Upper Keys Real Estate Articles
Tax Benefits of Owning a Vacation Rental added 12-1-2017
There are several tax benefits of owning a vacation rental property. But, there are also additional life advantages of owning a vacation rental. First and foremost, you have a dedicated place to stay in your favorite getaway spot. That means not having to bother with hotel reservations and comparing rates and amenities. Also, you feel free to come and go. Plus, you can offer it to family and friends. But, it does provide some wonderful tax benefits, as well.
Tax Benefits of Owning a Vacation Rental
The tax benefits of owning a vacation rental make it a better asset. If you play your cards right, you can enjoy it more and earn a healthy return on investment. While providing a place to escape and unwind, a vacation rental also serves as a place to create lifetime memories. But, it gets even better when you factor in its tax advantages. Here are some of the most compelling tax benefits of owning a vacation rental property:
- Deduct mortgage interest. This is a popular write off for homeowners and it likewise applies to your rental home. (That is, up to a total of $1 million in home loan debt.) So, if both homes have a total of less than $1 million, you can take the mortgage interest deduction on both residences. That’s certainly a good amount of savings to enjoy.
- Home improvements and repairs. No house is perfect. And, there are always projects to provide a little more function and/or creature comfort. You can deduct home equity loan and credit line interest. So, if your vacation rental is a fixer upper or just needs some TLC here and there, you can write those expenses off. However, the IRS does set some limitations on these. Make sure to consult an experienced, professional tax adviser before you begin to swing the hammer.
- Property taxes. You have to pay property taxes on your primary residence and your vacation rental. But, you can also write off your second house’s property taxes. What’s more, unlike the mortgage interest deduction, there’s no limit.
- Rental income. The great thing about owning a second home is that you can always escape to your other property when desired. But, why not earn a little income off of it when you’re at your primary residence? If you rent for 14 days or less per year, you’ll pay zero in income taxes. However, if you rent it for more than 14 days, you’re going to do more math when it comes to tax time.
When You Should/Shouldn't Refinance Your Mortgage: added 11-1-2017
Thinking about refinancing your mortgage? Then, you should know if it’s a viable and smart thing to do. Of course, there are different considerations to take into account. First and foremost is the reason why. It might sound all too obvious but if it’s just to lower your rate, it just might not be a wise move. That’s why you should know when it’s time or isn’t time to refinance your mortgage.
When You Should/Shouldn't Refinance Your Mortgage: 5 Considerations
There’s no question interest rates are slowly creeping up. But, this doesn’t mean that is the only possible trend. However, it is likely or probable that home loan interest rates will continue to incrementally rise. But, this shouldn’t be the sole reason to jump into a refinance.
What’s more, it’s very important to know about a very basic misconception. Refinancing isn’t redoing a mortgage or modifying an existing mortgage, it’s getting an entirely new home loan. Now, let’s look at five key things to consider about refinancing your mortgage:
● What are the available products? As mentioned, refinancing means applying for a new home loan. It is not simply “redoing” your existing mortgage. So, you need to examine all available options. The best are fixed-rate traditional, conforming mortgages. FHA fixed-rate is a little more pricey but still quite fair. However, adjustable rate, balloon, jumbo, and even VA mortgages aren’t nearly as good a deal. If possible, stay away from these and USDA loans, as well.
● How long do you plan to stay put? As a rule of thumb, if you’re going to stay in your house for four to five years or more, it’s generally worthwhile to refinance. But, this isn’t always the case. For instance, if you just move down a quarter point but can put a little extra toward the principal each month, it’s probably better to focus on amortization through extra principal payments.
● What costs must you pay out of pocket? Since refinancing is getting a whole new home loan, that means you’ll pay all those fees known as closing costs. Sure, you can roll the closing costs into your monthly mortgage payment. But, do you really want to finance a few thousands dollars on top of the principal?
● What’s your home equity/appreciation? Another consideration is your home’s equity position and its appreciation rate. If you have enough equity and your property is appreciating well, it might be a good idea to refinance if you’re getting a lower rate.
Lastly, how is your credit? After all, you are applying for a new mortgage. So, if your credit score isn’t good, you’ll pay more.
3 Reasons Why Local Real Estate Websites Are Better Than National Ones added 10-4-2017
There are a number of reasons why local real estate websites are better than national ones. But, there are three core reasons why it’s far better to go with a local real estate website over a national one. It’s no secret the real estate industry is a highly competitive one. And, real estate professionals need every advantage. Just a little edge can be more than enough to succeed. Also, buyers and sellers need to be in-the-know and local simply outperforms national on practically every level.
3 Reasons Why Local Real Estate Websites Are Better Than National Ones
Buyers and sellers need every scrap of information they can get when entering the real estate market. And, it’s important to understand just how national sites work in relation to local web properties.
For instance, Zillow is a popular website. It pulls data from all kinds of sources. Sometimes, dozens, scores, or even hundreds. Sites like Zillow are aggregators, which collect information from many sources. Now, that sounds like it’s a big advantage, but as you’ll soon see, it’s actually a disadvantage. (Particularly to buyers and sellers.)
You’ve probably heard the old cliche about real estate being all about three things: location, location, location. The fact of the matter is, there’s a lot of truth to that adage. It simply distills it down to the simplest terms. And, local even extends beyond neighborhoods and communities. It crosses over into the web. Here are three compelling reasons why local real estate websites are better than national ones:
1. Highly improved local data. Even though sites like Zillow pull information from a large amount of sources, it’s not usually vetted or rightly analyzed. Here’s an example. Search for a particular home on Zillow and then do so through a local real estate site. You’ll find a wealth of information on the latter but only generalities on the former. That’s because local sites are managed by local real estate professionals who have a vested interest in supplying the best information possible.
2. Ads are a telltale sign of motivation. If you pull up a national real estate website, you’ll see advertisements. That’s because the web property is earning ad revenue. But, go to a local real estate site and you won’t see ads. Here again, it’s because local real estate professionals who have a vested interest in supplying the best information possible.
3. Local means local. National is generally big picture. Local is micro-focus. It means an actual local professional is behind the site. Meaning, you’re getting the right information.
8 Tips for Buying a Luxury Home added 9-3-2017
Buying a luxury home isn’t the same as purchasing a traditional residence. It contains more space, more amenities, creature comforts, and it’s in a prime location. All of this means a higher price but it’s worthwhile because it’s a terrific long term investment. However, you should understand that when you buy a luxury home, you need to make a smart and informed decision.
8 Tips for Buying a Luxury Home
Buying a luxury home, whether it’s a downtown highrise penthouse, on a beach or lake, or on a private golf course, is quite different from purchasing a normal house. Because it comes with a higher entry price, you need to ensure it’s money well invested. Here are eight tips for buying a luxury home:
1. Learn the buying process. When you enter the luxury home market, you’ll step into a smaller pool of competitor buyers and fewer sellers. This inherently means you won’t easily find a deal as this type of market experiences less inventory. Since there are fewer listings, set prices are likely to be what you’ll pay. But, that doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as negotiation -- you just need to know when it’s warranted.
2. Get to know the neighborhood. Views are particularly important to luxury home buyers. So, you want an established neighborhood and one that’s not going to change in the near or even distant future. In other words, you don’t want to buy a luxury home with a great view only to learn future development will ruin that view.
3. Set your priorities. By knowing what amenities you need, you know which are less important. This is critical because it means being able to discern which properties are in play and which don’t make your list.
4. Look into financing options. You should know your financing options, as well as your carry costs. Plan on a downpayment of at least 20 percent and go with a 20 or 15 year fixed rate mortgage.
5. Work with an experienced real estate professional. Someone who knows the luxury home market is an invaluable asset. He or she should have plenty of luxury home sales in their record so they can best advise you.
6. Be patient, take your time. Do not rush into a house. By the same token, don’t waste time wringing your hands over losing out to another buyer. Patience will go a long way and will pay off.
7. Choose a home with solid resale potential. When you are down to just a few choices, go with the house that will deliver a strong ROI.
Don’t get overextended. No matter the amount you qualify for, don’t get overextended. Go for a mortgage that’s 25 to 30 perc
Advantages of Owning Luxury Waterfront Real Estate in the Upper Florida Keys added 8-2-2017
Owning luxury waterfront property in the Upper Keys is a great investment and for many more reasons than one would suppose. Sure, luxury waterfront property anywhere beats out landlocked residences but in the Upper Keys, there’s just more to it.
Advantages of Owning Luxury Waterfront Real Estate in the Upper Florida Keys
Everyone knows owning real estate is a wonderful long-term investment because of its extensive track record. After all, it’s part of many savvy investors’ portfolios and there’s good reason why that is so. Let’s take a look at the many advantages of owning luxury waterfront real estate in the Upper Florida Keys:
● Highly desirable location. This is perhaps the most obvious but it bears inclusion because when compared to other locations, there’s certainly a clear winner. The Upper Keys are a huge destination location simply because of the super mild winters, warm spring and fall seasons, and breezy, balmy summers. That makes the Keys an ideal location, regardless of the season.
● Nearby Miami. For those who love to embrace the tropical island life, the Florida Keys are a perfect solution. But, if you don’t want to be too far from all the action of a bustling, vibrant metropolis, Miami is right around the corner. Just the right distance makes it even better.
● Wonderful climate. We’ve just touched on the climate but it’s worth delving a little further. Because the Upper Florida Keys are right off the coast of the peninsula, the islands enjoy being situated right between two beautiful bodies of water -- the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. That means there’s always a sea breeze, so it means a superlative climate. Warm summers, very mild winters and simply delightful in the fall and spring.
● Great resale potential. Owning luxury waterfront real estate in the Upper Florida Keys means having powerful resale prowess, whenever it’s time. The fact of the matter is, you’ll probably never leave but if the situation does arise, you’ll rake in a robust return on investment.
● Low property taxes. Yet another benefit of owning luxury waterfront property in the Florida Keys is paying significantly less in property taxes. Property taxes in Florida are relatively low compared to much of the rest of the country -- particularly in the northeast.
● No state income tax. If you’d like to keep more of what you work so hard to earn, then the Sunshine State is for you. There’s no state income tax in Florida and that really sweetens the proposition of owning luxury waterfront property in the Upper Keys.
Advantages of Investing in Islamorada Real Estate added 7-3-2017
There are several advantages of investing in Islamorada real estate. Although many people suppose it’s just too expensive or their dream isn’t possible, that’s really not the case at all. The truth is, Islamorada presents a great opportunity; not only financially, but has other benefits, as well. So, if you’re considering buying Islamorada real estate, you should be in the know about its big benefits.
Advantages of Investing in Islamorada Real Estate
As part of the gorgeous Florida Keys, Islamorada, which means “village of islands,” is a great place to own a home. Be it a primary residence, a second home, vacation home, or even a dedicated rental property, there’s few places more beautiful and fun loving than Islamorada. And, because tourism contributes largely to the local economy, there’s plenty of opportunity for property investors. Here are some of the key advantages of investing in Islamorada real estate:
● Low property taxes. Although Florida is the third most populous state and continues to grow, property taxes in the Sunshine State remain relatively low -- particularly when compared to the northeast and west coasts. Low property taxes are indeed attractive and help make Islamorada real estate investing more savvy.
● No state income tax. Along with relatively low property taxes, the state of Florida do not have a state income tax. That means you keep more of what you earn. And, it also means if you chose to rent out the property, you won’t have to pay taxes to the state of Florida for that income.
● A very business friendly environment. Florida is actually one of a few states which greatly benefit from its business friendly environment. For this reason, many corporations relocate their headquarters to the peninsula, in order to take advantage.
● Lots of tourism. It’s no secret much of Florida’s economy is powered by tourism. And, since Islamorada is right in the Florida Keys, tourists bring lots and lots of money into the local economy. So, if you foray into Islamorada real estate investing, you can easily count on renting the property out, if you so choose. You can even opt to rent it out periodically, when you’re not in town.
● Significant property appreciation. Because Islamorada is comprised of islands, land is a finite resource. And, that means hefty property appreciation to enjoy year after year.
