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Happy Memorial Day!

by Nate Martinez

Thank you to all the men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting our great country. On behalf of my team, we want to wish each of you and your families a very happy, healthy and safe Memorial Day.

Freedom's Colors
Red is for Bravery;
blood shed in sacrifice.
Freedom came with lives the price.

White is for Liberty;
Freedom’s purity.
Life be free from God’s decree.

Blue is for Justice;
As vast as the sky.
Over freedom’s land to occupy.
©2002 Roger W Hancock (www.PoetPatriot.com)

Congrats RE/MAX Professionals!

by Nate Martinez

My thoughts & prayers to Joplin, MO

by Nate Martinez


Today in Phoenix, the weather was predicted to be mid-90's and by the weekend, we may see 100 degrees - which is very unusual temps for us as we roll into almost June! But, as much as I am enjoying the lingering days of cooler weather, I can't help but feel guilty for my neighbor's in Joplin, MO, Dallas, TX and those towns hit throughout Ohio by the tornado this week. Beyond the heartbreak for the sheer loss, it is hard to wrap my mind around such devastation caused by a storm.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those families, some of which are Realtor associates I know, clients and family members of clients I have worked with over the years. It is times like these, when our community involvement means the most to help support each other. I am proud to be a part of an industry which has already put into action the National Realtors Relief Foundation to raise money to help the families who have lost so much.

I know many of us have our financial burdens and personal struggles, however, if you are interested in contributing to relief efforts, here are a few places you can go to:

1.) Convoy of Hope: you can donate online, convoyofhope.org or you can text 50555 (keep in mind additional text fees may apply).

2.) Red Cross: you can donate online to specific regional chapters. You can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10.00 donation. Red Cross Greater Ozarks Regional Chapter can be found online at redcross-ozarks.org.

3.) Salvation Army: is looking for non-perishable food donations at their Springfield, MO location (1707 W Chestnut Expressway).

4.) Habitat for Humanity: is collecting water, blankets, toiletry items, food, batteries, medical supplies. The drop off location for Joplin Relief is at 2410 S Scenic Ave. You can also help by donating online at habitate.org.

5.) Ozarks Food Harvest: the local food banks are in desperate need of donations. Non-perishable items like canned goods, snacks, crackers, granola bars, ready-to-eat foods. Other thimgs are needed as well, like diapers, personal hygiene items.

Does Feng Shui really work?

by Nate Martinez

Does Feng Shui really work? Why not give it a try?
Here are a few helpful Feng Shui tips on building and creating wealth...

What is your dream number?
On a piece of purple paper (the color of money in feng shui), in red ink, write down the dollar mount of money you would like to earn this year. Think BIG and be SPECIFIC! Then place this slip of paper in your wallet or purse. Once you know the number you want, you have taken the first step towards achieving it. 

Put a water fountain in your home/office:
Feng Shui experts say a water fountain in the Wealth Corner of an office or home can bring in additional income. The Wealth Corner is located in the rear left-hand corner of your house, bedroom or office (depending on where you are wanting to attract money to). You can further stimulate the effects of the fountain by adding 9 dollar coins inside the fountain.

What's cooking on your stove?
If you are like me, your stove might not get much use, however, in the Chinese culture of Feng Shui, the stove is an important part of creating wealth. The stove signifies food and in ancient times, food symbolizes abundance. So, if you don't use your stove to cook, you should at least turn on your burns for a second or two each day to activate the flow of abundance in your kitchen. It is also important to keep your stove clean -- it is a symbol of prosperity -- a dirty cooktop could create the opposite effect, hence clouding your financial situation. If you want to take this a step further, it is recommended you place a small round mirror directly above your stove. The mirror can be seen as "doubling" the burners on the stove, therefore could help "double" or generate more income.

Mattress money really does work!
In Feng Shui traditions, it is believed that what ever we put between our mattress has an energetic association with our sleeping selves and can help us stay in touch with our goals, dreams, aspirations. By placing a stack of play-money bills (the higher the denomination preferably!) between your mattress and box spring, tied together with a purple ribbon will make "money work for you while you sleep."

