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3 Essential Back-to-School Tips for Arizona Kids

by The Russo Team

3 Essential Back-to-School Tips for Arizona Kids

The days of chanting, “No more teachers, no more books,” are quickly coming to an end as our Arizona students inch closer and closer to a new school year. As the new school year begins there are a few things we can do as parents and caregivers to ensure kids have a smooth start and a great experience. Here are 3 essential back-to-school tips for Arizona kids.

Ease back into school routine
Summertime in Arizona is a time to relax and enjoy the pool.  So in order to begin the new school year ready to learn, parents should help their kids get back into regular bedtime and wake-up routines. Starting this one to two weeks before school can help make the transition of returning back to school easier for students.

Turn off the TV.

Did you find the TV on more than usual this summer? That’s not unusual this time of year. But now’s a great time to start encouraging your child to play quiet games, do puzzles, flash cards, color, or read as early morning activities instead of watching television. This will help ease your child back into the learning process and school routine. Cutting back on TV can help your child arrive at school better prepared to learn each morning.

Connect with friends.
Got a child that’s nervous about returning to school? Reach out and make some connections so they’ll have a friendly face to accompany them on their first day back to school. You might try calling parents from last year’s class and finding out which children are in your child’s class this year. Refresh these relationships before school starts by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.

The streets will be lined with school busses and your child will be racing off to school before you know it. So start implementing these 3 essential back- to- school tips for Arizona kids and help them start their school year off bright! – Frank

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3 Little White Lies that Can Hurt Your Home Buying Chances

by The Russo Team

3 Little White Lies that Can Hurt Your Home Buying Chances

At some point in our lives, we’ve probably had to tell a little white lie. (That haircut looks great on you, by the way!) And while most of us feel a little fib here and there won’t hurt anything, when it comes to buying a home, honesty is always the best policy. And because obtaining home financing and an affordable mortgage can be a tough process for homebuyers, it’s understandable that some would chose to stretch the truth to work in their favor. What’s a little white lie going to hurt? Turns out, those small untruths can come back to hurt you and backfire in a major way in your home buying process. Here are 3 little white lies that can hurt your home buying chances.

White Life #1: Primary Residence

Who will occupy the house is the most common white lie when it comes to home buying. A home buyer may tell a lender they are purchasing the home as a primary residence but are in fact planning to rent it out as an investment property. Buyers do this to obtain a lower interest rate and lower down payment as lenders charge a higher interest rates and down payments on investment properties as opposed to primary residences. Lenders consider this stealing money from them by making them take on more risk than they agreed to and if caught, you could lose your home financing.

White Lie #2: Your Income

Obviously how much income you make has a huge impact on qualifying for a home loan. But being dishonest about the amount of money you make can hurt you more than you think. Your lender is going to verify all of the financial information you provide on your application, so if your tax returns, bank statements, W-2 forms, and supporting documents don’t support your income claims, you likely won’t get the loan. It’s best to just be honest and not doctor your statements or fudge the numbers to obtain financing.

White Lie #3: Hiding Your Debt

One of the most important factors to getting approved for a home mortgage is your debt-to-income ratio, which is how much of your income you have to pay out each month to cover all your debts. So some borrowers will fib and hide certain debts on their mortgage application to try to make it look like they owe less than they do. The reason this could blow up in your face is that established creditors report your debt and payment history to the credit reporting agencies which are pulled by your lender. So they will definitely find discrepancies on what you owe versus what you say you owe. Also, when you sign off on a mortgage, one of the things you sign is a statement that the information you’ve provided is accurate to the best of your knowledge. So if the information on your application is not accurate, then that’s mortgage fraud. Penalties for mortgage fraud range as high as thirty years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Little white lies have no place in the home buying process, because altering the facts in any way that affects your cost or ability to get a home loan is likely to hurt your home buying chances. Believe it or not, even the busiest of lenders stringently verify your application information so small untruths have a way of resurfacing. Need help with the home buying process? Contact the Russo Team today and we’ll help you find the right home. And that’s no lie! - Frank

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June National Housing Report shows Sales Rising with the Temperature

The heat isn’t the only thing rising in Arizona this summer. According to RE/MAX, the June National Housing report shows sales rising with the temperature during the hot summer month. Home sales in May were greater than in any other May since the RE/MAX National Housing Report began in 2008. This spring has now experienced a four-month trend in which sales were higher than both the previous month and the same month in the previous year.

Completed transactions in May were 8.9 percent higher than in April and 3.5 percent higher than in May 2014. The Median Sales Price of a home sold in May was $212,910, which was 7.8 percent above the price seen in May 2014. The inventory of homes for sale also continued a positive trend, with a 0.4 percent increase from April’s inventory. With a growing rate of home sales, the resulting Months Supply of Inventory in May was 3.6 on a scale where 6.0 months indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers.

“Many positive factors are contributing to a strong housing market this year. Job growth and wages are slowly improving, while rents are increasing rapidly and mortgages are becoming much more accessible. When these factors are coupled with continuing low interest rates, the result is a growing number of consumers with the confidence to buy or sell a home.”

Dave Liniger, RE/MAX, LLC CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder

 

Click here to download your copy of the June 2015 RE/MAX National Housing Report.

Looking to buy an Arizona home this summer? Contact the Russo Team today and receive a complimentary analysis of your home’s approximate present value on the market today. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is always our number one priority. -Frank

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Russo Team Newsletter July 2015

by The Russo Team

Russo Team Newsletter July 2015

http://www.russoteam.com/agent_files/Russo Team Newsletter July 2015.pdf

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29th Annual Freedom Wireless Fabulous Phoenix Fourth Celebration

by The Russo Team

29th Annual Freedom Wireless Fabulous Phoenix Fourth Celebration 

What better way to celebrate the 4th of July than with the 29th Annual Freedom Wireless Fabulous Phoenix Fourth Celebration. The Fabulous Phoenix Fourth takes place this Saturday, July 4th from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Steele Indian School Park located at 300 East Indian School Road Phoenix, AZ.

This annual Arizona Independence Day event features two stages of live local entertainment, inflatable rides and activities for purchase in the Kids Zone, a classic car exhibit, a "Splash Zone" area where participants can cool off, and a patriotic program. The fantastic fireworks display begins at 9:30 p.m. Guests also can purchase food from more than fifty food and beverage vendors, and enjoy free community information booths and displays. This fun event is free and open to the public. Visit www.phoenix.gov for additional event details.

For additional local community events in the Signs of downtown Phoenix area please contact the Russo Team.  Have a safe and Happy 4th of July! - Frank

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3 Tips to Refinance Your Home

by The Russo Team

3 Tips to Refinance Your Home

Thinking about refinancing your home this summer but not sure if the timing is right or how to go about it? You’re in luck because now is a great time to refinance! Interest rates are still at historic lows despite an increase over the last few weeks. In fact, the average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.87 percent in the last week, and the average rate for a 15-year mortgage was 3.11 percent, according to the Freddie Mac weekly mortgage rate survey. So if you're currently paying an interest rate of more than five percent, now may be the best time to refinance your mortgage. Here are 3 tips to refinance your home.

1.) Calculate your savings: Before you refinance your home mortgage, you have to determine whether or not it will save you money. It’s best to calculate whether a new home loan will save you money based on the time left to pay off your old loan and whether or not you’ll have lower more manageable monthly payments.

2.) Perfect your credit: Your credit score plays a huge part in determining what rate you get on your new loan. Before you even apply for refinancing, get a free copy of your credit report and confirm there are no errors that could prevent you from getting the lowest rate possible. Any discrepancies should be addressed as soon as possible before applying and be sure they’ve been cleared up before moving forward. 

3.) Be prepared: Refinancing your mortgage requires a of paperwork. Not as much as what you needed to originally qualify for your home, but quite a bit more than you’d expect. So be prepared. Gather your essential documents such as proof of income, tax returns, bank statements and more and keep them all organized together or scanned in a safe online folder. Missing documents will only slow down the refinancing process so the more organized you are the better.  

Have questions about refinancing your home or looking to sell your Arizona home? Call the Russo Team today for a complimentary assessment of your home’s current value. Our expectation is to make the real estate experience the best it can be for you! – Frank

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*This communication is provided to you for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon by you. RE/MAX Professionals is not a mortgage lender and so you should contact a mortgage company directly to learn more about its mortgage products and your eligibility for such products.

National Housing Report Shows Soaring Sales for Summer

by The Russo Team

National Housing Report Shows Soaring Sales for Summer

The temperature isn’t the only thing rising in the Valley of the Sun. The most recent RE/MAX National Housing report is showing soaring sales for summer that will hopefully carry over throughout the season. Home sales in April were greater than in any other April since the RE/MAX National Housing Report began in 2008. This continued a three-month trend in which sales were higher than both the previous month and the same month in the previous year.

The Median Sales Price of a home sold in April was $203,500, which was 7.1 percent above the price in April 2014. The inventory of homes for sale appears to be starting an upward trend, with a 2.3 percent increase from the inventory in March. With a growing rate of home sales, the resulting Months Supply of inventory in April was 3.6 on a scale where 6.0 months indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. The average month-over-month increase for the first four months of 2015 has been 4.0 percent. February, March and April 2015 have all recorded the highest number of sales in these months.

“The spring selling season has gotten off to a very strong start. We saw a significant jump in sales in March, and now April has pushed even higher. With an improving economy and continuing low interest rates, potential buyers are motivated to enter the market. These conditions, along with rising prices are also encouraging sellers.”

Dave Liniger, RE/MAX, LLC CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder

 

Among the 53 metro areas surveyed, 50 reported higher sales prices than one year ago, with 15 rising by double-digit percentages. Click here to download your copy of the April 2015 RE/MAX National Housing Report.

If you’re looking to sell your Arizona home or to purchase an Arizona home this year, please contact the Russo Team today and receive a complimentary analysis of your home’s approximate present value on the market today. Your complete satisfaction with our service and representation is always our number one priority. -Frank

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5 Arizona Pool Safety Tips for the Summer

by The Russo Team

5 Arizona Pool Safety Tips for the Summer

Summer is here and with the rising temperatures comes ice cold drinks and lounging by the pool. Arizona is called the Valley of the Sun for a reason and more often than not, people of all ages choose the pool as the perfect way to enjoy Arizona summers. However with an uptick of pool use comes an uptick in accidental drownings. In fact, on average, nearly ninety people die from drowning in Arizona each year with the majority of those deaths happening between April and August.

Children make up twenty percent of the number of total drowning deaths in Arizona according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. And sadly, news reports valley wide usually center on children who have drowned in their family's or a friend's backyard swimming pool. About seventy-five percent of those drownings were being supervised around water by at least one adult and were out of the sight of those adults for five minutes or less. So how can you help prevent summer drownings? Here are 5 Arizona pool safety tips for the summer.

1.) Never leave a child alone near water. If you must leave, take your child or children with you.

2.) Enroll children over age three in swimming lessons taught by qualified instructors.

3.) Always use approved personal flotation devices (life jackets).

4.) All gate locks and latches should be checked regularly to insure they are working properly and adhere to Arizona residential pool codes and standards. Also, a gate should never be left propped open.

5.) All residential pool owners should attend water rescue and CPR/CCR classes. Otherwise CPR/CCR instructions and the 911 emergency number (or local emergency number) should be posted in the pool area.

Water play is fun, but water safety is serious business and should be a high priority for Arizonans. Following these 5 Arizona pool safety tips for the summer can keep your outdoor activities fun, and your friends and family safe for many summers to come. –Frank

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Russo Team Newsletter June 2015

by The Russo Team

Russo Team Newsletter June 2015

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Don’t Get Burned by High A/C Bills this Summer

by The Russo Team

Don’t Get Burned by High A/C Bills this Summer

Feeling the heat of the Arizona summer already? May is the unofficial starting season of summer in Arizona and residents and their utility bills are already feeling the burn. Did you know that cooling accounts for forty percent of the energy consumption in the average Arizona home? It’s not uncommon to see bills ranging from $200 to $400 and up when the temperature starts creeping up on the thermometer. In summer energy demand can be higher with weather responsible for up to seventy percent of your electric bill according to Arizona Public Service (APS) department. Here are three tips to help you avoid getting burned by high a/c bills this summer.

Air Filters: Replace disposable air filters or clean permanent ones at least once a month. A dirty filter forces your equipment to work harder, causing higher energy bills. Replacing your air filter at least once a month helps to save energy and increase the life of your cooling system. Additionally, experts also suggest leaving most of the air vents open in your home. Closing air vents in more than ten percent of your total air conditioned space creates a pressure imbalance and reduces the effectiveness of your cooling system.

Windows: Believe it or not, windows account for half of a home’s summer temperature increase. So first, be sure to check windows for any hot air leaking in and seal them with caulk or weather stripping. If you have curtains close them on windows that receive direct sunlight. Looking for more protection? Consider installing sunscreens on the exterior of windows that receive direct sunlight to block sun from reaching the glass. Sunscreens can block as much as sixty to eighty percent of the sun’s heat from reaching the glass. Not crazy about the look of sun screens? Installing mini-blinds or shutters can reduce solar gain by forty to fifty percent.

Thermostat: If you don’t already have one, installing a programmable thermostat will not only save you time, but energy costs as well. Programmable thermostats allow you to program the temperature in your home to increase by five to ten degrees while you're away and to return to a comfortable level an hour before you return. For every degree you set your thermostat above eighty degrees, you can save approximately two to three percent on cooling costs. The rule of thumb is to set the thermostat between seventy-eight to eighty degrees when you are home and up to eighty-five degrees when you are away.

Just because the heat is creeping up towards the triple digits doesn’t mean your air conditioning bill has to too. Utilize these tips and don’t get burned by high A/C bills this summer. – Frank

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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 273