Selling Real Estate in Tampa Bay? Utilize One of Our Professional Realtors® for the Job!

You want more money into your pocket, right?!

Well, what if we told you that hiring a professional Realtor® to assist you in your next real estate transaction could actually save you both money and precious time?

A question we often here from those trying to sell their homes on their own is “Using a Realtor® will cost me money and I’m sure I can figure it out on my own.” Some do attempt to sell on their own, but eventually end up looking to the expertise of a real estate professional to list their home after realizing the headaches and inconvenience of doing it themselves. At the very least, having a real estate agent as a “buffer” between a buyer and seller helps separate the emotions and stress that occurs during negotiations. Using a Realtor® ensures qualified buyers are actually viewing your home as no one wants to just let the general public walk through their house! We also build relationships with other Realtors® which makes it easier to have conversations with them about their buyers when they want to see your home. We are able to ask their Realtor®:

  • Has your buyer been pre-qualified with a lender?
  • What is their time line to make a move?
  • Do they have a current home they need to sell prior to closing on a new home?

The last thing we want to do is waste your time, taking your home off the market only to find out a buyer can’t financially purchase your home. Our job is to get your home sold, and for top dollar! We market your home on 400+ websites, utilize Facebook and Instagram targeted ads, host open houses, hire professional photographers, in many cases we also incorporate 3D viewing technology and video! Our mobile connect platform gives buyers instant access to details of your home before they even step foot inside. These are just some of the tools we use to get your home sold , taking the stress of selling a home off of you!

After you figure the cost of doing everything on your own, including time, energy and education, it’s not difficult to see how hiring a professional in the industry can go a long way…and likely increase your proceeds at the end of the day! Our licensed professionals do more than just put a sign in your yard. Check out the video below on some of the items a Realtor® will do on your behalf:

Realtors come fully packaged and equipped to handle your real estate needs with ease and professionalism. They’re educated in their field and beyond having a professional license, they are members of both local and national boards that provide standards of professionalism in serving you and education on current events taking place in the industry.

It’s all about finding the right Realtor®. Our team of professional and educated Realtors® will immediately relieve the pressure from you by putting their education and expertise to work for you. Buying or selling? Call us today!

Think You Need 20% Down to Purchase a New Home? Maybe Not!

According to a recent Zillow survey, 2 out of 3 renters consider the task of coming up with money for a down-payment the number one hurdle in buying a home. If you are currently in this boat, you are not alone… and just for your information, there are many resources out there designed to help you overcome this challenge!

Our team here at NextHome Discovery wants to help you discover them and get you into your dream home quickly!

Happy couple in front of sold sign

Take it from current home owners who took advantage of the programs and resources available to them to get them in their new homes. There are more ways than you think and your Realtor will gladly keep you informed.

Home-buyers are getting more and more creative these days, because quite frankly, times are changing. With average home prices higher now than they were in the past, 20% down just isn’t feasible to most, while it used to be what most home-buyers aimed to accomplish. In fact, the median down payment is now closer to 10% and has been since 2013 according to the NAR. It doesn’t change the fact that a 20% down payment helps to save money on the monthly mortgage payment and PMI (private mortgage insurance) costs.

Still, there are several loan options available to most future home-seekers. Down payments as low as 3.5% (with clauses to eventually remove PMI costs) can and will get people into their dream home these days. Also, little to zero down payment may be needed for U.S. military veterans, service members or residents of certain rural areas. Teachers, fire fighters, and other service job holders may qualify to receive additional down-payment assistance and there are over 2,100 funding programs available according to Downpayment Resource, who tracks home buyer down payment assistance programs.

Where there’s a will there’s always a way.

If saving up or tapping into retirement plans aren’t cutting it and you’re willing to look into other, less traditional methods of coming up with a down payment for your future home, you will likely stumble across many options! One company for example, although not yet in Florida, allows you to tap into your home’s future equity to double your down payment today.

The possibilities of home-ownership seem endless and promising. If you’re ready to start looking at your options today, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our knowledgeable and professional Realtors!

Check out this recent article for more tips on overcoming the down payment obstacle.

Hillsborough County Remains a Seller’s Market with Low Monthly Supply of Inventory in April

A key metric we like to monitor when looking at the health of the Tampa Bay real estate market is the Month’s Supply of Inventory (MSI). The generally accepted benchmark for a healthy market, one that favors neither the seller or the buyer, is 5.5 months supply of inventory. Anything higher than that would be considered a buyer’s market, anything lower – a seller’s market.

So how is MSI calculated?

You divide the current inventory in the market by the 12-month average of monthly closed sales. By dividing by the average of monthly closed sales, we eliminate seasonal effects such as the busy spring selling season or the slow winter season.

Looking at single family homes in Hillsborough County for the month of April 2017, we are currently at a 2.7 months supply of inventory. What this means is if no new single family homes were listed for sale in Hillsborough County, the current supply would be depleted in only 2.7 months!

 

Last 12 months monthly supply of inventory in Hillsborough County.
Last 12 months monthly supply of inventory in Hillsborough County.

Looking at the chart above you’ll notice that we have been at  or below 3 months supply of inventory for the past 12 months. In fact, check out the chart below and you’ll see we’ve been at or below 3 months supply since around September 2015!

 

MONTHLY SUPPLY OF INVENTORY SINCE 2013

So what does this mean for you if you are looking to buy or sell real estate anywhere in Hillsborough County?

With the steady low inventory over the past few years, seller’s are still in the driver’s seat. This means there are more buyers in the market bidding on the same limited supply of housing available. Simply put, this is still a great time to sell! We are seeing multiple offers on a daily basis on listings, especially those in highly desirable parts of Hillsborough County.

Now this isn’t all bad news for buyers. What it means is you need to be sure to align yourself with an experienced real estate professional skilled in negotiation, listening to your needs, identifying the right property for you, and moving quickly on it. It is also another reason why it is vital that buyers get pre-approved by a reputable lender so the pre-approval letter can be submitted with your offer. When it comes to multiple-offer situations, showing the seller you have the financial ability to close on their home goes a long way!

Have more questions about the market or looking to sell or buy in Tampa Bay? Reach out to one of our associates or email our office at connect@DiscoverYourPlace.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homeowners: Protect Your Investment by Choosing the Right Roof

When buying a home in Tampa Bay, or if you already own a home here, it’s imperative that you consider your roof as an investment. Most people look at “a roof over their head” as a basic need. Not only does your roof protect your home itself, but the very valuable things within, including your family. Consider what a roof protects you from – sun exposure, several months of summer afternoon showers common to Florida, a humid environment that can easily lock in moisture, and winds that in some locations can easily shuffle around debris during a storm. Your roof is the barrier between you and the outside elements. As much as Floridians live here because we love the sun, it still pays a toll on your roof!
Given the facts, let’s consider what steps can be taken in choosing the right roofing system to protect one of the most valuable investments you’ll ever make – your home.

 

1. Cost

Your roof is measured in squares and should be done so by a licensed roofer. One square is 100 square feet, or 10′ by 10′. Not to be mistaken with the same square footage as the interior of your home as you must consider the pitch (or slope) of your roof. Once you have your roof measured accurately you can use that information to get a rough estimate together based on the materials you plan to use. Don’t forget to include the cost of labor and warranty.
The national average for a roof replacement, according to numbers reported by approximately 25,000 HomeAdvisor members was $7,061; and the average in Tampa (zip code 33602 used for reference) based on 328 HomeAdvisor members was $7,884.

 

 

 

 

Keep in mind you will have to take the following into consideration when it comes to comparing your cost to any average cost:

  • Roof size
  • Pitch
  • Installation
  • Materials
  • Number of layers
  • Stripping off old layers
  • Where you live
  • Code requirements
  • If you have a lot of skylights, chimneys, plumbing pipes or other adornments that need to be addressed during the installation

We recommend you get at least three estimates from reputable roofing companies before making a decision. Ask your Realtor for references as they’d be more than happy to provide this information to you!

