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Using some common sense when traveling back and forth between your properties July 10, 2010

Posted by mkuhbock in Arizona Vacation Property.
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Now that you have purchased your dream recreation or vacation property there are a couple of simple things to keep in mind but are far too often overlooked.

When you are not using your vacation property:

  1. Make sure the blinds are closed, and that the instructions to the cleaners are to close the blinds upon finishing their work. Never assume they will…
  2. Unplug small appliances (just in case)
  3. Unplug your router so that it cannot be hacked into
  4. Adjust the thermostats so that the pipes don’t freeze in the winter or things don’t get too hot in the summer and everything starts melting. I have seen candles and paint do strange things at 100+ degrees F.
  5. Add some vegetable oil to the toilet bowls, slows down the evaporation.
  6. In dry weather climates put out a pail of water, it helps, but I am not certain what for other than keeping the humidity up a little which probably helps on wear and tear of the house and furniture.
  7. Unplug your TV’s, some of the models still draw power and have a small fan running full time.
  8. Unplug your cable box, it is always drawing power regardless if it is on or not.
  9. Get some timers for your inside lights and/or radio or some light sensitive night lights. I had a neighbor call me one night as he though there was someone in our vacation home and wanted to make sure one of the owners wasn’t there prior to calling the police, he is a great guy, and he soon learned that it was our light sensitive night lights.
  10. Turn down your hot water heater.
  11. Buy and install some security stickers.
  12. Get someone to pick up your mail on a weekly or once every 2 weeks.
  13. Lock everything including your electrical panel and exterior water if you can, believe it or not people will steal your water.
  14. Check with your insurance agent about your policy and how long the property can be vacant without some dumb ass clause kicking in that stops your coverage.
  15. See if a neighbor will use your driveway for one of their cars.
  16. Don’t advertise to the world that you are not at one of your homes, somethings should just not be posted on Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn. You wouldn’t post your credit card number as you never know who will hack into one of your social website accounts and are just waiting for you to announce where you will not be for an extended time period.
  17. Make sure you either throw out anything that might go bad, that includes dry goods in the pantry and for that matter use sealed bags to store everything. This keeps the ants and cockroaches out of your house and lives.
  18. Hire a landscaping company, management company and or a security company when needed.
  19. Hire a pest control company or make sure you give the entire inside and outside facing entries to your home a good spray with a pest control product. We use Orthomax which runs about $14 and lasts 6 months. I spray the entire frame of the doors and garage door plus the patio doors and main floor windows inside and out. I also spray any vents, water and electrical outlets inside and out of any exterior wall plus all the floor areas around the kitchen and bathrooms where pipes and drains allow access. We never have had a bug problem since we started doing this. It only takes 15 minutes for a 3000 Sq Ft house. Supposedly the product is good for 12 months and will kill anything that crosses the barrier and is safe for mammals once it drys.
  20. Hire someone to go through the house every couple of weeks (typically when they pick up mail) and flush toilets to refill them if needed. It helps the place look less abandoned or vacant.

There are a few other things that I am probably forgetting and please comment if you think of any of those points that I have missed.

The above should also be done for your principal residence when you are away on an extended vacation also.

Hope everyone is enjoying the heat of the summer! 🙂

Cheers,

Michael

Check out my video and slide presentation, An Introduction to Joint Ownership, at www.azjointownership.com

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Video introduction to vacation home joint ownership May 4, 2010

Posted by mkuhbock in Arizona Vacation Property, AZ Real Estate News, Uncategorized.
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Here is a quick introduction video and a PowerPoint on what vacation home joint ownership is and some of the perils and pitfalls you need to be aware of.

Enjoy but unfortunately I have a face for radio….. 🙂

Arizona Vacation Home Strategies February 24, 2010

Posted by mkuhbock in Arizona Vacation Property, AZ Real Estate News.
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Arizona Vacation Home Strategies

Learn how to purchase an executive winter home fully furnished for the price of a car!

Vacation home strategies ~ An easy way to invest in undervalued real estate and enjoy it during the cold winters.

Ask us how at

Michael@Kuhbock.com or azjointownership@gmail.com

Why Phoenix?????

  • Nearly perfect year-round weather
  • The greater Phoenix area also offers visitors an array of impressive cultural attractions.
  • 200 + golf courses
  • Recreation, Major league sports – baseball, football, hockey!!!!!
  • Strong Canadian dollar!!
  • US Home Prices Continue to Tumble…
  • Sub-Prime mortgage buying opportunities!!

What is Joint Ownership all about?

