When you're house hunting, the allure of new construction is undeniable. You get to be the first to live in the pristine home—one untouched by grimy hands or muddy shoes. It's full of brand-new appliances and the finishes and treatments that you picked to fit your aesthetic. And you won't have to worry about making any cosmetic or structural upgrades for years.
If you are interested in buying a new construction, the builder's agent will be ready to help you with the process. But make no mistake: You need your own real estate agent from the get-go. Even if it seems like plug and play to sign up with the builder's on-site agent, you're going to want someone representing your side of the deal.
What is a builder's agent?When you buy a new construction, the home's builder is considered the seller, and the agent representing the builder is called the builder's agent.
"The builder’s agent will always have the builder's best interest in mind,”
After all, the job of the builder's agent is to get the highest price for the homes the builder is selling so the agent is not going to be as eager to negotiate down.
Why you should hire your own real estate agent
It's a good idea to have your real estate agent accompany you on your first visit to the new construction. Why? Because the builder (aka the seller) will be responsible for paying the commission, and needs to know if you'll have a real estate agent representing you. So bringing your agent to the first visit will make it clear that the builder's agent will be on the hook for paying commission. Some builders might even refuse to pay your agent a commission if you don’t register the agent the first time you visit the home on a new construction site.
“Your real estate agent's job is to help you get the most value for your money, with the least hassle and frustration,” says Patrick Welsh, a real estate agent with Keller Williams, in Houston.
When buying new construction, here’s what your real estate agent will help you with that you might miss out on if you stick with the builder’s agent:
How the builder's agent can help youAll that said, the builder's agent can be a valuable resource for learning about your potential new home.
“They are knowledgeable about the construction and available amenities, as well as the housing development and general community vibe,” says Walgrave. You can rely on the builder's agent for background information—just don’t make this individual your sole point of contact on the buying and selling process.
Everyone wants to walk away from buying a home—whether it be a new construction or not—with peace of mind. Having a real estate agent in your corner will help facilitate that.
The other day a friend of mine reached out and said, “Andrew, I think I’m ready to start exploring buying my first home. What do I do first?” If you’re in the same boat or want to learn more about the process of buying a home, watch my latest video: ‘The Home Buying Process in 10 Minutes’.
The growing need for affordable housing near Downtown Phoenix is being addressed by three apartment projects that combine affordability with amenities.
Pacific Oak Capital Advisors, a national leader in institutional-quality alternative investments, and Defer Gain, a leading Arizona-based real estate development company specializing in Opportunity Zone investments, have announced the signing of a joint venture arrangement to develop, finance, and operate multi-family, commercial, and industrial income producing properties in Arizona Opportunity Zones.
The Pacific Oak – Defer Gain joint venture is kicking off its union with three multi-family projects in the Downtown Phoenix’s Presidential District, including the 241-unit St. Ambrose Apartments and the 84-unit Presidential Apartments both situated between 11th and 12th Streets and Van Buren and Jefferson Streets in Phoenix. Both projects are also strategically located next to the 12th Street light rail stops. The joint venture will also start construction in September 2019 on the work-force housing project known as the Imperial Apartments located near 20th Street & Roosevelt in Phoenix.
The Imperial Apartments breaks ground next month, and will be Arizona’s premier, and much needed, work-force housing project located in the heart of the Edison Eastlake Choice Neighborhoods, which has begun a $150 million redevelopment project. The 140 unit private project will join the addition of 1,100 new City of Phoenix housing units, propelled by a $30 million federal grant recently awarded to the Choice Neighborhood.
“The Imperial Apartments is located directly across from the soon to be expanded Edison Park, which is a significant amenity in the neighborhood,” said Michael Lafferty, Partner at Defer Gain. “We are excited to bring affordable, high quality, housing solutions to this fantastic neighborhood and be a part of its transformation with the City of Phoenix and Edison Eastlake stakeholders.”
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego commented, “Adding quality housing is a top priority for our city. I am excited to see new housing, including much-needed workforce units, near our key job corridors in the downtown and airport area.”
Defer Gain’s two Presidential District projects, St. Ambrose and Presidential Apartments, will continue co-founders Mr. Lafferty and Scott Tonn’s efforts to provide housing solutions in the area east of 7th Street near the City of Phoenix’s 12th Street Light Rail Station. “Defer Gain is one of the first developers to offer high-amenity efficiency apartment living in Downtown Phoenix,” said Tonn, a Defer Gain Partner and Co-Founder. “As well, we are very excited to implement the benefits of the newly minted Opportunity Zone legislation in conjunction with the local community to make St. Ambrose and Presidential Apartments significant additions for the neighborhood. This collaboration will also provide new residents with access to a dynamic job market in Downtown Phoenix.”
