How does an escalation clause work?

What is an escalation clause?

An escalation clause is something in real estate that can come in handy at times. Especially when we are dealing with multiple offers and offers that are above asking price. These are used when you offer on a home for example at $100,000 but you’re willing to go up to $115,000. We put in the contract that we are offering $100,000 but are willing to pay $1000 over the highest offer up to $115,000. The listing agent will have to provide us with the highest offer to show us that, in fact, our escalation clause will come into play.

But what do I do if the agent/seller won’t accept an escalation clause? Well, at that point we have to bring our highest and best offer for what we can do. We have multiple tricks we can do to make our offers more appealing. We can help and make it happen!

Thank you,

L+ H Homes, ERA Great American Realty

“Your Realtors That Care!”

Cool in the summer and Warm in the winter

Keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter is one of the big goals of most homeowners. There are a number of ways to do this, including upgrading the windows to more energy-efficient models and performing seasonal maintenance on heating and cooling systems to keep them operating at peak condition. One thing that’s often overlooked however is the influence that attic temperatures can have on the temperature of your whole house.

You may have seen suggestions about installing automatic attic vents to help regulate the temperature in your attic. Is there something behind this, or is it just another upgrade to your home that provides very little benefit? You might be surprised at how effective automatic attic vents can be.

Hot Attic, Cold Attic

It’s pretty common knowledge that hot air rises. The question is, where does all that hot air go? If your attic isn’t well vented, it can build up within the attic itself and increase the temperature of your attic space significantly. The problem with this is that future hot air won’t really have anywhere to go, causing it to linger in the house itself for longer. This is great if it’s the middle of winter and you’re trying to keep your house warm, but you can see how it might be a problem during the heat of summer.

You can run into the opposite situation as well if you have open vents in the attic. Heat can escape more easily, but if it’s cold outside you’ll find all that heat escaping much faster than you would like. This in turn causes heat within your house to escape faster, making it harder to stay warm in the depth of winter’s chill.

Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, the end result will be the same: higher energy costs to keep your house cool in the summer or warm in the winter.

Proper Attic Venting

Attic ventilation is part of the key to solving this issue, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. During the summer, you want open attic vents to expel heat and keep your attic as cool as possible. In winter, you want attic vents to be closed to hold heat in for as long as possible. You can open and close these vents manually as part of your seasonal preparations, of course, though this won’t be a perfect solution. The truth is, unless you open or close the vents to account for all the temperature fluctuations during the year, you’ll still be losing money to unnecessary heating and cooling.

Automatic Attic Vents

This is where automatic attic vents come into play. These vents are connected to thermostats (and sometimes even humidistats) to monitor the condition of your attic and open or close the vents as needed based on what things are actually like in the attic. If the temperature goes too high during the summer or if it becomes too humid, the vent opens and lets that unwanted heat and humidity escape. If temperatures drop, the vents close to prevent outside heat from coming in. The opposite happens during the winter, keeping the vents shut to keep warm air in your attic.

Some automatic vents function as simple ventilation units, possessing little function beyond opening and closing. Others include connected fans to force air in or out of the attic to even greater effect. Regardless of the vent type you choose, however, adding one to your attic can make a notable difference in how warm or cool the attic air gets during the year.

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

Metro Phoenix Real Estate Report

Contracts In Escrow Up 19% Over Last Year Despite Rising Prices, Affordability is Good

For Buyers: Buyers waiting for prices to come down have been sorely disappointed so far in 2019. The average sale price per square foot is up 6.7% since last November and the median sales price is now $283,000, up $21,000 from last November’s measure of $262,000.

Despite rising prices, affordability has remained normal throughout the year. One relevant factor is Private Sector Earnings in Greater Phoenix has risen 4.5% annually as interest rates have continually declined. The median family income was measured at $72,900 last quarter and families making that income could afford 68% of what sold last quarter (according to the HOI index published by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo). The historical norm for our market is 60-75%.

Clearly not all buyers have parked on the fence, demand has been hovering 6-7% above normal for our area for about 4 months while supply is 44% below normal. The only measurable relief for buyers is last month’s supply level was 47% below normal, so it’s 3% less hard to find something suitable.

For Sellers: The number of listings under contract may have declined 26% from its May seasonal peak, but it’s nearly 19% higher than it was this time last year. This, combined with monthly sales up nearly 15% over last year, is a solid indicator that year-end closings will outperform last year despite a shaky start.

Single Family permits (future supply) are up 4.6% year-to-date and multi-family permits are up 6.4%, reaching a level not seen since 2007. Single family home sales are up 5.7%, but new townhome and condo sales are down a whopping 30%, which is surprising. Resale condos and townhomes have increased in sales volume this year, so the drop in sales for new construction despite an increase in permits indicates that much of the multi-family units constructed are not for individual sale but are for rent.

This is good news if you’re planning to sell your condo because the majority of developments are not competing for buyers. This is not good news if you’re renting your condo nearby because that’s an increase in competing units for renters. “Apartment style” private condo rental rates per square foot have grown less than 1% over the course of 3.5 years according to the Arizona Regional MLS records.

Commentary written by Tina Tamboer, Senior Housing Analyst with The Cromford Report ©2019 Cromford Associates LLC and Tamboer Consulting LLC

Choosing a “Seller-Friendly” Contractor

Although there are many terrific contractors out there, there are always a few bad apples. When preparing your home for sale, you need a contractor that gets your job done on time, on budget and without creating a big mess.

To help make sure that happens, ask prospective contractors these questions:
• “Will I be issued a receipt detailing the work done?” This is handy to have as you might want to show it to buyers.
• “Do you thoroughly clean up the work area each day?” This is especially important if your home will be shown to buyers during this period.
• “Is the project schedule realistic? Is there a chance the work might take longer than expected?” Delays can negatively impact the sale of your home. It’s better to get a realistic timeline from the contractor, rather than an ambitious one.
• “Under what circumstances will the final price be higher than quoted?”

Of course, you also need to check references and do other due diligence to ensure the contractor is a “good apple”.

Looking for a contractor recommendation or an interior designer to guide you through the renovation process. Call today.

How to Quick-Prep Your Home for Sale

Ideally, you should plan to have plenty of time to prepare your home for sale. You want to be able to get everything fixed and cleaned up, and perhaps even make a few improvements, such as installing a new countertop in the kitchen.

For any number of reasons, that’s not always possible. If you have to suddenly relocate for work, for example, you may have only days to make your home “show ready” for the market.

What should you do? The answer is: the essentials.
First, arrange to get any maintenance issues dealt with immediately. If you have a clogged shower drain or cracked windowpane, call a professional repair person. Even if those items don’t get fixed by listing day, you can inform buyers that the repairs are scheduled – and that receipts proving that the work was done professionally will be available.

Next, you need to do a thorough clean-up. Staging experts (those who professionally prepare homes for sale) unanimously agree that making each room look neat and tidy is essential. Even something as seemingly minor as dust accumulation on blinds can impact buyers.

If you still have time available before the For Sale sign goes up, consider doing some redecorating. Stand in each room and ask yourself, “How can I make this room look more spacious and appealing?” Oftentimes, simply rearranging the furniture and moving a few items into storage will make a dramatic difference.

Yes, prepping your home on a tight schedule takes some work. However, in just two or three days, you’ll have a property that is more attractive to prospective buyers. It will show better, and, as a result, it will likely sell faster.

Looking for more ideas for selling your home, quickly? Call today.

Should You “High Ball” Your Listing Price?

One of the most important decisions you make when selling your home is setting the listing price. It can be tricky. After all, if you price your property too low, you leave money on the table – perhaps thousands of dollars. On the other hand, if you price your home too high, many buyers won’t even bother to view it because they believe it is too expensive.

Even with that reality, there are some sellers who contemplate setting a high listing price in the hopes of a windfall. They want some unsuspecting buyer to fall in love with the home and buy it – even though it’s overpriced.

That rarely, if ever, happens.
Instead, the listing often languishes on the market because its listing price is conspicuously much higher than its market value.

Think about it. If two similar homes, side-by-side, are for sale, and one is priced $40,000 higher than the other, wouldn’t you wonder what was going on? That’s exactly what the market thinks. “Why is that home priced so high?”
Of course, many buyers, who might otherwise be interested in the property, won’t even consider seeing it, simply because it’s outside their price range.

It gets worse. When an overpriced home sits on the market with no offers for several weeks, the price will often need to be adjusted down. That helps the situation a little. However, you’ve lost the excitement created by a “new listing.” Yours is now an old listing struggling to get attention.

There’s a better way…
Set your list price at or near the market value and it will be much more likely to generate interest from qualified buyers and maximize how much you make on your home.
That market value may even be higher than you think!
Interested in finding out what that value is in today’s market? Call today.

Four Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Current Home

It’s not uncommon for couples with growing families to trade in their compact cars for something roomier, like a mini-van. The same thing happens with homes. Sometimes families simply outgrow them.

