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Pre-Listing Inspections Help Put Sellers in Control

In the typical real estate transaction, the buyer is the one to order a home inspection. But sellers, too, can request a professional assessment of their home before putting it on the market.

A pre-listing inspection provides sellers with upfront information about the condition of their property, which gives them more control over repairs and potentially strengthens their negotiating position. 

Additionally, sellers and their agents have a legal duty to disclose to buyers any property issues that are revealed in a pre-inspection report  Pre-listing inspections can boost home sales and help sellers defend their asking price.

Are there any differences between a pre-listing inspection and a buyer’s inspection?

The scope of the inspection is the same. 

Why should a seller do an inspection, particularly if the buyer is going to do one anyway?

The value to the seller is that a pre-listing inspection makes them aware of issues in advance of negotiating a purchase agreement, allowing them the chance to resolve the issues or have them accounted for upfront in the asking price. 

This helps minimize stress from heat-of-the-moment negotiations once a purchase agreement is tendered. 

Homes that have a pre-listing inspection generally sell faster and have fewer inspection-related issues to negotiate, enabling a smoother transaction.

Can pre-listing inspections help real estate professionals when marketing a home?

The more information agents can provide to give buyers peace of mind, the better it is for the sale. A pre-listing inspection can also reinforce the seller’s asking price. It enables agents to explain how the inspection report—plus any repairs that were made before listing. 

Wouldn’t buyers still want to do their own inspection?

Yes, absolutely. If a seller claims to have resolved issues that were uncovered in a pre-listing inspection, the buyer will want a subsequent inspection to confirm those repairs. 

Whether the buyer uses the same inspector that the seller used is a matter of personal preference, and there are pros and cons either way. This inspector’s view of the home is objective and won’t change based on who hired them.

Your Home - Air Quality

We tend to think of air pollution as something outside -- smog, ozone, or haze hanging in the air, especially in summer. But the truth is, the air inside homes, offices, and other buildings can be more polluted than the air outside. The air inside your home may be polluted by lead (in house dust), formaldehyde, fire-retardants, radon, even volatile chemicals from fragrances used in conventional cleaners. Some pollutants are tracked into the home. Some arrive via a new mattress or furniture, carpet cleaners, or a coat of paint on the walls.

Keep Your Floors Fresh.
Suck it up. Chemicals and allergens can accumulate in household dust for decades. By using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, you can reduce concentrations of lead in your home. You can also get rid of other toxins, like brominated fire-retardant chemicals (PBDEs), as well as allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. Using a vacuum cleaner that has strong suction, rotating brushes, and a HEPA filter ensures that dust and dirt won't get blown back out in the exhaust. Don't forget walls, carpet edges, and upholstered furniture where dust accumulates. For best results, vacuum two or more times each week and wash out your filter regularly.
Mop it up. Mopping picks up the dust that vacuuming leaves behind. You can skip the soaps and cleaners and just use plain water to capture any lingering dust or allergens. New microfiber mops (and dust cloths) reportedly capture more dust and dirt than traditional fibers and don't require any cleaning solutions whatsoever.
Keep it out. Put a large floor mat at every door. People track in all sorts of chemicals via the dirt on their shoes. A doormat reduces the amount of dirt, pesticides, and other pollutants from getting into your home. If the mat is big enough, even those who don't wipe their shoes will leave most pollutants on the mat -- not the floors in your home.

Keep a Healthy Level of Humidity. Dust mites and mold love moisture. Keeping humidity around 30%-50% helps keep them and other allergens under control. A dehumidifier (and air conditioner during summer months) helps reduce moisture in indoor air and effectively controls allergens, Lang says. An air conditioner also reduces indoor pollen count -- another plus for allergy-sufferers.
- Use an exhaust fan or crack open a window when cooking, running the dishwasher, or bathing.
- Don't overwater houseplants.
- Vent the clothes dryer to the outside.
- Fix leaky plumbing to prevent moisture-loving mold.
- Empty drip pans in your window air conditioner and dehumidifier.

4. Smell Good Naturally. You may associate that lemony or piney scent with a clean kitchen or clean clothes. But synthetic fragrances in laundry products and air fresheners emit dozens of different chemicals into the air. You won't find their names on the product labels. Conventional laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, and air fresheners in solid, spray, and oil form may all emit such gasses.



Fresh Ideas…….

Streamline your stuff

One of the best and least expensive ways to feel better about your home is to clear it of clutter. Each year most of us acquire a mountain of stuff. Without some regular purging, cabinets and drawers get jam-packed, and it becomes hard to find the things you use and enjoy the most. This year resolve to go room-by-room periodically clearing anything that you don't use, wear or love and donate it to charity. After that, think twice about what you bring in!

  • Two important tips are to fill your home with the things that raise your energy level, and to make you feel good, and get rid of the things that drain your energy or are broken.
  • Stash useful (but not beautiful) items such as DVDs, remotes and those kicked-off shoes in simple woven baskets. Group similar items together on sleek trays for easy and organized area space.
  • Clear your counters of everything you don't use on a daily basis. And get ready to breathe a little easier in your own home.\

Drink less (curb home water use)

Our houses are thirsty. The average household uses about 400 gallons of water each day, or almost $700 per year in water and sewer costs. Making a few simple changes, such as installing EPA-certified WaterSense products, could trim up to $200 from your annual water bill. Add to that energy savings from reduced costs to heat water, and your yearly savings could reach $300 or more per year.

  • Low-flow showerheads include technology that reduces the amount of flow yet keeps pressure up, resulting in shower streams that are powerful and satisfying. They cost from $10 to $150, and installation is an easy DIY job that takes only minutes.
  • Replacing your pre-1994, water-guzzling toilet with a low-flow toilet prevents $90 worth of water costs from being flushed away. HE (high-efficiency) toilets use compressed air and electric water pumps to flush with less than 1 gallon of water; older models required up to 8 gallons.

Be less stressed (use maintenance-free materials)

If you want less to worry about, install low-maintenance materials and products designed for durability and long, trouble-free service.

  • Fiber-cement siding lasts for 50 years or more. It's weatherproof, and resists dents, fire, insects, and rot. It's exceptionally stable, even with changes in humidity, so that paint jobs last longer than on wood and wood-fiber siding products.
  • LED bulbs last a phenomenal 20,000 to 50,000 hours between changes, or about 18 to 46 years when used for 3 hours each day. Although the initial cost is high (about $40 per bulb), LED bulbs pay for themselves in energy savings in about 10 years.
  • Classic ceramic tile comes in many colors and textures, but at its heart it's incredibly tough, stain-resistant, and impervious to moisture. You can count on ceramic tile's good looks to last for decades on floors and walls without needing repair or replacement.


Through Your Loan Experience…

We have all seen the commercials for mortgage companies who claim that you can push a button and receive a magically fast mortgage that would be akin to being in a rocket.

While exhilarating and potentially fun, traveling in a rocket may be a lot more than you bargained for. When you try to go very fast, things can be missed. Even with an experienced person at the controls, fast does not mean accurate or safe, and it might not get you there in one piece.

At our trusted mortgage companies, they know that the process of purchasing or refinancing a home is much more like a being a passenger on an airplane.

When the journey begins, there is a lot of excitement. You feel a flutter in your heart and the anticipation is high. You count on the pilot to guide you to your destination safely and for the crew to assist and help you should anything happen.

During your mortgage experience, you can count on successful loan officers and me to keep you on track, keeping you informed throughout the process.

While I cannot promise you a perfect flight, I can promise you that I will help keep you on the smoothest course possible, utilizing the expertise of some very experienced mortgage people who have a proven track record.

Rest assured that your best interest is my top priority throughout this transaction. My goal is that you will be delighted with the loan officers I recommend, and I will do everything in my power to deliver beyond your expectations throughout your journey toward homeownership.

Credit Do’s & Don’ts

Good Credit is critical when it comes to obtaining the best interest rates and terms on a mortgage……….

 Do Stay Current on Existing Accounts -  One 30-day notice can cost you.

 Do Continue to Use Your Credit As Normal - Changing your pattern will raise
    a red flag and lower your credit score.

 Do Call A Recommended Mortgage Professional - before making any address
    or credit changes.

 Don’t Apply for New Credit - Every time you have you credit pulled by a
    potential lender, you may lose points from your credit score, including signing
    for a loan.

 Don’t Close Credit Card Accounts - if you close a credit card account, it may
    appear that your debt ratio has gone up. Closing a card will affect other factors
    in the score, including credit history.

 Don’t Max Out Credit Cards - Try to keep your credit card balances 30% below
    their limit during the loan process.

 Don’t Pay Off Collections or “Charge-Offs” - If you want to pay off old accounts,
    do it through escrow. Request a “letter of deletion” from the creditor.

 Don’t Consolidate Your Debt - When you consolidate all of your debt onto one
    or two credit cards, it will appear that you are “maxed out” on that card and you
    will be penalized.  

Small Home Storage: Maximize Your Storage Space

Courtesy of Article by: Terry Sheridan 

Your small home has more storage space than you think. For relatively little money but a lot of common sense and ingenuity, there’s space to be found.

Finding storage space in a small home doesn’t require remodeling or room additions. Start by getting rid of accumulated stuff. Take a hard look at room space, and buy furniture and storage items that can do double duty.

Here are six tips to maximize storage that won’t empty your savings account:

1.  Declutter. It’s the first thing architect Sarah Susanka of “Not So Big House” tells clients who talk of expanding their homes. Haven’t used something for a couple of years? Pitch it, she says. You’ll be amazed at how much space opens up when you do.

Cost: $0

2.  Platform and bunk beds. Add space and eliminate a dresser in a small bedroom with a three-drawer or six-drawer platform bed. Find one at a furniture or big department store, and online. 

Cost: $225 to $600 and up, queen size

Bunk beds won’t have drawers, but you'll save space by stacking beds. And kids love ‘em. They come in a variety of styles and configurations. Some will convert to two twin beds.

Cost: $180 to $400 and up

3.  Shoe organizers. They’re for so much more than just shoes. Hang one in a kitchen closet or pantry, and use it as your small home catch-all for remotes, keys, notepads, cell phones, and chargers, and other household essentials. It’ll free up a kitchen drawer or two for other uses.

Cost: Less than $20

4.  Toe-kick storage. The space under your kitchen cabinets is a treasure trove of storage possibilities. Put placemats, napkins, cookie sheets, and how-to manuals there. Hire a cabinet-maker to install them, or request them as a custom feature in a new-cabinet order.

Cost: About $300 per drawer

5.  Floor-to-ceiling storage. Furniture-style 6-foot-tall bookcases don’t use all available wall space. But extend shelving that extra two feet to the ceiling, and you’ve got room for a lot more books, knickknacks, or art objects. Home improvement stores have brackets and shelves in a variety of colors and sizes to match your décor.

Cost: Under $200, depending on the space size

10 Anti-Burglary Tips for your home

How to keep your home safe while it's open to the public.

A burglary is committed every 20 seconds, with nearly 1.6 million such crimes nationwide
annually, according to the FBI's 2015 Crime in the United States report. That's down 7.8
percent from 2014. Total property crime, which includes arson, larceny theft, and motor vehicle
theft, reached nearly 8 million instances in 2015, down 2.6 percent from 2014.

1. Maintain your property. Especially in the wintertime, many people stay indoors and neglect
issues such as peeling trim or an overgrown yard. But if the home looks unkempt, thieves
may think it's abandoned and, therefore, an easy target. Shoveling your walkways to clear
them of snow and debris and removing holiday decorations and fallen tree branches in a
timely manner will signal that the home is occupied.

2. Know your neighbors. Many people don't really know their neighbors; it's more than just
saying hi and being friendly. Invite them over to see your home before it goes on the market,
and introduce them to the people they may see regularly stopping by during this time
(especially your agent). Then they'll know who is and isn't supposed to be at your home and
can better assess when there may be a threat while you're gone.

3. Assess your home's vulnerability. Walk to the curb and face your house. Ask yourself,
"How would I get in if I were locked out?" The first thing you think of, whether it's the window
with a broken lock or the door that won't shut all the way, is exactly how a thief will get in.
Think like a burglar, and then address the issues that come to mind.

4. Respect the power of lighting. Criminals are cowards, and they don't want to be seen. The
house that is well-lit at night provides a deterrent because thieves don't want the attention
and the potential to be caught by witnesses. It's wise to invest in tools that make nighftime
light automation easy. That includes dusk-to-dawn adapters that go into existing light fixtures
and motion detectors. But beware of leaving your exterior lights on at all times, which
signifies the occupant is gone for an extended period of time.

5. Use technology to make your home look occupied. In addition to lighting, smart-home
technology has made it easier to make it appear like people are home, even when they're
not. Systems that remotely control lighting, music, and appliances such as a thermostat can
help you achieve this. Though not considered smart-home tech, simple lamp timing devices
available at hardware stores are also good for this purpose.

6. Yes, it has to be said: Lock your doors. It's amazing how many people think they live in a
safe-enough neighborhood not to have to lock their doors when they leave. Some facts
sellers should know: In 30 percent of burglaries, the criminals access the home through an
unlocked door or window; 34 percent of burglars use the front door to get inside; and 22
percent use the back door, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

7. Reinforce your locks. A good door lock is nothing without a solid frame. Invest in a solid
door jam and strike plate first, and then invest in good locks. Know the difference between a
single-cylinder and a double-cylinder deadboft Double-cylinder deadbolts are recommended
because they require a key to get in and out. For safety and emergency escape purposes,
you must leave the key in when you are home. But double-cylinder locks are against
regulations in some places, so check with your local police department's crime prevention

8. Blare the sirens. Burglars are usually in and out in less than five minutes, and they know
police can't respond to an alarm that quickly. Their bigger concern is witnesses to their crime.
For that reason, an external siren is invaluable, whether as part of a monitored security
system or a DIY alarm. Even if you don't have an alarm, it's not a bad idea to invest in fake
security signs and post them near doors.

9. Consider surveillance cameras. The Los Angeles Police Department started a program
encouraging homeowners to install a device called Ring, a doorbell with video surveillance
capability that allows homeowners to view what's outside their door on their smartphone, in a
neighborhood that was a target for burglaries. After Ring was installed in hundreds of homes,
the burglary rate dropped by 55 percent, according to reports. Most state and local
regulations require posting a warning that people are being recorded. (But again, this can be
effective even if you don't actually have the cameras installed!)

10. Mark your valuables and record details. Use invisible-ink pens or engravers to mark
identifying information (driver's license or state ID numbers) on items. Log serial numbers
and take photos of your belongings. Check to see if your police department participates in the
Operation Identification program. They will have stickers for you to place on doors or
windows warning would-be thieves that your items are marked. These steps may prevent
them from pawning or selling stolen items and can help you reclaim recovered belongings.
Courtesy of Tracey Hawkins, contributor to Realtor. mag

My Post

Real Estate Facts You Should Know…………..

Want to sell quickly? Price it just under the market


What that means in dollar signs: "Set a price slightly below market value, Just "a fraction." For example: If similar homes in your neighborhood are clustered around $210,000, you might price yours at $200,000 or $198,000, he says.

What the agent wishes you knew: "The longer a house is on the market, the less likely you are to get fair value, so you really want to position yourself to be the one that sells, not the one that languishes."

If you're turning around and buying a home, and you already have cash in hand, thanks to a fast sale, "that puts you in a very powerful position,"

The preapproval letter is just the beginning

That pre-approval letter is just one of the first refreshment stations of the home buying marathon, not the finish line.

Just before closing, a lender will re-examine a prospective buyer's financial situation -- complete with a recent copy of the credit history and other updated information.                   If those numbers have changed for the worse (salary decrease, higher card balances, new lines of credit), then the applicant could get clocked with a higher interest rate or even lose the loan. "The number of buyers who get denied is significant,"  What the agent wishes you knew: Never get new loans or start using credit cards more heavily until after you've actually closed on the home.

Even better, retain your frugality until you've been in the home for a few months and have a good sense of how homeownership affects your finances.

Selling a house probably takes longer than you think

If you're selling a home, it's important to understand the timeline, and that's something most people don't understand," he says.

Underestimating the time it takes -- and building a schedule around those unrealistic expectations -- adds stress. Instead, realize how long the process takes in the real world, and plan accordingly. Another important factor: Different markets (and prices) move at different speeds, he says.

What the agent wishes you knew: A smart seller allows a minimum of four to six months to sell.  And that's if you have a home that's priced right in a good market with one solid offer that makes it to the closing table.

Not all 'buyers' are able to buy

To prove their worthiness, sometimes prospective buyers will show a prequalification letter,  "And that means nothing." That's because in a pre-qualification, lenders usually don't verify buyers' information. A pre-approval, on the other hand, involves third-party verification.

What the agent wishes you knew: Serious (and smart) buyers are "preapproved." That means they've already applied for the loan, the bank has verified their financial information and (if the numbers remain the same until closing) it promises to loan a specific amount at a specific interest rate.

Still, after an offer, smart agents will call the lender and verify that the prospective buyer is preapproved for the necessary amount.  At the same time, that agent will verify that the lender would have no problem closing in the expected time period -- usually 35 to 50 days.

Yes, it really does have to smell good

Sellers sometimes drag their feet on little details that make a big difference. He can't count the number of clients who asked, "Does it really matter if we have the carpets cleaned or take the family photos off the wall?"

"The answer is yes.”.  A buyer needs to walk in and have it look good, feel good and smell good. Sellers should put themselves in the shoes of prospective buyers -- and try to see the house for the first time.

The home should be kept showroom-ready. What the agent wishes you knew:  A mess leaves an impression that's hard for a buyer to overcome. The impression you want: "Warm, inviting, clean and comfortable.”

We don't make as much as you think

Chances are the agent you hire to sell your house -- or find a new one -- isn't getting as big a cut of the deal as you might think.

Six percent isn't anywhere near what we're taking home. While the two sides will split that commission, those agents, in turn, each split their share with their broker.                      What the agent wishes you knew (unless your agent is handling both sides of the transaction), figure he or she is getting roughly one-quarter of the commission. The idea that agents are getting all or even half the commission, he says, is still one of the biggest misconceptions.

3 Simple Steps to Give Your Home Curb Appeal

Whether you are selling or staying put, here's how to make the outside of your house sparkle.

Spruce up the exterior. The quickest and most efficient way to make your home sparkle is to pressure wash it. A pro will charge between $1,000 and $2,000 to pressure wash 2,500 square feet, according to www.homewyse.com. Or you can rent a pressure washer from Home Depot or Lowe's for less than $80 per day. Before you do it yourself, watch how-to videos on YouTube. Pressure washing is also good preparation for a paint job, which may be needed if the old paint is peeling, fading or chalky.

Tame the landscaping. An unkempt yard irritates the neighbors and scares off potential buyers. Rake last fall's detritus out of flower beds and re-edge them. Add mulch, which will look good, help control weeds and retain moisture. Trim shrubs, and remove any dead wood. Reseed or re-sod thin or bare spots in the lawn, and keep it mowed. If you're not up for the job, you could hire a professional landscaper for a seasonal cleanup, which could run several hundred dollars or more, depending on the size of your yard. Or you could go cheaper with a neighborhood kid.

Add color. Paint the front door and trim in an accent color that complements your home's overall look. Try out colors using online tools, such as Benjamin Moore's Personal Color Viewer, that let you upload and "paint" a photo of your home. Plant annual flowers in the landscape beds, window boxes or containers on the porch. Add a seasonal wreath or decorative flag, a new doormat, or pillows or a patio rug designed for outdoor use.

The Payoff
Your home will turn heads—whether or not you're selling it.

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Ginger Jeffers

Associate Broker, GRI®

BHHS Advantage Realty
3640 N. Hwy 87, Pine, AZ 85544

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Ginger Jeffers   |   Berkshire Hathaway - Advantage Realty   |   928-476-3270   |   Ginger@gingerjeffers.com
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