Fairways at the Legacy – golf course home

2706 Carson front viewNew to the market, this very sharp clean home at the Legacy Golf Course is now available… Featuring 3 bedrooms (one a perfect office), 2 baths, over 1900 square feet, and it faces north onto the fairway… With a new A/C unit just last year, and new appliances in 2014, this should be a maintenance-free place for years to come! Gated community, so a degree of privacy will be yours! Offered for sale at $330,000. MLS # 5487380 Call Pat today for more info!

Lifelong renters… With some exceptions…

No question, thEmarreeere is an epidemic of entitlement thinking out there. It’s not limited to just the millennials, either. Too many folks wake up every day in America thinking that they deserve, are entitled to, a decent paycheck, a nice home, a new car, all of that good stuff that advertisers tell us we need.

In helping folks buy homes, I run into a fair amount of this thinking, and get to tactfully explain to (some) buyers that their past is going to be measured by the lenders when they work up the loan needed for their home purchase. Now and then, the obstacles in front of buyers are almost too many to list… These buyers are called renters. Lifelong renters… With some exceptions…

I met Emarree about 3 years ago, through the company that runs a day program that my adult special needs son is part of. It’s hard work, mediocre pay, and most of the folks doing this work are angels. Emarree is one of these angels, and he wanted to buy a home. So far, so good. Over the next 2+ years, Emarree met with one lender after another. Most would give him the hard cold facts, and he would chip away at the tasklist they gave him. Somehow, though, these lenders lost interest in helping Emarree…

Clearly, he was not a paycheck for them anytime soon.

And he was buying on the “frugal” end of the price curve… Not to slam these other lenders – they just had to prioritize their time, and Emarree was easy to set aside… That stinks on so many levels, but it is the reality of the mortgage business today.

Here is where the story gets interesting. Emarree never gave up. He never stopped working toward to goal of owning a home of his own. That burning desire to get off of the rental treadmill was a HUGE motivation for him. In the spring of 2016, I put Emarree in touch with Dallin Law of Sun American Mortgage. Dallin has been solid gold to me for over 25 years. He works to help people, and not just chase paychecks. Dallin was there for Emarree when he finished taking care of his finance punchlist. Dallin helped Emarree get into his first home.

And guess what Emarree said when I called to let him know the sale had closed, and he was a homeowner? He said “first of many homes”… Not a shred of entitlement. Emarree knows how to work hard, focus on a goal, and stay after it. 

What is the lesson here? Goals matter, hard work is important, live a bit below your means (critical), and stay the heck out of consumer debt. Emarree is proof that these simple concepts will overcome any entitlement thinking that might grow roots inside someone’s behavior patterns.

Sid Dubitsky, USN

Harfst Navy ship

Life can be curious & funny at the same time. This is a little story about a man that I knew & liked for years here in Val Vista Lakes. One of those guys that you’d spend an hour talking with, and it seemed like 5 minutes. We had very much in common that we knew of, and even more in common, that I only learned after Sid had crossed his own finish line.

Some retirees gravitate towards age-restricted communities, and that’s fine, as it is a choice they make for themselves. Others, stay inside of a community that crosses all age groups. When asked, they will say that the mix of ages helps keep them “thinking young”, and makes them feel better.

More connected.  More vibrant.

Who knows which group is right?

Back to our story… At times, I’ve attended HOA meetings. At times, I’ve spoken up, and in doing so, end up on the board. A couple times, in the center chair, running the meetings, signing lots of documents, etc. Usual stuff that HOAs involve themselves with. There are generally a few faces in the crowd, folks who pay attention, and offer advice. Some of the advice is quite good, some not-so-good. But these folks can be counted on to CARE. They care enough to show up, if for no other reason to make sure the boards stay within their boundaries. The libertarian in me appreciates them.

