Northwest Florida Real Estate and Community News

Oct. 28, 2019

Welcome to Our Newest Agent!

We're always excited to gain members for our team! Meet our newest addition, Morgan McCoy!

 

Morgan McCoy was born and raised in Jacksonville Fl and has lived up and down the east coast from New York to Miami. She spent four years living in Québec City where she studied French. She achieved her bachelor’s degree in French followed by her Masters’ in Business Administration from Jacksonville University. Her family has been in the real estate business for over 25 years, so she obtained her real estate license in 2005. Upon completion of her masters, she began her career at Chase Bank as a mortgage processor. With her knowledge, amazing customer service skills and contagious positive disposition, she was quickly promoted to a management position. Her mortgage expertise is a great asset for new home buyers, and she will gladly assist you, not only in your search for your dream home but also through your mortgage process ensuring a smooth transition from the initial contract to the closing table. She worked at Chase for 5 years but her love for real estate called her back to the business. She is an active member of the Pensacola Association of Realtors and is a great asset to our team. Morgan can’t wait to help our clients find, rent, buy and sell their homes in Pensacola and surrounding areas.

Oct. 3, 2019

Why Buying Property is a Good Investment

There are many reasons to invest in real estate. Today we’re going to share a few of the most prominent reasons to invest in your local market and buy a home in the Pensacola area. 

 

·         Gain an asset

 

o “This (is) the secret to building wealth – Buy Assets and Avoid Liabilities.” (https://retireby40.org) Why is real estate a good asset? Because the land will always have value. 

 

·         Building credit

 

o Buying a home can be great for building your credit! When you make your mortgage payments, that gets reported to the credit companies. This will increase your score as you pay on time and pay down your mortgage!

 

·         Cost to buy annually in most areas of Florida is less than renting

 

o The average cost to rent a 3 bed annually in Florida is $15,300, (https://www.rentdata.org/states/florida/2019) while the national average annual mortgage payment is $12,264 (For a 30-year mortgage.) (https://www.thebalance.com/average-monthly-mortgage-payment-4154282)

 

·         No breed restrictions on animals

 

o If you have a pet that has been classified as “aggressive” breed, you may have issues renting. Dogs such as Pitbulls and German Shepherds are not accepted by most rental companies due to insurance restrictions and liability for the landlord. Some homes will not accept any pets at all! Owning your home would allow you the freedom to determine what type and how many pets you would like to have rather than that being determined by the property restrictions. 

 

·         More privacy and no interruptions from landlords

 

o When renting a home, there are times when the property manager or landlord will conduct inspections, repairs, or other routine work. While it can be nice to have the maintenance done, it can’t always be on your schedule, and this often feels like an invasion of privacy.

 

·         Tax write-offs for interest and taxes

 

o The Florida Homestead Exemption can decrease the taxable value of your primary residence by $50,000. The main tax benefit of owning a house is that the imputed rental income homeowners receive is not taxed. Although that income is not taxed, homeowners still may deduct mortgage interest and property tax payments, as well as certain other expenses from their federal taxable income. Additionally, homeowners may exclude, up to a limit, the capital gain they realize from the sale of a home. (taxpolicycenter.org)

 

·         Build equity in your own home instead of someone else's 

 

o Cleaning, painting, lawn maintenance, and general upkeep can build equity in a home. Additionally paying off a mortgage also builds equity in a property. In many cases, rent payments are covering the property’s mortgage payment (plus some!). Why build up the equity of someone else’s property when you could build up your own?

 

·         Make improvements to the home that suit your own preferences

 

o Sometimes homes can be drastically improved and personalized by something simple like new flooring or painting. When you rent, it is up to the property owner to make these decisions but when you own you get to improve the home however you would like! Even larger things as well, such as building a shed or expanding a home are options when you own.

 

·         Take advantage of mortgage rates while they are low 

 

o The graph above shows just how low-interest rates are compared to historical rates. As long as you secure a fixed-rate mortgage, you will take advantage of historically low-interest rates even if interest rates are to raise in the future. Having a low-interest rate allows you to buy more home for a lesser payment.

 

·         More Stability- live in your home for as long as you want

 

o When you rent the property owner could decide to stop renting the property, sell it, move into the property, or drastically increase your rent! Protect yourself from unnecessary moves, and give yourself more stability and peace of mind by owning your home. When you own your property, you maintain control of your living situation instead of giving that control to others.

 

·         Create a better appreciation for the community, subdivision, and your home 

 

o The pride of homeownership is a real thing. It helps us take pride in our community as well and creates a new appreciation for it. Buying a home gives you an even stronger sense of being a part of something. 

 

If you’re ready to make the leap to home ownership, reach out to our sales team for advice and browse Pensacola real estate here.

 

Sept. 16, 2019

Preparing for Autumn

 

Autumn is by and far my favorite season. The weather is beautiful and there is so much going on all over our city! Here are some ways to get the most out of your autumn.

 

1. Clean the gutters

I know, I know, this is the WORST part of autumn. Nobody wants to get up there and clean out their gutters but I have a tip for you. If you clean your gutters out before fall and then install gutter guards, you've just reduced your work later and increased the value of your home!

