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Barbara's Blog

CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY

 The certificate of occupancy, called a CO, is a document that shows a structure, like a house or office, is safe for inhabitation. 

 The CO will indicate whether the property is zoned for residential, commercial, retail, industrial or mixed-use.  It will verify that a property is up to code and in compliance for safety.  It will show that a property is suitable for occupation based on the standards in the municipality where it is located.  It will also include the property address, a legal description including square footage, the zoning code, the owner, and any additional notes that might be relevant to the property’s safety.  You simply cannot live in a property until there is a certificate of occupancy issued.

Local rules and specific situations determine if you need a CO to sell a house.  If you have a converted space, you will need one.  This means if you are selling a multi-family home but converting it into a single-family home, the certificate needs to show the code change.  If you make a lot of renovations, the same thing applies.  With any type of major remodeling, it is best to verify whether or not a CO is needed before selling.  

If you do need a CO, then it is best to contact your local zoning or building department. There should be a website where you live to indicate who to contact. An inspection from the local government is done to compare the building to the current code and make sure there are no violations before issuing a report.  If the inspection is passed, you can go forward with the sale; if not, you will receive a list of what repairs are needed before another inspection is scheduled.  It is important to comply in order to prevent a fine or being sued.  

A qualified realtor can always guide and assist in this procedure or get your questions answered.   Whippet Properties of Florida is always ready to help!

 

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on September 22nd, 2021 9:02 AM

The habit of procrastination takes a two-fold toll on its victims.  First, important work goes unfinished; second (and most importantly), valuable energy is wasted in the process of putting off the things that remain undone.  

Procrastination results from an individual’s short-sighted attempt to postpone temporary discomfort.  Procrastination is, at its core, a struggle against oneself and the only antidote is action.  Some people thrive on the adrenaline of finishing a project under pressure at the last minute.  But most do much better by pacing each step and putting the project into manageable pieces, eliminating the stress.  

Once you acquire the habit of doing what needs to be done WHEN it needs to be done, you will avoid untold trouble, worry and stress.  So learn to defeat procrastination by paying less attention to your fears and more attention to your responsibilities.  

At Whippet Properties of Florida, every step of a transaction will be completed promptly and professionally!  Life does not procrastinate . . . . . and neither do we!

 

 

 

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on September 15th, 2021 11:07 AM

FAIR MARKET RENTAL VALUE

 If you are considering buying investment properties to rent out, one of the fundamentals to understand is how to calculate fair market rental value, or how much the ideal rent is for a property.

If you charge more than fair market rental value, finding tenants can be difficult and create excessive vacancy.  This cancels out any extra income earned from charging too much.   Then, if you charge below fair market rental value, you miss out on the extra income which undercuts profits.  That’s why this is the key to success as a real estate investor and will also help in knowing which properties to purchase and how much to invest in upgrades and renovations.  

The most important step in calculating fair market rental value is finding out how much tenants pay in comparable properties.   Some major factors that make properties comparable include:

  1. Being in close proximity to each other
  2. Being in the same neighborhood
  3. Same number of bedrooms and baths
  4. Similar square footage
  5. Similar appliances and features
  6. Similar updates
  7. Similar condition

Doing thorough research helps by searching on websites like Zillow, Trulia and Apartments.com.  It is also recommended to visit the area of your investment property to determine the condition of the neighborhood and specifically the streets near the property.  But it is best to have a knowledgeable real estate agent who can guide you in the proper direction and get answers to your questions.  Whippet Properties of Florida has agents ready to assist you!

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on September 8th, 2021 2:45 PM

With the low inventory, buyers have fueled a red-hot housing market over this past year as they rushed to secure record-low mortgage rates.  But shifts may now affect borrowers planning to purchase in the near future.  

Rising inflation and a strengthening economy are expected to push rates up by year end.  Higher rates and increased home prices could push some would-be buyers out of the market.  

Lending standards tightened during the pandemic as lenders looked to avert risk.  Still, the most favorable rates will go to borrowers with stellar credit histories and large down payments.  However, due to tightened underwriting, vacation and second-home buyers could face steeper rates.  

Higher home prices are leading to larger loan amounts.  As more people upsized their space in the pandemic, sales in upper price brackets outpaced those at lower price points.  

Borrowers have more options as nonbank lenders gain market share.  Alternative lenders are offering traditional financial products often at lower costs, with more relaxed eligibility criteria, and expanded digital options in loan processing.  

Some owners are not selling because they don’t want to give up their existing ultra-low interest rate, thus squeezing supply and placing upward pressure on home pricing.  Until prices stabilize and new construction keeps up with demand, the shortage of homes on the market will continue.   Hopefully, by next spring, a market correction will be in affect and a shift in favor of buyers will be seen.  

