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Archive for October, 2015

Strategic Planning Should be Part of SW Florida Home Remodeling, Bonita Springs, Ft. Myers, Naples

Strategic Planning Should be Part of SW Florida Home Remodeling. The number of households belonging to older adults is on the rise across the nation, and (let’s face it) the homes themselves aren’t getting any younger. So states the Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies’ Housing Perspectives (JCHS), which recently published the projection Strategic Planning Should be Part of SW Florida Home Remodeling, Bonita Springs, Ft. Myers, Naplesthat, if true, makes it likely that SW Florida home remodeling activity will spike in the coming years.
Abbe Will, research analyst for JCHS drew this conclusion:
“Since much of the housing stock is currently ill-equipped with even basic accessibility features, older homeowners aging in place will need to invest in retrofitting their homes in order to age comfortably and safely.” In other words, even for homes which remain in their owners’ hands, home remodeling activity could grow markedly.
Home remodeling is no minor industry. Home improvement expenditures by Strategic Planning Should be Part of SW Florida Home Remodeling, Bonita Springs, Ft. Myers, Naplesolder homeowners already topped $90 billion in 2013—making it a significant economic contributor. Now the JCHS projects that it could surge by an extra $17 billion annually over the next three years. Welcome news indeed for the construction and design industries, who had been in the doldrums until recently.
But what does this mean for SW Florida homeowners who plan to sell in the near future? When considering a remodel, if you want your home to attract potential older buyers, consider the innovations modern designs have made for individuals in that demographic group. That will be the competition.
Strategic Planning Should be Part of SW Florida Home Remodeling, Bonita Springs, Ft. Myers, NaplesJCHS’s analysis notes, “… not even a third of (existing) homes have what could be considered basic accessibility features, such as a no-step entry and bedroom and full bathroom on the entry-level.” Both young and old can appreciate other features, as well. Wider hallways in a kitchen remodel is one example. Another is bathrooms showers with ‘edgeless’ design, which holds appeal both to Millennial buyers (for the sleek, modern look) and to seniors with limited movement. A bedroom on the main level that can readily be converted to a master if needed can be attractive to older homeowners—and also to anyone looking for a guest or au-pair suite. Investing wisely by thinking long-term when it comes to home remodeling plans is part of strategic home ownership. If you are considering selling your SW Florida home at some point, it doesn’t hurt to inform yourself about forward-looking trends.
Strategic Planning Should be Part of SW Florida Home Remodeling. Wondering what today’s buyers are looking for? I’m here to help with all your SW Florida real estate-related concerns: call me anytime this summer!

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U.S. Report & Our SW Florida Real Estate Investment Outlook, Naples, Estero, Cape Coral

U.S. Report & Our SW Florida Real Estate Investment Outlook. Last week’s reporting showed the same kind of upward movement that’s become commonplace for SW Florida real estate investment news watchers. A standout: Corelogic’s finding that national home prices in May increased by 6.3%, marking the 39th consecutive monthly year-over-year U.S. Report & Our SW Florida Real Estate Investment Outlook, Naples, Estero, Cape Coralincrease.
Actually, to a lot of us, that looked stronger than expected: the steady increase in U.S. sale prices had seemed to have leveled off in the 5% range for the most part…Corelogic’s own Chief Economist had prognosticated, “We expect house prices in our national index to be up about 5 percent in the next 12 months” just 30 days ago.
Those who track U.S. real estate investment performance for its SW Florida implications, two other interesting observations were noteworthy. First, even including distressed sales, prices have now risen to within 8.4% of the April 2006 peak—what is generally considered an unsustainable “bubble.” Yet it’s impossible to find any expert who believes the current price levels are indicative of anything of the kind; nor that the expected continuing rises would expose those making residential real estate investments to U.S. Report & Our SW Florida Real Estate Investment Outlook, Naples, Estero, Cape Coralequivalent risk levels. Except in a very few localities, there is scarcely any “bubble” speculation to be found—even as national price increases continue to outpace inflation.
Part of the reason is that supply continues to be tight; distressed property sales continue to decline; and overall U.S. economic conditions are perceived to be improving, however gradually. Corelogic also keeps track of sales and momentum for different price ranges, which perform differently, as real estate investment analysts know. The lowest-priced tier, which represents to most modestly priced 25% of homes, has now actually surpassed its pre-crisis peak…and the highest end of luxury residences (the top 25%) are within 5.7% of their peak.
U.S. Report & Our SW Florida Real Estate Investment Outlook, Naples, Estero, Cape CoralThe second point made in last week’s reporting was continuing good news for those whose real estate investment portfolios include rental properties. Apartment vacancy rates “are down to their lowest level since the 1980s” according to Economist Frank Nothaft. “Rents are up, and apartment building values are at or above their prior peaks.”
U.S. Report & Our SW Florida Real Estate Investment Outlook. The robust performance wasn’t confined to multiple-unit housing, either. Following the housing crash—between 2006 and 2013—3,000,000 detached single family homes were added to the nation’s rental stock. They now make up 40% of the market. In terms of their real estate investment performance, the combination of rising rental rates and shrinking vacancy rates are exactly what investors hope to see. For regular homeowners, too—even those with no plans to sell anytime soon—those 39 straight months of steady price appreciation is comforting news. And if you are watching this summer’s SW Florida real estate listings for the investment opportunities they represent, I hope you’ll give me a call!

