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What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for You?

by Lisa Bray

What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for You? 

What does the government shutdown mean for you? This seems to be the question of the day. With no resolution in sight, people across the nation are wondering how this will impact them, especially those who are planning to purchase a home with an FHA loan.

With limited staff, FHA underwriters are still working but other branches of the government that are currently close will limit access to important documentation required for loan approval. Most lenders require IRS transcripts and social security verification as a part of the loan approval documentation. Both of these government departments are working with limited staff.

Although the FHA is still technically working, the loan process could be delayed due to the shutdown. Regardless of this news, buying a home is still a good idea and as with any current event, the information available changes daily.

If you are interested in purchasing a home with an FHA loan, I would encourage you to speak to a qualified lender before you make any decisions regarding the government shutdown. Working with an experienced, knowledgably loan officer is imperative, especially during a time like this. If you need a recommendation, please call me today.

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals
www.LisaBray.com
602-762-3691

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3 Wonderful Winterizing Tips for Your AZ Home

by Lisa Bray

3 Wonderful Winterizing Tips for Your AZ Home

We may not get snow very often in the beautiful Valley of the Sun, but winter can still bring some cold surprises to your home as what’s been experienced by the recent cold fronts and temperature drops.  Simple winterizing tasks can help you prep for the unexpected temperature drops and protect your home all winter long.  Here are 3 wonderful winterizing tips for your AZ home that you can start today!

1.) Adjust Your Thermostat:  Winter is here and with it comes higher heating bills.  You’ll want to change your filter at least once a month to help your furnace perform at maximum efficiency.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning your thermostat back 10°F–15°F for at least eight hours a day will allow you to save 10 percent to 15 percent off your heating bill.  Programmable thermostats can help you set and forget.

2.) Avoid Drafts:  Cold air has a way of leaking into your home when you least expect it.  Sealing up areas where drafts can seep in is a huge benefit not just to you but to your heating bill as well.  Air usually leaks in around common areas such as door frames and windows, so add easy to install weather-stripping from your local hardware store.  Looking for a more permanent insulation option?  Upgrade from single pane windows to double pane or add a window insulation kit to keep cold air out. 

3.) Protect Your Plants:  One of the biggest worries of gardeners is the threat of freezing weather and frosts that can kill your plants. To protect your larger plants and trees from frost, be sure to cover them with fabric, old bed sheets, burlap, or commercial frost cloths you can get at your local hardware store. Potted plants in containers that aren’t hardy for unexpected cold should be brought inside during cold weather. Dig up tender bulbs and store them in a cool dry place.

When you take the time to protect your home, you’ll have more time to enjoy the rarely chilly Arizona weather and help prevent repair problems and future maintenance issues. If you’d like more tips about winterizing your home or if you’re ready to sell your Phoenix home or buy a home in the West Valley including Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Surprise, Avondale and the surrounding areas, please contact Lisa Bray today!

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.LisaBray.com

602-762-3691
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“Delivering More than Just a Home”

REMAX National Housing Report November 2018

by Lisa Bray

RE/MAX National Housing Report November 2018

Years of shrinking inventory gave way in November to a second consecutive month of year-over-year growth in the number of homes for sale, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report. The apparent reason: Home sales declined for the fourth consecutive month when compared to the same months in 2017. Even so, home prices remained strong.

Across the 53 metro areas surveyed, inventory rose 3.0 percent – the highest monthly year-over-year gain in the 10-year history of the report, following October’s 1.0 percent increase that ended a streak of 119 months of year-over-year declines dating back to November 2008. The Months Supply of Inventory rose to 3.9, the highest for any month since 4.2 in December 2016.

November home sales, meanwhile, declined 6.9 percent, which was the second-largest year-over-year decline of 2018 and the biggest year-over-year sales decline for November in five years. This year only April and July sales exceeded 2017 totals for the corresponding months.

