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October 2014 Real Estate News
     D   P   #   1   3   0   4   9 ! # %&'%()  *+ ,)- ./01     P    R    E    S    O    R    T    E    D    S    T    D    U .    S .    P    O    S    T    A    G    E    P    A    I    D    G    R    E    E    N    F    I    E    L    D ,    I    N    P    E    R    M    I    T    N    O .    6   7    D   i  s  c  o  v  e  r   P  u   b   l   i  c  a   t   i  o  n  s ,   6   4   2   7   B  u  s  c   h   B   l  v   d .   C  o   l  u  m   b  u  s ,   O   H   4   3   2   2   9  Find Out What Your Home Is Worth Online GAMES JUST FOR FUNPAGE 11 LUXURY MARKET   PAGE 4 ROADTRIP!   TRAVEL PAGE 8  You will receive information on what compa-rable homes have sold for in your neighborhood and which homes are currently listed, how long they have been for sale, and their prices. Based on this information, you will know  what your home is worth in today’s market. For a Free, Quick On-Line Home Evaluation Visit:  by Carol Royse  recent article in the Wall Street  Journal reported “American  Wealth Hits High.” One of the main reasons given by the author, Neil Shah, is “Americans are making prog-ress slicing their prior debt burdens and regaining equity in their homes  .”“Equity” is a word we have heard little about since the fall of the metro Phoenix market in 2007. The year 2013 found our real estate market finally beginning a rebound and we are hearing and experi-encing the benefit from stabilization and that beautiful word, EQUITY. Many homeowners have been locked up in their homes because they were upside down. More and more I am finding, as an expert in the residential real estate market, prices have increased enough to give home sellers that financial edge they need to move on. Whether it is getting to a bigger home, a better school district, and closer to work or downsiz-ing for retirement, equity is making the difference. In many areas of the East Valley, home prices have rebounded by as much as 72% from the lows of 2010. This is sig-nificant for home sellers who are ready to make a move. While sellers have equity in their existing home to use as a down payment, they can experience the 28% price decrease   in any home they may want to buy. This is a true win/win for a home seller who wants to purchase a home. It’s been a long time coming. But we are in a position in Maricopa County where it makes a lot of financial sense to sell your home to reach a family goal or dream.So, the question becomes, “Do you have equity? If so, what are you going to do?” Don’t wait; take advantage of the mar-ket. Equity in real estate is a sure way to build wealth. If you have been “locked up” in your home but want the free-dom to make a move, call Carol Royse today at 480-797-2724. Also, Carol’s Guaranteed Home Sale means you will never get caught owning two homes. If Carol cannot sell your home, she will buy it for cash.   For more information on Carol Royse and her Guaranteed Home Sale, go to: for a detailed report.  A HOMETHEATERS   HOME IMPROVEMENT PAGE 3 Carol Royse Group Recent Equity Gains Drive Home-Buying Decisions Vikki Carol Tim  When you decide to sell your home, setting your asking price is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Depending on how buyers are made aware of your home, price is often the first thing they see. Many homes are discarded by prospective buyers as not being in the appropriate price range before they’re even given a chance of a showing. Your asking price is often your home’s “first impression,” and if you want to realize the most money possible for your home, it’s imperative that you make a good first impression.This isn’t as easy as it sounds, and pricing strategy shouldn’t be taken lightly. Pricing too high can be as costly to a home seller as pricing too low. Taking a look at what homes in your neighborhood have sold for is only a small part of the process, and on its own is not nearly enough to help you make the best decision. A recent study that compiles 10 years of industry research has resulted in a new special report titled, ”Getting the Price You Want.”   This FREE report will help you understand pricing strategy from three different angles. When taken together, this information will help you price your home to not only sell, but sell for the price you want.Order this report NOW to learn how to price your home to your maximum financial advantage.Go to: for your free report.   ■ How to Get the Price  You Want and Need   MORTGAGE PROFESSOR  by Jack Guttentag  Many home purchasers are seniors. Some become homeowners for the first time, but most have been and want to remain homeowners. They just don’t want to remain in their current house. They may want a house that has no stairs, or one that is closer to family or friends, or in a warmer climate. In many cases, they  want to downsize, both the physical house and the financial burdens that come with it.Prior to 2008, the senior who wanted to combine a house purchase with a reverse mortgage but could not afford to pay all-cash had to use a forward mortgage to finance the purchase, then repay it by drawing on a reverse mortgage. Because the senior had to qualify for the forward mortgage in the same way as any other home purchaser, an inability to document sufficient income or credit could bar the way. Furthermore, the senior who did qualify had to pay settlement costs on both the forward mortgage and the reverse mortgage.In 2008, Congress authorized the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Purchase program, under which seniors can buy a house and take out a HECM reverse mortgage at the same time. With this program, the qualification requirements associated with forward mortgages are avoided, and only one set of settlement costs is incurred.Senior house purchasers now fall into three groups: those who pay all-cash and intend to never take a reverse mortgage; those who pay all-cash and plan to take a reverse mortgage later; and those who take a reverse mortgage  when they purchase the house.  AVOIDING REVERSE MORTGAGES ALTOGETHER  Senior home purchasers who are capable of paying all-cash, and who want to leave a debt-free home to their estate, will avoid reverse mortgages. The same is true of seniors  with dependent children living with them,  who the seniors don’t want to be evicted following their death. In addition, seniors looking to have a new house constructed to their specifications can’t finance construction  with a reverse mortgage. The program requires that seniors using a reverse mortgage physically occupy the home as their permanent residence  within 60 days of purchase.These three groups of senior home purchasers who should avoid reverse mortgages comprise only a small part of the total. Most purchasers would do well to at least consider a reverse mortgage. DEFERRING THE REVERSE MORTGAGE Seniors in a position to pay all-cash can defer the reverse mortgage decision. If they elect to take one in the future, they will be older and their house will be worth more, both of which increase the amounts they can draw under a reverse mortgage. Working in the opposite direction, however, is a likely rise in interest rates from the unusually low levels that have prevailed in recent years. Higher rates reduce the amounts seniors can draw under a reverse mortgage.I took a hard look at this issue in an article I wrote last year – “Should I take out a reverse mortgage now, or wait?” I found that if interest rates are stable, the credit line available to a senior of 62 who waits 10 years before taking out the reverse mortgage was only 17 percent higher, whereas a doubling of interest rates during the period would reduce the available line by 69 percent. For seniors looking to strengthen their finances in the future, waiting is a risky strategy. PURCHASE WITH A REVERSE MORTGAGE Seniors who purchase a house with a reverse mortgage must have the means to pay the difference between the sale price of the property and the maximum amount they can draw on the HECM. As an illustration, a senior aged 62 purchasing a $300,000 house on July 25 could fund about half of it with a reverse mortgage. (Older buyers could finance more.) The remaining $150,000 would have to be financed out of the senior’s resources: liquidation of assets or withdrawals from retirement accounts. Gifts from family and friends are also acceptable funding sources, but gifts from the home seller or anyone else involved in the purchase transaction are not.Seniors with the capacity to pay all-cash  who take out reverse mortgages at time of purchase have a range of options. They can use all the borrowing power of the reverse mortgage ($150,000 in the example above) to minimize their asset liquidation. A large proportion of senior purchasers do this, but in some cases it may be ill-advised because no borrowing power is left for future use. At the opposite pole, seniors could pay all-cash for the house and retain 100 percent of the borrowing power of the reverse mortgage as a credit line that will grow over time so long as it is not used. At closing or any time thereafter, some or all of the line could be used to draw cash or a monthly payment.The senior’s choice is not limited to these polar cases. Depending on the individual circumstances, a senior may prefer an in-between case where part of the borrowing power of the reverse mortgage is used to help pay for the house, and the remainder is retained for future use. The challenge is to find the mix that best meets the senior’s needs.To make a good choice, the senior needs to know what the options are, and what the long-run implications of any set of options are relative to any other set. Because there is no technology available in the marketplace that does this, my colleagues and I decided to build it ourselves. This week we added this feature to the HECM reverse mortgage calculator available on my web site.   n © 2014 Distributed by MCT Information Services  2  Should Seniors Buying a House do it with a HECM   Reverse Mortgage?   Because your home may well be your largest asset, selling it is probably one of the most important deci-sions you will make in your life. And once you have made that decision you will want to sell your home for the highest price in the shortest time possible with-out compromising your sanity. Before you place your home on the market, here’s a way to help you be as prepared as possible. To assist home sellers, a new industry report has  just been released called “27 Valuable Tips That You Should Know to Get Your Home Sold Fast and  for Top Dollar.”   It tackles the important issues you need to know to make your home competitive in today’s tough, aggressive marketplace. Through these 27 tips you will discover how to pro-tect and capitalize on your most important investment, reduce stress, be in control of your situation, and make the most profit possible. In this report you will discover how to avoid finan-cial disappointment or, worse, a financial disaster when selling your home. Using a common-sense approach, you get the straight facts about what can make or break the sale of your home. You owe it to yourself to learn how these important tips will give you the competitive edge to get your home sold fast and for the most amount of money. To order your free report visit www.27AZSeller Get your free special report NOW to find out how to get the most money for your home.   ■ Sell Your Home  Fast   and for Top  Dollar  by Using These 27 Quick and Easy Fix- Ups by Jack Guttentag   With bargaining power shifting from homebuyers to sellers in an increasing number of local markets, buyers in competition with other buyers are looking for any edge they can get. One possible edge is a pre-approval letter, or PAL, from a lender. A PAL is a statement by a lender that a prospective buyer has the income, assets and credit to be approved for the mortgage required to purchase a house of some assumed value. To a prospective seller, the PAL is evidence that the prospective buyer can be taken seriously. It is not conclusive evidence; it is a lender’s opinion, rather than a commitment, and the opinions of some lenders bear more weight than those of others.Because an underwriter’s job is accepting and rejecting loan applicants, they should be the one responsible for issuing a PAL. But underwriters dealing  with loan applicants work with a complete file, which includes an appraisal,  whereas PALs are based on incomplete information and no appraisal. For this reason, many lenders, reluctant to use underwriters to generate PALs, leave the task for loan officers. PALs issued by loan officers have much less credibility than PALs issued by underwriters, though a house seller may or may not recognize the difference.Real estate agents frequently recommend their clients receive PALs because they allow agents to avoid wasting their time on wannabe buyers who can’t qualify for the loans needed to complete purchases.Lenders view PALs as a way to generate more business on the assumption that some of the buyers obtaining PALs will return for a loan. But the borrower is not committed to the lender providing the PAL, any more than the lender is committed to making a loan.The major weakness of all PALs is that they are based on incomplete data that do not bind the lender issuing it. If the PAL shows an acceptable monthly mortgage payment, the interest rate used to calculate it is not guaranteed and  won’t be until the borrower submits a complete application and the rate is locked. If the PAL shows an acceptable maximum loan, the maximum will be contingent upon a property appraisal of some minimum amount. The PAL also uses income and asset data provided by the prospective buyer, which the lender  won’t bother verifying until the buyer submits an application.The tightening of underwriting requirements after the financial crisis had a disproportionate impact on self-employed borrowers, who have to document their income from tax returns over two years. This can be a time-consuming chore that few lenders are willing to do for uncommitted shoppers. If I were a seller, I would not be impressed with a PAL for a self-employed buyer, and if I were a self-employed buyer, I would look for a better way to prove my bona fides to a seller than a PAL.My son recently purchased a home in an active market, using a very different technique. He offered the seller a deposit equal to 5 percent of the price and removed all conditions from the transaction. He discarded the widely used mortgage contingency clause under which a transaction is voided if the buyer cannot obtain the mortgage required to complete the purchase. He also left out any requirement that he be able to sell his existing house. The seller thus knew that if for any reason my son could not complete the transaction, the deposit was the seller’s to keep. The seller grabbed the offer.Of course, this approach only works for buyers who are well-heeled. Some such buyers can document possession of liquid assets in excess of the sale price, which is also more persuasive than a PAL.Prospective home buyers who cannot purchase a house without a mortgage but do not have access to more powerful strategies for impressing sellers should get a PAL. Only one is needed, but the  would-be buyer should take the trouble of finding one that is signed by the lender’s underwriter.   n © 2014 Distributed by  MCT Information Services   HOME LOANS Pre-Approval Letters, Despite Drawbacks,   Can Give Buyers a Boost  3   ON THE HOMEFRONT  by Gary M. Singer  Q:  I recently sold my home and was basically forced to use the buyer’s title company. The closing process was quite a comedy of errors, and it seemed like nobody knew what they were doing. To top it off, I got my proceeds wired to me four days late, and I was overpaid by $7,000. Now the title company is demanding that I wire the money back, telling me I could be in trouble if I don’t. Also, I’m worried that my mortgage pay-off may have been messed up. What do I need to do?  A:   You need to send the title company back the extra money. If you went to an  ATM and it gave you $500 when you asked for only $50, you’d have to return the difference or risk being liable for keeping  what doesn’t belong to you. The title company’s error does not give you the right to keep the extra money. With all the confusion, you are right to be concerned. There are great title companies and there are terrible ones—  just like with any business. I would insist on seeing proof of where the rest of the money went. You should also check with your lender to make sure the mortgage was paid in full and you are in the clear. You need to pay attention to what is going on, ask lots of questions and follow up. If you keep seeing red flags, consult with one of the real estate professionals involved in the deal. If you’re still uncomfortable, seek out the advice of a real estate attorney. (Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and is board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He is the chairperson of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is an adjunct professor for the Nova Southeastern University Paralegal Studies program. Send him questions online at or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.)   n © 2014 Distributed by MCT Information Services  Confusion Reigns   at Home Closing  6427 Busch Blvd. Columbus, OH 43229877.872.3080 ã Sudoku, Scrabble, distributed by Tribune Media Services. © Copyright 2014 by Discover Custom Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Publisher  Vikki Middlebrook 2077 E. Warner Rd. #110, Tempe, AZ 85284480.776.5231   HOME IMPROVEMENT  Home Theaters are Growing in Popularity  by Cynthia Billhartz Gregorian J oe “J.C.” Ganote celebrated Father’s Day with his son and grandchildren at his home in Lee’s Summit, Mo., and the 106-inch screen in his basement. Across town, Terry Maskil of Shawnee, Kan., often settles into one of the plush reclining theater chairs next to his 6- and 13-year-old sons to watch a movie in their basement home theater, which features a 120-inch screen.These days, home theaters are the family rooms, and money can buy you all the amenities, including surround sound, subwoofers and popcorn makers.“Everybody isn’t off in their own spot, doing their own thing. We are all together,” says’s Terry’s wife  Amy.Sales of extra-large televisions have multiplied in recent years.Five times as many 60-inch or larger televisions were sold between January and March than during the same time in 2011, according to the NPD Group, a consumer market research firm. Four years ago, soundbars and streaming boxes were niche devices. Now they make up $1.4 billion in sales, $2.4 billion if you include audio streaming. And while none of this equipment is cheap, neither is going to the movies, which might explain why some families are investing in home theaters.It would cost the Maskils $30 in tickets for the four of them to go to a Friday or Saturday night movie. Throw in concessions and you’re looking at an additional $35 or more. If they went once a month, they would spend about $900 a year.Instead, they spent the past 10 years saving to transform a basement room into a mini-cinema  with an Epson overhead projector, seven speakers surrounding the space and two subwoofers to handle the low rumbling sounds that make you feel like you’re in the middle of the action.The walls are covered in sectioned drapes and have sconces that look like they came from an actual theater. The leather lounge chairs have drink holders, and the second row is built on a platform, stadium-seating style.The room outside the theater has a stocked movie candy drawer and a popcorn machine that looks like an old-fashioned cart. The walls are covered with framed movie posters.It also has another large flat-screen TV, so Terry can step out while movies are playing to see how the Kansas City Royals are doing.The price tag for all this? About $30,000, according to the Maskils. But it’s worth it.“As we get older and the kids are in high school, I want to be the cool house, so they and their friends hang out here and I know where they are,” says Amy. Jeff Moore, sales manager at Independence Audio & Video for 35 years, says price ranges for home theaters vary widely.“We see folks doing things in the $10,000 to $50,000 range, but we have folks who go above and below that, too,” he says, adding that “it does add value to your home.”Chad Kelsey, co-owner of C&R Sight & Sound, says most clients  just want a big-screen TV with killer surround sound systems built into the walls.“It’s very discreet now,” he says. “We can hide the equipment so you operate the remote control through  walls. A lot of people have little kids, and they don’t want fingers in the equipment, so we have to give them bells and whistles without you seeing it.” A secret door in the wall next to  Joe Ganote’s screen opens to reveal a small room full of speakers and equipment. An overhead projector hangs over a couch in the middle of the room. He plans to upgrade soon to a $12,000 projector that works better with ambient light. In addition to the 106-inch screen, there is a 46-inch flat panel hanging on a wall nearby; a 70-inch Sony TV with its own surround sound system in a nearby room; a 48-inch plasma TV with a Sonos subwoofer and speakers in the living room on the first floor; and a 46-inch LED flat screen in a sitting room on the second floor. Everything can be controlled remotely by an iPad.It took three installers with three large vans full of equipment two days to wire the house and set up the screens, projectors, consoles and speakers, he says. The cost: $60,000 for the basement theater and about another $10,000 in wiring and equipment for the rest of the house.“It beats going to the movies,” says Ganote. “We can have our own popcorn and go to the bathroom. The sound of helicopters will come from one speaker and bullets from another. It sounds like they’re flying past your ears. At night when it’s all dark and the TVs are on and it’s rumbling, it’s awesome.” n © 2014 Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services   44 LUXURY HOME CORNER  by Carol Royse  People often ask, ”What is the price point that defines a luxury home in the Valley?” For the East Valley, that price point is from $800,000 and up. At this price, the home sites are quite a bit larger and more amenities are included, like gated communities or equestrian facilities, or more garage space—usually, space for four vehicles or more. While prices were extremely flat in August for all home sales, the luxury market usually gains strength in mid-January and stays very strong through June. Not so many years ago, luxury home buyers were “move-up” buyers. These buyers would sell their smaller home and move up to a larger, more sophisticated home. Today, many home buyers are coming from countries other than the United States. “In the East Valley, the current luxury market is growing, and inventory levels are increasing,” reports Carol Royse, top luxury Realtor and a member of the Luxury Home Institute. “Sellers considering placing their luxury home on the market must align themselves with an agent who has experience working with luxury home sellers and buyers, but that agent must also have a dynamic marketing plan that will attract not only local buyers, but national and international buyers.“ Approximately 40% of the luxury buyers are out-of-state and international buyers. The average age of a home buyer considering a home purchase of $1,000,000 or higher is the mid-50’s. Many are eyeing Arizona as a second home or retirement location. “Finding and attracting luxury home buyers is an ongoing and exciting process,” Royse said, adding that “marketing in international publications and publications like the  Wall Street Journal and Robb Report are critical to reaching the buyer with over $1,000,000 in purchasing power.”In the East Valley, current inventory is 92 Active Listings of luxury properties priced from $1,000,000 to over $7,000,000. In the last 90 days, there have been five sales pending and 12 closed sales, indicating market movement. If you’re considering placing your luxury home on the market, call luxury home specialist Carol Royse today. Carol will consult with you on the current market and her unmatched comprehensive luxury marketing plan. There’s no risk or obligation to you. Now may be the time to begin thinking of placing your home on the market.  January is just around the corner, and our market explodes with home buyers targeting Arizona for their next move. n International Buyers are  Recharging   our Luxury Home Market The luxury  market usually  gains strength in  mid-January and  stays very strong through June   Maricopa County   - A new report has just been released which reveals seven costly mistakes that most home-owners make when selling their home, and a 9-Step System that can help you sell your home fast and for the most amount of money. This indus-try report shows clearly how the tra-ditional ways of selling homes have become increasingly less and less effec-tive in today’s market. The fact of the matter is that a full three-quarters of homesellers don’t get what they want for their homes and become disillusioned and—worse—disadvantaged when they put their homes on the market.  As this report uncovers, most homesellers make seven deadly mistakes that cost them literally thousands of dollars. The good news is that every one of these mistakes is preventable. In answer to this issue, industry insid-ers have prepared a free special report entitled “The 9-Step System to Get Your Home Sold Fast and for Top Dollar. ” To order a FREE Special Report, visit   Get your FREE Special Report NOW to find out how you can get the most money for your home. And, remember, Your Home May Be Worth  More Than You Think  .   ■ 7 Things You Must Know    Before Putting Your Luxury Home Up for Sale  Carol Royse and her team of full-service real estate experts in the luxury market believe the finest homes deserve the finest marketing. Carol leverages the latest technology to deliver perfect presentation and massive exposure for luxury homes to drive responses from buyers everywhere across the globe.Our clients’ homes will be featured nationally and internationally in prominent global media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Robb Report,  Jetset Magazine and the International Herald Tribune. Carol’s properties are also translated and distributed to dozens of prominent real estate sites throughout Asia, Europe, Australia, South America, Canada and more. Carol’s research shows many international buyers are entering the Greater Phoenix market and purchasing high-end luxury homes. Carol reports, “Since these buyers are coming into our market and usually paying cash, I investigated the best places to advertise my seller’s home and placed my advertising dollars there. I believe in going where the buyers are to give my sellers a market edge in getting their home sold.”Social media also plays a prominent role in exposing homes to the buyer marketplace, said Carol. Our sellers’ homes  will benefit from cutting-edge social media technology and robust exposure on sites like Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Our showcase listing reaches potential buyers on every type of computer, smartphone and tablet, in addition to intensive local print mail and signage.To find out how to get your home exposed to many more buyers who have the purchasing power for your home, call Carol Royse today at 480-776-5231. This cutting-edge marketing costs you nothing more, but will do so much more to set your home apart from others on the market. Carol Royse, Luxury Marketing Specialist 480-776-5231. Royse Group Exclusive Luxury Home Program
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