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Selling My Home in Delray – How do I know if a buyer is qualified?

A fan of our Facebook page recently submitted this question:

When a buyer makes an offer on my home, what should we be looking at to make sure they’re qualified and will be able to close on their offer?

When we are your listing agents, we are always keeping this issue in mind, at every step in the process!

 

  1. Before the showing.

When an agent contacts us to arrange a showing, we start by screening the buyer on on a few things. We ask: What is the buyer looking for? Is the agent familiar with the community, and the home? Is the buyer pre-qualified? We ask these types of questions to begin to understand the buyer, their qualifications, and their motivation.

 

  1. At the showing.

One of the reasons that we accompany all of our showings is because it’s another important opportunity to get a sense of the potential buyer. When onsite, we can get a feel for the buyer first-hand. We look for cues and clues to indicate their mindset. Are they asking the right questions? (Like, how old is the roof, the air conditioning? What does the community have to offer?)

One of the fun things to watch as we are touring through the house is whether they’re envisioning where the furniture’s going to go. That’s an example of a great buying sign. So, we are getting an idea if they are qualified to purchase this home, and if they are actually envisioning themselves being in this home.

 

  1. When we get an offer.

Of course, this is a thrilling part, but where do we go from there? It’s really important that if we take your property off-market, because he have an offer, that it’s actually going to close. If it’s a cash offer, we make sure that they have clear funds. How? We ask for statements that show that they have the funds. And probably most importantly, we look to see that that statement is in the name of the buyer on the contract.

(If it’s in an LLC, if it’s a company buying it, then guess what? Those funds need to be in the name of the LLC or the corporation. That’s crucial!)  

If there will be a mortgage, we look at the pre-qualification letter. One pre-qualification letter is not the same as another… What did that mortgage broker or lender do to pre-qualify the client? Did they pull credit? Did they look at their assets, liabilities, and so forth? We analyze this carefully at this stage. We often pick up the phone and have a conversation with the mortgage broker to make sure that we have a sense that they can buy this home.

(It helps that we’ve been in business so long and we know so many people in the market! So when I see a mortgage broker or lender whose name I know, it’s an easy conversation to have.)

 

Our goal, besides just to get offers on your home, is to get an offer to the closing table and make it a positive experience for all the parties. Making sure that the buyer is qualified to buy your home is important at every step. We do NOT want surprises!

So whether it’s on the front-end or after you get an offer, we work together to make sure we get you to the closing table.



If selling may be in your future – or you’re just curious about what your home is worth today – you can request a no-obligation home value assessment here. 

Questions? Call us – Amy and Noreen, All About Florida Homes, Keller Williams Realty –  at (561) 571-2289. We’d love an opportunity to discuss your home selling goals.

PALM BEACH COUNTY REAL ESTATE MARKET REPORTS – January 2019

January 2019 figures have been released, and WOW!… What a difference in the real estate market stats, as we start out 2019.    

We saw a tremendous jump in inventory, which has significantly increased our supply of homes – and changed the dynamics of the market. It’s official, we are predominately a buyer’s market.    

There is a good trend here.  Sellers, you may not love the shift, but in the long run it is the best thing for our economy – and for all of us in South Florida.    

With inventory rising and closed sales down for the second month in a row, there are many more choices for buyers. The over-abundance of over-priced homes may be impacting the sales growth that our stats show.

Prices are starting to level out – and many agents are finally coming to the realization (we have been telling everyone for months! 😉) that they need to adjust their prices to more realistic numbers – so that we can start moving properties again in Palm Beach County.

Several of our clients have asked why closed sales in January are down, in terms of the year-over-year figures. (We have the savviest clients!) Our thoughts, which are also supported by economists reports from Florida Realtors, are that this is due to mortgage interest rates, stock market volatility and the temporary government shut down. All of these occurrences may have impacted our January closed sales. Quite frankly, consumers were focused elsewhere – and with many homes over-priced – they decided to wait!     

All of that said, we guarantee that if you price right, and your listing agent markets your home the right way (versus simply putting it in MLS and praying), then your home will sell. The All About Florida Homes Team put six homes under contract in January – it can be done!

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.

Buying a home in Boca. When do we need a real estate appraisal?

We got this great question from someone we met recently at a networking function.

We’re going to buy a condo in Boca. When do we need a real estate appraisal? 

Here’s the low-down!

If you are a buyer getting a mortgage, your lender is going to require an appraisal. The lender will order the appraisal.

Either the listing agent, or the buyer’s agent (or both, but at the very least one) needs to meet the appraiser at the property for the appraisal appointment. It’s important that someone knowledgeable be there to answer questions and point out the features.

If the appraiser is open to it, the Realtor can also talk about comps (comparable sales) and help the appraiser understand the current market area. Some appraisers come from out of area, so that last item is rather important.

Based upon the appraisal results, we will help you to know if your offer or your price needs to be changed or adjusted.

If you’re a buyer paying cash, you are not required to have an appraisal, but you can choose to get an appraisal. Why would you want to do that? To protect yourself on the value of the home. Realtors of the All About Florida Homes Team pride ourselves on the fact that we do in-depth competitive market analyses. So you can feel confident that you are getting a good value, and you don’t necessarily need an appraisal – but you’re still welcome to get one. Some of our clients do, and we support that decision.

We work with our cash buyers to help you determine if getting an appraisal is right for you. When the answer is yes, we walk you through each step of the process.

For our sellers, there are times when we recommend doing an appraisal for a listing. Perhaps the homes’s area or market may indicate a lot of variance between recent sold properties. Or, it might be new construction in an area where there isn’t a lot of new construction. In cases such as those, we may recommend an appraisal to avoid surprises. But whether you’re selling or buying, this is a strategic decision, and we would sit down and work together to come up with our plan based on your individual needs and situation.

Questions? Call us – Amy and Noreen, All About Florida Homes, Keller Williams Realty –  at (561) 571-2289. We’d love an opportunity to discuss your home selling or home buying goals.

And, we have some great resources here for you, too! If you’re interested in buying – now or in the future – you can search listings here – and start to familiarize yourself with the buying process and the market.

If selling may be in your future – or you’re just curious about what your home is worth today – you can request a no-obligation home value assessment here. 

Or, 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!

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.

 

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!

 

If you’re interested in buying – now or in the future – you can search listings here – and start to familiarize yourself with the buying process and the market.

If selling may be in your future – or you’re just curious about what your home is worth today – you can request a no-obligation home value assessment here. 

Or, 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!

 

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.

 

 

How We Can Help with Real Estate Transactions that Involve Probate

How does the All About Florida Homes team tailor our approach when your transaction involves probate?

– We are highly experienced agents and can create a strategy to get the property sold in the shortest time for the highest price using our proven system.

(Note: Amy has 15+ years experience as a title agent – this sets her up with unique skills in handling these types of transactions for our clients.)

– We perform a market analysis and work with the Personal Representative and the Heirs to determine the appropriate list price and strategy: Do you need to dispose of the property quickly? Do you need to maximize the selling price to provide the greatest cash benefit to the heirs?

– We have a database of clients/buyers who are always looking for new properties in Palm Beach County. We also market our listings online for maximum exposure to potential buyers worldwide.

– We personally show the property to potential buyers and/or their agents

– We present the offers and work with the Personal Representative and heirs to negotiate the contract and ensure the process adheres to the court-determined timeline.

Let us know if we can help you – or someone you know.

You can request a no-obligation home value assessment here.

And, to learn more about how probate affects property, check out our Probate Resource page here! 

Guest Blog: Pros +Cons of Stamped Concrete for Pool Decks

The following is a guest blog post, written by Bill Michaels of Patterned Concrete. We were curious about this cool product, and wanted to share his info. He agreed to write about both the pros and the cons of the product, so our readers can get a balanced picture!  – Noreen and Amy

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Florida weather lends itself to relaxing in the pool. But you want a great environment around that cool water, too, right? The pool for most of us is another area of the house that should be designed with beauty in mind. A key part of that is the surface we walk on. It has to be beautiful but also safe and durable. And stamped concrete is a great option that meets all of those criteria.

What is Stamped Concrete?

Stamped concrete is real concrete but the surface is colored and “stamped” with a design to make it appear to be another surface. It can look like brick, natural stone, pavers or even wood. 

You’ve probably seen stamped concrete without even realizing it because it looks so realistic. As concrete, it’s reasonably priced and holds up well. But it goes beyond the normally drab appearance of concrete to create a work of art. And it can be designed for almost any look you’re trying to achieve, from hand-hewn stone to wood.

Versatility of Stamped Concrete for Pool Decks

You want your pool area to reflect a certain mood or theme. It may continue the architecture of your house, or it may be a totally different concept. Perhaps you’d like to divide your yard into different sections, even. You may have an outdoor kitchen, the pool itself, and perhaps a walkway through the garden. And you may want each to be distinct.

One of the great things about stamped concrete is that it can be used to create the surface for all these areas. Your contractor simply colors the concrete differently and stamps it for the effect you want.

Want a paver walkway? No problem. Cobblestone kitchen floor? Easy. Wood panels for the pool deck? You got it. And your visitors can hardly tell that it’s not “the real thing” until they’re on top of it and really paying attention.

A pool deck, in particular, has to be a reliable, safe material where you’re free to walk barefoot and enjoy the warm Florida sun. Its appearance has to hold up over time and contribute to the overall atmosphere. Stamped concrete fits the bill.

