Four Tips For Working With a Single Home Buyer

 

According to a finding from the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, more than 50% of adults were single last year. This marks the first time since 1976 that single adults accounted for more than half of the population. And the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies has determined that many young adults are purchasing a home before marrying.

This changes the reasons people buy a home as well as impacting how people obtain a mortgage. The single male or female working American is not necessarily motivated by family needs (now or planned) to make that first home purchase. They may be purchasing solely for financial investment reasons, or may be protecting themselves from rising rents and the whims of landlords.

What can we say about the single home buyer?

  • They are tech savvy and will start online before they talk to a real estate professional.
  • They don’t have the need for as much interior or exterior space as a family.
  • Surprisingly, they may prefer a house to a condo because of privacy.
  • They may look for a home near lifestyle factors and amenities instead of a high-rated school district.

How can you assist them during the home-buying process?

  • Advise them of the need to acquire pre-approval from the mortgage lender of their choice.
  • Be knowledgeable about local property values and investment opportunities.
  • Be thorough when explaining the offer and contract process so they understand how negotiation works.
  • They may ask more questions – answer them with patience and clarity.

Even though the buyer is single, they may bring a trusted family member or friend along to view the houses with them. If that’s the case be sure to have materials for that person to look at as well. After the closing, follow up and maintain the relationship. This buyer may be your next seller!

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What Do Home Buyers Want

We’re still at the beginning of the year 2015 and so many articles are coming out predicting what this year will bring in the real estate industry. How will sellers fare? Will home prices go up or down? Will mortgage rates rise? What are buyers looking for?

That’s all interesting to us, especially the last question. What are buyers looking for? And one of the reasons it makes a very big difference is that everything else is tied to it. If buyers don’t find what they are looking for, sellers cannot sell! If buyers are not eager or enthusiastic about buying, home prices decline! If buyers don’t take out loans to buy houses, mortgage loan specs are affected. It’s true, the buyer is an extremely important part of the real estate transaction. And the real estate professional who forgets that is making a mistake.

So what are the trends that are so important? There are many of them and some are more important than others. First, buyers are going online more and more. We may not like it, but that’s where they are because it is the most convenient way to find anything. Like online dating, many “facts” found online are erroneous but that is still the first path a big percentage of buyers take.

Millennials are under scrutiny now that they are of purchase age. Their numbers have surpassed that of baby boomers and their methods are more digital than direct. Therefor everyone is in a rush to try to figure them out. Here’s a secret – they don’t want anything that much different from the baby boomers. Really. They want a house with the features they prefer, for the price they want to pay, in the area they would like to live. They are more savvy than their grandparents were when they buy their first home because they’ve seen the housing bubble first hand. They have more tools at their fingertips to help them decide. What do they need a real estate agent for? Oh, so many things. Negotiating the deal, helping them find the other professionals they need in the deal – the surveyor, title company, inspector, maybe even a carpenter or carpet company. They need to know your knowledge of the local market from your insiders perspective.

Don’t forget, trends come and go but the need for housing is everlasting.

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Why list your home with RE/MAX Flagstaff?

So you are thinking of listing your home for sale. Congratulations! It’s an exciting time but it can also be stressful. You have a lot of things to do and that includes choosing the correct real estate professional to handle the listing. How do you decide who the right person is? The decision can affect how long it takes your property to sell, what price it sells for, and how easy or aggravating the experience is.

At RE/MAX Flagstaff we work with you to take the transaction to a successful conclusion. Let’s look at some of the elements you are concerned about.

How fast will my house sell? Of course, like anything, that answer has a variety of factors that affects it. Here are some and how they work. Current market trends are dictated by the amount of inventory on the market, the number of buyers actively looking, referral opportunities, curb appeal, marketing efforts and certainly price.

When we list a house for you we put it on the Multiple Listing Service which has an online feed. So your house appears on many different platforms including websites and apps which allow buyers and other real estate professionals to see the listing. We’ll take multiple pictures, write an appealing description and highlight upgrades or special features. We will feature your listing on our social media outlets. We will publish your listing in local newspapers and other print media.

The RE/MAX brand will help because if a Realtor in another state has a seller who wants to move to Florida they will refer that seller to RE/MAX offices in this state. So a buyer may come straight in from selling their out of town property, ready to buy your house!

Curb appeal also plays a part. If you are open to it, we will make suggestions that we think will increase the attractiveness of your property. It may be as simple a matter as de-cluttering or trimming some landscaping. We can even give you the names of stagers if the house is empty or you need help with some rooms. Does your house need upgrading in several areas? There may be some upgrades that give you a better return on your investment!

Price is one of the strongest factors. We will do a Comparative Market Analysis to show you what other homes in the area, similar to yours, are selling for. The pricing decision is yours but we can tell you what is the most realistic range and also what neighborhood homes have appraised for. We want to make sure you get the best price for your home. Remember, you can put any price you choose on your home, but if the bank’s appraiser disagrees financing may be difficult. Additionally, if you put too high a price on your home you will be making mortgage payments every month it does not sell.

Next, your house will be shown to buyers and we will present all qualified offers directly to you. If the buyers want to negotiate we will represent you and follow your decisions on what concessions you are willing to make.

We can assure you that buyers are coming along now that the average rate on the 30 year mortgage has fallen again!

If a contract is accepted we will be there to handle any snags that come up along the way and will be at the closing table with you when the sale closes. From beginning to end, we will be there to help, to advise, to inform and take care of the many details that are part of the home selling process!

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First Time Buyers - Are There Opportunities?

Absolutely! Mortgage rates are at historic lows, holding steady at under 4% which makes a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage produce an affordable monthly payment even with mortgage insurance.

But, aren’t lending guidelines stricter than ever and down payments higher? In late 2013 and early 2014 that was certainly the case. But lending guidelines have eased as banks have seen housing prices rebound and employment rates return to higher levels. And that’s not all the good news.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced that they are officially rolling out programs for mortgages with a down payment of only 3%. In 2013, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stopped buying loans with a 3% down payment due to the housing slump but in 2015 that will change for the better.

The difference is that there will be better criteria on who can get these loans. The mortgages are available to first-time homebuyers and existing homeowners who want to refinance. Borrowers will have to have a credit score of over 620, buy private mortgage insurance, receive home ownership counseling and thoroughly document source of income and stability. That’s not unreasonable.

Clear lending guidelines are an important part of keeping the mortgage loan industry stable and the housing prices strong.

So look to 2015 to be the year that millennials leave their parents and purchase their very first home. We think that’s great news and there are plenty of starter homes in Palm Coast that are just perfect for a young couple or professional person to move into an ownership position.

At RE/MAX Flagstaff we have agents just waiting to work with buyers and guide them through the process of buying their new home. Whether they are looking for a single-family 3 bedroom 2 bath in a suburban neighborhood, or a maintenance-free condominium, we have plenty of listings to show them and information that can make the journey less frustrating. Let’s get started! Call 386-246-8585 when you are ready!

 

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How is the Housing Market in Flagler County Doing?

Current homeowners and people considering investing in a home in Flagler County want to know – is Flagler County doing as well as the rest of the nation in the housing turnaround.

We have good news for them – Flagler County is doing better! There are many factors that affect the current housing market in different areas of the country:

  • How far did the prices fall?
  • When did the prices recover?
  • What is the level of homeowner satisfaction?
  • What are other factors that affect the market?

This is what we have experienced here. In 2008 the housing market began to fall and fell faster in Flagler County than it did in neighboring St. Johns County. That might seem like a negative indicator but it did not turn out that way. When Flagler County began to recover, other counties in Florida were still losing value.

It was a struggle for home buyers to get financing, but the homes were selling out of foreclosures, short sales and from traditional sellers. Slowly, banks eased residential lending, and more houses sold and the price continued to rise.

Because we are in NE Florida, homeowner satisfaction is high. We’ve had no adverse weather events while the rest of the country has experienced early and brutal snow storms and even, so called, Frankenstorms.

This has resulted in many northern states showing low homeowner satisfaction in surveys. Some show that as high a percentage as 49% would move if given the opportunity. Where would they move? Many would move to Florida. Who does that benefit? Yes, it benefits us in Flagler County. We have a beautiful coastline, mild winters, and friendly, happy residents.

And that’s what makes all the difference! Our home prices are continuing to rise at a sustainable rate and our citizens are continuing to love living here.

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When Home Prices Rise, Buyers Win

September was a very positive month in 2014 with the volume of home sales higher than in September of 2013. The best news, however, was that the prices continued to follow a rising trend. Not as fast a rise as in 2013, but a respectable 5.4%. That’s good news to home owners and even to buyers.

How can it be good news for buyers when home prices rise? First, it means they are purchasing an asset that is appreciating. A home is the largest investment many people will ever make and the housing crisis, where many homes lost value, was a disaster for homeowners. Second, it means that they will gain equity in their homes via appreciation as well as by paying against the principal.

Not the least consideration is that banks are more interested in loaning money on homes when those home values are increasing. No bank wants to get stuck with a foreclosed on home that is worth less than what they loaned on it. When lenders are enthusiastic, buyers have an easier time buying.

If you decide that now is the time to buy, make two appointments. 1) Make an appointment with a lender to get pre-qualified. You don’t want to find the perfect house and then be told your credit has some problems. 2) Make an appointment with a RE/MAX Flagstaff real estate broker to look at some houses. Our professionals will make sure you find the home that fits your needs and your budget. That’s what we’re trained to do!

Call RE/MAX Flagstaff at 386-246-8585 and let’s celebrate the good news in the housing market!b2ap3_thumbnail_38Pepperdine.jpg

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Winter Forecast: Cool with Flurries of Sales

There are states where cooler weather signals a slowdown of all activity. Boats are stored for the winter, golf clubs are cleaned and put away. Some businesses close or get ready for slower sales. Florida is not like that especially in the Real Estate profession. The statistics explain it all.

According to a Gallup poll done at the end of December 2013, an astonishing seven northern states reported that more than 40% of their population wanted to move away. It should come as no surprise that those feelings intensify during cold weather.

Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York reported that over 40% of their population wished they were somewhere else. Throughout the happy months of summer, people are more or less comfortable where they are. But with the first snowfall the discontent grows. Throw in some sleet, icy rain, a blizzard or two and hazardous driving and now you have mounting dissatisfaction. Florida looks pretty attractive about that time.

RE/MAX nationwide advertising gives a RE/MAX broker an edge here. Since RE/MAX is a familiar name in their home state, many people looking to relocate think of a RE/MAX agency first. Additionally, if RE/MAX is helping them sell their home up north, that broker will refer them to someone they can trust in Florida.

Here in Palm Coast, Winter is not a season where real estate slows down. And if you want to be part of the first flurries of sales, RE/MAX Flagstaff is the team you want to be on. Give us a call at 386-246-8585 and let’s get ready for Winter!

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The RE/MAX Advantage for Buyers and Sellers

Why should I list or buy a home from RE/MAX Flagstaff instead of an independent real estate broker? There is a lot that goes with being a part of RE/MAX and many of the advantages are ones that the seller or buyer will appreciate.

Of course, brokers appreciate having the RE/MAX name and advertising working to give them brand recognition and credibility. But that also works for sellers. Because RE/MAX has a well-known name, people trust it more and that works in a seller’s favor. Additionally, RE/MAX agents in one state refer business to RE/MAX offices in other states when they hear from someone who is moving. For that reason, listing with a RE/MAX broker in Florida means your home will get attention from RE/MAX brokers in many other states who know people who are planning to move.

Marketing is what gets your house noticed and gets your house sold. RE/MAX has carefully crafted marketing tips, techniques and standards that every RE/MAX office has access to. It gives your home an edge when it comes to getting sold.

For buyers, RE/MAX is also an advantage. RE/MAX brokers recruit seasoned professionals for their team and give them the training necessary to listen, negotiate and close in an effective manner. A buyer knows that when they have a RE/MAX sales associate working with them, they have an individual who knows what they are doing. That brings peace of mind, and a better opportunity to find the home they have always wanted.

The RE/MAX difference pays off. RE/MAX is consistently the top name in real estate and that means our buyers, sellers, and our team itself enjoys an advantage that’s hard to beat. If you’d like to list your home for sale or are hoping to find your dream home, call RE/MAX Flagstaff today at 386-246-8585 You’ll be glad you did!

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Do I Really Need a Real Estate Agent?

When buying your Florida dream home - do you really need a Realtor®? Many people move from other areas to Florida after vacationing here for many years. When they are anticipating the move they search a real estate listings website and look at many homes on the Internet. They’ve done a lot of homework before they even get in front of an agent.

At that point, what’s the agent’s job? There’s a lot more to it than you might think! For one thing, the agent is an expert in this market and knows things the prospective home buyer does not. These may include:

  • · Proposed improvements to the area or,
  • · Proposed development that might negatively impact the value,
  • · Other similar homes that have just come on the market,
  • · Economic conditions in the community,
  • · How local lenders view that type of property,
  • · The State of Florida real estate laws

Most important, the agent can negotiate for you without becoming emotional. Buyers and sellers can get caught up in the moment of the sale and let their emotions rule their actions. A seller may insist on overpricing a much-loved home. A buyer may be too quick to put a big offer down on a house they’ve fallen in love with. The art of negotiation is something your agent is trained in thoroughly and the agent knows that you want the house, but you want it at a fair price. If that agent is looking to earn your repeat business they will do their best for you on this deal.

When you’re ready to buy trust your licensed Realtor®. With a RE/MAX agent you know you have the best training and professionalism. If you choose RE/MAX Flagstaff you know you’ll have the best team in Flagler County helping you! Call 386-246-8585 and get ready to buy your Florida dream home.

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It's Florida - Do You Want a Waterfront Home?`

Many people come to Florida and they immediately think about living on the water. It's natural, the state is a Peninsula and famous for the sandy beaches. But there are many factors to consider when your goal is a waterfront home. Thinking those over before you begin to look for a house will save you time and frustration.

First, let's talk about what type of waterfront. If you are a surfer, or a daily beach goer, then nothing but the great Atlantic Ocean may suffice. On the other hand, if you are a boater you may prefer a home with a dock on the Intracoastal Waterway or one of Palm Coast's many canals. Maybe it is the ambiance of gazing out of your lanai at a sparkling lake - Palm Coast has many small lakes with homes adjacent to them.

So give that some thought and once you are sure which type of water, take a look at the budget. Will you be able to swing a direct oceanfront home, or would you be content with a house a few blocks away? Do you want a single-family home or a condominium? Are you looking towards resort living in a gated community? Think about how much maintenance you do or don't want to do and how much privacy you feel you will need. Maybe condominium living is too close for comfort but a townhouse-style arrangement would be perfect. There are so many options in Flagler County. We can help you find something that is just perfect for you - once you know what you'd like!

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The Team Approach to Real Estate

Why do business with RE/MAX Flagstaff? People have many reasons for checking out a real estate office:

  • They may be a buyer who wants to find that "just right" property,
  • They may be a seller who wants to make sure and get the most exposure and best selling price for their house,
  • They may be an agent, trying to decide what team to join.

Believe it or not, the answers are right for all three of these hypothetical people. RE/MAX Flagstaff is a good fit for buyers, sellers, and agents looking for a dynamic team for the exact same reasons.

It starts with teamwork. We are Realtors® committed to the success of the team. If you are a buyer looking for that perfect property, you will have a buyer's agent helping you but a whole team caring about the outcome. We know when something new comes on the market, we know the trends of each neighborhood, we know the schools, the flood zones, the golf course that just got approved, the new parks that are being constructed. And we make sure these factors help you make a decision.

If you are a seller, you know how great RE/MAX is nationally at getting your property advertised and you will appreciate how well this team works with sellers. We have buyers waiting and looking, we advertise your property and follow up promptly. We take great pictures, write wonderful descriptions, and make sure your property shows like a million bucks.

And if you are looking for a team to join, you are looking for that magical combination of success, savvy, and smiles. You're not interested in a group where it's "every man for himself." You want the support of a caring team that is connected to the community in a very real way. RE/MAX Flagstaff is that team. You see us everywhere you go - as Chamber of Commerce members, local charity supporters, leaders and do-ers who make a difference in the community. That's what we do, we make a difference; and we can make one for you!

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7 Tips to Successful Home Buying

In 2014, the real estate market is on an upswing. Houses last on the market for about 45 days and sellers often see more than one offer coming in. It is easy to see this as a Sellers Market and wonder if there are any opportunities for buyers at this time. The good news is that there definitely are some opportunities for buyers in today's market. The key to maximizing your opportunity is to do a little legwork before you begin looking at houses. Here are 7 steps to make the home buying process go more smoothly.

1) Know why you're buying. Are you looking for a forever home or hoping to buy rental investment property? How long do you plan to keep the property and do you have a specific return you expect?

2) Know what you want to buy. There are many types of properties available on the market right now and deciding what will best suit your needs is an important start. Will a home in a subdivision be the best "fit?" or would a waterfront condominium or a rural manufactured home be best?

3) Are you willing to put any work into the property or must it be turnkey? There are some good deals on foreclosed property but those deals often come with some deferred maintenance or property damage that needs to be fixed. If you are not comfortable with that, the deal is not for you.

4) Know your deal breakers. Do you absolutely have to have waterfront, or a pool, or a good school district? Know what you are willing to negotiate and what you want to stand firm on.

5) Know what you can afford. This number may be different than the payments a bank is willing to qualify you for. The banker may say that you can afford a mortgage of $230,000 with monthly payments of $1600. But you may feel that would strain your budget. Go to a mortgage calculator website and figure out the amount you can live comfortably with.

6) Get a commitment from a lender. You can put an offer on a house with confidence if you have the lender's commitment to back you up. The time to get that is before you start looking.

7) Let your real estate agent do the negotiating for you. Your licensed real estate professional will not let emotions get in the way of facts and figures. They will help you make the offer and negotiate the price while making sure the deal is done correctly according to law.

If you follow these simple tips you will be successful at finding the house or home you want to buy. If you're looking in NE Florida, any of our RE/MAX Flagstaff professionals will be happy to help you!

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