Tips for Buying a House on a Budget

phoenix home for saleJust because you have a low budget doesn’t mean there isn’t a great home waiting for you to discover it. However, shopping for a home on a budget can be challenging. You may feel nervous telling your realtor or you may not know how to approach your bank about it, either. Just remember that there are plenty of people who buy houses on a budget, follow the tips below for great results!

Consider Foreclosures
Foreclosures are usually homes that were repossessed by a bank or lender because the owner could no longer make mortgage payments on the property. The bank is then trying to sell the property to get it off their hands and recoup the money they lost on financing the home in the first place. Because of this, however, another bank isn’t likely to finance this type of purchase, so you may not have the benefit of a loan to help you out. Also be aware that these homes are almost always left in disarray and poor conditions because the owners couldn’t afford to keep up with repairs – or, in some instances, were angry about the foreclosure and trashed the home before leaving.

Look for “As-Is” Homes
Once again, you may have trouble getting the bank to approve a loan for an “as-is” home, but if you’re in good standing with your bank you may be able to qualify for assistance with one of these properties. These homes may have only minor cosmetic damage, but in some cases, they could have serious structural or roof problems that will need to be repaired at your expense. If you plan to buy an “as-is” home, be prepared to spend a long time shopping around before you find a home that doesn’t need anything too significant in terms of repairs. Otherwise, in the long run you may end up going way over your budget.

Stay Up-To-Date on Neighborhood Changes
If you live in the city, think about neighborhoods that seem to be transitioning from low-quality to better-quality. While you may have to deal with more growing pains than you might prefer in these areas, at least for a few years, chances are good you can get a great home in a neighborhood many outsiders aren’t considering yet. In a little while, these neighborhoods will improve and you’ll be living in a great part of town. The same is true of suburbs surrounding cities that are expanding. Give it a few years, and you’ll be closer to town than you used to be.

Are you looking to buy a home? Get started with this custom home search. We are real estate experts who can help you find a home that meets your needs and lifestyle. Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Scottsdale is #1 Profitable City for Airbnb has ranked Scottsdale as the #1 profitable city to own an Airbnb! This is no surprise to us since the City of Scottsdale has long been a popular destination for families and American corporate elites looking for a vacation getaway filled with golf, hiking and outdoor adventures.

With the growing popularity of short term rentals across the country, many cities have created tighter rules or banned Airbnb rentals altogether. Yet, Arizona has gone in the opposite direction. In 2016, Arizona signed a law that prevents cities from banning short-term rentals. Arizona’s legal protection combined with vacation rental demand, makes Scottsdale the perfect place for real estate rental investors.

Scottsdale Residential Real Estate-
Median list price: $685,100
Average daily rate: $301
Occupancy rate: 81%
Active rentals: 5,178

With our years of experience in Scottsdale real estate, we are prepared to find your next profitable investment property! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Things to Look for at an Open House

home for sale
Are you getting ready to go to open houses? Looking at open houses is one of the many ways you may choose to work with your realtor to find the perfect home for your family. Yet, an open house is different from an individual home showing, and the things you’re looking for may be quite a lot different in this situation. In an individual showing, you’ll be better able to look closely at potential problem areas or things you want to think about, but in an open house, you’ll need to focus on a handful of factors during the time you spend touring the home.

Look At The Floors
You’re probably busy looking around at all the features of the home you’re viewing, but don’t forget to stop and look down every now and then, too. If there are tile floors that look as though they were laid in a DIY project rather than by a professional, you may want to consider the potential issues that could come along with this. Of course, any DIY job isn’t always a sign of something wrong, but it does mean you should keep it in consideration.

Maintenance Issues
Does the home look like it’s been kept up well, or does it appear to be lacking maintenance? Are there a lot of burned-out bulbs, dirty light fixtures, outlets mixing covers, cracks in the decorative molding, or other similar issues? Maintenance problems usually indicate that the homeowners haven’t been keeping up with more serious repairs around the home either.

Mold And Water Damage
Always be on the lookout for mold and water damage. If you notice a discolored spot on the ceiling, it’s likely a water leak and you should ask about it. If you see mold, bring this up as well.

Foundation Problems
You probably won’t be able to get a great look at the foundation while you’re looking around at an open house, but you can check the inside and outside walls for cracks. Small hairline cracks aren’t really an issue, because these are normal with older homes regardless of their quality. However, if you notice very large cracks, especially those that go from floor to ceiling, you may want to move on to the next open house.

Are you ready to start touring homes? Give us a call, we’d love to schedule private showings for you and tour open houses with you! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Appliance Disposal Tips


When preparing your home for sale, we often suggest to replace your old appliances with new ones or you may have just bought a home with old appliances and you replaced them…so what do you with the old appliances?

