Treasure Coast Real Estate Blog

May 18, 2020

Top 10 Tips for Florida Real Estate Investors

Successfully Investing in Florida Real Estate

In the long run, real estate has proven to be a reliable choice for investors. While no investment is without risk, these top ten tips will help you avoid some of the pitfalls of real estate investing.

Top 10 Tips for Florida Real Estate Investors

 

  1. Get Educated


    Knowledge is the new currency. Without it, you are doomed to follow other people’s advice without knowing if it’s good or bad. Educating yourself will help take you from being a “good” investor to becoming a great investor.

  2. Set Goals


    Setting clear and specific investment goals becomes your road map and action plan to become financially independent. You are far more likely to achieve financial independence by identifying specific and individualized goals than not doing anything at all. Your goals can include the number of properties you need to acquire each year, the annual cash-flow they generate, the type of property/location, and even the rates of return required.

  3.  Never Speculate


    Always invest with a long-term perspective in mind. Never speculate on quick short-term gains in appreciation, even in a hot market with double-digit increases. You never know when a market will peak, and it’s usually six to nine months after the fact when you find out. Don’t chase appreciation. Rather, only invest in prudent value plays where the numbers make sense from the beginning.

  4. Invest for Cash-Flow


    With few rare exceptions, always buy an investment property with a positive cash-flow. The higher, the better. Your cash-on-cash return is directly related to the before-tax cash-flow from your property. Cash-flow is the “glue” that keeps your investment together. Your equity will grow over time (through appreciation and loan amortization), while the cash-flow covers the operating expenses and debt service on your property.

  5. Be Market Agnostic


    The United States is a vast country made up of hundreds of local real estate markets. Each market moves up and down independently of one another due to many local factors. As such, you should recognize that there are times when it makes sense to invest in a particular market, and times when it does not. Only invest in markets when it makes sense to do so, not because you live there or you bought property there before. There’s an element of timing, and you don’t want to buck the trend.

  6. Take a Top-Down Approach


    Always start by selecting the best real estate markets that align with your investment goals. Most investors start by analyzing properties with little to no regard for their location, which can be a big mistake if you don’t consider the investment in light of the market and its neighborhood.

    The best approach is first to choose your city or town based on the health of its housing market and local economy (unemployment, job growth, population growth, etc.). From there you would narrow things down to the best neighborhoods (amenities, schools, crime, renter demand, etc.). Finally, you would look for the best deals within those neighborhoods.

  7. Diversify Across Markets


    Focus on one market at a time, accumulating from 3 to 5 income properties per market. Once you’ve added those 3 to 5 properties to your portfolio, you would diversify into another prudent market that is geographically different than the previous one. Typically that means focusing on another state.

    One of the underlying reasons for diversification within the same asset class (real estate), is to have your assets spread across different economic centers. Every real estate market is “local,” and each housing market moves independently from one another. Diversifying across multiple states helps reduce your “risk” if one market decline for any reason (increased unemployment, increased taxes, etc.).

    Even if you don’t live in Texas, you can invest in the Houston Real Estate Market, which is becoming a hotbed of buyer activity that could be beneficial for real estate investors. Just ask the multitude of overseas investors who are choosing Houston as the city of choice to invest in for the foreseeable future.

  8. Use Professional Property Management


    Never manage your properties yourself unless you run your own property management company. Property management is a thankless job that requires a solid understanding of tenant-landlord laws, excellent marketing skills, coupled with strong people skills to deal with tenant complaints and excuses. Your time is valuable and is better spent on your family, your career, and looking for more property.

  9. Maintain Control


    Be a direct investor in real estate. Never own real estate through funds, partnerships, or other paper-based investments where you own shares or other securities of an entity you don’t control. You always want to be in control of your real estate investments. Don’t leave it up to corporations or fund managers.

  10. Leverage Your Investment Capital


    Real estate is the only investment where you can borrow other people’s money (OPM) to purchase and control the income-producing property, which allows you to leverage your investment capital into more property than buying using “all cash.” Leverage magnifies your overall rate-of-return and accelerates your wealth creation. As long as you have the positive cash-flow and your tenants are paying off your mortgage for you, it would be foolish not to borrow as much as possible to buy more income property.

Contact Us today to schedule a free consultation. Whether buying or selling a single property or an entire portfolio, we are always happy to meet with you to discuss your wants and needs, no obligation.

April 9, 2020

Buying a Home, From Home

House Hunting From a Safe Social Distance

As our nation deals with the threat of COVID-19, you can still take advantage of all-time low-interest rates while doing much of the home buying process from a safe social distance or even the comfort of your home.

Buying a Homes, From Home

Online home searches have been around for a while, but tech-savvy Realtors are adapting to the new normal by offering their clients innovative ways to buy a home safely, from practically anywhere. Here's how we can help when it comes to buying a home during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Virtual Tours

Staying home? Many MLS listings already include video tours with property photos. However, these videos often miss features that may be important to you.

If you want to see every detail, ask for a live virtual tour of your favorite property. We're happy to preview homes you are interested in by offering a live virtual tour using Facetime, Zoom, or WhatsApp, among others, to tour a home room by room, without you physically stepping onto the property. You can ask questions at any time during the live video tour. Leveraging virtual tours enable you to narrow down your house choices, selecting what's worth an in-person visit.

Email Notes, Seller Disclosures, and More

Often, there are seller disclosures and notes associated with a listing that are not available to consumers. We can email you details about your top listings as well as local information about schools, neighborhoods, and market reports.

Private Showing

When it comes time for an in-person visit, we can set up a private showing subject to local regulations and procedures. We ensure that the property is ready to show, and no other potential buyers are viewing the home at the same time.

Still a Great Time to Buy

Right now, it feels like things keep changing from one minute to the next. That makes it hard to predict what will happen with real estate tomorrow, and even harder to know what might happen a year from now. But with interest rates at an all-time low and fewer competing buyers, it is a great time to buy! And with today's technology, much of the process can be done from your home.

Ready When You Are

In times like these questions abound - mortgage rates are historically low, but is it worth it to refinance? Is it still a good time to buy? What is my home worth now? We're available to answer any questions you might have during this time of uncertainty.

Whether it’s about buying, selling, refinancing, or if you’re just curious about the state of the market. we have the technology and experience to help you navigate a rapidly evolving market, plus we can connect you to mortgage professionals who will create a plan for you.

Be it today, tomorrow, or six months from now, we're prepared to offer you dedicated, extraordinary service when you’re ready. Please feel free to reach out with any questions.

 

Feel free to contact us with your real estate questions. 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.

 

 

 

April 4, 2020

New Townhomes in Hobe Sound FL

Heritage Enclave, located next to the Heritage Ridge Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida, is a collection of 50 boutique townhomes, many with a preserve or lakefront view. These well-appointed residences feature three or four bedrooms with two or three baths. Amenities include a community pool with clubhouse and paid access to the Heritage Ridge public golf course. Learn More

Heritage Enclave is just 30 minutes to West Palm Beach via I-95 and less than 15 minutes to local beaches, shopping, dining, and Historic Downtown Stuart. Learn More

Heritage Enclave

Showings by appointment or virtual tour during COVID-19.

Heritage Enclave • US1 & Heritage Blvd • Hobe Sound, FL 33455
March 15, 2020

Are You an Accidental Landlord?

The odds are that if you own a rental property, you acquired it deliberately as an investment after careful planning and research. But many owners of income properties did not choose to be landlords. These “accidental landlords” could be someone who ended up with two homes after getting married or inherited a house from a family member and decided to take advantage of a hot rental market.

Stuart Rental HomesIn some cases, a house may have little or negative equity. Renting it out while the property appreciates may be an option and can help prevent foreclosure.

Becoming an Accidental Landlord

If you've become an accidental landlord, congratulations! Income property can be a highly profitable investment that offers both long-term and immediate returns. But it’s important to remember that regardless of how you ended up with your income property, it’s vital that you manage your investment to ensure that it generates the best returns possible.

Seek Professional Help

I am not talking about seeing a psychiatrist (your friends may suggest this). But if you are about to become an accidental landlord, you must understand the process, including how to screen prospective tenants, prepare a lease, and understand tenants’ rights about repairs, collections, and evictions. While this may seem overwhelming at first, professional help is available. A Realtor experienced in procuring tenants, coupled with a competent property manager and real estate attorney, can minimize the stress of renting out your property, which is essential if you are out of town or plan to relocate.

Talk to Your Accountant

Often rent that a property will generate will not cover the total monthly overhead of owning the asset. Still, this negative cash flow may provide you with a valuable tax deduction. Also, as the value of your home rises (along with the rent), cash flow can go from negative to positive. Be sure to talk to your accountant to discuss the benefits of owning an income-producing property.

