Prepare for Your Home Inspection!

Ten Tips to Prepare For Your Home Inspection

Here are some tips to prepare the house prior to the inspection. Your home inspection will go smoother, with fewer concerns to delay closing.

  1. Confirm that that the water, electrical and gas services are turned on (including pilot lights).
  2. Make sure pets won’t hinder the home inspection. Ideally, they should be removed from the premises or secured outside.
  3. Replace burned-out light bulbs to avoid a “light is inoperable” report that may suggest an electrical problem.
  4. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace dead batteries.
  5. Clean or replace dirty HVAC air filters. They should fit securely.
  6. Remove stored items, debris and wood from the foundation. These may be cited as “conducive conditions” for termites.
  7. Remove items blocking access to HVAC equipment, electrical service panels, the water heater, attic and crawlspace.
  8. Unlock any locked areas that your home inspector must access, such as the attic door or hatch, the electrical service panel, the door to the basement, and any exterior gates.
  9. Trim tree limbs so that they’re at least 10 feet away from the roof. Trim any shrubs that are too close to the house and can hide pests or hold moisture against the exterior.
  10. Repair or replace any broken or missing items, such as doorknobs, locks or latches, windowpanes or screens, gutters or downspouts, or chimney caps.
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Niceville Schools Rank Among State’s Best

Niceville High School and The Collegiate High School of Northwest Florida State Colelge rank among the best schools in Florida for 2012.  On a scale of 1500 points, Collegiate scored 1489 and Niceville scored 1312.  Those scores place Collegiate at fifth and Niceville at 34th out of the 430 Florida public schools.  High Schools scoring 1050 or higher receive an A grade.

Four of the other five Okaloosa County public high schools–Baker, Choctawhatchee, Crestview and Fort Walton Beach received an A designation for 2012.

Property Values are Expected to Continue to Rise

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities increased 4.3 percent from October 2011, the biggest 12-month advance since May 2010, the group said today in New York. The median forecast of 30 economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a 4 percent gain.

Property values will probably keep heading higher as record-low mortgage rates, a growing population and an improving economy spur demand for housing. The turnaround in real estate is buoying household confidence and wealth, one reason why consumer spending is improving even as concern mounts that lawmakers will fail to stave off looming tax increases.

“The housing market is definitely starting to recover,” said Ryan Wang, an economist with HSBC Securities USA Inc. in New York, who’s the second-best forecaster of the S&P/Case- Shiller index over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Higher property values have “added about a trillion dollars to household wealth just since the beginning of this year.”

Undervalued Appraisals Creating Problems

The real estate market is recovering but still faces hurdles from tight
mortgage credit, but problems with a sizeable share of real estate appraisals
also are holding back home sales.

Most appraisers are competent and provide good valuations that are compliant
with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. However,
appraisals generally lag market conditions and some changes to the appraisal
process have been causing problems in recent years, including the use of
out-of-area valuators without local expertise.

I recently have had two transactions fall apart because of undervalued appraisals.

For more real estate news and information in the Destin-Niceville-30A area, go to www.DestinHomeRealty.com or contact me at 850-305-6256.

 

Florida Ranks 6th in Widest Gap Between Rich and Poor

6. Florida
> Gini coefficient: 0.4811
> Median household income: $44,299 (14th lowest)
> Households earning $200,000+: 4.4% (19th highest)
> Population living below poverty line: 17.0% (17th highest)

In 2011, 5.4% of state residents earned less than $10,000, slightly higher than the national rate of 5.1%. Meanwhile, just 4.4% earned more than $200,000 — well below the 5.6% national benchmark. Both figures, however, were far worse than they were in the past. In 2007, just 3.6% of households earned less than $10,000 annually, while 5.4% earned more than $200,000. But while many Floridians have lost wealth since the recession, Florida is still home to 32 billionaire members of the Forbes 400, led by Micky Arison, worth $5 billion as of September.

Market Report on Miramar Beach Florida

Miramar Beach Summary

The median sales price for homes in Miramar Beach FL for Jul 12 to Sep 12 was $250,000. This represents a decline of 0.8%, or $2,000, compared to the prior quarter and an increase of 8.7% compared to the prior year. Sales prices have depreciated 38.2% over the last 5 years in Miramar Beach. The average listing price for Miramar Beach homes for sale on Trulia was $588,757 for the week ending Oct 03, which represents a decline of 1.7%, or $10,065, compared to the prior week and a decline of 2.9%, or $17,327, compared to the week ending Sep 12. Average price per square foot for Miramar Beach FL was $168, a decrease of 6.1% compared to the same period last year.

 Miramar Beach average property price

Market View for Fort Walton Beach

Avg. Listing Price$307,441Wk ending Sep 12

          +$2,656           +0.9% w-o-w
Median Sales Price$145,000Jun ’12 – Aug ’12
        -$2,000         -1.4% y-o-y
Listing price – Fort Walton Beach
$307,441
+0.9%
w-o-w
$145,000
-1.4%
y-o-y
$120
+4.3%
y-o-y
143
-42.1%
y-o-y

Top 10 Agent Protocol Tips – Rules for Working With Agents

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Here are protocols you can use while shopping for a home that will keep you out of hot water:

1. Understand Agents Work on Commission

  • Very few real estate agents work on salary.
  • Most real estate agents are paid commission. If an agent does not close a transaction, she does not get paid.
  • Agents are not public servants and do not work for free. Do not ask an agent to work for you if you intend to cut the agent out of your deal.
2. Keep Appointments & Be On Time
  • Be respectful, use common courtesy and don’t expect an agent to drop what she is doing to run out to show you a home. You are probably not that agent’s only prospect / client. And if you are, lord help you.
  • Do not make an appointment with an agent and then forget to show up.
  • If you are going to be late, call and let your agent know when you expect to arrive.

3. Choose A Real Estate Agent

  • Decide whether you want to work without representation: dealing directly with listing agents, or if you want to hire your own agent.
  • If you decide to hire your own agent, find an agent with whom you are comfortable.
  • If you are interviewing agents, let each agent know you are in the interview stage.
  • Never, never, never interview two different agents from the same company. Trust me, don’t do it.

4. Do Not Call The Listing Agent if You Are Working With a Buying Agent

  • Listing agents work for the seller, not the buyer. If you hire the listing agent to represent you, that agent will now be working under dual agency.
  • If listing agents show you the property, the listing agent will expect to represent you.
  • Listing agents do not want to do the buying agent’s job. Let your buyer’s agent do her job.

5. Practice Open House Protocol

  • Ask your agent if it’s considered proper for you to attend open houses alone. In some areas, it is frowned upon to go to open houses unescorted.
  • Hand your agent’s business card to the agent hosting the open house. Sometimes this agent will be the listing agent, but often it is an agent also looking for unrepresented buyers. Announcing you are represented protects you.
  • Do not ask the open house host questions about the seller or the seller’s motivation. Let your agent ask those questions for you.

6. Sign a Buyer’s Broker Agreement with a Buying Agent

  • Expect to sign a buyer’s broker agreement. It creates a relationship between you and the agent, and explains the agent’s duties to you and vice versa.
  • Ask about the difference between an Exclusive and Non-Exclusive Buyer’s Broker Agreement.
  • If you’re not ready to sign a buyer’s broker, do not ask that agent to show you homes. Otherwise, procuring causemay pop up.
  • Ask your agent if she will release you from the contract if you become dissatisfied. If she refuses, hire somebody else.

7. Always Ask For and Sign an Agency Agreement

  • By law, agents are required to give buyers an Agency Disclosure.
  • Signing an agency disclosure is your proof of receipt. It is solely a disclosure. It is not an agreement to agency. Read it.
  • The best and most practiced type of agency is the single agency. This mean you are represented by your own agent who owes you a fiduciary responsibility.

8. Make Your Expectations Known

  • If you expect your agent to pick you up at your front door and drive you home after showing homes, tell her. Many will provide that service. If not, they will ask you to meet at the office.
  • Let your agent know how you want her to communicate with you and how often. Do you want phone calls, e-mails, text messages, IM‘s or all of the above?
  • Set realistic goals and a time frame to find your home. Ask your agent how you can help by supplying feedback.
  • If you are displeased, say so.

 

Biggest Mistakes Buyers Make in a Hot Seller’s Market

In the current seller’s market that exists in many parts of the country, buyers need to perform near perfectly to attain the home of their dreams. Many of the best new listings that come to market are receiving multiple offers . . . and in just a few days on the market. So what can you do as a buyer to enhance your odds of getting your offer accepted?

1)      Get Serious and Work with a Real Estate Agent – while this sounds like a given, many buyers are casually looking and only get serious when they see a home on the internet and start their quest to buy that home from whatever agent they can find. By the time they get mobilized the home is gone!  Here in the Destin, and most of the Northwest Florida market, many homes that are terrific deals have multiple offers almost immediately after going on the market.

2)      Get Ready to Buy – There are great local lenders here in Destin, Niceville, Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, and Navarre markets – be sure to get prequalified or better yet preapproved for your loan. This eliminates any surprises and demonstrates to sellers that you are serious, qualified, and able to close. Have your proof of funds ready to show which is often required.  Especially if you find a foreclosure, they will want this proof of funds to come with the offer.

3)      Operate with a Sense of Urgency – Have your real estate agent set you up a new listings alert and when a hot property comes to market moving quickly is extremely important. If a listing comes to market on a Wednesday, waiting until Saturday to see it because you want to watch TV won’t work. Always assume that other interested buyers are seeing the home on day 1 and making an offer on day 1!

4)      Make Clean Offers – offers that are not clean result in delays and counter offers– delays results in more buyer offers – multiple offers drive prices up and probability of getting your dream home down. If there is something specific that the seller is looking for in your offer do everything possible to accommodate it.

Why Hire A Real Estate Agent?

The typical real estate transaction involves at least two dozen separate individuals – insurance assessors, mortgage brokers and underwriters, inspectors, appraisers, escrow officers, buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, bankers, title researchers, and a number of other individuals whose actions and decisions have to be orchestrated in order to perform in harmony and get a home sale closed. It is the responsibility of your real estate agent to expertly coordinate all the professionals involved in your home purchase and to act as the advocate for you and your interests throughout.

Seven main roles of your real estate agent
A Buyer’s Real Estate Agent:

  1. Educates you about your market.
  2. Analyzes your wants and needs.
  3. Guides you to homes that fit your criteria.
  4. Coordinates the work of other needed professionals.
  5. Negotiates on your behalf.
  6. Checks and double-checks paperwork and deadlines.
  7. Solves any problems that may arise.