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Dayv Morgan


Dayv Morgan
Dayv Morgan

By Dayv Morgan

There is a stigma attached to being on the “wrong side” of the tracks, and that has played out in Maricopa for years.

When I would ask a buyer what area of town they were interested in, they would often say, “I don’t want to be south of the railroad tracks.”  I have lived on the south side since coming to Maricopa in 2006, and when I would tell people where I lived, they would say, “Oh, that’s too bad.”

That sentiment affected the price of homes, resulting in prices that were about 10% less than homes in northern Maricopa.

But times are changing. Homebuyers have good reason to give the south side another look.

After the real estate market hit its low point in 2010, development on the south side began to turn some heads. The Ak-Chin opened the UltraStar Multi-tainment Center in 2012. Then the City of Maricopa opened Copper Sky in 2014.

With a high school, middle school and elementary school already in place, and entertainment, city festivals, recreation, swimming and sports tournaments within easy distance, homebuying has become more enticing.

The biggest accomplishment has been the completion of the overpass across the tracks. That eliminated traffic delays caused by trains and also widened the four lanes to six lanes to improve the flow of commuter traffic.

The City plans more commercial development at Copper Sky.  Homebuilders like Lennar, Richmond American and K Hovnanian have returned to Alterra, Palo Brea and Maricopa Meadows, identifying the south side as the place to be.

Besides the amenities unique to the south side, Richmond American is the only builder in the city offering homes with attached RV garages – just another consideration for homebuyers.

Where improved lots are available for construction, only Santa Rosa Crossing (east of Desert Cedars) and areas in the flood plain are not seeing current homebuilding.

But there is still a lot of room for new subdivisions within the city boundaries south of the tracks, and home values on the south side are now about equal to those on the north side, and may even exceed them in the near future.

Soon homebuyers may reconsider which side of the tracks in Maricopa is the “wrong side.”

Dayv Morgan is a Maricopa Realtor and owner of HomeSmart Success.


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Dayv Morgan

By Dayv Morgan

Dayv Morgan

Many homeowners in Maricopa have considered keeping their home as a rental property or buying a second home as an investment.

Mostly without apartments and duplexes at this time, Maricopa in particular has a strong demand for rental homes, keeping the monthly rates moving upward.

The ideal situation is to own property that more than pays for itself. This will give you extra income when you are retired or between jobs. But even if you just break even, you are building equity as the market increases.

If you have a second home that sits vacant most of the year, you may want to consider leasing it as a vacation rental. Your house would be under the eye of someone with a vested interest in keeping it free of insects, rodents and other invaders and you will quickly know when there has been weather or criminal damage. Check with your HOA to see if there are any restrictions with short-term rentals.

Although becoming a landlord has its advantages, there are some disadvantages that should be weighed carefully.

Each time a tenant moves out there will be cleaning, maintenance, and repair costs. A security deposit averages one month’s rent amount. If you have to replace damaged carpet and repaint the interior it will probably cost three to five times that amount, leaving you with a significant shortfall to cover.

Tenants inevitably cause more wear and tear on your property. As the owner, you are also responsible for ongoing repairs, such as the HVAC system. It’s common to see the air filters go unchanged for the entire 12 months of the lease. This puts extra stress on the system and shortens the lifespan, with potential repairs costing thousands of dollars.

Beyond maintenance costs, you must also budget for insurance, legal fees, advertising or leasing fees, accounting, and possibly a property manager. If you are able to manage the property yourself, that will save you some monthly expense, but owners often live far from their rentals and cannot visit the property often enough.

At some point, you will likely have bad renters. They may lie on their application about their employment or the number of occupants. They may ignore stipulations in your contract such as not having pets. They may cause serious damage to your home and walk away. They may cause you headaches or fines with your HOA. They may simply not pay their rent. The eviction process will cost you additional time and money.

Before renting, take your time to figure out the worth of your home and whether renting or selling is in your best, long-term interest. Putting your property into the hands of others can be stressful, but it can also be a great source of supplemental income, and hiring a property manager will help the process to go much smoother.

Dayv Morgan is a Maricopa Realtor and owner of HomeSmart Success.


This column appears in the September issue of InMaricopa.


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By Dayv Morgan

Dayv Morgan

As summer approaches and the weather warms up, the thought of having a backyard pool becomes more desirable.

But many people are hesitant to add one, thinking the cost is too great, and the return on investment will be too small when it’s time to sell.

In Maricopa, however, neither seems to be accurate. Most appraisers will say a pool adds $10,000 of value to a home.

In some parts of the Valley, pools are very common. Over the last month in Chandler, for example, almost 50 percent of the homes sold had a pool.

But in Maricopa, the number of properties with pools is quite low. Over the same 30-day period, only 22 of the 178 closed homes had pools (12.3 percent). Therefore, the added value is much higher than $10,000, often $25,000 or more in retail value.

So, what does it cost to keep cool?

A basic 80-foot perimeter pebble tec pool, with a maximum depth of 5 feet, should cost about $22,000, depending on the access to the yard. This means in most cases you will get at least a 100 percent return on investment.

If you add other pool features such as a waterfall, spa, in-floor cleaning system or heater, the price will jump quickly and the overall return for the pool investment will decline.

Another factor to consider is the “days on market” when you list your home for sale. Properties with pools tend to sell much faster than those without.

In the last month listings, Maricopa homes without pools took an average of 73 days to sell, while homes with pools sold almost twice as fast, in only 37 days.

Dayv Morgan is a Maricopa Realtor and owner of HomeSmart Success.



This column appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.

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Dayv Morgan

By Dayv Morgan

At about 50,000 people, the city of Maricopa is significantly smaller than Maricopa County, which boats a population of 4.2 million.

