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PALM BEACH COUNTY REAL ESTATE MARKET REPORTS – December 2018

Analyzing a year-end market report always provides particularly useful information.  Plus, it gets us excited as we move into the next year.

I cannot speak for other agents, but I can share that Noreen and I are excited for all that is in store for 2019 for real estate in Palm Beach County. We attended the Florida Realtors convention in Orlando and were able to hear first hand the legislative and community initiatives that we are Realtors are involved with.  Many will have a direct and positive impact in South Florida.

Regardless of the trends and what we foresee, we are always committed to providing you with unbiased information. In these market reports, we present the facts, and tell you the truth about how we interpret them! We see it as imperative that you be properly equipped with information to make decisions about your real estate goals and plans. Now, onto the December 2018 and the year-end figures!

Inventories in 2018 were low as, we have discussed. But we are now seeing inventories rise and rise quickly – which is great news for Palm Beach county buyers and sellers.

While December figures were up from November by a small percentage, year over year December was down.  This same year-over-year results can be seen across the nation. One of the reasons for this may, of course, be that inventories were down. But, additionally, interest rates have been going up – forcing some buyers to rethink their timing for purchasing.    

So why are inventories rising with all of the above going on? Many are hypothesizing that the low interest loans are coming due for many existing homeowners. So, before they have to obtain a new mortgage (at a higher interest rate), many are getting out and finding their next home.  The logic: If they have to pay a slightly higher rate, they may as well move on to the next home of their choice.

Not much has changed as to the balance of the markets at the various price points.  

– The $300-$399K range is still a sellers’ market.
– The 400K – 599K range is still balanced.
– The $600K – $1 mill+ range remains a buyers’ market.  

Interesting to note: The “over $1 million+” category in Palm Beach County now has over 25 months of inventory. Additionally, time on market to contract in this category is now over 8 months.  

The takeaway for sellers:  It’s critical that you price properly. There are too many high-end homes sitting, overpriced, on the market. If you want to sell, please allow a Realtor (wonderful if it is us!😊) to show you the true comps  – look at SOLD versus ACTIVE. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t sell your high-end home – You absolutely can with the correct strategy.

Contact us at (561) 571-2289 – or via amyandnoreen@allaboutfloridahomes.com – if we can provide you with any additional market data that will help inform your decisions! We are here to help – with no obligation.

 

Mortgage Pre-Approval – Is it Really Needed Before I Can Search for a Home?

We recently received this question from a friend of a past client:

Do I really need a pre-approval before I go out to look at homes?

Here’s the candid answer.

If you’re paying cash for a property, you don’t need a pre-approval, but you do need documentation showing that you have the money to buy the home. (This is called Proof of Funds.)

If you’re getting a mortgage, it’s a great idea to get a pre-approval letter before we go out to look for homes. Here’s why: 

First, you need to know “how much house” you can afford. You need to know what you can buy. It’s more than just the principal and interest of the mortgage that you need to consider. Lenders take taxes and HOA or condo dues into consideration, too. So there’s a bigger picture in addition to what monthly obligations you have today.

So, once we know how much you can afford or buy (and by the way – it doesn’t mean we’re going to spend up to that limit, that just gives us a range!), we go out and look at homes. If we’re out looking at homes and you don’t have a pre-approval and you fall in love with a home, you risk losing it. Any listing agent who understands his business is not going to take an offer from a buyer getting financing without a pre-approval from a lender. 

It’s also important to note that a pre-approval from one lender is not the same as a pre-approval from another lender – and experienced agents know this.

So, pre-approvals need to have some teeth behind them to be helpful. If they’ve run credit, they’ve seen tax returns, and it’s pretty far along in the process, it has more meaning to a listing agent, and he is more likely to advise sellers to accept your offer. 



What we don’t want to happen is this:

You go out, we find the perfect home, you fall in love, and someone else swoops in to make an offer and get it under contract because you’re now working to get your pre-approval.

Bottom line: It’s a good idea to get the pre-approval up front.

If you don’t have a lender whom you trust and respect, we refer to people who we’ve worked with for years that we would recommend. 

