Thinking of Buying Real Estate?

Helping Buyers make their real estate dreams a reality in the Phoenix East Valley

When providing you with Buyer Representation, the priority is to be your advocate guiding you through a process that may be overwhelming for some, yet easily accomplished when working with an industry expert!

Services For Buyers

Buyer Consultation

The first thing I’ll provide you with is a buyer consultation where you will receive a copy of my Buyer’s Guide. This will go over the home buying process and the do’s and dont’s you should be aware of as we start your home search.

Loan Approval

You will need to get Pre-approved for a loan (not just “pre-qualified”). In today’s market, it is important to let the seller know you are prepared to buy. You’ll need to work with a lender, and I have several resources I can provide.

MLS Portal for Homes

Once we determine the most important criteria you are looking for in a home, I will set up a customized MLS portal for homes giving you access to your home list.  We will both get notified when new homes come on the market that fit your criteria.

Negotiating a Winning offer

When you find a home you love – We will need to make sure to submit a compelling offer to the seller that will get accepted! Having an experienced Realtor on your side matters.

The Escrow Process

Once your offer is accepted, escrow will have to be opened with a title company. During this time there will be inspections and an appraisal of the property. I will be overseeing this process and making sure everything moves along as smoothly as possible to ensure you close on time.

After Closing

After you close, I will be your resource for anything you need for your home. My network of vendors have worked with me for many years. If you need something, I will be happy to help! 

Learn More About Buying

Want to learn more about buying real estate in Phoenix East Valley? Check out these articles and videos.

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Have Questions About Buying?

Check out our FAQs for buying real estate in the Phoenix East Valley

There are several factors that could affect home values: supply and demand for real estate, consumer confidence in the economy, and job growth. Your home’s actual value, however, is dramatically affected by a combination of local factors that can cause its value to depreciate. 

Nearby Foreclosures

A foreclosed home can bring neighboring homes down by as much as 1 percent in value, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Additionally, a high concentration of foreclosures in a neighborhood can deter buyers, especially if the properties are not maintained well or are vacant for too long.

Location Value

Homes located near schools, grocery stores, public transportation and business or shopping districts will tend to be in greater demand than houses located on the outskirts of town. On the other hand, homes that are located near highways, airports or train stations can have a negative affect on nearby homes. A 1 percent decline in a city’s population can bring down house prices in that city by more than 4 percent over a three-year period, according to the Research Institute for Housing America. A decline in employment in the city can also dramatically reduce home values, according to the study.

Lack of Upkeep

A home’s value is ultimately what a buyer is willing to pay for it. Any damage to your home caused by mold or bug infestation, fire or weather damage, sewage problems, or structural problems, will devalue a home.

Trouble from Neighbors

Nearby factors such as hostile neighbors, loud parties, a neighbor’s barking dogs, or rising crime and vandalism can dilute a home’s value. A registered sex offender living nearby can bring a house’s value down by as much as 17 percent, according to James Larsen of Wright State University. Certain structures such as abandoned factories, hazardous waste sites or landfills nearby can also devalue a property by as much as 25 percent, according to Robert A. Simons of Cleveland State University.

Source: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/causes-homes-value-depreciate-57583.html

The Pros Of New Construction

New construction is any home where you’re the first person to live at that residence. For instance, you may purchase an already built home directly from the builder. There are many advantages to new builds:

  • Layout: Building a new home is usually done with modern families in mind. For instance, most have a family room adjacent to a spacious kitchen. This accommodates your need to have one large room where your family can spend time together.
  • Amenities: Newer homes often include updated developments like a pool or gym. This is a great perk because it means you don’t have to worry about paying for and driving to a fitness facility.
  • Fewer repairs: Buying a new construction home over an existing home typically means you’ll have fewer repairs or renovations to do. It can be a huge relief to know that it’s unlikely you’ll have to take on any costly projects after moving in.
  • More energy-efficient: New builds also tend to include new, energy efficient features like modern appliances, windows and insulation. This means your home will stay warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer months.
  • Warranties: New construction often includes new appliances that come with warranties. Some builders even offer extended warranties on new construction homes. This can give you a lot of peace of mind, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer.
  • Customizable: When you purchase a new home, you can often customize it to suit your personal needs and preferences. You may be able to choose things like paint colors, types of appliances and whether the house is carpeted or comes with wood floors.
  • Resells: Unless this is your forever home, you’ll likely resell and upgrade homes at some point. The updated features that come with a new home can make it more appealing during the resell.

