Selling Your Home May 13, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Impress Buyers at Your Open House

Hosting an open house can be a pivotal moment in the selling process of your home. It’s your opportunity to showcase the best features of your property, create an inviting atmosphere, and make a lasting impression that could ultimately lead to a sale. However, standing out in the competitive real estate market requires more than just opening your doors. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for and host an open house that will attract potential buyers and leave them impressed.

Before the Open House: Preparation is Key

Declutter and Depersonalize

The first step in preparing your home for an open house is decluttering and depersonalizing each room. This means removing personal photographs, memorabilia, and clutter accumulated over time. The goal is to create a blank canvas that allows buyers to envision their lives and belongings in the space, not be distracted by yours.

Deep Clean Everything

Cleanliness is everything when it comes to impressing potential buyers. Every surface should be spotless, from windows and floors to countertops and appliances. Consider hiring professional cleaners to ensure that even overlooked areas (think baseboards, ceiling fans, and window tracks) are pristine.

Minor Repairs and Updates

Address minor repairs such as leaky faucets, squeaky doors, or chipped paint. Minor issues can signal neglect to buyers and detract from their overall impression of your home. Additionally, minor updates—like replacing outdated hardware or adding a fresh coat of paint in neutral colors—can significantly enhance your property’s appeal.

Stage Your Home

Staging is more than just tidying up; it’s about creating an environment that highlights your home’s strengths and downplays its weaknesses. Rearrange furniture to maximize space and ensure a logical flow from room to room. Enhance each room with modest decor that adds to the ambiance without overwhelming the senses. Remember, the more comfortable and attractive your home is, the longer potential buyers will stay during the open house.

On the Day of the Open House: Making a Lasting Impression

Curb Appeal

First impressions are enduring, so it’s crucial to ensure your home’s exterior is as appealing as its interior. Mow the lawn, trim hedges, clear the walkways, and add a few plants or flowers for a pop of color. A welcoming entrance sets a positive tone for the rest of the viewing.


Open curtains to let in natural light, turn on lamps in darker areas and set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. Subtle background music and a mild, pleasant scent (think freshly baked cookies or lightly scented candles) can add to the ambiance without overpowering guests.

Information and Snacks

Provide detailed information sheets about your home, including photos, a list of upgrades or recent repairs, and any noteworthy features. Light refreshments can make the viewing experience more enjoyable for guests and give them a reason to linger and discuss the property.

Preparing your home for an open house is an art that involves meticulous preparation, strategic staging, and warm hospitality. By following these steps and executing them with care, you’re sure to make an unforgettable impression that could turn a casual viewer into your home’s new owner.

Call Kim

When it comes to selling your home, I will be with you every step of the way, and together, we can make an open house that will impress your buyers.  Give me a call at (928) 710-9148.

Buying a Home April 15, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Luxury Homes

Luxury homes have long been the pinnacle of real estate aspiration, offering not just a roof over one’s head but an experience of refinement and grandeur. But what truly sets a luxury home apart? For the discerning high-end home buyer, it’s not just about soaring ceilings and expansive views; it’s the meticulous details that elevate a property to an expression of indulgence and exclusivity. Whether you’re in the market for your dream home or simply appreciate the finer things, understanding what to look for in a luxury home is pivotal. 

Architectural Excellence and Premium Location

Before you even step inside, a luxury home’s exterior should captivate you with its architectural magnificence. This often translates to unique designs, high-quality materials, and skilled craftsmanship. In addition to aesthetic appeal, a prime location is critical—proximity to cultural landmarks, natural beauty, and privacy and exclusivity are all key factors. 

State-of-the-art technology and Smart Living

Luxury and convenience go hand in hand, and integrating state-of-the-art technology into every aspect of a home is non-negotiable. A high-end residence should offer cutting-edge security systems, smart home automation, and energy efficiency. Think lighting that adapts to your mood, climate control systems that learn your preferences, and integrated home entertainment networks. The seamless blending of technology and functionality contributes to a home’s ease of living, which is a hallmark of luxury.

