Five Things to Know About Home Inspections

The home inspection is an important part of the home sale process, both for buyers and sellers. When it’s time for you to hire an inspector, here are five things you should be thinking about:

1. It’s your choice: You are not bound or obligated to use any particular inspector. Your real estate professional may have some recommendations, but it’s ultimately up to you. Ask around and choose wisely—better to pay a little more now for a highly-respected inspector than to be surprised by a problem that the inspection didn’t reveal.

2. Looking for big problems: The inspector will be focused on the integrity of the home—safety, electrical work, foundation, load-bearing walls, etc. The inspector is not there to point out problems with ugly paint colors or light fixtures.

3. The report: There are hundreds of items to inspect in a home, so the inspector’s report will focus on the basics: What’s damaged, what needs repaired, etc. The report should be easy to read and understand.

4. Code of ethics: Though the inspector is working for the party that pays the inspector’s fee, the inspector will not deliver a report that intentionally hides or omits damaging information about the home. The report is private between you and the inspector, but if you’re the seller, you’re required to disclose any problems that the inspection reveals.

5. The inspector is not liable: Even the best inspectors can’t find every single problem in a home. They can’t see inside the walls or through the floors, so there could still be problems lurking. If a problem is revealed down the road, the inspector can’t be held responsible.

Mid-Century Modern Architecture with Classic, Luxury Finishes for sale in Uptown Phoenix for $1,299,900

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

315 E MISSOURI AVE

Phoenix, AZ 85012

Beds/Baths: 6 bed/5 bath

Approx SqFt: 4,796/ County Assessor

Approx Lot SqFt: 36,242/ County Assessor

Year Built: 1947

Pool: Private Pool

 This home effortlessly combines distinctive mid-century modern architecture with classic, luxury finishes in a $1,000,000 permitted remodel + expansion. Situated in the heart of Uptown on an irrigated .83 acre estate. The residence is gated both in front and in back, for the utmost in privacy. A remote-controlled front metal gate opens to a guest parking court. A long driveway leads to newly constructed garage, which can accommodate 3+ cars. Enter through the courtyard or the dramatic, contemporary front entrance. Glass walls hug the commercial-grade, pivoted front door. The landscaping plan was designed by a landscape architect to compliment the contemporary lines of the home, with a palette of block, steel, concrete, stone and boulders. Architectural details include butterfly metal roof, walls of glass, solid block construction, soaring vaulted ceilings and clerestory windows. There are 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms in the main house, with a split floorplan. The detached guest house features a full kitchen, living room, 1 bedroom and 1 full bathroom. The main living spaces have modern concrete flooring. The front-most living room has a fireplace, floor outlets and a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that opens to the tranquil North yard. The house is pre-wired for surround sound. All original windows have been replaced with energy-efficient, dual pane window systems. 20′ ceilings really open the space. The kitchen is truly high-design with a high-performance appliance package (Stainless steel Miele wall oven, microwave, convection oven and gas cooktop). The custom millworks in the kitchen include high-end Euro cabinetry, ebony slab granite counters, expansive island breakfast bar, walk-in pantry and paneled dishwasher. Master suite is split from other bedrooms and has a dreamy walk-in closet. The master bathroom has dual vanities, slab granite counters with vessel sinks, shaker-style cabinetry, freestanding modern soaking tub, dual shower zones and expanses of natural stone. A 625 sq. ft. guest house has a full kitchen, large bedroom with custom walk-in closet and full bathroom (perfect for a pool bath) and is equipped with stainless steel appliances and natural stone floors. A permitted expansion in 2016 brought in 2 new bedrooms and a new shared bathroom with high-end finishes. The 700 sq. ft. garage is perfect for car and toy enthusiasts. The South-facing rear yard features expanses of grass and mature trees. An open patio leads to a freeform ‘heart’ shaped pool. Copper plumbing supply is 1 & ¼ inch. Less than .5 mile walk to St. Francis, Flower Child, Windsor, Churn, Creamistry, Postino, Joyride, Federal Pizza, AJs, Starbucks and more! This home would make a fantastic architectural AIRBNB vacation rental; it sleeps many and has an ideal, central location!

Contact Me For More Info!

