It’s a good time to be a landlord

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Nov. 23, 2015 – Phil Schaal owns three rental houses in Pompano Beach and one in Lantana. He bought with an eye on the future.

“In today’s market, being a landlord is one the best ways to secure long-term wealth,” said Schaal, a software developer and father of 6-year-old triplets. “This is my retirement.”

During the housing boom and after the six-year downturn, buying, fixing up and “flipping” homes resulted in big profits for many South Florida investors. And while that business model is still viable, a new wave of investors is seeing the benefit of buying homes and keeping them as rentals.

An investor can earn a solid return of 15 percent by flipping a home – but it’s only a one-time deal, said Daren Blomquist, a vice president of RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing firm in Irvine, Calif. The key is finding more discounted properties to flip, but that’s difficult because fewer distressed homes are available for sale in a market that has long since recovered, he said.

But an investor who buys a home and turns it into a rental can expect recurring profits, something in the range of 6 percent to 9 percent annually, Blomquist said. And there is no shortage of prospective tenants, with former homeowners and young professionals unable to qualify for mortgages or choosing to remain mobile for jobs.

“With buying and renting, you’re getting the best of both worlds,” Blomquist said. “You’re getting returns coming in every year, plus you get the long-term [home value] appreciation. It’s like a stock with dividends.”

RealtyTrac doesn’t specifically count the number of investors who buy and rent, but the firm does track non-owner-occupied properties – the vast majority of which are owned by investor-landlords.

In Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, 31 percent of single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums are owned by people who don’t live there. Among the 35 largest housing markets nationwide, only Las Vegas (40 percent) and Orlando (33) have higher percentages, RealtyTrac said.

Schaal bought his Pompano Beach and Lantana properties over the past three years – in each case finding deals for $100,000 or less.

He put an average of $10,000 into each property, repairing roofs, fixing safety or code violations and renovating kitchens and bathrooms.

In Lantana, he added purple and pink flowers out front and repainted the exterior of the brown house a light yellow.

“You want to make sure that when the person walks up to the house, they have a positive experience,” Schaal said. “It’s about curb appeal.”

Schaal rents the homes for $1,100 to $1,300 a month – less than what he could get, given the strong demand. The average monthly rental rate for single-family homes in South Florida in September was $1,810, up 2 percent from a year earlier and 18 percent since September 2011, according to real estate website

But Schaal said he’s willing to sacrifice rental income to keep good tenants in place. His policy is to maintain the same rent rate until the tenant moves out, and then he raises it closer to market value for a new resident.

Schaal learned about the booming rental business from two Boca Raton-based groups for investors: the Distressed Real Estate Institute, headed by Lex Levinrad, and David Dweck’s Boca Real Estate Investment Club.

Schaal attended a weekend-long investor “boot camp” that included a bus tour of properties for sale. During the tour, Schaal discussed with Levinrad the potential for one of the homes – a three-bedroom residence off Federal Highway in Pompano.

The house needed plenty of work, but the numbers made sense, and Schaal signed a contract that same day to buy it for $56,000.

While he puts some of his own money into deals, Schaal said he obtains mortgage financing from private lender Dweck. After he fixes up the homes, Schaal refinances at a lower interest rate with conventional lenders.

Some investors end up losing money because they spend too much for the homes and don’t accurately account for repair costs. Levinrad tells club members not to buy a home for more than 65 percent of market value after repairs.

So if $10,000 in renovations boosts a house’s value to $150,000, the most an investor should pay is $87,500.

With home prices on the rise, it’s harder to find properties that fit the criteria. Levinrad suggests investors monitor online auction websites such as and stay in touch with property listing agents. In many cases, previous deals fall through and persistent investors can quickly take advantage, Levinrad said.

The real estate clubs also work with members on becoming landlords. Refrigerators break, taxes and insurance must be paid annually and problem tenants have to be evicted – all factors that must be considered when getting into the business.

“It’s not all gravy,” Levinrad said. “There is some work in it. But there’s also a substantial reward in cash flow, if you buy the homes right.”

Copyright © 2015 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Paul Owers, South Florida Sun Sentinel. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Tampa Bay Real Estate Update

Greetings From The Purtee Team In Tampa Bay!

