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Barbara's Blog

With the real estate market experiencing surging prices, low inventory and a backlog of new home construction, many buyers are wondering if what’s gone up must come back down . . . .   are we headed for another housing market crash?  

The housing market crash 15 years ago took many by surprise and caused a worldwide recession.  It was primarily fueled by low interest rates, loose mortgage-lending practices and a boom in home buying.  When the bubble did burst, millions of families lost their homes to foreclosure or short sales for almost a decade.  Housing values dropped 30% or more and even today some real estate markets have not fully recovered.  

So, are we headed in the same direction now?  Many real estate experts say, “not likely.”  After the former crash, Congress and federal regulators made significant adjustments to change how mortgage lending is regulated.   Since then, standards have been raised and the process is now more strict; many loans of the past are now considered “illegal” and lenders who do not comply may face heavy penalties.

In the 2007 housing market crash, the influx of foreclosures added a housing supply into areas with falling prices and weak labor markets.  However, now the effects of mass unemployment bear little resemblance to the Great Recession, thanks to the forbearance programs that have allowed homeowners to postpone their monthly mortgage payments without suffering penalties.   

Equity can be an incentive to stay in a home longer (the difference between current market value and the amount owed on a mortgage).  This will cushion a homeowner from default when values fall.  Many have built up large home equity reserves with the recent housing stability and growth.  When prices rise, equity also increases.

Inventory is now low due to continued low interest rates, an abundance of millennial buyers and relocation of buyers from other states.  While no one can say for sure what will happen with the real estate sector, most experts are confident that we will experience a market dip, but certainly not a crash.  The market always has a way of correcting itself, and in time there will be more stability in inventory.

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on May 5th, 2021 11:44 AM

When you are looking for a new home to buy, you will often see on listing sites that they are marked as either pending or contingent.  So what is the difference and how do you know when a house is worth trying to pursue?

Contingent means that a seller has accepted an offer.  These listings are still active so they can still be viewed online but they could be out of contract if all the provisions are not met.  A closing does not happen until certain things are completed in a particular period of time.  

Here are some contingencies:

A home inspection contingency:   When an offer has been accepted, the buyer puts earnest money as a deposit on the home.  If the home inspection creates an issue that the buyers and sellers cannot agree on, then the contract is null and void.  

Mortgage contingency:  if the buyers cannot get approved for a loan to purchase the property, then the home must go back on the market.  

Appraisal contingency:  a home must appraise for enough value to have a lender approve the mortgage financing.  

Home sale contingency:  When a buyer already owns a home and needs to sell to use the proceeds to purchase another one.  

It is fairly common deals to fall apart because of contingencies.  

 When a home is pending, it means there is an agreement by contract and all contingencies have been dealt with.  The deal could still fall through at some stage either with financing or an inspection, but it is less likely than when in the contingency phase.  Some agents will accept “back-up” contracts just in case something like this happens, but once a contract is signed, the listing must be noted as pending.  

Contact us at Whippet Properties of Florida for any of your listing or buying needs!

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on April 28th, 2021 11:24 AM


We invite you to visit the 60th Annual Oldsmar Days & Nights Festival to be held on April 23rd, 24th an 25th at the beautiful R. E. Olds Park, just northwest of Tampa.

There will be Arts & Crafts Vendors, Business Vendors offering a variety of services (financial planning, massage therapy, tattoo art, real estate or manufactured items).   Also planned is a parade on Saturday, continuous live concerts on the stage, food vendors and a classic car show!   

This will be our FIRST year participating in this exciting event and we hope you will stop by and see our booth.  We will have registration for a door prize (worth $100) and several unique giveaway items for FREE!

You can register with us also to win one of several real estate perks if you choose to do business with us:  commission discount, free home warranty, cash back at closing, free CMA . . . . 

Make sure you visit Whippet Properties of Florida and enjoy a beautiful outdoor event!   We look forward to seeing you!  

Posted in:Personal
Posted by Barbara Doeringer on April 21st, 2021 8:51 AM

Last year, the greeting card industry, which had been struggling because of the digital revolution, saw a sizable turnaround, especially over the holidays.  Many who were skipping in-person holiday gatherings due to the pandemic decided to send greetings by paper cards instead.  

Sadly, the results of covid-19 has brought death and illness to many known families, friends and acquaintances and I have sent out more get-well and sympathy cards recently than ever before.  Just to add a short note or one line has meant so much to those who have received the cards.  A text, an email or even a phone call may be better than nothing, but nothing counts or touches the heart quite like a hand-written note.  

