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Buying a Home in a New Area

by Karen Picarello

If you are buying a home outside of your current town, you may be flying blind. If you aren’t familiar with the region, you could accidentally end up in a bad neighborhood or simply with bad neighbors. Don’t be sold on a home just because it fits your idea of a nice-looking residence. Scrutinize a little bit, and dig up the dirt on the neighborhood.

1. Research the Area

Look up statistics about the area. Things like the quality of schools, businesses, and services will help you to get an idea of the area you are considering. If there is a country club, it may be upper end….but visit the country club. It may be a doozy that is on its last leg and has a poorly maintained golf course. Make sure your information is updated. Communities change over time, so don’t rely on old info. Another thing you cannot rely on is social media, but at the same time, it can give you some really good dirt on local drama. If there are any major red flags, research it deeper to see if it’s real.

2. Talk to the Neighbors

There’s no better source than a primary source, and neighbors are just that. Ask them about the neighborhood, and while you’re at it, give them the onceover. Could you live next to them? This does not mean you have to be future besties, but you also need to tolerate one another. It may sound a little intrusive to barge in on the neighbors, but it will actually help break the ice. Who knows? Maybe they’ll help you move.

3. Get an Inspection

You also don’t really know what the last homeowners did. That’s a nice new paint job, but what is it covering up? New floor? Prior water damage? None of these things necessarily mean the other, but an inspection should weed out any major cover-ups. Inspectors will notice things that the potential home buyer may miss, such as a faulty water heater or a termite problem.

4. Check Utilities

Lastly, it is good to check the utilities. Is the home an energy hog? How much is the gas compared to other homes with electric heat? How much more in water does it cost to maintain a full-size swimming pool? This information will help you to determine if it is a home you can truly afford.

Do you really want to live in the exurbs?

by Karen Picarello

The hustle and bustle of Metro Phoenix can be exciting, but it can also cause a person to need some respite. This is why thousands of people have chosen the long commute to the exurbs. Living far away from the city has many advantages, but it also includes major disadvantages such as remoteness and home value volatility. When looking to purchase a home, make sure you consider the good and the bad features of the exurbs before making an offer.

The Good Features of the Exurbs

1. New:

Generally speaking, housing developments in the exurbs are newer than developments in Phoenix or suburbs because things naturally develop in an outward motion. This means you have modern features in the home and won’t run into things like asbestos or lead paint. It also means double-paned windows, central air, finished garages, and many things older homes don’t have.

2. Big:

Developments in the exurbs typically have homes situated on larger lots, as there is room for expansion. In contrast, inner city and suburban developments have often been cramped. If you have a family and want them to be able to play in a sprawling back yard, the exurbs will deliver.

3. Affordable:

One of the biggest draws to the exurbs is that it is affordable. For Millennials looking to start a family and own a decent-sized property, the exurbs is worth the commute. It is also a good option for retirees looking to downsize to a more affordable living situation.

4. Quality Communities:

The exurbs also offers a sense of community that is often lost in crowded landscapes. Many exurbs have country clubs, golf courses, and community parks that make the distance from the city negligible.

The Bad Features of the Exurbs

1. Distance:

A 30 mile commute on a freeway or highway filled with thousands of other exurb inhabitants EVERY day may get old after a while. It is possible to get burned out. However, many people are able to work remotely and only commute to work once or twice a week. Those with flexible work schedules have it made in this situation.

2. Market Volatility:

The housing crisis hit the exurbs hard because people were underwater on their mortgages. The value of homes fell and has only recently regained itself. However, a lot of this problem was caused by people owning homes they could not afford. Due to better lending practices, home buyers are only moving to the exurbs because they can afford it. Will this protect the market? Time will tell.

If you can handle the commute, the exurbs provides a peaceful getaway that you can call home. However, there are some risks like commute burnout and market volatility that are important things to consider before you go all-in on a home offer.

8 Buyer Turnoffs

by Karen Picarello

Selling your home is a balance between home improvements and wasting money on renovations that don’t add value. However, it is not a guessing game to predict what will attract a buyer. Avoid these 8 buyer turnoffs if you want your home to sell quickly.

