ABC7 Mark Boehmig

The effect of interest rates on Real Estate

Interest rates are still relatively low compared to the last 40 years.  In 1980 we purchased our first home and paid 15% interest on our mortgage, and as I look back at that purchase I’m still amazed. Our only concern at that time were the monthly payments;  that purchase was the perfect starter home for us.

My how times have changed…  Fast Forward 39 years to 2019 and interest rates are between  4.5 and 5% depending on several qualifying factors such as credit score, debt to income ratio, purchase price, and type of property (Condo, Single Family etc.).

Now that interest rates appear to have reached their low point in this cycle, the topic of rising interest rates is in the news again.

I was invited to a round table discussion at the local ABC News station, ABC7.  The expert panel consisted of  Richard Stern, Financial AdviserJerry Zivic, Consumer ReporterLeslie Swart, Mortgage Lender and myself, Mark Boehmig, a local Realtor with Michael Saunders & Company.

The topic of discussion, as you can guess, was about rising interest rates and the effect on the local real estate market.  So what are the actual effects of the rise in the interest rates?

This is the way I see it:

  • housing prices have been steadily rising for the past 8 years
  • mortgages have been tougher to qualify for
  • the government rules in place for mortgages have made the market more secure
  • interest rates have been very low for the past 8 years

With low rates and increasing housing prices, the federal government is slowly increasing the 10 year treasury bond yield, which increases the rate on money loaned to banks.  This will slow down the rise in home pricing, which keeps inflation in check.

What part of the sales cycle are we in?

Another thing to keep in mind, a 1% increase in interest rates equals a 10% decline in borrowing power.  To put this in monetary terms, if a buyer could previously qualify for a mortgage on a home with a value of $200,000. their borrowing power has now been reduced to $178000.

Real estate will adjust to these new parameters, therefore slowing the rise in housing prices.  As more inventory comes on the market the supply will increase, shifting the market from a sellers market, to equilibrium, then perhaps a buyers market.

As far as the Manatee and Sarasota counties of Florida are concerned, our market is a little different.  45-50% of our sales are cash.  How can this be?  Many people retire here.  They have sold their homes in other places and come here with cash!  Others come here buying second or third homes, and a majority of those sales are cash as well.

Keep these factors in mind if you are in the market to buy or sell property in the near future.  Having the knowledge of market conditions is important when the time comes.

The full panel discussion can be viewed here.

The sheer amount of money changing hands when buying a home means it’s an opportunity for scammers to make a quick buck. These people are on us like sharks are to blood in the water. Banks, agents, and consumers all need to be made aware. If you haven’t heard of phishing scams, then you should make yourself aware of them. Even Bradenton real estate has had some cases of scam artists trying to trick consumers.

Sadly, there has been a rise in wiring scams as of late. Here’s how to spot wiring scams and avoid making a big mistake.

What are wiring scams?

Let’s start off by defining phishing a bit here:

Phishing is the act of pretending to be a trustworthy entity, in many cases pretending to be a representative of a company, and using that trust to get sensitive information or even money from unsuspecting customers.

A wiring scam is just one manifestation of such a scam. In these instances, fraudsters pretend to be from a mortgage company, bank or other related institution and often inform the customer that banking details have changed or other issues have arisen, and that they must now send money into a new bank account. They quickly withdraw any money that they possibly can and get out of Dodge ASAP. One tragic instance happened recently to a British couple that perfectly spells out how a traditional wiring scam works.

How do they get the information?

The way it works is that a skilled hacker gets their way into either your email or that of the company and monitors emails sent between you and your bank or broker. Once they notice money involved, they send you an email pretending to be from the institution and asking you to send money to their account. Since they don’t actually have access to the company’s logo and other credentials, they will often make a closely related logo and name. Other than that, they are tough to spot.

How to avoid wire scams

It’s important to be diligent and go with your gut. If something doesn’t sound right, then it probably isn’t. Here are a few ways to avoid being the victim of a wiring scam:

  • Always request wiring instructions directly from your agent
  • Always be wary of emails saying there’s been a change. Tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars are never wired on a whim
  • Always check the logo and credentials of an email and check it with past emails from the company
  • Be aware of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Scammers often have bad writing skills
  • Make sure to double check before wiring money

Bradenton and the surrounding communities, just like the rest of the country, are not safe from dishonest scammers trying to take money from honest people. You’ve got to remain diligent and learn how to spot a fraud. Use these tips on avoiding wiring scams, and you’ll be sure to avoid becoming a victim. For more real estate tips, visit my helpful blog.

Drowning in Problems Because of Water Damage?

