Mortgage Information for Tempe Buyers

We’ve found some articles that may contain interesting information for your search. Below, you will find links and short summaries. Browse away, and remember, discuss any major changes or decisions with a legal or real estate expert before you make them! 

Can I get a Tempe Mortgage in Today’s Market? 

We’ve heard all the bad news day after day on the evening news programs. Many prospective new home buyers are beginning to wonder if they can get a mortgage at all. Fear not! There is a silver lining of this dark foreclosure cloud. New home buyers may find that real estate in many areas is somewhat more affordable than it might have been 3 years ago. Further, though the rules may have toughened up some, lenders are still making new mortgage agreements and houses are still selling. In short, you can still purchase a home in Tempe, Arizona. 

Find an Honest Lender to get a Good Mortgage 

We’re learning the price of not asking enough questions or paying enough attention to the financial details when buying a home. Unfortunately, there will always be a few bad apples and you will want to be able to recognize them. Look for misleading advertising or claims that the company’s interest rates are tied directly to federal interest rates. 

One good way to avoid getting ripped off is to go with a local vender. Ask lots of questions and look for referrals from your friends, co-workers and family.  

Should I Purchase my New Tempe Home Before Selling the Old House? 

Realtors can tell you that this question is asked not only by Tempe, AZ home buyers, but all across the U.S. The answer, as is the case with most complicated questions, is “it depends.” Think about your budget and financial situation. Can you afford to make for two mortgage payments for several months? Will your lender even approve you for another loan? What is the likelihood that you will be able to sell your old home quickly? 

Are ARM Mortgages ever a Good Deal? 

ARMs, or Adjustable Rate Mortgages have received a lot of bad press lately. This is often because people who received these types of mortgagees were not fully aware of the details of their loans. However, there are perfectly good reasons that some people choose ARMs over more traditional Fixed Rate Mortgages. 

If you plan to stay in a home less than five years or are very sure that your income will rise very soon, it might make sense to look at an ARM.  

Why Should I Invest in Tempe Real Estate?

Investment in real estate is a hot topic. Prospective Tempe home buyers may wonder why, in this new market, investment is such a good idea. However, over time, properly researched property tends to make money for its owners and many investors are seeing lots of opportunity in the current market. 

Of course, research is important. You want to get experts to check out the background on the title, inspect the property and look into issues like zoning and utilities. Remember, while real estate investment can be a great thing, you want to do your research and go in with your eyes open. 

What Tempe Investors need to Know 

Too many beginning investors jump right in without a plan. Unfortunately, they learn the lessons of what they should have done too late. Planning completely and ahead is the first sign that you are on the right track. Realizing that investment is ongoing work and building up a team of experts are others. 

Smart investors in Tempe and elsewhere know that they have to keep track of their budgets. When emotions get in the way, homework and preparation are often forgotten and mistakes are made.  

Should I use an Agent when Investing in Tempe Homes? 

Real estate investors can use an agent or realtor to find, and help the process of buying, property for investment purposes, or they can do the investigative work themselves. Both options have pros and cons that a new investor may do well to take the time to understand. 

A realtor can find you a great many properties. Often, they have insight into the market that you may not. After all, an experienced Tempe realtor is likely to know a great deal about the neighborhoods and trends in Tempe or even Maricopa as a whole. They also know the product and can help you find other experts to complete your team. However, a realtor is paid to help you. The commission they earn comes out of your investment, so you may earn less on any particular deal. 

Use This Checklist of Helpful Tips to Maintain Your Tempe Home

A home that is well-maintained will gain in value and be a joy to all who live in it. But home maintenance means more than just cleaning up and trimming the hedges. Follow this handy checklist to help keep your home in perfect condition. 

The most important thing you can do to maintain your home is to inspect it regularly. Walk through your house twice a year to discover any little problems before they become big disasters. 

  • Are any electrical outlets loose? Now is a good time to replace them. 
  • Look over your roof for missing or chipped shingles. 
  • Check the outdoor faucets and water lines for any signs of leakage. 
  • If you have a septic tank and haven’t emptied it, do so now. 
  • Check your exterior walls for cracks, peeling paint or other damage. 
  • Soil grading should let water flow away from your home. Make sure water doesn’t settle around the house. 
  • You should test all doors and windows by opening, closing and locking them. 
  • Seal your wooden porches and decks once a year to protect against damage. 
  • Inspect your attic and crawlspaces for any signs of water damage, rot or fungal growth. 

Clean Gutters Add to the Value of a Home 

Clean gutters carry water away from your home, protecting it from water damage. When the gutters clog up, they can’t do that job anymore. Gutters and eaves must be cleaned to keep them in working condition. 

  • Use a sturdy ladder when cleaning your gutters, and set it up properly. Don’t lean the ladder against the gutters. They can’t support much weight. 
  • Remove leaves and twigs from the gutters with a garden trowel or gutter scoop. 
  • Wet down any dirt clogs in the gutter, and then remove them. 
  • Flush out the spouts with a garden hose. If the water doesn’t run freely, use a plumber’s snake to clear the spout. 

Close Your Pool During the Winter Months 

If you live in Tempe, it’s a good chance your house has a pool. Swimming pools are fun through the summer, but should be closed down to protect them in the winter. Here’s a checklist to help close down your pool. 

  • Collect all your winterizing supplies. You’ll need a cover, winterizing chemicals and an air compressor or shop vacuum. 
  • Clean the filter by backwashing it thoroughly. 
  • Disconnect the pump and filter. 
  • Unscrew and loosen any fittings around the pump to prevent freeze cracks. 
  • Remove all return jet fittings. 
  • Blow out the water from the return jet pipes. 
  • Blow out any skimmer pipes to clear them of water. 
  • Blow out the main drain pipe. 
  • Remove any toys from the pool. 
  • Mix up and add the proper winterizing chemicals. 
  • Place the winter cover over the pool. Make sure it’s secure and won’t slide into the water. 

Home Insurance Comes in Many Variations

Some Tempe home buyers may not realize that home insurance isn’t a generic thing to be bought once and never thought about again. Likewise, cheaper rates do not always mean better or worse coverage, only different. For the best “deal” on insurance, it is a good idea to read each policy carefully and ask lots of questions. Or, just keep reading. 

What is Covered by my Home Insurance? 

What home insurance covers is almost as long a list as the companies who offer it. Your policy can cover the building or property itself. It might also cover some, or all, of the belongings inside. You might also be covered for liability, which means that if someone is hurt on your property, you are covered for some, or all, of the cost of doctor’s bills or a resulting suit. 

It is important to note that not all coverage is equal. You may be covered for the actual worth of the home or items in it, or you could be covered for replacement costs. 

This means that if your toaster overheats and starts a fire in the kitchen, you might get two very different sums of money for a claim. In one case, you might get the amount your insurance company feels it would take to replace or fix everything that was harmed. In the other, you might only get what the company believes those items were worth. If your kitchen is old and has old appliances, you might get a very small check. 

What isn’t Covered by my Home Insurance? 

Usually, flood and earthquake insurance are not included in a normal policy. If you live in an area where this could be a problem, you can often purchase additional insurance to cover these events. Some policies or companies do not include other natural disasters like hail or wind damage without additional riders. 

It is very important to closely inspect your policy to make sure that there are no holes that could harm your family’s financial future. If the worse happens, you want to be covered. After all, isn’t that what insurance is all about? 

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?