4 Things That Will Get Your Home Sold for Top Dollar

People lose out on thousands of dollars if their homes aren’t properly prepared for sale. These four things will make sure you sell your home for top dollar.  

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If you’re ready to sell your home, make sure it is properly prepared for the winter market. Not doing so could potentially cost you thousands of dollars. Our team really knows how to make a difference in the look of a home. Here are four things that will help your home sell for top dollar:
  1. Curb appeal. Curb appeal plays a vital role. Most people think of landscaping when they think of curb appeal, but it’s more than that. For example, consider getting a new door handle. This will boost a buyer’s opinion of a home before they even enter it. 
  2. Holiday decorations. Although we all love his antics, you don’t want to be Clark Griswold when trying to sell your home. Having some decorations like a tree or another holiday centerpiece is great, though. 
  3. Although we all love his antics, you don’t want to be Clark Griswold.
  4. Natural light. Always make sure your windows are clean and the curtains are pulled back. Show off as much natural light as you possibly can. 
  5. Interior staging. I can’t rave enough about the benefits of interior staging. Spending the money to have a home professionally staged always comes back in the price the home sells for. Again, to see an example of what I mean, look back at those before and after pictures. 
If you do these four things, you will sell your home, and you will sell for a great price. If you have any further questions or want to talk about selling your home, please give us a call or shoot us an email. We are here to help. 

The Election's Impact on ​the Housing Market

A lot of people have been asking us about the long-term impact of the new president on the real estate market. In reality, the market will continue to operate the same way it always has.

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We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about the housing market and how it’s going to be affected by the recent results of the presidential election. This isn’t a political topic, because the housing market isn’t about who is in office.

No matter who has been in the office, our market cycles in 10-year increments, and we are in year 10 from the most recent market tip in 2006.

The most important thing to pay attention to when looking to buy a home is what’s right for you when determining your mortgage payment and your interest rate. Homes haven’t been this affordable since the 1970s due to these low rates.

Since Donald Trump was elected president, rates have gone up. The 10-year bond has spiked. It remains to be seen whether that trend will continue. The Federal Reserve is meeting this month to determine whether to raise interest rates or not.
Homeowners have a much higher net worth than renters.
Even though we aren’t sure what the rates are going to do, we do know one thing about homeownership. According to statistics on median net worth for the average American, the average homeowner’s net worth is much higher than the average renter’s. The average net worth for a homeowner is $195,400. The average net worth for a home renter is $5,400. That’s a huge difference just for owning a home. We are big proponents of homeownership because of what it does for you in building wealth over your lifetime. There are great things that come with homeownership, like interest rates, tax writeoffs, and more.

If you want to get a plan going for owning a home, we can help. Whether you are dead-set on buying or just curious, give us a call or send us an email. We would love to hear from you.

Our Way of Saying Thanks

In the real estate profession, our success is only possible because of our wonderful clients. We want to say thanks with a free pie for Thanksgiving.

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Thanksgiving is almost here and we always like to take this time to be grateful for everything that we have in our lives. In our profession, our business would be nothing without you, so we're endlessly thankful for you as our client. Know that we don't take that for granted.

As a small token of our appreciation, we'd like to give you a free, delicious pumpkin pie. All you have to do is fill in some information on our website, and we'll set you up with a free pie that will be available on Tuesday, November 22nd between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Our business is nothing without you, so let us say thanks.
We appreciate you sending in your submission early so that we can have enough time to reserve enough pies—we won't be baking them personally, which is probably for the best!

We hope to hear from you soon and see you on the 22nd to pick up your free pie! I can't tell you how much we appreciate your business and your referrals.

To reserve your pie, click here.

Answering Some Common Distressed Real Estate Questions

We are here to answer some questions about short sales, how they work, the benefits they offer, and how long you have to wait to buy again.

