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!

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.

Jan. 8, 2018

10 Tips for Treasure Coast Home Buyers

Buying a home on the Treasure Coast is not as nerve-wracking as some people (or real estate agents!) make it out to be, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. It is probably the biggest purchase you will make in your life, but the complicated process can be streamlined and controlled by a responsive, knowledgeable, Realtor. To shed some light on the home-buying journey, I've compiled these 10 tips that will help you be prepared to purchase, feel comfortable with the process, and save some money.

  1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage. Talk with a lender that can discuss give you a firm grasp on what you can afford. When you want to make an offer, the home seller will want to know you can get a loan, so if you don't do this ahead of time, you may miss out!
  2. Explore Down Payment Options. There are many programs out there that a buyer can utilize, some that require no down payment, like a VA loan. There are also state and federal assistance programs, tax credits, and other incentives that can be discussed with your lender that can save you THOUSANDS of dollars.
  3. Think Long-Term. Your home truly is an investment, meaning that it has the opportunity to appreciate over time if you make a smart purchase and take care of it. When you're looking at houses, think about how difficult it will be to resell the house when the time comes and balance that with how long you think you will be there.
  4. Start Saving for Down Payment & Closing Costs. Over-estimate how much you will need for these expenses. That way, if you end up getting closing costs covered by the seller, or if your loan program lowers the down payment you need, you have money saved to invest into the home after closing, or allocate elsewhere. The last thing you want is surprises, so it pays to over-prepare for your out-of-pocket expenses.
  5. Hire the Right Buyer's Agent. Your real estate agent is not just a person showing you properties for sale. Their most important job is once your offer has been accepted, because they will be in charge of keeping tabs on the title company, loan originator, appraiser, inspector, seller/buyer, escrow company, and endless other people involved in the transaction to make sure all deadlines are met and you are on schedule for closing. It takes a responsive, organized, leader to get this done, so make sure you are comfortable with the agent representing you.
  6. Be Prepared to Compromise. Know which aspects are most important to you, and what things can be changed to fit your needs easily. Some people pass on great homes because of paint or carpet color that can be easily changed, when the bones of the house and neighborhood are exactly what they want.
  7. Make a Strong Offer. Consider how much you are willing to pay, under or over the listed price, to obtain your ideal home. If there are multiple offers, you really need to consider a competitive offer. You'll also want to include a personalized letter with your story that your agent can present with the purchase contract.
  8. Set Aside Money for After Closing. Your list of "needs" and "wants" starts to really pile up after you close on your house. On top of new decorations and furniture, you'll also have to pay turn-on fees and deposits for utilities, cable, internet, etc., so make sure you have some money set aside and aren't surprised.
  9. Pay an Extra Mortgage Payment Every Year. This is an age-old recommendation, and I have seen it save people hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest. If you have extra money in your budget, throw it at your mortgage so you aren't paying interest on that money. You'll pay off your home quicker, and save a lot of money altogether.
  10. Calm Down. Buying a home can be intimidating with all of the moving pieces, complicated steps, and paperwork, but having a top-producing, competent real estate agent on your side can smooth out the process. In the end, you will be making monthly payments for your home, rather than paying for someone else's through rent, so smile and enjoy the process of being a homeowner.

 

Posted in Tips & Advice
Dec. 27, 2017

Homeowner's Insurance for your Treasure Coast Home

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home on the Treausre Coast, and you will take out a mortgage for the purchased property, you'll want to know the ins and outs of homeowner's insurance. Call us today if you need a quick quote, and we can provide some great industry professionals that will get you one in hours, if not minutes, for your home on the Treasure Coast. If you are renting a home, you won't need homeowner's insurance, but renter's insurance is another option you may want to discuss with your insurance agent.

What Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover?

Property damage, personal property loss, personal liability, and added living costs are all covered. Unless otherwise noted in your coverage, or unless you have separate coverage, earthquakes, mold, floods, sinkholes, and pools, are all not typically covered.

