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Do You Have to Tell a Buyer that Someone Died in Your Home?

by Karen Picarello

Many people (in Arizona) falsely believe that they must disclose information about prior inhabitants of a home including if there was a murder in the home or if a criminal lived there. In reality, homeowners do not have to disclose any of this information.

Stigmatized Property Law

Arizona passed A.R.S. § 32-2156, or the stigmatized property law, in 1995. This prevents homeowners from having to disclose things about a property to a buyer that may have a negative psychological impact.

Examples:

  • Murder
  • Suicide
  • Natural Death
  • Sex Offender
  • HIV infected occupants or other diseases not known to be transmitted through housing
  • Neighbors with Criminal History

Why Would a Future Homeowner Want to Know?

Much of the reason that a homeowner may want to know about previous issues with psychological impact is superstition. It may make a person think the home is haunted or has bad luck. Many people don’t feel right about living in a place where they know someone has died. Superstition may not be an appropriate reason to not purchase a home, but there are other reasons a homeowner would want this type of information disclosed.

If there was a publicized incident with any notoriety, the event may have a psychological and monetary impact on the property. There was a California court case that argued that a multiple murder that had taken place in the home should have been disclosed because it affected the resale value of the home. Since then, California has changed its law to read that people must disclose how any death occurred in the home for the past three years. Arizona does not have that same rule.

Why is stigmatized property law a good thing?

Arizona’s stigmatized property law is a good thing because people can claim that practically any adverse event can “stigmatize” a property and lower its value psychologically. While it may be unsettling to dig up an old pet that may have been buried in the back yard, this should have no impact on the sale or the purchase of a home. Allowing anything to stigmatize property that only has psychological effects opens a can of worms that would be difficult to close.

Why do you need to know about stigmatized property law?

As a home seller, you need to know about stigmatized property law because there is no need to disclose things about your property that have no real impact. As a home buyer, you need to know that these things may not be disclosed. If it is important to you, ask. Do your research. In some cases, it has been found illegal to lie about certain things that may have psychological impacts.

Getting a Mortgage in Scottsdale, Arizona

by Karen Picarello

When you go to get a loan in Arizona, the process is dependent on your credit and how much you have available for a down payment. For first-time home buyers or those who don’t have enough for a down payment, there are programs available such as the Home Plus Mortgage Program, that offer down payment assistance to help you on the path to home ownership. Still, the process can seem a bit confusing. That is why we’ve created this general explanation of how to get a mortgage in Arizona.

Getting a Mortgage in Scottsdale, Arizona

According to Zillow, the median home value in Scottsdale is $480,400. This means there aren’t a lot of people using the Home Plus Program because it sets a price cap at $396,680. However, there are other assistance programs if you have a high enough income.

In order to get a mortgage, one must first go to a loan officer and fill out an application. In the application, you will disclose your assets and income along with any negative credit occurrences such as foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Once you’ve filled out an application, the loan officer will run a credit check. This will confirm the information on your application, let them see your monthly liabilities, and they will get your credit score. For most loan assistance programs, you must have a score above 640. Your score impacts whether or not you will be approved along with what interest rate will be available.

Assuming all goes well, the loan is submitted to an underwriter for pre-approval. Once approved, you will have to submit more paperwork such as tax returns, proof of income, bank statements, drivers licenses, letters of explanation, and proof of homeowner’s insurance.

An underwriter will give the final approval of your loan, and once this is done, the loan is sent to the title company. The title company coordinates and records all the information with the mortgage company and holds the title to the home, and once this is wrapped up, you are the proud owner of a new home!

It’s Not Always Easy

There can be many bumps in the road during the process of getting a home loan, and the paperwork can take time. You may think the process is almost finished only to have underwriters request more information. Sometimes by the time you get your home purchased, you can’t believe it’s real because it takes so long. The key is being patient and keeping an open mind when going through the process. It will happen.

Should You Replace Your Appliances?

by Karen Picarello

Most home upgrades don’t actually make you more money on your home sale, but they can decrease your selling price if the new homeowner will have to buy replacements. In fact, may home warranties include appliance coverage because a person moving into a move-in ready home does not expect to replace appliances for the first year or so.

When people walk into a home with new stainless steel appliances, it is a major selling point. The person can envision their own food in the fridge, and they fondly picture themselves doing household chores like cooking or loading the dishwasher. A dated, cream-colored set of appliances does not have the same effect.

You don’t have to replace all of your appliances in order to sell a home, but it may affect how well the sale goes. Here are some considerations.

Replace as Needed

Many people make do with appliances that have broken functions but work generally well. They may have to use pliers to get the dishwasher to turn on, but the dishes turn out as clean as if they had a new dishwasher. This is not appropriate. One of the saddest reasons to buy new appliances is for someone else to use them. When your appliance starts breaking down, replace it with something that will be pleasing to the next homeowner. This way, you will get to enjoy a new appliance, and it won’t be an issue when selling.

