If you’re planning to sell your home during 2017, there are several Scottsdale home selling recommendations you should be aware of. The following are common mistakes to avoid once you decide to put your home on the market.

Leaving out the required preparation. The excitement to get your home on the market as soon as possible is certainly understandable. The sooner you get it out there, the sooner you have a chance to sell. However, it’s important to take the necessary time to prepare your home for sale. So, the first of our Scottsdale home selling recommendations is to take the time and effort to plan what you'll need to do to get your home ready to put on the market.

There are several Scottsdale home selling recommendations to consider before putting your home on the market. 

The old adage, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression” is appropriate considering your house will be competing with a number of others on the market. As such, it's the time to put your home’s “best foot” forward. Performing repairs, repainting, decluttering, making landscaping improvements and staging the home are all potential moves you can make to position your home to show better – and sell faster. An experienced real estate professional can assist you by making recommendations in the following areas:

Cleaning up and decluttering your home.
A prospective buyer needs to envision himself and his family in your home. Make it easier for him by removing personal items and mementos, and decluttering various rooms, allowing him to better visualize his family’s belongings in the home, not yours.

Perform repairs and upgrades.
Take a critical look at your home. If there are painting needs, cracks or other unsightly areas needing attention, perform that work. It will make potential buyers notice how well the home has been maintained – likely implying that everything has been well cared for and in good shape.

Staging your home.
Home staging can be a vital tool in helping it sell. See an expert and discuss the cost versus the return on investment. Your real estate professional can assist here.

Have professional photos taken.
These days, more buyers than ever are doing their initial research online. It’s important you have professional photos to present in their online search. Again, the first impression is the one prospects will remember. Give them the best representation of your home by showing them great photos – and they’ll likely include it on their list to view in person.

Overpricing the home for the current market.
Among the list of Scottsdale home selling recommendations, this one of the most important. Pricing your home correctly is one of the biggest factors in whether it sells, and how fast. Conversely, overpricing your home for the market is one of the biggest and most deadly mistakes a seller can make. An overpriced home generally stays on the market considerably longer than necessary. The longer a home sits on the market, the less interest it'll receive from other buyers or agents. That usually results in low-ball offers.

We suggest two considerations to price your home correctly. First, review comparable sales in your market area. Look at what’s sold and where. Secondly, discuss your pricing ideas with a professional real estate agent to get their input and suggestions. Be objective – forget the emotional attachment to your home – you’ll rarely find a buyer willing to pay what your memories are worth, so don’t include their value in the sales price. Remember, your agent is the expert and they know what the market will bear – and what it won’t.

Being present for open houses and home-showings.
Again, as excited as you may be to show your home and be present when potential buyers visit, avoid the temptation. When the seller is in the same room with a prospect, it can actually be a deterrent for most purchasers. They may not ask the questions they really want to ask. It’s the same feeling many shoppers have when an overzealous sales clerk – who just wants to be helpful – follows you around in the store and actually is less help than he or she intends. Don’t be the anxious sales clerk. Let your agent handle the showings, the open houses and the walk throughs. If they need you, they can always call.

Failing to work with an experienced real estate professional.
As mentioned, working with a professional who knows the market and what sells your home quickest and best is a tremendous advantage. What’s more, working with an agent who knows the pitfalls of selling can save you time and money. An experienced real estate professional can help you every step of the way – from home preparation to pricing and marketing – it’s what they get paid for, and what they do best.

Interview prospective agents carefully. Ask questions about the homes they’ve sold and the total volume of sales. Be specific in asking questions about your particular home in your neighborhood to determine how familiar the agent is with what potential sellers are looking for. In addition, find a personal connection on which you can build. Make sure you and your agent can communicate, so you’ll be on the same page with one common goal in mind – to sell your home as quickly as possible and for as much money.

These are but a few Scottsdale home selling recommendations to consider, but if you take these into account we think it will make the sale of your home easier and more enjoyable.

See more articles pertaining to Scottsdale home selling recommendations in the two sections of articles on Scottsdale Home Selling Tips and Scottsdale Homes for Sale just below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

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Scottsdale mortgage rates continue to be in the news. With the recent rise in interest rates by the Federal Reserve, and the likelihood of additional increases on the horizon, the obvious question remains, “Is it still a good time to purchase a home?”

Let’s look at what’s transpired in recent months since the presidential election in November. The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 3.68% to 4.2%, based on Freddie Mac's mortgage rate survey report. However, despite the increase, even a 4% rate is very low compared to historical averages. To put that into perspective, for roughly 30 years from 1971 to 2001 mortgage interest rates were above 7% most of the time. In October 1981, they peaked at 18.16%. It wasn’t until 2008, just over eight short years ago, that interest rates began to drop consistently below 6%.

Scottsdale mortgage rates have risen slightly since the presidential election.

While Scottsdale mortgage rates are expected to continue to rise slightly this year, most agree that aggregate increases will be less than 1% – meaning rates should remain below the 5% level. With that in mind, relatively speaking, mortgages will still be affordable for most home purchasers. And, as mentioned above, compared to where interest rates were just a decade ago, a 4% to 5% interest rate will seem like a bargain!

Since 2009, the Federal Reserve has purchased significant amounts of mortgage-backed securities. The recent strength of the stock market – as a result of the presidential election results – has meant those purchases have temporarily been suspended. In addition, the Fed has indicated they may raise the federal funds rate at different intervals this year. The fed funds rate is the rate at which banks loan money to each other. However, there is a loose relationship between the fed funds rate and the longer-term mortgage interest rates.

A small increase in the Fed’s actions may translate to a slight increase in mortgage rates and their monthly payments. As an example, on a $200,000 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4% the payment would be roughly $955 per month. At 4.5% the payment would be approximately $1,013. A 5% mortgage rate would equate to payments of roughly $1,074 per month.

As you can see, the impact of slightly higher rates isn’t really a significantly higher monthly payment. It likely would only impact those homebuyers who were watching their budgets carefully, or those that would be on the borderline of loan qualification.

A greater concern than Scottsdale mortgage rates seems to be the rising home prices continuing to occur throughout the U.S. The median sales price of a home in 2016 rose 5.5% from the previous year. Experts expect a 5.3% increase this year. And therein lies the real issue. The “double-whammy” of higher interest rates combined with higher sales prices may be the deterrent to may home buyers – especially first-timers.

Let’s take a look at six factors that may have more impact than interest rates on your monthly mortgage payment.

Your Credit Score
Higher credit scores translate to lower interest rates for applicants with good credit. A score of at least 740 will likely get the best rate from most mortgage lenders.

Your Down Payment
A popular misconception is that you have to have a down payment of at least 20% in order to buy a home. However, if you do have 20% to put down you can avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), a type of insurance that protects the lender against the borrower defaulting on their mortgage payments. According to Freddie Mac, the PMI premium can run anywhere from $30-$70 per $100,000 of your mortgage amount. Naturally, with a larger down payment, the monthly payment amount is less since you’re financing a lower loan amount. That's always true, regardless of what Scottsdale mortgage rates do or don't do in the future.

Points
"Points" are actually percentage points of the loan amount – 1 point equals 1% of the loan amount – so, if you’re borrowing, say, $200,000, a point would be $2,000. You can pay points to lower your interest rate. Since points are prepaid, be sure you “do the math” and determine whether buying down the interest rate is the best financial decision for you at the time – and to make sure it’s saving you interest in the long run.

The Term of the Loan
While a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan is the most popular selection, if you can afford the increased payment it may be worth looking at a shorter term. A 15-year term will not only be issued at a lower interest rate, but you’ll save more than 50% in total interest repayments over the life of the loan. Even borrowers who opt for a 20-year or 25-year term are pleasantly surprised at the interest savings they can enjoy by paying slightly more money each month. Ask your mortgage lender for an amortization schedule with different terms for comparison and see which term fits your financial capabilities best.

Closing Costs
Closing costs and fees vary from one lender to the next. It’s worth shopping around to find the best deal on closing costs. In addition, some fees are negotiable, so ask questions and make the best deal you can. Lastly, remember who pays the closing costs is strictly between you and the seller of your home. So, be prepared to negotiate with the seller for him to pay part – or all – of the closing costs as part of the contract.

Home Sales Price
Naturally, a higher price tag for a more expensive home translates to higher monthly mortgage payments. Make sure you are looking for homes in your affordable price range. What’s the joy in buying a home if you have to struggle to make the monthly payments – even if you qualify for a higher amount? Consider selecting and buying a less expensive home, even if you have to do without certain features or extras. You’ll sleep better at night.

You can find more articles pertaining to the Scottsdale mortgage rates in the "Scottsdale Mortgage Info" section of articles just below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

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Scottsdale home buying advice is usually limited to ideas and tips to help you begin the house hunting process and what to do during each step of that process. Let’s take a look at several things to consider after you’ve found a home and are preparing to close the deal.

So, you signed the contract to buy your home and all that’s left to do now is sit back and wait for the closing day to get here. Right? Well, not exactly. There are a few important considerations to remember on the road to becoming a homeowner – regardless of whether it’s the first time or the fifth!

Don’t let your rate expire

Until your loan is closed and the papers are signed, the interest rate your lender quoted you won’t last forever. Mortgage interest rates can and do change daily. Normally, a bank or lender will lock-in your interest rate for a reasonable period of time in which to close your loan – usually between 45 and 60 days. If the lock expires, you may have to renegotiate and pay a higher rate. Keep a watchful eye out for hindrances along the way that may prevent your loan from closing during the rate-lock period. Keep in touch with your attorney during the preparation of the closing paperwork and let him or her know to alert you if there are any title issues as soon as possible.

Another piece of Scottsdale home buying advice: - it's not your house, yet.

It’s not your house just yet

In some markets, a walk-through of the home before final closing is more prevalent than others. Most real estate sales contracts allow for a walk-through up to 24 hours prior to the closing of the sale. Another piece of Scottsdale home buying advice: take advantage of the walk-through. For your own peace of mind, visit the home with your real estate agent – just to make sure everything’s as expected.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over

The often tedious and time-consuming mortgage process isn't over until the loan is officially closed. Even though you’ve received mortgage loan approval from your lender, in today’s more cautious credit lending environment some mortgage lenders choose to re-verify income, credit or other qualifications just prior to the loan closing. Our Scottsdale home buying advice, therefore, is to not make substantial changes to your financial situation until the closing is over. For example, don’t immediately go out and buy a brand new car for your brand new garage. And, don’t apply for new credit cards or other credit accounts or take a new job – without talking to your mortgage loan professional first. Sometimes even the slightest change to your financial status can alter your creditworthiness or disqualify you from being approved for a mortgage.

Do your homework

When you close the sale of your home, it’s all yours – for better or worse. In most states across the U.S., the law tends to favor the home buyer and requires the seller of the home to disclose any issues with the home and to confirm they have been resolved. In other states, “caveat emptor” – or let the buyer beware – prevails. As such, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to make sure the seller has taken care of any loose ends like closing out building permits, released any liens from the real estate title report and, resolving any other issues that may affect clear title and conveyance of the home to a new purchaser. Our Scottsdale home buying advice… do your homework and know what’s expected in your state.

The anticlimactic closing of the sale

The actual closing of the sale can occur in one of two ways. Most of the time, the two parties – the sellers and the purchasers – may not need to be in the same room to close the deal. The purchasers sign all the loan documents in an attorney’s office or lending institution, and the sellers sign the deed at the title company or attorney’s office.

Some closings, however, occur at a table designed to accommodate the buyers, the sellers, the real estate agents, the attorneys and maybe others who pass the papers around to be signed and witnessed. This process is thought by many to be outdated and old-fashioned in today’s fast-paced, electronic world.

Whichever closing method you experience, just remember with all the hype and build-up that has preceded the day of the closing, the actual closing itself is relatively uneventful, mundane and can be anticlimactic.

Make the process smooth and seamless

So, you've read the Scottsdale home buying advice we’ve provided so far. What else is there to know, to do, or be prepared for? To ensure the smoothest, most seamless and least stressful closing of the sale, do some research and keep an eye peeled for those pesky red flags. With the professional assistance of trusted team members working with you, you can avoid a number of pitfalls that could delay or halt the closing of the sale. Having a qualified real estate agent is a great start. Your agent can refer and recommend you to the mortgage lenders, attorneys, title insurance companies, home inspectors and others. That's the power of using professionals in the real estate industry. They have a network of people and companies they’ve worked with over time in which they have confidence and trust. Tapping into that network will not only save time and money, it will give you the importance of peace of mind and the feeling of accomplishment that should accompany buying a home.

Scottsdale home buying advice is valuable and should be listened to carefully – especially if it comes from experienced, knowledgeable real estate professionals who have your shared interests in mind – to make your home purchase as enjoyable and as successful an endeavor as it can be.

