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Archive for March, 2016

Figuring the True Cost of SW Florida ‘For Sale by Owner’ Signs

Figuring the True Cost of SW Florida ‘For Sale by Owner’ Signs. If you go down to any SW Florida hardware store, you’ll Figuring the True Cost of  SW Florida ‘For Sale by Owner’ Signsbe able to find them. They are right there in the corner, somewhere on the rack that has all the ‘GARAGE SALE’ and ‘BEWARE OF DOG’ placards. They’re the ‘FOR SALE BY OWNER’ signs.
They cost about $8.99 ($17.98 for two). Or, it is also possible to buy a couple of “For Sale by Owner” signs online for about the same price (although getting them delivered to SW Florida might run extra).
No matter which way you would get hold of the signs, you should be alerted to some possible extra costs. I don’t mean ‘shipping and handling’ charges you sometimes find tacked onto other offers. These are extras that have cost other sign purchasers thousands of dollars.
Naturally, anyone who buys a ‘For Sale by Owner’ sign has decided to sell their SW Florida house on their own rather than going with the crowd and listing through a SW Florida REALTOR®.Figuring the True Cost of  SW Florida ‘For Sale by Owner’ Signs
The sign purchaser has probably made that decision for one of two reasons. The first is the less likely—namely, being convinced that he or she will do a better job. Selling your house without the specialized tools—the marketing connections, office backup, support of the professional real estate community—lacks most of the appeal of other Do-It-Yourself projects. Even just handling the technical details (hmmmm…where am I going to put the deposit money so it’s in escrow—or whatever they call it…).
The second reason is much more likely: saving commission dollars! Just thinking about the car you could buy with the savings makes for an appealing Figuring the True Cost of  SW Florida ‘For Sale by Owner’ Signsdaydream…until you remember that you will probably have to pay half of the intended savings to the buyer’s agent. Maybe it’s a used car you could buy…after you’ve paid to post the listing; bought media advertising; maybe printed up some full color marketing materials…
But those aren’t the most crucial ‘extra’ costs associated with those ‘For Sale by Owner’ signs. The extras are head-turning. The latest figures from the NAR show that the ultimate price paid for a FSBO home was $39,000 less than for agent-assisted sales (which typically sold for 98% of their listing prices). The reasons Figuring the True Cost of  SW Florida ‘For Sale by Owner’ Signsmay be many—the most frequently cited being that real estate professionals are experts in attracting qualified buyers. It is, after all, what we do!
So the all-in cost for a couple of ‘For Sale by Owner’ signs could be calculated using a whimsical formula like:
FSBO Cost = 2 x $8.99 + Y
Figuring the True Cost of SW Florida ‘For Sale by Owner’ Signs. Where Y=a total unknown, but it well might be as much or more that the cost of the car the sign buyer had been hoping to save.
More seriously, though, only 8% of U.S. homes wind up being sold by owners acting alone. Something like 70% of homeowners who tried to sell their homes themselves eventually go with an agent. Then their outlay for ‘For Sale by Owner’ signs is a 100% loss (the hardware store won’t pay anything for the used ones). The good news is, you can avoid all those costs—hidden and otherwise. Just call me: I’ll provide the signs!

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Your SW Florida Real Estate Agent Has Skin in the Game!

