Category Archives: First Time Home Buyers

First-Time Homebuyer Guide for buying houses in the Phoenix Arizona metro area. Tips for first-time homebuyers. If you’re looking for real estate in Phoenix

GREAT HOME GIVEAWAY!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!! Please Read and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE share with your friends!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT, PLEASE READ and SHARE with ALL YOUR FRIENDS!

We are proud to announce The Great Home Giveaway!

Our team has partnered with an elite group of top agents and teams from around the country to GIVE BACK!

There will be 16 bi-weekly prizes of $10,000 (first drawing at the end of June), and then in January 2015, one Grand Prize Award of $100,000! Use the money towards your down payment, or for upgrades. What could you do around the house with an extra $10,000? How about an extra $100,000?

This is a very exclusive promotion. There are only a few teams in Arizona that are offering this, and The Carol Royse Team is proud to offer this promotion to our clients, friends, and their families! Entering is easy – go to: www.SearchHomesinPhoenixAZ.com/win
All of the rules, restrictions, and details can be found there. Once you complete the steps, YOU’RE IN!

So go ahead and register.

Good Luck, please share with your friends and family!

Owning Pets While Renting

Finding your ideal rental can be difficult enough without fretting over whether or not your majestic 140lb Old English Mastiff will be approved. Here’s a few things to consider before moving into a new rental.

  • Size matters. If a landlord says your animal needs to be below a certain weight or size, then your animal needs to be within their parameters. If you’re unsure, ask your landlord, or go to your nearest vet to find out.
  • Just because a property allows for pets doesn’t mean the environment is best suited for pets. Your animal companion has special needs, so be sure to take them into consideration. A high energy dog might be better off in a quaint house with a plentiful yard rather than lofty condo highrise.
  • Will your pet damage the property? This right here is the bane of every landlord’s existence. Too often do pets cause extensive (and expensive) damage to rental properties. If you know your pet is prone to being destructive, rental insurance could be a necessity.
  • Will your pet disturb your neighbors? Dogs in particular can be noisy, some breeds more than others. If you know your canine companion will bark and/or howl incessantly, you may want to find a house on a bigger lot instead of an apartment that shares walls with neighbors.
  • Will your pet shed dander? Cats and dogs may seem harmless, however their fur can get trapped deep within carpet. Their dander, dormant to you, could be a real nightmare for future residents.
  • If you own an exotic animal, you may want to clarify with your landlord whether your pet is permissible. Most landlords associate “pet-friendly” solely with cats and dogs, and a micro-pig (for example) might push it.

5 Tips to Make Renting Easier

 Finding the perfect rental can be exciting, however it’s not always easy. You might find the “perfect rental” only to notice problems after you’ve signed the lease. Watch out for these major issues that are easily overlooked.

  1. Cleanliness

Your rental might appear to be spotless, or you might assume the landlord takes care of the cleaning, but sometimes they don’t. Moving into a new place can be difficult enough without having to perform a deep clean. Make sure the rental is up to your standards, or inquire the landlord before signing the leasing agreement.

 

  1. Yard Maintenance

Every landlord is different, and so are their expectations for yard maintenance. Too often neither the landlord nor new tenants discuss said expectations. You might not know whether or not it’s your responsibility to preserve all the foliage, but that doesn’t mean your landlord won’t hold you accountable. Find out what’s expected of you upfront, or agree to find a local landscaper.

 

  1. Home Business

Some types of businesses conducted from home require you to notify your landlord. Many tenants neglect mentioning to their landlord that they’ll be receiving numerous business related deliveries on a daily basis. If you aren’t sure, it’s better to discuss all business plans prior to signing your lease.

 

  1. Various Permissions

It’s easy to assume that small details like nailing up your favorite pictures, installing satellite TV, and grilling on the patio are included permissions that any proper living arrangement should include. However, it is common for several or all of these permissions, and many other items, to be restricted or prohibited in the lease for your new rental. Barbecuing on the back deck could be a lease violation, one that could get you in more trouble than you probably want. In most cases, its best to attend to these details prior to signing the lease to make sure you aren’t causing any violations.

 

  1. Trips and Vacations

Your roommate is visiting home for the month, and you’re backpacking Europe for two weeks. Rather than leaving the house vacant, you should notify your landlord of your absence. Your landlord will most likely want to check on the property to make sure it’s safe and maintained thoroughly.