The Cons Of New Construction

While there are a lot of great features that come with buying a new home versus an old home, there are trade-offs as well. Here are some of the downsides to consider first:

  • Higher price: The modern layouts and conveniences of a new house don’t come cheap. You’ll likely pay a higher price than you would if you chose an older house. However, you may find that the price per square foot is less for a new home.
  • Potential HOA fees: Newer neighborhoods tend to have amenities like pools and gyms. That means you may end up paying homeowners association (HOA) fees to maintain them. But having  HOA fee can make it easier to maintain the value of your home.
  • Typically, less charm: Builders want to increase their profit margin, and one way they do this is by offering a limited number of floor plans. New construction neighborhoods tend to look very similar, and you won’t experience the charm you see in older homes.
  • May have a longer commute to work and schools: Again, since builders are looking to save money, they often choose to buy land outside of the city. This could result in a longer commute to work and school.
  • Limited or no negotiating room: Timing is everything when it comes to buying a home, and if you approach a builder at the end of their fiscal year, you may be able to negotiate on price. But for the most part, there’s little room for negotiation when it comes to selling new construction. You may be able to request certain upgrades, but the price is unlikely to change.
  • Extensive landscaping: New construction homes may require extensive landscaping, which can take a lot of time and money to complete.
  • Drawn-out appraisal process: Lenders have to use a new construction appraisal to assess the value of an unfinished home. They also require the appraiser to visit your home again once it is complete to verify it meets the provided specifications.
 

The Pros Of Resale Homes

Let’s be honest – there’s a certain charm that comes with buying an older home. You may find a spiral staircase, black-and-white tile floor and other features that are nearly impossible to find in new construction. Let’s look at some of the advantages of buying a resale home.

  • More styles to choose from: Of course, there are some older neighborhoods where all of the houses look similar. But in general, established neighborhoods tend to come with greater variety with the home styles and floor plans, and don’t have the same “cookie-cutter” look you find with new homes.
  • Typically have lower prices: Older homes tend to need a little more TLC than new houses, and they may require major updates. For that reason, you may be able to negotiate a lower price with the sellers, or even negotiate for the sellers to pay for part of the closing costs.
  • Established neighborhoods: Older houses tend to be located in more established areas and have a stronger sense of community.
  • If the home was maintained, many repairs have already been made: Some people claim that resale homes are money pits, but you may find houses that have already been updated. Since the house has been lived in for a long time, it’s likely that most major issues have already come up.
  • Fully grown shrubs and trees: When you purchase an older property, it’s likely that the home already has mature landscaping and won’t require a ton of time for extensive upkeep.
  • Faster buying time: The average time it takes to buy and existing home is usually faster than purchasing new construction. That means you can close on your house and get settled much sooner.

The Cons Of Resale Homes

There’s no getting around the fact that older homes come with features that you won’t find in new construction. Buying a resale home could be the right choice for you, but there are certain downsides to consider:

  • Smaller: The average floor plan size has gradually increased over time. According to data from the Census Bureau, the median single-family home size was 2,333 feet in 2020. In comparison, the average single-family home was 1,525 feet in 1973. Older homes often come with less storage space, smaller bedrooms, and don’t have a primary bedroom.
  • Less energy-efficient: A resale home was built with older materials, which means that the windows and insulation are probably more dated. Some resale homes may even have additions that tampered with the home’s structure or even contain code violations. There are ways to make an older home more energy-efficient, but it could cost quite a bit.
  • More maintenance: You may find yourself having to upgrade the roof, buying a new furnace or replacing worn carpet. There are certain changes that you need to make to a home every few years.
  • Older appliances: Unless you find one of those older homes that has been completely updated, you may also need to replace appliances. This is not only to update your home, but it also helps when trying to resell the home.
  • Fewer accessibility features: Older homes often lack the accessibility features that are more common with new construction. This may not matter to you right now, but what if an older relative needed to come live with you in the future? You may have a harder time accommodating them in a dated home.
  • Could contain hazardous materials: Until fairly recently, lead and asbestos were commonly used to construct residential homes. That means an older home could contain hazardous materials that put the health and wellbeing of your family at risk. If you’re considering buying a resale home, make sure to have it thoroughly inspected for hazardous materials.
  • A home warranty may not cover replacements: Many people will purchase a home warranty to cover any necessary updates to appliances. But if the previous owner poorly maintained the appliances, your home warranty company may refuse to pay for those updates.

Source: quickenloans.com

A real estate broker is a real estate agent who continues their education and successfully receives a state real estate broker license. Unlike real estate agents, brokers can work independently and start their own brokerage and hire other real estate agents. A real estate agent can represent buyers and sellers in home sale transactions. But they have to work under the supervision of a broker. They can’t work independently. A broker is able to work independently and supervise agents. All brokers working for the supervising broker are considered associate brokers. 

It may or may not be possible for you to take on the responsibility for making regular property tax and insurance payments on your home.

Separating tax and homeowner’s insurance payments for your mortgage’s principal and interest payment is most commonly done at the time the mortgage is made; this “escrow waiver” by the lender allows you to take care of your property taxes and insurance payments. In many cases, the lender will often charge a fee, usually a quarter-to-half percentage point of the loan amount for allowing you to do this.

Escrow waivers can take place on “private” mortgages (those made for a lender’s own portfolio), for those sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and on VA-backed mortgages. That is to say that these entities don’t mandate or require the escrowing of theses funds, but many lenders install their own requirements in order to better manage risk.  However, FHA-backed loans do mandate that the lender escrow funds for the payment of taxes and insurances.

From Fannie Mae’s Selling Guide (B2-1.5-04):

Escrow Waivers

Fannie Mae advocates the establishment of an escrow account for the payment of taxes and insurance, particularly for borrowers with blemished credit histories or first-time homeowners.

Unless required by law, lenders may waive escrow account requirements for an individual first mortgage, provided the standard escrow provision remains in the mortgage loan legal documents.

Lenders cannot waive an escrow account for certain refinance transactions or for the payment of premiums for borrower-purchased mortgage insurance (if applicable). When the requirement for an escrow account is waived, the lender must retain Fannie Mae’s right to enforce the requirement in appropriate circumstances.

Lenders must have a written policy governing the circumstances under which escrow accounts may be waived. When a lender permits escrow waivers, subject to the mortgage documents and applicable law, the lender’s written policies must provide that the waiver not be based solely on the LTV ratio of a loan, but also on whether the borrower has the financial ability to handle the lump sum payments of taxes, insurance, and other items described above.

A lender or servicer will deny you an escrow waiver for your mortgage if:

  • You have received a prior loan modification or previously were permitted to waive escrow payments but failed to make all required payments in a timely manner;
  • You have had any late mortgage payments within the 12 month period preceding your request to waive escrow payments;
  • You have had any 60+ day delinquency in making your mortgage payment within the last 24 months preceding your request; and
  • Your mortgage’s current loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is 80% or more of the original appraised value of the home.

Depending upon your lender’s policies, it might still be possible for you to separate the taxes from your mortgage payment. Fannie Mae requires that the lender evaluate your ability to make these regular lump sum payments and does not allow for a waiver to be granted solely on the basis of your loan’s current loan-to-value ratio. Also, this arrangement isn’t allowed for certain kinds of mortgage refinance transactions.