How Much Insurance Do I Need?

You'll need to calculate how much you would need to cover the included items above, should anything unfortunate occur, but this is something you can always go over with your insurance agent. You may want to let them know if you've got expensive items such as antiques, rare collections, jewelry, etc., so they are aware ahead of time.

How Much Does Insurance Cost?

One rule of thumb is that insurance cost around $35/month for each $100,000 of home value. That said, insurance rates fluctuate substantially depending on location (crime, hurricanes, fires, etc?), credit score, age of the home, replacement cost of the home, and your age. The best way to decrease your payment is to bundle services and raise your deductible.

Who Can I Contact for Affordable, Trustworthy Insurance Quotes?

If you have a home on the Treasure Coast, or you are searching for homes for sale on the Treasure Coast and need insurance, call us today to get linked up with an insurance professional. The insurance agents I have worked with are valuable resources that provide more information and can answer deeper questions that aren't answered here.

How Do I Set Up My Insurance Policy?

After you have done your home inspection, you will have all of the documentation you will need to provide to your insurance agent. From there, they will speak with your lender to "bind" your policy, meaning they will provide confirmation that they will cover the property with the quote that they provide you.

As always, I hope this article provided some value to anyone thinking about insurance on their home. We truly put a lot of time and effort into curating valuable content, so if you have any suggestions, thoughts, or comments, give us a call - we'd love to hear them.

Dec. 20, 2017

1031 Exchange: How it Works

One program that many people have heard about, but few have much knowledge about, is the 1031 Exchange. In response to the myriad misconceptions I've seen circulating about it, I've decided to shed some light on what the 1031 Exchange is, how it works, and how it can benefit its user. 

As a whole, the 1031 Exchange is a way to defer taxes when a home buyer sells one investment property and rolls the proceeds into another. Normally, you would need to pay capital gains taxes on these proceeds, but in this instance those taxes can be deferred with gains being used into the purchase of a similar investment property. When buying a home on the Treasure Coast, the 1031 Exchange can provide an immediate tax savings, but keep in mind these taxes are deferred, not eliminated.

Who can take advantage of the 1031 Exchange? The IRS defines the owners of investment and business property that may qualify for a Section 1031 deferral as "individuals, C corporations, S corporations, partnerships (general or limited), limited liability companies, trusts and any other taxpaying entity may set up an exchange of business or investment properties for business or investment properties under Section 1031." This seems vague, of course, but there are also a few rules that are not as loose.

treasure coast 1031 exchange

Real Estate Cannot Be Used for Personal Use

The 1031 Exchange solely applies to investment property. It cannot be used by personal residences, second homes, etc.

Must Be a "Like-Kind" Exchange

Most real estate will be "like kind" to other real estate, as quality or grade is not important. One exception would be that real estate in the United States is not "like kind" to foreign property. Certain types of property are specifically excluded from Section 1031: inventory or stock in trade; stocks, bonds, or notes; securities or debt; partnership interests; certificates of trust. The new investment must also be equal or better value, which can be spread out over multiple properties (e.g. you may sell a $500,000 investment home in Stuart and purchase two $250,000 homes for sale in Port St. Lucie).

Timelines to Meet for 1031 Exchange

45 Days: this is the time you have from the closing of your current investment to purchase a new investment. You don't have to close on the new investment within the 45-day window, but you will need to identify it, meaning delivering a written notice or offer to the seller of that next property.

180 Days: Once you have identified your next investment, you have 180 days to close on that next property and have title in your name.

You Can't Access the Proceeds

One very important rule of Section 1031 is that you cannot have access to the proceeds of sale of the previous investment. The money will needs to be handled by a qualified third party, among whom the IRS has excluded: Realtors, accountants, attorneys, investment bankers, anyone who was your employee in the past 2 years.

Remember to get a local market report or check the latest sold homes on the Treasure Coast to determine the activity around you. From there, contact us 24/7 at (772)233-9850 to get a more analytical and precise valuation for your own home.