In Tempe, a Home Inspection Can Save You Time and Money

If you’re looking to buy a house in Tempe, you’ve made a great decision. Your next decision should to be learn as much about the property as possible. Since most people aren’t trained in all the ways of home-building, you’ll need to schedule a professional home inspection. 

A home inspection is a thorough and objective look at the condition of the structure and systems of a house. This inspection is not an appraisal, and won’t give you the value of a home. Rather, you’ll receive a report on the soundness of the home and any issues it might have. 

Your new home is a major investment, and it’s vital to know what to expect from the house before the papers are signed. To protect yourself from the unexpected, have the home inspected before you buy it. A home inspection might reveal hidden issues with the home, or it might turn up nothing of importance. Either way, without a proper inspection, how can you make a confident decision? 

What Will My Home Inspection Cover? 

An inspection should include all major areas and systems of the house. Starting at the roof, an inspection will cover the air conditioning, the roof itself, heating systems, electrical systems, ceilings, the attic, walls, insulation, plumbing, windows, doors and the foundation. If the house has a basement, an inspection will see to that, as well. An inspection is very thorough. 

There are, however, some things which an inspector might not list in a report. Although the details vary due to state and city laws, an inspection might not cover asbestos, radon, methane or radiation. Many inspectors are also not qualified to assess the presence of wood-destroying organisms like termites, mold and fungus or rodents. Ask your inspector about what the report will include. 

It’s not necessary for you to be present during the home inspection, but you might want to be there, anyhow. You’ll be able to observe the inspector at work and ask questions about the house and what the inspection turns up. 

You Can Make Better Decisions with More Information 

When you schedule an inspection, understand that no house is perfect. Whatever the inspector discovers, that doesn’t mean you should or should not buy the home. An inspection just informs you about what to expect from the house. If you’re on a tight budget, or would rather not deal with repair work, you should consider this information carefully. Also, a house cannot fail an inspection. A home inspection is not a municipal inspection to verify Tempe code compliance, merely a report on the state of the home. 

If the home inspection does turn up any significant issues, it may be wise to negotiate with the seller instead of turning down the house. The seller may either lower the price, or offer to make repairs before you move in to the house. 

Learn About Homeowners Associations in Tempe

When looking at real estate property in Tempe, you’ll discover that many communities are covered by homeowners’ associations, or HOAs. These are legal entities formed to help maintain common areas and property values through the community. They have the authority to enforce deed restrictions. Homeowners associations are common to most condo developments and many neighborhood subdivisions also have their own HOAs, founded when the division was first built. 

Associations work by establishing a set of covenants, conditions and restrictions that are given to every homeowner. These rules are intended to promote and maintain the value and general feel of the community. Most HOAs have several features in common. 

  • HOA membership is mandatory for all owners in the development. 
  • Membership requires a mandatory fee or set of fees. 
  • The association has the authority to enforce maintenance and design standards above and beyond those established by the state and city. 
  • A homeowner’s association is usually a corporation with formal bylaws. It will often have a governing board and hire a property management company to handle the upkeep of the development. 
  • Roughly 7,000 new homeowners’ associations are founded every year. This includes condos, planned communities and neighborhood developments. About 80% of new housing communities are built with HOAs in place. 

You’ll find that every community in Tempe is different. Although the details change, the majority of homeowner’s associations see to the basic maintenance tasks of a community. They collect the various fees necessary to run neighborhood operations and keep up community landscaping and recreational facilities. An association will often provide space for events and neighborhood functions. In some places, the HOA provides for security. Street maintenance is usually a priority for an HOA. But the function that impacts homeowners the most is when an association enforces community deed restrictions for exterior home maintenance, commercial use of the homeowner’s property, and control of trash or blight. In these cases, the homeowner must correct the violation. 

Know What HOA Membership Means to You 

When seeking a new home, you must decide whether or not to live in a HOA community. Some homeowners find associations to be a benefit that protects their home-buying investment. Others consider associations to be a burden. Before you buy a home in an area overseen by a homeowner’s association, take the time to answer a few simple questions.

