Jennifer Moore
December 2023
Two Agents. Two Perspectives. One focus: YOU!

Theresa Jensen

Daily News And Advice
Today's Feature Stories

Tips for Making your Home More Inviting to Guests

Having an inviting home is a great way to keep your home open and inviting for guests. If you are looking to turn your home into a party pad, there are certain things that you will need to do in order to make your home more inviting to guests. Once you feel like your home is a better place for your guests, it will be easy for you to have friends and family over for different activities.

Declutter your home

Decluttering your home is a great way for you to finally have more space for all of your guests. This is something that will also be great for your personal life as well. When there are too many things in your home, you are going to constantly feel stressed out. Once you have decided that it is time to declutter your home, you need to come up with a plan for decluttering your home. If you feel like this is going to be overwhelming for you, there are professionals you can hire to help you with this process.  

Make sure your home has a good smell to it

It is important to have a home that has a good smell when you are bringing guests over. Even if your home doesn’t have a bad smell, it could just have a smell that is stale or bland. Instead of being relegated to this type of smell, you could have a great smelling home that seems fresh. Essential oils will give your home a much fresher feel that will be great for your guests. Investing in essential oil diffusers for your home will be a great way to create an inviting feel to your home. This will also help the air quality of your home and can cut down on allergies.

The right lighting can make a big difference

When you have guests over, you don’t want to feel like you are having a party at a supermarket. While fluorescent lights might be a great way to light up a home, it doesn’t create any sort of inviting vibe. There are other types of lights that will make your home much more inviting. Dimmable LED lights are one of the best ways to create a warm and inviting feeling in your home for your guests. There are many resources online that will help you to create an atmosphere that will make your home a prime spot for guests.

Comfortable furniture is important

If you don’t have the right type of seating in your home, it is going to be difficult for your guests to feel comfortable at your parties. You need to make sure that you are able to offer your guests seating options that will   them. Having comfortable furniture in your home will also help you to feel more comfortable on a daily basis.

Have outdoor areas where everyone can hang out

One of the best ways to have a fun party in the summer is to move everything outdoors. This means everyone can enjoy the night sky, roast over the fire, and play games in the yard. You need to create an outdoor space that will allow everyone to join together and have a fun outdoor party. There are outdoor furniture sets that are relatively inexpensive that will allow you to have a great experience with your party.

Show your style with personal decorations

Showing off your style during parties is a great way to feel more personal about your experience. When you decorate your party with your own personal style, it will be easy for you to create your own unique vibe.

Making your home more inviting to guests is a great way for you to be able to feel more confident about throwing parties. Before you know it, you will be the talk of the neighborhood with all of the great parties you are throwing.


Shopping For Mortgage Rates the Right Way

When you’re getting ready to buy and finance  a home or perhaps refinance an existing  mortgage, one of the things you end up doing is shopping around for mortgage rates. Individual lenders set their own rates each and every day. Sometimes even more than once per day during an odd, but not unprecedented, volatile mortgage market. The Fed doesn’t set your typical 30 year fixed rate mortgage, it’s the individual lender. Yes, the Fed does affect mortgage rates but only indirectly. Some adjustable rates can reflect Fed actions but your everyday fixed rate loan is in the lender’s hands.

Okay, that said, how do you shop around for rates? Here are some things you should definitely do:

Shop for rates on the same day. 

Because mortgage rates react to certain market conditions, getting a rate quote on a Monday could be very different from a rate on Thursday. Market conditions can change in just a few days, so to be fair to yourself, set aside a rate shopping day and start making some calls. Note here, when you review rates on a website, pay attention to when the rate was posted. If it was a couple of days ago, you need to pick up the phone and make a few calls.

Shop at the same time of day.

 Just as it’s important to shop around on the same day, you can also help by shopping at the same time of day as well. Again, things can change rather rapidly without your knowing and a rate quote in the morning might be different in the afternoon.

Shop for the same program. 

Only get a quote for the same exact mortgage program. You can’t compare rates for a 30 year loan with a 15, for example. And certainly don’t compare rates for a fixed with an adjustable. 


If you’re getting 30 year quotes and you’re shopping in the morning, make sure you get the exact program and I mean exact. Get a quote for a 30 year loan with one point, for example. And also get the quote for the same ‘lock’ period. Most lenders offer various rate guarantees, or locks, at different periods of time. A lender might have a 10 day lock, a 30 day and so on. The longer the lock period, the higher the rate will be.

