Getting prepared to purchase a home

Congratulations on deciding to purchase a home! It is a very exciting time and the process might seem like a roller coaster of emotions and sometimes overwhelming but hopefully this guide will help to get you prepared for what is to come.

 

What do you want your new home to look like?

There are many things that will affect the final decision when it comes to a new home. Some of the questions you should ask yourself are: how many floors would I like, what kind of architecture style do I want, How many rooms and bathrooms would be comfortable for me, does it have a pool, how big is the backyard, how old is the house, how close is it to work, is it in a part of the city I want to live in, what is my budget, ETC. Knowing this can knock considerable time off of the home buying process and help you get an idea of what you want to spend your hard earned money on.

 

How much you should have saved up to start the process?

There are two separate amounts, one for the home buying period and the other for the closing of your new home.

For the period while the house is under contract to be purchased, it is a good practice to have at least $2,000 saved. $1,000 to be used as earnest money and the other $1,000 for inspections. You may need more for the home buying process however, $2,000 would be a safe estimate to start off with.  

It is possible that you will need to bring additional funds to the final signing or “closing”  but this amount is usually known at the beginning when you contact your lender (the bank you will be using to finance your new home). For more information please feel free to contact me and I can get you in touch with a home loan specialist.

 

How long does the home buying process take?

This can vary wildly depending on special circumstances however, a good timeframe someone could expect from start to finish would be about 2-3 months. The search for a home depends on how the market is in the area you are looking at and your specific needs. If you are looking for a home with very specific features in a particular part of town, it may take some time until one comes up for sale that meets all of your criteria. For most people you could expect anywhere from 2-4 weeks to search for a home. People can sometimes get lucky and get the first home they tour but most often it takes a few homes to find the one for you.

The rest of the time is when the contract is in “Escrow”.  Escrow is the period when the person buying the home is getting everything prepared for them by the bank and the title company. Banks and title companies will often want to verify as much information as possible to protect both the seller and the person buying the home.

 

What should your credit score be to qualify for a home loan?

If you need a loan to purchase your home, I recommended to have a credit score of at least 630. This will vary from bank to bank however, that is a good starting point. Of course the lower your credit score the higher your interest rate and your payments will be. This is the same concept as buying a car, if you have a high credit score your payments will be lower and you may qualify for bigger discounts because your less of a risk to the credit companies. If you do not know your credit score I recommend checking www.creditkarma.com or getting your credit report directly from www.Equifax.com or www.Transunion.com.

 

Things you should not do while looking for a new home

If you are getting a loan to purchase a home you will want to make sure there are no changes to your credit report. This means no new car purchases, no closing credit card accounts, no new credit card accounts, and no big purchases on your credit cards that could affect your credit score. If your credit score goes lower because of what I have mentioned it may affect your chances of actually getting the loan or getting the payments that you agreed upon with the bank. Remember, just because you are in process of buying a home it doesn’t mean it is yours until you have signed for everything and you have the keys in your hands. This does happen sometimes where people are no longer eligible to purchase their homes, so be careful and plan your finances accordingly.

 

What does a person that is ready to buy a home look like?

A person that is ready to go will have a credit score of at least 630. They will have contacted a bank to see how much they qualify for. They will have at least $2,000 in their checking or savings accounts as well as other funds needed to close. Lastly, they will need to contact their real estate agent to schedule times to look at the homes that peak their interest. After that it’s happy hunting. Purchasing a new home can often times feel overwhelming. Even Though there are many things that have to come together to finalise your purchase, you should not let it take away the fun and excitement that comes when searching for a place to call home. Once you have everything done and you turn the key for the first time,  you can feel excited because you have a new place to hang your hat and you now have an investment. If you need more information feel free to reach out to me, I’d love to help you out.

 

Resources

Creditkarma.com –gets credit info from both equifax and transunion

Equifax.com –a credit reporting company

Transunion.com – another credit reporting company

Downpayment assistance programs – information on assistance programs for first time home buyers

Popular architecture styles in the phoenix area

The Consumer’s Guide to Hiring an Amazing Real Estate Agent

PASeptember2017DigitalMarketingCampaignSocialMediaImage-1505145947602

When you’re buying or selling a home, it’s crucial to work with a qualified real estate agent. Not just a professional, but an amazing agent and a market expert. So how do you ensure you’re hiring an amazing real estate agent?

