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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 26

Affordable and Easy Ways to Bring Buyers to Your Home

by Gary Nelson

Spring and summer months are always the best time of year to sell your home in Flagstaff. And it’s not too late to take advantage of this hot market.  So how do you make your home stand out from the crowd?  If your home looks like it’s taken care of, that will go a long way to making the sale. And the great news is that you can make your home have a great first impression without making a great impression on your wallet. Here’s a few tips.

1. Pressure-washing

If you get rid of the grit and grime that builds up during the winter on your home, it will make a huge difference, and it’s inexpensive. Just be sure that your pressure washer setting is strong enough to remove the mold and sludge without lifting the paint or splinter the wood. Renting a gas-powered pressure washer will cost about $80 a day.  Or better yet, spend a little more to buy one for later use in your new home.

2. A Pretty Porch

First impressions are everything, and your porch is going to speak volumes about the rest of the home.  Pat Vredevoogd Combs, a former National Association of Realtors®  president based in Grand Rapids, Michigan says he hears buyers say: “‘If they can’t keep up the outside of the house, what are they hiding on the inside?’” Keeping your porch clean is relatively easy and will make a huge difference.

3. Clean Outside Windows

This is not as hard as it sounds. If you use a cleaning product that attaches to your hose, it will be an inexpensive and easy task. Just spray the solution on the glass, and then follow with a rinse spray. Then just simply let it dry or squeegee it.

4. Paint the Front Door

In addition to your porch, your front door also tells a tale. So why not liven it up with a fresh coat of paint? If you use a premium one-coat exterior paint, it will reduce time and money as it doesn’t need a primer. Also use a semi-gloss as opposed to high gloss, as high gloss will reveal imperfections. All of this will cost about $35.

5. Shiny New Numbers

Does your house have those old small numbers that are hard to read? Buy some new ones that are shiny, big and bold. Get ones that are about 5 inches tall. Place them on the house by pretending you’re someone trying to find the house number that’s never been there before.

6. Porch Lights

Your porch light has probably never been replaced or cleaned, so now is a perfect time. Go with a contemporary finish like black, brushed nickel or oiled brass. And if you’re out of money, try using restoring wipes like Rust-Oleum or Rejuvenate to renew surfaces.

Just these few simple and affordable steps can help you sell your home faster and make more money.  So why not start now? Check back on our blog every week for more real estate and home care advice. 

How Much is a Home With a View in Flagstaff Worth?

by Gary Nelson

The fabulous vistas of the Flagstaff area are certainly hard for a homeowner to resist. But how much are you going to pay to see those amazing views of the mountains, water, or other scenic features from the comfort of your home? What you need to determine is how much extra that cost is and if it’s worth it.

According to appraisers and analysts, there’s no simple answer. Principal data scientist Andy Krause at Greenfield Advisors says “Views are actually really difficult to quantify. It’s somewhat subjective. What makes a better water view? Do you want it to be wider? Do you want more of the water from a taller angle? You know, some of that is in the eye of the beholder.”

And that’s the difficult part of the equation. Not all views are equal, and not all tastes are the same.

If a view is a must have for your next home in Flagstaff, here’s a couple of tips.

Is the view protected?

A homeowner of an expensive home in Houston sued after a high-rise office tower was built across the street. The building ended up blocking their view and they no longer had privacy in their backyard, as office workers could see their backyard and pool. But if they had done some research, they would have seen that the area was zoned for such a building, and so the lawsuit was dismissed. To avoid this happening to you, it’s a good idea to check with planning authorities about zoning near your home and if there’s any large projects planned where your view is going to be.

Find a Great View with a Not As Great House

You may be able to find a house with a great view, but maybe the windows are smaller and don’t show off the scenery.  In that case, you may pay less for the home and then invest money in a limited remodel to add larger windows or perhaps a rooftop deck. Make sure you check the deed for restrictions as well as homeowner association rules, if any.

