Get The Home You Want, Millennials: Smart Strategies For First-Time Homebuyers
Written By Jaymi Naciri
April 18th, 2018
Hey, Millennials. Come on into the real estate market! We really need you to buy some homes so we can keep chugging along. Oh, wait. Prices are rising and so are interest rates, plus inventory is scary low. Hmmm. Well, come on in anyway, wontcha?
It's not easy to buy a home in a hot market where inventory remains at historic lows - and that covers a lot of areas across the country at a wide range of different price points. But it's especially hard right now for Millennials, who aren't exactly getting a warm welcome from the market that has been begging them to participate.
"I think it's fair to say this is the most competitive housing market we've seen in recorded history," Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, told Curbed. "There's record low inventory and strong interest from buyers in getting into the housing market. Millennials are reaching prime homebuying age - in 2020, the greatest proportion of that generation will be turn 30 - just as baby boomers are looking to downsize. This has created especially fierce competition for smaller homes, the type of starter homes that most first-time buyers desire. This dynamic can be especially frustrating for young adults because they may be bidding for the same smaller home as someone from an older generation who can lean on the accumulated wealth of decades of homeownership."
But that doesn't make buying impossible - just a bit more challenging. Get a leg up by following a few smart strategies.
Work with the right REALTOR®
This is not the right time to give your brother-in-law's cousin's neighbor who just got his license a shot. Having a competitive edge is more important than ever, and you need a savvy, experienced, and well-connected real estate agent to help you buy a home.
Work on your down payment
You may be competing against buyers who are coming in with an all-cash offer, which you're going to have a hard time standing up to. But, there are ways you can make your offer look better. Remember that if it comes down to a multiple-offer situation for your home, sellers won't just compare the offer prices. They'll look at your down payment and the terms, and you need to have better terms than the next guy. You may only have 3.5% down, and that may be all you need to qualify for your FHA loan, but that doesn't mean the seller will embrace you.
"Your down payment is a key part of the offer you present to the seller," said Money Crashers. "The general rule of thumb is simple: the larger the down payment, the stronger the offer. More precisely: the greater the down payment's share of the total purchase price, the more likely the seller is to accept."
If you're ready to buy and there's no time to get a second job or go into hyper-savings mode, you can always take advantage of down payment assistance programs like the National Homebuyers Fund or hit up a relative. "If you're struggling to pool enough cash for your down payment, a generous relative or friend can help by giving you money," said NerdWallet. "But the money must be a true gift, not a disguised loan, and it must be documented properly through financial statements and a gift letter. If the gift is really a loan that you have to pay back, lenders won't accept it."
Be flexible on the closing
If another potential buyer is insistent on a 30-day close, but you could close earlier, later, and even rent back to the seller if need be, you just might end up with the house you want. Flexibility is key to submitting a winning offer, so make sure you have a Plan B - a place to stay for a few days or longer if you're going to be between houses, and a mover/storage option squared away.
Closing Up Your Desert Home for the Summer
By Judy Hedding
March 30th, 2017
1 Preparing Your House
In April and May, visitors (often referred to as "snowbirds") retreat from their desert winter homes to their northern U.S. and Canadian residences where the summers are not as harsh. Before they can load their suitcases in the car and drive off, there is some preparation involved in closing up a home for several months. In addition, because of the severe heat and monsoon storms in the desert, there are some extra precautions that are warranted.
Here is a checklist of things to consider before leaving Arizona or other Southwest regions for the summer months. Some people will do all of these and some people won't. Some people will do everything right and still return to storm damage or water damage, and some people barely think about the consequences of leaving a home in the extreme heat and come back to find everything in great shape. Use this checklist as a guide and decide what you feel is best for you and your desert home.
2 Utilities and Mail (One to Two Weeks Before)
Some items on your checklist will take a bit longer to kick in than others, like changing mail and canceling utilities. A week or two before your departure date you should arrange for your mail and regular deliveries to be stopped or forwarded, notify your telephone, Internet service provider, and cable or satellite TV provider to put your service on hold, and notify any newspapers when to stop delivery and when to resume.
3 Inside the House (One to Two Weeks Before)
There are a few things that need to be taken care of regarding the inside of your house that you may not think of. But first, if you live in an area with an HOA, notify them of your departure date and when you'll be back. You should also see if there are any local vacation watch programs offered by your HOA, your local community, or your local police department.
If there are valuables that you won't be taking with you for the summer, arrange for storage. For instance, store jewelry or important documents in a safe deposit box at the bank.
One item that is easily forgotten is the refrigerator-start eating the leftovers and cleaning out the refrigerator and coordinate emptying the fridge with your trash and recycling pickup.
4 Outside the House (One to Two Weeks Before)
It's important that the exterior of the house is ready for departure as well. One to two weeks before leaving, start trimming trees and bushes in the yard so you can have that trash picked up before you go. If you have a hot tub, do not drain it-the heat will damage the empty tub. Turn off the heating system for the water, but leave the filtering system on.
Also, check for standing water and remove any (kiddie pools, buckets, bird baths, etc.) from the yard. If you have a fountain, either empty it and turn it off or leave the water circulating to avoid mosquito problems.?
5 The Yard (A Day or Two Before)
Before closing the house, you need to remember to prepare your yard for the summer. Any patio furniture that's cloth, plastic, or wood will be damaged by the summer heat if you leave it outside, so remove chairs, furniture, and decor from your patio or yard.
Even if you will be turning off the main water valve to the house, you can still water the plants in the yard. Set your irrigation timer appropriately for summer heat so all your shrubs and trees aren't dead when you return.
And whether you water the yard or not, there will be weeds. Consider a yard care service that will take care of the weeds, do some trimming, mow the lawn if you have one, and check for irrigation system problems while you are gone. Make sure it is a company that you know and trust-obviously the workers will know that you aren't living in the home.
If you have a pool, arrange for a pool service to handle the maintenance while you are away, and it is a good idea to schedule for exterior pest control...MORE
6 The Garage (A Day or Two Before)
It's easy to forget about the garage and what is in it, so make sure to do a walk through before you depart. If you are leaving a car in the garage, disconnect the battery. You might even want to cover the vehicle to protect it from dust.
If you have a golf cart, put water in the battery and unplug it. Also, unplug the garage door opener. If you have any, remove propane tanks and combustible/flammable chemicals from the garage.
7 Appliances Big and Small (Before You Lock Up and Drive Off)
You're all packed and you are ready to head out the door. But did you take care of the appliances? You need to unplug the appliances, entertainment units, computers-everything. The lightning from summer monsoon storms can wreak havoc on electrical equipment. And don't forget to turn off ceiling fans, indoor and out. Sometimes we forget to look up before we leave the house!
You also need to turn off the air conditioner or set the thermostat if you'll be leaving the A/C on. Some people turn off the A/C totally. Some leave it on but at a high temperature, like 90 or 95. How to decide? Your decision should be based on the items being left in the house: Is there artwork that you don't want to dry out in the heat? Does your security system only work at a particular temperature? Do you leave your wine collection? Also, if you have natural gas, turn off the gas at the main valve. And make sure to turn the water heater off.
Open the doors to the washer and dryer, the dishwasher
May 18, 2018 to May 27, 2018
Prix fixe menus from $33- $44.
Check specific restaurants for their price.
Ongoing Calendar of Concerts
Make Mom a queen on Sunday, May 13 by treating her to fine dining or events for Mother's Day in Phoenix (carriage, crown and reservations recommended).
7100 East Main Street Scottsdale , AZ
Starting May 3, 2018
Recurring weekly on Thursday
24810 South Rittenhouse Rd Queen Creek, AZ
May 11 - 13, 2018
7:30 AM to 4:00 PM
$5. Children 12 and younger free
Lake Pleasant Cruises
8708 W. Harbor Blvd. Peoria, AZ
May 13, 2018
Brunch: 9:00 AM & 12:30 AM; Dinner: 6:00 PM
Brunch $50 Adults, $30 Children (ages 5-12), Children 4 and under free;
Dinner $65 Adults, $45 Children (ages 5-12), Children 4 and under free
1200 S. Forest Ave. Arizona State University Tempe, AZ
May 15, 2018 to May 20, 2018
See website for details
Historic Downtown Chandler
3 S. Arizona Ave. Chandler, AZ
Starting May 18, 2018
Recurring monthly on the 3rd Friday
6 p.m.-10 p.m.
2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy Tempe, AZ
May 19, 2018
12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Rancho Manana Golf Course
5734 E Rancho Manana Blvd Cave Creek, AZ
May 26, 2018
5:30 PM to 10:00 PM
Adults $15; Kids $10 for ages 12 and under; children 2 and under enter free
(ticket fees apply). Day of event at the gate: Adults $20, Kids $15 for ages
12 and under; children 2 and under enter free.
100 North 3rd Street Phoenix, AZ
May 24, 2018 to May 27, 2018
16501 W. Northern Ave. Litchfield Park, AZ 85340