Source: HSH.com

According to Ellie Mae, a data firm that processes mortgage applications, the average time to close on a mortgage was 51 days in June 2021.However, you can close on a home in 30-45 days if you have been pre-approved for a loan and are working with a reputable lender. It is important to gather all the necessary documents requested by the lender in a timely manner. 

Your lender can tell you exactly what they require, but the following documents are common:

  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security card
  • Most recent 2 months of bank statements
  • Most recent 30 days of pay stubs
  • Most recent 2 years of W-2s
  • Most recent 2 years of federal tax returns

Along with these documents, your lender will also pull a credit report. All of this allows them to give you a very clear picture of exactly the type of mortgage they can provide. This will be documented in a preapproval letter, which is valid for about 60 to 90 days.

 

What My Buyer Clients Have to Say

My husband and I worked with Mary to purchase our first home. she made us feel very comfortable to ask all kinds of questions(which we did). She walked if through all the processes and referred us to a great lender. she was with us every step of the way! If we ever sell, we will work with Mary again.
by Abby N.
My experience with Mary Markou, was phenomenal. I bought my first home with her last year and when I needed to move to Denver, CO last April, she listed and sold my house. The pictures, advertising, and communication were absolutely amazing. I was floored by how many showings were scheduled in the first weekend. Whenever I called Mary with a question, she responded immediately. I have recommended her to everyone who will listen. My only regret is that I had to relocate to Denver and won't be able to use her again in the future!
by Allyssa C.
Mary was very helpful with several real estate transactions in the last year. She was very professional and was very knowledgeable, guiding us through each transaction successfully. She took care of the stress for us.
by Zillow user- D584
I highly recommend Mary Markou to anyone looking to buy a home in AZ. She took wonderful care of my family, listening to all of our needs and wants when looking for a new home and found us our dream home! She was very professional and knowledge. She is the BEST!!!
by Gail C.
Mary Markou is an extremely professional and action driven agent. We had a very short time to find our home in AZ. A job was relocating us to the area from NC. She was very accommodating, organized, and knowledgeable about the Phoenix area. In 3 days we found our dream home and were able to close in less than a month. I would highly recommend Mary if you are looking in the Phoenix area.
by Jennifer and Brian P.
Mary was our realtor when we purchased our new home 10 years ago. She is extremely knowledgeable about current market conditions and very professional. Not only did we purchase our home from mary 10 years ago, she also helped us sell it in Dec 2016. I was extremely impressed with the quality of our video she put together, it was top quality!! I would be happy to have her represent me and my wife on our next purchase or sale.
by Robert J.
Very well organized, considerate and prompt in response. Understands the value of clients and property. She found the best deal for us in Gilbert, AZ. She was always willing to take us in area with her own vehicle. She was able to negotiate with right attitude and value of property.
by zillow user 04628648
Mary Markou demonstrated high levels of empathy and professionalism when dealing with us in search of a condo in Scottsdale. We were in town for a short period and looked at many homes that week. After looking at all the condos, some of them twice, we ended up buying the condo Mary originally chose for us from the criteria we told her were most important for us. She did much of the previewing before we got to town so the viewing of properties was well organized. Her focus and enthusiasm made for an incredible buying experience. Understanding our needs Mary found us our dream condo.
by Helen S.
Mary helped me to buy 3 homes and sell 2 homes over the past 4 years. She would take me to see homes at my convenience and would answer my calls even though it was late. I found her not only to be a good agent but a good friend also. She is the best!
by Vy T.
Mary worked with us tirelessly to find us just the right home for our family--and we had quite a list of criteria for her to check off---From previewing endless properties for us and lining up multiple viewings on our short trips out there to make the best use of our time (we were searching in AZ from the Chicago area), to keeping us connected via flexmls weekly so we wouldn't miss an opportunity when new things came on the market. You won't find a more dedicated broker who will get to know your family and your desires and make it happen.
by Cristina H.

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