Thursday, January 7, 2021

New Year, Even Lower Interest Rates!


The new year is here, but the story on mortgage interest rates is a familiar one! As we pass through the first full week of January, Freddie Mac reported that average 30-year fixed mortgage rates have dipped to a jaw dropping 2.65%, nearly a full percent lower than this time last year. With the shortage of available home inventory, many buyers jumping into the housing market hoping to take advantage of the low rates are finding fewer homes to choose from and prices that aren't dropping.

So what is the future of real estate with so many Gen X and Millennial buyers entering the market? Check out this article shared by FloridaRealtors.org and get the scoop! 

https://www.floridarealtors.org/news-media/news-articles/2021/01/future-real-estate-lots-gen-x-millennial-buyers

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Great Christmas Debate {Well, one of them anyway!}

Which do you prefer, white or colored Christmas lights? It’s one of the greatest debates that the Christmas season brings, and it’s been a holiday topic of conversation since the invention of multi-colored lights in 1882. But despite the ever-changing styles and trends, most people have a very clear preference of one over the other, and they are usually happy to tell you which one it is!

Our job is not to say that one is better than the other, but statistically speaking, white lights have the hands down majority of sales. Georgia’s Christmas Light’s Etc. reported that a whopping 70% of the lights they sell are white. So in an effort to keep the peace between our multi-colored and white light lovers, we’ve put together a list of why we like each option to help everyone keep an  open mind when decorating for Christmas.

Why we like white lights:

  • They coordinate with any d├ęcor and theme.
  • They highlight the greenery and ornaments.
  • They are simple and allow for other decorations to stand out.
  • They create a unified look.

Why we like multi-color lights:

  • They are vibrant and immediately draw the eye.
  • They create a fun and festive feel.
  • They fill spaces with color so fewer ornaments are needed.
  • They remind us of the Griswalds. 

Which ever option your family chooses for their holiday decorating, we hope that the twinkling lights bring happiness and fun to your home this Christmas! 

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Newest Must-Have Feature...Good Neighbors

With people spending more time at home than ever before, their must-have lists for buying a home are looking a little different these days! Driveway get togethers and back yard movie nights are filling the gaps that live events once occupied making the importance of the neighborhoods we live in much more significant. 

Check out this article from FloridaRealtors.org and find out more about why the newest must-have feature for home buyers is becoming good neighbors.

https://www.floridarealtors.org/news-media/news-articles/2020/11/latest-must-have-buyer-demand-friendly-neighbors

Friday, October 16, 2020

30 YEAR MORTGAGE RATES SET A NEW RECORD!

For the tenth time this year, U.S. long-term mortgage rates have set a new low record! Average 30-year mortgages dropped from 2.87% to 2.81%, nearly a point lower than the rates this same time last year. For more information on these record setting rates, check out this article shared on FloridaRealtors.org.

https://www.floridarealtors.org/news-media/news-articles/2020/10/30-year-mortgage-rates-hit-another-record-low-281

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Watch Out For Insurance Scams and Red Flags!

Hurricane Sally blew through the Gulf Coast leaving a huge mess to clean up in her wake. Anyone who has lived through just one of these storms knows that there is an extreme timeliness to documenting damage and alerting insurance companies, but be mindful that with the storms often come the sharks hoping to take another bite out of your post storm misfortune. 

How Can You Protect Yourself?

The best way to protect yourself is to stay educated on the process, document everything and follow your gut. If something feels off, it probably is. Here are a few more suggestions to help you stay sharp during the stressful clean-up and repair process.
  1. Alert your insurance carriers about damage immediately after storm.
  2. Take photos and videos of EVERYTHING. The more documentation that you have, the better.
  3. Make only absolutely necessary emergency repairs yourself and save the receipts for the materials used. Anything more than this could be excluded by the insurance company.
  4. Correspondence should be in writing (email/text) whenever possible. This creates a dated trail of interactions. 
  5. Take notes of verbal conversations including, dates, times, names, etc...
  6. NEVER give anyone your original documents. Make copies that can be shared, snap a picture with your phone and share it or scan the document to a PDF to be shared. 
  7. Use caution if asked to sign an “assignment of benefits” or AOB. This gives insurance rights to third-party vendors. 
  8. Stay local when looking for repair quotes and contractors, and take the extra time to check their BBB rating read reviews. 
  9. If it sounds to good to be true, chances are that it is!





Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Attracting Fall Buyers


Have you been thinking about selling your home this fall? The real estate is market is hot, hot, hot right now, and with kids heading back to school and the holiday season not yet upon us, this is a great time to sell a home.

