July 14, 2020

6 Tips for Beating the Competition and Winning Your New Home

6 Tips for Making a Winning Offer on a New Home and Beating the Competition

The weather isn't the only thing that is hot in the Goodyear area right now!  The housing market is on fire!  This means if you are looking for a new home, you could face some fierce competition out there.  So how do you beat the competition and win the home?  Here are 6 tips to help you set yourself up for success:

1.  Get pre-qualified or preapproved for your home loan. This is a very crucial step that buyers often put off until the last minute.  Bottom line, in the Goodyear area, sellers will most likely NOT consider your offer at all if you do not have at least a prequalification form completed by your lender.  A preapproval letter is even better and will help increase the confidence a seller has in you being able to complete the purchase of their home. If you spend some time working with a lender from the start, you may be able to increase your buying power.

2.  Stay flexible.  In a seller's market like the one we are experiencing today, being flexible with the terms the seller wants can help you win the bid.  Some sellers may need to extend the closing date past the normal 30 to 45 days so they can move into their new home.  Being mindful of what the seller wants can help you rise above the competition and make the seller want to work with you instead of other buyers.  

3.  Write a letter.  Past clients of mine have had great success with writing a personal letter to the seller about why you want to purchase their home.  I recently had a buyer that needed to relocate back to Arizona due to her parents' health issues.  She wrote a lovely letter to the sellers and it helped her get her offer accepted.  We just closed escrow at the end of June and she is getting settled in her new home.  

4.  Use an escalation clause.  In a market with low housing inventory and high buyer competition, an escalation clause can help you get your offer accepted.  You simply agree to increase your bid if another buyer outbids you.  Of course, we put a cap on how high you will go to protect you.  Using an escalation clause is a great way to beat out the competition.

5.  Increase your earnest money deposit.  Increasing the amount of your earnest money helps gain trust and confidence with sellers. It is important to know that you could end up losing your earnest money to the seller if you end up cancelling the sale.  However, the Arizona Purchase Contract has several contingencies that protect buyers and their earnest money, including the inspection period contingency, the appraisal contingency (the property must appraise for the sales price or higher or you can cancel and get your earnest money back) and the financing contingency (if you can not obtain loan approval, you can cancel and get your earnest money back).  

6.  Start working with a Realtor right away.  One of the best ways to beat out the competition is to align yourself with a Realtor that can help you get ready to beat the competition.  In addition, your Realtor can start networking with other agents and past clients to find a property that may be hitting the market soon.  

Ready to start looking for a new home in the Goodyear area?  I'm here to help! Our first step would be to have a conversation about your goals and what you are looking for in a new home.  We can then get a game plan together to help you find the perfect home.    My goal is to help you experience success on your road to being a homeowner with less stress!  

July 13, 2020

9 DIY Improvements That Add Value to Your Home

 

 

Add Value To Your Home With These 9 DIY Improvements

 

Whether you’re prepping your house to go on the market or looking for ways to maximize its long-term appreciation, these nine home improvement projects are great ways to add function, beauty, and real value to your home.

 

The best part is, once you’ve secured the materials, most of these renovations can be completed over the course of a weekend. And they don’t require a lot of specialized skills or experience. So grab your toolbox, then get ready to boost your home’s appeal AND investment potential!

 

 

1. Spruce Up Your Landscaping

 

Landscaping improvements can increase a home’s value by 10-12%.1 But which outdoor features do buyers care about most? According to a survey of Realtors, a healthy lawn is at the top of their list. If your lawn is lacking, overseeding or laying new sod can be a worthwhile investment—with an expected return of 417% and 143% respectively.1. 

 

Planting flowers is another great way to enhance your home’s curb appeal. And if you choose a perennial variety, your blooms should return year after year. For an even longer-term impact, consider planting a tree. According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, a mature tree can add up to $10,000 to the value of your home.2

 

 

2. Clean The Exterior

 

When it comes to making your house shine, a sparkling facade can be just as important as a clean interior. Real estate professionals estimate that washing the outside of a house can add as much as $15,000 to its sales price.3

 

A rented pressure washer from your local home improvement store can help you remove built-up dirt and grime from your home’s exterior, walkway, and driveway. Just be sure to read the instructions carefully—and only use it on surfaces that can withstand the intensity. If you have a home with stucco you should do some investigating before proceeding.  When in doubt, a scrub brush and bucket of sudsy water will often do the trick.

 

 

3. Add A Fresh Coat Of Paint

 

New paint can have a big impact on both the appearance and value of a property. In fact, it’s one of the most effective ways to revitalize a home’s exterior, update its interior, and make it appear larger and brighter. The best part? Painting is relatively easy and inexpensive!

 

To get the maximum return at resale, stick with a modern but neutral color palette that will appeal to a broad range of buyers. According to a recent survey of home design experts, cool neutrals are a safe bet when it comes to interior paint. And respondents chose white and gray as the best exterior paint colors to use when selling a home.4 However, it’s important to consider a property’s architecture, existing fixtures, and regional design preferences, as well.   

