REALTOR® or Real Estate Agent…there is a difference

A couple of days ago I had a great conversation via Twitter with Lori Bee of Bee Realty in Charlotte, NC. We were discussing the fact that most people don’t know that there is a difference between a REALTOR® and a Real Estate Licensee/Agent.  Hence, this post.

A quick note: this is the process that we have in the state of Arizona it may be different in other states.

Both, REALTORS® and Real Estate Licensees/Agents must take a 90 hour real estate course, pass two school tests and two Department of Real Estate tests and pass a fingerprint background check.  Both must also abide by the Arizona Department of Real Estate’s Rules and Regulations, Commissioners Rules and Standards and the Arizona State Constitution.

However, that is where the similarities end, REALTORS® must then attend an Ethics Course every 4 years, adhere to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and be members of a local association, a state association and a national association that polices their ethical behavior.

By the way, the National Association of REALTORS® is the largest trade organization in the United States.

So, what does all this mean?

It means that there IS a difference between a REALTOR® and a Real Estate Agent and after reading that, who wouldn’t want to hire a REALTOR®?

First time homebuyers…come on down!

According to a recent survey done by the National Association of REALTORS® the percentage of first time home buyers rose in 2008 to 41%, up from 39% in 2007 and 36% in 2006.

The median age of the first time home buyer went down from 31 in 2007 to 30 in 2008.  With the median down payment up to 4% in 2008 from 2% in 2007.  The average price of the home purchased was $165,000.

In fact, this survey has gotten some national attention, imagine that, from the Wall Street Journal.  Which states that

“The housing bust is creating a new group of winners: first-time home buyers. People who sat on the sidelines — often watching wistfully as their friends became homeowners — are suddenly in a position to grab some great deals.”

What does all of this mean?

It means that with a large inventory of homes under $165,000 in the Phoenix area, and approx. 33% of the in city population, according to Wikipedia, is between the age of 25-44, the largest demographic.  There is great opportunity for first time home Buyers to become first time home Owners.

Update on the Stimulus Package

As we have all heard by now, the Obama Stimulus Plan has been approved by the House and the Senate and will be signed into law.  Here is the Bill text: A & B which is all 1091 pages of legislation or you can read the Joint Explanatory Statement: A & B which is only 421 pages, all for your reading pleasure.

Preliminarily, this is what I know:

  • The loan limits are being raised to $727,000 in high cost areas, not sure how that will affect us here, in Arizona.
  • The home buyer tax credit will be raised to $8,000 with no payback, a true credit.
  • Fannie Mae has agreed to lift the cap of 4 investment properties eligible for loans and raised it to 10.
  • The $15,000 tax credit was eliminated from the bill.

I will take some time to read over the bill in the next few days and post my thoughts on the real estate related portions of the bill later this week.  In the meantime, I found a great article by The Washington Post about their take on how the stimulus bill will affect Americans.

Mini Sales Boom in Phoenix – Can you feel it?

I know this will be hard for some to believe but there is evidence that Phoenix is experiencing a mini sales boom. In January 2008 there were 2,912 homes sold and last month, December 2008, there were 5,514 homes sold, that means a 90% increase in homes sold in 2008.  FYI, last month wasn’t the highest month either, just check out his chart.

monthly_homes_sold_20082

Even in this economy and all the gloom and doom coming from the media the Phoenix area is not the only city experiencing this boom.  In fact, according to this article from REALTOR®.org there are at least 9 others, here, read the article for yourself, its short. You can find it here.

Max Pigman, Vice President of REALTOR®.com said, “There is more opportunity in this market than there has been in the last 30 years, for buyers and sellers.”

I agree and I think a 90% increase in one year proves that quite a few other people believe it too.

Scottsdale Homes under $250k, there are more than you think.

Seriously, there are more than you think. I was surprised myself when I ran a search for homes under $250,000 in Scottsdale and came up with 434. That number does include single family, patio and town homes in Scottsdale and does not include condominiums/apartment style homes.

sfr-patio-townhome-under-250k

The news gets even better. According to my amortization schedule a $245,000 mortgage at 6% interest on a 30 year fixed with 12 payments a year and without including taxes and insurance is $1469 per month! How many people do you know that are paying that in rent alone?

Scottsdale has a lot to offer in amenities, quality of their schools and their dedication to public art, something I hold very near and dear to my heart. So, please, spread the word. There are affordable homes in Scottsdale.