Scottsdale Home Buying Tips

The Scottsdale home buying market is showing no signs of slowing down. In a recent survey conducted by TD Bank, 56% of homeowners across the nation feel it’s a ”good time” to buy a home. If you’re among those that are ready to start the home buying process for the first time, there are a few tips we’d like to share that may make your search more enjoyable, less stressful and ultimately successful. Let’s take a look at some of the first-time home buyer “rookie mistakes,” and how to avoid them.

Avoid these rookie mistakes when Scottsdale home buying.

Scottsdale Home Buying: Things to Remember

Watch your finances before buying a house. Keep an eye on your credit. Remember, taking on too much new debt or making a large purchase like a new car prior to the loan closing is a very bad idea. Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is one of the major considerations mortgage lenders analyze before the final approval process. Most people aren’t aware that lenders regularly review all the financial criteria used in the loan underwriting again before the loan closing takes place to ensure nothing has substantially changed. So, if you’re contemplating a new purchase, make sure you wait until after you’ve closed your loan and moved into your new home. Even then, make sure you can afford that new car, new furniture or second honeymoon. The last thing you want to do is create a financial bind immediately after you’ve bought a home.

Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start your home search. Often, first time homebuyers erroneously assume they can afford at least what they’re currently paying in rent. While that may be true, it’s best to sit down with a mortgage lender and get pre-qualified – that is, receive an early, non-binding commitment from the lender as to what they will likely be willing to loan you based on your credit score, DTI ratio and other lending criteria. Many sellers these days don't want their home being shown to anyone not already pre-qualified to purchase their home. Most real estate agents won’t show potential homes without a pre-approval.

Don’t choose the priciest home you can afford. Most real estate experts advise against buying the most expensive house you can find and qualify for right out of the gate. Remember, just because you can afford it doesn’t necessarily mean you should buy it. Home ownership often requires unexpected expenses as time goes on. Repairs, insurance premiums and deductibles, real estate property taxes and other potential surprises always come at the worst possible time. If you’ve spent all your savings for the down payment of your home, you may not have anything in reserve to take care of these or other homeowner emergencies.

Don’t prioritize the home over the neighborhood. It’s human nature for first-time homebuyers to get excited about the possibility of finding their dream home in the most popular neighborhood. Once they realize how far outside their budgets dream homes can be – especially in affluent markets – they often make the mistake of looking for that same dream home in a neighborhood that may not be as good.

Don’t be pressured, take your time and be smart. Another Scottsdale home buying tip for first-time buyers is to slow down and take your time. While in today’s often-hectic market many buyers have to act fast to get what they want, the key is not to be pressured into making a decision you may regret later. Educate yourself as to what’s available in the housing market and what the median sales prices are. Remember, knowledge is power, and the more you know about what you want and what you can expect in the real estate market, the better your chances of making a wise purchase.

Don’t rely too much on the Internet. The Internet has revolutionized the way prospective home buyers search for homes and get other information like mortgage financing tips, credit scores and more. However, it shouldn’t take the place of physically meeting or speaking with professional real estate agents, lenders and others during the Scottsdale home buying process.

Don’t forget to visit and revisit the house you want to buy. Remember, the location of your house is fixed and will never change. For that reason, visit the neighborhood at different times of the day and night to see what’s going on around you. Is there a particularly loud bar or music venue nearby that you weren't aware of? If the house is located near an airport, what’s the traffic like at various times of the day? The more visits you make to the house and the neighborhood, the more you’ll be able to know what it will be like if you buy.

Don’t skip the home inspection. Sometimes excited first-time home buyers think skipping the home inspection may be an easy way to save money. Besides, you’ve fallen in love with the home and there’s absolutely nothing that could possibly change your mind, right? Then you move in and are faced with maintenance or repair issues that could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars – a problem that may have been avoided with a home inspection.

Don’t be indecisive. While we mentioned above not to move too fast and take your time before making a decision to buy, it’s just as important to actually make a decision when you have to.

Some first-time home buyers run the risk of losing a chance to buy a particular property they like to another buyer if they don’t make a decision to act quickly. Although shopping around in the Scottsdale home buying market is usually a wise move, remember that indecision in a seller’s market means you probably won’t get the house you want.

