How Much House Can You Afford

With the cost of housing in Central Florida at some of the most affordable levels in the last several years, many prospective buyers are coming back into the market and many first time homebuyers are looking to get their feet wet and take advantage of those favorable market conditions. One question they always have is – What can I afford?

Doing the due diligence to determine an accurate and realistic price range is one of the most conscientious steps you can take in your home buying process. The National Association of Realtors Housing Affordability Index assumes that with a 20% down payment, you will need 25% of your gross monthly income to go towards your principle and interest payment. Mortgage lenders are usually similar to each other in their guidelines, and the majority say that your housing expenses (principle, interest, taxes, and insurance, should not exceed 38% of your monthly gross income. These numbers should be used as a baseline. You may have a substantial amount of other debt that needs to be taken into account such as multiple car payments, school loans, credit card payments, and etc, so you need to make sure that the monthly payment is something you are comfortable with, not just what the bank says you can qualify for. You need to have some breathing room for unexpected expenses. As a homeowner you are responsible for all the maintenance your property may need, and sometimes people who have rented for a long time or have never owned a property forget to budget for the occasional repair issue.

Getting all of the numbers together at the beginning of your property search can save you a lot of time and headaches, so talk your bank or a mortgage broker before viewing properties. If you need a recommendation for someone to talk to about your budget, please contact us today.

Small Changes Can Have a Big Impact

For many people, the idea of getting their home ready to put on the market is so overwhelming that they put it off. Well your Central Florida home is never going to sell if you don’t get it on the market, and many of the things that you should do prior to listing your homes in Celebration are simple tasks that you have been meaning to do anyways. So as the saying goes, there is no time like the present.

Unless you are a serious hoarder who has not cleaned your house in a very long time, you just need to do a few simple things to get your home ready to be put on the market. These things may be obvious to you, but I can tell you from experience that a lot of sellers don’t do them and it hurts their salability.

Clean up the outside of the house by maintaining the landscaping, painting the mailbox and the front door if needed, and powerwashing the house and driveway. Some potted plants on the front porch are always a nice touch as well.
Declutter every room in the house including the garage. This may sound very time consuming, but it will make a huge difference and give you a head start when you have to start packing for your new home. Get rid of excess papers and magazines, cut down on the amount of knick knacks, pack away some of your framed pictures, etc.
Freshen up the house by adding some plug-in air fresheners. Pick a scent that is mild and not over-powering. Something light and clean is best.

These simple steps will help your home make the best first impression possible and get you the sale you desire. So stop procrastinating and get to it.

Let’s get it sold!

Community Vs Square Footage

Celebration Florida offers so many amenities for families to enjoy.

The real estate market is an ever-changing entity.  So many factors can effect it – the economy, exchange rates, personal preferences, etc.  I have noticed a change in attitude in the last couple of years as far as what people want in a community.

During the housing boom a few years ago, builders were putting up subdivisions as fast as they could in order to meet the growing demand for properties.  Most of these developments were pretty ordinary and offered a limited amount of amenities.  They offered large homes, but there was little else to do in the neighborhood.  You would have to drive to outside areas for recreational activities, and interaction with neighbors was virtually non-existent.

I have now seen a lot of homebuyers in today’s market shift to a community-focused mindset. Prospective buyers are willing to purchase smaller properties in amenity-laden communities instead of purchasing larger ones in typical subdivisions.  They are looking for the neighborhood feel that comes with outside activities and interaction with their neighbors. Some of the many sought after community features are parks, playgrounds, walking/bike trails, community pools, tennis courts, and the ability to walk to shopping areas and restaurants.  When residents take advantage of the common area amenities, they become almost an extension of their living space.  The parks become larger “backyards” for the kids and offer the chance to make friends and meet neighbors for example.

It’s the age old debate of Quality vs Quantity.  What is more important – the size of your home or your quality of life?  Communities like Celebration & Baldwin Park (to name a few) offer residents plenty of outdoor activities and the walk ability they love, but you don’t get as much square footage for the money as you would in a less amenity-laden community.

If you were looking to buy, what would you prefer?

Live in Celebration’s South Village

Beautiful Celebration Florida home for sale in the South Village.With the inventory of homes on the market hovering around the lowest level in the past 6 years, prime properties get snapped up quickly. The average time on the market has dropped from 180 days to about 60 days over the course of the last 2 years. Celebration is still and will remain a much sought after community.

With that being said, we have recently listed a new property in Celebration’s beautiful South Village. This gorgeous one story has many things that buyers are looking for – granite counters in the kitchen and baths, a one story open floor plan, large front porch, hardwood floors, and great location near the park. One of the features that really sets this home apart from all the others on the market in Celebration is the lot. This home is situated on an extra long, conservation lot that gives it lots of privacy, space for entertaining, and a long driveway. This property is move in ready and will impress even the most discerning buyer. For more details click here to see the pictures and video of 1029 Jeater Bend Dr. You won’t be disappointed!

What Today’s Buyers Want

When you work with people, you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to anticipate their needs and wants. You take their feedback and comments into consideration and try to apply that information towards the available properties on the market and then present your clients with the best fit possible.

With that in mind, I read lots of articles that post statistics regarding the latest consumer preferences. As always, location is number one on everyone’s list but not in the way that you think. With the higher cost of gas and general auto maintenance, buyers don’t want to commute more than a few miles. They are looking to be very close to their places of work and amenities. This allows them to spend the time they would normally be commuting on other pursuits. They are willing to forgo other preferences in order to cut down on their commute.

The second trend that I have noticed over the last year is the need for a home office. This used to be something that people liked having but was not a a deal breaker. Now it has become a necessity. More and more employers are allowing their employees to work from home part of the time and many people who own their own business also work out of their home office. So buyers now seek out homes that have a designated home office or one more bedroom than they originally needed. I have even seen some buyers turn the formal dining room into an office.

Lastly, I have noticed that the average home size has decreased. Buyers want to save money; not just on the purchase price but also on the utility, insurance, and maintenance costs over the course of the time they own the property. Many don’t want the formal areas that used to be a requirement for everyone. They figure it doesn’t make sense to purchase, heat, and cool areas that they don’t deem necessary for their lifestyle any more.

Buyers have become more focused and know what they want, and I love helping them find it. The market is ever-changing, but one constant always remains. Homeownership is part of the American Dream.