1. Odor

Mildew, urine, and smoking scents are definite turnoffs to a home. Walking into a home with any rancid odors hits a person in the face like a ton of bricks, and it’s hard to overcome that even with good upkeep and strong bones. People are willing to do a little work on a home prior to moving in. If it requires gallons of KILZ and carpet removal to rid the home of the scents of past owners, buyers will be turned off.

2. Popcorn Ceiling

Removing popcorn ceiling is messy. It has to be wetted down and then scraped. Then, new texture must be applied. It is not a question of whether or not your buyers will want the popcorn removed. Nobody likes it anymore. Furthermore, it could contain asbestos, which is a much bigger problem when it comes to removal. Take care of your popcorn ceilings prior to putting your home on the market, or expect to adjust your price.

3. Cracks

Cracks in walls, floors, or foundations can mean trouble in the future. Homes do settle, and an older home is bound to have some cracks. Just know that any visible cracks will mean weaknesses in the structure of the home to buyers even if it isn’t the case.

4. Clutter

Clutter in a home is an eyesore and detracts from a person’s ability to envision themselves in the home. Dirty hoarding situations are even worse and speak to the homeowner’s ability to maintain the home during their inhabitance. Clean up the clutter, and don’t leave a bad impression.

5. No Curb Appeal

Speaking of first impressions, curb appeal is possibly the most important feature of a home. It is the first thing they see, and if it looks like a dump, people won’t want to enter. They will make up their minds prior to stepping in the front door. This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, but make it so they can imagine it better with little effort.

6. No Parking

If you only have a single-car driveway, make sure it is available for the viewing of your property. If it is full and potential buyers have to walk a ways to get to the home, they will already see problems.

7. Old Electrical

Old electrical panels and old wiring are a headache for any buyers who aren’t looking for a total remodel. It has to be replaced, and in some cases, a home inspection could ruin lending opportunities.

8. Neighborhood

It’s not within your control, but the neighborhood may also be a big turnoff. It doesn’t matter if you have curb appeal if the rest of the houses are in disrepair or vacant. In order to sell under these conditions you may have to lower the cost or wait for the neighborhood to change. The latter may never happen.

Try to eliminate buyer turnoffs if you want to sell your home quickly. Although many of these items are expensive or out of your control, many are also remedied with minimal expenditures and a bit of elbow grease.

Negotiating Home Improvements into Your Sale

by Karen Picarello

When you are putting an offer on a home, multiple things are to be considered. One of those things is how much it’s going to cost to get the home ready to move in. If remodeling is on your list, the asking price is probably making you cringe. How much more will it cost to make a property your own? It turns out there are many financial options when it comes to negotiating home improvements into your sale.

1. Include Remodel Prices in the Offer

There is no reason not to lessen your offer if you think remodel costs should be considered in the negotiated price of the home. Additionally, if it is a buyer’s market, the homeowner’s may be more apt to accept such an offer. Be warned of lowering your offer to cover the costs of remodel. Your loan will also be less, so you’ll still have to find a way to come up with that extra money for the remodel.

2. Seller Pays for Remodel

You can also negotiate contingencies into your contract that say the seller will pay for repairs or improvements prior to closing. Sellers may agree to this for a negotiated loan amount or when repairs are necessary to pass a home inspection. This takes the responsibility of the repairs off of the buyer with the exception of any mortgage differences. Sellers have multiple options to cover these costs.

3. Loan with Remodel Costs Included

A buyer may seek out a loan that includes the costs of remodel. If a buyer has good credit, there is more likelihood that a loan of this sort will be approved. Not only does this free the seller from any connections from the home, but it also frees the buyer to create their own building plans.

4. Asks for the Necessities

Negotiation is the key concept when getting home improvements covered in your sale. The sellers may not be interested in helping you replace the wallpaper or creating an open concept kitchen. However, they may be accepting of more necessary items like a roof or windows. Make sure you try to get what you want out of a sale, but don’t lose opportunities because of being too rigid. Be flexible, and get what you can out of your purchase.

Rarely is an older home move-in ready without any paint or flooring changes. But when it comes to the necessities, make sure you have it covered in your home purchase or that you have the income available to make the repairs necessary.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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
888-548-8713
Fax: (480)860-8755