Along with these benefits, you can also take advantage of tax deductions and/or credits. For instance, the IRS allows write-offs for things such as mortgage interest, utilities, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and more. For help finding the best Islamorada Real Estate please contact us
What to Know about Trust Deeds 6-2-2017
What’s there to know about trust deeds? And why does it matter, you might ask? Well, there are plenty of terms in the real estate and legal world many of us hear but don’t really understand. You might have heard the term “trust deeds,” but are unsure as to its actual meaning. That’s okay, here you’ll find what you need to know about trust deeds.
What to Know about Trust Deeds
Trust deeds, also known as “deeds of trust,” are simply a collateral agreement. Like traditional mortgage instruments, trust deeds assign asset collateral in a real estate contract.
For instance, when a person finances a house with a home loan, he or she is pledging that particular property as collateral. The residence serves as a guarantee of payment to the lender. If he or she as a borrower fail to pay their monthly mortgage obligation, the lender goes through a legal process to possess the property. This is the foreclosure process and it differs from state to state.
So, how do trust deeds differ from traditional mortgages? The answer is, a third-party is involved in the deal. In a traditional mortgage, the titled to the borrower (which is why the lender must use the foreclosure process to claim legal possession). However, trust deeds assign the title to trustees, hence the name.
The trustee receives title to the property being financed. Usually, this is a form of seller or owner financing. The owner of the property puts the title in the name of a trustee. Typically, the buyer, who is also a borrower, pays a predetermined sum until the “loan” is paid in-full (or reaches certain criteria).
You might wonder, what are the advantages of a trust deed? And, when are these agreements used? Here are some benefits of trust deeds:
● Optional down payment. When a deed of trust is used between a seller and buyer, there does not have to be a down payment. However, there typically is a down payment to serve as a confirmation to the seller of the buyer’s seriousness.
● Optional credit check. With trust deeds, there is no real need for a credit check. Although, this does not mean the seller will not conduct a credit check, it could be unnecessary.
● Competitive interest rate. The seller can offer a low interest rate, which is comparative or less expensive than a traditional lender. It’s also possible to negotiate a low interest rate.
● No lender restrictions. Most lenders have restrictions in place, which limit the number of qualified buyers. But with deeds of trust, these are optional. For any help with this regarding Islamorada Real Estate please contact us
Things to Do in Islamorada added 5-2-2017
Islamorada, the “Village of Islands,” located in the beautiful Florida Keys, is a great place to visit and even better place to live, work, and play. It’s known for its laidback way of life and of course, wonderful weather. Plus, there’s so many things to do in Islamorada. Things to Do in Islamorada Although only 20 miles in length and amazingly a small and narrow as 150 wide in some locations, Islamorada is actually a chain of islands in the Florida Keys which formally incorporated in late 1997. But, it’s home to much to see and do, aside from its well-known beaches, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, sunsets, and much more.
Here are just some of the things to do in Islamorada:
- Visit the parks. Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park, Library Beach Park, Founders Park, and Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park are all located in Islamorada. And, each has something unique and fun to offer visitors. So, when you go to Islamorada, take some time to smell the proverbial roses and enjoy these wonderful natural beauties.
- Explore until your heart’s content. Islamorada is not only home to some great parks, it’s also home to shipwrecks and mangroves. You’ll find these intriguing to say the least. There are also a number of trails to explore in and around Islamorada.
- Be entertained. See a dolphin show or take in a live show. Visit the Theater of the Sea to enjoy the antics of dolphins and sea lions. This is also a historic location, being the second oldest marine mammal facility on the entire globe.
- Go back in time. Florida Keys History of Diving Museum and the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center are great places to time travel. You’ll learn much about the history of the Florida Keys and diving while having fun all the while.
- Picnic, sunbathe, and stroll about. Anne’s Beach and Islamorada Library Beach are great places to soak in the sun, stroll down a boardwalk, and have a bite to eat. Take a quick dip while you’re there and enjoy the wonderful water.
If you like thrills, then you might be interested in trying parasailing and/or paragliding. See Islamorada in a whole different way, from the air. And for those who like to keep things simple, there’s always the Old Road Gallery, Rain Barrel Artisan Village, and Lobster Trap Art Gallery. Or, go kayaking, canoeing, or power boating. You can even hop on a personal watercraft (PWC) and explore at your own pace.
How to Profit from Rental Properties added 4-3-2017
There’s a lot of ways to invest to increase income and build wealth. Some prefer mutual funds, while others like real estate. Some also invest in a combination of both. But, if you want to become a rental property investor, you definitely want it to be a profitable venture. Unfortunately, too many first-time rental home owners make a number of mistakes. But, you don’t have to be another sad statistic. You just need to know the keys of how to profit from rental properties.
How to Profit from Rental Properties
Several potential pitfalls await all real estate investors. If you know what these are before you make the leap, you’ll be far ahead of the curve. It all comes down to thinking long-term. Here’s how to profit from rental properties:
● Be sure to know your monthly carry costs. Before you even begin your rental home investment property house hunt, you should be in-the-know about its monthly carry costs. These include, but are not limited to: the mortgage, insurance, property taxes, maintenance, and property management. Get a good grip on this before you enter the market to buy a rental home.
● Don’t buy unless the price is right. There’s a rule of thumb when it comes to purchasing an investment rental property: the money is made at the buy. In other words, if you aren’t getting a really good deal, it’s best to keep on looking until you find one. The less exposure you have going in, the better.
● Hire a reliable, reputable property management service. Don’t talk yourself into being a landlord. It’s just not what you think it is and it is for this reason, savvy rental property investors hire property managers. There are many benefits, marketing, including tenant screening, maintenance, rent collection, and much more.
● Build a vacancy fund. Make no mistake about it, you will experience vacancy periods. So, be proactive and build a vacancy fund of three to six months’ of carry costs. This way, you’ll have peace-of-mind when it’s not rented out.
● Hire a reliable, reputable tax professional. Another huge benefit you’ll enjoy is having an experienced tax professional at your disposal. After all, no one likes doing their taxes and you’ll get the best possible outcome.
Don’t panic during market fluctuations. Although the real estate market continues to show great health signs nationwide, local dynamics can drive down the value of a home. If this does happen, do not panic. By doing the above, you’ll have enough to endure until it starts regaining value
5 Reasons to Consider a Move to the Upper Florida Keys added 3-2-2017
Another long, cold winter is over but there are plenty more dreary seasons in the years ahead. Perhaps you’ve thought about moving to a warmer climate. Maybe even relocating to the Upper Florida Keys. But, you’re holding back because it seems too far out of reach. Here’s the great news! It’s well within reach and there are several reasons to consider a move to the Upper Florida Keys.
5 Reasons to Consider a Move to the Upper Florida Keys
About one thousand people move to the Sunshine State each and every day. In 2014, Florida became the third most populous state in the country, replacing New York. And, there’s very little wonder as to why that’s so. Among its most attractive attributes is there is no state income tax. Residents keep a lot more of what they work so hard to earn. But that certainly isn’t the only benefit. Here are five reasons to consider a move to the Upper Florida Keys:
1 Less stress. Heavy traffic. Sleet, snow, and ice. Big crowds. Noise galore. That’s the scene in most metropolitan areas. And, it takes a real toll. It’s stressful. But the Florida Keys, life is on island time and there’s no rush. Less stress means a longer, more healthy life to enjoy.
2 Recreation. Florida boasts a great climate, with particularly mild winters. So, it’s possible to get outdoors more often and enjoy all sorts of recreation. Boating, running, sailing, golf, tennis, volleyball, baseball, softball, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, and so more much await. Take advantage of the wonderful weather and get outside more to enjoy all the great recreational opportunities.
3 Health. More recreation equals a more healthy life. But, there’s also factors like a slower pace means less stress. That helps to reduce high blood pressure and combat fatigue. When life is more relaxed, it’s more enjoyable. Better weather provides excellent exercise opportunities -- another factor in better health.
4 Property appreciation. One great aspect of owning property is its appreciation. And, in the Upper Florida Keys, appreciation grows at a faster rate than many other areas of the country. You’ll be able to build equity in less time, while benefiting from your home appreciating in value. After all, this is a destination location.
5 Lifestyle. If you’ve never experienced life on island time, it’s a completely worthwhile endeavor. But, if you’re considering a move to the Upper Florida Keys, chances are excellent you’ve already experienced this wonderful phenomenon. Now, it’s time to embrace the experience every day of the year!
Make a move the Upper Florida Keys and live the dream, starting today!
How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved for a Mortgage added 2-2-2017
Buying a home is an exciting time, one that’s filled with optimism and good expectations. Sadly, too many people rush into the process unprepared, turning an otherwise wonderful experience into a nightmare. The truth of the matter is, buying a home takes a long time. You need to be prepared and know how to improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage for a welcome outcome.
How to Improve Your Chances of Being Approved for a Mortgage
Lenders are risk averse and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Each loan has potential to go unpaid, leaving the lender in a bad situation. Also, federal and state guidelines play a role in determining who is and isn’t qualified for a home loan. So, you need to be well prepared before you apply. Here’s some helpful advice for how to improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage:
● Save a good down payment. A down payment can be as low as 3.5 percent for some loans. However, the bigger your down payment, the quicker you’ll build equity and the less your monthly mortgage payment will be. It’s best to save a down payment equaling 20 percent of the purchase price. This way, you’ll also avoid paying PMI or private mortgage insurance, which is for the lender’s protection, not yours.
● Clean your credit report. There’s a high probability errors are on your credit files. Go to Annual Credit Report.com and order your credit reports from all three bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This is sponsored by the federal government and is free once per year.
● Stay with your current employer. Lenders do not like change and if you do change jobs (or worse yet, careers), you might not receive approval. Stay with your current employer at least through closing.
● Borrow less than you are able. Your DTI or debt-to-income ratio is a very important number. When you are pre-approved, shop for a house that’s under your maximum lending limit to reduce your monthly payment and increase your chance of final approval.
● Have cash on-hand for closing costs and other expenses. An earnest money deposit, inspections, moving, closing costs, and miscellaneous expenses will all be your responsibilities. You need the cash to pay for all of these and to improve your chances of being approved.
● Don’t incur any new debt or open new lines of credit. A big time no-no is to open new lines of credit or run up balances on existing credit lines. This will impact your DTI and could cause loan denial.
Just being smart, disciplined, and patient will go a long way in being approved for a home loan.
To Buy or to Build? added 1-6-2017
To buy or build? That’s the question many people ask when they are considering selling their current house or moving out of a rental. The problem is there isn’t a clear cut answer -- both have advantages and disadvantages. So, is it better to buy or build? Well, that really depends on your particular situation.
To Buy or to Build?
The buy or build question is answerable when you take a few factors into account. Depending on your situation, one will prove more feasible than the other.
Buying a Resale
In almost every instance, it is less expensive to buy an existing house than it is to build a home. It’s simply cheaper to buy a resale and then customize it. Another advantage to buying a resale is time. You don’t have to wait for construction to be completed. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about finding a lot on which to build.
Some disadvantages of buying instead of building is you can’t change the location or pick a particular spot. You also must take the good with the bad. In other words, the house will have existing or future issues. Even if the property passes a home inspection, that doesn’t guarantee there aren’t existing or future problems.
However, just because a house is newly built also does not guarantee it will be problem free.
Building a House
Building a house means being able to customize it to your liking. It also means everything will be new. Additionally, you’ll receive a warranty from the builder, which might prove useful. At the very least, it will give you some peace of mind.
Plus, you get to choose the exact location you most want. Whether it’s in an established neighborhood, a newer community, or on a large parcel of land. It could be located in an urban, suburban, or rural environment. The choice is yours to make.
However, there are disadvantages with building a house rather than purchasing a resale property. First and foremost is the cost. It is always nearly the case building a home will cost more than buying an existing house. It’s not just the construction cost, there are more expenses associated with building.
Another downside is financing the build. Unless you have cash or most of the cash it costs to build, lenders are more strict when it comes to financing residential home construction.
Yet another disadvantage of building is over customization. It’s a risk that just isn’t largely considered. Because it can be customized, there have been instances where this freedom turns into a burden, making it difficult to resell.
Which Mortgage Term Is Best For You? 15, 25 Or 30 Years? added 12-5-2016
When you are ready to buy a home, you’ll be faced with many choices. The neighborhoods, property type, and financing. You’re probably aware there are different mortgage terms, most commonly ranging from 15, 25, or 30 years, but which is right for you? For help finding Islamorada Homes or vacant land for sale please contact us.
