Part 6 – Property Management – Who takes care of your Vacation Home in your absence? (Part 1) To have somebody look after and take care of your vacation home while you’re not there requires a lot of trust; even more so if you are renting you home out to vacation guest and have strangers live in it. Managing your property includes organizing all the necessary services to keep the home well maintained, up and running. A home that is not fit to be rented out due to failing equipment or insufficient up-keeping is dead weight and may become a nuisance for the owner. It is important to have your property manager check on the house on a regular schedule to make sure that the mailbox is emptied; papers and advertisement are removed from the driveway (a littered driveway might give the impression that the house is abandoned), toilets need to be flushed, and the garage door needs to be lubricated, and so on to keep everything and all gadgets in working condition. This is even more important if the house is rented or occupied by the owner sporadically. Your property manager should always and foremost keep your budget in mind; a thorough selection of appropriate service providers helps to avoid unnecessary cost for the owner. An air condition system maintained by a professional company on a regular basis will last longer and save more energy than one that never gets serviced and cleaned. Repairs can be costly and empty a property owners pockets. A reliable handyman can work miracles and safe money with minor repair and sometimes even when it comes to remodeling. A good property manager will surely have one or two reliable handyman’s in his network of service providers and contractors. Nice as it is to save money Continue Reading6. Why should Sanford Realty be your Choice?
A survey conducted by the National Realtors Association (NAR) found that roughly one out of five Real Estate sales in the 12 month period between June 2011 and June 2012 involved a foreign buyer. Foreign buyers are non-residents buying residential Real Estate in the U.S. Nationwide approximately 51% of all sales involving foreign buyers go down in only 4 states: Florida – the clear winner with 26%, California, Texas, and Arizona. Overall 19% of all Florida home sales went to foreign buyers and out of those a good 82% were cash-deals. While Canadians were more tempted by homes in the lower price range the Europeans and Latin Americans went for the higher price items. Many foreign buyers appreciate the American Real Estate market as a result of favorable exchange rates. Buyers from Canada and the United Kingdom were the top-buyers according to the survey. 45% of sales were Condo’s, 10% Townhouses, and 36% were single family homes. This post is also available in: German
Part 5 – Vacation home inside and out: What features do we need? Guests prefer a home that gets them right into vacation mode: bright colors, decoration and details that underline the vacation motto e.g. referring to the beach. Extras like an Espresso Machine or a massage chair are certainly appreciated while otherwise a clear and functional design is what most vacationers wish for. Entertainment technology however, TV sets, quality of picture and sound, is important for guests. All technical equipment should be of good quality but also easy to operate; a HDTV, Blu-ray Player and High Speed Internet is nowadays an expected feature. If it comes to the task of furnishing a vacation home it’s easiest to just think of what you would want if renting a home to spend your dream vacation in. Basically the home must be ready to move in and has to be fully equipped before the first guests arrive. Everything from replacement linens and a sufficient supply of towels, dishes and silverware to broom and corkscrew must be present to provide guests with everything they could need in everyday vacation life. One very important feature is a functional phone; just think of an emergency and the need to call 911. Depending on the provider, international calls should be blocked to avoid phone-bill surprises. More and more guests bring their lap-top and tablet computers which makes it absolutely necessary to provide wireless internet access. Guests also welcome to have a BBQ-grill available (either gas or electric). Furnishings and equipment should be new and in good condition; however, some colors or materials are not recommended for use in a vacation home with a high frequency of guests. It’s best to stay away from too delicate materials. Blankets or covers over seat areas are acceptable but please – Continue Reading5. Why should Sanford Realty be your Choice?
Part 4 – How do I know if my House qualifies as a Vacation Home? Well, a Real Estate professional who is specialized in vacation rentals and property management will be a valuable partner if renting the house out to vacation guests is the plan. The trick is to see the house from the “guest-view”; their vantage point is different from a “year-round” resident’s view. One ground rule is: the age of the home is secondary; if the home is well maintained and neat a home of any age can be rented out successfully. However, many guests prefer a modern home with e.g. higher ceilings and contemporary refined details. No matter what, a heated pool is the one thing that is a MUST if a house is supposed to be rented to vacationers. One of the ground rules of buying Real Estate also applies to renting it: it’s all about Location, Location, Location. Guest often have other preferences than owners who life in the home all year. For most owners the proximity to schools or the work place might weight in heavily on the decision where the house should be located; the main questions for guests is how far away the beach is and if shopping and dining is nearby. Most guests also prefer homes that are located in a well-established populated neighborhood over a home that’s the only one in the street. Many homes that may seem to be a bargain might turn out to be not suitable for vacation rental purposes. Guests desire comfort, quiet, and a feeling of safety; a home that’s located in the boon-docks, in an area far off any “civilization”, or a house on a noisy street may be cheap in the first place but don’t qualify as vacation homes. Choosing a home on Continue Reading4. Why should Sanford Realty be your Choice?
Part 3 – Build a House from Scratch or buy an existing one? This is the Million Dollar Question for all future homeowners and of course there are plenty of pro’s and con’s either way: Pro Building a new Home: One of the big advantages of building a home from scratch is that the future home owner gets to choose the location. With many lots all around town it’s easy to find the right one with best view according to your personal preferences. Prices for land have fallen over the last couple of years just as much or even more than home prices; this makes land affordable and even lots that would have been very very pricey years ago because of the view or location are considered low-hanging fruit these days. Another advantage is that the home owner can bring in own ideas how to customize his home and what extra features to add. This, however, is usually driving the price up a bit as every change from the existing concept requires adaptation and extra work. Most home builders have a wide variety of homes in all price ranges and different features in their repertoire for the client to choose from – so feel free to mix and match. Con Building a new Home: It sounds trivial but it’s true; nature can cause tremendous and even costly delays for home builders. Many lots are overgrown and must be cleared before building can start; however, these lots are often the home of wildlife like the burrowing owl, the bald eagle, or the gopher tortoise that nest there. The nest of a protected bald eagle for instance means that the lot cannot be touched for months. Usually it takes about 6-9 months to build a house in this area; delays are always possible. Continue Reading3. Why should Sanford Realty be your Choice?
