Helpful Tips

Things to do in Arizona – August 2014

Ahhhhhhhhgust!  The time of year where we know it’s just a few short weeks away from the most glorious weather in the world (well, that might be a slight exaggeration but it is pretty darn nice here October through June)!  Enjoy this issue of  Things to Do in AZ!

Mortgage Application Advice

Do’s and Don’ts During the Mortgage Application Process

Do:

  • mortgage-approvedPay your bills. This includes rent, car loans, personal loans, credit cards, child support, school loans, alimony, etc. If you don’t make timely payments, a bank likely won’t be willing to lend to you.
  • Stay at your job. Make sure that your employment status stays the same. We recommend not taking a leave of absence, switching to part-time, accepting 100% commission position, or becoming self-employed.
  • Provide all documentation requested. Even if you feel the lender doesn’t need an item, make sure to provide it to them anyway. This will help to ensure that you close on time.
  • File your taxes. File your taxes on time or if you aren’t ready to file, apply for an extension. If you owe money to the IRS, pay them or work out a payment plan.
  • Keep your down payment money before closing. Make sure that your down payment is safe and is not spent before closing.

Don’t:

  • Do not change your marital status. Getting married or divorced can have a big impact on the ratios used for mortgage approval.
  • Do not overdraft your bank account. This is a red flag that you may be less responsible with money.
  • Do not forget to source deposits and/or funds to close. Money for closing has to be sourced with a paper trail. Sourcing (copy of; check, bank account showing withdrawel, deposit slip, etc.) of any large, non-regular deposits will be needed. This also applies to monies transferred between accounts.
  • Do not open new accounts or make large purchases on your credit cards. It is safer to buy furniture or appliances after your home loan closes. Opening new accounts or charging on your credit cards can lower your credit score and affect mortgage ratios.
  • Do not co-sign on a loan. Your credit rating is affected when you co-sign and this can impact how much you can borrow.

Live Out Your Golden Years at Home

The Consumer Electronics show was held in Las Vegas last month and the focus was on high tech innovations designed more specifically to meet the growing needs of the aging boomer population. According to the latest data from the Center for Aging Services Technologies, 89% of the country’s baby boomer generation ( roughly 78 million born between 1946 and 1964) say they would prefer to live out their golden years at home, rather than go to assisted living communities.

The bulk of the new products introduced were aimed at keeping older adults living independently at home longer. This hot trend is in both tech and architecture where practices like incorporating handrails in shower stalls and other unobtrusive accessibility features around the house are part of smart “aging in place” design. At home live monitoring devices and systems that provide data back to their care agency are also an integral piece of the puzzle. Tech alone will not be enough to fulfill the boomer dream of never leaving their homes. In home care is also another important aspect of the total picture. Specially trained caregivers who can help interpret all of the diagnostic data and provide proper health care assistance is the winning combination for the future!

Buying a Scottsdale Arizona Home?

Scorpions Come With The Territory

Scorpions are arthropods, they have eight legs, two pedipalps, and a tail with a venom-injecting barb. They prey on insects. All scorpions are venomous, they use their venom to kill their prey in self defense.

Scorpions are often found in the desert near mountains, buttes and in the outskirts of town where there is less urbanization. New construction can also cause scorpions to move. A water source such as a lake or a canal will attract prey for scorpions.

There are a few ways for you to protect yourself and your home from scorpions.

  1.  scorpion-arizona-desertSeal your home. This process involves caulking all area around pipes, drains, fittings, walls, vents, cracks in the foundation or siding where a scorpion might gain access to the house. You can do this yourself or there are companies that specialize in this . It is worth the investment to have this done correctly up front. Also, install weather stripping around loose fitting doors and windows. Look outside too. Check the mesh over the dryer vent, check for openings around cables, wires, pipes, AC vents and outlets.
  2.  Perform regular pest control service. You can do this yourself, once a month at night preferably when there is a full moon. Scorpions tend to be the most active then. Spray your entire yard or hire a pest control company specializing in scorpion control.
  3. Remove insect sources. Scorpions eat other insects so it is necessary to remove insect sources such as crickets, cockroaches, cicadas and ants. If you eliminate an insect problem the scorpions will have nothing to prey on.
  4. Clean up your yard. Scorpions love hiding places like wood piles, rocks, lumber, fireplaces etc. If it is possible, move these havens as far away from your home as possible.
  5. Black light hunting. You can buy a cheap black light at any home improvement store and go out in your yard to hunt scorpions at night. They practically glow in the dark and are easy to spot with the black light. It is important to hunt them and kill them. You can use long needle nose pliers and pinch them and then put them in a cup with soapy water to drown them. Remember, every one you catch is one that is not coming in your house. At first, this seems scary but it is also entertaining!
  6. Plant Lavender. If you plant lavender around the perimeter of your yard it acts as a deterrent for scorpions. It is quite easy to grow and maintain and it also smells nice!
  7. Be smart!  It is important to not take unnecessary chances. Don’t walk barefoot in the garage, don’t leave piles of stuff on the exterior of your home. Store things in plastic bins rather than cardboard boxes or shopping bags. Train your family to be observant and let you know if they see any kind of bug especially scorpions so you can kill them.
  8. A pet could actually help. Cats have been known to catch and kill scorpions around the home and some dogs will as well. They innately and willingly will go for the kill and have the courage to do so!
  9. What to do if you get stung.  Contrary to popular belief, most scorpions are relatively harmless. The sting is painful ( equal to a wasp sting) but they are rarely fatal. If you get stung clean the area with soap and water, place a cold compress on the area. If you experience trouble focusing your eyes, have random eye movement, trouble swallowing, tongue feels swollen, slurred speech, dizziness, blurry vision or muscle twitching proceed to the nearest emergency room. You can always call Poison Control if you have any questions or concerns 1-800-222-1222.

Scorpions are a part of our life living here in the desert. If you follow these basic steps hopefully it will help the situation or at least minimize the amount. When in doubt call a professional to help. It’s not worth taking an unnecessary risk or putting your family in harm’s way.

Happy Hunting!

Get a Home Warranty for your Scottsdale Home

home_warranty_sWhat is a Home Warranty

Buying or selling your Scottsdale or Phoenix home can be stressful especially if one of your home’s system’s or appliances breaks down unexpectedly.

A home warranty is a service contract that covers repairs and the replacement of appliances and other systems in your Scottsdale or Phoenix home. It differs from your general homeowner’s policy which covers your home and its contents from hazards such as theft, loss and destruction.

Some of the appliances that are typically covered by most home warranties include: Heating Units, Water Heaters, Microwave Ovens, Ovens, Cooking Ranges, Dishwasher, Garbage Disposal, Plumbing and Electrical Wiring.

Usually only built-in appliances are routinely covered but by paying a little extra you can add AC Units, Washer and Dryer, Pool and Spa and Refrigerators.

Depending on the level of coverage that you purchase, annual premiums can be between 250$ and 600$ as well as a fee per incident. This fee covers the service contractor to come to your home and diagnose the problem.

A home warranty does not cover such things as permit fees, hauling fees nor cosmetic structures that are a part of an appliance like a rotisserie, baking attachments, refrigerator shelves, water filtering devices etc.

Considering the rising costs of appliance repairs and replacement a home warranty is a must. It will free you of the financial burden of expensive repairs and replacement parts. If you are purchasing a Scottsdale or Phoenix home, be sure negotiate with the seller to pay for a home warranty as a part of the contract for the first year. It will be the best house warming gift you ever get!