“The road to market normalization can be bumpy,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “It’s good to see the small uptick in inventory, and the drop in November sales isn’t too surprising – given the recent trends, the mid-term elections, and the earlier-than-usual Thanksgiving holiday. As we near year-end, three main themes appear clear – buyers are grappling with affordability issues and tight inventory; sellers are unsure how to react to the cooling market; and homes priced properly are still selling rather quickly. All three underscore the fact that the guidance of a professional agent is even more critical in times like these.”

November’s Median Sales Price of $235,000 was 4.0 percent higher than November 2017 and was the highest November price in the report’s history. It marked the 32nd consecutive month of year over-year price increases. Comparing the first 11 months of 2018 to 2017, home prices are up 6.0 percent. Even with declining sales, homes sold at record speed for November. Homes spent an average of 51 Days on Market, compared to the previous November low of 54 days set last year.

Click here to download your copy of the RE/MAX National Housing Report for November 2018. Looking to sell your Phoenix home or buy a home in Phoenix? Contact Lisa Bray today! I will be happy to provide a free market analysis of your home, and I am deeply committed to helping you reach your real estate goals on step at a time.

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.LisaBray.com

602-762-3691
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“Delivering More than Just a Home”

Ten Tips to Survive the Holidays

by Lisa Bray

Ten Tips to Survive the Holidays

The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, however this time of year is also chalked full of stress. There is good news though; the holiday season can be enjoyed without the stress and emotions with a few easy tips. Here are ten tips to help you survive the holidays:

  1. Keep your regular routine: stick to your normal routine as best you can which will help to prevent stress.
  2. Be realistic, there is not “perfect” holiday: a big point of stress comes from thinking that you have to create the perfect holiday. In reality, life is messy, and things happen. Be realistic and try to go with the flow.  
  3. Think moderation: we love traditions and this time of year that includes our favorite family recipes, ciders and parties. However, over indulging leads to unnecessary physical stress.
  4. Don’t let guilt get you down: nothing adds stress more than feeling guilty but there is only so much time, and only so much of yourself to go around. Pick wisely and let go of the guilt.
  5. Stay connected: make sure you schedule enough time to spend with your cherished family and friends. Make plans ahead of time, and put it on the calendar.
  6. Don’t be alone if you don’t want to be: There are plenty of people in your life who want to spend time with you, so there is no reason to be alone during the holiday season (unless that is how you want to spend it!)
  7. Learn to say no: even during the holiday season, it is okay to say no! Feeling obligated leads to resentment, and ultimately added stress. Remember, it is your holiday season too!
  8. Ask for help: it is easy to take on too much during the holidays, but if you do, it is also okay to ask for help. You will find that those who care about you the most, will be more than happy to pitch in.
  9. Focus on today: there is something about family and friends, traditions and memories that bring up feelings that we may not want to feel during the holidays. Reliving the past or feeling like you aren’t good enough is a sure way to add stress to your holiday season. This year instead try focusing only on today.
  10. Be kind to yourself: if you feel down or overwhelmed, take a moment to pamper yourself. Do what feels best to you, even if that isn’t on the “holiday to-do list.” You are not perfect; no one is. This year, be kind to yourself!

From my family to yours, let us be the first to wish you a happy holiday season! We look forward to helping you with all your real estate needs in the New Year!

Lisa Bray
RE/MAX Professionals
www.LisaBray.com
602-762-3691

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“Delivering More than Just a Home”

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/life-without-anxiety/201212/10-tips-surviving-the-holidays

RE/MAX National Housing Report for October 2018

by Lisa Bray

RE/MAX National Housing Report for October 2018

The third consecutive month of lower year-over-year home sales in October contributed to the first year-over-year inventory increase in a decade according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report for October 2018. Meanwhile, the Median Sales Price recorded one of its lowest increases of 2018.

The RE/MAX National Housing Report for October saw sales decline 4.6 percent from a year ago – compared to sales drops of 11.6 percent in September and 1.1 percent in August – and was the eighth month of 2018 to record lower sales than 2017.

