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Here you will find various postings on Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter events, real estate news, and community sales with statistical information.

July 18, 2017

How Much Do I Really Have to Say in the Disclosure?

When you have to sell a house there's this tricky little form that goes along with it called the "sellers disclosure form". Most sellers will give you a disgusted look anytime you suggested this form but it is mandatory in most if not all real estate transactions. Even as a homeowner, if you are selling the home as is, you still have to disclose what you know about the property and, if you choose not to disclose something that you have knowledge of, it could come back to bite you in the butt.

But, what all do you have to disclose?do I have to disclose everything?

Repairs and remodels.

If the home has had nature remodels, additions or structural repairs that you know of you must put that in the seller's disclosure. Whether or not you had a permit pulled for the work done, you still have to disclose that it was done. Now, this doesn't mean every little light bulb change out or socket plate replacement, but, if you've done anything to the structure of the property that could affect the integrity such as building a deck, installing major appliances with new wiring or plumbing, taking out or removing load bearing walls or adding on rooms including bathrooms or parts of kitchens or bedrooms, this all should be disclosed in the sellers disclosure form.

Damage.

If the home has had any damage from water leaks, natural disasters, fire, or other extenuating circumstances, even if someone ran into the house with a car, the future buyer needs to be aware of this.

Lead-based paint.

Most homes built after 1978 do not have lead-based paint and homeowners that have an older home may not even know it existed in the home at one time. Chances are it's been painted over multiple times so it's fairly safe unless you have pets or small children gnawing on paint chips and the walls. If you don't know, you can simply say that you don't but, if you are aware of lead-based paint, you have to mention that you know about it.

See: 3 Things sellers wish they knew before selling

Radon

Radon is a chemical element the comes from the natural breakdown of uranium. It is usually found in igneous rock and soil but in some cases, well water may be a source of radon. Depending on where you are in the country, radon testing may be required in the home inspection. If the house has high radon levels, which one in 15 American homes can test high for radon gas, it's not that easy to get rid of. Most homeowners don't realize there may be radon in the soil but if you have a well, it's important to get this tested. This doesn't necessarily mean that buyers will walk away from the deal after finding out there is elevated radon levels but they can negotiate with the homeowner to have a radon mitigation system installed and reduced radon test results before closing on the property.

Poor neighborhood or bad neighbors.

If you don't like your neighbors, you don't have to tell the next buyers. Buyers should do their own due diligence and find out for themselves if the buyer down the street is a hoarder with junker cars in the front yard or if the dogs barking incessantly throughout the night. However, in 1992 there was a court case that held sellers responsible for disclosing neighbors "pattern of offensive and noxious behaviors", which can include the operation of noisy equipment, or if there is some offensive or dangerous behavior in the neighborhood that the homeowner is aware of. This is a slippery slope and a tricky subject so it's important to navigate it with your real estate agent.

See: Do Buyers Still Want to See a Home Office?

Your financial situation.

This is definitely something that the buyers don't need to be aware of. They won't have access or information on your bank accounts or even why you are selling the property.

Haunted.

Disclosing whether or not you think the home is haunted can fall under an umbrella of material facts. Most real estate laws require sellers to disclose material facts, which covers repairs, additions, and construction. But chances are a seller would not need to disclose whether or not the homeowner feels the house is haunted, but this can vary from county to county. It also depends on how famous the haunting could be. If you're selling a historical home that has a reputation for being haunted, that probably should come up somewhere in the disclosure form.

Death in the house.

If you are aware of a death in your house you may have to disclose it based on the state in which you live. Each state and county even have different laws. If an older person simply passed away in the home, that might not be as important to know as a horrific murder or homicide happening in the house. Some buyers to care less what others are extremely superstitious.

For Buyers: What do Sellers Try and Hide? 

What do sellers hide?Drugs.

Again, state laws vary greatly but in the state of Florida, sellers are legally required to disclose known facts that materially affect the value of the property, and this could include drug-related paraphernalia or activity if it has affected the structural integrity of the property. For instance, if there was a meth lab in the basement, that will greatly affect the air quality and structure of the property, however, if previous homeowners lit up a joint from time to time, that's probably not required to be disclosed.

Again, it's important to discuss all of this with your real estate agent. You don't have to give everything away, but you do have to be honest and disclose as much as legally required.

Have a question about the seller's disclosure form? Give me a call at any time. I focus generally in the Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens real estate market of Florida.