Tampa_Skyline copyForget the recent floods and the traffic, pay no heed to the summer heat and humidity – Tampa Bay really is the place to be according to Money Magazine. ( magazine on Monday ranked Tampa as the best large city in the Southeast and one of five “urban gems” across the United States offering an abundance of culture and amenities at “livable prices.” The ranking lauded Tampa’s robust job market and affordable property prices while highlighting the city’s “international aspirations” with events like the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Stanley Cup run and the Bollywood Oscars. Our pristine beaches are always ranked at the top of any list.  St Pete beach was recently named #1 city beach (Clearwater Beach has already had that honor).Absorption_July_2015 copy

 Tampa Bay is definitely on the radar for the place to be and there is a vast amount of new development throughout the Bay.  So convenient to have the beautiful beaches, the amazing transformation of downtown St Petersburg with its waterfront location and upscale museums and restaurants.  So how does this affect the real estate market? Record breaking tourism, mega large headquarters bringing thousands upon thousands of new jobs, and several tough northern winters are dramatically escalating demand.

In Pinellas County which includes the beaches, the last several months have seen record high absorption rates resulting in a seller’s market and frenzied buying, especially at certain price points and in certain locations.  Single family homes have surpassed condos in growth primarily because of the still tight financing guidelines for condos. However, we are seeing signs of improvement there. 

Out of 3203 listings of single family homes at the beginning of July, there were1304 sales!  The highest percent of sales (33.2%) were in the $200,000-$400,000.  In condos, 2452 listings resulted in 750 sales.  The same price range represented 21% of the sales. 42.07% of condo sales were under $100,000.  In this total of 2054 sales, 50% were purchased with cash. A glimmer of hope on financing is that conventional loans rose to 32%.

Whether you are considering buying or selling, this market is on the move and you seriously want to have a knowledgeable realtor on your side with experience in negotiating a possibly touch transaction.  If you are a seller, take a look at preparing your home to show the best it can (See Blog).  Appraisers are having a difficult time keeping up with the market… they are required to look backward while we agents are able to look at the future.  Maneuvering through getting your home to appraise needs experience. Considering listing your property? Contact us to get a better understanding of the market and what your property might be worth today. Contact Us About Selling Your Home.  If you are a buyer, you really need a realtor who can fight for you.  The agent’s fee is paid by the seller so there is no cost to you to have this help in securing a property.  Financing – do not even start looking until you have been pre-qualified and know the price you can afford.  Internet shopping… there are lots of great websites with tons of information, BUT bargains and deals are negotiated.  They do NOT magically appear on the internet. Our VIP Buyer program is free of charge and well worth the advantage you get!

See what others are saying about the PURTEE TEAM (Testimonials).  We are here to help! Contact us Today!  and BIG NEWS!! Our website should be totally mobile friendly by the 1st of September and you will be able to customize searches and navigate the site right from your mobile device… we want to give you the latest technology to go with our knowledge and expertise! 

Preparing Your Home To Sell

Preparing Your Home To Sell

Preparing Your Home To SellIn preparing your home to sell, ask yourself over and over if your house looks like someone else’s dream house. Houses in move-in condition tend to be inviting to buyers; houses that are like new typically sell the fastest and procure the best price.

