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3 Wonderful Ways to Give Back After Halloween

3 Wonderful Ways to Give Back After Halloween

Most kids look forward to dressing up and enjoying candy on Halloween every year, but many adults wish there was something more to it than the costly costumes and indulgent treat consumption. And even though most don’t associate October as a season for giving, it turns out this holiday is the perfect time to make charitable efforts. Here are 3 wonderful ways to give back after Halloween.

1.) Give candy to the troops: Send candy to the troops. Many dental offices in the Valley participate in post-Halloween candy buybacks. Donated sweets are sent to organizations such as Operation Gratitude or Operation Shoebox and the candy is sent in care packages for U.S. soldiers in harm’s way.

2.) Donate your costumes: Purchase or donate your gently-used Halloween costumes to a local to Goodwill or Salvation Army. A portion of their costume sales help fund job training programs and other community-based programs.

3.) Halloween candy buy back: Dentist offices around the valley buy back kids’ Halloween candy at a scheduled event with cash, xylitol products, coupons, toothbrushes, creative exchanges – They can partner with local businesses to give away coupons for food, services, goods, etc. They can give away hygiene kits or coupons for their office as well! To find a participating buyback in your area, click here.

Why should Thanksgiving and Christmas get all the attention as the holidays of giving back? There are lots of creative ways to give back this Halloween so get into the “spirit” of the season and look for fun ways you can give back to your community and local charities.

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

20241 N 67th Ave A1

Glendale, AZ 85308

(602)-697-0730

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What the New Mortgage Interest Rate Mean for Home Buyers

What the New Mortgage Interest Rate Mean for Home Buyers

The average rate on the 30-year fixed sat just below 4 percent a year ago, after dropping below 3.5 percent in 2016. It just crossed the 5 percent mark, according to Mortgage News Daily. The benchmark 30-year mortgage rate spiked fifteen basis points to 5.04 percent from 4.89 percent in the previous week, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly survey of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders. Meanwhile, the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate surged 15 basis points to 4.41 percent and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage rose 7 basis points to 4.42 percent.

Mortgage borrowers are taking note of soaring rates. Total mortgage applications fell 1.7 percent from the previous week, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s weekly applications survey for the week ending Oct. 5. That’s down nearly 15 percent from a year ago.

Refinances, which are more sensitive to rate changes, dipped 3 percent from a week ago, the MBA reported. Overall, refinance activity sank to 39 percent of total applications from 39.4 percent the previous week and is down about 32 percent from a year ago.

Rising home prices and tight inventories for starter homes won’t abate in the year ahead, says Joel Kan, an MBA economist. And although year-over-year growth in purchase applications is expected, the movement will be gradual, Kan says.  “With the economy doing well and job market still strong, we’re starting to see the fruits of that and opportunities will be there,” Kan says of home buying demand.

So, what does the new mortgage interest rate mean for home buyers? Higher mortgage rates mean now is a good time to buy a home as higher home prices are likely to become more affordable and home buyers will have a better chance of finding a home in their price range and more likely to have an offer accepted. Its important to note that while higher rates may drive prices down, a higher interest rate does impact your buying power. What does buying power mean? Simple put, what you can afford to buy at an interest rate of 5 percent will be less than what you can afford to buy at an interest rate of 3 percent.

So, if you’re in the market to buy a home, now is the perfect time take advantage before rates go up more, and your buying power goes down. Contact The Voss Team today for more information about the new mortgage rates and get pre-qualified to buy a home in Phoenix.

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

20241 N 67th Ave A1

Glendale, AZ 85308

(602)-697-0730

thevossteam.com

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This communication is provided to you for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon by you. RE/MAX Professionals or The Regal Team are not a mortgage lender and so you should contact a qualified mortgage broker directly to learn more about its mortgage products and your eligibility for such products.

RE/MAX National Housing Report September 2018

RE/MAX National Housing Report September 2018

The RE/MAX National Housing Report for September 2018 showed the trends of fewer closings and stabilizing inventory continued through September, punctuated by a surprisingly big 11.6 percent year-over-year drop in home sales. At the same time, the RE/MAX National Housing Report for September 2018 posted a Median Sales Price of $241,000 that marked the 30th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases. It is the highest September price in the 10-year history of the report. To access the housing report infographic, visit: https://rem.ax/2phKHWT.

The decline in home sales year-over-year was the largest since May of 2011, as September became the seventh month of 2018 to record lower sales than 2017. Even so, year-to-date 2018 home sales resemble 2017’s.

“The big drop in September closings catches your attention. The market is clearly rebalancing as buyers and sellers continue to process the increasing interest rate environment and what that means to them,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “The slower drop in inventory – a visible trend for nearly half a year – further illustrates the ongoing shift toward market equilibrium, and that’s healthy in the long-term.”

Active inventory dropped for the 119th consecutive month, the decline of 4.7 percent from September 2017 was the smallest year-over-year decrease since August 2014. In addition, the September year-over-year inventory drop was the fifth consecutive month in 2018 to post single-digit percent declines rather than the double-digit monthly drops consistently seen over the previous three years.

“It’s a little surprising to see prices staying so strong, but it’s hardly shocking in such a tight market,” said Contos. “The headwinds of rising prices and interest rates amid already tight inventory levels have been crimping affordability and slowing sales for most of the year, but it varies by geography.  In circumstances like these, where the market is tricky to navigate, both buyers and sellers can benefit by aligning themselves with a professional agent – a local expert who can cut through the noise and advocate on their behalf.”

Home prices rose by 5.6 percent over September 2017, more than twice the year-over-year price increase of 2.3 percent from September 2016 to September 2017. That reversed a trend seen in the previous three months, when year-over-year price increases trailed 2017’s rate of growth.

Months Supply of Inventory totaled 3.7, which is the second-lowest for September in report history, second only to 3.6 months in September 2017. Days on Market of 46 was a September record for the report – three days less than September 2017. Of the 54 metro areas surveyed in September 2018, the overall average number of home sales is down 1.1percent compared to August 2018, and down 11.6 percent compared to September 2017.

Click here to download your copy of the RE/MAX National Housing Report for September 2018. Looking to sell your Phoenix home or buy a home in Phoenix? Contact the VossTeam today! We offer unparalleled service to all clients in the Phoenix real estate market. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is our number one priority!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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One-of-a-Kind Modern Designed Home in Scottsdale

One-of-a-Kind Modern Designed Home in Scottsdale

Come see this one- of-a kind design three-bedroom, three bath home in the lovely Las Haciendas subdivision in Scottsdale! The focal point of this contemporary modern home is the central courtyard patio with a relaxing pool. Most rooms in this home feature a view of the pool through the newly installed, floor-to-ceiling, dual pane energy efficient windows and sliders.

This 2,800+ square foot home was certainly designed for entertaining, so you will not want to miss the sleek kitchen that was completed in 2017. Upgrades in this stellar kitchen include Bosch ovens, granite counters, gas cook top, walk-in pantry and so much more!

Each bedroom is situated in its own wing of the home with a bathroom and outdoor access to a patio. Additional features include numerous living spaces inside and out with fireplaces, a wet bar, patios, a formal horseshoe pit, a putting green, and recreation room ready for all sorts of games!

Contact the Voss Team today to schedule a private showing of this one-of-a-kind modern designed home in Scottsdale located at 5201 E Oakhurst Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85254.

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

thevossteam.com

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The Arizona State Fair is Back!

The Arizona State Fair is Back!

Photo courtesy of visitphoenix.com

Calling all lovers of roller coaster rides, concerts and deep-fried Twinkies! The Arizona State Fair is back and residents across the Valley of the Sun are flocking to one of the most anticipated events of the fall season!

The Arizona State Fair is the state’s largest festival, attracting over one million guests annually to rank as the third highest attended state fair in the country and in the top fifteen of North American Fairs. Featuring professional midway rides and games by Ray Cammack Shows, unique fair foods, livestock and animal attractions, national headline and local entertainment, special shopping vendors, and various contests, the Arizona State Fair has something for everyone! The Fair is a showcase of Arizona talent, community, and spirit all in one location.

Located on the Arizona State Fair Grounds at 1826 W. McDowell Rd, Phoenix this year’s concert series features big acts like 38 Special, Pitbull, Paulino Rubio and The Wallflowers just to name a few. Concert line up and tickets can be purchased online here. Discounted admission tickets and discount days are also available throughout the month of October thanks to generous sponsors such as SRP, Fry’s Food and Drug, and Sanderson Ford here.

Making memories for Arizona families is what the Arizona State Fair is about. Whether it’s your first date on the Sky Ride, at a coliseum concert, indulging in a funnel cake or winning a giant stuffed panda, the Arizona State Fair brings our community together. So come out and enjoy the fair now until October 28th! For more fun things to do in Phoenix or if you’re looking to buy or sell your Phoenix home, please contact The Voss Team today!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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RE/MAX National Housing Report for August 2018

RE/MAX National Housing Report for August 2018

The RE/MAX National Housing Report for August 2018 shows increasing home prices, low inventory and a reduction in days on market. These combined factors made August 2018 the sixth time this year that home sales lagged behind last year’s pace—but only slightly at -1.1 percent. To access the housing report infographic, visit: https://rem.ax/2phKHWT.

Home prices rose by 3.7 percent over August 2017, much lower than the year-over-year price increase of 5.4 percent from August 2016 to August 2017. In fact, the past three months of 2018 have trailed 2017’s rate of price growth year-over-year—compare that to four of the first five months of 2018 when year-over-year price increases easily topped those posted in 2017.

The Median Sales Price of $248,500 marked the twenty-ninth consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.

Even though active inventory dropped for the 118th consecutive month, the decline of 5.4 percent from August 2017 marked the smallest year-over-year decrease since August 2014. In addition, the August 2018 inventory drop marked the fourth consecutive month in 2018 to post single-digit percent declines, rather than the double-digit monthly drops consistently seen in early 2018 and over the previous three years.

“It varies by market, but we’re hearing that buyers are being more selective and sellers are becoming more pragmatic,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “That dynamic could bring inventory levels up, especially in the most overheated markets, where we expect to see the clearest signs of equilibrium returning. The economy is strong and potential buyers are out there—they just need more listings, at the right price points, to consider. We believe that balance will return, which will be good for everyone in the long run. It’s just a matter of when.”

Contos added that although the lack of inventory continues to be a challenge, the trends suggest that the market finally appears to be rebalancing.

“The moderation we are experiencing seems to be a bit more than the normal seasonal lull we’d expect this time of year,” said Contos.

Want to know more? Click here to download your copy of the August 2018 RE/MAX National Housing Report. If you would like to sell your Arizona home or find the perfect home for sale in Phoenix, please contact The Voss Team. We will be happy to provide a free market analysis of your home and are committed to helping you reach your real estate goals on step at a time!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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How to Avoid Gift Card Scams Before the Holidays

How to Avoid Gift Card Scams Before the Holidays

Six in ten consumers have gift cards on their Christmas shopping list, according to a survey of 7,349 consumers for the National Retail Federation trade association, and retailers reckon they’ll sell more than $27 billion worth this holiday season. Unfortunately, gift cards can be a big target for criminal fraud. The FBI estimates that gift card fraud losses are in the low single digits as a percentage of sales, but gift card sales run about $130 billion a year.

Imagine arriving at the checkout line to use a gift card, only to realize the card is empty. It’s the latest way scammers are hitting consumers, and it’s happening frequently. How do these scams work? Well, the criminals take the gift cards and remove the strip, revealing the card numbers and codes. Then, they put a replacement strip over the card, so it doesn’t look like it was tampered with. Once the scammer has that information, they put replacement strips—easily available online—over the codes and exits the store. Later, after you buy one of those cards and load money onto it, the hacker gets an alert that tells them that the funds have been loaded onto the card.

“The crooks can see as soon as someone activates the card, because they’ve automated all this with software that periodically checks the card balance via the internet,” says David Farquhar, a unit chief within the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division who explained the crime techniques to Consumer Reports last year.

Thankfully gift card issuers are beefing up security with more protective packaging and new back-office technology that flags suspicious activity during purchase and redemption, says the Retail Gift Card Association. But you can also protect yourself by taking these steps:

Consumer Reports says examining a gift card closely before you buy it can save you from a big headache later. If the strip is crooked or has residue from a larger piece of tape, don’t purchase it.

If possible, don’t buy gift cards off the rack; instead purchase the card online or ones that come in secure packaging.

Once you buy a card, make sure to change the pin right away.

If you do choose to purchase a gift card in the store after thoroughly examining the card, be sure to give the gift card receipt to the recipient. If the gift card receipt gets lost and an unscrupulous person locates it, they may return to the store claiming to have lost the gift card and have the one you purchased cancelled so that they may issue the crook a replacement gift card.

Please shop smart and spread the word to friends, family and loved ones to help protect them from gift card fraud before the holidays hit.

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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What You Need to Know About the Surprise Cellphone Driving Ban

What You Need to Know About the Surprise Cellphone Driving Ban

Metro Phoenix drivers will need to make sure their cellphones are tucked away when crossing into Surprise city limits as of this month. Surprise enacted the toughest cellphone-use law for drivers in the Valley this month. The law prohibits talking on a cellphone, sending a text message or otherwise using a hand-held communications device while driving in the city, unless the device is in hands-free mode.

