I was interviewed the other day for a magazine called Gilbert Good Living. It was an email interview and I thought the questions were interesting, so with the permission of the author-to-be, Kelli Donley, read away (the article will come out next month or so and I will of course I will link to it!):
1. Tell me how you became interested in real estate.
That’s kind of a silly story. I was watching some reality show when I was home on maternity leave with my son. It was about attempting to make someone over into a career that’s totally different from their own. The one I was watching was about a lady who was a ski instructor/outdoor enthusiast who they were trying to teach to be a real estate agent for million dollar homes. While I was watching it I kept thinking to myself, “Now I could do that, and it would be so much more fun and challenging than my current job.” I had been searching for a different direction to go in my professional life, one with more flexibility and human contact. Real estate suddenly seemed like the perfect fit. I love houses, I love dealing with people and I’m great with paperwork. It’s the ideal career for me. Of course there’s more to it than that, but so far I’m really enjoying myself.
2. Why is the market so hot right now? Is the Gilbert market specifically a “hotter” market than other areas of the Valley?
The market is hot in general because interest rates are so low and have been low for so long. In the Phoenix metro area, this is intensified by the fact that housing has been relatively inexpensive for a large city (this has changed somewhat in the last year with the 47% rise in home prices). People were moving here in droves and the investors caught on quickly and began buying up properties to ‘flip’ (quickly resell for a profit). This has really begun to taper off in the last couple of months. As far as Gilbert goes, according to the latest Government census, Gilbert was the fastest growing city in the US (Chandler was number seven). Gilbert is the place families want to live in the East Valley. Homes are automatically worth more, just because they are located in Gilbert.
3. If you are looking for a home in the Gilbert area, what is the easiest way to find a trust worthy Realtor? What qualities should you look for?
Well, of course, if you’re looking for a Gilbert Realtor, I think you should call me, but in general, if I was shopping for an agent, the things that would be most important to me would be: 1. Honesty – does your Realtor seem like he or she is giving you the straight line, or spinning the truth to make a sale? 2. Reliability – In the fast pace of real estate right now, you need an agent who will jump when you need him or her. You want to make sure your phone calls are returned regularly and promptly. You could easily miss out on a great house because of a slow to the punch agent. 3. Detail oriented – Getting into the right house and/or finding a buyer for your previous house is, of course, the ultimate goal in the real estate game, but there are a zillion details that can trip you up along the way. You need an agent who’s got in all under control and has anticipated all possible problems and made you aware of the in advance.
4. What should you avoid when buying a home? (No inspection, buyer/seller agents, interest variable loans…)
It’s hard to make generalizations about what is and what is not a good idea when buying a home. Every situation is different. Interest-only loans can be useful for some people when fully understood and applied correctly (both the mortgage representatives at my office have interest-only mortgages on their homes right now). Sometimes you get a better deal when using the selling agent to buy a home (though not often). I think the most important thing about buying a home is to fully understand what you are getting into. Know your loan and all of the contingencies that go with it. Understand the contract you are signing and what it entails (it is not that complicated if you read through it). Be comfortable with your rights and obligations. The right real estate agent will help you with all of this. If you don’t understand something, or need more time to think things over, make sure you tell your Realtor. It’s his or her job to amend the situation.
5. In your opinion, will the bubble pop? Should people still consider buying a home now?
I do not think the ‘bubble’ will pop here in Arizona. In order for home prices to actually decrease here, we would have to be in a position with more supply than demand and we are just not anywhere close to that. Right now there are more properties on the market than there were just three months ago, but the average days on market have not increased, which means that buyers are snapping well-priced homes up just as quickly as before. People want to live in Phoenix. We have lots to offer with our weather, jobs and big city amenities. Plus we have skiing and the beach within driving distance. Home prices, in my opinion, will continue to rise, but at a much slower rate, which is a positive for everyone. Very soon, buyers will have much more of an upper hand than they have in the last year, and the market will even out.
6. What are some of the more attractive features of buying a home in Gilbert? Why would you want to live in this area?
There are lots of reasons that Gilbert is such a popular city. To begin with, it’s known for good school and families dedicated to keeping them that way. It is also home to two of the most popular, well-kept and beautiful subdivisions in the East Valley: The Islands and Val Vista Lakes. Gilbert has the advantage of being a suburb, but still fairly centrally located and close enough to major freeways that commutes in and out of Phoenix aren’t too bad.