As a result, inventory is slowly being replenished, with the number of homes for sale in October increasing 1.0 percent over October 2017. October 2018 was the first month to show a year-over-year increase in inventory since October 2008 when two and a half times as many homes were for sale. The Months Supply of Inventory is now 3.5, compared to 3.3 a year ago.

“The market continues to move toward equilibrium. The modest inventory increase is a much welcome sign for buyers,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “Although home sales were down year-over-year, it’s encouraging to see the magnitude of the decline decrease from the sharp drop we witnessed in September. The trend of easing price increases remains and that’s also a positive.”

October’s Median Sales Price of $236,000 marked the 31st consecutive month of year-over-year price increases and was the highest October price in the 10-year history of the report. Even so, the 4.9 percent gain was the third-lowest year-over-year growth of 2018.

Days on Market of 48 was an October record for fewest days and compares to 51 days in October 2017.

“The imbalance that has defined this market for so long continues to moderate,” said Contos. “However, it will take some time to recalibrate. Rising prices and interest rates and tight inventory levels continue. Buyer and seller expectations still appear to be a bit mismatched suggesting a choppy market remains in place.”

Click here to download your copy of the RE/MAX National Housing Report for October 2018. Looking to sell your Phoenix home or buy a home in the West Valley? Contact Lisa Bray today.I will be happy to provide a free market analysis of your home, and I am deeply committed to helping you reach your real estate goals on step at a time!

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.LisaBray.com

602-762-3691
Join me on Facebook
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Search the MLS Now!

“Delivering More than Just a Home”

Estrella Lakeside Farmer’s Market Helps Make Goodyear Healthier

Do you love shopping for fresh produce at farmers markets? You're not alone. Farmers markets are important for many reasons, especially because they increase access to fresh, nutritious food. Foremost, they are important because they are the critical component in rebuilding local food economies. By providing a cost-effective, retail sales opportunity for local food producers, farmers markets help make farming profitable. Several studies have found lower prices for conventional and organic produce at farmers markets than at supermarkets.

Farmers market vendors can also educate their shoppers. Four out of five farmers selling at markets discuss farming practices with their customers, and three in five discuss nutrition and how to prepare food. Farmers markets also promote sustainability, with three out of every four farmers selling at farmers markets say they use practices consistent with organic standards. In addition, local farmers markets stimulate the economy. Growers selling locally create thirteen full time jobs per $1 million in revenue earned.

With all the countless benefits farmers markets provide to the community, it’s no wonder the West Valley has so many. Thanks to the beautiful fall temperatures, the Estrella Lakeside Farmers Market is back in the scenic Goodyear community every third Saturday of the month now through April! The market will showcase specialty items, locally grown produce, fresh breads and pastries, local artwork and more. Come take in the gorgeous views of North Lake and the Sierra Estrella Mountains at 10300 S. Estrella Parkway Goodyear, AZ  85338.

This event is free and open to the public. The market will also feature a variety of food vendors. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the cooler weather and kick off fall season festivities. For more information contact the Information Center at 623-386-1000. If you’d like more information about farmers markets in the West Valley or if you’re in the market to sell or buy a home in Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Avondale, Surprise and the surrounding areas, please contact Lisa Bray today!

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.LisaBray.com

602-762-3691

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“Delivering More than Just a Home”

RE/MAX National Housing Report September 2018

by Lisa Bray

RE/MAX National Housing Report September 2018

The RE/MAX National Housing Report for September 2018 showed the trends of fewer closings and stabilizing inventory continued through September, punctuated by a surprisingly big 11.6 percent year-over-year drop in home sales. At the same time, the RE/MAX National Housing Report for September 2018 posted a Median Sales Price of $241,000 that marked the 30th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases. It is the highest September price in the 10-year history of the report. To access the housing report infographic, visit: https://rem.ax/2phKHWT.