Update Your Insurance Policy

Updating your insurance should be one of the first things that you do when becoming a landlord. Rental insurance is very different from homeowner’s insurance, and you’ll want to ensure that you consult your insurance carrier to tell them that the property has become a rental.

Tenant Screening

Screening is crucial when it comes to procuring a tenant. Tenant screening can be outsourced and should include credit, eviction, and criminal background checks, as well as nationwide eviction, sex offender, and criminal reports. The tenant typically pays for a screening report as part of the application process.

Run the Numbers

Do your research and find out what the fair market rent is for your property. You should also calculate your expenses, which include such items as maintenance, taxes, and utilities (if applicable), vacancies, insurance, and property management fees, to name a few.

Assemble Your Team

Having a team of professionals in place can help minimize problems along the way. Be sure to select local real estate experts who will fill your vacant rental and manage the process.

 

Feel free to contact us with your rental property questions. Whether buying, selling, or renting 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.

 



March 9, 2020

Searching Homes Online

Maximizing the Web in Your Real Estate Search

Search Homes Online

Before selecting a real estate agent or buying a home, most consumers head to the Internet first. Over 70% of those buyers found their home using a mobile device.

Researching homes and real estate agents online can get you ahead of the game when it comes to narrowing down your options. But with so many sites and sources to choose from, an online search can be exhausting…and sometimes futile. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the web when searching for a home or real estate agent.

The online open house never closes: All major real estate brokers have websites that showcase their listings. You can search by town, price range, number of bedrooms, etc. As important, a broker or agent IDX enabled site (Internet Data Exchange) gives you granular access to every active listing via a direct feed from the local MLS, which is continuously updated.

You can also leverage the search tools available through major home listing portals such as Zillow and Realtor.com. These digital open houses give buyers a good sense of what the house looks like…and they’re open 24/7.

Searching for a real estate agent: While a referral from a trusted friend or colleague is a great way to find an agent to work with, be sure to dig deeper. Search for the suggested agents on Google and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to find out more about them and their online presence. This will help you get a feel for who they are as a person and how they conduct business, including how they use social media and other online venues to search or market homes.

Need to sell first? A great way to find an agent to list your home is to look at properties on the market in your area. Find homes similar to the one you are trying to sell and search for those listing agents online—they’ll usually have a personal website. Once you’ve narrowed down potential agents, be sure to meet with them in person and ask specific questions related to your needs.

Do your homework: To ensure you won't be disappointed or become emotionally invested in a new home for sale that is out of your price range, get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a property and realize that you can't afford it. Online mortgage calculators can help you get a sense of what you can realistically afford.

Sources: TreasureCoastHomeSales.com, AOL Real Estate

 

Feel free to contact us with your real estate questions. 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.

 

 

 

March 1, 2020

New Townhomes in Hobe Sound

Discover Heritage Enclave of Hobe Sound

50 Well-Appointed 3 and 4 Bedroom Townhomes in Hobe Sound, Florida

Heritage Enclave is a collection of 50 brand new 3 and 4 bedroom units priced from the $270s. Located at US1 & Heritage Boulevard in Hobe Sound, the model is open daily 12-4. Info 772-675-2268. Learn More

Heritage Enclve of Hobe Sound

Heritage Enclave of Hobe Sound

Feel free to contact us with your real estate questions. 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.



 

Feb. 24, 2020

What is a Counteroffer in Real Estate?

What Exactly is a Counteroffer? If you make an offer on a home, and the seller rejects your offer and suggests different terms, that’s their counteroffer.

Real Estate Jargon

A counteroffer typically says that the seller will accept the buyer's offer subject to additional terms and/or conditions. These terms and conditions may include the sales price, the removal of certain contingencies, the good faith deposit, the inspection period ,the closing date, among others.

 

Feel free to contact me with your real estate questions. 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.



Feb. 22, 2020

Rental Basics: What’s the Best Use of Your Investment Property?

Renters for a Weekend or a While: What’s the Best Use of Your Investment Property?

Renters for a Weekend or a While: What’s the Best Use of Your Investment Property?

The residential rental market is now the fastest-growing segment of the housing market. In the United States, the demand for single-family rentals, defined as either detached homes or townhouses, has risen 30 percent in the past three years.1 And in Canada, rental units now account for nearly one-third of the country’s homes, with particular demand for multi-family units, including apartments and condominiums.2

At the same time, the short-term or vacation rental market is also booming. The popularity of online marketplaces like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO has helped the short-term rental market become one of the fastest-growing segments in the travel industry.3

Now, more than ever, there is an abundance of opportunities for real estate investors. But which path is best: leasing your property to a long-term tenant, or renting your property to travelers on a short-term basis?

In this post, we examine the differences between the two investment strategies and the benefits and limitations of each category.

WHY INVEST IN A RENTAL PROPERTY? The Top 5 Reasons

Before we delve into the differences between long-term and short-term rentals, let’s answer the question: “Why invest in a rental property at all?”

There are five key reasons investors choose to real estate over other investment vehicles:

  1. Appreciation is the increase in your property’s value over time. And history has proven that over an extended period, the cost of real estate continues to rise. Recessions may still occur, but in the vast majority of markets, the value of real estate does grow over the long term.
  2. Cash Flow One of the key benefits of investing in real estate is the ability to generate steady cash flow. Rental income can pay the mortgage and taxes on your investment property, as well as regular maintenance and repairs. If appropriately priced in a robust rental market, there may even be a little extra cash each month to help with your living expenses or to grow your savings. Even if you only take in enough rent to cover your costs, a rental property purchase will pay for itself over time. As you pay down the mortgage every month with your rental income, your equity will continue to increase until you own the property free and clear, leaving you with residual cash flow for years to come.
  3. Hedge Against Inflation Inflation is the rate at which the general cost of goods and services rises. That means as inflation rises, the money you have sitting in a savings account will buy less tomorrow than it will today. On the other hand, the price of real estate typically matches (or often exceeds) the rate of inflation. To hedge or guard yourself against inflation, real estate can be a smart investment choice.
  4. Leverage is the use of borrowed capital to increase the potential return of an investment. You can put a relatively small amount down on a property, finance the rest of the investment with a mortgage, and then profit on the entire combined value.
  5. Tax Benefits Don’t overlook the tax benefits that can come with a real estate investment, as well. From deductions to depreciation to exemptions, there are many ways a real estate investment can save you money on taxes. Consult a tax professional to discuss your particular circumstances.

These are just a few of the many perks of investing in real estate. (For more detailed information, visit our previous post: Why Real Estate Investing Makes (Dollars and) Sense. But what’s the best strategy to maximize returns on your investment property? In the next section, we explore the differences between long-term and short-term rentals.


LONG-TERM (TRADITIONAL) RENTAL MARKET

When most people think of owning a rental property, they imagine buying a home and renting it out to tenants to use as their primary residence. Traditionally, investors would use their rental property to generate an additional stream of income while benefiting from the property’s long-term appreciation in value.

That steady and predictable monthly cash flow is one of the key advantages of owning a long-term rental. Plus, you don’t usually have to worry about paying the utility bills or furnishing the property—both of which are typically covered by the tenant. Add to this the fact that traditional tenants translate into less time and effort spent on day-to-day property management, and long-term rentals are an attractive option for many investors.

However, there are also limitations to long-term rentals, which often come down to your ability to control the property. Perhaps the most obvious one is that you do not get to use the home or closely monitor its upkeep (this is different from a short-term rental, which we’ll share in the next section).

Also, while you can usually generate a steady, predictable income stream with a long-term rental, you are limited in your ability to adjust rent prices based on increasing or seasonal demand. Therefore, you may end up with a lower overall return on your investment. In fact, according to data from Mashvisor, in the ten hottest real estate markets, short-term rentals produced “significantly higher rental income” than long-term rentals.4


SHORT-TERM (VACATION) RENTAL MARKET

Short-term rentals are often referred to as vacation rentals, as more and more travelers enjoy the benefits of staying in a home while on vacation. In fact, according to Wells Fargo, vacation rentals are steadily growing and predicted to account for 21% of the worldwide accommodations market by 2020.5

Investing in a short-term rental or funding your second-home purchase by renting it out can offer many benefits. If you purchase an investment property in a top travel destination or vacation spot, you can expect steady demand from travelers while taking advantage of any non-rented periods to enjoy the home yourself. In addition to greater control over the use of your property, you can also adjust your rental price around peak travel demand to maximize your returns.

But short-term rentals also have risks and drawbacks that may dissuade some investors. They require higher day-to-day property management, and owners are typically responsible for furnishing the property, upkeep, and utilities.

And while rental revenue can be higher, it can also be less predictable based on seasonal or consumer travel trends. For example, a lack of snowfall during ski season could mean fewer bookings and lower rental revenue that year.

Also, laws and limitations on short-term rentals can vary by region. And in some areas, the regulations are in flux as residents and government officials adapt to a new surge in short-term rentals. So make sure you understand any existing or proposed restrictions on rentals in the area where you want to invest.

Urban centers or suburban communities may be more resistant to short-term renters, thus more likely to pass future limitations on use. To lower your risk, you may want to consider properties in resort communities that are accustomed to travelers. We can help you assess the current regulations on short-term rentals in our area. Or, if you’re interested in investing in another market, we can refer you to a local agent who can help.


WHICH INVESTMENT STRATEGY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Now that you understand these two real estate investment options, how do you pick the right one for you? It’s helpful to start by clarifying your investment goals.

If your goal is to generate steady, predictable income with less time and effort spent on property management, then a long-term rental could be your best option. Also, if you prefer a less-risky investment with more reliable (but possibly lower) returns, then you may be more comfortable with a long-term rental.

On the other hand, if your goal is to purchase a vacation or second home that you’ll use, and you want to defray some (or all) of the expense, then a short-term rental may be a good option for you. Similarly, if you’re open to taking on more risk and revenue volatility for the possibility of higher investment returns, then a short-term rental may better suit your spirit as an investor.

But sometimes the decision isn’t always so clear-cut. If your goal is to purchase a future retirement home now to hedge against inflation, rising real estate prices, and interest rates, then both long- and short-term rentals could be suitable options. In this case, you’ll want to consider other factors like location, market demand, property type, and your risk tolerance.


HERE OR ELSEWHERE … WE CAN HELP

If you’re looking to make a real estate investment—whether it’s a primary residence, investment property, vacation home, or future retirement home—give us a call. We’ll help you determine the best course of action and share insights and resources to help you make an informed decision. And if your plans include buying outside of our area, we can refer you to a local agent who can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation!

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not financial advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

Sources:

  1. USA Today –
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/real-estate/2017/11/11/renting-homes-overtaking-housing-market-heres-why/845474001/
  2. The Globe and Mail –
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/the-market/article-demand-for-rental-housing-in-canada-now-outpacing-home-ownership/
  3. Phocuswright –
    https://www.phocuswright.com/Travel-Research/Research-Updates/2017/US-Private-Accommodation-Market-to-Reach-36B-by-2018
  4. com –
    https://www.rented.com/vacation-rental-best-practices-blog/do-long-term-rentals-or-short-term-rentals-provide-better-investment-returns/
  5. Turnkey Vacation Rentals –
    https://blog.turnkeyvr.com/short-term-vs-long-term-vacation-rental-properties/

 

 

Contact Eric Slifkin to buy or sell a home on the Treasure Coast.

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.

Feb. 14, 2020

Top 8 Home Inspection Mistakes

Home Inspection

How to Avoid the Top 8 Home Inspection Mistakes

 

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of buying a home. Once you’ve had an offer accepted on your dream house, you’ll probably be anxious to move in. However, before you make a significant financial commitment, it’s best to know exactly what you’re buying.

When you hire a home inspector, you get a professional, in-depth examination of the property’s structures and systems. It’s a worthwhile investment that can save you money in the long run, either by warning you away from a bad purchase or by providing a list of deficiencies you can use to negotiate with the sellers.

The inspector’s report will also list minor repairs that, if made, will help to maintain your home over the long term. Additionally, a good inspector can often predict the standard life expectancy of your roof, HVAC, and other big-ticket items so you can start planning for their eventual replacement.

However, many buyers make mistakes during the inspection process that cost them time and money and lead to unnecessary stress. Avoid these eight common buyer blunders to minimize your risk, protect your investment, and give yourself peace of mind and confidence in your new home purchase.


MISTAKE 1: Skip Your Own Inspection

Many buyers rely on their home inspector to point out issues with the property. However, by conducting your own visual assessment before you submit an offer, you can factor expected expenses into the offer price. Or, if you suspect major problems, you may choose to move on to a different property altogether.

Examine the walls and ceilings. Are there suspicious cracks, which could point to a foundation issue? Any discoloration? Yellow spots can indicate water damage, while black spots are typically mold. If there’s a basement, look for powdery white deposits along the walls and slab, which can result from water seepage.1

To assess the plumbing, start by turning on a bathroom sink or tub, then flushing the toilet. Check for a drop in water pressure or a gurgling sound coming from the pipes. You can also try running the water in sinks and tubs for several minutes to test for drainage issues. Peak underneath sinks to spot signs of leaks or drain pipes that go into the floor instead of the wall.1

Look for fogged or drafty windows, which may need replacing. Examine the roof for signs of cupped, curled, or cracked shingles. Check siding, decks, and other wooden structures for evidence of rot.

Overall, does the home appear to be well maintained? Unless it’s a highly-competitive seller’s market, consider the overall condition of the property BEFORE you submit an offer. Work with your real estate agent to factor in repairs and updates you know you’ll need to make when you determine your offer price.


MISTAKE 2: Hire the Cheapest Inspector

We all love to save money, but not all inspectors are created equal. Before you hire one, do a little research.2 You may even want to start shopping for an inspector before you complete your home search. Inspection periods are typically short, so it never hurts to be prepared.

You can start by asking around for recommendations. Check with friends and family members, as well as your real estate agent. Then contact at least two or three inspectors so you can compare not only price but also levels of experience and service.

Ask about their background, years of experience, and the number of inspections they have completed. Verify their certifications and credentials, and make sure they carry the proper insurance.

Find out what is (and what isn’t) covered in the inspection and if they utilize the latest technology. Ask to see a sample report so you can compare the style and level of detail provided. Finally, make sure you feel confident in the inspector’s abilities and comfortable asking him/her questions. 


MISTAKE 3: Miss Attending the Inspection

Make every effort to be on-site during the inspection. Buyers who aren’t present during their inspection miss out on a great opportunity to gather valuable information about their new home.

If can attend the inspection, don’t spend all your time picking out paint colors or chatting with your new neighbors. Instead, use your time there to shadow the inspector. It’s the perfect chance to find out where everything is located, ask questions, and see first-hand what repairs and updates may be needed.3

Of course, if you do choose to tag along with your inspector, exercise good judgment. Don’t get in the way, become a distraction, or do anything to jeopardize your (or the inspector’s) safety.

If you can’t make it to the inspection, ask if you can schedule a time to meet in person or speak by phone to go over the report in detail. It will give you an opportunity to ask questions or request clarification about issues in the report you don’t fully understand.


MISTAKE 4: Skim Over the Report

Inspection reports can be long and tedious, and it can be tempting to skim over them. However, buyers who do this risk missing crucial information.

Instead, you should read over the report carefully, so you don’t miss anything significant. Now is the time to address any areas of concern. You have a limited window of time to request repairs or negotiate the selling price, so don’t squander it.

Your inspector may also flag some minor items that you wouldn’t typically expect a seller to fix. However, ignoring these small issues can sometimes lead to bigger problems down the road. Make sure you read everything in the report so you can take future action if needed.


MISTAKE 5: Avoid Asking Questions

Some buyers are too embarrassed to ask questions when there’s something in the inspection report they don’t understand. Afraid they might look foolish, they avoid asking questions and end up uninformed about important issues that could impact their home purchase.

The reality is, questions are expected. You hired your inspector for their professional expertise, so don’t be shy about tapping into it. For example, you might ask:

  • Would you get this issue fixed in your own home?
  • How urgent is it?
  • What could happen if I don’t fix it?
  • Is this a simple issue I could fix myself?
  • What type of professional should I call?
  • Can you estimate how much it would cost to make this repair?
  • How much longer would you expect this system/structure/appliance to last?
  • What maintenance steps would you recommend?

Don’t bother asking your inspector if you should buy the property, because he/she won’t be able to answer that question for you. Instead, use the information provided to make an informed decision. A skilled real estate agent can help you determine the best path.


MISTAKE 6: Expect a Perfect Report

Some buyers get scared off by a lengthy inspection report. But with around 1600 items on an inspector’s checklist, you shouldn’t be surprised if yours uncover a large number of deficiencies.4 The key is to understand which problems require simple fixes, and which ones will require extensive (and costly) repairs.

Your real estate agent can help you decide if and how to approach the sellers about making repairs or reducing the price. Whatever you do, try to focus on the major issues identified in the inspector’s report, and don’t expect the sellers to address every minor item on the list. They will be more receptive if they perceive your requests to be reasonable.


