Bryant Charleston, Broker-Associate
Working with Sellers & Buyers throughout the Phoenix area!!
Phone: (623)764-4608    Fax: (888)469-6820

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Thinking of Selling YOUR Home?
Wondering what it's worth?
Call me for a FREE, no-obligation home evaluation!!
 Are you curious to know what homes LIKE YOURS are selling for in your neighborhood??
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 Call me TODAY!!  
     I work with Sellers and Buyers VALLEYWIDE
From Buckeye to Apache Junction, and from South Phoenix to Anthem
and including Maricopa & Queen Creek! 

Thinking about selling (anywhere Valleywide)? Call me TODAY for a FREE, no obligation home valuation!!

The 3 Most Important Things for Getting Your Home Sold

  • PRICE - must be in line with recent comps of sold similar homes in the area
  • EXPOSURE - property must be properly marketed
  • ACCESSIBILITY - serious, qualified buyers must be able to get inside the property

Steps to Getting Your Home Sold

  • Discuss the property listing / selling process and complete the listing questionnaire (over the phone)
  • Normal sale? "Comps" are pulled to determine fair market value before listing presentation
  • Short sale? Have you attempted a work around DIRECTLY with your lender(s) yet? (refi, forebearance, etc?)
  • Short sale? Meet with an attorney and/or tax professional to discuss your options (STRONGLY recommended)
  • Listing presentation, home tour and signing of listing documents (marketing restrictions are discussed here, if any)
  • Short sale? Get "authorization letter", and other documents as needed to begin the process
  • Property is entered into the MLS, yard sign installed (if allowed), lockbox added (if allowed)
  • Begin title "prelim" work
  • Property listing info is "pushed" to many websites (, Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo RE, and many others)
  • A qualifiied buyer(s) is(are) found, offer(s) are made, and the seller(s) select the offer they like best
  • Escrow is opened with a preferred title company
  • Short sale? Offer is submitted to lien holders and, once a negotiator is assigned, negotiations begin
  • Agent guides the seller through necessary disclosure (SPDS, BINSR, CLUE, etc) and keeps both parties informed
  • Home will typically be inspected and appraised by the buyer - seller should keep home MAINTAINED (A/C, heating, plumbing, utilities ON, etc)
  • If the property has a POOL, keeping it filled, clean, functional and utilties ON will make the home sell MUCH EASIER (hint, hint!!)
  • Buyer(s) prepares to close, signs closing documents, and brings closing amount to title company
  • Seller(s) signs closing documents and brings closing amount (if any) to title company
  • Seller(s) is typically out of the property BEFORE "close of escrow" unless special arrangements are made
  • The transaction "closes escrow", the seller(s) and lien holders are paid, buyer(s) gets the keys.


How much house COULD you buy with the RENT you now pay??

  • $500/month rent = $100,000 house!
  • $1,000/month rent = $200,000 house!
  • $1,500/month rent = $300,000 house!
  • $2,000/month rent = $400,000 house!
  • Assumptions: Principal & Interest only ; 5% interest ; FHA 3.5% down ; 30 yr fixed ; M.I., taxes, insurance, HOA fees not included
  • Above figures approximate

HUD foreclosed homes can save you over $1,000!!!

  • A HUD home is a foreclosure owned by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
  • The previous owner had an FHA loan - which defaulted
  • HUD homes already have a home inspection completed (saving you $300+)!!
  • HUD homes come with a clean termite report (saving you $50-$500+)!!
  • HUD homes already have the appraisal done (if using an FHA loan - saving you $400+)!!
  • HUD homes come with 3% closing cost assistance!!
  • Short on Funds? HUD may be the BEST foreclosure "deal" for you!!
  • HUD homes are located throughout the Valley at VERY affordable prices!!
  • Many HUD homes are newer homes in great condition!!
  • Click the "HUD" links (above) to see them!! ( links are more accurate)
  • Call me when you're ready to qualify and go buy a HUD home!!