 

2. Get a pumpkin

Getting a pumpkin is never just getting a pumpkin. It is a familial celebration of autumn. Most farms have tons of activities for the whole family! Check out this local treasure before you plan your next family outing https://www.sweetseasonfarms.com/. Their season begins September 28th!

 

3. Sip some apple cider

While everyone else gets caught up in the pumpkin spice everything, I am most excited about the apple cider. The smell, the taste, the apples, what's not to love? Check out this simple recipe that is both delicious to drink and will fill your home with fall fragrance https://addapinch.com/homemade-apple-cider-recipe/.

 

So join us in welcoming autumn this year! What is your favorite autumn tradition? 

Sept. 5, 2019

Aluminum Wiring and What it Means for Your Home

The History

In 1965 home builders were facing a new challenge. There was a shortage of copper throughout the US. Between decades of military usage, new coins using copper (instead of silver), and the advantages of aluminum; home builders were not using copper in the wiring of their homes. Homes built between 1965 and the early 1970s, were wired primarily using aluminum wiring. 

Aluminum Wiring Benefits

Aluminum wiring was lighter than that of the copper wiring. This and the scarcity of copper are what lead to it being used. That is it.

Aluminum Wiring Problems

Aluminum is not able to conduct electricity as efficiently nor as safely as copper. Aluminum’s conductivity, when compared to copper, is only 61%. In addition to the lesser conductivity, aluminum is 55% more likely to become a fire hazard. Aluminum wiring can overheat and produce sparks, which become a fire hazard. Finally, aluminum wiring can become dangerous when it rusts. When aluminum wiring rusts, it loses the ability to conduct electricity and can cause overheating. 

Impact on Homeowner’s Insurance

Many insurance companies will not insure a home with aluminum wiring. If you are buying or selling a home for cash, this may not be an immediate concern. However; if the buyer is securing a mortgage, the mortgage company will more than likely not grant funts without the homeowner’s insurance. 

Solutions 

Rewiring a home can range from $3,500-$8,000 for a 1,200sqft home to $15,000+ for a 3,000sqft home. The truth is, it will be expensive. What is great though is that the selling process is a negotiation. As a seller, I could increase my equity in the home by rewiring it and then putting it on the market with a markup for the new wiring. As a buyer, I could get the owner to replace the wiring and split the cost by raising the sales price proportionately. There are an infinite number of other possibilities when it comes to how to tackle the re-wiring of the home but these may be the two simplest methods. 

 

If you’re interested in buying or selling your home in the Pensacola area, reach out to our office. We would love to assist you. We can help you through the minefield of home buying and selling.

 

Aug. 28, 2019

Does it Need a New Roof?

If you're buying, selling, or investing there is one question that you will want to ask: Does it need a new roof? 

 

Since hurricane Ivan in 2004 home insurance in Florida has been totally changed. Insurance companies paid more than $6 Billion in insurance claims. To assist in the future, insurance companies now have more stringent restrictions on the homes they insure.

The current number one issue with homes is the age of the roof. If your roof has 5 years or less left on its life you may have issues getting your home insured.

 

Here are the general life spans of different types of rooves

  • Flat 10 years
  • Shingles 3 Tab 15 years
  • Shingles Architectural 20 years
  • Metal 30 years
  • Tile 30 years

When you are buying, selling, or investing the age of the roof can be a powerful negotiation tool. Additionally, even if you are not concerned about your roof, your mortgage company might be. Mortgage companies require that mortgagees have home owner's insurance. This is to best protect your investment and theirs. 

So before you by or sell, check on the age of the roof!

 

 

Aug. 22, 2019

I Just Bought My First Home! Now What?

Now What?

This is one of the most challenging questions that someone can ask themselves. Especially if you've just bought a home. 

Here are a few things that Realty Masters suggests you do after you bought a home!

Taxes

What?? You mean I just went through ALLLL that paperwork and now you want me to do my taxes?? 

Well, I guess you don't have to do them right now, but you'll want to make sure that when. Buying a home can come with some great tax writeoffs! Here is a link where you can learn more about it: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p530.pdf

Update Your Address

You wouldn't want to have your Amazon package sent to the wrong address! After you buy a new house remember to change your address with the USPS. If your new home has a keyed mailbox, that's even more of a reason to update your address! Here is an article we wrote to help you get that changed: https://pensacola-gulfbreezehomes.realgeeks.com/blog/how-get-keys-your-communitys-mailbox/

Find Your New Local Spot

Every community has a "spot", the place you go to hang out and enjoy. Pensacola has dozens of cafe, parks, book stores, and shops. go on an expedition to find your new Spot! Check out Google maps to see what is around you. (If you're in the Pensacola area, be sure to check out Wild Honey https://www.facebook.com/wildhoneyfroyo/)

 

Congratulations on your new home! We hope this helped you find your "now what"!

 

 

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 13, 2019

Benefits of Flipping A Property

Have you ever seen a property where the price was too good to be true? Do those properties just have one vague photo of the front yard? Does the property description read "motivated sellers"? Congratulations! You have just found a listing for a potential investment property. 

What are some physical characteristics of an investment property you intend to flip?

Every property is different with its own unique set of needs. Here are some common property issues with investment properties:

  1. Surface mold
  2. Dated kitchen appliances
  3. Outdated color schemes 
  4. Musty smells
  5. Water damage
  6. Uneven floors, counters, and shelving
  7. Personal belongings of the previous owner
  8. Accordion doors
  9. Wallpaper
  10. Leaking roof
  11. Roaches, termites, mice, or/and rats
  12. Plumbing issues
  13. About a million other things

So if there is so much to do in a property why should I invest in flipping it?

Properties don't have problems so much as they have challenges. Each challenge takes a unique and creative mind to tackle it. There is a type of conquering feeling about overcoming each obstacle these homes can throw at you. In addition to the feeling of satisfaction from the flipping process, you will also get to personalize the home. 

Personalizing the home is so much more than choosing paint and flooring (although that is fun!). This is an opportunity to knock out a wall here or to put a window there. Everyone has those little things they wish they could do to improve the layout of a home, this is your opportunity.

Finally, the return on your investment. When you flip a property you have several options. You may love it so much you want to live there yourself. You may want to rent out their property for the additional monthly income. Or you may want to sell the property for a profit. 

Whether you are looking to invest in your fiftieth or your first investment property let us help you find the perfect house! And when you're ready to sell or rent out the property give us a call and we'll work hard to help you capitalize on your investment. 

What is your investment story? Let us know in the comments!

 

Aug. 8, 2019

Top Three Tips To Stage Your Home

The Competition

If you're selling your home, you're in a competition. The competition is between the home you're selling and all the other homes on the market. So what will make your home stand out? Things like location and floorplan of the home will be important to buyers, if your home meets those needs then you just need to show them how. 

The Opportunity

Staging a home is an opportunity to show people what the home could look and feel like if they lived there. Here are my top three tips for staging.

1. Pack any personal items and clutter

Family photos, your kid's art projects, those magazines you like; pack them all. A major part of selling any home is making the buyer see it as their home. It is hard to see something as yours when it is clearly someone else's.

2. Re-arrange the furniture

Minimalism is the key. If you have bulky furniture you can do without, a tv you can put in storage, or anything that would open up space, you'll want to put it away. The fewer things filling an area, the larger it will feel. Additionally, this is another way for someone to be able to figure out how they would fill the space with their belongings.

3. Bake some cookies

Finally, my favorite staging technique. Bake some cookies right before the showing. This will have two effects, your home will smell warm and inviting and you'll have a nice treat to welcome potential buyers. You would be amazed at the effectiveness of some chocolate chip cookies!

So pack up, tidy up, and bake your way to the sale of your house.

What are your favorite staging tricks? Let us know in the comments! 

July 26, 2019

Big Changes Headed to Pensacola

 

If you are at all like us, you love to shop and you love a good deal. That is why we're so excited about the two newest stores coming to Pensacola!

 

BJ's Wholesale

Have you ever wanted a store that has everything and has it in bulk? That is what BJ's is. It is a fantastic warehouse filled with books, food, electronics, movies, kayaks, and all sorts of supplies! Are you looking to get 10 boxes of browny mix and the latest flic? BJ's is where you'll want to be.

This is a club store much like Sam's Club, membership starts at $55 a year. 

The new BJ's will be located in University Plaza, replacing where the Sears used to stand.

 

Check out their website! https://www.bjs.com/

 

Five Below

This may be one of our favorite stores (especially with all the college students in town). This store is fantastic for decorating your home, getting essentials for a party, school supplies, birthday gifts, and more! 

This store will be located on Airport by the Marshalls and opening this Fall to accommodate all your trinket needs!

Check out their website! https://www.fivebelow.com/

We look forward to having these additions to our community! We're excited about the jobs it will create and the positive economic growth that it signifies. These companies are choosing to invest in Pensacola, how about you? 

 

 

July 17, 2019

Ready for Move-In!

As a buyer, move-in ready is a subjective term. Recently Realtor.com did an article called "What ‘Move-In Ready’ Really Means" One major thing that we can learn by looking at the results of this survey is that move-in ready means different things to different people. It goes along the lines of "one man's trash..." 

So what should you look for in a move-in ready home?

1. Updated appliances

When looking for a ready home, appliances can be very important. You will want to see what appliances the seller will be leaving and how old they are. Additionally, seeing if the property will have a washer and dryer staying in it would assist in it being considered ready. 

2. Professional Cleaning

There is nothing worse than moving into your new home and finding that there are signs of the previous owner everywhere. Hair, dust, dirt, and grime. While searching for a home ask if the seller will have the home professionally cleaned. 

3. Completed Maintenance 

Finally, you'll want to make sure that the home has all in-progress maintenance completed. This could be as simple as making sure that all patchwork and minor repairs are completed.

A major misconception is that a property is not move-in ready without new carpet and painting. The truth is with a little skilled patching, paint can look good as new and carpet generally has an 8-year life. With proper care, the home may be ready without these costly updates. 

Let us know what is most important to you in a move-in ready home in the comments!

 

 

Posted in Buying a Home