6 Things Burglars Don’t Want You to Know

While nobody wants their home broken into, the FBI facts are that a burglary occurs every 20 seconds in the US. Home burglars generally have a pattern, as criminals are looking for an easy target they can rob and get out fast. Here are six tips from career burglars that you can use to protect your home and prevent break ins without installing top-dollar security features.

1. Nighttime Burglaries Aren’t the Most Common

Burglars are looking for the most probably time that there will be no one home, which means the daylight hours.  Weekdays are ideal, since weekend schedules are too unpredictable.  The most popular times that break-ins occur are between 12:30PM and 2:30PM when people are usually away at work or school.

2. They Know When You’re Not Home – Thanks, Social Media!

Most people post in real-time when they’re on vacation or away from home. Unfortunately, tech-savvy criminals take advantage of that and scout social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and FourSquare to find victims. An I-Team survey found that over 10% of burglars used social media to find victims, including one burglar in Orange County who targeted at least 33 women he saw in public and used the GPS data embedded in photos posted to their Facebook & Instagram to break into their homes in 2015. Even for those with private accounts, an old friend from high school or a neighbor down the street could be a potential criminal.  Never post what times you’re not home or how long you’ll be gone and save trip photos to post after you’re back home.

3. They Don’t Like Security

Burglars don’t want anything to do with alarm systems, whether they’re top of the line or not. Homes without an alarm system are almost 300% more likely to be a target. If you have an alarm system, make sure the code isn’t easy to guess like a house number or a birthday, and make sure to keep the keypad clean so a burglar can’t guess based off the numbers you’ve pressed the most. Make sure to use the security features your home already has, like locking your windows, doors, and keeping the exterior of your house well-lit.  Tricks that make it seem like someone is home also work. Motion sensor lights, bright flood lights, timed lights in the house, radio or TV left on, or a car in the driveway are all things that make a burglar nervous that someone is home.

4. Gun Advertisements are Not Security

If you’re a proud gun owner, it entices burglars more than it scares them away.  A gun is stolen roughly every two minutes in the US, so it’s better to keep your guns in a safe.  NRA bumper stickers or Smith & Wesson signs on a house advertises that there’s usually a lot of guns to steal inside.

5. Shrubs & Architecture Make Great Hiding Spots

Tall thick bushes, half walls, big fountains and other overgrown landscaping are great to hide in, not only from you but from the neighbors, too.  Keep your landscaping regularly trimmed and décor elements well-lit. If you do want big plants by your windows, consider something thorny like cacti or roses.

6. Valuables Left in the Open Are an Enticing Target

Expensive things left within clear view of windows are advertising to burglars what kind of items they can steal. Make sure to put tablets, laptops, or anything valuable away from view from first story windows. Key hooks, especially labeled ones, should also be kept out of sight. Mike Fraser, a former professional burglar and host of the BBC show Beat the Burglar, also advised to leave large family calendars out of view since they detail when you’ll be away from home.  Any documents with your personal information should also be kept out of view as they can turn into a gold mine for criminals looking to easily steal your details for identity theft.

Using these tips can help you prevent your home from being broken into.  Be sure to research crime rates and trends in your city and neighborhood, especially when you’re looking to purchase a home in an area you’re not familiar with.  It’s an important step of the home buying process!

If you’re thinking about purchasing a home, please give The Gina McKinley Group a call at 480-355-8645 or email Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com. We’ve love to schedule a free consultation to educate you on the home buying process so you can make the most informed decision for your family.

6 Reasons to Buy a Home

Happiness – The feeling of owning your own home is exciting and gives you a sense of accomplishment. You get the benefit of making it your own. Doesn’t that sound wonderful!

Tax Savings – The government rewards homeowners by providing tax benefits. The interest paid on your mortgage can generally be deducted from your income.

Appreciation – Home values have a well-documented history of growing over time. This increase becomes equity that benefits you by adding to your financial wealth.

Equity – Renting has often been compared to paying 100% interest, but when you own a home and a mortgage is in place, a portion of your payment goes toward the principal balance on your loan. This builds your equity and acts as a savings account.

Roots – People who own tend to stay in their homes four times longer than renters. This creates an opportunity to get to know your neighbors and connect with your local community.

Education – Research shows children of homeowners earn higher test scores and graduate at a higher percentage than those of renters. Home ownership creates a stable environment for your children that pays off for them, too.

If you’re considering the path to home ownership, give The Gina McKinley Group a call at 480-355-8645 or email Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com today!

4 Things NOT to Do When Selling Your Home

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to sell your home and are going to be putting your home on the market.  Hopefully, your next step will be to choose an awesome REALTOR to give you a customized list of what to do next.  However, for those of you who want to jump to checking off your to-do list, here’s some things not to do to help you get started:

#1 Don’t Over-Improve

There’s lots of articles about how to make improvements to your home and sell for top dollar. Updating appliances and painting can offer great returns on investment. However, before you start to rip out the kitchen, you’ll need to realize how much that will cost and what you can expect in an increased sale price. (Hint – it’s different for every home!) You may be looking at a break even for your investment or worse.  It’s also important to avoid making improvements that are hyper-specific to your tastes.  For example, not everyone wants a home theater and a totally customized game room complete with a wet bar.  What if your buyers are a family that want a play room for their kids? They’ll cross your home off their list and choose something that they won’t have to re-do.

#2 Don’t Over-Decorate

Over-decorating is just as bad as over-improving.  You may love your ornate, Mediterranean-style décor complete with statues and several fountains, but it can also send potential buyers running in the opposite direction.  When getting ready to sell, you want to neutralize your decorating scheme so it appeals to as many buyers as possible.

#3 Don’t Hang Around

This one is more for after you’ve put your home on the market and your agent calls to let you know they will be bringing buyers by this afternoon. So exciting! You put some fresh cookies in the oven and hang around with a big smile, ready to answer any questions that the potential buyers may have.  Right? Wrong! Buyers want to feel comfortable in your home, and not feel confronted by your in your space.  It makes them feel very awkward to be in your home trying to figure out if it will work for them or not if you’re hovering over their shoulder.  Get out of the house (for a longer window that your agent gives you – remember, most buyers are looking at multiple homes at once so it can be hard to determine exactly what time they’ll be there in advance!) or at least take a walk around the block or sit in the backyard.

#4 Don’t Take Things Personally

This can be a hard one. Real estate is a business, but selling your home is very, very emotional.  You have a lot of memories tied into the house, and can feel that a negative comment about your home is a direct reflection on you.  Pretend you’re a buyer as you walk through your home and see your house through their eyes.  Then, when a buyer says they need to replace your prized wood paneling with something more to their taste and send over a low offer, you’ll be able to take it in stride.

For a customized list of how exactly to prepare your home for going on the market for sale, give The Gina McKinley Group a call at 480-355-8645 or email info@locatearizonahomes.com today! We will be happy to meet with you to go over how you can have your home looking its best and get the most money for your home!

State of the Market Feb 2019

At this time of year I like to give an update on the state of the real estate market. The media has been stating that there may be a bubble, however, the current market is in a very different state today than back in 2004-2005 which lead to the crash in 2007. Here are the current facts for our local market:

The Phoenix job market no longer just depends on construction and tourism, and is more diverse with increases in healthcare, tech, engineering, and finance. The jobless rate is low at 3.4% for the metro area, and the average annual earnings are $66,000 now vs. $39,000 in 2007. Another difference is in new construction. Housing starts are down 4.2%, meaning that the builders are building homes for owner occupancy, not over building for speculation. Rental rates have jumped and now average $1,495 a month. Phoenix metro is growing with inbound relocation, most coming from southern California.

More Highlights for 2018;

  •          New home prices increased 24%
  •          Resale home appreciation 8.2% – metro Phoenix
  •          Resale home appreciation 7.1% – Chandler
  •          Average price per square foot $168 – Chandler
  •          Median sales price $383,000 – Chandler

The 2019 predictions are that we are still in a Seller’s Market. However, that market segment is slowing, so expect longer days on market and lower appreciation rates this year. Of course, the most sales will take place between now and April, so now is the time to consider listing your home in order to sell at the highest price as well as make a purchase with the largest amount of homes to choose from.

The only constant in real estate is change as they say. The market ebbs and flows, so if you are thinking about making a move in 2019, I would love the opportunity to work with you for buying, selling, or investing. Our team is here to serve you for all of you real estate needs, call us today at 480-355-8645.

Stage Your Home on a Budget

When selling your home, it’s incredibly important to stage your home if you want to sell for top dollar.  A welcoming and appealing home means a lot to the buyers in the market.  On average, you can receive back twice what you spent in staging!  A common misconception is that you must spend big bucks to make an impact.  Here’s 5 golden rules of staging on a budget to prove otherwise…

Rule #1 – De-personalize

This can be a little hard for people, as most are very sentimental to their homes and all the memories within.  However, the point is for buyers to picture themselves in the house, not you! Those family photos may mean the world to you, but to a buyer, it’s a distraction that prevents them from seeing how their family would live in your home.

Rule #2 – Maximize

Declutter and maximize the space in your home.  A closet jammed with a lot of clothes tells buyers that your home is terribly lacking in closet space. Remove clothes that you don’t need for the immediate future, and use matching, stacked boxes to hide clutter.  Invest in matching hangers for clothes, as hangers are inexpensive and the look will modernize your closet with a visual impact and luxurious feel.  You’re going to be moving soon, so pack up things you don’t need and consider temporarily storing the overflow offsite.

Rule #3 – Sanitize

This is the easiest and cheapest way to stage your home – give it a good, old fashioned scrubbing!  Grimy walls, dirty outlet covers and switch plates, dishes in the sink, dusty ceiling fans, scuffed baseboards, and spotted shower doors scream to any buyer that a home has not been maintained well.  It’s much better to clean what you have then replace it, and there are lots of cleaning hacks online to help.  Have your home smelling fresh, but don’t go overboard on synthetic fragrances.

Rule #4 – Modernize

Unless you have fantastic period built is (unlikely, but not impossible for Phoenix) every home can benefit from some updating.  If buyers feel a home is dated, it will reflect in a lower offer.  Dated cabinets can be modernized for less than $200 with a new wood stain or a good sanding with a new coat of paint.  Replacing cabinet hardware is another low-cost way to make an update.

Rule #5 – Neutralize

Color can make or break a buyer’s interest in your home.  You may love bright prints and bold colors, but a buyer will only see a great deal of painting if it doesn’t match their style.  A fresh coat of paint is another inexpensive way to update your home and will also have the benefit of your home feeling cleaner.

For more staging tips and tricks, give us a call at 480-355-8645 or email info@locatearizonahomes.com today! We will be happy to help you have your home looking it’s best before going on the market.

Top 3 Allergen Hideaways

Most of us in Arizona suffer from allergies.  Here are some helpful tips to relax and enjoy your summer.

Itchy eyes, a runny nose, and constant sneezing can make it tough to relax and enjoy the summer, even in your own home. Here are some of the main places allergens are hiding and tips on how to get rid of them:

Carpets

Carpets are a common trap for an array of allergens like dust, pollen, and pet dander. If possible, replace carpets with tile or wood flooring. If that’s not an option, frequent vacuuming can help remove allergens. Use a vacuum with a microfilter vacuum bag, multilayer vacuum bag, or HEPA filter if possible. These variants trap more allergens than a regular vacuum.

Beds/Blankets

Fabrics like blankets and pillow covers are a haven for hidden allergens, so be sure to wash your bedding frequently. Hypoallergenic bedding is also available. Organic cotton and bamboo are two cost-effective options for sheets and pillow covers that can reduce the amount of spores, mites, and dander in your bedding.

Surfaces

Dust and pollen tend to settle on top of bookshelves, cabinets, and end tables. Frequent dusting will help cut down on these allergens. Replace the filters and clean the grates in your cooling and heating systems monthly to help minimize the amount of dust and pollen settling in your home.

As always, if we can be a resource to you for allergies, buying or selling feel free to contact us!

Call 480-355-8645 Or Email Us Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com

 

How Smart Home Devices = Potential Home Insurance Savings

If you are thinking about updating your home this summer? Discover ways you can protect your family and save time and money with smart devices. You’ll also find tips for clearing allergens out of your home and advice to help you pack your home for a stress-free move. If you’re still looking for your dream home, give me a call. I’ll help you find a home you’ll love!

Smart homes are now more accessible and powerful than ever before. You can run anything from a doorbell to a slow cooker with your phone. Surprisingly, this can do more than just save you time; it can save you money on your home insurance. These days, it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to offer discounts or premium reductions to homeowners who implement smart home devices. Some of the most common discounts go to those implementing technology that improves the safety, security, or energy management of your home.

Safety

Smart home devices can ensure your house and belongings are protected even when you’re not there. Systems and devices that monitor for burglary, flooding, carbon monoxide, or fire can limit the short and long-term risk to your house. Some insurance policies will take these smart monitoring systems into account and offer you a discount for the reduced risk.

Security

Homes with security systems in place are three times less likely to be burglarized, and many home insurance companies will offer premium credits, some up to 15 percent off your insurance rate, to those who take active steps to protect their home.

Energy Management

Smart energy-management technology can save you money in a couple different ways. First, you can lower your energy bill by remotely controlling your thermostats and lights. Second, you can use energy-management technology to provide backup power for appliances and electronics during power outages.

Let us know if we can point you in the right direction for “smart” device.

Call 480-355-8645 OR Email Us Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com

Don’t Let a Killer In

Arizona enacted a law many years ago that requires a carbon monoxide detector within 15 feet of every “sleeping area” before the home is sold. Arizona is pretty good about this as they only cost $40-50 and are easy to install. Here is part of why the state legislature enacted this law…

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer you don’t want in your home but because it is colorless and odorless; you may not even be aware the deadly condition exists. The Center for Disease Control says more than 400 people in the U.S. die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning and over 10,000 require medical treatment each year.

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Unmaintained furnaces, water heaters and appliances can produce the deadly gas. In addition, other sources could be leaking chimneys, unvented kerosene or gas space heaters or exhaust from cars or trucks operating in an attached garage.

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests the following to reduce exposure in the home:

  • Keep gas appliances properly adjusted
  • Install and use an exhaust fan vented to the outdoors over gas stoves
  • Open flues when fireplaces are in use
  • Do not idle car inside garage
  • Have a trained professional inspect, clean and tune-up central heating systems annually

Headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and feelings of weakness or fatigue are a few of the most common symptoms. Lower levels of exposure to carbon monoxide may be mistaken for the flu.

Carbon monoxide alarms should be on every level of a home and especially, in sleeping areas. The alarms can be purchased for as little as $25 and plugged into the wall like a night light.

Regardless of the government requirements, no one would want to put their family, guests or themselves at risk for something so deadly.

Please let me know if I can get you any further information on this topic.

Call 480-355-8645 Or Email Us Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com


Welcome to 3259 S Danielson Way, Chandler

Exclusive Listing at 3259 S Danielson Way in Chandler’s Markwood North,

This gracious, single-level home is conveniently located in sought-after Chandler Unified School District, near highways, major employers, parks & shopping.

Beautiful foyer graced with high arches welcomes you to this open, split floor plan. Vaulted ceilings and warm neutral colors make this turn-key. Home has just been upgraded with new exterior and interior paint and all new carpet.

Chef’s kitchen features gas cook top and gourmet hood, built-in double ovens, center island with breakfast bar, granite countertops, and custom oak cabinets featuring microwave cupboard, shelving and glass fronts.

Separate formal living and dining areas in addition to the open concept kitchen and family room. Master bedroom with ensuite master bath with double vanity, separate shower and garden tub.

Large, private rear year features full length covered patio with beautiful pavers that lead to eating area with barbecue, great for entertaining.

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For more information  Visit our websites: 

WWW.LocateArizonaHomes.com

http://www.locatearizonahomes.com/blog

Call 480-355-8645 Or Email Us Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com

Do You know the Tax Difference in Second Homes?

Many folks who live in the valley have 2nd homes in the mountains. Some are fishing cabins while others are condos for ski weekends, or you might find a true replacement residence. The truth is that some of the tax law changes form last year might affect those home owners. So read on…

A principal residence and a second home have some similar benefits, but they have some key tax differences. A principal residence is the primary home where you live and a second home is used mainly for personal enjoyment while limiting possible rental activity to a maximum of 14 days per year.

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Under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Mortgage Interest Deduction allows a taxpayer to deduct the qualified interest on a principal residence and a second home. The interest is reduced from a maximum of $1,000,000 combined acquisition debt to a maximum of $750,000 combined acquisition debt for both the first and second homes.

Property taxes on first and second homes are deductible but limited to a combined maximum of $10,000 together with other state and local taxes paid.

The gain on a principal residence retained the exclusion of $250,000/$500,000 for single/married taxpayers meeting the requirements. Unchanged by the new tax law, the gains on second homes must be recognized when sold or disposed.

Tax-deferred exchanges are not allowed for property used for personal purposes such as second homes. Gain on second homes owned for more than 12 months is taxed at the lower long-term capital gains rate.

This article is intended for informational purposes. Advice from a tax professional for your specific situation should be obtained prior to making a decision that can have tax implications.

I would love the opportunity to assist you in connecting with a tax professional!  Call or email me today 480.355.8645 OR Info@LocateArizonaHomes.com