Are you flushing money down the drain?
A simple thing as keeping the toilet seat closed or the drain in the tub, could prevent your money from going down the drain -- literally! Placing a plant (silk or live, but not dried) by your kitchen sink or bathroom sinks could also assist your money energy. The flower symbolically absorbs the money energy and the plant recirculates this energy back into your home.

The Lucky Frog:
If you want to invite more wealth into your home or office, put a lucky money frog in your Wealth Corner (again the rear left-hand corner of the room in consideration). A money frog should be placed diagonally facing your main door entrance, facing slightly inward. Remember, you never want to point the frog directly at the door as your wealth could leave and never return!

Considering a home renovation?

by Nate Martinez

Considering a Home Renovation?

Whether you have just bought your home or have owned it for 10 years, there will come a time when you consider a home renovation or  remodel. Here are some quick tips:

1.) Does your home need updating or renovating?
Many times a "face lift" is all a home needs to give it a new home feeling. Consider what it is that needs to be updated verses a full renovation. Is it the bathroom, the kitchen? Replacing wallpaper with a fresh coat of paint, removing popcorn ceilings are easy updates you can do yourself. Updating light fixtures, outlet switch plates, cabinet hardware and faucets are other simple improvements which will modernize a home for fairly inexpensive. So before you dive head first into a full-on renovation, give careful consideration to how updates might just do the trick!

2.) Consider low-cost alternatives:
Even if you are on a budget, there are plenty of options for your home improvements. You do not always have to select the most expensive product to have a winning outcome. For example, in the bathroom, you can look at acrylic tubs and sinks as a more affordable alternative to fiberglass or marble. Or if you are considering granite, you can shop around for granite tiles instead of slabs which offer a similar feel but for a fraction of the cost.

3.) Go Green?
Long term "green" updates hold their value. At resale, window replacements recoup roughly 76% of their original cost according to Remodeling Magazine's 2009-10 Cost vs. Value report. To replace windows in a home ranges between $11,000 to $18,000 which, although seems like a lot on paper, could in the long run save you even more in utility expenses. Plus, depending on the age of your home, real estate resale values could be positively impacted when considering an older home with updated windows. Other options include replacing your appliances with Energy Star rated appliances, energy efficent tank-less hot water heaters and LED lighting, which will cut your monthly expenses, while lending a helping hand to the environment. If going green is something you are thinking about doing, make sure you check into your local government tax incentives!

4.) Stick to your decisions:
Indecisions can cause an expensive remodel nightmare! Before you begin your home renovation, make sure you have carefully planned everything out. Ripping apart a project half way through can cost thousands of dollars in not only lost time but in non-returnable items or lost deposit money for special orders. Ask for a mock-up, or other visuals of how the completed project will look before you make any final decisions. Take your time, do your home work and don't be afraid to ask for help or suggestions or to try different options before you commit to the project. Once your decisions are made, consider them final - otherwise you could be in for a long, costly road ahead.

5.) Value verses Quality:
Although it seem that paying less for something is a good idea when trying to stay on a remodel budget. But remember the old adage, "you pay for what you get?" You should make your product selection and renovation plans based on value and quality - not just price. You will be better off in the long run paying slightly more for a better product then you will by going cheap and having to replace the product in a few months. Price should always be a consideration but not the final determination in your decision.

6.) Be creative and have fun!
Don't let stress take away the joy you will receive from making your home beautiful again. Although its good to have a plan, you will want to implement a little word called "flexibility" as well. If something doesn't go according to the exact plan, that doesn't mean the whole project is ruined. Allow your creative side to come out and roll with the remodel punches. There are plenty of options and multiple solutions to accomplish a design objective, a paint color scheme or a bath reconfiguration. Keep your mind open to the variety of options available and you will have more fun, less stress and the end result will be a beautiful home you love! 

7.) Shop around for contractors:
If you are consider more than "do-it-yourself" improvements, then you will need to shop around for a contractor. Get at least 3 separate bids for the job. You can ask your friends, relatives, neighbors or Realtor for recommendations. There are also plenty of great contractors to be found online. Keep in mind, a contractor bases bids partly on their work schedule. The busier they are, the more they may charge. But if they aren't busy at all, then you may want to consider why and the quality of their workmanship. Beyond the cost, make sure you research the company - check for current licensing and insurance. You can also check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints filed against them. Ask for reference of previous customers. Call those people to see about the quality of work and their overall experience working with the contractor. Trust your gut feel - if what they are quoting or promising you seems too good to be true, then is probably is! Make sure you get all bids in writing before you agree to anything.

