18 Secrets No One Tells You About Buying A House

Most homeowners aren’t shy about telling you how awesome it is and all about the perks of living in a house that they own … but they’re a lot less forthcoming about the ugly aspects of buying a house and the sacrifices you make.

And yes, there is ugly, and there are sacrifices. Here’s what nobody is telling you that you might need to know about buying a house (especially for the first time).

You don’t need to put 20% down

In most cases and with most lenders, putting 20% down is ideal or even required. But this isn’t always true. For example, the Veterans Administration (VA) offers loans for veterans that don’t require any down payment money at all.

Other loan-backers, like the Federal Housing Administration, will allow loans with only 3.5% down, but buyers have to pay mortgage insurance on those loans. They’re riskier because the buyer has less equity in the home, so buyers can expect to pay a percentage of the loan amount in mortgage insurance over the lifetime of the loan. (Or refinance the loan once they do have at least 20% equity in the home.)

There is down payment assistance available in both loans and grants, so it helps to talk to a real estate professional (like an agent) and see whether they know of any programs that might help you secure more money down.

… But you do need to put any new credit line plans on hold

Your mortgage rate is going to depend in part on your credit score, and your credit score is going to get dinged with every new line of credit you open before buying a home. So to get the very best deal on your mortgage loan (and potentially afford more house), make sure you’re not going crazy with new credit cards right before you start shopping — and definitely don’t buy anything like a yacht or car on credit!

You’re not locked into one particular lender

Some people think they should immediately dive into a relationship with the first lender that accepts them and offers to back their mortgage loan. But here’s the problem with that strategy: There may be a better match out there for you, and if you don’t shop around a little bit, then you aren’t going to find it.

Talk to a few different mortgage brokers and ask them what their best deal is. Your credit won’t get dinged by this, so please feel free to explore your options! 

Your monthly mortgage payment includes more than just the loan payback

Every month, you’ll be paying back your mortgage loan — that much you probably figured. But of course, there’s also the interest on your loan (which under many contracts gets priority for repayment above the loan principal). And you’ll also be paying homeowners insurance, which is required for the lender to approve the loan, plus taxes, every month.

If you’re not sure how much you can afford based on all of this, it’s probably not a bad idea to sit down with a mortgage broker (or five — see above) and talk about your options.

… So the mortgage amount on portals is not necessarily accurate

It’s tempting to look at the “average mortgage amount” on a real estate portal and take it as gospel truth, but often those are based on a loan with 20% down and usually don’t include the insurance or the taxes. Talk to an expert to get a good sense for how much you’ll expect to pay every month.

School districts are important even without kids

If you don’t have kids or don’t plan on having any, then you might be tempted to ignore the school district when shopping for a home — what’s it matter?

School districts definitely could be very important to buyers a few years down the road when they decide to purchase your house. And homes in neighborhoods with good schools tend to appreciate in value faster than homes in neighborhoods where the schools are just so-so. Make sure you’re considering your future as you’re shopping, which includes your future after this home.

You don’t need to spend your entire pre-approval amount on the home

It’s tempting to buy at the very top of your preapproved price range, but remember that you’re going to have to pay interest on the entire amount over many years, and don’t forget about the other costs of owning a home.

Financial experts suggest that you spend no more than 30% of your household income on your mortgage, so if the amount you’re spending is creeping beyond one-third of your household income, that could be tough to meet. So don’t overextend yourself!

You’ll look at homes out of your price range (and crave them)

It’s only human nature to look at things you can’t have, and that goes for housing, too: You will not be able to refrain from looking at homes just above your ideal price range and thinking about how nice it would be to buy that house instead of the disappointment you walked through last week.

But what’s worse than living in a house that you might need to fix up a little bit? Living in a really nice house that you can’t afford and having to sell it — or worse, go through a foreclosure. Look if you must, but don’t let it influence your decision-making.

You may get outbid, more than once

Some markets are hotter than others and have more cash buyers, which can be devastating if you’re using a loan and don’t have the wherewithal to pay cash for a house. Sellers often opt for cash buyers because the closing process is less cumbersome, and it can be hard for buyers to experience bid after bid rejected by the seller.

