Benefits Of Working With A Professional REALTOR®


It’s a challenging project and there are many ways a professional can help.  Here are some of the many ways you may benefit from working with a REALTOR®:


The REALTOR® who helps you buy a home is traditionally paid by the Seller.


Your REALTOR® has thousands of homes to choose from through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), so you are more likely to find the home that’s just right for you and find it quicker.  In fact, a majority of the homes for sale are listed by REALTORS® and aren’t available to you unless you are working with a REALTOR®.


Unfortunately, it’s true.  Some transactions fall apart before closing.  An experienced REALTOR® may be able to resolve problems and see your transaction through to a successful closing.


New home subdivisions will welcome you and your REALTOR®.  If you are interested in buying a new home, take your agent with you on your first visit to each subdivision.  Your professional REALTOR® is an important source of information who can supply background on the builder, nearby subdivsions and the local community.


You use a professional for your legal, financial and health needs.  Why gamble on what may be your biggest investment without a professional at your side?


You will have more protection form legal and financial liability, especially as real estate transactions become more complicated.


Your experienced REALTOR® will negotiate and prepare the purchase contract for you and assist on throughout the escrow process.

Posted on February 28, 2019 at 10:35 pm
Angela Gandolfo-Martinez | Posted in Home Buyers Info |

Phoenix Cities


Phoenix is the capital and most populated city in Arizona.  Phoenix incorporated as a city in 1881.  Cotton, Cattle, Citrus, Climate and Copper were the driving forces of Phoenix’s economy until after World War II. In 1948 high-tech industry, which would become a staple of the state’s economy, arrived in Phoenix when Motorola chose Phoenix for the site of its new research and development center for military electronics. Seeing the same advantages as Motorola, other high-tech companies such as Intel and McDonnell Douglas would also move into the valley and open manufacturing operations. In 1965 the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum was opened at the Arizona State Fairgrounds and in 1968 the city was awarded the Phoenix Suns franchise of the NBA, which played its local matches in the Coliseum until 1992.  In 1968, the Central Arizona Project was approved by President Lyndon B. Johnson, securing water supply for the future of Phoenix, Tucson and the agricultural corridor in between.

Since 1979, the City of Phoenix has been divided into urban villages. Each village has a planning committee that is directly appointed by the city council.

The 15 urban villages are: Ahwatukee Foothills, Alhambra, Camelback East, Central City, Deer Valley, Desert View, Encanto, Estrella, Laveen, Maryvale, North Gateway, North Mountain, Paradise Valley, Rio Vista, South Mountain.

In addition to the above urban villages, Phoenix has a variety of commonly referred-to regions and districts, such as: Downtown, Midtown, West Phoenix, North Phoenix, South Phoenix, Biltmore, Arcadia, and Sunnyslope.


Avondale is adjacent to Phoenix in the South-West Valley along the I-10 corridor.  Avondale, incorporated in 1946, experience rapid residential and commercial growth since 1980. Once primarily an agricultural community sparsely populated with many acres of alfalfa and cotton fields, Avondale has become a major neighborhood for Phoenix.  Several of the major  residential subdivisions and shopping center have been built on the old farms, very close to the I-10 route.

Avondale is home to the Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), which hosts two NASCAR races annually.

Randall McDaniel played soccer in high school at Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Arizona. He then played soccer at Arizona State University. He began his professional career being selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1988 draft, and played with them until 1999, when he went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played there for two years until he retired. He is widely recognized as one of the largest and most versatile offensive linemen in American football. A multipurpose sports center was built in Avondale in 2010 and was named in his honor – Randall McDaniel Sports Complex.



Buckeye is the westernmost neighborhood in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Buckeye is approximately 30 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona.

There are more than 30 planned communities in Buckeye, including Sundance, Verrado, Westpark, Tartesso and Festival Ranch.

A popular destination in Buckeye is the Buckeye Hills Regional Park.  It is located 7 miles south of Central Buckeye on Route 85. The park has 4,474 acres of natural desert and is open to non-motorized use such as hiking, biking and horseback riding.


Chandler is a prominent suburb of the Phoenix, Arizona, Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is bordered to the north and west by Tempe, to the north by Mesa, to the west by Phoenix, to the south by the Gila River Indian Community, and to the east by Gilbert. Since the early 1990s, the City of Chandler has experienced exponential growth, ranking among the fastest-growing municipalities in the country. Indeed, nearly 100,000 homes dot the landscape today and the population has surged to more than 238,000 residents. The heart of Chandler remains its revitalized historic downtown, which includes the award-winning Chandler City Hall and a Center for the Arts. In 2010, Chandler was named as an All-America City, bestowed by the National Civic League.

