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One easy way to get ready for the Arizona heat

With one hundred degree weather coming soon every little bit helps when you’re trying to keep cool. One simple way someone could help with their electric bill is to turn their ceiling fans to “summer” mode. Not everyone knows this but, ceiling fans have a summer and winter mode to move air in different directions depending on the ambient temperature. Usually there is a switch located on the base of the fan that reverses the spin of the blades. This helps to push the cool air up and helps to make the room feel fresh. Doing so can make the ambient temperature feel about 4 degrees cooler according to consumerreports.org. In the hotter months of the year set your blades to spin in a counterclockwise rotation when looking directly up at it. Set the blades to spin in a clockwise direction in the winter winter to force the hot air down.

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Market update April 2018

If you’re looking to put your home up for sale, here are some numbers you might find useful. In Arizona for the first quarter of 2018 it took about 71 days on average to sell a home. Some homes may have been on the market for a day and others may have sat for quite awhile but on average it looks like it would be about two and a half months to get something sold.
People also decided to list their homes for an average of $447,736. This is an increase of 8.65% over last year. The average sale price on the other hand is $314,287, this means that there may have been a few properties that had to adjust their prices in order to get their home sold. If you would like a no hassle home valuation to see what your home could go for on the market, feel free to give me an email at: Stephen@nexthomevalleywide.com and I will compare your property to others that have sold, are currently listed, and homes that are pending. This is the best way to get a good overall idea of what you can look forward to. If you would like an almost instant response feel free to click here and you can get a valuation in seconds!

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Is your credit holding you back from buying a home?

Have you found yourself wanting to start looking for a new home but worried your credit score might not be up to the standard? Generally a credit score that is needed to get a home would start at 625. If you have a score below you may have a few of the following symptoms of the “credit blues”. Late payments, balances too high compared to credit limit, too many inquiries on your credit report, too much debt compared to your income, too many credit cards, or maybe you just haven’t had credit that long. Whatever the case may be there is a light at the end of the tunnel of your home buying dreams!

 

There are multiple ways to raise your credit score quickly. The easiest would be to become current on all of your cards and reduce the amount you owe on each account. This is usually a long process that can set you back months of waiting. Some people elect to open another card or get a big loan to put all of their debt in one place or “consolidate”. This may be a  good practice but it could entice you to put money right back on the cards you just paid off with your new loan or card. If you want results fast because you are tired of living at an apartment or with family then you might be interested to hear about credit repair companies.

 

Credit repair companies help by going through your credit report and fixing any errors they may find. This is important is because if you have an outstanding collection that you owe to a bank, they can sell your debt to another company and your credit shows that you have multiple late balances on the same debt. What a credit repair company will do is to contact the major credit reporting agencies and get them to correct your actual debts and to erase any multiple errors they may have. They can also figure out if you transfer some debt between your accounts you may have the same amount of overall debt but, your debt to credit ratio on each of your cards will be lower and this may raise your credit score quite quickly.  These are all things you can do yourself however, a credit repair company has trained professionals that scrub your credit and contact the credit reporting agencies in a quick and orderly fashion that saves you time and headaches.

 

If you are looking to purchase a home but need your credit score to be looked over, feel free to contact me and I can refer you to businesses that can help to put you on the right path!

Upgrading your home may be more feasible than you think

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So there is a change in your life. A new job, addition of a family member, or marriage. Any number of life changes sometimes will give you the feeling that your current home no longer lives up to your lifestyle. With your new needs can you really get a new home to match?

 

Yes! If you have lived in your home for a few years (typically more than 5) you now have equity. The money you have been paying every month has slowly but surely been adding up and now you may have thousands of dollars paid off from your current home that you can use to buy your upgrade! This isn’t even counting the raised market value of your current home from the time you purchased. What some people elect to do is to sell their current home, take the leftover money from the sale and use it for the new home down payment. A second option would be to rent out their current home to get passive income and purchase a new home if you have money saved for a down payment. If you are interested in changing your surroundings here are 5 steps to take to make sure you go in with a plan!

Step 1: Out with the old

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After a number of years living in any home you can often find the little imperfections that you become accustomed to. If you now find yourself wanting a pool, a single story home to avoid the steps every day, a bigger kitchen, or an additional room. Having an idea of the things you’d really like to change will help you to narrow down what you would love and the things you already enjoy about your current dwelling. Some things can just be added to your current home with a remodel but if it seems like too much work hiring contractors or researching companies to go with who are reputable, the next step may help you decide what route to take.

Step 2: Plan your finances for your future self

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One thing people automatically think about when considering another big purchase in life is how your bank account will be affected. With the current equity in your home a personalized home valuation can give you insight if it is feasible to change your surroundings now, or when it would be a good time to make the change. A good real estate agent can help compare homes around you and your tax records to give you a nice recommendation on what they would recommend to list your home for. Taking any excess money, you can then apply it to the purchase of a home and your mortgage payment may not change very much! With a professionals help it would be easy to calculate these figures to see what kind of financial future awaits.

Step 3: Preparing for a new lifestyle

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If you are thinking about selling your home you should first think about fixing all of the major things you may have neglected. As you may have found out when you purchased, the inspection period is a deal breaker and curb appeal makes the offers fly in. The best way to simplify it would be to think if you were someone interested in buying your home. What kind of things would make you skip to the house down the street, or what really draws you into your current house? Focusing on what makes your current home really shine will help potential buyers to fall in love and the offers will fall into your lap if your property is appealing enough. As the old quote goes “it takes money to make money” so you may think about painting your home or doing a few nice touches here or there. Doing small things can make a huge impact on how long it takes to sell. Don’t worry though, if you have received a home valuation you will be aware of how much money you are willing to invest in order to get the home you will love.

Step 4: So you sold, now what?

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There are a few ways of going about your new home venture. You can list your current home and search for a new home at the same time, or you can look for a new home after the sale of your current home. If you elect to look for a new home while selling your current home be sure that you reach out to a mortgage broker that you trust in order to make sure you get a good rate and good information before starting the home buying process again. They will be able to give you an idea of what you can afford while your equity is still tied up in your current household. In the scenario that you find a new home before you sell your current one, you can always rent it out briefly to cover the monthly costs with a property managers help or you can leave it vacant for potential buyers to use their imaginations when they tour. Looking at a vacant home is a really good way to picture yourself there. It is easier to imagine your dining room table in a room without furniture. If you elect to sell first and buy later it is actually quite easy. For the time in between homes you can even hold some of your furniture in storage pods that will deliver as soon as you close on your future home. As far as living space, you can choose to stay with friends or family for a few weeks while the search of your home takes off.

Step 5: Choosing the right professional to help in your new journey

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There are three people that I would recommend you find in order to make your transition as smooth as possible. First would be a real estate agent you trust to help you with the home valuation and advice when you have the inevitable questions during the process. Real estate transactions are some of the biggest decisions you can make so it really helps to have a knowledgeable person right behind you to help you with anything you need. The second person would be a mortgage broker. If you have a good mortgage broker you can not only get amazing rates but peace of mind knowing that they are going through every line of the process and matching up all of the numbers and figures needed to make your dreams happen. The good ones often eat, sleep, and breathe finances so having a trustworthy one on your team is  important. The third person you would need would be a licensed professional to perform your current homes repairs. There is nothing worse than trying to put your home up for sale only to cut corners and have your new upgrades look like you tried to save money any way possible. If you know the right people you can get great deals on home repairs and remodels. If for whatever reason you don’t have people in mind, a real estate agent or a mortgage broker often run into many people throughout their time doing business so they usually know people they personally trust to help their clients get the most of their money and to do a good solid job.

 

If you decide to take the next steps into looking for your upgraded home feel free to reach out with any questions you might have in mind. I would be glad to help you through the process or clarify any information you need. Congratulations on taking your first steps to a new lifestyle!

NextHome Valleywide gives back with Feed My Starving Children

Nexthome Valleywide is participating in a charitable event to help the less fortunate. Every now and then we like to give back to our community, so on March 16th 2018 we will be teaming up with Feed My Starving Children.

 

Feed my starving children is a non-profit organization that packs food for malnourished children all across the world. People can help in two main ways. You can donate a few dollars here or there to help the organization buy groceries, or donate your time to help pack the meals that get delivered to the children.  Ninety percent of the money donated goes to the purchase of the food and the remaining ten percent goes to fundraising, admin, and overhead. This organization was put together by Christians however if you’d like to donate, people of all faith are welcome to help pack the food. The food goes to those who are most in need, children of all religious backgrounds. So far food has been sent to 70 countries including Haiti, Bolivia, Niger, Indonesia, and Hurricane katrina victims. If you’d like to learn more please visit fmsc.org . To sign up with our NextHome Valleywide team on March 16th, 2018 register here. We hope to see you there!