What could be better than a home with a spectacular view of the Flagstaff area? If you’re looking to buy a home in Flagstaff, whether it’s a spectacular mountain view, or just a regular view, we can help you find the perfect home. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool. And make sure to follow us on our blog every week for more real estate advice and news, along with articles about living in Flagstaff.

Should You Add a Deck?

by Gary Nelson

What to consider when building a deck in FlagstaffIs building a deck on your to-do list for your home?  Without a doubt, it’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery in Flagstaff.  What really matters though, is how much you want to spend and what type of deck is best for your home. According to Remodeling magazine’s “2018 Cost vs. Value Report,” a wood deck on average can cost around $10,000, while a composite deck can set you back almost $18,000. The report was based on a national review of costs based on a 16x20 deck with pressure-treated joists, a built-in bench and planter.

In the end, the cost for your deck will depend largely on size, style, and the contractor.  However, you can get an idea in advance of how much it will cost overall.

How much does it cost to build a deck?

You need to consider a number of items to determine final costs. Installation is one of the largest factors.  Determining installation costs will go a long way in ascertaining the final cost. According to Andrew Wormer, editor of Professional Deck Builder magazine: “For every dollar spent on materials and supplies, expect to spend another dollar to have it installed.” Some contractors cover both labor and materials in their quote.

Planning Your Deck Installation

Set Limits: Building a deck is no different than building any room. You’ll need to follow local Flagstaff building and zoning codes, which may end up determining the size of the project. When it comes to upkeep, you need to plan for the future.  Synthetic materials cost more up front, but they don’t need as much maintenance, costing less overall.

Budget: Set a budget by making a “wants” and “needs” list. Set a limit on the total price you’re able and willing to pay. The size of your home also should be considered. The deck needs to be proportional to the size of your home.  It may look find of funny if you have a large home with a tiny deck. And if your home is smaller, an elaborate deck might not make sense either. Also, check with your homeowner’s insurance to see about the need for additional insurance for your deck.

Find the Right Contractor:  This is a big one. Finding the right contractor will make all the difference, but make sure to do your research. Try to get quotes from at least 3 contractors so that you get a fair price.  Also check online reviews, and ask potential contractors for photos of past projects.  You should also check with your local building department to make sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured.

Reducing Costs

There’s more than a few ways to reduce costs. Stay away from fancy design features. You can reduce the overall size of the project to help reduce costs. The right materials also makes a difference. Untreated decks cost less to install, but more to maintain. The reverse is true for composite decks. Also, if you build during the fall or winter, it could save you more, as contractors have fewer jobs and may be inclined to reduce their costs.

Building a deck is a great way to increase the value of your home, both in how you enjoy living in it now and in the future when you decide to sell it. Check back on our blog every week for more real estate and home care advice. 

What to Consider With Home Inspections

by Gary Nelson


what to consider during a home inspection

Are you getting ready to buy or sell your home in Flagstaff?  If so, the home inspection is an important part of the process. A home inspection is so critical because it will determine the condition of the home.  A good home inspection will let you know what problems need to be addressed right now before the home is sold, and what potential issues that may need to be dealt with later.

What are some important things to consider when getting a home inspection?

  1. Research the Inspector

You may want to hire whoever is recommended to inspect your home and not check the inspector’s background and record.  This could be a costly mistake, as the inspection is only as good as the inspector.

Here are some important questions to ask a potential inspector:

  • How long have you been inspecting homes professionally?
  • How many home inspections have you performed in your career?
  • What are your qualifications, certifications and training?
  • What did you do for work before you were a home inspector? (Preferably, you want someone who was a contractor or builder.)

You should also make sure that the home inspector is receiving ongoing education and keeping current. They should be skilled enough to clearly explain the home’s good and bad points so that you can make the best decisions possible, whether you’re buying or selling a home in Flagstaff.

  1. Be There During the Inspection

There’s no rule saying you have to be at the inspection, but if you are there you can see the issues first hand and have them explained more clearly.  Reading the report doesn’t always reveal all that needs repairing.  When you see the issues in person and have the home inspector explain them, it will be far more helpful.  Even though an inspection may take a few hours, it’s well worth your time as it could save you a great deal of money.

  1. Get a Presale Inspection

If you’re selling a home in Flagstaff, you may be tempted to leave the inspection to the buyer. But it’s better for you to have an inspection before you put your home on the market.  If the buyer’s inspection reveals repairs that are needed to make the sale, you won’t have as much time to make the needed repairs. But if your home is inspected before you put it on the market, you’ll have more time to make needed repairs and will have more control over the costs.

A good home inspection is crucial to buying a home, so make sure you find the best inspector you can. If you’re ready to buy or sell a home Flagstaff and the surrounding area, we can help.  We’re happy to answer any questions about the process and make sure you have the right information going into the home inspection process. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool

 

How Has the 2018 Tax Reform Affected the Housing Market?

by Gary Nelson

For several months a number of experts and new sources were anticipating that the 2018 tax reform would have a negative impact on the real estate market. Quite a few sources were reporting that there could be a significant price depreciation because of changes in the tax code. Some were also surmising that there would be a significant drop in buyer demand. The dream of owning a home in America seemed to be hanging in the balance.

Now that we are past the first quarter of 2018, and we can really begin to look at the numbers and get a feel for the impact of the tax reform on the real estate market. Here are a few important questions we can ask.

1. Has tax reform killed off home buyer demand?

If we take a close look at the Showing Time Index which “tracks the average number of buyer showings on active residential properties on a monthly basis” and is a “highly reliable leading indicator of current and future demand trends,” we see that the number of home buyers has actually risen each month over the last three months. In fact, the numbers are even higher than they were for the same months last year. This shows that buyer demand is going up, not down.

2. Have the tax changes affected America’s belief in real estate as a long-term investment?

A few weeks ago, Gallup released its annual survey that asked Americans which asset they thought was the best long-term investment. This is what the survey showed:

“More Americans name real estate over several other vehicles for growing wealth as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. Just over a third cite real estate for this, while roughly a quarter name stocks or mutual funds.”

The same survey also showed that there has been no significant change in the percentage of Americans who believe real estate is a good investment in the past year.

3. Has the homeownership rate been negatively impacted by the tax changes?

In her latest “Z Report,” Ivy Zelman showed us that the 2018 tax reform didn’t damage the homeownership rate, but instead helped it.  She explains it this way:

“We have been of the opinion that homeownership is most highly correlated with income and the net effect of tax reform would be a positive, rather than negative catalyst for the homeownership rate. While still in the early innings of tax changes, this has proven to be the case.”

4. Will the reforms in the tax code cause home prices to tumble over the next twelve months?

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights Report, home prices will appreciate in each of the 50 states over the next twelve months. Appreciation is projected to be anywhere from 1.9% to 10.3% with the national average being 4.7%.

As we continue to move through the year and see more numbers, we can see that the dire predictions of the 2018 tax reform have not panned out as anticipated.

If you’re ready to buy a home Flagstaff and the surrounding area, we can help.  We’re happy to answer any questions about the process and make sure you have the right information going into the home buying process. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool

 

First Time Home Buying Misconceptions

by Gary Nelson

Are you thinking about buying your first home in Flagstaff? No doubt you’re excited about your decision, but may have some doubts about whether you’re able to make this work. There are certainly misconceptions circulating that may give you some doubts. Friends and family may be telling you things that are outdated or simply not accurate. Times change, and the housing market is certainly something that changes.  What are some of the home buying misconceptions that may deter you?

  1. You need a 20% down payment to get a mortgage.

At one time this was the case. Decades ago, you had to pay 20% - 50% down for a mortgage and needed almost perfect credit.  This obviously limited home ownership. In order to make it possible for more people to own a home, the government created the Federal Housing Administration and began offering “FHA Loans”. Today the FHA will back a loan from a home buyer who only has a credit score of 500 and a 10% down payment. And for those with a better credit score of more than 580, you only need 3.5% for a down payment! Because of this provision, more people are able to buy homes today.