There are currently more than two million real estate professionals in North America.1,2 With so many options to choose from, how does a prospective home buyer or seller choose the right agent or broker? According to the National Association of Realtors®, trust and reputation are the top deciding factors consumers use when hiring an agent.3

But how do you measure trust and reputation … and what criteria can be used to help you make your decision?

In this guide, we’ve outlined the top attributes that amazing agents possess, as well as the questions you can ask to make sure you’re working with the right market expert to achieve your real estate goals.

5 ATTRIBUTES OF AN AMAZING AGENT

As we mentioned above, not all real estate professionals are the same. And it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the options and information about working with real estate professionals to buy or sell your home. In fact, many real estate markets are oversaturated with agents.

To help you understand what makes top agents and market experts stand apart from the competition, following are five key attributes of an amazing agent:

 

  1. A Pricing Specialist

If an agent has their real estate license, they know the basics of the transaction process. They know what goes into buying and selling a home. However, there’s a difference between knowing the process and navigating it for an ideal result. This ideal result often means buying or selling a home for the best price.

For buyers, amazing agents have a strong understanding of market trends, competition, and how to make your offer attractive to sellers. They can help you identify and secure a deal to ensure you get the home you want, within your desired budget.

If you’re selling a home, market experts have experience pricing homes optimally for the market, and creating pricing plans to minimize the time spent selling the home. This will help you sell for your desired price, and avoid costs like additional mortgage and utility payments.

Takeaway: Whether buying or selling a home, pricing can be tricky. Market experts can help navigate best-possible pricing strategies, and also secure the home you want within your budget.
  1. An Effective Time Manager

It’s common to underestimate the amount of time it takes to buy or sell your home. The average real estate agent may not be utilizing the latest tools and technology to make the transaction easier and more cost effective for their clients. Market experts have tools and strategies at their disposal to minimize the amount of time you spend on the process.

For sellers, market experts can make sure you only deal with qualified buyers, not the “window shoppers” who can waste your time. We also utilize the latest marketing practices to advertise and price your home effectively, ensuring it gets sold quickly.

When looking to buy a home, inexperienced agents may waste your time by showing you homes that are not a good fit for you. A market expert knows how to prioritize your needs and wants to find you the ideal home within your budget. They also know how to spot “red flags” and can steer you away from homes that are likely to turn up major issues in a real estate inspection, saving you time and money.

In addition, well-networked Realtors can gain access to the hottest listings before many websites do. Their extensive professional networks can help identify “pre-list” homes before they’re officially on the market. This can be invaluable in a highly-competitive real estate market.

Takeaway: Even a well-intentioned agent may not have the skills, tools or technology to make the experience easy for you. There are lots of hidden activities that may take up unexpected time, and a market expert will save you time and energy.

  1. A Market Insider

While most agents can pull market stats about a neighborhood, community or city, they may not understand important trends or developments that would affect your transaction. These can include the state of the school district, issues with a homeowner association, new businesses in the area, zoning rules or trends in home prices.

Market experts live and breathe local real estate and know the trigger points for buying and selling in this market. We also stay current on effective marketing and negotiation practices, resulting in our track record of success.

For sellers, we understand what features of your home and neighborhood are assets in the selling process. And for buyers, we share a deep understanding of market factors, including school and neighborhood quality, crime statistics, speed of sales and more.

Takeaway: Getting relevant and specific market knowledge can be difficult and time consuming, which is why many real estate agents don’t have it. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, an experienced real estate agent is often the best source of information about a city, neighborhood, or even street … we’re literally conducting market research every day.

 

  1. A Strong Negotiator

Amazing agents truly set themselves apart in their ability to negotiate. Unfortunately, a large portion of agents don’t commit their full time to increasing this key skill.

Real estate negotiations can be challenging, even for seasoned professionals. It takes skill, experience and a knowledge of how to fight for your client’s best interests. While any agent can enter negotiations to buy or sell a home, they may not know the effective strategies to exit those negotiations with the result you want.

Experienced Realtors focus on negotiation as a key skill. We understand what to do before entering negotiations (establishing the upper hand to set up the best outcome), as well as during the process (when to offer or accept concessions).

Takeaway: Many agents can feel the stress of the negotiation process, and may agree to terms of the buyer/seller. Working with a market expert will help ensure you get the best deal, not just the fastest deal.

 

  1. An Effective Closer

Closing a deal fast is often a good thing. For buyers, it means you found the home you wanted quickly. For sellers, it often means you can avoid the added expenses of mortgage and utility payments, and maximize the value of your home sale.

