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5 Things To Know About The Phoenix Real Estate Market

5 Things To Know About The Phoenix Real Estate Market - myarizonaloan.com

If you’re keeping even somewhat of an eye on Phoenix real estate, you may have noticed some pretty significant changes in recent months – including an increase in listings and sale prices. What else do you need to know about the current state of affairs? We’re breaking it all down for you right here.

#1: Prices Are More Than Rebounding

Home prices in the Greater Phoenix area are reaching 2006 levels and, in some cases, even exceeding them. Even still, the median price in many popular neighborhoods around the Valley comes in under $300,000 – with many of them doubling in value since the market hit rock-bottom at the height of the recession. (Source: AZCentral.com)

#2: First-Time Homebuyers Are Driving Up Demand

The past 5 years in Arizona have seen an increase in property value of 39 percent on average and homes under the $300,000 range are moving ultra fast. As millennials are just now beginning to purchase their first homes, demand is going up faster than supply. Nearly half of homes for sale stay on the market for less than 30 days, which means it’s a seller’s market. (Source: AZFamily.com)

#3: The Priciest Neighborhoods Are Exactly Where You’d Expect

Paradise Valley, Carefree, Scottsdale and North Scottsdale continue to have the most expensive real estate. In Paradise Valley’s 85253 zip code, the median price reached $1.4 million in 2017, up approximately 17 percent from the previous year. In Scottsdale, DC Ranch’s exclusive Silver Leaf neighborhood houses a mansion recently sold for a record $18.5 million. (Source: AZCentral.com)

#4: Flips Are Hot (Again)

Ten years since the United States’ housing market collapsed, real estate flips are again on the rise. In the Phoenix area, more than 8,500 homes sold last year were flips – that’s more than anywhere else in the country. Just how hot is the local flip market? Hot enough to attract Zillow’s “Instant Offer” pilot program, an initiative that allows investors the opportunity to skip the bidding process and purchase a home online, which Zillow will then “flip” with slight renovations and the investor can turn around and sell for profit. (Sources: NPR.org and DigitalTrends.com)

#5: People Are Migrating To Arizona

Phoenix is one of the top markets for homeowners who are being priced out of more expensive markets like California, New York and Chicago. Between 2016 and 2017, Arizona’s capital gained approximately 80,000 new residents looking for more affordable real estate. Other U.S. cities to make the list include Dallas, Houston and Charlotte. (Source: BizJournals.com)

What kind of questions do you have about buying a home? Ask them in the comments below and we may just turn your questions into a future blog post!

3 Ways For Homebuyers to Qualify a Realtor Online

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you’re likely researching potential real estate agents online. With all of the different review sites out there, the hunt can be an overwhelming one. Do you know what to look for? Here are just a few of our expert tips.

Google Reviews

We should start this section off by saying – take all online reviews with a grain of salt. Don’t toss a possible Realtor to the side just because they have a couple of negative reviews or if they don’t have any online reviews at all. Not all stellar real estate agents will have a slew of online referrals. Likewise, don’t base your choice 100 percent off of these online reviews.

Instead, use Google Reviews as a starting point in your research and then follow-up with over-the-phone or in-person questions. You should also learn how to spot fake online reviews. In Google Reviews, check the profile of the reviewer to confirm that they’re active on the platform. Read through some of the other reviews that they’ve left to ensure that they’re not just using templated cut-and-paste feedback.

Zillow

The first thing you’ll see when you land on a Realtor’s Zillow page is their star-rating and the number of sales they’ve finalized in the last 12 months. While these metrics are important in qualifying a Realtor online, they only scratch the surface. Dive a little deeper and read their professional bio.

Take a look at their Listing & Sales map. Where are the majority of their “sold” dots located? Do they cover the area you’re considering? Moving down to the “Recent Reviews” section, note just how “recent” the latest entry is. If there is a good mix of dates in those client reviews, then it’s likely the agent is active and fast-moving.

