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

How We Determine Listing Price For Your Home

Scottsdale house photoWhether you’re new to the world of real estate or you’re an old hat when it comes to listing and selling homes, there’s one part of the process that’s always more challenging than you may expect: coming up with the listing price.  It’s not a per square footage set point but a combination of the market trends in your neighborhoods, comps and what trendy features your home has that buyers desire.  I hope to pass along some of my favorite tips to you. This way, the next time you find yourself unsure about pricing, you’ll have some information to fall back on.

Comparative Market Analysis
The first and most important thing I do when trying to price a home for sale is to run a comparative market analysis check. This means I’m looking at homes in the area that have been listed recently and are similar in size and amenities to the one I’m pricing. From there, I’ll narrow down my results to houses that didn’t sell, houses that are still for sale, and houses that have sold. This will help me figure out, respectively, what price is too high for the area, what price is competitive, and what price is successful. The last category is the most important, but all three can help me figure out a reasonable price for a new listing. I’ll usually go with something like an average that falls into this range in a reasonable way.

Current Market Conditions
If houses in the same area are not selling well, that may mean I’ll need to adjust the listing price a bit lower. On the other hand, if buyers are eager to grab up anything in the area, I can encourage the price to go a little higher. Good neighborhood amenities can make a difference, too, including shopping, dining, parks, playgrounds, and more. And of course, the condition of the actual street on which the home is located can make some changes in the price, too.

Additional Home Features
Last but not least, I’ll consider the home’s features or lack thereof to figure out what may be a good asking price. If the home has a garage or a lot of bedrooms, it may drive the price up a bit. However, if the home only has one bathroom, for example, the price may dip a little because this is often seen as a negative by many buyers. I’ll also see which features have been demanding more buyer attention in the area recently when I consider this part of the pricing process, too.  Also, most home buyers love move in ready homes equipped with the latest design trends and luxury features. Tiled and wood floors are always preferred over carpeting; natural stone countertops, upgraded appliances, hardware and current kitchen cabinet trends will sell a home faster than a lower priced home with same floorplan in your neighborhood.

We offer professional staging services to get top dollar for your home.  Are you considering selling your home?  Get started with a free home value estimate or contact us today!

480.754.9477 or 480.754.9077

Do Open House Events Still Work?

Cave Creek home photoHaving an open house can often go a long way toward helping you sell your home, but there are some pros and cons you’ll want to consider before you plan to go this route. You can expect a lot of  traffic from potential buyers and agents if the event is staged effectively, correctly and at the right time.

The goal of an open house is to bring traffic to your home from people who are looking to buy a home in your area.  A seasoned agent will schedule the event shortly after your home is posted for sale to take advantage of the “new listing” status.  Your realtor will post the open house date in MLS, social media and real estate websites such as zillow.com and realtor.com so that buyer’s agents and anyone who may be interested is aware of the upcoming event.

Open houses offer low-pressure opportunities for buyers to take a look. Your realtor should let people look around while being close enough to answer questions but not to overpower the potential buyers. This usually encourages buyers to think fondly of your home when they look back on the properties they’ve visited. Keep in mind, some visitors may be looking on behalf of their friends and/or family.

Your realtor will be able to talk to new potential buyers who may be coming back for a second look.  This is also the opportunity to share information about the home that is not specified in the listing information.  Interested buyers will connect with their agents, who will communicate with your realtor to get more information about the home and your motivation to sell.

Go above and beyond to make sure your house looks at its best while it is on the market.  Your agent will guide you as to how to make your home attractive to buyers and may suggest home staging services to show your home’s best features.

It is not very common to make a sale during the open house itself. This is an event that’s more about gaining interest and getting the word out about your home rather than necessarily finding a buyer that day.  Of course, you never know what could happen!

The Importance of Landscape Design

Your home’s curb appeal is the initial advertisement of the home for potential buyers.  After viewing your home on the Internet, potential buyers will then drive by your home.  Implementing a landscape design that will work with the style of your home, the climate and your existing lawn maintenance system is critical to your home-selling success.

curb appeal photoTaking a few simple steps to update and maintain your home’s exterior will invite potential home buyers to come closer to check out all that your home has to offer.  First, take a closer look at your front yard’s landscaping.  Nothing says deferred maintenance like a desert landscape riddled with weeds and overgrown trees.  Pruning and trimming all trees and shrubs will allow potential buyers to actually see your home, and will also demonstrate that the current homeowners care about their property, which is a good sign.   Placing 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.