Read more about home buying in the section of articles on Scottsdale Home Buying Tips just below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. Remember, we also post tips daily on Facebook and Twitter. Check us out there, too.

Many Scottsdale home buying tips have more to do with the house you’re considering buying than the buyers themselves. Home buying tips vary from what to look for when you inspect a home to ideas on how to remodel a room to better meet your family’s needs.

In this article, the home buying tips involve you, the prospective home buyer, and how you can make yourself more attractive to a seller. Let’s take a look at areas in which you can excel by positioning yourself at the top of the seller's list.

Scottsdale Home Buying: Make 'em Love You

If you’ve started house hunting already, you know it’s a competitive market. Because housing inventory is still relatively tight and home prices are rising throughout the U.S., the basic law of supply and demand has created a seller’s market. According to recently released statistics there’s a 4.7-month supply of homes for sale nationwide. That means it would take nearly five months for all the current homes for sale on the market to sell, based on a certain monthly sales volume. A normal, balanced market has a 6-month supply of homes. In today's market, a prospective home buyer like you needs an advantage to make you memorable – and separate you from other buyers competing for similar houses. Consider these steps to be better prepared:

Scottsdale home buying tips: home sellers almost always prefer to work with a buyer who can pay cash.

Scottsdale Home Buying Tips: Be Financially Prepared

Given the choice, home sellers almost always prefer to work with a buyer who can pay cash. Naturally, a buyer who doesn’t need to rely on a mortgage is an attractive commodity to a seller who doesn’t have to worry about the sale falling through due to financing issues. Interestingly, during the first quarter of 2016 all-cash buyers comprised about a third of all sales. But let’s be realistic, most buyers can’t pay cash and will still need mortgage financing. Meet with your lender in advance and get a pre-approval letter to show you can get the necessary financing for a certain amount or price range. The lender will pre-approve you – including a credit check and income verification process – prior to your home search. The pre-approval or pre-qualification process does two things:  Not only will it give you a competitive advantage, but it will let you know whether your home purchase budget is realistic.

Scottsdale Home Buying Tips: Be Aggressive

Normally, when buyers begin they are in the research phase of their home buying search. They may spend hours looking at online listings or attend a number of open houses. In a seller’s market, you need to be more aggressive, more ready to make decisions and move fast to get the house you want. A seller’s market means attractively priced homes get offers quickly. So, one of the most important Scottsdale home buying tips is if you're interested in a specific home, don't wait too long to make an offer – otherwise an opportunity may be missed. Most real estate experts suggest if you find a home you really like and think is priced fairly, make an offer as close to the asking price as possible. As one real estate agent said, “In a seller’s market, make your first offer an aggressive one… you might not get another shot.” Consider this, too: If you’re buying the home with mortgage financing, putting down a larger earnest money deposit can often give the sellers a better feeling that you’re not only in good shape financially, but that you’re serious about purchasing their home.

Scottsdale Home Buying Tips: Eliminate Contingencies

In today’s market, the more contingencies a sale has the less attractive it is for sellers to accept the offer. Simply put, they don’t need to… there are plenty of other prospects in the Scottsdale home buying arena. For example, a seller is more likely to reject an offer that’s contingent on the sale of an existing property. While that’s not unusual in most real estate transactions, in a seller’s market – and with a third of the purchasers paying cash – it may be enough for a seller to reject the offer and take his chances on a buyer ready to move quickly.

However, remember that not all contingencies are bad. Some are still needed even if it slows down the closing process. Keep home inspection contingencies in place for your protection. They may prevent you from making a costly mistake. If the home inspection is an issue, consider arranging for one before you make an offer.

Scottsdale Home Buying Tips: Be Flexible

Often home buyers can’t or don’t want to compete by getting into bidding wars and increasing their offers. You can separate yourself from the rest of the home buying pack by being easy to work with, flexible and responsive in the negotiation process. That brings us to another valuable Scottsdale home buying tip:  If you make an offer and there’s a deadline attached to it, be accessible. The pace can quicken and most sellers want a fast answer – one way or the other. A lack of response, or a slow response communicates ambivalence or non-interest to the seller and they will likely move on to another buyer with a similar offer.

Sellers who may want to close the sale quickly, but lease the home back for a short time after the closing have a unique need. Being open and easy to work with in a situation such as that will make your offer more attractive and valuable to them because it better fits their needs.

Scottsdale Home Buying Tips: Write a Letter

Some sellers are emotionally attached to their homes – especially if they’ve lived there for a long time and raised their children in the home. Those sellers are likely the ones that will want to make sure “their home” will be in good hands when they sell. As a buyer, you can appeal to that emotional connection by writing a letter to the sellers explaining why you and your family feel their home will be a perfect fit. Send the letter along with your offer – preferably by email – nobody trusts snail mail these days. Try to make a personal connection with the seller. Of course, if another interested party in the Scottsdale home buying market makes a higher offer, the letter may not do any good… but it can't hurt!

Read more about home buying in the section of articles on Scottsdale Home Buying Tips just below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. Remember, we also post tips daily on Facebook and Twitter. Check us out there, too.

The Scottsdale home buying market offers a number of options. With sales of new construction last year surging to the highest level since 2007, single-family home production is projected to reach 840,000 units this year. That represents an increase of 18% over 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The challenge for home buyers, however, is new residential construction comes with a higher price tag than ever. The NAHB reports that in 2015 the average price of a newly-constructed home rose to $351,000 – an increase of over $100,000 from 2009. If you're thinking of buying a new home, there are several things to know and questions to ask. Let's examine them.

Scottsdale Home Buying: Know "New"

When entering the Scottsdale home buying arena, if thinking of a new home build, consider these questions to ask.

While prices are indeed high for new construction, there are still ways you can save if you're looking to buy a new home. Real estate experts say it's similar to shopping for a new auto – the correct strategy will likely produce the best results.

When you're new home shopping, ask the home builders these six questions to find the best home for you – at the best price possible.

1 – "If I use your preferred lender and title company, what financial incentives can I expect?"
While production or "cookie cutter" builders are sometimes slow to set a precedent by negotiating sales prices, custom builders are often more open and flexible.

Home building experts offer this example as an explanation. Say a new home is listed for sale at $375,000 and sells for $365,000. The next prospective buyer in the development will expect to pay no more than $365,000 – the most recent comparable sale. As a way to keep the playing field level while maintaining the best margins, many builders may offer attractive incentives to home buyers who agree to use their preferred mortgage lender and title company. In addition, some home builders may even pay as much as $10,000 in closing costs. Still others may propose upgrades in the home such as more upscale granite countertops or hardwood flooring.

While you're shopping for a new home in the Scottsdale home buying marketplace, experts suggest you should get additional quotes from a minimum of two other lenders before making a decision. However, look past just the interest rate being offered. Compare the terms of each lender to ensure the loan estimates are comparable.

2 – "What are the standard finishes?"
Most model homes available for personal tours by prospective home buyers represent an upscale or higher-end version of the standard floor plan. It's important to find out from the builder or his representative which of the options are standard, what the upgrades are, and how much cost difference is. The bells and whistles shown in the model home are there for a reason – to pique your interest – but they usually cost more.

Some savvy buyers have found success using this strategy: They purchase the home and move into it without the upgrades. Then, at a later date, they hire a subcontractor to perform the desirable upgrades. Most home builders charge a substantial markup on some finishes and product types. For example, the new housing development's builder may charge $4,000 to $6,000 for a quality, high-performance HVAC unit. With some research and negotiation, you may be able to hire another company to install the same unit for roughly 50% of that cost.

The downside, of course, is that by using a third party after you move in you'll be responsible for paying for the upgrades out of pocket. For many borrowers, one of the biggest advantages of having the builder do the upgrades is that they can be financed into the loan amount and amortized along with the monthly payment.

3 – "What are the long-term plans for this community?"
Once you enter the Scottsdale home buying arena, you'll readily see that in cases where there is sufficient land, a successful home builder may be planning to build additional phases of an existing subdivision development. Often, this may affect your decision to buy. Here's why:

Let's assume that in a particular development only a handful of new homes have been built and sold. If the builder plans to develop an additional 50-75 homes and you and your family decide to buy and move in, guess what? You will inevitably have to endure construction noise, added traffic and potential debris for months to follow. In addition, there's always the chance that the original builder is unable to continue building in the development and a new company takes his place. If the quality of the workmanship suffers as a result of the builder change, that may adversely affect your home's value.