The Realtor’s Website & Social Media Channels

This may seem like an obvious way to qualify realtors online, but there are a few things you should look for that you may not have considered yet. Number one, is it obvious that the real estate agent is an expert in your desired neighborhood or the neighborhood in which you’re selling?

Do they have a track record of selling the style of home that matches yours? And, do they have an active community on social media that is engaging with their content or asking questions about the homes that they’re listing? You can also learn a lot about a potential Realtor by reading any industry-related articles they’re featured in or blog posts that they’ve published.

Before we wrap up this blog post, we just want to reiterate one more time: Just because a Realtor has stellar online reviews, doesn’t mean they’re the best match for you. We recommend using your online search to narrow down a list of 3 to 5 real estate agents and then scheduling a call to see if one is a match. And, of course, your loan advisor is always a great resource for referring top Realtors in your area!

What kind of questions do you have about finding and working with a real estate agent? Ask them in the comments below and we may just turn your questions into a future Realtor Q&A!

How To Stage Your Master Bedroom For A Faster Sell

Having a properly staged master bedroom can make your house extra attractive to potential buyers. It should feel like a sanctuary – a relaxing refuge from the workday. Let’s quickly cover the basic steps to a well-staged master bedroom.

Cleanup & Streamline: It should go without saying, but here’s a friendly reminder to cleanup all messes before any homebuyers stop by for a viewing. Get rid of scattered items like purses or laundry and make sure the space smells fresh. Declutter surfaces like nightstands, organize random electronic devices and consider storing your large exercise equipment. You want potential buyers to be able to picture their life in the space, not be overwhelmed by yours.

Give It A Cosmetic Refresh: Go over the walls with a fresh coat of paint (stick to neutrals or earthy tones). Because the bed is typically a focal point, approach the styling of it like a work of art. Make sure all coverings are coordinated or matching. Choose pillows and throw blankets wisely. They should add an eye-catching design element to the bed’s overall look, but not completely takeover the space. Also, hanging a large mirror in your room will create the illusion of a larger space. Keep all design gender neutral.

Aim For Upscale: When staging a master bedroom to sell your home, go for the gold. Meaning, make the space look plush and luxurious. Add a few pieces of tasteful art on the wall – even if they’re rented or borrowed. It’ll project an air of refinement. Avoid kitsch or eccentric art. Your goal is to make it look upscale but not over-the-top.

Check The Ambiance: Pay particular attention to how windows and lighting affect the vibe of your master bedroom. Natural light is very appealing, so definitely show off any related features (like a skylight!) to emphasize the element. Hang simple drapes that match carpeting and bedding. Keep them open when potential buyers come for a walk-through. Overly bright or too-dark master bedrooms are off-putting. If your master bedroom looks out onto a nice view, you’ll want to show that off, too.

Add Some Greenery: Place a live, potted plant somewhere in the master bedroom – like a flower on the dresser or a small tree in a corner. Fresh floral arrangements add a nice touch, especially if colors are coordinated to the rest of the room. Popular plants like mother-in-law’s tongue or bamboo palm can add a soothing, spa-like quality that emphasizes the room’s true purpose, which is to act as a retreat from everyday life.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

Selling Your Home? Here Are 4 Secrets To Total Curb Appeal

When it comes to selling a home, curb appeal can make or break your prospects. Having a beautiful home inside and out sets you up for a more successful sale – it can do wonders for your list price and decrease the amount of time your home sits on the market. Before listing your home, make sure it features the following:

A Welcoming Walkway

Think of it as the ambassador to your home. The pathway, landing and front door of your walkway should all blend together in a single, cohesive aesthetic. Have a straight path for your walkway? Jazz it up with flower pots.

If it’s winding, draw people in with curious boulders and interesting trees or plants in bright colors. Wooden walkways offer a unique touch – cedar, redwood, cypress and teak are particularly durable and weather-resistant. Word to the wise: Whatever you do, keep the overall design simple and organized.

A Front Door That Stands Out

For a major dose of curb appeal, consider painting your front door in a vibrant hue. A bit of contrast goes a long way. For example, homes that are white or gray pop with red doors because the tone adds a bit of mystery to its overall look.

