Homeowner Help

FHFA's new program to help underwater homeowners

Today the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced a new program designed to help even more underwater homeowners refinance their mortgages at today's low rates. The plan hopefully will allow homeowners to lower their monthly mortgage payments, thus freeing up money to be spent in the broader economy and help the US from slipping back into recession again.

Previous programs had been restricted to homeowners who were no more than 125% upside-down on their homes. The new FHFA program places no cap on how much the borrower owes, or how far underwater they are.  Only mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be eligible. Need to know if your mortgage is owned or managed by Fannie/Freddie? Check here and then here. Then call us for a loan officer recommendation.

Helpful links -

Does Freddie Mac own your mortgage?

Does Fannie Mae own your mortgage?

Top 10 counter top options

Quick! What kind of counter top is this?

EcoTop counter, from apartment therapy DOT com-ny-kitchen-choosing-kitchen-countertops-pros-cons-147495

Most people probably guessed "granite".  Designers and foodies might have said "soapstone" because the counter in this picture is lacking granite's shiny gloss. At first glance, this counter could also be Caesarstone or Silastone, two popular faux granite surfaces. But these guesses are all wrong. What is it?

It’s EcoTop, a new player on the already-full stage of available kitchen counter top materials. EcoTop is a bamboo & paper composite, is available in a variety of colors, and comes with a 15-year warranty. Manufacturer KlipTech says

EcoTop is comprised of a 50/50 fiber blend of 100% post consumer recycled fiber and rapidly renewable bamboo fiber, then bound with a clear 100% water-based system. EcoTop® is a repairable/renewable surface with water absorption of less than 1%, making it impossible to permanently stain. This is a highly scratch resistant product that will withstand up to 360 degrees F.

Wondering which counter top material is best for you?  Here’s a starting point – a concise review of kitchen countertop options with pro’s and con’s for each.

Are you replacing your kitchen counter tops so you can sell your home? Aside from painting the home, replacing kitchen counter tops is one of the biggest bang for your buck remodeling jobs you can do to spruce up a home for re-sale. But, it's easy to go overboard and "over-improve" for your price range. For instance, a $60,000 home in a 40-year old neighborhood does not need 2-inch thick slab granite counters in the kitchen; it's overkill and you won't get your money back when you sell.

Feel free to contact us for advice on which type of counter top is likely to entice the most potential buyers in your price range and neighborhood. We've been helping buyers, sellers and investors in the metro Phoenix area for a combined 13 years and are always happy to offer advice based on what we see selling... and failing to sell.

Image credit,  ApartmentTherapy.

Make your own non-toxic bathtub cleanser

I found this recipe on Apartment Therapy (they credit Natural Home magazine with originally publishing the recipe). Seems to me you could go green AND save a bunch of money using this to clean your bathtub, instead of buying expensive commercial brands of cleansers.

Silky Bathtub Scrub

1 cup baking soda in a medium-sized mixing bowl
1/2 cup liquid castile soap
5-10 drops of antibacterial essential oil, such as lavender, tea tree or rosemary (optional)

Pour baking soda into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add liquid soap a little at a time, stirring continuously. Stop adding the soap after the mixture begins to resemble cake frosting.  Mix in drops of essential oil.  Store in an airtight jar for up to 1 year.

This sounds really interesting to me! I'm going to give it a go, this afternoon. Would you ever think about trying it? Do you have any money-saving or green tips for household cleaning tasks?

The New Normal: save money on laundry detergent

A while back I re-posted a money saving laundry tip from the blog HomeEc101. It mentions the many ways white vinegar can help you save money when you do your laundry at home. See the original money saving laundry tips there and over here too.  Then the super-awesome Sarah Cooper of CoopCrafts dropped by and mentioned that she makes her own laundry soap.


I was baffled, and intrigued. I googled around her site and found the CoopCrafts recipe for homemade laundry soap. I got more intrigued. I went shopping. I decided to give it a whirl.

[caption id="attachment_8858" align="alignleft" width="105" caption="retail box of 20 Mule Team Borax household cleaner"]retail box of 20 Mule Team Borax household cleaner[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_8857" align="alignleft" width="107" caption="retail box of Arm and Hammer "washing soda" laundry additive"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_8859" align="alignleft" width="109" caption="Retail bar of Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap"]Retail bar of Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_8860" align="alignleft" width="79" caption="retail box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda"]retail box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda[/caption]

First you grate the bar castile soap very finely (this is especially important for cold water washing).