You can recycle your smaller appliances with most cities. The Cities of Scottsdale and Phoenix both offer quarterly electronic recycling events, look for announcements of these events in your monthly water bill.

Give Away
Check with local charities to see what their policies are regarding used appliances donations. Charities that accept appliance donations will often offer free curbside pick-up service. You may also be able to write your donation off on your taxes.

Have It Hauled Away
You may decide you just want the appliances out of your home. When that happens, you can call services for responsible appliance removal. There will be a fee, so you might want to go through your house and find any additional items in need of being hauled away to make the fee worth the money.

Sell Them
Are your appliances still running? Head over to Craigslist or to sell them. There is a growing market of shoppers looking for a bargain. There are also customers who want to strip your appliances for parts to re-sale. Fielding offers from bargain shoppers can be a more time-consuming option, but with a little effort, you could put some cash in your pocket!

Are you thinking of selling your home? Our complimentary home stagers will help you make the decisions needed to get you top dollar! Call today for more information. Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

What You Need To Know Before Buying A Horse Property

If you have a horse, or multiple horses, there are plenty properties in the Carefree, Cave Creek, Rio Verde and North Scottsdale to chose from.  Most horse properties are located in unincorporated areas without HOA’s restrictions but there are still various guidelines and regulations that you need to be aware of if you are considering purchasing a horse property.

The issues you should consider are if proper proper permits have been filed by prior/current owners or there is a judgement filed against the property by a bank, a lien holder, or even a level of government. Unless you take the time to investigate and research a piece of property prior to purchasing it, you could find yourself with great financial implications as well as legal issues. 

The areas of Carefree, Cave Creek, Rio Verde Foothills, or Scottsdale are within Maricopa County. The county in itself has ordinances and restrictions based on where the property is situated. While Maricopa County is ultimately the authority in approving land usage. Carefree and Cave Creek municipalities have their own restrictions in addition to the ones in place by the county. 

County Islands – The Unincorporated Land In Maricopa County

 “County Islands”, are the unincorporated Maricopa County” are areas in Maricopa County that aren’t subject to the municipality’s overlays, unless, the property is situated in a specific incorporated area.  These properties are only restricted to Maricopa County, which the Maricopa County Flood Control District could be included. Properties that fall within a floodplain will have a Maricopa County Floodplain overlay.

The zoning of North Scottsdale horse property focuses primarily on setbacks and covered roof area percentages which pertains to square footage overall. Another factor is the number of residential structures located on a zoned property and its usage.  The Maricopa County Zoning Ordinances will provide all Information that relates ordinances, setbacks, use, and zoning.

The Water Issues in North Scottsdale 

Horse property in the Cave Creek area is on municipal water and is known to have significant water issues.  The water supply in other areas may be either hauled in or come from a water well production, dependent on how deep the water is below the ground, the quality of the water, and the water table.

The Floodplain of North Scottsdale 

Maricopa County has areas suitable for horse property are subject to floodplain and floodway, and as such there are additional restrictions regarding building horse arenas, horse barns, horse fencing as well as homesites.  For example, erecting a fence across a floodway requires you to obtain a engineer’s report that determines the flow of water as well as the height and type of the fence structure to be put built. 

The Soil of North Scottsdale

Horse properties in North Scottsdale Arizona area of Maricopa county vary between locations.  The Rio Verde Foothills for example, soil type is stated to as “decomposed granite”, a combination of clay and a fine gravel. When dry, it is hard and slick like concrete, but when wet, becomes gooey. Areas of North Scottsdale have this type of soil, which can be an issue for horses because it does not offer sound footing. Sound footing is needed for those raising horses for barrel racing, cutting, jumping, roping, or working cow horse.  Water is required to minimize dust, compact the dirt and maintain evenness of the ground. Therefore, the water issues combined with the soil in this area both need to be considered when buying land for horse usage.

The Regulations of North Scottsdale 

In regard to buying property for horse use, there are overlays of Maricopa County regulations in Carefree, Cave Creek, Phoenix, and Scottsdale municipalities. Before purchasing property in these areas to use for horses, investigations and research are recommended, which is something we can help you with.

Are you looking to buy a horse property?  Contact Us today!


Do’s and Don’ts When Looking at Homes Above Your Price Range

neighborhood aerial view photoShould you even be considering homes above your price range? And no, I don’t mean the difference between your ideal price and a multi-million dollar house on Camelback. I am talking about the home that is just outside of the budget you sent your realtor.  s there any sense in dreaming a little bit bigger, or is it just a recipe for disappointment? 