 

 

 

Posted in Real Estate
July 7, 2017

Easy Tips for Buying and Selling a House Simultaneously

Easy Tips for Buying and Selling a House Simultaneously

Selling the home and buying a home at the same time can be a stressful situation but it is not uncommon and many people need to do it in order to move on. If you're selling a home in the Palm Beach County area and need to purchase in the same area it's a great idea to use the same agent for both transactions. This limits the confusion and frustration of dealing with too many people and too many parties in the transaction. But here are some other tips to make buying and selling simultaneously and easy and stress-free process.

#1. Try to keep emotions at bay.

This will be a very stressful and complicated time but it doesn't have to be as difficult as you might think it is. By preparing yourself ahead of time, keeping emotions at bay and trusting your agent can make the process go a lot smoother.  It can be a little bit stressful that you've found a home you want to live is that you have a sold your current home or perhaps you've sold your home but haven't found a new home in which to move. Don't let anxiety overtake you. Trust your agent, however, don't feel like you need to trade off on things that are vital to you if you need to buy or sell first. You also not want to accept an offer they feel is too low simply because you are strained by two home loans. Talk to your lender, get your finances in a row and let everyone know what your situation is before diving into the process. Once the process is started it can be difficult to backtrack and way more stressful if you have not prepared.

Read The Ultimate Home Sellers Guide

#2. Understand the housing market in your area.

The housing market is quite different than where it was just 10 years ago so understanding the market can help you price, sell and then find a home a lot better than if you have no clue what's going on in the real estate world. If it's easier to sell then buy in your area you might want to consider buying a home first or at least placing an offer on a home. If it's the other way around, consider selling first and then finding a home. Again, talk to your agent about the best way to go about buying and selling simultaneously.

#3. Schedule as much as you can.

This might be difficult because it will depend on the logistics of why you're selling and moving. You might not have a chance to calculate the right timing and dates for all the necessary procedures that will be coming up. However, if you can arrange your calendar cautiously by making sure that you have enough time to move, sell, buy and close on both home simultaneously it will feel a lot less stressful. Now is probably not the time to sign up the kids for multiple sporting events, take on more projects than you need or take on extra work at your place of employment. It's best to free up the calendar during the 1 to 4 months it may take to buy and sell a home.

Related: How Has Home Buying Changed Since Our Parents Time?

#4. Understand the money -related arrangements.

Talk to your lender about your goals and what you're trying to achieve by buying and selling simultaneously. Talk to them about the options of maintaining to home loans if necessary should the home not sell before you find a new one. Ask about bridge loans, carryover loans and other options that might be available to you in this type of situation. Most real estate agents and lenders will suggest trying to sell your home first. At the very least, listing and marketing your property before looking at other homes is a little bit smarter than finding the home you want and then starting the marketing and listing process.

The takeaway is to really talk to your agent about your needs, your desires and the goals that you're trying to achieve. If your agent and your lender both understand where you're trying to get, they can do all they can on their side of the transaction to make sure those deadlines are met.

If you need to buy and sell a home in the Palm Beach Gardens or Jupiter please contact me today. Let's discuss your options and financing programs and see what works for your situation and timing.

Posted in Real Estate
June 19, 2017

If I Buy a House, Can I Keep the In-Ground Pool?

Yes, I have really heard this question before. And, if you have come across this question because you're wondering the same thing, you're realizing it's not that audible question. You might be wondering if you could to keep the inground pool if you buy a house. Now, if you think this through, it would be quite a tragedy to rip up an entire pool and it would leave a huge mess so yes if you buy a home with a backyard inground pool, it should remain. But, I do want to leave this little caveat; sellers do have the right to write anything they want in the purchase and sale contract but you also have to agree to it for it to happen. So, if for some reason the seller says they are going to fill in the pool before closing on the property and you don't agree with that, you need to either not agree to it in the contract or make a separate negotiation in the contract or addendum.If I Buy a House, Can I Keep the In-Ground Pool?

Just as there are interesting questions from buyers, there are odd and bizarre behaviors from homeowners as well. You never know if a homeowner is going to do something that the buyer simply finds outrageous between the time of mutual acceptance and closing. But, if the seller does anything that is not written in the contract or legally allowed by the time closing happens, the buyer does have a right to go back to the seller for litigation.

If we are talking about a portable aboveground pool that can be easily removed, that is something that should be discussed prior to closing. Buyers may want to keep it and so it should be written into the purchase and sale contract, not just assumed that it will go with the property.

Other items that are included with the sale of the property that buyers may not be aware of include temporarily attached features such as light fixtures, curtain rods, drapes, flooring, and bookshelves. These items may be removed but typically they are part of the house and should be sold with the property. Even curtains hanging on attached curtain rods are included with the sale of most properties unless otherwise stated by the seller or the fire and agreed upon.

