Treasure Coast Real Estate Blog

Oct. 17, 2019

Get Your Home's Accurate Value

Automated Home Values

There are many sites that you can use to get your home’s value, but unfortunately, they’re not as accurate as you may think. Automated values are a good starting point but...

Home ValuesGetting your home’s value from a robot or an algorithm is fine but a more in-depth analysis by an experienced human is essential if you really want to know your home’s potential on the market.

How is our estimate different from a Zestimate and other online services? Instead of a robot and an algorithm, we use our experience and up-to-date MLS data. A human being will prepare your report, and due to that, it won't be "instant," but it will be accurate. So to get your home's accurate value click on the link below.

Home Valuation

 

Eric Slifkin, a Broker Associate, is the founder of the Slifkin Team at Keller Williams Realty. Eric and his team of experienced agents serve South Florida and the Treasure Coast, including  Stuart, Port Saint Lucie, and the Palm Beaches.

 

 

Oct. 4, 2019

How Long You Should Live In Your Home Before You Sell It

Whether you just moved in or have lived in your home for 50 years, it's common to wonder how long you should stay in your home before you sell it. According to the National Association of Realtors®, ten years is the average amount of time that a homeowner will stay in their home before deciding to sell it.

If you're under ten years and itching to sell, many experts say you should follow the “five-year rule” and stay in the same home for at least five years before selling.

Five years may sound like a long time, and you may think you are ready to sell now, but before you make any rash decisions, we put together a few of the essential factors that of which should be aware.

Your Mortgage

One of the first and foremost factors you must consider when you decide to sell your home is your mortgage payment. If you want to make money when you sell your home, then your sale price must be higher than what’s left of your mortgage. When you first buy your home and begin to pay your mortgage, the first few years will go towards interest rather than the principal amount. Typically this means that it’s more challenging to make money off your sale under five years. However, if you put a larger downpayment on your house, then your interest rate and mortgage will probably be lower, making it possible to make money in a shorter amount of time.

Equity

Building home equity is essential. You’ll want to have a lot of equity built up when you decide to sell. The amount of home equity you’ve obtained depends on any remodeling or renovations you’ve made, as well as your mortgage. If the home you bought was already in tip-top shape, then it may be difficult to build equity. If you’ve remodeled the kitchen, bathroom, redone the flooring, or made other renovations around the house, then you have most likely gained home equity. You can also increase your home equity by paying off more of the principal on your mortgage.

Market Conditions

One of the more common reasons you’re eager to sell your home is to make money on your property. There are a few things to look out for when deciding if it’s a seller's market and whether or not it's time to make your move. If you notice the price per square foot in your area is increasing, the chances are that homes stay on the market for a shorter time. You should also take note of houses near you that are selling. It might seem time-consuming, but don't worry! We always keep track of recent home sales in the area and can send you over an up-to-date market report.

Request A Market Report

We have exclusive access to past sales close to your home, and we know the current market.Home Value

You're Out Of Space

Maybe this was the first house you bought when you were expecting your first child, and there were only three of you, but now, with three kids and two dogs, there isn't much space. Although it may be sad to move out of the home where you started your family, the happiness of your family may be higher than the cost of selling your home and buying a new one. Other life situations like divorce, illness, or even the need to downsize may also lead you to sell sooner than you originally planned.

Capital Gains Tax

If you don’t qualify to avoid paying capital gains taxes on the sale of your home, you may not want to sell your house yet. To avoid capital gains taxes, you should make an effort to stay in your home for at least two to five years. Making a sale before two years could be a huge mistake, and could ultimately leave you without much equity, especially if you have to pay capital gains tax.

Closing Costs

Closing costs are often overlooked but play an essential part when it comes to selling your home. On average, real estate agents have a commission rate of 6% when you sell your home. You are also likely to pay a closing cost when buying a home, which can be between 3%-6% of the purchase price of the home. Keeping closing costs in mind before you sell allows you to budget this into your expenses and avoid surprises when it comes to closing.

So, Is It Time To Sell?

