10 Real Estate Tips for Sellers and Buyers

High demand in the Emerald Coast real estate market and low interest rates have continued to drive sales in 2018. This puts sellers in a great position to sell their property in an active market and earn equity from their investment. Buyers still have the opportunity to purchase at fair prices and receive the benefits of lower interest rates.

Here are 10 tips to help both sellers and buyers in our current market.

1. First-time buyers: Get that starter home now

And we mean now! More than half of home sales nationwide in 2017 were expected to be to first-time buyers, and mostly to the millennials (19 to 34 years old). That means competition — and bidding wars — could become fierce for starter homes. There are many ‘starter’ homes in the Destin area that are coming on the market and can be purchased at great prices and with a little sweat equity, become amazing beach homes. Santa Rosa Beach and South Walton have seen a boom in new communities offering great homes and amenities. These communities are selling out fast and building equity quickly. Grabbing a home in one of these neighborhoods could turn out to be a great investment.

Paradise Cove Pineview

Check out Paradise Cove – South Walton’s newest residential community sitting on 20 acres of picturesque property and located less than one quarter mile from the Emerald Coast Middle School, and one quarter mile from Highway 395 which leads to Publix and the beautiful Seagrove Beach.

Contact the Nathan Abbott Team, Paradise Cove’s real estate sales team, to learn more about this wonderful neighborhood – Phone: 850-724-2975  /  Email: Info@ParadiseCoveSales.com

2. Sellers: Hire the right agent

Many times, the best investment a seller can make is time spent researching agents. A bad hire can cost sellers tens of thousands of dollars and months of worried waiting.

First, look at an agent’s online marketing material and listings. Is there good photography or video? Does it “pop”? Are descriptions accurate and complimentary without seeming exaggerated? Then, look at profiles of the agents on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media; and be sure to read web reviews. What kind of vibe is an agent sending out?

Narrow your search to three agents and interview each, ideally in person. Ask for sales-activity reports, existing listings and time-on-the-market averages, plus the requisite local comps.

Here are a list of questions you can ask potential agents to better understand how they work and if they are a good fit for you and your property – Buyer Questions to Ask Any Agent.

3. Buyers: There’s more loan money out there

Those who couldn’t get mortgages during the downturn because they didn’t have 20 percent to put down can find affordable financing again. Borrowers with lower FICO scores are now getting conforming mortgage loans.

Our connections with great local mortgage companies means you’ll have a loan officer who truly understands our market and the nuances of Northwest Florida real estate. In addition, they offer great loan packages and can negotiate the best rate for your situation, including FHA, VA and rural loans.

4. Sellers: It may be a seller’s market but…

Sellers can do several simple things to enhance appearance, increase buyer interest and boost their property’s profile:

• Selective renovations: Instead of wholesale renovations from which sellers recoup maybe 60 percent on investment, do light makeovers everywhere, with an eye on the kitchen and bathrooms. They’re far more cost-effective.
• Clean, clean and clean some more: It’s hard for buyers to picture themselves living in a dirty house. Scrub floors, baths, kitchens, windows and walls, and be sure to clean, vacuum and deodorize rugs. This is simple but effective.
• Depersonalize, declutter: Show the space, not the contents. Box up family photos, kids’ school papers and excess art, and store bulky and worn furniture. Organize your closets to make them look half empty.
• Illuminate: Think bright and cheery. Open curtains and blinds and add brighter light bulbs in dark areas. Repaint where needed but use neutral colors.

5. Renters: It might be time to buy

In many cases, rents are rising faster than home values, yet mortgage rates remain low. That, and the fact that renters now account for 37 percent of households (the highest level in 50 years), seem to indicate an imminent coming-out party for renters-turned-buyers, especially if they plan to stay put for five to 10 years after buying.

Palms of Freeport Townhomes

Palms of Freeport, located just 15 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, is a perfect example where owning your home is better than renting. This is a great investment opportunity for full-time living or as a rental unit, and there are approximately 20 units left. Just across the street from Freeport Elementary and close to the new Publix and Hwy 331, Palms of Freeport offers a great, central location.

These desirable townhomes have been renting for $1,100 per month with 100% occupancy and a waiting list! Monthly mortgage payments, including HOA fees, taxes, and insurance are only approx. $990 a month.* Own for less than what you can rent for. The last unit sold for $135,500 and prices are scheduled to increase.

Sample mortgage rates provided by:
Sue Botelho, Waterstone Mortgage
Sales Manager, NMLS# 262520
Office 850.362.6901 / Mobile 850.797.7946
SBotelho@WaterstoneMortgage.com
www.Sue-Botelho.com

*Rates effective 06/13/18. State of Florida Licensee Exempt. Please contact us for a personalized rate quote. Waterstone Mortgage Corporation (NMLS #186434) is a wholly owned subsidiary of WaterStone Bank SSB (NASDAQ: WSBF). All loan requests are subject to credit approval as well as specific program requirements and guidelines. For some programs, income and property restrictions may apply. Information is subject to change without notice. This is not an offer for an extension of credit or a commitment to lend. Cash reserves may be required. If an escrow (impound) account is established for the payment of real estate taxes and/or homeowners insurance, your payment may be higher.

Take advantage of this prime rental opportunity and secure your unit before prices increase. Contact Nathan Abbott or Annie Belter for your private tour and more information about Palms of Freeport – 850-378-2112 / Info@NathanAbbottTeam.com

6. Buyers: If you’re a buyer, don’t believe the house is yours

Don’t bank on a done deal or other verbal promises from listing agents until you sign a contract. Remember, a verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Get it in writing or it doesn’t count!

In heated markets across the country, sales agents are giving buyers false hope and using their offers to bid up the price for preferred buyers who they think can pay more and close faster. Have other homes in mind.

Strategies such as preapproval (versus prequalification), proof of funding, closing flexibility and the always-risky practice of waiving inspection and repair contingencies can help sway buyers.

7. Sellers: The grass is always greener…

… in yards with a “sold” sign. Major interior or exterior upgrades typically aren’t needed, but a little attention outdoors is a must.

Surveys show that strong curb appeal can increase prices by 10 percent or more. Greener grass, whether derived from new sod or fertilizer and water, is a must. New shrubs, plantings and flowers also project a welcoming feel. Sellers typically enjoy a 100 percent return on the money they put into curb appeal.

Another form of green, sustainable landscaping has become a value-add for buyers. Native plants, native grasses and perennials that require less water and attention fill that bill. Especially with Florida weather, native plants than can withstand drought and months of downpours are enticing to buyers, and will help make the yard easier for you to maintain until you property sales.

Other outdoor cleaning like pressure washing, repainting doors and shutters and sprucing up lanai’s give buyers a great first impression for your property. For condo owners, make sure to clean your balcony and outdoor furniture. You can even ‘stage’ the balcony to make it more inviting.

8. Sellers and buyers: Know the state of your market

A balanced housing market is defined as one with an average inventory of 6.5 months, according to Texas A&M University Real Estate Center research. When inventory remains below equilibrium, sellers enjoy more control over prices and terms, and the area becomes a seller’s market.
When inventory lingers well above stasis, you have a buyer’s market where sellers must get more serious about price reductions, credits and throw-ins. Contact the Nathan Abbott Team to receive an updated market inventory for our local service areas, including Okaloosa Island, Destin, Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Freeport and Panama City Beach.

9. Sellers: House going up for sale later in the year?

Do some prep work now. Grab your camera or smartphone and do an exterior photo shoot in the summer on a nice bright day with the landscaping freshly updated. Do the same thing in the fall as the plants in your landscape start to change.

This way, if your house goes on the market in the winter or early spring, you have photos showing how great it looks with all your landscaping blooming and grass green. It’s a much better way to showcase your home than to wait until late winter when everything is still dead and brown and mucky.

Take a preliminary inventory, too. Look through your attic, closets, basement and garage to see what stored items you’ll want to keep, give away or sell before listing your property. This will help you determine whether you’ll need a storage unit when your home is on the market and if there are any problem areas that need repairs or attention.

It’s also a good time to start discussing financing options with a local lender and interview prospective listing agents who also might provide additional preparation tips.

10. Buyers: Relocating near the Gulf of Bay?

If you’re wanting to buy a house or condo on the Gulf of Mexico or Choctawhatchee Bay, an important thing to consider is weather and insurance realities. Many homes in our local bay areas are required to have flood insurance. Gulf-front homes and condos also need special insurance that you may not be aware of.

Parts of Florida saw 20 percent increases in 2016 for insurance rates and could possibly see more as time goes on. Insurers also are imposing coverage caps so there’s no guarantee you’ll be made whole post-catastrophe.

Some home sellers and their agents are conveniently not disclosing these realities, so buyers will have to ask pointed questions and do their own research. We are here to help make sure all cost of ownership for a property is provided before you’re at the closing table. Contact Nathan Abbott with any questions about local properties and insurance requirements.

What else do I need to know?

There are many tips that can help you navigate the Emerald Coast real estate market. We are here to be your trusted real estate advisor. Contact us with any questions about buying or selling a property from Destin to Panama City Beach.

Search all properties for sale along the Emerald Coast.

nathan-abbott-realtor
Nathan Abbott
ResortQuest Real Estate | Broker Associate, Realtor®
Nathan Abbott Team | CEO
850.812.3261
Info@NathanAbbottTeam.com

Buyer Questions to Ask Any Agent

There are a multitude real estate professionals along Florida’s Emerald Coast. You probably already know a Florida Realtor or picked up a few cards while vacationing in the Destin area. One important factor when purchasing real estate in Northwest Florida is choosing the right agent for your needs.

There are many things to take into consideration when choosing your agent. Most people will agree that experience in the local market is key. Other areas to evaluate include how often does the agent work with buyers (vs. sellers), does the agent have support from a team or broker, does the agent work full-time and how knowledgeable is the agent about the specific areas and properties you are interested in.

You can ask neighbors, friends, and family for referrals or find a variety of agents online. Referrals from someone you know are very helpful and can give you insight about the agent’s personality and dependability.

You will most likely spend a lot of time touring properties with your agent and exchanging emails and phone calls. Personality plays an important role in how comfortable you feel with your agent. Do you prefer someone who is easy going or aggressive? Do you tend to communicate better with a certain age range or gender? Before choosing an agent, spend a little time thinking about what type of personality you feel is best suited for your situation.

A good buyer’s agent should possess most of these qualities:
– Patient and compassionate
– Good listener
– Problem solver who is dedicated to figuring out what you want
– Polite and professional
– Loves showing homes
– Understands how homes are constructed and how to make improvements that increase value
– Organized and detail oriented
– Possesses excellent follow up skills
– Able to develop insight for the rock-bottom price a seller may accept

Below are several questions to ask yourself and potential agents before choosing an agent to assist you in the purchase of your Emerald Coast property. The Nathan Abbott Team strives to build lasting relationships with our clients and want you to be comfortable and informed from the very beginning. Feel free to contact us to discuss why our Buyer Specialist are able to serve as your trusted real estate advisors along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

If you would like to go over any of the questions below, have additional questions or simply want to discuss the local real estate market from Okaloosa Island to Panama City Beach, contact us today.

Questions to Ask a Buyer’s Agent

What percentage of your clients are buyers (vs. sellers)?
Many agents work with both buyers and sellers. Some agents (like our Buyer Specialists) work mainly with buyers and are able to better tend to a buyer’s needs.

Do you work full-time or part-time as a real estate agent?
If an agent has a second job or only works in real estate part-time, it may be a little harder to reach them when needed.

How many years of education and experience do you have? 
Experience and continuing education typically make for better agents. But that doesn’t mean that freshly licensed agents aren’t valuable. Many new agents have access to mentors and fresh training. Newer agents tend to have more time to concentrate on you. But you have to be aware they may be learning a few things as your transaction progresses. Experienced agents are more likely to do less ‘hand-holding’, may be more direct with you in regards to your real estate desires, but also tend to have a lot of network connections that will greatly benefit you.

In which neighborhoods/cities do you primarily work?
If you have an idea of where you want to purchase property, finding an agent with knowledge and purchasing or selling experience in those areas/neighborhoods is a wonderful advantage to you. Usually, they have already established connections with other agents and homeowners in the area and are able to find you the property you are looking for more efficiently. Agents who have insight into the local school systems, utilities, local contractors and inspectors are very helpful.

Can you provide me with the names and phone numbers of past clients who have agreed to be references? 
Insights from past customers can help you learn more about an agent and give you a greater comfort level. You can sometimes find reviews on the agent’s website or LinkedIn profile.

What is your strategy for meeting my needs?
As a buyer, you will need to know how the agent will search for properties. All agents have access to online software to perform detailed property searches. Some agents also attend local real estate tours and open houses to be more aware of available properties in the area. Your agent should be able to set you up with email alerts about specific neighborhoods or areas with properties that match your search parameters. Knowing how your agent searches for properties and how they plan to share those properties with you will help you decide which agent’s communication style you prefer.

What is your average list-price-to-sales-rice ratio?
Excluding hot seller’s market, a good buyer’s agent should be able to negotiate a sales price that is lower than list price. Buyer’s agent ratios should fall below 99% of ask price. Sometimes properties are listed above market value and can skew the ratios. While these ratios are not extremely important, it is nice to know if your buyer’s agent has a track record of efficiently negotiating lower prices with listing agents

Will I be working with you directly or handed off to anyone else?
In other words, will you handle all aspects of my transaction or will you delegate some tasks to a sales associate or administrative assistant? A knowledgeable assistant can be invaluable, but you want to make sure you can connect with your agent regularly. Our Buyer Specialists work with you through the entire process. We have a closing department that handles all the details of your property’s closing. However, your real estate agent is always up-to-date and accessible to you during your real estate purchase.

What are the top three things that separate you from your competition?
While this question can easily be answered with a variety of standard lines, a good agent won’t hesitate to answer. Everyone has their own checklist, but most clients are looking for agents who say they are honest, trustworthy, assertive, excellent negotiators, readily available by phone or e-mail, good communicators, friendly, and able to maintain a good sense of humor under trying circumstances.

What else do I need to know?
Pay close attention to how the real estate agent answers this question because there is always something you need to know, always. You want an agent to take her time with you – to make sure you feel comfortable and secure with her knowledge and experience. They should know how to listen and how to counsel you, how to ask the right questions to find out what they need to know create the best real estate experience for you.

If you are interested in purchasing or selling property along Florida’s Emerald Coast, The Nathan Abbott Team is here to guide you and be your trusted real estate advisor.

Search all properties for sale along the Emerald Coast.

nathan-abbott-realtor
Nathan Abbott
ResortQuest Real Estate | Broker Associate, Realtor®
Nathan Abbott Team | CEO
850.812.3261
Info@NathanAbbottTeam.com

Vizcaya at Dune Allen, 30A

Vizcaya at Dune Allen – New Luxury Construction

Vizcaya at Dune Allen Offers New Construction Luxury Properties on 30A

Vizcaya at Dune Allen is one of the most luxurious neighborhoods west of Highway 331. The Gulf front community features luxury beach homes on Scenic Highway 30A in South Walton. Vizcaya is a low density gated community with only 32 residences, offering a private community pool with bar area and pool cabanas. Three beach walk overs provide easy access to 1,000 feet of community beach frontage.

Dune Allen Drive in Vizcaya is home to several new construction, Mediterranean style luxury beach homes. These multi-level homes feature Gulf views from multiple balconies and interior spaces. High-end finishes and quality craftsmanship are prominent throughout these new construction homes.

A short walk or bike ride to Gulf Place, Stinky’s Fish Camp and other local venues, Vizcaya offers one of the best locations for luxury rental property on the west side of 30A. The convenient location makes home in Vizcaya prime vacation rental properties.

Preview New Construction Homes at Vizcaya

1006 Dune Allen VizcayaVizcaya New Construction Homes – Currently Available

1006 Dune Allen Drive, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

This brand new construction home is currently the lowest priced home available in Vizcaya! Enjoy brand-new finishes for less!

This exceptional Gulf view lot encompasses a beautiful brand new residence soon to be completed. Enjoy this phenomenal 5 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom home offering stunning Gulf views and located only one lot from the beach. Beautiful and classic Mediterranean architecture for the exterior and luxury contemporary finishes throughout the interior offering a coastal color palate. The home features an open floor plan with a 2 car garage, a private residential elevator, 10-11 ft. ceilings (cathedral on top floor), spacious bedrooms, tile and wood floors throughout, wood beams, contemporary gas fireplace, Viking kitchen appliances, quartz and marble counters throughout and two large wrap around balconies. This home is expected to be completed the beginning of 2017, in perfect time for the peak rental season.

View Property Details for 1006 Dune Allen Drive, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Vizcaya New Construction Homes – Coming Soon

1026 Dune Allen Drive, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

This 3-story corner luxury home will have Gulf views from multiple balconies and interior spaces. With at least 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms and luxury finishes throughout, 1026 Dune Allen Drive is expected to be completed early 2017.

Contact Nathan Abbott to learn more about this under-construction luxury property.

Vizcaya Convenient 30A Location

 

Search All Properties Along the Emerald Coast

nathan-abbott-realtorNathan Abbott
ResortQuest Real Estate
CEO | Nathan Abbott Team
O: 850.812.3261
C: 850.803.7653
Nathan@NathanAbbottTeam.com

3D Property Tours Sell Property

Property Marketing Techniques that Sell Your Property: #1 – 3D Property Tours

3D Property Tours Help Properties Sell


3D property tours are an amazing marketing technique that highlight a property for sale in the best light. Many sellers market their property through still shot photography and 2D imaging. While a picture tells a thousand words, and a professional photo shoot of a property for sale increase the number of buyers who schedule property visits, 3D imaging reaches a much wider audience. The Nathan Abbott Team is incorporating 3D property tours into their property marketing for sellers. This is a great way a seller can highlight their property for sale and capture an active audience.

Still shot property photography typically captures an audience for about 20 to 30 seconds. 3D imaging and 3D property tours captures an audience for 4 to 6 minutes.

3D imaging means sellers can offer buyers an open house 24/7. The Nathan Abbott Team sells properties along Florida’s Emerald Coast and market to a lot of out-of-state buyers. A 3D tour allows out-of-state buyers to walk through a property for sale as if there were actually there.

Buyers love 3D tours because they can visit multiple properties without having to be there in person. 3D property tours allow buyers to fully experience a property from their own home. They can navigate through the property by clicking on a floorplan, choosing images from a gallery or using their mouse to move from room to room. 3D tours can also extend to the exterior of the home, allowing buyers to walk on the patio and deck and see the amazing beach or nature views.

A 3D experience is an amazing way to showcase a property for sale, capture a buyer and get a property sold. If you are interested in learning more about 3D property tours, contact the Nathan Abbott Team.

nathan-abbott-realtorNathan Abbott
ResortQuest Real Estate | Broker Associate, Realtor®
Nathan Abbott Team | CEO
850.812.3261
Info@NathanAbbottTeam.com

Palms of Freeport Townhomes

Palms of Freeport

Looking for an affordable mortgage and a great place to call home or a cash flow investment property? Palms of Freeport is the place for you.

Located at 15284 Hwy 331 Unit 8-A, Freeport, FL 32439 – just across the street from Freeport Elementary School – Palms of Freeport is a collection of Florida Cottage townhomes. Featuring 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and 1,109 sq ft, these townhomes are the best priced in town. Currently priced in the mid $120’s, these units provide an affordable mortgage and are renting for $1,100 per month on average.

Townhomes at Palms of Freeport come on the market throughout the year. There are currently a few units left that will be available for sale. Don’t miss this opportunity to own a unit in a low density community with great amenities.

See All Available Units at Palms of Freeport

Contact the Nathan Abbott Team to know when more units will be available.

Interior Features

Palms of Freeport KitchenTownhomes at Palms of Freeport feature

  • Kitchen features granite counter tops, solid wood custom cabinets and stainless appliances
  • 18″ tile flooring in living areas and bathrooms
  • Plush carpet in bedrooms
  • Travertine counters in bathrooms
  • Large bedrooms
  • Upgraded lighting package with recessed lighting
  • Wooden blinds
  • Plenty of storage
  • Washer and dryer hook-ups
  • New Orleans style paver entry way
  • Open woooden back deck

Palms of Freeport deckExterior Features

The exterior of Palms of Freeport Townhomes feature

  • Cement/fiber board siding – less maintenance and rotting!
  • Composite shingles on roof
  • Personal open wooden deck outside back door of each unit
  • Utilities include public water and sewer and all electric power

Great Location, Great Amenities, Low HOA fees

For families with children  – Freeport Elementary School is just across the street making it a quick walk or bike-ride away. Freeport Middle School is less than 1 mile away and Freeport High School is just 3 miles  up the road. The new Freeport Publix Super Market is just 2 miles away and several local restaurants and shops are also close by .

Palms of Freeport represents a sanctuary for anyone wishing to escape the congestion of South Walton, yet reside just fifteen miles from the white sand beaches of Grayton Beach. Residents can quickly get to the beaches of South Walton, Niceville and Destin from this centrally located area.

Nestled between trees and lush foliage, the community offers amenities including a park, pool, pool house, sidewalks and street lights. The HOA fee is $201 quarterly – just $27 per month! This low fee covers accounting, grounds keeping, community insurance, community management, and keeps the amenities running at top-condition.

Palms of Freeport is just across the street from the elementary school

See All Available Units at Palms of Freeport

Contact the Nathan Abbott Team to know when more units will be available.

Search All Properties Along the Emerald Coast

nathan-abbott-realtorNathan Abbott
ResortQuest Real Estate | Broker Associate, Realtor®
Nathan Abbott Team | CEO
850.812.3261
Info@NathanAbbottTeam.com

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