Stay strong and have faith that your house is out there. It might not be a smooth road, but you will get there.

Agents get paid on commission

Real estate agents typically don’t get paid until the closing table, when the house is officially yours. Then the seller will cut the agent a check. This is because agents are paid on commission: They’re taking a percentage of the sale.

If you have an agent who isn’t upfront with you about how payment works — or worse, one who is trying to talk you into more house than you can really afford — then it’s not a bad idea to question whether your agent is really the best fit for you. You want someone honest who will protect your interests, and that’s not too much to expect from an agent.

Talk to a contractor before closing

The inspector might identify some issues that need to be addressed, and usually this is negotiated with the seller, but to be entirely sure that you understand what will be involved and how much it will cost, it’s a good idea to hire a contractor and go over the inspection report. Some contractors offer free consultations, and most will be able to give you a ballpark figure to use as a jumping-off point for negotiation.

Speaking of closing: Introducing closing costs!

It costs money to close on a house, and closing costs can be picked up by the buyer, the seller, or both. This is usually outlined while negotiating the contract, but if you didn’t pay close attention to those terms, then it might sneak up on you. Clarify with your agent and mortgage broker who is responsible for closing costs and make sure you’ve got the money available if you’re the lucky winner of that responsibility.

Your mortgage will probably be sold to a servicer

After all that time looking for the right mortgage broker and lender, you may feel like it’s destiny, but the reality is that your lender probably doesn’t feel the same. Most lenders sell mortgage loans to a servicing company, which will be the entity collecting your checks every month for the next 30 years (unless the gets sold again, of course).

Be prepared for an announcement that your loan has been sold to a servicer and ready to cancel any checks or payments that slip out the door at the wrong time. It’s unfortunate, but it does happen, and you don’t want to pay your mortgage twice in one month.

Parking isn’t always guaranteed

There may be a space with your condo, and perhaps you have a garage or a driveway, but if you live in a major metro area or have several kids of driving age (or roommates, for that matter), then it’s possible you might have a struggle with finding parking.

This is information that’s usually included in listings, and it might also help to ask agents about parking situations in different neighborhoods. Street parking might work fine, but it’s usually a good idea to know how scarce or ample it is at the very least.

You’ll need to buy furniture

Maybe you’ve bought all of your furniture at antique stores, and it just doesn’t look right in your new mid-century modern home. Or perhaps you have several more rooms to fill than you did before. Whatever the case, be aware that you’ll have some purchases to make on the furniture front, and budget for them if you can — and definitely do not buy a bunch of furniture on credit before the loan closes, whatever you do.

You’re on the hook for any home repairs

The nice thing about renting is that when something breaks, the landlord will theoretically be by to fix it, or send someone, sooner or later. You don’t need to worry about how much the new sump pump or sewer line costs.

But all of that burden becomes yours and yours alone when you become a homeowner. The drain is clogged? The water heater won’t heat water? If you don’t fix it, or arrange for someone else to fix it, then it’s staying clogged and cold.

Those nearby empty lots won’t be empty forever

Everything changes, and some places change more quickly than others. Almost nothing gets a neighborhood riled up like the words “new development” or “strip mall,” and you cannot take it for granted that the rolling (empty) hills around your brand-new pride and joy are going to remain empty, unless you happen to own all the land, too.

It’s not a bad idea to stop in at your city or county offices and ask what they know about any development plans or zoning for the area, and then keep tabs on things once you move in. Better safe than sorry and surprised, right?

It might take a while to feel like “home”

You’d think that once you’ve gone through all of this trouble for a house, it’ll automatically “feel” like yours … but that’s not necessarily true. It may take a few weeks or even months before you start settling in and feeling like a homeowner.

So if the words “this is my house” don’t roll off your tongue quite like they should in the beginning, take heart: You’ll be claiming it without thinking about it before you know it.

Graduate REALTOR® Institute

Graduate REALTOR® Institute

Let the journey begin!

The Arizona REALTORS® is running a GRI scholarship contest during the final quarter of 2019! Attend your first GRI approved class (live or live streamed) between October 1, 2019 – December 12, 2019 and become eligible to receive a full GRI program scholarship in 2020!

