South Florida Real Estate and Community News

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

Nov. 14, 2018

Why It's Important To Keep Your Home On The Market As The Holidays Approach

Why It's Important To Keep Your Home On The Market As The Holidays Approach

Many sellers incorrectly assume that buyers will not be interested in their home as the holidays approach.

This is arguably the biggest misconception in all of real estate!

If you withdraw your home from the market until the New Year, here's what you will miss:

Job Relocation Season - A lot of jobs start in the New Year and, with the employment market doing so very well at present, we're likely to see a busy relocation season. Right now there are a lot of buyers trying to do all they can to be moved into their new home before their new job starts early in 2019. Withdraw from the market now and you'll completely miss this great opportunity.

Tax Incentives - A lot of buyers will be looking to complete the purchase of their new home by December 31st for tax-related reasons.

The Pre-holiday Rush - The holidays themselves are actually a great home buying motivation. People like to be settled in their new surroundings in time to celebrate and entertain.

Some Buyers Have More Time On Their Hands - Buyers with demanding jobs often have little time to look for homes, so the holidays present them with a rare and welcome opportunity to look around more than they are usually able to.

Your Home Will Look Great - Seasonal decorations can make your home look better, warmer and more welcoming than at any other time of the year. This perfectly matches the more emotional mindset of buyers at this time of the year.

There's Less Competition - Although it's not in their best interest, it's inevitable that some sellers will still take their home off the market soon. This means less competition and, consequently, more robust asking prices.

As you can see, there are some pretty compelling reasons to keep your home listed for the rest of 2018. And if you're concerned about having people view your home while you celebrate, don't be. This can be sorted simply by agreeing on times and days with your agent when the home isn't available.

Please reach out to us for further discussions of the many benefits of listing during the coming weeks, when we will see some of the most motivated buyers of the entire year!

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.