Month: January 2018

The Okay, The Better and The Best when Selling your Home in Arizona

 Let’s face it, everyone wants to “save” a buck but does it always make sense in real estate to choose your agent based on their paycheck?  Let’s explore that idea…

In my experience there are three different types of real estate agents when it comes to selling your home.  I call them the Okay, The Better and The Best. 

The Okay:

These are the “companies” that are really just cash investors.  The ones that will buy your home whether it’s ugly or not and claim you can “pick your closing date”. 
On the surface, it seems like a swell idea.  They buy the home for “market” value (and they determine what market value is) and you pick your closing day.  No commissions paid.  They just charge “transaction” fees that usually exceed the maximum amount you’d pay if you sold the traditional way.  Typical real estate fees are 6% in AZ…you are probably looking at 1% or so (depending on price range but for the most part) in seller closing costs (all sellers pay seller closing costs…even if you don’t pay real estate commissions or unless the buyer covers them for you).  In my experience, these fees that are charged to the seller exceed 7%…sometimes by quite a bit.  

Another thing to keep in mind is the inspection period.  This is an opportunity for them to renegotiate…yeah, after you are packed and ready to move on to wherever it was you were planning to go.  Perfect timing for you to be totally motivated to just agree to whatever because it’s easier.  So, they pay you less for your house than what you can get on the open market, probably beat you up in the inspection period AND they charge more than a traditional real estate agent charges.  Hmmmmmm…. 🤔

The Better: 

These are usually your “flat listers”.  This is the company that you pay X amount of dollars to (usually a few hundred) and they list your home on the MLS and put a sign in your yard but that’s it.  The marketing, the showings, the negotiations and basically all the details are left up to you AND you still pay the “co-broke” to the buyers agent (in AZ 3% is the norm).  

The downside of going this route:
    A. It’s not that much different than selling by owner. You are still unrepresented by an expert in the field (which could spell danger even after the sale is final).  
    B. There’s no opportunity to tap into a well established marketing plan.  Seasoned and high producing agents build huge networks that take years to build and hours and hours per week to maintain.  Since demand plays a huge part in getting the most money out of your home and in your pocket, this could be a HUGE but hidden mistake.  We THINK because we are paying less we are doing better when, in all actuality, having little to no experience and zero network may impact demand enough that you could actually be giving up tens of thousands to save a few bucks. 
    C. There’s no safety precaution.  Unfortunately home sellers can be a target for criminals.  Without experience and proper safety protocols in place, you could be opening your home up to criminals and everything that comes with it without even knowing it.  For sale by owners beware.  You are a target for those that are less than ethical and perhaps those looking to take advantage and, in some cases, even rob you.  Why would criminals target a for sale by owner?  Why not?!  They are sitting ducks ready to open their home to any stranger that “shows interest”.  There are usually no safety precautions taken whatsoever.  
    D. Negotiations and adhering to the contract appropriately could also be quite the hurdle.  Real Estate negotiations are not just about numbers but also about terms and managing all of the personalities that are a party to the transaction as well as third party affiliates.  Without experience being proactive may prove to be very difficult and you’re likely to be forced to be reactive instead.  Selling a home isn’t the least stressful life event for anyone, it’s much more difficult when you are also putting out unexpected fires along the way.  You are also missing out on tapping the referral network of an established real estate agent.  The relationships that are formed over years and years of doing business with reputable companies that are necessary to the transaction could make or break any sale.  The timeframes of the contract are pretty tight and performing within them could be a challenge without the proper relationships in place.


The Best:


These are your traditional real estate agents (and preferably Brokers) that are well established in the area, have a provable track record and have years of experience.  These are not your first year in the business rookies and might not even be your nephew that has a day job but also a real estate license.  These are the tried and true professionals, the producers, the real business owners.  They have systems in place for everything, use technology to its fullest and work in an ethical manner that supports their longevity in the industry.  Most importantly, they have the track record, the review and online presence to prove it.
They have been in business long enough to have established marketing networks, a network of professionals for referral and an acute knowledge of the process.  They can rattle off the provisions of the ADRE purchase and the listing contract off the top of their head.  They know the market.  They have predictions based on fact and logic.  They have enough experience to proactively advise from the transaction start to finish. 
How can you tell if you are dealing with a true professional…ie: The Best?  Google is your friend here, people!  Google them!  If they don’t produce enough content or activity to AT LEAST fill the entire first page of Google then ask for testimonials (or find them yourself online).  Ask for proof of previous sales in the area.   Ask for their marketing plan.  Ask to meet their assistant and transaction coordinator (if not their team) and question it if they don’t have one.  These are the signs of a true professional.

What’s the upside of going this route:
    A. Without a doubt, because they will act within their fiduciary duty, you will get the most money that you can for perhaps the largest sale of your life. 
    B. The process will be as smooth as possible.  Experience, connections to a large network and systems ARE everything.  A professional will rely on experience to be proactive and to handle any otherwise unexpected circumstances with grace and “like they have done this once or twice before”.
    C. You can expect thorough and frequent communication.  A professional understands the importance of information, statistics and feedback.  

Sometimes “the Best” is a “the Better” in disguise.  You can spot these quickly because they’ll be quick to negotiate down on their commission sometimes even before you meet them.  Ever see the “4.5 listing fee” ads?  If they don’t feel they provide enough value to support their fees, then this conversation will be an easy win for any seller.  Seller beware.  If you win this conversation you might reconsider hiring this person as this is a direct reflection of their negotiation skills.  What’s going to happen when your money is on the line if they give up their own so easily?


Barn Doors? Yes, please!

This remodeled home boasts a french country theme with amazing light and great function. Two large custom barn doors allows versatile use in this home. The brick wood burning fireplace is perfectly located in the enormous living area. New dual pane windows, new 5 ton HVAC, newer roof, USB, and a Nest thermostat are all great features that set this home apart.

The gourmet kitchen offers, carrara quartz peninsula, stainless appliances, dove gray custom soft close cabinets, glass back splash, LED can lights, under cabinets lights, and a 1-2/3 sink with chef faucet. The eat-in kitchen has a wall of windows with two arcadia doors that allow an abundance of light. The master bathroom offers, large shower with dual controls, rain head, dual his and her sinks, LED lights, master walk-in closet offers lots of built-ins and light. The master has its own exit to the patio and back yard area. The second bath has dual under mount sinks, custom herringbone tile tub surround, new tub, custom shaker soft close cabinets, tile floor, custom mirrors and lights. The home has new 5 panel shaker doors, casings, baseboards, luxury laminate wood floors, tile in all the right places, 2 tone designer paint on interior and exterior, hardware, ceiling fans, buyers choice of carpet color, outlets, switches, disposal, and so much more. 

The back yard is graced with mountain views, auto drip system, curbing, gate at rear off alley, and side entry with space for storage. Amazing food and entertainment in all directions. Less than 3 min from 51 on ramp, get anywhere in the valley quick and easy. This home truly offers it all! Seller finance is available for a deserving buyer.

You Shouldn’t Build a New Home…


I met one of our new neighbors the other day, super sweet, and just moved here from Colorado. This was their first new build and they were SO excited to start their new life here. They had their final walkthrough, moved in, and then started realizing everything that was wrong with the house. It’s not their fault, they don’t know what they don’t know. Of course they relied on builder to find all the errors because they are working for you right? Well kinda…

As the seller, it’s the builder’s job to be fair, complete your home and make sure it’s up to code. They hire a ton of sub-contractors that should be doing the job right as you would assume. We’re all human though, there is bound to be an error or two. If you had looked at her home, you would think it looked great! However, they didn’t know what to look for. They were high on emotions that “OMG our house is done!” They didn’t have a #NewBuildNinja in their court.

Instead of being SO excited to move in, they are having to deal with submitting several warranty requests and having things fixed that you really don’t have time for when you’re moving to a whole new state. If I had been working with them as their buyer’s agent, I could have caught the issues throughout the process and at the blue tape walkthrough. I do not have OCD, but when I’m at a blue tape walkthrough, I turn on my OCD and generally catch just about everything before you sign and move in.

So…You Shouldn’t Build a New Home…Without Me, Your New Build Ninja! 

My goal is to save headaches, marriages, and sanity while you are in the process of building a home and moving. Yes I said save marriages. Can you imagine two people walking into a design center with totally different ideas in mind and the arguments that can come from that? You’re talking design elements that will be part of your home for a LONG time, not to mention the money. I LOVE helping clients with determining the best upgrades for their money and how they can save on their upgrades by doing some things themselves after they move in.

Here are just a few other things I can help with during your new build:

1) Helping you choose a neighborhood based on your wants, needs, and school choices

2) Scoping out the best deals and incentives

3) Help choose the best lot that will not be detrimental to your home value 

4) Review the contract and make sure you’re represented

5) Check on your home at least every 2 weeks

6) Check for any floor plan errors before the concrete slab is poured

7) Attend the Design Center appointment to help with design choices and money saving tips.

8) Attend the frame orientation and blue tape walkthrough. (The blue tape walkthrough is where you tag any defects or blemishes with blue tape a week before closing to have those items fixed)

9) Review final settlement statement to ensure no pricing and fee errors

10) Attend the final walkthrough and closing! I’ll ask questions you probably didn’t think to ask!

Be sure to present me with our $500 off Closing Costs Coupon. Not only will you NOT have to pay me to help with your new build, but we’re hooking you up with an extra $500! 



If you’re thinking about a new build in the future, fill out my New Build Matchmaker form and I will keep my eyes peeled for the perfect neighborhood for you!

New Build Form

-Jen Duncan a.k.a. #NewBuildNinja – – 480-707-7554

How We Bought Our Home For ONLY $750 Down!

Time seriously flies! We’ve actually been in our house for over 3 months now and it’s been such a hot mess getting unpacked that I haven’t posted pictures! It’s been wonderful living here. This neighborhood is like a utopia and we’ve nicknamed our street Princess Row because of how many little girls we have. When I first visited this community back in early 2016 I knew it was where we wanted Munch to grow up. I just love that the kids can come knock on the door and play on a whim.



Everyone has been asking me about how we bought our new build home with such a low downpayment. I kid you not, we only put down $750 on this home as our down payment. The Home Plus Grant program gave us right around $14,250 for the rest of the down payment to total a 5% down Conventional Loan. This is a dramatic difference from our last two rentals where we had to put out $4,000-$5,000 just to move in! The awesome thing with having a mortgage too is that you don’t have to make your first payment for 30-60 days depending on your closing date! Pair that with our $500 OFF closing costs and you have your moving costs covered! Grant program info:


Here’s the deal though… we started chatting with Ryan, our Finance Ninja, about 2 years before buying. We had a few things we needed to pay down and wanted our credit in tip top shape. We originally were not going to do the Grant Program until Ryan and his rockstar advice told us to move around some debts so that Chris could qualify on his own. We can’t thank him enough. Seriously, you are missing out if you are not working with him. We had a NIGHTMARE of an experience with one of the big banks back in 2010 and working with Ryan is a breath of fresh air. He treats all of our clients like gold and is SO patient. 

Do yourself a favor and if you are thinking of moving now or in the next few years, have a quick chat with him NOW. It will only benefit you to be able to boost your credit and know that when your dream home pops up, you’ll be ready! 

Contact info for Ryan Gilliam

If you’re curious about the buying process, send me an email at or find me on Facebook and I’ll hook you up with our buyer cheat sheet that goes over the process step by step. We can also meet up for coffee and I can answer all of your questions.

And if you want to start drooling at some dream homes, saving favorites, and getting a feel for neighborhoods check out our brand new MLS search at

Happy New Year!

-Jen Duncan a.k.a. #NewBuildNinja  –  480-707-7554  –

New Home for Sale on Grand in Evergreen Historic District!

Platted in 1910 by Edwin M. LeBaron and James Miller, Jr., Evergreen Historic District was initially the home of Mesa’s middle to upper class residents. Welcome to a neighborhood with rich history and a tight-knit community feel. Some families have owned their homes for decades, passing down to the next of kin, keeping these precious historical gems in the family.  LEARN MORE…

Old Skool, New Pool!

Click HERE for price, details and more photos! 

Platted in 1910 by Edwin M. LeBaron and James Miller, Jr., Evergreen Historic District was initially the home of Mesa’s middle to upper class residents. Welcome to a neighborhood with rich history and a tight-knit community feel. Some families have owned their homes for decades, passing down to the next of kin, keeping these precious historical gems in the family.

Built in 1946 but brimming with modern amenities, sharp lines, and tasteful updates, this single level built with brick offers multiple living spaces, a pool and even a garage. Packed with pavers leading to a large covered front “porch”, this curb appeal is like no other around.

Tastefully appointed, rustic fences and planter boxes adorn the spacious front yard. Long driveway leading to the garage offers plenty of parking space for family gatherings, your classic car or your boat, trailer and toys.

This unique home boasts all the formals! The formal living room has a fireplace and real wood beams and the spacious formal dining room is perfectly situated in the front of the home with a beautiful view of the perfectly manicured front yard and quaint, 100-year-old tree lined streets peppered with an eclectic array of home styles ranging over decades. No two homes are exactly alike here. Lots of tile and hardwood throughout, granite counters and light colored, solid cabinets with crown molding and stainless appliances. Showers have decorative tile surrounds and master carpet is neutral and cozy.

Saving the best for last! The back yard is just TO-DIE-FOR with cozy seating area, outdoor fire pit right at the pool for that perfect fire and water combination, rough travertine pool surround and lush landscaping. The unique and very historic old bungalow that can be seen from the back yard is owned by a neighbor and no one lives in the home. It was moved from it’s original location and restoration efforts are to begin shortly. This home is an important part of Mesa’s history!

The neighbors are friendly and some have been living in their homes for decades. This tight knit community feel lends itself beautifully to holiday celebrations such as Halloween and the Christmas season. More than 600 children visit Evergreen during Halloween and the streets are lined with lights and decorations immediately following Thanksgiving to welcome the coming Christmas season. If you are looking for a social neighborhood, this is it. You are home. The location is also quite convenient and up and coming.

Downtown Mesa is within walking distance and is a great place for dining and entertainment. New businesses have been opened and the light rail is complete. Downtown Mesa is the home of the world renowned Mesa Arts Center, the historical museum, and many highly recommended restaurants including Nunthaporn’s Thai Cuisine, Queens Pizzeria and the original Blue Adobe. The Downtown Mesa association coordinates many events which include the arts, music, and family friendly events. This is a lifetime of fond memories, great neighbors, and charm all wrapped up in beautiful, Historic Downtown Mesa. Please feel free to contact the listing agent for more information on the growth and development of this area and Downtown Mesa.

2018 Came in with a BANG!

Typically home buying comes to a screeching halt during the holiday season.  We did not feel a slow down this year and stats are showing things slowed a touch.  First quarter 2018 is looking like a healthy home selling season in the Phoenix area!  Contact Katie to discuss how this affects you (480-250-0023).

Active, Sold and New Listing Inventory