Real Estate Insider Blog

Showing 1-10 of 47 articles.
23
Dec
2016

Young Family Moving? Here's What to Do

 


 

If you are thinking about buying your first home, there's probably a lot on your mind. You may be thinking about the home's size and layout. You are likely thinking about and planning for all of the things you'll do. However, as a young family, you also have to consider the neighborhood and community closely. You'll likely need to remain in that home for some time to break even, so you'll want to ensure the home is the right place for you and your family.
 

Tips on finding a great home in the Clearwater Area:

 

  • Utilize online tools like City-Data.com to help you to find information about your neighborhood. This can include information about crime rates within local areas.
     
  • Research the schools themselves. GreatSchools.com is a third-party website that can offer some information on schools in the community.
     
  • Check out the neighborhood in several ways. For example, visit several parks in the area. Go for a walk. Get an idea of what the layout of the community is. And, visit City Hall. Get to know the local Chamber of Commerce. These types of activities take minutes but they can give you an idea about the benefits any location can offer to you.
     
  • Learn about what there is to do in any given area. You'll want to look into parks and the local recreation department, but you'll have plenty of other things to do as well. Check out local attraction websites...
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15
Dec
2016

The Biggest Misconceptions About Buying a Home

As a first-time home buyer, you have a lot on your mind when it comes to finding your dream home, paying for it, and taking care of it. What are the biggest mistakes and misconceptions you have about the process? These are key areas of concern for many people today.

The mortgage payment: Be sure you can afford your mortgage payment and invest the time in creating a budget. Get with your lender to see how much you will need to put down and ask your Clearwater area REALTOR® to see how much your estimated closing costs are. Doing the above will ease your mind so you’ll know how much loan you can manage and the total cash needed to close.

The renovations: Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes new home buyers make is not fully understanding what revisions are necessary. First-time home buyers rarely should consider significant renovations unless they have the budget to tackle it. A home inspection can help clear up some of your concern. An experienced REALTOR® like Christopher Milson should be able to give you a “ball park” estimate of the amount of work needed and successfully negotiate to get adequate compensation for any possible repairs.

The neighborhood: Have you taken the time to explore the neighborhood? Do a bit of experimenting so you can avoid having to struggle later. Drive to and from work from the new home during the normal times and walk the neighborhood with the kids. If you can’t physically get to a particular area, take...

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07
Dec
2016

WHAT FACTORS ARE STABILIZING HOUSING AFFORDABILITY?

A "pretty amazing balancing act" between low interest rates and rising home prices is reportedly keeping affordability stable at the national level, according to the latest Black Knight Mortgage Monitor.

The report found that the average U.S. home value increased by $13,500 from the year prior, but low interest rates mean the monthly P&I payment on the median-priced home is only a dollar less than last year. Additionally, it currently takes only 20 percent of the median monthly income to cover monthly payments on the median-priced home. This is well below historical norms.

Despite these national levels, affordability varies across the country based on home price appreciation (HPA). For example, the report shows that in Washington and Oregon, it costs 5-6 percent more in P&I each month to buy the median priced home than the year before. In contrast, states such as New Jersey, Wyoming, North Dakota and Connecticut cost 3-5 percent less each month than in the previous year.

If the rates where to increase though, this would disrupt the balance that affordability is seeing nationally. The report computes that a 50-basis point increase in interest rates would be equivalent to a $17,000 increase in the average home price, thus potentially bringing the affordability ratio up to 21.5 percent of median income. That would make affordability the highest it's been post-crisis. With a 1 percent rise in rates, the payment-to-income ratio would potentially...





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01
Dec
2016

Homeowners Association Or Not?

Buying a home that's within a homeowner's association can seem like a turnoff for some people. For others, it is exactly the type of neighborhood they are looking for. What's right for you and your family?

When you live in an area with a homeowners' association, you can expect to be required to make an additional payment towards the community's upkeep and management each month or annually. This fee gives you a few key things. In most cases, you'll have access to more onsite amenities such as recreational facilities and pools. You may have a playground that's maintained. These areas may offer more security. You can also expect more sponsored events in many of these locations. Be sure to read and understand all of the amenities and benefits offered to you when buying into this type of neighborhood.

For some, there are challenges in these organizations. You'll have to follow rules and, in some cases, making changes to your property, such as the paint color or to the features on your lot, may require approval of the association. You may be limited to the types of things you can do to the exterior of your home.

Is it better to live within a homeowners' association or not? This really depends on whether the amenities and additional features of the location are worth it to you. Each location is different, though. That's why it is so important for you to ensure you choose an area that fits your unique needs and lifestyle. Take the...

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17
Nov
2016

What will post-election mortgage rate increases mean for the Clearwater area housing market?

The bond market started going haywire after the election -- here's the result

Immediately after the election, the bond market was splattered all over the windshield, taking mortgage rates up with it.

  • Once you have destabilized the bond market, re-stabilization takes time. Often a long time.
  • Our election surprise has unpleasant consequences for mortgages and housing. Not just sometime in the future, it starts right now and if history shows the rates can spike considerably. Change is always a certainty and rates always change.

