Your Home: 3 Easy New Year’s Resolutions

Your Home: 3 Easy New Year’s Resolutions

It is that time of year when we reflect on the past year and create a list of New Year’s resolutions. The most popular resolutions are typically, weight loss, save money, spend more time with family, but how often to we include a list for our home? Here are 3 easy New Year’s resolutions for your home.

1.) Safety Check: The New Year is the perfect time to do a safety check around your house to make sure there aren’t any hazards that could harm you or your guests. That includes making long overdue repairs, checking your house for leaks, carbon monoxide, and replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors.

 

2.) Pare Down: With all the excess of gifts over the holidays, you may have found that more things came into your home than out. But in the spirit of cutting clutter, set up an “out with the old, in with the new” system. Every time something new comes in, something old goes out. That counts for everything, from books to clothes to gadgets. The more stuff that comes in, the more stuff that accumulates and needs to be organized. Go room-by-room eliminating anything old that you don’t use or absolutely love and donate it to a worthy charity. Less mess means less stress!

 

2.) Store More: We’ve all heard the term “a place for everything and everything in its place.” The same simple principle we tell our children in regard to putting their toys away should also apply to us adults as well! There are literally hundreds of creative storage options from behind the door hangers to under the bed storage bins to vertical shelving corner niches. Thinking outside the box and repurposing one storage item to serve the needs of another is a life saver. Over the door shoe organizers can do more than hold shoes. They make handy holders for everything from jewelry and makeup and more in a bathroom.

 

Regardless of what your resolutions are for the New Year, don’t forget to include your home in your planning process. And if buying or selling a home in 2019 is on your list, give me a call today!

Roberta Voss
The Voss Team
RE/MAX Professionals
20241 N 67th Ave A1
Glendale, AZ 85308
(602)-697-0730

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3 New Year’s Eve Safety Tips for Pets

3 New Year’s Eve Safety Tips for Pets

New Year’s Eve is a wonderful time to get together with friends and celebrate the coming New Year. And when you think of New Year’s Eve, you probably think of fun parties, noise, and drinks. However, all the festivities are not always grand, safe or exciting for your favorite four legged friends. Here are 3 New Year’s Eve safety tips for pets to ensure you all have a safe and Happy New Year.

1.) Watch loud noises

Loud noises, poppers, fireworks, and noisemakers can over stimulate and agitate any dogs’ senses on New Year’s Eve. Some dogs become so terrified by all the activity that they run away. That’s why it’s a good time to make sure you’ve updated your dog’s collar, tag and microchip if they have one in case they get away. Having that information will vastly increase the chances of your pet being returned to you quickly if he or she gets away.

2.) Secure gates and fences

For those who are keeping their furry friends outdoors on New Year’s Eve, be sure that your gates or fence is secure as unexpectedly loud noise can make your pet flee for safety.

3.) Keep bad food and drinks away

New Year’s Eve is often a time to indulge in drinks and champagne, but don’t forget that alcoholic beverages are very toxic to pets. Never put a cup some place your pet can access it. And while some foods are okay to feed your pet, others are also toxic (like chocolate and grapes) so it’s best if your guests simply avoid sharing with your pet. Be sure to let all guests know that alcoholic beverages and foods should be kept out of reach of your pets at all times.

This New Year’s Eve plan ahead to ensure your pet’s safety so they can enjoy ringing in the New Year too. Happy New Year!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

RE/MAX Professionals

20241 N 67th Ave A1

Glendale, AZ 85308

(602)-697-0730

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How to Avoid Gift Card Scams Before the Holidays

How to Avoid Gift Card Scams Before the Holidays

Six in ten consumers have gift cards on their Christmas shopping list, according to a survey of 7,349 consumers for the National Retail Federation trade association, and retailers reckon they’ll sell more than $27 billion worth this holiday season. Unfortunately, gift cards can be a big target for criminal fraud. The FBI estimates that gift card fraud losses are in the low single digits as a percentage of sales, but gift card sales run about $130 billion a year.

Imagine arriving at the checkout line to use a gift card, only to realize the card is empty. It’s the latest way scammers are hitting consumers, and it’s happening frequently. How do these scams work? Well, the criminals take the gift cards and remove the strip, revealing the card numbers and codes. Then, they put a replacement strip over the card, so it doesn’t look like it was tampered with. Once the scammer has that information, they put replacement strips—easily available online—over the codes and exits the store. Later, after you buy one of those cards and load money onto it, the hacker gets an alert that tells them that the funds have been loaded onto the card.