According to the City of Chandler’s website leading employers in the city include: Intel, Wells Fargo, Chandler Unified School District, Bank of America, Verizon Wireless, City of Chandler, Chandler Regional Medical Center, PayPal, Orbital ATK, Microchip Technology.

Chandler is noted for its annual Ostrich Festival. Initially, agriculture was the primary business in Chandler, based on cotton, corn, and alfalfa. During the 1910s, there were ostrich farms in the area, catering to the demand for plumes used in women’s hats of the era. This demand ebbed with the increasing popularity of the automobile, but the legacy of the ostrich farms would be commemorated by the Ostrich Festival. The Chandler Center for the Arts, a 1,500-seat regional performing arts venue, is located downtown, and the Arizona Railway Museum is at Tumbleweed Park.



Glendale is a city located in Arizona about nine miles northwest of downtown Phoenix.

Glendale is the site of two major sports facilities: University of Phoenix Stadium and Glendale Arena. Both locations are owned by the City of Glendale. University of Phoenix Stadium is the home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. The University of Phoenix Stadium hosted the Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. The stadium is also used for college football and other events. The stadium hosts the annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Bowl game. Glendale Arena (formerly Arena of Glendale, then stadium) and Westgate Center is adjacent to the University of Phoenix Stadium, and is home to the Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League (NHL) . The opening of the Street League Skateboarding event took place in the summer of 2010 in Glendale, Arizona at the Glendale Arena. This competition returns to Glendale annually.

Historic downtown Glendale has been voted “Arizona’s Antique Capital” by readers of both Valley and statewide newspapers. There are more than 70 antique and specialty shops adjacent to a beautiful city park and library. The Catlin Court Historic District houses residential bungalows that have been converted into unique and quaint shops.

The areas of historic Catlin Court and Old Towne in downtown Glendale, Arizona have been named one of the country’s ten best places for shopping by USA Today and Sunset Magazine. The walkable 10 square blocks and free covered parking at 5835 W. Palmaire Avenue make it an ideal area to enjoy strolling around while shopping and dining.


Laveen is an “urban village” within the city of Phoenix, situated eight miles southwest of Downtown Phoenix. Parts of Laveen constitute an unicorporated community in Maricopa County, while the remainder falls within the city limits of Phoenix, constituting the city’s “Laveen Village”. Although Laveen has been home to “pastoral alfalfa, cotton, and dairy farms” since the 1880s, housing and commercial developments have been increasingly urbanizing the area



Peoria is a major suburb of Phoenix. It is the spring training home of the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners who share the Peoria Sports Complex. In July 2008, Money magazine listed Peoria in its Top 100 Places to Live.

Spring training has a long history in Peoria. From the late 1970s to 1990, Peoria’s Greenway Sports Complex served as a minor-league training facility for the Milwakee Brewers baseball team. In 1994 this became the Peoria Sports Complex. It was the first Major League Baseball spring training facility in the county shared by two teams. The Padres and Mariners utilize the complex year round for spring training and player development..

Peoria has many mountains and hills in the northern end. Some include Sunrise Mountain, West Wing Mountain, East Wing Mountain, Calderwood Butte, Cholla Mountain, White Peak, Hieroglyphic Mountains, and Twin Buttes.

Also in Peoria is Lake Pleasant Regional Park. The park covers a total of more than 23,000 acres of mountainous desert landscape, including the lake, and boasts a number of other recreational activities such as mountain biking, camping and hiking. A number of boat docks and access to the lake beach make it a popular destination for scuba diving, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, windsurfing and other water sports.



Surprise is located about 20 miles northwest of Phoenix.  It is the second fastest-expanding municipality in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area (after Gilbert) and, between 1990 and 2000, it was the sixth fastest-expanding place among all cities and towns in Arizona.  The city has a 10,562-square-foot Aquatics Center and Maricopa County’s northwest regional library, a $5.5 million, 20,000-square-foot library.

The city is the spring training home of the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers baseball teams. These Major League Baseball teams use Surprise Stadium for their activities.



Tolleson, the hub of the west end of Salt River Valley, was founded in 1912 by Walter G. and Alethea H. Tolleson, and incorporated in 1929.  The city has a total area of 5.6 square miles.

The 1980’s marked the entry of Fry’s Food and Drug and Albertson’s Distribution Centers that generated spinoff industrial development to Tolleosn by showcasing the community’s advantageous proximity to major shipping thoroughfares- a prerequisite for industrial businesses. Interstate 10, Union Pacific Railroad and State Route 85 (Buckeye Road) trisect Tolleson within a one mile radius creating a synergistic environment for such significant companies as PepsiCo, Bose, Nabisco, Weyerhauser, McKelvey Trucking.

Tolleson is the west valley’s industrial employment center hosting over 20 Fortune 500 companies employing more than 20,000, compared to just over 7,000 residents resulting in one of the most impressive jobs-to-residents ratios in the nation.

Although small, Tolleson is in the middle of it all, with Phoenix International Raceway 10 minutes south and entertainment venues in Glendale, Peoria, Goodyear and Phoenix 10 minutes north and east.

Posted on February 28, 2019 at 9:23 pm
Angela Gandolfo-Martinez | Posted in Phoenix and Surrounding Cities |

(VIDEO) Home Buyer Myth Busters #1

How much down payment does a buyer need when buying a home?  Many think 20% but that is not true.  Watch our video to find out more.

For more helpful videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel: AJRealEstateTeam

Posted on February 23, 2019 at 6:45 pm
Angela Gandolfo-Martinez | Posted in Home Buyers Info |

50 Steps To Buying A Home

  • Meet with REALTOR® to discuss wants/needs
  • Meet with lender to discuss different loan programs
  • Credit report ordered
  • Required documents gathered for lender
  • Pre-qualification issued
  • Preview properties and select house
  • Offer presented and negotiated
  • Contract ratified
  • Escrow opened
  • Buyer’s required funds deposited with title company
  • Preliminary Report/Title Commitment ordered
  • Contract reviewed and contingency dates noted
  • Loan application taken
  • Review seller disclosures
  • Inspections ordered
  • Repairs negotiated
  • Appraisal ordered
  • Preliminary Report/Title Commitment reviewed and forwarded to lender and real estate agent
  • Review and complete buyer package from Title company
  • Preliminary Report/Title Commitment reviewed by all parties
  • Inspections completed, contingency removed
  • Appraisal received, contingency removed
  • Review CC&R’s/HOA statement, contingency removed
  • Chose home owners insurance company
  • Additional documents accumulated for loan approval
  • Appropriate title report items cleared by escrow/settlement officer and any additional conditions reviewed
  • Loan package submitted to underwriting
  • Conditional loan approval received
  • Final documents accumulated for loan approval
  • Loan approved
  • Disclosure sent for signatures
  • Loan documents ordered
  • Loan documents delivered to escrow
  • Hazard insurance ordered, if required
  • Closing date confirmed; final dollar balance to be deposited into escrow is determined
  • Final instructions, if any, provided to escrow
  • Loan conditions reviewed with escrow/settlement officer
  • Closing instructions drawn
  • Appointment made for signing at title
  • Final walk through at property
  • Closing instructions and/or loan documents signed
  • Final funds from buyer deposited into escrow
  • Signed loan documents returned to Lender with hazard insurance policy, if required
  • Funding package reviewed
  • Loan funds issued
  • Documents recorded with the local recording office
  • Escrow closed; final accounting; checks written and disbursed; closing statements issued
  • All parties notified by escrow upon closing
  • Keys released to new owner
  • Celebration!

– First American Title Insurance Company

Posted on February 23, 2019 at 2:35 am
Angela Gandolfo-Martinez | Posted in Home Buyers Info |

Things to Avoid During the Loan Process

What To Avoid During The Loan Process

⊘DO NOT CHANGE JOBS. A job change may result in your loan being denied, particularly if you are taking a lower paying position or moving into a different field.  Don’t think you are safe because you’ve received approval earlier in the process, as the lender may call your employer to re-verify your employment just prior to funding the loan.

⊘AVOID SWITCHING BANKS OR MOVING YOUR MONEY TO ANOTHER INSTITUTION.  After the lender has verified your funds at one or more institutions, the money should remain there until needed for the purchase.

⊘DON’T PAY OFF EXISTING ACCOUNTS UNLESS THE LENDER REQUESTS IT. If your Loan Officer advises you to pay off certain bills in order to qualify for the loan, follow that advice.  Otherwise, leave your accounts as they are until your escrow closes.

⊘DON’T MAKE ANY LARGE PURCHASES. A major purchase that requires a withdrawal from  your verified funds or increases your debt can result in you not qualifying for the loan. A lender may check your credit or re-verify funds at the last minute, so avoid purchases that could impact your loan approval.

