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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

 

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

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. 

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.

5 Reasons to Use a Real Estate Agent When Buying or Selling

by Gary Nelson

Real Estate Agent

Whether you are buying or selling a home in Flagstaff, it can be quite an adventure. What you need is someone to guide you through this complex process so that you have success on this adventure. Some home buyers and sellers are tempted by instant gratification, so they may turn to selling or buying a home on their own.  This is called FSBO, or "for sale by owner." You've no doubt seen a few lawn signs around the Flagstaff area that say this. But is going it alone the best route?

The reasons you need to hire a Flagstaff real estate professional hasn't changed over the years. In fact, projections of higher mortgage interest rates and home prices has made it even more crucial to have help when buying or selling a home. Here are 5 of the top reasons you need help when buying or selling a home.

1. Do you want to deal with all the paperwork?

Arizona has regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true real estate professional is an expert in the Flagstaff and Arizona markets.  They know what paperwork needs to be completed and know how to do it. Save yourself that headache and let a pro take care of it.

2. What do you do when you find your dream home?

Many people don't realize that there are over 180 possible steps that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Do you know what they are? A real estate professional does. Let them take care of the process.

3. Are you a good negotiator?

Real estate transactions require negotiations with a number of parties. Most people are not familiar with this process or practiced in negotiation tactics. You need to negotiate with buyers (who want the best deals possible), home inspection companies, all the way to the appraisers.  There are at least 11 different people who you will need to be knowledgeable of, and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

Do you know what your home that you're selling in Flagstaff is really worth? Do you know what the home you're buying is worth? It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the amount of time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to a study by Collateral Analytics, FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by real estate agents:

“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.”

To get the most from your transaction, you need someone who's familiar with the Flagstaff market and can set the optimal price.  And if you're buying, you need someone who can tell if a home is set at the right price and can negotiate the best price.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the Flagstaff, Arizona market?

There is so much information out there on the news and on the internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on in the Flagstaff area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring a local agent in Flagstaff who has his or her finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying or selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

If you're buying or selling a home in Flagstaff, you can count on The Gary Nelson Group to help you through the process. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. And you can always feel free to call us at 928-225-3510 to talk to an experienced agent today to start you on your journey of buying or selling your home in Flagstaff.

5 Reason Why Owning a Home in Flagstaff Makes Sense

by Gary Nelson

The dream of owning a home in Flagstaff has never been more attainable.  Recent reports show that the number of people who own a home has rebounded from recent lows and is headed in the right direction.  The reasons to own a home may differ from person to person, but there are also many basic similarities.

Here are 5 basic reasons you should own your own home.

  1. It’s a way to save – When you pay your mortgage, you build equity in your home that can be used later in life.  You can use it to pay off credit card debt, put a child through college, or renovations.  If you pay rent, your landlord is the one with that equity.
  2. Tax savings – You can save on taxes by owning your own home.  You can deduct mortgage interest, property taxes, and profits from selling your home, but make sure to always check with your accountant first to find out which tax advantages apply to you in the Flagstaff area.
  3. Lock in monthly costs – When you get a fixed rate mortgage, you will lock in your monthly costs for up to 30 years.  Even when your home value increases, your monthly costs won’t.
  4. Cheaper than renting - According to the latest report from Trulia, it is now 37.4% less expensive to buy a home of your own than to rent in the US. That number varies throughout the country but ranges from 6% cheaper in San Jose, CA to 57% cheaper in Detroit, MI.
  5. No other investment lets you live inside of it – You can invest your money in gold or the stock market, but you will still need somewhere to live. In a home that you own, you can wake up every morning knowing that your investment is gaining value while providing you a safe place to live.

Before you sign another lease, why not sit down with to better understand all your options.

We're excited to present an all-new home search tool to our website! You can now more easily find the perfect home in Flagstaff.  If you've used our previous search feature, you'll notice similarities.  But this new search page makes it easier to refine your property search so that you only view the homes that meet your specific criteria.  Plus, it's mobile friendly, so you can use it on the road as you're searching the Flagstaff area for homes.

There's two great ways to search for your next home in Flagstaff:

Search by Location

You can search for homes in Flagstaff using a number of easily defined criteria.  Looking for recently listed homes? Just click the "New (Within 7 Days)" box.  You can select a specific location, a property type, specific home features, garage spaces, square feet, acres and more. And of course you can define your search by price range.

Draw on a Map - NEW FEATURE!

Don't quite know the name of the exact location you want to find a home in? If you can find it on a map, then you can search for it on our search tool.  This powerful feature lest you draw a shape around the area that you want to search in.  The, just like the Search by Location tab, you can refine your search using the same parameters.

Searching for the perfect home in the Flagstaff area has never been easier! Visit our new home search page today to start your journey to finding your new home.  And feel free to contact us any time at 928-225-3510 if you need help.

Home Buyers – Protect Yourself From Equifax Breech

by Gary Nelson

If you’ve been watching the news, by now you’re certainly aware of the massive data theft of 143 million consumer’s personal data from national credit bureau Equifax.  This is a situation that will affect a lot of lives.  It could especially affect home buyers and mortgage applicants.

Most American with a credit history could be affected. Addresses, Social Security numbers, driver’s license and credit card numbers could all be at risk.  These could be made available to the highest bidders on the Dark Web. 

Home buyers and mortgage applicants may be the most at risk, since they have a significant amount of information on file at the credit bureaus. This could cause serious problems down the road, especially during the buying process.

There’s no need to panic, as steps can be taken to protect yourself.  You can lock down your credit files with fraud alerts or credit file freezes, which will prevent people from opening accounts in your name and will prevent them from getting credit reports.

The FTC has helpful information on identify-theft countermeasures at consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft. And if you’re thinking of doing a freeze, a good site is uspirg.org/resources/usp/protect-yourself-against-new-account-id-theft. You can also get free, three-bureau credit monitoring service being offered by Equifax at equifaxsecurity2017.com. The most important first step is to check your three credit reports for free at annualcreditreport.com and see whether anyone has been tampering with your accounts.

Home Buying Tips for Making the Right Investment

by Gary Nelson

Buying a home is the biggest financial investment you may ever make.  If you're considering buying a home in Flagstaff, now is the time to consider some important points to make sure you make the best investment.  Here's a few tips to keep in mind when buying a home.

Don't Spend a Lot of Money

That is, don't spend big on other things, like cars or jewelry, or mainly running up your credit card.  Your spending habits will affect your home loan.  Of course, you want a clean paper trail to make sure you get the best loan you can.

Get Pre-Approved

If you get pre-approved for a loan, it gives you much more buying power.  First, it shows the seller that you mean business.  But it also gives you a good idea of what you can afford, so you don't end up in over your head on the deal. And you can also search for the best rates.  Make sure you also learn about other items involved in getting a loan, like junk fees, processing fees or points.

Avoid Hidden Costs

Many home buyers are just thinking about the mortgage payment.  But you need to also consider costs like property taxes, utilities, repairs, etc.  Make sure your budget covers these costs.

There are many factors that go into buying a home.  In the end, it's best to talk with a professional that can help guide you.  Give us a call at 928-225-3510, and we'll be happy to help you buy the right home that fits your budget

Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

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