Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Exterior Home Improvements To Make Your Home More Attractive

The Phoenix real estate market has shown definite signs of growth over the past year.  The combination of record low interest rates and rock bottom pricing got buyers moving, and the market has once again shifted from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. With an emerging seller’s market materializing, it’s best to capitalize by giving your home the edge over the competition. Here are some exterior home improvements you can make to ensure that you get top dollar for your house.
  1. Repair your Roof. One of the first things a buyer will notice on the outside is a roof that looks like it is damaged. A damaged roof, after all, means potential leakage any time there is rain and you don't want to wait until the next haboob to find out the hard way. Whatever type of roof you have, make sure it is in good repair so your house is not seen as a ‘fixer upper.’

  1. Improve the Landscaping. What does your home look like when people first see it? A big factor in this equation is how the landscaping blends in with the style of the home. It may be that you have a nicely landscaped exterior. On the other hand, there may be room for improvement in this area. Ask your realtor how your home’s landscaping compares to the competition, and take measures within your budget to improve it.

  1. Maintain the Exterior. While your home is on the market, you need to have your exterior in tip-top shape at all times. This means keeping the lawn mowed, trees trimmed, or if you live in a cold weather climate, the ice and snow removed from driveways and sidewalks. If you don’t have the time to do this yourself, consider hiring a professional.
First impressions are key, and the first place your prospective buyers will lay eyes on is the exterior. For this reason, it is critical to give your home as much ‘curb appeal’ as possible.

Happy Home Selling!

About the Author
This is a guest blog post from Richard Simon, Co-Founder of AZ Lending Experts.AZ Lending Experts is a full service mortgage company specializing in Conventional, VA, FHA, USDA, and Jumbo residential mortgages. The firm is led by Richard Simon, whose family has a legacy in the Phoenix real estate market dating back to 1913 when his grandfather came to Phoenix and developed the tract of land known today as Arcadia Park. Learn more about AZ Lending Experts at: www.azlendingexperts.com.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Have You Used a Short Sale Calculator?

Did you know that there is an online tool that can help you determine if your home is under water or not? Perhaps you aren't ready to talk to a real estate agent, and just want to know where you stand. This is just the tool for you. All you need to do is enter your property address and your contact info (so you can get the report) and you will know within 20 minutes where you stand.

Once you have this information, you can the decide if you want to take the next step and talk to a real estate professional. Go ahead and check out the Short Sale Calculator and see where you stand. The good news is that being under water with your home does not mean you can't sell it. There are lots of short sale experts that can help you and you will also find them listed on the ShortorStay.com website.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The 2013 Best of the Best Realtors in Phoenix. Who Made the Cut?

Realty AZ Central recently announced their Best of the Best Realtor selections for 2013, but what does this mean? Well, according to company founder Richard Simon, these agents were not just chosen for production numbers, but were selected based on several criteria including length of time in the business, customer service history, and most of all, a recommendation by their clients and other industry professionals. You can read all about the Realtor certification process on their website. These agents are backed by a $1,000 performance guarantee which is pretty strong.

Here are the agent that were selected, along with their city listing:

- Brent Hammonds, Solutions Real Estate (Ahwatukee)
- Bob & Sherry Richards, HomeSmart Real Estate (Anthem)
- Barb Smolenski, Prudential Arizona Properties (Carefree)
- Greg Smolenski, Prudential Arizona Properties (Cave Creek)
- Colleen Rosenthal, West USA Realty Revelation (Chandler)
- Eric Crane, DPR Realty LLC (Gilbert)
- Robert Luce, Luce Signature Properties (Goodyear)
- Dan Frank, Pathway Real Estate (SW Maricopa)
- Tiffany J Haynes, RE/MAX Achievers (Mesa)
- Lisa Ross, Realty One Group (Paradise Valley)
- Joan Kreutz, Arizona Premier Realty (Peoria)
- Eliot Tomaszewski, Keller Williams (Phoenix)
- Allison Bourn, West USA Realty Revelation (Queen Creek)
- Slava Kostadinova, Exclusive Real Estate (Scottsdale)
- Brooke Jordan, RE/MAX Professionals (Surprise)
- Paul Yontz, West USA Realty Revelation (Tempe)

Also, don't miss the March promotion by Realty AZ Central. If you work with one of their certified agents, you also will get a free home inspection. Check it out!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bicycle Safety and Security

Bicycles are enjoying a rebirth as a popular and practical choice of transport. Whether you live in an area poorly served by public buses and trains, or you live in the heart of city where traffic jams are a nightmare, or even if you’re trying to embrace the race to become green; bicycles are likely a big part of your life. They can also be a very expensive part and you should consider looking into something like swiftcover house insurance so that you’re covered in any incident. But good home cover doesn’t mean we should become lax with our bike security. Keeping them safe is your responsibility.

1.) Locking Your Bike
This should go without saying; you should always lock your bike when you’re leaving it unattended. Whether it’s just outside the shop for thirty seconds, or it’s in your closed and secured garage; bikes are inherently easy to steal and escape with. Modern bikes are a lot lighter than their predecessors and pulling one into a van or car is simple for even the smallest of burglars, failing that they’re built to be ridden! Lock your bike at all times to an unmovable object, lampposts, fences etc.

