Real Estate Information Archive


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Avoiding Legal Issues When Selling a House

by Karen Picarello

No one wants to end up in legal trouble. Unfortunately, when it comes to transactions involving large amounts of money, such as buying or selling a house, small mistakes can end up costing you dearly. Whether you are trying to avoid being sued, paying fines, or even getting arrested, making sure you do every single step of the process correctly and safely is your best bet for staying out of trouble.


First, there are a number of laws which govern the sale of a home. Home ownership is a very important goal for many Americans, and so we have laws, from the federal and often down to the local level which aim to ensure that everyone involved in the transaction is treated fairly. For example, there may be laws governing things like inspections and liability. If you hire an inspector and later find out the homeowner bribed the inspector to ignore a major flaw, you would rightly want to seek recompense for the substantial hit in value the property has taken. However, if the paperwork was not done correctly, you might find yourself legally out of luck.

Hiring an experienced agent to conduct the sale or purchase is one of the most important things to do if you are completing a transaction on the housing market. Their experience will ensure that you get all contracts drawn up properly, and that you consult experts in various fields. Home inspectors, engineers, lawyers, and others will be needed, and if you fail to realize that you need to consult one of these, you could be in for a rough time. An experienced agent will be able to direct you through the potentially hazardous waters of selling a home, and allow you to feel secure that your sale will be something you do not regret.

When conducting the sale, it is also important to listen to the advice of other experts, if you can find experts you trust. A crooked or lazy lawyer could cost you dearly if any issues arise later on. Trust your gut, and stay honest. One of the most common issues in the sale of a house which comes back later in the form of legal troubles is when a homeowner seeks to conceal something about the house before the sale. Whether it is in 5 years or 15, the new homeowner will eventually discover that they were lied to, and you might find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

Landscaping as an Investment

by Karen Picarello

The difference between a well landscaped home, and an overgrown, fading house cannot be understated. When driving through wealthier neighborhoods, one thing you will nearly always see is that every property has extensive and well-maintained landscaping. This landscaping does a number of things.

First, the landscaping is visually appealing. It takes a property, and really creates a striking visual performance. Your landscaping tells a story. Is it rich with foliage and bright colors? Is it orderly, with small bushes accenting evenly spaced larger ones? These things help to convey a message to those who enter about the person who owns the property.

But landscaping is more than just a visually appealing way to express yourself. If you are selling a home, the first things potential buyers will see on arriving are the landscaping, and the exterior of the property. When done well, these two things can combine into an impressive display which will help the potential buyer fall in love.

Landscaping also serves a subtler purpose. Potential buyers will be on the lookout for signs that a property has fallen into disrepair. If the exterior is dilapidated, they will surely assume that there will be other, more expensive problems inside. An owner who does not care for their property has likely neglected key repairs and maintenance. Conversely, an owner willing to spend money ensuring that a purely aesthetic improvement is well kept are also more likely to have spent money ensuring that the necessities have been paid for.

If you are looking to redo your landscaping in a cost-effective way, one of the best things you can do is look for things which are relatively low maintenance, and which consume very little water. One of the most common complaints of people who landscape large areas of their property is that their water bills skyrocket. If you are looking to convey that your house is well kept, but don’t want to break the bank watering, look into non-traditional options. Any reputable landscaping company will be able to suggest different styles, and give you ideas about what the water consumption and maintenance on them will be. Be sure to get a second opinion, and choose something which will not cost a fortune to maintain, but which will look impressive and stylish.

At the bare minimum, all landscaping you have should be well maintained. Lawns should be trimmed frequently, trees pruned, leaves raked, and paths well kept. A smaller but better kept display is much preferable to a larger unkempt one. 

Avoiding Common Homeowner Pitfalls

by Karen Picarello

So, you found your dream home. The loan went through, you were approved, the move went smoothly (unlikely), and now you are settled in. Now what? The hard part is over, right? You have your dream home, now you just enjoy it for a few decades before maybe retiring and moving away. Dead wrong.

Your home will likely be the largest asset you ever own. Unless you are in a very small and wealthy subset of the population, this house will be one of the largest financial obligations you ever have. And while land and the housing market typically gains value over time, a smart homeowner understands that this increase in value will not come if the house is allowed to slowly fall apart. Unless some other factor makes the land suddenly incredibly valuable, your best bet when investing in your home is to take very good care of it.

Some of what will be needed in upkeeping a house will require a substantial financial commitment. The roof, the electrical system, and the HVAC systems will need to be maintained, and replaced periodically. Some of these will last longer than others, but all share a common trait. If you fail to keep them safe and functioning well, the rest of the property can quickly lose value. A leaky roof will cost more than just replacing it if it is ignored for a period of time. Water damage, mold, and other problems can quickly snowball, turning an already reasonably expensive process into a huge financial disaster. If you live in an area where it gets cold in the winter, failing to keep the house heated can lead to frozen pipes, potentially causing flooding and other damage when they thaw. A poorly maintained electrical system is a huge fire risk, and this is not only a financial, but a safety concern.

A smart homeowner will budget for all of these repairs, and put money away in years where repairs are not needed. Spending this excess on a new television might seem tempting, but the year you realize you need to replace the roof, the refrigerator, and redo the plumbing you will be happy that you had it saved away. Eventually, when you go to sell the house, having a record which shows your frequent maintenance will go a long way to convince potential buyers that this home will not end up costing them more than they expect, both in money and in headache. 

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Contact Information

Photo of Team Picarello Real Estate
Team Picarello
RE/MAX Fine Properties North Scottsdale
21000 N. Pima Road, Suite 100
Scottsdale AZ 85255
Office: (480)860-8733
Fax: (480)860-8755