Problems with HUD home bidding process for FHA loan buyers

FHA buyers here in the Phoenix Arizona area are often finding themselves being out-bid when making offers on HUD foreclosure homes. Perhaps the main reason why this happens is because the initial list price of the home - which is the FHA "as-is" appraised value (the MAX that an FHA loan buyer can offer without paying more out-of-pocket) - is often LOWER than what the "comps" would indicate the home is worth (i.e. - the appraisal value that buyers using other loan methods - Conventional, VA, USDA, etc - will ultimately end up with). Because of this, buyers with non-FHA loans can usually easily out-bid FHA buyers without paying more out-of-pocket. This gives what some would consider an "unfair" advantage to these other, non-FHA, buyers.
Here are some possible ways to level the playing field, so-to-speak:
  • Be aware of the "comps" on the target property (esp when considering the next three options)
  • Cover (some or all) of your own closing costs
  • Overbid on the price (and be ready to pay difference out of pocket)
  • A combination of the two above (if combining both options can get you close to the "comps" value)
  • Use another type of financing (other than FHA) - i.e.: 5-20% down Conventional, VA, USDA (if applicable), cash, etc
  • Avoid HUD homes altogether - focus on bank or privately-owned homes
  • PIck a less-desirable property (smaller, older, further away, missing some items, minor damage, "dirtier", etc)
  • Just get "lucky" (I've seen it happen - but it's rare for a property in great condition in a desirable area)

Multiple-bid/offer ("bidding war") strategy & considerations

  • Find out how many offers are on the property, and how soon the seller will decide (if possible)
  • Has the seller already accepted another offer? Are they at the countering stage? Highest & Best?
  • Note property location, size, condition, age, 1 or 2 floors, lot size, upgrades, amenities, missing parts (if any), etc
  • Does the property back to a major street or some other "undesirable" factor?
  • Pull "comps" when considering an offer/bid; take the above factors into account
  • Be aware of the "appraisal contingency" in the contract, and use it to your advantage
  • Consider days-on-market and price drops (more important if you're the only offer/bid)
  • Understand that days-on-market alone may be a VERY deceptive factor

Buying a home that needs some repairs

  • If the repair amount is less than $5,500 (missing A/C, for example), you may be able to do an "escrow hold back"...
  • ...if you are purchasing a HUD home, or using a "conventional" loan
  • You can NOT do an "escrow holdback" while using an FHA loan and buying a non-HUD home (i.e.: bank or privately owned, etc)
  • For HUD homes, you can also do an FHA 203k (streamlined or standard) for amounts over $5,500
  • The "escrow holdback" is simpler, faster, and cheaper - if it's an option in your particular situation

FHA / VA (loan) "lender required" items

  • All HVAC heating and air conditioning equipment functional
  • All internal plumbing functional (toilets, sinks, faucets, shower heads, etc)
  • All smoke detectors present and functional
  • No exposed electrical wiring
  • No missing electrical socket covers
  • Range/stove must be in place
  • No obvious safety hazards
  • Termite checks (possibly, maybe not - definitely req'd for VA loans)
  • Water heater needs to be functional
  • Pool may need to be filled and pool equipment must be functional (if applicable)
  • Utilities (water, electricity) should be ON to verify pool operation and condition (hint, hint)
  • Septic tank (if applicable) will need to be certified operational (AZ state law), just an FYI...
  • Well (if applicable) may need to have water tested
  • Other items (see article below)
Homes can be bought with FHA loans with these problems, but they'll need to be addressed via:
1) escrow hold backs (HUD homes only, or non-FHA loan buyers) - if repairs are under $5,500
2) getting the seller to do the repairs before close of escrow (may require some "negotiation")
3) FHA 203k "streamlined" (above $5,500 in repairs, but still "simple")
4) FHA 203k standard (extensive repairs needed - structural, etc)
Both options 3 & 4 above *may* require a pre-repair inspection/evaluation to be done by an FHA Inspector (buyer's expense)
Regardless of the option chosen, an FHA Inspector *may* also be required to perform a post-repair inspection (buyer's expense), whether repairs are done before or after close of escrow.
More info on possible FHA (loan) "lender required" repairs:
Need Credit Repair?? Call me today!! 
  • If you have NOT had a bankruptcy in the last 24 months...
  • If you have NOT had a foreclosure in the last 36 months...
  • If you have NOT had a "short sale" in the last 36 months...
  • If you have current collections that you ARE willing to pay off or catch up...
  • ...then you MAY be able to qualify for a mortgage! Call me TODAY and let's find out!!

