January 2016 Phoenix Real Estate Update

Phoenix Real Estate Update

I hope you enjoy this monthly newsletter. Remember whether you are buying a new or resale home it is important to have a realtor to represent your interests. If you know of anyone who is thinking about buying or selling please let me know.  You can search the MLS from my website at www.greathouseaz.com.

Do you have a rental property and need a property manager?  Please call or email Karen Van Vugt at 602-316-7028 or ftr9558@cox.net


Pat Hune



1st Southwest Realty


Search the real MLS from my website!

Cell 480-703-1976

Fax 480-304-9099

Equal Housing Opportunity

Market Overview  

Michael J. Orr, Director Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University - In 2015 the Greater Phoenix housing market gained strength from February through July with tight supply below $250,000 and healthy demand for the mid ranges between $250,000 and $500,000. The high end luxury market also had an excellent first half, but lost a lot of momentum in its upper ranges from August onwards, probably due to the economic worries that also impacted the stock market. The rest of the market hesitated for a few months during the late summer and early fall but at the end of the year the market looks like it is accelerating again. This is particularly true for new homes. The momentum that builds from next February onwards will be largely determined by the willingness of mortgage lenders to normalize underwriting standards and thus increase participation by the millennial generation. A small increase in loan approval rates could have a major impact on releasing pent up demand from people under 35.


1)  STAT Newsletter 

2)  Rental Market  

3)  Multifamily and Commercial Real Estate Trends

4)  How to Evict a Tenant in Arizona  

5)  Real Estate Briefs

     a)  Loop 202 South Mountain Scheduled to Start Summer 2016 

     b)  Canyon Suites at the Phoenician Named Best Hotel in Arizona

     c)  What are Appraisal Management Companies?

6)  Tales from the Real Estate Trenches 

      Why Having a Thorough Divorce Attorney is so Important



1) STAT Newsletter Link - STAT is produced monthly  by the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service - the database realtors use to list homes for sale and that have sold.   ARMLS® COPYRIGHT 2016

January STAT

STAT Newsletter and Real Estate Market Highlights

Commentary by Tom Ruff of The Information Market

STAT: 2015 in Review - Each month in STAT, our charts and commentary reflect on the previous month. For example, a December STAT issue will have November’s numbers. This month our commentary will focus on year 2015 in review.

We started 2015 as quietly optimistic, bucking what Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index (MIMI) defined as a “weak and declining market”. It can be great to be a prognosticator of prognosticators, especially when we can sit back and relish our own accomplishments. We were right to be optimistic. The success of 2015 doesn’t rise to champagne corks popping off but there were market improvements in almost every way.

As 2014 ended and 2015 began, there were obvious improvements in our underlying market fundamentals. Put simply, our market was healthier. Price increases had returned to sustainable levels, distressed inventories continued their descent and the percentage of conventional buyers continued to improve. These improving metrics continued throughout the entirety of 2015. With the exception of January, monthly sales volumes for each and every single month were higher in 2015 than in 2014.

Beyond a doubt, 2015 was a much better year than 2014. When Freddie Mac published their quarterly report in October, our market was redefined as improving. Of the four metrics comprising the index, Phoenix outperformed national metrics in terms of affordability and mortgage currency, but lagged behind national averages in overall employment and home purchase applications. As anticipated, our weakest metric, home loan purchase applications (which were still impacted from credit scores damaged by foreclosures), showed marked improvement as 2015 progressed. In particular, the home loan purchase application metric improved 13.73% between August and October.

October 1 saw the introduction of new TRID guidelines causing a temporary disruption of our charts in terms of both sales volume and the median sales price. By mid-December our charts returned to their normal trajectory, leaving the one last noticeable remnant: +4 days added to average closing time for home purchased with a mortgage.

All things considered, 2015 will go down as an average year. Of the 15 years ARMLS has been reporting sales volume, last year ranks as the 8th highest. After the highs and lows our market has experienced over the last decade, an average year is a nice place to land. It was the type of year you can build a career around.


Any talk of an easing of credit requirements in 2015 was just that, talk. The average FICO score for FHA loans in January of 2015 was 682. This number rose to 689 in June through October and was 687 in November. The average loan-to-value (LTV) ratio for FHA closed loans remained constant through 2015 beginning the year at 95 and closing in November at 96. One of two metrics that did change on FHA closed loans was the closing rate. The closing rate of FHA loans was 57% in January, this number improved to 63.8% in November. When it came to conventional loans closed, the trend lines were very similar. The average FICO score in January was 752 with the number rising slightly in November to 754. LTV ratios for the year ranged between 80% and 81% with the November ratio at 80%. Just like FHA loans, the closing rate ratio saw improvement throughout the year moving from 69.8% to 71.9%.

