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Current Housing Market

The current housing market is still strong but is showing signs of cooling off, driven by climbing interest rates.  The number of active listings and the length of time homes are on the market are climbing along with the interest rates, but homes are still selling at fair prices.  Predictions are that the housing market is beginning to reset to a more buyer-friendly direction.  Two factors driving our successful current housing market is that we are in an incredibly strong labor market driving wages up. Higher wages keep folks working later into their careers and the big plus; the current business environment offers folks the ability to negotiate remote working situations.  Lately we have sold homes to multiple clients who move to Solivita and work remotely. Every client has said “It is Nice to work in the sunshine of Florida”, plus all are looking forward to a winter without a snowy commute.  One of my clients said they love the ability to swim in the early morning or late afternoon while working remotely and maintaining a salary. Nice Gig and a Great way to ease into retirement. Lee and I are Looking forward to seeing you at the pool with your laptop.

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Make Your Home Welcoming

Have you ever entered someone’s home and immediately felt relaxed and comfortable? What is it that makes the difference between homes that exude an immediate sense of welcome and hospitality, and those that may not? Is it the home environment, or the host? In my experience, both play an important role. Whether you entertain occasionally, or just want to be prepared for the pop-in visitor, below are a few WELCOME tips from our Bella Verde Realtors. 

Declutter your space.  If you feel comfortable in your home so will your guests.  File your paperwork away, declutter your kitchen counters, stow your gear away in the garage, or make space in your closet. Tackle your most visible spaces first.  This way whenever company walks into your home, you are comfortable and will welcome guests with open arms. Your house does not need to be spotless just orderly. 

Is your sofa, chair or ottoman looking tired? A great trick to clean up your well-worn but loved furniture is by buying a new, textured neutral throw and draping it appropriately.   On the couch a throw will cover a multitude of spills or stains.  If you need to cover a sin or two on your ottoman, artfully drape your throw, and stage a wooden tray over it. You can also add a few coasters and your remote controls to give the tray purpose. Now with one simple throw and bit of flair you have just moved from messy to orderly. 

Warm up your spaces with accent pillows.  Accent pillows bring color and texture into any room giving a dated couch a fresh look or accentuating the season.  New accent pillows are a great way to freshen up a space. 

Fresh Flowers always brighten up a space and if they have a scent even better.  Not one to maintain fresh flowers, no worries, plant a few pots filled with succulents.  Scatter pots of succulents around your home, they bring life and beauty into your space and are easy to maintain.

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Florida Housing Market Forecast for 2020

The Florida real estate market is experiencing growing sales, prices and growing transaction volumes. Although active inventory is up, new home and condo listings are down. Could it be that very low prices and constrained supply is a buy signal?

Experts agree, when Americans are feeling wealthy, they look to buy in the Sunshine State, and with the recent tax cuts and the strong job market, Americans report they are feeling wealthy. This leads the experts to believe that buying in Florida is a wise long-term real estate investment decision.

When you compare the low prices of a Florida home to homes in California or New York; and add to the mix Florida’s favorable tax situation, I am surprised that more folks are not selling and moving to our lovely state. Interest in buying Florida properties is strong and given the strength of the Florida economy, plus an aging population, I expect to see strong prices for many years. So, if you are considering selling your home this is a good time, and if you are considering buying a home, prices are only going up. Why wait, when you can lock into a great Florida home at a good price with a low interest rate now and enjoy your investment while your equity grows.

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Housing Market Predictions for 2020 are Positive

As we move into snowbird season, sales typically heat up in Solivita and in the warmer climates throughout the USA, but in Solivita, we have a new factor to add to the HOT Solivita Real Estate Market. Taylor Morrison is in the final phase of building out Solivita, making this the last opportunity to purchase a new home in our community. The new models are luxurious, spacious, and priced to sell. Overall, 2019 Solivita real estate sales have been strong and our inventory of resale homes remains low. A low inventory helps to drive sales and home prices upward, making it a good time to sell in Solivita and a great time to jump into the new home market.

Overall sales of homes in the US picked up in Q1 and Q2 and the preliminary numbers for Q3 are looking good. Economists suggest that sales are recovering from the recent economic lull caused by the trade transition and changing interest rates. The Q1 and Q2 economic reports add confidence and fuel as we head into the winter buying season. Builder confidence has returned as evidenced by all the building around our neighborhood and throughout the USA. When you combine builder confidence with the recent positive economic data, all signals are pointing to NOW being the perfect time to buy. Remember, a Bella Verde Realty salesperson will provide guidance, advice, and our sharp negotiating skills for you when you are buying a new home. Bella Verde Realty will provide this service at NO COST to YOU. The commissions are paid by the Seller/Builder and without your own Realtor assisting you in this very important transaction your best interests are not protected. Please do not enter into such an important transaction without the benefit of a qualified realtor at your side. Call any of our realtors to ask about this service.

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Good News with Florida Real Estate

Currently the entire state of Florida is seeing noteworthy appreciation in real estate values for multiple reasons. Our population is booming; in fact, 1,000 new residents arrive each day in our area contributing to home demand. Florida is one of the fastest growing states in the U. S. with the large number of snowbirds and retirees and Florida has the highest percentage of senior citizens in the nation helping to drive retirement home demand. Our appealing subtropical climate has helped to create strong housing demand in the vacation home real estate markets too. Solivita is currently in the final phase of building, helping to raise home values in our community. The good news continues, as it is not only retirees flocking to Florida, but folks of all ages and education levels. The jobs are here, Florida’s gross domestic product is growing rapidly and has now eclipsed the national GDP growth rate. Our leading industries include tourism, agriculture, construction, aerospace and international trade. Florida is the place to live, work, raise your family, plus enjoy your retirement. This state has it all: jobs, great sunny weather, beautiful beaches, wildlife, lakes, ponds and multiple investment opportunities. If you are considering purchasing a home, condo or townhouse in Florida, now is a prime time to buy. A Bella Verde Realtor will help get you into the Florida real estate market at an affordable housing cost. Just call any of our realtors and let us know your desires; square footage, location, number of bedrooms, view, desired spend, etc. and we will show you new and resale homes. You do not even have to be here to see our offerings, you can do virtual walk throughs of every property via the computer. When you see a home, you would like to personally visit, we will set up an appointment and happily show you around. The benefit to buying now; you will enjoy your investment and the community, plus achieve the side benefit of property appreciation; building future wealth and security for you and your family.

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Hosting a Broker’s Open House

Realtors in Solivita typically host a broker’s open house, inviting local realtors and industry professionals to view your residence upon listing your home for sale. A broker’s open house gives your listing more exposure and allows realtors to gather informed feedback from other real estate professionals. If your home shows well, the agents who toured your home may recommend your home to one or more of their buyer clients. The more “buzz” we can generate the better the chance of planting a SOLD sign on your front lawn in a timely manner. I forward all broker comments to the seller and the experts at Bella Verde Realty review all comments as well. If your home does not get great reviews, do not be upset, this is our opportunity to make a few subtle changes while we keep showing your home. Relax, your home will sell. We know it can be a stressful process, but it will be worth it in the end.
Bella Verde Realty also hosts Client Open Houses. Usually these open houses are set on a Saturday or a Sunday for a few hours in the afternoon. I always suggest when we host a Client Open House that the sellers place fresh flowers in a vase in the entry and set their dining room table as if they were hosting a small dinner party. The key is to make your home inviting and warm to a prospective buyer. You want the buyer to see themselves living in and loving your home. A neglected home is an invitation to a low offer. A well cared for home is inviting and will secure solid, reasonable offers.
Whenever your house is on the market, it needs to be show ready. Light the lights as light brightens the space and makes rooms appear larger. Open all curtains and blinds and let the natural light stream in. Always remember that buyers will judge your home on the outside too. Spruce up your porch furniture, make sure the shrubs are looking good, and if your outside entry provides space for a few plants, place a few freshly potted flowers around to add color and interest.
The most important thing is to stay open to buyers’ comments and to follow your agent’s advice. Whatever the advice, remember it is NOT PERSONAL – it is just the business of selling your home.

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Rental Property in Florida

How long should I hold on to my investment property?
ROI (return on investment) varies based on many factors, your costs to maintain the property; taxes, HOA, insurance, etc. If the investment property carries a mortgage, the interest rate is a factor as well. There is never a guarantee that a property will increase in value, but let’s say you did some solid research, purchased your property in a desirable location at a good price. This is where the old real estate adage applies; location, location, location. You can now assume your property value will hold, and most likely will increase by about 2%-3% per year. Yes, this is a modest increase, but in today’s real estate market this is a reasonable expectation. Markets do change quickly, and your investment property value rises or falls dependent upon geographical stability, age and condition, size and improvement, population movement, taxes, and the surrounding neighborhood. It is always a smart move to closely watch all investment properties to be certain that your investment is providing the return you anticipated. Of course, if your investment property is generating an income; it pays to hold that property until you have achieved your personal goal. I have many clients who purchase homes in anticipation of living or retiring to their investment property in the future. In the interim, the client has a home in a great location, purchased at a good price, that is generating an income. When they are ready to retire to Florida their home is ready to live in and enjoy.
Many clients also rent their Solivita home for the winter season; usually November thru April. During the other six months, they visit, vacation, and enjoy the benefits of owning a home in the award-winning community of Solivita. If you were to choose this option in Solivita your property would not generate an income but instead would cover the ownership costs and provide you and your family a great place to relax and vacation while you try out the fabulous Solivita lifestyle.
Not to be forgotten in the equation is the tax benefits of a rental property. However, you choose to manage your investments, home ownership is always a good choice to consider.

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Read This Before Buying A Home In Florida


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buying-a-home-in-floridaWhat You Need to Know Before Buying a Home in Florida

Buying a home in Florida sounds like, well, vacation and it basically is. But, there is a lot you should know before buying a home in Florida paradise. It is critical you know everything you can about the residency before spending your hard-earned money and getting locked into something you eventually do not enjoy. Before buying a home in Florida, you’ll need to know things like: current market conditions, home inspections, HOA communities
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Mortgage Qualification: 5 Factors That Determine How Much Mortgage You Can Qualify For


Mortgage Qualification Factor #1: Know Your Credit Score. Beef it up.

This is the single biggest mortgage qualification out there. Why? Because it’s proof that you can pay back what you owe. Your credit score is the combination of all of your loans, credit cards, and your payment histories. If you haven’t got all your ducks in a row, there are all kinds of tools out there to help you when you want to improve your credit. The most simple goal to aspire for is to make sure you’re making payments on time, and that no bill collector is trying to collect on things you owe.
Credit is complicated. The first thing to do to get bad credit back on track is to check your credit reports through the main credit companies: Equifax, Experian, TransUnion; Get everything you owe paid up-to-date. It can take a while for your credit to clear out, so the goal is to be vigilant. The best way to raise your scores is by establishing your credit history through a single lender with a small debt while building savings and assets. Another huge factor for your credit is your current income.
With a high enough credit score, you can secure much lower interest rates on your mortgage than someone with poor credit.

Mortgage Qualification Factor #2: Loan-to-Value Ratio

It wouldn’t make any sense to put a huge chunk of money down on something that was never going to bring a solid return on your investment. Imagine if your friend had a bike that sold at the local big-box store for $125, but they needed to borrow that amount from you to purchase the bike. You don’t know if they’re ever going to be able to completely pay you back, but you can take their bike if they don’t pay you- the catch is, you can only expect to sell it for 50 to 75 percent of what you spent on it. This means that you’d automatically take a $40 to $62.50 loss if your friend doesn’t pay you back and you end up taking the bike.
If this friend was a good friend, you might invest the money in him/her to get a nice shiny bike, but most mortgage lenders aren’t there to be your friend – they’re there to make money. This is why mortgage lenders use a ratio called the Loan-to-Value Ratio to establish a person’s credit. Obviously, this isn’t the only factor that a mortgage lender is going to use, but larger loans are seen as a larger risk (this can be said of smaller loans too) and therefore bring higher interest and payments.
If the house you really want is going to require you to take a mortgage over 75% you should probably consider another house.

Mortgage Qualification Factor #3: Debt-to-Income Ratio

America is all about working and proving your livelihood to improve your lot in life. Plus, you have to expect to grow and expand if you want to raise a family, be successful and expand your life. If you haven’t got these expectations for yourself, don’t worry the bank does!
Typically speaking, when you’re looking to get a mortgage, you should have a debt-to-income ratio around 43% or lower. What debt-to-income ratios show lenders is how you are personally able to manage your payments on the money you’ve borrowed in comparison to your finances that you earn. A rough example of this is to assume you’re paying $1,000 a month on your mortgage, $200 on your shiny new car, and another $800 for all of your other debts (school loans). Take the sum total ($2,000) and divide it by 0.4. You should make this amount (in our example it’s roughly $5,000 a month) for a bank to give you the best deal on your mortgage. If you don’t, the bank might still give you your mortgage, but it won’t be a qualified mortgage.
Cut out your extra debts or increase your income to get the bank on your side when you’re looking to get the best mortgage out there.

Mortgage Qualification Factor #4: Housing Cost-to-Income Ratio

You don’t buy a car without expecting to change a few parts after years of owning it, why would you do any differently with your home? Lenders see houses as huge investments. They assume your goal is to make an investment that makes you money and this requires you to take all the necessary steps – paying your mortgage principal, your interest payments, property taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, and fees. If all this exceeds over 28% of your income, you’ll probably have to find something more affordable.
Banks or lenders might still lend you money, even if your front ratios are too high. These types of negotiations typically require co-borrowers to lower initial payments, but if you have a mortgage that’s too high and you can only afford to pay the bare minimum because of your debts, and housing costs aren’t low enough compared to your salary, you’re going to find yourself swimming in a debt that just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
You might forget about your bills and expenses, but banks don’t. If you aren’t making enough so that your salary is higher than projected housing costs, you might have to look into something more affordable.

Mortgage Qualification Factor #5: Down-payment Amount

A down payment is your ace in the hole. The more cash you can put down, the lower your payments are going to be, which plays a huge factor in deciding your other ratios. A good rule of thumb is to try and put a sizable chunk into the amount you’re trying to borrow. It helps to consider the principal of your loan, and the amount of time that you plan on taking to pay it back, plus sometimes lenders will give you additional incentives when you put money down in the form of rebates, that can definitely add up over the long run.
The best thing to do is to try to put down 20% on your initial mortgage. This means if you’re trying to borrow $100,000, you should aim to put at least $20,000 in. Not only will you get lower interest rates, your payments will be drastically smaller. If you can’t pay 20%, experiment to see how lower amounts of down-payments can affect your costs.