Advantages of Stamped Concrete Compared to Other Surfaces

Why would you choose this option compared to others? There are several reasons.

Stamped concrete provides significant durability. It’s concrete, after all. It holds up well under the sun and rain. It’s a surface that going to serve you well for a long time.

It’s also easy to maintain. Regular maintenance just involves basic cleaning – just sweep it off. You can choose to power wash it if you want, and even use a mild liquid detergent on it as needed. The biggest step you’ll need to take is having the surface resealed every two to three years; this helps seal in the color and keep it vibrant. Your contractor would be glad to do this for you and it’s extremely inexpensive to have done.

As we mentioned above, stamped concrete also provides a great deal of flexibility. There are so many designs available and more are developed all the time.

Another advantage is the price. Stamped concrete is competitive with other surface materials in price, and is a good bit cheaper than some types. Combined with the low-maintenance aspect, you’ll come out ahead economically.

Worried about burning your toes? Concrete reflects a lot more heat than brick or tile. As always, lighter colors are cooler, but the concrete itself stays cooler as well. Overall, it’s a more comfortable surface to work on in the heat.

You can also avoid some of the pitfalls of other materials. Natural stone or pavers can be uneven from the start. They become worse as they settle. Wood can, of course, splinter. But you avoid those problems with stamped concrete. You don’t want to trip, stub your toe, or have to pull a splinter out of your foot. With stamped concrete, you won’t have those issues.

Pool Safety and Stamped Concrete

Pool safety is always important and many factors have to be taken into account to keep everyone safe. That includes the safety of the surface around it.

Since you’re dealing with a surface that’s usually wet, it’s important to do what’s necessary to reduce the risk of slips and falls. Since stamped concrete has a seal on it to protect its appearance, it can be slippery. However, an anti-slip agent mixed in the sealant helps keep you safe.

This mix is a normal part of the installation. But it’s always good to ask your contractor about this and other steps that might help you stay safe.

Are There Any Drawbacks?

Nothing is perfect, and we do want to present the reality as well. The advantages are far greater than the disadvantages, but here are some things you’ll have to deal with.

First, concrete cracks. There’s no way to avoid that. That doesn’t mean it’s going to fall apart, but at some point you’ll see points where the concrete does split. However, your contractor knows how to lay the concrete so that usually it will concrete in the best spaces. In other words, the cracks will be in places that least affect the usability and appearance of the surface.

Also, there may be some issues with saltwater pools and stamped concrete. There are still divided opinions among professionals about the presence and seriousness of the issue. But in some cases, it seems that the salt has worn through the sealant. Also, the salt seems to find its way into cracks in the concrete, which can cause the concrete to flake.

Usually this problem with salt happens where there’s a lot of salt dropping – for instance, where people climb out of the pool. It’s only in those spots where excessive salt accumulates that there’s an issue. Again, the jury’s still out on this, but it is something to ask your contractor about.  They may recommend a different type of sealant. Also, it’s a good idea to hose down the deck anyway after use.

Conclusion

Stamped concrete offers a chance to make your pool deck look great for a reasonable cost. It is both beautiful and durable, so you know it’s going to be a great benefit to your yard for a long time. There are tons of great designs and colors to go for, too!

About the Author

Bill Michaels works for Patterned Concrete as a media outreach specialist. The company is an expert and pioneer in stamped concrete since 1972. It has grown from its Toronto-area roots to have franchises across North America.

Why We Invest in Pro Photos for Our Real Estate Listings

 

Why does the All About Florida Homes Team invest in professional real estate photography? 

The answer is simple. We are professional real estate marketers. We understand how buyers search for homes. We are on top of trends in real estate and we put all the best practices to work for our sellers

Consider the following impactful stats: 

  • 90% of buyers start their home searches online. (National Association of Realtors)
  • Buyers spend 60% of their time looking at listing photos, 20% on the listing description and 20% on the agent description. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Homes with professional photos get 61% more views online. (Redfin)
  • Listings with professional photographs sell 32% faster, spending only 89 days on the market compared to 123 for other homes. (PR Newswire)
  • According to MLS statistics, properties photographed by drones (aerial images) sold 68% faster. (RIS Media) 

Take a look at the two photos below. It’s hard to believe they are of the same home, right? Photo 1 was taken by one of our team members. It’s a good amateur shot, but it’s nothing like the professional photo (Photo 2) of the same home (courtesy of Picture It Sold Photography, our go-to vendor for photographing our listings in Palm Beach County). 

Now you understand a little about the buyer’s online home shopping experience – and about how pro photos help us sell homes faster and for higher prices. So, which photo would you want your Realtor to use to market your home? 

Call us today at 561-571-2289 (or contact us here) if you’d like to lear more about how we will market your home if you list with us!