Mistakes Buyers Make When Purchasing a Home

Young Couple Looking At HouseThere are lots of great houses on the market, and finding your home can be a lot of fun – especially if you avoid trouble as you shop. Here are a few misconception pitfalls to consider:

  • “Don’t worry about the particulars – the financing will take care of itself. Just start looking.” Understanding your financing is a crucial part of the process. Many buyers start out immediately looking for that perfect home and fail to prepare by asking their lender lots of questions. What are the costs of your loan? What will your monthly payments be and what will they include? What is PITI? Fixed rate or variable? Being well-informed and having a good understanding of the financial options in front of you will help you avoid finance problems.
  • “Focus on the home you need – you’ll be there for a long time.” Many buyers only think about the here-and-now and few think about resale when they purchase a new home. After all, you’re just now buying a home – why worry about selling, right? Well… buying a home is usually about making an investment in the real estate as well as selecting a great place to live. At some point in the future, it’s not unlikely that your family will get bigger, a job will relocate you, or some other reason to move will come up. Considering now what future buyers may like in your home can be very important to maximizing your future resale value. The better your resale value, the more money that will go into the bank or may be used for a future home purchase.
  • “We’ll find what we like, negotiate a price, and then we’ll worry about making financing an offer.” Sellers want to know that you are a solid, “bona-fide” good buyer who will be able to close on their home, before they will enter into a contract to sell their home. Sellers generally will go with the first bona-fide buyer who will pay their price, and it is very unlikely a seller will say “no” to an unprepared buyer. Showing that you have your financial “ducks in a row,” is also likely to get you a better deal on your purchase.
  • “I’ve looked the house over; we don’t need a fancy inspection.” Over and over again, I hear buyers tell me that they don’t want to pay $300-$400 for the inspection of a home that’s for sale. While it’s true that most home inspections find relatively minor defects typically less than $1000 to correct, some inspections turn up issues in excess of $2000-$4000. You’re about to invest tens of thousands of in a home – it makes great sense to invest a few hundred to help assure that your investment is a wise one.
  • Find a great real estate agent to help! Working with the right agent will greatly improve your whole buying experience. A real estate agent with the right background can help with every step of the buying process, from analyzing your home needs, to finding the right home, to negotiating and closing the deal. An agent should be working with you to make your home-buying dreams come true.

Find us today at www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com or 602-753-0177 to get started on your home purchase!

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When Seniors Move

Aging parents

More and more clients are coming to us to discuss real estate needs in regards to their parents. As we discuss the logistics and strategy of selling the home, one challenge is generally driving the move: Our aging parent is dealing with a new health or memory issue such as Alzheimer’s that needs to be managed. At the same time, most families are not ready to deal with Mom or Dad’s new set of health issues, as most are still focused on raising their own family.

With all of life’s current challenges and the new health issues for Mom or Dad, we find that the home where Mom and Dad currently live suffers the most. Many times the home will sell for $25,000 to $75,000 less than it should due to neglect and deferred maintenance. When the home sells, this could be money going into the bank to pay for long-term care for Mom and Dad.

Jamie Thompson is designated as a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES). The SRES is rigorous education focused on developing an understanding of the needs of the 50+ demographic. The SRES Council is known to have knowledgeable, passionate members that serve consumers in the 50 and older market.

Jamie and his staff have resources to help Mom and Dad during this challenging time. They know professionals that help with medical home health care, providing caregivers, and professionals that help Mom and Dad find independent, assisted living, or memory care communities.

As a real estate professional, Jamie’s goal is always to help Mom and Dad protect one of their most valuable asset – their home.

Do you want to learn more? Contact Jamie and his team at (602) 753-0177 or www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com

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Signs My Home is Over Priced

Rusty For Sale Sign

Has your home been on the market so long that the For Sale sign out front has begun to rust? At some point you probably began to ask yourself if your home may be overpriced for the market. Here are a few thoughts to consider in making that determination before your For Sale sign completely rusts away:

  • Comparables – Is your home priced right according to comparable properties? Comparable homes that have sold recently can give you a great idea of how well your home may appraise. Active, pending listings give a great indication of where the market is and what your competition is as you try to get that next buyer. Pricing considerably higher than the Active, Pending or Sold properties probably will impede a quick sale and extend your time on market.
  • Showings – How many showings are you getting each week? Has it been a few weeks since you last saw a buyer’s agent in your home? If so, you are probably overpriced. A good sign that you are priced right is that you are hearing feedback from your agent about showings in your home.  If it has been a few weeks since the last feedback, it may be time for a change.
  • Market Changes and Activity – What is the market doing? Are interest rates higher or lower? What’s new on the local MLS? Are there a lot of bank owned properties or short sale properties in your area? Does your area attract lots of first-time buyers or move-up buyers? All great questions to ask when deciding on how high or low to price your home.
  • Do you really want the truth?  Many times sellers and real estate agents just are not ready to be honest about the situation. It’s usually far more useful to understand the realistic factors necessary to get your home sold than to talk about what price you hope or wish your home will sell.  Assuming that’s your position, don’t be afraid to ask your real estate agent for the honest truth:  What list price does my home need to be at in order to sell in the next 30 days? Just be prepared for the answer!

Rather not figure this out on your own? Our Phoenix AZ Realtors would love to help. Contact us at www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com or 602-753-0177.

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Experience Matters – Questions to Ask Before Selling

Questions to ask when selling your home

Our clients have presented us with many unique situations when selling their Arizona Homes. Whether moving out-of-state to take a new job, hoping to buy a bigger home with a pool, needing to be in a new school district, or looking to downsize to a home that is more manageable, our clients all had something very important in common. Each had future plans – plans that depended heavily on how the logistics of the sale were handled and the financial results of the sale.

Marketing and Selling Homes is Serious Business.

A well planned and executed sale of a home allows the homeowner to move forward with their next phase of life. However, mistakes may cost thousands of dollars and hours of stress when escrows are canceled. Nothing may be more important in the transaction than the knowledge and experience of the agent giving you advice. So, here are a few good questions for you to ask your agent:

  • What do you know about the area? At times, knowledge of the area can be the key to selling a home. Buyers that are new to the area need to know information about schools, movie theaters, shopping and more. An agent who lives in the area can help buyers identify how they will enjoy the area – and many times, the home will sell quicker.
  • How do you market my home? Believe it or not, some agents think that ordering a “for sale” sign and putting your home in the multiple listing service (MLS) is how to sell a home. This is only the beginning! Great agents should be able to deliver to you a written marketing plan tailored for the Phoenix Real Estate market along with success stories from using that plan.
  • How much are the costs of selling my home? In order to plan for the future all homeowners with Phoenix Homes for Sale need to know the amount of money they will have after the sale of the home. Great agents should be able to estimate the cost of real estate commissions, title fees, loan costs, repair costs, and property taxes.
  • When will the buyer’s loan be approved? Without loan approval, the sale of the home cannot close escrow. In tracking a lender’s process, a great agent should know how to use the LSU (Loan Status Update) form, what “PTD” conditions are, and what is the time needed for a lender to get loan documents to title after full loan approval. Being able to track the lender’s progress is essential for a seller to know whether they will close on time or not.
  • What is breach of contract and how do you handle this? In the Arizona purchase contract, the seller is unable to exit the contract while the buyer retains over five exits from the contract. However, if the buyer is in breach of contract, then the seller may exit the contract. Breach of Contract occurs when the buyer takes actions that are contrary to the written contract. This is a serious situation that experienced agents should have a plan to handle.

Do you want to learn more about how to make your home-selling process go smoothly? Contact us at www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com or 602-753-0177.

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Selling for Top Dollar – Getting Tons of Exposure

The day is here! You need to sell your home. The next steps are to find a real estate agent familiar with the Phoenix MLS, put your home on the market, and negotiate a contract. The #1 rule in selling your home is to get your home Tons of Exposure. The more exposure you get for your home, the more potential buyers, and the faster the sale and a higher sales price for your home.  Seems simple, right? Well here are a few things to consider when going to market:

Focus Local and Worldwide. Recently, our team got call from another state about one of our listings. The buyer – who happened to have cash for a purchase – found one of our listings on the internet. Unable to find a local Phoenix Real Estate agent, the buyer called us directly to purchase the home. The buyer said, “Your home is beautiful!” While our seller took credit for the beautiful home, we took great pride in showcasing the home with our elite marketing plan.

Focus on the Internet. The internet has huge potential to market our listings, but can also be very risky. While allowing agents to showcase a home’s best features, the internet can also make a home look very bad. Dark pictures, pictures of small rooms, pictures of the commode, and even the lack of any pictures will dissuade buyers from looking at your home. The presentation of a home over the internet should entice a buyer’s interest to see more of the home by scheduling a showing.

Focus on the Phoenix MLS. The Phoenix MLS allows home owners and agents to add lots and lots of features. Important upgrades like granite counters, RV gates, energy efficient upgrades, cul-de-sac lots, vaulted ceilings, etc. are very important to buyers. And may buyers and buyers’ agents will search for these important upgrades on the internet and the MLS database. Every time a buyer searches for features, and finds your home, the buyer is likely to want to see inside your home.

Don’t Forget Traditional Advertising. With iPhones, tablets, and many other tech devices, it may be easy to forget the traditional advertising. However, traditional advertising is still very successful for attracting buyers. Newsletters, Just Listed notices, and color flyers are still huge for getting the attention of buyers. While younger buyers under the age of 30 will start their search for a home on the internet, many older buyers will start their search with the newspaper or from items received in the mail. On a daily basis, many Phoenix Homes for Sale can be found in the local paper.

A great marketing plan includes aspects of all these items and any other ways of getting buyers to see your home. Remember, the name of the game is exposure, exposure, exposure. Do you have more questions? Do you want to learn more about this or other ways to get the most money from the sale of your Phoenix Arizona Homes? We can help! Contact us at (602) 753-0177 or info@ThompsonGroupAZ.com.

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Pricing Considerations for a Successful Home Sale

Pricing a home correctly is defined as pricing a home in a price range of comparable other homes sold in the last 3 to 6 months. A home priced more than 5% under the lowest sale may be considered under priced. A home priced more than 5% above the highest sale would be considered overpriced.

In considering a list price, you might want to consider:

  • Appraisal: What is the highest potential appraisal value of my home? One of the main reasons to price a home correctly is to avoid appraisal issues. Even when a seller sells a home above the market value, if the lender’s appraiser will not support the sales price value, the home will only close at a price the appraiser will support.
  • Comparative Market Analysis: Most real estate agents are able to perform a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) when a current appraisal is not available. A comparative market analysis should give an accurate idea of how your home stacks up against comparable sales within a mile radius of your home. All comparable sales used should be no older than 6 months to give a correct approximation of the current market.
  • Pending Home Sales: Pending Listings or homes that are currently under contract waiting to close escrow may indicate where the market is headed. If pending properties are selling for less than previous closings, then the market is declining. If pending properties are higher than previous sales then the market is appreciating.
  • Active Home Sales: How many homes are active in the MLS in your area? This is important, because this is a list of your competition who are seeking to steal your buyer! The winner gets to move, and the loser gets to wait for the next buyer.
  • Location, Conditions, and Terms: Keep in mind that if your home has issues in any of these areas, buyers will want to discount the price to deal with the issue. If you are able to fix the issue up front, your home is much more likely to return market value and to sell quicker!

Do you want to learn more about this or other ways to get the most money from your sell? Contact us at (602) 753-0177 or www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com.

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Show Us That American Spirit

The Thompson Group would like to thank all our U.S. Veterans & Armed Forces for their service, sacrifices and for protecting us on a daily basis. Our hearts beat Red, White & Blue thanks to them.

Were you aware that only 2 founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776? The majority of the signers penned their signatures on August 2, 1776.

The 4th of July doesn’t celebrate the signing of the Declaration, it celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

There are 5 branches to the U.S. Armed Forces. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy and there are over 1.4 million active personnel.

The Army is the oldest branch of the military and was established in 1775. The Army is also the largest branch of our military.

We would like to show our patriotism by giving away a 30 inch flag to the first 100 folks to call our office at 602-753-0177. Winners must be able to pick up the flag at our office located in Tempe Arizona.

“It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it.”  ~ George Washington

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Quick and Easy Home Staging Strategies

Are you planning on selling your home in the near future? Studies show that staged homes will sell faster and for a higher price than homes that are vacant or not staged. Many sellers will turn to professional home stagers to prepare the home for sale before listing it with a Realtor. If your bank account won’t allow for professional home staging, here are some great DIY tips that will allow you to maximize your selling price.

The Staging rule of thumb to keep in mind: You are trying to help potential buyers feel that your home will become their castle. To do this, just remember that appealing to a home buyer’s five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, will be the key to successful staging.

Sight – Light, bright homes with neutral colors and a few colorful accents appeal to more buyers. Bold, vivid colors may be more “you,” but remember that you’re trying to provide more of a “blank canvas” that a potential buyer finds attractive now, but can also visualize making their own.

Sound – Ever heard the expression “the silence was deafening” or “quiet as a tomb?” Well, walking into a totally-silent home can be like that – possibly eerie or oppressive, but rarely welcoming. Leave some soft, light music playing to help provide a tranquil, inviting ambiance.

Smell – Make sure to avoid any strong aromas. Of course it makes sense to make sure noxious smells like pet odors, last night’s fish dinner or poker-game cigars are not the first thing to hit a potential buyer as they enter your home. But don’t forget that exotic incense, heavy floral accents and even cleanser smells can be offensive to many. Make sure your home is aired out well, and then provide simple, clean, subtle aromas with the restrained use of potpourri or air fresheners.

Taste – Could a plate of fresh-baked cookies entice a buyer? Maybe, maybe not – but it would certainly make your home more memorable.

Touch – Physical comfort is important. Remember that “Ahhhh!” feeling you get when you walk into a cool building, getting out of the heat of summer? Any Realtor showing your home – and any potential buyer – is going to be much more comfortable in your home if your AC is set appropriately. Be careful not to over-cool (or over-heat!) but do try to make your home feel comfortable to visitors.

Do you need help with staging your home before putting it on the market? We would love to help. Contact us at info@ThompsonGroupAZ.com or 602-753-0177.

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Present and Showcase Your Home to Find Buyers

More Exposure Means More Buyers!

The day is here! You need to move and get your home sold ASAP. The next step is to find a real estate agent and get the marketing process started. In marketing your home, the concept is simple: the more exposure you get for your home, the more potential buyers you reach and the faster the sale and higher sales price. However, Seller beware! Some agents may not have a marketing plan and some agents don’t really understand how to use that marketing plan to get buyers through your front door to make a decision to purchase your home. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Does the Marketing Plan Focus Local and Worldwide? Our Phoenix market typically receives about 40% of buyers from out of state – the other 60% are local. Recently, our team got a call from another state about one of our listings. The buyer, who happened to have cash for a purchase, found one of our listings on the internet. Unable to find a local real estate agent, the buyer called us directly to purchase the home. The buyer said, “Your home is beautiful.” While our seller took credit for the beautiful home, we took great pride in showcasing the home with our elite marketing plan.
  • Does the Marketing Plan Focus on Presentation? The internet has huge potential to market our listings, but also is very risky. While allowing agents to showcase a home’s best features, the internet can also make a home look bad. Buyers have many homes to choose from on websites and if a buyer does not like your presentation, they will not schedule a showing. When photos show homes that are cluttered, need paint, have small rooms, and are dark, buyers are going to eliminate these homes. When an agent and the seller have focused on the presentation of a home, the home entices a buyer’s interest to see more of the home by scheduling a showing.
  • Does the Marketing Plan Focus on Details of the Home? The Phoenix MLS allows home owners and agents to add lots and lots of features to their listings. Important upgrades such as granite counters, RV gates, energy efficient upgrades, cul-de-sac lots, vaulted ceilings, etc. are very important to buyers. Many buyers will search for these important upgrades on the internet through Bing, Google and other search engines. Every time a buyer searches for features, and finds your home, the buyer is likely to want to see inside your home.
  • Don’t Forget Traditional Advertising. With iPhones, tablets, and many other tech devices, it may be easy to forget the traditional advertising. However, traditional advertising is still very successful for attracting buyers. Newsletters, Just Listed notices, and color flyers are still huge for getting the attention of buyers. While younger buyers under the age of 30 will start their search for a home on the internet, many older buyers will start their search with the newspaper or from items received in the mail. On a daily basis, many Phoenix homes for sale can be found in the local paper.

A great marketing plan includes aspects of all these items and many other ways of getting buyers to see your home. Remember, the name of the game is exposure, exposure, exposure. Do you have more questions? Do you want to learn more about this or other ways to get the most money from the sale of your Home? We can help! Contact us at (602) 753-0177 or info@ThompsonGroupAZ.com.

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Signs My Home Will Close On Time

A seller put his Phoenix, Arizona home on the market to move out of state. A buyer viewed the home and found it to be perfect for their growing family. The buyer and seller negotiated a contract to sell a home. The buyer completed inspections and found few repairs. The seller boxed up a lifetime of memories and loaded the moving truck! The home selling process appears to be going very smoothly… But wait! Will this home close on time, or are there problems ahead? Here are a few indicators to look for:

Close on time

Buyer Qualifications Reviewed – When a buyer writes a contract to purchase a home, the buyer should present a list of pre-qualifications with the contract. In Arizona there is a standard Pre-Qualification form that should be completed by the buyer’s lender. This form is loaded with information about the perspective buyer. Important are items that the lender requires from the buyer in order to start and complete the loan. Completing these items sooner will allow for a quicker close – overlooking them will certainly slow the process. How these items are managed is a clear indication of whether the home will close on time or not.

Appraisal Complete – The appraisal should be ordered within the first few days of an accepted contract. While there is no hard and fast rule for completion of the appraisal, all parties agree that sooner is better than later. The appraisal should be good news, but there could be bad news lurking. Certainly, when the buyer’s financing depends upon completion of the appraisal, a good sign that the closing of the home will occur is completing this important step.

Loan Package Submitted to Underwriter – Another big step for every home purchase is submitting the loan package to the underwriter. Included in the loan package is the title report, the completed appraisal, terms of the loan, the buyer’s application, and a bunch of documentation that none of us think about on a regular basis. The underwriter reviews the loan package for a few days and generally will give loan approval with prior to document (PTD) conditions. If this step is completed early enough in the escrow process, clearing the PTD conditions should not hold up the closing day. However, at times, the PTD conditions may require documentation not readily available, thereby delaying the closing date.

Don’t Forget About the Home Owner Association (HOA) Disclosures! –While the Arizona contract calls for delivery of all HOA information to the buyer, state law allows HOAs 14 calendar days from the time of the request to delivery to provide all necessary information. Normally, the title agency involved will make the request for HOA documents early, after contract acceptance. However, delivery of these documents to the buyer may not happen for sometime and the buyer receives 5 days to review the HOA documents. While review of HOA documents should not hold up a typical 30-day COE, it may delay shorter escrows.

Buyer Loan Docs to Title – A great sign! No matter how choppy the last few weeks may have been, delivery of buyer loan docs to title is a sign that the closing will occur in 3 days. All parties will be in a hurry to complete the last tasks of the transaction and there may be some extra drama and stress. However, be assured that closing of the home generally happens for most Phoenix Real Estate transactions.

Short Sale Exception – If you are purchasing a short sale transaction, the seller’s bank may delay the closing date for 1-3 business days in order to approve the final settlement statement. While very annoying to all parties, this is a necessary extra step for most short sales. Some listing agents and title companies are proactive here and initiate the bank approval early. If so, then you have a sign that closing will happen on time!

Do you want to learn more about how to make your home buying or selling process go smoothly? Want to know more about Phoenix homes for sale? Our knowledgeable Phoenix AZ Realtors can help find the gems in the Phoenix MLS as well as make sure that your sale goes as smoothly as it can.

Contact us at www.ThompsonGroupAZ.com or (602) 753-0177

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