The decline in home sales year-over-year was the largest since May of 2011, as September became the seventh month of 2018 to record lower sales than 2017. Even so, year-to-date 2018 home sales resemble 2017’s.

“The big drop in September closings catches your attention. The market is clearly rebalancing as buyers and sellers continue to process the increasing interest rate environment and what that means to them,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “The slower drop in inventory – a visible trend for nearly half a year – further illustrates the ongoing shift toward market equilibrium, and that’s healthy in the long-term.”

Active inventory dropped for the 119th consecutive month, the decline of 4.7 percent from September 2017 was the smallest year-over-year decrease since August 2014. In addition, the September year-over-year inventory drop was the fifth consecutive month in 2018 to post single-digit percent declines rather than the double-digit monthly drops consistently seen over the previous three years.

“It’s a little surprising to see prices staying so strong, but it’s hardly shocking in such a tight market,” said Contos. “The headwinds of rising prices and interest rates amid already tight inventory levels have been crimping affordability and slowing sales for most of the year, but it varies by geography.  In circumstances like these, where the market is tricky to navigate, both buyers and sellers can benefit by aligning themselves with a professional agent – a local expert who can cut through the noise and advocate on their behalf.”

Home prices rose by 5.6 percent over September 2017, more than twice the year-over-year price increase of 2.3 percent from September 2016 to September 2017. That reversed a trend seen in the previous three months, when year-over-year price increases trailed 2017’s rate of growth.

Click here to download your copy of the RE/MAX National Housing Report for September 2018. Looking to sell your Phoenix home or buy a home in Phoenix? Contact Lisa Bray today! I will be happy to provide a free market analysis of your home, and I am deeply committed to helping you reach your real estate goals on step at a time.

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.LisaBray.com

602-762-3691

Join me on Facebook!

Search the MLS Now!

“Delivering More than Just a Home”

4 Fall Curb Appeal Hacks to Attract Buyers

by Lisa Bray

4 Fall Curb Appeal Hacks to Attract Buyers

Photo courtesy of homesteading.com The term “curb appeal” derives from real estate sales and home design. For years, buyers have formed their first impressions of homes while standing in the street or sitting inside the car, just beyond the curb. The initial drive-by would determine whether or not they would go for an actual showing. Curb appeal was always the single most important piece of the home sale puzzle and it’s still relevant today. If you’re planning to sell your Phoenix home this fall then here are  4 fall curb appeal hacks to attract buyers.

1.) Autumn Wreath: Add a burst of bold fall color to your front door with a beautiful floral wreath. The traditional autumn foliage colors or rich reds, rusts and burnished gold tones will give your entry a seasonal boost. 

2.) Pumpkin Spice: Nothing says autumn quite like pumpkins, dried gourds, winter squash, and bushels of fall-blooming flowers. Adding a pumpkin or a cluster of small colorful winter squash near your door or planting some fall-blooming flowers add a great eye-catching element to your curb appeal and helps potential buyers feel more at home. Just remember to keep fall décor simple because less is more.

3.) Spruce up your yard: While brilliant fall foliage can automatically make your home look more attractive for showings, that doesn't mean you can slack off on lawn maintenance during this season. Keep falling leaves at bay with frequent raking and patch up any brown spots in the grass.

4.) Fall lights: As the days get shorter, it becomes increasingly important to provide potential home buyers with a safe path to your front door. Use decorative lights to illuminate walkways, and install flood lights or lanterns to brighten up entrance areas.

Need help selling your home this fall? Ready to buy a home in the West Valley? Contact Lisa Bray today. I’m here to guide you through every step of the process for a knowledgeable and unforgettable real estate experience.

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.LisaBray.com

602-762-3691

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“Delivering More than Just a Home”

RE/MAX National Housing Report for August 2018

by Lisa Bray

RE/MAX National Housing Report for August 2018

The RE/MAX National Housing Report for August 2018 shows increasing home prices, low inventory and a reduction in days on market. These combined factors made August 2018 the sixth time this year that home sales lagged behind last year’s pace—but only slightly at -1.1 percent. To access the housing report infographic, visit: https://rem.ax/2phKHWT.