Lower the Price of Your Home

If your appliances work but are outdated, note that you are reducing the cost in order to cover the cost of these upgrades. This can be a selling point for home buyers because they can save money during the move, but they are still moving into a functioning home.

Don’t Buy Luxury

If you are going to be using the appliances and feel like you need luxury, then go ahead and do it. If you are doing it to attract home buyers, it is not worth the expense. Not only may you opt for something that the homeowner wants to replace anyway, but you spend a large amount of money on something that doesn’t increase the value of the home. Don’t buy the bottom of the barrel appliances, and stick to quality levels that coincide with the price level of the home.

It’s tempting to deck out your home in order to get it to sell fast, but you won’t benefit from this expenditure unless you do it responsibly.

Advertisement Tips for Selling Your Home on Facebook

by Karen Picarello

You may be tempted to help out your real estate agent when selling your home, especially if your home has been on the market for a while. This is not the time to go rogue and take everything into your own hands. Discuss your plans to advertise your home on Facebook, and avoid these blunders.

Tips for Selling Your Home on Facebook

1. Don’t Make Excuses for the Neighborhood

You can mention how nice your neighborhood is, and most people will be looking for a place that has qualities like safety, privacy, or friendliness. However, all neighborhoods are based on perspective, and your view of your neighborhood may be different from your neighbor’s view. If you have negative feelings about your neighborhood, don’t mention them or make excuses for them. Saying that it is nice except for the occasional dog barking may be objective, but it sounds like a major dog barking problem to potential buyers.

2. Don’t Date the Home

If you are posting pictures, don’t mention how dated the home is. If it looks like the 1970s was somehow transported into your kitchen or living room, you don’t need to mention that it is vintage. Instead, mention the quality of the cabinetry or the potential for the space. Buyers don’t need you to tell them when you home looks out-of-vogue.

3. Don’t Address the Complaints of Others

If you have posted and received complaints about the home, don’t address them. If people have complained when visiting the home, don’t mention it. Noting the complaints of others may highlight things that would never be a problem to other viewers. Don’t make issues when they may not be issues for another buyer.

4. Use Proper Grammar

Don’t post without proofreading. Facebook tends to be casual, and most people don’t edit like they would if they were in their professional lives. Selling a home should be a professional activity, so make your post professional by avoiding spelling and grammar errors.

5. Don’t Get to Personal

Lastly, don’t get too personal about your sentiments about the home. You are looking for people to picture themselves living there. You don’t want them to picture you living there. This is why family photos should be kept to a minimum when showing your home. It’s about creating a place for potential memories, not maintaining the ghosts of memories from the past. Keep your descriptions to the facts, and let your potential buyers create their own ideas.

If You Like Sports, Scottsdale Delivers Via Its Neighbors

by Karen Picarello

If you’ve already been looking at Scottsdale as a potential future home, then you already know it is an affluent area of town known for its lower crime rates and nicer neighborhoods. However, you may not have thought of the sporting benefit. At less than 20 miles away from Phoenix, Scottsdale get you very close to the action of multiple sporting events.

Sports Teams You Can Watch Near Scottsdale (Phoenix Area)

1. Phoenix Cardinals

Not only is the State Farm Stadium (formerly University of Phoenix Stadium) the home to the Phoenix Cardinals, but it is also the location of the annual NFL Fiesta Bowl. Located in Glendale 20 minutes northwest of Phoenix, this modern stadium has a retractable roof and was the home of the 2015 Super Bowl. The Cardinals have not won a Super Bowl yet, but they typically make it to the play-offs and are a force to be reckoned with.

2. Arizona State University’s Sun Devils

The only thing wilder about sports than professional fans is college fans, and the ASU Sun Devils has 9 men’s and 11 women’s PAC-12 Varsity teams.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks are Arizona’s Major League Baseball team. Chase Field is located in downtown Phoenix and has everything MLB has to offer. Buy you some peanuts and cracker jacks because you won’t care if you never go back to watching any other sport.

4. Phoenix Suns

If pro basketball is more our style, you’ll have to make it to Talking Stick Resort Arena for a Suns game. They’ve had a little bit of a lackluster history, but almost any NBA game is worth seeing if you are a fan.

5. Arizona Coyotes

Glendale is also home to Arizona’s hockey team, the Arizona Coyotes. Gila River Arena is home to these ice warriors. If you want to see some good body checks and some amazing stick work, the Arizona Coyotes will deliver a game that is full of the intensity that only hockey can deliver.  

6. Phoenix Mercury

If you like the Suns, then you’re sure to love the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona’s WNBA team. Talking Stick Resort Arena is also home to this team, and they’ve won 3 WNBA Championships.

You may be thinking that if you want to be close to the sporting action of Arizona, you should move to Phoenix or Glendale. This may be true for some, but Scottsdale delivers that high-end lifestyle without taking away access to Arizona’s premium sporting events.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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