About Rachell

Rachell Pintor | Licensed Realtor with Twins & Co. Realty | Mobile: (602) 574-3438 | Email:  Rachell@TwinsandCompany.com

Hip Designer Transformation of a Classic Mid-Century Ranch Home For Sale in Phoneix for $649,500

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

JNL homes most recent renovation hit the market last night! This one is a ranch conversion in the central corridor of Phoenix that features 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. JNL homes is a mid-century modern specialist that transforms homes using the highest standard of workmanship. Not only do they use luxury finishes to create a timeless home, they do fully permitted renovations that basically create a new home. This project features new copper/plex plumbing, new 200A electrical service, a remodeled pool, and new roof on top of all the obvious aesthetic renovations. So no worries about buying a 1950’s home that could have costly problems down the road, as the most common problems with older homes have already been replaced! Below is a little more info about the home. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a showing you can contact me at 602.574.3438 or Rachell@TwinsAndCompany.com!

Beds/Baths: 4 / 3

Approx SqFt: 2,244 / County Assessor

Year Built: 1959

Pool: Private Only

Cross Streets: Central & Northern

Items Updated: Floor Yr Updated: 2015; Floor Partial/Full: Full; Wiring Yr Updated: 2015; Wiring Partial/Full: Full; Plmbg Yr Updated: 2015; Plmbg Partial/Full: Full; Ht/Cool Yr Updated: 2015; Ht/Cool Partial/Full: Full; Roof Yr Updated: 2015; Roof Partial/Full: Full; Kitchen Yr Updated: 2015; Kitchen Partial/Full: Full; Bath(s) Yr Updated: 2015; Bath(s) Partial/Full: Full; Pool Yr Updated: 2015; Pool Partial/Full: Full

Hip designer transformation of a classic mid-century ranch home. Fully permitted renovation with luxury finishes, and a timeless palette. This home has been renovated to the highest standard of workmanship by Mid-Century design specialists, JNL Homes. Beautiful contemporary lighting, chrome fixtures and porcelain tile floor create a striking modern home. Home captivates you from the curb, with geometric walkway that leads to the bold double doors. Kitchen features custom foil white cabinetry by Sollid Cabinets, stainless steel appliances with Bosh, 5-burner gas cooktop and electric double oven. Large island with built-in microwave and wine fridge and Samsung quartz counters. Master bath has a fully tiled double shower stall with clear glass enclosure, freestanding, soaker bathtub, and separate toilet room. Master bedroom features an arcadia door to backyard and large walk-in closet. Hall & guest bathrooms have modern vanities, ceramic tile shower and bath surround with 18” deep soaker tub and Grohe fixtures. . Utility/Laundry room has built-in storage and deep laundry sink with industrial faucet. Large grassed lot at almost a quarter acre, has mature trees and automatic sprinkler system for rear and front grass. Whole home is new, with copper/pex plumbing and rewired with new 200A service. New HVAC and pool is fully remodelled. All the convenience of new build, but with classic Mid-Century design and charm.

Remodeled Retro-Cool Mid-Century Red Brick Home for Sale in Phoenix for $399,900

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This property just came on the market yesterday. My Twins & Co. broker Christie Kinchen listed this one and I am loving the combination of the red brick exterior and the modern interior! ! If you have any questions about the property or want more info you can call/text me at 602.574.3438 or email at Rachell@TwinsAndCompany.com. It’s also being held open Saturday, October 10th 11-3 be sure to check it out!

1802 E. Marshall Ave.

Phoenix, AZ 85016

$399,900 New Listing- open house Saturday 10/10/15 11am-3pm !

MLS # 5344034

Subdivision: Beverly Park

Beds/Baths: 4 / 2

SF: 1,713/ Assessor

Year Built: 1952

Pool: No

Outstanding value on this immaculate, remodeled mid-century red brick home. Located on a large corner lot with traditional ranch styling, this home has North/South exposure and stellar curb appeal.

A front walkway leads to the large covered patio, which offers plenty of room for a table, chairs and potted plants. The front and rear yards are irrigated, which is the most cost-effective way to deep-water your landscaping.

This home has been modified/expanded from its original floorplan with permits. The home now has 4 true bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, with a great room, formal dining room and inside laundry/mudroom.

The classic remodeled kitchen overlooks the rear patio and yard with unique butted corner windows. A full kitchen renovation includes new maple recessed panel cabinetry, slab granite counters, dual basin sink, stainless steel Maytag & Samsung appliances (brand new built-in microwave, smooth top oven/range, dishwasher and brand new refrigerator) and pantry cabinetry. Under cabinet lighting adds task lighting and ambience.

The great room features a large picture window and the entire home features travertine flooring set in a Versaille pattern and travertine baseboards (no carpet!). The formal dining room is located off the great room and opens to the kitchen. A modern George Nelson saucer pendant gives the space a contemporary feel.

An old den/office was reconfigured to become a new master suite. The master bath is remodeled and has a new travertine-lined shower with glass shower doors and porcelain pedestal sink. The master has recessed lighting, modern ceiling fan with dimmable lighting, new window and new single light French door with integrated blinds that open to the rear yard.

There are 3 secondary bedrooms. All bedrooms have neutral paint, modern ceiling fans with dimmable lights and travertine flooring with matching baseboards. The 4th bedroom is split from the other 3 bedrooms and could function as a bonus/game room/office/guest room. It has a walk-in closet, separate entrance and two picture windows with sun screens and cellular blinds. The hall bathroom is remodeled with a new bathtub, travertine shower surround, maple cabinetry with built-in vanity area, slab granite counters and recessed lighting.

The laundry room is very spacious with an attached mudroom. It has a convenient wash basin, extra storage cabinetry and a walk-in pantry.

The rear yard features an extended covered patio, dog run/ fenced side yard, 2 mature orange trees, lush irrigated lawn, block fencing and play area. The home has an original detached, side-entry 1 -car garage and a new 624 sq ft 2-car garage that was constructed alongside the original garage in 2008, allowing for secured parking of up to 3 cars. Both garages have automatic openers, attic access and offer room for storage. There is water and power nearby for convenience.

While glimpses of the retro-cool charm of 1952 remains intact, the interior and major systems have all received updates. A new architectural shingled roof was installed in 2013, a new HVAC system was installed in 2009, and the exterior of the home was re-painted in 2014. The home also has copper supply plumbing, new PVC water main, newer 200 amp electrical panel, Nest- the world’s first learning thermostat, security system, 6 panel interior doors, block fencing, RV gate and security screen doors on every door.

Convenient to the Biltmore and Arcadia for fine shopping and dining, along with easy access to the freeways, airport and downtown Phoenix. Walking & biking distance (approx. ½ mile) to Phoenix City Grille, The Vig Uptown, Z Tejas, 5 and Diner, Starbucks, Luci’s Healthy Marketplace, Zipps, Ajo Al’s and more. This home is also really close to Town & Country shopping center, too, which has a Pizzeria Bianco, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and LA Fitness. Located in the desirable Madison school district.

COMING SOON: Mortgage Mondays with Margaret

margaret

I’m super excited to announce my first regular guest blogger Margaret Livingston! Margaret will be joining us on Mondays through Mortgage Mondays with Margaret to help us keep up to date on the ever changing economy and how it effects mortgages and rates.

Margaret Livingston is a seasoned mortgage loan professional whose career spans three decades of helping people realize their dream of home ownership.  Her steadfast commitment to honoring her client’s best interest continues to earn their trust as well as that of her referral partners resulting in customers for life.

As a trusted advisor, Margaret’s primary goal is to listen first, then lead; securing the best mortgage financing available and the program that best integrates into her client’s short and long term financial plan achieves the ultimate goal.

The multitude of changes in today’s mortgage marketplace has resulted in much misinformation being disseminated as to the availability/probability of a home loan approval. Now more than ever it is imperative to connect with Margaret, an expert in her field, who will personally advise and assist in what is most likely to be the largest and most important financial transaction you’ll ever make.

Be sure to check in on Mondays to get your weekly Mortgage updates!

Margaret Livingston | Licensed Mortgage Professional Homeowners Financial Group LLC   Mobile: (602) 309-5558  Email: mlivingston@homeownersfg.com  NMLS# 309479

How is Your Market Changing? (September)

Market Update September 2

In the past month the Phoenix Metro Area real estate market has been, as a whole, very stable. Some cities average price per square foot stayed exactly the same as last month (Mesa and Tempe), some saw very slight drops (Avondale and Chandler), and some saw slight increases (Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria, and Phoenix). Scottsdale is the city that had the most significant change with a 6% average price per square foot decrease from August to September.