Again, it all comes down to what the buyer and the seller agree upon. If it is written into the contract and mutually agreed upon, the contract stands. If you move into a property that has been damaged or something removed not included in the contract, the buyer has every right to go back to the seller for retribution.

Have a real estate question? Give me a call at any time and you never know what might make it into the blog.

Posted in Real Estate
May 30, 2017

Jupiter Florida Real Estate Trends 2017

It's an interesting market right now. As we are coming into the middle of 2017 it's been a surprisingly neutral market. 2016 was pretty good. It was considered a hot market which leans towards the seller's market side of things. This means that there are not enough homes and buyer demand is up. This is great news for sellers, not so great news for buyers, and they may have figured that out and chosen to wait because now, were in a relatively cool buyers market.Jupiter Florida Real Estate Trends 2017

If you're planning on buying or selling within the next couple of months it's important to understand what the market is doing so that you can make a wise decision on how to price your home and if you should be buying at this time.

The general home value index for Jupiter Florida is about $332,000, a 6.5% increase over last year. The median sales price is at $336,500. That comes out to about $215 per square foot, an important factor in pricing your home. The median list price, however, is quite a bit higher at $532,900. We have approximately 700 properties on the market as of the end of May 2017. The median days on the market are between 70 and 80 days on average. Some homes that are priced very competitively are selling within the first two weeks and other homes that might need some work or are higher-priced take anywhere from one month to three months to sell on average. 

RECAP:

  • Median Home Price: 332,000
  • Median List Price: $532,000
  • Median Sales Price: $336,000
  • DOM: 76

Our absorption rate is about to 3 to 6 months. This means that if no more homes hit the market as of today it would only take 3 to 6 months to completely eliminate all listings on the market. That's about an average amount. When the absorption rate is less than a month, it's an extremely hot market for sellers and when the absorption rate is over the six-month mark, it's a hot market for buyers, which means that prices are low and there is plenty of inventory.

So what is all of this mean?

If you don't need to sell right now, you might consider waiting to the fall. Florida has an opposite real estate season to the rest of the country because of our weather. We have more people that buy from November to March because it's cooler and fewer people buying in the heat of summer. This means that over the next couple of months there may not be that many buyers on the market. It also depends on when you need to sell. If you're looking to relocate, have a job issue or familial status that needs to change your current housing, you may have no choice but to sell. In that case, we want to make sure that we priced competitively and do all we can to make the home as attractive as possible for the buyers that are out there. Trust me, there are still buyers because people still need to buy property for the same reason that you need to sell.

READ MORE: ALL CURRENT MARKET STATS FOR JUPITER

If you're considering buying, it's a pretty neutral market. You should get a good deal on a house and have a decent amount of inventory to choose from.

It really depends on your timing, how much you need out of the home, and how much you're willing to spend. Nobody wants to spend more than they need to and all homeowners want to get as much as they can out of the sale of the property. To do both of these things well, you need a real estate agent that knows the market extremely well. Feel free to give me a call at any time whether you are buying or selling throughout the Jupiter area. I'd be happy to offer tips, secrets to selling and buying, especially simultaneously, and how we can go about getting you exactly what you need at the right time.

Posted in Real Estate
April 11, 2017

3 Things Sellers Wish They Knew Before Selling a House

Being a real estate agent for a few decades, I've seen home sellers, homeowners, and buyers in a wide range of transactions. Something I have learned is that there are no two transactions exactly alike. You have so many people involved in a real estate deal including buyers, sellers, multiple agents, escrow, lenders, appraisers, inspectors and so on that every single dynamic in each transaction can be different. But, there are some similarities between homeowners when they go to sell. As a homeowner myself I have bought and sold many homes over my lifetime including international and so these ring true not only for sellers in the future but just about all the sellers I've had in the past.

Here are three things most sellers wish they knew before listing their home.

3 Things Sellers Wish They Knew Before Selling a House

#1. They wish they would've priced it correctly at the beginning.

Just about every homeowner tries to list their house too high. And, this is understandable. You want the most profit from the sale of your house and if you can get it, why not go for it? The pitfall and the dangers to this are that is usually does not sell. Here's the kicker; if you have a real estate agent that is very familiar with micro markets, communities and individual neighborhoods and they know how quickly homes are selling, you can listed at a higher price but be aware, if the appraisal does not come in at the asking price, you will have to drop the price anyway or have the buyer come up with the difference (which can happen as well). It is crucial to listen to your real estate agent and to choose an agent that is very familiar with homes in your neighborhood. Homes in a particular neighborhood that are hot, they might sell quickly and just don't last very long on the market might be ideal for overpricing as long as you can get that price from an appraisal or you know that the buyers will make up the difference. In a hot seller's market you may also get multiple offers so pricing your home more than market value could have the positive effect of getting more offers in at a higher price.

