real estate true/false

Real Estate True/False: Only Sell Homes in Spring

The Gina Kent Group, Chandler, AZ:

There are many misconceptions about real estate.  We are going to debunk them with a little game of Real Estate True/False.

Real Estate True/False: Always Sell a Home During Springtime?

Spring is typically thought to be the best time to buy or sell: more homes go on the market during that time so people can move during the warmer summer months and not disrupt school for kids.

FALSE!!!!

Now, while there are still plenty of homes sold in spring, many of the market’s new homebuyers are not married or don’t have children. As a result, their moving schedules aren’t based around school calendars. In fact, here in Arizona, the home buying and selling season is in full swing during the winter months.

Being in Phoenix, AZ, we are lucky because  our climate creates such a different market.  Our real estate market shifts quite nicely with the seasons.  So . . . if you’re looking to sell, don’t be scared to list during the winter months and after the holidays. Many sellers think buyers aren’t looking in December or January, but they are, and they are looking for a good deal! Sellers will face less competition by selling in the winter, and they’ll be meeting with serious buyers!

SaveEnergyatHome

5 Ways to Cut Your Energy Costs: Go Green

The Gina Kent Group, Gilbert AZ:

Implementing energy-saving measures in your home will reduce your utility usage and costs. Every bit you save has a far wider impact, however. You’ll also lessen your consumption of the Earth’s natural resources and eliminate a portion of the air, water and soil pollution that occurs in the process. Start with five methods to cut your energy costs and create an impact.

CutEnergyCosts_CFL

1. Change Your Light Bulbs

While lighting may not be your biggest drain on electricity in the home, it accounts for up to 20 percent of your electricity bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. By switching from traditional incandescent light bulbs to compact florescent lights (CFLs), you can save about 75 percent of the electricity used for each and every bulb replaced. Over the bulb’s lifetime, that equals around $30 or more. That’s a significant savings when you multiply it by the number of bulbs you use. Look for CFLs displaying the Energy Star logo for best results.

Tip: Install motion sensor switches in rooms where family members often forget to turn off the lights.

CutEnergyCosts_HVAC

2. Perform Regular HVAC Maintenance

Up to half of the energy used in your home goes to your heating and air systems, depending on where you live and the condition of your home. Short of buying a new HVAC system with a better energy rating or fueled with an alternative energy source such as a heat pump – which requires a large upfront investment – proper maintenance will help your furnace or air conditioner use less energy. Clogged air filters force the system to strain and run more, driving up energy use and leading to more frequent breakdowns and repairs. Change your filters at least every three months or sooner if needed. If it looks dirty, it’s time. Also, hire a qualified HVAC repair technician to give your system an inspection and “tune up” at least once a year to maintain efficiency and proper operation.

Tip: Install a programmable thermostat (like Nest Thermostat) to regulate home temperatures. Lower the temperature whenever you will be gone more than a few hours.

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3. Seal and Insulate Your Ductwork

An efficient furnace, good insulation and thermostat temperature settings only go so far to save you money. If your HVAC air ducts leak, you could be losing 20 percent or more of your heated or cooled air – you might as well leave a window open all year round! Not to mention that leaky ductwork can circulate fumes and gasses, such as carbon monoxide. This can lead to poor indoor air quality, aggravated health problems or worse, as the Energy Star website explains. Sealing and insulating your ducts is the solution. Use mastic (a glue-like sealant) and metal-backed foil tape to seal each joint and seam. Afterward, wrap the ducts with special insulation designed for ductwork.

Tip: Insulate water pipes, especially the hot water, with pipe insulation for greater energy savings and comfort.

CutEnergyCosts_Caulking

4. Stop Air Leaks

Where is air invading and escaping from your home? Prime problem areas include around electrical outlets and light switches, door and window frames, entry points where cables and lines of any type run into the house through the walls or floor, and surrounding wall- or window-mounted air conditioning units. Also check around gas lines or pipes, fireplaces, attic access doors or hatches, and around any vent or fan. Outside the home, use caulk to seal corners in the siding and wherever two materials meet, such as around water faucets and dryer or stove vents, chimney-to-roof joints and the foundation top. Inside, weatherstripping, caulk and expanding foam insulation can work wonders.

Tip: Don’t stop here. Take a look at your insulation and determine if it’s degraded and needs replacement or if it’s adequate to reach your area’s minimum R-values.

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5. Unplug It!

Perhaps 10 percent of your energy cost goes to “energy vampires” or “ghosts” that steal your electricity. These are appliances and items that use power even when they aren’t actually on and working. Think of anything with a clock, timer, LED light or digital display. Even your phone charger keeps pumping electricity long after the phone is full if you leave it plugged in. To stop this useless drain, turn off nonessentials when you’re done with them. Consider using power strips to plug in items and simply turn off the strip when you’re finished.

Tip: Look for the Energy Star label, which indicates energy efficiency, when purchasing home appliances large and small.

Real Estate Sales Tactics: Humor

The Gina Kent Group, Gilbert, AZ:

Funny Real Estate Sales Tactics that Don’t Work:

Please, do NOT try this at home!!  As a buyer, would you purchase a home because the sellers offered you a free pizza???

