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Position Yourself For Success

REMOVE ROAD BLOCKS TO SELL YOUR HOME

Every seller has a common goal in mind: sell the home quickly and for the most money. Yet when it comes time to sell the home not every seller will be prepared.

Many forget or don’t know how to remove road blocks that can stall the sales process or kill it completely. If you’re getting ready to list your home for sale, pay close attention. What you do before you list it can help or hurt the process.

Remove or limit the areas where your home is lacking. Study your neighborhood and the homes that are for sale. If your home is consistently coming up short in comparison, maybe it’s not landscaped enough or it hasn’t had any upgrades in 20 years, and it’s overdue for some renovations or, at the very least, repairs to clean it up.

Get your home “show-ready” so that it isn’t lacking or appearing deficient compared to other homes in your neighborhood. Placing a home on the market that isn’t ready (needs repairs) can cause the home to receive very little foot traffic and it can end up being on the market for a long time.

If, for instance, you have vinyl flooring that’s peeling, consider replacing it with a flooring that matches the style of your home and is comparable to the neighborhood so that it is consistent with the quality of floors in other homes in the area.

Remove YOU from the home. Yes, it’s tricky to remove your personality from the home, especially when you’re still living it. But it’s very necessary. This doesn’t just mean taking down personal photos and putting away private items like medicines. This means that if you’ve turned a room into a particular “you” room – your style, your personality, and your unique use of the room – consider re-doing the room to make it more neutral, versatile, and appealing to buyers.

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For instance, if one of the bedrooms in a two-bedroom house was converted into a meditation room, it’s wise, when listing the home for sale, to show it with both rooms as bedrooms rather than one bedroom and one room that is uniquely decorated for a specific use other than sleeping. Buyers can sometimes imagine how else they’d use a room but if it looks like too much work to make changes, they’ll keep hunting for a house that is better suited to their needs.

If you’ve converted the garage into a den, office, or kids play area to fit your particular lifestyle, consider making it a garage again. Find a way to show your home with the garage as clean, useful, and as an extended-living space but also with the option to park cars in it. Not everyone wants to park on the street just to have a few extra hundred square feet of living space. An appraiser can actually knock thousands of dollars off your appraisal if the garage can’t be used to park cars in because it’s considered a loss of covered parking.

Remove strong odors from your home. Of course, I’m talking about foul smelling odors but sometimes too much of a good thing can also be a turn off. Gather up pet toys, pet beds, pet food, and make sure the house is pristine. If you’re using fragrances in your home from sprays, candles, potpourri or even real flowers, make sure that the odor isn’t overwhelming. Subtle is good… overbearing can make people think you’re trying to cover up something bad in the home.

Ultimately, the goal is to make the home have mass appeal with as few road blocks as possible to sell it. Think like a buyer and see your home the way you’ll be looking at your own next home purchase. Then maybe you’ll understand the importance of making some changes before you list your home for sale.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

THE MORTGAGE TRICK THAT COULD SAVE YOU $100,000 OR MORE

Should you switch to a 15-year mortgage? If paying off your house is a priority, you’ve obviously considered it. “One of the biggest benefits of a 15-year mortgage term is the ability to quickly pay off your home loan,” said Money Crashers. “This option is perfect if you plan to stay put and don’t want to pay your mortgage for a lengthy period of time.”

But even if you’re not planning to live in your home forever, a 15-year mortgage can be a great way to go because of the money saved. And we’re not talking about pennies. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The 30-year fixed mortgage is practically an American archetype, the apple pie of financial instruments. It is the path that generations of Americans have taken to first-time home ownership. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 86% of people applying for purchase mortgages in February 2015 opted for 30-year loans,” said Investopedia. “But many of those buyers might have been better served if they had opted instead for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, the 30-year’s younger, and less popular, sibling. A shorter-term loan means a higher monthly payment, which makes the 15-year mortgage seem less affordable. But, in fact, the shorter term actually makes the loan cheaper on several fronts.”

The savings is substantial:

“Imagine a $300,000 loan, available at 4% for 30 years or at 3.25% for 15 years,” they said. “The combined effect of the faster amortization and the lower interest rate means that borrowing the money for just 15 years would cost $79,441, compared to $215,609 over 30 years, or nearly two-thirds less.”

