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Desert Living: Why Arizona is the “It” Place

Arizona livingIf you’re thinking about relocating to Arizona, you’re in for a treat. There are a lot of incredible reasons to love Arizona. So whether you’re a new resident or a local who’s lived here your whole life, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy about this great state. Though the long-time residents of Arizona have always known how wonderful it can really be, it’s beginning to be more and more popular with people looking to move somewhere with a great climate and plenty to see, do, and get involved in, too. Check out the list we’ve put together below to see what might draw you to Arizona, too.

The Desert Scenery

You can’t beat the kind of scenery going on in Arizona. This state is full of incredible vistas and amazing mountain ranges, desert colors and flora and fauna you’ll have to see to believe. Depending on where you live, you might even have a great view of the desert right outside your own window.

Plenty of Outdoor Experiences

Do you love getting out and exploring the great outdoors? How about biking, hiking, horseback riding, or playing outdoor sports all year round? With the great weather in Arizona, you can do all that and a lot more. Plus, there are so many incredible outdoor locations to explore that you’ll never run out of options.

Wine Country

Arizona has a great wine country, especially in the Sedona Valley region. There are tons of great wine tours you can join just about anywhere in the state, and most vineyards will gladly offer a tour as well.

Golf, Golf, Golf

Arizona is where it’s at when it comes to golfing. There are dozens of golf courses in any given part of Arizona, so no matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it. And if you live in a gated community you may even end up with a golf course as part of your home’s amenities, too!

Great Local Cuisine

Foodies are falling in love with Arizona because of the unique cultural dining experiences to be found throughout the state. Don’t be afraid to try all the variations of cactus you can find, including jelly, honey, and even margaritas made with cactus ingredients.

Get to the Grand Canyon

Last but not least, the Grand Canyon is in Arizona, and you can get there pretty easily from anywhere in the state. Visiting this site is a unique experience every time, so it’s worth it to get out and explore—especially if you’ve never gotten to before.

When you’re ready to find your new home in the Arizona desert, call me at 602-329-7762.

New vs Pre-Owned Homes

phoenix home for saleWhen it comes to making a decision between buying a newly constructed home and buying a pre-owned house, the first thought that is likely to strike the mind of the prospective buyer is location and price. While price may be a factor in any business transaction, there are other things to look out for when purchasing real estate. Let’s take a look at the benefits and disadvantages of buying a new home from a builder vs buying a pre owned home from a private seller:

1. Location of the home

Pre-owned home (Pro): This is one advantage of owning a pre-owned home. Most pre-owned homes are situated in already established areas with access to schools, banks, and other social infrastructure.

New home (Con): Most newly constructed homes are built in locations outside the main city area. This is because of the fact that most of the main city area is already occupied, and the only available space for new buildings are on the outskirts. While this might be a good location for some people, however, it implies that you’ll have to commute every day to places like schools, office, and shopping malls.

2. Availability of new features

New home (Pro): New homes are built based on the latest designs and feature the latest technology. Most new homes come with more amenities and appliances which are seldom found in older homes.  However, you are getting a blank canvas in the backyard and you’ll be expected to landscape the front of your home within a short period of time

Pre-owned home (Con): An older home lacks some of the latest technological features of modern smart homes. This might be an issue for some people who are tech-savvy.  Depending on what the buyer is looking for, some homes may need remodeling, new appliances and other updates.

3. Ease of acquisition

New home (Pro): Buying a newly constructed home is easier than buying a pre-owned one. It takes a shorter period of time in searching for and concluding the acquisition of a new home than it is for an old one. However, most builders estimate 9 months to complete a home. This may work for your advantage if you are trying to sell a current residence and need some extra time to prepare financially.

Pre-owned home (Con): Buying a pre-owned home involves some extra steps before the deal is final.  These homes need to be inspected for infrastructure, termites and may be in need of some crucial improvements. Some sellers might be resistant to complete repairs or reduce the sell price to compensate the buyer for not fulfilling that request.

4. Renovation and repairs

New home (Pro): As a brand new house, there is almost nothing needed to be fixed in it as everything is still “fresh.” Hence, there is virtually no need to start making repairs or renovations in the house. This also means that you don’t spend more money after finally buying the house. Homes are 100% move in ready and don’t need renovations.

Pre-owned home (Con): A pre-owned home might need some major repairs, new appliances, floors and paint. This means that you’ll have to put in more time and money in restoring the home before actually moving in.

5. Pricing

Pre-owned home (Pro): Since old homes have already been previously occupied, the cost of buying them will be lower than getting a brand new home. There are exceptions though, as pre-owned homes in reputable high demand neighborhoods will still carry huge price tags.  However, the price of the home includes established landscape, possibly a pool and window covering.

New home (Con): With all the amazing features and technology fitted in a new home, the price just has to be more expensive.

Whether you are buying a new or pre-owned home, always have a real estate agent represent your interest.  Let me how I can help! 602-329-7762

Pros and Cons of Artificial Turf

artificial turfSince Arizona is primarily composed of desert land, with very little rainfall, you may have considered installing artificial grass instead of real grass in your front or backyard. One of the biggest reasons to install artificial turf is the lack of maintenance. Gone will be the mornings of mowing, weeding and trimming your grass. Instead, you’ll only need to occasionally rake off some leaves and debris. Additionally, with artificial grass, you won’t have to pay for fertilizer, watering or seeding, so the ongoing maintenance costs of real grass will be nixed.  Another upside to artificial turf is its appearance.  Your lawns will always be green, verdant, and lush-looking.  The average life expectancy of artificial turf, depending on the product itself, is 15-25 years, so it likely will be something you won’t have to worry about with the entire time you live in your home.  Finally, there are many more options of artificial grass nowadays, with many more realistic artificial turf choices out there, instead of the plastic-looking turf of the past.

Some of the cons of artificial turf to consider are first, the cost.  Artificial grass averages around $7/square foot, so the initial expense can be considerable. This cost, of course, should be balanced against the maintenance and landscaping costs of real grass on an annual basis. Also, in Arizona at least, the temperature of artificial grass as opposed to real grass can be a real concern.  The surface temperature of artificial grass can exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes this surface a very real danger. Watering down the surface on hotter days can cool it down, but this may negate the fact that you’re trying to reduce water usage.

I’d be happy to discuss these pros and cons with you, especially with regard to listing or buying a home. 602-329-7762

Popular Architectural Styles in Arizona

Arizona is home to many building architectural styles which are influenced by the various cultures that populated Arizona many years ago.  Phoenix has some noteworthy popular building styles: from Native Indian inspired adobes, Mediterranean style to modern mid-centtury homes that are currently growing in popularity.

Following is an overview of some popular building styles you’ll find throughout the valley:

Spanish Colonial
Spanish Colonial Style or Santa Fe Style is very common is Arizona and typically has smaller windows, flat roofs, orange, reds and blue themed tiles and Saltillo tiles.  Many homes have arched doorways and natural wood beams throughout. People often choose wrought iron chandeliers and southwestern styled furnishings, rugs and decorations. The Santa Fe Style is a traditional Southwestern style owing to the warm climate of the region.

Mediterranean Style
Another popular architectural styles is the Mediterranean style homes. A Mediterranean style home is characterized by large, arched windows and ornate columns outdoors and realistic, warm color schemes and sand-textured walls.

Ranch Style
Long, L-shaped one-story buildings with inspiration from the Old West are the hallmarks of Ranch-style homes. A lot of the furniture in these homes are made of leather with the floors totally covered with carpet. While the fireplace may be made from piled bricks, it is easy to move from one end of the house to another due to the openness of the design.

Pueblo Revival Style
This style owes its roots to the homes of the Pueblo Indians during the 8th century. They grew in popularity in the early 20th century. The homes which are also called “Adobe-style” are characterized by the sloping roofs and earthy materials or adobe, which are used in building them.

Tudor Revival Style
Another popular architectural style is the Tudor Revival style. However, there are not so many in the urban regions of the area. These homes are a reference to the English royal architectural style of the Tudor families in the middle-ages. These homes are characterized by their high-pitched roofs and large chimneys.

Contemporary Style
Contemporary homes are increasing in popularity and you’ll find many newly constructed and remodeled homes throughout the valley.  Contemporary homes are characterized by open spaces, vaulted ceilings, large windows, untextured walls and minimalistic styled kitchen and bathrooms. Homes of this style are often built to be environmentally friendly, while also using some of the latest home technology to provide comfort. Common materials used in contemporary homes are flat panel wood, glass, steel and compliments mid-century styled furnishings and neutral colors.

What is your dream home?  Let me know!  Let’s find the type of home that meets your needs and lifestyle.

Market Value Versus Assessed Value

phoenix home for saleThere are different valuations of a home’s worth and you should understand the difference between market value and assessed value. It’s important to understand what your home is worth. Knowing your homes value gives you an idea of how much you could receive if you sold the property.  It also plays a part in determining how much property tax you’ll be required to pay.

Market Value is used to determine how much a buyer would be willing to pay for your home. An appraiser, usually hired by your lender, determines market value. This value is a vital tool in helping to decide what price to list a property for. Sellers often want to list based on what they feel a buyer would want to pay. However, it is better to list a property based on current market conditions. Market value is based on recent sales of similar homes in the area, along with other factors.

Assessed Value puts market value in the context of property taxes and is based on the laws of the state or county in which you live. Assessed value is calculated as a percentage of the market value of the property. Assessed value is determined by an assessor’s office. Some offices have databases open to the public for you to see the history of your property, as well as what information what factored into its assessment.

Do you have more questions about your home’s value? Feel free to call me with your questions!  I’m always willing to answer any of your questions so that you can feel comfortable with the home buying or selling process! 602-329-7762

Get your free home value estimate here!

Buying & Selling Homes Simultaneously

Buying & SellingBuying & Selling Homes Simultaneously

Buying and selling homes simultaneously can seem quite daunting and raise many questions, especially regarding timing. When should you list the home you’re selling? At what point should you begin looking for a new home? What happens if you get an offer on the home you’re selling before closing on your new place?

The key to combining your buying and selling processes is timing. Taking the time up front to consider your options and make educated timing decisions will increase the chances that you’ll get to seamlessly move from the old home into the new space. So, how do you make those smart timing decisions?

Find an expert. A good real estate agent is a knowledgeable and reliable expert on buying and selling homes simultaneously.. The agent researches and understands current trends which will help you time your transition to the new house while also getting the most money from the house you’re selling.

Know the Market. A real estate agent is also a great resource to educated you on your local market. The agent uses current market data, the condition of your home, neighborhood comparable homes and other factors to determine a realistic selling price for your listing.

Understand your Finances. As you look at your options, know where you stand financially, how much equity you have in your current home, and how much money you can reasonably use toward the down payment of a new house. Homeowners who have enough equity to sell their existing home and can come up with a down payment for another one are going to have an easier time buying and selling at the same time.  Before the real estate shift in 2008, homeowners often leveraged the equity in their home to open a home equity line of credit (HELOC). They would borrow 95 to 100 percent of the home’s value and then use that money toward the down payment of the new home. This made it really easy to close on a new home and sell the current home quickly. Today however, depreciated home values and strict lending options have made it difficult to open a HELOC. Know that there are many options for those homeowners in all financial categories. Understanding your finances will help when you discuss this process with your agent.

Make Quick Fixes. Price and home condition are the two most important factors that effect the sale of your home. As explored specifically in previous posts, investing money up front to update the yard, repaint the walls or make other small fixes has been proven to significantly increase the likelihood that your home will sell more quickly.

Start Shopping for the new home. If you and your agent agree that listing your home is a good decision for you, it’s time to begin your home search process. If possible, start looking at homes before you put yours on the market so that you have an idea to the timeframe it could take to find the new place based on your search criteria.

When you’re ready, list the home. Putting the home on the market is a careful process that depends largely on how fast you think you will be able to find and close on your new home. The previous step, shopping for the new home, will help make that decision. Keep in mind, if you put the home on the market and the right buyer puts in an offer more quickly than you anticipated, there are contingencies you can add to the contract to give you more time to find your new home.

Buying and selling homes simultaneously has its challenges, but with the help of a solid agent, homeowners make it happen everyday. Elise Fay & Associates would be happy to walk you through some of the buying and selling scenarios or help begin your home search process. Give us a call!

Staging & Selling Before the Holidays

Staging & Selling Before the Holidays

FamRmAfter1

Staging & selling your home before the holidays can help save stress and give you time to focus on family and holiday festivities. Getting your home sold before year end is ideal so you can start the new year fresh. There are a few tips to help the process started and assist in running smoothly and effectively.

Take advantage of the tax write-offs. Often, part of staging a home includes purging. If you have a large amount of items you’re having trouble parting with, consider the tax credits for donating. Add up the value of the items you might be willing to donate and look at the tax savings using a Goodwill or Salvation Army calculator. This might be the perfect motivation to help let go of the items you don’t really need.

If you’re relocating or downsizing and won’t be able to take all your items, consider using home listing photos with a list of contents you’re looking to get rid of on Craigslist or other goods selling site as an alternative to donation. Selling before the Holidays is an effective idea especially, because people might be in the market for some gently used or vintage gifts.

Use Online Coupons. By now, we’ve all heard of sites like Groupon, Deal Chicken, Living Social, Amazon Local, etc. These sites offer local goods and services a a discounted price. The cost and effort of staging can be a hurdle for sellers. Search these sites for offers for cleaning services, painting, etc. Affordable ways to get these jobs done may get your home ready to show more quickly and with a lot less effort on your part. Especially during the holiday season, the last thing you want to be doing is a lot of work on the house. Let the professionals help make the staging a success at a discounted price.

Shop Ahead. If you’re selling to move into another property, you likely have either already found that property or at least have a solid idea of housing and new furnishings to make the place your own. If you have the budget, shop ahead for the furnishings. Things like furniture, non permanent lighting, decor, etc. for your new place might help stage the space you’re selling in the mean time.

No matter your situation, staging & selling before the holidays is a great idea and, with a little help from Elise Fay & Associates, you can get a smooth process started right away. Just give us a call!

To Pool or Not to Pool?

Photo courtesy of www.shimmeringwaterspoolservices.com

Photo courtesy of www.shimmeringwaterspoolservices.com

To Pool or Not to Pool?

Are you one the many families in the Valley who can’t decide whether or not to install a swimming pool in the backyard? Before you take the plunge, here are some things to consider.

Most importantly, think about why you want a pool. Adding a pool is an expensive endeavor and, realistically, just because you spend $40k on a pool does not mean that it will add the same amount to the value of your home. It could even add nothing to the value, depending on current market and neighborhood standards.

The only real reason to add a swimming pool to your home is because you want a pool. The investment lies in the fun, enjoyment and recreation for your family, enhanced appearance of the yard and the cool escape from hot summer temperatures. If you’re only looking to add a pool to your home with the expectation that you will recoup the cost upon sale, it’s really not worth the investment.

The fact is, there is no definitive answer as to whether a pool will or will not help sell your home. Many Phoenix area buyers want a pool. Some people fall in love with homes, but don’t buy because there isn’t a pool and they don’t want to go through the installation process physically or financially. Although already having a pool appeals to some buyers, there are also many buyers who won’t look at homes that have a pool at all.

My personal opinion, as a buyer, is that if the home is perfect except it doesn’t have a pool and I want one, I’d have one installed. Were I a buyer looking for a home and did not want a pool, I would not consider looking at homes with one. This is simply because having a pool filled and landscaping the yard seems like unnecessary work, whereas adding a pool would be a value to my family’s enjoyment and recreation.

Only you can consider whether the investment is right for your family and answer the ultimate Phoenix homeowner question: to pool or not to pool?

For more information on adding a pool or other upgrades to your home and their potential values, contact Elise Fay or the Fay Team.

Easy Luxury Fixes Buyers Love

Easy Update
Easy Luxury Fixes Buyers Love

There are several luxury fixes buyers love. No matter how tight their budget, buyers will have a wish list of features that feel luxurious.

Here, we focus on refining details, outlining the third installment of our ideas for luxuries buyers look for and how to accomplish them effectively. Contact the Fay Team to quickly achieve list ready status.

Adding, improving or tweaking details in your home can add great value without breaking the bank. A few easy and even DIY ideas include:

Updating baseboards or adding crown moulding

Adding interior or exterior shutters to windows

Painting moulding, baseboards, mantles and/or door trims a contrasting color

Replacing doors or light fixtures; a new light fixture can change the feel of a room completely

Replacing dated faucets, sinks, toilets, hardware, door handles

Exterior paint updates; eaves, doors, trims & fences

Built-ins: Adding built-ins for books, in closets, desks or even recycling centers in the kitchen  feels luxurious because it eliminates furniture and offers a polished look and efficient use of space.

Dedicated Spaces: Dedicating a space to an activity can make a big difference in the perception and feel of the area or room. Choosing the right color paint, appropriate furniture and places for supplies are key here. Think office or craft room for example; use bright colors in these spaces as research shows bright colors foster creativity.

If you’re looking for more easy luxury fixes buyers will love, contact Elise Fay or the Fay Team for more ideas on how to make your listing shine.

 

Easy Luxury Fixes Buyers Love

Solar Panels

Easy Luxury Fixes Buyers Love

There are several easy luxury fixes buyers love. No matter how tight their budget, buyers will have a wish list of features that feel luxurious.

Here, we focus on energy efficiency, outlining the first installment of our ideas for luxuries buyers look for and how to accomplish them effectively. Look for more on the blog in weeks to come. Or, if you can’t wait, contact the Fay Team to quickly achieve list ready status.

Automation:  People love when they can cross remembering something off their list. Or, in today’s technology obsessed world, remove one of the many reminders Siri is managing for them.

In Phoenix, the summer months can hit the pocketbook hard with electric costs. Installing an easily programmable thermostat is a great little luxury fix buyers will love. The Nest Learning Thermostat is a great option. It features auto-schedule, which means it programs itself in about a week, creating a personalized schedule based on changes you’ve made and continually adapting. It also has an auto-away feature, which senses when you’ve left the house and automatically adjusts the temperature to avoid high energy costs. Most convenient of all, you can change the temperature and adjust the schedule from anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Cost is right around $200 upfront, more or less depending on home size and number of devices.

Solar:  8 out of 10 homeowners have said they would install a solar system at home if cost wasn’t a factor. In Phoenix, where it’s sunny nearly every day of the year and one of the hottest places in the country in the summer, a solar system is definitely a viable luxury for any home buyer.  Installing a solar system can create a double luxury of allowing homeowners to run their home on a renewable energy source and also to reduce monthly energy costs.

In some areas, costs can be quite low for solar panels. Some companies may pay for the system, install for a low cost and pay for maintenance while the customer only pays for the power used each month. While these deals are not available everywhere, it’s definitely something worth looking into for the energy savings.

Considering one of these energy updates for your home is a little luxury fix that will go a long way. Whether the update is for your own enjoyment or you’re looking for an easy luxury fix buyers will love, energy efficiency is a win-win for the environment and for your listing.

Look for more easy luxury fixes buyers will love next week. Or, contact Elise Fay or the Fay Team for more ideas on how to make your listing luxurious.