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Chandler property tax rates could increase, Gilbert Road project in jeopardy

chandler-property-taxes-for-road-repairsAccording to a report in today’s East Valley Tribune, the Chandler City Council is considering raising its secondary property taxes to pay for upcoming bonds that are intended to be used for road repairs and other municipal projects. The current rate is .84cents per $100,000 in evaluation rate. If the rate increase is passed the rate could go up to .97cents.

Current projects that are scheduled to be completed in the next two years are not at risk, but unless more revenue is generated projects in 2011-2012 could be in jeopardy. The cause to the current funding problem is the large drop in property value over the last couple years. With value down, tax revenue is coming up short of what is needed.

The two projects that seem to be in the most dangerous position of being cut are repaving of old roads and the widening of Gilbert Road from Queen Creek Road and Hunt Highway. The scenario most likely to be adopted by the Council would increase Chandler’s secondary property tax rate for six years then return it to the current level after growth recovered.

How to get your house sold in today’s market

get-your-home-soldSo you want to sell your home in this crowded market, but agents are telling you it will be hard to move it with all the homes on the market, what can you do? There are some basic steps you can do to make sure you home stands out.

  1. Price it right. Your real estate agent will get paid more the more your home sells for, they are not looking to give your home away so trust them on pricing. They are telling you not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear to get the home sold.
  2. Market it more than just on the MLS. Your real estate agent may tell you your home will be marketed on Realtor.com. That is great, you and every other house in the MLS that will automatically be put onto Realtor.com. More than 80% of home buyers are starting their searches on the Internet. Talk to your agent and ask them what else they will be doing besides the syndication that their MLS gives the.
  3. Make your home shine. You likely will not be able to beat foreclosure properties in price so you need to make your home stand out. Spend a little money to have the house cleaned professionally and get a storage location you can store a lot of your possessions in. The less clutter in the house the larger it will look.
  4. Curb appeal. Many lazy real estate agents that work with buyers will send the buyers a list of homes and tell the buyers to go drive by the outside and if you are interested I will show you the house. If the buyer is decided to look at your home or not based on a drive-by, you better make sure it looks good outside. Spend an hour or two every weekend keeping up with the front landscaping. It can make a difference in visits.
  5. Pictures, pictures, pictures. If someone is going to be judging your home on the Internet, show them what they are getting. Make sure your agent is providing buyers a lot of pictures of not only the home, but the community and what the neighborhood has to offer. Would you buy this home based on the pictures? If not then get new pictures.
  6. Neighborhood efforts. If there are a lot of homes for sale in your neighborhood a joint open house day may help. Just like a joint garage sale may get more traffic, so will a joint open house. Just make sure your house is the one that shines when people come in (see number 3 above).
  7. Become a second agent. Just because you have a selling agent doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be trying to sell your home too. Once your agent develops a webpage for your home (and make sure they do) then e-mail a link to that page to all your friends. Your friends may not be looking for a home, but more thank likely a few of them know someone looking. Use your network.

New legislation coming that could force lender to modify loans with bankruptcy

Homeowners who are over their head in debt could soon find relief from their mortgage payments if a new piece of legislation being supported by Barack Obama makes its way through Congress.  The bill allow homeowners to go to bankruptcy court and have a judge force the lender to modify the loan to an affordable monthly payment. Borrowers would also need to prove they tried to modify their loans with the lenders before bankruptcy court.

More information can be found in this AP article.

More details on new Making Homes Affordable housing program

Here are some highlight for what other people are writing about the new program.

U.S. Department of Treasury press release

The Mortgage Reports by Dan Green

Not 10 minutes after The U.S. Treasury’s official Home Affordable announcement March 4, 2009, the nation’s news sources were already printing misleading headlines and incomplete stories.

The ranged from sensational to mundane. Mostly, though, they were incomplete. Rest assured, my friends, you’re not getting a 2 percent rate on your mortgage.

Here’s the bullet points from today’s announcement:

* Loan modification guidelines for “at-risk” homeowners are defined
* Refinancing guidelines for “underwater”, on-time homeowners are not defined

From Justin McHood at Arizona Mortgage Team

I really don’t have an opinion on whether or not the plan will actually help the number of homeowners as claimed by the media (9 million) – because after all, what most people really want to know is “will the plan help me in my situation” as in… “what’s in it for me“?