They say that Florida has only two season: rainy and dry. Whether you own a home or a condo, water damage is a real issue down here. Did you know that between 2003-2012, total flood insurance claims averaged out to $4 billion dollars a year?!

Handling it in your home is easy compared to handling water damage in your Florida condo. That brings a whole new set of problems. Over my years of experience, I’ve learned a few tips of the trade. Best to learn how to handle water damage in your home or condo before you find yourself drowning in problems.

Handling water damage in the home

Florida is the 5th wettest state in the union in total, but it’s not very balanced. Some areas are relatively dry while other further south get drenched. Doesn’t matter where you are, though, flooding is a constant threat. But flooding isn’t the only issue! Things like burst pipes or hot water heaters can also flood your home with water. Here are some tips on dealing with it:

  • If it’s from an accident, shut off the flow of water from the main line. In warm climates like ours, the water line switches are often located outside.
  • Turn off your power. You don’t want electrical issues causing safety concerns like fires. Water and electricity don’t mix!
  • Contact your insurance company and immediately contact water restoration experts.
  • Begin basic cleanup, rescue your valuables, and set fans about to help the water dry.

Dealing with water damage in a condo

Anyone who has dealt with water damage in a condo probably wishes they had dealt with it in a home instead! A stand alone house is easy to deal with compared to an association full of independent apartments. Sometimes your upstairs neighbor’s hot water heaters explodes and it damages your roof; or worse, yours explodes and damages everyone else’s units!

First you have to determine fault:

  • Is it an event of casualty: casualty is when it is nobody’s fault. Say your neighbor’s hot water heater was installed properly and was relatively new, and just blew by complete accident(these things happen). Nobody is at fault and your insurance should cover things.
  • Is someone at fault: normally, fault is when it could have easily been avoided had proper measures been taken, but they weren’t. It’s like when your neighbor’s hot water heat was corroded and 30 years old.

Aside from the normal safety measures, you need to find out who is at fault and where the money is going to be coming from. That’s why you should always get a real estate attorney. They can help not only determine fault but also determine the best way for you to get payment. Better yet, they can help keep your costs low if you have to pay anything out.

Whether you are cleaning up after a flood or handling water damage in a condo complex, knowing how to handle water damage in your Florida home or condo is of extreme importance. Especially here in Bradenton if you’ve just recently bought a home.

Looking to sell your home in Bradenton but don’t want to pay a ton of money to get it fixed up? Here are a few things you can DIY around the house to increase its sell value

Nothing gets a home off the market quicker than a trendy new look and major upgrades. The market can be pretty competitive down here, and when you put in the time and effort to upgrade your house, people take notice. But there isn’t always enough money to go around. That’s where rolling your sleeves up and getting your hands a bit dirty could really help you out. The problem is that most people think DIY’ing something is too hard or takes too much effort. That’s just not true. Here are 4 quick DIY tips that will increase your homes value immediately.

Hang your curtains closer to the ceiling to increase your home’s value

What? How could this possibly help? Think about it! If you hang your curtains higher up toward the ceiling, it gives the illusion that your windows are actually bigger than they really are. This will give off a much more imposing feel when people see them, and make prospective buyers think more of the interior. It’s a long-used interior decorator’s secret.

Add molding to the top of your cabinets

Want a great DIY tip that will increase your home’s value? Add some crown molding to the top of your cabinets? It’s quick, affordable, and not very hard at all. The result will be beautiful accented cabinets. The right paint job could really bring out the contrast and make the home look beautiful. On top of that you’ll have extra storage to put some of your little-used kitchen ware.

Tutorial here

Frame your flat screen with molding trim

You know that beautiful flat-screen TV hanging on the wall in the living room? Imagine how beautiful it would look encased in mold trimming painted to match! Just get some mold trimming, make a box around the TV and voila! The possibilities with it are endless, and it’s much easier than you might think.
Tutorial here

Paint old air vents

You know those unsightly air vents that look like rusted steel? They don’t necessarily take away from a room’s appearance since they are normally covered by furniture, but if you don’t have them covered up, they can be a bit unsightly. That would all change if you spray painted them a chic new color! If you’ve got wooden floors, then try dark green to give a forest feel or black to be more film noir. It’ll transform your living room’s look instantly.

Upgrading your home’s interior doesn’t need to cost a fortune. You could do a lot of it yourself. Use these 4 quick DIY tips to upgrade your home’s value instantly, and you’ll see plenty more people complimenting the interior when they visit. Stay tuned for more great tips from my Bradenton, Florida real estate blog.

Going DIY will make your home and your bank account worth more

Make your home look better. Save money. Learn skills. It’s all here.

