Posted On: April 28th, 2022 3:43AM
When touring a home, it is important to take note of items that may need costly repairs. Cosmetic changes or quick fixes are easy to spot, but in the excitement of viewing potential homes, costly repairs sometimes get overlooked. Therefore, we like to educate our clients on potential red flags you should be keeping an eye out for during showings!
Lead paint- Homes made before 1978 are prone to have high levels of lead based paint, which often has a particular cracking pattern that looks like alligator skin as you can see in this photo. The dust created from lead based paint when doors and windows open/close or paint cracks can be very dangerous, especially for kids. If you’re concerned about lead based paint, you can buy easy to use testing kits from Amazon (http://tiny.cc/mtvoez) and take them with you to showings to quickly and discreetly test the home for lead based paint. Typical places to look for lead based paint are on interiors and exteriors of windows and doors, stair stringers, painted interior or exterior railings, porches, garages and siding, although lead based paint can be found anywhere throughout an older home.
The roof – Do you see cracked, bubbling, missing, or broken shingles? That could mean the property needs a new roof right away which can be very expensive.
Windows– New windows aren’t cheap, often costing $500 – $800 per window depending on the size and style. Make sure the windows open and shut and that there aren’t any drafts. See if the glass has condensation between the panes which can be the sign of a seal failure. Check to see if the window is single paned, meaning it’s an older window, or double paned, likely meaning it’s a newer window. If the window has buttons/tabs on the insides you can use to pop it out and clean it on both sides that’s a good indication it’s likely a newer window. Good working windows helps lower heating and cooling costs as well.
Take note of mud tubes, damaged wood, pellets or wings, which are often found in areas of the home where there is wood framing such as basements or ceilings. There is a saying in Arizona though, "It's not if the home has termites, it is when." They are common and treatable.
Chimney Cap -if the chimney cap is missing it could indicate the chimney has not been protected during the elements, allowing water in and causing drywall damage, rust, loss of mortar and other deterioration. In other words, repairs could be costly if the chimney cap is missing.
Efflorescence is something we also see regularly on brick or stone. It’s a sign that the brick or stone has come into contact with water causing the water to pull minerals out of the brick resulting in a flaky and chalky white appearance on the exterior. It can be treated by brushing then sealing the surface, however, it often indicates a bigger water intrusion issue such as spalling, missing mortar, etc. You will see these types of issues often in basements. It is best to call a professional for an estimate before moving forward as this could be a foundation issue vs. a quick mortar replacement and sealing.
Heating and cooling systems– check the age and service dates of major systems. Turn on the AC or heat to see if they kick on and work!
Electrical– Check light switches, see where they lead, if they turn on and off and listen for buzzing or strange noises. Also check to see if the outlets are 2 prong outlets, indicating older electrical wires in the home, or more modern 3 prong outlets. Also look in the basement to see if you see pipe and conduit, indicating more modern electrical or old knob and tube or cloth wrapped BX wiring. Also look to see if the electrical panel looks old or new. Plumbing – Simply flush the toilets and listen. Weird creeks, gurgling, or low pressure could mean a nasty problem is on the horizon. Look to see if any exposed plumbing in the basement is made out of newer PVC and copper or if it’s still the old cast iron pipes. Look for any corrosion or rust on the pipes.
*Disclaimer: We are not professional inspectors. The above are simply suggestions to look for in homes and don’t necessarily mean there is a problem with the home, which is why you should always have a professional and licensed inspector inspect any properties you are considering buying.
Posted On: April 28th, 2022 3:41AM
5 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Home
Are you tired of paying increasing rental rates and watching that money go straight into your landlord’s pocket? Are you always saying ‘one day in my house I’ll have…’? Or, are you wishing you could make permanent design changes? Well, sounds like you might be in the market to buy a home.
Unfortunately, no one can tell you when you’re ready to become a homeowner. Buying a home is most likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. While buying your first home is thrilling, your excitement shouldn’t be overshadowed by the responsibility of it all. Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine if you’re ready. Here are some common signs that you might be ready to buy your first home:
Well? What do you think after reading those common signs? Are you ready to buy a home? If you have any questions about purchasing a home, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or 602 882 1878.
Posted On: April 28th, 2022 3:40AM
CMA, ARM, Conventional Loan, HOA, are you confused yet? Don’t worry; most people are confused by the myriad of Real Estate terms.