Posted on February 23, 2019 at 2:31 am
Angela Gandolfo-Martinez | Posted in Home Loan Info |

What is Title?

As it relates to real estate “TITLE” refers to the ownership rights to a certain piece of property.


Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects property owners and their lenders against losses related to the property’s title or ownership.  Title insurance minimizes the risk of acquiring property whose legal history is unknown to the purchaser.

Title insurance is issued for a one-time fee, called a premium, usually due at the time of closing or settling a real estate transaction and is based on the price of the property.  Title insurance coverage lasts as long as the insured or their heirs hold title to the property.

There are two types of title insurance:

-An owner’s title insurance policy guarantees that the buyer has the right to the property. It usually covers the cost of any legal fees that may arise when defending a claim.

-A lender’s title insurance policy protects a bank or other lending institution issuing a mortgage from any losses resulting from disputes over property ownership.  This policy covers the amount of the loan and the premium is calculated based on that amount. Most lenders require this coverage.  Unlike an owner’s policy, this coverage ends when the mortgage is paid.

Examples of the many risks against which title insurance can protect a buyer are:

-Forged documents
-Confusion from similarity of names
-Liens existing against the property at the time the policy was issued
-Clerical errors in public records
-Inaccurate or conflicting wills and trust related to the title
-Missing heirs claiming to own the property

Posted on February 23, 2019 at 1:07 am
Angela Gandolfo-Martinez | Posted in Title/Escrow |

Escrow: How Does It Work?



Once the parties to the transaction (buyer/seller/lender and/or borrower) have reached an agreement, the signed contract or purchase agreement, along with the buyer’s Earnest Money Deposit, is submitted to the escrow holder. At that point, an escrow is opened. The escrow holder will now follow the mutual written instructions of the buyer and seller, maintaining a neutral stance to facilitate the successful exchange of money and property between the parties.  The escrow holder will also follow the instructions of the lender in meeting their conditions.

The duties of an escrow holder include, but are not limited to:

  • Processing and coordinating the flow of documents and funds
  • Ordering the title search which will indicate the record of ownership and status of the subject property
  • Responding to lender’s requirements
  • Responding to authorized requests from parties to the transaction
  • Preparation of a final statement for each party (often referred to as HUD-1 or Settlement Statement) that shows the costs and charges associated with the transaction
  • Facilitation of the signing of loan documents
  • Closing of the escrow, only when all conditions are met and funds are in place in accordance with instructions


An escrow holder is an independent, neutral intermediary that manages the exchange of money for real property.

Whether you are the buyer, seller, lender or borrower, you want the comfort of knowing that no funds or property will change hands until all of the instructions in the transaction have been followed and conditions met.  The escrow holder, while maintaining the privacy of the consumer, must safeguard the funds and documents while they are in the possession of the escrow holder.  When all conditions of the escrow transaction have been met and the parties agree, the escrow holder will disburse funds and record the documents conveying the title.

Posted on February 23, 2019 at 12:10 am
Angela Gandolfo-Martinez | Posted in Title/Escrow |

Obtaining A Home Loan

When And Where To Apply For A Loan?

There are many sources for home loans including banks, credit unions, mortgage companies and mortgage broker.  We can supply you with the names of lenders who have proven reliable in our previous transactions.  Apply for your loan as soon as possible.  In fact, it’s probably a good idea to know what you can afford before you begin looking for your new home.  A lender can pre-qualify you for a certain price range and help you avoid disappointment later.

What You May Need For The Loan Application

  • Addresses of residences for last two years
  • Social Security Number
  • Driver’s License or other valid ID
  • Names and addresses of employers for the last two years
  • Two recent pay stubs showing year-to-date earnings
  • Federal tax returns for the last two years
  • W-2’s for the last two years
  • Last two months statements for all checking and savings accounts
  • Loans: Names, addresses, account numbers and payment amounts on all loans
  • Real Estate Loans: Names, addresses, account numbers and payment amounts on all loans for other real estate you own
  • Credit Cards: Names, addresses, account numbers and payment amounts on all credit cards
  • Addresses and values of other real estate owned
  • Value of personal property. Your best estimate of the value of all your personal property property (autos, boats, furniture, jewelry, television, stereo, computer, other electronics, etc.)
  • For A VA loan, Certificate of Eligibility or DD214s
  • Divorce decree if applicable
  • Funds to pay upfront for the credit report and appraisal
  • Letter of Explanation regarding credit inquiries or special circumstances

Posted on February 23, 2019 at 12:02 am
Angela Gandolfo-Martinez | Posted in Home Loan Info |