November Market Infographic

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5 Smells That Sell Houses

It matters! Appeal to homebuyers’ sense of smell with these tips.

What’s that smell? The sense of smell is the strongest of all the senses to connect buyers to a home. While a bad smell can really deter buyers, a good smell can tempt buyers to a sale. From “green” scents to seasonal scents, discover the right smells for triggering positive emotions and home sales.

  1. Clean Smell
    Most of us associate “clean” with strongly scented cleaning products and disinfectants. It can even make buyers nostalgic. But remember, a little goes a long way. You should dilute your cleaning solutions so buyers don’t get overwhelmed.
  1. Citrus
    Using actual fruit is one way to get a clean smell without all the cleaning products. Lemon, orange and grapefruit scents are best. One great tip is to grind up lemon or orange rind with a few ice cubes in the garbage disposal. This will freshen up the kitchen, one of the most important rooms in the house.
  1. Natural Smell
    Sometimes the best scent is no scent at all. Try using “green” cleaning supplies, baking soda and other non-scented products that neutralize odors. The idea is that simpler is better, so you want to avoid complex, artificial smells from potpourri, sprays and plug-ins, which can actually distract buyers and turn them off.
  1. Baked Goods
    Nothing can make a house smell more like home than freshly baked goods, but be sure to stick to simple smells like vanilla, cinnamon and fresh bread. You don’t have to really bake anything. One trick is to boil some water and throw in a few cinnamon sticks an hour before a showing.
  1. Pine
    Don’t we all love that fresh pine scent? Especially with the holidays around the corner, it’s a great scent to greet buyers when they walk in the door. If you don’t want to put up a live tree, you can simply hang a wreath of tree trimmings or some fresh garland. You can’t go wrong with setting a holiday mood to inspire a sale.

There’s a lot that goes into the sale of a home. Make sure a great smell is at the top of the list. And to increase its value even more, add an American Home Shield® Home Warranty to every transaction.

For more articles like this, please visit the American Home Shield Blog at

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Source: 5 Smells That Sell Houses

5 Questions to Ask Before Moving Into a 55+ Community

  1. What amenities does it have? And do those amenities meet my needs and interests? If the community boasts tennis courts and everyone plays in the weekly league but you don’t even own a racquet, it may not be right for you. Look for amenities that correlate with your hobbies such as an indoor or outdoor swimming pool, fitness center or fitness classes, walking paths or clubhouse. I can tell you if these perks are included in your common fees or you have to pay extra for them. And I’ll help you find a community that offers physical or social activities matching your interests.
  2. Does it make sense for me financially? Remember that it makes financial sense to pay for what you will use. So if you’ll take advantage of say, the fitness center, you’re likely getting a good deal. But if you have no interest in golf and your community boasts sprawling greens, it may not be right for you (unless you like a pretty view or you’re interested in the golf course to boost your home’s resale value). Also consider if buying a home here would be in line with your financial goals. If your mortgage will be so high that you can’t take that annual trip to Europe you desire, then you may need to find a more affordable community.
  3. How are the community’s finances? You want a community in good financial standing. Find out if the community has a lot of foreclosed units or how many residents aren’t paying their dues or mortgages on time. Check if there have been any recent assessments or if they have a reserve fund for emergencies. Look at the grounds and buildings to see if see if any major renovations, such as a new roof for a clubhouse, have been put on hold. I can help you find out these answers by getting and helping you understand past financial statements, budgets, condo or Home Owners Association documents and the minutes from any meetings.
  4. Are there any age restrictions? Maybe you have young grandchildren who spend summer weekends with you. But if they can’t use the pool, you will have some sad faces. Or what if your daughter wants to move in with you after college graduation so she can save for her own apartment. I can find out the community’s rules on having an adult child live with you.
  5. What rules will you need follow? I’ll tell you what kind of rules and restrictions you’ll have to abide by. You may have to paint your home’s exterior a certain color or landscape a certain way. Maybe you can’t have pets or are restricted on the number of pets you can have or how much the pet weighs. I’ll find out all this information for you so you aren’t taken by surprise.

Source: Albert Clark’s November 06, 2017 Newsletter

Should I Sell My Home Now or Wait Until the Spring? | RISMedia\’s Housecall

There’s no doubt that the spring market is a great time to be selling real estate, but the fall and winter seasons may be the best fit for you.

There are many questions homeowners ask themselves during the selling process. “How much will my home sell for?”  “How much should I list my home for?”  “Who should I select as a real estate agent to sell my home?”  “What if the real estate agent overprices my home?”  Last but not least, “Is this a good time to be selling a home?” is also a very common question that real estate agents are asked.

As with every decision in life, there are pros and cons, and choosing when to sell a home is no different. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before deciding when to sell a home. Many homeowners believe selling a home during the fall or winter months is not a good idea and that the spring is the only time a house should be sold. This is the furthest from the truth. Certainly most real estate markets across the United States experience a “spring market rush” every year. There is no doubt that the “spring market” is a great time to be selling and buying real estate, however, the fall and winter seasons may be the best fit for you for many reasons.

Here are several reasons why choosing to sell your home now may be a better decision than waiting until the spring:

Less Competition
One way that you can tell the spring real estate market has arrived is by driving down a street in your local community. In all likelihood there will be For Sale signs up all over the neighborhood! One great reason to sell your home now and not wait until the spring market is there is sure to be less competition.  The fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the probability that a buyer will look at your home.

Simply put, it’s the supply and demand theory. If there are less homes for sale, there are less homes that a potential buyer can choose from, therefore increasing the demand for your home. Not only will less competition increase the probability for showings, but it will also increase the probability that an offer will be received and you will get the maximum amount of money for your home.

Serious Buyers Are Out There
Homes are sold and bought 365 days a year, period!  Many homeowners believe that buyers aren’t out there during the fall and winter months. This simply is not the case. Serious buyers are always out there!  Some buyers may stop their home search because it is the fall or winter, but serious buyers will continue to look at homes, no matter what time of year it is.

The fall and winter months are also a great time for a potential buyer to see what a specific neighborhood is like.  Do your neighbors have pumpkins on their front step?  Are there lots of Trick-or-Treaters wandering the neighborhood on Halloween?  Do any of your neighbors have any light displays for the holidays?  There are buyers out there who will look at these types of things when determining whether your home is in the right neighborhood for them or not.

The Best Agents Are Always Up To The Challenge
Any real estate agent who tells you that the fall or winter months are a bad time to sell is not someone you want selling your home! A great real estate agent will know how to adapt to the current season and market their listings to reflect that.  A great real estate agent can make suggestions and give some of their tips on how to sell a home during the fall or winter seasons. If a real estate agent doesn’t have any suggestions on making your home more desirable for the current season, you should be concerned about the creativity they are going to use when marketing your home.

Staging For The Holiday Season
Many sellers believe staging a home is the main reason a home sells.  While staging certainly helps sell homes, some buyers have a difficult time envisioning themselves in a home no matter what you do. However, there are some buyers who can easily be “sold” on a home because it is staged.  Simple “seasonal” staging such as adjusting the color of the decor or having an aroma in the air that is relative to the time of year can go a long way with some potential buyers and possibly be the difference between a home selling or not.

Mortgage Rates Are Low
If you’ve read about real estate in the past year, it’s likely you’ve read that the mortgage rates are very low.  You also probably read that there is an expectation that the rates will increase very soon. Since mortgage rates are so low right now, buyers are able to afford more expensive homes.  If mortgage rates increase over the fall and winter months while you’re waiting for the spring market, it could cost you thousands of dollars as it could eliminate many buyers from the real estate marketplace!  Less demand for your home will mean less money. Bottom line: take advantage of selling your home while the rates are this low.

Quicker Transactions
Right now, there are fewer real estate transactions than there will be in the spring.  The fewer number of transactions means the mortgage lenders have less loans to process, attorneys have less closings to do, and home inspectors have fewer inspections to do.  All of these factors should lead to a quicker transaction and closing for all the parties involved.  One of the most frustrating things for a seller to deal with while selling their home is not getting answers in a reasonable amount of time. A quicker transaction is going to be less stress for you.

By considering all of the reasons above, you will be able to determine whether now is a good time to sell or if you should wait until the spring.

Source: Should I Sell My Home Now or Wait Until the Spring? | RISMedia\’s Housecall

Lower Inventory means Appreciation Still Going Up!

Have a look at these pages from the MLS Statistics report – The National Trend is not nearly the same as the MLS Trend!

How Do Reverse Mortgages Work? | RISMedia’s Housecall

Most homeowners have heard of reverse mortgages, but there is still a lot of confusion surrounding this type of loan. Let’s clear it up.

Source: How Do Reverse Mortgages Work? | RISMedia’s Housecall

Most homeowners have heard of reverse mortgages, but there is still a lot of confusion surrounding this type of loan. They allow a homeowner to borrow based on his or her age and the amount of equity that has been built in his or her primary residence. Reverse mortgages are a financial tool appropriate for specific situations. They are not inherently bad, but they are best used when the homeowner does not have other ways to generate income. Reverse mortgages have advantages and disadvantages. Before jumping in head first with this type of loan product you should have an understanding of how they work.

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

In 1989 the FHA-insured reverse mortgage was first introduced. The loan was designed for older homeowners – those 62 or older – to access some of the equity they had built up in their primary residences. After paying off a mortgage, or paying down most of a mortgage, the homeowner could take out a loan that they would not have to pay back until they passed away, or until they sold the home. There are some qualifications for getting a reverse mortgage that are important to understand.

There are no monthly payments with a reverse mortgage. Instead, the lender pays the homeowner a sum based on the age of the loan recipient and the amount of equity in the home. Generally, the older the homeowner is and the more equity he or she has in the home, the bigger the payment from the lender.

For owners with a fixed rate mortgage, they receive one lump sum from the lender. For those with an adjustable rate mortgage, it is possible to get a lump sum, a line of credit, a fixed monthly payment or a combination of these options.

When the borrower passes away, sells the home or moves out of the home, the lender expects to be paid back – typically through the sale of the home.

The most common type of reverse mortgage is known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages or (HECMs) for short. These mortgages are backed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They also tend to be the most widely available reverse mortgage option with no income or medical requirements. They can be used for any purpose but are also the most expensive.

Why Choose a Reverse Mortgage?

There are a number of reasons why a homeowner would choose a reverse mortgage. Sometimes the owner does not have enough money to live off of, other times a big expense surprises the owner – like a medical problem or a major home repair. When the owner is in need of income, it makes sense to consider tapping the equity built up in the home.

One of the great appeals of a reverse mortgage is the fact that you do not have to pay it back right away. You can get the money you need now and push off the repayment of the loan until you pass away or until you move out of your home.

Problems with a Reverse Mortgage

A reverse mortgage has its disadvantages. The fees and closing costs on a reverse mortgage are often high, which means you are losing part of your home’s equity in exchange for getting money now. The interest rates for reverse mortgages are also higher than traditional mortgages.

Borrowers are also expected to keep the home in good repair and to pay all their taxes and fees. Many people who find themselves in a position where they are considering a reverse mortgage are struggling financially, so much so that paying all the costs associated with homeownership may be too much to handle. If you fail to keep the house up or pay associated costs, the lender can demand the repayment of the loan.

Perhaps the biggest concern many homeowners face with reverse mortgages is that the loan complicates the process of leaving the home to heirs. If your heirs want to keep the family home, they will have to pay back the lender. The lender does not care where the payment comes from, either from the sale of the home, from the heirs, or a combination of the two. But the lender has to be paid. Here is what you need to know about selling a home with a reverse mortgage. While it is not significantly different than a traditional sale, there are some nuances.

Who Should Choose a Reverse Mortgage?

The ideal candidate for a reverse mortgage is a homeowner who has significant equity in the home, is older – so that the payments are substantial, and more than enough to meet the owner’s financial needs – and one who does not expect to pass the home on to his or her heirs. The ideal candidate should also be able to afford the upkeep of the home for the foreseeable future, including property taxes.

A Reverse Mortgage Should be a Last Resort

Reverse mortgages are certainly one way to increase income for a homeowner, but they are often not the best way. Prudent financial advisers recommend selling off other investments first to generate income, liquidating portfolios and reducing living expenses first before choosing a reverse mortgage.