However, an agent solely focused on speed can make decisions that aren’t in your best interests. Top real estate professionals know how to not only achieve your real estate goals quickly, but in the right way to avoid potential pitfalls.

Just like negotiations, the paperwork and process of closing a real estate transaction are complicated. And they can be overwhelming for the average agent who hasn’t handled a lot of transactions. Sales contracts, property disclosures, occupancy agreements and even lead paint records need to be executed with precision. Your agent not only needs to be familiar with these, but also stay current on any changes in requirements or regulations.

Market experts have a strong understanding of real estate contracts, timelines, clauses and contingencies within the closing process. In fact, avoiding pitfalls during the closing process is where many sellers find an experienced Realtor is a huge asset.

Takeaway: Many agents don’t have a firm understanding of contracts. Because a real estate transaction often involves a significant investment, even a small mistake can mean serious trouble. With that in mind, it’s often best, and most responsible, to work with a true market expert.

 

5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT

So how do you know if you’re working with an amazing agent?

The first step would be to “shop around.” Many people work with the first agent they come across without a firm understanding of their level of experience. It’s always a good idea to interview a number of agents before selecting one. If you’ve gotten referrals from people you trust, then you may only need to interview 2-3 agents.

However, it can be tough to know what to ask in the interview process. Here are some questions that can help you qualify the best agent to help you achieve your real estate goals:

 

  1. Can you send me some information about yourself?

Look for professionalism and consistency. What are their professional accomplishments? Also, try to identify how they approach their work. Look for a business person who has a strategy and solid support system. If they’re a newer agent, ask about their team’s dynamic and accomplishments.

  1. How long have you been in real estate?

The average Realtor has 10 years of experience4. But while longevity is important, even more telling are the number of transactions they have closed or been involved in. So feel free to also ask: “How many homes have you sold in this area?”

 

  1. What will you do to keep me informed?

Do you want daily or weekly reports from your agent? Will the agent be able to meet these expectations? Determine how much communication you want, and then find an agent who will give you the attention and time you want and deserve.

 

  1. Can you provide me with further resources I may need?

From market reports and pricing trends to school performance and crime statistics, top agents have resources at their disposal. In addition, market experts have built strong relationships with their extended team of professionals, and can often get expedient service or be able to “cash in a favor” for you should a need arise.

 

  1. Seller only: Can you share with me your plan to market my property? Many agents will simply put your home in the MLS and wait for it to sell. An amazing agent should have a detailed plan of how to get your home exposure on social media, to their local networks, and more.

 GET STARTED

Now that you’re armed with the 5 Attributes of Amazing Agents and the Top Questions to ensure you work with the best possible real estate agent, you’re ready to start interviewing agents.

We’d love an opportunity to win your business. Schedule a free consultation with us to find out how true market experts can help you achieve your real estate goals!

 

Sources:

  1. National Association of REALTORS – https://www.nar.realtor/field-guides/field-guide-to-quick-real-estate-statistics
  2. Financial Post – http://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/mortgages-real-estate/canada-housing-bubble-agents/wcm/b49d4e3a-bd8d-4d1c-9566-bd3d80c8e23a
  3. National Association of REALTORS –

https://www.nar.realtor/reports/highlights-from-the-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers

  1. National Association of REALTORS – https://www.nar.realtor/field-guides/field-guide-to-quick-real-estate-statistics

Phoenix Market Update February 2017

Phoenix Market Update courtesy of Craig and Stacey Akers at NextHome Valleywide.  Contact 480-621-6828 or info@nexthomevalleywide.com for a Seller Solution book that will give you selling tips, pricing, and comparable home sales in your area.

 

More Qualified Buyers Expected in 2017
Supply is Down 9.3%, Buyer Demand is Up 4.5%!

