Category Archives: Real Estate

I Am Asked This All the Time

Mortgage and loan concept

Question: “I’m about to close on my house and I’ve paid insurance and taxes into escrow for the coming year. Do I get that money back at closing?”

Answer: You do not receive the money at closing, but you will receive the money once the closing agent sends your loan payoff to the lender. The amount could include the taxes and insurance you paid monthly with your PITI (Principal Interest Taxes & Insurance) payment. It’s always a good idea to notify your insurance agent that you no longer own the home.

 

Question: “Should I have my home and carpets professionally cleaned when I move out?

Answer: In Jacksonville, our “purchase and sale agreement” states that the “seller shall sweep the property clean and remove all personal property not included in the sale.” However, I’ve moved twice in the last 15 years and once my furniture was moved out of the house, I felt the carpeting needed to be cleaned to make the home look move-in ready. I believe it is the kind thing to do and what we would want when we buy a new home.

 

Question: “What is a contingency?”

Answer: In Jacksonville, there are several built-in contingencies in our “purchase and sale agreement”: Loan Approval, Inspections, and Appraisal. This means that there is a set time for something to be done and until that contingency is removed or satisfied, the process cannot move forward towards closing. Additional contingencies may be added by the buyer or seller.

* Loan Approval: This is satisfied when the buyer “furnishes any and all credit, employment, financial and other information required by lender sufficient to generate a loan estimate, pay all fees required by buyer’s lender, and make a continuing and diligent effort to obtain loan approval.

* Inspections: In Jacksonville, our “purchase and sale agreement” allows 10 days from the date of a fully executed purchase and sale agreement to inspect, “all major appliances, heating, cooling, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, well and septic and drain field systems, salt water and fresh water, ground permeation, and intrusion, the roof, pool and pool equipment, defective drywall, defective flooring, mold, asbestos, lead-based paint, drainage, radon gas and environmental and sinkhole conditions. It also includes inspecting for active infestation and /or damage from termites and other wood destroying organisms. And finally, the buyer has the opportunity to verify the cost and availability of insurance that condominiums/home owner’s insurance, is satisfactory to buyer’s lender, verifying square footage measurements, rules and other governing documents affecting the property.” During the inspection process, the buyer can also have an energy-efficiency inspection, which can include multiple additional inspections.

* Appraisal: The appraisal contingency allows enough time for the buyer’s lender, after the appraisal is paid for, to walk through the home, take photos, and use comparable sales in the neighborhood (usually within the last 6 months) to determine the fair market value of the home.

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Common Pitfalls when Buying or Selling a Home

There are often hidden or unexpected pitfalls that cause problems for buyers and sellers. Doing your homework upfront can eliminate these pitfalls and even give you an advantage as you seek to sell your home or buy a new home!

Buyer Pitfalls:

 

Choose the Right Realtor

1. Not interviewing and hiring the right Realtor. A relationship with a Realtor is all about trust. Choosing someone without first interviewing him or her does not give you the chance to make a connection and choose someone you feel comfortable with and trust to give you sound and honest advice. Take time before signing a contract, to find out how your Realtor will work with you and for your through the entire home buying process.

Estate concept

2. Making low ball offers. The numbers do not lie. The fair market value of the home is determined by other closed sales. If you are determined to find out how desperate a homeowner is to sell by making a low-ball offer, your chances of getting the home are minimal. Often sellers who receive low-ball offers are offended and refuse to even negotiate. Listen to your Realtor and offer a competitive but fair price.

Agreement word cloud

3. Not speaking to a loan professional upfront. In today’s fast-selling market, it is imperative that you have a pre-qualification letter from a reputable loan professional and company that demonstrates your ability to purchase. Often, sellers have multiple offers and will not wait for you to go through this process after making your offer. If you are in need of an honest and dependable loan professional, give me a call. I’d love to make a recommendation.

Seller Pitfalls:

Space too small

1. Not decluttering or staging. When buyers walk through your house, they need to be able to imagine their belongings living in the home. If not, they quickly eliminate your house, even if it fits their needs exactly. No matter how much you love your home furnishing and personal belongings, remember you are selling your home, not your stuff. A great Realtor can make suggestions and even recommend a home stager when needed.

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2. Hiring a Realtor based on commission rate. Cheaper is not better. Better is better! We all want to make the most money we can when selling a home. That is just good business sense. However, if the price is the most important quality when looking for a Realtor, you most likely will not get someone who will give your home the daily attention and effort you will need to get the best offer you can get. Choose a Realtor based on recommendation, past client reviews, and the experience and feelings you have as you meet and interview potential Realtors.

Cheerful business partners in office working with documents on floor

3. Rejecting an offer instead of countering. Sometimes the first offer is the best offer you get. A long time on the market or overpricing (constantly being just a little bit above market rate) hurts you in the selling process. If you don’t like the first offer, counter back. Your counter doesn’t have to always be about the money. Sometimes potential buyers need the home sooner or later or would be happy if the appliances were left. Work with your Realtor to negotiate a good counter-offer.

Outdoor remodeling projects can boost resale value

architecture-boating-canal-534171Home and commercial property owners looking to take on a remodel should consider undertaking an outdoor project, according to the National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) and National Association of Landscape Professionals'(NALP) 2018 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features.

The report takes a deep dive into 13 outdoor residential projects and 10 commercial property projects, highlighting the reasons why property owners complete these projects, the value – both financial and emotional – that these remodels bring, and the increased happiness the finished projects bring homeowners.

“Realtors understand that a home’s first impression is its curb appeal, so when it comes time to sell, a well-manicured yard can be just as important as any indoor remodel,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “Even homeowners with no immediate plans to sell can gain more enjoyment and satisfaction from their home by taking on a project to revive their outdoor spaces.”

When asked which outdoor projects produce the most substantial financial payouts at resale, Realtors ranked standard lawn care service at the top, which recovers 267 percent of the project cost at resale. Next, Realtors named landscape maintenance and tree care, both recovering 100 percent of the cost at resale, and installing an irrigation system, recouping 86 percent.

When it comes to the enjoyment homeowners gain from these projects, a fire feature and irrigation system tied for first, both receiving a perfect Joy Score of 10. Joy Scores range between 1 and 10 and higher figures indicate greater joy from the project.

Eighty-three percent of homeowners who installed a fire feature said they have a greater desire to be home since completing the project, and 69 percent of homeowners who installed an irrigation system said they feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project. The next most appealing projects were a new wood deck (Joy Score of 9.8), a water feature (9.8), statement landscaping (9.7) and an overall landscape upgrade (9.6).

“This report validates that landscaping is an investment worth making, offering the immediate benefits of increased enjoyment of your property, as well as desirable long-term value that holds if or when it comes time to sell,” said Missy Henriksen, NALP vice president of public affairs. “From lawn and tree care to installing a new fire or water feature or landscape lighting, there’s no shortage of opportunities to enhance your landscape and to reap the benefits these upgrades provide.”

This year, the report also covered outdoor projects for commercial properties. The report found that 43 percent of Realtors have suggested a commercial client improve the curb appeal of a property before listing it for sale. The most frequently recommended projects are standard lawn care (39 percent), completing a landscape management service (27 percent) and an overall landscape upgrade (26 percent).

“It is not just homeowners that need to think about curb appeal when it comes time to sell; a beautiful exterior is just as important for commercial property owners. In fact, 81 percent of Realtors said they believe curb appeal is important in attracting a buyer,” said Mendenhall.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

Outdoor remodeling projects can boost resale value

architecture-boating-canal-534171Home and commercial property owners looking to take on a remodel should consider undertaking an outdoor project, according to the National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) and National Association of Landscape Professionals'(NALP)

The report takes a deep dive into 13 outdoor residential projects and 10 commercial property projects, highlighting the reasons why property owners complete these projects, the value – both financial and emotional – that these remodels bring, and the increased happiness the finished projects bring homeowners.

“Realtors understand that a home’s first impression is its curb appeal, so when it comes time to sell, a well-manicured yard can be just as important as any indoor remodel,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “Even homeowners with no immediate plans to sell can gain more enjoyment and satisfaction from their home by taking on a project to revive their outdoor spaces.”

When asked which outdoor projects produce the most substantial financial payouts at resale, Realtors ranked standard lawn care service at the top, which recovers 267 percent of the project cost at resale. Next, Realtors named landscape maintenance and tree care, both recovering 100 percent of the cost at resale, and installing an irrigation system, recouping 86 percent.

When it comes to the enjoyment homeowners gain from these projects, a fire feature and irrigation system tied for first, both receiving a perfect Joy Score of 10. Joy Scores range between 1 and 10 and higher figures indicate greater joy from the project.

Eighty-three percent of homeowners who installed a fire feature said they have a greater desire to be home since completing the project, and 69 percent of homeowners who installed an irrigation system said they feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project. The next most appealing projects were a new wood deck (Joy Score of 9.8), a water feature (9.8), statement landscaping (9.7) and an overall landscape upgrade (9.6).

“This report validates that landscaping is an investment worth making, offering the immediate benefits of increased enjoyment of your property, as well as desirable long-term value that holds if or when it comes time to sell,” said Missy Henriksen, NALP vice president of public affairs. “From lawn and tree care to installing a new fire or water feature or landscape lighting, there’s no shortage of opportunities to enhance your landscape and to reap the benefits these upgrades provide.”

This year, the report also covered outdoor projects for commercial properties. The report found that 43 percent of Realtors have suggested a commercial client improve the curb appeal of a property before listing it for sale. The most frequently recommended projects are standard lawn care (39 percent), completing a landscape management service (27 percent) and an overall landscape upgrade (26 percent).

“It is not just homeowners that need to think about curb appeal when it comes time to sell; a beautiful exterior is just as important for commercial property owners. In fact, 81 percent of Realtors said they believe curb appeal is important in attracting a buyer,” said Mendenhall.

© 2018 Florida Realtors®

 

When You Need an Expert

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Seniors and Home Buying Judy Hicks

People often ask me what are all of these letters behind your name? The short answer is that they represent additional training and knowledge that I have sought out to better serve my clients. Becoming a real estate agent is not difficult but staying in the business is. The desire to help people is what drives me.

Each of the letters in a designation represents hours of classwork, additional homework, and testing. They also represent a network of other professionals outside of Jacksonville that become a part of my team. I am able to call on these agents when I have a client relocating out of Jacksonville. Most importantly, however, these designations allow me to better serve you and your specific needs.

I did not fully realize when I was earning the Seniors Real Estate Specialists (SRES) several years ago how much I would need the valuable insight when it came time to sell my Mother-In-Laws home this year!

My mother-in-law had lived in the same home in Jacksonville for over 60 years and though I have been in the home countless times I quickly realized that there were so many things I needed to help her with to transition into another home (ours) and so many things I needed know about her home to sell it.

There are over 77 Million 55+ buyers and sellers and they make up 25% of the population.

If you or a family member find themselves in a position of needing someone with the knowledge and experience of helping this incredible group of people – give me a call, I can help you!

June is National Pet Preparedness Month And Hurricane Season is 6/1-11/30

Cute dog

 

Hurricane season starts June 1st and goes through the end of November.

Living in Jacksonville we know first hand how to prepare (stock up on non-perishable food, bottled water, make sure you have a full tank of gas, fill the tub with water) but have you thought about your pets?

June is National Pet Preparedness Month and where we live one of the best ways to be prepared for our pets is to have a hurricane plan for our pets as well as ourselves.

Consider downloading the FEMA app on your phone https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app.   This app will give you up to date weather alerts and safety tips.

Whether you are taking your pet with you or leave them at a shelter, you do not want to just leave it behind. Don’t forget to take food and water for your pet too.

A great website is for good tips on preparing is www.ready.gov/caring-animals – some of the tips they suggest include:

  • Keep any medicine your pet takes readily in the event you need to evacuate. Also, make sure you have a full prescription in case the pharmacy is closed for a couple of days
  • Built a Pet-owners’ emergency kit. Some things to include are food, water, collar, ID tag, sanitation bags, pet carrier and any other familiar items that will make your pet feel safe
  • Make sure your pet is microchipped. For more information on pet microchips, talk to your vet
  • If you are considering leaving your pet at a shelter or boarding your pet, be aware that most veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pets’ medical records

 

Happy Ali

Hi, I’m Ali….

 Like most of you, my pet is a part of my family. Ali has been with Allen and me for 5 years now and I can’t imagine not being able to provide for her and take care of her.

Let’s celebrate National Pet Preparedness Month together as we plan to keep our pets safe during the hurricane season.

June is National Pet Preparedness Month And Hurricane Season is 6/1-11/30

Cute dog

Hurricane season starts June 1st and goes through the end of November.

Living in Jacksonville we know first hand how to prepare (stock up on non-perishable food, bottled water, make sure you have a full tank of gas, fill the tub with water) but have you thought about your pets?

June is National Pet Preparedness Month and where we live one of the best ways to be prepared for our pets is to have a hurricane plan for our pets as well as ourselves.

Consider downloading the FEMA app on your phone https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app.   This app will give you up to date weather alerts and safety tips.

Whether you are taking your pet with you or leave them at a shelter, you do not want to just leave it behind. Don’t forget to take food and water for your pet too.

A great website is for good tips on preparing is www.ready.gov/caring-animals – some of the tips they suggest include:

  • Keep any medicine your pet takes readily in the event you need to evacuate. Also, make sure you have a full prescription in case the pharmacy is closed for a couple of days
  • Built a Pet-owners’ emergency kit. Some things to include are food, water, collar, ID tag, sanitation bags, pet carrier and any other familiar items that will make your pet feel safe
  • Make sure your pet is microchipped. For more information on pet microchips, talk to your vet
  • If you are considering leaving your pet at a shelter or boarding your pet, be aware that most veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pets’ medical records

Happy Ali  Hi, I’m Ali….

Like most of you, my pet is a part of my family. Ali has been with Allen and I for 5 years now and I can’t imagine not being able to provide for her and take care of her.

Let’s celebrate National Pet Preparedness Month together as we plan to keep our pets safe during the hurricane season.