2.) Choosing The Right Lock
Locking isn’t always enough, unfortunately. Bikes are stolen every day that were “secured” and thieves are becoming increasingly familiar with how to disable this protection. Chains can now be pulled apart or even cut with smaller and smaller power tools. Your best option is to opt for a solid U-Lock design which has no engineered weak points and offers no stretches or changing of position, it cannot be manipulated into an easily breakable form.

3.) In Amongst The Crowd
This sounds a little defeatist, but you should try and lock your bike in an area where there are other bikes too. You can be fairly confident that there will be another bike nearby that will be less securely protected than yours will. Thieves are opportunistic and they will follow the path of least resistance.

4.) Change Your Routine
Try not to lock your bicycle in the same place, at the same time every day. Thieves will notice a pattern and know exactly when it is likely to be left unattended, and how long for. Switching it up every so often will likely put off any wrong doers waiting in the wings.

5.) Where Not To Lock
Don’t lock your bike to anything illegal. There are a lot of people who find their bikes being taken away by the police or the local authorities because they’ve been secured to private property. You’ll likely find it easier to get your bike back from these organizations, but you’ll find yourself paying a fine for its return.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Home Affordable Refinance Program Extended

The FHA has decided to once again extend the Home Affordable Refinance Program (aka HARP.) Perhaps now is the time to look into whether or not this is an option for you.  It is a program created to help the millions of Americans who have had trouble refinancing due to decreased home values. When it is successful, it has similarities to a loan modification, but you actually get new mortgage with new terms (lower interest and lower monthly payments.)

HARP may be an option if:
  • You are current on your mortgage payments (no 30 day late payments over the past year)
  • Your home is worth less than what you paid for it.
  • Your first mortgage is not greater than 125% of your home's current market value.
  • Your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
The best way to find out if you qualify for a Home Affordable Refinance Program loan, is to contact a HARP lender. Not every lender is equipped to assist you.  Here is a way to check and see if you quality for a HARP loan through a trusted HARP mortgage lender.  Simply complete this mini-application online.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Best Bank to Get Your Home Mortgage From

This article is not about how banks, credit unions, or lending institutions stack up. It is about a paradigm shift that is taking place with or without you.

Can you imagine what it would be like to not have to provide all of your information to a bank loan officer only to have them ask you for more paperwork? It has been said that a traditional bank will lend you money if you can prove you don't need it. So, why not put yourself in a position where you really don't need it? Think it's impossible? Think again.

There is a financial strategy that you may or may not have heard of called the Infinite Banking Concept. Through the Infinite Banking Concept, you actually learn how to become your own banker and solve your need for financing - no matter what the need is - and that includes your mortgage.

I strongly advise you to take some time and learn about this financial strategy by visiting the Infinite Banking Concept website. You will be glad you did as you will be on your way to becoming your own banker. I am and I am loving it!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Ways to Save Money on a Mortgage After You Retire

For many seniors it’s essential to save money wherever they can after retiring, especially on a mortgage. Once you’ve decided to retire, you need to be certain that you have enough income and have reduced your expenses enough to live as comfortably as you wish. Now for most families, their mortgage is probably their biggest monthly expense.

When you actually retire, unless you have a side business that generates income, your income will come from your pension (if you have one, and it’s increasingly rare commodity these days), your Social Security check (that is if there’s any money left in the Social Security system when you retire, which is another unknown), and then of course, whatever savings and investments you have, including rental properties.

So, unless you have unlimited savings or a substantial income from your investments, it’s of paramount importance to lower your monthly expenses.

One way you can get your expenses down is by paying off your mortgage before you retire. If you can do that, you have lightened your monthly burden by hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars every month. Depending upon how large your mortgage is, it may seem like an almost insurmountable task to pay it off early. But, there are a few tricks you can try to get your mortgage paid off before you retire.

For one thing, you can make at least one extra mortgage payment a year to pay down your principal. The lower the principal, the less interest you’ll have to pay on it.

Another way to lower your mortgage payment is to look at the rates you’re currently paying. If you got your mortgage a decade or more ago and you’ve been making your payments steadily ever since, then it’s probably a good idea to check out refinancing your mortgage now since mortgage rates are lower than they have been in a long, long time. Once you’ve gotten your monthly mortgage payment down lower you can look at either making an extra mortgage payment every year or making slightly larger mortgage payments every month to pay it off faster. Every little bit helps.

If you’re nearing retirement and it’s just you and your spouse living in a four bedroom house, think about how much house you really need. Perhaps you should sell your house, pay off your mortgage, and relocate to a smaller place that’s more in tune with your current housing needs, and perhaps still have some money left for a down payment. You may still have a mortgage to pay off, but housing prices have really dropped in the last three years, and mortgage rates are lower than ever. If you can lower your monthly outflow of cash, that’s more money in your pockets for investments, travel, or that big-screen TV you’ve been lusting after.

One thing you shouldn’t do, however, is to dip into your 401K account or IRA to pay off your mortgage early. It would be nice to get rid of your mortgage payment entirely, but you need to keep a balance between owning a home, having investments, and having enough cash on hand for emergencies.

The thing is, everyone’s situation is unique, so tailor your approach to your needs and your current situation. The longer you can put off retirement and dipping into your savings, the more money you’ll have in the future. The way the economy is going now, you should probably work as long as possible and work on paying off that mortgage while you still have a monthly paycheck to count on.

About the Author:

Vern is a student learning about all aspects of finance to pass his New York mortgage test this fall.