Housing Market Improved?

by Nate Martinez

This morning, I was catching up on some reading and doing a little bit of research trying to keep my brain wrapped around the fast moving pace of our real estate market. While most people are still asleep, I am up at 4:00am reading about current market trends! So I thought I would use this blog to share with you my findings. So has the housing market improved?

I read an article provided by Forbes.com which was a report from ASU real estate studies professor, Jay Butler. His report shows the percentage of existing home sales that went to foreclosure dropped to 36% in April. This was a slight improvement from the 38% in March and a large improvement from the 43% reported in January and February.

These improvements could be from a variety of factors, such as more loan modifications and short sales being approved and/or the banks holding back on processing the actual trustee sales. There are still plenty of people out there who are underwater and could or will face foreclosure. But, in the short term, these changes in the percentages could shift the value of the housing market – thus stabilizing pricing and curbing what has seemed to be an out-of-control-downward-tailspin for the past 4 years.

I pulled the active inventory in the MLS (Arizona Multiple Listing Service) for Maricopa County and found some rather shocking data:

1.) The available inventory currently – homes for sale – is only 25,441.
2.) There is a code we use in the MLS which is “for sale with a contingency”, which simply means there is an offer on the home, but the listing agent is continuing to solicit back up offers. So technically or not, depending on which side of the fence you view the AWC listings, this brings our MLS inventory to 33,418 – or a potential of 7,977 additional homes that we could add into the available inventory.
3.) Today, there are 14,229 homes currently are sale pending. Those homes have what we Realtors would consider a solid offer and will most likely close as planned.

Now, if we take the first number of available homes (25,441) compared to those that are truly sale pending (14,229), that means, right now, we only have 1.79 months of available inventory for sale – WOW! Compare these numbers to this time last year, when we were looking at least a 12 month supply of inventory and at one point at the bottom of the market, we had over a 24 months of supply of homes for sale. Personally, I can share with you my own active listing inventory is the lowest it’s been since I started working the REO market.

So what does this mean to you? Well the rule of supply and demand teaches us that when supply is low, demand is high and vice versa - or some people would say "buy low and sell high". With only 25,441 homes for sale, this will evitably increase activity, creating multiple offer scenarios and thus driving prices back up. How far up, well that will remain to be seen – but bottom line is this – if you have been waiting to buy at the bottom of the market NOW is it.

One last thing before I wrap up this blog – the median sales price of a home in Maricopa County is hovering around $125,000 according to Jay Butler. I personally, have my own opinion and think this number may be a little high, especially if we are looking at specific areas of the Metro city. However, be that as it may, the point I want to make is really about the interest rates. Right now, you can lock in an FHA or VA loan for approximately 4.375% and if you wanted to do an adjustable 5/1 ARM, you could start with a rate as low as 3.750%. Conventional loans are holding steady at around 4.625%. On a purchase of $125,000, using the purchase price as the loan amount on an FHA loan, the principle and interest payment is $625.00 a month. Think about how this dollar amount could change if you are buying a $50,000 or a $75,000 or a $100,000 house? You can’t rent for this cheap! Call me today to get started – seriously, if you wait much longer, you are going to miss out on the best time in the history of our housing market to buy.

First Time Moving Out Checklist

by Nate Martinez

First Time Moving Out Checklist

So this week we had some exciting news in our family - my son, Nathan JR sucessfully closed on his very first home purchase! It is amazing to me how the years have flown by and my young boy is not only a grown man now, but also, a homeowner!

This morning, as we were discussing all the things we need to do to get him moved and settled, it occurred to me that we really needed a moving out checklist - not only is this his first home, this is the first time he is leaving the nest. There are a ton of items we need to purchase and accomplish and to be honest, as exciting as all of this is, it was a bit overwhelming to think about every details involved in moving Nathan out of my house.

