Scottsdale home inspection tips like the ones found in this article could save you a ton of money. A home inspection is but one of the many expenses a homebuyer will face during the home shopping process. None is more critical – and potentially satisfying – than a home inspection. Experts say on a dollar for dollar comparison, a home inspection represents the wisest investment you can make regarding the home you’re considering purchasing. A thorough home inspection will examine and summarize your home’s good points and bad, giving you necessary insight to know how to proceed with the sales transaction.

Let’s take a look at Five Scottsdale Home Inspection Tips worth considering.

Choose the right type of inspection

 Among our many Scottsdale home inspection tips, if you opt to perform any repair work yourself, read this first.

Once you meet with your real estate agent to submit an offer to buy the home you like, your agent should cover the various types of inspections from which to choose. In addition to a standard home inspection there are others such as pest, radon and mold inspections.

Standard home inspections can be categorized into two different types:  The home inspection and the general inspection. While it may sound like nothing more than semantics, there are differences in the two – primarily in the manner in which the information reported by the inspection is utilized. A typical home inspection is the more popular option. In that report, the home seller will receive a notice from the prospective purchaser outlining certain specific items that need to be repaired prior to the closing of the sale. In addition, the notice will ask the seller to consider paying for the repairs by way of a credit toward the closing costs of the transaction.

Second on our list of five Scottsdale home inspection tips includes getting a general inspection, which is solely for informational purposes. It stops short of requesting that inspected issues be corrected or repaired – but it does provide the prospective homebuyer the option to refuse to close the sale based on the inspection’s findings.

Choose a qualified inspector In scheduling, conducting and following up with a home inspection it’s important that each participant in the process is experienced and highly qualified. The potential purchase of the home you’re interested in represents one of the largest financial investments you’ll ever make – and it’s important that you and the people you surround yourself with treat it as such. Select a home inspection expert that is currently licensed by, and is a member of, a well-known trade association such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI.) In addition, have the home inspector share a copy of the sample inspection report. Of course, you will ultimately obtain the entire report and its findings, but seeing a blank report ahead of time will give you a clearer picture of what to expect and how you can use the information in a potential negotiation with the home seller. In the end, the home inspector will give you a detailed list of the home’s components and their overall condition. Home inspectors recommend taking notes during the inspection recap – especially if you have questions regarding the use and maintenance of items such as home systems and appliances you’re not fully familiar with.

Where’s the owner’s manual? Funny thing about homes – they rarely come equipped with an owner’s manual. Among our Scottsdale home inspection tips is the advice of many experts which recommends you accompany the home inspector while he’s conducting the inspection. He will be able to provide a good deal of information on how certain systems in the home operate. This will be invaluable at a later date should you decide to purchase the home.

Use the report for the purpose intended Among our Scottsdale home inspection tips, when your home inspection professional has examined the home and has issued his findings in the report, review it closely. Ask questions as needed. Don’t be bashful and don’t be afraid of asking the proverbial “stupid” questions – there are none when you’re making a purchase of this size. Keep in mind that the home inspector’s role is that of a “generalist” to some degree, and less of a specialist regarding certain areas or findings. As an example, if the inspector finds possible evidence of a mold issue, he will likely recommend that you contact a company specializing in mold remediation to solve the problem.

While negotiations with the seller vary widely according to the results of a home inspection, there are normal guidelines and protocol that are usually followed. Major issues such as plumbing, electrical or HVAC systems should be addressed first and most importantly. Experts say to devote the bulk of your attention and negotiation efforts to these issues and don’t worry about the smaller items. If there are no major items that need attention, then you can tackle the smaller items with the seller as part of your final negotiation.

Lastly among our Scottsdale home inspection tips, if you opt to perform any repair work yourself or oversee its completion and decide to seek a credit from the home seller at the closing of the transaction, consult your mortgage lender. You’ll want to ensure you are able to request the maximum amount of credits as per the guidelines – usually 3%-6%. Remember, if the amount is in excess of what is needed you won't receive it, the seller gets to keep it.

Remember this It’s important to know that home inspectors – as experienced and trained as they are – don’t have x-ray vision that allows them to see through walls or under floors. So remember, as thorough as their inspection of the home may be, they can’t be expected to report on items they can't visually inspect. In addition, remember that a home inspection will give you the condition in which the home is in as of the day of the inspection. While the old adage “Things change” usually applies to the everyday hustle and bustle of life, it also applies to the conditions of various home components, too.

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

We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.

