Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Nov. 15, 2019

Luxury Golf Community Coming to Surprise, AZ

Say Hello to Sterling Grove by Toll Brothers

By Sonny Shrivastava, Realtor®

Toll Brothers Luxury Golf Course Community Sterling Grove in Surprise, AZ

One of the nation's top luxury home builders is coming to Surprise, AZ in January 2020! Sterling Grove will span almost 800 park-like acres when complete and feature an array of spectacular recreational, social, and cultural activities surrounding an 18-hole Nicklaus Design golf course. From low-maintenance, lock-and-leave villas to grand estates, Sterling Grove has something for everyone:

  • Gated lifestyle community
  • private golf club, clubhouse, restaurants, cafes, pools, state-of-the-art fitness center, movement studio, tennis, pickleball court, and more
  • Nicklaus Design 18-hole golf course and clubhouse
  • Community will feature a tree-lined town square with four cornerstone parks, community garden and groves, and irrigation ponds and streams
  • 31 home plans up to 4,000 square feet in Craftsman, Farmhouse, and Spanish architectural designs

Get 1% Cash Back on New Construction in Verrado

1% Cash Back from Sonny!

If you work with me as your Realtor® to buy your new Toll Brothers home, I will pay you 1% of the base purchase price towards your closing costs. You must follow the builder's rules in order to qualify, click here for more details. That's $5,000 on a $500,000 home that will come out of my commission at close of escrow.

Get More Information about Sterling Grove

Sterling Grove from Toll Brothers.

Sterling Grove - Community Aerial from Toll Brothers.

Sterling Grove from Toll Brothers.

Sterling Grove Concept by Toll Brothers

Sterling Grove Concept by Toll Brothers

Sterling Grove Concept by Toll Brothers

Posted in New Communities
Nov. 7, 2019

10 Brutally Honest Tips to Sell Your Home for More

Are You Ready to Get Top Dollar?

By Sonny Shrivastava, Realtor®

The difference between just selling your home and selling your home for the highest possible price can mean tens of thousands of dollars more for retirement, your kids' college education, a new car, traveling the world, and beefing up your savings account with tax-free money. Today I'm going to share with you the 10 most important things to do (and not do) when selling your home. Following these simple tips can easily add 3%-5% or more to the price of your home, can result in multiple offers over list price, and can net you more for your home than you ever imagined.

Top 10 Brutally Honest Tips to Sell Your House for More

The snowflakes may want to turn away at this point. Let's dive in…

1. Tell investors to take a hike.

Slam the door to online "i-buyers" like Zillow Offers, OfferPad, and Open Door. They charge higher fees than if you had used a Realtor® and pay below market value for your house. You just left $35,000 on the table in the name of "convenience". How does that feel?

2. Nobody likes a hoarder.

Nothing costs homeowners more than putting a dirty, cluttered house on the market. I know you love them, but buyers don't necessarily want to see your collection of phallic Peruvian statues. Doing some basic things like a professional carpet cleaning, paint touch-ups, and a weekend of de-cluttering can bring you $10,000 or more. If you have a lot of furniture, consider selling it or relocating items to the garage.

Smelly homes don't sell3. What's that smell?

I am Indian and love spicy and pungent food, but for showings it's probably best that your house smell more like vanilla than Delhi Palace Buffet. To get the highest price, you want the most buyers competing for your home. That means your house must appeal to the maximum number of buyers. No smells!

4. Selling a home is inconvenient. Get over it.

The sooner you accept this the sooner you'll start enjoying making money. You might need to de-clutter and pack. You'll have to accommodate buyers according to their schedules, not yours. You may need to crate your pets during showings. So what? You're getting a free Cadillac for the inconvenience!

5. Fix your sh(__).

Ignoring repairs will cost you double or more. Buyers see lots and lots of dollar signs when they spot deferred maintenance. That's because they have no idea what it costs, they'll get emotional about it, and they will take it out on you in their offer. Buyers may ask, "What else did the seller ignore?" It happens all the time.

6. Disclose, disclose, disclose, and then disclose.

Make sure you let buyers know about anything that doesn't work or needs repair before they make an offer. This way you know their offer reflects those items. Fix as much as you can to remove this obstacle, otherwise buyers will use their inspection as an opportunity to nickel-and-dime you to death. As in bury you 6-feet under. Always make sure the Realtor® you hire is an effective negotiator and understands disclosure law. Sellers are legally required to disclose knowledge of material defects.