Contest entry is simple. Once you complete your class, fill out the entry form located on www.AZGRI.com, and email it to BrittniMatt@aaronline.com. Entry form must be submitted by December 12, 2019.

On December 16, 2019, three names will be randomly selected, and each winner will be awarded a scholarship for up to $1,000 to pay for their 2020 GRI classes! That’s right!  Three Arizona REALTOR® members will have the opportunity to complete the GRI program in 2020 on a full scholarship! So, if you have been thinking about earning the designation, now is the time to get started in the program!

To view the GRI class schedule, contest criteria and reimbursement process, please visit www.AZGRI.com.  If you have any questions about the GRI program or the contest, please contact Brittni Matt at BrittniMatt@aaronline.com. Hope to see you in class!


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Residential Appraisal Process

  1. What is a residential appraisal process?

A process during which the appraiser will follow the set procedure in order to determine the value of the property.

  1. Is the homebuyer entitled to a copy of the appraisal?

Yes. Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the homebuyer is entitled to a free copy of any written documents regarding valuations of the property, whether the credit is withdrawn, incomplete, denied, or extended.

  1. What information do I need to give to the appraiser?

You should have a package prepared in advance while working with an appraiser, ready to pass it on to the appraiser at the property. This package should contain all the relevant details, possibly including deeds, surveys, plats, floor plans, HOA documents, covenants, inspection reports, “green” energy-efficient property features, and so on. After handing the appraiser’s package, be ready to answer all the questions that the appraiser may have, then let the appraiser inspect the property without interfering.

  1. Am I allowed to speak with the appraiser?

Yes. Anyone with interest in an ongoing transaction can speak to the appraiser. An agent can share the relevant information with the appraiser. The appraiser cannot share any confidential information. Agents or other parties with interest in an ongoing transaction cannot bribe or intimidate the appraiser.

  1. What should I do if I believe that the appraisal value is incorrect?

The appraiser cannot speak to anyone other than his client, or parties working on the behalf of his client after the appraisal process is completed. In this case you will need to contact the appraiser’s client specifically in writing.

  1. Why are some appraisers also working outside of the geographic area where they live?

Some appraisers are also competent outside of the area where their place of residence is located. This gives them the right to work in those areas as well. If you believe that an appraiser is unqualified for work in a specific area, you can approach the appraiser’s client with this issue.

  1. How do the buyer’s means of financing influence the residential appraisal process?

While the appraiser works under the regulations issued by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the appraiser must also comply with any specific wishes of his client (typically a mortgage lender). For example, a mortgage lender may request that the property comes with the specified property requirements.

  1. How much time will the residential appraisal process take before it is completed?

The time it will take for the appraiser to submit the report will be different depending on the assignment and its complexity.

  1. What can I do to make sure that my client is ready for the appraisal process?

Before the appraiser arrives at the property, explain the appraisal process to your client. Before selling the property and moving with the help of reliable moving professionals from azmovingpros.com, your client should be aware of all the relevant details regarding the appraisal process, including the fact that the appraiser will provide an objective report on the property’s value, which may differ from the actual sales price of the said property.

  1. Which party orders the appraisal process?

The appraisal process begins when the appraiser’s client (typically a mortgage lender) hires the appraiser to compile a report on the property’s value. While some lenders will directly hire the appraiser, others will order the appraisal from an appraisal management company (MCA), who will then pass on the assignment to the appropriate appraiser.


Special Guest column by: AZ Moving Professionals


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4 Questions To Ask Before Buying A Home

Do you want to buy a home? (No, that isn’t one of the questions.) If the answer, however, is “yes,” then there are more questions you’ll need to ponder before you’re truly ready — even if this is your fifteenth fix-and-flip instead of your very first home.

Before you start adding properties to your “favorite” list on your most-visited real estate portal, consider the many possible answers to these questions and then decide what’s best for you. Even if you enjoy making big decisions by the seat of your pants, you’ll find that a little bit of thinking and planning before taking the (huge!) step of buying a home will give you confidence that you got a good deal … and the ability to find a place that’s absolutely perfect for you.