Picking an SW Florida Home for Sale When Good Choices Abound, Marco Island, Bonita Springs

Picking an SW Florida Home for Sale When Good Choices Abound. If you are among this July’s consumers who are actively shopping for a home for sale in SW Florida, you have probably already taken a look at the SW Florida listings and most likely jotted down some addresses you’d like to examine in detail. Then, if you find yourself in the happy situation of Picking an SW Florida Home for Sale When Good Choices Abound, Marco Island, Bonita Springsfinding more than one SW Florida home for sale that passes your first in-person tour visit, the tough question arises about how to pick between two or more quality homes. Should you depend upon your emotional leanings—even if a few practical details seem to point you in the opposite direction? Or should you simply let price be the determining factor? Or is there some other criterion the most experienced house hunters rely on?
Of all the factors that could go into that decision, truthfully, pointing out which are the most important is always a subjective exercise (all except for one I’ll bring up last). Here are some of the most useful ones:
o Compare the neighborhoods, and take a close look the adjacent streets. Drive byPicking an SW Florida Home for Sale When Good Choices Abound, Marco Island, Bonita Springs the properties at different times of the day and at least once on a weekend. See how the neighbors keep their homes. Neglected lawns (or bars on too many windows) are not signs you may want to ignore—just as uniformly well-kept landscaping should count on the positive side.
o Next visit to the candidates, do a consciously thorough walk-over. Pace the perimeter of the home and lot. Look for fencing issues you might need to address, or even how intrusive neighbors’ windows might be. Check for signs of water pooling anywhere on the lot with an eye to whether drainage problems could become an issue when the rains come.
Picking an SW Florida Home for Sale When Good Choices Abound, Marco Island, Bonita Springso If there is another home for sale on the street, drive the immediate area looking for more. If there is more than one home for sale, check the web to see if there are too many—or enough that it indicates that values are in flux. If it appears there are many—but no reason other than chance—it could be a good sign that your offer will be very welcome!
What is that less subjective factor (the one I said I’d bring up last)? It’s one that calls for becoming more skeptical than you really are: one that has you pretending to be a member of the public at large who doesn’t feel particularly drawn to either of the homes for sale you are comparing. Picking an SW Florida Home for Sale When Good Choices Abound, Marco Island, Bonita Springs
Put yourself into that mindset—then judge which of the homes will be easier to sell in a future where you have decided to move on. Deep-six your idiosyncratic leanings, and concentrate on elements that the majority of people would agree are those that add or subtract resale value. Experienced house hunters have bought and sold often enough that they are keenly aware of how much easier it is to sell a home that has universal appeal—even over one that’s more personally attractive. Keeping aware of the personal factors that may make you comfortable but which could adversely affect resale ability will help you determine a property’s future value to others (and, many would argue, that is the real value!)…
Picking an SW Florida Home for Sale When Good Choices Abound. This summer, we’re fortunate to have a market that offers many SW Florida homes for sale offering exceptional value. I hope you’ll give me a call to help find your family’s next home!