What happens if you don't price right

7. Don't be (too) greedy.

Good business people know their competition inside and out. That's why you hired an experienced Realtor®, right? Price your home too high and it will never show up in the right buyers' home searches while the homes around you sell. Your listing will appear for buyers looking at a higher price point for homes that are larger, more appealing, and with nicer upgrades. Would you pay more for less?

8. Don't be a lingerer.

Your first 2-3 weeks on market are the most critical and when you will attract the most buyers. Stay flexible. If nobody is coming to view your home, a smart seller will take the hint and adjust the price in the first 2 weeks. If your house squats on the market, buyers will think something is wrong with the house and you'll get lowball offers.

9. Treat your home like a centerfold model.

After you've made your house as cute and insta-worthy as possible, make sure your Realtor® hires the best photographer in town. Since your agent pays for the photos, make sure he or she doesn't cheap out on you. Over 90% of buyers find their next home online and your photo is the first (and most important) impression they get. Great photos are so important!

Bad real estate photoGreat real estate photo

10. Hire a skilled, experienced Realtor® like Sonny.

Nothing gets homes sold in the shortest amount of time for the most amount of money than an agent who understands your local market, and has a marketing plan that works like Sonny's Sold-in-3 Guarantee. You might save a couple thousand going with a discount agent, but their lack of experience, inability to hire the right photographers, and attention may cost you $50,000 or more on the price.

About Sonny…

Sonny Shrivastava has over 12 years of real estate experience, over 450 sales to his name, and received multiple industry awards. He makes selling your home an easy, no-hassle process. If you need help with liquidating or storing of personal items, Sonny can refer you to professionals who can assist. Sonny also has licensed contractors who can help with larger projects. Sonny's listings often receive multiple offers and sell for thousands over list price. If you are interested in selling your home for the highest price, Sonny would be happy to prepare a detailed market activity report for your area free of charge and with no obligation.

Real Estate has always been one of the most secure investments and all-around best way to build personal wealth. Sonny in Arizona has helped hundreds of buyers and sellers achieve their dreams of home ownership and financial independence. Licensed since 2007, Sonny consistently sets high price records for his sellers and helps his buyers obtain homes at the lowest possible prices while beating out other buyers in multiple offer situations.

If you are looking to buy or sell Arizona real estate, contact Sonny in Arizona today or call/text (623) 824-4275.

FREE! Check your property value here…

Posted in Tips
Oct. 24, 2019

Booming Home Values in Buckeye, AZ

Buckeye, AZ

The Sky's the Limit for Buckeye Home Prices

By Sonny Shrivastava

If you are a homeowner in Buckeye, Arizona then you have a lot to celebrate. It was only 10 years ago that 3,200 sqft 4-bedroom homes here sold for around $150,000. Today those same homes will sell in less than 30 days (some in as little as a week) for $350,000-$450,000, and with multiple offers. If you were one of the lucky ones to buy a median home in Buckeye in 2009-2011, you have seen a steady gain of ~$20,000 per year in your home value over the last 8 years, tax free. That's like having an extra income going straight into your savings account!

Buckeye home values have seen some of the biggest gains compared with the rest of Maricopa County. Today, Buckeye is the fastest growing city in the country. Building permits and new home starts are soaring according to the City of Buckeye and home values are outpacing the national average. According to AZCentral, a respected valley news source:

"Seven of the 10 top-selling new-home communities in metro Phoenix now are in the West Valley. Three of those neighborhoods—Tartesso, Terravista and Tenova—are in Buckeye. Buckeye is one of the Valley's affordable suburbs... New homes in Tartesso at 300th Avenue and I-10, about 40 miles from central Phoenix, also start below $200,000."

Buckeye fastest growing city in the country

If you want to see just how much real estate values have increased in Buckeye over time, have a look at this chart using data from ARMLS (Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service) covering the years 2009-2019. This is an amazing statistic!

Real estate prices in Buckeye, AZ

Real Estate has always been one of the most secure investments and all-around best way to build personal wealth. Sonny in Arizona has helped hundreds of buyers and sellers achieve their dreams of home ownership and financial independence. Licensed since 2007, Sonny consistently sets high price records for his sellers and helps his buyers obtain homes at the lowest possible prices while beating out other buyers in multiple offer situations.

If you are looking to buy or sell Arizona real estate, contact Sonny in Arizona today or call/text (623) 824-4275.

FREE! Check your property value here.

4-bedroom Homes for Sale in Buckeye, AZ

Homes with pools for sale in Buckeye, AZ

Active Adult Homes for Sale in Buckeye, AZ

Posted in Buckeye, AZ
Aug. 1, 2019

Phoenix Facing Affordable Housing Crisis?

Is Phoenix facing a potential affordable housing crisis?

