Real Estate Information Archive


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Reasons to Hire a Realtor

by Gina McKinley

Hiring a reputable professional realtor can help you whether you are purchasing a new build, purchasing for the first time, or have experienced the process a few times. A realtor can assist you through the process as it can be overwhelming and frustrating.

  1. A realtor represents you. The seller’s agent is loyal to their client even on a new build purchase. Remember the sales agent at a new build site works for the Builder. The buyer’s agent will keep your interests in mind.
  2. A realtor guides you through the process. They can explain the contract since they deal with it daily. Handle inquiries and spot potential issues.
  3. A realtor knows what to look for.  For a buyer, they may point out things you did not notice. As a seller, the agent may provide tips on staging or valuable update suggestions to increase value.
  4. A realtor is objective. They can help you find your ideal home or give you advice on marketing your home to attract buyers within your selling timeframe.
  5. Hire a realtor who is an expert of your local area. They understand the local market and can give tips to help you sell quickly or provide you with insightful information for the area.
  6. Realtors rely on experience and knowledge of the market to give you tips on inspections, price reductions and other issues that may arise during the process. For example, on new build purchase, a realtor may recommend you to hire an independent inspector to ensure the home is built properly.
  7. A realtor works on your behalf.  An agent uses their expertise and skill to communicate your interests with the other parties.
  8. A realtor continues to serve you even after you have closed on your home. They help you resolve issues that arise even a year after closing or connect you with reputable vendors or tradespeople within their network.
  9. Going it alone may end up costing you. By selling it on your own, you may price the home high resulting in sitting on the market too long and not marketed properly to attract the right buyers. By purchasing a new build without a realtor, it can cause you to add too many upgrades where the home may not appraise.

If you are thinking of buying or selling your home, please contact us today. 

Start 2017 Off Right… List Your House for Sale

by Gina McKinley



As we are about to bring in the New Year, families across the country will be deciding if this is the year that they will sell their current house and move into their dream home. Many will decide that it is smarter to wait until the spring “buyer’s market” to list their house. In the past, that might have made sense. However, this winter is not like recent years.

The recent jump in mortgage rates has forced buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!! At the same time, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.

Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

Bottom Line

Demand for your home is very strong right now while your competition (other homes for sale) is at a historically low level. If you are thinking of selling in 2017, now may be the time.

Facing Foreclosure? Help is Available!

by Gina McKinley

Breaking news! The Obama administration has extended the HAMP and HAFA short sale programs another two years as of today! 

While the market is on its way up, foreclosures are still lurking in many communities. If you are one of the many homeowners struggling financially and confronting the possibility of a foreclosure, however, there are viable options you can pursue before relinquishing your home.

Many banks, for example, offer loan modifications or other programs that can give homeowners a little more breathing room and a chance to get back on their feet.

An experienced, professional real estate agent or counselors certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can help you explore available options, including:

Forbearance. A forbearance is a temporary suspension of payments sometimes offered if a borrower has lost a job but has a new one starting soon – or because medical bills or another crisis situation has caused a temporary cash shortage.

Repayment plan. Repayment plans offer a scheduled blueprint for making up missed payments over time.

Loan modification. A loan modification is a change in loan terms for a limited time, as when a subprime interest rate has jumped considerably.

Financially distressed homeowners should be extremely wary of anyone purporting to offer a “quick-fix” solution. According to the Federal Trade Commission, steer clear of anyone who:

  • Guarantees to stop the foreclosure process
  • Collects upfront fees
  • Asks to be paid by wire or cashier’s check
  • Tells you not to contact your lender or lawyer
  • Wants you to make mortgage payments directly to him/her
  • Suggests you sign over or “share” your property deed or title
  • Proposes a lease-and-buyback arrangement
  • Offers to fill out paperwork for you
  • Pressures you to sign documents you do not fully understand

Unfortunately, there is a growing contingent of foreclosure scam artists preying on vulnerable homeowners.  Financially distressed homeowners should consult a real estate professional who can point them in the right direction and offer sound guidance on the potential options that can save their home from foreclosure.

For more information on any of these programs or to discuss your options, contact Gina McKinley at 480-355-8645 today!

Short Sales & Your Credit Report

by Gina McKinley



Even though a short sale may have been successfully completed, your lender may have reported the sale to your credit as a foreclosure. It's important to make sure your credit is correctly recorded and that you can take advantage of the benefits of short selling.

Mortgage Debt Relief Extended Another Year

by Gina McKinley

Great news for homeowners! The Mortgage Debt Relief Act which was originally scheduled to expire December 2012, has been extended another year. This Act was enacted in 2007 as a way to help homeowners who have had to short sale their home. Without the Mortgage Debt Relief Act, any debt forgiveness from the principle balance of their mortgage would have been considered taxable by the IRS.

Thanks to this new extension, any debt forgiveness will continue to not be taxable income. This is wonderful news for homeowners that still may owe more than the current market value of their home.

To find out what your home is worth, click here now! Or for a free, no obligation consultation, call Gina McKinley at (480) 355-8645 today. For information on how the Debt Relief Act will affect you, please contact your accountant.

Mortgage Debt Relief Act

by Gina McKinley

Information regarding the Mortgage Debt Relief Act, which is set to expire December 31, 2012, and the effect on Arizona homeowners.

Bank of America Expands Incentives for Distressed Homeowners

by Gina McKinley

Bank of America is expanding its short sale incentive program by offering relocation assistance to homeowners who meet the qualifications.  Currently, the amount of relocation assistance offered can be anywhere from $2,500 to $30,000, and will be awarded at the completion of a successful short sale.