Sometimes we don’t write the notes because we don’t know what to say.  But just a simple expression of support is enough.  And the cards will be kept to re-read many times over the months and years to come.  Just like personal customer service that we all love, so does a personal written note mean so much more than something sent through modern technology.

In these emotional times, the simple act of writing is associated with someone caring enough to put pen to paper to send their love.  The joy it brings is unsurpassed!  So, stock up on those birthday, get-well, sympathy, thank you, anniversary, and any other card that pertains to the event or situation at hand.  You will make someone feel so very special and bring a big smile of happiness!  We all need that these days.

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on April 14th, 2021 10:56 AM

When applying for a home loan, you have the option of getting a 15 or a 30-year mortgage.  There are pros and cons to both options, so here are some of the comparisons:

With a 15-year mortgage, the interest rate is less and you are borrowing the money for half as long so you are definitely saving money.  

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) charges lower mortgage insurance premiums.

This option is a form of forced savings and the home is likely to go up in value or appreciate.

You will have a higher monthly payment

You may have to settle for a less expensive home due to the higher payments

You may have less liquidity or cash reserves to put towards savings


With a 30-year mortgage your payments are lower.

You have some flexibility to pay more without any penalties.

You may qualify for a more expensive home.

Tax laws allow a deduction of mortgage interest

Lenders do charge a higher interest rate.

You will pay much more in interest over the life of the loan.

You will build equity in the home at a much slower pace.

You may borrow more than you can really afford.

There is no right answer as to which is the better option.  It depends on your financial situation, goals and priorities, both now and in the future.  We, at Whippet Properties of Florida, can guide you to the right lender to determine which is best for you!  

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on April 7th, 2021 8:33 AM

Very low inventory is straining the housing market, but experts say the ongoing boom in home remodeling may be making it worse, at least for now.  

During the lockdown and throughout covid, spending on home improvement and repairs have grown substantially as households modify their living spaces for work, school and leisure.   And if homeowners are not selling, there is not enough supply for the buyer’s demand, also making it difficult for owners to move up or down to the next house.  

All of a sudden, millennials who were having a tough time saving the down payment now have more personal wealth, thanks to some Covid-19 relief packages. With interest rates at historic lows, they have purchased properties they could not qualify for previously.  Also, the ongoing wave of senior homeowners are deciding to “age in place” and making the repairs and adjustments to their homes that allow them to do so.  

Many professional remodeling projects came to a halt when the pandemic hit while do-it-yourself (DIY) renovations surged.  It was a natural instinct for homeowners to dive into the things that needed to be done and they never had time for.  Remodeling projects are the answer for many, but making sure the proper permits are filed is very important, especially for a future resale.  Projects that don’t affect anything structurally usually do not need one.  But always check the local building codes about restrictions.  

Fixing and maintaining older, affordable homes is an important trend to keep the housing market strong.  And buyers’ expectations have increased with the current TV shows about home remodeling.   Remodeling a home or upgrading baths or kitchens will attract consumers later for a faster sale.  

Yes, there is a current shortage of 3 million homes based on historical averages.  But while these remodeled homes may not hit the market immediately, it is an indication that some homeowners may be preparing for sales down the line.  As in every real estate market, inventory ebbs and flows, and given some time, it will once again be a “buyer’s market.”  

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on March 31st, 2021 5:08 PM
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“It’s a recession when your neighbor or friend loses his job,” Harry Truman once said, “and it’s a depression when you lose your own.”  

This lengthy pandemic has touched almost everyone we know, at least indirectly.  Millions of people have scaled down their expectations of what constitutes the good life and have redefined values and rearranged their priorities.  It is very easy to surrender to an emotional depression when your finances, health or the uncertainty of the future seems out of control.  Many have become pessimistic and depressed about tomorrow as so much right now seems quite bleak.  

We are still working our way out of this world-wide coronavirus, with many changes to our lifestyle that have been made.  But we can learn from what we have been through and become optimists instead of giving in to depression.  

We are surrounded by negativity every day, but optimism is a habit that can be learned by expecting something good to happen TODAY, no matter what happened yesterday.  The news media will only hold us captive in the negative zone if we let it.  The abundance or scarcity of money is not really what makes us independent or genuinely happy.  It is realizing that a simpler life with good health is what truly matters.  

In spite of all the suffering and growing pains our country is going through, we still enjoy a more affluent lifestyle than most people around the world.  We may be experiencing tremendous challenges, but a depression is purely a matter of choice.     Don’t give in, as an abundant life awaits us all!