Scottsdale home improvement projects can cover virtually the entire spectrum of housing. Home improvements can range from custom finishing newly-constructed spec homes to older home remodeling updates to fixer uppers that need considerably more than just a little TLC. Let’s take a look at the various options available in the housing market in which Scottsdale home improvement projects can make an important impact.

New Construction or Builder Remodel It’s no secret the new home market has been one of the most attractive in recent years. In part, new construction has added an element of increased supply to a national real estate market that has suffered from a lack of available inventory. The biggest attraction to new construction is just that – it’s new! Yet, with all its newness and “move-in” readiness, new homes do present some potential purchasers with a major drawback – there are few components to which buyers can claim for “their own.” Unlike a custom home construction project built to the owners’ specifications, most new construction allows little for the purchaser to customize or have input on. In addition, some home buyers feel that a newly built home lacks individual personality since the home has been designed to attract a larger pool of typical buyers. That brings us to the first of the Scottsdale home improvement projects – some developers and builders allow certain customizations to their homes. The improvements can range from what color or type of paint or wall covering the home can have to the type of floors – carpet, tile, or hardwood flooring. In addition, some developers or builders will give their purchasers the opportunity to make other customizations from appliances, kitchen cabinetry, kitchen and bathroom hardware and more. Owner Remodel 

Scottsdale home improvement projects can be rewarding and fun – but only if you have the mindset, temperament and financial wherewithal to undertake them.

Arguably the most popular of the Scottsdale home improvement projects is the owner remodel option whereby the homeowner elects to renovate all or part of an older home. Often the remodeling project can be undertaken expressly for the satisfaction and enjoyment of the homeowner. Many times – especially in the past several years as home values have risen steadily in some markets – homeowners elect to perform remodeling that will enable them to put their home on the market and command top dollar because of the popular updates it will offer.

Homeowners who have done their Scottsdale home improvement projects homework and who can select knowledgeable remodeling contractors can indeed make improvements to homes that can improve its value dramatically – especially in a rising home value market. A word of caution, however, not all home improvements will add value to a home. The best thing to do is to discuss the improvements you want to make and get a cost estimate. Then have a frank discussion with a real estate professional as to the price range you could expect to sell your newly-modeled home. Then, the decision is easier. If you’re able to recoup more of the cost incurred by having the improvements performed than by not having them done, you should consider moving forward with your remodeling plans.

Fixer-Upper As the name implies, the fixer-upper is on the complete other end of the Scottsdale home improvement projects spectrum as far as the scope of the work to be performed. A property described as a fixer-upper could require anything from some cosmetic attention to a complete gutting of the home to the walls and subfloor. Homeowners thinking of purchasing a fixer-upper property should be aware of two major considerations:

  1. How much work needs to be performed to raise the property to the level you desire, and how much of that work are you able and willing to perform?
  2. Are you in favor of making severe wall or flooring demolition if necessary, or are you in favor of merely updating surfaces like walls and floors with new materials?

Once you’ve answered those two questions you can move forward by identifying the properties that fit into the categories based on your answers. If you’re considering buying a fixer-upper, remember it requires a level of imagination and forward-looking vision to create and achieve the potential the property may have. Some buyers find it helpful to enlist the services of a knowledgeable real estate agent who may be aware of properties that are available. Plus, you may also want to hire an architect, contractor and designer to assist you in developing the vision for the property’s potential. Their experience, opinions and cost estimates can be extremely valuable in determining whether to go forward with remodeling a fixer-upper and, if so, to what degree.

While there are advantages for each of the three major Scottsdale home improvement projects options, our best advice is to decide which is right for you. The most important factor to consider is the result of a comfortable balance of money and time combined with what you want and what you need in your home.

The key to achieving the most success in determining the level of home improvement work you’re comfortable with is purely a personal decision. It’s a decision based on your financial abilities, but also on your appetite for making changes and taking chances.

One last word of caution. Be prepared for the unexpected if you choose a fixer-upper. Many homeowners can sadly attest to the simple truth that once the renovation starts, there’s little or no backing up. In addition, in the case of an older home that may have undergone years of neglect, there could be hidden damage such as rotten wood, termite issues, or water damage that may only be discovered after the demolition and renovation work has begun. Beware also of electrical and plumbing system failures that may require additional budgeting to replace or upgrade the systems to bring them within the proper municipal building codes.

Scottsdale home improvement projects can be rewarding and fun – but only if you have the mindset, temperament and financial wherewithal to undertake them.

You can find more articles pertaining to Scottsdale home improvement projects in the Scottsdale Home Improvements section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.

