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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 53

Maximize Value With These Spring Cleaning Tips

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

Spring is here, so it's a great time to tackle some projects that have been putt off all winter. Here are some things that you can do to maximize the value of your property.

1. Purge, purge, purge! Remove unwanted or unused items. You can donate, recycle or throw them away.

2. Power wash exterior walls, porches, decks, driveways and sidewalks.

3. Clean outdoor furniture, lights, gutters and fixtures.

4. Clean out the refrigerator and make sure to vacuum the grill and coils.

5. Vacuum baseboards, walls, ceilings and wipe down the walls.

6. Steam clean carpets, area rugs and upholstery.

7. Re-seal natural stone surfaces (travertine, etc.).

8. Re-seal and repair grout in bathtubs and showers.

9. Clean window treatments, dust blinds and clean shutters.

10. Remove all items from shelves and clean.

11. Oil hinges.

Once your done, please Aaron Novello of The Novello Group a call to get a free estimate of your home's value. We look forward to hearing from you!

Do Drones Have a Future in the Real Estate Industry?

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

Inman News recently ranked drones as one of the top ten Real Estate trends to look out for in 2014. In a recent interview with Matt Murphy, owner of Boston Virtual Imaging, Inman News sought to shed some light on the issue. Here is what Murphy had to say:

"The most immediate positive result for the real estate industry is that camera-equipped UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) now allow people to tell stories about listings in ways that they could not previously do. We all have access to Google Earth for aerial imagery. Very high-end listings use full-size helicopters to capture aerial photography and video. However, much of the media captured from helicopters or Google Earth is shot from too high of an altitude to tell the story you want to tell about a listing. That is where UAVs come in.

UAVs allow you to capture very low-altitude aerial footage, which often does a better job at telling a home’s story, compared to higher altitude footage. I like to say that UAVs can tell the story from 8 to 80 feet in ways that few other capture methods can. The technology is exciting, but it is just a tool. Telling a home’s unique story is the most important goal."

When asked what is happening with the drone/UAV technology, Murphy answered, "The advances in electronics are probably the most surprising to people not involved in the field. It is now possible to use off-the-shelf components to build a UAV that can take off, fly to a specific location and land completely autonomously without any pilot input during the flight. UAVs can record highly stabilized HD video and sound, and transmit that video and audio down to a receiver on the ground. If a pilot loses contact with their UAV while in the air, many have a “go home” feature that will automatically fly the UAV back to the takeoff location to safely land by itself."

The use of drones in today's media is highly controversial because of the military connotations that go along with them. Do you think this is a good idea to use drones in the real estate industry as a way to highlight special features of homes? We'd love to hear your thoughts!

Aaron Novello - The Novello Group Sells 120 Homes in 2013!

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

Thank you so much to our friends, family and past clients that helped us break our record and sell 120 properties in 2013. We appreciate all of your support and could not have done it without you!

We are looking to 2014 to be another breakthrough year. Not only is the market improving, but we have the staff and efficiency in place to help even more clients this year. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are looking to buy or sell in this ever-improving South Florida real estate market.

We are committed to your success!

Aaron Novello Gives Advice to Sellers in the South Florida Real Estate Market

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

Tips for Buyers from Aaron and Jennifer

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

The Value of a Good Appraisal

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

With rising home prices in the South Florida market, we are recognizing the importance of an accurate appraisal that reflects the current market values. In a late 2012 survey by the National Association of Realtors, 11 percent of sales professionals said a sales contract was canceled because an appraised value came in below the negotiated price, 9 percent reported a contract had been delayed and 15 percent reported a contract had been renegotiated to a lower sales price.

These were some of the problems reported in the survey:

  • Using lower priced foreclosures as comparables.
  • Not adjusting values to reflect changing market conditions, such as rising prices or low inventory.
  • Using inexperienced or out-of-town appraisers.
  • Long turnaround times by both appraisers and lenders, delaying closings.

What can your professional do to help you in this situation? According to Florida Realtor magazine, real estate professionals can be valued sources of information for appraisers. Providing them with what they need early in the process is important because it can be difficult to challenge a completed appraisal. If an agent wants to request a change, he or she can contact the lender with a written request for the appraiser to reconsider his or her opinion.

In that request, your agent can ask the appraiser to do one of three things.

1. Consider additional, appropriate property information, including the consideration of additional comparable properties.

2. Provide further details or explanation of the appraiser's value conclusion.

3. Correct errors in the appraisal report.

Looking to the future, according to Florida Realtor magazine, discussions are under way on the national level to establish a formal procedure for evaluating an appraisal and requesting a reconsideration of value.

For more information regarding appraisals or the South Florida real estate market, please contact Aaron Novello of The Novello Group today!

 

FHA Proposes New Rules for Condos

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

According to Inman News, there is good news for potentially thousands of condominium unit owners and homeowner association boards around the country: FHA has backed off a controversial policy that had threatened to force large numbers of condo projects out of compliance with the agency’s certification and recertification rules.

