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Friday, August 18, 2017

Adjustments by Local Home Sellers Resulting in Sales

While uncertainty surrounds residential real estate in the South Mountain and Laveen Villages, a closer look reveals some positive signs.

As might be expected, bank-owned properties pace the area’s residential sales. At Keller Williams Lifestyle Realty, they account for at least 50 percent of their current buyer-side business, said designated broker Michael Norton.

Due to the large amount of inventory on the market, sellers of existing homes have had to put in extra effort that was rarely necessary in previous years.

“People are going back to basics,” Norton said. “Sellers who are able to do the simple things – de-clutter, stage the home and paint – go a long way in creating a positive impression.”

According to Norton, the number of area homes under contract is on an upswing. As of Jan. 22, there were 437 homes under contract in the area. In comparison, that number was at 134 during the first week of January last year.

There were also 130 new transactions during the week prior to Jan. 22. Transactions hit a low during the first week of December 2007 with 27.

“Buyers are definitely coming out because they see the opportunity, especially those people who were previously priced out of the market,” Norton said.

Adjustments in selling strategies aren’t only limited to homeowners, builders are also making changes. To help people who can’t quite qualify for a loan, Elliott Homes recently launched a 12-month lease purchase program.

The opportunity is available in communities where the private builder has inventory homes, including The Villages at Riverwalk (Southern and 55th avenues) and Parke at Laveen Meadows (Baseline Road and 67th Avenue).

Buyers can lease a new home and have a large percentage of the rent set aside for the required down payment at the conclusion of the lease period. If they don’t want to buy the house after 12 months, the money is forfeited as rent.

“It’s a great opportunity for those people who need some time,” said Derek Anglin, designated broker at Elliott Homes. “Maybe they’re coming out of a short sale and need 12 months of good payment history to get back into a loan. This also allows people with credit repair to pay off some of their stuff and not worry about saving for a down payment at the same time.”

Since launching the new program in December, two people have moved into homes and five more are scheduled for the first week in February.

Elliott Homes also began offering a program that allows people to buy a home with 0 percent interest on their loans. After a 20 percent down payment, the amount for the remaining 80 percent is spread equally over 60 payments, resulting in the house being paid off in five years.

For Engle Homes, an increase in co-brokes with Realtors, as well as specials during November and December, led to nine net sales at Blossom Hills, a new home community west of 40th Street on Baseline Road.

The incentives with real estate agents are continuing and now include washers, dryers and refrigerators in all spec homes.

Jim Conway, sales associate at Engle Homes, says record-low interest rates and a 3.5 percent down payment program have created an increase in people looking for new homes.

“If there is someone on the fence renting right now, there are some really good values at the home builders,” he added. “Because sales have been fairly soft and the doom-and-gloom media coverage in 2008, a lot of the builders really need to perform and sell homes for this first quarter of the year, so they’re pretty aggressive with pricing.”

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