Phoenix Metro Infographic - 2017-02

 

For Buyers:
Buyers be prepared for another year of increased competition for ex-isting active listings in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, partly because of over 50,000 more foreclosures due to be removed from credit reports in 2017. That’s in addition to the nearly 50,000 foreclosures that were re-moved from credit reports in 2016. A foreclosure can suppress a credit score by 100 points in many cases, so their removal is resulting in a high-er number of qualified buyers and a 20% increase in the rate of approved mortgage applications over the past 2 years. Increases in buyer activity are expected across all price points under $1,000,000.
For Sellers:
It’s starting off very good for existing sellers thus far, as January was the 3rd slowest month for new listings on the market dating back to 2001. This, combined with increases in demand, is resulting in active listings remaining very low when it typically rises in the first quarter just before spring buyer season. New home builders have been creating new supply for buyers, mostly in the $300,000 to $500,000 price range, especially in North Phoenix, South Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Peoria and Buck-eye. With the supply and demand imbalance giving sellers a negotiating advantage, it’s reasonable to expect more appraisals coming in lower than negotiated sales price and buyers who are either unwilling or unable to cover the difference.

Contact the real estate experts at NextHome Valleywide in Chandler, AZ at 480-621-6828 for more information.  If you are currently looking at buying or selling a home in the Phoenix, Scottsdale or East Valley area and are not sure where to turn, search for homes at ChandlerAreaHomeSearch.com, where you can find single family homes, golf and lakefront properties, 55+ communities, townhomes and much more. Visit our blog at NextHomeValleywide for a monthly Phoenix Market Update.
Commentary written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Real Estate Analyst with The Cromford Report ©2017 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

 

Real Estate 2017: What to Expect

Real Estate 2017: What to Expect

One of the most common questions we get about real estate this time of year is, “What’s going on in the market?” It’s not just potential buyers and sellers who are curious; homeowners always want reassurance their home’s value is going up. The good news is the American real estate market is strong and healthy: home values are up, prices and sales are strong, and millennial first-time buyers are eager to become homeowners.

We often use national real estate numbers to give us a clearer view of our local market. However, real estate is local, and while statistics and predictions help us understand the overall real estate market, our local market may be different. If you’re thinking of buying or selling, or just want to know how much your home is worth, give us a call!

What to Expect in the Real Estate Market in 2017

The American housing market is stronger than ever! Home values, prices and sales had their strongest numbers in 2016, a sure sign the market is healthy and strong. According to the Home Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), property values have increased in 58 of the last 62 months and have increased more than 35 percent nationally. Homeowners continue to build equity in their largest investment—their homes.

First-time buyers are back.

Housing forecasts from the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), the Mortgage Bankers’ Association, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae all predict existing-home sales will surpass 6 million in 2017, higher than anticipated sales for 2016. Who’s driving the surge? According to NAR, millennials who have put off buying a home are ready to buy. While they may have avoided buying a home due to student debt and limited employment, many are entering their 30s, a time when their attention turns to marriage, family and setting roots with homeownership. They’re predicted to be the driving force behind home and condominium sales from now until into 2020. (Source: MarketWatch)

What does this mean to you? If you’re a millennial who’s been on the fence about buying, now is the time to act. Give us a call to answer your questions about the market and the buying process.

Renters are embracing homeownership

Additionally, many renters who’ve resisted buying are starting home searches due to the economic weight of rising rents. This year’s home buyers seek to take advantage of comparatively low interest rates and, in most cases, static payments each month—an advantage of home ownership. Rental costs will only continue to rise; if you’re thinking of buying, now is an ideal time to do so.

What does this mean to you? Every month you pay rent, you lose the opportunity to build equity in a home of your own. Break free from the limits of renting and invest in your financial future. Come in the office and we’ll discuss your options.

Home prices are on the rise.

According to NAR, the median existing-home price not only increased 6.0 percent year-over-year in October, it’s also the 56th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. Prices are approaching the pre-recession peak.

What does this mean to you? Home prices, and subsequently home values, are increasing. If you’ve been waiting to list your home until you know you can sell it for what you think it’s worth, now is a great time to do so. We’ll be happy to give you a comparative market assessment of your home and help you get your home in list-ready shape.

If you’re in the market to buy, be prepared to act.

Homes were on the market for the shortest amount of time recorded since 2009: 52 days. The increase of qualified buyers in the market along with the increasing efficiency of the real estate process means homes are selling faster than ever, and in many cases buyers are engaging in bidding wars and paying over the list price to get the home of their dreams.

What does this mean to you? The home you have your eye on one day may be gone the next. In competitive markets, be prepared to come to the table with a competitive bid.

Looking for a new home?

New-home construction will increase to an average of 1.5 million per year to 2024, according to a report from NAR. However, experts anticipate housing starts will only increase to 1.22 million in 2017, which is less than the 1.5 million new homes required to keep up with growing demand. This inventory shortage of new entry-level homes—typically purchased by first-time buyers—may drive up prices in some areas. Home builders have been focusing on multi-family construction for the last few years, but this type of construction has begun to level off providing hope that builders will once again focus on single-family home construction. However, stricter proposed immigration policies may impact new home construction and tighten inventory.

