Archive for Scottsdale


Three Quick Ways to Improve Your Credit

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Yes, there are ways to improve your credit but before you do, please ask the opinion of your financial adviser.These tips come from a local company, Andorra Credit Repair. If you want more information on how to improve your credit, log on to


  • FICO, Who Cares…? A poor FICO score means paying higher interest rates on everything from mortgage rates, auto financing to department store credit cards. It's all in the numbers. Over thirty years on a $150,000 mortgage, you will save an extra $70,000 by paying an extra 2% on your mortgage. That's almost $200 per month for thirty years!


  •  Did you know… The three major credit bureaus have no responsibility of verifying any information that goes o to your credit report. That's right! Inaccurate, erroneous and unverifiable items can be added without your knowledge. Contact the credit bureau if this should happen to you.


  • Is it a good idea to pay off old Collections and Charged Off accounts?
    If you pay off a Collection account that has been on the credit report for 5 years (it will fall off by itself in two years whether you pay it or not) you will update the DLA (date of last activity) and it will stay on your credit for an additional 7 years. This generally will lower your credit score for the short term.
    However, if you pay off a Collection or Charge Off account that is 12-24 months old you can dramatically improve the credit score.

For any real estate questions, please contact us at 602.687.9933 or .



NACA:Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America: Reducing your Mortgage Payment

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A couple of people that we know have had success with this program. It may not be for everyone. With any program like this, please seek the advise of your financial planner, attorney, or other professional having to do with these kinds of matters.


From their website:

Click here for their video

The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America ("NACA") is a non-profit, community advocacy and homeownership organization. NACA’s primary goal is to build strong, healthy neighborhoods in urban and rural areas nationwide through affordable homeownership. NACA has made the dream of homeownership a reality for thousands of working people by counseling them honestly and effectively, enabling even those with poor credit to purchase a home or refinance a predatory loan with far better terms than those provided even in the prime market.

Investing in working people

The NACA homeownership program is our answer to the huge subprime and predatory lending industry. NACA has conclusively shown that when working people get the benefit of a prime rate loan, they can resolve their financial problems, make their mortgage payments and become prime borrowers. NACA’s track record of helping people who have credit problems become homeowners or refinance out of a predatory loan debunks the myth that high rates and fees are necessary to compensate for their "credit risk."

Started in 1988, NACA has a tremendous track record of successful advocacy against predatory and discriminatory lenders as well as providing the best mortgage program in America with $10 billion in funding commitments. NACA is the largest housing services organization in the country and is rapidly expanding by growing its existing 30+ offices, headquartered in Boston, MA, opening many new offices nationwide, and expanding the services it offers its membership. NACA’s confrontational community organizing and unprecedented mortgage program have set the national standard for assisting low- and moderate-income people to achieve the dream of homeownership.

NACA – America’s Best Mortgage Program
The incredible NACA mortgage allows NACA Members to purchase or refinance homes with:

  • no down payment,
  • no closing costs,
  • no fees,
  • no requirement for perfect credit,
  • and at a below-market interest rate.



Everyone gets the same incredible terms, including the below-market interest rate, regardless of their credit score or other factors. NACA also provides free, comprehensive housing services. NACA counsels Members into the extraordinary NACA mortgage using character-based lending criteria that takes each Member’s circumstances into account to determine whether they are ready for homeownership and what they can afford. This is in contrast to risk-based pricing where people are often given loans they cannot afford while brokers and others make tremendous fees and profits.

Property renovation and foreclosure prevention
NACA also provides property renovation assistance and Membership Assistance for NACA homeowners. NACA’s Home and Neighborhood Development ("HAND") Department addresses repair issues, and where appropriate provides rehab assistance throughout the renovation process. NACA’s Membership Assistance Program (MAP) provides comprehensive counseling for Members who are delinquent on their home payments, including establishing payment agreements and providing financial assistance to help Members avoid foreclosure.

Innovative technology
The NACA program has developed state-of-the-art mortgage software for web-based counseling, processing and underwriting., called "NACA Lynx", which is the envy of the mortgage industry. This is a paperless system that allows for character lending, loan processing and underwriting to be done on a very large scale.

Powerful national advocacy
NACA has revolutionized mortgage lending with its mortgage services and advocacy. NACA’s organizing department continues the aggressive advocacy against predatory lenders and the fight for economic justice. NACA is a high-profile organization, with its program and advocacy featured in the national media, including the Wall Street Journal, Prime Time Live, Boston Globe, Washington Post, major news outlets, and local networks nationwide.

