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Seven Small Home Benefits

by Melissa Dierks

Seven Small Home BenefitsYou bought a starter home that gave you entre into the world of home ownership, but now, your requirements have changed … you’ve added a spouse or children, you’ve moved your office home, or you’ve started a hobby that requires more space than you have. Now, you want to sell your beloved home, but all the folks you know are looking for McMansions, or at least something bigger than what you’re selling.

How do you sell a smaller home? Who is your target market?

If you’re in the mode to enlarge your living space, it may surprise you to know that there is a movement afoot promoting downsizing to a smaller home. In fact, smaller homes appeal not just to “starter homeowners,” but to empty-nesters, retirees, and even families that are looking to live a simpler lifestyle.

How do your entice buyers to look at a smaller home?

Here are seven reasons why a small home may be a buyer’s best choice.

  1. Uses less energy: a small home, properly insulated, is more efficient with both heating and cooling. A smaller home typically has fewer light fixtures, thereby requiring fewer replacements. And, if you change out regular incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs, you’ll be “greening” your home in more ways than one. If your buyers are interested in investing in a home that reduces their carbon footprint, a smaller home may fill the bill. From lower heating and cooling requirements to less water and electricity use, a smaller home on a smaller lot could be just what they’re looking for.
  2. Less maintenance: whether re-roofing, replacing exterior siding or painting the interior, a small home costs less to maintain than a larger one. Downsizing can be just the ticket for a busy traveler, commuter or active family. The less time and money spent on housing upkeep, the more that is available for making memories.
  3. Lower monthly bills: a small home typically uses less electricity so monthly power bills cost less, and a smaller mortgage and lower insurance costs can improve your bottom line.
  4. Easier to keep: cleaning a large home can be daunting. Singles, Baby Boomers, busy small families and others will find that less home to clean is an easy tradeoff for the larger space. Minimizing and streamlining chores can relieve stress and lead to more organization and comfort.
  5. Great investment: smaller homes make great rental properties. If your buyer does need to upsize later, a smaller home makes a great investment as a rental.
  6. Avoid being “house poor”: a smaller, more affordable home leaves more money available for travel, entertainment, hobbies and other pursuits. It allows the owner to set aside money for investments, save for retirement, or upgrade other areas of your life.
  7. A smaller home can lead to closer family bonds. The sharing, give-and-take, managing joint closet and storage space, and other cozy arrangements required to live in a smaller home often bring a since of cooperation and joint effort to daily life.

The bottom line is that we, as your professional real estate agents know how to reach the target market for your smaller home. There are many reasons a buyer will love your home: location, schools, curb appeal … and size!

Compliments of Virtual Results

Preparing Your Home for Winter

by Melissa Dierks

Preparing Your Home for WinterWith November just around the corner, winter weather is on its way. Now is the time to get the jump on cold weather and winterize your home. Whether you are selling your home or you are a new homeowner, it is a good idea to keep these things in mind:

Clean your gutters

During the summer, and especially the fall, your gutters fill with leaves and debris that can block your gutters and downspouts. When heavy rains, snow or ice descends on your roof, your gutters are unable to remove the runoff quickly enough to protect your roof from leaks. Take the time now to clean your gutters, or hire a professional gutter cleaner so that you do not have to climb up those ladders.

Clear patios and decks

Now is the time clean and put away patio furniture, grills, umbrellas and other patio or deck gear. Before storing it for the winter, take time to clean off dirt and grime, deal with rusted spots, mold or other problem areas. If you do not have room to store everything, stack and cover it. If your area is prone to high winds in the winter, fasten down anything you store outdoors.

Power wash (carefully) or sweep and clean the deck or patio. If your wooden deck does not repel water, add a protective coat of sealant, water repellant or other finish. Be sure to choose the correct protectant for your deck type.

Repair roof damage

If your roof has sustained any damage, have it repaired now. Summer hail and windstorms can loosen shingles, exposing your roof to damage during winter weather. If your area had a hailstorm, your roof may have damage that you cannot see. Have your roof evaluated by a qualified roof inspector, and if necessary, contact your insurance for assistance in repairing a damaged roof.

Caulk windows

Take time now to shut out drafts by caulking windows and adding weather stripping to doorways. Many utility companies offer inspection services to let you know where your home wastes energy and what you can do to reduce high winter energy bills.

Protect plants, flowerbeds and planters

Clean and store breakable planters and pots. Consider adding mulch to exposed beds as an extra protection around trees, bushes and other ornamental plants. Your local nursery can tell you the best form of mulch to use for your needs. Trim away any dead branches from trees, but do not prune them unless your arborist advises you to, since fall pruning can spread fungi spores and damage your trees’ health.

Plan now for rain, ice and snow

If you need a new snow shovel, now is the time to buy one—not after the first snowfall. Keep a broom handy for light snow. Also, purchase deicer ahead of time and put it in an easily accessible but airtight container.

Many municipalities require homeowners to keep neighborhood sidewalks free of snow and ice. Find out the requirements in your city so that you are both prepared and can avoid fines or liability if someone falls on your icy sidewalk.

If your home is for sale during the winter months, you will want to make reaching your front door as easy and inviting as possible.

We can help

If you have questions about how to sell your home in the winter, creating weatherproof curb-appeal, or staging your home, we can advise you. Give us a call today.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Can You Sell Your House with Unpermitted Changes?

by Melissa Dierks

Can You Sell Your House with Unpermitted Changes?Often, homeowners make changes and upgrades to their home without securing permit. In some cases, permits are not required, but in many cases they are. When you attempt to sell your home, investigations by the buyer’s real estate agent, inspector or legal representation may discover undocumented changes that could hinder the sale. The degree to which this causes difficulties greatly depends on the types of changes made to the original structure, and whether your buyer’s lender will give a loan on property with unpermitted changes.

Sometimes, the changes occurred even before you purchased the home. Since laws may have changed in your municipality over the course of your ownership, changes that did not matter when you bought your home may be questioned when you try to sell it.

If you believe your home has unpermitted construction, there are things you need to know about it:

  • What was constructed? A patio? A second bathroom? A sunroom?
  • When was it constructed? Before you bought the home? After?
  • Was a permit required and is a permit in place that you are not aware of?

Grandfathering

A “grandfather clause” is an exception to a requirement, covenant or restriction that allows those already doing or having something to legally continue to so even if the new restriction would not allow them to do or have it. With regard to an unpermitted home upgrade, if the upgrade was added prior to the change in the law and the law does not require retroactive compliance, then the exception typically is allowed to remain. An obvious exception to this would be a change that posed a danger to anyone living in the home or on the property.

Retroactive permits

If you discover upgrades, retrofits, additions or renovations in your home you should check city records to see if a permit was required for that type of work in the year(s) you believe it was completed. Then, search municipality records to see if permits were in place. If a permit was required, but you do not find one in place, you can either request a retroactive permit, or sell your home “as is” (see below). Many municipalities have a method in place to obtain retroactive permits. Check to see what the total cost of the permitting process will be. You may have to pay for permits, fines, inspections and other fees. The total cost of obtaining retroactive permits may be greater than the return on your investment.

Selling “As Is”

If you do choose to sell your home “as is,” you do not need to disclose to the city building department that you believe you have unpermitted construction. Therefore, until you are certain that you want to file a request for a retroactive permit, take care in your research not to disclose information when you communicate with municipal offices that might trigger an inspection.

On the other hand, in the selling process, fully disclose to your real estate agent items that you know about for certain—that is, upgrades or additions you initiated during your ownership. You do not want a sale delayed or to fall through because a lender requires a permit, and you want to make sure that an appropriate “as is” clause is written into the sales contract.

We can help you determine which items need permitting, which need disclosure and which are fine as they are.

Compliments of Virtual Results

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Melissa Dierks

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall down the road, while others are convinced that home prices will go up.

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have fluctuated, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, a one point rise in interest rates could cost tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates while they are still available.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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Melissa Dierks
Keller Williams Professional Partners
7025 W Bell Road, Suite 10
Glendale AZ 85308
Direct: (623)229-0154
Office: (623)643-1092
Fax: (623)201-7562

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