September Newsletter

It is officially September and the start to a new month!

In the September issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, featured listings, market predictions for 2021, and how to follow us on social media.

Click the attachment to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs.

September Newsletter

Steps to Downsize Your Home or Declutter and Simplify

Bigger isn’t always better. In many cases, less is more – think of the tiny home trend and the overall popularity of downsizing. People downsize for many reasons. The most common ones we hear from our clients who downsize are to save money and to get rid of unused space. Downsizing your home can be the right move at any stage of life depending on your goals. You may find that purchasing a smaller home makes the most sense once you become an empty-nester, or maybe you’re a millennial who’d like more money to retire early or travel. Since there are so many reasons to downsize, we created a guide to help you learn how to downsize your home efficiently and live clutter-free.

1. Start As Soon As Possible And Pace Yourself

You should start the downsizing process as soon as possible to give yourself time to properly sort through your house without feeling overwhelmed. A general rule of thumb is that you’ll want to start at least 3 months before you plan to move but honestly, the sooner the better.

Aside from getting a jump on the downsizing process, you can also keep your home free of clutter and things you no longer need. There are some different organization methods that have gained popularity in recent years, like the KonMari method. Whatever method you choose, the goal is to find a balanced workflow and to end up with possessions that you actually need to keep around. Some popular methods include:

  • One-A-Day Method: Let go of one item per day or let go of the number of items that corresponds with the date (i.e. giving away 12 items on the 12th of a given month).
  • KonMari Method: Take on clutter by category (clothes, paper/books, miscellaneous items and then sentimental items). If an item no longer “sparks joy” then it’s time to get rid of it.
  • Four-Box Method: Restrict your options for what to do with a particular item by only giving yourself four options. Typically, these options are keep, donate, trash/recycle and sell. You should try to avoid putting items in storage.
  • Closet-Hanger Method: Face all closet hanger hooks away from you. Once you wear an item, turn the hanger hook toward you. After 6 months, donate any clothes that are still facing away.

2. Focus On One Room At A Time

The thought of decluttering or organizing your whole home might be daunting, so remember to take it one step at a time. You’re more likely to complete the whole process if you break it into multiple, more manageable projects. Try creating a plan or schedule broken down by room or smaller projects within a room to make sure that you stay on track but don’t get overwhelmed. Some example tasks to take on one at a time could include:

  • Go through DVDs and video games
  • Address the dreaded “junk drawer”
  • Pick shoes to give away and to keep
  • Trim down clothing in your closet
  • Tackle your dresser drawers
  • Organize small kitchen items
  • Match up containers, pots and pans with their lids

3. Measure Out Your New Space

In order to properly downsize, you have to know the size of the space you’re aiming to fit into. Ideally, you’ll know the square footage and shape of each room. This will help you figure out which large furniture pieces you should get rid of before the move. If you don’t have the exact measurements of your new place or don’t have a new place selected yet, focus on decluttering and getting rid of items you know you won’t need. Once you get more specifics, you can dig into those items that you were on the fence about.

Know that your current furniture might not fit in your space. Rather than squeezing large furniture into a smaller space, see what actually fits and take the opportunity to simplify and redesign your space.

4. Consider Your New Lifestyle

Aside from inch-by-inch measurements, you should also consider the bigger picture of what you’re hoping to gain from downsizing. You should be considering not just what will fit physically but what items fit in what you want out of your new space. Downsizing is a chance to reset and revamp – so take advantage of that!

Understanding your core reasoning and goals can help you stick to your plan and make you more excited about the process. Take it a step past the common answers of saving money and space and ask yourself the deeper “why.” Maybe you’re hoping to save money by downsizing, but “why?” Is it to be able to travel more or help send your grandchildren to college? Or maybe you want less home to maintain so you can spend more time with your partner or pick up a new hobby. The more specific your goals, the more effective they are in motivating you. Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • What are your top reasons for wanting to downsize?
  • What opportunities will downsizing create?
  • What will you miss the most about your old home?
  • Are there new hobbies or activities you’d like to explore?
  • What are you most excited about in this downsizing process?
  • What are you most nervous about in this process? Are there any steps you can take to help?
  • What is the first thing you want to do when you’re settled into your new home?

By setting your intentions and goals ahead of time, you’ll have a much clearer view of what items will fit into your new lifestyle and home.

5. Set Clear Decluttering Ground Rules

Once you start decluttering and combing through items, it could become easy to make exceptions here and there. Before you know it, all you’ve done is taken items from one place and moved them to another, instead of determining where they actually belong.

The best way to avoid this is by sticking to a strong set of ground rules and options for sorting your items. A common set of options could be:

  • Keep
  • Donate or sell
  • Trash or recycle
  • Pass it down or memorialize (through a photo)

Of course, categories can vary based on your specific needs and goals, but you should try to avoid categories that fall in between, as “maybes” can quickly stack up.

Whether you’re decluttering for the sake of organization or to move to a smaller space, try to remember to document the process and take before and after photos – this can help you reminisce and also encourage you to keep up your good habits once decluttering and downsizing is complete!

August Newsletter

It is officially August and the start to a new month!

In the August issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, featured listings, market predictions for 2021, and how to follow us on social media.

Click the attachment to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs.

August Newsletter

Lake Kerr Canal Home

Diamond in the rough! That is the best way to describe this 2 story, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with 1784 living square feet on beautiful .14 acre lot located on deep water canal leading to Lake Kerr. Originally built in 1966 the home needs renovated and is great opportunity to get on the water at reasonable price. Home has 2 bedrooms downstairs, large living room, spacious kitchen with oak cabinets and lots of counter space. Upstairs includes bedroom, kitchen area, living room, bathroom and bonus room. Additional features include; metal roof, fenced back yard, concrete driveway and 2 rear decks with beautiful views of lake. 

Located in the heart of the Ocala National Forest w/ beautiful Salt Springs swim area, boat launch and short ride to Lake George and the St. Johns River. Salt Springs is also home to miles and miles of ATV/SxS, Horseback and hiking trails. Great fishing year round in the many lakes, rivers and forest ponds, and don’t forget about the excellent hunting too. Close to local shopping including grocery store, Dollar General, hardware, gas station, great restaurants, entertainment and more. Only short 30 minute drive to Ocala or Palatka for all your needs.

Asking Price: $ 125,000

 

Lake George “Slice of Heaven”

One of the best Lake George lots! This beautifully landscaped lot includes over 150′ of lakefront on 2.95 acres, front part of lot is approximately 2 wooded acres providing great privacy and winding gravel driveway. Armstrong Builders, custom built in 2007, a one of a kind 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with 2672 living square feet and CBS(Concrete Block Stucco) construction. Walking up the sidewalk to front door you will see stacked stone accent wall with copper awning, covered front tiled porch with round columns and double entry door. Very popular open floor plan with dramatic vaulted foyer includes window/skylight and chandelier. Formal dining room to the right overlooks large living room with vaulted ceilings, stacked stone gas fireplace with custom mantel and built-in bookcases. Living room has 3 large sliders providing lots of natural sunlight and stunning Lake George views. Kitchen is spacious in size with granite counters, custom wood cabinets featuring lazy suzan, pull out spice racks on both sides range and Kohler faucet. Appliances included are stainless steel; Jenn-Air Pro style duel fuel stove(gas burners and electric oven, includes grilling attachment), side by side fridge, dishwasher and microwave. Also a nicely sized breakfast nook has gorgeous views of Lake George and open covered rear porch. Home features include, Brazilian walnut wood flooring in main areas and 3rd bedroom, ceramic tile in kitchen, breakfast nook & bathrooms. Main bedroom also has beautiful views of Lake George with 3 large windows, tray ceiling, large walk-in closet plus separate linen closet. Main bathroom has double sinks plus sit-down vanity area, large soaking tub and glass enclosed shower and privacy toilet. Bedroom 2 features bay window view of front yard, 3rd bedroom/office has vaulted ceilings and large 7’x11′ closet. Guest bathroom features granite counters, wood cabinets and Kohler cast iron tub. The laundry room is nicely sized with linen closet in hallway. HVAC in 2017 and home is equipped with Generac whole house generator. Also, salt water softner system and irrigation with 8 zones to keep this beautiful St Augustine lawn super green + wonderful landscaping.

Dock is 254′ and was originally built in 2009. Approximately 70′ of dock deck boards were replaced in 2020. Bulkhead/seawall  was built in 2012. Covered rear porch overlooks 20’x40′ concrete patio with huge grand daddy oak trees providing lots of shade and cool breezes with beautiful lake views. Custom built stone wall at waters edge with cement block steps leading to dock enhances the “Life-on-the-Lake” lifestyle. There is detached oversized 4 garage spaces(3 in front and one on side: short boat, lawn mower, etc.) with 1050 square feet with lots of room for vehicles and storage. Garage has 110/220 power and water, plus additional fenced area for small boats, equipment and more.

