High-Price Home Sales Are Leading The Market

By | Real Estate Law | No Comments

Realtor Magazine recently reported an interesting statistic surrounding the U.S. housing market.  Sales growth is the strongest among homes in a higher priced tier, according to a new statistics of housing data from the National Association of Realtors.  Homes above median price are outselling homes in a lower price range.

Over the past year, over 11% of homes sold were priced at over $500,000.  This trend is likely to continue.  Median price range varies region to region but across the U.S. the story is clear, higher priced homes are selling.

Danielle Hale, a researcher from the NAR gives her explanation of this trend, “home sales are shrinking in the lowest price tier — most likely a result of limited inventory in this price range as would be expected in a housing market where prices are rising.”

Hale went on to say that sales in lowest price range fell by more than 7 percent nationwide, yet sales in the higher-price range rose more than 30 percent in September compared to one year ago.

It’s expected that foreclosures and distressed sales will continue to taper off, leading to even smaller inventory of lower than median priced homes.  This will most likely drive the median price of homes up until there is more available inventories of all price ranges.

If you or someone you know is currently needing legal advice with regards to real estate, including residential and commercial, call JacksonWhite’s real estate attorneys at (480) 448-2870.

As Stock Prices Rise, So Do Home Prices

By | Real Estate Law | No Comments

According to a new study conducted by Redfin Realty, home prices rise when stock valuations of nearby publicly traded companies increase.  The study showed that “for every $1 billion increase in stock value of locally based companies, the median sales price of nearby homes increases by $4,400.”

The online real estate giant analyzed home prices and stock valuations of 824 public companies across 19 metro cities over the last 20 years.  According to the study Redfin believes that a place like Silicone Valley, home to 45 publically traded companies valued at over $1.1 trillion, with an increase of just 1 percent stock value, could lead to more than a $48,000 gain in the city’s median home sales price.

The company did note that is takes time after a change in stock valuations to affect home prices, usually around three months.

The top cities found to have the highest correlation between median home sales prices and local company stock valuations were:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. San Jose, CA
  3. New York City
  4. Raleigh, NC
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Atlanta
  7. San Diego

Source:A Common Trait that Silicon Valley, Las Vegas, and New York all Share. Hint: It’s not the Weather,” Redfin (Oct. 17, 2013)

For all over your real estate legal questions please call Jackson White’s real estate attorneys at (480) 448-2870.

AZ Real Estate Market Heading For Another Crash?

By | Real Estate Law | No Comments

A national real estate expert is predicting another crash for Arizona’s housing market.  Mark Hanson, a real estate analyst, recently told Businessweek magazine that rising interest rates, higher home prices, and a decrease in investors will lead to a lag in buyers and bring Arizona’s housing market down.  Hanson predicts a 20 percent decline in Phoenix home prices of the next 12 months.

Though it true that Phoenix home prices have soared over the past year, bringing a 28 percent increase, not all real estate specialists agree with Hanson.

Michael Orr, a director of ASU’s Real Estate Theory and Practice said the Valley’s housing market is still showing positive signs, and there’s no indication we’re in a bubble.

“What we’ve experienced is a very dramatic crash and a balance because we over-corrected,” said Orr. “We are now back to pricing levels you would expect on a normal trend line. We’ve got far fewer investors buying for less cash transactions, and most of it’s financed. The market is going back to normal, and normal means home prices go up quite gently.”

Let’s hope Orr is correct as many Valley homeowners are just getting out of out from being underwater in their home mortgages.

If you are looking to buy, sell, or lease your home and you have legal questions please call JacksonWhite’s real estate attorneys at (480) 448-2870 for a consultation today.

See more at http://www.americanownews.com/story/23632567/real-estate-expert-predicts-anouther-housing-market-crask-in-az

 

How Will the Shutdown Affect Home Mortgages?

By | Real Estate Law | No Comments

Forbes recently reported how the U.S. government shutdown would affect new mortgages.  Although mortgage rates will most likely drop as a result of the shutdown many homebuyers are not leaping at the opportunity, giving rise to new fears in a “recovering” housing market.

Although there are fiction and fact surrounding the shutdown and how it will affect the housing market, there are four ways the shutdown will impact the mortgage market:

1. Rates may drop-mortgage rates follow the direction of the economy and if the banks and lenders fear the economy is slowing, they will lower rates to attract more business.

2. FHA loans will be affected-if you are one of the millions waiting on an FHA loan you may not be able to get or close your loan-for the time being.  With any FHA loan, mortgage service firms have to order a FHA case number, before an appraisal is completed.  With the FHA being shut down, those case numbers can’t be processed. The process will take longer with very few people working on them.

3. I.R.S. documents are unavailable-mortgage firms are unable to verify a borrower’s income from his or her tax returns during the shutdown.  By law, a mortgage loan approval is subject to the review by mortgage lender of at least one year’s worth of federal tax returns.  These must be verified the I.R.S. through a form called a 4506 Transcript, because the I.R.S. staff isn’t working, they are unable to verify tax return documents.

4. A weaker housing market-The U.S. Housing and Urban Development which runs the Federal Housing Authority has only 337 of its 8,709 managers and employees working this week. The longer the HUD is understaffed the more problems we may see with the U.S. housing market.

Rates may fall as a result of the shutdown meaning some good news for homebuyers, but those relying on FHA lending and I.R.S. verified tax documents will suffer the consequences of the shutdown.

If you have legal questions regarding Real Estate, please contact JacksonWhite’s Real Estate Attorneys for a consultation at (480) 448-2870.

Does Your HOA Enforce “No For Sale Signs?”

By | Real Estate Law | No Comments

Recently a homeowner in Flagstaff, Arizona wished to sell their home. One of homeowner’s most valuable assets when selling their home is simply a “For Sale” sign.

According to A.R.S. 33-441 and 33-1801(F) render unenforceable any covenant, restriction or condition prohibiting the indoor or outdoor display of a “For Sale” sign and sign rider by a property owner on that person’s property. For various reasons, these statutes have been the frequent target of legal challenges, often by community associations seeking to enforce the community’s covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs).

Robert and Cecilia Hawk own real property located in Pine Canyon Village in Flagstaff, Arizona.  On August 16, 2011 and August 17, 2011, the Hawks posted a “For Sale” sign on their property.  On both occasions, PC Village removed the sign, claiming it violated the community’s CC&R’s.  This lead to the case Hawk v. PC Village Association, Inc., and an Arizona Court of Appeals Opinion dated September 3, 2011.

The Hawks argued that they used the sign to reach as many prospective buyers as possible through the most valuable and cost effective medium.   PC Village claimed that the “For Sale” signs are visually unappealing and argued that (1) the pertinent statutes did not supersede its CC&Rs because the statues were enacted years after PC Village’s CC&Rs were recorded and amended to prohibit property owners in Pine Canyon from displaying any kind of sign visible from neighboring property; and (2) the statutes are unconstitutional because they substantially impair the community association’s contractual rights. If successful, the position asserted by PC Village would have adversely impacted a homeowner’s ability to sell a property for the highest price, as well as a buyer’s ability to secure information as to which properties are available for purchase.

After an oral argument, the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected the claim by PC Village, finding that the community association “failed to demonstrate a substantial impairment.” The Court’s rationale was based in part on the fact that planned communities and homeowners associations are creatures of statute, their powers being largely defined by legislation. In such a highly regulated industry, the Court determined that PC Village had no reasonable expectation to conclude that its CC&Rs would remain unaffected by future legislation or government directive.

If your HOA is not allowing “For Sale” signs on your real property, you have the right to advertise your property for sale according to Arizona Law.  Please contact JacksonWhite’s Real Estate Attorneys for more information at (480) 448-2870.

Ways To Take Title In Arizona

By | Title | No Comments

Ways To Take Title In Arizona

When going thru the process of purchasing a home in Arizona you will need to decide in escrow how you would like to take title.  According to the Arizona Residential Purchase Contract: (see 3b. lines 96 and 97) Buyer will take title as determined before COE.  Taking title may have significant legal, estate planning and tax consequences.  Buyer should obtain legal and tax advice.

According to First American Title there are four ways in which persons can take title of their property in Arizona.

1.       Community Property

  • Requires a valid marriage between two persons.
  • Each spouse holds an undivided one-half interest in the estate.
  • One spouse cannot partition the property by selling his or her interest.
  • Requires signatures of both spouses to convey or encumber.
  • Each spouse can devise (will) one-half of the community property.
  • Upon death the estate of the decedent must be cleared through probate, affidavit, or adjudication.
  • Both halves of the community property are entitled to a stepped up tax basis as of the date of death.

2.       Community Property with the Right of Survivorship

  • Requires a valid marriage between two persons.
  • Each spouse holds an undivided one-half interest in the estate.
  • One spouse cannot partition the property by selling his or her interest.
  • Requires signatures of both spouses to convey or encumber.
  • Estate passes to the surviving spouse outside of probate.
  • No court action required to clear title upon the first death.
  • Both halves of the community property are entitled to a stepped up tax basis as of the date of death.

3.       Joint Tenancy with the Right of Survivorship.

  • Parties need not be married; may be more than two joint tenants.
  • Each joint tenant holds an equal and undivided interest in the estate, unity of interest.
  • One joint tenant can partition the property by selling his or her joint interest.
  • Requires signatures of all joint tenants to convey or encumber the whole.
  • Estate passes to surviving joint tenants outside of probate.
  • No court action required to clear title upon death of joint tenant(s).
  • Deceases tenant(s) share is entitled to a stepped up tax basis as of the date of death.

4.       Tenancy in Common

  • Parties need not be married; may be more than two tenants in common.
  • Each tenant in common holds an undivided fractional interest in the estate. Can be disproportionate.
  • Each tenant share can be conveyed, mortgaged or devised to a third party.
  • Requires signatures of all tenants to convey or encumber the whole.
  • Upon death the tenant’s proportionate share passes to his or her heirs by will or intestacy.
  • Upon death the estate of the descendent must be cleared through probate, affidavit, or adjudication.
  • Each share has its own tax basis.

Taking title in such a way that benefits your situation with a spouse, significant other, or business partners is imperative for avoiding negative legal and tax consequences especially in the event of a death.   Before closing escrow on your home, call our experienced Real Estate Attorneys at JacksonWhite Law to discuss the best way for you to take title.  Call us at (480) 448-2870.

Arizona Association of REALTORS Adds 5 New Property Management Forms

By | Lease, Real Estate Professionals | No Comments

With more Homeowner’s holding onto their homes in hopes for better sales prices down the road, REALTORS are increasingly taking on more clients to act as a role of a property manager.  The Arizona Association of REALTORS has recently introduced five new property management forms.

  1. Notice of Abandonment-this form indicates to a tenant that the landlord or property manager deems the property abandoned.  Sent by both certified mail and posted on the residence, this form gives tenants timelines for when to retrieve one’s belongings (if any). This form protects both the tenant and the property manager in the event of non-payment of rent.
  2. Notice of Non-Renewal of Lease Agreement– This form notifies a tenant that their lease will not be renewed at the end of the lease term. Whether it be the end of a month-to-month lease or the end of a traditional lease; this form gives the tenant notice that they may not continue to reside in the property past the end of their lease term.
  3. Notice to Tenant of Management Termination– In the event that a property manager will no longer be responsible for a property, whether it be due to a bank acquisition or transfer of property management parties, this form lets the tenants know of the change. It also leaves room for information on whom to contact going forward for the collection of rent, repair request or anything else the tenant may need.
  4. Notice of Two-Day Access-By Arizona law, property managers must give tenants two day notice before entering a property. This form notifies the tenant of the intent to enter a property for repairs or inspections.
  5. Statement of Disposition of Deposits and Accounting-This form is an itemization that property managers can give to tenants upon move out. This list provides tenants of any deposits, deductions and refunds due.

Whether you are a property manager or a tenant getting ready to sign a lease, it is important to make sure these new documents are included with the lease agreement.  If you have questions regarding these forms or other property management issues, the Real Estate Attorneys at JacksonWhite can help you. Call today (480) 448-2870.

Foreclosure Starts Down According to RealtyTrac

By | Foreclosure | No Comments

Foreclosure filings in the U.S. fell 34% in August from one year ago, according to the latest data from RealtyTrac.  August foreclosure starts are down 44% from one year ago, a record low since December 2005.

RealtyTrac’s VP Daren Blomquist said, “The foreclosure floodwaters have receded in most parts of the county, but lenders and communities continue to clean up the damage left behind, which means the recent uptick in bank repossessions is a trend that will likely continue into next year.”

Arizona’s foreclosure starts decreased by 65% in August.  Colorado’s were down 80% and Massachusetts down 66%.  Nevada’s foreclosure rate ranked highest nationwide, and may be tied to two new laws Nevada implemented, SB 300 and the Nevada Homeowner’s Bill of Rights.

“As home prices continue to increase, we have noticed an increase in lenders taking action on delinquent mortgages,” said Michael Mahon, executive VP and broker at HER Realtors.  Although foreclosure starts are down in many states, bank repossessions increased 6% in August.

National Association of Realtors spokesperson Walt Molony stated, “Other factors contributing to a decline in foreclosures include an improving economy, creation of jobs-even though it’s less than what we would like to see-and improved personal financial conditions.”

It looks like Arizona is making headway out of the housing crisis but many still face financial obstacles.  If you are facing a foreclosure or you feel you were wrongly foreclosed upon, please contact JacksonWhite’s Real Estate Attorneys at (480) 448-2870.

Entering into a Commercial Lease

By | Commercial Lease | No Comments

Commercial LeaseSo you’ve decided to lease a space for your business.  It’s a time of excitement, a glimmer of opportunity on the horizon.  It’s also a great time to contact an experience Real Estate attorney.  Commercial leases can be complex and tricky.  The goal is for a peaceful and beneficial relationship between a landlord and tenant.  Hiring an attorney prior to signing a lease may help reduce and even eradicate future problems.

There are some common issues that can arise. Here are a few:

Terms of lease

  • Who is able to use the property
  • The specified time period of lease agreement
  • Payment of lease

Deposits

  • There may be disputes over deposits given and not returned at the end of lease period

Early termination of lease

  • Terminated a lease early can forfeit your deposits and the non-breaching party may even ask for liquidated damages (a lump sum of money)
  • A lease may contain an acceleration clause where the entire term of the breaching party may become due when the contract is breached

Duty to Repair

  • Issues may arise as to who is responsible for damages and repairs to the leased premises.

Subleasing

  • Some lease agreements may allow the tenant to sublease or assign their lease to another party.

If you are thinking of entering into a commercial lease agreement or you are currently facing a lease agreement dispute above, call Jackson White Law today at 480-448-2870.  Our experienced Real Estate Attorneys can guide you and protect your best interests involving a commercial lease agreement.

Considering Buying Property With a Friend?

By | Real Estate Law | No Comments

Buying a HomeIt is no secret that the economic crisis of 2008 was in response to the burst of the real estate bubble around the country.  Prior to 2008, families of all economic backgrounds were buying homes for the first time, many times far above their means.   Although many have found that buying property is not as easy at it was before 2008, they are still finding a way.  For example, friends and family members are pooling resources to become joint-owners of property.

If you are considering buying property with someone close to you, keep these items in mind:

1.)    Ask the Tough Questions – Most lawsuits are avoidable.  However, most people do not want to think or talk about the tough issues (especially with friends and family).  If you are buying property with someone, you need to be able to talk through issues like what happens if the other partner dies or becomes incapacitated or who will handle repairs and taxes.  If the tough issues are spelled out in your agreement, then you can reduce your chances of litigation in the future.

2.)    Do not ASSUME – We have all heard the joke about what “assuming” does.  Buying real estate with a friend is no different.  Don’t assume that your friend has understood your needs and don’t assume your friend is drafting an agreement that you will consider fair.  Not only is it nearly impossible for your friend to make decisions without considering her needs, but she may not truly understand what your needs are.

3.)    Do your homework – Research the applicable real estate law, zoning regulations, and estate planning laws to ensure that your partnership is viable.  All of the laws above (and more) will govern the disposition of your property and your relationship with your partner.

4.)    Get a Neutral Third-Party – Having a neutral third-party perform various functions is essential.  Tasks like inspections, appraisals, contract drafting, etc. are best performed by someone, who does not have an interest in the property.  In addition, it shows a judge that each party was represented and neither party was taken advantage of; should a dispute make it to litigation.

5.)    Get everything in writing – Verify everything with a writing!  Not only do contracts for the sale of land require a writing to be enforceable, but a writing also provides confirmation that each party understands the terms.  By seriously reviewing the contract, you can address any concerns before the sale is final and you are stuck with terms you do not want.

The tips above apply to any sale of property, regardless of the relationship between the parties.

Do you plan to purchase real estate with a family member or friend?

If you are planning on purchasing property, contact a real estate attorney from JacksonWhite at 480-448-2870