9 Things That Can Lower Your Homeowners Insurance

9 Things That Can Lower Your Homeowners Insurance

Take a Look Around

Although it will take time, this could help you save a lot of money on homeowners insurance. Ask your friends, consult Google, or contact your state’s insurance department. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, can help you find an insurer in your state. Many states make it easy to find information about the rates charged by major insurance companies and provide data on complaints received by consumers.

You can also check out consumer guides, online insurance quote sites, and insurance agents. These will provide you with an overview of the price ranges and help you determine which companies offer the best prices. Don’t just focus on the price. You should find a reasonable price for the insurance company you choose and provide the same quality services that you would expect to receive if you need assistance with filing a claim.

Check the financial stability of the companies you are considering. Once you have narrowed down the field to three insurance companies, request price quotes.

Lower homeowners insurance

Raise the Deductible

According to your policy, deductibles are the amount you must pay towards a loss before your insurer starts paying a claim. Your deductible will affect how much you can save on your premiums.

Most insurance companies recommend that you have a minimum $500 deductible. You can save up to 25% if you raise your deductible to $1,000. Keep in mind that your insurance policy may include a separate deductible for disasters if you live near one.

Depending on where you live there may be various deductibles, such as hail, high winds, or earthquakes.

Lower Your homeowners insurance

Do Not Add Land Value

Your land beneath your home is not at risk of theft, windstorm, fire, and other perils. It is not worth any homeowners insurance. You will end up paying a higher premium if you do and it will not affect you later if you decide to sell your home.

Bundle Your Home & Auto Policies

If you purchase multiple policies from the same company that sells homeowners, auto, and liability coverage, they may offer a discount of 5 to 15% on your premium. However, this price should be lower than purchasing different coverage from different companies.

Make Your Home More Resilient

Ask your realtor, insurance agent, or representative at the company what you can do to make your home more resilient to windstorms. You might be able to reduce your premiums by installing storm shutters, strengthening your roof, or updating your roof with stronger materials like Slate, concrete, and clay roofing tiles

Retrofitting older homes can make them more resilient to earthquakes. To reduce fire and water damage, you should also modernize your heating, plumbing, and electrical systems.

Lower your homeowners insurance

Make Your Home More Secure

Smoke detectors, burglar alarms, and deadbolt locks are usually eligible for discounts up to 5 percent. If you have a sophisticated sprinkler system, a fire/burglar alarm that automatically ring the police and/or fire stations, some companies will offer discounts up to 15-20 percent.

These systems can be expensive and not all systems qualify for a discount. Find out which type of system your insurer recommends and what the cost would be. Also, learn how much you can save on your premiums.

Lower your homeowners insurance

You Might Be Eligible For Other Discounts

There are many discounts offered by companies, but not all of them offer the same discount.

Retired people are less likely to be burglarized than those who work. They may also spot fires earlier, as they tend to stay home longer than their counterparts. Retired persons also have more time to maintain their homes. Retired people over 55 may be eligible for discounts up to 10% with some companies.

Group insurance may be offered by some employers or professional associations that offer better deals than what you might find elsewhere.

Lower your homeowners insurance

Keep a Clean Credit History

A solid credit history is a great way to reduce your insurance costs. Credit information is increasingly being used by insurers to price homeowners’ insurance policies. Your insurer must inform you of any adverse actions, such as a higher interest rate. You should then verify the accuracy of the information the insurer relied on.

Pay your bills on time to protect your credit rating. Don’t get more credit than you really need. Keep your credit card balances low. You should regularly review your credit report and correct any errors promptly to ensure that it remains accurate.

Lower your homeowners insurance

Keep the Same Insurance Company

You may be eligible for a discount if you have been a long-term customer of a company. If you are a policyholder for more than six years, some insurers will reduce your premiums by 5% to 5%. However, it is important to compare the price of your policy with other policies.

At least once per year, review your policy limits and the value of your possessions.

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House?

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House?

The question of how much it costs to sell a house often comes up for sellers and potential buyers alike. This is one of the most fundamental questions that every buyer and seller should ask themselves. Knowing the cost of selling a home will not only help you determine if the asking price is reasonable, but it will also give you a better idea of how much you should really be asking for the property. Understanding how real estate commission works and understanding closing costs could help you determine whether or not selling your house will be profitable.

Real Estate Commissions

Selling a home costs about 10% of the home selling price. A real estate agent gets paid a commission for every house they sell. This commission varies from one real estate agent to the next, but typically the commission is in the neighborhood of five to six percent of the selling price. This six to seven percent figure is just one component of the many fees that must be paid by the buyer who wishes to sell. These fees include a real estate agent’s commission, closing costs, buyer’s association fee, listing and title fees, a discount real estate broker‘s commission, property assessment fee, and the real estate commission.

Why Are Real Estate Commissions So High?

One reason is that real estate commissions are based on the average sale price of comparable homes in the area. Another reason is that real estate commissions are paid once, whereas mortgages and buyers’ loans often need to be paid back several times over the course of a home’s lifetime. Many buyers do not understand what is involved in the process of paying back their mortgage or buying their first house. In addition, real estate commissions can be subject to change, since they are negotiated at the time of the sale rather than at the time of the contract.

Does the Location of the Home Impact Selling Costs?

The location of your home will greatly impact how much it costs to sell your home. Homes located in nicer neighborhoods tend to be more expensive to sell than homes in more remote areas, because there is more competition for buyers. In more remote areas, it may take more time for potential homebuyers to find a home, which could lead to higher closing costs and less money from the sale. So you will likely see a larger home closer to the city, with higher real estate fees, and a smaller, more rural home closer to the farm or the nearest town.

The Marketing Process Matters When You Sell a House

The amount of time spent on the marketing process is another important factor. Realtors take into account marketing efforts when calculating the cost of listing houses. This includes looking for good buyers, preparing marketing materials, finding out about local real estate market trends, preparing for open houses, advertising and participating in open houses, and following real estate market trends to make the most of real estate sales. In addition to how much does it cost to list a home, buyers and sellers must also determine if they will enter into the escrow process after the closing process has been completed.

What Other Fees Can Be Included When You Sell a House?

You have to consider all aspects of your home’s appearance before you make any decisions about your home. Include the cost of landscaping and improvements, like mowing the lawn and painting the house. These costs will add up quickly, and you have to know what you are talking about when you are talking about these costs. Also include the cost of real estate fees, which can often be expensive if you have not saved up enough money on your mortgage balance to cover them. Your closing costs, which include appraisals, insurance, and title insurance, will also need to be considered.

What Are Closing Costs?

Closing costs are the portion of a sale that is subtracted from the final sale price in order to pay for realtor fees, property taxes, and other miscellaneous items that sellers usually include in the purchase price. Closing costs can vary greatly depending on the type of property in question, as well as the market for properties in the area. Also, the size of the property can affect the amount that is paid out in closing costs.


The cost of buying a property can be very difficult to determine without a clear picture of all of the costs that are associated with taking possession of the property and transferring ownership. When you decide to put your house on the market you will need to understand how much it will cost to raise the asking price, how much it will cost to list the property on the MLS listing, and how much it will cost to perform the various tasks associated with selling a property. Once you have a clear picture of these costs, you will be in a better position to negotiate a realistic price with your realtor.

What is a Discount Real Estate Broker?

What is a Discount Real Estate Broker?

The phrase “discount real estate broker” generally refers to an individual or company that offers commission savings on property sales. These brokers often offer discounts to both homebuyers and sellers alike for residential, commercial, and industrial properties. Some discount real estate brokers even offer rebate or bonus incentives at closing for when you buy a home or when you sell your home. These brokers have access to resources that would normally be unavailable to homebuyers and sellers, and they make offers on properties that would not normally be offered to them by traditional realtors.

Discount Real Estate Brokers Are a Bridge

One of the reasons that brokers are able to offer such substantial discounts is due to the fact that brokers are often hired as a bridge between a seller and buyer. In many instances, a full service broker can take the position of a buyer’s agent while the seller acts as the seller’s agent. While a typical listing agent makes an offer on a property, a full service sales experience allows the seller to make an offer with their own agent, with less money out of pocket. This gives the seller the ability to make a counteroffer, should the counter offer be turned down. If the offer made by the listing agent is matched by the seller, the listing agent makes money off the full service commission.

Discount Real Estate Brokers Understand Market Trends

Full service brokers have the benefit of knowing market trends and buying trends, which allows them to make wiser offers on property. These brokers have the benefit of working with buyers and sellers from across the country and they have access to multiple listing services, with discounted prices on homes from every part of the country. Discount brokers do not typically work with full buyer or seller pools, so they are typically more cost effective for people looking to save money.