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According to The Mortgage Reports, going with a 15-year mortgage translates to a reduction in “the amount of mortgage interest paid over the loan’s life by $44,000 per $100,000 borrowed as compared to a 30-year loan. For loans at the conforming loan limit of $417,000, then, a homeowner would save $183,000 by using a 15-year mortgage to finance the home instead of using a 30-year one.”

That’s a lot of money. But it’s that higher monthly payment that is often the sticking point for many borrowers. The monthly payment on a 15-year loan will cost more than one that’s double in length for obvious reasons—you’re paying off more money in less time. But the two loan terms do not offer an apples-to-apples comparison because the interest rates for 15-year mortgages tend to be lower.

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“15-year-loans are less risky for banks than 30-year loans, and because the money banks use to make shorter-term loans costs them less than the money they use to make longer-term loans, consumers pay a lower interest rate on a 15-year-mortgage — anywhere from a quarter of a percent to a full percent (or point) less,” said Investopedia. “And the government-supported agencies that finance most mortgages impose additional fees, called loan level price adjustments, which make 30-year mortgages more expensive.”

The monthly payment on the 30-yer mortgage referenced above is $1,432. On the 15-year loan, it comes out to $2,108. That steep increase is often a deterrent for borrowers – especially those who are more concerned with their current monthly input and output than potential long-term savings.

Doing it on your own

Of course, a 15-year mortgage isn’t the only way to pay your house off sooner. Making additional principal payments can eat away at your balance without tying you to a higher monthly payment. Even one extra payment per year can make a big difference.

“Making an extra mortgage payment each year (totaling 13 payments in a 12-month period) could reduce a 30-year mortgage loan to approximately 22 years,” said Nationwide.

“The most budget-friendly way to do this is to pay 1/12 extra each month. For example, by paying $975 each month on a $900 mortgage payment, you’ll have paid the equivalent of an extra payment by the end of the year.”

Overpaying also offers a shorter path to an equity position, so when you are ready to sell, you have more equity in your home and are in a greater buying position. And if you do get into a situation where you need cash you can always pull the equity out of your home.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

How to Buy a Home: 7 Tips and Tricks from Real Estate Insiders

No matter if you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market, there are a few critical steps you can take to make a smarter purchase. Since buying a home is likely the biggest single investment you will ever make, being prepared will help you make a better purchase. Here are our 7 best tips and tricks to buying a home.

Know your buying power

What is your buying power? It is the combination of your credit-worthiness and how much you can realistically pay for a home.

First, you need to understand the hidden costs of buying a home. You will need to save not only for the down payment of your home — which is typically between 10% – 20% of the offer price — but also for any additional transaction fees, such as transfer tax, PMI, title insurance, and legal fees.

Then you need to know what you can realistically afford each month to understand how much house you can buy. Your mortgage rate will depend on your creditworthiness — if you have a high credit score, your lender will likely approve you for a lower mortgage rate, which can save you thousands of dollars per year in interest.

How much of your budget should go to your monthly home costs? According to SmartAssets, you can use the 36% rule as a rough guideline. This means that your monthly obligation shouldn’t be more than 36% of your monthly gross income.

A loan professional can help you figure out how much house you can afford.

Fix your credit with the help of a loan professional

According to CreditKarma, a good credit score is usually 720 or above. You want to clean up your credit as soon as you can, and definitely before you go to a lender for a loan preapproval.

When you apply for your loan pre-approval, you don’t want to have anything to hide on your application. So don’t lower your credit score by doing anything that will originate more inquiries into your credit. For example, don’t open any new credit cards. Also, don’t omit any debts or loans when you apply. If the loan officer discovers them in the application process, they may deny you a pre-approval.

Get a loan professional to check your credit score for you. A professional can give you a clearer idea if your score is in the ‘good’ range, or if you need to do some credit cleanup before getting a mortgage preapproval.

Work with a knowledgeable buyer’s agent

Do you understand what kind of market you are buying into? Even within a city’s limits, there can be micro markets that are increasing or decreasing in value.

