Shopping for a New Home: Choosing the right kitchen

Choosing the best kitchen layout.

Modern Kitchen

While many don’t realize it, the importance of selecting a new home with the “right” kitchen could be the key to finding the perfect home. The kitchen is the heart of the home and is meant to inspire and encourage meal preparation. The right kitchen layout also influences what you eat, when you eat, and how often you prepare meals in your home rather than getting takeout.

The type or basic layout of the kitchen will also depend on the type of home that is being looked at. Some smaller homes may just have one-wall or galley style kitchen, while larger homes may feature an L-shape, U-shape, or peninsula kitchen. All of these have their own strengths, just depending on how often the kitchen is being utilized. (If you do have a smaller kitchen and need to maximize space, be sure to check out this wonderful article on Architectural Digest about optimizing space in a smaller kitchen.)

Determining which kitchen layout will work for you all depends on how often meals are prepared at home, how much storage room is needed, how much space is needed for appliances, and how much food is kept on hand on a regular basis.

In the process of choosing the “right” kitchen, one thing is certain; evaluating which kitchen style and layout will work best for your family is an incredibly important consideration. Selecting a layout that makes it easy to prepare more meals at home will protect the family budget, which can help build an emergency fund, or it could turn your dream vacation into a reality.

For a more in depth look at popular kitchen layouts, as well as some great advice on choosing the best kitchen layout for your needs be sure to check out this post from

The Importance of Avoiding Cyber Scams

Why it is important to Avoid Cyber Scams

The effects of a cyber scam can be far-reaching. If someone falls victim to a cyber scam, it can result in identity theft, loss of savings, and an increase in debt.

Phishing is one of the most common cyber scams. It occurs when someone receives an email containing malware. When the attachment is opened or the hyperlink clicked, malware is installed. Think twice before clicking on attachments and links.

Phishing can also be a gateway for a social engineering criminal to gain confidential information. In extreme cases, this has led to large sums of money being quickly transferred from the victim’s account into offshore accounts. Since real estate transactions involve large sums of money, the industry has been targeted by thieves, these scams are on the rise, and the Federal Trade Commission has taken notice.

The FTC says “If you’re buying a home and get an e-mail with money-wiring instructions, STOP. Email is not a secure way to send financial information, and your real estate professional or title company should know that.”

  • Never email your financial information. Email is not considered secure.
  • For any financial information you provide over the web, check that the site is secure. The URL would begin with “https”
  • Do not click on a link in an email to go to an organization’s site. Instead, look up the real URL and type into the address field yourself.
  • Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails.
  • Make sure your operating system, browser and security software are up to date.

If you have been the victim of a phishing scam, you can file a report with the FTC:

The importance of Title Insurance when buying a home

Title Insurance when buying a home

Buying a house is an exciting time and the more you know about the process, the more relaxed you’ll be going through it. The American Land Title Association (ALTA) partnered with the Designing Spaces television series on Lifetime to explain to home buyers the closing process and the importance of purchasing an owner’s title insurance policy.

The segment does a great job explaining how the work by title insurance professionals provides consumers peace of mind when purchasing a home.


About Arizona Property Taxes

Arizona Property taxes are levied twice a year for 1/2 year periods and paid in arrears.

1st Half Jan-Jun taxes: due October 1st of that same year
2nd Half Jul-Dec taxes: due March 1st of the following year.

Bills for the current year’s taxes are mailed in September and include 2 coupons for each half of the year. When there is a mortgage loan on the property the tax bill is mailed to the lender as these taxes make up part of the monthly payment.
Property taxes are prorated at closing for taxes accrued but not yet due and payable, based on the yearly tax amount and the closing date.

For cash transactions Escrow will pay the full year’s tax, if closing date occurs after tax bill information is available.

Informational PDF: AZ Property Tax Collection


About the new Loan Estimate form

New Loan Estimate form

The new Loan Estimate is one of two forms required by the CFPB and will be used for impacted loans originated on or after October 3rd 2015. This form is provided to consumers by the lender within three days in the loan application. It replaces early Truth In Lending statement and the Good Faith Estimate and provides a summary of key loan terms, an estimate of the loan costs, and closing costs. The intent of this form is to promote easy comparison shopping.

CFPB Overview #1

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act commonly known as RESPA governs the mortgage and residential real estate closing industry. It is intended to prevent kickbacks & unnecessary costs.  In addition it gives consumers buyers and sellers full disclosure of the costs for a transaction it was originally enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Truth in Lending Act known as TILA governs all types of credit and lending industries. It requires the disclosure of credit terms, costs of credit, calculations, and a projected payment schedule. It was originally enforced by the Federal Reserve Board.

Congress passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (commonly known as Dodd-Frank) which went into effect July 2010. The law created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or CFPB, and moved enforcement of RESPA to this new Bureau. The law also mandated that the two sets of disclosures be combined into one Integrated Disclosure.

TRID= TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures.

REALTOR Webcast about the coming Integrated Disclosure changes

“REALTOR® Magazine presented a live webcast on July 16, 2015, to help real estate professionals understand the changes to the closing process that are scheduled to go into effect later this year. The program featured attorney Phil Schulman, a partner with K&L Gates and former official with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development who specializes in federal closing rules, and NAR Senior Counsel Finley Maxson.

As part of the changes, which stem from the merger of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), two new forms—the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure—will replace the HUD-1 settlement form and the Good Faith Estimate. Samples of the new forms are available from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”




Escrow Tip: When does the buyer get Keys?

When does the buyer get Keys?

Are your buyers new to Arizona? Best to let them know early in the process, that Arizona is an Escrow state.

Closing monies and key

In some states, possession of the property is turned over after funds are transferred. In an escrow state, the additional step of recordation is required, before legal transfer has been completed. If your buyers are from an abstract state like, say New York State, they may wonder why they cannot get their keys at the signing table, and may be disappointed and upset.

Escrow Tip – August 2012

Escrow Tip – August 2012

Often the Escrow Agent and Seller’s Real Estate Agent are approached during a transaction with a request from the Seller to use a Power of Attorney on the sale transaction. One immediate question that comes to mind: Is the transaction a Short Sale? If so, you may want to avoid the use of a Power of Attorney for this transaction. When the use of the Power of Attorney is unavoidable the tips here may be useful. Be aware that Escrow, Title & the Seller’s Lender/Servicer will want to review the Power of Attorney. The Power of Attorney must be approved for use by the Escrow, Title & the Seller’s Lender/Servicer. The Power of Attorney should be submitted to all parties well in advance of the closing to avoid delays at the closing.

Be sure to cover this issue with the servicer as early in the transaction as possible. Ask your Escrow Officer at Title Security Agency about completing a Specific Power of Attorney for this transaction. Once the Seller has signed, before a notary public, the Power of Attorney the original should be delivered to escrow, preferably well in advance of the closing on the short sale transaction.

Your Escrow Officer at Title Security Agency stands ready to assist you with your Short Sale closing and welcomes any questions you may have. A list of the Escrow Officers for Title Security Agency can be found on our website here.

First Time Home Buyer Tips

First Time Home Buyer Tips

If you are a first time home buyer, these tips are good for the first time home buyer. Buying a home for the first time is an exciting time. With this excitement also comes details. The first time home buyer can find useful tips in this article and can avoid some common pitfalls. Take advantage of this information then you will want to look at these tips.First Time Home Buyer Tips

Sell More When You Sell Results!

Sell More When You Sell Results!

During many training seminars we have all heard about Features and Benefits and how they work when your in sales. Today with Eileen Shenker of Succcess Seminars, we learned of an alternative way of thinking. Replace “features” with Facts and “benefits” with Results.

When we approach customers often times we approach them with facts first when we may be better suited to lead with results. A fact is usually information on what we have or who we are. Such as, “I am the best realtor because I have been in the business for 20 years” or “I have these wonderful marketing materials that look beautiful and will cost you nothing”. The customer often hears this same pitch from someone else and may think “okay, so has the guy I just met with before you” AND? When you lead with the Result, the result is a tangible effect such as how will the customer benefit by working with you. When leading with results we show the customer what they will get by utilizing our services. Whether that result will be more money in their pocket or less time on the market, by leading each prospect with a result we are more likely to close the transaction and get the deal (or listing) with that customer. The facts will all become obvious to the customer by your actions but the results are what lead you to winning the sale and beating out your competition. Leading with facts first is like only having the peanut butter and no jelly (the results), it is a bit hard to swallow and can be a turn off preventing you from winning the sale!

Seller Financing ~ Is your toolbox loaded?

Seller Financing ~ Is your toolbox loaded?

Everyone has been talking about the difficulties that Buyers face in obtaining financing in today’s market. Sellers want top dollar for their properties but appraisals are not coming in at today’s market price. Has your seller considered using seller financing to move their property? Would you like to double the size of your current buyer pool, shrink the number of days on the market, cut failed escrows in half? If you answered yes to even one of these questions then you need to attend this Seller Financing class. This class offers 3 hours of Contract Law and will be held April 27, 2012 9 am to Noon. In the afternoon there will be a “Look Before You Leap” class which will cover disclosure. The afternoon class being held from 1 – 4pm is approved for 3 hours of Disclosures. Attend all 6 hours or just one 3 hour session, you decide. Register today by emailing your RSVP to See the attached for cost and additional info

Does confidence lead to recovery?

Does confidence lead to recovery?

Have you driven by the mall or another one of your favorite shopping plaza’s lately? Have you noticed that the parking lots are filled? Have you been to your favorite eatery lately and seen more people enjoying a meal? Well the rest of the country has seen positives which indicate that consumer confidence is up! Read more

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