Buy your first home and avoid the trap of renting

Don’t Pay Another Cent in Rent To Your Landlord . . .


 “If you’re like most renters, you feel trapped within the walls of a house or apartment that doesn’t feel like yours.”


It’s a dream we all have – to own our own home and stop paying rent. But if you’re like most renters, you feel trapped within the walls of a house or apartment that doesn’t feel like yours. How could it when you’re not even permitted to bang in a nail or two without a hassle. You feel like you’re stuck in the renter’s rut with no way of rising up out of it and owning your own home.

Don’t Feel Trapped Anymore

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been renting, or how insurmountable your financial situation may seem. The truth is, there are some little known facts that can help you get over the hump, and transfer your status from renter to homeowner. With this information, you will begin to see how you really can: 

  • save for a down payment
  • stop lining your landlord’s pockets, and
  • stop wasting thousands of dollars on rent.

6 Little Known Facts That Can Help You Buy Your First Home

The problem that most renters face isn’t your ability to meet a monthly payment. Goodness knows that you must meet this monthly obligation every 30 days already. The problem is accumulating enough capital to make a down payment on something more permanent.

But saving for this lump sum doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. Consider the following 6 important points:

1. You can buy a home with much less down than you think

There are some local or federal government programs (such as 1st time buyer programs) to help people get into the housing market. You can qualify as a first time buyer even if your spouse has owned a home before as long as your name was not registered. Ensure your real estate agent is informed and knowledgeable in this important area and can offer programs to help you with your options.

2. You may be able to get your lender to help you with your down payment and closing costs

Even if you do not have enough cash for a down payment, if you are debt free, and own an asset free and clear (such as a car for example), your lending institution may be able to lend you the down payment for your home by securing it against this asset.

3. You may be able to find a seller to help you buy and finance your home

Some sellers may be willing to hold a second mortgage for you as a seller take-back. In this case, the seller becomes your lending institution. Instead of paying this seller a lump sum full amount for his or her home, you would pay monthly mortgage installments.

4. You may be able to create a cash down payment without actually going into debt

By borrowing money for certain investments to a specified level, you may be able to generate a significant tax refund for yourself that you can use as a down payment. While the money borrowed for these investments is technically a loan, the monthly amount paid can be small, and the money invested in both home and investment will be yours in the end.

5. You can buy a home even if you have problems with your credit rating

If you can come up with more than the minimum down payment, or can secure the loan with other equity, many lending institutions will consider you for a mortgage. Alternatively, a seller take-back mortgage could also help you in this situation.

6. You can, and should, get pre-approved for a home loan before you go looking for a home

Pre-approval is easy, and can give you complete peace-of-mind when shopping for your home. Mortgage experts can obtain written pre-approval for you at no cost and no obligation, and it can all be done quite easily over-the-phone. More than just a verbal approval from your lending institution, a written pre-approval is as good as money in the bank. It entails a completed credit application, and a certificate which guarantees you a mortgage to the specified level when you find the home you’re looking for. Consider dealing only with a professional who specializes in mortgages. Enlisting their services can make the difference between obtaining a mortgage, and being stuck in the renter’s rut forever. Typically there is no cost or obligation to enquire.

There are many important issues you should be aware of that affect you as a renter. Why on earth would you continue to lose thousands by throwing it away on rent when with your agent you could take a few minutes to discuss your specific needs so that you can stop renting and start owning.

This conversation costs you nothing. And, of course, you shouldn’t have to feel obligated to buy a home at the time you review this. But by taking the time to explore your options, and learn about the ways you can afford to buy a home, think how prepared and relaxed you’ll be when you are ready to make this important step.

Avoid these potentially debilitating mistakes

The 9 Step System to Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar


The Real Estate Market Has Changed . . .

“Buyers are far more discriminating, and a large percentage of the homes listed for sale don’t sell the first time. It’s more critical than ever to learn what you need to know to avoid costly seller mistakes in order to sell your home fast and for the most amount of money.”


 

Remember not so long ago, when you could make your fortune in real estate. It was nothing then to buy a home, wait a short while, and then sell it at a tidy profit.

And then do it all over again.

Well, as you probably know, times have changed. As good as the market is right now, home prices are still below what they were at their peak. Buyers are far more discriminating, and a large percentage of the homes listed for sale never sell. It’s more critical than ever to learn what you need to know to avoid costly seller mistakes in order to sell your home fast and for the most amount of money.

The 7 Deadly Mistakes Most Home Sellers Make

  1. Failing to analyze why they are selling.
  2. Not preparing their home for the buyer’s eye.
  3. Pricing their homes incorrectly.
  4. Selling too hard during showings.
  5. Signing a long-term listing agreement without a written performance guarantee.
  6. Making it difficult for buyers to get information on their home.
  7. Failing to obtain a pre-approved mortgage for one’s next home.

The 9 Step System to Get Your Home Sold Fast and For Top Dollar

 Selling your home is one of the most important steps in your life. This 9 step system will give you the tools you need to maximize your profits, maintain control, and reduce the stress that comes with the home selling process:

1. Know why you’re selling, and keep it to yourself.

The reasons behind your decision to sell affect everything from setting a price to deciding how much time and money to invest in getting your home ready for sale. What’s more important to you: the money you walk away with, or the length of time your property is on the market? Different goals will dictate different strategies.

However, don’t reveal your motivation to anyone else or they may use it against you at the negotiating table. When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed.

2. Do your homework before setting a price.

Settling on an offering price shouldn’t be done lightly. Once you’ve set your price, you’ve told buyers the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home, but pricing too high is as dangerous as pricing too low. Remember that the average buyer is looking at 15-20 homes at the same time they are considering yours. This means that they have a basis of comparison, and if your home doesn’t compare favorably with others in the price range you’ve set, you won’t be taken seriously by prospects or agents. As a result, your home will sit on the market for a long time and, knowing this, new buyers on the market will think there must be something wrong with your home.

3. Do your homework.

(In fact, your agent should do this for you). Find out what homes in your own and similar neighborhoods have sold for in the past 6-12 months, and research what current homes are listed for. That’s certainly how prospective buyers will assess the worth of your home.

4. Find a good real estate agent to represent your needs.

Nearly three-quarters of homeowners claim that they wouldn’t use the same realtor who sold their last home. Dissatisfaction boils down to poor communication which results in not enough feedback, lower pricing and strained relations. Another FREE report entitled, “10 Questions to Ask Before You Hire an Agent” gives you the straight, to-the-point questions you should be asking when you interview agents who want to list your home. You can obtain a  FREE copy of this report from my website.

5. Maximize your home’s sales potential.

Each year, corporate North America spends billions on product and packaging design. Appearance is critical, and it would be foolish to ignore this when selling your home.

You may not be able to change your home’s location or floor plan, but you can do a lot to improve its appearance. The look and feel of your home generates a greater emotional response than any other factor. Clean like you’ve never cleaned before. Pick up, straighten, unclutter, scrub, scour and dust. Fix everything, no matter how insignificant it may appear. Present your home to get a “wow” response from prospective buyers.

Allow the buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. The decision to buy a home is based on emotion, not logic. Prospective buyers want to try on your home just like they would a new suit of clothes. If you follow them around pointing out improvements or if your decor is so different that it’s difficult for a buyer to strip it away in his or her mind, you make it difficult for them to feel comfortable enough to imagine themselves an owner.

6. Make it easy for prospects to get information on your home.

You may be surprised to know that some marketing tools that most agents use to sell homes (e.g. traditional open houses) are actually not very effective. In fact only 1% of homes are sold at an open house.

Furthermore, the prospects calling for information on your home probably value their time as much as you do. The last thing they want to be subjected to is either a game of telephone tag with an agent, or an unwanted sales pitch. Make sure the ads your agent places for your home are attached to a 24 hour prerecorded hotline with a specific ID# for your home which gives buyers access to detailed information about your property day or night 7 days a week without having to talk to anyone. It’s been proven that 3 times as many buyers call for information on your home under this system. And remember, the more buyers you have competing for your home the better, because it sets up an auction-like atmosphere that puts you in the driver’s seat.

7. Know your buyer.

In the negotiation process, your objective is to control the pace and set the duration. What is your buyer’s motivation? Does s/he need to move quickly? Does s/he have enough money to pay you your asking price? Knowing this information gives you the upper hand in the negotiation because you know how far you can push to get what you want.

