Owning Your Home: The American Dream
When people think about the factors involved in the American Dream one that always makes the list is owning your home. It is a strong sign of financial stability and success. No matter how modest your beginnings, freely working to make this happen has long been a hallmark of the American Dream.
However, lately there have been media rumblings that perhaps owning your home is not the gold standard for American success that it once was. The argument is that the financial advantages to owning your home are no longer sound.
Does Renting Make More Sense?
Yes, it is true that there are situations where owning your home makes less financial sense than renting. Most of these reasons hinge on the anticipated length of residence. According to The New York Times, “Buying tends to be better the longer you stay” mainly since the upfront expenses are distributed over time. Included in one of its Upshot commentaries, the Times introduces a calculator that adds up “Initial,” “Recurring,” and “Opportunity Costs.” These figures show different buy and rent instances as a tool to show at what monthly rental cost “renting is better.”
The Times calculator precisely illustrates the monetary benefits renting can often have. However, it overlooks one very significant component of owning your home. It is the feature that is inherent whenever a family chooses to move from renting to buying. It starts with the first savings started for the down payment on a home. This benefit continues till the mortgage is paid off.
There are certain emotional advantages of owning your home. Also, a clear benefit is the financial independence home ownership usually brings. Take into consideration the Federal Reserves last report “Changes in U.S. Family Finances” during the span of time from 2010 to 2013. It concluded that median incomes fell 5%, while “the median net worth of homeowners increased 4%, whereas that of renters or other homeowners did not change.”
We would love the opportunity to help turn your American dream into reality. Start today with a call to our office!
A Stress-Free Move
Moving day madness is a reality. But what can you do in the weeks and days prior to help lessen the drama? Hiring relocation professionals would be wonderful but is not always an available option for everyone. Below you will find some tips to assist you in having a stress-free move if you decide to tackle the project yourself.
Stress-Free Move Tips
- Gather all necessary packing materials. This includes boxes, tissue paper or newspaper, bubble wrap and Styrofoam packing peanuts. These all will be of great value to you in protecting your items during your move. Check online for these materials to find better bargains. Scour local garage sale sites for people who are perhaps getting rid of boxes and other packing materials for free. This is also a valuable tip on the unpacking end of your move. Just post them free to anyone who comes and gets them, and you won’t have the hassle of disposing of them yourself.
- As you near the day of your stress-free move, collect all the other necessary basic packing materials. This includes heavy duty Scotch shipping tape rollers and permanent markers. Also grab a special box to keep all your important papers in like car titles and insurance policies. Make this box distinct so that it is easily identifiable in the move.
- Get your family and friends together and have a moving sale! Clear out all the clutter! You do not want to pack items that you are simply going to throw out or donate on the other end of your move. Keep in mind the size and layout of your new home when making these decisions. For example, if you are downsizing you may want to get rid of unneeded furniture and decorative items that will not work well in your new home. If you love to shop, there is also the fun of purchasing new items for your new home once you get settled.
- Find a system of packing that will make unpacking easier. For example, think forward; pack backward. Label your boxes “open 1st, “and “open 2nd .” Then arrange them so the “1st” box will be first to be unloaded. You can also do this in addition to labeling by room. This can make for an organized and stress-free move.
- Consider your budget for the move. Find an online moving cost calculator and do the math. Rental costs for moving trucks, gas, packing materials, babysitters for the kids, food and drinks for family and friends who may help all need to be factored in. Also consider the surprises that may pop up.
- Ask for help. Invite family and friends over to help with the move. After all you may be moving away from them and they may want the opportunity to spend time with you while they can.
- Plan to be flexible! Part of a stress free move is deciding not to stress! Just know from the start that things will likely not go according to plan. Allow yourself the time and resources to deal with these problems. Recognizing that off the bat will ensure that you are able to roll with the punches as they come.
- Separate the items you will need right away when you get to your new home. You do not want to be searching for the hand soap and toothpaste amidst all the boxes. Keep them in a backpack or suitcase to help you get through the first few days before everything is fully unpacked.
First and foremost, during a move take care of yourself! You are starting a new chapter in your life and while that can be exciting the disruption to routine can be stressful. Try to stick to your routine as much as possible. Burning the midnight oil may backfire in the long run. If you have any questions or concerns about your move let us know. We are here to help. We can also give local recommendations for professional moving help if you decide to go that route. Call us anytime!
Home Buyer! What Are Your Questions?
Recently the National Association of Realtors compiled a list of responses to common questions a typical home buyer might ask their agents. The list is as follows:
- “How much should I spend?” You must look at your entire financial picture, which can be simple when you use a “house affordability calculator.” Skip past the ads listed first; most will ask you for your personal details before giving you a result.
- Can I sell my home and buy one at the same time?” This would include an understanding of possible offer contingencies. Also, some sellers choose to rent while house searching.
- “What will the seller agree to take?” The NAR’s proposal is to take 5% off the list price. However, every circumstance is unique. I believe a better suggestion would be to bear in mind the seller’s information and current market comps. Also, always get your agent’s take.