In part 1 we covered a few DIY tips that would instantly add value to your home. People these days are kind of caught in a conundrum: they want to make their homes look nice to stand out in a recovering market, but they don’t have the money to invest in major cosmetic operations for their home.

There are plenty of great things you can do around your home to add value to it without breaking the bank. You’ll even learn a few good tricks to help make yourself look like Mr. Fix-it(hey, brownie points are worth something too, right!?) Here are a few more DIY tips that will instantly add value to your home:

Replacing the faucets and handles

Nobody likes to struggle to turn the handle to get water out of the sink, only for a trickle of water to start running out of a rusted, jagged faucet. Fixtures are usually cheap, and changing yours to a sleek gold or silver will instantly make your home look more modern and luxurious. Some sets can be found for around $100 or sometimes less if you get your timing right, and installing them isn’t that hard at all.

Here’s a great article on how to install a bathroom faucet from Lowe’s.

Add a flagstone patio

Want a fun weekend-long project to undertake? How about making a flagstone patio? The reason this one is considered simple is that you can lay the foundation(normally a very difficult task) with just gravel or other crushed stone. This is called a “dry-laid” patio. Once the base is laid out, you can put the flagstone down and cut it easily with a chisel and a hammer to fit it in. Normally, laying the base and cutting the stones is very difficult, but it’s good for DIY’ers because those two steps are relatively easy. Check out this tutorial to learn more.

Paint the floor in your garage

One of the most popular things that prospective buyers are looking for, especially young families that need space, is a garage. Now, the benefits of one are clear(a safe place to park your car, extra storage space for your things, and extra fridge space for big food items), but how about making yours look a lot nicer for next to nothing and in very little time? Get a couple of rollers and brushes, a jug of grey paint, and paint the floor in your garage. This might be the easiest DIY tip that adds value to your home. The result is a garage that is resistant to stains and looks a lot nicer on the eyes.

People looking to either sell their home or just make the one they want to stay in nicer are usually looking to upgrade, but don’t want to shell out big bucks for full-makeover home renovations. These DIY tips will instantly add value to your home, and most won’t cost you very much at all. So roll up your sleeves and get to work! For more great real estate tips, check out my Bradenton real estate blog!

Holding an open event where interested buyers from around the Bradenton Area and beyond can come check your place out is perhaps the best way to expose your place to potential buyers. Whipping it into shape and making it look its best should be the first thing on your mind. I’m talking about a lot more than just cleaning, too. You wouldn’t show up to a job interview without looking your best, would you? Same thing goes here. Want to know how to prepare for an open house? Here are 3 quick tips that can make your home sell.

Take down the curtains
Most real estate agents agree that light is the difference between making a sale and not making one. Why do you think magazines go to such lengths to shine the right light on the people posing for pictures? The best way to let the light flow into your home is by taking the curtains down. It gives prospective buyers a better view of the walls and windows, and allows them to paint a blank canvas in their minds of what the curtains will be. The best part, though, is all of the light that the windows let in.

Take down personal wall art

Your home is your castle and probably the one place you should hang all of your personal family photos and beloved works of art. The thing is that when you’re holding an open house, it’s because you’re trying to make it someone else’s castle. Having pictures of your family up everywhere makes it hard for a buyer to imagine themselves in it, and also clutters up the walls. Not only that but they might not like your taste in art or picture frame color. Depersonalize as much as possible. Want to take up the wall space that’s left over? Hang up a mirror! It’ll improve the look and the lighting too.

Use white colors when possible

Numerous studies have confirmed that people equate the color white with cleanliness in rooms such as the bathroom and kitchen. Hotels even use white in their bathrooms to denote a feeling of cleanliness. Whatever the reason, real estate agents recommend to white-out your place when possible. Preparing for an open house is as much about playing to your audience as it is sprucing up your home. Add white towels in both areas, replace fixtures if possible, and get white cups, utensil holders, and any other trinkets you can think of. Every bit counts.

Throughout all my years of doing real estate in Bradenton, I’ve found that the best way to see a big group of potential buyers is by holding an open house. Preparing for an open house is a bit harder than just cleaning up, though. You want your place to look as perfect and appealing as possible. Use these 3 quick tips and your place is sure to fly off the market!

2016 has been an interesting year so far in real estate for Bradenton, Florida, but it isn’t over yet. Here are the top tips from experts around the industry for getting the home of your dreams at a price you can afford.

There’s plenty of advice floating around the web about what to buy, when to buy it, how to pay for it, and just about everything else you can think of when it comes to buying a home. What’s really lacking out there is a good list of actionable tips based on the local market or trends as a hole across the industry. I’ve used my extensive experience in the local area as well as my contacts around the industry to compile a list of tips for buying a home in Florida that will really help you out. They apply mostly to Bradenton, the surrounding area, and Florida in general, but are sure to be helpful anywhere in the nation.