That’s why it’s important to hire a highly competent real estate agent who knows the specific market. You want to make sure that the professional who you’re working with really understands what the market is like and will help you find the home that you desire.

How can you tell if your agent knows the market? See if they can provide you with a buyer’s market analysis.

A buyer’s market analysis report outlines which neighborhoods are still up and coming — with potential for increased property value — versus those that have peaked with inflated home prices. Having this analysis at your fingertips will help you know if a home’s list price is above comparable properties so you don’t overpay for a home.

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Don’t try to time the market…

Even in a hot market, there’s never a perfect time to buy a home. It can take a while to know exactly what you like, and you may have to look at 10 or more homes before you can recognize what suits your lifestyle best. While you’re shopping, take photos of your favorite properties and the details that you liked the best so that you can remember what you liked.

Another good reason to slow down the buying process: you might find a better deal if you do. Investigate expired listings. Expired listings may have gone off the market because they didn’t get any offers at the listed price, so you may be able to underbid the original listing price. It’s not likely worth your time to look at FSBO (for sale by owner) listings, though. Since they are not represented by a professional, they are often overpriced.

When you start shopping, have a one-hour initial consultation with your realtor. Give them every single detail that you know about your lifestyle, buying power, needs, wants and desires for your home. The more detail you can provide, the easier it will be for them to help you find your future home. Your agent may also know of exclusive listings not available to the general public.

… But make the offer as soon as you find the right home

If you love it, make the offer. Otherwise, that dream home may disappear faster than you think, especially if you’re buying in a hot market.

Your buying agent should contact the listing agent before you submit an offer so that they can decide what’s important to include in the offer. If you’re serious about it, you want to increase the chances that your offer is accepted.

Show that you’re serious about the purchase by creating a buyer’s offer packet. It should include your lender’s preapproval letter, a screenshot of your down payment money in your bank account, and comps that support the rationalization of the offer you are presenting.

Get a home inspection
Once you’re in the negotiation process, it’s essential that you get a third-party inspector to run a thorough home inspection. The inspector will be looking for major structural issues, including problems with the foundation, plumbing, and electrical systems. Your inspector should be extra picky, pointing out the most minor faults.

Make sure to have the inspection conducted before it is too late to back out of a deal. If there are any major structural issues, you may be able to make the seller repair them as a contingency to solidifying your offer. Minor issues that you can repair on your own may be points for negotiating a lower offer.

Protect your credit before you close

Don’t raise any red flags with your creditworthiness in the weeks before closing. Any one of these moves could mean that you’re denied the loan and the deal falls through — even if you’ve already been preapproved!

  • Keep your spending to a minimum and don’t make any major purchases before closing — that includes buying furniture, or a car, truck, or van, or any excessive charges on your credit card.
  • Keep your bank accounts stable. Don’t change banks, spend any of the money you have set aside for closing, or make any large deposits to your accounts without checking with your loan officer first.
  • Keep your employment situation stable — do not change jobs, quit your job, or become self-employed. Any sudden change in your income can have that preapproval offer rescinded.
  • Do not cosign a loan for anyone. It will open an inquiry into your credit and add to your debt, which could raise your mortgage rate and cost you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
  • Looking for a home in the Phoenix area? Let one of the agents at Position Realty help you find the home of your dreams. We’re well versed in the Phoenix real estate market, and we can provide you with a buyer’s market analysis to help you find the right neighborhood for you. Contact one of our trusted agents today.

    Position Realty
    Office: 480-213-5251

HOW TO HAVE YEAR-ROUND HOME CURB APPEAL IN 6 EASY STEPS

Exceptional curb appeal will add to the enjoyment and value of your property and home. Maintaining your curb appeal throughout each season may pose its challenges, but with these tips, you can ensure that your home and landscaping will look their very best throughout the year.

#1 Clean It Up

A thorough power wash is essential for maintaining the cleanliness of your home, driveway and walkways. Many homeowners prefer to do this in the spring, but you might consider an additional wash in the fall as well. By keeping your landscape free of debris like broken branches and dead trees, you can better maintain the appearance of your property.

