Happy Friday! Real estate in Arizona is a huge sellers market right now. Prepping your home is one of the biggest benefits you could give yourself because it helps add value to your home. You want to make sure your home is in tip top shape and ready to be shown to plenty of potential buyers. Our good friends over at Happy Writers Co. helped us come up with some awesome tips for getting your home ready to sell!
4 DIY Home Inspections to Do Every Year
Developing the eye and increasing your knowledge around home inspections can save anyone who owns, is planning to buy, or who is selling a world of trouble and headaches in the long run. One of the most important things to remember when inspecting a home on your own is to take your time and record notes or pictures if possible. Logging as many details as you can about the home is beneficial information that future inspectors or home segment specialists can learn from. Everything from stuck windows or doors to sloping floors, stained walls, and slow drains should be noted. Out of the magnitude of inspections that should be completed regularly, here are four inspections that can be done on your own every year.
Look for Wear and Tear on Roofing
Repairing a roof and full roof replacements can cost as much as $30,000, and pricing varies depending on materials and the scope of work needed. Whatever the roofing issue may be, spending the time and money on roofing fixes is a hassle. Going into any sale with eyes wide open regarding roofing needs will help future homeowners plan and negotiate property costs, and homeowners will be able to use the information gained to have an educated conversation with roofing companies.
Using scaffolding or a ladder to safely access the roof is best. Once safe access has been established, assessing the current condition of shingles, missing shingles, and doing penetration testing to check for disparities will quickly reveal any leaks, holes, or weak points that need to be fixed. Homeowners should also do their own assessment and research before hiring an inspector or service provider. The information will help owners and sellers compare services and discuss issues with housing experts.
Be Sure to Check Gutter Systems
While your scaffolding or ladder is out and readily available, ensure to thoroughly check outdoor gutter systems. Keep an eye out for wear and tear, and you may have to unclog areas if they are cluttered to get a better look. Don't forget a hose when inspecting. Water should be run through the gutter to make sure that they are working correctly and that downspouts are not obstructed.
Clogged gutters can cause foundational issues because water can collect around the foundation of your home and seep into unwanted areas, which can then cause rot and mold. If you see water collecting around the house, be sure to make a note. It could be a simple clog, or gutters may need to be upgraded.
Windows Tell a Big Part of the Home’s Story
Make sure to pay attention to the windows and check for cracking, broken glass, gaps, and stripping as you walk through the property. Windows with cracks or crevices can let in heat and cold, which will drive up heating and cooling costs. Gaps are also an open door for bugs and critters to make it into the estate. Openings and stuck windows and doors can also be a sign of foundational issues.
Also, ensure that windows can open and close properly. A common reason why this function fails is because there is a buildup of dust, dirt, debris, or loose/damaged hardware. If windows are getting up there in age, then it could be time to replace them, and this is an essential detail to note.
Don't Forget About the Siding
The side of a home might be one of the last things on your mind, but it can be one of the more extensive home fixes on a property. Poor siding opens up homes to a wide variety of weather-related susceptibilities that decrease the home's value and let moisture in. Houses that are not appropriately insulated also have trouble retaining a consistent temperature, which can impact your finances.
When inspecting siding, check for rotting, discoloration, rust, exposed nails, moisture damage, and damage around joints and seams. Keep in mind that damaged siding may not necessarily be due to wear and tear but improper installation. This means that even if the home or siding is new, a thorough inspection is still needed. Water damage is the typical result when siding is not connected correctly, and damage may not show itself inside the home but still impact the home's structure.
A Thorough Inspection Delivers Peace of Mind
Taking your time and looking for the story homes tell through walls, windows, drains, and all of the other elements that make up a property provides peace of mind in the end. Knowing what the tell-tale signs of significant damage look like will help prospective buyers skip over properties that may not be worth pursuing, or strengthen dialogue with home professionals as a seller or homeowner.
3 Value-Boosting Upgrades for Your Current Fence
Who knew that Robert Frost knew so much about the value of fences when he spouted the everlasting truth, "Good fences make good neighbors" in his famous poem "Mending Wall." Quality fencing makes a significant difference in every component of home life, impacts relationships with neighbors, and is a must-have, especially for homeowners with pets and children. Apart from the physical and more practical elements, fencing can be both functional and aesthetically pleasing at the same time, and upgrading this part of your home exterior can add value to your home in the long run.
Natural Barriers Are Trending
The default white picket fence now has competition since the arrival of the natural barrier. Using trees, shrubs, vines, and many other landscaping architecture options to line your property is often a more cost-efficient approach to marking your property line. Live fences can consist of 100% plant life, or plants can be weaved with fencing materials. Not only are natural barriers visually stunning, they also provide ecological diversity and support local ecosystems by increasing habitats for bees, and other critical insects that need a home.
An additional value-add to natural barriers is that they last considerably longer than manufactured fencing and are resistant to termites and fungal attacks. The greenery that lines your property can also double as a garden and produce fruits and vegetables. If you're looking for a more clear-cut boundary, then inosculating or grafting branches in a criss-cross pattern, so that they grow concurrently will give your live fence a more definitive look.