  1. You Can’t Qualify For a Mortgage With Student Loans

Debt is debt, whether it’s a credit card or loans.  Just because some of your debt is a student loan doesn’t make a difference, beyond what your total debt is compared to your income. And this is what lenders look at – your debt to income ratio. What really matters is if you’re managing your current debt and can afford to add a mortgage to it.

  1. You can save money by not using a real estate agent.

This belief is simply not true. Some people may thing that using a real estate agent is going to add to the cost of buying a home. Sure they make a commission.  But the point is that the seller is the one who pays that fee, and it’s worked into the selling price of the home, regardless of whether you decide to use an agent. So why wouldn’t you use an agent if it’s not going to cost you in the end? It makes buying a home so much easier. The agent takes care of all the paperwork, appraisals, inspections, and other matters that are part of the process, so you don’t have to.

  1. It’s cheaper to buy a home that needs a lot of renovating.

Some people who watch home improvement shows may think that buying a home that needs major renovation is the way to go. If you can do most of the work yourself, maybe. But if you have to hire all the work, not to mention the time and materials, it will not be cheap. Save yourself the pain and chose the home in Flagstaff that meets your needs without all the mess of renovation.

If you’re ready to buy your first home Flagstaff and the surrounding area, we can help you make your first home buying experience a positive one.  We’re happy to answer any questions about the process and make sure you have the right information going into the home buying process. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool

Should You Sell Your Home By Yourself?

by Gary Nelson


Are you planning to sell your home in Flagstaff? Are you planning to use an agent or sell it on your own? You may have been told that selling your home without an agent will make you more money in the end. But is that really true? Sure, you would expect that a real estate agent would advise you not to sell your house on your own, or FSBO (For Sale by Owner). Maybe you think that real estate agents are just trying to use your home to make money just for themselves. But it really is in your best interest when selling a home to consider why using an agent to sell your home in Flagstaff will benefit you more than selling your home by yourself.

Just think about this fact. Selling a home is the largest transaction that most people make. This isn’t the same as selling an item on Facebook. There’s hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of dollars at stake.  And the money is only the tip of the iceberg. You have legal matters, mortgages, mounds of paperwork, and plenty of people to negotiate with. The other thing to consider is how to determine the true value of your home.

Also consider that real estate agents have many years of experience and training in selling homes in Flagstaff.  Sellers usually do not have this experience. Your ability to negotiate will determine if you get the best deal for you and your family.

Here’s just a sample of some of the people you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The termite company if there are challenges
  • The buyer’s lender if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
  • The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • The title company if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits
  • The town or municipality if you need to get the CO permits mentioned above
  • The buyer’s buyer in case there are challenges with the house your buyer is selling
  • Your bank in the case of a short sale

Over the past 20 years, the amount of sellers who have hired an agent has been rising. Gary Nelson and Realty Executives have the experience you need to sell your home in Flagstaff.  Call them at 928-225-3510 to start the process today. Don't lose out on the benefit of using an agent to help you get the most from your home sale.

Moving With Pets

by Gary Nelson


Are you getting ready to move into your new home and you have pets? To be sure, it will be a worthwhile challenge. Your pets have perhaps even been used to the same surroundings their whole lifetime. When you move, it causes a huge disruption to that sense of protection that your home provided, especially since they don’t know why everything has suddenly changed. That’s why moving is so stressful for animals. How do you remove some of that stress to make the change more bearable?  Here’s a few tips that can help.

Moving With Dogs & Cats

Prepare for the First Few Days

Make sure your dogs and cats are comfortable during the first days in your new home.  Prepare an ‘overnight kit’ that has enough food, litter, toys and other needed items to help your bets feel at home.

Keep Them Out of the Action

If you have a friend who can watch your pets or a kennel during the move, that would be ideal.  After you’re done moving everything in, then you can move them into the fully furnished home after the action has subsided.  But if that’s not an option, try to find them a quiet room in the new house to adjust to.  Make sure you also check on them regularly and try to stick with feeding and walking routines.

Keep Them Inside

Also ensue that your dogs or cats don’t go outside until you get to the new home. They can get lost easily in this strange new surrounding. Again, keep them inside for a few days to let them have time to adjust to their new neighborhood.