Lavish Furnishings and Timeless Elegance

When you walk through the doors of a luxury home, you should immediately feel the presence of opulence. Interior design is where you’ll see the home’s signature style shine through. This doesn’t mean every surface should shine with gold leaf; luxury often comes in the form of understated elegance and cohesive themes that are fluid throughout. From bespoke furniture to artful decor and the highest quality materials, each piece should tell a story of curated sophistication and timeless class.

The Importance of Space and Functionality

Luxury homes should be roomy without feeling cavernous. It’s about balance. Large, airy spaces such as living areas and bedrooms are ideal, offering ample room to breathe and move. However, it’s not just about square footage; it’s about how each space is utilized. Functionality is key. Ample storage, a well-appointed kitchen, and multiple living areas contribute to the home’s livability, ensuring every nook and cranny serves a purpose.

World-Class Amenities and Personal Wellness

Luxury is as much about the lifestyle as the physical space. A private gym, spa, or home theater can transform a house into an experience. It’s about amenities that cater to well-being and entertainment. A luxury home might also include a pool, a wine cellar, a library, or a tennis court. Outdoor spaces such as gardens, terraces, and balconies that seamlessly integrate with the interior create a sense of expansiveness and tranquility and complete the home’s promise of lavish living.

Sustainable Practices and Environmental Considerations

The modern definition of luxury extends beyond material and financial wealth. Sustainable and eco-friendly practices are increasingly important to luxury home buyers who seek to minimize their environmental impact while enjoying the perks of upscale living. Features such as solar panels, high-efficiency appliances, and recycled or local materials show that a home is grand, forward-thinking, and responsible.

The Signature Exclusivity and Investment Potential

Finally, a luxury home isn’t just a place to live—it’s an investment. However, not all properties are equal in this regard. A truly luxury home should reflect the exclusivity and desirability of its location, architecture, and amenities, ensuring that it maintains and potentially increases in value over time. The uniqueness of the property, the health of the local real estate market, and the potential for future development can all influence a luxury home’s investment potential.

In Summary

What makes a luxury home truly luxurious is its ability to provide an all-encompassing experience that caters to the individual’s every desire. It should be a sanctuary that reflects your taste and provides a context for a lifestyle of comfort and sophistication. Whether you’re in the market for a new abode or admire the allure of luxurious living, use this guide to hone in on the details that truly matter in high-end real estate. Remember, in the epitome of luxury, it’s the home’s character and the quality of life it affords that truly speak to its worth.

Contact Kim Shaw today for more information on luxury homes in the Prescott area. (928) 710-9148


Credit and Mortgage Information March 12, 2024

Demystifying the Mortgage Maze

Many potential buyers put off the home-buying process because of the uncertainty of the real estate market and the fear of the steps involved in qualifying for a mortgage. However, it doesn’t have to be daunting. Below, we have broken down what you’ll need to qualify to purchase a home and easy steps you can follow to apply.

To qualify in today’s market, you’ll need the following:

  1. A Down Payment: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that the median down payment is 13% of the home’s price, while the median down payment for first-time homebuyers is 7%. Programs are also available to put less or no money down.
  2. Good Credit: You’ll need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional loan. If your score is below that, you may still be able to get an FHA loan, which requires a minimum credit score of 580.
  3. Income and Employment History: Lenders want a steady employment history and income. They may require documentation such as W2s, tax returns, and pay stubs. 

If you are ready to apply, here are five easy steps you can follow:

Step 1: Assess Your Financial Readiness

Understanding your financial standing is non-negotiable before you even shop for a mortgage. Review your credit report to ensure accuracy and address any red flags. Your credit score plays a pivotal role in the interest rate, making it a beneficial exercise to know where you stand.

Next, crunch the numbers to determine how much house you can afford. Evaluate your income, existing debts, and anticipated down payment. Online calculators are a handy tool, giving you a ballpark figure and a sense of what monthly payments might look like.

Lastly, shore up your financial health by saving for a substantial down payment. A higher down payment often results in better loan terms, lower monthly payments, and the avoidance of costly private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Step 2: Educate Yourself on Mortgage Types

The mortgage landscape is diverse, with various products tailored to different financial profiles. Spend time researching the mortgage types to identify the one that best suits your needs. From conventional loans, which provide the most flexibility, to government-insured options like FHA and VA loans for those who qualify, the possibilities are expansive.

Consider factors such as the loan term (15 years vs. 30 years), fixed-rate vs. adjustable-rate mortgages, and specialty programs available in your area, like first-time homebuyer incentives. Each comes with its own set of benefits and trade-offs, so it’s crucial to understand how they align with your long-term financial goals.

Step 3: Preparing Your Paperwork

A mortgage application is an exercise in thoroughness and documentation. Gather the necessary paperwork ahead of time to streamline the process. This typically includes:

  • W-2 forms or business tax returns if you’re self-employed
  • Pay stubs from the past 30 days
  • Bank statements
  • Statements for retirement accounts and other assets
  • Documentation for any additional income or assets

Having these documents organized will expedite your application and demonstrate your readiness to potential lenders.

Step 4: Shop for Lenders and Get Pre-Approved

It’s imperative to avoid settling for the first lender you come across. Instead, shop around to find the best terms. Start with your current financial institution, consider online lenders for convenience, and inquire about mortgage brokers who can connect you with multiple options.

Once you’ve narrowed down a few candidates, request pre-approval. This involves submitting your financial documents for review, resulting in a conditional commitment from the lender. Pre-approval strengthens your offer when you find a home you love and gives you a clear understanding of your budget with an exact loan amount.

Step 5: Submit Your Application and await the Outcome

With pre-approval in hand, you’re ready to submit your mortgage application. Be prepared for a thorough review of your financial history and current creditworthiness. Your lender may request additional information or documentation, so be responsive and cooperative.

Once your application is complete, the underwriting process begins. This is when your application is assessed for approval, which can take several weeks. Use this time wisely—avoid making significant financial changes, continue saving, and be patient while waiting for the green light.

When you receive your mortgage approval, review the terms carefully. Ensure you understand the interest rate, points, fees, and closing costs. If you have any lingering questions, don’t hesitate to ask your lender for clarification.

The mortgage process may seem labyrinthine, but with a clear plan and steady guidance, you can make it to the other side—the proud owner of a new home. Following these five steps will set you up for success and minimize the stress often accompanying this monumental transaction. 

If you are ready to make a real estate move, give me a call, I would love to help!  Kim Shaw (928) 710-9148

Buying a Home February 13, 2024

Everything Home Buyers Should Consider About Homeowners Associations (HOAs)

As the dream of homeownership unfolds, many prospective home buyers are met with a lesser-known facet of community living: the Homeowners Association (HOA). This concept garners equal parts confusion and controversy, but understanding the ins and outs of HOAs is crucial if you’re in the market to purchase a new home. They can significantly impact your quality of life and future property value.

In this detailed exploration, we unveil the world of HOAs—what they are and what they do. We’ll cover the benefits as well as the potential drawbacks.

Unpacking the Homeowners Association

So, what exactly is a Homeowners Association? An HOA is an organized body that manages a planned community or condominium. Its primary goals include:

  • Maintaining the property values and the community’s desirability by managing common areas.
  • Addressing nuisance issues.
  • Enforcing the community’s rules and guidelines.

Understanding the Basics: Governing Documents and Mandatory Membership

HOAs operate under governing documents—Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs)—which all homeowners within the association must adhere to. These binding agreements outline the rules for using and maintaining property within the HOA’s jurisdiction. Homeowners are usually required to be members of the HOA upon purchasing a property within its limits.

How It All Works: The HOA Board and Your Involvement

The HOA board, elected by community members, is responsible for the association’s policies, finances, and decisions. As a member, you can contribute your voice at meetings and through voting processes. However, the board typically makes the decisions regarding the day-to-day operations of the HOA.

The Pros: Community Benefits and Why HOAs Can Be a Home Buyers’ Ally

Despite the occasionally contentious reputation, many home buyers find that HOAs offer substantial benefits.

Aesthetic Appeal and Amenities

HOAs often maintain aesthetic uniformity within communities, ensuring that properties and common areas are well-kept. Some go the extra mile, providing and caring for amenities like pools, gyms, and walking trails.

Dispute Resolution and Community Standard Enforcement

HOAs provide a framework for addressing disputes between homeowners and upholding community standards, which can be especially valuable in maintaining a peaceful and harmonious neighborhood.

Financial Responsibility and Long-Term Value

A well-managed HOA can be financially savvy, budgeting for community enhancements and significant repairs. This helps protect and potentially enhance the property values of all homes in the association.

