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Aaron Novello


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The Salary You Need to Buy a Home in 27 US Cities

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group


According to the Washington Post, a buyer who puts 20 percent down would need to earn a salary of $48,604 to afford the median-priced home in America. But that total varies a lot from city to city. South Florida ranks in the middle with a salary of $58,431 in Miami.

Real Estate blogger Ana Swanson writes, "The site's calculations assume that a buyer spends 28 percent of gross monthly income on housing, including principal, interest, taxes and insurance, (in line with industry guidelines for standard "front-end" debt ratios) and makes a 20 percent down payment on a house. To calculate the cost of buying the median-priced house in a given urban area, combines its own average interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages in the fourth quarter; the National Association of Realtors’ data on median-home prices in the fourth quarter; average metropolitan property tax data from the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based think tank; and statewide average homeowner insurance premium costs from the Insurance Information Institute, an industry organization.

The data is, of course, an estimate — for one, property taxes and insurance costs will vary depending on the property — but it gives you a good idea of how housing costs varied around the country in the fourth quarter."

For more information on housing prices and affordability in South Florida, please contact Aaron Novello of The Novello Group today!

You can read more about the methodology and see the site's data here.

Zillow's "Zestimates" are off by about 20% in some Florida Counties

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

According to a recent LA Times article by Kenneth R. Harney, when "CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell asked the chief executive of Zillow recently about the accuracy of the website's automated property value estimates — known as Zestimates — she touched on one of the most sensitive perception gaps in American real estate.

Zillow is the most popular online real estate information site, with 73 million unique visitors in December. Along with active listings of properties for sale, it also provides information on houses that are not on the market. You can enter the address or general location in a database of millions of homes and probably pull up key information — square footage, lot size, number of bedrooms and baths, photos, taxes — plus a Zestimate.

Shoppers, sellers and buyers routinely quote Zestimates to realty agents — and to one another — as gauges of market value. If a house for sale has a Zestimate of $350,000, a buyer might challenge the sellers' list price of $425,000. Or a seller might demand to know from potential listing brokers why they say a property should sell for just $595,000 when Zillow has it at $685,000.

Back to the question posed by O'Donnell: Are Zestimates accurate? And if they're off the mark, how far off? Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff answered that they're "a good starting point" but that nationwide Zestimates have a "median error rate" of about 8%.

Whoa. That sounds high. On a $500,000 house, that would be a $40,000 disparity — a lot of money on the table — and could create problems. But here's something Rascoff was not asked about: Localized median error rates on Zestimates sometimes far exceed the national median, which raises the odds that sellers and buyers will have conflicts over pricing. Though it's not prominently featured on the website, at the bottom of Zillow's home page in small type is the word "Zestimates." This section provides helpful background information along with valuation error rates by state and county — some of which are stunners.

Want to know the stats in Florida counties? Click here.

So what do you do now that you've got the scoop on Zestimate accuracy? Most important, look at them as no more than starting points in pricing discussions with the real authorities on local real estate values — experienced agents and appraisers. Zestimates are hardly gospel — often far from it.

For a more accurate estimation of your property's value, please contact Aaron Novello of The Novello Group today or click here.

Aaron Novello's Article as Featured in SELLING Magazine

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

South Florida Housing Market Entering Stability

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

According to a recent article by Paul Owers in the Sun-Sentinal, the South Florida's housing market is steadily improving and closing in on a benchmark stable range.

A score of at least 80 is favorable. A perfect score is 100.

South Florida's gains are mostly the result of on-time mortgage payments and a brighter employment forecast, according to Freddie Mac.

While the index still considers the South Florida market weak, industry observers say the region has shown significant progress in the past two years. Robust demand from foreign buyers and a lack of inventory helped drive up prices, though the increases are starting to level off.

The last time the tri-county region's index score hit 80 was August 2008, when the market was heading down amid the housing collapse.

Meanwhile, the rental market also has soared in recent years. In fact, consistent rent growth turned Broward into one of the nation's least affordable rental markets, according to RealtyTrac Inc. of Irvine Calif.

Broward residents making the median household income of $50,432 would need to spend 43 percent of their monthly gross salaries on fair market rent, RealtyTrac said. Only Miami-Dade County (46 percent), Kings County, N.Y. (47), Philadelphia (47), Baltimore (50) and the Bronx, N.Y. (53) were more expensive for renters.

