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3 Sure Ways to Mess Up Buying Your SW Florida House, Naples, Isles Of Capri, Cape Coral!

 First, a word about these Things to Avoid when you’re in the process of buying a SW Florida house: it’s a short list.

3 Sure Ways to Mess Up Buying Your SW Florida House, Naples, Isles Of Capri, Cape Coral! The reason it’s so short is 3 Sure Ways to Mess Up Buying Your SW Florida House, Naples, Isles Of Capri, Cape Coral!because of who you are—since you’re reading this, it means you’re someone who is taking the time to delve into what’s happening with SW Florida real estate. That makes it unlikely that you will fall into any of the common-sense pitfalls that populate typical Top 10 Pitfalls lists. Most of them are pretty obvious to anyone who pays attention.

Less obvious are these three. These touch on areas which can be overlooked when time is short, or emotions are high—or the SW Florida house is just so darned attractive you can’t wait to pull the trigger:

  1. Perfect house: no need to inspect! So sooooo wrong: the cost of an inspection in both time and money will always be some of the best investment results you can ever realize. It might seem as if you’re betting against your perfect deal by investing in an expert’s search for imperfections, but the opposite is true. A perfect house deserves a good inspection. Even if flaws are found that you are willing to accept because the rest of the deal is so attractive, knowing about your future property’s weak points will let you decide if and when to correct them—probably at less3 Sure Ways to Mess Up Buying Your SW Florida House, Naples, Isles Of Capri, Cape Coral! expense than if you are blindsided later on.
  2. Lack of spade work. Buying a house is such a far-reaching commitment, it’s unlikely to reward spur-of-the-moment decision-making. Some otherwise quite intelligent and cautious consumers can become suddenly overcome by the impulse to stop paying rent to someone else!—and wind up buying a house that, while it does solve the rent-paying problem, does so less satisfactorily than need be. Especially for first-time homebuyers, taking the time to lay out a hard-headed budget in conjunction with minimum house 3 Sure Ways to Mess Up Buying Your SW Florida House, Naples, Isles Of Capri, Cape Coral!requirements can make a huge difference in the coming years. The idea that you should take a year to plan any house-buying move is impractical in some cases—but it’s not a bad goal.
  3. Not comparing mortgage terms. Low interest rates are certainly appealing (and today’s SW Florida home loan rates are close to the 3.2055% decade low). But before signing on the dotted line, don’t let the array of numbers and decimal-dotted percentages get in the way of making the best decision. No matter what the interest rate is, it’s usually the APR—the annual percentage rate that integrates the closing costs and other fees— that proves most useful for making comparisons between offers.

3 Sure Ways to Mess Up Buying Your SW Florida House, Naples, Isles Of Capri, Cape Coral! Avoiding these three is easy once you’re aware of them. There is also a way to red flag other possible missteps when you are buying a house: enlist the help of an experienced SW Florida buyer’s agent. When you give me the call, you can rest assured I’ll be watching out for your interests—every step of the way!

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For Home Buyers in SW Florida, Top 6 Questions, Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri!

For Home Buyers in SW Florida, Top 6 Questions, Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri! Like careful consumers who are investigating any major purchase, SW Florida home buyers need to address some of the same basic queries. Among home buyers, those who already own SW Florida homes may think they have different questions than do first-timers, but For Home Buyers in SW Florida, Top 6 Questions, Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri!even for those who have successfully navigated the process before, if it’s been a while since then, some basics may need refreshing:

  1. Should I buy or rent? This is quite rightly the lead question any {Your Area} home buyer needs to answer. It’s not one that many {Your Area} residents who are already home owners spend a lot of time on since the answer for their own family has already been a “yes.” For them, unless some major changes have come to pass, they can safely assume that homeownership is still a no-brainer.
  2. How do I get started? There are two good answers here: Get a mortgage pre-approval, and/or tap the services of a great SW Florida Realtor®. Although a lender’s pre-approval isn’t a requirement, getting a green light in advance can’t help but create a positive atmosphere with sellers and their representatives. It For Home Buyers in SW Florida, Top 6 Questions, Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri!demonstrates serious intent—and in a competitive situation could even wind up winning the day.
  3. What’s the right credit score to buy a house? 620-650. Okay, okay—I know there’s actually no number that’s truly the “right” credit score for all circumstances. It depends on so many possible outside factors that the exceptions are too numerous to list. That 620 number (and higher) does seem to be one that lenders like to see; with 580 the common minimum low down payment FHA qualifier…but that can even be less in order to qualify for the FHA 10% down payment program. The only bullet-proof answer for the “right” credit score is—the best one you can build!
  4. How much will the down payment be? This one depends on the SW Florida For Home Buyers in SW Florida, Top 6 Questions, Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri!property you choose, the home loan you select—and also, to a degree, on how much you want to pay. It used to be common sense that you should pay as much as you can afford in order to minimize the amount of interest you wind up paying over the life of the home loan. But with interest rates as low as they are today, some financial gurus are less confident about that advice: there may be more lucrative ways cash can be put to work.
  5. How much do I have to pay my agent? Nothing. The buyer’s agent fee is paid by the seller.
  6. Should I use a real estate brokerThis answer comes from the HUD.gov website: “Using a real estate broker is a very good idea.” As HUD says, “the details involved in home buying, particularly the financial ones, can be mind-boggling.”

For Home Buyers in SW Florida, Top 6 Questions, Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri! Needless to say, that last Top Home Buyer FAQ is a personal favorite. It’s really just another way of saying, “ Please call me!”

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!

House Hunting in SW Florida Calls for Level-Headedness, Naples, Marco Island

House Hunting in SW Florida Calls for Level-Headedness, Naples, Marco Island. If you’ve been house hunting for the SW Florida home you know is out there—the one that will fit your needs, is situated in a suitable neighborhood, and fits your budget—when you home in on a likely candidate, try not to fall in love with it (at least not right away). House hunting is a nesting exercise: part logic, part emotion. Nothing will change that. But problems can result when emotions take over House Hunting in SW Florida Calls for Level-Headedness, Naples, Marco Islandearly on in the process. It’s human nature to rush past what seem to be pesky little details as you near the finish line. If, later, “pesky” turns into “horrendous,” it can usually be traced to a rush to judgement born of emotion. The most productive attitude is one of patience—energized by optimism but tempered with cool judgement. When you have faith that you will find what you’ve been house hunting for, persistence comes easily.

One basic house hunting tip has to do with your original checklist. You certainly start out with a list of what your minimum requirements must be, but if you don’t keep that basic list close at hand, you are apt to fall in love with a place that’s missing one or two vital elements. If your SW Florida dream house lacks something you set out thinking of as a necessity, you’ll be much more satisfied in the end if you at least consciously decide early on that the other wonderful features make the sacrifice worth the tradeoff.

The second tip category deals with maintenance…and upgrades…and décor changes…and the like. It’s about the realisticHouse Hunting in SW Florida Calls for Level-Headedness, Naples, Marco Island cost you are going to pay for necessary changes to will bring the property into line with your tastes and requirements. Being realistic about the amount of effort and budget that will be required is hard to do when you are already head-over-heels with the place—but it needs to be done realistically. The bottom line for your new SW Florida digs will include changes you know you’ll be making, so estimating those costs is integral to developing a levelheaded negotiating position.

The third house hunting tip is really the most hard-headed financial factor. If the home you’re falling in love with satisfies this one, go ahead and fall—this isn’t House Hunting in SW Florida Calls for Level-Headedness, Naples, Marco Islandpuppy love: it looks like the real thing! This tip is sort of romance killer (it’s like a prenup). After you’re pretty sure the property is what you’ve been looking for, stop and seriously consider what it’s resale value will be in a few years. Of course you’re not going to sell your dream house anytime soon—but one day you may want to do so. Will the property’s construction stand up to Father Time? Does the neighborhood look like it, too, will retain its charm (or even better, improve with the years)? And are the fine points of the house the kind that have wide appeal—and not just peculiar to the sellers (and you)?

House Hunting in SW Florida Calls for Level-Headedness, Naples, Marco Island. House hunting can be fun; it can be stressful; it can be (and usually is) both. But it is a terrifically valuable use of your time. The goal is to emerge from the process with the SW Florida home that will be a pleasure to come home to for many years to come. All the better when it produces an investment that creates value as those years pass. It’s my job to assist my clients in making the most of every house hunting hour. I hope you’ll call me so we can get started!

SW Florida Buyer’s Agents: a Popular Choice for Good Reason

SW Florida Buyer’s Agents: a Popular Choice for Good Reason. A mega-proportion of serious SW Florida house hunters ultimately decide it makes the most sense to team up with a real estate professional to get the job done. SW Florida buyers may begin the process of finding and buying their next home on their own, checking through the online listings or driving target neighborhoods to check out the “For Sale” signs—but the NAR® reports that 9 out of 10 of U.S. buyers will SW Florida Buyer’s Agents: a Popular Choice for Good Reasoneventually use a real estate agent in their search process.

The most obvious motivation for that is because the buyer’s agent’s fee is paid from the seller’s proceeds. That alone could explain a 90% level of popularity. When you can benefit from a professional’s services at no cost to yourself, SW Florida house hunters would have to think long and hard to come up with what the downside could possibly be. To run down the arguments that could explain how 10% might decide to pass up the buyer’s agent service, I looked for the most common arguments against the grain.

Here are the Top Four, presented in no particular order. (Since I definitely do have a dog in this fight, I’ve also includedSW Florida Buyer’s Agents: a Popular Choice for Good Reason some counterarguments):

  1. Distrust. Something for nothing? A free lunch? Common sense teaches the same lesson, always and forever: THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH! (Counter: the service is not free: the seller pays).
  2. Independent Spirit. Some people know that they work and think better when they take sole responsibility. They may have been misled by “experts” too many times—may regret not relying upon their own instincts. After all, Americans are mavericks by nature: they are at their best using their own native ingenuity to solve problems. (Counter: a substantial portion of the process of purchasing a home in SW Florida requires mastering technical legal and timing requirements. Although a buyer can take the time to learn about all of them, since their buyer’s agent has already handled them successfully many times, it’s wasted effort. IOW, this is a wheel that doesn’t need SW Florida Buyer’s Agents: a Popular Choice for Good Reasonto be reinvented).
  3. Commitment. If asked to okay an agreement that spells out the ground rules for working with a buyer’s agent, it’s as if a commitment is being forced prematurely. After all, who knows for certain that the right SW Florida house at the right price is even out there? It just feels like putting the cart before the horse. (Counter: this is never a commitment to buy—just an agreement for how the search and commission will be handled if a suitable home is found and purchased. The buyer can make sure the arrangement can be severed without penalty if the service is not satisfactory).
  4. Motivation. Since a buyer’s agent will profit from any sale—they’ll try to sell me anything. (Counter: Every buyer’s agent is legally and ethically duty-bound to represent their client’s interests—plus, since their entire career is utterly dependent on their reputation, their interests align).

SW Florida Buyer’s Agents: a Popular Choice for Good Reason. Whenever I represent any buyer, my motivation is 100% that of helping them reach their desired outcome. Reaching that goal—finding the right SW Florida home, than negotiating and closing at the right price—is the way I keep the phone ringing. See for yourself by giving me a call!

First-time SW Florida Home Buyers & the Home Inspection Query

First-time SW Florida Home Buyers & the Home Inspection Query. A reasonable question posted recently on a real estate website can open an interesting discussion. It’s one that touches on a fundamental component of most SW Florida real estate sales.

The question was, “Can I request a home inspection before I make an offer on the home?

First-time SW Florida Home Buyers & the Home Inspection QueryThe answer from the moderator was, “I can’t think of one good reason why you would do this.” The moderator should have thought a little harder! And the truth is, for any would-be SW Florida buyer who has never been involved in buying or selling a home, it’s a pretty logical question.

Take a fictional example. We have a young couple who have no previous real estate experience. Their parents never walked them through how they had gone about buying the homes they’d been raised in, and although both husband and wife have college degrees, neither has been exposed to the first thing about buying and selling a house (this is a hole in the educational setup that would seem to be pretty easy to fix…but at least for now, parents have to fill the void).

Our couple has fallen in love with an existing home. They like its size, style, and its SW Florida neighborhood—which is in a superior school district. They have some reservation about the asking price, which is a little more than their pre-determined target, but they decide to make an offer that shaves a few percentage points off the asking. They agree with their agent that for the seller to entertain their offer seriously, they need to accompany it with a 1%-2% earnest First-time SW Florida Home Buyers & the Home Inspection Querymoney deposit.

Just as they are on the verge of taking the leap…one other thing occurs to them. What, they wonder, will guarantee that there aren’t serious mechanical or other difficulties with the house? The solution would be simple—just order an inspection—except that, not yet being in a contract, the $300 – $600 inspection fee could be a waste of money. What if the sellers accept an offer in between the time the young couple orders the inspection and submits their offer?  

First-time SW Florida Home Buyers & the Home Inspection QueryIn practice, a “before offer” inspection IS done in some cases – usually when a multiple offer situation is expected. In such cases, multiple sets of buyers would probably be advised by their savvy agents to invest the money on the front end to increase their odds of writing the offer that will be accepted. The way savvy agents help their seller clients avoid this problem for buyers is to have the sellers order a home inspection report themselves—and make it available to any potential buyers for review. This helps the sellers to get ahead of any unknown issues that might come up, as well as encouraging offers. When buyers have information about the basic condition of the home, it frees them to write an offer with more confidence.

A sound offer triggers the start of a process that ends in handshakes and smiles all around—and the transfer of a very valuable set of keys.

First-time SW Florida Home Buyers & the Home Inspection Query. Whether buying or selling, strategic guidance regarding the offer is just one contribution of your chosen SW Florida real estate agent—and another reason why teaming with the right one is so key to getting the result you are looking for. I hope you’ll give me a call to discuss how I will help you reach those goals!

Young Adults Might Reverse a SW Florida Housing Trend

 Young Adults Might Reverse a SW Florida Housing Trend. You don’t need real estate statistics or government bureau reports to sense that first-time home ownership rates have been in the dumps for a while. SW Florida housing figures have too few transactions month-by-month to draw many conclusions about sustained trends in home ownership here—yet it’s evident that for young adults everywhere, the glacial recovery in the economy combined with factors like student debt have made it particularly difficult for most of them to move from renting to owning an SW Florida home.

 Young Adults Might Reverse a SW Florida Housing Trend Despite the new year’s opening burst of worrisome economic headlines, nationally, when it comes to house ownership trends, there seem to be spots of good news. One with that focus came out of Fannie Mae at year’s end, courtesy of their Housing Insights publication. It wasn’t exactly a barn-burner. The excitement level, on a scale of 1 to 10, would have weighed in at maybe a 2. But for young adults who find their personal financial outlook is a square peg when it comes to the round hole of buying a first SW Florida home, any improvement in the outlook would be progress.

 That this particular improvement was less than breathtakingly good news was signaled by the headline. It came in the form of a question: “Could the Long Decline in Young-Adult Homeownership Be Nearing an End?” Fannie asked (possibly hoping the readers would supply more information). The reason for the indecision was clarified in the article’s Summary, which stated that the researchers had prepared several projectionYoung Adults Might Reverse a SW Florida Housing Trend scenarios for young-adult housing ownership. These showed that ‘strong underlying population growth trends’ demonstrate how even small improvements in those trends “could generate increases in young owner-occupants in coming years.”

In other words, if there are more young adults, there might be more young adult homeowners. Not stated was how long it took the Sherlocks on the research staff to come up with that finding.

Young Adults Might Reverse a SW Florida Housing TrendIn case this sounds silly, it’s actually not quite that bad. During the worst years of the housing bust, the number of young homeowners decreased despite the fact that their proportion of the population grew…so the projection might indicate an end to that negative momentum. That decline has in fact slowed gradually…but in the three projections made by the Census Bureau, one shows continued decline, the next a slight increase, and the third, a robust increase (twice that registered during the housing boom). For the big question: which of the three is most likely to occur, the answer is (wait for it):

It’s difficult to predictbut stability or modest improvement in homeownership is certainly plausible.”

 Young Adults Might Reverse a SW Florida Housing Trend. That might have raised the excitement level to about 3—especially here, where the SW Florida housing picture does in fact include properties that are great fits for first time homeowners. With home loan interest rates still enabling extremely doable monthly mortgage payment numbers, even some of those young adults who think their financial square pegs can’t fit the homeownership round hole might learn otherwise. The way to find out? Please Call me TODAY!