How can you tell if that’s happening with your property? Here are some sure-fire signs:

  1. You need more space.
    This is the most common reason people upgrade to a new home. They need more room. For any number of reasons, you might want an extra bedroom, a larger living room, a bigger backyard, or a more spacious kitchen. Rather than put up with feeling cramped, consider exploring the extra space a new home can provide.
  2. A renovation won’t fix it.
    Sometimes, when a property doesn’t fit its owners’ needs anymore, they consider a renovation. For example, if they need more space for a home office, they convert a spare room. However, a renovation doesn’t always fix the problem. For example, building a double, rather than single driveway and garage, may not be possible given the constraints of your property. Only a new home can solve that problem.
  3. You’re interested in a new neighborhood.
    The neighborhood may have been perfect for you at one time. But needs evolve. You may now be looking for something the area doesn’t provide – like closer access to a recreational activity your family enjoys, or a more convenient commute to work. If that’s the case, it might be time to look at other neighborhoods you’d like to consider, and see what types of homes are currently available there.
  4. It’s time for a change.
    Sometimes you simply feel it’s time for a change. There’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t feel you need a practical reason to sell and find a new home. If this feels like the right time for you and your family to move, go for it.

Pack Your Memories Away

Items that remind us of special people, events, milestones and interests are an important part of what makes a house a home. Pictures on the fireplace mantle, for example, showcase family and friends that are important to us. You might also have trophies, certificates, greeting cards, and other mementos on display in key places.

Of course, all of those things add warmth and meaning to your home. However, if you’re preparing your home for sale, it’s a good idea to pack those memories away – at least until you’ve sold your property and moved to your new home. Why? Those pleasant mementos that mean so much to you may actually turn off potential buyers.

You see, when buyers view your property, they want to be able to clearly picture themselves and their families living there. That’s difficult to do if they see reminders of your family everywhere they look!

So, to help sell your home quickly, make it look great, but not personalized. Think of the showroom displays you see set up in furniture stores. Those displays are most appealing when they enable you to easily picture yourself, with that furniture, in your home. You probably wouldn’t feel that way if it looked like the furniture belonged to someone else.

Of course, buyers will know you currently live in your home. But, helping them imagine themselves living there will help you sell your property faster – and possibly for a better price.

Need more tips on preparing your home for sale? Call today!

Selecting the Right Mover

The last thing you want on moving day is a problem with the moving company. Ideally, you want them to show up on time, handle your possessions with care, and act professionally. Here are some tips that will help you choose the best mover for your needs.

  1. Get a recommendation from someone you trust. That could be a friend, family member or colleague. As your real estate agent, I can also recommend some reputable movers.
  2. Get everything in writing. Make sure you understand exactly what you’ll be paying. Ask about circumstances where extra charges may be applied.
  3. Ask if the moving company is certified.
  4. Reputable moving companies are fully insured. Ask to see the company’s certificate of insurance or some other proof of coverage.
  5. Avoid part-time movers who work weekends. Usually, they’re not professionals. You may save some money, but you’ll be taking a risk.

Have questions about making your moving day go smoothly? Call today.

Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash

Characteristics of a Desirable Street

Sometimes you know a desirable street when you see one. For example, it’s obvious that a home on a cul-de-sac is enticing mainly because there isn’t any through traffic.
What are the other characteristics of a desirable street that may not be as obvious? Here are just a few:

Sidewalks. A sidewalk in front of your home is not only handy, it also adds to the property’s curb appeal. In addition, if you have kids, a sidewalk makes it easier – and safer – for them to play and visit neighborhood friends.

Mature trees. Trees lining the street add depth and beauty. Most homeowners value front yard trees and would miss them if they were gone.

Safety. Unfortunately, some streets are more prone to crime and other issues requiring police intervention than others. Clearly, homeowners appreciate a street that’s known for being safe and located in a neighborhood with a low crime rate.

Pride-of-ownership. When considering buying a home, take a walk along the street. Do homeowners take good care of their properties? If so, that sign of pride-of-ownership indicates it’s a great place to own a home.

Location. Where the street is located is just as important as its characteristics. Are things you want, such as parks, schools, shopping, etc. nearby? Is the street in a desirable area overall?

Noise. This is a characteristic that can be invisible to the home buyer. If the street is in a flight path, or near a busy highway used by rush-hour commuters, you want to know!

A great street can dramatically add to the enjoyment of a home. As your real estate agent, I can answer your questions about the characteristics of streets you’re considering and the surrounding area.