"First-time Home Buyer" considerations (down payment, closing costs, etc)

  • Definition - "first time home buyer": someone who has NOT owned a home in the last 3 years
  • (if they ever had one, they sold it AT LEAST 3 YEARS ago - that's 36 months)
  • If a buyer already has a home, he/she will be considered an "investment" or "second" home buyer
  • Investment & 2nd-home buyers will usually be required to put more money down (often 10% - maybe more)
  • Investor & 2nd-home buyers may have slightly higher interest rates than first-time buyers, all else being equal
  • Most banks and HUD may NOT pay 3% closing cost contributions for these buyers
  • Some sellers (banks/HUD) may require these buyers to wait severals days (after the property hits the market) before making offers
  • There may be other "concessions" that some sellers (banks/HUD) will not offer
  • Private sellers (i.e.: "real people", not banks/HUD) MAY be willing to offer concessions that banks won't

Various ways to "qualify" to purchase a home (incl down payment requirements)

  • FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan - 3.5% down payment (CAN be gifted from family) - ($1,000 earnest deposit is part of this)
  • VA (Veterans Administration) loan - 0 down payment, military personnel ($1,000 earnest deposit still required)
  • USDA (U.S. Dept of Agriculture) loan - "0 down" like VA, but can be used by anyone (who qualifies) in certain "rural" cities (Buckeye, Maricopa, Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Anthem, Apache Junction, western parts of Goodyear & Litchfield Park, Wittmann, etc)
  • Conventional loan - 3-20% down payment ($1,000 earnest deposit is part of this)
  • Cash - may require a larger down payment (up to 20%); you'll need to produce recent financial statement(s) - without account numbers - showing that you have the funds (i.e.:"proof of funds")

Down payment vs Closing costs

  • Down payment (discussed above) and closing costs are separate...
  • Earnest deposit ($1,000) is part of the down payment - and is pledged to get the property off the market
  • The balance (remainder) of the down payment is paid at closing (4-6 weeks later for a "loan" buyer; 7-10 days later for "cash" buyers)
  • Closing costs for a "loan" buyer of a typically-priced home (under $150,000) are about $4,000 (rule-of-thumb)
  • Note: closing costs for "cash" buyers are a LOT less
  • Banks often contribute up to 3% of the agreed-upon sales price to cover these buyer's closing costs; HUD also contributes up to 3%
  • Note: for homes OVER $133,000, a 3% seller (bank, HUD, etc) contribution is enough to cover the buyer's $4,000 closing costs
  • For a home UNDER $133,000, a 3% seller contribution is NOT ENOUGH to cover the entire $4,000 buyer's closing costs
  • Unless the seller (bank, HUD, etc) will offer MORE than 3% for a home UNDER $133,000, the BUYER will need to make up the difference at closing
  • This is IN ADDITION to whatever remaining amount of down payment the buyer will need to bring in
  • Also, the greater the competition for (more offers on) a given home, the LESS "concessions" the seller will offer
  • Generally, the LONGER the property has been on the market, the MORE the seller will offer to get it sold
  • I always make every effort possible to negotiate full closing costs for my buyers, but this cannot be guaranteed
  • Applying the $1,000 earnest deposits to cover the buyer's closing costs may make the DIFFERENCE for the buyer!!
  • It MAY be possible to re-structure the buyer's LOAN to help cover some of these, if necessary
  • Some of these funds may be GIFTED (given to the buyer from a family member) if the buyer is short on funds
  • fyi: "0 down" (VA / USDA) programs usually get cash back at closing for the buyer

Ready to qualify?? Call / email / text me your name & number and I'll have a loan officer contact you!!