What do I want?

Homes don’t just come in the single-family residence flavor — you can buy a condo, an apartment, or a duplex, for example, and it’s possible that one of those options makes more sense for you and your lifestyle today than a single-family home would.

Homes also aren’t built in isolation. There will be neighbors, traffic, weather, and many other factors and features beyond your control.

What’s an ideal level of neighborhood walkability for you? Would you prefer to be close to your gym or yoga studio chain, or a hiking trailhead? What kinds of schools or pet facilities are nearby? Is the area close to any large cultural or sports centers? What’s the crime rate like? What’s the commute like, and is there decent public transportation? Are any or all of these things good or bad for you, personally?

Only when you’ve taken time to thoroughly think about and narrow down the type of home and the area where you want to buy should you start thinking about other aspects of your dream home — like the finishes, the size of the kitchen, and whether it has a big back deck or a gas range instead of an electric stove.

Some of those preferences will be just that, and some will be dealbreakers. If you’ve got a large-breed dog and really require a big backyard, it’s okay to put that on your “must-have” list — but try to keep that list significantly shorter than your “nice-to-have” list. You might be surprised by how your preferences shift once you begin actually looking at homes available on the market, so it’s good to have some kind of idea of how important each home feature is to you and your lifestyle and also know where you have a little room to compromise.

It’s smart to keep your options open at every stage of this decision-making process. If you don’t have a friend who lives in the type of house and area that you’re eyeing, it might be a good time to connect with a local real estate agent. They’ve helped people just like you buy a home before — and they might know about perfect neighborhoods that aren’t even on your radar, or which items on your must-have list are easy to implement yourself if a home doesn’t currently have it.

What can I afford?

Financial experts typically advise that buyers spend no more than 30 percent of their total monthly income on housing. Another rule suggests that you spend a little more than double your annual income on a house. 

Your mortgage payment is going to cover not only the cost of the home itself, but also interest on the mortgage loan, homeowners’ insurance, and property taxes. And depending on the size of your down payment, you may also need to pay private mortgage insurance on your loan, too.

You can look up property tax information by county; it’s calculated as a percentage of the home’s value, so property tax can shift up or down depending on the housing market, but don’t count on it staying steady for the 30-year duration of your loan.

A local insurance agent can also give you a good idea of what you’ll be paying for homeowners’ insurance on the property. And this is an area where you might actually be able to save a little money elsewhere — if you have a car, you often will receive a discount for packaging your auto insurance and homeowners’ insurance with the same carrier. You might also want to consider some ancillary insurance, like flood or earthquake insurance (and flood insurance is required on some homes).

The mortgage interest rate is going to depend on a few factors — your current credit score and the current market mortgage rates. A loan officer can help you figure out what your current options might be and may even offer suggestions for how to improve your credit score to get a better rate while you’re saving up for that down payment.

Speaking of the down payment: Don’t forget that whatever you bring to the table will be applied to the home sale amount, so you probably won’t be asking for a loan that’s the exact price tag of the home. For example, if the home you want to buy costs $200,000 and you have $40,000 (20 percent) to put down on the home, then you’ll be borrowing $160,000 from the bank instead of the full $200,000.

There are online calculators that can help you assess some of these factors, but again, here it’s smart to talk to a real estate agent. An agent can also refer you to a local insurance agent and loan officer so you can start figuring out what you need to do to become a real-deal homeowner.

Am I financially prepared?

This is a tough question to answer, and it’s one big reason why you might want to start talking to real estate professionals early on in the process — there’s a lot you can do to help make this purchase one of the smartest financial decisions of your life, and most of it happens before you start dreaming up that perfect place to live.

If you aren’t already connected with a loan officer, start here. These people are experts in the different types of loan available to you and how you can optimize your financial standing to give you a great jumping-off point.

You may need to do some work on your credit score before you can buy, and a loan officer can also hook you up with an expert who can comb through your credit report and tell you which debts to pay off first as well as lay out a six-month plan for polishing everything until it’s shiny.