Once you have committed to a reverse mortgage, your options become much more limited concerning your home and your estate. You cannot move out of the home without needing to pay back the loan. You cannot pass on your home to your heirs without them needing to pay back the loan. You also need to pay for all the costs of homeownership consistently to avoid being forced to pay back the loan. You should look over additional facts about reverse mortgages before choosing one.

Mandatory Counseling for Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgages have a negative reputation for a reason. Many homeowners who were not aware of the disadvantages were encouraged to take out reverse mortgages, resulting in regulations requiring mandatory counseling. If you are planning on taking out a reverse mortgage, you will be required to go through mandatory counseling to ensure you understand what you are doing, and to help you consider other options first.

The counseling is free, but the fact that it is mandatory is a good indication of how cautious you should be. Reverse mortgages definitely make sense for some homeowners – but not most. Make sure you do your research and explore all other financial options before committing to a reverse mortgage. Be sure to check out the helpful glossary of reverse mortgage terms you should know when considering this financial option.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how reverse mortgages work.

NAR: Homebuyers, Sellers Stuck in Neutral

A recent survey by NAR shows homebuyers and sellers have a desire to buy and/or sell, but have not followed through on it.

Source: NAR: Homebuyers, Sellers Stuck in Neutral

Homebuyers and sellers are confident in the housing market, but there are few sales to show for it, according to recently released findings from a survey by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

NAR’s quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) report reveals homebuyers and sellers are stuck in neutral, despite a record 80 percent of homeowners surveyed for the report believing now is a good time to sell and 62 percent of renters believing now is a good time to buy. Low inventory is behind the stall, says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

“The housing market has been in a funk since early spring because of the ongoing scarcity of new and existing homes for sale,” Yun says. “The pace of new-home construction has not meaningfully broken out this year, and not enough homeowners at this point have followed through with their belief that now is a good time to sell. As a result, home shoppers have seen limited options, stiff competition and weakening affordability conditions. Buyer demand is robust this fall, but the disappointing reality is that sales will continue to undershoot their full potential until supply levels significantly improve.”

Buying a home is already a pipe dream for many renters—and pushed even further out of reach by rising rents, the report shows. Fifty-one percent of renters expect their rent to increase in the next year, but 42 percent would renew their lease, rather than buy a home, if their rent did go up. (Only 15 percent would buy a home.)

“Even though the typical down payment of a first-time buyer has been 6 percent for three straight years, two-thirds of respondents indicated that saving for one is difficult right now,” says Yun. “Rents and home prices have outpaced incomes in the past few years, and this is undoubtedly impacting their ability to put aside savings for a home purchase, even if they increasingly believe it’s a good time to buy. Heading into next year, higher home prices and limited inventory in the affordable price range will likely continue to hold back a share of renters who would prefer to be homeowners.”

More of those surveyed (57 percent) believe the economy is improving, however—optimism that could potentially translate into more earnings, and, by extension, more housing opportunities. The survey’s Personal Financial Outlook Index, which gauges respondents’ sentiment on their financial situation over the next six months, leapt up to 62.0 in September.

“Jobs are plentiful, wage growth is finally showing signs of life, home values are up considerably in the past five years and the stock market is at record highs,” Yun says. “The economy is not perfect, and growth overall is still sluggish, but the financial health of the typical household looks as healthy as it has since the recession.”

Four Fall Home Projects:

1. Clean and Reverse Fans. Your ceiling fans have been hard at work all summer so they may have gathered more dust than you realize. Turn your fans off, and clean the sides, tops and bottoms of the blades. Reverse your fans so the blades send air upward to disrupt the warm air that collects near the ceiling and disperse it downward. This is particularly effective in rooms with high or vaulted ceilings and rooms with stoves or fireplaces.

2. Clean Window Treatments. Use a cordless hand-held vacuum to remove dust from hanging window treatments. If you have hanging curtains, take them down for a gentle launder. While they’re down, clean your windows and sills thoroughly.

3. Vacuum and Clean Furniture. Vacuum your upholstered furniture, and spot-clean the big stains as needed. Always test an inconspicuous area of your couch before applying any cleaning agent to a main area.

4. Seal the Air Leaks. Check your windows and doors for damaged weather stripping and cracked caulking, and make repairs as needed.

Would you like to own a new home in the Phoenix area? Give me a call at 623.341.5382.

Homes near Matt

Homes near you that have sold in the past 6 months.

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2713 N 123rd Avenue, Avondale 85392, Vistas AT Rancho Santa FE

  • $238,000
  • Bedrooms: 3, Baths: 2
  • Home size: 1,578
  • Lot size: 15,829
  • Year built: 1996
  • MLS #: 5676190

12571 W Coronado Road, Avondale 85323, Rancho Santa FE

  • $238,000
  • Bedrooms: 4, Baths: 2
  • Home size: 1,782
  • Lot size: 5,940
  • Year built: 1999
  • MLS #: 5699710

12414 W Sheridan Street, Avondale 85392, Tierra AT Rancho Santa FE

  • $329,000
  • Bedrooms: 5, Baths: 2
  • Home size: 2,425
  • Lot size: 15,033
  • Year built: 1996
  • MLS #: 5690625

12914 W Virginia Avenue, Avondale 85392, Rancho Santa FE Parcels 12,13,14 & 15

  • $207,900
  • Bedrooms: 3, Baths: 2.5
  • Home size: 1,611
  • Lot size: 4,140
  • Year built: 1998
  • MLS #: 5681743

2549 N 125th Drive, Avondale 85392, Casitas AT Rancho Santa FE

  • $180,000
  • Bedrooms: 3, Baths: 2
  • Home size: 1,716
  • Lot size: 5,666
  • Year built: 1996
  • MLS #: 5690152

12237 W Cambridge Avenue, Avondale 85392, Vistas AT Rancho Santa FE

  • $239,900
  • Bedrooms: 4, Baths: 2
  • Home size: 1,642
  • Lot size: 6,960
  • Year built: 1996
  • MLS #: 5697956

12818 W Monte Vista Road, Avondale 85392, Rancho Santa Fe

  • $255,000
  • Bedrooms: 4, Baths: 2
  • Home size: 1,956
  • Lot size: 8,087
  • Year built: 1999
  • MLS #: 5688573

12571 W Desert Rose Road, Avondale 85392, Rancho Santa FE Parcel 19

  • $238,000
  • Bedrooms: 3, Baths: 2
  • Home size: 1,716
  • Lot size: 5,500
  • Year built: 1998
  • MLS #: 5663131

2321 N 123rd Lane, Avondale 85392, Tierra AT Rancho Santa FE

  • $262,500
  • Bedrooms: 4, Baths: 2
  • Home size: 2,099
  • Lot size: 9,083
  • Year built: 1995
  • MLS #: 5681945

2401 N 123rd Avenue, Avondale 85392, Rancho Santa FE

  • $266,500
  • Bedrooms: 4, Baths: 2
  • Home size: 1,805
  • Lot size: 10,654
  • Year built: 1995
  • MLS #: 5663587

12733 W Lewis Avenue, Avondale 85392, Tierra 2 AT Rancho Santa FE

  • $285,000
  • Bedrooms: 4, Baths: 2
  • Home size: 2,335
  • Lot size: 7,935
  • Year built: 1997
  • MLS #: 5651320

12883 W Cambridge Avenue, Avondale 85392, Rancho Santa FE Parcels 12,13,14 & 15

  • $204,000
  • Bedrooms: 4, Baths: 2.5
  • Home size: 2,232
  • Lot size: 4,050
  • Year built: 1999
  • MLS #: 5634650

2724 N 127th Drive, Avondale 85392, Rancho Santa FE Parcels 12,13,14 & 15

  • $306,000
  • Bedrooms: 4, Baths: 2
  • Home size: 2,335
  • Lot size: 9,839
  • Year built: 1999
  • MLS #: 5679135

1721 N 127th Avenue, Avondale 85392, Rancho Santa FE Parcels 16,17 & 18

  • $200,000
  • Bedrooms: 3, Baths: 2.5
  • Home size: 1,611
  • Lot size: 6,618
  • Year built: 1999
  • MLS #: 5668940

12770 W Coronado Road, Avondale 85392, Rancho Santa FE Parcels 16,17 & 18

  • $198,000
  • Bedrooms: 3, Baths: 2
  • Home size: 1,450
  • Lot size: 5,725
  • Year built: 1999
  • MLS #: 5650436
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ARMLS Listing Data last updated 1/18/2018 12:41 AM MST.