Real Estate Insider Blog

Showing 1-10 of 24 articles.
20
Dec
2017

How does the recent interest rate hike affect real estate?

 

Under a federal funds rate increase of 1.25 - 1.50 points, mortgage rates are expected to increase. Hovering around 4%, mortgage rates are projected to inch up slightly, towards 5%, under the new federal interest rates. Rising mortgage rates impact every aspect of buying and selling a home and should be closely monitored by all housing market participants.

Buyers

Generally indicating a stronger economy, a federal interest rate hike suggests confidence in the economy and a need for higher rates to maintain market competitively. From a home buyer's perspective, as interest rates rise, affordability decreases. For example, a buyer who qualifies for a $400,000 mortgage at 4% interest will only qualify for a $355,000 loan at 5% interest. An increase in mortgage interest lowers purchasing power.

Buying a home under the current mortgage interest rates is the best way to maximize purchasing power and lock in lower monthly payments (assuming a fixed-rate mortgage). When the economy is expected to grow and is indicated to be in good health via a federal interest rate hike, the best time to participate in the housing market as a buyer is now. Benefit from the historically low mortgage interest rates and lock in a rate under 5% now.
 

Sellers

Impacting sellers in a slightly different way, rising interest rates drive down housing prices and lower property values. For example, a seller can choose to list a house at $400,000, but rising rates may...

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04
Oct
2017

HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU SELL YOUR HOME FOR?

When it comes down to it, the most important advice a real estate agent can give sellers is how to price their home. No matter how beautiful or well-maintained a property may be, how many upgrades it has or how well it shows, if a home is not properly priced, it’s going to be a tough sell.

The battle for agents most often lies with aligning what sellers’ think their home is worth with its true market value.

These disparate realities can be difficult to merge when working with a seller to set a list price or on a price adjustment. Here are seven pricing myths that often get in the away.

 

1. It is better to price the home on the high side because the seller can always come down. If buyers are interested, they can make an offer.

Well, not quite. If a home is overpriced, a seller risks losing potential buyers who aren’t stretching their search into an uncomfortable price range.

The asking price sets the stage and may invite or dissuade buyers based on the dollar amount. Just as you would painstakingly prepare your home for sale, you never get a second chance to make a first impression price-wise.

 

2. If a home is priced just right, a seller risks leaving money on the table. 

Actually, the opposite is true. A well-priced home tends to generate a lot of interest and can result in multiple offers.

A shorter marketing span brings strong offers that could result in a home ...

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27
Sep
2017

How to Purchase Foreclosures



There are many advantages to buying a foreclosed property. Requiring thoughtful budgeting, real estate knowledge, and patience, foreclosures are an excellent way to acquire real estate at a lower price than would otherwise be possible. Carefully considering what type of foreclosures you're interested in and what your real estate goals are, foreclosures are a great source of real estate deals.
 

Choose a Foreclosure Stage

An involved process, foreclosed or distressed property is sold in various ways and through a variety of channels. Pre-foreclosure, auction, and bank owned are the three basic stages of foreclosure. Choosing a stage of foreclosure to focus on will allow you to tailor your buying approach.
 

Pre-foreclosure

Pre-foreclosure is the stage directly prior to an owner losing their home. During pre-foreclosure you can buy a home directly from the owner. A short sale, or a house where an owner owes more than the home is worth, is a popular sale method during the pre-foreclosure stage. Similar to a regular real estate purchase, a pre-foreclosure sale requires inspections, title insurance, and adequate financing prior to purchase completion.

Auction

A property arrives at an auction when the owner or owners were unable to sell, refinance, or pay in any way. The exact execution for an auction varies, but, generally, properties are sold as-is. Subject to any existing loans and liens, an auctioned property requires full payment, in...

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08
Sep
2017

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR A HURRICANE

The prospect of a hurricane can be quite upsetting, especially for those squarely in the path of an upcoming storm. While your natural response may be to panic – and who could blame you? – there are some things you can do now to keep your home as safe as possible should a devastating storm come to call.
 

