Your Weekly Pulse on Valley Real Estate

Nov. 30, 2020

Home Issues That Shouldn't Be Deal Breakers - and a Few That Are!

Finding the right home can sometimes feel like hunting for a needle in a haystack. Unless you're buying brand-new construction, every home has some drawbacks, whether it's style or real maintenance issues. If you're looking for your next home, understanding the difference between minor issues and true deal-breakers can help you evaluate your options and make the best possible choice.

Manageable Annoyances

  • Cosmetic - All aesthetic concerns can be fixed - for a cost. The key is to understand the difficulty and level of effort or money involved. A dying lawn can be addressed with new sod. Is the kitchen dated? A new backsplash is relatively inexpensive. With some fresh paint and new lighting fixtures, you can easily brighten a room and make a small space seem more expansive.
  • Healthy Homes - Many homes have older carpet, drapes, and other elements that can irritate allergies. Home air filtration systems are affordable and very effective in clearing the particulates out of the air. Replacing the attic insulation and cleaning the vents are easy and inexpensive ways to correct these situations.

Deal Breakers

  • Foundation Problems - Foundation cracks and other issues can be expensive or impossible to correct.
  • Mold - While treatments for mold are available, they normally involve major demolition to open walls and flooring for access. Unless the sellers will correct the mold issue before closing, it's better to reconsider on this one.
  • Water Leaks - Signs of water damage or existing leaks could be a reason to search for a different home. Leaks and water issues will most likely bring you to the mold issue above.

Buying a resale home almost always involves some kind of preexisting issue, but not all should be reasons to walk away. If the home you like has problems, before you move on, consider the costs involved to remedy the challenge.

Nov. 18, 2020

Tight Seller's Market? Consider New Construction

Most of the country is experiencing a very tight real estate market. Inventory  levels are historically low, perhaps owing to the concern of strangers traipsing through the home during this time. Additionally, because most people are staying home, they have been able to focus on their property and how it fits into their lifestyle, emphasizing the need to right-size their environment. 

With properly-priced homes moving quickly off the market, homebuyers are frustrated. For those who can be flexible with their timing, new construction offers an appealing alternative to the resale market.

New construction offers the buyer a fresh, blank canvas on which to create their perfect home. In any market this can be appealing, but when resale inventory is low, this is even more attractive. Yet, new construction is more than modern floorplans and beautiful finishes. Before buying new construction, it's important to ask a few questions first:

  • How long will the property take to build, and what possible delays could affect that timeframe? How does that timeline fit in with selling your current home or finding interim housing?
  • Is your completion date affected by the sale or occupancy of other units or phases?
  • What is included in the base unit and what are the additional costs for custom add-on options?
  • What are the HOA (homeowner's association) fees and what do they cover?

In addition, it's important to understand the exact location of the new home and any planned developments or improvements which could affect the home in the future - road noise, parking or traffic congestion, view, etc.

For those trying to compete in this resale seller's market, it could be time to buy new. Developers are offering some great incentives in this climate, and it can be a great alternative for those with a little time to wait.

Nov. 7, 2020

Just Listed - 2830 N Val Vista Rd

Calling all DIYers and Investment buyers! This 1.25 acre horse property offers gorgeous views of the Superstition Mountains along with a spacious home with many features.

Can you imagine taking in these incredible views from your very own stunning courtyard?

This beautiful fireplace along with the dual pane front windows are sure to keep you warm on chilly days.

To continue your home search, click here. If you would like to learn more about this unique investment property, call or text 602-518-5232 or email me at tonia.vickery@gmail.com

Posted in My Listing Updates
Nov. 3, 2020

Downsizing? What to Do with Your Stuff

Whether you call it downsizing or rightsizing, the bottom line is you're moving into a smaller space and have no idea what to do with all the stuff you've collected over the years. Many people consider moving from a larger home to a smaller home at some point in their lives. Often this move is made after the child-rearing years, when homeowners no longer need the extra bedrooms or living space, and want less home to worry about (or to clean!). The problem is that they have accumulated items to fill the space that they aren't ready to part with, yet all their stuff won't fit in a smaller home.

If you're considering this type of downsizing, begin by sorting your possessions into three piles: keep, donate, trash. After trashing, donating and storing what you can, here are some clever ways to store your stuff in the new, smaller space.

  • Dual-Purpose Furniture - Find furniture that offers hidden storage, such as a coffee table or ottoman with storage compartments for extra pillows, throw blankets, games or books.
  • Baskets and Cubes - There are a lot of great options for cube storage units that incorporate baskets to store extra items for easy access when needed.
  • Digitize - This is the perfect time to put your important papers and pictures into a digital format. From treasured pictures to tax forms, there are companies who specialize in transferring your items for later access.
  • Repurpose - Take a careful look at your furniture...and Pinterest. You'll find great ways to use some of your favorite pieces in different and useful ways.
  • Closets - Consider a closet consultation to make sure you maximize your closet space, not only in the bedrooms but also in your kitchen pantry and hall coat closet.

Downsizing doesn't mean you have to thro out everything you love. Take a hard look at what matters and then use some of these tricks to store the items you treasure without adding clutter to your new home.

Oct. 19, 2020

Are You Mistakenly Letting Creepy Crawlies In Your Home?

None of us want to give much thought to the creepy crawlies and rodents that can make their way into our home and find a place to hide.

Despite our best efforts at sealing and sanitizing, most of us unknowingly share our living space with bugs, mice and countless other annoying insects or pests. In order to determine the best pest control treatment, it is first necessary to accurately identify what you're up against.

According to the experts that remove any pesky critter from your home, these are the top 8 mistakes homeowners make when trying to treat a pest problem.

1.) Being reactive - instead of proactive - about pest control

It is much easier and cheaper to prevent a pest problem than it is to eliminate it once it has started. Remain watchful for any issues that may attract insects and address them immediately. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he stated "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

2.) Not checking the doors, window screens, and seals around your house

Insects can sneak in even if windows and doors are shut. Frequently check that door sweeps are functioning properly, fixed damaged screens and caulk crevices around the home's structure.

3.) Letting your landscape overgrow

Make sure your lush landscaping doesn't include bushes or shrubs that come in contact with your home. If storing firewood, choose a location away from the home's main structure.

4.) Leaving put temptations for critters

Dispose of trash in a timely manner and never leave food sitting out that might appeal to pests.

5.) Allowing water to pool around your yard

Stagnant water is a giant playground for mosquitoes. If you frequently notice water pooling in your yard, contact a landscaper to improve your drainage system.

6.) Using the wrong pesticides

Research all pesticides before applying or hire an expert to address your pest problem. Choosing the wrong pesticide could make your pest problem even worse.

7.) Not timing your efforts with the season

Don't let your guard down when the temperatures drop. Some pest populations die off in cooler temperatures but others simply try to move their pest party inside.

8.) Not knowing the pests unique to your area

Research your area and know the most common pests to keep an eye out for. 

Oct. 14, 2020

New Listing - 3131 N Central Ave #5004

Have you been dreaming of owning your own space in the heart of the city? If so, run, don't walk to Edison Midtown to view this well appointed, FURNISHED luxury urban condo that includes underground gated parking and a parking space!

Take a look at this kitchen! This highly updated unit has a Carrera style quartz waterfall edge kitchen island, walnut floors throughout and 10' ceilings.

After a fun day in the city, you can unwind in this spacious master suite complete with dual vanities and a walk in shower.

This unit boasts some of the best views overlooking the pool/spa and recreation area. Come see all that Edison Midtown has to offer including a 2,000 square foot workout facility, 50' lap lane pool, heated spa, outdoor kitchen/dining and much more!

To continue your home search, click here. If you would like to learn more about this spectacular condo, call or text 602-518-5232 or email me at tonia.vickery@gmail.com.

Posted in My Listing Updates
Oct. 11, 2020

Just Listed - 10025 W Alabama Ave

Cute and spacious are just a few adjectives to describe this Sun City home. Located in a 55 plus community, this highly updated home is ready to welcome a new owner.

This home boasts NO carpet! All floors were redone just 6 years ago and replaced with tile and laminate flooring.

This beautiful enclosed sunroom has its own AC unit to keep you cool year round while also allowing you to enjoy the sun.

This beautiful backyard is completely fenced so your fur baby can safely roam.

To continue your home search, click here. To learn more about this Sun City home, call or text 602-518-5232 or email tonia.vickery@gmail.com.

Posted in My Listing Updates
Oct. 6, 2020

Working From Home? What Home Buyers Are Looking for Now

With major employers now stating that their employees will be working from home for the foreseeable future, many homebuyers have adjusted their list of desirables in their next home. Some not only need to plan for a home office space, but also need to accommodate the homeschooling or distance learning needs of their children as well.

