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Archive for July, 2015

SW Florida Spring Real Estate Selling Season: it’s Sprung!

SW Florida Spring Real Estate Selling Season: it’s Sprung! When the first spring day comes along (as opposed to the first day of spring), a goodly proportion of SW Florida’s residents feel the annual pull toward the garden store aisles. Even SW Florida Spring Real Estate Selling Season: it’s Sprungthose who’ve stoutly resisted ordering seeds, gardening tools, or any of the other back yard paraphernalia the catalogs kept hawking all winter can succumb to this particular Call of Nature.
Burpee, Scotts and Miracle-Gro shareholders can relax: spring has sprung.
The SW Florida spring real estate selling season starts stirring, too, pretty much in lockstep with the appearance of the tulips. Whether or not the tulips have succeeded in poking up out of the ground, it’s a cinch that by this time they will have made colorful appearances on store shelves everywhere, just like the Peeps and chocolateSW Florida Spring Real Estate Selling Season: it’s Sprung bunnies. Unlike the rest of the early spring’s trappings, though, the spring real estate phenomenon doesn’t disappear from sight once Easter Sunday is a memory. In fact, it picks up steam.
There are any number of explanations why spring real estate in SW Florida is always expected to ramp up. Part of the reason is the calendar. For families with children, if a move is going to involve a change in school districts, summer vacation is the least disruptive time of year for it to happen, so spring is the time to start house hunting. SW Florida Spring Real Estate Selling Season: it’s SprungPart of the reason is due to the comparative difficulty of selling a home in wintertime: not only can foul weather make it harder to keep a home at its showy best, it also can throw a monkey wrench into property maintenance and the few cosmetic fixes that almost every home could use before it hits the SW Florida listings. The result is a certain amount of bottled-up inventory that bursts onto the scene all at once—and springtime is the single time of the year when that happens.
Then there is the automatic momentum effect. When you sell a SW Florida home, most families need to turn around and buy the next. The National Association of SW Florida Spring Real Estate Selling Season: it’s SprungREALTORs® tells us that the spring real estate selling season may actually be stronger than the numbers indicate, because many sales that really did begin “in season” don’t actually close until summer begins. Spring real estate as a phenomenon is “real” enough that you can’t blame them for lines like “Spring brings rain and flowers—and possibly extra green in the final sales price of your home.”
SW Florida Spring Real Estate Selling Season: it’s Sprung! The spring real estate selling season is indeed underway, so if you are planning on listing your own SW Florida home anytime soon, now is a great time to give me a call. It’s the best way to take advantage of the traditional boom in prospective buyers!

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SW Florida Rental Home Net Income Depends on Prudent Budgeting

SW Florida Rental Home Net Income Depends on Prudent Budgeting. Owning a SW Florida rental property owes its popularity to the distinctive financial attributes it offers investors. Like a dividend-producing stock, it’s a holding that stands to produce a regular income stream. It’s also a real asset in the truest sense of the word—one with solid collateral SW Florida Rental Home Net Income Depends on Prudent Budgetingvalue. For adroit SW Florida rental property investors, it’s also an asset that can build value over time.
When it comes to quantifying an SW Florida rental property’s income-producing potential, after an investor has estimated the projected rental stream, there follows a less sunny exercise: expenses need to be taken into account. If a SW Florida professional management service is going to be part of the equation, they will supply reliable budget parameters. If you will be managing the property yourself, doing a thorough job of nailing down this—the management budget—is as crucial to coming up an accurate bottom line as was projecting income.
Unless you are prepared to be at the beck and call of your renters 24/7, it’s a good idea to budget funds for a skilledSW Florida Rental Home Net Income Depends on Prudent Budgeting general maintenance person. The ideal candidate can deal with a myriad of issues, from electricity outages to clogged garbage disposals. If the SW Florida rental property is an apartment building or set of condos, it’s often a good idea for the maintenance pro to be kept on retainer. For single-property rentals, this handyman (or gal) can usually be hired on a job-by-job basis.
Specifics for every SW Florida property differ, but it’s generally considered prudent to reserve between 10%-15% of gross rental income for maintenance and repairs. This part of your budget includes remuneration for your maintenance person. Getting a rental home back to status quo isn’t always easy—especially because it’s in both the landlord’s and renters’ interest to place a premium on speedy rehabilitation. That’s not cheap!
SW Florida Rental Home Net Income Depends on Prudent BudgetingThere are also two words that belong in any rental property management budget: property insurance. The right formula may include a sizeable deductible number (you’ve already budgeted an ample reserve for lesser emergencies), but it’s also vital to take into account the possibility of any large and unexpected emergencies that you or your maintenance person can’t handle alone. It may be common business wisdom, but over large parts of the country, this past harsh winter once again demonstrated the wisdom of the practice. Tenants are encouraged to insure their own property, both inside and outside the rental property, but the landlord’s policy should cover repairs to the entire structure, any small sheds on the property, landscaping damage, and the like.
SW Florida Rental Home Net Income Depends on Prudent Budgeting. This is the traditional time of year when many of the most promising investment properties go on the market. If you are looking to the future—a future that includes owning a lucrative SW Florida rental property—now is the time to start looking…and to give me a call!

To Ease Decision Pressure, Sync with Your SW Florida REALTOR®

To Ease Decision Pressure, Sync with Your SW Florida REALTOR®.  When you find yourself poised on the brink of any new real estate venture, there’s no more important initial step than seeking out a great SW Florida REALTOR® to round To Ease Decision Pressure, Sync with Your SW Florida REALTOR®out your team. Without even thinking about it, everyone automatically knows that they want a real estate professional with the technical experience, communication skills, and local knowledge that such serious business requires. It also won’t hurt if your REALTOR has bottomless reserves of energy and a positive attitude to match—as well as the sympathetic human traits that makes them a pleasure to work with.
There are lots of conventional channels that make it easy to identify perfectly well-qualified SW Florida REALTORs (and we are lucky to have many talented ones here in the area)—but when you’re looking for the one who will sync with you and your ultimate goals, that level of rapport will most likely take an extra proactive step or two to secure.
Positive word-of-mouth is a good way to start, but it’s realistic to remember that the one making the referral may or may not share your priorities in a working relationship. You will be working together for a while, and depending upon each other to make some significant decisions—some of which could be made under pressure. When the team has good To Ease Decision Pressure, Sync with Your SW Florida REALTOR®chemistry going for it, those decisions will come easier. A few ideas that people have found helpful in finding the right REALTOR:
Check out a REALTOR’s Open House
This is a good way to see a REALTOR at work. Whether you are buying a SW Florida home or selling your own, dropping in unexpectedly will allow you to listen to what they say and how they interact with prospects. Don’t hesitate to be upfront about your own situation: a great REALTOR will be able to help other potential buyers and deal with you without missing a beat!
Use Social Media
You can also start conversations with prospective REALTORs on social media to gauge To Ease Decision Pressure, Sync with Your SW Florida REALTOR®how long it takes them to respond, whether or not they can give you detailed answers, and to see how they engage with other members of the public. This is a good way to tell if they use social media skillfully, building their brand while clearly valuing the people who interact with them.
Consult with Other Professionals
The opinions of contractors, mortgage brokers and repair people can be valuable, too. Professional people have an insider’s view of the SW Florida REALTORs who work hard to get the job done efficiently.
To Ease Decision Pressure, Sync with Your SW Florida REALTOR®.  Of course, fine-tuning your choice should include doing the conventional legwork, too. Look at the REALTOR’s listings, their track records, their accolades, and where they live. The rest is up to you. Needless to say, I hope I make it to your final cut!

Home Interest Rates Weirdness as Denmark goes

Home Interest Rates Weirdness as Denmark goes. Since SW Florida home interest rates continue to play such a leading role for buyers in today’s real estate market, any relevant news items bear watching. For quite a while, home interest Home Interest Rates Weirdness as Denmark goesrates in SW Florida have cooperated nicely, dwelling at tantalizingly low levels. It’s been helpful to sellers and buyers alike.
Meanwhile, some strange headlines about European home interest rates have been appearing from time to time. They never seemed to make much sense, but it’s Europe, after all—and we have our hands full trying to clarify our own economics right here on this side of the Atlantic.
Yet there are some headlines you just can’t ignore. Late last month, this one appeared in Yahoo Finance:
“NEGATIVE MORTGAGE RATES IN DENMARK”
After pausing to be certain the item wasn’t under an April Fool’s dateline (it wasn’t), further examination didn’t dispel the feeling that someone at Yahoo had spent too Home Interest Rates Weirdness as Denmark goesmuch time reading Alice in Wonderland. The article said that bank interest rates had declined so far that home interest rates in at least one country had now fallen below zero.
In other words, through the looking-glass.
Now, before leaping to the conclusion that home buyers in Denmark would therefore expect banks to pay them every month, this seemed to be the point at which bringing a little common sense would be called for!
Or not.
That, according to Yahoo, is exactly what’s going on in Denmark.
Since we’ve all been hoodwinked by silly news items on the web, here is where it was clearly time to check out other Home Interest Rates Weirdness as Denmark goesauthoritative sites. A respected European blogger named Jan Oravec stated in no uncertain terms, “Many economists consider negative interest rates impossible.” But reading further, Oravec admitted that nonetheless they do exist.
Per Market Realist: “In Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, and [you guessed it] Denmark, it was about time we saw negative mortgage rates in Europe as well.”
Bloomberg Business quoted Danish Business Minister Henrik Larsen: “There’s a need for us to create clarity over how we can best handle this situation going forward” (that seems to be something of an understatement).
Yahoo got specific: “Nordea Bank’s IT systems need to be reprogrammed as it’s not accustomed to situations where the bank isn’t receiving interest payments on outstanding mortgages.” Home Interest Rates Weirdness as Denmark goes
According to a Google translation of blogger gjohnsit, banks there “have had to pay interest back instead of charging them.” Reading our minds, he asks, “How is it possible, that someone could go to a bank, take out a mortgage, and expect the bank to give them money every month?”
The answer, according to economists, is Euro deflation (but then again, wasn’t it economists who considered negative interest rates to be impossible?)…
Home Interest Rates Weirdness as Denmark goes. We might be tempted to wish for the same situation for our own SW Florida home interest rates, but I don’t know. There is an aura of something-for-nothing hovering over the whole idea. Besides, today’s mortgage rates are already quite reasonable—and a solid reason to give me a call!

