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Taking the Housing Market’s Pulse: Just Say “Aahhhh”… Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral!

 Taking the Housing Market’s Pulse: Just Say “Aahhhh”… Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral! When you go in for your annual physical, you’re hoping for a sunny prognosis. Realtor® magazine isn’t a medical journal, but it does have a feature called “Market Pulse.” It reports on the patient’s vital signs (if you imagine the patient being the nation’s housing market). The state of the national patient can be relevant here in SW Florida. In fact, the direction of the wider U.S. market is probably the best prognosis for what lies ahead for our own SW Florida housing market.

The NAR’s attending doc is, as always, Dr. Lawrence Yun. When his latest Market Pulse report just appeared in the Realtor mag, it wasn’t hard to picture what would have happened if the good Doctor had performed the pulse-taking in reality.

There would have been an efficient receptionist, and then, the examination room. The wait might have been a few minutes, but if nerves had prompted a checking out of the academic shingle on the wall, it would have been reassuringly plastered with names like Harvard and Purdue.

After the Market Pulse had been taken, the results would have been delivered with a comforting smile. “Jobs are growing,” was the first verdict, given as the doc folded the pulse-O-meter back into its case; “and interest rates remain low…” He would have paused to open the housing market’s chart to scribble a few quick notes, then, without looking up, “Sellers, meanwhile, are reporting faster sales, with homes averaging 36 days on the market.”

Since that’s a lot faster than the 42-day average from the 2015 checkup, that was great Market Pulse news.

But then Dr. Yun might have done one of those little brow wrinkles that doctors use when they’re about to tell us to exercise more or watch what we eat. “But tight inventory in many parts of the country continues to drive prices up…” At that point, having heard this so often, the Market Pulse patient would probably have tuned out the rest. For goodness sake! This lecture hasn’t changed for two years. It’s the one about not enough homes on the market, escalating prices and discouraging first-time buyers who can’t use home sale proceeds to fund down payments. It may be true, but we know, already!

Then it would be time to check out at the reception desk with a promise to be back next year. For those whose primary interest is SW Florida’s housing market, if the future is going to involve buying or selling a SW Florida home, there will be a discreet little card dispenser off to the side of the counter.

Taking the Housing Market’s Pulse: Just Say “Aahhhh”… Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral! Be sure to take one—it says, “Call your {Your Town} Realtor.” That’s me!

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SW Florida Home Improvement Top 6 Fall Gotta-Do-Ems, Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero!

SW Florida Home Improvement Top 6 Fall Gotta-Do-Ems, Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero! Spring cleaning season remains the time of year for SW Florida’s most rigorous home improvement efforts, but fall is also an opportune time to dig into some preventive home maintenance chores. Homes that get their owners’ attention on a regular basis don’t just SW Florida Home Improvement Top 6 Fall Gotta-Do-Ems, Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero!hold more of their value with less expense—they also add some extra value: peace of mind.

These six top-level maintenance tasks may consume a weekend day or two, but will ultimately pay off by eliminating preventable deterioration:

  1. If your SW Florida roof has gutters, now is a time to clear It’s only “a” time because there should be a second round. After fall winds have deposited nature’s bounty of tree leaves and pine needles and everything else that could possibly pile up in them, it will be time to do a final clearing out. If you wait until then to tend to the gutters, there’s a good chance that sludgy goo will have formed beneath the autumn debris.
  2. Door seals. Weather stripping around inevitably decomposes over time, and hinges wear down. You can find door jamb weatherstrip kits at the hardware store, and replacing foam tape that’s lost its oomph takes just minutes. For sliding glass doors that take too much muscle to budge, it’s worth getting down on hands-and-knees to deep clean the tracks—then follow up with some WD-40 sprayed into the roller workings.SW Florida Home Improvement Top 6 Fall Gotta-Do-Ems, Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero!
  3. Windows. Window insulation is right up there with the doors as key entry points for heat and cold (the kind of heat and cold that show up in SW Florida energy bills). If you are stumped by how to renew the waterproofing on some kinds of windows, Google and Bing are there to help. Search for “window weatherproofing” using the “images” choice, and see if there’s a YouTube video for one that looks like the window type that has you stumped (there almost always is).
  4. Garden. Clearing summer’s dead and dying growth and re-mulching where it’s needed is easiest to do in {Your Town} right about now. Resist the temptation to scrimp on who is or mulch: it isn’t just a pretty face (remember how much labor it saves during weed season?).
  5. SW Florida Home Improvement Top 6 Fall Gotta-Do-Ems, Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero!Exterior. Now is also SW Florida’s easiest time to check for rot, insect infestation, or any other deterioration summer might have wrought on siding and trim. If an exterior paint job is overdue, this could be where my promise about just a weekend day or two might have been overly optimistic. But a fresh coat of paint now, before winter hits town, can be a meaningful budget saver in the long run.
  6. Deck. If you have a deck that takes stain, you have to do it again. Sorry, but it’s really true: the value of stain is that you only have to wash the deck and roll it on…but you do have to do it to cover the worn areas and protect the wood.

SW Florida Home Improvement Top 6 Fall Gotta-Do-Ems, Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero! Those are the most frequently cited fall home improvement hotspots. If this summer’s Texas weather has been more punishing than usual on your SW Florida home, you might have some additional areas to mind—but for most homeowners, conscientiously attending to these should ensure a winter’s worth of peace of mind. One of my contributions (when it’s time to sell) is to help point out areas that buyers might think need improvement—and a well-maintained home will have very few of those. I hope you will feel free to give me a call whenever any questions arise on that score—or for anything connected with SW Florida’s real estate market!

A Real Estate Agent in SW Florida Wears Many Hats, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs!

 A Real Estate Agent in SW Florida Wears Many Hats, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs! The best real estate agent schooling isn’t something that takes place in a classroom. That kind of school is necessary, of course, because some of the most important work every SW Florida real estate agent does has to do with being intimately familiar with the letter of A Real Estate Agent in SW Florida Wears Many Hats, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs!current state laws and Department of Real Estate strictures.

Observing best practices—keeping on top of all the current professional guidelines and legal regulations—does form a solid foundation for building a career in the profession. But important as that is, it’s only a foundation. You have to get busy and build something on it.

As every SW Florida real estate agent soon discovers, doing the kind of effective job that sets you apart begins early in the morning, and often continues long past what is quitting time in many a 9-to-5 occupation. What’s unusual about what goes on during that day is the array of specialized activities to be attended to. Just about every day, you will be energetically juggling tasks satisfying a wide range of different needs, for instance—    

  • Pulling and reviewing activity reports from the SW Florida Multiple Listing Service

Keeping your finger on the pulse of the community yields the up-to-the-hour intelligence that’s a vital resource for A Real Estate Agent in SW Florida Wears Many Hats, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs!sellers and buyers in our active SW Florida market

  • Monitoring and responding to online contacts

Increasingly, as email and messaging become central to real estate activity, near-  instantaneous response times are the norm

  • Scheduling showings

Arranging showings to accommodate both owners and buyers—and handling the inevitable last-minute changes—calls for organizational perseverance (and an abidingly calm demeanor)

  • Creating and executing media marketing

A Real Estate Agent in SW Florida Wears Many Hats, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs!Fashioning the kind of attractively worded and designed listings is only the start of the all-important media campaigning that translates into results for your clients  

Simultaneously, an accomplished real estate agent often will be keeping track of closing deadline requirements, handling negotiations between buyers and sellers, facilitating communications with home loan brokers, home inspectors, photographers, staging companies and any number of other facilitators…and fielding the dozen other details that might crop up unexpectedly in the course of the day.

A Real Estate Agent in SW Florida Wears Many Hats, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs! Being called upon to wear so many different hats is a challenge that’s not covered in the real estate licensing exams—and one that couldn’t be taught in a classroom. At the same time, I can report that at the end of a full day, it’s one of the most rewarding aspects of being a real estate agent in SW Florida. When you give me a call, you can count on my bringing the whole of my energy and experience into play on your behalf!    

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!

Halloween Gift-Giving Exercise for SW Florida Celebrants, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!

It just could be that the absolute best Halloween gift has been identified. It’s one that every SW Florida resident would certainly be surprised to receive.

Halloween Gift-Giving Exercise for SW Florida Celebrants, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero! Now, in case you are asking Halloween Gift-Giving Exercise for SW Florida Celebrants, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!yourself who gives gifts at Halloween (other than the candy we hand out to the pint-sized ghosts and goblins), I agree that October 31 gift-giving isn’t in vogue. But thinking about it can be useful. It’s our last chance to get some mental practice in before the season for major league gift-giving hits {Your Town}.

This week is our last chance to fully appreciate this time of year. I’m talking about the not-yet-Holiday season. These are the last few days when there’s no fussing over gift exchanges, Holiday partying, New Years plans—any of it!

Like it or not, come November 1, as the first Halloween decorations come down, it will be off to the races. Suddenly Christmas carols will be everywhere—on the airwaves and over department store loudspeakers. Store windows will first fill with turkeys and pilgrims, then (even before the last Thanksgiving football game has gone into Halloween Gift-Giving Exercise for SW Florida Celebrants, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!overtime), ads—yuletide ads—will descend upon the land.

It’s something we tend to forget every year: Halloween isn’t just its own thing: it’s the calendar Rubicon separating the Holidays from the rest of the non-Holiday parts of the year. But that presents a special opportunity for {Your Town} residents who’ve fallen out of practice with gift-shopping. Since nobody actually exchanges presents on October 31, the mental exercise can get your creative juices going without having to spend anything.

The easiest Halloween gifting ideas are good for limbering up. It may be a little late for pumpkin-carving sets (everyone who favors jack-o-lanterns already has theirs, anyway). Likewise, candy is probably already near the bowls, ready to be handed over to the little spooks and goblins. A better idea might be a CD with soundtracks from “The Exorcist” or “Nightmare on Elm Street.”

It doesn’t take long before most people realize what a good thing it is that we don’t really have to exchange presents at Halloween Gift-Giving Exercise for SW Florida Celebrants, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero!Halloween: it’s too tough to come up with original ideas. I gave up soon enough—which is how this best Halloween gift of all came to my attention (it was on the web).

The perfect Halloween gift would be…a ghost town!

It may be a little impractical, but if you search high and low, seven of them seem to be currently available. They aren’t all old mining towns, either (one is an island beach resort whose bridge burned down). Any of them would certainly surprise any SW Florida Halloween gift recipient. They’d certainly have a hard time coming up with something to give in return.

Halloween Gift-Giving Exercise for SW Florida Celebrants, Naples, Ft. Myers, Estero! There is a possibility that I’m slightly prejudiced in the selection of the perfect Halloween gift (being that it’s a piece of real estate). But that’s why SW Florida home buyers and sellers choose to give me a call when real estate is involved. I’m totally focused on the subject!

Latest U.S. Developments Don’t Rock SW Florida Real Estate, Naples, Ft. Myers Estero

Latest U.S. Developments Don’t Rock SW Florida Real Estate, Naples, Ft. Myers Estero. It wasn’t exactly huge news, but last week, the revised economic numbers showed improvement! When does that ever happen—when the final revisions come in, don’t they always seem to be in a downward direction? Yet Friday’s release from the Associated Press told a Latest U.S. Developments Don’t Rock SW Florida Real Estate, Naples, Ft. Myers Esterodifferent story. Earlier reports of a slowing U.S. economy had been revised to show a year whose beginning “wasn’t quite as bad as first thought.” The reason was housing—which “got a bigger boost” than first reported.

This is all to suggest that the wider economic climate for SW Florida real estate—that is, for sellers and buyers midway through this year’s spring/summer selling season—is one that shows improvement (“slight improvement,” according to many—but we’ll take it). Fears of an economic stall seem to have vanished for the moment. Lacking was anything in the economic tidings that would suggest SW Florida’s real estate picture includes any storm clouds on (or even over) the horizon.

ITEM: Per the ABCNEWS site, economists are forecasting a rebound in the current quarter—to growth of around 2%. Latest U.S. Developments Don’t Rock SW Florida Real Estate, Naples, Ft. Myers EsteroThat was expected to improve as well: “In the second half of the year, economists are forecasting that growth will strengthen further to around 2.5%.

ITEM: In what is now the seventh anniversary of economic expansion, Reuters reported that U.S. new homes sales had notched an 8-year high. “New U.S. single-family home sales recorded their biggest gain in 24 years in April…as purchases increased broadly.”    

ITEM: Last Thursday, Mortgage News Daily reported mortgage rates the lowest in “more than a week.” For sharp-eyed SW Florida real estate watchers, this might have been puzzling, given that Freddie Mac had just announced that rate “rose rather sharply.” MND clarified the contradiction by explaining, “that’s to be expected given [Freddie Mac’s] report’s methodology…”

ITEM: U.S. News & World Report disagreed, siding with Freddie. But in a sunny sort of way: Mortgage rates “rose this week but remained at low levels that could entice purchasers amid the current home buying season.”

Latest U.S. Developments Don’t Rock SW Florida Real Estate, Naples, Ft. Myers EsteroITEM: Even if Freddie and U.S. News had been right, and home loan rates were on the rise, another respected real estate voice spoke up to suggest that even that could become good news for real estate. How so was elaborated in Yahoo! Finance’s interview with Toll Brothers Chairman Robert Toll, who turned most commonly held assumptions on their head:

                             “If the Fed goes up and the mortgage rates go up…it probably means price increases are coming soon, which spurs demand and spurs action.”

Latest U.S. Developments Don’t Rock SW Florida Real Estate, Naples, Ft. Myers Estero. Summing up, it was, on balance, a quietly upbeat picture—one pointing to a future for SW Florida real estate clear of any rough patches in the immediate future. Given that there continue to be exceptional offerings in our market—and with home loan rates still being locked at terrific levels, for sure it’s an opportune time to give me a call!

Top 6 Approaches Set Up SW Florida Open House Success, Naples, Ft. Myers

Top 6 Approaches Set Up SW Florida Open House Success, Naples, Ft. Myers. The debate continues about whether open houses are effective for marketing SW Florida homes. Yes, sales do still originate from them, but the percentages have been declining since social media and online listings changed the way SW Florida prospects look for their next home.

Top 6 Approaches Set Up SW Florida Open House Success, Naples, Ft. MyersWhether an open house is likely to garner qualified traffic is a decision that clients and I work out together on a case-by-case basis. The choice has to do with the nature of the property, its location, history, and the state of the current SW Florida market. Some properties are much better suited to being shown on a one-on-one guided tour basis, where questions can be answered and strong points pointed out; others shine in any circumstances.

When it’s decided that an open house looks to be a productive event, preparing the property will be nearly identical to that for any showing. The only difference is that more prospective buyers will not have any idea about the house—they will not have seen any photos or taken a video tour. For the owner, then, preparing begins with projecting how those prospects will take in the property. This is a list of the six approaches that are most often cited as being keys to preparing for open Top 6 Approaches Set Up SW Florida Open House Success, Naples, Ft. Myershouse success:

  1. First Impression. Most commentaries point to the perennial first impression as being decisive in how the entire open house will be experienced. “First impression” is defined as the prospect’s takeaway from what happens during the walk from car through the entryway. It rates extra attention, so in addition to making it as inviting as possible (via landscaping and paint touchup where it’s needed), if the route unescorted visitors should take is ambiguous, strategically positioned arrow signs make your welcome explicit (in fact, a “Welcome!” Isn’t a bad idea, either).
  2. Clean clean. “Clean” can include not just sparkling floors, sinks, and countertops—it means clean air, too: a few clean-scented floral plug-ins make it easy.
  3. De-clutter. This could also be #2. You could argue that if a crowd shows up, clearing open space is even more important than usual (but it’s really important always!)
  4. Top 6 Approaches Set Up SW Florida Open House Success, Naples, Ft. MyersStash personal items. This is 85% true; but the goal is to create the impression that this home is ready for its new owner. Massive family photo displays should be packed away, but a few personal favorite décor items can add a people-friendly touch.
  5. Light and bright. Curtains open, lights and lamps on.
  6. The rest. The last of the “Top 6” tips is hard to determine—there are many candidates that are cited with equal frequency. Setting the dining room table used to be a leader, but formal dining rooms are disappearing fast. Setting out a local information sheet with great nearby SW Florida restaurants and shopping venues is certainly a good idea for those new to the area. Being mindful of temperature control is important when weather might drive visitors away, as is buying new towels for the bathrooms and setting out cookies and lemonade, water or tea.

Top 6 Approaches Set Up SW Florida Open House Success, Naples, Ft. Myers. SW Florida open houses are just one of the many ways your home can be offered to the public when you decided it’s time to move to a new place. All of them start with an easy first step: calling me! Thank you and Good Luck with your search!