If you've already considered these factors and decided that it's time to sell, take the first step, and get your home's value. If not, no worries! We're here for you when you're ready.

 

Eric Slifkin, a Broker Associate, is the founder of the Slifkin Team at Keller Williams Realty. Eric and his team of experienced agents serve South Florida and the Treasure Coast, including  Stuart, Port Saint Lucie, and the Palm Beaches.

 

 

Posted in Home Selling
Sept. 8, 2019

5 Things You’ll Wish You Knew Before Buying Your First Home

We know that the home buying process is daunting, and it might seem like you have a million tasks on your plate. Everyone is giving you advice, but where should you spend your time? We asked a recent first-time homebuyer what she wishes she knew before she bought her home. Here are the five pieces of advice she thought were worth sharing.

Take Your Time With Mortgage Lenders

It’s no easy decision when debating over the many home lender options. First-time home buyers typically do the research themselves or use a loan officer, often referred by their real estate agent. Whichever route you decide works best for you, don’t be too hasty. Reading the fine print of every offer you receive is a must.

If you take the time to consider various lenders, you may find yourself in a position to negotiate the terms of your mortgage. A primary first-time buyer consideration is that of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). If your down payment is less than 20% of the home sale price, then there is a very high chance most lenders will require a monthly PMI fee. By taking the time to shop around, you may have the opportunity to arrange a more favorable long-term agreement.

Pro tip: you can quickly compare different rates and lenders using Bankrate.com

Another type of loan to look out for are loans that recast. A recast loan means that your interest rate and loan term remain the same, but your monthly mortgage payment is reduced to reflect your actual current loan balance. Typically with these types of loans, lenders need an additional lump sum payment for recasting to work.

Everyone’s situation is unique. There are pros and cons to every loan. We aren’t financial advisors, and you should always supplement our advice with a professional.

Budget For Unexpected Costs

While this may sound obvious, plenty of first-time buyers do not fully comprehend the amount of money they must spend before getting the keys to their future homes. While it’s essential to determine your future mortgage allowances, it is equally imperative to save an emergency fund. If your current living situation does not allow a month-to-month lease agreement or you find the home you can’t live without before your planned moving timeline, you will need a financial buffer. More often than not, buyers find themselves stuck between their current living expenses and those of their new mortgage agreement. Moving costs and the possible use of a storage facility can become very costly, even over a relatively short period. Buyers will also be responsible for paying all inspection fees for each home they intend to make an offer. For direction on how much to set aside for these extra costs, speak with an experienced local real estate agent.

There Is No Such Thing As The “Perfect Home”

According to real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, “Buyers decide in the first eight seconds of seeing a home if they’re interested in buying it.” While following your gut is important, too often new buyers tend to make rash judgments. Before starting your home search, brainstorm a very detailed list of deal-breakers. Is having a large yard a must? Are you only interested in homes with updated interior features? Do you require a minimum of 4 bedrooms and two bathrooms? Now narrow that list of must-haves down to the essential 3-4 items, which may take some serious flexibility. If you have the time and freedom to look at every available option, do it. We know this sounds daunting, but your earlier expectations may change during the house hunt. Sometimes it’s tough to find the home that has everything you ever dreamed of -- in the ideal price point -- in the perfect area of town.

It might be impossible to find a home that checks off all of the boxes upfront. But as time goes on, you can check the rest of the boxes off.

Always Consider Return On Investment

It’s relatively easy to factor which type of home and location suits your current lifestyle needs. A townhouse or an apartment may offer a cheaper mortgage upfront- it might even be within walking distance to your favorite coffee shop or gym! While these are all things to consider, do not lose sight of the long-term investment. If and when you decide to rent or sell your first home, it is an invaluable to consider your future buyer. One key factor to consider is the area’s school district. Would your home be attractive to a family? If the answer is yes, there is a good chance you’ll have a more successful selling experience when the time comes.

Pay Close Attention To The Home Inspection

Once you’ve chosen the home you want to make an offer on, and the seller has agreed to terms, you will need to hire a licensed home inspector (or sometimes multiple home inspectors) to evaluate the home's condition. Keep this in mind: no home, no matter the age, is in perfect condition.

