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.

Staging Your Home for Sale During the Holiday Season

As we are approaching the holiday season, you may be wondering how to handle staging your home for sale during this time.  Some schools of thought counsel against displaying holiday decorations as they may be too distracting for the buyer, while others encourage the use of holiday décor to inspire holiday cheer and goodwill.  We advise navigating a middle-of-the-road approach between these two ideas.

granite luxury kitchen photoWhen it comes to prepping the exterior of your home for sale during the holiday season, curb appeal is still very important.  So be sure your windows are sparkling clean, your driveway and front walkway have been power-washed, and your landscaping is as neat as a pin.  With regard to holiday décor on the exterior of your home, be sure to take into consideration what your neighbors are doing during this time.  Does your neighborhood generally decorate to the nines for holidays, or do HOA rules discourage such decoration?  Follow those guidelines first and foremost, but if your neighbors are celebrating the holidays with decorations, definitely join in the fun.  Be sure to choose tasteful decorations; wreaths for the front door or front gate are always appropriate, as are colored ribbons decorating planters containing seasonal plants.  Perhaps forego the giant inflatable turkey or gingerbread man this year, however.

As for the interior, you don’t need to be channeling the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge here either.  If you like to enjoy some holiday decorations, by all means carry on as usual.  However, be sure you are still showcasing your home’s features that will appeal to buyers.  Overcrowding corners and entryways with holiday décor will prevent the buyers from seeing what your home has to offer.  Therefore, consider paring down the decorations to your favorites, which will still set a holiday mood for you to enjoy between showings, and will accent all your home has to offer.

click here for a no obligation home value estimate.

Congratulations!  You’ve Received a BINSR!  

You’ve negotiated a price with a buyer for your home, and you’ve entered a contract to sell your home to this buyer.  This is great news!  What happens next?  Typically, the buyer will set up and pay for an inspection of your home, and based on the inspection report, will send you a BINSR.  This is a Buyer Inspection Notice and Seller Response, and is the document the buyer uses to notify you, the seller, about the issues that exist with the home and the property.  Here’s the important part:  the buyer typically has ten days after the inspection to deliver this BINSR to you.
S Scottsdale listingWith regard to the BINSR, there are three ways the buyer can go after the inspection.  First, the buyer can indicate that they accept the premises completely, which means no further work needs to be done.  The second option is the buyer can reject the premises, which means the real estate transaction is cancelled and they will not be purchasing the home.  The third option, which is the most common scenario, is the buyer “elects to provide the seller an opportunity to correct” whichever items from the inspection the buyer wants corrected before they take possession of the property.

This third option is where the buyer wants the seller to either replace, repair or change something based on the inspection report.  You, as the seller, will then have 5 days in which to respond to the BINSR.  As the seller, you then have three responses available.  The first response is that you agree to correct all inspection issues.  Your second available response is that you agree to no repairs.  (The buyer then will have the option to accept the property as-is, or to cancel the transaction altogether).  The final response is that you can itemize which items you are willing to repair, replace or change.  For example, you may agree to fix 80% of the items on the inspection report, but not the other items because you disagree with the inspector’s conclusions.  This scenario is common, for example, when the inspector can’t find a switch to turn something on, or the lightbulbs just need to be replaced.

At this point, the buyer can then choose to either accept or cancel based on the seller’s response to the BINSR.  While this is a very simplified explanation of the BINSR process, this is generally how this often-complicated portion of the real estate transaction proceeds.  We look forward to answering any specific follow-up questions you may have about any real estate related matters.

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