I used the smaller of the 2 lemon zester options on my kitchen box grater.

[caption id="attachment_8861" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="box grater for kitchen use"]box grater for kitchen use[/caption]

Then I mixed the soap crumbles with 1 cup each of the Borax, Washing Soda,  and baking soda.

Et voila! Laundry detergent.

Estimated total cost for about 5 cups of detergent = maybe $2.00.  Use 1 tablespoon per laundry load, 2 for big loads or very hard water.

GoogleCalculator tells me that's 80 loads of laundry worth of detergent... for about $4! I stored it in my laundry room, in an old heavy-duty plastic bucket with lid.

retail package of Kirk's Original Coco Castile soap
retail package of Kirk's Original Coco Castile soap

Dr. Bronner's isn't the only castile soap out there. It does come in many scents, but it's a bit pricey at a little over $4 per bar. I found a cheaper version at my local supermarket where Kirk's Original Coco Castile soap is about $1.39 per bar.  I found all the ingredients I needed locally, at my regular supermarkets.

I also have begun adding about 1/3 cup of white vinegar to the rinse water and gave up my regular fabric softener. Holy laundry revelation, Batman! I can hardly even begin to describe the positive difference: Soft, fluffy towels. Super clean and clean-smelling laundry. No static cling. No more chemicals going down my drain into the public water supply. No more rendered animal fat on my clothes.**

Making my own laundry detergent and using white vinegar in the rinse water has been a revelation to me. I can't believe I spent a fortune for all those years on commercial laundry soaps.  Never again will I buy All, Cheer or any of the others.

You should try this at home. It's a ridiculously easy way to start if you're baffled by how to live a little greener and reduce your carbon footprint on the planet. Plus your laundry will come out cleaner with no static cling.

**you do know that fabric softener is largely made of rendered animal fat, don't you? that's a bunch of dead, boiled animals all over your clothes

disclaimer - I do not own sticky-stain-makers, otherwise known as children. Your mileage may vary. Parents, you might want to try this on your own laundry first and work your way up to the truly nasty piles of laundry-like filth kids can create.

How to appeal your Arizona property tax valuation notice

[caption id="attachment_8800" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Shocking Phoenix-area "Property Valuation Notice""][/caption]

Did you get your Maricopa County (Arizona) Property Valuation Notice in the mail yet? The Maricopa County Tax Assessor's office mailed their small, white postcards of love to 1.5 million property owners on February 25, 2011.  You should have received yours by now.

When you saw the assessed value of your home, did you shout out a string of really naughty words? Yeah, me too. Before you panic, here are several important things to remember about your Maricopa County Property Valuation Notice:

  1. The Full Cash Value (FCV) shown on the Assessor's postcard Notice is NOT what your property is worth on the open resale market;

  2. The Limited Property Value (LPV) is also NOT what your property is worth on the open resale market;

  3. You can file an appeal of the Valuation Notice, but afterwards your assessed Property Valuation could go up OR down; and finally,

  4. If you decide to appeal you must file the appeal by April 26, 2011.

The dollar value for your property shown by the Assessor probably dropped, a lot. You are not alone. Property values across the Maricopa County region are down 40% to 60% off their peak prices from 2006, with some older homes and outlying areas hit even harder.  Condos have been hit especially hard, with some condo conversions seeing 2011 sales prices that are 70% to 80% lower than their 2006 and 2007 peak resale prices.

More Information

More info on Number 1 & Number 2 above - The Property Valuation Notice value is used by the county Assessor to compute your property taxes. It is not a statement of what your property is "worth". Only a ready, willing and able buyer can help you determine what your property is worth. Although there's no guarantee, a lower value on the Assessor's form means that you might be paying less in taxes next year because of that little white postcard.

More info on Number 3 & Number 4 above - To file an appeal of your Maricopa County Property Valuation Notice, you fill out a fairly simple form from the Assessor's office on which you:

  • state what you think your property is worth,

  • include sales information on recently sold properties that you believe support your claim of value, and

  • submit your appeal by April 26, 2011.

The Maricopa County Assessor's website is fairly user-friendly and you can use it to find property sales close to and similar to your property.  Use the resale values of those properties to support what you think your property is worth.

Want Help?

Want a Realtor's help finding recent metro Phoenix property prices in your area for properties like yours? Contact me and I'm happy to help. Or do your own Detailed Property Search on The Phoenix Agents website (warning, search software is not for the timid... really, contact me and I'll help as much as I can).