“It’s exciting to see Opportunity Zone developments providing support to a critical component of our state’s economy — the workforce,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We thank Pacific Oak and Defer Gain for advancing these three projects in downtown Phoenix neighborhoods.”
Positioned at the 12th street light rail stops, both the Presidential and St. Ambrose Apartments are just one stop from Downtown Phoenix and three stops to Sky Harbor Airport. Both properties boast state-of-the-art amenities including luxurious lobbies, mail rooms including secured lockers for packages, grocery delivery cold/ freezer storage, clubhouses, multi-purpose rooms, private conference rooms, exercise facilities, resort style swimming pools, cabanas with private BBQ’s, secured ingress/egress, great walkability & easy access to public transportation. In addition, the Presidential Apartments offers large format on-site personal locker storage. While both properties feature street level retail/mixed-use opportunities, the Presidential Apartments will additionally include three open-air areas on Jefferson Street, adjacent to the light rail stop, which will attract local artists, pop-up businesses, food trucks, and events open to the public.
“The collaboration between Pacific Oak Capital Group and Defer Gain will provide us a unique opportunity to penetrate the Arizona Opportunity Zone market,” commented Keith Hall, Co-founder of Pacific Oak. “We are delighted to be in partnership with Defer Gain’s team and look forward to being a dominant force in the Arizona OZ space for years to come.”
Source: AZ BIG MEDIA
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut interest rates for the first time since the Great Recession took hold in 2008, though the move is not likely to deliver significant juice to an already favorable borrowing environment for home buyers. The federal funds rate, which is what banks charge one another for short-term borrowing, will now hover between 2% and 2.25%, according to news reports.
The Fed says its decision to lower interest rates is designed to stave off the threat of an economic downturn. But it's unlikely to translate into additional mortgage savings for many buyers. With the interest rate for a 30-year loan already hovering below 4%, the Fed’s move may be more meaningful for buyers with other types of financing, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®. “Many borrowers will benefit, especially those with adjustable-rate mortgages and commercial real estate loans,” Yun says. “The longer-term 30-year fixed-rate mortgages will see little change in the near future because they had already declined in anticipation of this latest move by the Fed.
“These low interest rates will partly help with housing affordability over the short-term. Both rents and home prices have been consistently outpacing income growth. The only way to mitigate housing-cost challenges as a long-term solution is to bring more supply of both multifamily and single-family homes to the market," adds Yun.
Still, lower borrowing costs are helping buyers manage rising home prices. For example, buyers who spend $1,500 on monthly mortgage payments can afford to purchase a $402,500 home this year compared to $367,500 last year, when mortgage rates averaged 4.57%, according to realtor.com®. “Last year, buyers would have needed an additional $145 a month on top of the $1,500 to afford a $402,500 home,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist.
In some locales, buyers’ money can stretch even further. “An extra $35,000 in purchasing power, depending on where you are in the country, can really make a difference to buyers today,” Hale says. “It still counts, even with home prices up 6% nationally. That increase in purchase power is greater than the national price increase.”
Here’s what some have to say:
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com
“Lower mortgage rates, higher wages and more homes for sale have helped counteract rising home prices, and ultimately, made it so that buyers are able to afford more than last year.”
“Our outlook implies 4% growth for the remaining months of the year, predicated on…more supply than last year, the decline in mortgage rates, moderating home price appreciation and improving affordability.”'
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR
“Rates of 4% and, in some cases even lower, create extremely attractive conditions for consumers. Buyers, for good reason, are anxious to purchase and lock in at these rates.”
Doug Duncan, Chief Economist for Fannie Mae
“Moderating home price appreciation and attractive mortgage rates continue to support affordability, particularly as home builders are now paying more attention to the entry-level portion of the housing market.”
Kaycee Miller in a Realtor Magazine article
“At the moment, some observers suggest the housing market is indeed headed for a slowdown. But no need to panic — experts say the financial and economic factors that were in play during the big crash a decade ago don’t exist today.”
Bottom LineThe housing market will be stronger for the rest of 2019. If you’d like to know more about your specific market, contact me to find what’s happening in your area.
“Realtor.com® Reports How Much More Home Buying Power There Is Today Thanks to Lower Mortgage Rates,” Forbes.com (July 30, 2019); "National Association of Realtors® "What the Fed's Rate Cut Means For Your Buyers" NAR.realtor (July 31, 2019); Keeping Current Matters "What Experts Are Saying About the Current Housing Market" (July 23, 2019).
Source: The Wilcox Report | AZ Business Magazine
For the first time, the single-family resale price of a home in Maricopa County was more than $300,000, ending at $308,000 in May, according to Fletcher R. Wilcox, vice president Grand Canyon Title and author of The Wilcox Report.
Wilcox said the reason for the record sale price is demand fueled by population and job growth. Maricopa County was the No. 1 county for its population increase in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Companies are moving to Maricopa County to seek employees because of its population growth. People are moving to Maricopa County because they see companies moving here. It is a momentum playing off each other, and I see this continuing. Both people and jobs will continue to fuel the demand to own a home.
There were 7,562 sales of single-family resales in May. This is the highest number of sales since June 2011 when there were 7,790.
According to Wilcox’s report:
• The median sale price for a single family resale ended at $308,000 in May 2019. This is now the new monthly record high for the median sale price. The month with the previous highest median sale price was March 2019 when it was $297,000. Before this time, the record month was June 2018 at $295,000 and before that time we have to go all the way back to the pre-real estate recession month of June 2006 when it was $287,500.
• For the second month in a row, the year-over-year slow-down for sales of single-family resales has ended. Sales of single-family resales in Maricopa County (Greater Phoenix) in May 2019 were 7,562. This was 430 more or 5.1% higher than May 2018. Sales were also higher in April 2019 over April 2018. Previous to April 2019, sales were down year-over-year for eight consecutive months starting in August 2018. See Table one. Another highlight for May 2019 is that 7,562 sales is the highest number of sales for a month since June 2011 when there were 7,790 sales. But in June 2011 the median purchase price for a single family resale was $126,500 compared to $308,000 in May 2019.
• New monthly listings of single family resales were up year-over-year in both May and April. They were down year-over-year in February and March.
• When comparing sales of single-family resales in May 2019 to May 2018 we see a substantial decrease in sales under $200,000. In this price range, there were 350 fewer sales in May 2019. A reason for this decrease is that since purchase prices keep going up there are just fewer homes for sale in this price range compared to last year at the same time. In almost every sale price range at $250,000 or above, we see a year-over-year increase in the number of sales. There were 721 more sales at $250,000 or above this May over last May. Sales in the $200,000 to $249,999 price range were almost breakeven, there were seven fewer sales this May compared to last May.
Summer is a season best spent outdoors—and preferably by the water. But conventional pools are laden with chlorine, which smells nasty and can irritate eyes and damage hair. Fortunately, there's a growing trend towards natural swimming pools, which are treated with aquatic plants and other biological filters instead of chemicals. These chlorine-free pools offer a serene back-to-nature experience that's hard to beat. Check out the pros & cons of natural pools at the end of the post.
Having completed nearly 70 biologically filtered pools across Australia, Natural Swimming Pools Australia was recently commissioned to convert an existing chlorine pool into a natural pool for a large homestead at the iconic Detroit Station in New South Wales. The team converted the pool just in time for the visit of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles.
The natural pool trend began in Europe several decades ago. Since then, they’ve been slowly gaining popularity in the United States, Australia, and other regions with sunny climates. Unlike a traditionally rectangular, chlorine-filled swimming pool, a natural pool is often designed to imitate pools, ponds, or other bodies of water in the wild—they can have irregular shapes, along with rocks, waterfalls, and boulders. Naturally, not every pool built to look like a natural body of water with realistic rocks and boulders is a natural pool.
Unlike most sparkling blue swimming pools, natural swimming pools or ponds (NSPs) are filtered organically rather than by chemicals. Another pool called a regeneration zone is built nearby, which is where the water enters either a gravel filter or a constructed wetlands made of plants that clean the water. This resembles the process by which aquatic plants clean ponds in nature and results in a pool no less clean than one with chemically filtered water. The natural pool and its regeneration zone actually build a small ecosystem that changes over time, and animals or insects often are attracted to the zone (but not the pool, thankfully—it doesn’t contain the environment they’re looking for).
These organic ponds are gaining popularity across the U.S., but there are some pros and cons that you should carefully consider before deciding to install a natural rather than a conventional pool:
True North Studio has purchased the building at 1001 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, now being called "Ten-O-One".
“This is a marquee building for the Central Avenue corridor and a true gateway into the Roosevelt Row Arts District, the downtown core, historic residential neighborhoods and cultural venues around Hance Park,” stated Jonathon Vento, founder and principal developer of True North Studio.
True North Studio is a commercial real estate development company in the Roosevelt Row Arts District in downtown Phoenix. According to Mr. Vento, by “adaptively reusing this building to include mixed-use, tech and creative office, and incorporating art inside and out, we believe Ten-O-One will set a new bar for downtown Phoenix.”
