Are Home Warranties Worth the Cost?

kitchenAs a home buyer or home seller, you may have wondered whether a home warranty is worth the cost. Homeowners insurance protects your home against unforeseen accidents or damage.  A home warranty, on the other hand, is a supplement to this insurance. Simply put, a home warranty is a convenience program that covers normal wear and tear on the major electrical and mechanical systems in a home, typically for a one-year period.

A home’s ventilation, heating and air-conditioning, plumbing, water heater and kitchen appliances are typically covered by a home warranty. However, be sure to read the fine print on any home warranty. Be sure to note what exactly is covered and what isn’t.

Another wrinkle with home warranty plans is that they don’t offer quick fixes to any problems that are discovered within the home. Home warranties are not the same as emergency home service contracts, where the homeowner can make a phone call and have the problem diagnosed and fixed within the same day.  Instead, with a home warranty, the homeowner will have to file a claim, and the home warranty company will choose a local service contractor to diagnose the problem for a service fee, which isn’t covered by the warranty.  Then, the claim must be approved by the company.

While a home warranty can be a nice back-up plan, it’s critical that any homeowner identify any necessary repairs during the home inspection period.  The home inspection will typically uncover any major issues with the maintenance of the home, and will set a precedent for regular service of the major mechanical services. For example, some home warranty companies won’t cover an air-conditioner that hasn’t been serviced in a past set number of months. Therefore, having this done during the home inspection negotiation period will help to set up a seamless transition to the home warranty service period. Home warranties in Arizona average around $400-500 depending on the size of the home.

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Buying and Selling Simultaneously

house keyBuying and selling homes simultaneously can can feel overwhelming, it can also raise many questions, especially regarding timing. When should you list the home you’re selling? At what point should you begin looking for a new home? What happens if you get an offer on the home you’re selling before closing on your new place?

The key to combining your buying and selling processes is timing. Taking the time up front to consider your options and make educated timing decisions will increase the chances that you’ll get to seamlessly move from the old home into the new space.

So, how do you make those smart timing decisions?

Find an Expert. A good real estate agent is a knowledgeable and reliable expert on buying and selling homes simultaneously. The agent researches and understands current trends which will help you time your transition to the new house while also getting the most money from the house you’re selling.

Know the Market. A real estate agent is also a great resource to educate you on your local market. The agent uses current market data, the condition of your home, neighborhood comparable homes and other factors to determine a realistic selling price for your listing.

Understand your Finances. As you look at your options, know where you stand financially, how much equity you have in your current home, and how much money you can reasonably use toward the down payment of a new house. Homeowners who have enough equity to sell their existing home and can come up with a down payment for another one are going to have an easier time buying and selling at the same time. Know that there are many options for those homeowners in all financial categories. Understanding your finances will help when you discuss this process with your agent.

Make Quick Fixes. Price and home condition are the two most important factors that effect the sale of your home. As explored specifically in previous posts, investing money up front to update the yard, repaint the walls or make other small fixes has been proven to significantly increase the likelihood that your home will sell more quickly.
Start Shopping for the New Home. If you and your agent agree that listing your home is a good decision for you, it’s time to begin your home search process. If possible, start looking at homes before you put yours on the market so that you have an idea to the timeframe it could take to find the new place based on your search criteria.

When You’re Ready, List Your Home. Putting the home on the market is a careful process that depends largely on how fast you think you will be able to find and close on your new home. The previous step, shopping for the new home, will help make that decision. Keep in mind, if you put the home on the market and the right buyer puts in an offer more quickly than you anticipated, there are contingencies you can add to the contract to give you more time to find your new home.

Buying and selling homes simultaneously has its challenges, but we have the experience and knowledge to make it happen for you. Call us to learn more! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

5 Packing Tips for Your Move

moving dayYou sold your house-congrats! Now you must tackle the daunting task of moving! Use these helpful tips to pack up and move with ease:

1-Have a place in your home that is designated “packing central”.  All your moving information and needs like labels, box tape, markers etc. should always be kept in the same location so you know that is where everything is during the moving process.

2-Make a list. If you write things down you won’t forget things. For example, you may want to make a packing list. For every box you pack you will have the box numbered with the contents listed clearly on the box.  This will help not only you, but the movers as well. If items are clearly labeled “kitchen” then the movers won’t put that box in a bedroom.

3-Or instead of numbering the boxes, you can color coordinate your boxes. For example, anything with yellow on the box is for the kitchen and red marked boxes are for the master bedroom. You can then place a color sticker on the doorway at the new home that matches the ones on your boxes so the movers will know where each box is to go.

4-Wardrobe boxes are very handy. They can take all the items from your closet and transport them easily to your new home without worrying about being all creased when you get there. You can also fill the bottom of these boxes with shoes and purses and then cover the clothing with dry cleaning bags to keep from getting dirty.