For more information, you can read the County's cover letter that came with the Property Valuation Notice, or you can read the Assessor's complete explanation of the terms used on the Maricopa County Property Valuation Notice.

Clean your dryer lint trap


Did you know that the stuff they put in dryer sheets to make your clothes soft comes from…

...well forget about it. Trust me, you don’t want to know what it comes from. Suffice it to say that I found out what it comes from one day when I stumbled on a vegan lifestyle website.

But, did you know that your laundry fabric softener builds up on the dryer lint catcher? That decreases air flow and makes your clothes dryer work harder. You won't see the waxy film but it's there.

Pinch a few pennies and keep the planet a teensy bit greener by cleaning your dryer’s lint catcher every once in a while. Old Republic Home Warranty company recommends you do this every 6 months. Even Snopes.com says "clean your dryer lint trap."

Remove the lint catcher and wash it in hot, soapy water. Scrub it with an old toothbrush to remove the built-up fabric softener. Air dry and replace. (save this up for that random, dateless Friday night when you re-organize your sock drawer)

disclaimer: this blog does not  accept sponsored/paid product or service reviews. Blog authors received nothing of value in exchange for writing this post. But if anybody wants to offer to clean our clothes dryer lint catchers, we’re totally open for that. totally.

Related Posts - save money on your laundry/random uses for vinegar , ketchup the magic stain lifter , 2 cheap cleaners you MUST have in your kitchen

Quickie Around the House

Quickie Around the House an occasional series of helpful homeowner tips. The series name has changed over time but it’s always focused on making your life easier.

This Quickie is courtesy of Moxie Girl, a personal concierge-type service that you really should check out.
Frustrated when cleaning scorched food from your stainless steel cookware? Add a squirt of ketchup or tomato sauce to the still warm pan when you are done cooking and watch the burned food magically disappear!

Moxie Girl offers an alternative approach to home services by combining the duties of a house cleaner with the touches of a personal assistant. Moxie Girl provides you with more than just a clean house; We provide sanity in your home.

Moxie Girl offers these services and more:

  • home organizing

  • home cleaning

  • personal assistance, errand running and concierge services

  • home/pet sitting and vacation checkups

  • event hosting

  • new baby services

  • home maintenance

Friend Moxie Girl on Facebook, or visit the Moxie Girl website. You’ll be glad you found them!
Disclaimer: Moxie Girl did not provide any services, products or discounts to ThePhoenixAgents.com or its owners, Chris Butterworth and Heather Barr. This review is provided only because we know the folks who run Moxie Girl and we think their services are pretty darn cool.

You can see other entries in the Quickie Around the House series, here.

Save money on your phone bill

I stumbled on this money saving tip by accident this morning. Do you have a land line telephone in your home? I do. Never use it. It exists only to keep my TiVo happy and full of programming data.

I called the phone provider - who is also my internet provider - and asked them to drop the line. Almost immediately, the phone company offered me a 25% discount off the price of the phone portion of the bill, good for six months. In hindsight, I probably could have negotiated for a bigger discount.

So I guess if you're seeking savings wherever you can find it, you might benefit from a quick call  to your land line phone provider.

Short sales, loan modifications and checking accounts

Image ID 1260843 by StockExchange user sgback

image credit, user sgback at StockExchange

If you’re trying to complete a short sale or loan modification on your home, do not keep money in a checking or savings account with the bank that holds your mortgage.

Open accounts with another bank, savings and loan, credit union (or whatever) that is not related to your mortgage(s) and move your money there.

Of course, if you're doing a short sale or loan modification, you should hire an attorney or a CPA/accountant, or both. Don't take my advice as gospel. I'm a Realtor, not an attorney or CPA or accountant. Hire an expert who looks at your unique situation.

From Inman.com newswire service:

Banks routinely obtain a "right of offset" in agreements with depositors, which allows them to take money from one account to settle a debt in another account with the same bank.

. . .

[normally this doesn’t apply to mortgages and checking accounts but]  Rosemary Ybarra, lead foreclosure intervention counselor [with] Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix, said she was aware of instances in which banks have exercised their right of offset against delinquent mortgage borrowers. (emphasis mine, not Inman’s)

Although Ybarra could not say how common the practice is, when clients seeking loan modifications are unable to cure their loans, "we let them know that the servicers will exercise their right (of offset), and that if they have an account open with them, to liquidate it."