Purchasing a vacation home in Arizona ~ Steps To Success

A little about Phoenix ~ Metro Phoenix Overview

A little about Phoenix Real Estate and Joint Ownership Considerations

A little about Golf In Phoenix

Furnishing a vacation home – ways to retain your sanity and marriage January 27, 2010

Posted by mkuhbock in Arizona Vacation Property.
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Updated from an earlier post a long time ago… Thought that it would be worthwhile to re-post as a lot of people I know are either purchasing or looking at purchasing in the US as the real estate prices are still inviting and the Canadian dollar is nice and high for the moment.

As most of us go through life from University to retirement, we acquire, fix, dispose of, replace, upgrade, add to and horde furnishings and fixtures for our homes. This is done over a period of a lifetime and we end up having a suitable collection of junk along with our prized possessions in our homes.

Unless we are forced to start fresh due to a fire or divorce or combination thereof  🙂 we typically have little experience in starting with a blank canvass to furnish a new home from the bare floors and walls stage.

Purchasing furnishing for a vacation home is one of those opportunities where you can start from the ground up with a clean slate or palette so to speak. In theory is would seem like fun, just think lots of new stuff for the 6 to 12 rooms, shopping, shopping and more shopping. But wait, there is more shopping, and more shopping and more shopping. Soon you are wondering if it will every end and how many times do I have to go back to Wal-Mart for that can opener or storage container that I always get side tracked from and never pick up…. If you have hair you will probably pull it out and you might as well book time in couple mediation or counseling prior to beginning what you thought was going to be a fun adventure.

So that you can keep your sanity and relationship in tact let me give you a couple of points of advice, from experience that is.

  1. First take a business or military attitude towards furnishing your home, plan and manage all of the logistics to the point of excess and take nothing for granted. When you are deep into the process you will be thankful that you thought through all of the possible issues and logistics associated with furnishing your new home.
  2. Secondly, make lists upon lists of everything you need or think you need, I had a 7 page spreadsheet that we start with and throughout the process it was edited and added to on an hourly basis. Have pricing associated with the goods and this will require a lot of internet time to price products out. If you are in a joint ownership situation you will have to plan on doubles & triples for a lot of things like towels, sheets, plates and cutlery.
  3. Create a budget that is to the dollar, see the above point. When you have a budget in place you can track what is going out and what purchases might be a great deal or recognize when something is over priced.  We spent 7 days solid and 16 hours a day furnishing and outfitting our house and believe me, after the first 12 hours on the first day you need as much organizational support in place as possible, otherwise you could fall into real trouble both from a product quality standpoint and a financial overspending standpoint. Due to the budget we created and the hundreds of hours doing research on the internet we saved over 75% on the retail cost of everything we have in our vacation home.
  4. Stay away from the cheap stuff. If you work at it you will be able to find good to high quality furniture and fixtures and prices below the cheap stuff. Thus it will add a level of sophistication to your vacation home and will also wear and last much longer than the low priced crap you end up seeing on sale at some of the big box stores or online at Craigslist.
  5. For Canadians, purchasing with cash is the way to go, saves on the exchange and possible interest rates. Remember that the exchange rate credit cards charge is NOT the banks exchange rate (which is not the posted national exchange rate either). Thus cash is king and in some cases you have more leverage for negotiating prices. Not all stores will negotiate but it never hurts to ask the salesperson and if he is not the decision maker then ask for the manager…
  6. Rent a cube van, yes it is not the coolest way to cruise Phoenix or any area that you have a vacation home in but it comes in very handy especially when deliver charges can be excessive and you never know when you come across a sale that you cant pass up and it is a cash and carry price. The first day of our furnishing adventure we filled the cube van 3 times. Sometimes even a cube van is too small, again in our case we purchased most of our bedroom furniture from the Costco Home Store and the King bed suite and mattress was too big for the van, thus you will have to rent a u haul truck. Due to our planning we only had to do this on one day (see logistical planning above). We got a great deal on a weekly rate from Capps Van and Car rental but I think they no longer service the Phoenix area.
  7. Make sure that you have a lot of pain killers, Red Bull, stamina, patience and work gloves. From the hundreds of miles of traveling from store to store, to the hundreds of boxes and packaging you have to open and then break down for removal (this is where you will need the work gloves because after the 10th or so box opened and plastic ripped off your hands will be raw, then imagine 7 more days of it) you need to be prepared.
  8. For sake of your relationship with either friends or family, buy a GPS unit and preload all of the stores you might be visiting into it including the location of your vacation home because when it is your 40th hour without sleep and you are trying to make you way home in the dark from some industrial mega mall you will be glad you are not fighting with a paper map, or your spouse because you have hit a dead end, for the 5th time…
  9. Try to enlist help, especially when it comes to building the furniture that you have painfully taken out of the boxes. This is a very time consuming activity, most furniture and items like dressers, beds, barbeques do not come preassembled and if you are doing everything, planning, purchasing, hauling, opening and unpacking etc. the last thing you want or need to do is put crap together.
  10. Plan ahead for junk removal as you dont want to run out of space and have boxes and packing crap blocking everything. We had 2 separate loads or 2 double garages full to the top with flattened boxes and packing materials.
  11. Finally, When purchasing art try to remain neutral when you are in a joint ownership situation, we went with iron art for some of the rooms to allow for the other owners a chance to personalize the house as it is there home also.