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We are back to answer a few questions about distressed home sales. A lot of people went through foreclosures and short sales during the recession, and a lot of them are now curious about when they can get back into the market. Others bought during the recession and haven’t quite been able to stay above water, so they want to short sell their homes. Let’s discuss the wait period first. People have been asking, “When can I buy a home again?”

If you want to buy a home with conventional financing after going through a short sale, you will have to wait four years. After a foreclosure, you would have to wait seven years. This loan has a limit of $417,000. If you want to buy with an FHA loan, which has a limit of $271,050, you’ll only have to wait three years. This goes for both short sales and foreclosures.

The second question I’ve been getting is “How do I short sell my house?” Unfortunately, this question is becoming all too common. The market is still about 20% off from where it was at the peak in 2007, and if you’re underwater and can’t sell traditionally, a short sale can be a great option.
The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act is still in play.
The best thing about doing a short sale right now is that the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act is still in play through the end of 2016. Congress could extend this out, but as of now, they have not. You still have several months to take advantage of this act through a short sale, which will forgive you from paying taxes on an owner-occupied residence that you want to short sell.

If you have any questions for me at all, don’t hesitate to reach out. I can answer all your real estate questions and point you in the direction of an experienced loan officer to answer any mortgage-related inquiries. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Announcing the $300 Southwest Gift Card Drawing Winner

We're excited to announce the winner of the $300 Southwest gift card!

We've been calling around for about three months, adding our wonderful clients to the drawing. We wanted to once again say thanks for doing business with our real estate team.

And without further ado, the lucky winner is Denise Carroll!

Thanks to everyone for participating! If you'd like to be entered twice for our next prize drawing, send a referral our way.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Combatting Arizona’s Loan Contingency Clause

Let’s say you are selling your home. It’s been under contract, you’re three days away from closing, and you’re all ready and packed up. Suddenly, you receive that dreaded call that the buyer is walking away. What’s more, they’re taking their earnest money with them, which can be done in the state of Arizona.

This is a nightmare scenario that happens to people in this state when they don’t have the right representation looking out for their best interests. In this state, many agents don’t even know that this clause exists. We always consult with our clients about this clause. In a counter-offer situation, we also counter that verbiage of the clause.

In Arizona, some agents don’t even know that this clause exists.

We like to bump up the timeframe that allows them to back out of the deal prior to close of escrow from three days to 10 or even 14 days. That way, both parties know that there’s a hard stop, so if the buyer isn’t able to obtain loan approval 10 (or 14) days before close of escrow, their earnest money is not refundable.

We always aim to put your best interests at the forefront. If you have any questions about loan contingencies or any questions at all about real estate, give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

How to Take 8 Years off Your Mortgage!

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There is one simple strategy that banks don’t want you to think about when it comes to mortgage payments. This strategy allows you to turn a 30-year mortgage into a 22-year mortgage. How do you do that?

First of all, there are different mortgage options out there: interest-only mortgages, 15-year mortgages, and 30-year mortgages. While many people might prefer the 15-year mortgage, it does come with a more expensive monthly payment that most people can’t afford.

One extra payment a year shaves 8 years
off your mortgage!

If you go with the 30-year mortgage but want to pay it off sooner, all you have to do is make one extra payment a year. If you can’t swing an extra payment at the end of the year, consider adding 1/12th of your mortgage payment to your regular monthly payments.

For example, if you had a monthly payment of $2,000, you would pay $2,167 a month in order to get that extra payment. That way, you will own your house free and clear in 22 years while saving tens of thousands of dollars in interest.

This strategy is a great way to build wealth. If you have any questions, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Can Real Estate Ever Go to Zero?

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A question that I get a lot that I'm passionate about is this - can real estate as an investment ever go to zero?

The answer is no, it can't. That's what makes real estate such a sound investment. Stocks as an investment, on the other hand, can go to zero. I have unfortunately experienced that personally. A stock that I owned just filed for Chapter 13, and the price went to zero.

It's not a good feeling to have, and it's exactly why real estate is such a sound investment to add to your portfolio whether you're a seasoned investor or just starting out. Real estate never goes to zero because it will always be in demand.

Real estate never goes to zero because it will always be in demand.

It depends what you want out of real estate - land, speculation for appreciation, a multi-family home, monthly cash flow, or a long-term appreciation play, to name a few. There are a lot of things to consider when looking at real estate, like potential ROI (return on investment) that we can advise you with when investing in real estate. We are investor-friendly Realtors at the Kelly Cook Real Estate Group!

If you have any questions about the benefits of real estate investment, we'd be more than happy to answer them for you. Give us a call or send us an email and let's get the conversation started.

Are You a Home Buyer With Student Loan Debt?

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Why is June 29th such an important date in the lending world? If you’re looking to purchase a new home, have student loan debt, and you qualify for FHA or VA financing, this is for you.

The process will become more difficult for you at the end of next month. Congress recently passed new legislation stating after June 29th, low or deferred student loan payments will now count against your debt-to-income ratio.

The process will become more difficult for you at the end of next month.

Again, low or deferred payments don’t currently harm you as a home buyer, but they will pretty soon. If you have student loan debt, but want to purchase a home in the surrounding area, reach out to me as soon as possible! We can put you in touch with a lender to get your money’s worth before this change affects your buying power.

Is Zillow Endangering Your Home Sale?

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I talk to many of my clients who want to know whether or not they can trust Zillow to provide accurate home value estimates. I want to start off by saying that Zillow can be helpful to real estate consumers. There is a ridiculous amount of information available on that site, and most of it is helpful. However, Zillow’s home value estimation tool, the Zestimate, should be avoided. You might as well spin a wheel and pick a random price for your home.

If we go on Zillow's website, this is how they explain it: The Zestimate is created by an automatic software process designed by statisticians, and there is no ability for humans to manually alter the Zestimate for a specific property.

Zillow's estimates are always off by about 8%, which first of all, is a ton of money. At a high price point, the margin error is huge.

To make that more clear, let's say a home is estimated to be worth $500,000. If the Zestimate is off by 10%, that's a difference of $50,000! If the home is underpriced, you're missing out on tens of thousands of dollars. If your home is overpriced by 10%, it will sit on the market for awhile, and you might have to drop the price, causing buyers to wonder what's wrong with the home.

Remember, Zillow can't take features or upgrades on your property and compare them to other recently closed homes in your area, even though doing so gives you a more updated value on your property. Zillow doesn’t know anything about your school district or the value of your location.

Zillow’s home value estimation tool, the Zestimate, 
should be avoided.

Zillow doesn't walk through your home or your neighborhood, and that's where my team can come in and place an accurate value on your home. As markets shift, Zillow's numbers become even less reliable.

Ultimately, if you want the most accurate price for your home, make an appointment with a real estate professional. We will take our time looking at your home and the local market data in order to give you the most accurate home value.

If you have any questions, or if you're interested in a home valuation, give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you!

How to Buy and Sell On the Top of the Market in Arizona

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I had a great question come up the other day. A seller was wondering how to capitalize on the dollar value of his home sale. He thought it was great if he could sell his home for top dollar, but what was he to do when he went to buy a home later on? He would be fighting the same uphill battle with another seller, so his top-dollar sale wouldn’t mean a whole lot when he has to turn around and purchase a home for a high price.

What are we to do in this situation?

Well, I will challenge this statement and say that the affordability index has never been lower. Our affordability index has actually never been lower since the early 1970s when we initially started tracking affordability. When you compare houses today and and houses 20 years ago, you can buy more home and pay less in your monthly mortgage payment. 

It’s also important to point out that mortgage interest rates have been historically low for some time, so this will help to push your dollar further when you’re turning around and buying a home. We’ve also seen a lot of people downsizing, and this will surely make your dollar go further.

Overall, it’s a phenomenal time to buy a home. Please contact me and I can put you in touch with a lender to jumpstart the process.