Lake George is the 2nd largest lake in state of Florida with 46,000 acres of water and connected on North and South end by the St. Johns River. The St. Johns River is the longest river in Florida, flowing 310 miles north from its Headwaters at Blue Cypress Lake in Indian River County to its mouth where it empties in to the Atlantic ocean east of Jacksonville. From this property it is short boat ride to Salt Springs Run(swim site, boat rentals and campground), Silver Glen Springs(swim site and canoe/kayak rentals), Juniper run( swim site, canoe rental) and many restaurants(Bass Champions Seafood, Square Meal, Odd Todds Mexican, Papa Joes BBQ, Salt Springs pizza and entertainment(Cactus Jacks, Boondocks, 88) and shopping(grocery store, Dollar General, Hardware, Laundry)nearby. Located in the heart of the Ocala National Forest, Salt Springs is also home to miles and miles of ATV/SxS, Horseback and hiking trails. Great fishing year round in the many lakes, rivers, forest ponds, and don’t forget about the excellent hunting too. Only short 40 minute drive to Ocala or Palatka for all your needs.

Asking Price $695,000

 

Is Now a Good Time to Buy or Sell a Home?

The housing market is as hot as it’s ever been. In some areas, homes are going under contract almost as soon as they come on the market and prices keep going up, up, up. 

COVID-19 has impacted how people use their homes and where they want to live, and historically low interest rates have pushed thousands of additional buyers onto the market. Could prices keep going up? Many homeowners are wondering whether holding on to their homes until 2022 makes sense. 

We’ve spoken with experienced Realtors, and one thing is clear: if you’re on the fence about selling your home, don’t be. Now is a great time to sell a house, and things can change quickly: 2022 may not be the white-hot seller’s market that 2021 has been so far. Here’s what you need to know.

Should I sell my house? Rising interest rates indicate “Yes”

One of the big reasons buyers flooded the market this year – despite the uncertainty of a pandemic – was the historically low interest rates. 

Low mortgage rates meant that buyers could save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of their home loan, so many potential buyers who were waiting on the sidelines began searching for their dream home. The incredibly low rates also meant that people could upgrade from their old home into a larger one while maintaining the same monthly mortgage payments.

All pendulums eventually swing the other way, though, and Spring 2021 has seen mortgage rates begin to rise – and they likely will continue to do so, thanks to renewed economic activity. 

It’s smart to get on market while the rates are so low,” advises DC-based listing agent Angela Allison. “The rates are going to go up, they have to go up, and we’re going to start to see a turn in buyer demand. It’s so crazy how this market turns on a dime – it can shift that much, that quick. Get on now, because we really don’t know what’s going to happen in the fall.”

Allison is right: there is a clear relationship between interest rates and home buying activity. According to CNBC, when the interest rate for 30 year fixed-rate mortgages increased from 2.96% to 2.98% this February, mortgage applications fell by 5.1%.

Now imagine the drop of home loan applications the market might see if the mortgage rates rise by half a percentage point instead of .02, and you’ll begin to understand just how much of an impact the low rates have been having on the current housing market. When rates go up, buyers can’t qualify for the same amount of house as before. 

“Prices are at all-time highs. Rates are rising which will lower the buyer price points, which will stall the market,” explains Tampa-based listing agent Windy Back. “If we raise rates to a point where buyers are knocked out of being able to purchase, then yes, it’s going to create an issue.” 

Once mortgage rates rise significantly – and it’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when” – thousands of home buyers are going to retreat from the market, softening some of the red-hot demand we’ve been seeing. 

“We’re definitely seeing some shifts in interest rates,” notes Baltimore-based listing agent June Piper-Brandon. “It starts to come out of the buyer’s pocket and it hurts more. With lower interest rates, people could get more home for the same price. That quarter of a point can be the difference between qualifying for the home of your dreams, and not qualifying for the home of your dreams.”   

 

mortgage-chart.jpeg?mtime=20210330162533#asset:37820
Chart via YChart shows 30 year mortgage rates rising above 3% this March

Supply is lower than ever… but will that hold?

Across the U.S., there are fewer homes on the market, period – and this is helping to push prices sky high. Housing inventory declined 39.6% on a national level in 2020, according to Fool.com. Sellers have all the bargaining power when there are so few homes to choose from, and low inventory often forces buyers to bid over asking price on homes. 

By selling now, you get to reap the benefits of a low inventory market. That means a better chance at getting multiple bids, cash offers, no contingency offers, and above-asking price offers. Once buyers have more options, they’ll also have greater leveraging power when it comes to the closing table – and you’ll be waiting longer for your home to sell. 

Some factors that can impact 2021/2022 housing inventory:

Backlog of foreclosures

When COVID-19 hit, the U.S. government issued foreclosure moratoriums to prevent people from losing their homes. Homeowners who were having trouble paying their mortgage could request an extended forbearance that would last until the end of June 2021. For this reason, very few foreclosures have been on the market in the past year – even fewer than usual. 

Eventually, though, the moratorium will end – and some people are not going to be able to hold onto their homes. “All the people that have been furloughed or laid off because of COVID – they’re going back to work but they may be making less than they were making before, or maybe they’re only back part time,” notes Piper-Brandon. And some foreclosures will happen for typical, non-COVID related reasons.

And once foreclosed homes hit the market, they tend to lower the value of nearby listing homes by way of affecting supply. Once there are more discounted homes that can be snapped up, there is decreased demand for homes listed at top dollar.

“There’s a backlog of foreclosures that have not hit the market. As soon as that shadow inventory starts hitting the market, your prices and your comps are going to start to drop,” explains Piper-Brandon. “And as a result, you’re no longer going to get the value that you would’ve gotten in the current market place.”

Home building is up 

Home building in the U.S. nosedived after the 2007 market crash and has only been slowly climbing up over the past decade – in other words, not yet keeping pace with how many people want homes. 

Today, though, home builders are feeling more confident in the market, and they’re starting to push out more homes than before.

 Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that – with the exception of a short dip that occurred during the beginning of COVID-19 – more and more homes are being built every year to accommodate the growing population (chart: 800 = 800,000 homes).

housing-stock.jpeg?mtime=20210330161951#asset:37819

source: tradingeconomics.com

Coronavirus Restrictions are Ending

By June, anyone in the U.S. who wants a COVID-19 vaccine should be able to access one, according to the government’s current rollout timeline. 

Many homeowners were holding on to their homes due to the uncertainty of the market and their own lives – many people switched to working from home, which made commute considerations a thing of the past. And others had to deal with lost income that impacted their ability to buy a new home, and therefore move out of their old one.

As the national economy begins to approach normalcy again, though, many of the temporary reasons people were holding on to their homes will fade away.

“Buyers are exhausted right now; it’s been such a bidding war. I highly recommend getting on market now, before the dog days of summer. With the vaccine, everything’s opening back up; it’s going to be a more normal market this year and July and August are going to be really slow,” advises Allison.

Baby boomers will be aging out of their homes

Did you know that baby boomers (ages 57-75 approx.) currently hold about a third of the U.S. housing stock – or about 21 million homes? Over the next decade, millions of baby boomers will be entering retirement homes, dying, moving in with relatives, or downsizing, and the result will be thousands of additional homes entering the market each year. 

Your goal as a home seller should be to get in front of all these homes entering the market, rather than coming in at the middle and fighting to be seen. 

University of Arizona researchers also predict that there is a mismatch between the homes that will become available, and what younger homebuyers will be looking for:

“The study predicts that many baby boomers and members of Generation X will struggle to sell their homes as they become empty nesters and singles. The problem is that millions of millennials and members of Generation Z may not be able to afford those homes, or they may not want them, opting for smaller homes in walkable communities instead of distant suburbs.”

So: Is now a good time to sell a house? 

“If you want to get top dollar for your property, now is the time to sell.” -Listing agent Windy Back

“Now is a really great time to sell because six months down the road, a year down the road, the economy won’t be the same.” -Listing agent June Piper-Brandon

Numerous factors have contributed to this being one of the best times to sell a house over the past decade. Take advantage of the unusual opportunity while it’s still around, instead of kicking yourself when the market slows down and you go from a multiple-bid situation to accepting offers for $10,000 below your asking price. 

“Should I sell my house?” to recap, here’s why the answer is yes:

  • Rising interest rates
  • Backlog of foreclosures
  • Increased home building activity
  • End of COVID-19’s impact on market
  • Baby boomer homes will increase inventory

Today, there is significant demand for most homes due to a lack of inventory – but that demand can change, and when it does change it will change quickly, giving homeowners little time to react. The best time to get top dollar for your home may be today, rather than tomorrow.

July Newsletter

It is officially July and the start to a new month!

In the July issue of our newsletter you will find events this month, featured listings, market predictions for 2021, and how to follow us on social media.

Click the attachment to check it out!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your real estate needs.

July Newsletter

Orange Springs, Florida 10 Acres

10+/- Acres / Paved Road / Wooded

Asking Price $110,000

TBD NE 24 Lane

Don’t miss this beautiful 10+/- acre wooded parcel located on, paved road NE 247 Lane in Orange Springs, Florida. This agricultural zoned acreage is 330′ along road and 1320′ deep and would make the perfect place for weekend retreat, build a new homesite or plan for future investment.  Located within minutes of Orange Springs boat ramp, which leads to the Ocklawaha River and Rodman Reservoir with world renowned large mouth bass fishing. Orange Springs is located in NE part of Marion County with many opportunities for outdoor fun; hunting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and SxS or 4 wheeler riding too. Short drive to the Ocala National Forests with many natural springs, hiking/horseback trails and more. Close by you will find Ivies Country Restaurant, Dollar General, convenience/gas station with bait and lots of friendly folks. Short drive to Gainesville and home of the University of Florida and the Fighting Gators. 

  

“Salt Springs Serenity”

SOLD!

 

24920 NE 146 Lane Fort McCoy, FL 32134

Asking Price $ 150,000

This Little Lake Kerr access lot is .20 acres with approximately 75′ of waterfront including a dock and deep water access leading to the lake.  The concrete block home was originally built in 1960 but has been updated and in 2006 an addition was completed. The main home is 630 living square feet with tiled floors throughout, 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom w/tiled shower, large living room with faux fireplace and a cozy kitchen with electric stove and refrigerator. There is a 12’x24′ screened-in breezeway that has additional storage, work bench area and is great for relaxing and enjoying the cool waterfront breezes. The addition to the main home is approximately 12.6 x 20′ and includes a laundry room, bedroom, bathroom with tub, tiled shower and floors and closet/storage area and a wall mounted AC unit. New metal roof  6/2021. Park your vehicles or toys under the 19’x20′ – double car metal carport with concrete slab.  There is also a newer (2013) wooden storage shed for yard tools, bikes, mower or ATV. The front and back yards feel very cozy and private with fencing and many varieties of shrubs, plants and trees.  

Located in the heart of the Ocala National Forest near beautiful Salt Springs Recreation Area that includes camping, swimming, boat launch.  The home is a short walk from Salt Springs Community Center that includes a playground, tennis courts and exercise path. Only a short ride to Lake George and the St. Johns River, Salt Springs is home to miles and miles of ATV/4×4, horseback and hiking trails, great fishing year round in the many lakes, rivers and forest ponds and excellent hunting, too! Close to local shopping including grocery store, Dollar General, hardware, gas station, great restaurants, entertainment and more! Only short 30 minute drive to Ocala or Palatka for all your needs.

Ocklawaha River Retreat

Asking Price $ 185,000

Looking for a “Retreat”? Then look no more! This beautiful 1.52 acres is located on Florida Greenway and Ocklawaha River. 100′ +/- of waterfront on the famous Ocklawaha River, with floating dock and boat ramp to launch small boat. Only short boat ride to Rodman Reservoir and some of the best largemouth bass fishing in the world. This property includes 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom rustic cabin with 50 amp electric service, storage building with screen room set up for fish & deer cleaning, + 3 car open pole barn. The property has 50 amp electric service and any future development or improvement should be verified with zoning and building department. Visitors to the property include turkey, deer, squirrels, hawks and many other water fowl. This property is private with one visible neighbor to the North, no one in site to the South and stunning river views. NOTE: Cross Florida Greenway borders Ocklawaha River and is State Parks public land.

Located short drive to downtown Fort McCoy with grocery store, doctor office, pharmacy, hardware, gas station, pizza delivery and more. Close to Silver Springs which is great for kayaking, boating and outdoor activities. Ocala is just another 20 minutes away with Walmart, Lowes, Bealls, Outback and many more of your favorite shopping and  restaurants. If you’re a fisherman, hunter or simply love hiking, canoeing or kayaking you are in luck! Minutes to Ocklawaha River, Rodman Reservoir boat ramp, Ocala National Forest and many natural springs(Salt Springs, Silver Glen Springs, Juniper Springs), horseback and walking trails, and off road vehicle trails awaits your explorations. Located in the heart of the Ocala National Forest w/ beautiful Salt Springs 20 minutes away with swim area, boat launch and short ride to Lake George and the St. Johns River. Salt Springs is also home to miles and miles of ATV/SxS, Horseback and hiking trails. Great fishing year round in the many lakes, rivers and forest ponds, and don’t forget about the excellent hunting too. One of a kind property and location! Ready for new owners!

Best-3

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