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Archive for November, 2016

4 Ways SW Florida Open Houses Benefit from Summer Weather, Naples, Isles Of Capri!

 4 Ways SW Florida Open Houses Benefit from Summer Weather, Naples, Isles Of Capri! If you happened upon the Weather Channel’s site last week and were greeted with headlines like, “Massive Heat Dome Inbound” and “Excessive Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Captiva Island, Estero, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Golden Gate, Golden Gate Estates, Isles Of Capri, Lehigh Acres, MARCO ISLAND, NAPLES, Sanibel Island	 More statsHeat in the East and West,” it could have let you feel better about SW Florida’s own weather. After all, what do you expect from August in SW Florida? At least we weren’t under a massive heat dome… (or were we)?

The fact is, no matter how uncomfortable the warm up was here, the Weather Channel reported that “Russia and the Southern Ocean” reportedly had the worst of it. In Russia, fires were said to have broken out because of the heat spell. An anthrax outbreak was blamed on it. Since the “Southern Ocean” isn’t a country, it complained less than Russia. And with no anthrax at all, we here in SW Florida should probably count our blessings.

When it comes to holding open houses in SW Florida though, weather is always an issue. In the winter, really bad weather can derail open houses altogether: cascading re-scheduling has been known to result.

Summer open houses are generally less risky, scheduling-wise…but when true heat waves send those massive heat domes our way, even uncomfortably warm weather can be countered via a few simple countermeasures. Four common Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Captiva Island, Estero, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Golden Gate, Golden Gate Estates, Isles Of Capri, Lehigh Acres, MARCO ISLAND, NAPLES, Sanibel Island	 More statssuggestions for creating happier open house visitors:

  1. Move the air. Whether your home has central air conditioning, strategically-placed window units or splits, a swamp cooling setup or dehumidifiers, the comfort factor advances when inside air is on the move. Fan power settings should be set to minimize noise while assuring that the atmosphere isn’t stuck in one place.
  2. Adjust the shades. This is a rare circumstance when you can abandon the open house commonplace that advises maximizing sunlight. If it’s a hot afternoon, pull the shades lest the sun-facing windows magnify the blast furnace effect.
  3. Put out chilly refreshments. Let’s face it: those whose open houses happen to fall on 90+ temperature days could Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Captiva Island, Estero, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Golden Gate, Golden Gate Estates, Isles Of Capri, Lehigh Acres, MARCO ISLAND, NAPLES, Sanibel Island	 More statsprobably turn a nice profit if they let Junior run a lemonade stand out front. Even if Junior isn’t around, pitchers of ice water in the kitchen are a minimum. Instead of the standard chocolate chip cookies, consider putting out a tray of chilled watermelon cubes, or ice-cooled grape clusters. And if the neighbor’s kids have a lemonade stand going down the street, consider bribing them to move it onto your lawn (when a ‘free lemonade’ sign is added, open house success is in the bag)!
  4. For SW Florida open houses with swimming pools—make the most of it! Short of inviting your visitors to jump right in, you can capitalize on what makes a pool such an asset. Consider setting your listing literature out there on the table beneath the welcoming poolside umbrella, with a few chairs inviting a sit-down. The prospects will be grateful for the breather…and won’t be able to help drinking in the poolside ambiance is at its best!

  4 Ways SW Florida Open Houses Benefit from Summer Weather, Naples, Isles Of Capri! We’re still in the summer selling season—which has been “hot” in more ways than one. Open houses can definitely do well in town, with a little creativity. For instance, there was the time And it’s definitely still a great time of year to give me a call!

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10 Least-Favored Listings Features Draw SW Florida Readers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral!

10 Least-Favored Listings Features Draw SW Florida Readers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral! You don’t have to be planning to add your own home to the SW Florida listings to be curious about how it would do if it were up for sale. If you are considering a change of residences, it’s twice as likely that you have been checking out the latest listings in SW 10 Least-Favored Listings Features Draw SW Florida Readers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral!Florida to see what comparable properties are asking, which are already under contract, and which have been listed for the longest times…

Most important in the interest any listing elicits is the photography—combined with the Big Three: Asking Price; Number of Bedrooms; and Number of Bathrooms. But there is also the list of possible amenities—and how each stacks up with buyers across the nation. Some of them seem to attract the most eager buyers, while others seem to draw the most yawns. I’ve done an informal (and definitely unscientific) audit of what the leading commentators have come up with as “least popular” home amenities. Here’s a sampling of the 10 top least exciting contenders:

  1. Elevator. Almost every source mentioned this. People don’t want elevators in their homes, except for a small percentage of seniors. This is fortunate, because very few SW Florida listings ever include them.10 Least-Favored Listings Features Draw SW Florida Readers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral!
  2. Two toilets in the master bath. Not terribly surprising, but not to be confused with two sinks in the master bath, which (at least here in SW Florida) is a definite plus.
  3. Cork flooring. Cork has excellent thermal and acoustical qualities. It’s lightweight, warm to the touch, hypoallergenic…but, alas! None of that seems to matter. Unpopular, apparently.
  4. Wet bar. This could have some connection to the next:
  5. Wine cellar. The vintage wine storage problem is, apparently, not high on most folks’ gotta-have-it lists.
  6. Daycare center nearby. This is a surprise—you’d think it would be a strong positive for professionals with little ones. Perhaps this is a reaction to negative news stories about daycare centers in places other than SW Florida …or perhaps, since other properties are within the same “nearby” radius, it’s just not enough of a differentiator to make it a listings winner.
  7. 10 Least-Favored Listings Features Draw SW Florida Readers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral!Two story family room. Although this can be a delightful architectural feature, to some buyers it might hint at would-be grandeur that could make a family room less cozy.
  8. Two-story foyer. Ditto.
  9. Laminate countertop. Not surprising: stone seems to rule the roost in countertop mentions (as it has for years). One commentator found that Gen Xers “hold laminate countertops in the same disregard” that their elders hold for next-door baseball or soccer fields.
  10. Pet washing station. Sorry Fido; looks like it’s off to the groomer for you.

10 Least-Favored Listings Features Draw SW Florida Readers, Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral! There they are—but if your own SW Florida home has one or more of these attributes, never fear…we’re experts at coming up with creative approaches for marketing them in new and exciting ways. Give me a call when it’s time to start creating your listing!

For SW Florida Buyers & Sellers, Home Inspections Mean Jitters, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!

It’s probably just an inevitable part of the human condition.

For SW Florida Buyers & Sellers, Home Inspections Mean Jitters, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero! For almost everyone, awaiting any SW Florida home inspection is pure, unadulterated jitters time. Nail-biting time. Edge-of-your-seat time.

For SW Florida Buyers & Sellers, Home Inspections Mean Jitters, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!It isn’t because anyone seriously expects any of our SW Florida home inspectors to be ogres. Certainly the inspectors I recommend are uniformly courteous, professional, and quite empathetic. They should be empathetic, because of the situation—which consists of a buyer standing by, ready to become the proud owner of seller’s SW Florida dream house. With only the home inspection remaining to be conducted…

In other words, the inspector is asked to perform a professional service, the purpose of which is to uncover any previously unknown defects.

Potentially derailing the otherwise blissful scenario of uniting of buyer with house.

That is why, in the backs of both seller’s and buyers’ minds, there is usually some form of this scenario: the seller is in the act of dropping the front door keys into the outstretched hand of the buyer, only to have the home inspector snatch them out of the air. Caved-in roof has suddenly materialized; termite-infested inner walls discovered; fireplace housing found to actually be made of strawberry jello (all right, I made that one up). The point is, if you have house-hunted extensivelyFor SW Florida Buyers & Sellers, Home Inspections Mean Jitters, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero! to little avail—then finally found THE place of your dreams, you really really don’t want your SW Florida home inspection to turn up any bad news. Ditto if it’s your home about to be sold. With the additional factor that if some defect turns up that you knew nothing about, you still could wind up looking like a jerk…

Given the tension and anxiety involved with the profession, it’s just short of miraculous that our home inspectors aren’t all fighting peptic ulcers. The reason is probably because, when all is said and done, performing a thorough home inspection is a high-skill accomplishment—one of great value to both buyer and seller.

For SW Florida Buyers & Sellers, Home Inspections Mean Jitters, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!For the seller, the home inspection ritual is an exercise that bolsters the buyer’s confidence in the wisdom of such a momentous transaction. Without it, who knows how many homes would not change hands as readily? For the buyer, even when no defects are discovered (as is often the case), the home inspection report serves as an invaluable handbook, filled with useful details about the nature and status of the residence’s structure and systems.

Some agents believe they should spare jittery home buying clients a nerve-wracking experience by counseling them to stay away during the actual home inspection. However, accompanying the inspector is a valuable way to get in-depth knowledge about the workings of their new residence. Plus—there’s no better way to get over those jitters than to acquaint yourself with the real value you are about to acquire.

For SW Florida Buyers & Sellers, Home Inspections Mean Jitters, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero! Having an experienced SW Florida agent on your team is an excellent way to prevent any jitters from developing in your home buying process—another good reason to call me!

For Keen SW Florida Bargain Seekers, “Bank-Owned” Rates Study, Naples, Isles Of Capri!

For Keen SW Florida Bargain Seekers, “Bank-Owned” Rates Study, Naples, Isles Of Capri! If you are a house hunter who isn’t reluctant to dig in and roll up your sleeves, it could be worth your while to take a look at SW Florida “bank-owned” For Keen SW Florida Bargain Seekers, “Bank-Owned” Rates Study, Naples, Isles Of Capri!offerings. Deciding to do that is less popular than you’d think.

Bank-owned is a word that can summon up all sorts of negative connotations, causing even people who usually think of themselves as unemotional to hang back. Like “REO” (short for real estate-owned, a synonym for bank-owned), it is applied to SW Florida homes whose ownership has been reclaimed by the lender. Foreclosures and real estate auctions that follow are never jolly circumstances, so many don’t even consider looking at the subject residences.

It is partly because of the inauspicious histories that such properties can carry with them that the majority of SW Florida home seekers automatically shy away. Yet it can be forcefully argued that, especially for prospective homeowners who are on the lookout for bargains, the “bank-owned” moniker ought to drawFor Keen SW Florida Bargain Seekers, “Bank-Owned” Rates Study, Naples, Isles Of Capri! special attention. SW Florida’s bank-owned homes usually take some additional care in how they are examined and purchased, but they can also present value that is worth the extra effort.

Because a bank-owned home is being offered for sale by the lending institution that holds its deed, the precise way any one can be purchased varies depending upon the policies of the company involved. Some of the mythology about homes that have been through foreclosure are not true—for instance, it is not usually true that only cash offers will be considered, or that an auction will be involved (usually that phase has already come and gone).

For Keen SW Florida Bargain Seekers, “Bank-Owned” Rates Study, Naples, Isles Of Capri!What IS definitely true is that bank-owned homes have a better-than-average chance of needing some level of rehabilitation. On the other hand, if a bank is selling the property, it’s a safe bet that any cloud on the title (a second or third mortgage or other creditor liens) has been dealt with. It can be the case that a bank comes into possession because of just that kind of problem—and any newly created “freed value” might be had by a new owner at a head-turning discount.

For Keen SW Florida Bargain Seekers, “Bank-Owned” Rates Study, Naples, Isles Of Capri! The paths to buying bank-owned SW Florida homes can require patience and an experienced hand at residential negotiations, so if you are considering going after one yourself, be sure to pick a real estate agent with the requisite background. That’s true in any house-hunting endeavor, of course—and a reason I hope you’ll give me a call!

Just a Few Basics Make an Intro to SW Florida Real Estate, Naples, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs!

 Just a Few Basics Make an Intro to SW Florida Real Estate, Naples, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs! As every college freshman will tell you, it’s those “Introductory” classes that can wind up being the most time-consuming. Since they cover a lot of territory dealing with subjects that are new to you, they can be the hardest to keep up with. If SW Florida Just a Few Basics Make an Intro to SW Florida Real Estate, Naples, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs!real estate had its own college department, its “Introduction to” class might be a lot easier than some of the other departments’—but there would still be a few basics some of the freshmen might need to master before proceeding much further.

When it comes to SW Florida real estate, the equivalent of the freshmen are the first time home buyers. They don’t need a whole class to be prepared to dive in, but they should be aware of some basics. Some financial preparation comes first:

  • For openers, find out what your credit report says. If there are mistakes, it takes time to get them corrected, so this is Job One.
  • Then, before even starting to discover what properties are available, you should sit down and work out how much you can afford. That will point you toward the portion of SW Florida’s real estate offerings you should spend your time and effort examining. If you do it the other way around, you are too likely to waste time visiting houses that Just a Few Basics Make an Intro to SW Florida Real Estate, Naples, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs!would put too much strain on your budget.
  • There are many different kinds of home loans—with differing cost and cash flow implications. The difference between variable and fixed interest rate loans and the difference between down payment percentages will have major impacts on your monthly family operating budget, and what you can comfortably afford. An important part of being an informed buyer is making sure you know what loan types are available—and the financial implications of each.

Just a Few Basics Make an Intro to SW Florida Real Estate, Naples, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs!Just a Few Basics Make an Intro to SW Florida Real Estate, Naples, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs! Then comes the search—the house hunt. If you haven’t already made contact with the SW Florida real estate agent who will help with your search, it’s time to do so. Most of the basics are pretty much common sensical:

  • Knowing that sellers pay the Realtor® fee, locate a licensed SW Florida real estate agent with a good reputation, experience in the area, and with whom you can communicate easily: one who “speaks your language.” (Hint: call me!)
  • Instead of planning to just go out to “see what’s out there,” first get as clear a picture as possible of what features you know you require. Make a list with both “wants” and “must haves”—and stick with it. Remember that allowing the “wants” to become more important than the “must haves” will usually prove to be a bad idea.
  • When you make an offer on the house you’ve been looking for, be sure the contract specifies that you can request repairs or back out of the deal based on the inspection results…and be sure to have that inspection!

If I’m your agent, I’ll be sure to remind you!

SW Florida Real Estate Watchers Note U.S. Homeownership Dip, Naples, Estero, Marco Island!

 SW Florida Real Estate Watchers Note U.S. Homeownership Dip, Naples, Estero, Marco Island! For SW Florida real estate watchers, it was The Washington Post that came up with the most interesting angle on last week’s most SW Florida Real Estate Watchers Note U.S. Homeownership Dip, Naples, Estero, Marco Island!commented-upon real estate headline—which was that across the U.S., home ownership rates had slipped to 1960s levels.

CNBC went with the straight numbers (“Home ownership rates drop to 63.4%”); while website zerohedge decided on a more attention-grabbing route (“Homeownership Rate Crashes to Lowest Since 1965”).

SW Florida readers whose brows might have been furrowed by zerohedge’s “rate-crashing” spin could have been relieved somewhat had they fled to sites like businessinsider, which added, “but may be bottoming” to the sobering news. Yet it was still The Washington Post that made off with the most interesting exposition. Their take was to zero in on the “why” of falling homeownership numbers with: “All the Reasons It’s So Much Harder to Buy a Home Than It Was for Your Parents.”

Chief among all the reasons The Post found was voiced by Lawrence Yun, who is the National Association of Realtors®’ chief economist. It is, in a word, affordability. As many SW Florida listings reflect, the rebound in residential real estate SW Florida Real Estate Watchers Note U.S. Homeownership Dip, Naples, Estero, Marco Island!has meant that asking prices have been rising steadily for some time. “We’ve seen a general rise in the purchase market in wealthier areas and densely populated urban areas,” according to one Boston mortgage exec. “Now the recovery has spread to more rural and up-and-coming areas, too.”

Since The Post headline promised “All the Reasons,” it didn’t stop at affordability. As another economist is quoted, “sales are hitting record highs, prices are growing…but…there’s a chronic inventory shortage.” And NAR’s Yun agrees with that second reason. “People need to focus on the fact that we have a major housing shortage in this country.” More reasons are “income inequality,” which is another SW Florida Real Estate Watchers Note U.S. Homeownership Dip, Naples, Estero, Marco Island!way of citing concerns about home prices rising faster than wages; and “rents are up,” which makes saving for a down payment harder for wage earners.

Do all those reasons “it’s so much harder to buy” add up to a coming slump in real estate sales? The jury may be out on that, but the public perception that homeownership is worth pursuing anyway is not. “Most consumers still believe that homeownership is financially worthwhile,” according to The Post, which quotes a 2015 Demand Institute survey. DI found that a full 78% of heads of households agreed—or agreed strongly—that “homeownership is an excellent investment.”

SW Florida Real Estate Watchers Note U.S. Homeownership Dip, Naples, Estero, Marco Island! I agree whole-heartedly, of course; and whether your next foray into SW Florida homeownership is as buyer, seller (or both) the odds are excellent that you do, too. All good reasons to give me a call!

Thank You To All Veterans……………………. Remember Veterans Day.

We Will Never Forget the Men & Women Who Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice for Us. Freedom Isn’t Free. Thank You to All Veterans – We Owe You a Debt that will Never Fully be Repaid.

 Remember Veterans Day.