This is impacting the way homes are marketed and the type of features that have become important to buyers at all price points. Of course, homebuyers with larger budgets have the luxury of seeking homes with extra bedrooms or offices and dens already included. But many buyers are not as fortunate and need to find the needed space in more creative ways.

The easiest way to add working space is within the bedrooms. This offers the ability to close a door for privacy. Larger bedrooms (both in master and secondary bedrooms) have been a top priority for homebuyers. Another important feature is an open floorplan which features a Great Room design. For generations, kids have done their homework at the kitchen table, and a spacious kitchen/family room combo makes it easier for home learning without becoming cluttered. Another option for homebuyers is a separate formal dining room which could be converted to a workspace.

With all the changes in working and learning environments for both adults and kids, the home is even more important than ever. As needs change, homebuyers seek different features from their new dwellings.

Sept. 29, 2020

7 Things That Affect What You Pay For Homeowner's Insurance

Homeowner's insurance is non-negotiable. Not only does it protect you in the event the home is damaged, but it also includes liability insurance in the event someone is injured at your home. When evaluating the policy, insurance companies consider multiple items to determine their risk - and your cost. Here are 7 things that affect the amount you pay for homeowner's insurance - some that might make sense and some that might surprise you.

1. Square Footage - First and foremost, the size of the home is considered. The larger the home, the more it would cost to replace if damage occurred. More space also means more furniture, fixtures, personal belongings, and other items which could be replaced in a claim.

2. Layout - The style of the home is another factor in determining replacement costs. A single-story home, for example, might have higher foundation and grading costs, whereas a tow-story home would need alternative construction methods.

3. Construction Materials - The type of material used to build the structure is important. Wood roofs would cost more to insure against a fire claim, as would a home with expensive travertine floors. A simpler home of modest building material would cost less to insure.

4. Property Age - The assumption is that an older home might have more deterioration than a newer home and this is considered in the replacement cost.

5. Home Features - Homes with extra buildings or pools will be insured at a higher costs than other properties without these amenities.

6. Neighborhood - Local crime rates are reviewed to determine the risk to property and personal items.

7. Credit Score - Finally, the insurance company will consider the homeowner's credit score. Not only does this help them understand if they are at risk for non-payment, but serious credit issues might be a factor in how well a property is maintained.

Homeowner's insurance is important to every homeowner. Not only is it required by lenders, but it also protects the homeowner against financial disaster in the event of theft, fire, severe weather, and more. Understanding how rates are determined can help you compare options and get the best policy for your home.

Sept. 15, 2020

Getting Outbid? Strategies to Make Your Offer Stand Out and Get Accepted

Summer is traditionally a busy time for buyers and sellers. This year has been no exception -  and with lower interest rates, many homebuyers are finding the competitive environment challenging. With multiple buyers competing for properties, even terrific offers are often being outbid. 

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make your offer more attractive to the sellers and increase the chanes of getting the property.

  • Have Full Pre-Approval - A step beyond pre-qualification, a pre-approval involves submitting your full application to underwriting. Your lender will collect all your financial data and submit for review. This is stronger than a pre-qualification;  a pre-approval requires the buyer to provide the proof of their ability to qualify for the loan.
  • Increase the Earnest Money - Earnest money is the deposit held in escrow. While the contract will dictate how monies are disbursed in the event of a cancellation, increasing the amount offered can show the sellers you're serious.
  • Add an Escalation Clause - In a bidding war, it can be difficult to know what to offer because you want to outbid the competition without going too high. An escalation clause is one way to automatically outbid the others. The clause typically offers an amount  - $1,000 for example - higher than any verifiable offer up to a specific amount. This can ensure yours is the highest offer.
  • Pay any Appraisal Shortage - When offering more than asking price, sellers become concerned about the appraisal coming in too low. If you are willing to pay over market value, include the amount of shortage you are willing to pay.
  • Remove Inspection Contingency - This option can be tricky, but if you are planning a large remodel or are willing to tackle any defects found, then you can make your offer stronger by accepting the home as-is. In this fast moving, competitive real estate market, it's important to make your offer stand out from the crowd. These strategies are great ways to demonstrate to the sellers that you're serious about buying their home, increasing the chance of having your offer accepted.