Treasure Coast Real Estate News & Market Insights

This Treasure Coast real estate blog originated out of a need to provide valuable Treasure Coast real estate market information to our clients and website visitors. The tips, trends, news articles, market updates, and informational pieces you find on this site are our original content, and we take a lot of pride in being about to offer you expert information about the Treasure Coast real estate market. If you have any thoughts, ideas, or questions about anything we post here, we'd love to talk with you!

Jan. 15, 2019

Home Appraisal Process: What You Should Know & Expect

Understand what an appraiser does, what an appraiser is, and how you can negotiate so an appraisal is in your favor.

The home appraisal is an assessment of value of real property, and is done by a licensed appraiser. While many people see it as a daunting step in buying a home, knowing the ins-and-outs and who's-and-what's will give you enough ammunition to understand an appraisal and use the valuation to your benefit. If you are looking browsing Treasure Coast homes and looking for a good local appraiser, send us a contact email.

What is an Appraisal and Why do I need one?

Let's say you are looking for homes for sale in Stuart, make an offer, and it is accepted. Before your lender will approve your loan, the property that is being purchased or refinanced must pass an appraisal to ensure it is valued at or above the amount of the loan. As stated above, an appraiser is a third-party hired to provide a statement of value for any piece of real estate. This way, the bank is not immediately underwater if a home buyer were to take out a mortgage and immediately default. This is not to be confused with the home inspection that will be done earlier in the home-buying process.

Appraisal House

Who Chooses and Pays for the Appraiser?

It is important to remember that appraisers do not represent any party in the transaction, they are an objective third-party entity who are contracted by your lender through an appraisal management company that maintains a database of trusted, licensed appraisers. Neither you, your real estate agent, your lender, or your title company have any say in which appraiser is chosen. This is important because federal guidelines stipulate that anyone with interest in the value of a piece of real estate cannot be involved in the appraisal process. The appraisal is typically paid for by the borrower of the loan, or the buyer of real estate, however this can be negotiated in the purchase contract. 

What Do Appraisers Look For?

When an appraiser is valuing a piece of real estate, they will compare it to properties that have recently sold in the area based on the following criteria: proximity, time of sale, age, condition, and size. If you homes in Port St. Lucie will not be used as comparable sale for condos in Palm City, and a home that sold yesterday will be a better comparable sale than one that sold five years ago. 

When an appraiser is coming up with a nonpartisan valuation, they take everything into account from the condition of the exterior and interior to the size and location of the home. They also include any home improvements and additions that may be advantageous compared to comparable sales. 

How Much Does an Appraisal Cost?

The national average cost for an appraisal is $333, according to HomeAdvisor.com. The typical range is between $310 and $404, with the low end around $250 and topping out near $450.

What Do I Do After I Get my Appraisal Report?

When your appraiser sends your lender the appraisal, there will be three possible outcomes.

  1. The appraised value meets the purchase price.
  2. The appraised value is below the purchase price. 
  3. The appraised value is above the purchase price. 

If the appraisal is higher than the purchase price, then you have essentially purchased a home with immediate equity in the property. If the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, the lender will not supply the loan. In this instance, the buyer and seller of the real estate would usually renegotiate terms in the contract to move forward with the sale.

 

If you have any other questions about real estate appraisals that were not covered here, send us your questions. Remember, you can always view homes for sale all over the Treasure Coast on our website, in real time, straight from the MLS!

Nov. 30, 2018

5 Waterfront Homes for Sale in Stuart that Will Motivate You!

There's something special about waking up and looking out your master bedroom window to the sunrise bouncing off the water. If you're searching for an ocean-access property, waterfront home, or just looking for some motivation, these Stuart FL waterfront homes will have your heart rate up.

These home provide unparalleled wide-water views and privacy that can only a luxury waterfront home can offer.

Without further adieu, here are five waterfront homes for sale in Stuart, Florida.

Ocean-Access Home in Beau Rivage

Stuart FL Waterfront Home

This home is in the beautiful Stuart neighborhood of Beau Rivage, and has gorgeous wide water views from an advantageous lot at the edge of a cul-de-sac. This solid CBS home hast nearly 180 feet of deep water frontage, a 12,000-pound boat lift, and a glistening saltwater pool. Listed by Keller Williams Realty, the interior is updated with a wet bar, theater room, and gorgeous gas fireplace.