Which Mortgage Term Is Best For You? 15, 25 Or 30 Years?
Just like any other large purchase you should compare and contrast different mortgage products. Home loans can be confusing but this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find the right one.
You’ll have your choice of applying for a FHA loan, VA loan, conventional, government-insured, as well as Jumbo, adjustable rate, fixed rate, and more options.
First of all, let’s start with your income and debt because no matter which type of mortgage loan you ultimately choose, you’ll need to be able to afford it. Your mortgage payment, including insurance, and taxes, should be no more than one-quarter or 25 percent of your gross monthly income. For those who are more risk averse, the home loan payment, including taxes and insurance, should not exceed 25 percent of your monthly net, take home pay.
Now, in relation to the term, this is important because it will determine how the amount of your monthly mortgage payment. Obviously, a 15 year term, fixed rate mortgage will have a higher monthly obligation than a 25 or 30 year.
However, this isn’t the complete picture. The reason some borrowers choose a 15 year fixed rate home loan is to amortize the debt instrument quicker, will also building equity faster. In addition, 15 year mortgages saves thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
This doesn’t mean a 15 year fixed rate is always the best choice. For instance, if it puts your monthly mortgage payment is over 25 percent of your net or gross monthly income, it’s probably wiser to choose a longer term to make it more affordable, like a 25 year or 30 year.
Yet another consideration is your personal situation. For example, if you are employed with the same company for at least three to five years and expect to stay at that same company for many years to come, with your salary rising over time, a 15 year makes more sense.
But, if you are in a less steady situation, making most or a good portion of your income off of commission with a small salary, then reducing your monthly obligation is smart. After all, if you have several strong years, you can always pay more to the principle and when your income drops back to a more normalized level, you can then just pay the regular amount each month.
What You need to Know about Title Insurance added 11-1-2016
What you need to know about title insurance might surprise you. You are familiar with other types of insurance, like auto, so you know it provides protection in return for paying a premium. But unlike auto, title insurance pertains to your home, protecting your most valuable asset from risk.
What You need to Know about Title Insurance
So what is title insurance and why is it important? Title insurance provide protection on your house against someone else who discovers title defects in the future.
Okay, but if you already bought a home and the title search revealed no problems, why is it still needed? Well, because eventually, the property will no longer be in your name. You might sell in the future or upon your death, it could be sold or inherited. Whatever the case, when residential real estate changes owners, a title search is conducted. Not all searches will reveal every defect and this is why title insurance is necessary.
Also, even if the home is new construction (even if it’s under construction), you still need title insurance. Why? Well, because the land isn’t new. It’s very likely the land had one or more different owners in the past and this is why title insurance is necessary for new construction.
Aside from it being a smart asset protection tool, it’s also required by mortgage lenders. This is because lenders are lienholders and want to guard against any surprises if you default on the loan.
One great thing about title insurance is that you as the buyer, are able to choose which company you purchase the policy. (You can ask your mortgage broker or real estate professional for recommendations.) What’s more, relatively, it’s not expensive and is typically part of the closing costs. So, you might have the option to roll your closing costs into your home loan.
To save money on title insurance, simply do what you would do if you were purchasing another type of policy or product. Shop and compare from different companies and look carefully for hidden fees. Here again, you can ask your real estate professional for advice and what fees to look out for when choosing title insurance.
In addition, there’s always a possibility of receiving discounts on title insurance, just like you can do with homeowner’s and auto policies. Weigh the discounts and policy coverage and limits to make the right decision.
The bottom line is, you need title insurance because it’s not only required, it’s too large of a risk to take on your own.
Buying a Home with a Pool -- What You need to Know-added 10-5-2016
Buying a home with a pool is an exciting proposition but it can be a regrettable choice, if you aren’t aware of all its aspects. Being able to dive in when you like and relaxing by the pool while grilling food are certainly enticing but that’s just part of living in a home equipped with a swimming pool. You need to be in the know before you commit to a purchase a house with a pool.
Buying a Home with a Pool -- What You need to Know
Everyone loves the thought of having their own home, complete with a swimming pool. Images of family splashing around and guests dipping their feet in or wading about with drinks in-hand are definitely enjoyable. However, to enjoy a pool, it must be actively maintained and even if you go the do it yourself route, this will cost money every month. Here’s some more of what you need to know about buying a home with a pool:
The impact on the house’s value. A National Association of Realtors study found that a swimming pools adds about 8 percent to a property’s value. But that was just in one market. In others, it can be higher -- 10 percent or more. Of course, in other markets a pool provides little to no value increase. It just depends on the geographic location and the neighborhood. For instance, in Florida, pools are commonplace and do add value. But in the northeast or midwest, this can be very different.
Cost of upkeep and long-term expenses. The cost of upkeep is more than just routine maintenance. Sure, you’ll have to keep the pH level balanced and skim foreign objects out but there’s also the consideration of more substantial expenses. For example, when the pump fails or worse yet, when hydrostatic pressure compromises the walls. Resurfacing is also a necessity and a costly one.
Its value as a selling feature. A swimming pool adds more than just to a property’s real market value, it also adds to its marketing value. A pool is an amenity that often serves as a big time selling feature. This is especially true for new couples and couples with children able to swim. However, a pool can be a negative for older couples and for those with very young children.
Actual use. When you see a house with a pool, you’ll dream about how much you’ll use it. But reality will intrude. Be realistic about how often you’ll use it.
Current condition. Do yourself a favor and hire a home inspector that’s very experienced in assessing pools.
Factors Which ATTRACT Potential Home Buyers added 9-1-2016
There are factors which attract potential home buyers. Savvy sellers should learn and understand what these include to maximize return on investment and facilitate a quicker sale. It’s important to understand there’s no need to go all-out or overboard, just a few simple changes make a huge difference.
Factors Which ATTRACT Potential Home Buyers
The factors which attract potential buyers won’t come as a huge surprise. These are features and items which you would most want if you were buying a home. Here are the top factors which attract potential home buyers sellers should know about:
● An updated kitchen. There’s no need to completely gut your kitchen and commit to a total remodel. Instead, focus on small updates. Paint the cabinets for a refreshed look. Change the hardware, such as hinges, pulls, and the faucet for the biggest impact.
● Newer appliances. Make no mistake about it, appliances are a really big deal. You don’t have to buy new, out of the box, the scratch and dent or floor models will do just fine.
● Updated bathrooms. Just like the kitchen, there’s really no need to go all-in with a complete remodel. Apply the same principles by changing out the hardware, new towels, a new rug, clean up or replace the shower curtain or doors. Here again, small changes make a substantial difference.
● Good landscaping. Curb appeal is very important. So important, it’s statistically known buyers form an impression of a home within the first 7 to 10 seconds of seeing it upon arrival. That’s not much time but enough to turn an otherwise interest buyer into one who hesitates to go inside. Fresh mulch, some colorful plants, and a good exterior cleaning will do the trick.
● Plenty of storage space. Okay, you can’t add storage space but you can make what’s available look bigger. Simply reduce the contents down to about a third and the results will astonish.
● Outdoor living space. A quick power or pressure washing of that dirty outdoor furniture and some TLC in the back yard will work wonders.
● Energy efficiency. If you’ve replaced the windows, weatherstripping, doors, or installed new insulation, that needs to be brought to every potential buyer’s attention. Be sure to have the documentation ready to demonstrate what’s been done.
● A pre-listing inspection. Before you actually place the house on the local multiple listing service, have a pre-listing home inspection conducted. It’s a great marketing tool.
In addition to these, homebuyers love other features, such as smart home devices and a security system.
How Islamorada’s World Class Fishing Helps Property Values ADDED 8-3-2016
Islamorada is known as the sportfishing capital of the world and for good reason. It’s home to so many species of fish, particularly plentiful in sport fish or game fish. Cobia, blue marlin, kingfish, sailfish, tuna, Mahi-mahi or dolphin fish, snapper, wahoo, tarpon, and yellowtail are all here in Islamorada.
How Islamorada’s Claim to World Class Fishing Helps Property Values
Though seasons vary, there’s always game fish waiting to pose a challenge for those willing to rise to the occasion. The good news is most species can be caught year-round; so matter when you arrive, chances are excellent you’ll be treated to some of the best fishing on the globe. But there are more reasons to love Islamorada, because the fishing does more than lure tourists, it helps to increase property values for the following reasons:
Okay, so tourism is a big deal and it’s one of the main reasons property values increase year after year. Because there is a steady flow of visitors, housing is at a premium. People buy second vacation homes here and they, as well as year-round residence reap the benefits of a healthy property appreciation. As more tourist dollars flow into the locality, there is more economic opportunity and that benefits everyone living in the area.
There’s no question one factor plays heavily into the great property appreciation of the Florida Keys: land is a finite commodity. It grows more valuable month after month and year after year because there’s little room to develop. Properties don’t last long once listed for sale for this and other reasons.
One of the best aspects of living in the Florida Keys is being able to enjoy super mild winters and warm, tropical breeze summers. Spring and fall are marvelous times of year and this means outdoor recreation is nearly always available. That bring more visitors, which requires more locals, which contributes greatly to the local economy, benefiting property values in the process.
Fishing charters, restaurants, retail shops, boat, sailboat, kayak, bike, and more rentals, plus all trades are necessary to the locality. With so many visitors coming and going, commerce is non-stop and that too, contributes to the rise in property values.
Diverse Local Population
It’s actually a misnomer that a hefty percentage of Florida’s population is elderly. In the latest figures compiled by the United States Census Bureau, only 19.4 percent is age 65 and over. In addition, individuals under 18 years of age comprise 20.3 percent of the population. That means about 60 percent are between 18 and 65, which helps to fuel the local economy, contributing to improved property values.
Why Boating Depth is so Important when You Buy Waterfront Property added 6-6-2016
One thing few people take the time to consider is the boating depth when looking at waterfront property. They are more concerned with haggling the asking price, commute time, amenities, and other features. There’s nothing wrong with any of these but it doesn’t include one aspect that will be important to making the right choice -- water depth. Here are some reasons why boating depth is so important when you buy waterfront property:
● Water depth below 3 feet. If the water depth at the dock is less than 3 feet at full tide, it will only accommodate shallow draft vessels (the amount of the hull below the water line). That means when the tide is out, flat bottom boats are likely the only boats to have access.
● Water depth over 3 feet. Boats with deep drafts of 5 feet or more larger drafts need the water depth to be, well deep. The hull is a very necessary component of any boat and if it’s damaged, can be quite expensive to repair.
● Recreational activities. You might like to jump into the water every so often or take the boat out to water ski or fish. If the water depth runs too shallow when the tide goes out, your boat isn’t going anywhere. You need adequate room to float freely when the tide is out so you aren’t deprived of water recreation.
● Turn around space. Another consideration is the ability to turn around. Generally, the larger the boat, the deeper the draft. So, why your boat might well be fine when the tide is out and in a relatively tight space, like in a canal, a larger vessel might not be able to turn around.
● Accommodation ability. If your boat is relatively small, the boating depth might well be adequate for your vessel and smaller boats. However, if you invite a family member or friend with a much larger boat, it might not be able to dock, particularly during a low tide when the water depth is more shallow.
Why Islamorada Waterfront Properties have the Most Appreciation added 6-2-2016
Islamorada waterfront properties have the most appreciation in the Florida Keys for many reasons. This tropical island paradise offers more than wonderful weather, stunning sunsets, spectacular sunrises, plenty of entertainment, and it’s also known as the Fishing Capital of the World. With so much to offer and being located in a beautiful climate, there are several factors which contribute to the robust Islamorada real estate property appreciation.
Why Islamorada Waterfront Properties have the Most Appreciation
Islamorada is a “Village of Islands,” located in Monroe County, situated in the magnificent Florida Keys. It’s namesake was given by Spanish explorers and remains one of the most visited places in the state of Florida. It’s also a great place to own real estate, as a primary residence, vacation home, or a second vacation rental home. Here are some of the most compelling reasons Islamorada waterfront properties have the most appreciation:
● Limited inventory supply. At any given time, there is a small supply of real estate inventory available for sale around Islamorada. This not only helps to keep property values up but also means when properties come on the market for sale, these are quickly bought.
● Finite vacant land. Because Islamorada is an island, there is finite land on which to build. This not only limits the amount of new construction, which is also good for existing home values, but also, keeps building standards very high to attract buyers.
● Tropical weather. The weather alone is good enough reason to own real estate in Florida; and, the Keys, especially Islamorada, enjoy some of the most wonderful weather, year-round. It’s one of the main reasons why more than 1,000 people move to the Sunshine State every day. And, it contributes to the value of real estate appreciation..
● Destination location. Wherever a destination location exists, there are magnificent properties all around. Discriminating real estate investors and residential homeowners choose destination locations because of their robust property appreciation.
● Location, location, location. “Waterfront” says it all. And when the waterfront is right outside, be it the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean, it’s an undeniable factor in maintaining healthy real estate property appreciation. What’s more, not all home are directly on the water; so, for those residences which are truly waterfront, those properties gain more appreciation over time.
Another reason Islamorada waterfront properties have the most appreciation their quick resale potential. If you ever choose to sell your Islamorada waterfront home in the future, you’ll be able to do so in a short period of time because of its highly sought location. For information about Upper Keys Luxury Homes for sale please contact us
The Perks Of Choosing To Live In A Condominium added 5-3-2016
Becoming a homeowner is a dream many people share. By reaching this achievement you can enjoy a feeling of fulfillment that's very hard to equal. Being a homeowner is a sign of stability, so there's no wonder so many people have this goal in their life. Nonetheless, purchasing a home is more difficult and more complex than renting one. You need to consider very carefully what kind of life you'd like to have, as living in a detached house isn't the same as living in a condominium. This article is going to show you a few advantages of living in a condominium.
Superior safety. A house on a lot is as safe as you are willing to make it. On the contrary, condominiums offer superior safety features right off the bat. Even if there aren't CCTV cameras inside your unit, such buildings have security personnel and video monitoring, thus enabling a good level of security. Some of these buildings may feature state of the art security systems that can keep even the smartest intruders away. In addition, you may be able to instruct the security guards to allow only certain people to come and visit you.
Lower price. As condominium units don't require land ownership, your purchasing costs are going to be lower than in case of a detached house or villa. In addition, such condominiums are usually very close to bus or subway stations, so you may not even need a car to commute to and from work. This can save you a lot of money in the long run.
High market value. If you pick a good location, you might be able to enjoy a higher resale value later on, especially if the area is in full development stage. The more amenities are going to appear around your building, the more expensive your condo is going to be. Besides, you should be able to get a higher mortgage value, should you need a loan at some point in life.
Communal facilities. When living in a condominium, you get free access to various facilities and amenities such as swimming pool, gym and spa centers, without having to pay a membership fee. Nonetheless, you have to know that you are going to pay HOA fees. These Home Owners' Association fees are used for the maintenance and for the upgrades of such shared facilities, as well as for the security of the building. However, if you were to enjoy all these perks in a house, the costs would have been much higher.
Accessibility. Living inside the city offers you easy access to everything you need. You can enjoy shorter commutes to your office and to other business venues. You don't have to worry about the rush hour like all those people who need to reach their houses in the suburbs. Besides, if nightlife is your cup of tea, you are going to be very happy to have such easy access to all your favorite clubs and night entertainment venues. You won't need to avoid alcohol anymore, as you won't have to drive back home when the party is over. You'll have the comfort of a modern life, while saving some money along the way, as well.
Benefits of Owning a Rental in Islamorada addded 4-4-2016
If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a rental in Islamorada but thought it to be out of reach, you’ll be happy to know that’s just not the case. Many first-time real estate investors are understandably nervous about purchasing a rental property. But, when the many benefits are taken into consideration, you’ll discover owning a rental in Islamorada is worthwhile.
Benefits of Owning a Rental in Islamorada
Part of the Florida Keys, Islamorada a wonderful place to call home. It’s also a great place to vacation. In fact, it’s one of the premier destination locations in the entire Sunshine State. Being so popular means there’s a constant need for accommodations for tourists. Those tourists power the local economy, which creates jobs, which creates a need for housing. But, this is just one reason that owning a rental in Islamorada is a smart investment. Additionally, there are more benefits:
● Property taxes are low. One great thing about Florida are relatively low property taxes. Compared with the northeast and some other parts of the country, property taxes are just a fraction. What’s more, there’s no state income tax. So, if you already reside on the peninsula, you won’t have to report rental income to the state.
● Property appreciation. It’s well understood that real estate gains value over time and when it’s located in such a premier destination location, its value gain is greater. That’s something which can substantially add to your investment portfolio.
● Rental units are in demand. Simply put, there are a lot of people who visit Islamorada and this provides a steady stream of rental revenue. You can choose to rent short term, long term, or a combination. In addition, you can also use the property as a dedicated home away from home; after all, it is a beautiful vacation destination.
● Property is a finite resource. Property appreciation isn’t just due to the prime location. It’s also caused by the fact that land is a finite resource. It puts the law of demand and supply firmly on your side.
● There’s a passive income source. When you own a rental in Islamorada, you’ll have the ability to create and enjoy a passive income stream. Rental rates are quite lucrative and because your mortgage payment is fixed, the margin will increase as the home loan amortizes. You’ll have equity built in a short amount of time.
In addition to these benefits, other advantages are federal tax write-offs. You can deduct routine maintenance, repairs, insurance, mortgage interest, commissions, utilities, advertising, and much more.
Real Estate Tax Tips added 3-2-2016
Real estate can be a great investment, if it’s done right. Unfortunately, too many first-time investors and even those using their primary residence for a work-at-home business, make a number of mistakes or miss out on the best real estate tax tips. Real property is a truly wonderful asset to have, particularly in historically active markets where people relocate from other states.
The most two powerful rules of thumb about investing in real estate is to choose the neighborhood instead of the house itself, and, the return on investment is made at the buy. In addition, there are some real estate tax tips which ought to be followed in order to make it a sound and profitable investment:
● Claim homestead exemption, when possible. If you’re going to live in property as your primary residence and stay there five to seven years to cash-in on appreciation when you cash-out at closing, be sure to claim homestead exemption right away. If you do so, you’ll save a lot of money over that period of time.
● Keep all your finances and documents organized. Where some property investors go wrong is not being organized with their finances and documents. While you may start out with the best intentions of keeping everything, it can become a cumbersome and mundane task. If you get sloppy, you’re likely to miss out on some tax benefits. In addition to staying organized, you should hire an experienced and savvy CPA or certified public accountant.
● Invest for the long term and not for magical tax savings. Like mutual funds, investing in real estate takes patience and time to payoff in the long run. Real estate is a hold and buy proposition to be truly profitable. Sure, you’ll probably be able to write off this and that (e.g. mortgage insurance, maintenance, interest, et cetera) but that’s dangerously close to the adage, “Stepping over dollars to pickup pennies.”
● Become educated on the tax benefits (and disadvantages). Okay, so the tax code is confusing, confounding, and complex but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn about various tax benefits and disadvantages. These will help you make better decisions through the year so you get the best possible results come tax time.
● Don’t be overzealous with flipping houses, it’s an IRS red flag. If you are going to buy, remodel, and flip as a part-time money-making hobby, that’s okay, so long as you don’t get too overzealous and active. If you do this repeatedly, the IRS might consider this to be a business and you’ll pay more in taxes.
Purchasing in the Florida Keys: The Appeal of Waterfront Property added 2-2-2016
There is a finite amount of land on this planet. Therefore, places like the Florida Keys are particularly attractive to both travelers and those interested in purchasing property. It is a truly unique, beautiful area, and it is unlike anything else in the world.
If you are interested in buying waterfront property in the Florida Keys, there are a few reasons why you should jump at an opportunity. First, the atmosphere of the Keys is second to none. The strip of land itself is small, but the surroundings are beautiful.
The weather is incredible year-round, which is why so many people flock to the Florida Keys. In addition, there are a number of different things to do; you can fish, go swimming, or even just gather shells along the beach.
While the Florida Keys are an attractive travel destination, large numbers of people are also choosing to live there as well. This is because of the weather and the activities, but also because it is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy life.
Waterfront property, in particular, is a hot commodity in the Florida Keys. This is partly due to scarcity; there just isn't a lot of this type of land available. As with other places in the country, the economic recession did take its toll on the area. However, the effects were much less than in other parts of the United States, so from an investment standpoint, the Florida Keys is a great choice for buyers.
There are a number of "hot spots" in the United States, areas where people love to visit and go back time and time again. For example, Aspen and Telluride are two such spots. The Florida Keys is another. Purchasing waterfront property is a great investment because the value should only continue to go up. The area is popular and there is not much waterfront land available, which are two key factors in raising the value.
If you want to purchase waterfront property, speak to a real estate agent in the area. They will know what is available and how best to advise you. Take the time to sit down and review properties with them, so you can make an educated decision.
There are several parts of the Keys that you could choose to settle down in. Each is unique and wonderful in its own way. The Realtor you work with will help you think through which area is right for you.
By researching appropriately, you should find the right property for you at a price that you can live with. In addition, it is important to remember that you are purchasing an entirely new lifestyle, one that will bring you great joy for many years to come.
Advantages of Hiring a Property Management Company to Handle Your Rental added 1-4-2016
Real estate investing is one of the most popular ways to build asset wealth and obtain a “passive income.” However, in all too many situations, that’s not really the case. The owner becomes a landlord, complete with all sorts of responsibilities. These include not just maintenance, repairs, and replacements, but also, finding new tenants, collecting rent, and marketing vacant properties. For help finding Islamorada Real Estate, please contact us
Advantages of Hiring a Property Management Company to Handle Your Rental
Chances are excellent that if you own a rental property, it’s supposed to provide you with a profitable revenue stream. The truth is, only a small percentage of rental property owners actually enjoy positive cash flow. When the costs of insurance, taxes, repairs, maintenance, vacancy periods, and evictions are factored into the equation, it’s easy to be losing money each year rather than earning it.
However, savvy rental home owners know that using a property management company actually improves their financial positions. The reasons why are straightforward. What’s more, there are real advantages of hiring a property management company to handle your rental home and here are the most compelling reasons:
● Better tenant screening. Unless you have extensive experience in the world of real estate investing and managing, you’re probably not properly equipped to screen potential tenants. If you make the mistake of renting to a bad tenant, your costs will go up substantially in the form of chasing rent payments and having to go through the eviction process.
● Shorter vacancy cycles. Property management companies are in business to make money, the very same reason you own a rental home. To accomplish this, these groups must be able to place quality tenants into vacant properties quickly to begin to collect rents.
● Less costly maintenance. Property management firms often work with a network of trade professionals who give discounted costs for steady, volume work. It creates a win-win scenario for the trades pros, the management team, and the rental property owner.
● Fewer repairs after vacancy. A good management company will conduct routine walk-throughs. The tenants know this upfront and therefore, are more conscientious about how they upkeep the home. This means less work to do when a vacancy occurs, which helps to shorten the vacancy cycle.
● Knowledge of the law. All too often, rental home owners run afoul of the law without even knowing it. While it might not be criminal, it’s usually civil, and that can mean a serious financial burden.
● Provides a buffer between owner and tenants. Of course, one of the most obvious benefits of a property management company is it acts as a buffer between you the owner and tenants.
Top 10 Real Estate Investor mistakes added 12-1
Real estate makes a very good investment, because like the stock market, it gains value over time. Sure, there are peaks and valleys, but in general, real estate enjoys an upward trajectory. One of the reasons it makes such a good investment is because it’s tangible and has discernible value. After all, everyone needs a place to live and this is why real estate makes an excellent investment choice.
If you’re new to real estate investing, understand this isn’t a get rich quick proposition. Those who make the most money in this endeavor are those who buy and hold as a long term strategy. Of course, there are property “flippers,” and, this can be worthwhile, that is, if you know what to avoid. Here are the top ten mistakes most new real estate investors make:
1. Planning during and after purchasing, not before. In the world of real estate investing, “winging it” and success are decidedly different. There’s too much left to chance if you don’t have a realistic, workable plan. You must have a clear path to follow to stay on budget and get any repairs and improvements done in a timely manner.
2. Not setting specific criteria for a home. This is a huge mistake because you could inadvertently purchase a property that won’t fit your ultimate needs. It must be able to perform in a way that’s not only workable, but lucrative.
3. Investing with emotion, not with critical thought. My first time real estate investors like to purchase property that’s in their own neighborhood -- which is a huge mistake. Not only will it greatly increase the hassle factor, it’s also myopic because better deals could be on the other side of town.
4. Relying on the wrong real estate agent. This one is simple -- there’s no substitute for experience. You need someone that’s been involved in these transactions before.
5. Not getting the advice of a contractor. Too many miscalculations can be made by amateurs, so, avoid underestimating by bringing a contractor to view the home before you commit to buy.
6. Forgetting to include vacancy periods. This is an inevitable reality that too many new investors don’t factor into their costs.
7. Not including maintenance costs. Maintenance is a must, and, it can turn an otherwise profitable investment into a drain on the wallet.
8. Over-improving a home. This is making improvements which cause the value to exceed the neighborhood, which means being stuck with that particularly property in virtual perpetuity.
9. Not creating a contingency plan. There are always changes in life, and, you need to be prepared for more than one scenario.
Perhaps the biggest mistake new real estate investors make is not having their primary residence paid off or having a very low principal balance.
How to choose the right Moving Company Added 11-4
Moving isn’t something that people look forward to because it’s so much work and things seemingly go wrong at the worst time. It takes quite a bit of planning to move, even if it’s just a few blocks away. Of course, there are things you can do to make it less stressful and take less time.
One thing you can do is begin to pare down your possessions well in advance of moving day. In addition, you can begin to sort out and pack your possessions, complete with labels and destination rooms. What you don’t want to do is to hire the wrong moving service. Here are some helpful tips to avoid choosing the wrong moving company and buying a truckload of buyer’s remorse:
● Choosing a moving service based on solely on price. Get at least three estimates from reputable companies and then compare each. If you receive an estimate that’s a lot less expensive than the others, that’s a huge red flag. A super low estimate likely means a big, costly surprise at the most inopportune time.
● Not getting a written estimate with a cap. Speaking of estimates, these aren’t generally exact figures. There should be a cap and if there isn’t, ask how those situations are resolved. Most companies will tell you that the cost won’t exceed a certain dollar amount.
● Check out online customer reviews. These are an excellent source of information and will give you a glimpse into how each company operates. If you see a trend one way or another, that will be very helpful in making the right choice. In addition, you can go to the local Better Business Bureau’s website and research each moving service.
● Lookup their licenses and ask about insurance. Verify licensing and inquire about what insurance the companies carry. You can also lookup companies and get more information by going to ProtectYourMove.gov, the official site of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
● Ask about special situations. These can be things like carting bedroom furniture up a narrow stairway, or, having to negotiate an awkward layout. You might have to pay more for certain items and it’s good to know this in advance to include in your budget.
In addition to these, inquire about delivery time and final payment. You might have to put down a small deposit and pay the balance when the movers arrive. Some will literally hold your possessions hostage until you pay. Reputable movers usually collect the balance or all of their money once the truck is completely unloaded
Advice on getting a Condo Mortgage Added 10-2
Buying a home is a bittersweet process because of all that’s involved. It’s both exciting and confusing trying to navigate through from mortgage application to the closing table. You’ll begin with by getting a pre-qualification, where the lender takes a cursory look at your finances and credit. Then, you’ll go through the pre-approval process, where an in-depth look at your credit file and finances will occur.
For most would-be home buyers, this is a fairly straightforward process. However, if you’re going to buy a condo, and not a single family residence, you’ll discover that it’s more difficult to obtain financing. Here’s some friendly advice on getting condo mortgages and what you can expect:
● Strict approval standards. The national economic downturn certainly took a large toll on the banking industry. Hundreds of millions of dollars in defaulted home loans, personal loans, credit lines, small business loans, and other debt instruments were defaulted on by borrowers. As a result, a slew of new regulations were enacted and banks are more risk averse. This is especially true of condos because so many owners defaulted on their mortgages. In fact, some lenders will outright reject condo financing.
● Borrowers must qualify. With all home loans, buyers must provide proof of income, have good credit, and, have a down payment. Condo mortgages generally require a higher down payment, usually about 25 percent, as well as proof of income and good credit.
● HOAs are researched. The borrower isn’t the only one to undergo lender scrutiny, but also, the condo homeowners’ assocation. What the lender uses to qualify the community is an owner-occupancy of more than 50 percent, has less than 15 percent of owner delinquent fees, and, no single property investor may own more than 10 percent of the units. In addition, the lender will also require there to be a satisfactory amount of reserves, adequate insurance, no pending legal matters that might cost the community money, and, no pending or planned special assessments.
● Paying a higher interest rate. Because condo mortgages are generally deemed to be a higher risk product, borrowers will pay higher interest rates on their loans.
In addition to these, the community might not meet certain standards to qualify for a conventional, conforming mortgage, FHA loan, or Fannie Mae financing. These are referred to as “non-warrantable,” and borrowers generally face fewer financing options in these instances. What’s more, the down payment requirement could be as high as 50 percent to obtain financing.
Homebuyers interested in purchasing a condo should start the mortgage application and approval process as soon as possible.
Islamorada Florida: Why It's Called the Fishing Capital of the World Added 9-1
The Florida Keys are well known as the southernmost points of the United States, an island archipelago that’s situated between the rolling waves of the Gulf of Mexico and the aqua blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a place where spectacular sunrises and sunsets occur every morning and evening, where life moves slowly, and, where there’s always a party.
What you might not know is just how wonderful the fishing is, especially on the Village of Islands, or, Islamorada. If you come here, you’ll be treated to some of the most exciting sport fishing in the world, and, you’ll soon experience why it’s known as the fishing capital of the world.
Islamorada Florida: Why It's Called the Fishing Capital of the World
With a whopping 663 miles of sandy shoreline, the beaches of Florida are some of the most renowned in the world. In the Keys, life is taken a day at a time, and, there’s plenty to do. Stretch out a beach chair and sunbathe the day away, take a trip to the historical landmarks, or, go out on a charter boat and fish until the sun goes down.
When you’re in Islamorada, the latter is certainly among the most popular, probably because of the ample variety of sport fish. Throwing a line into the water means waiting for the moment you catch the big one, and, that’s not an exaggeration. This stretch of islands holds all kinds of records for sport fishing, as some of the biggest have been caught right here.
So, exactly what can you expect to catch when you come to Islamorada? Well, that’s largely up to you because of the tremendous variety of species that populate the area. Let’s take a look at what’s in the water right around this village of islands:
● Mahi mahi: Also known as the dolphinfish, mahi-mahi is a pacific island term used by Hawaiians. Colored in bright green or blue, with silver, these delicious fish grow between 15 and 29 pounds, and are a very popular dish at many restaurants in the area.
● Sailfish: These beautiful marine powerhouses commonly grow to 7 feet to 8 feet in length and reach up to 100 pounds to 150 pounds. With their sheer size, agility, and fight, these are some of the most sought after sport fish in the water.
● Atlantic blue marlin: Reaching weights of up to 1,800 pounds and lengths of over 16 feet, this is an open water species that’s regarded as one prime catch.
● Kingfish: Also known as the king mackerel, this species is commonly found near land and typically grows to about 20 to 30 pounds,
Of course, these aren’t the only fish in the waters of Islamorada, other species include tarpon, yellowtail snapper, black grouper, amberjack, and wahoo--which is why Islamorada is the fishing capital of the world.
Importance of Pricing Your Home Correctly to Sell added 8-1
Everyone’s heard the age-old real estate cliche, that the single most important factor is, “location, location, location.” Indeed, that’s the truth, but there’s a lot more to the real depth of that statement. When you are ready to market your home to sell, you’ll obviously want to do so quickly and for the most money.
Getting a good return on your investment is what homeownership is all about. However, there are ways to make that a reality and to avoid the nightmare of having to settle for less. It’s an unenviable position to be in, one that sadly, is often self-induced.
Importance of Pricing Your Home Correctly to Sell
Selling your home, as you might imagine, takes a whole lot more than just staking a For Sale sign in the yard and taking out ads. It’s an entire holistic process, and, while that might sound funny, it’s serious. Your property is someone else’s future home, meaning the next owner is ready to start a new life by turning a house into a home.
Even if you stage it perfectly, take great photos, write a compelling listing description, and, offer buyer incentives, you’re still likely to generate any interest if it’s not priced correctly. Here are some helpful tips on what to do and not to do when pricing a home to sell:
● Learn its true market value. All too often, homeowners base their prices on the listing or asking prices of other, similar homes. That’s a big, big mistake, because those homes have not sold and are not under contract. Though these may have similar square footage, same number of beds and baths, as well as amenities, they aren’t truly comparable. Base your listing price on comparable homes that have sold in the past 3 to 6 months.
● Be careful about pricing with “room to negotiate.” While it’s very tempting to price your home just above market value because of all the improvements and upgrades you’ve made, it’s nonetheless a mistake. Especially when you’re doing so to give potential buyers room to negotiate down, because it will be well known you’re only interested in trying to dominate.
● Don’t be too aggressive in discount pricing. There’s a time when it’s okay to price a property below market value to pique buyer interest. However, when you do this, you inadvertently send a signal that you’re desperate, or, there’s something wrong with the home.
Speak with your selling agent and listen to the advice you’re are given. Although it’s difficult, you’ll have to leave emotion out of it or pay the price.
What You need to Know about Refinancing Your Home added 7-4
Many homeowners are uncertain or have a misconception about refinancing their properties and what it actually means. There are those homeowners who mistakenly believe refinancing is just a modification or extension of their existing mortgages. Others think that doing so is a way to pull out equity to pay off debt, and/or, to make certain home improvements. While still others regard refinancing a way to simply lock-in a lower interest rates. Though some of these are legitimate, it’s very important to understand what refinancing really means.
The truth is, refinancing is a financial option with real consequences, some of which are positive, while others are potentially problematic. What’s more, there are several considerations to take into account before refinancing, because it could be a smart or unwise decision, depending on your set of circumstances.
What You need to Know about Refinancing Your Home
For the majority of homeowners, refinancing is all about capturing and keeping a lower interest rate which allows them to save thousands of dollars. It can also mean having more in their budgets to amortize their mortgage balances at a faster pace, and/or, paying off consumer debt. Before you refinance your home, know about these the following things:
● There is no actual “Re” in refinancing. A very big misconception about refinancing is that it is just a modification of your current mortgage loan--it’s not. What it is in reality is financing your home starting all over again because you are applying for a new mortgage note. While the numbers will certainly be different, you’ll still pay closing costs, need insurance, and so on.
● The amount of equity you have matters a lot. Simply put, the more equity you have built-up in the home, the better. Of course, your home must be worth more than you owe on your current mortgage balance.
● Your debt ratios are equally as important. When you apply for a mortgage, which is what refinancing is, you must have acceptable debt ratios. That means the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, will need to be under 30 percent of your gross monthly income. In addition, all of your other debt will have to be less than 40 percent of your gross monthly income.
● Your credit score will play a big role for approval. This is quite straightforward: the better your credit score, the lower interest rate you will qualify for and receive. While lenders and their products differ, one thing that’s common among them is higher credit scores means lower rates.
Last but not least is your future plans. In order for refinancing to really pay-off, you must stay in your home long enough to recapture the money you pay out. Otherwise, it doesn’t make financial sense.
3 Reasons to Buy a Beachfront Condo added 6-2-2015
If you are planning to retire or just want a great investment opportunity, you might consider real estate; and, in-particular, beachfront property. The reason to chose beachside real estate is because it’s among the most valuable and fastest growing in equity. The biggest concern you might have regarding this is the entry cost. If you cash position isn’t enough to purchase such property, you ought to strongly consider buying a beachfront condo.
Condos versus Single Family and Townhomes
Opting for a condo over a single family is a great way to enjoy all the benefits of location and massive equity building without the high entry cost that comes with purchasing a single family home. The sheer size of the majority of these properties significantly increases the price. What’s more, when you buy a single family home, the property rights you are granted are known as “fee simple.” This means it is you who are responsible for the care and upkeep, as well as any repairs.
Some investors and near-retirees chose a townhome instead. These property types are generally less expensive than single family residences, but, these are also typically fee simple. While the initial purchase price is lower, you are still responsible for almost all the upkeep, maintenance, and repairs. Though common areas are taken care of by the homeowners association, you’ll pay HOA fees.
3 Reasons to Buy a Beachfront Condo
There are many reasons to purchase a beachfront condo instead of a landlocked property or another property type nearby or on the beach. Here are the three best reasons to buy a beachfront condo:
1. You have the power of location appreciation. You’ve likely heard the real estate cliche that price--and value--are all about location, location, location; and, this is very true. When you buy a beachfront condo, you are buying at an affordable price, much less than single family, but, still harnessing the power of location for a greater property appreciation rate.
2. You will be able to rent it and use it as a vacation location. If you won’t be moving to your beachside condo right away, you can rent it for top dollar, precisely because of the destination location, and, you’ll also have a dedicated vacation property. In both instances, there are tax advantages you can use when filing season comes around.
3. You will own your own bit of heaven. There’s no other way of putting it, because it can’t be ignored--owning beachside property is a dream come true and will allow you to enjoy stunning sunrises and sunsets, along with a plethora of outdoor recreational opportunities.
The Basics of Flipping Houses added 5-5-2015
Flipping houses is a very enticing investment opportunity, but, there are many things to take into consideration. It’s not just cost, but also, the stress factor in having to complete a refurbishment on a set timeline. Property flipping is a risky proposition because there are so many unknowns. For instance, you can’t be sure that you’ll completely account for all that needs to be done to make a property marketable for sale. What’s more, you can’t guarantee you’ll stay under or within budget because unforeseen contingencies are quite common.
There are two common ways to make money on real estate investments: buy and rent or buy and flip. The former is generally considered the safest, simply because it typically doesn’t require a lot of costs that are a reality when it comes to selling. Selling expenses include marketing, commissions, and having money tied-up in the transaction.
The Basics of Flipping Houses
The single most important to understand about any real property investment is the fact that any money you’ll make is made at the time you buy. This is why savvy investors pass on dozens or scores of properties to find just one that is an incredible deal.
Generally, a good deal is one in which you pay under 20 percent of market value or less than 20 percent. This margin is necessary to hedge against all the costs you’ll incur and to make the equity position one that is more valuable from the beginning.
Everyone knows that you’ve got to put in a lot less than the ultimate selling price to make money, but, there are more considerations than just the purchase price and remodeling costs.
Flipping a Property with No Liability
In addition to the purchase price and renovation costs, there is also potential liability. These liabilities can be so costly that it not only turns a deal into a bad one, but one that is financially ruinous. Here are some ways to flip property with no liability:
● Form a legal entity. When you go into the business of flipping houses, you’re in business. That means you are personally at risk and that exposure is simply too great to leave to chance. Speak with an attorney about what types of legal entities are best for you.
● Issue 1099 forms. What many people don’t know is the taxes rules regarding contracted services. If you’ll be hiring plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and other contractors to work on you flips, you must issue each a 1099. If you don’t and are audited by the IRS, you’ll be responsible for those taxes.
● Have the right insurance. Just forming legal entity isn’t enough. You should also have the right insurance to protect yourself and not leave matters to chance.
Advice About Home Mortgages That Anyone Can Use added 4-3
Don't let yourself be burdened by trying to find a mortgage company that's good. If this sounds like you, then you probably need to seek out some information. This article is designed to provide you with some helpful basic tips when it comes to finding a solid mortgage company.
Avoid borrowing the largest loan amount of money that is offered. Consider your life and habits to figure out how much you need to really be content.
Get all your paperwork together before approaching a lender. Having your financial paperwork in order will make the process shorter. The lender wants to see all this material, so keeping it at hand will save you unneeded trips to the bank.
Many homeowners may give up on their home because they do not understand that they still may have options to renegotiate the terms of your loan. Be sure to discuss all your options with your mortgage provider and about any available options.
Make sure that you aren't paying any more than 30 percent of your salary on your loan. Paying more than this can cause problems for you. You will find it easier to manage your budget if your payments are manageable.
Make sure that you have all your financial paperwork on hand before meeting with a mortgage lender. The lender is going to need income proof, banking statements, and every other financial asset you have in document form. Being well-prepared will speed up the process of applying.
Look out for the best interest rate that you can get. The bank wants you the highest rate possible. Don't let yourself be a victim to this type of this. Make sure you do some comparison shopping around so you know your options.
Do not let a single denial prevent you off course. One lender's denial does not represent them all.Keep shopping around until you have exhausted all available options. You might need someone to co-sign the mortgage that you need.
If your mortgage has you struggling, seek help. Counseling might help if you cannot stay on top of your monthly payments or are struggling. There are counseling agencies that can help. These counselors offer free advice to help you how to prevent your home from being foreclosed. Call HUD office locations.
Knowing how to find a good lender is empowering. You should now have information that can help you get the mortgage that is best for you. Use the information shared here and you will feel more confident about a home loan.For help buying or selling upper keys real estate please contact us.
Investments Advantages in Buying Beachfront Condos added 3-3- 2015
There’s nothing like the beach. The surf and white sand impart such a soul serving view and make sunrise and sunset even more spectacular. Though many people in the market to buy a home would love to be right on the water, they regard it as too expensive and something of a daydream. Living on a beachfront isn’t something that’s obtainable for people with modest budgets, even those that have a lot more purchasing power generally don’t entertain the notion they would be able to afford beach living.
However, it’s really not that expensive to live in a beachfront property. You just have to be willing to think a little bit outside the box. When most people think about beachfront property, their imaginations conjure up grand images of big homes, standing widely over white sand. Though these properties certainly do exist, they are not the only ones available, giving you more options.
Investments Advantages in Buying Beachfront Condos
If you really want to live on the beach, there’s really no reason you can’t fulfill your dream. Condos are a way to realize your longstanding dream. What’s more, you can have it all and make a wonderful investment in your future and here are the reasons why that’s true:
- Beachfront property is finite. You know that beachfront land is at a premium because there’s only a finite amount of it. That parcel, practically no matter its size, is going to substantially increase in value as time goes by and won’t suffer from market fluctuations nearly as much as landlocked properties.
- You get a lot more for less. The cost of a condo purchase will be substantially less than a single family residence on the beach. You will pay a much smaller price and enjoy rapid appreciation, along with a strong asset allocation, when you buy a beachfront condo.
- It has strong income potential. If you purchase a beachfront condo, you are ensuring a nearly unceasing occupation by renters. This is a situation which you can decide on what works best for you. Rent it seasonally and live in it when you want.
- The maintenance will be minimal. In a single family home, you are responsible for the expense of maintaining the entire property. That’s not an expense you’ll have to incur to the extent of a single family residence, which are substantial
The bottom line is, when you purchase a beachfront condo, you are making a strong investment in your future, along with having the many amenities of security, simple maintenance, and a heft appreciation rate.
Tips for Finding the Best Real Estate Agents added 2-3-2015
When it comes to purchasing real estate, what causes consumers the most problems is not knowing what they don’t know. In other words, it isn’t until you unwittingly make a mistake that you are aware of one thing or another and by that time, of course, it’s too late. Mistakes can cause delays in closing, inadvertent repair expenses, or outright derail a deal.
This is where real estate professionals come into play. These individuals are educated, and more importantly, experienced in residential transactions, through every stage of the process. They’ve experienced all kinds of contingencies and had to create solutions in order to save transactions.
Tips for Finding the Best Real Estate Agents
If you are ready to purchase a home, you should have already spent the necessary time to improve your credit score, saved up a sizable down payment, set aside an earnest money deposit, and have plenty of cash for closing costs, as well as moving expenses. Your next step is to find a real estate team that’s experienced and has the resources necessary to help you realize your dream. Here are some tips for finding the best real estate agents:
- Think the more the merrier. While you might have recommendations from family members, friends, and coworkers, about a single agent or broker, you ought to opt for working with a team. The reason is simple, you won’t be the only client and you’ll have the advantage of relying on several strengths and skill sets.
- Do a bit of due diligence. Any team can promise to find your perfect home or sell your property and get you a great deal. But it’s their track record that speaks the most about their prowess. Check their licensing, look the company up on the local Better Business Bureau, and run their company and individual names through the clerk of court’s office. You can also ask for referrals to follow-up with.
- Ask about lines of communication. If the team states the best way to stay in touch is through one medium, particularly email, that’s a red flag. You ought to be able to communicate over the phone, text, and email, as well as meet on a regular basis.
- Select a team that’s a match. It’s not only doctors and lawyers who specialize in practices. Real estate professionals do the same, for instance, an ABR or Accredited Buyer's Representative, or a SRR or Successful Relocation Representation. Choose a team that has specialties which fit into your wants and needs.
Another step you can take is to look at their current listings. This will give you an idea of how adept the team is at marketing properties and how long it take them to sell homes listed through their organization. For help with Islamorada Real Estate please contact us
THE UPPER KEYS Get rid of the Bad Health Effects of Stress ADDED 1-6
Big cities might have a lot to offer in the way of entertainment, amenities, and things to do, but distractions are conspicuous by their absence. The lure of big cities in the northeast, midwest, and even way up north, and down to the west coast might seem too much to resist, but, it’s the overall quality of life that has more than a few residents fleeing for warmer climates with less financial burdens.
Those financial obligations can place a serious strain on the wallet. From high utility costs, to never-ending maintenance due to the weather, to taxes, to the general cost of living. Big cities also put a strain on your physical health, your mental health, and, your emotions.
Specific Bad Health Effects of Stress
You might have read, heard, or seen the news reports about the Sunshine State surpassing New York as the having the third largest population in the country. Those estimates were based on many factors, one of which included health. Residents of large metropolitan areas were motivated in-part or whole, to relocate to a warm climate that was free of big city stress.
Though the human body does have coping mechanisms to deal with stress, it can be difficult to handle. At its basic level, stress is supposed to alert us to trouble. However, when it begins to rise and become overwhelming, it has detrimental effects on the body.
The single largest reason people living in large cities experience stress is there’s little to no escape from the tensions caused by external factors. Noise, crowding, traffic, bad weather, severe seasonal swings, high cost of living, all of these and more present negative forces. The result is what the medical and mental health community refers to as “distress.” Simply put, this is a point where a person experiences various tensions but cannot escape sufficiently to relax and recover.
When stress tensions remain in-place, people can suffer from many adverse conditions, ranging from mild to severe. These include headache, muscle pain, muscle tension, tiredness, upset stomach, neck, chest, and back pain, and even a drop in sexual desire. Those are just the physical effects.
Stress also places a stain on your mental state, which might cause anxiety, inability to focus, lack of motivation, sadness, anger, depression, and irritability. What’s more, stress can cause changes in how you behave. You might react by overeating, drinking too much alcohol, taking drugs, not eating enough, engage in outbursts, and, withdraw socially.
By removing the negative stimulates and engaging in relaxation behaviors, you can successfully combat stress; but, it’s best to do so in a conducive climate.
What to Know about Relocating from the United Kingdom to the Florida Keys added 12-2
There are approximately 840,000 United Kingdom expats residing in the United States, consisting of Scots, Irish, Welsh, and English. Many U.K. subjects move from their native territories across the pond to America because of career, and, in more than a few instances, to enjoy a warmer, more inviting climate. Escaping English summers is a very tempting notion, especially when an expat is going to be living in the best the Sunshine State has to offer--the Florida Keys.
An island archipelago extending from the southernmost tip of Florida, splitting the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico, residents here are able to enjoy what amounts to an endless summer. Relocating from Great Britain to the Keys is certainly an exciting proposition, but one that requires a bit of an education and some planning on which to act.
What to Know about Relocating from the United Kingdom to the Florida Keys
First and foremost, you can simply come to familiarize yourself with the area on a simple travel visa. Staying for a few weeks is a great way to get to know the locality and learn about the culture. You’ll find working Americans dine-out for lunch, rather than eat at their desks or stay on premises. What you won’t find are kippers, bubble and squeak, and that tea is served with ice, not warm.
To stay and work in the United States, you’ll need to either be relocating with your current employer from the U.K. to America, or have a valid offer of employment from a company located in the United States. For skilled workers, like engineers, teachers, managers, and others, the H1-B non-immigrant visa is the ticket to seek. If you’re a soon-to-be expat that doesn’t meet the skilled worker status, there’s a temporary non-agricultural H-2B visa available. A third alternative is to put your name into the annual green card lottery, which accepts about 55,000 foreigners per year.
