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!

Feb. 11, 2019

Selling Your Home: A Step-by-Step Guide for First-Time Home Sellers

This real estate guide will reduce the stress and uncertainty that many people feel when it comes time to sell your Treasure Coast home.

When any individual or family decides to sell their house, they quickly realize that a real estate transaction can be more unforgiving and difficult than they could have ever imagined. Many different parties come together to create home sales, and since there are so many moving pieces, there is a large margin for error. Using this guide, you'll be able to minimize that margin and sell your home with minimal stress at a great market value.

Find the Market Value with your Real Estate Agent

The first step will be finding a value that the market will dictate for your property. Call your Treasure Coast real estate agent and set up a meeting, so they can be prepared with the latest comparable sales and other relevant market and neighborhood data. Because every area is different, your Realtor can help you get hyper-focused to determine the fair market value of your home. This is always the first step in the home-selling process, because the price you will want to be comfortable with your home valuation, and your real estate agent's marketing plan, before deciding to list your home for sale or spend all the time that goes into prepping your home to show well.

Prepare Your Home for Sale

Getting your home ready for the market can mean a myriad of things for different people. Some will do nothing, and others will go above and beyond to ensure the home sells quickly and for top-dollar. When you prepare your home for listing, the first thing you should think of is getting a home inspection so that any major issues that may come up with a future buyer can be addressed ahead of time. Many weary and first-time home buyers will see value when an owner has made important repairs before selling their home. The last thing you'll want after getting excited to sell your home is finding out that the roof is leaking or that your electrical isn't to code.

Simultaneously, you'll want to rethink the space in your home, and the word to remember for this is declutter. When staging your home for photography and showings, you want potential buyers to see the space, not your belongings, and for this less is always more. This means clearing and cleaning your counters, shelves, and coffee tables. You'll also want to eliminate items that can cause a buyer to have second thoughts about the condition of the home - this includes ash trays, cat litter boxes and other pet items, etc. Your home should look clean, but also lived-in.

Show Your House Like it's On HGTV

So by now, you have gotten with your real estate agent, decided on a fair market value for your home, gone over their marketing plan, and have prepped your home to hit the market. The next thing you'll get is a call from your agent to schedule showings for potential buyers. These first impressions are vital, so here are a few tips to ensure your home is in it's best light during showings:

  1. LEAVE. Buyers will spend less time in a home that is occupied because they feel they are encroaching on your space. They also won't talk as much among each other about the home and the space it offers.
  2. Maximize Lighting. Turn on every light in the home, and open the blinds so natural lighting can enter as well. When lit, rooms look larger and more inviting.
  3. Target the Senses. Playing some soft piano music and lighting some candles can leave a great impression on buyers and get showings off to a great start.  
  4. Enhance Curb Appeal. Make sure that your lawn is mowed regularly, your house numbers can be easily read, your windows are washed, and any pressure-cleaning has already been done.   

Entertain Offers & Negotiate the Sale of Your Home

Before getting to closing, you'll want to work with your real estate agent to make sure you're getting the highest net amount for your property. Talk with your agent about the estimated bottom line for any offer you get, and compare that with other important items, such as contingencies, important dates, and financial qualification. Many buyers know how to make a strong offer on a home when they are motivated, so a strong offer on your home will tell you a lot about how sold they are on your house. Once you have accepted an offer, your real estate professional will be in charge of keeping tabs on all of the parties involved to ensure a smooth closing.

Posted in Tips & Advice
Jan. 28, 2019

Client Quotes: The Best Home Buying Tips I Ever Got

We asked clients what the best home buying advice they ever received was, and how it helped them save time, money, stress, or all of the above!

Overestimate the Cost of the House

"We really got into the numbers for our home, and it paid off. We got a lot of estimates from the lender you hooked us up with as far as monthly payments, closing costs, insurance premiums, and the like, so that was a good start. We had friends who said to make sure we budgeted for everything, and we did - from monthly maintenance and pest control to moving costs and utility bills. We bought homes in Palm City before, so being able to put everything in a spreadsheet and have you negotiate for that bottom line was invaluable." - Spencer S 

Understand the Steps to Buy a Home

"I know this might be trivial, but for us the best home-buying advice was when right before we bought our Port St. Lucie house with you - we sat down in your office and you laid out the process for us. It took away the uneasiness - the anxiety and unknown - of buying a new home. We didn't know how to finance a home, or what our options were, and we didn't know when anything would be done or what our role was. After that meeting with you, we were ready to go because once we understood the process and felt comfortable, we were really ready to go." - Marcia & Tom H 

Your Real Estate Agent Matters!