 Rocky Point Waterfront Property

waterfront home in rocky point stuart fl

This waterfront home in Manatee Pocket offers character and privacy with an over-sized lot, 170 feet of seawall, personal dock, and 9,000-pound boat lift. One of the most affordable waterfront homes in Stuart, this RE/MAX of Stuart listing is an architectural masterpiece with an open layout and modern interior upgrades.

Waterfront Sanctuary in "Millionaire Row"

new waterfront house

Nestled under mature Banyan trees, and backing up to fingers of the St. Lucie River, this Stuart FL home sits on over half of an acre of property and was built solidly in 2008 with poured concrete, impact glass windows, and a contemporary coastal interior. Also listed by Keller Williams Realty, this home is less than a mile from a local marina, and allows the owner to kayak or paddle board in the local estuaries and spot wildlife daily. 

The Most Affordable Waterfront Home in Sewall's Point

affordable real estate sewall's point

For those interested in waterfront homes in Sewall's Point, one of Stuart's most desirable neighborhoods, this elevated home has plenty to offer. With strategically-protected dockage in Captain's Cove and beautiful wide water views of the Indian River Lagoon, this is now the most affordable waterfront real estate in Sewall's Point. Listed by RE/MAX Community, this property features a new 13,000-pound boat lift and dock, as well as a new metal roof and dual-climate A/C. 

Custom-Built Waterfront Home in Lighthouse Point

palm city waterfront home for sale

Full disclosure: this is Palm City real estate, not Stuart, but this custom-built waterfront masterpiece had to be included in the list. One Sotheby's International Realty brings this new waterfront home to the market, boasting top-of-the-line finishes and upgrades, hurricane impact windows, a spacious floorplan, and a spot in one of Palm City's most sought-after neighborhoods of Lighthouse Point. The builder of this waterfront new construction home wanted it to be the diamond of the neighborhood, with visitors walking in to a 25-foot tall foyer with awe-striking meadow peak and carpenter's tray ceilings.

If you have any thoughts or questions about any of these waterfront properties for sale, or if you'd like to get a more comprehensive list of all of the Stuart waterfront homes on the market, call us today. 

Posted in Tips & Advice
Oct. 11, 2018

Treasure Coast Real Estate Market Update | August 2018

The local Treasure Coast real estate market has gone through an exciting time in 2018. Treasure Coast homes are selling at a higher price, and spending less time on the market, than most periods in the last few decades. If you are thinking of buying a Treasure Coast home, selling your home on the Treasure Coast, or investing in real estate, contact us at any time. In the meantime, enjoy this market update!

Martin County Real Estate Update!

Compared to the same time in 2017, Martin County Homes are spending nearly 95% more time on the market, while inventory has dropped by 12%. Is this a sign of an upcoming market shift in Martin County real estate? Inventory remains representing a balanced market, and seller's aren't lowering much from their listed price, but the median price has slightly decreased. 

martin county real estate info

 

St. Lucie County Real Estate Update!

St. Lucie County real estate continues to be a very hot market, with median sale price up 12.5% compared to August 2018, and up over 8% in 2018 year-to-date alone. Inventory is still very low compared to the demand of St. Lucie homes, hovering around 3-4 homes supply, and sellers are still only taking a median 3.4% discount even with inventory in St. Lucie County slightly increasing.

st lucie county real estate info

 

Palm Beach County Real Estate Update! 

Real estate in Palm Beach County is still a fairly balanced market, making a small tick towards a sellers market with decreased inventory level compared to the same time last year. Not much has changed, with median sales price and months of inventory remaining the same as that time period in 2017.

palm beach county real estate info

 

 

Posted in Tips & Advice
July 12, 2018

Treasure Coast Real Estate Information for April & May 2018!

Interested in what's going on with the Treasure Coast real estate market? The images below illustrate how the markets are looking right now and year-to-date. So far, 2018 has been a great year for those buying or selling homes on the Treasure Coast. Prices have been rising across the board, and interest rates have still been low for those buying Treasure Coast real estate. If you have any questions, or if you are looking to search for homes on the Treasure Coast, use this website and give us a call any time!