#2 Planting for Seasonal Interest

It’s helpful to plant with each season in mind to ensure that your landscape looks great year-round. Spring bulbs and flowering trees add visual interest to your landscape at the start of the growing season. A lush lawn and pots of colorful annuals can provide eye-catching appeal in the summer. Think about late summer perennials and deciduous trees or shrubs that boast spectacular fall colors. Evergreens are classic winter plants, but you might also wish to plant trees like birch or interesting shrubs to draw the eye.

#3 Vertical Interest

To avoid flat looking landscaping, be sure to include vertical interest. Arches, even when bare during the winter season, will add visual interest to your front yard. Hanging plants, vines, climbing plants, trellises and even a decorative light post will ensure that your yard has a visual balance year-round.

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#4 Hardscaping

Plants aren’t the only method of achieving excellent curb appeal. Consider replacing a worn-out front walkway with elegant cobblestone or brick pavers. Replace mulch with stone or encircle trees and shrubs to achieve a more formal look for your property. Boulders can be strategically placed to draw the eye and provide further visual interest for your setting.

#5 Tackle Problem Areas

If you have a slope that’s difficult to mow or a sunken section of landscaping that always seems to flood, consider a solution. A low-maintenance, terraced garden is ideal for sloping sections of land that are difficult to mow. On the other hand, there are no-mow grasses that can replace a traditional lawn. Installing adequate drainage for low-lying areas of your landscape can help reduce the flooding that occurs during stormy seasons.

#6 House Appeal

You can increase the year-round curb appeal of your home by maintaining its outward appearance. A pleasing door, elegant fixtures, contemporary railings, eye-catching shutters and stylized window boxes will go a long way to boost your curb appeal. For an additional wow factor, consider expanding your porch or replacing worn siding to improve the appearance of your home.

Conclusion

Great curb appeal begins with assessing your current setting. When you do install new features, it’s important to consider how they will appear during each season.

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

Phoenix Residential Market Report ~ January 2016

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The current real time market profile shows there were approximately 10,742 new listings (up 4,607 from last month) on the market in January 2016 and 5,194 sold transactions. Since the beginning of the year the number of new listings has exceeded the number of sold transactions which the recent interest rate increase by the Fed may entice property owners to sell and tighter mortgage underwriting guidelines for borrowers are preventing new purchases. The number of total listing is still low as compared to 29,308 listings in April 2014 but this dramatic increase in the number of listings could be a sign for market reversal.

Since February 2015 (12 months ago), the average sold price has increased approximately +7.5% (up from last month), the average days on market have decreased approximately -16.0% (up from last month) and the number of sold transactions have decreased approximately -10.6% (down from last month). Since the month of May 2014 the average sold price has teeter tottered up and down with no upward trend but in April 2015 the average sold price jumped higher than the last 12 months. Last year’s summer buying season was strong where we saw prices decrease from July to September but during the holiday season prices started to increase. If the number of new listings continues to increase and the number of sold transactions decreases, then prices may start to decrease again in 2016. Let’s hope this summer’s buying season is better than last year.

The volume of foreclosure purchases since February 2015 (12 months ago) has decreased approximately -42.5% and the volume of short sales decreased of approximately -36.1%. Since November 2014 the volume of foreclosure purchases went up and now the trend is back down once again. Also, since August 2013 the volume of short sale purchases have consistently decreased because the inventory of homes “up-side-down” have been exhausted and values have risen to a point where consumers can break-even or sell with some equity but some homeowners are still up-side-down depending if they purchased their homes between 2005 and 2007.

Since February 2015 (12 months ago), the number of homes for sale on the market have decreased approximately -9.5% or 25,745 homes for sale on the market to a gradually decrease of 23,699 homes. We will have to keep an eye on the number of new listings coming on the market and buyer demand over the next few months to determine if the market is shifting once again.

Real estate prices are still relatively low (near 2008 prices), mortgage rates are still at a historical low and the macroeconomic market is improving both in terms of prices and the overall economy. Give us a call to discuss your best investment strategy, TODAY!!

Position Realty
Office: 480-213-5251

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