Your SW Florida Real Estate Agent Has Skin in the Game! The relationship between you and your SW Florida real estate agent is unlike most working relationships people establish—and understanding why the difference is important can be Your SW Florida Real Estate Agent Has Skin in the Game!useful when you go to buy or sell a SW Florida property.
For openers, working with a SW Florida real estate agent is a hybrid kind of situation. Although you do ‘hire’ your agent—and that agent is “working for you”—there is also an element of partnership involved. This is no mere technical abstraction.
If you have ever run any kind of business, you know the difference between having an employee and having a partner. A good employee performs the tasks assigned, is compensated in accordance with that performance, and goes home at the end of the day to enjoy the fruits of their labor. A partner, on the other hand, does everything that an employee does, but a lot more, too. For one thing, a partner usually has ‘skin in the game’—has accepted some of the risk that every private enterprise involves. As compensation, a partner looks forward to a share of the profits should the business succeed. Although an employee may be paid on a commission basis, there is a Your SW Florida Real Estate Agent Has Skin in the Game!difference: unlike most partners, an employee is subject to no investment expense or downside risk.
Naturally, adding an ownership element makes a difference in performance—in going the extra mile. That distinction is ruefully captured in the time-worn observation that if you see someone bending over to pick up a gum wrapper in front of a shop, you’re looking at the owner!
Your SW Florida real estate agent has a similar motivation. If you are selling your home, you certainly have a lot of skin in the game! It’s your property that’s up for Your SW Florida Real Estate Agent Has Skin in the Game!sale, and your investment in it is major. Your agent will be co-venturing in the sale—not only contributing the time and effort that’s required, but also accepting the risk of your mutual sales enterprise. When you think about it, you stand to benefit from the significant ongoing cost of operating a busy real estate office, developing and distributing marketing materials, advertising your home, and putting in as many hours of work as it takes to complete the sale. It’s your ‘partner’ (the agent and the agent’s broker) who will bear those expenses.
If you are going to buy a home, the relationship is similar. Whether in the office or Your SW Florida Real Estate Agent Has Skin in the Game!out on the road, your SW Florida real estate agent will absorb the cost incurred in helping you seek your next home. If a sale doesn’t come to pass for any reason, your ‘partner’ agent accepts the risk that there won’t be a payday at all. It’s a powerful motivation to work hard on your behalf.
The unique nature of the relationship you step into when you team with a real estate agent in SW Florida is one that’s developed over centuries. For your agent, in addition to the degree of independence that’s built in, there’s one extra benefit that has a value beyond money. Your SW Florida Real Estate Agent Has Skin in the Game! At the end of the day, it’s the reward of seeing a client’s family moving into their new home, or be handed the buyer’s check at the final closing. Feeling the glow of having helped make that kind of major difference is truly priceless!

Personality Type Can Drive SW Florida Home for Sale Search

Personality Type Can Drive SW Florida Home for Sale Search. If you had to characterize the way future homeowners approach how they find their next home for sale, you’d likely say that they fall into a couple of major categories. Both Personality Type Can Drive SW Florida Home for Sale Searchapproaches work: which is better is really about the way you tend to tackle any problem. But if I had to choose, there is one approach I’d have to say is superior.
The first approach is to dig right into it. You call up the SW Florida REALTOR® to discuss the state of the market, lay out your goals and ideas, and listen to what is proposed as the next step. If what you hear sounds good, you give the thumbs-up, and—voila!—it’s underway! Taking this approach, you let the pro ask the questions that her or his experience dictates. Fine points not covered initially will come up as the process narrows.
This is an approach that certainly makes sense—after all, who knows better what Personality Type Can Drive SW Florida Home for Sale Searchdetails are most important as you begin your house hunt? Most people find themselves searching for a home for sale only once in a blue moon. The real estate pros are at it daily. Plus, we know the current local inventory: homes that are currently on the market (and often, some that will be coming on before long). If there is a SW Florida home for sale that fits your criteria but which is likely to be gone soon, a showing can be arranged at once. Especially for those whose time is at a premium, this approach is efficient.
The other approach is for those who naturally gravitate to a more ‘hands-on’ plan of attack. This is automatically adopted by people who are more comfortable after Personality Type Can Drive SW Florida Home for Sale Searchthey’ve prepared as much as possible. They want to familiarize themselves with the state of the market and everything that’s currently affecting it. They will almost certainly have been online for a while, have examined the listing details for relevant current homes for sale in SW Florida, and possibly even dropped in on some weekend open houses. When they do contact their SW Florida REALTOR, they know pretty much the direction their house hunting project should be pointing toward.
Which approach is better? Which one is more likely to find your dream house? (I bet you know that’s a rhetorical question.)
The safe answer is that the best approach is a level-headed combination of the two.Personality Type Can Drive SW Florida Home for Sale Search
Personality Type Can Drive SW Florida Home for Sale Search. For people in the first group, taking a look at the online listings to get a feel for the homes for sale in SW Florida is an incredibly effortless and efficient way to get an instant overview of what’s out there (and at what cost). For the second group, likewise: it’s no longer necessary to spend hours or days preparing a detailed wish list of must-have and nearly must-have and would-be-nice property feature alternatives. Point your agent at an MLS listing or two for any SW Florida homes for sale that seem interesting, and you’ll receive back a list of serious candidate properties to take a look at—followed by a proposed in-person home tour agenda.
Well—at least that’s what will happen if ‘your’ agent happens to be me…so let’s have a chat!

