Best Golf in Phoenix West Valley

When Golfers think of Arizona Golf what comes to mind is Scottsdale.  While Scottsdale offers some of the best world class golf in the nation, the West Valley has some great golf to offer as well.

Estrella Golf Club


Designer: Jack Nicklaus II  / 5,124 to 7,139 yards

The Golden Bear’s son had a chance to show his stuff at Golf Club of Estrella, and what he delivered is a challenging layout with a fascinating finishing stretch. The ‘Danger — Rattlesnake Habitat’ signs are a good reminder that you’re smack-dab in the middle of the desert.

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Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau videos

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, well these videos are worth a million! These are produced through the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau (ScottsdaleCVB). Check out their YouTube Channel. They have a great video showing the new Salt River Fields, the new spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies.

This is why we live in Scottsdale Arizona! You’ll love it too! If you’d like more information on Scottsdale or golf communities throughout the Phoenix Valley please call me direct at: 480-421-8116; email:

True Sportsmanship

I heard this story on talk radio this afternoon while driving and I could barely see through my tears. I had the pleasure of coaching little league for a few years and it was one of the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. To watch the “light go on” in a young boy’s eyes when he “gets it” or the learning of sportsmanship is the best!
I believe that our society would be much more understanding and tolerant if our children played organized sports.

Here’s the back story; Ike has Down syndrome and is been a member of the Snohomish High School. At the end of each practice they run the “Ike Special”.

On Friday night, with Snohomish behind 35-0, quoting Everett writer Mike Cane, With 10 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, Snohomish football coach Mark Perry called timeout and put Ike in the game to run his trademark play, the Ike Special. Perry, speaking today in a phone interview, said he told Lake Stevens defenders — who by that time in the one-sided game were mostly little-used sophomores and juniors — that they didn’t need to let Ike run for a TD but could maybe let him run 5 or 10 yards before tackling him.

Instead, the Lake Stevens players helped give little Ike (5-foot-6, 160 pounds) the thrill of a lifetime.

I don’t know how you can watch this without tearing up. Look at the faces on the teams, coaches and referees.

“They gave him the gift of normalcy,” Ike’s mom said today, referring to the Lake Stevens players’ generosity and sportsmanship.

After scoring the TD, Ike raced to the sideline, ripped his helmet off his head, pumped the helmet in the air and yelled like a banshee, said his mom, who was in the stands, crying tears of joy along with many other fans from both teams.

“He’s not the shy little boy with Down’s anymore. He’s one of the guys now,” said Kay Ditzenberger.

Thank you to Mike Cane writer at Everett Hearld, Tony Soper’s video and the call courtesy of KRKO 1380 radio

Scottsdale Arizona Short Sale: Case History – When is a short sale not a short sale?

I recently had one of my clients send me a “new” listing. There were no pictures posted yet and she said it sounded great. Upon a little history searching I found that this was a perfect example of what I have cautioned many of my clients regarding the pitfalls of SOME Scottsdale Arizona Short Sales.

Here is my email response to my client:

“This is a great “case study” for you. This is a perfect example of a Scottsdale Arizona short sale that was price well below the market and would never get lender approval. Below is this listing when it went on the market September 9th 2009. Here’s the listing agent remarks 5 days later; **9/14 – Currently have 12 offers meeting w/ sellers tonight** Please call listing agent to schedule showing. Need 2 hour notice. This is a short sale requiring bank approval. All Scottsdale Arizona short sale negotiations to be handled by law firm. Home being sold in As Is condition. All offers to be presented to sellers’ on Monday 9/14 at 6pm.**

The home “fell out” August 17th 2010, foreclosed because the seller and listing agent could not get lender approval. Most likely would have never received lender approval because of the investor requirements or the Seller was not in a true “hardship”.

In the meantime, the potential “winning” buyer wasted 11 months of their time, missing countless other great homes.

I have often said that many of these are simply not purchasable. This is a perfect example. There are so many great homes to go buy and occupy and enjoy, that this makes no sense to me. This is what we’ve been talking about for the last few years. That’s my thoughts.”  Bill

Now, not all Scottdale Arizona short sales are this time consuming and most DO close but that’s my job as your Realtor. As a CDPE, I have a list of “interview” questions for the listing agents when representing my purchasing clients. I attempt to “pre-qualify” the short sale BEFORE wasting your time to view a property.

Bottom line: Protect yourself, your assets and your time. Hire a CDPE and a Scottsdale Arizona short sale specialist to represent you! Questions? Call me anytime. Bill Cole, Re/Max Excalibur. 480-421-8116

Mortgage Melt Down: Comparison of US & Canadian Housing markets.

I subscribe to which is a daily bulletin in the Mortgage Default servicing industry. Great articles and insights on the Mortgage business. Carrie Bay wrote the report: “How Did Canada’s Housing Market Dodge the Bullet?”