The point is, this is a very tricky and strategic decision that you and your real estate agent have to make. It's important to listen to what your agent is saying, trust the research, and go with the value that the agent feels appropriate. Not every real estate agent is going to be perfect, and there have been times where different strategies can backfire. Markets can drop instantly, making the home not worth as much. Remember, the home is only worth what a buyer will pay for it, so it's important to know the market in a neighborhood or community to price it correctly from the very beginning.

             Related: Should we buy first or sell first?

#2. Don't skimp on the photos.

Photos literally will make or break a sale. I'm not talking about altering photos or displaying something that isn't. It's not a good idea to falsely advertise a home but offering good photos with good lighting can work wonders for real estate listing. And, it doesn't matter if you have a $300,000 house or $3 million house, great photos help sell the house. Talk to your real estate agent about having professional photos done. If you are debating between professional staging and professional photos I would really suggest having professional photos done. You can fix up the home and make it as attractive as possible but those photos are going to be the first thing that buyers see, and you can draw them in or turn them off completely based on those photos. You don't have a second chance to make a first impression, gosh that was cliché.

            Read More: Not all Realtors like to sell New Construction Homes

#3. Pick the right Realtor®

A Realtor® in a real estate agent two different titles. Most do the same thing and are both licensed and trained to sell real estate but, a Realtor® has been trained in additional ethics and codes of conduct and has to carry a higher standard for customer service and fiduciary duties to their clients. Yes, real estate agents should do this, but those that have the extra title of Realtor are held to a higher standard in general. Now, this is not to say that any real estate agent can sell your house, but choosing the right agent or Realtor® is really essential to getting your home sold for the right price. You want to ask your agent several different questions that you feel comfortable with the way they price your home, market your home, and conduct business on your behalf with negotiations and selling strategies.

Ask how long they've been in business. How many houses they've actually sold, not just listed or facilitated for the buyer. Ask how quickly their homes sell. Also, ask how many listings they like to take on at one time. There are some agents that have a variety of assistance to take over once you sign on the dotted line. Do you like this or would you prefer to work one-on-one with the agent from start to finish? Do you like the idea of a team working together to get the job done for one agent that's sole responsibility is selling your house? These are all things you want to know so that you feel comfortable and confident that your agent is working for you the entire time, will market and advertise your home to the right buyer, and get the most profit from the sale.

Call me today to find out more about how to get the right agent, take the right photos and get the right price from the sale of your home in Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and surrounding cities.

Additional Selling Resources:

The Difference between Cash and Financed Offers - By Peter Westbrook

Posted in Real Estate
April 3, 2017

Most Common Questions New Home Buyers Ask

You're considering buying a home; great! This is a great endeavor and a worthy investment that will probably pay off depending on how long you keep the home and the investments you make to the property. Homeownership is not for everyone. If you move a lot, prefer someone else to take care of the maintenance and landscaping, or you simply don't want the responsibility of the house of your own, homeownership may not be right for you, and that's okay. Renting might be the best option for you but for those that desire to have a little piece of land to themselves, settle down, raise a family or lifestyle and prefer the maintenance and upkeep themselves, homeownership is ideal.

In my several dozen years in the real estate professional, I have answered hundreds of questions when it comes to buying real estate. I want my homebuyers to be educated and informed with some of the more common questions that I get asked. Here's a list of some of the top questions that I've been asked and I've asked a few of my real estate associate to give me their response as well as the most common questions they often get asked from first-time homebuyers.

Most Common Questions New Home Buyers Ask

#1. How do I get started?

This question encompasses a lot of different information. It all depends on where you are starting from. If you are currently renting you are probably used to paying a monthly housing expense. This can get rolled right into a mortgage and if you are comfortable paying monthly for your housing expenses, a mortgage payment should be all that different. One of the first things that you should do is to talk to a lender before looking at property. I know that it can be really fun to browse real estate websites (like my own) and daydream about the house you could afford. But that's just it, you don't know how much you can afford. The last thing I want is for you to fall in love with the property only to discover your current budget or finances cannot support the monthly payment for it. I always recommend all of my real estate buyers talk to a lender first, that is if they are planning to finance the property. Those that plan on paying in cash will simply need to keep their budget a little less than the amount they have on hand to cover closing costs and any additional fees. A lender will go over your entire financial situation and determine your interest rate, how much you can afford in a monthly payment, and will give you a good range of pricing that you can afford up to the maximum value.

