Read the Fine Print

After all your preparations and marketing efforts, what do you do when you get that first offer? Don’t jump for joy or wallow in disappointment until you’ve read all the terms. Price is just the beginning, and other contingencies will ultimately affect your bottom line.

In reviewing the offer, pay attention to seller concessions, which can range from asking you to pay closing costs to include an allowance for roof repairs. Buyers may also request the inclusion of certain articles of personal property not physically attached to the home. This might include the refrigerator or pieces of furniture. You can decline or accept the terms, but it’s best to establish in your listing those items included and excluded in the sale.

Mortgage and appraisal contingencies indicate that the buyer will seek financing at a certain rate and terms and that the appraisal must satisfy the lender. Make sure that all of the terms are realistic, and that there is a reasonable time limit for the buyers to secure their financing.

These and other terms in the offer impact how much you net from your sale, regardless of what actual buying price is stated. It’s possible that a “full price” offer could result in thousands less than a lower offer with fewer contingencies, so please consult with a representative before listing and before accepting or rejecting any offers.

Understanding real estate dilemmas and their solutions is our business, and we’ll happily share our knowledge with you. Why not visit our website or call us at (772) 888-2885.

Understanding the Language of Loans

Your Realtor may not write your home loan, but that’s who will probably be there when you begin discussing mortgage options. Knowing some of the nuts and bolts before you start your home search can help you find the right loan.

Factors affecting your terms are the amount, the length of the loan, and the loan-to-value ratio (how much of the home’s value you are financing). Larger loans carry more risk to the lender, so the interest rate may be higher.

Similarly, a smaller down payment represents more risk, possibly warranting a higher interest rate. Get the best rate by putting down as close to 20% as possible.

The difference between 15- and 30-year loans is also critical. Payments for a shorter term will be larger, but you’ll build equity much faster, and enjoy a slightly lower interest rate.

Also, understand the workings of an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). You need to be fully prepared for what may happen to your payments after the first adjustment. However, something like a 5/1 ARM (a fixed rate for five years and an adjustment each year thereafter), could be a good idea if you’re buying your first home and don’t plan to stay longer than five years.

Discuss your hopes and objectives with an agent, who can help guide you down the road to homeownership.

If you’re considering purchasing a home, but feel ‘out of touch’ with what’s happening in real estate visit our website or call us at (772) 888-2885.

The Difference Between Selling And Dwelling

There is a special mindset associated with “staging” your home to sell in a soft market. Staging refers simply to the act of improving your home’s appearance in order to appeal to the widest segment of potential buyers. The approach you must adopt is to see your home with an objective eye.
Stop looking at your home as your “home,” and start visualizing it as the “product” it becomes when it enters the market. Both a real estate agent and a professional home stager can help to market your product successfully by highlighting positive features and downplaying less attractive aspects.
Since you may have a strong emotional attachment to your home, you may not fully appreciate hearing about a better way to show your offering, but try to recognize that the way you decorate to SELL may be quite different from the way you decorate to dwell. The appearance of space often trumps its functionality when impressing buyers.
Your goal is to sell quickly at a fair price. A survey by a large national real estate brokerage showed that staged homes sell in half the time, and another survey of REALTORS® showed that a $500 “staging” investment recouped 343% of that cost. So be prepared to swallow a little pride, move some furniture, and field better offers on the road to your successful sale.
Understanding real estate dilemmas and their solutions is our business, and we’ll happily share our knowledge with you. For more info, visit our website or call us at (772) 888-2885.

4 BR Lakefront Pool Home for Sale in Springtree, Stuart Florida

2,118 sq. ft., 2.5 bath, 4 bdrm 2 story – MLS® $250,000 USD – Priced to Sell
Springtree, Stuart – 4 Bedroom Screened Pool Home with gorgeous lake views in the private convenient gated community of Springtree.

This family-friendly community is close to Martin County beaches, convenient shopping, and wonderful restaurants. This district includes all ‘A’ rated schools. This home has generous room sizes and ample storage. Well located in the community with no neighbors across the street. Very aggressively priced featuring a kitchen with a gas stove, tankless gas hot water heater as well as gas heat for the pool and spa. Breakfast nook w/bay window that to the family room, the master suite has dual vanities, roman tub, separate shower. The second floor has accordion storm shutters for easy operation. Ready for immediate occupancy and a quick closing if desired.

For more info, visit our website or call us at (772) 888-2885.

Price Reduced on Immaculate Waterfront Pool Home in North River Shores

North River Shores, Stuart – Announcing a price reduction on 2196 NW Fork Road, a 3,989 sq. ft., 3 bath, 3 bdrm 2 story “Solid Concrete Construction”. Now MLS® $850,000 USD – .

For more info, visit our website or call us at (772) 888-2885.

Price Reduced on Waterfront Pool Home fixer upper in North River Shores

North River Shores, Stuart – Announcing a price reduction on 1765 NW Harbor Pl., a 1,588 sq. ft., 3 bath, 2 bdrm single story. Now MLS® $525,000 USD – Bargain Priced.

For more info, visit our website or call us at (772) 888-2885.

An Offer They Can’t Refuse

In real estate investment, one person’s misfortune is another’s opportunity. Indeed, with so many foreclosed properties on the market, buyers are poised to take advantage of a literally once-in-a-lifetime chance at investment or ownership.

Every opportunity presents some challenges, however, and you’ll need more than luck to effectively buy a distressed property. These transactions are more complex than traditional sales, and you are strongly advised to seek the advice and representation of a real estate professional well versed in this new marketplace.

While a bank-owned home may look like a great deal, don’t assume that any offer will be accepted. Most banks list their foreclosed properties through real estate brokerages, and while they want to sell as quickly as possible, the listing agents have a fiduciary responsibility to get a good price for the owner.

An insultingly low offer can table the transaction permanently, so proceed with common sense and a trusted representative. Keep in mind when negotiating your offer that you should have an additional 10% of the price tag set aside for repairs. A foreclosed property, particularly an older one, will almost certainly require some overhauls.

In addition to your agent, consult with a local real estate attorney who can advise you about current foreclosure laws, which vary significantly from state to state. Know exactly who’s at the door when your opportunity knocks!

For more info, visit our website or call us at (772) 888-2885.

Launch an Offensive

When buyers become scarce, sellers have to step up and make their offerings stand out to attract attention. Without spending a fortune, sellers can easily highlight several of their home’s features.

First, beat buyers to the punch with a pre-listing home inspection. By discovering and fixing problems before buyers ever see the home, you can impress them with a worry-free, move-in-now opportunity. Leave your repair receipts out during showings, so that buyers can see all the improvements you’ve made just for them!

Once the mechanical and structural features of your home have been addressed, move on to the aesthetic details. First impressions count, so make sure your home is inviting from the curb. Spiff up landscaping, paint, entries, and windows.

Inside, pay attention to bath and kitchen details, because those rooms are often the most important when buyers are making a decision. Aside from deep cleaning, consider updating bath and kitchen features with new and contemporary drawer pulls, faucets, and even sinks.

Finally, get a jump on your moving by organizing your closets and ditching or packing all you possibly can. A good guideline is to reduce your closets to half-full so that the buyers can easily picture the space for their own storage needs.

A few “preemptive strikes” should be all you need to attract buyers and offers, so ask your agent for tips today!

For more info, visit our website or call us at (772) 888-2885.

A Portfolio of Commodities

Have you ever thought of a home as a commodity? A commodity can be defined as a raw material or product that can be bought and sold. A home is not a raw material, but it is certainly built out of many, like a box full of wood, steel, cement, glass, and copper.

Over the long term, home prices usually rise along with the cost of the commodities it takes for construction. While high inventories of housing may be keeping prices lower right now, the cost of the raw materials that are intrinsically tied to a home’s value is rising, and rapidly.

With increasingly higher construction costs on the horizon, buying now is an ideal investment and a hedge against the rising cost of commodities. Every home is a store of value for all the materials, the land, and the labor involved in its construction. So the long-term value of a home is tightly connected to the cost of its production, making it a very different type of investment from stocks or bonds.

Investing in commodities has always been a great way to make lemonade from the economy’s lemons. And what better way to buy into the commodities market than by purchasing a home? Sooner or later, home prices will be pushed higher by the rising cost of raw materials, so make your move now!

For more info, visit our website or call us at (772) 888-2885.

Newer 4 BR Pool Home on large lot, for Sale in Palm City, Florida

• 2,756 sq. ft., 3.5 bath, 4 bdrm 2 story “Solid concrete construction” – MLS® $425,000 USD – Newer 4 BR Home – no HOA

Palm City Gardens, Palm City – Gorgeous custom-built 2004 spectacular home! Bamboo floors, extra special crown moldings, designer gourmet kitchen with granite and stainless steel appliances. Open floor plan ideal for entertaining with great room, formal living room with fireplace, formal dining room. 4 generous bedrooms with additional bonus room. Saltwater pool and fenced backyard. Superbly landscaped on half an acre plus private lot. Paver driveway and walkways and 3 car garage. RV parking. Non-deed restrictive community. Close to A-rated schools, shopping, restaurants, I-95, and FL Tpk.

For more info, visit our website or call us at (772) 888-2885.

Price reduced in Lexington Lakes, Stuart, FL

Lexington Lakes, Stuart – Announcing a price reduction on 1590 SE Sheffield Ter. Unit 201, a 1,417 sq. ft., 2 bath, 3 bdrm 2’nd floor condo with a garage. Now MLS® $99,000 USD – Affordable New Construction.

For more info, visit our website or call us at (772) 888-2885.

Short Sales

In areas where home prices have significantly declined, some owners find themselves strapped with mortgages that total more than their home’s value. When options such as extending the term of the loan or negotiating a lower interest rate have been exhausted, then a short sale may provide the solution.

However, short sales are complicated, requiring approval from a number of parties, so you need the representation of a professional to make sure the transaction moves quickly. You can have more than half of the paperwork done before that first offer even comes in.

Most lenders require an application package to be completed by the sellers, including a financial worksheet, as well as a letter of hardship explaining why the owners cannot continue to pay the mortgage. The real estate agent can also help with other aspects of the required paperwork, which should be assembled before the property is listed.

While the bank may be willing in such cases to accept less than the mortgage balance, the buyer’s offer must still reflect a fair price under current market conditions, so be sure to consult with an agent in order to arrive at a reasonable price that will be accepted by all parties, including the lender.

Short sales may not be easy, but they do provide an “exit strategy” for homeowners most in need of a solution.

If you’re interested in pursuing a short sale as either a seller or a buyer, your odds are greatly improved with agents that have an intimate knowledge of the process and a successful track record with short sales. Give us a call at (772) 323-6996 or visit us on the web at or Our office is located at 2391 SE Ocean Blvd. in Stuart, Florida; please ask for Gabe Sanders.

A Quick Buyers Guide to Short Sales

What is a ‘Short Sale’

A short sale occurs when a seller wishes to sell a property that is now worth less than the mortgage and any other indebtedness that is owed on the property and is asking the lender to forgive all or part of the difference. If the seller is in a position and willing to pay this difference, it is not a short sale.

Who Should Buy a Short Sale:

It can be anyone who finds a property that they feel will suit their needs. It can be an investor, a first-time home buyer, or a second home buyer. The governing factor is that you must have patience and not need to take possession of the home in a short period of time. If you need to close in less than 3 months or possibly even longer, select a different type of sale.

What Should a Buyer Look for in a Short Sale:

Short sales come in different flavors with differing odds of a successful conclusion.
The best odds are with an owner in a pre-foreclosure situation where the current seller no longer has the assets to continue making payments on the home and it will be foreclosed upon in the future. Even better odds if there is no second mortgage on the home. The lender can’t ask for additional money from a seller without assets and they will prefer to take some loss now, rather than go through the expense of foreclosure at a later time. But, keep in mind; that the bank/lender will not sell it for a ridiculously low price if they feel that they can get more after a foreclosure. Can it be bought for less than the current market value? Yes, depending on the location from 10% to 25% under market value.

For the seller with a second mortgage, the negotiations will be a bit more involved, but given enough time, with a proper offer, the sale should lead to a successful conclusion.
After the above, come the investor properties. First, those investors that have gone bust or almost bust and have one mortgage are good short sale candidates, followed by those with second mortgages. However, if they have any assets, the short sale can be delayed and very often not completed due to the lender attaching large deficiency notices against the seller which they may not agree to thus causing the short sale to fail.

If you have an indication that the short sale belongs to an investor with considerable assets, be very leery as there is a good chance that the short sale will never happen.
The Short Sale Contract:
Your odds of a successful short sale are much better if you select an agent that knows the short sale process with a good track record. Unfortunately, you can’t always select the listing agent of a short sale and if they do not have much experience and/or short sale knowledge, it can be a very difficult transaction.

Once underway, the short sale is almost the same as any transaction. It is an agreement by a buyer to purchase a certain property from the seller. Both parties sign this agreement (the Purchase and Sale Contract) and now the sale is contingent on the specifics of the contract. In the case of the short sale, probably the important contingency is a lender or bank approval. Most short-sale contracts will specify that after the initial approval, all timelines will commence after lender approval. There is also a given time for the lender approval that may or may not require adjustment at some later time during the waiting process.

There are many ways to structure a short sale offer and this is where selecting an experienced agent will help your chances of a successful conclusion as well as protect your interests along with a reasonable escape or withdrawal clause.

The Short Sale Process:

Unfortunately, more often than not, this involves a lot of waiting. A good short-sale agent should try to get you updates or status reports every week or so. If they don’t, ask them, but be prepared for no news. When the lender orders an appraisal or BPO (Broker Price Opinion – a simplified appraisal normally performed by a real estate agent), it means that the end is getting closer. Probably (but, not always) within 30 days of an answer.

The Bank/Lender Approval:

This is not a sure thing, and the Bank/Lender could simply say no, and the buyer is back to square one, or they could come back with a counter offer that the buyer can either accept or reject or, they can simply approve the offer.

After making you wait all of this time, the bank will invariably demand a quick closing. Sometimes trying for as little as a week. Don’t be bullied at this point. You will need to complete inspections and satisfy yourself that the property is in an acceptable condition. If financing is involved, adequate time must be given to complete the financing contingencies.

The Closing:

The hard part is over and you will soon take ownership of your property at a great price. But one more thing to consider, often the lender will use their own attorney or title company to convey the title. They will only be interested in ensuring that they are free of any obligations on the property. They may or may not ensure all other liens or obligations on the property are satisfied. It may be very prudent to have your own attorney review the title and the title policy.

Congratulations if you have enough patience and diligence to complete this process!

If you’re considering purchasing a home, but feel ‘out of touch’ with what’s happening in real estate give us a call today at (772) 323-6996 or visit us on the web at or Our office is located at 2391 SE Ocean Blvd. in Stuart, Florida; please ask for Gabe Sanders.

Turn Those Red Flags Green

When selling a home, two situations may occur which are red flag indicators of a lengthy sale time. Each requires the property owners’ attention in cooperation with their sales agent, and involves either the price or condition of the home.

The first involves a home that has been on the market for 60-90 days, but has been shown only once or twice. More buyers are beginning to enter today’s real estate market, and homes for sale should be attracting a number of prospects.

When buyers choose not to tour a home, the reason is often the price. Homes that are attractive, but not being shown, are often priced “above” the market. The key to increased showings, then, is to learn the market price of the home, then reset the price.

The second “red flag” occurs when a home is being shown often, but neither sells nor attracts offers. The home’s condition is often the culprit in this situation. Buyers learn the price, then drive by, making a judgment that it is an attractive home. Once they see the home, however, their interest evaporates.

The solution can be a critical “walk-through” by the sellers’ agent to identify needed repairs and cosmetic improvements. Until corrected, traffic is likely to remain high, while the chances of selling remain low. Remove these red flags and prepare for a sale!

If you’re planning to sell your home soon and would like accurate and up to date information on its current value, give us a call at (772) 323-6996 or visit us on the web at or Our office is located at 2391 SE Ocean Blvd. in Stuart, Florida; please ask for Gabe Sanders.

Buyers Are Gaining Steam

A recent profile of buyers and sellers compiled by the National Association of REALTORS® has revealed promising, if not surprising statistics about the changing face of the marketplace. The percentage of first-time buyers is on the rise, and they are making their purchases for the long term.

Frankly, this makes sense, because first-time buyers aren’t struggling with the sale of an existing home. Combine that advantage with low home prices, large inventories, and low interest rates, and the result is a positive trend for both buyers and sellers.

Recently enacted tax credits and modifications in the Federal Housing Administration are also helping buyers, along with predicted increased credit flow from a federal funds injection into the banking system. More buyers entering the marketplace means more sales, reduced inventories and increasing home values.

The profile of sellers shows that over 90% used a real estate brokerage to market and sell their property. Buyers profiled listed the most important agent services as helping to find the right home and negotiate satisfactory terms and prices.

If you’re planning a purchase, and need funds for a down payment, learn from buyers in the study who mostly used savings or a gift from family, and who also chose a fixed-rate mortgage over 90% of the time. Consult with a trusted agent today, and get on board the homeownership train.

We know and understand all the financing methods available on the Treasure Coast of Florida. Why not give us a call at (772) 323-6996 or visit us on the web at or Our office is located at 2391 SE Ocean Blvd. in Stuart, Florida; please ask for Gabe Sanders.

The Indian Street bridge has been approved

What has taken decades of planning and discussion is finally about to begin. The Florida Department of transportation started releasing bidding for the new bridge to join Stuart and Palm City by 36’th Street in Palm City and Indian Street in Stuart. This long awaited project has been approved using $128 million of Federal stimulus monies and $72 million that has been raised previously through federal, state and county collections.

This bridge will alleviate congestion on the one existing Palm City Bridge that is the main route between Stuart and Palm City. In addition to making access easier between Stuart and Palm City, this project is estimated to employ 3500 workers and have a tremendous trickle down benefit for the local economy and employment levels.

While it took a very long time to be approved, many residents feel it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Want more information? Visit us on the web at or . Our office is located at 2391 SE Ocean Blvd. in Stuart,  Florida; please ask for Gabe Sanders.

Martin County Real Estate Inventory Declines

Martin County Florida’s single family home inventory in June declined for the fifth consecutive month, which is an indication of market improvement.

There are 2409 homes available through the Multiple Listing Service, a decrease of 71 homes from the previous month and 495 since January 2008. The month-to-month inventory declined 20.5 percent since January.

The current inventory reflects a 16-month supply at the current sales pace.

Martin County had 152 single family home sales in June, a 5 percent improvement from the 144 home sales in the month prior, and 12 percent above the 134 homes sold in June 2007.

To date, 754 homes have been sold by Realtors so far this year, a 4.3 percent increase from the 722 sales posted in the same period a year ago.

The median sales price of a home in Martin County in June fell to $234,950, a 3.1 percent increase over May’s $227,500, but 32.5 percent below the June 2007’s $337,000.
Condos sales in Martin County increased 22.2 percent in June, from 35 in June 2007 to 45 last month. Condo median prices fell 30.7 percent from $260,000 in June 2007 to $180,000 for June of 2008.

There are currently 1168 condos available for sale in the MLS as compared to 1281 in June of 2007.

These numbers show signs of positive activity in home and condo sales while showing that we’re not at the end of price declines yet. If inventory levels continue their decline, we should see a leveling of prices when absorption rates reach less than 9 months.

Understanding real estate dilemmas and their solutions is our business, and we’ll happily share our knowledge with you. Why not give us a call at (772) 323-6996 or visit us on the web at and Our office is located at 1121 SE Ocean Blvd. in Stuart, Florida (Sewall’s Point); please ask for Gabe Sanders or .