Dec. 29, 2016

Essential Things You Should Have in Your Home

It’s such an exciting feeling when you finally move into your Terravita Scottsdale home. But as soon as you move in, you might realize you’re missing some essential items such as a ladder or maybe a flashlight. You’ll want to make sure you’re ready for every scenario that pops up. So, if you make sure you have the below items, you should be ready for anything and not be caught by surprise. 

Wet-Dry Vacuum

It’s going to happen. You’re going to end up spilling something at some point. A wet-dry vacuum can handle just about every spill in your Terravita Scottsdale home. 

Fire Extinguisher

While you hopefully will never have to use one, it’s always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in your Terravita Scottsdale home. You might need it for a stove fire or maybe a candle that catches something on fire. 

Extension Cord Organizer

Extension cord organizers are great in keeping your cords knot-free and easy to find. You also want one that you can use outdoors.  

Adult Tools

You might already own a drill, screwdriver, hammer, etc. But being a Terravita Scottsdale homeowner requires a few additional tools such as a stud finder, hand saw, ratchet set, and pry bar.


Headlamps come in handy so you can work hands-free switching out a faucet, changing a lightbulb, etc. 

Emergency Preparedness Kit

This might not be as essential for a home in Terravita Scottsdale. But if you have a home up north or in the forest, an emergency preparedness kit is a necessity. In the kit, you should have cash, food, water, medications, flashlight, batteries, first-aid kit, and a change of clothing among other things. FEMA has a list. You can go to their website for more info. 


Not just any ladder will do. Assess if you might need an extension ladder, depending on the height of you ceiling/roof. Also decide if you need a heavy-duty ladder that’ll support tools, paint cans, etc. 

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or not, at some point, you’re probably going to tackle a DIY project. That’s what YouTube tutorials are for. Making sure you have the above items will make any project a little easier in your Terravita Scottsdale home. 


Posted in Household tips
Dec. 29, 2016

How to Lower Your Interest Rate

Mortgage rates are going up. In fact, experts are predicting rates could go up two-three times in 2017. So, if you’re thinking of buying a North Scottsdale home for sale, you might be wondering if you can still afford the monthly payments. You should still be able to if you lower the interest rate. You can do this by buying down the rate. 

Basically, buying down the rate is the same as paying points. That means in addition to standard loan fees like appraisal and underwriting, you’re paying an extra fee on top of that. 

Of course, that means when buying a North Scottsdale home for sale you’ll have to put up more cash upfront. If you want to pay a point, that is one percent of the loan amount. So, on a $500,000 mortgage, 1 point would be $5,000. Lenders will lower your interest rate at closing if you pay that point or at the start of the loan. 

On a 30-year fixed loan, you might find yourself with two options with and without points. Julian Hebron is the executive vice president of sales and marketing at RPM Mortgage. He uses an example of a 30-year fixed mortgage of $325,000. “Today the option with zero points might show the rate as 4.25 percent, and the option with 1 percent in points — equal to $3,250 — might show the rate as 4 percent," said Hebron. "Paying $3,250 at closing to lower your rate by .25 percent lowers your payment $42 per month, and lowers your interest cost $68 per month."

When buying a North Scottsdale home for sale, how do you know if you should buy down the mortgage? It basically comes own to timing. How long do you plan to be in the home? What will be the savings? Matt Weaver, vice president of sales at Finance of America Mortgage, says you take the dollar value of the buy down and divide it by the monthly savings from the lower interest rate. After that, you divide the figure by 12 months. In one example, he says it could take over five years to recoup the cost of the buy down. If you don’t plan to stay in your home that long, then it’s probably not worth it. 

Like with anything, buying down a mortgage on a North Scottsdale home for sale does carry some risk. For one, if you’re not sure how long you’re going to stay in the house coupled with the possibility of needing the cash for unexpected expenses down-the-road. Weaver recommends the buy-down strategy if you plan to be in your home seven years or longer.  

If you don’t see yourself staying in the North Scottsdale home for sale for more than seven years, you might want to consider an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). You’ll get a much lower interest rate and it can be fixed for at least five years. 

Keep in mind, the benefits can vary from lender to lender. It’s best to shop around for the best rate. Buying down the interest rate isn’t for everyone. Weigh the pros and cons. That includes estimating how long you plan to stay in the North Scottsdale home for sale and determining if you’ll need the extra cash down-the-road. 