With that in mind, here are a few things to consider when getting ready to sell:
Remember the 60-second rule: that’s all the time you have to create a good first impression! Mow the lawn, rake leaves, trim trees and shrubs that keep light out of the house and remove dead plants. Pick up tools, garbage cans, hoses, toys, and building materials and store them neatly in a storage area. Replace broken or missing roof shingles and straighten and clean the gutters and downspouts. Clean all windows and mend torn screens. Painting your house helps improve curb appeal more than any other fix-up! If you decide against painting the entire house, consider painting the front door, window frames and shutters. Seal or resurface the driveway and repair broken steps and walkways. Paint or replace your mailbox and post. Dress up the front yard with some simple landscaping.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Step back for a moment and look at your home as if you were seeing it for the first time. Every room should be spotlessly clean, dusted and uncluttered. Steam clean the carpets and wax the floors. Wash the walls, windows and light fixtures. Tighten loose stair railings and clean all woodwork. In the event that you feel a project of this magnitude is better left to a professional, ask your real estate agent to recommend a cleaning service. 
Use bright light bulbs in the foyer and throughout the house. Fill the house with a pleasant aroma, such as berries in the summer or cinnamon in the winter.
Living Room
Replace the carpet if it’s worn. It costs money, but you may find that you will more than recoup that cost when the home sells. Patch cracks and nail holes in the walls, and repaint walls in neutral colors, such as white or ivory. Nail down creaking boards and stair treads. Lubricate any sticking or squeaking doors. Open all curtains, and replace them if they are getting old. Add lamps and lighting if the house is dark. Set out fresh flowers.
Rearrange or remove furniture to make your rooms look more spacious. Too much furniture and too many knick-knacks make rooms look cluttered and small. One or two decorative items per surface are plenty, so pack the rest away.
Kitchen and Baths
These rooms should sparkle! Clear off counters, and clean all appliances and fixtures. Scrub the floors and walls. Re-caulk tubs and showers. Clean these rooms thoroughly, and be sure they smell fresh.
Take those things to Goodwill that you’ll have to discard anyway when you move. Organize shelves and straighten shoes. Be sure that sliding doors operate smoothly and knobs on drawers are secure.
Utility Room
Dust and wash the washer, dryer and water heater.
Light and Bright
Do everything you can to brighten the interior. Replace wallpaper with white or off-white paint, and repaint shabby or dark walls. Open the blinds, and replace broken windows and window seals. Always maintain a comfortable temperature inside the house, even if you are away for an extended period of time.

5 Retirement Questions Everyone Must Answer

by Glenn Curtis for Investopedia, A Forbes Digital Company

Retirement provides a chance to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor. However, a pleasurable retirement requires proactive and thorough planning. With this in mind, we’re going to go through five retirement questions that every person should ask themselves as they approach retirement. Answering these questions for yourself should help guide your ongoing retirement plans.

1.  What’s the grand plan?
Some people dream of buying a boat and sailing the high seas when they retire, while others are content spending their days on the golf course. Still others want to travel the world. But before you get too far ahead of yourself in thinking about how you will save for retirement, you need a goal. Therefore, it’s crucial to first decide what you’ll want to do in retirement. Once you know what your dream is, then you can begin making it happen.

For example, if your dream is to wake up in the morning and play golf all day, it makes sense to determine what it entails to join a club (some require substantial up-front fees), and whether the area you live in – or want to live in – has adequate courses.

Similarly, if your dream is to travel the world, you are going to want to live in close proximity to an airport (or seaport if you prefer to cruise). You’ll also want to make sure that there are no other obstacles that will affect your plans. By deciding what your dream retirement would look like, you can shape the rest of your plans to make it work.(For further reading, check out Life After Retirement.)

2.  Do you have the cash?
It’s great to have goals, dreams and ambitions. But frankly, they don’t mean a thing if you don’t have the financial means to fulfill them. Rather than living on hope, it’s best to do some real soul searching to determine what your future expenses will be, and whether you will have enough money to live comfortably and to actually enjoy your retirement years.

Financial planners have been arguing for decades over how much money the average person or couple needs upon retirement. Some say that in order to maintain your lifestyle, you’ll need 60-80% of your pre-retirement income annually.

However, many of those estimates are just that – estimates.


The point is, if your goal is to travel the world upon retirement, do some research. Figure out how much it will cost, and then make sure that you’ll have enough money to live your dreams – and pay your bills – for the rest of your life. It’s possible that you may need to change your goals or cut back on your expenses in other areas to make it work. (For a good place to begin, see Fundamentals Of A Successful Savings Plan and Determining Your Post-Work Income.)


3.  Should you move?
When people are young and employed they tend to live in more urban areas. However, it is often prohibitively expensive for seniors to live in, or on the outskirts of, major metropolitan cities. Therefore, people that are expecting to retire within the next few years should consider making a move to a more affordable location. There are many choices out there, but how does can you evaluate all of the possibilities?