A good inspector will point out all the issues about the four main inspection points: HVAC, electrical wiring/panels, plumbing, and roofing. These four areas of concern will directly affect your home insurance coverage and more costly short and long-term repairs. The status of the inspection report will also play a role in the negotiation process between the buyer and seller. An experienced realtor will know exactly how to advise your next steps.

While we cannot highlight every scenario here, we are happy to answer any questions you have during your home buying experience. We even have a well-rounded list of vendors if you need a referral.

 

Contact Us to schedule a free consultation. Whether buying or selling a home, we are always happy to meet with you to discuss your wants and needs, no obligation.

 

Eric Slifkin, a Broker Associate, is the founder of the Slifkin Team at Keller Williams Realty. Eric and his team of experienced agents serve South Florida and the Treasure Coast, including  Stuart, Port Saint Lucie, and the Palm Beaches.

 

Aug. 30, 2019

Discover the Basque Vineyard, BC

Now Available: The Basque Vineyard in British Columbia

An Opportunity to Create and Develop the Winery of Your Dreams

About

The Basque Vineyard, BC is a stunning 12.23-acre property located on the beautiful sloping hillsides of the Basque region section of the South Caribou overlooking the majestic Thompson River Valley. Its southern exposure, sunny arid climate and gently slopping hills makes it a more fertile environment for grape cultivation than the wine country in Spain and France. The potential of this area is limitless.

Overview

Located south of Ashcroft, a 20-minute drive from the downtown area, this once-thriving vineyard produced Grapes used by summer lands: Sumac Ridge Estate winery in 1982. With well-draining sandy loam soil and south-facing windswept slopes and a newly installed water system for irrigation plus a distribution center that has a purification system for drinking and domestic consumption, these are the perfect accompaniments to establish a successful vineyard.

Basques Vineyard Topography

Improvements

The water pump connects to the water distribution center then up to the highest point of the slope which is prepared to supply gravity-fed irrigation to the whole property (all this without disturbing the topsoil).

In addition to the magnificent landscape and Thompson river views, there is a 1200 square foot 2 bedroom one bath rancher, that boasts Italian ceramic tile flooring, open floor plan, laundry room, sunroom, and Jacuzzi bathtub. As well as a cozy fireplace to warm up to on those crisp autumn evenings where you can sit and enjoy the views.

Basque Vineyard BC

Possibilities

The potential to develop your winery can be effortless; the current owner has had numerous studies completed, from soil suitability, establishing a drip irrigation system as well as consulting with experts to determine which strains of Grapes would do the best with the properties conditions.

The ability to expand your vineyard is also a possibility as the adjacent 31.01-acre property is negotiable. Basque Vineyard BC, Inc. (the managing company of both properties) is also for sale should the buyer needs to acquire it for immigration purposes. Let your imagination run and create the winery of your dreams!

Renderings

Download the Vasque Vineyards Site Plan

Basque Vineyard BC, Inc.

 

Contact Us to learn more about this property. Whether buying or selling a home, we are always happy to discuss your wants and needs, no obligation.

 

Eric Slifkin, a Broker Associate, is the founder of the Slifkin Team at Keller Williams Realty. Eric and his team of experienced agents serve South Florida and the Treasure Coast, including  Stuart, Port Saint Lucie, and the Palm Beaches.

 

Posted in News
Aug. 17, 2019

Waterfront and Club Community Rental Restrictions

Do Rental Restrictions Benefit Your Community?

By Eric Slifkin, Realtor, CLHMS, CRS, ABR

Prohibitive Rental Policies Can Cause Problems Among Owners Who Need to Sell

Home Owners Association rules (otherwise known as the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions or CC&Rs) typically include rules governing rentals within the community. Some HOA's have few restrictions, but others may have strict limitations or not allow rentals at all

While limiting rentals benefits the community, short-term and Air BNB rentals often reflected in the prohibitive language of those policies causes problems and concern among owners who need to sell in a challenging market. That said, addressing transient rentals separately from traditional annual or seasonal leasing offers owners more options when the time comes to sell their home.

