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Phoenix Arizona Real Estate Blog

Gina McKinley


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The 3 Questions Your Listing Presentation Must Answer

by Gina McKinley

Every time you step into sellers’ home for a listing appointment, there are three questions your presentation must answer.

Get the answers right and you win the listing.  Get them wrong and the sellers will choose one of your competitors.

Question #1: Why You?

The first question you must address is why the sellers should choose you.  If this sounds obvious, consider most agents make canned presentations that aren’t tailored to the sellers’ preferences.

Before you launch into your presentation, ask the sellers what they expect, want, and need from the sale of their home.

Are they willing to make repairs and upgrades, or would they prefer to sell as-is?  Do they need to sell in a specific timeframe, or are they flexible?  Do they have rigid expectations about the services an agent should provide, or are approaching the process with open minds?

Once you know the sellers’ expectations, wants, and needs, you must tailor your presentation accordingly.  It’s the only way you’ll persuade the sellers you’re the right agent for them.

Question #2: Why Your List Price?

Once you’ve persuaded the sellers you’re the right agent for the job, you must next answer the question of why they should agree to your list price.

One of the biggest mistakes agents make at this point in the presentation is failing to involve the sellers in the process of setting the list price.  If you’re doing all the talking while covering your CMA, you’re setting yourself up for pricing objections.

Instead, invite the sellers to comment on the similarities and differences between the comps and their home.  Encourage them to share any research they’ve done prior to your meeting.  And, be sure to gain their agreement on any adjustments before asking their thoughts on the final list price.

The more you involve the sellers in the process of setting the list price, the better your odds of getting the price you feel is right.

Question #3: Why Your Commission Rate?

The final question your listing presentation must answer is why the sellers should pay your commission rate.

If you’ve convinced the sellers you’re the right agent for the job, you’re most of the way to getting your full commission (whatever it is you charge).  But, you can still face last-minute pressure to discount if the sellers feel your fees are too high.

The key to overcoming commission objections is to show why your fees are an investment the sellers make to achieve the specific outcomes they want from the sale of their home.  Here’s where you’ll return to the expectations, wants, and needs the sellers shared with you earlier in the appointment.

When you link your commission rate to achieving the sellers’ desired outcomes, pressure to discount disappears.

P.S. – A prepared presentation is an important component of a successful listing appointment.  But, the goal is to get the listing, not to cover the presentation. If you discover parts of your presentation aren’t relevant to the sellers, or if you see their eyes glazing over, move on.

P.P.S. - We are a top team in the South East Valley as ranked by Top Agents Magazine and RealTrends. We are currently hiring. The ideal Realtor® candidate is serious, motivated, and has integrity and drive. Please call us today!

Family & Friends Mortgage - 7/13/2017

by Gina McKinley

Somehow it just seems right to give your kids a mortgage when they buy a house, if you can afford it. Wouldn’t it be great for someone to pay you 4-5% interest on a secured loan? Yes it is until the IRS sticks their nose into it. THEIRS??? Yep. Read on…

Anytime a lender and borrower can agree on rates and terms, it can be a good match but IRS has specific rules that govern the transaction especially when the parties are family or friends.26614035-250.jpg

The loan must be done in a business-like manner with a written note specifying the loan amount, interest rate, term and collateral. IRS requires that the mortgage be a recorded lien to allow the interest deduction.

Sometimes, a friends and family situation might have a less than normal interest rate on the mortgage. However, the rate charged in the note is regulated by the minimum applicable federal rate which is published monthly by IRS based on current Treasury securities. For July 2017, the rate is 2.57% for terms over nine years.

The seller must report the interest paid to them along with the name, address and Social Security number on schedule B when the buyer uses the property as their principal residence.  A mortgage between family and friends can be good for both parties. It may allow the borrower a slightly lower rate without the expenses of a traditional lender while giving the note holder a higher rate than they can earn in available investments.

Your tax professional can guide the transaction whether you’re a buyer or a seller and your real estate professional can help arrange to have the documents drawn and filed.

When you are faced with the idea of “helping your child” or a friend buy a home in Chandler, or just a loan, make sure you have the right advice. If you have any questions or need a recommendation for a tax professional, please give me a call today at 480-355-8645 or email me at

The Simplest Way to Get More Clients

by Gina McKinley

Getting more clients is often easier than we make it.  We spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on marketing and lead generation, yet we overlook the simplest way to generate business…

Talking to strangers.

Think about it.  Every day we’re surrounded by potential clients.  At the store, in Starbucks, and during our workouts, people who might have real estate needs are no more than a few feet away.