Pack an Emergency Kit

Due to the unpredictable nature of hurricanes, it's always better to be prepared. An emergency kit can give you access to the kinds of supplies you'll need should a crisis occur, and should include:

  • One gallon of water per person per day
  • At least three days of non-perishable food
  • A week's worth of prescription drugs
  • First aid supplies, like band-aids, bandages, antiseptic, and ibuprofen
  • Important documents, like credit cards, ID, passports, birth certificates, prescriptions, utility bills, and car titles
  • Backup power sources for computers and cell phones, flash lights, radios, and batteries
  • Clothing, including warm attire, clean socks, and underwear
  • Pocketknife or wrench
  • Tarps and other ways to make temporary shelter
  • Matches, lighters, or other fire starters
     

Stock Up on Water

When access to clean water is eliminated, it can be very hard to bathe or use the bathroom. Instead of leaving your well-being up to chance, stock up on water now. Fill bathtubs, sinks, and other receptacles with as much water as possible so that toilet tanks can be refilled and water is available for...

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16
Aug
2017

Agents sell homes for more than FSBOs: study

Agents sell homes for more than FSBOs: study

  • Agents tend to achieve higher sales prices for properties than comparable FSBO listings, enough to offset their commission fee, according to a recent analysis.

Academic research has often cast doubt on the value of real estate agents, but a new study will come as music to their ears.

It suggests that homeowners will net roughly the same proceeds whether they sell through a real estate agent or take the FSBO (for-sale-by-owner) route.

That’s because agents tend to achieve higher sales prices for properties than comparable FSBO listings — enough to offset their commission fee, according to an analysis released by automated valuation model (AVM) provider Collateral Analytics.

This makes a strong case for hiring an agent, considering that agents allow homeowners to reduce the work, risk, and time of selling a home, said Dr. Michael Sklarz, the CEO of Collateral Analytics and a co-author of the study.

“Overall it is clear that FSBOs have a low probability of selling, and if they do they will likely net the same or less after closing issues, plus they are more likely to screw up on disclosures which may lead to lawsuits after the fact, when buyers discover material facts not disclosed,” added Norman Miller, who produced the study with Sklarz and is a real estate professor at the University of San Diego.

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03
Aug
2017

DOES YOUR AGENT HAVE YOUR VISION IN MIND?

By David Brothers


I've lived in the Tampa Bay area for 54 years, 41 of those in Clearwater and Largo.  Over time, I've owned, bought and sold multiple residential properties and watched my parents do the same.  I've dealt with numerous real estate agents as both a buyer and a seller, and I've yet to meet one I haven't liked.  Even the one I fired.  Seriously. 

That said, I have met a few who didn't inspire me much, and that has concerned me much more as a seller than as a buyer.  All the backslap-how-ya-doin' hug-smile-grin and lightening-rod enthusiasm in the world can't replace vision.  Agents sometimes complain that some buyers don't have much vision.  And they're right, but they could help.

Let's face it, we’ve all viewed a listing online that initially appears to be exactly what we're looking for only to find that the photography was way better than the actual colors.  Many realtors will offer a generic suggestion that perhaps a new paint job or changing out the carpet would “spruce things up.”  There we stand, struggling to suppress at least a healthy eye-roll.  Are they kidding?  How obvious is it that new paint would dramatically change things?  Why can't I be offered more “practical advice” that I could actually use to help me decide whether this home is an option for me or not?

What could seem like a minor...

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05
Jul
2017

7 Home Tips to Make Maintenance Easier


These tricks make tackling prickly household chores easier. Here are seven home hacks to take a bit of the drudgery out of your honey-do list:

#1 Tuck Chalk in Your Toolbox to Stop Rust

You can keep the metal tools and hardware in your toolbox rust-free with blackboard chalk. How so? Chalk is a moisture-sucking material that traps dampness. When you place several pieces throughout your toolbox, its porous nature will protect items prone to rusting. 

Bonus tip: Got a musty closet? Fill up a small muslin or cheesecloth bag with chalk and then hang it inside. It will absorb the dampness and stinky odor.
 

#2 Spray Your Mower's Blades to Keep Clippings From Sticking

If you have a lawn, mowing is one of those must-do drudgeries. Fortunately, cooking spray can make the chore problem-free. When applied to a mower's undercarriage and blades, it can help prevent grass clippings from sticking. 