The Home buying process (in a nutshell)

  • Get qualified - get me a copy of the loan Pre-Qualification Form (PQF) or proof of funds, showing that you CAN buy and for how much
  • Determine the search parameters (city/cities, # beds/baths, square footage, year built, max price, "wants", "needs", etc)
  • Consider the monthly HOA payment (some subdivisions in Anthem, Maricopa & Queen Creek are at $80/month or more, for example)
  • Watch out for one-time HOA "transfer / disclosure / working capital / enhancement / reserve fund / preservation / etc.." FEES (neglible most times, but can be HUNDREDS of dollars with some subdivisions)
  • Certain Buckeye subdivisions (i.e.: Sundance, West Park, Riata West, etc) may have Community Facility District (CFD) "assessments" (approx $600/year - another $50/month ABOVE monthly HOA dues) that buyers will also need to pay (through June 2022, for example) and should be aware of (see "Miscellaneous Links" below)
  • I'll set up a custom property search "web portal" for you to view/select all homes matching your specs
  • You select your favorite 5-10 homes matching your specs
  • I'll screen the list for possible problems
  • We'll make an appointment to go view these homes (5 max per day, unless all homes are close together - then we can see 7 per day)
  • Yes, there are MANY homes out there - but once you've NARROWED the search by SEEING them, there will be FEW that'll REALLY match what you want
  • Select your 1st FAVORITE home (think about a 2nd & 3rd choice as well)
  • It's VERY LIKELY that your 1st choice will already have other offers on it, and MAY be SOLD already - so you'll need to be READY to MOVE to the 2nd or 3rd choice
  • If your 1st choice is still available, we'll write an offer on the property (HUD process slightly different)
  • Negotiate and (ideally) get the offer accepted (depending on the competition and other factors - HUD differences)
  • Escrow is opened with a title company, and the earnest deposit made out to that title company ($1,000 - cashier's check may be required)
  • WARNING!! DO NOT make any MAJOR financial purchases (furniture, cars, large credit card charges,etc) during this time!! Do that AFTER you close escrow!!
  • Property is inspected (NOT required, but STRONGLY recommended) - $300+ for property inspection & $50 for termite check (VA loan only)
  • Note: property inspections are the buyer's responsibility and at the buyer's expense, and bank/HUD properties are sold in "AS IS" condition
  • Banks often turn on utilities (not gas) for inspections; HUD does not (but HUD does provides a basic free inspection)
  • If termite activity is found AND IF the buyer is using a VA loan, property will need treating ($450+) (about 20% of homes in my experience)
  • If the property has a septic tank ($500+ inspection) and/or well (& water quality), these may have to be checked (at buyer's expense)
  • Most properties in subdivisions do NOT have septic tanks, but public sewers instead (properties with 1+ acre lots often do have septic tanks)
  • If major problems are found, we can re-negotiate or back out and get the $1,000 earnest deposit back
  • Property is appraised ($400+) (HUD homes already appraised - list price is appraised value if buyer is using an FHA loan)
  • If the property appraises for AT LEAST the agreed-upon sales price, then continue working with loan officer. If not, we can re-negotiate or back out and get $1,000 back
  • If buyer ultimately can NOT qualify (after a good faith & diligent effort), buyer can still back out and get $1,000 back
  • Buyer will not, of course, be re-imbursed for any inspection expenses (none of these were ever seller-required)
  • Just before signing final paperwork (4-6 weeks for "loan" buyers) after escrow is opened, final walk through is done to verify no change in property condition
  • If the buyer is buying "all cash", the final signing is typically 7-10 days after escrow opening
  • Final paperwork is signed at the title company (closing amount necessary, if any, is brought to the final signing as a cashier's check made out to the title company)
  • Most Bank/HUD owned deals offer up to 3% of sales price toward closing costs (any remaining down payment or closing costs are due at this time)
  • Banks/HUD/sellers may not be willing to pay closing costs for "investors" (non-owner occupieds)
  • Bank/HUD deals usually will NOT pay HOA transfer fees and/or assessments (FYI)
  • Your lender "funds" (releases the funds); deed is "recorded" in your name; escrow "closes" (could be up to 3 days after signing)
  • CONGRATULATIONS!! You get the keys (and can now change the locks)


