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Long-term Upkeep for the Buyer and Seller

by Karen Picarello

For the Buyer

When a buyer is looking at a home, there are multiple things they should consider that involve the long-term upkeep of the home. These are things in the home that are inevitably going to cost money…it is just a matter of when.

Windows

Single-paned windows are not going to be efficient, and any home buyer will see them as a thing that will need to be changed in the future. If the windows are updated, consider the quality of the multi-pane. Updates on flipped homes are rarely done in quality fashion, so make sure they didn’t cut corners on the windows, or you’ll be in for a hefty bill in your future.

Roof

Most home buyers look at the roof when considering the purchase of a home, and the inspector will definitely comment on the quality of the roof. However, some roof materials last longer than others. Standard asphalt shingles last about 15 to 20 years, but tile roofs may last a lifetime. A tile roof should be considered a long-term savings when it comes to purchasing a home.

Flooring

Don’t be fooled by new flooring when you purchase a new home. If it isn’t quality, it won’t last. Even “hardwood” may be manufactured, which means it can be refinished but only a few times before it has to be replaced. If new laminate flooring has been installed, make sure it is water resistant. You don’t want to include new flooring in your long-term upkeep of the home.

For the Seller

As a home seller, you should be aware of what prospective home buyers are considering and do your best to eliminate fears of long-term upkeep. That doesn’t mean install a tile roof, expensive windows, and solid hardwood floors. What it does mean is make sure your home looks well-maintained. A roof with lifted shingles is going to be a turn-off that will be pointed out by the inspector. Clean flooring with no lifted edges will look well-taken-care-of no matter what the quality. Clean windows will let potential buyers know that the sills aren’t filled with dirt and junk that will decrease their opening and closing capabilities.

For the seller, long-term upkeep is making the home look as if it has been handled correctly, so long-term problems don’t start to creep in. This is hard to do when simultaneously planning a move, so make sure you continue to keep up your home during the hubbub of the moving process.  

5 Home Inspection Tips

by Karen Picarello

When you are buying a house, you may be dealing with a whole lot of people who want to get a sale. The homeowners have staged the home, so it looks great. The real estate agent wants his or her commission. It is difficult to know who to trust in these situations, and that is why home inspections are so necessary.

You can find a good home inspector by asking your real estate agent. You should probably make your contract contingent on a good report, and you should plan to be present during the inspection. They usually take a few hours and cost less than $1,000. Here are a few other tips about home inspections:

1. Insurance

Home inspectors do have some liability, but they can legally limit their liability to the cost of the inspection. If they miss that your furnace needs replaced, the amount of the inspection is not going to cover the cost of the furnace. That is why you should not hire a home inspector that has this in their contract. Instead, look for home inspectors that have insurance. They can purchase Errors & Omissions insurance that covers them for up to one million dollars.

2. Professional Inspectors Group

Formal training is not always a specific requirement for home inspectors, so it is nice to know whether or not your inspector has it. Ask if your inspector belongs to any professional groups, and then look up those groups to see what they require for membership. This will tell you a lot about their ability.

3. Ancillary Testing

If you need ancillary testing, it is nice to know if your inspector can do it. This is for things such as mold or radon. Your inspector may do it for a fee, or you may have to hire a specialist.

4. Reviews

The internet has made it hard to hide if you are a bad home inspector, so use this tool to evaluate your potential inspector. Check out sites like Yelp or Angie’s List, and find out what people are saying about your inspector candidate.

5. What Isn’t Included

Lastly, find out what won’t be included on the inspection. You may want to look at a sample report to find out what will be inspected, and ask questions.

You may want to call your potential home inspector and give him a quick phone interview. If he or she seems shady, go with somebody else! There is something to be said for intuition, and feeling good about your home inspector choice will likely yield better results.

Why You Want a Real Estate Agent

by Karen Picarello

A recent collection of lawsuits has people wondering whether or not real estate agents are necessary anymore. In fact, they are being compared to video rental stores, an industry that is almost extinct in today’s world of internet accessibility.

Real estate information is readily available on multiple websites including MLS.com, Zillow, and Redfin. This has potential buyers and sellers feeling forced into contractual obligations with the realtor industry that force people to pay money to a third party in order to purchase a home. With standard rates reaching as high as 6 percent, it is understandable that people want change.

In the past, only real estate agents had access to all of the home listings on the market. Today, it requires a real estate license to get your home on the MLS, but you can pay out of pocket for this service instead of tacking the real estate fees onto the purchase price of the home. This is much less expensive, but you don’t get all the benefits of having a real estate agent.

This leads one to the question: what good is a real estate agent? This question has many hard-working agents exasperated at the thought that so many people undervalue their services. In reality, the home buying process is held to a higher standard because of the real estate agency industry, and agents simplify the process with their connections and know-how.

If you are selling a home, your real estate agent will interact with multiple buyers and direct them to your home when it seems a good fit. This is something that only live interaction with a person can accomplish. No amount of pictures online can replace this action for sellers or buyers. They streamline the process by showing homes that fit the wants and needs of a potential buyer.

If you are buying a home, it is much easier to deal with the bank, the seller, and the title company throughout the home purchase if you have an agent. Need a home inspection? Your realtor can provide you with a list. Want to view multiple homes in one day? Your realtor can get access. Realtors work for no charge until you buy a home, and they will tirelessly show you homes until you find the right fit.

Most importantly, real estate agencies abide by a code of ethics that includes social responsibility. Imagine a world not regulated by agencies such as the National Association of Realtors. Good luck avoiding misrepresentation of homes and corruption scandals.

Realtors are underappreciated, but you don’t have to buy a home through a realtor. There are many for-sale-by-owner options. But just like all other sales options, it is good to have professionals in the field that can streamline the process and create ethical boundaries.

Mortgage Rates Continue to Fall Amid China Scare

by Karen Picarello

The mortgage giant Freddie Mac just released new numbers showing continued decreasing rates for home loans. Its 30-year fixed rate is down to 4.1%, and its 15-year fixed rate is down to 3.57%. While this is not great economic news, it is great news for those who are looking for a home loan.

Rates continue to fall because of trade tensions between China and the U.S. Trumps tariffs and continued threats to increase tariffs have created an uncertain stock market. Not even strong employment numbers can strengthen predictions about the future, and weakened relations between China and the U.S. could keep mortgage rates low.

What Does this Mean for Prospective Home Buyers?

If you are thinking of purchasing a home with a mortgage anytime soon, you should get ready. Nobody knows how long rates will stay this low. A 4.1% rate is a lot less money to spend over the course of a loan, and if you can swing the 15-year fixed rate, you’ll be debt-free in less than 2 decades.

If your credit isn’t quite up to par, and you don’t think you’ll qualify for a 4.1% rate, you should work on improving it. It is quite possible that the rates will stay low for a while with this administration, but it won’t stay this way forever. You might be able to afford a home quicker than you think.

What Does this Mean for Current Homeowners?

For current homeowners, this means two things. The first thing is that you may want to look into a re-fi. Lower interest rates can take hundreds off of your monthly payment and reduce the overall amount of money you spend on interest over the term of the loan. Re-financing to a 15-year loan will improve the amount of money that is applied to your principle balance each month.

The second thing this means for homeowners is that there may be more people seeking mortgages, and this might be a good time to sell your home. It is a seller’s market, and home values have been increasing. Not only will you be able to get a higher offer for your home, but you will have more people who can successfully get loans out looking. This amounts to more successful closings, and overall, happier home sellers and buyers.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a lot of people who think the tension between China and the U.S. is great, but there has been one good result for the housing market, and that is continued decreasing interest rates.

LEED certification could help you sell your home.

by Karen Picarello

Millennials are buying homes, and they want to live sustainably. That means your energy-DEFICIENT older home is not an appealing prospect in the housing market.  One way to show this eco-friendly generation that your property appeals to their values is through LEED certification. It is LEED certification that could help you sell your home in a market filled with people trying to lessen their impact on the Earth.

What is LEED certification?

The United State Green Building Council has a program called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program (LEED). It created a rating system for the energy efficiency of a home. A house can achieve a certification ranging from silver to platinum depending on the rating or score. Scoring categories include the materials used to build the structure being recycled or sustainable materials, indoor air quality, water efficiency, and reduced energy use. This may be something that is accomplished through LED lighting or solar panels.

How can I have my home certified?

The first thing to do is figure out where you could make energy efficiency improvements to your home. Then, register for LEED here. You will have to meet project goals and have them verified by LEED’s onsite certification process. Once certified, you’ll have a major selling point should you ever decide to sell your home, and all generations of buyers will see your home as one that is updated and efficient, meaning they won’t have to spend as much on utilities bills, and they’ll be eco-friendly.

Is it worth it?

If your home is older, it can be very difficult to impossible to get a platinum certification, as you aren’t going to be able to change the materials the home is built from, etcetera. However, some updates to get even the most basic of certifications will save you money while you’re in your home and reduce your carbon footprint. In some respects, the carbon footprint reduction means it is always worth it. Realistically, you should consider how much your investment will return comfort and savings. If you are planning on selling your home, it is worth a little more consideration. After all, LEED certification is simply peace of mind until you add it to the features of your listing. Then, it can equal a bidding war that could have you making more from your sale.

LEED certification is at the very least worth knowing about, so you can decide whether or not it is right for you. Many commercial buildings are now seeking the certification, as global conscientiousness amounts to public support and thus more earnings. It is always advisable to become more efficient, but you’ll have to decide for yourself if you want to go for the certification.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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