South Florida Real Estate and Community News

June 20, 2019

Why Current Ultra-Low Mortgage Rates Present A Rare Home Ownership Opportunity

Why Current Ultra-Low Mortgage Rates Present A Rare Home Ownership Opportunity

If you've been thinking about home ownership, or contemplating a move, you owe it to yourself to seriously consider the fantastic opportunity right now.

Mortgage rates have been steadily falling since their multi-year peak of last November, when a 30 year fixed loan averaged 4.87%.

In recent weeks, average 30 year fixed rates have dipped below the psychological barrier of 4%, leading to a lot of extra market activity as buyers look to secure an ultra-low rate.

This really is a very rare chance. If we take a look at Freddie Mac's table of average 30 year fixed rates since 1971, going back in five year increments, we can see how well today's rates compare:

May 2014 - 4.19%
May 2009 - 4.86%
May 2004 - 6.27%
May 1999 - 7.15%
May 1994 - 8.60%
May 1989 - 10.77%
May 1984 - 13.94%
May 1979 - 10.69%
May 1974 - 8.97%

In fact, the annual rate for 30 year fixed has averaged 4% or below on just five occasions in the past 48 years! The highest rate in that time was an eye-watering 18.45% in October 1981...

So, even though last year's high in November of 4.87% was obviously unwelcome, even at that point we were still enjoying a comparatively favorable percentage, from an historic perspective.

Of course there are no guarantees that the recent falls will continue. Right now rates have moved sideways and, even though some experts are predicting further drops, there can never be certainty, especially as mortgage rates are subject to the volatilities of national and international financial markets and politics.

Sellers can also reap significant benefits from listing at this time of heightened positive buyer sentiment. Very simply, buyers are keen to purchase before anything changes.

We'd be happy to help you evaluate the current highly favorable situation from your individual perspective, including connecting you with the best mortgage professionals in the area, so please reach out to us.

Kind regards
Aaron Novello

June 12, 2019

Why It's Never Too Soon To Engage With A Top Listing Agent

Why It's Never Too Soon To Engage With A Top Listing Agent

If you have plans to sell a home later in the year, perhaps you're thinking it's much too early in the process to start talking to a top listing agent?

This is a common thought process and yet the reality is that there's simply no such thing as “too soon” when it comes to making plans to sell your home.

Having a great agent by your side at the earliest opportunity enables the agent to create interest in the property even before any formal marketing has begun.

Top producers have excellent connections with the best buyers' agents, meaning that they can be briefed about your home in advance and identify possible qualified buyers, for whom your home ticks many, or even all, of their boxes. It's therefore quite possible to receive offers prior to the formal listing process getting under way!

Your agent will be very closely monitoring market trends and possibly suggest to you that it would be wise to push forward early with the listing, or indeed to delay it slightly.

Your agent can also offer great advice on staging your home, so that it is presented in the best possible way to maximize the return in the time frame you require. Clearly the more time you have to make those adjustments, the easier it all becomes.

Most sellers will be looking to move to another home, so working with an agent asap means that ideal properties can be identified well in advance, increasing the possibilities of a seamless transition into your next residence. And even if you're moving to a new part of the country, the best agents have excellent nationwide connections with other leading real estate professionals.

Perhaps above all, however, your agent can act as your real estate adviser from the very earliest stages, helping to you to make all the right decisions throughout your home selling journey.

We are very used to working with clients in this way and would be delighted to hear from you about your plans for the rest of this year, and beyond. Feel free to reach out to us.

Kind regards
Aaron Novello

May 22, 2019

The Importance of Being Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

The Importance of Being Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Many home buyers make the mistake of believing that being pre-qualified and pre-approved for a home loan are the same.

In fact, there are vital distinctions between them and it's important to understand why pre-approval is so preferable.

Pre-qualification is nothing more than a lender's estimate of an amount you might reasonably be approved for, using some information you've supplied.

Pre-approval, on the other hand, is a lender's confirmation that, unless your situation changes, you are able to borrow a certain amount for a mortgage.

Naturally, pre-approval involves a far more forensic look at your finances and you will have to provide the lender with detailed information, including recent tax returns, income, investments, and savings. There will also be a full credit check.

It makes sense to think of pre-qualification as a quick means of establishing what you might be able to borrow. Pre-approval, on the other hand, is much more useful to you.

Sellers inevitably take offers from pre-approved buyers more seriously because they have confirmation of someone being able to afford their home. This can be especially vital when competitive bids are placed.

Having a pre-approval in hand also means that your entire home buying process becomes more streamlined, as there are no detailed mortgage application procedures to go through, once you have decided on the right home.

We hope this helps to explain an important difference. We have excellent connections with top local home loan professionals, so please don't hesitate to contact us for more details.

Kind regards
Aaron Novello

May 1, 2019

Why Is "DIY" Home Selling Almost Certain To Fail?

Why Is "DIY" Home Selling Almost Certain To Fail?

The prospect of not having to pay an agent's commission when selling a home can be very attractive to some people.

