How Accurate is a Zillow Zestimate?

Zillow estimates are reached by using an algorithm: it  is a computer generated system.  So, if you were in say a nice tight community with similar lot size and characteristics and there are 1000 homes in this area then it is more accurate as  the computer looks at past sales and generates an average.

When dealing with custom homes on custom lots it is just  not accurate.  For instance one home may have a country club attached to it, a living guard at the gate with very few sales in that immediate area…..but 1 mile down the road in a non-hoa, no gate, and completely different home a home sells….Zillow now brings that into its zestimate.

Homes in higher price ranges, luxury homes over $1M, have a smaller pool of buyers and will sit on the market for longer periods of time certainly in comparison to the under $500K homes…..but Zillow doesn’t differentiate the home itself : condition, year,  updates, appliances landscaping, just the sales and sales activity around it …and most recent.
It really does mess with the valuation of property when you are considering making an offer or listing your home based on Zillow.

When you get into cave creek area (stagecoach) for example, there is such variation in property….like Arcadia.  You can have 1 million and down the road 5M and across from that 850K.
Neighbourhoods sell in a range up to approximately 20% – not what Zillow may suggest.  The best way to figure out the value of a home is to look at similar area, similar home (or at least caliber of home in custom builds) the recent sales in a recent time frame in relation to the type of home you are comping –

Want to know the value of a home you found on Zillow and compare what I come up with vs Zillow?  Send me an email and I will get back to you!

Changes in the Market

This is the post back in January 2013:

Here we are in September 2013:

And today…..


Typically, we do see a drop in listing activity due to the holidays but it is important to pay attention to the “trend”   The market index has been on a decline has finally hit a point that can be deemed a buyers market.  I will continue to update you on inventory: supply and demand and if you would like to receive some listings from me, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Sliding into a Buyers market in Scottsdale!

Arabian Library ArtAs of October 27, 2103 we have entered what is referred to as a “balanced market”

As inventory continues to rise and sales slow we are moving rather quickly into a “buyers market”.  It was only back in the spring that inventory was so low that sellers were able to sit back and entertain multiple offers while buyers scurried around with their agents, cheques in hand hoping to get a chance to make an offer…

Not the case now!  Buyers will have more power to negotiate, shop around with more inventory from which to choose. Inventory is up 31% since July!

Sellers are in the early stages of realizing that even though prices are still showing a marginal increase the inventory is not moving as quickly as it was.  Last year at this time, your home if listed had a 95% chance of selling, today only 75%  – keep in mind that 80% is considered normal-

So, in case I didn’t say it loud enough:  We are in a buyers market!!





Income Tax for Canadian Landlords

Taxation of Rental Property Income …from the RBC Advice Centre

This article is one in a series of related topics on Canadians owning & renting property in the United States. Prior to implementing any strategies contained in the articles, individuals should consult with a qualified tax advisor, accountant, legal professional or other professional to discuss implications specific to their situation.

Even though you are a Canadian citizen and resident, you are subject to U.S. income tax on any rental income you receive from your U.S. real estate property. To comply with this Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax reporting requirement, you can choose one of the following two options:


You can choose to have your gross rental income taxed at a flat 30%, but this option does not permit for deduction of any expenses. In many cases, this can be a very expensive option. Under this option, you do not have to file a U.S. tax return to report this rental income. However, you will still need to report the net rental income on a Canadian tax return. Foreign tax credits can be taken to eliminate double taxation, but it is possible that the full 30% U.S. withholding tax will not be recouped.


Alternatively, you can elect to file a U.S. non-resident income tax return (Form 1040-NR) on a net rental income basis and complete Schedule E. Net rental income is defined as gross rents less ordinary and usual expenses, including property taxes, mortgage interest, insurance, management fees and utilities. It must also be noted that, unlike in Canada, U.S. tax laws impose a mandatory deduction for depreciation for U.S. tax filing purposes. The benefit under this option is that your net rental income amount, subject to U.S. tax at your marginal tax rate, will likely be substantially lower than the gross rental income amount subject to the 30% withholding tax. If you elect to file on a net rental basis, then you will need to complete Form W-8ECI to avoid the 30% U.S. withholding tax. Form W-8ECI needs to be submitted to your tenant or to a U.S. agent (not to the IRS).


If you choose to be taxed based on the net rental basis option, then you will have to file a U.S. tax return and Schedule E by June 15 of the following year even if the net rental calculation results in a rental loss. Regardless of the filing deadline, any balance of tax owing must be paid to the IRS by April 15 of the following year to avoid late interest charges.

If the June 15 deadline is missed, then there is an additional 16-month grace period to file a return on a net rental basis. Beyond the 16-month grace period, you will no longer be eligible to elect to pay on a net rental basis, and the 30% withholding tax on gross rental income (plus any penalties and interest) will apply for that tax year. For jointly held properties, each party is required to file a separate tax return and report their proportion of the rental income and expenses.

In addition to your U.S. tax filing obligations, you will also need to report on your Canadian tax return in Canadian dollars the net U.S. rental income/loss based on Canadian tax rules. In most cases, foreign tax credits taken on the Canadian tax return will alleviate potential double taxation issues.

What does it cost to close a property in Arizona?

You are thinking of purchasing here in Arizona and you just want to know what all those “other” costs are. These will vary slightly if you are paying cash or securing financing here in Arizona.

To actually close on your property, you can expect to pay these
Traditional Closing Costs: (note that it varies based on cost of property)

Type of Transaction: Cash
Appraisal – (optional)
Lender’s Title Insurance – (not required)
Reconveyance Fee – $50-$75
Recording Fee – $45
Wire/Courier/notary Fee – $50-$350
Endorsement Fee – $75
Title Fee – $300-$900
Title Doc. Prep Fee – $30

Type of Transaction: Financed
Appraisal – $300-$600
Lender’s Title Insurance – $800-$3500
Reconveyance Fee $50-$75
Recording Fee – $45
Wire/Courier/notary Fee – $50-$350
Endorsement Fee – $75
Title Fee – $300-$900
Title Doc. Prep Fee – $30

Other possible closing cost considerations:

Buyer gets credit from Seller for unpaid taxes because taxes are paid in arrears.
Home warranty if chosen
HOA (Home Owners Association) Transfer fees typically paid by seller if written in contract. Some HOA’s like Grayhawk and DC Ranch have a Buyer Enhancement Fee of up to 1%

**strongly recommended though not required:
home inspection – $250 – $500

Canadians, you don’t have to pay tax on your purchase! You will pay; however, when/if you sell the property.