm in the second quarter 2010.

They accredited it to the tax credit’s final months and the falling interest rates. There continues to be an inventory of homes for sale in the Phoenix area, up 6% from June to July and 13 percent since July 2009. Arizona remains seventh among states for the number of foreclosures filed which accounted for a growing share of local home sales although the numbers are down.

The median price for a home resale in Phoenix stood at $144,700 in the second quarter, according to the NAR, a 10.4 percent increase over second-quarter 2009, but still well off the 2007 median of $257,400.

The number of single-family home sales also is up. NAR reports a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 157,200 homes based on second-quarter activity in Arizona. That’s up 3.1 percent from the first quarter and 4.5 percent compared with a year.

Phoenix median home prices
 2Q 2010: $144,700 up
 1Q 2010: $140,900 down
 4Q 2009: $143,900 up
 3Q 2009: $142,700 up
 2Q 2009: $131,100 down
 2008: $191,300 down
 2007: $257,400 up

Phoenix median condo prices
 2Q 2010: $87,500 down
 1Q 2010: $88,300 down
 4Q 2009: $94,600 down
 3Q 2009: $100,200 down
 2Q 2009: $104,100 down
 2008: $162,400 up

Source: National Association of Realtors

I know most of you have moved before and probably have it down to a science but the information below will help remind you of the important items to do. Moving to a new home requires a lot of preparation. To make sure you get it all done and have a smooth transition into your new address, begin planning months in advance. Here is a moving checklist.

Two months Before Moving
The first step is determining whether or not you’ll do it yourself or have a professional mover do it for you. Check rates, get quotes and, if it’s a work-related move, find out what expenses your employer may cover. This is also the time to start alerting the people and businesses in your life that need to know about your move and begin dealing with the stuff that will go with you or stay behind.

• Create a “move file” to keep track of estimates, receipts and other important information.
• Check with the IRS to see what expenses can be deducted on your next tax return.
• Start pulling together medical and dental records, including prescriptions and immunization dates. Ask your existing
doctors if they can refer you to a care provider in your new city or area.
• Arrange to have school records transferred to your children’s new school district and/or daycare.
• Call your insurance agent to see what changes to expect in your policies. Ask if moving is covered and arrange for
insurance for your new home.
• Contact member organizations you have joined. Ask how you can end, sell or transfer your membership.
• Clear out your household clutter. Start planning a yard sale or contact your local charities to make donations.
• Make a list of friends, relatives and businesses that need to be notified of your move.
• Plan to use up things that can’t be moved, such as frozen foods and harsh chemicals and cleaners.
• Purchase or collect boxes and other packing supplies.

Two to Four weeks before Moving
Time to start fine-tuning your moving process, making plans to disconnect or transfer all of your services and wrapping up loose ends at local businesses, if you’re moving out of the area.

• Begin packing and finish dealing with the items you won’t be taking with you.
• Get an itemized list of all moving related costs and review with mover, including packing, loading, special charges,insurance, vehicles (if needed), etc.
• File a change of address with the post office.
• Contact utility companies to disconnect, transfer or connect services. This can also be done online. Do not have your telephone disconnected until the day after your move. You may need it for last-minute emergencies.
• Call your newspaper courier, lawn services and others and set a date to cancel your subscription.
• Start packing items you don’t use often. Also start disposing of the items you’ve designated for a yard sale, donation or the junk yard. If you donate, be sure to get a receipt for income tax purposes.
• Inventory all items to be moved.
• Decide if you will keep your plants or give them away. Plants cannot be loaded with your other household goods.
• Dispose of flammables, corrosives and poisons.
• Have your automobile(s) serviced.
• Contact your bank and/or credit union to transfer or close accounts. Clear out safety deposit boxes. Pick up traveler’s checks or cash for “on the road” expenses. Close any accounts you will not be transferring.
• Confirm travel arrangements.
• Confirm movers or truck rental reservation.

One Week Before Moving
Now it’s time to make final preparations by completing your packing, except for what you’ll need till the last minute at your old home and as soon as you reach your new home. These items can go into a suitcase and several “essentials” boxes, consisting of cleaning supplies, linens and non-perishable food.

• Make sure all library books have been returned and that all dry cleaning or items out for repair have been picked up.
• Finish packing and prepare an “essentials” containers. Designate items as “last load” items. Pack your suitcases and valuables separately.
• Drain gas and oil from your mower and other motors. Gas grills, kerosene heaters, etc. need to be emptied as well.
• Empty, defrost and clean your refrigerator at least 24 hours before moving day.
• Prepare all appliances for loading.
• Fill any necessary prescriptions needed for the next two weeks.
• If you’re moving out of a building with elevators, arrange with management for use of elevators on move day.
• Prepare specific directions to your new home for your moving company (drivers), including your travel itinerary and
emergency numbers.
• Check to ensure that closets, cupboards, attics and basements are empty.
• If you have pets or children, make arrangements for someone to watch them while the moving truck is being loaded.

The Day of the Move
Here we go! Moving day is exciting and usually fast-paced, but if you’ve working steadily up to this point, it doesn’t need to be stressful. Your most important tasks are to make sure that you and your movers have no uncertainties about the load, the destination or how to reach each other in transit and that you close down your house properly.

• If you are using a moving company, go with the driver as he/she inspects what will be taken and confirms the inventory list. You’ll want to be sure that the true condition of furniture is taken down, in case something gets damaged in the move. Now is the time to iron out any differences in load estimates and pricing from what you were originally quoted.
• Make sure you have the name and telephone number of the moving company’s crew chief and that he or she has yours.
• If you are moving yourself, take extra care in securing your load. Make sure the truck is locked and not parked in a vulnerable location.
• Be sure that your essential items are set aside, so they don’t accidentally get loaded on the truck.
• Do a final check of the entire house, closets, cupboards, basement, attic, shed and yard to be sure that nothing was left behind.
• Shut off all lights and faucets and turn down the thermostat.
• Make sure all windows and doors are locked.
• Leave keys, garage door opener, appliance manuals and any important instructions for the new owners.

Congratulations! You are on the road and on your way to your new home. Now you can enjoy your trip, with the peace of mind that you’ve made all your preparations on both ends of your big move.
For more helpful moving resources check out Also, has tips to help you through the moving process.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 602.687.9933 or

First Fridays occur every month from 6-12 PM with many galleries open even later.

Participants and guests can park at the Phoenix Art Museum where there is FREE PARKING, shuttle service and Artlink Volunteers to answer your questions. There is on street parking or parking garages throughout downtown Phoenix.

You can start from any gallery found on the Artlink First Friday map. First time visitors find it easiest to start at the:
Phoenix Art Museum
1625 North Central Avenue.

How you get around is up to you. It is called an artwalk so most people simply walk from one gallery to the next. Again, refer to the map. If you would like to visit more isolated galleries, you may need to drive, bicycle, pedi-cab, or use the FREE SHUTTLE BUS.

Artlink provides shuttle stops that are FREE during First Friday. Check the map and look for signs near the galleries, then hop on at any stop and make your way around downtown. The shuttle begins at 6 PM and runs until 10 PM.

Many of the stops on the tour are full-time businesses that have regular hours throughout the month! Check out their special events.

Tip: Don’t waste the entire night waiting for the bus. Many of the galleries are close to each other. Biking is a great way to get around.

For a First Friday map, click on the following link:

For Fun: Images of First Friday:

Categories : Downtown Phoenix
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via Realty Times – Top Ten Things to Know When Investing in Real Estate Notes in Your IRA.

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