  • What are the HOA’s rules and how do they apply to the home you’re planning to buy? 
  • What dues does the HOA change? Once you buy the home, membership in the association is mandatory. Dues can range from trivial to incredible, depending on the community. 
  • Are there term limits for the association’s board members? Could you become a board member? Have the board members trained in efficient management techniques? 

Tempe Real Estate Investors Look for Homes for Sale in Foreclosure

The internet is buzzing with how-to articles and “experts” promising to teach you how to make quick, easy money investing in foreclosure real estate. While there is certainly money to be made, purchasing foreclosures in Tempe or elsewhere is risky without the proper research. Before you buy, ask lots of questions and get expert advice! 

Would-Be Foreclosure Investors can make Costly Errors 

When prospective investors get excited about the opportunities they see to make money on real estate and forget to do some due diligence and research, they can make mistakes that hurt their bottom line down the road. To try and avoid this, remember the following: 

  1. Speed is very important when purchasing homes in, or facing, foreclosure. 
  2. The internet is a valuable tool. 
  3. Figure out the financing before you begin the purchase process. 
  4. Title searches are always a good idea. 
  5. Find out how much the real estate is worth. 

Find Tempe Homeowners Facing Pre-Foreclosure 

Often, one of the toughest parts of investing in foreclosure property is dealing with the former owners of that property. While purchasing a home in pre-foreclosure may be a great investment, many would-be investors find the personal aspect very difficult. However, with the right attitude and respectful treatment of these individuals, you can still make a deal that will benefit everyone involved. 

Remember that Tempe homeowners facing foreclosure may want lots of proof of your legal and legitimate ability to help them out. Then, you will often need to help the individuals understand why selling to you may be in their best interest. Finally, your job is to persuade the owner that you are the best person to sell to. 

Smart Investors do Lots of Research About Foreclosures 

Keep in mind that new opportunities are always arising. While both a missed opportunity and a costly mistake are chances for you to learn about investing, only one of them will hurt your credit report. Some Tempe, AZ homes for sale in foreclosure can offer great deals, but you want to do your research and get expert advice to ensure you’ve found one. 

Your Credit Represents You in the Tempe Real Estate Market

If you’re looking to buy a home in Tempe, the most important thing that will affect you is your credit score. A high credit score is the key to landing a good loan at affordable rates. Of course, what counts as a high score? Every lender has different policies, so it pays to shop around and compare. Keep in mind that your credit score doesn’t just affect the approval process, but also your interest rate and thus, the monthly payments on the loan. So, what goes into that credit score? 

The truth is, no one knows. The various credit agencies run all your finances through huge secret lists locked away in the depths of their computer dungeons, and the end result is the product of sorcery, alchemy, and the kind of accounting that’s only spoken of in hushed whispers. What we do know is that your score is affected by utility payments, credit card accounts, student loans, cell phone records and mortgages, among other things. Nearly every monthly payment you make will nudge your credit score up or down. Your credit report will show up the details of where you stand on these payments, and if something is late, outstanding or in collections. 

Any sort of ugliness on your credit report can destroy your chances of getting the loan you need at the rate you want. To make sure your credit is clean and sparkling, go into your credit report and wipe out any incorrect, outdated or unhappy items that might be lurking in the financial background. Do this a few months before you go hunting for a home so the changes have time to flow through the credit bureau’s databanks. 

Your credit report keeps track of who else has requested a copy recently, and too many requests in a short period of time can lower your credit score. You’ll also find a listing of the credit accounts in your name and what sort of balance those accounts carry. 

A Solid Payment History is Your Best Credit Asset 

The greatest concern when using your credit to tie down a loan is the payment history on your credit report. A history of paying your bills on time accounts for almost a third of your credit score. The sheer volume of payments also affects your credit score. One late payment won’t do much compared against 40 timely accounts. 

Also, keep current with your revolving credit accounts, like those credit cards and department store cards. Many of the experts who study the shrouded whims of the credit agencies believe that balances higher than half of your available credit can hurt your score. 

Little Changes Make a Big Difference 

Although other aspects of your credit score only reflect a small part of the total, they all add up. When searching for a home loan, every point counts. Mixing types of credit can affect your score, as will opening new lines of credit. Be sure to take charge of your financial life before the lender makes that crucial decision. 

