Welcome to the 1st Heritage Blog

 

Oct. 21, 2015

Tips for Selling Your Home

Selling Your Home

Okay, you’ve decided to sell your home. You have an agent and you’re anxious to get the ball rolling. Now is the time to take an active part in ensuring your success.  There are a few things you should do to ensure you get top dollar for your property.

A Good First Impression Can Sell Your Home

First impressions last the longest and are the most important in selling your home. As a seller, you will want to make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers. The time, effort and limited financial investment involved can give you the competitive edge needed to sell your home when you want - at the price you want.

The exterior of your home is the first thing a prospective buyer will see. A little time and effort can make a big difference in the impression your home creates. This can pay big dividends when the sale is made.

Use This Checklist to Make Sure Your Home’s Exterior Looks it’s Best

  • Lawn is cut and neatly trimmed around the sidewalks and driveway
  • Flower garden is weeded
  • Shrubs are trimmed
  • Dead trees and branches are eliminated
  • All debris is disposed of
  • Toys and lawn equipment are neatly stored
  • Fences and gates are repaired and repainted, if necessary
  • The roof, gutters and downspout are in good repair
  • Driveways and sidewalks are washed down and checked for cracking and crumbling
  • Cracked windows and torn screens are replaced. Screens, windows and windowsills are washed. Doorknobs are polished.
  • Doorbell and front lights are in good working order

You may wish to consider painting the house before you show it. A new paint job, well done, will normally enhance the sale value a good deal more than the cost of the paint.

If your home’s exterior looks clean, orderly and in good repair, that’s the impression your house will first convey.

A Spotless Interior will Reinforce Your Home’s Good First Impression

Interior dirt and clutter can obscure your home’s good points, so start with a full house cleaning, top to bottom. Store unused and unnecessary items in closets or storage areas. You may wish to consider holding a garage sale.

Eliminate clutter and your home will look more spacious. This is a key selling point.

Next, take a tour of your house, observing it like a potential buyer.

  • Walls are clean and free of smudges, fingerprints and dents
  • Woodwork and wallpaper are inspected for problem areas; wallpaper is clean and woodwork is waxed
  • Badly worn furniture is temporarily stored in family’s or neighbor’s attic or basement
  • Curtains and drapes are freshly laundered or cleaned
  • Rugs and carpets are shampooed. Floors are waxed
  • Loose doorknobs, sticking doors, windows and warped drawers are repaired
  • Leaky faucets are fixed. Water discoloration is sink is eliminated
  • Loose stair banisters are tightened and steps are free of objects
  • Light fixtures are in good working order. Discolored or cracked switchplates are replaced
  • Closets, shelves and drawers are organized to display spaciousness
  • Clothing is hung neatly and shoes and other objects are neatly arranged
  • Bathrooms are sparkling clean. Tub and shower caulking is repaired
  • Bedrooms are neat. Bedspreads and curtain are attractive
  • The kitchen is clean and tidy, including cupboards, stove and oven
  • The basement, attic and garage are clean and well organized
  • Mirrors, picture frames and glass covering pictures are clean and free of dust
  • Mirrors are strategically placed to create an impression of added space in problem areas
  • Lampshades are in good condition
  • Electrical connections are plugged in

Consider painting the walls and replacing the carpeting if cleaning doesn’t do the trick. Nothing says "new house" like new carpet and fresh paint.

It is also important to keep lighting in mind when showing your home. Good lighting will make your home seem more cheery and spacious.

Over Improving Doesn’t Pay

Don’t plan major improvements on your home. Most home buyers will want to make their own major changes. Frequently, sellers will make improvements that buyers aren’t interest in. Then the investment is for nothing.

You will be better served selling them the potential at a price they can afford.

Last Minute Details that will Maximize Your Home’s Selling Potential

Make sure the television and radio are turned off, or low enough to allow the agent and buyer(s) to talk, free of disturbances.

Children and pets should be sent outdoors or to a friend or relative. This will eliminate confusion and keep the prospect’s attention focused positively on your home.

Perhaps most importantly, make sure bad odors are eliminated from your home. Bad odors are a virtual guarantee that your home won’t sell. Spray some air freshener before the buyer arrives, especially if you have pets or the house has been closed up for some time.

Ensure that the house has adequate lighting. During the daytime open the drapes. At night make sure plenty of lights are on, including the porch light.

Store wood next to the fireplace. In winter, make sure a fire is lit.

Make sure the kitchen sink is empty and dishes are clean and put away. Magazines and children’s toys should be in order. Plants should be watered and look healthy and vibrant. You may wish to arrange fresh flowers tastefully around the house.

While your house is being shown, it is a good idea to be off the property. Ask your agent if they want you there. Nine times out of ten, they will want to negotiate with potential buyers without your presence.

 

Your real estate representative has the experience and training necessary to bring negotiations to a successful conclusion. If you’ve followed the advice written above, you have already done your part in preparing your home.

 

 

 

Find Your Home's Value for FREE

#tucsonrealtor #1stheritage #lovemyagent #sellmyhome #sellertips

Posted in Home Sellers
Oct. 14, 2015

5 Things to Understand About Homeowners Insurance

 

5 Things to Understand About Homeowners Insurance

If you have never owned a home before, or if it has been a long time, you may not realize how important it is to really understand your insurance policy, how it works and what it covers.  Don't wait until it is too late! 

 

1. Look for exclusions to coverage. For example, most insurance policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage as a standard item. These coverages must be bought separately.

 

2. Look for dollar limitations on claims. Even if you are covered for a risk, there may a limit on how much the insurer will pay. For example, many policies limit the amount paid for stolen jewelry unless items are insured separately.

 

3. Understand replacement cost. If your home is destroyed you'll receive money to replace it only to the maximum of your coverage, so be sure your insurance is sufficient. This means that if your home is insured for $150,000 and it costs $180,000 to replace it, you'll only receive $150,000.

 

4. Understand actual cash value. If you chose not to replace your home when it's destroyed, you'll receive replacement cost, less depreciation. This is called actual cash value.

 

5. Understand liability. Generally your homeowners insurance covers you for accidents that happen to other people on your property, including medical care, court costs, and awards by the court. However, there is usually an upper limit to the amount of coverage provided. Be sure that it's sufficient if you have significant assets. 

 

#tucsonrealtor #1stheritage #lovemyagent #homeownersinsurance

Posted in Home Buyers
Oct. 7, 2015

Viewing Homes - How Does it Work?

When it is time to look at homes it is important to be prepared.  Before looking at any house there are a few question that should be answered.  One of the first is to be sure the home is available.  Many times a home may have come under contract very recently.  Your agent can make a quick call to the listing agent to ensure that the home is currently available and that the seller is still considering offers.  Another thing buyers should know before looking at a potential home is whether it matches their financing type.  For example, if a buyer is approved for an FHA loan it is important that the home be listed, under 'terms' as eligible for FHA financing.  If the home is offered as 'cash' or 'conventional' it may have an issue that would make it unavailable for an FHA loan.  Most times this would be a physical condition issue, such as peeling exterior paint, that would cause the home to fail an FHA appraisal. Finally, it is usually a good idea to ask about the comps for the area around the house.  Your agent can pull up a quick analysis of what homes are selling for in the neighborhood and this will help the agent and buyer be able to tell if a home is priced well for the area.  Looking at homes that are available, that fit the buyer's financing and are priced correctly for the area will cut down on wasted time, energy and disappointment.  Stick to the ones that make sense!

 

 

#tucsonrealtor #lovemyagent #buyeragent #1stheritagerealty #realestatetips #localexpert

 

Posted in Home Buyers
Oct. 7, 2015

Buyer Agency Doesn't Cost you Money

 Nothing is free...right?

Well, when you hire a Realtor® to help you buy a home, it doesn't cost you anything, 99% of the time.  

Here is why.  When a seller lists their home for sale with a real estate company, they offer a commission.  Let's say a seller has offered his broker/agent a 6% commission on the gross sales price of his home. This is typically split in half and the listing broker shares 3% of this with the buyer's broker/agent. When the sale closes (and only then), the commission is paid.  Some would say that the seller is paying the commission, however, it could also be argued that the buyer is the one paying it, since they are paying the seller!  Either way, generally no one pays money out of pocket for the professional services of a Realtor®.

 

 

 

#tucsonrealtor #lovemyagent #buyeragent #1stheritagerealty #realestatetips #localexpert

Posted in Home Buyers
July 27, 2015

Tips For Home Shopping

10 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

 

 

Buying a new home is very exciting and there are some aspects of it that can also be overwhelming.  Taking a little time to research the process can help you enjoy buying a home much more.  Many people will give you advise on a number of topics and it is good to be armed with information.  From a professional stand point, here are a few tips to help get you started. 

1. Be picky, but don't be unrealistic. There is no perfect home. 

2. Do your homework before you start looking. Decide specifically what features you want in a home and which are most important to you. 

3. Get your finances in order. Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your downpayment and your closing costs. 

4. Don't wait to get a loan. Talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage before you start looking. 

5. Don't ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion. 

6. Decide when you could move. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? 

7. Think long-term. Are you looking for a starter house with the idea of moving up in a few years or do you hope to stay in this home longer? This decision may dictate what type of home you'll buy as well as type of mortgage terms that suit you best. 

8. Don't let yourself be house poor. If you max yourself out to buy the biggest home you can afford, you'll have no money left for maintenance or decoration or to save money for other financial goals. 

9. Don't be naïve. Insist on a home inspection and if possible get a warranty from the seller to cover defects within one year. 