“The crooks can see as soon as someone activates the card, because they’ve automated all this with software that periodically checks the card balance via the internet,” says David Farquhar, a unit chief within the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division who explained the crime techniques to Consumer Reports last year.

Thankfully gift card issuers are beefing up security with more protective packaging and new back-office technology that flags suspicious activity during purchase and redemption, says the Retail Gift Card Association. But you can also protect yourself by taking these steps:

Consumer Reports says examining a gift card closely before you buy it can save you from a big headache later. If the strip is crooked or has residue from a larger piece of tape, don’t purchase it.

If possible, don’t buy gift cards off the rack; instead purchase the card online or ones that come in secure packaging.

Once you buy a card, make sure to change the pin right away.

If you do choose to purchase a gift card in the store after thoroughly examining the card, be sure to give the gift card receipt to the recipient. If the gift card receipt gets lost and an unscrupulous person locates it, they may return to the store claiming to have lost the gift card and have the one you purchased cancelled so that they may issue the crook a replacement gift card.

Please shop smart and spread the word to friends, family and loved ones to help protect them from gift card fraud before the holidays hit.

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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What You Need to Know About the Surprise Cellphone Driving Ban

What You Need to Know About the Surprise Cellphone Driving Ban

Metro Phoenix drivers will need to make sure their cellphones are tucked away when crossing into Surprise city limits as of this month. Surprise enacted the toughest cellphone-use law for drivers in the Valley this month. The law prohibits talking on a cellphone, sending a text message or otherwise using a hand-held communications device while driving in the city, unless the device is in hands-free mode.

Police will generally issue warnings only for the first 30 days of the new law, said Surprise police Sgt. Tim Klarkowski. After that, the fines will begin. The fine is $250 on the first offense. Surprise officials put an ordinance banning talking, texting or anything involving a handheld communication device into effect last week, the Arizona Republic reported.

The Arizona Legislature has considered enacting a texting-while-driving ban for at least the last decade. This year, a measure that would have banned texting while driving made it through the Senate, but failed to make it through the House.

The Legislature did take one step on the issue, though, banning new drivers, between the ages of 15 1/2 and 18, from using cellphones while driving, unless in a specific emergency or when using a navigation system. Coconino and Pima counties, Oro Valley, Sedona, Tucson and some other cities ban the use of hand-held cellphones while driving, but no Valley city does.

Tempe has a distracted-driving law that lets police cite drivers for talking on the phone or texting, but only if police think the drivers pose a risk to themselves or others. Some other cities, such as Flagstaff, Fountain Hills and Phoenix, ban texting while driving, but not the overall hand-held phone use.

Drivers, please make sure your cellphones are tucked away when crossing into Surprise city limits, and as always, please drive safe!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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Top 3 Refinancing Hacks to Lower Your Payments

Top 3 Refinancing Hacks to Lower Your Payments

The average conventional 30-year fixed rate mortgage is currently 4.695 percent, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS). The 15-year was clocked at 4.371  percent, and the 5-year mortgage is currently 4.791 percent. If you’re thinking about refinancing your home, here are the top 3 refinancing hacks to lower your payments.

  1. Calculate your savings: Before you refinance your home, you have to determine whether or not it will save you money. It’s best to calculate whether a new home loan will save you money based on the time left to pay off your old loan and whether or not you’ll have lower more manageable monthly payments.
  2. Be prepared: Refinancing your mortgage requires a lot of paperwork. Gather your essential documents such as proof of income, tax returns, bank statements and more and keep them all organized together or scanned in a safe online folder. Missing documents will only slow down the refinancing process so the more organized you are, the better.
  3. Perfect your credit: Your credit score plays a huge part in determining what rate you get on your new loan. Before you even apply for refinancing, get a free copy of your credit report and confirm there are no errors that could prevent you from getting the lowest rate possible. Any discrepancies should be addressed as soon as possible before applying and be sure they’ve been cleared up before moving forward.

