Padre IslandHousing Report – March 2017

THE HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES TO BE HEATING UP AS WE MOVE INTO FULL SPRING TIME OF 2017, THE BEST WEATHER OF THE YEAR.  TAKE A LOOK AT THE STATISTICS ON WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE ON PADRE ISLAND IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TX.  CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW AND GET A FULL PDF TO PRINT OUT TO KEEP TRACK OF THIS DATA.  LOOKING FORWARD TO AN EVEN MORE EXCITING SUMMER AHEAD, GIVE US A CALL AND DISCUSS THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO OWN A PIECE OF COASTAL TEXAS! (361) 949-0101

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North Padre Island Housing Report – February 2017

THE HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES TO BE HEATING UP AS WE MOVE INTO SPRING OF 2017.  TAKE A LOOK AT THE STATISTICS ON WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE ON PADRE ISLAND IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TX.  CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW AND GET A FULL PDF TO PRINT OUT TO KEEP TRACK OF THIS DATA.  LOOKING FORWARD TO AN EVEN MORE EXCITING SUMMER AHEAD, GIVE US A CALL AND DISCUSS THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO OWN A PIECE OF COASTAL TEXAS! (361) 949-0101

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2017 Great Year to Buy a Home?

46118737 - real estate sign in front of new house for sale

46118737 – real estate sign in front of new house for sale

Just over 1000 homes are currently on the market in Corpus Christi. If the housing market doesn’t change, it would take just over four months to sell all those homes.

Real Estate Agent, David Garcia, who’s been selling homes for 16 years, says this is good news!

“It’s an excellent time to buy, you definitely want to take advantage of the low interest rates,” Garcia said. He says the housing market is based on supply and demand.

Out of those 1000 plus homes for sale, roughly 21% of them fall in the high demand category. Garcia says the most frequently purchased homes in Corpus Christi are right around $250,000. Although the supply for those homes is low, the demand is high.

Meaning, if you put your house on that market around that price range, it will sell very quickly.

Garcia says a recent survey found the median home price went up about 7% from 2015 to 2016.

He says that translates into a good return on investment. That’s not the only advantage to buying a home.  Buyers also build equity and reap tax advantages

“Your net worth is 45 times greater owning a home vs renting,” Garcia said.

Another incentive to buy? Rent has gone up over the last year. On average, renters will spend slightly over 1000 a month for a single family.

“A lot of the industry experts are predicting 2017 to be a very good year in terms of sales,” Garcia said.

via KrisTv.com

6 New Years Resolutions For Buyers/Sellers

new-years-day-smallHere is our top 6 tips for the New Year

  1. Eliminate & Simplify Your Home – Buyers out there are saving for their spring purchase,  but why not start your efforts in January? This is an especially great time after the heaps of gifts that they have received. Plus, if they plan to sell your home, it will make selling the house and moving that much easier. It’s simple just start small and go room by room, designating areas for donations, things to be fixed and things to sell. The sooner you start, the better you’ll feel!
  2. Make Your Home Safter – Do you have kids (even if they don’t!), then making your home safer all around is a great resolution to make. Commit to a regular safety maintenance schedule by checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly, ensuring you have fire extinguishers and preparing the family for emergencies such as weather disasters and fire. Always replenish emergency kits, bottled water and non-perishable food items throughout the year, too.
  3. Make Your Home Smarter – Yep, that’s right!  You may have just missed the boat on making your home safe when they bought your home, but it’s never too late. Some ways to make homes “smarter”? Smart home hubs like Amazon Echo, security video monitors like Ring and smart thermostats like Nest, and even smart plugs and bulbs to bring your home into the 21st century.
  4. Consider Refinancing – Maybe its time to decrease your payments or lock in a low fixed mortgage rate through refinancing. Shopping around for the best rates is a great way to find one the lowest one that works for you and will make your wallet feel a lot better come 2018.
  5. Get a Green Thumb – No, not go out and garden although an argument could be made for that as well. Change your light bulbs to energy-efficient LED ones. This will also help you save money. Another way to be greener is to clean the house with reusable cloths or old, clean rags versus wasteful paper towels (however, use good judgement for especially dirty messes).
  6. Do Something to Help Someone – Yes, it is 2017… the election is over and we are still all just human beings.  We must let go of the past no matter what side of the fence we sit and come together as a nation more than ever now.  If all else fails and you can’t find anything you could do to help your fellow man, than for goodness sakes just smile a ton.  Your mind will come around sooner or later!

Share these five tips with your friends and family and help them be better homeowners and prepared sellers when the time comes!

Happy New Year from your Coastline Properties Family!

North Padre Island Housing Report – November 2016

THE HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES TO BE HEATING UP AS WE WRAP UP 2016.  TAKE A LOOK AT THE STATISTICS ON WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE ON PADRE ISLAND IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TX.  CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW AND GET A FULL PDF TO PRINT OUT TO KEEP TRACK OF THIS DATA.  WE WISH YOU A VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON, GIVE US A CALL AND DISCUSS THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO OWN A PIECE OF COASTAL TEXAS! (361) 949-0101

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Proud To Be the Face of Padre Island Real Estate

We are so excited to be nominated for the 2nd year in a row from “The Bend Magazine” to be the Face of Padre Island Real Estate!  This year has been a great year for Real Estate and we are eternally grateful to all of our clients for allowing us to serve them by giving them the absolute best service in the the industry!  We look forward to another year ahead to give our current and future clients the very best attention and world class service.

OUR PLEDGE:

WE PLEDGE to be honest and always put my client’s interest first. WE GO BEYOND what the law requires.  WE FIGHT for homeowners’ rights.  OUR CLIENTS have a lot at stake. We owe it to them to be more than just an ordinary real estate agent. WE VOLUNTEER in our community, because we live there too.  WE WORK HARD to create opportunities for more to people to afford homes. WE TAKE COURSES to increase our expertise and skill sets, so we can better serve you as a homebuyer, seller, or commercial property investor & rental property owner. WE ABIDE by a strict code of ethics.  WE ARE PROTECTORS of our clients and insure they get the absolute best from us and their real estate transactions.  WE GIVE to our community and support many charitable causes, not because we have to… because WE BELIEVE it is our duty to our community to give back to those in need. IN GOD WE TRUST!

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Padre Island Housing Report – September 2016

THE HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES TO BOOM IN OUR NECK OF THE WOODS.  TAKE A LOOK AT THE STATISTICS ON WHAT’S HAPPENING HERE ON PADRE ISLAND IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TX.  CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW AND GET A FULL PDF TO PRINT OUT TO KEEP TRACK OF THIS DATA.  THE SUMMER IS OVER NOW AND WE ARE HEADING INTO THE HOLIDAYS, GIVE US A CALL AND DISCUSS THE MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO OWN A PIECE OF COASTAL TEXAS! (361) 949-0101

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THE TIME OF THE TOWNHOUSE

islandtownhomes448x298These dwellings are having their shining moment, thanks to an increased demand by both first-time buyers and Boomers alike! Both appear to be seeking the appeal for walkable communities in which the amenities are grand, you can get a great bang for your buck, and often less maintenance (big perk for both busy, young families and Boomers alike!).

Nationally, the number of townhouses built last year increased 18% percent over 2014. Here on the Island, the number is even more incredible!

70 townhomes were sold between September 15, 2015 – September 15, 2016

44 townhomes were sold between September 15, 2014 – September 15, 2015

That’s a whopping increase in townhome sales! The long-run prospects for townhouse construction are positive given the large numbers of homebuyers looking for high density “neighborhoods,” near the action (eh em, the new Marina District perhaps?) that offer proximity to the happenings along with community amenities.

Perk #1: Own That Land, You American Dreamer You!

What’s the main difference between a condo and a townhome you ask? It’s simple. As a condo owner, you own only your unit, nothing below or above you. As a townhome owner, you own the planet Earth beneath you, and the sky above you. And, as the Homeowners Association will nearly always maintain the complex grounds, you can be a lazy bum and still have a nice yard, albeit likely small.

Perk #2: That HOA Though…

So you own a nice patch of grass, or maybe a cute pom pom bush. Your HOA will take care of it! Many HOAs will even allow owners to plant that desired petunia border you’ve always dreamt of, just ask. So long as you pay your monthly dues, your grass will be mowed, your exterior painted, your roof re-shingled, your pool cleaned, your exterior insurance paid, and the list can go on. Now, each HOA will be different, and each will have a list of items they maintain and don’t maintain, so make sure you know what’s agreed upon and who does what in the yard. As many prefer to keep the fronts looking manicured and uniform, you may have to plant your Sneezewort Yarrow in the back.

Perk #3: Don’t Ever Leave!

When you buy a townhouse, it often comes with a community, and that community has amenities. Some developments have a pool, a laundry room, possibly boat slips (if on the canal) maybe a recreational room, etc. You may not have to leave but to go do your grocery shopping! This can be very appealing. And as an owner, you own a percentage of each of the common facilities.

Perk #4: Save Some $$

Although this isn’t a steadfast rule here on Padre, townhouses can be less expensive than single-family residences. Townhouses sometimes have the fancy upgrades built right in that you otherwise couldn’t afford in a house, like granite countertops, high-end appliances, or eco-friendly materials. And although they are often multilevel that share a side wall or two with another unit, they can have as many bedrooms and bathrooms as will fit in the floor plan, just like a single-family house. The point is, you can get a lot of the same stuff in a townhouse that you can find in a regular house, but you typically pay less for it.

Perk #5: Tight-Knit Community

Having Mrs. Kravitz nearby isn’t always a bad thing! With units that are close, and parking areas that may be shared, it’s possible that you and your neighbors see and know what’s going on with one another. As most townhomes on the Island do not allow short-term rentals, the neighborhood is often more stable in terms of less turnover and more face familiarity. This can be desirable for the young family who needs neighborly help watching kids, or the more “medically fragile” older couple who may find peace of mind knowing that their neighbors could check on them if they go sight unseen for a day or two. Travel a lot? Now Nosie Nelly doesn’t seem so bad, as she’ll be able to stink eye anyone who looks out of sorts lurking around your townhome.

With 84 townhomes currently for sale on the Island, maybe it’s time to pay them some attention!

CONSEQUENTIALLY CONTINGENT

22869326 - coming to an agreement through negotiation illustrated by three road or street signs with the words you want, i want, negotiate

The C word – it’s not well understood, so it’s not well liked. But, we should no longer feel the need to whisper it only in dark shadows after certain hours. Unless you’re a first-time home buyer or have been renting, there’s a chance you’ll need to sell your home before purchasing a new one. And the safest way for a buyer to do this is through a contingency. Let it be known, this is a beautiful risk and has pretty perks, so for those of you who see the glass half full, this one’s for you. For the rest, as they say, pour your liquid into a smaller cup and no longer fear this scenario.