 

 

4. Install Smart Home Technology

 

In a recent survey, 78% of real estate professionals said their buyer clients were willing to pay more for a home with smart technology features.5 The most requested smart devices? Thermostats (77%), smoke detectors (75%), home security cameras (66%), and locks (63%).6

 

The good news is, many of these gadgets are fairly easy to install. And some of them, including smart thermostats and light bulbs, will pay for themselves over time by making your home more energy-efficient. In fact, many manufacturers report that smart thermostats can cut back on heating and cooling costs by 10-20%.7  

 

If you already own a smart speaker, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, choose devices that will pair with your existing technology. This will enable you to create a truly integrated (and in many cases voice-activated) smart home experience.

 

 

5. Modernize Your Window Treatments

 

Smart—or motorized—blinds are also growing in popularity, and several manufacturers make models you can order and install on your own. But they’re not the only way to modernize your window treatments. 

 

If you have old aluminum blinds, consider replacing them with plantation shutters, which are energy-efficient, durable, and have strong buyer appeal.8 Roman and roller shades are another stylish alternative, and they come in a variety of colors and fabrics, which you can personalize to meet your design and privacy preferences.

 

Fortunately, upgrading your blinds has gotten easier and less expensive in recent years. There are a number of retailers that specialize in affordable window coverings that are simple to measure and hang yourself.

 

6. Replace Outdated Fixtures

 

Drastically transform the look and feel of your home by swapping out dingy and dated fixtures for contemporary alternatives. Start by assessing your current light fixtures, faucets, cabinet hardware, doorknobs, and even switch plates. Then prioritize replacing those that are particularly outdated or in highly-visible areas, such as your entryway or kitchen.

 

Even if your home is fairly new, consider trading your builder-grade fixtures for higher-end options to give it a more upscale appearance. And forget the old rule about sticking to one metal tone throughout your property. According to designers, mixing metal finishes can add interest and character to a space.9

 

For more designer insights and decor trends, contact us for a free copy of our recent report: “Top 5 Home Design Trends for a New Decade.”

 

 

7. Upgrade Your Bathroom Mirror

 

A minor bathroom remodel offers one of the best returns on investment, with a $1.71 increase in home value for every $1 you spend.10 We’ve already explored several improvements you can make to your bathroom: new paint, fixtures, and hardware. Now complete the look by upgrading your vanity’s mirror.

 

Before you purchase a new mirror, examine your existing one to see how it is attached to the wall. Some vanity mirrors are glued to the wall and difficult to remove without shattering the glass or damaging the sheetrock behind it.11 

 

If you prefer to keep your existing mirror, you can paint the frame—or add one if it’s currently frameless. There are several online retailers that will send you the frame components cut to your specifications, which you can assemble and mount yourself. Much like a work of art, your vanity mirror serves as a focal point for your bathroom, so let your creativity shine through!

 

 

8. Shampoo Your Carpet

 

Carpet is notorious for trapping dust, dirt, and allergens. It’s one of the reasons that most buyers prefer hard surface flooring.12 But if you love your carpet, or you’re not ready to invest in an alternative, make an effort to keep it clean and odor-free.

 

To properly maintain your carpet, you should vacuum it weekly. Experts also recommend a deep shampoo at least every two years.13 Fortunately, this is a cheap and easy DIY project you can knock out in about 20 minutes per room. According to Consumer Reports, you can rent a machine and purchase cleaning fluid and supplies for around $90. With an average return on your investment of 169%, it’s well worth the effort and expense.14

 

 

9. Customize Your Closet

 

Real estate professionals estimate that a closet remodel can add $2500 to a home’s selling price. And while a professional renovation can cost upwards of $6000, there are many high-quality DIY closet systems you can customize and install yourself.15 

 

Experts recommend taking a thorough inventory of your wardrobe and accessories before you get started. Make sure frequently-worn pieces are easy to reach and store seasonal and seldom-used items on high shelves. Place shoe racks near the closet entrance so they are easy to access.16 A little planning can go a long way toward building a closet that you (and your future buyers!) will love.

 

 

GET A COMPLIMENTARY ANALYSIS OF YOUR PROJECT

 

We’ve been talking averages. But the truth is, the actual impact of a home improvement project will vary depending on your particular home and neighborhood. Before you get started, contact us to schedule a free virtual consultation. We can help you determine which upgrades will offer the greatest return on your effort and investment.

