You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!
According to the National Association of REALTORS® report on Tuesday, existing-home sales have ended a yearlong decline in February and recorded gains for the first time in 12 months. The report shows a 14.5% month-over-month increase in existing-home sales, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.58 million, marking the largest monthly gain since July 2020. However, the total existing-home sales, including completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops, were still down about 23% compared to a year earlier.
This increase in February's existing-home sales is a positive sign that the housing market is adjusting to nearly double mortgage rates from a year ago. Many home buyers are still waiting to make a move and are conscious of changing mortgage rates, taking advantage of any rate declines, says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Areas where home prices are decreasing and the local economies are adding jobs are seeing stronger sales gains.
Inventory remains tight in many markets and is at historic lows, which means home buyers do not have many options. Yun adds that multiple offers are returning on a good number of properties. The report also shows the following key housing indicators:
Home prices: After a decade of year-over-year increases, the longest upward streak on record, home prices posted a slight annual decline in February. The median existing-home price for all housing types fell 0.2% year over year to $363,000. However, prices continued to climb in the Midwest and South last month.
Inventory: The number of unsold existing homes remained at a similar level compared to January, equivalent to a 2.6-month supply at the current monthly sales pace, which has improved from an even brisker 1.7-month pace a year earlier.
Days on the market: Fifty-seven percent of homes sold in February were on the market for less than a month. Properties remained on the market an average of 34 days in February, up from just 18 days a year earlier.
First-time home buyers: First-time buyers accounted for 27% of sales in February, down from 31% in January and 29% a year earlier.
All-cash sales: All-cash sales comprised 28% of transactions in February, up from 25% a year earlier. Individual investors and second-home buyers made up the biggest bulk of cash sales, accounting for 18% of sales in February, down from 19% a year ago.
Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales comprised just 2% of sales in February, about the same as in January and a year earlier.
In terms of regional breakdown, existing-home sales fared differently in February across the country:
Northeast: Sales increased 4% compared to January, reaching an annual rate of 520,000. But that is down 25.7% compared to a year earlier. Median price: $366,100, down 4.5% from the previous year.
Midwest: Sales increased 13.5% compared to January, reaching an annual rate of 1.09 million. Sales are down 18.7% from a year ago. Median price: $261,200, up 5% from a year ago.
South: Sales increased 15.9% compared to January, reaching an annual rate of 2.11 million. But that still marks a 21.3% decrease from the prior year. Median price: $342,000, an increase of 2.7% from a year ago.
West: Existing-home sales rose 19.4% compared to January, reaching an annual rate of 860,000. Sales were down 28.3%
If you're looking for a glimpse into a world of luxury and opulence, the Flagler Museum is a must-visit. It's a place where history comes alive, and where the extraordinary is commonplace.
Deep in the heart of Palm Beach, a tropical paradise where the extraordinary is commonplace, lies a timeless corner steeped in history. This is where America's most influential families, including the renowned Henry Morrison Flagler, came to play over a century ago. Leaving behind a trail of beautiful homes and impressive history, few communities can boast the same level of grandeur as Palm Beach. And at the forefront of this storied past stands the awe-inspiring Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, a palatial landmark that served as Flagler's family home for decades, known as "Whitehall." But behind the pristine marble columns and intricate wrought iron fence lies a trove of secrets and little-known stories that make the museum a truly fascinating place to visit.
Whitehall, as the mansion is known, was a gift from Flagler to his wife and served as their winter retreat for over a decade. A marvel of its time, the press hailed it as more wonderful than any palace in Europe, boasting 75 rooms and 100,000 square feet of space. But there's much more to this impressive structure than meets the eye.
From the unique central heating system designed to fight tropical moisture to the rare full basement that few homes in Florida can boast, the museum's architecture is a marvel in itself. And while the ornate fence surrounding the property exudes grandeur, few visitors know that it is the original fence built in 1901, meticulously preserved for over 116 years. Surprising as it may seem, the mansion was built without a swimming pool, a pre-requisite for any impressive estate. Instead, it relied on the clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Worth Lagoon for a refreshing dip.
But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Whitehall are the ten antique clocks that still tick away, keeping time in the period-accurate rooms. It's a place where time seems to stand still, and yet, the clocks require weekly winding, and museum staff must follow a specific procedure to keep them in tip-top shape.
Step into the past and explore the fascinating world of Henry Morrison Flagler, the man who "invented modern Florida." Discover the intricacies of his winter retreat and the remarkable stories behind its construction. The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum is a place where the extraordinary is commonplace, and the story of the iconic building is both fascinating and intricate.