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on September 1st, 2021 10:28 AM
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Communication:

In this age of massive technology, we think of communication through email, Facebook, private messages, texts, Instagram or any other social media outlet.  But what we forget about are face-to-face meetings, verbal conversations or social interactions in person.  

Nothing communicates better than a facial expression, body language or gestures.  We have lost the personal touch in communicating with others and by doing so, true communication has suffered.

The sound of someone’s voice, even over a phone, is much better than a written message.  A “look” can say a thousand words that may never be spoken.  A typed message can be greatly misconstrued in meaning and create hard feelings where none was intended.  Using all capital letters makes the receiver “think” that the sender is “shouting” the message, when, in reality, it may only be a way of drawing attention to the sender’s message.  

With the written message comes misunderstanding in many forms.  It also remains as a constant reminder to the receiver and can build resentment in some form as it is reviewed over and over.  I have personally been the recipient AND the sender of written information that was perceived in the wrong way and sometimes the message can be difficult to overcome.  

So, remember that getting back to “personal” interaction is the best way to communicate whenever possible.   Nothing can ever take the place of one-on-one conversations in a relaxed setting. The message will be delivered in the correct way.  

 

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on August 25th, 2021 9:29 AM
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If you are in the market for a new home, a pool often sounds like a great idea, especially in Florida.   Pools are in such high demand right now that pool contractors have waiting lists and there is a shortage of maintenance items like chlorine.  But like anything else, there are pros and cons to owning a pool

Here are some of the pros:

A pool can be a lot of fun and can increase a family’s social life.  It can also be used for exercising, relaxing by the water, or just enjoying aesthetically. 

Having a pool in Florida can increase the value of your home.  When it is time to sell, your property may be more in demand or get a better price than a home without.  It depends on location, the condition and type of buyers.  

Here are some of the cons:

There is ongoing maintenance required for a pool.  It can take several hours per week to maintain a pool yourself and you need to know how to have the exact chemical balances and how to clean all components properly.  If you hire a pool service company, you will spend from $75 to $150 per week.  Along with the work there are many supplies needed and it can be expensive.

You must make sure your pool meets existing codes and safety requirements.  You may have to install a child safety fence or door alarms.  The pool light codes have been updated so older pools must be changed to reflect these new codes.  

Homeowner’s insurance may be higher to cover a pool in a regular policy.  And if someone is injured relating to the pool, you may need additional liability coverage which could increase the rates.

Even though many look for homes with a pool, when time to sell, there are some buyers who do not want that extra expense or liability, so it can limit the amount of prospective buyers, especially in a senior community.

A pool in Florida is a great addition to the home, but be sure to think about all the facts strategically rather than emotionally before making a final decision.  

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on August 11th, 2021 11:01 AM

Nestled in a beautiful, tropical setting of palm trees, flowers and numerous small lakes, sits a gated golf course community with the ultimate location.  Just 2 miles south of I-4 (Exit 55) on Hwy. 27, Ridgewood Lakes has many landscaped nature walks, over 400 acres of preserved areas, as well as a newly renovated 18-hole golf course, making it one of the finest developments in the entire area.  

The elegant entrance from Hwy. 27 displays “Del Webb Orlando” which is an active adult community established last and just recently completed.  This community has the newest homes with golf course, water or conservation views and a fabulous clubhouse with various activities and amenities for seniors.  

What many do not know is that there are four other separate established subdivisions within Ridgewood Lakes:  a second senior community, two family non-age restricted communities and a small condo community next to the White Heron Golf Course Clubhouse and Restaurant. 

Ridgewood Pointe was the first subdivision, built in 2001, with family homes and vacation properties, zoned for short-term rental and no age restrictions.  Some of these homes overlook a beautiful large pond.  The Forest at Ridgewood was the second community built in 2002, and has larger, executive style homes with some views of the golf course, water or woods.  Also zoned for short-term rental, this family community has its own pool, picnic area and playground.  The Gallery, a condo community, is comprised of seven buildings, each with four units.  All are either 2 or 3 bedroom with 2 full baths and come with a private one-car attached garage.  Many have breathtaking golf course views!  Last built before Del Webb was High Vista, a pristine 55+ community, completed in 2005.  Many homes here also have magnificent views of golf course, water or woods.  High Vista residents enjoy a private clubhouse with an exceptional heated pool and abundance of amenities.   Now, beginning in the fall of 2021, D.R. Horton will build new townhomes and single-family homes near the entrance called Atria at Ridgewood Lakes.  This will be the sixth subdivision inside the manned gates and will offer low maintenance living by Express Homes.  This is the only remaining area to build a new home.

There is so much beauty and nature surrounding this private, exceptional, multi-community development and we have TWO realtors LIVING in Ridgewood Lakes, Debbie Owen and Lou Candelore who can show you around and find you the perfect home!  Contact us at Whippet Properties of Florida to make your appointment now!