 

 

Sources:

  1. HomeLight -
    https://www.homelight.com/blog/improve-curb-appeal-landscaping/
  2. National Association of Realtors -
    https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/landscape-renovations-that-pay-off/
  3. HouseLogic.com - https://www.houselogic.com/save-money-add-value/add-value-to-your-home/adding-curb-appeal-value-to-home/
  4. Fixr -
    https://www.fixr.com/blog/2020/01/14/paint-color-trends-in-2020/
  5. T3 Sixty -
    https://blog.coldwellbanker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/CES2018-Smart-Homes-An-Emerging-Real-Estate-Opportunity.pdf
  6. Consumer Reports -
    https://www.consumerreports.org/smart-home/smart-home-tech-upgrades-to-help-sell-your-house/
  7. American Council for Energy Efficient Economy
    https://www.aceee.org/sites/default/files/publications/researchreports/a1801.pdf
  8. Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/trulia/2016/07/05/10-upgrades-under-1000-that-increase-home-values-2/#47b0d3162e60
  9. Insider -
    https://www.insider.com/home-design-rules-you-should-be-breaking-2020-1
  10. Zillow -
    https://www.zillow.com/sellers-guide/roi-for-bathroom-remodel/
  11. Lowes -
    https://www.lowes.com/n/how-to/remove-a-bathroom-mirror
  12. HomeLight -
    https://www.homelight.com/blog/what-flooring-increases-home-value/
  13. Angie’s List -
    https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-often-should-i-clean-my-carpets.htm 
  14. HomeLight -
    https://www.homelight.com/blog/projects-that-increase-home-value/
  15. National Association of Realtors - https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/remodeling-impact
  16. EasyClosets -
    https://www.easyclosets.com/tips-ideas/2016/10/02/how-to-plan-your-walk-in-closet/
June 20, 2020

Is Now a Good Time to Buy or Sell Real Estate in Goodyear AZ?

Is Now a Good Time to Buy or Sell Real Estate?

 

 

 

Good time to buy or sell real estate in Goodyear AZ

 

 

Usually, spring is the busiest time of the year for real estate in Goodyear. However, the coronavirus outbreak along with its subsequent stay-at-home orders, led many buyers and sellers to put their moving plans on hold. As a result, in April new listings fell nearly 45%, and sales volume fell 15% compared to last year.1

 

Fortunately, as restrictions have eased, we’ve seen an uptick in market activity. In fact, economists at Realtor.com expect a rebound in July, August, and September, as fears about the pandemic subside, and buyers return to the market with pent-up demand from a lost spring season.2

 

But given safety concerns and the current economic climate, is it prudent to jump back into the real estate market?  Before you decide, it’s important to consider where the housing market is headed, how it could impact your timeline and ability to buy a home, and your own individual needs and circumstances.

 

WHAT’S AHEAD FOR THE HOUSING MARKET?

 

The economic aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak has been severe. We’ve seen record unemployment numbers, and economists believe the country is headed toward a recession. But people still need a place to live. So what effect will these factors have on the housing market?

 

Home Values Projected to Remain Stable

 

Many Americans recall our last recession and assume we will see another drop in home values. But the 2008 real estate market crash was the cause—not the result—of that downturn. In fact, ATTOM Data Solutions analyzed real estate prices during the last five recessions and found that home prices actually went up in most cases. Only twice (in 1990 and 2008) did prices fall, and in 1990 it was by less than one percent.3 

 

Many economists expect home values to remain relatively steady this time around. And so far, that’s been the case. As of mid-May, the median listing price in the U.S. was up 1.4% from the same period last year.4

 

 

Demand for Homes Will Exceed Available Supply

 

There’s been a shortage of affordable homes on the market for years, and the pandemic has further hindered supply. In addition to sellers pulling back, new home starts fell 22% in March.5 In fact, Fannie Mae doesn’t foresee a return to pre-pandemic construction levels before the end of 2021.6

 

This supply shortage is expected to prop up home prices, despite recessionary pressures. Fannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors predict housing prices will rise slightly this year7, while Zillow expects them to fall between 2-3%.8 Still, that would be a far cry from the double-digit declines that occurred during the last recession.9

 

 

Government Intervention Will Help Stabilize the Market

 

Policymakers have been quick to pass legislation aimed at preventing a surge in foreclosures as we saw in 2008. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress gives government-backed mortgage holders who were impacted by the pandemic up to a year of reduced or delayed payments.10

 

The Federal Reserve has also taken measures to help stabilize the housing market, lower borrowing costs, and inject liquidity into the mortgage industry. These steps have led to record-low mortgage rates that should help drive buyer demand and make homeownership more affordable for millions of Americans.11

 

 

 

HOW HAS THE REAL ESTATE PROCESS CHANGED?

 

As the pandemic hit, real estate and mortgage professionals across the country revised their processes to adapt to shifting safety standards and economic realities. While these new ways of conducting business may seem strange at first, keep in mind, military clients, international buyers, and others have utilized many of these methods to buy and sell homes for years.

 

New Safety Procedures

 

The safety of our clients and our team members is our top priority. That’s why we’ve developed a process for buyers and sellers that utilizes technology to minimize personal contact. 

 

For our listings, there are 4 ways you can safely show and sell your home.  We’re holding online open houses, offering virtual viewings, and conducting walk-through video tours. We’re also using video chat to qualify interested buyers before we book in-person showings. This enables us to promote your property to a broad audience while limiting physical foot traffic to only serious buyers.

 

Likewise, our buyer clients can view properties online and take virtual video tours to minimize the number of homes they step inside. Ready to visit a property in person? We can decrease surface contact by asking the seller to turn on all the lights and open doors and cabinets before your scheduled showing.

 

The majority of our “paperwork” is also digital. In fact, many of the legal and financial documents involved in buying and selling a home went online years ago. You can safely view and eSign contracts from your smartphone or computer.

