The Do’s and Don’ts of House Hunting

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When you purchase a new home, you are met with a range of emotions.  Excitement. Nervous.  Anticipation.  Overwhelmed.  Whatever you are feeling, buying a home is one of the most important decisions (and investments!) you will ever make.  Stumbling blocks will happen from time to time but research and guidance will inform you along the way.  

Here are some resourceful tips to remember as you begin the process:

Location, Location, Location
This cliqued line is true.  While the potential home tends to be the focus, take a look at the surrounding location.  Research the community to make sure it’s the right location for you (and your family) to ensure that fits your needs and wants.  Factors to consider are school districts, traffic, and convenience.  Most importantly, look at other local community to narrow and finalize your decision.

What do you need?
The average American lives in their home for nine years so think long-term for your needs.  A young couple may think that a small condo will work but as their family begins to grow, the home will feel like it shrunk.  Reflect upon your future goals when looking at homes.  Can you envision your life there in nine years?

Hire an experienced, licensed inspector
The truth is that it’s easy to walk into a home and see all the cosmetic beauty.  However, major issues can be covered up.  When you hire a home inspector, they can uncover potential problems from wiring to plumbing to foundation.  An experienced inspector will explore every inch of the home to ensure you know exactly what you are purchasing.  You should be well-informed about your home investment to avoid stress, time, and money in the future.  The inspector may scare you with what he/she finds but you want to know all about your new home!

Look beyond the furnishings and décor
When you walk into a home, envision the home without the seller’s belongings.  How does the layout and space work for you?  Will it accommodate your lifestyle and what you want in a home?  You want to look for efficiency and function.  For example, an open floor plan with plenty of storage may work for a couple with children than a home with enclosed rooms and limited closet space.

Read between the lines
At times, sellers use persuasive jargon to move their listing.  Be wary of these phrases used to draw you in inspecting an underlying reason.  For example, selling a home “as-is” can usually mean to count lots of work on your end.  A “motivated seller” may wanted to expedite a sell by negotiating on a price but make sure that a thorough inspection has taken place to eliminate pricey factors.  When you read “cozy and charming cottage”, you may translate that to a small home.  Have realistic expectations for listings and see homes for yourself during showing to see if this is the home for you.

Resist purchasing the expensive home in the neighborhood
You won’t get the same return on investment with the biggest house on the block and more than likely, you will find that you may run into obstacles when you decide to sell.  It’s important to consider how this home compares to the other ones in the neighborhood in terms of price and space.  Research to see if other local comparable homes are selling before settling.

Show me the money
The first step before buying is to work a qualified lender that can direct you about the lending products in today’s market.  They will ask you questions and run your credit.  We do not want you to “fall in love” with a home that is beyond your financial means. Sometimes there are items on your credit that you didn’t know were there.  Often, there are down payment assistance programs that can help you.  A lender will the first step in the process.

While the process of finding and purchasing a home can be a long and stressful process, stay persistent in finding the home that right for you.  I’m happy to talk to you about what is on the market and be your source for real estate market.  New homes are always cropping up and I’ll keep you consistently updated.

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The Great Housing Dilemma: Practical steps to selling your old home and buying a new one.

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The steps to “moving up” or “sizing down” can be a daunting and confusing one.  Do you sell first?  Buy first?  When is a good time to talk to a financial institution about your plans?  When does a real estate agent come into the picture?  You may not know where to start.  However, I want to reassure you that a good plan can be your best asset.

Oh, the Great Housing Dilemma.  The thought of it can brings so much anxiety.  Remember that the overall goal is to maximize the selling price of your home and find a new one for a reasonable price.  However, If you sell your current home first, where will you live until you find a new one?  If you buy first, you are stuck with paying two mortgages– that is, if a lender has the ability to offer you a second mortgage.

Options during this transition may involve:

Borrow down payment money for the second house from family or friends. Point out that you need help for only a short period, and offer a competitive interest rate. Give the person making the loan a promissory note, secured by a second mortgage (deed of trust) on your new house. Try to arrange it so that no monthly payments are due until your first house sells. Be warned, however, that depending on your financial situation, institutional mortgage lenders may refuse to approve a loan where the down payment doesn’t come from your own resources.