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FAQsFromSellers

5 Home Seller FAQs

The Gina Kent Group, Gilbert, AZ:

What are some Home Seller FAQs in Real Estate?

As a realtor, I’m often asked questions about the real estate industry.  I chose 5 questions that I’m most frequently asked by sellers, and I wanted to share my answers with you.

How do I increase my home value?

That completely depends on how much money you are willing to spend.  A lot of sellers typically think that the recent replacement of a roof will add value.  However, that’s viewed as more of home maintenance.  It will add value to a home, but not the way that updating a kitchen or bathroom would.  When I have a seller that is in need of quick and inexpensive update ideas, I always suggest a fresh coat of neutral paint.  If you want to improve the curb appeal (which is extremely important) you could easily plant flowers and get pots of flowers to place on patios.

Can I be home during a showing?

As an experience realtor, I have seen many things.  However, I don’t recommend that a seller be present during a showing.  It can make potential buyers feel awkward.  The buyer may feel hesitant about speaking freely to his/her realtor in front of the seller.  I’ve seen some buyers that don’t stay long during a showing because they felt uncomfortable.  As a seller you could deter a potential buyer by being present during a showing.

Should I make repairs before I List My Home?

I recommend repairing anything that is visible to the naked eye.  The more move-in-ready your home appears, the more appealing it is to potential buyers. As far as things that aren’t visible, that’s really up to the seller and how much he/she is willing to spend.  If you know that something is broken in your home, an inspector will find it.

How much is my home worth?

There are a few factors that go into the appraisal of a home:  locations, square footage, construction quality, excess land, views, water frontage, amenities (garages, number of baths, etc.), and recent sales of similar properties (comps).  Before a listing appointment, I will complete a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to get an idea of what I think your home should be priced at.

Why isn’t my home worth what Zillow says it is?

Zillow is a computer-generated estimate of the worth of a house today, given the available data.  Their data sources may be incomplete or incorrect, and they have not been able to physically inspect a specific home’s condition.  It does not consider all the market intricacies that can determine the actual price a home will sell for.

PaintBrush

Excellent Review of House Painters, Gilbert, AZ

The Gina Kent Group, Gilbert, AZ:

Review of House Painters, Gilbert, AZ:

A couple of weeks ago, I had a local company, George Johnston Painting, come out to paint my home.  I always worry about quality of paint jobs because my home has wood siding, and the planks needed to be sealed to prevent moisture.  After they were finished, I realized that I didn’t need to be worried at all.

I was so impressed with their quality of workmanship.  During the 2 days of work, the crew pressure washed, taped off all the windows, sealed all the planks, painted the house, mailbox, and the stucco walls in my back yard.  Their level of communication was excellent.  The crew worked efficiently, like a well oiled machine, they were fast and extremely detailed.  On top of all that, they were courteous too . . . they referred to me as ma’am when they addressed me.  Hahaha, I felt like I was in the South! 😉

Here’s a Before/During and After:

If you are in need of Interior/Exterior Painters, I highly recommend using George Johnston!
Tell them Gina Kent sent you!

Here’s their contact info:

(480) 234-0920

Licensed & Bonded
Free Estimates
No Payment Until Job is Done

Services Include:
Elastomeric Paints • Stucco Repairs • Power Washing
Wood Repairs • Garage Floor Epoxy • Pool Kool Deck
Elastomeric Roof Coatings • Drywall

soldsign

Recently Sold East Valley Homes!

The Gina Kent Group, Gilbert, AZ:

Recently Sold East Valley Homes:

Do you live in Gilbert, Chandler, or Mesa and want to know how much homes in your neighborhood are selling for?  Check out this list of recently sold east valley homes that The Gina Kent Group has recently closed on for our buyers and/or sellers.

3168 E. Claxton Ave., Gilbert, AZ 85297
5 bedrooms 4 bathrooms
2,943sqft
$339,000

2895 E. Brooks St., Gilbert, AZ 85296
5 bedrooms 3 bathrooms
2,955sqft
$331,000

3250 E. Thunderheart Trl., Gilbert, AZ 85297
3 bdedrooms 2 bathrooms
1,325sqft
$195,000

184 W. Dublin St., Gilbert, AZ 85233
3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms
1,273sqft
$176,600

1404 S. Crossbow Ct., Chandler, AZ 85286
3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms
1,421sqft
$175,000

713 W. Gable Ave., Mesa, AZ 85210
3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms
$1,324sqft
$158,500

MovingDay

10 Moving Tips!

The Gina Kent Group, Gilbert, AZ:

10 Moving Tips:

The key to a quicker and less stressful move is organization. Here are 10 moving tips to help you get organized for your big move.

1.  Create a moving binder. Stay organized throughout the moving process with your binder. You can use it to store checklists, receipts, schedules, etc.

2.  Purge and consolidate. Go through every closet and room and get rid of anything that you haven’t used in the past 6 months (that isn’t seasonal). Having less to move will reduce material and labor expenses.