The Scottsdale housing market deserves an analysis of what's happened so far this year – and what we can expect in 2017. With the end of the year quickly approaching, let’s take a look at some of the important facts impacting the real estate market this year.

Refinancing is on the decline.

It took the better part of the entire year, but it appears most people that can refinance already have done so. With rates at or near historic lows, borrowers flocked to their mortgage lenders to pay off loans with interest rates as high as 5%-7% in favor of those averaging in the 3.00%-3.5% range. Refinancing, according to mortgage experts, were the the largest growth stimulators for most banks and lending institutions. Since rates just can’t get much lower, it’s doubtful that refinancing will continue to be as popular as it was in 2016.

Buyers are attracted to new homes.

Many in the Scottsdale housing market are choosing to purchase newly built single family homes instead of existing ones. With home inventory levels down in the Dayton Ohio housing market,

Despite the homeowner participation rate at a record low during much of 2016, many homebuyers chose to purchase newly built single family homes instead of existing ones. With home inventory levels down in the Scottsdale housing market, homeowners were slower to perform the necessary upgrades to their homes and put them up for sale. This created what economists describe as a “self-fulfilling prophecy” of continued lower inventory and a supply unable to keep pace with demand. The effect was especially detrimental to the starter home market, where first-time homebuyers usually begin their search.

Homebuyer confidence continues to remain robust.  

As we’ve seen in recent years, millennials are very careful with their money. As such, many of them have put off home buying until they are able to save for a down payment, or until they are confident with their career choices and the city in which they live and work. However, these fiscally conservative young adults increasingly do want to own their own homes. The proverbial “catch” is they want to do so on their own terms. Remember, this segment of the population is accustomed to renting and they have grown used to the short-term flexibility and expectations that go hand-in-hand with renting an apartment or home. Surveys show more than 85% of millennials plan to stay in the homes they purchase for less than seven years. So, mortgage terms and the ability to sell their homes in a few short years are important factors to them.

Low interest rates prevailed.

Probably the biggest advantage the Scottsdale housing market experienced in 2016 was the consistently low interest rates. Steadily improving consumer confidence combined with reportedly lower jobless rates have given the Federal Reserve little reason to raise interest rates, at least for the time being. Experts say the downside of lower interest rates is that new home sales – which have come to expect and almost take for granted low mortgage rates – will suffer slightly. As is normally the case with a rate increase, even a slight one, potential home purchasers typically are slower to make a move. On a more positive note, however, rising rates usually mean home sales prices will either level off or decrease somewhat.

Remember, all real estate is local… and that’s a good thing.

During 2016, it was reinforced over and over again that it’s difficult – and even dangerous – to lump the real estate market into one large basket. Each individual market is different because each region of the United States is different in terms of the economic influencers in a certain community or state. While some markets may be experiencing very good sales and higher sales prices, others may be lagging behind – negatively influenced by the closing of a large manufacturing facility or the damages cause by a flood, a hurricane or other natural disaster. In addition, the housing market in a state or region that employs a large number of millennials, for example, can be impacted negatively because the average length of time they stay on a job is 2.8 years.

With what we’ve experienced and learned in the Scottsdale housing market in 2016, what can we expect in 2017?

While many factors could come into play between now and the first of the year, it appears to many economists that home prices have probably peaked and will likely go down slightly – for these main reasons:

What goes up must come down. That's usually a “given” in the real estate market. In the long run, home values usually rise. However, if we look at the manner in which prices have risen during the past year or so, a number of the hotter markets will likely experience a correction, causing prices to stabilize or dip.

Interest rates will go up.  After all, interest rates can’t stay this low forever, right? So, expect an increase – even a slight one – sometime in 2017. And when rates rise, home prices will decrease.

Home inventory will increase. Analysts expect new construction to shift from multifamily units to single-family homes, making the Scottsdale housing market less competitive in the process.

Affordability will be a hot topic. It always is, but affordability will become even more important if inventory increases and interest rates go up.

How will the elections affect the Scottsdale housing market? The answer is yet to be determined and few discernible changes – if any – will likely not occur until late in the first quarter of 2017, if then. While both candidates have referenced the housing collapse of less than a decade ago, neither has provided a clear policy outlook for how to avoid a similar occurrence in the future. Look for continued government regulation and housing safeguards to protect the industry. However, as always, there will have to be a balance in order to keep home ownership affordable and popular without repeating the mortgage sins of 2008.

See more articles pertaining to the latest Scottsdale real estate news in the section of articles on Scottsdale Real Estate News 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 as well.