SW Florida Home buyers’ Credit Score Concerns Often Overblown, Naples, Ft. Myers

SW Florida Home buyers’ Credit Score Concerns Often Overblown. Most Americans have now arrived at the conclusion that it is a good time to buy a home. That’s the top line analysis from one of the country’s major mortgage creators, but SW Florida Home buyers’ Credit Score Concerns Often Overblown, Naples, Ft. Myersthere’s a secondary finding about credit scores that could also have a sizable impact on SW Florida real estate activity. Some would-be SW Florida homeowners would benefit from learning the information—which is about misinformation.
second annual “Wells Fargo Home ownership Survey” is a national survey of 2,016 respondents, and the source upon which last week’s Franklin Codel analysis is based. The excellent news for current and soon-to-be SW Florida home sellers is that a whopping 72% of respondents think now is a good time to buy a home. Most Americans also agree that “owning a home remains a vital part” of the American dream— and continues to be a key element in the strength of the nation.SW Florida Home buyers’ Credit Score Concerns Often Overblown, Naples, Ft. Myers
Running counter to that upbeat survey result is the finding that despite the efforts of lenders (and the government) to make credit more available to potential mortgage applicants, two misconceptions are widespread enough that they are “holding many potential buyers back.”
The misinformation:
 The misconception that every buyer must have at least 20% for a down payment; and
 A belief that credit scores alone determine whether an applicant will land a home loan
SW Florida Home buyers’ Credit Score Concerns Often Overblown, Naples, Ft. MyersUnder the heading The legend of the 20% down payment, Wells Fargo’s Codel points out that 36% of the general population (and larger proportions of minority groups) qualify for loans with lower down payment options— some of them as low as 3%.
But equally illuminating is what Codel has to say about the importance of credit scores. He is the head of mortgage production at Wells Fargo, so SW Florida home seekers can be expected to pay attention to what he has to say, which is that credit scores are not as all-important as most people think. Because creditworthiness is not determined based on a single factor, home buyers should do some SW Florida Home buyers’ Credit Score Concerns Often Overblown, Naples, Ft. Myersinvestigating of their options “before excluding themselves based on credit scores alone.” And when it comes to the actual scores themselves, it’s not true that a ‘good credit score’ has to be above 780. There are multiple models and investor guidelines—and under some of them, more than 660 “is generally considered good.”
If it’s true that SW Florida home buyers agree that now is the time to make a foray into the market, it’s refreshing (and rare) to hear a top mortgage lending insider provide that kind of encouragement. His conclusion is that the cited misconceptions can be overcome with a “better understanding of how credit works”—and that a good lender will use a borrower’s “entire financial picture, not just credit score” to decide whether to issue a mortgage.
SW Florida Home buyers’ Credit Score Concerns Often Overblown. The takeaway is for prospective buyers to do some investigating to find out what their home owning prospects actually are: they might be pleasantly surprised. A good place to start: giving me a call!