Vento has more than 30 years of experience developing over 200 projects across the country, including 44 Monroe, the tallest high rise residential tower in Arizona. True North Studio has several projects underway in downtown Phoenix including the Cambria Hotel at 222 E. Portland. The recently announced entertainment and restaurant venue Punch Bowl Social, that’s based in Denver that will occupy a True North property at 903 N. Second St. Both are set to open later this year.
Check out more at: http://truenorthstudio.com
Let's talk about two different corners in Downtown Phoenix that have been slated for redevelopment in the coming years. The first we have mostly known about since the development plan for Margaret T. Hance Park was publicly released back in 2015, but the City has released new details on improvements to be made to the park and its surrounding area. The 32-acre park, built in 1992, is home to both the Burton Barr Central Library and Phoenix Center for the Arts.
On First Street on the south side of Hance Park sits Fire Station #4, one of the original 13 fire houses in the Valley. The property is still owned by the city but has been vacant for some time. The updated to the revitalization plan includes the former fire station being transformed into a restaurant with a food truck area and cafe. Parks Director Inger Erickson provided an update on the Hance Park revitalization plan, saying, "We’re really pushing hard to activate the firehouse”.
Over the next several weeks, Erickson said the city will solicit for people to turn the city-owned structure into a full-service restaurant. The historic firehouse restaurant is intended to be the new hub and center of redevelopment for the eastern portion of the park, near the Central Ave bridge. Erickson said a fundraising campaign will begin in March. The three-phase project is expected to cost around $100 million. So far, the city has committed $15 million.
The working plan is broken up into three sections, dubbed the Valley, the Canyon, and the Plateau. Each was part of the 2016 plan, but the details have evolved. The Canyon is located in the center of the site, over the I-10 freeway (hence the "Deck" nickname). The Valley is to the west, near the Japanese Friendship Garden and the Irish Cultural Center. The Plateau is to the east, home to the library and arts center. The fire house is located in The Canyon portion of the project which is also slated for, at this point, an interactive water feature, amphitheater, jogging loop, skate park, and garden.
Judy Weiss, Deputy Director for management services with the city’s parks and recreation department has said, in regards to timeline, “We could start at the end of 2019, depending on how our funding partners do. If there’s a lot of momentum, we’ll finish the project faster."
The city is working with Hargreaves Associates to finesse the plan, based on community input. People who didn’t attend the May 21 open house can still weigh in online.
Are you new to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area? Are you visiting for the winter or planning a trip? Or are you just looking for the perfect course at the right price for the end of this season? Look no further! Scottsdale is home to some of the most popular golf courses in the country. Use this handy chart hand crafted by Andrew to start your search for your ideal golf experience.
Before you book your trip to Arizona make your reservation to play one of these top rated golf clubs. If you are considering purchasing a golf home, I am the right REALTOR® for you! Andrew Starkman is an experienced REALTOR® who can help you with any golf properties in Scottsdale.
Situated at 440 E. Van Buren St., a one-acre parcel within the 16-acre Arizona Center is slated for the construction of a $100 million 31-story residential building, Phoenix's second tallest. Palm Court Tower is set to feature 350 luxury units, ranging from 500-square-foot studios to 1,300-square-foot three-bedroom apartments on top of a six-story parking garage. This new Will Bruder Architects designed building will join the $25M renovation currently underway at Downtown's Arizona Center.
The downtown location provides immediate access to the some of Phoenix's largest employers, along with sporting venues, upscale bars, restaurants and shopping destinations. The Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, ASU Center for Law and Society, and University of Arizona College of Medicine are all just blocks from Arizona Center.
The new tower will provide housing options for a large group of Arizona's workforce that seek living options closer to Downtown's expanding landscape. As reported by Elon Graves of Downtown Devil:
"Chris Chamberlain, a partner of North American Development Group, said the downtown Phoenix community pushed for the workforce housing units. He said the topic “repeatedly came up as a need in downtown” during discussions with city staff, council members and activists in the neighborhood.
Workforce housing provides affordable housing for households with annual incomes between approximately $39,000 and $59,000, according to Phoenix’s Economic Development Department. Typically, these households earn a combined income that is inadequate considering the cost of living in areas near their place of work.
In total, 35 of the 350 apartment units in Palm Court Tower will be classified as workforce housing. The price of the units will range from $1,000 to $1,200 and the sizes will vary in respect to income level."
Construction at Palm Court Tower will also begin later this year and the estimated time of completion is late 2020.