The program hopes to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure after exhausting their other options, and is based off of their pilot program that was launched in Florida last year. 

The qualification for the relocation assistance requires that the seller work closely with Bank of America to receive a pre-approved sales price prior to an offer being received.  The short sale must also be started before the end of the year and close escrow prior to September 26, 2013.  In certain cases, short sales that are currently in process may also be eligible.  Initially, the program will be for loans that are serviced and owned by Bank of America.

Relocation assistance for homeowners will be considered on an individual basis.  The bank will take into account the value of the home and the outstanding balance owed, along with some other considerations. 

For more information on this or other short sale assistance programs, contact Gina McKinley at 480-355-8645 for a free, no-obligation consultation.  We can review your options and help you avoid foreclosure – call today!

New Short Sale Guidelines for Fannie & Freddie to Make Process Easier

by Gina McKinley

Great news for homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac investor backed loans - these two GSE’s just announced that starting November 1st, they will implement new short sale guidelines to streamline and make the process easier for eligible sellers.  This new standard short sale program is hoping to result in a reduction for required documentation and address issues with second lien holders.

As a homeowner, your short sale will still be processed through your servicer (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase Mortgage, etc.). The short sale program will qualify you if you need to relocate more than 50 miles for a job, and allow owners who are more than 90 days delinquent on their loan and have a credit score less than 620 to not provide documentation of their hardship. 

The servicer will be able to approve homeowners who are not in default but are experiencing hardships such as death of borrower or co-borrower, divorce or legal separation, or medical issues.  Military personnel who have Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders will also be eligible regardless if they’re in default or not, and won’t be obligated to contribute funds to pay for the remaining deficiency.

Another change is that servicers will have the authority to approve short sales (currently known as a Delegated Short Sale by Bank of America) without going to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac for final investor approval.  The new guidelines will also offer up to $6,000 to any second lien holders in order to prevent them from holding up the short sale.   

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also waiving their right to pursue deficiency judgments on the excess balance of the loan.  However, there still may be a requirement by owners who have sufficient income to either make a cash contribution or sign a promissory note.

For more information on the latest changes in the short sale process, contact Gina McKinley today at 480-355-8645.  If you think you or someone you know may be in a short sale situation, don’t gamble with your financial future.  We can help, please ask.

Not All Distressed Properties Make Great Bargains

by Gina McKinley

Historically, short sales and foreclosures are viewed as unbelievable bargains for potential homeowners.  The discounted sales price combined with low interest rates have made a lot of homes in higher price ranges more affordable to those who may have not been able to purchase them otherwise. 

In the Greater Phoenix market, distressed sales average a 33%* discount of sales price to square footage compared to their traditional counterparts.  Homes owned by the Housing & Urban Development (or HUD) are selling at an average of 50% less than traditional sales, since they are priced at appraised value only. While foreclosures used to be priced at a larger discount than short sales, lower inventory has driven up the price/square foot and they have been more expensive than short sales since February of this year.  In August, they have begun to converge and short sales are selling at an average of $78.06/sqft compared with bank-owned homes, which are selling at an average of $79.56/sqft.

However, bargains are not made by price alone.  Buyers who are excited to get a discount on sales price are often surprised with the issues that may arise during both the transaction and after the purchase of the home. 

For short sales, you need to be aware of how many claims there are against the property.  If a home has multiple liens against it, all of those liens need to be removed prior to completing a sale.  This often means a longer and more complicated short sale process, so prepare to wait for a longer time period. 

For bank-owned homes, it’s important to take note of anything that may potentially delay either the close or your occupation of the property.  For example, if a foreclosure is occupied, eviction proceedings will need to take place prior to removing the former occupants. 

In all distressed sales, it’s critical to check the condition of the property.  Some of these sales may require extensive (and expensive!) work in order to make the property habitable. While you may be eager to take on a project, many people find themselves in over their heads with the amount of work that may need to be completed.  Remember; always have a thorough inspection of the home performed by a licensed home inspector.

Buyers also will need to have their financing in place beforehand.  Distressed sales go under contract very quickly, and those who scramble to get their financing in place will often miss out on these homes.  As well, many sellers will require you to provide them with the AAR Pre-Qualification form with any offer you make on a home, so it’s a good idea to have this before you start looking at homes.

As long as you’re well informed of and prepared for the potential pitfalls, distressed sales can be a great option for your next home.  For more information on any of these sales, contact the McKinley Group today!

*Statistics compiled from the August 8, 2012 Monthly Average Sales Price per Square Foot report from Cromford Associates, LLC  ©2012 US Treasury Short Sales Event Phoenix AZ July 19th

by Gina McKinley

NAR is working with the U.S. Department of Treasury on Help for Homeowners events around the country. These events offer real estate professionals the opportunity to attend a workshop presented by various servicers on everything you need to know about executing short sales in today’s market.  In addition to the short sales workshop, you also will have the unique chance to meet on your clients’ behalf with the servicers to get difficult questions answered and move stuck cases forward.  This event with be held in Reno, NV on July 17th. Homeowner events only will be held in Phoenix, AZ on July 19th and Foxboro, MA on August 28th.  To register for these events, please click here.

For more information, please contact Eric Hagen at or 1-202-622-1168

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 29




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Photo of Gina McKinley Real Estate
Gina McKinley
RE/MAX Masters
2390 W. Ray Road, Suite 4
Chandler AZ 85224
Cell: 1-480-779-9420
Fax: 480-355-8912

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