Want to boost curb appeal? Start in the yard!

April 8, 2020

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It’s finally springtime! And with it comes warm weather, singing birds and, for many of us, a damaged post-winter lawn to deal with. Now is the perfect time to bring your yard out of hibernation and boost your home’s curb appeal dramatically.

 

Curb appeal isn’t just for home sellers! Whether you are planning to sell your home or not, getting your lawn in shape now prevents current problems from getting worse and helps to avoid future issues.

 

In addition to the basics like keeping your grass under control and trimming the hedges regularly, here are a few projects that will make your lawn beautiful and healthy again.

 

Tackle those weeds!  Nothing damages a home’s curb appeal quite like a yard overtaken by weeds. Once you get rid of them and take steps to prevent future weeds, you have taken a huge step in the right direction!

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Using safety measures and technology to stay open for business

April 1, 2020

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While COVID-19 may have temporarily changed how we shop for homes, we as Realtors are following suit with our own precautions as well as innovative ways to connect you with the home of your dreams!

 

In addition to following CDC recommendations on hand washing and using hand sanitizer, we are maintaining safe social distancing. Like most people, I have also eliminated unnecessary trips from my day, focusing only on the office, grocery and drug store as needed.

 

When it comes to business, an agent’s top priority is ensuring customer safety. Some of the ways I am striving to ensure the real estate process remains safe include the following:

  • When showing a home to buyers, I let them follow me in their car instead of riding together as we would traditionally.
  • At home showings, I have made a practice of wiping the lockbox, key and door handles before and after each and every opening. I ask my customers not to touch anything in the house. I follow these practices when I meet appraisers and inspectors as well.
  • My title company partners are only allowing signers at the closing table.
  • While the Davidson Realty offices are closed, access is available by appointment only. If you would like to meet me at the office, I would be happy to set up an appointment.

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The Northeast Florida February 2020 Market Stats Show the Same Positive Trends.

March 25, 2020

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As I write this letter, there is a lot of uncertainty and concern over the Coronavirus. I do not pretend to know the impact we will see on the real estate market or the economy, but I know God is in control and I will take one day at a time.

 

I can tell you the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors market stats report for February 2020 shows the same trends I have been repeating every month. Pending sales, closed sales, median and average sales prices are up and inventory of homes available is down. These are all very positive trends.

 

From the NEFAR report, “The recently released January ShowingTime Showing Index saw a 20.2 percent year-over-year increase in showing traffic nationwide. All regions of the country were up double digits from the year before. As showing activity is a leading indicator for future home sales, the 2020 housing market is off to a strong start, though it will be important to watch the spread of COVID-19 and its potential impacts to the overall economy in the coming months.”

 

There were 2,743 contracts written and pending sales were up 10.3% month-over-month and year-to-date. There were 2,201 closings which is up 4.1% for the month and 6.7% for the year.

 

The median sales price is $239,700 which is up 6.6% over last February and the average sales price is $287,068 which is up 12.2% for the same period.

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Top 3 mistakes sellers make (and how to avoid them)

March 3, 2020

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There is so much advice floating around about avoiding mistakes as a buyer that it’s easy to overlook the pitfalls and potential blunders of selling. There are a few that stand out to me as some of the most common mistakes that sellers fall into. Here they are, as well as ways you can avoid them.

 

Avoiding repairs and instead offering credit to buyers.

If your home needs repairs, upgrades or just some TLC before anyone will take notice, it can be easy to say, “Gosh, I’d rather just take less money, and they can worry about it after the house is theirs.” This can be a big mistake! The simple fact is that while you may not have the time to deal with it, neither do your buyers. “Time is money” may sound cliché but it certainly applies to everyone.

 

The effect is that potential buyers will likely bring extremely low offers. Instead, I often recommend to sellers to invest in the repairs and get the work done before you list your home to sell. Not only will your home sell more quickly, you are much more likely to benefit financially from the sale. There is nothing buyers love more than a turn-key home!

 

Ignoring initial offers.

It can be tempting to overlook the first offers that come in, but not taking these seriously can be another colossal misstep. While the first offer might not blow your socks off, potential first offers are often very motivated. Perhaps they are in a rush. Maybe they fell in love with your kitchen. It could be your home is near their aging parent’s home. You never know!

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7 things you need to know about getting homeowner’s tax breaks in 2020

February 26, 2020

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Your tax return may be a high point in your year, especially if you became a homeowner before 2020.

 

According to the CPA Practice Advisor, the average worker might see up to $2,000 in tax savings. *This number could increase if you own a home and have dependents or children.

 

Your homeowner’s tax guide for 2020: 5 big breaks and 2 more benefits

 

The IRS starts accepting 2019 tax returns as of January 2020. While the new tax credits introduced in

2019 made filing overwhelming for many, this year’s looking a lot smoother. Very few, if any, dramatic

changes have been made.

 

Accounting for annual inflation, tax brackets, as well as the standard deduction, have risen for 2020:

 

Here’s where you can find the standard deduction/brackets for the taxable year of 2019. The recently

reformed tax law lets consumers keep more money. Lower tax rates and a higher standard deduction

make this possible.

 

With a higher standard deduction, there may be fewer taxpayers who itemize (list out expenses that can

be subtracted from annual taxes). If you don’t have much to itemize, taking the standard deduction

exempts two times as much of your earnings.

 

But if you own a home, you could use some or all of these tax breaks to see more savings:

 

1.) Home equity loan/HELOC interest.

  • Now you can only deduct home equity interest that’s been used for renovations — a significant change from years past.
  • If you are eligible to deduct HELOC interest for renovations, that amount will go toward your total deduction limit of $750,000 in mortgage interest. (See below.)
  • This kind of loan may be labeled as a home equity line of credit (HELOC), home equity loan, or second mortgage.

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