Finally, compare lender fees. One lender might have a much better rate than everyone else but that lender might also have higher loan charges.

It can be hard to compare apples and apples sometimes, but if you follow these steps, you’ll be doing exactly that.


Open Shelving in the Kitchen—Yay or Nay?

Watch any home improvement show from the last several years, and you’ll see it: open shelving in the kitchen. But is this trend something you should embrace in your own space? 

Does it have staying power or will it wither away once people come to terms with its lack of function? Will you love it or regret it if you rip out all your upper cabinets? Those are the questions we’re posing today as we examine the pros and cons of open shelving.

Rise in popularity

If it seems like open shelving is everywhere, that’s because it is. “Open shelving is one the most popular—and also the most controversial—kitchen trends of recent years,” said Apartment Therapy

Some kitchens, in an effort to look updated and open, have eliminated upper cabinets entirely, integrating open shelving instead. Others utilize the trend more marginally, replacing just one or two smaller sections of upper cabinets. If you are wary of converting your entire kitchen to open shelving, this is a good starter. 

Another way to get your feet wet is to simply remove the front of your cabinets instead of taking them down all together. This way, you can get the look without a major change, and you can always put the doors back on when the fad eventually passes.

Light, airy, and open

That’s what a lot of people are looking for when they make the decision to go with open shelving. And it works—sometimes too well. Getting rid of all the typical upper cabinets can sometimes make a space look too minimalist. “Open shelving can also look a bit… unfinished,” said Apartment Therapy.

Showcasing the goods 

Then again, it’s a great way to highlight china, nice dishes, or décor items. 

Highlighting a mess

Of course, that requires you to have china, nice dishes, or décor items, and to be able to display them in some kind of orderly fashion–instead of like a typical home where bowls may be mismatched, or at least stacked unevenly. 

But, if you’re seeking a way to get motivated to have a clean and orderly kitchen, this could help. “If you’re looking for a built-in, training-wheel kitchen setup to help ensure that you stay organized, then open shelving might be a good idea,” said HGTV. “The trick is: you have to commit to keeping things neat so you can avoid having your kitchen look like a hot-mess yard sale.”

It’s dusty in here

Regardless of what your dishes look like, they’re likely to get dusty without the benefit of being behind closed doors. “While we love looking at neatly arranged dishware on an open shelf, the reality can be a bit frustrating. Namely, due to all the dust and grease that end up on the carefully-arranged plates, bowls, mugs and glassware,” said House Beautiful. In fact, the site is so adamant about its stance on open shelving that the trend made its list of “9 Trendy Home Features That Are Secretly a Pain.”


What is An All-Cash Offer When Buying a Home?

If you’ve ever watched a real estate show, particularly one that centers on the luxury market, you’ve probably heard quite a few references to all-cash offers. In the current market with low inventory and bidding wars, all-cash offers are a popular way for buyers to compete.

You may find yourself wondering what that means.

There’s a secret to an all-cash offer you may not be aware of—you can still get a mortgage.

The Basics of An All-Cash Offer

An all-cash offer means that a buyer plans to pay cash for the home they’re putting an offer on. The key here is that the buyer, in doing so, can prove they have the money in the bank to do that. A cash offer is appealing for a seller because it makes for a faster process with fewer chances for something to go wrong along the way.

If a buyer plans to get a mortgage, they’re riskier for a seller. The less financing has to be involved in a deal, the better from the seller's perspective.

If someone buys a home without financing, they’ll either use a cashier’s check or transfer the funds electronically.

Since no lender is involved, the closing time with cash purchases tends to be much faster. These deals can close in just two weeks if necessary. Those two weeks are just enough time to clear any liens, prepare the paperwork and provide insurance.

For a financed purchase where the buyer is getting a mortgage, the closing time is, on average, at least 30 days. It can be as long as 45 to 60 days to closing.

The Process for Buying a House All-Cash

If someone’s going to buy a house all-cash, the following are the steps that usually occur in the process:

  • The first step is for a seller to accept the buyer’s offer, and then a Purchase and Sale Agreement is completed. This is also known as going under contract.
  • From there, the next step is the verification of proof of funds. You need to make sure, if you’re the seller, that your buyer actually has the cash they say they do. You may ask for earnest money, which is usually 1-2% of the sales price. Then, you may request proof of funds as bank or investment statements. A real estate agent will help you with this.
  • You’ll have to hire a title and escrow company or the buyer might be responsible for this, depending on the state you’re in. The title company makes sure there are no liens to be addressed, and they’ll handle title insurance. On closing day, a title company makes sure the ownership of the property changes hands appropriately. The escrow company deals with closing documents and the transfer of funds. They’re also responsible for completing legal paperwork.
  • Buyers may submit their offer with an inspection contingency, which then means they could have an option to renegotiate the sale price or request repairs, depending on what’s found during the inspection.
  • Then, it’s time to review and sign the closing documents. Even with an all-cash transaction, you can expect a fair amount of paperwork.

Can You Compete If You Need a Mortgage?

Yes, buyers indeed tend to prefer all-cash buyers, especially right now in a seller’s market. There are ways you can be considered an all-cash offer while still using a loan.

For example, some lenders have what’s called decision-now approval. It’s not exactly cash, but in the eyes of a seller, it may have the same benefits because it has a preapproval that’s underwritten. That means the loan is already funded, and the lender verifies that the remaining amount of the sales price is officially accounted for.

Then a buyer can take financing contingencies out of their offer without worrying about losing their earnest money because they’ve already secured a mortgage.

Doing something like this, depending on what your lender offers, can make you a strong buyer that’s almost as good as all-cash.

Finally, if you’re interested in that approach, you’ll have to shop around to find a lender offering upfront underwriting because not all do.


Ask the HOA Expert: Welcome to the HOA Board!

The annual homeowner association meeting convenes. The president announces that the floor is open for nominations. A fellow homeowner say to you, "You know, you would make a good board member." Before you have a chance to reply, some body movement indicates that you are willing, ready and able to serve. "The nominations are closed", a vote is taken, and suddenly YOU ARE ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS. You ask yourself, "What does being on the board mean, who is going to teach me and how much do I FULL STORY->

Rates Trending Downward

Freddie Mac publishes a weekly mortgage rate survey. For rate followers and maybe those who are thinking of refinancing or wanting to buy a home with a lower rate, this is good news. According to the most recent survey, the average 30 year fixed rate was around 7.29%. This is just about the same rate as we saw last September. Not a big move, but a move nonetheless. Why this trend? 

{loadmoduleid 306}

Mostly it’s due to the relatively tame inflation data FULL STORY->

Pros and Cons of Buying a Tiny Home

Coyote, the son of Lily Tomlin’s character on the hit Netflix series Grace and Frankie, attempts to prepare a meal in his tiny home. Hilarity then ensues as he tries to maneuver through the dinky kitchen space without running into, or over, his girlfriend. Such is the reality of tiny home life, on TV and in true life. But that hasn’t stopped thousands of people from making the move to a space that’s a fraction of the size of a typical American home.

What was once written off as FULL STORY->

Preparing Your Home For Long Term Travel

Are you about to go on a long vacation? If your travels take you far from home for an extended period of time, it's crucial to make sure your house is well-prepared in advance for your long absence. Here are some helpful hints for making sure your home stays safe from plumbing disasters, appliance mishaps and more while you are away.

{loadmoduleid 306}

Set Your Thermostat

If you will be leaving your house unattended during the winter months, make sure your thermostat FULL STORY->

Holiday Hosting Tips for First-Timers

Hosting a holiday meal or party for the first time this year? It’s a rite of passage, and one you’re probably particularly excited about if this is your first year in your new home. Naturally, there may also be some fear tied up in all that excitement. After all, successful hosting is a skill that’s honed over many years.

Don’t fret. You can skip the rookie mistakes by paying attention to these top tips.

{loadmoduleid 306}

Don’t try to do everything

Mortgage Rates
Averages as of December 2023:

30 yr. fixed: 7.29%
15 yr. fixed: 6.67%
5/1 yr. adj: 6.84%

Buyers Advice

Sellers Advice

Homeowners Advice

Advice For Borrowers

Homeowner Association News

Jennifer Moore & Theresa Jensen
Jennifer: (602) 524-0361; Theresa: (623)-261-6942

West USA Realty
(602) 942-1410
16150 N. Arrowhead Fountain Center Dr., #100
Peoria, Arizona 85382