Category Archives: Blog

The Gulf Coast Housing Market finishes 2016 Strong

Housing Market Gulf Coast of Florida

The 2016 Gulf Coast of Florida Housing Market

The Gulf Coast housing market finished 2016 strong. There was a slow down right before the election, but despite the election slow down the Manatee County median single family home price soared up 7.5% to $285,000 from December 2015. Condo prices in Manatee County also saw a modest gain over last year of 3.8% to bring the median sales price to $185,000. Cash sales equated for less percentage of total sales compared to last year, but still much higher than other counties in Florida as well as the rest of the Nation. Condo cash sales between Manatee and Sarasota counties combined represented 63.1% of total sales down from 66.1%. While cash sales for single family homes in December for both counties compared to December of 2015 dropped from 40.9% to 34.1%. Inventory levels increased this year in both counties. Manatee County month’s supply inventory for Condos and single family homes is hovering around a 4 month supply closer to a balanced market of a 6 month supply.

The 2017 Trump Presidency and Economy

The Trump presidency so far has been good for the economy in the stock market, but with stocks looking optimistic it has slowed Real Estate Sales in the very short term. Interest rates began to shoot up and caused Buyers to see their purchasing power decrease and Mortgage loan applications dropped. Another effect was the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which was set to have a premium cut on FHA loans saving the average FHA borrower $500 a year in insurance costs was suspended and does not look like it will be reinstated in the near future. I think these woes will adjust themselves as we move closer to a balanced market. Hopefully a stronger and healthier economy is in the near horizon. This year will still be a seller’s market, but properties will take longer to sell due to higher competition. I expect median home sale prices to rise and inventory levels to also increase. Find out today how much your home has appreciated and how much equity you have built with a FREE Comparative Market Analysis.

Best Practices for Home Safety

Best Practices for Home Safety, Long-Term Home Value, and Cost Savings

In this day and age the fewer recurring monthly payments you have the more money you can keep in your pocket.  I look for anyway I can to eliminate that drain on the finances.  For example, why go to the gym and pay $60 bucks when I can invest that in buying the equipment outright.

Homeowner Insurance Discounts

Homeowners are required to pay homeowners insurance if they have a mortgage, but there are ways to cut costs with this expense. If the home is well maintained you will receive discounts on the cost.  The 4 point inspection and wind mitigation assign certain credits on your policy based on these inspections.  After you purchase a home you can help reduce the cost of your homeowners insurance by improvements that make your home safer.

One of the first things Homeowners can put a little money into that will help their insurance premium go down and make their home safer is Wind and Disaster Mitigation.  These include: hurricane doors, window shutters and reinforced garage doors.  In Florida these are great features for your peace of mind, bring down your premium and save you money in the long run when disaster strikes.

Home Safety Options

Another feature that a lot of homeowners want to help make their home safer is an alarm system.   For those of you that only live in Florida during the winter months this is almost a necessity in today’s day and age.   This can alert you of fire or a break in and helps deter burglars.

An internal sprinkler system is another modification to make your home safer.  Make sure each head is set off only by high temperatures and not smoke so you do not accidentally saturate your home for no reason.  Consider if you want heads in just the major living spaces such as living rooms or if you want them even in areas like closets.

Some features you purchase that save money on insurance will take a rather long time to recoup the out lay, but if you are going to be there for a while they are worth it and also are great selling points.  Sometimes you will need to have another wind mitigation inspection to get  credit or for an alarm  system you may need a certificate so talk to your local  insurance agent today about  what you can do to make your home safer while helping you  safe money.

The Right Home

Market Timing for Buying a Home in the Sarasota / Bradenton Area, Florida

The Right Home

The Current Market in Manatee & Sarasota

The current real estate market in Manatee and Sarasota County is very active. Properties are selling and they are selling fast. Homes that are priced competitively and advertised properly are being sold almost as fast as they are listed. Others are being sold before they are even listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

In this type of market, timing is a key element when buying a home. I have experienced firsthand with my clients the ups and downs of the home buying process. My clients have made competitive offers only to find out another offer was accepted or the property just went under contract. It is certainly a roller coaster. Yet, I have found that each client will find the right house to meet their specific needs.

Patience & Dedication to Find the Right Home to Purchase

I recently had a client who was extremely disappointed when their offer wasn’t accepted. They almost stopped looking. It took a little longer to find another property they liked. But with their patience and my dedication we found a home that was less money and better suited to their needs.

My advice to any home buyer is to be patient and hire a real estate agent who is willing to put in the effort and time necessary to find the home of your dreams. A good Agent is worth waiting for they will help you save money, time, headaches and steer you into a good investment if you allow them the time necessary.