For years, I have provided new home owners with a "moving checklist" which talks about how to change the utilities, change your address, etc. but it never occurred to me to create a moving out checklist for a buyer like my son - a buyer with nothing but his clothes moving out of his parents' house for the very first time into his own home. So I went to work on creating a First Time Moving Checklist. Now I am sure there will be things we missed and there will be lots of trips running to Home Depot or the Dollar Store for this or that, but I think this list covers the majority of household items a young guy like Nathan might need - at least to start off with.

Finally, to my son, I could not be more proud of you than I am right now - to witness you grow into the fine young man that you have warms my heart in ways words can not begin to describe. Congratulations and "May the roof above you never fall in and may all your good companions beneath it, never fall out" ~ Irish Blessing

Special Announcement - Please Read & Share

by Nate Martinez



"Captain" Ron Sullivan, gone from Realtor to Novelist!

It is with great pleasure today, that I post this blog about a dear friend and fellow industry leader, Ron Sullivan, who has gone from Realtor to published author.

Ron recently published his 2nd book, The Open House Murders after much success with his 1st book called The Scarlet "P" was published a few years ago. His newest book is especially dear to my business partner, Frank and I because our names are featured as characters in his exciting murder mystery!

If you love to read, you won't want to miss out on these two fabulous books! Both are available on Amazon for purchase in paperback or on your favorite electronic reading device. Please help us show Ron our love and support!

Congratulations Captain Ron! Your RE/MAX Professionals' family is so very proud of you and wishing you much success with your new book!

Andrea Santa Maria's Story Continued

by Nate Martinez

Andrea Santa Maria's Story Continued...

Thank you all for taking the time to read the story about my niece Andrea Santa Maria – in a 24 hour period of time, this blog has had more hits than any other story or information I have posted! So I thank you for all your support and the out-pour of help we have received so far. However, this is just the beginning for Andrea…

To date, her family has been in contact with ACDL (Arizona Center for Disability Law) and advised to file an OCR (Office of Civil Rights) complaint, due to the School/District violating Section 504. The high school is not making things any easier and my niece is in desperate need of a legal counsel. Based on what they have been told by the ACDL, there are three very important eliminates to Andrea’s case – one is discrimination, intimidation and retaliation. They have an appointment with an attorney today to determine how strong of a case Andrea has, but all of this is going to cost money. Unfortunately, attorneys who specialize in disability cases are few and far between and the ones that do practice in Arizona are incredibly expensive.

To add to the stress of the situation, Andrea is now in need of a very complex medical glucagon test. From what her Doctor has indicated, this extensive test runs about $3000.00. Andrea would have to be admitted into Phoenix Children's Hospital, so that $3,000.00 does not even cover the hospital costs. The family still does not have any health insurance, although they have applied for ALTCS (Arizona Long Term Care System), the application process is long and arduous. After multiple phone calls and voice mails, Andrea’s mother has been told there is nothing she can do to push the application along faster, nor can they give her any clue whether or not the application will be approved or denied.

As you can imagine, my niece and her family are physically and emotionally drained. Andrea is due to graduate high school on May 25th– a day that is suppose to be a milestone in a young person’s life has turned into a very sad, unfortunate turn of events which could have been prevented if the school district had tested Andrea properly from the beginning. It is our hope that by sharing Andrea’s story we can change the laws where Special Education needs are concerned, if not more.

In the mean time, any additional contacts, assistance, prayers, words of wisdom or financial contributions are greatly appreciated. A benefit account has been set up through Desert School Federal Credit Union for Andrea. If you are interested in making a monetary donation, please contact Sarah at my office for the account information. You can reach her directly at Sarah@NatesHomes.com or at 623-643-1015. Again, on behalf of Andrea and my family, we THANK YOU for your continued support! Nate

**05/13/2011 Update**
An account has been set up on behalf of Andrea with Desert Schools Federal Credit Union: Andrea Santa Maria, routing #122187238, Savings #6000091765.

Happy Mother's Day!

by Nate Martinez

Mother's Day was proposed in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe, the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, however, it was not adopted as a national holiday until 1914 when Woodrow Wilson declared this special celebration as the 2nd Sunday in May. On behalf of my team and all the beautiful Mothers around the world, we want to wish you a very happy and healthy Mother's Day!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11

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Nate Martinez
RE/MAX Professionals
20241 North 67th Avenue, Suite A1
Glendale AZ 85308
623-643-1010
602-430-5226
Fax: 602-532-7352

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