The Cons: HOAs Aren’t Without Their Pitfalls

Below are several common issues that can make HOAs less desirable for some home buyers. 

The Cost of Compliance

Living in an HOA comes with a price tag. Regular dues support the community, but additional costs can be associated with special assessments and potential fines for rule violations.

Loss of Some Freedom

For some, the CC&Rs’ rules might feel restrictive. Changes to your property may require approval, and certain lifestyle choices, such as running a business from home or the color you paint your front door, could be subject to scrutiny.

Decision Control: The Good and the Not-so-Good

While the board can make decisions with the community’s best interests in mind, those decisions may sometimes not align with every homeowner’s wishes. This lack of individual control can be off-putting for those who prefer autonomy over their property.

Navigating the Purchase: What to Look for When Considering an HOA Community

If you’re intrigued by a home in an HOA community, it’s critical to investigate the association’s health before making an offer.

Financial Fitness

Request and review the HOA’s financial documents. Look for adequate reserves, a reasonable budget, and a history of secure financial management to avoid potential future financial burdens.

Understanding the Rules

Get a copy of the CC&Rs and any other official community documents. Understand the restrictions placed on homeowners and consider if these align with your lifestyle and personal preferences.

Examining the Big Picture

Research how the association’s rules and decisions could affect your daily life and your financial investment. It is key to examine both short-term and long-term implications.

The Verdict: Are HOAs Right for You?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether an HOA community is the right choice for a home buyer. It ultimately comes down to your priorities and the specific HOA. An HOA could be the perfect fit if you value shared resources, community standards, and potential property value protection. However, if you crave more independence and control over your living environment, you may prefer a non-HOA community.

No matter your leanings, conducting thorough research, engaging with the association, and fostering a constructive relationship with your fellow homeowners will set the stage for a positive HOA experience. The key is to enter into the situation with eyes wide open, prepared to embrace the unique dynamic that HOA living offers.

If you are ready to look at homes in the Prescott area, give me a call at 928-710-9148, I will help you find the one right for you!

Kim Shaw

(928) 710-9148


Buying a Home January 11, 2024

Horse Lover’s Paradise: Prescott, Arizona

If you’re a horse lover, you know the feeling of being drawn to places where you can indulge your passion. And you might be surprised to learn that one of the best-kept secrets for equestrians is nestled in the heart of Arizona: Prescott. The area boasts of beautiful mountains, endless trails, and thriving horse communities.

Scenic Trails Galore

One of the standout features of Prescott is the sheer number of trails that can be explored on horseback. From the stunning Granite Mountain to the picturesque Williamson Valley, there’s no shortage of beautiful scenery to discover. Equestrians can roam through the rugged terrain and take in views that are nothing short of breathtaking. And with over 280 miles of trails in the Prescott National Forest alone, there’s always a new adventure waiting.

Communities Catering to Horses

In Prescott, the horse community is alive and well. The area has a rich equestrian history, and it shows in the many horse shows, rodeos, and events throughout the year. Local businesses also cater to horse owners, with plenty of feed stores, tack shops, and veterinary clinics to choose from. And if you’re looking to board your horse, you’ll be pleased to know that plenty of options are available to suit your needs.

As a side note, you will want to visit the Groom Creek Horse Camp – it has fantastic camping and trails! More Information

Below is information on some of the equestrian communities in the Prescott area. Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, numerous areas with horse properties exist in Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, and Dewey-Humboldt.  

 Prescott Prairie, Prescott Valley

Prescott Prairie in Prescott Valley, Arizona, is located on the north side of the Coyote Springs community near the base of Mingus Mountain. Prescott Prairie offers a peaceful country lifestyle with all the amenities of city life. This upscale community provides newer custom site-built homes. The minimum acreage in this community is 2 acres, so you have lots of room for horses, gardening, or a guest home. This community offers upscale homes on 2 acres with a peaceful country lifestyle. This rural community is located only a few miles from schools, shopping, and dining in Prescott Valley.

There are still multiple lots left for you to build your dream home. The tremendous mountain views, paved streets, and underground utilities are just a few reasons why people fall in love with Prescott Prairie.