Police will generally issue warnings only for the first 30 days of the new law, said Surprise police Sgt. Tim Klarkowski. After that, the fines will begin. The fine is $250 on the first offense. Surprise officials put an ordinance banning talking, texting or anything involving a handheld communication device into effect last week, the Arizona Republic reported.

The Arizona Legislature has considered enacting a texting-while-driving ban for at least the last decade. This year, a measure that would have banned texting while driving made it through the Senate, but failed to make it through the House.

The Legislature did take one step on the issue, though, banning new drivers, between the ages of 15 1/2 and 18, from using cellphones while driving, unless in a specific emergency or when using a navigation system. Coconino and Pima counties, Oro Valley, Sedona, Tucson and some other cities ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving, but no Valley city does.

Tempe has a distracted-driving law that lets police cite drivers for talking on the phone or texting, but only if police think the drivers pose a risk to themselves or others. Some other cities, such as Flagstaff, Fountain Hills and Phoenix, ban texting while driving, but not the overall hand-held phone use.

Drivers, please make sure your cellphones are tucked away when crossing into Surprise city limits, and as always, please drive safe!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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Sales Increase Despite Record Prices and Sinking Inventory

Sales Increase Despite Record Prices and Sinking Inventory

July home sales rose 1.8 percent year-over-year, making it the second month of 2018 to post a sales increase year-over-year, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report. To access the housing report infographic, visit: https://rem.ax/2phKHWT.

In the July 2018 report, 37 of the report’s 54 metro areas posted sales increases over July 2017—April was the first month of 2018 where more homes were sold than the same month in 2017. The report also marks the 28th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases.

The Median Sales Price of $250,575 was up 4.4 percent from July 2017, and represents the third-highest price in report history—topped only by May and June of this year. Months Supply of Inventory was at 2.9 – the smallest total ever recorded for July.

Forty-two of the 54 metro areas reported a year-over-year drop in inventory. The Days on Market dropped to 41 – four days less than July 2017 and one day under the previous nine-year low set in June 2018.

“Because we’ve faced challenging inventories and increasing home prices for some time now, a seasonal slowdown that rebalances the market a bit might actually be a positive in the months ahead,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “It could level affordability to some extent and create more opportunity for buyers who’ve been priced out of hot markets.”

The average Days on Market for homes sold in July 2018 was 41, down one day from the average in June 2018, and down 4 days from the July 2017 average. The number of homes for sale in July 2018 was down 0.3 percent from June 2018, and down 7.8 percent from July 2017. Based on the rate of home sales in July, the Months Supply of Inventory increased to 2.9 from 2.7 in June 2018, and decreased from 3.1 in July 2017. A 6.0-months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In July 2018, all but one of 54 metro areas surveyed reported a months supply at or less than 6.0, which is typically considered a seller’s market.

Want to know more? Click here to download your copy of the July 2018 RE/MAX National Housing Report. If you are looking to sell your Phoenix home or are ready to buy a home in Phoenix and the surrounding areas, please contact The Voss Team today.

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

thevossteam.com

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5 Fast Ways to Improve Your Credit Score for Home Buying

5 Fast Ways to Improve Your Credit Score for Home Buying

Want to buy a home but know your credit score needs work? You’re not alone. The average credit score in the U.S. is 695 according to the AAA Credit Guide, which is considered to be fair on a scale of 300 to 850. Our credit report tells a financial story of us as payers of debt, and it has a long memory. A low credit score means that you will be charged a much higher interest rate when you apply for a home loan. Additionally, you may be required to contribute a much larger down payment of cash. Finally, if your score is very low, you might simply be denied altogether, although virtually every mortgage company now has special programs designed to help those with bad credit get loans for home purchases.

Because your credit score affects everything from qualifying for a car loan to, in some cases, qualifying you for employment, it makes since that having the best score will help you obtain your real estate goals. Here are 5 fast ways to improve your credit score for home buying.

  1. If you have any collections or judgments against you, pay them off as quickly as possible.
  2. Pull your credit report at least once a year to review any discrepancies.
  3. Pay all your bills on time by utilizing payment reminders or automatic bill pay options.
  4. Don’t close your credit card accounts because then you’ll be using a higher percentage of your overall credit limit.
  5. Try to reduce your credit card debt to twenty-five percent or less of your credit line on each card.

The sooner you begin implementing these fast 5 ways to improve your credit score, the easier it will be when it’s time qualify for a home loan. If you’re ready to buy a home in Phoenix or if you’re ready to sell your Phoenix home, please contact The Voss Team today to assist you with your real estate needs! Contact us today for a knowledgeable and unforgettable real estate experience!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

thevossteam.com

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