Nov. 1, 2022

Why Buying a Home is Better Than Renting

Why Buying a Home is Better Than Renting 

If you're considering buying a home through Russ Lyon Sothebys, rising home prices might make you wonder if its better to buy or rent. Skyrocketing rent prices have brought the average apartment rent in the Phoenix metro area to almost $1,600 a month.

The reason home prices skyrocketed in recent years is due to more demand than supply. While prices aren’t expected to drop as the market shifts, experts are forecasting a slowdown in the rate of price growth. Russ Lyon Sotheby's follows the market daily, so it’s important to contact an experienced professional such as myself before you enter the market.

In the meantime, there are a few key differences you’ll want to consider that could make buying a home a better option.

Home ownership is a great investment and provides payment stability and equity. When buying a home, you can get a fixed-rate mortgage that locks in your monthly payment. While gas, groceries and other items rise with inflation, locking in your housing payment can provide long-term stability and protect you from rising expenses. You don’t get that same predictability when renting. When you buy, you also have the chance to build equity which grows your net worth.

Also, you are not married to an interest rate.  When rates go down, there is always an opportunity to refinance and possibly lower your monthly payment.  That is unlikely to happen when renting.

Once you make up your mind to buy, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s recommends expanding your search area and criteria to find a home in your price range. You might have a specific area that’s no longer affordable. Try looking a little outside of that location to find something in your price range. Expanding your search area or re-prioritizing your wish list of items can open up opportunities you haven’t thought about. That could help you afford more of what you want and need in a home.

Another idea to consider is to explore financing options. Finding the best home loan for your needs can make a difference in qualifying and making a home purchase more affordable. Is a valuable resource. 

Some encouraging news is that more Americans are more likely to own a home today than 10 years ago. There are about 6.5 million more homeowners today than in 2010.

Again, it’s always best to contact a trusted real estate expert to guide you through the home-buying process. Here at Russ Lyon Sotheby's, we’re experts in helping people find the right home.






Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 28, 2022

What to expect for End of Year Home Prices

What to Expect for End of the Year Home Prices

If you’re in the market for a new home or are thinking of selling, you might be wondering what the market is going to look like towards the end of the year.  We’re following the market very closely at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s and this is our breakdown.

Homes appreciated rapidly in 2021. One reason was due to record-low mortgage rates that encouraged more buyers to enter the market. As a result, more people were looking to buy than there were homes on the market for sale. That led to bidding wars, driving prices up.

CoreLogic reports that price appreciation went up an average of 15% on homes in 2021, up from 6% in 2020. And the appreciation in 2020 was still greater than the pre-pandemic norm of about 3.8%. These numbers show us at Russ Lyon Sotheby's that 2021 definitely was not the norm in the housing market.

In 2022, home price appreciation is slowing but the latest forecasts by experts show prices will still appreciate by about 10% this year. Russ Lyon Sotheby’s agrees with these experts on home prices rising since the housing supply was still low even though it’s now growing. There also has been a block of time for the underbidding of homes. Experts say that’ll help keep upward pressure this year on home prices. And remember, buyer demand has slowed due to mortgage rates increasing.

Since the market is moving back toward pre-pandemic levels, the forecast is about 10% home appreciation for the year, which is still much higher than the 3.8% that’s typical in a normal market. In most markets, home prices won’t fall but rather appreciate moderately.

If you’re concerned about buying or selling through Russ Lyon Sotheby's, keep in mind experts are calling for “deceleration” rather than “depreciation” in most markets. That means homes should still increase in value but just not as fast as in 2021.

Don’t wait for prices to fall if you’re thinking of moving. Contact me at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s as a market expert to guide you through the process.

Posted in Real Estate News
Aug. 15, 2022

August Market Update

Market Summary Update

Months of Supply 


The market is shifting, meaning months of supply” should increase. Russ Lyon Sotheby’s is monitoring this very closely. Months of supply takes into account the time it takes to sell available inventory at the monthly sales rate as it is right now if no new listings pop up. The market cools if this continues to go on for a while.