This seems like just common sense and street-smarts.  You wouldn’t take a loan from a loan shark and then tell him “I can’t pay you” while clutching a  wallet full of $100 bills. Would you?

What's left in your checking/savings account might be only a couple of hundred dollars, but you'll be really, really angry if your bank takes it and applies it to your mortgage balance.

The quote above is from an article posted August 23, 2010 on Inman.com which is a subscription news service for the real estate industry. Like a lot of news sites, Inman has a fee section and a free section. The article the quote comes from was free on August 23, 2010 and pay-for-viewing after that.

Design Ideas for Teenage Boys’ Rooms

Sometimes looking at pictures can be a spark for inspiration, and I thought these pictures were great!

I see a few common elements to most of these rooms:

  • Lots of Storage – shelves, cubbies, and closets
  • Going Vertical – efficiently getting the most out of the available space
  • Clean & Organized – sort of an oxymoron to have a teenage boy’s room be clean and organized, but it’s a great goal to shoot for!
  • Calming Colors with bold accents
  • Work Station for homework (or more likely for late-night video chatting and multi-player gaming…)

teen room 7 554x4271 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

25 room designs teen boys

teen room 17 554x36911 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

bedroom boys 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

teen room 4 554x42611 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

Cool Boys Bedroom Ideas by ZG Group 6 554x3001 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

boy room11 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys

19 cool boys bedroom ideas by zg group 554x30011 25 Room Designs for Teenage Boys


Hats off to www.Freshome.com for putting these together – they actually have 25 pictures posted, so click on over if you’d like to see more!

Your doesn’t have teenage boys quite yet Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Recommended blog and handyman

Psst...  I found a really outstanding blog and an excellent craftsman who does home remodeling projects in the Greater Phoenix area: The RemodGeek. I can't say enough good stuff about him, but his resume actually speaks for itself:
…spent years in construction, residential and commercial, and remodeling from foundation to punch list. I have been a Union  Carpenter, (both wood and steel stud), Remodeling Contractor, Crew Foreman, Superintendent, Project Manager, Cabinet Maker,  (both custom and production) Professional Drywaller, (from single family houses, and commercial drywall, including fire safety renovations, multi-hour drywall assemblies, elevator shafts, lead-lined radiation rooms, and fire rated partitions. If it can be covered in drywall, I have probably done it, multiple times.

I worked in the auto recycling (junkyards) and bodyshop business for 9 years. When I am not remodeling, I build websites, specialty computers, and networks for my internet clients.

Remodeling for Geeks masthead

That’s his blog masthead; it's him reflected in a shiny engine block. It's a good example of the creative level of photography the RemodGeek posts.  In the funny way of the Internet, RemodGeek and I haven’t met in person, yet. We've emailed, and his blog's in my feed reader.

No matter. The high level of quality craftsmanship he puts into his remodeling projects is crystal clear. If you need remodeling work done around the house, or just need advice on your next Do It Yourself project, check out his site.  <link : http://www.lemurzone.com/rfg/>

Note: Author was given nothing of value other than goodwill in consideration for writing & posting this piece. Whenever you're hiring people to do work on/in your home, do your homework: references, licenses, Better Business Bureau, Registrar of Contractors, etc. ThePhoenixAgents recommends vendors from time to time because we were impressed by them, not because we guarantee their work.

Save on your phone bill

Image ID 1241105 by StockExchange user gokoroko (photo credit StockExchange user gokoroko)

I stumbled on this money saving tip by accident this morning. Do you have a land line telephone in your home? I do. Never use it.

I called the phone provider - who is also my internet provider - and asked them to drop the line. Almost immediately, they offered me a 25% discount off the price of the phone portion of the bill, good for six months. I dropped my phone line altogether, but in hindsight, I probably could have negotiated for a bigger discount.

So I guess if you're seeking savings wherever you can find it (these days, who isn't), you might benefit from a quick call  to your land line phone provider.

The two main providers of land line phone numbers in the Greater Phoenix are are Cox (623-594-1000) and Qwest. (1-800-491-0118). Note that if you have a bundled service discount, you'll want to check what happens to that discount if you drop part of the service bundle.

Are CFL bulbs dangerous?

CFL bulb from ipaa dot org slash Blog slash question mark p=301

(image courtesy of http://www.ipaa.org/Blog/?p=301)

There’s a lot of kerfluffle around the Interwebs lately about the supposedly dangerous levels of mercury released if you break a CFL light bulb.