We recently came across this great article explaining 14 of the most common real estate terms and thought we’d add a few of my own to the list:
Commission: The amount of money paid to the buyer’s agent (if there is one) as well as the seller’s agent (if there is one). These amounts are negotiable and compensate the agent for their work.
Dual Agency: When an agent represents both the buyer and the seller in the transaction. If this is to occur, it requires permission from all parties involved.
Executed Contract: This means the contract has been signed by all parties involved (usually the buyer and seller). Until the contract is signed by all parties, it is not valid or enforceable so it’s important everyone signs the contract quickly.
REO: Real estate owned or REO is a class of property owned by a lender—typically a bank, government agency, or government loan insurer—after an unsuccessful sale at a foreclosure auction. A foreclosing beneficiary will typically set the opening bid at a foreclosure auction for at least the outstanding loan amount. If there are no bidders that are interested, then the beneficiary will legally repossess the property. This is commonly the case when the amount owed on the home is higher than the current market value of this foreclosure property, such as with a high loan-to-value mortgage following a real estate bubble. As soon as the beneficiary repossesses the property it is listed on their books as REO and categorized as an asset (non-performing asset).
Short Sale: When a person puts their home on the market and the property’s market value is less than the balance of the money owed on the mortgage. This is usually associated with drastic falls in the market value of the property. Basically this means that the seller owes more money to the bank than the home can be sold for in today’s market. It’s a tough break for sellers, but can be a great opportunity for buyers. The downside to short sales is that they can take a very long time to close (6-12 months) and there is no guarantee they will close as any banks involved have to agree to take less money for the house than they are owed by the seller.
Have a question about a common real estate term? Just comment below or email us at [email protected]
Posted On: April 28th, 2022 3:39AM
The short answer is NO. Per the MLS, the “MLS is deemed reliable but not guaranteed” meaning the listing agent does his/her best to put accurate info into the MLS, but there can be (and very often are) errors in the MLS listing. It is important to do your due diligence to make sure the information is correct. Pulling plat maps to see accurate lot size, asking your home insurance agent to make sure the property isn’t in a flood zone, hiring an inspector to verify the property has a garbage disposal and using an appraiser to check the total square footage are all ways you can double check that the information in the MLS is accurate. The MLS relies on the listing agent to put in accurate information, which often the listing agent has to get from the Maricopa tax public records as well as the seller. Some sellers don’t know every detail about their home or might know about items done by the previous owners. That’s why it’s important to double check anything in the MLS that is important to you.
Yes, it’s often wrong. I get this particular question a lot after closing, when buyers discover something in the MLS wasn’t correct such as the fact that the property has engineered hardwood floors instead of real hardwood floors (this isn’t something the inspector will check as he doesn’t have access to the MLS) or that the property isn’t in the school district it was advertised to be in. Of course this is alarming, but, unfortunately the buyer is on the hook for doing the proper homework to make sure everything they wanted or needed is correct as there’s no recourse to “go after the sellers” after closing because of an error in the MLS. That’s why at the bottom of every property in the MLS it says “The accuracy of all information, regardless of source, including but not limited to square footage and lot sizes, is deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be personally verified through personal inspection by and/or with the appropriate professionals.” While agents have to report knowledge of erroneous data to the MLS to be corrected as they are discovered, the burden of proof is on the buyer to verify their new home has what they expected it to have.
Posted On: April 28th, 2022 3:38AM
If you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, you’re probably assuming you can breathe easy and focus on finding the home of your dreams without needing to worry about the loan any further. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. There is a huge difference between being pre-approved for a mortgage and being approved for a loan. When a lender gives you a pre-approval letter it basically says the lender thinks you have a great chance at being approved for a loan, but it doesn’t guarantee it. Once you go under contract, you’ll need to fill out a lot more forms, go through underwriting where the underwriter will scrutinize every document and ask for additional supporting documents, have your credit report pulled again, etc. Only then will you find out if you are fully approved for the loan.
Between now and the time you close on a home, it’s important to keep your finances in the same condition (or better) than they were when you applied for your pre-approval letter. Unfortunately, buyers often do things that can potentially jeopardize being approved for a loan. So between now and when you close on a home here’s my DO NOT DO list for you:
Questions? Contact us at [email protected] or 602 882 1878