I thought I would pass along the information from both Carrie and the originator David Min from Center for American Progress, a policy-driven think tank based in Washington, D.C. Min’s white paper titled “True North, The Facts about the Canadian Mortgage Banking System” is asking the question how the Canadian mortgage business escape the melt down and crisis we suffered here in the USA. Read the full report here.

The assertion in the report is; the answer, quite simply, lies in the sudden rise and expansion of an unregulated private securitization market here in the states. Min, says, “The answer, quite simply, is that Canada did not become enthralled with the laissez faire ideology that dominated U.S. economic policy making in the 2000s, and thus did not allow major gaps in its regulation of housing finance to develop.” He says from 2003 to 2007, the United States experienced a sudden surge in the unregulated securitization of new, exotic mortgage products such as adjustable rate mortgages that reset after two years, with such features as “teaser rates” and “stated income,” no documentation underwriting. The report goes on to state; “In America, this was primarily through the explicit government guarantees on mortgage-backed securities provided by Ginnie Mae or on the implicit government guarantee on the liabilities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In Canada, this was largely through guarantees on insured mortgages as well as significant levels of government-backed securitization. But from 2003-07, the United States experienced a sudden surge in the unregulated securitization of new, exotic mortgage products such as “2/28 ARMs,” adjustable rate mortgages that reset after two years, with such features as “teaser rates” (a low introductory interest rate to attract borrowers) and “stated income” underwriting (where no documentation was required to show a borrower’s income or assets). These exotic mortgages, which were often originated by unregulated nonbank lenders, were purchased by private-securitization conduits—typically sponsored by large financial institutions such as Merrill Lynch or Citigroup—and then packaged and sold as so called “private label” mortgage-backed securities.This mortgage financing channel grew tremendously, and in lockstep with the housing bubble, rising from roughly 10 percent of the U.S. mortgage market in 2003 to almost 40 percent in 2006.”

Min and the report continues with both background and detail but in conclusion he states “If you believe the critics of the U.S. mortgage finance model, then Canada should have been a poster child for a mortgage crisis. Canada’s mortgage market is supported by the government to a degree even greater than that of the United States (prior to the credit crisis), and is rife with the “market distortions” and “moral hazard” that many critics of the U.S. system blame for the U.S. bubble. Canada relies heavily on CMHC, a government-backed institution, to provide a significant proportion of its housing finance needs. Canada actively promotes policies meant to promote the availability of affordable housing and affordable mortgage finance among low-income and minority communities, both among CMHC and private lenders. And CMHC engaged in significant levels of government-backed securitization, the core business of the U.S. government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Given all of these factors, Canada’s mortgage markets should have experienced the same mortgage crisis that the United States did, according to these critics. Instead, Canada has been relatively calm throughout the global credit bubble and ensuing bust.

According to Min, “The key lesson Canada appears to teach us is that regulated, government-supported mortgage finance leads to greater sustainability and stability than its unregulated, purely private counterpart.”

Questions? Call me anytime. Bill Cole, Re/Max Excalibur. 480-421-8116

Arizona to Receive a Lions Share of New Neighborhood Stabilization Program Dollars

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced today that an additional 1 billion in grants awarded to States, counties and cities across the country. Almost half of funds go to the four hardest hit states of Arizona, Nevada, California and Florida.
We here in Arizona will receive approx. 45.4 million in funds to help cities and counties to acquire land and property, demolish or rehabilitate abandoned properties, and provide downpayment and closing cost assistance to low- to moderate-income homebuyers.

Quoting from today’s press release from HUD;

“The funding announced today is provided under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. To date, there have been two other rounds of NSP funding: the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA) provided $3.92 billion and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) appropriated an additional $2 billion.

State and local governments can use their neighborhood stabilization grants to acquire land and property; to demolish or rehabilitate abandoned properties; and/or to offer downpayment and closing cost assistance to low- to moderate-income homebuyers (household incomes not exceed 120 percent of area median income). In addition, these grantees can create “land banks” to assemble, temporarily manage, and dispose of vacant land for the purpose of stabilizing neighborhoods and encouraging re-use or redevelopment of urban property. HUD will issue an NSP3 guidance notice in the next few weeks to assist grantees in designing their programs and applying for funds.

In addition to a third round of NSP funding, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act creates a $1 billion Emergency Homeowners Loan Program to be administered by HUD. This loan program will provide up to 24 months in mortgage assistance to homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure and have experienced a substantial reduction in income due to involuntary unemployment, underemployment, or a medical condition. HUD will announce additional details, including the targeted areas and other program specifics when the program is officially launched in the coming weeks. For the complete press release please click here for the HUD website.

Here’s the breakdown for the State of Arizona.

Avondale City             $1,224,903
State Of Arizona          $5,000,000
Chandler                  $1,332,011
Glendale                  $3,718,377
Maricopa County           $4,257,346
Mesa                      $4,019,457
Mohave County             $1,990,744
Peoria City               $1,198,780
Phoenix                   $16,053,525
Pinal County              $3,168,315
Surprise City             $1,329,844
Tucson                    $2,083,771
Arizona Total             $45,377,073

For the complete Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP3) Funding Allocation Table click here.