PHOENIX (FOX 10)

Many new high-rises have changed the Phoenix skyline over the years, and there are even more in the works.

As developers continue to build up, however, many people are seeing their rent go up as well.

According to a recent study by Yardi, rents rose nearly 7% in the last year in Phoenix, nearly double the national rate. In the last year, Phoenix city officials say nearly two dozen high-rise projects have been completed or under construction.

In Phoenix, vacant, flat, dirt lots are quickly transforming into brand-new towers, as the city's economy continues to add thousands of jobs every year. The growth, however, is sobering for some.

"What it seems like they're forgetting are people who already live here," said Camaron Stevenson with the Arizona Housing Coalition.

Many families can no longer afford to live in their Phoenix neighborhood. Stevenson and his young family moved out of the Steele Indian School Park area because of the vertical trend.

"There were some high rise apartments built up across the street and our rent went up, so we got priced out of the neighborhood. We had to leave," said Stevenson.

The current proposal for that area is a $1 billion project called Central Park, which could include six towers, a hotel, homes, retail and office spaces. Meanwhile, the developer who purchased one particular piece of land in Downtown Phoenix is looking at rising above the rest by building a 550-foot tower.

The new developments are out of reach for many Phoenix families, with advertised rent starting at around $1,400 for a studio or a one-bedroom.

"We have one of the largest gaps in affordable housing versus people who need it in the country, and if we continue at this pace, we're going to see a rise in homelessness," said Stevenson. "All the downfalls in the 2008 recession, we're going to see that come right back at us."

The median home price in Phoenix is now just under $250,000, up 97% since 2011.

--

Sonny in Arizona Can Help!

In such a competitive market, it's important to have the most updated information at your fingertips and the most experienced Realtor® at your side. I work with rental clients all the time to find them a perfect home! Contact Sonny today or call (623) 824-4275. Let me help you get that house!

July 11, 2019

VA Loans: What are they?

Everything America’s military veterans need to know

By Sonny Shrivastava

Homes for veteransThe process of qualifying for a mortgage and buying a house is complicated enough. What's this VA loan thing? If you know the basics and find a lender who’s knowledgeable, it can be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Did you know that in 2018, 610,512 VA loans were made with an average loan amount of $264,197? The VA was responsible for $161.3 billion in mortgages last year.

What is a VA loan?

A VA loan is a mortgage made by private lenders that is financially guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are no limits on how much you can borrow, but there are limits on how much the VA will guarantee. Some of the biggest benefits of VA loans is that they offer 100% loans with lower interest rates than traditional financing.

You may only use VA loans for a primary residence, which is the home where you live. You cannot finance an investment property, vacation home, or second home with a VA loan. The main attraction of a VA mortgage is that it is easier to get financing by offering zero down-payment loans with more lenient credit and income requirements than conventional mortgages.

What are VA loan eligibility requirements?

Most members of the military, veterans, reservists and National Guard are eligible to apply for a VA loan. Spouses of military members who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability also can apply. Active-duty military personnel qualify after six months of service. Reservists and members of the National Guard must wait six years, but if they are called to active duty before that, they receive eligibility after 181 days of service.

You might qualify if you:

  • Served 90+ consecutive days of active service during wartime
  • Served 181+ days of active service during peacetime
  • Were an active member of the National Guard or Reserves for 6+ years
  • Are married to a service member who died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability

Even though you may be eligible to apply for a VA loan, you still have to meet lender requirements which include income and employment verification, credit qualification, tax returns, and debt-to-income ratio.

Do VA loans require PMI?

Unlike other loans where you are putting down less than 20%, a VA loan does not require private mortgage insurance.  Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans and conventional loans with less than 20% down require PMI. This can add a couple of hundred dollars per month to your payment and can end up costing you thousands over the life of the loan.

This translates into significant monthly savings for VA borrowers. For example, a borrower who makes a 3.5% down payment on a $200,000 FHA-insured mortgage would pay $100/mo for mortgage insurance alone.

Sonny in Arizona Can Help!

In such a competitive market, it's important to have the most updated information at your fingertips and the most experienced Realtor® at your side. This month alone I sold three homes for veterans and found one family their perfect forever home! Contact Sonny today or call (623) 824-4275. Let me help you get that VA loan!

May 24, 2019

Buckeye Real Estate on Fire

Buckeye fastest growing city in U.S.

By City of Buckeye

Buckeye fastest growing city in U.S.Buckeye, Arizona is now listed as the number one fastest growing city in the country according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The list of the 15 fastest growing cities by percentage in the U.S. with populations of over 50,000 was released earlier today.  Census Chart of top 15 fastest growing cities - Buckeye, AZ #1

Buckeye was the only Arizona city to make the list again this year, and moves up from the 5th fastest growing city last year.