I believe the most widely spread story crazy Internet rumor is about a woman in Maine who broke a CFL bulb in a bedroom, was quoted $2,000 for cleanup, and a month later that bedroom is still closed off with tape and plastic.

I did a little research, being the sort of library-law nerd that I am. Before I spring my findings on you, a question: how many times in your life have you broken a light bulb?** Me? Never. Not one broken light bulb in 22 years of living on my own. How about you?

On with the myth busting: The story above about the woman in Maine is only sort of true and blown way out of proportion.

The Maine resident did break a CFL bulb in her bedroom. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection says they told the woman that one option was to hire a HazMat team (at great expense, no doubt). How about that room being taped off for a month after the breakage? The homeowner did that herself.

Read the full report on Snopes.com <here>, which also includes links to the federal Department of Environmental Protection’s guidelines on handling broken CFL bulbs. In addition . . .

**If you’re old like me, you might remember when most thermometers contained mercury too. My Mom broke one once. We scooped up the mercury blobs on a piece of cardboard paper, put them inside a plastic bag, wrapped the bag in paper towels and tossed it in the trash. It was kind of fun to see the little blobs rolling around the linoleum. I actually touched one. And I’m not <very> crazy. Yet.

True, you shouldn’t lie down and roll around in the stuff, but you don’t need to panic and succumb to crazy internet rumors either.

24 Rooms in a 300 sqft condo

Think your house is too small?  Need an extra bedroom, home office, or garage bay?  We’ve written several times over the years about making the most of the space you have, but nothing compares with this…

Architect Gary Chang lives in Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated cities on Earth.  But that didn’t stop him from designing an uber chic pad to call home.

(4 minute video)

Wow – now I feel really bad complaining about my place…

Thanks to www.freshome.com for sharing this amazing video.

Your wonders what Gary Chang could do with an average sized home in Phoenix Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

HOA tries to collect fees after man loses home

The Arizona Republic ran a hot-button story today with a zinger of a headline: HOA still seeking fees despite man losing Chandler home.
A former Chandler resident is learning the hard way that you can't walk away from homeowners' association assessments even if you've lost your home.

In my opinion the paper does a lousy job of making the key point: a bankruptcy does away with a homeowner’s mortgage debt, but it does not strip that homeowner of the ownership of the property.

What does this have to do with HOAs?

Lately banks are sometimes just really slow to file foreclosure actions after a bankruptcy is finalized, leaving homeowners and HOAs in confusion about who owes what to whom.

HOA dues that were accumulated before the bankruptcy action are wiped out by it. But HOA dues that accumulate between the bankruptcy action and the foreclosure auction sale are still the homeowner's responsibility.

Imagine a typical HOA. They have a community park or a Tot Lot, community mailboxes, maybe a pool or rec center. They collect dues from the homeowners to maintain these public spaces. See all those little green dollar signs? Those are homeowners paying their monthly HOA dues.

Tinyville HOA paid up

It all goes along really well, unless…

Tinyville HOA missing money

… a homeowner stops paying their HOA dues.

The Tinyville HOA is now collecting a fraction less money each month. But they don’t get to stop maintaining a portion of the mailbox area, or a corner of the community park, or one lane in the community lap pool. In this way, HOAs are not unlike families: less income, same amount of bills.

Often the HOA board makes the decision to hire an attorney to file judgments against homeowners who have a lot of unpaid dues.

It’s hard to blame homeowners who stop paying their HOA dues: times are tight, jobs are scarce, money is in short supply. And truthfully the HOA has less leverage over homeowners who don’t pay than mortgage companies do. The mortgage company can take away your house. The HOA can only file a judgment against you, and possibly win garnishment of your future wages or something like that.

But it's also hard to blame the HOAs who now have produce the same results with (sometimes dramatically) less income.

If you’re facing foreclosure and your HOA is heckling you for back-owed dues, it’s pretty likely this will be unpleasant and maybe even feel like someone’s rubbing salt in your wounds.

But the reality is that homeowners should be prepared to continue paying their HOA dues until the foreclosure auction sale happens, or be prepared to face the possibility of an HOA lawsuit to get the dues back.

Unpleasant? Yes.
Fair? Debatable.
True? Absolutely.