If you live in a neighborhood where the HOA dictates your landscaping, be sure to take a look at those requirements before listing your home for sale.  For example, DC Ranch requires a certain number and types of plants, trees and bushes.  If any of those die and aren’t replaced, the sale of your home will be held up until they are replanted.  If you don’t have an HOA that requires this to be done, then be sure the plants, trees and bushes are all in good health and are connected to a working drip system or sprinkler system.  These systems will be examined during any home inspection so it’s important that they are in good working order before you list your home for sale.

As your realtors, we can give you more specific advice unique to your home and situation to help you maximize your home’s potential in these areas.  Contact Us!

Lighting Fixtures

Whether you are thinking about selling your home, or just want to update your current home, paying attention to your lighting fixtures is a great way to brighten your living areas, as well as make them more current with today’s trends and styles.

updated lighting photoThere’s nothing worse for an agent to walk into a home that shines everywhere but with the lighting fixtures. This is such an easy and often inexpensive fix. With the advent of so many unique and beautiful lighting options, some lighting fixtures can even double as a focal point of the room itself. While you don’t need to have a fancy, expensive chandelier, taking the time to pick out a dramatic lighting fixture in the right space will make your room look amazing.

For example, on trend right now are tiered lighting fixtures. These fixtures are stacked and multi-dimensional and look fantastic in dining rooms. Another dining room lighting fixture that’s becoming very popular are rectangular chandeliers. These can be anything from an industrial chic chandelier to classic crystals or even brushed nickel with Edison bulbs in glass enclosures.

Pendant lighting is a classic fixture over kitchen islands, but are still on trend, especially some of the larger pendant fixtures with 8 or 10 bulbs. Cage pendants are particularly stylish, yet are traditional. Oversized drum lighting fixtures are another fun trend that also read as classic in many rooms, from the living room and bedroom to the dining room and kitchen.

Whatever lighting fixture you choose, be sure to pay attention to finish and scale. While being matchy-matchy with the rest of the fixtures in your rooms (such as door hardware and faucets) isn’t a requirement, keeping in the same tone and color family will create a harmonious design décor. The scale of the fixture is also important. If you choose an oversized lighting fixture for drama, tone done the rest of the surrounding décor so it doesn’t compete with the scale of the fixture. The bottom line, however, is that going light and bright with beautiful lighting fixtures is a win-win proposition for updating your home, or getting it ready for sale to maximize your resale value.

Contact Us for a free home value estimate.

Keeping Your Home Secure While It’s on the Market

Home For Sale photoAdmittedly, listing your home for sale can be a stressful, and often disruptive life event.  One of the concerns that home sellers may have is keeping their home secure and safe while it’s on the market, and open to the public for showings.   Therefore, here are some tips to help you maximize keeping you and your family safe during this time.

First, while prepping your home for sale, take some steps to maximize your family’s privacy.  Remove anything in your home that contains private information such as personal photos, items with your family’s names on it, your children’s school information/team sports, and any financial information about you and your family.   As a corollary to this, also go through your home and remove (and secure) valuable items that you may have on display.  For example, items such as valuable musical instruments, jewelry, electronics, guns/gun safes, and artwork, are items that may be enticing to those with nefarious motives.

Another area to consider is items that may tip off people in your home that you will be absent for extended periods of time, such as calendars with upcoming vacations clearly marked.   And, do you have any medicine (especially narcotic pain medicine) in your medicine cabinets?  Prospective buyers do open these, to check out storage capacities, so be sure to secure these items before showings.   Finally, don’t leave extra keys out in the open (for your home, your vehicles, etc), or any key codes displayed where people can see them, or any extra remotes for your home’s garage.

Taking a few small steps to secure your home’s belongings as well as the security of your family will help to make this often-stressful time a bit less difficult to navigate.  Having this peace of mind will prove to be invaluable in the long run.  I’d be happy to give you more tips that are specific to you, and your individual situation.

Are you considering selling your home?  Get started with this free home value estimate.