The most immediate concern right now is that the 10-year T-note has soared to 2.07 percent, the first time so high since last January and wiping out six months of chart support near 1.80 percent — and the next support is near 2.50 percent, mortgages 4.25 percent-4.50 percent.

“Mortgage rates have spiked more than 20 basis points following the results of the presidential election on Tuesday, as we assess the degree of political and economic uncertainty that Trump’s win introduced to the market and as investors move away from U.S government assets, including U.S. mortgage-backed securities, in favor of relatively safer investments,” said Erin Lantz, Zillow Group vice president of mortgages, in a statement.

“As we continue to learn more about shape of the new administration, their policies, and the global reaction, we expect more volatility as markets try to put a price on the political...

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10
Nov
2016

Is Downsizing in Your Future?

As life goes on you may find yourself struggle with your home. Your kids have moved out and they are now raising families of their own. Your home may be too big or too much to manage right now. It is quite common for individuals to experience this especially as they begin to have more time on their hands. Yet, when it comes to downsizing and the need to do something new, it may present an opportunity to start a new chapter in your life.

Are you an empty nester or a retiree looking to make changes? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Consider what types of activities you would like to do. Now that you have an opportunity to move into a new home, it's time to choose a location that gives you what you need and want, including parks, shopping, and dining.
     
  • Consider how much space you need. If you are moving a good distance from family, will they visit? If so, you may want to have that second bedroom. On the other hand, you may want a smaller location with a better view or local amenities.
     
  • Consider your budget. How much do you want to spend a month on a mortgage? And, how long do you plan to continue working or pay on that mortgage?


Perhaps one of the best steps to take when you are thinking about downsizing is to consider the lifestyle and goals you have for the next chapter of your life. Work closely with a real estate agent that understands not just what you want to buy a home, but also wants to help you to find the ideal place for...

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02
Nov
2016

Strong October Numbers Boost New Home Confidence

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), "Builder confidence in the market for newly constructed single-family homes remained on firm ground in October, down two points to a level of 63 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

Even with this month's drop, builder confidence stands at its second-highest level in 2016, a sign that the housing recovery continues to make solid progress," said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady, a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. However, builders in many markets continue to express concerns about shortages of lots and labor.
 


 

The October reading represents a mild pullback from a jump in September, and indicates that the housing market continues to make slow and steady gains," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "Moreover, mortgage rates remain low and the HMI index measuring future sales expectations has been over 70 for the past two months. These factors will sustain continued growth in the single-family market in the months ahead."


The NAHB goes on to say “The October reading represents a mild pullback from a jump in September, and indicates that the housing market continues to make slow and steady gains,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Moreover, mortgage rates remain low and the HMI index measuring future sales expectations has been over 70 for the past two months. These factors will ...

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28
Oct
2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Christopher Milson Recognized by NAR



Christopher Milson recognized by the
National Association of Realtors as a
Certified Pricing Strategy Advisor
 

Qualified to Assist Buyers and Sellers by REALTOR®
with Particular Expertise in Pricing Properties
 

Clearwater, Florida, 10/28/2016 — Christopher Milson with Charles Rutenberg Realty has earned the nationally recognized Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA) certification. The National Association of REALTORS® offers the PSA certification to REALTORS® as determining property values depends more than ever on professional expertise and competence, the best use of technology, and a commitment to approach the pricing assignment from various perspectives.
  
“The market demands accurate property value assessments, so NAR is excited to provide Realtors? with enhanced tools, education and expertise to determine the most accurate value for a home and give their clients a leg up when buying or selling,” said NAR President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida. 

“Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA” is the required one-day course for the PSA certification that provides REALTORS® with knowledge and skills to select appropriate comparables and make accurate adjustments, guide sellers and buyers through the details of comparative market analyses and the underlying pricing principles that inform them, and interact effectively with appraisers. In addition to...

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21
Oct
2016

3 Winning Strategies for Buying Your First Home in the Clearwater Area


 

Buying any home is an intimidating proposition, even for the well planned, so first home buyers may find it especially daunting. With the median sales price in Clearwater, FL hovering around the $165,000 mark, your first home is likely to be the biggest investment decision you're ever going to make as a young adult. This guide arms you with winning strategies to buy your first dream home.


Prepare Your Finances to Establish Your Budget

Buying your first home is only prudent when you can actually afford to make a down payment. This may involve a few years of planning leading up to your investment. Depending on the situation, down payments typically start out at zero for a VA loan all the way up to 30% for some loans in high rental condo buildings for example. Always check with your lender as the down payment percentage will also depend on your credit score. To prepare your finances smartly, make sure you cut down on frivolous expenses and put it towards the deposit for your first home. Establish your budget based on your current income, cost of living and existing debts like student loans and car loans and make sure you don't exceed this budget when looking for homes. It’s always a good idea to have your lender give you the estimated closing costs so that you aren’t short a couple of thousand dollars right before you close. If you need some names to some good lenders give Christopher Milson a call at (727) 207-6300 or email him at...

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