Palm Beach County residents making the median household income of $52,152 have to devote 37 percent of their pay to fair market rent, RealtyTrac said. Financial counselors say families should spend no more than 28 to 30 percent of their gross pay on housing costs.

For more information on buying, selling or renting property in South Florida, please call Aaron Novello of The Novello Group today!

How Can Winter be Beneficial for Buyers?

by Aaron Novello

According to a article by Dini Harris, there are some great advantages to buying a home in the winter. If you don’t mind a smaller pool of homes for sale or moving around the holidays, winter might be a good time for you to house shop.

Less Competition, More Leverage
Since spring and summer are the most active real estate seasons, many home sellers wait until then to list their homes. That means there are fewer homes for sale in the winter, but the sellers often have strong reasons to sell their homes soon, such as job relocation. These motivated sellers can be a boon to the home buyer.

While there are fewer homes to choose among, the smaller selection can save you a lot of time. Do you really want to traipse through 50 houses? It may be simpler to view the handful of homes for sale in the winter and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Just as there are fewer homes for sale during the winter, there are fewer buyers, too. That means less competition and sellers who are more willing to accommodate potential buyers. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Offer a relatively low (but not insultingly low) bid for the home you’ve selected, or ask for perks such as the living room furniture or the chandelier that you admire. The low number of potential buyers also means you have more time to make your decision. In the spring, you often need to choose a home and act quickly, but in winter you may be able to take your time.

Assessing a Home’s Winter Fitness
Viewing homes in the winter lets you see how it holds up to the weather. Did you feel cold while looking through the house? Is there a functioning heating system and hot water? Are the windows letting in drafts?

Availability of Agents and Others
Another advantage of buying a home in the off-season is the greater availability of industry professionals. Real estate agents will have fewer clients and more time to focus on your home search. Lenders will be more accessible for questions and assistance. Some lenders even waive fees during the off-season to encourage borrowers to use their services. Likewise, movers tend to lower their costs during the winter months.

Gray Gardens or Winter Wonderland?
Home buyers can be turned off by the bleak look of prospective homes in winter. Bare trees and lawns covered in gray snow aren’t the most picturesque. However, you’ll be able to see how well neighbors tend driveways and sidewalks, whether the town plows or salts icy streets, and whether kids come out to play in the snow. Around the holidays, you might even see the neighborhood decorated in its winter finest.

Call Aaron Novello of The Novello Group today to take advantage of this time of year!

Best Time to List Your Home? The Answer May Suprise You

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times by Kenneth R. Harney, the best time to list is actually in the Winter.

Winter — officially Dec. 21 through March 20 for the upcoming season — can be a surprisingly advantageous time to list, shop, negotiate and buy. Consider some findings by researchers at Redfin, the online realty brokerage.

Real estate website Redfin has studied home listing, sale price and time-on-market data from 2010 through this past October from around the country, updating a two-year analysis it completed last year. It concluded that if you want to sell for more than your asking price, listing in December, January, February and March gives you a better chance on average than if you list any time from June through November. During the last three years, listing during those four months has produced higher percentages of above-asking-price sales than listing during any months other than April and May. In 2012, as the housing market rebounded, December listings produced the highest percentage of above-asking sales for the entire year — 17%.

If your goal is to sell relatively quickly, February "is historically the best month to list, with an average of 66% of homes listed then selling within 90 days," according to Redfin. In the two-year study completed last December, researchers found that in each of 19 major markets, including cold-weather cities such as Boston and Chicago, "home sellers were better off listing their homes in the winter than during any other season."

Researchers are quick to note that the advantages of listing in winter compared with other seasons are not huge. But the fact that winter produces at least competitive or better results by some measures should encourage some potential sellers to get into the game sooner rather than later.

Some sellers pull their unsold houses off the market during the winter, hoping for better results in the spring. By doing so, they leave a smaller inventory of active listings — lessening the competition among sellers who list in January and February, ahead of the pack.

Also, many large corporations sometimes transfer employees and hire new ones early in the year. That creates opportunities for wintertime listers who opt not to wait for the spring.

Bottom line: Real estate does not hibernate from December through March. More than 5 million homes typically are resold annually in the U.S., and many of them are listed and sold during the winter months. In strong local housing markets such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Seattle, Austin, Boston and Washington, D.C., the likelihood of selling your home within 180 days is highest when you list during the winter months compared with any other season, according to Redfin's 2013 study.

Winter is warmer for real estate than you might think.

Call Aaron Novello of The Novello Group today to take advantage of this wonderful season!