Martin County Real Estate

St Lucie County Real Estate

Palm Beach County Real Estate

Posted in Tips & Advice
March 22, 2018

Treasure Coast Homestead Exemption Information

If you purchased a property in 2017 that you will use as a permanent residence, you have until March 2017 to file for Homestead exemption to reduce the amount of real estate taxes you pay on your residence. This can decrease the taxable value of your home by $25,000 or $50,000 for married couples. Below, you will find everything you need to file, the links to county websites, and the addresses and phone numbers for the Property Appraiser offices in Martin and St. Lucie Counties.

Key in mind, if you buy a home that currently has a homestead exemption, you will benefit from that for your first tax bill. Regardless, you will need to file for a homestead exemptions, it will not automatically transfer to a new owner.

What do you need to bring to file for Homestead Exemption?

  1. Your recorded deed or last tax bill.
  2. Date of occupancy.
  3. Date of birth of all applicants.
  4. Florida voter’s registration card.
  5. Florida driver’s license.
  6. Florida vehicle registration.
  7. Social security card (document with your social on it).
  8. Trust documents if the property is held in a trust.
  9. Permanent resident card (if you are not a US citizen).

Martin County Homestead Exemption Info:

Information: https://www.pa.martin.fl.us/homestead-exemption/homestead-exemption-info

Apply Online (Martin): https://www.pa.martin.fl.us/homestead-exemption/apply-online

 

Property Appraiser’s Offices:

Main Office: Martin County Property Appraiser’s Office 1111 SE Federal Highway, Suite 330, Stuart, FL 34994 (772) 288-5608 Monday – Friday 8 AM – 5 PM

Indiantown Annex – Open Part time. Call 772-288-5608 for office hours.

Government Complex 16550 Warfield Blvd., Indiantown, FL 34956

Hobe Sound Annex 11726 SE Federal Hwy., Hobe Sound, FL 33455 (772) 546-1309 Monday – Friday | 8 AM – 5 PM

 

St. Lucie County Homestead Exemption Info:

Information (St. Lucie): https://www.tcslc.com/property-tax/property-appraiser-exemptions/

 

St. Lucie County Property Appraiser Offices:

Main Office 2300 Virginia Ave, Ft. Pierce, FL 34982 Monday-Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM

PSL Office – Walton Road Annex 1664 SE Walton Rd. #104, Port St. Lucie, FL 35952 Monday – Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM

St. Lucie West Annex Building 250 NW Country Club Dr., Port St. Lucie, FL 34986 Monday – Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM

Posted in Tips & Advice
March 20, 2018

Simple Ways to Boost Treasure Coast Home Value

These are the tips I give my clients when we prepare to list their homes for sale on the Treasure Coast, and they will work for any homeowner as effective ways to improve their home’s value regardless of their budget. Keep these in mind if you are prepping to sell your home, or just want your home to be presentable to family and guests.

treasure coast kitchen

  1. Keep your Kitchen a Priority. Remember, bathrooms and kitchens can sell homes by themselves. Spending a few hundred dollars on new faucets, upgraded counter-tops, or new appliances, will pay off more than anywhere else in the house. For less than a hundred bucks, you can update old lighting fixures, refinish cabinets, and replace the handles, to make your kitchen and bathroom look modern.
  2. Optimize your Organization. Even the most dedicated hoarders can keep a low profile. Design your closets to maximize space by adding organizational shelving systems. The more you have sitting in plain site, the more your guests are looking at you stuff and not at the space and design of your home. Many times, I will show homes that are so cluttered that my clients can’t see past the blankets and shoes to see the new paint, crown molding, or newly-finished hardwood flooring.
  3. Frame an Extra Bedroom. If you have an office, den, or nursery, it can be made a “bedroom” by adding a closet. The estimated cost could be from $500 to $1,500, and this could be a $10,000 boost on an appraisal.
  4. Save with low-Maintenance Landscaping. Do your research to purchase plants that are drought-tolerant and native to your area. Not only will you save time on maintaining and watering, but your money won’t be spent on plants that won’t take to the climate and wither away.
  5. Replace Popcorn Ceilings. Few things point to a dated home more than popcorn ceilings, and for less than $100, it can be removed. You can purchase an affordable solution to soften the texture, and then simply scrape it off.
  6. Remodel your Entry. If the doorway to your home is antiquated, update it. Clean up overgrown weeds, replace dysfunctional, rusted hardware, and paint faded doors. First impressions matter, and the doorway into your home should reflect what is to follow.
  7. Trigger All of the Senses. Remember that while what people see is extremely important, smell is actually the fondest sense tied to memory. Whether you’re baking cookies, burning a fragrant candle or incense, or running a light load of laundry, make sure that your guests don’t leave smelling light dogs or cigarettes.
  8. Mind the Simple Aesthetics. Unscrewed door knobs, dangling wires, and loose faucet handles raise flags for home buyers and guests. Simple, 2-minute fixes like these keep people from thinking there are bigger issues that they aren’t seeing.
March 9, 2018