From the late 1990’s onward, one face, one man, stood out in my mind as the guy who would offer advice on almost anything, but it was almost always community-related. Sid Dubitsky was this man. I enjoyed all of the conversations we had. Some were after meetings at the clubhouse, but even more were had at the grocery store. I’d run into Sid , often on the first Wednesday of the month, at Frys, where we could talk like old buds, old shipmates, even if a few months had gone by since our last chat… Pick right up in mid-conversation. Uncanny… And it was almost always about what was best for the community. Never about what might be best for Sid. He had the ability to see the larger picture –  a skill set often found in short supply around HOA meetings.

So, in January of 2016, I get an e-mail from a gal, asking me if I could come help with her late fathers’ home, here in VVL.

“Sure, I’d be happy to do that! Who was your father?” 

Imagine my surprise when she said it was Sid Dubitsky. That explained why I had not seen him at Frys for awhile ~ he’d finished up an 88 year run at this crazy thing called life. Sid lived a good life, and touched many, many people. Sid was one of those guys that everyone liked to have around. And now he was gone…

When I arrived at the home, I had the quick tour. Even though Sid & I made sure to interact when we met in public, neither of us had been to the home of the other… When I looked at the office, up on a bookshelf, I saw an old black & white photo, 20 x 24, of a sailor on the deck of a ship. It was grainy, and appeared to be 1950’s vintage. The sailor was looking outward, as if on a watch detail. That sailor was Sid. He and I both served at sea for the US Navy, but neither of us knew that about the other! How could this be?  What cruel trick had the universe played on us? He and I could have killed a six-pack or two, talking about old Navy days! And we never knew!!

Why did the universe bring he and I so close, sharing so many values, yet we missed on that huge commonality? That is a question I’m still working on ~~

Sid had 3 daughters, each living successful lives in various parts of the country. All 3 were in town a week or so later, and we put the home on the market. At the time we were meeting, I knew of another buyer looking for a home in VVL, and called her Realtor from the property. The Realtor & buyer came over an hour later, with her 2 daughters, looked at the home (and met all 3 of Sids’ daughters) and shortly thereafter, they bought the home. Seems fair to say it sold in an hour, but really, it was the next day before I gathered the daughters signatures…

The other Realtor, (let’s call her Lisa) was a pleasure to deal with, as were Sid’s daughters, and the buyer. Heck, everyone was great, including the neighbors, who were instrumental in donating & selling much of Sid’s stuff… Turns out Lisa was at Realty Executives while I was there, and is at HomeSmart, where I spent the last 4 years, until January of this year. We both like distance and obstacle course running, although she has 5 triathlons under her belt and married an Olympian! Hard core compared to my lazy resume of a few half marathons & a few of the 200 mile team relays, etc. Somewhere along the way, I learned that Lisa & I shared a birthday! This whole transaction was a years worth of curious parallels!

In reflecting on all of this, I am certain that Sid is looking down on the whole situation, and he’s smiling! And that would be just like him – to leave a legacy of honor, 3 upstanding daughters, and ultimately, a most pleasurable sale to a family very much like his own. The curious alignment of the moving parts of this sale (and almost-alignment of 2 Navy guys) is something to marvel at… It is an honor to have been a friend of Sid’s and to help his daughters with one of the last chapters in his book…

Anchors Away, Sid!

Val Vista Lakes – Hot 5 Homes

chili-peppers Val Vista LakesVal Vista Lakes Hot 5 Homes

Here at ValVistaLakes.NET, we love to showcase properties that really pop, and are shown in their best light. Here we have the Top 5 for the week. These are homes that have been lovingly updated, and are photographed with expertise.

Val Vista Lakes is a premier lake community, located in the north Gilbert zip code 85234. This has become quite the desired zip code… These homes show why!

VVL Hot 5 041116

Patrick Harfst is a Realtor, working from the desert oasis of Val Vista Lakes, in Gilbert AZ. He enjoys helping folks solve their “real estate puzzles”… When to sell? Which home to buy? What are the trends in the market right now? Having been a resident of VVL since 1988, he has been inside almost every home in the community, and has helped families buy or sell over 150 homes here. Best of all, he has the same enthusiasm for the community that he did back in the very earliest days, when things were very different. He welcomes calls or questions about VVL, and enjoys sharing that information.

