Wednesday, May 29, 2013

6 "Not-To-Do" When Applying For A Mortgage Or While In Escrow.

Here are your 6 "Not-To-Do" When Applying For A Mortgage Or While In Escrow so you won't sabotage your mortgage loan.

This may sounds strange, but I see lots of people working against themselves in a home purchase. How? Just be sure that you 'don't do' certain things before or when applying for a loan or in while in escrow.

For example, the following 6 things:

1. Don't pay off your bills. That's right. We are talking about the big bills. Ask your loan officer which bills to pay, and will show you the best way to pay off bills so there's proof they have been paid. For example, do not pay off collections and charge-offs. Ask your loan officer how to deal with those if necessary for loan approval because paying them off may trigger an even lower credit score.

2. Don't apply for new credit, new accounts, co-sign for a loan or even change your name or address. In other words, don't raise any red flags. The less activity on your report, the better.

3. Don't make major purchases of high ticket items like a car or home theater system because it can torpedo your ability to afford a home.

4. Don't max out your credit card(s). Keep your balances below 30% of their available limit all times during the loan process. Keep all your cards leveled to the same ratio of 30%. Not one card at 90% and the other at 20%.

5. Don't change jobs. Why? It slows the job process, especially if it is a different line of work or a lower rate of pay. If you are an hourly employee, do not work fewer hours. You will be asked to produce your pay stubs.

6. Your money. Leave your money in the same bank until your loan is closed. Don't make unsourceable cash deposits [hard to trace, hard to explain] to your bank account. Deposits to your account, larger ones, that are not payroll or direct deposit income must be documented and sourced. Don't spend the money for your down payment.

Richard Bazinet - Realty ONE Group - Phoenix Scottsdale Real Estate

6 "Not-To-Do" When Applying For A Mortgage Or While In Escrow.

Friday, May 24, 2013

9 Ways To Make Your Home Sell Faster

So you want to sell your home faster for the best possible price, terms and conditions? As the real estate market continues to improve, potential buyers are coming out in droves.

So here are 9 Ways To Make Your Home Sell Faster.

1 - Get yourself a great Realtor to list your home.

I mean an experienced and competent Realtor.  Ah, how do you go about this? Easy... Make sure the competent Realtor provides you with a home marketing plan. For example, I provide to all my clients with my Ultimate 22-Step Listing Plan Marketing Program©™That Sells Homes. The Realtor does not have a plan? Pass.

The Realtor tells you they are a neighborhood specialist? Ask yourself if it actually means anything and what competitive advantage it means to you if the Realtor 'only' works that area, because they usually live in the neighborhood which could be a huge conflict of interest. Typically, it's just an empty sales pitch. Rather, go for the plan.

2 - Price with round numbers

For example, often homes are prices at $399,000. If a consumer looking in the $400K to $500K price range, there's a good chance the buyer-agent and the buyer will completely miss some very nice homes and yours included listed at $399K.  As well, at $399,000, you are at the top range of a $375,000 buyer to negotiate you down because they like your house but cannot not afford the full list price. But for a $450,000 buyer, you are less likely to be down negotiated because you are in the price range they can afford.

3 - Don't skimp on photos

As the most valued feature of real estate websites, photographs of the home turn lookers into visitors. So make them count. You can't have too many photos as long as they're great, but have at least eight great 'quality' photos that feature the best characteristics of your home - photos that sell. Photos need to be reviewed and analysed before they're posted, but they should include an exterior front, main living area, kitchen, bedrooms and master bath.

4 - Storage space sells

Roomy closets and other storage space ranks among today's most desired features, especially with younger people who typically buy boomers' homes. Problem is, many boomers live in older homes with limited storage space. So remove excess seasonal clothing from closets and 'color-code' what's left on the sides to make small spaces look larger and more organized — with empty hangers in the middle.

Shelving units or organizers in walk-in closets are a fast-growing must-have — and worth their $200 price tag. Also, pare down kitchen cabinets and remove drain cleaners and other products that may indicate potential problems.

5 - Know the eight-second rule

In that time, many buyers decide whether they'll buy the home, so a good impression from the curb count significantly. For better curb appeal, ensure that the lawn and entryway look neat and crisp. Front door nice and clean. And plant yellow flowers. Studies show that yellow excites and stimulates buying. The home must say welcome!

6 - Get a pre-sale home inspection

One big reason why deals fall through:  unexpected and potentially costly problems are discovered in a buyer's inspection. The inspection lets buyers know about potential problems "and what could be negotiated. If the report is positive, then showing them to prospective buyers can be a great marketing tool. Fixing the problem before it is identified as a problem is the way to go for top dollar on the sale of your home. You don't pass on the problems to the next buyer unless this is reflected in your price.

7 - Painting pays

Fresh paint provides the best bang for your buck, so apply a fresh coat to walls and even ceilings. Bright white ceilings enhance perceived height and natural light. For wall colors, think of adding an accent wall with the right wall which will draw the eyes.

8 - Offer financial incentives

Many sellers offer to prepay taxes and HOA, closing costs and home warranties. But it may cost less to offer to pay for a year's landscaping, pool cleaning or maid service — before negotiations begin. For example, if you have a great garden, people respond to it … and immediately think, 'Oh, so much work....' So remove any potential problem by offering up front to make that beautiful garden come with a gardener for a year.

9 - Price right.

Price right, sell right. If you overprice or build yourself a 'negotiating cushion', you eliminate ready buyers.

Richard Bazinet - Realty ONE Group - Phoenix Scottsdale Real Estate

9 Ways To Make Your Home Sell Faster

Sunday, May 19, 2013

10 Renovations That Will Make You Richer

You can raise the value of your home without spending a fortune with those 10 Renovations That Will Make You Richer.

A man's home might be his castle, but you may not have the funds like a king. But just because you can't splurge on a four-car garage or a private screening room doesn’t mean that you can't boost your house’s market value (and personal appeal). Follow these 10-step home improvement plan to perhaps make yours the envy of your block.

STEP 1: Decorate Your Doors
Swap old knobs, hinges, and cabinets with finished metal pulls and handles. You'll drop just $3 to $5 per piece at most hardware stores, and your guests will take notice. 

STEP 2: Mold Your Environment
Adding molding on doors, ceilings, walls, and windows brings a third dimension to rooms, making them look bigger and more lavish. Take the flat-framed door to your den, for example: For less than $100 you can buy panel molding, rent a miter box saw, and create the appearance of a recessed panel door. It creates sneaky visual depth. Pimp your windows with casing molding, your ceiling with crown molding, and your floors with base molding. Depending on how far you go, you'll spend about $150-300 per room.

STEP 3: Refresh Your Tiles
Bathroom renovations can run into the tens of thousands, but re-grouting your tiles is a fast, easy, and (most important) inexpensive alternative. Scrape out the old grout first, then pick a fresh color to breathe new life into a tired d├ęcor. Blend the color as close to the tile as possible, so it appears almost like a clean, solid sheet. Cost to you: Around $10.

STEP 4: Single Out a Wall
Re-painting is an easy way to upgrade a room and it's a inexpsnsive way to a great upgrade. But if you really want to make it pop, only paint one wall. Take the main one that people will see and put your favorite color on it. The total cost to you will be about $25 (the price of a gallon of paint and a roller). Your eye will immediately jump to it—it's like putting a giant mural on your wall. If you're repainting a dark wall in a lighter color, be sure to apply a layer of primer first, and then three coats of top paint.

STEP 5: Lighten Up
Changing light fixtures is easy, and it adds elegance on the cheap. Many stores sell hip ceiling and wall mount fixtures for less than $100. Just make sure the switches are turned off before you start fiddling with wires (flip the room’s circuit breaker to play it safe). Also, take a picture of the original wiring with your phone. That will save you the trouble of remembering which wire goes where, and potentially getting your currents crossed.

