Monday, September 27, 2004

Home Ownership for Singles-- Why Not?

If you believe home ownership is something you only consider when you're married, think again. After all, you wouldn't wait around for Mr./Ms. Right before you bought a new car, would you? Granted, a new home is more expensive than most cars-- but don't let the anxiety of not having a dual income keep you from having a home of your own. It shouldn't.

Thinking about the benefits of home ownership should banish most of your fears:

  • No more "money down the drain" paying monthly rent
  • You have made an investment
  • You'll build equity
  • You have something you can sell
  • You have something to borrow against
  • You have something you can rent out if you need to travel, or take an assigment
  • You have tax deductions!
  • You have a place of your own

The process of buying a home when you're single isn't all that different from that of being married. As a matter of fact, there are many programs that are available to help single and first-time homebuyers. There are even programs that help with a downpayment. Housing & Urban Development is a good place to start.

Take it a step at a time. Get your credit in order if needed, get pre-approved for a loan amount, find out if your company offers help with buying a first home, see if your 401K can be tapped-- just make use of all the many resources open to you including your best bet, a great Realtor to help you on your way. Get your "ducks in a row", and start shopping! You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Living Larger in a Smaller Place

Not all that long ago, people were moving to larger cities; but that trend is tending to reverse. Why? Many people are realizing that the lifestyles of small towns (even rural) are very attractive. The White Mountains of Arizona is one of those places many people from all over the country are choosing.

I know we did-- after a long search and a lot of research, we chose the White Mountains.

Small town living offers so many benefits: smaller schools, much less crime, lower housing costs, less traffic, quiet safe parks, and more of a community feel and good will, among many other attractive benefits.

Weather has to be important when choosing a small town, and the White Mountains is a Four Seasons area. Location, too. The White Mountains puts you in striking distance of some great places to visit. Where else could you drive from your snow-covered home to the Valley to swim, all in the same day? Or take a quick run up to the Red Rocks of Sedona? Travel down to Old Mexico, take a swing to Vegas?

We think the White Mountains of Arizona is pretty darn near perfect, and that the trend towards smaller, even rural towns, is an excellent life change. Lots of books have been written about the trend. Click below for a brand new one-- see how other people did it!

Life 2.0 How People Across America Are Transforming Their Lives by Finding the Where of Their Happiness

Monday, September 20, 2004

Higher Home Prices - Your State

A couple of weeks ago we were talking about how "hot" the housing market's been. Want to know how much home values have increased in your state?
 How much have prices gone up in your state?
StateRank*1-Yr.1-Qtr.5-Yr.Since 1980
Alabama (AL)483.260.5520.16136.63
Alaska (AK)219.152.2226.04109.16
Arizona (AZ)179.462.6137.16160.6
Arkansas (AR)345.5122.05118.57
California (CA)318.394.8584.1338.72
Colorado (CO)473.510.7837.8227.1
Connecticut (CT)1410.72.653.36284.46
Delaware (DE)1211.521.947.34276.08
District of Columbia (DC)516.072.7895.1316.06
Florida (FL)714.233.9361.28208.96
Georgia (GA)404.240.829.4186.66
Hawaii (HI)218.94.4753.79255.49
Idaho (ID)316.232.7121.37143.97
Illinois (IL)257.671.8834.96208.25
Indiana (IN)493.050.6218.2138.67
Iowa (IA)355.081.2123.02123.59
Kansas (KS)374.821.2825.39118.18
Kentucky (KY)384.81.0923.14160.56
Louisiana (LA)335.751.5425.6496.29
Maine (ME)1012.012.7958.36314.61
Maryland (MD)615.43.6558.1260.49
Massachusetts (MA)169.791.6373.38528.62
Michigan (MI)423.990.7327.86205.42
Minnesota (MN)209.281.9454.9223.12
Mississippi (MS)433.951.219.21113.76
Missouri (MO)306.351.3230.93160.24
Montana (MT)189.432.0434.03175.99
Nebraska (NE)364.861.4919.38133.1
Nevada (NV)122.927.5353.06183.37
New Hampshire (NH)1510.392.3371.13318.61
New Jersey (NJ)812.752.1964.97329.4
New Mexico (NM)276.981.8422.1143.95
New York (NY)1310.951.8163.18414.16
North Carolina (NC)443.850.9921.16180.79
North Dakota (ND)286.672.1724.62100.96
Ohio (OH)453.790.6221.24156.46
Oklahoma (OK)394.380.6524.2475.51
Oregon (OR)238.12.3827.53211.02
Pennsylvania (PA)199.42.2936.44217.34
Rhode Island (RI)417.854.2287.78383.92
South Carolina (SC)414.080.8924.41159.27
South Dakota (SD)296.51.7825.6139.89
Tennessee (TN)463.790.9419.5153.79
Texas (TX)502.910.9824.9390.61
United States **09.362.2143.59218.03
Utah (UT)512.580.9711.55165.06
Vermont (VT)1111.772.6747.73250.07
Virginia (VA)912.212.7352.01234.44
Washington (WA)247.812.4330.69237.91
West Virginia (WV)326.061.6523.41103.63
Wisconsin (WI)267.371.7230.64177.75
Wyoming (WY)228.222.5433.2399.61
Source: OFHEO
*Ranked by 1-year growth rate **Weighted average

Sunday, September 12, 2004

White Mountains Arizona Geocaching


Looking for something else to do in the White Mountains of Arizona? Try Geocaching! Get out and get some fresh air and exercise while participating in world-wide "treasure hunts"-- and there might be "Geocaches" hidden right here in the White Mountains! Who knew?