There are a number of factors that should be considered when picking a new place to live. For example:

  • Proximity to family members
  • The cost of housing
  • Access to healthcare facilities
  • Access to entertainment (such as shows and sporting events)
  • Proximity to a major airport
  • Year-round weather conditions
  • Taxes (state income, property and estate tax)

It is almost impossible to find a location that fits every need; therefore, the best strategy is to settle on an area that meets the bulk of your needs, particularly those related to long-term health and well-being. For example, although cold weather might not bother you now, when you are 85, it could have a debilitating effect on your body. If you think this will be the case for you, you might want to consider joining the flock and moving to a warmer climate, even if it doesn’t address some of the other factors mentioned above.

4.  When should you sell your home?
Most retirement planners focus on the individual’s investment portfolio. The portfolio is important, but it’s often not the average person’s most valuable asset or largest potential source of liquidity. For many people, the bulk of their wealth is tied up in their homes.

As people approach retirement age, they should consider selling their existing homes, particularly if the mortgage has been satisfied and the property has increased significantly in value. (For further insight, see Need Retirement Income? Sell Your House! and Downsize Your Home To Downsize Expenses.)

Why sell?

First of all, you’ll generally need less space and a smaller home is easier to maintain. However, that’s not the primary reason. The main reason to sell is to gain liquidity and to make sure that you have enough cash to live on and establish an emergency fund. After all, what good does sitting on a $1 million home do if you don’t have the money to buy adequate health insurance or do the things you enjoy?

Ideally, people approaching retirement should try to “game” the real estate market. That is, they should try to figure out if it makes sense to sell the family home now and rent a home for a couple of years until retiring, or if it makes sense to hold onto the home until the date of actual retirement.

The decision can be crucial. Just think about what happened to those who waited to sell their homes until after the housing bubble burst in the late 1980s!

So, what is the best way to go about “gaming the market?”

Very simply, pay close attention to trends in your region by reading the local newspapers, perusing neighborhoods for open houses and inquiring with a local real estate agent as to whether home prices are rising or declining.

Example – The Importance of Reading the Real Estate Market

Suppose that you are 10 years from retirement and the real estate market is currently running hot. You secure an extra $100,000 from the sale of your home, thanks to favorable market timing. You then invest that money in a vehicle that yields an 8% return per year – over a 10-year period it will grow into more than $215,000. That is a lot of money! (To learn more, see Compound Your Way To Retirement.)

However, before you get too excited, remember you’ll also need to subtract the cost of renting an apartment for those 10 years. Let’s say your new rent is $1,000 per month (not cheap, but certainly nothing extravagant). Over a 10-year span this will add up to $120,000.

$215,000 – $120,000 = $95,000 net gain from selling into a hot market.


Again, doing your homework in advance is well worth it.

5.  Have you made an estate plan?
In order to ensure that your assets are properly transferred to your heirs, and in order to minimize estate taxes, it makes sense to do some estate planning. As unpleasant (and dull) as the thought might be, it’s important to sit down with your attorney and accountant to determine the most cost effective way to transfer your estate to your heirs upon your death. This might entail setting up a trust, will and/or custodial accounts for children or grandchildren.

It is important to consider estate planning now, because there is a three-year “look back” with regard to assets previously removed from your estate. In other words, if you have a trust buy a life insurance policy on your life and then you die within a three-year period after the contract was signed, the amount of the insurance could be included in your estate for estate tax purposes.

Advanced planning is the key to estate planning and, if you think about it, your overall happiness in retirement. (For more, read Getting Started On Your Estate Plan.)

Bottom Line
If you are in the home stretch, don’t hold back now. Retirement planning can be overwhelming at first, but if you can answer these five questions, you’re well on your way to generating a solid retirement plan. You’ll be happy you did!

by Glenn Curtis

Glenn Curtis started his career as an equity analyst at Cantone Research, a New Jersey-based regional brokerage firm. He has since worked as an equity analyst and a financial writer at a number of print/web publications and brokerage firms including Registered Representative Magazine, Advanced Trading Magazine,,, and Prudential Securities. Curtis has also held Series 6,7,24 and 63 securities licenses.