After all, should it really be any other way?

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.

The Scottsdale real estate outlook these days is a combination of good and bad. The good is that home prices have been rising nationwide for 53 consecutive months – nearly 4 1/2 years! The increases have floated millions of borrowers previously underwater on their mortgages to the safe surface where they can finally catch their breath. In addition, during the first three quarters of 2016, U.S. homeowners were the recipients of more than $837 billion in total home equity.

Now, the bad. Despite such significant increases in home equity, the gains have not been able to fight the negative connotation of rising mortgage interest rates in the minds of consumers. While more young Americans in their home buying years are employed and more millennials have moved into a position to be able to buy for the first time, consumer sentiment for home buying is dropping. Let’s take a look at what’s caused this reaction and what sort of murky picture it may paint for housing in 2017 and beyond.

The Scottsdale real estate outlook includes the housing outlook for 2017.

Most real estate experts say the home sentiment concerns in the Scottsdale real estate outlook are twofold:  A shrinking number of consumers see the recent rise in mortgage rates to lessen, and even fewer say their overall household income is higher today than it was this time a year ago. This information was revealed in a recent survey conducted by Fannie Mae. A Fannie Mae economist explains: “Despite the post-election bump in general consumer attitudes, a rapid rise in mortgage rate expectations has tamped down home-purchase sentiment, at least in the near term. A spike in economic optimism in the immediate aftermath of an election is typical. Whether consumers will sustain this level of optimism into 2017 remains unclear.”

Ironically, the rise in interest rates recently affecting the Scottsdale real estate outlook is generally a reflection of optimism among consumers. Stock market investors pushed investments to record levels in response to the expectation that the new Republican administration will favor growth, business and employment. And, while such expectations would translate into greater income growth, better job security and new businesses – normally important catalysts for the housing market – thus far, indications are that housing sentiment is murky, at best.

The outlook may be fueled, in part, by what experts see as a wide economic chasm in the housing market. Although home values have gained and are continuing to do so, most of the increases have benefitted only those homes in the middle to upper end of the market. This has resulted in negative equity situations concentrating in the lower end of the market – at what is typically described as the bottom 20%.

According to Black Knight Financial Services, borrowers living in homes in the lower-tier of pricing are nine times more likely to be underwater than homeowners in the top 20% of the housing market. Being underwater is loosely defined as those homeowners who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. In addition, while several years ago negative equity was a diverse and widespread problem throughout the nation, today it’s evolved into more of a localized market problem. Economists say that at the end of 2010, there were approximately 30% of American homeowners underwater on their mortgages.

Many consumers, though buoyed by the gains in home equity over the past 12-18 months, find themselves unable to access it – another cause for concern in the Scottsdale real estate outlook. This comes as a result of higher interest rates, but also could be a direct result of their inability to qualify for a mortgage loan – regardless of the interest rate. Remember, a number of these consumers not only were underwater because of the housing crash, but struggled mightily to be able to make the house and other payments on time, creating slow credit history and positioning themselves in the minds of lenders as less than qualified. Whatever the reason, the share of equity currently held by borrowers that was available for access dropped from 73% in October 2016 to 33% in December 2016.

While interest rates have edged slightly downward in recent weeks, economists say they may very well move back upward as the new administration takes over, and as the new President's economic plans are made more known.

That raises the question that always plagues the housing industry and is often a part of the Scottsdale real estate outlook: What will the outlook for the spring “housing season” be? While the honest answer remains to be seen, the component parts are these:

1) Rising home prices will continue to be a win effect, although there has been some leveling off in some markets throughout the country.

2) Interest rates, though still somewhat volatile, are comparatively speaking lower than they have been in recent modern times – with the exception of the last 12-18 months when rates were at or near record-lows. Rates are still affordable, despite not being as low as they were this time last year.

3) Home inventory will continue to be a concern, as few homes have hit the market for sale – sellers who would ordinarily have decided to sell are holding off until they have a better selection from which to choose – after all, they need to move up and more out, too.

4) Consumer sentiment, though of concern now, can change fairly quickly. There are plenty of homebuyers in the marketplace that can and will be able to afford mortgages – despite the slightly higher rates – and though they may find themselves paying top dollar in what will likely be a seller’s market, there are deals to be found among sellers who may have priced themselves out of the market and are now needing to sell.

See more articles pertaining to the Scottsdale real estate outlook 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, too.