To get a peek into the rooms you will view in a tour, watch the video I put together in my last visit to the museum here, on my YouTube channel.
Don't forget about the FREE Founders day this year, June 5, 2023, and every year on June 5th.
There is no getting around property insurance in south Florida. If you're a homeowner or property owner in South Florida, it's essential to understand the different types of insurance coverage available to protect your investment from potential risks. Florida is known for its susceptibility to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, high winds, and flooding. Therefore, it's crucial to make sure you have the right insurance coverage to protect your property from these risks. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about homeowner’s insurance, wind mitigation, 4-point inspection, flood insurance, and H06.
The southeast coast of Florida is particularly vulnerable to flooding and storm damage due to its low-lying terrain, its location in a hurricane-prone region, and the presence of barrier islands. Many of the communities located along this coast have experienced significant flooding and storm damage in recent years.
Insurance companies in Florida require a 4-point inspection and wind mitigation before insuring a home purchase for buyers, to assess the overall condition of the home and the risk of potential claims. This helps insurance companies adjust premiums accordingly and ensure that homeowners are adequately protected in the event of a natural disaster.
In South Florida, wind damage is a common occurrence due to the state's location and susceptibility to hurricanes. Wind mitigation is a set of features and measures taken to reduce the damage caused by windstorms. The inspection looks for features such as reinforced windows and doors, roof-to-wall connections, and the presence of a secondary water barrier, among other things.
The 4-point inspection evaluates four main systems in a property: the roof, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems. The purpose of the inspection is to determine the condition of these systems and assess their risk of failure. This information is used by insurance companies to determine the property's insurability and insurance rates.
The age of a roof may be a factor in obtaining homeowners insurance for a new purchase in Florida. Insurance companies may have different requirements regarding the age of a roof and its eligibility for coverage, so it is important to check with your specific insurance provider for their policy. In Florida, many insurance companies have a roof age limit of 10-20 years. This means that if the roof on the home you are purchasing is older than the specified limit, you may have difficulty obtaining homeowners insurance or you may have to pay a higher premium.
Flood insurance is an important consideration for homeowners and property owners in this region, especially those located on or near barrier islands. Without proper insurance coverage, property owners may be at risk of significant financial losses due to flooding and storm damage.
Most flood insurance policies currently providing coverage in Florida are underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is managed by the Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration which is a part of the Federal Emergency Management. Administration (FEMA). Even if it's not required, flood insurance is still a good consideration due to Florida's low elevation and high exposure to damaging storms. You can purchase a flood policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private insurer. Homeowners and renters insurance policies don't cover floods or storm surges.
If you are a condominium owner in South Florida, H06 insurance is a type of insurance that provides coverage for personal property and liability for the owner's unit, as well as any upgrades or improvements made to the unit. This insurance is important because it protects the owner's personal belongings and provides liability coverage in case someone is injured on their property.
Homeowners insurance premiums can be more expensive in South Florida for several reasons:
Weather risks: South Florida is known for its high risk of hurricanes, floods, and other weather-related hazards. The increased risk of damage from these events means that insurance companies may charge higher premiums to offset their potential losses.
High property values: The cost of housing in South Florida is generally higher than in other areas of the state, which means that the cost to replace or repair homes in the event of damage is also higher. This can lead to higher insurance premiums.
Claims history: South Florida has a higher rate of insurance claims than other areas of the state, due in part to the weather risks mentioned above. This can result in higher premiums for all homeowners in the region, regardless of their individual claims history.
Legal environment: Florida has a legal environment that is perceived as being more favorable to policyholders, which can result in higher legal costs for insurance companies in the event of a dispute or claim. This can also contribute to higher premiums.
Fraud: Florida is known for having a higher incidence of insurance fraud, which can drive up costs for insurance companies and ultimately lead to higher premiums for homeowners.
Another issue in south Florida is insurance cancelations. Insurance policies can be canceled for several reasons beyond storm damage, including non-payment of premiums, risks of wildfires, lack of home maintenance, and filing too many claims. Other factors that can cause a policy to be canceled include pets, including certain dogs, snakes, and even ferrets, which could be on an insurer's exclusion list due to risk. Installing a car charging station, solar panels, or selling the extra power generated by the panels back to the electric company could also impact a policy. Homeowners should speak to their insurance agents about any requirements before adding any of these features.
Overall, the combination of these factors can make homeowners insurance more expensive in South Florida compared to other areas of the state or country. It's important for homeowners in the region to shop around for insurance policies and to understand the coverage and costs associated with their policy options.
Reach out for a referral to a licensed insurance broker in south Florida who can find the best options for your home. Call me today Cheryl 754-207-4504.
Having a home in the name of a Limited Liability Company (LLC) can be beneficial in Florida for several reasons, including:
1. Limited Liability Protection: One of the primary benefits of an LLC is the limited liability protection it provides to its owners. In Florida, if a home is owned by an LLC and a lawsuit is filed against the LLC, the personal assets of the LLC's owners (i.e., the members) are generally protected from being used to pay any judgments or settlements.
2. Asset Protection: Owning a home in the name of an LLC can also provide additional asset protection. If an individual is sued, the plaintiff may be able to seek a judgment against any real estate owned by that individual. However, if the home is owned by an LLC, the plaintiff's ability to collect on a judgment is limited to the assets owned by the LLC.
3. Tax Benefits: Owning a home through an LLC can also provide tax benefits. In Florida, LLCs are not subject to state income tax. Instead, the profits and losses of the LLC are passed through to the individual members, who report the income on their personal tax returns. This can result in significant tax savings for the LLC's owners.
4. Business Expenses: If the home is used for business purposes (such as a home office), the LLC can deduct certain expenses related to the home, such as mortgage interest, property taxes, and utilities, as business expenses. This can further reduce the LLC's tax liability.
5. Privacy: Owning a home through an LLC can also provide privacy for the owners. In Florida, LLC ownership information is not required to be publicly disclosed. This means that the ownership of the home can be kept private, which can be particularly beneficial for high-profile individuals or those who wish to avoid unwanted attention.
It is important to note, however, that owning a home through an LLC is not without potential drawbacks. For example, forming and maintaining an LLC requires some administrative effort and expense. Additionally, there may be some additional costs associated with owning a home through an LLC, such as higher insurance premiums. It is recommended that anyone considering forming an LLC to own a home seek the advice of an experienced attorney or accountant to fully understand the benefits and potential drawbacks.
Owning a home in an LLC can make it easier to transfer the home into a trust, but the specific steps and requirements will depend on the law and the language of the LLC's operating agreement. In general, transferring ownership of a property from an LLC to a trust involves several steps, such as amending the LLC's operating agreement, transferring ownership of the property to the trust, and recording the transfer with the relevant government office, such as the county recorder's office.
By owning the home in an LLC, the owner can potentially simplify this process, as the LLC's operating agreement may already allow for transfers of ownership or may have provisions for transferring ownership to a trust. Additionally, transferring ownership of the property from the LLC to the trust may not trigger certain taxes or fees that might otherwise apply.
However, it is important to consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable in the laws of the state where the property is located to ensure that the transfer is done correctly and in compliance with all legal requirements. The attorney can also advise on any potential tax implications of the transfer and help ensure that the transfer is consistent with the owner's overall estate planning goals.
Boat Docks: A Critical Part of Home Inspection for Waterfront Properties
If you’re a homeowner with a waterfront property, having a boat dock is likely an important part of your outdoor living space. However, it’s essential to ensure that the dock is in good condition, as it can impact the safety of your property, as well as the value of your home. In this post, we’ll go over what you need to know about inspecting and maintaining your boat dock.
Parts of a Boat Dock That Need to Be Inspected
A comprehensive dock inspection should include a check of the following parts:
· Piling caps
· Safety hazards
· Boat lifts
· Boat lift housings
· Piling wraps
· Hardware condition
· General structure & condition
Inspection of boat docks is a critical part of the home inspection for waterfront properties.
It’s particularly important in areas with frequent storms or high winds, as damaged docks
can further damage seawalls and even your home’s structure.
Inspection Costs and Issues
The cost of a dock inspection can vary widely, depending on the company and the circumstances. For example, a home inspection company may charge a nominal fee for a dock inspection as part of a home inspection. However, a standalone dock inspection can cost hundreds of dollars.
In some cases, dock contractors or marine contractors may offer free dock inspections, hoping to secure a repair or replacement job. During the inspection, the inspector will look for issues that can range from normal wear and rot to PH soil balance or hydrostatic pressures.
If your dock is over 30 years old, it’s probably time to replace it. Most docks last 20-30 years at most, and with proper maintenance, they can last longer.
The cost of pile replacement can range from $200 to $600 per piling. So, if you have 10 piles, you are looking at a total cost of $2000 to $6000.
Regular Maintenance for Your Boat Dock
Here are some tips to keep your boat dock in good condition:
· Wood is the most commonly used material for boat docks, and treated lumber is used to make it more durable. However, it’s essential to reseal the wood annually to prevent it from weathering and developing mildew.
· Florida waters are full of barnacles and other sea creatures that can attach themselves to your dock. It’s important to remove them regularly to prevent any damage over time.
· Small holes and scrapes can often be fixed with wood putty, but larger damages should be replaced entirely.
· With use and through the off-season, the hardware on your dock can come loose or rust, so it must be replaced when missing or damaged. Use fasteners that are suitable for Florida’s heat and water.
· Chains and other mechanical pieces on your dock should also be lubricated regularly to avoid rusting.
In conclusion, inspecting and maintaining your boat dock is an important part of being a waterfront property owner. By being aware of the different parts of the dock and the potential issues, you can keep your dock in good condition and protect the value of your home. Regular maintenance, such as resealing wood and removing barnacles, can also ensure that your dock lasts for many years to come.
If you are in need of a dock or seawall inspection, or routine maintenance, I am always happy to pass along a referral. Reach me at 754-207-4504.
BUILDING PERMITS | What to Know BEFORE You List Your Home for Sale
You are most likely aware that in the state of Florida, you need a building permit for pretty much everything. If you construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure, you need a permit. Failure to obtain a permit prior to beginning a project can result in a penalty with fines starting at double the permit fee.
Even changing your kitchen cabinets requires a building permit because, by the Electrical Code, if you replace cabinets, you must upgrade the electric outlets to the current Code as to distance, number, GFI, etc. so a permit is required for that and for any CHANGE to the plumbing configuration.
Many real estate agents are not aware that municipalities are now scouring the MLS for listings that show upgraded pictures, and /or indicate within the description, a list of everything updated, upgraded, and replaced in the home. They will then look at the building permits pulled for that home to make sure they are in compliance. If not, the home owner will be notified of their penalties and the sale of the home will need to stop until the home owner is compliant.
Depending on the scope of the work, this could take months to rectify. Also, ceilings and walls may need to be opened for inspections. The permits will need to be pulled by the contractor, the work inspected by the city and the permit closed. This is not a quick process.
In addition, if unpermitted work is discovered in the closing process, the home's appraisal may come back much lower than expected because they may not give value to unpermitted work, and a mortgage lender can reject the buyer's application.
And finally, a home buyer may have a case against the home seller if they become aware of unpermitted work after the sale of the home.
In the long run, it makes life easier to get the permits pulled prior to commencing work. You want your real estate agent to be able to describe the beautiful and expensive updates to your home in your listing. You don’t want to worry about dealing with permits after the fact, and a potential law suit.
Refer to Section 105.1 of the Florida Building Code. The fees are set out in Section 109 of the Florida Building Code as authorized in Florida Statutes 553.80.
If you have any questions about this or anything else regarding selling your home, you can reach me at 754-207-4504.
1. First and foremost, the listing agent represents the Seller’s interest, not the buyer’s interest. This is true in new construction as well. My real estate clients are well represented.
2. Hire a Realtor®, not just a real estate agent. We abide by a code of ethics and swear an oath to clients and the community.
3. With over 18 years in the real estate market with certifications in Relocation, Negotiating, Luxury, and Short Sales, as well as a broker license, and the GRI (Graduate Real Estate Institute) designation, buyers are well served by my solid foundation of knowledge and skills to navigate the current real estate climate—no matter what its condition.
4. A Negotiating certification assures that price reductions, contract terms, seller paid closing costs, buy-downs, and the remedy/repair of inspection issues reported on the home inspection report will be handled by a pro to get you the best deal.
5. You will avoid contract mistakes with my brokerage. The broker is a Florida real estate attorney and part of Capital Abstract and Title Company located in Boca Raton and Coral Springs.
6. In Florida, the Seller’s Property Disclosure is optional, and the listing agent is only required to disclose what they KNOW about the home. The seller SHOULD disclose all material facts. We will make every effort to complete the due diligence necessary to help you discover all physical and financial facts about the home as well as the area in which the home is located. We do the homework!
7. My team and I use 5 different sources of home values so you know if a home is overpriced before we make an offer.
8. Obtaining home owners insurance in south Florida can be a challenge. You need your own representation to make sure there aren’t any issues with the 4 Point and Wind Mitigation reports, which could be a deal killer.
9. We have preferred lenders who can be creative in reducing costs to buyers and are currently offering a free refinance after closing if rates drop. (conditions apply)
10. We make sure that permits have been pulled on repairs and renovations to protect you from having that liability down the line.
11. Our services to you are FREE. The fee is negotiated in writing at the time of the listing with the seller. There is a misconception that the seller can renegotiate that fee.
12. We offer a Lifetime Guarantee to protect you if prices DO fall like they did during the last recession.