If we look at UCB and CCBS listings, months of supply for a balanced market is 4 to 5 months. Without these listings, then we’re looking at 3 to 4 months for a balanced market. Russ Lyon emphasizes the numbers are usually much higher for areas with more expensive homes. For example, Paradise Valley is 12 to 15 months; Scottsdale 6 to 7 months; Gold Canyon 7 to 8 months; Cave Creek 6 to 7 months; and Fountain Hills 7 to 8 months. Again, this does not include UCB and CCBS listings.


For single-family detached months of supply, including UCB and CCBS listings, Paradise Valley is at 10.2 (a year ago 3.5); Scottsdale 4.4 (in Aug 2021 1.1); Chandler & Gilbert 3.3 (1.0 and 0.9 last year); Phoenix and Mesa 3.2 (1.1 and 1.0 a year ago). As you can see, listings have moved from extremely low to more normal values in just a year.


It used to be the boundaries between a buyers and sellers market was approximately a 6-month supply but now it’s more like 3 to 4 months and about 7 months to 18 months in more expensive cities. 


Market Summary - August


At the beginning of this month, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s noticed active listings (excluding UCB & CCBS) were almost 18,000, up 152.7% from last year and 24.6% from last month. Including UCB & CCBS, active listings were over 20,700, up almost 90% from last year and over 20% higher than last month. Pending listings were down about 27% from last year and just over 8% from last month.


The monthly median sales price for homes for the market as a whole in early August was $452,500, up from $400,000 at this time last year, an increase of over 13%. Russ Lyon observed slightly lower new listings. Regardless, they’re arriving faster than demand can keep up. That means active listings without a contract have grown 25% in just one month. However, high-end homes are not seeing the same increase.


The problem is demand. Closed sales plummeted 24% since June and are almost 33% lower than last year. Listings under contract slipped more than 8% from last month.  


As a Russ Lyon Sotheby’s top agent I want you to keep in mind that prices are reacting faster to market conditions. But there will always be competition for the best homes. 


If you have any questions or would like a personalized valuation on your home, please don't hesitate to ask.

Posted in Real Estate News
Aug. 10, 2022

Why move in a shifting market?

Why move in a shifting market?


Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. Whether it’s your first home or moving to another home, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s can help make the transition as seamless as possible.


As you’re contemplating this decision, you might be hearing the term “shifting market.” What that means is that after years of high buyer demand, competition, low inventory, and low mortgage rates, the real estate market is changing fast. At Russ Lyon, we don’t want you to panic or think you’re priced out of the market as a result. 


While mortgage rates and home prices are rising, consult with a Russ Lyon agent to learn if these factors will play a major role. Most likely, market factors shouldn’t impact your plans. We don’t know what the future holds but keep in mind, the record-low mortgage rates we recently experienced are not the norm. So far this year, rates have gone up over 2% due to inflation which is at a 40-year high.


Advantages of Buying


Those interest rates, most likely, will continue to rise. The advantage of buying a home is it allows you to stabilize your housing cost. A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to lock in your monthly payment. That’s not the case if you’re leasing or renting.


Experts predict home prices will keep going up. So, that’s why it’s important for you to purchase a home through Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Real Estate before mortgage rates go up again. However, more homes are coming on the market, meaning you have a greater chance of finding one you like in your price range. The other advantage of buying is that homes appreciate and your equity (current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan) and net worth grow as a result. A home owner’s net worth is significantly higher than a renter so real estate is a strong investment.


Motivating Reasons to Move


With the rising interest rates, affordability and purchasing power are impacted. So, why move? One reason is a need for more space. Some people want more space for entertaining, more storage, and a larger yard. Whatever the reason, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s can help you find your next home within your price range.