Protect Your Real Estate in Tempe with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you are in danger of losing your home to creditors, it may be time to consider a chapter 13 bankruptcy. This will give you a chance to pay off your creditors in an orderly manner as funds become available. During the chapter 13 process certain assets are protected from creditors, and the most important of these is your home. 

When you file for chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be required to create a plan showing how you are going to pay off your current and past-due debts over a period of three to five years. A chapter 13 bankruptcy does not make the debt go away, but instead gives you time to manage the payments. If you have fallen behind on loan payments, a chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you to keep your home while making up those payments over time. 

You may elect to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy at any time. The cost includes two fees, and totals $185 as of 2008. 

Exemptions Protect Your Real Estate Property 

When you file a bankruptcy, certain property is protected from creditors. These protections are known as exemptions. The major exemption is called the homestead exemption, and it protects your home. 

You may claim a homestead exemption in Tempe, Arizona to protect up to $100,000 in equity on your house, apartment, or mobile home that you occupy. If you rent, an exemption exists to cover any prepaid rent or security deposits up to $1,000 or 1.5 times your monthly rent, whichever is less. You may only claim one of these exemptions. 

This exemption covers the equity in your home, not its sale value. If you’ve taken out a $150,000 mortgage and paid back $25,000 of it, your home would be protected. Any excess equity above the exemption limit becomes part of the bankruptcy plan and must be paid to help settle your outstanding debts. If you’re behind on your loan, you must also make up those payments, but that can be done as part of the three to five-year plan. You must also make any usual monthly loan payments. 

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Your Monthly Utilities 

Filing for bankruptcy should not affect your electrical and gas service, as the utility companies are not allowed to cancel your utilities because you filed. The companies may request a deposit for further service, however, and you will be required to pay any utility bills that are issued after you’ve filed for bankruptcy. 

Take note that this page is for informational use only and should not be considered legal advice. If you believe a bankruptcy might be in your future, consult an expert to receive current and correct information. Bankruptcy laws may vary from state to state. 

Schools and Learning in Tempe, AZ

A culturally diverse, vibrant city, Tempe, Arizona is the home of a number of educational institutions. Tempe’s schools include public, private, faith-based, vocational, technical schools and universities. Students of all ages will be inspired by the possibilities for learning and development. 

Public Schools in Tempe 

Tempe’s public schools are divided by geographical boundaries, and the three major school districts are: 

The Tempe Elementary School District 

The Kyrene School District-28 

The Tempe Union High School District 

These school districts follow standard curriculums, and accommodate thousands of students each week. 

Charter Schools Offer a Tuition Free Alternative for Students 

Tempe also has public charter schools. These schools provide smaller class sizes and are an alternative to the traditional system. The charter schools revolve around particular interests, and operate with freedom from many of the restraints that usually accompany a public school. 

One example of a well-established charter is Tempe Preparatory Academy. Tempe Prep has been consistently acknowledged as Arizona’s outstanding charter school, and as one of the best in the southwest. The school’s philosophy emphasizes Socratic learning and focuses on the “Great Books,’ with a traditional liberal arts curriculum. 

There are often waiting lists for charter schools, and parents and students will need to arrange their own transportation. 

For further information about Tempe public school systems please contact: 

The Tempe Elementary School District: (480) 839-0282 

The Keene School District: (480) 496-4600 

The Tempe Union High School District: (480) 783-4000 

For Tempe Preparatory Academy and other Independent Charters: 

Private K-12 Schools Provide Additional Educational Formats 

Tempe also offers a number of private schools. These schools represent a variety of educational visions, which are sometimes faith based, and sometimes based on the humanities and sciences. For Further Information please contact: 

Arizona State University and Higher Education 

Arizona State University’s main campus is located in the heart of Tempe. A leading university, ASU is inspired by “The New American University Model” developed by its President, Dr. Michael Crow. Under this innovative paradigm, ASU has become increasingly competitive, and research driven. Many exciting programs and degrees are offered. For Further Information about ASU: 

There are many other vocational and technical schools in Tempe. For Further Information: