Thanks for visiting our blog.  We're excited to share with you the most current news  and information in the world of real estate.  Here you'll find valuable articles about buying and selling a home. 

Ready to sell?  We want to be your real estate agent for the Southeast Valley of AZ - we are serving the greater Phoenix area and more.

Contact me to learn more about how you may increase your home’s value.  We are your one-stop-shop for real estate. Simply put, there is no need to search elsewhere for your dream!





June 14, 2019

Home Foreclosures: The good, the bad, the ugly

If you are a first-time homebuyer, this article probably isn’t for you – but…

…it could apply somewhere down the road.  Please, read on and share!


Foreclosures are a special variety when it comes to home buying.  Foreclosures come in all shapes and sizes.  They can be any layout or style:  traditional, contemporary, single family, townhome, condo, duplex, etc.  Foreclosures exist in any neighborhood, high or low dollar.  If you’re in the market for a foreclosure, chances are, you are an investor or someone who’s looking to put in some sweat equity.  Here are some advantages to purchasing a property in foreclosure.


Home foreclosures

The Good  

1.       Well the good news is, if it’s a foreclosure, that means it is bank-owned and you can bet your bottom dollar that the bank will be motivated to sell the property.  (But don’t bet your bottom dollar, you will need it for the foreclosure!)  The banks don’t want to be in the home ownership business, they want to be in the mortgage business.  Typically, they’ll negotiate on price, closing costs, escrow length, etc.  Usually an investor will use a cash buy to leverage all the above.  An aggressive approach by your real estate professional will get the job done quickly and cost-effectively. 

2.     The title will be clear – this means there are no liens, mortgage or back taxes of the prior owners to the buyer. 

3.       Inspections and mortgage financing are allowed within a standard period of time.  Use this time for due diligence because another sure bet is, this property needs some TLC.  The bank will not make repairs on most foreclosed properties.  Prepare to spend some money on repairs and improvements that may be needed for future rental or flip potential.  The bank will not

4.      High ROI and appreciation – because the bank will list at below market value, when you purchase at the right price, you could potentially enjoy a quick ROI.

 The Bad

1.       Foreclosed properties are vacant – could be several months which means no utilities service.  Lawn isn’t watered, pool filter isn’t powered, home isn’t tended.  You must buy at the right price and earmark monies for cleaning/repairs/fix-up.  Bringing this home back to “presentable” will cost money.

2.      Competition – more than one investor vying for the same property will drive the price.  Know your “no deal” number and stick to it.

The Ugly - that’s all – the house just might be ugly with a capital UGH!  Distressed even!  Reference #3 under “The Good”:  Prepare to spend some money on repairs and improvements that may be needed for future rental or flip potential.

Again, Foreclosures can be a little complicated and certainly, there are variables that come into play that make this endeavor a bit riskier than a traditional real estate transaction.  But foreclosures can be a wonderful opportunity for the right investor being represented by the RIGHT realtor. 

Are you ready to buy or sell?  We are your one stop shop for real estate. Simply put, there is no need to search elsewhere for your dream of buying or selling a home!

Call me today! 

Steve Maxwell 480-226-8375.

Your real estate agent for the Southeast Valley of AZ

Serving the greater Phoenix area and more.

Posted in Foreclosures
May 7, 2019

Preparing to Buy or Sell a Home

Buying or selling a home is a major undertaking that can be very overwhelming and stressful. As a professional real estate agent with years of experience representing both buyers and sellers, here are my recommendations on how to make the home buying or selling process as easy as possible.


Work with a pro to sell your home


When getting ready to list your home for sale, here are a few essential tips that can make selling your home easier.