 

What does it Mean?

By definition, it means a future event or circumstance that is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty. In real estate, this clause defines a condition or action that must be met in order for a real estate contract to become binding (as aforementioned, with a home sale contingency in place, the transaction is dependent upon the sale of the buyer’s home). The contingency becomes part of a binding sales contract when both parties agree to the terms and sign the contract.

Why is it Risky?

To Sellers: the main risk is that there is no guarantee that the home will sell. Before agreeing to a contingency, a seller may want to do their due diligence, for instance: is the home already for sale, is the list price attractive, what’s the sales time for homes in the neighborhood.

To Buyers: Buyers must still spend the same amount of money on home inspections, repair negotiations, appraisal fee (to name a few) and the buyer does not get these monies back if the deal falls through due to their property not selling on time. Also, because sellers are taking a gamble of sorts of the buyers ability to sell their current property, buyers need to make their offer as attractive as possible so that the seller will consider this risk.
What are the Benefits?

To Sellers: One major benefit is that the home can continue to be shown, and the seller can continue to receive offers. If the seller accepts a written offer, the seller is required to notify the buyer of such acceptance.  Per the contract, the buyer has a specified amount of time (say, 2-3 days) to either remove the contingency and put down additional earnest money, or the contract terminates automatically and the earnest money is refunded to the buyer. A home sale contingency might also be a good thing if the seller has had the property on the market for a while and is unable to find a buyer. A contract with a contingency is still a contract, and there is a chance that the property will sell.

To Buyers: A home sale contingency gives buyers the opportunity to not miss out on the home they want, while allowing them time to sell their property. This way, buyers can avoid owning two homes and holding two mortgages at one time while waiting for their own home to sell. A home sale contingency can allow the buyer to sell their property with peace of mind knowing their next purchase is already in motion.
Why is it Misunderstood?

Many may only see the risks and not truly understand the benefits. Home sale contingencies protect buyers who want to sell one home before purchasing another. Upon receiving or writing a contract involving a contingency, it is important to review and understand the terms of the sale. This is something your real estate agent should be able to explain in detail to you. Fear not the world of contingencies, as knowledge is power!

 

Save and Spend Smartly

piggy-bank-It’s hot here on Padre Island, and I’m not talking just the high temperatures. It is real estate’s steamy season, and properties are being listed and sold faster than season tickets at the ‘bahn. With the active market, it’s critical to take a look at your spending. How can you be assured you’re not wasting money? Here are some smart tips on how to save and spend during peak purchase season. Do not fall victim to these common money mistakes.

 

BUYERS:

DO NOT overpay. Unless you find yourself in a bidding war for the home of your absolute dreams, there is not a single home like it, and you do not plan to leave, ever ever ever, do not pay over the appraised value. Note: Do not get this number from the tax office, get this from an actual appraiser who visits the home and runs their own detailed determination of real value.

DO get an inspection. It’s worth the couple hundred dollars. Do your due diligence and know what you’re buying. If there is a deficiency on a large ticket item, it’s best to find out ahead of time so you can budget for it in the future or you can ask the seller to help right the wrong. You do not want to find these deficiencies later, once the sale is over, and you haven’t budgeted for them.

DO NOT make a lowball offer. Negotiating is normal, and it’s okay to not offer full price. But if you’re interested enough to make an offer, make sure it’s worth your time and the seller’s time. Your agent will be able to give their best advice as to what a good offer price would be, based on comparables and their knowledge of the market and area.

DO lender shop. Different lenders can offer different rates. Shop around, see with whom you can save and where.

DO NOT make large purchases prior to closing. This is a huge expensive mistake, as it can alter your credit score and can actually take you from having loan approval to not. You can lose your property and in turn gain something of expense (whatever it was that you bought, albeit a car, boat, etc.).

SELLERS:

DO NOT remodel what won’t pay off. If you’re going to do some upgrading prior to listing your property, spend money in the kitchen. This is a room that’s important. Otherwise, less expensive updates you can do include painting, new hardware, fixtures and carpet. Gutting bathrooms and shellacking your garage floor is likely not worth the pay off.

DO price properly. Your listing agent will be able to guide you to a proper sales price, so use their knowledge! You’re paying them, after all. If your property is priced too high, it’s likely to not sell as quickly, wasting your money on months of bills, taxes, mortgage payments, etc.

DO NOT reject reasonable offers. Letting your emotions get in the way of your sale can be tough, but you do not want to push qualified buyers away because you’re not remembering that this is in fact business. At the very least, provide a counter offer.

DO disclose. If there are issues that you do know about, it’s the law to disclose known deficiencies. If you do not, this could turn in to a lawsuit. Talk about expensive!

Try to keep these Dos and Don’ts in mind this summer and in to the fall, and you will be free from the most expensive mistakes that buyers and sellers tend to make. You work hard for your money, so keep your dollars where they will work for YOU!

