1. How do you represent me?
- There are a lot of agents to choose from. Any of them can pull information up online. You want an agent that really knows the area. You want an agent that represents a buyer or a seller not both as a Single Agent because, in Florida, real estate agents cannot represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction.
2. How do you get paid?
- Typically the seller pays the commission from the sale of the home. However, a buyer may pay also, i.e. a buyer wants to purchase a “for sale by owner” and they are not offering to pay a commission, the buyer can pay the Realtor. This option is not allowable on VA loans.
3. What is the first step in the buying process?
- The first step is a pre-qualification. This is determined by your loan professional. It takes into consideration your income and your debts. An experienced Realtor will be able to refer you to several loan professionals that can help you with this process.
4. What is your experience? Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions.
- How long have you been in business? You want an experienced and successful Realtor who has been in business at least 2 years.
- How many houses did you sell last year?
Look for agents with double-digit sales.
- What percentage of your listings do you sell?
Ideally you want an agent who has sold an average of 60% to 80%
- What is the average list price to actual sell price ratio for your listings?
Although it can fluctuate by market, you should still look for high numbers.
- How do you educate yourself on important matters in the industry?
- Being an active member of the local and national Realtor & Builder Associations is a good start.
- Subscribing to industry briefs to stay on top of trends in the industry and market.
- Specialty designations such as the Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR), Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), and Military Relocation Professional (MRP) let you know the Realtor is continuing their education and has current knowledge in the areas of designation.
5. You want to assess their marketing skills. Ask the following:
- How will you market my home?
Here you are looking for a Realtor who will at least showcase your listing on a professional website, brokerage site, and possibly a national listing.
6. How will you use Social Media?
- Facebook? Twitter? At a minimum Facebook and they get bonus points if they are photos on Instagram.
- What offline materials do you use?
- Most marketing is done online however, a Realtor will still use tried and true methods such as fliers, yard signs, and brochures, especially with an open house.
7. Do you have references I can call?
- A Realtor should have references on their website and people you can call to get a reference on working with them.
8. Should I consider a short sale or a foreclosure?
- That depends mostly on your time frame for closing. There really isn’t a lot of “short” in a “short sale”. The lender holding the current mortgage on the home must approve the short sale so that can be a lengthy process. You can purchase and close on a foreclosure property i.e. bank owned, Real Estate Owned (REO) usually within 30-60 days.
9. How do I know if the home is in good condition?
- By having a professional home inspection and a Wood Destroying Organism Report (WDO) AKA Termite Report.
10. What is today’s market like and can I get a deal?
- In some areas of some markets, there are no deals because there is more demand than supply.
If you have a home to sell before you can purchase your new home, here are the steps you’ll need to follow.
First things first –
Meet With Your Realtor
- Contact your Realtor and request a Competitive Market Analysis (CMA). This will help you determine how much money you will have to pay for your existing mortgage (or mortgages) as well as your closing costs. This process determines your “net” proceeds from your sale.
Call your Mortgage Professional
- Contact your Loan Professional to be pre-qualified for your new mortgage. This process will determine the amount of money you will use from your “net” proceeds.
- If you need to sell your current home to qualify for your next home – it’s time to call your Realtor and tell them to put that sign in your yard!
- Now is a good time to consider looking at homes that could meet your needs and price range once your home sells. A lot of people do not want to put their home on the market until they know there is somewhere for them to go.
Stage Your Current Home to Sell
- Don’t forget to heed the advice of your Realtor in regards to staging and presenting your home for sale.
Check out www.judyhicks.com for more information on what to do to sell your home. Look for future blogpost on what to do when your home sells and you are ready to buy.
When most people hear “St. Johns County” they think, St. Augustine and yes, St. Augustine is in St. Johns County. So are Ponte Vedra, Parts of Nocatee, Bartram and the exploding Northwest part of St. Johns County.
The other things in St. Johns County that home buyers consider? It is the top school district in the state and it has close-in, walkable communities with mixed-use developments such as Nocatee. Many find these communities very appealing and Nocatee is now among the most successful residential developments in the country. It has changed the look of the county, and it’s not anywhere close to completion. They are not close to completion with an approved final build out of 12,579 total homes. It’s in a perfect location to allow parents to send their children to the best schools in the state and commute to Jacksonville for work.
Northwest St. Johns County is booming as well with master planned communities such as Shearwater that are opting to develop some of their community amenities earlier rather than later, so early buyers can experience the benefits of the community sooner.
St. Johns County has top-rated schools, low taxes, low crime rates and is a short commute to jobs and entertainment in Jacksonville and surrounding areas and this means developers are going to continue to invest in the area and buyers will find great homes and an attractive lifestyle there.
According to the St. Augustine Record the following is an overview of some of the development happening in the County:
Bannon Lakes — Approved for 849 single-family lots and 150 multi-family units in the World Golf Village area. Site construction recently commenced.
Bocage — Under staff review for up to 543 units in the northwest near the river.
Cordova Palms — Application calls for up to 750 housing units on 116 acres on U.S. 1 North. Approval still pending.
Creekside at Twin Creeks — There are 592 single-family lots currently under construction.
Crescent Key — U.S. 1 South development for 215 homes is now selling.
Deerfield Preserve — Platting for Phase 2 underway for 105 homes. Project is near another new development off S.R. 207, Ashby Landing South (128 single-family homes planned). Up to 281 total homes allowed for Deerfield.
King’s Grant — Development at S.R. 206 has been denied by County Commission, but owner is suing to gain approval to build 999 total housing units. Madeira — Site of former Ponce Resort approved for 749 homes, just asked for extension to complete build out. Fewer than 100 homes have been built so far.
Markland — Currently under construction for 345 single-family lots on 314 acres in the World Golf Village area.
Middlebourne — Proposed for 450 homes at the intersection of Longleaf Pine Parkway and Veterans Parkway. Still under staff review.
Nocatee — Premier master-planned community in the northeast has sold more than 4,200 homes. Approved for 12,579 residential units.
Palencia — This mature development is planned for 2,350 homes (including multi-family) with about 1,300 homes currently occupied. Lennar Homes bought more than 500 single-family lots two years ago and is selling now.
RiverTown — Large development of 4,057 acres in the northwest corner with 4,500 residential units approved.
Samara Lakes — A total of 872 entitled single-family lots around Pacetti Road.
San Salito — Near Heritage Park, this is a current project with 473 single-family homes approved.
Shearwater — Approved for 2,600 residential units — includes 670 single-family lots in Phase 1; six model homes built and amenities center under construction for the development near C.R. 210.
SilverLeaf — Planned for a total of 10,700 homes (including multi-family), project was approved in 2006 but still not built. Modifications were approved in 2015.
Steeplechase — Still in the application phase, there would be up to 965 homes on 836 acres near C.R. 208.
TrailMark — This 2,278-unit entitlement (up to 600 can be multi-family) in the northwest. Its first few houses just went up.
Treaty Oaks — Set for 434 homes off S.R. 207 near the I-95 interchange.
Twin Creeks — Home of future Crystal Lagoons project, this development near I-95 at C.R. 210 is expected to include 1,030 multi-family units and 1,250 single-family lots (2,280 total residential).
Windward Ranch — Up to 580 single-family lots available in this community off S.R. 16.
Buying in St. Johns County makes sense for people who want the St. Augustine lifestyle, close-in, walkable and mixed-use communities as well as the top-rated school district in the state yet want to be close enough to Jacksonville for work and play.