Get a bridge loan from a financial institution. If you have no other choice, it may be possible to borrow money from a bank or other lender to bridge the period between when you close on your new house and when you get your money from the sale of your old one. This idea is that you take out a short-term loan on your existing house, using it toward the down payment and closing costs on your new house, and repaying it when your first house sells.

Bridge loans can, however, be far more expensive than regular mortgage or home equity loans (higher upfront payments as well as interest rates), and they’re not easy to qualify for — you have to have plenty of equity in your current home and enough income to pay both mortgage payments indefinitely. The requirements all but negate the benefits of the loan!

First things first, evaluate the housing market with a trusted licensed real estate agent like myself.  I can give you current market value for your home to sell as well as advise on what is on the market for your next home.  With the marketing that I can do early on, I may be able to secure a buyer while you are preparing your home for sale.  I currently have an active listing that I “pre-marketed” for 3 months and accumulated interested buyers.  Now the home is actively for sale, we have multiple offers!  Multiple potential buyers who are interested in the listing will sell the home very quickly.

I am happy to do “Seller Net Sheets” that allow you to see estimated values of what you will net.  Talking to a lender will also determine what the lender feels your budget should be.  This allows you to know what is a reasonable next purchase should you need or desire to finance that purchase.  My goal is to get all of the information and planning done upfront so the transaction is seamless when we decide to proceed.

If you still have questions, I’m here to help!  Call me at 480-466-8193.  Erin Newman

Weekend Warrior: Take Your Front Door From Tired to Inviting

Old man winter is behind us.  It’s time to bring out the rakes and potting soil and bring life back into your yard this spring!  Whether you have just moved in, putting your home on the market, and need a new look, spend a weekend doing a few things to give a brand new look to your home and plenty of curb appeal.
front door before
A few tip that will make a huge difference…..
1.) Clean out old flower beds by raking dead leaves and plants, rocks, and debris .  Replace it with fresh mulch for a more manicured look.
2.) Replaced a tired doormat with a colorful one.  Find a versatile wreath or door decoration that adds character to your front door.
3.) Find flowers and plants that you can easily take care of during the warmer months.  Be mindful of watering and daily sun/shade requirements.
4.) Never underestimate the power of pressure-washing and a fresh coat of paint.

front door after

5 Fun Facts About Gilbert, AZ

Every town has a history.  Gilbert has roots of being a farming community long before it evolved into the city we know today.  Here are some fun things to know:

  1. In 1902, the Arizona Eastern Railway requested for land donations to build a rail line  between Phoenix and Florence. A rail siding was established on property owned by William “Bobby” Gilbert. The town was eventually named after the farmer.
  2. This town was once known as the “Hay Shipping Capital of the World”.  It was an agricultural depot and the access to the railway could easily ship hay especially to the surrounding towns of Chandler, Mesa, and Phoenix.
  3. Gilbert is currently the most populous incorporated town in the country. The last three decades has increased in population at an exponential rate due to neighboring Phoenix for job opportunities.  According to the 1980 census, 5,717 people took up residence in Gilbert.  Compare those numbers to 208,453 in 2010.  Talk about a population boom!  And in 2005, it was listed as one of the safest cities in America.
  4. The Gilbert Historical Museum has reports of being haunted with after-hours residents.  The century-old building has been visited by paranormal investigators to further look into mysterious giggles and creaks.  This community was once a part of the Wild West so lots of history are on these grounds.
  5. Joe’s Real BBQ is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.  The owners strived to give patrons a feel of a BBQ joint set in the 1940’s with an ambience to honor that time era.  When the restaurant opened in 1995, they bought the current building built in 1929 that was originally a Safeway Pay’n’Takit.

Thinking of moving to a place Gilbert?  I would love to help you find a home here or anywhere in the Valley of the Sun!erin's email footer 2

Why finding a home in Scottsdale could be your best move

When you picture the perfect weekend away, what do you envision?  Maybe it’s a day on a world-renowned golf course followed by a farm-to-table meal at a local restaurant.  Perhaps it’s strolling through museums and ending your day at a relaxing spa.  It could even be spending the day hiking the beautiful trails of desert. When this is the place that thousands of visitors come to unwind from everyday life, you know there must be something special about Scottsdale.