But, we rarely take advantage of these opportunities because striking up conversations with strangers can feel awkward.

That’s why I recommend reading the article “Three Scientifically Proven Steps For Talking With Strangers”.

It’s a quick read (five minutes) and will help make starting conversations with strangers feel natural.

Let me know what you think of it!

P.S. – Wearing your nametag or branded clothing is one way to meet more people, but it requires they start the conversation.  When you’re the one who initiates contact, you’ll find yourself meeting far more potential clients.

P.S.S. - We are a top team in the South East Valley as ranked by Top Agents Magazine and RealTrends. We are currently hiring. The ideal realtor candidate is serious, motivated, integrity, and drive. Please call us today!

Down Payment Problem - Are You Sure?

by Gina McKinley

There are many first time home buyers who think that they need to save up a large amount for a down payment.  Most of the time, waiting to save up funds can either price them out of a market with rising home prices (like the Phoenix area is now, especially in the lower price ranges) and they end up paying more for a house that they could have bought last year for less.  On the flip side, I have also spoken to first time home buyers who hear about the down payment assistance programs and have no money saved at all, and find qualifying difficult.  How much down payment to have can be a fine balance, and there are many different options available.

There is increasing difficulty for first-time home buyers to save for their down payment as indicated in the graph.  Several factors that contribute to this trend include rising rents, rising home prices, student loan debt and flat wages.down payment graph.png

Some would-be buyers feel they cannot buy a home today but a large part of those decisions may be based on inaccurate assumptions.

Nine out of ten non-owners believe they need ten percent or more for a down payment. The typical down payment for first-time buyers is six percent. VA has 100% loan programs as well as USDA for certain qualifying areas and buyers. FHA is known for 3.5% down payments. And FNMA and Freddie Mac have down payments as low as 3% and 5%.

There are gift provisions available for buyers who have an “angel” who would like to help them with their down payment.

There are ways to borrow against a person’s qualified retirement program for a down payment. It isn’t necessarily limited to the buyer but could include a relative. Interestingly, a son or daughter can borrow against their retirement to benefit their parents.

In some respects, having good credit and sufficient income is more important than the down payment. Don’t rely on “common knowledge.” Get expert advice and counsel to see if there is a way to advance your dream of owning a home.

In Maricopa County, we also have government down payment assistance programs like the Homeowners For Arizona, a 5% down payment grant for a conventional loan.  There is also the Home in 5 for FHA loans, where the grant can cover most if not all of your down payment.  However, this doesn't cover closing costs (it can be difficult in competitive price ranges to have the seller pay for them) so you'll still want to have some savings. Knowing what the best loan program for you is prior to looking for a home is one of the many reason's it's a great idea to talk to a lender first.  Contact me today at 480-355-8645 for a recommendation of some of the best loan officers in Chandler, Gilbert, and the rest of the Valley!

The Four Pillars of Time Management

by Gina McKinley

Have you ever struggled to successfully navigate a work/life balance or keep up with managing the day-to-day of selling real estate?

You’ll hear some people say time management is an oxymoron.  And…it is.  You can’t manage time.

What you can do is manage your activities so you get the most out of the time you have.

But, since time management is the accepted term, let’s assume just for today that time management and activities management are one-and-the-same.

Here are the four pillars of time management.  Use them to get control of your schedule and make the most of your activities.

Pillar #1 – Goal Setting

Setting both short-term and long-term goals helps ensure you complete only the tasks which bring you closer to those goals.

You can find plenty of goal-setting advice out there, but there are two things you want to remember.  First, put your goals in writing.  Second, share your goals with someone who can help hold you accountable to them.

Pillar #2 – Prioritization

When you’re staring at a to-do list a mile long, prioritization is the key to remaining sane.

Every day, select the 3-6 tasks you must complete to either hit your goals or prevent catastrophe (i.e. – getting necessary paperwork signed).  Only once you’ve completed those high-priority tasks do you move to lower-priority tasks.

Pillar #3 – Identifying Challenges

Identifying your personal time-management challenges is a crucial step toward regaining control of your schedule.

Maybe you fall prey to the lure of social media.  Or, maybe you compulsively check emails and voicemails at all hours of the day.

Only when you know your time-management challenges can you begin to address them.

Pillar #4 – Maintaining Focus

You can set goals, prioritize tasks, and identify your personal challenges.  But, if you don’t maintain focus while completing your work, you’ll continue to struggle with time.

