Welcome to Southwest Florida Real Estate

 House Hunting in SW Florida Can Offer Surprises, Naples, Marco Island, Cape Coral! When you go house hunting in SW Florida, you’re likely to share a lot of the same basic assumptions that most everybody does. Whether you have a lengthy list of hard-and-fast requirements or are in more of a “just seeing what’s out there” mindset, you’re probably assuming House Hunting in SW Florida Can Offer Surprises, Naples, Marco Island, Cape Coral!that you’ll “know it when you see it.” That’s not necessarily true—for a couple of logical reasons.

First off, unless price is literally no object, your budget will dictate the segment of current SW Florida listings that your house hunting will include. Among those candidate properties, it’s unlikely that all of them share the same features—the same positives and less-than-positives. You may find that you really get a great feeling about one home, only upon reflection to realize that some of its drawbacks are serious enough to eliminate it from contention. Likewise, another home that provided a so-so first impression could wind up seriously in the running if it rings up the best collection of strong points.

Then, there’s always the unexpected. A good example was the couple who were House Hunting in SW Florida Can Offer Surprises, Naples, Marco Island, Cape Coral!fairly sophisticated when it came to house hunting experience. They had enough home ownership history to have developed clear ideas about what they wanted: 3 or 4 bedrooms, a yard that was large enough to accommodate a moderate vegetable garden and the family dog (but not so large that maintenance would become an issue).  The only absolute caveats were that it could not be so close to a busy thoroughfare that auto noises would be an annoyance; and that if there were a swimming pool, it could not be an indoor one. NOT! The husband had experience with taking care of pools, and would not countenance dealing with a steamy, chlorine-smelling indoor pool. Period.

Those were simple enough requirements. None would eliminate a good sampling of the listings that were available at the time, so the house hunting proceeded. After nixing the usual number that left too much to be desired, there wound up being a handful of attractive candidate properties. In the end, there were two that rated a couple of return visits. Although House Hunting in SW Florida Can Offer Surprises, Naples, Marco Island, Cape Coral!neither could have been called the couples’ perfect dream houses, they were close to a final decision. Just then a new house came onto the market. It was slightly more expensive (and larger) than the others, but with positively beautiful yards, front and back, and (you guessed it!)…an indoor pool.

To bring the story to its inevitable end, they’ve lived in that house for years. The indoor pool had special air-moving equipment that erased the humidity and left no chlorine smell whatever. The husband says it is by far the easiest pool he’s ever dealt with. The garden is just what his wife was hoping for. It turns out to be their dream house.

House Hunting in SW Florida Can Offer Surprises, Naples, Marco Island, Cape Coral! The moral of the story is that there’s a lot to say for keeping a balance between having an organized approach to your house hunting and keeping an open mind. To which I have to add that I hope you’ll give me a call when it comes time for your own {Your Town} house hunting!

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Top 5 Expectations for SW Florida Real Estate Investments, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs! If you go looking for insights from successful SW Florida real estate investors, depending on which areas they concentrate on, you could come up with a variety of takes. Despite the distinct differences that separate the commercial and residential investment Top 5 Expectations for SW Florida Real Estate Investments, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs!spheres, there are some time-worn truisms about the real life experience that would have most investors nodding their heads—

  1. Expect to work at it. The myth of buying real estate, watching it appreciate, then just cashing in is a two-dimensional expectation. A typical SW Florida real estate investment has to be discovered, investigated, negotiated, cared for, cared for some more—and sometimes sold—for it to ring up the profits that make real estate investing so lucrative. The best investors relish doing all of it.
  2. Expect to interact with a wide range of people. Math skills are important, but people skills are up there, too. Just about anyone can do the arithmetic that produces accurate cash flow projections, but being able to network with real estate professionals and lenders—and manage close working relationships with trades people—are also vital for sustained success.Top 5 Expectations for SW Florida Real Estate Investments, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs!
  3. Anticipate changing conditions. Economic conditions are always in flux, so Texas and SW Florida market conditions are always on the move. Last decade’s real estate investment strategies don’t guarantee success today—and certainly not tomorrow. Anticipating and planning for changing conditions is work that can pay real dividends.
  4. Expect losses. Any investment—including real estate investments in SW Florida —involve some degree of risk. Serious real estate investors are those who profit the most from multiple investments over time. Necessarily, they Top 5 Expectations for SW Florida Real Estate Investments, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs!expect that some projects won’t pan out as expected. Not expecting that to be true would be a rookie mistake.

This fifth one is ancient: it sounds like something Ben Franklin could have come up with:

  1. A fast nickel is better than a slow dime. Strangely enough, this truism can be misinterpreted. One commentator thinks it means “owning real estate is easy; getting paid is tricky.” I think its core meaning is that knowing just when to sell is a terrific real estate investment skill.

Top 5 Expectations for SW Florida Real Estate Investments, Naples, Ft. Myers, Bonita Springs! In fact, you could say that prioritizing when to sell is what distinguishes real estate investors from most of the rest of us—real estate consumers who are contented SW Florida homeowners. In my profession, I get to facilitate winning transactions for investors and real estate civilians alike. I hope you’ll give me a call for all your own real estate dealings!

 Selling Your Home by Widening the SW Florida Customer Base, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral! Marketers for any SW Florida business want to know as much as possible about their “customer base”—the population of potential buyers who might be attracted to their product. If you are in the process of selling your SW Florida  home, the speed at which you Selling Your Home by Widening the SW Florida Customer Base, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral!succeed and the amount of profit that results will greatly depend on how effectively you appeal to your offering’s customer base: the folks who might be interested in your SW Florida property.

When you take me on as your selling agent (a good idea, for sure!), you’ve relieved yourself of the vast majority of the burden of marketing. It’s what I and the resource partners I use do as a full-time job—and we’re successful at it. You can certainly let your friends and family know that you are selling your home (and what a great place it is) if you choose, but the lion’s share of marketing to the public at large will be well and energetically handled by your SW Florida Realtor®.

Yet there is one step you can take that might be extremely beneficial to your marketing campaign. It has to do with thatSelling Your Home by Widening the SW Florida Customer Base, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral! customer base we were aiming for: specifically, it has to do with widening it. It’s where the FHA comes in.

The Federal Housing Administration was created back during the Great Depression to spur home construction. By offering government-backed insurance that encouraged banks to offer home loans, it created jobs, helped families find proper housing, and spawned a host of other beneficial side effects. The FHA doesn’t actually make any loans itself—but it does assume most of the risk.

Today, due to a variety of economic factors that have made qualifying for a home loan somewhat difficult, it’s fair to say that the size of the customer base has not grown even as fast as the slow-motion economic recovery. Along with other factors, banks have been timid about lending due to the potential penalties for not following strict guidelines. The customer base—measured by how many potential Selling Your Home by Widening the SW Florida Customer Base, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral!homebuyers can easily get mortgage loans—has lagged. This situation has improved lately, but some still complain that home loan resurgence remains sluggish. Likewise, growth in the customer base.

For anyone selling their SW Florida home, one way to expand the customer base is to make your property what you might call “FHA-Friendly”—that is, transparently a good candidate to qualify for an FHA loan guarantee. This isn’t the place to go over all the details about how that can be accomplished, but if your asking price is within FHA guidelines for our region of SW Florida and you are confident that 00 defects will be found during the home inspection, much of the goal will have been attained.

Selling Your Home by Widening the SW Florida Customer Base, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral! If you will be selling your SW Florida home this fall or winter, now is a very good time to give me a call. FHA-friendly or not, we’ll make sure your customer base is primed and ready!  

 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!

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!

 SW Florida Real Estate Watchers Read National Tea Leaves, Naples, Isles Of Capri, Estero! If you try to predict what SW Florida real estate activity is likely to be based on only our local activity, you soon find what causes statisticians to turn up their noses: the sample size is simply too small to project reliable trends. That’s why serious SW Florida observers SW Florida Real Estate Watchers Read National Tea Leaves, Naples, Isles Of Capri, Estero!look to the incoming real estate activity stats from Texas and the nation as a whole: and the latest numbers gave them at least two interesting clues.

At the start of the month, the National Association of Realtors® weighed in with a “sizable jump” in some of the pending home sales numbers. Pending home sales are especially interesting in a predictive sense because they are forward-looking indicators—they measure contract signings that will be finalized in coming weeks or months. The NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for July notched the second highest reading-9065-in over a decade…exceeded only by April’s reading.

The NAR’s economists continued to fret about the affordability of the listings currently on the market, reflected in the continuing difficulty first-time homebuyers are having being able to find affordable homes in most parts of the country. The “robust demand for single-family starter homes” is as high as it is because many young buyers can’t find what they SW Florida Real Estate Watchers Read National Tea Leaves, Naples, Isles Of Capri, Estero!are looking for at a price point that’s affordable.

Not all real estate news is as relevant to SW Florida home or apartment shoppers, though. Last Friday’s news from the New York Times is a good example. It ran the story of one young musician whose quest for an affordable apartment led him to his current digs, which is a closet. Actually, according to the news item, it’s more like a “crawlspace” at 9 feet by 4½ feet. Affordable rent? Yes, for today’s Manhattan—just $450/month.

The second, more relevant finding came from the researchers at CoreLogic, who dug into the national statistics with enough gusto to emerge with a seldom-mentioned measure: price stability. SW Florida real estate watchers often read about residential real estate volatility—the gyrations sales and prices go through when SW Florida Real Estate Watchers Read National Tea Leaves, Naples, Isles Of Capri, Estero!financial or political turmoil causes notable fluctuations. Real estate price stability, however, since it’s the exact opposite, is seldom mentioned (probably because it sounds like nothing is happening, which journalists don’t like to write about).

But the latest finding is news. As CoreLogic’s Sam Khater writes about the year-over-year change in monthly home prices, “the last narrow band of years” that exhibited such stable home prices came “between 1994 and 1997.” The good news is that this period presaged a housing market that was so healthy it helped anchor the whole economy—probably a key reason why 2001’s economic downturn became the mildest post-war recession.

SW Florida Real Estate Watchers Read National Tea Leaves, Naples, Isles Of Capri, Estero! Here in SW Florida, the real estate scene continues to reward home shoppers with a host of listings that offer good value—especially with mortgage interest rates still hovering at bargain basement levels. If you decide that now is the right time to find the right house at the right price, it’s also the right time to call me!

 For SW Florida Real Estate Investments, Time is of the Essence, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral! “Time is of the essence!” is the kind of everyday phrase you might hear any time in SW Florida. Most often it’s tossed off casually—as when For SW Florida Real Estate Investments, Time is of the Essence, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral!someone gets impatient, waiting for a friend who’s been dilly dallying. That’s when it means “we’re gonna be late!”

In Texas legal contract phraseology, it has a more precise (and serious) meaning. To lawyers, including that phrase means that the parties must perform X by date Y or else! It means that missing a deadline will cause material harm. “Time is of the essence” in that connection is literal: the time element has value—it’s essential to the deal.

When you examine an investment in SW Florida real estate, the actual phrase doesn’t have to appear in any agreement docs for time to play an important part “of the essence” of the investment. This isn’t just some abstract philosophical notion—integrating it into your buying, selling and management decisions will certainly affect the concrete dollars-and-cents results.

Most basic is a concept common to all investment avenues: the time value of money. The basic principle is that, provided money can earn interest, any given amount of money is worth more the sooner it is received. Most people are painfully aware of the inflationary effect of time on the money they earn—they know darn well that $1.13-a-gallon gasoline hasFor SW Florida Real Estate Investments, Time is of the Essence, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral! become a distant memory (the same way great-grandparents used to describe 5¢ hamburgers).

The importance of having not just a nodding-your-head understanding, but of having a believing-it-deep-down kind of understanding of this may be why mature investors can be more stubborn about sticking to spending limits. They’ve experienced the rate at which SW Florida properties grow in value over time—which means that if they were to pay 8% or 9% over what they truly believe a home’s value to be, it could take a couple of years before its resale value would reach even a breakeven point. Thinking in terms of its time value—picturing it just lying there, inert, for a couple of years—makes for a less appealing proposition.

For SW Florida Real Estate Investments, Time is of the Essence, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral!For typical SW Florida homeowners whose major reason for their real estate investment is as a residence, the time element works on many channels at the same time. The residence may lose some value as daily living’s wear and tear takes a toll, but at the same time, it’s all but sure to gain value through inflation. It might lose or gain as the immediate neighborhood changes for good or ill—although it could gain considerable value through wise decorating initiatives. About those decorating initiatives: it’s a canny homeowner whose first efforts at home improvement come in the garden: the right trees planted today can become hugely beneficial a decade or two from now—and hugely expensive to try to duplicate later. If you’ve ever discussed the cost of craning in a 25-foot shade tree, you understand the reality of “time is of the essence!”

For SW Florida Real Estate Investments, Time is of the Essence, Naples, Ft. Myers, Cape Coral! The hot spring-summer selling season is set to start cooling down, but there are loads of great {Your Town} properties on the market right now. Call me, because time is of…well, you know! Thank You.