Realtors Continue to Report Tight Credit

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group







Posted in Did you Know, by Jed Smith, Managing Director, Quantitative Magazine on September 5, 2014:

About 59 percent of Realtors reported that a sample of buyers in July had a FICO credit score of 740 and above. In the 2001-04 time frame, approximately 40 percent of residential loans aquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went to applicants with credit scores above 740. Realtors continued to report that obtaining a mortgage remains "difficult", "long" and "complicated," even for borrowers with "strong" credit scores. Only two percent of Realtors reported a purchase by a buyer with a credit score of less than 620.

Want to know more about your credit score? Please contact Aaron Novello of The

Novello Group today!



The Five Biggest Turn-Offs for Homebuyers

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

A lot of sellers don't listen to their real estate agents, so we'll tell you what your agent wants to say, but can't say to you and this is it - your agent can't get you the price you want unless your home is in pristine move-in condition.

That means no sticking drawers in the kitchen. No leaning fences. No rust-stained plumbing fixtures. We could go on, but maybe we need to make it clear. If you have even one of following "turn-offs," your home won't sell.

Buyers can get instantly turned off. Here are their five biggest turn-offs according to a recent article in The Realty Times by Blance Evans:

1. Overpricing for the market

2. Smells

3. Clutter

4. Deferred maintenance

5. Dark, dated decor

Overpricing your home

Overpricing your home is like trying to crash the country club without a membership. You'll be found out and escorted out.

If you ignored your agent's advice and listed at a higher price than recommended, you're going to get some negative feedback from buyers. The worst feedback, of course, is silence. That could include no showings and no offers.

The problem with overpricing your home is that the buyers who are qualified to buy your home won't see it because they're shopping in a lower price range. The buyers who do it will quickly realize that there are other homes in the same price range that offer more value.


Smells can come from a number of sources - pets, lack of cleanliness, stale air, water damage, and much more. You may not even notice it, but your real estate agent may have hinted to you that something needs to be done.

There's not a buyer in the world that will buy a home that smells unless they're investors looking for a bargain. Even so, they'll get a forensic inspection to find out the source of the smells. If they find anything like undisclosed water damage, or pet urine under the "new" carpet, then they will either severely discount their offer or walk away.


If your tables are full to the edges with photos, figurines, mail, and drinking glasses, buyers' attention is going to more focused on running the gauntlet of your living room without breaking any Hummels than in considering your home for purchase.

Too much furniture confuses the eye - it makes it really difficult for buyers to see the proportions of rooms. If they can't see what they need to know, they move on to the next home.

Deferred maintenance

Deferred maintenance is a polite euphemism for letting your home fall apart. Just like people age due to the effects of the sun, wind and gravity, so do structures like your home. Things wear out, break and weather, and it's your job as a homeowner to keep your home repaired.

Your buyers really want a home that's been well-maintained. They don't want to wonder what needs to fixed next or how much it will cost.

Dated decor

The reason people are looking at your home instead of buying brand new is because of cost and location. They want your neighborhood, but that doesn't mean they want a dated-looking home. Just like they want a home in good repair, they want a home that looks updated, even if it's from a different era.

Harvest gold and avocado green from the seventies; soft blues and mauves from the eighties, jewel tones from the nineties, and onyx and pewter from the oughts are all colorways that can date your home. Textures like popcorn ceilings, shag or berber carpet, and flocked wallpaper can also date your home.

When you're behind the times, buyers don't want to join you. They want to be perceived as savvy and cool.

In conclusion, the market is a brutal mirror. if you're guilty of not putting money into your home because you believe it's an investment that others should pay you to profit, you're in for a rude awakening. You'll be stuck with an asset that isn't selling.

For more tips on how to get top-dollar for your home, please contact Aaron Novello of The Novello Group today!

These are the home improvements experts say will return more of their cost when you sell:

1. New exterior siding. Upscale fiber cement siding pays back an average 78% of its cost. Foam-backed insulated vinyl siding and standard vinyl siding pay back almost 70% of their cost.
2. New entry door. A midrange 20-gauge steel door pays back 73% of its cost and boosts curb appeal.
3. Attic bedroom. Pop out a dormer, add a 5' X 7' bathroom with shower, insulate and finish walls and ceiling, and bring in heat, a/c, and wiring. You'll get almost 73% back on your money and an attic remodel is the least expensive way to add living space and a bathroom.
4. A simple kitchen remodel. Keep this under $20,000 and you'll get back an average 72% of your investment. Include upgrades like new sinks, faucets, appliances, and laminate countertops. Keep the floor but reface the cabinets with new hardware.
5. New garage door(s). Believe it or not, garage door replacements pay back over 71% of their cost if you install a mid-range or high-end product. They also instantly up your curb appeal.
6. New wood deck. This earns back over 70% of its cost at resale.
7. Upscale vinyl replacement windows. Change out your old windows with ones with low-emissivity glass and insulation and you'll enjoy a payback of over 69% of the cost.