5-Give yourself plenty of time to pack.  Do a little bit at a time and you won’t feel so overwhelmed and stressed out that it needs to get done quickly.  This is also a good time to clean out your closets and cabinets of items you no longer need or want.  You can make a big trip to a local Goodwill or other charity in your area that can use your household items or clothes.

Moving is a hassle and no one really enjoys it, but with any luck you are moving into the home of your dreams and this will be the last move you make for a long time!

Why You Should Use an Agent vs. For Sale by Owner

coming soon for saleBuying or selling your home is a major and oftentimes emotional life decision. It’s also one that is best handled by a professional real estate agent that knows the ins and outs of the industry. While it might seem like a smart idea to save that 6 percent commission, here are some reasons why it can greatly benefit you to work with an agent.

Expertise: Real estate agents are not only knowledgeable about your home and its value, they’re also in tune with the rest of the market and are able to leverage local knowledge while conducting negotiations on your behalf. While selling a home is an emotional experience, real estate agents can look at the transaction from an unbiased point of view and determine the value and marketing strategy best suited for your home and the real estate market. They’re also able to help guide you in the best way to modify your home for sale without wasting money on modifications that may not boost your home’s value.

Marketing: Marketing your home online is not as easy as you might think. Real estate, like any other industry, involves a background and expertise in marketing. This involves brochures, advertisements in both print and digital, and having a vast network of potential buyers that are looking for homes like yours. Real estate agents have access to tools and networks that

Access to Legitimate Buyers: It’s not only important to find qualified buyers that are interested in your home, professional real estate agents are knowledgeable in a potential buyer’s credit-worthiness, their financial history and can also verify buyers with all cash offers. This is crucial in ensuring your home is properly and legally sold with no financial mistakes.

Incentivizes Buyers: You may not realize it, but listing agents also get 3 percent commission once their buyers purchase your home. This can sometimes be an incentivizing reason for buyer’s agents to show your home, and can increase the number of showings you have. If you list your home for sale by owner, you are likely not attracting as many potential buyers as you could.

Contact us next time you consider selling or buying a home. We can offer guidance, expertise and local area knowledge that you never knew you needed to sell your home successfully. Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

The Importance of Curb Appeal When Selling

front entrance
First impressions are everything when preparing your house for sale. Curb appeal is the initial preview of your home for potential buyers. In today’s real estate market, potential buyers will first view your home online. Then if your home matches the criteria they are using in their home search, these buyers will drive by your home. If the exterior of your home isn’t well-kept or your landscaping isn’t on par with the other homes in the neighborhood, your home showing may turn into a drive-by only with those potential buyers.

Implementing a few steps to update and maintain your home’s exterior is critical to prepping your home for sale. Doing so will invite more potential home buyers to come closer to check out all that your home has to offer. The first step is to take an objective look at your front yard’s landscaping. A desert landscape littered with weeds and overgrown trees implies deferred maintenance in all areas of home care and upkeep. Trimming trees, weeding, and pruning shrubs will also allow potential buyers to actually see your home. Planting fresh flowers or desert plants in pots near your walkway or front door is also another quick and inexpensive step to freshen up your home’s exterior and landscape. Power-washing, hosing down, or simply sweeping your driveway, walkway and front entry way are other inexpensive steps that will pay off with a big impact when showcasing your home’s exterior. While you’re at it, be sure that your windows sparkle with a fresh cleaning inside and out.

If you’re lucky enough to have a front patio area or large entry way, stage this area by placing a couple chairs to showcase a conversation area to your potential buyers as they are walking into your home. Furthermore, the simplifying rule that applies to the interior of your home also applies to the exterior and landscaping, so remove any yard or lawn art from your front yard and entry way. Keeping the door clean and free of decorations is another way to showcase the architecture and beauty of your home without providing unnecessary distractions.

As realtors, we can give you more specific advice unique to your home and neighborhood, to help you maximize your home’s curb appeal. Give us call today to learn more how we can help sell your home for top dollar! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Top 3 Questions to Ask a Realtor®

house key

With so many agents available in the valley, it can be overwhelming when it comes to picking the right one. That’s why we put together a list of the top 3 questions to ask a Realtor®.

How many showings should I expect each week?
Expectations are the key to success! If you’re selling your home, wouldn’t you like to know the probability of having a showing every day vs once a week? We know it’s a pain to be cleaning, leaving the lights on, opening the curtains or blinds, vacuuming, and sweeping off the patios. Will you need to do that every day or once a week? Whatever the answer, you’ll want to be prepared.

What single upgrade will bring me the greatest return?
The majority of homes in our area were built between 1970 and 2010. Adding a pool, updating cabinets, replacing countertops, adding a bathroom or replacing your flooring are all items that could get you a positive return on your dollar… as long as they are done wisely. Even newer homes that are less than 10 years old can see a value variance of 15% for the exact same floor plan based on interior upgrades. Knowing the best tips to get you top dollar when selling is key.

How accurate are your estimates of property value, upgrade costs, and ROI?
Anyone can throw out random numbers, but it takes experience to throw out accurate estimates.

We have the experience and expertise to answer these Top 3 questions and all other real estate questions you may have. We are accurate with our advice and offer services to help prepare your home. We look forward to answering all of your questions! Chris 480-754-9077 & Cheryl 480-754-9477

Appliance Disposal Tips

Appliances

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?

Recycle
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

Letting Go of Your Home

home for saleFor many people, selling a home is a process that is filled with emotion because they have lived in their homes for years creating memories. Others are facing necessary moves because of unfortunate circumstances. Even sellers preparing for a desired move are likely to face some feelings of attachment to their home that can threaten to interfere with the sale process. Despite the difficulty, emotionally detaching yourself from your property before listing it is the first step in ensuring a smooth sale.

Here are some tips to help you let go of your home:

If the move is necessary, but unwanted then be honest with us. We are accustomed to working with sellers in all sorts of different and difficult situations. Being upfront with us about potential problems will enable us to act in your best interest.

We use the assistance of a professional stager. She will help you remove your personal items and neutralize the home so that buyers will view it as a blank slate. This can help accelerate your process of moving on and seeing your home for what it is when it is for sale.

Leave the property when buyers come to look at your home and allow realtors to handle the showing. Lingering sellers can cause potential buyers to feel uncomfortable and may interfere with their perception of the property, and observing any negative reactions that buyers may have will only make the process of letting go more difficult for the seller.

When you are preparing to pack your belongings, take photos of your favorite spots in your home to preserve memories. Focus on your next step and new opportunities that selling your current home will provide you. Even if now is not your preferred time to move, focusing on the highlights of your new home and neighborhood will start the excitement about the transition.

Market Value Versus Assessed Value. What’s the Difference?

scottsdale townhome photoIt’s important to understand what your home is worth. Knowing your homes value gives you an idea of how much you could receive if you sold the property.  It also plays a part in determining how much property tax you’ll be required to pay.  There are different valuations of a home’s worth and you should understand the difference between market value and assessed value. 

Market value is used to determine how much a buyer would be willing to pay for your home. An appraiser determines market value and is usually hired by your lender. Market value is a vital tool in helping to decide what price to list a property for. Often sellers want to list based on what they feel a buyer should want to pay. However, it is better to list a property based on current market conditions. Market value is based on recent sales of similar homes in the area, along with other factors. 

Assessed value puts market value in the context of property taxes and is based on the laws of the state or county in which you live. Assessed value is calculated as a percentage of the market value of the property. Assessed value is determined by an assessor’s office. Some offices have databases open to the public for you to see the history of your property, as well as what information what factored into its assessment. 

Have more questions about your home’s value? Feel free to send us your questions!  We are always willing to  answer any of your questions so that you can feel comfortable with the home buying or selling process! Contact Us

Click here to get your free home value estimate

Why Now could Be The Best Time To Sell your Home

Scottsdale home photoYou’ve probably heard that spring or fall is the best time to list your home for sale. But with the recent changes in tax legislation and potentially rising income rates, many buyers are looking for homes to buy.

While several homeowner tax breaks still exist under newly enacted laws, there are worries that housing prices might decline over the next few months as a result. This is particularly a worry in geographic areas where prices are inflated.

Another negative thing about the new tax laws for homeowner is the state and local tax deduction. Previously, homeowners in areas with higher property taxes could deduct those bills in full. Under new tax law though, the deduction is maxed out at only $10,000, meaning that homes with higher property taxes might not be as appealing to buyers.

Many individuals looking to buy a home won’t fully grasp the consequences of some of these new tax laws. But additionally, if you previously got a huge tax break — such as a $20,000 property tax deduction — those will no longer be available under the new reformed laws. This law is specifically focused around high-property value cities like New York City and Los Angeles, but can still influence perception of the overall market.

Finance experts recommend keeping your home costs to less than 30 percent of your take home pay. If the new tax laws are making your home costs jump, consider selling while interest rates are still low for buyers.

Speaking of interest rates – industry forecasters are concerned that the national average of interest rates could rise to over 5 percent in 2018. Currently, the average mortgage rate is around 4.5 percent, which is the highest it’s been in 4 years. Mortgage rates have not peaked over 5 percent since 2011.

Another great reason to sell your home is the fact that home prices are likely at their peak. One study estimates that over the last year, home prices raised 6 percent in much of the country. This makes it a great time to potentially cash out on all that equity or refinance for a lower interest rate.

No matter your situation, several signs are pointing to this spring being a great time to sell your home. Contact the Sibbach Group for a confidential consultation If you are thinking of listing your home in this sellers-market.

Click here to read February Phoenix and Scottsdale Real Estate market Update