"The first home we purchased, we used a family friend, because we didn't really know what a Realtor did. We just figured they were all interchangeable essentially. When we were referred to you guys to help us with our current home, we realized the difference in agent capability and just how valuable having a great local real estate agent can be. Especially when the buyer is typically not paying the commission, it makes sense to make sure you have the best representation in your corner before buying real estate. We've talked about it frequently, that you have saved us thousands of dollars and plenty sleepless nights." - Carol B

Know How a Treasure Coast Property is Valued

"Until I got pre-approved and started seeing homes with you, I didn't really understand the science behind what affects the value of a home. Being able to talk with you and say, 'OK, these four homes sold in the last few months and this is how their condition and location and everything compare to this house', it really opened everything up to me. It made the house purchase so common sense because we're so used to this HGTV type of thing where you just make an offer and see what happens. What a terrible idea. You need to go over the comparable sales, what's going on in the area, how the market is doing - but that's why people hire you, right?" - Stacey L

Posted in Tips & Advice
Jan. 25, 2019

What To Do Immediately After Closing on Your Home

New Home Owners

You've signed the papers and have the keys to your new home - Congrats! Now what...

Working towards closing on a new home is a process in itself. First you learn about different ways to finance your home, then you go through the labor of negotiating on a home, and then you work your way to the closing table. But your job isn't done then! Sure you have your movers scheduled and your utilities set up, but there are some other things that you should have on your to-do list in the hours and days after closing.

1. Safely Store Closing & Mortgage Documents

When you leave closing, you'll have a copy of the mortgage, title insurance, survey, and many other documents that you signed or are simply pertinent to your ownership of the home. Take a minute to store them in a safe place in case you ever want to look back on anything for reference. Much of this material will be beneficial when you go to sell your house as well. 

2. Change Door Locks

You truly never know who had a key to the home that you purchased, so it is always a good idea to spend the small amount of money on replacing and entry locks. This is something that shouldn't wait more than a few days after closing on your new home.

3. Set Up a Home Maintenance Check-List

Do a quick search for weekly, monthly, and annual maintenance points, and set up a routine for you to look after your appliances and fixtures to ensure everything is in proper working condition. When the time comes to sell your Treasure Coast home, you don't want the buyer of your home to have a home inspection and find a surprise. This step will save you thousands while you own the home and when you decide to sell the property. 

4. Paint & Clean BEFORE Moving In

If you plan to paint any walls or replace any carpet (both great ideas), it is wise to do it before you start moving furniture into your new home. I know you think you will get to it eventually, but my experience had told me that if you don't do it before moving in, it will stay on the to-do list for years. Also, much of the smell inside of a home is in the paint and flooring, so replacing, touching up, or cleaning those will allow you to start from scratch with your own scent in your new home.

5. Inform Friends & Colleagues of Your Move

Within a day or two of closing, you'll want to notify the USPS of your new address so they can forward any mail that goes to your previous home. Many home buyers also send out cards to friends, relatives, and work colleagues to alert them of the move. Other parties to think about include banks (and credit cards), schools your children attend, and any subscriptions for newspapers and magazines. When you buy a home, you'll naturally set up internet, phone, and cable, so that should work itself out.

6. Meet the Neighborhoods

Why wait on meeting the people around you? Host a house-warming and neighborhood welcoming party at your house and meet the people you will be sharing many smiles and waves with the next few years. The best means of security in a neighborhood are watchful neighbors, and they double as an emergency contact if anything goes wrong.

7. Update Important Documents

Now that your permanent address has changed, you'll want to update that on your driver's license, vehicle registration, voter ID card, etc. If you are filing for homestead exemption, you'll want to get this done before you apply.

Posted in Tips & Advice
Jan. 23, 2019

Making a Strong Offer: How To Place an Effective Bid on Treasure Coast Real Estate

Tried and true home-buying tips on making an acceptable offer for homes on the Treasure Coast.

When most buyers, especially first-time home buyers, think about making an offer on a home, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the purchase price. And make no mistake, the price you pay for the home is important, but it is only one of many factors that determines how attractive that offer may look to a seller. If you are looking to buy homes on the Treasure Coast, this article should provide some interesting information. While it is specifically written for our area, you can really use this blueprint in most states in the US.

Put Ample Amount of Skin in the Game

Part of a great offer includes an Escrow Deposit, where the buyer of the property gives funds to a third party as good-faith money in the event that they default on the contract. Think about it, if you are selling a home, when you accept an offer you are effectively taking your home off the market. If you're going to commit like that, you will want your buyer to be as committed as you are. If you have a question about specific amounts, contact us.

Plan the Closing Date Appropriately

Talk to the seller about their plans before you make an offer. That way, when you make an offer, everyone's timelines already align. If you have to wait six months to close, that may not work with the seller unless they have similar plans. Whatever the case, you want to have an idea where the seller stands so that you can make the best home offer possible.

Get Pre-Approved for a Favorable Financing Option

There are many different ways to finance real estate, but you should be pre-approved before you even think to look at homes. Not only because you want to know what you want to spend, but also because you never know which loan program will be the most advantageous for you and what homes will suit that financing. When a home seller sees that the offer is contingent on the buyer getting financing for the property, they want to ensure that (1) the loan officer is reputable, (2) the buyer is qualified, (3) the timeline for the approval is sufficient, and (4) the type of financing is appropriate. 

Negotiate Who Pays for Title Agent and Title Policy

Another negotiable aspect of a purchase offer is who pays "title", meaning title insurance and associated searches/fees. Title insurance typically costs around $5.75 per thousand dollars of purchase price for homes up to $100,000 and $5.00 per thousand dollars for homes greater than $100,000, so this cost can seriously vary and become a huge negotiating factor. Whoever pays also determines the closing agent, which some parties also see as beneficial. Contact us if you have questions about this, and know that when the time comes to place an offer, this is one other factor that will determine the bottom line of both parties.

Don't Get Greedy with the Inspection Period

Have the inspection done as soon as possible. When the seller sees that the buyer wants a small inspection period (also known as "due diligence period"), they know that they aren't simply trying to tie up the property and that they are serious about their intentions to purchase the home. When you make an offer that is contingent on having a month to have an inspection, most sellers will assume that the buyer is not serious, and most importantly will not be comfortable taking the home off the market from other potential buyers for that long.

Posted in Tips & Advice
Jan. 22, 2019

The Most Important Repairs to Make Before Selling your Home

Keep the value of your home from falling by making these critical repairs before putting it on the market.

Before you decide to sell your home, you want to ensure that every buyer will see it in its best light and that each showing will exemplify the value that your home offers. Before listing your property for sale, this article will go over some crucial repairs to make that a future buyer may or may not see, and could cause you to get low offers or poor inspections down the line. Keep in mind, this article covers repairs of your home, which ensure the home is in good working condition and that a buyer, or a home inspector, don't see things that will cause unnecessary negotiation. This is separate from upgrades, which are usually cosmetic, optional, and boost the value of a home.

 

Faulty Appliances

Repairs House Real Estate

If you have a kitchen appliance, air conditioner, etc., that is not functioning, it is almost always best to take care of the problem yourself. Any potential buyer will usually imagine a much higher estimate to fix a problem than it would cost you to simply make the repair. It could also lead to a buyer backing out of the deal if the item is not disclosed beforehand.

 

Clean/Repair Flooring

Flooring Stuart Home 

In South Florida, our flooring gets more weathered than anywhere else in the country. The rain, dirt, and year-round humidity can take a toll, and potential buyers will be turned off by soiled tile grout, ripped carpet, and dinged-up wood floors. When we are consulting our clients before they sell any of their Treasure Coast real estate, we always recommend making any necessary replacements and a nice deep clean.

 

Water Stains

treasure coast house

You might know that the water stain in the ceiling is from a decade ago, but a buyer will see that and instantly think they have a problem. Any evidence of water damage to the walls, ceiling, or cabinets should be immediately fixed. Have a plumber or contractor come out to ensure there isn't any more leaking occurring, and then cover up the issue. These kinds of things can even cause problems during some home appraisals if they are FHA or VA, because they are protecting the home buyer from potential issues.

 

Pet Damage

Pet Damage in House

Whatever devastation your pets have created, fix it as though there was nothing there. If your house reeks like cat, deep clean the carpets, if your cute puppy scratched at the bedroom door every morning, replace it. Minor pet issues get potential buyers thinking about how responsible and diligent the owner was about the rest of the home, and before you know it they're wondering what else they should be worried about. 

 

Repair Walls

Fixing Wall in House

If you are moving out before starting to show the house for sale, be sure to cover your tracks after you remove TV wall mounts, picture frames, and shelving. Also, if you ran into any walls while moving furniture, don't overlook that. Do some minor dry-wall patching and painting to make the walls look like new again, and you will retain more value out of your home for it.

Posted in Home Improvement
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