NACA’s committed staff and contacting NACA

Our staff of hundreds of dedicated staff is committed to working with you to access this incredible mortgage product and to advocate for strong neighborhoods and economic justice. We are always looking for qualified staff—see our current job listings for details. To keep updated on NACA services, campaigns, and relevant legislative happenings, sign up by clicking Contact Us. NACA\'s History


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The Hottest Remodeling Trends for 2011

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You'll get the most out of your dollar by keeping an eye on what shows up in high-end homes. It’s the difference between Harvest Gold and rich wood.

 If you want to get the maximum value from your remodel when you sell your home, you need to pay attention to trends. But not just today's fads: what's more important is what will be hot when it's time to put your house on the market.

Home improvements, after all, start to date the moment they're completed. How fast their value slides may depend on your ability to forecast what will appeal to future buyers.

Guess right, and the remodel you do today can look almost as cutting edge five or even 10 years from now. Guess wrong, and you've just spent thousands on the avocado green, shag-carpeted, conversation pit turn-off of the future.

To navigate this minefield, keep in mind the following:

High-end homes drive the remodeling market. About 90% of the growth in remodeling industry over the last decade was, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, fueled by high-end homeowners (defined as those with houses worth $400,000 or more in 2003 dollars).

The trends hatched in this market tend to percolate down to the middle market, said remodeling expert Jim Lapides of the National Association of Home Builders' Remodelors Council, and eventually are incorporated into the new-home market.

So, if you want to know what will be in vogue in your neighborhood five years out, tour some open houses in more affluent communities to see what's happening there now.

Boomers are big, but GenXers are growing. Boomers own more of the housing stock and spend more on remodeling than other groups. But the cohort just behind them — those born from 1965 to 1974 – is coming on fast, according to Harvard's housing center.

While aging boomers may be looking to downsize and make their lives easier, midlife GenXers might be looking for more space to handle growing families. If you want your house to appeal to the largest number of buyers, you may have to think about features that appeal to both groups.

 Durability is key. Investing in quality materials can pay off if they hold up well over the years, said interior designer Juliana Catlin, past president of the American Society of Interior Designers and owner of Catlin Interiors in Jacksonville, Fla.

A cheap surface might show so many gouges and dings after five years that a buyer will insist you pay for replacing it, while a well chosen stone or tile surface could still be adding value a decade from now.


Consider the next buyer. One of the big trends in remodeling, particularly among GenXers, is making a personal statement, said Joan Stephens, chairman of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and owner of Stronghold Remodeling in Boise, Idaho.

These homeowners don't want their kitchens or baths to look like anyone else's; they might invest big bucks in, say, custom glass-tile designs or bold-colored countertops.

But Catlin worries these personal statements will date quickly and alienate future buyers."You have to think how it's going to translate for the next owners," Catlin said. "You may love your dark green countertop, but the next owner's favorite color could be yellow."

That's why Catlin advises homeowners who care about resale to choose more neutral colors for floors, countertops and other hard surfaces, using easily changeable paint and accessories to infuse personality.

Catlin also cautions against structural changes that can permanently devalue your home, like eliminating a bedroom or removing a tub from a bathroom (thus converting it from an all-important "full" bath to a three-quarters version).

 Another tip: make your remodel more timeless by matching it to the style of your home. "A cottage-style home looks better with a cottage-style kitchen," Catlin said. "A Mediterranean kitchen looks better in a Mediterranean home."

Be particularly cautious of any remodel that's a sharp contrast; an ultra-modern kitchen can look great if the rest of your house is sleek and uncluttered, but can look like a space ship landed if the rest of your home is shabby chic.

 In the kitchen

Highly polished granite and stainless steel were the hot trends in the 1990s — so much so that now there's a backlash among high-end homeowners. Instead of gleam, remodelers are going for warmth, Stephens said Color is hot right now, as in bright-red enameled stoves. But color trends are tricky to navigate, so a more conservative but still trendy choice might be panels that help refrigerators and dishwashers blend in with the cabinetry.

Higher-end appliances are also in big demand, Lapides said. Remodelers may not spend $6,000 on commercial-grade appliances, but they certainly want an upgrade from the entry level.

Stone countertops are still popular of course, but more homeowners are becoming wary of the drawbacks, said Vince Butler, chairman of the Remodelors Council. (Granite and other natural stones can be permanently stained by cooking oils and etched by common cleaners.) Butler said he is installing more synthetic or engineered stone countertops and seeing renewed interest in "solid surfaces" like Corian.

 "It may not have the eye appeal [of granite] but I think as people live with it, it may be easier to take care of," Butler said.