If you have someone that you’re already comfortable with, we’d love to work with them as well. It’s a great idea for us all to get together on the phone or in person, help us understand that lender’s pre-approval process, and get the right documentation. This way, we make an offer, and we get it accepted.

We would be happy to talk to you further about this subject and help you find (and secure!) just the right home for you and your family. Give us a call at (561) 571-2289 or email us at amyandnoreen@allaboutfloridahomes.com with questions or for assistance.

How do I make my offer stand out – and get the house under contract quickly?

Today we’re addressing a wonderful question we received from a social media follower who is planning to house hunt soon. She asked:

How do I make my offer stand out? How do I get the house under contract quickly?

I love this question. Of course, that is our job when we represent you, as the buyer. Finding the right home for you is only the beginning. Helping you make the right offer, getting it accepted with the right terms… and getting you to the closing table… those are the trickier parts – and the parts that we excel at, in all honesty!

So, how do we help you get that offer noticed, and accepted – in a difficult market for buyers?

1) We leverage our relationship with the listing agent. This makes a big difference. We’ve been doing this a long time in the same market, and we have a reputation and relationship with agents. They know we partner well with them to get the right deal for both parties… and to make the deal actually work – and it does make a difference.

Of course, we can help your offer stand out – based on many criteria, NOT simply based on an offer price. How?

2) With a deposit. The deposit tells a listing agent and a seller that you, the buyer, are serious about this. You’re willing to put money up, and that means you will see this through.

3) By offering a desirable closing timeframe. How quickly you can close may make a big difference to a seller, depending upon their situation.

4) By offering an inspection period that works for both sides. This means considering how long we want and need for inspections, and what the seller needs too.

 

There’s many factors of an offer – not just the dollar amount. We can work with you to write the proper offer to get this home that you want – at the right price – under the right terms.

So, we’d love the opportunity to sit down with you, help you find the right neighborhood, find the right home, get it under contract, and get you to the closing table – and then we have the opportunity to celebrate with you! Give us a call at (561) 571-2289 or email us at amyandnoreen@allaboutfloridahomes.com with questions or for assistance.

PALM BEACH COUNTY REAL ESTATE MARKET REPORTS – October 2018

We love this time of year! … Assisting buyers to get into new homes before December 31st for homestead…  Working with sellers to find new homes so the buyers can get in by December 31st… 😊 and of course, enjoying our beautiful Florida winters!

October 2018 provided our market with the second largest year over year growth! Our Palm Beach County marketplace continues to show robust price growth.  There is a however, a BUT…(isn’t there always?)

 

How this growth impacts you really depends on your price point.

 

Here’s what the numbers are telling us right now:

$300-400K market: This is a sellers’ market and does show a strong growth of prices. It will be interesting to see how this segment is impacted as mortgage rates rise in 2019.
(Sellers: important point here – NOW is the time to sell before a rate increase – and while it is still a sellers’ market!)

$400,000-999,999 market: This is now a balanced market.  

$1,000,000 and above:  This remains a buyers’ market – and then some! – with 17 months of inventory (this is a lot).  
So what does this mean? We still have many over-priced homes in the high- end market.  In October, “percent of list price” and “time to contract” were both longer than they were the same time last year!   

We are seeing sales at the high end (especially those listed by the All About Florida Homes team). But, sellers,  you need to be realistic on your price and compare to what has sold – not what is currently listed.  Homes can and are being sold – we are simply dealing with a shift in our market and reality is once again prevailing!

 

Contact us at (561) 571-2289 – or via amyandnoreen@allaboutfloridahomes.com – if we can provide you with any additional market data that will help inform your decisions! We are here to help – with no obligation.

 

PALM BEACH COUNTY REAL ESTATE MARKET REPORTS – September 2018

It’s hard to believe that it has been one year since hurricane Irma battered Florida. As you will recall, many areas were out of commission for several weeks after Irma. For this reason, when we look at September 2018 real estate stats and see what we can learn from them, the year over year results are somewhat skewed.   

So, rather than focusing on year over year, let’s simply talk about the inventory and our current market.  As you will recall from past months’ posts, we use inventory as one indicator of the market. 6-9 months of inventory means a balanced market Less than 6 months of inventory is considered a “seller’s market,” and more than 9 months indicates a “buyer’s market”.  

While, based on these benchmarks, most of our September 2018 results did not shift out of the defined market description since last month (for example, the 400-599K range is still a balanced market), each of the markets analyzed by us did go up by at least one month of additional inventory. So there is some evidence of a shift. Details:

  • The $300,000-399,000 range saw an increase from 4 to 5 months of inventory.  
  • The $400,000-599,000 range saw an increase from 6 to 8 months of inventory.
  • The $600,000-999,999 range saw and increase from 9 to 10 months on inventory.
  • AND, check this out: The $1,000,000+ market jumped from 16 months to 24 months of inventory – WOW!!!

What does this mean for the market? It means we are in a shift.  

Sellers: it IS going to take longer to sell your home. So, staging, curb appeal and price are critical components even just to get buyers through the door.   Choosing the right Realtor to sell your home is even more critical than in the past. The following skills and activities are all imperative to a successful strategy for selling your home:    

  • Ongoing marketing
  • Analysis and tweaking of that marketing strategy
  • Expert review and consideration of showing feedback

Luckily, these are our strengths. The All About Florida Homes team focuses on strategy. We are not afraid to look at the real numbers, and the real feedback. We know that it’s critical to continually analyze and be willing to pivot or double-down when needed.   

For this reason, we are also quite well-known for listing – and selling – homes that were previously on the market but didn’t sell. This is where our skills and experience shine, and we can help you, too!

Contact us at (561) 571-2289 – or via amyandnoreen@allaboutfloridahomes.com – if we can provide you with any additional market data that will help inform your decisions! We are here to help – with no obligation.

 

 

Mortgage FAQs: Video Series with one of our favorite experts!

Ann Griffith of Capital Mortgage Funding joined Amy and Noreen recently to discuss all things mortgages! The pendulum has finally swung, and the market is very different than it was ten years ago. If you’d like to know if you can qualify to buy – and what to expect from the process, watch on!

🎥 (If you find these helpful, please SUBSCRIBE to our channel while you’re there!)

In this video, Ann and Amy talk about how the mortgage market has finally normalized:

Next, Ann talks about something many of our buyers wonder about: What does the mortgage application process look like? (Ann consults the buyer to establish their goals. She helps them gather documents, and look at different types of loans might be a fit.) Watch to learn!

The next question: How much mortgage can I afford? … It’s important to determine in advance how much mortgage you can afford. Ann describes the process for coming to this number / her methods for helping buyers know.

Lastly, we are busting a myth! 🙂 We STILL often hear people ask: Do you still need 20% down to buy a home? (Spoiler alert: Not anymore! That’s old news. Today there are hundreds of great loan products on the market, and there is one that is a good fit for you.) Ann and her partner Ruby Teich help many of our clients find the right “mortgage fit.” Watch more here:

Thanks for watching! If you have questions about buying a home, our team is always here to offer you no-obligation advice!
Call us at (561) 571-2289.

What is Title Insurance – and Why Do You Need It?

Did you know that Amy Snook, one of our team’s leaders, is a licensed title agent?

Amy has more than 15 years of experience in the title business. So, she is uniquely poised to help our buyers and sellers navigate the closing process, and everything that leads up to this critical piece of the puzzle!

But, if you still don’t really “get” title insurance, what it is, and why you may need it… here’s a quick rundown for you:

Title insurance is a one time purchase. Factors like your contract, the county you are in and its norms will help determine who pays for it. It’s a fee you will see on the final closing statement.

It’s is an insurance (like the name says!). This policy is for life, and it insures that the people who are selling the home are legally able to sell you the home – that all mortgages, liens, judgements, encumbrances  that are attached to the property – are all paid off.

Why does this matter? It gives you the peace of mind that you legally have the right to own and enjoy that home, and that no one will come knocking one day and tell you you don’t!

Buyers sometimes ask “Do I have to have it?

… Do you legally have to have title insurance? The answer is no.. But as Realtors, we would never be involved in a transaction that doesn’t include it. Because, for the small one-time cost, you have peace of mind for life.

If you still have questions about title insurance, feel free to message us at amyandnoreen@allaboutfloridahomes.com or call us at (561) 571-2289.