  1. In our area, the demographics of renters and their guests attracted to Martin County upscale waterfront or club communities will pay $21,000 or more for a three-month seasonal rental. They often end up purchasing in that community. These renters and buyers help to keep homes off the for-sale market, which limits inventory and maintains property values
  2. In soft markets, sellers have options other than having to sell at a distressed price. Rental options allow the owner to keep their home and wait for a better market.
  3. The residents of most high-end communities tend to be older. Sudden unexpected reasons why homes need to sell are more common. Owners that plan to leave their homes to relatives are often disappointed because without the option of renting family members are often forced to sell at a distressed price.
  4. Purchasing vs. renting a second home is expensive even for buyers financially sound, considering tax’s, HOA fees, insurance, and general maintenance.

We have never lost a sale in a community that limits rentals. But we've lost quite a few sales in those subdivisions that either had aggressive Air BNB or no leasing at all policies.

What Buyers Should Ask When Considering an HOA

Joining a Home Owners Association? Know What Questions to Ask.

An HOA or Homeowner Association is a legal entity created to manage and maintain the common areas of a community. These "common areas" may consist of things like pools, clubhouses, landscaping, parks, streets, and roads.

HOAs are typically set up with a set of rules called "Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions" otherwise known as "CC&Rs." One of the primary functions of the HOA is to enforce and ensure that these "CC&Rs" are adhered to by the individual homeowners.

Here is a helpful list of questions to ask if you are buying a house or condo that is governed by an HOA:

  1. How much are the dues and what is the history of increases?
  2. Is building insurance included?
  3. What are the specifics of the insurance and what insurance will you be required to carry (if any)?
  4. Are there HOA budget reserves for repairs? Also, look at maintenance contracts like landscaping, security, etc.
  5. Do they look reasonable to you? Is one of the HOA members also one of the contractors?
  6. If you haven’t already—find out how much the transfer fees and capital reserve requirements are when you close and negotiate to have the seller pay for them (unless you have already agreed otherwise).
  7. Find out how many units are owner-occupied versus rented out. The HOA will know this. If it’s higher than about 10 percent rentals, you may want to consider that in your purchase decision.
  8. Check out the HOA's rental policies. As previously stated, the time may come when you may need or want to rent it out.
  9. Find out the current status of all the membership dues. How many units are in the HOA and of that, how many are past due and by how much? Try to obtain the minutes from the previous year's HOA meetings. Read them to see what they discuss, which will tell you how picky they are and what type of violations spur actions against residents.

Looking to Buy a Waterfront or Luxury Property?

Little Known South Florida Waterfront and High-End Values

When purchasing Florida waterfront real estate, the golden rule has not changed. Buyers determine value based on location, location, location, and the scarcity of inventory. Waterfront homes that offer a wide-water view, beach access, breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and an island lifestyle is rapidly becoming irreplaceable.

Our team has been prolific Stuart, Florida based Realtors since 2003, marketing and selling properties along the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach real estate corridors. We specialize in high-end Martin County club communities, waterfront communities, and second-home communities.

For buyers looking to purchase a Florida waterfront home where properties remain undervalued, and in short supply, we STRONGLY believe Martin County’s Hutchinson Island. Unlike neighboring Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach Counties, Martin County still has gated waterfront homes with wide-water views, backyard docks, and private beach access for under $500 per square foot.

 

Contact Us to schedule a free consultation. Whether buying or selling a home, we are always happy to meet with you to discuss your wants and needs, no obligation.

 

Eric Slifkin, a Broker Associate, is the founder of the Slifkin Team at Keller Williams Realty. Eric and his team of experienced agents serve South Florida and the Treasure Coast, including  Stuart, Port Saint Lucie, and the Palm Beaches.

 

Posted in FAQ's, Home Ownership
July 19, 2019

Is Buying A Home Right Now A Mistake?

Thinking of buying a home this year? Our latest article addresses every “What if?” so you’ll know if you’re making the right decision.

Is Buying A Home Right Now A Mistake?

