Frequently Asked Questions
Home Ownership from outside the US.
Who will watch after my property while I am away?
This by far is the #1 question asked most by Canadian Citizens. Realizing that most of these homes are being purchased as seasonal residence, and that most home purchasers will probably be here for 6 months a year or less it is no wonder why this is the most frequently asked question. We have items in place to give you the homeowner "peace of mind". The first service we offer is to put you in contact with a company that not only does home security monitoring, they also have "home automation" features available that allow you to control the temperature of your home, turn on lights and monitor activity with interior and/or exterior cameras. Secondly, we offer a property management service that can check on your home (both inside and out) and provide you with a checklist of items performed such as changing your air filter on the air conditioner, spraying for weeds, flushing toilets and checking for leaks, etc. If an item needs to be brought to your attention we can take a digital photo and email it to you for your viewing.
Is a gated community best?
Many times a gated community will give the homeowner a false sense of security. Police departments stress that any home can be a victim of crime regardless of it being in a gated community. Many people believe that just meeting your neighbors and asking them to keep a watchful eye on your property is more effective than any gate could provide. Also, as previously discussed the home monitoring systems and "home check" service will help provide peace of mind while protecting your investment.
Is water expensive in Arizona?
In many cities the water, sewer and trash are all covered under one bill. A typical bill will range from $60 - 80 per month for all those services. The cost will of course vary depending on your usage, the number of plants and trees you have, and if you have a swimming pool. Most of your water usage occurs on the outside of the home.
Where do you get all that water for the desert?
There are three sources, groundwater, Central Arizona Project (CAP), and Salt River Project. Treated effluent is another, but is used in irrigation and not for household purposes. The Central Arizona Project is a 300+ mile canal that distributes water from the Colorado River to Arizona.
What is there to do?
This is an easy answer! Pretty much whatever you can imagine. Some of the major attractions to Arizona (besides the sun) are golf, hiking and exploring. With four major sports teams in Phoenix and many major sporting events like the Fiesta Bowl, Phoenix Open Golf Tournament, NASCAR and an occasional Super Bowl you will always find something of interest for everyone. Also major performers perform year round in a number of venues throughout the valley. You are also within a half days drive from Rocky Point Mexico, Las Vegas and San Diego.
How about shopping?
If shopping is your sport of choice, you will love the variety that Phoenix has to offer. If you purchase a home anywhere in the Phoenix Metro Area you will usually be no more than 15 minutes from a major mall. The shopping varies from indoor malls, outdoor malls, art galleries and small strip malls on practically every corner. You will also enjoy hundreds of restaurants, museums and theaters.
Property Tax & Insurance
How much are property taxes?
I wish I could give you a simple formula for figuring out property taxes but it is all based on the county assessor's evaluation of the home. But in very general terms if you figure the tax will be somewhere between .80% to 1.50% of your purchase price that should be relatively close. So for example a $150,000 home would have property taxes of approx. $1200 to $2,250 per year.
Is it difficult for a Canadian to obtain homeowners insurance on a "seasonal residence?"
This is a very good question! A seasonal home can be insured providing the insurance company is aware of how the home is being used. Not all insurance companies will want to insure a home that is only occupied "seasonally" but we have contacts for insurance companies that not only will take on the risk...they really want your business. The rates that my clients have obtained are no higher than the rates if you lived here year round in the United States.
Besides taxes and insurance what might my other costs be?
Just like your current home you will have costs like utilities, maintenance, repairs, security monitoring, etc. You will want to keep your A/C unit on during the hot summer months to prevent your home and personal contents from experiencing to dramatic a temperature swing. It is recommended you keep your home between 85-90 degrees during the summer months. It would be difficult to estimate the costs due to the variance in size of the home and how energy efficient it was built. We can help you in obtaining a quote from the local electrical utility or perhaps from some of our current seasonal clients if needed. We have yet to hear of anyone that wishes they had not purchased in our sunny beautiful state just because of the utility bill. Then during the other months of the year you will probably not need to use much in the way of cooling and heating. We do have a few months (typically Dec., Jan. & Feb.) where heat may be used. Remember freezing cold to a Phoenician is 50 degrees (F). I am sure that must give you a chuckle!
What is the best way to purchase my home?
This is probably a great question to direct towards your accountant or financial advisor. There is financing available in the US for Canadians, however, I can tell you that very few banks are currently making this type of loan. Of the lenders that are, most are requiring a down payment of around 30-35% of the home purchase price. Most clients I have worked with are paying cash or taking out lines of credit on their primary residence in Canada. The logic most Canadians have shared with me is that if their dollar should drop against the US Dollar they want to be making payments to a Canadian Bank versus an American Bank so they are not being penalized for the fluctuation.