Have you ever noticed, though, how often those "For Sale By Owner" signs get replaced by one representing a local agent? This is because, almost always, there are far more minuses than pluses to this idea. Unfortunately some sellers learn this lesson the really hard way...

It isn't very long before the shine starts to wear off any notions of "DIY" home selling.

Only a professional agent can be truly on the pulse of local market conditions and have the right level of experience and knowledge to price your home so that it achieves the goal of attracting maximum interest at the same time as optimizing the potential for your very best return on the sale.

And don't think that referring to the various generic home price estimating websites is a great barometer of accurate pricing either. They are notoriously wide of the actual market value, both above and below...

Great agents work closely with a hard earned network of people who can positively influence a home sale, not least the best buyer's agents in the area. Unless you sell real estate, and are successful at doing it, you simply won't have access to these vital contacts.

Market exposure for DIY sellers is very, very limited. The goal in marketing a property is to expose the property to all the prospective buyers who are looking in the specific geographic area of the home in question and their agent. Sellers attempting to sell on their own are extremely limited in their capacity to accomplish this. 100% market exposure equals top market price. Limited market exposure ultimately equals less money in the seller's pocket.

Even if a DIY seller somehow gets an offer, how is he/she going to know if it's the best possible one? Maybe the offer has come in simply because the asking price is way below the true market value. Top producing agents will be able to negotiate to get the very best outcome.

And even when an offer is accepted, there's still a lot of closing admin to do. If you haven't been trained in this, where do you even start? The worst case scenario is that something could go very wrong in this process, due to inexperience, that might end up costing you a lot of money at some stage.

If you've been considering selling your home by yourself, we hope that these important points help to convince you that an agent's commission actually pays for itself, in terms of maximizing potential returns and peace of mind. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us for a more in-depth discussion.

Kind regards
Aaron Novello

April 16, 2019

Lower Mortgage Rates Point To A Busy Spring Homes Market

Lower Mortgage Rates Point To A Busy Spring Homes Market

With almost perfect timing, the beginning of the busy spring buying season has seen the lowest mortgage rates for over a year.

Just three weeks ago, 30 year fixed rate home loans saw the biggest single week decline in over a decade!

The positive results of this are already being documented. Fannie Mae has reported that housing sentiment surged last month, with more consumers believing that now is a good time to buy and sell a home.

This chain of events has led to something of a reassessment of prospects for the homes market this year. Buyers are already out in force, looking to lock in a low rate while they still can. Wise sellers are listing right now to make sure they can capitalize on the new wave of buyer enthusiasm.

Even though there are many predictions that the generally downward trend in rates will continue for some time, as ever there can be no guarantees that this will be the case. The pattern of national and international events and economics will largely dictate where we go from here and we have all seen many times how unpredictable those can be.

So the best advice is to recognize the very positive current market conditions as representing the best opportunity to sell and/or buy for some time and to take full advantage.

We are, of course, here to help you throughout the process. Call us for an informal discussion on the strongest options in your individual circumstances.

Kind regards
Aaron Novello

March 22, 2019

Look At The Numbers When You Choose A Real Estate Agent

Look At The Numbers When You Choose A Real Estate Agent

Hiring the right estate agent is absolutely crucial to selling your home in the time frame you want for the best possible return.

And yet so many sellers fail to take a serious look at the track record of prospective agents.

This is all the more surprising when you consider that, for most of us, home sales are likely to be the largest financial transactions of our entire lives!

While recommendations are great, are they being given with your best interests in mind, or is the agent simply a good friend of relative in need of a favor from the person recommending them?

To ensure your success, it's imperative that you dig deeper and this inevitably means looking at the numbers, in terms of the agent's current and past track record.

You should expect to see a consistent, and impressive, record of achievement of actual sales, especially in the market sector in which your home sits. It's also important to ask to see a wide range of testimonials to get an overall flavor of what is making the agent stand out from the crowd in the eyes of his clients.

I'm very proud to say that REAL Trends, a highly trusted national source of residential real estate news, analysis and information, has named me among the top 1000 agents in the country every year since 2014. My team has ranked in the top five for performance in Southeast Florida for Keller Williams since 2013.

And you can click here to see over 350 reviews of our service.

I trust these results will help to give you a solid performance reference when recruiting an agent for the crucial job of selling your home. Please reach out to us if you'd like to see how our marketing methods are so consistently effective for our clients.

Kind regards
Aaron Novello

March 1, 2019

Are We Seeing A Change To Buyer's Market Conditions?

The South Florida real estate scene has seen many years of continual price growth, combined with high property demand.

Recently, however, buyers have been under more pressure. Although we have seen some falls recently, the general trajectory of mortgage rates has been upward for some time, and is expected to continue. Home prices have arguably been outpacing affordability for considerably longer than that.

The important take away from all this for sellers is to recognize that the market is in a state of flux and to make sure that the listed home is in good shape to attract buyers. The best homes in every sector will always sell fastest and for the best return.

This starts with a realistic asking price. The strategy of asking a too high a price can create a situation where you chase the market down. Overpriced homes run the risk of attracting few, if any, viewings, so work closely with your agent to arrive at an initial price point that will attract, not deter, and still put you in a great place to receive the highest possible return.

Given that buyers may have more choice going forward, the condition of a home will need particular attention. Even something as trivial as a dead light bulb is enough to raise suspicions that bigger problems may be lurking elsewhere. Attention to detail with home presentation is therefore paramount.

Fortunately, you are not alone as the market changes. Contact us for an informal conversation about the best strategies to demonstrate that your home is the perfect fit for today's buyer.

Kind regards
Aaron Novello

Feb. 5, 2019

Selling a Home From Afar? Distance Is No Object!

Selling a Home From Afar? Distance Is No Object!

Familiarity sometimes means that we overlook living in such a warm and beautiful part of the world.

We are somewhere that a lot of folks are proud to call their second home for part of the year, joining us for a break whenever they can.

This is a great situation, until it becomes time to sell a vacation property and the owner lives hundreds or thousands of miles away, or even overseas!

Over the years, this has been a common scenario for us. Our goal is to effectively act in a concierge roll, working hard as our clients' "feet on the ground" to co-ordinate things in much the same manner as if they lived on our doorstep.

Technology has, of course, helped to streamline this process in recent times. However, ours is a very comprehensive approach that not every agent is either geared up, or willing, to handle.

Many people of course retire here. Inevitably that means, at some point, that relatives will be tasked with dealing with estate issues. When they involve a property sale, and the relatives live a long way from here, the problems, if not handled correctly, can quickly multiply.

That's why we've also developed expertise in handling probate matters, often helping executors and administrators based far from South Florida in achieving as seamless a transaction as possible, by being an extremely pro-active central point of contact for all the various professionals who may be involved.

Here are some recent satisfied client testimonials about our service:

"We had a good experience with Aaron and his associates. As an out-of-town seller he made the process work very smoothly for us and the deal closed quickly once we completed preparing the property for sale. His office worked with our local attorney to expedite the sale of our property. I would recommend him."

"This was a condominium that I, as the State's Personal Representative, was selling out of probate. I live in Texas, and Aaron was especially helpful to me because I was remote. In addition, his calmness was a great assistance when we faced various difficulties. In addition, he is supported by a solid crew."

Can we be of similar service to you? Reach out to us for an informal chat.

Kind regards
Aaron Novello

Jan. 15, 2019

Why it's Never Too Early to Engage with an Agent

Why it's Never Too Early to Engage with an Agent

As the saying goes: "there's no time like the present". This holds especially true if you're making plans to sell your home in 2019.

The first time most people engage with an agent is when they are just about to list their home. But did you know there are a wide range of important things that an agent can be helping you with right now?

Here are just a few:

Preparing your home for sale - Your return on sale can be maximized if your home is in tip-top condition and your agent can advise you on the best ways to present the property to prospective buyers. Naturally the more time you have, the easier it is to prepare the home correctly.

Creating interest in your home even before it lists - Great listing agents work closely with a network of the area's best buyers' agents. If they know your house is coming onto the market, they can create interest before it has even listed. In some cases this can lead to a firm offer being received before any formal marketing takes place!

Watching market trends for you - The best agents know their market intimately, in terms of what people are looking for, available inventory and pricing trends. Even if you don't plan to sell for a while, your agent can advise you of favorable market trends that could mean there are strong financial benefits to you in bringing the sale forward, if you are able to. Equally, there might be reasons to slightly delay plans and your agent will also be there for you in this regard.

Planning your next home purchase - In most cases, home sellers will be looking to buy another home, following their own sale. Early engagement with a professional agent ensures that you will have an excellent information source for homes you might be interested in. This can also assist in a seamless move from one house to the other, as your agent works with you to sell the home for the best price in the time frame that works for you. Even if you are moving out of the area, the best agents have good network connections with top performing colleagues in other areas who can assist you.

Acting as your advisor - Because you've linked up with the agent as early as possible, he/she will be there for you as a sounding board on any real estate matter. The advice you receive will be stronger due to the agent's prior awareness of your home and individual circumstances.

It might be very early in the year, but it's absolutely not too early to talk with an agent, even if you're not exactly sure when you will be selling. Please feel free to contact us for an informal discussion of your 2019 plans.

Kind regards
Aaron Novello

Nov. 19, 2018

Thanks To Everybody Who Participated In Our Recent Client Event

We just want to say a big thank you to everybody who participated in our recent client appreciation event, from the vendors who helped us to put it together to clients and their friends and family who showed up.

We sincerely appreciate your support. You are the main reason we are able to help as many families as we do and you are kind enough to share with others the experience you've had with us. You refer us to people and that's the highest compliment we can get.

Thank you and if we missed you at this event we really look forward to connecting with you at the next one.

We wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Best Wishes
Aaron Novello