Here are some helpful tips to help attract home buyers in the fall season.

Curb Appeal With an Autumn Flare


Mums, marigolds and pumpkins oh my! The most popular fall flowers are chrysanthemums (or mums), and they come in a wide variety of vibrant fall colors. With very little attention (this is important because I forget to water plants) their blooms stay colorful for a long time and they add a nice touch of autumn to your porch. Add in some marigolds, a nice planter and some pumpkins or gourds as accents, and you've created a curb appeal worthy of fall!

Make It Sparkle

Having a neat and tidy lawn when potential buyers stop by is important. Remember, you want to showcase your home and you only get one chance to make a first impression! So make sure that leaves and debris are cleaned up regularly and don't let plants, bushes and trees become overgrown. Make sure that leaves and limbs are trimmed back from the walkways and don't block the windows. Also, dusty pollen covered screens, dingy streaked windows and dirty siding and walkways can really be turnoff for buyers. It might not seem like a big deal, but having windows that sparkle and a freshly cleaned exterior will help catch a buyers eye! Take the time to pressure wash your home and walkways and clean the windows and screens inside and out before marketing your home.

Do An Appliance Check

Living in Florida, we all know that just because the calendar says "fall" doesn't mean that the weather agrees. September and October usually fall into one of two categories, hot or less hot. That being said, make sure that your HVAC filters have been changed, test your heating system (even though you probably won't turn it on until January) and make sure that your drain line is clear. Making sure these things are in good working order now will help you avoid any surprises later!

Make It Smell Like Fall

The sense of smell is one of the strongest human senses and it has strong ties to memory. They way your home smells when a buyer walks in has a lot to do with how they remember your home after they leave. Fall is a great time for fragrances (think maple chai latte or  freshly baked pumpkin bread) but keep it light and it's best to stick with one scent (two if you have a second story). Too many scents or overpowering fragrances can be a turn off or give the impression that you are trying to cover up another smell, so keep it simple.

Bring On the Squirrels and Fall Y'all 

Fall decor is fun and there are so many creative ways that you can add autumn accents to your home without breaking the bank! If you haven't already discovered the value section located in the front of Target stores, you're in for a treat! And I'm sorry in advance because you'll likely become an addict once you've experienced it! You don't have to go squirrel crazy, but little things like putting miniature pumpkins or gourds in a large bowl or adding autumn silk flowers to a rustic wooden box make great table accents. Adding a few extra pillows or a warm throw blanket in neutral tones to your couch, chairs or bed can create a cozy setting in any room. And if you have a fireplace, a "Welcome Fall" sign on the mantel and mums on the hearth are the perfect additions to make your home look like autumn is here.


Monday, August 31, 2020

TODAY IS WORLD DISTANCE LEARNING DAY

 

Happy Monday everyone! As I was reviewing my emails this morning, one of the many (oh so many) spam emails that I got caught my eye. It was reminding me that today is World Distance Learning Day. Normally this would have been sent straight to the trash bin, it's not like it's reminding me that it's Eat Cake For Breakfast Day after all, but instead it got me thinking about the new normal that we are all living these days. The truth is, whether we like it or not, most of us are paddling this canoe in one way or another! Whether it's a virtual learning environment with our children, continuing education requirements online or just the ability to work remotely, distance learning and virtual work, which was once just a choice, has now become a necessity for many of us. 

The real estate industry is a great example of how the distance learning model is a an excellent resource that was probably under utilized until now. Prior to the pandemic, many of us completed our continuing education requirements in a classroom setting in person. Though the social aspect of seeing our peers and other professionals in our industry was great, scheduling time out of a busy day to sit in class wasn't always the easiest thing to do. The e-learning solution has allowed many of us to find time at our convenience to successfully to complete our professional education requirements as well as take part in additional classes and certifications that may have been hard to make time for in the past. 

So two thumbs up and big high fives to everyone who is navigating through distance learning right now! Embracing change isn't always easy, but sometimes it ends up being an unexpected positive! Hang in there and no matter what, just keep swimming!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

New Home Construction Soared in July

New home construction has seen steady increases for the past three months and surged nearly 23% in the month of July. The Commerce Department reported that new homes were started at the highest rate since February of this year and the numbers exceeded what economists were predicting for the month. Check out this article from FloridaRealtors.com for more information on the growth of new home construction.

https://www.floridarealtors.org/news-media/news-articles/2020/08/july-new-home-construction-surges-226

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

2020 has been an "interesting" year so far (that seems like the safest description to use anyway), and somewhere in the middle of hearing about supersized killer hornets, deciding if Carole really whacked her husband, and social distancing ourselves to stay healthy, we received our 2020 Census forms in the mail.


With all of the craziness happening in our lives today, overlooking something else that requires our attention is easy to do. But the census form is important; it's actually required by law, and it only takes a few minutes to complete. And the best part is, once you're done you can check it off your to-do list for the next ten years! I wish I could do that with the laundry! So, if you haven't already done it, find your form or go to census.gov and be counted!


    INTERESTING CENSUS FACTS

  • The framers of the Constitution of the United States chose population to be the basis for sharing political power, not wealth or land. Article 1, Section 2, The Constitution of the United States.
  • The first census was completed in 1790 by U.S. Marshals who went door-to-door.
  • New York City has been the largest U.S. city in every census, all 22 of them! The population has risen from 33,131 in 1790 to a staggering 8.2 million in 2010.
  • The census is the U.S. government's largest peacetime operation. During the 2010 census, more than one million census workers counted approximately 310 million people in 120 million households. 


Sources: Census.gov, History.com


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Easy Ways To Make Your Kitchen Stand Out!

With the exception of where we sleep, the kitchen is the most widely used room in our home, so it's no wonder that it's usually at the top of the importance list for potential buyers. As a seller, making simple upgrades in the areas of your home that appeal the most to buyers in your market is a great way to set your home apart from the rest.  So, knowing that kitchens are important, what can you do to make your kitchen stand out without breaking the bank?


DE-CLUTTER YOUR COUNTERS
This is the easiest, no cost way to help your kitchen's appeal. Less stuff = more counter space. It's basic math, but it can add up to a kitchen that buyers can't wait to have!



UPDATE YOUR LIGHTING
This can be as simple as replacing your bulbs with a different wattage or style of light (indoor soft vs outdoor natural), or as elaborate as replacing outdated light fixtures with updated styles and finishes. Whatever option you choose, make sure that you create an inviting space with plenty of light.



CHANGE OR ADD CABINET HARDWARE
Changing out old or worn cabinet hardware is an easy fix that can give your kitchen new life! Be sure to select styles and finishes that work well with your existing fixtures.









ADD OR UPDATE A BACK SPLASH
Back splashes are the perfect DIY project and can give your kitchen a whole new look. But don't just look at the tile options, some of the newest trends include, opaque colored glass, aluminum, copper panels and even mirrors. If you have an outdated back splash that you don't want to rip out, consider using tile paint or removable tile stickers to give your kitchen the updated look you want.




















UPDATE YOUR KITCHEN FAUCET
Depending on your do-it-yourself skill level, adding a new kitchen faucet can be a simple way to add a needed pop to your kitchen. There are tons of unique styles and finishes available that will allow you to keep it simple or go full-on Gordon Ramsey. Whatever you decide on, just make sure it works well with your kitchen's style and is installed properly.


PAINTED CABINETS
Be still my heart, I love this new trend in kitchen design! That being said, I'm not sure I'd want to be the one to paint them! There's a reason I listed this kitchen upgrade last and it's because there is A LOT of room for error here! The key to beautiful painted cabinets is using the proper materials (yes, there is specific paint for cabinets) and taking the time to do the job right. When in doubt, hire a professional! The devil is truly in the details for this upgrade, but when done properly, your cabinets could be a kitchen game changer! 














Friday, July 24, 2020

Home Sellers Saw Record Profits In The Second Quarter

With inventory still low and no shortage of buyer demand, home sellers saw record profits in the second quarter of 2020. Realtor.com reported on recent data released from real estate information firm ATTOM Data Solutions indicating that nationally, home sellers showed a profit of around 36% over what they originally paid for their property. 

By using median purchase and resale prices for properties in 104 metropolitan areas with at least 1000 home and condo sales in the second quarter, ATTOM found that profit margins hit new records even as prices continued to climb. As mortgage rates continue to drop we are seeing even more buyers drawn into the market in hopes of taking advantage of the low interest rates. But with housing inventory remaining low and new construction scrambling to keep up, it's likely that sellers will continue to see these increased profit margins for a while.

If you've been thinking about selling your home or are curious about the current market, give us a call, we'd love to answer any questions you have!

New Year, Even Lower Interest Rates!

The new year is here, but the story on mortgage interest rates is a familiar one! As we pass through the first full week of January, Freddie...