Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

June 6, 2022

Hometown Hero Program

The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program makes homeownership affordable for eligible frontline community workers such as law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators, healthcare professionals, childcare employees, and active military or veterans.

This program provides down payment and closing cost assistance to first-time, income-qualified homebuyers so they can purchase a primary residence in the community in which they work and serve. The Florida Hometown Heroes Loan Program also offers a lower first mortgage rate and additional special benefits to those who have served and continue to serve their country.

Program Details:

Eligible frontline workers can receive lower than market rates on an FHA, VA, RD, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac first mortgage, reduced upfront fees, no origination points or discount points and down payment and closing cost assistance.

Borrowers can receive up to 5% of the first mortgage loan amount (maximum of $25,000) in down payment and closing cost assistance.

Down payment and closing cost assistance is available in the form of a 0%, non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage. This second mortgage becomes due and payable, in full, upon sale of the property, refinancing of the first mortgage, transfer of deed or if the homeowner no longer occupies the property as his/her primary residence. The Florida Hometown Heroes loan is not forgivable.

 

Find Out If You Are Eligible:

(Eligible Occupations) <-- click for more info

(Income and purchase price limits) <-- Click for more info

 

If you think you meet these requirements give us a call or text at 954-228-0254

Dec. 17, 2020

How to Sell a House During a Divorce: Your Step-by-Step Guide

How to Sell a House During a Divorce: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Even amicable divorces can get complicated fast. While you deal with the emotional hurdles of ending your marriage, you face a daunting to-do list: collecting information for your attorney, sorting through insurance policies, making decisions about alimony and child support, and tax planning start to fill your days.

If you’ve decided with your ex-spouse to sell the family home, that task alone can feel a million miles long. But if you can get past the initial hassles, it’s actually a smart move toward making a clean break from the situation (if that’s what you desire).

To reduce stress, follow this step-by-step guide we’ve put together that breaks down the process of how to sell a house during a divorce into small, manageable steps.

Step 1: Pick an agent who’s objectively qualified in divorce sales.

In the past, you and your spouse may have selected to hire a family friend or mutual acquaintance to serve your real estate needs. But you may find that staying away from personal recommendations is ultimately beneficial when you’re getting divorced. You need a neutral third party who’s got experience in divorce sales to navigate the logistics and communications throughout the process of selling your house.

Going through a divorce is also considered by psychologists to be one of the most stressful events that a person will go through, so you should look for an agent who can be empathetic to your situation while acting in a professional capacity.

You’ll want to find a patient and understanding Realtor in a divorce situation.

“Someone who will truly care about helping you through that difficult time in your life. My challenge is balancing between knowing that I have a job to do and getting the home sold and being sensitive to what’s going on emotionally.”

You can connect today with our team of experienced real estate professionals who have experience in divorce sales. Let our live concierge know your priorities and they’ll be able to recommend a few qualified professionals in your area to choose from.

Step 2: Provide your agent with the relevant details of your divorce decree.

Once you’ve hired an agent, you should provide them with any stipulations regarding real estate that have been laid out in your divorce decree.

These often involve which spouse the court has appointed to act on behalf of the couple—typically, the spouse still living in the home—the listing price, and when to reduce the price to a certain point. Other decrees can discuss who is responsible for any home repairs and how to get approval for those costs.

When you receive an offer on the home, your agent needs to know who has the authority to accept it and if there are any minimum price requirements.

Step 3: Get the house ready to sell.

In most divorce cases, you’ll want to sell your home as quickly as possible to avoid carrying the costs of the mortgage any longer. At the same time, you and your ex-spouse will both be financially motivated to achieve the highest price for the home (this isn’t always the case if one spouse decides to buy out the other, and is gunning to get a low appraisal).

So, the same standard rules of thumb for home preparations apply: Deep clean, declutter, and stage the home if necessary to make sure the property presents well to potential buyers.

Follow these pro tips to get through the home prep process in the midst of a divorce:

  • If it’s too painful to get rid of certain items in the decluttering process, put sentimental possessions in storage until you have more emotional energy to sort through it all.
  • Experts recommend that at least one person stay in the house until it sells. For one, you don’t want to let maintenance slip (Murphy’s law has it that pipes are more likely to burst when no one’s home) and empty homes typically don’t show as well.
  • Trust your agent when it comes to their recommendations on home repairs and preparations. They will know how to get your house into shape before the home inspection and what buyers in the area expect. (Note that your agent will need to follow the stipulations of the divorce decree. There may be a cap on how much money can be spent on preparations before the sale or guidance on who they have to consult—like you, your ex-spouse, and the judge—on these matters to get approval to move forward.)

A person using a computer while selling a house during a divorce.Source: (Pxhere)

Step 4: Price the home to sell.

During the course of a normal home sale, your real estate agent performs a comparative market analysis, or CMA, which looks at comparable home sales in your area to provide an estimated value for your home.

Although the CMA is a widely used and highly respected tool for pricing homes, it still might leave too much room for disagreement during a contentious divorce.

In that case, a home appraisal comes into play prior to listing the home. However, you’ll have to pay between $300-$500 to get a pre-listing appraisal. Whatever method you choose to price the home, avoid the biggest mistake of overpricing your home, which can deter buyers from even booking a showing and cause your house to linger on the market.

Step 5: Develop ‘reason for selling’ talking points with your agent.

