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Beyond the Month’s SW Florida Real Estate News, Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri!

 Beyond the Month’s SW Florida Real Estate News, Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri! Whenever a month’s SW Florida real estate activity ends on a Friday, the number-gatherers close up shop knowing there will be a longer than usual lapse Beyond the Month’s SW Florida Real Estate News, Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri!until they can be sure of the SW Florida real estate activity statistics.

That creates a breather for those of us who keep abreast of Texas and SW Florida real estate. It’s a perfect opening to turn to real estate doings around the country—to see what noteworthy happenings took place in the last month or so. September 2016 did produce a little news items—these three rate at least a quick glance (or a double-take).

The lead item is one that rates a triple take: it concerns a storage barn that sold for $1,800,000. Built in Little Compton, Rhode Island, the structure was originally erected as a storage barn by the Army in WWII. It was converted into “a custom shingle-style” home, which was surely a shrewd improvement since shingles have to be a noticeable improvement over what the wartime Army shed-builders would have had to work with.

In fact, as reported by the Providence Journal, “the former storage barn…has water views from nearly every room.” The accompanying photo confirmed that, indeed, windows had been added. If the casual reader jumps to the conclusion that Beyond the Month’s SW Florida Real Estate News, Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri!a $1.8 million closing would be the occasion for celebration from the sellers, that was probably not the case: the former storage barn had been listed for $2,195,000.

Elsewhere, CNBC’s real estate editor Diana Olick reported on a national trend: a slowdown in on-time closings from 77% six months ago to 64%. This is despite a rise in housing demand. Unearthed was a reason: a “massive” shortage in appraisers—“the men and women who value homes and whom mortgage lenders depend upon.” Part of the blame was assigned to new federal regulations that disallow apprentices to conduct full appraisals. Now their licensed bosses must be on-site for every inspection.

Beyond the Month’s SW Florida Real Estate News, Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri!Over the weekend, The New York Times found little interesting domestic news, so they led instead with an international report, “House Hunting in Costa Rica.” The item focused on a two-story home in the “very clean and quiet” Arenal Lake area. A local real estate broker’s advice for house hunters was to shop with caution despite the area’s current “tremendous” buyer’s market. “I always tell my clients, don’t leave your brain in the plane.” That’s probably sage advice, especially since the area is named for a local “popular tourist attraction,” the Arenal Volcano. It’s an active stratovolcano that’s thought to be “in a passive phase” since around 2010.

Beyond the Month’s SW Florida Real Estate News, Naples, Ft. Myers, Isles Of Capri! Closer to home, I can report that I never need to remind my {Your Town} house hunting clients to keep their brains active: they fully understand that from the get-go. I hope you’ll give me a call when you decide it’s time to check out our SW Florida real estate offerings. I can guarantee that no active or passive stratovolcanoes will complicate matters!

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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!

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!

When the Topic is Energy Savings for SW Florida Homeowners

When the Topic is Energy Savings for SW Florida Homeowners. It’s been a welcome relief for SW Florida homeowners as the Bad Old Days of the energy crisis recede from memory. $4+-a-gallon gasoline, huge electric, propane and fuel oil bills that were the subject of national outrage have faded from the headlines. We’re now busy attending to the current When the Topic is Energy Savings for SW Florida Homeownerschallenges of daily living—and OPEC’s machinations aren’t front and center!

But for those SW Florida homeowners more attuned to what’s likely to be headed our way sooner or later, now is as good a time as any to prepare for the next spate of energy price surprises. And there are many new products—some in development, some already on the market—that soon could put a serious dent in the damage tomorrow’s energy bills might wreak.

Some of the interesting innovations:

  • Bladeless Fans. These are already out there—the weird-looking magnifying-glass-shaped electric fans that suck hot air in through the base and push a steady stream of air out via an impeller. The no-blades design promises to make them safer, and eventually less of an energy-eater.
  • Smart Thermostats. The best new ones connect to home systems and display how much energy is being used (and how much it’s costing). Being able to see the dollars and cents result of every temperature-setting decision, these “smart” thermostats can’t help but result in measurable energy savings.When the Topic is Energy Savings for SW Florida Homeowners
  • Flooring Upgrades. Who isn’t attracted to the warmth of hardwood floors? That never changes, but when it comes to the cost factor, they can’t match the energy savings of radiant heat. Unlike older versions of radiant flooring, the new products like Warmboard don’t require running tubes in concrete to circulate hot water. Radiant solutions were already 25% more efficient than forced air—the newer systems allow greater control and lower water temperatures.
  • Sprinkler Controllers. Water bills can be eyebrow-raisers anytime—but if you’ve ever found yourself rushing outside during a rainstorm to figure out how to stop your automatic lawn sprinkling system from adding to the flood, that situation needn’t reoccur. The newest “smart” systems take weather, When the Topic is Energy Savings for SW Florida Homeownerssprinkler type—even growing conditions—into account. As an extra, mobile apps allow you to supervise from afar.
  • Solar Shingles. They’re not yet at the price point of traditional solar panels (who would have thought that bolt-on solar panels would ever become “traditional”?)—but they are quicker to install and have the advantage of maintaining the traditional rooflines. They are becoming the renewable energy solution with curb appeal!

Investments in home renovations that give SW Florida homeowners energy savings are investments that pay off twice: right now, as the monthly operating costs are realized; and later, when those advanced features make the property more attractive to buyers. If that “later” is also a time when a future energy crunch is on everybody’s minds, it can be an important selling feature.

When the Topic is Energy Savings for SW Florida Homeowners. That would also be prime time to give me a call!

SW Florida Moving Day with Small Kids? Make it Fun! Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero

SW Florida Moving Day with Small Kids? Make it Fun! Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero. Moving Day: for SW Florida residents who relish order in their lives, this is one day when no amount of preparation is likely to totally quell the feeling that the world is on the verge of chaos. The day (or days, if the move is one that begins or ends outside SW SW Florida Moving Day with Small Kids? Make it Fun! Naples, Bonita Springs, EsteroFlorida) will predictably end with all worldly goods beginning to rearrange themselves in their new settings—but although the outcome is assured, as moving day approaches, rattled nerves require taking a deep breath. Several deep breaths…

When you add small children to the mix, strategic preparation is even clearer as the order of the day. Some of the tried-and-true ideas are ones that all parents naturally figure out—such as having kids help put things away at the new house so they feel part of the process (as well as seeing where familiar things are now located). Other strategies may be obvious, but in the throes of unpacking, can require discipline to carry out—like sticking to the kids’ familiar morning and evening rituals.

One idea is especially useful because it can be completed before the movers arrive. Create a special box or duffel bag with all the child’s “gotta-haves”—toys, blankies, pjs,SW Florida Moving Day with Small Kids? Make it Fun! Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero toothbrushes, a favorite book or two, and the like. Then add some Ziploc bags with the very best special favorite treats (ones that don’t need to be refrigerated)—these will definitely come in handy. Be sure to keep an eye on the special bag throughout the day, and let the child know where it is. Especially as long as there are untapped treats in there, its safety and well-being will be a healthy diversionary focus.

See if you can arrange for the children’s room to be the last the movers pack into the truck. That way, they’ll be first out—which will allow you to set up the children’s room ahead of everything else. It may be necessary to fight powerful contrary urges—like getting the kitchen SW Florida Moving Day with Small Kids? Make it Fun! Naples, Bonita Springs, Esterointo some semblance of order—but it will be worth it.  See if some of the child’s own ideas about where to arrange their things are doable. If so, all the better: the feeling of ownership will help make their new room no longer such a strange place (and possibly exactly the perfect place to dig one last treat out of the duffel bag).

Making moving fun for kids is a noble goal. It’s doable for some, but since all kids are different, perhaps creating a moving day where the kids feel they’ve been valued contributors to a family adventure is a significant enough outcome.

SW Florida Moving Day with Small Kids? Make it Fun! Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero. Moving day is, after all, the culmination of the team effort that stretches all the way back to when you made that first call to the one who turned out to be your SW Florida Realtor®. If you’re just at the starting point, I hope that call is to me!      

For SW Florida House Sitters: Preparations Avert Emergencies

For SW Florida House Sitters: Preparations Avert Emergencies. Midway through SW Florida real estate’s busy selling season also finds us at the beginning of many a homeowner’s personal vacation season. For those whose homes are on the market, one of the benefits of having a close working relationship with their SW Florida  real estate agent means that they can take off for their out-of-town holiday without having to worry about losing prospective buyers. If my clients For SW Florida House Sitters: Preparations Avert Emergenciesinstruct me to continue showings in their absence, it’s no problem; likewise, if they’d prefer to hold off until their return, the showing schedule is juggled accordingly.

When a house sitter is part of the picture, it’s a low-stress showing situation, as well. Good house sitters keep their client’s property in order on a day-to-day basis anyway, so with the agreed-upon advance scheduling, showings can proceed as usual. It’s especially nice when the SW Florida homeowner returns to find good news on the real estate front!

 There are two truisms about leaving your most valuable asset—your home—in the care of any house sitter.

The first is to select the sitter wisely. It’s usually best to go with a neighborhood favorite: someone who is local to SW Florida, who comes highly recommended by neighbors, and who views house sitting as a professional calling. That doesn’t mean he or she should necessarily be a full-time house sitter (many great sitters have other jobs). It does mean that, since it is at least a part-time occupation, he or she has a reputation to preserve. Cousin Mark or Aunt Mildred For SW Florida House Sitters: Preparations Avert Emergenciesmight be more than competent enough to do the job, but if it seems to them more like an imposition rather than a calling, the results can be less than top-notch.

The second necessity for getting a satisfactory (and safe) house sitting result after a first-rate house sitter has been recruited is to provide the raw materials that allow them to do their best job. In the house-sitting realm those raw materials consist of good information: the vital information that you usually take for granted, but which is necessary to oversee the proper functioning of the property. For SW Florida House Sitters: Preparations Avert EmergenciesThe information should be made available in a carefully assembled and written list. Some (not all) of the items you gather could include your on-the-go contact information at each destination; alternative contact persons; names and phone numbers of any service persons scheduled to be working on the property; emergency numbers for the SW Florida maintenance professionals you rely on for things like plumbing emergencies; and—at the top of the page, right after “911”—the SW Florida emergency numbers for police and fire departments. Elsewhere, near the TV and other electronics, it’s also considerate to write out in explicit detail how to turn them on. As we all know, in today’s world, that can require a page or two…

For SW Florida House Sitters: Preparations Avert Emergencies. When your property’s operations/emergency list is complete, be sure to reserve some time to go over the items with your house sitter—before Getaway Day, when the schedule can easily grow too hectic to do the briefing properly. And if your house really is currently on the market, include your real estate agent’s contact information— which I hope is mine!

Building Wealth through SW Florida Investment Real Estate, Naples, Marco Island, Estero

Building Wealth through SW Florida Investment Real Estate, Naples, Marco Island, Estero. Thoughtful SW Florida investors find themselves in an increasingly uncertain environment. Although the official cost of living numbers indicate Building Wealth through SW Florida Investment Real Estate, Naples, Marco Island, Esterothat inflation isn’t much of an issue, few SW Florida residents who mind the family budget are convinced. Even if that were currently the case, even fewer think it a situation that will last indefinitely. At the same time, dollars banked in savings accounts earn next to nothing. And at this point, many feel that trusting in the stock market requires nerves of steel. Last week, The Wall Street Journal was reporting that even the biggest hedge fund managers, convened in Las Vegas for their annual SALT get-together, were displaying “decided pessimism.” Unnerved by their inability to guarantee future value to their clients caused a “mood that was anything but festive.”Building Wealth through SW Florida Investment Real Estate, Naples, Marco Island, Estero

It’s not surprising, then, that lately real estate is the ownership investment class type that’s on the rise. SW Florida investors may agree with analyst Grant Cordone, writing recently in Entrepreneur magazine:

 Income-producing real estate is one of the few investment classes that, as a hard asset, has meaningful value. The property’s land has value, as does the structure itself, and the income it produces has value to future investors. Income producing real estate investments do not have red and green days, as does the stock market.

Building Wealth through SW Florida Investment Real Estate, Naples, Marco Island, EsteroThese qualities are augmented by some of the outside factors affecting the nation at large. U.S. News’ Money feature gave property managers some good news about rental rates­ with its spoiler alert: “rental hikes are not going away.” It predicts a solid 8% increase for the year. That kind of income growth—which has already been steady and sustained for years­—coupled with the “real” nature of investment real estate makes favorable comparison with most other investment classes easy to accomplish.

Building Wealth through SW Florida Investment Real Estate, Naples, Marco Island, Estero. During times when future events are as uncertain as they are today, the appeal of get rich quick schemes and other risk-laden ventures succumbs rapidly. Especially given the abundance of solid SW Florida real estate investment opportunities that are out there this spring, even those who haven’t really considered the idea in the past might be well-served to weigh the idea seriously. As an investment category, real estate comes out as the class act­—one that’s easily accessible…in fact, opening the doors to the many SW Florida opportunities is just a phone call away!