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Barbara's Blog

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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Negativity surrounds us on a daily basis:  the news, social media, our jobs, maybe even friends and family.  So, it is very important to eliminate as much of it as possible by surrounding ourselves with positive people and proper positive motivation.   There are many sources available to find motivational quotes and I try to post one every single Monday on our Business Facebook page (Whippet Properties of Florida), called “Motivational Monday.”  It helps get the week started in the right direction.  Here are some of the quotes I like best and I wanted to share them as they might just help someone see things in a different light.

  1. A great attitude becomes a great mood, which then becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which then becomes a great life!
  2. Not every day is good.  But there is something good in every day.
  3. Every day is a new beginning.  Take a deep breath, smile and start again.
  4. If you can’t do anything about it, then let it go.   Don’t be a prisoner to things you can’t change.
  5. Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.
  6. You have the power over your mind . . .  not outside events.  Realize this and you will find strength.
  7. Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.
  8. An entire ocean cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship.  At the same time . . .  the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside of you.
  9. What we think determines what happens to us, so we need to stretch our minds.
  10. Grapes must be crushed to make wine; diamonds form under pressure; olives are pressed to release oil; seeds grow in darkness.   Whenever you feel crushed, under pressure, pressed or in darkness, you are in a place of transformation.  Trust the process!

I hope one of these motivational quotes will speak to someone and make their day or life a much happier one!

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on July 7th, 2021 10:51 AM
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After the stressful year everyone has experienced, saving money is a priority for many people thinking of a home purchase.  But there are some drawbacks from buying directly from an owner, especially in today’s manic market.  

First, many sellers will price their home based on the comparisons to a neighbor's house that might be for sale.  There is also an emotional attachment involved over what they perceive is the value of their house. 

Next, an appraisal will need to be done at the cost of $600 or more, and if the house is overpriced, you may not be able to go forward with the purchase.  Either the seller will have to reduce the price to the appraised value or the bank will insist the buyer come up with the difference before approving the loan.

Owners do not usually know of or have important real estate disclosures that will protect a buyer from possible repair issues, mold, radon gas, water leaks, and more.  A home inspection is a must and buyers need guidance with this;  the sellers may not be aware of any serious or expensive issues that could cost the buyer or cancel the contract, after money was spent on both an inspection and appraisal.  

Always ask questions of the seller:  Why are they selling?  What is their motivation?  Are they negotiable?  How soon do they need to move?

When buying a house directly from an owner, there are many items that need checked into, so doing an intensive “homework” is a must.  Negotiations will need to be done directly with the homeowner, so there is no intermediary to assist.  It can be a stressful process and you are on your own.  So, think twice before eliminating a realtor to help you find that perfect home!

 

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on June 30th, 2021 9:06 AM

A down payment is an important component of taking a step towards homeownership.  It is also the biggest obstacle for buyers, especially first-time buyers.

A down payment is the cash paid upfront when making a large purchase.  Then, the mortgage lender provides the remainder needed to purchase the home and the buyer(s) pay the lender back over a period of time.  There are few exceptions to lenders requiring a down payment, but the amount depends on the type of loan that is selected.

When saving for a home purchase, a good first step is to open a savings account where money will be deposited regularly towards this goal.  Next take a look at income versus spending and create a budget that includes the money to be set aside into that savings account.  A lot of professionals recommend following the 50/30/20 rule.   This means that 50% of income goes toward essentials, such as rent; 30% goes toward lifestyle-related expenses, such as entertainment or restaurants; the other 20% should either go toward the savings account or paying off debt.  

Eliminate any unnecessary subscription fees; look for lower rates on credit cards and any specials such as 0% interest for a period of time; look for any kind of discounts on car insurance or cell phone promotions; use coupons where possible and always look for restaurant or grocery store specials.  There are a lot of opportunities to save, but it takes time and effort to look or ask for them.  

Once a budget is in order, there are many ways to add some part-time income and so much available to do from home.  Any kind of secondary income will make that homeownership goal much easier and quicker to reach.

Let us know at Whippet Properties of Florida how we can guide or assist you in saving for that dream home.  “If you can dream it, you can do it!”

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on June 23rd, 2021 9:04 AM
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FLORIDA BEACHES

 Those of us who live in Florida have access to so many beautiful beaches both on the east coast with the Atlantic Ocean and the west coast with the Gulf of Mexico.  Not only do the summer months bring an influx of beach goers, but so do the holiday seasons, spring breaks and week-end getaways.   

On the east coast, some favorites are St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, and Vero Beach before heading further south towards Ft. Lauderdale and Miami.  On the west coast, many love the white sand beaches of Clearwater and St. Petersburg, Bradenton and Sarasota before reaching Ft. Myers and Naples.  We also have incredible beaches all along the Florida Keys with so many unique restaurants and shops.  No matter what the location, every beach in our sunshine state offers an enjoyable escape into paradise and many consider them to be their “happy place.”  

With the extreme summer heat upon us, the beaches are getting more crowded with lots of fun activities and adventures to explore.  Hotels and vacation homes are once again getting booked solid and local venders are reaping the rewards as well.  It has been a very long year, but this summer is one to truly enjoy!

There will not be any Blog next week, as I am also heading to a beach:  St. Augustine Beach with family to enjoy a week of sunshine, sand and serenity!   But if you are in need of any real estate advice, our agents are always ready to help!!  

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on June 9th, 2021 9:02 AM
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Dollar with solid fillTreasure chest with solid fill

Simply put, earnest money is a deposit that is put down to show the seriousness of purchasing a home.   It is typically from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on the price of the home and the wishes of the sellers.  In exchange for the earnest money, the sellers will take their home off the market and it will be listed as “pending.”

Earnest money goes into an escrow account, usually with the chosen title company, until the day of closing.   At closing, this money is subtracted from the total owed and can be contributed towards closing costs.

Lenders do not consider earnest money as part of a down payment.  The required percentage of down payment from a mortgage company is due at closing, while earnest money is due up front.  But the earnest money can be used for expenses required to complete the closing.

When entering into a purchase agreement, there may be some contingencies.  There are situations that are agreed upon where you can walk away from a contract and still get the earnest money refunded back:  if there is an appraisal contingency and the appraised value is lower than the sales price; if the lender denies the loan for any reason; if the inspection period shows unsatisfactory or expensive repairs needed.   However, if any other terms of the purchase agreement are broken, then the sellers can keep the earnest money.  

A qualified real estate agent can help explain in detail a purchase contract so that all is understood before signing and being committed to something unaffordable.  Our agents at Whippet Properties of Florida are experienced in all aspects of listing and purchasing property and are willing to assist in any way!   

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on June 2nd, 2021 3:04 PM
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With the real estate market still so hot, many experts think this is a great time for sellers who have unusual or unique properties to take advantage and “cash out.”  

For instance, sellers who paid too much during the last boom in real estate or did a renovation that made their homes “over-improved” for the market may find this is the ideal time to sell.  Some purchased in a less desirable neighborhood or where properties appreciate in value more slowly.  Some do not have the funds to modernize their home or bring up to date; those who have a second home to move into until they find exactly what they are looking for when prices stabilize would be wise to sell now and get top dollar.  

Sellers in preferred locations, with modernized homes can sell whenever they choose because theirs are the properties buyers most favor.  Homeowners with properties that need TLC or those located in less desirable areas may find their requested selling price is more of a challenge in average markets.   

This is not the time to take advantage of buyers.  But with the very low inventory, it forces some buyers to concentrate less on imperfections or less features in the home and instead focus on what is already there and in good condition.  Home inspections will be done to ensure that all is in working order but buyers may be more willing to overlook renovations that are needed to update the home in the future.  

When there is a shortage of listings as in the current real estate market, buyers with limited time or specific location requirements may be prepared to compromise by choosing from what is available.  But be careful not to OVER price any property!  Even though multiple offers will come in, an appraisal will determine the true value and a typical price in a less manic market.  

For the best advice and guidance, contact us at Whippet Properties of Florida.  We have over 60 years of combined experience in the residential real estate market!

 

 

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on May 26th, 2021 10:28 AM
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When investing in real estate there are pros and cons of single-family and multi-family rental properties.  It helps to research both, to determine which would be best for a starter investment.

Pros of Single-family homes as residential rental properties:

  1. They are more affordable, requiring less capital and a smaller down payment
  2. Residential rental properties are the most tax-advantaged asset
  3. There will be more options to choose from
  4. They are easier to sell
  5. There’s lower management needs and tenant turnover

Cons of Single-family homes as residential rental properties:

  1. There is less cash flow from only one lease
  2. Vacancy between tenants means no income
  3. Maintenance needs can be more immediate
  4. A property management company will cost more with only one unit

Pros of Multi-Family Homes as residential rental properties:

  1. All the revenue is not dependent on one tenant or one unit
  2. Property management services are more cost-effective
  3. There is more flexibility to offer long-term or short-term leases
  4. You can live in one of the units while still generating income

Cons of Multi-family Homes as residential rental properties:

  1. They mean more frequent tenant turnover
  2. There is more management work involved
  3. More difficult to get financing and may need a thorough business plan for the lender
  4. These homes are harder to sell, with most buyers limited to investors

A lot of information and professional guidance is needed to successfully invest in any kind of real estate.  Always seek the help of an experienced real estate agent, tax advisor and lender before moving forward in any kind of rental property purchase.  

Posted by Barbara Doeringer on May 19th, 2021 10:09 AM

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