Home prices rose by 3.7 percent over August 2017, much lower than the year-over-year price increase of 5.4 percent from August 2016 to August 2017. In fact, the past three months of 2018 have trailed 2017’s rate of price growth year-over-year—compare that to four of the first five months of 2018 when year-over-year price increases easily topped those posted in 2017.

The Median Sales Price of $248,500 marked the twenty-ninth consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.

Even though active inventory dropped for the 118th consecutive month, the decline of 5.4 percent from August 2017 marked the smallest year-over-year decrease since August 2014. In addition, the August 2018 inventory drop marked the fourth consecutive month in 2018 to post single-digit percent declines, rather than the double-digit monthly drops consistently seen in early 2018 and over the previous three years.

“It varies by market, but we’re hearing that buyers are being more selective and sellers are becoming more pragmatic,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “That dynamic could bring inventory levels up, especially in the most overheated markets, where we expect to see the clearest signs of equilibrium returning. The economy is strong and potential buyers are out there—they just need more listings, at the right price points, to consider. We believe that balance will return, which will be good for everyone in the long run. It’s just a matter of when.”

Contos added that although the lack of inventory continues to be a challenge, the trends suggest that the market finally appears to be rebalancing.

“The moderation we are experiencing seems to be a bit more than the normal seasonal lull we’d expect this time of year,” said Contos.

Want to know more about the current real estate market? Click here to download your copy of the RE/MAX National Housing Report for August 2018. If you would like to sell your Arizona home or find the perfect home for sale in the West Valley, please contact Lisa Bray. I will be happy to provide a free market analysis of your home, and I am deeply committed to helping you reach your real estate goals on step at a time.

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.LisaBray.com

602-762-3691

Join me on Facebook!

Search the MLS Now!

“Delivering More than Just a Home”

City of Surprise Banning Cellphone Use While Driving

by Lisa Bray

City of Surprise Banning Cellphone Use While Driving

According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes annually. Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving under the influence of alcohol is. One out of every four traffic crashes that occur in the U.S. are caused by cell phone usage. This startling data may be one of many reasons why a new law banning the use of cellphones while driving went into effect in Surprise this month, making it the latest city to attempt regulation rather than wait for a state effort.

Surprise officials put an ordinance banning talking, texting or anything involving a handheld communication device into effect last week, the Arizona Republic reported. Police will generally issue warnings only for the first thirty days of the new law, said Surprise police Sgt. Tim Klarkowski. After that, the fines will begin. The fine is $250 on the first offense. The law prohibits talking on a cellphone, sending a text message or otherwise using a hand-held communications device while driving in the city, unless the device is in hands-free mode.

City leaders were cautious when enacting the outright ban, fearing that it could make the city a target of the state Legislature, which has been enacting local pre-emption laws on many subjects. But Surprise Mayor Sharon Wolcott said the Arizona League of Cities and Towns believed the law could be imposed.

Lawmakers have gone back and forth on cellphone bans in cars for more than a decade. Earlier this year, legislation banning drivers’ cellphone usage was shot down gained approval in the Senate but died in the House.

The lack of a state law has led to a mishmash of different ordinances across jurisdictions. Tucson, Sedona and Oro Valley currently prohibit handheld cellphone use while behind the wheel. Meanwhile, Phoenix, Flagstaff and Fountain Hills only prohibit texting while driving.

If you’d like more information about the Surprise cell phone ban, or if you’re interested in selling or buying a home in Surprise, Goodyear, Litchfield Park and the surrounding cities, please contact Lisa Bray today!

Lisa Bray

RE/MAX Professionals

www.LisaBray.com

602-762-3691

Join me on Facebook!

Search the MLS Now!

“Delivering More than Just a Home”

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