Have questions about refinancing your home or looking to sell your Phoenix home? Call the Voss Team today for a complimentary assessment of your home’s current value. Our expectation is to make the real estate experience the best it can be for you!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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10 States with the Highest Cost of Living

10 States with the Highest Cost of Living

We all know that housing prices and the cost of living varies from state to state. Factors such as food, transportation, and energy costs can make the difference between paying a $300 A/C bill in Arizona and a $150 A/C bill in Rhode Island. Each year, the Bureau of Economic Analysis publishes data on “regional price parity,” which measures how much a certain amount of money can purchase in different places. A high price parity number means goods and services cost more for residents, and a price parity of above 100 means locals pay more for things than the national average. Here are the 10 states with the highest cost of living in descending order, according to their most recent analysis.

10.) New Hampshire

Regional Price Parity score: 105,

Median Household Income: $70,303

Actual Value of Salary: $66,955

Residents can expect to pay almost 5 percent more than the national average cost of living.

9.) Alaska

Regional price parity score: 105.6

Median household Income: $73,335

Actual Value of Salary: $69,465

Residents can expect to pay almost 6 percent more than the national average cost of living.

8.) Massachusetts

Regional Price Parity Score: 106.9

Median household income: $70,628

Actual Value of Salary: $66,069

Residents can expect to pay almost 7 percent more than the national average cost of living.

7.) Connecticut

Regional Price Parity Score: 108.7

Median household income: $71,346

Actual Value of Salary: $65,636

Residents can expect to pay almost 8.7  percent more than the national average cost of living.

6.) Maryland

Regional Price Parity Score: 109.6

Median household income: $75,847

Actual Value of Salary: $69,203

Residents can expect to pay almost 10 percent more than the national average cost of living.

5.) New Jersey

Regional Price Parity Score: 113.4

Median household income: $72,222

Actual Value of Salary: $63,688

Residents can expect to pay almost 13.4 percent more than the national average cost of living.

4.) California

Regional Price Parity Score: 113.4

Median household income: $64,500

Actual Value of Salary: $56,878

Residents can expect to pay almost 14 percent more than the national average cost of living.

3.) New York

Regional Price Parity Score: 115.3

Median household income: $60,850

Actual Value of Salary: $52,775

Residents can expect to pay almost 15 percent more than the national average cost of living.

2.) Washington D.C.

Regional Price Parity Score: 117

Median household income: $75,628

Actual Value of Salary: $64,639

Residents can expect to pay almost 17 percent more than the national average cost of living.

1.) Hawaii

Regional Price Parity Score: 118.8

Median household income: $73,486

Actual Value of Salary: $61,857

Residents can expect to pay almost 19 percent more than the national average cost of living.

Did your state or hometown make the list for 10 States with the Highest Cost of Living? Where do you think your state stacks up? If you’re looking for affordable living costs and want to sell or buy a home in Phoenix, please contact The Voss Team today!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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Please Watch Your Children Around Water

Please Watch Your Children Around Water

Please Watch Your Children Around WaterOn average, nearly ninety people die from drowning in Arizona each year with the majority of those deaths happening between April and August. Children make up twenty percent of the number of total drowning deaths in Arizona according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.  Too often, firefighters hear people say, “it was just a few seconds.” Unfortunately, just a few seconds is all it takes for a child to drown. Thankfully drowning and near drowning accidents can be prevented, and you can help! Anyone involved with the supervision of children needs to be aware of the dangers associated with any body of water. Below are some useful tips to prevent these needless tragedies:

  • Use an approved barrier to separate the pool from the house
  • Never allow children to be alone near a pool or any water source
  • Have life-saving devices near the pool, such as a pole/hook, or flotation device
  • Keep large objects such as tables, chairs, toys, and ladders away from pool fences
  • Do not allow children to play around the pool and store all toys outside the pool area
  • If you leave the pool area, take the children with you
  • Always have a “designated child watcher”

For more drowning prevention tips, please visit the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona website at preventdrownings.org. And as always, please watch your children around water. Have a safe and happy summer!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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Top 5 Hacks to Boost Your Credit Score for Home Buying

Top 5 Hacks to Boost Your Credit Score for Home Buying

Top 5 Hacks to Boost Your Credit Score for Home BuyingReady to buy a home this year but know your credit score needs work? You’re not alone. The average credit score in the U.S. is 695 according to the AAA Credit Guide, which is considered to be fair on a scale of 300 to 850. Because your credit score affects everything from qualifying for a car loan to, in some cases, qualifying you for employment, it makes since that having the best score will help you obtain your real estate goals. Here are the top 5 hacks to boost your credit score for home buying.  

  1. If you have any collections or judgments against you, pay them off as quickly as possible.
  2. Pay all your bills on time by utilizing payment reminders or automatic bill pay options.
  3. Don’t close your credit card accounts because then you’ll be using a higher percentage of your overall credit limit.
  4. Try to reduce your credit card debt to twenty-five percent or less of your credit line on each card.
  5. Pull your credit report at least once a year to review any discrepancies

The sooner you begin implementing these top 5 hacks to boost your credit score for home buying, the easier it will be when it’s time qualify for a home loan. If you’re ready to buy a Phoenix home, please contact The Voss Team today to assist you with your home buying needs.

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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Speed of Winter Home Sales Felt More Like Spring Selling Season

Speed of  Winter Home Sales Felt More Like Spring Selling Season

Speed of January Sales Felt More Like Spring Selling SeasonDespite home sales being down 2.8 percent year-over-year, the February RE/MAX National Housing Report shows homes sold in a mere sixty days last month, marking the fewest Days on Market of any January in the nine-year history of the report. The record speed of January home sales may signal that buyers aren’t waiting around for the typical spring selling season to begin.

Days on Market typically decline each month leading into the heart of the spring and summer buying season in July and start increasing monthly as fall progresses into winter. The number of homes for sale in January 2018 was down 4.8 percent from December 2017, and down 14.8 percent from January 2017. Based on the rate of home sales in December, the Months Supply of Inventory decreased to 3.4 from December 2017 at 3.7, as well as decreased compared to January 2017 at 3.8.

A 6.0-months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In January 2018, 49 of the 53 metro areas surveyed reported a months supply at or less than 6.0, which is typically considered a seller’s market. The Median Sales Price of $224,000 also set a January record — up 6.7 percent year-over-year. Out of fifty-three markets, fifty-one posted gains, marking January as the 22nd consecutive month of year-over-year price increases dating back to April 2016.

“We recently saw the groundhog predict six more weeks of winter, but January housing numbers are telling a different story,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “It looks like the spring selling season may have arrived early because home buyers are not slowing down. The speed of this market is on pace with what we saw in the prime of the 2017 selling season.”

Want to know more about real estate market trends? Click here to download a copy of the February 2018 RE/MAX National Housing Report. If you are looking to sell your Phoenix home or are ready to buy a Phoenix home, please contact The Voss Team today. The Voss Team has the reputation, experience and local knowledge you need to find the right property, or successfully sell a property for top-dollar. Please feel free to browse our website or let us guide you every step of the way, by calling or e-mailing to set up an appointment today!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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3 Ways to Know if You Have Good Buyer Etiquette

3 Ways to Know if You Have Good Buyer Etiquette

Man gives a woman the keys to a new home. Chrome pedant with house shape
Man gives a woman the keys to a new home. Chrome pedant with house shape

Believe it or not, good etiquette doesn’t just apply to practicing polite behavior at parties and other social gatherings. It can also apply to buying a home as well, especially when you’re on the search for the perfect Phoenix home. If you’ve ever been a seller, hosted an open house, or worked with an agent, then you’ve been in situations that require a certain social civility. Do you have good buyer etiquette? Ask yourself these three questions to find out:

1.) Do you know what you’re looking for?

If you’re looking to buy, but have absolutely no idea what you want, you’re going to waste a lot of time viewing spaces that may not fit your needs. Take the time to identify exactly what you want before you and your agent hoof it to view properties. How many bedrooms do you want? Do you want a single story or a two-story? Having a list of what you’re looking for will save everyone time.

2.) Do you criticize while you browse?

If you walk into a seller’s house that you’re not crazy about, hold your tongue. They still call it their home and definitely won’t appreciate you calling their look dated or complaining about the lack of space. Criticizing a property during the tour is in bad taste and you never know who could be listening. If you end up in a multiple offer situation, you don’t want the seller to choose another buyer because they heard you badmouth their home.

3.) Do you take pictures while you tour?

In an age where most everyone has a smart phone, it may seem like no big deal to snap a photo or make a quick video to show your friends and family how your home search is going. But in many cases, the homes you are viewing are still someone’s private residence and they may not appreciate having it photographed or shared. Always ask permission to take photos or video of the house.

Practicing good buyer etiquette towards sellers, their agents, and your REALTOR® is easy. Just remember to be respectful and practice common courtesy when you’re in someone else’s home, even if you’re not exactly thrilled with what you see. If you’re ready to put that good buyer etiquette to the test and buy a home in Phoenix, then contact The Voss Team today!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

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