The Scottsdale economic outlook will likely become a little bit clearer – or not – now that the presidential election has been decided. And for an election that was largely based on campaign rhetoric regarding the U.S. economy, the nation’s housing concerns have been largely ignored by both candidates. Let’s take a brief look at each party’s view on the housing market and what its economic policies will do to, or for, housing.

Hopefully the Scottsdale economic outlook will likely become a little bit clearer now that the election is finally over.

Keep in mind that not only is the presidential election finally over, but so, too, are the races for both houses of Congress. And while the new President will get the lion’s share of the newfound limelight, much of the economic discussion and legislation will come from the House and Senate. Much of what conversation there was about the housing market revolved around Donald Trump’s contention the financial markets are in dire need of deregulation versus Hillary Clinton’s view that affordable housing was the key component to a continued improvement in the single-family real estate market.

For all the hoopla and economic speculation surrounding the elections, the housing market’s issues are clear and challenging. The questions will be, “In what manner will this new administration deal with bringing much needed reform to mortgage industry giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? While these two behemoths financially back the majority of the nation's mortgage market and earn a hefty profit in the process, they are still under the control of the federal government. As such, they are required to pay the U.S. Treasury Department all of their earnings. This, in turn, spawns additional questions for the new administration and the new Congress. How does the country welcome private capital investment back into the mortgage arena? In addition, how does the U.S. monitor, manage and control the rampant growth of non-bank lending institutions, which currently comprise over half of all new mortgage loans originated in today’s market? Furthermore, what about the borrowers who use these lenders, how do we insure their financial safety? Lastly, what efforts must be undertaken to create and expand more affordable housing opportunities in communities that are underserved and largely forgotten?

During the campaign, both presidential candidates boasted of their efforts to grow the nation's economy. However, each had a different road map showing how growth would occur. Most analysts say the Scottsdale economic outlook as it relates to housing is to provide better opportunities for increased home ownership. With the nation’s homeowner participation rate at or near the lowest level in decades, there’s really only one direction it can go. Increasing home ownership means making mortgage lending more easily accessible to more families – and more affordable – in the face of what many believe will be slightly higher interest rates next year.

Trump’s Republican “platform” – or, at least, one of the planks in it – was his feeling that the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill should be reformed or repealed. For all its supposed safeguards, analysts say the regulatory burden saddled on the mortgage industry by Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was too restrictive. Opponents of Dodd-Frank contend those regulations have made it more difficult for mortgage lenders to extend credit. The result is the creation of a more restrictive environment for even qualified borrowers to obtain necessary financing.

While addressing regulatory concerns in the financial industry will likely be an ongoing debate in 2017, neither Trump nor Clinton set forth opinions nor plans to reform the effects Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have on the mortgage market. It was largely assumed Clinton would have the advantage of adding to – or at a minimum, continuing – the policies of the current Obama administration.

In addition, Clinton mentioned various proposals during her campaign to spur homeownership. Among them were efforts to provide assistance to those in underserved communities with down payments. For example, her plan would provide a federal government matching fund grant of up to $10,000 in savings designed for those households earning less than the median income. That money would be set aside specifically for the purpose of a down payment to purchase a home. Such a policy could encourage some of the nation’s prospective homeowners to save more money, yet it remains to be seen what sort of stimulus that program will have for housing. Some economists contend that what’s missing in the discussion about down payments is the obvious “elephant in the room” – borrowers still need to have an average to above-average credit score to qualify for financing. Many of the households for which the policies are intended will fall short of the required credit scores.

As far as Trump’s policies, his immigration reform stance may still have legs as it reaches Congress for additional discussion during 2017. If efforts are successful to either stem the numbers of immigrants coming to this country or to better enforce the immigration laws currently in place, housing could be affected.

In summary, the housing market is inherently driven by the successes or failures of the nation's economy. Factors such as employment gains, income growth, consumer confidence and the gross domestic product (GDP) not only contribute to – but also have a direct bearing on – the housing market. With the current state of the market being one of high demand, the Scottsdale economic outlook is for that trend to continue. However, the nation’s homebuilders are constructing new homes at a pace that falls short of the demand. In addition, the mortgage lending industry is in dire need of reform. While the housing crisis of less than a decade ago is clearly in the nation’s rear view mirror, a complete recovery is still yet to be realized.

With the new administration and new Congress, we can only hope for needed improvements in the housing sector for both the Scottsdale economic outlook as well as that of the entire U.S.

You can find more articles pertaining to the Scottsdale economic outlook in the "Economy" section of articles just below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

Remember to also check us out by finding us on Facebook and following us on Twitter.