1. Bed linens. These can hold germs, grime, and allergens. Wash at least once a week using the hottest washer and dryer settings. It takes extreme heat to kill most bacteria.
2. Pet toys. These can be a source of staph, as well as coli forms, yeast, and mold. Hard toys should be cleaned once a month with hot soapy water, rinsed, disinfected with a mild bleach solution, then rinsed again. Sanitize soft toys with laundry on the hot water cycle.
3. Refrigerator ice and water dispensers. A recent study found these can be loaded with yeast and mold. Clean the ice dispenser monthly. Turn off and wash the bin with dish detergent and warm water, then dry with a clean towel. Every six months, pour 3-4 cups of distilled white vinegar into the water supply tube and let it run through to sanitize. Wipe water spout once a week with cotton swab and a dry cloth.
4. HVAC ducts. In a year, a 1500 square foot home's duckt work can collect 40 pounds of dust containing allergens, bacteria, dirt, fungi, mold, and about 40,000 dust mites per ounce. When you turn on the system, all this circulates, causing fatigue, sinus problems, and asthma. Have a NADCA-certified company clean ducts every 2 years.
5. Sponges. Unless disinfected, a sponge is a prime place for germs to grow, and then spread around the kitchen. Clean a nonmetallic sponge by completely wetting it and placing it in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. Throw out sponges after two weeks. Better options are towels, dishcloths, and rags you can sanitize with bleach in your washing machine's hot water cycle.
6. Ceiling fan blades. These are home to dust mites which the fan then circulates. Put a pillowcase on each blade and pull it off while wiping the dust into it. Empty it outside, and then launder the case inside out on your hottest washer and dryer settings.
7. The dishwasher. Mold can form here when moisture lingers after the heat cycle ends. Run your dishwasher only when you can empty it soon after it stops.
8. The washing machine. Mold and staph can grow here. Once a month, use the self-clean cycle or put a cup of bleach in an empty machine and run on the hottest setting. Leave the door or lid open when not in use.

When you're ready to upgrade, downsize, or buy your first home, please contact Aaron Novello of The Novello Group today!


Five Biggest Regrets of Homebuyers

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

Buying a home is a huge decision. Picking the right home is just about the biggest single financial decision most will make in their lives. Chase recently conducted a survey of new homeowners and asked what they would do differently if they could have a “do-over” with their home purchase. While most reported being happy with their final decision, there were four general areas that many new homeowners would handle differently if given the chance.

1. They would understand their mortgage and financing options better.

Ninety percent of those surveyed said that while they believed they understood their financing options pretty well at the time of purchase, in hindsight they would have been better off to understand the entire process more thoroughly. They commonly reported wishing they understood the entire closing process better, wishing they understood their financing options and their mortgage better, and wishing they had more experience in how to make or negotiate an offer.

2. They would evaluate the size of their new home more carefully.

Many in the survey suggested they would buy either a larger or smaller home if given the chance. Sometimes people don’t realize how much “stuff” they have until they try to fit it into their new space and realize it won’t fit. Some also said they would choose a different neighborhood if given the chance.

3. They would purchase a home at a different price point.

Thirty-nine percent of homebuyers said they would likely purchase a home with a different size or price. Many realize after the initial honeymoon period wears off that they simply paid too much for the house.

4. They would not expect a speedy process.

Around 40 percent of home buyers believed it would take less time than it did to go through the entire process, from looking at potential homes to going through the closing process. These homebuyers said they would not expect such speed in a future move.

5. They would get clear about the costs of maintenance and moving.

Four of five in the survey believed their new home was move-in ready, but quickly realized that repairs or renovations were needed. Just over half also reported being unpleasantly surprised by the costs of maintaining their new home. These buyers said that in the future, they would work to have a better understanding of these costs before purchasing a new home.

Did you have any regrets on your home purchase?

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 63

Contact Information

Photo of Aaron Novello -The Novello Group Real Estate
Aaron Novello -The Novello Group
Keller Williams Realty
Fax: 954-809-3003