 

 

Longer Timelines and Higher Mortgage Standards

 

The real estate process is taking a little longer these days. Both buyers and sellers are more cautious when it comes to viewing and showing homes. And with fewer house hunters and less available inventory, it can take more time to match a buyer with the right property.

 

In a recent survey, 67% of Realtors also reported delays in the closing process. The top reasons were financing and buyer job loss, but appraisals and home inspections are also taking more time due to shifting safety protocol.12

 

Securing a mortgage may take longer, too. With forbearance requests rising, lenders are getting increasingly conservative when it comes to issuing new loans. Many are raising their standards—requiring higher credit scores and larger down payments. Prepare for greater scrutiny, and build in some extra time to shop around.13

 

 

IS IT THE RIGHT TIME FOR ME TO MAKE A MOVE?

 

The reality is, there’s no “one size fits all” answer as to whether it’s a good time to buy or sell a home because everyone’s circumstances are unique. But now that you know the state of the market and what you can expect as you shop for real estate, consider the following questions:

 

Why do you want or need to move?

 

It’s important to consider why you want to move and if your needs may shift over the next year. For example, if you need a larger home for your growing family, your space constraints aren’t likely to go away. In fact, they could be amplified as you spend more time at home. 

 

However, if you’re planning a move to be closer to your office, consider whether your commute could change. Some companies are rethinking their office dynamics and may encourage their employees to work remotely on a permanent basis.

 

 

How urgently do you need to complete your move?

 

If you have a new baby on the way or want to be settled before schools open in the fall, we recommend that you begin aggressively searching as soon as possible. With fewer homes on the market and a lengthier closing process, it’s taking longer than usual for clients to find and purchase a home. 

 

However, if your timeline is flexible, you may be well-positioned to score a deal. We’re seeing more highly-incentivized sellers who are willing to negotiate on terms and price. Talk to us about setting up a search so we can keep an eye out for any bargains that pop up. And get pre-qualified for a mortgage now so you’ll be ready to act quickly.

 

If you’re eager to sell this year, now is the time to begin prepping your home for the market. A second wave of infections is predicted for the winter, which could mean another lockdown.14 If you wait, you might miss your window of opportunity.

 

 

How long do you plan to stay in your new home?

 

The U.S. real estate market has enjoyed steady appreciation since 2012, which made it fairly easy for owners and investors to buy and sell properties for a profit in a short period of time. However, with home values expected to remain relatively flat over the next year, your best bet is to buy a home you can envision yourself keeping for several years. Fortunately, at today’s rock-bottom mortgage rates, you can lock in a low interest rate and start building equity right away.

 

 

Can you meet today’s higher standards for securing a mortgage?

 

Mortgage lenders are tightening their standards in response to the growing number of mortgage forbearance requests. Many have raised their minimum credit score and downpayment requirements for applicants. Even if you’ve been pre-qualified in the past, you should contact your lender to find out if you meet their new, more stringent standards.

 

 

Is your income stable?

 

If there’s a good chance you could lose your job, you may be better off waiting to buy a home. The exception would be if you’re planning to downsize. Moving to a less expensive home could allow you to tap into your home equity or cut down on your monthly expenses.

 

 

WHEN YOU’RE READY TO MOVE—I'M READY TO HELP!

 

While uncertain market conditions may give pause to some buyers and sellers, they can actually present an opportunity for those who are willing, able, and motivated to make a move. 

 

Your average spring season would be flooded with real estate activity. But right now, only motivated players are out in the market. That means that if you’re looking to buy, you’re in a better position to negotiate a great price. And today’s record-low mortgage rates could give a big boost to your purchasing power. In fact, if you’ve been priced out of the market before, this may be the perfect time to look. 

 

If you’re hoping to sell this year, you’ll have fewer listings to compete against in your neighborhood and price range. But you’ll want to act quickly. Economists expect a surge of eager buyers to enter the market in July—so you should start prepping your home now. And keep in mind, a second wave of coronavirus cases could be coming in this winter. Ask yourself how you will feel if you have to face another lockdown in your current home.

 

Let’s schedule a free virtual consultation to discuss your individual needs and circumstances. I can help you assess your options and create a plan that makes you feel both comfortable and confident during these unprecedented times.

 