You’re finances will also be different in the United States, which can be helpful or harmful. Credit scoring models differ between both countries, so your U.K. credit score won’t accompany your financial history to the United States. You’ll have to build your credit from scratch. Start with lenders based in the U.K. with a presence in America.
Some good news is your U.K. state pension will remain in effect, earning a 2.5 percent rate of return, the U.K. consumer price index, or average earnings. Basically, the “triple lock” protection model will stay in-force. Speaking of earnings, those will be taxed at the effective rate based on your income and what the tax collector, the Internal Revenue Service, calls the substantial presence test. Basically let us help you find a perfect place in paradise with a piece of Islamorada Real Estate
Advantages of Moving to the Upper Keys added 11-4-2014
As the cold begins to steadily grip the northeast and clutch the Midwest, the Upper Keys remain warm and sunny, enjoying temperatures typically experienced in cold weather climates in the spring. While the snow and ice start to become an everyday inconvenience, places like Key Largo and Islamorada are hosting residents and visitors alike with a plethora of warm, outdoor recreational opportunities.
All through the winter months, residents in the Midwest and northeast will commute to and from work in the dark, many of which will fight traffic, and engage in a prolonged battle to stay warm and keep occupied. That’s certainly not the case in the Upper Keys, where homeowners and visitors alike will continue to enjoy sunrise walks on the beach and sunset strolls in the sand.
Better Health waits in a Warmer Climate
Studies have found the largest concentration of high blood pressure to be in big urban cities. That’s little wonder, given the traffic, noise, and congestion. What’s interesting is why that is the case. Stress often leads people to eat more, which increases fat levels, and that puts more stress on the heart. In conjunction, mental health is adversely affected because of the stress and anxiety those conditions cause.
Geography itself plays a role in physical and mental health. The constant barrage of cold and shortened days means the body’s demand for more insulation which comes in the form of fat. That also contributes to hypertension and puts people at-risk for heart developing heart disease. Seasonal affective disorder, commonly known as the winter blues, is brought on as the seasons change from bright and sunny to dreary and dark.
More Recreational Opportunities for a Better Lifestyle
Winter takes its toll in more than one way in cold weather climates. Outdoor recreation is quite limited. Sure, there’s snow skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and ice skating, but those expose the body to the cold. In places like the Upper Keys, the practically unending summer sets the stage for all kinds of things to do. Recreational opportunities include boating, golfing, biking, hiking, camping, tennis, horseback riding, fishing, sailing, volleyball, kayaking, and running.
Warm Climate Cost of Living
The cost of living will also give you a real boost. In the state of Florida, there’s no income tax; and, it’s also a very friendly business environment. Utility costs are lower because you don’t have to shovel out money for home heating oil. Automobiles have incur less repair costs because vehicles aren’t in a harsh environment and have longer lifespans.
In addition to these, property taxes are relatively low in the Sunshine State and homes appreciate at a faster rate because of their location, which is the highly desirable peninsula that is Florida.
When you relocate to the Upper Keys, you trade-in cold weather battles for fun under the sun, complete with the laid-back lifestyle which manifests itself in the form of tee shirts, shorts, and sandals
Why the Warm Climate of Islamorada is More Healthy added 10-2
Year after year, you put up with the snow, the ice, the sleet, the commute to and from work in the dark. You might enjoy the fall and the leaves changing colors right before your eyes and the glistening snow when it first falls. That joy quickly turns into frustration and anger when you spend hours raking up your yard, only to see it littered with leaves time and again. That goes the same for snow, which just falls time and again, forcing you to shovel your driveway over and over.
What’s more, every year it seems harder and harder to stay in shape. You keep putting on the pounds even though you know every trainer at your gym. The weight battle rages on and you chalk it up to getting older. Well, that’s true, in some sense, because the cold weather climate is adversely affecting your health; what’s more, people living in warm places like Islamorada, Florida are living much more healthy lifestyles.
Why Cold Weather Climates are Bad for Your Health
One of the reasons you’re constantly battling to keep your weight in-check is because you live in a place which is causing your body to gain weight. That’s right, because you’re exposed to the cold year after year and advancing in age, you need more and more insulation to stay warm.
Your body responds to this need by storing more fat. It’s physiological and that extra weight puts more strain on your body. From your back to your feet to your joints, all must do more to carry more. In addition, your heart is put under more stress. We all know that excess weight increases our risk for hypertension, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, and stroke.
The cold also has a negative impact on your body because you are limited for many months of the year in active recreation. Because summer and spring are so short, you can’t do as much outdoors, which translates into fewer chances to exercise and the benefits of outdoor play.
Then, there’s the mental health aspect. If you’ve ever suffered from seasonal affective disorder or the winter blues, it’s because of the climate you live in. The traffic and congestion causes you stress and it also makes you more susceptible to anxiety and depression.
Why Warm Climates are More Healthy
When there’s more opportunity to do things outdoors, you can be more active and that’s good for your health. Because you’re in a warm climate, your body won’t have to store so much fat. What’s more, the climate allows you enjoy many months of the outdoors, absent the big city stress.
If you think it’s too expensive to live in the Sunshine State, think again. Islamorada is quite affordable, offering a diverse range of property styles. Property taxes are low, there’s no state income tax, and utility expenses are lower than they are in the midwest and northeast.
With low interest rates, home prices being affordable, and more loan options, now is the time to make the move.
For more information about Islamorada Real EState contact us
Best Reasons to Buy a Home in the Upper Keys Now added 9-3
If you've ever dreamed of owning a home in the beautiful Florida Keys, now is the time to stop dreaming and take action. The Upper Keys are a great place to call home, a wonderful location to live, work, and play. One thing is for sure, play is of particular importance here because the ideal weather makes outdoor recreation possible practically every day of the year.
What's more, now is the time to buy a home in this island paradise because of the timing and trends which are currently happening. There are five reasons to purchase a home in the Upper Keys now and get your slice of Sunshine State living at its very best.
Interest Rates Remain Low
If you've looked at the latest interest rates, you've probably been shocked by how low they are even though the Federal Reserve is tapering off on its quantitative easing policy. Rates are hovering around 4.16 percent on thirty year mortgages, but that certainly won't last. Real estate experts and market watchers predict rate increases up to and over 5 percent by next year. Such a hike will hike up your monthly mortgage payment, so now is the time to buy and save.
More Inventory, Less Distressed Properties
Right now, there is more inventory on the market and that means increased competition among sellers. With such a dynamic, that keeps prices stable and the fact there are less distressed properties available, means great deals are out there to be had for strategic buyers. Distressed properties cause market prices to drop artificially and come with a lot of expensive repair needs.
Real Estate Prices will Rise
Though home prices are still affordable, there is a steady upward climb that's happening. In fact, for twenty-eight consecutive months, prices have been going up and will continue to do so as distressed property inventory declines, which is a reality that's unfolding. In other words, the longer you wait, the more you'll pay.
Rents aren't Going Down
If you live in the northeast, out on the west coast, or even in the midwest, you know that your rent isn't going to be less next year. It will only increase and that's occurring across the country. Nationwide, all rental prices increase about 4 percent each and every year. If you own, however, there is a fixed amount to pay every month and you won't be hit with increased living expenses.
Living Expenses aren't as expensive
Another reason to buy now and move to the Upper Keys is because the cost of living in the area is lower than in other parts of the country. There's no state income tax for one and you don't have to dole out money for heating oil. Real estate taxes are comparatively low, as well as utilities and other necessities.
Why the Upper Keys is a great place to own a Vacation Home added 8-1
The Upper Keys are a wonderful place to own real estate because these islands are less "touristy" and so close to the mainland. Miami is just a short drive away, which means that it's very easy to travel to and from the upper archipelago, which is a very nice convenience. There are many reasons to purchase a home in the Upper Keys, climate being one of the biggest benefits and the fact there is an ever-present pool of renters visiting the area.
Location and the lure of the island lifestyle are just a couple of more things that make owning a vacation home in the Upper Keys a really good long term investment, especially for those who might want to relocate once they retire or those who would like to pull their escape from the cold climates in the northeast and midwest. Here are more reasons to own a vacation home in the Florida Keys.
Because land is at a premium, there's little room to build and existing homes enjoy a constant, upward equity gain the area has to offer. Equity builds very fast here because it's a destination location and what's more, it's on or very near the water.
If you purchase a home that's in the Upper Keys, you'll have no problem finding renters that stay for a season, a week or two, or even a month. That makes for a nice passive income stream to supplement what you already earn and can help to offset the cost of travel when you decide to vacation in your own property.
Dedicated Vacation Accommodations
Speaking of your own property, that's precisely what it is and you won't have to worry about finding a suitable place to stay or paying sky-high room rates to stay at a hotel or a bed and breakfast. You can stock the house with your own home-away-from-home items and it will be ready and waiting when you return.
Of course, there's nothing finer than the weather that the Upper Keys offer. Forget about freezing and scraping ice off your windshield or having to shovel the driveway just to get in and out of your home. During the months of December, January, and February, you'll be able to enjoy a nice stroll on the beach well after the sun sets because temperatures generally only fall into the low sixties. Summers are warm and the spring and fall months are to die for, which is why so many people recreate outdoors practically every day of the year.
The bottom line is, if you really want to add to your own bottom line and own an asset that is set for steady growth, a vacation home in the Upper Keys is the right investment.
Choosing the right Investment Strategy added 7-9
As the effects of the national economic downturn continue to impact every day investors who do not have the resources to shelter substantial assets or trade in high volumes. Bonds and other low-risk investment vehicles are barely worth the time to research and certainly not worth the meager return. At the other end of the spectrum are high-risk propositions, like commodities futures, with promises of big returns today, disappearing tomorrow.
That leaves only one other investment strategy; and, it can be found in residential real estate. Though interest rates are rising slightly, as are home values, prices remain affordable. The continued decrease of distressed properties for sale on the market is helping the housing sector to rebound. This presents a great opportunity in a narrow window of time for real property investment.
Real Estate Investment Strategies
At present, there are four popular and smart options for investing in real estate. The returns and risks differ, but are still more attractive and feasible than bonds, stocks, and other investment opportunities. Choosing the right one is key to matching risk tolerance with financial goals.
In this scenario, several investors pool their money and use the collective funds to build or rehabilitate and own residential housing, particularly mobile-family properties. The individual owners collect rent each month and contribute to maintenance expenses but do not usually actively manage the property, leaving that to a third-party.
A trust is similar, but differs in the fact that it pays dividends, and the investors are given shares of the trust, not outright ownership. These investors have less say in purchases and operations but only pay taxes when the dividends are not reinvested in most cases.
Popularized by cable television, practically everyone is familiar with this investment strategy. It has potential for big profits, but comes with a large risk. Properties are typically purchased “as-is” and require expensive, time consuming remodeling. What’s more, the longer these homes stay on the market, the more times the listing price must be reduced.
Buy and Hold to Sell in the Future
The most lucrative might come as a surprise, but the reality is undeniable. Purchasing an investment property to hold for a long term, then selling or converting it to a primary residence is the safest and smartest strategy, particularly in high-demand locations like the Florida Keys and Key West.
Such an investment can yield a passive income in the form of rent, with certain tax deductions, while building equity over the years. It can double its service in the form of a vacation home. The year fact the property is in a desirable location with limited development space will guarantee a nice return on investment.
How to Choose the Best Moving Service 6-3
When it comes time to move, you want to find a good deal without putting all of your things in the hands of incompetent movers. There’s a real dilemma in finding a reputable, reliable moving service and we’ve all heard the horror stories of people having the truck haul away all their belongings because of an unpleasant surprise in the form of a sky-high, hidden fee.
It’s true, some moving services lure unsuspecting consumers in by quoting a bargain basement price, concealing the true costs in the fine print that no one reads. When moving day comes, things are packed onto a truck carefully and in record-breaking time. Once at their destination, the truck isn’t unloaded right away; instead, the bill is handed out. If the people moving don’t pull out their checkbook in a hurry, they are informed there possessions will be held by the moving service until the ransom is paid.
To avoid such a scenario, you’ve got to hire the best service and that can be done with a little research and due diligence. The process starts with family, friends and coworkers, people you trust.