10. Get help. Consider hiring a REALTOR® as a buyer's representative. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer's representative is working only for you. And often, buyer's reps are paid out of the seller's commission payment.

 

www.tucsonhomesteam.com

#ilovemyrealtor #1stheritagerealty #buyingahome #tipsfor1sttimehomebuyers

 

 

 

Posted in Home Buyers
July 27, 2015

7 Reasons to Own Your Own Home

7 Reasons to Own Your Own Home 

1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, property taxes you pay, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home.

 

2. Gains. Over last five years national home prices have increased at an average of 5.4 percent annually. And while there's no guarantee of appreciation, the typical homeowner has some amount of unrealized gain in a home.

 

3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you'll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.

 

4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

 

5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your mortgage payments don't go up over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer.  However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will rise.

 

6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and be able to benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.

 

7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

 

To calculate whether renting or buying is the best financial option for you,

use this calculator courtesy of Realtor.com.

 

http://www.realtor.com/home-finance/tools/rent-or-buy-calculator

 More Buyer Info

#tucsonrealtor #lovemyrealtor #1stheritagerealty #rentvsbuy #nomorerent

Posted in Home Buyers
March 27, 2015

5 Reasons You Need a Real Estate Agent

5 Reasons You Need a Real Estate Agent

 

1. A real estate transaction is complicated. In most cases, buying or selling a home requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multi-page government-mandated settlement statements. A knowledgeable guide through this complexity can help you avoid delays or costly mistakes.

 

2. Selling or buying a home is time consuming. Even in a strong market, homes in our area stay on the market for an average of ____ days. And it usually takes another 60 days or so for the transaction to close after an offer is accepted.

 

3. Real estate has its own language. If you don't know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it's important to work with someone who speaks that language.

 

4. REALTORS® have done it before. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. And even if you've done it before, laws and regulations change. That's why having an expert on your side is critical.

 

5. REALTORS® provide objectivity. Since a home often symbolizes family, rest, and security, not just four walls and roof, home selling or buying is often a very emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they'll every make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you keep focused on both the business and emotional issues most important to you. 

 

#tucsonrealtor #1stheritage #loveyouragent

Posted in Home Sellers
March 23, 2015

6 Creative Ways to Afford a Home

6 Creative Ways to Afford a Home

 

If your income and savings are making home buying a challenge, consider these options.

 

1. Investigate local, state, and national down payment assistance programs.

These programs give loans or grants to cover all or part of your required down payment. National programs include the Nehemiah program,http://www.getdownpayment.com, and the American Dream down payment fund from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 

2. Get the seller to provide financing. In some cases, sellers may be willing to finance all or part of the purchase price of the home and let you repay them gradually, just as you do with a mortgage.

 

3. Consider a shared-appreciation, or shared equity, arrangement. Under this arrangement, your family, friends, or even an third-party may buy a portion of the home and thus share in any appreciation when the home is sold. The owner/occupant usually pays the mortgage, property taxes, and maintenance costs, but all the investors' names are usually on the mortgage. There are companies that can help you find such an investor if your family can't participate.

 

4. Get help from your family. Perhaps a family member will loan you money for the down payment and/or act as a cosigner for the mortgage. Lenders often like to have a cosigner if you have little credit history.

 

5. Lease with the option to buy. Renting the home for a year or more will give you the chance to save more toward your down payment. And in many cases, owners will apply some of the rental amount toward the purchase price. You usually have to pay a small, nonrefundable option fee to the owner.

 

6. See if you can qualify for a short-term second mortgage to give you the money to make a higher down payment. This may be possible if you have a good income and little other debt. 

More Buyer Info 

www.tucsonhomesteam.com

#tucsonrealtor #lovemyrealtor #downpaymentassistance #affordhome #1stheritagerealty

Posted in Financing a Home
March 23, 2015

5 Factors that Decide Your Credit Score

 

5 Factors that Decide Your Credit Score

 

When you are ready to purchase a home, you will realize that your credit score becomes very important.  Not only will it determine whether you qualify, it will also factor in to what your interest rate will be.  This affects your monthly payment, and ultimately the sales price of the home you will purchase.  Scores range between 200 and 800. Scores above 620 are considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. These factors will affect your score:

 

1.  Your Payment History and whether you paid credit card obligations on time.

 

2.  How Much You Owe. Owing a great deal of money on numerous accounts can indicate that you are over-extended.  This is also known and your 'debt to income ratio'. 

 

3.  The Length of Your Credit History. In general, the longer the better.

 

4.  How Much New Credit You Have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay promptly.

 

5.  The Types of Credit You Use. Generally, it's desirable to have more than one type of credit?installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.

 

 

For more on evaluating and understanding your credit score, go to http://www.myfico.com/?lpid=NARI3. 

 

#tucsonrealtor #myfico #financingmyhome

Posted in Financing a Home
March 19, 2015

Short Sale Potential