STEP 6: Switch up Your Switches
Replacing normal light switches with dimmers (from $5-$15 a piece) allows you to change the aesthetic mood of a room. Keep it bright for ballgames and family time, and dim for romantic interludes. Changing the light level will also visually change the shade of the paint—something you can't do with simple on-and-off switches.

STEP 7: Give Your Floors a Facial
Dents, dings, scratches, and pet "accidents" are par for the course for most floors. And in just two days you can erase them all. Here's what you'll need: A 110-volt sander (most home improvement chains rent them), sand paper, wood stain, and two coats of satin finish, water-based polyurethane (it's less toxic and faster drying than oil-based). Total cost to you: Around $300. Most people just pay attention to their walls, but a nice job on your floors can give your house a whole new look.

STEP 8: Fence Off Your Yard
Not only will installing a fence help protect your property from passersby, but it will also distinguish your land from your neighbors'. It's an aesthetically pleasing way to say, 'This is my yard, not yours'. In a way, it brings out the man in you. And... it's also an unspoken rule to give the nicer looking side of the fence to your neighbor, don't break it.

STEP 9: Illuminate Your Lawn
There are 24 hours in a day, but people can only appreciate your house's beauty for half the time—unless you illuminate it after dark. Scatter several small outdoor light fixtures—around $20 a piece—under shrubs, and placing uplights under tall trees. All it takes is a couple of lights to enhance your home's appeal day and night. Low-voltage bulbs (10-20 watts) will do the trick, and they'll last for 5 years.

STEP 10: Lose The Bells and Whistles
Gone are the days of old-fashioned doorbells. Video intercom systems are a classy add-on to any house, and they help keep solicitors at bay. Installing them is easy—it's just like re-wiring light switches. Don't want to mess with your electrical system? Go wireless. Cost: $150 to $300.

Richard Bazinet - Realty ONE Group. Phoenix Scottsdale Real Estate.

10 Renovations That Will Make You Richer

Monday, May 13, 2013

Financing for Investment And Vacation Homes

As our Arizona real estate market is heating up again with prices on the rise bringing along capital appreciation - now is the best possible time to consider purchasing that investment or vacation home you always wanted. And interest rates are at an all time low! 

As well, for longer term holds, the timing could not be any better as rental rates are on the rise as well, demand is robust and there is some rarity in good quality homes.

So how about getting financing? In today's mortgage marketplace, home loans for second homes or in other words, vacations homes and home loans for investment properties are available and viable. Of course, the standards are a little different than for the purchase of a primary residence (a home you will live in), but there are still many affordable options given the current level of interest rates and house prices.

So lets get started.

First, you will need a down payment for the purchase of a second home or investment property and it will be need to be more than 0% or 3.5% as you cannot use a FHA home loan or VA loan to purchase one of these properties.

Second, second homes or vacation homes are homes that a homeowner does not live in year around, but does also not rent out (more on that in a minute). These homes generally have to be in a different metropolitan area then where the homeowner lives primarily. For instance, if you own a primary residence in Phoenix, you may call a home in Tucson or Sedona a second home, but you may not call a home in Scottsdale a second home.

For those second homes, typically, you can now purchase a home with a little as 15% down payment. However, with a 20% down payment your interest rate will be even better. In fact, if you put 20% down on the purchase of a second home or have 20% equity when refinancing a second home, you can expect to receive an interest rate similar to that of a primary residence. 

On the other hand, when looking at an investment property (aka an 'income' property, a house that you rent out), generally a 20% down payment will be required. In fact, with a 25% down payment, interest rates will be even better. However, you will still see a slight bump for interest rates on investment homes, as opposed to primary residences and secondary homes. Investment homes will be any home that a homeowner does not live and owns for investment purposes, whether rented out or not. Also, any home in the same metropolitan area will also be considered a rental property.

So, if this what you were considering in your next real estate goals, lets talk so I can get you started.

3 Reasons To Update Your Home Before Selling

Ahh, the age-old, existential question faced by buyers and sellers since time eternal: update or credit? There are dozens of ways to weigh the pros and cons of this dilemma. Some would have you do some complicated mathematical analyses to calculate whether the return on the investment it would cost you to update these items is worth it, compared to the assumed incremental marketing power of offering your home at a lower price.

Q: I'm thinking of selling my home, and know my carpet and tile need updating. Is it best to do it now or give an allowance on the selling price for these upgrades? The same with appliances?

I, for one, think that addressing these sorts of questions mathematically is impossible to do without taking on a boatload of error-prone assumptions. That's because what does and doesn't work with buyers is not necessarily logical or calculable, nor are some of the other factors you should account for as you make this decision. My vote is that you should at least consider replacing them now, because you want to make your house more marketable.

Here are the three primary factors underlying my recommendation:

1. If you're not yet 100 percent sure you're selling, replacing them now allows you to enjoy the upgrades. So many sellers tend to make the upgrades and updates they've long dreamed of only when they're planning to move, missing out on the ability to enjoy the home in its best shape. And that's a shame. For that matter, it is not at all uncommon for home sellers to see their spruced-and-staged property and wonder why they decided to move in the first place!

In the interest of maximizing the enjoyment you get out of your home and your life now, you should at least consider updating these items if you can afford to, and enjoying them as long as you can before you do decide to sell the place, taking extra special care to live lightly on them in the interim.

2. Replacing them now might boost your home's chance of selling more than a price discount. I do not exaggerate when I say that in many areas in the valley, in today's conditions, the market is better for sellers than it has been for years. That said, there are still short sales and foreclosures on the market that are priced aggressively low, many of which also need updating, and those are your competition. You might not be able to price your home enough lower than these homes to make the discount for updating obvious to homebuyers who see your home and also visit the competition.So make your house 'not' comparable and you will likely get a higher price.

Additionally, when a home is in need of the updates you mention, it may -- simply put -- show poorly. And buyers simply like homes that look move-in-ready. Some won't even consider fixers, and I've even seen some die-hard amateur handypersons be tempted with the allure of a polished, freshly updated home (and the work-free weekends it promises).

If a few thousand dollars in basic updates and appliances makes the difference between your home showing like a fixer-upper and showing like a showplace, doing the updates before you list the place can be the difference between it selling or not -- period.

3. Replacing them yourself might be more cost-effective. Buyers almost always overestimate what things like carpet, paint and appliances will cost, so they might scoff at whatever you offer as too little, and request a bigger credit or discount than you had planned.

On the other hand, if you have the items replaced yourself, you can be as aggressive as you want to be in terms of shopping around, getting deals, doing the painting yourself, hitting up the appliance outlets or calling in favors with any vendors or contractors you or your agent might know.

If the work is done well and the outcome is beautiful, depending on your local market dynamics, putting a well-prepared, updated home on the market may even position you to get more than one offer (and a better price, to boot).

There's no one right answer to this question for every homeowner. Some may not have the money, or may be in a hot enough market that buyers bite on every listing. But my experience has led me to generally prefer putting a polished property on the market over a discounted cosmetic fixer every time.

Friday, May 3, 2013

2-Acre Lot, Build and Flip for $$$ - Top of Mingus Mountain (Cottonwood) w/Views of Sedona

2-acre lot in Cottonwood with views of Sedona, on the very top of Mingus Mountain. Being sold at more than half the price. It's officially a short sale as of today - so the sale needs bank approval.

$100,000 for 2 acres, is a steal. 

If you know anyone who wants to build a custom home and flip the property for $$$, please let me know.

Richard Bazinet - Realty ONE Group
Phoenix Scottsdale Real Estate

2-Acre Lot, Build and Flip for $$$ - Top of Mingus Mountain (Cottonwood) w/Views of Sedona