How to Choose the Best Moving Service
First and foremost, getting recommendations from people you know and trust is a great starting point. However, if there’s no one that has used a moving company in a while or the services that they did use are no longer in operation, then it’s time to wield the power of the internet:
● Search for nearby services, including those with a regional and/or national presence. Gather between six and eight or more names.
● Check out each service’s website. If they don’t have one, that’s a red flag. Websites can be put-up at no cost these days, so there’s really no excuse for not having one.
● Look each one up on the local Better Business Bureau’s website. Search for each company and take note of their rating and complaint history.
● Search public records. Another place to look is online at the local clerk of the court’s office. Here again, search each one individually to see if there’s any past or pending civil lawsuits.
Once you’ve checked each one out, by this time, you’ve probably whittled down the list by a few names. Now, it’s time to call each company and asking for an estimate. If you’re given a “ballpark” estimate over the phone, that too, is a red flag. Most reliable moving companies will come to your home or ask for specifics over the phone.
Don’t go with the smallest estimate and be sure to ask about any fees. Read the estimates carefully and choose the one that’s affordable and open about their services. Ask about the timeframe and agree to move on their schedule to save a little money.
Why owning A Home in Islamorada Can Be Good For Your Health! added 5-6-2014
Most American's today live in a crowded urban environment. With all the stress that comes from garbage in the street and smoke in the air many of us forget even how to relax. The commute to work and the over all experience of city life can add stress to anyones life. Not near retirement? Well maybe you should consider moving out of the city anyway. Who knows how much it will benefit your health and overall happiness. Living in the suburbs are a good escape for some people but it does not even begin to compare to the natural beauty of Islamorada. You need to see this beautiful tropical paradise for yourself to even believe in its majesty.
Why move to the Florida Keys which is already buzzing with so many annoying tourists. Wouldn't you and your loved ones prefer somewhere more secluded and more authentic. Then maybe Islamorada is for you. There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and fun while on this beautiful get a way.
You need to understand the impact living in an urban environment can play on your health. The crime that makes living there dangerous and the pollution that makes breathing their dangerous. Big cities can also contribute a lot of stress to some people because of all the over crowding. Wouldn't you like a small town feel in a beautiful tropical setting. City dwellers often have a lot more stress then their neighbors living in the beautiful country that surrounds them.
Mental health experts have also been able to make a connection between city life and emotional disorders. People who live in the bustling city and twenty one percent more likely to have an anxiety disorder. The Rate for mood disorders aslo rapidly increases. When you spend hours in traffic jams it may bring out a lot of stress in you. This means that genetics are not only to blame but there are environmental factors for these disorders as well. you also have to deal with ridiculous unemployment rates in these urban environments that would add stress to any hard working American Family. The housing is also very unaffordable as well. But thats not the case in Islamorada!
So why not pack up the family and come on down to stay with us. What would be more healthy then a beautiful get a way surrounded by good housing and a wonderful job market. Let yourself be sorrounded by paradise every single day. It might even save your life. Who knows? You don't have much to loose, only so much to gain!
How To Get Ready To Close On Your Real Estate Transaction added 4-15
Your loan has been approved, your offer was accepted and your home inspection has been completed. The process is nearing the finish line. All you need to do now is have your final walk-through and attend your closing. The information found below can assist you in ensuring that the closing goes as smoothly as possible and that your transaction comes off without a hitch.
Always spend the time necessary to read and review the closing statements to make certain they accurately reflect your understanding of the deal. There is nothing worse than signing all of your documents only to find that errors were contained therein. Getting things corrected after the fact is far more trouble than simply reading the paperwork in advance.
Bring your own calculator to your closing meeting. That way, you will easily and discreetly be able to verify the accuracy of the figures being thrown around. You would hate to end up overpaying on something just because the person preparing the documents got something wrong.
Always make certain that any fees or charges that you paid in advance of the closing meeting have been subtracted from the amounts payable. If you have already met your obligations on certain items, it is critical that you not be charged twice for them.
You must take responsibility for ensuring that the payoff amount for your prior mortgage has been properly calculated. Having the wrong dollar figures for this key payment can cause a world of delay, and it is far better to ensure that the transaction is quick, smooth and accurate.
If your new home is subject to a homeowner's association, make certain that you receive updated information on how to let that group know that you have moved into the neighborhood and that you will be assuming responsibility for paying dues from now own. Doing this will ensure that no liens are ever placed on the property for failure to pay assessments. Not only that, it is important to establish contact with the association so that they can promptly address any concerns you may have along the way.
Closings should involve little more than a short meeting of the parties to a real estate transaction. The transfer of ownership should be accomplished with minimal hassle or difficulty. Educate yourself in advance, and you will be able to dot all of the i's and cross all of the t's efficiently and thoroughly.
Investing in Islamorada Real Estate added 3-3-2014
Islamorada, or the “Village of Islands” is located in the Upper Keys off the coast of the Florida peninsula, situated between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. The village of Islamorada is comprised of five islands: Lower Matecumbe Key, Windley Key, Tea Table Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, and Plantation Key. Home to Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park and Windley Key Fossil Reef Park, Islamorada is a place of enchantment and wonderful weather.
Here, investors will find a real estate gold mine of sorts. Because land comes at a premium and new building codes have been enacted, owning property here is a sound investment. It’s not only prime real estate, it’s a prime destination for hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.
Location and Weather Equals a Great ROI
Being in a tropical climate, the weather in Islamorada is nearly perfect every day of the year. Over 3,400 hours of annual sunshine, along with a constant balmy breeze blowing in to and from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico means plenty of time for outdoor recreation. That’s a huge draw, visitors flock to the village to walk along the miles of beach, fish in the open ocean, scuba dive the shipwrecks, play volleyball on the beach, picnic in the parks, run, hike, bike, camp and much more.
With so much to see and do, this island chain makes a great place to call home or as an investment opportunity. Vacancy isn’t part of the Keys’ vernacular because there is so much around each and every corner to explore and experience.
Investing in Islamorada Real Estate
When it comes to real estate investments, there’s no better option than Islamorada. The old cliche location, location, location is a fact when it comes to the real property market and here, it’s especially lucrative because it’s not only in a great location, but for these reasons:
- High demand, no off seasons. With hundreds of thousands of visitors each and every year, there’s always income flowing in from Islamorada real estate. In other markets, three to six months of vacancy are an unfortunate fact, but not here.
- Great appreciate rates. Because there’s no more land on which to build, homes appreciate at a fast clip in the village.
- Tax savings. There are certain deductions, write-offs, and credits to be had when owning an investment property. Couple that will low real estate taxes and it’s a win-win.
Simple Steps To Help Rebuild Your Credit added 2-6-2014
As the economy worsens, credit repair is in greater and greater demand. No matter the complexity of your situation, following this advice will help you get where you need to be.
Fixing your credit score can be difficult. To begin with, you should try to get a copy of your credit report. You can obtain this information through many online sites, some of which provide free initial service. Once you have this data in hand, you can start the task of getting your credit on track.
Be sure to talk to your creditors to find a realistic plan of payment. Many creditors are willing to allow brief postponements, which will enable you to concentrate on more urgent debts. If you do this, you may be spared further penalties or accrued interest. While this will not immediately resolve your debt, it can make the process less stressful.
You need to obtain a copy of your credit report to be sure the information is reported correctly; incorrect information may have a huge impact on your credit rating. When there are errors in your credit, get it fixed quickly.
As with anything, be sure that you know your rights when it comes to collection agencies. Creditors have no right to use threats or intimidation to get you to pay your bills. Take the time to learn the laws regarding collection agencies, as they differ from state to state. You should never allow a debt collector to abuse and threaten you.
Thirty percent or lower is the ideal balance for your credit cards. Repayments are easier on the budget this way and going over 30 percent can financially hurt your credit rating.
The best solutions available to you are to either make payment plans individually with each debt collector, or you can contact a debt settlement agency that will lump all your debts together so you can make one monthly payment. Collections agents often want to make a deal. Avoidance just makes the problem last longer. By ignoring your creditors for prolonged periods of time, you are not doing yourself any favors. Begin your conversation with the collection agent by assuring them that you do want to pay your debt. They may even lower the debt for you. Cooperation goes a long way when working with debt collectors. In many cases, you may be able to come up with an acceptable solution for both you and the collector. Otherwise, instead of working out a reasonable agreement, your balances will continue to grow.
The tips you just read are essential to maintaining good credit. With just a few months of putting these tips to use, your credit score will certainly rise.
Advantages of Working with Real Estate Professionals
When it comes time to sell your home in the Keys, you might think about selling it yourself to save a little money; but will you? Most homeowners go the “FSBO” or For Sale By Owner route because they believe they don’t need a real estate team to assist them.
Of course, when reality strikes, it’s usually unpleasant, courtesy of some unforeseen event that doesn’t have a good chance of ending well. This is because selling a home is a whole lot more than just staking a sign in the front yard and putting an ad in the paper.
It goes to the saying, you don’t know what you don’t know, and it’s a fact of life, especially when it comes to real estate. There’s simply too much that goes on and this is precisely why there are professional real estate teams out there.
Why Work with a Real Estate Team
Let’s take a simple example, like writing a will. You can download software or go to a legal forms website and have a will in moments. However, you’re taking the chance that all the statutory language and format is perfectly aligned with your jurisdiction. That’s why people go to a lawyer, because that person is a professional who can advise them of what they need to know. The same goes for real estate; and, it’s not just being experienced, there’s more..
Advantages of Working with Real Estate Professionals
Experience definitely counts for a lot, but there’s more benefits to be had in going with a professional team:
- Pricing your home right. The single biggest mistake homesellers make is to base their asking price based on the asking price of other homes for sale which are similar. Price should be based on previous sales within the last three to six months.
- Making better decisions. You have an emotional attachment to your home and that’s understandable; but it’s also a liability--a liability which could cost you dearly.
- Marketing your home smartly. Marketing real estate is part science, part art. Reaching qualified buyers comes from being in the industry where other agents are searching for people wanting to buy a home.
- Showing your home. Believe it or not, the homeowner is probably the worst choice to show their property to prospective buyers. You need someone who isn’t “biased” and emotional.
- Dealing with problems. Problems can arise, and if you don’t have the experience and/or know-how, you might kill an otherwise viable deal.
- When you’re ready to sell you Keys’ home, then contact the professionals, the Keller Porter Team (www.kellerporterteam.com). We can come up with the right asking price, find qualified buyers, do the negotiation, and sell your home in the Keys for the best price possible
Managing Your Time: Tips And Tricks added 1-2-2014
Everyone wants to learn how to manage time properly. There are so many things to take care of each day. However, with time management skills, you'll find more time. In this article some tips are presented to help you learn expert time management skills.
One idea to consider is completing things a day ahead. If you can, always plan your schedule a day in advance. Making a to-do list is a great way to finish out a day of work. This will get you in the proper mindset to work the next day.
Make the most of your time usage. Consider how much time you spend on a task, and set a time goal for yourself. Your life will be made much easier if you do this. If it turns out that you have extra time, use that extra time to complete other tasks on your schedule.
Begin each day by reviewing your schedule and making any necessary modifications. This will give you a better outlook for the day. Be sure you haven't penciled in too much.
When you are making your schedule, remember to account for interruptions that may happen. If you have appointment or tasks one after another and do not allow for traffic or an unexpected phone call, your entire day could be put off. Plan for the interruptions to stay on task.
If you're having trouble managing your time, work on smaller tasks. Most people do not work well when they multi-task. The quality of your work can decrease if you are tired or out of focus. Concentrate on only one project at a time, and don't move onto the next one until the first one is completed.
Look at your current techniques to see what is and is not working for you. Are you able to focus? If not, why? In order to have more effective time management, it's important to know what results you are getting from your current workflow.
If time management comes hard to you, plan days the night before. A written to-do list before retiring for the night could help create the plan of action for the next day. By doing this, you will feel more settled and prepared to face the challenges ahead.
By learning ways to manage time in a more efficient manner, you'll be able to complete tasks on time. These tips will show you how to become more organized. You must exercise discipline and practice regularly. Use the information here and you can become more efficient.Wouldn’t it be nice to vacation here and not have to leave?
We Look Forward To Working With You And Providing You Exceptional Service!