- “What about a home inspection? Is it necessary?” Yes! As a home buyer, it must be done. When a home appears to be in perfect condition, it can be enticing to just skip the inspection. However, the report produced by your home inspector will be a worthwhile use of your time and money. You may find yourself looking at it long after you have settled into your new home.
- “When is too late to back out?” You will likely lose your deposit money if you change course without a reason. However, a good offer should include provisions to cancel a purchase for reasonable reasons like inspection conclusions and loan terms.
One thing is for certain about the typical home buyer, they will have many questions before they have chosen their perfect home. We are always here to answer any questions you may have! Call today!
Luxury Home Buying on a Budget
The National Association of Realtors is most often unadventurous and steady on the subjects it publishes about. Their content must appeal to towns large and small across the country. As real estate is one of the largest industries in the country, the association representing its professionals must be extremely cautious in its declarations. Given these facts, it was striking to see in the Realtor website a step by step guide on purchasing a luxury home for less. Personally, I have always found luxury homes to be far more expensive than standard homes, so I was very curious about their thoughts.
Interestingly enough, they had many great points on the topic. The “6 Sneaky Tips for Buying a Luxury Home Without Wads of Cash” are practical tips on becoming a savvy shopper. Showcasing them as a list was a great way of presenting them to an interested audience. I can also add a few more tips for those seeking to shop for a luxury home.
Their first tip recommends waiting for the cold and short days of winter, including around Christmas, where there aren’t as many prospective buyers actively searching. Also, it recommends trying to find a motivated luxury home seller as evidenced by price drops.
The last two tips are to peruse the foreclosure listings and to consider borrowing from retirement savings. These two tips need to be done cautiously. First, with foreclosure buys it is important to make sure it will not be overly costly to make any necessary repairs. Also borrowing from your retirement funds should likely be done with professional assistance.
A straightforward tip I would add is to make an honest assessment of the money necessary to maintain your luxury home. It can be extremely expensive to pay for its upkeep – and allowing it to fall apart, doubly so. You should always consider starting with a non-luxury home you can renovate. Be patient and begin the process of working your way up to purchasing a luxury home. This is the most obvious route and is in fact how most people get to live luxuriously.
My last tip is to reach out to our professional real estate team. We are here to make your plans a reality. Call today!
Neighborhood of Your Choice?
When you are moving to a new town sizing up potential neighborhoods is a great first step. You may find yourself completely absorbed in finding the perfect home, but it won’t be the best choice if the neighborhood is not what you are looking for.
Doing a little online research can be valuable in gathering information about possible neighborhoods. Other than simply googling it, you can explore websites like City-Data or Nextdoor to gain even more insight. Once you have gotten a feeling for the neighborhood, you will be able to approach open houses and showings with a leading edge. And don’t forget to ask the neighbors! Neighbors are an incredibly rich resource of information that many home buyers simply fail to investigate.
Initiating laid back conversations in a neighborhood grocery store or coffee house are some of the most valuable ways to find interesting tidbits about the neighborhood and surrounding community. Most neighbors will love telling you all about the following three topics.
- Crime: Is crime an issue? Is there a Neighborhood Watch?
- Events: Are there block parties or neighborhood garage sales?
- Schools: What are the best schools in the area?
The answers to these questions will be a good gauge of the quality of life in a neighborhood. They will often serve to open conversation to wider subjects, so you can gain an even deeper understanding. After talking to several people, you will get an impression of how friendly the area is and how welcome you will feel there. If you like the community it is a good indicator that others will think highly of it too. This is a good sign for the future of property values.
When you work with our team, we will start you out with an extensive range of local knowledge – and of course the most up to date information on neighborhood developments. Call us today!
HOA and Condo Associations: The difference.
When looking at the latest real estate listings you most certainly have seen the monthly fees connected with a “Homeowners’ Association” (HOA) or “Condo Association.” They are both monthly payments that owners must pay beyond property taxes.
You may think of these two separate fees as being the same. They both characterize an amount of money that occupants pay to cover everyday upkeep and repairs that all residents encounter. However, there are key factors that distinguish the two. Being cognizant of these differences will steer you to take one necessary action that can be extremely advantageous.
HOA and CA
The main contrasts between HOAs and CAs result from the two distinct types of ownership. Homeowners’ Associations most often are comprised of dwellings where each resident owns their homes and land. They likely share some common spaces. In one HOA that space might be a patio, a garden, or even a swimming pool or fitness area. In another HOA, the joint space might simply be a small flowerbed with a bench and a sign.
Now for a Condominium Association you will find that the shared commitments are more wide ranging because of the type of ownership and what it entails. While the condo owner owns his individual unit, he must share the obligation for the building and surroundings. (Where does the unit end and the building begin? You can clearly see how vital the differences can be).
Now there is one “necessary action” that you can take that will be “extremely advantageous.” When thinking about current condominiums available, or ones that list an HOA, make sure you have obtained an up to date copy of the agreements you will be bound to if you sign on the dotted line.