U.S. Sales Rise Fuels SW Florida Real Estate Watcher Optimism

U.S. Sales Rise Fuels SW Florida Real Estate Watcher Optimism. SW Florida real estate trends don’t always trace patterns that are precisely identical to those in the rest of the state or nation, but sooner or later the local market almost always responds similarly. That’s because there is a certain amount of momentum—positive or negative—that is automatically spawned by the good or bad real estate market news reported in the mass media.
U.S. Sales Rise Fuels SW Florida Real Estate Watcher OptimismSo when last week’s Commerce Department report on new residential home sales was released, SW Florida real estate watchers had reason to smile. Delightedly.
It wasn’t just that the bottom line number for February’s new home sales was substantial (estimated at 539,000, seasonally adjusted annual rate); it was how all the other stats supported them. Forbes headlined that February’s numbers hit a 7-year high. The financial web site Calculated Risk observed that although the report contained only two months’ worth of this year’s data, “Sales in 2015 are off to a solid start.”
In fact, just about all the accompanying details were heartening. The monthly new home sales are always revised several times as final real estate figures become U.S. Sales Rise Fuels SW Florida Real Estate Watcher Optimismavailable, and this time ‘round, January’s already-strong numbers were revised further upward. And the Census Bureau also tracks not seasonally adjusted sales (NSAs)—and so far this year they are up a full 19% above the same beginning months a year ago. For February alone, sales were up 24.8% year-over-year.
So, does that mean we should assume SW Florida’s real estate sales are certain to jump by a full 24%, too? That would be terrific—but let’s not get carried away. For one thing, the new home sales statistics are a lot more volatile that real estate sales as a whole (new homes comprise less than 20% of the overall market). And the U.S. Sales Rise Fuels SW Florida Real Estate Watcher Optimismtechnical way the Commerce Department samples makes it prone to error. They put the margin of error at 15%, which makes for a lot of wiggle room.
Yet the sheer size of the sales increase makes it pretty unlikely that the trend won’t be borne out. Per Forbes, this report’s results are “viewed by economists as a measure of economic momentum and an indicator of future consumer purchases…” Those purchases are in furniture and appliances which traditionally accompany strong home sales.
U.S. Sales Rise Fuels SW Florida Real Estate Watcher Optimism. Forbes’ “solid start” is exactly what we would hope for—especially since it tracks activity that was taking place even before the spring selling season got underway. It’s getting started in earnest right now, so if you are interested in establishing your own SW Florida real estate trend, this is the right time to give me a call!