Move the House Before You Move Your Pets

Moving your pets last during the move is always the best method.  Try to get as much set up as you can before moving your pets in. You can set up one room first to move them into and keep them there to let them adjust.  Give them plenty of attention and toys to make them feel at home.

Update Their Info

After you move, visit a local pet store or vet to update their tag and chip info.

Moving With Fish

Moving fish can be tricky.  They are easily traumatized and can die easily from a move. To help, if you’re moving short distances, move them in plastic bags filled with their old tank water.  But if you’re moving a long distance, it may be better to find your fish a new home rather than risk them dying.

Moving With Birds

Birds can be, well, flighty.  Just because your bird hasn’t flown off your shoulder before doesn’t mean it won’t after a stressful move. It actually happens more than you think. So make sure you keep your bird caged during the move and even a few days after.

Moving is never easy, but if you prepare, you can make it easier for your furry family.

If you're planning on buying a home in the Flagstaff area and have questions about buying now or saving for a larger down payment, feel free to contact us to help you decide what works best for your situation. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool. 

Private Mortgage Insurance - What Is It?

by Gary Nelson

Are you planning on buying a home in Flagstaff? If so, how much do you know about the mortgage process, specifically Private Mortgage Insurance?  If you plan on getting a mortgage offers less than 20% down payment, you’ll notice a lot of programs out there that lets you do this. But if you plan on getting one of these types of loans, you also need to know about Private Mortgage Insurance. If you don’t already know about this type of insurance, how can it help you when you buy your next home?

Freddie Mac defines PMI as:

“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.

Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”

The borrower pays the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:

“The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio – the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value – and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.”

Last year, the average down payment for all home buyers across the nation was 10% and 5% for first time buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). They also reported that  the average down payment for repeat buyers was 14%. That means that Private Mortgage Insurance didn't stop many home buyers from buying homes.

Here’s an example of the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment without PMI:

The larger the down payment, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, but Freddie Mac has this advice:

“It’s no doubt an added cost, but it’s enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”

If you're planning on buying a home in the Flagstaff area and have questions about buying now or saving for a larger down payment, feel free to contact us to help you decide what works best for your situation. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool. 

Planning For the Worst: Budgeting For Emergency Repairs

by Gary Nelson

Butget for home reapirs and plan for the worstHomes are complicated structures, containing hundreds of moving parts that can wear out over time. Sooner or later they'll need to be replaced. That means that it's essential to budget for emergency repairs. When something essential breaks and causes damage, you usually have no choice but to repair it immediately.

How much should you save?  Financial planners suggest saving about $5000, which is usually enough to cover most emergencies. Another suggested figure is to save between 3 - 6 months equivalent to your home expenses.

Setting aside money can be a challenge for some people. One way to set aside money is to set up a savings account that automatically transfers a set mount of money every time you make a deposit or get a paycheck. You can also find apps for your phone or pad that help save and budget money. When you have money automatically set aside, you tend to forget about it, so it seems to build up faster.

What if you don't have money set aside right now? If you have a credit card, make sure it has enough available balance to cover emergency repairs. But of course, you should default to spending cash if you can, so you can avoid interest.  Or make sure you quickly pay of any repairs charged to your credit card if you can. Another way you can take care of repairs is to refinance your home or take out a line of credit.

Setting aside money is not the only way to plan for the worst.  Getting a professional home inspection can be a wise investment, as it can be a great insight on what repairs need to be made in the near future. Also make sure to check your homeowners insurance to see which repairs are cover and what are not.

Planning in advance for emergency repairs can save time and headaches, while making sure no further damage occurs to your home.  Check back twice a week for more real estate advice and article about Flagstaff events and attractions.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 26

Contact Information

The Gary Nelson Group
Realty Executives of Flagsaff
15 E. Cherry Ave. Suite 101
Flagstaff AZ 86001
Direct: 928-225-3510
Office: 928-773-9300
Fax: 928-774-1102


 

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