 

2. Materials
There are several roofing materials to choose from but it would be wise to consider your personal needs in addition to climate conditions, etc., prior to choosing the material based only on the up-front ticket price. You might want to consider the immediate and long-term savings of a higher costing material; ie lower utility bills, better insurance rates, less frequency of replacement or repair. Some popular materials used in Tampa are below:
  • Asphalt shingles – most commonly used in Tampa and around the nation
  • Wood – lightweight, durable, and suitable for extreme weather conditions
  • Metal – long lasting and investment-wise a great purchase
  • Tile/Cement – resistant to fire and high-winds and aesthetically pleasing
  • Slate – minimal maintenance, long lasting, and durable

Keep in mind that not all roof types can be used on all roofs. Your favorite roofing material may not work for your roof! One material may actually be preferred or regulated by professionals over another depending on your roof type; ie. a flat roof vs a roof with a high pitch. It’s important to seek professional guidance when it comes to choosing the right roofing system for your home. You may also have some guidelines and restrictions outlined by your Homeowner’s Association so it’d be a good idea to check with them prior to making your purchase to avoid any unnecessary fines or replacement costs.

3. Contractor/Installation
Carefully selecting a roofing contractor is just as important as selecting the right roofing system for your home. At the end of the day a roof installed incorrectly can cost you far more in the long run. From structural damage to the frame and interior, to leaks and distress caused by a patchy, unwarranted job, it’s important that you do some research and again, don’t just consider the ticket price of the labor. When it comes to choosing your Tampa roofing contractor or company, it’ll be well worth it to invest in someone who is licensed, insured and bonded, experienced (with references) and someone who is professional. In addition, it is recommended you use a company who offers a legitimate warranty and that will be around in the future to make any necessary repairs.
If you have any questions about your roofing investment, please reach out to once of our experienced and professional NextHome Discovery team members today! We’d be happy to guide you.

Homestead Exemption and Portability Benefits for Florida Homeowners – What Does it Mean?

But first…

What is a homestead exemption? 

A benefit that allows a homeowner (and their spouse) to protect the value of his or her principle (or primary) residence from creditors, rising property taxes, and the unfortunate situations that can arise from the death of the homeowner spouse. Basically, a homestead exemption allows a portion of your home’s value to be removed from taxation. In Florida, voters approved a property tax homestead exemption of up to $50,000. This would be applied to the value of the primary residency to “reduce the value for assessment” by $50,000. Here’s a simple Homestead Exemption PDF provided by Florida’s Department of Revenue to show exactly how the $50,000 could be applied to a given property.

Who Determines the Value of my Property? 

Your county’s elected Property Appraiser is charged with the duty and responsibility to appraise all of the property in the county. The Property Appraiser is required by law to assess all property within the county each year. In Hillsborough County it is required by January 1st every year.  Your property’s value is what a ready, willing and able buyer would pay. Appraisers and real estate professionals will find it necessary to look at comparable properties recently sold in the neighborhood to help them determine a true and accurate home value. To look up the assessed value of your home you can easily call your county appraisal office, check your most recent tax bill, or visit the links below to your specific county to check online:
*Additional county appraisal offices can be located here.

How Else Does Having a Homestead Exemption Protect Me?

Besides the $50,000 tax exemption, Florida voters approved a Florida Constitutional Amendment known as “Save Our Homes,” that was designed to set limitations on increases in the assessed value of a homestead residence. Basically, a “cap” of 3% or the change in the CPI (consumer price index), whichever is lower, is placed on a homestead residence to limit the annual increase in the value of your property. The Save Our Homes Benefit is the difference between the assessed value and the market (or just) value of your homesteaded residence. In other words, as time passes and a difference accumulates between the assessed value and the market value of your home, the difference is your benefit. There are even more property tax benefits you should know about that are available for homestead property owners. You can see a full list at the Department of Revenue’s website.

So How Does Portability Help Me? 

If you are eligible (applications must be completed for both a homestead exemption and a transfer of homestead assessment difference), portability allows homeowners to transfer (or port) the savings they have accumulated over the length of their homestead! Remember that Save Our Homes Benefit described above? Homeowners can transfer up to $500,000 in SOH Benefit from their old Florida homestead to a new homestead in Florida to lower the tax assessment of the new homestead. This means tax savings! There is an unlimited amount of times you can take advantage of portability, but it only applies to counties within Florida, and timing is of the essence. Check out the examples outlined on this SOH and Portability PDF provided by the FDR.

Hillsborough County created a summary of frequently asked questions you may find helpful if questions remain, but as always our members at NextHome Discovery are eager to answer any questions and provide any relevant services needed.