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on March 24th, 2021 10:35 AM

If you are buying your first house, you are likely driven mainly by price.  But there are other important considerations that can help you find the perfect place.  

You may only be thinking of home size in terms of number of rooms or square footage, but a larger home costs more to maintain in heating and cooling.  A real estate agent can usually determine monthly utility costs which helps with making a budget.   

If you have never had your own lawn to maintain, perhaps the lower-maintenance lifestyle offered by a condo or townhome is the better option, instead of a single- family home.  Unless your chosen community includes lawn care in the HOA, which will add to that monthly cost, it is best to avoid high maintenance care of the grounds.

It is always a good idea to think like a seller when buying.   Most people change homes every few years, so the same questions you have about the floorplan or location are likely the same questions would-be buyers will be asking when you are ready to sell.   

Is there anything else that would adversely affect the value of the property?  Physical defects will be required to be disclosed but sometimes a “stigmatized” event such as a murder or suicide can greatly reduce the property value.   Realtors are not required to disclose this but if directly asked to a seller of a property, the answer must be truthful.  This does not apply to a natural death, only a violent or publicized event.  

This is one of many reasons why using a professional, experienced real estate agent is so important in your home search.  We, at Whippet Properties of Florida, either have all the answers or will get them for you!

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on March 17th, 2021 11:25 AM
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There are so many choices of locations when looking for a home in Central Florida, but here are four exceptional areas to consider:

Celebration:  A utopian demonstration of small town life in almost every aspect, it is no surprise to learn that the original concept for Celebration was modeled after Walt Disney’s own idea of an experimental prototype community of tomorrow – the very foundational elements behind EPCOT Theme Park.  These include the clean friendly neighborhood streets, charming shops, family-friendly downtown area, and even efficient businesses – some of which are connected to the Walt Disney Company brand.  

Windermere:  This large lakeside oasis of a community boasts higher median home price ranges on average in the greater Orlando area.  However, depending on which neighborhood you choose, there are plenty of nice properties priced in the low $300s and up.  Living in the charm and splendor of this premium suburb is worth it as Magic Kingdom Park is so close, as are the other theme parks and the roads to get there are less traveled by tourists.

Kissimmee:  For more affordable housing, Kissimmee offers a wide range of options.   As a community, Kissimmee has a rich and rurally cultured past to be appreciated, with many unique sights and attractions.  While the town history dates back to the late 19th century, many people who visit today are much more familiar with the newer and more modern developments within the community.  They have themed restaurants, shops, and what’s known as the 192 corridor, where there is lots see and do as tourists.

Champions Gate: (including Davenport)  Here is where you will find some of the largest selections of short-term property leases and rentals within the immediate area.  Located just 10 minutes to Disney property, paired with affordable home pricing and numerous other amenities, such as shopping, dining and golf courses galore, this community takes first place in Disney area housing.  How could this area not be a winner with a name that denotes living like a champion? And Davenport, not even one mile from Champions Gate is booming with phenomenal growth and affordable housing.  

When moving to Central Florida, there is so much to know about the many choices available. These are just a few of the many gorgeous communities.  Let us help you decide which one is best for you.  We live here, work here, play here.


Posted by Barbara Doeringer on March 9th, 2021 7:33 AM

Whether it’s an heir, seller or buyer, the definition of probate real estate never changes:

  1. Someone owned real estate
  2. They died
  3. In order for the rightful heirs to have title to the real estate to sell/convey/transfer, the heirs have to go through this formal court process called probate to officially transfer title.

Without probate, the heirs cannot sell/convey/transfer the real estate.  This process of an attorney opening a court file, procedurally moving what the deceased had to the rightful heirs, formally transferring title, is probate.   Once title is transferred, the heirs have authority to sell/convey/transfer the real estate.  

For contractual and title purposes, in order for the decedent’s primary residence to be sold to a buyer, all heirs, whomever they may be for that specific situation, must all sign the real estate contract as “Seller.”

An important reason for securing the signatures of all heirs revolves around title insurance especially for “Homestead” property.  When the heirs and buyer attend the closing, title insurance will require all heirs to execute deeds as “Seller.”  If the property was not the primary residence of the decedent, some title insurance companies may allow the personal representative appointed for the estate to sign the deed at closing.  

There is so much to know concerning buying and selling real estate, it is always recommended to work with a professional, experienced realtor who can guide you every step of the way, eliminating complications and stressful situations.   We, at Whippet Properties of Florida, are always ready to help!

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on March 4th, 2021 9:07 AM
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Whippet Properties of Florida

10082 Corso Milano Drive
Tampa, FL 33625