Note: try not to max out your budget so that you have a little left over for home repairs or improvements once you move in.

Most Common Questions New Home Buyers Ask

#2. How much money do we need to make an offer?

Not only will you need to know how much in total you will need to buy the house regardless of financing for cash, but you will need some initial funds for an earnest money deposit, inspection and possibly an appraisal. Your lender will help you out with all of these details but it's important to have at least .5% to 3% of the purchase price of the home in liquid cash as an earnest money deposit. This earnest money is submitted with the offer to essentially "hold" the property against any other potential buyers. You are willing to put this amount of money down in order to hold the property through the purchase and sale agreement. If for some reason the seller should back out of the transaction or a contingency does not go through, you will be able to get your earnest money deposit back, but, if you simply back out of the deal without using a contingency or any valid reason, you could forfeit your earnest money deposit to the seller. The seller will have to relist the property and start the process all over. This earnest money deposit will make up for the loss of time.

Note: it is very rare that buyers do not receive the earnest money back. A good buyers agent can negotiate through just about any situation.

You may also need funds for an inspection. I recommend that all of my homebuyers get a professional inspection completed on their home. The only reason I would suggest waiving the inspection is in a hot real estate market with multiple offers and you are certain you will buy the home regardless of the inspection outcome. This is very uncommon and should be considered very carefully before submitting a waived home inspection contingency.

Home inspections tend to run anywhere from about $300-$800 depending on the type of inspection and the size of the home. Inspectors have a broad knowledge of just about everything on a home but if they should suggest an additional inspection to the roof, septic or sewer system, pest inspection or foundation, it is recommended to do this in order to save you thousands of dollars in repairs in the future. Additional inspections can range from about $500 to over $1000. It is rare and uncommon but it is something to consider and keep in mind.

Most Common Questions New Home Buyers Ask

#3. Do I have to pay my agent?

This is somewhat of a two-part question and a popular one sent in by and Irvine California real estate agent asking about the role of the buyer's agent and if the buyer has to compensate their agent for the use of their time.

The two-part question begins with homebuyers realizing that they need their own agent. Most first-time buyers have no idea that there are usually two real estate agents involved in a real estate transaction. They simply call at the listing agent of a home they want to see and use that agent to facilitate either that transaction on that home or any future transaction. Homebuyers usually have no idea on how real estate agents get paid.

When a seller lists a property with the listing agent the seller agrees to a certain percentage of the sale price to go to the agent involved in facilitating the transaction. This is usually 6%. If the same listing agent also represents the buyers, meaning that there are no other agents involved in the transaction, that listing agent will receive the full 6% commission. However, if the buyer brings their own agent, the commission percentage is usually split in half. You can see why the listing agent would really want to be the buyer's agent on the same property as they receive the full commission. But, this is a sticky situation and that the agent is working for the seller of that property first, which means their due diligence and fiduciary duties to the seller first and then to the buyer. If the buyer has their own agent, that agent's sole responsibility would be to the buyer, not the seller. It helps to have someone on your side during the transaction rather than the agent that is just trying to sell the property.

        [Read More: Essential home buying skills]

As a buyer, it is important to have your own representation during a purchase and sale agreement. The agent will receive half the commission from whatever home the buyer chooses but that agent is representing the buyer in the transaction and putting the buyer's needs, budget and negotiations first before the seller's needs. This is imperative so that a buyer can get what they want, the terms and price they need, and their confidential negotiation strategies are kept private.

At no point does the buyer actually pay their agent directly for their services.

Most Common Questions New Home Buyers Ask

#4. Should I buy a fixer-upper?

In today's society of HGTV shows like Fixer Upper, and Flip or Flop, many first-time homebuyers are drawn to these types of homes thinking they can score a deal and work on fixing up the home. The problem with this is that many of these homes have so many issues that starting out in the real estate world with a fixer-upper might be more of a tragedy than a benefit. If you've never fixed up a home or remodel the property before, this is probably not the best way to start your real estate career. Many of these fixer homes need serious work such as thousands of dollars to the foundation, mold or mildew issues that have damaged larger parts of the house, a $5000 roof replacement, new siding, or replacement of all the appliances costing over $10,000. With a real estate agent marks property as a "fixer-upper" it usually needs a lot more work than some paint on the walls and maybe a new light fixture. Fixer homes are best left to professional investors that are familiar with the type of property and how to get their money's worth out of repairs and replacements. Now, I'm not saying that you can't go for home that need some work. I've helped a lot first-time homebuyers that are very handy themselves or even their own construction company and can do a lot of the work themselves. Is this the case, you might be saving thousands of dollars by doing the work yourself, but, if you're planning on financing the property, many FHA or USDA loans require the home to be in certain livable conditions before they will even loan money on the property.

         [Read More: What will my agent actually do?]

All in all, be very careful when choosing an investment type of home. It may be a good option for you but as your first purchase, it may be more trouble than it's worth.

Most Common Questions New Home Buyers Ask

#5. What if I can't find anything I like?

This is a funny question but a valid one which comes to us from our associate in the Tri-Valley area. Dale Corpus had a client this month that was frustrated they couldn't find anything they liked. This is actually something you shouldn't be too concerned about.There are a lot of homes out there and even though inventory is down in a lot of markets across the US, but chances are you'll find something within the next six months is very likely. Don't worry about loving every single home you come across. If you have specific ideas, features and items you want in a home, don't settle for something that you're going to be disappointed with later.

                [Read More: How to buy your dream home if you weren't ready]

Some things that I urge my clients to focus on is the area in which they want to buy. Are they looking at getting into a specific school district? Do they want to be a certain distance away from work? Do they want to be close to modern conveniences were community amenities? Are they looking for a home within a community with homeowners associations and community perks? When you narrow down some of the logistics of the location, you might be surprised to find that there are several homes within that locale that work better for your situation. But again, don't be discouraged if you're not finding a home you love right away. You may be in a time crunch and you may not be. Talk to your real estate agent about looking past the aesthetics of a home to the real reason in which you're buying. We want all of our customers to be satisfied not just with their initial purchase but several years down the line as well.

These are probably the top questions I get asked on a regular basis. Do you have a question about real estate that we could add here? Feel free to fill out the comment section below or contact our office today for all homes, real estate purchases and properties throughout Palm Beach County Florida.

 

Posted in Real Estate
March 15, 2017

Should We Buy First or Sell First?

If you're planning on selling your home in Palm Beach County and moving, either within the county, to another city or state, you might be toying with the idea of buying first or selling first and which makes the most sense. I deal with this type of real estate situation a lot because most people that already own a home are not going back into the rental market but are finding and purchasing another house.Should We Buy First or Sell First?

There's always that tricky situation of buying and selling simultaneously. While it might sound confusing, it's not uncommon. The key is to have the right real estate agent on both sides of the transaction that is familiar with the situation, proficient in simultaneous closings, and can help schedule these closings promptly.

There are pros and cons to both selling first and buying first. If you're buying within the same area, it's best to use the same real estate agent for both selling your home and buying your home. This limits the number of parties involved and keeps things more organized. I usually recommend that the homeowner listed the property first and casually look at homes that might be available. It also depends on the market. If it's a seller's market, the home may so very quickly. If it's a buyers market, there may be plenty of homes on the market in your house might take longer to sell. Talk to your real estate agent about the market and when the right time is to pull the trigger on the listing, accepting an offer and making an offer on another house.

In our current market, homes are selling fairly quickly. If the home is priced correctly, you should receive an offer within a few days or a few weeks. It's at this time that I recommend making an offer on another house. I would not suggest making a contingent offer on another house until you have a bona fide offer on yours. Most sellers will not accept a contingent offer if there's not already a chance that the house will close.

But what happens if you find a house you love first?

This can be a tricky situation, and it does take skill and expertise to time everything correctly. If you find a house you love in a hot market, you can take the risk by putting in an offer not contingent on selling your home. If the offer is accepted, we will list your home and get it sold as quickly as possible. This will take effort on your part to fix up the house, stage it and have a properly ready to show. We will also need to price it aggressively so that it sells quickly. We can push out the closing date on the new house anywhere from 45 to 60 days if the new seller allows this. This gives you more time to sell the home and close before having to close on the next house.

This is not ideal, but most situations are not when it comes to buying and selling simultaneously.

Also, comes down to having an agent that will accept contingent offers. This is why having an offer already accepted on your home is more attractive and appealing to your seller. They already know you're planning on selling, the wheels are in motion and it's just a matter of closing at this point.

What if something goes wrong?

Not every transaction is smooth sailing. Somewhere along the line bumps and hiccups can happen. Again, having a seasoned and experienced real estate agent that understands time frames and how to save the deal is crucial to getting the deals closed. If your financing doesn't go through, if something with the inspection on either end fails or if the buyer of your house falls through, it can greatly affect your chances of getting the next home.

There are several things you can do to keep the home. You can talk to your lender about a bridge loan, which bridges the gap from one mortgage to another, you can carry two mortgages if your income can support it, you can ask for an extension on the closing date to give you more time to resell your property, or you can cancel the transaction and hopefully get your earnest money back.

