South Florida Real Estate and Community News

Oct. 29, 2018

Mortgage Rate Trends - What's Next?

Mortgage Rate Trends - What's Next?

Recent weeks have seen further rises in mortgage rates and, naturally, this is a key focus for home buyers and sellers.

Real estate is driven by supply and demand. Demand is largely driven by buyers' ability to borrow money. As interest rates go up the demand side of real estate is affected as every 1 % increase in interest rates equals a 10% increase in mortgage payment.

Understandably, what everyone wants to know is what happens next to mortgage rates?

No one has a crystal ball, however being that we just hit the 2% inflation number there is a very high level of probability that rates will continue to rise.

What we can say with absolute certainty, however, is that rates are still extremely competitive from an historic perspective.

Consider these figures, provided by Freddie Mac, showing where 30 year fixed rates were in October 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years ago:

October 2008 - 6.20%
October 2003 - 5.95%
October 1998 - 6.71%
October 1993 - 6.83%
October 1988 - 10.30%

As you can see, rates are still very competitive when we look back in time, so there is a strong argument to not delay your purchase or sale, with buyer demand still very high (not least because of the strong economy and jobs confidence).

Please don't hesitate to reach out to us to discuss the possibilities of a still very vibrant market.

Oct. 4, 2018

Key Questions Before You Ask A Realtor To Sell Your Home

Key Questions Before You Ask A Realtor To Sell Your Home

Sellers often imagine that all real estate agents will make equal efforts on their behalf.

Agents therefore get hired with minimal investigation into their sales track record and strategies, ultimately leading to disappointment in terms of an unsold home, or one that sells for less than its true market value.

Like any walk of life, there are winners and losers and it's vital that you make sure the agent you're going to work with can thoroughly substantiate his/her performance level.

Of course, every agent will try to impress you, but to help you to choose the best candidate, here are some key questions you need to ask:

"What's your sales track record?" - Results don't lie. You should ask for sales performance (closed sales) over the past year and also the previous year. It's also good to know what percentage of these sales were the agent's own listings, helping you to see how effective he/she is for home sellers.

"How well do you negotiate for clients?" - Great agents will sell their listed homes at very close to the asking price, sometimes above it, so ask them for their average list-to-sales-price-ratio. Look for percentages in the 90+ range - the higher the better.

"What's your plan to sell my home?" - The purpose of this question is to gauge the agent's marketing strategies. In addition to the most basic things you'd expect, like listing the property on the local multiple listing service (MLS), "For Sale" signs and so forth, what you need to see are the extra proactive steps that will be taken to ensure your home gets maximum market exposure. In particular, you need to ensure that the agent will be actively prospecting for buyers. Is there a proven plan for promoting your home online and via other social channels? What you don't need is an agent that simply lists the home and waits for inquiries.

"How long will you take to sell my home?" - What you're looking for here is how many days, on average, the agent takes to sell a home, against the average number of days for agents in the area.

"What do your clients say about you?" - All successful agents will have a great portfolio of recent testimonials they can show you that speak to the quality of the customer experience they offer. You might also want to do an online search for testimonials, just to make sure the agent isn't hiding any bad ones.

We hope that the above questions help to give you a basic toolkit to evaluate agents. We'd be happy to answer them, and discuss how we can meet your specific needs, so please reach out to us.

Sept. 19, 2018

Maximizing Your Return on Sale in a Changing Market

Maximizing Your Return on Sale in a Changing Market

It is now clear that the entire real estate market has seen a major shift, away from a seller's market to something more closely resembling a classic buyer's market.

The continuous price increases sellers have enjoyed in recent times reached a point earlier in the year where they were climbing at about double the speed of wage increases.

This situation was never going to be sustainable and we have seen a market correction in certain price points.

Such a big shift in the market naturally means that sellers have to respond accordingly. Here are some tips to assist that process:

Condition Matters Even More - In a competitive marketplace, buyers are suddenly finding they have more choices. Homes in the best condition in each market sector will be the ones that attract more interest and sell the quickest, for the best seller returns. It's therefore imperative that you pay even more attention to the presentation of your home. Buyers are less likely to accept negative factors than they were when homes were selling very quickly.

Price Realistically From The Get Go - While it's tempting to think that you just might achieve the kind of returns that your neighbors were enjoying when they moved a few months ago, the reality is that an overpriced home will attract far less interest. The correct strategy is to work closely with your agent to arrive at a price that works in the current conditions.

Plan For Your Home To Take Longer To Sell - Remember those For Sale signs that seemed to come down almost as soon as they were put in the ground? Well today's changing market means that your home is now very likely to take more time to sell. This means that your plans after the home is sold could take longer to realize, so it's good advice to list as soon as you are able to, giving you the maximum amount of time to sell before it affects your plans. If, for example, you have a job-related move in the new year, there's no time like right now to list your current property, to minimize the possibility of entering the holiday season without things having been settled.

