Welcome to Southwest Florida Real Estate

Archive for December, 2016

For SW Florida’s Curious: Seeking the Most Popular House Styles, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!

Ever tried to pin down the most popular house style in the U.S.? Turns out—you can’t.

For SW Florida’s Curious: Seeking the Most Popular House Styles, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero! Last week it almost seemed as if the answer was at hand. SW Florida readers could have come across the ad link that promised to reveal “The Most Popular House Styles.” The come-hither promise read, “Browse our photo gallery for the most popular housing styles For SW Florida’s Curious: Seeking the Most Popular House Styles, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!and types in America.”

The most likely reason for clicking would have been for SW Florida homeowners to find out how popular their own home’s style is considered to be. If it’s the Most Popular of all, when it came time to sell, herds of popularity-seeking American buyers could come rushing over for a showing!

 If that were the goal, the first mouse click would have dashed the hope, for it showed a photo of an unadorned two-windowed center-chimneyed home that couldn’t have been larger than 400 square feet. This first style—Number 1—was the “Cape Cod Style” home.

Since few could be persuaded that Capes are the runaway #1 Most Popular homes in the U.S., it seemed probable that the author wasn’t going to let us in on the order of popularity. That suspicion was confirmed by #2 of the Most Popular House Styles: “New England Colonial.” Pictured was a 1720 model that looked remarkably well-preserved (but not particularly popular-looking).

If you grew impatient and scanned down the page, you found “Dutch Colonial,” then “German Colonial” (a brooding For SW Florida’s Curious: Seeking the Most Popular House Styles, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!hand-made brick and stone structure). Despite what the ad had promised, this was more like an Every Conceivable House Style list rather than a true Most Popular one. It was a very long page, ultimately chronicling no fewer than 57 different house styles. This was clearly not going to deliver on its promise—but the question it raised was nonetheless an interesting one. What are the Most Popular house styles in the U.S.? Are they in the South? On a lake? Actually, what is the Most Popular?

You’d think that the answer would be most likely to come from the National Association of Realtors®—but it was not to be. At least the NAR has pared the Most Popular list down to its Top 20, but heading the list is “Tudor.” I can agree that in SW Florida, Tudors may be greatly admired. But across the whole country, they’re not likely to rank as Most Popular.  

For SW Florida’s Curious: Seeking the Most Popular House Styles, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!Down there at the bottom of the NAR list are three that could be serious contenders: “Midcentury Modern,” “Traditional Ranch” and “Contemporary Style.” They could be Most Popular since all three are architecturally vague—so more homes could fit the categories. An example was “Traditional Ranch,” which can have either brick, wood, or stucco siding. Even vaguer was the Huffington Post’s top pick: “Craftsman style.” Quite a few SW Florida homes could qualify, since Craftsman style homes are “often bungalows but may be of any shape so long as they emphasize a relationship with nature and the craft of construction.” If you’re thinking that every house in SW Florida is “of any shape” and “has a relationship with the craft of construction,” I’m with you.

For SW Florida’s Curious: Seeking the Most Popular House Styles, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero! Ultimately, there doesn’t seem to be a proven Most Popular house style—which may be just as well, since any style can sell quickly or slowly due to many other factors. The most popular style for any home buyer is, after all, the home that happens to appeal to him or her. Putting that buyer together with that home is how I help—and a fine reason to call me!

Advertisements

Wandering SW Florida Mortgage Rates’ Infinitesimal Moves, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral!

  Wandering SW Florida Mortgage Rates’ Infinitesimal Moves, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral! The legendary figure of The Wanderer has different connotations in different cultures. English teachers in {Your Area} high school classrooms have always taught some of the most famous parts of Homer’s Odyssey—the heroic story of Ulysses, the most famous Wandering SW Florida Mortgage Rates’ Infinitesimal Moves, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral!wanderer. Ulysses wandered in and out of a lot of trouble…

Planets are wanderers, too. During ancient night times, ancient shepherds looked up and watched them meandering restlessly among the stars, so they called them planets (“wanderers”). Dion (of Dion and the Belmont) was the most celebrated wanderer of the 60s—at least his hit song claimed that he roamed “around around”).

In today’s SW Florida culture, though, wondering is a lot less glamorous than it’s been through most of history. A modern definition includes the bit about moving around, but most dictionaries include less-than-positive modifiers like “aimless” or “without plan or purpose.”

So when Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave a recent speech that SW Florida mortgage rate observers hoped would signal the direction where rates are headed, they expected clarity on the Fed’s plan and purpose. Last Thursday, The Wandering SW Florida Mortgage Rates’ Infinitesimal Moves, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral!Washington Post headlined the following days’ financial reaction:

Mortgage Rates Wander Higher but Remain Near Yearly Lows.”

When financial writers talk about mortgage rates that “wander,” it doesn’t really matter in which direction. It means that they’re going up and down in what amounts to wandering’s “aimless manner.” If it signals anything, it’s mainly that the signals from all corners are mixed. At Jackson Hole, Chair Yellen had signaled that the central bank “is moving closer” to raising their benchmark rate, but it Wandering SW Florida Mortgage Rates’ Infinitesimal Moves, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral!seemed that the signal was not too convincing: Bankrate.com found that nearly 90% of the experts it talked to think rates will remain unchanged for a while.

As for how the Post could see rates “wandering” higher yet remaining near 2016 lows, it became clear in the paragraphs down below. The average 30-year mortgage rate had changed from 3.43% to 3.46%, remaining stuck in the range that’s lasted all summer (it’s been moving up and down no more than 7 hundredths of a percent). “Wandering” sounds appropriate. Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist said mortgage rates have been “hovering;” but “wandering” sounds at least as apt. What this means for SW Florida real estate is perhaps the only really clear signal to emerge. For the moment, SW Wandering SW Florida Mortgage Rates’ Infinitesimal Moves, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral! Florida mortgage rates remain appetizing low, keeping the residential market pegged at historical bargain basement levels.

Best of all, that means it’s still a great time to give me a call!

A Home Warranty Can Woo Uncertain SW Florida Buyers, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs!

A Home Warranty Can Woo Uncertain SW Florida Buyers, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs! When last week’s surprising news (on the plus side) about consumer confidence was announced, it was one more sign SW Florida homeowners might have felt nudging them in the direction of putting their home on the market. U.S. confidence rose to A Home Warranty Can Woo Uncertain SW Florida Buyers, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs!an 11-month high in August—a turnaround from consumer blahs that had ruled during the first half of the year.

Even when there’s some time pressure to sell your SW Florida home, one snag that can stall the decision—especially for those with older homes—is the thought of the cost of bringing the place fully up to date. Even if the mechanicals (heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical) are actually in perfectly fine working order, it can seem as if potential buyers will be hard to convince that it’s the case. And if the appliances are veterans, even if they’re perfectly serviceable, potential sellers sometimes fear that prospects will shy away from the Great Unknown of costly dishwasher or clothes dryer breakdowns.

So it’s pretty good news that this is one concern that SW Florida homeowners and their future customers can do something about. The doubt-remover is a home warranty—the kind of policy that helps shield against the cost of unexpected breakdowns. Texas consumers can choose from a number of home warranty providers, each of whom offerA Home Warranty Can Woo Uncertain SW Florida Buyers, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs! varying levels of protection.

The home warranty companies provide a straightforward proposition: it is a service contract, usually a year in duration, that promises to pay if a major system or covered appliance should break down due to normal wear and tear. Some high-end policies offer complete coverage for repairs—or even full replacement if necessary. More inexpensive home warranties may provide less comprehensive coverage or require the use of specified repair services.

Once it’s been determined that the incremental cost is a worthwhile investment, it’s important to read through the previsions about what is covered—and to remember that systems and appliances have to be in good working order at the time the policy is issued. Some of the items commonly included can be the plumbing and electrical systems, furnaces and heating ducts, water heaters, pumps, dishwashers, garbage disposals, cooking appliances, refrigerators, washers and dryers—sometimes, even swimming A Home Warranty Can Woo Uncertain SW Florida Buyers, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs!pools. You can see why checking the scope of coverage is critical for determining the choice of contracts.

Lately, home warranties have grown in popularity—possibly because of timing considerations. H.U.D. says it’s because the protection they offer home buyers comes during the critical period immediately following purchase—a time when there is often less extra emergency cash on hand. That can be a critical reassuring factor for {Your Area} home buyers.

Even more convincing are the statistics from the National Home Warranty Association. If it’s as true for Texas sellers as it is nationally, it’s eye-opening. The NHW finds that when a home warranty is provided as part of the sale, it can help a home sell up to 50% faster.

A Home Warranty Can Woo Uncertain SW Florida Buyers, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs! THIS could come as welcome news if you’ve been undecided about whether this fall will be an opportune time to sell. Even if you’re on the fence, give me a call!

SW Florida Home Showings Can Borrow Some Staging Technique, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!

SW Florida Home Showings Can Borrow Some Staging Technique, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero! It’s not a coincidence that the same word is used in both dramatic undertakings and SW Florida residential real estate preparation. Both describe SW Florida Home Showings Can Borrow Some Staging Technique, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!preparations that seek to establish a feeling within the beholder. Of course, staging for SW Florida home showings differs fundamentally from its theatrical homonym. With our kind of staging, the presentation is real—not make-believe.

That’s not to say we can’t borrow an idea or two from the theater. Some stage directors begin first rehearsals by encouraging the actors to overdo their readings; to “make it big—really big!” The idea is that later on, after they’ve rehearsed the same scene dozens of times, it will be harder to think creatively about interpreting their characters. There will be plenty of time to tone down wildly overdone acting, but after many days of rehearsing, over familiarity with the play will make it harder to come up with creative ideas to improve performances.

There can be some value in applying the same kind of thinking when you approach the staging of your SW Florida home—at least in the sense of thinking outside the box. One way SW Florida’s staging professionals have the advantage over homeowners who do it themselves is that they arrive on the scene without preconceptions. They get to see a home with fresh eyes. That’s pretty much impossible for someone who has lived in the place for years. The pros have also SW Florida Home Showings Can Borrow Some Staging Technique, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!developed a good deal of expertise in imagining basics, like how the placement of furniture can improve the “flow” of a home: how visitors naturally move from room to room.

When actors perform that first rehearsal, making their reading “bigger” than it will wind up being on opening night, there is an apt analogy for staging a home.

It’s about the all-important staging rudiment: the de-cluttering.

Essentially, the ideal would be to clear everything out.

SW Florida Home Showings Can Borrow Some Staging Technique, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!Of course, unless it’s a pack-up-and-move situation, that’s usually not practical. But what can be accomplished is to progress through the house, room by room, slightly overdoing the de-cluttering. Walking through a living room that you’ve made comfortable through the years, it is really hard to think of doing much other than clearing surfaces or rearranging an item or two. But when you evacuate almost everything from a space (which is possible if you’re only moving it into an adjoining room), it’s suddenly easy to see what really needs to be moved back. And new ideas pop up for where lamps, tables, chairs might be more appealingly placed…and most important, which things aren’t really necessary at all!

SW Florida Home Showings Can Borrow Some Staging Technique, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero! Come opening night (that is, the first showing or the first open house), the results from a serious home staging effort can often earn the kind of critical results that translate into a “sold” sign in the front yard.

Color Décor Move Ignores Likely SW Florida Home Resale Effect, Naples, Ft. Myers!

 Color Décor Move Ignores Likely SW Florida Home Resale Effect, Naples, Ft. Myers! It was tucked away in a backwater of The Wall Street Journal’s online Design tab, which is actually just a sub-section of their Real Estate section. “The Rise of the Colorful Bathroom” was like a conceptual hand grenade tossed into the placid lagoon of home decor orthodoxy.

Color Décor Move Ignores Likely SW Florida Home Resale Effect, Naples, Ft. Myers!As far as design insights likely to affect SW Florida’s home resale market, the pointers found in Design lately haven’t been particularly noteworthy. Earlier this month, there had been a piece about metal versions of “The Classic Peacock Chair.” That might have had some impact in Rangoon, but here in SW Florida, where peacock chairs are few and far in between, it scarcely ruffled a feather. Similarly, there had appeared “A Décor Lesson in Subtle Patriotism” with marginally subtle red, white and blue illustrations—but especially since it first appeared after the July 4th weekend, SW Florida readers were unlikely to run that one up the flagpole…

But now, tucked away beside a Most Popular Videos sidebar, came this subversive “Rise of the Colorful Bathroom.” A generous illustration showed an example of how far the author was willing to go: it portrayed a stark blue bathroom wall and sink featuring clapboard-like blue-and-gray porcelain tiles: the blue plank Color Décor Move Ignores Likely SW Florida Home Resale Effect, Naples, Ft. Myers!special. Did this mark a warning shot over the bow of one of the longest unchallenged home décor conventions—that the American bathroom palette should be, in the author’s phrase, “compulsively neutral”?

If so, would the new trend force homeowners poised to enter SW Florida’s home resale market to have to expensively retool their bathrooms’ calming hues?

Fortunately for the budgets of SW Florida home sellers, a close reading made that unlikely. Although the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) does report some tip-toeing by their members in the direction of bathroom color infusions, no more than 10%-15% of them actually expect to decorate more baths “in green, blue and black”—at least for this year. There were also tacit admissions that the Rise of the Colorful Bathroom might become somewhat diluted before it spreads much further. “Muted beats candy bright” was the caption describing a mid-toned bathroom, displaying an almost traditional “quiet, palatable personality.”

Color Décor Move Ignores Likely SW Florida Home Resale Effect, Naples, Ft. Myers!Some designers also expressed some reluctance to jump on the Colorful Bathroom train—at least in one part of the rainbow. Palm Springs designer Christopher Kennedy may opt for small touches of bright color, but will always “avoid pea greens and acid greens” because “they aren’t so great on the skin.” He goes in a rosier direction, with hip colors like blush “because it makes you look beautiful.”

Color Décor Move Ignores Likely SW Florida Home Resale Effect, Naples, Ft. Myers! As far as SW Florida home resale prospects are concerned, one devil-may-care subhead gives away a quite possible impact. The truly cool blues to emphatic blacks are labeled “resale-be-damned” colors. As we near the end of the hectic peak selling period, most SW Florida sellers are continuing to choose much more of a “resale-be-welcomed” disposition. If that describes your own stance, you’ll find it echoed when you give me a call!

The Best SW Florida Agents May Differ, but Share 4 Traits, Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island!

The Best SW Florida Agents May Differ, but Share 4 Traits, Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island! If you are looking for the Town real estate agent who will do the best job for you, it’s logical to seek the best agent. Less obvious is what traits distinguish the best real estate agents. If you look through summaries of commonly agreed-upon qualities, most are the The Best SW Florida Agents May Differ, but Share 4 Traits, Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island!same as for other successful people. A common #1 listed trait is “a problem-solver mindset”—but that would be true for most top producers in any number of occupations.

Going at it from a different perspective, the nature of the industry might make the most useful distinguishing characteristics largely personal ones. From my own point of view, four are all but indispensable:

The best agents are nice. The selling and buying of a home is serious business, so “nice” might not seem to be required…but even a hint of rancor is a bar to success. In dealing with the place that sellers call home (and buyers would like to call home), when ill will threaten to sour the atmosphere, it can thwart a transaction—even when all other factors are favorable. Although it may not sound logical, the ‘vibe’ surrounding a home’s sale can become as important as it is in establishing a business partnership, where good will is justifiably essential for success. Especially when nerves are ragged, misunderstandings are easily triggered. The best SW Florida agents adroitly handle nuances (like knowing how to prevent minor critical comments from being taken as personal slights).

They’re organized. The sheer volume of details that flood a busy real estate agent’s day has to be experienced to beThe Best SW Florida Agents May Differ, but Share 4 Traits, Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island! believed. The best agents can’t be “snowed under,” because they have long ago figured out how to systematize fielding the daily load. You can tell an organized agent by their swift personal response to phone messages and email contacts.  

They’re real. Eventually, artificiality wears thin. Sooner or later, a professional demeanor that’s out of phase with the same person’s private side betrays itself as what it is: a guise behind which reality resides. The best agents know that the strongest cooperative relationships are built on trust. Whenever an unexpected obstacle enters the picture—and in the search, negotiations, and completion of the sale of a residence in SW Florida, it’s surprising if at least some snags don’t pop up. The opposite of artificial cheer is authenticity; when the voice on the other end of the phone is unfaltering bright and The Best SW Florida Agents May Differ, but Share 4 Traits, Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island!energetic, it’s that much easier to make steady progress. It’s why a truism about the best agents is seldom disputed: they all seem to have one personality trait in common—a sunny disposition. That comes from loving to do what you’re doing!

The best agents don’t fear confrontation. It’s built into the mix: the interests of buyers and sellers are often diametrically opposed. That isn’t to say that, after a fair deal has been struck, both can’t walk away with good feelings about the transaction and one another (in fact, that’s often the ultimate outcome). But to get there, each should feel that their conflicting interests are being protected. Strongly protected. The best agents don’t shy away from energetically representing the wishes of their clients, even if that places them outside their preferred comfort zone.

The Best SW Florida Agents May Differ, but Share 4 Traits, Naples, Ft. Myers, Marco Island! Real estate calls for a special combination of personality traits. Salesmanship needs to be tempered with diplomacy. Zeal with patience. And above all, the best SW Florida real estate agents love doing what we do. I hope you’ll give me a chance to demonstrate: just give me a call!  Thank You For Reading!

For SW Florida Mortgage Applicants, the Razmatazz is Necessary, Naples, Isles Of Capri!

 For SW Florida Mortgage Applicants, the Razmatazz is Necessary, Naples, Isles Of Capri! Whenever you’re in the planning stages for your next SW Florida real estate venture, the best available SW Florida mortgage rate is a number For SW Florida Mortgage Applicants, the Razmatazz is Necessary, Naples, Isles Of Capri!you look for. Whether you are thinking of a purchase of a new SW Florida home or simply refinancing your existing property, that rate determines how much you will pay each month.

You would think that getting a good idea of what that number is should be pretty easy. Certainly you would be encouraged by what you find on the web. That number—the mortgage rate—is available online almost everywhere you turn. It’s in TV ads. It’s on the radio. It’s almost looking for you.

But as everyone soon learns, those numbers aren’t exactly the ones that you need. What appears in the ads and pop-ups isn’t necessarily that number (if by “that number” you mean the mortgage rate you will wind up paying).

This whole topic was addressed this last weekend by USA Today in an article that did a good job of explaining why the actual mortgage rate that most applicants will be offered is not readily available. The rates in the ads are called theFor SW Florida Mortgage Applicants, the Razmatazz is Necessary, Naples, Isles Of Capri! “published” rates. Unlike many other kinds of consumer advertisements, in mortgage financial parlance, a “published” rate isn’t the same as a “promised” rate. As this month’s survey by Freddie Mac specified, the mortgage rate average of 3.45% was on average only available to customers who chose to pay an additional fee—in this case, .5 point of the loan amount. For a $275,000 loan, that would cost the borrower $1,375 up front to get the “published” mortgage loan rate.

That isn’t the only wrinkle. As USA Today put it, “Lenders also publish rates that have very specific prerequisites.” The rate may only apply to applicants with specific credit scores. The rate might call for a minimum loan-to-value percentage, too—or only be available in specific areas (which may or may not include SW Florida ).

For SW Florida Mortgage Applicants, the Razmatazz is Necessary, Naples, Isles Of Capri!This might sound like a deliberate bait-and-switch tactic by the lenders, but when you get to the reasons for all the razmatazz, it’s actually necessary. SW Florida’s mortgage lenders are able to keep rates competitively low by only lending to borrowers who have a very good chance of repaying the loan. Those whose histories indicate that they pose a higher risk of not being able to keep up their monthly payments have to expect that they will be quoted a higher interest rate. The last time mortgage lenders stopped doing a good job of those risk calculations, it triggered what we now call “the great recession”—and just about everyone paid a price for that.

For SW Florida Mortgage Applicants, the Razmatazz is Necessary, Naples, Isles Of Capri! So it may be inconvenient, but in order to really find out what your true interest rate will be for a specific real estate transaction, you have to go through the motions of applying for it. In this age of readily available instant information, that can seem like a run-around—but it’s necessary. I’m here to make this and every other aspect of your SW Florida real estate doings as easy as possible. Call me!