Buying or Selling a Home Checklist

Checklist: What do I do first when buying or selling a home?

Buying or Selling a Home Checklist

When buying a home things you should do first?

  1.  Save up for a down payment.
  2.  Strengthen your credit.
  3. Talk to a Mortgage banker to get a pre-approval letter to know in what price range you can search. They can also talk to you about any government programs or special loans that you may qualify for to help you in your home purchase.
  4. Decide what you like and don’t about your current home or apartment. Try to narrow down what it is you are looking for exactly. Distinguish your needs from your wants.
  5. Find a local agent to assist you in the home buying experience.It must be someone you trust and feel comfortable to work with.

When selling a home things you should do first?

  1. When selling a home, find out the value of the home by having a local agent prepare a Comparative Market Analysis.
  2. Run the figures and check to see if the amount you can sell it for will work with your financial plan.
  3. Spruce up the home and remove any clutter.
  4. Organize.
  5. Clean.
  6. Remove personalized items like pictures, posters and knick-knacks.
  7. Paint to spruce up the outside and paint the inside in neutral colors.
  8. Landscape the yard.

Why pay a Real Estate agent a commission to sell my house?

hand holding mobile phone with house sale offer and house as a background

There are numerous reasons – here are just a few…

You will make more money.  The average agent assisted home sale sold for $230,000 where as a For Sale By Owner only brought in $184,000.  Most people fail to sell their home on their own and wind up having to work with an agent anyway to sell their home.   80% of all “For Sale By Owners” wind up working with an agent.  Last year “For Sale By Owners” only accounted for 9% of all Homes Sales.

Accurate pricing. Only a person intimately involved in Real Estate particularly the local market you are trying to sell in can price your home at Market value.  Online Evaluations and websites are never truly accurate and are normally grossly under or overpriced.  A local agent will know what type of market you are in and how to price accordingly to get the most for your home in the least amount of time.  Bad pricing will have your home sitting on market and the longer it sits the less likely to sell and at a greater discount off the original listing price.   Let the agent use their tools and skill set which include: pricing, MLS, their own pool of buyers, advertising, negotiating and marketing to lead you to hit the bull’s-eye when selling your home.

Saves time and work. An agent will save you time and paperwork.  The agent takes time to judiciously photograph your property, write an appealing ad, stage your home to present it in its best light, take care of the paperwork
and make sure that the transaction is within the confines of the law.

Why use an agent when buying?

The reason to use an agent when buying a home is almost a no brainer! A Buyer’s agent costs you no money.  The agent being intimately involved in your market in can skillfully guide you through the process.  A good agent will help you save money.  They can give advice on offers and negotiating with the listing agent to try to get as much discount as possible from the listing price.  They can get you in touch with other reputable professionals for services you might need.  They will help you become familiar with the area and are by your side from start to finish. They have the tools to help you find the home of your dreams.

Do I have to spend a lot of money to get what I want out of selling my house?

NO!  Several things go into what price your home will get once placed on the market including the U.S. economy, your local market, what are the homes selling for in your neighborhood with features like yours.  You do not need to spend $30,000 updating your kitchen to get top price for your home.  In fact you may not need to spend a dime.  The only improvements on a national average that even have 100% return on investment or higher right now are windows, doors and paint.  Talk to an Agent to help guide you if you need to make any improvements or changes to your house before selling it.

Is renting cheaper than owing a house?

Yes and no. It depends on your unique situation as well as the market.  In today’s current market with historically low interest rates and rising rents, yes, owing, in most cases, is almost always cheaper than renting if you can afford it.  With renting, all your money is just going to your landlord’s pocket or paying your landlord’s mortgage.  Where as, if you own your home, your payments are going toward equity in the property which acts as a savings vehicle not to mention being able to sell your home for profit or rent it out yourself.  Owning a home though has risks like liquidity, the ability to get the money it is worth quickly, taxes and cost of repairs.  So you will want to have a small amount of money in reserve so you can make sure your home stays yours.

Home ownership and wealth

Home Ownership the Beginning of Wealth

Home ownership and wealth

Home ownership is part of the American dream!

The hope, that from a humble start, anyone may aspire to more than what they were born into. A hope that life is truly what you make it. Hope that leads you as far as you are willing to.  Home ownership is part of that dream and intertwined with the overall American dream of being free.

Owning a home acts as a savings vehicle, can be a tax shelter, can earn you money through appreciation in value, rental income, and a place to call your own where you can live the way you want to live.  Real estate over the years has been seen as a good investment that increases in value above the cost of inflation.

Let us help you to increase your wealth!

Whether through buying or selling, we can steer you on a path to success.  Allow us the chance to help you get your slice of the American dream.