And while you’re working on your credit, do yourself a favor and look up what down payment programs might cater to your situation at a website like www.downpaymentresource.com. Depending on your age, state of residence, whether you’re a first-time homebuyer (it still counts if you’ve reverted to renting for several years!), and a few other factors, you might be eligible for free money that can only be applied toward a down payment on a home. Some programs supporting responsible homeownership require recipients to attend a few classes about buying a home and how to pay off a mortgage — but that’s time well spent if the payoff is four to five figures of cold, hard cash to put down on a home.

When you feel as financially robust as possible, ask your loan officer to pre-approve you for the loan amount you can afford. This will make it possible for you to immediately place an offer on a home if you find one that you love instead of waiting for lender approval … and you’ve already gotten through the hard part, so you might as well make it official, right?

How do I make the best bid possible?

There’s nothing like jumping through all of these hoops — not to mention the home search process — only to place an offer on a home and discover that you were outbid. Or, on the flip side, that you could have offered less and still been successful!
This is where a real estate agent becomes truly valuable in the process; they’ve seen offers that flew and offers that flopped, and they do this every day. If you’re not working with an agent yet, find one and ask for some data about homes sold on the same block (ideally) or in the same neighborhood that are a comparable size, in comparable condition, and have comparable features.

An agent can also help guide you if you’re about to make an offer that’s bound to be rejected because it’s too far below market standards — or if you might be able to get a deal because a home has been languishing on the market for longer than normal and the sellers are reducing the price weekly.
And a good agent can also help you regroup and get back in the game if the offer on your dream home is rejected.

Sometimes a seller considers list price to be a jumping-off point in negotiating a final sale — and sometimes that list price is set in stone and the seller isn’t going to be moved. Your agent can give you a feel for whether you really were offering a number well below market expectations or whether it’s more likely to be a seller’s inflexibility.

When you can answer the first three questions confidently, it’s time to start searching for a home — and when you can answer the fourth effectively, you’ll be walking away from the deal with keys to the front door in your hand.

REALTOR® Caucus Recap – Setting Policy to Protect Your Business

REALTOR® Caucus Recap – Setting Policy to Protect Your Business

On September 5, 2019, REALTOR® members from across Arizona converged on the Phoenix Marriott Resort Tempe at the Buttes for the 2019 REALTOR® Caucus. The Caucus is an annual event offering Arizona REALTORS® the opportunity to bring forward issues that impact their clients and the real estate industry to address during the following year’s legislative session.

Kevin Madden  a long-time advisor, strategist and spokesman, headlined the 2019 Arizona REALTOR® Caucus sharing his unique political insights with attendees. He served on three presidential campaigns and for two Congressional Majority Leaders. He is a regular on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, Bloomberg and many more networks for his expertise.

“Having the opportunity to hear from Kevin provided high level insight into what is occurring in our national politics,” said Shelley Ostrowski, the 2020 Legislative and Political Affairs Chairperson. “The continued changing political environment from day-to-day and his ability to capture America’s ever-changing views was not only captivating, but showed we are going to be on one heck of a ride in the 2020 elections here in Arizona.”

The Caucus additionally took the time to honor those elected officials who were awarded with our annual REALTOR® Champion Award. Honorees are as follows:

Representative Ben Toma – For his sponsorship of HB 2371: real estate; licenses; applications.

Speaker Rusty Bowers – For his work on the Drought Contingency Plan.

Senator Sine Kerr – For her work on the Drought Contingency Plan.

Senator Lisa Otondo – For her work with the Democratic Party on the Drought Contingency Plan.

Representative Gail Griffin – For her continued protection and preservation of domestic or exempt wells.

Representative Alma Hernandez – For her support of SB 1085: Association Health Plan in the face of adversity from her caucus.

Senator Kate Brophy McGee – For her sponsorship of SB 1085: Association Health Plan.

One of the REALTOR® Champions, Senator Kate Brophy McGee, gave Arizona REALTORS® a glimpse into the life of a state legislator and what she expects the priorities of the next session to be. The senator also provided insight into how the Association Health Plan bill faced adversity throughout the legislative process, yet persevered. She informed the group, that though the bill has been passed into law, there is still need for improvement in access to affordable healthcare options and that would be something she would continue to work on in the upcoming legislative session. Another area of focus for the Senator, was on affordable housing opportunities and the various approaches that will be looked at in the 2020 legislative session.

