Pets Change EVERYTHING!

According to a recent 2017-2018 survey, 68% of US households have at least one pet. I definitely fall into that camp. While they can bring us so much joy, let’s not lie to ourselves- they make come with their own set of challenges.

Whether you’re buying a home or looking to stay in yours for a long time, have you ever had to think about how your dogs are effecting your floors? Have cats? When was the last time you had a good looking houseplant? Is your yard suitable for a dog? Do you have a good place for a litter box or does everyone coming into your home end up stepping in some loose litter tracked around by Mr. Fluffy?

pets-lgThese are challenges all of us pet owners face. I’m just going to speak from experience here. We have dogs and cats in our home. Big dogs, at that! I’m always thinking about our floors (which I hate anyways). My back yard looks like it could be a scene in Dune because the grass has all been torn up and looks like a dirt/sand wasteland. And we’ve had to get creative with litterbox placements.

While these things can drive you crazy, step back and look at what you can realistically change and don’t sweat the rest. While a nice ceramic “wood” tile would be nice, I’m not budgeting for that right now. But we have invested in mats for outside the litter boxes to limit the litter that gets tracked around. I’m about to start treating and seeding my lawn with a grass that will stand up to heavy traffic (and energetic 90 lb dogs!).

The lawn has been my sore spot for a long time now. Finally, I’ve done my research and found that I need to begin by prepping the soil properly so I’m going to cut it, water for a couple of days (short time frames but more frequently) and then lay the seed. Seed is cheaper and easier than sod and plugs. And depending on what you get, will fill in just as quick. Bahiagrass is my pick because it stands up to drought, heavy traffic, and will grow the quickest. All wins for me! After they have rooted and reached the height to mow, I can cut back the watering to as little as once or twice a week. Overwatering in Florida can destroy the grass and you’ll end up with dollar weeds which are a pain to get rid of.

What are your pet challenges? Buying or selling anytime soon and have a pet? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

Resale vs New Construction

build-vs-buy-graphic-final-2-1080x675

When someone is looking for a new home, I find that a majority of the time they have not considered new construction homes. There are a number of reasons why this is as well as pros and cons to both. Let’s take a quick look!

home-for-sale-clearwaterResale homes are existing homes that a Real Estate agent has listed. You’ll often find them in your online searches on the popular sites such as Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, or hopefully you’re doing your searching on NextHomieScott.com*. More on that later, but do remember this. These homes are typically owned by a private owner trying to sell their home for any number of reasons. Resale homes can be in any condition and comes with a lot of unknowns. You never know what’s behind the walls, how the foundation is, or the history of the home. We try and gather as much as we can in a disclosure from the seller and much is revealed during a home inspection, but I’ve been there- something always seems to slip through.

On the plus side, however, these homes may have features you won’t get with a new construction home most of the time- a pool, screened lanai, fenced yard, custom updates, or certain appliances included. There’s also a larger number of floorplan varieties on the market than you’ll find with a builder. Some have larger rooms, some have smaller rooms. Open concept floorplan vs a more segmented floorplan. These can be what win someone over when they are looking for their future home.

New construction homes are often overlooked for a number of reasons but most notably people think it will be more expensive and take too long to build. new-home-construction-palm-coastWho has that kind of time?! Your home has already sold and you need to find a place fast! You don’t have 6 months to search! Well did you know that most builders have brand new homes already built (spec homes) that you can close on in as little as a few days to a couple of weeks? You may have, but you may also notice that depending on the market, they are priced anywhere from a little cheaper to a tiny bit more expensive than an existing resale home. Often times the price difference is not the issue. These homes come with warranties that provide you with piece of mind. You know exactly what you are getting! That alone can be a huge comfort to a home buyer. Now you can build from scratch, of course. Buy some land, design the home with the builder, and they start building when you sign the paperwork. Not a bad idea either!

There are some downsides to new construction through. If you’re buying a spec home they already have built you cannot change anything in the design, just like a resale home. You can do anything you want after you own it, but nothing before. Are you looking for a pool? Chances are, you will have to wait until after the home is built and you take ownership before one can be put in. This is in MOST cases, but not all. It will, however, be a huge cost! If you are building from scratch, the builder probably won’t have every floorplan built as a model for you to see beforehand so you have to hope for the best. You can usually tell from the models that they do have what the construction would be like, though.

So, which is right for you? That’s for you to decide! However, whether you are going resale or new construction, bring an agent along! Most don’t think agents need to get involved in a new construction deal. While it isn’t required, there are benefits to you as the consumer. First- there’s no cost to you. If a transaction occurs, the builder actually pays for the services, not you! Second, having someone there that knows the local builders, the pros and the cons, as well as someone that remembers the little things such as “Was granite standard in the kitchen?” or “What in that model was an upgrade that we would have to pay for?” Have an advocate that can step in and work for you. It can be a huge relief when things start getting stressful!