Think of times other than winter

The winter in Florida is pretty amazing if you’re from up north. What’s not to like about beautiful beaches, 70-degree weather, and sunny skies when the rest of the country is buried under snow? That leads to the traditional “high season” which typically runs from Janury-April. Snow birds fly down here and look for homes, creating crowded markets and even more crowded open houses. If you can deal with the insanity, then Bradenton in the winter is the place to be, but if you prefer something a little more tame, then off-peak times are just as good. Even more so for how good things are right now. You’re more likely to get lower prices for things, and deal with smaller crowds. Collier, a popular Southwest Florida city sees 100,000 thousand extra people flock to its shores every winter alone!

Monitor the market

Keeping your eyes peeled on the market is a great way to know when to strike while the iron is hot. Knowing a few key terms will help to. Know these 3 by heart:

  • Equilibrium- when the supply and demand balance each other out, and neither side has an advantage.
  • Seller’s market- when the demand is high and the inventory of homes is low. This means sellers can keep prices high.
  • Buyer’s market- the opposite. When the supply of homes exceeds demand, the buyer has the upper hand(not a bad slogan if you ask me!)

Keeping an eye on real estate reports for Florida and the Bradenton Area will help you know when markets tend to be at equilibrium or when they lean towards one side. Currently the market is heading toward equilibrium, so now’s a good time to get in on the action. Check reports here.

Use technology

I’m not just talking about going onto Google and typing in “homes for sale”. You need to use your technology more handily. Try some real estate apps that give you updates, join social media groups where people post homes for sale, and use realtor websites to find information.  If you outwork all of the other buyers, then you’ll find the best deal. Trust me.

Bradenton and the rest of Florida are a whole different ballgame from the real estate you’re used to elsewhere. Great weather, friendly people, and affordable prices make this one of the nation’s busiest and lucrative markets. Want to find your dream home? Follow these expert tips for buying a home in Florida. Stay tuned for the next installment!

Buying a home can be a scary process. It’s best to start with some basic tips to get you off the ground and build from there. You’ll see that once you get the simple stuff out of the way, everything becomes a lot easier and a whole lot less scary!

Buying a home is a major event in anyone’s life, and one of the biggest investments a person, couple, or family can make. It’s a great way to purchase yourself a real asset that will either serve as your residence for life or make you some money down the line. That doesn’t mean it all works out fine and dandy all of the time, though. You’ve got to make sure that you don’t end up like a real estate horror story gone wrong!

If you’re just getting started, then get these simple home buying tips in your head before you do anything else!

#1) Set your budget—and STICK TO THAT BUDGET

Listen, you’ve probably heard a million different people telling you to set a budget. There’s a reason for that. It is probably the most important part of searching for a home. Not only will it help you narrow your search down, it will set you up for financial success in the future. Keep track of your income minus what your payments would be–can you see yourself living on that?

The most important part of setting a budget is sticking to it. That’s what it’s there for. You need to be honest with yourself if you want to make ends meet. You can allow a tad bit of wiggle room on the high side, but remember that there’s only one person you’re cheating when your dishonest about your budget: yourself.

#2) It’s in your right to lowball

If you want to succeed, then you have to realize that you’re in this transaction to get the home you want at a price that you can afford. Now, it’s never right to throw a ridiculous offer at a real estate agent. That’s just plain crazy. But a lot of folks are afraid to ask people to go lower on the price just because they feel bad about it. Don’t. Try to get that price down if you can. Want to know how to find the breaking point for a lowball offer? Research!

See what other similar homes have gone for in the past. See how long the home’s been on the market. Check market statistics to see how fast homes are selling. There are plenty of things you can do to see how low you can go. The only thing you need to know is that you are allowed to do it. Don’t feel bad. There are never any personal misgivings between a seller and buyer over offers. This is a business. If you don’t get a price you can afford, things can turn sour later on.

#3) If it’s too good to be true, then it is

You’ve probably heard this saying before, but it’s just as true in real estate as it is elsewhere. 99% of everyone in this industry is hardworking and honest, but one rotten apple can spoil the bunch. There’ve been some horror stories(like this British couple that had 300,000 pounds stolen!) in recent memory about couples losing a ton of money to scams. Some things to look out for are:

  • Proper grammar in communications
  • Logos that are 100% matches
  • Random communications asking for money
  • And offers that sound too good to be true

If someone emails you asking for money out of the blue, then be very suspicious.

