Monday, January 25, 2016

How to Find the Best Lender When Buying Your Home

OK you are thinking about buying a home.

You have noticed that in the Phoenix area, monthly rental payments have surpassed what buying the home would cost you per month.

You are saving up for your down payment and want to make sure you find the best lender you can and get the best deal possible, but with a sea of lenders coming at you online, how do you choose the best one for you and your family?

Here are some guidelines that we tell all of our real estate clients to help them make the best decision possible.

  1. You want to work with somebody you can trust and will be there when you have questions a couple of months or a couple of years down the road.
    Start by asking family and friends and your real estate agent who they have had success with and who they like.

Don’t ever fill out one of those mortgage forms on sites like Lending Tree who promise to find you the best lender.

You will be inundated with phone calls and email spam from ever ambulance chasing mortgage person out there. This will definitely leave a bad taste in your mouth and you will probably NOT find the best loan deal.

  1. You will get the most loan options if you decide on a mortgage broker versus your local bank.

Your local bank has one set of rules and guidelines and only a small handful of loan options. This will severely limit your choices.

Going to a mortgage broker will give you a much larger choice of loans and loan companies to choose from.

You want to really shop around because if you end up paying too much interest on your new loan, it could cost your thousands of dollars over the life of that loan.

  1. Check out your credit. Many times paying off a couple of small items will increase your credit rating which in turn can help you qualify for a lower interest rate.
  2. Finally even after you receive multiple offers for your loan, try and negotiate a better deal.

Just like the price of a home is negotiable, so are your loan terms and rates. Get as many offers and you can and leverage those against each other.

If you put as much effort into finding the best loan possible as you do for looking for that new home, you will see very good results.

We have a couple of mortgage lenders that we use and trust if you would like a referral.

Happy loan and house hunting!

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Is the Open Kitchen Plan Falling out of Fashion?

A VERY popular design for homes over the past 50 years has been the “open kitchen floor plan.”

Having a “great room” kind of makes your home appear to be very room and big as there are typically no walls between the living room & dining niche/room if your home has one.

Flooring layouts “carve” out the breaks between the rooms where as kitchens typically have tile or sheet vinyl, living rooms have carpet and the dining niche goes back to tile or vinyl.

Decorative borders can adorn the transitions between tile and carpet and are very fashionable.

Though we now believe that the open kitchen has finally run out of style.

Why? Because we think people are craving a new design style to drive them to upgrade to a new home.

If you REALLY think about it, open kitchen/great room designs are how apartments are designed.

“Are you calling my home with the open kitchen a glorified apartment?” Well kind of…

But having an open floor plan makes sense especially if you have small kids and need to keep an eye on them as they play and run about through the day.

It is also great for entertaining as you can keep the conversation going as you run to the kitchen for more appetizers or drinks…

But now let’s look at a few reasons why having the open kitchen design is a burden.

  • Your kitchen must remain spotless when guests come over. If you are cooking a huge meal for a lot of people, having a pile of dishes is a little unsightly.

    Plus, everybody now watches you as you load your dishwasher.

  • When your family is trying to watch TV in the living room area, the noise and smells from the kitchen are an annoyance.

Also that goes the other way for you having to watch, as your young kids watch the same kids program over and over again.

Might get a little old after a while.

So the bottom line is, if you are getting ready to buy a home, take a second look at the floor plan. If it is a great room and you don’t have small children, is it the best option for your family?

Moving to Phoenix?

Send us a quick message and we will roll out the red carpet for you when you come down to look at some homes.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Housing Affordability Crisis for Renters in the Phoenix Area?

As we begin 2016, things are much different in the rental market then they were say back in 2008 when our local real estate market was crashing here in the Phoenix metro area.

Back then, people were short selling their homes, or getting foreclosed on, unfortunately, and being forced to rent a home or an apartment due to credit issues.

The rental market was adjusting back then as well, but rental prices for a single family home were lower than the typical loan payment for the same home.

Fast forward to 2015, and we are seeing very high rental rates plus the average family is now spending over 30% of their monthly income on housing.

This is according to an article posted recently on the Raw Story.

The American Community Survey for 2014, released a few weeks ago, found that the number of renters paying 30% or more of their income on housing – the standard benchmark for what’s considered affordable – reached a new record high of 20.7 million households, up nearly a half-million from the year before. Despite the improving economy, the increase was nearly five times bigger than last year’s gain.

That means about half of all renters live in housing considered unaffordable.

And the latest increase comes on top of substantial growth since 2000 that has seen this number climb by roughly six million households over the period, an increase of about 41%. Read the rest…


As real estate agents in Phoenix, we are seeing rents increase faster than house payments because interest rates still remain so low.

The Phoenix area hit an impasse on new building for a few years until the market crash adjusted back to normal.

A study by the Harvard Joint Center shows that rental rates are surpassing the rate of inflation and that new construction only accounts for about 5 % of new rental housing stock and that a record setting 21.3 million people are facing housing costs burdens and are spending more than 40% of income on housing and utility costs.

The median rents of the new market-rate apartments coming online are out of reach for many households. That median rent hit $1,372 in 2014, a 26% increase from the prior year.

However, roughly 1 in 5 renters earn less than $15,000 annually and would require rents to be less than $400 to afford them.

The report shows that between 2003 and 2013, new construction only contributed 5% to the rental housing stock at those affordable levels, while conversions of single-family homes from owner-occupancy contributed 2%, and downward filtering of higher-cost units contributed 11%. Read more here …


They also brought up a point that housing units with low rents are vulnerable to deterioration.

Maybe it is time for investors and developers to take a long look at building more apartments which typically have lower rents and maintenance costs than single family housing units to slow down this deterioration factor?

Are you moving to the Phoenix, Arizona area?

Ping us, and we will give you the best info on the rental market here so you can make the best choice and get things organized for your move.

The post Housing Affordability Crisis for Renters in the Phoenix Area? appeared first on The Mark Gunning Team West USA Realty.

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