Factors that Effect Treasure Coast Home Appreciation

There is ubiquitous confusion surrounding how real estate is sold, and what caused the appreciation of real estate. When the value of Treasure Coast homes increase (or decline), there are seven major factors that we can look at in order to determine what has caused the value to change:

Treasure Coast Living Room 

  1. The Market. Inventory, demand, and other market statistics should be discussed with a tested Realtor who can accurately relay their meaning to you. There are Seller's markets, Buyer's markets, and balanced markets, and each can effect the current valuation of your real estate. Homes on the Treasure Coast benefit from a fairly consistent demand, being that the location (another supplementing factor below) is sought after for thousands of people that want to buy homes on the Treasure Coast every year.
  2. Appeal and Condition. This is what is mostly thought of as attributing to value: size, age, construction type, and some subjective emotional appeals. If your home is different from the others in your neighborhood or city, or if it is staged for sale, the perceived value will vary. One reason foreclosures on the Treasure Coast are at a discounted purchase price is because they are in disrepair and lack aesthetic appeal, which destroys the perceived value.
  3. The Land. Like Mark Twain said, "buy land, they aren't making it anymore."
  4. Inflation. Self-explanatory; inflation causes a rise in the price of goods, including real estate. This can be measured with professional statistics to determine it's exact role.
  5. Location. Homes with a proximity to good schools, major arteries, shopping centers, and other high-traffic areas can be in high demand, increasing market value.
  6. Population Growth. With increasing immigration and birthrate, demand for real estate will be increasing as their is generally a fixed amount of build-able space.
  7. Infrastructure/Municipal Improvements. There is a higher demand for homes that are near newer, more accessible infrastructure. Along those lines, the future plans of the city or county in which your property resides will have huge implications on its value. I hope this brief explanation was helpful to you and those you would like to share this with. Property valuations can vary tremendously, and are often time miscalculated by the untrained person. If you would like a valuation on a property on the Treasure Coast, or if you'd simply like to discuss this email, call me at ??.

If you have thought of selling your home on the Treasure Coast, it is important to realize that there are two types of factors that will effect your listed price: those you cannot change (inflation, market activity, etc.) and those you can (home appeal, condition, etc.). Don't stress out. If you want to sell your Treasure Coast real estate, call us today for tips and a free consultation!

Posted in Tips & Advice
Feb. 22, 2018

Interest Rates Rising for Treasure Coast Home Buyers

Mortgage interest rates have continued to climb, creating a stir for those buying homes on the Treasure Coast that want to lock in a low rate now.

The 30-year fixed-rate average is now at 4.43% (4.10% this time last year), and the 15-year fixed-rate average rose to 3.9% (3.32% a year ago). The rates are rising while Treasure Coast home values have been remaining on a steady increase.

“The 30-year rate has been on a tear in 2018, climbing 48 basis points since the start of the year and increasing for eight consecutive weeks,” said Len Kiefer, the Deputy Chief Economist at Freddie Mac.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said before Congress this week that the central bank will continue to raise interest rates at a slow and steady pace, with most expecting another increase later this month.

The Chicago Tribune notes that it doesn’t seem that mortgage rate rises will not halt any time soon. The company mentioned that nearly half of all experts surveyed on Bankrate.com say the rise will be coming within the next week.

“Until inflation concerns subside, there will be an upward bias to bond yields and mortgage rates,” said Bankrate.com Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride.

For more information on interest rates, contact us today at (772)233-9850 and get hooked up with a great local mortgage lender.

The infographic below is a brief view of how the FED’s decision to raise interest rates will affect most people.