Discount Real Estate Brokers Are Assets For Investors

For any real estate investor, a discount real estate broker can be an invaluable asset. When you are buying or selling a home, you want to get the best bang for your buck. A discount real estate broker can work at a lower rate, but if they don’t offer even the most basic service, they get to earn that big fat dip in profit by simply increasing their number of clients. The more clients that they serve, the less time they need to spend working on you. This is how they stay in business. Typically full-service brokerage firms will offer discounts to attract new business and are willing to negotiate closing costs. Some discount brokers offer discounts on their commission structure to retain existing clients. Such commission structures may include flat rate reductions for new sales and special incentives for renewing or remodeling contracts.

However, not every discount real estate broker offers this kind of thing. What we want from the right real estate agent is someone who will work with us until we are ready to buy or sell a home. Someone who will help us through every step of the selling process – from initial contact right down to the filing of all of the necessary paperwork and the final sale of the home. But the one model that every home seller should be using when they are selling their home is the flat fee MLS.


Flat fee MLS listing services are offered by virtually every discount real estate broker today. If you want to sell your home fast, you should use these services. You can save money and use a marketing strategy that works. And you can rest assured knowing that you are not being cheated by a commission hungry seller. A real estate listing service is a powerful tool that can give you the upper hand in the selling game!

Selling In A Seller’s Market

Selling In A Seller’s Market

Best Practices For Selling In A Seller’s Market

It is a seller’s market so if you’re ready to sell your home, 2019 is the year to move forward with your plans. It’s been several years since the real estate market made any big changes and many think one is overdue. Nowadays, more buyers exist than homes for sale to the point to where investors are buying homes in Mexico

Selling a home this year can produce an easier buying process and better profits – all the things that make home seller’s happy. It is easy to sell a home in a seller’s market, but don’t assume that the property will sell itself. To ensure maximum profit and a smooth closing day, there are a few steps that you should take when selling a home.


The Price is Right


Buyers assume the price they see for a home is the price they pay. They don’t think of sellers as being the best negotiators. As home prices are changing across the country, getting the price from the start is very important. Because there is truth to the relationship between time and money. Overpricing a home can often cause it to sit on the market much longer as buyers move onto newer and fresher inventory.

A buyer wants to endure as few headaches as possible during the process, just like you want things to go smoothly. In the end, you’ll likely need to cut the price to sell it anyway, so why not minimize the headache from the start? So, don’t think of the ‘come down in price later’ strategy works and price the home competitively from the start.


You Got The Look


No matter how new the home, buyer’s will look right past the property if it is not staged. Buyer’s want a home that is appealing; that feels like home to them. Strategic staging will help potential buyers better envision the property as a home, as their home, so it will sell much faster. Giving potential buyers that boost of imagination they need will certainly pay off when the day is done.


First Impressions Matter


Don’t forget the outside of the property when staging it to sell. It’s the first thing that a potential buyer sees when they arrive at the home. If they’re met with an unkempt lawn, dead, brown grass, peeling paint, or junk sitting outside, they’ll think twice about even going inside the home. Make sure that first impression counts. It doesn’t take a lot of money or hard work to create a space that dramatically enhances the appeal of the home, so don’t be shy about completing these steps.


Hire A Real Estate Agent


You need a real estate agent there to help with every step of the selling process. Don’t assume that an agent is helpful only when you plan to buy a home. They’re essential to a smooth selling process, too. Agents know the housing market, how to price a home, how to intrigue an audience and potential buyers, and how to make the seller happy. Do your homework when it’s time to choose an agent. There’s plenty of information waiting to learn if you aren’t afraid to do your research.

Realtor’s And Why To Use One

Realtor’s And Why To Use One

Why Use A Realtor When Buying

Buying or selling a home is probably one of the most valuable transactions in both the life of the seller and of the buyer despite their status in the community. This is because, a buyer is purchasing a piece of beach front property that he/she will be sharing precious family moments in, while the seller is selling a piece of property where he/she has been sharing and enjoying priceless moments that can never be brought back with loved ones.

While it might be tempting to avoid the fees of hiring an agent and handle the process personally, doing so can prove to be incredibly overwhelming for both parties as there are many tasks to be handled as part of the home buying or selling process. On the other hand, having a professional agent by your side to help you buy a condo or sell one can make all the difference by making the process more streamlined.

In case you are wondering what benefits you accrue when you bring a real estate agent on board as a buyer, we’ve done all the legwork for you and listed some of the perks that you will miss out on, in case you decide to go solo.

A Buyer’s Agent Is Typically Free

Yes, you read that part right. If you are a buyer, by all means should you employ the services of a Realtor. There’s no reason not to. You get their wealth of knowledge and expertise… usually for free. In most cases, a ‘buyer’s agent’ is paid by the seller of the home you buy.