Stay Calm! - While the market has shifted, it's not the case at all that it has collapsed, or is likely to do so. What we're seeing is arguably the creation of a more sustainable and balanced situation and a return to normal. Buyers are still looking to find that dream home, but don't expect them to be so eager to give in to seller demands as they were not so long ago.

We hope the above advice demonstrates that there is still much to look forward to in real estate in the coming months. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us for specific advice in your individual situation.

Aaron Novello

Aug. 30, 2018

Why Pricing Your Home Correctly Is Now Even More Critical

Why Pricing Your Home Correctly Is Now Even More Critical

In recent years, sellers have been able to enjoy impressive returns as buyer demand has been unaffected by rising home prices.

A correction now looks likely, however. In some areas, home prices have been climbing at about double the pace of wages. In fact over the last 12 months, wages went up 2.2 percent and real estate across the country went up 6.9 percent. Continual price rises are therefore unsustainable and we are seeing strong indications that buyers are finally becoming more resistant to purchasing what they consider to be overpriced property. Another factor that is leading buyers to be more cautious is interest rates rising. A 1% increase in rates means that mortgage payments are 10% more expensive.

It is vital that you work with an experienced agent with excellent current market knowledge to ensure your home is priced to attract plenty of initial interest. It's also important to recognize that inaccurate pricing can lead to not achieving the best possible return.

We have been through market cycles like this before, unlike many more inexperienced agents, and are therefore in great position to serve you in a more challenging sales environment moving forward.

We are always available to assist you, so please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

Aug. 10, 2018

What Happens When Your Offer For A Home Is Accepted?

Our latest video takes you through what happens after your offer for a home is accepted.

It covers the procedures we guide you through every step of the way, including:
- Reviewing the seller's disclosures
- Arrangement of any necessary inspections
- Any value appraisals required by your lender
- Co-ordination with vendors on necessary repairs
- Home owner/condo association approvals if needed
- Additional paperwork
- Final walk-through inspection
- Signing of all closing documentation

Please watch the above video and contact us to find out more about the important extra steps we take to deliver for our clients.

Aaron Novello

Aug. 1, 2018

Why Playing The Home Selling Waiting Game Might Not Make Sense Right Now

Why Playing The Home Selling Waiting Game Might Not Make Sense Right Now

As summer begins to draw to a close, it usually happens that some would-be home sellers decide to delay listing their property until the New Year, in the hope of even better returns in future.

While that strategy may have worked very well in recent years, this year there are a number of important extra aspects to consider before you decide to play the waiting game.

Consider these recent national press headlines:

"U.S. Home Prices at Least Affordable Level Since Q3 2008."

"Sales of new homes sink to an 8-month low even as prices fall."

"Chinese Reversing Big U.S. Real Estate Buying Spree That Had Helped Boost Prices."

"Southern California home sales crash, a warning sign to the nation."

Our market is still doing extremely well, but, as these headlines illustrate, a degree of price correction as we move ahead looks very likely. The cost of borrowing has increased and the Federal Reserve has raised its interest rates, so buyers are a stronger negotiating force in the market as they become more resistant to buying what they now consider to be over-priced homes.

Obviously a wide range of factors play into the timing of your house sale, but if a key motivator is an expectation of higher prices in 2019, you need to bear the above trends in mind.

We are always here to help you make the most informed decision in your own circumstances, so please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

Kind regards
Aaron Novello

July 10, 2018

What Happens When You've Accepted An Offer For Your Home?

We have created a new video taking you through what happens when you've accepted an offer for your home.

The video covers the steps we handle for you, including:

- The disclosure documentation the buyer receives.
- Inspections.
- Appraisals (where needed).
- Home owner/condo association applications.
- Additional paperwork.
- Final buyer walk-through.
- Closing documentation.

Watch the above video and contact us to find out more about how we go the extra mile to ensure our clients great results.

June 28, 2018

How we help our clients achieve their goals and objectives

How we help our clients achieve their goals and objectives

We are very blessed to have great clients, who often take the time to review how we have performed for them.

We thought it might be a useful reference for you to read just some of our most recent reviews to get an idea of how we work with our clients to achieve their goals and objectives.