3.  Have a garage sale. Sell all that stuff that you found during your purge. This is a great way to make money that you can put towards moving expenses. You may be surprised by how much you can make doing this!

4.  Mark essential boxes. You can seal boxes of essential items with red duct tape. This will help you find them quickly, so you can open them first.

5.  Color code boxes. Use colorful dot stickers to mark boxes (for each room) with colorful stickers and create a color legend. You can give the legend to the movers and it will help reduce labor time. The movers won’t have to ask you where every box goes.

6.  Defrost your refrigerator. If you are moving your refrigerator, you should clean and defrost it at least 24 hours prior to your move date.

7.  Pack travel necessities. If your move is a long distance move, you may arrive before your moving truck. Don’t forget to pack items that you will need during that time. For example: a pot/pan, bath towels, toiletries, clothing, cleaning supplies (moving trucks won’t take those anyways), etc.

8.  Move on a weekday. If you are able to move on a weekday, rates are less and you can save money.

9.  Triple check. Go back through the house a few times to make sure that nothing has been forgotten (don’t forget to check cabinets and drawers too).

10.  Hire a maid! This one is a luxury, but it is so worth the $$.  After a long day of moving, the last thing you’ll want to do is break out all the cleaning supplies. Hire a service to come in and do that for you . . . you deserve it after all your hard work!

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Real Estate Search App

The Gina Kent Group, Gilbert, AZ:

Get the most accurate and up-to-date real estate information right at your fingertips with the Keller Williams Real Estate Search App (Apple or Google Play):

  • Easily connect with your agent and send property inquiries instantly.
  • Draw a circle on the map or drop a pinpoint to search that area.
  • See property details and full-screen photos, get driving directions, mark your favorites, create notes about what you liked, or share it with family and friends.
  • Estimate your home loans with a free mortgage calculator.
  • View Open Houses in your area. View Rental Properties in your area.

How it benefits homebuyers:

This user-friendly, robust app makes finding a home to buy or rent snap. You don’t only have access to homes associated with a Keller Williams Realty agent, but access to all homes in the MLS database. Save searches and listings based on your dream home criteria. Plus, a Keller Williams agent is just a click away to provide more information or schedule a walk-through.

How it benefits home sellers:

With this app, your Keller Williams listing agent has another crucial outlet to find homebuyers. Your home automatically appears in this GPS-enabled app with a stylish photo gallery and listing details to showcase your home whether the homebuyer is searching at home or on the go.

Credit

How can I raise my credit score?

The Gina Kent Group, Chandler, AZ:

Oh no, we are going to talk about that yucky word . . . Credit!!!  Many people fight with their credit scores most of their adulthood.  If you have found yourself to be one of the many that struggle with this, then worry no more.  Today, we are going to discuss some easy ways that you can bring your credit score up.

First off, who really checks your credit score anyway?  Some think that they don’t need to worry about their credit score because they don’t use credit cards or take out loans.  Think again, there are many companies (other than the typical lenders and credit card companies) that want to see a good credit score/history.

Here are just some of the reasons your credit may be checked:

  • Loans. Lenders want to make sure that you will be able to pay them back on time.
  • Credit Card Application.  Credit card companies want to make sure that you will make your monthly payment.
  • Home Insurance.  Home insurers need to know that you are worth the risk of insuring.
  • Auto Insurance.  Auto insurers, like any other insurance company, they need to know you are worth the risk.
  • Utilities.  Utility Companies, they want to make sure that you have a good history of paying your bills.
  • Getting a Job.  Employers, they want to know who you are in terms of your financial track record.
  • Renting an Apartment/House.  Landlords, they want to see that you have a solid on-time payment history.
  • The Government.  Government Agencies, certain government agencies may have licensing issues that legally allow them to access your crudity report at any time.

Now, what can you do to bring that low credit score up?

  1. What is your current credit score?  Visit the FTC website to find out where you can get your free credit report.  They recommend which sites to use and avoid.
  2. Pay your bills on time.  Delinquent payments and collections can have a major negative impact on your credit score.
  3. Keep balances low on credit cards and other “revolving credit.”  High outstanding debt can affect a credit score.
  4. Apply for and open new credit cards ONLY as needed.  Don’t open new accounts just to have a better credit mix.  It probably won’t improve your score.
  5. Pay off debt rather than moving it around.  Also, DON’T close unused cards as a short-term strategy.  Owing the same amount but having fewer open accounts may actually lower your credit score.

Don’t get frustrated, it takes time to improve credit scores because you are actually having to improve your credit history.  If you have negative information on your credit report, time is the only thing that will help your score improve.  For example, delinquencies remain on your credit report for 7 years.  Most public record items remain on your credit report for 7 years, bankruptcies and tax liens can remain for up to 10 years.

CleaningChecklist

House for Sale Cleaning Checklist:

The Gina Kent Group, Gilbert, AZ:


I found this helpful printable checklist on Clean Mama, and thought that I’d share it with you.  This is a great quick reference cleaning list that you can print out and use when you are getting ready to show your property!