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Dec. 28, 2016

New Home Sales are Up

November was a good month for new home sales across the country. Newly constructed home sales posted a strong increase last month. The Commerce Department says new single-family home sales increased 5.2 percent in November. At Russ Lyon Sotheby’s, it looks like this trend will continue into 2017.

Last month, there was a 5.1-month supply of new homes for sale in the U.S. The average price was $250,000. The Commerce Department says the median sales price was $305,400 for new homes. 

Whether it’s new homes or existing Russ Lyon Sotheby’s homes, higher interest rates don’t seem to be scaring buyers according to a new Redfin survey. Mortgage rates reached a two-year high last week. Despite that, only 2.6 percent of respondents say they’re postponing their home search. Twenty-five percent say the higher rates have no impact and 24 percent say they’re stepping up their home search before rates go higher.

Higher mortgage rates and home prices aren’t impacting first-time Russ Lyon Sotheby’s home buyers either. First-time home buyers made up 32 percent of the market in November, up slightly than a year ago. The National Association of REALTORS®’ (NAR) latest housing report also shows the annual share of first-time buyers was 35 percent in 2016, which is the highest since 2013 (38 percent).

With this group of buyers at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s, they’ll likely face tighter inventories of homes for sale. Inventory at the end of November was over nine percent lower than a year ago. NAR’s chief economist says supply was inadequate at the beginning of 2016. Heading into 2017 it’s even worse. If you’re looking to buy a Russ Lyon Sotheby’s home in 2017, it’s recommended you get pre-approved for a loan and start your home search early.  While there are fewer homes on the market during the winter months, there are also fewer buyers.

Whether it’s a new home you’re looking for or an existing Russ Lyon Sotheby’s one, now might be the best time to find a home before interest rates go up again. Even though rates are at the highest in two years, they’re still at historic lows.

Posted in Real Estate News
Dec. 27, 2016

Why You Shouldn’t Skip Hiring a Real Estate Agent

A lot of people getting ready to sell their Sotheby’s Scottsdale home might think it’s a good idea to skip hiring a real estate agent. I’ve heard arguments about how homeowners think we get rich off of selling one home. That’s not the case. Our commission is typically six percent of a sale and many times we split the money with perhaps a brokerage firm or another agent.  

At the same time, it’s a big chunk of money for a homeowner trying to sell their Sotheby’s Scottsdale home. As a result, many home sellers want to remove the real estate agent from the equation. So, they try to sell their Sotheby’s Scottsdale home themselves. This is referred to as FSBO (for sale by owner).

But plenty can go wrong with a FSBO.

Filing paperwork incorrectly

When doing a real estate transaction on a Sotheby’s Scottsdale home for sale, paperwork has to be 100 percent correct. If it isn’t, a lot can go wrong. Agents have errors and omissions insurance to protect themselves in case a mistake is made. Most homeowners who do a FSBO usually don’t know about this type of insurance. Without it, you could find yourself the recipient of a lawsuit by the new buyer if a mistake is made. 

Fewer buyers

When you do a FSBO for your Sotheby’s Scottsdale home for sale, you might also have fewer buyers. Often, buyers don’t like to engage with sellers who don’t hire a professional real estate agent. FSBO transactions usually take much longer and are more stressful than transactions where both sides have professional representation.

The price might not be right

With a FSBO, you also run the risk of not pricing your Sotheby’s Scottsdale home for sale correctly. If you study the market, you might be alright. However, in a 2016 National Association of Realtors profile of home buyers and sellers, FSBOs sold in 2015 on average for $185,000 compared to $240,000 for agent-assisted home sales. While the seller saved money on a real estate agent commission, they lost a lot of money in the end.

While doing a FSBO on your Sotheby’s Scottsdale home might seem like a good idea, think again. You could be liable if a mistake is made and might not end up getting as good of a price in the end. 


Posted in Real Estate Tips
Dec. 26, 2016

Does Your House Have Bad Feng Shui?

House floor plans can have many feng shui (pronounced "fung shway”) flaws. That’s why it’s important to study the below feng shui tips so you can apply them in your Cactus Acres home for sale. 