When you see all those “for sale” signs pop up in your neighborhood — and then see them change to “under contract” shortly afterward — it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out if you’re not buying a home this summer. So, you run the numbers, spend nights scrolling through listings, and start to imagine your new life in your dream home.

There’s just one thing: you may not be ready to buy a home right now. While most real estate agents point to a hot market (and still low-interest rates) as an excellent reason to start making offers, more factors go into this big life decision. The real estate agents that automatically tell you that NOW is the right time to buy a home can’t know that without knowing the specifics of your situation.

Before going down a long and stressful journey, let's go through some scenarios that might help you decide if it's the right or the wrong time for you to buy a home

You have to get very creative to afford a down payment.

Let’s face it: Saving enough for a 20% down payment on a home can be a daunting challenge. While many loans allow for lower down payments, these also often come with “hidden expenses” that add to your monthly mortgage costs such as private mortgage insurance (PMI) or higher interest rates. While every homeowner-to-be anticipates making sacrifices to afford their home, you don’t want to be in a position where affording your monthly mortgage payment requires serious hardship.

Also, your monthly mortgage payment isn’t the only expensive line item in your budget: you’ll need to be able to afford maintenance, furniture, and emergency repairs big and small.

Your friends are all buying homes, and you feel left out.

This one is big. When everyone else is buying new places, it’s easy to fall down the spiral of judging yourself because you’re not doing the same. However, the grass may seem greener on the other side of that “sold” sign. Your friends may be showing off their new digs, but not telling you how they’ve had to put off going on vacation for at least a decade to afford it. Or, they may be able to afford it, but they’re not the ones who will be paying your mortgage. Don’t fall for peer pressure if your current place fits your needs right now.

Everyone keeps telling you you’re “throwing money away” on rent.

You do indeed build equity after you buy a home, but it can take years before you see an effect on your net worth. If you need to move (for work, a relationship, family, or because the home doesn’t suit your needs) before you have positive equity in your home, then you won’t enjoy the boost in net worth. If you value flexibility more at this stage in your life, then renting makes more sense. You can build your net worth in other ways too, like contributing to a savings account, 401k, or other investments.

You have no idea what your current home is worth.

Sometimes the market is just not in your favor right now, and there might be little changes you can make that can increase the value of your current home. Get a free and accurate home value report from one of our team members if you're unsure or haven't checked your home's value in a while.

You’re focused on the style of the home rather than the lifestyle of homeownership.

You’ve passed by a particular home a dozen times and find yourself looking through the listing photos more often than you look at pictures of your family and friends. You’ve mentally re-decorated and decided just where you’ll put your sofa. Fun, right? Now imagine waking up at 7 AM on a Saturday to mow the lawn, fix the toilet in the master bathroom, and find out what’s making that creaking noise in the attic. Or, having to cancel your weekend get-together with friends because your water heater decided to stop working and a repair person can’t get there until later in the week. Not as fun. Home maintenance is an ongoing project filled with unglamorous tasks that you may not be ready for just yet.

Your dream home will significantly add to your commute.

While you may not think you’ll mind that extra hour on the road each way to have a garage to call your own, you'll likely feel differently after the novelty of the new home wears off. Though there are always trade-offs with homeownership, one involving location requires a huge life change — so it isn’t one to take lightly or rush into, especially when it comes to moving to a drastically different kind of area or any time you also have to consider a change of school systems.

The very idea of moving makes you panic.

Even if you can afford the down payment, have leftover money for emergencies, are okay with the lifestyle change of homeownership, and have found a new home that offers way more than your current place, you still may not be emotionally ready to buy a home. Something to consider: if you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed about the idea, or it’s causing conflict with your significant other, a timeout may be needed. Pick a date in the future to revisit the idea of buying a home, then see how you feel. If your gut says you’re ready, get in touch with a real estate agent who will find you a home that’ll make you excited to make the big move.

While we tried to point out every scenario we could think of, we may not have mentioned your situation.

We know everyone has different concerns and personal circumstances.

If you’re still unsure if you’re ready to buy or have questions about what the process will look like for you, we’re prepared to walk you through every step of the process whenever the time is right for you!