One of the most popular methods for maintaining focus is the Pomodoro Technique.  Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Choose a task to accomplish
  2. Set a timer to 25 minutes
  3. Work on the task until the timer rings, then put a checkmark on a sheet of paper
  4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 until you get to four checkmarks, then take a longer break (15-30 minutes)

Start on the four pillars of time management today and begin to experience the relief of getting control of your schedule.

P.S. – If you find yourself constantly distracted by social media or incoming emails, try Freedom or Anti-Social.

Freedom is a program that shuts down your Internet access for a set amount of time.  Anti-Social is a similar program, but it only locks out Facebook, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, and other distracting time-sucks.

P.S.S. - We are a top team in the South East Valley as ranked by Top Agents Magazine and RealTrends.  We are currently hiring. The ideal realtor candidate is serious, motivated, integrity, and drive. Please call us today!

Don't Have a CLUE?

by Gina McKinley

For most home buyers and sellers, this is just one of those many documents that crosses their way when they're buying or selling a home.  However, this can have some big implications for some buyers depending on what's on the CLUE report (also known as a claims history report) as well as other people in general when going to renew your home or auto insurance.

If you haven’t heard of a CLUE report, it has nothing to do with the table game searching for a murderer. It is a report showing the insurance claims on your home and car for the past five to seven years.10340976-250.jpg

This database is used by insurance companies to evaluate risks and determine rates. C.L.U.E. stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. Rates can be increased not only due to legitimate claims but data entry errors also. Sometimes, simply asking a question without filing a claim can be logged as a claim.

For that reason, similar to verifying the accuracy of your credit report, it is important to check out the CLUE report on your home and car. The reports are free and there is a process for correcting mistakes.

An interesting and sometimes costly surprise occurs during the home buying process. The claim experience of the prior seller could impact the price of the premium of the new buyer. For that reason, you can ask for a copy of the CLUE report on the home you’re interested in buying prior to writing a contract.

Lenders will require a new buyer to pay a year of homeowner's insurance up front, and then will calculate a monthly portion of the premium to go into their escrow account.  If there are excessive claims on the report, the premium could skyrocket and the buyer may not be able to qualify for a mortgage on that home, even though the loan amount is in the range they qualify for.  For this reason, it's important to get a copy of the CLUE report as well as contact your insurance agent during the inspection period for a quote.

If you need help getting a CLUE report or a recommendation for an insurance agent, give me a call at 480-355-8645 today!

The Top Real Estate Productivity Tools

by Gina McKinley

Look up the word “productivity” on and you’ll find a mish-mash of terms like “exchange value”, “bring forth goods and services”, and “discrete linguistic elements”.

In the real world, productivity simply means being able to do more in less time.  And for you, being more productive can translate into more closed deals.  Or more time with family and friends.

Here are some of the top tools you can use to become more productive.

Slack - Working on a team?  Try Slack, an online chat service that eliminates unnecessary emails by allowing file sharing and quick communication.  The service is free and works for any size team.  Best of all, you can separate conversations by client or prospect, ensuring your team stays organized.

LastPass – No more trying to remember dozens and dozens of passwords.  LastPass is a free service that stores your passwords and automatically inserts them when needed.  And, you can use it on the go because one account will work across several devices.

Evernote – Store and sync your client notes, listing photos, transaction paperwork and more so it’s available wherever you are.  Evernote is available as a desktop program, a mobile app, and a plug-in for just about any web browser out there.

HootSuite - Tired of separately managing all your various social media accounts? HootSuite is a platform that allows you to manage all your accounts in one place.  You can schedule posts, share material across all major platforms and view statistics on your social media engagement.

TextExpander – Look through your sent emails and you’ll realize you repeatedly type the same phrases, sentences, and paragraphs.  TextExpander saves you enormous amounts of time by allowing you to create shortcuts to automatically insert commonly-used text. 

P.S - We are a top team in the South East Valley as ranked by Top Agents Magazine and RealTrends. We are currently hiring. The ideal realtor candidate is serious, motivated, integrity, and drive. Please call us today!

Emergency Kit for the Car

by Gina McKinley

There's one item that I've needed in the past but is missing on this list...toilet paper!! You'd be surprised when showing homes just how many times nature can call, not just for you but also for your clients!  Being prepared for any type of situation is great, not only for real estate but also for life in general.  You never know when an emergency can happen...

Mickey Mantle said “If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”

Similarly, if people planning their summer travel knew they were going to have an emergency, they would have the right things available. Only 5% of drivers carry all recommended emergency supplies in their cars.9111296-250.jpg

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that all Americans have some basic supplies on hand in order to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs. Some of these things would be more important if you lived or traveled in remote areas.