Prescott Ridge, Prescott Valley

One of the premier locations in the Prescott Valley area is the gated community of Prescott Ridge. This development features 10 to 54-acre parcels covered by various vegetation, including juniper trees and pinon pines.  

Prescott Ridge is a fantastic location for horse owners or someone searching for that little piece of paradise for their new home. This upscale gated community also offers underground utilities, paved roads, value-protecting CC&Rs, and horse privileges.

American Ranch, Prescott

American Ranch is a prestigious community located just a few miles north of Prescott in the Williamson Valley corridor. This popular World Class Master Planned Equestrian Community neighbors the Prescott National Forest. There are approximately 240 homesites in the American Ranch community. 

Homes are custom-built and take advantage of the breathtaking mountain views, sitting on 1 to 5-acre parcels. Residents enjoy a $3 million Equestrian Center, fitness/exercise center, outdoor heated pool, spa, tennis, basketball, and a catch and release bass fishing lake.

Coyote Springs, Prescott Valley

The Coyote Springs Corridor is the section on the north side of 89A on the north side of Prescott Valley. This corridor is rural, with an average lot ranging from 2 to 10 acres. Homes in the Coyote Springs Corridor are within minutes of schools, shopping, the Prescott Valley Event Center, and the new Yavapai Regional Medical Center East Campus.  

The Coyote Springs corridor includes Coyote Springs, Mingus Meadows, Prescott Prairie, Antelope Meadows, and Poquito Valley.

Prescott, Arizona, is a hidden gem for equestrians that should be noticed. This area has everything from scenic trails and a supportive community to the quality of life and abundance of horse shows and events. If you’re looking for a place to call home or want to explore a new location, Prescott deserves to be at the top of your list. So saddle up and get ready to experience a true horse lover’s paradise.

If you are curious about horse properties for sale in the Prescott area, I would love to help!  Call me at (928) 710-9148.

Credit and Mortgage Information December 13, 2023

How Much Down Payment Do I Need?

Getting your finances in order is vital when preparing to purchase a home. If you’re looking to buy a house, one of the first things you’ll need to consider is how much down payment you’ll need to make. 

Depending on the type of loan you’re applying for, the size of your down payment could vary.

Generally, most conventional loans will require at least a 5% down payment. Some government-backed loans, like FHA or VA loans, may allow for a down payment as low as 3.5%. And if you’re eligible for a USDA loan, your down payment could be as low as 0%.

Of course, the size of your down payment isn’t the only factor affecting your home buying experience. You’ll also need to consider your credit score and the current market conditions.

So, how much down payment do you need to buy a home? As we indicated above, the answer depends on various factors, but you’ll need at least 5% in most cases. Keep in mind, though, that the size of your down payment also affects the competitiveness of your offer.  

A high down payment shows the seller you’re serious about buying the home. It also demonstrates that you have the financial resources to follow through on the purchase. This advantage can be significant in a competitive market, where the seller may have to choose from several offers.

A high down payment also gives you more leverage in negotiations. If the seller knows you’re willing and able to put more money down, they may be more likely to accept your offer – even if it’s not the highest one.

So, if you have the means, a high down payment is always the best way to go when buying a home. It will make your offer more attractive to the seller, lower the amount you need to borrow, and give you more negotiating power. Just be sure you have a solid plan for how you’ll finance the rest of the purchase.

If you’re interested in learning more about low-down-payment options, there are several places to go. 

There are programs for qualified buyers with down payments as low as 3.5%. There are also options like VA and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.

To understand your options, you need to do your homework. If you want to learn more about down payment assistance programs, information is available through sites like Be sure to also work with a real estate advisor from the start to learn what you may qualify for in the home buying process.  

Call me. I can put my years of experience to work and point you in the right direction!

Kim Shaw

(928) 710-9148

Selling Your Home November 16, 2023

Who to Notify Before You Move

Are you preparing for a move? In addition to all the packing, cleaning, and organizing you must do, you also need to notify the right people and organizations of your change of address. Here is a list of who to notify when you are moving.