There are so many different factors to buying and selling simultaneously that it can be very difficult to explain all possible scenarios in one blog post. Each deal is different because every buyer, seller, listing agent and house is different. But the one key thing that I want to keep a reiterating is to have a real estate agent that is very familiar with simultaneous closings. Because I am proficient in both buying and selling real estate throughout Palm Beach County, I understand time frames, how escrow and title companies work, the real meaning behind closing dates and how long certain documents take to process and I can help coordinate the entire transaction.

If you're apprehensive about buying and selling simultaneously, give me a call today. We will talk through your situation to find out the best route to go and how to get you want to the next house as stress-free as possible.

Posted in Real Estate
March 6, 2017

8 Smart Money Moves to Make Now

This time year gets people to think about taxes for next year. There are a few things you can still do this year that are smart and wise money moves to benefit you both now and in the future. Here are 8 wise things that you can do now with your money.

#1. Always add more to retirement.8 Smart Money Moves to Make Now

Retirement is one of those things that if we don't see it it's hard to know it's there. However, you're going to miss it in the future if you're not putting away money now. The younger you are the better it will be for you to put away money now so that it has time to grow later on. Even if you can only put in an extra $100 a month, do it.

#2. Change your goals.

People's financial goals can change all the time. This may be a good time to reassess your goals, where you want to be next year, five years and even 20 years from now. Reassess those goals and find a financial advisor that can help you reach those in a practical way.

#3. Don't neglect your checking account.

Make sure your checking account is up to date. Check through your bank statements to make sure there are no discrepancies, errors or fraudulent charges. You might also find out where the majority of your money is going and reassess some of your spendings.

[Read More:  February and March are Perfect Months to Save Money on a House}

#4. Reevaluate monthly costs.

If you haven't reviewed any cable bills, phone bills or cell phone bills it might be time to reevaluate and see if you can get lower monthly fees. Speak to your credit card company about lowering your interest rate or if you qualify for new programs. You'd be surprised at how many hundreds of dollars you could save each year simply by reevaluating and reviewing many of your necessary expenditures.

 #5. Save surplus.

"Employees earning over $118,500 will get a boost in their paycheck toward the end of the year after they've maxed out their Social Security contributions for the year." Put this bone it to work for you by setting aside emergency reserves, paying down debt or putting it back into an IRA. [Tim Maurer CFP]

 #6. Continue to grow your emergency fund.

To start, you should have at least $1000 in an emergency fund. This is to cover any medical costs, car trouble, or anything else that might suddenly come along. However, it's good to continue to build that to have at least 3 to 6 months worth of expenses in the bank should you lose your job or have a major emergency.

[Related:  7 Finance Myths You’ve Probably Always Believed]

#7. Organize your taxes.

Even though April 15 may be long ways off, start organizing any receipts and make an Excel spreadsheet about any employees you may have paid, mileage used for work, charitable donations or contributions and anything else you can deduct. It will make tax time much easier.

 #8. Make charitable donations.

Now is a great time to give to your church or other local charity or organization, clean out the garage and the kid's rooms and donate to Goodwill or thrift stores in your area or donate books to the public library. Make sure you get a tax receipt for everything that you donate as proof should you be audited.

[More:  5 Things I Wish I Had Know Before Buying a House]

Thinking about buying this year or next? Start planning ahead with great tips and information for the Palm Beach County area. Call me anytime.

Posted in Real Estate
Feb. 21, 2017

February and March are Perfect Months to Save Money on a House

Buying in February and March is actually one of the best times of the year to buy a house because you can save a lot more money.buying in febrary and march is smarter

The Florida area really doesn't suffer the cold snaps and wind chills of the rest of the country does, but we do have our up-and-down seasons. Winter actually tends to be one of our busiest seasons but many homeowners don't realize this when it comes to selling. They still wait until spring or summer to list their homes. The good news for buyers is that February and March are actually one of the best times to buy.

Research has shown that homes in February sell at a price per square foot that's usually 6% less than the rest of the year. There are even specific days in these months that can gain a profit of up to 12% higher.

So, what's the big deal about February and March? Well, homes sold in March tend to sell at a price per square foot of nearly 4% higher than the rest of the year. The best days and March are 4, 5, 6, 12, and 13. Prices are typically reduced by 9.6% - and 7.4%.

This goes to prove the real estate savings are seasonal. Sellers are motivated during this time of the year to get rid of their houses and not wait until spring or summer. Homeowners that need to sell usually do so for a job change, familial status change or other reasons that make it pertinent to sell immediately.

Seasonal factors do play a role but there are other reasons as well. This is a great time of year for buyer friendly deals. Interest rates have increased slightly and this is cost some potential buyers to jump off the fence and get into the market. The uncertainty about the future of real estate may also make buyers a little bit more antsy, and there are also more distressed properties earlier in the year, saving money for many buyers looking for distressed property, short sale or foreclosure.

This is a strong seller's market and buyers need every advantage that they can find. Buying what a lot of other buyers are off the market can really help get a good deal and a great house. If buyers are willing to consider distressed properties they could even save more money.

But you also might be thinking, "if I wait until spring or summer won't there be more options?" Yes, there will be a lot more options but again, were in the Southwest Florida region where we don't have to worry about snow or colder seasons and it's a beautiful time of year. You might have more options come spring or summer but your prices will also increase. If you're looking for a home, there are hundreds to choose from on the market right here in Palm Beach County that might fit your budget and your lifestyle. Why wait until spring or summer to pay 10% more?

Let's get started right now. Contact me today with your search criteria and budget and let's find a home that works for you saving you time and money today.

todd@pbcoastal.com

Posted in Real Estate
Feb. 13, 2017

5 Keys to Investing in Luxury Real Estate

Luxury real estate is the norm around Southeast Florida. These real estate prices continue to rise and while we may not reach what New York's highest price luxury home has recently sold for, a whopping $91 million, many of these high net worth individuals are buying homes as a hard asset or investment.

The wealth of the world's richest people is continually growing, and the potential market for luxury properties is bigger than ever. If you're considering investing in luxury real estate, understand that it is not rare or uncommon. More and more people are doing it, and you might want to consider jumping on the bandwagon.

5 Keys to Investing in Luxury Real Estate

You are five keys to investing in luxury property.

The term "luxury property" doesn't just carry a high price tag but it is usually unique and exclusive. It is also extremely desirable. You might have a million-dollar home but if the property needs $500,000 of upgrades, not that beneficial to the investor. High-end markets only bring what someone will pay for them. Even luxury homebuyers want some of the simple things the most homebuyers want such as security, practicality, custom design and attention to detail. Whether that is a 10 million-dollar home or $500,000 home, the buyer's needs are the same.

#1. Simple purchase and flip properties.

This can be done with any property including a high-end luxury home. You can flip it for a profit and make an excellent return on your investment. Many of these luxury homes can even be lived in while you are renovating the home and this could be good and bad. The downside is that many other investors will also be bidding on the home as well as simple buyers. The competition among investors is much lower in the luxury market so if you have the cash, you can usually outbid a common house buyer.

#2. Consider a luxury condominium instead of the house.

Condominiums may be less work when it comes to flipping and you still my get a lot on your return for your investment. If the luxury building has a wide range of amenities and is in good or even excellent condition, the only thing you might need to do is work on the inside of the condominium. This means you won't have to worry about replacing the roof or the siding, and you can focus your efforts on the inside, updating, upgrading, and taking that attention to detail to the highest level.

#3. Consider a jumbo mortgage, which just recently has increased.

Even though many luxury real estate buyers choose to go with cash, you can still get a jumbo mortgage for luxury real estate. The current rate for a 30 year fixed jumbo mortgages about 4.25% which is similar to a standard fixed rate mortgage. This might be an excellent option if you're planning on buying, fixing the home up and then reselling at a later time.

#4. Consider a vacation property.

Here in Southeast Florida, this is an excellent place to consider a vacation property or second home for a future buyer. By renovating the home or condominium to meet the maximum level of potential buyers, whether that's a second home buyer, permanent resident or vacation buyer. You can also consider a high-end vacation rental. If you choose to purchase the home and then rented out, Florida has a great seasonal income and they perform well during financial markets. We haven't seen a recession in the last few years throughout Palm Beach County, so investing in a rental home, even in the luxury market, might be an excellent option. There are many business people and families that choose this area for vacations and it's usually several weeks or even months at a time.

#5. Consider completing a custom-built home.

There are a lot of new home subdivisions throughout Palm Beach County including Alton and Sonoma Isles. These are excellent opportunities to complete an existing custom-built home and then rented out or flip it to sell. The only drawback is to be careful on how you customize it. Consider the layout, amenities, materials and finishes that will appeal to a wide range of luxury home buyers or renters. This can also maximize your chances of selling quickly for top dollar.

Investing in the luxury real estate can be more exciting and much more beneficial in the long run but it does take some risk, and it does take a little bit of sweat equity on the buyers part to either for the home or create a cash flow income on a regular basis.

Because I deal specifically in investments and real estate throughout Palm Beach County and I have investments internationally, I can help you find the right luxury home for whatever investment needs you might be looking for. Contact me today.

Posted in Real Estate