Exploring the Pensacola Real Estate Market – Market Indicators are in your Favor!

Where else can you find white sandy beaches that offers a perfect balance between tourism boosting the economy and the ability to access secluded beaches?  Pensacola also offers great fishing, friendly folks, a small, quaint and lively downtown, proudly recognized as being the homeport of the Navy’s Blue Angels.  Let’s not forget our wonderful restaurants dishing out the best of Florida seafood, served up with a southern flair.  Yes, we really do live in Paradise!

Quality of life – picture perfect.  How about the Real Estate market?  Across the board the Pensacola Real Estate Market is in an upswing.   Housing market statistics, going all the way back to 2011, indicate that 2016 numbers show more monthly home sales than any other year during that time frame.  Additionally, average days of homes on the market declined from 110 to 91 days.  The cost of homes on the market is also gaining in value, in November 2015 the average home sold for $179,053 in the Pensacola Real Estate market in comparison to November 2016 in which the average home sold for $199,511.

The Pensacola unemployment rate is currently 4.3%, below the national average of 4.6%.  Better yet, the cost of living index for Pensacola is 86.80 based on a U.S. Average of 100.  The Pensacola Cost of Living Indices (Groceries, Health, Housing, Utilities, Transportation and Miscellaneous) are all below national average with the one exception of Utilities, which is rated at 101 versus the national average of 100.  The lowest Pensacola Index, Housing Cost of Living index, rates Pensacola at 66 to the U.S. 100 index.  That certainly plays into our “Quality of Life” favor!

As we ring in the New Year – 2017 is showing signs for another good year for the Pensacola housing market.  Lower interest rates, increased home values, and strong economic factors provide great incentive for potential home buyers and sellers.

Article Written by: Shelley Anderson

Realtor with Sunstate Realty LLC

Getting Ready for the 2016 – 58th Annual Parade of Homes (May 7 – 15 May 2016 * M-F 3-6pm * Weekend 12-6pm)

Well, it’s that time of year again, Mardi Gras is over, the sun is getting hotter, and the Azaleas are in full bloom – yes Spring is finally here.  Of course, the beginning May of marks the start of the Pensacola 58th Annual Parade of Homes, hosted by the Home Builders Association of West Florida.  Each year the Parade of Homes welcomes thousands of Emerald Coast families looking for new homes and those interested in seeing the latest trends in home building, home décor and design, as well as the newest neighborhoods in our community.

“The people of Northwest Florida look forward to the Parade of Homes every year,” said HBA President Thomas Westerheim of Westerheim Properties. “It gives them the opportunity to see the latest in new home designs and amenities. There’s been a lot of planning and work leading up to the Parade, and I know that the Parade attendees will see the best of what our industry has to offer.”

The 2016 Parade of Homes will feature 53 homes in all shapes, sizes, colors and price ranges as well as the ever-popular “American Dream Home” a Gulf Power Company Earth Cents Home.  The Dream Home is located in Huntington Creek, one of the newest gated communities in Northwest Florida.  Surrounded by horse trails and majestic oak trees, Huntington Creek merges luxury living with country charm.

Attendees are encouraged to visit the 53 featured Parade Homes, Monday – Friday 3-6 pm and on the Weekends from 12-6 pm.  The dates of the event run from May 7 –  May 15, 2016.  Visit the Parade of Homes website, www.paradeofhomespensacola.com, to preview the featured homes, properties location map and general information about the event.

 

If we can be any assistance please contact us:

Sunstate Realty LLC
Pensacola Area Realtor
850-435-7300
www.greaterpensacolahomes.com

What “Fees” should a Home buyer expect when Purchasing a Home?

What “Fees” should a Home buyer expect when Purchasing a Home?

It is very exciting to purchase a new home but that excitement can fade a bit if the home buyer is not aware of fees or costs associated with buying a new home. As with everything we purchase there are typically “hidden fees” added to the when purchasing a home. Here are some fees and costs that may creep up on you in the home buying process:

  • Loan Origination Fee:  Usually 1% of the loan amount. Goes to the lender for preparing the loan.
  • Points:  Each point is equal to 1% of the loan amount. Points buy down the interest rate typically by 0.25% per point. They are tax-deductible.
  • Application Fee:  Goes to the lender or the broker to check credit and process the initial loan application.
  • Attorney Fee:  Goes to the attorney representing the buyer at closing.
  • Appraisal Fee:  Goes to the appraiser who determines the value of the property.
  • Title Search an Examination Fee:  Pays for the lender to research the property’s title to find out if there are liens and who the rightful owner of the property is.
  • Mortgage Broker Fee:  Paid to the broker for finding and arranging the loan on your behalf. Can be up to 5% of the loan amount but is usually much less. Should be negotiated prior to service.
  • Home Inspection Costs:  Before you close on a house, your mortgage insurer may require a home inspection, which can run several hundred dollars. But even if an inspection is not required, it’s worth paying a professional to evaluate the house so you can avoid spending hundreds of thousands on a train wreck disguised as a house.
  • Pest Inspection Fee: Florida is known for its diversity of bugs, best to make sure they are not feasting on your new home.
  • Survey costs:  Your lender may want you to have a professional survey of the property, so everyone knows exactly where your land’s boundaries are.  Surveys can add several hundred dollars to the equation.
  • Taxes:  You probably know you are going to be paying taxes but it can be easy to forget that you will likely need to prepay those taxes at closing.

As you can see these costs add up. Typically, home buyers will pay anywhere between 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price of their home in closing fees. By law, lenders are required to provide buyers with a good faith estimate within three days of loan application. In an effort to take some weight off of these closing costs, buyers may want to consider negotiating with the seller to assume some or all of the buyers closing costs. What you do not see on this list of buyer costs is Realtor fees. In most cases, commissions paid to the agent listing the home and to the Realtor that brings a buyer to the table are included in the sellers closing costs.

If we can be any assistance please contact us:

Sunstate Realty LLC
Pensacola Area Realtor
850-435-7300
www.greaterpensacolahomes.com

Home listed as “As Is” – What does that mean?

Home listed as “As Is” – What does that mean?

Typically, a home that is listed “As Is” indicates that the seller is not making any warranties about the condition of the property. Selling “as is” does not necessarily mean that anything is wrong with the property. Perhaps it is being sold to settle an estate where the Seller inherited the property and has never occupied it. He may have no idea as to the condition of the roof, appliances and air conditioning system and does not want the liability of selling a “warranted” property having never lived in it.

Buying “as is” means that you are agreeing to shoulder the costs for any obvious defects, from ripped screens to stained carpeting. That said, “as is” does not release a seller from disclosing all known material issues. Hidden defects that sellers know about should be listed on the property disclosure form. It can be beneficial for a Buyer to purchase a home “As Is with Right to Inspect”. This means that the Buyer is still allowed to have the customary inspections (Roof, home, termite and chimney inspections) within a designated time period after the full execution of the contract by the Buyer and Seller. The difference being that the Seller is not obligated to make repairs to warranted items. However, in this type of purchase contract the Buyer usually has the right to cancel the contract and receive a return of his earnest money deposit if the condition of the property is unacceptable. As with any buying transaction, be sure to consult with your real estate agent regarding the purchase of an “as is” property.

If we can be any assistance please contact us:

Sunstate Realty LLC
Pensacola Area Realtor
850-435-7300
www.greaterpensacolahomes.com

 

Mortgage Lingo, 101 – Should you take out a Fixed Rate or Adjustable Rate?

Mortgage Lingo, 101 – Should you take out a Fixed Rate or Adjustable Rate?

 Unfortunately, we cannot all win the big lottery (1.4 Billion Powerball this week, that is crazy!). Most of us have to take out a Mortgage Loan in order to purchase our dream home. As a borrower, one of your first choices is whether you want a fixed-rate or an adjustable-rate mortgage loan. All loans fit into one of these two categories, or a combination “hybrid” category.

As the names states, a fixed rate loan never changes, so if you purchase a home with a 30-year fixed rate, your monthly payment will stay the same for the next 30-years. Jump into the market when the rates are low and you get to keep that low rate throughout the life of your loan.

If you take out an “Adjustable Rate Mortgage” (ARM) your loan rate will change or “adjust” from time to time, usually every year after an initial period of remaining fixed. Once that initial period is over the interest rate will adjust as housing market interest rates falls and rises.

As you might imagine, both have Pros and Cons, in a nutshell: The ARM loan starts off with a lower rate than the fixed type of loan, but it has the uncertainty of adjustments later on. With an adjustable mortgage product, the rate and monthly payments can rise over time. The primary benefit of a fixed loan is that the rate and monthly payments never change but you will pay for that stability through higher interest charges, when compared to the initial rate of an ARM. This are referred to “Hybrid” as it starts fixed but adjusts later. You may hear or see an advertisement soliciting the 5/1 ARM loan, which carries a fixed rate of interest for the first five years, after which it begins to adjust every one year, or annually.

Education is the key to making smart decisions, as a home buyer or mortgage shopper. Our goal is to share tid-bits of information that are helpful to prospective home buyers/sellers.  Tune in next week for a discussion on Government loans versus Conventional Loans.

If we can be any assistance please contact us:

Sunstate Realty LLC
Pensacola Area Realtor
850-435-7300
www.greaterpensacolahomes.com

 

Now Let’s Talk Mortgages – What Mortgage is Right for you?

Now Let’s Talk Mortgages – What Mortgage is Right for you?

 You have made the decision to buy a new home, know your going to take out a home loan but have no clue where to start. The first step is to shop around for a Real Estate Agent (One with SunState Realty LLC, preferably!) that your are comfortable with and trust. Once you start working with an agent you will need to identify a Mortgage Lender, typically your agent can refer you to reputable Mortgage Lenders. The lender will guide you in determining your credit rating, how much you are able to spend based on your financial situation, and will assist you with an affordable loan program to fit your specific needs.

There are three common types of Home Loans, 1) Conventional, 2) FHA and 3) VA. Quick summary of each:

Conventional Loans: Is a home loan, not insured or guaranteed by the federal government in any way. The big advantage of conventional loans is that they often do not come with the amount of stipulations that government loans do, the rules and regulations tend to be less strict with conventional loans. The drawback, because these loans are not insured or guaranteed by the government it may be much harder to qualify for a conventional loan.

Then you have you have your “government” loan programs, FHA and VA……

FHA Loans: The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance programs is managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is a department of the federal government. With FHA loans, the government insures the lender against losses that might result from borrower default. Advantage: This program allows you to make a down payment as low as 3.5% of the purchase price. Disadvantage: You will have to pay for mortgage insurance, which will increase the size of your monthly payments.

VA Loan Program: The Veterans Administration offers service members, veterans and surviving spouses a highly desired home “guarantee” program that helps qualifying individuals become homeowners. VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies but the VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide terms that are more favorable to the buyer. The primary attraction of this program (and it’s a big one) is that borrowers can receive 100% financing for the purchase of a home. That means no down payment whatsoever.

Now you have the basics on Home Loans. When you are ready to jump into the market be sure to discuss your financing thoughts and plans with your Real Estate Agent, as there may be additional loan options available.

If we can be any assistance please contact us:

Sunstate Realty LLC
Pensacola Area Realtor
850-435-7300
www.greaterpensacolahomes.com

 

The 2016 Housing Market – Looking like the time to Buy

The 2016 Housing Market – Looking like the time to Buy

Happy New Year!! In the Greater Pensacola Region, as we move away from 2015 we move right into Pensacola’s favorite celebration, Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras will officially start on January 8th with a Pensacola Mardi Gras Kick off Celebration at Palafox and Government Streets downtown Pensacola and starts at 5:30 pm. So dust off your beads and get ready for the big parades!

If your interested buying a new home, you just might have more to celebrate in the 2016 Housing market…..

Historically low interest rates: Yes the interest rates have creeped up ever so slightly but they are still historically really low. A 30-year fixed interest rates are still running around 4% – that is awesome! Home buyers should strive to get before the rates continue to rise.

Rents are hard to find, driving rent prices up: I recently drove past a billboard in Pace Florida that said “We need rental properties” and rental searches on the MLS are bleak to say the least. A 2015 Rental Market Report indicated that 88% of property managers raised their rent in the last 12 months and on a national basis an 8% hike is predicated for 2016.

Tax Breaks: Tax laws still favor the homeowner. The most common tax break is the deduction of monthly interest on the loan. Additionally, homeowners are able to deduct certain home-related expenses and property taxes.

Inventory: The Real Estate market experienced a downtown that started in 2006 and home prices steadily declined. Home owners interested in selling choose to wait out the downturn. As real estate values are on the rise, homeowners are starting to get back into the market. Additionally custom home builders are back in action, adding new home inventory into the market.

If we can be any assistance please contact us:

Sunstate Realty LLC
Pensacola Area Realtor
850-435-7300
www.greaterpensacolahomes.com