And each situation is individual, so be sure to speak with as many people as you can about your options. Real Estate Agents, Loan Officers, Hope Now, Loan Modification Companies, Loan Modification Attorneys – speak with all of these people if you are having trouble making your mortgage payment.

And it is entirely probable that they will all tell you different information — and hopefully with the sum of the pieces, you will be able to paint the picture of what is best for you in your situation.

From Rhonda Porter of Mortgage Porter

The Home Affordable Modification program does not involve a refinance (which is a new mortgage replacing the existing mortgage). With a loan modification, the terms of the existing mortgage are modified. You can read the borrower qualifications by clicking here. This applies to borrowers who are dealing with “financial hardship” and this is a “full document” transaction including providing income documentation and verification that the home is owner occupied. Families with high debt levels may be required to complete financal counceling through a HUD approved counselor.

Will light rail expansion help Mesa real estate market?

phx-light-railMesa Mayor Scott Smith has been driven to expand commerce and job opportunities in Mesa since he took over last year. Yesterday Smith discussed with reporters his desire to expand the METRO light rail into Mesa. It is hard to fathom how the city spent millions on bringing museums to and cleaning up downtown and then have the light rail stop just short of downtown. The light rail has far exceeded expectations for the amount of commuters they have received so far and expansion into Mesa would not only give riders a chance to get to the renovated downtown Mesa, it would also allow commuters a chance to move along the rail and commute to downtown Tempe or Phoenix.

The light rail is not the only thing the Mayor wants to expand into Mesa. Smith also wants to bring some Cactus League spring training to the city. Smith has been busy courting the Cincinnati Reds from Florida and the D-Backs and Rockies from Tucson.

Expansion of light rail, the addition of the Gaylord Resort and spring training ball can all help Mesa grow in the future. Any reason to make Mesa more of a destination attraction will help grow jobs and make the city much more desirable to live in.

Obama’s housing plan released: Making Homes Affordable

making-sausageLast month Barack Obama came to Mesa to outline his a plan to help the housing market. Today, the details of his “Making Homes Affordable” plan was released. Looking at all the reports online the only thing that is really clear is no one agrees what the bill will allow you to do and what the outcome will be. There seems to be as much confusion now as there was when Obama announced there would be a plan last month.

It appears that those who have fallen behind in their mortgage and can prove why that has happened with income and tax returns, the government will be giving incentives to both you and your lender to come to an agreement that gets you current on  your loan and keeps you there. We will try to get details from loan mod experts and let you know the details as the get clarified.

The plan aims to help nearly 4 million Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac customers who currently owe up to 105% of their home value to refinance the loan. The plan did not though specify how those homes could be refinanced, but instead left Fannie and Freddie to come up with refinancing guidelines. The Treasury Department did not say exactly who would qualify, but estimated it would be around 4 million. While details are yet to be developed the Treasury did say this program would be for those who are current on the mortgage payments. It appears by most reports this program appears to be more like a FHA Streamline Loan where no appraisal is required on the home.

So for now we recommend homeowners contact their mortgage servicer to get more details on how the refinancing or modifications may effect them.

More recreation opportunities in Gilbert soon

Soon Gilbert will have even more recreation opportunities as a two-mile biking and walking path will be completed along the powerlines between Cooper and Lindsay and running between Elliot Rd and Guadalupe Rd. Gilbert residents expect the new paths to bring even more foot traffic to downtown.

The project, which was approved in 2006, is expected to open in the next couple of months. The new stretch of the pathway will include landscaping and fountains and included photographs and agricultural history of Gilbert.  East Valley Tribune recently had a complete write-up on the project.

New conference center for Gilbert may be coming soon

santanfountainGilbert Arizona has exploded in population over the last decade and now has 215,000 people living within its borders. One thing the town does not have though is a large conference center. That could be changing soon if developer get his way.

An investor is looking to build a 121 room hotel an conference center near the San Tan Village shopping center. If permits are approved, which investors are hoping will be done by May, the location of the new conference center will be near Ray Rd and Williams Field across from the mall’s Macy’s department store. The plan is to break ground shortly after the permits are approved.