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on August 11th, 2021 10:58 AM
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Selling a home can be nerve-wracking and stressful to say the least.  It is probably the largest personal investment for most people and it can be expensive to make the home ready to go on the market.  But there are some ways to cut down on not only expenses, but also “surprises” that a home inspection might uncover.

Home staging is simply making a home as appealing as possible to prospective buyers.  It doesn’t take a professional to make sure floors, walls, windows and appliances are all pristine and cleaned; and furnishings can be removed, replaced, or put in storage to open up spaces and declutter areas.   

A pre-sale inspection can save money and lots of potential stress.  If you wait until the buyer’s inspection, any problems could mean either a price reduction or a list of repairs.  Discovering problems ahead of time allows you to perform repairs at your own pace instead of having them done in a panic.  It is also a great marketing advantage letting buyers make offers with confidence.

A fresh coat of paint can make a home look warmer, cleaner and brighter and can be done inexpensively.   Choose colors carefully and opt for softer colors or an off-white or cream that is not harsh.  Painting the ceiling a lighter color than the walls makes the ceilings seem higher, which makes the entire room seem larger.

Worn or stained carpets make a huge negative impression on prospective buyers.   But a lot of small stains can be cured by a thorough professional cleaning.  Even if carpets still look good, they might have some faint odors so a deep cleaning with a steam cleaner will make them smell fresh.

A new roof can be the single most expensive home repair of all, but if there are any roof issues, it is better to deal with them before the home is put on the market. If it is just a matter of some missing shingles, it can be an easy fix.  But if there are roof leaks that have caused any stains or other problems, a new roof may be needed.  This will be a plus for any future home buyer, knowing they will not have to worry about this big expense for many years.  

A one-year home warranty can also be offered to any prospective buyers which will cover the roof, appliances, electrical or plumbing issues, and many other items depending on the policy.  However, if there is already a repair issue, this would not be the way to go.   For any guidance or advice when thinking of selling, be sure to contact us at Whippet Properties of Florida.  We have a list of vendors we can recommend to help you!   

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on July 28th, 2021 11:08 AM

We hear a lot about 5G, so named because it’s the fifth generation of cellular technology.  The massive use of technology for both work and pleasure as well as streaming video demand requires a major step up in bandwidth and speed.  

In real estate, 5G paves the way for more and higher-tech home tours, smarter smart homes, and better-connected remote offices.  The pandemic has accelerated the push for faster and more reliable technology as reliance grows for work, school and health care.  5G will be the enabler of the next generation and will infuse every facet of our lives as every industry will be able to innovate with it.  

5G will allow home thermostats, security monitors and lightbulbs to be connected for concurrent monitoring.  In the commercial sector, 5G may allow for instant monitoring of mechanical and electrical systems in their buildings.

More programs and documents from servers with the cloud will be accessed faster and save much time for realtors when managing multiple transactions. Buyers could swap out furnishings in a home and design features in 3D as they view homes using a headset of smartphone, being able to view spaces virtually.  People who work from home will be able to purchase farther away from the cities, while still having instant access to the internet and needed technology.  Wider acceptance of self-driving cars could influence home searches by allowing buyers to perform other tasks while their car drives them to work.  

As the “space age” and world of technology continues to change constantly, it will become crucial to stay connected and that need is only going to grow bigger.  5G will truly change how we live and how we work.  

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on July 21st, 2021 10:37 AM

When preparing a home to sell, sometimes it is best to determine what repairs need to be made so as to get the best price and eliminate major issues in a home inspection.   Here are four items that need to be checked before listing for sale:

The first thing to consider is the home’s exterior.  This may involve landscaping work to update the lawn, and check trees or shrubs that might need removed or trimmed.  A roof inspection is very important, especially if the home is over 15 years old and has the original roof.  This can be a major concern and expense for a potential buyer and will definitely be a part of an inspection.  The exterior should be painted, free of cracks and have an attractive “curb appeal” to a buyer.

Second, the central air conditioning should be in proper working order and should be maintained with a minimum of a yearly inspection. Making any needed repairs before listing to sell should be considered mandatory with the air ducts thoroughly cleaned as well

Third, whether the home has wood, tile floors or carpet, make sure they are in good condition.  Replace any cracked tile if possible; wax and clean the wood floors or put down new carpeting in areas that are well worn or dirty.    If needing to replace any flooring, make sure it matches the current one or replace totally.

Last, have the plumbing and electrical systems checked by licensed, reputable professionals.   The home inspector will find anything not working properly or dangerous to the home and it is best to take care of any problems or even minor issues before a buyer signs a contract.  

Just these minor adjustments will make a sale go much smoother, quicker and provide a better selling price.  We, at Whippet Properties of Florida, can assist and guide you to the best professionals needed for any of these issues!  

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on July 14th, 2021 4:37 PM
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