Bonus tip: You can prevent ice from building up in your freezer with cooking spray. Just spray a thick layer over spots prone to icing, and let it sit for five minutes. Afterward, use a towel to wipe up the oil.
 

#3 Toss in a Tennis Ball to Clean Your Pool Water

Suntan lotions, moisturizers, and body oils will leave a greasy slick on pool water. To clean, toss in a fresh tennis ball. Its fuzzy surface will soak up the oils your guests left behind.

Bonus tip: A tennis ball will buff scuff marks off floors....

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20
Jun
2017

WHAT'S THE ECONOMIC FORECAST?

DENVER — “This is going to be the longest economic expansion in the post-World-War-II era,” stated Kevin Thorpe, the global chief economist at Cushman & Wakefield.

He was giving an assessment to a crowd of reporters at the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference, and the general message was one of growth — not risk.
 

Recession?

“The U.S. will not be going into recessions anytime soon,” Thorpe said.

“Recessions don’t just happen,” he added. “First we need to see imbalances somewhere in the economy — too much credit, too much exuberance in any particular sector.” Equity markets, oil prices, what the Federal Reserve does with interest rates and “wild cards” could change that, of course, but in general, Thorpe was confident that the economy is strong and will remain so for the immediate future.

“Of course there will be another recession at some point, and the next question becomes ‘What will the next recession look like?'”

In Thorpe’s opinion, it won’t look as gnarly as the last one. “It’s not likely to be nearly as severe as the one we went through in 2008-2009,” he noted. “Big recessions don’t happen very often; every 50 years seems to be the pattern. The next recession is probably more likely to be a traditional recession, with two to three quarters of job...

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06
Jun
2017

Tampa Bay area home prices continue to soar

Sales of Tampa Bay homes dropped in April but prices surged yet again as Florida's real estate market continued to be defined by tight supply and high demand.

Compared to the same month last year, the median price for a single family home rose 12.5 percent here, the most of any major metro area in the state.

But despite that increase and Tampa Bay's most expensive residential sale ever — $11.18 million for Clearwater's Century Oaks estate — there was a hint that the pace of price growth may be slowing just a bit.

In Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, year-over-year median prices in April rose less than they had in February and March. Pasco's price gain was the lowest in a year, though still a healthy 10 percent.

Buyers shouldn't get too excited, though.

"I think that was probably a momentary blip," said Jeff Shelton, a Coldwell Banker agent in Tampa. "The Tampa Bay market is still one of the top real estate markets in the country."

It's becoming a familiar story: Too many buyers chasing too few homes. All four bay area counties had a tighter inventory of available houses in April than they did a year earlier — and April 2016 was a tight month, too.

"I personally have had to start knocking on doors," said Shelton, who with partner Mike Hughes is among Hillsborough's top-selling agents. "When I have a client who asks me about a particular property, I can go directly...

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01
Jun
2017

HOW TO PREPARE FOR SELLING YOUR HOME

As I write this blog ... there were 964 homes listed for sale in Clearwater on the MLS. So if you wish to sell your home and have it stand out from the crowd, it won't do to simply throw a sign out in the yard and hope for the best. The goal in a home sale is to get the best possible price while minimizing time on market and aggravation. In order to accomplish this, proper preparation is a must. Here are the things you can do to prepare your Clearwater home to be sold in a short period of time.
 

Landscape and Exterior

First impressions mean everything and prospective buyers must at least get through the front door or nothing will happen. Take some time to freshen up your home's exterior and landscaping to improve its curb appeal. Get rid of dead plants and replace them with fresh shrubs and flowers. Make sure that the grass is green and well-trimmed. Pressure wash the driveway and the home's exterior to vanquish years of dirt and grime. If you wish to go the extra mile and your home's exterior needs it, consider a fresh coat of paint.
 

Declutter and Clean

When someone steps in to view a home for the first time, it should feel clean and inviting. The stacks of shoes that you normally keep by the door need to disappear. Likewise, personal items and any other clutter in the home should be removed. Homebuyers will be looking to your floors, ceilings, and walls first. If they are unable to see these because of clutter, the...

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