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Solar Panels and Storage Batteries

by Karen Picarello

Solar panels are becoming very popular as their efficiency and ability to store power grows. As Arizona is one of the states with the most sunshine available, this is creating a significant change in the way people get power.

Furthermore, home storage batteries are making solar power more sustainable. No longer are people relying on the grid (at least not so much) on cloudy days because they are able to store power from sunny days in large home batteries such as Tesla’s Powerwall.  

California adopted a rule last year (2018) that new homes would be built with solar panels beginning in 2020. Arizona could be on track to do the same as climate change makes the world focus on more efficient and sustainable energy sources.

In order to include solar panels in the valuation of your home, you must own the solar panels. Leased solar panels would not be included in the price of the home because they would belong to another entity that the future homeowners would have to contract with in order to continue using them. In order to sell a home with leased solar panels, a homeowner would either have to buy the remaining amount on the lease or get the homeowner to agree to take over payments. This could actually deter homeowners who don’t want to get into the co-mingling of contractual agreements.

There was a study done in California about how much solar panels increased the value of homes on the market, and it was found that every Kilowatt of power that came from solar panels increased the resale value of a home by over $5,000. However, for each year that the panels had been installed, this value dropped by 9 percent. Additionally, the increase in valuation never exceeded the cost of installation.

Essentially, if you are going to sell your home, then let your lease on your solar panels run to completion. Don’t purchase them if you plan to sell your home soon because it won’t pay off in the end. However, if Arizona passes a law making solar panels mandatory on new construction, your home may end up looking very outdated without solar capabilities. It is a bit of a speculation whether or not your home sale will benefit from solar panels. It won’t pay off to buy a new solar system with a home storage battery or batteries, but it will make your home more attractive to potential buyers. A lot of it will depend on your particular situation.

How Pets Can Ruin Your Home Showing

by Karen Picarello

We love our adorable furry critters (or non-furry critters), but they can really damage the attractiveness of your home when it comes to selling it. Here are the reasons why and what you can do about it.

1. Fur:

If you have wood or laminate floors, hair may not be as much of a turnoff. However, if you have fur in carpeted floors, good luck appealing to the masses. People may see pet hair as a sign of uncleanliness, or they may see your home as an allergen haven. Nobody has ever said, “I love the home with all of the pet hair!” If you have fur-filled floors, get them professionally cleaned or rip them out before trying to sell. If you have a friend who can watch your pets for a month or so while you sell your home, it is strongly advised. Visible pets in the home can raise the hackles of potential buyers.

2. Poop:

If you cannot get rid of your pet during the sale, make sure there aren’t any land mines out in the yard. You don’t want any negative scents tainting the impression your potential buyers get. If your backyard is rough, do the best you can. It is better to look like you tried than that the home has spent years with a yard covered in feces.

3. Smells:

There are many different types of pets, and it seems like they all come with their own set of specific odors. Guinea pigs, terrariums, fish tanks, and litter boxes don’t smell good immediately after being removed from the home. Remove them prior to guests visiting, and run an air filter with a HEPA filter to get some of the scents out.

4. Pet doors:

It seems like all pet doors have mud on them from muddy dogs traipsing in and out. Many people have pets, so don’t feel like you have to replace the door, but make sure the dog door is cleaned.

5. Pet beds:

Pet beds should be on the newer side. Don’t display your home complete with a bed that has been gnawed on over the past couple years. A clean pet bed can send a message that a home was maintained appropriately despite the canine presence.

6. Clean windows:

Depending on where your windows are located and whether or not you have a cat or a dog, you may have licks and nose prints dirtying up your windows. Clean them up prior to your potential visitors viewing your home.

Pet ownership is not a bad thing, but showing off the gross side of pet ownership can be a real turn off for those looking to move in. Taking care of your pets’ messes will go a long way toward selling your home.

Big Investors: Friend or Foe to the Housing Industry?

by Karen Picarello

            A June 19th article in the Wall Street Journal depicts an interesting change in the Arizona housing market that may disrupt the entire housing industry. For better or worse, this change is giving the upper hand to large investors with access to high computing power. But it may benefit the individual home buyer and home seller too. It’s still in its early stages, but big companies like Opendoor and Zillow Group, Inc. are buying Phoenix real estate and flipping homes for a quick resale. These sales may be with individuals, but they are often sold to big landlords who control a large amount of rentals in the area.

            How do they do it? Using complex computer algorithms that notify the big investors immediately when a house comes on the market that looks like a good investment. Using these algorithms, the company knows how much to offer based on how much they can profit by its resale and how long it is expected to be on the market. It’s reliable to a certain extent, but it isn’t without risk. The large investment companies focus on high volumes of sales because they aren’t making huge gains on each transaction. However, they are able to create a very large volume, so it is lucrative. According to the Wall Street article, these house flipper companies have bought thousands of homes in the area, and more than 22,000 rentals are now owned by big investors.

            It seems a little too corporate, but there are advantages to this non-hostile takeover of the housing market by corporate America. A person selling their residence may get a higher offer from these investment companies if the computer dictates that it is worth the higher price tag in order to warrant the sale. Also, these algorithms are bringing technology to the real estate process. In some cases, using an app can get you electronic access to viewing homes instead of relying on the schedules of homeowners and real estate agents.

            It is too early to tell how big investment companies are going to impact the housing industry, and if home prices fall, it would put a quick end to this money-making trend. However, right now these companies are modernizing the housing market, and there are some real benefits for both parties involved in a home purchase. However, the large investment companies owning so many rentals and controlling so much of the housing market is a bit ominous. It renders many people who have to get mortgages to buy a home powerless in the face of these large companies with cash buying power.

The Cart Ahead of the Horse: Find Your Lender First

by Karen Picarello

            The hunt for a house is often the most fun part about purchasing a new home. You look online at sites such as Zillow, and you get an idea of what you want to look at. Then, you find a real estate agent and start looking at homes, but do you really know what you can afford? When you start off with a real estate agent, you get the cart ahead of the horse…as the old saying goes. You should really start by finding a lender and discovering what it is that you can afford.

            If you are casually considering moving, a soft search on the internet is totally appropriate. Dreaming about your future and finding out what’s available never hurts. However, a real estate agent only knows what you tell them about your financing, and you might be wrong when it comes to the amount you qualify for in a loan.

Pre-qualification vs. Pre-approval

            Pre-qualification only tells you what you may be able to afford according to how much money you make. It does not tell you if anyone will actually give you a loan. Pre-approval ensures that you will qualify for a loan following a credit check. If you don’t go to a lender first, you may be looking at homes when you don’t actually qualify for any loans. Especially if you don’t check your credit regularly, there may be some surprises on there that you didn’t expect. Surprises can take a lot of time to correct on your credit.

            You may think that going to a real estate agent without seeing a lender first is a waste of the real estate agent’s time. What is more important is that it is a waste of your time AND emotion. Not only do you need to know how much you can qualify for in a loan, but you need to mentally wrap your mind around those limitations. If you have your heart set on a 600,000-dollar home but can only be approved for $350,000, it can be emotionally draining. Instead, set your sights on those homes that fall within your budget. Speaking of which, your lender can help you budget for a home you can afford. Being approved for a $500,000 home doesn’t mean that you will be comfortable with the house payment. Speaking with a lender before looking for a home allows you to set realistic expectations.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

Contact Information

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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