Southwest Florida Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Nov. 6, 2019

Easy Ways To Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

 

Be Serious About Your Water 

Yes, water. Being eco-friendly isn't all about energy consumption. Here are a few things you can do to save water.

Repair any leaks.

Don't run the tap when you brush your teeth or shave. 

Install a low-flow shower head. 

Install a faucet aerator attachment to your kitchen faucet. 

Install a low flow toilet. 

Install a recirculating water pump under your bathroom sink. 

Always run a full load of dishes in the dishwasher. 

Take a shower instead of a bath when possible. 

Consider a rain barrel for outside watering of plants. 

 

Now let's take a look at some other ideas room-by room. 

 

Living Room

Install a programmable thermostat. 

Install energy efficient CFL light bulbs

Use a power strip with an off/on switch and turn off when not in use. 

Put window coverings on windows.

Open the blinds/curtains to help heat a room. 

Use area rugs on wooden floors. 

Add some houseplants.

Consider unplugging your TV when not in use. 

Kitchen

Make sure your fridge is in the shade and not direct sunlight.

Make the change to Energy Star-Qualified appliances. 

Stop looking in the fridge so much, you already know what's in there. 

Compost kitchen scraps.

Clean with all natural, non-chemical products..

Use the microwave instead of the oven. 

Always run a full load in the dishwasher. 

Use both racks at the same time to cook food, and keep the door closed to keep a steady temperature. 

Use more rags and less paper towels. 

Clean those fridge coils. 

Recycle! 

Run your dishwasher in the middle of the night. 

Use cloth napkins.

Bedrooms

Use essential oils and non-aerosol scents. 

Repurpose old furniture instead of buying new. 

Make the decision to install energy-efficient windows. 

Use organic sheets on a non=toxic mattress that hasn't been treated with chemicals. 

 

Bathrooms

Buy recycled toilet paper.

Open windows to keep mold at bay. 

Get a spider plant. 

 

Utility Room

Wash in cold water.

Skip the dryer and hang to dry when you can. 

Use concentrated detergent, or better yet, invest in some soap nuts. 

Clean the filter on your dryer.

Get a set of dryer balls. 

Run the washer and dryer in the middle of the night. 

Turn down the water heater. 

 

Garden

Protect your local environment by planting native plants. 

Use homemade pesticides like chopped tomato leaf spray or garlic oil spray

Plant some herbs. 

 

And something else to consider:

Switch to online bill pay. 

 

We should all play a role in making this word a better place. 

 

Stop by on Friday for weekly events and on Monday for more info that you need to know! 

 

Leave me a comment on what content you might want to see! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Weekly Post
Nov. 4, 2019

5 Tips To Start Your Home Search

Here's a few things you should do to get started on your home search.

 

In today’s market, low inventory dominates the conversation in many areas of the country. It can often be frustrating to be a first-time homebuyer if you aren’t prepared. Here are five tips from realtor.com’s article, “How to Find Your Dream Home—Without Losing Your Mind.

 

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You Start Your Search

 

One way to show you’re serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage. Even if you’re in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach. This will help you avoid the disappointment of falling in love with a home well outside your price range.

 

 

2. Know the Difference Between Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Would-Like-To-Haves’

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Before you start your search, list all the features of a home you would like. Qualify them as ‘must-haves’, ‘should-haves’, or ‘absolute-wish list’ items. This will help you stay focused on what’s most important.

 

3. Research and Choose a Neighborhood Where You Want to Live

 

Every neighborhood has unique charm. Before you commit to a home based solely on the house itself, take a test-drive of the area. Make sure it meets your needs for “amenities, commute, school district, etc. and then spend a weekend exploring before you commit.”

 

  4. Pick a House Style You Love and       Stick to It

Evaluate your family’s needs and settle on a style of home that  will best serve those needs. Just because you’ve narrowed your search to a zip code doesn’t mean you need to tour every listing in that vicinity. An example from the article says, “if you have several younger kids and don’t want your bedroom on a different level, steer clear of Cape Cod–style homes, which typically feature two or more bedrooms on the upper level and the master on the main.”

 

5. Document Your Home Visits

Once you start touring homes, the features of each individual home will start to blur together. The article suggests keeping your camera handy and making notes on the listing sheet to document what you love and don’t love about each property you visit.

 

Bottom Line

In a high-paced, competitive environment, any advantage you can give yourself will help you on your path to buying your dream home.

 

 

 

Posted in Weekly Post
Nov. 1, 2019

Don't Sit on the Couch this Weekend

Events for November 1st - 8th, 2019

 

 

The WINK Taste of Lee

Nov 2

2000 W First St, Fort Myers

Live music, plenty of food and alcohol. Fun for the whole family. 

 

The Lights Fest - Cape Coral

Nov 2

Sea Hank Park

1030 NW 28th St

Food, fun and gathering together to send your lit lantern into the water. 

 

SWFL Fall Food Truck Nationals

Nov 2

Jet Blue Park

11500 Fenway S Dr

Fort Myers

40 food trucks in a competition for prizes and trophies, plus music and fun for the whole family. 

 

Cape Coral Coconut Festival

Nov 7-10

1015 Cultural Park Blvd

Music, food and fun for all ages! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Local Events
Oct. 30, 2019

Is That Really True??

 

Today, let's talk about some common misunderstandings in buying or selling a home. Ok, all of them are False, followed by the Facts. So get to reading, and changing the way you've been thinking. 

 

A Home Inspection Passes or Fails

False. 

A home inspection is meant to assess the condition of the home. They provide a report explaining any and all issues along with a summary of the key systems with an estimated life span of them. There's no bias of a giant stamp on the report Fail or Pass, so don't offer to buy him lunch or slip him a $20. 

 

The Zillow Zestimate Is What My House Will Sell For 

False. 

The Zillow Zestimate is just a starting point. A general idea of what homes in the area have sold for. It is not an exact evaluation. Even Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff sold his home for 40% less than his home's Zillow Zestimate. 

 

For Sale By Owner Saves You Money

False. 

National Association of Realtors studies show that a FSBO home will bring in 15-20% less than what an agent would have brought in. Here's a few things that an agent is experienced at that a homeowner might be a little out of their element in. 

  • Marketing. Sure there's lots of free advertising, but an agent is prepared to go all out with marketing and has a plan for each listing. 
  • Screening Potential Buyers. Do you really want to let everyone in? I think you'd rather have a professional screen who is coming in and out of your home, wouldn't you? 
  • Handling incoming inquiries during the working day. So you know you don't want to miss those potential buyers, but you also have to work your day job. An agent would be available during those working hours to show the property for you. And do you really want your phone ringing non stop with calls and messages from people "interested" in the property?
  • Negotiating and filling out the contract with all its contingencies. The average contract is about 6 pages long. Are you able to interpret each item on there? An agent is a skilled negotiator, and will be able to get you close, and sometimes more than the listing price. 

 

  Home Improvements Pay For Themselves

 

False. (Mostly)

On average you'll get back about 64% of all remodeling costs. 

Although - here are some improvements that ranked high on this study. (<--- Click the link)

  • Attic Insulation: 116.9%
  • Manufactured Stone Veneer: 92.9%
  • Garage Door Replacement: 91.5%
  • Steel Entry Door Replacement: 91.1%
  • Fiberglass Entry Door Replacement: 82.3%
  • Minor Kitchen Remodel: 83.1%

My advice, seek out the advice of an agent in your area before starting an improvement project if you're getting ready to sell. They are very knowledgeable as to what your home will need done in order to sell in your area market. 

 

  It's Better To Price On The High Side And Negotiate Down

False.

Overpricing often leads to your home sitting without much interest. You'll have fewer showings. Fewer showings mean fewer offers. Overpricing can also help your competitors. Chances are there are similar homes with similar features in your area that are priced just right. Experienced agents also know that an overpriced home that is later reduced will lack the impact of a home just coming onto the market that was priced right from the start. Maybe you're thinking "well a buyer can always just make an offer." That really isn't the case with home-buying. Most buyers, while always ready to negotiate a price, don't want to bother with making an offer on a home that is overpriced. 

My advice again, speak to an experienced agent in your area, and really listen to what they have to say. And check out my blog post on how to be a client rockstar

 

If you have any questions, or are ready to buy or sell a home in Southwest Florida Area, give our Team a call today!! 239-910-5543

 

Check back on Friday to find some fun and interesting things to do around town! 

 

 

Posted in Weekly Post
Oct. 28, 2019

The BEST Home Improvement Project

 

What IS the best home improvement project for the best return when you sell? 

So you were watching a TV show and they said remodeling the kitchen has the best return. And then you read a magazine article that said remodeling the bathroom has the best return. But your neighbor down the street said it's revamping your landscape. 

Well, here's the thing - the best return on any investment depends on a lot of different things - 

  • Where do you live? 
  • What is the market like in your area? 
  • What is the market like for your specific house? 
  • Are you doing this improvement solely for return on the sale of the home in the near future? 
  • Or will you be selling sometime down the road. 

 

I mean wouldn't you think that any project will increase the value? Well, you're right to a degree....

Let's say you remodel your kitchen and add stainless appliances. 

 

 Or you change that weird carpet from 1982. 

 

How about painting the whole house, inside and out? 

 

These things definitely add value, and make your home worth more. 

The improvement options are endless but your budget isn't. 

Most projects cost more than they return. 

Sure, they raise the value. 

But the truth is most of the things you choose to spend money on just won't improve the value more than it cost you.

It's more like a 60-70% range of return. 

Let's say you spent $1000 on upgrades, you've improved the value of your home $600-$700. 

Even if you spend $10,000, the value only went up $6,000-$7,000. 

And that's a shock to a lot of people - often too late - after they've spent the money. 

The problem is...

Most of the time, people just decide to do some renovations because they're thinking of selling soon and they just pick whatever project they think will bring them the best return in the long run....

...without speaking to a real estate agent first.

And then they excitedly invite an agent over to list the home. They can't wait to see how impressed the agent will be. And the agent is impressed! But the homeowner is not impressed with the value the agent comes up with. Uh-oh - seems that project wasn't worth the money spent. 

And then the agent becomes the enemy. The agent becomes a schmuck. A shyster. 

The best things in life are free...

Real estate agents are often villianized for being out to make a quick buck. 

But the reality is, agents are undervalued and underutilized. 

Going ahead and doing that home improvement project because you think, heard, saw, read that's it's the best return is a huge mistake. And on the other side of the coin, not doing a project because you read a random out of state report that it only brings 58% value could be just as big a mistake. 

It depends on your area, your home, your plans. 

And a local real estate agent can help you add value that will be worth the money you spend. 

Did you know you could have asked an agent to come out to your home for free? Before you list your home. That's right. For free. 

Here's the one home improvement project that gives you the best return - 

Pick up the phone and call your agent before you do anything. Your agent will be a source of great advice, since they make it their job to know your area market and what will be a good investment to get your home sold. 

 

 

That's it for today, check back on Wednesday for a new post! Oh and leave me a comment if there's something you want to read about! 

 

*Idea for this blog and info gathered from The Lighter Side of Real Estate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Weekly Post
Oct. 25, 2019

Don't Sit on the Couch this Weekend

 

Check out these great things to do around SWFL

 

 

Naples International Film Festival

October 24-27 

The 11th year of the Naples International Film Festival (NIFF). A four-day event offering more than 60 screenings at the Silverspot Cinema. Domestic and international narrative, documentary and short films from established and emerging filmmakers are presented. 

 

Stone Crab Festival

October 25-27

Old Naples Waterfront

1th Annual Stone Crab Festival. Seafood, live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, and explore the Naples waterfront area. 

 

Family Night at IMAG

October 25 5p-8p

IMAG History & Science Center

2000 Cranford Ave, Fort Myers

Explore the IMAG History and Science Center after dark with extended hours until 8 p.m. All exhibits remain open, including the Sea-to-See Touch Tank and Virtual Fort Myers. 

 

The Frightmare on 78th

October 25, 30 & 31 plus Every Friday and Saturday night through November 2, starts at dark

Gator Mike's Family Fun Park

35 NE Pine Island Rd, Cape Coral

Mazes, houses, clowns, chain saws and more. Not recommended for young children. 

 

 

 

Posted in Local Events
Oct. 24, 2019

Luxury Living in SWFL

 

Posted in Property Videos
Oct. 23, 2019

Ways That Might Lower Your Closing Costs

One of the scariest things to be surprised with in buying a home is the amount of closing costs. Especially when you only thought you would have to have a down payment. It happens to first time home buyers, investors and even agents. Today we're going to talk about ways that might help you bring the amount of that cost down. 

  • When you're shopping for lenders ask each one if they will give you a Loan Estimate form before you apply for the loan. You can compare the forms this way. 
  • Look at the items on Page 2, Section C. you can save money by searching for and choosing a Title company which combines services. And obviously, just like you would shop around for prices for a normal pest company, do the same here, and do it for surveyors too. I like to say, if you don't ask, the answer is already "no". 
  • Really pay attention to your lender fees that are listed. Are there a lot of really vague ones like "delivery fee" or "funding fee"? It's usually best to choose a lender that has one flat fee that bundles all the services. 
  • Ask the seller to contribute. Again if you don't ask, the answer is already "no". 
  • Careful here, but look for a no-closing cost mortgage. Sounds great right?! Those closings costs are still there, they're just rolled into your monthly mortgage payment. 
  • Here's a surprising one, sign the loan papers at the end of the month. According to NerdWallet, you can reduce your interest this way. "Multiply your loan amount by your interest rate — for instance, 4% = .04 — to find your annual interest charge. Dividing that by 365 gives the daily interest charge. Now, multiply that figure by the days left in the month to see the savings."
  • Ask your bank for discounts and rebates. You do it when you're shopping for everything else, so why not now? 

So stop all that worrying! There's lot of ways to save on those closing costs! 

 

Still a little confused? Give our office a call and our Team will help you find your dream home, and help you through each and every step! 

Head over to NerdWallet and check out their closing cost calculator to give an estimate on what you might be looking at for closing costs. 

 

Posted in Weekly Post
Oct. 22, 2019

September 2019 Market Report

Sept 2019 Market Report

 

September 2019

 

 

Posted in Market Updates
Oct. 21, 2019

Pssst....Don't Forget About Closing Costs

Its going to cost WHAT?! 

According to a survey by ClosingCorp over half of all homebuyers are surprised by the closing costs required to obtain their mortgage. 

Here's a (very) basic run down of what those closing costs are for. Keep in mind that each transaction is unique. 

Lender Fees:

  • Origination Points
  • Commitment Fee
  • Document Preparation
  • Broker, Originator or Lender
  • Processing
  • Tax Service
  • Underwriting

Third Party Fees:

  • Appraisal
  • Attorney, Closing or Settlement
  • Credit Report
  • Flood Certification
  • Postage
  • Survey

Taxes: 

  • Borrower's share of state and local taxes and fees
  • Mortgage tax

Sounds scary, right? It's not so bad. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of the purchase price of the home. You can also have your agent negotiate that the seller help pay for some of the costs. And as I stated last week, some lenders now offer their own low down payment mortgages, and there are government and local programs to look into a well. 

 

My advice? Stay informed throughout your homebuying process. Get prepared by talking to your lender early on to see what costs you will be responsible for and get yourself an agent!! 

 

Join me on Wednesday when we talk about strategies to lower your closing costs. 

 

 

Posted in Weekly Post