Padre Island Housing Report June 2016

The Housing Market is Hot,Hot, Hot right now.  Take a look at the statistics on what’s happening here on Padre Island in Corpus Christi, TX.  Click on the Picture below and get a full PDF to print out to keep track of this data.  The summer is going by fast, give us a call and discuss the many opportunities to own a piece of coastal Texas! (361) 949-0101

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Hydrostatic Testing

plumbing-840835_640You got your home under contract! You’re so excited, a buyer loves your home as much as you do! Then, inspections are set up. The three inspections typically performed on a home here are the general inspection, the pest inspection, and the plumbing inspection.

It’s this last one that seems to be an inspection that, as of late, has been causing some unease among sellers.

Fear not, sellers! The truth is, this is not at all a scary or intrusive test. But it is an important one. The only way to calm a fear or unease is to be well informed. Here I’ll break it down so that when the time comes, as either a buyer or a seller, this test is nothing to think twice about.

Definition: A hydrostatic test is a way in which pressure vessels can be tested for strength and leaks.

Don’t let the word pressure fool you. There is a common misconception that pressure is put on your system during this test. That is far from the truth. What the plumber does is quite simple. They will find your sewer cleanout/sanitary drain pipe and insert a testball/balloon into the piping and inflate it near the perimeter of the foundation. Next, they’ll simply fill the system up with water. They will then find a commode and/or shower on the lowest level and monitor the water levels. If the water maintains its level (they’ll typically watch for roughly 15 minutes) then there are no leaks! IF the water happens to fall, there is indication of a leak somewhere in the system.

Leaks often occur when foundations have shifted. Because we are built on sand here on the Island, it’s relatively rare to have a failed hydrostatic test as foundations move less on sand. In the case of a failed test, the next step is to find where the leak actually is. That test is slightly more involved, but still not dangerous to the system. An Isolation Test is what should be scheduled next, and this test finds the actual source of the leak. It’s smart to have a different plumber perform this test to eliminate the possible suspicion of an intentional failed test to get more business (as the isolation test is far more expensive).

The entire inspection/hydrostatic test takes roughly 20 minutes. Like a ninja in the night, you may not even know they were there! Our local plumbers are knowledgeable, true professionals who are happy to answer your questions or concerns.

Note: This test typically costs around $85, and only a licensed plumber is to perform this inspection.

Did you know? A hydrostatic test is DIFFERENT than a static test. They are sometimes accidentally interchangeably used in casual conversation regarding the plumbing inspection, and there’s where some confusion can occur in terms of whether pressure is put on your system during a hydrostatic test. A STATIC test is what indicates pressure, and you can do it yourself – it’s a gauge that you can purchase at any hardware store that you screw on to your hose bib. Then, turn the water on and the gage will tell you how much pressure it is outputting. Don’t let a static test be confused with a hydrostatic test.

Tax Time 2016

Your home is likely your largest asset, and therefore, deserves special attention at tax time. Be sure you’re handling them correctly this year, using these tips!

Deduct from the correct year:

Here, we’re billed in arrears on our taxes, which can be confusing when taking the tax deduction. You’ll want to be sure to enter the amount you actually paid in that tax year, no matter what the date on your tax bill says. Because of this, it can be easy to confuse your payments and actually claim the incorrect amount.

Note: If taxes were paid from your escrow account, do not just deduct the amount escrowed. That’s because sometimes the amount you pay from this account can be a little bit higher or a little bit lower. Your lender will align the two to make sure they end up matching.

For example: Your property taxes were $6,000. Your lender collected $5,800. Or, maybe your lender collected $6,200. You’ll deduct $6,000, the actual taxes paid. This number will be the amount noted on your Form 1098.

Deduct your mortgage interest:

A home mortgage interest deduction allows you, the taxpayers who owns your home, to write off any interest you paid on a loan secured by your home (main home or a second home). The loan may be a mortgage, a line of credit, or a home equity loan. This allows you to reduce your taxable income by the amount of interest paid on the loan.

Note: You must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040), and prove your mortgage is a secured debt on a qualified home in which you own.

Exceptions: You cannot deduct mortgage interest on a mortgage that is over $1,000,000, or you have over $100,000 in home equity debt.

Refinanced?

If you’ve refinanced, you’ll be deducting points over the life of your new loan (as opposed to your regular mortgage, where you’ve been deducting points based on what you paid your lender to secure your mortgage over the course of your loan’s life – 15 years, 30 years…)

For example: Let’s say you paid $3,000 in points for a refinance of 30 years. You’ll divide 3,000 by 30 and pay $100 a year.

Went green?

If you made any energy improvements, such as installing solar electric, solar water heater, geothermal, any energy-efficient systems…you may be able to take a 10% tax credit up to a certain dollar amount. However, these are one-time credits. If you claimed your new energy-efficient windows last year, you can’t do it again.

Note: See Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits

Don’t forget to:

  • Keep track of your home-related expenses.
  • Track your capital gains (If you sold your main home last year, you’ll have to pay capital gains taxes on your profit from that sale). Keep your receipts as long as you own the property plus three years.
  • Deduct your home office (If you’re eligible, you can deduct $5 per sq. ft. up to 300 feet, or up to $1,500 a year).
  • Keep your mortgage payoff statements forever. You never know when you may need that proof.
  • Keep your appraisal or valuation used to calculate depreciation as long as you’re the owner plus three years.
  • Keep your property tax payment, year-end mortgage statement, PMI payment, and energy tax credit receipt for three years after the due date of the return showing the deduction.