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenparis/2020/05/08/latest-housing-market-update-from-realtorcom/#20bf7829113e
  2. HousingWire -
    https://www.housingwire.com/articles/realtor-com-housing-market-will-bounce-back-this-year-but-the-rebound-will-be-short-lived/
  3. Curbed -
    https://www.curbed.com/2019/1/10/18139601/recession-impact-housing-market-interest-rates
  4. Realtor.com -
    https://www.realtor.com/research/weekly-housing-trends-view-data-week-may-9-2020/
  5. Money.com -
    https://money.com/coronavirus-real-estate-home-prices/
  6. Fannie Mae -
    https://www.fanniemae.com/resources/file/research/emma/pdf/Housing_Forecast_051320.pdf
  7. HousingWire -
    https://www.housingwire.com/articles/pending-home-sales-tumble-on-covid-19-shock/
  8. HousingWire -
    https://www.housingwire.com/articles/zillow-predicts-small-home-price-drop-through-rest-of-2020/
  9. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis -
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CSUSHPINSA
  10. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -
    https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/cares-act-mortgage-forbearance-what-you-need-know/
  11. Bankrate -
    https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/federal-reserve-and-mortgage-rates
  12. National Association of Realtors -
    https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2020-05-11-nar-flash-survey-economic-pulse-05-14-2020.pdf  
  13. Forbes -
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2020/04/17/buying-a-home-during-the-pandemic-dont-expect-your-everyday-home-purchase/#fadad3d33b0c
  14. Washington Post -
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/04/21/coronavirus-secondwave-cdcdirector/
May 9, 2020

Buying a Home in Goodyear: What Happens After I Find a House?

Buying a Home in Goodyear AZ

 

Wondering what happens after we find you the perfect house in Goodyear and the seller accepts your offer?  Here’s a quick breakdown of the process:

  1. Deposit Earnest Money with the Title Company
  2. Home Inspection Period Begins, Inspect the Home and Negotiate Repairs
  3. Your Lender Will Start the Financing Process, Submit all Required Documents
  4. Your Lender Will Complete an Appraisal
  5. The Seller Will Complete Any Agreed Upon Repairs
  6. Sign the Closing Documents and Bring Your Closing Funds
  7. Complete a Final Walk-Thru of the Property
  8. Once the Sale Records with the County, You Get the Keys to Your New Home!

Thinking about moving to Goodyear and want someone to be your advocate and help guide you through the process of buying a home?  I’m here to help! Fill out the contact form below and let's get a game plan together!

April 16, 2020

Great Tips for Moving to Goodyear AZ

 

Moving to Goodyear, AZ

Thinking about moving to Goodyear

in the next 7 months?

Caroline Carter, author of "Smart Moves:  How to Save Time and Money While Transitioning Your Home and Life," is a home transition expert that feels that you ideally need about seven months to get your house ready to sell.  Of course, I've had clients pack up their things in a couple of weeks, but in my opinion, I agree that for some people, 7 months is not too early to start. 

1.  Pace yourself.

Put a plan together and realistically set up a timeline.  You will most likely still have your normal day to day life to contend with so you will need to keep that in mind.  I find it is easier for my clients to schedule times to work on the house and add them to a calendar to ensure they are completed.  It may take up your evenings and weekends but once you are in your new place settled, it will be worth it.  Once you set a target date to be in your new home, you can work backward from there.

2.  Get organized.

Moving is a great time to organize your belongings and hopefully, when you are done you will have less to move!  Start with your paperwork, sort and scan your important papers and shred the rest.  Make sure you keep a list of important numbers and accounts handy. A three-ring binder comes in handy to keep important information while moving.  And remember that you will need financial paperwork for your mortgage process.  You can scan these important items for a paper-free option.  Make sure to use a cloud-based place to store your files, or back them up on a thumb file or external drive.  Evernote is a great online tool to store documents, as well as Dropbox.com. Next, go room by room and organize your belongings.  Determine what you are going to keep, sell, give away or toss.  You can even start boxing up items that you will be keeping but won't be using to store inside a closet.

3.  Timing is everything.

Make sure you give yourself enough time to complete the organizing tasks so you can make your move by your desired target date.  You will also need to factor in any time you will need to complete any necessary repairs on your current home.  Don't underestimate how much time it is going to take you.  By giving yourself enough time, you will make the process less stressful.

4.  Take control of your stuff.

The average house has about 300,00 items!  Be objective when you go through your house and take control of what you keep and what you donate or toss.  Don't lose sight of your goal to reduce the items that you will need to move.  Carter uses blue painter's tape and a black market to mark each item as pack, sell, dump and donate.

5.  Out with the old.

Once you complete the sorting process, you can find numerous companies to come haul any unwanted items away.  You can also contact several organizations to donate items and they will even come pick your stuff up.  Check out Goodwill, Salvation Army, and St Vincent de Paul to see if they will come and pick up your items for free.  For more information visit www.donationtown.org.   Based on Article originally appeared in the Seattle Times.

If you have any questions about moving please contact me.  I have local connections that can help make the process easier for you.  If you would like more information about moving to Goodyear don't hesitate to reach out.

While you are here, check out my home search tool to search for HOMES FOR SALE IN GOODYEAR.

March 26, 2020

Goodyear AZ Coronavirus Resources for Loss of Income or Job

Goodyear AZ Coronavirus Resources

 

Loss of Income or Job? 

Coronavirus Assistance is Available in Goodyear!

 

I’m hearing from more and more people whose income has been reduced or eliminated due to the COVID-19 virus.  I thought I would share some of the resources available to those of you that need it.  Don’t be afraid to reach out for help during this difficult time.  And remember it’s only temporary!  Pass this along to anyone you know in the area that might need assistance.