Mortgage Lender Optimism Could Spill into the SW Florida Market

Mortgage Lender Optimism Could Spill into the SW Florida Market. If anyone involved in SW Florida real estate were to try to pick a word to characterize the mortgage industry as a whole, “sentimental” wouldn’t be among them. Especially Mortgage Lender Optimism Could Spill into the SW Florida Marketover the past several years, “frustrated” might be apt, or “hog-tied.” Mortgage issuers been hampered by tough rules developed in reaction to the sub-prime mortgage mess. They certainly wanted to issue more mortgages, if only for their own profitability, but until recently, the lending guidelines made that difficult.
In any case, this is an industry that relies on hard facts and statistics to govern lending decisions. Mortgage industry leaders are therefore not inclined to be overly optimistic, overly pessimistic—nor are they prone to exaggeration in their public pronouncements.
So when the powers-that-be at Fannie Mae come out each quarter with their Mortgage Lender Optimism Could Spill into the SW Florida MarketMortgage Lender Sentiment Survey, the “sentiment” is not the Cry Me a River or You Are the Sunshine of My Life variety. This “sentiment” describes how real estate lenders (presumably including some SW Florida mortgage companies) feel about mortgage business prospects in the coming months. The actual report has a remarkable record of a lack of sentiment: it’s usually pretty much on target.
So it is that when the 2015 first quarter Survey appeared last month (this is one real estate report whose ‘first quarter’ paper actually appears in the first quarter), it sounded another positive note in the assemblage of springtime real estate projections. The summary talked about “an improving outlook among mortgage lenders” because those surveyed “expect mortgage demand…to grow over the next three months.” The hard Mortgage Lender Optimism Could Spill into the SW Florida Marketnumber was 71% having that expectation, which wouldn’t be surprising, given our entry into the busy spring selling season. The optimism drew more from the fact that this is a substantial improvement compared with the same quarter last year (71% vs. the previous 59%).
If the growth they anticipate holds true for our own market, it wouldn’t just indicate improving activity for SW Florida home buyers and sellers. After what they viewed as an “uneven” 2014, Fannie Mae’s Chief Economist Doug Duncan said the results were “consistent with our view that an improving economy, strengthening employment, and increasing consumer confidence” pointed to the more cheerful outlook.
Also cheerful was the picture mortgage issuers expected for their own well-being. A year ago, lenders who thought their Mortgage Lender Optimism Could Spill into the SW Florida Marketprofitability would increase were in the extreme minority: 21%. This year, the size of the optimistic group doubled.
Local mortgage applicants could find good news in one more of the reasons for the expectation for mortgage demand to grow over the next three months. The report talked about how last year’s credit tightening was continuing to “trend down.” And there at the top was the headline which mentioned “Gradual Credit Easing.” For anyone who had found it hard to qualify under last year’s rules, that’s very welcome news.
Mortgage Lender Optimism Could Spill into the SW Florida Market. If you will be buying or selling anytime soon, I hope you’ll give me a call: the sentiment here is also the green light kind!

Now or Later: When Is the Right Time to Buy a SW Florida Home?

Now or Later: When Is the Right Time to Buy a SW Florida Home? A few weeks ago, an eye-catching article surfaced on the Investopedia web site—one with the arresting title of “When is the Right Time to Buy a Home?” I have always assumed that for prospective SW Florida home buyer, the answer to that question varies by the individual circumstances. Now or Later: When Is the Right Time to Buy a SW Florida Home?But if there is a more cut-and-dried universal answer, it would certainly be good to know it. Definitely worth reading.
Despite its name, Investopedia is not an encyclopedic history of investing. Its own history is interesting, though—it started in Canada, was acquired by Forbes, then sold a short while later to ValueClick for $42,000,000 (talk about good investments)!
The article that was to supply the answer to “When is the Right Time to Buy a Home?” did turn out to have the right answer, though it’s a little less definitive that you would hope—prospective SW Florida home buyers don’t get the simple “NOW”Now or Later: When Is the Right Time to Buy a SW Florida Home? or “LATER,” which would be most useful. However, before the final answer is presented, scattered between the many ads and other clickbait that apparently pay for Investopedia are some interesting current facts and observations, and several cop-outs.
When it comes to the big question, “When is the Right Time to Buy a Home?” by halfway through the article, it’s looking a bit more like “now” than “later.” It cites The National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Opportunity Index, which now finds that nationally, the majority of homes are affordable for families earning a median income of $63,900. True, most SW Florida families don’t earn exactly $63,900, but still, it’s good to know. Reading on, we learn that this level of affordability has been better in the past, and Now or Later: When Is the Right Time to Buy a SW Florida Home?might be better later “unless mortgage rates move higher in the future.” Since elsewhere on the site we find that “the consensus is that interest rates will rise,” it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce where “When is the Right Time to Buy a Home?” is leading.
Or so you might assume, before the article quotes a saying on Wall Street: Don’t try to time the market, which Investopedia advises also applies to real estate. Oddly enough, it also says, “If you’re looking for an edge, interest rates are near historic lows so now appears to be a better time than most for purchasing a home.”
That’s a pretty strong hint, but the answer isn’t spelled out. Yet. There follow some bits of good advice (hire an inspector prior to purchasing a home; don’t buy a car while your credit is being checked; inquire about taxes) before we get to the ultimate Now or Later: When Is the Right Time to Buy a SW Florida Home?heading, “THE BOTTOM LINE.” It took a while, but here is the advice SW Florida readers would have been looking for all along, bottom-linewise.
Investopedia’s answer for “When is the Right Time to Buy a Home?” is a lot more sensible than most: “When you can afford it.”
Now or Later: When Is the Right Time to Buy a SW Florida Home? I couldn’t agree more. Even if all the other factors weren’t as positive as they are today, being able to make a good fit financially is at the top of the list. If now is that time for you—or if it’s time for you to put your own SW Florida home on the market—it’s also a good time to give me a call!