Know Before You Owe

knowbeforeyouowe

The holidays are over, the sun is finally peaking out, and the buyers are making their grand debut from dormancy.

But as a buyer, knowledge is power. And The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau knows that. They have worked diligently to make the loan process more transparent. The new forms discussed below (the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure) were introduced to present less confusing information as to ensure consumers understand the terms of their loan and the fees they’re paying. Know before you owe!

To walk the walk, you have to talk the talk. Here is the new lingo and the new forms.

Let’s talk Terminology:

A lender is now a “Creditor”

The Good Faith Estimate (GFE) is now the “Loan Estimate” or LE for short.

HUD or Settlement Statement is now your “Closing Disclosure” or CD for short.

The GFE was meant to provide the buyer with a really good idea of what they’d be bringing to closing and the terms of their loan. But the rules behind its successor, the LE, are stricter, and provide a higher financial accuracy to the buyer. It includes interest rate, fees for both creditor and third-party services (ie: appraisals, title insurance, closing costs, etc.)

Before you do anything, shop around for a lender and get prequalified for a loan. There’s little advantage to visiting with a Real Estate Agent until you know what you can afford.

First you get prequalified, then you work with a Realtor who finds you the perfect home, and then comes your Loan Estimate.

SIX ELEMENTS TO GET THE LOAN ESTIMATE

  1. The consumer’s name
  2. The consumer’s income
  3. The consumer’s SSN to obtain a credit report (creditor shopping will NOT affect credit rating)
  4. Property address
  5. An estimate of the value of the property
  6. The mortgage loan amount sought

CLARIFY!

The prequal is NOT a Loan Estimate. If the consumer/buyer requests a preapproval or prequalification, and provides 5 of these 6 elements in their application, the creditor will provide the prequalification, but is not yet obligated to provide the LE.

Only when the consumer provides all six elements of the application, the creditor must get the LE to the consumer within 3 Federal Business days (if the creditor is open on Saturday, then Saturday counts). Once provided, the LE holds true for 10 days once a property has been determined.

The home does not actually have to be under contract at this point, but it greatly benefits the buyer if it is. Without knowing which title company the contract will be at, your creditor can’t know the exact fees. With the new LE, the liability and financial accuracy weighs much heavier on the creditor than it did in the past. So what if there are differences presented on your final CD than those on your LE?  There are zero tolerance fees, and fees that fall between a 10% tolerance. So if there is a difference between your CD and your LE, depending on which category the miscalculation falls under, the creditor may have to pay.

Moral is, sellers want strong buyers. Preapproval from a creditor shows just that, which is why it’s critical to get that first. Present that to your Realtor, house hunt, get under contract, and request the LE. Leave the rest to your happy and knowledgeable Realtor.

We’ll leave the changes to the consummation (the new term for closing) for a later discussion…

QUICK FACTS FROM 2015 COMPARED TO 2014

Demand was healthy in 2015, and the supply was enough to give the buyers options.

  • 1% increase in new listings since 2014
  • 7% increase in median sales price in 78418
  • -4.2% decrease in days on market
  • 15% new construction market share in 78418
  • 8% list to sale price ratio in 78418

Design Trends in 2016

destrends2016

“This home is so ’70s.” How many times have we heard a home identified by a year based on its appearance and finishes? Well, 2016 will be no different, as fun and fresh designs are sure to be trending.

Outdoors, Indoors

Here on the Island, we practically live outdoors most of the year! Designs are beginning to recognize this. Homeowners are working on bringing the outside in with things like plants, and double doors, and also purchasing furniture that can be used both indoors and out. Create a fluid space where the indoor outdoor living concept is seamless.

Geometric Tiles

Tile backsplashes aren’t a new concept, but what we expect to see in 2016 are using the tiles to create more geometric patterns that feature fluid movement. New materials for this are coming onto the scene such as cement and wood. Whether it is a backsplash, an intricately patterned floor or a countertop, fluid geometry is eye-catching and coming in strong this year.

White Appliances

With so many homeowners going with the trending white cabinets, white appliances just blend right in. Also, many are becoming tired of the maintenance from the marks and handprints that are so evident and inevitable that show up on stainless steel appliances. Try Ice White from Whirlpool. Slate kitchen appliances can also bring a classic and modern look and are gaining momentum.

Metallics, Metals, and Minerals

All trends come back around, and the 1950s and 1970s are hot fashion trends in 2016, and this will also translate to the home. Gold and metallic finishes are exceedingly popular right now. Retro bling, shine, and polished geodes will rock your home (pun intended). Accessorize with oversized bowls of fools gold, big chunks of quartz, or even unpolished semi-precious stones turned into door pulls. Go au natural!

Chevron is Out

Herringbone, Chevron, Zig-Zag, the fun and often colorful pattern was so 2015. If you are still a fan of it, try putting it in easily removable ways, such as an area rug or throw blanket. Don’t stick it up on a large wall. Instead, try solid-colored, textured fabrics, or even animal hide is in!

Bye Brass

Brass hardware is one design element that almost immediately outdates a home. Hardware is one incredibly easy and inexpensive way to update! To replace brass hardware or other knobs, be sure to choose a size that will cover the “footprint” of whatever is currently installed. For 2016, try brushed or satin nickel hardware. Magic.

Fake Wall Treatments

Solids are back. 2016 interior design approaches emphasize authenticity. The prevalent use of natural materials (back to minerals, above) goes back to midcentury modern design. That means it may be time to get rid of the fake wall treatments such as Tuscan paint finishes and marbled columns. Use a solid paint! It’s chic, clean, and IN.

6 Smart Reasons to Buy a Home in 2016

2016

Is it really 2016 already?  For those of you who happen to be planning on buying a home in the new year—or even just trying to—there’s a whole lot to celebrate. Why? A variety of financial vectors have dovetailed to make this the perfect storm for home buyers to get out there and make an (winning) offer. Here are six home-buying reasons to be thankful while ringing in the new year:

Reason No. 1: Interest rates are still at record lows

Even though they may creep up at any moment, it’s nonetheless a fact that interest rates on home loans are at historic lows, with a 30-year fixed-rate home loan still hovering around 4%.

“Remember 18.5% in the ’80s?” asks Tom Postilio, a real estate broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate and a star of HGTV’s “Selling New York.”“It is likely that we’ll never see interest rates this low again. So while prices are high in some markets, the savings in interest payments could easily amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.”

Reason No. 2: Rents have skyrocketed

Another reason home buyers are lucky is that rents are going up, up, up! (This, on the other hand, is a reason not to be thankful if you’re a renter.) In fact, rents outpaced home values in 20 of the 35 biggest housing markets in 2015. What’s more, according to the2015 Rent.com Rental Market Report, 88% of property managers raised their rent in the past 12 months, and an 8% hike is predicted for 2016.

“In most metropolitan cities, monthly rent is comparable to that of a monthly mortgage payment, sometimes more,” says Heather Garriock, mortgage agent for The Mortgage Group. “Doesn’t it make more sense to put those monthly chunks of money into your own appreciating asset rather than handing it over to your landlord and saying goodbye to it forever?”

Reason No. 3: Home prices are stabilizing

For the first time in years, prices that have been climbing steadily upward are stabilizing, restoring a level playing field that helps buyers drive a harder bargain with sellers, even in heated markets.

“Local markets vary, but generally we are experiencing a cooling period,” says Postilio. “At this moment, buyers have the opportunity to capitalize on this.”

Reason No. 4: Down payments don’t need to break the bank

Probably the biggest obstacle that prevents renters from becoming homeowners is pulling together a down payment. But today, that chunk of change can be smaller, thanks to a variety of programs to help home buyers. For instance, the new Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage Program allows for a 3% down payment for credit scores as low as 620.

Reason No. 5: Mortgage insurance is a deal, too

If you do decide to put less than 20% down on a home, you are then required to have mortgage insurance (basically in case you default). A workaround to handle this, however, is to take out a loan from the Federal Housing Administration—a government mortgage insurer that backs loans with down payments as low as 3.5% and credit scores as low as 580. The fees are way down from 1.35% to 0.85% of the mortgage balance, meaning your monthly mortgage total will be significantly lower if you fund it this way. In fact, the FHA predicts this 37% annual premium cut will bring 250,000 first-time buyers into the market. Why not be one of them?

Reason No. 6: You’ll reap major tax breaks

Please, Mr. Postman Tax laws continue to favor homeowners, so you’re not just buying a place to live—you’re getting a tax break! The biggest one is that unless your home loan is more than $1 million, you can deduct all the monthly interest you are paying on that loan. Homeowners may also deduct certain home-related expenses and home property taxes.

via realtor.com

5 Real Estate Trends That Will Dominate 2016

real-estate-2016

This year may have marked the best for housing since 2007, but the market will likely get even rosier in 2016, according to a recent real estate forecast by realtor.com®. One of the main drivers behind the brighter 2016 is the projection that employment will continue to grow, which will add to consumers’ wallets and allow them to purchase their first home or upgrade to a new one.  Realtor.com® highlights the following housing predictions for 2016:

  1. ‘Normal’ is coming.

Expect a healthy growth in home sales and prices – at a slower pace than in 2015. “This slowdown is not an indication of a problem—it’s just a return to normalcy,” writes Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “We’ve lived through 15 years of truly abnormal trends, and after working off the devastating effects of the housing bust, we’re finally seeing signs of more normal conditions.” New construction and distressed sales are expected to return to more historical levels, and home prices are expected to follow at “more normal rates consistent with a more balanced market.”

  1. Generational buying trends shape up.

Young adults’ presence on the housing market has been largely predicted for years, but 2016 may finally be the year they make a move in a larger way. Millennials represented nearly 2 billion sales in 2015 – one-third of home buyers. They are expected to continue to be a major buying pool in 2016 with the majority of buyers between ages 25 and 34 expected to be first-time home buyers next year. But two other generations will also have a big presence in 2016: financially recovering GenXers and older baby boomers who are entering retirement, realtor.com® notes. “Since most of these people are already homeowners, they’ll play a double role, boosting the market as both sellers and buyers,” Smoke notes. “Gen Xers are in their prime earning years and thus able to relocate to better neighborhoods for their families. Older boomers are approaching (or already in) retirement and seeking to downsize and lock in a lower cost of living.”

  1. New-home construction focuses more on affordability.

Builders have been faced with higher land costs, limited labor, and concerns about the demand of the entry-level market. As such, they have shifted to constructing more higher-priced homes, which has caused new-home prices to rise significantly faster than existing-home prices. In 2016, they likely will shift to more affordable product to cater to the entry-level buyers. “We are already seeing a decline in new-home prices for new contracts signed this fall,” notes Smoke. “In addition, credit access is improving enough to make the first-time buyer segment more attractive to builders.”

  1. Higher mortgage rates.

Mortgage rates will likely be volatile in 2016. But the recent move by the Federal Reserve to guide interest rates higher should push mortgage rates higher in the new year than the historical lows they have been at for years. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will likely end 2016 about 60 basis points higher than today’s level. “That level of increase is manageable, as consumers will have multiple tactics to mitigate some of that increase,” Smoke says. “However, higher rates will drive monthly payments higher, and, along with that, debt-to-income ratios will also go higher.” The markets with the highest home prices will see the effects from the higher rates the most.

  1. Rents to go up even higher.

Rental costs are skyrocketing, and the costs are likely to only go up in the new year. More than 85 percent of the nation’s markets have rents that exceed 30 percent of the income of renting households. “Rents are accelerating at a more rapid pace than home prices, which are moderating,” Smoke says. “Because of this, it is more affordable to buy in more than three-quarters of the U.S. However, for the majority of renting households, buying is not a near-term option due to poor household credit scores, limited savings, and lack of documentable stable income of the kind necessary to qualify for a mortgage today.”

Source: “The 5 Real Estate Trends That Will Shape 2016,” realtor.com® (Dec. 16, 2015)

THE REVERSE MORTGAGE, REVISED!

reverse-mortgage-corpus-christi

It’s no longer just a refinance tool, but now also for use with purchases!

First let’s review what a reverse mortgage is. It’s a loan available to homeowners who are at least 62 years old, where instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the lender makes payments to the borrower. The idea is to aid elders and retirees who have wealth in their homes, but have limited income, to cover their basic living expenses and health care expenses.

BUT there is a new program that we should know about. It is called the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for Purchase product. This can greatly enhance the real estate service options we can offer our senior customers who would like to purchase a new home while still maintaining their retirement goals. Many mortgage companies in our Coastal Bend now have departments offering this option, which could be valuable for many seniors looking to relocate closer to family members, downsize, upgrade, or move to an active adult community.

This is an exciting option for qualified homeowners who are purchasing a home. This mortgage option allows homeowners to keep the home in their name while not having any monthly payments.

Who qualifies?

If you are 62 or older, will use the home as your primary residence, have no federal debt delinquency, can pay annual property taxes and homeowners insurance, vow to keep the property presentable, the property meets FHA guidelines, and agree to participate in a counseling session, YOU are qualified!

So how does it work?

When bundling the HECM with a new home purchase, the buyer can buy the property by mixing the HECM loan proceeds along with the proceeds from their previous home sale and/or savings to complete the transaction.

For example: Charlie is looking to downsize. He receives $700,000 from the sale of his home. He buys a home for $300,000. HECM loans Charlie $160,000 ($10,000 to cover closing costs). Charlie puts $150,000 as his downpayment. The remaining $400,000 goes straight into Charlie’s pocket!

  • It involves financing that doesn’t require monthly principal and interest mortgage payments
  • It includes increased purchasing power for those who are upsizing or downsizing
  • It has a streamlined closing process as the buyers are purchasing and getting a HECM all in one transaction
  • It may include supplemental income to support a better retirement, including a growing line-of-credit

Repayment

Just like other loans, the HECM loan must be repaid. But it is unlike traditional loans in that this repayment isn’t due until the owner has sold the home, no longer uses it as their primary residence, or passes away. When one of these scenarios occurs, the HECM and any accrued interest and mortgage insurance must be paid, but the perk is that the homeowner will never pay more than the home’s market value at the time of repayment.

So run, don’t walk! Your dream retirement home is waiting…

Coastline Properties – The Face of Padre Island Real Estate

We are delighted to have been nominated “The Face of Island Real Estate” in this months Issue of The Bend Magazine.

It’s incredible to discover so many other community leaders that are making waves in the Coastal Bend by being dedicated to their profession.  We salute all those businesses out there that truly understand the nature of customer service and work so tirelessly to care for and understand their clients needs.  Thank You Corpus Christi!!

coastlinebend1  coastlinebend2

 

The Bend Magazine – November 2015

Great Tips for Holiday House Hunting

holiday-house-hunting

This time of year typically marks the unofficial time people begin thinking about the holidays. After Halloween, time seems to speed up and before we know it the holiday parties, charity functions and the like set in for familes. Real estate activity during the holiday season is typically discouraged because of the challenges posed on both sides of a transaction.

For sellers, there is the inconvenience of having to keep the home clean; leaving on a moment’s notice for showings; and limiting holiday entertaining. For buyers, there may be limited access to houses if sellers place showing restrictions due to personal schedules and commitments.

However there are some advantages and  other considerations that both sides should keep in mind.

Buyers will find fewer homes on the market, but the homes that are available have highly motivated sellers. This may provide a better negotiating climate, and there is less likely to be the type of competition for homes you see during high season. In turn, sellers will find equally motivated buyers, and may find that offers and closings move more quickly.  What this means is, bargains and negotiations are plentiful this time of year if you are working with a savvy real estate agent in corpus christi.

Holiday sellers should curb large plans to entertain, have family & friends stay over, or do excessive decorating. Focus on showing off the features of your home that will appeal to a buyer – not your family decorations and holiday traditions.  It sounds like a less attractive holiday, but the dividends will more than pay for themselves.  Remember to always keep a mindset of a buyer in mind.  Have a Happy and healthy holiday season!

Major Changes Coming to Mortgage Disclosures

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE

“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing”

it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”

― Fulton J. Sheen

 Changes-Ahead

Come October 1, there are major changes coming to mortgage disclosures that I would like to share with you. Buyers, sellers, loan officers, title companies and real estate agents will all be affected.

No longer will there be a HUD-1 Settlement Statement or a Good Faith Estimate from a buyer’s lender. Both forms are going “bye-bye,” as is the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) disclosure form. Replacing them are two new forms: the Closing Disclosure and the Loan Estimate.

Why does this affect anyone aside from those on the real estate, lender, title side? Because there are also new rules for the closing procedure, where the buyers and sellers tolerance come into play, as closing delays are almost unavoidable for the first few months.

One rule requires all forms to be ready three (business) days prior to closing. The National Association of Realtors recommends all closing documents are actually ready an entire week prior to closing, or “consummation” as is the new verbiage (yes, chuckling is OK).  So if everything is ready seven days prior to consummation, when you go into the three-day period, there are likely no changes to make. Because making changes as the countdown ensues comes with a cumbersome set of hurdles.

Everyone involved in the transaction is under pressure to get everything squared away earlier than in the past. Currently, the settlement statement can be completed and approved just hours before closing. Gone are those days. And as aforementioned, the buyers and sellers have to be cooperative, because if last-minute changes are made, a new three-day waiting period kicks in. Are there exceptions you ask? Yes! Bona fide financial emergencies such as the imminent sale of the consumer’s home at foreclosure. Any financial emergency must be accompanied by a written statement and will be very fact intensive.

The good news is, this doesn’t affect cash buyers, and many Realtors, Lenders, and Title Companies are taking the time and courses to get familiar with this new system and forms so we are ready! Communication will be KEY. But patience, grasshopper, good things come to those who wait.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SELLER’S DISCLOSURE FORM

what-you-need-to-know-about-mortgages

This one form, filled out by the seller of a property, is more important than you may have realized. I compare it to a hard hat at a construction site. Seems overly precautious until a large piece of material falls from above and suddenly you’re awfully glad you had that protection!

In 1993, this form became mandatory, exclaiming that “Texans would be bound to truth in selling their homes…is designed to protect Realtors from the burgeoning number of ‘failure to disclosure’ lawsuits…the bill would require sellers to complete a disclosure form detailing the condition of the house, property and certain equipment within the house.”

What is it?

This statement is a disclosure of the condition of the property in compliance with the seller Disclosure Act. This statement is a disclosure of the condition and information concerning the property, known by the seller. Unless otherwise advised, the seller does not possess any expertise in construction, architecture, engineering, foundation, roof, or any other specific area related to the construction or condition of the improvements on the property or the land. This statement is not a warranty of any kind by the seller and is not a substitute for any inspections or warranties the buyer may wish to obtain. NOTE: For sale my owners are also legally required to provide this form.

Can your agent help you fill it out?

No. As Realtors, this would infringe on our duties to abide by the National Association of Realtors “Code of Ethics and standards of practice.” We are not lawyers and cannot give any advice or interpret any law regarding what the form says or means. If there are any questions, sellers need to consult an attorney.

Both TAR and TREC have a seller’s disclosure notice. Which to use?

Both forms are in compliance with the law. With that said, the TAR form is far preferred. It asks more questions, is far more thorough, is easier to fill out, spells out specific safety hazards the TREC form does not, is more useful for buyers and is designed to serve as a better risk-reduction tool for sellers. It is in your best interest as the seller to ask your agent to provide you with the TAR form.

Who is exempt from filling this form out?

There are 11 exceptions, but the most common are:

  • A builder of a new home
  • A trustee or executor of an estate
  • The lender after foreclosing on a property
  • Duplex owners

Even though these types of sellers (and a few others) are not required to provide a disclosure notice, they still must disclose any known material defects. Requirements of Section 5.008, all sellers have an obligation to disclose known defects about the property. Failure to do so exposes them to liability under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act or other civil laws.

What about previous death in the property?

The statute does not require disclosure of deaths by natural causes, suicide, or accidents unrelated to the condition of the property.

Previous Inspection Reports

If a seller bought the home within the past 4 years OR if a seller receives a copy of an inspection report from a buyer but the contract with that buyer falls through, the seller and brokers should consider sharing the report and they have a duty to disclose any known material defects. Possession of a prior inspection report may be evidence of the seller’s or broker’s knowledge of a known defect, although no law requires that the report must be provided.

Consequences When Sellers Don’t Disclose

A seller who doesn’t disclose known defects can be sued by the buyer after the defect is discovered. As a seller, you don’t want to look back after closing!

If a court finds the seller responsible, they may be required to:

  • Repairs and other damages resulting from the undisclosed defect
  • Pay the buyer’s attorney’s fees and costs of the lawsuit
  • Take back the house if the court invalidates or rescinds the sale
  • Punishment for punitive damages of failure to disclose defects

 

A surprise birthday party is fun…a surprise moldy house is not! Use of this form may result in fewer surprises to the buyer after closing and less liability for the agents and the seller(s). Don’t make your home sale any more challenging than need be. A seller’s accurate and honest disclosure is worth it.