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Get the Best Deal in Jacksonville and the Beaches

1/22/2014

How To Get The Best Possible Deal When Buying Real Estate

No one wants to pay more than they have to for real estate. After all, investment potential is one of the greatest benefits of home ownership. You want your home to go up in value while you own it. The less you pay for your home, the more you stand to earn from it. Here are a few tips for getting the best possible deal on your home.

  1. Buy at the right time. You find better real estate prices during certain times of the year and market conditions. For example, in a slow real estate market, sellers are usually more willing to negotiate to sell their home. Likewise, pay attention to the climate of a region. If you want to buy a home in the south, look during the middle of the summer when the hot, humid weather keeps buyers away. Watch the interest rates on loans too!
  2. Hire a real estate agent. (Me!)  A real estate agent is usually the simplest way to find a great deal. Agents have access to thousands of homes for sale. They know the home values of the area where they work.  Real estate agents are also trained to negotiate with sellers. All this goes a long way toward finding you the best possible real estate deal.
  3. Have your credit in order for best loan rates. The better your credit score, the better your loan terms will be. This translates into lower, more affordable payments. If your bank pre-approves your loan, you have even more bargaining power with the seller and may get a better price or sale terms. I have great mortgage reps to assist!
  4. Look at more than just the price. Just because a home has an attractive sale price doesn’t automatically make it a good deal. Major repairs can easily add up and cost you more in the long run. A slightly higher priced home in pristine condition is often a better value than one in need of some work.

Now is a good time to get the real estate of your dreams at a great price. Let me help you find your next home. Call me at 904-537-4473 or email me at holly@prunet.com .

Bathroom Makeover Tips

1/14/2014

Easy Bathroom Makeover Tips Prior to Listing

Before you put your home up for sale, you want to make sure it looks as attractive and modern as possible. Buyers usually walk away from a home for sale with outdated color schemes and fixtures. This is especially true of bathrooms. Even if you lack the budget and space to turn your bathroom into a spa-like retreat, you can still give this room a quick facelift.

  1. Get Creative With Color. If you don’t have the time or budget to replace dated ceramic tile, try camouflaging it with towels, rugs, and other accessories for a more modern color scheme. For example, you can pair pink with brown or black and bright blue with light green or pale gray.
  2. Replace Your Fixtures. Brushed aluminum and pewter bathroom fixtures are more modern than the shiny chrome fixtures from years ago. They are also easier to clean because they don’t show water marks as easily.
  3. Find New Lighting. A bathroom light can do more than just illuminate the space; it can create an atmosphere. Sconces placed on either side of a mirror tend to look better than harsh overhead light. Track lighting can be arranged to provide light in dark corners of the room.  I can send you a 10% off coupon directly from Lowes to use for this or any other project and saveYOU  money...just email me!
  4. Accessorize. Put your personal touch on your bathroom with shower curtains, soap dispensers, and scented candles. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the bath accessories aisle, either. A clear vase can display bath salts. Baskets can hold rolled-up towels. A beautiful serving bowl can be filled with potpourri. Inexpensive IKEA (or other) shelving over a toilet uses the space and works great in smaller bathrooms.

Preparing your home for sale is an important part of the process. I can help you prepare you home to sell it faster and for more money. Call me today at 904-537-4473  or email me at holly@prunet.com to schedule a free consultation.

Tips for Getting a Mortgage on a 2nd Home

1/8/2014

Tips For Getting A Mortgage On Your Second Property

Are you buying a Jacksonville or Beaches area property as your second home? Perhaps you are looking for a small condo or single family home where you can escape to for your vacations, or maybe you want to have another home closer to your relatives. Maybe you want to rent out your second property and make a steady income from your investment. Whatever the reason, a second piece of real estate can be a fantastic investment. However, sometimes getting a mortgage on your second home can be a challenge.

Generally, a mortgage lender will have tougher standards for second home loans than primary home loans. This is because usually when you are buying a second home your finances will be stretched thinner and you will have less money to spare because you are already paying a mortgage on your primary home. This will mean that your second home mortgage can be harder to get and might have a higher interest rate.

Here are some tips to keep in mind that will help you to get the best mortgage on your second property:

  • Build up a decent amount of savings. Your mortgage lender will want to be able to see that you have a large amount of savings so that you will have enough to pay for the mortgage even if you were to lose your job.
  • Pay off any credit card debt. Many lenders will be hesitant to approve your second home mortgage if they see that you have a lot of debt on your credit card. They will want to see that you have a low debt to income ratio so that you will be able to pay back the loan.
  • Use the first mortgage as a good reference. If you have always made your payments on time and you are most of the way through paying off your first house, you could ask someone from your current mortgage company to vouch for you. The lender for your second mortgage will be reassured that you are a reliable person to loan money to.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind in order to make getting a mortgage for your second property as easy as possible. To find out more about investing in Jacksonville or our beaches areas property, contact me at or phone me at 904-537-4473.

Full Disclosure

3/24/2010

You are about to list your home. Since you have lived there for many years, you know that it is not perfect. For example, there might be a leak in the basement that is noticeable only after a heavy rain. Your garage door might stick, and the dishwasher may be prone to work stoppages.

Every home has a few quirks. When it is time to sell your home, you have a choice of either making the necessary repairs or letting the buyers know about the problems. Material defects must be fully disclosed.

Some buyers will order a structural inspection in order to learn exactly what they will be getting. Even if the buyers don't ask for an expert to look at the house, it is the seller's responsibility to disclose any known defects in the property. The seller's agent will provide the disclosure form, wherein the seller may itemize any problems. Sellers may avoid any real estate lawsuits over undisclosed defects by making repairs before the sale or agreeing to a price adjustment during the transaction if defects are discovered.

Your Own Dormitory

3/10/2010

Your Own Dormitory
Your child has just been accepted to a university. When you look at the room and board fees, you nearly go into shock! If the school is located in a large metropolitan area, there is an interesting alternative to the college dormitory.

Many parents are investing in condominiums or single family homes near the college campus. They rent the house to their children and one or more roommates. When their son or daughter graduates, they sell the property. The property's anticipated appreciation may go a long way toward helping to finance college expenses especially in today's Buyer's market and the depressed prices. 

Many parents sit down with a local real estate agent after their son or daughter is accepted to a college. A real estate agent can provide information about neighborhoods near the school, properties that are for sale, and the amount of rent you can expect to receive from the property.  I would love to help you or someone you know find the perfect college living for a student. 

Deal With The Defects FIRST!

2/24/2010
If you are selling a home, the buyers will probably include a home inspection clause in the offer. This will allow them to hire an expert to make sure that the house is structurally sound and all the systems are working properly.

The time to get ready for the home inspection is before you sell your house! Owners usually know about most of the defects in their house, such as plumbing or electrical problems or leaks that occur when it rains. When you decide to put your home on the market, you should repair any defects immediately. Most purchase agreements require sellers to convey the property with all systems and appliances in working order. You won't save money by delaying repairs, and buyers may be frightened away by an inspection report that contains a long list of needed repairs. Most agents will suggest that you be proactive and get a homeinspection prior to listing.  This can head off any problems that may come up after you have gone to contract and is well worth the $400 it will cost you.
Eliminating maintenance as a potential issue in the sale can help you ensure that the transaction goes as smoothly as possible. This is especially important when there is active construction of brand-new homes in the area.

The Seller May Pay....

2/10/2010
The costs of buying a home may be daunting. For example, you may have finally saved enough for a down payment on your first home, with a little left over to buy the furniture you will need. Then you hear about having to pay closing costs you weren't anticipating, and this may seem like a real setback.

One way to cover such a shortage is to make the sellers an offer that calls for them to credit you for some of the closing costs. As a rule, the sellers may pay a maximum of 3 percent of the sales price if the buyer is putting five percent down. If the buyer is making a down payment of 10 percent or more, the seller can contribute up to 6 percent of the sales price to cover the buyer's closing costs. Some items, such as prepaid taxes and the first month's mortgage payment, must be paid by the buyers. Sellers may also contribute to paying the appraisal, points, title insurance, settlement attorney fees, state or local transfer taxes and similar items.

Keep in mind that if the credit is included in the price of the house, the appraiser will have to justify the amount, based on sales prices of similar homes in the neighborhood.

Prepare Ahead for the Walk Through

1/20/2010
When moving out of a house you have lived in for a long time, you may discover years' worth of dust that was previously concealed by your home furnishings. If you don't have the time or energy to clean your house for the new owners, a useful option is to pay a professional to do the job.

Before going to the closing table, your buyers will have a last chance to walk through the house and check the appliances, mechanical systems and overall condition to make sure everything is consistent with the sales contract. Even though they really want the house, at this point "buyers' remorse" may be prompting them to look for a reason to call the transaction off. Because an otherwise minor problem or defect can sometimes trigger last-minute cold feet, your best insurance is to make the house look great. Everything should be working properly, and all the agreed-upon repairs should have been made before the buyers arrive to look at the house. You can promote a more relaxed, positive atmosphere for the closing if you take special care in preparing for the walk-through inspection.

BUYERS, What are YOU waiting For?

1/12/2010
This is your personal invitation, if that's what you are waiting for, to call me!  This market is crazy right now.  There are fantastic opportunities in all areas of Jacksonville and the Beaches to get fantastic homes at low prices.  Today, I modified a contract and added an escalatory clause for the first time.  The condo buying opportunity was too great for my client to risk losing the home to another contract that was presented, so we added an escalatory clause so that we basically incremently outbid the additional contract offer up to a certain amount.  This is just proof again that the market is heating up!  Not only are the prices low, but currently, the mortgage rates are still excellent.  I do not see this staying the same for long.  As the activity in the market increases, the rates are increasing.  Are you going to wait for prices to go down further and risk the rates rising?  If so, you are losing any advantage and paying more in interest in the long run. 

It's time to get off of the fence...call me, call another agent, but don't miss out on the lowest prices in years AND the lowest interest rates!  Jacksonville and the surrounding areas have SO much to offer, with shopping, dining, beaches, excellent schools and GREAT BUYING OPPORTUNITIES!  Call or email me now...904-537-4473 or hollyhayesrealtor@gmail.com!!!

Selling Selling SOLD

1/6/2010
Although your real estate agent is responsible for marketing your property, it requires a joint effort to get your home sold.

How can you empower your agent? It is very important that you feel absolutely confident in your agent's ability to produce results--no matter what the market is like in your area! This may sound like stating the obvious, but it is important to let your real estate agent know you trust them to get the job done. Support that trust by putting a realistic price tag on the property and keeping it in prime showing condition. Make every effort to follow your agent's suggestions for staging or repair of items in your home prior to listing. Work out showing agreements that will make it easy for agents to preview or show your home. Meet periodically to discuss any feedback from buyers who have seen your home to determine how you can improve its appeal.  Remember to COMMUNICATE!  If your agent is not calling you...you call them - be proactive! 

Don't hesitate to share any ideas you may have about marketing your home and be sure to let your agent know what you feel are the outstanding features of your home.  Remember why you chose the  home and what you love most about it and convey that to your agent.  It may be same thing that a potential buyer will love as well! . Most successful agents will try anything that works, and have received some very good suggestions from clients.
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