Despite our small-town feel, Maricopa does almost double the ratio of VA home loans over the Maricopa County housing market.

Between January and September, VA loans made up 12.4 percent of the loans for closed home sales in the city. Maricopa County’s VA loan figure was 6.9 percent over the same period.

Because VA home loans require veterans to occupy the homes they purchase, it could safely be assumed we have a very patriotic city with twice as many veterans and active duty servicemembers purchasing homes per capita as the Phoenix area.

There are many benefits for those who qualify for a VA loan. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, generally there is often no down payment unless required by the lender, no private mortgage insurance, no credit score requirement and VA loans can also be used to refinance an existing home.

Veterans and active duty servicemembers who meet certain length-of-service requirements are usually eligible for a VA loan, along with other certain groups of individuals. To learn if you are eligible, call the VA at 1-877-827-3702.

Dayv Morgan, HomeSmart Success



This column appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Dayv Morgan and his family are among the participants in Maricopa's Holiday Homes and Businesses on Parade. Photo by Jake Johnson

By Chris Swords Betts

Dayv Morgan, a top contender in Maricopa’s 13th annual Holiday Homes and Businesses on Parade, will flip the switch on this year’s display at his lighting party on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.

This is Morgan’s third year in the competition. He won Best Overall in 2014 and took Best Light Show last year. Even outside the competition, his home has become a go-to site for residents looking for Christmas lights.

“The key is picking good songs,” Morgan said.

This year, there are three songs in the line-up. Galloping Jingle Bells will be one of them.

“The other songs are decided, but they will be a surprise,” said Morgan, a local Realtor. “I do have a song from a recent Disney movie for the kids.”

A video of the light show will be posted to Morgan’s business Facebook page (Dayv Morgan of Homesmart Real Estate). For every new “like” his page gets, he said he will donate $1 to F.O.R. Maricopa, up to his goal of $5,000.

“They can always use more donations, more help and more food,” Morgan said.

Morgan said last year’s Facebook video had more than 10 million views.

Despite the popularity of his display, Morgan said traffic has not created a problem on his street in Palo Brea.

In 2014, the Morgan light show won the top prize.
In 2014, the Morgan light show won the top prize.

“My neighbors have been great,” Morgan said. “They’ve been very supportive and encouraging.”

His first year in the competition, Morgan used Let It Go from the movie “Frozen” for his display.

“People would roll down their windows and blare it,” Morgan said. “I know that was probably a little annoying for my neighbors.”

Inez Ramirez lives across the street from Morgan. She and her two children, ages 15 and 20, enjoy the display each year.

“They do an amazing job,” Ramirez said. “They put a lot of time and energy into it.”

Morgan said his display began as a childhood dream, and it has exceeded his expectations. “At the same time, it’s certainly created a lot of work.”

Maricopa Holiday Homes & Businesses on Parade

The City of Maricopa is hosting the 13th annual Holiday Homes & Businesses on Parade Dec. 9-18. Deadline to enter was Dec. 1.

There will be judging by a city committee, which will visit all participants Dec. 13-14. Their results will be announced Dec. 20.

Niesha Whitman, the city’s events manager, said homes will be judged in four categories: Best theme, best light show, best use of color and Best on Parade, which has a $300 cash prize. Best Business will receive a fee waiver on a banner permit for six months.

Community members also have a voice in the proceedings. The winner of the Resident’s Choice award wins $300 as well.

“If a house wins Best on Parade three times, they get put in the Hall of Fame and won’t compete again,” Whitman said.

For a full list, go to http://bit.ly/2eOapPv.

Last year’s set-up took about 200 man-hours, not including the music programming, which he has begun to outsource. Morgan said each minute of music takes about 10 hours to program.

“It’s usually late summer that I start stressing out about it,” Morgan said. “Once I have a plan, I’m a lot better.”

Morgan said because he left some of the smaller displays together in storage units, he is hoping he can cut his set-up time in half.

He rents two units to house his decorations, spending $2,000 a year just on storage.

“It’s definitely not an inexpensive project,” Morgan said.

However, Morgan said the cost of electricity is minimal, increasing his bill by only $100 to $200 for the month the display is lit. Morgan bought 100,000 LED lights when he began his display two years ago.

“There is a competitive side to it,” Morgan said. “But ultimately it’s about the Christmas spirit and doing something special for the kids.”

“This is a great opportunity for everyone in the community to come together,” Ramirez said.

Morgan’s home is at 43954 W. Palo Abeto Drive. The display will be lit from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. every day until the New Year. Tune into 96.3 for the show’s music.

This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

Last year, Dayv Morgan’s Facebook video of the award-winning Christmas light show at his home garnered 20,000 views. This year, he wants to direct that interest to a great cause.

“We wanted to turn that into something good,” Morgan said.

His family’s new light show is again posted on his HomeSmart Facebook page. This time, for each “like” the video receives, he will donate $1 to the Rocking 4D Foundation up to $5,000.

Rocking 4D Foundation is the parent organization of “pay it forward” projects started by the parents of Nate Ford.

The Maricopa teen was killed in a traffic accident in August.

Jennifer and Doug Ford wanted to continue their son’s legacy of genuine acts of kindness. That has included founding the Rocking 4D Foundation to create Mothers of Everyday Heroes, Maricopa March Madness and Game Day Baby!, which will be launched in spring.

Morgan said he has gotten to know the Fords since the tragedy and wants to direct attention to their good works in the wake of their loss and to honor Nate’s memory.

“I thought this would be a good way to bring publicity to the 4D Foundation,” he said.

To see the light show in person, the Morgan home is at 43954 W. Palo Abeto Drive.

For more information, call Morgan at 480-251-4231.