The second metric that changed in 2015 was how long it took loans to close. The average time to close a conventional purchase increased from 38 days in January to 49 days in November. A portion of this increase was directly attributable to TRID, the average number of days to close a loan increased from 45 to 49 days between October and November. The improvements we saw in closing ratios in 2015 were a result of improving credit scores among applicants.

New Construction 

New construction was up 18.2% in Maricopa County, according to public records. Historically, economists have recognized that new home sales are a leading indicator of economic activity, which means they are the first to turn up before a rebound and the first to decline before a recession. New home construction in Maricopa County has been at historic lows for seven years. In the spring of 2015 in Maricopa County, we saw reports of new home building permits increasing 40% year-over-year. In December, we saw these numbers translate into newly constructed homes. December 2015 reported the highest number of new home sales in the last seven years. The 1,284 new construction sales were 44.9% higher than last year for the same period. While new home sales account for only 3.7% of the homes sold on the MLS (27% all new builds were sold on the MLS in 2015), tracking new builds still remains important to the average agent both as an economic indicator and a source of future product.


The rental market in 2015 remained tight, vacancy rates were low and rents were on the rise. Say no more, 2015 saw Maricopa County in the midst of an apartment boom. Maps and Facts Unlimited, citing local sources in October, reported nearly 20,000 apartment units in some stage of planning and development. As a caveat they added “Apartment permits peaked in 1984 (30 years ago!) when 33,000 units were permitted.” The significance of 1984 is that baby boomers were between the ages of 20 and 38. Just like the boomers before them, I believe the current boom in apartment construction can be linked directly to the millennials. In 2015 millennials (adults ages 18 to 34), surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce according to a Pew Research Center Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. The significant number of millennials is impacting our rental market. The renters of today will become the homeowners of tomorrow and these new apartments will offer a source of buyer leads.

As we begin 2016, all of our housing market metrics are positive, nothing but green lights. Over the next three years, approximately 3,500 to 4,000 completed foreclosures per month will hit their magic seven year anniversary and millennials will mature one more year (or at least grow one year older). Gas prices today are continuing downward with a gallon of regular selling for $1.97 compared to $2.04 last year at this time. Oil prices are down to $30.48 a barrel compared to $48.55 last year.

If you followed STAT for any time, you know I’ve been very bullish on housing and that I’ve been expecting a break out year. To be precise, I’ve been anticipating 2016 to be that year. So now that we are on the cusp of 2016 and all our housing metrics have been trending in a positive direction, why do I feel cautious looking ahead to 2016? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because our market is facing a lack of inventory on the lower end as reflected in the median price appreciation more than doubling the appreciation of an average priced home. Maybe it’s because our booms translate into busts and while the metrics are positive now for apartment construction — is it possible we’re over building? While prices at the gas pump are great, is the price of oil reflective of a deflationary cycle and what will be the economic impact of job losses in the oil sector? Will homebuilders that have been focused on affluent buyers be able and willing to address the entry-level buyer?

I believe everyone is in agreement that we currently have a huge amount of pent-up demand, but pent-up demand can stay that way for a long time, and while our recovery has been consistent it has also been slow, very slow. While the sentiments of local builders are positive and have been accentuated by our positive gains in December, the national homebuilder stocks are trending negatively. The S&P Homebuilders Select Industry Index is down 12.62% yearover-year and the S&P Building and Construction Select Index is down 17.96%. The stock market has been volatile, where a 401k based on S&P 500 is down 7.5% in the first two weeks of the year (which can be problematic for first time buyers hoping to use their 401k as the source of their down payment).

It’s apparent my concerns for 2016 lie outside of housing numbers. So, what do I expect for the 2016 housing market? My final answer is I don’t know. Maybe I’m confused because it’s a presidential election year and I saw a euphoric housing year in 2004, followed by a crushing housing collapse in 2008. While I have no idea what 2016 holds for our housing market, I’d be happy to see a repeat of 2015, as I said earlier — it’s the type of year you can build a career around.

The ARMLS Pending Price Index (PPI) 

The ARMLS PPI projects a median sales price for January 2016 of $212,000. We begin January of 2016 with 7,486 Pending/UCB listings compared to 6,731 last year. In January of 2015, ARMLS reported 4,784 sales, this year we are anticipating 5,300 for January 2016.

2)  Rental Market Check - Rent Check is an ARMLS's  publication tracking single family home rentals.  Click on the link for the statistics.

January Rent Stats

3) Multifamily and Commercial  Real Estate Trends

Current Phoenix market trends data indicates an increase of 4.4% in the median asking price per unit for Multifamily properties compared to the prior 3 months, with an increase of 15.1% compared to last year's prices. County-wide, asking prices for Multifamily properties are 5.5% higher at $62,527 per unit compared to the current median price of $61,149 per unit for Multifamily properties in Phoenix, AZ.  There has been an significant increase in the sales prices for duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes with very little available under $225,000.  

Loopnet Commercial Trends


4)  How to Evict a Tenant in Arizona  

Pat Hune, 1st Southwest Realty, January 2016

Arizona is considered to be a landlord friendly state.  This means the process is simple, cost is low and time it takes to evict a tenant is relatively short.  Note the costs quoted in this article are based on Maricopa County.  Eviction costs in other counties may be higher.  Other states may have a different process.  Please consult with your attorney if you have legal questions.  

Reasons to evict a tenant
The most common reason to evict a tenant is non-payment of rent.  There are other reasons for eviction including violating the lease conditions, failing to maintain the property or endangering the health and safety of themselves, other tenants or the community.  Each of these has a slightly different process but the end result is the same, i.e. the tenant is evicted if they do not do what they are supposed to do.  It is important to note it is far better if the tenant moves voluntarily. They still have the landlord’s property and can do damage if they are upset about being evicted.  Tenants often leave personal belongings behind which means the landlord has to pay to store for 21 days and then pay disposal fees.  Lastly when a tenant has an eviction on their record it makes it difficult for them to find a new place to live.

Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent in Maricopa County, AZ

The process to evict for non-payment of rent is:

1) The tenant stops paying rent.  Typically phone calls, emails and text messages go unanswered.  The property manager will try to determine if the tenants are still occupying the property by driving by and checking to see if the power is still on.  If the tenants are still there then the paperwork begins so the tenant will no longer be living rent free.

2)  The property manager prepares a 5 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.  In this case the word quit means the tenant has to move out or “quit" living in the property.  This notice has to be hand delivered to the tenant or sent via certified mail.  A process server would be required to confirm delivery of the notice to the tenant and would cost around $100.  Most property managers mail the 5 Day Notice certified mail and first class mail as well as posting a copy at the property.  They typically do not use a process server since certified mail postage is cheaper at about $7.00 and just as effective.  The reason the notice is sent first class mail is tenants often do not accept delivery of the certified mail notice.  Refusing to accept the certified mail notice does not stop the eviction process.  The only thing that stops the process is for the tenant to pay all the rent and late fees or work out a payment plan.  (See partial rent payments below.)

3)  Once the 5 Day Notice is sent the property manager has to wait 5 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays)  from either 1) the day the letter was sent or 2) when the tenant signs the certified mail receipt for the letter, whichever occurs first.  If the tenant does not respond the property manager sends a copy of the lease, the 5 Day Notice,  certified mail receipt, and Eviction Request Form to the Eviction Attorney along with $225 to cover court costs and attorney fees.  This is also known as filing a "Forcible Entry and Detainer" lawsuit.  The tenant will be served notice to appear.  Note if there is no written lease the tenant can still be evicted.  The judge typically does not award all the late fees to the landlord.  The maximum tends to be about $75.00.  However no late fees can be charged without a written lease.  Landlords can file the court papers but property managers cannot as only the owner of the property bring the lawsuit.  If the landlord is not available to appear in person then an attorney has to be retained to appear in court on the Landlord’s behalf.

4) Once the attorney receives the paperwork they file it with the clerk and the court date is set. This usually happens within 3-5 business days.  There are an average of 30-40 eviction cases heard at one time.  The tenant can appear to protest the eviction but generally they do not.  If they do show up the eviction attorney talks to them prior to the judge hearing the case.  The eviction attorney tells the tenant they have a few days to move out or they will be forcibly removed.  If the tenants agree to contact the property manager and give them keys once they have moved out then the tenants sign a form and go on their merry way.  The only thing that will stop the process is for the tenant to pay all the rent, applicable late fees and the eviction court costs.

The eviction attorneys disposition most of the cases either before court starts or shortly after provided the tenant does not appear. If the tenant does appear and does not agree to move out there is a discussion with the judge.  The most common tenant complaint is the owner has not maintained the property.  The judge will educate the tenant that they needed to serve the landlord or property manager a written notice about the needed repairs.  The tenants are told withholding rent is not the remedy.  The judge will ask for written proof the tenants requested the repairs which the tenants probably do not have.  The judge tells the tenant they need to pay rent (and the eviction costs) and then go through the process to get the repairs completed or move out within 5 days.

5)  When the court has issued the judgment for possession against the tenant the tenant will have 5 days to move out.  If the tenant does not move voluntarily the property manager will order a "Writ of Restitution" from the court.  This typically costs about $160 to cover the costs of the constable going to the property.  The constable will meet the property manager and locksmith at the premises.  If the tenant is still there the constable will forcibly remove them.  The property manager must change the locks immediately upon the tenant being removed. This is generally done by a locksmith for the cost of about $100.  Occasionally the tenants are unruly and the police are called to assist the constable in removing the tenants.  Luckily this only happens in a small number of cases.

If the tenant does not take all their personal belongings then the landlord has to store them securely for at least 21 calendar days.  The landlord can charge the tenant up to $30 per day storage which has to be paid if the tenant wants their belongings back.  The landlord usually leaves the belongings in the house until the 21 days have expired as it is cheaper than renting a storage unit and paying for the labor to have the items moved.  Then the landlord s responsible for the disposal costs.  The disposal cost varies and the landlord is losing rent so it is far better if the tenant removes all their belongings.  

6) Once the tenant has moved out the landlord can decide if they want to pursue the tenant the judgment issued by the court.  Typically a tenant fills out an application with information like their social security number and birth date.  This information is required if the landlord wants to try to collect the monies owed.  In most cases the landlord turns this over to a collection company as they have better resources to track down the tenant.  The collection company charges 50% of whatever is collected.  The judgment is good for six years and can be renewed for another six years.  It will appear on the tenant’s credit report until it is paid or expires.  It is rare for the landlord to receive any money but once in awhile it does happen.  Sometimes the tenant will offer to negotiate the amount down in order to get the judgment off their credit report.  

Partial Rent Payments

Tenants may try to make partial rent payments.  While getting some money is better than having a vacant property that needs to be made rent ready landlords have to be careful about taking partial payments. The tenant should sign a Partial Payment Non-Waiver Agreement and Promissory Note.  This document states the landlord does not waive the rights awarded by the court when the "Forcible Entry and Detainer” lawsuit was filed.  If the tenant does not sign this document and stops paying rent then the landlord will have to start all over again with the eviction process.   If the tenant signs and does not pay rent then the landlord can order the Writ and have the tenant removed.  Property managers may waive late fees in order to help bring the tenant current if the landlord agrees.  The goal is to get the tenant to catch up and start paying rent on time and minimizing the income lost by the owner. 

Cash for Keys

One way to get a tenant to move and take all their belongings is to offer them cash for keys. Cash for keys means if the tenant takes all their belongings, leaves the property clean and in good condition then they will receive money.  The amount can vary depending on the motivation of the landlord to get the tenant out.  Considering an eviction  costs about $400, not including the cost to dispose of personal belongings and lost rent while the items are stored, an offer of $500 - $700 would not be unreasonable.  

Other Reasons for Eviction

To evict a tenant in Arizona for committing lease violations or failing to maintain the property, the landlord or property manager must give a 10 day written notice to the tenant to cure the default or the tenant has to move out. This notice is sent certified mail, first class mail and is hand delivered to the property.  If the tenant is behaving in a way that seriously threatens health and safety of themselves, their neighbors, or the community, then the landlord or property manager can serve them with a 24-Hour Notice of Immediate and Irreparable Breach. This will give them 24 hours to vacate or else be sued for eviction.  If the tenant does not cure the default or move out then the eviction process is the same as if they did not pay rent.

Collecting for Damages after Eviction

It is highly unlikely the landlord will be able to get the tenant to pay for damages considering the tenant could not pay rent. Even if the tenant has done damage to the carpet, paint, appliances or other items there will be little recourse. Per our attorney if an item is more than 5 years old it is considered fully depreciated.  If the tenant has lived there for several years there would be an expectation of normal wear and tear.

If there is significant damage like holes in the drywall then the tenant would be responsible for these damages as it would be outside of normal wear and tear. Collecting for damages requires a separate action (not connected to the court action to collect the unpaid rent and late fees) in small claims court.  If a judgment is issued then it would appear on the tenant’s credit report.  Again the collection agency is typically needed to collect as this generally happens though wage garnishment.

If you are managing your own rentals it is important to have a good eviction attorney.  If you need a good eviction attorney please let us know.


5) Real Estate Briefs

a)  Loop 202 South Mountain Scheduled to Start Summer 2016 

Carrie Jung, KJZZ, January 2016

The Loop 202 freeway, also known as the South Mountain Freeway, will run east and west along Pecos Road and then turn north between 55th and 63rd avenues, connecting with Interstate 10 on each end. A video simulation of the freeway is provided below.  The South Mountain Freeway is the last piece to complete the Loop 202 and Loop 101 freeway system necessary for high-quality regional mobility.  The project has been a critical part of the Maricopa Association of Governments Regional Freeway Program since it was first included in funding through Proposition 300 approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985. The freeway is also part of the Regional Transportation Plan funding passed by Maricopa County voters in 2004 through Proposition 400.

Officials with the Arizona Department of Transportation say the negotiation process with the preferred developer team for the Loop 202 South Mountain extension project will continue into this month. The agency announced in December 2015 it had chosen to partner with a development team made up of four private companies. The agency expects to finalize a contract with the team by mid February with construction slated to begin this summer. 

Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway Video


b)  Canyon Suites at the Phoenician Named Best Hotel in Arizona

Gwen Shearman, US News and World Report, December 2015

One of the Valley's top resorts is considered to be the best hotel in the state of Arizona, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Canyon Suites at the Phoenician in Scottsdale was named the best hotel in the Arizona.

Situated at the base of Camelback Mountain, this offshoot of The Phoenician offers spectacular views at every turn. Recent guests say they arrived at this 60-room Luxury Collection outpost expecting a high caliber of service and the exceptional staff delivered. (Because this property is part of the Starwood family, SPG members can earn or redeem points here.) The Canyon Suites all feature beds with 300-thread-count Italian linens, private terraces and floor-to-ceiling windows that flaunt views of the desert scene or golf course. Speaking of the golf greens, visitors say 27-hole championship golf course is not to be missed. If you're not in the mood to spoil a good walk, you'll have access to all of the other facilities found on grounds, such as 11 tennis courts, a full-service spa and an infinity pool with Camelback vistas (a particular guest favorite). When you need to refuel after a full day of activity, you'll have your choice of seven restaurants — three fine dining spots and four casual eateries. Recent guests recommend the Sunday brunch at Il Terrazo for its delicious three-course menu. 


c)  What are Appraisal Management Companies?

Richard Montgomery, Dearmonty.com, January 2016

An Appraisal Management Company (AMC) theoretically prevents the consumer from overpaying for the home. Congress created this firewall to prevent lenders from influencing the outcome of appraisal work. For example, the lender today does not know the identity of the appraiser.  The Appraisal Institute (AI) research reveals there are eighty-three thousand real estate appraisers in the United States. According to the AI, the number has declined during the past ten years in part because of challenging business conditions and increasing government regulation. Here is what two very active appraisers had to say about appraisal management companies.

Appraiser insights

Some feel AMC’s are harming the consumer rather than helping them. They point to the cost of an appraisal; Daniel Hagen, a Payson, Arizona, appraiser with over thirty years experience admits, ” I have had to raise my fees considerably because of the extra time involved in working with AMC’s and for the additional appraisal requirements the Consumer Protection Act requires.” Hagen goes on to say, “AMC’s are a costly waste of time and money. The AMC is a new middleman taking profit for basically shuffling paper. AMC’s most often or typically seek the lowest fee and quickest turn time.”

Joel Tetzner, an appraiser in Green Bay, Wisconsin, who began his career in 2008, says, “ There are positive points and negative points to AMC’s. There is a definite lack of communication between the lender and the AMC that further slows the process down.” While he also has increased his fees, he sees the independence of the AMC as a positive for consumers. When asked what a borrower could do to improve their chances for a positive experience, he answered, “Some AMC’s, to attract new clients will offer services, such as underwriting review, which duplicates what the lender will do. This further review delays the process, and the AMC sometimes come up with issues their client could care less about.” Tetzner added, “There are still a lot of kinks to be worked out with the AMC’s.” It is a point on which both appraisers agree.

Reader’s experiences

Dear Monty receives questions from consumers seeking answers when conflicts arise with the appraisal. These questions come from buyer and seller as they are both affected when something goes wrong. Here are a few examples:

“ The appraiser lived over an hour from our house and was unfamiliar with the market. The appraisal was far below the offered price and almost killed the sale, but the buyer was able to get a new one. ”

“ We are not sure where she found the comparables, but we have seen many homes and had better comparables. How do we save this sale? ”

“ Not sure what is going on. The appraiser missed the appointment and has not called. What should we do? ”

Another cost invisible to consumers is the lender’s additional compliance staffing made necessary to ensure internal policies are within the law. Whether or not AMC’s and the Consumer Protection Act are increasing the cost to consumers and extending the closing period is beyond the scope of this column.

Can a borrower or seller have input?

It may be difficult for the borrower as they have no direct contact with the AMC. Consider requesting the listing agent be there to ask the appraiser the following questions before granting access to the property:

How many home appraisals have you completed in the past 24 months?

Where do you live?

How many appraisals have you done in this neighborhood in the past ninety days?

Is most of your work in a particular price range?

Do you do appraisal work full time or do you have other employment?

Also, coach the seller to inform the appraiser when they call for access that they must call the listing agent to coordinate access. If the listing agent does not feel comfortable with the appraiser’s answers and declines entry, the listing agent could then inform the selling agent. The selling agent will pass this news to the buyer with advice to contact the lender. When the buyer contacts the lender, the lender will then contact the AMC to inform them the appraiser did not pass muster. The AMC will then order another appraiser.

(Editor’s note:  Most of the appraisers I have spoken with are usually knowledgable.  Even if I grilled them with these questions I am not convinced I would be able to deny the appraiser access to the home. The contract clearly states the seller will make the property available for all inspections and walkthroughs.  What I do for my listings where there are few comparable sales is to prepare a list of comps and provide them to the appraiser.  An example appears below.  Though the appraiser may ultimately use different properties at least I have tried to make a case that the contract price reflects the value of the home.  Unfortunately the lsiting agent does not receive a copy of the appraisal unless the value does not meet contract so I don’t know how often the comps I provide are used.


1808 W Yosemite Pl, Chandler, AZ 85248

$660,000 Sold Price

$669,000 Original List Price

MLS 5209948

13.3 miles Southeast

Days on Market 65


This home sold on March 6, 2015.  Built in 2003 it was in very good condition with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 3,091SF interior, 17,554SF lot, fireplace, negative edge pool, 3C garage, granite counters, stainless steel appliances, upgraded cabinets, dual paned windows, plantation shutters, one fireplace, over sized tile and carpet flooring.


This home has 1 more garage bay, 7779SF larger lot, and is 25 years newer built but 3 years older when compared to the extensive remodel of the subject property.  It has 1 less bath, 2  less fireplaces, 177SF smaller interior, minimal window coverings that do not look as upgraded as the Pella Windows with blinds in the middle.)    

While this suggestion is new, by short-circuiting an unqualified appraiser, possibly several weeks could be saved. Otherwise, the choice is to let the first appraiser in the house and hope that the appraisal is acceptable. In this evolving environment, it is unclear whether this process will work, but it seems to be the only possible firewall workaround to combat poor AMC choices until the “kinks can be worked out.”

This entire conversation assumes the two appraisers interviewed are typical representatives of the appraisal community. Consider speaking with your local appraisal community for guidance.  


6)  Tales from the Real Estate Trenches 

Pat Hune, Broker at 1st Southwest Realty

Why Having a Thorough Divorce Attorney is so Important

A few months ago one of my clients, Sherlock, was buying a condo for cash.  The owners, Dick Tracy and Joan, had gotten a divorce a year earlier and the condo was awarded to Dick.  Dick and Sherlock signed the contract and escrow was opened.  Unfortunately Dick’s divorce attorney did not prepare a deed transferring the condo into Dick’s name as his sole and separate property.  Joan should have signed the deed when the divorce was finalized.  Then the attorney should have had it recorded in the Maricopa County recorder’s office.  Because this did not happen Joan’s signature was required on the deed.   As often happens when people get divorced, Joan decided to be uncooperative.  She refused to sign even though the divorce had been finalized for months and the divorce decree clearly stated Dick owned the condo.  

Luckily Sherlock was not in a hurry so he waited patiently (well somewhat impatiently) for the issue to be resolved.  Eventually another attorney had to step in to convince Joan that she was violating the terms of the divorce decree by withholding her signature.  A mere 120 days later Sherlock was the proud owner of the condo.  

The moral of the story is if you are getting divorced be sure any property with paperwork attached to the ownership like real estate is signed and recorded immediately when the divorce is finalized.  Do this while everyone is in agreement and before one of the parties has a chance to change his or her mind.