8. Make sure the contract is complete.

For your part as a seller, make sure you disclose everything. Smart sellers proactively go above and beyond the laws to disclose all known defects to their buyers in writing. If the buyer knows about a problem, s/he can’t come back with a lawsuit later on.

Make sure all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out in the contract of sale, and resist the temptation to diverge from the contract. For example, if the buyer requests a move-in prior to closing, just say no. Now is not the time to take any chances of the deal falling through.

9. Don’t move out before you sell.

Studies have shown that it is more difficult to sell a home that is vacant because it looks forlorn, forgotten, simply not appealing. It could even cost you thousands. If you move, you’re also telling buyers that you have a new home and are probably highly motivated to sell fast. This, of course, will give them the advantage at the negotiating table.

For more information about any of our innovative homeowners programs, give us a call.

10 Things You Need to Know Before You Hire an Agent

 


“”It’s critical that you make the right decision about who will handle what is probably the single largest financial investment you will ever make.””


Not all real estate agents are the same. If you decide to seek the help of an agent when selling or buying your home, you need some good information before you make any moves.

An agent can cost or save you thousands of dollars

Picking an agent is one of those critical issues that can cost or save you thousands of dollars. There are very specific questions you should be asking to ensure that you get the best representation for your needs. Some agents may prefer that you don’t ask these questions, since the knowledge you’ll gain from their honest answers will give you a very good idea about what outcome you can expect from using them as an agent. And let’s face it – in real estate, as in life – not all things are created equal.

Hiring a real estate agent is just like any hiring process – with you on the boss’s side of the desk. It’s critical that you make the right decision about who will handle what since this is probably the single largest financial investment you will ever make.

1.What makes you different? Why should I list my home with you?

It’s a much tougher real estate market than it was a decade ago. What unique marketing plans and programs does this agent have in place to make sure that your home stands out favorably versus other competing homes? What things does this agent offer you that others don’t to help you sell your home in the least amount of time with the least amount of hassle and for the most amount of money?

2. What is your company’s track record and reputation in the market place?

It may seem like everywhere you look, real estate agents are boasting about being #1 for this or that, or quoting you the number of homes they’ve sold. If you’re like many homeowners, you’ve probably become immune to much of this information. After all, you ask, “”Why should I care about how many homes one agent sold over another. The only thing I care about is whether they can sell my home quickly for the most amount of money.””

 Well, because you want your home sold fast and for top dollar, you should be asking the agents you interview how many homes they have sold. I’m sure you will agree that success in real estate is selling homes. If one agent is selling a lot of homes where another is selling only a handful, ask yourself why this might be? What things are these two agents doing differently?

You may be surprised to know that many agents sell fewer than 10 homes a year. This volume makes it difficult for them to do full impact marketing on your home, because they can’t raise the money it takes to afford the advertising and special programs to give your home a high profile. Also, at this low level, they probably can’t afford to hire an assistant, which means that they’re running around trying to do all the components of the job themselves. Bottom line, their service to you may suffer.

3. What are your marketing plans for my home?

How much money does this agent spend in advertising the homes s/he lists versus the other agents you are interviewing? In what media (newspaper, magazine, TV etc.) does this agent advertise? What does s/he know about the effectiveness of one medium over the other?

4. What has your company sold in my area?

Agents should bring you a complete listing of both their own, and other comparable sales in your area.

5. Does your Broker control your advertising or do you?

If your agent is not in control of their own advertising, then your home will be competing for advertising space not only with this agent’s other listings, but also with the listings of every other agent in the brokerage.

6. On average, when your listings sell, how close is the selling price to the asking price?

This information is available from the Real Estate Board. Is this agent’s performance higher or lower than the board average? Their performance on this measurement will help you predict how high a price you will get for the sale of your home.

7. On average, how long does it take for your listings to sell?

This information is also available from the Real Estate Board. Does this agent tend to sell faster or slower than the board average? Their performance on this measurement will help you predict how long your home will be on the market before it sells.

8. How many Buyers are you currently working with?

Obviously, the more buyers your agent is working with, the better your chances are of selling your home quickly. It will also impact price because an agent with many buyers can set up an auction-like atmosphere where many buyers bid on your home at the same time. Ask them to describe the system they have for attracting buyers.