SW Florida Real Estate Marketing is a Risky DIY Project, Naples, Ft. Myers

SW Florida Real Estate Marketing is a Risky DIY Project. If you are bound and determined to try to sell your SW Florida house without the aid of a real estate professional, you will quickly discover that one critical element that can’t be overlooked is marketing. Just planting a ‘For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) sign on the front lawn and taking an 8-line SW Florida Real Estate Marketing is a Risky DIY Project, Naples, Ft. Myersclassified ad in the SW Florida paper is a good first step—but that’s all it is. Not only must you immediately embark on a do-it-yourself real estate marketing campaign, you will be doing so against competition from all the similar properties which will be promoted by the veteran voices of the real estate industry. It’s a true David and Goliath situation; but Goliath isn’t just a giant—he’s a superbly well-organized giant. If you’re going to be a David, you’d better arm your sling with more than pebbles!
Start with the product you will be marketing. While you are putting your house into top-notch presentation shape, first banish any temptation to overlook areas that need elbow grease or budget dollars to bring them up to top condition. Any defects that go uncorrected will be reason for lowered offers (or no offers at all). Remember that competing properties have SW Florida real estate SW Florida Real Estate Marketing is a Risky DIY Project, Naples, Ft. Myersmarketing channels open to them, and will have been put on the market after consultation with experienced hands. Your ultimate ace in the hole can only be that of having a desirable property, well-situated and clean as a whistle. But that ace will only be relevant if your marketing effort brings a critical number of potential buyers through the front door!
Another key will be to hire the best real estate photographer in SW Florida, and on the appointed day, to give her or him reason to relish the day’s project! Photographers are in the business of presenting eye-pleasing products, but they can’t create what isn’t there. On the day of the shoot, arrange to be at the photographer’s side to help clear or rearrange objects that the lens ‘sees’ as SW Florida Real Estate Marketing is a Risky DIY Project, Naples, Ft. Myerssuperfluous or obstructive. When spaciousness is mission critical—as it is in real estate marketing—less is always more. The pro you’ve hired will be used to working with professional real estate agents (who sometimes pay their fees), so be quick to help were needed. The difference between great professional real estate photos and poor ones taken by an amateur is more critical in a FSBO situation, where the seriousness of the endeavor is automatically subject to scrutiny.
Ditto, the video or virtual tour. Real estate marketing in SW Florida does not in all instances require a video component—but most FSBO campaigns are launched without even SW Florida Real Estate Marketing is a Risky DIY Project, Naples, Ft. Myersconsidering the option. What is not optional in any serious offering is a well-written, technically correct SW Florida listing, so you should do your best to use every web outlet available to position your offering online, including a web site that facilitates gathering data from interested parties. There are also services that, for a price, will help you place your listing. Generally, you pay more for more exposure—frequently six to 10 times the base rate—with the enhanced deluxe packages usually including an MLS insertion, which is vital. When you remember that you are competing against Goliath, it’s no time to skimp!
SW Florida Real Estate Marketing is a Risky DIY Project. You should also consider creating, printing, and distributing flyers, photo ads in the local press (real estate magazines, newspapers, etc.)—everywhere you are used to seeing SW Florida real estate brokerage ads. All of which points to what most SW Florida home sellers eventually conclude: rather than reinventing the wheel, the other option is to team up with an SW Florida real estate marketing professional…
If that’s your choice, I hope you’ll count me in!

The Magic Word for Growing Your SW Florida Property Value, Naples, Ft. Myers

The Magic Word for Growing Your SW Florida Property Value. As soon as you decide that you will be putting your SW Florida property up for sale—whether soon or at some point in the foreseeable future—it’s also time to get strategic about growing your property’s value—starting with a generous dollop of objectivity.
The Magic Word for Growing Your SW Florida Property Value, Naples, Ft. MyersThe difficulty stems from a truth about how everybody perceives much of their property’s value. We escape from hurly-burly of daily living by retreating to the comfortable confines of our home—our place. A good part of its value to us and to our family is its sheer familiarity—the “homeliness” that makes it our personal haven. But some of the very things that make it so comfortable to us will be off-putting to outsiders—and they are the prospective buyers.
Our great leather easy chair (the dark brown one that’s gotten a few shades lighter where we sit, and a little off-color where the spills happened) may look a bit peaked to the untrained eye, but it’s been that way for years: who cares? The back door needs to be bolted to stay shut…we do that without even thinking aboutThe Magic Word for Growing Your SW Florida Property Value, Naples, Ft. Myers it—hardly an issue! The sofa may sag, but it sags exactly right (for us)! The bathroom window that’s sort of stuck (okay, maybe it’s painted shut)…etc. etc. etc.
Professionals are of one voice about the real value you add to a property when you go to the trouble of systematically depersonalizing it. It helps to approach doing that seriously and deliberately—to tackle it in an organized manner. There are any number of ways to go about that, but here is one way that will pay off:
Step 1
Make a list. Starting from one end of your SW Florida property, note with pencil and paper every nit-picky detail that is other than what you would expect to find if it were a brand new home. This is not as easy as most people assume, because The Magic Word for Growing Your SW Florida Property Value, Naples, Ft. Myersthere will be such a great number of details, that
a) it will be very tempting to start skipping some of the minor ones, and
b) you will find it hard to resist the urge to start fixing the easy ones as you go along (don’t do it: you’ll derail the list-making!)
Step 2
After a decent interval, sit down with the list and re-classify each item into an Easy Self-Fix List and a Professional-Attention-Needed List. The Magic Word for Growing Your SW Florida Property Value, Naples, Ft. Myers
Step 3 Get bids from the appropriate SW Florida professional trades people, calculate which fit your budget, then schedule the work.
Step 4 Get started on your own endeavors to address the Easy Self-Fix List. You’ll be able to organize your own efforts to finish up about two weeks after the last of the trades people are scheduled to finish their projects (a two-week grace period is realistic: you are aiming to finish everything about the same time).
The Magic Word for Growing Your SW Florida Property Value. Following these four steps will put you well on your way to increasing the value of your SW Florida property. And at any point in the process—from before Step 1 to the satisfying moment that closes Step 4—give me a call to discuss how to convert all that increased value into a profitable home sale!

