Thursday, December 1, 2016

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Buy, Don't Rent in Southwest Florida

By Katie Bassett

With home prices leveling, residents in Florida are faced with a major decision. Should you rent or buy in Southwest Florida? While the rent vs. buy debate continues to draw attention, it was found that buying a home is 37.7 percent cheaper than renting a home on a national scale.

Right now, an average U.S. home is listed to buy at $280,103 with a mortgage rate of 3.7 percent while it costs $1,769 per month to rent according to Trulia. Furthermore, mortgage rates would have to double in order to wipe out the financial advantage of buying a home, nationally.

But how do these numbers compare to the Southwest Florida housing market? Similar to the national trends, house hunters who plan on staying put for seven years or longer are better off buying than renting in the Sunshine State.

Cape Coral- Fort Myers
Famous for its palm tree-lined streets, both Fort Myers and Cape Coral are located on the southern Florida gulf coast. This area is not only popular for retirees, but it is also home to various baseball spring training camps. For residents renting in Cape Coral, target monthly rent prices average at $1500 per month and according to RentRage, the average rent for a single family home has spiked 23.6 percent in the past year.

Similarly, renters in Fort Myers will spend on average $1,650.00 per month. It costs an average of $218,664 to buy a home in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area. The percentage cost of buying vs. renting in the area is -48.1 percent, indicating that buying costs are less than renting costs. Furthermore, is percentage is greater than the national comparison rate.

Punta Gorda
Punta Gorda is a small beach town due north of Cape Coral and is known for its laidback beach lifestyle and a plethora of recreational activities. Just slightly more expensive than Cape Coral and Fort Myers, renters in the area would spend $1,800.00 per month on average. A target home price in Punta Gorda averages $200,000.00 with a mortgage rate of 3.5 percent over a seven year period. Sectioned in with the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metropolitan area, the percentage cost of buying vs. renting in the area is -48.1 percent.

Bonita Springs
Bonita Springs sits just south of Cape Coral, but is still considered in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers Metropolitan area. However prices are slightly more expensive. Those renting in Bonita Springs will spend on average $2,500 per month on rent while the target home price is $270,000.00. For those living in their Bonita Springs home for seven years, the owner will have a 25% income tax rate and a 3.5 percent mortgage rate.  

Naples is known for their vacation rentals and has proven to be touristy. However, there are many residents who enjoy the pristine white beaches when living in Naples. On average, a renter will spend $2,900.00 per month for a home in Naples. A buyer, on the other hand, can purchase a Naples home for $279,900, with a mortgage rate of 3.5 percent over a seven year period. While it is considered one of the more expensive areas in Southwest Florida, it still falls under the national average.

In total, it is roughly 48 percent cheaper to buy vs. rent in the majority of metropolitan areas in Southwest Florida, which greatly surpasses the national 37.7 percent. This alone should make the decision for a Florida resident. It is financially more responsibly to buy a home in the Southwest Florida region, and now is the best time to make the move.

Monday, November 28, 2016

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Home of the Month: Serene But Playful

With West Indies and California coastal touches, this Port Royal home avoids the look of the typical Florida house.


Welcome to the islands. Well, sort of. There’s no denying that when you pull up to 4090 Cutlass Lane in Port Royal, you’re greeted by what appears to be the West Indies. Architect John Cooney of Stofft Cooney Architects masterfully touched on all the styling cues one would expect—loges, flat-tiled compound-pitch roofs, cypress corbels and soffits, large overhangs and porches—in an effort to avoid what the owners term “the Florida home.” And thanks to a 23,500-square-foot lot perfectly plotted for privacy, the only thing that hints at not being in the tropics is reliable Internet.
But once inside, warm wood throughout (wide-plank white oak floors and details inside, extensive bamboo in the outside living spaces) and textures give off a California coastal vibe tinged with midcentury aesthetics. Yet it’s the use of color that whimsically hints that a beach is nearby. “I wanted it to be a serene setting, but I also wanted it to be playful,” says the owner, who is based in Pittsburgh with her husband. “I enjoy color. Nobody pushed me toward anything. In fact, I was pushing them.”
Not surprisingly, with homes scattered across the country, she knew exactly what she wanted in the 5,846-square-foot sanctuary. “We spend a lot of time in California and in the islands, so we wanted an open, airy floor plan with one giant living space. We were looking for a California coastal feel, which gave us those clean lines but with a lot of wood and textures that would warm it up.”
Plus, the use of turquoise and blues plays things up without being overpowering. From the master bath’s gradient glass tile wall to the guest bedroom’s energetic sea foam, color works its magic. But nowhere is that more true than in the kitchen, where custom cabinets in a pale Caribbean blue stand out from the white quartz surfaces and oversized subway tile backsplashes. “We wanted clean lines but not cold. And I didn’t want a white kitchen,” the owner says. “I had that color in mind. It needed to be subtle and yet a statement—there is a fine line.”
But perhaps the most important feature of the home is its sightline outward. Key rooms needed to have a view and/or open to the outdoors. Cooney, working along with landscape architect Koby Kirwin, created a space that begs to be experienced. From within the outdoor living room, eyes are directed across three different levels of water surrounded by lush vegetation.
“We wanted a resort-like feel,” the owner says. “We managed to create privacy on both sides, so we really feel like we’re by ourselves even though we have neighbors on both sides. We brought in all the planting. We really wanted the house to sort of sink into the land.”
And with that they created some island life right here on the mainland.