So, BRING AN AGENT!

 

*NextHomieScott.com is my website with full home search functionality. The benefit is that it is tied directly to the local MLS and is up to date. Many 3rd party sites do not pull data constantly which means what you see may not be accurate. Create a profile and save your favorites as well as your search criteria to be notified when new homes fitting your search parameters hit the market. Give it a try!

Why you shouldn’t miss this blog…

New BlogThe world of Real Estate is something I find exciting but I also understand many find it stressful and confusing. Since this is my career and area of interest, why not share my thoughts, tips, tricks, and compile input from others in related fields to make it easier for you? So that’s what I’m going to do.

Whether you’re selling your home, buying your first or tenth home, selling and buying together, or looking for tips on updating, landscaping, refinancing, or watching your credit score, it will eventually be covered here.

Also, while I’m at it, why not share what’s going on around the community? I live in Palm Coast but work in all surrounding counties, so there is always plenty going on in my footprint. So I’ll bring that to you as well. Perhaps I’ll want to share a rave review of a restaurant.

Have questions? Feel free to ask! Whatever people are talking about or wanting to know, this is where I’ll address it. So check back frequently for new posts and I look forward to the feedback!

NextHome_Coastal_Full_RGB

Inventory: Let’s Talk

Inventory

Inventory…

It’s a big thing in real estate. People ask me all the time, “is it a buyer or seller market?”

Here’s the skinny – it’s all about inventory. Yep! That is what determines the buy vs seller market million dollar question.

When it takes 1-4 months for current inventory to sell, it’s a seller’s market. Between 5-7 months reflects a balanced market. 8 or more months is a buyer’s market.

It’s as simple as that! Even though sales in the Palm Coast and surrounding areas have slowed, we are still in a seller’s market. Putting your home up for sale sooner rather than later could definitely play in your favor as trends are showing the inventory is close to approaching a balanced market.


I offer a free, no-obligation consultation to anyone thinking about selling their home. Want more info? Contact me! I’m always happy to help.

Here’s a great article on how inventory is calculated.

The post Inventory: Let’s Talk appeared first on Michelle McKinney.

The Latest Tips – Home & Finance

Courtesy of Michelle McKinney, Realtor® | NextHome At The Beach

3 Easy Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or costly affair. Want to tidy your home without being overwhelmed? These tips can help:

  • Designate and delegate. Give every member of the household a duty. Who said one person has to do all the work?
  • Tackle one room at a time. The job seems more manageable when you break it down into smaller chunks.
  • Don’t do it all at once. It’s okay to spread your spring cleaning out over a few weekends.
Before you start cleaning, you also might consider going through closets and storage areas for potential donations. Why clean items you don’t need or use?

How to Speed Up Your Home Purchase

Want to speed up your purchase? Here’s how:
  • Act fast when there’s a home you like. If you like a property, put in an offer that day.
  • Get preapproved for your mortgage. This will speed up your loan approval.
  • Have all your financial documentation organized for your preapproval. This should include recent bank account statements, pay stubs, W-2s, tax returns, etc.
  • Respond quickly. When your agent needs your input or your loan officer requests something, respond immediately.
Remember that any delays on your end will only delay your closing, so act with urgency and stay in touch.

New To The Market

26, Riviera Estates Ct, Palm Coast, FL 32164
$239,000

4 Beds  |  3 Baths  |  2564 Square Feet  |  Listing ID: 245803

Do you know someone looking to move to the area? Listed under appraised value, this spacious and upgraded home with 3 car garage and, over-sized lot is now available in Riviera Estates! This home offers 4 bedrooms, and 3 full bathrooms featuring a fully upgraded master bath. The kitchen has been remodeled to include a beautiful subway tile back-splash, granite counter-tops, and stainless steel appliances. All common areas have recently been upgraded to tile, and wood burning fireplace has been re-tiled to give a beautiful updated look. Need space for a pool? This home has it with over 0.3 acres of land – a rare find in Palm Coast! List of additional features/upgrades on the home are available upon request. Make sure to view the 3-D virtual tour! All information included in the MLS is meant to be accurate, but cannot be guaranteed. Need closing cost assistance? With the use of our preferred lender, you could receive up to $2,390 in assistance!

How to Keep Your Home Clean While It’s on the Market

Keeping your house neat and tidy is one of the hardest parts of selling — especially if you have kids or pets.
Here’s how to make things easier:
  • Invest in storage bins. When a showing comes up, throw everything from the floor, counters and tables into the bins and stow them in a closet.
  • Use a robot vacuum. Turn it on as you leave the property, and the floor will be spick and span by the time buyers arrive.
  • Declare some rooms off limits. Keep some rooms closed off to limit messes.
If you anticipate substantial interest in your home, you could also stay at a friend’s house or rent a hotel room until showings are over.

The post The Latest Tips – Home & Finance appeared first on Michelle McKinney.