New Construction, Madeira Beach EcoVillage homes


Madeira Beach EcoVillage New Construction
New Construction in Madeira Beach

            New Construction- Madeira Beach EcoVillage Homes    

New construction in Madeira Beach  now  includes a cutting edge, eco-friendly  community. Madeira Beach EcoVillage “Net Zero Energy” homes are available for pre-construction prices starting at $599,000.  Many of their features can be found on more expensive properties, but Greennergy homes include them all at an affordable price.

 EcoVillage Madeira Beach homes include high-efficiency Smart appliances, Hybrid water heaters and  LED lighting.  Renewable Solar technology produces all of the additional necessary energy required. Greenergy, an independent energy rating company will inspect and certify a Home Energy Rating System (HERS)  energy rating of zero  Imagine never having to pay another electric bills!

Equipped with the latest integrated home automation technology, EcoVillage homes allow the owner to control everything in the home, from the temperature to the shades remotely from a smart phone or tablet.

Each property utilizes an engineering systems approach designed to save money and insure a healthy environment for both the owner and the environment.

  • Non-toxic flooring
  • Climate and moisture control
  • UV lighting in HVAC systems
  • No VOC paints and finishes
  • Water and filtering

These are just a few of the eco-friendly features provided.

 EcoVillage “Net Zero Energy” Homes includes features that  stand up to Florida weather.

Living on Florida’s award wining gulf beaches is as close to paradise as it gets, but hurricanes are a reality.  Madeira Beach EcoVillage “Net Zero Energy” Homes include features that  stand up to Florida weather.

  • Wall systems engineered to well exceed the municipal construction codes
  • High impact glass for all doors and windows
  • Fire resistant roofing systems
  • Seamless membrane for moisture co

New Construction, Madeira Beach EcoVillage homes will consist of 7 single family homes with 2 story floor plans that can be customized with many options to meet your needs. Customizable features include:

  • Room configuration
  • Extended decks
  • Built in spa
  • Summer kitchen
  • Flooring, cabinets, countertops
  • Enclosed garage, boat storage, additional storage
  • Elevator or custom stairs
  • And more!
Joadeira Beach Floridah's Pass Village in
John’s Pass Village in Madeira Beach Florida

  Madeira Beach is one of Florida’s award winning, Gulf beaches located just west of St. Petersburg.  It’s well known for popular John’s Pass village with a  1,100 ft. intracoastal boardwalk. There you will enjoy everything from shopping, restaurants, fishing and boating to watersports and the best grouper around.







Tampa Bay Market Update – July 2015

June_Absorption_Rate copy
June 2015 Absorption Rate

It has certainly been interesting over the last decade to see prices skyrocket with easy lending practices… to the bubble bursting and the market tumbling resulting in the #1 state for foreclosures… to a rebound in the economy and decline in unemployment… to a renewed demand for Florida living resulting in the current market flurry!  Actually to call this market condition a ‘flurry’ is a huge understatement.  With inventory decreasing monthly and demand on the rise, the numbers tell the story!

We have been watching and sharing in our market updates the month by month Absorption Rate since 2008. Take a look at what is happening in this chart.  During the month of June, 42.9% of every single family house in Pinellas County was SOLD!  That number is unprecedented.  Going back as far as June 2008, the Absorption Rate was 7.3% to give a perspective.  Let’s put that into the actual number of listings at the end of June.  In 2010 there were 6479 single family home listings in the county at the end of June… for 2015 3242 or 50% of that number!  These numbers go for condos as well.  At the end of June in 2010 there were 5344 listings while this year ended the month with only 2636 – 49.3%!

On the flip side, it makes sense to compare sales… during the month of June in 2010 802 homes sold and 424condos.  This year there were 1390 home closings and 813 condo closings during June!  In 1 year the median price for single family homes has risen from $165 to $185. For condos, $110 to $117.  The other two factors worth noting is that 34.3% of all sales during June 2015 were for listings on the market between 1 and 30 days… and cash sales are still prevalent but are down to 50% (they have hovered around 60-65% for years).  Lending with conventional financing is starting to make a comeback.

Here is a real example that happened last Friday:  cute home in St. Petersburg came on the market listed at $127,900.  A buyer put in the first offer that day for full asking price with 80/20 conventional financing.  By Sunday there were 4 offers on the table, 2 over asking price and 1 all cash.  The seller went for the all cash deal.  With this kind of Absorption Rate, it is not uncommon for the seller to be able to choose which offer he wants to go with.  If you are considering selling a property, you might want to consider some of these tips: Top 10 Real Estate Tips There are tips for both sellers and buyers.