The short answer is “you should look.” You set that high limit on your budget for a reason. But sometimes, you can find yourself in a situation where the seller is motivated to accept a lower price, or your realtor can help spot a local market where there is some wiggle room for negotiations. 

Here are some do’s and don’ts when considering homes outside your price range. 

Do utilize stats in the area to do research. We compare the list prices with what homes nearby ended up selling for, which can help you determine if it’s worth it to look at the home outside your budget. 

Don’t get attached and be disappointed if the seller refuses to come down on the price and the home is simply unaffordable for you.

Do understand if you are in a buyer’s market, where the odds are good that a seller is willing to negotiate, or a seller’s market, where you don’t have any bargaining power.

Don’t forget that we have experience determining the proper price range, and we are experts on what is a good deal versus what will be a waste of time to look at. Trust us to help you make the right decision.

Do look for situations where a seller is very motivated to sell.  Sometimes sellers are in a hurry due to personal circumstances and may be more receptive to your offer. 

Ultimately, it’s up to you to have a realistic mindset when looking at homes with price tags above your upper limits.  It is uncommon that you’ll be able to “bargain down” a lot, especially in situations where the seller has no motivation to sell for any less than intended. Experienced agents have a nose for what will work and what won’t, so don’t force a showing or offer when you are advised strongly against it. 

Are you considering buying a home?  Click here to create a custom home search and we will set you up to receive as soon as they hit the market. 


Considering An Investment Property?

condo photoDid you move to the valley and start by renting an apartment, condo or single-family home? We known so many people who moved here and started renting off the bat – they were able to get an impression of neighborhoods and find out where they wanted to buy. 

We also know some of them that haven’t decided to become homeowners at all. It fits with the national trend of home-ownership rates dropping from 70 percent down to 65 percent. And a third of those renters are leasing out single-family homes, not apartments. 

What does this mean for you? Investment properties, of course! Phoenix has a strong demand for housing, and paired with the popularity of renting, this is a good time for those interested in rental properties to strategize. 

The good: Buying an investment property is a way to diversify your holdings, and renting increases cash flow.

The challenge: Are you prepared to make the right choice in property, and to maintain it while working with tenants?  Do you have the means and some extra time to deal with issues that might come up? 

If you’re not daunted by the idea of after-hours calls and taking care of surprise repairs, then investing in a rental home can be a solid decision for your financial future. Arm yourself with resources (or an experienced partner) to help choose the best property that fits your criteria. As a first-time investor, it’s important not to put too much on your plate – fixer-uppers and large, expensive properties can set you back. 

You should also be aware that investment properties incur a large down payment; since mortgage insurance isn’t available for the rental property, you’ll need at least 20 percent down for traditional financing. And that is just the start of the numbers: Break out that calculator to check your margins, operating expenses and the return on your investment for your efforts.  A study showed rental properties in Phoenix returned an annual average 8.7 percent, which is quite high. If this sounds like a venture for you, contact us!

How to Create A Renovation Budget

color pallets photoMany buyers are interested in buying a fixer upper to renovate and turn into their dream home. While it’s an exciting project, it can also be stressful and expensive if you don’t plan ahead, anticipate extra repairs and create a reasonable budget.  Follow these helpful steps for creating a renovation budget and things will go smoothly! 

Set Your Goals

In the beginning, before worrying about budget, write down all the goals you hope to accomplish with your renovation. Decide what is most important to you and be detailed about all the elements you want to change. Having specific goals in mind will help you estimate costs and determine a budget. Having all your goals laid out will let you go back and update things as you figure out what you can realistically afford. 

Professionals and Equipment

Some buyers prefer the D.I.Y route to home renovation, others choose to use a contactor or home designer. Even if you do decide to take on most of the renovation on your own, you may need to hire professionals for more complicated jobs like plumbing or wiring. You’ll also need to determine what equipment you may need to rent or buy. 

Crunch the Numbers

Now that you have your goals in mind and know what professionals and equipment you’ll need, it’s time to figure out your budget. You can do some research online to see the average cost of renovations. Keep in mind that different factors effect cost. For example, costs will vary between different types of materials, fixtures and appliances. It’s always recommended to include a contingency budget, as renovations can sometimes cost more than originally estimated or take more time. 

Get Estimates

Call around to different professionals and ask for cost estimates. Make sure to research professionals and look for reliable reviews online or ask friends and family for references. 

Review and Revise

After deciding on a budget and getting quotes, you’ll need to sit down and go over everything one last time. You may find that you’ll need to revise your budget, hold off on certain projects for another year, or find cost saving measures. 

