Canadians bullish on Phoenix real estate

Jason Warick wrote a story in the June 26 edition of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix titled, ”Sask. residents find Arizona opportunity.”

“The strong Canadian dollar, combined with rock-bottom prices for real estate in many cities such as Phoenix, means Canadians can snap up vacation homes or investment properties for less than half of the price of just one year ago. That’s attracted Saskatchewan buyers in droves.”

Two of my favourite Phoenix Realtors were quoted in the story.

Jay Thompson, also known as the Phoenix Real Estate guy writes about the article here.

Jonathon Dalton, the only “guest blogger” I’ve ever hosted here had this to say about his contribution to the story.

If you were considering a real estate purchase in the Phoenix area I would gladly vouch for either of these guys to treat you right and look after your interests.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Buying real estate in Phoenix, Arizona – From the beagle's mouth

Buying Real Estate in Phoenix, Arizona - From the Beagle's Mouth

Over the past several months a number of my past clients have asked me about real estate opportunities in the U.S. The rising dollar, combined with reduced prices in some beautiful U.S. cities has many Canadians considering a purchase in their favorite vacation spot. A friend of mine from Phoenix recently asked if he could share some information about buying property south of the border, so I jumped at the opportunity to have him as my guest. I’d like you to meet Jonathan Dalton, and his partner, Toby. J

Greetings from Phoenix!

I’m Jonathan Dalton from RE/MAX Desert Showcase and Dalton’s Arizona Homes Blog. Norm was nice enough to let me drop in and talk directly to you folks and I’m quite appreciative. As I write we’re in the middle of a cold snap – it’s down to 53 degrees here, which translates to somewhere around 12 Celsius. But that sounds much colder than it should so I’m going to stick to 53.

One of the big stories of real estate down here in the Valley of the Sun is the surge in Canadians looking to purchase second homes here, usually for themselves and sometimes as seasonal rentals (even though the high season is the same time of year someone from the land of snow probably would rather be here.) I’ve spent most of the last six months acquainting folks from Alberta and Saskatchewan with the Phoenix area and some of the particulars of buying homes down here.

There seem to be a lot of seminars up there telling people what they need to know about buying in the United States, though it seems like the seminars really work out best for the hosts collecting the checks at the door. The basic information’s good but there’s a lot of small stuff you ought to know before you buy in the United States and the Phoenix area in particular.

With any luck (and possibly a bribe or two) Norm will let me write about these in a little more depth sometime. But here are some basic things you should know:

1) The Phoenix real estate market is big. It’s really big. From Surprise in the northwest to Queen Creek in the southeast is somewhere around 65 miles one way. It’s hard narrowing down the search so …

2) Know what you like to do. If you’re into golf (which we do year-round here), golf is everywhere. If you want to watch hockey, come to the West Valley. If you like off-Broadway productions stay closer to Arizona State University in Tempe. What you like to do will impact where you ought to look.

3) Speaking of such things, Queen Creek is in a different county than Phoenix. We’re in Maricopa. Queen Creek is in Pinal. Property taxes are far higher in Pinal County than in Maricopa. The local paper ran an article about Canadians buying in Florence which is even further south than Queen Creek. Not sure if the sales agent ever mentioned taxes.

4) And on that note, don’t go into a new build without representation. Agents at new builds will tell you what they have to tell you but not necessarily everything that you might need to know.

5) Lastly, financing isn’t nearly as complicated as it seems … if you find a lender who knows what they’re doing with Canadian buyers.

Timing is an interesting concept from what I’ve seen with my clients. Not only are you guessing the direction of the local market but you’re also gambling on the currency exchange. A small decline in the Phoenix real estate market actually could be less costly than a drop in the loony. With our dollars at parity, that seems to be the main reason folks are looking more than normal.

I’ve got a penchant for rambling as you’ll discover if you visit my blog so I’ll wrap this up here. Hopefully I didn’t wear out my welcome and I’ll be back again. Thanks much for allowing me to interrupt and I now return you to Saskatchewan real estate news already in progress.

Flip This House exposed: The “unreal” side of reality TV

Flip this house exposed: the unreal side of reality tv

This is not exactly important real estate news but I couldn’t resist writing a small snip about this story.

It seems that the popular A&E reality program, “Flip This House” has run a number of episodes which amount to nothing more than a sham. Featuring self proclaimed “real estate developer” Sam Leccima, the episodes represent his renovation projects as having been sold for huge profits. As it turns out, most of them haven’t actually sold and at least one of them wasn’t actually renovated.

To make matters worse, it’s clear that Sam Leccima is the target of a number of civil suits from prospective investors who trusted him to invest their money wisely. One gentleman claims to have lost $100,000 to the smooth talking television celebrity.

A&E claims to have no knowledge of the sham and they have pulled all episodes which feature Leccima from their re-run schedule.

Thanks to Doug Quance for the heads up on this bit. Doug is an Atlanta based agent who has been on top of this home town story since October of last year when he noticed some of Sam’s sold properties were still listed for sale.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Who actually pays the commission on a Saskatoon real estate sale?

Commissions on Saskatoon Real Estate Sale I was speaking with a mortgage person yesterday. He was recounting a conversation that he had with a young person who is interested in purchasing his first home. In response to the question, “are you working with an agent?” this young man indicated that he wasn’t because he couldn’t afford to pay a commission. My mortgage broker friend responded by telling his new client that “the seller always pays the commission and it costs you nothing to use the services of an agent, so you should use one.”

I’ll agree with my friend on his latter point. It probably comes as no surprise that this agent believes that almost anyone can benefit by using the services of an agent in the purchase of real estate. First time buyers are particularly prone to making costly mistakes which can take years to pay for. I will however take issue with his first point. Even though a buyer will not likely see “real estate fees” show up on an invoice; I firmly believe that it is in fact the buyer who pays the commission in a real estate trade. After all, the buyer brings the money to the transaction. Real estate services may or may not be included in the property’s price but chances are, you are paying for those services. Understanding this simple truth may be helpful to you in getting maximum value for your money.

It’s important to understand that a commission is earned in every real estate transaction. If the property is listed through a real estate brokerage, the agent earns the commission for affecting a sale on the property. If a property is marketed privately, the seller is attempting to earn the commission. In rare instances, a buyer who buys “unrepresented” may in fact earn some portion of the commission. You should at least understand that it’s your money that is being earned.

The myth that buyers don’t pay real estate fees has been an excuse for poor service that has gone on long enough. Let’s face it, if you are led to believe that you’re not paying for the service, you’re probably not going to have very high expectations of your agent. After all, we all know that you don’t get much for free, or to put it another way, “you get what you pay for.” Are you getting what you’re paying for?

Prudent buyers should interview prospective agents to find out exactly what services the agent is prepared to provide. Once you’ve selected an agent, hold that person accountable to deliver what’s been promised. Moreover, let the agent know that you actually believe that you’re paying the real estate fees and that you expectations for service are fairly high because of it.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate