Real Estate Then and Now

How Technology Changed Real Estate
After 8 years as a full-time realtor, I’ve seen some changes in my career and that got me thinking about how much buying and selling a home in Phoenix has changed in the last 20 years:

– MLS (all listed homes are online in our searchable realtor database vs found in a printed book much like a telephone book)
– Docusign (approve documents with a few taps on your phone, table or laptop vs having to sign paperwork with a pen)
– Pictures (homes for sale have lots of professional photos online vs one blurry shot of home exterior taken by agent to print in book)
– Lockbox (agents obtain key at property using their phone vs driving to listing agent office for key and returning it)
– Internet (nothing could function without it today vs somehow millions of homes have been bought and sold without it)
– Zipform (documents generated and completed online vs having to press hard with a pen to be sure you could read carbon copies)
– Drone (home pictures and video taken from remote controlled aircraft vs nothing like it)
– Matterport (gives viewer 3D experience of walking through home vs nothing like it)
– Phone apps (closing cost estimator, mortgage calculator, value estimates and MLS search vs nothing like it)
– Texting (texting for property info vs calling an agent for details)
– Short sale and foreclosure (very common in 2011-2014 vs essentially non-existant)
– Mortgage interest rate (30-year fixed 7% then vs 4.75% now)

These are the big changes I could think of and I’m sure there are many other smaller ones I have omitted. As with most everything the past 20 years, technology has revolutionized how we work, play and function.

Real Estate Negotiating

Real estate negotiating
If you prefer buying real estate without an agent (who will watch your back every step of the way at no cost to you), you may wish to consider these real estate negotiation strategies to help you land the best deal:

– offer higher earnest money over and above the typical 1% of sales price; as long as you don’t plan to breach the purchase contract rules, the earnest money is just going toward your total down payment anyway.

– let seller choose the title/escrow company; it could create the illusion of seller controlling the deal but in reality most people couldn’t name a title/escrow company off the top of their head.

– be flexible on the closing date, if possible; let them know you can move closing forward (check with your lender to be sure they can make good on the desire to close sooner) or backward to suit their schedule.

– offer to allow seller to rent home back from you for a few days to help them move to their next home; moving is very stressful but this will give seller so much peace of mind and you will even make a few dollars.

– ask seller to buy you a home warranty – or to leave some item in home with the sale – that you are comfortable negotiating away later; meaning you didn’t really want this anyway but seller thinks they scored a win.

– ask for slightly more closing assistance to be paid by seller than you actually need or can use (if you are asking for any financial help from seller); if you only need 2% help, ask for 2.5% and negotiate it away.

– give seller ample time to respond; it is customary to give 48 hours for review of your offer but I can’t tell you how many times I get an offer at 7pm and buyer expects a response from seller by noon the following day.

Notice property price is not mentioned here. Remember, when buying and selling real estate, it is an often emotional process that can cause otherwise rational people to behave irrationally and out of character.

Solar Panels

Solar Panels in Phoenix
Want to make your home easier to sell? Don’t install a solar system in Phoenix. As an real estate agent, I am often asked by homeowners who are considering adding a solar system whether or not it will have any impact on their home value. Most are surprised to hear me say, in the absolute best case scenario it will not hurt your home’s value and in most cases it will be a negative to future buyers considering your home for purchase.

With all the full sun we get (over 300 days a year), why not install solar in Phoenix?

1. It’s leased so any buyer of your home will need to qualify for assuming the balance of your lease. Solar leases work just like car leases – except car lease payments don’t rise every year on you.
2. It often can damage roof at time of install. I have seen several instances of damage to tiles and flashings, not to mention the need for installing a pigeon/bird net under the panels to stop them nesting.
3. It voids your manufacturer warranty on roof tiles (usually lifetime). Plain and simple, if you install solar you lose your tile warranty against manufacturer defects.
4. It’s hot! Most people don’t realize solar panels feed an inverter in the garage to produce energy and this generates heat. Stand in a closed garage in summer with solar and you’ll see.
5. It doesn’t generate enough power to be off the grid. Most systems on a typical home max out at 9kwh production, which may be just enough to cover power use in winter but leave you a big summer electric bill.
6. You will never own it, even after you make 20 years of lease payments. So after making 240 payments what is your reward? They show up to take the entire system off your roof and promise to fix any damage.
7. The lease payments rise every single year, on average 2.9% compounded annually. To put that in perspective, this increase has been 41% higher than the annual rate of inflation the past 20 years.
8. It’s unproven long-term. What about the company’s chances of being around for the next 20 years? If they disappear, who’s going to repair it when a panel fails? And wow are these things unsightly!
9. What happens when you need to re-tile (and change the weatherproof underlayment) or re-shingle your roof? You must pay the company (assuming they still exist) to remove the panels, store them and then re-install them so you can fix your roof.
10. All else equal, when two homes have identical features, I’ve never met a buyer who prefers the one with solar. The reasons are probably all of the above.

What are the tangible, measurable and direct benefits to a homeowner installing solar in Phoenix?



RE/MAX Renaissance Realty
9059 W Lake Pleasant Pkwy #B200
Peoria, AZ 85382