Not a good time to sell? Perhaps not…

Question AnwerMet a guy at the gym today… we get to chatting in the dry sauna (180 degrees Fahrenheit) and when he learns I help folks buy & sell homes, he asks Is this a good time for me to sell my home?”

I believe I surprised him with my answer, which was basically, Need more info to really be able to answer that one!”

Realtors are good about answering the question from their own frame of reference – “Hell yes! Great time to sell! Never better!! (Nudge nudge wink wink – Many Realtors are trained to say this.) Those Realtors always want another listing.

But, here’s the thing. It ain’t about the Realtor!

We Realtors should always be asking the bigger question of WHY SELL? We need to know the WHY…  A seller will always have a “why”, and it is our job to help them explore the various options & limitations that their “why” brings to the table.

Knowing the local market is a technical skill. All Realtors should be able to do this. The harder skillset is knowing how to “game-plan” the entire move, taking into account the sellers’ OTHER parameters.

Explore those options. The choices that lie ahead of a seller are known, or should be… If this, then that. And so on… Rinse & repeat.

THAT is the way that the question posed by many sellers, should be answered. Research, analyze, then answer the question. That takes more than 30 seconds. You would not want it any other way…

Patrick Harfst works to help buyers & sellers make wise housing decisions.  He still makes house calls, too.

Lender Goes Undercover To Expose Online Loan Tricks

Lender Goes Undercover To Expose Online Loan Tricks

Patrick Harfst February 26th, 2016

64x64_moneyMany readers will recall that I’ve railed against the mortgage industry before, usually over some sort of “bad acting” on the part of loan officers, underwriters, even all the way up to the folks at the top of the lending industry, the regulators. This stuff is not new. I joke that Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple…

While the banking industry can attract folks with bad intentions, so can it attract folks with integrity. That latter group knows full well of the antics of the former – they are in the same trenches with them. So, when a friend of mine, a reputable, honest loan officer and owner of The Mortgage Advantage in Tempe, made a few calls this week, the results were worth reading about… And if there was any doubt, having a local lender, responsible to you and your Realtor, can be the most comforting part of the entire home-buying process. Or, you can pay cash. You choose…

Posted below is the text, straight from the desk of Diane Gerdes of The Mortgage Advantage in Tempe. She can be reached at www.themortgageadvantage.com

This week one of my clients called to state (quite dramatically, if I may say) she heard that the rates had dropped and she deserved a better rate.  She trolled the internet and landed on Bankrate where awesomely low rates are published. 

Usually, I give my spiel that the internet companies are not local, devoid of service and knowledge, etc. But this time I decided to contact the top three lenders advertising the lowest rates on Bankrate.  This is what I discovered in my journey to find the very, very best interest rate:

The first company made me feel like I was Adonis fighting in the movie Creed. They just kept coming at me.  I gave all my info except social and address.   The company was hesitant to provide an actual quote, including fees or indicate their underwriting turn times. When I did receive a quote, the estimate included $1995.00 in lender’s fees. To be clear, not total closing costs, just their fees.  (They called it an “origination fee”) In their defense it was on the site, in itty, bitty, print.

The second lender channeled Mad Max and got angry when I refused to lock in his rate.  I asked for a written quote with all of the costs, and he began oozing oil through the phone.  “I will never get this rate again in my lifetime!”  BTW,  I still haven’t received the quote.

The third company was actually pleasant, and quoted a great rate.  Until they pulled The Big Short.   I pretended I was purchasing a home and placing 20% down, good credit and ratios.  All the things I hear from my clients, until I do their prequalification. Then the call center minion told me, “Oh, that rate is only if you put 25% down and have 780+ credit scores and have eyes the color of a spring day. I’ll talk to my manager to see if we can do any better.”   After muting my call, he said they could match the rate quoted on their site only if I could pay additional fees to make up for my lousy 720 credit score.

I spent about two hours of my life, which by the way I will never get back, to explore the world of internet rate marketing.  But I am glad I did. It was an education. 

Enjoy your weekend!  Call us anytime. 

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