Hopefully, this continues to help clean up the inventory of foreclosed homes, abandoned homes and help low income wage earners become homeowners. That’s a good thing!

Questions? Call me anytime. Bill Cole, Re/Max Excalibur. 480-421-8116

What is and what is not a “short sale”…..that is the question!

What is a Short Sale?

Well, you’ve asked the right person! My quick answer is…well, that depends! It depends on both the seller and the listing agent. I have my CDPE designation (Certified Distressed Property Expert), which means we attend rigorous and extended courses on what is and is not a short sale. Our job representing buyers that want to “play” in the short sale arena is two fold; 1) we must educate our clients to the pitfalls of a short sale and 2) tell them to put on their patience hats!

For our sellers we recommend you speak with your tax consultant and an attorney to fully understand the impact on your particular situation. Sellers should download the Arizona Dept. of Real Estate’s Short Sale Seller’s advisory by clicking here.

In 2007-2009 lenders and their investors were not prepared (or reluctant to recognize) for the volume of defaults. The banks also believed that could make more on a home by foreclosing rather than discounting their note. Over time it has been shown to the bank that on average, they net $35,000-$40,000 more per home through the short sale.

In the beginning, it was a very complicated, uncoordinated and timely process. It was not unheard of that it could take more than 9 months to a year or more to get a home to close. By 2010 the short sale system for most lenders has become streamlined and the staffing has changed from a foreclosure dept to focus on short sales.

My longest short sale transaction in 2009 was 7 months. I have just had two of my short sales (2010) approved that were entered into in May. One has closed in less than 90 days! Now that said, part of my qualification as a CDPE is to “interview” the listing agent with regard to their expertise and the true hardship of the seller. Many short sales will never close because the agent does not know how to prepare the package to be sent to the Investor (bank) or the Seller is not in a true hardship and just a victim of the market but has other assets. The bank will never approve that short sale and you can waste a lot of time waiting only to be denied.

The other issue on most short sales is that there is often two or more additional loans taken out and secured by the property. These investors are often asked to take $3,000 on a $50,000 note. As you can guess they are not quick to cooperate. Each property and each short sale needs to be understood, interviewed and have a very patient buyer through a frustrating process.

Now, aren’t you glad you asked! Sorry for the long answer. Please read below.

Below is the technical definition directly from our CDPE website.

What is a Short Sale?

A short sale can be an excellent solution for homeowners who need to sell, and who owe more on their homes than they are worth. In the past, it was rare for a bank or lender to accept a short sale. Today, however, due to overwhelming market changes, banks and lenders have become much more negotiable when it comes to these transactions. Recent changes in corporate policy and the Obama administration have also improved the chances of getting a short sale approved.

But to be technical, here’s a more official definition:

  • A homeowner is ‘short’ when the amount owed on his/her property is higher than current market value.
  • A short sale occurs when a negotiation is entered into with the homeowner’s mortgage company (or companies) to accept less than the full balance of the loan at closing. A buyer closes on the property, and the property is then ‘sold short’ of the total value of the mortgage.

For homeowners to qualify for a short sale, they must fall into all of the following circumstances:

  • Financial Hardship – There is a situation causing you to have trouble affording your mortgage.
  • Monthly Income Shortfall – In other words: “You have more month than money.” A lender will want to see that you cannot afford, or soon will not be able to afford your mortgage.
  • Insolvency – The lender will want to see that you do not have significant liquid assets that would allow you to pay down your mortgage.

This seems simple enough, but it is a complicated process that takes the expertise of experienced professionals. Together, you can identify all possible options and, when possible, a CDPE can assist you in the quick execution of a short sale transaction.

Questions? Call me anytime. Bill Cole, Re/Max Excalibur. 480-421-8116

“I wonder what they’re asking for that home?”

Ever seen a new sign pop up in your neighborhood or been driving in a new area and said “What do you think they want for that?”. Or perhaps you feel like you “don’t want to bother your Realtor” (honestly, it’s NO bother!). We love hearing “I’ve just found the house!”. Paaaleeezzzz….

Well, I have a great tool offered exclusively through Re/Max Excalibur. It’s called VoicePad.

VoicePad allows you to enter the house number while you sit in front of the home from your cell phone (or later at your home or office) and actually get the price of the home!

Have you ever called on the sign phone number and get the agent voicemail or worse yet the office receptionist that “can’t give you the price” so “let me take your information and have the listing agent call you right back”. “Right back” might be the next day or the next week and you can’t remember what house or where you were!

Not only will you get the price, but you will get all of the highlight information on the home like; beds, baths, and size, but you can set the system to send you an email notice on every home you call on! It’s a very cool system. I believe knowledge is power and armed with the information we can make educated decisions.

Contact me anytime for more information on this service or click here to get started today! Get out there and seize the power!

Questions? Call me anytime. Bill Cole, Re/Max Excalibur. 480-421-8116