Most importantly, make sure the list is current!
HOAs and Condo Associations can both be wonderful resources in caring for what is likely one of your biggest investments. Do not wait until the day you sign to get a copy of the rules and regulations. Otherwise you may be surprised at the additional expenses.
When you work with us, we will be there through the entire process to ensure you get all the facts you need. Contact us today!
Have You Found the Perfect Coral Springs House?
It has been mostly uncontested since its initial presentation in 2014: the list of nine elements that create the “perfect house.” Initially devised for a Houselogic feature by builder John Riha, the nine attributes that make up a perfect house make a more valuable list than other comparable collections.
The nine are:
- Single Level (unless there is an amazing view from a higher floor)
- Nine-foot ceilings (excluding grand rooms)
- Southern Exposure
- Outdoor Living Space
- Maximize Insulation
- Separate Master Bedroom (meaning “suite”)
- Low Maintenance Siding
- Great Storage (A Must!)
- Ergonomic touches
The Tenth Feature in the Perfect Coral Springs House
John Riha supplemented this list with a tenth feature, however. It is one I Completely agree with as I am sure most Coral Springs buyers will also. The bonus feature for the perfect Coral Springs house is an “intangible” element – defined as the traits that showcase individuality and personality. They “keep a house from being cookie-cutter.”
Listing your house with our team is a great move in the hunt for another model: the perfect Coral Springs house buyer. There is only a single item on the “perfect” list portraying that person: it is a house buyer who has been searching for a home just like yours. Call us when you are ready to put your home on the market!
Sage Advice From a Real Estate Team
The Best Advice When Hiring a Realtor®
Real estate agents may be one of the only professions in a double nature type of profession.
Take for example a family practice medical doctor. He doesn’t practice family medicine by day and switch to being a surgeon by night.
No more than an attorney representing the plaintiff will turn around and become the prosecuting attorney in a later case.
In contrast, a real estate agent can start the day showing houses and negotiating on a buyer’s behalf. Then switch over in the second part of the day review purchase offers for a listing they represent and negotiate on the seller’s behalf. Luckily this isn’t a split personality disorder. In fact, for a Realtor, it’s all in a day’s work.
The new real estate business model is teams. A basic real estate team will consist of a buyer’s agent, a listing (seller’s) agent and an administrative assistant. Real estate teams can get more complex from there, but this is the where a team starts. That being said, there is no difference between the classes a listing agent has to pass as compared to the classes a buyer’s agent has to pass. They’re all the same. One agent could do it all. But why would they want to? Like the African Proverb says: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with a team.
Which begs the question, with all of the moving parts in one transaction why would one agent want to do it all? And how can they be effective in managing multiple transactions all in different stages? The answer: It’s very difficult.
When you bring in a real estate team you have real estate “specialists”, not “generalists”. For example us, The Miranda Team. Our listing agent only works with sellers, and our buyer’s agent only works with buyers. This allows each of our agents to focus all of their attention on doing what they’re hired to do. When we get a property under contract with our client we pass the file to our administrator to handle all of the paperwork from contract to closing. We still go to inspections, appraisals etc and handle all of the negotiations, but our admin does all of the office work. Likewise our Inside Sales Agent handles all of the phone calls letting everyone know the property is available for sale and proactively searching for buyers. And each agent’s continuing education is geared specifically towards their specialty.
The subject of real estate double nature came up when we came across an article earlier this week discussing The 3 Things you shouldn’t talk about with a listing agent (for a buyer when out looking at homes with their real estate agent). The 3 things the author listed are: How much you like or dislike a house; what’s your purchase budget; and let your agent do all of the talking – which seems more like “don’t say anything” as opposed to what not to say.
As a team we certainly agree with all three. Keep in mind the same advice goes for sellers also. Your agent is there to use their knowledge and experience to gather the necessary information and prevent you from divulging too much and placing yourself in a weaker position during negotiations – and doing all of this with a smile. These are all situations where experience is key.
Bottom line, when hiring an agent there is no difference between the education requirements of a listing agent or a buyer’s agent. But every agent has different levels of experience. And every agent has strengths and weaknesses. After all, we are all human. Wouldn’t you want an agent that specializes in transactions similar to yours? When purchasing, wouldn’t you prefer an agent that only works and negotiates on behalf of buyers? Or when selling, working with an agent that works and negotiates only on behalf of sellers? A good buyer’s agent will have a different personality than a good listing agent. Working with a team allows each agent to specialize in their profession and allows us to place the right agent with the right job.
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Coral Springs or anywhere in Broward County, The Miranda Team has an agent for you. English and Spanish speaking. Buyer’s agent, Seller’s agent and inside sales agent. And our administrator is ready to hold the office together. Take our advie and give us a call so we can talk about how we will make your next real estate experience better with our 6 Star ****** Guarantee. Most agents are OK with 5 stars, we promise 6 stars.
Or if you have a friend, family member or co-worker we can help, please pass our information along.