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Prep the Lawn to Sell

by Karen Picarello

A well-manicured lawn is a perfect way to make a first impression, so prepping your lawn to sell will definitely attract buyers. When people look at your home for sale, they are seeking a place where the “grass is greener.” If you want to seal the deal, make that saying a reality by properly maintaining your grass.

5 Ways to Prep Your Lawn to Sell

1. Herbicide

A lawn full of crabgrass is not only an eyesore, but it is also a lot of work! Make your potential buyers want to take off their shoes and walk barefoot in your luscious carpet of thick grass by controlling the weeds. Pre-emergent herbicides will minimize this work. Contact your local extension office to find out what works in your area.

2. Aerate

Some grasses grow a thick layer of thatch underneath their blades, and this can be suffocating. Grass that cannot get enough air will yellow, and you’ll end up with patches of unhealthy, dying grass. You can fix this by aerating. There are a number of ways to aerate from handheld aerators to motorized versions. Choose your tool based on the size of the yard.

3. Test the Soil

If you want it to be green, you have to find out what to feed it. A soil test will tell you the pH along with nutrient levels, so you can amend the soil to make it the perfect environment for your grass.

4. Edge

Crisp edges and borders show attention to detail and create instant curb appeal for the home seeker. Make sure your lines are straight, and you’ll lead your potential buyer straight to the bank. Edging also helps prevent weeds and grass from encroaching.

5. Repair

Don’t leave anything unattended. You don’t need to install a sprinkler system to sell your home, but if you have a sprinkler system, make sure it works! Perspective home buyers will see broken items as a sign that the home has not had proper improvements. Don’t let procrastinated home repairs ruin your sale.

The last thing you want potential home buyers saying is, “That home was nice, but…” Remove the “but” and change it to an “and.” Make sure your lawn is green and properly-maintained. Your buyers will then be saying, “That home was nice, and did you notice the yard!” A beautiful lawn can be the tipping point for a home buyer who is unsure about which home to purchase. It allows them to picture themselves living at that location as the new homeowner with pride.

Selling and Buying a Home at the Same Time

by Karen Picarello

When a person sells a home, they must find another. These transactions will occur in a market that is better for either buyers or sellers…but not both. The seller becomes the buyer, and they are only benefited by the market in one position. This is why many people end up renting for a short time while they wait for the market to change. They sell in a seller’s market and buy in a buyer’s.

In addition to the markets, it is difficult to make an offer on a new home when your old home is still in escrow. While waiting for your home to close, you will not have that money available for a down payment. If you find your next home before you even have an offer on your old house, you may have to give it up. This just complicates the search. Thankfully, there are contingent offers that sellers may accept while you are waiting for your previous home to sell.

What is a seller’s market?

If there are more buyers than homes in the market, it is a seller’s market. Cash offers may win out over mortgages with more closing costs, and buyers must be ready to offer as soon as they find a home they desire. Sellers, on the other hand, will sell their homes quickly while having more difficulty buying. One solution for this problem (which is sort of a good problem) is to ask to do a rent-back, where the seller rents their previous home after it is sold while buying his or her next house. You can also request an extended closing. Loans may be taken out against your home’s equity to avoid delays in purchasing your next home.

What is a buyer’s market?

In a buyer’s market, there are many homes available. Because there are more homes than buyers, the buyers get the power to wheel and deal a bit. This is when contingency offers are more likely to be accepted. Homeowners are more likely to accept less-than-perfect offers to do what it take to get the home sold.

It is easy to see why it is difficult to be a buyer and a seller at the same time. The markets simple don’t support both at the same time. If you end up renting in order to find a better market, you can end up spending a lot more money in rent and storage, but sometimes it is the best option.

The best thing to do when you are buying and selling at the same time is to be organized and educated. Know the options that are available, and don’t rush into decisions that you are not comfortable with.

Mortgage Rates 101

by Karen Picarello

If you are a new home buyer, mortgage rates may seem a bit confusing. You know you want a low rate, and you don’t want a subprime mortgage, but you aren’t really sure what subprime means or how to find a low rate. A good mortgage broker will be able to help you find a good loan for which you qualify, but you should be equipped with some basic knowledge and understanding of the creation of mortgage rates and loans.

3 Basic Types of Mortgage Loans

1. 30-year fixed: A 30-year fixed rate loan is the most common type of loan for a home buyer. The interest rate is fixed, and you can get this type of loan through FHA, VA, and other standard mortgage companies.

2. 15-year fixed: It is amazing how much faster you can pay off your home (and save money) with a 15-year fixed loan. You can get a lower interest rate and pay less over time because of the shortened term length. While this may seem like an easy decision (if you can afford the increase in payments), you must consider other investment opportunities. You could be investing the difference in payment amounts. A financial advisor can help you weigh the benefits of a 30-year versus a 15-year fixed loan.

3. Adjustable-rate loan: Adjustable rate loans take advantage of current interest rates, which can be much lower in the early part of the loan. If a person isn’t planning on living in a home for many years, it may actually save them a lot of money. However, it is risky. Interest rates can shift causing great changes in monthly payments. People who get adjustable-rate loans in order to get a bigger house than they can afford may not be able to keep-up with payments. This is, in part, what caused the last housing crisis.

3 Tips for Successful Mortgage Loans

1. Get a good mortgage broker:

A good mortgage broker can time your closing to get you the best interest rate possible. However, you want to make sure you go to one who you trust and who has the knowledge to get you the best loan. Talk to people about who they have hired, and look at online reviews. An informed decision is always best.

2. Get your budget put together:

You should have a reasonable idea of how much income you have available for a home purchase. This includes how much savings you have for a down payment. Be prepared with this information prior to going to your mortgage broker, so he or she can do their job.

3. Don’t bite off more than you can chew:

You may be able to eek out the payments on a big house for a little while, but don’t bit off more than you can chew. Foreclosures and short sales are a big hit to your credit score and can take away your opportunity for future home ownership for a certain amount of time. Be reasonable. You can always upgrade when finances are better. It isn’t worth the risk to get a loan that you cannot afford.

Don’t Cut Corners Because It’s Not Your “Forever Home”

by Karen Picarello

 

Your home may not be the one that you intend on growing old in, but that is no reason to cut corners because it’s not your “forever home.” It may mean that you don’t put in gold-plated fixtures, but it is not reason not to do repairs correctly.

5 Reason Not to Cut Corners in Your “Not-Forever Home”

1. You don’t know how long you’ll be there:

Just because you plan on moving does not mean it’s going to happen. Things change. Sometimes you end up staying…with your shoddy work and all. Fix it when it needs to be fixed, and fix it right. Nobody deserves to pay for you cutting corners, not even you.

2. Cutting corners can cause more damage:

If you don’t fix it right, it may end up causing way more damage than it would have if you fixed it right in the first place. This is especially true with leaks that get mostly repaired or temporarily repaired. A little water is no big deal, but a little water over time can cause huge damage in the form of rot.

Even buying a very cheap faucet can lead to breakages that cause leaks. If you aren’t planning on spending a while there, maybe a high-end faucet isn’t necessary. However, a cheap faucet will not go unnoticed by the savvy home buyer.

3. The home will be inspected:

If you are a DIYer, you probably try to do thing in a way that would be up to code. However, if you a corner cutter, your inspector will not like it. Try not to delay your home sale with a failed inspection.

4. Could end up costing more:

Did we mention that cutting corners causes more damage? This may be the cause of extra costs. Costs can also increase if you have to have a certified plumber, electrician, or contractor come in and repair your half-hearted “fixes.”

5. Pride:

Lastly, you should have a little pride in your work, especially when it involves a home. There are families who will live in the home after you assuming no catastrophic damages occur. Don’t give them extra problems by not keeping the home up to the right standards. You should want to live in a home with proper repairs, and you should want your home to be handed over to a new owner in good condition. It’s about self-respect.

Hopefully these 5 reasons are good enough to keep your work on the up-and-up. Poorly executed work has no place in home ownership.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

Contact Information

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TeamPicarello
RE/MAX Fine Properties North Scottsdale
21000 N. Pima Road, Suite 100
Scottsdale AZ 85255
Office: (480)860-8733
888-548-8713
Fax: (480)860-8755