Many potential purchasers seek Scottsdale home buying advice as they prepare to search for a home. These prospective homeowners usually have several things in common – they are all concerned about issues that may arise during the home buying process. Let’s take a look at the five biggest fears first-time homeowners have as they enter the market.

Scottsdale home buying advice and fears all first time home buyers seem to have.

“What if there’s a problem with the home I want to buy?”
Whether it’s a starter home, an older home, or a fixer-upper, one of the most frequently asked questions from purchasers seeking Scottsdale home buying advice is what happens if a home has an issue discovered by a routine home inspection. While most older homes require routine maintenance home inspectors will note in their report, some homes can have more pressing problems. Home issues like a cracked foundation, a leaky roof or dry rot need to be addressed as soon as possible. As the prospective purchaser, if you still want to buy the home, we suggest you discuss the issue with the seller – including the estimate given by the home inspector or repair contractor – and attempt to negotiate a reduction in the sales price or a credit to be applied toward the necessary repair work. If you can’t reach a satisfactory agreement, move on. There are other homes out there – that don’t have major problems with which to contend.

“I don’t want to lose my deposit.”
When you find a home you’re interested in and and are presented a contract to sign, prospective buyers typically are required to include an earnest money deposit ranging from 3%-5% of the sales price. Earnest money is held in escrow to be applied to the sales prices once the deal is consummated. And while there are few scenarios in which buyers actually lose their deposits, it remains one of the most popular concerns from those looking for Scottsdale home buying advice. Remember, there are certain contingencies in every sales contract, and your real estate agent can assist in reassuring you that if those contingencies aren’t met your earnest money will be refunded. As an example, your contract may include a contingency that the home appraise for an amount equal to or greater than the sales price. If the appraisal is less than the sales price, not only will it potentially affect your mortgage financing, but it may signal you’re in danger of overpaying for the home. Our advice is to negotiate with the seller if you still want to buy the house.

“I like this house and I don’t want to lose it.”
Another concern expressed by homeowners asking for Scottsdale home buying advice is the possibility they will lose the chance to buy the house they want. True, if you find the home that best fits your needs and budget, you should be prepared to move quickly. In hot markets – especially with limited inventory available – it’s not unusual for certain homes to receive multiple offers. While we don’t recommend overpaying for a home, consult your real estate agent as to what you can do to ensure your chances of getting the house you want. Be prepared to negotiate, if necessary. In addition, the faster you can offer the sellers a closing date the more attractive your contract may be, so have your proverbial ducks in a row. We suggest being pre-approved for financing and having your down payment in place so you can demonstrate to the sellers you’re prepared to close as soon as possible. Keep in mind, however, your biggest competition will come from those prospective buyers that may make higher offers – especially if one or more of those offers are from cash purchasers who don’t have to rely on mortgage financing.

“I’m concerned about my real estate agent.”
All real estate professionals are not created equally. Sometimes, prospective buyers feel their agents don’t have their best interest in mind or perhaps they just aren’t on the same page when it comes to the home search process. Our advice? If you feel uneasy about working with your agent, discuss your concerns and see if you can reiterate your expectations. If that doesn’t work – or if you choose not to have a heart to heart talk – find another agent. The best suggestion we can provide is to meet with your prospective agent as you consider beginning your home search and interview them. If you don’t feel a connection or don't feel you'll be able to work closely with them, move on and talk to other agents until you find one you're more comfortable with. Never settle on working with an agent you have concerns about. Chance are, your first instincts will end up being true.

“I have a timetable on buying a home… and time’s running out.”
The best piece of Scottsdale home buying advice we can give is not to rush into buying a home. Remember, it's a decision that represents the single largest purchase you’ll probably ever make – so, treat it that way. If you have a timetable, plan ahead and allow for a contingency as you approach your deadline. As an example, if your lease if coming up for renewal and you’re concerned about finding a house before it expires, don’t rush into buying just any home that's available. Consider an alternate approach – you don't have to buy – perhaps you can get a short-term extension on your lease or find another rental property offering a month-to-month lease to give you sufficient time to shop for your home without the pressure of meeting a certain timetable.

Lastly, prospective purchasers interested in Scottsdale home buying advice should remember this: If you’re concerned about any aspect of your home search or mortgage lending process, take it slow and follow your gut. As mentioned before, a home purchase it an important step and a huge financial investment – treat it as such and you’ll be sure to enjoy the process more by having greater peace of mind.

Read more about home buying advice in the section of articles on Scottsdale Home Buying Tips just below our 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.