The city is likely to stay in the top 10 for years to come. With a planning area of over 640 square miles, it is only five percent built out today.

The list shows from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018, Buckeye saw an 8.5 percent increase in population, reaching 74,370. City officials estimate the current population today at about 82,600.

“Buckeye provides our residents an excellent quality of life,” said Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck. “We offer good housing values while also staying focused on ensuring we remain a desirable community for years to come.”

In 2018, approximately 2,200 single-family residential permits were issued in Buckeye. So far in 2019, permits are exceeding that by 8%, with the city projecting it will issue about 2,400 permits this year.

There are also tremendous opportunities in Buckeye for retail shops, services and employment due to our rapid growth.

Each year, the U.S. Census Bureau releases estimates of the population for the nation, states, counties and Puerto Rico. Annual estimates for resident populations are produced by measuring population change, which includes all people currently residing in the United States.

To learn more about living, working, playing or relocating your business to Buckeye, please visit growbuckeye.com/ 

April 11, 2019

FHA Tightens Underwriting Guidelines

FHA's tightened underwriting standards impact banks’ profitability

by Candyd Mendoza

FHA loans tighteningFollowing the news of the Federal Housing Administration subjecting mortgage underwriting to a more intensive manual underwriting process, banks have started to pull back and will continue if yields continue to drop, according to a new study.

A Federal Reserve survey revealed that banks would tighten lending standards if short-term rates rise above their long-term rates. According to the banks interviewed in the report, this inversion of the yield curve would affect their lending practices and make them less profitable and more risk-averse.

“The yield curve just inverted in March meaning that short term rates exceeded long term rates,” Glen Weinberg, chief operating officer and vice president of Fairview Commercial Lending, wrote in an article. “Banks have already started pulling back the reins on lending by focusing on only the highest quality transactions that will be able to weather an economic transition.  This tightening trend will accelerate as worries about the future persist.”

Increased high-risk underwritings mean the FHA will approve fewer loans due to credit, income ratios, or payment amounts. High-risk loans are likely to be denied, and this would weaken many first-time homebuyers’ purchasing power, as the FHA is the largest low down payment loan provider in the US.

“The reason for the change now is I suspect someone was looking at the FHA portfolio and had an Oh sh** moment when they realized the outsized portion of the portfolio that is at much greater risk of default due to very low down payments and higher debt to income ratios,” wrote Weinberg. “This led to the abrupt change in underwriting to try to mitigate future risk as the economy enters a new cycle.  Unfortunately, the changes now might be too late as the real estate market is already starting to cool.”

March 11, 2019

Valley a Seller's Market

Most housing markets shifting in favor of buyers, but Phoenix bucks trend

From KTAR.COM

Pixabay Photo(MARCH 11, 2019) PHOENIX — Conditions for homebuyers are looking up in most of the nation’s housing markets, according to a real estate website, but Phoenix is bucking the trend.

“Nationwide and in most of the biggest metros in the country, market conditions have started to shift more in favor of buyers,” Zillow economist Jeff Tucker told KTAR News 92.3 FM last week.

“Probably the most important thing for buyers is that there’s more inventory on the market than we’ve seen in the last few years.”

But Zillow found that five of the nation’s 35 biggest metro housing markets are moving in the other direction.

“Phoenix is actually a standout, kind of cutting against the trend, by remaining a pretty steady, strong market that is not actually seeing a lot of relief for buyers in Phoenix,” Tucker said.

“Inventory there has been lower over the last year than it had been in previous years.”

There is a big demand for homes in the Phoenix, Tucker said, especially from people living in more expensive housing markets in California looking to maintain their lifestyle for a lower cost.

He said housing construction is also booming in the city, with builders getting permits in 2018 to build about 30,000 homes.

“The continued demand for housing there is really supporting jobs in the area, and it shows no signs of slowing in Phoenix, in particular,” he said.

Tucker said Phoenix’s median home value was $265,000, and homes in the area tend to sell for about 2.5 percent less than they are listed for.

Phoenix stands out as one of the fastest home markets, he said, with houses going from being putting on the market to closing at an average of 61 days.

“That does actually mean for buyers in Phoenix things are still moving at a very fast pace, which can make (it) a little stressful for buyers,” Tucker said.

“If you’re a seller, though, that’s good news — you want to be able to close quickly.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

Nov. 7, 2018

Crime Prevention Tips

By Sonny Shrivastava

Crime Prevention in Buckeye AZNobody likes crime in his or her neighborhood, but did you know that most crime is opportunistic and not something that is neighborhood specific? That's right! If we all come together as a community by taking individual steps to make our homes unattractive targets for opportunistic thieves and vandals, we can improve the entire area. Here are some tips on how to reduce crime in Windmill Village, Sundance, and surrounding communities.

Tips to Prevent Burglary

Can you get into your house through an unlocked window, or by using a hidden key under a rock, flower pot, or door mat? If you can get in, so can a thief! It's easy to make your home more secure and reduce your chances of being a victim.

Secure your home:

  • Secure sliding glass doors with track locks or even a broomstick in the track to keep the door from being opened from the outside.
  • Secure windows by using track locks or slide a bolt through a hole drilled into the corners from the inside.
  • Do not hide keys anywhere on your property.
  • Give a spare key to a trusted neighbor.
  • If you just bought a new home, change the locks or have them re-keyed.

Check the Doors:

  • Ensure exterior doors are metal or 1 3/4″ wood.
  • Doors should always fit tightly and hinge pins should always be on the inside.
  • See who is at your door by installing a peephole or wide-angle viewer in your entry doors.
  • Always secure your garage door by putting a padlock through the roller track, especially when you are on vacation.
  • Keep your garage service door locked. This door is often behind a gate and hidden from the front, making it an attractive target for a burglar.
  • Lock the door from the garage to your home and make sure you have a deadbolt.

Discourage Burglars from Targeting Your Home:

  • Trim shrubs and trees to make your front door visible from the street.
  • Trim tree limbs that could be used to climb into a window.
  • Keep outside lights on after dark to light up porches, entrances and yards. This includes the back of your home. Use timers and motion detectors to turn on lights and to make it look like someone is home.
  • Lobby the HOA to keep up the appearance of the community. A neighborhood that looks run down tends to attract criminals.
  • Report broken street lights to APS or the HOA. Report suspicious or abandoned vehicles  to the Police.

Additional Tips:

  • Keep an inventory of all personal belongings, and keep this list in a safe and secure location.
  • Use this Serial Number Tracking Form to help police find stolen items.
  • Take the Home and Business Security Survey to know if you are doing the right things.
  • Contact your homeowners' insurance company to add theft insurance.
  • Join a Neighborhood Crime Watch group by contacting the Buckeye Police Department.
  • If you notice a damaged screen, a broken window, or an open door, don’t go in! Call the Buckeye Police Department at (623) 523-0234.
  • If it sounds like someone is breaking into your home, call 9-1-1 immediately! Leave safely if you can, otherwise lock yourself in a room. If the burglar enters your room, pretend to be asleep.

Windmill Village, Sundance, and surrounding communities are general safe and have very low incidents of crime according to the Buckeye Police Department. However, you should always take steps to make your house the least attractive target to a potential burglar or vandal.

How to Recognize Suspicious Activity in Your Neighborhood

Download Brochure

Click here for real estate listings in Windmill Village & Sundance, or to conduct your own home search.

Nov. 5, 2018

Best Time to Sell?

By Sonny Shrivastava

Windmill Village

Here's the Scoop…

I get asked this question a lot by clients. As a 12-year resident of Windmill Village, I've become very familiar with the season cycle of our community, which also includes much of Sundance. Every market is seasonal. Listing your home for sale at the wrong time of year can cost you thousands of dollars. Why is that? Supply-and-demand. When demand drops, so do prices. To get the highest price for your home, you want to list your house when there is highest demand.

Here is a birds-eye view of Windmill Village's seasonality over the last year using data from our Multiple Listing Service. The bars track number of homes going under contract during that month while the line tracks average price-per-sqft. As you can see, when demand drops so does the price. When demand is high, prices rise. This cycle repeats every calendar year.

Windmill Village seasonality

When Should I List My House?

My recommendations to clients are always based on cold, hard data. Based on the above chart, which tracks nearby activity over the last 12 months, the absolute best time of year looks to be spring to early summer. That's when we should see the highest demand and the highest prices. If spring/summer is not in your timeline, the next best option would be January/February. The winter bump here in Windmill Village/Sundance is likely due to snowbirds. We have a large number of smaller homes that are attractive to vacationers and those looking for a 2nd home.

Average prices increased dramatically in the third quarter of this year, which has led to a bit of a slowdown in the fourth quarter as buyers get priced out of the market. I hope you find this information helpful!

Don't miss my next blog post where I will share Windmill Village pricing broken down by home size.

Click here for new listings and recent sales in Windmill Village, or to conduct your own home search.