There are a few things you should know before setting off on your journey toward a new home. These simple home buying tips will get you started. Remember, using a respected real estate agent in the local area is the best way to find the home of your dreams. Set your budget, learn to haggle, and be aware of scams. If you can do these things, then you’re ready to start looking!

We all know how hard we work for our money, but there comes a time when most of us are ready to start getting our money to work for us. It’s hard to believe that it’s actually possible, but if you invest in the right avenues, you can get your money to start making money for you. The #1 way that most people start doing it? Real estate.

Buying home has often been called the American Dream. It’s because there was a time when a new home cost pennies compared to salaries. That might not be the case anymore, but the market is still strong enough that buying a home is a great investment. Here are 3 reasons why now is a great time to buy real estate in Bradenton, Florida and most of the rest of the country as well.

Interests rates are still low

After tanking for nearly a decade, interest rates are slowly on the rise again. This might sound like bad news to some, but it is actually signs of a strengthening market. The good news is that they are still incredibly low, and there’s a good chance we won’t see them this low again. Low interest rates mean low monthly payments, and a lot of money saved at the end of the life of your loan.

Banks aren’t too skittish anymore

Remember back during the real estate boom of the mid 2000’s when you could get a massive loan with nothing more than a signature? Those days are gone, and good riddance. That’s half the reason that the economy went into the tank. Banks were under more scrutiny from the government and under more regulations, so many refused to lend much at all. Nowadays, though, that has changed. If you’ve got decent credit and a regular income, there’s no reason for you not to be able to obtain a mortgage.

The market is good in Bradenton

Many people talk as though they long for the days when you could buy a home for cheap in Florida. Don’t listen to them. Florida is still very affordable, especially in and around the Bradenton Area. The market is heading toward equilibrium and the median home price is still comfortably nestled in an affordable niche. As the market becomes more even, we can expect prices to drop, and from there things will get even better. Now’s the time to cash in.

Anyone who is hesitant to buy a home should know that this year and 2017 are great years for real estate. Banks are lending, interest rates are low, and prices are still within reach. These are just 3 of the reasons that now is a great time to get some real estate into your portfolio. The longer you wait, the worse it gets!

When trying to sell your Bradenton home, there’s an awful lot that you’ve got to focus on to try and entice buyers in. You’ve probably already become somewhat of a real estate expert yourself since putting your home to market. Chances are that you know everything there is to know about home value, square-footage, curb appeal, and the other buzzwords that go into getting someone to buy your house. But let’s face, the market is competitive and you’ve got to get every edge that you possibly can in this business.

Don’t worry, I’m here to let you in on a few insider tips that I’ve learned over the years. After talking with a lot of prospective homebuyers, I’ve got a good feel about the hidden extras that they’re looking for in a home. Here are 3 surprising factors that drastically increase a home’s value.

#1) Brand amenities closeby

Now you might know that the surrounding amenities within walking distance or a short drive from your house have big value when it comes to selling your home(if you didn’t, then now you do!). What I mean by that is if there’s a good gym, restaurants, nightlife, shopping malls, etc. But what most people aren’t aware of is that brand name amenities carry a lot more weight than just your run of the mill place. For example, saying there’s a great coffee shop nearby doesn’t hold a candle to there being a Starbucks in the neighborhood. Don’t believe me? Homes near Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods have all drastically increased in value recently. Now, we also have to take into account that these stores typically open in affluent areas to begin with, but it’s hard to ignore the serious gains that they’ve made.

#2) Beautiful trees and foliage

Now wait a minute. Is that true? Yes it is. Homes in Bradenton, Florida, and the rest of the country actually see sales price increases when the home’s surrounding area is populated with beautiful old trees and luscious greens. There’s a even a tool to calculate the value of the trees. We all know how much a nicely kept lawn helps curb appeal, too, so don’t ever forget that either.

#3) The neighbors

The people that surround your home could also have a surprising affect on the sales price. The way they keep up their own homes, the way they behave, etc all have a big affect on sales price. According to a home study done by Halifax Home Insurance, bad neighbors can affect the sale price of a home by tens of thousands of dollars. If you’ve got great neighbors, then hype them up in your ads. Talk about the great times that you’ve had and how easy going they are. If they are a little on the anti-social side or even a bit cooky, try to spin it in a positive light. “Quiet neighbors” is infinitely better than “hermits”, if you catch my drift!

Trying to get the most value from your home takes delicate balance and bit of maneuvering. You need to know what to focus on and what to leave on the back burner a bit. These 3 surprising factors can add a lot of value to your home in Bradenton, so don’t forget to include them in your advertisements. Of course, a great real estate agent doesn’t hurt either!