SNOWFLAKE — Location, location, location, is a common mantra in real estate.

According to the website, “It’s good advice — except for one thing: most people have no idea what it really means. Some key takeaways — location is key to valuable real estate and homes in cities that have little room for expansion and tend to be more valuable than those in cities that have plenty of room. Also, consider the accessibility, appearance and amenities of a neighborhood as well as plans for development, and a lot’s proximity to things like busy roadways and community centers may make it less desirable for resale. In addition, acreage often trumps the quality of a house because land tends to increase in value.”

This year, there has been a significant rise in interest for real estate in the Snowflake and Taylor area.

JoAnne Guderian, with West USA Realty, said, “It’s a mixture of what people are looking for — a home already built or a piece of land to build a home on. Snowflake has a lot of land for sale, east of town. It’s kind of a 50/50 thing, depending on what people want to do.

“However, there are real issues for buyers right now. The issues are that the land is still cheap, but putting in a well, a septic and power can be costly, and building a home is not cheap either.

“Manufactured homes are about 12 to 18 months away from being available. So, for someone wanting a brand new manufactured home, they’ll have to wait. Then the price can’t be guaranteed because of the changes and fluctuations in the materials.

“So the option of putting in a manufactured home on a lot has become way more expensive and people have a big delay on receiving their home.”

Even though the demand for housing has greatly increased, there is an extreme lack of inventory. Guderian explained that people have not been putting their houses on the market, they don’t want to leave, they’re happy here.

“At one point during this summer I could look at the amount of homes on the market in Snowflake and Taylor and it was just a handful, under 25. When you’ve got buyers, you can’t find anything for them to buy. There’s just nothing available. That’s what’s driving prices up. Just as an example, this past week I’ve written two offers for first-time homebuyers, for houses under $300,000 in Snowflake and Taylor. Both houses have had multiple offers.

“The prices are going up from the list price. So, there’s a bidding war going on. Under the $300,000 price point, is the sweet spot. Anything over $300,000 is taking longer to sell. That’s not necessarily the case in Show Low and Pinetop/Lakeside. So anything under $300,000 here gets snapped up and goes above list price. It’s the only way buyers can get a home, by offering more for it.

“Generally, first-time homebuyers have to get a mortgage and the house still has to appraise. Generally, appraisals are coming in at value. We’re not seeing it where they’re coming way below,” said Guderian.

Is there a shortage of rentals in our area?

Guderian said, “Absolutely. It’s dire in this area, not just in Snowflake or Taylor, in the entire White Mountains. There is a real shortage of affordable rentals for people that don’t qualify for subsidized low-income housing, even though there’s a lot of low-income housing. For example, Copperstate Farms’ employees make too much money to get into these low-income housing units and the low-income housing units have long waiting lists.”

Guderian offers some sound advice.

Buyers need to have all their ducks in a row financially. They need to be pre-qualified with a lender, and they need to have a down payment saved up. Sellers need to consider the condition of their home.

“Do your own pre-home inspection for any issues that might come up so you’re not going to have issues during an inspection period. A home inspection contingency allows buyers to learn about major and minor issues with a home before purchasing it. Many lenders won’t offer financing on a home without an inspection. The home inspection happens after the seller has accepted an offer, but before the house is sold.

“It’s also advised to stage your home. Declutter, put away personal photographs and other items, get it ready to be sold. Staging is critical. For buyers, there are classes, but talking to an experienced lender is the best thing a buyer can do to get into the best position to buy a house. It’s step No. 1 advice,” said Guderian.

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