Exceeding Expectations on Price
"The Novello Group went above and beyond for me. They were very professional and actually got me the listing price when I never expected to. They did everything for me pretty much and after a couple of months I was signing the closing papers. Highly recommend." - Jesse Slankas

Selling a Property from a Great Distance
"Aaron and his team were great to work with from start to finish! I was really concerned that selling a property in Florida when I live in the Midwest would be a hassle, but Aaron and his team made sure it all went smoothly. Even though I never met him in person, I felt really comfortable with Aaron and trusted that he had my best interests in mind. My first experience with Aaron and his team was so outstanding, that I contracted with him to sell a second property. If I had more real estate to sell in Florida, I would definitely work with him again!" - Julie Brogno

Selling a Property Quickly
We hit the JACKPOT when we signed with Aaron Novello and his team to sell our condo in Ft.Lauderdale, Florida. You can have the best marketing products, but without their skills there would be no impact. From the top down, this agency works so hard for their clients. Our journey from start to finish was made so easy. The day we met Aaron we were sold on his professionalism, knowledge and insights. Our condo was sold in 90 days. As I said in opening "We hit the JACKPOT". I would absolutely recommend Aaron and his team. Thank you so much." - Sharon Demers

Assistance with the Probate Process
"Through a difficult time with a death in our family, Aaron helped us through the process of selling a home in probate. Aaron guided us with upmost professionalism, keen knowledge of properties and he was sincere to our needs. Aaron and his team were in constant communication and they worked tirelessly to sell our condo. It is refreshing to work with professionals who are sincere, honest and truly care about their clients. I highly recommend Aaron and his team." - Maria Strand

Buying a Home for the First Time
"I just recently purchased my first home. Mr Novello was the seller agent, so we had lots of communication between us. He made the whole buying experience just a breeze. From day one he was very helpful and straightforward to walk us through the necessary steps. Any time we had questions, he was very easy to reach, and very helpful. I'd just like to thank him, and his team, in helping us to become a home owner. Very good experience." - Bela and Eugenia Palocz

Handling Every Aspect of the Home Sale
"I highly recommend Aaron Novello and his team, if you are looking for a talented real estate agent. Aaron sold my mother's condominium in Williams Island in less than two months. He took care of all the details - the sales contract, the inspections, the lawyers, the title company, the property owners' association. He even found us professional packers and shippers and movers and painters and cleaners. He knows everyone in the real estate business, and all of the people he recommended were honest and conscientious." - Bradley Kaufman

Problem Solving
"Aaron and his team performed admirably. The support from beginning to end was excellent. Our property was tied up in probate and the HOA misquoted the law regarding the sale. The problems were solved quickly and inexpensively. Aaron knew who to call and got it done where others failed. He sold the property without a wrinkle. Very professional, I highly recommend The Novello Group." - Frank Piccolo

Investment Property
"Aaron has helped me with my business tremendously over the past year with his vast knowledge in real estate. I would highly recommend Aaron for any real estate needs." Alex Yuré

Our thanks again to our clients for their kind words.

Please contact us to discuss how we can achieve similar great results for you!

June 11, 2018

What Happens Once You've Listed Your Home?

We've just launched a new video that shows you what happens right after you've listed your home with us.

It outlines the key steps that we immediately undertake, including:

- The photo shoot.
- Installation of signage.
- Marketing your home online.
- Regular updates on your home sale.

These are just some of the techniques we deploy to sell your home for best price and in a time frame that works for you.

Please watch the above video and contact us to find out more about how our comprehensive approach is producing great results for many South Florida home sellers.

May 17, 2018

Buyer Demand Is At A Four Year High - It's a Great Time to Sell!

Buyer Demand Is At A Four Year High - It's a Great Time to Sell!

We recently read an important statistic on current buyer demand that we thought we should share with you.

It comes from real estate listings analysts ShowingTime. The company has been publishing its Showing Index® for over four years. This is essentially a measure of viewings per residential property by agents and brokers, through tracking the average number of buyer showings on active properties on a monthly basis.

The Showing Index® is an important indicator of buying trends in that it gauges foot traffic across available homes for sale, thus providing a strong indicator of demand.

The latest Showing Index® report was published in March and it showed the strongest national index rating (166.8) since ShowingTime started the survey at the beginning of 2014, also representing a 5.7% year on year growth in viewings since the same period last year.

Looking slightly more locally, it's interesting to note that, for the Southern quadrant of the US, including our area, the March figure was indeed the strongest Showing Index® measure since records began and an 8.2% year-on-year improvement too. This is also the highest growth figure across the nation.

This is yet another indication of the incredible strength of current buyer demand. What's even more special about the current purchasing environment is that inventory continues to lag behind the demand curve, so we have the ideal seller's market where prices are being driven by enthusiastic buyers chasing a general shortage of available properties across most market sectors. This is often resulting in intense competition for the best homes and multiple offers frequently leading to sold prices above what was originally asked.

With so many very active buyers, this is a perfect time to consider selling your home, if you feel the time is right. Don't hesitate to contact us to discuss the many possibilities created by these highly positive market conditions.

Aaron Novello