Below are some market updates for different cities in the Valley to keep you in the loop on how property values are changing:

Avondale

In Avondale this month’s average sales price is at $94.81 per square foot. While this is down slightly from $96.19 last month, it is still up an average of 7.7% from September 2014. The number of active listings is down almost 30% from last year, which means it would be a good time to sell with less competition from other active listings. If you’re a buyer though, properties could be a little harder to find with more competition from other buyers and possible multiple offer situations could arise. Properties are selling quicker with the average days on market at 53 days, which is 4 days less than last month (57 days)! Listing success rates are down slightly this month at 84.2% compared to 89.2% last month. The average sales price is $196,439 with an average size of sold listings being 2,072 square feet.

Chandler

In Chandler this month’s average sales price is at $139.97 per square foot. While this is down slightly from $141.32 last month, it is up an average of 5.3% from September 2014. The number of active listings is down 9% from last year, which means it would be a good time to sell with less competition from other active listings. If you’re a buyer though, properties could be a little harder to find with more competition from other buyers and possible multiple offer situations could arise. Properties are selling slightly slower than last month with the average days on market at 61 days, which is 3 days more than last month (58 days). Listing success rates are the same this month as last at 81%, but up from last years success rate of 69.1%. The average sales price is $298,724 with an average size of sold listings being 2,131 square feet.

Gilbert

In Gilbert this month’s average sales price is at $132.30 per square foot. This is up from last month’s average of $129.75 per square foot, and up an average of 3.5% from September 2014.The number of active listings is down 11% from last year, which means it would be a good time to sell with less competition from other active listings. If you’re a buyer though, properties could be a little harder to find with more competition from other buyers and possible multiple offer situations could arise. Properties are selling slightly quicker with the average days on market at 60 days, which is 16 days less than last year at this time (63 days)! Listing success rates are down this month at 83.6% compared to 88% last month. The average sales price is $289,078 with an average size of sold listings being 2,185 square feet.

Glendale

In Glendale this month’s average sales price is at $119.82 per square foot. This is up from last month’s average of $114.59, and up an average of 14% from September 2014. The number of active listings is down 20% from last year, which means it would be a good time to sell with less competition from other active listings. If you’re a buyer though, properties could be a little harder to find with more competition from other buyers and possible multiple offer situations could arise. Properties are selling slightly slower with the average days on market at 55 days, which is 1 day more than last month (54 days) but still 13 days quicker than this time last year! Listing success rates are just slightly lower this month at 80.1% compared to 82.2% last month, but up from last years success rate at this time of 75.6%.  The average sales price is $232,088 with an average size of sold listings being 1,937 square feet.

Mesa

In Mesa this month’s average sales price is at $123 per square foot, which is essentially the same as the August average of $123.65. This is up an average of 6.1% from September 2014. The number of active listings is down 14% from last year, which means it would be a good time to sell with less competition from other active listings. If you’re a buyer though, properties could be a little harder to find with more competition from other buyers and possible multiple offer situations could arise. Properties are selling quicker than last month with the average days on market at 60 days, which is 4 days shorter than just last month (64 days) and 13 days less than spring (May 7 days) this year! Listing success rates are up this month at 77.6% compared to 76.3% last month, but up from last years success rate at this time of 74.2%. The average sales price is $240,720 with an average size of sold listings being 1,957 square feet.

Peoria

In Peoria this month’s average sales price is at $124.64 per square foot. This is up from last month’s average of $120.14, and up an average of 5.3% from September 2014. The number of active listings is down 21% from last year, which means it would be a good time to sell with less competition from other active listings. If you’re a buyer though, properties could be a little harder to find with more competition from other buyers and possible multiple offer situations could arise. Properties are selling  quicker with the average days on market at 64 days, which is 2 days less than last month (66 days) and 23 days less than spring (May 87 days) this year! Listing success rates are down this month at 76.7% compared to 80.4% last month, but up from last years success rate at this time of 72.8%. The average sales price is $270,341 with an average size of sold listings being 2,169 square feet.

Phoenix

In Phoenix this month’s average sales price is at $140.08 per square foot. This is up from last month’s average of $138.74, and up an average of 6.8% from August 2014. The number of active listings is down 18% from last year, which means it would be a good time to sell with less competition from other active listings. If you’re a buyer though, properties could be a little harder to find with more competition from other buyers and possible multiple offer situations could arise. Properties are selling slightly quicker with the average days on market at 63 days, which is 4 days less than last month (67 days). Listing success rates are down slightly this month at 77.3% compared to 80.8% last month. The average sales price is $265,878 with an average size of sold listings being 1,898 square feet.