9. Do you have a reference list of clients I could contact?

Ask to see this list, and then proceed to spot check some of the names.

10. What happens if I’m not happy with the job you are doing to get my home sold?

Can I cancel my listing contract? Be wary of agents that lock you into a lengthy listing contract where they can get out of (by ceasing to effectively market your home) but you can’t. There are usually penalties and broker protection periods which safeguard the agent’s interests, but not yours. How confident is your agent in the service s/he will provide you? Will s/he allow you to cancel your contract without penalty if you’re not satisfied with the service provided?

Evaluate each agent’s responses to these 10 questions carefully and objectively. Who will do the best job for you? These questions will help you decide.

6 Things You Must Know Before You Buy


“Subtle changes in the way you approach mortgage shopping, and even small differences in the way you structure your mortgage, can literally cost or save you thousands of dollars and years of expense.”


Mortgage Regulations Have Changed

Mortgage regulations have changed significantly over the last few years making your options wider than ever. Subtle changes in the way you approach mortgage shopping and even the small differences in the way you structure your mortgage can literally cost or save you thousands of dollars and years of expense.

Get the Right Information

Whether you are about to buy your first home, or are planning to make a move to your next home, it is critical that you inform yourself about the factors involved.

Industry research has revealed 6 common mistakes that most homebuyers make when mortgage shopping and they can have a significant impact on the outcome of this critical negotiation. If handled correctly, these issues could result in a mortgage that will cost you less over a shorter period of time.

6 Things You Must Know Before Obtaining a Mortgage

Before you commit your hard earned dollars to monthly mortgage payments, consider these 6 issues. Effective consideration of these important areas can make your payments work much harder for you.

1. You can, and should, get pre-approved for a mortgage before you go looking for a home

Pre-approval is easy, and can give you complete peace-of-mind when shopping for your home. Your local lending institution can provide you with written pre-approval for you at no cost and no obligation, and be done quite easily over-the-phone. More than just a verbal approval from your lending institution, a written pre-approval is as good as money in the bank. It entails a completed credit application and a certificate, which guarantees you a mortgage to the specified level when you find the home you’re looking for.

2. Know what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to

When you discuss mortgage pre-approval with your lending institution, find out what level you qualify for and also pre-assess for yourself what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to. Your situation may give you a pre-approval amount that is higher (or lower) than the amount of money you would want to pay out each month. By working back and forth with your lending institution to determine what this monthly amount is, and what value of home this translates into at today’s rates, you won’t waste time looking at homes that are not in your price range.

3. You should be thinking about your long term goals and expected situation, to determine the type of mortgage that will best suit your needs

There are a number of questions you should be asking yourself before you commit to a certain type of mortgage; How long do you think you will own this home? What direction are interest rates going in and how quickly? Is your income expected to change (up or down) in the near term, impacting how much money you can afford to pay to your mortgage? The answers to these and other questions will help you determine the most appropriate mortgage you should be seeking.

4. Make sure you understand what prepayment privileges and payment frequency options are available to you

More frequent payments (for example weekly or biweekly) can literally shave years off your mortgage. By simply structuring your payments so that they come out more frequently, it will significantly lessen the amount of interest that you will be charged over the term.

For the same reason, authorized pre-payment of a certain percentage of your mortgage, or an increase in the amount you pay monthly, will have a major impact on the number of years you will have to pay and could shorten your payment term considerably.

These two payment options can cut years off your mortgage, and save you thousands of dollars in interest. However, not every mortgage has these pre-payment privileges built in, so make sure you ask the proper questions.

5. Ask if your mortgage is both portable and/or assumable

A portable mortgage, where available, is one that you can carry with you when you buy your next home and avoid paying any discharge penalties. This means that you will not have to go through the entire mortgage process again unless you are making a move up to a much more expensive home.

An assumable mortgage is one that the buyer for your home can take over when you move to your next home. This can be a very powerful tool at the negotiating table, making it much easier and more desirable for a buyer to buy your home, and again saves you any discharge penalties.

6.You should seriously consider dealing with a Mortgage Expert

Consider dealing only with a professional who specializes in mortgages. Enlisting their services can make a significant difference in the cost and effectiveness of the mortgage you obtain. For example they can make the process faster thereby avoiding costly delays. Typically there is no cost or obligation to inquire.