5 Things to Look for When House Hunting

House hunting can be overwhelming! It can be hard to know where to start and what to look for. So we’ve summed up our Top 5 things to look for when house hunting:

Location: Location, location, location! Once you purchase a home, you can’t change the location, so you will want to be sure that you not only love the house but the area it is located. Consider how close the home you are looking at is to your work and the noise from nearby traffic and neighbors.

Site: After you have decided that you like the home’s location, you will want to look at the site. Is it on a hill with a view? Does it have a lot of stairs to climb? Do the neighbor’s windows face your home? Make sure you thoroughly inspect the site before committing to a property.

Neighborhood: While you don’t always know the people you are moving next to, you can take stock of the area by looking at neighbors’ yards to see if they are clean, check local crime reports to see if the neighborhood is safe, and see if the area is child or pet friendly.

Floor Plan: Don’t be distracted by a home in your price range with a large floor plan if you are never going to use the space. Keep in mind that the bigger the house, the higher the energy bills, and the more expensive it is to maintain.

Kitchen: The kitchen is the most used space in any home, so make sure you don’t settle for a kitchen you don’t love. An alternative option is to look for a house under budget and plan for a remodel, but that can take a lot of time and money.

What is one thing you wish you had known about your current home before you moved in? Ready to start house hunting again? Give us a call to get started!

Are You Ready for an Investment Property?

Have you ever thought about buying an investment property? ​Investing in real estate is one of the best ways to build generational wealth, but as with most major investments, getting started can certainly be daunting in the beginning. Before purchasing your first investment property, here are a few things to consider:

-Financial situation. Are you financially stable, and can you afford the upfront costs of an investment property?

-Investment goals. Have you discussed your plans with a financial advisor? As with any investment, investing in real estate does carry some risk.

-Time commitment. Do you have the time to manage your property? Being a landlord can be time-consuming, so be sure you can dedicate the time to managing your property (or can hire someone who will).

-Pre-approval. As with any property purchase, you’ll need to go through the pre-qualification and pre-approval process with a reputable lender.

If you’re considering purchasing your first investment property, give us a call and we can discuss some options!

Know the Hidden Costs of New Construction

Buying new construction can seem like a good way to avoid a lot of the headaches that come with older homes. With things built to your specifications and brand new everything, you’ll pay a lot less in decor and maintenance costs. But new builds do have some hidden costs that could end up putting a big dent in your wallet.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Understand that the model home is like the top trim package on a car–it has all of the upgrades. And those upgrades probably cost thousands of dollars. When you tour the model home, pay attention to the things that will definitely be in your house like the layout.

2. Know what’s included in the base model. Some base models come with appliances and all of your home necessities included while others come with just the bones of the house. It depends on the builder, but you need to know exactly what you’re walking into.

3. Read the warranty. Not all builder warranties are the same, and they will cover different things. Make sure you understand what will and won’t be covered so you aren’t surprised down the line.

4. Use your own agent. The agents working at the new construction are the builder’s agents–not yours. That means they work to get the builder the best deal possible, even at your expense. Protect yourself and get a fair deal by hiring your own buyer’s agent.

If you’re looking for an agent to make sure you get the best deal while buying new construction, just send give us a call! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

new construction

Is it Cheaper to Rehab or Build New?

Many buyers are wondering if it’s cheaper to buy a fixer-upper or build a new home from scratch. If you’re in this boat too, here are some things to consider:

-If you can find a home with good bones for a good price, a fixer-upper might be just the thing for you. However, material and contractor costs are high right now, so rehabbing a house can take more cash than it used to.

-Building right now requires patience on top of cash. Because supply lines are still reduced and labor costs are rising, you have to account for extra costs and extra time needed to build, which bumps the average price of building to around $332,000. That said, building new can save you in maintenance costs since everything is new.

The best option for you depends on your location and your real estate goals. Give us a call, we are here to help! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

5 Outdated Real Estate Tips

There are many real estate myths out there that need to be debunked! Here are five pieces of real estate advice to IGNORE:

1) MYTH: Spring is the best time to sell. FACT: The best time to sell is when you’re ready. Don’t rush a major decision when there are perks to selling your home at all times throughout the year.

2) MYTH: FSBO saves you money. FACT: Real estate agents are experienced and knowledgeable about home pricing. A good agent can help you get more ROI on your investment.

3) MYTH: Higher list price = higher offer. FACT: Pricing your home accurately will generate interest among the right buyers, and may even lead to a competitive bid and higher offer price!

4) MYTH: Open houses sell homes. FACT: Open houses can be a helpful tool, but your agent should have a broader marketing strategy that also includes social and digital marketing.

5) MYTH: The first offer is always the best offer. FACT: Lots of factors come into play here — contingencies, closing date, down payment amount. Review all the terms of every offer — don’t just pick the highest offer price.

Have more questions? Give us a call, we are here to help! Give us a call, we are here to help! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Mortgage Pre-Approval Letters

A mortgage pre-approval letter is not a guarantee your loan application will be approved, but pre-approval at least shows the seller you mean business and are likely to secure the financing needed to seal the deal. Furthermore, some sellers require a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter before they will consider or accept your offer.

Depending on the mortgage lender you work with and whether you qualify, you could get a pre-approval in as little as one business day, but it usually takes a few days or even a week to receive – and, if you have to undergo an income audit or other verifications, it can take longer than that.
Mortgage pre-approval letters can last anywhere from 30-90 days, so it’s important to check with your lender prior to submitting any offers to make sure your letter is valid. The letter expires so lenders know exactly where your finances stand prior to buying a home.
Have more questions about mortgages? Give us a call, we are here to help! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Questions to Ask When Buying a Home With a Pool

Spending the summer floating in your very own pool with a nice, cold drink in hand might be your idea of heaven. And if that’s you, having a pool might be at the top of your house’s must-have list! But there are some important questions you need to ask whenever you tour a house with a pool:

1. What safety measures do you need? Make sure you know what safety measures come with the house and what you’ll need to install afterward.

2. What is the maintenance? Some pools are super low maintenance, while others are not. Keep in mind that the size and type of pool will have a big impact on how much time/money you spend taking care of it.

3. Will home inspectors check the pool? As a feature of the property, it’s wise to make sure the pool is in good condition before you buy. When you’re hiring an inspector, make sure to ask if they check the pool–if not, try to find a pool inspector who can check it out for you.

Pools can add a lot of value to a house and make relaxing during the summer a breeze. With these questions in your back pocket, you’ll be able to make sure you get the right house with the right pool for you! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

What to Know About Property Taxes

First-time homebuyers, this ones for you! Property taxes are an important thing to consider when you’re looking at homes because they can add a lot of money to your monthly mortgage payment. The amount you pay in property taxes depends on the property value and where the property is located since each state and city has a different tax rate. If you have a mortgage, your property taxes are usually wrapped into your monthly payment. If you’ve paid off your mortgage or bought in cash, you are still responsible for paying the tax and the bill will usually get sent by mail. When you’re looking at homes, pay attention to the mortgage breakdown to see how the property taxes add up.

Have any other questions about property taxes? Give us a call! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

3 Expert Tips on Making the Most of a Favorable Market

Good news: whether you’re thinking about buying or selling, there is still plenty of time to take advantage of the low-interest rates and high buyer demand. While sellers are positioned slightly better than buyers with the demand for homes higher than the supply, there are still some complexities involved in getting to the closing table. Here are a few things that we want you to keep in mind to help you make the most of the real estate market, whether you’re entering it as a buyer or seller:

1-Start the process as early as you can to allow for the unpredictable. For buyers, that means having a pre-approval letter in hand before you start house hunting. For sellers, be sure to meet with a real estate agent a few months before you want to sell so that you can develop a game plan.

2-Speaking of game plans, it’s important to have one if you’re buying or selling. If you’re buying a new home, decide what you are willing to compromise on. If a backyard, garage, and fireplace are non-negotiable, will you settle for a smaller kitchen and no extra bedroom? If you want to sell your home and buy a new one, remember that the market is competitive for buyers. I’ve seen home sellers list their homes, only to be unable to find a new one. Do you have a contingency plan in mind, whether it’s a short-term rental or staying with family?

3-Finally, think about what you will do if you find yourself in a multiple offer situation. As a buyer, are you comfortable offering over asking? Including an escalation clause? How much earnest money are you prepared to offer? As a seller, think about whether you’re going to take the highest offer or if you’ll consider other benefits like a fast closing or lease-back until you find a new home?

These are all questions we can help you answer during our initial consultation. If you’d like to start planning your real estate goals, give us a call! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Inspections VS Appraisals

Inspections and appraisals might seem similar, but they play very different roles in the home closing process. An appraisal determines the fair market value of the home. An appraiser will walk through the property and take a general assessment of the home. They then use their report and comparable sales to determine the property’s fair market value. Lenders require appraisals to make sure that the home is worth the mortgage amount. They don’t want to lend money on something worth less than the mortgage. An inspection is an in-depth look through the home to determine its condition. An inspector will go through the house, test all of the major home systems and then create a report with recommendations on repairs and concerns. If you’re buying with cash, you don’t have to do either. But it’s still worth the time and money to get them done to make sure that you’re putting your money into a safe investment.