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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!

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