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Archive for July, 2009

Sponsor of SB 1271 wants it REPEALED!!

Donald L. Plunkett, Jr. Donald L. Plunkett, Jr.
Thursday, July 30th, 2009

In a bizarre turn of events, Sen. Steve Pierce, the sponsor of State Bill 1271, wants the law immediately repealed.  Apparently receiving angry voicemails from thousands of REALTORS and homeowners can have quite an effect in state and local politics.  He said that he intended to help small community banks in Arizona (which it would) and did not realize the unintended consequences.

This legislation would have been an extremely powerful resource for banks to obtain judgements against defaulting homeowners or to keep people that are far under water continuing to pay on the second homes and investment properties rather than face a deficiency judgement.  Again, the problem I have with it is that the law is being changed years after many of these people made their purchase decision, which they made under a clear law which protected them.  In the middle of a real estate meltdown, it is probably not a good idea to scare away other investors, second home buyers, and people buying for their kids and family members, who are helping this market recover.

Stay tuned…

State Bill 1271 – Arizona

Donald L. Plunkett, Jr. Donald L. Plunkett, Jr.
Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Arizona Republic readers on Sunday were made aware of something the Arizona Association of REALTORS® has been extremely upset about: State Bill 1271.  Many Arizona homeowners are aware of the non-recourse language in state law that states something to the effect that in a purchase money mortgage with a residential property on 2.5 acres or less, the lender can’t come after the homeowner once the foreclosure is completed.  For instance, if the homeowner owed $350,000 on a house that is now worth $250,000, after the foreclosure took place, the bank generally hasn’t been able to get a  judgement on the former  homeowner for the $100,000 loss (there are exceptions such as if the homeowner intentionally vandalized or stripped the property).

The new law which has ALREADY passed and will be effective on September 1, 2009, limits the provision to primary residences.  Investment properties and 2nd homes won’t qualify because the law states the homeowner must prove they have lived in the house for 6 months.  This law is great for banks but a potential disaster for those that have already purchased an investment property or 2nd home because instead of being on the hook for nothing by walking away, they could be on the hook for hundreds of thousands.  The problem I have with this bill is that people bought a property knowing the recourse provision was in effect as a way of limiting their downside and the interest rate on their loan reflected Arizona’s consumer-friendly recourse law (so it was effectively higher than it would have been if the statute were more bank-friendly).  As is common in a government response to a “crisis”, a law is being passed that will effectively make the situation worse.

AAR missed this law being passed and is now trying to get another law passed in the emergency session to undue this law.  How the AAR did not catch this law until after it was passed is unclear and frankly, AAR members should be outraged and demand a full accounting of the fiasco and demand major personnel changes or other steps to prevent it from happening again.  The CEO of AAR, Tom Farley, also calls himself the Chief Lobbyist, so it is not clear whether monies raised from members has actually been spent on a professional lobbying firm.

Read the AAR’s letter to Gov. Brewer here.

Phoenix Business Journal – Residential Real Estate Agents

Donald L. Plunkett, Jr. Donald L. Plunkett, Jr.
Sunday, July 26th, 2009

I was recognized again this year as being one of the Top 10 real estate agents in Phoenix in sales volume (#9).  However, it is really a recognition of Congress Realty as a whole and the effectiveness of the flat fee MLS model.  With Phoenix as our first market, we developed the business here and have deep local expertise.  Many buyers agents in Phoenix are familiar with Congress Realty, and show and sell our listed properties knowing that they will be paid to bring a buyer.

For those interested in who was #1, the honors went to long-time REO broker Stu Troyan of Realty Executives.  Stu sold over $100 million of bank-owned real estate.

Curb Appeal

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

The first impression of your home to a prospective buyer will generally involve your property’s curb appeal. Curb appeal is considered to be the visual image of the front exterior and landscape of the property. So why is this important and how can I increase my curb appeal?

Curb appeals importance varies from buyer to buyer, however, the bottom line is that first impressions in Real Estate count. This is not limited to when the buyer first arrives at the property but also includes the first photo the buyer views online.

Ways to increase curb appeal:
Remove all trash cans/bins in the front of the property.
If you have bare spots in your gardens, use mulch in these areas.
Edge the grass and remove large weeds from concrete areas
Wash front area windows
Power Wash front area porches and brick
Repair large stucco cracks
Turn front lights on during evening
Consider landscaping light features during the evening
Clean the property of any debris