According to Realtor Magazine, one of the top four questions that your agent is likely to receive during an open house or showing is “Why is the seller moving?”

Your agent isn’t technically required to share that kind of personal information with a potential buyer, but skirting the question may lead the buyer wondering what’s wrong with your house. For that reason, it’s best to talk with your agent about how you want them to answer this uncomfortable question.

Viele has a tactful script that he uses to share just enough so that buyers know what’s going on without getting into details, such as: “The sellers will be going their separate ways, but they are working together to achieve a smooth transaction and I will do everything I can to see to that.”

If you don’t want your agent to share details about your split, you can ask them to say something generic like: “They are moving on to a property that better fits their family’s needs.”

Whatever you decide, be prepared for buyers to ask the question and have that discussion with your agent about your preferences.

Step 6: List the home, market it, and plan for your showings.

At this point in the process, your agent will list the home on the MLS, which will then syndicate it to all the top real estate websites. They’ll also execute on your home’s marketing plan which may include a mix of online and offline promotions.

You’ll also need to decide whether you’ll be scheduling an open house or sticking with private showings. Some drawbacks of open houses are that they can be time consuming and attract nosy neighbors who may be wondering what’s going on with you and your home.

Moreover, divorce sale or not, 63% of top agents do not recommend open houses.

So if you are in a time crunch, or just want to keep it simple, you may want to skip the open house and opt for private showings instead.

Regardless, be sure to talk with your agent about any times that are off-limits for appointments, and if those living in the house will be expected to accommodate last-minute showing requests.

A woman considering how to sell a house during a divorce.Source: (Allie Lehman/ Death to the Stock Photo)

Step 7: Consider offers from buyers based on your priorities.

When it comes to fielding offers, you might find that things become complicated. You’ll not only be negotiating with the buyer, but also with your former spouse.

However, with some pre-planning and pre-discussions about the goals of the sale, you will be all set to make this step as smooth as possible. Talk with your Realtor about what your priorities are—such as selling as fast as possible or getting a certain dollar value to cushion a tentative divorce financial situation —before those offers start rolling in.

“In most cases they want to move on to where they have already decided that they are moving on to,” said Viele. “The house may be the only thing tying two people together and they want to cut that tie and move along.”

Step 8: Complete the closing process with your agent’s help.

Once you’ve found a buyer, you are in the home stretch, but beware there could be unexpected issues that come up during the closing—particularly when emotions are high.

Viele recalls a situation where one of his clients did not want to let go of a home because of the memories. He said that she was hit hardest when an offer came in, and she had a challenging time agreeing to it.

If that’s the case, you may need to bring in a third party, like a lawyer or mediator, to come to an agreement, and that can take time and potentially lead to you losing out on an offer.

“It’s very important for the Realtor to understand that there may be more work to a divorce sale than other types of sales,” said Viele.

Other issues that might come up are a disagreement about who will cover repairs that are found during the home inspection. Like everything else, if you have a discussion about this early on, it will save you time in the long run.

A meeting after selling a house during a divorce.Source: (Gabrielle Henderson/ Unsplash)

Step 9: Collect and split your proceeds according to your state’s laws.

It’s possible for you and your spouse to agree ahead of time how to split the proceeds from the sale of your home. If you can’t decide, your state will for you.

Your property division laws will fall into one of two categories:

  1. Community property (everything is split 50/50)
  2. Equitable distribution (the court will divide the property in an “equitable manner” taking into account factors such as earnings contributions and who is raising the children

You’ll also want to be aware of preserving the capital gains tax break in a divorce. Married couples that jointly own their home can exclude up $500,000 of their home sale profit, but they have to meet the ownership and use tests to qualify.

That can get murky depending on the timing of your sale and if one spouse has already moved out. Your best bet is to consult a seasoned tax professional to manage this element of your finances.

Selling the house so you can finally move on

Selling a home during a divorce adds extra layers of complication to an already time consuming and challenging process. But with an idea of the steps involved and by hiring trained professionals, you can get through this. When in doubt keep your eye on the end goal: moving on to the next chapter.

May 31, 2020

Public vs. Private Schools

Public vs. Private

Schools Homebuyers know that the quality of the local schools is a critical component of their home search. Nothing is more important to parents than making sure their children receive quality education. Competition for college admission has increased to a fevered pitch over the past few decades, and parents want to set their children up early with the best opportunity for their future success. More and more, homebuyers are not simply looking at the public school system when choosing a new home, but the private school options as well. Making the important decision about where to send your children to school requires some thought; here are a few of the benefits of each that can help you the right choice. Benefits of Public Schools • Higher Qualified Teachers – On average, public school teachers have higher educational qualifications than those of private schools, many having Master’s degrees. • Strong Focus on Core Subjects – Public schools focus on the basics with an emphasis on mastery. • Wider Extracurricular Activities – Public schools tend to have a larger population and can offer a vast array of sports teams, theater, arts, and music programs. • Diversity – Public schools have students from all economic and ethnic backgrounds. Benefits of Private Schools • Smaller Classrooms – On average, private schools have a smaller student-to-teacher ratio than public schools. • Strong Parent Involvement – Private schools not only encourage but rely on parent involvement. • Less Red Tape – Private schools are not required to follow the strict state guidelines, which allows them to make quick decisions and adjustments based on each child’s needs. Both public and private schools can offer students a solid education and school experience. Every community is different, and understanding the pros and cons of the local choices is becoming more and more important to parents.

July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates