Real Estate Information Archive


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Understanding Current Market Conditions

by Karen Picarello

One of the most common problems that people have when looking to buy or a sell a home is that they don’t understand the current market conditions. The market is in a constant state of flux, and even a few months can drastically change the atmosphere and pricing of homes in an area. For example, seasonal changes, economic downturns, and current events can all affect the value of housing in an area.

Understanding the current market value of a house is an important step in the home buying process. Whether you are selling or buying, having a good idea of what prices will be competitive on the market will allow you to pass on bad deals, while not missing out on potentially lucrative ones. Unfortunately, for someone without experience in the market, it can be incredibly difficult to get a good idea what the value of a property is. While your property may have been purchased at a certain price, and other properties in your neighborhood might be selling for certain prices, this does not necessarily mean that yours will be worth the same. There are many subtle factors which influence the value of a home, and failing to take them into consideration could put you at a considerable informational disadvantage when conducting your negotiations. Aside from the current market, differences in the age of your home, the position in your neighborhood, or even less obvious things such as school district boundaries will all need to be considered.

To this end, hiring a realtor or market professional who can help you find out the real value of your house (and the current market climate) can be one of the best decisions that you make when looking to engage in potentially life changing transactions involving expensive real estate. While it is always good to do your own research, when you are dealing with the sums of money involved with real estate purchases, you owe it to yourself to hire a professional. You wouldn’t hire an amateur to do something simple like fix your car or install an electrical system, so don’t hire an amateur (yourself) to conduct what can be the most important financial transactions of your life.

At the end of the day, the current market condition is just one more factor which you will need to take into account when preparing to buy or sell a house. Whatever your situation, make sure that you do your research before making any decision. 

Financial Planning for Real Estate Purchases

by Karen Picarello

If looking to make a real estate purchase (whether as a residence or an investment), you should make the effort to be fully aware of all the costs that might be incurred during and after your purchase. Too many prospective homeowners look only at the price tag, and end up seriously under budgeting for their purchase. While you might be able to afford the base price, purchasing a home will force you to incur many other additional costs, and you will certainly want to anticipate and plan for them. Here are a few areas that many people fail to budget for.

  1. Maintenance. If you are purchasing a property, you will need to upkeep it. This is particularly important if you are going to be renting it out, but could also be important when it comes to insurance. You might find yourself on the hook for expensive repair bills before an insurance company will insure you. These might be things like electric system overhauls, roofing, or plumbing. Depending on the condition of the house and the local building codes and regulations, your initial and recurring costs will vary, but make sure you make an effort to anticipate them.
  2. Taxes and Fees. Not only will you be facing property taxes, but you also will need to pay various fees and potentially taxes associated with the sale. Brokers fees, as well as fees for inspectors, certifications, and legal documents are all potential costs you will need to be prepared to pay. With these costs though, the best way to save money is to do them correctly the first time, as there are often penalties associated with failure to properly take care of your legal obligations.
  3. Finally, your financial history can drastically affect the financing that you get. If you have good credit and a strong financial history, you will likely be able to get a better rate on your loan, with less money down. Conversely, if you have poor credit, you may end up paying a lot more, both in the long run, and as a down payment.

In short, if you are looking to purchase a home, take the time to plan out all of the costs associated with the purchase. Consulting real estate and financial experts can help you get a good idea how much cash you should have in your specific situation and location before looking to make a purchase. 

Home Location and Commute Times

by Karen Picarello

When looking to buy a home in a new area, one of the things most people will be considering is their expected commuting times for work. However, depending on the area, home prices often increase as you get closer to many business hubs, and you will want to balance the amount you are paying for your home, with the amount of time you spend commuting. Here are a few tips for finding a home which will help you feel satisfied in both areas.

First, look at your commutes. Most families will have more than one commute which will need to be made on a regular basis. Anyone in the home who works will need to regularly make that commute, but also pay attention to things like schools. If you have young children ( or expect to) of school age, they will need to make that trip 5 times a week for most of the year. Even if you are not the one driving the, a long commute can suck time out of their day. Figure out all of the places you will need to visit regularly (schools, work, etc), and then look for areas which will be somewhat equidistant from all, or at least close to most. Generally speaking, its best to try to plan for commutes lasting less than half an hour.

Then, look at homes in areas which are positioned conveniently for your obligations. Now is when you can start looking specifically for things which are important to you. Do you want to save as much as you can on the house? You might need to be open to being further away, or living in a less attractive neighborhood. Are you looking for a family friendly area, or one with specific other characteristics? You might be paying a bit more.

In the end, you will have to make decisions that will be best for your specific situations. My overall advice is to keep in mind all of the commutes which will need to be made, and to make this an important part of the purchasing process. Many people will add minutes onto their commute without really thinking about the impact that this will have. Over the course of a year, a 5 minute increase in commute time to work could lead to about 50 hours extra on the road. That’s more than two full days, just driving!

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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