Warm white oak throughout the 5,846-square-foot home adds a natural livability that appeals to the homeowners, who were looking for a California coastal vibe.

Unafraid of color, the homeowner went playfully subtle in some areas and bolder in others. The blue and green Indian-print drapes in the living room match the ottoman and work in a chic retro style.

If you were to ask for the perfect kitchen, it would be hard to beat this expansive pale Caribbean blue space offset by white quartz surfaces.

If you had to define serenity with nothing but photographs, it would be difficult to beat the teak-dominated exterior living space.

Landscape architect Koby Kirwin tiered the water feature and pool area so that it appears you could almost wade into Naples Bay from the living room.

Friday, November 18, 2016

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If you are a first time home buyer getting ready to purchase your dream home, you may find this information helpful. Call us if you have any questions!

Have a great day from Carrie and Terry!

Terence Trombetti | REALTOR®

If you dread the negotiating process when buying a home, never fear. Your real estate agent is an experienced negotiator who helps keep the bargaining from becoming emotional and veering off track.

Your agent must know your desires by heart and have quick access to you if a negotiation point needs to be made. It's important to stick to the strategy you and your agent have agreed upon -- showing the seller how strong your offer is.
First, get preapproved for a mortgage loan. That means your mortgage lender has reviewed your credit history and assets, checked employment and income, examined your debt-to-income ratios, and has preapproved you for a certain amount, terms and interest rate so you know exactly how much you can spend.
Being preapproved shows sellers that you are prepared and able to buy. Before you submit an offer, ask your agent to find out more what the seller wants as far as terms. The more your offer matches up with the seller's requests, such as a closing date, the more likely your offer will be accepted.
Find out when the house will be vacated, if any repairs or improvements are planned, and if the seller has any pressure points such as a relocation deadline. Also, you'll want to review the seller's disclosure of the condition of the property.
Your agent must also find out if other offers are on the table. Your position is stronger if there are no other offers. The seller may be less likely to bend on price concessions or repairs if there are other offers.
Have your agent pull up the most recent CMA (comparable homes recently sold or on the market) within a reasonable radius of the home, so you can sculpt your offer price. Be sure that you are comparing apples to apples in terms of updates, size of the home, amenities, location, schools districts, etc.
Once these steps are made, you are ready to write an offer.
Making the offer
Make yourself think like the seller. It helps you anticipate what the seller will accept in price, terms, and other conditions. By considering the seller's position, you will likely create an offer that is either accepted or strongly considered.

Your offer should be clear on the terms, closing dates, repair requests or other conditions the seller needs to meet and it should be accompanied by a letter from your lender that you are preapproved to buy the seller's home. Include a cover letter summarizing your strengths as a buyer in terms of creditworthiness, flexibility in closing, and the strength of the offer.

Don't insult the seller with an offer that's too low or requires too many concessions. The seller may be nostalgic about his or her life in the house and may not like the idea that you want to remodel.
The only thing a seller can't argue with is a strong set of comparables that show the home is overpriced or out of date. These are homes that have sold that are nearby (within two blocks) and similar in age, size and features. If you can show that a similar home has sold within the last two months for less than the seller is asking, that's good.
Be sure all conditions, repairs, etc. are agreed to in writing. Some sellers may feel that a handshake covers a promise, but it's essential to be clear on paper what is expected and when. A seller's promise to paint should be included as an addendum to the contract and include all details, such as primer, exact color and type of paint, how many coats, and when the work will be finished for inspection.
Negotiating after inspections
The offer is negotiated and accepted, the earnest money is at the escrow agent's office. Now the inspections occur, and this is where the contract negotiations can break down.
No home is perfect, not even brand-new construction. During the inspection process, the inspector is usually required to tell you about any condition of appliances, heating and cooling systems, roofs, electrical and plumbing systems, etc, and if your future home is up to current city codes.
Sellers are usually not required to bring a house completely up to current local building codes. Negotiate a repair only when a system is unsafe or a major repair is needed to make the system operate effectively.
As long as the seller has a reasonable explanation of what your position is and why, and communication remains open, the seller should have as much desire to make the contract work as you do.