It’s pre-negotiated into the listing agreement by the agent who listed the home for sale. Not using a Realtor, as a buyer, doesn’t save you money, as the Realtor on the listing side will retain both portions of the commission. Bottom line, if you’re a buyer, use a Realtor you like and trust.

They Help You Understand The Process

On one hand, if it is your first time purchasing a home, having been in the home buying and selling arena for a long time, agents have a rich understanding of the A to Z of the property purchase process. You on the other hand, if it is your first time purchasing a home, you might find it quite overwhelming and additionally, even end up making the wrong deal.

The scenario is entirely different if you bring a professional Realtor onboard. An experienced agent can fully explain what to expect from the very beginning, until the transaction is complete, to ensure that you are well informed and in control of your decision. They will also ensure that you fill all the relevant paperwork to avoid creating loopholes that might get you in trouble in future. Once you’ve secured your home, it’s important to protect it for years to come.

A Realtor Will Help Identify Faults And Features

Thanks to the fact that they work inside the halls of real estate, Realtors gain access to various listings and as such will offer you multiple options. When you make up your mind on a particular home, they will not just agree with you and motivate you to purchase it. Instead, they will first help you identify any faults that you’ve set your mind on has.

It is impossible for you to notice these faults as you have never bought or sold a home before. However the case is different for a Realtor, but for them, it is way much more comfortable as they have been part of myriads of home buying and selling processes and as such, they will effortlessly notice hazards and bring them to your attention, thereby protecting your interests and saving you a lot of regrets and costs in future. They will also point out extra features that you might not have noticed ensuring that you enjoy a smooth buying experience.

Why Use A Realtor When Buying

Help You Negotiate Better Deals

Once again we will emphasize that an agent boasts vast experience and additionally has been trained on ways to help you negotiate better terms and come up with an agreement that is beneficial to both the seller and the buyer. For instance, by bringing the faults identified during home inspection to the attention of the seller, an agent will ensure that you get a better price, or that such repairs are made.

Additionally, the fact that they are aware of the homes sold recently in that neighborhood and the prices is an added advantage as they will ensure you get your dream home at a price that is appealing. Lastly, a Realtor has inside knowledge of homes that will be up for sale in the near future, and as such, can help you get deals on these houses even before they hit the market. Therefore, if you had your eyes on a particular home and the owners want to put it up for sale, they will help you get it before it’s on-demand, thereby helping you secure a valuable home without breaking the bank.

Provide An Efficient Service Provider List

Once you make up your mind on a specific piece of property, the process does not end there as there are many other things to be done. For instance, you are likely to require either an attorney, or an escrow and title company to help you seal the deal, painters, plumbers, home stagers, landscapers and many other professionals who will help you make your dream home a reality.

Looking for these individuals yourself not only places you at the risk of paying high costs but also ending up with low quality work. Again thanks to their past experiences, an agent will give you a better list of service providers by recommending some of the individuals that he/she has worked with before.

This not only assures you quality work but also gives you a place to bounce back on, in case one of them does a shoddy job as you can always ask the agent who recommended them to handle them ensuring that they deliver results that are at par with your expectations.

Bottom Line

If you’re planning to buy a home, it is advisable not to do it alone. The benefits listed above are way too good for you to miss out on when you can get them for free. At the end of the day the agent makes the procedure of home buying less less hectic and eliminates room for regrets as you get to make your dream a reality. All you need to do is explain your expectations, and your Buyer’s Agent Realtor will come up with a list of homes that meets your needs.

I Dream of Cocoa Beach

I Dream of Cocoa Beach

I Dream of Cocoa Beach Real Estate

How wouldn’t want to live where I Dream of Jeannie took place? Having waterfront real estate is a dream come true for many well-established families. Discover how to buy a home on the Cocoa Beach barrier island.

I Dream of Jeannie

For many Americans, the I Dream of Jeannie sitcom portrayed the perfect life. The Actress Barbara Eden was beautiful, charismatic and always getting into trouble. She was married to a military man, which dove-tailed nicely with the post-World War II life.

Cocoa Beach, Florida was the ideal setting for this sitcom because the beach barrier island is very close to Cape Canaveral. Therefore, it made sense that a military man was stationed there. Interestingly enough, Cocoa Beach had become a city just a little before the sitcom was shot – on June 29, 1957. It symbolized American superpower status and the space race to the moon.

Cape Canaveral

There are about 10,000 people calling Cocoa Beach in Brevard County, Florida their home. After the Civil War, some freed African-American slaves were some of the first residents. In 1947, the town hired one police officer for $1 per hour.

The largest growth of the town occurred with the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This was the center point of America’s race to the moon. Eventually, the first U.S. unmanned moon landing was achieved in 1966 after taking off from Cape Canaveral. Therefore, this area is a symbol of American greatness.

Huge Sand Bar

Cocoa Beach is a huge sand bar. It is an exclusive area – there is not much car traffic during the off-season. The town is fairly low-key.

If families are interested in other activities, then the Orlando theme parks are fairly near – about a 1-hour drive. Families can also experience the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge or John F. Kennedy Space Center.

the seasons of Cocoa Beach

Although most of the south encounters two seasons, hot and hotter, Cocoa Beach does get its share of all four seasons. Photo courtesy of Barbara Zorn Realtor

Waterfront Property

For most, Cocoa Beach is enough to keep them entertained for a good long time. Can you imagine being able to swim on a beautiful beach whenever you wanted to? Living in Cocoa Beach is like living at your lake cabin 24/7/365. Cocoa Beach is a family favorite for many.

There are a couple of beachfront hotels on the Atlantic side of the sand bar. Children can spend some quality time in the Lori Wilson Park or Manatee Park. There are also plenty of restaurants near the pier.

People love to rent chairs and umbrellas to sit under the sun during their vacation. They can surf, ski, kayak or paddle board. This world-famous beach is a great way to enjoy life with your family and friends.

Living the Good Life

Modern life can be so hectic, especially when you live in the big city. With Cocoa Beach real estate, you have the perfect relaxing oasis to call home. Some might want to sell a home and find a great beachfront property for retirement purposes.

This is how the successful families live. One might think of the Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port. Those who buy a home in Cocoa Beach, have waterfront property on both sides.

It is easy to have friends and family members over any time. While the northern states are covered in winter snow, Florida weather still remains temperate, pleasant and tremendous. Brevard County, Florida real estate would be a great investment.

This area is sure to remain very popular. The location would also be ideal for business clients. They could have their families enjoy the local beach while you entertain them at your Cocoa Beach home.

The best Cocoa Beach Realtor can find the ideal property for your purposes. Write down the features that you are looking for. Then, share them with a professional Realtor.

Not many people get the chance of waterside living in the town that was the setting for a famous sitcom. This location was chosen because of its natural beauty and historic importance. Enjoy the American Dream and live the good life by finding the ideal home for your family.


Understanding Closing Costs When Buying Your New Home

Closing costs are part of any home buying experience and venture. These are essentially out of pocket costs that are incurred at the time of closing. The fees are charges that predominately result the title and escrow company who completes the sale.  It includes the escrow company fees, as well as certain fees to a title company of the seller’s choice.  Title companies are necessary to provide the buyer “title insurance”.  The example that best describes it to me was, “Ok, so imagine Homeowner A borrowing a large sum of money 10 years ago from Uncle B.  Uncle B was smart and had Homeowner A sign a contract that included the home as partial collateral for the loan.  Homeowner later sells the home to Homebuyer C.  Does Uncle B, if never repaid, have a claim to the home, now owed by Homebuyer C?” Title Insurance prevents that from happening.  They preventing it by providing a buyer with an insurance policy against the title of the home, so that, should any claim against the home be brought, the insurance company can provide coverage from a potential loss.  This is commonly known as Title Insurance, and is almost always paid for by the seller of the home.

So, in addition to those fees, this brings us to the last step in securing timely waterfront home ownership across the board. Usually, closing costs include pre-paid homeowners insurance and appraisal costs. However, they can also include charges by the mortgage company for implementing the mortgage itself. Similarly, pre-paid interest – known as “points” – may also be assessed during closing time. Other fees may include title insurance, along with filing fees, attorney fees, recording fees and miscellaneous expenses.  Fees typically operate on somewhat of a sliding scale, so the fees would be less if buying a condo vs a single family home.

Avoid Issues with Closing Costs

One of the best ways to avoid closing cost issues is by paying close attention to every detail. You simply cannot afford to get caught off guard at closing. This can result in costly delays, and possibly even turn you away from the deal altogether. With this in mind, is it vital to request an advanced copy of the HUD 1 settlement. This should be done at least three days prior to closing on your new homes. The HUD is designed to protect you during the closing process, and not worry about surprise fees on closing day. Here are some essentials you should keep in mind:

•    Review the entire closing agreement – or let your attorney review it in close detail.
•    Check all the closing costs and figures to make sure they are 100% correct.  Point out any discrepancies or issues with credit or closing costs – and handle them ASAP.
•    Stay on top of all buyer-seller- agent communications across the board. Make sure to include your lender and attorney in the loop as well.
•    Make sure to keep hard copies of the HUD agreement on hand before, during and even after closing.
•    Make sure everyone in the loop is on the same page – stay in close communication with your Realtor -and correct any errors or issues that can potentially cause delays.

Schedule Early Walk Throughs

Another way to avoid problems with closing costs is scheduling an early walk-through. This, of course, has to be done before closing day so you can check the home thoroughly. If you find any issues – you must notify the seller, agent or attorney at once. Remember, closing costs are governed by enforceable contracts – but all parties must be in agreement across the board. This contract also includes any legal or governing bodies – especially HUD-related rules and regulations. If you do not want to delay your closing day, all closing costs must be taken care of beforehand as well. Again, make sure every penny is accounted for on the contract – and always take photos of your bills and receipts.

You also need a detailed checklist of what was supposed to remain the property – and what was to be taken. For example: if the fixtures were supposed to remain but a few are missing, early inspections can rectify the situations before they escalate and lead you to walk out on the deal.

For more information about buyer closing costs, contact our office through homes-in-riverside.com or visit us directly.

Fun Things for the Family to Do in Panama City, Florida

Fun Things for the Family to Do in Panama City, Florida

Visit the beaches

This beautiful city has 27 miles of gorgeous beaches. Shell Island in particular is loved by both locals and tourists and is only accessible by boat. You can go there to swim and sunbathe. There is also plenty to see – rolling sand dunes, loggerhead and sea turtles and lots of other nature. If you are looking for undeveloped beachfront you can head to St. Andrews State Park, and Rick Seltzer Beach is also great.

Museum Man of the Sea

This one was founded in 1976 and is run by former Navy Seals and marine scientists. Here you will learn all about the history of man and undersea through interactive exhibits and displays. You get to climb through a submarine, try on a brass diving helmet and learn about different techniques of diving and staying underwater. If you can make the time there is a film that teaches you all about diving.

Man in the Sea Museum

Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida

This is a child’s museum that is aimed and introducing children to history, science and technology. They learn in an interactive and fun way, after which they can enjoy an outdoors nature trail through the woods and over a marsh to a pioneers’ village where there is a toddler’s play ground and a nice picnic area. There is an airline cockpit which the children can climb and explore.

Shipwreck Island Water Park, Panama City Beach, Florida

This is an aquatics park with activities that the whole family can enjoy. There is a 5,000 gallon wave pool, a Tree Top Drop, a free fall slide, a Pirate’s Plunge racing slide, 17th century sailing ship Raging Rapids River. For younger children there is a family activity pool with miniature slide. There are kiosks with food and drink and all the staff are professionally trained.

Shipwreck Island Waterpark

Paradise Adventures Catamaran

These are tours on a 52 foot safety approved catamarans. The cruises depart from Pirate’s Cove Marina and each boat can take up to 49 people, so feel free to ask extended family to come along. You can choose a morning or afternoon tour and each tour lasts 3 hours. Evening cruises last for 2 hours and are the perfect way to end a day of exploring in Panama City Florida.

Hombre Golf Club

This is a 27 hole PGA course set between wetlands, marshlands and lakes. It is dotted with palm trees and is home to the Panama City Beach Classic. Some of the world’s best golfers have played here. Do not worry if you are not a professional – there are trainers available for beginners.

Sea Dragon Pirates Cruise

This is an 85 ft ship where kids get to pretend to be pirates. There is face painting, temporary tattoos and lots and lots for kids to do – sword fights, swab the deck, treasure hunts, fire pretend cannon, water gun fights and more. Parents get to relax and enjoy cocktails as their children play. The ship goes all the way to Shell Island and you will see dolphins along the way.

Sea Dragon Pirate Cruise

What Were The Hottest Real Estate Markets of 2017?

What Were The Hottest Real Estate Markets of 2017?

What Were The Top Real Estate Markets for 2017?

Now that we embark on 2018, its a good time to look back and review what happened in real estate for 2017.  As a whole, real estate flourished in 2017, spurred by low mortgage interest rates, high demand and a relatively low supply of homes on the market.  Although 2017 was a good year for just about everyone, what were the hottest real estate markets for 2017?

Back in January of 2017, Trulia released their list of the 10 hottest real estate markets to watch for 2017.  Around the same time, Zillow released their hottest real estate markets for 2017.  Although Zillow owns Trulia, the lists were quite different.  There was one consistency between the two lists — both were full of coastal real estate markets.  Realtor.com consistently puts out their list of the top real estate markets too.  It is easy to come up with different lists for the top real estate markets – it depends on which real estate statistics you choose to look at and how you weight them.  When reviewing real estate market statistics, there are many data points that can be reviewed, including:

  • Number of home sales
  • Increase in the number of home sale year over year
  • Home prices
  • Increase in home prices year over year
  • Dollar per square foot for single family homes
  • Dollar per square foot increase year over year
  • Number of new construction
  • Increase, year over year, of new construction
  • local economic factors
  • population trends
  • Median home prices
  • Year over year increase in median home prices
  • Absorption rate of homes
  • Months of supply of home
  • and much more…

And then, of course, are you looking at every city in the country?  Are you just looking at the top 100 real estate markets by size?  Top 200?  Most entities that are putting together a list of the the top real estate markets then have to choose what weight to give to each data point.  It becomes easy to see how everyone can come up with a different list.

What Were The Real Estate Predictions for 2017?

The Top Real Estate Markets for 2017

Coastal Areas seem to dominate the top real estate markets for 2017 with ***** of the top ten being coastal real estate markets, with California making up the top three spots. The ongoing growth of the California real estate market insures that you will have no problem finding a real estate agent there – with 1 in 7 of California residents having a real estate license.

San Francisco CA

The area of San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward has seen tremendous real estate growth.  That is saying quite a lot considering the real estate prices in San Francisco have not been depressed by any stretch of the imagination.  This is one of those unique areas that already had home prices that were much higher than the rest of the country – but somehow seemed to still see tremendous increases.  Home prices in the San Francisco Bay area jumped 7 percent annually in November of 2017.  That makes the third straight month at such dramatic increases in home values.  The rate of increase was far stronger than the increase in home prices for the first half of 2017. Low supply and high demand are some of the factors attributed to the major gains.

Sacramento CA

Sacramento, much like San Francisco, already had much higher than average home prices.  To see the real estate market grow at such a rate is extremely unusual.  With the commercial real estate market on fire in Sacramento, we have seen the residential market follow.  The Sacramento Association of Realtors recorded 1.6 months of inventory this November, meaning that’s about how long it would take to sell all of the resale homes on the market in Sacramento County and the city of West Sacramento.

Lodi CA 

Although still recovering from the massive downturn, in the last few months of 2017 the Lodi California real estate market has experienced significant decreases in homeowners that are in a negative equity position. Quarter over quarter, the percentage of underwater mortgages is decreasing in the Central Valley, a trend that spreads across the country.

Lodi ca real estate market

Although not as high as its peak, the Lodi real estate market is still strong.

Dr. Frank Nothaft, the chief economist for CoreLogic was quoted as saying “This increase is primarily a reflection of rising home prices in Lodi, which drives up home values, leading to an increase in home equity positions and supporting consumer spending.”

Columbus OH

The Columbus OH real estate market grew more more than fifteen percent to over $150 Billion dollars in 2017.  With the median home value in Columbus rising over seven percent year over year.  The massive growth can be attributed to the affordability of the Columbus area, with the median home price at just over $200,000. The relative affordability of the homes in Columbus, coupled with the tremendous increases in property value has enticed many people to purchase a second home in the area.

Boston MA

The Boston real estate market has seen some bad press because of the massive rise in home prices in the Greater Boston Area.  With the average home price in Boston proper being over $900,000 and the average dollar per square foot exceeding $820.  With real estate prices that high and continuing to rise, to own any home in the city of Boston, regardless of size or amenities, can be considered a luxury home.

Panama City Beach FL

Panama City Beach Florida is another coastal area that has seen tremendous growth in their real estate market in 2017.  With a tremendous influx of insurance money flowing in from hurricanes over the last few years has created a very fresh set of condominium inventory and has many longtime homeowners thinking of selling their home in Panama City Beach.  One real estate broker was quoted as saying “with the numerous hurricanes and beachfront property damage in the last 3 years, almost every home and condo has been rebuilt, we are looking at almost an entire new city of properties to sell…and they are selling fast.”  The combination of the overall economy driving tourism coupled with the fresh inventory, the Panama City Beach real estate market has flourished.

Dallas TX

The Dallas – Fort Worth real estate market has been on this list for many years.  With some Dallas residents waiting for the market to cool off because of the ever-increasing home prices, the D-FW housing market is still seeing homes sell at some of the fastest rates in the country.  Dallas has seen a tremendous shortage of housing inventory over the last few years.

Dallas Tx real estate market

The Dallas real estate market has seen consistent growth.

Currently, the Dallas market has about a 3 month supply of homes – which is approximate half of what is considered a “balanced market”.  In addition, home values have gone up by more than forty percent in the last four years – which is one of the strongest streaks in real estate.

San Diego CA

California makes the list again with San Diego.  Although the San Diego market saw a slight slow down toward the end of 2017, they still pulled $530,000 for the average home there.  That is still not even close to the peak of the Sand Diego real estate market, which was in 2005, with an average home price of $643,000.  Although substantially more than what is found in other parts of the country, many see the current Sand Diego home prices as a “bargain” which is keeping the supply of homes low with the demand high.  Many investors look at the current prices as a steal and scoop up new homes as soon as they hit the market, not even digging too deep to find the perfect property — just anything that is not in a bidding war.

2017 Was a Good Year For Real Estate

Overall, 2017 was a great year for real estate.  Many expect 2018 to also be another stellar year.  One of the major changes in real estate for 2018 over 2017 will be the repercussions of the newly passed tax bill.  With the new tax laws, as they pertain to real estate, we are expecting to see many of the more expensive real estate markets such as Boston and San Diego to slow down.  Many real estate economists feel that the best real estate markets for 2018 will be the more middle of the road markets that won’t be has heavily affected by the new tax laws.  We shall see.







Finding The Right Agent

Finding The Right Agent

How to Find the Right REALTOR to Sell Your Home

Many people end up confused when it comes to finding a REALTOR – how do they know that they are picking the right one when there are so many of them around?  Looking at properties is the fun part of purchasing a home.  There is quite a bit more that goes into a real estate transaction and you want to insure you have someone looking out for your best interest.


One thing to keep in mind is just like in any other industry, many real estate agents have areas of expertise.  Some REALTORS may specialize in listing waterfront homes, some specialize in working with first time buyers, lakehomes some may have a depth of knowledge in condos.

In addition to the the types of real estate transaction, you will find some agents will have more experience in the city where others focus on the outlying areas, subdivisions and suburbs.  There are very different skill sets when working in a metro area than working neighborhoods.  You get even a different specialty when looking for vacant land or in even waterfront homes as opposed to Brownstones in a heavily populated area.

As your agent what their specialty is.  If they say “everything” – for smaller areas that may be true – but in larger real estate markets, agents generally end up working the same types of real estate transactions on the same types of properties.

luxury homes

luxury homes

Finding an Agent

It is true that finding a real estate agent can be hard, but if you know what you are looking for you will be able to find a realtor who will help you sell your home fast and for a good price. Here are top tips on how to find a real estate agent:

  • Make sure that you choose a professional. While many people identify themselves as REALTORS, not all of them are members of the National Association of Realtors. Ask them to show you their membership card. It helps if they are members of other professional associations.
  • You want to find a real estate agent who has the right amount of experience. If you go with a REALTOR who is still learning how to sell homes you may end up having to wait for a long term before you can find the right buyer.
  • When you are looking for a REALTOR you should be looking into those that work in your neighborhood. Not only do they know who is in the market for a new home, they also know the buying trends of the market around you and they will help you sell your home for the right price.
  • A good REALTOR provides a comprehensive package. They will provide you with advice on how best to stage, they will bring in the right professionals to do repairs, they will help with valuation and they will also help you with all the paperwork that comes with selling your home. You may find that there are some who charge less because they don’t offer these services – it is not a good idea to go with such a realtor because it means that all these little additional tasks become your headache.
  • Choose a REALTOR who is within your range, Say, for example, that you want to sell your home for about $500,000 – you will not have an easy time of it if you choose a REALTOR who deals with high end homes that sell for millions.
  • If a REALTOR says that they are able to sell your home for a lot more than its valuation be wary – if your home is listed for a lot of money it will stay on the market a lot longer.
  • Good REALTORS are also good communicators – they will listen to you so as to understand your expectation and they will also talk to you often to let you know what kind of progress they are making finding prospective buyers. On your part let them know how you would prefer that they communicate with you – should they call, text or email?
  • Lastly, make sure that you are not paying your REALTOR more money than you should. Find out what the average rates are so that you can negotiate a good deal for yourself. Make sure that the realtor you choose doesn’t have any hidden costs.

With the purchase of a home being the largest transaction of most peoples lives – choosing a REALTOR is an important decision.  Real estate is very litigious and there is a ton of paperwork and with so much money at stake, you want to trust the person driving.

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