Statistics show many want to be closer to friends and family with many people relocating within 30 miles. In fact, about 32% moved closer to loved ones. Only 15% of more than 32 million moves were across state lines in the U.S. People also want to live in affordable cities with nice climates


In looking at migration patterns, lists Arizona in the top 10 of population growth at 11.88%. Phoenix is listed in the top 25 cities people are moving to.


If you’re thinking of moving, whatever your reason, be sure and contact me at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s so I can assist you in finding a home in the right neighborhood at the right price.




Posted in Real Estate News
June 9, 2022

Luxurious Scottsdale Hotels, Resorts & Golf Courses

Where to Stay in Scottsdale

The most beautiful luxurious resorts abound in Scottsdale.

Many offer special events for locals especially in the summer where you can luxuriate in their nationally acclaimed spas, golf on PGA tournament links, and enjoy fine dining at their award winning restaurants, all at a discount.

Scottsdale also has numerous high-end airbnb's where you can hold events for your family, friends, or business associates.

Hotels and resorts in Scottsdale have stunning mountain and desert views where you can behold gorgeous Arizona sunsets while sipping cocktails.

While you're in town, you can enjoy a ballgame at the air-conditioned Chase field, take a day trip to Sedona, or simply relax in a poolside cabana at your luxury resort. There are lakes, waterfalls, and beaches all within a days drive of Scottsdale.

Many of the hotels have live music in their cocktail lounges along with signature drinks to keep you entertained in the evening. The nearby indoor Phoenix Stadium also hosts concerts and comedians.

In Old Town Scottsdale, you can stroll and shop and hundreds of stores, art galleries, and restaurants. You'll find nightclubs and dancing too.

Scottsdale is a welcoming town with friendly people who love to share what the town has to offer.

The following resorts are the top 10 hotels and golf courses in Scottsdale for you to sample.


Posted in Scottsdale Events
May 7, 2022

How to Decorate Like an Interior Designer

Websites Designers Use That YOU Can Too

Have you moved into your dream home and found out that your old furniture just isn't cutting it? Maybe you want some new lighting pieces or artwork that will make the place “yours.”

Of course, you can hire an interior designer but if you like to go the DIY route, it helps to know where to get the best ideas, furniture, and accessories from places the designers use themselves.

Wayfair, IKEA, and Amazon offer common products, but if you want to be more unique and stylish, check out these stores.

For the budget friendly:

Structube – Modern furniture to update your space.

Article – Modern furniture with a focus on mid-century modern.

Poly & Bark – Free shipping and returns for this whole house renovation site.

Equilibrium – Canadian made furniture and great prices along with design services.

Rove Concepts – Elegant indoor and outdoor furniture.

For the unique finds:

Aretmest – Curated handmade décor and furniture

Schumacher – From design to bespoke articles, you'll find tons of inspiration here.

Circa Lighting – You won't see these Light Fixtures in your neighbor's homes. Gorgeous and unique.

1st Dibs – An auction site guaranteed to get you one-of-a-kind finds from furniture to art and décor.

If you love to decorate, redecorate, or are simply looking for a few focal pieces, all of these websites will help you create a dynamic, interesting, and totally-you space.

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Feb. 5, 2022

Fall Back In Love With Your Home

Whether you've been in your home two or twenty years, these tips can help you re-envision your spaces, get specific about your wants and needs, and create the “feeling”  you want your house to convey.

So how to begin?

Step 1: Purge

Yes, it's time to get rid of some things or re-purpose them. This is the time where anything that is broken must be fixed or tossed.

Step 2: Clean the House

I mean really clean the house. Deep clean every room, area rug, carpet, and window. Wipe down the cabinets, baseboards, and doors.

Step 3: Survey your home and ask these questions:

·        Would a piece of furniture improve the mood of the room?

·        Do I have a piece of furniture in a different room that would work well here?

·        Is there too much furniture in the room? Does it feel crowded or cramped?

·        Would the room feel brighter and more open if I rearranged the lighting or added more lamps?

·        Could moving the furniture around make the space more inviting?

·        Are there items in the room you don't even notice that could be parted with?

·        Do you really need to keep that gift you don't like out on display? (Even if you love the person who gave it to you??) The answer here is NO. You have my permission to hide it in the basement and take it out when the gifter comes to visit.

Step 4: Check out Pinterest

Pinterest is safer than watching home shows where they remodel a home over a week. That's not going to happen. Really, it's not. Create a few mood boards on Pinterest to help define your taste and understand the look you're going towards.

Step 5: Be more particular about your purchases

Trendy, cool looks are fun for sure, but are you willing to re-decorate every 5 years for the next trend? Traditional pieces and designs that have held the test of time can be updated without extravagant costs. Save trendy for accents like pillows.

Step 6: Paint

Paint anything and everything you like. Cabinets. Walls. Furniture. You can hire professionals or get crafty and transform a home completely just with paint. It's one of the most cost effective ways of updating your home.

Step 7: Decorate with Houseplants

I'm not talking about creating a jungle, just a few pieces to accent a room. There's something about a little greenery that perks up any room.

Step 8: Buy Pretty Storage Bins Baskets

You might be surprised what you can pick up at Walmart or estate sales. Keeping your home organized brings a feeling of calm and peaceful to your life.

Step 9: Change the Window Treatments

Okay, draperies can be expensive but maybe you can switch them to another room or create a new look by adding sheers or a different hanging rod.

Step 10: Invite Friends Over

Create a gathering with people you love. Inviting people into your home for a relaxed evening like cocktails and hors d'oeuvres brings the house to life and gives your the opportunity to show off all your hard work.

I hope that once you finish your home revision, you'll see all the things you fell in love with when you first bought it.

If not, call me and we'll look for a new home. I'm sure yours will sell quickly now!!

Posted in Household tips
Jan. 14, 2022

Cost of Rent V Buy in 2022

Cost to Rent vs. Buy in 2022


**Owner Occupant Buyers Retreated in 2021


For Buyers:

As the cost of purchasing a home increases in Greater Phoenix, the question of whether to rent or buy becomes harder to answer for some buyers. The overall median cost of a home is currently $425,000, and for a typical 1,500-2,000 square foot home, the median cost is $420,000. The estimated payment, assuming 10% down and including principal, interest, taxes and insurance, is $2,123. The median monthly rental rate for the same size range, recorded through the Arizona Regional MLS, was $2,195 in the 4th quarter of 2021; just $72 per month more.


Some buyers might question the advantage of purchasing a home in order to save $72 per month. However, the financial advantage of owning vs. renting is typically realized for those who own their home for at least 3-5 years.


Let’s assume, hypothetically, that a buyer purchased a home today for $420,000 with a $42,000 down payment (10%). Over the next 5 years, their home’s value fluctuates up and down and in the end doesn’t appreciate. That may sound horrifying, however during this time the loan principle has been paid down to $336,000. The homeowner’s equity has doubled from $42,000 to $84,000 without their home appreciating a dime, and with 20% equity they no longer have to pay private mortgage insurance. Their payment declines $200. Still a win.


Now let’s assume, hypothetically again, that while our homeowner is paying down their loan, the home value fluctuates up, down and sideways, but still averages a 6% appreciation rate over 5 years (close to the current rate of inflation). The home would then be worth $562,000, an increase of $142,000.


After 5 years, this hypothetical homeowner went from $42,000 to $226,000 in equity, and their monthly cost was nearly the same as what they would have paid in rent anyway. For this reason, even when the monthly payment required to buy is close to that to rent, buying still wins in the long game.


Mike Balzotti

Posted in Real Estate News
Dec. 9, 2021

Christmas Cookie Recipe

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Posted in Recipes
Dec. 9, 2021

Winter Home Maintenance Tips

Winter Home Maintenance Tips

Posted in Household tips