Snow Birds in Phoenix

I’m excited! I have a guest in the house today.

Often, clients have questions about purchasing property in the United States. I am honest in saying to them that I am unable to give them a qualified response. Rules, regulations and real estate law differ within each state and from our province. Intimate knowledge of the local market also presents barriers. When asked about Arizona, I think Dalton – Realtor® extraordinaire! I asked Jonathan to scribe a little post as an introduction to Phoenix. He has obliged and I thank him. Please welcome – Jonathan Dalton.

Let’s begin with an introduction. My name’s Jonathan Dalton and I’m with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona. I’ve got about a half-dozen websites here but I’m best known for my Dalton’s Arizona Homes Blog, which my mother and wife read daily. So do some of your compatriots. Why? Because I’ve spent a good chunk of the last few months discussing Canadians purchasing real estate here in Phoenix. And I’ve actually been working with several, too.


Notice that I said purchase and not invest. Investment, especially when it comes to real estate, has become a dirty work in many circles. In truth, real estate investment has gotten a bad rap not because of the true investors but because of the speculators who migrated like locusts across the landscape. Those who didn’t get out fast enough look like members of the Donner Party, willing to do nearly anything to survive.

Some of the communities in which I specialize are active adult communities. I didn’t say retirement because some age limits have dropped as low as 40. This is where you see a lot of Canadians searching for second homes they can visit in the winter months. Some from British Columbia even stick around long enough to catch the Mariners in spring training through the month of March before heading back.

Speaking of winter … Larry asked why I wrote first for blogs in Saskatoon and Edmonton. This morning I talked to someone in Calgary who was barbecuing on his deck while it was 10 below Fahrenheit. That’s colder than it was in Green Bay for Sunday’s football game where the beer froze during tailgates. By comparison your highs in the 40s this week are positively balmy – just not as balmy as our highs in the low 60s. Start with the snow, I thought, then work west. Kinda like Hockey Night in Canada.

Back to business …

Since the Canadian dollar reached parity with the American dollar, Canadians purchasing in the States has become a cottage industry to the point that there are seminars popping up about purchasing property here in Arizona and elsewhere. Truthfully, it’s not that complicated. There are tax considerations that are best left to accountants trained in Canadian tax law, then there are logistics. Most of the latter that I see revolve around the Phoenix metropolitan area and our real estate market’s performance.

To whit:

1) You can look at homes in a subdivision a day in metro Phoenix and still be looking a year later. It’s just a huge place. While golf is everywhere other amenities are not. For instance, if you want to watch the Sedins skate circles around Gretzky’s Coyotes, come to the West Valley – home of Jobing Arena.

2) Property taxes are not created alike. The local paper ran an article about Canadians buying in Florence, a town in Pinal County way southeast of Phoenix. What wasn’t mentioned is the taxes in Pinal County are far higher than in Maricopa, where Phoenix is located. I’m pretty sure the builders’ agents didn’t mention this either.

3) We’re in a buyers’ market but that doesn’t mean you can name your price. Motivated doesn’t always mean desperate, though it sometimes might. A well-priced property is just that … well-priced.

4) Short sales. Two words: stay away. A short sale is where the owner owes the lender(s) more than the home’s worth. So for the honor of paying market value for someone else’s overpriced purchase, you get the honor of having the bank not respond to your offer for weeks and/or months.

5) Bank-owned properties. Worth a look, especially if you don’t mind having to do a little work. Rehab can vary from cosmetic to structural, depending on the house.

6) No one knows where the bottom is or when it will happen. Don’t ask. But keep in mind every slip in the loony also can have a substantial impact on your real costs, not just changes in market values here.

There are more details, far more to cover here without totally taking over Larry’s blog. Some of the answers are on my home blog; if you don’t see an answer for a question you have, just e-mail me and I’ll be happy to help. You’re also welcome to peruse the Phoenix listings at Phoenix Real Estate Search. I won’t even make you register to do it.

With that, I return you to your Vancouver real estate news already in progress. Thanks for allowing me to interrupt.

About Larry Yatkowsky

Larry is a recognized real estate expert. A veteran professional, his experienced counsel leads Vancouverites in his west side community to place their trust in a man passionate about his work. Uncompromising ethics bring a balanced approach to realizing your real estate dreams.

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*Disclaimer: Statistics Courtesy REBGV. While believed to be accurate they are not guaranteed.
**Numbers provided may vary as they are dynamically posted by the REBGV.

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