SW Florida Home Prices are Amazing Bargains Compared with These

SW Florida Home Prices are Amazing Bargains Compared with These. I’ll admit it: the tease was irresistible. There was no good reason why I should take the time to read on, even though it was near the top of the Wall Street Journal’s Real SW Florida Home Prices are Amazing Bargains Compared with TheseEstate section. This was not likely to be the kind of relevant background information that would be useful in my daily SW Florida real estate dealings.
But the tease was not something I could just skim past and forget. The words were dangling there on the screen; almost a dare:
“Where Home Prices Start at $115 Million.”
It wasn’t just the $115,000,000 home price that aroused curiosity. After all, this was the WSJ Real Estate section—where there are almost always stories about properties somewhere or other in the world with asking prices that numb the mind. It was the idea that there could actually be anywhere on Planet Earth where SW Florida Home Prices are Amazing Bargains Compared with Thesehome prices start north of one hundred million!
Think of what the comparables reports would look like!
Now, I was fairly certain the answer wouldn’t be SW Florida —home prices here tend to be considerably more modest. But the way the tease was worded, it seemed likely they were talking about somewhere in the U.S., because the home prices were in dollars. A whole lot of dollars.
Before clicking on the READ MORE box, I tried to guess the answer. Somewhere in Silicon Valley? Downtown Manhattan? Connecticut? Palm Beach? None of these seemed likely, if I recalled earlier articles about the haunts of the famous and newly down-and-out who are having to give up their mansions (often because they are scraping the bottom of the barrel, SW Florida Home Prices are Amazing Bargains Compared with Thesedown to their last $10 million). Those estates usually have home prices in the $ single million range. I decided there must be some gimmick, wherever it was.
So I gave up and clicked:
Los Angeles.
Bel Air, to be precise—“in a new development.” And the gimmick is that this is a three-home development, “The Park Bel Air.” And it seems that none of the homes is actually built yet. These are spec homes in an 11-acre development “currently under construction.” Asking home prices do start at $115 million “and go up to $160 million, with upgrades and custom furnishings.” SW Florida Home Prices are Amazing Bargains Compared with These
I spent a minimum of time musing over what kind of upgrades would bring in the extra $35 million, and skipped down to the part where, elsewhere in the L.A. area, there is a spec home with an “unprecedented” asking price of over $500 million. The head of a New York-based appraisal firm was quoted as saying, “It’s almost as if there is no shame in wildly overpricing a listing anymore.” And down there near the very end, the article admits that there is only one thing missing from the phenomenon. Buyers.
SW Florida Home Prices are Amazing Bargains Compared with These. This October’s SW Florida home prices are certainly bargains—particularly when compared with The Park Bel Air’s. There are other advantages, too: they are actual homes that are already actually built, instead of just planned. Give me a call: we can actually go visit them!

Low SW Florida Mortgage Rate Hike Just Around the Corner?