 Some, though, wonder if the monster/gourmet kitchen trend might begin to peter out, particularly among homes designed to appeal to older boomers.

"I think in the future people are going to be tired of cooking," said syndicated columnist and former builder Tim Carter, whose site focuses on remodeling as well as new construction issues.

 "It doesn't make much sense to invest $100,000 in a (kitchen remodel) if you don't cook that much."

 For the frugal: The good news is that minor kitchen remodels actually seem to pay off better at resale time than major redos, at least according to Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost vs. Value survey.

 Someone who spent an average $14,913 refacing cabinets, replacing laminate countertops and installing new cooktop, oven and sink in 2005 would recoup an estimated 98.5% of the cost on average if the home sold within a year, whereas someone who spent $81,552 on an upscale, tear-everything-outand- replace-it remodel would recoup 84.8% on average.

The bath

Utilitarian is out. Think spa — as in lots of space, big soaking or whirlpool tubs, multiple shower heads or even steam attachments in the shower. Dual sinks are a given in master baths, and luxuries like heated floors and towel warmers are popular with upscale renovators. Many renovators are putting the toilet in a separate room or partitioned area.

Remodelers are also shelling out, big time, for custom tile, said Butler, who runs Butler Bros. remodeling company in Clifton, Va.

 "It's the place where people are really expressing themselves," he said. "We've seen some master bathrooms where they spent $20,000 just on tile, and these are not extremely expensive homes. These are middle-class homes."

Be careful about going overboard if your primary goal is boosting resale value, however. The remodeling survey found a midrange remodel costing $10,499 would recoup 102.2% of its cost if the house sold within a year, while a more-elaborate $26,052 renovation would bring back 93.2%.

For the frugal: Adding multiple shower heads to a shower typically costs just a few hundred dollars, making it one of the most economical ways to add a spa feel. Also, try to avoid moving fixtures, since that can add enormously to a project's cost.


Wood floors are still desirable, with bamboo becoming more popular. Tile is still a good choice for kitchens and baths, although concrete is being used more often (either stained or just sealed). In addition, high-end linoleum — which sounds like an oxymoron, but isn't — is being used in more fashionable homes.

 For the frugal: Laminate flooring designed to look like wood can be less expensive and more durable than the real thing, but choose carefully: some of the products can look kind of cheesy, Carlin warned. If you have the real thing hiding under carpeting or other flooring, spring for refinishing to add real value to your home.


Contractors polled by the National Association of Home Builders said universal design — making homes more accessible for the elderly and disabled — would be one of the top future trends in remodeling (second only to the ever-rising cost of labor).

 Since most folks want to "age in place," making sure they can get around their homes as they age will be increasingly important.

 Of course, baby boomers don't want to be reminded they're getting old, so one way to tout accessible design is to point out how their parents can benefit when they visit.

"When you're selling to that demographic, you kind of skirt the issue," Stephens said.

Fortunately, most aspects of universal design involve fairly subtle changes that add little if any cost to a remodeling project.

 Wider hallways and doorways, for example, are aesthetically pleasing as well as more functional when you're maneuvering a wheelchair, walker or even a big piece of furniture. (Ever try to get a king-sized bed or monster couch through a narrow door?)

Step-in showers, with no lip or tub wall separating them from the rest of the bathroom, can add to that spa feeling, while the extra lighting that can help aged eyes also makes the house feel brighter and more desirable.

 For the frugal: Again, universal design can be incorporated into virtually any remodel. Or you can tackle projects one by one, such as replacing regular doorknobs with lever-style handles, removing thresholds between rooms and adding better lighting.

 Floor plans

Open is still in and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, design experts agree. Cooks don't want to be isolated in the kitchen, and open floor plans make even smaller homes feel roomier.

By contrast, the value of additions appears to be waning, at least according to the survey, which showed most projects that added square footage didn't pay off as well as other remodels. Carter, for one, expects that trend to continue if energy prices remain high.

 "The cost to heat and cool a home in the future is going to be staggering," Carter predicted. "If we don't have any major improvements in insulation, the only way you're going to save money on heating and cooling is by having a smaller home."

 For the frugal: Knocking down a few walls costs a lot less than adding square footage. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, though, make sure you're not destroying load-bearing walls.

Bonus rooms

Carter thinks retired baby boomers are going to want workshops and hobby rooms to pursue their leisure-time passions.

 Lapides suggests that "Costco rooms" may be on the rise, as homeowners look for ways to store "all the 10-pound bags of pretzels they bought at Costco." The extra storage might be incorporated into a space that also serves as the laundry and mud rooms, Lapides said.

