Saturday, June 20, 2020

Prepare for the storms that are coming will save you time and money in the long run.

As the monsoon season get started and as spring turns to summer, Most folks think, BBQ's and baseball and all kinds of summer fun! But here in the valley we as homeowners should be thinking of doing a little preventive maintenance in additions to all that fun! Unfortunately, not all of the weather is going to be so wonderful. Depending on where you live in the valley, you may face several severe storms during the summer as well as the usual summer storms and rain. Now is the time to prepare for storm season to make sure that you aren’t taken by surprise when bad weather hits.

Trim the Trees
Falling limbs and trees are one of the big causes of property damage associated with storms. A lot of this can be prevented with some forethought, however. Trim back or remove heavy or dying limbs that hang over your house, vehicles or power lines. Diseased, damaged or dead trees should also be removed to prevent them from falling as a result of heavy winds.

Check your Drainage 
Knowing where the water pools on your property is a great thing to be aware of and if any pooling is happening around your foundation you should be taking care of it and getting a landscape company to the  help with the grading and they can do a lot to make sure your home is safe. 

Inspect the Roof
A roof is easy to ignore until it starts leaking, but at that point a significant amount of damage may have already been done. To help you get ready for storm season, take some time to walk around your home and see if you notice any visible damage such as missing shingles or notable divots in the roof material. You might also consider bringing in a roofing crew that offers roof inspections as part of your storm preparations. The more potential damage you find now, the easier it will be to avoid leaks and other damage when storms hit.

Secure Everything
Wind can do a lot of damage during storms. Double check any shutters, downspouts or other wall fixtures to make sure that they’re well secured, tightening screws or replacing securing straps as needed. If you have items in your yard that could be moved by the wind, such as a trampoline, consider getting straps and pegs to secure it to the ground as well. The more secure everything is, the less chance that there is for property damage to occur in strong winds.

Mind Your Electricity
Between high winds and lightning, storms can spell bad news for your electrical power. Installing a lightning rod or a full-home surge protector can help protect you in the event of lightning strikes or power surges, and hooking critical electronics up to an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) can keep them running for a little while even if your power drops out. If it’s in your budget, you might also consider getting a home generator that you can switch on if the power goes out.

Check Your Insurance
If you have homeowner’s insurance, it’s worth double checking to see what is and isn’t covered by your policy. While insurance might cover several common forms of storm damage, a lot of policies don’t cover flood damage unless you take out additional coverage. By understanding what is covered, you can get a better feel for what additional coverage you might need to be secure even in the worst of storms. It is also a good time to evaluate if you have items that a regular insurance policy wouldn't cover and get a separate rider for these items-- such as jewelry, guns, tools, or electronics.  Need a good contact for insurance?  Contact me and I will make sure you have a great person!!  

Get Storm Ready
If you need to do some work around the house to really get it ready for storm season, HomeKeepr is here to help. Sign up for a free account today to find roofers, electricians and other home pros who can hook you up with everything you need to protect yourself from the storms.

Monday, April 27, 2020

New Real Estate "Rules and or Guidelines" Under Social Distancing

In Arizona and all around the Nation-- heck the world- things are changing.  With Covid-19 looming around the corner on the door handle, on a light switch perhaps even in your car, you just can’t be too careful!  Arizona has been hit, but as bad as some states. In this new normal you will notice many more Virtual tours, open houses done through video, or Facebook, sanitizer wipes in each home asking the potential buyers to make sure they use them. Buying or selling a home can be stressful even under ordinary circumstances now add all of this-- it can be overwhelming! Unfortunately, the current state of the world is far from ordinary and no one knows how long this will be our new normal. The housing market is feeling the crunch- but in some ways is becoming more efficient. As fewer buyers want to get out and shop for a home, and fewer sellers want to take a risk with selling. Brokers and Agents are finding creative ways to make it all work for their clients. Now- This isn’t to say that nobody’s buying and selling, of course; the market is just going through some changes and some tweaks.
One of the biggest changes revolves around how buyers and sellers are handling social isolation and social distancing. If you’re thinking of selling, or are in the market to buy, here are a few new “rules” to keep in mind when entering the real estate fray in the era of self-isolation.

Increasing Online Presence
One of the big changes to the real estate process is an increased dependence on online resources instead of in-person shopping. This includes lots of pictures and videos of properties being posted online, but many sellers are taking things even further than this. Recorded virtual tours, online conferences to allow buyers to ask questions about the property, and even livestream walkthroughs with a seller or agent showing the property are all increasingly popular options to supplement or even replace in-person showings and conferences.

Fewer if Any Open Houses
Open houses are a popular way to show off a property to many potential buyers, but in the current crisis these events are a big no-no. In many locales, open houses aren’t even allowed under state and federal guidance. In states where they haven’t been specifically banned, many sellers are still hesitant to hold an event that would bring multiple people into close contact with each other. Online “virtual open house” conferences are popping up as one option to adapt to this, letting multiple potential buyers come together on Zoom or a similar video conference service at the same time to get a better feel for the property that’s being sold.

More One-on-One Time
As convenient as online access and virtual tours are during the current isolation period, few if any buyers would sign on the dotted line without getting a chance to see a property in person. To accommodate this, many sellers and agents are meeting with potential buyers by appointment only. This lets a potential buyer get a good look at the property in question while also restricting the size of the meeting as much as possible. Many of these appointments are made with the understanding that if any participant feels the least bit under the weather on the day of the meet-up, then it will need to be rescheduled for another time.

Respecting Social Distancing
Even when buyers and sellers do meet up, the process is usually a little different than it used to be. Social distancing rules are usually respected, meaning that everyone involved should stay at least six feet apart at all times to prevent potential infection. Discussions about the property and general Q&As are more likely to occur outdoors in the open air, and any greetings or introductions skip out on traditional handshakes. Masks, gloves, shoe covers and hand sanitizer are commonly available on site, and many sellers go through and open all of the doors and windows to both maximize airflow and to allow interested buyers access to the entire house without having to touch doorknobs or other surfaces in order to see inside.

Closing Remotely
Remote closing—In Arizona have been approved and should be implemented very soon. The negotiations are becoming much more common, taking advantage of video conferencing to bring everyone together without actually having to be in the same room.
Now, There may be some instances where people have to meet up to actually sign paperwork because it removes that point of contact, but digital signings of the actual closing documents are more common and notaries are starting to explore the ways they can use the technology and still be in compliance with the law. Even when people do come together for closing and signing, it’s much more likely that everyone will utilize social distancing and that both parties will use their own pens instead of sharing.

As the situation evolves, so do the added measures so keep in mind it is a moving target and I have stayed on top of all the details to make sure you are getting the best care and the best team around! 

We are all in this together, and if there is anything I can do to help you buy or sell a home- please call or text me and I would be happy to help in any way I can! 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Are you wanting to find a home in Mesa with 4 bed, 3 bath, 3 car garage, RV pool and workshop?

Take a tour of this Mesa Gem- 4 bed, 3 bath, 3 car garage, RV gate, pool and a workshop. This home is 2448 sq ft with the popular Athena floor plan, it has a comfortable floor plan with formal living/dining and an eat in kitchen, granite countertops & lots of cabinets, and pantry. Gas fireplace in the living room and split master suite. The master bathroom has double sinks, separate tub and shower, large walk in closet with plenty of storage. The laundry has a sink and more cabinets for storage. The other side of the home is appointed well, with a jack and jill bathroom adjacent to 2 bedrooms. You will be pleased with the 3rd full bathroom in the hall and the last bedroom that is being used as an office, now. We are just getting started- heading outside, the patio will always be shady, and the play pool is perfect for the Arizona summers, the shed/ workshop is HOA approved, and is perfect for the hobby of your choice-- In addition, newer paint outside and The RV gate is positioned to be very usable, and the 2 AC units were just replaced 2 years ago with seer 16 very efficient units. Hurry and make your appointment to see this one!  

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Popcorn ceilings what are they & how to get rid them safely.

Popcorn is great for lots of stuff. You can enjoy a big bucket with family and friends while at the movies, string it on a thread to give Christmas that old-fashioned touch and even turn it into questionable “treats” for Halloween. One place that it’s a lot less welcome is on the ceiling.
Unfortunately, too many homes still have popcorn ceilings. They often create a lot more questions than they answer.

What Is a Popcorn Ceiling?

Back in the day, someone had a brilliant idea. What would happen if there was a cheaper alternative to meticulously applied plaster ceiling coating and decoration for homes? This person asked themselves. Well, that would be just lovely! In addition to it looking “different” it also has acoustic properties in a room.

And now that person wasn’t wrong in concept. It was a practice that turned out to really be the killer.
Popcorn ceilings, the solution to the problem, are still around, largely haunting homes built between the 1930s and 1990s. The ceiling texture that oddly resembles cottage cheese far more than it does popcorn, was popular for its ease of application and, at the time, low maintenance requirement.

Popcorn Ceilings: The Kicker

Even if you don’t object to the generally dated appearance of a popcorn ceiling (hey, maybe retro’s your thing, we’re not judging), think twice before going all in because that house you’re looking at has one that’s still intact.
So many popcorn ceilings contain some amount of friable asbestos that they are generally not a great idea to keep around. Even though popcorn ceiling mixtures containing asbestos were banned under the Clean Air Act in 1979, the remaining mixes that hadn’t been purchased were still allowed to be sold. In some areas, this means that new installations of potentially hazardous popcorn ceilings lingered well into the 1980s.
If the asbestos wasn’t enough, many popcorn ceilings have been painted since they were installed, or were installed using paint as part of the initial mix. Lead-based paint was the norm until it was banned in 1978. It’s kind of a double-whammy.

There are two kinds of asbestos: friable and non-friable. Friable asbestos is the most dangerous kind, since any amount of disturbance can result in particles floating around in the air and being inhaled. This is not good news. Risks of free-floating asbestos can range from lung scarring to mesothelioma, an insidious and heartbreaking form of cancer. This is the kind in popcorn ceilings.
While non-friable asbestos isn’t a picnic, it’s a lot safer because the asbestos is encapsulated within another material. For example, older homes often have siding made of cement fiber-board tiles. These often contain asbestos, but unless you’re cutting the tiles, it’s safely contained.

There are very specific laws about dealing with both types of asbestos, but those surrounding friable asbestos are as much about protecting humans around the material as the environment. In most areas, homeowners are legally allowed to remove popcorn ceilings from their own homes, but it’s still a really good idea to at least have a test for asbestos before you try it.

Before You Even Think About Scraping That Ceiling
There are few things easier than removing a popcorn ceiling. A scraper and a lot of time will do the job, but the hazard to someone who goes in blindly cannot be understated. So, before you even think about scraping that ceiling, take some samples. Carefully.
Send one to a lab for testing for asbestos. Send another for testing for lead based paint (or use a high-quality at-home test kit). Wait until you have results to move forward.
If you test positive for either or both, consider calling in a pro. They have all the right equipment to ensure that asbestos doesn’t get loose in your home, where you, your family and your pets will be at risk of exposure. If you DIY this one, do not skimp on ventilators and other filters to keep any friable asbestos contained.

This is Definitely One for a trained professional--

Usually, easy jobs are a slam dunk for DIY, but when it comes to one that can create such a significant risk to health and home, it’s really best to call on a home pro with the right kind of equipment to keep everyone safe.

Thinking about taking on this project in your home— Be safe and contact me and I can get you in touch with the right folks!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The history of interest rates have been up and down.

I am writing this as a "food for thought article" Please take it as that...

The history of interest rates have been up and down-- that is their nature. As the economy changes so does the interest rate. It is not a natural thing for either to be up for too long or down too long... it must change with the times. 

I think that has been forgotten. in the past 10 years or so-- as a healthy economy needs to grow so does the views about it.  When the stock exchange continues to see new records broke though month after month-- I question the validity. 

The American dream has always been (as long as I can remember) to own your own home- to be the person who reaps the benefits of ownership. To control one's life by knowing what your mortgage will be for a lifetime. God Bless America to allow that right of ownership- to allow each citizen the right to have a piece of the american dream.  

Below is a chart showing the past interest rate and some comments about what the nation was going through at the time... thanks to Chris Butterworth for the chart.

    We can see that, while the entire decade had extremely low interest rates, the rates started ticking upward in 2018 before falling again in 2019 (thank you, Fed.) We’ll have to see where rates go in the 2020’s, but it does seem like they would have to skyrocket before we could really consider them “high”. As an average of 6-8% is the average. 

A look back in time:

1970s - Real estate was relatively flat (as was every part of the economy), with rates averaging about 9% before spiking up to 18% in 1982.

1980s - Real estate was a go-go, with the market growing fast and furiously while rates trended downward but averaged about 12% for the decade.

1990s - Another big-time growth decade, with rates averaging about 8% on a somewhat downward trend. The decade started with a slight downturn in 1991, and ended with a stock market bubble amid Y2K concerns of a world-wide computer meltdown.

2000s - The biggest boom and bust in our country’s history, caused by greed throughout the system (from top-level bank executives all the way down to regular home buyers) and aided by “liar loans” and subprime lending. Rates dropped significantly over the 10-year span, but averaged about 6%.

2010s - Housing growth rebounded nicely, both in new construction and existing home sales. This was helped by rates hovering near 4% for most of the decade; the lowest interest rates in history.

Overall - we’ve had 50 years of exciting news, crises, boom and bust cycles, international concerns, technological breakthroughs, etc., but through it all real estate has continued to increase in value, making the cost of a loan negligible. 

My wish for us going into the next decade is to have that realization- to have that dream come true for more people... and I will fight hard to make it a reality!  So, if your dream is to own a home-- no matter what your credit rate, or your savings account-- I want to hear from you, so we can get you on the right path to home ownership!  Elaine Beery 480-570-1912