 

Contact Us to schedule a free consultation. Whether buying or selling a home, we are always happy to meet with you to discuss your wants and needs, no obligation.

 

Eric Slifkin, a Broker Associate, is the founder of the Slifkin Team at Keller Williams Realty. Eric and his team of experienced agents serve South Florida and the Treasure Coast, including greater Stuart, Port Saint Lucie, and the Palm Beaches.

 

July 4, 2019

Treasure Coast Home Finder

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Search Homes by County

Find the perfect home in the perfect place with our pre-built county searches.

Get the facts on Treasure Coast real estate, top neighborhoods, and market trends working with a team of licensed real estate experts who will provide all the assistance you need throughout the home buying process. We service over 250 neighborhoods, communities, and subdivisions throughout the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County.

Click on a county below to begin your search.

 

Eric Slifkin and his team have been meeting the real estate needs of their clients since 2003. We offer a turn-key approach to purchasing or selling real estate along the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach real estate corridors. Using our Website, you can research local communities or sign up to get notified when we find new listings that suit your tastes! We'll even inform you of changes and price adjustments to your favorite properties as they occur.

Contact Us to schedule a free consultation.  Whether buying or selling a home on the Treasure Coast we are always happy to meet with you at one of our five convenient locations to discuss your wants and needs, no obligation.

Our ability to connect you with what's happening in our local markets is something that you won't find anywhere else. Whether buying or selling, we are always happy to meet with you at one of our five convenient locations to discuss your needs, no obligation.

June 24, 2019

Get listings (not on Zillow or the MLS)

Get Access to Listings Before They Hit Zillow or the MLS

Imagine how it would feel if someone else bought your dream home because they saw it first... If you don’t want that to happen, we created an exclusive email list you can join to access listings before they hit Zillow or the MLS.

Click here to become one of our insiders

 

June 12, 2019

Your Home’s Value is Wrong!

Get Your Home's Accurate Value

Getting your home’s value from a robot or an algorithm is fine until you need an accurate report. It is kind of like searching for your symptoms on WebMD. It's ok until you actually need a doctor.

There are many sites that you can use to get your home’s value, but unfortunately, they’re not as accurate as you may think. The sites even state (in the fine print of course) the need to supplement their reports with a Comparative Market Analysis from a real estate agent:

“We encourage buyers, sellers, and homeowners to supplement Zillow's information by doing other research such as getting a comparative market analysis (CMA) from a real estate agent" -Zillow.com

So, to get your home’s accurate* value, click here.

How is our estimate different from a Zestimate and other online services?

Instead of a robot and an algorithm, we use our experience and up-to-date MLS data. A human being will prepare your report, and due to that, it won't be "instant," but it will be accurate.

Our home value reports are all researched thoroughly and made possible by years of experience and local expertise. Estimates from Zillow, OpenDoor, Redfin, or any online home evaluator using an algorithm is not a valid replacement for a comparative market analysis from a real estate agent.

Getting an "instant" home value is appealing and not having to talk to someone is attractive, but there's a cost to that approach. Instant doesn't mean accurate. When something is as important as the value of your home. Eric Slifkin, a Broker Associate at Keller Williams Realty, will personally prepare your report. "He guided me through every step of the selling process with knowledge and understanding. I am a first-time seller, so he was patient with all my questions as well." Get Your Report Now

Get Your Home's Value

Posted in Home Selling
May 27, 2019

11 Things Your Real Estate Agent Must Be Doing

11 Things Your Real Estate Agent Must Be Doing

Doing the bare minimum simply isn't enough anymore. Make sure your real estate agent does these 11 things to market your home.

11 Things Your Real Estate Agent Must Be DoingDownload Checklist


Have specific questions about selling your home? Schedule a call.

Why Marketing Matters

Smart marketing sells homes, and these statistics are just a few examples of why we place so much importance on the strategy we use to sell your home. Source: PsPrint

Ready to give your home the attention it deserves?


Schedule a call to learn more about how we sell homes on the Treasure Coast.

 

Posted in Home Selling
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