Types of "deals" out there (for buyers)

"Bank-owned" vs "HUD-owned" vs "Short sales" vs "Investor flips" vs "Traditional" seller


 The property is owned by a bank (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc). The banks usually pay up to 3% of sales price to cover closing costs, and will usually turn on utilities (not gas) for inspections. Some banks may provide home warranties, and some properties have been re-painted, re-carpetted, and stove/ranges added (to make FHA financing - by far the most popular buyer qualification - easier). Banks are NOT required to do these things, however, and most DO NOT. The properties are usually sold in AS-IS condition - which is why having any such property inspected is important. It's EASY to find homes that are in VERY good condition, however, with minor issues. This is where the best value is to be found.
Bank responses usually take about a week - sometimes faster. Properties owned by either B of A or Wells Fargo often require the buyer to be "qualified" (have an LSR from) by a loan officer within their organization, regardless of which loan officer will actually be used. I can get that done, if necessary. 
 The property is owned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - a branch of the U.S. Government. A "HUD" home is a property whose previous owner had an FHA loan, which defaulted - and the government took the property back. The government offers up to 3% of sales price to cover closing costs, similar to the banks. A basic inspection and appraisal are already done (saving the buyer several hundred dollars). If a buyer is using an FHA loan, then the list price IS the "appraised value" of the property - and HUD provides the appraisal report freely to the successful bid winner.
Unlike most bank-owned deals, HUD does NOT pay to have utilities turned on for inspections. The buyer would need to do this him/herself (after getting permission from HUD to do so in writing - through their agent).  In the event that the property needs repairs, HUD may have an option to add the necessary repair amounts onto the top of the loan in the form of a "repair escrow" - provided that the equity is there (agreed-upon sales price price + amount of repairs needs to be BELOW the list price). Like bank-owned above, HUD does NOT, however, do repairs themselves per se (property is sold in AS-IS condition).
Offers on HUD homes must be made by a HUD-registered broker/agent, such as myself, in the form of bids. Answers can (sometimes) come as quickly as the next day. There are some great HUD deals out there, and many are under $100,000 (as with bank-owned deals).
HUD homes may be a great option for buyers who are a bit short on funds. Since HUD properties already have a "basic" home inspection done (otherwise about $300), termite checks already done ($50-$500+ saved), and the appraisal (list price) is already done (saves about $400), a buyer could potentially save over $1,000 by purchasing a HUD foreclosure rather than another type of "deal".
The down side is that there will usually be FAR LESS in the way of buying options if the buyer considers only HUD homes. Typically, there will be far more bank-owned and/or privately-owned properties matching a given set of search specs (city, max price, minimum square footage, year built, etc) than there will be HUD properites with the same specs.
When I work with buyers, I normally include HUD foreclosures as well as bank and privately-owned properties in the search - unless the buyers tell me not to. If the buyers ultimately select a HUD owned property as their desired home, so much the better for them!
Short sales
 This is a property in "pre-foreclosure" status. The seller is attempting to sell the property for less than he/she owes on it  (for whatever it's worth at this time). The current lien holder(s) need to approve this, however, since they are the ones taking the loss. This approval process can take MONTHS, and buyers making offers must be willing to be patient. 
These deals may or may not include coverage for closing costs. Utilities may be the buyer's responsibility to turn on. 
That being said, short sales can be some of the best deals out there for buyers.
"Pre-approved" short sales are short sale deals where the bank(s) have approved the short sale at a given price. These should close in a "normal" time frame (30-45 days).
Investor flips
 My definition of an "investor flip" is a situation where the current owner and seller (non-bank, private party or entity) has owned the property for LESS THAN 90 days. There are complications involving getting ultimate underwriter approval with these deals. Suffice to say, it's BEST to NOT write (loan) offers on these until AFTER the 90 day period has passed.
If the buyer is an "all cash" type, then there will not be a problem (no "lender requirements" needed, obviously). 
This "90 day rule" does NOT apply to bank or HUD homes.
Traditional seller
 These are (my definition) privately owned (non-bank) homes where the seller HAS owned the property for OVER 90 days (i.e.: 91 or more). These are easy transactions with quick responses. Since the seller is a "real person" (not a bank), the seller may be willing to do repairs and possibly offer other concessions that banks usually do not. Most utilities are usually on, etc - but every deal is different, of course.  

