6 Tips for Pet Owners Selling Their House

When selling your home, Fido shouldn’t be seen … or smelled. Here are the top recommendations Realtors® make to pet-owning clients putting their house on the market (in order of most-suggested):

  1. Remove pets from home during showings (78%)
  2. Replace anything damaged by pet (72%)
  3. Clean home to remove animal scent (70%)
  4. Have home professionally cleaned (61%)
  5. Hide pet gear (47%)
  6. Replace carpet or refinish floors (33%)

SOURCE: National Association of Realtors® report “Animal House: Pets in the Home Buying and Selling Process”

Homeownership Assistance

Need help buying a home? You may qualify for one of these programs:

HUD-approved housing counseling agencies: Housing counseling agencies offer guidance on home buying, renting, reverse mortgages, and default and foreclosure prevention. hud.gov/states/florida/homeownership/hsgcounseling

USDA Rural Housing Service: Direct loans and grants for building, purchasing or repairing homes. rd.usda.gov/programs-services

Florida Association for Community Action: Local agencies provide low-income homeowners emergency home repair and weatherization assistance. faca.org

HUD’s Community Development Block Grants (CDBG): Recipients may offer homebuyer assistance in your area. hud.gov/states/florida/community/cdbg

Florida Housing Finance Corporation: Call (800) 814-HOME (4663) for info on first-time homebuyer programs, lower interest rate loans and purchase assistance. floridahousing.org

HUD’s HOME Investment Partnership Program: Provides funding to local agencies to help you purchase or repair your home. hud.gov/states/florida/community/home

Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps people in your community and around the world build or improve a place they can call home. Donate, volunteer and raise your voice in support of decent and affordable housing.
habitat.org

State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program: Depending on income, recipients could be eligible for home repair or replacement, downpayment assistance, rental housing assistance and other affordable housing assistance. floridahousing.org/buyers-renters/local-housing-programs

11 Home Features That Help You Sell Faster

Thinking of upgrading your home before you sell? Here are the features buyers want most.

  1. Laundry Room (92%)
  2. ENERGY STAR® Appliances and Windows (90%)
  3. Exterior Lighting (90%)
  4. Patio (86%)
  5. Ceiling Fans (86%)
  6. Full Bath on Main Level (83%)
  7. Hardwood Floors on Main Level (82%)
  8. Garage Storage (81%)
  9. More Insulation than Required by Code (81%)
  10. Eat-in Kitchen (80%)
  11. Walk-in Pantry (80%)
11 Home Features That Help You Sell Faster - Realty Advisors Miami LLC

7 Winning Tips for Buyers

Concerned that you could be in a bidding war? Use these strategies to increase your odds of getting your offer accepted.

  1. Encourage your agent to reach out to the listing agent to find out what the seller is looking for, such as a quick close, an above asking-price offer or a waived contingency. This will help you and your agent craft a competitive offer.
  2. Make a cash offer. If you’re not in a position to pay cash, get preapproved for a mortgage and have your preapproval letter in hand.
  3. Pay attention to the listing agent’s request. Many times, they will have you submit your highest and best offer. Ask your agent for some strategies on handling this type of offer.
  4. Consider waiving contingencies. If you are financing, check with your lender.
  5. Figure out where you can be flexible. You’ll need to move quickly, so know your must-haves versus your nice-to-haves before you start your search.
  6. Don’t get emotional. Trust your agent to walk you through each step in the buying process.
  7. Be available. Respond to inquiries quickly and ask your Real Estate Agent to check in regularly with the listing agent to monitor the seller’s progress.

Source: NAR, Florida RealtorⓇ magazine, housingwire.com, Rocket Mortgage

STOP! Avoid These 7 Things Before Closing On Your New Home

You’ve found your dream home, your offer is accepted and your closing date is 20 days away. We know your mind is on furnishing your house and buying supplies. And you are probably a little overwhelmed with all that goes into moving. Don’t jeopardize your chance at a successful closing by making one of these errors.

Here’s what NOT to do before closing on your new home:

  1. Change jobs
  2. Increase debts
  3. Apply for new credit
  4. Move money without a paper trail
  5. Skip a payment or make a late payment for a bill
  6. Spend your savings
  7. Buy big-ticket items

Lenders will continue to check your credit, income and job stability up to just before closing to see if anything has changed that may impact you qualifying.

Stop! Avoid These 7 Things Before Closing On Your New Home - Realty Advisors Miami LLC

5 Steps for Buying Your First Home

Purchasing a home isn’t the easiest thing in the world. If you want the best chance of getting a home at a great price, you need to prepare in advance. Check out these 5 tips to ensure you’re ready for your new home purchase.

  1. Get your finances in order. Your credit score should be 700-plus, your source of income should be stable, your debt-to-income ratio should be less than 45%, and you should have a big chunk of money in the bank to cover the down payment and closing costs and have some money left over.
  2. Don’t rush it. If you are under the pressure of a big life event, recognize that you’re probably creating an artificial timeline for yourself. If you are on a deadline to move out of a rental, set up a month-to-month lease instead of racing against the clock.
  3. Know what you want from the house itself and know what a good, reasonable deal is. Pick out specific neighborhoods and home types and analyze them in advance. Make sure you look at houses that have recently sold, not those that are currently on the market.
  4. When you start looking at homes, consider location-related features like your commute time, the parking situation, the school district and property taxes. Know where you stand on HOA communities and factor any HOA fees into your monthly budget.
  5. Once all these things are in order (and you’ve picked out your real estate agent and have been pre-approved for a loan), you are as ready as you’ll ever be. Keep your eyes open for a good deal, and don’t hesitate when that deal pops up.
5 Steps For Buying Your First Home - Realty Advisors Miami LLC

Remodeling Projects With The Greatest Return

Which remodeling projects will pick up the greatest return when a home is sold? Remodeling Magazine asked real estate professionals, and here are their estimates for the South Atlantic states.

68.2%
Roofing Replacement (asphalt shingles)
Job cost: $22,450
Resale value: $15,303

66.7%
Bathroom Remodel
Job cost: $19,680
Resale value: $13,130

53.9%
Bathroom Addition
Job cost: $45,310
Resale value: $24,433

73.2%
Window Replacement (vinyl)
Job cost: $16,992
Resale value: $12,431

66.1%
Window Replacement (wood)
Job cost: $20,724
Resale value: $13,702

80.5%
Siding Replacement (fiber-cement)
Job cost: $15,582
Resale value: $12,550

76%
Siding Replacement (vinyl)
Job cost: $13,153
Resale value: $10,000

88.7%
Garage Door Replacement
Job cost: $3,599
Resale value: $3,191

67%
Entry Door Replacement (steel)
Job cost: $1,798
Resale value: $1,205

94%
Manufactured Stone Veneer
Job cost: $8,797
Resale value: $8,265

58.7%
Major Kitchen Remodel
Job cost: $65,166
Resale value: $38,249

76.3%
Minor Kitchen Remodel
Job cost: $22,125
Resale value: $16,884

77%
Deck Addition (wood)
Job cost: $12,714
Resale value: $9,786

66.6%
Deck Addition (composite)
Job cost: $18,506
Resale value: $12,327

Source: Remodeling Magazine, 2020 Cost vs Value Report, Mid-Range Projects

11 Steps to a Successful Open House

  1. HIRE A CLEANING SERVICE: Spruce up the entire house, including often overlooked spots like baseboards, picture frames, ceiling fans, etc.
  2. NEUTRALIZE ODORS: Shampoo carpets. Clean drapes. Air out house. Add potpourri or scented candles and diffusers.
  3. DEPERSONALIZE ROOMS: Remove family photos. Clear items from the refrigerator door and bulletin board.
  4. ORGANIZE CABINETS AND DRAWERS: Clutter makes it appear that the home doesn’t have enough storage.
  5. HANDLE MINOR REPAIRS: Fix sticky doors, torn screens, burned-out light bulbs, cracked caulking, dripping faucets, etc.
  6. PROTECT BELONGINGS: Remove or lock up valuables and medications.
  7. TIDY UP OUTDOORS: Cut grass, rake leaves, add new mulch, trim bushes, edge walkways. Also, consider a pot of bright flowers near the entry to boost curb appeal.
  8. CLEAR CLUTTER: Empty counters, cut down on decorative items, thin clothes in closets, clean garage.
  9. REMOVE PETS
  10. BRIGHTEN ROOMS: Replace burnt bulbs and consider higher wattage in low-light areas. Clean windows and screens, and replace heavy curtains with sheers to bring in more light.
  11. ADD COLOR: Put out colorful new towels and add flowers to give rooms some “pop.”
11 Steps To A Successful Open House - Realty Advisors Miami LLC

10 Most Common Flaws Found During Home Inspections

Here are the top 10 defects found during home inspections:

  • 54.9% Doors need adjusting/servicing
  • 54.8% Faucets and shower heads need servicing
  • 54.5% Exterior caulking/sealant missing
  • 53.7% Outlet or light switch problems
  • 48.0% No circuit breaker (GFCI) protection
  • 45.1% Missing or defective smoke alarms
  • 45.0% Cosmetic sheetrock cracks or nail pops
  • 40.5% Fixtures and/or bulb problems
  • 33.9% Interior caulking, grout and sealer are missing
  • 33.9% Electrical service panel problems
10 Most Common Flaws Found During Home Inspections - Realty Advisors Miami LLC

10 Reasons to List with a REALTOR®

REALTORS® aren’t just agents. We are professional members of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict code of ethics.

When deciding whether to use a REALTOR® or sell on your own, be sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons so that you make the best decision for your family and situation. Here are ten reasons to list with a REALTOR®.

10 Reasons To List With A Realtor - Realty Advisors Miami LLC

7 Tips for a Smooth Move

Memorial Day to Labor Day is peak moving season with more than 65% of relocations happening during the summer months. Take the stress out of your move with these tips from the Professional Movers Association of Florida.

  1. Plan your move in advance so you have time to evaluate your options, and make a decision based on overall value (quality low stress move, insurance/valuation to protect your move).
  2. Confirm that each mover considered carries commercial general liability insurance, automobile liability, cargo liability and workers’ compensation. This can be verified by a certificate of insurance.
  3. Check if the moving company is licensed by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by visiting floridaconsumerhelp.com.
  4. Get a written estimate from several movers and compare them. The estimate should be based on an actual in-person or virtual inspection of your household goods. Estimates and Contract for Services must include:
    • Name, telephone number, physical address and state registration number of the mover
    • Date the contract or estimate was prepared and proposed date of the actual move
    • Appropriate pickup and delivery address, name and telephone numbers of the shipper
    • Name, telephone number and physical address where the goods will be held, if necessary
    • Itemized breakdown, description and total of all costs and services provided
    • Acceptable forms of payment available
  5. Determine if the company is a moving broker or moving company. A broker arranges for the transport of your household goods for a fee and sells your move to a moving company – which significantly reduces a consumer’s available funds for the actual cost of the relocation services. Often, the consumer is not aware their move is being sold to another company.
  6. Check your homeowners or rental insurance policies for moving coverage.
  7. Accidents happen, even with the best movers. Discuss valuation with your mover; know the difference between released value at 60 cents per pound and full value protection.

For additional moving tips, visit Professional Movers Association of Florida, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Better Business Bureau online. Consumers who fall victim to moving fraud, contact Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).

How to Prepare for a Home Inspection

You may have your home pre-inspected so you can fix problems before the official inspection takes place once you have received and negotiated an offer. You may even consider pre-inspecting it even before listing the property! Either way, here are the most common items you should prepare for:

How To Prepare For A Home Inspection - Realty Advisors Miami LLC

Reduce Home Strain With These Quick Fixes

The additional time that Americans are spending in their houses can lead to excess strain on different rooms of your home. Review these tips to get to know the areas to keep a close eye on and how to relieve strain to avoid overuse.

KITCHEN

  • Clean your dishwasher filter to increase the longevity of your appliance.
  • Make sure your smoke detector works and the batteries are fresh during a time when you’re cooking more often at home.

BATHROOM

  • Check under the sink manually for leaks or add a smart sensor to monitor them in real time with alerts sent directly to your smart phone.

BEDROOM/HOME OFFICE

  • Consider replacing your light bulbs with LEDs to use one-fifth the amount of energy as you were using before.

LAUNDRY ROOM

  • Review each hose in your washer and dryer for its condition by looking at the rubber exterior for cracking or brittle bits.

YARD/EXTERIOR

  • Fix any water drains that may have flooded during last year’s hurricane season to divert water away from your home.
Reduce Home Strain With These Quick Fixes - Realty Advisors Miami LLC

The Hidden Value of Home Ownership

Owning a home doesn’t just help you build wealth. It also impacts your life and your children’s lives. Here are some of the specific benefits homeowners may enjoy over renters:

  1. Homeowners are healthier and live longer
  2. Owning a home reduces the likelihood of divorce
  3. Homeowners are less likely to suffer from depression
  4. City homeowners are less likely to be victims of crime
  5. Children of homeowners often achieve a higher level of education
  6. Children of homeowners are likely to earn more over their lifetimes
  7. Children of homeowners have significantly lower teen dropout and pregnancy rates
  8. Homeowners are more likely to be involved in neighborhood groups
  9. Homeowners have a better understanding of politics and are more likely to vote
The Hidden Value Of Homeownership - Realty Advisors Miami LLC

8 Tips for Buying a Vacation Home

A vacation home is a perfect way to relax and unwind. If you are considering the purchase of a vacation home, check the following tips to get you unwinding in no time!

  1. Consider how you’ll use the home. Will it just be for family and friends, or do you plan to rent it as well? And realistically, how many times will you use it per year?
  2. Evaluate locations. Are there enough amenities and attractions to keep you— and renters—coming back year after year?
  3. Talk to the locals. What do they love about the area? What’s changing? And what’s it like during the off season?
  4. Study local laws. If you plan to rent the home, local rules may restrict rental periods or cap the number of days you can rent each year.
  5. Calculate costs. Along with mortgage, insurance, property taxes and association or amenities fees, plan for wear and tear. (A good rule of thumb: Budget 1½ percent of home’s value on repairs annually.) And if you intend to rent, add the cost of a property manager.
  6. Talk to an accountant. This person can advise you on such issues as the tax implications of rental income and changes in federal tax laws that could impact deductions.
  7. Test before you buy. Once you’ve settled on a spot, you should rent in every season so you can gauge busy and slow times.
  8. Work with a REALTOR®. Pick someone who knows the community and who can recommend the other experts you’ll want to consult.

Sources: Bankrate.com, Money magazine, HGTV, biggerpockets.com

15 Questions to Ask when Choosing a Lender

Buying a home is a major financial commitment. Understanding what to ask when buying a house can help ease the home buying process. Explore these 15 questions before you choose a lender:

  1. What are the most popular mortgages you offer? Why are they so popular?
  2. What fees are included in a loan; and what fees will be due at closing?
  3. Are your rates, terms, fees and closing costs negotiable?
  4. Do you offer discounts for inspections, home ownership classes or setting up automatic payments?
  5. Will I have to buy private mortgage insurance? If so, how much will it cost and how long will it be required?
  6. What are your escrow requirements?
  7. What bill-pay options do you offer?
  8. What would be included in my mortgage payment (homeowners insurance, property taxes, etc.)?
  9. Which type of mortgage plan would you recommend for my situation?
  10. Who will service this loan – your bank or another company?
  11. How long will the rate on this loan be locked-in? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if the market rate drops during the lock-in period?
  12. How long will the loan approval process take?
  13. How long will it take to close the loan?
  14. Are there any charges or penalties for prepaying this loan?
  15. How much in total will I be paying over the life of this loan?

Are you ready to buy your next home? Contact me today!

Buying a Home: Step-by-Step

Buying a property is a complex undertaking, even if you’ve been through it before. This easy-to-follow checklist breaks down the process and will guide you through each major step.

  • Step 1: Decide to buy a property
  • Step 2: Establish criteria and budget
  • Step 3: Select and agent – contact me!
  • Step 4: Select a lender (if applicable)
  • Step 5: Visit properties
  • Step 6: Make an offer & Negotiate
  • Step 7: Inspect the property
  • Step 8: Get the property appraised (if applicable)
  • Step 9: Close

I can help you during this process. Contact me today!

7 Reasons to Own a Home

If you are like most home buyers, you probably have friends, family and coworkers encouraging you to buy a home. However, you may still be wondering if buying a home is the right thing to do. Well, having reservations is normal, and getting educated is the right move (pun intended)! The more you know about why you should buy a home, the less scary the entire process will appear to you. Here are seven good reasons why you should buy a home.

  1. Tax benefits: The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
  2. Appreciation: Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The 2007-2010 housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but values were up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis in the 2010-2020 decade. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to 15 percent over the next decade 2020-2030, creating continued high demand for housing.
  3. Equity: Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
  4. Savings: Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
  5. Predictability: Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
  6. Freedom: The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
  7. Stability: Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.

Questions? Contact me today!

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