Getting prepared to purchase a home

Congratulations on deciding to purchase a home! It is a very exciting time and the process might seem like a roller coaster of emotions and sometimes overwhelming but hopefully this guide will help to get you prepared for what is to come.

 

What do you want your new home to look like?

There are many things that will affect the final decision when it comes to a new home. Some of the questions you should ask yourself are: how many floors would I like, what kind of architecture style do I want, How many rooms and bathrooms would be comfortable for me, does it have a pool, how big is the backyard, how old is the house, how close is it to work, is it in a part of the city I want to live in, what is my budget, ETC. Knowing this can knock considerable time off of the home buying process and help you get an idea of what you want to spend your hard earned money on.

 

How much you should have saved up to start the process?

There are two separate amounts, one for the home buying period and the other for the closing of your new home.

For the period while the house is under contract to be purchased, it is a good practice to have at least $2,000 saved. $1,000 to be used as earnest money and the other $1,000 for inspections. You may need more for the home buying process however, $2,000 would be a safe estimate to start off with.  

It is possible that you will need to bring additional funds to the final signing or “closing”  but this amount is usually known at the beginning when you contact your lender (the bank you will be using to finance your new home). For more information please feel free to contact me and I can get you in touch with a home loan specialist.

 

How long does the home buying process take?

This can vary wildly depending on special circumstances however, a good timeframe someone could expect from start to finish would be about 2-3 months. The search for a home depends on how the market is in the area you are looking at and your specific needs. If you are looking for a home with very specific features in a particular part of town, it may take some time until one comes up for sale that meets all of your criteria. For most people you could expect anywhere from 2-4 weeks to search for a home. People can sometimes get lucky and get the first home they tour but most often it takes a few homes to find the one for you.

The rest of the time is when the contract is in “Escrow”.  Escrow is the period when the person buying the home is getting everything prepared for them by the bank and the title company. Banks and title companies will often want to verify as much information as possible to protect both the seller and the person buying the home.

 

What should your credit score be to qualify for a home loan?

If you need a loan to purchase your home, I recommended to have a credit score of at least 630. This will vary from bank to bank however, that is a good starting point. Of course the lower your credit score the higher your interest rate and your payments will be. This is the same concept as buying a car, if you have a high credit score your payments will be lower and you may qualify for bigger discounts because your less of a risk to the credit companies. If you do not know your credit score I recommend checking www.creditkarma.com or getting your credit report directly from www.Equifax.com or www.Transunion.com.

 

Things you should not do while looking for a new home

If you are getting a loan to purchase a home you will want to make sure there are no changes to your credit report. This means no new car purchases, no closing credit card accounts, no new credit card accounts, and no big purchases on your credit cards that could affect your credit score. If your credit score goes lower because of what I have mentioned it may affect your chances of actually getting the loan or getting the payments that you agreed upon with the bank. Remember, just because you are in process of buying a home it doesn’t mean it is yours until you have signed for everything and you have the keys in your hands. This does happen sometimes where people are no longer eligible to purchase their homes, so be careful and plan your finances accordingly.

 

What does a person that is ready to buy a home look like?

A person that is ready to go will have a credit score of at least 630. They will have contacted a bank to see how much they qualify for. They will have at least $2,000 in their checking or savings accounts as well as other funds needed to close. Lastly, they will need to contact their real estate agent to schedule times to look at the homes that peak their interest. After that it’s happy hunting. Purchasing a new home can often times feel overwhelming. Even Though there are many things that have to come together to finalise your purchase, you should not let it take away the fun and excitement that comes when searching for a place to call home. Once you have everything done and you turn the key for the first time,  you can feel excited because you have a new place to hang your hat and you now have an investment. If you need more information feel free to reach out to me, I’d love to help you out.

 

Resources

Creditkarma.com –gets credit info from both equifax and transunion

Equifax.com –a credit reporting company

Transunion.com – another credit reporting company

Downpayment assistance programs – information on assistance programs for first time home buyers

Popular architecture styles in the phoenix area