An SW Florida Property Manager Can be a Timely Solution, Naples, Ft. Myers

An SW Florida Property Manager Can be a Timely Solution. At first blush, deciding to hire a SW Florida professional property manager may seem counter-productive. Whether you bought the property you will be renting out specifically for that purpose, or else are simply holding onto your former home rather than selling it, the expense of employing a SW An SW Florida Property Manager Can be a Timely Solution, Naples, Ft. MyersFlorida property manager will materially reduce the cash benefit your rental promises to throw your way.
In fact, many new landlords don’t seriously consider hiring a property manager. It’s an offshoot of their own long-time home owning experience. They’ve learned to handle the residential maintenance issues that crop up from time to time, so it seems unnecessary to hire a professional manager for the occasional problems they know how to solve themselves. They may acknowledge that there will be twice as much to handle, it still may seem to be a needless extravagance. After all, the two great benefits of becoming a landlord are to build equity and generate income, An SW Florida Property Manager Can be a Timely Solution, Naples, Ft. Myersso why give away part of the latter?
One cogent reason is the principal difference between managing a rental and your own household. In your own home, you aren’t answerable to any outside entity. When a faucet starts leaking or a circuit breaker blows, you are free to ignore it until the weekend or whenever it’s most convenient. That’s simply not true for a conscientious landlord. Even with a cooperative, understanding tenant, in a way, you almost become your tenant’s employee (or at least it can seem that way when the phone rings at an inconvenient moment). A good tenant rightfully expects his residence to be maintained promptly and diligently; it’s your part of the rental bargain.
An SW Florida Property Manager Can be a Timely Solution, Naples, Ft. MyersAnother factor that argues for opting for a reputable SW Florida property manager goes to another difference between managing your own residence and a rental. The professional has so much experience in all aspects of property care that he or she is considerably more likely to have dealt with any given situation. Likewise for handling the technicalities of attracting and interviewing tenants, and seeing that contractual issues are completed correctly—tasks that need to be handled with legal exactitude.
There are plenty of reasons that can make hiring a property manager a sensible move, starting with those quality of life issues—your life! For retirees or others An SW Florida Property Manager Can be a Timely Solution, Naples, Ft. Myerswith abundant spare time, they may not be as significant; but for fully employed persons, the time factor and necessity to “be on call” can be crucial. I always recommend giving the professional management option full consideration. Of course it’s always possible for a first-time landlord to test the waters for a while before making the decision—though it’s important to realize that one false step can escalate into costly legal troubles when it comes to national and state civil codes, fair housing laws, and tenant rights. Ignorance of the law will be no excuse for do-it-yourself landlords who are unlucky enough to find themselves on the wrong side of a tenant dispute—so be sure to educate yourself and have access to a reputable SW Florida landlord-tenant attorney
An SW Florida Property Manager Can be a Timely Solution. If a SW Florida income-producing real estate investment opportunity is something you would like to explore, this summer has produced some properties with terrific potential. Give me a call anytime to discuss how best to explore what’s out there!