Feng shui means “wind and water” and seeks to promote prosperity, good health, and general well-being through energy and how it flows through a room or structure. When introducing feng shui into your Cactus Acres home for sale, think of it as energy with water flowing in. 

Direct Front Door - Back Door Alignment

With that said, you’ll want to avoid a direct alignment of the front door with the back door. Water can rush very fast through these two doors so you want to stop this since you don’t want feng shui energy escaping without a chance to first move around your Cactus Acres home for sale. 

Staircase Facing Front Door

The main door of your Cactus Acres home for sale is called “The Mouth of Chi” in feng shui. It absorbs a lot of energy. When the front door opens up to a staircase, that energy rushes upstairs quickly.

Bathroom Facing the Front Door

You also don’t want a bathroom facing the front door since the energy will quickly escape through the bathroom. You can improve the feng shui in this situation by always keeping the bathroom door closed, focus on good feng shui in your entryway, and creating a strong focal point near the entry of your Cactus Acres home for sale. 

Staircase in the Center of A Home

It doesn’t matter what the design is, if you have a staircase in the center of your Cactus Acres home for sale, you’ll need to apply feng shui techniques to balance the energy. Start with plants, art, good lighting or rugs at the bottom of the staircase. 

Bathroom in the Center of A Home

A bathroom, like a staircase, in the center of a home is also considered bad feng shui. The center of your Cactus Acres home for sale should be open with light and a sense of beauty. The center is the area from where all other feng shui areas get energy from. The best things you can do are keep it clean, clutter free, and add candles or a diffuser to purify the air. 

Master Bedroom Over the Garage

It’s also bad feng shui to have a bedroom over the garage since garages have a lot of “in and out” energy which is the opposite of the energy you want to create in the bedroom. As a result, the unstable energy will not promote relaxation and sleep. 

Long Narrow Hallway

You must take care of a long narrow hallway; otherwise it can be considered bad feng shui. Colorful art helps along with good lighting, and a strong focal point, 

Even if your home has feng shui flaws, in many cases, you can incorporate some decorating tips to offset the flaws. 

Posted in Household tips
Dec. 23, 2016

Survival Kit for Moving Day

So, it’s time to move into your Terravita Scottsdale home. You’re all prepared for the movers. But one thing you might not have thought about is putting together a survival kit. It could take you days to unpack and find items you need on a daily basis. Depending on how far away you’re moving to your Terravita Scottsdale home, there’s always a chance there could be a delay with the movers. Here are some items to include in your survival kit. 

Toilet Paper

This may seem kind of strange, but toilet paper should be the number-one thing to include in your survival kit when moving to your Terravita Scottsdale home. There’s no guarantee the previous owner will leave any and you don’t want to get stuck or find yourself running to a store or restaurant to use the restroom. 

Also, you’ll also want to pack a plunger. If there’s more than one bathroom in your Terravita Scottsdale home, you won’t need to worry about it as much. Again, you don’t want to be in a position where you’re having to drive to find a restroom. 

Medications and Valuables

Whether it’s prescription meds or aspirin, put it in your survival kit. Even include important documents, your laptop, jewelry, and anything else of great value. You don’t want to risk important items getting misplaced or even risk a delay in them getting delivered to your Terravita Scottsdale home. 


Even though we’re turning into a credit card society, you still need to carry cash on you, at least on moving day so you can tip your movers.

Leatherman Knife 

A Leatherman or Swiss Army knife can come in handy for opening boxes. These knives also don’t take up a lot of room in your survival kit. At the very least, have a box cutter. 

Trash bags 

Trash bags and clear recycling bags will be useful for disposing of packing materials. Look up ahead of time what materials are recyclable. 


It’s so easy to forget about bringing a mobile phone charger or even a power strip. The power strip will be beneficial since you’ll want to plug other things into it in addition to a charger like lamps or even a laptop. A flashlight could also be useful at night.


Again, if the movers are late getting to your Terravita Scottsdale home or misplace a box, having items like toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, deodorant, a razor etc. in your survival kit will be very helpful. 

Don’t forget a first aid kit either. Soap, paper towels, and a box of bandages should take care of any move-in minor accidents. 

All-purpose Cleaner

You’ll be surprised, but Clorox wipes and a roll of paper towels will be very valuable on move-in day. While it won’t be a big cleaning day, you’ll want to be prepared in case the sellers haven’t cleaned before moving out. Even if they do clean, you’ll probably want to scrub the toilets and countertops. 

Local restaurant menus and phone numbers

At the end of the day, you’re not going to feel like cooking or probably going out to eat. So find some restaurants ahead of time that deliver. Include names and phone numbers as part of your survival kit.

All of these tips should make moving day a little easier! 



Posted in Real Estate Tips
Dec. 23, 2016

Winter Home Buying Mistakes

Since there not as many homes on the market, the winter months can be a great time to find a McCormick Ranch Home for Sale. But there are several pitfalls you’ll want to avoid when shopping for a home this time of year. 


Holiday Debt

If you’re in the process of buying a McCormick Ranch home for sale, you want to have as little debt as possible. Even though it’s easy to run up credit card debt buying presents or snatching up good deals for yourself, that can work against you. Even if you have great credit, adding holiday shopping debt will change your debt-to-income ratio and could cause you to get turned down for a loan. 


Closing date delays

While it’s generally not an issue here in the valley, the winter can pose delays to anything that needs fixing on a McCormick Ranch home for sale. In certain parts of the country, weather can delay the process. Chances are the only delay you’ll get here in the valley are contractors taking extended vacation over the holidays. If an item can’t be fixed right away, that could delay the closing date. 


Lowball offers

Even though it’s tempting to make a lowball offer on a McCormick Ranch home for sale due to it being a slower time of the year, don’t! Fewer people are competing since inventory is lower. Sellers are not as likely as you might think to back off the price. Besides, you also risk offending the seller if you come in too low. Work with your agent to find a reasonable price to offer.



During the hectic holiday season, flexibility is the key. If all of a sudden you get a call from your realtor that your dream home just went on the market, you might have to drop what you’re doing to go look at the McCormick Ranch home for sale and possibly make an offer. 


As long as you avoid or work around these pitfalls, the winter months can be a good time to buy your McCormick Ranch home for sale. 


Posted in Real Estate Tips
Dec. 22, 2016

Prediction: Phoenix Will Be #1 Housing Market Next Year predicts home prices in the Valley will jump to 5.9 percent in 2017 and sales will rise 7.2 percent. In return, that should make Phoenix the #1 housing market next year. The healthy housing market at Sotheby’s Phoenix comes from a steady growth in sales and prices increases, not as many foreclosures, and a tighter new home market. 

Higher Interest Rates

The bad news is interest rates are going up and that works against home sales, even at Sotheby’s Phoenix. The website reports 2017 sales will be lower in all areas as a result of climbing interest rates. Regardless, the prediction is that home sales will go up 1.9 percent nationally next year. is predicting interest rates will climb 4.5 percent next year. Many economists say that’s due to anticipated wage and job growth. Others say the recent jump in rates this past month was the result of election jitters from investors. 

Election shouldn't be a factor

The economist making this forecast doesn’t think the election will hurt or help the housing market. However, the expert says some potential Sotheby’s Phoenix homebuyers will be bumped out of the market. 

Tom Ruff of The Information Market and has been right before. “He called the peak for Valley prices in September 2006, and with his friend and fellow housing analyst Mike Orr called the bottom in 2011.” 

The 2016 forecast by for the housing market was pretty accurate, as well. It predicted areas in Rhode Island and Massachusetts would be at the top. 


So, of you’re thinking of buying a Sotheby’s Phoenix home, it looks like 2017 is shaping up to be a good year to do it. Interest rates are still at a historic low. But they are expected to go up more next year so it’s a good idea to move quickly on finding your Sotheby’s Phoenix home. 

Posted in Real Estate News
Dec. 21, 2016

Is a Reverse Mortgage a Good Idea in Retirement?

Many retirees are trying to figure out if they have enough money to last. Some are looking at a reverse mortgage on their Sotheby’s Scottsdale home. 


A reverse mortgage is not for everyone since it’s such an expensive proposition. For most people, they find a reverse mortgage will leave them with nothing if they try to get out of it by selling their Sotheby’s Scottsdale home. But financing retirement by drawing on your home equity does work for some people. 


What Does a Reverse Mortgage Do?

Like the name implies, a reverse mortgage works in reverse. You borrow money against your Sotheby’s Scottsdale home. Interest is added to the balance. The lender eventually gets the money after you’re gone. 


If you’re at retirement age, 62 or over, and your Sotheby’s Scottsdale home is either paid off or paid down, it generally is not a good idea to take out a reverse mortgage. 


A reverse mortgage sounds like the perfect solution to all retiree’s cash flow problems. Retirees are told they get to stay in their own Sotheby’s Scottsdale home and live out their life since a reverse mortgage can’t be reduced, canceled or frozen. 


Fortunately, there are more government protections today than there were a few years ago. Most are FHA-insured. The benefit of an FHA-insured loan is that if the balance left on the loan is more than what your heirs are able to sell the home for, they won’t owe the difference. This is great if a home is being left to children. At least they won’t be left with debt on your Sotheby’s Scottsdale home.  With this said, only do business with an FHA-approved lender. 


The Bad News

A reverse mortgage does take your home out of your estate unless your heirs can redeem it from the bank. Also, taking one out is not free. Many lenders tell borrowers they won’t have to make payments but that’s not the case. You’ll have to pay mortgage insurance premium. There are third-party charges such as appraisal, title search, etc You’ll have to pay the origination fee to process the loan along with a monthly servicing fee. Of course, there’s interest and property taxes, as well. 


The amount you borrow depends on factors such as the youngest person on the loan, the current interest rate, and other factors. In some cases, you’re better off downsizing. 


The Good News

Reverse mortgages, though, work if you didn’t save enough for retirement, you have no children, are in good health and willing to gamble that you’ll stay that way, you plan to live in your Sotheby’s Scottsdale home the rest of your life, and so on. 


Before you do anything, though, sit down with a fee-only fiduciary advisor. 



Posted in Real Estate Tips
Dec. 20, 2016

Home Buyer’s Remorse is Avoidable

Home Buyer’s Remorse does happen but most people don’t think it’ll happen to them. You can love every aspect of the North Scottsdale home for sale that you selected as your dream home. But when it comes time to sign the contract, that’s when doubts can arise. Some home buyers wonder if they were too hasty in their decision, if they paid too much, or if they’ll be able to afford the North Scottsdale home for sale if their finances change.  


Many of these questions and others can easily be answered. But others could bother you enough that you want to back out of the purchase. Unless you have a specific reason for concern, it’s probably a case of Home Buyer’s Remorse. 


Since buying a North Scottsdale home for sale is such a big decision, we all want to be sure it’s the right home. Here are a few steps to determine if you have Home Buyer’s Remorse or you have a legitimate concern, forcing you to cancel the contract. 


Differentiate Between Wants and Needs

First, ask yourself if the North Scottsdale home for sale has all the important things on your list. What qualities does the house have that stands out from the others? Did a lot of homes meet the needs on your list or was this the only one? Do you think you’ll find a house you’ll like better?


What Brings on Home Buyer’s Remorse?

Sometimes all it takes is talking with family and friends to have second thoughts about the home you’re buying. While they might mean well, they might question your choice because it might not be a North Scottsdale home for sale they would pick for themselves.  


You can also experience remorse if you keep looking at other homes. You should stop immediately once you make an offer on a North Scottsdale home for sale unless you think there’s a good chance the deal won’t go through.


Home Buyer’s Remorse can also happen if you have a real estate agent who offers no guidance through the closing process. I can assure you that won’t happen if I’m your agent. 


Even your own doubts can play a role in wondering if you’re doing the right thing. Again, buying a home is a big decision. Sometimes it’s easier to dwell on the negatives rather than positives. 


When Your Concerns Are Valid

At the same time, there are times when you should back out of the deal. For one, if you can’t get financing. Another reason might be if the house doesn’t appraise at a price at or above the contract sales price. Maybe there are repair issues you don’t want to deal with that are uncovered during an inspection. Whatever the case, these are legitimate reasons to back out of a deal and do not fall under Home Buyer’s Remorse.


Prepare Yourself 

If you end up having Home Buyer’s Remorse, remember, you’re not alone. It’s very common. The best thing you can do is understand it and prepare for it ahead of time and have a plan to work through it.  

Posted in Real Estate Tips