 

⭐️Mortgage relief programs are being created to help homeowners avoid foreclosure so check with your mortgage company.
⭐️Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offering homeowners impacted by this national emergency a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months.  All foreclosures will be halted for 60 days.   https://www.knowyouroptions.com/covid19assistance. 

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have suspended foreclosure sales and evictions for 60 days.  http://myhome.freddiemac.com/mortgage-help/contact.html

⭐️The USDA will also halt foreclosures for 60 days.

⭐️VA has encouraged the holders of the VA guaranteed loans to extend forbearance to those in distress.  https://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/documents/circulars/26_20_7.pdf

⭐️Utility companies have issued halts on all shutoffs (but I'm sure you have to pay your balance eventually).  Some companies are waiving late fees. 

⭐️If you are out of work, check out the Arizona Department of Economic Security website to apply for unemployment:  https://des.az.gov/services/coronavirus.

⭐️The IRS has created a new Coronavirus Tax Relief section on their website:  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

⭐️The Small Business Administration (SBA) has put together some resources. https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

⭐️The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) helps small businesses facing the temporary loss of revenue as well as working capital.  Not sure if Arizona is included.

http://narfocus.com/billdatabase/clientfiles/172/26/3582.pdf

⭐️You may be able to stop paying your student loan payments.  The Department of Education is allowing forbearance on federally-backed student loans for 60 days beginning March 13, 2020.  Interest has also been waived on student loans for this period.  https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus

⭐️The Litchfield Park Elementary School is offering Grab ’N Go Breakfast Lunch Program for Kids.  Here’s a list of pick up locations:  https://www.lesd.k12.az.us/userfiles/10/my%20files/grab%20&%20go%20flyer%203-24-2020%20english.png?id=10408

⭐️The Avondale Elementary School District Meal “Grab and Go” program brings food to the kids at various bus stops.  Here’s a map of the bus stops and times:  http://www.avondale.k12.az.us/UserFiles/Servers/Server_147497/File/Community%20relations/MapGrabAndGo.pdf

Avondale Elementary School District website:  http://www.avondale.k12.az.us/updates

⭐️The City of Phoenix is keeping everyone updated on their “PHX Newsroom” page:  https://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom. Phoenix also has a Coronovirus Business and Resident Resources page:  https://www.phoenix.gov/Resources

⭐️The City of Goodyear has created a resource page called “Coronavirus News” to help keep its residents informed and to share local community resources:  https://www.goodyearaz.gov/residents/coronavirus-info/coronavirus-news

⭐️Food banks are still open, like the All Faith Community Services Food Bank and the Agua Fria Food and Clothing Bank.  Here's a link to the Avondale/Goodyear Local Food Resources Calendar:  https://www.goodyearaz.gov/home/showdocument?id=24960.

The calendar was created by Find Help Phoenix which also has great resources:  https://findhelpphx.org/en

⭐️You may be eligible for the Stimulus Payment:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-26/when-and-how-will-i-get-that-1-200-stimulus-payment-quicktake

 

Of course all of this information is subject to change so please research something further and verify it if you are interested.  

 

If you know of any other resources please post it in the comments.  

 

Stay safe everyone!  If I can be of help please let me know.

July 8, 2019

Top 10 Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid

Buying a home is most likely the largest investment you will make and it comes with many big decisions!  Here are the top 10 mistakes buyers make when buying a home and how you can avoid them:

Top 10 Homebuyer Mistakes to Avoid

1.  Shopping for a house before you are approved for a mortgage.

This immediately puts you behind the ball if a home hits the market that you love, or if you have been wasting time looking at homes you can't afford.  Most sellers in Arizona require a Pre-Qualification Form filled out by a lender with any offers.  A buyer that is prepared and pre-approved for a mortgage can snatch that home from you. 

This can also cause you some heartache!  You may fall in love with a home and then find out you don't qualify for it.  Or you could qualify for it, but end up with a payment much higher than you are comfortable with.  One tough scenario is if you end up with a lender that is not attentive and does not follow through because you didn't have the time to get a referral or shop around.  If this lender cannot complete the loan you could lose out on the house and you won't get reimbursed for the home inspection fee or the appraisal fee.   

Solution:  Take the opportunity to shop around and find a lender that offers a wide array of programs, great rates and great customer service.  Get fully approved right away with a lender.  Take a look at your payment options and determine a home price that fits your budget and lifestyle.  Your lender will also let you know any errors on your credit that you can fix to help your buying position.  Having a lender on your side from the beginning can help put you in the buying strongest position so it will be easier to beat the competing buyers.

2.  Talking to just one lender or bank. 

A lot of buyers simply contact their bank for a new mortgage.  The more you shop around the better you can compare the rates and fees.  Remember that not all lenders are created equal and it could cost you money as well as a new home if the lender cannot complete the mortgage in the timeframe allowed in the Purchase Contract.  It's important to talk to a RealtorⓇ and ask for lender recommendations.  They know of lenders they have worked with before and who can get the job done for you.  Your bank may not be as attentive as a local lender, and with a large bank you may end up dealing with multiple people in departments in multiple states.    