MISTAKE 7: Forgo Additional Testing

There are times when an agent or inspector will recommend bringing in a specialist to evaluate a potential issue.5 For example, they may suggest testing for mold or consulting with a roofing expert.

Some buyers get spooked by the possibility of a “red flag” and decide to jump ship. Or, in their haste to close or desire to save money, they choose to ignore the recommendation for additional testing altogether.

Don’t make these potentially costly mistakes. In some cases, the specialist will offer a free evaluation that takes minimal time to schedule. And if not, the small investment you make could provide you with peace of mind or save you a fortune in future repairs.


MISTAKE 8: Skip Re-inspection of Repairs

Most buyers request receipts to prove that repairs have been correctly completed. However, it’s always prudent to go a step further and have negotiated repairs re-evaluated by your inspector or another qualified professional, even if there’s an additional charge.6

While the majority of sellers are forthcoming, some will try to save money by cutting corners, hiring unlicensed technicians, or doing the work themselves. A re-inspection will help ensure the repairs are completed properly now, so you aren’t paying to redo them later.

To avoid having to go back to the sellers, be specific when requesting repairs. Identify the problem, how repairs should be completed, who should complete the work, and how the repairs will be verified.7

Some buyers prefer to avoid this step altogether by completing the work themselves. They either request that the seller fund the repairs or reduce the selling price accordingly. Whichever path you choose, protect yourself and your investment by ensuring the work is done properly.

 

WE CAN HELP

A home inspection can reduce your risk and save you money over the long-term. But to maximize its effectiveness, it must be done properly. Avoid these eight common home inspection mistakes to safeguard your investment.

While these are some of the most common missteps, there are countless others that can trip up home buyers, cost them time and money, and cause undue stress. Fortunately, we have the skills and experience to help you avoid the potential pitfalls.

If you’re in the market to buy a home, we can help you navigate the inspection and all the other steps in the buying process … typically at no cost to you! Tap into our expertise to make the right decisions for your real estate purchase. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

Sources:

  1. Family Handyman –
    https://www.familyhandyman.com/tools/diy-home-inspection-tools/view-all/
  2. HGTV –
    https://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/finding-the-right-home-inspector
  3. The New York Times –
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/realestate/home-inspection.html
  4. com –
    https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/what-does-a-home-inspector-look-for/
  5. Realty Times –
    https://realtytimes.com/advicefromagents/item/37369-top-5-biggest-home-inspection-mistakes
  6. Realtor.com –
    https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/home-inspection-mistakes-buyers-should-avoid/
  7. Star Tribune –
    http://www.startribune.com/who-verifies-repairs-after-the-home-inspection/132844523/

 

Contact Eric Slifkin to buy or sell a home on the Treasure Coast.

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.

 

 

 

Posted in Home Buying
Feb. 11, 2020

Guide to Searching for a Home Online

Maximizing the Web in Your Real Estate Search

Search Homes Online

Before selecting a real estate agent or buying a home, most consumers head to the Internet first. Researching homes and real estate agents online can get you ahead of the game when it comes to narrowing down your options. But with so many sites and sources to choose from, an online search can be exhausting…and sometimes futile. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the web when searching for a home or real estate agent. 

When searching for a real estate agent: While a referral from a trusted friend or colleague is a great way to find an agent to work with, be sure to dig deeper. Search for the suggested agents on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and find out more about them. This will help you get a feel for who they are as a person and how they conduct business, including how they use social media to market homes. Another way to find an agent to list your home is to look at properties on the market in your area. Find homes similar to the one you are trying to sell and search for those agents online—they’ll usually have a personal website. Once you’ve narrowed down potential agents, be sure to meet with them in person and ask specific questions related to your needs. 

The online open house never closes: All major real estate brokers have websites that showcase their listings. You can search by town, price range, number of bedrooms, etc. Also, use the search tools available through major home listing portals. YouTube is also a new way to search for homes. These digital open houses give buyers a good sense of what the house looks like…and they’re open 24/7. 

Do your homework: To ensure you won't be disappointed or become emotionally invested in a new home for sale that is out of your price range, get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a property and realize that you can't afford it. Online mortgage calculators can help you get a sense of what you can realistically afford. 

Source: AOL Real Estate

 

Contact Eric Slifkin to buy or sell a home on the Treasure Coast.

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.

 

 

 

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