  • Reflective hazard triangle or road flares
  • Spare tire
  • Jumper cables
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Crucial medications
  • Emergency radio with batteries
  • Bottled water for each person and pet in your car
  • Non-perishable, high-calorie food
  • Distress signal flag
  • Matches or lighter

During cold weather, additional items are recommended:

  • Windshield scraper and brush
  • Blankets and extra warm clothing
  • Road salt or cat litter to help with tire traction
  • Tarp for working outside in weather

It is recommended that emergency supplies should be checked at least twice a year to see that all of the items are in working order and in good condition. It is important that items are replaced if any of them are used during the year.

The American Red Cross is among many sources where emergency preparedness kits and supplies can be purchased.

My knowledge and expertise for a variety of situations is how I help negotiate wins for my clients. To learn how my preparation can best help you, please give me a call today at 480-355-8645 or email me at!

How to Avoid Orphaning Your Buyers

by Gina McKinley

Are you familiar with the phrase “orphaning your buyers”?

Orphaning your buyers refers to when you fail to stay in touch with clients you’ve helped buy a home.  Because the buyers cannot remember your name when the times comes to sell, they use a different agent and you miss out on the listing.

If you want to avoid orphaning your buyers, here are five strategies to ensure your past clients remember you when it’s time to sell.

Strategy #1 – 1/10/30

The 1/10/30 strategy creates a lasting impression in the minds of your buyers.  One day, ten days, and thirty days after closing, place a call to your clients.

The purpose of each call is to see if the new homeowners have run into any issues or challenges moving and getting the house set up.  If they’re struggling in any way, it’s your opportunity to shine by recommending vendors or addressing the issues yourself.

Strategy #2 – Taxes

Your clients will likely need to report their home purchase on their taxes.  You can help by sending them the relevant documents in January of the year following the purchase.

You can also use property taxes as an excuse to reach out to your clients at least once a year.  Remind them of the due date and send them helpful links about exemptions, the dispute process, etc.

Strategy #3 – CMAs

Sending an updated CMA every year is a great way to stay on your clients’ radar.  Be sure to send the CMA, wait a few days, and then follow up by phone.  The follow-up call is both an opportunity for you to answer any questions about the valuation and to ask for referrals.

Strategy #4 – Neighborhood Reports

People love to know what’s going on in their neighborhood.  Putting together a monthly summary of all the sales in your clients’ community takes only a few minutes yet has a major impact.

Strategy #5 – Pop-Bys & Calls

At least once every 90 days, make personal contact with your clients.  Pop-bys are perfect if you’re in the neighborhood or want to drop off a small gift.

If you prefer to call past clients, use the FORD method to ensure a great conversation.  That means asking about family, occupation, recreation, and dreams.

P.S - We have 9 active buyers looking to buy in the next 6 months. We are seeking serious, motivated, and integrity driven realtor partners for our team. Please call us today!

What Can You Expect?

by Gina McKinley

Some of my clients have come to me with horror stories to tell about the experience with their last agent.  While I won't share those, I strongly value communication and our other core values that make us the 'HAIL' team - honesty, accuracy, integrity, and loyalty.  We do our best to give our clients the best service possible so they feel comfortable and confident with both the home buying and home sale process, and do such a good job that they want to introduce us to their family and friends! 

Businesses must treat customers fairly if they expect to do business with them again or get recommendations to their friends. Customers of stores like Nordstrom’s understand that a salesperson is an employee and represents the company.


The line becomes less clear in some industries, especially ones that involve real estate. Agency is a legal relationship authorizing a person to act for or in the place of another. It involves responsibilities that exceed treating a person fairly.

The duties a buyer or seller can expect to receive from a real estate salesperson or broker include but are not limited to honesty, accountability, full disclosure, representation and reasonable skill and care. Buyers and sellers might additionally expect obedience, loyalty and confidentiality.  State laws can differ on specific duties.

Mortgage and title officers are limited in their duties to the buyer to honesty, accountability and specific requirements under the federal Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act.

A special relationship with a real estate agent makes it advantageous to have them coordinate efforts with the other professionals in the home buying process. Since most buyers’ and sellers’ transactions are infrequent, the agent can bring valuable experience to the transaction.

Every buyer and seller should discuss the level of service they expect from the real estate professional they work with. Another good question is what happens if the purchase and sale are within the same company.

Having that discussion up front is one of the ways we can best serve you.  One of the most important questions to be able to answer is, "What are your expectations of me as your REALTOR?" When we sit down to talk about your real estate needs, you will find that my job is to represent your interests only during the process. If you're interested in hearing just how I do that, please give me a call at 480-355-8645 today!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 287




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