Besides donning a fresh coat of paint, you’ll want to make sure the door is spruced up with polished knobs and fixtures, and that any parts that need replacing are swapped out before you begin showing the home. Small touches like this can go a long way when it comes to curb appeal.

A Manicured Lawn

Trust us when we say, a home’s landscaping makes all the difference! If your lawn is withering with dead grass or overgrown shrubs, it’s likely buyers will skip your listing altogether in their initial search. Make sure your lawn is a beautiful complement to the rest of your home. On a related note, you don’t want the lawn to seem too high-maintenance. Go for something that is appealing, but efficient and easy to maintain.

We also recommend adding a simple garden around the perimeter of your home or somewhere in the backyard. Flowers really brighten up a space and make people feel happy when touring your home – and an emotional connection to the property is huge with buyers. Finally, stay away from lawn ornaments. It’s a very subjective, personal-style thing and when showing your home, it’s best to have it look like a clean slate.

A Well-Maintained Roof

Before listing your home, it’s a good idea to hire a professional who can inspect your roof and recommend any needed cosmetic or structural repairs. Check for holes, leaks, damages or any shingles or tiles that need to be replaced. Savvy buyers know to have a home inspected before closing, so it’s best you get this step out of the way at the beginning. It will save you a headache in the long run.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

How to Find the Best Real Estate Agent for Your Needs

How to Find the Right Real Estate Agent - myarizonaloan.com

When it comes to hiring the right real estate agent, the “wow” factor is only one piece of the important puzzle. What you want to do is hire a real estate agent that fits your individual needs.

Check Their Credentials

Here are just a few real estate-related credentials to be on the lookout for:

  • Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR): A real estate agent who has completed additional education for representation of a buyer in his/her transactions.
  • Certified Residential Specialist (CRS): Completed additional training during the handling of residential real estate, such as houses and apartments.
  • Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES): Completed training for the purpose of helping sellers and buyers who are age 50+.

Research Their Licensing

Would you go to a doctor who doesn’t have proper medical training? Of course not. So, why work with a real estate agent who doesn’t have proper licensing? Your state should have a license board with a database of all active real estate agents and realtors, which should be easily accessible to the public. You’ll be able to review their relevant information, including any prior disciplinary actions or vital complaints.

Ask For Referrals From Recent Clients

Ask the agent to give you a list of all the sales they’ve made in the past year, as well as a list of names and phone numbers you can call for references. A good agent will be happy to do this. When speaking with the real estate agent’s references, inquire about the asking price for their home as well as the final sale price. You may also want to know where the reference worked with the potential real estate agent, because it’s always a good idea to hire an agent who specializes in your area of town.

Browse Their Current Listings

Once you know their area of specialization, check out the real estate agent’s current available listings. Review their website, plus anything that’s listed under their name on Realtor.com and other relevant pages. The majority of buyers begin their home search on the internet. So, if you’re selling a home, you’ll want to make sure that real estate agent has a decent online presence. Top agents also know to advertise themselves on multiple platforms…and you definitely want to work with someone who is using every tool in their belt.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

Negotiating the Sale of Your Home? Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes

Negotiating doesn’t come naturally to most people. It’s a skill and an art-form that is best perfected with practice. If you’re selling your home without the help of a real estate agent, you’ll want to avoid these common pitfalls in the process.

Lacking confidence. If you’re not confident, you’re likely to ruin the deal. Tenacity and preparation are key to solid negotiation. Identify the mutually-beneficial terms and expected objections – and project them confidently to the buyer – and you’ll be well on your way to success.

Making assumptions. Everything is negotiable. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Powerful negotiations can help break the rules. By projecting an ethical and mutually acceptable solution, you’ll win over any buyer.

Not building trust. Never enter into a deal without first establishing a relationship and trust with the potential homebuyer. Take things slow. Get to know the people and their motives behind buying your home. Gather any useful leveraging points by interacting with them in a positive way.

