The Neal Team - TNT
Wally & Patricia Neal
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Home Insurance – Good, Bad, Ugly

When the purchase of a home involves a loan, as most home purchases do, all lenders require that casualty insurance be in place at close of escrow. Thus, the policy costs are included on the escrow settlement statement. When our client is the buyer, we, TNT, consider the casualty insurance policy cost as part of our overall review of the escrow settlement statement prior to our client signing, so we became aware of substantial differences in the annual premiums.

Where we found those costs to be relatively high, of course, we so advised our client. Somewhat to our surprise even when those costs have been quite high, no client has never changed their insurer at that point. Especially in hind-sight and awareness of the information and resources outlined in this article, none of the reasons given for continuing with a pricey policy seem to make any sense.

Companies selling “insurance” of any kind within the State of Arizona must file documents with the Arizona Department of Insurance  (AZ DOI) that include the premiums to be charged. This information is made available to the public, as linked just below.

Consumer Guide and Premium Comparison for Homeowner Insurance (Insurance premium cost comparisons for homes valued at $100,000, $300,000 and $500,000, located at specified hypothetical locations…)

You can also review and/or download the 2014 version of that document on this website here

Not only are the premiums reported there, but also “Complaint Ratio” information.

As shown in that list, sorted least-expensive to most-expensive, the annual premiums vary from $535 to $3,220 for the typical coverage on a $300,000 property … a difference that’s difficult to comprehend.

Check out LM Ins. Corp (Liberty Mutual) on this list … near the bottom for cost, a very low complaint ratio and a significant number of policies in place.



Chandler – Goodyear Connection

As you likely know, within the metro-Phoenix area, Chandler is southeast while Goodyear is southwest, but things didn’t start that way.

Dr. Alexander John Chandler, Canadian-born yet Arizona’s first veterinary surgeon, in 1912 bought 18,000 acres located generally south of Tempe. He had seen and became enamored by a land developement concept at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair involving a town build around a park. As his desert oasis and focal point, Chandler built the San Marcos hotel and golf course, Arizona’s first golf resort … which still exists today. See

Afterwards, with World War I threatening, Akron Ohio based Goodyear Tire and Rubber company leased 8,000 acres south of Chandler’s town limits to grow cotton to be used in the production of tires. The town of Chandler was quite a success, boosted significantly by the workers and their families for the adjacent “Goodyear Ranch”, as it was called. This area is now Ocotillo. Some interesting history of all this can be reviewed here:

In 1917, Goodyear purchased many thousands of acres along the Agua Fria river in the west valley to grow more cotton. The executive who managed this purchase and Goodyear’s initial operations there was Paul Litchfield. Later Goodyear consolidated all of it’s operations around the larger west-side acreage. In addition to growing cotton for tires, Goodyear built an aircraft production plant here.

When World War II erupted, the Goodyear operations and facilities also erupted, requiring many more workers, housing, etc.

Del Webb, same guy who later built the original Sun City about 10 miles north, started building homes on 40 acres northeast of what is now the intersection of Western Avenue and Litchfield Road. Other housing construction was also done in the area.

Part of this development was incorporated to be the town of Goodyear, and another part became Litchfield Park – named after the original Goodyear executive.

Some interesting history for this area can be seen here: … the three rivers being the Salt, Gila and Aqua Fria. Looking at the Gila river bed in this area now, it’s very difficult to imagine that the Gila here was once the international boundry with Mexico.

Thanks to an article by Jimmy Magahern in the “New Homes” section of the July 18, 2014 issue of the Arizona Republic, we now have “The rest of the story!” as the late/great Paul Harvey used to say.

AZ Attorney General Mortgage Relief

In February 2012, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government announced a historic joint state-federal settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers … Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase , and Wells Fargo.

The agreement settles state and federal investigations finding that the country’s five largest mortgage servicers routinely signed foreclosure related documents outside the presence of a notary public and without really knowing whether the facts they contained were correct.  Both of these practices violate the law.

The National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) provides as much as $25 billion in relief to distressed borrowers whose loans are owned by the settling banks as well as to many of the borrowers whose loans they service, and direct payments to signing states as well as the federal government.

In Arizona, the NMS is administered by the Attorney General’s office. There is a wide range of statewide assistance programs that could benefit someone facing challenges to pay their mortgage.

In an article in the July/August issue of the Arizona Journal of Real Estate & Business, these programs were explained in some detail.

More information is available at or by calling 1-855-256-2834.