Low SW Florida Mortgage Rate Hike Just Around the Corner?  There’s a reason that SW Florida home loan providers sometimes choose to lead their ads with a ‘lock’ provision. They know that potential clients likely to be enticed by low SW Low SW Florida Mortgage Rate Hike Just Around the Corner?Florida mortgage rate numbers are fairly sophisticated—they know that today’s mortgage rate is not necessarily tomorrow’s. By the time a home loan is finalized, the headlined number could be less favorable; hence, the ‘lock’ guarantees.
For quite a while—years, actually— SW Florida mortgage rates have behaved themselves pretty much the way we’d like. There may have been occasional minor upticks, but seldom any that would cause serious consternation. The interest rate hikes which some experts had predicted for 2014 and 2015 never seemed to materialize: every notch up was followed by notches back down. Mortgage rate volatility disappeared as a topic of interest from real estate and financial pages. What discussion there was tended to be predictable: rates would certainly have to rise, sooner or later—but later was (yawn) a lot more likely. It was pretty much All Quiet on the Mortgage Front…zzzzzzzzzz….
Until last week, which provided a definite wakeup call. It was a textbook exampleLow SW Florida Mortgage Rate Hike Just Around the Corner? of how mercurial mortgage rates can turn—and how right those were who have been championing financing and/or refinancing while rates are in the historically low range.
The week started out quietly enough. In the previous week, before the Federal Reserve’s 2-day meeting, consumer mortgage rates were, per themortgagereport website, “scraping new lows, bestowing refinance opportunities on homeowners and boosting the purchasing power for buyers” across the nation. As usual, the Fed get-together provided hints that the Fed Funds rate would certainly have to rise, sooner or later…and although sooner did seem to be jostling later for Low SW Florida Mortgage Rate Hike Just Around the Corner?consideration. It had been a possibility for so long, the usual carefully worded announcement failed to raise undue concern. Yawns had to be stifled.
Until Friday, when the Non-Farm Payroll report hit the snoozing nation like a tornado in January. It crushed the forecasts. It was stellar. This was as unexpected as, per FuturesMag writer Matt Weller, it was “essentially perfect.” The world’s largest economy had created a “stunning” 271,000 jobs. What was not to like?
For those who were banking on mortgage interest rates remaining frozen in the cellar, there was a lot not to like. The strong news made the Fed much more likely to finally raise the Fed Funds rate next month! Web headlines were screaming Low SW Florida Mortgage Rate Hike Just Around the Corner?within minutes: “Bad Day for Mortgage Rates; Non-Farm Payrolls Soar” and “Non-farm payroll paves the way for a Fed rate hike in December.” The Washington Post even came up with “This settles it: The Fed is going to raise interest rates in December.” That may be far from certain, but quoted home loan rates did begin to rise in anticipation. By the close of business on Friday, the Mortgage News Daily observed rates that were the highest since July.
Low SW Florida Mortgage Rate Hike Just Around the Corner?  What does this mean for SW Florida mortgage interest rates? If the now wide-awake experts are credible, it looks as if taking advantage of still-low rates is likely to prove advantageous. There are never any guarantees, but for anyone intending a move that involves a home loan, it might not be a bad idea to give me a call—sooner rather than later!

SW Florida Residents Survey Retirement Living Arrangement Options

SW Florida Residents Survey Retirement Living Arrangement Options. As SW Florida residents age, we grow wiser—at least we hope we will. If we take good care of ourselves, are lucky enough to have inherited good genes, and have some SW Florida Residents Survey Retirement Living Arrangement Optionsluck, too, we hope to be able to stay physically and mentally active long past many of the birthdays that used to mark old age—or even “advanced old age.”
But if wisdom does actually accrue along the way, even the spriest of SW Florida seniors eventually begins to consider whether it might not be a good idea to explore some of today’s alternative post-retirement residential directions. Advil or not, the most physically active seniors will tell you the morning after a full round of golf or a couple of sets of tennis: ouch! Even copious amounts of positive thinking can’t match the persuasive power of aching joints and muscles. Some accommodations to Father Time are going to be called for…SW Florida Residents Survey Retirement Living Arrangement Options
It turns out that on this front, there is a lot of good news developing out there. Probably because the massive wave of Baby Boomers is sweeping into traditional retirement age, more and more residential options are opening up. SW Florida residents approaching retirement have more choices than ever before. Some of the major headings include—
• Staying with family. This used to be the hands-down leading choice when infirmity was at hand: moving in with care-taking relatives (or the reverse). This can be a terrific solution when the family situation fits and doesn’t create unworkable demands on family members.
• Roommates. Sometimes sharing living quarters is an alternative that isn’t given much consideration, but a homeowner who could use help with daily living chores can choose to share their home in exchange for help with shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.
SW Florida Residents Survey Retirement Living Arrangement Options• Board-and-Care Homes are usually small-scale: residences that provide room and board and varying degrees of daily activity support.
• Congregate Housing caters to seniors able to take care of themselves; providing meals, communal activities, and/or housekeeping services. Retirement Communities can add resort-level facilities and activities into the mix.
• Assisted Living residences—all the way to full Nursing Homes—provide levels of care from minimal all the way to skilled nursing support.
• Continuing Care Retirement Communities—are designed to meet the reality thatSW Florida Residents Survey Retirement Living Arrangement Options residence and assistance needs change over time. CCRCs consist of separate apartment-style or condominium units as well as full assisted-living facilities. Residents can move from one to the other if more independent living becomes impractical. Residents pay an entrance fee and monthly charges (they can be hefty)—but CCRCs have the advantage of allowing residents to remain in a familiar community at junctures when a greater dislocation would be much more stressful.
SW Florida Residents Survey Retirement Living Arrangement Options. Of course, many local seniors are not about to even consider moving away from SW Florida, choosing instead to simply look into downsizing—or switching to a more [knee-friendly] stair less neighborhood home. For those and other real estate endeavors, I’m here to help!

SW Florida Homeowners Have a Range of Financial Options

 SW Florida Homeowners Have a Range of Financial Options. It’s because the purchase of a home involves such a substantial sum that SW Florida homeowners are often thought of as being financially constrained. With years’ worth of SW Florida Homeowners Have a Range of Financial Optionsincome bound up in a mortgage, it’s the dominant figure in many a financial statement.
But there is also another way to look at it—and it’s the way much of the financial world does. They know that homeownership is a very positive attribute. It indicates stability; dependability; substantiality; soundness. That’s why second mortgages are so common. And it’s why the financial ‘constraint’ that people think of in connection with owning a home can be a bit of a mischaracterization. SW Florida homeowners can actually be the recipients of several financial options available only to them.
Let’s first be clear about some terminology. A home equity loan is also known as a SW Florida Homeowners Have a Range of Financial Optionshome equity line of credit, or HELOC. A true HELOC carries a variable rate of interest, continuous use of funds, and future amortization. It is most often used for purchases made over time: college tuition is a frequently cited example. HELOCs can be an option for those planning a series of home improvement projects. Home equity lines of credit can be very convenient to use: often the credit can be accessed via credit card.
On the other hand, to handle a single large expense, a second mortgage may be more advantageous. A second mortgage is borrowed as a single lump sum that is SW Florida Homeowners Have a Range of Financial Optionsamortized in the same way as the first. Its interest rate may be fixed or variable, but is usually higher than that of the first mortgage. The standout advantage to most second mortgages is that the interest portion of payments is, like a first’s, tax-deductible. That can make them an attractive alternative for the SW Florida homeowner who wishes to consolidate other debts—for instance, to pay off credit card balances, which usually have higher interest rates. That fact, combined with the tax features, can make a second mortgage a prudent alternative.
HOWEVER…the very fact that these options—available only to homeowners—are SW Florida Homeowners Have a Range of Financial Optionsso attractive is also why they should be chosen only after their long-range effects have been taken into account. In the mortgage101 web site, for instance, you can read that “both types of loans can reduce your debt”—a statement which is at best misleading. Any loan increases debt. If the proceeds are used to pay off an existing debt, that won’t “reduce your debt;” it will just rebalance it. That might make good financial sense, but (let’s get real) the only way to reduce a debt it to pay it off. When in doubt, do be sure to run any plans by a trusted financial advisor.
 SW Florida Homeowners Have a Range of Financial Options. Homeownership does include significant financial options, which is one reason it’s a major touchstone of the American dream. I hope you will let me know if I can help you with your SW Florida home ownership plans!