Geocaching is technology's newest sport, entertainment and fun-filled learning opportunity courtesy of GPS (Global Positioning System) and is catching on in a big way for hikers, both casual and serious, adventurers, and just fun-seeking outdoor activity hounds.

Geocachers hide and seek "caches" of interesting, amusing, informative (and sometimes valuable) items using GPS coordinates. Afficionados keep up-to-date on finds and hidden hoardes by visiting websites and blogs devoted to the sport. Geocaching in Arizona

The White Mountains of Arizona offers endless opportunities for finding, seeking and stashing Geocaches-- our trails system, our High Desert, mountains, streams, cliffs-- All you need is an affordable hand-held GPS unit and you're all set. Unless you want some "official" Geocaching gear, too-- and the 'net is full of places to shop.

Official Geocaching Website

What are you waiting for? Find White Mountains Vista Geocache

Get out there!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Pinetop-Lakeside Arizona 29th Annual Fall Festival


Fall Festival

Set for Saturday, Sept. 18, the 29th Annual Pinetop-Lakeside Fall Festival kicks off at 10 a.m. with a parade down White Mountain Boulevard (S.R. 260) to the Blue Ridge School campus. More than 50 entries are expected which includ colorful floats, equestrian units, and many other displays. This year's them is: "Those Were the Days...Our Mountain Heritage".

Additionally, Hon-Dah Resort Casino and Conference Center will host the Second Annual Multicultural Festival which will feature international dance groups, White Mountain Apache Arts & Craft Show and Sale, as well as international arts and crafts. Saturday evening, Sept. 18, Abijah, will be in concert.

On Sept. 25 and 26, the 29th Annual Fall Festival Arts and Crafts Show will be held at Blue Ridge Elementary School. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Admission $1 per person/children under 12 admitted free.

The 21st Annual Run to the Pines Car Show will feature unique, unusual and antique cars displayed at the driving range at Pinetop Lakes Country Club. Scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to noon on Sunday. Amission is free.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Hottest Housing Market in 25 Years!

A stronger and expanding economy, sustained low mortgage rates are credited for 9.4% year-over-year increase, the greatest since 1979 driving prices for U.S. homes up at the fastest pace in 25 years during the second quarter.

House prices rose 9.36% over the last 12 months, said the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO). "The appreciation over the past year is the largest four-quarter increase since 1979," said Patrick Lawler, chief economist at OFHEO. "These data show no signs of the long-anticipated, and ultimately inevitable, slowing of house-price inflation."

To make a comparison, the prices of non-housing goods and services have increased at a rate of only 3.03% in the last year. Price growth likely will slacken when interest rates rise, Lawler said.

"House prices may become increasingly vulnerable to potential sustained higher interest rates in the future, but that has not happened so far," Lawler said in a statement. In fact, mortgage rates have dropped since the Federal Reserve began raising its key overnight lending rate in June. Find Out How Much Home You Can Buy BEFORE You Go Shopping

Still, economists at Fannie Mae, the largest U.S. mortgage financier, say the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage probably will rise half a percentage point to 6.5% next year, reverting to 2002 levels. During the first quarter of 2004, though, the rate hit a nine-month low of 5.4% in mid-March, spurring sales that closed in the second quarter.

The appreciation rate for the second quarter was 2.21%, the OFHEO said, an annualized rate of 8.83%.

Nineteen regions had above-average annual price growth in the second quarter-- top gainer Nevada, at 23%, followed by Hawaii, at 19%, California, with 18.4%, Rhode Island, at 17.9% and Washington D.C. with 16%. Prices in New York gained 11%, and Massachusetts rose 9.8%.

The states lagging year-over-year price growth were Utah, at 2.6%, followed by Texas, with a gain of 2.9% and Indiana trailing at 3.1%. Those states also lagged in the first quarter, but none experienced falling prices in the second quarter.

Regionally, appreciation has bogged down in the New England and West South Central (Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma) areas. New England braked to a 10.65% rate, while West South Central prices rose only 3.83% -- the smallest increase of all census divisions.

The study, known as the House Price Index, exempts properties with mortgages higher than $333,700, the maximum amount allowed in 2004 for loans bought by government-chartered Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and it follows average house price changes in repeat sales or refinancing of single-family properties in the portfolios. House Price Index