Solution:  Shop around with at least three lenders.  Ask your RealtorⓇ for a recommendation for lenders that they have worked with successfully in the past. 

3.  Not being realistic about your budget. 

It's very easy to fall in love with homes that stretch your budget or that are above your budget!  It's crucial that keep yourself in check and stick with your budget.  Having a higher mortgage payment than you can actually afford puts you at risk for losing your home.  

Solution:  Focus on what your monthly payment and monthly costs will be and determine what you feel comfortable with and what you can afford.  You may qualify for a certain loan amount, but can you realistically afford the payments?  Make sure to factor in other obligations besides the mortgage payment as well, such as HOA fees and maintenance fees.

4.  Using up all of your savings to buy a house. 

This is one of the biggest mistakes buyers make.  Regardless if a buyer is putting down 3.5% or 20%, some buyers drain their savings, their retirement savings and other investments to come up with the downpayment and closing costs.  With no savings to fall back on, it puts you at a higher risk for losing your home if something should happen, such as a loss of job or illness. 

Solution:  Make sure you have three to six months worth of living expenses in an emergency fund/savings account.  Having less than that is risky. Take a look at your budget and cut back on unnecessary expenses in order to save up for a down payment and closing costs, but don't drain your savings. Talk to a lender about low down options.

5.  Making a big purchase right before closing on their new home. 

This one is a biggie!  Lenders pull credit again just before closing to ensure the buyer still qualifies for the loan and that nothing has changed in their financial picture.  Some buyers learn this the hard way and suddenly cannot qualify for the home due to buying a new car, or new furniture or new appliances.  

Solution:  Do not make any large purchases before the home closes and you have the key!  Here are common things that buyers do before closing that cost them their new home:  Top 5 Mistakes Home Buyers Make Before Closing

 6.  Making decisions about buying a home based on emotion

Obviously there is going to be some emotion involved in buying a new home.  You need to feel good about the house and see yourself living there.  However, some buyers lead with emotion and forget their original goals.  Some examples are over bidding on a property, fixating on the house over the neighborhood, or moving too fast on a home out of fear of missing out.

Solution:  Try not to get too emotionally attached to properties as you view them.  Make sure you have a game plan together that you can refer to when you start to get emotional.  Having a good Realtor to keep you on track is very helpful.  Remember the key items that you are looking for in a home and what your budget is.  

7.  Waiting until you have 20% down to buy a home

Most buyers think they need 20% down to buy a home.  While putting 20% down does save you from paying monthly mortgage insurance, there are numerous loan programs available the require less than 20%. 

Solution: Talk to your lender and find out what low down programs you qualify for.  You can put as little as 3% down for a conventional loan and 3.5% down for a FHA loan.  Buyers using VA financing are eligible for zero down.  Some downpayment assistance programs may still be available.  There are options out there, check it out!

8.  Waiting for the perfect house. 

The perfect house does not exist, yet some people are not willing to make compromises and instead wait for their unicorn to hit the market.  Meanwhile housing prices are rising and there is a risk that the rates will rise too.  Eventually they could be priced out of the area they want and miss out on a great home!

Solution:  Unicorns do not exist, find a home that checks most of your boxes and fits within your budget.  Be willing to consider fixing up a property to make it fit what you want in a home.  There are mortgage available that allow you to roll the cost of repairs and remodeling into your mortgage.  An awesome lender can help you with this!

9.  Thinking you can't qualify. 

Some people think they cannot qualify for a mortgage, however, there are tons of mortgage programs available that may fit their needs. 

Solution:  Talk to an awesome lender!  FHA offers mortgage loans with just 3.5% down with a minimum 580 credit score.  In addition, there are loan programs that can offer down payment assistance.  Worse case, your lender can let you know what steps you need to take to qualify for a mortgage in the future.

10.  Not considering the hidden costs of homeownership. 

The cost of owning a home is more than just the mortgage payment, there are numerous other costs that a new homeowner will encounter.

Solution:  Talk to your Realtor and your lender and have them help you determine what costs you will encounter.  Your mortgage payment will likely also include taxes and homeowner's insurance, make sure to shop around for insurance quotes. If you are moving from a smaller home or apartment, your utility bills will most likely increase.  Call each utility company to get the estimated costs.  In addition, most recommend setting aside 1% to 3% of the homes market value annually to cover repairs and maintenance expenses.  A home warranty plan can help offset some of these costs.  Click here for more information abut home warranty plans:  Should You Buy a Home Warranty Plan? 

 

Knowledge is power!  It can help you save time, money and your mind! I'd be honored to help you get a game plan together and help you through the home buying process.  Even if you are months away from buying a home, it's never too early to start planning.  Click on the link below to request a phone consultation.  I look forward to connecting!

Phone Consultation with Cinda Rose

 

July 8, 2019

When Should You Contact a Realtor?

Buying a home can be the best investment you ever make, but it can be an emotional roller coaster if you don't approach it with a plan in place!  Today's buyers can easily access properties online and often times these buyers wait until a property they like hits the market to call a Realtor to show it to them.

Why waiting to call a RealtorⓇ is not a good idea:

  • It can cause you more stress and cost you more money if you don't have a solid plan in place.  Buying a home can be stressful and it is important to set yourself up properly from the very beginning to decrease the amount of stress involved.  Failing to get a game plan together can cost you added stress as well as thousands of dollars. If you aren't set up to beat the competition you will miss out on house after house to other buyers.  Completing a buyer consultation with a RealtorⓇ will help you set up a smart, personalized plan to buying a home that can eliminate the most common homebuyer pitfalls.
  • You may struggle to find an available agent, or worse, end up with someone you don't like.  Great buyer's agents have systems and schedules in place and are often not available at the last minute for non-established clients.  In other words, if you haven't had a consultation with the agent, then they may not be able to help you at the last minute.  If you are serious about buying a home then it is important to start building a relationship with a RealtorⓇ now.  Find someone that you have a good rapport with. Even if you are months away from buying, or aren't 100% sure you want to buy a new place, it's important to find an advocate that can guide you through the process.  
  • A lot of people struggle with making big decisions without letting emotions getting in the way.  A RealtorⓇ spends time listening to your goals and what you want to accomplish and then uses that information to help you find the best property for you.  This can save you a lot of time, money and heartache.  When you start to sway off course from your original goals, your agent will help you stay focused on what you are trying to achieve.  Your agent can also help you adjust your plan when needed since some buyers start to change their wants and needs after physically viewing some homes.

  • Your RealtorⓇ may have access to properties that will be hitting the market soon.  Most RealtorsⓇ have a network of agents that they work with that notify them of Coming Soon properties.  In addition, they also have clients that are considering selling their home or they may be in the process of getting their home ready for the market.  You may just find your new home before it hits the MLS.  

When should you contact a RealtorⓇ?  Ideally, once you are about 4 to 6 months out from your target closing date (when you want to be in your new home), then it's time to meet with your agent, more clearly define what you are looking for, and begin the process.  If you are more than 6 months out, it's still not a bad idea to have a conversation with a local RealtorⓇ to discuss your big purchase and how this Realtor can help you.

I'd be honored to have a conversation about being that RealtorⓇ for you!  I am an Accredited Buyer's Representative with advance education and training, as well as experience.  I also have systems in place that help make the home buying process easier for my clients.  Let me help you experience success!!   I look forward to connecting with you!

Schedule a Phone Consultation with Cinda Rose

 

 

 

 

 

July 7, 2019

Top 5 Mistakes Home Buyers Make Right Before Closing

After finding the home you want and negotiating the sale, passing the home inspection period and the appraisal hurdle, it would be a shame to do something that could keep you from getting financing on the property while you are waiting to close!  But it happens.

 

How can you avoid this?  Here are the top 5 mistakes buyers make:

 

Having an awesome lender on your side will help you avoid mistakes before closing.  If you would like the contact information for a local lender feel free to contact me.  

 

If you would like to get a game plan together for a successful road to homeownership fill out the request form below.  I look forward to connecting!  

 

 

 

July 7, 2019

Avoid Buyer's Remorse!

No one wants to regret a home purchase!  However, during the process of buying a home, there are many opportunities for you to run into obstacles that could lead you to buyer's remorse.  Here are 7 common stumbling blocks buyers encounter:

 

1. INADEQUATE PLANNING

Before writing your first offer, clarify your priorities, strengths, and weaknesses—AND the seller’s. A true negotiating strategy is about much more than price.  Think beyond step one, anticipating possible responses and counter offers.  With careful forethought and a little creativity, you’ll feel much more confident about your negotiating plan and improve your odds of success.

 

2. GETTING EMOTIONAL

Stick to the facts and remain as objective as possible.  Feelings of personal insult or anger don’t contribute anything of value to a negotiation. (In fact, it’s more likely to cloud your ability to think clearly.) If a seller rejects some aspects of your offer, try to calmly and rationally understand their perspectives.  Remember, the seller is not the enemy!

 

3. IMPATIENCE

Sometimes the negotiating process takes time to unfold.  Stay relaxed and focused on your purchasing objectives.  You may need to be flexible and open to alternative ways to reach them.

 

4. FEAR

While patience is a virtue, don’t let fear paralyze your ability to make decisions. If you find a house that’s a good fit, don’t be afraid to submit an offer. Too often, buyers delay action and the house goes under contract with someone else. (Buyers rarely make this mistake twice.)

 

5. BLIND SPOTS

Your objective is to own a home. Don’t lose sight of that goal by putting too much emphasis on smaller obstacles and distractions that may present themselves during the negotiation process. Stay focused on the big picture.

 

6. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE

Learn as much as you can from your Realtor about current market conditions and the home buying process. Knowledge is power, which can be used to your advantage in shaping your negotiating strategy.

 

7. STUBBORNNESS

Negotiations are ultimately about two parties reaching a win-win agreement. Don’t be completely unwilling to compromise. Instead, focus on joint problem solving.  Again, the seller is not the enemy and we must work together to complete the sale.

 

Want to learn more about buying a home?  Fill out the form below to schedule a free phone consultation.  I look forward to hearing from you!