Home renovation can be a big project to tackle, but with proper preparation this is a great way to turn an older home into something you truly like.  Let us know if you are looking for a home to renovate or flip.  We have access to homes that are not listed in mls!

Contact Us

Real Estate Terms Every First Time Homebuyer Should Know

chair with dog photoWhen your buying your first home, it’s a big, exciting step.  But, it can also be overwhelming to try to understand the process and all the real estate terminology thrown your way.  Buying your first home should be a great experience, and one way to make that happen is to educate yourself as to what some of the words your agent and mortgage broker will mention mean.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage

An Adjustable Rate Mortgage means that your interest rate will fluctuate throughout the life of your loan. Usually, this type of mortgage has a lower interest rate initially but can go up or down depending on different factors. Adjustable Rate Mortgages are typically meant for short term ownership.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

With a Fixed Rate Mortgage your interest rate will be locked in for the duration of the repayment period. If you plan on owning the home for longer than five years a Fixed Rate Mortgage can be your best option.

Earnest Money

Also known as a “good faith” deposit, Earnest Money is a deposit made by the potential buyer to show they are serious about buying the house. These funds are held by a neutral party and typically put towards closing costs or your down payment at the time of closing.


A contingency is a condition that must be meant before a contract is legal. It is meant to protect the party from liability if certain conditions are not met. One example would be when a buyer specifies that a contract is not binding until a satisfactory home inspection is completed by a reputable home inspector.

Origination Points

Origination Points compensate a lender or loan officer for evaluating, processing and approving your mortgage loan. A point is 1% of your loan amount. Origination point fees are paid at closing.

Are you ready to start your home search?  Click here to create your custom search and receive homes for sale listings.

New Construction vs A Pre-Owned Home

When it comes to making a decision between buying a newly constructed home and buying a pre-owned house, the first thought that is likely to strike the mind of the prospective buyer is location and price. Well, while price may be a factor in any business transaction, there are other things to look out for when purchasing real estate.

Let’s take a look at the benefits and disadvantages of buying a new home from a builder vs buying a pre owned home from a private seller:

1. Location of the home

Pre-owned home (Pro)

This is one advantage of owning a pre-owned home. Most pre-owned homes are situated in already established areas with access to schools, banks, and other social infrastructure.

New home (Con)

Most newly constructed homes are built in locations outside the main city area. This is because of the fact that most of the main city area is already occupied, and the only available space for new buildings are on the outskirts. While this might be a good location for some people as they are far away from the hubbub of city life and living in a more serene environment, it, however, implies that you’ll have to commute every day to places like schools, office, and shopping malls which are located in the metropolis.

2. Availability of new features

New home (Pro)

New homes are built based on the latest designs and feature the latest technology. Most new homes come with more amenities and appliances which are seldom found in older homes.  However, you are getting a blank canvas in the backyard and you’ll be expected to landscape the front of your home within a short period of time

Pre-owned home (Con)

An older home lacks some of the latest technological features of modern smart homes. This might be an issue for some people who are tech-savvy.  Depending on what the buyer is looking for, some homes may need remodeling, new appliances and other updates.

3. Ease of acquisition

New home (Pro)

Buying a newly constructed home is easier than buying a pre-owned one. It takes a shorter period of time in searching for and concluding the acquisition of a new home than it is for an old one. However, most builders estimate 9 months to complete a home.  This may work for your advantage if you are trying to sell a current residence and need some extra time to prepare financially.

Pre-owned home (Con)

Buying a pre-owned home involves some extra steps before the deal is final.  These homes need to be inspected for infrastructure, termites and may be in need of some crucial improvements. Some seller might be resistant to complete repairs or reduce the sell price to compensate the buyer for not fulfilling that request.

4. Renovation and repairs

New home (Pro)

As a brand new house, there is almost nothing needed to be fixed in it as everything is still “fresh.” Hence, there is virtually no need to start making repairs or renovations in the house. This also means that you don’t spend more money after finally buying the house. Homes are 100% move in ready and don’t need renovations.

Pre-owned home (Con)

A pre-owned home might need some major repairs, new appliances, floors and paint. This means that you’ll have to put in more time and money in restoring the home before actually moving in.

5. Pricing

Pre-owned home (Pro)

Since old homes have already been previously occupied, the cost of buying them will be lower than getting a brand new home. There are exceptions though, as pre-owned homes in reputable high demand neighborhoods will still carry huge price tags.  However, the price of the home includes established landscape, possibly a pool and window covering.

New home (Con)

With all the amazing features and technology fitted in a new home, the price just has to be more expensive.

Wether you are buying a new or pre-owned home, always have a real estate agent represent your interest.  Let us know how we can help!

Contact Chris and Cheryl