What does this mean to you? First-time and repeat home buyers agree—there are plenty of advantages of buying a new home. Whether you want a home customized to your family’s needs or you don’t want to bother with age-related maintenance, a new home has much to offer. Give us a call to discuss your options.

Affordability pressures are increasing in many markets

Housing affordability in many of the nation’s largest cities has declined over the past few years, a trend that is expected to continue in 2017. However, there is hope. NAR created the Affordability Index to measure the affordability of homes across the United States. The Affordability Index assesses whether the typical family earning the median family income can qualify for a mortgage on a typical home based on the prevailing mortgage interest rate on loans closed on existing homes from the Federal Housing Finance Board.

The NAR Affordability Index is 170.2 (composite) and 169.8 (fixed), meaning a family earning the median family income has 170.2 percent of the income necessary to buy a median-priced, single-family home. Nationally, the qualifying income is $41,616, but it varies by region. In the Northeast, the qualifying income is $45,024. In the Midwest, it’s $32,640. In the South, it’s $36,960. In the West, it’s $61,824.

What does this mean to you? If you’ve had your eye on a new home, but weren’t sure if you could afford it, you may be pleasantly surprised. We may have homes in our area that meet your needs and budget. Give us a call today to discuss your home search.

3 Things to Do Now if You Plan to Buy Real Estate This Year

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you’re like most buyers who plan to finance part of the home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will allow you to put in an offer on a home and may give you an advantage over other buyers. The added bonus: you can see how much home you can afford and budget accordingly.
  2. Start looking. While most buyers start their searches online, be sure to look at homes in neighborhoods you’d like to live in as well. Keep a notebook to write down what you like and dislike about each home you view in person or online. This will help you narrow down where to look and what to look for in your next home.
  3. Come to our real estate office. The buying process can be tricky. We’d love to guide you through it. We can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget. Give us a call to make an appointment today!

3 Things to Do Now if You Plan to Sell Real Estate This Year

  1. Make repairs. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs. While the repairs may or may not add value, making them will give your home a competitive advantage over other similar homes on the market.
  2. Get a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, it’ll also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help us price your home to sell in our market. Call us for your free CMA!
  3. Start packing. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up items you don’t use regularly and storing them in an attic or a storage space. This will make your home easier to stage as well as make it easier to move later on.

Are you thinking of buying or selling?

Whether you’d like to buy or sell a home this year, want to know how much your home is worth, or have general questions about our local market, give us a call! We’d love to discuss the local real estate market with you.

Phoenix Market Update October 2016

Phoenix Market Update

Phoenix Market Update courtesy of Craig and Stacey Akers at NextHome Valleywide.  Contact 480-621-6828 or info@nexthomevalleywide.com for a Seller Solution book that will give you selling tips, pricing, and comparable home sales in your area.

For Sellers:  Sellers in some cities are experiencing more competition from new home subdivisions. New construction permits are on the rise this year, which provides headaches for the surrounding sellers.

For Buyers:  The biggest increase in demand is within the $200,000-$300,000 price range, which had a 35% increase in listings under contract heading into October and only a 4.2% increase in supply.

phoenix market
Commentary written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Real Estate Analyst with The Cromford Report
©2016 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

Builders have been focusing a decent portion of their resources on the $200,000-$500,000 price range, the increase in competition is especially felt by sellers in North Phoenix, South Phoenix, East Mesa, Gilbert, and Peoria. As a result, annual appreciation has been maintained at 3-4% for the $200,000-$350,000 range and 1-2% for the $350,000- $500,000 range. Builders are not focusing on the under $200,000 market, which is contributing to appreciation rates as high as 9% as demand remains strong. The luxury market is still seeing flat or slightly declining prices compared to last year.

Contact the real estate experts at NextHome Valleywide in Chandler, AZ at 480-621-6828 for more information.  If you are currently looking at buying or selling a home in the Phoenix, Scottsdale or East Valley area and are not sure where to turn, search for homes at ChandlerAreaHomeSearch.com, where you can find single family homes, golf and lakefront properties, 55+ communities, townhomes and much more.  Visit our blog at NextHomeValleywide for monthly Phoenix Market Updates.