Scottsdale

In Scottsdale this month’s average sales price is at $219.42 per square foot. While this is down from $232.39 average per square foot in August, it is up an average of 2.9% from September 2014. The number of active listings is down 5% from last year, which means it would be a good time to sell with less competition from other active listings. If you’re a buyer though, properties could be a little harder to find with more competition from other buyers and possible multiple offer situations could arise. Properties are selling quicker than last month with the average days on market at 110 days, which is 7 day shorter than last month (117 days). Listing success rates are down slightly this month at 64.4% compared to 66.6% last month but up from 60.4% last year. The average sales price is $596,168 with an average size of sold listings being 2,717 square feet.

Tempe

In Tempe this month’s average sales price is at $147.17 per square foot, which is essentially the same as the August average of $147.77. This is up an average of 4.4% from August 2014. The number of active listings is down 13% from last year, which means it would be a good time to sell with less competition from other active listings. If you’re a buyer though, properties could be a little harder to find with more competition from other buyers and possible multiple offer situations could arise. Properties are selling slightly quicker with the average days on market at 56 days, which is 1 day less than last month (57 days). Listing success rates are down this month at 78% compared to 86.8% last month, but up slightly from last years success rate of 75%.  The average sales price is $285,512 with an average size of sold listing being 1,940 square feet.

Remember

Above are just the “average” statistics for each city, not specifics of any property or zip code. If your city is not included in my market update, let me know and I’ll be sure to send you your update and add your city in future posts! I’ll be doing a monthly market update, so make sure to check back in to see how your property values are changing or when a good time to buy or sell would be. If you would like more specific information on the value of your home, I’m happy to set up a consultation to go over a comparative market analysis specific to your property. You can email me at Rachell@TwinsAndCompany.com or call/text at 602.574.3438 for more info!

(The above statistics are from the most recent Cromford Report market snapshots)

What Can $300K Buy You In Different Cities?

Each city in the Phoenix Metro Area has a different average price per square foot. Look below to see what $300K can get you in different cities in August 2015 and where you can get the biggest bang for your buck!

Gilbert: This 2,412 square foot 4 bedroom/2.5 bath + office home was sold for $300K by Realty ONE Group.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tempe: This 2,039 square foot 4 bedroom/2.5 bath home was sold for $299K by Keller Williams Realty Phoenix.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Scottsdale: This 1,376 square foot 3 bedroom/2 bath home was sold for $300K by HomeSmart.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Phoenix: This 2,050 square foot 3 bedroom/2 bath home was sold for $301K by Agenor Partners Realty.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Peoria: This 2,984 square foot 4 bedroom/2.5 bath + den and loft home was sold for $300K by Century 21 Arizona Foothills.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Why NOW is a Good Time to Sell

Deciding when to sell your home can be a difficult decision. It’s important to not only know the value of your home, but the market trends that are in your area. If you have been debating selling your house, here are some things that you need to consider to see if now is the right time to make a move.

Low Inventory: Active listings on the market are down 15% compared to this time last year (The Cromford Report). This means that as a seller there is currently less competition on the market than usual. This low inventory also means that there are not currently enough homes on the market to satisfy the number of buyers looking to purchase. This can equate to a faster sale, higher purchase prices, and multiple offer situations.

Many Ready, Willing, and Able Buyers: Right now there is a flood of interested buyers that are pre qualified and ready to make a purchase! There are many reasons for this increase in buyers. Just a few are that the millennial generation is finally entering the market, people are becoming frustrated with high rents that continue to increase, and the first wave of people who experience hardship with foreclosure and short sales are able to purchase again this year.

Property Values Are Up: The average sales price per square foot across the Phoenix Metro Area is up 5.4% compared to this time last year (The Cromford Report). If you would like to see how your specific city has appreciated check out my August Market Update that goes over average appreciation, average days on market, and listing success rates by city.

Low Interest Rates that Could be on the Rise: Right now interest rates are still in the low 4s with good credit. While there’s no way to know the future for sure, many experts are predicting that they could be in the 5s by the years end. This could have two positive effect for sellers. One is that with low interest rates there are more potential buyers on the market. And two is that if you are planning to sell and then buy immediately, you too can also take advantage of the low interest rates before they rise.

If you are interested in finding out if now is the right time for you to sell, I’m happy to set up a no strings attached appointment so that we can go over your home’s value, your local market conditions.

Buying and Selling Condos

Condos (condominiums) can be the prefect option for people who want to live a low maintenance lifestyle, but still want the perks of home ownership. They often come with awesome amenities such as pools, club houses, workout rooms and more. Before you buy or sell a condo though, it’s important to understand how the purchasing process differs from all other dwelling types.

Buying a Condo

When you are looking to buy a condo it’s very important that you work with a Realtor (and Lender if you are getting financing) that has experience with condo purchases. If you are a cash buyer, the process is the same as when you would buy a single family home (put in an offer, get an accepted contract etc.), although I still suggest looking into the HOA to make sure there are no potential issues that can arise.

If you are getting financing for your condo purchase though, lenders have very strict guidelines on condo complexes they will finance in. When starting your search, your Realtor can easily find out if specific condo complexes are FHA approved. If they are FHA approved this makes for a quick smooth process. The problem is that not very many complexes are FHA approved. Most condo financing available will be conventional and VA loans. Remember those strict guidelines I talked about though? The trick is that you only usually find out if the complex meets those guidelines AFTER you have an accepted contract. Once you find a condo you like, your Realtor can talk with the HOA to try their best to get the needed info. Often times though, this information is not shared. So to move forward with your condo purchase you make an offer and negotiate until you and the seller have agreed on price and terms (this doesn’t mean you will know you can finance it yet though!). Once you have an accepted contract, your lender will send out a condo questionnaire to the HOA (at a COST TO THE BUYER usually about $50). This is the form that will see if the complex will meet the lenders condo guidelines. It will ask the HOA questions such as what percentage of units are owner occupied, how much money is in the HOA reserves, are there any current litigations that the HOA is involved in, etc. There are two different questionnaires based on the amount of money you can put down and the type of loan you are applying for. If you are putting down less than 20% on a conventional loan, you would need to have the full review done by your lender. This has more questions and tighter guidelines. If you are able to put down at least 20% down on a conventional loan or you are applying for a VA loan you would have a LIMITED REVIEW done by your lender. If at all possible, the limited review is better as there are less questions that are asked and not as many guidelines to follow.  You usually hear back from the HOA in a week/week and a half, but if the answers to these questions do not meet the lender guidelines (such as if below 50% of units are owner occupied) the complex will not qualify for the loan and you will need to cancel the contract. The good news is that there is a contingency in the contract that says if financing doesn’t work out,  all earnest money is returned to the buyer. So the only downside is that you can lose the condo questionnaire fee and some time in your search. If the condo questionnaire does meet the lenders guidelines though, you are good to go ahead and move forward in the purchasing process.

Selling a Condo

When selling a property you don’t often think about your neighbors effecting your ability to sell. With condos though this can be the case. The process of selling a condo is different than the sale of a single family home, so it’s important to work with a Realtor that understands the steps of a condo sale and who can educate you on what to expect in the process. Before your property is even active, your Realtor should be working with your HOA as well as a lender to find out if there are any potential problems that can arise and types of financing that are available in the complex.

If you are able to get a cash offer, the process would be the same as a single family home sale. Financing (what most people do) is what can be tricky for condos. For a lender to finance a condo sale, they have very strict guidelines that must be met within the COMPLEX (not your specific condo, the WHOLE complex!). So let’s say that you get an offer that includes the buyer getting financing (again this is MOST offers). It’s important for you to know that even once you have an accepted offer, you do not yet know if that buyer’s lender has approved financing in the complex yet. After there is an accepted offer is when the lender in the transaction will send a condo questionnaire to your condo’s HOA for them to fill out. This questionnaire will ask questions such as is the HOA involved in any current litigations (if they are you have to wait for them to settle), what ratio of units is owner occupied, how much money does the association have in reserves. etc. So why is this important to know as a condo seller? It’s important because if the numbers on the condo questionnaire don’t meet the lender guidelines, that means that the loan will be declined and the contract will need to be canceled. This is how your neighbors can effect your sale. For instance if you have over 15% of residence delinquent on their HOA dues, this could mean that your complex doesn’t qualify for financing and make your property much harder to sell. It’s also important to know so that you can fully evaluate the offers that you have come in. For instance if you had 2 offers come in at the same time, one conventional 5% down and one VA 5% down. Your best bet would be to go with the VA financed offer because they have fewer guidelines in their loan process. The bottom line is that condo sales can be tricky. When interviewing potential Realtors to work with, make sure that they are experienced in condo sales and that they will be able to properly represent you!