Defining Property Lines Doesn't Mean Views Have to be Obstructed
Another trend taking properties by storm is low fencing that doesn't obstruct the home's view. This fence type is the perfect fit for highlighting the architecture of a home, and drawing a clean property boundary will be a delight to neighbors as well. A good neighbor fence can be built in multiple sizes and is a shared feature, which means that collaborating with neighbors is part of the building process. Both sides are pleasing to the eye with this type of fence, and costs are split evenly between neighbors.
Going with a good neighbor fence and a lower fence line works to add value to your neighboring properties, which in turn benefits you. Another bold style that can be considered is combining plant life with a traditional good neighbor fence line. This would include using some traditional fencing along with shrubs, trees, or bushes to break up the fence line and make it more creative.
Make it Automatic
Installing an automatic gate on your property instantly improves security by restricting pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Homeowners can easily control who can access their property from inside their home and screen visitors. Gates can also be opened from inside of a vehicle and help to protect pets and children. Automatic gates make a significant difference in larger properties and help to increase privacy. This heavy layer of protection for your home also boosts your property value and can even reduce insurance premiums.
An automatic gate's convenience component is one of the most attractive reasons to have this feature automated, but various safety elements transcend its practicality. Inclement weather or a late-night arrival can make it very uncomfortable and unsafe to open up your gate for visitors or people living in your home. Having a secure way to operate your property's entrance no matter the weather or time of day offers many homeowners peace of mind.
Choosing the Right Fence For You
There are many styles and raw materials to choose from when deciding on the fence that will stand the test of time, look appealing in contrast to your property and be an all-around perfect fit. The wide variety of fencing materials available offers homeowners a collection of styles and looks that will end up being one of the first style elements people see when visiting your home. Starting with functionality and quality is the first step. Whether you decide to install a traditional, natural, vinyl, or wrought iron fence and add an automatic gate, putting your design hat on will help you choose the right style that makes your property stand out.
Have you ever caught yourself questioning what the local real estate market in 2020 will look like? How many of you have heard about a potential crash in the market for this year, or that there's too many people moving to the Phoenix area/Arizona in general because of cost of living and housing prices? We talked to Zoltar, one of the world's most famous fortune tellers... Just kidding! We didn't necessarily talk to Zoltar about the local real estate market but we did do some research about the market and we have answers to the questions many are asking their local realtor! Don't worry, we don't have any bad news to bear but mainly great news that will keep you at peace when it comes to potentially buying or selling a home this year!
Let's start with the most talked about topic - a potential 2020 market crash. Many of us have noticed that the local real estate market is booming and that's great, but it also makes many wonder if that boom is happening too quickly. Not to worry, there won't be a recession or setback any time soon for the Phoenix area (yay!). Truth is, with these types of myths being thrown around in conversations, current homeowners are going back and forth about selling their home. Although house prices are currently increasing, they aren't going up rapidly. As a matter of fact, according to a recent article written by AZ Big Media, house prices for 2020 aren't quickly rising like they did in 2019 . This puts a homeowner in an interesting spot because there's a potential fear of getting stuck to a depreciating asset in the future if they don't take advantage of those rising prices. This could mean that there would be more of a push to put their home on the market before it starts to depreciate if a homeowner decides to wait a few more years.
So what exactly is determining the rise in prices here in the Phoenix area? Well, there's plenty of factors that go into play, but the Home Buying Institute states that, "there are two dominant trends that stand out within the Phoenix real estate market. They are a growing population and a limited supply of real estate inventory. These two factors account for the ongoing rise in home values, and the positive forecasts for the Phoenix real estate market in 2020" Brandon Cornett, Home Buying Institute (January, 2020). The article also mentions that the population has nearly rose by 15% within the last 9 years, which is much higher than the nation's rate. Don't fear that percentage because it's actually a good thing! Another important detail to point out that relates back to increased house prices is the imbalance of supply/demand. According to Redfin, a real estate brokerage company, at the end of 2019 the Phoenix area saw a 2-month supply of homes for sale, while the national average was roughly at a 3-month supply. That 2-month supply of homes for sale is what created that imbalance of supply/demand, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just means that we are currently in a sellers market. For those who don't know what a seller's market is, it's basically a situation where there's more demand than supply for homes. For example, a home that is being put on the market will have plenty of potential buyers coming in, which leads to multiple offers on that home (that's a great sign). The only challenge Phoenicians would be facing is competition amongst the lower price ranged houses. Lower end house prices will create more competition for buyers who want to stick to prices that are considered more affordable. Speaking of lower-end house prices, who exactly is searching for homes within this price point? Let's find out!