Auctions, owner/seller-carry, rent-to-own, lease-options/purchases, etc.

HOA fee discussion (not all apply to every HOA)

  • Transfer fee (one-time; unexpected community repairs, common area maintenance, approved improvements)
  • Disclosure fee (one-time)
  • Working Capital fee (one-time)
  • Assessments (infrastructure - ongoing)
  • Monthly/Quarterly/Semi-annual/Annual payments
  • 2 months upfront reserve (sometimes)
  • Community Enhancement fee?
  • Reserve fund fee?
  • Capital preservation fee?
  • Other?

Vendor List

  • (DISCLAIMER: I do not personally guarantee the services of any vendor on this list)
  • Harry Dietz, WIN Home Inspections, 602-909-7600
  • Sean, Hummingbird Home Inspections, 602-312-6266
  • Pillar 2 Post, Home Inspections, 623-825-6160
  • Ajax Septic Pumping, 602-278-0075
  • AAA Locks (locksmith, rekeying), 602-697-4691
  • U.S. Pest (termite inspections/treatments), 623-486-0083
  • Action Termite, 623-780-3132
  • American Home Shield (home warranty), 800-776-4663
  • Old Republic (home warranty), 800-282-7131 x1346
  • Bob Eastman (well & water testing/certification), 623-826-7048
  • Maricopa county septic permit, 602-506-0952
  • Molly Maids (home clean up), 623-340-4586
  • Mr Jeff (locksmith, rekeying), 623-826-0260
  • Farmer's Insurance (Emily), 623-581-8200
  • State Farm Insurance (Dennis Blair), 480-860-1111
  • Christian Brothers (A/C, Heating, Plumbing), 602-222-3535
  • Mike Jacobson (carpet cleaning), 602-318-7575
  • All Bright (carpet cleaners, etc), 623-853-0619
  • AAA Landlord (tenant background checks), 480-668-5953
  • Emergency Family Movers, 602-509-1244
  • Jose Gonzalez (painter), 480-980-9484
  • Mark Parrott (handy man, painting, etc), 480-217-6510
  • Aaron Painting (painting, stucco, cabinet staining, garage epoxy), 623-203-3274

Utility companies

  • APS, 602-371-7171
  • SRP, 602-236-8888
  • (Arizona) American Water, 800-383-0834
  • Southwest Gas, 602-851-1999
  • Surprise, City of, 623-222-7000
  • Glendale, City of (water & trash), 623-930-3190
  • Peoria, City of (water & trash), 623-773-7160
  • Goodyear, City of (water & trash), 623-932-3015
  • Parks & Sons, trash (Surprise, etc), 623-972-6120
  • US Postal Service (local post office, mail box location & new key), 800-275-8777
  • Cox Communications (cable, high-speed internet), 623-594-1132
Miscellaneous links:
Miscellaneous links (non-real estate)

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Realty One Group
Realty ONE Group, Inc
17235 N. 75 Ave. #C-190 • Glendale, AZ 85308
Phone: (623)764-4608 • Fax: (888)469-6820