I get these questions often. Here are my best responses...
How long have you been selling real estate?
Since 1997, I have sold homes in every city in Maricopa County and half the cities in Pinal County.
Is orientation of the home important?
In Arizona, it gets hot. Temperatures can reach 115 degrees in the summer. General rule of thumb is master bedroom/ kitchen, and main living area should be receiving early to mid-morning sun. The garage and less used rooms receiving the afternoon sun.
Do I need a Realtor to purchase a new home?
My opinion and ALL of my past new home clients would say yes and yes! When you visit a model home, the builder and their agents don’t represent you. They represent themselves! Unlike most Realtors who would just sign a registration form on your behalf and would disappear until you closed escrow and they pick up their commission check, my clients can tell you I am with you every step in the process. I am with you at contract signing, because again, it’s the builder’s contract and they don’t represent you. Their contract verbiage clearly points that out. I visit your property on a weekly basis during all parts of construction, taking photos and videos, if needed, to highlight the good and the possibly bad. I make you and the builder aware of any visible defects. I attend the design center appointments with you to point out items the builder tries to sell you that you won’t need. I will be with you at the final walk through helping point out any last minute defects before close of escrow. I also attend the signing of the final documents to make sure the title company is using the correct dollar amounts.
When buying a new home, what are some pitfalls?
Builders don’t provide backyard landscaping, window treatments, or ceiling fans other than master bedroom and living/great room. Builders also make their monies on ‘options’. If you’re buying a base price home of $500,000, you could easily tack on $50,000 - $100,000 fairly quickly. There could be additional ‘lot’ premiums? If you want a pool, most builders today won’t allow it, claiming liability issues. You will have to have a company come out after you receive the keys to your home, to install one. That means the pool company will have to tear down one of your newly installed walls to gain access to your backyard. Lastly, depending upon the builder, their maybe no guarantee your neighbor is not a two story staring into your backyard or home. ‘New’ doesn’t mean better!
“Can you lower your commission?”
I understand your desire to save more money, but let me ask you this: would you want to work with an agent that sells your house or would you want to work with an agent that will sell your house for the best price on the market? There are a lot of desperate agents out there and I’m a little concerned … can I tell you why? Do you own anything more valuable than your home? If not, could you say that it is your most valuable possession? If an agent is so desperate that they are willing to broadcast the fact that they don’t think they have value as a Realtor, then I’m confused. Is that the type of person you want sitting across from the negotiating table trying to negotiate you a better price? We are talking about a person who has already admitted that he or she doesn’t even see value in himself or herself. Is that the type of person you want to represent you in the most valuable transaction of your life? If another agent is willing to drop their commission in an easy conversation, how would they market and represent your home in another conversation? Likely the same way.
What are the community rules?
It’s very important to find out what the C,C, and R’s (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) and Community Guidelines are before making an offer on a property. It should be a part of your neighborhood search process. If an HOA Community, does it allow for street parking? Can I park an RV or boat in my yard? Can I change the color of the house? Can I build an addition? These are just some of the many questions you may need answered before being disappointed after moving in.
Can I use my home as an Airbnb or Vrbo?
According to the state of Arizona, you can. In 2016, Governor Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1350 into law. The law did include some exceptions that allow for the enforcement of zoning and residential use restrictions to limit the use of the property to prescribed proposes. The law also has exceptions for prioritizing public health and safety protections and protecting noise ordinances and property maintenance requirements. The Arizona legislature passed and Governor Ducey signed House Bill 2672 into law in May 2019. This bill added some new regulations related to short term rentals in Arizona. All property owners and businesses looking to utilize short term rental services like Airbnb and VRBO are now required to have a transaction privilege tax license. For more info: (https://azdor.gov/transaction-privilege-tax/tpt-license). There are also codified civil penalties for violations of acceptable uses for short term rentals. Cities and municipalities in Arizona are also able to require property owners to provide best contact information for any noise or disturbance complaints on their property. Local governments can also restrict short term rentals from being used for large events that typically require a permit. Many HOA’s attempt to hinder homeowner’s from using their homes as short term rentals. I personally am not aware of any that have succeeded. Any further questions, contact the state of Arizona or a Real Estate lawyer.
What is the escrow period of time?
A normal escrow for a financed home is 30 to 45 days from acceptance of offer to closing escrow. Cash buyers more often are less than thirty days, used as leverage in appealing to seller to accept offer.
What amount of earnest money is needed?
General rule of thumb is 1% of offer price (Ex. $100,000 offer, $1,000 earnest money). During ten day inspection period, buyer can get their earnest money back if they decide not to proceed with the purchase of the home.
“Zillow says it’s worth...”
Zillow says my home is worth $600,000.
Yes, I’ve seen those Zestimates! That’s something I can clarify a bit. We listed over 20 houses with Zillow this last year. It’s a great resource. I want to share with you that with those 20+ houses, the initial Zestimate was off by more than 14%. One case, by 30%. Why? There are no Zillow agents living in that locality. They don’t come by your house to assess it! Zillow tries to calculate a market average based on an algorithm. Your buyers will not care about a Zestimate, because their agents won’t. If a Zestimate is 14% lower, you will lose 14% on the sale. If it’s 14% higher, no one will purchase the house, and then you’ll lose money on negotiating. Wouldn’t you rather just sell your house for the best price and get the most money?