Getting scared. Seriously, don’t let rejection – or the fear of appearing greedy – deter you. Substantiate your ask and expectation with a viable argument to justify it. If your offer is rejected, don’t take it personally. It’s a part of the process! On average, people say “no” three times before finally saying “yes.”

Talking too much. Don’t talk too much during negotiation. Oftentimes, your silence will play a bigger role in getting what you want. It might feel awkward, but adding a pause of silence will make the buyer more likely to interject with information that’s helpful to you.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

7 Tips for Negotiating Without a Real Estate Agent

Negotiating is tricky, but it’s not impossible. Smart negotiation always follows a strategy. Here are some of our best pieces of advice for negotiating the sale of your home.

  • First, determine the possible outcomes of the negotiation. If it’s not going to be profitable for you, give it up. If you remain focused on your objectives, you can deal effectively even with tough people.
  • Selling your home? Do the research. Go by expert analysis and know what your home is really worth in the market. Just because you want to make more money doesn’t mean you should price the home too high for the given neighborhood or economy. That just diminishes your chances of selling. Getting an appraisal will give you an even clearer picture of your home’s worth.
  • Be realistic. Remain open and flexible. You can’t expect to get everything you want during negotiation. Honestly accept any flaws the buyer might point out in your property.
  • Don’t take it personally. Meaning, don’t react personally to low offers. It’s just part of the game. Look into the buyer’s motivation and understand it thoroughly before you respond appropriately. Even if you have to reject the offer, you might have some valuable lessons to learn from it.
  • Explore ways to counterbalance the low offers. Maybe you can make the buyer agree to pay the closing costs.
  • It’s never a bad idea to have an alternative deal in the background while you negotiate with a given party.
  • Mentally prepare yourself to do the negotiation as effectively as possible. Be tough but professional. Never get emotional. Stay focused, calm and relaxed so that you have total control of the situation.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

Selling Your Home? Here Are 5 Questions To Ask Prospective Buyers

There’s a lot of work and preparation that comes with selling your home. When it comes to negotiating the sale, you’ll want to pre-qualify buyers to make sure they’re serious about their desire to purchase. Here are 5 must-ask questions while negotiating:

Are you currently working with a real estate agent?

Buyers who are working with a professional real estate agent have likely already completed the necessary legwork and paperwork. This, of course, is a major plus. But, keep in mind that you’ll also be expected to pay part of that real estate agent’s commission with a portion of your home’s sale price.

How long have you been looking at homes?

If the buyer has just started looking for a home, you may want to move on. Every situation is different, but there’s a good chance that people who have just begun their search are just window shopping. (Unless they’re just instant decision-makers!) If they’ve been looking for some time, then they’re more likely to make a commitment sooner. They’ve seen what’s out there and they’ve weight their options.

Have you already been pre-qualified by a lender?

Actually, this could be a question or a requirement.

For example, you may want to tell them, “If you’re interested in purchasing my home, I would like for you to become pre-qualified before you make an offer.” Lay this out for them and you’ll see just how serious the buyer is. You’ll also know whether the purchase is even probable and if they can afford your home.

If the buyer isn’t qualified, you’ll want to scratch them out of the equation. Last thing you want is to get involved in a lengthy legal process that ties up your sale, which could prevent you from showing your home to other would-be buyers.

Have you already sold your home, or do you still need to do so?

This is an extremely important question because it will give you a general timeframe for how long you have to move into a new home. If they are currently in the middle of selling their home, ask them whether their home is under contract.

Once you find the right house, when will you plan to move in?

Don’t be surprised if they can’t give you an immediate answer. There are so many variables that play into the home buying and selling process. That’s normal. But, if they avoid the question altogether, it’s likely a red flag and a sign that you’ll want to look at other options.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

A Buyer’s Negotiation Tactics – Be Ready For Them!

Negotiation is inevitable when you’re selling your home. Unless you’re a skilled haggler, it’s probably an experience that will drive you up a wall at some point. But, it’s important to be ready to deal with the process. Remember: Smile, speak slowly and – above all else – have a sense of humor. You’re going to need it.