If you have further questions about condos or would like to see an example of a condo questionnaire feel free to comment, email me at Rachell@TwinsAndCompany.com, or call/text 602.574.3438. 

Condo Vs. Townhouse

Condo

Can you tell if the property above is a condo (condominium) or a townhouse? I’m betting most people would guess that it’s a townhouse (FYI, it’s a condo). Sometimes by looking at a property with no other facts, it’s impossible to tell the type of dwelling, as both can look the same (ex.the townhouse “style” condo above). Some condos even look like single family homes because when the market took a hit it was cheaper to get condo permits for new builds then it was for single family permits.  Confusion between the differences between condos and townhouses is common. While condos and townhouses can be a good option for some buyers, it’s important for buyers to know the distinct differences and pros and cons of both types of properties before making any commitments.

Ownership

When you buy a condo you are only buying the interior space of your specific unit, not the land that it is on (even if it’s a townhouse style condo like above). When you buy a townhouse you are purchasing the interior, land, and any yard or patio spaces. While to some people the ownership of the land doesn’t matter, it’s just important to understand the differences in what you are actually purchasing.

Homeowner’s Association

Both condos and townhouses will most likely have a HOA, which comes with additional fees. Condo HOA dues are typically higher than townhouse dues as they usually have more common areas or amenities compared to townhouses. Condos might also have services such as water, trash, sewer, or even cable included in their dues. Both condo and townhouse dues usually cover exterior maintenance (ex. exterior paint, roof, etc.) as well as common area maintenance. Some condos will even do interior maintenance like you would find in an apartment complex (this does not apply to all condos though so be sure to check with the HOA!). Homeowner’s associations will also have rules and regulations that need to be followed. These could include common area rules, pet restrictions, grounds restrictions, and more. It’s important to get information about a property’s HOA before making a decision to put an offer on the property. For my clients I personally call the HOA to find out the dues (they can be very expensive), what is covered by the HOA (maintenance, utilities, etc.), and basic rules and regulations that are important to my buyer (ex. do they allow pets or have any weight limits). Without that information it’s hard to make an informed decision on if it’s the right property, or affordable financially.

Privacy

Both condos and townhouses can present privacy issues to some people. Typically in both you will have at least one shared wall. It’s important to find out how thick the shared walls are, and listen to hear if there is any noise that can be heard within the unit. I even suggest knocking on your direct neighbors doors to introduce yourself and see if they have any noise complaints. It also gives you a chance to see what type of neighbors you would have should you choose to buy. In tight quarters neighbors who clash can be a recipe for disaster.

Townhouse and Condo Searches

Searching for condos and townhouses can be difficult as they are listed by the dwelling style not the type. So when looking on websites like Trulia, Zillow, or even the MLS condos can be listed as a townhouse due to the exterior look of the property. Using a Realtor during your search is key as they can further investigate the true type of dwelling it is by looking at tax records and other documents. It’s important to know the dwelling type as the buying and selling process is different between condos and townhouses.

Resale

When reselling a townhouse the process is very similar to if you were selling a single family detached home. As long as it’s in good shape, you should be able to sell it with no extra hoops to jump through. When selling a condo though, options of buyers can be limited. Cash buyers are of course always an option, but selling to a buyer who is getting financing (a majority of people) can be difficult. The buyers lender will do a condo questionnaire that asks questions about the complex and HOA to find out if it’s a warrantable condo complex. If it does not meet their strict conditions they will not finance the deal (keep an eye out for a separate blog post about buying and selling condos next Tuesday for more info!).

Bottom Line

Condos and townhouses can be great options, especially for first time home buyers. You have to make the decision of what type of home works best for you and your current situation. I always suggest talking with a Realtor before buying or selling a townhouse or condo though so that you can make informed decisions based on the current local market.

If you want to know more about condos or townhouses feel free to ask questions in the comment area, email me at Rachell@TwinsAndCompany.com, or call/text me at 602.574.3438. Also be sure to check back next Tuesday to learn more about buying and selling condos!