After lunch, the day’s events came to an end with the state’s five Regional Vice Presidents reporting the issues raised by Arizona REALTOR® members during the caucus breakout sessions. Items reported by the Regional Vice Presidents included solar company liens, protections of private property rights, water, short-term rental policies, and streamlining of property management procedures, among many others.

From the Caucus the recommendations will go before the Legislative and Political Affairs Committee for approval and then to the Arizona REALTOR® Executive Committee and Board of Directors in October. Once approved, the association will have their marching orders for the 2020 Legislative Session where we will try to successfully address the issues facing REALTORS®, our industry, our clients, and property owners across Arizona.

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4 Questions To Ask Before Selling Your Home

There comes a time in every homeowner’s life when he or she realizes: “I am not the same person I was when I bought this place.” Maybe your lifestyle or your family configuration has changed, or maybe the house just isn’t as appealing as it was when you signed that ream of paperwork on closing day.

If you’re thinking about moving on, then there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you take the plunge and list the house. When you can answer these questions, you’ll know you’re in the right place emotionally and financially to move on to your next space.

What is my home worth?

You can find almost anything on the internet, and that includes an estimated value of your home. How convenient!

But before you go galloping off to Zillow or Redfin or even a brokerage website to try to figure out how much your house is worth, take a deep breath and resolve to remember one thing: “I shouldn’t believe everything I read on the internet.”

It’s possible that an automated estimate is going to be spot-on, but those algorithms depend on numbers that might or might not be accurate, like the condition of your property, the square footage, any features or amenities you’ve added (or removed), and recent sales of properties nearby that could be comparable to your own home.

A better way to figure out how much your home might be worth is to look at your most recent property tax bill. Your property taxes change with the value of your home, so if you look at your property tax rate from last year and figure out your state’s assessment rate (usually not quite the total value of your home — it’s somewhere between 80 percent and 90 percent of the home’s total value, depending on the state), that can help you get a little bit closer in terms of pinpointing price.

You can also talk to a professional about your home’s value; a real estate agent who sells properties in your neighborhood every day is going to be able to give you a more accurate idea of how much your particular, specific home might capture on the current market.

And a real estate professional can also explain what you can do to your home to help inch that number upward a little bit. Then you can make the call as to whether or not you want to make any upgrades or take the estimated price as-is. Which leads to the next question …

How can I sell at the highest price possible?

When you’re selling anything, you want to get fair market value for the item you’re releasing, and that’s exponentially truer for your house, which is probably the biggest purchase you’ve ever made.

If you know your neighbor’s house sold for ten figures more than the highest estimate you’ve been able to find for your own home, that can be a tough reality to swallow. But this is where real estate professionals really earn their keep — they can explain why that house was so desirable (maybe if you’re honest with yourself, you can admit that your neighbor’s view is much nicer than yours, for example), and they can also show you where you do have some room for (price) improvement.

If you don’t want to call in a professional, then start with things that can spruce up almost any dwelling. One of the first and most important steps to selling your home for top dollar is to get the place deep-cleaned from floor to ceiling, including washing the windows and scrubbing down all of your kitchen appliances.

Start by attacking the clutter; it’s much easier to clean a room that doesn’t have a lot of furniture or objects in it, so even if you’re hoping to move up to make space for all your stuff, it’s a good idea to start cleaning out the items that you know you don’t want to move with you. If there’s still a lot left, consider a shed or an off-site storage facility where you can stash things without packing it all in your closets (where buyers are most definitely going to be looking). If you have a junk drawer or even a “junk room,” now is the time to start corralling that beast.

Then get cleaning. There’s no detail too small — make sure every room in the house sparkles to the best of your ability and smells fresh and aired-out.

There may be quite a few additional projects you could tackle to increase your home’s value, such as adding a deck, remodeling the kitchen, or even adding entire rooms in some cases. Those are good opportunities to discuss with a real estate professional, who can share feedback about whether the project is going to be worth the eventual return on investment when you sell the home — and what projects will net you more money for your property.

Real estate agents also know stagers and home photographers. When a buyer falls in love with your home, it’s most likely going to be from an online listing, so your listing photos should be as high-quality as possible — that might mean bringing in a stager to spruce up the rooms and a photographer to capture the results.

How long will my home be on the market?

No one can predict the future, but experts who work in the industry can usually come close. If you haven’t called an agent yet, you might need to in order to get the information you’ll need to answer this question.

Ultimately, it depends on what the housing market is like in your area, but there are a lot of anomalies within a housing market — even in markets that seem red-hot, sometimes sellers make a mistake and overprice a home that then languishes for weeks or even months longer than more realistically priced homes. And there are some neighborhoods or even specific blocks where buyers seem to be willing to do just about anything to get their foot in the door — and other geographies where they might need to be lured in a little more aggressively.

The number of days that homes stay on the market gets shorter and shorter as housing heats up, but that number is absolutely contingent on the initial list price. Homes that need to reduce their prices to attract qualified buyers will remain on the market significantly longer than homes priced competitively from the start. It’s really important to get the initial list price right if you’d like the home to sell quickly. (And remember: The longer that house takes to sell, the longer you as the seller will be responsible for keeping it in showing condition for buyers — seven days a week.)

So even in markets where houses seem to be flying off the shelves, it’s smart to talk to someone who sees those sales up close and personal every day. They can give you an educated estimate about the amount of time it should take your property to get from list to close.

How can an agent help?

Selling a home is a huge life event that encroaches on just about every aspect of your existence, from your meals to your work schedule to how often you do laundry and vacuum up pet hair. It can be an incredibly stressful time, and a real estate agent is a personal advisor that can help sellers make the best decisions possible while keeping track of all the details.

A good real estate agent will help you find the best price for your home, list it for you on the MLS, and handle all the marketing — from photos to open houses to glossy brochures to Facebook ads. A good agent can manage your showing schedule for buyers who want personal tours and can help you decide which offer to accept if you happen to receive more than one … and a good agent is absolutely essential during the negotiation process, especially if the buyer is making demands that the seller isn’t prepared to address.

A good agent will also know the best plumbers, electricians, and general contractors in the area who might be able to make any repairs or changes to the home before it closes. He or she can manage the transaction timeline, alerting you when an inspection or appraisal is about to happen and keeping you in the loop regarding financing and every other aspect of the deal.

A good agent can also help you do all of this while you’re simultaneously looking for a new place to live and can help you manage that, too — including what to do if you find a home before your current house sells.

And depending on your personal situation, there are local real estate agents who specialize in divorce, estate sales, and other tricky life events involving a home transaction.

Selling a home is as simple as listing it on the MLS and waiting for an appropriate offer to come in — but there’s so much more involved that most sellers can’t handle it on their own. Answering these questions will get you a head start, but don’t skip talking to an agent or three when you’re actually ready to list that home; they’ll be able to point out what you didn’t know you were missing.

Do you know why the 2020 Census matters?

Do you know why the 2020 Census matters?

In 2016, Arizona received $20 million
guided by data derived from
the 2010 Census.

How to Identify a Census Employee?

If you are visited by someone from the Census Bureau, here are some ways to verify the individual is a Census Bureau employee:

The field representative will present an ID badge that includes:

  • their name,
  • their photograph,
  • a Department of Commerce watermark, and
  • an expiration date.

A field representative will be carrying an official bag with the Census Bureau logo or a laptop for conducting the survey.

The field representative will provide you with a letter from the Census Bureau on official letterhead stating why they are visiting your residence.

Field representatives conduct their work between the hours of 9am and 9pm, local time.

Upon request, the field representative will provide you with their supervisor’s contact information and/or the phone number for your Census Bureau Regional Office. The Regional Office supervises the activities of all field representatives in your area.

If you wish to independently confirm that the person at your door is a Census Bureau employee, you can enter their name in the Census Bureau’s staff search website, or contact the Denver Regional Office for verification at 1-800-852-6159. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., Mountain Daylight Time.


Do you know how participating can help your community?
Learn more here.





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