Scottsdale home inspection facts will always be a topic of discussion in real estate circles. Home inspections are likely to remain in steady demand as the real estate market is expected to continue to be relatively good in 2017. Home inspections are, of course, a valuable tool in assisting buyers in making informed, educated decisions about a house they’re considering purchasing.

Home inspections provide a great deal of valuable information about the overall condition of a home. In addition, the inspection will assess those areas that may require both small and large repairs, as well as any visual issues that may affect the structural components of the house. As with any subjective art or science, the home inspection industry is often victim to a wide variety of myths and misconceptions. Let’s take a look at some of the more prevalent myths and see if we can separate fiction from the Scottsdale home inspection facts.

Understanding Scottsdale home inspection facts is vital to the housing industry.

Myth: The home inspection report will contain everything I will need to know about the house I’m going to purchase.

Fact: The home inspection report will include a good deal of information about your home. However, prospective homeowners are encouraged to accompany home inspectors as they inspect the home. Having the potential new homeowner present will give them the advantage of observing and hearing first-hand what the inspector sees and thinks about the home’s condition. In addition, an inspector will usually give the homeowner suggestions and advice on the maintenance of many areas of the home.

Myth: A real estate appraisal is essentially the equivalent to a home inspection and is just as thorough.

Fact: An appraisal and a home inspection aren’t the same thing, nor do they set out to determine the same results. There’s a reason both an appraisal and a home inspection report are required by most lenders on real estate transactions – and the reason is they are two entirely different processes. An appraisal is a determination of the fair market value of a home or other piece of real estate. Utilizing Scottsdale home inspection facts can determine the condition of a home and its component parts – plumbing systems, electrical systems, roofs and floors, etc. – which, of course, may affect the home’s value, but the inspection report is more concerned with the home’s actual condition.

Myth: A home inspector can let me know everything that can maybe go wrong with the house I’m thinking about buying.

Fact: While a home inspector is obligated to list in his report items that aren’t working properly or efficiently, he has no way of knowing when certain systems or components will fail. The inspector can only observe the functions of various aspects of the home at the time of the inspection. For example, the home inspector may cite that a home will need a new roof within the next 3-5 years. However, if conditions deteriorate more rapidly than that, a prospective homeowner may find he needs a new roof in less time than was originally estimated. In addition, as has been said of home inspectors in an effort to explain what they can see and can’t see, inspectors aren’t equipped with x-ray vision and can’t see through walls, floors, brick, wood, or concrete. Inspectors can only report on what they view at a particular point in time with a trained eye knowing what to look for. One last thought regarding a home inspection: Read your inspection contract. Some agreements don’t include such items like pest inspection and septic tank failure. These could likely be extras that aren’t part of a standard contract. So, if you're confused or have a question as to what’s covered and what’s not, ask your home inspector to explain it to you – and show it to you in writing.

Myth: All home inspectors are licensed and qualified. Plus, my home inspector says he’s certified, so I should be safe, right?

Fact: Licensing for home inspectors is only required in 30 states throughout the United States. In addition, even inspectors who are licensed will have varying degrees of qualifications. While some home inspectors receive their job training and certification via a variety of related programs and educational offerings, certification does not always equate to competency, and certification is not guarantee that an inspector is fully trained. Some home inspectors receive their training from online courses – having never completed an on-site field inspection, nor passed a comprehensive test for home inspection knowledge. While technically they may have received a certification, they clearly aren't as field-tested as other inspectors may be.

The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) has taken steps designed to set certain standards for performance for its members. ASHI has several levels of certification and offers full certification to those inspectors who have completed a minimum of 250 home inspections and have passed a comprehensive examination. If you want to know more about your home inspector’s qualifications and just how much he knows about Scottsdale home inspection facts, have an in-depth discussion with him. Ask about his training and field experience. It’s also a good idea to ask for a sample of a typical home inspection report so you can see firsthand how thorough the report will be.

Knowing more about the home inspection process and the people that provide the service will give you greater awareness and confidence in the results of the report. In addition to the peace of mind, you’ll likely be more prone to accept and understand the inspector’s findings about the house you’re contemplating buying.

Be on the lookout for these and other myths to distinguish from Scottsdale home inspection facts. They are great for providing a certain amount of information about a home. Just make sure you understand what that information is and what is being reported, recommended and observed by the home inspector.

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.

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