 In fact, incorporating more storage throughout the house is likely to pay off, since our propensity to acquire stuff is unlikely to abate in the next decade.

 Catlin also sees more houses incorporating home offices, which traditionally haven't added as much value as other remodeling projects. One solution is to build the office into the closet of a guest room, so later occupants have the flexibility to use the space the way they want.

 For the frugal: You probably won't want to build rooms devoted to a single use, but adding shelves or cabinets can be an inexpensive way to increase a room's functionality.


The high-tech home

Movies, video games and other content increasingly will be delivered via broadband, so Carter recommends installing conduit that can help future electricians run wires from wherever the cable or satellite enters to your house to the rooms where you have your computers and entertainment centers.

 He also likes the idea of "electronics closets" to house all the home entertainment gear and minimize visual clutter. Sensors can be built into the wall above the TV screen to transmit your remote controls' signals to the gear in the closet.

 Another wiring project that's hot, Stephens said, involves putting speakers throughout the house as well as outside.

 For the frugal: Adding speaker wire is an inexpensive, if potentially messy, do-it-yourself job since you likely will be running wires through attics and crawlspaces. Adding conduit is cheap if you've already got walls torn open for other projects; otherwise, hold off.

 Have fun with your remodeling projects!


Home Prices Expected to Dip in December

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House Prices Dip in December, Up Again in January

According to the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, Metro Phoenix home prices should hold steady for the rest of November but take a dip in December.

The region's median home price is projected to be $120,000 this month and then slip to $117,000 next month. These figures are based on the home sales under contract and tracked by the ARMLS Pending Price Index.  If themedian price does fall, it will be a new 10 year low for the Valley and signal a double dip in prices.

Pundits predit that the median price will climb back in January to $120,00 and then drop again in February to $105,000 though many home sales for that month have not been finalized.

For any real estate questions, please contact us at


After finding documentation problems, Wells Fargo says it's going to re-file paperwork for 55,000 foreclosures. But it's not going to issue a blanket moratorium on foreclosures.

There will probably be a temporary decrease in the number of foreclosures in the last quarter of this year. But they're go back up once the paperwork is re-filed. Wells Fargo, and all the other banks, say they're just having problems with the documentation.

Foreclosures are expected to be back up next year, for a couple of reasons. Banks are going to be re-filing their paperwork.

Those foreclosures will go through, barring any more problems with documentation. But the bigger driver behind foreclosures next year will be the fact that adjustable rate mortgages are going to adjust upward.

When you think about the fact that a lot of these borrowers were only marginally qualified to begin with and would now be faced with paying a thousand dollars more a month on a property that's lost 30, 40, 50 percent of its value since the time they bought it, it's a pretty toxic mix.

Pundits predict that foreclosures will actually peak next year. 2011 will set records for the number of foreclosures and bank repossessions of homes.

For any financial questions, refer to your lender and mortgage company. For any legal questions, consult a lawyer.

For all real estate questions, please contact us at: 602.687.9933 or



Wow! The mortgage rates are the lowest I have ever seen. If you are in the market for a property, now would be the time to buy but… be very careful and cautious when obtaining a mortgage. There may be hidden costs in the mortgage you obtain. Read the fine print and look at the APR.

What is the APR? The APR, the annual percentage rate, by  law, includes all cost in a single rate. This rate avoids all of the confusion with the various charges that may be accrued.

If you see one 30 year fixed rate with an APR of 7% and another with an APR of 7.5%, you can feel confident that the one with the lower APR has the lower rate.

Please ask your lender for all mortgage advise. For real estate information, please contact us at or 602. 687.9933.

Making a decision on the term of your mortgage is always very difficult. I have tried to simplify the information for you below.

Longer Mortgage Terms: The length of the mortgage affects both the total cost of the mortgage and the size of the monthly payments. You will pay more for your property overall but longer mortgage terms have lower monthly payments.

Shorter Mortgage Terms: These terms generate less total interest over time so that you will pay less for your property overall than a longer term mortgage.

Here is an example of the differences in mortgage terms. The example below is not exact. Please check with your mortgage professional for any questions you may have.

Mortgage Term                   Monthly Payment             Total Cost
15 year                                           $1,687.73                               $303, 787.81
30 year                                          $ 1,199.15                               $431,676.25

Which Term Should you Choose?

This is a very personal decision and you will have to analyze your particular financial situation. If you choose the shorter term, you will pay less overall but you would have to decide if you could handle the payments.  If you cannot, a longer term might be the solution for  you.

For any mortgage questions, confer with your lender. For any real estate questions, contact us at or call 602.687.9933.

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