If you are a buyer in this market, you need to expect competition. We have found our VIP Buyer Program to really helps!  You enter your criteria of what you are looking for and as a property is listed you get it automatically emailed to you immediately.  You have your own portal where you can review and rate properties… then let us know when you want to go see one.  It is free and just that simple!  Most importantly, if you are considering financing you need to get pre-qualified with a bank or mortgage broker.  Without that it is more likely the seller will select another offer.

The other trend we are watching closely is the renewed onset of new construction.  Builder confidence has just reached a level of 60, the highest level since November 2005!  “The fact that builder confidence has returned to levels not seen since 2005 shows that housing continues to improve at a steady pace,” says NAHB Chairman Tom Woods. “As we head into the second half of 2015, we should expect a continued recovery of the housing market.”  The PURTEE Team has a great deal of experience with buying and selling pre-construction.  It is critical when buying a property sight unseen that you do your due diligence and understand thoroughly how the process works.  You can find the full article on Builder Confidence on our Purtee Team Facebook Page and we will be posting interesting new construction projects on our page going forward.

Our team continues to get bank owned properties weekly, most of which have multiple offers once they are listed on MLS.  If you are interested in learning about these properties before they hit MLS email us at and put REO Request in the subject line.

Whether buying or selling, we are here to help you navigate this real estate market.  Contact us today!



Top 10 Real Estate Tips

During a real estate transaction sellers and buyers ultimately want the same thing, the best price, the right timing and a smooth closing. The following Top 10 Real Estate Tips are a few ways to achieve those goals.

1. Price your home to sell 

Sellers are sometimes tempted to “test the market” by pricing their property above its market value or pricing it under market in the hopes of creating a bidding  war.  

Listings receive the most activity during the first month on the market. Don’t risk losing buyers and their agents by pricing your home above comparable properties in your area.  Buyers often want to know what’s wrong with a property that had to be reduced or sits on the market too long. This is especially true in today’s active market.

2. Hire the right Realtor to do the job

Interview Realtors and hire the best one for you. Ask for specifics on how your property will be marketed to sell, check out their Website, percentages  of listings sold,  and area expertise.

Don’t hire a Realtor simply because they are willing to list your home for a higher price.  A qualified Realtor will give you a Market Analysis with data to justify the top  price range for your property. 

3. Use technology to expand your reach

Popular sites such as Trulia and are good sources of information, but consider staying on top of current market trends with monthly Real Estate updates via email. 

Buyers search for property online, therefore, it’s important that your home be visible. If your home has a spectacular view, video footage shot by drones is a wonderful way to showcase it online.

4. Stage your home to sell

Selling a home requires thinking like a buyer.  Beginning with the entryway, take a critical look at your home beginning with the view from the street.  Freshen up the landscape, pressure wash the walkways, wash the windows and get a new welcome mat.  First impressions count!

Inside, de-clutter everywhere including closets and the garage. If necessary, rent a storage unit.  Hiring a cleaning service to do an initial deep clean is money well spent. Maintain a “model-home” look for showings by storing toys, cleaning supplies, magazines etc. out of sight.

If you are selling a high-end or unique property, consider hiring a professional stager. Staged homes sell for an average of 7 percent more. Take a look at the possibility.

5. Stay out of the way while showing

Sellers are sometimes tempted to show buyers all the special features that their home has to offer, but resist the urge and allow the Realtor to show it. If possible, leave the house during showings, even if it’s just for a walk. Give prospective buyers the opportunity to see your home without the pressure of having the seller looking over their shoulder. A good real estate agent will follow-up showings with feedback  and ask for answers to questions that the buyers may have had. An informational flyer is a good place to tell about special features too.

6. Buyers- take pictures and notes

After a day of house hunting, it can be difficult to remember what each individual property had to offer. Bringing along a folder to take notes along with a cell phone, camera or IPad for pictures will help you remember the individual aspects of each house. Also, be sure to ask the agent for property information sheets with specific details on taxes, square footage etc.