Loss of certification would mean that affected projects no longer would be eligible for low down payment FHA financing on any of their units. As a result, buyers who need FHA loans would be shut out, unit owners would find it more difficult to sell, and property values would suffer. Problems with FHA’s certification rules have been bugging condo associations for more than two years, and have dramatically reduced the number of projects eligible for FHA unit financing — down by more than a third, from 40,000 to 26,652 as of June.

However, last week FHA signaled a willingness to work with the condo industry to resolve the latest controversy by providing a “workaround” covering the agency’s previous demand that thousands of condo board amend their underlying CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions) to conform with long-ignored language in the National Housing Act regarding “transient,” short term rental of units or face rejection of the applications for certification.

One condo expert said in California alone, one of every three condo communities with current FHA certifications risked loss of eligibility under the policy. That policy targeted commonplace language found in hundreds of association CC&Rs allowing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or other mortgage investors to rent units they acquire through foreclosures under short term contracts that provide hotel-like services to tenants.

Contact Aaron Novello of The Novello Group today for more information on purchasing condos in South Florida using FHA financing.

Best Advice Now for Homebuyers and Sellers

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

CNN Money recently published an article with eight tips from top experts and money readers on everything from selling a home quickly and winning a bidding war to cutting your electricity bills and prospering as a landlord.

1. Sell your home fast
Underprice it from the start. If you list your home for at least 10% less than it's worth, you'll often sell it for 10% more.

Buyers notice a house that's underpriced. They'll take it by storm and drive up the price with a bidding war.

People worry that setting the price low will deter bidders. That's not the case. If you don't get competitive bids, you didn't truly underprice the house to begin with.

-- Barbara Corcoran, founder, real estate firm the Corcoran Group and panelist on ABC's "Shark Tank"

2. Win a bidding war
Go as high as the maximum price you'd ever be willing to pay -- if someone outbids you, you'll feel confident you gave it your best shot.

Sometimes it's not just about the money. Give the seller some breathing room too. Buyers often signal their interest by offering to close quickly, but that move might backfire in this market: If the sellers haven't found a new place yet, they may be unable to accept your offer.

Instead, propose a seller's residential lease. You close on the house quickly, then rent it back for 60 or 90 days. That gives the sellers a chance to look for a home in a non-panicked way -- and gets you the house you want.
-- Mary Beth Harrison, founder and realtor, Keller Williams Elite, Dallas

3. Protect yourself as a renter
Your landlord or property management company can make or break your rental experience, so look online for negative reviews. Slow responses to maintenance calls and deceptive leasing practices, like advertisements for amenities that don't exist, are the most common complaints.

A first-time landlord is a slightly higher risk. Ask a lot of questions, including where he lives and who will respond to maintenance requests. Before you sign a lease, test everything -- appliances, windows, light switches. If anything needs to be fixed, make sure that's included in the rental agreement. And don't sign anything that holds you responsible for the building's exterior.
-- TJ Rubin, managing broker at Fulton Grace Realty, Chicago

4. Prosper as a landlord
Think like your worst-case tenant -- the one who'll never pay you a dime and never leave. These folks will take advantage of strict laws on when and why a tenant can be evicted. You need to know those laws just as well as they do.

Write your tenant lease to safeguard your rights, like setting community standards for noise, trash and other areas of possible neighborly nuisance. To protect yourself financially, put away a little money from the rent to cover potential legal costs.
-- Casey Edwards, long-time landlord and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being a Smart Landlord

5. Boost your energy efficiency
Start with changes that don't cost money, like closing and opening drapes. Switch off appliances you aren't using. Some TVs use more energy in the off mode than when they're on. Plug a TV into a power strip and turn it off.
-- Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy

6. Take the drama out of a renovation
Don't walk blindly into a major renovation project. Know why you are remodeling, and define what you really need so you don't just pretty up a space that doesn't work for you.

And before you even contact a contractor or designer, take 25% of your renovation budget and sock it away. That way when your contractor finds water damage, you can fix the problem and move on without fighting about how much it's going to cost -- or what part of your plan you have to scrap to stay on budget.
-- Susan Solakian, consultant and author of The Homeowner's Guide to Managing a Renovation

7. Weather the next storm that hits
Because of changes insurers have made in recent years, you may have to shoulder a larger portion of your losses than in the past.

The more informed you are, the better your settlement will be. Don't wait for an insurer to estimate the replacement cost of your belongings: Make your own inventory, and tell the insurance company what you think it owes you.

Keep a journal of every conversation with your insurer. And keep binders with your receipts, estimates, and inventories. You have to be your own advocate.
-- Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, an insurance consumer advocacy group

8. Learn to be handy
"Always Google a home project. You can save hundreds doing it yourself. I replaced the capacitor in my AC unit for $29 instead of paying the AC company $250."
-- From MONEY reader Adam Rubenstein, via Facebook

How Rising Mortgage Rates Could Affect the Housing Recovery

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

Mortgage interest rates are rising. According to an article by Morgan Brennan on Forbes.com, on the week ending June 6, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage clocked 3.91% in its fifth consecutive weekly gain, according to Freddie Mac, after hitting its highest level in a year last week. That’s 18% higher than the 3.31% record low set in November of 2012 and almost 17% higher than the 3.35% rate logged in the beginning of May.

Compared to a month ago, the increase translates roughly into an extra $30 per month for every $100,000 of debt accrued. If rates continue their upward march, mortgages will become more expensive.

Since cheap financing has been a notable driver of the housing recovery, could those rising rates derail the momentum? To answer that question, let’s first take a look at what low interest rates have done for housing and why they’re increasing now.

Compared to decades past, today’s rates (even at 3.91%) are unprecedentedly — and artificially — low. They’re the direct result of a Federal Reserve-funded fiscal stimulus plan, better known as the third round of quantitative easing or QE3, aimed at hastening the recovery in housing and the economy as a whole. Through the program the Fed has been buying $85 billion worth of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities per month, a process that has tamped down interest rates, making mortgages more attractive to prospective consumers.

The low rates have enabled qualified home buyers (and owners looking to refinance) to access cheap financing, adding to already-record-high levels of home affordability. It’s helped bolster a surge in both home sales and price increases (since lower rates help make larger principals possible).

Rates are climbing now due to both stronger economic data and to speculation: recently Fed chairman Ben Bernanke suggested that the central bank may start slowing its bond buying within the next several months. The news has caused bond investors to begin selling out of their 10-year Treasury positions, driving yields for these bonds above 2%. Since mortgage rates correlate closely with Treasury yields, they have followed suit, rising about a quarter of a percentage point in just a week.

Many economists believe those  numbers will continue to climb, albeit at a more modest, uneven pace throughout the year. Whatever the growth pattern, as rates rise, some markets will be affected more than others.

In April, Zillow found that housing affordability hinges heavily on low mortgage rates — a dynamic masking fundamentally high home price-to-income level ratios.  Relative to local median income, which has remained largely stagnant, homes are trading at prices higher than historic (and healthy) norms in 24 of the largest 30 metro areas, according to the Seattle-based real estate site. If rates rise before income levels can keep pace, sales activity could taper and in some areas, prices could again dip down as the market corrects.

The first thing rising rates affect is refinance applications. Refi apps have fallen for the past several weeks, logging a 15% drop (after accounting for Memorial Day) last week from the week before, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Mortgage applications have begun to tick down too, falling 11.5% from the week earlier. Yet if rates continue to rise, it might spur qualified home buyers sitting on the fence to make purchases before financing becomes any more expensive, facilitating a short term uptick in home sales.

Rising rates could create a long term benefit for the market as well: slightly looser lending standards. Real estate experts have lamented how exceedingly tight credit has been — even for buyers who on paper qualify for mortgages. Lenders have been overly cautious about underwriting new mortgages in large part because the returns associated with low rates haven’t necessarily matched the level of risk.

Also worth noting: residential real estate investment contributed to gross domestic product in 2012 for the first time in five years. While robust sales activity plays a role, the majority of housing-related economic growth stems from residential construction, or new home building and remodeling.

While interest rates certainly warrant attention, many economists say there more pressing issues that threaten to impede upon the housing recovery. Among them: tight inventory levels and an uncertain regulatory environment.

Tight inventory has led to nascent housing shortages in some areas of the country and impeded upon the number of existing home sales, according to NAR. At the current sales pace, the U.S. has a five-month supply of existing homes for sale; a healthy market supply is six months. The dearth of inventory coupled with a burgeoning buyer base have caused home prices to nationally jump by double-digits, gains that are not sustainable in a healthy market.

In terms of regulation, questions loom over the future of government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which, alongside the 12 federal home loan banks, back more than 90% of all mortgages. Concern also persists over the mortgage interest tax deduction, which could be subject to tax code reforms.

How Many Buyers are Paying Cash Right Now?

by Aaron Novello-The Novello Group

According to the National Association of Realtors, approximately 30 percent of realtors reporting on their last sale had a cash sale (32 percent in February). Investors and international buyers typically pay cash. About nine percent of realtors reporting a sale to a first-time homebuyer also reported cash sales, while over 70 percent of reported last sales to investors and international buyers were for cash. This is based on data from the March REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey.

What does this mean?
The first time buyer faces a challenge—particularly given that investors are in many cases paying cash—as are second home buyers and international buyers. The key to success is to work with an agent and lender who have experience in closing many deals. If you or someone you know would like to buy or sell, please contact Aaron Novello at The Novello Group today!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 53

Contact Information

Photo of Aaron Novello -The Novello Group Real Estate
Aaron Novello -The Novello Group
Keller Williams Realty
FL
954-653-4406
Fax: 954-809-3003