  1. Family and friends: Of course, you’ll want to let your family and friends know you’re moving. You may even get help from them come moving day!
  2. Landlord: If you’re currently renting, give your landlord your notice as specified in your lease agreement.
  3. Employer: Be sure to let your employer know of your upcoming move so that they can update your records and contact information.
  4. Utilities: Notify your gas, water, and electric company at least a week before they can shut off/transfer service to your new address.
  5. Internet/cable: Call your internet and cable providers to set up or transfer service to your new place a few days before the move.
  6. Postal services: Remember to fill out a change of address form with the post office to forward your mail to your new home.
  7. Banks/financial institutions: Be sure to notify your bank(s) of your upcoming move.
  8. Subscriptions: If you have any magazine or newspaper subscriptions, remember to update your address with the publisher. The same goes for any online subscriptions like Netflix or Hulu.
  9. MVD: Remember to change your address with the Department of Motor Vehicles so that your driver’s license and registration reflect your new home.
  10. Government agencies: Any federal, state, or local government agencies you deal with should be notified of your move. This includes the IRS, Social Security office, and your voter registration office. Change your address for tax purposes by filing Form 8822 with the IRS.
  11. Medical and educational facilities:  If you have children in school or see a doctor regularly, update your contact information with their office.
  12. Insurance companies:  Let your insurance company know of your move so that they can update your records and make sure you’re still covered.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to notify everyone on this list. The last thing you want is to worry about changing your address while trying to settle into your new home.

Moving can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it when settling into your new home. If you want to move but need help finding the right home, I’d love to help you with your real estate needs. Let’s connect today!  Kim Shaw (928) 710-9148

Selling Your Home October 12, 2023

Looking to Downsize?

Downsizing your house may seem daunting and overwhelming, but it can be a great way to simplify your life and save money in the long run. Whether you’re an empty nester, looking to simplify your lifestyle, or ready to retire, downsizing can be a great option. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of downsizing, tips for decluttering and organizing your home, and how to make the transition to a smaller space as smooth as possible. 

An article by The Balance states that: 

“There are many reasons to buy a smaller home—or to downsize from your present home—but sometimes, the idea that “less is more” is what propels homeowners to buy a smaller home.”

Finding the Right Home to Fit Your Needs

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) determined multiple factors why people of retirement age choose to move. The top three reasons include:

  1. Need for a smaller home.
  2. Desire to be closer to loved ones.
  3. And simply, retirement itself. 

When your lifestyle changes, you may also need your home to change. The Balance also determined that home maintenance is less time-consuming with downsized homes, leaving more time to spend with the people you love or exploring newfound hobbies. 

Equity Can Make a Big Impact

Home equity can be critical in downsizing and when you sell your existing house and move.  CoreLogic’s latest Homeowner Equity Insights stated that the average homeowner gained about $55,300 in equity over the past 12 months.

Chief Economist at CoreLogic, Dr. Frank Nothaft, explained that:

“Home prices rose 18% during 2021 in the CoreLogic Home Price Index, the largest annual gain recorded in its 45-year history, generating a big increase in home equity wealth, . . . For low- and moderate-income homeowners, home equity has historically been a major source of wealth.”

Home prices are rising, but so is your equity! This equity may allow you to make a significant down payment on your new home. More money down will create more financial freedom with a smaller monthly mortgage payment. With today’s competitive housing market, more money up front will help you stand out above the rest. 

The Process of Downsizing

  1. Start by reassessing your needs and wants.
  2. Sell, donate, or recycle your unwanted items.
  3. Invest in clever storage solutions.
  4. Focus on quality over quantity.
  5. Embrace the freedom of a simpler life.

I’d love to help you through this process. As a trusted real estate advisor, I will help you reach your homeownership goals and guide you through selling your current home and buying your new one. 

Downsizing your house might seem intimidating, but it can be a great way to simplify your life and save money. By decluttering, organizing, and transitioning to a smaller space, you can enjoy all the benefits of a more minimalist existence. Whether you’re an empty nester, looking to simplify your lifestyle, or retiring, downsizing can be a great option. 

If you’ve decided to downsize, let’s connect so we can work together to find a home that matches your situation. Call me Kim Shaw (928) 710-9148.


Buying a Home September 25, 2023

You May Be Wrong About Your Down Payment Needs

Are you in the market for a home but feel your dream is out of reach? The uncertainty may be because you feel like you need to have a substantial down payment saved up to qualify. Well, guess what – there’s good news! You may not need as much money as you initially thought. Conventional wisdom regarding the down payment necessary for buying a home may be wrong – and we can tell you exactly why!  

Freddie Mac states, “The most damaging down payment myth—since it stops the homebuying process before it can start—is the belief that 20% is necessary.” 

Generally speaking, you will need between 5% and 20% of the home’s purchase price for a down payment. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. Today, the median down payment is only 13%, with first-time homebuyers’ median down payment only 7%.

However, some programs can help you with as little as 3% down. For example, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers a 3.5% down payment program, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offer programs with 0% down.

What Does This Mean for You?

Larger down payments have their benefits, mainly providing lower mortgage rates and monthly payments. But if you can’t swing a 20% down payment, don’t worry! To understand your options, you need to do your homework. If you want to learn more about down payment assistance programs, information is available through sites like 

Assistance Programs

According to, thousands of financial assistance programs, like affordable mortgage options for first-time buyers. Down payment assistance options make up the majority of the many available programs. According to their information, 73% of the assistance available to homebuyers is there to help you with your down payment. 

Tips to Save for Your Down Payment

There are some ways to help save that money for your down payment. Each month, pretend you already have a mortgage payment and have that amount deposited into savings. Once you have saved enough for your down payment, you can use that money as extra payments on your mortgage to help pay it off faster! Another tip is to get creative with your living situation. Move from a two-bedroom apartment to a one-bedroom, or consider a temporary roommate. Apply the additional income towards savings. 

Saving for your down payment may seem daunting, but remember that you don’t have to go at it alone. Call me, and I can answer your questions and start your homebuying journey today!


Kim Shaw

(928) 710-9148


Buying a Home August 9, 2023

How to Avoid Disappointment with Your Lender

It can be challenging to find a suitable lender. You may have had a frustrating experience with your last one, or you’re just starting the process and don’t know where to begin. Regardless of your situation, seeking out satisfaction with your lender is essential. This post will give tips for finding the right lender and getting what you need from them.

No one wants to end up being one of the 20% of home buyers unhappy with their lender. But how does this happen? And what can you do to avoid it?

There are a few things that can contribute to dissatisfaction with a lender. The loan process may have been more complicated and took longer than expected. Or the interest rate was higher than anticipated. Whatever the case may be, you can take steps to ensure that you’re happy with your lender.

Here are a few tips for seeking satisfaction with your lender:

1. Do your research

When shopping for a loan, it’s essential to do your research and compare different lenders. This extra step will help you find the best interest rate and terms for your loan.

2. Be realistic

Don’t expect perfection from your lender. Things may go differently than planned, but you should be satisfied if you get a loan that meets your needs.

3. Ask questions

If you need help understanding something, ask your lender for clarification. You must understand the loan process and what you’re agreeing to. After you have compared rates, ask for referrals from friends, family members, and look up online reviews and independent rating agencies to learn about the lender’s merit. Then when it’s time to meet, ask questions such as:

  • What is their method of communication?
  • How long do their preapproval, appraisal, and closing take?
  • What lender fees are there?
  • What are the down payment requirements?

Additional Tips

Below are some additional items that will help you have a smooth mortgage process:

Get your credit score in shape: The lower the credit score, the higher the interest rate. Elevate your credit score by paying off high-interest debts and lowering your overall debt. Also, double-check to make sure your credit report is accurate and error-free.

Know the mortgage lending landscape: Understand the common types of home lenders: credit unions, mortgage bankers, correspondent lenders, saving and loans, and mutual saving banks.

Get preapproved: By getting a mortgage preapproval, you will have an edge when bidding against other buyers.

Compare rates from several lenders: Search for the best mortgage rates online. Once you have several quotes, compare the costs, and you can use your research to negotiate for the best mortgage rate.

Following these tips will help you find a lender you’re happy with. Remember, it’s essential to research and ask questions to make the best decision for your needs. And finally, don’t expect perfection – things may only sometimes go according to plan, but as long as you get a loan that meets your needs, you should be satisfied. With a little effort, you can find a lender you’re happy with and avoid being one of the 20% of home buyers who end up dissatisfied.

Are you looking for a mortgage broker to help you navigate the lending process? I’m happy to refer a few. Get in touch today: (928) 710-9148