No matter if you are single, a young family, or a retiree, you can find exactly where you belong here.  It’s no secret that the Valley of the Sun has no shortage of exciting nightlife, outdoor activities, and great homes nestled in a beautiful scenario.  What are you waiting for?

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Tee Time
Golfing is a favorite hobby in Scottsdale.  Whether it’s for leisure or business affairs, there are plenty of rolling green courses to choose from here.  Surrounded by the complimentary views of mountainous landscapes, this area has become the premier destination for avid (and novice!) golf players around the globe.  A few of the preferred courses of the locals to tee off include Troon North (which continues to hail king of the “must play” courses), Southern Dunes Golf Club, and The Boulders.

The Dining Experience
If you are looking for an evening of fun and food, The Mission Restaurant serves up a mix of traditional dishes with a modern twist.  The atmosphere alone will make you feel like you are miles away from home.  Start your Latin-inspired feast with their famous guacamole and pair it with the perfect tequila cocktail.  You won’t regret it.
When the chef is the southwest nominee recognized by the James Beard Foundation, you know you are in for an amazing culinary experience.  FnB uses locally grown ingredients in dishes that will engage even the most eclectic taste buds.  The menu is seasonally rotated to ensure the freshest quality.  Their award-winning wine list perfectly pairs dishes to the glass.  Be sure to make a reservation!
While locals enjoy celebrating special occasions at this local cafe, the setting at Monarch brings a romantic feel to any meal.  Request a table in the candlelit courtyard to enjoy a chef-inspired 4-course meal.  End it all with a delectable slice of rum cake.

Get Outside
Many locals would agree that it’s almost impossible to live in Scottsdale without enjoying the active lifestyle.  Bike trails, outdoor yoga, and hiking paths invite you to explore the hidden treasures of the city.  Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture breathtaking views!
Best local park?  Pinnacle Peak.  Be ready to spend your entire day enjoying the cactus air!

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Social Scene
If you didn’t know that so much of Scottsdale revolved around food and drinks, take a look at the local event calendar.  From the Scottsdale Culinary Festival to Southwest Festival of Beers, your social agenda will quickly fill up!

Parada del Sol Parade

The Scottsdale Arts Festival welcomes over 170 artists from across the country.  Peruse the booths, enjoy the music, and take home your own masterpiece.  If you are a music lovers, Arizona Musicfest is your scene.  Or check out live music when the sun sets.  Old Towne Tavern offers one the best patios around. Gather some friends, sip on some drinks, and listen to your favorite local band.  You’ll soon find out that Scottsdale is a nightlife kind of town.  Get out and enjoy the scene!

Become Refined
Gather your friends and sip on the best wines in the Valley.  Explore different flavors at wineries and support your local businesses at Aridus Wine Company, LDV Winery, and Postino.
Tap into your cultural side by purchasing an annual membership into one of the area’s museums.  Debuting as one of Arizona’s newest attraction, Museum of the West embraces the art, history, and stories of the American West.  Engage yourself in the rotating exhibitions, events, tours, and activities for the entire family.  The Heard Museum celebrates the heritage and culture of American Indians.  The art exhibits and galleries brings to life how they played a role in shaping our future.  The Museum of Contemporary Art exhibits the modern works of art, design, and architecture.  Check out the events calendar for upcoming galleries, social minglings, and artist meet-and-greets.
While the Grand Canyon is Arizona’s most visited tourist spot, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home Taliesin West can also boost as a national historic landmark.  Tucked at the foothills of McDowell Mountains, you can feel the famous architect’s presence and the legacy he left for the future.

Baseball Fanatics
After a long winter break, baseball spring training returns just in time for spring.  Sports fans flock to this great town from mid-February to late March to spend an afternoon immersed in America’s favorite pastime.  Pitchers and catchers report to local spring training and more than 200 games are booked on the Cactus League schedule.  Root for your team in (practically) your own backyard!

If you’re interested in looking at real estate in Scottsdale, consult a native from the Valley of the Sun!  I’ll be able to find your dream home in your dream community!  Call me- Erin Newman at 480-466-8193 for a consultation.
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