In the meantime, study up on the following buyer negotiation personas.

The Higher Authority Negotiator: This tactic includes bringing in a third party to review the contract or see the home to put in their two cents.

Nibblers (aka Non-Stop Negotiators): The best way to manage this type is to clearly document and spell out every fine detail, hold your ground and not fold on things that are out-of-the-form or important to you.

Bad Guy/Good Guy: Handle these personalities by setting one appointment with both people and don’t negotiate anything until all parties are present, so that you’re not hit from both sides at opposite times.

The Trial Balloon: This type will assess your position without any clues or reason, so combat them with questions, such as, “If I were to finance the house myself, what offer would you make me?” Only take a response from the buyer.

Would You Take…”: Avoiding this type is easy. All you have to do is ask for all offers in writing, and they will more often than not back off.

The Guilt Trip: If a buyer decides to back you into a corner and guilt trip you (some will try and tell you about how hard it’s been for them financially and that they’d really appreciate it if you could lower your asking price), stand your ground.

While most buyers will work with you and generally won’t put up much of a fight, there are some who will try and take advantage of the sale. Don’t let these people run you into the dirt by asking you to lower your selling price by an absurd amount. If your home is priced fairly, you’ll find plenty of other buyers who are willing to make you a reasonable offer.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to tell a buyer who is stressing you out to hit the road. You don’t need them – they need you.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

How To Market Your Open House Online

How To Market Your Open House Online - myarizonaloan.com

The best way to make an open house successful is to effectively market and promote it well before the event date.  Buyers are constantly searching online for listings and the sooner you get in front of them, the better. Typically, a real estate agent will handle open house efforts for you, but if you’d like to take promotions a step further, consider doing the following:

Facebook

Social media is great for listing your home. Consider setting up a Facebook page that’s dedicated to the home you’re selling. Add engaging photos of the exterior – the front of the house, the backyard and any other charming highlights – as well as interior shots, which should include full pictures of each room, entryway, kitchen and any shared spaces. Create a photo album using only the best photos.

PRO TIP: Hire a professional photographer to take clear and beautiful images.

Make sure the Facebook page description is easy to read by separating paragraphs and using clear and concise words with no errors. Spell out every interesting detail of the house and go over the description with your real estate agent before publishing.

Then, create a Facebook event listing for your open house. This is where you’ll plug in all relevant information like date, time and directions. It’s also a good opportunity to add more stunning photos!

PRO TIP: Have access to a video camera? Creating a short teaser video to take potential buyers on a quick property. And, get in front of that camera! Who better to show off the unique features of a home than its owner?

REALTOR.com

REALTOR.com is a great way to market your house, as potential buyers are constantly cruising this website for their dream home.

Your real estate agent is the one who needs to first create the for-sale listing. But, once that’s done, you can go in and add an open house event yourself. Here are some quick instructions on this process:

  1. In the main menu, click Manage Listings, and click on the address for your listing, then click Edit Listing once the menu appears.
  2. From there, click on Open Houses underneath Showcase Listing Enhancements and enter the information for your open house in the provided fields.
  3. The Additional Comments box allows you to add any other information that you may deem necessary to include, such as directions to your property from the closest major intersection, for example.
  4. Once you are satisfied with everything, click Save, and you will then see your open house date within the Open House section, where you can edit or delete it if you wish to do so.

Always remember to let your real estate agent know whenever you make any changes to any of your listings.

Zillow

Zillow is another real estate tool that is perfect for open house promotion. Once your real estate agent has created a listing for your home on the market, and an open house date has been decided and confirmed, you can then create the listing for it by following these steps:

  1. First, look for Edit Listing Info, which will be located at the top of the home page.
  2. Select the button that reads Update for Sale by Agent/Owner, which you will find at the bottom of the page.
  3. Carefully go over and fill in all of the fields given, click Save, and you’re done!

Once again, ensure that your real estate agent goes over the listing for your open house once you have completed it.

Are you looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.