Treasure Coast Interest Rate Infographic

Via CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/16/what-you-need-to-know-about-rising-interest-rates.html

Feb. 11, 2018

7 Ways to Finance your Treasure Coast Home Purchase

Financing seems to be the most asked about topic among all of my clients, both buyers and sellers, so I wanted to put together a comprehensive, in-depth list describing the 7 most popular methods used to purchase real estate. I’ve also included some local lenders I have worked with, and their own contact information, that you can call to get a pre-qualification and discuss the methods that will work best for you.

purchasing treasure coast real estate

Financing your Treasure Coast Real Estate:

  1. Cash - while about a quarter of investors in the US finance their deals with cash, it is obviously not a viable option for most people looking to purchase a home. While actual cash is never exchanged (title companies usually use cashier’s checks and electronic wires), there is no mortgage needed for the buyer to purchase.
  2. Conventional Mortgage - the most common type of mortgage used by home buyers and investors alike, the conventional mortgage can be either conforming or non-conforming depending on its adherence to government loan limits, and includes various programs such as adjustable-rate, interest-only, hybrid, and balloon mortgages. You do not have to put down 20% for a conventional loan, talk to one of the lenders below to get more information on following the guidelines of a conventional loan.
  3. FHA Loan - these are loans that are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and are designed for homeowners who will occupy the property. While the program does provide incentives such as low down payment (currently 3.5%), this lack of initial equity could lead to the requirement of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) that would increase the monthly payment until the purchaser got to 20% equity.
  4. VA Loan - available for military veterans and active military members, Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgages do not have a minimum credit score requirement and can often finance the entire loan without the need for a down payment. The loans are made through private lenders and partially guaranteed by the VA so long as their guidelines are met.
  5. FHA 203k - this FHA sub-set allows for increased loan amount to finance repairs or improvements to the property being purchased. While this product sounds great in theory, many buyers get fed up with the paperwork and delays that can be substantial.
  6. Hard or Private Money - hard money is obtained by private individuals or businesses that lend short-term, high-interest financing for the sole purpose of real estate investment. Similarly, private money is usually not from a professional, but an individual who is looking for higher returns with their money than they would get elsewhere.
  7. Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit (HELOC) - Using equity in current properties to finance the purchase of other homes or investments is viable for those looking to roll their equity into newer projects. If you have been able to boost your treasure coast home value, you can benefit off of your added equity and take a loan out through that increase.
Jan. 22, 2018

Home Inspection FAQ: How do Home Inspections Work?

Many of my clients, especially first-time homebuyers, have been confused or intimidated by the home inspection process when they are purchasing a home. Ordering a home inspection is a simple process that provides a lot of information, so I wanted to write an article to go over some of the most common questions and my explanations.

What is a home inspection?

An objective, visual examination of the physical structure and systems of the home, from the roof to the foundation. If problems are found on various systems, appliances, or structures, the home inspector may recommend further evaluation.

When do I get a home inspection?

You will get your home inspection during your contract’s “Inspection Period”. This period is usually the first 7-15 days after the executed contract, although it is negotiable in the purchase contract. During this time, the home buyer has time for due diligence, including inspecting the home to determine if it is to their satisfaction.

How much will a home inspection cost?

The average cost of a home inspection will be around $325, although this can range from $200 for condos and small homes, to $400 or more for larger homes. Many home inspectors also offer:

What inspections will I need from my inspector?

Wind Mitigation Inspections: this is a determination of how well your home can withstand high winds and associated conditions; this can effect which insurance credits you can get depending on window type, roof age/condition, etc.

Wood-Destroying Organism Inspections: this inspection will testify to whether or not there is any evidence of past or current damage done by wood-destroying pests.

Four-Point Inspections: usually a requirement for insurance on homes over 25 year old, this inspection focuses on four main areas of the home: electrical wiring/panels, plumbing connections/fixtures, roof, and HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning).

The prices for these inspections should be discussed with individual inspectors as they are often rolled into the total price of the home inspection unless ordered separately.

How do I find a good home inspector?

I have compiled a list of trustworthy, thorough, and professional home inspectors to whom I refer my clients. If you have specific questions, or would like to form a relationship before scheduling an inspection on your future home, let me know and I can send you contact information.

Purchasing a home can be a stressful time, and ordering an inspection for your future home is a critical step that will provide a wealth of information moving forward. That being said, inspections are usually a smooth, cost-effective process when you are purchasing a home.