Changes to lead paint rules

Updated April 23  - Fantastic website launched by the EPA, HUD, the Ad Council and the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning. Get the facts about lead paint, prevention tips, and guidelines for Do It Yourself home renovations involving the potential to disturb lead paint. (LeadFreeKids.org)

As of April 22, 2010 federal laws regarding safe handling of lead based paint are changing. They’re becoming much more restrictive.

Though aimed mostly at contractors, who must now be EPA certified in safe lead based paint handling law, homeowners should take note. If you’ve ever done a renovation project you know that paint & plaster dust is everywhere! Even a simple project like hanging a new bookshelf can disturb quite a lot of plaster & paint dust.

Dust? I thought the problem was paint chips. . .

Federal law is changing because we’ve become increasingly aware that it’s not just  a matter of “don’t let your kids eat paint chips”. Rather, it’s the dust that renovations cause that is truly dangerous. "Even though lead-based paint was banned for use in the home in 1978, HUD estimates that approximately 24 million homes still have significant lead-based paint hazards today."  (quote source). Further, some statistics taken in Maine showed that 60% of lead paint poisoning incidents were caused by renovation activities (Nat'l Assn of Realtors, via video link below).

Lead Based Paint chart shows older homes at more risk

The simple fact of the matter is that the older your home, the more likely it is to contain lead-based paint.

Check out the EPA’s homeowner’s guide to lead-based paint. Also, check the EPA’s online document designed to educate contractors on how to comply with the new rule. Frankly between you and me, it’s not a great document. However, the National Association of Realtors produced a series of nifty videos about the rule change. It’s aimed at Realtors but still way easier to digest than the EPA’s government-produced document aimed at contractors. Go figure.

Your rethinking my devotion to historic homes Realtor,

Heather Barr

What’s in your electrical box?

fix and flipper fix the double tap

You might find it interesting to have a look at your electrical fuse box. A fairly frequent home inspection finding we’ve noticed lately is the ‘double tap’ inside the fuse box.

If you click on that picture above, you’ll see that one fuse has two wires attached.

I’m no electrician and I don’t even play one on TV, so I can’t explain it better than that. Maybe this seems like a minor problem but messing up electricity is never a good idea.

How do you correct the double tap? I’ve seen it done. It took about 15 minutes and the part cost under $5. We have a couple of good electricians and handymenpeople. Call/email/text us for names of some folks who can help you out with this minor problem.

Do you have a 2nd mortgage with JP Morgan Chase?

Just the day before yesterday, JP Morgan Chase announced it would participate in the second-lien program of the federal government's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). This second-lien program is widely known as "2MP".

Under 2MP, homeowners may see the interest rate on their second lien reduced to as low as 1% for five years. The program also provides a financial incentive to borrowers, servicers and investors if the modification is successful.

What does this means to you?

If you have a second mortgage and it's with JP Morgan Chase, you can approach them about modifying your second mortgage to make it more affordable and stay in your home, instead of becoming just one more foreclosure statistic. I believe homeowners must first apply for assistance with their first mortgage, through the federal government's HAMP program.

Suggestions for next steps

Click here to read all our articles in the Mortgage category.

When Good Sprinklers Go Bad

broken sprinkler

broken sprinkler

broken sprinkler

Homeowners new the metro Phoenix area might not realize the importance of checking your sprinkler heads once in a while. They easily get clogged with dirt, debris, whatever and can result in this.

It’s an oddity of the Arizona lifestyle that your neighbors are often not people you talk to frequently. People come home, pull in the garage, shut the door and go inside. Life in metro Phoenix is largely lived in our backyards, not the fronts. Your neighbors may not even know this is happening at your place.

So once in a while on a weekend or whenever you have time, run the irrigation/sprinkler/bubbler system through a full cycle and see whether you’re giving your lawn a nice misting or a flood.

Paint Your Pool Electric Blue

Doesn’t this pool look a little TOO blue to you?

Paint your Pool Electric Blue

I just recently found out there’s such a thing as blue paint for plaster pools. It turns the pool into a shockingly bright baby blue.

In defense of this pool owner, I don’t know for a fact they painted it. It just caught my eye in the MLS because it's the same shade of shocking blue Chris and I have seen lately in a few fix and flips in the under $150,000 price point.

Honestly, we walked around and around said pools, puzzling over why they were so blue. We figured it was one more thing to verify during the Due Diligence Period, until one of us found used paint cans stacked in the backyard. Sure enough, they were labeled for use on pools and had dried paint drips in the same shocking blue hue running down the sides of the cans.

Blue pool paint. Who’d a thunk it?

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