Believe it or not the above is only scratching the surface but it is a start in the furnishing a vacation home adventure… Good luck!

Cheers,

Michael

What is a real estate purchaser to believe???? October 21, 2009

Posted by mkuhbock in Arizona Vacation Property, AZ Real Estate News.
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I recently came across 2 separate articles that focused on the future of the real estate market. One was a national publication with grounded statistics while the other article was a local Phoenix publication that also was based on relatively hard numbers.

The funny thing is that both articles screamed the opposite opinion of where the market is going. The Phoenix based article speaks of a recovery and that the real estate slump is over while the national article talks about more pain and how real estate prices are about to go much lower.

My take is that the market will bounce along the bottom for another 36 to 48 months, great deals will be had and some insulated pockets in the Valley will actually see a decline in properties for sale and realize a marginal appreciation in value.

Check out the articles for yourself:

Phoenix-area consultants contend local real estate slump is over
Bizjournals.com – Charlotte,NC,USA
Two Phoenix real estate consultants are claiming the local residential real estate meltdown is over. Karl Guntermann, the Fred E. Taylor professor of real …

Housing Prices: Expected to Drop More in the Next Year?Home values are predicted to fall in 342 out of 381 markets in the next year, according to a new forecast. Learn why and find out which cities could buck the trend…

A good summary on US real estate opportunities October 19, 2009

Posted by mkuhbock in Arizona Vacation Property, AZ Real Estate News.
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The Close : October 19, 2009 : U.S. Opportunity Knocking?

Link to the BNN video

U.S. real estate prices continue to fall and the Canadian dollar continues to rise. With the Bank of Canada and the Fed expected to keep rates low, at least until mid-2010, is now a good time for Canadians to invest in U.S. housing? BNN speaks to Terry Ritchie, certified financial planner, Transition Financial Advisors, for a look at the opportunities and pitfalls of Canadians buying U.S. residential real estate.

Some interesting news articles over the last week July 31, 2009

Posted by mkuhbock in Arizona Vacation Property.
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The wild and wonderful world of metro Phoenix real estate.

Is it good? – Yes

Is it bad? – Yes

Is it all over the map? – Yes

The market is definitely not for the faint of heart but when markets are in upheaval  there are opportunities for those who buy smart and have the right time horizon in their investment plan.

Below are a couple of recent news articles that you might find of interest, the comments on the ‘New Law’ article are interesting!

Have a great weekend!

Cheers,

Michael

Phoenix Existing Home Sales Increases 71 Percent
NuWire Investor – Bellevue,WA,USA
Phoenix real estate appears to be rebounding with a strong increase in existing home sales. Existing home sales have increased for 12 consecutive months now …

New law triggers fear for housing
Arizona Republic – Phoenix,AZ,USA
“I got a call from an out-of-state lender that is considering holding off on a foreclosure until after September 30,” said Phoenix real-estate attorney Marc ..

TopTenRealEstateDeals.com Introduces The Top 10 Phoenix Real
PR Web (press release) – Ferndale,WA,USA
According to Amy, “It’s old news that the Phoenix real estate market has been pretty hard hit over the last few years. This has created some incredible …

Real Estate is all about self education June 24, 2009

Posted by mkuhbock in Arizona Vacation Property, Uncategorized.
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Regardless of how many personal and professional advisors one has nothing replaces self education, especially when dealing with vacation or investment property purchases.

In past posts I have listed many real estate resources that one can put into their arsenal and frankly you can never have too many available. I recently came across a couple of others that seem to be a little slicker than previous real estate resource sites.

Zillow is of course one of the higher profiled comp sites and they do reflect pricing reality but you cannot bank on the values, it is a great start to your research. Trulia is another major real estate search portal.

A new site called Movoto has just entered into the Arizona market and seems a little more indepth than Zillow but time will tell, again another good research site.

Of course there is the old standby Realtor.com or Realtor.ca for Canada which are the official sites of the National Association of REALTORS® and is operated by Move, Inc. and the Canadian Real Estate Association respectively.

Do not confuse Realtor.com and Realtor.ca with mls.com which is an independently owned and operated Real Estate Advertising Service Company site.

Some other real estate sites I have stumbled across are:

http://www.cyberhomes.com/

http://www.foreclosuredeals.com/

Arizona Neighborhoods.com

Home Finder.com

These are only a few of hundreds of sites but at least it is a start in your education process.

Happy house hunting!

Cheers,

Michael

PS

Here is an interesting article outlining a new program for buyers:

New program yet to help buyers land homes
CNN International – USA
Connolly has been in the Phoenix real estate market for about nine years and has seen the disastrous real estate downturn up close. …

Has the residential real estate market bottomed out? June 16, 2009

Posted by mkuhbock in Arizona Vacation Property.
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Now that we are recession battle weary and it seems like forever since we have heard any good economic news many are contemplating the question – are we finally turning the corner? This is the million dollar question and if you don’t like the predictions from one analyst or economist then Google for another and you will have a prediction that is significantly different than the last one you just read.

In any case, one indisputable fact is that we are now hearing more cries from the gallery that we are approaching the bottom of this down real estate market, where even some stats are showing the one off market improving month over month.

See recent article:

ASU-RSI: Beginning of the End or Price Plunge

Published: June 15, 2009 in Knowledge@W.P. Carey

Sales data from March indicates that a trend change in housing prices might be underway in the beleaguered Phoenix metro market. click above title link for complete article

I think we are close to the bottom as the supply and demand curves are leveling out and price reductions in most areas have begun to stagnate. We will continue to see depressed prices for properties that have been run down and are in need of a complete rehab so one must compare apples to apples and focus once again on value versus solely on just price per square foot.

Yes I could buy a house down the street at $40 psf versus one four doors down that is listed at $60 psf but the one at $40 needs to be rebuilt inside where the $60 house just needs some minor updating, so if you compare the value the $40 psf house probably needs $40,000+ in rehab work and you still might find more issues down the road with a beat up property so is it really the deal you thought it was?

In many parts of Metro Phoenix and North America for that matter good properties that are priced at market are selling quickly at their asking price, this is a sign that we are bottoming out in some geographical markets and that if we dont move upwards we will perhaps bounce along the bottom for a while.

Here is an interesting article with a country wide geographical view of the market:

Buying and Selling 2009: What It’s Really Like
by Dana Dratch
Monday, June 1, 2009
provided byBankrate

For buyers and sellers, the past few months have been schizophrenic.

In 2009, sellers are battling shrinking home values and a constricting pool of available buyers. Buyers are sensing opportunities on home prices and home mortgages — if they have the credit, job security and ready cash to qualify. click above title link for complete article

The real estate free fall might just be over but what ever you do make sure that you educate yourself before jumping into the real estate pool. There are some great deals for the new homeowners, investors and those that might be looking to move back in after a real estate set back.

Good luck and happy house hunting!

Cheers,

Michael

Metro Phoenix Real Estate – Is the glass half full or half empty? March 31, 2009

Posted by mkuhbock in Arizona Vacation Property.
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Like most people I always hear about those that buy low and sell high but have rarely experience that phenomena myself. The Metro Phoenix real estate market holds a lot of promise for the average investor / homeowner to change their luck.

Metro Phoenix real estate has and is going through a tumultuous time, depending upon the survey, study or report, the Phoenix real estate market is horrible and continuing down the path to utter despair with no end in sight. See a recent Forbes report on the 10 Best and Worst US Housing Markets, we made it to number 2! Most would see the glass as half empty if not total dry, like being out in the Phoenix summer 115 degree heat. But it is a dry heat and as it happens every year in Phoenix the temperatures will moderate and with open arms welcome the shivering masses that are escaping the bitter cold from elsewhere in North America.  Thus I see this as the glass being half full.

Tell me where can you now purchase a principle residence, investment property or vacation home at these prices (2003 levels or lower) and live in an area where everyone wants to either visit to escape the cold and golf, retire to, move to because of the climate and lifestyle or beat the losing investment habit and buy low by getting in at the bottom and sell high in the future while enjoying a respite from the cold.

Thus is the Metro Phoenix real estate glass not securely half full? Add the global aging demographic and reports like the following Forbes report highlighting the top 10 cities where Americans are relocating, Phoenix is #4.

Last month in Phoenix I golfed with 5 different couples that were in Phoenix to get out of the cold and begin the journey of looking to relocate/retire in a more comfortable part of the world.

Thus saddle up to the Phoenix real estate bar and order a big, cool half full glass of opportunity! 🙂

Cheers,

Michael