What You Need To Know Before Buying A Horse Property

cowboy on horse photoIf 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.

Contingencies

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

Buying A Historic Home

The metro Phoenix area is mixed with newer construction as well as some historic homes. Some of these historic homes are as old as the town itself. You can find them in the Old Town Scottsdale which is the original site of the region. Examples include the Pony Steak House, Noriega’s Home and Livery

Stable, and the Lu Lu Belle Building which were built during the early and mid-twentieth century.There are certain factors that make a home to be considered as historic. Top on the list is the age of the home: a home needs to be at least 50 years old to be considered historic. The structural integrity of the building after those years is another factor. In addition, the background of the home plays an essential part in determining whether it is historic or not. That being said, there are various reasons why people consider picking a historic home instead of a contemporary one, and vice-versa.

The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of buying a historic home:

Pros of buying a historic home

Lower property tax. Most governments give tax reliefs and incentives to owners of historic homes as a way of encouraging the building’s preservation.

An opportunity to better understand the underlying history.  Every historical home has a rich historical background and owning them gives you a chance to learn more about their history.

Living in a historic building gives you an opportunity to discover the past of the building as well as the past of its former owners.

Elegance and beauty.  Most historic homes are more elegant than contemporary ones. They have a unique design that sets them apart from others.

A chance to contribute to history. Most historic homes are preserved by the city and form an important part of the community.  Being the owner of a historic home affords you the privilege to contribute to the development of that community by helping to preserve the home.

Good future value. If you are able to maintain a historic home, it may appreciate in financial value later in the future. This means that you can sell it for far more than what you bought it for.

Cons of buying a historic home

You may have to spend more in order to renovate it. As a rule of thumb, aged houses cost more to renovate and maintain than newer homes. In addition, the insurance for the home may not be cheap. Thus, in the long run, you might have to spend more on renovations and maintenance than what you spent on buying the home.

You may have to work more to renovate and preserve it. Historic homes are at least half a century old, meaning that most parts of the home need some repairs, especially if the former owners lacked a good maintenance culture. Besides the cost that you’ll incur, you need a lot of time and energy to get things back in shape.

Historic homes come with their restrictions. This may be the biggest disadvantage of owning a historic home. Historic homes are protected by strict state laws in order to keep them preserved and as such may limit the freedom of the owner in making changes to the home.

Possible undesirable surprises. You never know what can arise from a historic home as it has gone through many years of ownership. Some of the discoveries you’ll make in the course of living in a historic home may not be positive, so, watch out for them.

 

Fantastic Scottsdale Luxury Communities

McDowell Mountain photoWhat better place is there to retreat from the commotion of city life other than in the calmness of a cool Southwest summer night and the serenity of watching the sunset over the desert night-sky? Beautifully decorated by the colors of the desert, Scottsdale provides a unique serene environment for true relaxation. Deep in the shadow of the McDowell Mountains, lie several beautiful golf courses, luxurious resorts, and fine dining against the beautiful backdrop of the Sonora desert. Scottsdale is popular for its many elegantly planned communities within which are hosted breathtakingly beautiful luxury properties up for sale.  Here are some of our favorite:

One of such communities is the DC Ranch. Providing several beautifully designed Spanish styled luxury homes, with a spectacular environment located on the hillsides overlooking the valley of the sun.  DC Ranch has beautifully maintained grounds with many walking and biking trails.

click here to view homes for sale in DC Ranch. 

Ancala is a north Scottsdale community spanning over 850 acres of land in the Sonoran desert. It is a luxurious residential area providing spectacular scenery of the McDowell and Camelback mountains, amazing amenities and beautiful prestigious luxury homes. It is located south east of Loop 101 and is conveniently located to the best of what Scottsdale has to offer.

click here to view homes for sale in Ancala.

Grayhawk is another beautiful north Scottsdale community with close to 3800 homes all located in a beautiful and serene environment with an amazing views of the Pinnacle peak and the McDowell Mountains.  Grayhawk has beautiful golf grounds, excellent schools and offers quick access to many popular amenities in Scottsdale and North Phoenix.

click here to view homes for sale in Grayhawk

Property Taxes: What to Expect

laptops photoAre you a first-time homebuyer or someone who hasn’t purchased a home in a long time? Do you find yourself wondering what to expect when it comes to property taxes? This is a common question that tends to come up pretty quickly when the topic of buying a home is addressed. Many first-time homebuyers are cautioned to keep their property taxes in mind when budgeting for their new home, and with good reason. Depending on where you live, your property taxes could be significant, and they could make a big difference in the overall price of your home and your monthly mortgage payment as well. Below, we’ve outlined some important information to help you learn what you can about what to expect and how to prepare for your property taxes.

How is property tax calculated?

Property taxes were created as a way to pay government employees of your town or county (such as police officers, firefighters and others) for their work. Therefore, it’s up to your local government to determine your property taxes. In order to do this, your home and the property it sits on are both assessed based on the market value of other houses that have sold recently in your area. You can also figure out an estimated property tax price by multiplying the tax rate you pay in your area by the value of your home in its assessment. You can do this yourself, and you can also ask your realtor to help you determine the property taxes on any home you’re looking into purchasing. You should have at least some idea of property taxes before you make an offer on your home.

When are property taxes paid?

When you purchase your home, you will need to pay property taxes as part of your closing costs. Depending on how you are buying your home, the way in which you make this payment may differ. For example, in some instances, you’ll need to pay these through a cashier’s check or another similar method. In other instances, you can group the payment into the same check you use to pay the rest of your closing costs. The time of year in which you close on your home will affect how much you need to pay in property taxes at the time, too; the rate will be prorated so that you only pay for the months in which you will own the home in the given year. When the next year begins, your taxes will go up to their normal annual amount.

Are you considering pre-qualifying for a mortgage loan?  Contact us or call  480.754.9477 or 480.754.9077.

Why Snowbirds Love Scottsdale in the Winter

Kierland christmas tree photoHave you ever thought about living somewhere that doesn’t get cold and snowy during the winter? Or have you ever considered spending the long, cold winter months lounging around by the pool or playing a few rounds of golf in the sunshine? When it comes to life in Scottsdale, winter is when this area really shines. There are many great reasons to live in Scottsdale during the wintertime, and below, we’ve outlined some of the most important points that keep year-round residents and snowbirds alike happy all winter long.

Enjoy the Warm Weather

Winter can be a tough time to live just about anywhere, but when you own a home in Scottsdale during the colder months, you won’t have to worry about all the hassles of cold weather wear and tear on your property. It will be mild and warm all winter long, and you’ll love the great weather that attracts so many people during this season.

Lower Property Taxes

Many people choose to live in California to enjoy weather similar to the nice winter temperatures and climate that are available in Arizona. However, in California, property taxes are much higher and much more likely to make it difficult to afford living there. Living in Scottsdale during the winter means you can get all the great benefits of the climate with none of the pricing concerns, and you won’t have to worry nearly as much about the cost of property taxes.

No Snow

Want to live somewhere that never sees snow? Looking forward to a winter without having to dig yourself out of your driveway just to get to work? If so, Scottsdale is the place for you!

You Can Enjoy the Hustle and Bustle of Scottsdale in the Winter

Just because you don’t live in a place that gets a lot of cold weather and snow doesn’t mean you won’t get caught up in the holiday season when you live in Scottsdale. With so many snowbirds visiting the area during the winter and so many residents getting out and about while the weather is nice, you’re sure to find plenty to do surrounded by your fellow Scottsdale residents.

You can Check out the Golf Scene

Last but not least, the golf is great in and around Scottsdale during the winter. The weather is nice, and when you want to unwind after a tough day of house shopping, this is definitely the way to do it!

We can help you find the right home to meet your needs and lifestyle.  Click here to learn about northeast valley homes and neighborhoods and view homes for sale.