  1.  Price it right. Homeowners often overestimate the value of their homes by 5-15%. As a seller, trust your listing agent to conduct a market analysis of home sales in your neighborhood from the past 90 days to identify to the competitive listing price for your home. Remember that foreclosures or short sales in your area can affect your home’s market value.
  2. Invest in your home’s first impression. When you meet with your listing agent before placing your home on the market, they may suggest repairs or maintenance to improve visible flaws within your home. Staging your home can help buyers envision themselves living there and it presents the home as being more spacious.
  3. Maximize your market debut. Price your home competitively at your initial listing to improve your chance for a fast sale and the possibility of multiple offers.  Forty-three percent of buyers search for homes online as their first step. Pricing your home too high when it enters the market can turn qualified buyers off and lessen the number of listing views.
  4. Consider your costs. When you receive an offer, always think about the potential costs, such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance costs, and maintenance fees that you’ll carry if you hold onto your home and not move forward with a sale. Not moving forward on an early offer can result in the excitement of your new listing wearing off, a long duration on the market, and extended carrying costs.
  5. Make it easy for buyers. Sellers who agree to or offer to pay the buyer’s closing costs can simplify the financing process for buyers, making your home more appealing. Including appliances, allowances, or other extras, like a transferable home warranty, can entice buyers and help close the sale of your home.

 When preparing to buy a home, whether it’s your first time or not, the following tips can make the process less daunting.

Work with Steve - he'll find your dream home at the right price!


  1. Get ready financially. Before shopping for a new home, meet with a mortgage lender professional and share your financial information to determine your loan options. Doing so will illustrate to you the price of a home you can afford based upon your household income and down payment amount. Being pre-approved prior to making an offer, can increase your negotiating power and help you get the best price for your new home.
  2. Leverage your real estate agent. Prior to searching for homes, think about what you’re looking for in your new home and share your wish list with your agent. Inform them how you’d like to be communicated with during the home search process. Utilize their market knowledge and expertise to your advantage. Their role is to represent your best interests when buying a home and foster a smooth purchase transaction.
  3. Shop smarter not harder. Do you want a turn-key home with the luxury of no repairs or are you willing to put in some extra work on a home post purchase to customize it to your needs? If turn-key is your preference, expect to pay more for the convenience. If you’re open to a fixer-upper, focus on structural integrity over cosmetic, and you score a better bargain on the sale price. And don’t forget to consider location, not only for your own benefit, but for its potential value in the future when you decide to sell.
  4. Lock it in quickly. Once you’ve found the right home for you, move quickly. Compare the prices of recent sales in the neighborhood. If the home positioned in a high-demand area, be ready to write a competitive offer. Request your agent to find out if the seller is motivated for a quick sale. Speed can motivate a seller to accept an offer. All these factors will influence how strong your offer will be.
  5. Always conduct your due diligence. Once your offer is accepted, schedule a home inspection quickly. If your inspection results in safety or building code deficiencies, you can request repairs or a credit from the seller. During this stage, ensure that all your questions about the home’s condition are answered, so you know what you’re buying.


Are you ready to buy or sell?  We are your one stop shop for real estate. Simply put, there is no need to search elsewhere for your dream of buying or selling a home!


Call me today! 

Steve Maxwell 480-226-8375.

Your real estate agent for the Southeast Valley of AZ

Serving the greater Phoenix area and more.

April 21, 2019

Improve Your Credit Score and Increase Your Home Buying Power, No Matter What Your Age

Did you know that age is an advantage in America when it comes to your credit score? The credit score system, known as the VantageScore, was created by credit reporting agencies, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. VantageScores range on a scale from 300-850, with 850 representing exceptional credit.


You might be wondering, why is age a factor? There are several reasons. First, a long line of credit history builds up a higher credit score. Length of credit and payment history make up 50% of your credit score, while credit line balances, inquiries/new lines, and diversity of credit make up the rest.



Secondly, younger people may not have diverse credit, meaning mortgages, car loans, and credit cards. Purchasing a home or a car, which are more common for older generations, cultivates more well-rounded credit.


Lastly, average salaries are higher for older generations compared to younger. Advanced careers often yield bigger earning power. Younger consumers often qualify for smaller credit limits for these reasons, which in turn reflects in the debt-utilization ratio, thus impacting their credit scores differently than if they had substantial lines of credit with the same balances owed.


For reference, the average VantageScore by generation are as follows: (Source:

      730 – Silent Generation (born between 1925 and 1946)

      700 – Baby Boomers (born between 1947 and 1966)

      655 – Generation X (born between 1967 and 1981)

      634 – Millennials (born between 1982 and 1995)

      631 – Generation Z (born 1996 and later)


Now you may be wondering, how can I improve my score, especially if I’m earlier in my career or have a lower score than you’d like to have? The answer is, establish healthy credit habits. Here are 4 recommendations for  healthy habits to continue or start.

  1. Make your payments on time.
  2. Responsibly utilize your credit.
  3. Avoid new lines of credit if possible.
  4. Try not to carry high balances. Tip: Your goal should be for your credit balance to be less than 35% of your available credit.


By following these steps, your credit will improve, it just takes consistency and time. A healthy credit score helps you improve your home buying and improvement power. It’s an investment of time and focus that can pay off in dividends.

Posted in Credit Score
April 7, 2019

Home Improvements: Which add value, and which do not?

We see home improvements everywhere, from television to social media to our own neighborhoods. But how can you tell if there is true value in renovating your home aside from personal aesthetics? And what improvements yield the best return on investment (ROI)?

The answer is the kitchen.

Kitchen DIY Adds Value

Regardless if your kitchen large or small, you can incorporate these popular elements to make your kitchen attractive to future buyers and increase your ROI. 

  1. Open it up. Remove upper cabinets and install efficient storage solutions in base cabinets to open up the visual space and sight line. Consider open shelving to make dishes and glassware easy to access and stylish decor.
  2. Make it smart. The latest kitchen appliances incorporate features that are controllable by smartphones or tablets, are energy efficient, and improve functionality.
  3. Activate with touch. Touch technology on kitchen appliances helps maintain a clean working space and improves efficiency when preparing meals.
  4. Focus on gathering. As the central hub of the home, design a space where family can come together and spend time when using the kitchen. If working with a small space, consider a mobile island that can be moved for entertaining.
  5. Illuminate it thoughtfully. Consider how lighting can improve the use of the kitchen. Under cabinet and cabinet lighting not only improves functionality but also adds style. Flush or recessed fixtures seamlessly blend into the space and work well in both small and large spaces.

For the best return on your renovation investment, we suggest keeping your improvements in line with the style of the neighborhood. The sooner you plan to sell, the closer the style of materials, appliances, and aesthetics should be in line with the look of the average home in your neighborhood. Avoid over-improving or upgrading outside of the norm, as they may not pay-off when you sell.

Let’s talk budget. What are average kitchen renovation costs and the current return?

       Major Kitchen Renovation | Average cost: $122,000 | ROI: 62%

        Includes custom cabinets, stone countertops, designer sink and fixtures, built in appliances, commercial-grade cooktop, and wood or tile floors.

       Midrange Kitchen Improvement | Average cost: $62,000 | ROI: 65%

        Includes semi-custom cabinets, laminate countertops, standard sink, energy efficient appliances, paint, and new flooring.

       Minor Kitchen Update | Average cost: $20,000 | ROI: 80%

        Includes replacing cabinet fronts, laminate countertops, energy efficient appliances, paint, and new flooring.

By investing in your kitchen, no matter the size or budget, you can see a solid return on your investment when you decide to sell.

Ready to sell?  We want to be your real estate agent for the Southeast Valley of AZ - we are serving the greater Phoenix area and more.

Contact me to learn more about how you may increase your home’s value.  We are your one-stop-shop for real estate. Simply put, there is no need to search elsewhere for your dream!

Call me today! 

Steve Maxwell, Realtor

Steve Maxwell




Posted in Home Improvement