IMPORTANT NEWS MAY 2012: The Real Estate Market is heating up! The Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis Department reports an increase in the median home price (single family home) of 10.2% in April to $144,350; the median price for a condo has increased by 16.1%. Foreign investors mostly from Germany, Canada, England, and Asia, many of them cash buyers, are driving the market. The inventory is decreasing which has major impact on a market that has been overwhelmed with foreclosed properties. The numbers of homes on the residential market are decreasing; residential listings have dropped by 34% last year and have decreased by another 4% since March in the Miami-Dade area. This post is also available in: German
We all have suffered from falling average home prices since 2006 but change seems right around the corner. Fiserv, a market watch company, predicts that prices for real estate will start to stabilize this summer and expect they will rise about 4% each year for the next five years. It appears as if investors will be a driving force behind this development and at this time Florida appears to amongst those states that show the strongest signs of housing recovery. The market appears to be rebounding; we see this everyday now with so called “low-ball” offers. Where a while ago with the number of sellers grossly larger than the number of buyers offers of 25% and lower off the asking price might have gotten accepted these times seem to reach an end. Economists say the housing market is at a turn-around point; homebuyers who want to catch a bargain do still have time. Home prices have fallen and home affordability for average families is higher than it was in years. Overall, big changes may lie ahead for the years to come and prices are expected to bounce back by next year. This post is also available in: German
PART 2 – Real Estate Broker and Agent – what do all those titles really mean? Investing in Real Estate is usually one of the most complex endeavors and financial events in people’s lives. The investment can be a home to live in, or it can be income-producing property e.g. rental property or land. The term Real Estate refers to all land and everything that is on it or below it e.g. a house, or the oil underneath. The complexity and importance of the transaction requires the assistance of a trained professional the customer can trust and rely on. Typically the person to assist in those kinds of transactions is a Real Estate Broker or Agent; their training and their knowledge of the market and the business makes them professionals and an asset for their customers. A real estate professional who is familiar with the area, local tax and zoning laws, plans for possible future developments will be able to find the best fit for his clients’ needs and budget. Brokers and Real Estate Agents in the United States, other than in most European countries, are licensed and undergo structured education and a state exam. In order to keep their licenses up certain continuing education hours are required on a regular schedule. This regulation along with numerous other requirements and qualifications e.g. trustworthiness, organizational skills, good judgment, and honesty ensures that the customer or client can rely on working with a well trained professional. Real Estate has, in recent years, become a profession that can also be studied in a university or college setting and realtors may hold associate or bachelor degrees. Brokers are licensed to manage their own company, agents must work for a licensed Broker; they usually provide their services on contract basis and receive a portion of the sales Continue Reading2. Why should Sanford Realty be your Choice?
PART 1 – One Hand and one Hand only: selling – buying – property management – vacation rental services Sanford Realty, Inc. is a licensed Florida Real Estate Brokerage and can therefore – unlike Property Management Companies – take care of all your real estate needs. We take pride in assisting our clients in all aspects from buying to renting and advertising the property for vacation rental; property management is just another one of the services we offer. Our clients benefit from our long years of experience and our well established network of services. We are by your side from the start; we help you select a home that fits your purposes, we have plenty of tips and helpful hints, and we answer all your questions. This article will be released in parts; most details and facts apply to the City of Cape Coral. How to find a Home? Especially for Europeans, who don’t know their ways around Florida’s southwest too well; it can be difficult to pick a home destined to be a vacation home from the wide selection of houses on the market. It’s here where it pays to work with a Real Estate expert; a Real Estate professional will not only assist you with offers and contracts but also be your adviser in the early stages. Location, Location, Location is the old but still true slogan in Real Estate; it’s even truer when the home is supposed to be rented out to paying guests. Many vacationers, boaters or not, prefer a waterfront home. Even waterfront has more than once choice: Fresh water canals, salt water canals which usually have access to the Gulf of Mexico, on a lake, or maybe even directly on the beach. There are many things to consider; if you buy a home on Continue Reading1. Why should Sanford Realty be your Choice?
Sometimes it’s not easy to find a house that prospective buyers really like; with a multitude of objects on the market people have become picky and expect additional features and the extra mile as standard. However, the first impression is the most important one; if a house looks unkempt from the outside chances are that the prospective buyer will turn around and continues looking for something more appealing. This is called curb appeal and was covered in one of our previous blog postings. Just as a reminder: a seller should make sure the house appears well taken care of from the outside. How about paint? Does the driveway have oil stains? How is the lawn kept? Are the flowerbeds overgrown? Just look at your home with the eyes of a prospective buyer and think: what do I really see? Is has not yet made its way to Florida yet, but there are already professional stagers in California and Colorado; a stagers job is to make your home presentable to buyers. For US$50.00 to 150.00 an hour a professional stager, most likely somebody with experience in interior architecture, will stage your house for the perfect presentation. However, if you want to safe the money here are some tips on what you can do staging your home? First of all: pack up about 90% of your things; if the house is clustered with personal belongings and pictures of the family a prospective buyer won’t be able to picture the house as theirs. You want to present the home as if it were a model, depersonalized. The buyer might feel uncomfortable to see the previous owner’s book or CD collection; everything pointing towards the personality of the current owner should go into boxes or drawer out of the sight of a potential buyer. Continue ReadingStaging – the Art of presenting your home for Sale