Questions of the Month

May 28th, 2010 | By | Category: Homeowner Advice

Homeowner advice | Real Estate Questions | The Sahuarita COnnectionEvery month we receive questions from real estate buyers and sellers.  Each and every month we will bring you some of the most asked…

Question: What is a Home Warranty?

Answer: A home warranty is a service contract, normally for one year, which helps protect homeowners against the cost of unexpected repairs or replacement on their major systems and appliances that break down due to normal wear and tear.  For service requests, you will pay a Trade Service Call Fee to each contractor of a different trade (plumber, electrician, etc.) who visits your home to diagnose a problem or perform service. Details will be included in your contract.

Home warranty policies have varying levels of coverage. Shop around and ask for recommendations.  Also find out if the policy covers the full replacement cost of an item. Items typically covered include:

• Plumbing
• Electrical systems
• Furnace
• Water heater
• Heating ducts
• Water pump
• Dishwasher
• Garbage disposal
• Stove/cooktop/ovens
• Microwave
• Refrigerator
• Washer/dryer

For home warranty company recommendations, call Mary Benavides at 520-248-2130.

Question: What were the results of the Sahuarita Town Council primary elections?

Answer: Mayor Lynne Skelton and Council member Phil Conklin were re-elected after receiving more than 50 percent of the votes cast. Dave Gifford and Robert Beck were eliminated. Melissa Smith, Charles Oldham, Josh Matthews and Bill Bracco received enough votes to move on to the General Election, where they will compete for the two remaining council seats.  Ballots will be mailed to registered voters April 21 for the vote-by-mail General Election that ends May 17. The winners could be sworn in to start their 4 year terms as early as May 23 – if the county tallies the votes in time.

Make sure to do your homework on the remaining candidates and cast your vote wisely!

Question: How are Sahuarita Town Council members chosen?

Answer: Sahuarita town council members are elected. The elected officers of the town consist of seven Council Members, of whom one is designated as Mayor.  Council Members serve four-year terms. Elections are held every two years.  Four Council seats will be filled in 2011. All powers are vested in an elected council that enacts local legislation, adopts budgets, determines policies and appoints the Town Manager and other officers. In Arizona, persons are nominated to run for office in the primary election by a petition procedure for nomination. The nomination paper is a form notification to the Town Clerk that the individual intends to seek municipal office.  Filing of the nomination paper and securing the requisite number of signatures on nomination petitions enables a voter to run as a candidate in the Primary Election. Any candidate must be at least 18 years of age and shall reside in Sahuarita for one year preceding the election.  A person convicted of a felony cannot serve as a Council Member until their civil rights have been restored.

The next election in the Town of Sahuarita will be:

March 8, 2011 – Primary Election Day
May 17, 2011 – General Election Day

If a candidate receives a majority of all votes cast at the Primary Election, he/she will be declared elected without running in the General Election.

The Town of Sahuarita 2011 Election will be conducted entirely by mail.  Mail-in ballots will be mailed to all registered voters within the Town on or about February 10, 2011 for the March 8, 2011 Primary Election, and on or about April 21, 2011 for the May 17, 2011 General Election. These ballots will be mailed by the Pima County Recorder’s office. Ballots must be placed and sealed in the provided Affidavit envelope, and then
either mailed to the Pima County Recorder’s office, or hand-delivered to the Pima County Recorder’s Office or the Sahuarita Town Clerk’s office.  The Pima County Recorder’s office will perform the signature verification function in accordance with State Law. Nothing on the ballot in any election shall be indicative of the support or political party affiliation of any candidate.

Our council members enact local legislation, adopt budgets, determine policies and appoint the Town Manager, so take the time to find out about the candidates and don’t forget to cast your vote!

Question: So many people in the real estate industry refer to “Supply and Demand”. What does that mean and how does it affect property values?

Answer: Great question!  Regardless of economic conditions, the price of almost anything that is for sale is largely determined by the number of items for sale in ratio to the number of purchasers looking to buy that item.  In the real estate world, prices of homes are determined by the number of homes that are available for sale (supply) and the number of buyers who are looking to purchase them (demand).  If the supply of homes outweighs the demand from buyers, prices go down. If the supply of homes isn’t adequate to meet the demand from buyers, prices go up.

The National Association of Realtors gives the following industry guideline:

• 1-4 months inventory means it is a sellers’ market and we can expect price appreciation.
• 5-6 months inventory means it is a balanced market with prices following inflation.
• 7+  months inventory means it is a buyers’ market and we can expect price depreciation.

**If you have a question you’d like to have answered, send it to:

Question: I keep seeing “REO” on property listings. What does REO mean?

Answer: REO is short for “Real Estate Owned”, which is a term used to classify a property that is owned by a lender or bank as the result of foreclosure and the inability to sell the property at public auction. Once a bank repossesses a property, it classifies the property as REO and it is treated as a non-performing asset of the bank. The house is usually listed by a broker, but offers and the sale will be handled by an asset manager who works for the bank. REO properties are sold As-Is and there are special precautions buyers have to keep in mind. If an asset manager accepts your offer, they will send you a stack of addendums to the purchase contract to sign. Be vigilant about reading every word, as these addendums sometimes remove certain rights that you would have on a normal real estate purchase. In addition, make sure there is no confusion regarding the payment of what are typically seller-paid closing costs, including HOA transfer fees and community enhancement fees. As always, count on an experienced Realtor to help you navigate your purchase. For more information, call Mary Benavides at 520-248-2130

Question: My electric bill was over $200 in June! Is there any way to beat the heat and reduce my energy costs?

Answer: First and foremost, don’t let your cool air sneak out of your house! Check your windows and doors to make sure there are no gaps or cracks in seals, caulking or weather stripping. Seal any leaks around plumbing or  electrical outlet entryways to your home. Close window blinds and drapes and turn off lights in unoccupied rooms during the day and keep ceiling fans running. Keep your ac filters clean and have your system checked for leaks by a licensed HVAC technician. Leaking ducts can reduce energy efficiency by up to 20%.  Limit the use of heat-generating appliances like ovens, dishwashers and clothes dryers during the hottest parts of the day.  You can also try setting your thermostat 1 degree warmer to see if your home is still comfortably cool. Making even a slight adjustment to the temperature setting can make a difference on your utility bill. If you leave your house for the entire day, or if you go on vacation, set your thermostat to a warmer temperature. One last tip that may save you money on your gas bill…experiment with the temperature setting on your hot water heater. Try turning it to the warm setting (120°F), which may or may not produce enough warm water for your household. Whatever you do, stay hydrated and think cool thoughts!!

Question: What is Shadow Inventory? So many real estate-related articles mention “shadow inventory”. What in the world does that mean??

Answer: Some analysts state that shadow inventory consists of homes that have been
foreclosed on by banks but are not on the market yet. Their theory is that so many
homes have gone into foreclosure that the banks haven’t been able to keep up with the processing that is necessary to get the homes on the market. Some of us also believe that shadow inventory also includes homes where the sellers are delinquent on payments and are likely to either go on the market as short sales or go into foreclosure.  Either way, the definition implies that there are distressed sales lurking in the shadows,.. so to speak.

Question: I saw my neighbors removing all of the fixtures, appliances and even the cabinets from their home when it went into foreclosure. Is that legal?

Answer: When a homeowner has a loan on their home, the lender holds a lien on the property and all fixtures, including built-in appliances. If the home goes into foreclosure, the lender becomes the new owner of all those items. If the previous owners of the home remove any of those assets from the home prior to moving out, they are committing a criminal offense pursuant to A.S.R. §13-1802 . The lender can file criminal charges or a civil lawsuit against the previous owners.

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