And the award goes to... young people! Yes, you the millennial, is the type of buyer who is looking for a home that's considered to be in the lower price point. It isn't necessarily bad, if anything it's a good thing because it indicates that young people are becoming financially ready to make a pretty big purchase in their life that doesn't include pricey lattes or avocado toast. In fact, millennials who are in their late 20s are getting ready to purchase a home because they are feeling financially stable to do so. It's been predicted that the younger generation is fascinated with wanting to live that luxurious lifestyle they see in LA or New York City, but realistically, it won't be happening any time soon. That's why many of them are looking at areas that still have a similar lifestyle but with a better overall cost of living. Imagine the suburbs being filled with a bunch of millennials years from now...
Did you know that there's also another generation who is making a change to the market? You guessed it, boomers! Sorry to call your generation boomers, but it does sound better than saying senior citizens... Anyways, in the same article mentioned above by AZ Big Media, it's predicted that around 2035, seniors will approximately make up 1/3 of the overall population. An entire third of the population... That's a lot! It also does mean that they'll be in need of houses and/or retirement homes, which will be a hot market later down the road for us realtors.
So we went over the myth of a potential recession, why prices are rising, and which groups are creating a shift in the market, but what else is there to mention? Probably one of the more important factors of buying a home, money! We are by no means loan officers but we can tell you this, the interest rate for a mortgage is still relatively low! Last year in June we published a blog that talked about low rates and we're happy to say that they are still sticking around for another while! The Home Buying Institute's article brings up a very interesting point about overall mortgage rates. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau did research on the local market and they created a chart showing us delinquency rates. What's a delinquency rate you ask? In the simplest terms, it's the percentage of loans that are considered past due. Back when the recession hit, the percentage for those rates were fairly high. Fast forward to 2019, those rates are considered to be lower than average. That just means homeowners are doing a much better job with keeping up on their mortgage payments. Keep it up Phoenix!
Before coming to an end, we just wanted to make a few honorable mentions to a few other factors that go into play when it comes to the local real estate market. As technology continues to advance, the way we do business is also advancing. Local realtors are now competing against iBuyers. An iBuyer comes from a computer generated service that's making it easier to purchase a home. How do they make the process easier? iBuyer companies make a potential seller fill out information about their current home, then sends them an offer and the price the iBuyer is willing to pay for the home. Most iBuyers are real estate investors who are looking to make cash offers on that specific home. This could potentially bring in a lower than expected offer, compared to a higher offer a traditional realtor can bring in, and those companies take the pain of marketing, repairs, etc. out of the equation. Oddly enough, the iBuyer method was pioneered here in Phoenix. By the way, check out this article by Forbes that gives you more insight on iBuyers and how they shifted the market as well. Another honorable mention is the labor market! With more people moving to Arizona, that means there's also a need for more people with skilled labor experience. It's good news for those who are looking to go a different route than the traditional, let's get a college degree route! Trade jobs, specifically in the residential construction industry, need to be filled with potential employees who are looking to still get a job that comes with great benefits and pay. Trust us when we say those jobs are definitely out there.
Let's wrap it up! Is it truly a good idea to sell your home to buy another one if you're already in consideration of doing so? We still suggest that you do, only because the market is in good standings and we would hate for you to lose value on your current home if you decide to sell later on. We aren't just saying this because we're realtors and we want to make money, we genuinely say this because we believe that the time is now! We want to help our clients make the best decision they can when it comes to their home. Whether you're buying or selling, we have all the resources you need to get what you want. We as a team are learning to adapt to these changes. Sure, we might complain here and there about those shifts but that won't stop us from going out of our way to get you one step closer to your dream home. We'll continue to develop those awesome relationships with our clients like we always have, we'll make sure we can personalize the experience for each and every person we work with, and we'll refocus on the basics of real estate while still keeping up with the times. Just for the record, we don't run off of algorithms, we run off of emotions and we can guarantee you that we are all real human beings, check out the picture below for proof. ;) #robotsdontshowemotionbutwesuredo
Blufish. (2020, January 26). Housing market in 2020: Here's what to expect in Arizona. Retrieved from https://azbigmedia.com/real-estate/residential-real-estate/housing-market-in-2020-heres-what-to-expect-in-arizona/
Blufish. (2019, October 28). Housing market forecast: What can we expect in 2020? Retrieved from https://azbigmedia.com/real-estate/residential-real-estate/housing-market-forecast-what-can-we-expect-in-2020/
Cornett, B. (2020, January 14). Outlook: Why the Phoenix Housing Market Won't Crash in 2020. Retrieved from http://www.homebuyinginstitute.com/news/why-the-phoenix-market-wont-crash/
Ellis, T. (2020, January 16). US Home Prices Up 7% in December. Retrieved from https://www.redfin.com/blog/housing-market-news-december-2019/
Wake, J. (2019, September 1). The Surprising Way Real Estate Agents Are Adapting To "iBuyers" Buying Houses Directly From Sellers. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwake/2019/09/01/the-surprising-way-real-estate-agents-are-adapting-to-ibuyers-buying-houses-directly-from-sellers/#a3fe9a942120