4 – “What are the HOA rules and regulations?”
Every HOA is different. While they all have Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) as well as bylaws, what those items contain will vary from place to place. If you're looking for a new home in the Scottsdale home buying market, be sure to get a copy of that information from the builder or development's representative and review them closely. If you want to have a private fence, a backyard storage shed or a doghouse you may want to check the HOA restrictions. Some HOA'S don't allow for those – and other – items. Ignorance of the bylaws will not excuse you from being assessed a penalty for non-compliance. In addition, be sure to find out when your HOA dues will commence. Many builders cover the HOA costs until a certain percentage of the development's homes (usually 50%) are sold.

5 – “What construction warranties do you provide?”
While most builders usually provide a one-year workmanship warranty and a 10-year structural warranty, warranties can vary. Be sure you know what your warranties cover and don't cover. Also, have a clear understanding for what the damage limitations are. Additionally, be sure to get manufacturer's warranties on your washer and dryer, hot water heater, HVAC unit, all kitchen appliances, and your home's roof.

6 – "Can you provide me with a list of your previous clients?"
As is the case with auto mechanics, dentists or even hairstylists, we all feel more comfortable dealing with people who come highly recommended. It's the same with builders in the Scottsdale home buying arena. Have the builder provide you with references and contact each of them. Ask them questions like, "Did he solve any issues that arose in a timely and satisfactory manner?" and "Would you do business with the builder again?" Remember this, however, it's human nature to only provide the names of references that will give us positive reviews, so be smart – see if you can find past customers of the builder on your own. Checking online for reviews on Angie's List, calling your local Better Business Bureau or area Homebuilder's Association, or going door to door and canvassing the homes previously built in your neighborhood may also provide additional information.

See more articles pertaining to home buying tips in the section of articles on Scottsdale Home Buying Tips just below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. And remember, we also post tips daily on Facebook and Twitter . Check us out there too.

Scottsdale home buying tips often remind us that looking for a house is like sampling a buffet of delicious food. Many of them look great, but aren’t good for you. And some you like and want the most just simply don’t agree with you. That can be disappointing, because we all want the foods we love to “love us back.” All joking aside, the home shopping process can hold many of the same disappointments. Let’s examine what you should do when you find a home you want to buy, but the seller doesn’t accept your offer.

Scottsdale Home Buying – Coping With Loss

Scottsdale home buying can be frustrating if you let rejection get to you.

You’ve looked at dozens of homes in your price range and in the neighborhoods where you want to live. You’ve finally found the one you want to buy, worked with your real estate agent to make the best possible offer and are waiting for the seller’s response. After a sleepless weekend your agent calls and gives you the bad news – the seller has rejected the offer.

So now what? Where do you go from here? What should you do – or not do?

Contrary to what some people think, there’s no law – written or implied – that a seller has to accept any offer, regardless of the amount. Until the sales contract is signed and the conditions are met by both parties, there’s no binding legal obligation.

Consider these three Scottsdale home buying tips on what to do when a seller refuses your offer.

Don’t spend time trying to analyze the seller.

It’s human nature for us to question any type of rejection, because it hurts our feelings. However, dwelling on the potential reasons the seller turned down your offer to buy their home is usually a waste of time and energy. For those of you that participated in team sports competition, it’s similar to obsessing on the “what ifs” and “shoulda, coulda and woulda's” after suffering a loss. Rarely is there one clear, concise reason.

You could spend endless hours analyzing comparable sales data, property tax records and other market indicators. In addition, you could then intertwine that data with information you or your agent received from the seller’s agent about their reasoning, their situation or their motivations. But remember these three, simple words:  Don’t do it. Just like trying to figure out why your team lost the big game, trying to understand the seller won’t accomplish much. While there’s nothing wrong with learning from your mistakes, often a seller’s rejection has little to do with anything you did or didn’t do. Worrying about it steals valuable time from searching for the next home you may love even more than “the one that got away.”

Make your best offer.

Perhaps your initial offer, though well thought out and fair, wasn’t the maximum you can afford or qualify for. Many Scottsdale home buying tips recommend holding back a little to allow some room to negotiate. A seller who hasn’t responded favorably to your – or other – offers so far, may not actually be all that motivated to sell. Maybe they’re having second thoughts. Maybe their situation has changed. Perhaps they need more time. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is they didn’t accept your offer and, as mentioned earlier, just because you want to buy their home doesn’t mean they have to say yes to the deal.

If the seller doesn’t respond, or if they make a less than attractive counteroffer, don’t waste time or mince words. Be direct, prompt and make your maximum offer in writing as soon as possible. After that, if there’s no positive response, continue the home-shopping process. It’s obvious you’ve done all you can do and, for whatever reason, the seller feels it’s not enough. To echo the newly-coined cliche’, “Move along, there’s nothing to see here.”

Get over it.

Buying a home can be an emotional experience. As such, it’s common for a prospective home buyer – especially a first-timer – to dwell on what might have been and find it difficult to move on. When this occurs, one of our Scottsdale home buying tips is to chalk it up to experience and file it under “lessons learned.” In the words of the immensely popular song from the motion picture “Frozen”, “Let it go.” One real estate agent who’s witnessed and endured her share of disappointment from clients says, “Every minute you spend dwelling on your missed opportunity is a minute that delays you from enjoying the next exciting find.” In other words, there are plenty of proverbial fish – bigger and better ones – in the sea.

Use the rejection experience to your advantage for the next offer. Chances are, that experience and the pains of rejection and disappointment will make you smarter and better prepared for making an offer or negotiating on a home that will probably make you forget the previous one completely.

Remember, time has a way of helping us through these and other losses. And while some losses in life are substantially more important than others, don’t be surprised if you look back and realize these tips were timely. Many a home buyer has experienced the feeling of satisfaction in looking back at the home they “simply had to have” only to be happier with the one they ended up buying. The moral of this home buying story is no matter how strongly you believe this house was meant for you, there are always other great houses that may be an even better fit.

It’s what makes home shopping exciting, exhilarating and fun. You never know what’s waiting for you. Like that delicious buffet we mentioned earlier, there are many choices. The key is to find the one that brings you the most personal satisfaction and enjoyment.

You can find more articles pertaining to Scottsdale home buying in the Scottsdale Home Buying Tips section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook. We hope you’ll check us out there, too.

Scottsdale home buying is neither an art nor a science, but somewhere in between. There are a number of factors to consider when you’re ready to buy. In addition, there are some proven strategies that will help you buy a home that is likely to appreciate more quickly. Let’s take a brief look at a few ideas that may give you “more bang for your buck!”

Scottsdale Home Buying: Ideas to Consider

Don’t buy the worst house in the best neighborhood. Many homebuyers assume that a popular neighborhood raises the value of all the homes within that neighborhood. While that may be true in some instances, the simple truth is the worst house(s) in the neighborhood rarely appreciate that quickly. A better approach is to consider buying a reasonably priced house near the hot neighborhood and allow the property values gradually extend to the adjacent neighborhoods. Real estate experts refer to this as the “halo effect.” The halo effect is when one trait influences the perception of the whole. It focuses on a positive trait that makes the entirety seem better. In other words, the attraction of having a popular, desirable neighborhood will give the perception that the immediate surrounding neighborhoods or subdivisions are equally as popular, trendy, or up and coming.

How can you predict the next hot neighborhood? Many real estate professionals say follow popular successful retail chains like Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. They often open in neighborhoods where home values are on the way up. Experts say homes located within a mile from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods appreciate faster than in most other areas.

The key is, of course, timing. Often, by the time the hot retailers move into a neighborhood, the values may already be on the rise. That’s why it pays to listen to a knowledgeable, experienced real estate agent who may know about deals or developments that are about to occur.

Choose the financing that’s best for you.
With all the mortgage choices available in the Scottsdale home buying market, it’s easy to take the first one with the lowest interest rate. However, a fixed rate 30-year mortgage may not be right for everybody. In fact, an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) could be an option worth considering – especially if you don’t plan to be in the home for more than 5-7 years. In addition, an ARM may allow you to save money with a lower interest rate during the initial term. Some home owners have found that helpful in enabling them to afford a more expensive home. Still, other home owners opt for the rate security that a fixed-rate 30-year mortgage offers. The key to making the right decision is to plan ahead, know what your financial plans and capabilities are, and select the mortgage program that best fits your individual situation. Consult a mortgage professional, a CPA, or a financial advisor if you need additional information.


See more articles pertaining to Scottsdale home buying in the Scottsdale Home Buying Tips section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. Remember, we also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook. Check us out there too.