7. Disclose defects up front

The vast majority of buyers will hire a professional home inspector prior to purchasing a home, so it’s in a seller’s best interest to disclose all known defects up front. Avoid dealing with a laundry list of repairs from the home inspector by repairing problems, with licensed professionals if necessary, prior to selling. 

If repairs cannot be completed prior to closing, the solution is often leaving money in escrow or giving the buyers  a credit to cover the cost for repairs. Either way, sellers risk the possibility of paying more than they initially would have.

8. Get pre-approved before looking

Don’t risk finding your dream home only to discover that it is  above your price range. By getting pre-approved by a lender you will know what you can afford before looking.  Your offer will look better to the seller too!

9. Consider the real cost

Both buyers and sellers benefit from considering what the real cost is when negotiating. Buyers sometimes pass up the perfect house over a few thousand dollars, when the difference in the monthly payment is just dollars a day.

Consider the difference in monthly payments between a $295,000 and $300,000 home. Assuming  a 30 year mortgage, 15% down payment, 1.25% for  taxes  and 4.5% interest the difference amounts to only about $22 a month.  That’s about the price of  a couple of cups of coffee a day.

When considering offers, sellers should keep in mind  the cost of monthly maintenance costs, taxes, insurance, mortgage payments and possible homeowner’s association fees if their house sits on the market an additional length of time.

10.  Go easy on the shopping before buying

If you are getting ready to buy a home, put off purchasing  big ticket items, opening new credit cards or accumulating new debt. Doing so will raise your debt-to-income ration, which lenders consider when determining how much of a mortgage you can afford. Also avoid changing jobs or transferring substantial sums of money between accounts.



Florida’s housing market continues growing

 Florida’s housing market continues growing with increases in  closings, listings, contracts pending and higher medium prices for single-family homes.

Closed sales of existing homes within the state of Florida rose over 24 percent as compared to last years figures. Good news for both buyers and sellers.

Buyers are seeing  pending sales for existing single-family homes up 12.9 percent over last year and townhouse-condos sales increased 1.4 percent.  Sellers are gaining confidence, as listings for single-family homes increased 8.6 percent and townhouse-condos increased 5.5 percent.

Florida’s median sales price for single-family existing homes went up 9.2 percent  from last year according to data from the Florida Realtor’s Industry. Condo-townhouses also experienced an 8.6 percent gain.

Short sales went down by 30.5 percent for single family homes and 36.9 percent for condo-townhouses.

Florida’s thriving economy along with a decrease in the unemployment rate is boosting Florida’s housing market according to  Florida Realtors Chief economist Dr. John Tuccillo.  Listings are going under contract with less days on the market and inventory is down giving builders an added incentive to invest in new construction as evidenced by the new developments going up all over St. Petersburg, Tampa, the Gulf beaches and surrounding areas.

According to Freddie Mac, interest rates  for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.77 percent down from last year’s 4.34 percent making it a great time to buy.  www.florida

Florida’s housing market continues growing and we are excited to be a part of it!

2015 Florida Realtors


New home buyers want energy efficiency

New home buyers want energy efficiency  and according to a new survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), builders are listening.   It appears that energy efficient features and closet space were more important to new home buyers than two-story foyers, outdoor kitchens and whirlpools.

 The NAHB  asked builders which features they were most likely to include or not include in newly built 2015 homes. Here are the results.

Least likely features included

  • Outdoor kitchens
  • Laminate countertops in kitchens
  • Outdoor fireplaces
  • Sunrooms
  • Two-story foyers
  • Walking/Jogging trails
  • Whirlpools
  • Carpeting as flooring on main levels

Most likely features included

  • Walk-in closets in master bedrooms
  • Laundry rooms
  • Low-e windows
  • Guest rooms
  • Energy-star rated windows
  • Programmable thermostats
  • Two-car garages
  • Granite countertops in kitchens

I must admit to being a little sad to see that whirlpools didn’t make the cut, but the energy efficient features are a perfect fit for Florida’s year round sunshiny weather. Besides, with the most beautiful gulf beaches just minutes away, who needs a whirlpool?

New home buyers want energy efficiency, but we would love to know what features our readers would consider important and which would you just assume leave out?

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