Mortgage Rates Hit 7-Year High

mortgage-rates2-300x200

Just last week, the Federal Reserve increased interest rates, and extended the length of US bonds that directly affect consumer mortgage rates – hitting an all-time high since 2011. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rates reached 5.05%. Freddie Mac weighed in with their 30-year fixed mortgage rates hitting 4.98%. This could be depicted as both good, and bad.

On one hand, a rise in mortgage rates is a sign of a healthy economy, however, the increase on mortgage rates are resulting in limited buying power. Some professionals in the industry see this as the start of what could be considered another recession. Personally, I don’t believe we will necessarily be in another recession, but I can say with certainty – when buying power becomes limited, home values tend to fall.

Allow me to explain. Just this time last year, mortgage rates were nearly an entire percentage less what they are now. 1% could mean the difference of being able to afford a $250,000 home and being able to afford a $200,000. Those who need to sell may find that in order to get their home sold, they will need to lower the price below the current fair market value. When this starts to happen, the over-all fair market value around those homes will also fall due to that sale.

There has already been a bit of a lull within the market, but is it 100% due to the increase in mortgage rates, and the limited buyer capabilities? No. Statistically, the past few years have grown in the number of buyers vs sellers. With there being a limited inventory, homes were being snatched up within hours of being listed in the MLS. Many buyers have grown weary of the race, the bidding wars, and now with the added frustration of the highest mortgage rates we have seen in 7 years, buyers are just plain tired.

In my professional opinion, mortgage rates are going to continue to rise – limiting buying power, and in turn will make it more difficult for sellers to get the most for their home. If  you’ve been sitting on the fence as to whether or not it’s time to buy or sell, stop! Act now, or you could be waiting years for another chance to come along.

Get your free Home Valuation here | Start your home search here

The post Mortgage Rates Hit 7-Year High appeared first on Michelle McKinney.

Earn Money for School!

Money for Your School

Want an easy way to earn money for school? I can help!

One of the benefits of working with me as your Realtor is the ability to give back to your school of choice. But what does that mean exactly?

It’s pretty exciting actually! Whenever you buy or sell with me, I will donate 10% of my net commission to the school of your choice. Not buying or selling anytime soon, but know someone who is? You can still earn the donation to your school by referring me! Upon successful closing of their transaction, I will simply make the donation in your name. It’s that easy!

I truly believe that giving back – especially to local schools that work ever so diligently to educate our youth is such an important part of building a strong community.

This all sounds great! … Now what?

There are three steps that you will need to complete in order to qualify for the donation.  (We recommend bookmarking this page so you can refer to it when you need to).

Step 1: Prior to placing an offer on a property, you need to email me your request to have a donation made to your school of choice. 

Step 2: After Closing of the property, you will need to send me another email within 10 days; kind of like a rebate program. 

Step 3:  Enjoy the wonderful feeling of making a difference in our community, and the education of our youngsters!

Donations will be made within 30 days after  your transaction has been approved, and will be made on behalf of Michelle McKinney and you, the client.

The post Earn Money for School! appeared first on Michelle McKinney.

Fall Leaves Bring Sold Signs

fall-door

1. Serious Buyers – Let’s be honest, if buyers are out during the busy season, looking for homes, they are serious and ready to buy. Although the summer brings in a large crowd, that crowd contains a lot of people that are excited by the season, and fall into the “trend” of house hunting. These people sometimes end up not really being serious about the process, and tend to hold off for another time. If people are investing time to look during the fall season, they are more likely to be interested in actually buying your home, instead of touring it.

2. Less Competition – Selling in the fall isn’t something many families can accomplish due to personal schedules. That’s why a significant amount of homes get listed during the summer season – which means that summer time brings in a lot of competition. Selling in the fall means the potential house next door that has slightly more perks that may have been listed during the summer, doesn’t make your home sit stagnant, since everyone wanted your neighbor’s house. It also doesn’t devalue your home because of the house that could go up next door that could be under-priced in your neighborhood, and draw all of the attention.

With a slower season, you get dedicated attention to your property, which increases the chance of a sale.

3. Easier to Find Your Dream Home – Not only do you get to benefit from a slower season during the selling process, but you can also benefit on the buying side. With less competition on your dream house, you may get a better deal. The summer brings a lot of missed opportunities for buyers on their dream homes, because they go off the market instantly. This will give you the opportunity to get your home on the market and take your time to find the right one to resize into. A much calmer pace to the transaction will make it less stressful, and everyone all around happier. Don’t feel rushed into buying a home overnight during the summer, it could turn into a headache. If you want a far more peaceful transaction, that has calmer pace, then selling during the fall is perfect for you.

As an experienced Realtor in Palm Coast, I would be delighted to meet with you to discuss the possibility of listing your home. Please feel free to contact me so we can get together over a cup of coffee – my treat!

 

The post Fall Leaves Bring Sold Signs appeared first on Michelle McKinney.